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Thursday, 8 May 2008

From Today's Papers - 08 May

New military secretary
New Delhi:
Lt-Gen Avadhesh Prakash has taken over as new military secretary. A war veteran of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, he joined the NDA in 1969 and was commissioned into 1st battalion of the NAGA Regt from the Indian Military Academy.General Prakash, has commanded 1 NAGA, 69 Mountain brigade, which actively participated in the Kargil operations. — TNS

Call to hike paramilitary pay


New Delhi: Demanding “equal pay for equal work” vis-a-vis defence personnel, a group of ex-paramilitary personnel has — on behalf of over 7.5 lakh jawans and officers in CRPF, BSF, CISF, ITBP, SSB and Assam Rifles — sent a memorandum to the Union home ministry, asking it to end the “discrimination” which, they say, is quite “demoralising” for the forces fighting terrorism and Naxalism across the country.
The group has also decided to take to the street highlighting the anomalies in the sixth
pay commission recommendations which, it thinks, should be addressed immediately.

Army role in Games: Patil game, not Gill

Mahendra Kumar Singh I TNN

New Delhi: Home minister Shivraj Patil has suggested that the armed forces be given a major role in organising Commonwealth Games 2010 in the Capital. The minister, however, did not assign any specific role for the defence forces.
Sports minister M S Gill played down Patil’s suggestion by terming it a casual remark at a group of ministers (GoM) meeting and asserted that the defence forces would not take over the Games.
In the last GoM meeting on April 9, headed by HRD minister Arjun Singh, Patil said the defence forces had a lot of manpower, resources and capability and recalled that their services had been utilised during Asian Games 1982.
According to the minutes of the meeting, Patil said, ‘‘It would be desirable to associate them from the preparatory stage itself.’’ It was felt by the ministerial panel that the organising committee of the
Games should be advised to involve defence officers at appropriate levels in planning and preparation of the Games.
Gill, however, told TOI that the defence forces could be involved only in a supportive role. ‘‘The Games cannot be handed over to the army and where is the need of the army? There is no crisis as everything is moving on time,’’ Gill said, adding
that projects were on target and the ministry was holding monthly reviews with various stakeholders.
The sports minister pointed out that the armed forces could be associated in a supportive role as was done during Asian Games 1982 when a number of defence officers were involved in protocol duties at stadiums. They could also be involved in organising cultural activities as was generally done during the Republic Day function, he said.
Gill added he had asked organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi to consider using the armed force’s resources by appointing their nominees in the committee. Sources said it was a casual remark from Patil who had come late for the meeting. But some officials present in the meeting said the remark, coming from the home minister, could be interpreted as a serious suggestion considering the potential security threat during the Games.

Agni-III up & ready for induction
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 7
Days after China’s underwater nuclear submarine base was made public by photos taken from spy satellites, India flexed its “missile muscle” and fired the nuclear-capable Agni-III from the Wheeler Island off Orissa coast this morning.

This surface-to-surface missile has the capacity to carry a 1.5 tonne warhead and experts have classified it as “China specific”. This is the second successful test of the missile that can hit targets up to 3,000 km. The 17-m long missile was fired from rail-based mobile launcher that makes it possible to be used from any spot in the country.

It also takes India a step closer to join a select band of countries that have such intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) capabilities and for the first time brings distant cities in eastern China and infrastructure within missile range from India.

The last successful test was conducted in April last year. Sources said the missile system was now ready for induction in the armed forces. Agni I and II that travel for shorter distances, have already been inducted in various variants.

Agni-III is seen as a step towards the next generation Agni-IV that is on the design stage. This one has a 6,000-km range and would effectively bring China's capital Beijing and also the European continent into the range of Indian missiles. The DRDO plans to test Agni-IV sometime next year.

Today when the Agni-III was fired there were no glitches as scientists of the DRDO conducted what is termed as a “text book launch”. The missile followed the trajectory with accuracy.

“All subsystems of the missile functioned in a copybook manner giving an outstanding integrated performance of the missile in terms of range and accuracy,” said defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar, minutes after the launch was announced a success.

The missile fired from Wheeler Island the designated target somewhere south of the equator in just 13.2 minutes. It travelled at a peak height of 350 km with a velocity of more than 4,000 m per second. Two Indian naval ships positioned near the target location south of equator confirmed the impact of the missile, said Kar.

Defence minister A.K. Antony congratulated the mission director, Dr Avinash Chander, and all scientists of the DRDO for the successful launch of the missile.

Army conducts disaster relief exercise
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
As part of its charter of duties in aid to civil authorities, the Army’s Western Command conducted a major disaster management exercise code-named Mountain Rescue at the famous Annadale Ground in Shimla, today.

The aim of the exercise was to practice evacuation of civilian population from the disaster affected areas in the mountains. Dhruv and Chetak helicopters from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Army’s aviation wing participated in the exercise along with troops from the Army’s Special Forces and other units stationed in Shimla.

The Special Forces troops were airlifted to the exercise area by the IAF’s Dhruv helicopters in the morning. Thereafter, Army Aviation Corps helicopters practiced casualty evacuation drills in conjunction with the Special Forces and regular troops. The exercise was conducted in conjunction with civil administration and personnel from the home guards and fire services department.

The organisational strength of the Army formations and units were in full display during the exercise. The Army plans to conduct more such exercises in the future to fine-tune its disaster management process.

Major calamities that have struck the Indian subcontinent during the last decade, have underscored the need to adopt a multi-dimensional, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approach to disaster management. Within the ambit of this approach, the armed forces constitute a significant and potent entity available with the central and state governments for disaster response and relief. The armed forces, by virtue of their organisational strength, motivation, discipline and operational preparedness, have always risen to the occasion, earning the appreciation of the environment for its singular contribution.

Over the years, the scope of Army’s role in disaster management has enlarged gradually. It is invariably the first responder in disaster situations. The Disaster Management Act of 2005 has ensured that the Army’s role in disaster response remain focused on critical issues, with optimal utilisation of dedicated resources.

Service pay for soldiers likely to be doubled


New Delhi: The military service pay (MSP) for soldiers is likely to go up from the proposed Rs 1,000 per month to Rs 2,000-3,000 but the armed forces are unlikely to get much more in terms of ‘higher’ salary hikes they are demanding.
The three Service chiefs — Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Air Chief Marshal F H Major and General Deepak Kapoor — met the empowered committee of secretaries headed by cabinet secretary K M Chandrashekar on Tuesday to express the ‘‘widespread dissatisfaction’’ among their forces over the ‘‘paltry’’ hikes recommended for them by the 6th Pay Commission. ‘‘The meeting was part of the consultations being held about the pay commission recommendations.
There is a feeling that the allocation of Rs 6,000 per month to officers up to Brigadiers and only Rs 1,000 to jawans, NCOs and JCOs is quite unfair,’’ said an official. Rattled by the growing unrest in the armed forces, the defence ministry has already asked the committee of secretaries to at least double the MSP for jawans.

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