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Saturday, 10 May 2008

From Today's Papers - 10 May

New defence buy procedure planned
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 9
The defence ministry is set to pave way for an increased participation by private companies in supplying equipment to the forces. This is aimed at to widen the technological base in the country and enhance the technology transfer from foreign countries.

The Indian companies will set-up joint ventures with foreign companies that will be awarded the contract of supplying the equipment. It will be applicable for purchase of all aircrafts, weapons and equipment in the future.

The ministry is expected to announce a new defence procurement procedure (DPP) within the next few days. The defence acquisition council is scheduled to meet in the middle of this month and is expected to approve the new DPP, sources said. Defence authorities plan to go to the Berlin Air Show, at the end of this month, with the new DPP. The last DPP was drafted in 2006.

India is a partner country at Berlin for the first time and will showcase its prowess in defence. Several private Indian companies are also participating along with Indian defence production public sector undertaking like the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, among others.

The amendment will allow up to 50 per cent of all defence equipment purchased from other countries to be manufactured or assembled within India, well-placed sources confirmed. At present the limit is 30 per cent. This was introduced in 2006 and is called the “off-set clause”. The response has been good and this has led to an increase in allowing more private participation.

The DPP has been fine-tuned after taking into account the suggestions received from various stakeholders including the services and the industry. The new policy will address concerns and opinions of various stakeholders relating to issues like banking of “offset clause”.

This is major demand for foreign suppliers who are in joint venture with India companies. They want that their entire work in India should be calculated and it should not be case-to-case basis.

Other issues to be addressed in the new DPP are the transfer of technology (ToT) and licensing requirement for software industry, among other aspects.

The DPP concept was introduced to lay down the purchase procedure so that officers and senior functionaries get to follow a set path in procuring defence equipment.

BSF foils Pak infiltration bid in Samba sector
Tejinder Singh Sodhi
Tribune News Service

Samba (Indo-Pak border), May 9
Just days ahead of the purposed Pakistan visit by the Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee to discuss the Indo-Pakistan relations, a major incident of ceasefire violation has been reported in this forward area on the international border between the two nations.

According to the sources, Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy firing in the Samba sector on the international border late last night to facilitate an infiltration bid from across the border.

However the infiltration bid was averted by alert jawans of the Border Security Force deployed on the forward posts on the international border.

When contacted, Deputy Inspector General of BSF J. B. Sangwan said, “last night at around 10:40 pm, BSF men noticed some moment on the international border, they saw some heavily armed militants trying to tamper with the border fence.”

Adding, he said, “Our jawans challenged them, but they started firing indiscriminately towards them and amidst the cross-fire that continued for several hours all the infiltrators managed to escape.”

However, Sangwan did not rule out the possibility of the cross-border ceasefire violation by the Pakistan Rangers. “We cannot rule out the possibility of the ceasefire violation by the Pakistan Rangers because the incident took place at night and we cannot straight away rule out the possibility of the violation of the ceasefire by the Pakistani side?”

The BSF says that a group of more than 10 to 12 heavily armed infiltrators had successfully crossed the international border and were negotiating with the barbered fence erected at some distance inside the Indian territory when they were noticed by the BSF soldiers manning the border here.

BSF sources say after the infiltrators were challenged by the BSF, Pakistan Rangers also resorted to firing to provide cover for the retrieval of the infiltrators back inside Pakistani side.

The BSF has recovered 400 empty cases of AK47 rifle bullets, “it suggests that around 1000 rounds were fired by the militants, they also lobbed around a dozen hand grenades towards our side out of which five to six exploded and the rest were recovered in the morning.” Sangwan said, adding, he said, “This was the biggest cross-border infiltration bid ever after the declaration of cross-border ceasefire.” He, however, said that there was no causality or injury reported from either side.

The Indian side has taken the incident seriously and has sought a commander-level flag meeting to protest the incident. “We have called for a commander-level flag meeting to take up the issue, it’s very serious issue as all the infiltrators had come from Pakistani side and escaped back there.” Sangwan said.

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