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Wednesday, 28 May 2008

From Today's Papers 28 May

Raju: Firing across LoC after ceasefire unpardonable
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 27
Firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) after five years of ceasefire has come as a surprise and it is unpardonable, said the minister of state for defence M.M. Pallam Raju here today while talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on defence communication.

It (Pakistan) will have to apologise if the reasons are not found to be “valid”, said Raju.

India has registered its protest against the ceasefire violation at various forums, including a flag meeting between the troops’ commanders on both sides. “They better have a valid reason for the firing or they (Pakistan) will have to apologise through appropriate channel,” Raju said.

Raju also anticipated an increase in infiltration across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir with the snow melting and elections in the state around the corner. “We are taking adequate security measures so that the infiltration does not impinge upon the elections in the state,” he said.

Indian and Pakistani army officers had held a flag meeting May 21 at a forward post along the LoC in the Mendhar sector to sort out the issues arising out of the “unprovoked” firing from the Pakistani side on May 19.

Army downplays survey in ‘Finger Point’ area

New Delhi, May 27
In the backdrop of China laying claim over a tiny border area in Sikkim, India is conducting a survey in the region as part of efforts to revalidate New Delhi’s position.

While confirming this, Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor today sought to downplay the survey, saying there was nothing unusual about it as “we are carrying out such exercises in other places”. He said there was no problem between “us and the other side (China)” in the area called “Finger Point” in north Sikkim.

“Within our territory, we can do survey and patrolling as we have been doing it for years,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on “Technology and Anti-technology Challenges before Defence Forces” organised by the CII.

His comments come days after reports that the government has asked the Survey of India to carry out a fresh survey of the northern plateau in Sikkim using latest methods to validate India’s position.

In exchanges with Beijing, New Delhi has been relying on the 1924 survey of India map of the area. China also claims 2.1 square km area which is referred as “Finger Area”.

“Surveys are normal exercises. Surveys along the border are continuing at a lot of places,” Kapoor said. — PTI

Secure communication system a must: Army chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 27
Reminding the need to have a secure communication network in place, the Chief of Army Staff Gen Deepak Kapoor today said, “Terrestrial and wireless networks in particular face substantial threats, which could degrade these networks in critical times”. He was speaking at the opening of the two-day seminar on defence communication organised by the Indian Army and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), here.

General Kapoor said the threats and their countermeasures in particular should be known. It was of paramount importance that the military community in general, and communication network planners in particular, were aware of the possible threats and vulnerabilities, which could affect communication networks.

Focused measures were needed to protect such information systems and communication networks, General Kapoor added. Technology today was advancing at such a rapid pace that it required the users and equipment providers to constantly and continuously upgrade, the General added.

Forums such as DEFCOM 2008 went a long way in fulfilling these requirements. The nature of modern warfare - both conventional and sub conventional - was undergoing a paradigm shift towards ‘sensor to shooter integration’ and net centricity’. These aspects required shorter response times and quick reactions at all hierarchical levels. Information bearing networks, in turn, had to be fast, robust and reliable to facilitate commanders at all levels to view the battle space.

The seminar, called “ DEFCOM 2008” aims to deliberate upon issues related to enhancement of technology to provide working in an anti-technological environment, duly considering issues of electro magnetic interference. The theme of DEFCOM 2008 has accordingly been chosen as ‘technology and anti-technology challenges for Defence forces’.

Minister of state for defence Pallam Raju said the nation was one of the fastest growing economies in the world and it was poised only to grow stronger from here.

Raju, who is a qualified engineer in the field of communications and electronics, was of the opinion that information communication technology was the DNA of the modern age warfare. They were the key enablers for network centric warfare.

Communication and data networks were vital for enhancing india’s war fighting capabilities and it was here that ‘technology’ would ensure guaranteed information assurance and information dominance over the adversaries. Technology offered a number of solutions but tweaking them to suit military requirements was the real challenge, he added.

He also inaugurated an exhibition of latest electronic equipment, displayed by some of the world’s best-known manufacturers, being used in modern day warfare. Senior officers from all three-defence services visited the exhibition.

Lopsided Pay Panel Report
Ex-soldiers hold protest
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 27
Hundreds of former soldiers led by retired senior officers today sat on hunger strike at the India Gate lawns, a stone’s throw away from the seat of power at the South Block, here today.

Today’s protest was a part of the protests held in 300 cities across the country. The protesters demanded the setting up of a review board to remove anomalies in the commission report, besides other demands. Even as the protest was on, the minister of state for defence M.M. Pallam Raju flayed the protesters saying it was unbecoming of them to resort to such protests.

“I don’t think they should do this,” Raju told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here. This even as serving Army men defended the action of their retired brethren saying when the government was not listening what other option did these protesters have.

Across the country, soldiers sat on hunger fast, staged dharnas and organised marches across the country in protest against the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission with regard to defence forces.

Probably some saving grace for the government was that a few of the retired chiefs of services stayed away from the protest. They would be directly briefing the Prime Minister as and when a delegation was called in to meet, said informed sources.

The ex-servicemen, under the aegis of the All India Military Veterans Movement (AIMVM) held the protests. The organisation has a seven-point charter of demands like the constitution of a board to review the commission recommendations with members from defence fraternity and one rank one pension.

Taking exception to the minister’s statement, AIMVM senior vice-president Major-Gen Satbir Singh (retd) told reporters that they resorted to protests only after the defence ministry refused to pay heed to their demands.

“The minister did not listen to us. We sent him letters, we met him and his officers and they assured us they would look into their demands. But they did not. We resorted to protest only after we ran out of options,” he said.

“The government is looking into their grievances,”aid Pallam Raju.
The ex-servicemen are demanding one rank one pension and 30 per cent increase in their pension benefits. The government has formed an Ex-servicemen Welfare Department. “We are looking into all matters. We will see how to improve their facilities,” Raju said.

He said the empowered group of secretaries was looking into their grievances and defence minister A.K. Antony was seized of the matter.

Raju said he had addressed many sainik board meetings all over the country to tell ex-servicemen that the UPA government was doing everything possible for their welfare.

Govt looking into grievances of ex-servicemen

Government on Tuesday expressed strong displeasure over ex-servicemen taking to streets and holding hunger strikes in various cities across the country to demand better pension for them, saying their grievances were being looked into.

''It is unbecoming on the part of the dignified ex-servicemen to launch hunger strike. I don't think they should do this,'' Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju told reporters.

His comments came as retired defence personnel on Tuesday went on a hunger strike at India Gate and many other cities to convey their dismay over pensions.

Ex-servicemen are demanding 'one rank one pension' and 30 per cent increase in their pension benefits.

''The government has formed ex-servicemen welfare department. We are looking into all matters. We will see how to improve their facilities,'' Raju said.

He said Defence Minister A K Antony was seized of the matter and the issue of enhanced pensions was being looked into by the Empowered Group of Secretaries.

Raju said he had addressed many Sainik Board meetings all over the country to tell ex servicemen that the UPA government was doing everything possible for their welfare.
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IAF brings succour to Myanmar, China victims
27 May 2008, Tuesday

IN PERHAPS the largest relief operation carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF), more than 277 tonnes of relief material has been delivered to the disaster victims in Myanmar and China, in the aftermath of cyclone and severe earthquake, respectively.

It may be recalled that Cyclone Nargis struck south-east coast of Myanmar on May 3, and caused wide spread damage to life and property. Also a severe earthquake measuring over 7.8 on Richter scale had struck the Sichuan province, China, causing severe disaster.

On May 6, the Disaster Management Crisis Group (DMCG) projected the requirement of carrying relief material

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