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Monday, 30 June 2008

From Today's Papers - 30 Jun












Maoist strike leaves 36 jawans missing

Malkangiri (Orissa), June 29
Thirty-six personnel of an elite anti-naxal force were feared drowned when Maoists today struck in a big way opening fire on a launch carrying the security personnel and sinking the vessel in a reservoir here.
The launch was carrying 64 persons, which included one Orissa police constable and two boatmen, when naxals unleashed heavy gunfire from a hilltop in Malkangiri district this morning. Orissa police chief Gopal Nanda said the firing took place near Alampetta village when the elite Greyhound force was sailing to Chirakonda across the Balimela reservoir on the border with Andhra Pradesh for a joint operation against the Maoists.
Preliminary reports, as per survivors, said the Naxals resorted to heavy fire at 9 am after which the launch capsized and many personnel sustaining bullet injuries. While 28 personnel, including a launch helper, could swim ashore, the whereabouts of 36 others were not known even as a search operation was on in the reservoir, Nanda said. According to DIG (operation) Arun Sarangi, 28 personnel swam to the shore, of whom 10 were airlifted to Visakhapatnam for treatment.
“Most of the 28 persons who returned to safety sustained bullet injuries,” he said, adding some others could have swum towards the Andhra Pradesh side adjacent to Orissa. The Centre rushed 125 CRPF personnel who were assisting in rescue operations, sources in the union home ministry said, adding the area was not easily accessible and it needed trekking of several kilometres to reach the spot. — PTI

Army orders 28 weapon-locating radars

New Delhi, June 29
The Army is acquiring 28 highly sophisticated India-made weapon locating radars (WLRs) to track and neutralise hostile artillery fire.The radars are being integrated by the state-run Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), set up in 1954 to meet the specialised electronic needs of the Indian armed forces, but a large number of components will come from the private sector, including some commercially-available off the shelf (COTS) from the international market.
According to a report in the July issue of the India Strategic defence magazine, with the indigenous manufacture of the much-needed radars, there is likely to be no further import of the system from the US arms technology major Raytheon, which has supplied 12 radars to the Indian artillery under a 2002 government-to-government deal for around $200 million.
An advance copy of the India Strategic, made available to IANS, quotes Dr Prahlada, a distinguished scientist and chief controller in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), as saying the Army had approved the radar after several tests in electronic clutter and “high density fire environment”.
It may be noted that the Army had asked for the WLRs in the mid-1980s but the government sanctioned their acquisition only after the 1999 Kargil War in which the Army suffered more than 80 per cent of its casualties due to the Pakistani artillery fire.
The need was felt so urgent that it was in fact the first acquisition from the US under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme. Raytheon completed the order last year, and the radars were integrated on Tatra chassis supplied by the public sector BEL Ltd. The weapon locating radar, also known as Gun Locating Radar, helps track hostile fire and directs counter fire within seconds.
Pakistan has had the advantage of US-supplied radars from the mid-1980s, and they were also built by Raytheon, but an earlier model. The version supplied to India has longer range and reach, and the additional capability to destroy some artillery missiles. There was, however, no transfer of technology in the WLR acquired from the US, although Raytheon officials had separately told India Strategic that it was favourable to the idea if there were further orders. — IANS

IAF procuring firearms simulators
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 29
To improve the weapon handling and marksmanship of its personnel, the IAF is installing a large number of interactive firearms training simulators at major stations across the country. IAF sources said that so far 12 such simulators had already been procured and installed at major IAF stations. Another 15 such simulators were being procured. The IAF would be procuring a total of 50 firearms training simulators in the 11th and 12th Five-Year Plan.
Procurement of these simulators is part of the IAF’s ongoing drive to modernise and upgrade security measures at its installations, many of which are located in sensitive areas prone to terrorism, insurgency and law and order problems. Interactive firearms training simulators are computer based training aids that lay out a security scenario for a trainee on a monitor or TV screen. The trainee has to assess the situation and tackle hostile elements by aiming and firing his specially modified weapon at designated targets appearing on the screen. A laser beam shooting from the weapon instead of a real bullet records his hits or misses.
A large number of Army training centres have already installed computer-based firearms training simulators, which offer a wide range of advantages. IAF officers said that with simulators, training could be carried out without the hassle of availability of field ranges. “Simulators will offer us the flexibility to fix regular training schedules without taking into account the availability of ranges or the weather,” an officer said. “Of course, live firing would not be done away, though trips to ranges would be cut down,” he added.
As part of its modernisation drive, the IAF has procured 26 X-ray baggage inspection systems for scanning the luggage of passengers travelling in service aircraft. In addition, 175 night vision devices have been issued to security units at various air force stations and another 900 are being procured. To improve networking, as many as 900 Motorola communication sets have been procured recently and distributed among IAF establishments.

A British soldier with NATO forces was killed on Sunday in southern Afghanistan, officials said, as 12 policemen and 10 Taliban rebels died in different incidents elsewhere in the war-wracked country. The violence comes as rebels loyal to the ousted Taliban militia have stepped up attacks in recent weeks, turning June into the deadliest month for the 70,000-strong international force based in Afghanistan since 2001.
''An ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) soldier died in an explosion while on a security patrol with an Afghan National Army unit,'' the alliance force said in a statement earlier on Sunday in Kabul. The British defence ministry in London said the soldier was part of a checkpoint team that had gone to investigate reports of a rocket-propelled grenade attack on a civilian aircraft at the airport. The death took to 109 the number of foreign soldiers killed here this year, according to a news agency tally based on reporting. Forty-two of them have died since the start of the month, the news agency count shows.
In a separate incident, about 150 militants stormed a government building in southwestern Farah province early on Sunday, killing four police and losing seven of their own fighters, deputy provincial governor, Mohammad Younus Rasouli told. Five other officers and three rebels were injured in the clashes, which started shortly after Saturday midnight. A district chief was also slightly injured during the battle and a pro-government tribal elder was captured by militants, Rasouli said.

Commando boat sinks in Maoist water war

June 29: Three dozen commandos of a crack anti-Maoist force were feared drowned in an Orissa reservoir today after rebels waiting with rocket launchers sank a boat in their deadliest attack on police this year and the first on water.
Orissa police chief Gopal Chandra Nanda said the boat, returning with over 60 Greyhound personnel of Andhra police and a few Orissa policemen after a combing drive, sank near Alampetta village in Malkangiri district, more than 600km from state capital Bhubaneswar.
Police sources in Orissa said that of the 64 people on board, only 25 “swam to safety”, six of them with bullet injuries, though Andhra police chief S.S.P. Yadav put the number at 28, with 36 missing.
Four seriously wounded jawans have been flown to Visakhapatnam for treatment, said Malkangiri police superintendent S.K. Gajbhiye.
In Andhra, Vikram Singh Mann, the police chief of border district Vizianagaram, said two navy helicopters had been pressed into service to search for the missing commandos. Sources said search teams had found some police caps floating in the Balimela reservoir but not any bodies so far.
Andhra home minister K. Jana Reddy flew to the spot of the attack, the first by Maoists on a police team travelling by boat. Earlier this year in February, a Maoist attack on the police in Nayagarh, Orissa, had killed 14 personnel. An Orissa police officer said today’s attack could be a counter-offensive against the joint operations Andhra and Orissa police have launched in Malkangiri because of the protest week the rebels are observing against a pilot project to develop eight Maoist-affected districts.
On June 20, Malkangiri police had organised a community policing camp, while a police station was opened in another Naxalite stronghold. Andhra police sources said the rebels used two rocket launchers to sink the boat and later fired at the commandos trying to swim ashore.
The sources said about 40 rebels lay in wait on the banks of the reservoir for the commandos, who had taken a different route while returning to Chitrakonda, in Malkangiri, after a three-day operation. The Maoists pounded the boat as soon as it came into view and shot the driver dead. A sub-inspector from Chitrakonda, who had accompanied the combing party, also died, police sources said.
An intelligence official in Andhra said the Maoists had last month formed a militia commission with nearly a hundred trained cadres following major reverses in the past six months. “The Maoists are planning a revival of their activities in Andhra Pradesh and hence the regrouping efforts,” the intelligence official added. Police officers claimed they were ready for any “eventualities” during the anniversary celebrations of the banned CPI (Maoist) next month.


Bangladesh bemoans Manekshaw, a personal elegy


Kazi Mohoshin Al Abbas

Dhaka

Sun, 29 Jun 2008:

It was 1971, the year of liberation war of Bangladesh, which was started from the late hours of 25th March of 1971 and ended on December 16th of the same year. As of my memory, I had seen an influx of quarter size posters photographed with Bangababdhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, (father of the nation, who was detained inakistan), Indira Gandhi (the then prime minister of India), General MAG Osmani (Commander in Chief of Freedom Fighters of Bangladesh) and General Sam Manekshaw (Chief of the Indian Army and the joint India-Bangladesh command).
This poster was such popular that it was collected by boys to older, poor to affluent, unlettered to scholars; in fact this poster was collected by the mass of Bangladesh.
As of my personal concern, in 1971, I was a student of five grades in primary school. I had the ability to understand the cruelty of war, pain of death and sting of destruction. But as a minor, no one inspired me to join in front fight, which is a personal pain for me till today. Anyway the above said poster was the symbol of victory to me and possibly to all against the invader Pakistani Army. As a matter of recognition and honour general Manekshaw was being ranked as Field Marshal after the war 71.
Today, after nearly four decades, when I informed that Field Marshal Manekshaw passed away, feeling was that we have lost a kind neighbour, a good friend, a well wisher and a blind supporter.
The death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was deeply condoled in Bangladesh. Foreign Affairs Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said in a message to his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, “The people and the government of Bangladesh will always recall with warm gratitude his signal contribution to our War of Liberation and his association with a glorious epoch in the history of Bangladesh’s evolution.” Army Chief of staff General Moeen U. Ahmed said in his condolence message: Manekshaw’s successful leadership as the chief of the allied force in the Liberation War in 1971 had helped Bangladesh achieve a quick victory in the war.
The death of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was also widely condoled in Dhaka by numbers of political parties, social organisations, freedom fighters, professionals and intellectuals. In many separate messages they recall the contribution of the depart soul to the rapid emergence of Bangladesh in the globe.
It should be recall that under his command, in 1971 invader Pakistani army was bound to final surrender with 92000 solider in Dhaka and that was the end of the liberation war of Bangladesh.

When all concerned were engaged in condolence, personally I was in nostalgia of a heavily coloured poster, which was a symbol of victory for a school boy of grade five. WORDS ARE FEW WHEN THE HEART IS FULLOF SORROW.


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