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Wednesday, 24 September 2008

From Today's Papers - 24 Sep

Pak army gun down 50 militants

FIFTY ’JEHADIS’, belonging to Al-Qaeda and Taliban and one Pakistani soldier were killed in crossfiring between the Pakistani army and militants on Tuesday (September 23), in the Northwest region of Pakistan. The armed confrontation, which commenced on Monday (September 22) at Dara Adam Khel, ended today.

After carrying out a frantic search in different hideouts of this region, the Pakistan army gunned down fifty Al Qaeda and Taliban militants. Both artillery and helicopter gunships of the Pak army were used in this operation. The massive crackdown by the Pak army came after the deadly truck bomb blast that took place at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan which claimed the lives of 53 persons.

It was obvious that the recent suicide attack was carried out by the militants as a bold response to Pak army’s armed operations in Bajaur, a Northwestern region bordering Afghanistan. Eight hundred people lost their lives in the recent crackdown at Bajaur. The militants of the ’Tehrik-e-Taliban’ group claimed the responsibility behind the Marriott hotel attack. Their prime concern was to kill the foreign tourists and diplomats, who usually stay in this hotel. The concerned Pakistani officials have already found out the links of the Al-Qaeda members behind the Marriott hotel blast.

Asif Ali Zardari, the president of Pakistan has vowed to uproot terrorism from the soil of Pakistan after the recent blasts. Probably, this operation, led by the Pak army is a burning instance of the President’s promise. The Northwestern areas of Pakistan is considered as the hotbed of several militant outfits. Both UK and USA have offered their full support to Pakistan in its war against terrorism.

Do not lose credibility with forces, IAF chief tells industry
Press Trust Of India / New Delhi September 23, 2008, 19:00 IST

Emphasising the importance of quality in the acquisition plans of the armed forces, Air chief Fali Homi Major today said the country's private industry should not to lose its credibility while dealing with the defence forces.

"I urge every single industry to make sure they never ever lose their credibility while dealing with Indian armed forces," the air chief marshal told an international civil and defence equipment and systems exhibition and conference here.

"We (armed forces) are very discerning and expect value for the money that we spend. Every buck counts. There can be no compromise on quality," he said.

Suggesting that industries supplying equipment strive to develop products in India itself, the IAF chief said it would pay rich dividends given low labour and manufacturing costs.

"We would also gain by faster response and easy accessibility and better serviceability of platforms and equipment (if the facilities are in India)," he said.

Pointing out that the armed forces and industry needed to work and grow together, Major said that it would give an assurance that the armed forces get the best products available in the world.

Citing IAF's experience, the air chief said equipment needed a strenuous life-cycle support in which there existed certain shortcomings. "A customer-vendor relationship therefore needs to be built on a great amount of faith and trust, which I am sad to say, is lacking."

More ITBP for Afghanistan

New Delhi, September 23
With increased security threat on Indian assets in Afghanistan, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police will despatch a fresh contingent of its troops to the war-torn country next week to augment the security of key Indian assets.

“A batch of officers and personnel will leave for Kabul in the next 10 days to augment our strength,” DG of ITBP Vikram Srivastava said.

The decision comes after a three-member team of the force, which has been guarding Indian installations in Afghanistan returned after assessing the security situation after a number of attacks on Indian interests, including diplomatic missions in the central Asian country.

The 218-km Delaram-Zeranj highway project, undertaken by the Border Roads Organisation, which gives the landlocked country access to an Iranian port, is expected to open for vehicular traffic shortly, Srivastava said. — PTI

Indian navy rescue teams leave for Orissa


New Delhi

Tue, 23 Sep 2008:

New Delhi, Sept 23 (ANI): Five comprehensive diving teams with all technical support elements from the Eastern Naval Command have been pressed into action for rescue and relief operations in the flood affected areas along the Mahanadi River in Orissa.

The diving teams along with inflatable rubberized boa with out board motors, rescue equipment and medical supplies left for Bhubaneswar on Monday.

They will join two teams of INS Chilka which is already deployed in the affected areas, in assisting the special relief commissioner.

A total of 37 divers have been put into the rescue relief measure. Additional support manpower has also been mobilised.

Despite falling water levels, the flood-ravaged areas continue to be hit by manpower and boat shortages, thereby worsening the plight of over six million marooned people. Intermittent showers have compounded the misery of the people and those involved with relief operations.

The water level is still above the danger mark in the Devi River at Ali Pingala (12.32 meters as opposed to a safe level of 11.26 meters).

The Mahanadi River had breached its banks at 61 places and floodwaters have swept away highways in some areas.

Kapil Dev to join Territorial Army

New Delhi, September 23 Starting an innings of a different kind, former Indian Cricket captain Kapil Dev is set to join the Armed Forces as an honourary officer. He will don the Army uniform at a glittering ceremony on Wednesday.

The former cricketer has been roped in to join the Armed Forces by the Territorial Army (TA), which is celebrating its 59th anniversary this year, and will be accorded the rank of an honourary Lieutenant Colonel.

Kapil confirmed to this newspaper that he is joining the TA as an honourary officer on Wednesday. Sources said Kapil will get his rank tags and badges personally from Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor at a special function.

While Kapil will not take part in the rigorous training of the regular Territorial Army, a part time “citizens’ army” consisting of civilians who act as a reserve force, he will act as a “brand ambassador” for the Armed Forces. The Army, sources said, approached Kapil to join in as an honourary officer earlier this year. “The idea is to get a well-known personality from the sports field and help promote the Armed Forces as a good career choice for youth. Kapil will inspire youngsters to come and join the Army,” a senior officer said.

The Territorial Army is part of the regular Army and has various roles, including relieving the regular personnel from static duties and assistance to the civil administration in times of calamities. TA personnel can also voluntarily serve in active duty for short durations and several officers and men have won gallantry awards for exceptional bravery.

Interestingly, the Territorial Army, which has a sanctioned strength of just over 40,000 personnel, was keen on roping in young MPs and MLAs to join its ranks to set an example for youngsters. A presentation was also held at the Parliament house last year but the force did not receive any applications from the elected representatives.

India Inducts Agni-3 Missile

NEW DELHI - The Indian government has cleared the indigenous Agni-3 ballistic missile for induction into the defense forces, Defence Ministry sources said.

Agni-3, regarded as a nuclear-capable ballistic missile developed with the Chinese threat in mind, was first tested in late 2006. Production of the 3,000-kilometer-range missile would begin at state-owned Bharat Dynamics, said Defence Ministry sources.

The first test of the 48-ton Agni-3 in July 2006 failed, but during the second test April 12, 2007, the 15-minute flight validated all mission objectives.

Agni-3 is fitted with an onboard guidance computer and is the country's first solid-fuel missile that is compact enough for easy transport. It can be easily packaged for deployment on a variety of surface and subsurface platforms, a Defence Ministry official claimed.

Agni-3 was designed and developed by the state-owned Defence Research and Development Organisation along with several other state-owned and private-sector companies.

So far, India has inducted the 700-kilometer range Agni-1 missile and the 2,000-kilometer range Agni-2.

Indian scientists are now developing an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of more than 5,000 kilometers that is expected to be tested early next year.

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