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Saturday, 21 March 2009

From Today's Papers - 21 Mar 09



















Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

Air Marshal Naik to be next IAF chief

Press Trust of India

Friday, March 20, 2009, (New Delhi)

Air Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik, a veteran fighter pilot, was on Friday appointed as the next Air Force chief.

Naik will take over from incumbent Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major on May 31.

With Naik's appointment, the post of the IAF's chief has now gone back to a fighter pilot. Naik has 3,085 hours of flying on MiG-21 variants and the MiG-23BN aircraft.

Major became the first helicopter pilot to head the IAF in March 2007 when it was hotly debated among fighter pilots.

Naik, commissioned into the Air Force in 1969, as nearly 40 years of experience and service in various command staff and instructional appointments under his belt and had participated in the 1971 Indo-Pak war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Before taking over as the Vice-Chief in the Air Headquarters, Naik was the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Allahabad-based Central Air Command.

Besides courses in National Defence College, College of Defence Management and Defence Services Staff College, he is also trained as a flying instructor, and in jungle and snow survival.

Naik was decorated with the Param Vishist Seva Medal and Vishist Seva Medal and was appointed as one of the honorary Aide-de-Camp of the President.

Army to head anti-terror hub in Bangalore: Chidambaram

Maya Sharma

Friday, March 20, 2009, (Bangalore)

Home Minister P Chidambaram paid a short visit to Bangalore on Friday and announced that the army would head the anti-terror hub in the state.

Karnataka had wanted an NSG unit in the state -- and the state government was upset when this was not considered.

A meeting between Chidambaram and the state government on state security was postponed several times -- with each side blaming the other -- but on Friday, the State Home Minister V S Acharya met Chidambaram at Bangalore's HAL airport.

"By the end of this month we will have about 600 persons of all rank of special forces battallion at Bangalore. I wish to assure the people of Karnataka especially the people of Bangalore that the government has fulfilled its promise to locate a specialised, well trained and well equipped counter terrorist force to meet any terrorist threat," said P Chidambaram.

"The most recent threat said there is definite danger to the Vidhan Sabha, the high court, and one or two hospitals but we took care to see that some alertness is there," said V S Acharya.

PTI adds The army's Special Forces to fight terror will be in place here by this month-end with a six-fold increase in its strength to nearly 600 personnel, the Union Home Minister said.

"The Special Forces will be strengthened in two phases. In the first phase, approximately 250 persons of all ranks and in the second phase another 250 persons will reach Bengaluru," Chidambaram told reporters here. The concept of Special Forces was mooted after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai.

Chidambaram said by the end of this month "we will have approximately 600 persons of all ranks of Special Forces Batallion at Bengaluru".

The Home Minister was on a day's visit to the Army's Special Forces Unit, set-up in the city, having 100 personnel from all ranks, who can be deployed at a very short notice.

The Home Minister, during his address to the conference of Chief Ministers of Internal Security in January this year, had said that in addition to setting up NSG hubs in four metros, trained anti-terror force units will be set up by the defence forces.

As per the plan, Bangalore is being covered by the Army and the Special Forces are stationed with Territorial Army Batallion in Benson town but eventually they would be moved to a new location in Hebbai.

No Uranium Sales Unless India Signs NPT: Australia

Despite the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) nod for the historic India-US nuclear deal, Australia, one of the world's largest producers of uranium, is unwilling to export it to India unless New Delhi signs the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the country's envoy says.

"The NSG decision cannot affect our policies and decisions. We are very clear that we would not supply uranium to any country that has not signed the NPT," Australian High Commissioner to India John McCarthy told IANS here.

"The present labor government (of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd) is very particular about this issue and there is no chance of laxity in its stand," the envoy, who was here for a media seminar, added.

"In fact, the previous prime minister of Australia, John Howard, was somewhat lenient and ready for negotiations with India. If this deal had happened during his government then the situation could have been different," McCarthy stated.

At the same time, the uranium issue would not cloud trade ties between India and Australia, the envoy maintained.

"However, this stance of Australia would not affect trade relations between the two countries. Our bilateral trade is increasing at good pace and our negotiations are on to increase it in coming days." McCarthy said.

After India and the US signed their watershed nuclear deal and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approved India-specific safeguards, the 45-nation NSG in September gave its nod for lifting a global ban on nuclear trade with India, ending nearly 34 years of the country's isolation.

More NSG hubs to follow Bengaluru, says Chidambaram

Vicky Nanjappa | March 20, 2009 | 18:18 IST

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday said that the country will have more National Security Guard hubs in the future to tackle terrorism. The home minister read out a statement to media persons, following his visit to the anti-terrorist hub established by the army in Bengaluru.

He said that at present four cities will have NSG hubs while the rest of the cities will be covered by an anti-terrorist force provided by the defence forces. Bengaluru for the time being, will have an anti terrorist force covered by the defence forces, he added.

However, over a period of time more NSG hubs across other cities will come up, Chidambaram assured.

Chidambaram said, "At present there are 100 persons from all the ranks of the army in the anti-terrorist force. Each one is well trained and would be available for the deployment at a very short notice."

He however added, that the existing force will be strengthened further. "A 600-member team of the anti-terrorist force will be formed and the members would be from all ranks," Chidambaram said.

"250 members in two phases will be trained and included into the anti-terrorist force," he added.

The ATF is a quick reaction team which will handle Mumbai-like attacks. The home minister had mooted the idea of setting up NSG hubs in four major cities. The rest of the cities would have a quick reaction team in the form of the ATF.

This is the first visit by Chidambaram to Bangalore after the Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa cancelled appointments to meet him thrice in the past.

However the chief minister decided not to be a part of the home minister's visit this time too.

The Karnataka government was represented by the home minister, Dr V S Acharya. The CM prior to Chidamabaram's visit held a high level meeting with Acharya and other top officials and briefed them on what needed to be discussed with the Union home minister.

Sopore case: Army officers face action

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | March 20, 2009 | 15:43 IST

In a swift action, an Army court of inquiry has indicted three Army personnel, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO) for the last month's north Kashmir Bomai shooting incident in which two youth were killed.

"The high-level Army inquiry, headed by a brigadier, has been completed. The enquiry has held the JCO and two soldiers of 22 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) who were involved in the Bomai incident accountable for various lapses," defence spokesman Lt. Col J.S.Brar told here.

"The charges besides the failure to exercise desired command and control by the JCO also encompasses failure by the two soldiers to exercise restraint in the handling of weapons during the incident," Lt Col Brar said.

"Disciplinary action against the three individuals has been ordered by the GOC counter insurgency Kilo force which will commence with immediate effect."

The Army said any additional charges that may be brought out by police investigations will be dealt with as per the law.

"The Army reiterates its commitment to uphold the law of the land and zero tolerance against human rights violations."

Two youth were killed last month in a shooting incident in the Bomai village triggering massive unrelenting protest.

The villagers had threatened mass migration from the village as a protest against inaction by the authorities against the guilty.

Union home minister P Chidambaram who visited Jammu on Wednesday, had assured the state government of action against those involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullahaddressed a crowded press conference in Srinagar on Friday evening toclaim credit for the speedy action in the conduct of thearmy's court of inquiry announced that thearmy camp at Bomai will be relocated within next five days.

Omar said his government has approached thecentral governmentregarding shifting of army and paramilitary camps from educational institutions, hospitalsand orchards.

"The Bomai camp was adjacent to the girls' school and the parents had requested me for relocation of the camp. It will be relocated within next five days," the chief minister said.

Reiterating his commitment to zero tolerance on human rights abuses, the chief minister assured that action will be taken against those who violate the human rights.

On the issue of revocation of Armed Forces' Special Powers Act, Omar said, "Let us not forget that as chief minister, I have on the floor of the house said that AFSPA would be revoked, but others are now raising this issue after leaving the office."

Pak mobilised troops on border, not us: India to US

PTI | March 20, 2009 | 00:32 IST

Amid reports that the United States has asked India to pull back troops from the Pakistan border, New Delhi has said that Washington has already been told that it has not mobilised troops along the border.

Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon during his recent visit to the US made it clear to officials there that it was not India but Pakistan, which had mobilised troops along the border in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks, sources in New Delhi said on Thursday night.

The sources outlined India's position in the context of reports in TV channels
claiming that the US has put pressure on India asking it to pull back troops from the Pakistan border. The reports claimed that Menon, during his talks with US officials, was told that it is India and not Pakistan that should make the first move towards restoring peace.

The US Embassy in New Delhi dismissed the media reports with sources saying they were not accurate.

In Washington, the State Department said the US has not made any such request as suggested in the media reports. This issue did not come up during the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Menon, State Department Spokesperson Robert Wood told PTI.

Subhash Chandra is new JS (G & Air )

Subhash Chandra will succeed Bimal Julka on March 31 as Joint Secretary (G & Air) in the Ministry of Defence .He is 1986 batch Karnataka cadre IAS officer.

L. K. Advani promises Implementation of one rank, one pension

L.K. Advani NDA's PM candidate he on behalf of his Party and his NDA partners fully endorsed the demand of "One Rank One Pension" and categorically committed that future BJP Government, if elected will implement this demand without any delay. He made this promise during his visit to Jantar-Mantar on March 19, 2009 where Veteran Defence Personnel are on a relay hunger strike since December 16, 2008 to press their demand for implementation of "One Rank One Pension".

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