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Thursday, 16 April 2009

Siachen: 25 years of glory and sacrifice
Ajay Sharma
15 April 2009, Wednesday

THE OCCASION of the completion of 25 years of Operation Meghdoot was observed solemnly by paying tribute to the martyrs involved at the War Memorial at Base Camp. The commemoration of the silver jubilee was attended by the Army Commander Lt Gen PC Bhardwaj, accompanied by his wife, Deepa Bhardwaj, and Air Marshall PS Bhangu. The above-mentioned laid wreaths at the Siachen War Memorial on the occasion.

Indian army’s Northern Command had launched Operation Meghdoot to prevent the Pakistan army from covertly occupying glaciated Siachen on April 13, 1984. The strategic passes of Bilafond La and Sia La were occupied by the Indian troops braving the inhospitable weather and terrain. The area is referred to as the highest, coldest, and perhaps most unforgiving of all battlefields which has witnessed the indomitable courage and supreme sacrifice of our soldiers. The Siachen Brigade has won numerous bravery awards to include one Ashok Chakra and four Kirti Chakras, 12 Shaurya Chakras, 10 Yudh Seva Medals, and 90 Sena Medals.

On the occasion, the Army Commander, in his address to the troops, congratulated the men for their spirit and courage and cited the martyrdom of those brave soldiers who will continue to inspire the Indian soldiers to carry out the task of guarding the icy frontiers with patriotic fervour and extraordinary passion to surmount challenges. He also flagged off a mountaineering-cum-cycling expedition which started from Indira Col, Ladakh, and would culminate at Zojila. A separate cycling expedition from Karu-Partappur terminated on April 13.

Prithvi-II successfuly test fired
Press Trust of India / Balasore (orissa) April 15, 2009, 14:09 IST

India today successfully test fired a version of nuclear-capable 'Prithvi-II' ballistic missile with a range of 350 kms from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, about 15 km from here off the Orissa coast.

The indigenously developed surface-to-surface ballistic missile was test fired at around 1020 hours from a mobile launcher as part of a user trial by the army, defence sources said. The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked down by a battery of sophisticated radars and electro-optic telemetry stations positioned in different locations for post-launch analysis, they said.A naval ship had been anchored near the impact point in the Bay of Bengal and a long-range tracking radar (LRTR) as well as a multi-function tracking radar (MFTR) had been deployed to track the missile's trajectory.

The sources said the test firing of the short-range ballistic missile was a user trial by the army. The surface-to-surface missile has already been inducted into the army and is "handled by the army unit attached to the strategic force command special group", the sources said. However, scientists of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) were supervising the test-firing and all logistic support was being provided by the ITR personnel here.

The 8.56 meter long and one meter wide twin engine sleek missile has features to deceive any anti-ballistic missile and is equipped with "added inertial navigation" system, the sources said.The missile, designed to operate with both liquid as well as solid fuel, can carry conventional or nuclear pay loads of 500 kg.

The user trial of "Prithvi-II" was last carried out on May 23, 2008 from the ITR, Chandipur.

Army neglected, says Gen Malik
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 15
Former Army Chief General VP Malik (retd) today dropped a bombshell in these times of paranoid security, saying “armed forces were not getting (arms and ammunition) what they needed.”

General Malik said despite an increase in defence budgets every year, modernisation of armed forces were not taking place in a way it should have been. The General said, “Despite the 24 per cent increase in the defence budget this year, if you ask any of the chiefs of the defence staff whether they are fully prepared and equipped to take on either China or Pakistan, my hunch is that they would say no. That is the situation.” General Malik said this while chairing a discussion on “challenges to defence planning in India” by former Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, Vice- Admiral Raman Puri at the Observer Research Foundation.

The General, who led the forces in the Kargil conflict, is now president of the ORF institute for security studies.

“Defence planning have been a challenge and continues to be a challenge even today,” General Malik said, blaming too many agencies for the inordinate delay in planning and procurement.

Vice-Admiral Raman Puri said despite the GoM recommendation following the Kargil committee report authored by K Subrahmaniam, till today no decision had been taken on the proposal to create CDS (Chief of Defence Staff). He blamed the bureaucracy and the services for the status quo. General Malik opined politicians were also responsible.

Vice-Admiral Puri said there needed to be a national policy, followed by strategic policy, military policy, interoperability and integration of three services. “We don’t have a long term integrated perspective plan like many countries have. What we do at the Defence Ministry level is bundling of plans of three Service Chiefs and make one plan without any long-term perspective. These plans also keep changing as the Service Chief changes,” Vice-Admiral Puri pointed out.

Vice-Admiral KK Nayyar, chairman of the National Maritime Foundation (NMF), said “If we can make nuclear bombs and sophisticated satellite systems, why can’t we make other equipments. Even for pistols we run to other countries.”

Adequate Spectrum vital for national security: Army Chief

Ensuring sufficient availability of radio frequencies or spectrum for setting up an optimal battlefield management system is essential for the Indian security forces which are today upgrading their legacy communication systems, according to Gen Deepak Kapoor, Chief of the Army Staff.

Addressing the 2nd international seminar on a 'Paradigm Shift in Communication to Support Battlefield Management System' here today, Gen Kapoor said that the government would have to suitably prioritise spectrum availability with national security needs. "More importantly, we have to ensure suitable networking between the communications systems of various security agencies that will ensure availability of real-time data in real-time situations."

According to Gen Kapoor, technology would form the backbone of all future wars, "which would of a shorter duration but probably more lethal and therefore it was important that we empower the last man at the post." This was also important because of the role that technology could play in the case of asymmetric warfare.

The two-day seminar is being jointly organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Indian Army's Directorate General of Information Systems (DGIS).

In his theme address, Lt Gen P C Katoch, Director-General, DGIS, said that given the dynamic changes taking place in communication technologies, it was important for the Indian Army to develop suitable linkages with the private sector. "Technology can be the force multiplier that can give our security forces the cutting edge," he added.

Gen Katoch said that the Army recognized need to suitably develop network centric warfare capabilities. "The existing legacy systems do not allow the soldier on the ground to take advantage of information services like video, graphics data and imagery. For this, it is important that the Indian security forces take advantage of the strengths of the domestic IT industry."

In his welcome address, Mr Ajai Chowdhry, Chairman, CII National Committee on Technology and CEO, HCL Infosystems Ltd, pointed out that action in today's battlefields depended as much on one's information systems as much as they do on weapons systems. "Developing a suitable battlefield management system for the country was a challenge that Indian IT industry was today well-placed to meet."

According to him, the time was right to foster greater private-defence sector linkages, with the policy structure already in place and "the security forces also ready to make IT an inherent part of its strategy and action plans."

In his vote of thanks, Mr Gurpal Singh, Deputy Director-General, CII, said the defence sector offered an immense opportunity for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). "In fact, the offset policy that makes it mandatory for all foreign equipment suppliers to source at least 30 per cent of any contract value exceeding Rs 300 crore from India has seen a number of global majors entering into partnerships with domestic players", he added.

According to him, rising defence procurement, especially of communication and IT equipment, presents an exciting opportunity for the Indian industry to upgrade, since the offset policy does not differentiate between the private and public sectors.

‘Indian Army ill-prepared to combat China, Pakistan’

NEW DELHI: Even after a hefty hike in defence budget, the Indian Army is ill-prepared for a war against Pakistan or China, former Indian Army chief General (r) VP Malik said on Wednesday. “Despite the 24 percent increase in the defence budget this year, if you ask any of the chiefs of the defence staff whether they are fully prepared and equipped to take on either China or Pakistan, my hunch is that they would say no,” he said while addressing a seminar on defence planning. Vice Admiral Raman Puri blamed the bureaucracy and the services for the status quo. iftikhar gilani

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