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Monday, 26 October 2009

From Today's Papers - 24 Oct 09

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India rejects China’s objections to Dalai Lama’s Arunachal visit
Ashok Tuteja writes from Hua Hin (Thailand)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has politely rejected China’s objection to Dalai Lama’s proposed visit to Arunachal Pradesh in November while making it clear that the Tibetan spiritual leader was not allowed to indulge in political activities on the Indian soil.

The issue figured last night when the PM and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao were seated next to each other at a gala dinner hosted by the Thailand Prime Minister for leaders attending the ASEAN and East Asia summits.

Addressing a press conference here this afternoon, Manmohan Singh said he had held frank and constructive talks with the Chinese premier, both at the formal meeting in the afternoon and at the dinner last night.

“The premier and I reaffirmed the need to maintain peace and tranquility on the border pending the resolution of the boundary question. Both of us agreed that we should continue and strengthen efforts to build political trust and understanding,” he added.

It is, however, quite clear that Beijing would spare no opportunity to air its opposition to the Dalai Lama’s proposed visit on November 8 to Arunachal, most of which China claims belongs to it. A news report has suggested that China even issued a demarche to India on Friday night on the Tibetan spiritual leader’s visit though no official was ready to confirm it.

“I explained to Premier Wen that the Dalai Lama is an honoured guest. “He is a religious leader. We don’t allow him to engage in political activities,” the PM said. To a question, he said he was not aware of the Dalai Lama’s programme.

He also recalled how the Tibetan refugees were prevented by the Indian authorities from disrupting the Olympic torch relay in New Delhi last year on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.

Manmohan Singh said all issues between the two countries would be discussed threadbare when External Affairs Minister SM Krishna meets his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on the fringes of the Russia-India-China foreign ministers’ meeting in Bangalore on October 27.

Acknowledging that the “complex” boundary issue between India and China could not be wished away, Manmohan Singh said there were established government channels to exchange views on these issues. There was no need to go to the media to accentuate or exaggerate the amount of differences. “We both agreed that the boundary question is a complex question and that pending the resolution of the boundary question, we both have an obligation to maintain peace and tranquility along the border.”

Asked if he had also taken up with the Chinese leader the issue of China issuing visas to Indian nationals from Jammu and Kashmir on separate sheets instead of stamping on their passports, the PM said he did not specifically raise this issue. “As far as we are concerned, Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are integral parts of India.”

On reports that China reportedly was constructing a dam over Brahmaputra, he said he did raise the issue in the context of trans- border river systems. He said he had conveyed to the Chinese leader that cooperation in the area of trans-border rivers was of mutual benefit. Premier Wen told him that keeping in mind the humanitarian aspects, the Chinese side had been providing hydrological data to India during the flood season. Relevant discussions could be held between the two sides through the expert level mechanism between the two countries.

PM: Govt open to talks with separatists
Ashok Tuteja writes from Hua Hin (Thailand)

Ahead of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir next week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed the Centre’s readiness to engage in a dialogue with separatist groups in the state.

Addressing a press conference here, he confirmed that he would be visiting the state shortly to inaugurate some railway projects.

“As far as negotiations with separatist groups are concerned, the specific purpose of my visit is not to start negotiations, or to engage in negotiations. I have always maintained that it is our sincere desire to engage all sections of the public opinion to find practical, pragmatic solutions to the problems facing the state,” he said.

Noting that that there were some political groups which were outside the mainstream, he said the Centre would ask them to engage in a constructive dialogue with it.

Manmohan Singh recalled that his government had held two-three rounds of talks with the separatist Hurriyat Conference in the past. “They promised to come back with specific suggestions…I am still waiting for them.”

Officials said the PM would be visiting Kashmir on October 28-29 during which he would inaugurate a 12-km rail line connecting Anantnag with Qazigund, marking the completion of the rail project in the Valley. He is also expected to review the Dal project besides progress in other developmental schemes under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan.

Describing the Naxal violence in certain parts of the country as the biggest internal security threat, Manmohan Singh the government would do everything to deal with the menace. He said the law and order machinery has to be tightened but at the same time social and economic causes which have led to alienation of the people need to be looked into.

The PM said it was the responsibility of the Centre and the states to jointly fight the Maoists. He declined to make public the discussions he had held with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattarcharjee on the Maoist violence.

Officers’ Shortage
Army may take 20 yrs to bridge gap

New Delhi, October 25
Bogged down by shortage of 11,500 officers due to low intake at military academies and a high rate of premature retirements, the Army has indicated to its leadership that it will take 20 years of best efforts to fill up the vacancies.

In an internal study, the Army has said the projection was conditional and the vacancies could be filled up in two decades only if training capacities in the academies were increased and the exit rate of officers wanting to retire prematurely was kept low.

On the basis of the study, the Army Headquarters has suggested to the commanders that the intake of recruits at the Dehradun-based Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai be increased by improving training capacities of the two institutes, an officer said here.

The Commanders had been discussing the issue of officer shortage for quite sometime and it was again debated at the recently concluded conference of senior offices, he said. The 1.2-million strong army has a sanctioned strength of over 46,000 officers.The data, compiled through a study, showed that the Army faced the prospect of an average of 1,500 premature retirements (PMRs) of officers every year.

The current annual average number of officers commissioned in the Army from its academies stood at 1,700, around 300 less than the required average number of nearly 2,000 recruits.

At present, the IMA has a capacity to train 950 permanent commission officers per year and the OTA about 500 short service commission officers. The facilities at the two academies could be stretched to allow IMA accommodate 1,100 cadets and OTA 600 cadets a year.

“The Army Commanders have been told that the IMA and the OTA need to improve capacities such as classrooms, accommodation, number of trainers, training facilities and firing range, and increase intake,” the officer said.

Accordingly, if capacities were increased at the two academies to allow higher intake of 1,450 cadets in the IMA and 650 in the OTA, additional number of officers commissioned every year would increase by another 400.

“Even so, the number of prospective PMRs will have to remain below existing 1,500 officers,” he said.

For increasing capacities, the academies need a three-year lead time. “Hence, the 20-year crystal gazing,” he added.

In the past one year, the government has acted on some of the issues such as low salary packages and few career progression avenues for officers.

The government implemented the Sixth Pay Commission recommendation substantially increasing their pay package and gave a go-ahead for Ajai Vikram Singh Committee recommendation to increase the number of Colonels, Brigadiers, Major- Generals and Lieutenant-Generals.The proposal to set up a second OTA at Gaya in Bihar too was approved so as to increase the number of Short Service Commission officer recruits. — PTI

Anti-piracy Operations
India, Russia to join hands
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 25
As the Indian Navy completes one year of anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia, India and Russia are about to sew up a partnership to jointly patrol these pirate-infested seas.

So far the navies of India and Russia have been carrying out their operations by working independently.

A US-led NATO alliance operates its ships in the same area. It has Pakistan navy on board. The Indo-Russia alliance may give the impression of a cold-war era partnership. However, that is not the case, said an official . “It is just that the method of tackling the pirates was different. While India, Russia and also China believe in escorting the merchant ships through the troubled area, the NATO team does not escort, it only patrols the area.”

The Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) that has been promulgated for use by all merchant vessels is 490 nautical mile swathe in the sea and is 20 nautical miles wide. The India-Russia joint anti-piracy operations will be formalised in the next few weeks. Talks are on for pledging warships and men for the joint operations. The move has been initiated as the Navy believes that there are no indications of piracy subsiding.

On the contrary, it is likely to spread further into the Indian Ocean. In such a scenario, it is better to forge an alliance. So far the Indian Navy rotates its ships, sending deployment for 30-45 days.

In the past one year, the Indian Navy has escorted a total of 644 ships and none has been hijacked. Separately, the Navy has prevented 13 attempts, including dramatic shooting down of pirates scurrying up the hull of the ship by chopper-borne navy-men. It also captured 24 pirates.

For India, keeping the route “clean” is important. A large percentage of India’s trade, including oil and fertilisers, pass through the Gulf of Aden. The Ministry of Shipping has estimated that in 2008, Indian imports through the Gulf of Aden route were valued at $50 billion and exports at $ 60 billion.

About 24 Indian-flagged merchant ships transit the Gulf of Aden every month.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has grown steadily over the years and has now become a very serious concern. The number of pirate incidents reported in 2009 has surpassed the total number reported in 2008.

The total number of attacks reported to date this year around Somalia, Seychelles and off the coast of Oman are about 168. Of these, 32 resulted in successful hijackings of vessels. A total of 635 hostages have been taken in these hijackings and four crew members were killed. Somali pirates are currently holding eight ships and 182 crew off the east coast of Somalia.

Armymen kill 21-year-old, protests follow

Nazir Masoodi, Sunday October 25, 2009, Handwara

There's anger against the Army in North Kashmir after a 21-year-old mentally unstable man Ajaz Ahmed was shot dead by the troops after he allegedly tried to assault a trooper.

What's unusual about this protest is that it's not led by separatists but by the local MLA who wants the guilty punished and withdrawal of Rashtriya Rifles from the Valley.

The government has ordered a magisterial probe and the police have registered a murder case against the Army but that did not pacify protesters.

There could not have been worse incident than this at a time when Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh is visiting Jammu and Kashmir on October 28.

The Army claims the man intruded into their camp and tried to attack a trooper with an axe but protesters are not buying that.

"That's absolutely unacceptable, our question to our CM and Manmohan Sigh is that he is visiting Kashmir on 28, what he can give to Kashmiris if these incidents continue," said Engineer Rashid, MLA.

Separatists who have welcomed the PM's statement on dialogue were either put under house arrest or detained when they tried to visit the area.

"I was going to offer my condolences to the family and know as to why he was killed but there are restrictions on this also," said Yasin Malik, Chairman, J&K Liberation Front.

This incident may just be a major challenge for the government not just to ensure justice but also to pave the way for a purposeful dialogue.

Army needs 20 years to fill up vacancies

Press Trust of India, Sunday October 25, 2009, New Delhi

Bogged down by the shortage of 11,500 officers due to low intake at military academies and a high rate of premature retirements, the army has indicated to its leadership that it will take 20 years of best efforts to fill up the vacancies.

In an internal study, the army has said the projection was conditional and the vacancies could be filled up in two decades only if training capacities in the academies are increased and the exit rate of officers wanting to retire prematurely is kept low.

On the basis of the study, the army headquarters has suggested to the commanders that the intake of recruits at the Dehradun-based Indian Military Academy (IMA) and the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai be increased by improving training capacities of the two institutes, an officer said. The Commanders have been discussing the issue of officer shortage for quite sometime now and it was again debated at the recently concluded conference of senior offices, he said.

The 1.2-million strong army has a sanctioned strength of over 46,000 officers. The data, compiled through a study, showed that army faced the prospect of an average of 1,500 premature retirements (PMRs) of officers every year. The current annual average number of officers commissioned in the army from its academies stood at 1,700, around 300 less than the required average number of nearly 2,000 recruits.

No conventional war with China anytime soon: Expert

By Our Staff Reporter

Bhopal, Oct 25:

Even as New Delhi has taken exception to an article on a quasi-official Chinese website, which boasted that the great Indian federation was ripe for dismemberment if Beijing tried just a little, an Indian Army veteran who served in the Defence Ministry's Counter-Terrorism Division feels that there will be no conventional war between the Asian neighbours ''anytime soon'' though some border skirmishes might occur.

''Currently, the nuclear aspect does not come into play as the issues are not so severe to resort to a foolhardy nuclear escalation or an unthinkable nuclear exchange. In any case, China will always retain the numerical superiority in conventional terms,'' Lieutenant-Colonel Behram A Sahukar, who retired in November 2003 as Additional Officer, Headquarters Defence Intelligence Agency.

Asked if Pakistan would seize the 'opportunity' provided by a Sino-Indian war, if it breaks out, to mount an offensive on India's western border and thereby compel India to open a second front, Lt-Col Sahukar, who first saw action during the 1971 India-Pakistan War in the Western Theatre said that Pakistan opening up the western front was unlikely considering its ''current COIN (counter-insurgency) tasks.''

''Also note that in 1965 and 1971 China did not open up the northern front,'' Lt-Col Sahukar pointed out. The veteran, who has been actively involved in the planning and execution of counter-terrorism operations at Divisional HQ in the insurgency-affected areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast, felt that the current situation would go the way of the 1987 Sumdorong Chu intrusion in Arunachal Pradesh.

This was followed by reports of large-scale troop movements on both sides of the border and concerns about a possible military clash.

While this incident raised the temperature in New Delhi and Beijing for a period, it soon faded from the headlines, overtaken by other events on both sides of the border, Operation Brasstacks, the then premier Rajiv Gandhi's China visit in 1988 and the Tiananmen Square incident in 1989 among others.

''So far, we have not been able to clear the Aksai Chin occupation (in Jammu and Kashmir), so status quo will be maintained,'' he added.

Lt-Col Sahukar felt that the major roadblock to lasting peace is the continued presence of the Dalai Lama on Indian territory and his actions in visiting countries sympathetic to the Tibet cause. The second factor is China's strategic interests in Tibet and the Sinkiang Province.

India concerned over safety of Pak's nuke installations

NDTV Correspondent, Friday October 23, 2009, New Delhi

India has expressed concern about the security of the Pakistan's nuclear arsenal after militants struck near a nuclear facility in Kamra in Punjab province on Friday.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said on Friday that India hoped Pakistan government would take steps to ensure its nuclear weapons do not fall into the hands of militants.

The statement holds significance in the wake of an attack near a nuclear facility in the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex within the cantonment in Kamra in Punjab on Friday, which killed seven people. The terrorists struck near a nuclear facility in Pakistan for the fourth time since 2007.

Apart from the Karma blast, a bus carrying a marriage party was also blown up in a landmine explosion near Mohmand Agency. Several women and children are among the dead in the incident.

Hours before the bus blast, at least 10 people were injured in a bomb attack outside a restaurant in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

US steps up assistance to Pakistani army
by Julian E. Barnes and Greg Miller

The U.S. military is providing intelligence and surveillance video from drones and other aircraft to the Pakistani army to assist in its week-old offensive in South Waziristan, marking the deepest American involvement yet in a Pakistani military campaign, according to officials.

The assistance includes imagery from armed Predators that defense officials say are being used exclusively for intelligence gathering in the offensive.

Providing such information fills gaps in Pakistan’s spying arsenal, officials said, and helps show how the Obama administration intends to intensify pressure on insurgents in Pakistan, even as the administration overhauls the U.S. military strategy in neighboring Afghanistan.

The cooperation also reflects a significant shift for Pakistan, which had previously resisted U.S. offers to deploy unmanned Predators in support of Pakistani military operations.

Recent militant attacks have shaken the Pakistani government, convincing them of the need for help in taking on militants. On Thursday, gunman opened fire on a Pakistani army jeep in Islamabad, killing a senior officer and his driver.

The current offensive, marked by heavy fighting, is seen as critical for the U.S. and Pakistan. South Waziristan is the base for Pakistani militants who have mounted a string of attacks across the country and it is an important refuge for al-Qaida.

“We are coordinating with the Pakistanis,” said a senior military official, one of several who confirmed the operations on condition of anonymity. “And we do provide Predator support when requested.”

For months the U.S. and Pakistan have been sharing information from Predator flights in the volatile border regions, but until now the Pakistanis had not accepted help for their major military operations. Pakistan turned down American surveillance and targeting aid during the offensive in Swat that began in May.

The use of military drones in Pakistan is separate from the ongoing Predator campaign being carried out in that country by the CIA. Over the past 18 months, missile strikes from CIA operated drones have killed at least 13 senior al-Qaida or Taliban operatives inside Pakistan’s tribal zone.

U.S. assistance is deeply controversial in Pakistan, which wants to avoid the appearance that it is dependent on the American government or military.

The two governments have had difficulty in sharing some information in the past. American officers have accused Pakistan officials of tipping off targets about upcoming strikes. But a senior Defense official said that in the Waziristan offensive, U.S. and Pakistani interests are closely intertwined.

“The Pakistanis are getting more and more serious about the militant threat,” said the senior official. “You are going to see more sharing as trust develops and assurance develops that they are using the information for effective operations against al-Qaida and the Taliban.”

A Pakistani military official acknowledged the intelligence cooperation, saying the U.S. is helping to provide a “composite picture” of the enemy and the terrain in which it is embedded.

The Pakistani official and a senior U.S. official said the offensive followed high-level talks between U.S. and Pakistani military leaders.

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan, had flown to Islamabad to work out coordination on the border and intelligence sharing issues before the Pakistani military campaign began, the Pakistani official said.

Similarly, Pakistani officers, including the commander of the nation’s air force, have held meetings with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other U.S. officials in Washington in recent weeks.

White House deliberations over McChrystal’s recommendation to send up to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan have received heavy attention in recent weeks, but the Obama administration also has examined how to provide more effective assistance to Pakistan.

The administration is moving toward re-balancing its focus between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Key civilian and military leaders, led by Vice President Joe Biden, have argued that Pakistan receives insufficient U.S. attention and resources.

The Pakistani offensive is principally aimed at a militant group that has carried out the recent series of deadly attacks inside the country, and was formerly led by Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, killed by a CIA air strike in April.

U.S. officials have pressed Pakistan to expand its military campaign to other Taliban groups and hope the Pakistanis will next turn their offensive to North Waziristan, used as a haven by Afghanistan’s Taliban factions.

The Pakistani military official said there is “no discrimination” in the Taliban groups that the Pakistani military will pursue. Still, U.S. officials said they have seen no indication that the latest campaign has or will target militants linked to Afghan Taliban leaders such as Mullah Mohammed Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Some defense analysts said it was critical for the Pakistanis to consolidate their gains in South Waziristan before moving on to other territory.

“We would like them to extend the offensive,” said Stephen Biddle, a military historian and defense analyst. “But we would also like them to hold what they clear. It might or might not be a good call for them to add territorial goals, when it is most important for them to hold what they take.”

Frederick W. Kagan, a defense analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, argued that helping the Pakistanis retake South Waziristan is critical to the stability of Pakistan and to the U.S. campaign against al-Qaida.

“It is conceivable that we could look back at this South Waziristan operation as a turning point in the war against al-Qaida,” Kagan said. “This has been the safe haven for these guys.”

American officials said the new cooperation is due, in part, because the U.S. has effectively broadened its outreach to Pakistani officials beyond Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistani army chief of staff.

The U.S. believes if it can get Pakistan to accept more help, the Pakistani offensive will be more effective.

Immediately following the Swat operation, Pakistani leaders talked about an offensive in Waziristan but it did not happen. The military’s munitions needed replenishing, analysts said.

Earlier offensives by the military against insurgents in Waziristan did not last. After operations in 2003 and 2004 came cease-fires that allowed Taliban forces to regroup.

Pakistani leaders have been accused of downplaying the militant threat, but the Pakistani official described a new level of resolve. “There is a national urgency to do away with this militancy once and for all,” the official said.

Pakistan has superior human intelligence on the ground, where the country’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence has cultivated networks of informants among militant groups. Pakistan also has a limited ability to intercept cell phone calls and other transmissions.

But “any type of imagery would be of use to the Pakistanis, either from Predator or other means,” said another senior Defense official. In particular, the official said, Pakistan has sought intelligence “on locations of the enemy, resupply routes, resupply activity ... in real time.”

Military experts said the Predator surveillance video could help ground units with targeting militants and gain better awareness of the threats around them.

“The drones are not wonder weapons,” said Biddle, the military historian. “But in this situation, a relatively conventional ground offensive, the Pakistanis want the ability to see over the hill, and in that, U.S. drones can be a lot of help.”n

— By arrangement with LA Times-Washington Post

Saturday, October 24, 2009

By Sami Abraham

WASHINGTON: The US Senate has approved defence budget for 2010 imposing new restrictions on military aid to Pakistan, including efforts to track where US military hardware, given to Pakistan, ends up with a warning that the US aid to Pakistan must not upset “balance of power in the region”.

The US House of Representatives had already approved the $ 680 billion appropriation for fiscal 2010. The bill will now go for a final signature of President Obama to become a law. Diplomatic sources confirmed to this correspondent that Pakistani officials have communicated their anger over the new legislation which was, apparently, aimed at appeasing the “powerful” Indian lobby.

One official, who requested not to be named, said the US Congress picked up a very wrong time to impose these new restrictions. “Every day Pakistani soldiers and civilians are losing their lives in the war against terror and the United States, rather than appreciating the sacrifices, decided to please the Indians. It would have serious repercussions. The US should not have done this to the Pakistan Army,” he added.

The official said it will worsen tension between Washington and Islamabad. The new legislation says the reimbursements of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) will require the US secretaries of State and Defence to certify that the reimbursements are consistent with the national security interest of the United States and will not adversely impact the “balance of power in the region.”

The Pentagon will also have to certify that Islamabad is waging a “concerted” fight against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other fighters before it can receive monies in a 700-million-dollar package.

The new legislation also directs the Pentagon to track how Pakistan uses military hardware it receives in order “to prohibit the retransfer of such defence articles and defence services without the consent of the United States.”

The legislation also urges the White House to send lawmakers a report every 180 days on progress toward long-term security and stability in Pakistan.AFP adds: The US Senate voted 68-29 in favour of a $ 680 billion defence spending bill for fiscal 2010, which sailed through the House of Representatives by a 281-146 margin on October 8 and now goes to President Barack Obama.

The measure’s chief authors, senators Robert Menendez and Bob Corker, praised Pakistan for its help routing extremists but said they wanted to be sure the US military aid goes to fight the “war on terrorism”. “That fight is important to our own national security, and we have to ensure that our support for it is not being squandered or diverted,” said Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey.

“The Pakistanis should be commended for working to eliminate the terrorist safe havens within their own borders and for their role in the broader war on violent extremism,” said Corker, a Republican from Tennessee. “This provision simply ensures that the American peoples’ tax dollars are being used for their intended purpose,” he said.

Agni-II user trial anytime between 3-8 November news

23 October 2009

Balasore, Orissa: Indian defence scientists and Indian Army officials are working towards conducting a user trial of the country's medium range ballistic missile, the Agni-II, sometime between 3-8 November this year. The Agni-II, a nuclear capable missile, can hit targets beyond 2,000 km and up to a distance of 3,500 km with varying payloads.

''The missile is scheduled to be fired from the Wheelers Island based test range facilities any time between November 3 and 8,'' defence sources said.

Agni IIAccording to scientists, the 700-km range Agni-I along with the 2000+ km range Agni-II and the 3000+ km range Agni-III form the triad of the country's nuclear deterrence.

The Agni-II missile, whose first operational variant was test-fired in April 1999, is 20-meter long and 1.3 meter in diameter. Weighing 16 tonnes it is designed to carry a nuclear payload of about 1,000 kg to a distance in excess of 2500 km.

The previous user trial conducted on 19 May this year was not a success.

The missile has already been inducted into the Indian Army's 555 missile group.

Indian Army Demonstrates IED Procedures During Exercise

By Sgt. 1st Class Rodney Jackson

18th Medical Command Public Affairs

CAMP BUNDELA, India - The Indian army's 31st Armor Division led an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) workshop and a demonstration that familiarized its personnel and U.S. Army Soldiers with different types of IEDs and equipment to counter them during exercise Yudh Abhyas here Oct. 19.

The workshop started out with a two hour instructional presentation in a classroom setting and moved to a range for an Indian army explosives team demonstration and a static display of the explosive team's equipment.

"It was interesting and good to know because anyone can come in contact with an IED," said Private First Class John Mould of Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, "Strykehorse," 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. "It's good to see someone else's techniques, tactics, and procedures." Mould added, "I'm new to the Army and 2-14th Cavalry is my first unit, so this was my first IED demonstration."

The demonstration only took about 30 minutes, but the very technical process involved an explosives detection team, which included an explosives sniffing dog, several different bomb technicians, and a bomb vehicle control team.

Once the detection team discovered that explosives were present, the technicians moved in to confirm and detonate the explosive device.

"This demonstration was amazing," said Lt. Vignesh Jagadale, engineer platoon commander. "It is normally presented to Indian army officers."

After the demonstration, 31st Armor Division had a static display set-up so the Soldiers could get a hands-on experience with the detection and control devices. There were also different types of IEDs and materials used to make them.

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