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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

From Today's Papers - 22 Dec 09

India, Nepal to ink defence pact
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21
In a move that may further strengthen New Delhi’s strategic reach in the region, India and Nepal are closing in to arrive at a formal defence cooperation framework between the two countries.

Well placed sources in the governmnet confirmed the move, saying this would take the relationship to a new level as both the countries already had a friendhip pact. The defence cooperation framework would be within that friendship treaty, which is due for renewal.
Talks, said sources, had been held with the Nepalese on the matter earlier this month and the progress was “good”. Officials from the ministries of external affairs, home and defence, besides from the security agencies, were part of the talks.
According to sources, India is looking to quantify the military aid its gives to Nepal, including the cost of training and employing Gurkhas. Notably, there are 11 Gurkha regiments -- some 35,000 men -- in the Indian Army, who after retiring also get pension from India.
Besides, India is racing against time as China and Nepal last week entered into an agreement for aspects of training and militray aid running upto Rs 220 million. The fight is to get a bigger “toe hold” in the Himalyan nation that is sandwiched between the two powers, said sources.
India is ready to offer military training, which includes some 100 odd courses for Army officers. Supply of weapons like the INSAS rifles could be restored to Nepal. Besides, both the nations would also have in place an information sharing system under the defence framework. The Nepalese also want more medical facilities in addition to the existing set up by the Army near Pokhra. In turn, Nepal would have to give a surety that weapons like the INSAS rifles did not find their way to Maoists.
As part of the pact, India is likely to extend to Nepal all help as it aims to establish a good security mechanism and provide training to enhance capability of the Nepalese army. India has made it clear that it does not want any Maoist elments in the Nepal army, as New Delhi sees them “more inclined towards China”. And in turn, Nepal wants that India should restore the supply of weapons to the amount it was a decade ago. India started scaling down its military aid in 2001 when Maoist insurgency picked up in the neighbouring nation.

Jawans' delight: Biryani in Siachen, Kargil
Press Trust of India, Monday December 21, 2009, Bangalore
Army personnel deployed in icy heights like Siachen and Kargil now can look forward to munch mutton and chicken biryanis or non-vegetarian sandwiches with all nutrients and taste attached, thanks to the efforts of a leading food laboratory.

In its bid to cater to growing demand for non-vegetarian food among defence personnel deployed in high-altitude places, Mysore-based Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) has developed specially prepared and packaged these delights that have a shelf life of one year.

These products had been developed based on non-thermal technology, which helps retain nutrients and taste of Indian food for a long time, DFRL Director Amarinder Singh Bawa said.

"We have developed these products after the Indian Army evinced interest in non-vegetarian fare. They contain non-vegetarian food which stays fresh for a long time and gives the taste of homemade eatables to soldiers in areas where temperatures can be freezing", he said.

Bawa said DFRL had also developed appetiser foods and beverages specially for the Armed Forces, as the personnel tend to lose their appetite when they are deployed at high altitude zones like Siachen and Kargil in the Himalayas.

"We have many products and one of them is appetiser for the Armed Forces. In high altitudes, where oxygen level is less, the armymen tend to lose their appetite as they suffer from acidity and feel their stomach is always full. So when the food intake goes down, the armymen start losing weight and face health problems," he said.

332 join ITBP ranks
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 21
As many as 332 recruits from three different batches were formally inducted as constables into ranks of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force at an impressive passing out parade here today.

The constables included 292 drivers and 40 motor mechanics of the 81st, 82nd and 83rd batch, who underwent 24 weeks of intensive training that included drill, physical efficiency, weapon handling, firing, field craft and technical aspects relating to vehicles and transport.
Inspector general (North-West Frontier) Rajdeep Singh took the salute and reviewed the parade commanded by Manoj Kumar from the Telecom Battalion. He called upon the constables to strive for professional excellence and to be prepared to face any type of challenge in course of their career.
He also gave away prizes for excellence during training. These included Manoj Kumar (Best overall), Hem Raj (drill), Vijay Shankar (PT), Kamlesh (weapon training) and Nityanand Yadav (firing).

Pak troops fire at BSF outpost in Samba sector
Last updated on: December 22, 2009 00:34 IST

Indian border guards and Pakistani troops traded gunfire late Monday night near a forward Indian outpost in Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] but there was no casualty on the Indian side.

Pakistani troops opened firing at around 2240 hours at Kandral border outpost along the international border, drawing retaliation from Border Security Forces personnel triggering intermittent exchange of fire, which was on well past midnight, police said.

There was no immediate report of casualty on the Indian side, they said.

This was the third cease-fire violation by Pakistan in a week.

In a pre-dawn attack yesterday, border outposts at Londi and Bobiya were targetted and at a flag meeting held on Monday, India [ Images ] lodged its protest against cease-fire violation.

On Saturday, one BSF jawan was killed and two others were injured in cross border firing at Kranti post near LOC in Poonch.

There have been 28 incidents of such ceasefire violations till November 25 by Pakistan along the Line of Control [ Images ].
During the last four years there have been 129 incidents of ground ceasefire and 43 air space violations by Pakistan. 

India wary as China spreads Nepal reach
New Delhi, Dec. 21: When Nepal army chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung was being feted with the honorary rank of general in the Indian Army here last week, his deputy was quietly signing a deal with a visiting Chinese military delegation in Kathmandu.

To analysts in Kathmandu, the two developments will inevitably evoke a familiar description of Nepal -- that of “a yam stuck between two boulders”. The boulders, of course, are India and China.

But in New Delhi, the military establishment is concerned that India’s army and government are risking losing a space they have traditionally held on to.

General Torun Jung Bahadur Singh, who was acting as army chief in Kathmandu in the absence of Gurung, signed a deal with Major General Jia Jialing, deputy director in the foreign relations cell of the Chinese Peoples’ Liberation Army. The Chinese pledged 20.8 million yuan (Rs 14.2 crore approximately) as aid for “non lethal” military equipment.

Nepal’s ammunition-starved army is looking for newer and surer sources of supply since India began turning off the tap of military aid in 2001 and then almost brought it to a halt in 2005.

To the defence establishment in New Delhi, the signs are unmistakable: China is stepping-in in Nepal just as it had in Sri Lanka and before that in Myanmar because India has been chary of continuing with military aid to neighbours beset by domestic troubles.

Sri Lanka has all but moved on after brutally crushing the three-decade LTTE insurgency with military might in May this year. Sri Lanka’s army was using Chinese weaponry and ammunition apart from the outdated Indian equipment it had in its arsenal.

In Myanmar, where India was shy of courting the military junta because of Delhi’s political support to the democracy movement of Aung San Suu Kyi and the fear of international criticism, it has stepped up visits and exchanges. Three years ago, India even supplied field guns and a maritime surveillance aircraft to Myanmar.

But by then the Chinese were everywhere, investing in Myanmar’s ports, highways and industries and helping prop up its army militarily.

For the military establishment in India, the waning of goodwill in Sri Lanka and Myanmar is a loss that it is now trying to make up. In Nepal, senior Indian Army officers say, there cannot be a waiting period.

Nepal is vastly different for India from the island nation or from Myanmar. With neither of those countries does India have an open border. The unique India-Nepal relationship grants reciprocal citizenship rights (minus voting rights) to the residents of each country. Nepalese Gorkhas serve in the Indian Army in large numbers.

The move to fete General Gurung and resume arms supplies to Nepal’s army, sources argue, should be seen in this context — and not merely from the point of view of touching off sensitivities among the Himalayan nation’s Maoists.

One officer said that when Prachanda headed the government before being forced to quit over the reinstatement of the former Nepal army chief, General Rukmangad Katawal, there were moves by Kathmandu to get closer to China.

Prachanda’s defence minister and former chief of the Nepal Maoists’ militia, Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal), visited Beijing in September 2008. The Chinese army’s deputy chief, Lt Gen Ma Ziaotian, who also oversees India-China military relations and was in charge of their two joint drills, met Prachanda in December last year.

Now, Prachanda’s successor and Nepal’s current Prime Minister, Madhav Nepal, is scheduled to visit China on December 26.

The Chinese have expressed concern over the Tibetan protests in Nepal at a time Kathmandu is reported to have sought Indian military help to build an airstrip for its army’s air wing in Surkhet near Nepal’s border with Tibet. The Nepal Maoists have been quick to allege that India intends to use such an airstrip as a base for operations against China in the event of hostilities.

After being given his honorary rank and hosting General Deepak Kapoor at a lavish reception in the Nepalese embassy in Delhi last week, General Gurung is understood to have invited the Indian Army chief to Kathmandu.

Traditionally, a new Indian Army chief’s first visit has been to Nepal where he, too, is given the honorary rank. Kapoor’s predecessor, General J.J. Singh, now governor of Arunachal Pradesh, was twice advised against visiting Nepal for the ceremony. Kapoor has visited many countries and is now in the last leg of his tenure.

Whether Kapoor will accept the invitation and visit Kathmandu before he retires early next year will be a demonstration of the Indian government’s diplomatic intent in the face of the resurgent Maoists in Nepal.

The resumption of arms supplies — armoured personnel carriers, Insas rifles, ammunition and possibly even tanks — to Nepal’s army and a visit by Kapoor will demonstrate not only New Delhi’s resolve in encouraging an “apolitical and professional” military in Nepal but also its determination to maintain its strategic and political space in the Himalayan country that China is nibbling into.

Idiot Not Allowed’ Army says to Aamir
IndiaGlitz [Monday, December 21, 2009]

It’s easy to check out from a small town hotel without much of a problem, its more easier to pose as a filmmaker and gate crash at a marriage party but it’s difficult to enter the army premise and spend a day just for the sake of promoting a film or gaining publicity.

Bollywood Perfectionist who is being praised for his innovative ideas for crossing the country in disguise to promote his new film '3 Idiots', has been unlucky this time.

The army had denied permission to the actor who wanted to spend a day with the Indian Army's cadets at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Sources reveal that Aamir wanted to interact with the cadets and wanted to see their lives from a close quarter, he had sent a request to the Defense Ministry for the same but it has been declined by the ministry without giving any reason for it.

To market the film, Aamir has been traveling across the country in different get-ups. His travels have so far taken him to Varanasi, Madhya Pradesh's Chanderi district, former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly's home in Kolkata, Jaipur and recently at Faridkot district Punjab.

Our Bee sees it as a smart ploy of publicity as even Aamir knows that the cadets are not his current target audience but it’s smart thinking cause if he gets permission then its of course a news, and if he doesn't then also it will find space in the headlines.

* Now packaged biryanis, appetiser foods for Indian Army


Bangalore, Dec 21 (PTI) Army personnel deployed in icy heights like Siachen and Kargil now can look forward to munch mutton and chicken biryanis or non-vegetarian sandwiches with all nutrients and taste attached, thanks to the efforts of a leading food laboratory.

In its bid to cater to growing demand for non- vegetarian food among defence personnel deployed in high- altitude places, Mysore-based Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) has developed specially prepared and packaged these delights that have a shelf life of one year.

These products had been developed based on non-thermal technology, which helps retain nutrients and taste of Indian food for a long time, DFRL Director Amarinder Singh Bawa said.

"We have developed these products after the Indian Army evinced interest in non-vegetarian fare.

A fascinating interaction with an Indian Army Officer!!!
I am not shy of interacting with strangers anywhere. This habit has often helped me to make new friends and have scintillating conversations with them.

I have added one more person in my friend list today. He is a Major in the Indian Army and was sitting next to me during a book reading event which we attended. He appeared to be a simple man completely engrossed in his book. We reached the venue pretty early. It made sense to start a conversation and we greeted each other. Then I came to know that he is an Indian Army officer, a Major.

I have a lot of respect for the Indian Army for many reasons. However, let me mention two of the multiple reasons. Firstly, I wanted to join the Indian Army but could not because of personal reasons [I love the phrase 'personal reasons'. It makes justifications so easy ;-) ]. Secondly, I have met many great HR professional who are ex Army officers.

My conversation with him ranged from how he got into the prestigious National Defence Academy, his training, the Kargil War, his Shaurya Chakra and even HR [how can I miss that :-)].

He told me how supportive his parents and siblings were while joining the armed forces. In a way I feel we civilians must thank every parents of the Indian Armed forces officers and jawans for being so supportive and encouraging to them.

He even shared a lot about the tough training which he went through in National Defense Academy. The secret behind getting used to the training is all about conditioning one's mind. When he joined NDA, he struggled to do a few push ups but after the training of about 6 months, he could easily do 150 push ups and even run more than 15 kms per day. I particularly liked a statement where he mentioned that the body listens to the mind and it is even more important to train the mind than the body.

The most fascinating part of the conversation was about his fight with the enemies during the Kargil War. He had even shot at a few enemies. I could not help in resisting myself from asking him how he felt when he shot at the enemy. I thought that it was an insensitive question from me and I wondered how he would react. He was calm and candid. He said that at the moment when he shot the enemy, he was only thinking about his duty. There were no causalities in his team. He was focused about his job and killing the enemy was his duty. However, later he came to know about the enemy's family [through the photograph I guess] and felt sad about the incident.

His bravery won him the Shaurya Chakra. I feel the Shaurya Chakra belongs to his family too who have been encouraging and supportive of him in joining the army.

He even shared a few HR lessons with me. He told me the huge relevance of motivation in the army. He shared many examples about leadership in crisis and team work.

It's interesting how the corporate world complains about economic turbulence and turmoil. On the other hand, the Indian Army gives birth to national heroes during turbulent times through bravery and outstanding professionalism that matches none in the world.

I feel the HR community has a lot to learn from the Indian Armed Forces.

Let me share a few quotes by Field Marshal Madappa Cariappa . I am sure the HR community will find these simple yet immensely powerful quotes very interesting:

    * "An officer is nothing without the soldiers."
    * "Army is there to serve the Government of the day, and we should make sure that it does not get mixed up with party politics. A soldier is above politics and should not believe in caste or creed,"
    * "an Indian and to the last breath would remain an Indian. To me there is only two Stans - Hindustan (India) and Foujistan (the Army)."

Another inspiring quote I would like to share is by Field Marshal Philip Chetwode which my new found friend shared with me:

‘The, honour and welfare of your country comes first, always and every time, the honour welfare and comfort of the men you command comes next .Your own ease, comfort and safety comes last, always and every time'

Whenever the Indian Army is at work, they live the above mentioned quotes and thats what makes them so special to all of us. They make a huge impact to our nation through their sacrifice, integrity, work ethics, discipline, bravery and much more.

If the HR community has to make a huge impact in the business then we should also have the same qualities with same intensity. Many might say that the dynamics in the Army are very different from the ones in business. Thats true but we can still learn a lot from them.

Can't we foster similar pride among our associates for their company???
Can't we enjoy better team spirit and camaraderie???
Can't we infuse better discipline and work ethics in our company???

A yes to the above three questions can make a huge difference to the business and in being a true HR professional.

And like always, a Salute to Indian Armed forces from the bottom of my heart.

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