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Saturday, 20 February 2010

From Today's Papers - 20 Feb 10






MiG-21 crashes, pilot ejects to safety

Press Trust of India, Friday February 19, 2010, Siliguri

A MiG-21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force On Friday crashed near Bagdogra in West Bengal minutes after take-off but the pilot ejected to safety.


The pilot, Squadron Leader Rahul Tiwari had taken off from Bagdogra airbase on the Russian-origin fighter jet and within minutes reported trouble in the aircraft. The mishap took place at 15:50 hrs seven km away from Bagdogra airfield, IAF officials said.


Soon after the crash, an IAF rescue team on a Chetak helicopter flew to the accident site and rushed the pilot to a nearby military hospital, the officials said.


A court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident, they added. The sources said prime facie, it appears that the jet developed a technical problem soon after take-off.


This is the second mishap involving an IAF plane this year. On Tuesday, a MIG-27 fighter jet had crashed near Hashimara airbase, just a few kilometres away from Bagdogra. However in that incident, the pilot Wing Commander Oswald was killed.


Last year, the IAF had recorded 11 air mishaps, of which five involved MIG-21 aircraft. The MiG aircraft had earned the sobriquet of a "flying coffin" in the late 90s following a series of air crashes. However, to prove its worth, the then Defence Minister George Fernandes had flown in the aircraft in 2003.







MiG-29K fighter planes inducted into the Navy

Ajit K Dubey/PTI / Dabolin (goa) February 19, 2010, 14:33 IST


The sophisticated Russian-made MiG-29K maritime fighter aircraft, which will be based on under-construction aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, were today formally inducted into the Navy by Defence Minister A K Antony.


Four MiG 29Ks of the 'Black Panthers' squadron were inducted at a ceremony that was also attended by Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma.


India had placed orders for 16 MiG-29K in 2004 along with Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier from Russia, four of which landed in India on December 4 last year.


"After induction, the fighter jets would be operated for around two years from the under-development shore-based testing facility (SBTF) at INS Hansa till the actual delivery of Gorshkov, rechristened as INS Vikramaditya, slated for 2012," a senior naval officer said.


He said pilots will have to undergo training at the Intensive Flying and Testing Unit and a syllabus has been evolved for all future pilots, who would fly the aircraft.


For operating the fleet of MiG 29Ks, India had sent 10 pilots for training to Russia and also to the US for deck landing training and on board a French aircraft carrier for operations training, he said.


India has only one aircraft carrier INS Virat but the MiG 29Ks can't be operated from it as they are too big to take off or land at the around 28,000-tonne warship.


The officer said more pilots will go to Russia four-and-half months before Gorshkov is inducted into the navy and train for arrested landing and take-off from the aircraft carrier itself. Till then, they will train at the new SBTF and the simulator facility coming up at the air base.


Of the 16 jets ordered from Russia, he said 12 are single-seater fighter planes and the rest four are MiG-29KUB twin-seater trainers and there was a likelihood of signing an agreement with Russia for 29 more MiG 29Ks.


"Of the remaining 12 aircraft, two have arrived in India but they are yet to be readied for induction. The rest will come in different batches in future," he said.


Three hangars have been constructed to house the 16 MiG 29Ks at the base.


Comparing the MiG 29K with the MiG 29Bs of the air force, Commanding Officer of the Black Panther's squadron Commander A D Theophilis said the maritime aircraft were more capable than their IAF counterparts as they were packed with more advanced avionics, better multi-radars and capability of operating in all weather conditions.






Navy inducts MiG-29K combat jets

Panaji, February 19
In a quantum leap for its combat capabilities in the air, the India Navy Friday inducted its first batch of four Russian-built MiG-29K fighters that will be deployed on the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, when it joins the fleet in 2012.

“The induction of the MiG-29 fighters into the naval inventory fulfils its long-standing requirement. I am sure that it will prove to be a milestone in building the navy's capabilities,” Defence Minister A.K. Antony said at the induction ceremony of the fourth generation jets that will soon be joined by another 12.

“Despite delays, I must compliment (manufacturer) RAC MiG for completing the project. The navy will commence flying operations with these machines to their prescribed limits, train the crew, establish doctrines and be fully ready for operations as soon as she (Vikramaditya) is commissioned,” he added.

Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said the MiG-29s would augment the force's combat capability.

Captain Surendra Ahuja, the commanding officer of the shore-based INS Hansa from where the MiG-29s would initially operate, said the jets would enable a quantum leap in the navy's aerial combat capabilities. — IANS






‘Infiltration from Pak continuing’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 19
Just a week ahead of the talks between India and Pakistan, the Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor today expressed concern over continuing infiltration from Pakistan. Militants are taking advantage of areas that are not covered by snow in the Pir Panjal ranges in Jammu and Kashmir.

Interacting with the media at a function here, General Kapoor said Passes in the valley are closed due to snow in the north Kashmir towards the north of Pir Panjal but infiltrators are entering from south of Pir Panjal where there is no snow.

Responding to a question on the Union Government's initiative to offer amnesty to hundreds of youth from Kashmir who had crossed over to the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and are now willing to surrender and return home, General Kapoor said he hoped all the aspects would be considered before a final decision in the matter is taken.General Kapoor said: "I am sure the Home Minister and the rest of the government will look at all the aspects before a final decision is taken. They are working out that and I am sure inputs will be taken from all the ministries, including the Ministry of Defence and once a decision is taken, it will be for the good of everybody".







Pakistan inducts JF-17 jets developed with China

February 18, 2010 19:52 IST


The Pakistani Air Force inducted the first squadron of JF-17 Thunder multi-role combat aircraft it jointly developed with China as part of its efforts to maintain a "balance" of conventional forces in the region.


The formal induction ceremony of the JF-17 Thunder jets was held at one of the PAF's operational bases, an official statement said. PAF chief Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman was the chief guest at the event.


"We are a peaceful nation with no aggressive designs and want to maintain peace with honour in our region. We are inducting new systems to keep pace with technology and maintain a credible conventional balance of force, without which peace cannot be ensured in South Asia,"Suleman said in his address.


The PAF has invested in force multipliers like air-to-air refuelling aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne early warning and control aircraft to enhance its "capacity and capability to undertake complex operations," he said.


Suleman said the JF-17 jets would be put through their paces in the forthcoming Hi-Mark 2010 exercise. Officials said JF-17 Thunder has the ability to "undertake the entire spectrum of offensive and defensive missions."







Indian Army Chief Says Militant Infiltration into Kashmir Continues

2010-02-19 11:4428


India's army chief says that infiltrators from Pakistan are taking advantage of the lack of snow to enter Indian Jammu and Kashmir.


[Deepak Kapoor, Indian Army Chief]:

"Passes in the valley (Indian Kashmir) are closed due to snow in north Kashmir, towards the north of Pir Panjal but infiltrators are entering from south of Pir Panjal where there is no snow."


Pir Panjal is a mountain range in the Middle Himalayas that runs through the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and into Pakistan.


The Indian army has accused Pakistani troops of providing cover fire to infiltrators along the Line of Control.


Infiltration continues despite a 10-foot-high barbed wire fence along most of the 460-mile long Line of Control.


Security personnel in Pulwama district of Indian Kashmir on Thursday shot down two Pakistan-based militants in an encounter, a day after two more militants of the same outfit were killed in the Baramulla district.


On Thursday India’s Federal Interior Minister said that anyone caught crossing the border and who vows to give up militant activities will be allowed to return home to Pakistan without charge.


India and Pakistan have agreed to hold high-level talks in New Delhi next week. They’ve been suspended after Pakistan based militants killed 166 people during a three-day rampage in Mumbai in November 2008.







For the Arms Industry, India Is a Hot Market



The Indian Defense Minister, A.K. Antony, called this week's massive defense-industry trade show, Defexpo 2010, "an endeavor to showcase India's capabilities in land and naval systems as well as its emergence as an attractive destination for investment in the defense sector." His junior minister, M.M. Pallam Raju, was a little more blunt. He called the event, which attracted more than 600 companies from 35 countries, a "one-stop shop." India is emerging as one of the most important defense markets in the world, with billions of dollars to spend, and the global defense industry is only too happy to help it do so.


The country's marquee bid is an order for 126 fighter planes, worth $10 billion — the single biggest tender in the world in the past 15 years. Six companies' jets are in the running: Boeing's F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Aviation's Rafale, Lockheed Martin's F-16, Russia's MiG-35, Saab's JAS 39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon from EADS, a six-nation European consortium. All of them sent teams of delegates to Defexpo. They hovered around their booths, giving impromptu presentations over free cappuccino to bureaucrats, army officers and local journalists. The bid is already in its final stages — Indian air force pilots are testing the planes in the field — so it is unlikely that the PowerPoint slides at Defexpo will sway the decision. Still, says Marco Bonelli, spokesman for the Eurofighter Typhoon, "you have to be here." (See pictures of India a year after the Mumbai attacks.)


So it was with no small pride that EADS representatives pointed out that the Defense Minister came to their booth this week and tried out the Eurofighter Typhoon flight simulator. He sat in a replica of the cockpit, watching a head-up display projected onto a screen in front of him as a simulated landscape — in this case, the west of England, near Manchester — passed underneath. Wing Commander Anthony (Foxy) Gregory of the Royal Air Force was there to answer technical questions, and will head to Bangalore to work with Indian test pilots. "We see the Indian air force becoming a strategic partner in the region," Gregory says.


What has really drawn defense companies to India, however, is the smaller-ticket market for internal security, especially after the Nov. 26, 2008, terrorism attacks in Mumbai. "We had to rethink our strategy after 26/11," says Woolf Gross, corporate director of international programs for Northrop Grumman. "After our review, we decided to cater to India's homeland security." The company adapted one of its surveillance systems, for example, to identify suspicious vehicles at sea, the route that the Mumbai attackers are believed to have used. For the first time since the inaugural Defexpo in Delhi in 1999, Northrop Grumman has flown in representatives from all five of its units. "We are hoping for that one big sale in India," he says.


The Indian government, too, has signaled the new importance of what it calls "low-intensity conflict," like the multiagency security offensive aimed at defeating India's armed Maoist insurgency, a movement that controls a wide stretch of territory in central India. The Defense Ministry's research and development arm, which traditionally caters to the needs of the armed forces, displayed this year for the first time unmanned aerial vehicles and other weapons developed for counterinsurgency. "Technology is being dovetailed to suit low-intensity conflicts," a top defense research official told TIME.


U.S. companies are following their lead. Taser, for example, is selling its controversial stun-guns, used by law-enforcement authorities to subdue people, to Indian state police forces as well as central security forces, which are conducting joint anti-Maoist operations. It has already signed contracts for Taser weapons with the police forces of two states — Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir — and expects India to become one of its "top 10, if not top 5," export markets, says spokesman Yogesh Saini. "They're not allowed for private security guards [in India], but we have had people asking about it."


One question left unanswered at Defexpo 2010 was whether a country in which one-third of the adults are illiterate and 43% of children are malnourished should spend so much on weapons. India's central government spent $4.5 billion on education in 2008 — about the same amount that it plans to spend on 197 new helicopters. A handful of protesters picketed outside the gates of the exhibition hall on opening day, but they drew little notice. India's attention is firmly focused on what a defense-company representative called the "quality gap" between its weapons and those of its neighbors, Pakistan and China. The gaps at home will have to wait.,8599,1966605,00.html







Indian army Lt colonel found dead in Rajouri


Jammu, February 19 (KM): In occupied Kashmir, an Indian army officer was found dead inside his camp in Rajouri district.


The Deputy Commandant 13 Sector Rashtriya Rifles Rajouri, Identified as Lt Colonel, Pardeep Kotnala was deployed in Thannamandi area of the district. Indian army’s PRO Defence, Lt Col, Biplab Nath, admitted that the officer was found dead in his room on Thursday morning while the reasons of his death were not revealed by the authorities.


Meanwhile, a constable of Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 144 battalion, Pankaj Kumar, attempted suicide when he shot himself with his service weapon at Nehru Park on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar. He was immediately rushed to a hospital where his condition is stated to be critical.





Army says let's chak de

By: Anshuman G Dutta & Shashank Shekhar

Date: 2010-02-19



More than 100 jawans will join efforts to restore the glory of hockey at the World Cup to be held in city


This could be the last hope for the country to revive the lost glory of its national sport -- hockey. Powered by the indomitable spirit of Indian soldiers, this could very well be the best chance to assure the game that won us eight Olympic gold medals regains its pride.



It's time for action: A team of 100 men from the Army, Air Force and Navy

will reportedly be deputed with Hockey India during the Hockey World Cup


Joining hands with the Indian cricket team and Bollywood, the Indian Army has offered 100 of its best-trained jawans to help Hockey India handle the World Cup, to be held from February 28.


The decision was taken late on Thursday evening and highly placed sources, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the Indian Army has reached "an understanding with Hockey India" over the issue.


"It's final. A combined team of 100 men from the Army, Air Force and Navy will be deputed with Hockey India during the World Cup," said a Ministry of Defence (MoD) official, wishinh anonymity.


The Hockey World Cup will be hosted at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium at India Gate. Though the

Sporting spirit


Hero Honda, the title sponsor of the Men's Hockey World Cup 2010, has released three television commercials featuring Priyanka Chopra, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Virender Sehwag. The underlying theme in the three ads is: to urge people to come and watch the game.

Members of the Indian cricket team have pledged to contribute Rs 1 crore for the hockey team.

Sunil Gavaskar reportedly came up with the idea before the final and spoke to team captain MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh. Both agreed to the proposal and said they would come up with the amount irrespective of India's fortunes in the forthcoming Hockey World Cup.

event has failed to generate much excitement among Delhiites, the controversies surrounding the national sport has made sure it grabs national headlines.


A month ago disaster struck the game when the national hockey team refused to participate in practice sessions after they were not paid their dues.


"Nothing seems to be going right this time. The players are on the war path with the federation, the management is not in shape to organise the event, the officials have no clue how to handle the World Cup," said a Hockey India official, requesting anonymity.


The team deputed by the armed forces will be in charge of administration, protocol, facilities for players and media besides taking care of the VIPs who come to catch the games. The team will consist of specially chosen men and officers from the three forces who have experience of conducting world military games and other defence exercises.


"These are our best trained lot in all aspects of conducting a mega event like the Hockey World Cup. Besides taking care of administrative issues they are well aware of media coverage and  protocol  as well," said the official.






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