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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

From Today's Papers - 23 Feb 2010






Sukna Scam
Lt Gen Prakash gets relief, tribunal quashes COI

New Delhi, February 22
Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash today got relief from the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which quashed the Court of Inquiry (COI) proceedings against him in the Sukna land scam and ordered a de novo probe into it.

Pronouncing the verdict, a two-member AFT Bench headed by Justice A K Mathur allowed Prakash, who had retired from the Army last month, to cross-examine six witnesses who had deposed against him in the COI without being cross-examined.

Observing that the Army Rule 180 was "seriously violated" during the COI, it said, "We fail to understand the manner in which the COI has been conducted. This was not a substantial compliance of the principles of natural justice."

The rule lays down that all officers have the right to be present when some other personnel depose against them during a COI.

After today's order, court martial proceedings against the former Military Secretary will have to wait till the fresh COI is over.

The Tribunal said after submitting fresh findings regarding Prakash's role in the case, "the authorities will be free to decide the fate of the case whether or not to send it for court martial."

The court martial proceedings, which had been ordered against Prakash, were to start on February 25 in Kolkata.

The issue of cross-examination of the six witnesses was a major plea of the retired general against the COI, on the basis of which the disciplinary action was initiated.

The six witnesses to be cross-examined by Prakash include Lt Gen P K Rath, Lt Gen Ramesh Halgali, Maj Gen P C Sen, Col N K Dabas, Lt Col Jiji Verghese and Naib Subedar Surjit Singh.

Justice Mathur said in order to meet the principles of natural justice, "we permit Prakash to cross-examine the (six) witnesses."

The AFT rejected Prakash's plea to cross-examine S Bajoria, owner of the controversial 71-acre land adjacent to Sukna Military Station, as he had earlier refused to do so when he was given the opportunity during the COI. — PTI







MiG 27 fleet grounded
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
Less than a week after a pilot was killed in a MiG 27 crash, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered a check of engines of all 160 fighters in eight squadrons at air bases across the country. IAF sources confirmed that the checks had been ordered but said no time frame had been fixed.

Sources said engines of the fighters were under the scanner. The engines have a history of malfunctioning and had developed trouble some four years ago as well. The fleet was barely flown during 2005-2006 after it was found that the R-29 series of engines were causing accidents.

A MiG-27 - an important element of the IAF strike fleet - went down near Siliguri in West Bengal last Tuesday, killing the pilot, Squadron Leader Oswald. The entire fleet is any way under an upgrade.

Separately, IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshall PV Naik, announced that the force will showcase its prowess and capability of precision strikes during day, dusk and night at the firepower demonstration, Vayu Shakti-2010, in Pokhran on February 28. To be witnessed by President Pratibha Patil, it will be a collective display of skills and accuracy in weapons delivery by pilots. It also aids commanders and planners to gain better insight into the potential and development capabilities of aerial weapons.

While the display, which will see participation of over 100 aircrafts, comes close on the heels of scheduled talks between foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan on February 25, IAF Chief PV Naik said there is no link between the two. “Do not link (or attribute) any motives. Our demonstration is intended to tell the people of our country the capability of the IAF, its skills and strategic reach... in national interest,” the Air Chief said in response to a question whether Vayu Shakti was intended for Pakistan.







Use 'jawan' only for soldier: Indian Army

Published on : Tuesday 23 Feb 2010 0:10 - by IANS



Kolkata, Feb 23 : The Indian Army Monday said the term "jawan" denoted a soldier of the army and urged that it should not be used to describe equivalent personnel in the police and paramilitary forces.


"Incorrect use of the term jawan may project an undesired image of an organisation nationally as well as internationally.


"It is requested that personnel equivalent to jawans of the Indian Army serving in police or paramilitary organisation should be addressed as 'policemen' or paramilitary persons," a press communiqué, issued by the office of a Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson (Eastern Command), said.


It also pointed out that the term 'jawan' was coined by late prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.


"Lal Bahadur Shastriji had first coined the slogan 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan'. Since then the word has become synonymous to the soldiers of the Indian Army," it said.,use-jawan-soldier-indian-army.html







India-China aerial war games in 2012: IAF chief

2010-02-22 17:50:00


In yet another sign of the growing India-China military ties, the air forces of the two countries will stage their first joint war game in 2012, the Indian Air Force (IAF) chief said Monday.


'The planning has commenced. We are expecting political approval soon. In all probability, the exercise will be conducted in 2012,' Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Naik told reporters here.


With this, all three wings of the armed forces would have engaged in joint exercises with their Chinese counterparts.


The Indian and Chinese navies had initiated the process in November 2003, holding their first joint exercise off Shanghai. Subsequently, two ships of the Indian Navy made port calls at Qingdao and participated in a joint exercise with the Chinese navy in 2007.


The first bilateral army exercise between the two countries was organised in Kunming China late in 2007. The next joint army exercise was held in India in December 2008. The next round of these will be held in either country in 2011.


The year 2008 also saw high level visits of armed forces officials and defence ministry officials.


In January, Defence Secretary Padeep Kumar had led a 10-member delegation of senior armed forces officers and defence ministry officials to China. He had met, among others, Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie. The delegation also visited an armoured division of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Academy of Military Science.


'The two sides have identified a number of areas in which further action will be taken for military cooperation. For 2010, both sides have discussed high-level delegation visits, exchanges between military training institutes and reciprocal exchanges for various courses, including language courses,' a defence ministry official said after Kumar's return.


India and China had fought a bitter border war in 1962 and their relations remained frosty till the mid-1980s, when Rajiv Gandhi, who was then the prime minister, made a path-breaking visit to Beijing.


Since then, there has been a steady warming of ties with exchanges in the political, economic and cultural fields. The two countries have also named special representatives to work out a roadmap for resolving their border row.






Delhi arms fair reiterates India status as top arms buyer


    * Source: Xinhua

    * [17:07 February 22 2010]

India's status as one of the world's largest arms and defense equipment buyers has been confirmed when the country's capital hosted the biggest arms fair it ever hosted last week, said experts.


Popularly known as DefExpo which ended Feb. 18, the exhibition attracted more than 650 companies, including some of the big guns of the global weapon industry.


The 2010 edition of DefExpo was also apparently aimed at more than 50 billion US dollars which India is likely to spend in the next 10 years in arms acquisition and modernization programs.


Indian Defense Secretary R.K. Singh, who was also the chief organizer of the arms show, while refusing to speculate on the figure of military requirements by India, said exhibition was "a big show".


Since 1999, India has spent 50 billion US dollars on procuring arms.


Speaking about the DefExpo, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said since 1999, the event has grown from strength to strength.


"This year, the participation of companies increased by around 40 percent in comparison to the last one. Thirty eight official delegations, including 14 ministerial delegations attended the event," he said.


"The arms fair is held every two years and with every edition, its size continues to grow. In 2008, over 400 companies had put up stalls and this year, more than 650 companies booked space. Around 250 of these 650 companies are foreign," R.K. Singh said.


Leading the pack as usual were the companies from the United States closely followed by Israel. Together, the two control the largest space in terms of net area at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi signaling their growing dominance of the Indian market.


Israel is India's second biggest arms supplier and the US is catching up fast posing a serious threat to the traditional dominance of Russia.


Russian companies also put up a strong show, but they seem to be no match for Israel and US firms in terms of grabbing business.France, Britain, Germany and Italy also gave a tough fight.


The Indian army and the navy have substantial modernization plans that will realize in the coming months with the purchase of several weapon systems.


The first major big ticket deal of this year might go to the US as India is keen to buy C-17 heavy lift transporters from Boeing. The US has already bagged some of the biggest contracts like C-130J Hercules transporters for 962 million US dollars and Boeing P-81 maritime reconnaissance aircraft for 2.1 billion U. S. dollars.


Defexpo projected the "emergence of India as an attractive market and an investment destination for joint ventures" in defense, Singh said.


This year's exhibition at Pragati Maidan was double in size too -- from 17,200 square meter in 2008 to 30,100 square meter this year. Domestic exhibitors occupied more space than foreign venders. The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Tata group were the largest exhibitors among domestic firms.


Talking about the fair, Ministry of Home Affairs Secretary G.K. Pillai exhorted the Indian security industry to monitor and upgrade technologies, equipment and forces to meet contemporary challenges.


"The security industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India. Integrated security solutions including software, closed-circulate TV surveillance systems and wake-up digital video technologies are the need of the hour for detection and analysis of information for immediate and effective action," he said.








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