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Saturday, 10 April 2010

From Today's Papers - 10 Apr 2010

Kirti Chakra for 3 Army heroes  President Patil presents 69 medals, including 23 Shaurya Chakras 
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, April 9 It was a moment of pride and honour for families of defence heroes today as President Pratibha Patil presented a total of 69 medals, including gallantry and service decorations, to personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force and other allied defence services at an investiture ceremony here.  Three Army men, including two Majors, were decorated with Kirti Chakra, the country’s second highest peacetime gallantry medal, for their bravery during counter-terrorism operations in Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 23 Shaurya Chakras and 15 Param Vishist Seva Medals were also presented by the President.  Among the Kirti Chakra awardees was Major Amit Oscar Fernandes of the Maratha light infantry. “…Fernandes caught the weapon of the terrorist by its barrel and deflected it away from his party…. The hot barrel caused burns to his hand… the terrorist bit his thumb… Fernandes persisted and snatched the weapon away from the terrorist,” read his citation. In poor visibility and rough terrain, Fernandes not only saved the lives of his comrades but also eliminated three hardcore terrorists in Baramulla.  Major Suresh Suri, who go the Kirti Chakra posthumously, displayed a conspicuous act of bravery, comradeship and exemplary leadership. He was badly injured in a gunfight with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir in September last year. But that did not deter him from evacuating his injured comrade. Ultimately, Suri succumbed to his injuries. Suri’s wife Pallavi received the award from the President. The third Kirti Chakra went to Naik Rishikesh Gurjar of the Rajput Regiment. He killed two terrorists in close combat.  Among the Shaurya Chkara awardees was IAF’s Squadron Leader Harkirat Singh, a fighter pilot. He had taken off from Uttarlai near Barmer in September 2008 in a MIG-21 Bison. Flying at a height of 40,000 meters during a practice interception, the aircraft engines failed. The crash was imminent and ejection at that height was not possible. Further, there was danger of the aircraft crashing into a settlement causing further loss of human lives.  Singh’s citation said: “...The pilot faced the demanding task of carrying a landing in the night… his composed mental state under extreme adverse conditions were instrumental in successfully recovering the aircraft.. any wrong input or delayed action by the pilot would have resulted in a catastrophe.” Mustafa Ali, an IAF flight engineer, who was killed after his helicopter — that was transporting Election Commission officials and ballot boxes after polling in Chattisgarh Assembly elections — came under Maoist fire in November 2008, was also on the list of awardees. The pilot of the same chopper, Squadron leader TK Chaudhri, was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for piloting the chopper to safety in Jagadalpur and saving the lives of 15 men on board.  Among other Shaurya Chakra awardees were: Major Ankur Garg, Major Saurabh Dutt Kholia, Major Dinesh Singh Parmar, Major Subramaniam Anand. Major Ajay Singh, Major Harneet Singh Samra, Major Manoj A Pothen, Captain Mudassar Iqbal, Capt Anoop Pandey, Lt Satbir Singh.

Sukna Land Scam Won’t meddle with Army court: SC to Gen Prakash
Legal Correspondent  New Delhi, April 9 The Supreme Court today refused to interfere with the army’s court of inquiry (COI) against Lt Gen (retd) Avadhesh Prakash in the Sukna land scam case, observing that the inquiry was only a fact finding exercise.  Dismissing his petition seeking quashing of the COI, a Bench of justices VS Sirpurkar and MK Sharma directed the General to submit himself to the inquiry and clarified that the petitioner could approach the court again if he was aggrieved by the final outcome. When senior counsel for the petitioner, Mukul Rohtagi, argued that the inquiry was replete with irregularities, the Bench remarked: “Once we start digging, many skeletons will tumble out.”  Prakash had been indicted by a COI for his alleged role in issuing no-objection certificate to a private realtor for building an educational institute over a 71-acre land adjacent to the Sukna military station in West Bengal. The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has ordered a fresh COI following his complaint that he was not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses.  The apex court also rejected his plea that his juniors were conducting the COI. Sometimes, high courts heard matters pertaining to the Supreme Court, the Bench remarked in an obvious reference to the apex court appeal in Delhi HC to decide whether the office of the Chief Justice of India came under the purview of the transparency law, the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Air Chief to NDTV: Armed forces not needed yet to fight Naxals
Nitin Gokhale, Friday April 9, 2010, New Delhi  In an exclusive interview to NDTV's Nitin Gokhale, the Air Force Chief has said "the Maoist situation has not reached a stage where armed forces have to be deployed."  Air Chief Marshal PV Naik added "one has to be careful in using offensive airpower against your own people in our own territory."  Since 76 jawans were massacred in Chhattisgarh on Monday in India's worst-ever Naxal attack, Home Minister, P Chidambaram has suggested that it could be time to reconsider using the air force in the government's fight against Naxals. The Prime Minister had said it is too early to think about revising government policy on this issue.  Many argue that using air power will see tribals in Naxal-controlled areas caught in the crossfire between the insurgents and security forces.  Naik also denied reports that the government is considering the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Naxal-dominated areas because in the past, they have not delivered "the desired result." Some experts believe that UAVs can help in reconnaissance and would have been of critical help in avoiding an attack like Monday's. Seventy six jawans were ambushed by Naxals as they were returning from patrol duty through the thick forests of Dantewada. The jawans, 75 of whom were from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), found themselves outnumbered and outmaneuvered. The Naxals opened fire from hilltops in the area, the forests were riddled with land mines.    Agreeing with the government's current stand that the armed forces should not be used in operations against Naxals, Naik said, "With the right training, paramilitary forces are the right people to control the Maoist movement."

BHEL units plan to re-enter defence business
T E Narasimhan / Chennai April 10, 2010, 3:49 IST  The Tiruchirappali (Tiruchy) and Ranipet units of power and transmission equipment manufacturer Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) is planning to re-enter the defence business.  “Talks are on for supplying certain types of equipment for the Armed forces,” said BP Rao, chairman and managing director, BHEL.  The two units would produce battle tanks, missile launchers and water desalination facilities for submarines.  A Chandrababu, general manager in-charge, BHEL Ranipet, which manufactures boiler auxiliaries, said the unit had initiated taks with the Navy to re-enter the defence business in a “big way”.  The unit, which used to manufacture missile launchers for the Navy, has started discussions for the same apart from a desalination water facility for submarines. “We have tested one such facility in Vishakapatnam and are now planning to showcase this model to the Indian Navy,” said Chandrababu.  The Ranipet unit has also received a Rs 3-crore order from the Indian Space Organisation (Isro) to build fuel tanks for its project Chandrayan II. These tanks will be supplied by the end of this year.  AV Krishnan, executive director, BHEL – Tiruchy, which used to produce battle tanks, said they had initiated dialogue with the Army to re-enter this space. “We have the capability and capacity to manufacture in our unit,” he added.  Currently the defence business accounts for less than one per cent of the total revenue for the unit, he said.  BHEL, in the defence space, will have to compete with private players such as Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Tata Power, Mahindra & Mahindra, Godrej Industries, Kirloskar Brothers, Ashok Leyland, Jindal, Max Aerospace & Aviation and Ramoss India.  According to Assocham, the Centre procures around Rs 55,000 crore of defence equipment every year.  BHEL along with Italian conglomerate Finmechanica may supply as many as 30 heavy duty 127-mm naval guns. With each gun costing Rs 130-150 crore, this means an order worth Rs 4,500 crore.  “We are already supplying 76-MM guns to Navy and now the defence ministry wants to us to make the 127-mm guns,” Rao said, adding they were also implementing an integrated platform system for naval ships.

Keeping up
The Indian Express Posted online: Friday , Apr 09, 2010 at 0301 hrs Notwithstanding the profuse outpouring of grief and concern in the wake of the Maoist massacre of security personnel in Dantewada on Tuesday, Indian public and political opinion has, as a rule, been characterised by apathy towards the working conditions and combat imperatives of the paramilitary and police. This general unconcern (and many strongly-held assumptions in ministerial circles) is what Tuesday’s tragedy will ultimately trail back to, since it also marked the strategic and tactical naïveté that allowed 76 personnel to be mowed down at will by ambushing Maoists. Since things must change post-Dantewada, it is best to begin with the misconception that has not allowed us to consider paramilitary personnel as anything more than merely better armed policemen, for whom imbibing a military ethos — in mindset, training, command structures — is sacrilegious. If anybody yet has any doubt about Maoist motivation, discipline and ability to execute, that should have been laid to rest on Tuesday — the CRPF and state police forces involved in Operation Green Hunt are combating a militarised enemy.  Tactical campaigns necessarily involve deception and resultant surprise; and, in an operation on uncharted forest terrain, Maoists will break through the grid to surprise or ambush once in a while. But if that leads to butchery on Tuesday’s scale, with almost no scope for counter-attack, it implies training and command problems within the paramilitary. Even as CRPF-police coordination is aggressively reaffirmed, it is time to revisit the Kargil Review Committee and its recommendations for restructuring the paramilitary and upgrading their training and armament standards, along with facilitating manpower movement among the armed and paramilitary forces, such as earlier release of military personnel for absorption into the paramilitary; or putting army officers in command of specially trained and deployed paramilitary companies. Much of this will skirt the political problems of deploying the military within our borders against an internal enemy.  Paramilitaries like the CRPF, battling the Naxals, are engaged in combat against a well-trained, well-armed and highly-motivated adversary, not in mere restoration of civil administration in lawless regions. To keep this in mind is to ask for an overhaul of those of their standard operating procedures at odds with ground reality. Of course, the option of using air power has been kept open. However, the primary focus is revamping the paramilitary, whose training, organisation and operational tactics must change, not their identity of who they are. In other words: a civilian paramilitary, but with a military edge.

Former colonel to motivate city youth
Ishfaq Naseem Posted online: Friday , Apr 09, 2010 at 0334 hrs Pune : Col (Retd) Vinay Dalvi will help the Army in encouraging more youngsters to sign up  A City-based retired Colonel has been roped in to help out in recruiting youths for the officer cadre of the Army and motivate more youngsters to join the armed forces.  Col (Retd) Vinay Dalvi, whose book on the need to completely overhaul the recruitment process by placing emphasis on physical training was released recently, received a letter in this regard from Lt Gen Mukesh Sabharwal, Adjutant General, to whom Dalvi had forwarded the draft of Role Model, his book. The volume was released last month at the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, by Indian Military Academy (IMA) Commandant Lt Gen RS Sujilana.  Dalvi’s mission will be to attract able youth from Pune to join the Army as officers. In the letter, he has also been asked to help the army in holding ‘direct contact with colleges and schools for drawing youth into Army, starting with Pune.’ “As an ambassador of the Indian Army, you could contact the schools and colleges in your city and also conduct motivational talks to facilitate young men in joining the Army,” the letter read.  Dalvi said, “This is a great opportunity for me. I am in touch with the Army top brass for chalking out a programme of action. I aim at holding camps in colleges here, asking them to join the Army. It would be a pre-qualification exercise like those done by corporates to select candidates for officer-level exams. This will help the youth to decide whether a career in the Army is suitable for them,” he said.  Dalvi said there are many drawbacks in the recruitment process for the Indian Army. “The selection methods for the officer-level posts conducted by the Services Selection Boards (SSBs) does not adequately cater to the correct, meaningful and objective assessment of the physical training standards of candidates for meeting the service requirements," he said.  Elaborating, Dalvi said a survey was conducted by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) in 2000-01 which put the ‘wastage rate at the NDA at 17-18 percent.’ “After the candidates are selected by the SSB, many of them are relegated to other courses in the NDA and some even drop out. We should have a proper system at the entry level to specifically assess the physical strength of the candidates,” he said.  The former Colonel said that there was also a need to increase the weightage given to physical fitness at the SSBs, with the introduction of more objective and job-specific tests. “This way, medical injury cases in the Army may be reduced,” he said.

 235th Army Ordnance Corps Day
By admin | April 9th, 2010 | Category: Indian Army, Latest | No Comments »  Army Ordnance Corps is responsible for providing complete military hardware to the fighting troops except ration and fuel. The Corps has an illustrious historic past spanning more than two and a quarter centuries with outstanding achievements, particularly in the field of inventory management. Inherent source of pride for AOC is the professional manner in which men and women of the Corps, both civilians and combatants have proved their mettle both during war and peace. Functions of AOC involve Provisioning, Procurement, Receipt, Warehousing, Accounting and Issue of an inventory of over 4 lakh items. As materials manager of the Indian Army, the AOC is perhaps one of the largest logistic organisations in the world, in terms of size, value and diversity of inventory, customer base and the geographical extent of the supply chain.  On 08 April 2010 on the occasion of 235th anniversary, the Corps expresses deep gratitude to all the veterans whose contributions will always be cherished. The Corps salutes the martyrs of the Battle of Kangla Tongbi where a small band of AOC personnel defended the Ord Depot and fought the might of Japanese Army in the Imphal Sector during the Second World War. The professional skills imbibed alongwith soldierly attributes by the AOC personnel have shown discernible results and acknowledged by the field commanders in all past and post independence wars and operations.  In recognition of their contribution to the nation the Corps personnel have been awarded one Mahavir Chakra, three Vir Chakras, one Kirti Chakra, six Shaurya Chakras, 21 PVSMs, 36 AVSMs, 85 Sena Medlas, 79 VSMs, two Raksha Padaks, 32 Mention in Despatches, five unit citations and 950 commendation cards. In addition, the Corps personnel have also excelled in the field of adventure and sports. AOC has the distinction of having 3 Arjuna Awardees. The sportsmen of the Corps represented the country in various international competitions including Olympics.  Today with advancement in Warfare, the Corps is busy automating its complete inventory, enhancing user satisfaction, providing transparency and supplying the best value added products to the soldier in battlefield. 

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