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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 25 May 2010

Indian Express
Telegraph India
The Pioneer
The Pioneer
Indian Express
Indian Express
The Pioneer
Indian Express
The Pioneer
Indian Express
Indian Express
Times of India
DNA India




Bullet heist leaves Army red-faced
Shiv Kumar Tribune News Service  Mumbai, May 24 The Indian Army's 6th Assam Regiment faces a major embarrassment after a consignment of high-end bullets ferried by its personnel were robbed by suspected Naxalites in what looks like a meticulously planned operation.  The consignment comprising 75 bullets and other devices used to carry out explosions were being escorted by Deputy Superintendent Madhuram Nath of the 6th Assam Regiment and seven jawans from Guwahati to Pune.  The consignment was stored in the luggage compartment of the Guwahati Express while the army personnel rested in adjoining compartments.  The bullets and other equipment were to be tested at the Pune ordnance factory, according to a complaint filed with the Government Railway Police here. Only the trunks containing the bullets and some electrical devices used to engineer blasts were taken away while the rest of the cargo was left intact, indicating that the thieves were acting on inside information. In all, three trunks were stolen.  Senior Inspector Dilip Gore of the Government Railway Police said the loss was noted when the train arrived at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus on Friday night. The army personnel who went in to the luggage compartment to check on the consignment reported the loss, Gore said.  Explaining the modus operandi of the operation, Gore said the thieves entered the train after cutting open a panel on the roof of an adjoining compartment. They then cut open the wall of the luggage compartment and made away with the consignment. "The thieves seem to be experts who knew how to cut open metal in a short time," Gore said.  According to railway officials here, the Guwahati Express passes though a number of locations like Itarsi and Bhagalpur Junction which have reported an increase in Naxal activity in recent times. The train had made a long halt at Itarsi beyond its usual  schedule, according to railway sources.  The stolen cartridges is meant for use in the INSAS rifles of the Army which is also a favourite weapon of the Naxalites.







IAF procuring micro-lights for flight safety
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, May 24 With birds posing a major hazard to flight safety, the IAF is procuring micro-light aircraft to survey the area in the vicinity of airfields for bird activity before and during flight operations, especially at stations housing fighter squadrons. Besides, the micro-lights, spread across at various airbases, would also be used for adventure activities.  About 10 per cent of IAF accidents are attributed to bird hits and fighters are particularly vulnerable to this during take-off and landing. A bird ingested by an engine often results in a flameout and recovery at low altitudes is difficult.  Growing habitations around airfields and consequential garbage littering attract birds, an issue regularly taken up by the IAF with local civilian authorities. Mirco-lights, circuiting around the airfield would not only be used to spot bird flocks and pass on the requisite information to air traffic control, but would also be used to recce the ground below for objects that might attract birds.  Over the past years, the IAF has adopted several measures to check bird activity around airfields. These include chopping down trees and vegetation and fixing brightly coloured reflective streamers near the runway to scare away birds.  A number of fatal air crashes have been attributed to bird hits. There have also been instances of aircraft suffering bird hits while flying at high altitudes. Last year, an IL-76 heavylift freighter flying at 22,000 feet between Leh and Chandigarh was hit by a bird, prompting it to go in for DNA testing to find out which kind of bird flies so high and in that region.  Civilian aircraft flying out of regular airports are not immune to bird-hits too. There have been instances where pilots of scheduled airlines have reported engine or airframe damage due to bird hits.  Apart from the IAF, the National Cadet Corps is procuring as many as 110 micro-lights for its air squadrons to boost adventure training.






India, US firm up agenda for strategic dialogue 
New Delhi, May 24 India and the USA today firmed up the substantive agenda, including bilateral and regional issues, for the first Strategic Dialogue to be held in Washington on June 3. The agenda was fine-tuned at a meeting between Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns here.  External Affairs Minister SM Krishna and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will hold the Strategic Dialogue, marking a new chapter in the rapidly expanding and deepening ties.  Rao and Burns reviewed the bilateral agenda and, specifically, the progress made in the India-US Strategic Dialogue announced on July 20, last year during Clinton's visit here, External Affairs Ministry said in a statement tonight.  "The substantive issues relating to the forthcoming visit of the External Affairs Minister to the USA from June 2-3 for the inaugural meeting of the India-US Strategic Dialogue in Washington were at the core of their discussions," it said.  "Intensified India-US cooperation in the five focus areas of strategic cooperation, energy and climate change, education and development, economic trade and agriculture constituted their main agenda," the statement said.  It added that Rao and Burns also exchanged views on regional and global issues of shared interest and common concern. Burns also called on Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, MoS in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon. — PTI








Indian peacekeeper killed in fighting in Congo
Press Trust of India, Monday May 24, 2010, United Nations An Indian soldier on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in strife-torn Congo was killed during a firefight between the Congolese Army and armed assailants.  Hussein Lal, the Indian peacekeeper, was stationed along with his patrol in Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile North-Kivu province.  The fighting took place near the Indian cantonment, 80 kilometres north of Goma, the capital of the province.  The Indian troops who were patrolling the area intervened when the Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) came under attack from the rebels at around 1:00 pm (local time) on Sunday.  When the Indian peacekeepers arrived on the scene, the rebel group began to disengage and fire indiscriminately, according to the Indian mission to the UN.  It was during this indiscriminate firing that Lal was shot. He was rushed to the hospital in Goma by helicopter but could not be saved.  "We have been informed that he was hit on the spinal cord," an official said.  The peacekeepers come under frequent attacks from the armed groups in the country such as the FDLR Rwandan Hutu rebel group and Mai-Mai tribal militias.  A Congolese soldier and a civilian were also killed in the attack, according to the UN.  The UN peacekeepers in DRC have lost more than a 100 troops since it was sent to the troubled region in 1999. The mandate for the peacekeepers wraps up at the end of the month and UN is presently considering withdrawing its operations from DRC.










Indian UN peacekeeper killed in Congo
May 25, 2010 02:26 IST Tags: United Nations, DRC, Democratic Republic of Congo, Hussein Lal, PTI Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  An Indian soldier on a United Nations peacekeeping mission in strife-torn Congo was killed during a firefight between the Congolese Army and armed assailants.  Hussein Lal, the Indian peacekeeper was stationed along with his patrol in Democratic Republic of Congo's volatile North-Kivu province. The fighting took place near the Indian cantonment, 80 kilometers north of Goma, the capital of the province.  The Indian troops who were patrolling the area intervened when the Congolese Armed Forces came under attack from the rebels at around 1:00 pm (local time) on Sunday.  When the Indian peacekeepers arrived on the scene, the rebel group began to disengage and fire indiscriminately, according to the Indian mission to the UN.  It was during this indiscriminate firing that Lal was shot. He was rushed to the hospital in Goma by helicopter but could not be saved. "We have been informed that he was hit on the spinal cord," an official told PTI.  The peacekeepers come under frequent attacks from the armed groups in the country such as the FDLR Rwandan Hutu rebel group and Mai-Mai tribal militias.  A Congolese soldier and a civilian were also killed in the attack, according to the UN. The UN peacekeepers in DRC have lost more than a 100 troops since it was sent to the troubled region in 1999.  The mandate for the peacekeepers wraps up at the end of the month and UN is presently considering withdrawing its operations from DRC.









Army lodges protest with Pak counterpart over firing along LoC
May 25, 2010 02:22 IST Tags: Pakistan Army, Chakan Da Bagh LoC, Indian Army, Poonch, PTI Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  Indian Army [ Images ] on Monday lodged a strong protest with its Pakistan counterpart over unprovoked firing from across the border on Indian posts along the Line of Control [ Images ] in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] which left a jawan critically injured.  "We have lodged a strong protest at a flag meeting with the Pakistan Army [ Images ] authorities over Sunday's cross-border firing and rocket attacks on Indian posts in Krishangati belt of Poonch sector," Brigadier General Staff, 16 Corps, Gurdeep Singh told PTI.  The Pakistani troops were asked to bring recurring ceasefire violations along the LoC and infiltration bids to a complete halt or else there will be firm retaliation, Brigadier Singh said.  The commander level flag meeting was held at Chakan Da Bagh LoC point in Poonch from 1430 hours to 1500 hours. The Indian Army was represented by Brigade Commander Bishan Singh of Krishnagati sub-sector at the meeting while the Pakistan Army was represented by Brig Nadeem, Brig Singh said .  One army jawan was critically injured as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged heavy firing after Pak targeted six Indian forward posts by resorting to shelling and indiscriminate firing along the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.  Pakistan troops opened indiscriminate and heavy firing on 5-6 Indian Posts along LOC in Krishnagati sub-sector of Poonch district around 0905 hours. They also fired four mortar bombs and 20 rockets on Indian positions, the army officer said.  The Pak troops also used medium machines guns and fired over 20 mortar shells on the Indian positions.  This is for the first time since a ceasefire was reached between India and Pakistan on November 26, 2003 that Pakistani troops have fired mortars bombs on Indian posts. It was the fourth incident of ceasefire violation in Jammu and Kashmir this month.







India to gear up for 'star wars'
Rajat Pandit, TNN, May 25, 2010, 02.00am IST NEW DELHI: India has no option but to get ready for "star wars" in the future, with countries like China working overtime to develop advanced ASAT (anti-satellite) capabilities with "direct-ascent" missiles, hit-to-kill "kinetic" and directed-energy laser weapons.  The defence ministry's spanking new "Technology Perspective and Capability Roadmap" seems to recognize this overriding necessity, outlining as it does a wide array of high-tech offensive and defensive capabilities Indian armed forces will need over the next 15 years.  Identifying priority areas ranging from space warfare, ballistic missile defence (BMD) and combat drones to electronic warfare, NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) defence and submarines equipped with AIP (air-independent propulsion), the roadmap holds that "technological superiority is increasingly going to be the decisive factor in future battles". The 76-page MoD roadmap to "provide the industry with an overview" about military requirements by 2025 does seem ambitious as of now, given the present poor state of the country's defence-industrial production base.  Nevertheless, it gives significant insight into what India plans to acquire in terms of futuristic military capabilities. The roadmap, after all, draws heavily from classified as well as unclassified parts of Army, IAF and Navy doctrines, the still-evolving long-term integrated perspective plan (2012-2027) and DRDO's S&T roadmap, among others. While India is already working in some of these sectors, the roadmap underlines the need to get cracking in the others as well. Ever since China shocked the world with an ASAT weapon test to destroy a satellite in January 2007, alarm bells have been clanging in the Indian defence establishment.  The MoD roadmap, on its part, identifies development of ASAT weapons "for electronic or physical destruction of satellites in both LEO (2,000-km altitude above earth's surface) and the higher GEO-synchronous orbits" as a thrust area.  Apart from "EMP (electromagnetic pulse) hardening" of satellite and sensors to protect them against ASAT weapons, it says armed forces want to induct satellite systems for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in a major way. The uses range from synthetic aperture radar all-weather imagery and precision targeting to automatic target recognition technology and high-speed communication.  Army's need for "directed energy weapons (DEWs)" is also spelled out in the roadmap. These include mobile air defence to engage enemy rockets, missiles, fighters and helicopters, as also DEWs to neutralize UAVs at a distance of 8-10 km. Moreover, precision weapons and dazzlers are needed for swift counter-terrorist operations with minimum collateral damage.  Another thrust area is UAVs, especially armed ones like the American Predator and Reaper drones equipped with Hellfire missiles. "UAVs with advanced sensors and weapons are going to dominate all facets of the future battlefield," it says.







Pakistan can't be trusted: Former army chief Malik
Shillong, May 24  Former Indian Army chief Gen. Ved Prakash Malik Monday cautioned India against trusting Pakistan, even if talks are on, pointing to the 1999 Kargil war with Pakistan that erupted soon after then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajapyee took a peace bus to Lahore.  Talking to reporters here, he also advocated training the paramilitary and the state police forces to tackle the Maoists rather than involving the army in the process.  "You cannot trust Pakistani establishment even though political negotiations are on. Let the politicians do what they are doing, but army and intelligence should be vigilant," Malik, who is on a visit here, maintained.  "Our security forces must be on the highest alert," Malik, who was army chief during the Kargil war, added.  Speaking about that conflict, he said: "Pakistan till the end was denying that its regular army was holding Indian posts (in the Drass-Kargil-Batalik sector), saying they were occupied by the mujahideen. The occupation, it was later learnt, took place when Vajpayee was on a visit to Lahore to strengthen bilateral ties."  India did evict the Pakistani Army from Kargil but also suffered heavy casualties.  During his visit, Malik also visited the residence of Kargil hero Captain Keishing Clifford Nongrum, who was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest award for gallantry during war.  "We have learnt good lessons from the Kargil war and one big lesson is that you can't fight a war if you are not prepared," he added.  Asked about the possibility of a Kargil-like situation again developing, Malik said: "Trusting Pakistan totally would be ill-advised. When incidents like the (26/11) Mumbai attack happen and Pakistan's panache to fund terrorists being well known and established, how can India trust Pakistan?"  "I don't want to sound entirely pessimistic, but hopefully, one day there would be adequate trust in the India-Pakistan relationship," he added.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday stated unambiguously that "trust deficit" continued to be the biggest problem with Pakistan.  "Trust deficit is the biggest problem. Unless we tackle that, we can't make progress. It has been my effort to reduce the gap," the prime minister, who last met his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani three weeks ago in his continuing effort to improve ties, admitted at a National Press Conference in New Delhi to mark the first year of the second tenure of his United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.  On tackling the Maoists, Malik said: "There is no coordination between the centre and the states. The police forces have not been trained to take on the Maoists and the government should make them more effective."  As of now, he said there is no proper infrastructure by way of training and weaponry or proper man-management to tackle the Maoists.  "You isolate them (Maoists) and then strike at them with force and side by side, take care of developing those areas (which they controlled)," Malik said.  "The primary role of the army is not to tackle internal security, and the army should only be used as the last resort if the other tactics fail," he stated.  On the insurgency in the northeastern states, Malik admitted that the region was alienated from mainstream India.  "There has been a weakness on the part of India in integrating the northeast with the rest of the country. The development of the northeast was thought of by the authorities much later," he maintained.  He also favoured the continuance of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, whose repeal has been demanded by several rights groups.  "Though there have been aberrations, they have not been deliberate... such things are not taught organizationally. But this is what happens if the army is used for long to combat internal conflicts," Malik pointed out.



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