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Friday, 13 August 2010

From Today's Papers - 13 Aug 2010

IAF gets green signal to fire back at Naxals
 Helicopter crew will only use sideward-mounted machine guns  New Delhi, August 12 The IAF has got the government's permission to fire back at Naxals in extremist-hit areas in self-defence, highly placed Air Force sources said today. The government's nod to the IAF's request made in September last comes at a time when a debate is raging on whether India should use its armed forces against Left-wing extremists, whom Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described as the gravest internal security threat.  The IAF currently deploys two of its Mi-17s and two Dhruv helicopters in anti-Naxal operations. It had lost one of its personnel when a helicopter ferrying election officials and material during the Chhattisgarh assembly polls was fired at by suspected Naxals a couple of years ago. The government had given permission to the IAF to defend itself from the extremists’ fire and had laid out conditions on the use of small arms in self-defence sometime in October-November last year.  Consequently, the IAF has fitted sideward-mounted machine guns on its helicopters flying in Naxal-affected areas basically for logistics, personnel transport and casualty evacuation of paramilitary forces engaged in fighting the Maoists, the sources said.  These guns would be operated by IAF commandos belonging to Garud units, who would be on board the helicopters every time they go out on sorties, the sources said. Defence Minister AK Antony had told Parliament in November last that though no offensive military action had been envisaged while using the IAF helicopters in anti-Naxal operations, there was no specific approval required for action in self-defence.  However, the IAF has proposed a draft 'Rules of Engagement' to regulate such action, in order to avoid any ambiguity and damage to the helicopters or injury to their occupants, he had said replying to members' questions.  Among the conditions laid out were that no indiscriminate firing should be carried out and that the Garuds should be sure of the source of the attack on the helicopters before retaliatory fire was unleashed.  “The IAF helicopter crew will not use the conventional heavy fire power weapons such as rockets and other guns on board, but only the sideward-mounted machine guns. They will use the weapons only if fired upon,” the sources said.  The IAF, the sources said, had obtained the government's approval recently to withdraw 17 of its Mi-17 helicopters that are currently in operation with various UN missions. Once the number of its helicopters increased, it could think of sparing more choppers for the paramilitary forces that were combating the Maoists after assessing the situation, the sources said.  They said for the use of its helicopters in Maoist-hit areas, the IAF had asked the state police and the paramilitary to take a number of precautions such as sanitising the helipad areas. “If the Naxals have rockets, as it is being suggested, the security forces would sanitise the area up to the range of these rockets, be it 600 metres or more, from the helipads,” the sources said. — PTI

New OTA in Gaya, says Army chief
Shubhadeep Choudhury Tribune News Service  Bangalore, August 12 Army chief General VK Singh today announced that the Army Service Corps Centre (North) would be shifted from Gaya in Bihar to Bangalore. VK Singh, who first made the announcement in the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister at a function here, later told reporters that the shifting was part of the “relocation policy” of the Army.  An officers training academy, second in the country (another is in Chennai), would be set up in Gaya to compensate that area, Singh said.  The decision to relocate the ASC Centre (North) is in conformity with the steps taken by the Army earlier to shift Army institutions from the north to the southern metropolis to strengthen the ASC set up here.  The Army School of Mechanical Transport (ASMT) was shifted to Bangalore from Faizabad (Uttar Pradesh) in 1976. In May 1999, the ASC School, Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh), was merged with the ASC Centre (South) and ASMT, with the merged institution christened the ASC Centre and College, Bangalore.

AFT removes anomalies in disability pension rules
Extends broad-banding plan benefits to thousands of pensioners  Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, August 12 In a landmark judgment affecting thousands of disabled personnel, the Armed Forces Tribunal yesterday extended the benefits of “broad-banding” disability pension to those who are released on the completion of their terms of engagement or on superannuation. Earlier, these benefits were applicable only to those invalided out of service on medical grounds.  This had resulted in a peculiar situation wherein the disability pension for an individual discharged even a single day before his actual date of discharge or normal retirement was fixed on the basis of higher disability percentage, while a person discharged on his actual date is not entitled to the same.  Acting upon a petition filed by former vice-chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi, the Bench comprising Justice NP Gupta and Lt Gen AS Bahia held that withholding the benefit of broad-banding from certain categories of ex-servicemen by the government was discriminatory. The pension of a large number of disabled ex-servicemen may now be enhanced.  In order to curtail medical subjectivity and mottled declaration of disability percentages for similar disabilities by different medical boards, the government had initiated a system of “broad-banding” or “rounding-off” of disability percentages in which it was provided that disability percentages for 20-49 per cent, 50-75 per cent and 76-100 per cent categories would be treated as 50, 75 and 100 per cent, respectively, for calculating disability pension.  The Ministry of Defence, however, added a line in the sanction letter that broad-banding would be applicable only to “invalided” personnel and not to those disabled persons who are released on the completion of terms or on superannuation.  Distinguishing the present case from a Supreme Court judgment in Lt Col PK Kapur vs UOI, where the principle of broad-banding was rejected, the Bench observed that the reason behind the concept of broad-banding and statutory rules concerned had not been then brought to the notice of the SC by the Defence Ministry and, hence, the judgment rendered without full disclosure of facts and law was sub-silentio and not binding on other courts as per the SC’s own rulings.  The MoD had “misleadingly” informed the SC in Kapur’s case that broad-banding was introduced to grant benefit to personnel whose career was cut short due to invalidation. Documents, however, show that the policy was in fact introduced to avoid subjectivity and variance in calculating disability percentage. Further, the SC was also not informed that according to rules, superannuating disabled personnel are deemed as “invalided” for the purpose of granting disability pension.

Ladakh Floods Army godsend, says survivor 
Leh, August 12 At a time when people in the Valley are fighting pitched battles with security forces, for 18-year-old Wahid, a victim of the deadly cloudburst, the Army was godsend.  Lying at the Army hospital here, Wahid, a vegetable vendor from Budgam in Kashmir, said: “I was sleeping in my shop with two others when the water suddenly gushed in. I was swept away for over a kilometre before I could grab a window bar and hold on to it.”  Wahid says one of his friend was washed away while another was rescued and now has been sent back to Srinagar.  The youngster was finally saved by the Army and brought to the hospital. Timely treatment meant that his fracture, which could also have resulted in complete paralysis, was taken care of.  “The Army has been extremely nice. I am being looked after properly here. Had it not being for them, I would have been one among the many killed,” he said. “I am thankful to the Army. The men were godsend,” the youth added. — PTI

Pak military would not change its India centric policy: former ISI chief
Press Trust of India / Washington August 12, 2010, 15:32 IST  A former ISI chief credited with helping in creation of Afghan Taliban, has said his country's army would not change its India-centric policy, unless the Kashmir issue is resolved.  "The kind of terrorism which is going on in Pakistan is due to Kashmir issue," Hamid Gul, the former head of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) who is also believed to have created Kashmiri militants groups claimed in the CNN's "Connect the World" programme. Gul was responding to the question as to why Pak military remains India centric.  "The second (reason) is because of the wrongful occupation of Afghanistan, by the allied forces, it's very wrongful," he argued.  "So I think that proud nation is being really ravaged which is very wrong. So, this is the root cause – unless you address the root cause, you are not going to find the solution, as far as Pakistan's orientation towards India is concerned that is a reality, and Indians themselves are making it a reality," Gul claimed.  "This is amazing that India continues to aim at Pakistan and considers it the enemy – Kashmir dispute is still going on; Kashmir movement is very much on the boil, and at this time it is expected that Pakistan should shift forces from the Eastern border and transfer them to the Western border – it is not possible, we don't have the resources," he said.    The former ISI chief told the CNN that the Soviet occupation was wrong, and so is the American occupation.  "And that Afghan nation will not accept that position, Afghan nation has never accepted for past 5000 years, they won't accept it now. So I don't regret it at all, because at that time the whole world was with us.  "I think then America should be the first to regret that adventure at that time," he argued.  Gul argued that there can be no peace in Afghanistan without Mullah Omar.  "I think Mullah Omar has to be spoken to – that's very important – because without him no settlement in Afghanistan can take place. He symbolises the national resistance of Afghanistan against the occupation," he said.  Noting that the US for its operations in Afghanistan is depended on a long line of communication, the logistic support is coming through Pakistan.  "And Pakistan is being destabilised by India – their ally. This is one problem, and you know now the floods have cut off the lines of communication. Karachi rioting is creating another problem, so you cannot depend on this logistical tail.   And the second is the intelligence input. If Wikileaks is any reflection of the kind of intelligence input that the American forces are getting, then I can already conclude what would be the outcome," he said.  The leaks by the website whistleblower Wikileaks had pointed out that ISI continued to have links with Taliban and other militant groups fighting US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

J&K: Army foils infiltration bid, militant killed
August 12, 2010 22:55 IST Tags: Line of Control, Army, Veerbhadeeshwar, Jammu, Rajouri Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  The army foiled an infiltration bid shooting dead a militant in an encounter along the Line of Control [ Images ] in Rajouri district on Thursday.  While patrolling the LoC in the forward belt of Veerbhadeeshwar in Noushera sector, 150 km from Jammu, the troops detected some movement and challenged a group of infiltrating militants late this afternoon, police sources said. Militants fired on the troops and an encounter ensued in which one infiltrating militant was killed, they said, adding, one AK rifle, two magazines and a rucksack carrying various material including ammunition and explosive material has been recovered from the site of the gunbattle.

Two soldiers drown in swimming pool
2010-08-12 23:30:00  Two Indian Army soldiers drowned in a swimming pool in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur district late Thursday evening, police said.  Rakesh Kumar and Lakhwinder drowned while bathing in the swimming pool at the Defence Services Officers' Institute in Kanpur, some 80 km from Lucknow.  'Preliminary investigations indicate that initially Rakesh started drowning in the swimming pool following which Lakhwinder came to his rescue. Later, both of them drowned,'' Deputy Superintendent of Police Amar Shahi told reporters in Kanpur.  'The two were posted in Kanpur with the 2 Sikh Regiment,'' he added.

Army chief unveils Rs 600 crore Bangalore housing project
2010-08-12 18:40:00 Last Updated: 2010-08-13 00:34:27    Army-chief-Singh_280  Bangalore: The Army Welfare Housing Organization (AWHO) Thursday launched a Rs.600 crore ($128 million) project for army personnel at Whitefield on the outskirts of this tech hub.  The Indian Army chief, General V.K. Singh, unveiled the massive project with a groud-breaking ceremony in the presence of Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and other dignitaries.  'This huge project is a major step towards realizing the dream of owning a decent shelter of the defence personnel, who otherwise spend the best years of their life in the service of the nation at various places,' Singh said on the occasion.  The project will have 1,524 apartments of 2/3/4 bedrooms configuration with penthouses on the 13th and 14th floors and will be ready for occupation by April 2012.  'The housing complex will have 29 towers in seven blocks set amidst green landscaped open spaces,' an Awho official said on the occasion.  The chief minister assured the armed forces of his government's commitment to accord approvals for the speedy implementation of the project.  'We have already waived off development charges of Rs.1 crore due to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) from the housing project,' Yeddyurappa said.  AWHO was formed in 1978 to build houses for serving and retired army personnel and their widows in select stations across the country.

1 comment:

  1. LT COL R S JOHAR14 August 2010 at 21:24

    Though the anomolies have been removed but a rider of invalidating has been added which may create doubts in minds of civilians of banks regardiing rules.



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