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Monday, 27 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 27 Sep 2010

  Computerised pay system for Army jawans 
Mumbai, September 26 The 64-year-old system of manually paying salary to jawans of the Armoured Corps and Mechanised Infantry Regiment has made way for a computerised system which credits pay directly into their bank accounts.  With implementation of the new system, salaries of the jawans will directly be credited online into their respective bank accounts anywhere in the country and their families will also be able to withdraw money with ATM and debit cards.  This step has been taken by the Defence Accounts Department to empower the soldiers and to do away with the time-consuming method of money order through which they send money to their families.  The Controller General of Defence Accounts shifted to the new system at a function in the premises of Pay Accounts Office (ORs) ACR and MIR at Ahmednagar last week. The office is under Principal Controller of Defence Accounts, Southern Command.  This system is being implemented for all jawans throughout the country in a phased manner.  Principal Controller of Defence Accounts, Southern Command SS Sandhu said his Eight Pay and Accounts Offices were disbursing salary to a third of Indian Army and by November, all remaining PAOs will also be switched over to Monthly Payment System. — PTI

Top firms opt out of Army chopper deal
Man Mohan Our Roving Editor  New Delhi, September 26 American ‘Bell Helicopter’ and Italian ‘ Agusta Westland’ have withdrawn their bids for the 197 Advance Light Helicopters (ALH) being acquired for the Army for search and rescue operations. The $600 million deal, they have complained, is being processed in favour of the French-German combine ‘Eurocopter’.  It is unusual for such global firms to withdraw from the race after two years of the tender ‘process’, alleging ‘bias’. Augusta Westland, ironically, won the bid in February this year for supplying 12 choppers at a cost of Rs 3,546.17 crore, eight of which would be customised for VVIP transportation. They will replace the ageing Russian made MI-8 helicopters, which are close to completing their technical life.  A representative of a firm lobbying for ‘Eurocopter’, however, quipped, “ after having failed to meet tough standards, it looks like just a case of sour grapes for our competitors.”  The ‘Eurocopter group was created in 1992 with the merger between the helicopter divisions of ‘Aerospatiale-Matra’ (France) and ‘DaimlerChrysler Aerospace’ (Germany). The group is now a subsidiary, owned wholly by ‘European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company’ (EADS), one of the three largest aerospace groups in the world.  The helicopters of remaining two bidders - Kamov of Russia and Eurocopter - are now undergoing field weapons trial exercises for final selection.  It looks like an ‘open war’ among competitors with allegations of ‘bias’ and ‘kickbacks’ flying all over. Sources said the complaints have been sent to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Defence Ministry.  Besides the Army, Air Force and the Navy too are trying to clinch a similar deal separately to suit their own combat requirements. But in all the three deals, American Bell, French Eruocopter, Italian Augusta Westland and Russian Kamov are the main bidders. Only in the Army deal, things seem to be going haywire, with two bidders alleging ‘foul play.’  In all, India is looking for 384 helicopters - 197 for the Army, 137 for the Air Force and 50 for the Navy (which intends to replace aging Chetak helicopters bought 30 years ago.)

Ex-Armyman arrested for molesting 14-year-old girl 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 27, 2010 00:05 IST Ads by Google  SBI Life Insurance – SBI Life Smart Shield. Low cost life insurance plan. Know More Now!  Pune:  A retired Lieutenant Colonel has been arrested by the Pune police on charges of molesting a 14-year-old girl who was a student in his coaching classes.   According to the police, 48-year-old Tejinder Singh runs a coaching institute by the name of Aroha classes in Pune's NIBM Road area. He first misbehaved with the girl, a Class IX student who studies Mathematics at the institute, on September 12, but the victim ignored.  Then on September 19, when he again tried to molest the girl, she told her uncle about it and the family filed a complaint with the Kondwa police. The girl's parents live in Goa.  Singh has been arrested by the Kondwa police on charges of molestation.

A tribute to Indian soldiers on Haifa Day 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 26, 2010 13:15 IST Ads by Google  SBI Life Insurance – SBI Life Smart Shield. Low cost life insurance plan. Know More Now!  New Delhi:  A moving ceremony to remember some 900 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives in liberating the Israeli port city Haifa during World War I was held for the first time at the Haifa Cemetery on September 22. (Read: Battle of Haifa - 23 Sep 1918)  This is the first time such a ceremony was held to commemorate the memory of fallen Indian soldiers.  The event was marked by a wreath laying ceremony by Ambassador of India to Israel, H E Navtej Sarna and other dignitaries. Speaking at the ceremony, Sarna underlined the important role played by the Indian soldiers during World War I and the valour shown by them in this theatre of operations.  A large number of Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives in this region during the war and nearly 900 are cremated or buried in cemeteries across Israel.      * Share this on Rediff. Every year on September 23, the Indian Army commemorates "Haifa Day" on which two brave Indian cavalry regiments helped liberate the city in 1918 following dashing cavalry action by the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade.  In the autumn of 1918, the Brigade was a part of the Allied Forces sweeping northwards through Palestine in the last great cavalry campaign in history.  During the battle for Haifa in September 1918, the Indian troops exhibited exemplary cavalry skills and bravery in a successful cavalry charge which finally culminated in the liberation of Haifa.  Captain Bahadur Aman Singh Jodha and Dafadar Jor Singh were awarded the Indian Order of Merit (IOM) and Captain Anop Singh and 2 Lt Sagat Singh were awarded the Military Cross (MC) as recognition for their bravery in this battle.  Major Thakur Dalpat Singh MC is known in the annals of history as the Hero of Haifa for his critical role in the battle for Haifa.  The action of the Indian troops has been vividly recorded in the Official History of the War- Military operation Egypt and Palestine (volume 2): "No more remarkable cavalry action of its scale was fought in the whole course of the campaign. Machine gun bullets over and over again failed to stop the galloping horses even though many of them succumbed afterwards to their injuries". This remains the only known incident in military history when a fortified town was captured by cavalry on the gallop.  A two-member Indian Army delegation led by Col. M.S. Jodha, grandson of Captain Aman Singh Bahadur, had especially come here to attend the ceremony.

CRPF jawan, Maoist killed in Jharkhand encounter
September 26, 2010 20:22 IST Tags: Central Reserve Police Force, Rajiv Ranjan, Nitish Kumar, Jehangir Khan, West Singhbhum Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  Click! One Central Reserve Police Force personnel and a Maoist were on Sunday killed in the fierce encounter that is going on since Saturday in West Singhbhum district, taking the toll to five.  A CRPF personnel and a Maoist were killed on Sunday in the encounter in Tirilposhi jungle while two policemen and an ultra died on Saturday, said Inspector General (Operation) R K Mallick. The encounter is still continuing, he said, adding more casualties on the Maoist side were reported.  Asked whether the bodies of those ultras were found, he said it would be known only when the encounter would be over. The bodies of two Maoists were recovered, he said. An injured policeman died in hospital late on Saturday night while another was killed on the spot in the encounter.  The victims were identified as Rajiv Ranjan and Jehangir Khan, both personnel of the state armed police. CRPF assistant commandant Nitish Kumar, who was injured on Saturday in the encounter, is out of danger now, the IG added.

Antony arrives in Washington for talks with Gates
PTI | 03:09 AM,Sep 27,2010  Lalit K Jha Washington, Sep 27 (PTI) Defence Minister A K Antony arrived here with a high-power team to hold wide-range of bilateral talks with top Obama administration officials which would include strengthening military-to-military ties, regional security and purchase of US defence equipments. Security issues - both regional and global - are likely to come up prominently during Antony's talks with the top officials including his US counterpart Robert Gates spread over next two days. Antony would also be meeting National Security Advisor Gen (rtd) James Jones and Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen. The Defence Minister is accompanied by Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh and Andaman and Nicobar tri-services Command Admiral D K Joshi, who are tipped to be the next Army and Navy chiefs respectively -- apart from IAF's Director General (Air/Operations) Air Marshal A K Gogoi. Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and Adviser to Defence Minister Sundaram Krishna too will be part of the high-level delegation, officials said in New Delhi. Concerned over US military aid to Pakistan being misused against India, Antony had recently asked the Obama administration to establish a "monitoring mechanism" to ensure that this does not happen. Antony had raised the issue during his meeting with both General Jones and also US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mullen, who were on a visit to New Delhi in July. The Defence Minister had told the US security top brass that American arms aid to Pakistan was disproportionate to the war on terror for which it was meant. Ahead of his meeting with the Defence Minister, Gates told Pentagon reporters last week that he wants to strengthen and expand America's military-to-military ties with India. "We are looking to expand this relationship in ways that are mutually beneficial," Gates said. "They (India) have a big competition going on for a new modern fighter. We'll probably have some conversations about that," Gates. The Defence Secretary said he had a very good visit to India last year wherein he met his Indian counterpart and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Responding to a question on India's concerns about restriction on export of high-technology items, Gates acknowledged that this is high on the agenda and he would like to see those restrictions removed. "I think that is certainly high on our list, particularly in the context of export-import, or export controls, and my view of the importance of changing those export controls in ways that better protect the things that are really important and open up trade and allow US companies to sell abroad those things that technologies that are not critical," Gates said.(MORE) PTI LKJ ZH

Stone-pelting protesters could soon be in for a shock
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi September 27, 2010, 0:26 IST  Police forces from several states, including J&K, are evaluating the non-lethal Taser to help quell civil unrest.  It may prove a major step towards ending the use of lethal force against protesters by the police. Or it could be, in the worlds of Amnesty International, "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, which is absolutely prohibited under international law".  In secret trials on September 9 at the National Security Guard headquarters at Manesar, near Delhi, seven volunteers were shot with non-lethal Taser guns. Temporarily paralysed by a 50,000-volt shock, the hardened commandoes crumpled to the floor, unable to move, speak or react.   Pluses              Minuses * Shuts down muscular control, instant submission    * Device has already caused 245 deaths globally * Non-lethal nature avoids political or legal fallout              * Activists say use akin to torture, barred by law * ‘Kasab advantage’: allows subject’s interrogation       * Shock said to interfere with heartbeat rhythms  The Taser, marketed by Taser International of the US, uses compressed gas to shoot a tiny copper barb to a distance of 30 feet. After penetrating a couple of millimetres into the targeted individual, a high-voltage electric shock is administered through a trailing wire.  This effectively shuts down all muscular control; he or she can see, hear and think, but the body is unable to react to commands from the brain. Taser International calls this “neuromuscular incapacitation”.  Indian interest in the Taser has been kindled by the deaths of more than 100 protesters in police firing in Kashmir over the summer, and in the agitation against land acquisition in UP. The trials at the NSG this month were witnessed by several state police forces and Indian Army officers.  NSG has already floated a tender for 200 non-lethal weapons to deploy with sky marshals aboard airliners and for anti-hijacking operations.  Sources say another 600 non-lethal weapons will be bought for the NSG’s regional hubs.  Taser International, which has a 20-year patent from the Indian government, points out that the Kashmir situation might never have arisen had the police been armed with Tasers.  Said Paramjit Singh, who heads Taser International’s operations in India: “Currently, India’s police forces are equipped only to kill.”  “The Taser would let them subdue protesters without the political and legal complications caused by firing live bullets at unarmed civilians. Every law enforcement officer should have the option of using a non-lethal weapon,” he added.  Singh also highlights the “Kasab advantage” that the Taser facilitates. He refers to the capture of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, whose interrogation provided crucial details of the Mumbai attack of November 26, 2008.  The police seem to agree. State police forces from J&K, Punjab, Sikkim, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, as well as the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, have shown interest or placed orders for the Taser. The UP Police have also conducted an NSG-style trial, where volunteer constables were tased to evaluate the weapon.  But Tasers are also controversial, with critics claiming that the device has already caused 245 deaths worldwide. The United Nations Committee Against Torture concluded in 2007 that the use of the Taser gun constitutes a "form of torture" and "can even provoke death".  Last year, after persistent allegations that Taser shocks interfere with heartbeat rhythms, particularly in people with pacemakers, Taser International advised law enforcement agencies to aim below the centre of the chest.  There has been no word yet on the NSG commandos or UP policemen shot during Taser trials. The BBC, however, broadcast a video on May 17, 2007 of Michael Todd, the head of Greater Manchester Police, England, demonstrating his confidence in the Taser by allowing himself to be shot in the back. The police chief, who fell forward onto his chest, admitted after recovering: “I couldn't move; it hurt like hell… I wouldn't want to do that again.”  Nevertheless, the NSG is impressed with the Taser, which is also used by several police forces around the world, such as in the UK, who have bought at least 10,000 Tasers. Experienced NSG commandos point out that a terrorist, even fatally wounded with a gunshot, can continue fighting, sometimes for hours.  With the Taser, however, suppression is instant. The weapon is especially attractive for NSG sky marshals, since firing a bullet in an airliner risks perforating the fuselage and depressurising the cabin.  The Taser system, which was on display at the INDESEC homeland security exhibition in the capital earlier this month, comes in various models. The recently launched multi-shot Taser X3 can fire 3 probes in succession, a crucial facility when presented with more than one threat simultaneously.  In the US, it is legal for a civilian to carry a Taser C2 for self-defence. This is not considered a firearm because the cartridge uses gas, not gunpowder, to launch the probes. Retailed at $1,200 and with a range of 15 feet, Taser advertises the C2 as superior to a stun gun, which must be in physical contact with the target, and to pepper spray, which is only effective up to 6 feet away.

New pay system for Army''s other ranks launched
PTI | 12:09 PM,Sep 26,2010  Controller General of Defence Accounts Nand Kishore, who formally inaugurated the Monthly Pay System, said the manual system of payment by cheque or cash was in existence since 1946, which involved quarterly closing of pay accounts of the Jawans. In view of advancement in technologies and deep penetration of banks in rural areas, this is major change after a long gap, he said, adding this is a dream project of Defence Accounts Department which has come true. The system is being implemented for all jawans throughout the country in a phased manner. Nand Kishore highlighted the importance of Armoured Corps and Mech Infantry Regiment in the battleground by giving anecdotes from Indian history as well as from World history. The new Monthly Pay System has been christened 'Project Samarth' which literally means empowerment and enablement. This is what the project intends to bring about in the lives of Jawans, a Defence spokesperson said. The Principal Controller of Defence Accounts, Southern Command S S Sandhu explained the significance of the new system and lauded the team from the Pay Accounts Offices at Ahmednagar and the PCDA (SC) who implemented the project. Sandhu said his Eight Pay and Accounts Offices are disbursing salary to a third of Indian Army and by November, all remaining PAOs will also be switched over to Monthly Payment System.

AgustaWestland questions its elimination from Indian Army’s $600 million contract
AgustaWestland questions its elimination from Indian Army’s $600 million contract : Defense news   AugustaWestand which has been shown the door in the Indian Army’s $600 million deal to purchase 197 light helicopters has questioned the reasons for its elimination. The company has not been invited for the Phase II final trials which are currently going on with two manufacturers, Eurocopter and Kamov from Russia.  The company together with its engine partner, Pratt & Whitney Canada has written to the Indian MOD that “the take off, maximum continuous, mechanical and thermal ratings, associated operating limits as well as the engine architecture and the mounting of the engine in the helicopter are the same in the AW119/RSH proposal, the trial helicopter and the final production standard helicopter”.  Earlier, elaborating the reasons for its elimination, AgustaWestand had received a communication from the Indian MoD in April this year to the effect that there was a variance in the equipment offered (engine) in the technical proposal to that fielded in the trails and to the equipment which would be in the final production standard, AgustaWestland sources told  The sources said that the issue focused on the fact that the offered engine had not finished the certification process and not deemed current production standard.  However, all vendors, Eurocopter, Kamov and itself are in the same position – all engines in the competition are non current production standard engines yet to be certified by any authority, the sources claimed.  The sources further asserted that the AgustaWestland AW119SP helicopter offered in the Indian competition meets all the RFP technical and mission requirements.  For the demanding high altitude mission, AW submitted detailed mission profiles and graphs demonstrating the ability to meet the mission.  These graphs were validated by the Customer’s team during extensive high altitude flight testing in Phase 1 of the trials.  AgustaWestland could not participate in Phase 2 of the trials (as it was by the told of its elimination) where the exact requirement should have been demonstrated. However, AgustaWestland successfully performed considerable high altitude flying in Phase 1 and by simple extrapolation of the graphs, it is clear that the helicopter can meet the demanding mission; a key requirement for the customer, the sources claimed.  One of the key requirements of the RFP was the 2 stretcher configuration. AgustaWestland has successfully demonstrated the 2 stretcher requirement, and that the helicopter can also accommodate two stretchers and 2 medical attendants in the same cabin.  Installing the stretchers is a simple 5 minute process that does not require any structural changes or attachments. It claimed that one of the other two helicopters in the race does not meet the two stretcher requirement as only one stretcher can be accommodated, the sources claimed.  The 197 helicopter deal has seen Bell Helicopter pulling out from the race earlier and Eurocopter once disqualified after being named the final bidder. The current competition was re-floated two years ago.

72 Indian officers sold their weapons for money.
Is Indian governament not giving enough salary to Indian soldiers? Posted on 8:54 AM by Army Optimist  NEW DELHI: In a shocking disclosure, the Indian Army on Friday admitted that 72 of its officers, including a serving Colonel and three Lt Colonels, posted in sensitive border districts of Rajasthan and in the Indian Army Training Team (IMTRAT) at Bhutan were part of an illegal arms selling racket.  The admission came in a status report submitted to the SC through additional solicitor general Vivek Tankha after a PIL petitioner advocate Arvind Kumar Sharma cried himself hoarse for three years and after the Supreme Court pressed for a probe into the hair-raising racket.  Weapons procured and sold off in violation of the Army Act and Customs Act to arms dealers and private persons included both prohibited and non-prohibited bore and "a total of 72 officers and one JCO were blameworthy" in these cases, the Army said quoting a report submitted by the Court of Inquiry two years ago.  Significantly, in the affidavit submitted before a Bench comprising Justices B Sudershan Reddy and S S Nijjar, the Army authorities put the gross violation to the ignorance of its personnel. It said that its officers posted at IMTRAT, Bhutan, wrongly felt that it was alright for them to import firearms and ammunition and sell them at a profit. "This needs to be corrected immediately," it said.  It gave the names of the Colonel and 3 Lt Cols along with the number of weapons traded by them -- Col Neeraj Rana (5 weapons of Army officers), Lt Col V S Rathore (17 weapons of Army officers including his weapon), Lt Col S S Rathore (5 weapons of Army officers including his own) and Lt Col B S Shekhawat (11 weapons of Army officers).  While clarifying that most of the weapons illegally traded off were not service ones but non-service patterns (NSPs), the Army said: "Forty-five officers and one JCO had sold their NSP weapons without taking sanction of competent authority in violation of SAO 1/S/96 and the Arms Act, 1959. Of these, 10 officers have since retired."  "Twenty-five officers who were posted at IMTRAT, Bhutan, were found to have imported ammunition in excess of their authorization," the status report said and detailed the disciplinary action taken against them.  Shockingly, of the 35 serving officers, one JCO and 10 retired officers who were asked by the authorities to deposit back their NSPs with the Central Ordnance Depot, Jabalpur, within three months, only four officers have been able to retrieve their weapons and deposit the same with COD Jabalpur and Chandigarh.  While disciplinary action was initiated against four who deposited back their weapons after retrieving them from arms dealers, the rest of the weapons appear to have been lost in circulation.  "Regarding 31 officers and a JCO who had sold their NSPs without sanction and failed to deposit them back with COD, these personnel are serving in various parts of the country. Their attachment orders have been issued by competent authority on August 31, 2010 with the instructions to report to the concerned formation headquarters and units forthwith. On arrival of these officers, disciplinary action will commence against them under the Army Act and Army Rules," the affidavit by the Army promised to the SC.  During the last hearing on the PIL filed by Sharma highlighting the dangerous consequences of such illegal transactions involving arms and ammunition, the Bench had said: "These are such serious allegations. We never expected such things to happen."  What had pained the court was the Centre's inaction to curb such incidents despite the Rajasthan government lodging 14 FIRs. The Bench on Friday also asked the state government to furnish an inquiry report prepared by inspector-general Umesh Mishra of the state Anti-Corruption Branch giving details of the transactions. The report dated July 15, 2007 would be submitted in a sealed cover.

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