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Thursday, 30 September 2010

From Today's Papers - 30 Sep 2010

AFT says battle casualties handled heartlessly
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, September 29 Placing on record its “great displeasure” over non-application of mind and showing heartlessness in dealing with battle casualties, the Armed Forces Tribunal has recently awarded costs of Rs 1 lakh to the wife of a disabled veteran who went missing four years ago.  The tribunal’s bench comprising Justice A.K. Mathur and Lt Gen M.L. Naidu has also directed the authorities concerned to release immediately liberalised family pension to the wife Geeta Devi along with the interest at the rate of 12 per cent from the date her husband went missing.  Geeta’s husband Yatender Singh had joined the Army in January 1999 and was deployed in Operation Rakshak / Operation Prakaram in J&K during 2003-04. In February 2004, he lost both his eyes, both hands and suffered gross injury to the right knee due to a mine detonation.  On July 24, 2006, he was being taken in a bus to Army Hospital, Delhi, by his friend. Due to some urgent work, his friend left him with the bus crew to be dropped in front of the hospital. As per the Army authorities, Yatender did not reach the hospital. An FIR was also lodged with the police. Thereafter, he was declared missing and ordinary family pension was released to Geeta, but no benefits pertaining to battle casualty were given.  The bench observed that the respondents had admitted Yatender was placed in low medical category but claimed that he was not on bonafide military duty at the time he went missing. “This is very unfortunate the way this widow has been dealt with by the respondents. It speaks volume for heartlessness and insensitivity. A person who has virtually become a living dead body, when he lost both the eyes, both the hands and received right knee injury and he was just surviving,” the bench said.  “As per rules, he should have been given a facility of an attendant to take him to the hospital but whole entreaties fell on deaf ears of an insensitive establishment. It was a very hard case in which the authorities should have provided an attendant who could have taken him from his house to the hospital but instead of this they left him dying and missing and dealt with the wife of the deceased by doling out an ordinary family pension,” the bench further observed.  Meanwhile, taking a serious view over non-compliance of its orders by the Territorial Army (TA), the AFT has summoned the force’s chief before it for an explanation.  The tribunal’s bench comprising Justice Ghanshyam Prashad and Lt Gen N.S. Brar has directed that Maj Gen A D S Grewal, Additional Director General, TA, appear before it on October 8, two days before he retires from service.  In February, the Tribunal had ordered reinstatement of a TA jawan, Pawan Kumar, who had been dismissed from service in 2007 on account of being placed in low medical category.

Sarika - the only woman officer at Nathu La
Kusum Arora/TNS  Major Sarika GodboleJalandhar, September 29 It indeed requires a great amount of courage and determination to take on a challenge and perhaps a greater amount of motivation to fulfil it. But, Major Sarika Godbole, serving at a Mountain Brigade at Nathu La is indeed an exception.  At Nathu La, situated at a height of 14, 200 ft on the Indo-China border, extreme cold conditions and rugged terrain, she is the only woman officer posted in that area. Nathu La is the highest brigade headquarters falling under the Eastern Command.  The officer has been posted as an interpreter at the brigade headquarters since 2008 to decipher talks held during the annual flag meetings between India and China. The flag meetings are held twice a year. While on May 15, it is held on the Chinese side of the border, on September 15, it is held on the Indian side. “I am not doing anything special. It is a part of the duty and during the meetings, I translate talks for Indian as well as Chinese officers. It thrills me to serve in this part of the country,” she said.  She added that it was indeed a lifetime opportunity to serve in that area. “Usually not many women officers get a chance to serve in the field areas. Especially, serving at Nathu La on the Indo-China border is an experience in itself,” she quipped. “Initially, even I faced problems due to bad weather, but things became easy when I became completely acclimatised with the terrain. Jawans as well as officers undergo a three-stage acclimatisation to bear the extreme conditions,” she maintained.  The officer hailing from Nasik in Maharashtra, completed her MSc from Pune University and joined IIM, Ahmedabad, as joint professor. She passed out from Officers Training Academy, Chennai, and joined the Army Education Corps in 2003.

Navy to get its second floating dock 
Port Blair, September 29 The Indian Navy plans to acquire its second floating dock, at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore, which will be stationed at the strategically significant Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  The Floating Dock Navy-1 (FDN1) is currently put into optimum use and with the number of warships stationed on the coast set to increase significantly in the next decade, the need was felt for the second one. The Japanese-built FDN1, which is designed by the Indian Institute of Technology, is the only floating dock of Navy and has a lifting capacity of 11,500 tonnes. “The Navy has already floated expression of interest for the FDN-2 and plans for procurement are in an advanced stage,” a Navy official said.

Taliban, US fight to pursue peace from position of strength
The deputy governor of Gahzani province was killed by a Taliban suicide bomber. The NATO has launched an attack in the Kandahar area. But stalemate is in the offing. Hence, a peace deal is the honourable way out. CJ: Chitranjan Sawant   Wed, Sep 29, 2010 10:53:06 IST Views:               12    Comments: 2 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 1.0 / 1 votes           Latest World News :  Politics mixed with military matters makes a heady cocktail TALK PEACE and wage war simultaneously in Afghanistan. Indeed that is the new policy of both the belligerents; the NATO led Afghan army and the deadly adversary, the Taliban. A new 70-member strong Shoora, a council of wise men, has been formed by the Kabul government to talk peace with the Taliban and usher in peace in Afghanistan.   However, the push of the American- cum- Afghan forces in the last ditch battle with the Taliban in the Kandahar area is going ahead full speed. The theory is that one must negotiate peace from a position of strength. To prove the strong position, both the sides must continue fighting and gain the upper hand to bargain for more at the negotiating table.     It was in pursuance of this policy that the Taliban deputed a suicide bomber to bump off the Deputy Governor of the Ghazani province. Mohammad Kazim Allahyar, who was travelling to the airport along with his son, a nephew and some more people in a Toyota Corolla, an unarmoured car, when a suicide bomber on a mechanised rickshaw blew himself up at the rear of the Deputy Governor’s car killing self, all car occupants and a few passers- by. Ghazani is about two hours drive in the southwest of the national capital, Kabul.     It may be recalled that there are 150,000 foreign forces supported by 300,000 Afghan troops battling the Taliban. The biggest advantage that the Taliban has is a safe haven in Pakistan after crossing the no man’s land on the AFPAK borders. It is well known that the Pakistan government and people have their sympathy and support for the Taliban rebels, notwithstanding the massive American aid that they have been receiving uninterruptedly for more than a quarter of a century. Pakistan has mastered the dubious game of running with the hare and hunting with the hound at the same time.     Back in Washington DC President Barack Obama is reviewing the strategy of the most unpopular war among Americans. He had ordered the surge of 30,000 US troops at the insistence of the top commanders. Now the result of the Kandahar push is awaited before a final policy decision is taken.   History is a witness to the military defeats of foreign forces in Afghanistan for many centuries. Of course, After Raja Dasrath of Ayodhya who had defeated the Afghan forces and married Kaikeyi, the other example of a successful campaign in Afghanistan and beyond is that of Emperor Chandragupt Maurya, under the guidance of Acharya Chanakya.     He had defeated the Greek governor of Alexander the Great, Seleucus Nikator and accepted the hand of the Greek princess in marriage as his queen. Thereafter, the Mughals led disastrous campaigns in Afghanistan. Akbar had lost his friend and a commander, Raja Birbal in the inhospitable terrain of Afghanistan. Shahjehan lost Kandahar to the Persian forces and failed to recover despite many attempts. The British led Anglo-Afghan wars never met with success and names of many officers and men killed there are engraved on the India Gate in New Delhi. The Soviet army had retreated in defeat in Afghanistan in 1980s. Now the Americans are looking for a way out to disengage and go home.     Moral of the story is that the terrain and the fiercely independent nature of the people help the Afghan warriors to have better of the invading forces. Raja Dasrath of Ayodhya and Emperor Chandragupt Maurya of Patliputra are the two shining exceptions to the saga of defeat of foreign forces in Afghanistan.

Confidence building measures in Valley: Unified command meets 
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: September 29, 2010 20:55 IST Ads by Google  Luxury Home Doors Windows – European Quality. Made for India. India's #1 Window & Door Company  Gandarbal:  In Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah held a high level meeting on Wednesday where a series of measures have been decided to follow up on the all-party delegation's visit.  In the meeting, it was decided that the state government will set up two groups of senior police and Army officers in Srinagar and Jammu to identify areas where the government can de-notify the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).  The meeting also arrived at a consensus that 50 students arrested on charges of stone throwing will be released. Cases of others arrested under the strict Public Safety Act will also be reviewed.  The bunkers of security forces will be removed from 16 locations, it was decided. Meanwhile, mobile phone services have been restored in north Kashmir.      Kashmir needs a political solution, says Omar:  Earlier in the day, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addressed a rally in his constituency Ganderbal.  This is his first public rally in four months since the unrest in Valley over civilian killings.  Reaching out to the people in his constituency, the J&K Chief Minister said, "Kashmir's problem is political and should have a political solution."  Talking about the dialogue process Omar added that all parties should participate in the dialogue to make it a success.  According to sources, there will be a Unified Command meet in the evening.

Spendings stuck, India trails China in firepower
Shishir Gupta Posted online: Thu Sep 30 2010, 03:12 hrs New Delhi : A year after China paraded its military might to mark 60 years of Communist rule, an internal study by South Block shows that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is way ahead of India in terms of strategic missiles, artillery, development of indigenous military hardware and acquisition. This comparison study has been shared with the UPA government at the highest levels.  China’s defence budget, pegged at $77.5 billion, is more than twice that of India’s $32-billion but its 2009 military parade has set off alarm bells in Delhi given the shortcomings in indigenous production capability and gaps in acquisition of military hardware — for a few years now, the Defence Ministry has not been able to spend the allocated capital for modernisation of the armed forces.  This is what the internal study found:  The PLA has a clear lead over the Indian Army in terms of infantry weapons, armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and artillery guns.  The Army has no answer to the Chinese QBZ-97 Type 97-2 5.8/5.56 mm anti-riot gun, the AK-74 modified QBZ-95 Type 95 automatic rifle, the M-16 NATO rifle modification Type 95B carbine.  The 9 mm Indian Army sub-machine gun (SMG) is considered inferior to the Chinese Type 5 sound-dampener 9 mm SMG, a modified version of the German Heckler & Koch MP 5 SMG. The original HK MP-5 is used by the Special Protection Group in India.  The Indian 5.56 mm INSAS is considered superior to the Chinese 7.62 mm (Type 85) assault rifles but the PLA QBZ-95 automatic rifle is better than the Indian 7.62 mm standard issue rifle.  Indians and Chinese are even when it comes to armour on display. The Arjun main battle tank is better than the Chinese third-generation ZTZ-99G MBT, a modification of the Russian T-72 battle tank. The Indian T-90 is superior to the Chinese ZTZ-96 A MBT in terms of firepower and accuracy. Even an Indian T-72 is a match.  India has no answer to China’s ZRD-05 tracked amphibious assault vehicles, ZBD-03 tracked AB paratroopers combat vehicle and WJ-03B wheeled armed vehicle used by the Snow Leopard Commando units.  China’s tracked APCs are superior to Indian APCs as they are copies of the Russian BMP-III — India still uses the Russian BMP-I with a 30 mm cannon and anti-tank guided missile.  On the artillery front, the Indian Army can’t match the PLZ-05 155-mm tracked self-propelled (SP) howitzer, PLZ-07 122-mm tracked SP howitzer, PLL-05 120-mm wheeled SP mortar and PTL-02 100-mm wheeled SP howitzer. Both countries use the same Russian 300-mm multiple launch rocket system.  The two armies are evenly matched when it comes to anti-tank guided missiles and anti-aircraft guns. PLA’s Red Arrow missile is a notch below the NAG anti-tank missile; the Indian air defence gun ZSU-2S6M1 has an edge over the Chinese PGZ-04A gun.  India is still developing the Sagarika long-range missile as an answer to the Chinese DF-31A ICBM. Indian cruise missiles like Brahmos suffer from range limitations while the Chinese DH-10 land attack cruise missile can strike targets beyond 1,500 km. The YJ-83 anti-ship missile has a 500-km range.  New Delhi has no answer to the YJ-62 A shore-based anti-ship cruise missile with a range of over 300 km. But the Agni series of short range, medium range and intermediate range missiles are more than a match for the Chinese DF-11A SRBM, DF-15A SRBM, DF-21C MRBM.  Chinese fighters J-7, J-8 and J-10 are either equal to or a notch below the IAF MiG-21, MiG-27 and Mirages. The PLA’s J-11B fighter has an equal in the IAF SU-30. The Indian Jaguar deep penetration strike aircraft is more than a match for the Chinese JH-7A Flying Leopard. IAF refuellers and AWACS are far superior to the Chinese HY-6 refuellers and KJ-2000 early warning aircraft.

India’s own Bofors ready, field trials in progress
September 30, 2010   6:47:36 AM  Kestur Vasuki | Bangalore  In a significant development that would provide the much-needed impetus to artillery’s firepower, India is ready with an indigenous 155mm, 52-calibre state-of-the-art gun. The Bangalore-based defence public sector undertaking, Bharat Earth Movers Limited, is ready with the wheeled gun and field trials have already started at its testing tracks in the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), Karnataka.  This development comes in the backdrop of the fact that the artillery has not purchased a long-range gun in about 20 years following the Bofors gun controversy. The Government recently gave the nod to inviting global tenders for the 155mm guns and the proposed contract for over 1,000 guns, besides other range of artillery guns including Howitzers, worth over `20,000 crore.  Talking exclusively to The Pioneer, BEML chairman and managing director VRS Natarajan said they were the nodal processing agency for this gun, which would enhance the lethality of the defence forces. The gun is part of a technology transfer between a Slovakian company, DMD, and BEML to produce this high-precision gun for the Indian armed forces.  Natarajan said, “We have already been made a nodal processing agency for the 155mm, 52-calibre gun which is a state-of-the-art weapon to be inducted by India. We will produce and supply this to the defence forces. It’s a technology transfer; India wants to go for a very upgraded tank which is faster, lighter and able to have a greater fire power with lethality.”  He also said, “For the wheeled gun project, we have tied up with a Slovakian company, DMD, for a defence offset and the vehicle has already been made available for trial.  The time frame is about three years from the date of order by the defence forces. We expect it to commence in the current year or at most the next year.”  According to the BEML chief, the company was also looking at the tracked version of the same gun, which will give better fire power. “We have already set up a state-of-the-art, world-class test track. We have a firing range too,” Natarajan said, adding that the PSU was also in the process of setting up infrastructure for the overhauling of T72 and T90 tanks.  According to officials, the 155mm, 52-calibre gun — which is already in use by NATO countries - would augment Indian capabilities. At present, BEML has set up a testing range at KGF and started the trial of Suzana guns. This wheeled gun would increase the artillery power of the Indian Army. The gun’s trial evaluation is over and it is waiting for the request for proposal from the Indian Army, the officials added.

IAF mounts air cover for CWG 
K.V. Prasad  Army extends ground support as paramilitary forces join Delhi police for security    TAKING NO CHANCES: Security forces deployed in New Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games.  NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force has mounted unprecedented air defence surveillance and protection with adequate ground support from the Army ahead of the Commonwealth Games that get under way here on Sunday.  The overall security management for the multi-discipline event is being coordinated by the Union Home Ministry with Delhi police capacity being augmented by police from Central paramilitary forces.  Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday reviewed the security arrangements and saw for himself the preparations in the control room located inside the North Block.  Holistic air defence  The IAF plan provides for holistic air defence against all conceivable aerial threats, official sources said, adding that its radars along with those of the Airports Authority of India will scan the skies round-the-clock.  Besides perceived conventional threats from hijacked aircraft, low speed and high speed aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), it envisages unconventional threats including those from micro-light aircraft, para/hang gliders, balloons and remote flying aero-models.  The Delhi police have been trained by the IAF to detect low-altitude flying objects, especially in urban areas, which police snipers would bring down while two IAF UAVs will be hovering between 6,000 feet and 10,000 feet to gather input on any intruding aircraft.  The airspace will be closed for all unscheduled flights during the Games.  The Army Air Defence will provide support from the ground besides the Air Force deploying surface-to-air missiles like Pechora, OSA-AK and Igla systems.  India's frontline fighter Su-30 MKI, MiG-21-Bison and MiG-29 will be on Operational Readiness (stand-by) mode at air bases in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, Sirsa and Adampur in Haryana and Srinagar during the period to tackle any intrusion.  In addition, the IAF will provide combat air patrol and reconnaissance through MI-17 and MI-35 attack helicopters while Chetak and Cheetak helicopters will conduct reconnaissance of the Games areas.

Indian Army Lodges Protest Over LoC Firing 
Jammu, Sep 29 – The Indian Army has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani Army over the latter’s latest bout of unprovoked firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district Tuesday night, terming it as an act aimed at escalating tensions on the border.  Army sources said two soldiers were injured in Pakistani firing, which started late Tuesday night and continued till Wednesday morning.  Pakistani troops fired mortar shells and rockets at the Indian posts of Kripan, Kranti, Roza, Battal and other posts along the LoC in Krishna Ghati and Jhallas areas of Poonch, 240 km north of Jammu.  The Indian side too retaliated to this ‘unprovoked firing’, according to the army sources.  The Indian Army suspected that the Pakistani Army was seeking to push in militants from across the LoC into the Indian side. But the army sources claimed that the attempt was foiled by the vigilant soldiers.  Meanwhile, the local commanders held a flag meeting at a forward post in Poonch. The Indian side conveyed in strong terms that the repeated violation of ceasefire and firing from across the LoC were causing tensions.  Pakistani side denied, but the Indian commander insisted that Pakistan should accept the truth and desist from such acts, the sources said.

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