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Sunday, 5 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 05 Dec 2010

Navy nabs 19 foreigners in Lakshadweep  New Delhi, December 4 An Indian warship on anti-piracy patrols in the Arabian Sea has apprehended 19 foreign nationals, including 14 suspected Pakistanis, on board a dhow sailing suspiciously off the Bitra Island in the Lakshadweep Islands chain.  INS Rajput, a destroyer, was on patrol in the Exclusive Economic Zone west of Bitra in the Lakshadweep Islands when it spotted the dhow sailing suspiciously at around 2pm yesterday. “INS Rajput was on anti-piracy combing operations in the Eastern Arabian Sea and it apprehended a suspicious dhow. The dhow, with 19 foreigners on board, is being escorted to Kavaratti in the Lakshadweep Islands to be handed over to the police,” a Navy spokesperson said here today.  Sources said 14 of the 19 people are suspected to be Pakistani nationals and the rest Iranians. However, they refused to give further details. They said no arms and ammunition were found on the dhow and the apprehended people said they came to the sea to fish. Sources, however, said that the nets on board the dhow were dry.  The successful operation comes just four days after India deployed a multi-ship force in the Arabian Sea, which has been witnessing a spurt in piracy in the recent weeks, to ward off the sea brigands operating there. — PTI

Armymen ‘assault’ CBI search team in Pune  Pune, December 4  Army personnel at the Military Command Hospital here allegedly locked up and manhandled a team of CBI officials, after which the sleuths registered a complaint with the police against a Major General for obstructing government officials from performing their duties.  A CBI team, accompanied by the local police, went to the hospital premises yesterday following a complaint from a vendor engaged in supplying medicines and surgical equipment alleging irregularities in purchases and seeking of bribe by an officer of the rank of Lt Colonel, official sources said here. However, the CBI team, on reaching the hospital, were first locked up and then surronded by nearly 40 lathi-wielding Army personnel, the agency said in its complaint to the Pune police, a copy of which has been sent to agency headquarters in Delhi.  According to Vidya Kulkarni, CBI-ACB Superintendent, the CBI officials sought the assistance of the police to go ahead with the searches, to which Maj Gen S S Panwar, Commandant, Command hospital, objected. The CBI claimed that at the behest of the Major General, the Army personnel did not allow its officials to perform the duties. The CBI officials were later allowed to leave without performing their duties.  However, late in the night, the sleuths carried out the searches with a larger presence of the police and sezied some documents, sources said. Some documents might have already been removed by Army officials, CBI apprehends. A Command Hospital spokesman denied the CBI team was manhandled. — PTI

Sarkozy for India in UNSC Shubhadeep Choudhury & Shiv Kumar Tribune News Service  Bangalore/Mumbai, December 4 India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and its candidacy for the Nuclear Suppliers Group today got vocal support from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who described India as a “stabilising factor in Asia”.  Sarkozy did not explicitly call Pakistan an “exporter of terror” — a remark that British Prime Minister David Cameroon made during his visit to Bangalore earlier this year — but expressed concern over the use of Pakistan’s soil for terror acts beyond its borders.  Addressing a gathering at the ISRO Satellite Centre in Bangalore, Sarkozy said, “Pakistan and Afghanistan are a major source of terror… We need a stable, democratic and prosperous Pakistan that is fully engaged in the fight against terrorism and determined to prevent its territory from serving as a base for terrorist acts, regardless of the country targeted.”  The French President said the recent election of India to the Security Council for two years should serve as the prelude for the permanent Indian presence within the UN Security Council. “How could a country with one billion people be left out of the Security Council?” he said.  Sarkozy, who reached Bangalore this morning with his glamorous wife Carla Bruni and French officials and business representatives to kick off his second visit to India, said the UN Security Council must also be enlarged by the inclusion of Germany, Japan, Brazil and an African and an Arab country.  “What is at stake here is the UN’s ability to respond to 21st century crisis using 21st century instruments. It is a matter of realism,” he said.  Lauding India’s role in social and economic development programmes in war-ravaged Afghanistan, Sarkozy said the opening of Afghanistan’s economy, the fight against drug trafficking and the establishment of a secure regional environment demanded the cooperation of all Afghanistan’s neighbours. “India must assume its full role (in Afghanistan) in the process,” he said.  The French President extended full support to India’s civil-nuclear programme. He said nuclear energy would now form the focus of Indo-French cooperation. Noting that 80 per cent of France’s electricity requirement was met though nuclear power plants, Sarkozy said France’s decision to rely on nuclear energy had proved visionary and ensured its energy independence.  Notably, Sarkozy would reach Mumbai on Tuesday along with a high-powered delegation comprising around 60 CEOs of top companies from his country. Those part of his delegation include officials of companies like Dassault, EADS and Areva, who are looking to sign multi-million dollar contracts with Indian firms, according to industry bodies here.  The biggest deal that Sarkozy is expected to oversee is the signing of the agreement between French nuclear equipment major Areva and the Nuclear Power Corporation (NCP) of India. As per the agreement between the two countries, Areva is to build two European pressurised reactors (EPR) for NPC’s nuclear power complex scheduled to be built at Jaitapur in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district.  From two plants initially, the complex will have six nuclear reactors by 2030. The other big deal to be signed between the two sides is a $1.2 billion contract to refurbish 56 Mirage 2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force.  Dassault is the frontrunner for the deal, according to French trade officials here.  In Mumbai itself, the groundwork is being done for the signing of deals worth hundreds of crores of rupees.

DRDO readies hybrid armour for tanks Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, December 4 The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a specialised ‘hybrid’ armour that will make tanks safer in battle and somewhat immune to anti-tank missiles. The DRDO’s Pune-based High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has worked on the new armour.  Dr A Subanandha Rao, HEMRL Director, said the hybrid armour would take care of tandem warheads and also kinetic energy projectiles aimed at tanks in the battlefield. It would increase the survivability rate of tanks.  Tandem warheads and kinetic energy projectiles are much more dangerous than the anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) that are currently used. The kinetic energy projectiles have rod warhead with multiple sections, each enclosing a projectile and an explosive charge. These can prove to be lethal for the tank and its crew in a tank battle. Most modern-day tanks built by major tank makers in the US and Ukraine are now incorporating the hybrid armour. The tandem warheads also work on similar lines. The hybrid armour will drive back incoming tandem warheads and kinetic energy. It will work almost on the same pattern on which the HEMRL developed the explosive reactive armour (ERA) for the T-72 series of tanks.  The hybrid armours are likely to be used on the latest Russian-origin T-90 tanks and the indigenous Arjun tanks, Rao said, adding that the Army had been involved at every stage of testing and developing.

Lt Gen Hasnain takes over as new GOC of Chinar Corps December 04, 2010 20:27 IST Tags: GOC Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Hasnain, AVSM, Lt Gen N C Marwah, VSM Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  Lt Gen S A Hasnain on Saturday took over as the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the strategically most important Kashmir [ Images ] Valley-based corps of the Indian army [ Images ].  Lt Gen N C Marwah, AVSM, GOC Chinar Corps handed over charge to Lt Gen Hasnain, AVSM, SM, VSM, after having commanded the Corps for one year.  In a sombre, yet impressive ceremony, Lt Gen Marwah laid wreath at the War memorial in the Badamami Bagh cantonment that houses the Corps headquarters.  A large number of officers were present on the occasion to bid adieu to the General Officer, who is proceeding as commander-in-chief Andaman and Nicobar command.  Gen Hasnain on assuming command, laid wreath at the War Memorial in the Badami Bagh cantonment.  The general is no stranger to the Valley, having commanded the Uri Brigade and the Dagger Division, a defence spokesman in Srinagar [ Images ] said in a statement.  He said that before assuming command of the Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Hasnain was commanding a Strike Corps in the Southern Theatre.

Army chief appeals to techies to join the forces Akhilesh Kumar Singh, TNN, Dec 5, 2010, 02.50am IST PILANI (JHUNJHUNU): Napoleon's famous maxim said that, "an army marches on its stomach," but for today's increasingly technology-reliant forces, logistics is now about more than keeping the forces fed.  As Indian forces, like their global counterparts, are in a modernisation mode, the chief of army staff, General Vijay Kumar Singh, on Saturday appealed to the premier institutes' grads to consider Indian defence services as one of their potential employers.  "I wish to see some of you as part of the Indian Army," said General Singh, while addressing a packed audience at the BITS-Pilani auditorium here.  The Indian Army boss was on Saturday back to his alma mater Birla Public School (BPS) from where he had passed 10th standard in 1966 before being commissioned into the 2nd Rajput regiment in 1970.  Prior to taking part in the 67th annual function of the (BPS), Gen Singh addressed faculty and students at the BITS-Pilani auditorium, where he explored possibilities for the Indian army, which, he said, needed civil society support in its technology innovation missions.  "We have various stairs of development for which we need the civil society help as there are several R&D activities of which the Army remains devoid. Time has come when defence forces and the civil society experts work in tandem to get best results in the larger interest of the country," he said.  He said the central surveillance system is one of the areas, where qualified experts could chip in immediately.  General Singh said his visit to the BITS could be considered as a step towards a forthcoming concerted exchange programme between premier institutes and the Indian Army to collaborate on numerous R&D activities.  The Indian Army chief averred the army is not what it used to be in old days as a revolution was taking place in the military establishments.  "In war, there are no seconds, there are only firsts and the rest are losers, so we have to keep pursuing modern day innovations with diligence for which the army is exploring tie-ups with the prestigious institutes and extract maximum advantage from it," the army chief told one of the most intelligent lot of the academia.  The Indian Army has been pilloried for alleged collusion of a few of army personnel in scams like Adarsh Society and Gen Singh has already expressed regret over the rotten values in defence services. The occasion at Pilani wasn't apt to make another bid at redemption, but the Army chief, again reiterated, "The strength of the Indian Army still lies in its core values, which remain sacrosanct. Our soldiers fight for three things: Naam (integrity), namak (honour) and nishaan (fidelity) and we believe in high standard of morality."  He said the Army imbibes certain values among its personnel to ensure that they are capable of taking difficult decisions on their own.

She’s really in the Army now  Mirror speaks to Nirja Ojha, NDA graduate, who is one of the 12 women officers who have been given permanent commission by the Indian Army for the first time in history  Vishakha Sharma  Posted On Saturday, December 04, 2010 at 03:31:07 PM    Permanent Commission in the Indian Armed forces, which was an option only for male officers, has landed in the kitty of lady officers as well. For the first time in history, the Indian Army will now be according permanent commissions to 12 lady officers in its legal and education branches.  Lady officers, who could only serve for a maximum time span of 14 years in the army, after passing out from the Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Chennai, are now being considered for permanent commission, after the Delhi High Court passed an order in March, asking the armed forces to provide female officers with the opportunity to become career officers on par with male officers.  Among the 12 proud lady officers, Capt. Nirja Ojha is the only one who served at NDA, Pune, for three years. Pune Mirror had a tete -a- tete with her about her tenure in the armed forces till now, and her views on this new decision.  “I am happy beyond words! Being one of the first 12 women officers to get a permanent commission is good enough a reason for me to celebrate and be proud. I appreciate this great step by the Indian Army, and I salute them for it.” said Capt. Ojha. “Since all of us are from Army Education Core (AEC), we won’t be going to the battle grounds. We can’t really be compared with our male counterparts in the army, because we won’t be commanding a unit. But we will now have the scope to earn higher ranks like Lt. Cols, Cols and above.” she continued. “Getting this permanent commission has been a relief for us. Earlier, lady officers had to leave the army after serving for 14 years. And after serving for 14 years, it was a challenge for ambitious women to start all over again in some other field. However, I feel that our future will now be safe and without such worries.” she said.  How was it at NDA? “It was a great experience serving at NDA for over three years, teaching Military Geography to the cadets. I’ll cherish the time spent here always.”  So does this upgrade with the permanent commission inspire you to continue serving in the armed forces till you retire? “As of now I do plan to continue here, and to do my best to earn the senior ranks, till I retire. I love and respect each and everything about my profession. Also, My father was in the Airforce, so I am aware about defence lifestyle, being a part of it since childhood.”  Being one of the first women to get the permanent commission is a good reason to party, did you? “Well, officially, there has been no party yet, and unofficially, I am looking forward to a great evening with my family soon.”  Arms and the woman  1. Hitherto, women officers from the medical and dental branches of the Army Medical Corps were the ones to get permanent commission and some of them have even gone to become Lt. Generals in the Medical Services. 2. There are about 1, 100 women serving in the army in various non- combat branches like Education, Legal, Supply and Ordnance Corps etc.  The 12 women officers given pemanent commission:  1. Smita Mishra 2. Himani Pant 3. Vandana Tiwari 4. Mona Kulbir Singh 5. Anuradha Sharma 6. Karuna Thapyal 7. Reema Sobti 8. Nirja Ojha 9. Karuna Thakur 10. Astha Kotnala 11. Kaushak Nandani Arun 12. P S Lata

Pakistan – a rogue state with a rogue army (Comment)  Perhaps the most disturbing piece of information available from the latest Wikileaks disclosures is the United States’ realisation about the durability of the links between the Pakistan Army and terrorists. As Anne Paterson, the US ambassador in Islamabad, has noted, no amount of aid from Washington will make the army cut its ties with religious extremists.  Equally upsetting for India is its belief that closer Indo-US ties will increase Pakistan’s paranoia and make it move closer to the ‘Afghan and Kashmir-focussed terrorist groups’. The hint in this assertion that it may be advisable for the US to cool its relations with India is not unlike the earlier observations by General Stanley McChrystal (who has since been dismissed for insubordination) that the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan will ‘encourage Pakistani counter-measures’.  Again, the implicit suggestion was that India must terminate its ‘development efforts’ in Afghanistan so that Pakistan will not embrace the terror groups more closely. This weird logic of Patterson’s and McChrystal’s analyses negates the time-honoured concept of dealing with terrorists, which is not to submit to their demands since it will only encourage them to persist with their anarchic lawlessness.  Yet, in the case of Pakistan’s now widely acknowledged bonhomie with the militant Islamic fundamentalists, the argument of at least a section of the US establishment is that Pakistan will continue to boost terrorism unless India stops even its humanitarian and development efforts in Afghanistan.  So the good guys must be criticised in the mistaken belief that this will induce the bad guys to behave. But the obvious counterpoint is that any such abject retreat before a blackmailer will only persuade the latter to up his demands. Indians are likely to see in this curiously indulgent American attitude a continuation of the pro-Pakistani and anti-Indian policies dating back to the former US secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, during the cold war.  This biased attitude was discernible even after the horrendous Mumbai massacres of Nov 26, 2008, when the US ambassador in New Delhi said there was ‘no clear evidence’ of the involvement of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the attack and the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand refused to enter the ‘blame game’ between India and Pakistan. Continuing in this vein in 2009, Hillary Clinton opposed any ‘premature dissemination’ of Pakistan’s role in the carnage.  It is not impossible that this insouciance towards such a grave tragedy was based on the belief that India, rather than the West, will remain the primary target of the terrorists. The apparent weakening of the Al Qaeda and the fact that the US has been able to prevent a repeat of 9/11 seem to have persuaded the West that it is now safer than before.  Since its current seeming invulnerability has been ascribed to improved intelligence and preventive measures, the US and the four other countries sought to blame the failure of Indian intelligence for the Mumbai outrage rather than Pakistan.  It is noteworthy that by leaning towards Pakistan, the US is ignoring its own Kerry-Lugar legislation linking US aid to the assertion of civilian supremacy in Pakistan and the reduction of military influence. Although the army remains so much of a dominant force that it was thinking of toppling yet another civilian president, as a Wikileaks document has revealed, there is no reduction in the quantum of American largesse.  From the earlier turning of the blind eye by the US to Pakistan’s complicity in terrorism to the present resigned acceptance of this inconvenient fact, it is obvious that India will have to devise its own solutions to the menace.  The threat is apparently greater than any other in recent history. For a start, it is for the first time ever that the army of a country is openly in collusion with the terrorists with the rest of the world not only unable to break this sinister alliance but even to condemn Pakistan in unequivocal terms.  The danger is worsened by Pakistan’s stockpiling of nuclear weapons, including – the most chilling of all – tactical battlefield nuclear armaments evidently for use in the event of an India-Pakistan war. This eager compiling of the so-called doomsday weapons is probably the result of India formulating the so-called Cold Start doctrine, which is said to envisage a swift military response to another Mumbai-type outrage.  The belief in Pakistan apparently is that the possibility of such an operation leading to a nuclear conflict will scuttle the Cold Start project.  Apart from the familiar fear of the subcontinent becoming a nuclear flashpoint, a greater apprehension in the US and Europe is the possibility of the weapons-grade material being pilfered by those sympathetic to the jehadi cause to enable the terrorists to build a ‘dirty bomb’ to target the West.  As a Russian document put out by Wikileaks has said, ‘there are 120,000 to 130,000 people directly involved in Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes…there is no way to guarantee that all are 100 percent loyal and reliable’.  Apart from the admission of US helplessness in the matter of stopping Pakistan from using terror as a foreign policy tool, there is nothing new in the latest leaks. But what is unnerving for India is that as its hostile and seemingly demented neighbour comes increasingly to be recognised as a rogue state with a rogue army, its sense of humiliation, intensified by despair at India’s rise and rise, may force its military to take to a nihilistic path of widespread destruction.

Reshuffle in Indian Army top brass  The government has cleared several new appointments in the top echelons of the armed forces, which range from new Army commanders to the chief of the strategically-located tri-Service command at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Lt-Gen A S Lamba is the new Army vice-chief, while Lt-Gen K T Parnaik will head Udhampur-based Northern Command, Lt-Gen S K Singh the Jaipur-based South-Western Command and Lt-Gen Surender Nath the Shimla-based Army Training Command.  Vice-Admiral D K Joshi will be the new chief of the integrated defence staff at South Block, with Lt-Gen N C Marwah replacing him as the ANC chief. The appointments come after a major reshuffle in the top IAF brass was cleared in November.

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