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Friday, 17 December 2010

From Today's Papers - 17 Dec 2010

Pak continues to misuse US aid: Antony Tribune News Service  New Delhi, December 16 India has expressed serious concern over Pakistan misusing US military aid and diverting it from the intended target — the Taliban. Defence Minister AK Antony said past experiences and track-records show that instead of using the American military aid in the fight against Taliban, Pakistan was diverting it against India.  “This is a matter of serious concern. We have already conveyed it to them (US) and will continue to do so until and unless we find a final solution,” he said.  The Defence Minister was talking to reporters after laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on Vijay Diwas commemorating the surrender of the Pakistan army before Indian forces in Dhaka on December 16, 1971.
This Pak 'spy' conducted recce of key defence sites  Press Trust of India, Updated: December 16, 2010 22:28 IST ad_title  Mumbai:  A visa agent arrested here for allegedly spying for Pakistan had conducted recce and clicked the photographs of locations inside the defence establishments in Maharashtra taking the help of an employee, who has come under the scanner, a senior police official said today.  Javed Abdul Gafoor Mozawala alias Salim (28), a resident of Mazgaon in south Mumbai, was arrested on December 10. He will be under police custody till December 20.  "Mozawala had gone inside the restricted defence establishments and taken photos from his camera-loaded mobile phone. He took the help of a defence employee, who will be questioned by officials concerned. The person may not be knowing the intentions of Mozawala's activities, but he is under scanner now," the Crime Branch official said on condition of anonymity.  Police have claimed Mozawala was working at the behest of two officials of the Pakistan High Commission.      * Share this on     * NDTVTwitter     * NDTVNDTV Social     * Share with MessengerLive Messenger     * NDTVGmail Buzz     * NDTVPrint   "Western Naval Command in Mumbai and a Navy facility in Lonavla (in Pune district) were among the various defence establishments he had surveyed. It was very startling that he had the telephone numbers of senior defence officials and establishments," the officer said.  The famous Bandra Worli Sea Link bridge here and Koyna dam in Satara district were also scouted and photographed by him, he said.  "The photos give the idea of security arrangements at the sites. He has taken the pictures of those areas of thebridge and dam where there will be maximum impact if a bomb is  planted. He surveyed vital locations outside Maharashtra as well," the official said.
Russian shipyard seeks $100 mn to complete Indian contract Press Trust of India / Moscow December 16, 2010, 16:01 IST  Russia's naval shipyard Yantar has sought extra funds to the tune of $100 million from authorities here to complete three Talwar class stealth frigates for Indian navy, according to a media report.  The lack of funds has delayed the completion of three frigates for India under the $1.6 billion deal signed in 2006, which were to be delivered beginning next year, Kommersant business daily said.  "The lack of funding is linked to the VAT refund problem: we will only receive the money after the frigates have been delivered to India," CEO of Kaliningrad-based Yantar shipyard Igor Orlov was quoted as saying by Kommersant.  However, the extra funds required by Yantar to complete frigates to be commissioned as the INS Teg (sabre), Tir (arrow) and Tarkash (quiver) will not lead to the cost escalation for India, the daily said quoting sources.  Yantar was to deliver the three frigates currently under different stages of completion in 2011-12. However, due to the financial problems the delivery schedule could be revised.  "The Indian side was aware of the issue and was treating it with understanding," a source close to the state arms exporter - Rosoboronexport -- was quoted as saying by the daily.  "We are not considering increasing the contract price for India. We propose to settle the issue with the help of domestic reserves, including those of the United Shipbuilding Corporation," an unnamed Rosoboronexport source said, underscoring that there will be no repetition of Gorshkov story, which led to the doubling of initial cost of the deal.
Vijay Diwas celebrated in Pune TNN, Dec 17, 2010, 02.03am IST PUNE: Vijay Diwas was celebrated with much pride and fervour on Thursday during a programme organised by the Southern Command at the National War Memorial, Morwada Junction, since this is the day (December 16) when in 1971 the defence forces of India defeated the Pakistan army and helped Bangladesh emerge as an independent nation.  In the first part of the programme on Thursday morning, schoolchildren from the Army Public School as well Kendriya Vidyalaya, Southern Command and Army Area, sang patriotic and religious songs, while their teachers offered prayers for the war heroes from the three defence services.  Floral tributes formed part of the second phase of the ceremony. Air Chief Marshal (retd) H Moolgavkar, Vice Admiral (retd) Vinod Pasricha and Lt Gen (retd) H M Khanna lay the wreath on behalf of veteran officers. This was followed by a wreath being layed by Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar. Air Commodore S N Deshpande, South Western Air Command, and Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Commandant, National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, layed wreaths as the senior-most serving officers of the Air Force and Indian Navy respectively. The final floral tributes were payed by Lt Gen S S Sengupta, Commandant, College of Military Engineering, Pune, on behalf of Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command.  The solemn ceremony was followed by high tea at the Brigadier Sheriff Garden, where an interaction between the veterans, serving officers, civilian dignitaries and the schoolchildren took place.
Lockheed Martin delivers India's first C-130J aircraft Indira Kannan / New York December 17, 2010, 0:41 IST  US aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin expects India’s defence ministry to approve a formal letter of request to be sent to the US government for an additional six C-130J Super Hercules military transport aircraft within the next couple of months, according to Orville Prins, the company’s vice-president for business development in India. Under the contract, worth nearly $1 billion and signed in 2008 for six C-130J aircraft, India had an option to buy six more planes.  Prins spoke to Business Standard from his company’s facility in Marietta, near Atlanta, Georgia, shortly after Lockheed Martin formally delivered India’s first C-130J aircraft to the US Air Force (USAF), which received it on behalf of the Indian Air Force (IAF). Two C-130Js will be flown by IAF crews to India early next year, in late January or early February. They are expected to arrive in time to be shown at the Aero India 2011 expo from February 9-13 in Bangalore.  The remaining four aircraft will be delivered by late summer of next year, months ahead of schedule, according to Lockheed Martin.  The company expects the order for the additional six C-130J aircraft to be identical or very similar to the initial order. Prins said the IAF crews, who had been training with the machines in the US for the past few months, were very pleased with their experience.  The planes have been modified and specially equipped for special mission roles. The IAF requirements included capability for precision low-level flying, airdrops, landing in blackout conditions, and features to ensure survivability in hostile air defence environments. The IAF models are the longer fuselage variant of the C-130J, similar to those used by the USAF.  While Pakistan has operated C-130 aircraft for several years, this will be India’s first experience with any variant of this machine. Additional support and infrastructure requirements as a new operator have added to the price tag of the initial order, according to Prins. He pointed out that if the IAF decides to station the additional aircraft at the Hindan air base near New Delhi, along with the first six planes, the support requirements will be proportionately lower, even as the baseline price for the aircraft would remain the same for the follow-up order.  The aircraft delivered to the IAF will not have some advanced communications security equipment such as high precision global positioning system, as India is yet to sign certain security agreements, including the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement, or CISMOA, with the US government. But Prins said Lockheed Martin had found alternate solutions to meet IAF requirements for these functions.  The C-130J order will mark the first induction of US military aircraft into the IAF in over four decades. Lockheed Martin is also in the fray for a number of other defence deals to supply equipment to the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, and considers its F-16IN a “strong competitor” in the race to sell 126 fighter jets to the IAF, an order expected to be worth $12 billion. Says Prins, “We view the market in India as part of the transformative relationship between India and the US.”
Cops probing how Pak spy gained access to vital sites Express news service Posted online: Fri Dec 17 2010, 01:12 hrs Mumbai : Javed Mozawala, a 28-year-old visa agent arrested by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch last week for allegedly spying for Pakistan, was on Thursday taken to one of the sensitive sites he had recced in the past two years. The police said Mozawala will reconstruct how he managed to gain access to the sites and photograph them. They said Mozawala will be interrogated by the army and navy intelligence as well.“Mozawala was taken to a location outside the city. The process will be repeated for all the places he gained access to and photographed. Some of these sites are restricted, and we need to verify his explanation on how he managed to breach security. He has told us certain ways in which he gained access, but these need to be verified before we can divulge details,” said a senior Crime Branch officer, who did not wish to be named.According to the Crime Branch, over the past two years he had passed on sensitive information such as photographs of these sites on a micro-chip to these diplomats during his frequent trips to the capital. Mozawala knew secret telephone numbers of senior officials in defence establishments and vital installations. The police claimed Mozawala had undergone a civil aviation course in ground handling, which they suspect could have “sinister implications”. “Since some of the sites he recced were defence cantonments and installations, and he had restricted-use numbers of senior officials, Mozawala will also be questioned by the army and navy intelligence,” said the officer. The Crime Branch is studying Mozawala’s call records to ascertain if he was in contact with anyone in the defence establishment, and whether he had any other local associate. Investigations revealed he made calls to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Mozawala was working as a visa agent and used to liaise with the Pakistan High Commission to get people visas to visit Pakistan.
Suspended defence ties in focus again Express news service Posted online: Fri Dec 17 2010, 01:02 hrs New Delhi : Thwarting attempts to delink the stapled visa issue from resumption of defence exchanges with China, India on Thursday said the two sides have agreed that a fresh ‘basis’ needs to be created to continue exchanges without constraints. Sources said India has held on to its position on suspension of exchanges that was adopted after Northern Commander Lt Gen B S Jaswal was offered a stapled visa for a bilateral visit because he was from Jammu and Kashmir. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said PM Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao have agreed to address the break in high-level defence exchanges. “(We) have agreed and understood we should endeavour to create a basis for defence exchanges to continue without constraints,” Rao said. While defence exchanges have been suspended since September, a number of high-level visits are scheduled in coming months, including the annual Defence Secretary level talks and interaction between senior army officers that would lay the ground for a joint military exercise that was to take place in China in 2011. However, the two nations have taken forward relations on the maritime front and have decided to cooperate in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Both India and China have been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the region — a common area of concern from where a bulk of energy supplies for both nations passes. In fact, the joint statement mentions that the two Navies would now work together in the Gulf of Aden. “The two sides reaffirmed the importance of maritime security, unhindered commerce and freedom of navigation... In this context, they agreed to work together in tackling piracy in the Gulf of Aden,” it read.
Indian Army remembers fallen heroes of Battle of Basantar  Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Dec 16 – The Indian Army Thursday remembered its fallen heroes in the 1971 war with Pakistan, celebrating the hard-won victory in a fierce tank battle of Basantar in the western sector.  The two-day commemorating ceremony at the Strike 1 Corps headquarters in this Uttar Pradesh garrison town concluded with a light and sound show in the evening depicting the ‘epic’ battle in which over 30 soldiers laid down their lives protecting the nation.  As colourful crackers lightened up the skyline in this serene army cantonment, the audience, which included soldiers and their families, watched with rapt attention how soldiers of the Indian Army braved a fierce onslaught by Pakistani troops in the Shakargarh sector between Jammu and Punjab.  And the unforgettable song of national fervour – ‘Aye mere watan ke logo’ sung by Lata Mangeshkar – brought the audience to tears, like it had first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru when she had sung it at the Ramlila grounds in New Delhi on Republic Day in 1963.  The light and sound show prepared by the Strike 1 portrayed each vital moment of the Battle of Basantar, also known as the battle of Barapind, fought Dec 4-16. It said ‘our brave soldiers sacrificed their lives because it was one of the vital victories for India in the 1971 war in the western sector.  Two officers were given Param Vir Chakra – the highest war-time gallantry award – following the victory. Young Second Lieutenant Arun Khetrapal who was only six-month old in the army received the award posthumously. Colonel Hoshiar Singh was awarded as it is said he stuck to his post even after getting injured and chased the enemy troops away to give India its ‘best decorated’ victory.  Earlier in the day, the next of kin of two winners of the gallantry award were felicitated at the ceremony.  The 85-year-old mother of Khetrapal, killed in the battle between the armoured regiments of the Indian and Pakistani armies, was the guest of honour at the ceremony. She was given a memento citing the ’supreme sacrifice’ of her son who died fighting at the age of 21.  The son of Colonel Hoshiar Singh was also given a memento on the occasion.  Lt. Gen. S.R. Gosh, heading the Western Command, and Lt. Gen. A.K. Singh who heads the Strike 1 Corps, laid floral wreaths at the war memorial in the army cantonment here, erected in memory of the fallen heroes.  The Indian Army had won the battle to secure the area in the Punjab-Jammu sector.  A coffee table book summarising the history of Strike 1 Corps was also released on the occasion.  Basantar is a tributary of the river Ravi that flows in the states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The battle took place in the Shakargarh sector, a bit of the Pakistan boundary abutting in the Indian territory.  The point was strategic for both sides as it comprised road links to Jammu from Punjab which, if cut off by Pakistan, could have led to snapping of a key link to Jammu and Kashmir.  According to war records, Pakistan had an advantage of having an army base in Sialkot close to the battle zone, but the Indian Army maintained a base at Pathankot, nearly 300 km from Shakargarh.  Kheterpal, who served in 17 Poona Horse, a cavalry unit, fought the battle on a T-55 tank after he was ordered to establish a bridgehead across the Basantar river, covered with deep minefields.  He fiercely attacked and overcame the enemy defences along with his tank troop, and destroyed nearly 10 Pakistani Patton tanks before his tank was also hit and burst into flames. The gallant officer was mortally wounded.  Remembering the dead lieutenant, Maheshwari Khetrepal said her son had done ‘nothing extraordinary’ by offering his life. ‘This was his duty and he had joined the army to protect the nation. He did me proud. I’m an equally brave mother,’ she told IANS in a choked voice.  Major (as he was then) Hoshiar Singh was a 3 Grenadiers Regiment officer, who led his troops to capture Jarpal in the Shakargarh sector during the battle. Singh met with fierce resistance from the Pakistan Army but he went from trench to trench and repulsed the enemy attack along with his company. He was seriously wounded, but Singh refused to be evacuated till ceasefire.  He retired as a colonel before he died Dec 6, 1998.

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