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Thursday, 6 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 06 Jan 2011

Fitness norms for entry into armed forces to be relaxed  New Delhi, January 5 The medical fitness norms for entry into the armed forces are soon going to be more flexible.  A comprehensive amendment to the medical fitness criteria for new entrants in the Army, Indian Air force and Navy is on cards to further standardise norms for the aspirants, said Lieutenant General Naresh Kumar, Commandant, Army Hospital Research and Referral. “We want to standardise our norms so that a lot of aspirants who were earlier considered medically unfit to serve the Indian armed forces can be declared fit now after undergoing correction procedures,” Kumar said.  Already people with slight disorders of the eye, arm or knee or with problems in gall bladder, liver and kidney are being allowed to join the armed forces after proper treatment.  Kumar said the changes in medical criteria for new entrants in all the three divisions of the armed forces are being done based on the past findings. “Aspirants, who have been found to have one or two spots in the liver or little calcification in the kidney, eye problem, gall bladder stone or defects in the foot or arms are also being recruited,” Major General Mandeep Singh, ADG, Medical Research, Armed Forces Medical Services, said.  “This is only after they have undergone corrections and their health condition does not come in the way of effectively performing their duties,” he said.  Many aspirants with gall bladder stone problem are doing well after undergoing surgery. Those with minor eye problems and who have undergone lasik surgery are observed for a year and then allowed to join the armed forces, Singh said.  “Our aim is that no one with trivial disability should be declared unfit for the armed forces. That is why this time it is a comprehensive observation of all types of ailments and their available medicinal or surgical cure. If treatment can help them perform well, then why stop them. At the end we want the best to be part of us,” Major General Mandeep Singh said. — PTI Many aspirants with gall bladder stone problem are doing well after undergoing surgery. Those with minor eye problems and who have undergone lasik surgery are observed for an year and then allowed to join armed forces  Major General Mandeep Singh, ADG, Medical Research, Armed Forces Medical Services
China to set up naval unit in Myanmar Ajay Banerjee/TNS  New Delhi, January 5 India’s edgy neighbour, China, is ready with a key strategic move that will cement its naval presence in Myanmar. For India, the move indicates the ever-increasing Chinese footprint in the Indian Ocean. China and Myanmar are going to set up a joint naval unit within the next three-four weeks. This will be at the Thilawa port, 25 km south of Yangoon, sources said while adding that Indian intelligence agencies have tipped off the government about the importance of the development and its long-term implications.  In August last year, Chinese warships made their first-ever call at a port in Myanmar. It was at the same Thilawa port. Two of its warships returning from “anti-piracy” duties in the Gulf of Aden, had stopped over at Myanmar. On the other hand, India has a strong relationship with the Myanmar Navy and both Navies have been conducting regular exercises at sea. Myanmar has enjoyed a military and economic partnership with China since the end of the 1980s with the Chinese having a major stake in exploration of natural gas.  Under the latest move, the globally “maligned” military rulers of Myanmar will provide China with a very firm foothold in the Bay of Bengal/Indian Ocean region and that too at a very close range from India. The joint naval unit of the two nations will establish a communication network for the Myanmar Navy. This network would link all key naval bases in one giant communication grid that would connect all bases with the Myanmar Navy headquarters at Naypyitaw.  All this is bound to raise eyebrows in India, as this would be the first-ever Chinese presence on a Myanmar communication network. “It could allow the Chinese Navy to have first-hand monitoring of sea traffic very close to the India, especially the Andaman and Nicobar Islands,” said a source. At Andamans is located the tri-service command and the areas straddles the vital sealanes of communication (SLOCs) through which China conducts its trade and imports crude oil.  Around two decades ago, a speculation about China’s military facilities in Myanmar’s Coco Island, the Bay of Bengal, had turned out to be untrue. Myanmar allowed India access to the facilities in the island where no Chinese “listening post” was found.
China's latest stealth aircraft J-20 takes a test run The security at the airfield where the J-20 was photographed was slack and the prototype could be viewed from several public areas, the Aviation Week website reports. CJ: Shreyas Menon                    Wed, Jan 05, 2011 15:05:21 IST Views:                   Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 0.0 / 0 votes                CHINA MAY have started testing a new stealth aircraft and photographs of the latest J-20 taking high-speed taxi tests at an airfield have appeared on several websites, fuelling speculation that Beijing is not particularly concerned about keeping its latest weapon under wraps, according to aviation experts.  The security at the airfield where the J-20 was photographed was slack and the prototype could be viewed from several public areas, the Aviation Week website reports.  The leak of photographs supports earlier claims by the Chinese military that a stealth aircraft would be airborne by 2011 and could be operational by 2017.  But US Defence Secretary Robert Gates dismissed that idea at the time, claiming that China would not have stealth fighters operational before 2020.  Experts point out that the Chinese version is larger than most observers expected - ''pointing to long range and heavy weapon loads''.  “The J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine aircraft, bigger and heavier than the [Russian] Sukhoi T-50 and the [U.S.] F-22,” Aviation Week noted on its website. “Comparison with ground-service vehicles points to an overall length of 75 ft and a wingspan of 45 ft. or more, which would suggest a takeoff weight in the 75,000-80,000-lb. class with no external load,” it said.  “The major open question at this point is whether the J-20 is a true prototype, like the T-50, or a technology demonstrator, with a status similar to the YF-22 flown in 1990. That question will be answered by whether, and how many, further J-20s enter flight testing in the next 12-24 months,” Aviation Week said on its website.
Exclusive: India's plans to counter the China threat January 03, 2011 14:17 IST Tags: LTIPP, Indian Army, Mountain Strike Corps, China, How India Share this Ask Users Write a Comment China, not Pakistan, will be the focus of the Indian Army's [ Images ] future strategy, reports R S Chauhan.  To counter China's steadily increasing military might, the ministry of defence is likely to shift the focus of the Indian Army's next Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan, LTIPP.  From its current Pakistan-centric approach, the MoD may shift the plan's emphasis to meet the potential challenge from India's neighbour on the eastern border.  The Indian Army's next LTIPP is for the period between 2012 and 2027.  By 2020, the army seeks to have a full-fledged Mountain Strike Corps in place. According to sources in the MoD, the army has recommended that infrastructure in India's border areas, along the over 4000 km boundary with China, be upgraded swiftly to enable it to deploy more troops and operate effectively in the difficult terrain.  The army wants the government to build roads that can sustain the harsh weather in these terrain right up to the Indo-China border and connect important formation headquarters in the high-altitude areas of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh [ Images ].  The army also wants to acquire integrated field shelters for high-altitude areas to enhance the quality of living accommodations for its personnel even in the remotest locations.  In some ways, the implementation of the LTIPP is already underway. The army will complete the formation of two mountain divisions in the north-east by the middle of 2011. Once completed, these divisions will add muscle to the Indian Army's defence plans on its eastern border.  The addition of these two divisions has enabled the Eastern Command to redraw its orbat (order of battle).  Now the Tezpur-based 4 Corps will look after the Kameng sector in western Arunachal Pradesh with the deployment of three Mountain Divisions.  The Army Corps based in Rangapahar will now be in charge of eastern Arunachal Pradesh and will have three Mountain Divisions operating under it.  At least two more divisions to be raised in the next five years will then enable the army to have a dedicated Mountain Strike Corps to be either placed in the sensitive terrains of north-east or Ladakh.  The army also wants the Border Roads Organisation to speed up its road-building capabilities in tough terrain.  Over 75 tactically and strategically important roads are currently under construction in areas bordering China. The army wants these roads to be operational as quickly as possible to increase its ability to deploy and maintain adequate troop strength on the border.  Apart from these basic requirements, the army has projected some China-specific steps in its next LTIPP. # Augment and optimise force application capability. # Address logistic voids and enhance logistic capability # Enhance mobilisation capability # Ensure quick reaction capability in aviation # Improve and develop wide area network and satellite communication network.  The change in the Indian Army's priorities comes in the wake of a recent study conducted by a team of generals which looked at ways to 'transform' the force from a large, standing, lumbering army to a more lethal, nimble and technologically savvy entity capable of meeting future challenges.
IT opportunities in Indian defence In terms of revenue attractiveness, market opportunities in enterprises resource planning, supply chain management, product life management, networking and telecom are high Expert View | Ratan Shrivastava Market opportunities in Indian defence can be classified into two segments: combat and non-combat. Combat opportunities for information technologies (IT) companies would pertain to optimum utilization of resources in a battlefield and to battlefield management systems, communication systems, naval IT architecture, and the like. This segment requires proven competence in developing and implementing systems in consonance with the Armed Forces, the end users. Opportunities in the non-combat defence market are dynamic and open a new business landscape, which has attracted large IT companies, both Indian and foreign. The market landscape, products and segmentation here are vastly different from the combat opportunities, in the sense that IT companies can put to use their knowledge from enterprise resource management in the civilian landscape. Non-combat opportunities in defence could relate to maintenance of inventory, defence logistics, e-maintenance of weapons and equipment, including aircraft, land systems and vehicles, and human capital and financial management. In terms of revenue attractiveness, market opportunities in enterprises resource planning, supply chain management, product life management, networking and telecom are high. Intelligent systems and enterprise asset management in the context of modernization of the Armed Forces hold promise of lucrative market growth opportunities. The landscape can be widened to include defence public sector companies and ordnance factories as well as the replacement of legacy systems, and we have a multi-billion dollar-market spread over the next 10 years waiting to happen. Phased liberalization of the Indian defence market, along with firm defence budget commitments, has given a fillip to this opportunity. They have helped manage the risks in the typically long-term gestation period of defence contracts. Companies such as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd and HCL Technologies Ltd have been early birds in this market. Of late, Wipro Ltd, International Business Machines Corp., BAE Systems-Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, and Infosys Technologies Ltd have been making a concerted effort to enter this business. We forecast the Indian defence market to be worth around $1 billion (Rs4,500 crore) in the next five years, the main drivers being the air force’s e-maintenance programme and the computerized inventory control programme for the army. Besides, the fillip from the introduction of new weapons and aircraft as well as the introduction of modern naval crafts will add to the attractiveness of this market in terms of defence offsets.
'BrahMos paves way for future Indo-Russian defence JVs'  The success of Indo-Russian JV BrahMos for the development and production of lethal cruise missiles has set a "Golden Standard" for future joint defence projects with greater Indian participation, according to a respected defence publication.  "BrahMos has been an unqualified success. The numerous benefits it has already yielded include: commercial profit for both partners; a tangible improvement in the fighting ability of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force; development of new technologies, which has been especially important to the Indians; a chance for Russia's NPO Mashinostroyeniya corporation to put its potential for innovation to good use," Moscow Defense Brief (MDB) quarterly writes in its latest issues.  "The BrahMos Aerospace Ltd joint venture has become a vehicle for future implementation of other Russian-Indian projects, on an even large scale and with greater Indian participation," the journal notes in an article contributed by top defence expert Dr Ruslan Pukhov the journal notes.  It underscored that the valuable experience of BrahMos, a fifty-fifty JV between Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia's NPO Mashinostroyeniya, in overcoming various legal, organisational and financial hurdles, will be invaluable during the implementation of other bilateral programmes, including the future joint projects of Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) and fifth generation FGFA fighter.  The company is known to be already working on new hypersonic missile. But the unique experience accumulated as part of the BrahMos programme since 1998 has paved the way for even more ambitious goals, including new strategic ballistic and cruise missiles.   "For India, BrahMos has become one of the first standardised weapons systems which can be deployed by all three armed services - the Army, the Navy and the Air Force," MDB underscores.  It noted that the Indian Navy was the initial customer for the new missile, which can be carried by a variety of naval platforms.  These include the majority of the existing and future surface ships. The first ships to be equipped with BrahMos were Project 61ME (Kashin-Mod class) destroyers.  Two of them, the Ranvir and the Ranvijay, will also be fitted with 8-missile vertical launch systems.  Other ships that will carry BrahMos include three Project 15A (Kolkata class) destroyers now being built in India, the future Project 15B destroyers, future Project 17A frigates and three Project 11356M (Talwar class Batch 2) frigates now being built for India at the Yantar Shipyards in Kaliningrad.  The future Talwar class Batch 3 frigates will also be equipped with the new missile, regardless of where they will be built. In addition to surface ships, the Indian Navy plans to deploy BrahMos on submarines and possibly on land-based patrol aircraft.  The suitable airborne carriers include the Russian Il-38SD ASW aircraft and, in a few years' time, the Boeing P-8I Poseidon ASW aircraft which India has already ordered in the United States.  The Indian Army has bought hundreds BrahMos missiles in the mobile land-based configuration.  They will be used not only against ships but also as a high-precision weapon against land targets such as command posts and key infrastructure facilities (the Block II LACM version).  The Indian Army has ordered 134 mobile anti-ships land-based BrahMos Block I missiles in 2006-2009 and another 240 land-attack BrahMos Block II in 2010, for a total of about 3bn dollars.  Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force is awaiting the completion of the development of an air-launched version of BrahMos, to be deployed primarily with the Su-30MKI fighters.  The Su-30MKI-BrahMos weapons system will be a truly lethal combination. First deliveries are expected in 2012.  At some point the Indian Air Force will also receive the BrahMos Block II version, which is designed to engage land targets.  MDB does not rule out that the 126 medium multirole fighters (MMRCA) for which India has announced a contract will also be fitted with BrahMos missiles.  "Not only the MiG-35 fielded by Russia in the MMRCA tender, but its Western rivals -the F/A-18, Rafale and Typhoon fighters can all serve as carriers of BrahMos Block II missiles," Moscow Defense Brief writes.  The missile's ability to be launched from a wide range of platforms and engage a variety of targets has generated very large sales.  At present the demand of the Indian armed forces is estimated at 1,000 such missiles at the very least.  In fact, the need to fulfil the Indian orders is holding back exports to other countries.  The most conservative estimate for the size of the market for BrahMos throughout the life of the project is 2,000 missiles, worth over USD 10 billion.  "For Russia, the success of BrahMos has improved the chances of winning Indian contracts for aviation and naval platforms.  It is usually the exports of platforms that normally drive the sales of weapons to be fitted onto those platforms.  But in the case of BrahMos, it is the other way around: the missile is driving the sales of aircraft and submarines that can carry it," Dr Pukhov writes in Moscow Defense Brief quarterly.
Indian army launches campaign to encourage youth to join defence forces 2011-01-06 05:30:00  To motivate youngsters to join defence forces, the Territorial Army flagged off a cycling expedition here.  Speaking on the occasion, B. K. Bhal Singh, commanding officer of 10 battalion of Territorial Army, said the basic objective was to inculcate the spirit of adventure among the youth.  "Basic aim is to inculcate the spirit of adventure and educate the youth of Tamil Nadu to join the Territorial Army and the Defence Forces of India so that they serve the nation in peace as well in the time of war," he added.  He expressed his concerns saying that the next generation is not inclined to take up defence services.  "As you know, nowadays people are going to the corporate sector that is engineering; doctors and MNCs and very few people opt to join Army or the Territorial Army. So our basic aim is to motivate the young," he said.  The volunteers will travel around 2,300 kilometres across 23 districts. (ANI)
Defence Dairy Express News Service Posted online: Wed Jan 05 2011, 07:49 hrs Pune : AFMC, affiliated institutes celebrate 247th anniversary The Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, and its affiliated teaching hospitals, including Command Hospital (Southern Command), Military Hospital (Cardio-thoracic Centre), Military Hospital (Khadki) and Artificial Limb Centre, are celebrating the 247th anniversary of the Army Medical Corps this week.  Lt Gen D P Vats, SM, VSM, Director & Commandant, AFMC, said, “Army Medical Corps has added immensely to its record of distinguished service to the nation during 2010. The Corps has received grateful acknowledgment of the humane and selfless service rendered by its officers, nursing officers, JCOs and other ranks to the Indian Army and the nation from the highest echelons of the service.” In August 2010, Maj L J Singh of AMC became the first Medical Officer to be awarded the nation’s highest peacetime gallantry award, the Ashok Chakra.  Lt Gen Parnaik takes charge of Northern Command Lt Gen Kaiwalya Trivikram Parnaik assumed command of the prestigious and sensitive Northern Command on January 1. The General belongs to Pune and is probably the first Maharashtrian officer to command the most important and operational Northern Army. Gen Parnaik is a third generation officer from the infantry who has always been in the forefront. He commanded second Rajputana Rifles of Kargil Fame and a sensitive infantry brigade in J&K during Operation Parakram where he was awarded Yudh Seva Medal. His higher command experience includes Mountain Division in Sikkim and a Corps in Arunanchal/Assam where he was awarded Uttam Yudh Seva Medal for his outstanding services.  Ex serviceman felicitated Ex-serviceman Bajarang Nimbalkar was awarded and felicitated by R N Joshi, divisional revenue commissioner, recently. Nimbalkar, who has been an active participant in various social activities was given a certificate and Rs 5,000. The event took place during the annual flag day collection ceremony that concluded at the district cooperative bank. Speaking on the occasion, district welfare officer Shirish Karajgi said, “We have been meeting the targets for the flag day collections annually and will continue to do it more effectively over the years to come.”
Army commandos daring hostage rescue in Assam jungles Sandeep Unnithan  | New Delhi, October 9, 2010 | Updated 19:13 IST Utilities                                          Get social Comment         Buzz plus                  A muffled thump of a silenced Micro-Uzi, bursts of AK-47 fire and a frantic jungle firefight. As Delhi warmed up to the spectacular opening ceremony of the Commonwealth games in New Delhi, the army's special forces raced through the jungles of Assam to perform a daring textbook rescue killing four cadres of the banned militant group the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and freeing a businessman they were holding hostage.  Location of the encounter between the army Location of the encounter between the army's special forces and militants of National Democratic Front of Bodoland Rescue missions are delicate surgeries meant to be carried out with scalpel-like precision to ensure that no harm comes to the hostages. This is usually far from the case as these missions end up as messy Pyrrhic victories with the hostages trapped between the good and the bad.  The story of this rare jungle rescue began on September 24 when the militants kidnapped Katan Nandi (36) son of a local grocery and retail store owner Parikshit Nandi in Dimu, Dhemaji district. They threatened to kill him unless a Rs 50 lakh ransom was paid up. Both the ULFA and the NDFB have accelerated kidnappings to generate funds for the groups with ransoms ranging from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore.  The Assam police dialed an Indian army's jungle warfare trained army Para-SF unit located nearby. On September 29, the unit began its task of locating the hostage. The unit was tipped off about the presence of the militants and began the grueling five-day task of collecting local intelligence.  Based on a local farmer's inputs that he had heard voices in the forest, they moved in to a search area of one kilometer by one kilometer. The wait paid off around noon on October 3. After a six-hour surveillance using spotter scopes, a group of four commandos located two suspicious individuals near the jungles north-west of Dhimaji district of Assam close to the Arunachal Pradesh border.  Weapons that were captured after the forest encounter Weapons that were captured after the forest encounter The commandos began stalking their quarry. The duo walked to a forest clearing where there were ten other militants. The hostage was bound and put at the foot of a tree while some of the militants sat playing cards, cooking food and waiting for their ransom to arrive.  It was noon but the thick and impenetrable forest cover made it seem like dusk. As the commandos crawled through the dense undergrowth, they were hit by stones and abuses in Assamese. The militants mistook them for foraging animals.  A few metres away, one of the crawling commandos ran into a startled sentry. Before he could reach for his weapon, the commando had whipped out his silenced Micro-Uzi and shot him in the head. The thump of the Uzi traveled across the jungle.  The firefight had begun. The militants began sheltering behind trees and blasting away with their AK-47s. The commandos were outnumbered. They could not use their force-multipliers, an 84mm Carl Gustav rocket launcher and 'Pika' machine gun, for fear of killing the hostage who was left under the tree. One of the commandos shouted out in Assamese asking the hostage not to run, he then darted forward and grabbed him by his legs and dragged him to safety.  The militants began pouring fire in his direction. One of the commandos carefully aimed and brought down two militants. A second commando shot one more militant and the rest fled into the undergrowth.  The end of a successful hostage rescue mission. The commandos then trekked for 24 hours through the jungle to reach the nearest road where a warm reception awaited them.
Indian Army 2010 Year End Review  [Translate]  The Year 2010 marked a leap towards fulfilling the urgent need of the Army to bridge the shortfall in its Officers Cadre with the approval of the second Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya in Bihar.  Indigenization got a big boost as the Army decided to place an order for another 124 Main Battle Tanks MBT Arjun and conducted pre-induction trials of the 3,500 kms long Agni-3 ballistic missile. Also during the year a change of guard took place at the top with General VK Singh taking charge.  CCS nod to 2nd OTA at Gaya  In February, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) gave its nod for setting up an OTA at Gaya, the second in the country after Chennai, at an initial cost of Rupees 360 crores. Expected to start functioning by June next year, the Academy will groom 250 cadets initially and the number is expected to go up to 750 at its bloom. The step will go a long way in mitigating the shortage of officers in the one million strong Indian Army, which presently has around 36,000 Officers on roll as against a sanctioned strength of 47,000.  Army opts for 124 more MBT Arjuns  In a major thrust to the indigenization programme, the Army decided to place a fresh order for an additional 124 MBT Arjun Mark-2 tanks. This followed the success of the indigenous tank in the grueling desert trials in the first quarter of this year. The 124 tanks now being ordered are over and above the existing order of an equal number of MBT Arjun Mark-I placed with the Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi.  Army Tests Agni-3  In February the Army conducted the successful pre-induction test firing of the Agni-3. The 17-metres long marker pen shaped missile can carry a 1.5 ton nuclear payload to a distance in a radius of 3,500 kms. The missile achieved textbook precision, attaining a maximum altitude of 350 kms and withstood temperatures in the range of 3,000 degrees Celsius during its flight.  New chief  General Vijay Kumar Singh took over charge as the 24th Chief of Army Staff on 31st March. Commissioned into the Rajput Regiment on June 14, 1970, General Singh participated in the 1971 Indo-Pak War and the IPKF Operations in Sri Lanka.  Joint Exercises, Peace Keeping  A Russian military contingent participated in the ten-day-long Indo-Russian Joint Exercise Indra-10 in the Kumaon Hills of Ranikhet, Uttarakhand in October. Earlier a contingent of the 16 Madras (Travancore) Regiment took part in the 10th edition of the Indo-US Joint Exercise Shatrujeet at Camp Pendelton, California. In October a 15-member contingent of the Botswana Defence Force participated in the Joint Exercise Milap in Dehra Dun. Seven men of the Corps of Engineers went to Cambodia to train the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces in demining, demolition and Counter-IED operations. During the three-week-long training 72 men were trained this year alone as part of the three-year-old programme.  On the flip side, an Indian Army camp in Congo operating under MONUSCO, the UN Mission at Kirumba base, came under an attack on 18th August by about 50-60 rebels, suspected to be of the Maymayi group. Three Indian Army personnel were martyred and seven wounded as the valiant men fought back the rebels. Later another attack by about 30-40 men of the same group at Rwindi was repulsed on 25th October.  CWG – Saviours in distress  When a bridge collapsed at the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on the eve of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi , the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army stepped in at the eleventh hour, laying across a temporary Bailey bridge near the venue, and, as the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony later said, “Saved the day, really saved the day.”  The Army was also visible at all the venues throughout the 12-day ceremony, the tall and mustachioed armymen at the Flag Hoisting and Medal Distribution ceremonies winning applause with their immaculate turnout.  Adventure Sports — Base Jumping, first in the country  On 29th October, skydiver Lt. Colonel Satyendra Verma made a skydive from a height of 158 metres off the Pitampura TV Tower in Delhi. He thus became the first man to undertake a BASE (Building, Antenna, Spam (Bridge) or Earth Cliff) Jump in the country.

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