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Sunday, 16 January 2011

From Today's Papers - 16 Jan 2011

Army Chief clarifies that J&K troops thinning only in paramilitary forces 
New Delhi, January 15 A day after his comments that were seen as countering the Home Secretary on troop reduction in Jammu and Kashmir, Army Chief General VK Singh today clarified that he was talking about Army personnel while GK Pillai was referring to paramilitary forces.  "I think there was some confusion. What Mr Pillai said was concerning the paramilitary forces. What I was talking of was the Army," he told reporters here seeking to clear the perception that the two were talking in different voices.  "No person from the Home Ministry will say about the Army as it is under the purview of the Defence Ministry. I am quite sure that the Home Secretary knows about it and talks only about the paramilitary forces," Singh said.  Pillai had yesterday said the government was planning 25 per cent cut in troops in Kashmir. Hours later, the Army Chief had said, "We have not yet felt that we have to cut down our forces. If they want to cut down paramilitary and police forces, I won't say anything..." This was interpreted by some sections as General Singh countering the Home Secretary.  The Army Chief today noted that any decisions regarding reduction of Army strength in the Valley would be taken by the Unified Headquarters (UHQ), which is headed by the state chief minister.  "Where they (Home Ministry) want to take out people, it is up to them. Whatever input is required, it will be provided by the UHQ. I have got no conflict or argument with anybody on this issue," General Singh said. — PTI

Army salutes the disabled  New Delhi, January 15 Honouring its troops who were severely injured and left disabled in operations, the Indian Army has decided to observe 2011 as the Year of the Disabled Soldier.  "We have been giving great respect to our martyred soldiers and the time has come to give due honour to our soldiers who have been disabled in operations. For this, 2011 will be the Year of the Disabled Soldier," Army Chief General V K Singh said while addressing the 63rd Army Day parade here.  He said a grant of Rs 1 crore had been sanctioned for the purpose and in the remaining part of the year, the Army would focus on providing rehabilitation, training and basic amenities to the disabled soldiers.  Announcing other welfare schemes for the families and personnel, the Army Chief said a grant of Rs 25,000 would be provided to widows of soldiers and an additional Rs 400 would be given every month for education of their children. — PTI

MoEF decision on Adarsh today?
Vibha Sharma Tribune News Service  New Delhi, January 15 The environment ministry is expected to take a final call on the fate of the Adarsh housing society soon. Sources say the decision on the controversial housing society in Mumbai may be taken as early as tomorrow.  The MoEF officials say the ministry has found no merit in arguments given by the promoters of the Adarsh Housing Society on the alleged environment law violations. While there is a strong opinion that the entire building be declared illegal, the society may be asked to knock off some floors.  The society is accused of violating laws in the construction of the 31-storey building on defence land in prime Colaba area. Accusing the society of not taking the requisite green permissions from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, the MoEF had issued a show-cause notice on November 12.  Later, accepting a request from the society, the ministry had on December 28 extended the last date for its response on the show-cause notice to January 4.

No need to cut down troops in Kashmir: Gen Singh
 'We have not yet felt that we have to cut down our forces. If they want to reduce paramilitary forces or the police, I cannot say any thing about that,' he added, while responding to a question on Home Secretary Pillai's statement.      COUNTERING THE statement made by Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai on 25 per cent reduction in security forces'' strength in Jammu and Kashmir, Army Chief General V.K. Singh on Friday said that there is no need to lower the number of troops in the state.   Speaking ahead of the 62nd Army Day here, General Singh said: "We have deployed our troops keeping in view the threat on the border or the Line of Control. Similarly in the inner areas, to maintain peace and to conduct anti-terrorist operations, we require some strength of the army."   "We have not yet felt that we have to cut down our forces. If they want to reduce paramilitary forces or the police, I cannot say any thing about that," he added, while responding to a question on Home Secretary Pillai's statement.   General Singh on his part, however, clarified that security forces comprised paramilitary and local police, along with the army.   Earlier today, Pillai said the Central Government is contemplating reducing the strength of security forces in Jammu and Kashmir by 25 per cent.   Addressing a symposium on the ''Way Forward in Kashmir'' organised by the Jamia Millia Islamia University here, Pillai said: "Government of India is hopeful that troops in Jammu and Kashmir might come down by 25 per cent in the next 12 months."   "We have already reduced forces from Srinagar as the presence of security forces should be minimum in populated areas. The local police should be able to handle the situation there. We should make sure that all the forces are positioned only at the border, preventing infiltration," he added.

Army Day being celebrated today with solemnity
The list of activities held in cantonments on this day includes parades, marches, shows featuring the achievements by the army, new technologies introduced in the army, presentations of Unit credentials and Sena Medals for gallantry.   TODAY THE 63rd Army Day is being celebrated to salute and pay tributes to the valiant soldiers, who sacrificed their lives to protect the motherland and its citizens. It was on January 15, 1948 that Lieutenant General K. M. Cariappa became the first Indian Commander-in-Chief.  General Cariappa shared a good bonding with countrymen and Britishers alike. He succeeded General Roy Butcher of British Army.  The list of activities held in cantonments on this day includes parades, marches, shows featuring the achievements by the army, new technologies introduced in the army, presentations of Unit credentials and Sena Medals for gallantry.  Ahead of the celebrations, President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil said that the Army has displayed high standards of professionalism, positive attitude and commitment in dealing with the challenges facing the nation.  In her message on the Army Day today, the President, the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, said the Army had withstood all challenges posed to the safety and security of the nation and was fully prepared to face them in future as well.  Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that Indian army had distinguished itself by its outstanding performance in the service of nation and the nation was proud of the valor and professionalism displayed by the Army in meeting the challenges.  Defense Minister A K Antony in his message said that the army had made significant contributions to ensure security and safety of the nation besides relief and rehabilitation work.  Army Chief General V K Singh said that the force re-dedicates itself in the service of the Nation whose safety, security and integrity remains high in its mind.

On Army Day, An Annual Assessment 
FLASHBACK, 1998:  Assam's Nalbari district, like the rest of the state, was under waist-deep water. The raging rivers rushing down from the mountains of Bhutan had engulfed lower Assam in a devastating wave of floods. People were hanging onto the rooftops and sitting on trees. In many places, it was impossible to see land.  After two days of struggle with nature's fury, the state administration was forced to call in the Army for rescue and relief.  Within hours, the local army units, otherwise engaged in a counter-insurgency (CI) role under Operation Rhino, had fanned out to the interiors with their boats and medical teams; Air Force and Army helicopters were pressed into service to drop food and rescue people stuck in hopeless positions.  Over the next fortnight, the Army along with the state administration, had not only saved many lives but had ensured that small diseases did not turn into an epidemic.  Even for someone like me who had seen this happen with unfailing regularity year after year in Assam, the job done by the soldiers and officers that Monsoon season seemed like a Herculean task by any standards.  And remember, the Army was—as it still is-- primarily engaged in a CI role in Assam; the people were by and large wary of the troops, if not downright hostile; the insurgents were still strong in pockets like the hardcore support areas of Nalbari and Tamulpur.   And yet, the Army went in without hesitation, undertook flood relief and quickly readjusted itself.   This is not an isolated incident.   From Tangdhar to Machhilipattnam and from Bhuj to Tawang, the Army has come to the aid of the people across India during times of crisis.   Hundreds of such stories abound in the Indian army's journey in both War and Peace since Independence.   From disaster relief in floods, tsunami, and earthquakes to rescuing infant Prince from a deep tube well and from quelling rioters in communal strife to being the last resort in internal counter-insurgency operations, the Indian Army is omnipresent.   It is, what I call, India's Brahmaastra (an ultimate weapon).   The versatility, adaptability, selfless attitude and resourcefulness of the Indian Army has allowed it to be what it is today: Nation Builders.  And viewed in the context of India's immediate and extended neighbourhood, the Indian Army's stellar role stands out in stark contrast to its counterparts in other countries.  Remember, Indian and Pakistani Armies originated from the same source, the British Army and yet, six decades since they parted ways, there couldn't be a bigger dissimilarity in the way the two have evolved.   As they say, India has an Army while the Pakistani Army has a nation!  Despite India's increasing dependence on the Army to pull its chestnuts out of fire time and again, the Indian Army has scrupulously remained apolitical.   The contribution of the Indian Army in nurturing and strengthening democracy—with all its faults—can never be underestimated.   It has put down fissiparous and secessionist forces within India with great cost to itself over these 60 years. It has protected India from within and without.  The Indian army also has a unique distinction of helping create a nation (Bangladesh) in the neighbourhood and then quietly walking away to let the people take charge.   By contrast, the Pakistani Army has never really allowed democracy to flourish in its country. Instead, it has created a military-industrial complex that has spread its tentacles in every aspect of governance. Even today, the Pakistani army does not let go of any opportunity to undercut democracy; it nurtures and treats jihadi elements as its strategic asset against India and the United States.     Even in other smaller nations around India—Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh, for instance—the armed forces have had to intervene and run the affairs of those countries at some point.   So who or what makes the Indian Army so distinct?  Simply put its leaders and its men and their ethos of "Service before self."  From the early days of Independence, Indian military leaders—stalwarts like KM Cariappa, Rajendra Singhji, KS Thimayya and later Sam Maneckshaw—led the forces from the front and provided a strong moral centre that has remained more or less in tact, some very regrettable instances of moral and monetary corruption notwithstanding.  For every crisis that the country has faced, military and non-military, the Indian Army, has risen splendidly to the occasion.  A LONG, EVENTFUL JOURNEY It has grown from a force of sepoys that served the East India Company in its early days to a thoroughly professional and apolitical force respected the world over.  But the makeover has come with tremendous hard work, sweat, blood and sacrifice.  The origins were far from flattering though.  Nearly four centuries ago, the British East India Company after its arrival in India, used Indian sepoys like a private militia, deployed primarily to protect its establishments and personnel.  Later, the forces were reconstituted as the Presidency Armies of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta. In 1748, they were amalgamated under Major Stringer Lawrence who became the commander-in-chief of all the Company's forces in India.  That arrangement continued for over a century until 1857 when the sepoys became conscious for the first time that they belonged to one country.  Although the British succeeded in putting down the rebellion, they had to effect many fundamental changes in the structure of the force.  As a first step, the Army was brought under the British Crown. A Viceroy started administering India. British officers were given the Queen's Commission, and the Indians the Viceroy's Commission, later known as Junior Commissioned Officers.  In the late 19th and early 20th century, the British Indian Army participated in various campaigns in Africa, the Middle East, Tibet and other parts of the world and distinguished itself through its fighting qualities.  The early signs of these qualities were evident in the First World War.  According to official figures, 36,596 Indian soldiers died Fighting in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, during the First World War. Over 70,000 were wounded. Indians won 16 Victoria Crosses and 90 Military Crosses.  After a stellar performance in World War I, it was inevitable that the demand to induct Indians as Commissioned Officers would begin to gain currency.  Several prominent Indian political leaders like Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru, Madan Mohan Malaviya and Motilal Nehru pressured the British on this count. Grudgingly, they agreed to Indianise selected units of the Indian Army and also induct Indians in the officer ranks.  To start with 20 seats were reserved for Indians at the Military College in Sandhurst in Britain. Those who passed out became King's Commissioned Indian Officers.  Under pressure to Indianise the officer cadre, the British agreed to establish the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in 1932.  Two years later, in 1934 the first batch of Indians was commissioned, among them was India's best known military figure—Sam 'Bahadur" Maneckshaw!  When the Second World War broke out in 1939, national leaders were not in favour of Indians participating, but the British went ahead. Army units were inducted in all theatres of war.  According, a leading web-based portal on military affairs and history, between 1939 and mid-1945, the British Indian Army expanded from about 175,000 to more than 2 million troops -- entirely through voluntary enlistment.  More than 620,000 Indians served overseas During World War II (1939-1945).  Indians fought in North Africa and Italy. After Japanese forces defeated United Kingdom troops in Burma, the Indian Army had to defend its own country at the battles of Imphal and Kohima in 1944. The Japanese besieged Kohima but never captured it. About 340,000 Indians served in the Allies' 14th Army, which eventually drove the Japanese out of Burma.  These campaigns also sowed the seeds of, what I call a 'distinguishing' Army code of conduct: The code of secular ethos.  The ethos of true secularism under which soldiers from different castes, religions and regions, regard themselves as Indians first and Sikhs, Marathas, Jats, Dogras or whatever later, were entrenched in the Indian army very early.  It is not surprising therefore to see that since Independence, one institution that has remained absolutely free of communalism is the Indian Army. When caste and religious differences have beset the country's politics and society at large, the Indian army has stood firm against these divisive forces. So when freedom came in 1947, India inherited an experienced army toughened in the crucible of WW-II.  That experience came in handy in the immediate aftermath of India's Independence. As the country underwent a painful and bloody partition, it fell upon the secular, compassionate and disciplined Indian Army to keep order in those months of communal madness that engulfed the Indian sub-continent in 1947-48.  And even as the communal conflagration kept the Army fully occupied, Pakistan mounted a determined effort to wrest Kashmir from India's control. Those two years tested the army fully but it is to the credit of the Indian Army's leadership and men that they withstood that attack and saved Kashmir.  Subsequently India has had to face four more external attacks and except the 1962 debacle, each time the Army has come out with flying colours.  It must be noted here that for the setback in the Sino-Indian border war of 1962 reasons for failure have to be sought elsewhere.  It is to the Army's credit that it has carried out every task given to it assiduously, without even once complaining about inadequacies that abound.  The Indian Army has thus stood the test of time and has consistently upheld and protected the nation's Constitution with unflinching loyalty, making a major contribution in nation building in the first six decades of India's existence as an Independent, sovereign nation.  CIVILIAN CONTROL OR BUREAUCRATIC COMMAND  The Army has also withstood systematic assault on its status from politicians and bureaucrats who are forever looking for ways to downgrade the military's status. While the principle of civilian supremacy over the armed forces is well entrenched and understood in India, what is incomprehensible is the constant chipping away at the military's standing.  The nation as a whole and indeed the people at large have the highest regard and affinity for the men in uniform for the yeoman service they render in every conceivable situation, but most mandarins in the Ministry of Defence and some of the politicians do not have the same opinion and are repeatedly trying to run down the military without realising the immense damage they cause to the only available bulwark we have against any attempt to Balkanise India.  As former Chief of army Staff, Gen. S. Padmanabhan says in his book, A General Speaks:  Even after Independence, India's political leaders found it convenient to keep the Army, Navy and the Air Force out of the 'policy' making bodies. The service HQs were left at the level that the British left them—that of being 'attached offices,' of the Ministry of Defence. Even at the level of Defence Minister and Service Chiefs, exchanges on major matters of Defence policy were few and far between…"  Another former Army Chief, Gen. Shankar Roy Choudhury has observed: "It is… essential in the national interest that the armed forces are upgraded and updated on an ongoing basis, something which governments have been traditionally loath to acknowledge and undertake, the Indian government perhaps more so than others in this respect.  "Historically, it is to the credit of the Indian Army that it has fulfilled its role as an organ of the state…It has functioned effectively in every type of role, in spite of the general lack of a supportive government environment by way of adequate finances, resources, equipment, personnel policies, or higher political direction."  A nation's military provides what is called a 'hard-edged' backup to its international standing. A strong military and especially a powerful, well-trained, fully-equipped army act as a deterrent against adversaries. It is therefore essential that the nation's decision-makers consciously back the Army and provide it with the support that it needs to meet diverse challenges that exist and are likely to come up in the coming decade.  So far, the Indian Army has fulfilled its role in nation building admirably well. All of us, ordinary citizens, politicians, bureaucrats, must continue to back the nation's strongest asset and further strengthen it, if we desire to see India as a global player in the decades to come.  (This article was originally written for Pinnacle, the journal of Army's Shimla-based Training Command)

India should implement J&K troop cut, says Pak
January 15, 2011 20:51 IST Tags: Foreign Secretaries of India, Abdul Basit, Kashmir, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Jammu Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  India [ Images ] should demonstrate "seriousness" in implementing its announcements regarding reducing troops in Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] as a confidence-building measure, Pakistan's Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit said.  He contended that India had repeatedly announced plans to reduce troops in Jammu and Kashmir "but as far as our information is concerned, such announcements were never implemented."  India should seriously try to resolve the Kashmir issue accepting it as a dispute that will have to be resolved through the composite dialogue whenever it gets resumed, he told the media. Basit was reacting to an announcement yesterday by Home Secretary G K Pillai that there will be a 25 per cent cut in troop strength in Jammu and Kashmir as a confidence-building measure.  On bilateral dialogue, he said, after the meeting of the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan in Bhutan next month, both countries will move ahead and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will visit India. "We want the dialogue process between the two neighbours should not stop and it should move forward without any break so that long-standing issues can be resolved amicably," he said. Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad             

Defence institutes celebrate Army Day
Pune: The 63rd Indian Army Day was celebrated at various institutions in the city with great zeal and enthusiasm. The Indian Amy and HQ Southern Command celebrated the Day in Mumbai.  As part of the celebrations, a special Investiture Ceremony was organised by Headquarters Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa Area at Mulla Auditorium, Colaba.  Lt Gen Pradeep Khanna, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command, presented 22 Sena Medals (Gallantry), 10 Sena Medals (Distinguished), 15 Vishisht Seva Medals and 18 Unit citations. In the city, Brig Rajbir Singh, commander, Pune Sub Area laid a wreath at the war memorial in Southern Command. The National Defence Academy (NDA) too celebrated the day with cadets participating actively. Air Vice-Marshal Ajit Bhonsle, deputy commandant, NDA, was present on the occasion.  The day is celebrated to commemorate the contribution of Indian Army in safeguarding the sovereignty and integrity of our nation. It was on this day that Field Marshal K M Cariappa, OBE, assumed command of the Indian Army as its first Commander-in-Chief.

Army chief wants CBI to probe sale of prime plot 
The Indian Army's southern command chief has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the one-acre plot in Kandivli that was sold to Neo Pharma Pvt Ltd, an arm of Kalpataru builders for around Rs 6 crore.  Lieutenant general Pradeep Khanna, general officer commanding-in-chief, southern command, addressing the media after an investiture ceremony to award valiant soldiers, at Colaba on Saturday, said his recommendation to the ministry of defence (MoD) sought a CBI probe.  Lt Gen Khanna said the state government had sold the land without obtaining clearance from the Indian Army. "We found this out sometime back after a detailed inquiry. My recommendation to the ministry has been that the case be handed over to the CBI," said Lt Gen Khanna.  The role played in the sale of the plot by major general RK Hooda, the former general  officer commanding (Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa) is also under the scanner.  As per the report, the one-acre plot was a Central Ordnance Depot since 1942. In 2007, the state government without taking consent or no-objection certificate from the southern command of the Indian Army sold the land to Neo-Pharma Private Limited.  At present, four multi-storied residential buildings stand on the plot. Lt Gen Khanna said, "There is no reason why the land at Malad should have been sold to a developer until the army had cleared it. The said plot was an ordnance depot that was given on lease to the army."  The Defence Minister would now take a call on what action needs to be taken, added the senior army officer.  Lt Gen Khanna also said that in the Adarsh scam, CBI has accepted the Army's map of 1844 which denotes Colaba as a military island.

Using army against Maoists not desirable: Army chief
NEW DELHI: Indian Army chief General V.K. Singh has said it "was not desirable" to use the armed forces in anti-Maoist operations as the Left-wing rebellion is being viewed "as a law and order and socio-economic problem".  "We have held this as a belief, which even the Defence Minister (A.K. Antony) gave out, that the Left-wing extremism or the Maoist problem is more of a law and order and socio-economic problem to be handled by the local police forces and the central police forces. Army's moving into this was not desirable," Singh told All India Radio in an interview with senior journalist Kalyani Shankar.  Gen. Singh said the army was providing assistance in training the police forces, the central police forces and the paramilitary forces.  He said the army has offered names of people who can be advisors with the various states and guide them on how things can be done.  "Retired officers basically and as I look at it, I think the whole situation can be tackled by these forces very well. However, in the long term, if something happens and if the government wants the army, well, we will accordingly gear ourselves for that particular task," he said.

Red Shield celebrates Army Day
Posted by kanglaonline on January 15, 2011 in Headlines | 0 Comment  IMPHAL, Jan 15: The Red Shield Division celebrated the 63rd anniversary of Army Day today in the state and South Assam. On this occasion the GOC Major General DS Hooda, VSM conveyed warm greetings and best wishes to all ranks and families and appreciated their commendable performance and achievements during the past year. According to an official release from the PRO, Defence Wing Imphal, the Army Day is celebrated today as celebrated in every year in India, in recognition of Lieutenant General (later Field Marshal) K.M Cariappa™s taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from Sir Francis Butcher, the last British commander, in 1949.  The day is celebrated in the form of parades and other military shows in national capital as well as all 6 Army Command headquarters.  Army Day marks a day to salute the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect our country and the people living in it. The release further mentioned that, the Red Shield Division celebrated the Army Day in the form of organizing a number of events at various places in Manipur and Assam.  At Tamei a Band display and dog show was organised for locals.  Ex-servicemen rally, medical camps, distribution of sweets and  debate competition for the school children were organised  at Haflong, Umrangso, Hatikali and Maibong.  An admission counter for admission into National Institute of Open Schooling was launched at Haflong and the National Integration Tour for school children under Army Sadhbhavana which started on 03 January culminated at Lumding.  An exquisite meal for the orphanage children and free rations to CARAMEL JYOTI  HIV CARE CENTRE was organised at Leimakhong.  Free ration were distributed to HIV care centre and orphanages at Gothal, Bishenpur and Nonei.  The troops of 16 MARATHA LI and 4/8 Gorkha Rifles gave monetary assistance to Veer naris in their area. The release also mentioned that, the Red Shield Division re-dedicates itself to become a part of ‘War Winning Team’ on this day and pledges to continue to maintain the high standards it has set for itself.  It shall continue to contribute towards providing a secure and peaceful environment in the state of Manipur. In the meantime, the Red Shield Division as a part of observation showing its re-dedicates itself to become a part of ˜War Winning Team™ on this day and pledges to continue to maintain the high standards it has set for itself with  an  aimed at showcasing the vastness, richness and ‘Unity in Diversity’ of our great nation to the children from insurgency affected region of the Dima Hasao district of Assam, 3 MAHAR Regiment under the aegis of Red Shield Division has organised a  National Integration Tour from 03 January to 15 this month. On the other hand, Brig Ashim Kohli, Commander Haflong Brigade flagged off the tour on  January, 2 last to cities of Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune. A total of 20 students and two teachers from different schools of Dima Hasao district participated in the tour. The tour was conducted under Indian Army sponsored Operation Sadbhavana.  During the visit children interacted with Eastern Army Commander at Kolkata and spoke about their areas and tribal values. Army Commander  in turn presented gifts to the children as a token of encouragement. Children got a unique opportunity to visit National Defence Academy at Pune, interacted with the students of Hyderabad Public School, visited Hi-Tech city in Hyderabad and the Planetorium at Kolkata the release added.

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