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Saturday, 5 February 2011

From Today's Papers - 05 Feb 2011






US military transport jet arrives

Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, February 4 The first of US military transport planes purchased by India after gap of five decades landed at Hindon air base near New Delhi. However, the US has held back key encrypted communication systems as India has refused to sign the crucial Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) with the USA.  Foundation agreements such as CISMOA are required under the US law for providing another country with the advanced electronics on US platforms. These agreements facilitate high-technology transfer. India has said a firm “no” to CISMOA. As a result, the C-130-J transport plane manufactured by Lockheed Martin slated for induction into the IAF tomorrow, will not be the same as the US Air Force's plane of the same make and model.  India will use it for varied needs, including special forces operations that is para-dropping armed troops behind enemy lines, medical evacuations and transport material. India has been operating Soviet-origin transporters- AN 32 and IL 76.  Lockheed Martin's vice president (business development) Orville Prins said today “It was clear CISMOA not being signed will affect certain things. We have worked with the IAF to ensure that the capability they required on the aircraft have been fully met. It is ultimately their choice on what they wanted”.  Sources in the IAF say India was confident that it could do without that the specialised communication equipment.  The latest transport plane deal signals the end of five-decades of military ‘mistrust’ between the two countries. India was seen in the Soviet-Bloc during the days of the cold war.









MiG-21 crashes, pilot safe

Tribune News Service  New Delhi, February 4 A Soviet-origin MiG-21 of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed 150 km south west Gwalior this morning. There were no casualties as the pilot Squadron Leader Falguni Laha Roy ejected safely and landed in forested area.  The plane went down at 11:25 AM near Bela-Bhimlat village, about 150 km south-west of Gwalior air base after taking off from there, an IAF spokesperson said. "The plane developed some engine problem. The pilot Squadron Leader Falguni Laha Roy managed to eject and landed safely on the ground," he said. A rescue helicopter was sent to fetch the pilot, the spokesman said, adding that a court of inquiry has been ordered into the incident. He said the crash took place in a forest area and there was no damage on the ground. The last five days have been bad for the armed forces. A naval warship INS Vindhyagiri capsized last Sunday at Mumbai following a collision with a merchant shop MV Nordlake. An inquiry is in progress. An Army chopper crashed on Wednesday in a residential area in Nashik, killing two Majors while the IAF lost a fighter today.  This is first crash for the IAF this year.  Last year the IAF saw 11 crashes, including six of fighters, two MiG 21s and four MiG 27s. Also, one MI-17, one Mi 26 and three cheetah/cheetak choppers also crashed. An advanced light helicopter Dhruv crash landed. As many as 24 persons lost their lives last year. This included IAF pilots, IAF personnel, Army officers and a few civilians.  The last of the MiG 21 crashes was on June 15 near Halwara in Punjab.  In today’s crash the MiG 21 was of the ‘bison’ series. The indigenous LCA that got initial operational clearance on January 10 is expected to replace the MiG 21s.









Indian Army takes delivery of four 'Nishant' UAVs

NEW DELHI (PTI): After completing successful flight trials in Rajasthan, Indian Army recently took delivery of four indigenously designed and developed 'Nishant' Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).    "Nishant has successfully completed the series of confirmatory trials conducted by the Indian Army at Chandan Range in Pokharan recently before (the Army) taking delivery of a set of four UAVs together with ground systems," DRDO officials said here.  To be used for battle-field reconnaissance in day and night, surveillance, target tracking and correction of artillery fire, the DRDO-developed UAV can also be utilised for anti-insurgency operations.  The electro optical, electronic intelligence and communication intelligence payload on-board the UAV make it suitable for a range of operations both during wartime and counter insurgency operations, they said.  The Nishant is capable of being launched from a hydro pneumatic launcher, without the need of a runway. The UAV can be controlled by 'Ground Control Systems' mounted on Tatra vehicles, DRDO distinguished scientist Prahlada said.  With an endurance level of four and a half hours, Nishant is designed for safe recovery from a desired place with the help of parachutes.  Along with the regiments which would be operating the UAVs, the confirmatory flight of the UAV were witnessed by the Director General of artillery Lt General Vinod Nayanar and Director of Aeronautical Development Agency P S Krishnan.  Nishant has been designed and developed by DRDO's Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), which specialises in developing UAVs, flight control systems and simulators in association with other labs.









Defence conducts 300 kidney transplants in a year

DNA / Rahul Chandawarkar / Saturday, February 5, 2011 3:51 IST  When it comes to cadaveric transplants, the Armed Forces of India are showing the way by performing as many as 300 cadaveric kidney transplants in 2010 alone.  This gives the armed forces an enviable statistic of four out of every ten (40%) brain-dead soldiers and officers opting to donate their organs after death.  Disclosing this to media persons in Pune after the conclusion of the three-day 59th Armed Forces Medical Conference in the city on Friday, Lt Gen Naresh Kumar, officiating director general armed forces medical services, said that 120 of these transplants were done at the Army Hospital Research and Referral (AH&RR) in New Delhi with the rest being performed across armed forces hospitals in India.  According to Lt Gen Kumar, the armed forces had also successfully performed 50 liver transplants and two cadaveric heart transplants in the last two years.  “We have been successful after years of planning and systematic information dissemination across all our units in the army, navy and air force,” Kumar said.  Lt Gen Kumar said that the message of cadaveric transplants had been disseminated at the regimental level and even special motorcycle rallies had been undertaken across the country to spread the message.  But road blocks still exist. Maj Gen Mandeep Singh, additional director general, armed forces medical services (medical research), pointed out how the army could not airlift the kidneys of a brain-dead soldier from Mumbai to Delhi, because the Maharashtra government’s organ transplant rule did not permit an inter-state transfer. Gen Singh said, “We have approached the Centre and have asked them to write to all state governments, asking them to amend this rule.”  The senior army medical officers stated that cornea transplants had become routine and all armed forces eye banks had a facility to store cornea transplants.  It may be recalled that DNA (February 1 and 4) had highlighted the case of the family of a brain-dead Gujarati-Jain paint dealer who had donated his kidneys. The act had received the support of the Jain community and spiritual leaders.  The example set by the Indian Armed Forces is likely to inspire the ordinary people to opt to donate organs after their deaths.











Indian assistance key to a home-grown solution

 Saturday, 05 February 2011 00:

                  The 63rd Independence Day of Sri Lanka which is the National Day as well will be marked this year by our renewed journey towards consolidating peace and ushering prosperity.  President Mahinda Rajapaksa, having provided leadership to the country in eradicating terrorism from Sri Lankan soil, has now galvanised our Nation into a broader nation building programme focusing on economic development, especially in the former conflict affected areas of the North and the East, while providing impetus to the national reconciliation process.   2011 holds a special significance for our two countries based on our historic relations. This is in the context of the 2600th anniversary this year, of the enlightenment of Gautama Buddha that gave rise to the establishment of Buddhism. The people of Sri Lanka received the compassionate gift of Buddhism from Emperor Ashoka 2300 years ago, an event which has led to a majority of Sri Lankans even today being followers of Buddhism.  Sri Lankans will therefore join hands this year with Buddhists all over the world to celebrate the 2600th anniversary of the Sambuddathva Jayanthi and the introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka by Emperor Ashoka.   In recent years, this multifaceted relationship has reached new heights marked by close contacts at the highest level with important visits taking place between the two countries at regular intervals especially since the end of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka.  President Mahinda Rajapaksa was in India twice last year, first in June 2010 as a visiting State Guest soon after his re-election for a second term in office, and later as the Guest of Honour at the concluding ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.  Several Cabinet Ministers as well as the Chiefs of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force undertook official visits to Sri Lanka, manifesting close cooperation in security and defence matters. Visits of the Chief of the Sri Lanka Navy to India and the Indian Defence Secretary to Sri Lanka were significant in paving the way for deepening bilateral defence cooperation, in particular towards promoting maritime security.   India and Sri Lanka remain committed to eliminating terrorism from the region, in all its forms and manifestations. In this context, Sri Lanka’s success in eliminating terrorism from its soil has opened up space and provided greater impetus for the growth of bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.  India’s assistance in resettling nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians who were liberated from the clutches of terrorism signals an instance of India’s recent support for the wellbeing of Sri Lanka and its people, especially those in the North and the East of the country.   India is now engaged with Sri Lanka in the massive rebuilding effort in the North and the East of the country, providing expertise and concessionary financial assistance of over 1.2 billion dollars for the reconstruction of housing, railways, airport, harbour and sports stadium in the Northern Province.  Among other major projects, Indian enterprises will undertake building a power station near the strategic harbour port of Trincomalee.  The Government and the people of Sri Lanka draw encouragement from the support and understanding extended by India towards rehabilitation, reconstruction and the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, especially at this juncture, when the Government has embarked upon a structured dialogue with key Tamil political parties to pursue home-grown solutions towards national reconciliation. The people of Sri Lanka look to the people of India to stand by them based on age old ties and common civilizational links.   Sri Lanka is India’s largest trade partner among SAARC countries. Both countries are now among Asian nations that are on higher economic growth path. Sri Lanka has seen rapid growth especially since the end of the armed conflict. Sri Lanka’s strategic location provides unique opportunities for both Sri Lanka and India to work together for greater linkages with the extra regional centres of economic activity for common benefit and advantage.  The economic opportunities available as well as Sri Lanka’s natural beauty and diversity of landscape, fauna and flora and cultural richness have resulted in the number of visitors travelling for business, rest and recreation to Sri Lanka especially from India increasing  exponentially.   Having progressively liberalized its economy for the last thirty years, Sri Lanka is now developing a user-friendly financial and fiscal regime for businesses and a stakeholder-friendly atmosphere for trade and investment.  Sri Lanka’s Ports, especially the Port of Colombo and the new Mahinda Rajapaksa Port in Hambantota (Magampura) are strategically located. Equipped with state of the art facilities, these Ports can provide economic advantage for businesses in the region, especially for those in India. The objective of Sri Lanka’s post-conflict development plan is to utilise Sri Lanka’s strategic geographic location effectively and develop Sri Lanka as a shipping, aviation, commercial, energy and knowledge hub serving as a link between East and West. This holds the potential for enhancing the efficiency and competitiveness of regional business, trade and manufacturing enterprises in their effort to reach out to the world.   While Sri Lanka remains steadfastly committed to a policy of Non-Alignment with friendship with all countries and enmity towards none, the people of Sri Lanka are mindful of their special relationship with the people of India that has been a key factor for the wellbeing of the nation since the time of Emperor Ashoka.  In fact President Mahinda Rajapaksa reflected on these sentiments very aptly when he recently stated “India is our close neighbour.  I always say, India is my relation.  Others are my friends”.




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