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Sunday, 6 February 2011

From Today's Papers - 06 Feb 2011

Super Hercules inducted into IAF
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, February 5 India today inducted a new tactical lift aircraft, the C-130-J Super Hercules, which gives its armed forces an edge in the Himalayas.  The new plane, manufactured by US military aviation giant Lockheed Martin, was inducted at a ceremony at the Hindon Airbase. Defence Minister AK Antony handed over the keys of aircraft to the Commanding Officer of 77 Air Squadron, Gp Capt Tejbir Singh, in the presence of Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, and US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer.  Five more such planes will arrive before the end of this year and these will form a part of the newly raised 77 Squadron, which has been given the name ‘Veiled Vipers’ and has the motto ‘strike to kill’.  India intends to use the aircraft for the special forces, usually small units of para-commandoes of the Army, that carry targeted aggressive operations. The C-130-J can take-off or land on unpaved runways and even mud tracks making it an asset in areas like Ladakh, Kashmir and parts of Arunachal Pradesh and the Northeast.  The aircraft is capable of airdropping armed commandoes and material in darkness due to its night vision imaging. In wartime, the aircraft can be employed for special air operations, transport of material and supplies besides maintenance.  During peacetime, its role includes operations and maintenance in mountainous terrain in adverse circumstances. The four-engine turboprop plane with Rolls Royce engines has the technology and configuration to perform precision low-level flying and airdrops.

Pakistan provokes India before talks  Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao will meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in the Bhutanese capital on Sunday Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in the Bhutanese capital on Sunday  Islamabad, February 5 On the eve of Foreign Secretary-level talks in Thimphu, Pakistan today came out with a provocative statement saying that India's handling of the Samjhauta Express bombing case showed that it lacked "courage to unearth culpability of Hindu extremists".  "India seems to be lacking the courage to unearth culpability of Hindu extremists and their links with some Indian Army personnel," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement that appears designed to upset New Delhi.  The unusually blunt statement held that India's handling of the 2007 Samjhauta Express case "doesn't inspire much hope".  The spokesman emphasised that India "needs to bridge the gap between what it says and what it does".  The Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao will meet her Pakistani counterpart Salman Bashir in the Bhutanese capital on Sunday to make a fresh attempt to restart the bilateral dialogue process stalled since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. The Indian side is expected to seek an update from Pakistan on the Mumbai attacks investigations and trial. This will be the first meeting between the Foreign Secretaries after the failed talks between the Foreign Ministers in July last year in Pakistan.  Pakistan has been calling for action against those responsible for bombing the cross-border train ever since RSS leader Swami Aseemanand recently confessed to a special court in India about the involvement of Sangh activists in several terror attacks, including the assault on the Samjhauta train that runs between the two countries.  The National Investigative Agency have since then arrested several ‘Hindu militants’ in connection with terror attacks. The Home Minister P. Chidambaram had declared that India would share with Pakistan all details once the investigation is completed.  But Basit said in his statement today that it was "unfortunate that India has still not been able to complete its investigations into the Samjhauta blasts". — PTI

Kupwara youth dies in Army operation
Villagers protest; case slapped on troops Ehsan Fazili/TNS  Srinagar, February 5 A student was killed allegedly during an ambush by the Army in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, following which a murder case was registered today against the unit which carried out the operation.  The incident, which comes four days after the mysterious killing of two sisters in Sopore, triggered a massive protest. Angry residents of Chogul village (to which the victim belonged) in Handwara blocked the Sopore-Kupwara road at Kulangam, demanding arrest of the Army personnel involved in the incident.  A case under Section 302 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) was registered against the 4 Para unit of the Army. The government has also ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. It would be conducted by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara. An ex gratia grant of Rs one lakh has also been announced for the victim’s family.  According to villagers, Manzoor Ahmad Magray (19) was asked to come out of his house at 9.45 pm yesterday by troopers, who knocked at the window of his room. Later, Magray’s body was found near a bridge adjoining at around 6.45 am today. The police took the body in its custody and later handed it over to the villagers.  A police spokesman said that the Army laid an ambush in Gund Chogul village last night and on “noticing some suspicious movement it opened fire”. One person, Manzoor Ahmad Magray, of Gund Chogul village died in the incident.  Regretting the loss of life in the operation, Defence spokesman Lt Col JS Brar, in a statement, said that based on specific intelligence about movement of militants, the Army had laid an ambush last night to trap them. At around 22.30 hours, the troops detected suspicious movement of two persons.  “As per the Standing Operative Procedures, the troops challenged the individuals to surrender. Both individuals paid no heed and attempted to run away under the cover of darkness. The troops opened fire resulting in fatal injuries to Manzoor Ahmad Magray while the other unidentified person escaped,” said the spokesman.  Although the troops strictly adhered to the procedures, the Army regrets the loss of life, more so, as the year has been declared by the Army as the year of the ‘Kashmiri Awam’, he said. “We deeply and sincerely express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” he added. (With PTI inputs)

Defence Minister sacks Navy officer for sexual misconduct in Moscow 
Press Trust of India, Updated: February 05, 2011 20:23 IST Ads by Google  The Economist Magazine – Get a World view Every Week. 12 Issues for Rs. 500 only!  Defence Minister A K Antony has sacked a senior Navy officer for having sexual relations with a Russian woman in Moscow as head of the Indian team overseeing the refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov there.  Commodore Sukhjinder Singh was posted in Moscow between 2005 to 2007 as the Indian warship production superintendent to oversee Gorshkov's refit when he developed the illicit relationship with the woman.  "He (Singh) will be discharged. He will not be in service now," Antony told reporters when asked about the progress in the case.  Singh, who has at least two years of service left, will have to immediately pack his bags.     
   Singh's affair was exposed in April 2010, three years after his posting in Russia when his explicit pictures with the woman were brought to the notice of the Defence Ministry.  Soon after receiving the pictures, the Navy had ordered a Court Of Inquiry against him to establish his relations with the woman and whether the relationship had affected the Admiral Gorshkov deal in any way.  The CoIonel had established Singh's relations with the woman but maintained that his "loose moral conduct" had not "adversely impacted" India's position during the long-drawn wrangling with Russia over the 44,570-tonne carrier's refit.  After completing its inquiry, the Navy had sent the file to the Defence Ministry for further action.  Even after returning from Russia, Singh had continued to be associated with the Gorshkov programme as the principal director (aircraft carrier project) in New Delhi till mid-2009.  He was later relieved of his posting in the defence ministry's directorate-general of quality assurance.  After repeated Russian demands for higher prices for retrofitting the aircraft carrier, the two sides last year finally settled on US $2.33 billion as the cost of the warship.

Quit Kashmir or prepare for war: Saeed warns India
February 05, 2011 22:19 IST Tags: Quit Kashmir, Hazif Muhammad Saeed, India, Pakistan People, Jammu Share this Ask Users Write a Comment  Jamaat-u-Dawah chief Hazif Muhammad Saeed on Saturday warned India [ Images ] to "quit" Jammu and Kashmir [ Images ] or be prepared for a "war" even as the extremist group organized protests at several places in Pakistan to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day.  Addressing a rally of about 20,000 supporters on the Mall, one of the main thoroughfares of Lahore [ Images ], Saeed said in a belligerent tone: "I want to give a message to (Indian Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh [ Images ] quit Kashmir or get ready to face a war".  As his supporters shouted slogans like "Kashmir hamara hai" (Kashmir is ours), "Kashmir ki azadi tak jang rahay gi jang rahah gi" (The war will continue till the liberation of Kashmir) and "Bhartio Kashmir chor do" (Indians quit Kashmir), Saeed unveiled his vision for settling the Kashmir issue.  "If freedom is not given to the Kashmiris, then we will occupy the whole of India including Kashmir. We will launch Ghazwa-e-Hind (the battle for India). Our homework is complete to get Kashmir," he thundered.  Saeed, the founder of the banned Lashker-e-Tayiba, claimed 800,000 Indian soldiers should be "held accountable" for alleged atrocities they were committing in Jammu and Kashmir.  "The Kashmir cause is heading towards a conclusion and this year is very important. As the United States is fleeing from Iraq and Afghanistan, we will get Kashmir this year," he claimed.  Saeed, who was put under house arrest for about six months in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai [ Images ] attacks after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a front for the LeT, claimed his organisation was not a "terrorist outfit".  "We are neither terrorists nor suicide bombers. We are only fighting for the freedom of Kashmir and till our objective is achieved, we will continue our jihad," he said.  Saeed claimed things had changed around the world. If people came out on the streets as they did in Egypt [ Images ], the governments in India and Pakistan too would have to go, he said.  Alleging that India wanted to occupy Pakistan's Balochistan province with the help of the US, Saeed said his groups would not let this happen.  "We will save our country," he added. The JuD "believed in dialogue but had no trust in India", he said.  "India is destroying Pakistan's agricultural economy by building dams on our water," he added. Criticizing the Pakistan People's Party-led government, Saeed said, "On Indian-held Kashmir, the point of view of Pakistanis is similar to that of Kashmiris, but the Pakistani government is under pressure from India and other foreign masters".  He also criticized the UN, describing it as "slave to the US". Saeed claimed the Indian government "tried hard to implicate" the JuD in the Mumbai attacks but nothing had been proved against it and nothing would be because the organisation was "not involved" in the incident.  "After 9/11, our organisation was targeted and it was inflicted damage. (Former President Pervez) Musharraf hurt the Kashmir cause by proposing a third option," he claimed.  JuD deputy chief Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki and Jamaat-i-Islami secretary general Liaqat Baloch also addressed the gathering.  Saeed's remarks came a day ahead of talks between the Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan on the sidelines of a SAARC meet in Bhutan to find ways to revive the peace process between the two countries.  India has linked the resumption of the peace process to Pakistan prosecuting the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks and winding up terrorist infrastructure on its soil.

Haryana favours one rank, one pension scheme for ex-servicemen
2011-02-05 20:40:00 All about Pension Plans Ads by Google Get quotes from 9 insurance cos Evaluate benefits and premiums  Bhiwani (Haryana), Feb 5 (IANS) Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda Saturday said that his government was in favour of one rank, one pension scheme for the ex-army personnel.  'I had also advocated this issue in parliament when I was an MP. The union government has taken a number of steps in this direction,' said Hooda, while talking to reporters at an Army Mela here.  The two-day 'Army Mela', which is being organised by the Indian Army, was inaugurated at Bhim Stadium here Saturday.  Speaking on the issue, Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh, who was also present, said: 'The centre is considering the issue. The one rank, one pension norm has been achieved for JCOs (junior commissioned officers) and soldiers, up to 90 percent ranks, while the issue regarding officers is under consideration.'  Comparing the strength of Indian defence forces with China, Singh said that Indian soldiers are matchless.  'Defence forces are not evaluated on the basis of numbers only, other factors like morale, physical efficiency, courage and enthusiasm are also important,' he noted.

Induction of new planes will reduce air crashes: Antony
2011-02-05 22:20:00 Last Updated: 2011-02-06 01:50:43 Download Google Chrome Ads by Google Searching is fast and easy with Google's web browser.  AKantony_220  Hindon (Ghaziabad): With the Indian armed forces recording over a dozen air crashes every year, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Saturday said the induction of new aircraft and helicopters would help reduce the unfortunate accidents in the future.  The army and air force lost a Cheetah helicopter and a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet respectively in crashes this week in which two experienced army pilots were killed. Last year, the armed forces lost over a dozen aircraft, including Russian-origin MiG-21s and MiG-27s.  Antony sacks Navy officer for sexual misconduct in Moscow  'Every accident, whether big aircraft or a helicopter, is unfortunate... a sad thing. We are constantly making efforts to improve systems regarding operational requirements. In spite of all, this happens,' Antony told reporters here on the sidelines of a ceremony to induct the American C-130J aircraft for special operations.  'Compared to the past, accidents are now less. But it does not give any comfort level for us. After every accident, we carry out inquiry into all of these accidents, find reasons and act on them,' he added.  Noting that IAF was in the process of speedy modernisation, the defence minister said that in the next two or three years, the IAF would induct some of the most modern equipment, fighter jets, transport aircraft and helicopters into its fleet apart from phasing out the old aircraft in its inventory.  Sharing Antony's sentiments, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik said the faster the new aircraft are inducted, the IAF would be able to phase out the ageing ones.  'The faster the new aircraft are inducted, the faster we can phase out the old aircraft. We have already phased out oldest type of MiG-21s. Only one squadron is left now. They should also be going out by next year. The faster the ingress, the faster we can phase out the older aircraft,' he said.  The IAF at present has 33 squadrons in its fleet with aircraft ranging from Russian-origin Su-30s, French Mirage-2000, Anglo-French Jaguars, Russian MiG-29s and several ageing MiG variants such as MiG-21s and MiG-27s in the about 600-aircraft inventory.  The IAF plans to induct 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) by 2015 for which the tender process is in its last stage and could be awarded to one of the six contenders anytime this year.  Among the aircraft in the race for the $104-billion contract for MMRCA are American Boeing's F/A-18 and Lockheed Martin's F-16, French Dassault's Rafale, European consortium EADS' Eurofighter Typhoon, Swedish SAAB's Gripen and Russian MiG-RAC's MIG-35.  Sukna, Adarsh scams put armed forces in "bad" light: Antony  India has also signed an agreement for joint development of a fifth generation fighter aircraft with the Russians, about 250 to 300 of which are expected to join the force by 2017.  The IAF's fleet strength is expected to go up to 42 squadrons by 2022, but before that it would phase out the MiG-21s and the MiG-27, which constitute a majority of the existing squadron strength.  

Not fair to draw comparison of Indian, Chinese Army: V K Singh
 2011-02-05 22:30:00 Last Updated: 2011-02-06 00:09:45 Career in Armed Forces ? Ads by Google See what it takes to get there , Invest & Help Your Child's Career !  Bhiwani: Noting that defence forces are not evaluated on the basis of numbers only, Army Chief Gen V K Singh on Sunday said it will not be fair and appropriate to draw comparison between the Indian and Chinese armies.  Asked about the strength of Indian defence forces compared with that of China, Singh said here that the brave soldiers from Haryana and the country have no match.  "The defence forces are not evaluated on the basis of numbers only. Other factors like morale, physical efficiency, courage and enthusiasm are also important," General Singh said in a media interaction after inaugurating a two-day Army Mela-2011 being held at local Bhim Stadium.  Moreover, it would not be quite fair and appropriate to compare Indian Army with the Chinese Army, he said.  Sukna, Adarsh scams put armed forces in "bad" light: Antony  To a question, he said the Army is capable of facing any challenge in terms of the nation's security.  He admitted that the army was facing a shortage of officers and added that to fill the gap youths were being inspired through events like the Army Mela.  The General said that the media should research on why the youth were losing interest in joining the Army.  In reply to another question regarding allegation of corruption against some army officers in the light of Adarsh scam, Singh said that he had earlier cleared his stand on this issue through the media and added many steps had been initiated so that such allegations are not levelled in future.  He said the Army had declared this year as 'Year for Handicapped' and a sum of Rs 1 crore had been kept for the welfare of working personnel.  Meanwhile, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who was also present on the occasion, said that the state has always been in favour of one rank one pension for the Army personnel.  General Singh said that the Union government was considering the issue and for JCOs and soldiers upto 90 per cent of one rank one pension has been achieved while the issue regarding officers is under consideration.

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