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Sunday, 13 March 2011

From Today's Papers - 13 Mar 2011

Wagah-like Retreat ceremony on the anvil at Bangladesh border Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, March 12 With Dhaka raising a protest over the “killing” of its nationals in firing by Indian security forces, the BSF has now decided to use non-lethal weapons against infiltrators along some parts of the Bangladesh border.  This was announced here today at a meeting between Director General of the BSF Raman Srivastava and his Bangladesh counterpart Maj Gen Rafiqul Islam, who is DG of Border Guard, Bangladesh.  The two also announced that the BSF and the BGB would jointly organise a ‘Retreat’ ceremony at Petrapole/Benapole integrated check-post in the district of North 24 Parganas, about 95 km north of Kolkata. This will be on the lines of the ceremony conducted at the Wagah border in Punjab by the BSF and Pakistan Rangers.  A joint committee of the two forces will go into the details and make appropriate recommendations for the proposed ceremony. The plan is also to replicate the ceremony at Akhaura and Phulbari in Tripura, said Srivastava. In a couple of months, we will be able to start it, he added.  Srivastava told mediapersons that his force would be armed with non-lethal weapons at certain designated points along the Bangladesh border on an experimental basis. If it can successfully bring down the number of fatalities, then the plan will be expanded to cover the entire 4,114-km border, he added. The Bangladesh DG said firing by the BSF at “unarmed” civilians was resulting in their death and they wanted the Indians to stop use of lethal weapons.  “It is the BSF which opens fire as a result of which Bangladesh’s unarmed people are being killed. That is where our concerns are,” Islam said, adding that he wanted the BSF to follow “rules of engagement, which are internationally accepted”.  Srivastava said that the BSF was inducting non-lethal weapons, primarily to avoid casualties, in areas which see frequent smuggling bids. The non-lethal weapons would be in addition to the regular, standard weapons.  The two forces also exchanged a list of criminals, insurgents and smugglers wanted in various cases. Bangladesh has also handed over a list of fugitives that has names of two persons, who are suspected to have killed founder of that country, Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman.
Arjun tanks deployed at jaisalmer border Vimal Bhatia, TNN | Mar 13, 2011, 12.51am IST JAISALMER: The indigenous main battle tank Arjun was deployed at Jaisalmer border on Saturday. A programme was organised on 39th Raising Day of 75 Regiment and on that ocassion, Russian made T 55 tanks were given a farewell.  The regiment is the second unit in which Arjun tanks were inducted. This deployment is vital for defence and the tank will play a very important role. Lieutenant General A K Singh, GOC-in-C, Southern Command reviewed a parade of 75 Armoured Regiment. He lauded the professionalism of the soldiers. He expressed satisfaction that such a modern and sophisticated MBT was being produced indigenously.  The ceremony also marked the phasing out of T 55 tanks after 40 years of service. Many of the veterans present at the parade were moved by the departure of their trusted tank. The 75 Armoured Regiment has a unique history. It was raised in captured Pakistani territory in March 1972. After successfully fighting the 1971 war, three independent armoured squadrons were merged to create the regiment.  For the gallant actions by its squadrons, the Regiment was conferred the Theatre Honour Sindh'. The event also marked the 39th Raising Day of the Regiment. Over 100 retired officers and jawans attended the celebrations.  The delays and failures in Arjun's development from the 1990s to the 2000s prompted the Indian Army to order vast numbers of T-90S from Russia to meet the defence gap.  The Arjun features a 120 mm main rifle gun with indigenously developed APFSDS ammunition which has the capability to penetrate superior armor, one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and a 12.7 mm machine gun. It is powered by a single MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 hp, and can achieve a maximum speed of 70 km/h (43 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). It requires a four-man crew: commander, gunner, loader and driver. Automatic fire detection and suppression, and NBC protection systems are provided.  All-round anti-tank warhead protection by the newly developed Kanchan armour is claimed to be much higher than available in present third generation tanks. Earlier, in March 2010, the Arjun was pitted against the T-90 in comparative trials and performed well.  Weighing 58.5 tons, the Arjun tank is significantly heavier than the Soviet-legacy tanks used at present by the Indian Army.It required changes to the army's logistics establishment, including new railroad cars to transport the bigger and heavier Arjuns.
Two Pune women to live their dreams in army DNA / Priyanka Naithani / Saturday, March 12, 2011 13:21 IST  Two women from the city have realised their dreams of serving the nation by joining the defence forces. While Maanasi Gajendragadkar is a post-graduate student of arts, Ishita Sood is a BTech working with an information technology (IT) company.  They made it to the 7th and 15 rank respectively at the Combined Defence Service (CDS) exam as declared by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).  They are amongst the 18 women candidates selected from all over the country for the seventh short service commission in the women (non-technical) course, which will commence at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Chennai in mid-April.  Both of them received extensive training at Apex Careers run by Lt Col (retd) Pradeep Brahmankar.  Maanasi is pursuing her masters in English at the University of Pune. Her father, the late Lt Col Shirish Gajendragadkar, who passed away in 2003 while in service, always wanted her to follow in his footsteps.  After completing her schooling from the Army Public School, she did her BCom from BMCC College. “It was my father’s dream that we click a picture together, wearing the uniform. He is my inspiration and always wanted me to serve the army. My mother was reluctant initially, but today she is proud of me,” said Maanasi.  Ishita (22), who originally hails from Shimla, worked as a project engineer in Wipro in Pune for the last eight months. After completing her BTech from Delhi, she started preparing for the CDS entrance.  “My grandfather was in the army. I was small when he passed away, but I used to hear about his bravery from my mom. The kind of respect and dignity you get in the forces is unmatched. I wanted to be an officers’ lady or a lady officer. I chose the latter.”  Both the girls will now proceed to the OTA for 49 weeks of military training, on successful completion of which they will be commissioned as lieutenants in the Indian Army. URL of the article:
India, Russia spar over BrahMos missile air version  The India-Russia plan to fit the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile on their Sukhoi aircraft is in trouble with the two sides sparring over who will foot the bill to modify the fighter jet's design.  The shadow boxing, which is being carried out behind closed doors at the moment, is over Russia's demand for additional costs to rework the Su-30 fighter aircraft's design so that a remodelled, lighter BrahMos missile can be integrated onto it.  Though BrahMos Aerospace managing director Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai denied there were any difference of opinion between the joint venture partners on who will fit the bill for the Sukhoi modification, he did admit that price negotiations were in progress.  "That is under discussion. That is not finalised," Pillai said at a Meet the Press event organised by the Press Club of India here Saturday, where he was asked what was the price demanded by Russia for the Sukhoi redesigning.  "There is no dispute with them. Any discussion takes time. We are also looking at our own design. We will not delay the project," he said.  Noting that India had asked Russia to do the redesigning of the Sukhoi aircraft as it was a platform from their stable and they were the primary developers of the aircraft, Pillai said: "But we also have the capability to do the redesigning and if need be, we can also do that."  Defence Ministry sources have indicated that Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), that is currently producing the Su-30MKI under license from the Russians for the Indian Air Force, has been asked to submit a plan for the work and they have carried out a preliminary study on the redesigning so that India could do it alone if the Russians pressed hard for more money.  Pillai also noted that the air force version of BrahMos will be lighter and smaller in size than the 3,900-kg land-based cruise missile (with 290-km range) already inducted by the Indian Army.  Sukhoi itself will need to be modified by strengthening its airframe so it can carry BrahMos, which will be the heaviest of all its missile weighing 2,500 kg.  The missile is capable of carrying a 300-kg conventional warhead.  The air force version will also have some changes in its design to suit the "drop and fire" mechanism that would be employed by the Sukhois, which will have the capability to carry one of the BrahMos in its underbelly.  The launcher for the air force version is already been designed and is being produced in India, Pillai noted.  The BrahMos chief also noted that the supersonic cruise missile were already inducted by the Indian army and navy.  The current order for BrahMos missiles, Pillai said, was worth $4 billion, a profitable enterprise considering that the total investment from India and Russia for the project was only $300 million. India shared 50.5 percent of the cost and Russia 49.5 percent.  He also said that several countries have shown keen interest in buying BrahMos, as it was the only supersonic, precision-strike and steep-dive cruise missile in the world at the moment.  "Both the Indian and Russian governments have approved exports. In fact, all the three services... army, navy and air force... have signed agreements accepting export of the BrahMos missile," he said.  But the only request of the Indian government and the armed forces was that the joint venture first meet their requirements before export orders are considered. "They are not against it (exports)," Pillai added.
Concerned over multi-dimensional threat from China: RSS  Bangalore, Mar 12 (PTI) Expressing serious concern over the growing "multi-dimensional threat from China", the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh today asked the government to seriously look into border violations by the Chinese People''s Liberation Army on the Line of Actual Control. "Casual attitude and perpetual denial of our government in describing gross border violations by the Chinese People''s Liberation Army as a case of ''lack of common perception on the LAC'' "... attempts to underplay the severe strategic dissonance between the two countries and failure to expose the expansionist and imperialist manoeuvres of China can prove fatal to our national interests," the RSS said in a resolution passed today at its three-day annual meet being held in Puttur, around 350 kms from here. The Akhil Bharatiya Pratinidhi Sabha (ABPS) of the RSS expressed serious concern over the growing multi-dimensional threat from China and the lacklustre response of the Government of India to its "aggressive and intimidation tactics". "The ABPS cautions that the growing civilian and defence ties between China and Pakistan are a matter of grave concern to our national security. Presence of the 10,000-strong Chinese Army in Skardu (PoK) in the guise of construction works and repairs to Karakoram highway is a serious issue as it allows China to encircle Kashmir," the organisation claimed. The RSS further charged that the "malafide" intentions of China are conspicuous in a number of recent developments. "It has falsely charged India of occupying 90,000 sq km of its territory (including Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim). Chinese troops entered Gombir area in Demchok region last year and threatened the civilian workers to stop construction work," the RSS said. The ABPS also saw "potential danger from Chinese machinations in India''s northeast region. A recent expose in a leading weekly about the extent of the involvement of China in arming, encouraging and funding insurgent groups like the NSCN should awaken us to this danger. Besides NSCN insurgents other insurgent groups in the northeast like the NDFB, ULFA etc also get patronage from China," the RSS claimed. The organisation asked people to boycott use of all Chinese made goods saying that its penetration was affecting the Indian manufacturing industry.
Indian Army helps TV-free Kashmir village see World Cup      Taiyan: The 21st century finally caught up with the village of Taiyan in Kashmir this week. It took the Cricket World Cup to do it.     On Wednesday, the Indian army set up a huge screen to show 300 villagers from Taiyan the national team's five-wicket win over Netherlands.     Until now, the 2,500 people of Taiyan have not seen a television in the village. You need electricity to make them work and they have not got that either.     They watched in wonder and cheered every boundary hit by Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag from hundreds of kilometres away in New Delhi.     The army had also arranged for India's matches against Bangladesh and Ireland to be shown on the big screen but most did not bother viewing because of poor weather.     For many of Wednesday's audience, who live perilously close to the tense Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan, it was the first time they had seen India's revered cricketers in action.     "Let alone television sets, there is no electricity in the village and there is no way that the villagers manage to see a match," Ganesh Natrajan, an Indian army official, told Reuters Television.     "So the Army has planned that all the matches in which India is playing, we should screen them through a laser projector, so that women, children and old people can all come here.     "They are enjoying the matches as they have never seen anything similar before. They did not have much knowledge about cricket but with the help of World Cup they now have knowledge about cricket."     Yaqoob Mohammad, a middle-aged farmer, agreed.     "I would only like to say that before this, we had never seen matches. Our children and women are also seeing the matches," said Yaqoob.     "There are almost 300 people here that are able to see the matches. And we only pray that India wins."     Not surprisingly, India beat Netherlands, who are not a test-playing nation.     Next will be South Africa on Saturday, in distant Nagpur.     Yaqoob and his friends will be back for front row seats. Weather permitting.

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