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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

From Today's Papers - 22 Mar 2011

4 more IGs, 9 DIGs for ITBP
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, March 21 The Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) has initiated a major exercise to restructure its command and control hierarchy to meet the organisational requirements emerging from the expansion and modernisation of the force. The force, which guards the Himalayan border along China, is being expanded and upgraded to meet emerging security requirements.  “Sanction by the government has been accorded for the creation of four new posts at the level of inspector general (IG), besides nine more posts of deputy inspector general (DIG) and 17 additional vacancies at the level of commandant,” ITBP Director-General RK Bhatia told The Tribune here today.  Approval was recently accorded to increase the ITBP’s strength by 13 battalions by 2015. In addition, the strength of 20 existing battalions would be raised from four companies each to six companies. A company has about 150 personnel, while a battalion has about 1,000 troops, including support elements. The present strength of the ITBP is 49 battalions, including four special battalions.  The modalities of the responsibilities and tasks to be allotted to the new posts are being worked out by the ITBP headquarters.  Approval has been accorded to regularise the ITBP’s Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Mahidanda in Uttaranchal, which was being run on ad hoc basis for the past few years. This is the only counter-insurgency school being run for paramilitary and central police organisations. In addition, three new recruit centres in Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and the North-East have been sanctioned to cater to new raisings.

UN Security Council may meet on Libya
AFP/ PTI / United Nations March 21, 2011, 21:03 IST  The UN Security Council will probably hold a close door meeting on Libya today, a diplomat said, amid rising criticism of air strikes directed at the regime of Muammar Gaddafi.  Missile and air strikes launched over the weekend by US, British and French forces targeted Libyan air defence systems to impose a no-fly zone on Gaddafi's forces.  The Security Council passed a resolution on Thursday authorising the use of "all necessary measures" to protect civilians and impose the no-fly zone after Gaddafi's forces appeared on the verge of crushing a month-long rebellion.

Army faces dearth of firing ranges
NEW DELHI: Practice may make perfect but, with increasing industrialization as well as environmental consciousness, the Indian armed forces are slowly but surely running out of their firing ranges to hone their combat skills. The 1.1-million strong Army, the second largest in the world, for instance, is left with just about 40 operational field firing ranges (FFRs) of 104 ranges it once had.  Indian Air Force (IAF) is finding it tough for its fighters to practice bombing in at least four of its seven air-to-ground ranges because of booming civilian air traffic as well as urbanization around them.  Even the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has now raised a banner of protest against the move to establish three ports at Ichudi, Chandipur and Bahabalpur near its strategic missiles and advanced weapon testing ranges in Balasore district of Orissa.  "The proposed port at Ichudi is very near to the (missile) launch complexes. Movement of ships will pose a security threat to DRDO instal- lations. Further, the proposed ports fall within the notified area of DRDO and IAF, where dynamic trial/firing of unproved armament stores are being conducted on regular basis," defence minister A K Antony said in Parliament.  The test ranges at Wheeler Island or Chandipur-at-Sea are crucial for India's nuclear-capable missile programme, which will later this year see the first launch of the 5,000-km Agni-V missile.  Similarly, the FFRs are needed for soldiers to practice use of weapons, ranging from the ordinary rifles to anti-tank guided missiles."Not all units can be sent to the Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan for the drills. Nobody can argue against environment protection but our problem also has to be resolved in a way acceptable to all stakeholders," said a senior officer.  Officials say "notification" of around 55 ranges out of the existing inventory of 92 notified FFRs in different states has expired. "Renotification is a tortuous process, with states required to take clearances from the Union environment ministry for use of forest land for non-forest activities," said another officer.  IAF is also grappling with restrictions on use of air-to-ground ranges at the Dolland Mukh Range (Assam), Tilpat Range (UP), Singpur Range (Gujarat) and Sarmat Range (Madhya Pradesh). "There is civilian air traffic. Houses, factories and industries have also come up," said an officer. The overall situation may not be too "alarming" now but the Army feels if corrective action is not taken, it may become "irretrievable" in years to come.

Army chief visits forward areas, reviews Kashmir situation
2011-03-21 21:10:00 Srinagar, March 21 (IANS) Indian Army chief Gen V.K. Singh, who arrived here Monday on a two-day visit to review the situation in Kashmir, visited the troops deployed in high-altitude areas and on the Line of Control with Pakistan, a defence spokesman said.  He was received by Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. K.T.Parnaik and 15 Corps commander Lt. Gen. S.A. Hasnain.  The army chief reviewed 'operational preparedness in the Kashmir Valley in view of the changing environment and security scenario', the spokesman said.  The army chief is accompanied by his wife, Bharti Singh, president of the Army Wives Welfare Association. She visited the army base hospital here and interacted with the patients.

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