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Sunday, 3 April 2011

From Today's Papers - 03 Apr 2011





3 CRPF men killed in ambush
Tribune News Service  Guwahati, April 2 At least three CRPF jawans were killed on the spot and two others injured when tribal militants attacked a patrol party of the paramilitary force at Deothar in Karbi Anglong hill district of Assam this morning.  Police said a three-vehicle convoy of the CRPF party was fired upon by militants belonging to newly formed Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) from the hilltop killing three jawans on the spot and injuring at least two others.  The CRPF jawans, who were rushed to Assam last week for election duty, were returning from surveying places in Deothar where polling stations would be set up tomorrow for Monday’s polling in the first phase.  The last one of the three vehicles of CRPF personnel came under attack of militants waiting in ambush at a hilltop. The area is under insurgency affected Bokajan Legislative Assembly Constituency that goes to poll on Monday.  Under attack the CRPF jawans retaliated, which prevented the militants from taking away arms and ammunition from them. There was heavy exchange of fire between the two parties.











13 rebels killed in coalition air strikes
Defiant Gaddafi rejects conditional ceasefire offer  Tripoli, April 2 A coalition air strike killed at least 13 rebels near the key oil town of Brega today as fierce fighting raged between Muammar Gaddafi’s troops and pro-democracy forces with the defiant Libyan leader rejecting their conditional ceasefire offer.  NATO said it was ascertaining reports that a coalition warplane hit a rebel position on the outskirts of Brega in the midst of heavy fighting with Gaddafi’s forces.  Al Jazeera and BBC reports said a rebel convoy on its way to the front line near Brega fired an anti-aircraft gun into the air. Assuming it to have come from Gaddafi’s forces, coalition warplane targeted the vehicles.  A spokesman of Gaddafi’s government said the coalition air strike had left seven civilians dead. Mussa Ibrahim, the government spokesman, termed the strike a “crime against humanity”.  He dismissed the ceasefire offer by the rebels as a “mad” move aimed at buying time since they were facing defeat.  “They are asking us to withdraw from our own cities. .... If this is not mad then I don’t know what this is. We will not leave our cities,” Ibrahim was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera channel.  Rebels claimed that Gaddafi’s forces had killed at least six civilians in Misrata during heavy shelling and firing. In the rebel-stronghold of Benghazi, opposition leader Mustafa Abdul Jalil yesterday said they would agree to a ceasefire if Libyans still under Gaddafi’s regime are granted freedom of expression and forces loyal to him withdraw from cities.  “We agree on a ceasefire on the condition that our brothers in the western cities have freedom of expression and also that the forces that are besieging the cities withdraw,” he said at a joint press conference with Abdelilah Al-Khatib, the UN envoy.  Soon after the UN resolution approving a no-fly zone over Libya, Gaddafi had announced a ceasefire which was rejected by the coalition.  Amid the intense fighting in the east, the Arab channel said the rebels appeared to have more communication equipment such as radios and satellite phones, and were working in more organised units.  Abdel Fatah Yunis, the former interior minister who resigned to join the opposition, has been appointed as the commander of the opposition military forces combating pro-Gaddafi troops, Al Jazeera said. — AFP











US hopes military action will result in Gaddafi quitting
Press Trust of India / Washington April 02, 2011, 12:02 IST  Insisting that Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy to rule, the US has hoped that the military action against him by the international coalition would result in the "brutal" Libyan leader ending his regime.  "We believe that the Libyan people no longer want Gaddafi to remain in power as the leader of Libya," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at his daily news conference.  Not willing to speculate about the outcome of a potential ceasefire or negotiations, he said it remains US President Barack Obama's position that Gaddafi should not lead Libya and that the Libyan people should decide their future.  "We support a democratic transition, free and fair elections, and a government that arises out of that process that is responsive to the aspirations of the Libyan people. That remains our position," he said.  "Our goal of having Gaddafi step down, take himself out of power or be removed from power, is a non-military goal. We support the aspirations of the Libyan people. The opposition to Gaddafi is driven by the fact that Gaddafi was such a brutal leader and did not respond or answer to the desires and aspirations of the Libyan people," Carney said.  Along with the military action, he said the US and its international coalition are working very diligently to continue to put pressure on the Gaddafi regime.  "There are a variety of ways to measure Gaddafi's relative strength in this situation, or weakness. I think one measure is to look at what's happening to the circle around him," Carney said.  "One of his most trusted aides (Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa) defected, flew to United Kingdom with no immunity, and has abandoned what we think is a sinking ship. We think that's an important development," he said.













Defence Ministry told to pay compensation to kin of missing youth
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday asked the Defence Ministry to pay a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh to the family of a Srinagar youth who disappeared while in the custody of an Army unit.  According to his family, Mushtaq Ahmad Dar of Bemina was taken into custody by 20 Grenadiers in April 1997 and was not seen thereafter.  The order by Justice F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla, came in response to a habeas corpus petition filed by Azizi Begum, mother of Mushtaq. The judge observed that Article 21 of the Constitution had been violated in this case.  Counsel for the petitioner submitted that officers of the unit admitted detaining Mushtaq and assured the family that he would be released shortly. However, later the Army told the mother that he was not in their custody.  After admitting the petition, the J& K High Court ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident on May 2, 2000 and it was conducted by Additional Sessions Judge Srinagar. In his report submitted to the High Court on July 18, 2000, he concluded: “Mushtaq Ahmad Dar was lifted by 20 Grenadiers of the Army camped at Boatman Colony Bemina on 13 April 1997 and thereafter disappeared.” The report was considered by the High Court on October 28, 2003 and the findings noted.  In the final judgment delivered by Justice Kalifullah this week, with the judicial inquiry report providing the basis, the Army unit was held responsible “for the disappearance of Mushtaq in custody.”  “Having regard to the categoric findings of the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Srinagar, it will have to be held that in the case on hand, violation of Article 21 was patent and incontrovertible,” Justice Kalifullah observed.  “This is a case of total disappearance of the detenue, who was taken into custody by the personnel of 20 Grenadiers. This court views this as a fit case where award of compensation as a public law remedy under Article 226 to the aggrieved person, namely the petitioner, is fit and appropriate as well as in the interest of justice.”  While awarding the compensation, the court held that it could be reasonably held that a compensation of Rs. 10 lakh, to be payable by the respondents would meet the ends of justice.  “Since various factors placed before this court reveals that Union of India through Defence Secretary and Commanding Officer 20th Grenadiers were mainly responsible for the disappearance of the detenue, I am convinced that the payment of the said amount of Rs. 10 lakh can be directed to be made by the Union of India in the first instance with liberty to recover the same from the other respondents,” the High Court said.









Indian Army occupying excess land in J&K
NEW DELHI : The Indian Auditor General (CAG) has found the Indian Army occupying excess land of 2071.81 acres and 2461.11 acres respectively in Jammu and Rajouri than it was allotted by the authorities. According Kashmir Times As per Defence Estate Officers (DEO) records, the Army had been allotted 3409.78 acres and 2472 acres of land in Jammu and Rajouri respectively. After verifying records locally, the CAG found Army occupying 5481.59 acres and 4933.96 acres at these two places. For Srinagar, the Army is yet to finalise data records as demanded by the CAG. In Poonch and Rajouri, they were found having occupied less land of 2511.28 acres and 1985.53 acres than what the records suggested. The findings come in a CAG report on ‘Performance Audit of Defence Estates Management’ for the financial year ending March 2010. The report also pointed out that of defence lands were being encroached by high and mighty of country. For instance, the CAG pointed out, Agra Club with 17.68 acres is paying a ridiculously low Rs 58.92 a year as rent to the defence ministry since 1992. In Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh, a bungalow with a 20.18 acre spread was given to a club supposedly for the welfare of the armed forces. The club in turn built 33 rooms, a restaurant and a petrol pump, and has been charging Rs 2,400 to Rs 3,000 a day per suite. The CAG noted that in four stations in the Central and Southern Commands—Agra, Lucknow, Pune and Secunderabad—122.58 acres has been leased out to various clubs at abysmally nominal rates. Land is being utilised for unauthorised commercial purposes like marriages, parties and exhibitions. Further, the four clubs owed Rs 2.14 crore for the years 2004 to 2010 on account of penalty for unauthorised structures. Also, at least 16 golf courses operated by the Army Zone Golf, the apex body of army golf courses in India, offer membership to different categories of civilians on payment of monthly subscriptions. Other charges are also leaved per session. The revenue so generated is not credited to the government account. Lashing out at the government for not setting rules to govern and run golf courses, the CAG calculates that there are 97 golf courses under the army, spread over 8,076.94 acres. In Lucknow, 19.57 acres of defence land was on lease to MB Club since 1931 to provide recreational facilities to army personnel. But, the CAG observed, the club was misusing the land for unauthorised purposes. This club owes Rs 34.21 lakh for using the land for commercial purposes. Similarly, a race track over 65.15 acres in Pune Cantonment has been leased to the Royal Western India Turf Club since 1907. But, over the years, the club has occupied an additional 24.10 acres of defence land and has made additions and altercations to properties leased out without sanction. In 1961, the defence ministry had sanctioned the construction of Hotel Clarks Shiraz in Agra Cantonment on 5.68 acres of defence land on payment of Rs 2,840 a year as rent. The hotel was also to pay a premium of Rs 56,800 for 30 years. After the first lease term of 30 years expired in 1991, the rent was revised to Rs 11,931 a year for the hotel with 237 rooms. The CAG noted that the rent should have been fixed four times the residential rent as per government policy. “Non-revision of rent in accordance with the government policy has resulted in the loss of Rs. 8.08 crore from 2001 to 2009,” the CAG said. In an identical case, the Grand Hotel over 1.4 acres at Agra has been paying an annual rent of Rs 1,260.90 and a premium of Rs. 25,218. The rent was revised in 1993 and set at Rs 1891.35 a year against Rs 14.12 lakh at market value. Noting that there have been repeated instances of misuse of defence land, buildings and manpower for running NGO activities in violation of government instructions, the CAG mentions that the Station Commander for Panchmarhi in Madhya Pradesh provided defence land valued at Rs 2.69 crore to a society to establish an education centre for a B.Ed course. The commander also reappropriated six defence buildings for use by the society and got them repaired at Rs 29.90 lakh spent out of government funds. In another case, the Station Commander at Jalandhar allowed the opening of an Army College of Nursing on defence land and buildings, and spent Rs 19.23 lakh from government funds for the repair of buildings. In yet another case, the CAG noted that the Army Service Corps deployed 9 to 15 army personnel for running a hotel for wards of army personnel studying in a private engineering college at Aurangabad. The expenditure on the personnel deployed for non-bonafide duties was Rs 1.01 crore between 2003 and 2008. All this comes on the heels of an army court of inquiry indicting top retired military officials including former chiefs Gen Deepak Kapoor and Gen NC Vij in the Mumbai Adarsh society case










Overpricing Delays Purchase of 10 Boeing C-17s by Indian Air Force
2011-04-01 The biggest-ever Indo-US defence deal expected to be worth USD 4.1 billion for procuring 10 C-17 heavylift transport aircraft has been delayed over price issue.  The deal was earlier scheduled to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in its meeting in March-end but now will be put up for clearance only after the US answers queries on whether India was being charged more price for the aircraft than other countries, Defence Ministry sources said here.  The per unit cost being charged from India by the US for the C-17 is USD 410 million whereas it is sold to Australia at a price of USD 300 million per aircraft.  After certain representations were made to the Ministry that the aircraft were being sold to India at comparatively higher price, the deal was put on hold and it would be come up before the CCS only after the US government answers Indian government's queries, the sources said.  The aircraft is being purchased through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route by India under which the sale agreement is signed between the two governments.  The defence ministry had already approved funds for procuring the aircraft in the last fiscal, they said.The US Congress had notified the sale of the C-17s to India at USD 5.8 billion representing the highest possible estimate for the deal which includes all potential services offered.  India is planning to procure the aircraft for augmenting its fleet of Ilyushin-76 aircraft and Antonov-32 transport aircraft from the US.  The negotiations between India and the US for the deal were completed in February this year.  After finalising the initial deal for ten aircraft, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is also planning to place orders for additional six aircraft.  Till date, the biggest defence deal between the two sides is for the procurement of eight P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft for the Indian Navy at USD 2.1 billion.  Since 2005, the US companies have bagged defence deals worth around USD four billion and are participating in all the major tenders issued by Indian armed forces for defence purchases.








International Artillery Commanders to Discuss World's Largest Artillery Modernization Programme
2011-03-31 Senior officers responsible for the artillery modernisation programme of the Indian Armed Forces will be delivering presentations alongside international artillery commanders at Defence IQ's Future Artillery India conference, taking place 20th-22nd June 2011 at Le M√©ridien New Delhi, India.  As the country's Armed Forces embark upon an estimated US $8 billion upgrade programme, Indian Generals from the Directorate of Artillery, Indian Ministry of Defence and associated laboratories will provide detailed, high-level briefs on current capabilities and their specific plans for modernisation.  They will be joined by senior artillery commanders from around the world to discuss the latest advances in doctrine, strategy and operational feedback from the front line.  The expert speaker panel includes:      * Lt General J.P. Singh, Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (Policy and Systems), Indian Army     * Lt General Vinod Nayanar, Director General, Directorate of Artillery, Indian Army     * Major General PK Chakravorty, VSM, Additional Director General Artillery, Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence, Indian Armed Forces     * Shri S. Sundaresh, Chief Controller R&D (Armament and Combat Engineering), DRDO     * Dr Anil Dattar, Director, Armament Research and Development Establishment, DRDO     * Major General David Halverson, Commanding General of Fires Centre of Excellence, US Army     * Major General Thierry Ollivier, Commander, Force Employment and Doctrine Centre, French Army     * Brigadier General David Schuissa, Chief of Artillery Corps, Israeli Defence Force       "Future Artillery India will offer a unique opportunity to exchange views on technology, concept and employment of artillery with reputed serving officers, scientists and engineers from around the world. It will be the artillery event of the summer"  -- Retired Colonel A.K. Sharma, Editor of the South Asian Defence & Strategic Review.  Defence IQ is offering members of the Indian Armed Forces, as well as all serving international Flag Officers 1* and above, a free pass to attend the conference. Passes can be requested from Calum Jeffray at defence@iqpc.co.uk  Additional information is available at www.FutureArtilleryIndia.com, along with complimentary articles, podcasts and presentations in the website Download Centre. The Defence IQ - Military Community LinkedIn group is open for membership, and related content can be found at www.defenceiq.com.




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