Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 22 August 2011

From Today's Papers - 22 Aug 2011




Anti-Naxal Operations Sniper squad packs a punch for CRPF

Raipur, August 21 The CRPF, which is undertaking anti-Naxal operations in the country, has trained and deployed an elite squad of snipers for the first time, adding a lethal punch to the force. The first unit of less than 40 marksmen will be part of the world's largest paramilitary, which has close to three lakh personnel.  The force, which has deployed almost 60,000 personnel for counter-Naxal operations, has trained handpicked commandos to be deployed in the special tasks units of the CoBRA.  "The snipers will act as the main assault weapon and cover for a raid unit which is on foot. Some of the best forces in the world undertaking jungle warfare tasks deploy snipers for operational success," a top security officer deployed in the naxal grid of Chhattisgarh and Orissa said.  The marksmen have been trained on the SSG-69 sniper weapon and have been deployed alongside the Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA), which undertake specific and special operations in Naxal terrain.  The snipers take the hide of a suitable geographical feature in the jungles and can aim for more than the usual range covered by the standard weapons of the personnel.  The snipers provide an edge to the force as they can aim the target without going close to it, the officer said. This is the first time that a security force has deployed snipers for anti-Naxal operations in the country. According to sources, these measures have been taken at the behest of CRPF chief K Vijay Kumar who is known for his earlier stint as the Tamil Nadu Special Task Force (STF) commander which eliminated forest brigand Veerappan.  The snipers have been trained at the Central Reserve Police Force training facility in Coimbatore and have undertaken a special course in reading jungle terrain maps and operating global positioning devices. — PTI







Pakistan wants India to stop work on Kishenganga project

New Delhi, August 21 Pakistan has moved the Court of Arbitration asking it to direct India to stop work at the 330-MW Kishenganga hydropower project in Jammu and Kashmir. Even as the two countries are fighting a legal battle in a court of arbitration, Pakistan has filed a petition in the court seeking a direction to make India hold the project till the case is settled by the court, sources in the government said.  The project is likely to be completed by 2015. “It is a normal procedure adopted during such cases,” a senior official said. A seven-judge Bench has started arbitration proceedings from January 14 this year in the Hague.  Incidentally, this is the first case referred for international arbitration under the provisions of the Indus Water Treaty, 1960.  Earlier, India and Pakistan had sought the services of a neutral expert appointed by the World Bank to resolve their differences over the Baglihar Dam under construction on the Chenab. The Bench - comprising Justice Stephen M Schwebel (head), Justice Sir Franklin Beman, Prof Howard S Wheater, Justice Bruno Simma, Jan Paulsson, Justice Peter Tomka and Lucius Caflisch - has three neutral umpires, including the head of the Bench, and four arbitrators nominated by India and Pakistan.  Noted lawyer and expert on international law Shankar Das and legal luminary Fali S Nariman, both of whom had argued India’s case in the Baglihar Dam issue, are representing India. — PTI







NATO racing to wrap up Libya campaign  

Brussels:  With NATO's bombing of Libya now in its sixth month, a new sense of urgency is gripping the alliance before two critical deadlines next month.  After months of combat stalemate, the insurgents have made dramatic gains in recent weeks. An offensive from their beleaguered enclave in the Nafuz Mountains resulted in the capture of the strategic Mediterranean town of Zawiya and put them within striking distance of Moammar Gaddafi's capital of Tripoli.  The rapid advance offers NATO the chance to bring to a conclusion a campaign that has drawn increasing international criticism and caused serious rifts within the alliance.  NATO officials deny there has been a fundamental shift in tactics in recent days to provide close air support to the advancing rebels, saying they continue to be focused on the protection of civilian populations as mandated by a U.N. Security Council resolution.  But they acknowledge that in a new development, alliance bombers are pummeling Gaddafi's troops holding defensive positions around government-held towns and villages under attack from the advancing rebel forces.  "The persistent and cumulative action of NATO is creating an obvious effect," NATO spokesman Col. Roland Lavoie said Sunday. "Pro-Gaddafi forces are gradually losing their capabilities to command, to conduct and to sustain" their actions."  A NATO official said that early in the campaign NATO airstrikes focused on preventing Gaddafi's troops from reoccupying rebel-held towns. These rebel attacks on regime forces destroyed hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles and guns.  But within a few weeks, Gaddafi's soldiers switched tactics, abandoning their vulnerable heavy weaponry in favor of civilian trucks armed with machine guns or recoilless rifles, which proved difficult to identify and destroy from the air.  "Now the rebel offensive has put them on the defensive, and they are again bringing out their tanks and heavy artillery," said the official who could not be named under standing rules.  "This is why we've been attacking them even when they are trying to beat back rebel advances," he said. "We're still protecting civilians because as soon as the rebels push pro-Gaddafi forces from a town, his troops will turn around and shell the place."  But analysts note that NATO's continued claims of simply protecting civilians strains credulity, saying the direct tactical air support to the ragtag rebel forces is enabling their battlefield victories.  "It was inevitable that the mission would spiral and the interpretation of U.N. resolutions would widen," said Barak Seener, a Middle East expert at the Royal United Services Institute, a British military think tank. "Thus, NATO has bombed government targets, paving the way for rebels to reach Zawiya."  "Protecting civilian populations now means getting rid of Gaddafi," Seener said.  Alliance military planners are racing against a deadline next month, when member states must vote on a second three-month extension of the mission. This extension may prove problematic, since support for the bombing campaign has eroded among allies who say it detracts resources from NATO's main mission, the 10-year war in Afghanistan.  Also in September, the U.N. General Assembly is due to take up the airstrikes, with many members blaming NATO for overstepping the original U.N. mandate in March which only authorized a no-fly zone and the protection of civilians caught up in the civil unrest.









Militant killed in fresh infiltration bid in Poonch

There was a fresh infiltration attempt from across the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch sector early on Sunday, even as the Army has been on tenterhooks for the last couple of weeks with Pakistan's “renewed strategy” to push more militants into the country.  The Army was caught unawares in the Krishna Ghati area when, according to defence sources, four militants tried to sneak in across the border.  “Our troops noticed the movement of four militants on the LoC and challenged them. This resulted in an exchange of fire and a militant was killed and another injured,” a senior Army officer told The Hindu. He said the body was taken away by his associates under cover of darkness. “But we are sure he was dead and one injured. Two others managed to escape.”  He said the firing started around 1 a.m. “We are on high alert and won't let them succeed in their attempts.”  This is the fifth such incident on the LoC or the international border (IB) in the Jammu region in the past 10 days. Two major attempts took place in the Chakan-da-Bagh and Keri areas.  Army sources said a group of militants did manage to cross over. There are, according to these sources, around 450 militants waiting across the LoC in the Jammu zone. “These figures are based on inputs from different sources and are rough estimates, but there is no doubt that Pakistan wants to push more and more militants to disturb the peace.”  A number of militants have been killed in the region by security forces in the recent past. Inspector-General Jammu zone Dilbagh Singh recently told journalists that the Lashkar-e-Taiba was wiped out from the region after its top-ranking commander was killed. It is now the Hizbul Mujahideen, which is mostly active in the State, and police sources estimate the number of militants at not more than 100.  Even as Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged sweets on their Independence Days on August 14 and 15, the Pakistani troops opened fire in Ramghargh sector on August 15.  A senior officer of the Border Security Force (BSF) told The Hindu that “there were inputs of the movement of militants across the IB but were not corroborated.” He maintained that the BSF was on high alert and “in a position to thwart any such attempt.”








Delhi ready to counter Beijing's border might

With Beijing flexing its muscles by strengthening its military capacity in Tibet, New Delhi has given an in-principle nod to beef up defences along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control. The Indian counter-move includes raising a new army corps at Pannagarh in West Bengal, an armoured brigade each in eastern Sikkim and eastern Ladakh and an independent infantry brigade in the Barahoti plains in Uttarakhand.  While the proposed upgradation of Indian military defences is being processed for final approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), it was given an in-principle green signal from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and defence minister AK Antony during an army presentation last month.  The strategic step was taken in the light of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) capability to deploy no less than 34 divisions (nearly half-a-million troops) within a month on the LAC due to a huge infrastructure build-up (see graphic) in Tibet. To add to India's discomfort, the PLA has been conducting airborne, para-dropping and artillery firing exercises in Tibet for the past two years.


Government sources said the Pannagarh-based corps (around 15,000 combat troops) will include a Ranchi-based formation, which is currently part of the Mathura-based 1 Corps. This means that the army will raise two more divisions in the coming years to replenish the Mathura Corps and another to add to the Pannagarh formation. For this purpose, the army has earmarked 6,000 acres of land in Pannagarh, which has a functioning air force strip and is located 150 km from Kolkata.  Already a battalion and a tank regiment, which will be part of the armoured brigade, have been moved to Sikkim.  At the heart of the proposed Indian defence build-up is the threat assessment that the PLA may become assertive across the Arunachal Pradesh border in the coming years as Beijing still calls its South Tibet and has not given up its stapled visa strategy for residents of Arunachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir.





Defence teams as commercial entities?

BANGALORE: The Asian Fo­­­­­­­otall Confederation’s di­­r­­ectives to soccer clubs in In­­­­­dia, if at all for Asia too, to convert themselves into co­­mmercial entities, is bo­­und to have an immensely ne­­­­gative bearing on teams from the defence sector, es­­pecially units from the Ar­­my, Navy and Air Force.  How can an Army, Navy or Air Force team convert it­­self into such an entity sh­­o­­u­ld they qualify to figure in the I-League? Defence se­­ctor teams Hindustan Ae­­­­ro­­nautics Limited or teams from pa­­ra military forces like the Bo­­rder Security Force, or even Punjab Po­­­­lice will fi­­­­­nd it difficult to do so.  The contribution of these te­­­­­­­­ams over the years to In­­dian football is immense.  So­­me of the best players ha­­ve trooped out of their ba­­­­rracks and ranks in a co­­n­­­stant flow since time imm­­emorial. Many of them ha­­ve represented the count­­ry with great distinction.  Ma­­­ny have even won major all-India tournaments too.  The legendary but late goalkeeper Peter Thangaraj wo­­uld never have had a chance to play but for the Madras Re­­gimental Centre (MRC), Wellington, in Ooty, team ta­­­king part in all-India tournaments. Thangaraj went on to play for the country in two Olympics, in 1956 and 196he 19640 as also the qualifiers.  The AIFF, following AFC’s ‘paying’ directives wi­­ll ask the defence teams to turn into commercial en­­tities or else march aw­­ay.  Madras Engineer Ce­­ntre (MEG), Bangalore, is now one step away from that ev­­entuality. They emerged as the super division champions and have the right to figure in the I-League second division league next season.  Woe betide MEG if th­­e­­ir gallant boys come out triumphant and mana­­­ge to gain pr­­omotion.  For, in the present circumstances, MEG football team ca­­nnot become a commercial entity in a jiffy. The larger question is: Why should any defence se­­ctor team support and promote football and footballers if they cannot figure in elite company. To top it all, they have the best of training facilities and their players are always fit.  Lt Col Dheeraj, Sports Of­­ficer, MEG, is now a ve­­ry concerned man. “To be ho­­nest with you, it is only now that we are given to un­­­derstand the situation. I think it is something that one individual like me cannot decide. The higher ups will take a call,” Dheeraj said.








India plans to develop solar-powered UAVs  

New Delhi:  India is planning to develop solar-powered unmanned flying machines with the capability of remaining airborne for at least a month in all weather conditions.  "We are looking forward to develop solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a long range and endurance capability as we plan to diversify our expertise in UAV technology," Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) spokesperson Ravi Gupta said.  The one-of-its-kind UAV will be designed and developed to endure long-range sorties ranging up to a month in all weather conditions, Gupta said.  The flying machine will have specially-designed solar panels to keep it airborne even in nights and cloudy weather conditions with the help of power generated and saved during the day.  Keeping in mind the payload that would be fitted on these UAVs and the nature of missions, special attention would be paid to keep their frame light but strong enough to endure different weather conditions.  The UAV would be capable of providing real-time information and data of the area through a secure data link, DRDO officials said.  The Rustom-1 UAV, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), can remain airborne for 24 to 36 hours while Nishant has the capability to remain airborne for nearly five hours.  These UAVs can carry a variety of cameras to look deep into the enemy territory for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes.  Besides the armed forces, paramilitary personnel engaged in anti-Naxal operations are also looking forward to procure UAVs to snoop deep into forests inhabited by Left-wing extremists.



No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal