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Saturday, 26 November 2011

From Today's Papers - 26 Nov 2011

Sino-Indian boundary talks postponed
Ashok Tuteja Tribune News Service  New Delhi, November 25 Amid tension between New Delhi and Beijing over India’s decision to go ahead with oil exploration in the South China Sea, the 15th round of talks between the Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries on the boundary issue has been abruptly postponed.  The talks were to be held in New Delhi on November 28-29 between National Security Adviser Shivshanker Menon and Dai Bingguo - the SRs of India and China, respectively.  “We are looking forward to the 15th round of SR talks in the near future and the two sides remain in touch to find convenient dates for the meeting,’’ External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said in response to a question. The Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing is also believed to have informed the media that the two sides were discussing the possible dates.  The two countries were set to announce a joint mechanism for border management at the talks to deal with any escalation on the nearly 4,000 km border between them. The joint mechanism was to consist of representatives of the Foreign and Defence ministries and armed forces personnel on the two sides.  It was not known if the visit of a Chinese defence delegation to India for the defence dialogue between the two countries would go on as scheduled on December 8-9.  The postponement of talks between the two SRs took the media and strategic experts by surprise in view of the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had a fruitful meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao just last week on the margins of the ASEAN Summit in Bali. The PM had, however, made it clear to Wen that India was undertaking oil exploration in the Vietnamese blocks in the South China Sea purely for commercial purposes.  Yesterday, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua had put out a lengthy commentary on its website reflecting the Chinese Government’s views on relations with India. It came down heavily on India, observing that New Delhi was jittery at the sight of China gaining prestige in Asia, particularly in South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Hi-tech weapons gather dust
Shiv Kumar/TNS Ajmal Kasab is the Ajmal Kasab is the  lone terrorist to be captured alive during the 26/11 attack.   Mumbai, November 25 Three years after Pakistan-based terrorists like Ajmal Kasab and his associates outmanoeuvred and out-gunned the Mumbai police, the men in khaki are still struggling to make do with inadequate weapons.  A recent audit of weapons in the police armoury conducted at the behest of Mumbai Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik revealed that 30 per cent of the weapons issued to the force were defective. A report containing details of the purchases of the weapons, their suppliers and other details has been submitted to the Maharashtra Home Ministry, sources said. "It was found that many of these weapons cannot be used at all. Thus, these are not issued to policemen," a state government official said.  Officials say the Mumbai police is facing a severe shortage of personnel who are trained in maintaining these weapons. "It was found that many of these weapons in the police armoury lack adequate spares because of which they are unusable," said a senior official.  The Mumbai police had come in for severe criticism for the poor quality of weapons deployed to them. Most of the armed policemen deployed to tackle the terrorists who hit Mumbai on 26/11 had been issued with rifles of World War II vintage, which in many cases malfunctioned.  The Ram Pradhan inquiry committee, which looked into the functioning of the police force, had found a number of irregularities in the purchase of weapons, bullet proof jackets, uniforms and other equipment. It went on to recommend an urgent revamp of the police armoury to tackle modern-day terrorism.  However, the state government has been slow in implementing the recommendations of the report. Sophisticated weapons worth Rs 127 crore purchased in the wake of the terror attacks are gathering dust as the police personnel are yet to receive training to use them. Among this equipment are fibre-glass boats purchased to enable policemen tackle threats from the sea.
The Afghan cauldron Strategic alliance vs strategic depth
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)  Historically, Afghanistan has been the most difficult country for military campaigns and equally difficult to govern. The nature of terrain, the climate and the tribes that inhabit the land make an amalgam of harshness and lawlessness. The “Great Game” of the British ended in a woeful failure. Then the Russians had to beat a humiliating retreat. And now, after a decade-long struggle, the US and its allies, too, are preparing to bid goodbye without leaving behind any trace of peace and stability.  The recently concluded strategic accord between India and Afghanistan covers wide-ranging areas of trade, infrastructure, creation of facilities to exploit minerals and hydrocarbons, education, etc. More importantly, India will now be involved in training and equipping the Afghan national security forces. There will also be regular political contacts and cooperation at the United Nations. This agreement has vastly enlarged the scope of cooperation between India and Afghanistan and, understandably, raised eyebrows in Pakistan.  India training the Afghan security forces and the use of the term “strategic alliance” conjure up Pakistan’s worst fears, more than all the other provisions in the agreement. The Pakistan military has always dreamt of exercising control over Kabul, albeit through its proxies, and of acquiring “strategic depth” against its perceived enemy. The possibility of this perceived enemy gaining considerable influence in Kabul is an anathema to Pakistan. Speaking to David Bradlay of the Atlantic Media Company, Gen Pervez Musharraf reflected the Pakistan military’s view when he said, “In Afghanistan, there has been a kind of proxy conflict going on between Pakistan and India. India is trying to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan and has the vision to dominate the region and weaken Pakistan.”  President Hamid Karzai’s writ does not run in most parts of Afghanistan. He has failed to persuade the Taliban to agree to participate in a peace dialogue. The recent killing of ex-President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was appointed by Karzai as an interlocutor with the Taliban, is an indication that the latter are not willing to accommodate Karzai in any future political dispensation. Pakistan’s own designs and its backing of the Haqqani group is a factor that will inevitably play its full course after the US-led NATO troops leave Afghanistan. Pakistan’s obsession with “strategic depth”, flawed as it may be, is the very raison d’etre of its Afghan policy. It would not like India to fish in what Pakistan considers its backwaters. Pakistan has had an inalienable relationship with the Taliban and other extremist organisations. It has travelled too far down the terrorist highway to pull back.  American frustration with Pakistan’s continued support to the Haqqani network finally came into the open when Admiral Mike Mullen accused Islamabad of playing a “double game” of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. President Obama and former President Clinton, too, have warned Pakistan against this duality in its stance. At some point America will distance itself from Pakistan and cut down its aid which will impact Rawalpindi, but may not be able to dissuade it to delink itself from the Taliban. On the other hand, it will drive it more and more into the arms of China.  Establishing a Taliban regime in Kabul gives Pakistan the added advantage in that Afghanistan would have neither the influence nor power to aggressively assert its historical claims to territories seized from the defeated Afghan rulers by the Imperial British power, which termed this new boundary as the Durand Line.  While Pakistan is likely to view the Indian alliance with Afghanistan as an attempt to squeeze it from two sides, China may feel that its plan for the exploitation of Afghan mineral wealth will be in jeopardy. China has already got a contract for copper mines in Afghanistan and is now extracting this valuable mineral. It is also exploring the possibility of more such contracts. Moreover, China will be loathe at the prospect of spread of Indian influence in this important region. China’s relentless quest for hydrocarbons and minerals would seek to negate Indian influence in the region for obvious reasons.  On its part, India does not have the capacity and the will to carry through this strategic alliance with Afghanistan, especially when Pakistan, in cahoots with China, militates against it. For India there is no air or land link with Afghanistan except through Iran. The geography itself is a major roadblock against this alliance with Kabul. It will also bring to naught Dr Manmohan Singh’s persistent efforts aimed at befriending Pakistan. Flip-flop in its policy on the issue of granting the Most Favoured Nation status to India is the result of uncertainty in the direction Pakistan wants to take though it does realise the tremendous economic advantage Pakistan will draw from this trade agreement with India. In any case, India is well acquainted with the duality of Pakistan’s politics.  President Karzai has been making friendly overtures to Pakistan, calling it Afghanistan’s “twin brother”, but he does know, well enough, that amends are not possible and Pakistan has a different game plan in mind. With the deadline of 2014, when the bulk of the foreign troops will have left Afghanistan, approaching fast and Pakistan’s intentions being known, he has tried to latch on to the only country he could find willing to help him out. On India’s part, the contours of this alliance and their likely fallout on Pakistan have simply not been fully thought through.  Given the constraints of geography and India’s own limitations to go the whole hog with Kabul, the deal should have been purely trade-oriented. Peace in this region is in the best interests of all — Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. New Delhi can think of trans-border trade with Central Asian republics and revival of something akin to the old Silk Route only by fully involving Pakistan in this grandiose scheme. That is the reality India must come to terms with. On the other hand, China is well on its way to building trade corridors with Pakistan and the Middle East and, finally, a land bridge linking the Pacific coastline with the Atlantic.  Given the ground reality, this hopping across Pakistan and working out a strategic tie-up with Kabul is not without its own pitfalls. This alliance with Kabul will bring added pressures from China on our borders, and terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir may increase. Such are the dynamics of the geo-political realities of the region. Pakistan is quite unmindful of its disastrous policy of building the jihadi network and the inevitable fallout of this on itself.  When Maharaja Ranjit Singh was shown the map of India, he wanted to know what the area marked in red indicated. When he was told that it indicated the spread of the British, moving his hand on the rest of the map prophetically he said, “All of it will become red.” This was when his empire was at the very pinnacle of its glory. It would be no prophesy to predict that once the Americans leave Afghanistan, the Taliban, duly supported by Pakistan, will come back with a vengeance and India will be able to do little to thwart it.
Indian 'Blade Runner' set to make his mark
NEW DELHI: At the Capital's date with the half marathon this Sunday, also unveiled would be India's version of the 'Blade Runner'.  Major Devender Pal Singh's journey from soldier during the Kargil War to marathon runner who overcame all odds - even cheated death - is stuff for celluloid.  But for now, he's happy to be regarded as the country's first runner to compete with the fibre blade that Oscar Pistorius - the South African amputee runner - made famous and gave thousands of physically-challenged runners the world over hope to run as normal people.  On Sunday then, DP Singh hopes his 21.1 km run in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon will be historic in more ways than one. Also running alongside would be a group of 12 other runners who share the ex-armyman's love for a run, and taste for challenge.  The blade that costs anything around Rs 5 lakh was made available to Singh by the Indian Army. "It's the best available blade. I was lucky that Army came to my support," Singh told TOI on Thursday.  "I have had one-and-a-half month of training with the blade. It's not enough and there are a few hiccups like fitment and adjustment. But then, they will always be there," he said.  Major Singh wanted to participate in the Desert Storm car rally, and even bought a Gypsy. All he needed then was sponsors to support his endeavour.  But with no backing in sight, Singh decided to run the half marathon. "I was ready for rally, but could not find sponsors. It was a coincidence that around that time I saw an advertisement for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon and I enrolled myself," he recalled.  Running a marathon and representing India at the Olympics are on top of the agenda for this 37-year-old. "The day the doctors informed me that I had lost my leg, I took it as a challenge. Living like a physically challenged person was not acceptable to me," Singh said.  Singh is not alone as he will be running in company of 12 'challengers' who have lost a leg like him. He calls the group 'The Challenging Team'. Also with Singh would be Gopendra Kumar Sharma, who lost his leg in an accident.  "We want to show the world we can do what others can," Sharma said.
26/11 Mumbai terror strike-hit youngsters want to join system to beat it
MUMBAI: Call it a reflexive desire for revenge or a drive towards heroism, the career choices of at least three youngsters directly affected by the 26/11 terror strike are likely to be influenced by the traumatic event. Akash Karkare, 20, son of slain ATS officer Hemant Karkare, is studying to be a lawyer. Little Deepika who was 10 when she was shot in the leg, yet testified against Kasab, wants to join the police force. Rohan Kamble, 13, wants to realize his father's unfinished dream of joining the Indian Army.  Each is willing to join the system to remedy the situation although it failed them in their hour of need.  Psychiatrists say these tender minds have been branded by the scars of the tragedy that unfolded live on television. "These three children have grown up before their time. They have sublimated their childhood desires towards higher goals," says clinical psychologist Narendra Kinger.  "Akash has decided to fight for morality (right and wrong), little Deepika is choosing the gun of a police officer to put criminals down and Rohan wishes to fulfil the dream of his father rather than his own dreams."  Kinger says they want to be part of law enforcement because they have been victims of its failure. "The police failed to enforce security, the law has failed to wrap up the case and the defence forces failed to pre-empt the attack," he points out.  Psychiatrist Anjali Chhabria says, "Instances like these manifest a defence mechanism that is often used after one has suffered strong emotional trauma. Young teens often want to be superheroes, they want to save the world. It is admirable how these children have channelized their anger in a positive way. They must have had a sensible adult leading them through rational thought."  All those who watched the youngest child of the Karkare family, Akash, holding up his mother and two sisters during the public condolence and the subsequent funeral saw fury simmering in the 17-year-old. Today, the tall, broad-shouldered lad is studying in the third year at Government Law College. "He has yet to decide his area of specialization, but I think he nurtured this ambition even before the events of 26/11," says his mother Kavita.  Ten is too young an age to stand witness and testify in court. But Deepika (name changed to protect identity), now 13, was not one to be intimidated. The child who identified terrorist Ajmal Kasab in court is now readying herself for more steely encounters. She is determined to become a "powerful" cop. "I want to become an IPS officer like Kiran Bedi," she says, adding that she has been studying diligently because she has been told the exam is difficult to crack.  At the root of her desire to acquire the khaki uniform is to be able to fight terrorists like Kasab, whose indiscriminate rampage at CST railway station three years ago injured her grievously. "I will eliminate all terrorists like Kasab," she says confidently.  Teenaged Rohan, son of Taj maintenance staffer Rajan Kamble, wants to join the Indian Army to save lives even though he lost his own father to terror. Rajan was hit by bullets while helping a doctor couple. "It was my husband's dream that our son joins the army. My son also realized that there is a need for brave people who can help others in times of crisis," says Shruti, Rajan's 39-year-old widow.  Rohan has "grown up" after the incident. "He feels proud about what his papa did. And thus wants to take the legacy forward," Shruti says. However, the family has only each other to rely on for support. "I have no idea how to put Rohan through military school. If someone would guide us, we would be able to fulfill my husband's dream," says the single mother.  It remains to be seen whether the children stay the course, but like Chhabria says, it would be wrong to write them off. "They may become powerful in their field given that they are willing to accept challenges," she predicts.  Psychiatrist Harish Shetty feels they have created their own inspirational goals to avenge the deaths, correct the system and achieve closure. "It is rationalized anger that they want to vent against the terrorists," he says. "Since it is taking a long time for the terrorists to get their punishment, the youngsters, by choosing these professions, want to punish the wrong-doers. They want justice. They want to change the system by being a part of it," he says.
Pakistan’s relationship with China
Speaking in Jhelum on November 24, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that Pakistan-China relations were purely strategic and were not against any other country, and that they would actually help in the promotion of regional and global peace. He had just attended the closing ceremony of a two-week-long Pakistan-China Joint Military Exercise Friendship-IV-2011.  Lest the world take him as speaking tongue-in-cheek, he added that China’s security was dear to Pakistan and such joint exercises would strengthen relations between the two countries, which were facing the common threat of terrorism. He further disarmed regional and global suspicion by pointing to the fact that Pakistan was in the routine of having such joint exercises with other countries as well and had conducted them with 50 other countries.  But the sad truth is that conflict is still the working paradigm in South Asia and in the world. When General Kayani said ‘purely strategic’ relations with China, he probably thought that this would take the adversarial regional mind away from ideas of hostile combinations of force. The fact is that the Jhelum exercise will not fail to elicit negative interpretation and much of that will be based on ‘explanatory’ statements made in Pakistan but not in China, where foreign policy intent is not worn by the politicians on their sleeves.  Unless suspicion is disarmed through codependent trade relations with India, the neighbouring state will go towards seeing any Pakistan-China development as directed against it. India sees much more in the Karakoram Highway, built by the Chinese, than just a trade artery. It says it is a flanking move to challenge India in Kashmir, where Indian troops are deployed, and that Chinese troops are actually deployed in the Gilgit-Baltistan region (something that both Pakistan and China have denied). India has always linked Pakistan’s nuclear programme and its weaponisation to China. The rest of the world, too, is suspicious of China’s policy towards South Asia in general and Pakistan-Afghanistan in particular. In Pakistan, strategists don’t help by looking at the American presence in Afghanistan as being aimed against China — as a challenge to China’s forward move in Central Asia. Pakistani leaders openly say that new contacts with China should be aimed at shifting Pakistan’s big traditional dependencies on America to its all-weather friend, China. Of course, this can have its negative effects in Pakistan, where cheap Chinese imports could deal a devastating blow to local industry and businesses.  What makes matters worse is that Pakistan’s relationship with China is — as is much of foreign policy— dictated by the military which dominates policymaking and sets the narrative and public discourse on how we perceive and deal with the outside world. This is perhaps why we are programmed to look at relations with China as a counter to Indian influence in the region and seem to prefer it over relations with America, which happens to be one of our largest aid donors and largest trading partners. Over time, the elected civilian government in Pakistan needs to take greater ownership of this bilateral relationship so that it can be weaned away from purely defence to social sectors. Right now, the perception that is determined by the armed forces in Pakistan is a fair one, and it is inevitable that the military is the one who stands to benefit the most from it. Of course, this is merely to point out that the benefits of such a deep relationship should accrue also to ordinary Pakistanis, especially in fields which concern and benefit them.  Pakistan’s isolationism and internal civil-military contradictions are retarding its progress towards a prosperous market state that can look after its large population better. To achieve this, Pakistan must stay on the course of normalising its relations with India through free trade and allowing India to trade with Central Asia through its territory the same way it is willing to serve as a transit territory for the movement of goods from Gwadar to the western regions of China. If we were to learn the philosophy behind China’s conduct in addition to just doing military exercises, we would do what the world wants from us and not adopt an unrealistic defiant posture.
Large orders can make Arjun tank cheaper
Ajai Shukla / Avadi/ Chennai November 26, 2011, 0:10 IST  The army could clear the indigenous Arjun Mark II main battle tank (MBT) for frontline service after trials next year, but a question mark hangs over the Arjun’s prohibitive cost. Heavy Vehicle Factory, Avadi (HVF) has already built 124 Arjun Mark I tanks for the army at Rs 18 crore per tank. But on 29th August, Defence Minister AK Antony sprung a bombshell when he announced in Parliament that, “The likely estimated (sic) cost of each MBT Arjun Mark-II… will be approximately Rs 37 crore.”  This is twice the price of the Russian T-90 and not much cheaper than USA’s M1 Abrams, the world’s most advanced MBT. On 1st July 11, the US Congress was notified that Egypt would buy 125 Abrams tanks for $1.3 billion — i.e. $10.4 million, or Rs 54 crore, per tank.
During a visit to HVF and to the Central Vehicles R&D Establishment (CVRDE), which has developed the Arjun, Business Standard was explained that the cost of the Arjun is easily reduced. If the army places a larger order the price will drop by 30 per cent.  P Sivakumar, Director of CVRDE, explains that 50 per cent of the cost of the Arjun Mark I went on three imported components —the gunner’s main sight (GMS) from OIP Systems, Belgium; the gun control equipment (GCE) from Bosch, Germany; and the power pack (engine and transmission) from Renk, Germany — which together cost Rs 12 crore. Ordering just 124 pieces left little leeway to beat down that price.  “If you are talking just 124 tanks, there is a problem. Bring an order for 500 tanks. We will go for ToT (transfer of technology) for the foreign parts… The cost of labour in Germany is the highest in the world. We will build 70 per cent cheaper in India. If we buy the power pack of the Arjun for Rs 7.5 crore on Friday… I will produce it in India for just Rs 4-5 crore,” says Sivakumar.  For an army with more than 3,500 tanks, including 2,400 obsolescent T-72s that are crying out for replacement, ordering just 124 Arjun Mark IIs seems unduly cautious. But the army has little incentive to reduce cost. Though the generals are now willing to order more Arjuns, they are placing their orders piecemeal.  Since most of the Arjun’s 10,000 components are outsourced, the size of the order is a crucial determinant of what price they are supplied at. Says RK Jain, Additional DG of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) who oversees HVF: “If the army’s indent is for just 124 tanks, the vendors charge higher prices. Besides, the amortisation cost of jigs, tools and equipment is reduced over a larger order. HVF and CVRDE have been jointly requesting the army to confirm an order of at least 250 Arjun Mark IIs so that we can negotiate from a stronger position,” says Jain.  Another reason for the Arjun Mark II’s rising cost becomes obvious at the Arjun production line at HVF, where the army is collecting the last of 124 Arjuns that were cleared for production in 2008. Just as the Rs 50 crore Arjun line has hit its stride, it must shut down for at least two years since another order can come only after the Arjun Mark II trials next year.  I walk through the giant workshop, now almost empty, with the HVF manager who oversees Arjun production, HR Dixit. “Even if the army clears the Arjun Mark II next summer, and indents for 124 more tanks by October 2012 (an optimistic time-frame), we require at least 12 months for obtaining the items that go into the Arjun. So end-2013 is the earliest that the Arjun assembly line can restart,” says Dixit.  The skilled workers on the Arjun line, who have developed invaluable expertise while building 124 Arjun tanks, will be distributed to other parts of HVF, Dixit tells me.  “We can send our workers to HVF’s other lines. But what can we do about the dislocation of our sub-contractors, many of them small enterprises around Chennai, who supply thousands of Arjun components like fuel pipes and bearings. They will seek other work because they know they will get no orders until an indent is placed for the Arjun Mk II. And, when we need them again, they might not be available,” says Ashutosh Kumar, works manager.
Indian Army's infantry combat vehicle engines to be upgraded
By N.C. Bipindra, IANS,  New Delhi : India is preparing to upgrade around 1,500 BMP-2 and BMP-2K Infantry Combat Vehicles (ICVs) with more powerful engines to enhance their cross-country mobility, floatation and gradient negotiating capability and mount more lethal weapon systems on board. All of this will make the ICVs robust killer machines.  "The Indian Army is looking for a new power pack with minimum 380 horsepower engine for the BMP-2 and BMP-2K ICVs," a senior defence ministry official told IANS.  The BMP-2 is the main combat vehicle of the Indian Army's Mechanised Infantry regiments used for breaching enemy defences and for troops thrusting forward into enemy territory.  "Since the upgrading of the BMP-2 and BMP-2k ICVs are at an advanced stage, the army wants to get the new engine for the combat vehicles at the earliest," the official added.  At present, the BMP-2 and BMP-2K command vehicles are running on Russian-origin UTD-20 engines, which have been indigenised by India through technology transfer.  The UTD-20 provides a 285 horsepower output that is considered inadequate as it adversely impacts the ICV's functioning.  The UTD-20 is the original engine of the BMP-1 ICV and is being used in the BMP-2 and BMP-2K even though they are more than 1,000 kg heavier.  "A more powerful engine is required to make the BMP-2 more efficient in cross-country mobility, floatation and gradient negotiating, apart from providing it the ability to take more add-on systems and weapons," the official said.  "It is imperative that the existing UTD-20 engine is replaced with a new minimum 380 horsepower engine, thereby offering greater mobility to the BMP-2 and BMP-2K," the official added.  The army is hopeful the new engine will enable the BMP-2 and BMP-2K ICVs to touch 50 kmph during cross-country, 70 kmph on roads and 7 kmph in forward gear during still water floatation.
Major Sahab extraordinaire
When you first shake hands with Major Krishan Yadav, 31, the 5-foot 6-inch-tall, slim, bespectacled army officer at the National Defence Academy (NDA), you could easily mistake him for a professor. However, this is far from the truth.  In reality, the NDA’s equitation training officer is a hard-core soldier and sportsman. He is the only officer in the history of the NDA, who has won not one, but two gallantry awards: a Shaurya Chakra and a Sena Medal in his 11-year-old career.  If that were not all, he recently captained India’s equestrian team that won the first South Asian Beach Games in Sri Lanka on the strength of his four individual gold medals.  Yadav, an NDA alumnus, has led three significant operations in the Kashmir Valley, which resulted in 23 militant deaths with zero casualties on the Indian side.  In his latest military operation in May 2003, Yadav (then a Captain) led 10 battle-hardened men of the 5th battalion of the Bihar Regiment and killed 12 militants, who had infiltrated Indian territory in Kashmir. In a gunfight that lasted 72 hours, Yadav’s team suffered zero casualties. He was awarded the Shaurya Chakra for his courage and astute leadership.  In July 2002, Yadav (then a Lieutenant) led an ambush party of 10 men, who managed to kill five militants in a 1-hour gunfight in Kashmir. In October 2001, as a fresh-faced Lieutenant, Yadav led 10 soldiers, who managed to kill six militants, who were in the process of re-entering Pakistan. Yadav was awarded a Sena Medal for his efforts.  A second generation army officer — his father is a retired Army Supply Corps officer, and his elder brother is also an army officer — Yadav lets success sit lightly on his shoulders. He attributes his successes to a highly-motivated team of battle-hardened soldiers under his command, some of whom also won gallantry awards for these operations.  Stroking his new horse, Golden Glow, at the equitation centre on Thursday morning, Yadav said he took naturally to horse riding as an NDA cadet.  “Horse riding is a thrilling sport, as there is a risk attached to it. Horses are lovely animals and the trust that develops between a rider and a horse is like a familial bond,” Yadav said.  As a horseman, Yadav has won a silver medal for show jumping at the October 2009, Federation Equestrian International World Challenge in New Delhi, following it up by jumping 185 cm with his horse in the March 2010 horse show in New Delhi, and capping it with four gold medals at the recent South Asian BeachGames in Sri Lanka.  With his wife Preeti and son Rudransh (4) also learning to ride horses, Yadav is practising 5 hours every day for the 2014 Asian Games, where he aspires to represent India in the ‘eventing’ category, consisting of dressage, cross-country and show jumping.

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