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Thursday, 12 April 2012

From Today's Papers - 12 Apr 2012
Gastro gurus to train CRPF cooks

New Delhi, April 11
Something is cooking in the country's largest paramilitary force, the CRPF. And its 2.5-lakh personnel, it seems, are in for a sumptuous treat.

To prepare delicious and nutritious food for jawans and officers, more than 12,000 cooks in the 200 battalions of the force will be trained under the chefs of five-star hotels run by the India Tourism Development Corporation.

An exclusive training centre - School of Catering - has also been created at Bangalore to train these men before they are deputed with the various battalions of the force. The CRPF is deployed for a variety of tasks ranging from conducting anti-Naxal and counter-insurgency operations to rendering law and order duties.

"A nutritious and delicious diet is the least that a trooper deployed in a far-flung area can expect. The school will train our 12,000 cooks to prepare healthy food and keep our men hale and hearty," said CRPF Additional Director General (Training) DK Pathak.

Pathak said the cooks will not only be trained with the chefs of ITDC-run five-star hotels but also renowned culinary masters will be invited to train the men at their campus in Bangalore.

In the CRPF, each battalion (arout 1,000 personnel) has about 10-11 cooks who prepare food for their units every day. The force, through its new school of cooking and catering, also aims to change the regular menu to a more healthy food platter. — PTI
Indo-US naval exercise unaffected by tsunami threat
The 10-day long annual exercise codenamed 'Malabar', in the Bay of Bengal which started on April 7, will continue without restriction, Indian Navy officials said here.

Tackling natural disasters such as Tsunami [ Images ] is part of the training sessions being conducted there, they said, "The ships of both the navies are sailing further south of Chennai and the exercise will continue as planned. There is no change in schedule and even if Tsunami had happened we would not have changed the plans," they said.

They said that conducting rescue and relief operations in situation like Tsunami is part of Navy's operational readiness plans as well as a component of the on-going exercise.

"Handling a situation like Tsunami is part of the war games and we would have preferred to test our drills in a real time situation," they said.

Indian Navy ships such as the indigenously built guided missile frigate INS Satpura, guided missile destroyers INS Ranvijay [ Images ] and INS Ranvir, missile corvette INS Kulish and fleet tanker INS Shakti are participating in the exercise.

Maritime patrol aircraft Tu-142M and other rotary wing aircraft have also been dispatched for the war games.

The US Navy is being represented by ships from the Carrier Task Force (CTF) 70 of the US 7 Fleet based at Yokosuka in Japan [ Images ].

The CTF includes aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, guided missile cruiser USS Bunkerhill, guided missile destroyer USS Halsey and logistics ship UNNS [ Images ] Bridge.

Los Angeles-class submarine USS Louisville and a P3C Orion aircraft are also involved in it. Malabar-2012 is the 16th exercise in the series which started in 1992.
Armed forces internationally acclaimed: A K Antony
KOCHI|NEW DELHI: Defence minister AK Antony on Wednesday sought to allay the apprehensions on India's defence preparedness. He said the country was better equipped to meet any challenge.

India's battle-readiness had come under scrutiny after Army Chief General VK Singh's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, highlighting 'critical gaps'.

"I don't claim everything is alright with our forces. But I can confidently assert that our defence forces are more equipped than in the past to meet any eventuality.

Indian armed forces are internationally acclaimed military now," Antony told newspersons after the Coast Guard Investiture Ceremony at Kochi on Wednesday morning.

The defence minister was constrained to react on India's preparedness following the parliamentary panel's decision to summon the chiefs of three wings of the armed forces - Army, Air Force and Navy - on April 20 to give the members a clear picture on the issue.

Members cited Gen Singh's letter to question defence secretary Shashikant Sharma and the Vice-Chiefs of the Army and the Air Force on the readiness of the forces to thwart any hostile situation.

The Army chief in his letter dated March 12, urged the prime minister "pass suitable directions to enhance the preparedness of the Army.'' Gen Singh painted a grim picture of the Indian Army. "The state of the major (fighting) arms i.e. Mechanised Forces, Artillery, Air Defence, Infantry and Special Forces, as well as the Engineers and Signals, is indeed alarming,'' he stated.

The contents of the letter and the manner in which they were 'leaked' to the press amplified the simmering differences between the civilian authorities and the armed forces. The two sides have, since then, walked the extra mile to dispel any such talk.

"Defence ministry and the forces work as a family and divergent opinions could be expressed at various levels on different issues as part of the democratic decision making process. But once the decisions are taken, everybody abides by it. I have great respect and love for the members of the armed forces,'' Antony said. He rejected reports of any communication gap.

The defence minister reiterated the government's resolve to crack down on corruption in big-ticket purchases, and said utmost efforts would be made to avoid corruption in defence procurements even if it meant some delays.

"No cover-up, but no vendetta, this is our motto governing the defence deals. Any substantial allegations of corruption in defence deal would be probed, and the guilty would be punished, however powerful the company or people involved. We have blacklisted several companies and would continue to do so if there are grounds for it. All these may cause some delays. But how can we tolerate corruption just to avoid delays?'' Antony maintained.
No official note so far to call service chiefs: House panel
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi Apr 12, 2012, 00:31 IST

The confusion swirling around the issue of India’s defence readiness has deepened with the chairperson of Parliament’s standing committee on defence, Satpal Maharaj, issuing a press release on Wednesday that sought to deny earlier media reports on the summoning of the three service chiefs to brief the committee on India’s military preparedness.

The press release from the Congress party MP from Garhwal said the service chiefs had not been officially invited before the committee. According to the release, “it has been reported by the media that the three service chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force have been called by the standing committee on defence at their sitting to be held on April 20. It is clarified to the media that no official correspondence for calling the chiefs on the said date had so far been issued.”
Demanding an impartial inquiry into the controversy surrounding Army, Team Anna today alleged that the probe by CBI and Intelligence Bureau will not bring out the truth as the bodies are "under the control of government".

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Anna Hazare and his key associates wondered whether the recent report in The Indian Express about "unusual movement" of two units of Army troops was aimed at removing Defence Minister A K Antony and Army chief Gen V K Singh.

"Does the recent developments in the past few months show that there is a conspiracy against the honest Army General and honest Defence Minister?" the letter signed by Hazare, Shanti Bhushan, Arvind Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and Kiran Bedi.

Alleging that the probe by CBI into cases of corruption flagged by Gen Singh and IB into the leakage of Army Chief's letter to Prime Minister will not bring out the truth, the letter said these agencies were not independent and were under the control of political masters.

"If the accused, brokers and corrupt have control over investigating agencies, they will not be able to bring truth to light...and people of the country are unhappy at the measures taken by your government in this regard," it said.

The letter also alleged that it was reported by a media house that a central minister was behind the news report published by the newspaper.

Linking their fight for a strong Lokpal to the issue, they said that if there was a strong Lokpal, this issue could have been investigated by it.

They also took exception to the exclusion of armed forces from the purview of Lokpal when the Bill was discussed in Lok Sabha on December 27 last year.

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