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Sunday, 22 April 2012

From Today's Papers - 22 Apr 2012
Court to pronounce order on defamation plea against Army Chief
Lt Gen accused of having offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra cites the allegations as "false, ill-founded and concocted"
Press Trust of India / New Delhi Apr 21, 2012, 17:41 IST

A Delhi court today reserved for April 26 its order on summoning Army Chief Gen V K Singh and four others named accused in a criminal defamation case filed by former Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, who had denied having made to him a Rs 14 crore bribe offer to strike a defence deal.

Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Jasjeet Kaur reserved the order on the criminal complaint after Tejinder Singh's counsel said that his client had already recorded his statement and pre-summoning evidence in support of his complaint.
Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar, who had on April 10 reserved the order on Tejinder Singh's complaint, did not hold proceedings today as he was attending a training session and the matter was listed for hearing by MM Kaur.

Tejinder Singh, a former director general of Defence Intelligence Agency, had filed a defamation complaint against the Army chief and four other Army officials trashing allegations that he had offered a bribe for clearing a deal for 600 "sub-standard" vehicles.

Besides the Army Chief, he has named Vice Chief of Army Staff  S K Singh, Lt Gen B S Thakur (DG MI), Major General S L Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney posted in the media cell, accusing them of misusing their official positions, power and authority to level false charges against him.

Tejinder Singh had contended that all the five formed a direct chain of command with the Army chief being the final arbiter.

During the last hearing, he had said that the allegation against him of having offered bribe on behalf of Tatra and Vectra Ltd, which supplies vehicles to BEML was absolutely "false, ill-founded and concocted."

Tejinder Singh had told the court that between March 3 and
5 this year, a number of media reports alluded to the Army chief having allegedly ordered "unlawful monitoring" of mobiles, particularly in the South Block area here.

In order to divert the public attention from this news, which pointed fingers at senior functionaries in the Army Headquarters, including Gen V K Singh, the media cell of the Army Headquarters issued a press release on March 5, he had said, adding he was named in the press release without any proper legal sanction.

The Army Chief had in response to the legal notice by Tejinder Singh told him that he was ready to substantiate the allegations in court.

Tejinder Singh then said that the press release, taking his name, laid four allegations against him which were "false".

He had said the allegation that he was questioned earlier on the purchase of off-the-air monitoring system without sanction by the competent authority was also false.

Regarding the allegation that he was an allottee in the Mumbai's Adarsh housing society, Tejinder Singh had said that he was a "bonafide allottee" and no case exists against him.

The court had also recorded the statements of former Army Major R S Sahrawat, Bhupender Chaudhary, cousin of Tejinder Singh, and one Suman Chaudhary, who said he knew the former Lt Gen for the last 40 years.

The Army Chief had claimed in media interviews that a lobbyist, who had "just" retired, offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore for clearing a file relating to purchase of a tranche of 600 "sub-standard" vehicles of a particular make and he had immediately informed Defence Minister A K Antony about it.

The Army chief, however, did not want to pursue the matter for unknown reasons, the minister had said.
DRDO chief briefs PM on Agni-5 missile
Talk included briefing the PM on the mission and its development programme in the future
Press Trust of India / New Delhi Apr 21, 2012, 16:26 IST

In the wake of a successful launch of the Agni-5 Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), DRDO chief
Dr V K Saraswat today briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the mission and its development programme in the future.

The meeting at the Prime Minister's residence lasted for 30 minutes. Dr Saraswat was accompanied by Agni Project Director Avinash Chandra, who has been involved in the development and the successful launch of the Agni series missiles, DRDO officials said here.
The plus 5000 km-range Agni-5 was launched on Thursday from a test range at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha.

Dr Saraswat, while interacting with mediapersons yesterday, had said that the missile had met all its mission objectives and would be inducted into the service in another two years time.

"Two more tests would be conducted in this year and early next year and after that process will begin to hand over the missile to the Services," he had said.

Congratulating DRDO after the successful launch, the Prime Minister had said that Agni-5 represented another milestone in India's quest of adding to the credibility of its security and preparedness.
Indian army tuned to provoke, says NPMHR
DIMAPUR, April 21(Newmai News Network):Taking serious note of the ongoing fracas between the security forces and the NSCN-IM, the Naga People`s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) urged the Naga unuderground groups to exercise restraint in the face of actions by India`s security agencies.

The NPMHR then stated that there appears to be a clash of interest between India`™s political leadership and her military establishment, as far as resolving the Naga political issue is concerned. It stated that over the years, India`™s political leaders, cutting across party affiliations, especially during the last fifteen years, have generally demonstrated the will to resolve the issue through a process of dialogue.

“However, the approach of India`™s military, especially the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary setup to deal with internal strife during the British about 177 years ago, leaves one to question the overall motives of India. India`™s military continues to function with immunity, protected by such laws like the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, and infringe on even the basic rights of civilians,” the Naga rights body alleged.

It then said there are reports of increased surveillance, including house raids, frisking and arrests all over Naga areas by Assam Rifles. This force that operates under the command of India`™s Home Ministry and Army, are supposed to be `aiding` civil authority and not take upon itself the job of `policing`. Even high ranking Nagaland government officials are being subjected to frisking in places such as Kiphire, even as there is increased movement of troops in Naga areas including Mokokchung, Zunheboto, Ukhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong, Dimapur and elsewhere.

The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) calls upon Indian representatives to press forward for a resolution of the Naga issue. NPMHR believes the gains made in dialogue processes with different Naga national groups are leading to increasing the level of trust among Nagas and Indians.

The one important step towards strengthening this is to rein in `The Friends of the Hill People` and halt its provocative tendencies against Naga national groups.

“NPMHR considers the ongoing campaign against the National Socialist Council of Nagalim as a serious breach of trust between entities that agreed to a ceasefire and agreed to sit across the negotiating table,” the Naga rights body added.

NPMHR also urges the Naga `national groups` to exercise restraint in the face of actions by India`™s security agencies that are apparently tuned to provoke. NPMHR calls for continued vigil over designs that are aimed at denying the Nagas to reconcile, integrate and live together as one nation.
It's time to melt frost in Siachen
The death of about 140 Pakistani army personnel in an avalanche at the battalion HQ at Gyari in the Siachen conflict zone has again brought to the fore the dangers of prolonged deployment on both sides of the actual ground position line, despite the fact that an informal ceasefire has been holding up quite well since November 25, 2003. In mid-March 2007, too, five Pakistani soldiers had perished in an avalanche.

Even at the peak of fighting in the 1980s and 1990s, maximum casualties on both the sides occurred because of the treacherous terrain, the super-high altitude - which affects the human body adversely, and the extreme weather. The lack of oxygen at heights between 18,000 and 20,000 feet and prolonged periods of isolation are a lethal combination and result in pulmonary oedema, frostbite and other serious complications. Besides, prolonged deployment at such heights takes a heavy psychological toll. While these casualties are now better managed due to early evacuation, improvements in medical science and the establishment of forward medical facilities, they can never be completely eliminated.

The economic cost of maintaining an infantry brigade group at Siachen to guard the desolate mountain passes and approaches leading to them from the western slopes of the Saltoro Ridge has been estimated to range between Rs 3-3.5 crore per day - Rs 1,000-1,200 crore annually. The costs are high because the logistics tail is long, the only road ends at the base camp close to the snout of Nubra river where the almost 80-km glacier ends and a large number of infantry posts can be maintained only by helicopters that air-drop supplies with attendant losses, as recoveries are often less than 50%. The frequent turnover of troops adds to the costs as a battalion can be stationed at the Saltoro Ridge for a maximum of six months.

Stephen Cohen, a well-known and respected Washington-based South Asia analyst, has described the Siachen conflict as a fight between two bald men over a comb. In his view, "Siachen... is not militarily important... They (Indian and Pakistani armies) are there for purely psychological reasons, testing each other's 'will'."

Both governments have been finding it difficult to overcome deeply entrenched mindsets and are unable to look for innovative and creative approaches. India insists that the present forward positions of both the armies on the Saltoro Range along the AGPL should be demarcated after a joint survey so that there is a reference point in case a dispute arises in future. Pakistan's position is that by suddenly occupying the Saltoro Range west of the Siachen glacier, India violated the 1972 Shimla agreement and must, therefore, undo its "aggression" without insisting on legitimising its illegal occupation through the demarcation of present positions.

After Pakistan's intrusions into Kargil in 1999, the Indian Army's advice to the government that the AGPL must be jointly verified and demarcated before demilitarisation begins, is operationally sound and pragmatic military advice. However, if Pakistan's military capacity to grab and hold on to vacated Indian positions after the demilitarisation agreement comes into effect is carefully analysed, it will be found that Pakistan is in no position to occupy any of the posts vacated by India.

At a recent India-Pak Track 2 meeting at Bangkok, organized by Ottawa University jointly with the Atlantic Council and the National Defence University, Washington, it was agreed by both sides that the present military positions should be "jointly recorded and the records exchanged" as a prelude to the disengagement and demilitarization process. While this falls short of the Indian demand for demarcation, it should be politically acceptable.

However, India should insist on building a clause into the demilitarisation agreement that in case of the agreement is violated, both sides reserve the right to take whatever action they deem fit, including offensive military measures. Simultaneously with the withdrawal of its troops from the glacial heights, India should create and maintain suitably structured reserves for counter-action across the LoC at a point of its choosing. These reserves would also be handy for intervention on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China should it ever become necessary.

The demilitarisation of Siachen will act as a confidence building measure of immense importance. For India, it is a low-risk option to test Pakistan's long-term intentions. It is, therefore, an idea whose time has come. Indian and Pakistani leaders need to find the political will necessary to accept ground realities. It is time the Indian government began the process of building a national consensus around this important confidence-building measure.
Defence situation serious but not alarming: Naik
Former Air chief Marshal PV Naik said that India’s defence preparedness is a matter of serious concern; however, the situation is far from alarming as is being projected.

Commenting on the remarks made by Army chief General VK Singh a few days ago regarding the country’s preparedness in an event of a war, Naik said that though we are at the lowest level of expected preparedness but the situation is still under control.

Naik was addressing the media during a seminar organised by Pune Shramik Patrakar Sangh titled ‘Armed Forces and Media’, here on Saturday.

“The situation is serious but not as alarming as is being projected by the authorities. Also, we are not in a situation wherein if we are attacked or a national disaster occurs, we will take it lying down. Modernisation of the equipments and war material is a continuous process. If we talk in terms of modernised weapons of warfare, then we were not prepared even ten years ago,” he said.

Maintaining that defence systems are not procured “overnight”, the former Air chief said that there was a need to speed up the acquisition process. “There is an urgent need to refine the defence acquisition process for cutting the delays at the bureaucracy level, which represents a key layer between the Raksha Mantri and the Armed forces.

Commenting on the controversy regarding the shady deals in purchase of the defence equipments, Naik said that the Armed forces only shortlists the equipments required and forwards the same to the authorities.

The procurement of the equipments is an entirely different process, handled by the Ministry of Defence. It has nothing to do with the Armed Forces.

Advising media to maintain some restrain regarding the coverage of defence matters, Naik said that media should always ensure that the reporting is balanced and is not biased towards any individual or an organisation. Regarding the coverage of recently tested Agni-V missile, Naik said that we should not beat our own drums. “India is not going to run over China,” said the former Air Chief.
It’s futile for both to remain hostile
Over a 100 Pakistani soldiers and a dozen civilians lie buried under thousands of tons of snow at Gyari, near Skardu in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. This tragedy seems to have finally brought home to the Pak military leadership the futility of being at the most forbidding place on

During April 1984, there were reports that the Pak army was geared up to occupy the Saltaro Range. Indian army realising the dangers of this move, preempted Pak army move and occupied this mountain range.

Some Indian defence analysts have tried to project the Siachen Glacier as an area of great strategic importance. To the west of it (across the Saltaro Range) is the road linking Gilgit with Tibet and to the north east is the important Karakoram Pass. To the north is the Shaksgam Valley (part of J&K) ceded to China by Pakistan. It’s often contended that Siachen Glacier region would facilitate link up between Pakistan and China, across the Karakoram Pass.

Gilgit Tibet Road is nearly 250 kms across the world’s most forbidding terrain. Karakoram Pass from the Glacier is across a group of first magnitude peaks in the world, which only a small mountaineering expedition can hope to traverse. The Shaksgam Valley across the Indra Col and the Karakoram Range is inaccessible from the Glacier region. The route to the Karakoram Pass emanates from the Nubra valley and away from the Glacier. Another route is along the Shyok River along the Shyok Valley. Pakistan (PoK) is linked with China along  the Gilgit-Tibet road.

The terrain/climate along the Saltaro Range is forbidding where often soldiers die for want of immediate evacuation. The cold, fear of being afflicted by high altitude sickness and the impossibility of being evacuated has a depressing psychological effect. Indian troops have endured these hardships for 28 years with stoicism and forbearance.

Of late there have been renewed attempts to improve relations with Pakistan. Both sides seem to realise the futility of maintaining a hostile attitude towards each other. The policy of exporting terrorism to India has finally recoiled on Pakistan itself. This push to terrorism and unreasonable expenditure on defence has left its economy in dire straits.

The last attempt to resolve the issue faltered on demarking the positions on maps, held by the two sides, before troops could be withdrawn and area declared demilitarised. Pak army did not agree to this. Perhaps due to the fact that the Pak public has been made to believe its army is in part occupation of Siachen Glacier. Marking map positions would have exposed this lie. Further, Indian army has reason to suspect that once positions on the Saltaro Range are evacuated, Pak may occupy these and the cost in lives in taking them back will be enormous.

Past experience has made this mutual suspicion run deep. Pak feels that it was cheated out of Saltaro Range in 1984 by India and India has Kargil as a constant reminder of Pak perfidy. But it’s time to move forward. Valuable lives have been lost to terrain and climate.

India has lived under the impression that Pak’s defence policy is spelled out by its army and also its relations with India. Perhaps jolted by the latest tragedy at Gyari, Pak army appears to realise the wisdom in accepting ground realities. General Kayani appears amenable to a resolution of the Siachen Glacier problem. Here perhaps is an opening to get to grips with the Siachen issue and work out a lasting solution of this problem.
Youngsters with tattoos barred from Indian Army
Youngsters with tattoos on their body will not be eligible for recruitment in the Indian Army.

Speaking to reporters here, Colonel Vijay Sawant, Director of Recruitment Cell, Army Cantonment, Kota said the army recruitment rule, enforced since December 2011, disqualifies youngsters with tattoos on the body on medical ground.

The youths with tattoos may have been infected with AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis?"B virus as needles are used in the process, he said while announcing that the recruitment process would start from May 19 to 27 at Bundi district headquarter.

He noted that in many instances non-hygienic needles are used for making tattoo by untrained artisans.

Candidates from nine districts of Rajasthan ?" Jhalawar, Baran, Pratapgarh, Bundi, Kota, Chittorgarh, Ajamer, Bhilwara and Rajsmand can apply for qualifying competitive events for the posts of general solider, solider nursing, solider technician and solider clerk.

"Candidates with tattoo depiction on the body shall be considered disqualified on medical ground," he said.

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