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Thursday, 5 July 2012

From Today's Papers - 05 Jul 2012
Job scam: Antony orders transfer of NDA Commandant
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
Defence Minister AK Antony today ordered the immediate removal of Pune’s National Defence Academy Commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh days after the CBI unearthed a jobs-for-cash scam there.

“This (the Commandant’s removal) is with the view to ensure a free and fair investigation in the alleged bribery racket in the recruitment of Group ‘C’ posts in the
NDA,” a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.

The CBI today arrested Colonel AK Singh, a Physical Training Officer, at the NDA. He is the Presiding Officer of the Board appointed by the Academy to select subordinate staff. Colonel Singh was produced before the Special Judge in Pune, the CBI said.

The decision to transfer Lt Gen Singh from the NDA and the arrest of Colonel AK Singh comes 10 days after the CBI busted a recruitment scam at the NDA.

On June 24, the CBI had arrested six persons, including a serving Colonel, for allegedly receiving bribe for allegedly taking bribes of Rs 3-4 lakh per candidate for subordinate staff jobs, including those of cooks and gardeners. The CBI had claimed to have recovered Rs 1.76 crore from different locations in connection with the case. Among those arrested ten days ago was Colonel Kulbir Singh, staff officer to NDA Commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh.

The CBI had said, “The Staff Officer, in conspiracy with the other accused, obtained illegal gratification of Rs 3-4 lakh from each candidate to appoint them as cooks, gardeners, lab attendants, library attendants and cadet orderly."

The accused had allegedly taken signature of candidates on blank answersheets and subsequently filled in correct answers by fraudulent means. Thus, the actual deserving candidates were cheated.

Ever since New Army Chief Bikram Singh took over on June 1, he has kept his promise “nothing will be brushed under the carpet”. Besides this case, action has been taken against a Brigadier who was taking loans from his juniors.

The case

    June 24: CBI arrests six persons, including a serving Colonel, for allegedly receiving bribe of Rs 3-4 lakh per candidate for subordinate staff jobs, including those of cooks and gardeners
    The CBI claimed to have recovered Rs 1.76 crore from different locations in connection with the case
    Among those arrested was Colonel Kulbir Singh, staff officer to NDA Commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh
India, Pakistan discuss terror, Jundal on Day 1
Foreign Secy-level talks begin; no dossier to be shared on 26/11 plotter
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, July 4
Turning the heat on Islamabad against the backdrop of confessions made by 26/11 plotter Abu Jundal, India today conveyed to Pakistan its concern over the continued misuse of its territory for anti-India activities. India also reiterated its demand that Pakistan should bring to justice the perpetrators of the Mumbai carnage.

At the foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries, Pakistan sought to deflect attention from terror by harping on Jammu and Kashmir, seeking an early settlement of the issue in accordance with the UN resolution taking into consideration the wishes and aspirations of the Kashmiris.

The two sides also discussed cross-border trade and travel-related confidence-building measures (CBMs) besides CBMs in the nuclear field.

In order to build an atmosphere of trust and confidence, Pakistan should see to it that anti-India forces were not allowed to operate from its territory, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai is understood to have told his Pakistani counterpart Jalil Abbas Jilani right at the start of the talks.

The two foreign secretaries launched their two-day parleys at the Hyderabad House this morning under the shadow of Jundal's revelations, linking Pakistani state actors with the carnage. The two diplomats were assisted by their senior officials.

The Indian delegation included High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal, Joint Secretary (Pakistan) in the External Affairs Ministry YK Sinha and Joint Secretary (Disarmament) Venkatesh Varma. The Pakistani side included High Commissioner-designate Salman Bashir, Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry Munawar Saeed Bhatti and Director General (South Asia) Zehra Akbari.

In a brief statement issued at the end of today's talks, MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said the foreign secretaries, along with their respective delegations, had had two full sessions of detailed discussion covering all aspects of the agenda under the items peace and security, including CBMs and J&K.

The foreign secretaries have agreed to resume the talks tomorrow with a view to completing all the items scheduled for consideration.

The spokesman refused to divulge details of the discussions, but emphasised that the two sides would come out with a joint statement tomorrow.

Sources said India did share information about Jundal, like the details of his Pakistani passport and Pakistan's domestic card, but no dossier was handed over to the Pakistani side. The sources explained that a dossier at this stage could hamper the interrogation process.

Earlier in the day, Home Minister P Chidambaram made it clear that India would not hand over to Pakistan any dossier on information obtained from the 26/11 accused.
Army awaits nod for aviation brigade
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 4
The Indian Army’s request for having attack helicopters in its arsenal has yet again faced opposition. Such copters, for now, are operated by Indian Air Force pilots. The Army Aviation Corps, which was formed in November 1987, flies light helicopters in mountainous regions.

The capability to carry out heavy airlift operations and conduct flights in attack formations are handled by the IAF.

The Army’s demand was brought up at a high-level review meeting convened by Defence Minister AK Antony on July 2.

“It was discussed, but no decision has been taken - at the moment - to allocate combat helicopters to the Army,” a source said.

Sources said the Army had made out a strong case citing the example of neighbouring China. “The Army has once again pressed for it. Now, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has to take a call.

“Such matters need a political call as the IAF would naturally not want to relinquish its role in attack copters,” source said.

The Army believes that the way to counter China’s deployment of tanks in the flat Tibetan plateau is by deploying attack helicopters flown by its pilots.

The mountainous and rugged terrain on India’s northern and western borders allows no space for operations of mechanised forces. On the Chinese side, the plateau is flat and open making it fit for such movement.

To counter China, India needs air-transported operations and the ideal equipment to do it are helicopters — capable of lift and assault roles.

China formed its Army Aviation brigade in April 1988 - some five months after India - by transferring all helicopters from its air force. The move was in consonance with all major modern armies in the world.

The Indian Army, in its argument to the MoD, has stated that Army pilots have better comprehension of ground operations and they work within the operational philosophy of the ground forces.

why the NEED

    Better coordination between ground and air operations
    Countering China on the Tibetan plateau
Machil: HC says Army can conduct court martial
The J&K High Court on Wednesday said Army has every right to conduct trial of its own men and quashed orders passed by lower courts that had rejected the court martial option in the 2010 Machil fake encounter case.

Justice Hasnain Masoodi’s order cleared the decks for court martial of the accused Army men.

Ministry of Defence counsel Karnail Singh Wazir told The Indian Express that he would now seek the custody of the Territorial Army personnel who is in custody. “The court quashed the two previous orders of Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Sopore and Principal Sessions Court in Baramulla that had rejected the court martial option in the case.”

In December 2010, the Army had filed a revision petition in High Court against the lower courts’ orders.

Three persons, including the Territorial Army personnel, are under detention in connection with the case.

On April 29, 2010, two counterinsurgents along with the Territorial Army jawan allegedly lured three young men from Nadihal village — Shezad Ahmad, Riyaz Ahmad and Mohammad Shafi — to Kalaroos on the LoC with the promise of job and money.

The three were killed by troopers of 4 Rajputana Rifles near the Sona Pindi post and dubbed as foreign infiltrators.

The J&K Police have produced chargesheet against an Army Colonel, two Majors, five soldiers and three civilians in the fake encounter case.
Army Proposes To Raise An Additional Mountain Strike Corp

The Indian Army has already proposed to the central government to raise an additional Mountain Strike Corps and a few more divisions to increase the size of the fighting force by close to another one lakh troops.
The Indian Army has already proposed to the central government to raise an additional Mountain Strike Corps and a few more divisions to increase the size of the fighting force by close to another one lakh troops.

The meeting between the Army chief and cabinet committee also stressed on the need to enhance the Army's air lift capabilities in the north-eastern sector bordering China. The Army has requested further more to increase the stocks of ammunition of tanks and artillery guns, raise additional Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) squadrons and improve the reconnaissance and surveillance capabilities of the armed forces.

This is the third such meeting that has taken place to review the modernisation process of the army held by Mr. A. K. Antony after the former Army Chief Gen V. K. Singh highlighted the critical shortages faced by the force in a letter to the Prime Minister.

The Ministry of Defence and the Army have seriously got down to the table to discuss the China threat which is very much real and how best to counter it with their own strategy. They are not leaving any stone unturned and doing every bit at a time when the Armed forces have no budgetary constraints. New Delhi has assured the Armed forces billions of dollars more if need be to help accelerate the modernisation process.

Other than Mr. Antony and Gen Singh, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Secretary (Defence Production) Shekhar Aggrawal and Director General Acquisition Vivek Rae attended the review meeting.
Indian mountaineers feted for conquering Mt. Everest
The Indian Army Women Everest Expedition Team, which has created history by putting seventeen climbers on top of Mount Everest on May 25-26 has been feted by the Indian President in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Among the feted was, Subedar Rajendra Singh Jalal climbed Everest without using supplemental oxygen, the first Indian Army man to do so, news report by the Indian media said.

The expedition was led by Colonel Ajay Kothiyal an experienced mountaineer.

The expedition was flagged off by Lieutenant General Ramesh Halagali, Deputy Chief of Army Staff, on 12 March.

The Army team attempted to reach the summit on 19 May but was forced to come back to base camp due to hostile weather conditions and heavy winds enroute to the Everest.

The team started again from Base Camp on 23 May to make their second attempt to reach the summit and this time they succeeded with flying colours.

All seven women and ten men of the team stood atop Mt Everest proudly on 25 and 26 May.

Major N Linyu and Captain Smitha became the first women from Nagaland and Karnataka respectively to have climbed Mt Everest.

Apart from marking these records, the team has brought accolades and enhanced the image of the country by helping other groups tremendously.

The team’s brief stay in Nepal was marked with great bonhomie and camaraderie between Nepal Army and Indian Army climbers. Gen Chhatraman Singh Gurung, The Chief of Nepal Army visited the expedition members at Everest Base Camp, prior to their summit attempt and subsequently hosted a private dinner for the team at his house.

Indian Army Women Everest Expedition Team members also met all Nepali women mountaineers who have summitted Mt Everest during the past few years.

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