India’s military expansion on hold as economy slows down
New Delhi, July 15
A sluggish Indian economy has taken a toll on the proposed expansion of military capabilities that were aimed at tackling “growing threats” from neighbours China and Pakistan.
A plan by the Ministry of Defence to increase the allocated defence budget by an additional Rs 45,617 crore has been put on hold for the time being, affecting plans to have specialised forces in the Himalayas.
Economic growth over the next few months will decide if the additional funding can be provided in this fiscal or not. Another review of the situation will be undertaken in October to see if an increased budgetary allocation can be borne by the economy, senior officials have told the Tribune.
India’s economy grew by 5.3 per cent of GDP for the period Jan-March 2012 while figures for April-June 2012, not yet announced, are expected to be on the same lines, if not lower. Just a year earlier, India was growing at 8.4 per cent.
New Delhi’s projection of 7.6 per cent growth for the fiscal 2012-13 has been disputed by international agencies like the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which have pegged it at 6.5 per cent in its latest report released on July 12.
In May, the MoD wanted an additional Rs 45,617 crore ($9. billion) over and above the Rs 1,93,407 crore (nearly $38.6 billion) allocated in the 2012-13 budget in March.
Additional resources were directed at raising of Mountain Strike Corps — a first of its kind for the Indian forces — besides additional number of warplanes, warships etc. The Mountain Strike Corps is to have two special divisions with airlift ability to deploy full-armed troops at short notice. It will have specialised artillery guns — the ultra light Howitzer — that can be lifted by choppers to be deployed on mountain tops, night fighting ability and specialised vehicles etc. Strategically, this Corps is aimed at tackling the threat from China which has put in place a rapid deployment capability based on mechanised vehicles, aircrafts etc, which allows movement across the flat Tibetan plateau.
The presence of Chinese soldiers in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which abuts on to the Kargil-Batalik-Turtuk-Siachen region in Jammu and Kashmir, had added to India’s worries.
Already, the Indian armed forces have been asked to change their strategy as in view of the emerging and new threats, there is a hint that a two-front simultaneous war with Pak-China is possible.
Many officers continue to be ensnared by women
New Delhi, July 15
Even as a Lieut Colonel faces a Court of Inquiry (CoI) for establishing contact with a Bangladesh woman over social networking site Facebook, historically Indian spy world and armed forces have periodically seen cases of women being used as baits to glean away information.
Instructions to the armed forces and also to the security and intelligence agencies disallow personnel from revealing their identity over the Internet. No information about self, the regiment, or its location can be posted over social networking sites.
The Lieut Colonel, who was the second-in-command of an armoured unit based at Suratgarh in Western Rajasthan, was caught when his chats with a Bangladeshi woman over the Facebook were intercepted by the Intelligence Bureau. No evidence of physical contact has been found so far.
The same woman, Sheeba, was involved in honey trapping of another Lt Col during his posting in Bangladesh. The officer was photographed with the woman at a party and then blackmailed by the ISI to part with information. The officer reported the matter to his seniors and was sent back to India.
Women contacting men from Indian armed forces or security agencies is not new.
In 2005, a book ‘Mitrokhin Archives’, authored by former KGB spy Vasili Mitrokhin, narrated how Jawaharlal Lal Nehru and the IB did not realise that the Indian embassy in Moscow was being penetrated by the KGB using women. Mitrokhin narrated that an Indian diplomat was recruited, probably in the early 1950s, with the help of a female code-named Neverova. The KGB managed to get the Indian embassy codebook and deciphering tables which are used in sending coded messages between the Indian government and its missions abroad. In March 2011, Naval officer Commodore Sukhjinder Singh was sacked for having sexual relations with a Russian woman while he was on a posting to look after the re-fit of sea-borne aircraft carrier, the Admiral Gorshkov. In March 2010, a woman officer, Madhuri Gupta of Indian Foreign Service (IFS-B) was arrested after she developed a relationship with a young Pakistani when she was posted to Islamabad.
* In March 2011, Naval officer, Commodore Sukhjinder Singh, was sacked for having sexual relations with a Russian woman while he was on a posting to look after the re-fit of Admiral Gorshkov
* In early 1990s, an Indian Naval attaché posted in Islamabad 'fell in love' with a Pakistani woman who was working in the Pakistan Military Nursing Service at Karachi. The officer was forced to resign
* About six years ago, a RAW officer was recalled from Hong Kong for his relationship with a woman, who was believed to be a Chinese spy
* An IB official was forced to retire when his relationship with a woman US consular officer, who was an agent of the CIA, surfaced
Army crush Indian Bank for title
Any glimmer of hope that Indian Bank had of scripting a fairy tale finish was snuffed out emphatically by a well-knit Army XI in the final of the IOB-Syed Ahmed memorial all-India hockey tournament, co-sponsored by Nissan, here on Sunday.
The evening well and truly belonged to the Army XI as they clinched the trophy with a resounding 6-2 triumph over Indian Bank, who ran out of steam towards the end after acquitting themselves well in the first-half.
The odds of Indian Bank causing an upset were rather slim but they gave Army XI more than a scare in the opening few exchanges.
Outside right Sunil Ekka of Army XI, who will look back on this tournament fondly for having made an invaluable contribution to his team’s glittering run, proved to be the difference between the two teams.
After being guilty of spurning an easy chance in the fifth minute, Ekka didn’t take long to redeem himself as in the very next minute he put his team ahead from a close range by nudging the ball in. Instead of clearing the ball, the Indian Bank full-backs were caught napping.
Indian Bank would have soon found themselves trailing by another goal had it not been for the superlative effort of their goal-keeper Barani Raja, who showed a good presence of mind by padding away a powerful shot struck by Poovanna in the ninth minute.
Barani Raja was later adjudged man-of-the-match for his consistent performances throughout the tournament.
Thereafter, the bank team captain Phillip Martin took matters into his own hands and combined with Heartlin James to score an absolute peach of a goal in the 10th minute to make it
James made a perceptive pass by dribbling past his two markers and after cutting in from the far left, sent an inch-perfect ball to Martin, who did the rest by wrong-footing the goalkeeper. Army XI very nearly took the lead soon but luck seemed to have deserted them as Reniel Singh’s short corner missed the target by a whisker.
The Bengaluru team were not to be denied of a lead for a long time. Mukesh Lakra put them ahead off a PC in the 18th minute. Indian Bank responded immediately through Deepak, also from a short corner, as the teams entered the break at 2-2.
In the second-half things took a different turn altogether as two goals in quick succession by the Army XI effectively killed the game as a contest.
Army team came out all guns blazing to score four goals without reply and Indian Bank’s resistance began to crumble in the face of sustained pressure. It was an anti-climactic end to a match that at the end of first-half had the makings of a cliffhanger.
Final: Army XI 6 (Sunil Ekka 2, Chittaranjan, Eliazek Lakara, Arumugam, Mukesh Lakra) bt Indian Bank 2 (Phillip Martin, Deepak).
MoM: Barani Raja (IB).
India remembers hero of 1947 Pakistan war
New Delhi : The Indian Army Sunday remembered Brig. Mohammed Usman - its highest-ranking officer killed in the 1947 India-Pakistan war.
A commemorative function was organised here to celebrate the birth centenary of the late officer. who described as a "symbol of India's inclusive secularism".
"At the time of partition, he with many other officers declined to move to the Pakistan Army and continued to serve the Indian Army, despite the bait of becoming the Pakistan Army Chief and intense pressure from the Pakistani leadership to join the army of the new nation," a statement issued on the occasion recalled.
Usman was serving the Baluch Regiment that went to the Pakistan Army at the time of partition.
He was transferred to the the Dogra Regiment and was commanding 50 Para Brigade, deployed at Jhangar in December 1947 when the war with Pakistan broke out.
He was posted at the Jammu and Kashmir front as the brigade commander and led his soldiers from front in repulsing a fierce attack on Naushera and Jhangar, two highly strategic locations in the state.
He won himself a name "Lion of Naushera" for defending the sector with an unparallelled courage and valour.
He was, however, killed in action July 3, 1948.
He was awarded a posthumous Maha Vir Chakra for his role in the 1947-48 operations.
The commemorative function at Manekshaw Centre here was attended by Vice President M. Hamid Ansari, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, his deputy M.M. Pallam Raju, and Army Chief Gen. Bikram Singh, among others.
Ansari described Usman as "the hero of the battle of Naushera", who, he said, "is one of the most inspiring military leaders of Independent India".
"The heroic deeds of Usman will continue to inspire the Indian Army in the years to come."
A film, "Naushera Ka Sher", on his life was also screened.