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Saturday, 21 July 2012

From Today's Papers - 21 Jul 2012
VK Singh, 4 others get bail in defamation case
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 20
Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh and four top serving officers, including Vice Chief SK Singh, today appeared in a trial court in response to summons and got bail in a criminal defamation case.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja granted them bail on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each. The other three officers are Lt Gen BS Thakur (Director General of Military Intelligence), Maj Gen SL Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney.

The court had issued summons to them on a complaint filed by Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh alleging that they had defamed him by issuing a press release on March 5.

The press release had alleged that Lt Gen Tejinder had offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to Gen VK Singh, when he was Army Chief, for clearing a deal for the purchase of 600 trucks for the Army. It also alleged that Lt General Tejinder, when he was heading the Defence Intelligence Agency, was leaking out information related to the Army to the media.

After perusing the press release, the trial court had held that “prima facie” the release was defamatory in nature.
Myanmarese Army head’s visit to India being finalized
The official visit of the head of the Myanmarese Armed Forces to India will take place from August 1 to 8, according to the sources within the Indian Ministry of Defence.
Vice-Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Tatmadaw (Myanmarese Armed Forces) will hold meetings with several high ranking officials during his trip to India. Gen Aung Hlaing, who has a reputation as a hardliner, recently succeeded Senior General Than Shwe as the Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief.

The Myanmarese official is expected to meet AK Antony, the Indian defence minister during the trip. He will also meet the Indian Army head Gen Bikram Singh, the Indian Air Force head Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne, and the Chief of the Naval Staff of the Indian Navy Nirmal Kumar Verma. He will also travel to the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya in Bihar, as a part of a personal visit.

After meeting the Indian officials, Vice-Senior General Aung Hlaing will visit the headquarters of the Eastern Command of the Indian Army at Kolkota and the main base of the Eastern Command of the Indian Navy in Vizag. The Myanmarese media reported that in addition to these two facilities, the Myanmarese General is also likely to visit several other installations of the Indian Armed Forces.

The visit by the Tatmadaw Chief is believed to be in response to the visit by the Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh to Myanmar, which was undertaken earlier this year. Man Mohan Singh was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Myanmar for the last 25 years. Several agreements and treaties were signed during the visit, and the Indian Prime Minister had taken time off to meet political activist Aung San Suu Kyi. Currently Myanmar is undergoing a transition from military rule to civilian rule.
Omar snubs army, says situation not alarming J&K
Chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday played down the alarmist warning issued by the Indian Army about heightened militant activity and their number in Kashmir two days ago.

"The word alarming should not be used. If the situation is alarming, that means there is failure of
somebody. They (the army) should talk about that also, as to whose failure it is," said Omar, on the sidelines of presidential polls held at Srinagar's assembly complex on Thursday.

Two days ago, 15 Corps General Officer Commanding Lt General Om Prakash had warned of increase in militants' footprint in the valley, pegging the number at around 300. In 2011, the number was around 119, according to the state police.

"There are 280-300 active militants in Kashmir...Our inputs suggest that there are 550-600 militants waiting at launching pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The mentors of militants are carrying out regular reconnaissance from forward posts, looking for opportunities so that militant could be sneaked into the Valley," Prakash had said. But, he was quick to add, "situation was under control".

Unhappy with the army's statement, Omar, who is also chief of Unified Command Headquarters (UCH), representing all security agencies in the state, said, "Tourists are coming to Kashmir and the government activities were in full swing. There is nothing like alarming."

The chief minister had chaired a UCH meeting last week. "Nothing of this sort came up in the meeting," he said.

The state police also played down the new figures issued by the army.

"There are infiltration attempts by militants. Some numbers might have added up. But many militants were neutralized too. I don't think the number would be much higher than last year's figures," Kashmir inspector general of police SM Sahai told the Hindustan Times on Wednesday.
The nucleus of the Indian Army- 1628

The United Service Magazine (Part 3) in its issue of 1835 (Page 311), traces the history of the Indian Army set up by the British.

    The Indian Army forms, perhaps, the most extraordinary spectacle on which the eye of the philosopher has ever rested. Composed almost exclusively of natives, none of whom are ever permitted to rise to offices of rank or trust, it has ensured to England, for not less than seventy years, the undisputed sovereignty over a tract of country incalculably more extensive than herself, and divided from her by the distance of half the globe. Nor is it alone by preserving peace at home, and supporting a handful of strangers in the dominion which they there exercise, that the Indian Army has established for itself an illustrious name: whenever they have been employed in the field—whether against foreign or domestic enemies—whether against Asiatics or Europeans,— the Sepoys have done their duty, if not with the daring recklessness which characterises British soldiers, at all events with steadiness, with patience, and with courage.

    Such a body deserves, if ever an armed body did, that its merits should not pass unnoticed, and that they who benefit by its devotion and its truth should at least give to it the recompense of well-earned praise.

    There is nothing in the records of ancient or modern times more remarkable than the rise of the Indian Army. It has been, if we may so express ourselves, the growth of a day. It sprang up all at once from the seed to absolute maturity.

    For many long years after the trade with India had been opened, and the Copany had established factories at different points along the coast, the Indian Army had positively no existence. A few peons, armed, according to the custom of the country, with swords and circular shields, were the only species of guards which the factories admitted; and these never ventured to oppose themselves to the encroachments of the local authorities, however flagrant and however unjustifiable.

    The fact, indeed, is that when the English merchants first established themselves in the ports of Hindustan, they did not dream of the possibility of founding anything like an empire in a country thickly peopled, highly civilized, and accustomed to the working of regular governments. They were content to receive protection—they never thought of being able to afford it; and so long as the native princes permitted them to trade, their ambition soared no higher. The excessive caution with which they departed from this system is very striking, and we will endeavour to give of it a sort of bird's-eye view.

    On the 2nd of May, 1601, Captain Lancaster's renowned squadron sailed from Torbay. After touching at Acheen, in Sumatra, and trading there—after capturing in the Straits of Malacca a rich Portuguese ship, and receiving from the Moluccas large quantities of spices, Lancaster steered for Java, where, in Bantam, the first factory was established over which an English merchant had ever presided in those seas. This was in 1602. In 1612 we find new factories erected at Surat, Ahmedabad, Cambaya, and Goja. As these increased in wealth and importance, they drew towards themselves the notice not only of the native princes but of European rivals, who, sometimes by force, hut much more frequently by intrigue, endeavoured to ruin them. Against direct hostility, however, the English were content to guard themselves by appealing to the Nabobs and Naigs on shore; while at sea their ships maintained, as they best could, a struggle with their assailants.

    But this state of things could not last for ever. Their rivals, especially the Dutch, gathered strength from day to day: they built forts, they sent out bodies of troops, and began to wage war with the powers around them. They conceived that they must in some sort follow the example, not indeed in commencing hostilities with the princes under whose protection they dwelt, but by assuming such an attitude as might overawe the Europeans, and hinder them from acting towards themselves on the offensive.

    In 1626, when displays of hostile intentions had become, on the part of the Dutch, more than ever frequent, and the condition of India, torn by civil wars, chanced to be peculiarly forlorn, the English merchants judged it expedient to apply to the soubahdars of the different provinces in which they were settled, for permission to enclose their factories with fortifications. Some time elapsed ere the desired sanction was obtained; and when it did reach them, they were too poor and too feeble everywhere to avail themselves of it; but at Armagon, on the Coromandel coast, a fort was erected in 1628, which mounted twelve pieces of cannon.

    The garrison of that fort—the nucleus as it may be called of the Indian Army—consisted of twenty-three soldiers,—Europeans hired by the chief of the factory, and of course subject to no species of military law; for the idea of establishing an armed force in the East had never occurred to any of the home authorities, and no provision could of course be made for its management. There it was, however, the foundation-stone of the hosts which now keep in subjection a population of one hundred millions of souls—a gallant army of twenty three burgher-guards, of which the chief of the factory was the commandant.
The Indian Army Memorial at Neuve Chapelle in France, Part One
            It was a dull and drizzly Sunday morning in Northern France, on the way back to Calais and the ferry to the UK, but the moment we stepped inside the circular wall of the Indian Army Memorial at Neuve Chapelle it was as if we were transported to warmer climes and another era – to the heyday of British India, to units with exotic names like the Garhwal Rifles and havildars rather than sergeants, naiks rather than corporals. The architecture fitted the eastern mood too: domed chhatris (pavilions), shaped arches and pierced stone panels.

Photograph 1: the entrance pavilion (click to open)

Coming into the monument by the entrance pavilion, a path leads straight across the centre, lined by beds of red roses, to a second pavilion. In the centre, the path widens to split around the Stone of Remembrance on its plinth. This is a feature of all but the smallest British and Commonwealth war cemeteries – a simple white stone block bearing the inscription “THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVERMORE.”

Photograph 2: the path across the centre from the entrance pavilion (click to open)

Photograph 3: the Stone of Remembrance (click to open)

On the left as one enters the monument, the outer wall bears large plaques with the names of over 5,000 soldiers of the Indian Army killed and with no known grave. Going over to read the plaques I was struck by the exotic names of the units listed, adding to the sense that one was in a different era and on a different continent. Regiments such as the Garhwal Rifles and the Ghurkha Rifles seemed more reminiscent of the dust and heat of the Northwest Frontier rather than the mud and rain of the trenches of the Western Front.

But there was in fact a large Indian Army contingent on the Western Front, at least until the winter of 1915/1916 when most battalions were withdrawn to serve in the Middle East against the Turks. By the end of 1914 two complete divisions (the Lahore Division and the Meerut Division, totalling around 24,000 men) had been shipped to France to make up the shortfall in British units until the mass of volunteers who had joined up in the first months of the war could be trained and equipped.

Each division was made up of twelve infantry battalions – nine Indian Army battalions of native troops and three British Army battalions seconded to the Indian Army. Furthermore, the Indian battalions were commanded by a British colonel and had a smattering of British officers amongst the Indian ones. This mixture had been instituted in the aftermath of the Indian Mutiny in the mid 19th century and continued as a precaution, even though Indian units had performed sterling service since then and continued to do so through the First World War.

In addition to the infantry, two divisions of Indian Army cavalry also served on the Western Front.

Photograph 4: section of plaque to the missing dead of the 8th Ghurkha Rifles (click to open)

The photograph above shows the start of the listing of the missing dead of the 8th Ghurkha Rifles. Each unit is listed on the wall plaques in order of seniority of the unit within the Army lists and within each unit then men are grouped by rank and then in alphabetical order. Rather than the familiar ranks of lieutenant, sergeant, corporal and private, the Indian Army equivalents of jemadar, havildar, naik and sepoy can be seen.
Indian Army test fires Agni-I ballistic missile
The Indian Army's Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has successfully test-fired the indigenously developed Agni-I ballistic missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at wheeler island off the coast of Odisha, India.

Launched from a road mobile launcher system, which was a modified TATRA truck, the missile followed the prescribed trajectory and reached the target point in the Bay of Bengal.

The radar and telemetry stations located along the coastline and two naval ships stationed near the target point tracked the missile during the terminal phase of the flight, according to defence sources.

The launch was conducted as part of routine user trials to ensure army personnel are prepared, with assistance from the scientists and officers of the manufacturer, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Avinash Chander, DRDO missiles and strategic systems chief controller, was quoted by The Hindu as saying that the missile was drawn from the production lot and successfully met all mission objectives.
"The strategic forces command has mastered the technology of launching the missile to a high degree of perfection."

DRDO director general and Indian defence minister's scientific advisor VK Saraswat said that all Agni missiles were performing well, and the user was conversant with the exercise of the launch.

''The strategic forces command has mastered the technology of launching the missile to a high degree of perfection,'' Saraswat added.

Developed by DRDO under the integrated guided missile development programme (IGMDP), the Agni-I is a 15m-long medium to intercontinental range ballistic missile (IRBM), capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear payloads at a speed of 2.5km/sec.

Having a payload capacity of up to 1t, the single-stage, road and rail mobile, Agni-1 has a range of 700km and also features a specialised navigation system.

The missile underwent its first test flight in January 2002, and has already been inducted into the Indian Army.
Ex-Army chief differs with MoD, says Adarsh is no security threat

In sharp contrast to the Ministry of Defence’s stand on the issue, former Chief of Army Staff General (Retd) Deepak Kapoor on Thursday told the two-member Adarsh commission that he did not feel that the residential building was a security threat on account of its height and proximity to a defence area.

On April 30, a Bench of the High Court had admitted a petition filed by Ministry of Defence, seeking demolition of the 31-storey building contending that it poses a threat to the defence installations near the building.

However, appearing before the Adarsh commission on Thursday, Kapoor claimed that there are a large number of buildings “of the same height in the vicinity of the Adarsh co-operative housing society”, because of which he did not feel that there was any more threat than the other buildings. He cited examples of two other buildings but could not say whether they were of the same height.

The commission, comprising retired Bombay High Court judge Justice J A Patil and former Maharashtra chief secretary P Subramhaniam, made a reference to the 26/11 terror attacks on the city. It also noted that Kapoor was the “highest authority in the land to defend the security of India”.

However, the former Army chief said, “Our country is exposed to terrorist attacks at different points of time and at different places... I am not aware of any recommendation on this issue having come from the Local Military Authority (LMA), Mumbai.” Kapoor had applied for membership to the controversial society in 2005. However, he resigned from his membership in October 2010 after media reports about irregularities in the society.

Asked for a specific reason why he did not verify the status of the property, Kapoor said at the time of his application, several officers had already applied and were granted membership.

In his statement, he placed responsibility on the LMA for considering aspects of the possible security threat. He noted that a number of factors needed to be taken into consideration, like the building’s height, proximity to a sensitive area and the possibility of looking into the area.

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