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Monday, 6 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 06 Aug 2012







http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120806/nation.htm#5
Now, a hawk eye over key shipping route
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 5
India now has a proverbial ‘hawk eye’ over the strategically vital and busy sea route through the Strait of Malacca. Unhindered sailing for merchant ships through this sea channel is vital for the economies of China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore.

Last week Indian Naval Air Station, INS Baaz, meaning-the Hawk-was commissioned at Campbell Bay, the southern-most tip of the Andaman Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal.

It is located just 91 km from Indonesia. The Indian Navy has been tasked to provide real-time information using ‘airborne’ assets like surveillance aircraft and UAVs which will be based on the INS Baaz.

These will beam lives pictures to ground based controllers to keep an eye on pirates, any threat to crucial sea lanes of communications besides cement India’s presence in an area that is very high on the priority list of China.

The importance of the Strait of Malacca stems from the fact that this is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

It is an important link between European markets and oil in the Gulf on one side and China, Japan and Korea on the other side. Nearly 70,000 vessels pass through the strait annually and about 25 per cent of all global trade passes through it.

The Navy says that at present the INS Baaz is equipped to operate light to heavy aircraft capable of short field operations from the runway of about 3500 feet.

The runway will be progressively lengthened to enable unrestricted operation of all categories of aircraft, including heavy aircraft.

The operational importance is that aircraft and UAVs taking off from INA Baaz will be able to spend more time in the air for surveillance over the Strait of Malacca.

Its location will allow a wider-swath of coverage including the straits of Sunda and Lombok located further east.

At present, airborne surveillance assets were being launched from Port Blair — about 880 km north of Campbell Bay — that made it difficult to sustain the watch over longer periods of time as the planes spend a considerable time in travelling to reach the Strait of Malacca.

The base will also be bolstered with modern airfield instruments and navigation aids.

The runway expansion will be needed in case the IL-76 type of transport planes have to land or fighters like the Sukhoi-30 MKI have to be based.

Last month, the IAF tested its medium lift tactical transporter C-130 J by flying it non-stop for 10 hours from Hindon (near Delhi) to land at Campbell Bay. The C-130-J can land on smaller runways.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120806/nation.htm#8
Each life-extended copter saves IAF Rs 2 crore daily
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) life-extension programme for its helicopter fleet is paying rich dividends. Each copter that has been cleared for extending its service life is saving the IAF Rs 2 crore per day.

The savings, according to IAF officers, are on account of deferred purchases of new aircraft as well as aircraft components and sub-systems.

The IAF had launched a project at No. 3 Base Repair Depot here to extend the life of its Mi-8 helicopters in five-year phases.

As a helicopter neared the end of its stipulated calendar and technical life, it was put through a series of tests to determine the feasibility of extending its life by a few more years.

Many Mi-8 helicopters were cleared for life extension while some machines were decommissioned due to technical reasons.

The IAF has about 80 Mi-8 helicopters in service, providing medium transport capability along with the Mi-17, its more powerful successor. The earlier versions of the Mi-17, which were inducted in the 1980s, will also undergo life extension.

“Given the number of helicopters involved, the savings incurred on account of life extension is significant,” an officer said. “It is not just the airframe and engine, but a host of other components where replacement can be deferred,” he added.

It is not just the Mi series of helicopters, but also other aircraft that are undergoing life extension.

The IAF’s AN-32 tactical transporter fleet is undergoing the same process after a pilot project was undertaken in Ukraine. The AN-32’s engines, which are overhauled at 3 BRD, have been cleared for life extension by 500 hours.

Life extension plays an important role as it allows for maintaining squadron strength and making aerial assets available for operational requirements in time when the cost of military hardware is sky-rocketing and procurement process remains mired in red-tape and controversies.

Beyond transport aircraft and helicopters, the concept has also been extended to fighters with the IAF’s MiG-29, Jaguar and Mirage 2000 fleets being lined up for mid-life upgrade and life extension.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120806/nation.htm#16
US assault rifles for Army Special Forces

New Delhi, August 5
American M-4 assault rifles-used by the US Navy SEALS to eliminate Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden-are being inducted into the Indian Army’s Special Forces battalions for use in counter-terrorists operations here.

India had recently signed a deal with the US worth several crore rupees for procuring these M-4 carbine rifles for the Army’s eight Special Forces battalions, Army sources said.

These guns have been used extensively by the US Special Forces in operations across Iraq and Afghanistan and are now being inducted into the eight battalions of Army’s Special Forces, they said.

The guns were used by SEALS to shoot down Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s Abottabad in Operation Geronimo carried out in May last year.

Sources said the new guns would not be a replacement for the existing inventory of Israeli Tavor-21, Uzi and mini-Uzi rifles but would supplement the armoury.

The Tavor-21s were also inducted only a few years ago into the SF battalions that had using AK-47s till then.

A host of new capabilities are being provided to the Army’s Special Forces.

The Parachute Regiment has 10 battalions under it and eight of them have been trained as Special Forces, which are supposed to carry out counter-terrorist operations during peacetime and sabotage enemy installations beyond enemy lines during wars.

The Special Forces battalions include the 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 21 para units, which are deployed in different sectors of the country and have also been given responsibility to handle any 26/11-type attacks if they occur near their area of deployment.

The Army wants to increase the number of Special Forces troops to more than 10 battalions with around 700 men in each. — PTI

Giant killer

z M-4 assault rifles-used by the US Navy SEALS to eliminate Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden

z These were extensively used by the US Special Forces in operations across Iraq and Afghanistan

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120806/edit.htm#4
Unfair to armed forces
Can committee of secretaries do justice?
by Lt-Gen Harwant Singh (retd)

Often the political executive appears to find solutions to difficult problems with the help of a group of secretaries. In some cases, this group of secretaries may not have complete knowledge and grasp of the issues under examination. In the late eighties the Army evaluated a number of indigenously developed diesel engines for the Vijayanta tank. A committee of secretaries was constituted to select the best out of the engines thus evaluated. At the presentation of the trial results to this group, one was horrified to discover that not one amongst the secretaries knew even the difference between a “cam shaft” and “crank shaft” of an engine!

Sometimes this group could be prejudiced against the case and is thus unable to conduct a fair examination and give unbiased recommendations. The more recent recommendations of the Naresh Chandra Committee (Naresh Chandra, former Cabinet Secretary, has been in one or the other government job since he retired some 20 years back) is known to have concluded that India does not need a Chief of Defence Staff. Thus, the Indian Army will continue to have no single authority to synergise the full potential of various components of the armed forces in the face of emerging complex security challenges.

During World War II, the unity of command had become imperative. When, before operation ‘Over Lord,’ (invasion of Europe by the allied forces), it was proposed to keep the Strategic Bomber Command outside Eisenhower’s control, he told the President that in that case he might find someone else to take charge of ‘Over Lord.’ Now some 68 years later Naresh Chandra does not find the need for a unified command for the Indian armed forces.

In the case of successive Central Pay Commissions (CPCs), bias against the military has prevailed all through, resulting in recommendations to the total disadvantage of the military. Much has already appeared, over the years, in the Press highlighting the anomalies in the recommendations of successive CPCs as these related to the military and, therefore, need no recalling. In the case of the 6th CPC, there are 39 anomalies relating to the military which are still to be addressed.

The issue of “one rank, one pension” (OROP) was considered by a committee of secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary and rejected. Not one among the present committee members has adequate knowledge of matters military, such as conditions under which troops and officers serve, the risk factor, casualties during operations, turbulence and the effect on children’s education, early retirement, extremely limited promotions, etc. Almost all of those on this committee, after they retire at 60/62 years of age, will be re-employed, and if they play their cards well, may, continue to work on one or the other job for another 20 years! So, how can this group possibly understand what it means to retire at age 35/37 years or even 54 years.

Consider the case of non-functional upgradation (NFU ) which is applicable to all Central services but not the military because, it is argued, that military is not a central service! If so, then why a common CPC? This NFU has created serious functional problems with the military in working with the MES, BRO, MEO, the central police, Defence Accounts, the Ordnance Factory Board, etc. It was pressure from the Group A services of the Central government that the Sixth Pay Commission gave them this largesse. A large number of people from these services were on the staff of the 6th CPC (though none from the military) and helped themselves to all manner of perks.

NFU implies that if the 1992 batch IAS officer climbs into the Joint Secretary’s grade in 2012, then every Group A central service officer of the 1990 batch would automatically get the pay and allowances equivalent to the 1992 IAS batch officers, irrespective of the post he may be occupying. This would happen at the approximate service of 20/22 years, whereas an Army officer will get to that level if he is among the top 1 per cent after 32 years of service. Every single central service officer will retire at age 60 with the pension of an Air Vice Marshal, whereas less than 1 per cent in the armed forces get to that scale of pension.

This has also led to lowering the status of armed forces officers vis-à-vis Group A central service officers. With over 97 per cent armed forces officers retiring in the grade pay of Rs 8700, their exclusion from the NFU is seen as grossly unfair. This differential disturbs financial parity and further lowers the status of defence services officers. Even directly recruited officers of Group B services attain a better pay and promotional avenue and manage to reach the level of Joint Secretary/ Maj-Gen before retiring. Even if NFU is granted to the military, it will not, unlike the civil services, come into full play due to early retirement for a vast majority.

The committee of secretaries, now formed under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary, is required to look into only six of the 39 anomalies and submit recommendations by August 8 so that, if need be, the Prime Minister may throw some crumbs at the military from the ramparts of Red Fort on Aug 15.

These may include the following: Fixing common pay scales for all JCOs and ORs; grant of NFU to commissioned officers; correcting the difference in the rank pay of commissioned officers; extending the HAG+ (Higher Administrative Grade Plus) scale to all three star officers in the armed forces and OROP to retired personnel.

During the Prime Minister’s visit to Chandigarh, I briefed him at Raj Bhavan on some of the anomalies such as brigadiers given more pension than Maj-Generals and the absurdity of equating military service with that in the civilian areas where living conditions and the risk factor apart, 82 per cent or so retire at the age of 35/37 years and another 12 to 17 per cent at 42 to 58 years of age. So, for anyone to contend that giving OROP to the military will result in a similar demand from all civilian employees who retire at 60 is illogical, repugnant and misleading. The PMO has now constituted this new committee of secretaries. The impression is gaining ground that the PM is poorly served by the PMO.

Many Prime Ministers and parliamentary committees have accepted the rationale for the grant of OROP to retired military personnel and recommended its implementation. So, now this committee of secretaries will re-examine those recommendations and pass judgment. This then is the Indian democracy for you!

Any attempt to downgrade the military in matters of pay, perks and status will surely have a long-term effect on the quality of intake into the military.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/pakistan-army-violates-ceasefire-opens-fire-at-bsf-post-in-kashmir-251539?pfrom=home-otherstories
Pakistan Army violates ceasefire, opens fire at BSF post in Kashmir
Srinagar: In yet another case of ceasefire violation along the Line of Control, Pakistani Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing at a BSF post in RS Pura sector in Jammu today, BSF sources said.

According to the sources, the Rangers fired with small arms from Iqbal Shaheed post on the Pakistani side towards India's Kot Kuba post.

The BSF retaliated to the unprovoked firing. There was no report of any casualty on any side. The firing continued for 15 minutes.
The BSF sources are not ruling out the possibility of cover fire to escort infiltrators across the LoC yet. They said a strong protest will be lodged on Monday against the firing.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/Army-says-it-is-looking-after-ill-war-veteran/articleshow/15367926.cms
Army says it is looking after ill war veteran
GUWAHATI: The Indian Army in a rebuttal to a report in the Guwahati edition of The Times of India on 2 August - 'War veteran battling poverty and illnesses' - has clarified that guardsman Chandra Kanta Talukdar has been under treatment at Base Hospital Basistha and has been admitted to a private hospital at Dispur on the recommendation of Base Hospital Basistha. The army authorities clarified that the ex-serviceman is a member of the Ex-serviceman Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) where he is not required to pay any bills and the same are directly paid to the private hospital through ECHS.

Defence PRO Lt Col SS Phogat said that the son of ex-servicemen Hriday Ranjan Talukdar was asked to provide details of the expenditure made by him at the private hospital but he failed to produce any bills for his father's treatment. The private hospital also denied charging any money from the individual.

On August 2, The Times of India reported that the decorated war veteran from Assam, who was serving as a guard to a subedar major (GDSM) in the Lahore Sector and was awarded the Desh Raksha medal in 1966, is now battling poverty and severe illness without any support from the government. The soldier is plagued by multiple health malaise - kidney ailments, brain haemorrhage, nerve problems and piles - and cannot afford to pay huge sums for proper treatment. His family said they have no option but to approach the chief minister for financial assistance.


http://ibnlive.in.com/news/indian-army-to-get-us-rifles-that-killed-osama/278832-3.html
Indian Army to get US rifles that killed Osama bin Laden
New Delhi: American M-4 assault rifles – used by the US Navy SEALS to eliminate Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden-- are being inducted into the Indian Army's Special Forces battalions for use in counter terrorists operations here.

India had recently signed a deal with the US worth several crore Rupees for procuring these M-4 carbine rifles for the Army's eight Special Forces battalions, Army sources said.

These guns have been used extensively by the US Special Forces in operations across Iraq and Afghanistan and are now being inducted into the eight battalions of Army's Special Forces, they said.
The guns were used by the US Navy SEALS to shoot down Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan's Abottabad in Operation Geronimo carried out in May last year.

Sources said the new guns will not be a replacement for the existing inventory of Israeli Tavor-21, Uzi and mini-Uzi rifles but will supplement the armoury.

The Tavor-21s were also inducted only a few years ago into the SF battalions which were using the AK-47s till then.

A host of new capabilities are being provided to the Army's Special Forces.

The Parachute Regiment has ten battalions under it and eight of them have been trained as Special Forces, which are supposed to carry out counter-terrorist operations during peacetime and sabotage enemy installations beyond enemy lines during wars.

The Special Forces battalions include the 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 10 and 21 para units, which are deployed in different sectors of the country and have also been given responsibility to handle any 26/11 type attacks if they occur near their area of deployment.

The Army wants to increase the number of Special Forces troops to more than 10 battalions with around 700 men in each.

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow IBNLive on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest)

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/article3731128.ece
Ministry urges faster deployment of Army during riots
New Delhi, Aug 5:

Upset over delay in deployment of the army during the recent violence in Assam, the Union Home Ministry has asked the Defence Ministry to change the latter’s standard operating procedure (SOP) of deployment of troops to tackle such a situation to save innocent lives.

The Home Ministry in a communication has conveyed to the Defence Ministry that the SOP for troops’ deployment in a situation of riot cannot take precedence over law, a senior Government official told PTI.

Section 130 of the CrPC empowers an executive magistrate to requisition army troops and says the officer concerned of the armed forces “shall obey such requisition”.

Under the army’s standard operating procedure, in vogue since the anti-Sikh riots in 1984, the request for army deployment to tackle riots has to be routed through the Defence Ministry.
Undue delay

The Kokrajhar district administration had requested for army deployment on July 20 and the army was deployed only on July 25.

Similarly, the plea for troop deployment in Dhurbi district was made on July 23 and the actual deployment took place on July 25, the Home Ministry communication noted.

The Home Ministry has asked the Defence Ministry to amend its SOP so that the army can be deployed the moment such a request comes from the civil administration.

When the ethnic clashes broke out in Assam, the local army commanders did not accept the requests saying they needed an order from the Ministry of Defence, after which Assam Chief Secretary Naba Kumar Das had to approach Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

Union Home Secretary R. K. Singh also spoke to Sharma and requested him to ensure deployment of troops.

Army troops could have reached the trouble spots within three to four hours as two major army stations, including a full Mountain Division, are located within a distance of 150 km from Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Chirang districts.

At least 57 people were killed in the violence which rendered 5.02 lakh people homeless during the week-long mayhem.

“We cannot allow such a situation to continue where innocent lives could be lost only due to delay in deployment of troops. MoD should do whatever possible — either repeal or amend the SOP — to avoid the delay,” the official said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/london-olympics-2012/news/Army-felicitates-silver-medallist-Vijay-Kumar/articleshow/15364399.cms
Army felicitates silver-medallist Vijay Kumar
DHARAMSALA: The Indian Army's Rising Star Corps on Sunday felicitated Hamirpur marksman Vijay Kumar, who clinched a silver medal at the Olympics on Friday.

Kumar, a subedar attached to the Dogra regiment, was given a cheque of Rs 25,000 by Commander Rising Star Corps, Colonel R K Sharma, at Harsaur in Hamirpur district.

The sharp shooter, born in 1985 in Harsaur village, joined the Army as a 16-year-old. Although he is attached to the Dogra regiment, his shooting exploits have earned him a posting at the Army Marksmanship Unit in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.

http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/india-to-train-myanmarese-military-personnel/1035411.html
India to train Myanmarese military personnel
PTI | 10:08 PM,Aug 03,2012

New Delhi, Aug 3 (PTI) India today assured its support to Myanmar in training its defence personnel as both sides discussed ways of strengthening their military cooperation during the visit of a senior Commander from there. Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar's armed forces Vice Senior General Miu Aung Hlaing held discussions with Defence Minister A K Antony, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne and Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today, officials said. They said that during the talks, India assured support to Myanmar in training its personnel. The Myanmarese general will also visit Eastern Army Command in Kolkata, Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam and some of the DRDO labs in Banaglore. Prime Minister Manmohan had visited Myanmar in May, the first such visit by an Indian PM to Myanmar in 25 years. PTI AJD

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