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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 08 Jul 2012
Pak troops fire at 2 Poonch posts
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria & Darshan Bharti
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Poonch, August 7
A day after targeting an Indian forward post in the Arnia sector along the 192-km-long International Border (IB), Indian and Pakistani troops again traded small arms fire after Pakistan Rangers violated mutually brokered truce, firing at forward posts in Hiranagar and Poonch sectors along the Line of Control last night.

Two BSF troopers suffered splinter injuries after a rocket propelled grenade hit a bunker and exploded in the Hiranagar sector, .

The BSF and the Army, in Jammu and Kashmir, guard the borders with Pakistan and China. “Around 7.30 pm, Pakistan Rangers opened RPG fire followed by AK-47 bursts on the Pansar post in Hiranagar sector from their Abhyal Dogra post. In the grenade fire, two of our troopers, Bhuvneet Singh of Gurdaspur and Hari Mohan of Kanpur, were injured,” said a senior BSF officer.

“The RPG hit our bunker and exploded causing injuries to the two troopers,” he said. “Consequently, we gave them a calibrated but effective response. The exchange of fire continued till 10.30 pm,” he said.

“This morning we established contact with them and lodged a strong protest against their unwarranted act. But again, they remained in the denial mode,” said the officer.

Officiating IG, BSF Jammu Frontier, NS Jamwal rushed to the Hiranagar sector on Tuesday morning and took stock of the situation. Jamwal described the incident as an act of frustration on the part of Pakistani Rangers.

“Following detection of a trans-border tunnel in the Samba sector, The Pakistani side has been exposed. They are now resorting to unprovoked firing, which is more of a jittery reaction,” said Jamwal.

“Left exposed, Pakistan Rangers, in the month of Ramzan, have been resorting to truce violations in an attempt to involve us in retaliatory fire and then give a wrong impression to their people that Indian troops were firing at them,” he pointed out.

2 BSF MEN Hurt

Army, BSF give calibrated response
Two BSF troopers injured, shifted to hospital
Strong protest lodged with Pakistan
IG, BSF says the incident an act of frustration
Navy looking to buy more nuke subs
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, August 7
Announcing that the indigenous nuclear missile carrying submarine — the Arihant — will be out for sea trials in the next few months, the Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, today said, “Just one is not adequate. We eventually need more than that.”

In a way, the Navy Chief, who retires on August 31, made it clear that the original plan of having three nuclear-powered submarines carrying nuclear-tipped missiles needs to be fast-tracked. The 6,000-tonne Arihant is being built at Vishakhapatnam. “We are confident that in next few months we will be able to put the submarine out at sea,” said Admiral Verma. A nuclear-powered submarine is a strategic vessel as unlike the diesel-powered ones, it can lie submerged underwater for several days avoiding the enemy.

Recently, the Russians leased a nuclear-powered submarine, INS Chakra, but international rules prevent India from deploying nuclear weapons on board the Russian vessel.

On being asked about the progress of the nuclear triad — nuclear weapon delivery capacity from land, sea and air — the Admiral said, “As far as completing the triad of nuclear submarines is concerned, they are progressing. See the Arihant will get commissioned and this will be first time that under-water element (of nuclear weapons) is being added. But one is not adequate. You eventually need to have something more than that.”

He refrained from detailing the weapons on board the Arihant, saying, “DRDO has issued press releases after each test.” Just last week, the DRDO had honoured its scientist who is part of the K-15 missile project and said, “The submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was ready for induction.”
Why INS Arihant, submarine in final stages of testing, is so important
New Delhi: The INS Arihant, India's indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine which is capable of carrying nuclear missiles "will be going for sea-trials soon," Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma told reporters today in New Delhi.
The submarine is now the in last stage of testing. Sources have told NDTV that barring any major set-backs, the INS Arihant should be able join the Indian Navy within the "next 18 months".
The advent of INS Arihant into the fleet will complete the crucial link in India's nuclear triad - the ability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.  Admiral Verma, however, refused to give details of the weapons package on board the nuclear submarine. "I will not want to get into the details" he said.
The sea-trial of the INS Arihant was scheduled to start last year but was delayed because of technical glitches.
The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) announced last month that it has successfully developed nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Long shrouded in secrecy, unlike surface-to-surface nuclear missiles like Agni, the SLBM was a closely -guarded secret while in development and was called the 'Sagarika Project'. In all probability, the INS Arihant will take this missile on board. So far, countries like the US, Russia, France, China and the UK have the capability to launch a submarine-based ballistic missile.
Although INS Arihant signifies a huge jump for the Indian Navy, the good news ends here. India's fleet of conventional submarines is fast depleting. India has 14 conventional submarines that run on either battery or diesel and are aging and outdated. Each of them will have completed the standard life-span of 25 years by 2017.

Admiral Verma admitted concern over the fact that upgraded versions have been grounded by bureaucratic delays.
At any given time, only seven submarines are available for deployment and are split on either coast. Seven submarines are mostly unavailable because they need to be serviced, refitted at increasingly short terms. Also, because the boats are aging fast, their lifespan need to be extended and therefore they are not deployed.
The Indian Navy's 30-year submarine programme, devised in 1988, envisaged buying six submarines from the West and countries in the East like Russia. India was to use the acquisition process to gain enough knowledge to build the next 12 submarines on its own. But Indian shipyards have largely been unable to either pick up the requisite technology or capability. Shipyards like the Hindustan Shipyard Limited which was originally supposed to build at least 3 submarines have been found to be incapable of building submarines.
The Indian Navy has now approached the government to be allowed to build two submarines in the shipyard of the foreign collaborator. "It is not exactly asking for importing two submarines. We are asking the government to allow us to build two submarines in their shipyard. In the long run it will be help our technicians gain expertise" and cut down in delays when building in India, Admiral Verma said.
Maken requests defence ministry for out-of-turn promotion for Vijay

New Delhi: India`s Sports Minister Ajay Maken has requested Defence Minister A.K. Antony to change out of turn promotion rules for Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar, who is a subedar in the Indian Army.

Vijay Kumar had won the silver medal in the men`s 25m rapid fire event at the 2012 London Games. He is second Army man after Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore to win an Olympic silver medal.

The Army Sports Control Board has informed the sports ministry that Kumar can get two out-of-turn promotions as a junior commissioned officer (JCO) and be made a subedar major. But these promotions were due to the shooter before winning the silver medals.

Maken in a letter asked the defence minstry to bring changes in its rules to bring military promotions for outstanding sportspersons at par with civilian promotion scales.

"It would be in fitness of things that there is parity in award of out of turn promotions for all sports persons, who have excelled in sports events nationally or internationally so as to obviate any sense of deprivation in respect of defence service employees on one hand and reward them equally for their excellence in sports events on the other hand," Maken said.

The sports ministry has recently changed the government policy that has provision for three out of turn promotions for sportsperson for winning Olympic medals.
Army helicopters drop food packets in Uttarakhand's flood-affected areas
Dehra Dun: Army helicopters on Tuesday dropped food packets to the floods-affected people of Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand even as relief operations were continuing on war footing.

"Today, Army helicopters dropped food packets to the affected villages," a government official said.

Nearly 28 people have so far lost their lives in the devastation caused by heavy rains, floods and cloudbursts in the district where para-military forces are also participating in the relief operation.

The Army personnel have also tried to build temporary bridges on the swollen Assi Ganga river which had swept away nearly 19 labourers on Saturday following cloudbursts.

A number of villages have been cut off from the rest of the country after a couple of bridges collapsed under the impact of the cloud bursts.

Meanwhile, the situation in Uttarkashi town and nearby villages was limping back to normal after days of incessant rains. Efforts are on to reopen blocked highways leading to Chardham yatra as scores of pilgrims are stranded at various places in Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts.

Last year, the government had suspended the Chardham Yatra to all the four shrines -- Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri -- following heavy landslides and torrential rains for nearly a week.
Vijay Kumar to be made Subedar major, will get cash reward too: sources
London Olympics hero, India's only silver medalist so far, shooter Vijay Kumar is a Junior Commissioned Officer in the Army who wants a promotion. He wants to be an Army officer. The Indian Army, sources say, are elevating him to Subedar Major from Subedar and will give him a big cash reward.

Sports Minister Ajay Maken has taken up the shooter's cause and has written to his senior in the cabinet, Defence Minister AK Antony, seeking special consideration for a man who has done India proud. He suggests in his letter that the Army take a leaf out of the central government's book and give Kumar a triple promotion. Mr Maken said, "I request you to consider appropriate changes in the policy of Armed Forces regarding promotion of outstanding Army sportsmen," adding that the Armed Forces have been at the forefront of promoting sports excellence. A copy of the letter is with NDTV.

Soon after he won his medal with a shooting effort that displayed nerves of steel for most part, Vijay Kumar made it clear that he was unhappy that he had got not a single promotion in the last six years, despite some major sporting achievements at the national and international level.  The 26-year-old serves with the 16 Dogra Regiment and  won silver in the 25m rapid fire pistol event in London.

Kumar said he was ready to leave the Indian Army and would consider good offers from corporates if any. His father, Subedar (retired) Banku Ram Sharma, went public too saying he dreamed of his son being an Army officer.

Army sources say it simply has no policy of rewarding a medal effort with a promotion. They also point out that jawans usually become Subedars after 24 to 26 years in service, Vijay Kumar has reached that in just seven to eight years, at age 26.

The Chairman chiefs of staff committee and navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma was too cited established policy as a major hurdle. "It is a service policy and nothing can be done beyond that. If the government changes the policy  only then can something be done.

The six-time national champion had won two silver at ISSF's World Cup. And though he missed out on a medal in rapid fire event at the Guangzhou Asiad, he won two bronzes in air pistol and center fire pistol. He also won a gold medal at the Doha Asian Games.
Indian Special Forces to be armed with American M-4 carbines
Indian defence officials claimed today that they have finalized a deal with the United States Defence Department for the purchase of the M-4 carbines, to be used by the Indian Special Forces Units.
Army officials said that the M-4s will be used by the Special Forces for counter-insurgency operations. The M-4 is the primary assault rifle of choice for the US servicemen serving with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Indian officials said that the M-4s will add as a supplementary weapon for the Special Forces, rather than replacing the Israeli rifles which are currently being used.

According to the Indian sources the main airborne regiment of the Indian Army, Parachute Regiment will be using the M-4s. Out of the 13 battalions composing the Regiment, 8 have been designated as Special Forces. These eight battalions will be armed with the American carbines.

The Parachute Regiment has taken part in almost all of the recent military engagements involving India, including major conflicts such as the Kargil War, and Operation Cactus. The Regiment has also taken part in the United Nations peacekeeping missions in nations such as Congo and Ethiopia, in addition to being part of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL). Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia is currently serving as the regimental commander.

Currently the Special Forces battalions within the Parachute Regiment are using the IMI Tavor TAR-21 guns as their primary assault rifle. Developed by the Israel Military Industries (IMI), the Tavor-21 is among the most popular assault rifles in the world currently. Two years ago, the Indian paramilitary unit Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had entered in to a contract with IMI for the supply of 12,000 Tavor-21s. In addition to the Tavors, the Indian Special Forces are also using Israeli designed weapons such as the Uzi and Mini-Uzi submachine guns.

Until the last decade, the Russian designed AK-47 light machine guns and the locally developed 1B1 INSAS were the primary weapons of choice for the Indian Army. However recently, the defence officials have diversified their inventory, by acquiring new guns such as Glock-26, AK-101, and M16 A2.
Indian Army participates in war-game with Russia starting today
Moscow: Indian and Russian armies will hold their first joint counter-terrorism war games involving tanks and armoured fighting vehicles close to Moscow’s boundary with China and Mongolia from today.

Army-to-army exercise will involve over 250 troops from both sides and will be conducted at a training range in Republic of Buryatia in South East of Russia.

The exercise will help prepare forces of both the countries for anti-terrorist operations to eliminate terrorist groups and also to conduct recce and search actions and isolation of terrorist groups.

The Indian contingent is headed by Additional Director General (Mechanised Forces) Maj Gen R S Chand and includes troops from 14 Mechanised Infantry, 16 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles and troops from Parachute Regiment, Artillery and the Army Medical Corps, said army official.

During the exercise, the Indian troops will also get an opportunity to use Russian equipments, An Indian Air Force (IAF) Ilyushin-76 aircraft will also be the part of the exercise ending on August 16.

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