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Friday, 10 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 10 Jul 2012
Minor incident, says PM; Antony seeks report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 9
The government has taken a serious note of the suicide by an Army jawan and the subsequent protests by jawans against the officers of an armoured unit based in North India.

A jawan of 16th cavalry regiment, Arun V, hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, committed suicide with his service weapon on Wednesday. His angered mates raised slogans against the officers and surrounded their residences in protest. The incident occurred in Samba, Jammu Kashmir.

The Prime Minister today requested the Rajya Sabha “not to discuss the matter” as it would affect the “morale of the forces”. Separately, Defence Minister AK Antony has sought a detailed report from Army Chief General Bikram Singh, who is touring Western Command under which the incident took place

The Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the matter. A Brigadier from the Yol-based 9 corps has been tasked to probe the incident. The jawan had some issue back home in Kerala and had asked for leave, which was denied. Additional troops have been rushed to the area to prevent any further escalation.

The Prime Minister responded after CPM members referred to yesterday’s incident saying there was a breach of discipline in the military camp after a soldier committed suicide.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “It’s a serious matter. Let the Defence Minister respond.”

As AK Antony was not present, the PM responded by saying, “I request the House not to have a discussion on the subject...This is a very small incident, which is being blown out of proportion. It is not good for the morale of our armed forces.” The Opposition adhered to the request of the Prime Minister.

This is the second instance of friction in an Army unit between jawans and officers in the past four months.
Did Retired Maj. Gen Ashok K. Mehta of the Indian Army have other motives to attend the Defence Seminar 2012
By Noor Nizam – Canada, 9th August 2012.

Retired Maj. Gen Ashok K. Mehta of the Indian Army has disputed the Sri Lanka government’s position as regards the post-war military presence in the Northern Province on the basis of unnamed sources as having contradicted the Sri Lankan government’s stand on de-militarisation. This has been reported in a national Island newspaper dated the 8th., August 2012.

Naturally the Indian authorities as well as the international community have been pumped with false information and gullible statistical figures by the NOG’s, INGO’s and some of the VIP opposition parliamentarians of the Sri Lanka.

These white lies are poured out as anti-Sri Lanka jargon at cocktail parties and so-called briefing meeting after a “shot or two” of whisky which is provided to these characters by the anti-Sri Lanka hosts when they are in the brink of loosing their senses at these gatherings. Retired Maj. Gen. Metha would have collected some such information which he would have refered to as “unnamed sources”.

Furthermore, Retired Maj. Gen. Metha may have lost his own sense when he queried whether the government would consider a presidential pardon for 383 ex-LTTE combatants undergoing legal action. Where is his sense of responsibility of having served the IPKF then which waged an all out war against the LTTE cadres, now to come to Sri Lanka and ask for clemency to these terrorist.

Rather than embarrassing our Secretary of Defence, the way he had done, Retired Maj. Gen. Metha should go back home to India and request Madam Sonia Ghandi to free the LTTE terrorist who have been imprisoned for killing her husband Indian PM Rajiv Ghandi.

The Retired Maj. Gen. blady well knows that even the India’s former president Pratibha Patil had rejected the mercy petition of the three men + one woman convicted for the killing Rajiv Ghandi in 1991.

How dare he suggests Sri Lanka to set free these hardcore terrorist. Maybe Retired Maj. Gen. Metha is in a pay of the LTTE diasporas rumps abroad to come to Sri Lanka and try a long shot to get these terrorists clemency at this Defence 2012 Seminar.

Or was it that the Retired Maj. Gen. has an inferiority complex issue of not having defeated the LTTE during the IPKF presence which our Secretary Defence, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gotabaya Rajapaksa of the Sri Lankan army was able to accomplish in May 2009.

Was the Indian retired Maj. Gen. trying to redicule our Secretary Defence in the presence of a distingushed audience of national and international defence digniteries. The Secretary Defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs should be commended to have shot down the foolish suggestion made by this retired Indian Maj. General with facts and figures.
Army unit standoff raised in parliament, PM bars debate

New Delhi, Aug 9 — The soldiers-officers standoff in an army armoured unit in Jammu and Kashmir was raised in the Rajya Sabha Thursday, but Prime Minister Manmohan Singh intervened to stop the house from debating the incident as the army has ordered a probe.

The stand-off, at Samba military camp, is the second such incident in the last three months, with a much serious violent incident which left the unit commanding officer, two Majors and two soldiers grievously injured. The first was reported from Nyoma, a key military area in the southeastern Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, in May this year.

In the Rajya Sabha, Communist Party of India-Marxist's Sitaram Yechury raised the issue of "mutiny in the army" and sought a debate on it and a response from Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

No sooner did Yechury raise this issue than Manmohan Singh was quick to rise and reject the demand for a debate, saying the incidents have been "blown out of proportion".

"The house must not have discussion on it, it is a small incident being blown out of proportion," he said.

"It is not good for the morale of the army," the prime minister added.

According to army sources, the latest, shocking breach of discipline took place after a soldier reportedly shot himself to death early Wednesday at the guard room of 16 Light Cavalry, using his service rifle. He was identified by the Army Headquarters as V. Arun from Thiruvananthapuram.

Infuriated by their colleague's suicide, the unit's soldiers numbering around 400 allegedly surrounded the residences of the officers and a prolonged standoff ensued between the two sides.

The incident forced Lt. Gen. A.K. Bhalla, commander of 9 Corps under which the formation comes, to fly from his headquarters at Yol Cantonment in Himachal Pradesh to Samba to curb the rising tempers and to bring order in the unit.

Incidentally, Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh is currently camping in the Western Command area, which he is officially visiting.

Sources said there were contradictions in the claims of the soldiers and the officers on how and why the suicide took place.

One version talked of a phone call the soldier received, purportedly from his family, which resulted in his taking the extreme step, while another version cited the work-related stress caused by a tense relationship between the soldiers and the officers as the trigger point.

"But these issues will be clear only after the court of inquiry headed by a brigadier ordered into the incident completes its probe," an officer at the Army HQ here said.

There was also a talk of complete breakdown of discipline in the unit, mainly due to complete failure of command and control. However, it was not immediately known if the army was shifting out the commanding officer of the unit.

Following the standoff, the senior army officers, who rushed to the spot, segregated the officers and the soldiers. The officers were reportedly sent out of the camp for a day and they returned only on Thursday after the situation cooled off.

"There was no scuffle or clash between the officers and the soldiers," officers clarified. However, they admitted that tempers did run high in the camp.

"The officers were moved out of the camp so that there could be an impartial inquiry into the incident," an officer noted.

"The situation has normalised now at Samba camp," he said, adding the court of inquiry will begin soon and will look into "the entire gamut of issues" that resulted in the standoff.

Meanwhile, a police case has been filed in Samba over the suicide of the soldier.

With regard to the Nyoma incident, when soldiers and officers came to blows at a field firing training, officers said the court of inquiry was still in progress and that it could take another two months or so to complete in view of the large number of witnesses and multiple charges that needed to be probed.

India successfully test-fires nuclear capable Agni-II missile

India on Thursday successfully test-fired its medium range nuclear capable Agni-II missile with a strike range of 2000 km as part of a user trial by the army from the Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. "The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher from the Launch Complex-4 of Integrated Test Range (ITR) at around 8.48am," defence sources said. Describing the launch as a complete success, ITR Director MVKV Prasad said, "All mission parameters were met during the trial of the indigenously developed missile." Agni-II Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services and Thursday's test was carried out by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Indian army with logistic support provided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). "The 2000 km range versatile missile, already inducted and part of countries arsenal for strategic deterrence, was launched as a training exercise by the armed forces," a DRDO scientist said. The two-stage missile equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system, guided by a novel scheme of state of the earth command & control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system, he said. The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the sea. The 20-metre long Agni-II is a two-stage, solid-propelled ballistic missile. It has a launch weight of 17 tonnes and can carry a payload of 1000 kg over a distance of 2000 km. The state-of-the-art Agni-II missile was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad. Agni-II is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V.
The Indian Army’s .303 story
The most interesting of all the mercenary soldiers of India in the 1700s were the Naga sadhus. They were ferocious, utterly reckless and totally naked.

Their leader in the war of the Awadh Shias against the Mughals was Rajendragiri Gosain. During the siege of Delhi in 1753 the monk had the back of his head blown away by an idiot who fired from his own side. A historian said, “I ascribe it to the bad marksmanship and reckless firing for which Indian troops were notorious.” In the hands of Indians, guns were dangerous.

Exactly 100 years after Gosain’s death, the British introduced the rifle that would cause India to mutiny against them: the Enfield Pattern 1853 with its waxed cartridge. In the hands of Indians, even ammunition was now dangerous. Naturally, the Pattern 53 did not last long, and soon went through an evolution, the Snider-Enfield of 1860.
Jacob Snider was the inventor of the gun’s mechanism and the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield was the manufacturer. Rudyard Kipling sent this gun into legend in his poem The Grave of the Hundred Head:

A Snider squibbed in the jungle,

Somebody laughed and fled,

And the men of the First Shikaris

Picked up their Subaltern dead,

With a big blue mark in his forehead

And the back blown out of

his head.

The poem is about how Subadar Prag Tewarri avenges a fallen English officer in Burma. By now, the Indian jawan had improved his aim and had been drilled and disciplined into one of the world’s great infantrymen.

The next version of the Enfield rifle was a weapon fit for his qualities, the Lee-Enfield .303 SMLE. With this gun and British drilling and training, the Indian infantryman was no longer dangerous but deadly.

The .303 was manufactured in Enfield, north London. Discovery Channel’s experts named it the third best rifle of all time (behind the AK-47 and the American M16). But actually it is No. 1. It has probably killed more men than any weapon in history.

With his .303, the British infantryman pacified the Boers and defeated the Germans to win two world wars. It is the rifle that the Anzac troops fired as they were slaughtered by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk at Gallipoli. The rifle with which Lawrence of Arabia captured Aqaba. It is the rifle that cut down the Sikhs at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919 and the Dalits at Ghatkopar’s Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in 1997.

Gun power: The Lee-Enfield .303 SMLE. Photo: Armémuseum (The Swedish Army Museum)/Wikimedia Commons

Gun power: The Lee-Enfield .303 SMLE. Photo: Armémuseum (The Swedish Army Museum)/Wikimedia Commons

Jacob Snider was the inventor of the gun’s mechanism and the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield was the manufacturer. Rudyard Kipling sent this gun into legend in his poem The Grave of the Hundred Head:It is the rifle of Mumbai police and of the Afghan resistance. I find the .303 a beautiful gun to look at. With its wooden sturdiness, it has a dignity that many modern guns, like the plastic M16, do not.

The Indian Army’s standard issue Insas is possibly the ugliest gun in existence. Gurkhas interviewed after they went over the top at Kargil said they picked up the Kalashnikovs of the fallen Pakistanis because they were better and more accurate than their own guns.

The greater beauty of the .303, however, came from its being reliable and brutally effective.

In The Rifle Story, John Walter writes that an experiment in 1900 showed that the .303’s range was effectively 1.8km. This is why, for a century, Afghans have held on to this gun of their fathers.

The gun they’ve sniped Britishers with, Russians with, and now Americans with.

The quick-firing AK-47 is useful when overrunning trenches (which is why it’s an “assault” rifle). But it is not accurate at distance. When Afghans got the Kalashnikov in the 1980s, many warriors kept their old rifles. The New York Times carried a feature on arms captured in Afghanistan including one WW-II .303 that was patched up but still working.

The .303 had some great innovations. The first came from its mechanism, invented by James Paris Lee. It could reload quickly and trained infantrymen could let off 20 rounds in 1 minute with great accuracy.

The rifle’s full name is the SMLE. The LE obviously stands for Lee-Enfield. S is for short but the .303 is short only by 19th century rifle standards. Modern police forces around the world carry assault rifles (like the AK series) or still smaller submachine guns (such as the Uzi).

These are compact and easier to fire in restricted urban spaces and indoors. The .303 is a rifle from the era of trench warfare, and infantry arrayed in battle lines. It is not an urban weapon.

The M stands for magazine, and this was the second great innovation.

The .303 carries 10 rounds and was the most capacious rifle of its time. Germans facing British and Indian troops armed with the new .303 often reported that they had faced machine-gun fire. This training and disciplining under British officers, I repeat myself, is what produced the modern Indian army.

The massacre of Mumbai happened with the Pakistanis firing their AKs from the hip and the Mumbai constables firing back with their .303s.

It was the chosen weapon of the British Commonwealth military forces. Photo:

It was the chosen weapon of the British Commonwealth military forces. Photo:

Jacob Snider was the inventor of the gun’s mechanism and the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield was the manufacturer. Rudyard Kipling sent this gun into legend in his poem The Grave of the Hundred Head:Why didn’t they hit anything?

If I remember the videos from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus correctly, one constable fired with the rifle’s stock loosely under his armpit instead of on the shoulder. This guaranteed that the .303’s kick would send the bullet over the Pakistani’s head. The generations of training in firing the .303 Indians have received has totally worn off.

We’ve also stopped making the gun. It used to be made at the Rifle Factory Ishapore in West Bengal. But it doesn’t make them any more and doesn’t need to.

Rifles become inaccurate and unusable with time when their rifling (the spiral groove in the barrel from which the weapons get their name) is worn out from shooting.

There’s no chance of that happening in India, which has no budget to spare for target practice.

And so the .303 will be around for another century, even if not in the hands of our constabulary.
Indian army trooper killed in gunfight near LoC in Indian-controlled Kashmir
An Indian army trooper was killed Thursday fighting militants while foiling an infiltration bid near line-of-control (LoC) in Indian- controlled Kashmir, officials said.

The gunfight broke out early Thursday near Baktoor area of Gurez sector, close to LoC in Bandipora district, around 120 km north of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"A trooper was killed in a gunfight with infiltrators in Gurez sector near LoC while foiling an infiltration bid," said Lt. Col. J S Brar, Indian army spokesman in Srinagar. "The gunfight triggered after our alert troops noticed suspicious movement and challenged a group of militants trying to sneak inside."

Indian army also claimed recovery of a pistol and a grenade from the site.

The spokesman said infiltrators were pushed back to the Pakistancontrolled Kashmir.

Kashmir, a disputed Himalayan region, is divided between India and Pakistan by a de facto border called line-of-control (LoC). Both Indian and India and Pakistan claimed the region in full. Since their independence from British, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

A guerrilla war is also going on between militants and the Indian troops stationed in region since 1989.
Army Chief on tour to Chandigarh
CHANDIGARH: Chief of the Army staff (COAS), General Bikram Singh visited the Chandimandir-based headquarters of Western Command of the Indian Army on Wednesday.

It was General's first visit to Indian Army's most advanced command after taking over as the chief of 1.3-million strong Indian Army on June 1.

General Singh reviewed the operational preparedness of the western Army and interacted with senior formation commanders. He addressed officers of Western Command at Chandimandir Military Station where he enjoined them to be true leaders, thorough professionals and to do the organization and nation proud.

The chief also complimented the Western Command on the high levels of operational preparedness, focus on long term all-round capability and capacity building endeavours. Later on, Army chief also called on UT administrator and Punjab governor Shivraj V Patil at Raj Bhawan, Chandigarh. He also interacted with veterans at a function in the evening and assured them for all kind of help from the forces.

General Bikram's wife Surjeet Kaur alias 'Bubbles Singh', who is also the President, Central Family Welfare Organization, interacted with the families in the station at a function organized in her honour.

Chief stayed at the Chandimandir Cantonment and will be visiting Jalandhar to take account of other formations of the Army in Punjab. It is for the first time that General Bikram Singh, second Sikh elevated to the top post in Army, is visiting Punjab after becoming chief. An officer of Sikh Light Infantry Regiment, General Singh had done his schooling from Punjab Public School (PPS), Nabha, near Patiala.
Indian and Mongolian Armies begin joint military exercise
The Indian and Mongolian Armies have started a joint training exercise, code-named Nomadic Elephant at Belgaum in Karnataka, India.

Nomadic Elephant, scheduled to continue for ten days, aims to improve the armies' skills and interoperability while conducting counter-insurgency operations, and further enhance synergy between the two nations.

Unidentified army officials were quoted by Press Trust of India as saying that around 44 specially selected troops of the Indian army's Jat Regiment would take part in the infantry exercise, alongside the Mongolian contingent consisting of 38 soldiers.
“Several counter insurgencies and counter terrorism operations will be conducted to help the personnel enhance training infrastructure for UN peacekeeping missions in conflict areas."

Several counter insurgencies and counter terrorism operations will be conducted to help the personnel enhance training infrastructure for UN peacekeeping missions in conflict areas.

According to the officials, special sessions will also be included in the eighth round of bilateral exercise to help modernise Mongolian defence establishment.

The first Nomadic Elephant exercise was held in 2004, and was conducted almost annually until 2008 in Mongolia.

In 2005, the exercises were performed at the Indian army's Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) at Vairnagte, which is based in Mizoram, India.

As well as the joint exercises, the two countries conduct frequent visits of senior military officials, and have also established a joint working group to plan details of defence cooperation, including staging regular joint military exercises.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army is also holding a separate, joint counter-terrorism combat exercise, dubbed INDRA, with its Russian counterpart at a training range in the Republic of Buryatia in south-east Russia.

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