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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 21 Aug 2012
India to share Net proof with Pak
Much of offensive content leading to N-E exodus came from Pakistan; 270 sites blocked
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, August 20
India on Monday said it would share with Pakistan evidence on the involvement of elements on its soil to whip up communal sentiments, even as a technical probe found that many doctored images were uploaded on social media networking sites in the neighbouring country.

Coming down on offensive morphed images and videos posted on websites, blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs today ordered blocking of over 270 such sites and blogs, most of them hosted from Pakistan. Already, access to 130-odd such sites has been blocked and the rest will be done by tonight, officials said.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan had rejected as "baseless and unfounded" India's assertion on the involvement of elements there in posting morphed images on the Internet in a bid to fan communal tensions and asked New Delhi to provide evidence in this regard.

India has also shared information with the US regarding the offensive material, since a large number of social networking websites are headquartered in the US and their parent web-servers are located there.

New Delhi and Washington have an existing Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the Indian and US, which share real-time information sharing on matters of homeland security. The cooperation is part of the strategic dialogue initiated three years ago.

Some 38 per cent of offensive content in circulation had originated from Pakistan and was created by elements there. A hardline group is believed to be responsible for the uploads that fanned communal disharmony in India. The content and photos are identical and have been uploaded from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that have a history of previously having posted Internet content to each other, sources said.

Photos of victims of a cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in Tibet have been presented as “atrocities” committed on Muslims by ‘Cheenis’ (a derogatory slang used to describe people with Mongoloid facial features). This was aimed at whipping up a communal frenzy against people of North-East origin living in cosmopolitan cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai.

Indians who forwarded this material or re-posted it on their websites, blogs and Facebook are being tracked down to check whether they were part of some cross-border design. All the guilty in India will be booked under relevant sections of the IPC, officials said.

Union Home Secretary RK Singh was circumspect when asked whether Pakistan-based extremist organisations were involved in creating and circulating the offensive photos.

“At present we cannot say who is behind it. To say or deny whether a particular extremist organisation was or wasn't (behind it) is difficult at this stage. However, some photographs have names and photographs of one or two (Pakistani) organisations," he said.

The government will take up the CERT findings at the international forum. This is the biggest instance of cyber warfare on India in recent times.

India will present the evidence to Pakistan, as locating an IP address is not very difficult. The neighbours are part of the same Regional Internet Registry (RIR), a governing body responsible for administration of Internet addresses in a specific geographic region. In this case, the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre is based at Brisbane, Australia. Typically, an RIR has a mandate to control the allocation and distribution of IP addresses and domain registrations.
Pak violates ceasefire; BSF guns down intruder
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria & Darshan Bharti/TNS

Jammu/Poonch, August 20
On the occasion of ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’ today, Pakistan violated a mutually brokered truce by opening small and medium arms fire in Pargwal sector along the International Border (IB) in the Akhnoor sub-division and in the Krishna Ghati sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district.

In its retaliatory firing in the Pargwal sector, the BSF shot dead a Pakistani intruder who is suspected to be a terrorist.

“Last night around 10.15 pm, Pakistani troops opened unprovoked fire in Sidarwan area of Pargwal sector and tried to push a group of intruders to this side. However, we challenged the group. As a result, one of the intruders was shot dead,” said a senior BSF officer.

The remaining intruders retreated and escaped back to Pakistan, he added. The officer described Pakistan’s misadventure as a brazen instance of truce violation aimed at pushing ultras to this side.

BSF Jammu Frontier, IG, Rajeev Krishna said, “Pakistan opened unprovoked fire around 10.15 pm last night and the intermittent cross-firing continued till 6.30 am today.”

The body of the Pakistani intruder has not yet been identified, said the IG, adding “A flag meeting will be held but we are alert to the situation.”

Official sources said, Pakistan Rangers targeted BSF posts and also provided cover fire to the group of suspected ultras believed to be seven in numbers.

Recent truce violations by Pak

On August 17, there was heavy cross-border small arms firing on India posts along IB in Abdulian and Korotona Border Out Posts from Pakistan in R S Pura sector.

There were two firing incidents and ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Pansar BOP along the IB in Samba sector and the KG sector forward belt along the LoC on August 15.

On August 13, Pakistani troops opened fire on the Indian posts along the Indo-Pak border in Arnia sector.

On July 11, a BSF jawan was injured after Pakistani troops opened fire on Indian posts along the border in Arnia sector.
Deal for 126 fighter jets by year-end
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, August 20
India is expecting to finalise the much awaited 126 fighter aircraft deal by the end of this year as the Ministry of Defence is all set for an allocation of Rs 10,000 crore to enable the payout of the first tranche of payment in this fiscal itself.

Known by its acronym MMRCA, Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, the deal will be one of the biggest global defence equipment tender at $10.4 billion (approx Rs 57,000 crore at today’s dollar-rupee exchange value).

Sources told The Tribune that the deal was expected to be finalised by the end of the year and the first payment could be made by the end of this fiscal - March 31, 2013. “There are lobbies trying to scuttle the deal. If the MMRCA does not come through, it will cause a huge gap in IAF capabilities in 3-4 years from now when the MiG 21 is slated to be phased out”, said an official.

In July, the Indian Air Force has asked the MoD for an additional allocation of Rs 10,000 crore in the budget as the MMRCA deal was expected to be finalised. The MoD has agreed, sources said, adding that the matter once cleared will go to the Cabinet Committee on Security. French company Dassault Aviation which produces the fighter ‘Rafale’ had emerged as the winner in January this year following a close contest with European consortium Eurofighter’s plane ‘Typhoon’.

Defence Minister AK Antony in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on August 8 said: “The proposal for procurement of the MMRCA is currently at the stage of commercial discussions. The proposal will be considered further after the Contract Negotiations Committee (CNC) concludes its deliberations and submits its report”.

The Tribune in its edition dated July 11 had reported that the MoD had ordered that the entire process would be looked afresh after the CNC completes its task. The MoD’s Finance wing will go through the entire process to check if Dassault Aviation was correctly declared as the lowest bidder in the multi-billion dollar contract.

Earlier, independent monitors submitted a report that the IAF/government followed the procedure in identifying French ‘Rafale’ as L1 (lowest bidder).

Initially there were six companies in the fray, including American F-16 and F-18, Russian MiG 35, Swedish Saab Gripen along with Eurofighter and Dassault Rafale were in the race. In April 2011, the Defence Ministry shortlisted Dassault and Eurofighter.

$10.4-billion deal

The deal will be one of the biggest global defence equipment tender at $10.4 billion (approx Rs 57,000 crore at today's dollar-rupee exchange value)
Pakistan’s descent into chaos
Terrorists getting close to seizing N-warheads
by Gurmeet Kanwal

Embroiled in continuing political turbulence, judicial activism, internal instability and a stagnating economy, Pakistan appears to be hurtling inexorably downhill. The terrorist strike on Minhas airbase in Kamra on August 16 in which one Pakistani soldier and nine terrorists were killed is but the latest manifestation of the country's inability to protect even its vital military installations from attack. The fact that nuclear warheads are stored at the airbase makes the attack even more ominous. The strike was launched by fighters of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a terrorist organisation that is committed to the establishment of a "true Islamic state" in Pakistan.

Incidentally, this was the fourth such attack on Minhas airbase. Earlier attacks on the base had been launched by suicide bombers in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The attack was similar to the one launched by well-trained terrorists at Mehran naval aviation base near Karachi soon after the US Special Forces had killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011. In both cases insider help is suspected. The material damage caused has been extensive - one airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft was damaged at Minhas and two P3C Orion AEW aircraft were destroyed at Mehran and 18 military personnel were killed.

Terrorist organisations inimical to the Pakistani state have repeatedly proved their ability to launch strikes against well- guarded military targets at will. They have also demonstrated their ability to infiltrate the rank and file of the armed forces and are getting close to their real objective of seizing a few nuclear warheads.

The Pakistan Army is, perhaps, facing its deepest crisis since its strategic blunder in Kargil. General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of Army Staff, appears to lack both initiative and ideas to deal with the deteriorating internal security situation. Insurgency in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa (earlier called the NWFP) and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is proving difficult for the Pakistan Army to handle. Its counter-insurgency policy has been unsuccessful and casualties have been mounting. The use of air-strikes and helicopter gunships to attack terrorist hideouts has proved to be counter-productive. The Pakistan Army has been forced by the TTP to wage a three-front "war": against the TTP and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in South Waziristan; against the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in the sensitive Darra Adam Khel-Kohat area of the NWFP and the Shia-dominated Kurram Agency of FATA; and against the Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), headed by Maulana Fazlullah, and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) sheltering across the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

Though it has flirted with peace deals with the militants, the army finds it impossible to meet the demands of the TTP and the TNSM. According to B. Raman, a noted counter-terrorism expert, these demands include the suspension of all military operations in the tribal areas; the withdrawal of army posts from the FATA; the release of all tribals arrested under the Anti-Terrorism Act; the release of Maulana Abdul Aziz Ghazi and tribal students arrested during the commando action in Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July 2007; and enforcement of the Sharia in the tribal areas.

US-Pakistan cooperation in the joint war against terror is at an all-time low. Though NATO-ISAF supply routes have been re-opened and the ISI chief visited Washington recently, General Kayani has failed to take action against the Haqqani network that has been operating against the NATO-ISAF forces in Afghanistan from safe havens in Pakistan. Despite the repeated US demands to address the insurgency problem in North Waziristan, the Pakistan Army has not yet launched counter-insurgency operations in the restive area that is the hub of the TTP. It appears to be both unable and unwilling to do so.

The US and its allies have become increasingly more frustrated by Pakistan's failure to deal with Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants launching raids on US and NATO troops across the Durand Line. The Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US, and other officials have been meeting General Kayani frequently to impress on him the need to be more pro-active in counter-insurgency operations. Unilateral trans-border intervention against militants inside Pakistani territory by the US is continuing through drone strikes. Trans-border ground action through Special Forces is likely to be approved if President Obama wins the November election.

The continuing stand-off between the government and the judiciary over the prosecution of President Asif Ali Zardari for allegedly stashing huge sums of money in Swiss bank accounts is undermining political stability and adversely impacting governance. The underperformance of Pakistan's tottering economy is another cause for concern. Inflation is still raging in double digits and is having a crippling impact on the economy. If economic conditions continue to spin out of control, there is a possibility of much greater popular discontent and violence spreading across Pakistan.

The ruling party in Pakistan needs to make determined efforts to rein in the ISI from continuing to appease the Taliban, provide good governance and formulate sustainable economic policies. It must also initiate a consultation process with all the stakeholders for the formulation of a holistic and comprehensive national-level counter-insurgency strategy. At this juncture, the Pakistani military is in no shape to step into a potential political quagmire. However, if historical evidence is any guide, such restraint on the part of the military may yet prove to be fleeting if conditions in the country continue to deteriorate.

Pakistan is not yet a failed state, but it is a state with a failed leadership. Now that Musharraf is out of the way and Nawaz Sharif's urge to avenge his humiliation in 1999 has been satisfied, he should behave in a more statesman-like manner in the larger interests of his country. However, going by past experience, he is unlikely to do so. Political turmoil, internal instability, a floundering economy and weak institutions make for an explosive mix. The only deduction that can conceivably be drawn is that Pakistan is in for even greater difficulties ahead. The emerging situation does not augur well for strategic stability in South Asia.
India needs a Chief of Defence Staff
Increasing multi-faceted security problems led the government to constitute a committee on security reforms that has submitted its report. It is time the Indian state became sensitive to many formidable security challenges it faces in the foreseeable future
Lt Gen Kamal Davar (Retd)

Noted American strategic analyst George Tanham succinctly expressed some years back that "the Indian elites show little evidence of having thought coherently and systematically about strategy." It is indeed paradoxical that an ancient profound civilization surviving countless upheavals, now a 65 years young nation located geographically in one of the most violent expanses of the world and having fought five wars since Independence, has in reality hardly looked into its defence needs in an institutionalised and systematic manner. The status-quo and pacifist mentality of the Indian psyche is, perhaps, reflective of a primordial and philosophical adherence to outdated moorings inconsistent with the security challenges which India now confronts in a seriously troubled and politically unstable neighbourhood.
Defence Minister AK Antony with the three services chiefs. The Naresh Chandra Committee has lamented that despite the chiefs and specialised staff being available for advice on security matters, the political establishment is totally dependent on bureaucrats drawn from diverse fields
Defence Minister AK Antony with the three services chiefs. The Naresh Chandra Committee has lamented that despite the chiefs and specialised staff being available for advice on security matters, the political establishment is totally dependent on bureaucrats drawn from diverse fields

The serious debacle and ignominy suffered by the nation in 1962 at the hands of China had prompted the then government to constitute the Henderson Brookes Committee to go into the reasons of the defeat. Their report, even 50 years after the event, still remains shrouded, inexplicably, in secrecy for reasons which are difficult to gauge. Despite the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan or even with Pakistan becoming a nuclear state in 1998, continuing border and maritime tensions with an increasingly powerful and belligerent China, no periodic security reviews were ever undertaken. However, the 1999 Pak perfidy in Kargil which definitely did surprise the Indian establishment, prompted the government to form an all encompassing high powered commission, the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) under the widely respected K Subramanyam to delve deeply into all aspects of Indian security. The latter, in one of his last interviews before his demise had expressed that "India has lacked an ability to formulate future-oriented defence policies, managing only because of short-term measures, blunders by its adversaries and force superiority in its favour."

Strategic security review

The KRC comprehensively analyzed and recommended measures to tone up security in India in all its myriad nuances and complexities. Most of the recommendations of the KRC, further streamlined by a specially constituted Group of Ministers Committee in 2001, mercifully, have been implemented in letter if not in total altruistic spirit! Some critics of the KRC have, however, opined that its reforms "had failed to deliver."

Ten years having elapsed since India's first comprehensive security review and increasing multi-faceted security problems, both internal and external, led the government to constitute the Naresh Chandra Committee on Security Reforms. This 14-member task force was mandated to review the unfinished tasks of the KRC report and make suggestions relating to the higher defence management structure of the nation and also examine why some of the critical recommendations relating to intelligence and border management were found wanting. It is pertinent to note that the KRC had previously observed that the political, bureaucratic, military and intelligence establishments appear to have developed a vested interest in the status-quo.

The committee commenced work in mid-2011 and has very recently submitted its report to the government. Its findings have not yet been made public and its report is currently under consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security. Nevertheless, like most state secrets in India, some of its major recommendations have found their way into the public domain and are currently under animated discussion among security analysts, think tanks and the media. Though it will be grossly unfair to carry out meaningful appraisal of the report without the entire review being made public, some initial comments on a few vital issues raised will be in order.

A major observation of the committee has been that uniformed officers from the three services must be posted to the Ministry of Defence in adequate numbers as the uniformed community must have a greater say in matters of national security. It has lamented that despite the service chiefs and the highly specialised headquarters staff being at their disposal for advice on national security, the political establishment is totally relying on feedback from civil servants in the MoD drawn from diverse professional backgrounds not even remotely connected with security matters.

According to media sources, to include and enhance the status of the service chiefs in the national security decision making processes, the task force has also recommended amendments in the business rules, namely the Government of India Allocation of Business Rules and the Government of India Transaction of Business Rules framed in 1961. Surprisingly, under these enactments the service chiefs do not even find a mention and the defence secretary, under these Rules, is responsible for the "Defence of India and every part thereof." In addition, the defence secretary is deemed to represent the three service chiefs in most forums! To any objective bystander or an ordinary citizen, such glaring and basic omissions are unacceptable.

One of the major and widely endorsed recommendations of the KRC had been the establishment of the office of the Chief of Defence Staff, a 5-star rank officer to act as a single point military adviser to the government and handle the tri-services commands including the vital Strategic Nuclear Forces Command, Andaman and Nicobar Command, the Defence Intelligence Agency, etc. However, the Naresh Chandra Committee has surprisingly recommended a slightly toned down version of the CDS by suggesting another 4-star rank officer from any of the three services (making it a total of four 4-star officers) to act as a permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), According to reports, this appointment will also replace the defence secretary to render tri-service advice to the government -- an aspect which will naturally meet stiff resistance from South Block babus. Among the three services, as is widely known, the Indian Air Force has been opposing the CDS concept (also mentioned to me personally by a former senior Cabinet minister), a posture which also suits MoD bureaucrats. Even the government has stated its position on the CDS that "the views of political parties are being ascertained." Thus, in the absence of total unanimity on the decision to have a 5-star rank CDS, some feel that the committee's recommendation can be temporarily agreed to and utilised, in the interim, in creating more cohesion among the three services. The Special Operations Command, which the committee has recommended for synergising the special operations of the three services, could also be put directly under command of the COSC as also the urgently needed tri-service Cyber Command as and when it will be raised.

Everyone in the country, in uniform and out of it, must appreciate the simple fact that large armed forces encompassing multi-dimensional strategic forces including land, sea, nuclear and aerospace, cannot be left to the whims and fancies of any single service. They have to be deployed and operationally employed in an integrated manner for which jointness, unity and economy of effort among the three services is sine qua non. This is only possible with a CDS overseeing the entire gamut of operations and other aspects of all the three services as is the practice in militarily powerful nations of the world. One prays that a dedicated pan-India political leader will address the problem of true jointness for the Armed Forces, override any individual service parochialism and get the three services to truly integrate for the larger national good.

The committee has reportedly made many more useful recommendations. It has correctly opined that India must prepare militarily to deal with an assertive China as it simultaneously seeks to enhance cooperation in diverse fields with it. It notes that China will continue to utilise Pakistan as part of its grand strategy for containing India in a "South Asian box." It has suggested that the Indian Army be given management of the Sino-Indian border and retain overall operational control over all forces deployed on this border.

The committee has further opined that Pakistan remains unable and unwilling to set its house in order. Its army continues its myopic and self-destructive policies of using Islamic groups to promote terrorism in India and Afghanistan, and seeks strategic depth in the latter. It has recommended that India must employ all political, diplomatic, economic and military measures to ensure that Afghanistan does not fall a victim to Pakistani efforts to convert Afghanistan into a fundamentalist vassal state.

Ensuring reforms

The committee has also made sound recommendations regarding better liaison between the MoD and the other ministries like the MHA and MEA through institutionalised measures. This committee has also stressed the need for an agency to tackle militancy and terrorist activities across the nation -- perhaps alluding to a set-up like the widely debated National Counter Terrorism Centre which most states have been opposing till date.

With the report being studied by various ministries and relevant organs of the government, it will be in order that it is made available to the public at large so that concerned think tanks and analysts could also give their considered views on vital matters. Importantly, once the Cabinet approves the report and other suggestions for improving national security , the government must ensure its speedy and faithful implementation. Recently at the DRDO Awards function, the Prime Minister had himself said, "As we look around us, a net deterioration in the international strategic and security environment becomes too obvious." It is time the Indian state not only becomes sensitive to the many formidable security challenges it will face in the foreseeable future but more than prepared to successfully confront them as it gears itself for a larger regional and global role.
Assam Rifles’ DG shunted out on fake bill?
NEW DELHI: In December 2010, Lieutenant General Rameshwar Roy took over as the Director General of Assam Rifles (DGAR).

By February 2012, he was abruptly moved out, amid allegations that Lt Gen Roy had used discretionary funds for his wife's hair dressing in Kolkata. When the allegations emerged in public in September 2011, the then Army chief Gen V K Singh said, "The issue is under investigation and we will take appropriate action as per the Army rules."

In the 11 months since Gen Singh made that remark, neither the Army nor the home ministry has taken any action against Lt Gen Roy. Army headquarters refused to respond to a questionnaire from TOI, including why it did not constitute a Court of Inquiry (CoI) against Lt Gen Roy after making such damaging allegations. The home ministry, which is the administrative ministry of the paramilitary force, also did not respond to questions.

But the silence is probably not surprising, given the sequence of events pieced together by TOI on the basis of official documents and corroborated by several sources.

Lt Gen Roy may not have spent official money on his wife's hair do. The particular bill that led to Roy's transfer was for a total of Rs 23,000. This included Rs 21,330 for bed-cover, salwar suit, blanket etc, with a handwritten entry on top of the bill saying that Rs 1,670 was for a hair dresser in Kolkata.

Sources in AR insist that only Rs 21,300 was actually paid. While, Rs 1,670 was noted on top of the bill as an afterthought and no payment may have been made for it. Significantly, the bill is dated on December 6, 2010, on which day Lt Gen Roy was travelling with his wife from Delhi to Shillong to take over as the new DG. He assumed charge the following day.

Equally startling is the fact that the entire bill is from Sanjay Sachin Cloth Store in Kolkata's Munsi Bazar, which is a soapbox shop that doesn't stock the kind of expensive items shown in the bill. Hence, the bill seems to be fake or forged, and was probably used to embarrass and oust Lt Gen Roy.

Interestingly, even while Gen Roy was still serving as the DG, efforts were on to replace him with Lt Gen A K Choudhary, who until recently was the director general of military operations (DGMO). Just as Lt Gen Roy completed a year as DG, Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh wrote to the then home minister P Chidambaram saying, "I understand that the present DG/Assam Rifles is under transfer in the near future", and that he would like "the posting of Lt Gen A K Chowdhury".

By February, when Lt Gen Roy was under transfer, Army headquarters ignored the defence ministry and wrote directly to the home ministry, suggesting Chowdhury as the new DGAR. The defence ministry objected. The stalemate is still on, almost five months since Lt Gen Roy left AR.

No action against blacklisted contractors
In 2011, Lt Gen Roy and his deputy initiated steps to blacklist four firms, who had been major suppliers to the paramilitary force, after several irregularities were found, including forged bank guarantees. However, the home ministry is yet to initiate any further action on the contractors.

On June 21, 2011, Syndicate Bank branch in Nehru Place, New Delhi, wrote to the Chief Engineer of the paramilitary force that five bank guarantees — together worth Rs 38.83 lakh — provided by Dynamic Shells and Sai Baba Builders from the branch were found to be fake. Both Dynamic Shells and Sai Baba Builders are sister concerns, headquartered in Delhi and promoted by Shambhu Prasad Singh, who is well connected to several military, bureaucratic and political leaders. In his resume, Singh claims to have worked in the central government in various capacities. In fact, during TOI investigations into AR affairs, Singh's name came up repeatedly.

Singh refused to reply to a detailed questionnaire sent to him by TOI, and ignored SMSes and calls, though he had promised to meet this correspondent here.

AR blacklisted both Dynamic Shells and Sai Baba Builders on November 2, 2011. The decision was conveyed to the home ministry, but no further legal action has been initiated against the companies for fake bank guarantees. The ministry did not respond to TOI's queries about its inaction.

Similarly, Additional DG Maj Gen R K Lakhanpaul blacklisted Nagaland Trading Consortium on July 14, 2011. Lakhanpaul wrote: "It is directed that M/S Nagaland Trading Consortium should be debarred from having any business dealing with this Assam Rifles and the name of notice firm is hereby to be treated as blacklisted from the approved list of Contractors of this Dte (directorate)."
Assam Rifles likely to get new DG soon
Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 20, 2012, 20:20

The post of Director General of Assam Rifles, which has been lying vacant for the last six months following a tussle between the Army and Defence Ministry, is likely to be filled up soon as the name of Lt Gen Ranbir Singh is being considered to head the counter insurgency force.

The post has been lying vacant since February after incumbent Lt Gen Rameshwar Roy was repatriated to the Army by the Home Ministry.

Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, presently posted at the Strategic Forces Command here, will be taking over the force at a time when it is hit by a series of allegations of corruption including misuse of funds.
An audit has reportedly suggested misuse of discretionary funds meant for the welfare of its personnel by the director general.

The funds were allegedly used to present gifts to the top officials of the home ministry, Army and personal guests of top brass of the force.

The office had fallen vacant after the Army during Gen V K Singh's tenure asked the Home Ministry to repatriate Lt Gen Roy back to his parent organisation.

After he was called back, the Army had sent a panel of three officers including present Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen A K Chaudhary for the appointment to the Home Ministry without taking the consent of the Defence Ministry.

The Defence Ministry had then asked the Home Ministry to stop the appointments process.

The Shillong headquartered Assam Rifles guarding the 1,648-km long Indo-Myanmar border and fighting insurgency in the northeast, is administratively under the Home Ministry while its operational control lies with the Defence Ministry.

After Lt Gen Roy's departure, second-in-command Maj Gen R K Lakhanpal is officiating as the Director General of the country's oldest paramilitary force.

Following an inquiry into the allegations of Rs 23,000 misuse of regimental funds, the Home Ministry had found nothing against Lt Gen Roy and concluded that the complaint was baseless and mala fide.
India, Pakistan celebrate Eid; exchange sweets on LoC
Jammu: Amid tension on border due to repeated ceasefire violation by Pakistan, the Indian army exchanged greetings and sweets with their Pakistani counterparts along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Pakistani army officials were led by Major Umer Gul of 11 Baloch Regiment and Major Yaseen, while the Indian side was led by Major S Manhas at the flag meeting held at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point, officials said.


Indian and Pakistani sides exchanged sweets and greetings on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr in the meeting, which was held in a cordial atmosphere, they said.

Heavy firing exchanges erupted along the International border (IB) late on Sunday night after Pakistan violated the ceasefire by targeting Indian posts to push in a group of militants in Akhnoor sector of Jammu district, where one intruder was killed.

It is the 14th time that Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the IB and LoC in the last fortnight.

Pakistan troops also fired on the forward posts in Krishnagati belt along LoC in Poonch sector violating ceasefire late on Monday night.
Audit says army using ‘ration allowance’ for extra procurement
The Indian Army’s supply chain rations is once again under the scanner. An internal audit of the Army has by the Defence Accounts is alleging that the Army is over-procuring rations for at least two lakh non-existent soldiers, reports a CNN-IBN special investigation.

The Indian Army personnel have the option of drawing ration either in cash called ‘Ration Money Allowance’ or get cooked meals. Especially when officers and jawans go on leave or are unwell, they can avail this facility, which means the allowance gets directly credited into their salaries.

According to the report in 2010-11, nearly 10 lakh personnel took their ration in kind and not cash. This means they either ate cooked meals at messes or ate with families in peace areas. The audit also found that about Rs 670 crore was allocated as Ration Monthly Allowance, which at the rate of about Rs 46 per head per person translates to monthly allowance for 4 lakh personnel.

The total strength of the Army then adds up to 14 lakh, 2 lakh more than the actual strength.

The audit alleged that either more is being procured or more is being given as Ration Allowance. Representational Image. AFP

The audit alleged that either more is being procured or more is being given as Ration Allowance.

The report does not end just there. It also criticises the tendering process and says that an Inventory System is needed.

The Army’s response, however, has been critical. They say suspicion that they are procuring in surplus and perhaps diverting funds is unfounded. At any point in time, they need to procure for 5/6th of the actual posted strength of troops.

Further, lack of vendors in remote/disturbed locations like Jammu and Kashmir and the North East means they need to rely on their own supply depots.

The Army’s response, experts say, has been predictable.

Allegations of malpractices and wastage in the supply chain of rations have come right from the Comptroller and Auditor General to the Public Accounts Committee, and this time, it has come from within.
Army focus on Pak fundamentalist groups
KOLKATA: The Army headquarters had information about Lashkar-e-Taiba and its political front, Jamaat-ud-Dawah, holding a meeting in Karachi on July 2 on the attack on Rohingiya Muslims in Myanmar, a senior Army officer told TOI on Sunday. Following this, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan demanded the closure of the Myanmarese embassy in Pakistan. The Kokrajhar riots on July 21 gave the fundamentalists an opportunity to club the two issues.

Besides creating confusion, the fundamentalists also hoped to recruit potential jihadis in India by fanning passions, it's suspected. The Kokrajhar riots had no connection with happenings in Myanmar but it was possible to club the two issues in distant places like Mumbai, the Army source said.

While this isn't the first time that clashes between Bodos and minorities have taken place in Kokarajhar, it's exceptional that this time its ramifications were felt in other parts of the country. Besides last Saturday's violence in Mumbai, in Kolkata posters have appeared in recent days from lesser-known organizations, condemning "attacks" on the minority community in Kokrajhar.

The onslaught on Rohingiyas of Myanmar has been continuing since June and has led to protests on an international scale. Even UN human rights officials have expressed concern over the crackdown on Rohingiyas following communal violence in the Rakhine state in Myanmar in June. The official death figure in Rakhine state is about 90 dead and 120 injured.

Unlike in Myanmar, in Kokrajhar, the authorities had taken steps to deploy the Army to quell the disturbances, it was pointed out. The involvement of militant groups was minimal, according to the source. Not too many of those killed and injured had bullet wounds. In fact, between July 21 and 23, when Bodos and immigrant minorities clashed, the militants had kept themselves away from the scene, according to an official familiar with the Bodoland Territorial Areas District scene.

The official advised that the government should not be in a hurry to send back displaced persons in Kokrajhar living in refugee camps to their villages as this could heighten tension. Authorities in Bhutan have asked minority community workers engaged in hydel and other construction projects in Bhutan not to travel to Bhutan through Assam and instead take the route through Phuentsholling bordering West Bengal.
Army jawan spends third day on tower
NEW DELHI: An armyman, who climbed a 200-foot-high mobile tower here alleging harassment, refused to come down for the third day on Sunday, adamant on his demand to speak to the defence minister over his complaints.

K Muthu, who is attached with Engineers Regiment, climbed the tower at Ajmeri Gate at around 1pm on Friday and refused to come down till late night despite appeals by police and officers of Army, a senior police official said.

The 35-year-old sepoy in Army said he wants to meet the defence minister. Colleagues from his unit are taking turns to be with him atop the tower and trying to convince him but in vain.

Hailing from Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu, Muthu has alleged he was transferred five times in five years.

On Friday, he had thrown a bunch of papers and in one of the letters, he demanded discharge from service due to alleged harassment of seniors. In the letter, he has also requested the commanding officer to get his salary cleared of last eight months.
All hiss, no bang: Nag fails big test
Nag, the “fire and forget” third generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, failed to impress the Army during its trials held in Rajasthan. While its induction into the Indian Army has been delayed for a long time, recent trials held in Rajasthan yielded only a 25 per cent success rate in terms of hitting the target. Top Army officials have reportedly expressed their strong apprehension and disagreement over the missile’s performance claims to the DRDO.

Nag is part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program of DRDO and is based on an imaging infra-red (IIR) passive seeker for ensuring a high accuracy. Earlier, plans for a wire guided system for Nag were shelved by DRDO. As per reports, even the Namica (Nag missile carrier), for the land version of Nag, had only partially satisfied expectations of Army and DRDO officials during trials.

A helicopter version of Nag, termed Helina, is also on its way. Unlike the Namica, which works on a ‘lock-on before launch’ system, Helina uses a technology called ‘lock-on after launch’. Meanwhile, the Army, which has been awaiting the induction of Nag for a long time after having placed an order for more than 400 missiles and about 13 Namicas, is left with no option other than to go for the US Javelin ATGMs.

For the time being, however, more second generation Russian Konkurs M ATGMS, already being used by the Army, will be purchased. This is because the US is ready to sell its Javelins only via Foreign Military Sales which though quick, will turn out to be an expensive affair with the Centre already ha-ving spent more than Rs 1,700 crore on Nag. The Army, which is also using French Milan ATMs, was also disappointed with the failure of Israeli Spike ATGMs.

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