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Thursday, 23 August 2012

From Today's Papers - 23 Aug 2012
Positive shift: Sharp decline in infiltration bids in J-K
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, August 22
Indicating a positive change in the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, Parliament was today informed that there has been a drop in number of cross-border infiltration. Figures show that a lesser number of Pakistan-based militants have been making attempts to cross the Line of Control (LoC).

The Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs in separate replies to written questions in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha indicated that the situation in the northern states had improved in the past 18 months. This is a significant pronouncement by two key security-related ministries. People-friendly confidence building measures (CBMs) like shifting of security bunkers from the city of Srinagar are being taken by the Centre and the state government. It assumes importance in view of the ongoing debate over removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the select areas from the Jammu and Kashmir. This has been a persistent demand of the state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. The MHA has suggested three amendments to the AFSPA which are under consideration of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The MoD has not so far agreed to dilute the AFSPA.

Figures tabled by the Ministry of Defence in the Lok Sabha today showed that the year 2011 saw half the number of infiltration attempts made as compared to the previous years. This year also the trend has shown decline in the infiltration with 103 attempts made till June 30 in which 38 terrorists were able to sneak in. Defence Minister AK Antony’s written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha cited figures of infiltration and said this was the assessment made by Multi Agency Centre (MAC). The Army, the BSF, the IB, RAW and local police, among others, are part of the MAC.

Antony said in 2011, 247 attempts were made by terrorists to enter into Indian territory in which 52 terrorists had sneaked in. In contrast, the year 2009 saw 485 infiltration attempts by terrorists in which 114 terrorists were successful in entering the country. In 2010, 485 terrorists tried to enter the country and 95 managed to sneak in.

Year-wise details

In 2011, 52 terrorists crossed over into the Indian territory

The year 2009 saw114 terrorists enter the country

In 2010, 95 terrorists managed to sneak in
India faced nuclear threat thrice before 1998: NSA
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, August 22
Justifying the country’s decision to go nuclear, National Security Adviser Shivshanker Menon today made a sensational revelation that at least on three occasions before 1998, other powers used the explicit or implicit threat of nuclear weapons to try and change India’s behaviour.

That they did not succeed, he added, was because of the ‘hard-headed’ leadership the country was fortunate to have. Once India became a declared nuclear state in 1998, India has not faced any such threats. “So the possession of nuclear weapons has, empirically speaking, deterred others from attempting nuclear coercion or blackmail against India,” the former Foreign Secretary said, addressing a national outreach conference on ‘Global Nuclear Disarmament.

The conference, an initiative of the Prime Minister's informal group on global disarmament chaired by Mani Shankar Aiyar of the Congress, was held to commemorate the 68th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, who presented a plan for a nuclear-weapons-free world order at the UN General Assembly in 1988.

Menon said India had made it absolutely clear from the very beginning that its nuclear weapons were weapons of deterrence and not war-fighting weapons.

“This is why our nuclear doctrine provides for no first use by India of these weapons. These weapons are for use against a nuclear attack on India.”

Obviously alluding to Pakistan’s argument justifying its tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998, the National Security Adviser said “India’s nuclear weapons were not meant to redress a military balance, or to compensate for some perceived inferiority in conventional military terms, or to serve some tactical or operational military need on the battlefield.”

He said India chose to have nuclear weapons in order to promote real nuclear disarmament. “We spent nearly 24 years after our first peaceful nuclear explosion in 1974 urging and working for universal nuclear disarmament and a nuclear weapon free world. We did so out of the conviction that a nuclear weapon free world would enhance our security and that of the rest of the world,” he said. Menon said: “We do think that we would be more secure in a world that is truly free of nuclear weapons. But until we arrive at that happy state, we have no choice, and a responsibility towards our own people, to have nuclear weapons to protect them from nuclear threats.”

In his valedictory address, Vice-President Hamid Ansari sought to clearly draw a distinction between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. “The former is destructive while the latter opens door to innumerable benefits for the good of mankind. The later, if utilised prudently, can be of immense benefit to humanity.”
Another ex-Army Chief Gen Vij says Adarsh no security threat
Press Trust of India / Mumbai August 22, 2012, 21:20

After Deepak Kapoor, another former Army Chief N C Vij today took a stand at variance with the Defence Ministry when he said he did not see the controversial Adarsh Society building here as a security threat.

Gen Vij told a judicial panel that what mattered was credentials of occupants, not the 31-storey building itself.

"I visited Adarsh building only for a few minutes. I did not consider the security aspect....It is not the building but the occupants who have to be scrutinised from security angle. If the occupants are trustworthy and dependable, then there is no question of security threat," Vij told the two-member commission set up by Maharashtra government to probe the Adarsh scam.
Earlier, Gen Kapoor had told the commission that he did not consider Adarsh -- which stands very close to a Defence premises -- as security threat, because there were several other high-rises in the area.

The stand taken by Vij and Kapoor is in sharp contrast to Ministry of Defence's claim that the highrise building in upscale Colaba is a security threat, and should be pulled down.

"As far as security threat aspect is concerned, it requires detailed appreciation of a number of factors like the population profile of cantonment, how many civilians and military personnel are there, the layout of the general area, the vulnerable targets and the surrounding area profile. This has to be done by the Local Military Authority," said Vij.

Soon after the scam broke, he learnt that several personnel of Local Military Authority and Southern Command were members of Adarsh Society, Vij said.

Both Kapoor and Vij were members of the society, and later sought to surrender their flats when allegations about illegal permissions granted to Adarsh by civic/state authorities cropped up.

"I have written letters to the society and Collector of Mumbai seeking to surrender my flat, but I have not got any reply," Vij said.
Army chief bribery case: CBI questions Tejinder Singh
New Delhi: CBI on Wednesday questioned Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh in connection with allegations levelled by former Army chief V K Singh that he was offered Rs 14 crore by him to clear a tranche of "sub-standard" vehicles.

Singh who appeared for questioning in the late afternoon was examined for nearly three hours in connection with the allegations levelled by the then Chief, CBI sources said.

As part of the Preliminary Enquiry, CBI is probing alleged relationship Singh enjoyed with the Vectra group which purportedly prompted him to make the offer to the then Army Chief, the sources said.

The agency had registered a PE in a matter related to an alleged offer of bribe to the then Chief of Army Staff by a retired army officer on behalf of a private person in connection with procurement of vehicles by Indian Army, CBI had said.
The incident had reportedly occurred in September, 2010, the agency had said. It had received a complaint from the then Army Chief giving details of the alleged bribery offer made to him by Singh, who has denied the charge terming it as absolutely false and concocted.

When contacted over phone, Singh declined to say anything. The CBI might convert the PE into an FIR if it finds prima-facie evidence of any alleged wrong-doing.

The then Army Chief had alleged that Singh had offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore, a matter he had reported to Defence Minister A K Antony, to clear purchase of nearly 600 all-terrain Tatra BEML trucks.

Singh had refuted the allegations and also slapped a defamation case against the the Army Chief and other officers.
Indian Air Force ahead with over 10 percent women officers
New Delhi : Women officers in the Indian army, navy and air force constitute only 3.3, 3.9 and 10.4 percent of the officer cadre respectively and these figures were achieved within 20 years from when they were first recruited, parliament was informed Wednesday.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the representation of women in the armed forces has been progressively increasing since their first recruitment in 1992-93.

"At present, the percentage of women officers in army, navy and air force, excluding medical streams, is 3.3 percent, 3.9 per cent and 10.04 percent respectively," Antony said.

"The representation of women officers in the armed forces has increased progressively over the years," the minister added.

To another query on the same subject, the minister said the number of women officers in the army is 1,214, in the navy 302 and the air force 1,079. At present, the existing strength of the army is 36,788 officers, the navy 7,744 and the air force 10,747. There is a shortfall of 13,000 officers across the three services.

These figures are excluding the medical stream women officers.

Women officers are inducted in the branches open to them within the overall authorised strength of officers' cadre of respective service, based on merit on an all- India basis.

"There is no separate fixed sanctioned strength for women officers in the armed forces," he added.

Noting that a fresh policy on induction of women officers was laid down last November, Antony said it was issued after considering the paper submitted by a high-level tri-service committee with the approval of the chiefs of staff committee.

"There is an endeavour to fill up the vacancies of officers from amongst eligible candidates, which is a continuous and an ongoing process," Antony said.

Barring the medical stream, women officers are inducted on short service commissions in certain branches of the three armed forces.

In the army, women officers are recruited in the Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate General branches.

In the navy, they are inducted into the Judge Advocate General, Logistics, Observer, Air Traffic Controller, Naval Constructor and Education branches.

In the air force, though, women officers are recruited in all branches and streams, except the fighter stream of the flying branch.
Prince Harry may face army interview without coffee
Prince Harry could be grilled in an "interview without coffee" with army chiefs over photographs of him naked with a seemingly topless woman in a hotel room, military experts say.

The royal may face censure from his army superiors over his behaviour in Las Vegas, after images of him at a private party were leaked online.

The pictures of the third-in-line to the throne showed him wearing just a necklace and wristband, while covering his genitals with his hands.

Army experts today said the prince would probably be reprimanded but not severely punished over the incident.

"His commanding officer will probably have a word but I imagine his family might be even more annoyed at his stupidity," the Telegraph quoted one military source as saying.

Another expert, a former instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, said the Prince is most likely to face an "interview without coffee".

"It is very stupid doing that anywhere near cameras," he said.
"I don't know how his minders let that happen. My view is that he will probably get a telling off. If he'd just come back from active service and was letting off steam it might be different," he added.

Shah Rukh Khan to play army officer

Star recently charged with disrespecting the Indian national flag

Shah Rukh Khan to play army officer

Star recently charged with disrespecting the Indian national flag
Call it perfect timing or sheer co-incidence.

A couple of days after Shah Rukh Khan was slapped with a case for disrespecting the Indian national flag, he reveals his look for his next film — a stoic Indian army officer.

Sporting stubble, aviator glasses and a fierce expression, Khan seems to be a man on a mission this still released by the makers of the untitled film. However, it’s not the first time that Khan has portrayed an army officer’s role. In Farah Khan’s blockbuster Main Hoon Na, he played a disciplined army official who goes undercover for an assignment.

Khan is currently in Ladakh shooting for the film, which is directed by Yash Chopra. The romance, slated for a Diwali release on November 13, also features Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma in leading roles.
Institution on the lines of army school likely
BHOPAL: The school education department will soon open a school in the state for those inclined towards the defence services in the country. At a review meeting of the school education department held recently, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that a school on the lines of army school should be established by the department which would provide the basic training to students in all the three wings; army, navy and air force.

A highly-placed source in the education department said, "The chief minister had expressed his desire for a school on the lines of an army school. A proposal for the same would be chalked out soon."

Departmental sources say that the chief minister had expressed displeasure as the state quota for the defense selection was incomplete according to Army since not many people were showing interest.

To foster such inclination, a proposal would now be drafted, as instructed by the Chief Minister. Sources say that the finer details like the eligibility criteria, time line etc of the project would be chalked out soon. In addition to that, the budget for the building and other infrastructure would be drawn separately and not from the education department's budget.

Besides, retire army personnel would be in charge of grooming students who are admitted in the school. Serving defence personnel would also act as guest faculty from time to time to provide inputs. Overall, the academic, IQ and health and nutritional requirements of the students would be taken care of and they would be trained according to the eligibility criteria of the defense services.
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