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Thursday, 20 September 2012

From Today's Papers - 19 Sep 2012
Ambitious submarine project awaits Cabinet panel's nod
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 18
India's ambitious programme of having next-generation of submarines has been held up again. Last month the Ministry of Defence renewed the acceptance of necessity (AoN) for having six diesel electric stealth submarines. However, the project still awaits a fresh nod from the all-powerful cabinet committee of security (CCS).

The submarines will be enabled with the air independent propulsion (AIP) technology and have the capability to attack land-based targets. The AIP enables a submarine to be submerged under water for 15-17 days at a stretch. India's existing force of submarines have to surface every 3-4 days to 'breathe' making them vulnerable targets. Even the six under-construction Scorpene class submarines being built with French collaborator DCNS, at Mumbai, do not have the AIP technology.

The purchase of the next-generation submarines code named 'Project-75 India' is known in the Naval circles by its acronym 'P-75-I'. It has seen several ups and downs since the request for information was first floated in September 2010. The delay now is due to the fact that the original proposal cleared by the CCS has been modified.

The Navy has made it clear that the first two of the six submarines have to be imported directly from the selected foreign collaborator and the remaining four be build in India. The CCS had originally approved the project for making all the six submarines in India. However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is not comfortable in allowing any private participation in such sensitive projects.

A fresh CCS approval is still awaited for the project modified to import two submarines from abroad and making the remaining four in India. The next step can be initiated only when the CCS approves the modifications.

The selection for P-75-I will be from among the five foreign collaborators - Rosoboronexport of Russia, the DCNS of France, the HDW of Germany, Kockums of Sweden and Navantia of Spain.

As per the 30 year plan as approved in 1999 by the CCS, 12 new submarines were to be inducted in Navy in Phase-I (2000-2012) and another 12 in Phase-II (2012-2030).

Equipped with AIP technology

The submarines will be equipped with the air independent propulsion (AIP) technology

AIP enables a submarine to be submerged under water for 15-17 days at a stretch

India's existing subs have to surface every 3-4 days to 'breathe', making them vulnerable targets

Even the six under-construction Scorpene class submarines do not have the AIP technology

Navy's demand

The Navy has made it clear that the first two of the six submarines have to be imported directly from the selected foreign collaborator and the remaining four be built in India
ISI suspect held with footage of army base
CHENNAI: A small-time vegetable exporter from Thanjavur, who was picked up by Tamil Nadu police on charges of espionage, has been accused of shooting a video of an army base in Jammu & Kashmir using a paraglider.

Thamim Ansari, an M.Com dropout from New College in Chennai , is suspected of working for Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate. Ansari was arrested by 'Q' branch sleuths on Monday after he fled Trichy airport on suspicion that he was being tailed by policemen.

He was found in possession of DVDs and a mobile phone which contained video clippings of defence installations. Images were also found of the Mallipattinam naval base near Nagapattinam and small ports in Karaikal and Nagapattinam. Ansari is believed to have visited the Defence Services Staff College at Wellington.

Ansari had gained access to some installations by befriending an ex-armyman from Thanjavur. Hetold retired havildar Radhakrishnan that he was making a documentary film on the army named 'Power of India'. Ansari had promised to interview him for the film. Under the pretext of shooting footage for the documentary, he had taken Radhakrishnan along on a few recces. Sources said his diary revealed that his future assignments included videographing the Eastern Naval Command in Vishakhapatnam and the airforce base at Sulur. Ansari had informed Radhakrishnan that he was funded by his export business partners in Sri Lanka.

During interrogation, he is said to have confessed that his Sri Lankan partner Haji had visited the state several times and accompanied him to Chennai, Mettupalayam and Tirupur. In turn, Ansari had flown to Singapore and Maldives in his company. Haji is believed to have introduced Ansari to an unidentified person from Pakistan, who is believed to be an ISI operative. Haji did not reveal his name to Ansari, a source said.

Ansari was an active member of the Students Federation of India (SFI) in college. Later, he discontinued studies and moved to Thanjavur where he entered the vegetable trade. "But he suffered losses in an import/export venture. Then during one of his visits to Colombo, Ansari met Haji at a restaurant," said a source.

Apart from posing as a trader, Ansari had remained the SFI's Thanjavur district secretary for the past three years. He also worked part-time as a medical representative for a pharmaceutical company there.

Police said Ansari was using a debit card that had been credited with funds from Sri Lanka. "A team of 'Q' branch officials might visit Colombo for investigation," a police officer said. The operation is being monitored and coordinated by state and central intelligence officials.
Army sends 23 students on educational tour
 Army has sent a group of 23 students of a school here on an educational-cum-motivational tour for 10 days under "Operation Sadbhavana".

The tour was flagged off by Brigadier Suresh Menon, CSO White Knight Corps, here yesterday, said Officiating PRO (Defence), Jammu, S N Acharya.

The students of Ranbir Singh Higher Secondary School will visit culturally-rich cities of Allahabad and Kolkata, he said.
The tour is part of Army's efforts to reach out to the local populace.

It will also provide an opportunity to students to see the development that has taken place in other regions of the country.
Indian Army launches campaign for ex-servicemen
Lucknow : The Indian Army Tuesday launched a campaign aimed at deepening its respect for aged and retired soldiers.

The army's Central Command launched the "Year of the Veteran" campaign in the presence of several ex-army men and serving officers.

They were drawn from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, an army official said. Lt Gen Anil Chait opened the event.

With over 300,000 ex-servicemen, the officer said two pilot projects had been taken up.

So far 911 complaints regarding issues like housing and pension have been registered with the army.

In the first phase, an officer told IANS that army teams had fanned out in villages to obtain data about the problems faced by ex-servicemen.
Army's elite to take on Somali pirates in Aden
THE Army's elite special forces unit, the Ranger Wing, has been mobilised for its toughest mission yet – tackling Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

The Irish Independent can exclusively reveal that the Defence Forces will be given the green light to send a contingent of the highly trained commandos to join the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) - subject to Cabinet and Dail approval.

Such is the international reputation of the Ranger Wing that the EU made a formal request to the Government to provide the troops several months ago.

The unit has been secretly training for the mission all year, working closely with the Navy and Air Corps.

The Rangers put their training to the test last month with a "live" night-time exercise off Tuskar Rock when they "rescued" a sea-going cargo ship.

The operation included the use of an Air Corps Casa maritime aircraft, which kept the target ship under secret surveillance while guiding the navy to its location.

The troops stormed the ship after being deployed by high-speed navy boats and AW 139 helicopters from the Air Corps.

A source revealed: "Every aspect of the exercise was treated as if it was the real deal and was being closely monitored by the top brass to ensure the lads were ready for deployment. It was all kept very hush hush and was filmed from the Air Corps Casa to be reviewed later."

The troops are now deemed "mission ready" and currently await the order to move at their base in the Curragh Camp, Co Kildare.

It is understood that the contingent will involve up to 30 Rangers, including three six-man specialist assault teams, who will be based in a "friendly" country for the duration of a four- to six-month deployment.

According to high-level sources, the soldiers will be deployed to protect ships carrying humanitarian cargo for the World Food Programme through the Indian Ocean.


The EU NAVFOR was launched in December 2008 in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and has been extended by the European Council to continue until at least December 2014.

Its priority is to protect vessels carrying humanitarian aid and to "prevent and repress" acts of piracy and armed robbery on the sea.

According to figures from the American One Earth Future foundation last year, Somali pirates operating in the busy shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and the northwestern Indian Ocean netted $160m (€120m). The cost to the world economy was $7bn (€5.3bn).

But the robust international response from NATO and the EU has begun to cut the number of incidents. In the first half of 2012 there were just 69 incidents involving Somali pirates, compared with 163 in the same period last year, according to data supplied by the International Maritime Bureau.

International navies have stepped up pre-emptive action against pirates, including strikes on their bases on the Somali coast, and shipping firms are increasingly hiring private security companies to provide armed guards.

This will be the fourth high-profile international mission given to the ARW, which is classified as being one of the top special forces units in the world.

In 1999 they were deployed to the rainforests of East Timor in the vanguard of a UN-backed operation to save the slaughter of the local population at the hands of Indonesian-backed militias.

In 2003, a 40-strong Ranger contingent was sent to Liberia in west Africa to act as a path finder force for an Irish UN infantry battalion.

One of the commandos, Sgt Derek Mooney (33), from Blackrock, Co Dublin, was killed when his Landrover vehicle went off the road and plunged down an embankment, south of the capital, Monrovia.

A second Ranger, Sgt Sean Baldwin, was seriously injured and lost a leg in the accident. Sgt Baldwin continues in active service and recently competed in the rifle shooting event at the London Paralympics.

In 2008, the ARW was also sent to Chad as the advance team for another Irish battalion. Members of the unit also provide close protection teams for the commanders of a number of ongoing EU/UN missions.
Prakash Raj trains with the army
Prakash Raj's popularity in Bollywood seems to be rising at a rapid pace. The actor seems to have a plethora of projects in his kitty along with the biggies that include Singham and Dabangg 2.

Prakash is also part of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic on the renowned Olympian, The Flying Sikh Milkha Singh, played by Farhan Akhtar.

Prakash plays an Army Officer in the film. We hear that the veteran actor has been training with the Indian Army in the capital to get into the skin of the character.

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