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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 02 Oct 2012
Op Bluestar architect attacked in London
Lt Gen KS Brar targeted outside a hotel; discharged after treatment

Operation Bluestar architect Lt General KS Brar has been stabbed and wounded on a central London Street. His injuries were said to be not serious, but he was rushed to a central London hospital where he was treated and discharged.

Lt General Brar,78, who won the Vir Chakra for his role in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, was in London on a private visit when he was stabbed just before 11 pm last Sunday night (yesterday) on Old Quebec Street, just off Marble Arch and Oxford Street in the British capital.

This is a popular area in central London, filled with pubs, restaurants and large department stores. Lt General Brar is thought to have been coming out of a restaurant when he was attacked. Lt Gen Brar, a Z-category protectee, was reportedly stabbed by four bearded men. He was with his wife when the incident took place.

Confirming that Lt General Brar had been attacked, a spokesman for Scotland Yard told The Tribune, "There is an ongoing investigation about a man who was assaulted on Old Quebec Street, W1, at 22.40 on Sunday night. Emergency services were called for a man in his 70s who was suffering from a knife wound.

"He is in a serious condition in hospital, but the injury is not life threatening."

A spokeswoman for the Indian High Commission said, "He (Lt General Brar) was on a private visit and was attacked by some people. He was injured, hospitalised and has been discharged."

The Indian High Commission has refused to comment on who might be responsible for the attack. But there is inevitable speculation that the perpetrator is linked to Khalistani extremists who have become more active in recent months in the UK. They have not forgiven Lt General Brar for his role in flushing out the extremists from the Golden Temple way back in 1984, which resulted in the death of extremists leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. Also killed in the operation was retired Major General Shabeg Singh, Lt General Brar's former superior officer who had joined the militants.

Brar was commanding 9 Division based in Meerut in 1984 when he was asked to cancel his pending leave and help co-ordinate Operation Bluestar, together with Lt Generals Krishnaswamy Sundarji, then head of Western Command, and Ranjit Singh Dayal.

Operation Bluestar was controversial because of the casualties involved and also because of the decision to enter the premises of the Golden Temple just after Guru Arjan's martyrdom day.

Justifying the operation, Lt General Brar later was quoted as saying, "It is very easy to say that we could have laid siege, we could have postponed it for a day or two, or carried out the Operation without the loss of life.

It is only we, who were there at that time, who know what our limitations and needs were."

Bluestar got underway on the night of June 5, 1984, when six infantry battalions and a squad of commandos under General Brar's command stormed the premises of the Golden Temple. Four out of the six commanders were Sikhs and they were repeatedly asked not to fire in the direction of the Hamindar Sahib even if they received fire from that direction.

It took six days and the use of several tanks to complete the operation, resulting in damage to the Akal Takht, which has subsequently been rebuilt.

Commenting on the damage, Lt General Brar later said, “It is unfortunate that there were so many casualties, as well as destruction, which we tried to avoid to the maximum. I am a Sikh myself, and I can assure you that there was no indiscriminate killing during the operation, and at all times our endeavour was to save life and property."

He added, "We tried to avoid the operation totally by requesting the inmates to surrender so that there would be no bloodshed, but it seems that they were determined not to do so. As you know, the charisma of Bhindranwale was such that the people had almost begun to accept him as the 11th Guru and were prepared to sacrifice their lives at his call."

Lt General Brar has family members living in London. Among them was a maternal uncle, who died of cancer in 1997 and who initially opposed his nephew's role in Operation Bluestar. General Brar visited his dying uncle in hospital and said in a subsequent interview that his uncle had "tears rolling down his cheeks" and now understood his actions.

Sources said External Affairs Minister SM Krishna, who is in New York, called up the Indian High Commissioner J Bhagwati to know about the condition of Lt Gen Brar, who has been on the hit-list of various extremists and militant organisations.

No word on perpetrators

The Indian High Commission has not commented on who might be responsible for the attack on Lt Gen Brar

But there is speculation that the perpetrator is linked to Khalistani extremists

Brar’s injuries were said to be not serious. He was hospitalised and later discharged

Key Bluestar Planner

Lt Gen Brar, then a Maj Gen and GOC 9 Division, helped coordinate Operation Bluestar, together with Generals Krishnaswamy Sundarji, then head of Western Command, and Ranjit Singh Dayal. Bluestar was controversial because of the casualties involved and also because of the decision to enter the Golden Temple complex just after Guru Arjan's martyrdom day.
5 Hizb militants gunned down in central Kashmir
Azhar Qadri
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 1
In a major anti-insurgency operation of recent months, five militants have been killed in an encounter in the dense forest region of central Kashmir, the police and the Army said today.

The militants were killed in a gunfight after an operation was launched by the Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Special Operation Group (SOG) and the Army's 24 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in the Phalinard area of Wangat forest of Ganderbal district, sources said.

Ganderbal is located less than 30 km from Srinagar.

The pre-dawn operation was launched on a specific information about the presence of militants in the area and contact was established with a group of militants around 7:30 am, the sources said.

The first militant was killed at 8:30 am and the second was neutralised an hour later, an Army source said.

He said the militants were cornered inside a “dhok” - a hutment - which was then blasted in which three more militants were killed.

“After a fierce gunfight, five militants have been killed,” a police spokesman here said.

The spokesman said all the five militants were Pakistani nationals. Four of them were operating as Abu Bakr, Abu Khalid, Abdul Gazi and Murtaza while the identity of the fifth militant was being ascertained, the spokesman added.

The spokesman said all the five militants belonged to the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen outfit. The police said the nationality of the five militants was established by the documents and diaries which were recovered from them.

The police had been regularly receiving intelligence inputs about the presence of this militant group in the upper reaches of Wangat forest area for nearly one month, the source said, hinting that the group had either recently infiltrated into the Valley from across the Line of Control or had entered the Ganderbal district from the adjoining Bandipora district.

Five AK-47 rifles, 18 AK-47 magazines, two under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs) and a cache of ammunition was recovered from their possession, the police spokesman said.

Last month, one of the longest counter-insurgency operation of recent times, which lasted for seven days, was carried out in the nearby Chattergul forest of Ganderbal district in which two militants were killed.

Ganderbal district acts as a transit route for militants travelling from Bandipora - which borders the Line of Control in north Kashmir - to south Kashmir districts.

The district has largely been cleared of militants as two of the longest surviving militants of the region - Mushtaq Khan alias Mushtaq Jhangi and Ghulam Nabi War alias Haq Nawaz, both residents of Ganderbal - were killed in two separate operations in October last year and July this year.

In recent days, there has been a sudden spurt in the encounters between the forces and militants as infiltration attempts have spiked from across the Line of Control, which a top police official termed as being “seasonal”.

Last week, two militants and a soldier were killed in a gun battle in Handwara area of Kupwara district while two more militants were killed in an operation near Uri town of Baramulla district in north Kashmir.

Ammo Seized

The militants were killed in a gunfight in the Phalinard area of Wangat forest of Ganderbal district

Five AK-47 rifles, 18 magazines and a cache of ammunition were seized

The pre-dawn operation was jointly launched by the J-K Police and the Army on a specific information
Bofors’ Indian avatar set for induction
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
Bofors, the name of Swedish-made artillery gun, which caused political turmoil in India during the late 1980’s, now has a ‘Made in India’ stamp. The Ministry of Defence has okayed the induction of 144 indigenously-developed 155mm Howitzers into the Indian Army, for which final trials will be held later this year.

The gun is based on the existing AB Bofors design for which the Gun Carriage Factory (OFB) holds the Transfer of Technology (ToT) licence from the AB Bofors.

Defence Minister AK Antony today told reporters on the sidelines of defence function that “The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared a proposal for production of 144 155mm guns. Winter trials will take place in December and summer trials in June”.

Antony expressed the hope that trials would be successful, saying “so that after 30 years, India can have upgraded 155mm guns”.

This winter, the Indian Army will conduct the second test on the gun in extreme climatic conditions in the Himalayas before it is inducted. A summer trail was conducted in May this at Pokhran in temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius.

Antony has set a target of inducting the gun next year. Two types of Howitzers for the Army will be ready for trials by December and by June next year respectively. The Ordnance Factory Board has been tasked with manufacturing 155mm Howitzers. Under the project, the OFB will manufacture two prototypes of 155mm 39 calibre FH-77-B02 guns (the technical name for Bofors) and the upgraded version of 155 mm/45 calibre Howitzers.

The decision to allow the OFB to manufacture these guns was taken after the Army failed in more than five attempts to modernise its artillery.

Sources said the summer trials of indigenously produced new artillery guns, meant to replace the Army’s inventory of 155 mm Howitzers supplied by AB Bofors around 25 years ago have been promising. In its assessment of the trials carried out this summer in Rajasthan, the Army has said the guns have met the “stipulated parameters”.

Produced by the Ordnance Factory Board, these guns are 155 mm, 45 calibre Howitzers. These look like Bofors and have the capacity to fire up to a distance of 32 km. The original AB Bofors - inducted in 1987 - is 39 calibre.

As part of its artillery modernisation plan, the Army plans to purchase a total of 400 Howitzers that can be towed away, along with 180 self-propelled ones and 145 Ultra light Howitzers (ULH).
MoD’s quality assurance wing opens doors to short service commission officers
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Modifying its personnel selection policies, the Defence Ministry’s Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) has opened its doors to short service commission officers (SSCOs) from the armed forces. SSCOs, like regular officers, are now eligible for tenure posting as well as permanent secondment to DGQA.

SSC officers who have completed 11 years of physical service and serving at the rank of acting or substantive Major would be eligible for tenure postings to the DGQA, though they would be posted against vacancies tenable by Lieutenant-Colonels. Sources said that this is because of different terms and conditions governing SSC officers. Regular officers of the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel are inducted by the DGQA.

For permanent secondment of SSC officers, only those will be considered who have been screened for permanent commission. They will be granted provisional permanent secondment till they get their permanent commission and substantive rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

Their seniority will be reckoned from the date they get their Lieutenant-Colonel’s rank and will be suitable modified by up to a year to keep them on a par with regular officers of the same batch of seniority.

Sources said that the move, besides providing a secondary career option to SSCOs, will also enable DGQA to meet its requirements for technical officers.

The DGQA, which observed its anniversary on September 27, functions under the Department of Defence Production. It is responsible for ensuring that the entire range of arms, ammunition, equipment and stores supplied to the armed forces meets the laid-down specifications.

Its establishments and laboratories are spread across the country where ordnance factories, defence public sector undertakings and other associated industrial units are located.
IAS officer suspended for rape bid in train
Shahira Naim
Tribune News Service

Lucknow, October 1
A senior IAS officer was suspended and sent to 14-day judicial custody following his arrest on the charge of attempt to rape inside a moving train.

Shashi Bhushan Lal, Special Secretary, Technical Education, Uttar Pradesh, was arrested this morning by the Government Railway Police (GRP) at the Charbagh railway station first on the charges of trying to molest a senior executive in an IT giant and then on attempt to rape while travelling in a VIP train coach from Delhi to Lucknow.

The IAS officer was detained moments after the train reached Charbagh railway station and was interrogated for four hours before being arrested. The GRP initially lodged a case against the officer for harassment which is a relatively mild bailable Section of the IPC.

Later, reportedly at the intervention of the top political leadership, GRP inspector Anil Rai, who booked the IAS officer under bailable Sections, was instantly shifted to Gorakhpur. The new inspector, after taking charge, added Sections involving attempt to rape.

Lal was produced before the railway court later in the day which sent the IAS officer to 14 days of judicial custody.

According to the GRP, the woman in her complaint had accused the IAS officer of misbehaving with her during the night. In the morning when she went to the toilet, he reportedly tried to molest her daughter following which she lodged a complaint with the GRP and informed her family members over the mobile phone.

When the seriousness of the situation dawned on the officer, he reportedly threw himself on the feet of the woman and apologised.

However, while defending himself he admitted to entering into a verbal duel with the woman after she made caste-specific remarks against him.
Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar, who led Operation Blue Star, attacked in London
London: Lieutenant General Kuldeep Singh Brar, who led Operation Blue Star against Sikh militants  holed up inside the Golden Temple in 1984, has been stabbed and injured in London.
The Indian High Commission has confirmed that three men assaulted General Brar, 78, outside his hotel and stabbed him with a knife. He has been operated upon now and is now recovering at home. Sources say that Gen Brar is returning home to India on Tuesday.

General Brar's wife was with him; she was pushed to the ground but was not injured.  She told NDTV, "We were walking down Oxford Circus at 10.30 pm in the night. Three bearded men attacked him and tried to slash his throat. We cannot say if they were Sikh. I was standing by watching and called for help. The ambulance was there within minutes and we rushed him to hospital."
The retired army officer remains on the hit-list of many Sikh militant groups and usually stays in a high-security compound in the  cantonment area in Mumbai. He is a Z-category protectee.   In New York, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said that the general should have informed the Indian High Commission so that security could have organised for him. General Brar was in London on a private visit.
General Brar is a decorated soldier who saw action in the 1971 war with Pakistan. He was among the first to enter Dhaka to force the Pakistani army into surrender.
On June 5, 1984, troops including many Sikh soldiers entered the Golden Temple premises in Amritsar to flush out militants  led by Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale demanding a separate state for Sikhs called Khalistan. Several soldiers were killed in firing by the terrorists. But General Brar's troops were successful and Bhindranwale was killed.
Operation Blue Star upset many Sikhs. The then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards a few months after Operation Blue Star. This was followed by several years of terrorism that affected Punjab.
In the 1990s, General Brar wrote a book called Operation Blue Star: The True Story.
Religious tattoos are now ‘acceptable’ for recruitment in Indian Army
Chandigarh: The Indian Army may provide employment opportunities to those youths who have religious tattoos printed below their elbow. However, those youngsters having tattoos other than religious prints may be disappointed as they will not be considered for employment. The state-level recruitment for Indian Army is scheduled to be held between October 3-10 in Sangrur.

According to director of recruitment Colonel Sanjay Kapoor, there has been slight change in the recruitment rules and now youths having religious tattoos printed below their elbow will be considered for recruitment of sepoys. Earlier, aspirants seeking recruitment in the Indian Army would have to remove their tattoos.

The Indian Army expects over 30,000 aspirants in the upcoming recruitment drive in Sangrur.

Kapoor has asked the authorities to keep a vigil on persons luring youths for employment as the recruitment process will be purely transparent without any middleman. Several organizations have planned to run community kitchens for youths at different places during recruitment drive.
144 indigenous howitzers approved for Army: Antony
NEW DELHI: Defence Ministry has cleared a proposal to induct 144 indigenously-developed 155mm howitzers into the Army for which trials will be held later this year.

The 155mm artillery guns are being developed indigenously by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) in Jabalpur on the basis of Transfer of Technology of the controversial Swiss Bofors guns, which were inducted into the Army in late 1980s.

"The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared a proposal for production of 144 155mm guns (in the Army). Winter trials will take place in December and summer trials in June," defence minister A K Antony told reporters here.

He expressed hope that these trials would be successful "so that after 30 years, India can have upgraded 155mm guns."

The defence minister had recently visited Jabalpur to review the progress in the development of these guns. The Army has not been able to induct even a single new piece of artillery gun in the last 25 years despite several attempts.

Asked about recent reports suggesting that the Defence Ministry was curbing the financial powers of the DRDO chief, Antony said, "That is not correct. We are in the process of delegation of more powers to the various wings of the Defence Ministry."

"When there is delegation of power, we have to set right things more systematically. It is not confined to DRDO or BrahMos but to entire Defence Ministry family. Out of our past experience, whenever there is more delegation, there should be more transparent systems. There should be check and balance," he said.

The minister said efforts to bring in more accountability and transparency in financial management was for "common good and not for one person or one institution."
Indian defence minister says negotiations with China over border disputes in ‘final stages’
DHARAMSHALA, October 1: Indian Defence Minister A K Antony told reporters today that negotiations over long-standing disputes along the Indo-Tibetan border with China are in the “final stages.”

"Everybody knows that border dispute is still unresolved, inspite of the fact that many rounds of negotiations have taken place. Of course, it (the negotiations) is in the final stage," he was quoted as saying on sidelines of a function on the annual day of Defence Accounts Department in New Delhi.

However, he refrained from discussing in detail the progress of the 15 rounds of talks held between specially appointed representatives.

"The pending resolution of the border dispute (is important) to avoid major tensions in the border. It should be done through governmental set up and mechanism for border management involving Services, MEA and other stake holders," Antony further said.

Earlier this year, a hard-hitting report by an independent group of Indian analysts had warned that China may resort to territorial grabs on India, including through a "major military offensive."

"Our frontiers with China have been mostly stable for some years now. However, China could assert its territorial claims (especially in the Arunachal sector or Ladakh) by the use of force," the report titled "Non-Alignment 2.0: A Foreign and Strategic Policy for the 21st century" said.

The report argued that India can't "entirely dismiss the possibility of a major military offensive in Arunachal Pradesh or Ladakh" and suggest a response with "a strategy of quid pro quo.”

Recently, Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh "assured" that his forces are prepared to deal with any eventuality similar to what happened in 1962.

"I am assuring the nation that 1962 will not be repeated. That's the assurance I am giving. We will not let any enemy enter our territory. Plans are afoot on all borders," Gen Singh had said.

At the latest round of border talks held earlier this year in New Delhi the two Asia giants had decided to set up a “new mechanism” to maintain peace on the border called the "working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs.”

However, exile Tibetan groups have called the border talks “illegal and insensitive,” noting that until China’s invasion of Tibet in 1949, India shared its northern border with Tibet, not China.

Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest pro-independence group in exile, has maintained that territorial talks between India and China are “inextricably linked to the issue of Tibet” and that China has “no right to re-write Tibet’s history.”

India and China occupied Tibet share a 3488 km long disputed border which was the cause of a short but bloody war in 1962. Since then, the two Asian giants have shared uneasy military ties.
India's security under threat from pen-drives: Indian Army

New Delhi: If there is a major security threat to the defence forces of the nation, its from pen drives; This is what the Indian army has said in its latest findings. An army offer revealed that as much as 70% of the data security breaches happen because of the involvement of pen drives , somewhere in the technical systems of the defence forces. The tragic part of it is, that there is already a ban against the use of these data carriers but the implementation seems to be no where near to being adept.

A while back, the army headquarters had issued a directive against the use of these pen-drives, especially those manufactured in China, via a cyber security guideline to protect sensitive networks from any kind of attacks, especially malicious viruses. The IAF (Indian Air Force) and Navy have also issued directives against the use of same, after recent attacks on some senior army personnels' computers compromised with what could be sensitive data. Even though the senior officers use pen drives and their personal computers to store or transfer data, but due to presence of malicious spying softwares in them, the information gets transfered via their IP address to other remote locations.

The situation that the Indian armed forces now faces, isnt an isolated one. As rightly echoed by former CIA director, Michael Hayden, the military domans of land, air, and sea indeed have a new member i.e. the man made-cyber domain. His words are rightly matched the instance where Iran's Natanz enrichment plant was compromised by the StuxNet virus spread via pen-drives. It manipulated the automated functions of the nuclear plant, thus disrupting their resource use severely. It was only reported in June, that the Chinese hackers had broken in on the Indian East Naval Command's data centers, which had information about programme 'Arihant' on board. This virus spread was again attributed to infected pen-drives which carried malicious data and compromised on the sensitive information of the defence forces.
What now crucially needs to be addressed, is whether there will be more stringent measure to ensure security of the nation, or will be embroiled in another political slugfest which might put the nation security at risk? Whichever may be the scene, the urgent call to step up data security for armed forces need to addressed urgently.
Indian army chief Bikram Singh to visit Bangladesh tomorrow
Indian army chief General Bikram Singh will arrive here tomorrow on a four-day tour to hold talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart on strengthening cooperation between the two armies, officials said today.

“Gen Bikram Singh is coming at the invitation of his Bangladesh counterpart Gen Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan,” a spokesman of Bangladesh’s Inter Service Public Relations told PTI.

In his maiden tour to Bangladesh since assuming charge of the Indian army nearly four months ago, Gen Singh will be accompanied by his wife Surjeet Kaur.

Indian High Commission here in a statement said, “Singh is no stranger to Bangladesh, having visited Bangladesh in 2011 as the Eastern Army Commander”.

“Bangladesh is among his first visits abroad… General Bikram Singh’s visit will enhance friendship and bilateral co-operation between the two armies and is part of the tradition of regular high level exchanges between the Armed Forces of both countries,” it said.

Former Indian army chief Gen VK Singh had visited the country in June last year when he took salute at a passing out ceremony at the Bangladesh Military Academy.
Posted in India


  1. Surprising that a Veteran with Z Cat security was un covered in London. Private visit does not mean that he is thrown to the wolves. Remember,he had willingly surrendered his life for the cause of the Nation and the Nation is duty bound to protect his life. Wish him a safe and speedy recovery.

  2. Precisely. The Foreign Minister's statement was that he should have informed the Indian High Commission, who would have provided security. Why does he need to inform anyone - being a Z cat protectee, isn't there a SOP in place about actions that need to be taken when he is traveling by those responsible for his security? Does Sonia Gandhi, or for that matter Rober Vadra, have to personally inform the High Commission that he is traveling and needs security?
    Join you in wishing brave old gentleman a speedy recovery.



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