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Friday, 9 November 2012

From Today's Papers - 09 Nov 2012
India-Britain launch cyber dialogue
Situation in Jammu & Kashmir has improved, says British Foreign Secretary
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 8
Britain today said that it had taken into account the change in the situation on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir before lifting its two-year-old advisory to British nationals against travel to Srinagar, Jammu and Ladakh. Britain also explained that its recent decision to end Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s boycott was aimed at strengthening ties all along the length and breadth of this country.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague today held talks with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. The two countries announced their decision to launch a cyber dialogue with the objective of enhancing cooperation to reduce the risk of threats from cyberspace to international security.

At a joint press conference with Khurshid, Hague acknowledged that there has been an improvement in the security situation in J&K. “We take our travel advisories very very’s never political. It seeks to give genuine travel advice.”

Describing Indo-British ties as a ‘genuine partnership between two equals’, Hague said his country was expanding its diplomatic presence in India with the opening of new Deputy High Commission in Chandigarh and Hyderabad. The move would make the UK the largest diplomatic mission in India.

Asked whether Britain had decided to cut or stop its development aid to India, the British leader was evasive and jocularly said, “Aid is past, trade is the future.”

Hague said Britain was fully supportive of India’s claim for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council as also its membership of the international export control regimes.

On his part, Khurshid noted that India had become the third largest investor in the UK. Relations with Britain had grown significantly over the past decade and the aim was to double trade between the two countries by 2015, he added.

‘partnership between two equals’

    The opening of new Deputy High Commission in Chandigarh and Hyderabad will make the UK the largest diplomatic mission in India
    Britain supports India’s claim for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council and its membership of international export control regimes
    India has become the third largest investor in the UK. The aim is to double trade between the two countries by 2015
FIR against BJP MP for encroaching on Army firing range
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 8
The Army versus BJP leader Suresh Angadi row got murkier today with the Army filing an FIR against the two-time Lok Sabha member from Belgaum. The FIR accused the sitting MP of criminal trespass on government property and interference with government authorities in discharge of their duties.

Angadi had lodged a police complaint earlier accusing Colonel Vinod Kumar of the Infantry School at Belgaum of manhandling the security guard of his engineering college (Angadi Institute of Technology and Management) at Savagaon.

The college, on the outskirts of the Belgaum town, is in the eye of a controversy for not obtaining a no-objection certificate from the Army. Angadi, however, maintains that it is not required.

The Army is constructing a compound wall and it is attached to the college compound. The land where Angadi has set up his college allegedly belongs to the Army for use as a firing range.
Brigadier, 4 others face court martial
Accused of selling off equipment worth Rs 6 cr as scrap
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 8
A brigadier and a colonel are among five officers to be tried by a general court martial (GCM) for allegedly selling off ordnance equipment and other items valued at over Rs 6 crore in the guise of scrap.

The GCM is expected to commence this month at Meerut, where the officers are attached for disciplinary proceedings. Sources said Maj Gen Suresh Gupta, General Officer Commanding of a Sub Area, has been detailed as the GCM’s presiding officer.

Earlier, a court of inquiry headed by Maj Gen A Kamran to investigate into allegations of impropriety had held the commandant of the Central Ordnance Depot, Agra, along with the other officers blameworthy of selling off new items in place of 49 lots of scrap items that were to be disposed of instead.

Sources said the brigadier faces seven charges under Sections 52 and 63 of the Army Act for intent to defraud and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline. There are five charges against the colonel and 13 charges against a lieutenant colonel.

Items illegally sold off by the officers included high-value ferrous metal rods, spare parts of vehicles, plywood lots, camouflage items and packaging material, sources said.

Allowing unauthorised entry of vehicles into the depot, accepting money from contractors and lack of adequate supervision are among other charges the officers are facing. The trial of each officer will be conducted successively.
CAG can audit military canteens: MoD

New Delhi, November 8
The Ministry of Defence has intervened in the tussle between the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Armed Forces over conducting of audit of military canteens.

The CAG will be allowed to scrutinise and audit accounts of the Unit-Run Canteens (URCs) for the portion of money they receive from the Consolidated Fund of India in the form of qualitative discounts.

The Armed Forces had opposed it claiming that the URCs were run by a non-public fund. — TNS
No military tattoo for Vijay Diwas
KOLKATA: The military tattoo to mark Vijay Diwas, considered the biggest interface between the military and civilians in Kolkata, will not be held this year, thanks to the Indian Army's ongoing austerity drive. This was revealed by defence sources in Delhi. Officials in Kolkata are now considering to hold a similar show - though not on that grand scale - sometime in January, 2013, when a 'Know Your Army' exhibition is organized on the Maidan outside Fort William.

Some of them agree though that the purpose will be defeated as Vijay Diwas is celebrated in December each year to commemorate India's greatest ever military victory.

Vijay Diwas is celebrated to mark the surrender of the Pakistani Army in Dhaka on December 16, 1971, that led to the creation of Bangladesh. Several years later, the Army set up Vijay Smarak - a memorial for the fallen soldier - close to the Fort William gate.

Every year, on December 16, the General Officer Commanding in Chief of the Eastern Command and other senior officers of the Air Force and Navy lay wreaths at the memorial. Events are also organized and Mukti Joddhas from Bangladesh are also invited to participate in the celebrations and share their experiences. Till last year, the military tatoo used to be organized on two consecutive afternoons at the Royal Calcutta Turf Club (RCTC). Entry would be free for all.

The military tatoo would involve the display of riding skills by the cavalry, fly-past by IAF choppers, skydiving by the Akash Ganga team, slithering by Special Forces personnel and a mock assault, displays by animals used by the military like dogs and mules, displays by motorcycle outriders and a military band. The show would wind up with a fireworks display. A couple of years ago, spectators had also witnessed the fly-past by a Su-30 aircraft.

"It will be very sad if the military tattoo is not held henceforth. This was one occasion where the people of the city could get a feel of what the military is all about. There would be great enthusiasm, particularly among youngsters and children who have to access to establishments like Fort William. I am sure that many youngsters got inspired to join the defence forces after watching the tatoo.

Moreover, such shows send out a message that the country recognizes the successes achieved by her armed forces.

I feel the tattoo should be continued," said a former Army commander who has been part of the show.

Apart from the interface with civilians, the event is a show of bonhomie between India and Bangladesh. Mukti Joddhas would get an opportunity to meet the officers who led the Army during the War of Liberation. The officers included Lt Gen (retd) JFR Jacob, who was the Eastern Command chief of staff during the War. At present, there are no serving officers in the Army, Navy or Air Force who was commissioned before the War. Gen (retd) V K Singh was the last officer to have served in the War.

It's still not clear whether other events will be held and whether Mukti Joddhas from Bangladesh and former GOC-in-Cs of the Eastern Command will be invited to the city.

Sources revealed that there are strict orders from the defence minister himself to maintain austerity.

During the commanders' conference, GOC-in-Cs were asked not to indulge in expenditure for events such as seminars, conferences and shows unless extremely important. For some years now, the Eastern Command has been trying to get corporate support to organize shows like the military tatoo but the response has been lukewarm. A lot of expenditure is actually involved in organizing such events as a lot of logistics has to be taken care of. Costs are also incurred in putting up the guests and hosting lunches and dinners for them.

Officials in Kolkata revealed little when asked about the decision.

"The Army is planning an event along with the 'Know Your Army' exhibition. Officials believe it makes little sense to hold two separate events," said Gr Capt T K Singha, CPRO, Ministry of Defence, Kolkata.
State-of-art communication networks needed for defence: Antony
New Delhi, Nov 8 — Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday stressed the need to combine the country's software development skills with indigenous manufacturing to provide state-of-the art communication systems for the armed forces.

"The single biggest challenge facing societies and nations is the vulnerability of communication and network devices to attacks, or threats in the electronic, cyber as well as the physical domain," Antony said in his address at the inaugural session of two-day Defcom India 2012 seminar here.

According to Antony, indigenisation of information, communication, electronics and cyber technologies for the defence forces is required urgently as the tactical communications environment is becoming increasingly dynamic.

"Industry and development organisations have a key role in modernising and indigenising Indian army's tactical communications system (TCS) and network centric operations," Antony said.

The seminar is being jointly organised by the integrated headquarter of the defence ministry, the corps of signals of the army and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Antony added that decision makers in the armed forces should be able to receive reliable and actionable information under all circumstances, which only a robust TCS can deliver.

Corroborating Antony's views, Army Chief General Bikram Singh said there is a need to achieve self-reliance and technical sovereignty in TCS through indigenisation of designs and standards.

"While the transition to the TCS environment will be gradual, it is important that the soldier in the battle space does not have to deal with multiple communication devices," General Singh said.

"The overall aim should be to develop reliable, mobile, high-speed convergence networks that are inter-operable with even legacy systems and function in a joint services environment," he added.
Pakistan's defence preparedness 'purely security driven': army

8 November 2012

Press Trust of India

ISLAMABAD, 8 NOV: The possibility of state-to-state conflict cannot be totally eliminated and it is the responsibility of the world community to address security concerns that could trigger such events, Pakistan's second highest ranking military official has said.

Gen Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, made the remarks while speaking at a seminar organised in Karachi yesterday as part of the defence exhibition IDEAS - 2012.

The general claimed Pakistan's defence preparedness is “purely security driven”.

Mr Wynne further said the security scenario at the regional and global level was undergoing a major transformation that has strategic implications for Pakistan.

As the regional security situation becomes more complex and uncertain, Pakistan's defence industry would be compelled to develop a response that is proportionate to challenges that lie ahead, he told the seminar on 'Security outlook 2025: Future security trends and challenges for defence industry in mounting technological response'.

The IDEAS-2012 exhibition provides a platform to exhibit the latest weapons and an interactive opportunity for the armed forces to review their defence needs, he said.

Former ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, in her presentation, made the point that Pakistan's geopolitical location and volatile neighbourhood placed the country at the centre of “many regional storms”.

Regional developments could accentuate Pakistan's security anxieties and will have to be factored in for the evolution of the defence industry, she said.
Defence Ministry struggling to get budget allocation: Antony
The Defence Ministry is not very hopeful of getting an additional Rs40,000 crore for modernisation of the armed forces with defence minister AK Antony on Thursday saying he was struggling to get even the Rs1.93 lakh crore allotted by the government in the budget.

"Now I am struggling to get the budgetary amount," he told reporters here when asked if he was hopeful of getting the additional Rs40,000 crore sought by his ministry for modernising the three services.

The defence minister was interacting with reporters on the sidelines of an army seminar on defence communication networks.

Antony, however, ruled out any cut in the defence budget, saying, "These are all rumours. Our ministry is trying to speed up (the modernisation process) without compromising procedures. From our ministry's side, there is no question of slowing down."

The Defence Ministry has been allocated Rs1.93 lakh crore in the budget for the current fiscal. It has also made a demand for an additional Rs40,000 crore for meeting modernisation requirements of the three Services.

Experts feel shortage of funds may lead delays in major modernisation programmes of the armed forces including plans to acquire the 126 combat aircraft.

The defence minister had yesterday asked the armed forces to focus in the remaining part of the current fiscal mainly on projects affecting their operational readiness.

During a review meeting, he told the three services vice-chiefs that they should adopt a "focussed approach" for the remaining part of the financial year and speed up procurements which have a direct linkage to their operational readiness.

Asked about the action taken in the Tatra truck case, the defence minister said, "The entire thing is with the CBI and an inquiry is going on. You better check with the CBI."

Army chief to brief CCS on need for mountain strike corps
General Bikram Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, is slated to brief the Cabinet Committee on Security on the need to raise a new mountain strike corps, primarily aimed at countering a potential threat from China on India's northern borders.

Highly placed sources in the defence ministry told that the Chiefs of Staff Committee -- essentially a forum of all the three service chiefs -- has reconsidered the 2011 proposal to raise a mountain strike corps and come up with a comprehensive plan that will be presented to the CCS, the country's highest decision-making body on security matters, later this month.

The proposal, first mooted in 2010 and given in-principle clearance by the government in 2011, involved recruiting over 80,000 new soldiers and nearly 500 officers to man the strike corps -- an offensive formation -- to counter China's growing capabilities across the border in Tibet [ Images ].

It was estimated that the new corps would cost about Rs 65,000 crore (Rs 650 billion). India has three strike corps, all geared towards offensive operations against Pakistan. They are I (located at Mathura), II (Ambala) and XXI (Bhopal).

Former army chief General V K Singh was a forceful advocate of forming the mountain strike corps, proposed to be based at Panagarh in West Bengal [ Images ]. The government, however, had second thoughts especially because raising an offensive formation for mountains involved massive expenditure. The finance ministry initially raised objections to such huge investment.

The Prime Minister's Office too felt that accretion of such a huge force may raise Beijing's [ Images ] hackles at a time when India-China relations are on an even keel.

The third factor was the apparent disconnect between the Indian Army [ Images ] and the Indian Air Force in asking for resources.

The PMO sent back the proposal to the defence ministry and asked for a comprehensive joint proposal. The Chiefs of Staff Committee asked Headquarter Integrated Defence Staff to come up with a revised draft for the mountain strike corps which is now ready.

The new proposal now given final shape, includes raising of three more mountain divisions (20,000 soldiers each), complete with tactical airlift capability and armed with necessary armoured regiments and artillery components.

The IAF has also projected its requirement in this plan. It includes deployment of the C-130J Hercules aircraft meant for Special Operations like para-dropping.

General Bikram Singh will personally outline the proposal to the CCS later this month so that India's defences along the China border get a further boost. He is also expected to brief the CCS on the slippages in building infrastructure in the difficult mountain terrain of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim in the Eastern Command.

India's plans to build border infrastructure including roads, air strips and living quarters for additional troop deployment, has not kept pace with the need.

Since 2009 India has raised two mountain divisions, one each deployed under the Tezpur-based 4 Corps and the Dimapur-based 3 Corps.

If the CCS clears the proposal to raise the mountain strike corps, it will take anywhere between three and four years to recruit, train and deploy troops in a manner that acts a strong deterrent against any Chinese adventurism.

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