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Saturday, 17 November 2012

From Today's Papers - 17 Nov 2012
Antony to open HAL's advanced avionics factory in Kerala
Shubhadeep Choudhury
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, November 16
Defence Minister AK Antony will inaugurate Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's Strategic Electronics Factory at Kasaragod in Kerala on November 17. Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister of Kerala, will inaugurate the production facilities at the same function.

The factory is slated to produce advanced avionics for aircraft and helicopters. "Considering the huge potential of avionic systems in the coming years, a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for a variety of avionics has been established at Kasaragod.

"This will result in better operational effectiveness and improved customer satisfaction," RK Tyagi, chairman, HAL, said here.

The Kerala Government had allotted 196 acres for setting up the new unit. The foundation stone for the construction of the factory buildings was laid by Antony in 2008.

The present phase of this factory (first phase) has been set up at a cost of Rs 66 crore. There are seven buildings which are dedicated to various activities like production, administration, technical services, material management, security, medical facility, canteen and for agencies such as the Air Force and DGAQA (Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance). The buildings have come up in an area of 4,250 square metres.

The production of airborne special purpose computers like mission computer, display processor, radar computers and open architect mission computer for SU-30, LCA and MiG-27 upgrade have been taken up at the factory.

It will be further expanded in phase II to undertake the manufacture of avionics such as automatic electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, electronic warfare (EW) suite, communication and navigation equipment besides other indigenous projects like softnet defined radio, interrogate friend-foe (IFF) mark-XII etc for medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA).

The facilities and expertise acquired at this factory for advanced avionics of MMRCA will be used for upcoming projects like fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), multi-role transport aircraft (MTA), light utility helicopter (LUH), light combat helicopter (LCH), medium lift helicopter (MLH), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) etc.
A Pakistani lawyer takes on the Army and pays in bruises
Rawalpindi: When Inam Ur Raheem, a retired military lawyer, started a legal challenge this week seeking to end the tenure of Pakistan's supreme military commander, he was preparing the latest shot in a barrage of legal challenges to the country's powerful military establishment in recent months.

But just one day after his filing in the Islamabad High Court, the battle came directly to him.

On Wednesday night, as he returned from a family funeral to his home in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, three vehicles surrounded the taxi in which he was traveling and pushed it off the road, he said.
Six unidentified men leapt out and attacked Raheem, raining blows on his head and upper torso.

"I resisted, so they attacked me with punches and sticks," he said during an interview at a nearby hospital, where he was treated for cuts to the nose and head. "They said they were teaching me a lesson for what I was doing."

What Raheem, a 57-year-old retired colonel, had been doing was challenging the validity of a three-year extension of service for Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in 2010. Kayani, the army chief, turned 60 this year, which Raheem argues is the age limit for his post, thus rendering the remainder of his term extension invalid.

Raheem believes the beating, which occurred just 200 yards from the military's general headquarters, was a clear attempt to force him to back off.

"No one except the army chief and his military intelligence chief can be behind this attack," he said.

The army spokesman was not available for comment, but another military official, speaking on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss the delicate issue, described Raheem's account as "baseless."

"No security official was involved in beating up of Inam ur Raheem," he said.

The investigation into the assault is now in police hands. But there is little doubt that Raheem had entered perilous waters - particularly at a time when the military leadership faces an array of legal actions that challenge several pillars of the army's longstanding grip on power in Pakistan.

Nine serving or retired generals are currently in the dock in either military or civilian courts, or under investigation by the government's anti-corruption body, the National Accountability Bureau. Last month, at the conclusion of an investigation into election rigging dating to 1990, the Supreme Court ordered the government to start criminal proceedings against Gen. Mirza Aslam Beg, a former army chief, and Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, a former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI.

Another former ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi, who served as the railways minister under military ruler Pervez Musharraf, faces investigation for his part in a contentious deal in which land ceded to the railways was converted into a high-class country club in the eastern city of Lahore.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has applied stringent pressure on the ISI and its sister agency, Military Intelligence, to answer for their activities in the western province of Baluchistan. Human rights groups say that nationalist rebels there are regularly detained by intelligence operatives, tortured and sometimes summarily executed.

The Pakistani media, which have long handled the military with kid gloves, have seized on the recent cases with a newfound aggressiveness, adding to the public perception that the military  has been put on the defensive like never before.

Yet for all the public humiliations, few believe the military's actual grip on power, or the influence it can wield against President Asif Ali Zardari's civilian government, has waned much. And the generals, while accepting some of the criticism, have also shot back, appearing to signal that enough is enough.

In the most notable case, Kayani issued a rare public statement this month in which he made a veiled but hard-hitting criticism of the judiciary and the media. The statement has been the subject of speculation in newspaper editorial pages ever since.

Senior generals insist that, in a country besieged by fractious politics and myriad violent conflicts, the unified and disciplined army is the glue that holds it all together. They are angered that their blood sacrifice against the Taliban in the northwest, and against nationalists in Baluchistan - a conflict they insist is being primed by Pakistan's archenemy, India - has been overshadowed by human rights concerns.

Some analysts worry that the sudden surge of judicial and media pressure against the military, which was already bristling after the humiliation of the U.S. commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year, could be moving dangerously fast. Beg, the former army chief, has gone so far as to warn that the court's activism risks setting off a coup.

Few believe that is likely, at least in the short term. But the bubbling judicial confrontation has certainly injected an unpredictable element into the country's power dynamics as it moves toward elections, to take place within the next seven months.

Leading the charge from the judiciary's side is the independent-minded chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, whose spirited court proceedings are supported by the rowdy and loose coalition of Pakistani lawyers whose street protests in 2007 ultimately helped push Musharraf from power. Now they have the army in their sights. On Wednesday, lawyers of the Rawalpindi District Bar passed a resolution against what they termed the army chief's interference in politics.

"The army, as an institution, has not only failed to hold its corrupt officers accountable but is supporting them," stated the resolution, according to local news media reports.

Among their number is Raheem, the retired military lawyer and a religious-minded man with a history of challenging the military. In 2007, Raheem sought the release of detainees being held in intelligence custody. This year, he defended a brigadier who was later court-martialed for spreading Islamist propaganda inside the military.

He says he believes that he was attacked Wednesday by operatives from military intelligence because, six months ago, the head of that organization, Maj. Gen. Naushad Kayani, personally warned him to abandon his legal activism.

"Give up all these cases. Anything can happen to you," Raheem recounted the general as telling him.

Now his petition against Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is expected to be heard by the Islamabad High Court next week. Raheem says he intends to press ahead - after being released from the hospital, he went immediately to a police station to file a complaint that named the army chief and military intelligence chief, whom he accused in writing of mounting an assassination attempt against him.

By Thursday afternoon, the police had not taken the case up. But Raheem said he was undeterred.

"There is no question of giving up," he said.
Ex-Army Chief of India Gen. JJ Singh Visits Toronto
( Nov 16 2012 )          
News East-West
Former Indian army chief Gen J.J. Singh, who was in Toronto to promote his autobiography `A Soldier's General', also joined in Diwali festivities organized by his friends and well-wishers here in the city suburb of Mississauga.
In fact, the first Sikh to head the Indian army also briefly joined the dance floor to shake a leg.
Sharing his thoughts, General Singh, who is currently the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh, said, "There is no doubt India will be a super power and our kids and grand children will live to see it'' because Indians have a culture of hard work.
While people in the West don't work on weekends, Indians never stop and work almost 24 hours a day, he added.
Giving his own example - the grandson of a soldier and son of a colonel, Gen Singh said in India anyone with hard work and clear goals can rise to the top.
He said his soldiering background goes� back a hundred years when his grandfather joined the military in 1914 and fought in the First World War in Mesopotamia. Later, he said, his father Lt Col Jaswant Singh fought in the Second World War. "I am a proud third-generation soldier and I have been a front-runner from the start to the finish.''
General Singh, who became the army chief in 2005, said he imbibed qualities of hard work and clear goals from his grandfather and father. "I have risen 18 rungs, and today is Remembrance Day and I am meeting you on this important day,'' the former army chief told the gathering.
Later, in an informal chat, General Singh said Indian armed forces today were ready to meet any challenges. Reminded of the 1962 war and the Chinese aggressive attitude towards India, he said today is not 1962.
"India is strong enough to meet any threat and we have a clear leadership now,'' he said.
General Singh said Arunachal Pradesh (which was overrun by the Chinese in 1962) was undergoing major developments in terms of infrastructure and connectivity by road, rail and air. "It (Arunachal) will become a totally different place within the next five years,'' the state governor said.
The General, who has been to over 40 countries during his travels abroad, said Toronto was one of the best places he has ever visited and he lauded the Indians in Canada for their achievements.
'Monk' held with documents having defence information
BIKANER: A man in a monk's robe carrying a file containing Army-related information was held in Rani Market area of the city.

Sudhir Kumar, hailing from Uttar Pradesh, was held by a team of CID when he was roaming in the area last night. He was later handed over to the local Kotegate police station where he was interrogated.

"The man in a monk's attire was carrying a file having hand written information related with Army, description on tank and other devices," SHO Kotegate Govind Ram said.

"It is not clear whether he is a spy and things will be clear only after thorough interrogation," he said.
Talk on Indian Army by Colonel R K Srivastava at IIM Indore
Colonel R K Srivastava from the Indian Army gave an inspiring insight into the challenges posed by modern day warfare and the efforts being mitigated by our armed forces to mitigate such risks. Stressing upon the fact that we're currently living in the 4th Generation of warfare, he brought home the point that he wars of tomorrow shall not be raised by nation states but by individuals/groups. The importance of social media was also highlighted emphatically, as its efficacy has already been demonstrated in the Arab Spring of 2011.

Colonel Srivastava quoted stirring examples from history to dictate the importance of military leadership in shaping the future of mankind. Closer to home, he gave an overview of the strengths of Indian army and the value system engrained in the hearts of soldiers. Saluting the martyrdom of our heroes, he revealed that our soldiers don't sit back and dodge enemy fire but fight from the front. However, life of an army officer was not all about action-they indulged in adventure sports, management lessons, humanitarian activities and much more. The perks associated with joining army more than outweighed the benefits of corporate life.

The session ended befittingly by an outline of the selection process and a lovely couplet: "For an army officer, first comes the honor of his country, then comes the responsibility of the men he commands and finally comes his own self". A rousing standing ovation bore testimony to the impact the talk had on the audience, and would have gone a long way towards rekindling the spirit of patriotism in their hearts.
Territorial Army facing a severe shortage of officers
Much like the regular army, the Territorial Army (TA) a voluntary military force, is also facing a shortage of officers. According to the ministry of defence sources, TA, which has a requirement of close to 400 officers, is facing a shortage of about 40% of its sanctioned strength of officers.

The regular army has a shortage of about 10,972 officers. At present there are 36,790 officers serving in the army as against the sanctioned strength of 47,762 officers.

According to sources, unlike the regular army, which has over the years seen a decrease in young men joining the force, there has been no dearth in civilians volunteering to join TA.

"Close to 10,000 civilians apply for joining TA. Of them, a handful are called to appear before the Service Selection Board (SSB) and of them only about 10 or 15 pass and are commissioned as officers," said sources.

"Though there is lot of enthusiasm among the volunteers only a few are able to make the cut due to the stringent requirement. The candidates volunteering to be TA officers should be employed with a government or private firm or should have their own business, apart from being graduates. Besides, their employers should give them no-objection certificates. They will also have to undergo two months of training every year. Hence, many candidates do not meet the requirements," said a TA officer.

However, TA, which has strength of 40,000 first line troops in close to 70 battalions spread throughout the country, does not face a shortage in the personnel below officer rank (PBOR) level.

TA, which is also called the citizen's army, consists mostly of civilians who are employed but have received military training and who are called upon to supplement the defence forces in times of emergency. Over the last few a years, celebrities like Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, former cricketer Kapil Dev, Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and actor Mohanlal have been inducted into the TA as honorary lieutenant colonels.

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