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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

From Today's Papers - 20 Nov 2012
CSD profits to fund defence accounts dept welfare schemes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 19
Personnel of the Defence Accounts Department (DAD), a civilian establishment under the Ministry of Defence, will now benefit from profits generated by Canteen Stores Department (CSD) outlets. The Controller General of Defence Accounts has identified several welfare schemes that would be run out of allocations from CSD trade surplus funds.

Other schemes include rewarding meritorious wards of employees, providing sports and gymnasium and books for libraries, improvement of play areas in DAD colonies and provision of security arrangements.

Like armed forces personnel, some entitled civilians - who are paid out of defence estimates - are entitled to CSD facilities. DAD establishments, which are located across the country, have their own CSD outlets. Though the cost of items sold through CSD outlets are priced lower than market rates, CSD generates significant profits that are used for the welfare of armed forces personnel and regimental activities.

The CSD, which has 34 area depots and 3,745 retail outlets nationwide known as unit-run canteens (URCs), had a turnover of over Rs 9,752 crore in 2011 and a profit of close to Rs 400 crore.

Recently, the functioning of URCs came under the scanner with the Comptroller and Auditor General raising objections over certain administrative procedures and financial transactions carried out by the three services which manage the URCs. The Services had refused CAG access to URC records.
Tardy work on Arunachal roads, airstrips has Antony fuming
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 19
With 22 strategic roads and upgrade of five airstrips in Arunachal Pradesh running years behind schedule, Defence Minister AK Antony today questioned the languid pace and ordered the setting up of a special monitoring committee for the construction of airstrips in the North-Eastern state.

Antony was conducting the first of the four-part review here today when he told the officials and the three Service chiefs, “In the wake of the current security environment, we need to go beyond the probable dates of the completion of projects,” officials said.

At the meeting, Antony tasked his junior minister Jitendra Singh to take up the work of pending environment clearances and bottlenecks that are holding back the road and infrastructure projects in the North-East.

In certain sensitive areas, the Ministry of Environment has relaxed the conditions which lay down planting of two trees for each tree cut.

According to sources, some 26 roads in Arunachal Pradesh were targeted for completion in 2012. Only four have been completed. The rest are stuck up due to want of forest clearances, labour shortage and slackness of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

Antony was not happy with the BRO and has asked the BRO to come up with a list of pending work. The BRO assessment will be done shortly. Each passing year, the BRO is struggling to even spend its allocated budget.

The other crucial aspect discussed today was to upgrade the existing mud-paved advanced landing grounds (ALGs) with fully paved concrete runaways.
UFO sightings inside Indian territory bordering China raises security concerns

Top security brass of the Indian government is battling a "mysterious" threat from the Chinese side these days: tennis ball-sized UFOs.

Hundreds of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) have been sighted inside the Indian territory bordering China in recent months, raising security concerns. The issue, initially dubbed a minor one, has turned serious as India prepares to raise it at the diplomatic level with China.

Sources said a meeting of the boundary coordination mechanism - a highlevel official mechanism set up by the two sides to ensure that the boundary incidents between their armed forces do not escalate - is being scheduled later this month where the issue of "luminous objects" will be at the centre of the discussion.

The Indian delegation will be led by Gautam Bambawale, the head of the China desk in the external affairs ministry, while China will be represented by its director general, department of boundary and oceanic affairs. Security officials from both sides will also participate in the meeting.

Highly placed sources said over 150 such incidents have been reported in the last three months and that India's protests at the local border personnel meeting with the Chinese have met with a cursory denial.

The government's decision to raise the 'UFO ' issue at the diplomatic level follows a detailed report sought from the Defence Research and Development Organisation and the Indian Army, and a spectrum analyser to ascertain the objects.

Surprisingly, the radar could not detect these objects indicating that they were nonmetallic.

Also, the spectrum analyser could not detect any signals emitted by them.

The army also flew a reconnaissance drone in the direction of the floating objects, but it didn't yield anything substantial.

"Earlier these reports coming from various sectors of the boundary were sketchy but now we have definite proof of these yellowish spheres coming from the Chinese side; and our concerns will be raised," a source said.

According to the reports, in Ladakh sector, such an object was sighted in Thakung post on October 21 for around eight hours. It had an "intense continuous flash light." Another incident was reported from Arunachal Pradesh's Dichu area on October 19.

Earlier it was believed that the Chinese could be sending remote-controlled lanterns but that theory was shot down after an internal probe.

Mail Today accessed a series of reports sent by the intelligence bureau, the army and the ITBP on the issue, which has been discussed at a high-level meeting on China in the Prime Minister's Office.

Some of the top government officials suspect that these UFOs which appear to lift off from the Chinese side and traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing were high-intensity cameras.

"We are worried that there may be a flare-up if the Indian troops decide to shoot these objects," a source said.
Ukraine plans to sell India 100 BTR-4

Ukraine plans to sell India 100 BTR-4 with an Indian company parnterstve Shrilakshmi Defence Solutions Ltd. .

Bronetrnapsotery designed for the needs of the armed forces to provide special operations under obedinennyh UN forces. Note, currently Ukraine is seeking to take a leading position in the global market of light armored vehicles. This was said Defense Minister Dmitry Salamatin. The basis for leadership of Ukraine has become the new BTR-4E, which from now enters the Ukrainian troops. It is designed "Kharkiv Machine Building Design Bureau of the AA Morozov. "

The machine is equipped with a 30-mm automatic cannon ZTM-1 of Kamenetz-Podolsk factory precision mechanics, anti-tank missile system Kyiv Design Bureau "Luch" grenade KBA-117 KB "Armament" gun Kiev plant "Mayak". Presented arms merged into a single fire control system, created as Ukrainian developers.

According to the Ministry of Defence, the BTR-4E is available on the world market. So, the car is already purchasing a number of countries in the Middle East. The Ministry of Defence expects that in the future, and other countries will be interested in the BTR-4E. To meet the global demand for such equipment Ministry plans to let bids in different versions and trim levels, allowing it to be a universal platform. According to analysts, the global market for light armored vehicles now stands at more than $ 10 billion. However, none of the Ukrainian company is not included in the twenty largest manufacturers of armored vehicles. Because the implementation of the expansion of Ukrainian design to the world market is very competitive due to the already busy market. Currently, Ukraine has agreed to supply its technology to Ethiopia (delivery in 2011, 200 modernized T-72), Thailand (supply of 50 tanks "Hold "and 121 BTR-3E1), Kazakhstan (supply 100 BTR-4), Kuwait (awaiting a political decision on the purchase of Ukrainian BTR-4), India, China, Algeria, Iraq.
Indian Army seeks mini UAVs for infantry units
The Indian Army has outlined plans to beef up the reconnaissance capabilities of its infantry battalions with mini unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) small enough for soldiers to carry, deploy and recover.

A key component of the infantry modernisation plan is to equip more than 350 battalions with three mini UAVs each to help soldiers launch offensive and defensive operations, army sources said.

The US, British and Israeli armies have been relying on such small-sized surveillance systems for sometime now. Equipped with electronic sensors, man-portable UAVs are used for capturing and relaying images of the tactical battle area to improve the situational awareness of soldiers.

The army is looking at buying mini UAVs with an operating range of eight to 10 km and flight endurance exceeding three hours, the sources revealed.

Ramping up the infantry's surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities with more than 1,000 mini UAVs could cost as much as Rs. 150 crore. That's not much of a price to keep soldiers out of harm's way, a senior officer said.

"Mini UAVs come with huge operational advantages as we can look deeper without sending out a patrol. Quicker flow of information will help commanders take more accurate decisions," said an infantry battalion commander, who did not wish to be named.

He said such systems would also offset the challenges posed by hard terrain conditions in forward areas. More than 120 infantry battalions are guarding our borders or involved in counter-terrorism operations in difficult areas.

The mini UAV project - one of the 80 modernisation schemes being given impetus by army chief General Bikram Singh - is expected to be implemented within the 12th Plan (2012-2017).

Mini UAVs are not confined to just military applications. These lightweight systems, which can be launched in 15 minutes, could be valuable for an army that is frequently called upon to provide humanitarian aid.
Call to settle Pak-India water issues
INDIAN and Pakistani ex-army officers termed good water management vital for both the countries and unanimously called for a joint team to study, examine and settle water issues between them.

They also expressed concern over trust deficit between Pakistan and India and suggested maximising the efforts to move forward together by fighting poverty and enhancing literacy in the region.

They were speaking at a seminar “India–Pakistan Relations: Prospects and Challenges” jointly hosted by Beaconhouse National University and India Pakistan Retired Soldiers Initiative for Peace (IPSI) at the university’s city campus here on Monday.

Lt Gen (r) Moti Dar, former Vice-Chief of Indian Army and President of the IPSI, said India had highlighted the need of a strong regional bloc on pattern of European Union (EU), adding that SAARC had proved ineffective. He particularly mentioned the Arab Spring and said the voice of the people needed to be heard. He talked of the importance of geo-strategic situation of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan and while expressing concerns said that Western powers had targeted resources of South Asia.

Moti Dar also suggested a common security mechanism for the region. He observed that issues such as Kashmir, Siachen and Sir Creek, sharing of water, nuclear armament and missile development had been plaguing India and Pakistan’s whole system, saying “and we are unable to solve these issues just because of trust deficit.” He termed the communication gap and lack of trust as biggest problems confronting the two neighbouring countries and said there was dire need to reduce the prevailing trust deficit. “The governments are what governments are. We, as people, must realise that it is the people to decide whether grow together and be friends,” he added and also lauded Malala Yousufzai for her courage for the cause of education.

The IPSI Pakistan chapter president, Lt Gen (r) Nasir Akhtar, said both Pakistan and India had been facing poverty, adding, “If we come out of this poverty, we will be Europe and America.” He said that without education we could not do anything and urged the students to cement the relationship between both the countries to help them move forward. He emphasized the need of regular interaction among people of the two countries and especially mentioned Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf for his progress on Kashmir issue with India.

During the question-answer session, Lt Gen (r) Moti Dar said figures of India and Pakistan on water issues were different; therefore, there was dire need to have a common team to study, examine and work out over the issue. He talked about the negative impact of global warming and population explosion on the Indus Basin.

Brig (r) J L Kaul suggested that there was need to give a fresh look to the Indus Basin Water Treaty, and said, “This issue can create a lot of misunderstanding.” He also suggested a joint team on water issue, saying that both the countries must be open in this regard.

Col (r) Gautam Das said the Indus Basin Water Treaty was not a problem; however, the structure aspects needed to be looked at.

Maj Gen (r) Raj Chadha said that solution to the issue was a will to do and that was the purpose of their presence in Pakistan. He also expressed concern over the lack of trade and mentioned model of the European Union too.

Maj Gen (r) Harish Kumar Sharma said there was need to break the communication barriers and there were problems as we had stopped talking to each other. He referred to the social media such as Facebook, saying that people, especially, the youth from the two sides could stay connected with each other and become friends.

While pointing towards students sitting in the auditorium, Mr Sharma said the problems between Pakistan and India might be the same even after 10 years but only you (youth) was going to change the situation.

IPSI Pakistan chapter’s Lt Gen (r) Humayun Bangash talked about confidence building measures (CBMs), visa relaxation and other issues and termed the trust deficit as a major problem between the two neighbouring countries. Renowned analyst and media historian, Dr Mehdi Hassan said curriculum on both the sides was filled with hate material and discrimination which promoted hatred between Pakistan and India. He said both the countries were spending the maximum on arms and ammunition and minimum on education and that all the problems would be solved if we stopped hating each other.

Dr Mehdi Hassan said education system of both the countries needed to be changed to the extent to remove the hate material. He also expressed concerns over non availability of Indian news channels in Pakistan.

Vice-chancellor of the university, Sartaj Aziz, also said that Pakistan and India both needed to work out to develop water resources jointly. Col (r) Prabhakar and Sq Leader (r) Chhina along with their wives and Col (r) A R Khan and students and faculty members of the university attended the seminar.

It is important to note that the IPSI is working for establishing peace on both sides of the border and comprises retired army officers of both the countries. It was initiated by Dr Nirmala Deshpande who had the honor of being a life-time member of Indian Parliament on account of her services for humanity.

Former chief of Pakistan Air Force, Air Marshal (r) Zafar Ch, a member of IPSI, led the first Pakistani delegation to India in 2005, followed by a number of visits from both the sides in order to promote peace and prosperity between the two neighbouring countries.
India's ambitions to encircle Pakistan
India is largest in size and population and militarily and economically the strongest country in South Asia. Indian Army of 1.4 million with 34 combat divisions is the third largest in the world and Indian air force and navy too are formidable. India has made its standing in the world because of its geo-strategic importance and huge economic market.

Diplomatically it is well placed in the world comity of nations and enjoys best of relations with world powers as well as with the Muslim world. Till 1990 it was strategic partner of former Soviet Union. After latter's demise India snuggled into the lap of USA and became its strategic partner but without damaging its relations with Russia. It also developed close ties with Israel which has over a period of time become India's biggest arms supplier. India then mended fences with China by pushing border dispute in Himalayan region to the back-burner and promoted trade. India got closer to Iran when Afghanistan was under the rule of Taliban and Afghan Northern Alliance (NA) leadership had taken refuge in Tehran. However, Afghanistan under anti-India and pro-Pakistan Taliban rule was a huge loss for India. In anticipation of a regime change in Kabul, it started providing full support to NA leaders during their period of exile. India is now a strategic partner of Afghanistan where Pakistan's influence has diminished considerably.

In marked contrast to its high standing across the globe where it shows a humane face and claims to be the champion of democracy and secularism, India doesn't enjoy good reputation within South Asia where its interests clash with neighboring countries. It has used Chankyan tactics to deceive, beguile or blackmail its adversaries or has used force to browbeat the smaller states and make them submit to its wishes. Among its neighbors, Pakistan is its arch rival since it refuses to accept India's supremacy and wants relationship on equal basis. India has still not reconciled with the existence of Pakistan and keeps hatching conspiracies and even going to war to undo Pakistan.

Out of 13 Corps, seven Indian Corps are deployed against Pakistan. Majority of its airbases are also poised against Pakistan and its Navy is geared toward blocking Karachi in the event of war. Besides equipping its forces with latest weaponry and technology, India is refurbishing the obsolete military equipment with US-Israel efforts. Indian defence budget is increasing annually at an alarming rate. India has since long been aspiring to turn Pakistan into a captive Indian market and to encircle Pakistan. It has partially encircled Pakistan after occupying two-thirds Kashmir, which overlooks AJK, and Siachen Glacier which dominates Gilgit-Baltistan, and substantially enhancing its naval presence in the Indian Ocean to turn Arabian Sea as its exclusive domain so as to quarantine Pakistan. After opening Pakistan specific consulates in Afghanistan and in Iranian provinces bordering Pakistan for the purposes of sabotage and subversion, and helping Iran in building Chahbahar Port and linking it with Indian constructed Highway Delaram-Zaranj in Afghanistan, its strategic encirclement plan is near completion.

Creation of Pakistan from within the womb of Indian Union on August 14, 1947 was the biggest shock inflicted upon the Brahman elites of India. Pakistan's survival and progress traumatized them further and to lessen their anguish they keep hatching conspiracies to impede and possibly block all avenues of progress and at an opportune time deliver a knockout blow. India supported Pakhtunistan stunt espoused by Afghanistan. It was essentially its quest for security against the vastly superior India harboring hegemonic ambitions, unfriendly Afghanistan and not so friendly USSR which motivated Pakistan to join western pacts and seek US military assistance.

Pakistan has on number of occasions gone out of the way to throw away the baggage of animosity with India and to make a fresh start. Ignoring the wrongs of India, Quaid-e-Azam had made an offer to forget the past and live as peaceful neighbors and to jointly work towards improving the quality of life of common people. His offer was spurned by Nehru and Indian forces forcibly occupied two-thirds Kashmir in October 1947. Kashmir thus became a bone of contention and a major cause of never-ending antagonism. FM Ayub Khan made an offer of joint defence which was also brushed aside by Nehru. ZA Bhutto agreed to Indira Gandhi's suggestion of bilateral-ism in the 1972 Simla Conference but India exploited it by preventing third party mediation/facilitation and putting Kashmir issue in a cold storage.

Gen Ziaul Haq offered umpteen proposals to make South Asia nuclear free zone but India paid no heed to any. Benazir Bhutto went to the extent of providing list of Sikh leaders engaged in Khalistan movement but she failed to appease Rajiv Gandhi. Nawaz Sharif too tried hard to find an amicable solution to the chronic dispute of Kashmir though composite dialogue and to improve Indo-Pak relations but could make no headway due to Indian leaders rigid stance that Kashmir is integral part of India. Gen Musharraf crossed all limits to appease India by suggesting a solution outside the realm of UN Resolutions but he couldn't bring any change in India's uncompromising stand. The current regime is also following the policy of appeasement but has failed to solicit positive response from India. Rather, India has all along maintained a belligerent posture and on several occasions Indian military might got deployed along the border and came close to an all-out war.

India has gone to war with Pakistan five times including two limited conflicts in Rann of Katch and Kargil. In 1971, aided by USSR, India succeeded in truncating Pakistan but when it found that Pakistan refused to become its satellite, its infamous RAW recommenced its covert war to weaken other parts of Pakistan and also accelerated its force modernization program with emphasis on mechanization of ground forces and upgrading its naval and air arms with the help of USSR.

Sindh was chosen as the next target of subversion after East Pakistan. One reason of picking up Sindh was the importance of Karachi with lone seaport and economic hub of Pakistan. Its covert operations succeeded in accentuating antagonism between old and new Sindhis and thus creating urban-rural divide in Sindh. 1973 Baloch insurgency in Balochistan was supported by USSR, Afghanistan and India. When Soviet forces occupied Afghanistan in 1979 and the US and Pakistan became strategic allies to confront the Soviet threat, India's RAW joined hands with KGB and KHAD to carryout subversive activities in Pakistan. The MRD movement in rural Sindh was also supported by India. Alignment with USA from 1991 onward enabled India to spoil Pak-US relations.

Strategic alliance with the sole super power in the aftermath of 9/11 is helping India in fulfilling its grandeur plans to become a regional and a world power and to keep the dispute of Kashmir on the back burner. Considering Pakistan to be the only stumbling block in her way to achieve her ambitions, she considered occupation of Afghanistan by USA and its allies in November 2001 and establishment of a pro-India regime in Kabul together with ongoing war on terror an ideal opportunity to encircle Pakistan and force it to give up Kashmir and accept India's hegemony, or else balkanize it or remove it from the world map. Above all, it opened the avenues for India to regain its lost influence in Afghanistan and to further expand it and become a key player.

Notwithstanding that acquisition of nuclear and missile capability by Pakistan has greatly minimized the risk of war with India; however, nuclear Pakistan has earned perpetual hostility of India, Israel and USA. News ways are now being devised to disable our nuclear program without having to wage a war. While continuing to procure latest state-of-art weapons from all quarters, India vociferously objects to any effort by Pakistan to procure its modest defence needs from any country and the west lends receptive ears to its laments. In order to offset Pakistan's nuclear strategic deterrence, India has ventured upon its Cold Start Doctrine which initially envisaged 7-8 self-containing battle groups but has now been increased it to 15 groups. Indian hackers tried to hack secrets of Army Exercise Azm-e-Nao III, a response action to Cold Start, and succeeded partially. Water war and now the economic war to supplement covert war are part of India's overall scheme to isolate Pakistan and make it irrelevant. It is desperate to get land access to Afghanistan through Pakistan.

Pakistan should offset India's nefarious encirclement plan by disagreeing to grant land route to India through Wagah border for its contemplated trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics and that too without resolving core disputes. Our military responses to Cold Start will have to be rehashed at the earliest.
Fast-track China border projects: Antony to Army
NEW DELHI: Reviewing the development of new infrastructure including airfields along the China border in the northeast, defence minister A K Antony on Monday asked the military top brass to go beyond the expected schedules for completion of the projects "in view of the current security scenario".

"We need to go beyond the PDCs (proposed date of completion) in view of the current security scenario," Antony told a meeting to review infrastructure development on the northeast border. The meeting was attended by chiefs of the Army and IAF, defence secretary, the chief of BRO (Border Roads Organisation) and other senior officials.

Antony did not discuss the leadership change in China or any other specific inputs that may indicate any further sharpening of Chinese attitude along the border. However, his warning to the top brass is a clear sign of the Indian establishment's increasing worry over the secretive rise of Chinese military power without any clarity about its intents and future plans.

"Now that the initial teething issues have been overcome to a large extent there is a need to give a push to the ongoing infrastructural projects in northeast," an official quoted Antony as saying. He asked the forces and other agencies to move forward in a time bound manner.

The minister setup a monitoring committee under the vice-chief of the IAF, and comprising representatives from the MoD and other arms, to constantly monitor the revival of advance landing grounds and other airfields. While eight advanced landing grounds are under revival in the northeast, over 30 airfields primarily for helicopter operations are also being developed or revived.

Antony ordered a separate review meeting with BRO top brass of their projects in the region. Presently, India is undertaking construction of 73 roads in all three sectors bordering China. Of them, 29 roads in Arunachal were to be completed by 2012 but only eight are ready, sources said. Monday's meeting focussed on the northeast, especially Arunachal Pradesh.

Antony asked minister of state for defence Jitendra Singh to take up all issues related to environmental clearances and other bottlenecks with states and departments concerned.
Ruatfela Nu rejects national award due to army 'brutality'
AIZAWL: Noted Mizo social worker Vanramchhuangi, popularly known as Ruatfela Nu, has refused to accept the prestigious National Award for Child Welfare, 2011, due to various reasons, including the Indian Air Force's bombardment of the Mizoram capital and other places in 1966. Ruatfela Nu told TOI she was selected by the Union ministry of women and child welfare for the award for her contributions towards welfare of children in Mizoram.

"I was intimated that I would receive the award from President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi on November 14. I rejected the award, which includes a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, which a large sum of money for a poor woman like me," the state Child Welfare Committee (CWC) member said.

Nu said she declined the award mainly for three reasons — brutal suppression of the 1966 Mizo Uprising, rampant violation of human rights when innocent people were mercilessly gunned down, and a large number of women raped by Indian Army personnel. "I was only six years old at that time. I had personally witnessed how three Indian Army personnel dragged a woman into a house. She was covered with blood stains and her clothes were ripped apart," she said.

She added she was constantly reminded of how the suppression affected the lives of innocent men, women and children. The social worker said she could not accept the award from the President — who is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces — because the visions of the people suffering haunted her continually.

The recent decision of the state government to appoint B Sairengpuii, younger sister of Lal Riliani and wife of chief minister Lal Thanhawla, as the commissioner for people with disabilities (PwD) was another reason for her rejecting the award.

Rutfela Nu accused the state government of not only indulging in nepotism, but also ignoring the plight of the disabled people while appointing the retired secretary of the state social welfare department, who, while being the ex-officio assistant commissioner of the PwD, refused to meet the leaders of the Differently Abled Society of Mizoram for 22 times. She said misuse of office and public money by the state government also prompted her to reject the award.

Nu is not only a well-known human rights activist, but also widely known for working to protect the rights of children. Being a member of the Child Welfare Committee, she has helped the police arrest several child rapists and abusers who might have never been brought to book if the CWC did not file complaints with the police.
NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented order, the Delhi High Court on Monday quashed the entire selection process of 2011 relating to promotions to the rank of lieutenant general in the Indian Army after it found that certain criteria had been revised without approval of the defence ministry.

The verdict quashing the Special Selection Board of last year is expected to have a huge impact on the seniority and promotions of the Army brass since the HC has now directed the Army to hold fresh SSB proceedings.

A division bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Manmohan Singh also criticized the defence secretary for "perpetuating an error" since even though the bureaucrat was aware that the 2011 selection process was vitiated, he didn't cancel it.

"It is obvious the defence secretary was more influenced by the credibility of the promotion board being adversely affected and not by the merits of the matter. He forgot that to commit an error is to do no wrong, but to perpetuate an error is to do a wrong," the bench observed.

The HC was hearing a challenge to the 2011 SSB by two major generals who were overlooked. They had first approached the Armed Forces Tribunal but lost, prompting them to appeal in the HC.

Appearing for them, senior advocate Jyoti Singh highlighted the file notings of the defence ministry that showed the SSB of 2011 had committed a "wrong" by assessing officers on the basis of revised policy even though this policy had not been approved by the ministry. But the ministry was of the view that cancellation of the board would be an unprecedented stand detrimental to the discipline of the armed forces and credibility of senior officers of the Army.

On its part, the Army defended the selection process arguing it could not be termed illegal since the defence minister in February last year had upheld the names of officers recommended by the SSB. The minister said the names could be cleared after due scrutiny on the basis of the revised policy.

However, the HC dew a distinction between the minister's go-ahead to the promotion and his stand vis-a-vis the revised policy in itself, which was illegal since it had not received the mandatory approval of the ministry.

The HC recounted how the SSB was scheduled to be held in October-November 2010 but was deferred without any justification. Later, the revised policy mooted by the Army Headquarters was notified even though it wasn't approved by the defence ministry.

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