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Monday, 31 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 31 Dec 2012





http://ibnlive.in.com/news/defence-ministry-saw-unprecedented-happenings-in-2012/313077-3.html
Defence Ministry saw unprecedented happenings in 2012
 2012 was an unprecedented year for the Defence Ministry as it had a prolonged stand-off with former Army Chief Gen VK Singh over his age issue and a truck-deal case and was dragged to the Supreme Court. The selection of France's Dassault Rafale for the 126 combat aircraft deal, India's entry into the elite club of nations with intercontinental ballistic missiles with the launch of Agni V, induction of nuclear submarine INS Chakra into the Navy and stand-offs between officers and jawans in several units also made headlines.

The year began with Gen Singh becoming the first serving chief of the Army to approach the apex court over his age issue on January 16 - only a few hours after the Army Day celebrations got over. He was seeking a change in his date of birth from May 10, 1950 to May 10, 1951, which if accepted would have given him 10 more months in office.

Though the battle over the age issue ended in February after the apex court rejected his plea, Gen Singh continued to trouble the establishment after he claimed that a retired Lt Gen had offered him a bribe for clearing a file for procuring Tatra trucks for the army. Defence Ministry AK Antony immediately ordered a CBI inquiry into the charges.
The next bombshell came in the form of a leaked secret letter by Gen Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in which he had raised serious questions about the military preparedness of the country. The matter rocked the Parliament proceedings and there were several demands in both the Houses for sacking Gen Singh.

In his last few days in office, Gen Singh was also accused of apparently attempting to upset the future line of succession in the Army when he put Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who is expected to head the force at the end of 2014, under a promotion ban for a failed intelligence operation. It was ensured that these actions were corrected soon after the taking over of Gen Bikram Singh as the new Army Chief on May 31. Assuming office, Gen Bikram Singh made it clear that he would not let controversies of the past come in his way when he said, "a car is driven by seeing ahead through the windscreen, not through the rear-view mirror... whatever has happened should be left behind."

In the last seven months, he has been busy ensuring that the Army is out of the headlines and working towards addressing modernisation issues facing the force and is credited for restoring high-level of trust between the Defence Ministry and the 1.3 million-strong force.

The other main issue facing the Army was about the stand-offs between officers and jawans at several places including Nyoma in Ladakh, Samba in Jammu and Kashmir and Gurdaspur in Punjab. The Defence Ministry and the Army have both taken several steps to restore the officer-soldier relationship along with ordering inquiries and probes to check the indiscipline.

For boosting the strategic prowess of the country, DRDO successfully carried out the first test firing of the 5,000-km range Agni V ballistic missile in April. The successful launch helped the country to join the elite club of nations including the US, Russia, China, France and the UK with the capability to launch such long-range missiles.

For the Indian Air Force, the big moment came when the government chose the French-made Dassault Rafale combat aircraft as the winner in the multi-billion dollar 126 multi-role combat aircraft (M-MRCA) tender. Though the Dassault Rafale deal is yet to be finalised as the government is still holding commercial negotiations with the French firm, the announcement saw a more than six year-race between six global firms for the contract come to a virtual end.

The year also saw the IAF losing its control of attack choppers when the Defence Ministry decided in favour of the Army saying all future combat helicopters would be for the ground force. However, it has managed to retain the medium-lift choppers, which were also demanded by the Army. The medium-lift chopper fleet received a major boost with the induction of new Russian-origin Mi-17V5 choppers in the force at several locations.

For the Navy, the biggest moment in the year came when it inducted the leased Akula-II CLass nuclear submarine now rechristened INS Chakra in its inventory in April as a significant progress was being made in the indigenous programme in this regard. The INS Chakra has been leased to India by Russia for 10 years and will help India to train its crew for operating on indigenous Arihant-class submarines.

Its operational preparedness suffered a set back when Russia informed that due to a mishap in the boiler section of the Admiral Gorshkov - undergoing retrofitting there, the aircraft carrier would be delivered only by the end of next year against the scheduled date of December 4. However, induction of indigenous and foreign-built guided missile destroyers an frigates helped the Navy to maintain its readiness.

The Navy also saw Admiral DK Joshi taking over as its chief in August. His comments on possibility of India sending troops to South China Sea to protect Indian interests drew global attention recently. In the field of sports also, defence forces won laurels for the country when Subedar Major Vijay won a silver medal at the London Olympics in the 25 m pistol shooting event. Though the minister gave him a cash reward of Rs 30 lakh, his demand for being given a commissioned officer's rank in the Army is still pending.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Army-to-relax-tattoo-norm-for-tribal-recruits/articleshow/17814705.cms
Army to relax tattoo norm for tribal recruits
AIPUR: Relaxing its tattoo policy to an extent to encourage tribal youth from Naxalite areas of Chhattisgarh to join the armed forces, Indian army has allowed tribals with certain forms of 'Godna' — the ancient tradition of permanent tattoo — to take part in its recruitment rally scheduled to be held at Rajnandgaon from January 7. Army is conducting a recruitment rally between January 7 and 14 for youths from across the 27 districts of the state.

A government spokesman said the army headquarters has relaxed few norms of its tattoo policy for the scheduled tribes. Besides considering youth with permanent tattoos on arms and backside of the palm, tribal candidates with the tattoos on face as per local tribal traditions would also be considered for recruitment after detailed examination of the tattoos. As per Bastar tribal tradition, tribals have spiritual concept that ornaments are human made and are mortal and they also consider the tattoos as a permanent ornaments for women. Tribal men also use the tattoos as it is believed that they are the only ornament that remains with them even after death.




Paraglider causes mid-air scare for Prez jet
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 29
In an event that has yet again exposed the country’s fragile air defence architecture, a maverick paraglider flew close to President Pranab Mukherjee’s plane, causing a mid-air security scare.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots of the Communication Squadron - who fly VVIPs - reported the unusual occurrence to their headquarters in Delhi.

IAF sources confirmed the incident saying, “It occurred around 10 am yesterday and yes, the pilots have reported the matter.” The incident occurred on December 28 within minutes of the President’s Boeing 737 having taken off from Hyderabad for Chennai.

The startled pilots of the VVIP plane noticed a paraglider at an altitude of 4,500 ft and just 300 ft right of the plane.

The pilots radioed back to the air-traffic controller (ATC) at Hyderabad if a paraglider was in its knowledge.

The ATC at Hyderabad was not aware of the para-glider. Aviation rules do not permit paragliding activity within a distance of 5 nautical miles of an airport.

The IAF has been asking for strict rules for such adventure sports and securing of unused airstrips - some 100 littered across the country.

Sources said the security lapse has been taken very seriously and a check is on to verify if any IAF or Army radars had picked up the para-glider.

The IAF, Navy and Army have radars on its bases which pick out flying objects, but the sweep of these radars does not cover the entire land mass of the country.

Unlike northern parts of the country, which are dotted with IAF or Army bases, the southern peninsula lacks that kind of intense radar coverage while the Navy along the coastline remains focused sea-wards.

The inquiry will try to ascertain the identity of the paraglider. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will be part of the overall inquiry.

India’s air defence’s weakest links are the vast tracts of central India and the Deccan plateau as these have no long-range radar coverage, no air defence guns and almost no unmanned aeriel vehicles (UAVs).

Sources said the revelation of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) having trained some 150 fidayeen (suicide bombers) to launch air-borne attacks on Indian cities using motorised paragliders will be kept in mind during the probe.

Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who was deported from Saudi Arabia in June, had told interrogators about the LeT plan to launch air-borne attacks. Jundal was a member of the group that gave telephonic instructions to gun-totting attackers of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Jundal told investigators in August that he got to know of the LeT’s plans when he, in 2010, visited what he referred to as the "jumbo jet room". This is the huge house in Karachi where LeT plans aerial and sea route attacks on India.

Jundal has talked about 150 parachutes sealed in boxes and said that a man called Yakub reportedly told him about plans to attack Indian cities using the air route.

It was in 2010 - ahead of the Commonwealth Games - that Indian security agencies warned of air-borne attacks and the IAF trained the Delhi Police in spotting air-borne objects. Yakub is believed to be in touch with David Coleman Headley - another planner of the Mumbai attacks. Headley, a Pakistani-American, is lodged in a prison in Chicago.

India, Pak mull N-CBMs to reduce trust deficit
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, December 28
India and Pakistan are believed to have considered a series of nuclear CBMs, including the possibility of Islamabad joining global talks on the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT), at the seventh round of expert level talks on the issue between the two countries here today.

The FMCT talks at the Conference on Disarmament (CoD) in Geneva can move forward only by consensus. Therefore, Pakistan ought to be on board for concluding the talks.

Pakistan has so far refused to join the talks, arguing that any deal must also require India to reduce its existing stockpile. Islamabad also claims that India's nuclear initiative has made things much difficult for it. India, on the other hand, has taken the stand that if the existing stockpiles were to be made part of the negotiations at Geneva, the proposed deal would no longer remain the FMCT and rather become the nuclear weapons convention. The two sides also considered fresh CBMs in a bid to lower the level of trust-deficit.

The Indian delegation at today's meeting was led by D B Venkatesh Varma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament) in the External Affairs Ministry while the Pakistani side was headed by Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry.

The talks, which were held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere, focused on review of implementation and strengthening of existing CBMs in the framework of the Lahore MoU, as well as possibilities for mutually acceptable additional CBMs, a joint statement said.

Book to highlight DRDO’s public friendly face
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, December 28
“What is the point in launching high technology missiles like Agni and BrahMos when the common Indian is still dying of dengue or malaria spread by mosquito bites?”, cynics often ask such questions to run down Indian achievements in the field of defence technology.

Vijaykumar Dillibabu, a young scientist of Bangalore-based Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab Gas Turbine Reasearch Establishment (GTRE), has a written a book to answer such critics.

“The DRDO not only makes missiles but has also developed mosquito repellent creams, bio-toilets and light weight calipers for public use”, mentions the book written by Dillibabu. Aptly titled ‘Missiles and mosquito bite’, it is a collection of essays written by Dillibabu addressing the central question, that is, does India has world class brain? It has essays on the benefits of R&D in defence technology. The book also includes an interview with Sivadhanu Pillai, CEO, BrahMos, recollecting his association with former President APJ Abdul Kalam.

Ex Indian army Major says political solution key to Sri Lanka
Ashok K. Mehta, a former Major general of the Indian Army, says Tamil Nadu politics willy nilly is once again on the verge of rocking India-Sri Lanka relations at a time when Colombo is basking in the glory of its spectacular military victory in 2009 when New Delhi and Chennai had acquiesced to a military solution.

In an opinion written for the Economic Times, Mehta says the military has legitimised President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s overwhelming majority rule both at the centre and in the provinces with the opposition reduced to a non-entity and kingmakers Sri Lanka Muslim Congress made irrelevant except in the Eastern province where it was wooed by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the ruling alliance to form the government.

He says the military success has transformed soldiers into national heroes and Sri Lanka one of the safest countries in the world. Three years on, all the 3,00,000 Internally Displaced Persons are resettled, 5,000 sq km of area demined, 1,80,000 acres of cultivable paddy land recovered and $2.5 billion committed for development of the North.

He also said that of the 12,000 former LTTE combatants who surrendered or were captured, only 383 have not been rehabilitated due to delay in their deradicalisation programme. Following demilitarisation of the LTTE, the North has been consciously demilitarised by relocating 28 infantry battalions to the South and East, altogether some 21,000 soldiers taken out.

Similarly, high security zones in the North, especially around Palaly Airfield, have been shrunk. Central Bank of Sri Lanka governor Ajit Cabral is singing praises of the military for reduction in inflation and returning the country to an 8% growth path though currently it has dipped to just above 6%.

But this is compensated by the spectacular growth of 27% in the North with reconstruction prospects soaring on account of renewed business and investor sentiment and influx of tourism alongside a spurt in livelihood and vocational avenues for the rehabilitated.

For the first time in 30 years, the North will have an opportunity to grow and thrive if the current mood and investment continue. At the Army-organised Colombo conference in August this year about post-war recovery, Governor Cabral waxed eloquent about Sri Lanka’s peace dividend, quoting extensively from Ruchir Sharma’s bestseller, Breakout Nations.

Sharma has predicted that with the civil war over, Sri Lanka is irreversibly poised to join the breakout countries, destined to sustain high growth rates. By 2014, Sri Lanka is likely to overtake India registering the highest growth rate in the region. The process of mending shattered relationships between the two communities will ensure economic reconciliation.

One of the trusted aides of President Rajapaksa, Cabral is the brain behind reviving economic activity in the North. He said: “When we opened banking facilities in containers in the North, people excavated their cash which was so dirty that we had to resort to ‘money laundering’.

However Mehta says for Sri Lanka, to really break out political reconciliation including power-sharing and accountability will be vital to sustain the euphoria of the military triumph.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 29 Dec 2012







http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121229/nation.htm#8
India, Pak mull N-CBMs to reduce trust deficit
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, December 28
India and Pakistan are believed to have considered a series of nuclear CBMs, including the possibility of Islamabad joining global talks on the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT), at the seventh round of expert level talks on the issue between the two countries here today.

The FMCT talks at the Conference on Disarmament (CoD) in Geneva can move forward only by consensus. Therefore, Pakistan ought to be on board for concluding the talks.

Pakistan has so far refused to join the talks, arguing that any deal must also require India to reduce its existing stockpile. Islamabad also claims that India's nuclear initiative has made things much difficult for it. India, on the other hand, has taken the stand that if the existing stockpiles were to be made part of the negotiations at Geneva, the proposed deal would no longer remain the FMCT and rather become the nuclear weapons convention. The two sides also considered fresh CBMs in a bid to lower the level of trust-deficit.

The Indian delegation at today's meeting was led by D B Venkatesh Varma, Joint Secretary (Disarmament) in the External Affairs Ministry while the Pakistani side was headed by Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry.

The talks, which were held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere, focused on review of implementation and strengthening of existing CBMs in the framework of the Lahore MoU, as well as possibilities for mutually acceptable additional CBMs, a joint statement said.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121229/nation.htm#15
Book to highlight DRDO’s public friendly face
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, December 28
“What is the point in launching high technology missiles like Agni and BrahMos when the common Indian is still dying of dengue or malaria spread by mosquito bites?”, cynics often ask such questions to run down Indian achievements in the field of defence technology.

Vijaykumar Dillibabu, a young scientist of Bangalore-based Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) lab Gas Turbine Reasearch Establishment (GTRE), has a written a book to answer such critics.

“The DRDO not only makes missiles but has also developed mosquito repellent creams, bio-toilets and light weight calipers for public use”, mentions the book written by Dillibabu. Aptly titled ‘Missiles and mosquito bite’, it is a collection of essays written by Dillibabu addressing the central question, that is, does India has world class brain? It has essays on the benefits of R&D in defence technology. The book also includes an interview with Sivadhanu Pillai, CEO, BrahMos, recollecting his association with former President APJ Abdul Kalam.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121229/main1.htm
2 Lashkar militants killed in Kashmir gunfight
2 Army officers among 10 hurt Clashes in Pulwama; probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 28
Two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants were killed and three security personnel, including two Army officers, were injured in a fierce gunfight in a village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Friday.

At least seven civilians were also wounded. While a police spokesman said the persons were injured in “retaliatory action” when a mob attacked an ambulance carrying an injured Armyman for treatment, the civilians’ account contradicted the police statement. A formal investigation has been ordered into the incident.

Following a “tip-off” about the presence of militants, Bubgam village of Pulwama district was sealed by personnel of police’s Srinagar and Pulwama units, Army’s 55 Rashtriya Rifles and CRPF’s 182 Battalion in the early hours of Friday, a police official said.

Militants fired upon the joint search party, triggering an encounter in which two of them were killed, the official said. A Major, a Captain and a policeman were injured in the gunfight.

South Kashmir Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Vijay Kumar identified the slain militants as Imtiyaz Ahmad Teli, who operated under the alias Fahadullah Kashmiri, and Mohammad Aamir Bhat, who used the aliases Khalid and Khursheed. Both were residents of south Kashmir -- Teli was from Pulwama district while Bhat was from Shopian district.

Kashmir Zone Inspector General of Police SM Sahai said Teli was a locally trained militant and was the District Commander of LeT. He had been arrested in 2009 and was released after 10 months in June 2010. “However, Imtiyaz (Teli) recycled again in 2011 after being motivated by the then Divisional Commander of LeT, Rehman Bhai,” Sahai said.

Sahai said the militants were “involved” in the July 28 grenade attack on a cab in south Kashmir’s Bijbehara town that killed all four women tourists in it. The police had then claimed that the blast was caused by a cylinder burst.

“It seemed like a gas cylinder blast at that time. However, after forensic examinations and other investigations, it was termed as a grenade attack,” the IGP said.

Sahai also said that the initial investigation revealed that Teli was also involved in a grenade attack on a liquor shop at Narwal in Jammu province in which one person was killed and five others injured.

A police spokesman said seven persons were injured in “retaliatory action” when a mob attacked an ambulance in Pulwama town that was taking the injured Army Major for treatment. He identified the seven men as Mohammad Yaseen Bhat, Ashiq Ahmad, Jahangir Ahmed, Gowhar Ahmad, Imran Bhat, Showkat Mir and Younis Mir. They have been admitted to hospitals in Srinagar. Some other injured were admitted at a local hospital in Pulwama district.

However, the account of the injured civilians clashed with the police claim. One of the injured said he and two others were carrying their “cousin” to a hospital after he was hit by a “stray bullet” at his village near the encounter site. When they reached Pulwama town in a cab, they were fired “without provocation” from an Army vehicle when their driver tried to overtake it, he said. “Three of us were injured when the Army fired on the cab,” the man, who was hit by a bullet in the stomach, said.

Army spokesperson Col Brijesh Pandey said its ambulance carrying the injured Major was only being escorted by a police vehicle and no Armyman fired on the civilians. “Whoever fired on the people was not from the Army. We cannot tell who fired,” he said.

Pulwama Deputy Commissioner Shafat Noor Barlas has ordered a magisterial probe into the firing. “The probe will be conducted by the Additional District Magistrate. The inquiry report will be submitted in a time bound manner and is expected be furnished in 15 days,” he said, adding that restrictions on the movement of people were also imposed in the area.

Violent December
Dec 13: 3 militants killed in two separate gunfights near Sopore, north Kashmir
Dec 18-19: 6 LeT militants killed in Sopore
Dec 24: 2 LeT militants and a head constable killed in Kulgam area of south Kashmir


http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/indian-army/45692-ia-plans-equip-1-600-t-72-tanks-night-fighting-capabilities.html
IA plans to equip 1,600 T-72 tanks with night- fighting capabilities
New Delhi: The Army, having long suffered from deficiencies in night fighting electro-optical equipment, is set to make up critical deficiencies.
Following footsteps of paramilitary forces and the National Security Guard (NSG),who have gone in for accelerated purchase of night vision devices after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, the armed forces are now taking steps to improve their night fighting capabilities, according to Frontier India News Network.
Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, had said in 2010 that “Indian Army’s tanks have a night vision capability of 20 percent while Pakistani’s have 80 percent and China has 100 percent”.
The armed forces will review their doctrine, capabilities andshortcomings and also identifylatest trends and technologiesat a two-day seminar “Night Vision India 2013? on 16-17 January.
The Centre for Land Warfare Studies, a think tank of the Indian Army is organising the seminar at the Air Force Auditorium here in collaboration with IMR Media, apublishing and event organising company.
Delegates from the three Services will discuss tactics, techniques, and procedures that maximize our night-fighting technological advantages while countering the enemy’s night capabilities.
The Army’s objective is to equip over 1,600 T-72 tanks which form the backbone of the country’s armoured forces, with advanced night fighting capabilities. The Army’s case for acquiring 700TISAS (thermal imaging stand alone systems) and 418 TIFACS (thermal fire control systems) for its T-72 fleet at a cost of around $230 million is in various stages of the procurement process. 300 Israeli TISAS were imported, followed by 3,860 image intensifier-based night-visiondevices. A huge requirement persists. 310 T-90S main-battle tanks (MBTs) were imported from Russia and fitted with French Catherine TI cameras.
Indian Army T-72 Ajeya Tank on Display According to Major General RK Arora, ediotr of Indian Military Review magazine, Army also requires hand held thermal imaging (HHTI) sights (with laser rangefinder) for infantry, armoured,air defence, artillery and engineer regiments. The infantry is also looking for TI sights for medium machine guns and sniper rifles. RFIs for night sights for AK-47 assault rifles and other small arms have also been issued.
Senior officers of the armed forces will address the delgates. Among them are Lt Gen Narendra Singh, Deputy chief of the army staff, Lt Gen Philip Campose, director general of perspective planning, Lt Gen JS Bajwa, director general Infantry and Lt Gen Vijay Sharma, engineer- in-cheif among others.
Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is the biggest supplier of night vision equipment to the armedforces. Anil Kumar, chairman &managing director of BEL is expected to give an overviewof BEL’s current and future plans.
BEL recently supplied 30,600 passive night sights for rifles, rocket launchers and light machine guns, passive night vision binoculars and passive night vision goggles to the Army but the forces remain woefully short and arelooking for the latest 3rd generation technology to reduce weight and extend thelife of NVDs.
The Indian Air Force has felt the need for helmet-mounted night vision goggle (NVG) for a long time. Unfortunately, these had serious drawbacks in the past. Originally designed for surface forces and subsequently modified forairlift and helicopters, they were very cumbersome and limited both the field of view and visual acuity and thus totally incompatible with fighter aircraft. Further, they were not stressed for high-G loading and were not safe to wear in an ejection.
However, NVGs now in production resolve or minimize these problems and are specifically designed for fighter aircraft. Cockpit lighting has also improved.
It is expected that such NVGs would come along with Rafale as and when it enters service. With this new generation of NVGs, the fighter force would be able to provide a simple, cost-effective night vision capability that would allow the aircraft to support special operations including low intensity conflict (LIC) missions24 hours a day.


http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/indian-army/45674-tavor-rifle-indian-army.html
Tavor rifle with Indian Army
After several stops and starts, including problems with stability and the lack of certain features, the Israel-built IWI Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle is now comfortably in Indian use, inducted and operational in several agencies including the Army para commando units, marine commandos, Rashtriya Rifles, Special Frontier Force and certain paramilitary units.

The Army has also begun fitting its Tavors with telescopic sights, accessory rails, dual magazine clips, self luminous reflex sight for the under-barrel grenade launcher and single eye night vision with head band. The light-weight fast-point/shoot Israeli weapon is being considered a mainstay design alongside the Belgian FN Herstan F2000 bullpup assault rifle, the latter in use with agencies that include the VVIP Special Protection Group's counter-assault force that was raised in 2008. Apart from further inductions of both weapon types, the Army is engaged in a slew of small arms procurement efforts. For instance, the TAR-21 and F2000 are likely contenders in a tender that the Army announced in December 2010 -- one that it will float shortly for a new modular assault rifle as part of its F-INSAS infantry modernisation programme. In May last year, the Army also announced its interest in procuring an unspecified number of 7.62mm amphibious assault rifles that could be used immediately after being brought out of water by special forces personnel.

Also, to augment Glock 17 and Fn-35 9mm pistols in service with the SF and para units, the Army has been scouting over the last two years for a new 9mm semi-automatic sidearm. To round off its requirement, the Army is also looking out for a new 5.56mm Close-Quarter battle carbine and 7.62mm light machine gun (LMG).


http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/defence-secretary-to-visit-china-in-january-to-dis_819423.html
Defence Secretary to visit China in January to discuss CBMs
New Delhi: With an aim of pushing military ties, a high-level delegation led by Defence Secertary Shashikant Sharma will visit China next month to discuss confidence building measures including the resumption of joint Army exercises.

The Defence Secretary will head a tri-services delegation to China on January 14-15 as part of the 5th Annual Defence Dialogue between the two sides, Ministry officials said here on Friday.

Defence Minister AK Antony is also likely to visit China next year as he had accepted an invitation from Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie during his trip here in September.

During the visit of Liang, the two sides had agreed to resume their bilateral military exercises in 2013 and increase defence exchanges.

Military exercises between the two countries had started in 2007 but were put on hold in 2010 after a series of hiccups in the defence ties between the two sides.

The first exercise was held in Kunming, China in 2007 and the second in Belgaum in India in 2008. The third edition was to have been held in China in 2010 but got stalled.

After the denial of visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal by the Chinese in 2010, New Delhi had frozen all bilateral defence exchanges with Beijing.

The defence exchanges were revived in the recent times but there were still some hiccups as China has been refusing to grant visas to armed forces officers from Arunachal Pradesh-- an Indian state over which China lays its claim.

The two countries have also operationalised mechanisms to prevent any face-off between their armed forces along the over 4,000-km-long Line of Actual Control (LAC) apart from coordinating in high seas in the Gulf of Aden to tackle piracy.






Friday, 28 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 28 Dec 2012






http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121228/nation.htm#1
India, Pak discuss steps to make truce pact effective
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, December 27
India is understood to have drawn Pakistan's attention towards the increase in ceasefire violations along the LoC and the international border (IB) in recent years at the sixth round of expert-level talks between the two countries on conventional CBMs here today.

The Indian side at the meeting was led by YK Sinha, Additional Secretary (Pakistan) in the External Affairs Ministry while the Pakistani team was headed by Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry.

New Delhi believes that the ceasefire agreement signed by the two countries in November 2003 has been a major CBM between them. It proved to be quite effective until Pervez Musharraf was at the helm of affairs in Pakistan with ceasefire violations being reported occasionally.

However, there has been a spurt in ceasefire violations during the civilian rule in Pakistan in the past few years, especially by Pakistani Rangers ostensibly to push militants into the Indian side.

At today's meeting, the two sides also discussed fresh proposals, including more flag meetings, to make the ceasefire agreement more effective.

“The talks were held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere,” said a joint statement after the talks.

“The two sides reviewed the implementation of existing CBMs, including the ceasefire along the LoC, exchanged ideas to further advance the CBM process and reaffirmed their commitment to continue discussions with the aim of strengthening conventional CBMs,” said the statement.

The two officials will report the progress made during the current round of talks to their respective foreign secretaries. The talks on conventional CBMs follow the agreement reached between the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan during their meeting on September 8 in Islamabad. The two sides will hold talks on nuclear CBMs tomorrow.

On the cards: More flag meetings

    The sixth round of expert-level talks between the two nations on conventional CBMs was held in New Delhi on Thursday
    The Indian side was led by YK Sinha, Additional Secretary (Pakistan) in the External Affairs Ministry
    The Pakistani team was headed by Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Additional Secretary in the Foreign Ministry
    The two sides discussed fresh proposals, including more flag meetings, to make the ceasefire agreement more effective


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20121228/nation.htm#8
DRDO test-fires Astra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 27
Astra, an air-to-air guided missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), crossed another milestone in its development trials after being successfully flight test this week.

The missile, in its full configuration, met all the mission parameters, after being fired from a ground-based launcher at the Integrated Test Range in Odisha, a statement issued by the DRDO said.

The missile successfully intercepted the designated mid-air target, Lakshya, the indigenously developed Pilotless Target Aircraft.

Astra is stated to be a state of the art, beyond visual range’ (BVR) being developed for the Air Force. It is an active radar homing missile with a range of up to 110 km. Some more tests will be carried out from the ground launchers to generate data, which will be followed by launches from various aerial platforms.

The missile will be capable of being deployed on various aircrafts, including the Tejas, MiG-29, Su-30, Mirage-2000 and the under development PAK-FA fifth generation fighter.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Top-defence-team-to-visit-China-for-annual-dialogue/articleshow/17787857.cms
Top defence team to visit China for annual dialogue
NEW DELHI: A top Indian defence delegation will head for China next month to chart out the roadmap to step up joint military exercises and exchanges as well as strengthen de-escalatory mechanisms along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) to prevent face-offs between the world's largest and second largest armies.

The tri-Service delegation, led by defence secretary Shashikant Sharma, will be in Beijing to hold the 5th India-China annual defence dialogue (ADD) on January 14-15, which will be followed by defence minister A K Antony's visit later in the year, sources said.

"Both sides are very keen to deepen engagement especially in the military domain since it has lagged behind other sectors in bilateral ties. The boundary resolution may take time but exchanges at the military policy and working levels are now being enhanced," sources said.

For starters, the joint 'Hand-in-Hand' (HiH) counter-terrorism Army exercise will be resumed in 2013, the first two editions of which were held at Kunming (China) in 2007 and Belgaum in 2008.

In July 2010, India froze all bilateral defence exchanges after China denied a proper visa to the then Northern Army commander Lt-General B S Jaswal on the ground that he was commanding forces in the "disputed and sensitive'' region of J&K.

There has been a thaw since then, with India steadfast about remaining a "neutral'' player in the ongoing power-play between the US and a jittery China in the Asia-Pacific region. While the third HiH edition will also be just a company-level exercise (100-120 soldiers each), it is seen as an important CBM.

The two navies will also hold joint maritime search and rescue exercises as well as "promote port calls'' by each other's warships, apart from strengthening collaboration in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

India is "hopeful'' the enhanced "border security cooperation'' will now minimize military "miscalculations and tensions'' along the unresolved LAC, in the backdrop of Chinese troops "transgressing'' into Indian territory along the LAC as many as 600 times in the last two years.

The new bilateral boundary coordination mechanism became operational earlier this year after being inked at the 15th round of border talks between national security advisor Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo. Under it, the Indian side led by joint secretary (East Asia) in the external affairs ministry, with representatives from the military, paramilitary and intelligence agencies, will remain in direct and constant touch with its Chinese counterpart to prevent border flare-ups.

With military hotlines, flag meetings and border personnel meetings (BPM) already in place, the two armies are trying to ensure patrols along the LAC are not undertaken during nighttime, or "surprise each other'' at other times. Moreover, standard operating procedures are in place to cool down tempers if there is any face-off.

India is also looking to shift the proposed BPM mechanism at Lipulekh in the middle sector to the nearby Mana Pass, which allows easier access to both sides, to follow the ones already operational at Nathu La, Bumla, Spanggur and Kibithu-Damai.


http://nosint.blogspot.in/2012/12/indian-army-plans-to-equip-1600-t-72.html
Indian Army plans to equip 1,600 T-72 tanks with advanced night- fighting capabilities
The Army, having long suffered from deficiencies in night fighting electro-optical equipment, is set to make up critical deficiencies.

Following footsteps of paramilitary forces and the National Security Guard (NSG), who have gone in for accelerated purchase of night vision devices after the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai, the armed forces are now taking steps to improve their night fighting capabilities, according to Frontier India News Network.

Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, had said in 2010 that “Indian Army’s tanks have a night vision capability of 20 percent while Pakistani’s have 80 percent and China has 100 percent”.


http://www.firstpost.com/india/were-rapes-by-army-men-enquired-into-by-vk-singh-570692.html
‘Were rapes by army men enquired into by VK Singh?’
New Delhi: National Minorities Commission Chairman Wajahat Habibullah today criticised former army chief V K Singh for taking to streets against the gangrape of a girl here asking whether allegations of rape against personnel of the force in Jammu and Kashmir have ever been enquired into.

Wajahat Habibullah said a productive way would have been if people like Gen Singh would have advised the government on dealing with such a situation.

“In his (Gen Singh’s) case, I am sorry to say so he was Commander-in-Chief of the army. There are, at least in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, massive allegations of rape against army. Were they ever enquired into? Was an effort made to bring justice? Here was a case of rape. Regrettable, yes. But if he wants to join in condemnation of the government against that, has he taken into account various ramifications of that,” Habibullah told PTI in an interview.

He said it could be possible when Singh was the army chief he was not able to remedy the cases although he may have wanted to.
But that was even more reason to go to the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and tell them how to handle it, he added.

Habibullah said that things have changed during the last two decades and army had tried to reach out to people of Jammu and Kashmir but there exists a basic mistrust.

“The basic mistrust is because general transparency and accountability is not there. If something goes wrong, if there is rape, then machinery should come into automatic activation. Like the Delhi Police acted, surely the army such being a disciplined force should automatically go into action about bringing to book any person responsible for that,” he said, adding if allegations are false then those facts should also be made public.

Habibullah said rejecting allegations on the grounds that it would demoralise the force does not help in winning public trust.

“Don’t say this, we don’t agree that this would demoralise the army. Do you have any proof of that, have you ever enquired into that? If you do this, then you don’t win the public trust and basically the job of the government, the army and others, in a democracy at least, is to win the public trust,” he said.

On the question whether people who have held sensitive positions in government should join street protests, Habibullah said, “For people who have been holding such positions it should be possible for them to reach the government itself and advice. I would think that is a more productive way.”

“If they see strength in the protests, based on their own experience, surely the better way is not to join the protests but to bring to the notice of the government how can it improve its functioning.”

He said in a democracy there is a healthy mistrust between the Government and the public where the public does not believe whatever is told to them and Right to Information is a tool to bridge that mistrust.

“But why have huge demonstrations taken place on the streets. A simple answer to this is deep mistrust. The government is saying I am doing this but people just don’t trust the government to do it. Although they (government) are saying of doing it. They are doing it but still people are coming on streets,” he said.

He said Right to Information was a tool to build that trust as one can always check whether whatever government was saying was correct.

“That is not the attitude yet. And that is sad because now we have seven years of the RTI and by now this attitude, at least in the urban centre, at least in the capital should have started happening,” Habibullah said.

 

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