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Monday, 14 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 14 Jan 2013
India, Pak to hold flag meet at Poonch today
Tribune News Service

Poonch/New Delhi, January 13
Pakistan has agreed to hold a Brigadier-level flag meeting with India to defuse tension along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch where Pakistani troops had on Tuesday intruded into Indian territory and brutally killed two Indian soldiers before retreating to their territory.

The meeting, proposed by India, will be held in Chakan da Bagh at 1 pm tomorrow, sources said.

The Indian Army had sent a hotline message to the Pakistan Army on Friday and asked for a flag meeting to discuss the issues of the killing of two jawans by the Pakistani troops - reportedly belonging to 29 Baloch Regiment - and increasing incidents of firing and ceasefire violations in the Poonch sector. The Pakistan Army did not reply for two days, fully using the timeframe of 48 hours to respond. This morning, Pakistan sent a message agreeing to the meeting on Monday afternoon.

When Brigadier TS Sandhu, Commander of the Indian Army’s 10th Brigade, arrives at Chakan da Bagh at the LoC for the flag meeting, he will be carrying an unyielding and strong message for his Pakistani counterpart.

New Delhi will make it clear that the beheading of Indian soldiers, carried out by the Pakistani Army on January 8, was not expected of any professional and civilised army. It will also be conveyed that the Pakistan border action teams (BAT) that attempt any adventure into Indian territory would be dealt with strongly, sources said.

Confidence-building measures (CBMs) by restoring cross-LoC trade and travel are also expected to come up for discussion during the flag meeting.

“The focus will be on the killings, beheadings, firing to facilitate entry of militants into India and ceasefire violations,” said a top functionary.

India will raise the 117 ceasefire violations in 2012.

The tone and tenor is expected to be on the line followed by Defence Minister AK Antony who, on Friday, termed the beheading of Indian soldiers as a “turning point”.

It was seconded by IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, on Saturday who talked about “other options” to ensure compliance of peace along the LoC.

All discussions will be narrowed down to the repeated ceasefire violations since January 6 and not beyond that. This means that India is looking to localise the issue while Pakistan is trying to internationalise it by calling for an intervention from the United Nations. Pakistan has been repeating there was “no better forum” than a UN observer group for this task.

The first group of UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) arrived in January 1949 to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir after the hostilities of 1948. The UN Secretary General and the monitoring group under the command of the military adviser appoint these observers.

Following the Simla agreement in 1972, India does not recognise the role of UNMOGIP saying matters have to be decided bilaterally between India and Pakistan.

What is flag meet

    There are four hotlines: At Chakan da Bagh, Uri, Tangdhar and Balnoi (all in India) enabling communication with Brigade Commander at the other end.
    Either side can ask for a flag meeting over the hotline. The four designated places at the LoC have meeting points where the Brigadiers can come and sit to thrash out matters.

Fresh firing in Poonch

Hours before the scheduled Brigade Commanders’ flag meeting at Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point, Pakistan again fired indiscriminately at several Indian posts along the Line of Control in Krishna Ghati sector late Sunday evening. The firing, which started around 6.15 pm, continued till reports last came in. “Pakistan troops targeted several Indian posts like Kranti, Dogra, Chajjaman, etc. with heavy fire,” a source said, adding that Indian soldiers gave a calibrated response to the firing. — TNS
Alcoholism can’t be attributed to military service, rules AFT

Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 13
The tradition of savouring a drink after a hard day’s work is a tradition that is as old as the Army itself, but a military tribunal here has held that the alcohol dependency in soldiers cannot be attributed to or said to have been aggravated by military service regardless of the service conditions or place of posting.

The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has, in a recent order, observed that a soldier suffering from “alcohol dependency syndrome” cannot hold the armed forces responsible for the said disease because dependency on alcohol is clearly within the individual’s control.

Dismissing a petition filed by one Kuldip Kaur, whose husband, ex-sepoy Sohan Singh, was discharged in 1991, the Bench ruled that a soldier — discharged from the Army on medical grounds because of his dependency on alcohol — is not entitled to disability pension.

The petitioner had contended that her husband was not mentally sound to pursue the petition as he was discharged from the Army on medical grounds in 1991. Before his discharge, the medical board had recommended his category as "EEE" with 30 per cent disability due to alcohol-dependence syndrome.

After his discharge, he submitted a disability pension claim before the defence authorities, but on June 7, 1994, he received a communication rejecting his disability pension on the grounds that his disability was neither attributable to nor aggravated by military service.

The petitioner, who challenged the rejection letter on behalf of her husband before the military tribunal, submitted that an individual serving in the Army is posted at various inhospitable places which ultimately leads to lots of diseases and similarly, he suffered from alcohol-dependence syndrome.

During arguments, her counsel had laid a strong emphasis on military service being difficult, hence, inducing dependence on alcohol. He had sought directions to quash the defence authorities’ decision of rejecting the disability pension claim.

The Bench held that they were unable to accept such a simplistic argument for the disability due to dependence on alcohol which was clearly within the individual’s control.
Barbaric tactics
Stop such inhuman practices

The discovery of a bomb embedded inside the body of a slain CRPF jawan in Jharkhand is shocking. The fight against Maoist guerrillas has seen its highs and lows, but this is a particularly inhuman tactic that has been employed by the guerrillas. It is now believed that while the 1.5 kg-bomb stitched inside the abdomen of 29-year-old constable Babulal Patel did not explode, another such bomb placed inside the body of another constable did so, inflicting casualties. In Jharkhand, the Maoists and the jawans of the CRPF as well as the specialised anti-Naxal forces have been engaged in an unrelenting war. The latest encounter resulted in the death of 14 persons, including nine CRPF personnel, one person of the Jharkhand Jaguars and other bystanders. The casualties in the Maoist ranks are unknown. Indeed, the Maoists have shown a cavalier attitude towards both democratic means as well as common norms of decency. They have, however, done that at the cost of their credibility.

A few years ago Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had identified the Maoists as the most serious threat faced by the nation. Unfortunately, his government has not been able to do much to counter it. The need for better training of the security forces is still there, as is the need to gather more actionable intelligence. Coordination between various agencies engaged in the anti-Naxal operations is still lacking, and as a result, not much progress has been made.

Since the Maoists are too well entrenched in the areas that they dominate, it is obvious that merely treating this as a law-and-order problem is not the answer. However, no obvious political solution presents itself. In the day-to-day battle that the security forces face while they engage with the Maoists, they need to be better trained and thus be fully equipped to tackle the threats that come their way while executing their duties. As for the Maoists, they only need to look at the history of conflict to realise that such inhuman tactics as putting bombs in bodies always boomerang. What they have done is morally wrong and condemnable.
Soldier Hemraj's wife, mother on indefinite fast, want his severed head found and returned
Mathura: The wife and mother of Lance Naik Hemraj Singh, who was brutally killed by the Pakistani Army along the border in Jammu and Kashmir, have vowed to remain on an indefinite fast until his severed head is found and returned to them.

Hemraj, 32, and colleague Sudhakar Singh, both from the 13 Rajputana Rifles, were killed by infiltrating Pakistani soldiers in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir on January 8.

Hemraj's body was found mutilated, sparking a diplomatic face-off between India and Pakistan and tension along the Line of Control that separates the two countries. Pakistan denies its troops crossed over and killed the two jawans.

Hemraj's wife Dharmvati and mother Meena Devi say they won't take the soldier to be dead until they see his head.

"I'm not ready to believe the person who got killed is Hemraj. I haven't seen the head, why should I believe?" says Dharmvati.

Meena Devi says: "We haven't had food or medicines. We aren't ready to accept Hemraj is dead until we see his head."

Hemraj's extended family and residents of his Shernagar village in Uttar Pradesh called off their fast on Saturday after the Akhilesh Yadav government agreed to some other demands.

The village chief told the Press Trust of India the Uttar Pradesh government has promised a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh for Hemraj's family and a government college in his name. The villagers had gone on fast as nobody from the state government had attended Hemraj's funeral.
Pakistan agrees to flag meeting today; fresh firing in Poonch
Srinagar:  Even as Pakistan agreed to a flag meeting with the commanders of the Indian Army in Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir today, there was fresh firing from the Pakistani side at the Nangri-Tekri area at the Line of Control last evening. Several Indian posts were targeted by Pakistan; the Indian Army retaliated.
Here are the top 10 developments:

    India will strongly protest the decapitation of one of its soldiers at the flag meeting with commanders of the Pakistan army, according to sources. The Indian Army will demand the severed head of Lance Naik Hemraj Singh, who was killed on Tuesday, reportedly by the Pakistani troops. The meeting will take place at 1 pm.

    Pakistan last evening again targeted several Indian posts across the LoC in Poonch. Firing in the district was reported on Saturday night too.

    There are inputs that Pakistan has been pushing in infiltrators into India in the garb of the cease fire violations in Poonch. The police are on a high alert across the region to block any Pakistani attempts to escalate militancy.

    Press Trust of India on Saturday quoted Defence Spokesman Colonel RK Palta as saying "there was a movement of six to seven people close to the LoC opposite Krishna Ghati sub-sector in Poonch sector at around 2145 hours."

    The Indian troops opened fire on the suspected infiltrators and thereafter there was exchange of heavy fire, said Colonel Palta. After about half-an-hour of exchange of fire, the suspected infiltrators disappeared from the scene, Colonel Palta said. There was no immediate report of any casualty or injury on the Indian side.

    Pakistani troops had continued intermittent firing across the LoC at five posts in the Krishna Ghati and Sona Gali sectors of Jammu and Kashmir all through Friday night, sources in the Indian Army said. They added that the firing first began from the Pakistani side at around 4.30 pm on Friday after which India retaliated.

    Meanwhile, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne has reiterated India's stand that the LoC is sacrosanct. He said that while Pakistan's repeated violations of the 2003 ceasefire agreement are unacceptable, India will explore all options available.

    The stand-off has impacted the cross-border trade and a bus service between the Poonch sector in India and Rawalakot on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control (LoC). Indian authorities say they have been informed by the Pakistani side that trade and travel has been suspended in that sector because of the tension in the region and the possibility of crossfire. Border trade is however unaffected between Uri and Chakan-da-Badh in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and across the Wagah-Attari border.

    Both sides have accused the other's troops of violating the ceasefire and crossing the LoC to kill jawans. Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal was summoned by the Pakistan government on Friday in protest against the death of a Pakistani soldier who died on Thursday evening allegedly in firing by Indian troops. A statement released after the meeting said Pakistan had protested against "the repeated, unacceptable and unprovoked attacks on Pakistani soldiers by the Indian Army."

    The tension began last Sunday when the Pakistani army accused India of killing one of its soldiers and wounding another in a cross-border attack. India said its troops had opened fire following a Pakistani mortar attack, but denied they crossed the border. Four soldiers have been killed in the last five days. This week marks a peak in hostility since 2003, when the ceasefire was agreed upon.
LoC killings: Rajputana Rifles jawans not on hunger strike, says Army

Army on Friday said that soldiers of Rajputana Rifles have not gone on hunger strike against killing of their two colleagues in Mendhar sector in Tuesday's Pakistani attack.

"There is no such incident of any jawan going on hunger strike in order to demand revenge. The contention that senior officers are busy in pacifying the men is also totally baseless and imaginary," Jammu-based defence PRO, Colonel R.K. Palta said.

"The unit is deployed in a sensitive area on the LoC and all personnel are performing their operational duties. The morale of the personnel is absolutely high, as at all times," he said.

"Ours is a disciplined and highly motivated army and such incidents do not demoralise our men," he added.

He said the vigil along the LoC has been increased and that the army has not cancelled leave of any of its solider. "There is no reason to cancel leave of our jawans," he added.
LoC clashes: India-Pakistan flag meeting in Poonch tomorrow
In a bid to de-escalate tension along the Line of Control (LoC), India and Pakistan will hold a Brigade Commander-level flag meeting in Poonch sector on Monday during which the recent intrusions and the brutal killing of two jawans by Pakistani soldiers will figure.

"Brigade Commanders' flag meeting is being held tomorrow at Chakan-Da-Bagh LoC point in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir at noon," Public Relation Officer (PRO), Defence, Col RK Palta said.

Time line: Pakistan's LoC aggression

Pakistan agreed to hold the flag meeting in a communication through a hotline in the sector, he said, adding, "We had sought the flag meeting of the brigade commanders of the two sides."

The Indian Army had sent a hotline message to the Pakistan Army on January 11 and asked for a flag meeting to discuss the issues of brutal killing of two jawans by Pakistani troops, reportedly belonging to 29 Baloch Regiment, and increasing incidents of firing and ceasefire violations in the Poonch sector.

Confidence Building Measures (CMBs) of cross-LoC trade and travel are also expected to come up for discussion during the flag meeting.

Pakistan has suspended cross-LoC trade and travel at Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch sector since Thursday and Friday respectively.

On January 8, the jawans were killed by Pakistani troops after they intruded deep into Indian territory along Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district, prompting an outraged India to summon the Pakistan High Commissioner in Delhi to protest the "highly provocative" attack. The head of one of the two jawans was chopped off and taken away by the Pakistani troops.

This is the second Brigade Commander-level flag meeting to be held in the Poonch sector in the last 6 months.

A Brigade Commanders' meeting was held at Chakan-Da-Bagh LoC point on June 23 following the killing of two Indian soldiers and injuries to four other jawans in ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops, besides closure of the cross- LoC trade and travel via Chakan-Da-Bagh.

The two jawans were killed and the four others were injured in the firing by Pakistan troops between June 11 to June 16 in the Poonch sector.

Army sources said a commander-level flag meeting is held to sort out the differences between the two sides.
Indian Army disciplined, professional force: MoD
Jammu, Jan 11 (PTI) Denying reports of soldiers of Rajputana Rifles going on "hunger strike" in protest against the killing of two Army jawans by Pakistani troops, the Defence Ministry today claimed such incidents do not "demoralise" the force.

"The Indian Army is totally professional, disciplined and highly motivated force, which handles all situations in a professional manner at all times, including in Jammu and Kashmir," Public Relation Officer (PRO), MoD, Jammu, Col R K Palta said here today.
Indian Army reiterates that Pakistan ‘mutilated and beheaded two of its soldiers

New Delhi, Jan.12 (ANI): The Indian Army on Saturday reiterated that two of its soldiers had been mutilated and beheaded by the Pakistan Army during an encounter in the Mendhar Sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement, Indian Army spokesman Colonel Jagdeep Dahiya, referring to an article written by Anita Joshua for The Hindu, and to a report filed by the Reuters News Agency, said that Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani’s claim that the Indian Army authorities had said that the bodies of its soldiers had not been mutilated and beheaded, were reports published out of context on January 12, 2013.

The Indian Army, through its release on Saturday, clarified that Pakistan has quoted the initial press release given by the spokesman of Indian Army’s Northern Command on January 8 2012, when the details of the incident were still not clear.

“Subsequently, On the same day, Indian Army made a statement that the body of one soldier was mutilated. Both these statements were made based on the information available at the time of making those statements,” the Indian Army said today.

“To set the details right, it is reiterated that the body of one soldier was found mutilated and beheaded , the body of second soldier was also mutilated during this ceasefire violation on January 8, 2013 in the Mendhar Sector by Pakistan,” the army release said. (ANI)
Indian Army held artillery demonstration in Nashik
NASHIK: Indian Army today held a spectacular demonstration of its fire power with 155 mm Howitzers blazing and multi-role helicopters displaying their might in the sky at the annual event organised by Artillery Division at Deolali Camp near here.

Under "Exercise Topchi", major artillery guns including 120 mm mortar, 105 mm Indian Field Gun, 155 mm Bofors and multi-barrel rocket launchers were wheeled out by the Artillery Regiment here.

Breathtaking display of operational sortie of multi-role Cheetah and Dhruv helicopters left the audience spellbound with army aviators manning these machines in a daredevil display.

The pilots manoeuvred the helicopters at low-altitude negotiating with trees to conceal their movement under "Nape of the Earth" in the operational parlance.
During the 90-minute display, the choppers airlifted 120-mm mortar guns and carried out air photo missions.

The annual event is organised for the visiting officers of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Coimbatore), technical staff officers course, Pune and officers from neighbouring sister training institutions in Pune and Ahmednagar, besides a visiting Nepalese Army delegation.

Lieutenant General V K Narula, Commandant of Artillery School and Colonel Commandant, Artillery Regiment, welcomed the guests and special invitees on the occasion.

The high-point of the show was a 'free-fall' demonstration by specially trained paratroopers using high-altitude penetrating parachute system (happs) so as to highlight their capability of carrying out operations behind the enemy lines.

An array of new generation surveillance and target acquisition equipment like the unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance and weapon locating radars were also displayed on the occasion.

Later, interacting with newspersons, Rajiv Mishra, Chief Instructor, faculty of Gunners said "Our Army is ready to face any eventuality. We have provided training to 17 to 18 neighbouring countries, including Kazakhstan, UK, US, Sri Lanka and Nepal".

He said the light helicopter "Rudra" will be soon introduced in the Army as its procurement is going on at the highest level.

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