Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Monday, 28 January 2013

From Today's Papers - 28 Jan 2013
Military got tap equipment illegally, says V.K. Singh

Indian military acquired phone tapping equipment illegally, said former Army chief General V.K. Singh in an interview with The Sunday Guardian, but claimed that he had nothing to do with it. He also owned up for the first time to a shadowy spy agency — the Technical Support Division (TSD) — which has been accused of misappropriating secret military funds and bugging the political leadership. However, the general, who is now a political activist, strongly protested his innocence and insisted that the spying charges against him were the result of a conspiracy to tarnish his image. He alleged that sophisticated phone tapping equipment, including off-air interceptors, was acquired by "one particular DG DIA" without the government's authorisation and that he was not responsible for it.
He also revealed that the Ministry of Defence, suspecting that Defence Minister A.K. Antony's office was bugged, summoned the Intelligence Bureau to conduct a de-bugging operation in January 2012. It's the Military Intelligence which is mandated with de-bugging sweeps in the MoD. The summoning of the civilian IB for an external probe appears a reflection of the chilling trust deficit with the military leadership of the time.
"They (the IB) found some interference in the Defence Minister's office. The issue was reported to the Director-General Military Intelligence, who informed the Defence Secretary, who informed the IB. The IB team checked it but all they found was some loose connection that was causing this interference," he acknowledged. "Anybody (who) thinks there's been eavesdropping carried out on the political establishment has a sick mind," Singh said.
V.K. Singh also claimed that there was nothing clandestine about his spy agency, TSD, which, he said, was set up under an "operational directive" from the government to fill the gaps exposed by the 26/11 attack. "This was talked of during the time of my predecessor, came up on noting sheet at my time, and I gave the go ahead," he shrugged. This claim is vehemently denied by his predecessor, Gen Deepak Kapoor. "This issue never came up during my time. There's a lot of room for an external investigation by the CBI, given reports that evidence is being destroyed," Kapoor countered strongly. A board of inquiry set up by V.K. Singh's successor against the Technical Support Division (TSD) is reported to have come out with damning revelations. The government has not denied reports that the TSD used and later destroyed illegally-acquired mobile interceptors.
V.K. Singh lent his weight to the growing suspicion that the military is involved in unauthorised tapping. "Well, we don't buy them (sic), they are all under the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). They have all been bought in conjunction with the IB... In fact, the controversy is that one particular DG DIA bought these interceptors when the permission did not exist, and it included off-air items," the former Army chief claimed. The DIA is a tri-service agency under the Ministry of Defence (MoD). It does not report to the Army chief.
Although he did not name the "one particular DG DIA", the reference appeared to be directed towards Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, whom Gen V.K. Singh had earlier named in a press release, levelling the charge that he (Tejinder Singh) had been questioned for making certain (unspecified) purchases as DG DIA. Tejinder Singh has sued V.K. Singh for criminal defamation. V.K. Singh is on bail. The former Army chief elaborated on his charge: "This particular individual bought these interceptors, which was not permitted by the TCG (Technical Coordination Group), which exists under the National Security Adviser." Lt General Tejinder Singh strongly refuted Gen V.K. Singh's "charge": "The DIA doesn't procure any equipment. Organisations under the DIA procure various technical equipment. The sanctioning authority in each case is the MoD. Approval for each transaction is given by the MoD, which also sanctions expenditure. This power is not delegated to the DG DIA. No equipment has been procured in an unauthorised manner. And I've never been questioned on this issue." Tejinder Singh believes V.K. Singh is making unfounded allegations against him to divert attention from the TSD. He demanded a CBI inquiry "to settle the issue once and for all".
LoC ice breaks: Trade, travel resume today
Our Correspondent

Poonch, January 27
Trans-Line of Control trade and travel between India and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) will resume from here tomorrow.

Both services were suspended after the recent escalation in tension between the two countries along the LoC in Poonch district following brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops on January 8.

"We have received information on hotline last evening from the other side that the trade and travel services will resume from Monday,” said Krishan Lal, custodian, cross-LoC trade and travel.

"On Monday, only 217 stranded passengers, who have completed their stipulated stay from both sides of the LoC, which includes 109 Pakistan nationals who are in J&K and 108 Indian nationals who are stranded in PoK, will be allowed to travel," said Lal.

There was no information regarding fresh passengers from both sides, he said.

The Pakistani authorities had suspended the services between the two countries on January 11, citing tension in the region and conveyed that the services would be resumed only after the resumption of normalcy on the LoC, sources said.

The cross-border bus service "Rahen Milan” is a part of confidence-building measures between the two countries and was launched in 2005. The trade service was started in 2008. Vegetables and fruits are bartered every week at designated trade centres along the LoC and the suspension of service has hit traders on both sides.

The decision to resume the trade and travel between the two countries was taken after the DGMO-level talks between New Delhi and Islamabad recently, said sources.

They said in the past 15 days, Indian traders had suffered a loss of over Rs 3.37 crore.

However, the cross-LoC trade via Salamabad ran smoothly between Uri and Muzaffarabad.

Meanwhile, in keeping with the tradition, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged sweets along the LoC in Poonch to mark India's 64th Republic Day yesterday.

A flag meeting was also held between the two sides at Chakan da bagh yesterday. The Indian side was represented by Col PDS Bal and Major SS Sehgal and the Pakistani side by Lt Col Javid and Major Yasin.
India moves closer to nuclear triad
Successfully test-fires ballistic missile from underwater platform
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, January 27
India on Sunday moved a step closer to integrate a nuclear missile with INS Arihant - its nuclear-powered indigenous submarine, which is all set for final sea trials. Once done, it will complete the crucial third leg of India’s nuclear triad - the ability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.
The medium range nuclear tipped missile K-15 was fired from an under-sea pontoon in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday
The medium range nuclear tipped missile K-15 was fired from an under-sea pontoon in the Bay of Bengal on Sunday

A medium-range ballistic missile, K-15 (code-named B05 by the Defence Research and Development Organisation) was successfully test-fired from an underwater platform in the Bay of Bengal. The missile is now ready for induction. With this launch, the first part of the submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLMB) programme gets completed. The longer range, 3,000-km version, missile (code-named K-4) is still under development.

It was the 12th trial of the 10-metre long K-15, whose length is in tandem with the missile tubes on board the INS Arihant. As many as 12 nuclear-tipped missiles, each weighing six tones, will be integrated with Arihant, which is powered by an 80MW (thermal) reactor that uses enriched uranium as fuel and light water as coolant and moderator.

During the test, the K-15 rose to an altitude of 20 km before descending to strike the target 700 km away. An underwater canister set on a pontoon was used to mimic a submarine launch from a depth of 50 m in the Bay of Bengal.

“The missile was tested for its full range and met all the mission objectives. All  parameters of the vehicle were monitored by radars right through the trajectory and terminal events have taken place exactly as expected,” said a DRDO release.

DRDO chief V K Saraswat said “ the development phase of the K-15 missile was over and it was now ready for deployment on various platforms, including the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant”.

India will become the sixth country to have such technology after the United States, Russia, the UK, France and China. New Delhi has already announced that the INS Arihant will go on deterrent patrol aimed at providing the ability of a retaliatory “second strike” in case of a nuclear attack.

The submarine will carry its full load of nuclear-tipped missiles that can be launched from under the sea. It deters a nation from launching a first N-strike as the submarines can then launch the retaliatory strike within minutes.

During the Cold War, “deterrent patrol” was a norm adopted by the US and the erstwhile USSR when their submarines trawled under sea for days.

DRDO’s latest: K-15

* K-15 is part of the family of underwater missiles being developed by DRDO for the Indian strategic forces' underwater platforms

* The missile will help India to achieve the capability of launching nuclear warheads from underwater facilities

* It’s a major stride towards completing the nuclear triad, ability to fire N-tipped missiles from land, air and sea
India awed by defence prowess
 The mood was ecstatic, hearts filled with pride and patriotism as country’s military prowess and eclectic mix of cultures were on display on the occasion of the 64th Republic Day at Rajpath on Saturday.

The audience, seated on both sides of Rajpath — already awestruck by the President’s Guard, imposing human figures in magnificent attire on horsebacks — and Prime Minister’s cavalcade consisting of black BMWs moving in formation with a restrained majesty, erupted in a loud cheer as Army helicopters showered flower petals on Rajpath. This was followed closely by the first cavalry contingent marching past the dais.

People braved early morning January chill and most of the front row seats had been occupied by 7:30 am. People still came in by past 10 am when the parade had already started. The nuclear capable 5500 km Agni-V ballistic missile mounted on a road mobile launcher, the BrahMos missile, camel mounted BSF contingent and the tableau depicting Indian cinema’s 100 years were particularly liked by the audience.

The country showed its military strength with the MBT Arjun Tank, Armoured Ambulance Tracked Vehicle, BrahMos missiles and 214 mm Pinaka Rockets and 15 Metre Sarvatra Bridging System. The Army contingent from horse-mounted columns of the 61st Cavalry, Mechanised Infantry Regiment, Maratha Light Infantry, Dogra Regiment, Garhwal Rifles, Ladakh Scouts, 8 Gorkha Training Centre, Army Ordnance Corps and Territorial Army (Punjab) marched to the martial tunes. The next to follow were smartly-dressed Navy personnel and then the Air Force contingent. The Air Force contingent was led by Flight Lieutenant Heena Pore.

The DRDO displayed the indigenously developed Armoured Amphibious Dozer (AAD), a versatile Combat Engineer support equipment with earth moving and amphibious capabilities in varied terrain. Airborne Early Warning and Control System and Naval Sonar were also displayed. Other marching contingents were those of camel-mounted BSF, Assam Rifles, Coast Guard, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, SSB, RPF, Delhi Police, NCC and NSS. Security personnel had a tough time managing the crowds as people stood up on their chairs to catch a glimpse of the wonderful Chhau dance performance by colourfully dressed school children from Kolkata.

The parade included 19 tableaux of which 14 were from states and five from different ministries. Last year, the number of tableaux was 23. The first tableau to roll out was that of West Bengal which paid tributes to Swami Vivekananda whose 150th birth anniversary will be celebrated this year. Uttar Pradesh’s tableau depicting Braj ki Holi was also greeted with a loud cheer. Jharkhand, which participated in the parade after a gap of five years, depicted the Dokra art, a specialised metal cast technique using wax casting. The high point of tableaux was Cinema Mayur Pankhi celebrating Indian cinema’s 100 years, making of Kashmir’s famed pashmina shawls and Noori, the first cloned goat and the Kinnal craft of Karnataka.

Following the tableaux, 22 young brave hearts who won the national bravery awards drove through the Rajpath in open gypsies to a huge applause following which 700 students enthralled the spectators with a spectacular performance of various dance forms.

Earlier, after the customary 21-gun salute and unfurling of the national tricolour by President Pranab Mukherjee, the spectacle began with four army helicopters flying above Rajpath carrying the national flag and the three flags of the Army, Navy and Air Force. General Officer Commanding (Delhi) Lt General Subroto Mitra led the parade. President Pranab Mukherjee, also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, took the salute for the first time after assuming office in July last year. Bhutan king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was the chief guest at the function, becoming the third emperor from Bhutan to grace the event. The other dignitaries present on the Rajpath to enjoy the spectacle included Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister AK Antony, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the three service chiefs and top political and military brass.

Minutes before the parade, PM Manmohan Singh, Defence Minster Antony and three service chiefs laid wreaths at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tribute to those who laid down their lives while defending the nation.
Nirbhay Cruise Missile Test Next Month: DRDO
India's Nirbhay cruise weapon will be tested in February, DRDO chief Dr V.K. Saraswat said at a press conference last week in Bangalore. This is the first time in over a year that a definite time-frame has been provided on the mysterious programme. Last checked, the missile was to have been tested in July-August 2012.

As I've earlier reported, this will be, without a doubt, the most significant weapon test since, perhaps, the Agni-III. The Nirbhay, shrouded in secrecy for long, is understood to be a two-stage high subsonic cruise missile with loitering capabilities. Sources suggest that apart from the engine (apparently supplied by NPO Saturn), the rest of the system is fully indigenous.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal