Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Tuesday, 30 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 30 Apr 2013
India-China-Nepal trilateral cooperation mooted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
Just when India and China are engaged in a border stand-off triggered by Chinese incursion in Ladakh, Nepal's Maoist leader and former Prime Minister Pushpa Kumar Dahal Prachanda today called for trilateral cooperation between India, China and Nepal for economic prosperity of the region.

"I believe an economically sound Nepal will be in the interest of both India and China,'' Prachanda said while delivering a lecture here. The economic prosperity of Nepalese would also to a large extent address the security concerns of both India and China, he added.

Prachanda, who is here on a four-day visit, will meet PM Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid tomorrow. He will also meet UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Opposition leaders.

Prachanda is visiting India days after his trip to China, where he met Chinese President Xi Jinping. He made it clear that Nepal would not allow anti-India activities from its soil.
Chinese pitch 5th tent in Ladakh
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, April 29
The face-off between India and China in north Ladakh entered its 15th day today with Chinese troops pitching their fifth tent east of Raki Nullah and 30 km south-east from India’s advanced landing ground Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO).

The Indian side got its first indication of Chinese gradual build-up in the standoff area when the troops noticed three vehicles moving between the Chinese tents and their nearest backup location 25 km away, suggesting replenishment of supplies, sources said.

Armed troops of both sides continue to hold banners asking the other to withdraw under the April 2005 agreement, which lays down a protocol for soldiers coming face-to-face along the LAC.

The dry nullah stands between the armed troops of both sides as they confront each other 100 metres apart. Neither side has so far displayed heavy weapons.

The two flag meetings held so far between the Brigadier-level officers on either side have ended in a deadlock. India’s top strategy body - the China Study Group - headed by the National Security Adviser has opted for diplomatic resolution while asking the Army to maintain pressure.

Efforts to break the impasse over the incursion are yielding no results because of Chinese insistence that some bunkers constructed by India at a key vantage point be dismantled.

China is understood to have laid down this condition before the Indian side for pulling back from the place 19 km inside the Indian territory in DBO where around 50 troops have been camping for the past two weeks, sources said.

The government is seized of this issue at the meetings of the China Study Group headed by the National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and including Secretaries of key ministries such as Defence, Home and External Affairs, sources said. The rigidity shown by the Chinese over its demand is also one of the reasons behind more flag meetings between the two sides not being held for over a week, they said.

Sources said the vantage point is at a junction between two mountains in Ladakh area from where the Indian troops could remain unseen and oversee the activities of the Chinese troops in that area. (with PTI inputs)
Joint exercise still on
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
India and China have kept the window of joint military exercises planned for later this year open and are in the process of chalking out details of these exercises.

Amidst tension between the two countries along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in northern Ladakh, a small Indian military delegation led by a Brigadier was in China from April 23 to 26 for a “consultation meeting”.

The two sides have decided to conduct a “planning conference” here in July. This conference will study the conduct and scope of the joint exercises planned in October in Chengdu province of China. A small Chinese military delegation will visit New Delhi in July to work out the dates and logistics for the exercise.

The exercise in China is on track so far, a source said.

Indian and Chinese forces have conducted two joint military exercises in Karnataka (December 2008) and Kunming (China) in 2007.

The exercises came to an abrupt halt in 2009 after Beijing refused visa to a serving Indian General on the premise that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir.

The resumption in joint exercises was announced in New Delhi in September last year.
Chinese incursion: Govt acting cowardly, says Mulayam
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today slammed the UPA government for "acting coy" on the issue of Chinese incursions in Ladakh and went on to term it as "cowardly, incompetent and good for nothing".

Speaking during Zero Hour, Mulayam said China was India's biggest enemy and had been occupying huge chunks of our land with the government watching silently. Objecting to the forthcoming visit of Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid to China to prepare for the next month's visit of Chinese Premiere Li Keqiang to India, he said India had vowed after the 1962 war not to engage with China until it vacated every inch of the Indian land.

"This is the weakest government ever," he said supported by BJD's Bhartruhari Mahtab and TMC's Sudeep Bandopadhyay who wanted the PM to allay concerns of the Lok Sabha on the issue.

The SP chief said the Army had assured of removing intruders, but the government was not issuing it the relevant instructions. "The government is acting in a cowardly manner," SP supremo said adding that the threat of war from China and not Pakistan.

Khurshid is set to travel to Beijing on May 9 with the SP creating a ruckus in the LS on the matter. SP members raised slogans against the visit as soon as LS assembled at 11 am. The Speaker had to adjourn the House till 12 noon.

Later, Mulayam Singh raised the issue of Chinese incursions amid sloganeering by BJP members who were seeking resignations of the PM and the Law Minister on the CBI's affidavit to the court that the Law Minister had sought report on coal block allocations. Mulayam said he had personally raised the issue of Chinese aggression with the PM, but no action was taken.

"I went to PM's chamber to talk to him. But no action was taken," he said. The SP's claim is-one lakh sq km of the Indian territory has been occupied by China.

The Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha were adjourned till 12 noon, then till 2 pm and finally for the day over BJP protesting on the JPC issue and the CBI's affidavit in coal scam; SP attacking the government on Chinese incursions; and Telangana MPs demanding a separate state.
‘Net’ love may cost three Navy officers their job
Discussed defence-related issues on social media
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 29
A love for posting their latest pictures and discussing sensitive defence-related issues on social networking sites has landed three Navy officers in the soup.

The Navy Board of Inquiry (BoI) has recommended termination of their services. Another officer accused of similar acts is being censured by the Navy Chief. They will lose their jobs once the Ministry of Defence okays the board findings.

All four were found blameworthy of posting secret information on social networking sites in September 2011. The MoD has informed the parliamentary standing committee about the action on these four officers, which in turn, released its report today.

The three officers to be terminated occupy important posts at sensitive locations. Two of them are Commander-level (equal to Lt Colonel of the Army) and one is a Lt Commander. As each one of them has put in nine to 14 years of service, all of them are well aware of the ban on posting comments and their own pictures that revealed locations, on networking sites. One of them is posted on sea-borne aircraft carrier INS Viraat, while the other two are posted in the Western Naval Command. The carrier is at present undergoing a re-fit at Kochi.

A BoI proceedings were conducted at the Mumbai-based Western Naval Command (WNC). Before ordering an inquiry, the four officers were tracked on social networking sites and allegedly found to be posting confidential information, including location of warships, armaments being carried by them and their patrolling patterns.

Over the past few years, the armed forces have been issuing regular circulars, asking officers not to post service-related matters on social networking websites like Facebook and Orkut.

The officers cannot even reveal their ranks or the city where they work while posting pictures of weaponry, missiles, aircraft, warships and submarines. Posting information about patrolling duties is a strict no-no.

The MoD also informed the committee that an officer of the rank of commodore was found in a compromising position with a Russian woman and after being found culpable by a one-man inquiry, his services were terminated in April 2011.

The ministry said “moral turpitude and temptation to misappropriate public funds for personal gains” were the primary reasons behind cases of indiscipline in the Navy.
Mulayam Singh Yadav says China is the biggest enemy, Pakistan no threat to India
Mulayam Singh Yadav today attacked the government over the incursion of Chinese troops in Ladakh, accused it of being "cowardly and incompetent," and warned that China "is the biggest enemy" and "Pakistan is no threat to India."
The Samajwadi Party chief was among several members who voiced concern in the Lok Sabha at the stand-off that continues with China at the border since the middle of this month, and slammed the UPA government that he lends crucial external support to, for going ahead with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's scheduled visit to Beijing early next month.
Mr Yadav alleged that the Chinese incursion was designed to annexe Indian territory. "I have been raising this issue for the past eight years. I had warned that that there will be a repeat of 1962. I even went and met the Prime Minister in his chamber, yet there was no response. Now, Salman Khursid is going to China. To do what? Beg before them?" he said angrily.
On April 15, a Chinese platoon set up camp 19 kilometres inside Indian territory in the Depsang Valley in Ladakh. India  has tried through meetings with local military commanders and through diplomatic channels to get China to vacate the spot. But China insists that it has not intruded into Indian territory.
The Indian government does not want to escalate hostilities and Mr Khurshid has said it must "remain an isolated incident and should not spill over into the larger spectrum of our relationship with China." Army sources have said that they are treating the incursion as a localised incident and have ruled out military action, though they admit that the stand-off could continue for weeks.

Mr Yadav, who is also a former Defence Minister said today that he believed the Indian Army was ready to remove all intruders but had not been given a go-ahead by the government. He demanded to know from the Prime Minister why the government was being "cowardly, incompetent and good for nothing" in dealing with China.
Centre's soft stand on incursion demoralising army

Alleging that India's defence policy towards China is soft, as a result of which the nighbouring country indulges in intrusions every now and then, BJP national executive member and former member of Parliament Thupstan Chhewang, said the country under the Congress-led UPA has adopted a complete silence over incidents of foreign attacks on country's sovereignty.

Addressing a press conference, Chhewang said the recent incidents of intrusion by the People's Liberation Army deep into the Indian territory was not the first such case. In the past too, such intrusions had taken place and the Centre's meek responses had encouraged China to continue to do so.

He termed the statements made by the Prime Minister, the union home minister and other senior ministers ridiculous. He said by using phrases like undemarcated borders between India and China or disputed area and by adopting a soft stand on the issue, the government was demoralising the army and other forces deployed along borders. He said the remote region of Ladakh was the most ignored, under-developed and needed due attention by the central and the state government.

The former MP said our belief in principle of having cordial and friendly relations with our neighbouring countries should not mean that we were weak and taken for granted. He demanded the creation of special command base in Ladakh to counter the Chinese threat and a strong foreign policy.
Forget China border, first settle domestic row
New Delhi, April 29: A turf war among Indian forces is shaping policy in the terrain of tent war while Indian and Chinese troops are in a face-off in Ladakh’s Daulat Beg Oldi sector.

The Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops have pitched tents opposite a Chinese camp at Raki Nala in eastern Ladakh where the face-off between the forces of the two countries is now in its 14th day.

But the absence of a clear directive from the government on who is in charge can lead to confusion over who is really in command of the Indian camp at the disputed border — is it the army or is it the ITBP?

The Indian Army has re-stated its demand for operational command of five battalions of the ITBP in Ladakh. Indeed, the army wants operational command of the ITBP all along the border with China but it has suggested a start with Ladakh from where it has reported the maximum number of transgressions of Chinese patrols.

But the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has rejected the demand as it had done in the past. The request is now before the China Study Group (CSG) headed by national security adviser Shivshankar Menon. The CSG comprises the secretaries of the home, defence and external affairs ministries, the cabinet secretary, the vice-chief of army staff and officials that the group co-opts from time to time.

Lt General J.S. Bajwa, who recently retired as director general (infantry), told a meeting here on Sunday that the lack of operational command over the ITBP was a hindrance in a sensitive terrain. BJP MP Tarun Vijay was one of the organisers of the meeting.

The army had first asked for operational command of the ITBP on the border in 1986. But the demands became more insistent since 1999 when a Chinese intrusion at Chip Chap in the DBO sector was reported while Indian troops were engaged in the Kargil war with Pakistan.

The army says that its 14 Corps chief stationed at Leh should be in charge of all forces.

In the past, the home ministry had rejected the demand. The MHA told the government that the ITBP was raised specifically for the China frontier after the 1962 war. In addition, the MHA argued, peacetime border management is done by central police forces according to international norms and the army should be employed only in a “hot war” situation.

The army has counter-argued: in unsettled borders, a “hot war” situation can flare up at any time and escalate fast.

Technically, the Chinese also have border guards on the Line of Actual Control. Even the platoon, which has pitched tents at Raki Nala near DBO — that the Indian government has said is an intrusion of 19km inside India — belongs to the border guards.

But the Chinese border guards are part of the People’s Liberation Army and is directly under its command.

In India, however, central police forces like the ITBP are under the home ministry, and the army, navy, air force and the Coast Guard are under the defence ministry.

The Indian Army has also argued that units of the BSF, that also reports to the MHA, deployed on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan are under its operational command. In the Northeast, the Assam Rifles, engaged in counter-insurgency operations, is also under the operational command of the army.

The Indian government is, however, hesitant to follow a similar system along the undefined Line of Actual Control because placing a police force under the army could be construed as an aggressive move.

At Raki Nala, however, the troops of the ITBP and the army, from posts in Bush Area (ITBP) and Track Junction, were reported to be getting along well.

Reports sourced from the army said about 10 sentries each from the Indian and Chinese sides are in a face-off barely 100 metres apart and keep guard 24 hours. It is bitterly cold with temperatures dropping well below -10°C at night but the troops are holding up banners, each side asking the other to return to their original positions.
Parliamentary panel for relieving army from counter-terror duties
New Delhi, Apr. 29 (ANI): A parliamentary panel, which observed that deployment in counter-insurgency operations was straining the resources of the Indian Army, has said that the force should be relieved from these tasks to focus on undertaking its regular conventional duties.

The Standing Committee on Defence, which tabled its report today, expressed concern for saving lives of soldiers in counter-terrorist operations and criticized the Defence Ministry for its 'lackadaisical attitude' for doing away with the deficiency of around 1.86 lakh bullet-proof jackets for Army troops.

Commenting on the army's role in counter-terrorism operations, it said the force's commitments towards counter-insurgency operations strain its resources and is at the expense of its conventional war-fighting potential.

"The Committee endorse the Defence Ministry's views that counter-insurgency operations should ideally be conducted by the state-police or central police forces as the matter lies within the domain of internal security and the Army should be deployed only as the last resort," the report said.

The Committee asked the Defence Ministry to discuss the matter with higher echelons in light of the recommendations and relive the Army from counter insurgency operations so that the personnel deployed in operations are available to undertake their regular duties. (ANI)
No decision by govt to debar AgustaWestland from procurement, says A K Antony
Anglo-Italian defence firm AgustaWestland has participated in bids to procure choppers for Indian Navy and Coast Guard as no decision has been taken by the government to debar it from the procurement process, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha today.

In a written reply to the House, he said the Request for Proposal (RFP) for procurement of the Naval Utility Helicopter(NUH)) was issued before commencement of CBI inquiry in the VVIP helicopter case.

"Since no decision to debar the said company (AgustaWestland) from participation in the procurement process has so far been taken, the bids are under process," he said.

On whether AgustaWestland has applied for tenders for supply of helicopters for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, Antony said, "Yes... RFP for procurement of 56 NUH was issued in August 2012, prior to commencement of inquiry by CBI in the VVIP helicopter case."

RFP for procurement of 14 twin-engine helicopters for the Indian Coast Guard was likewise issued in November last year, he added.

"Only two companies have submitted bids for the NUH case and three companies submitted bids for the twin-engine helicopter case. The bidders include AgustaWestland," Antony said.

In reply to a separate question on modernisation of Navy, he said, "The budget allocation of Indian Navy for 2013-14 is Rs 34,212.33 crore, out of which Rs 22,738.70 crore is earmarked for modernisation purpose."

To a question over Main Battle Tanks (MBT) for the Indian Army, the Defence Minister said, "MBT Arjun Mark-I has been manufactured indigenously and Arjun Mark-II is under development. The T-90 tanks are manufactured indigenously by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) under licensed production from the Original Equipment Manufacturer."

He also told the House that the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) is under indigenous design and development.

In reply to separate question on budgetary allocation for the year 2013-14, he said the services have been provided Rs 2,03,672.12 crore.

Monday, 29 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 29 Apr 2013
Willing to work with India to overcome differences: China

Beijing, April 28
China today took note of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's remarks over PLA's incursion into the Depsang Valley and said that it is willing to work with New Delhi to deal with differences while maintaining peace at borders and forging strategic cooperative partnership.

“We have noted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement,” a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

“The two sides have been in communication through the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on boundary affairs, border meetings and diplomatic channels for a solution to the incident in part of the western section of the China-India border,” the statement said.

According to the statement, the reaction was in response to a question over Singh's remarks that Chinese troops incursion into the Depsang Valley in Ladakh can be settled through talks.

The Prime Minister told media in New Delhi yesterday that India does not want to “accentuate” the situation in the wake of the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh and is working on a plan to resolve it.

“We do have a plan. We do not want to accentuate the situation. We do believe that it is possible to resolve this problem. It is a localised problem. I think the talks are going on,” the Prime Minister said.

China had denied that its People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers had pitched tents in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in Ladakh amounted to trespass and violation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The Chinese statement said, “We stand ready to work together with India to properly deal with differences and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas in a bid to boost the healthy and stable development of China-India strategic and cooperative partnership.”

It said “while actively developing friendly cooperation in recent years, China and India have committed themselves to settling disputes including the boundary question through peaceful negotiation and preventing the disputes from affecting the development of bilateral relations”.

The two sides are currently trying to resolve the issue through border consultation mechanism inked last year even as External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid is due visit Beijing on May 9, which officials said would be followed by new Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visit to New Delhi. — PTI

What PM had said

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi on Saturday that India does not want to “accentuate” the situation in the wake of the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh and is working on a plan to resolve it

We stand ready to work together with India to properly deal with differences and maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas in a bid to boost the healthy and stable development of China-India strategic and cooperative partnership.
— Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
India to push for early deal in N-energy with Russia

Moscow, April 28
India is expected to push for early closure of agreements on nuclear energy, fertilisers, banking and textiles sectors at the inter-governmental commission meeting with Russia here tomorrow.

Early agreements on these issues could pave way for key announcements in December when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would travel to Moscow for his annual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will co-chair the inter-session meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC) with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

Khurshid is also expected to push for a stake for India in the Sakhalin-III oilfields and also make a case for ONGC Videsh Limited for exploring and developing oilfields in Siberia.

Last month, the Cabinet Committee on Security had granted financial clearance for Kudankulam 3&4 at a cost of Rs 20 crore per MW. The Kudankulam 3&4 nuclear power units are of 1,000 MW each and the project cost is estimated at Rs 40,000 crore.

However, officials said Russia feels that the offer was too less considering the liability costs under the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Law.

“Kudankulam 1&2 has been placed in a certain framework based on a timeline during which we have moved forward and will that remain the same for 3&4 or you have to organise it in a different format. Those are the discussions taking place,” Khurshid said.

“But, I don’t think in those discussions there is anything there which can be an impediment but there are certain things that you need to converge on so that finally you come to a mutually accepted format,” he said.

Another key issue on agenda is the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project which India is developing in collaboration with Japan. India has asked Russia to look up for investments in the industrial zones coming up along the corridor.

India is also looking for enhancing textiles exports to Russia and the issue is likely to figure in the talks between Khurshid and Rogozin. “My visit is focused entirely on the work we have to do in between the annual summits between the heads of government.

Progress has to be examined, many technical issues need to be flagged,” Khurshid said. — PTI

Paving the way

Early agreements on nuclear energy, fertilisers, banking and textiles sectors will pave way for key announcements in December when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would travel to Moscow for his annual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
Put NCTC on hold: House panel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 28
A parliamentary standing committee has "suggested to the government to keep the decision on setting up a national counter-terrorism centre (NCTC) in abeyance until discussions were held with all states, political parties and a consensus was arrived at on the issue".

The committee has taken note of the objections raised by members and the states. "The matter may be sorted out to the satisfaction of all state governments and UTs and decision may be taken with the consensus of all concerned," the committee said.

The suggestion runs contrary to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde who wants to put the NCTC in place quickly.

The committee has also told the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to completely abolish the system of orderlies, who serve senior police officers at their homes or offices. The 6th Pay Commission has recommended the same. Orderlies are drawn from within the force and are regular policemen.

The committee headed by senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu has come down heavily on the “orderly system” functional in the police and termed it as “discriminatory and reminiscent of British colonial era”. This effects the morale of the personnel who are trained for security duties, said the panel its report tabled in Parliament on April 25.

It has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to issue a mandatory direction to all police heads not to use any security personnel or police personnel for duties other than their mandated work. Police personnel were made to work at the residences of senior officers of the forces for domestic purposes and refusal by some lower rank personnel resulted into their service problems, said the committee.

The 6th Pay Commission had recommended abolition of the orderly system and the suggestion had been forwarded to authorities concerned, said the panel. The Home Secretary had assured the committee to look into this issue on priority basis.

The Naidu-led committee gave realistic option saying, if it is necessary, then posts of cooks, drivers, attendants should be sanctioned separately.

Raj reminder

    The committee headed by senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu has come down heavily on the “orderly system” functional in the police and termed it as “discriminatory and reminiscent of British colonial era”
    This effects the morale of the personnel who are trained for security duties, said the panel its report tabled in Parliament on April 25
    It has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to issue a mandatory direction to all police heads not to use any security personnel or police personnel for duties other than their mandated work
Panel against conversion of SSB units for disaster management
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, April 28
While bringing out the inadequacy in the strength of the of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to deal with large-scale emergency situations, a key parliamentary committee has advised the Centre against converting two battalions of the Sashashtra Seema Bal (SSB) for disaster management role to enhance the capability of the NDRF.

The Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs has observed that converting the SSB battalions would not be the right approach as it would affect the functioning of the SSB. The panel has asked the government to explore other sources for raising additional battalions for the NDRF.

The SSB, a border guarding force under the Ministry of Home Affairs, is responsible for the management of the borders with Nepal and Bhutan. The force is also undergoing expansion and reorganisation with additional battalions and sector headquarters being raised. It has a posted strength 49,734 personnel against the sanctioned strength of 65,594 personnel.

According to sources, a draft Cabinet note has been prepared by the NDRF for conversion of the two SSB battalions. This will raise the number of NDRF battalions to 12. At present, the force has 10 battalions with three each from the Central Reserve Police Force and the Border Security Force and two each from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force and the Central Industrial Security Force. These are located at strategic places across the country.

The committee had observed that 10 battalions of a specialised force like the NDRF were inadequate for a vast country like India which is vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters.

The NDRF functions under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). All its battalions are being equipped and trained to handle natural disasters, while four of them are specialised in combating nuclear, biological and chemical disasters. With a sanctioned strength of 1,150 personnel, each NDRF battalion will have 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each, including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads and medical staff and paramedics.

The panel stressed that states and union territories raise their own respective specialist disaster response forces and train and equip them adequately and that the NDMA should play a pivotal role in this regard. This, the committee observed, need to be prioritised in view of the weak disaster management preparedness of the country.

What the panel says

    The Parliamentary Committee on Home Affairs has observed that 10 battalions of a specialised force like the NDRF were inadequate for a vast country like India which is vulnerable to natural and man-made disasters
    A draft Cabinet note has been prepared by the NDRF for conversion of two SSB battalions, which will raise the number of NDRF battalions to 12
    The panel has observed that converting the SSB battalions into NDRF units would affect the functioning of the SSB
Major reshuffle likely in Indian Army
NEW DELHI (PTI): A major reshuffle is expected in the top Army brass with several new appointments being made in key formations, including the Udhampur-based Northern Command of the force.

Present western Army commander Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra has been recommended to be shifted to head the Northern Command to succeed Lt Gen KT Parnaik, who is retiring on June 30, officials said.

Lt Gen Chachra is expected to be replaced by Lt Gen Philip Campose, who is currently heading the perspective planning (PP) directorate at the Army headquarters here.

Present Director General (IT) Lt Gen Sanjeev Madhok is expected to be elevated as the chief of Army's Shimla-based Training Command, the officials said.

Central Army commander Lt Gen Anil Chait is expected to be shifted to head the tri-services integrated defence services headquarters in Delhi while he is expected to be succeeded by Lt Gen Rajan Bakshi, they said.

Bakshi is presently heading the Leh-based 14 Corps. The defence ministry has given its approval to the new appointments and has forwarded the proposal for final clearance by the appointments committee of the Cabinet.
Indian Army pitches again for operational control over ITBP
The Chinese incursion across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh has stoked an old rift between the Defence Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs over the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) guarding the 650-km LAC with China along Jammu and Kashmir.

South Block mandarins are reiterating their old demand for the 50,000 strong ITBP to be placed under the operational control of the 11.3-lakh strong Indian Army, on the lines of the Assam Rifles that guards the India-Myanmar border.

In Ladakh, China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)  troopers, with two sniffer dogs, had sneaked into the Indian side of the LAC on April 15, unnoticed by ITBP soldiers. They also pitched four tents at Debsang Bulge in the area. The ITBP got to know only 24 hours later, primarily because they are not permanently posted at those locations, and are on patrol only as frequently as possible. It also does not go up to the entire Indian side of the LAC, as much as the Chinese do till theirs, because of the norms set by the China Study Group, a high-level committee with secretaries of Defence, Home and External Affairs apart from the Indian Army Vice Chief as members.

“The projection, for the ITBP to be under Army’s operational control, has been made several times in the past, but hasn’t met with a positive response from the Home Ministry,” says a Brigadier of the Indian Army. The LAC is “undemarcated” and there are high possibilities of incursions by Chinese troopers, according to Defence Ministry officials. The last three years, till 2012, had witnessed over 600 incidents of PLA transgressions. Besides, the ITBP doesn’t have the expertise to handle confrontations of the kind being witnessed. “In such circumstances, the Army needs to join forces with the ITBP, as the Ladakh Scouts have done this time,” they noted. The ITBP officers refused to comment.

Since its raising in October 1962 in the aftermath of the bitter Sino-India war that left New Delhi humiliated, the 53 battalions of ITBP have been entrusted with the responsibility of manning around 3,500 km of the 4,057-km of LAC with China. From Karakoram in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh, ITBP mans outposts on the LAC along the Himalayas bordering Tibet and Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim at altitudes ranging from 9,000 feet to 18,600 feet stretching.

The Indian Army guards only just over 500 km of the LAC, particularly in the North East region. While the Leh-based 14 Corps defends Ladakh against Chinese misadventures, the eastern sector is handled by the Tezpur-based 4 Corps and Dimapur-based 3 Corps. A Lieutenant General of the Army heads the Assam Rifles and its battalions are commanded by Army colonels.
Sushilkumar Shinde expects Flag Officers meet to resolve Chinese incursion issue
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Saturday said that the incursion by the Chinese troops in the Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir would be decided during the Flag Officers meeting of both the armies.

"I have personally been to that area and it is a 'no- man's land', but it is also a disputed area. Our people sometimes go there and so do theirs. So, this is the third round of flag meeting by officers that will happen," he told mediapersons here.

The Home Minister was on a visit to Daman to formally inaugurate a police-training centre.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today lashed out at the Congress-led UPA Government for inaction on this issue.

BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said India could not be seen as a weak and vulnerable country.

"It has been officially accepted by the Indian authorities that the Chinese have camped 19 kilometres on the Indian soil, they have pitched up their tents. The Bharatiya Janata Party would like to know would the Indian Government only react if they use steel and mortars to build up a post there, is it that time that the Indian Government would react," said Rudy.

"The Government of India should retaliate in its own form and same action should be taken and we cannot be seen to be a lame duck government, a weak government, a government incapable of deciding and acting," he added, while talking to the media at a press conference in the national capital.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has said India does not want to accentuate the situation in the wake of the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh.

"We do have a plan. We do not want to accentuate the situation. We do believe that it is possible to resolve this problem. It is a localised problem. The talks are going on," said Dr. Singh.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony yesterday said that negotiations and consultations are on at various levels to find a peaceful solution to the Chinese incursion issue in Ladakh.

"Negotiations and consultations are going on at various levels to find out a peaceful solution to Chinese incursion issue," he told mediapersons outside the Parliament in New Delhi.

Chief of Army Staff, General Bikram Singh, had earlier briefed the Defence Minister on the Chinese incursion in Ladakh and the situation along the border.

The Indian Army has given its inputs to the Government and the National Security Advisor headed China Study Group, which is handling the present situation in Ladakh.

India had earlier on Tuesday asked China to maintain the status-quo on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

On April 15, a Platoon-strength contingent of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) entered the Indian territory in Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) sector in eastern Ladakh and erected a tented post, setting the stage for a face-off with Indian troops.

Daulat Beg Oldi, which is located in northernmost Ladakh, is a historic camp site. It is located on an ancient trade route connecting Ladakh to Yarkand in Xinjiang, China.


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal