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Monday, 8 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 08 Mar 2013






http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130408/main4.htm
Pak ‘secret’ drone deal with US: Keep off camps training Kashmiri militants

New York, April 7
In a secret deal, Pakistan allowed American drone strikes on its soil on the condition that the unmanned aircraft would stay away from its nuclear facilities and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India, said a media report.

Under secret negotiations between Pakistani intelligence agency ISI and America's CIA during 2004, the terms of the bargain were set, the New York Times reported today.

“Pakistani intel officials insisted that drones fly only in narrow parts of the tribal areas — ensuring that they would not venture where Islamabad did not want the Americans going: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, and mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India,” the paper said.

The "secret deal" over drone strikes was reached after CIA agreed to kill tribal warlord Nek Muhammad, a Pakistani ally of the Afghan Taliban who led a rebellion and was marked by Islamabad as an "enemy of the state," the NYT reported, citing an excerpt from the book 'The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth'.

A CIA official had met the then ISI chief Ehsan-ul Haq with the offer that if it killed Muhammad, "would the ISI allow regular armed drone flights over the tribal areas," the report said.

The ISI and the CIA also agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the American agency's "covert action authority", which meant that the US would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent.

While Pakistani officials had in the past considered drone flights a violation of sovereignty, it was Muhammad's rise to power that forced them to reconsider their line of thought and eventually allow predator drones. — PTI
 The CIA-ISI plan

    Under secret pact between Pakistani spy agency ISI and America's CIA during 2004, the terms of the bargain were set, says a New York Times report
    Pakistani officials wanted drones to stay away from its nuclear facilities and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India
    Officials insisted they be allowed to approve each strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130408/main5.htm
At mighty Zojila, this snowman helps BRO keep roads open
Majid Jahangir/TNS
Srinagar, April 7
When the strategic 434-km Srinagar-Leh National Highway was thrown open to traffic after nearly four months on Saturday, Tulla Khan, driver of the snow-cutter machine, seemed most happy.

Nicknamed ‘the path tracer’, Khan — who was part of the eight- member team of drivers that cleared the snow up to Zojila from Sonamarg — knows the road alignment up to the pass like the back of his hand. Though deaf and dumb, Khan’s ability to precisely trace the road buried under the snow makes him an asset for the Border Road Organisation (BRO).

“He knows the precise alignment of the road even if it is buried under 50 feet snow. At times, he is even better than machines,” said a BRO engineer.

For 25 years, Khan, a resident of Nilgiri Sonamarg, has been busy clearing the snow on the road from Gangangir in Sonmarg to Zero Point at Zojila.

Zojila is the fourth highest pass in the country and is the gateway to the Ladakh region. Apart from the harsh weather conditions, the pass is located in a treacherous and accident-prone mountain range. “Khan and other drivers are unsung heroes. Without their efforts, it would be really difficult to clear the snow on this dangerous highway,” said an official.

“The job of snow clearance is very tough at Zojila. We have to brave all odds as the minimum temperature goes down to minus 28 degrees Celsius,’ said Mushtaq Ahmed, Khan’s colleague.

Chief Engineer of Beacon Brig RK Sharma said: “Though we have machines for the job, it’s the men manning these machines who matter the most. The entire road remains covered with thick snow and the most difficult task is to identify the road alignment,” Sharma said.

While these heroes of Zojila do one of the toughest jobs, their remuneration is a meager Rs 6,500 per month.
The path tracer

    For the past 25 years, Tulla Khan (see picture) of Nilgiri Sonamarg has been busy clearing the snow on the road at Zojila
    Though deaf and dumb, Khan’s ability to precisely trace the road buried under the snow makes him a huge asset for the Border Road Organisation

He (Tulla Khan) knows the precise alignment of the road even if it is buried under 50 feet snow. At times, he is even better than machines. — A BRO engineer

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130408/nation.htm#14
Nuclear-capable Agni-II test-fired successfully
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 7
India today test-fired nuclear capable intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) Agni-II off the coast of Odisha. Agni-II has been already inducted into the Indian forces’ arsenal and today’s firing was part of a training module for strategic deterrence. It has a range of more than 2,000 km.

Globally, missiles that can hit targets between 2,000 and 3,500 km are classified as IRBMs. New Delhi has already test-fired Agni-V, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of more than 5,000 km. Agni-V is not yet operational. The firing was conducted by the Strategic Forces Command and aided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The two-stage missile launched from a mobile launcher met all mission objectives, a statement issued by DRDO said.

Radars and electro-optical tracking systems located all along tracked and monitored all its parameters. Two Naval warships located near the target point in the Bay of Bengal witnessed the final event, DRDO said.

Defence Minister AK Antony congratulated DRDO scientists and armed forces on the success of firing.

Today’s launch

The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher off the coast of Odisha around 10.20 am. The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by sophisticated radars and it met all mission objectives.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130408/nation.htm#15
No retrial if court martial proceedings annulled: HC
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, April 7
Deciding an important issue of law, Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that holding a re-trial by way of a court martial in the case where the first trial has been annulled by the competent authority is without jurisdiction.

The court set aside the conviction and the sentence of dismissal awarded to two Indo-Tibetan Border Police jawans, who were tried on the charges of raping a women while posted to Srinagar, but declined to reinstate them in service.

The course adopted by the authorities apparently is in violation of the provisions of the applicable Act and rules. Rather, there is a specific bar for holding a re-trial of a person subject to the Act and in this regard, reference can be made to the provisions of Section 87 of the Act, which prohibits second trial, Justice Ranjit Singh ruled.

In their petitions, Head Constable Jai Pal and another jawan had contended that they were tried by a summary force court in September 2000 on three charges which were: not informing the camp sentries of his movements, visiting the house of the said woman without authorisation and making false statements.

While they pleaded guilty to the first and the third charge, they denied the second charge. The court of inquiry earlier had found the statements of the woman and her husband inconsistent. They were sentenced to be reduced to ranks. In October 2000, they received another order stating that the proceedings of the trial were annulled on the ground that these are illegal and de novo trial of the petitioners was ordered. The second trial dismissed them from service.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/brigadier-to-face-disciplinary-action-for-allegedly-taking-away-property-from-his-official-house-351214?pfrom=home-otherstories
Brigadier to face disciplinary action for allegedly taking away property from his official house
An Army Brigadier will face disciplinary action after he was indicted by a Court of Inquiry (CoI) for allegedly borrowing money from his subordinates and taking away property from his official residence during his posting in Sikkim.

A CoI was initiated against Brigadier LI Singh for allegedly borrowing money from wet canteen contractors of units and from subordinate officers and it has recommended disciplinary action against him, sources told PTI in Delhi.

The officer has been ordered to be attached to the Binagudi-based 20 Mountain Division for further disciplinary proceedings which may also include facing a General Court Martial (GCM), they said.

It is also alleged that he has taken away official property of Flag Staff House prior to relinquishing the appointment as the commander of the Sikkim-based 164 Mountain Brigade.

The CoI is being held under the Eastern Army Command which is headed by Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Brig LI Singh, sources said, was involved in the process of issuing show cause notices to Lt Gen Suhag for alleged botched up intelligence operation in Assam during former Army Chief Gen V K Singh's tenure.

http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/south-korea-north-korea-may-be-preparing-to-test-missile-351148?pfrom=home-otherstories
South Korea: North Korea may be preparing to test missile
Seoul: A top South Korean national security official said on Sunday that North Korea may be setting the stage for a missile test or another provocative act with its warning that it soon will be unable to guarantee diplomats' safety in Pyongyang. But he added that the North's clearest objective is to extract concessions from Washington and Seoul.

North Korea's warning last week followed weeks of war threats and other efforts to punish South Korea and the US for ongoing joint military drills, and for their support of UN sanctions over Pyongyang's February 12 nuclear test. Many nations are deciding what to do about the notice, which said their diplomats' safety in Pyongyang cannot be guaranteed beginning this Wednesday.

Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang led South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff to announce Sunday that its chairman had put off a visit to Washington. The South Korean defense minister said Thursday that North Korea had moved a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast, possibly to conduct a test launch.
His description suggests that the missile could be the Musudan missile, capable of striking American bases in Guam with its estimated range of up to 4,000 kilometers (2,490 miles).

Citing North Korea's suggestion that diplomats leave the country, South Korean President Park Geun-hye's national security director said Pyongyang may be planning a missile launch or another provocation around Wednesday, according to presidential spokeswoman Kim Haing.

During a meeting with other South Korean officials, the official, Kim Jang-Soo, also said the notice to diplomats and other recent North Korean actions are an attempt to stoke security concerns and to force South Korea and the US to offer a dialogue. Washington and Seoul want North Korea to resume the six-party nuclear talks - which also include China, Russia and Japan - that it abandoned in 2009.

The roughly two dozen countries with embassies in North Korea had not yet announced whether they would evacuate their staffs.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague suggested that North Korea's comments about foreign diplomats are "consistent" with a regime that is using the prospect of an external threat to justify its militarization to its people.

"I haven't seen any immediate need to respond to that by moving our diplomats out of there," he told the BBC on Saturday. "We will keep this under close review with our allies, but we shouldn't respond and play to that rhetoric and that presentation of an external threat every time they come out with it."

Germany said its embassy in Pyongyang would stay open for at least the time being.

"The situation there is tense but calm," a German Foreign Office official, who declined to be named in line with department policy, said in an email. "The security and danger of the situation is constantly being evaluated. The different international embassies there are in close touch with each other."

Indonesia's foreign affairs ministry said it was considering a plan to evacuate its diplomats. A statement released by the ministry on Saturday said that its embassy in Pyongyang has been preparing a contingency plan to anticipate the worst-case scenario, and that the Indonesian foreign minister is communicating with the staff there to monitor the situation.

India also said it was monitoring events. "We have been informed about it," said Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for India's external affairs ministry. "We are in constant touch with our embassy and are monitoring the situation. We will carefully consider all aspects and decide well in time."

Seoul and Washington, which lack diplomatic relations with the North, are taking the threats seriously, though they say they have seen no signs that Pyongyang is preparing for a large-scale attack.

Kim Jang-soo said the North would face "severalfold damages" for any hostilities. Since 2010, when attacks Seoul blames on North Korea killed 50 people, South Korea has vowed to aggressively respond to any future attack.

South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Jung Seung-jo had planned to meet with his US counterpart, Gen. Martin Dempsey, in Washington on April 16 for regular talks. But tensions on the Korean Peninsula are so high that Jung cannot take a long trip away from South Korea, so the meeting will be rescheduled, a South Korean Joint Chiefs officer said Sunday. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office policy.

The US Defense Department has delayed an intercontinental ballistic missile test that had been planned for this week because of concerns the launch could be misinterpreted and exacerbate the Korean crisis, a senior defense official told The Associated Press.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel decided to delay the test at an Air Force base in California until sometime next month, the official said Saturday. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the test delay and requested anonymity.

In recent weeks, the US has followed provocations from North Korea with shows of force connected to the joint exercises with South Korea. It has sent nuclear capable B-2 and B-52 bombers and stealth F-22 fighters to participate in the drills.

In addition, the US said last week that two of the Navy's missile-defense ships were moved closer to the Korean Peninsula, and a land-based missile-defense system is being deployed to the Pacific territory of Guam later this month. The Pentagon last month announced longer-term plans to strengthen its US-based missile defenses.

The US military also is considering deploying an intelligence drone at the Misawa Air Base in northern Japan to step up surveillance of North Korea, a Japanese Defense Ministry official said Sunday.

Three Global Hawk surveillance planes are deployed on Guam and one of them is being considered for deployment in Japan, the official said on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak about the issue.

North Korea successfully shot a satellite into space in December and conducted its third nuclear test in February. It has threatened to launch a nuclear attack on the United States, though many analysts say the North hasn't achieved the technology to manufacture a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit on a long-range missile capable of hitting the US

North Korea also raised tensions Wednesday when it barred South Koreans and supply trucks from entering the Kaesong industrial complex, where South Korean companies have employed thousands of North Korean workers for the past decade.

North Korea is not forcing South Korean managers to leave the factory complex, and nearly 520 of them remained at Kaesong on Sunday. But the entry ban at the park, the last remaining inter-Korean rapprochement project, is posing a serious challenge to many of the more than 120 South Korean firms there because they are running out of raw materials and are short on replacement workers.

Nine more firms, including food and textile companies, have stopped operations at Kaesong, bringing to 13 the total number of companies that have done so, South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

North Korea briefly restricted the heavily fortified border crossing at Kaesong in 2009 - also during South Korea-US drills - but manufacturers fear the current border shutdown could last longer.

http://www.newstrackindia.com/newsdetails/2013/04/07/229--Sino-Indian-border-is-calm-says-army-chief-.html
Sino-Indian border is calm, says army chief
Barrackpore (West Bengal), April 7 (IANS) Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh Sunday said "peace and tranquility" now prevails on the Sino-Indian border.

"There is peace and tranquility on the Line of Actual Control with China. There is no problem," General Singh told the media on the sidelines of an ex-servicemen's rally here.

About the third joint military exercise with China, he said: "Dates have not been fixed yet. They will be fixed."

The third army-to-army exercise would be held after five years. While the first bilateral exercise in China's Kunming was held in December 2007, the second hand-in-hand exercise, as war gaming is called by the two sides, was held at Belgaum in Karnataka in December 2008.

Asked for comment on Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma's view that foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the country's defence sector should be raised to at least 49 percent from the current 26 percent, General Singh said: "Let me analyse this aspect."

The commerce and industry ministry had initially recommended raising the FDI cap in the defence sector to 74 percent to help India become one of the major defence producers of the world.

However, the proposal was met with opposition from the Ministry of Defence, which argued that it could lead to security concerns.

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=203020
Reduction of defence forces?
Monday, April 08, 2013 - In a recent seminar, Haji Adeel of ANP raised two points. Reduction in defense budget and change in Command Structure of the army. According to him it is Parliament which is supreme and should be sole body to decide on defence matters, the army, and foreign policy. Mr. Mushahid Hussain also spoke on the occasion, according to Mr. Mushahid Defence and foreign policies should be the domain of Parliament. There, recently have been spate of articles advancing this vary argument, and editorials professing the same. There seems to be a specific agenda. True, it is a long cherished desire of the politicians and political parties to take control of the armed forces. A political party firmly believed, the armed forces are the only stumbling block in the free for all governance.

True, parliament has supremacy but the members have to be spotless and honest. With over two third members under the threat of fake degrees, corruption charges against many including two former Prime Ministers, dual nationalities and weak Governance does not allow much space to parliamentarian. During last five year left every institution of state mauled and crippled – Still politicians want to politicize the Armed Forces. They failed to converge on a cohesive policy to deal with terrorism, what to speak spelling out state policy at large. Foreign, Defence, Economic and Interiors policies flow from state objectives/aims. We are still unclear of the direction. Thus it is natural in the vacuum, major policy decisions shifted to Defence Establishment. It is a rule of law a vacuum can not remain unfilled. Work is like water, flow in the direction where it find spaces.

Argument, Pakistan Army never won a war and thus with diminishing threat from East, should be reduced in size to increase funding for social sector. Army won a war or not is a debatable issue but to perceive that threat from the East has diminished is naivety. With Cold Start doctrine in place, modernization of all the three arms of Indian Defence Forces, and ensuring Pakistan Army remain engaged on the Western front, the fact is threat has increased many fold. Indian and funding from others ensure fire continue burning on Western front. Second, argument, nuclear stand off between India/Pakistan facilitate reduction of conventional forces is proven wrong. War in Vietnam (USA- USSR) in Afghanistan (USA-USSR), Iraq and back home in escalation of tensions in 1984, 1990 and later in 2003 were all under Nuclear Umbrella. There is now pronounced threat of quick, short and surgical wars before red line is crossed. India must be able to wage a quick, decisive war (See India Defence Collage Studies). India waits for such opportunity by creating polarization within Pakistan — a la East Pakistan, like situation. Present balance of forces favour India. Pakistan can not change neighbors. There are no two opinion that Pakistan/India should have friendly relations. The clap has to be with two hands. With internal threat of terrorism in India, rise of extreme right under Moodi, Pakistan is no position to lower guard.

Pakistan armed forces structure is most tested and solid at levels, including operation. Policy formulation and command levels. Our politicians destroyed civil services, the back bone of good governance to induct incompetent cronies in lucrative jobs in higher bureaucracy. Politicians now want in-roads in the rank file of defence forces and polarize the one remaining institution. Undersigned was Secretary of the Committee in 1990 for Pakistan Army reorganization. Internal reviews and modernization of armed forces is a continuous process.

It is time, political parties seriously start work to strengthen Parliament. Party policy should be spelled by party spokesman and not any one who desire to score points. Initiate national debate on important issues before taking any decision, curb corruption, merit be the rule. Parliament then should set the policy guidelines. Parliament is policy formulation body and to legislate. It does not take over executive functions. —The writer, Brigadier (R) SJ (Bar), is defence & political analyst and veteran of 1965 and 1971 wars.

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=203020
Reduction of defence forces?
Monday, April 08, 2013 - In a recent seminar, Haji Adeel of ANP raised two points. Reduction in defense budget and change in Command Structure of the army. According to him it is Parliament which is supreme and should be sole body to decide on defence matters, the army, and foreign policy. Mr. Mushahid Hussain also spoke on the occasion, according to Mr. Mushahid Defence and foreign policies should be the domain of Parliament. There, recently have been spate of articles advancing this vary argument, and editorials professing the same. There seems to be a specific agenda. True, it is a long cherished desire of the politicians and political parties to take control of the armed forces. A political party firmly believed, the armed forces are the only stumbling block in the free for all governance.

True, parliament has supremacy but the members have to be spotless and honest. With over two third members under the threat of fake degrees, corruption charges against many including two former Prime Ministers, dual nationalities and weak Governance does not allow much space to parliamentarian. During last five year left every institution of state mauled and crippled – Still politicians want to politicize the Armed Forces. They failed to converge on a cohesive policy to deal with terrorism, what to speak spelling out state policy at large. Foreign, Defence, Economic and Interiors policies flow from state objectives/aims. We are still unclear of the direction. Thus it is natural in the vacuum, major policy decisions shifted to Defence Establishment. It is a rule of law a vacuum can not remain unfilled. Work is like water, flow in the direction where it find spaces.

Argument, Pakistan Army never won a war and thus with diminishing threat from East, should be reduced in size to increase funding for social sector. Army won a war or not is a debatable issue but to perceive that threat from the East has diminished is naivety. With Cold Start doctrine in place, modernization of all the three arms of Indian Defence Forces, and ensuring Pakistan Army remain engaged on the Western front, the fact is threat has increased many fold. Indian and funding from others ensure fire continue burning on Western front. Second, argument, nuclear stand off between India/Pakistan facilitate reduction of conventional forces is proven wrong. War in Vietnam (USA- USSR) in Afghanistan (USA-USSR), Iraq and back home in escalation of tensions in 1984, 1990 and later in 2003 were all under Nuclear Umbrella. There is now pronounced threat of quick, short and surgical wars before red line is crossed. India must be able to wage a quick, decisive war (See India Defence Collage Studies). India waits for such opportunity by creating polarization within Pakistan — a la East Pakistan, like situation. Present balance of forces favour India. Pakistan can not change neighbors. There are no two opinion that Pakistan/India should have friendly relations. The clap has to be with two hands. With internal threat of terrorism in India, rise of extreme right under Moodi, Pakistan is no position to lower guard.

Pakistan armed forces structure is most tested and solid at levels, including operation. Policy formulation and command levels. Our politicians destroyed civil services, the back bone of good governance to induct incompetent cronies in lucrative jobs in higher bureaucracy. Politicians now want in-roads in the rank file of defence forces and polarize the one remaining institution. Undersigned was Secretary of the Committee in 1990 for Pakistan Army reorganization. Internal reviews and modernization of armed forces is a continuous process.

It is time, political parties seriously start work to strengthen Parliament. Party policy should be spelled by party spokesman and not any one who desire to score points. Initiate national debate on important issues before taking any decision, curb corruption, merit be the rule. Parliament then should set the policy guidelines. Parliament is policy formulation body and to legislate. It does not take over executive functions. —The writer, Brigadier (R) SJ (Bar), is defence & political analyst and veteran of 1965 and 1971 wars.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/people/Why-defence-girls-shine-bright/articleshow/19426596.cms
Why defence girls shine bright
With NavneetKaurDhillon recently crowned Ponds Femina Miss India 2013, the list of women from defence background winning this pageant, gets longer. What gives them the edge over others, asks Times Life.

Someone once said, 'uneasy lies the head that wears the crown', but looking at the winners of the Ponds Femina Miss India (PFMI) 2013, one would be forced to cast the idiom aside for good. Twenty-year-old NavneetKaurDhillon, from Patiala, raised in army barracks around the country, displayed grace, wit, confidence and poise all at the same time as she was crowned the winner. SobhitaDhulipala from Visakhapatnam, adjudged the first runner-up, too comes from a defence background. Navy to be precise. With the two of them clinching the top two positions on the coveted podium of PFMI (which incidentally, celebrates its golden jubilee this year), the list of young women from defence background winning this crown in the last two decades, gets longer. From Sushmita Sen in 1994 to Dhillon this year, there has been at least one; at times, two; or as in 2011, all three winners, who have come from army, navy or air force families.

What really makes these defence women such inborn winners?

Says Alesia Raut, model and fashion choreographer, "The girls from defence background have stronger personalities, and are also very disciplined and punctual. Being a model is all about walking into a room, where everyone will take note of you — how you walk, how you sit, how you talk etc. Because of their backgrounds, these girls are taught grace and poise from an early age. It comes naturally to them." Dhillon explains why she attributes her success to an army upbringing, "I was born in Ambala, grew up in Siliguri, Coimbatore, Ferozpur, Allahabad, Bhatinda, Manipur, Imphal and Patiala. I've grown up in small towns as well as big cities. I can ride the roughness of a small village, and survive the madness and high of a metro at the same time. In short, I'm adaptive, open-minded, a survivor and thus, a winner."

Hasleen Kaur, Miss India Earth (2011) says, "We develop great conversational skills and carry ourselves with oomph and confidence. We interact with a lot of people who belong to different age groups and different cultures. I would never hesitate to speak to a stranger or a new person. Ultimately, our communication skills help us become winners." Adds Ankita Shorey, Miss India International (2011), "Making new friends, going to new schools makes us ooze confidence. I remember how we would swim, play tennis every evening, at the army compound. People mingle with one another at the various sports activities, beauty contests and balls. A defence hub has a particular culture, which becomes an integral part of our personality. We pick up good etiquette and manners like, how to use a fork and knife, how to eat with grace, and walk with dignity. These aren't qualities one can learn over a month-long crash course. It's the army upbringing of 22 years that helped me stand out and win."

Dhulipala adds, "The defence background gives people a multi-dimensional personality. My dad was in the navy. I've travelled to almost 50 countries! I have imbibed bits of so many cultures. I've harnessed a great sense of adventure and fun and can relate to continuous changes, which have added to my personal growth from an early age."

The maturity and wit at a young age, as displayed by the defence kids have often propelled them ahead of their civilian counterparts. Add to that the fact that defence areas come with their own sports complexes and clubs which hold various contests that help these girls to stay fit, be competitive and acquire social grace and poise. Fashion historian and designer Ritu Kumar, one of the judges of PFMI 2013, says, "These girls are already well-groomed from a young age. Their confidence, well-maintained figure and smartness build from the fact that they engage in a lot of outdoor activities and receive multi-faceted education. Discipline, sportsmanship and high-quality education trains them to be confident to stand up and answer questions without hesitation or shyness, in comparison to others."

Nikita Anand Dutta, who was crowned Miss India in 2003, says, "Girls from an army background are tougher, calmer, and in control of their emotions. We know how to deal with stress. Our parents get posted in remote areas of India, where we naturally get trained to be tough survivors, adapt to new situations and people. The grooming and etiquette also come naturally, as we watch our mothers wear their clothes with grace, fathers adopt immaculate manners.

"Also, in the defence, the May Queen and Navy Queen contests are big. Most girls go through the grind before entering the Miss India contest," adds Dutta, whose father was a doctor with the Indian Army. Sen, who won in 1994, has often talked about her father, retired Wing Commander Subeer Sen, being instrumental in developing her oratory skills. She imbibed confidence in the defence environment, which helped her become Miss India and Miss Universe 1994, and eventually, take the bold decision to adopt two girls and become a single parent. Lara Dutta, who won the Miss India and Miss Universe crowns in 2000, comes from an air force background; and Priyanka Chopra, who was the first runner-up the same year — and went on to win the Miss World crown — comes from a family of army doctors.

Parents from defence background have a more liberated set of values than most civilians. That too adds to the inherent confidence and self-belief that these women display. No wonder they wear their crowns with such ease.

http://www.omantribune.com/index.php?page=news&id=141316&heading=India
Army to get modern night vision devices
NEW DELHI The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Tuesday cleared a Rs28 billion deal for boosting the night vision capabilities of the army’s tanks and infantry combat vehicles, an official source said.

The DAC, which was headed by Defence Minister AK Antony approved the procurement of 2,000 pieces of night vision devices for T-72 tanks for Rs10 billion; 1,200 pieces for T-90 tanks for Rs9.60 billion and 1.780 pieces for infantry combat vehicles for Rs8.60 billion.

The meeting also approved proposals to upgrade the 130mm artillery guns of the army along with amendments in procurement procedure to boost indigenisation in defence production, ministry sources said.

The ministry also cleared a proposal to upgrade the existing inventory of Soviet made M-46 130mm artillery guns to 155mm guns through the Indian Ordnance Factory Board.

The DAC also discussed the amendments in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) under which efforts to boost indigenisation in defence sector would be encouraged.

The amendments are based on the Ravinder Gupta Committee report on boosting indigenisation which has given suggestions to give the first right of refusal to the indigenous industry for the weapon system requirement of the armed forces.

While discussing the deal for purchasing AgustaWestland VVIP helicopters for the Indian Air Force, which has been put on hold after graft charges emerged, the meeting decided that the name of Brigadier YS Saini, who allegedly figures in another deal, would first have to be cleared before any other action is taken.

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