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Saturday, 13 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 13 Apr 2013
Naval officer dismissed for illicit affair
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
In a decision aimed at disciplining an errant Indian Navy officer, Defence Minister AK Antony has ordered his dismissal for having an illicit affair with his senior’s wife.

The officer is a Lieutenant Commander posted in Mumbai. The action has been taken after an inquiry report found the officer guilty of “stealing the affection of a brother officer’s wife” - a punishable offence in the armed forces.

The officer and the woman had even ‘eloped’ for some time. Sources in the Navy refused the reveal the name of the officer but confirmed that Antony had ordered the dismissal this evening.

This is the second dismissal of a Navy man for having an ‘illicit affair’ in the recent past. In 2012, Commodore Sukhjinder Singh was dismissed from service for having an improper liaison with a Russian woman when he was posted to that nation. The dismissal of the Lieutenant Commander is not connected in any manner to the recent case in Kochi where the wife of an officer has levelled allegations that she was being asked to extend sexual favours to the bosses of her husband.
4 Naxals, jawan, 2 others killed

Gadchiroli (Maha), Apr 12
Four naxalites, a police jawan and two civilians were killed today in an encounter between the ultras and the security personnel in Sindesur forest of Maharashtra's Gadchiroli district.

Acting on a tip-off, commandos of anti-Naxal unit C-60 combed Sindesur forest area in Dhanora taluka and spotted a group of ultras who fired at them, triggering a gun battle at around 11 am, police said.

The slain policeman has been identified as constable Govinda Farkade of Jairampur village of the district. The four Naxals and two civilians killed in the encounter are yet to be identified, police said.

Search operations are still on in the forest area. — PTI
Wife swap charges stemmed from marital discord: Navy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
Replying to allegations leveled by an officer’s wife, the Indian Navy told the Ministry of Defence that the officer, Lieutenant Ravi Kiran, had filed for divorce from his wife and her allegations stemmed from marital discord and were made after the divorce plea was filed.

The Navy reply to the MoD gives a clean chit to the three navy officers who Sujata Sahu alleged had molested her in her husband’s presence, sources said.

She also said she was asked to extend sexual favours to her husband’s superiors and caught him in a compromising position with the wife of a senior officer.

The three-page reply lists out the four-year relationship between Ravi and Sujata and also mentions how she had lodged a series of complaints against Ravi since 2009. Defence Minister AK Antony had asked the Navy to submit a fact-sheet on the matter.

Lieutenant Ravi Kiran and his wife, an IIT graduate, met on a social networking website and entered into a relationship.

In 2009, Sujata filed a complaint to the Navy that Ravi Kiran had married her and was now ditching her.

A probe conducted by a senior officer revealed that the duo was in a relationship. They also visited some places together, but in the middle of 2011 differences cropped up and Ravi suggested that they terminate the relationship as it had no future.

In February 2012, Sujata lodged an FIR in Mumbai against Ravi Kiran and the senior officer who conducted the probe.

In March 2012, Ravi and Sujata got married in an Arya Samaj temple and she withdrew the police complaint. Subsequently, she moved to Delhi where she was preparing for the civil services examination.

In January this year, Sujata filed a complaint with the Vasant Vihar police in Delhi alleging ill-treatment at the hands of her husband.

On March 28, Ravi filed for divorce on grounds of cruelty and a few days later Sujata lodged a complaint with the Kochi police alleging that she was molested by her husband’s colleagues and she was asked to extend sexual favours to his seniors.
India, Russia to cooperate in disaster management
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 12
India and Russia have signed a regulation defining the structure, functions and procedure of the joint commission which has been established by an agreement signed on December 21, 2010 in New Delhi in the field of emergency management.

Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Puchkov, Minister of the Russian Federation for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters signed this agreement at Moscow, a statement of the Indian Government said yesterday.

The agreement is expected to enable both the countries to help each other in the field of prevention and elimination of the consequences of emergency situations.

The Indo-Russian Commission will ensure the implementation of the agreement for catalysing cooperation in the field of emergency management and contribute to the well being and safety of the people of both the countries in the event of disasters and also to exchange mutually beneficial scientific and technical information in the area of emergency management. The meetings of the joint commission will be alternatively held in India and Russia.

The two countries already have inter-governmental joint commission that largely deals in Defence cooperation.
Pak snoopers spoof Defence number to cull info
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, April 12
Indian agencies have detected high-level snooping by Pakistan intelligence operatives who reportedly spoofed a landline number of a Defence establishment in central Delhi to extract information on the deployment and movement of troops, and rotation of regiments.

Officials reported the matter to Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh in the first week of March as attempts were made to extract information soon after the Hyderabad blasts on February 21.

The Army has issued a fresh set of instructions, including a detailed list of do’s and don’ts, to be followed while handling telephone calls originating from landline numbers. Attempts have been made in the past to snoop on sensitive establishments using mobile phones and landline numbers but this is the first case where a phone number of a Defence establishment has been spoofed to extract sensitive information.

Sources say calls have been made to individuals from a state-owned MTNL landline number installed in the “Defence zone” on the Race Course Road. The callers usually seek information over the phone which is then used to “connect the gaps in information by enemy agencies”.

Inquiries by Indian agencies revealed that number “011-2301xxxx” was spoofed and calls were made by Pakistan operatives sitting across the border. The person receiving the phone call would see the Delhi landline number on his caller ID.

The establishment is located close to the 7 Race Course Road, the official residence of the Prime Minister.

The numerical “2301” is the four-digit code of the MTNL telephone exchange of central Delhi and the same series of numbers works in the South Block atop the Raisina Hill, housing the ministries of Defence and External Affairs besides the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The caller disguises himself as an officer of RAW, IB, Army or IAF,” says the advisory issued by the Army. The (Defence zone Delhi MTNL number) “leads the recipient to accept the caller as genuine on face value”, it adds.

The advisory goes on to direct that all landline phones must have a caller ID to identify the incoming call number.

It adds: “Calls have to be terminated in case of any doubt and the information has to be passed on to the military intelligence unit.” All operators who receive calls have been asked to request for the caller’s number and call back on that number for authentication. “Even if the caller is identified, the call should be transferred to the officer about whom the information is being asked for.”

All Army Commanders have been asked to sensitise the persons handling phone calls about not to be “taken in” by such calls.

Calling for trouble

* MTNL landline number installed in the Defence zone on the Delhi’s Race Course Road spoofed to make calls

* Pak operatives sitting across the border try to extract info using the number after the Hyderabad blasts in February

* Army Chief informed in the first week of March

* Issues advisory on procedure to be followed while answering calls from landline numbers
Global Arms Trade Treaty
India’s position is morally justified
by Gurmeet Kanwal

Once again India has been forced to abstain from voting in favour of a discriminatory treaty – after its unpleasant experience with the NPT and the CTBT in the past. The global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), aimed at laying down common international standards and limiting the illicit sale of conventional arms, was passed by the United Nations General Assembly with an overwhelming majority of 154 votes on April 3. Iran, North Korea and Syria voted against the treaty while China, India and Russia abstained.

As the largest importer of arms in the world, India objects to the ATT on several counts. India finds it difficult to accept that the treaty will enable arms exporting countries to impose unilateral conditions on the countries that import arms. The treaty has failed to address Indian concerns about the illegal transfer of arms to terrorist organisations, insurgent groups and other non-state actors who oppose democratically elected governments. The treaty does not ensure a “balance of obligations” between arms exporting states and importers of arms.

As a country with a pacifist strategic culture, India has traditionally abhorred the export of arms and itself resisted the temptation of doing so for several decades after Independence. India has 39 ordnance factories, which are wholly government owned, and eight defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs). India’s defence exports are less than 2 per cent of the total production of weapons and equipment and were valued at $191 million (Rs 859.60 crore) in 2008-09. These are mainly indigenously produced surplus small arms and light weapons that have been supplied to some of India’s neighbours as a goodwill gesture. However, the new defence procurement policy (DPP) and the new defence production policy (DPrP) are encouraging the formation of joint ventures with 26 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI). This is expected to go up to 49 per cent in future. This will gradually result in an increase in arms exports as MNCs will begin to use their Indian joint ventures as hubs for sourcing weapons and equipment components for their factories abroad.

India is likely to spend approximately $100 billion for the import of weapons and defence equipment over the next 10 years. The DPP stipulates an offsets’ commitment of 30 per cent of the total value of a contract if it exceeds $66 million (Rs 300 crore). In fact, the offsets obligation specified for the multi-mission, medium-range combat aircraft (MMRCA) is 50 per cent of the total value, which is estimated to exceed $12 billion. Assuming that 60 to 70 per cent of the import contracts will exceed $66 million, defence MNCs exporting to India will be required to procure items worth approximately $18 to $21 billion from Indian companies over the next 10 years by way of direct and indirect offsets. Even though the items that may be exported by these MNCs and joint ventures will be mainly components and not fully assembled weapons system, India needs to ensure that the stipulations of the ATT do not bar such exports.

South Asia is arguably the second most dangerous global hotspot after West Asia and radical extremism in the Af-Pak area is nudging it rapidly towards acquiring the pole position. One of the major reasons for this dubious distinction is the large-scale proliferation and easy availability of small arms and light weapons (SALW). India has witnessed around 152 militant movements since Independence, and of which, 65 are believed to be still active in one form or the other. Pakistan remains the primary source of small arms that are India bound. It uses SALW as political and military tools against New Delhi and facilitates smuggling of SALW both through sea and land routes to ISI-supported terrorist organisations and sleeper cells across India. Funding for SALW proliferation can be accredited to money laundering and safe havens abroad organised through hawala channels. The transfer of small arms takes place mostly through clandestine routes and the grey market.

The Chinese angle to SALW proliferation in South Asia also cannot be ignored. Chinese weapons gained immense popularity among the insurgent groups in the region as they were competitively priced and low-level officials offered counter-trade agreements. The Chinese weapons pipeline soon permeated into Myanmar’s underground markets along the Thai border. Beginning with the Type 56 rifle, China produced and offered for sale five different varieties of rifles (Type 56, 68, 79, 81 and 5.56 Type CQ), allied light machine guns and sub-machine guns. China also became the prime official supplier to Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Pakistan (including anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons). Significantly, large numbers of weapons of Chinese origin have been seized in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh.

The Chinese supplied small arms to Indian insurgent groups in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura for many years up to the late 1970s. In a statement with far reaching consequences, India’s Home Secretary, G K Pillai, said on November 9, 2009, that the Maoists in India were receiving small arms from China, “Chinese are big suppliers of small arms…” Earlier, then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had said in an interview in October 2009 that the Maoists were acquiring weapons through Bangladesh, Myanmar and possibly Nepal since the Indo-Nepal border is a porous border.

Since 1989-90, Indian security forces have seized huge stocks of arms and ammunition along the LoC in J&K alone. Between 1990 and 2005, as many as 28,000 assault rifles of the AK-47 series; 1,300 machine guns; 2,000 rocket launchers; 365 sniper rifles; 10,000 assorted pistols; 63,000 hand grenades; seven million rounds of ammunition; 6,200 landmines and IEDs and 37,000 kg of explosives were recovered from various hideouts in J&K during counter-proxy war operations. Large-scale recoveries are still being made. Large numbers of illegal arms also come into the country through the Northeast and from Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province (NWFP) on Pakistan's Afghan border. India finds itself at the centre of two major international weapons warehouses — the NWFP and the Southeast Asian arms market comprising Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, with approximately 13 identified gun-running routes close to India’s north-eastern border areas and the Chittagong hill tracts.

Countries exporting arms have a responsibility to ensure that they do not provide weapons without strict end user verification or else SALW may be diverted to wage intra-state conflicts by non-state actors. The ATT should have refrained from imposing new norms; it should have reinforced the existing obligations and responsibilities of all countries under international law and should have provided a mechanism for their effective application to the trade in SALW.

The present treaty is also deficient on monitoring and verification. While initially monitoring may have to rely on the good practices of the member-states, viable technical means need to be developed over time. Subsequently, the treaty must make provisions for intrusive international monitoring of sources, means of transportation of weapons and, where possible, their end use based on formal complaints being launched by affected state parties. Such a system can only be implemented by constituting an international body like the IAEA.

The Government of India accords immense importance to compliance with arms control, non-proliferation and export control regimes, even though India is not a signatory to some of them. Hence, an initiative like the ATT, that seeks to establish a global benchmark, would under normal circumstances have been welcomed and supported, but the treaty has turned out to be discriminatory.

The government has instituted stringent controls for the export of arms, including the requirement of an end-user certificate from the government of the country to which SALWs are to be exported. Each request is thoroughly vetted before an arms export licence is cleared by the government.

India ensures that no arms are exported to countries that are involved in conflict, or to non-state actors engaged in an intra-state conflict. In fact, most arms exports out of India so far have been those of goodwill gestures towards friendly countries in India’s neighbourhood.

The moral argument for an ATT, one that underpins human security, social and economic development is overwhelming. However, if it is viewed through the prism of a disarmament or arms control instrument, it will not find much support. While India has not voted in favour of the ATT, it will undoubtedly adhere to all its provisions, much as it has done in respect of the NPT and the CTBT.
— The writer is a Delhi-based  strategic analyst.
Nepal army to purchase essential defence equipments from India - See more at:
Kathmandu: For the first time in nearly seven years, Nepalese Army would soon purchase essential defence equipment, possibly from India.
A cabinet meeting headed by Chairman of the Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi, has made a decision to this effect, cabinet sources said.
Earlier, the Special Committee for the Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist combatants had decided to clear the way for the government to acquire necessary weapons.
Prior to this, the Nepal Army was barred from purchasing weapons as per the Comprehensive Peace Accord signed between the Maoists and the government in 2006.
According to media reports here, during the joint consultative group meeting between Nepal and India held in New Delhi recently, India had agreed to provide necessary military supplies to Nepal as per its request.
After then King Gyanendra took absolute power in February 2005, India and the international community had decided to halt supply of military equipments to Nepal to exert pressure for restoring democratic rights. - See more at:
Antony: India lags in army modernization
BANGALORE, India, April 12 (UPI) -- India must speed up modernization of its army and air force in the face of China's military threat and Pakistan's backing of Taliban groups, an official says.

The country has been slow to build up defensive forces along its northern borders to counter China's "military assertiveness," Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony said during his presentation at a closed-session army commanders' conference this week.

The Times News Network reported Antony saying China has been developing its military infrastructure along the 2,520-mile Line of Actual Control, a cease-fire border demarcation agreed with India.

China also has been building up relations with Pakistan, a country that continues its "anti-India stance" and its "obsession" with occupying India's neighboring Jammu and Kashmir state, Antony said.

Pakistan is "a unique threat" because of its rapidly growing nuclear arsenal coupled with its military modernization thanks to help from China and the United States.

India is concerned that a Chinese company won the contract to run Pakistan's deep-water port of Gwadar -- further evidence of a deepening Pakistan-China axis, Antony said.

Pakistan bought the Gwadar Port enclave on Pakistan's Baluchistan province coast from Oman for $3 million in 1958.

The port previously was run by Port of Singapore Authority before state-run Chinese firm China Overseas Port Holding Co. won the contract in last month.

Pakistan also is waging a proxy war on India by supporting many terrorist groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.

India and Pakistan agreed the Kashmir cease-fire line in 2003 although Pakistan claims all the Kashmir region of India's Jammu and Kashmir state, which is around 60 per cent Muslim -- India's only Muslim majority state.

The Kashmir area was divided when the British colonial power quit the subcontinent in 1947, creating the two countries that went to war over the dispute for a year.

The two armies face each other across the Indian-made 340-mile Line of Control, a double-row electrified fence including concertina up to 12 feet high.

Antony said that India, to counter Chinese and Pakistani threats, progressively is basing its Sukhoi-30MKI fighters in the north-east and the navy is bolstering force-levels on the eastern seaboard.

But Antony also said the army's nearly $15 billion plan to raise a mountain strike corps with associated structures is yet to take off, the TNN report said.

Last year India increased its defense budget by 17 percent to around $40 billion for 2012-13, partly because of major acquisition plans.

Extensive upgrades are planned or underway at ordnance factories and bases.

The premier purchase for the military has been the medium multirole combat aircraft contract for 126 Rafale fighter jets from French manufacturer Dassault, a deal worth up to $20 billion over several years.

But this month the deal hit the buffers over responsibility for quality control with Indian partner state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.

HAL is to produce under license at its works in India 108 of the twin-engine delta-wing Rafale jets.

Final contract negotiations have stalled over Dassault wanting two separate contracts.

Dassault proposes the Indian Defense Ministry has as a separate deal with HAL which would distance the French company from quality control issues should the military find HAL-produced aircraft less than satisfactory.

Last month Antony warned the government's defense businesses to make sure the long-awaited Tejas Light Combat Aircraft is ready no later than 2014.

The single-engine, single-pilot Tejas, being manufactured by HAL, was given the green light by the government in 1983 but it wasn't until 1988 that more concrete designs were on the drawing board.

Delays ensued, including issues over the design and performance of the intended Kaveri engine, a partnership deal between India's state-run Defense Research and Development Organization and Snecma of France.

A Tejas prototype eventually flew for the first time in January 2001 -- but with a U.S.-made General Electric F-404 engine as a stop-gap.

A long-term deal with GE for 99 engines -- likely the upgraded 414 -- worth $800 million was signed this year because of further delays to development of the Kaveri engine. GE won over Eurojet's EJ-200 engine, a report by the Deccan Herald newspaper said.
Scam-wary Army calls off Israeli missile deal
NEW DELHI: After years of searching for an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) and finalizing an Israeli product, the Army has dramatically called off the deal because of fears of the single tender procurement erupting into a controversy in the future.

According to sources, the ATGM deal worth about Rs 15,000 crore, the biggest deal in recent times for the Army, was listed on the agenda of the defence acquisition council (DAC), headed by defence minister AK Antony, on April 2. It was originally meant to be cleared by the council for final approval of the Cabinet committee on security (CCS) headed by the Prime Minister.

However, Army chief General Bikram Singh is believed to have told the DAC that the Army was cancelling the deal and opting for a fresh process. The Army chief's move has surprised many, because of the aggressive way Army headquarters had been pushing the deal until then.

The deal is meant to equip 356 infantry battalions of the Army with the latest ATGMs. The Indian Army had been in advance stages of negotiations with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems of Israel for purchase of Spike ATGMs.

The Army had been searching for the past several years for a modern anti-tank missile to replace Milan and Konkurs — both in service with the Army for a few decades now. First, the Army zeroed in on a government-to-government deal with the US for the Javelin missiles — jointly produced by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin — but it fell through after the US refused transfer of technology for indigenous production in India by Bharat Dynamics Limited.

While some sources insist that the deal could be brought back to the desk after a global technology scan and ensuring that there are no other options available, there is now clarity on the issue. Sources admit that the deal is over, and a fresh process will start.

Sources said the era of single vendor procurements — unless it is an extraordinary situation — is virtually over. In recent years, companies from Russia, Israel and even the US have bagged several contracts through single vendor situations.

Changes in procurement process get nod

The DAC has approved several amendments to the way military equipment is purchased in the country. Among them are a series of measures to increase accountability in terms of timeframe for selecting a product. The DAC has also approved removal of all references to Raksha Udyog Ratnas from the Defence Procurement Procedure.

The status was meant to be granted to about a dozen firms, which were to be given preferential treatment at par with defence PSUs in military contracts. The second amendment is that the acceptance of necessity, the first step in procurement, will be granted only after services have prepared the (general staff qualitative requirement) for an equipment.

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