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Sunday, 14 April 2013

From Today's Papers - 14 Apr 2013
Brigadier in dock for borrowing money from contractors
Also accused of taking away official property from staff house
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 13
A brigadier is in the dock for allegedly not only borrowing money from his subordinate officers and canteen contractors, but also for taking away official property from the staff house when moving on posting.

Based upon the findings of a court of inquiry constituted to investigate the allegations, the Army has ordered disciplinary action against Brig L. Singh, former commander of a mountain brigade.

He has been attached to headquarters of a Mountain Division for further proceedings.

The officer had challenged the proceedings against him before the Armed Forces Tribunal, but the case was dismissed on the grounds that the Army had the right to initiate disciplinary action against him and the same could not be scuttled at this stage.

The brigadier had contended that the nature of the complaint made before a one-man committee to examine the allegations prior to convening the court of inquiry disclosed to him.

Further, during the course of the court of inquiry, he did not have the opportunity to cross examine the witnesses as the previous statement of these witnesses before the one-man committee and the witnesses examined by the court of inquiry had subsequently changed their statement.

Observing that prima facie, there was no reason to intervene with the order of holding disciplinary proceedings against the petitioner, the tribunal held that the only statutory provision which deals with the holding of an inquiry is under Rule 180 of the Army Rules, under which the court of inquiry was convened.

There is no statutory provision which provides for holding of a preliminary inquiry.

Remarking that the said preliminary inquiry was only administrative in nature and was intended to find out prima facie material for holding the court of inquiry Rule 180, the tribunal said that the petitioner was entitled to all safeguards only in respect of the court of inquiry which has been conducted under Rule 180.
Indian Army Has Spotted More Than 100 UFOs Near Tibet - See more at:
Spy drones from China advanced beyond anything we’ve seen before? Aliens on their way to visit the Dalai Lama? India Today reports on a perplexing mystery:

    Units of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) have reported Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOS) in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. An ITBP unit based in Thakung, close to the Pangong Tso Lake, reported over 100 sightings of luminous objects between August 1 and October 15 this year.

    In reports sent to their Delhi headquarters in September, and to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), they described sighting “Unidentified Luminous Objects” at day and by night. The yellowish spheres appear to lift off from the horizon on the Chinese side and slowly traverse the sky for three to five hours before disappearing. These were not unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), drones or even low earth-orbiting satellites, say Army officials who have studied the hazy photographs taken by ITBP.
Central team reviews security scenario
JAMMU, Apr 13: A team of Union Secretaries led by Cabinet Secretary Ajit Kumar Seth today reviewed the security scenario in the State at high level meeting here.
The Central delegation also had a high-level security review meeting at the State Guest House here with officers of the State Government. Senior officers of the Indian Army, paramilitary forces, civil administration, intelligence agencies and senior police officers attended the meeting.
The security situation has been causing concern following recent militancy related incidents including the fidayeen attack at Bemina, Srinagar, in which five CRPF personnel were killed. Two police constables and some civilians have also been killed in the incidents.
The Central delegation was expected to review issues like security scenario within Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Line of Control (LoC), International Border (IB), presence of militants across the border, Rehabilitation Policy and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The Omar Abdullah Government had been pressing for partial revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a demand that has not found favour with the Defence Ministry and the Indian Army.
The delegation also reviewed centrally sponsored schemes, including Prime Minister's Re-construction Plan and other mega projects, which were funded by the Centre Government in a meeting with Administrative Secretaries of the State and Directors of some important areas.
The meeting chaired by Seth was attended by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, Secretary Coordination, Cabinet Secretariat, Alok Rawat, Secretary, Planning Commission Sindhushree Khullar, Additional Secretary, Home K. Skandan and Joint Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat Subash Chandra Garg.
Chief Secretary M I Khanday, Director General Police Ashok Prasad, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Bharat Bhushan Vyas, Principal Secretary, Home Suresh Kumar, GOC, 15 Corp, GOC, 16 Corp, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Pradeep Gupta, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Shailendra Kumar, Special Director, IB, DG, CRPF, Special DG, CRPF, Special DG, BSF, IG, CRPF, Jammu, IG, CRPF, Kashmir, IG, BSF, Jammu, IGP, Kashmir, IGP, Jammu, Joint Secretary, Defence, Commissioner, SB and Joint Director IB also attended the meeting.
Earlier, the Cabinet Secretary who was heading the delegation met Governor NN Vohra and discussed issues related to security and development.
During an hour long meeting, the Governor and the Cabinet Secretary discussed various issues relating to the implementation of the ongoing major development programmes and welfare schemes. They also discussed matters relating to internal and external security management.
Issues relating to the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan, Rehabilitation Package for Kashmiri Migrants, Centrally-Sponsored Schemes and other major infrastructure development projects were also discussed during the meeting.
Other matters which the Governor discussed with Seth related to the to-date implementation status of various hydel power projects in the State, 4-laning of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, construction of the Udhampur-Katra-Qazigund section of the Jammu-Baramulla Rail Link Project, upgradation of Jammu and Srinagar Airports, quality of school education and delay in elections to Panchayati Raj Institutions and urban local bodies and issues relating to promotion of good governance.
The Central delegation was expected to review issues like security scenario within Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Line of Control (LoC), International Border (IB), presence of militants across the border, Rehabilitation Policy and Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The Omar Abdullah Government had been pressing for partial revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), a demand that has not found favour with the Defence Ministry and the Indian Army.
The Governor emphasized the need for constant monitoring of all the important development projects to ensure their time-bound completion so that benefits of various schemes reach the people expeditiously.
Advisor to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Skill Development, Subramanian Ramadorai, also had a separate meeting with the Governor during which skill development programmes, including Udaan and Himayat and employment opportunities for the educated youth of Jammu and Kashmir were discussed.
Cabinet Secretary Seth earlier called on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at his residence here. The two are said to have discussed developmental issues of the state during the meeting, including the state government's demand for Rs 30,000 crore worth City Mobility Plan for twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar including metro services to refuse traffic congestion. .
Omar Abdullah had taken up this demand with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in January this year to cope with the ever-increasing demands of the cities, including metro services to refuse traffic congestion.
The delegation was earlier scheduled to visit here on March 19, but the visit had to be postponed in view of Parliament session in New Delhi and the Budget Session of the State Legislature in Jammu.
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.
Talks only solution to resolve tension in Korean Peninsula: AK Antony
Tension between North and South Korea should be resolved through talks, Defence Minister AK Antony on Saturday said.

"Issues in the region has to be resolved peacefully through talks and war is not a solution. India's position in the region is that there should not be more nuclear weapons there," Antony told reporters while answering a question in this regard.

Answering a question, Antony said government was committed to equip the Indian army with all possible steps to protect the country's security.

Earlier speaking at the launch of the on-line billing of Ex-Service Men Contributory Health Scheme, Antony said Indian army is one of the best in the world and "it is one of the most sought after by many countries for defence co-operation." At present the Indian force has got defence co-operation with 45 countries and many countries "are in queue for co-operation with us," Antony said.

Indian army is ready 24x7 to face any challenge, he said, adding, "as a matter of policy we will not indulge in any confrontation with other countries."

"But, at the same time we will not allow an inch of our land to be taken away. Indian Armed Forces are ever ready to protect the integrity of the country," he said.

Southern Navy Command Flag Officer Commanding in-chief Vice Admiral Sateesh Soni and other senior Naval officers attended the function.
U.S. Army signs onto 20 MW solar farm, biggest in military
The Army base in Fort Bliss, Texas, has a goal of getting to net-zero energy. As part of that, it's about to build a 20 megawatt solar farm -- the biggest for the military to date.

It will power all division headquarters and most of the eastern sector of the sprawling complex, and is the first partnership between the military and a major local utility on a renewable energy project of this scale.

El Paso Electric is building the plant, which will come online in 2015. The Army also plans another 20 MW solar plant and pursuing wind and geothermal projects at the fort.

Fort Bliss already has a 1.4 MW solar solar array, the Army's second-largest, and 13.4 MW of solar PV on post rooftops, maintained by SolarCity as part of Project SolarStrong.

Other measures toward net-zero energy are making life better at the Army base. Fort Bliss has planted 14,700 trees and created biking and walking paths that wind through the complex.

In 2011, the U.S. Army announced that six bases would target net-zero energy, another six net-zero water and another six net-zero waste.

Fort Bliss was one of several basis that chose to target all three by 2020.

Recycling also has gotten a lot more attention on base, raising $1 million last year for projects such as skating parks and spinning bicycles. There's also been a dramatic drop in electricity use in post housing, Major General Dana Pittard said.

"Changing behavior and promoting a culture that encourages energy conservation are keys to achieving net zero," Pittard said in a statement. "And that is what we hope our soldiers will then take with them when they go on to other installations and move into society.

"The solar farm, along with our environment campaign plan, are both part of a larger effort to make Fort Bliss the most fit, most healthy, most resilient community in America that is environmentally sound and is best at preparing soldiers and units for combat."

Soldiers feel much more part of a community when they get outdoors. It's "no accident" that Fort Bliss has the Army's lowest suicide rate in the U.S., Pittard said.

"For us here, it has been a no-brainer," he said. "Now what we hope is that the rest of the Army sees that and will replicate it."

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