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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 14 May 2013
Army helicopter crashes at Siachen; pilots evacuated
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 13
Two pilots of the Army Aviation Corps had a miraculous escape when a helicopter designed for operations at Siachen glacier crashed in icy conditions at an altitude of about 20,500 feet this morning.

The pilots, a Lieutenant Colonel and a Major, were evacuated and shifted to Chandigarh for a medical examination at the Army’s Western Command hospital at Chandimandir.

The two pilots had flown in the indigenously produced Dhruv Mark-III copter from the Siachen base camp at Partapur to drop supplies at the ‘Sonam post’. The pilots, one of whom fell into a crevasse, were rescued by Army troops for whom they had ferried supplies. Luckily, the copter did not roll down the heights or burst into flames. “The injuries to both the pilots are minor in nature,” a senior Army official said. A court of Inquiry has been ordered.

Helicopters are used to maintain supplies to several posts on Siachen glacier. The Army has a dedicated aviation wing for the purpose. Dhruv Mark-III is produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The version of the twin-engine copters was first inducted into the force in 2011.

The Siachen glacier has been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan since 1984. The Army has a Brigade-level (5,000 troops) deployment at the glacier. Supplies have to be dropped by helicopters.

Army Chief may visit J-K on May 16

    Army Chief General Bikram Singh is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir on May 16
    He had earlier visited the state on April 23 and 24 at the time of the Chinese intrusion and visited areas under the jurisdiction of the Nagrota-based 16 Corps
    Sources said the Chief is expected to conduct a security review. He will be briefed by senior Army commanders
Major General points out ‘discrepancies’
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, May 13
The Centre’s rectification of the Sixth Central Pay Commission (SPC) pension anomalies with prospective effect seven-and-a-half years later from the date the anomaly arose, has evoked fresh legal salvo from the veterans.

A retired senior Army officer from Panchkula, Maj Gen K Khorana, has questioned the legitimacy of the rectification of pensionary anomalies with effect from September 24, 2012 rather than from January 1, 2006, the date of inception of the said anomalies.

The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has issued a notice of motion to the Centre, asking it to reply to the officer’s plea.

The officer has also stated that the Centre has calculated the revised SPC pension for the rank of Major General and equivalent by basing it on the bottom of the pre-revised Fifth Central Pay Commission scale at Rs 18,400 whereas the said amount already stood upgraded and implemented to Rs 20,000 after the Supreme Court’s 2008 judgment in the Union of India vs SPS Vains case.

The SPC had recommended the fixation of pension at 50 per cent of the minimum of pay in the pay scales introduced by the commission, corresponding to the last held rank, plus grade pay, plus military service pay for military officers, which was duly notified by the government. The government, however, had later clarified that the pension would not be calculated at the minimum of pay scales for separate ranks but the minimum of pay band itself, thereby clubbing ranks from Lieutenant to Major in pay band-3 and Lieutenant Colonel to Major General in pay band-4. Each pay band contains a group of different pay scales for different ranks. The AFT had later held that the pension would be calculated on the basis of minimum pay scale within the pay band for each rank separately.

An anomalies committee was then constituted under the Cabinet Secretary which agreed to rectify the anomaly but the said anomaly was removed with effect from September 24, 2012, that is, the date from which the committee’s report was accepted by the government, rather than January 1, 2006, the date for the implementation of the SPC and the date from which the anomaly had arisen.

The petitioner has contended that the rectification of the anomaly has to go back to the date of inception of the anomaly and not any future date “chosen out-of-the hat” and has cited various Supreme Court judgments in this regard.

On a similar analogy, even for civilian pensioners, the Delhi High Court had recently held that arrears for the anomalies were to be released from January 2006 and not prospectively from September 2012.
China for redoubling efforts to push for framework settlement
KV Prasad/TNS

New Delhi, May 13
As India prepares to receive Chinese premier Li Keqiang here later this week, Beijing today underscored the need to provide greater impetus to a framework settlement on the boundary negotiations and arrive at fair and mutually-acceptable solution.

"We need to redouble efforts to push for framework settlement on boundary negotiations so that we can reach a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution at an early date", Qin Gang, the visiting official spokesman and Director-General of Information in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said here. Qin is here for an interaction with his Indian counterpart Syed Akbaruddin.

In an interaction with a group of Indian correspondents, Qin underscored that the boundary issue on which the Special Representatives of both sides have so far held 15 rounds of talks, need to be looked at from the larger perspective of bilateral relations between the neighbours who are the world's two most populous nations and the developing relations.

Referring as an "isolated incident" the recent incursion in Ladakh's Daulat Beg Olde area, where stand-off between troops on either side lasted three weeks, the top Chinese officials said what was important is that its resolution reflects efficacy of existing communication mechanism on border between New Delhi and Beijing.

The officials here and in Beijing emphasised that Chinese premier Li Keqiang chose to visit India on his first official overseas tour underlines the importance Beijing attaches to its relations with New Delhi. The visit would provide the new generation leadership in China to personally know the Indian leadership while seeking to enhance the existing areas including in trade and people-to-people ties.

Summing up the thrust of the forthcoming visit, Chinese officials said the expectation was four-pronged: deepen mutual understanding, promote friendship, deepen mutual trust and promote cooperation.

On the trade and business end, the visit, they hoped would provide a platform for mutual investment between the businesses on either side and work to establish a forum of Chief Executive Officers. With growing economies, the overarching mood was that both sides need to have good communication and coordination for the larger good of both the countries, the region and the world.

Premier Li will be on a three-day visit starting May 19 which the Chinese officials in Beijing said was the first stop by the 57-year-old leader on his first overseas tour since assuming office in March. This will also be the first meeting between the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Li since the generational change of guard in Beijing. Last month, he met new Chinese President Xi Jingping on the sidelines of BRICS Summit in South Africa. Besides India and Pakistan, Li will also visit Germany and Switzerland.
SASE to tap wind energy in snow-bound areas
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, May 13
To cater to the energy requirements of the armed forces in remote snow-bound areas, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is exploring the potential of tapping wind power to generate energy.

While the Himalayan ridges are known for their high wind potential, accumulation of heavy snow and ice in that region is a critical factor that adversely affects sensitive structures and also jams moving parts in turbines.

Scientists at the Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE), a DRDO laboratory based here, said consequently unconventional technologies like non-rotating generators are being developed as an alternate to the traditional propeller-based wind turbine.

SASE has developed a laboratory model of a "wind belt", which uses the "flutter" or vibration of a magnetically activated strip to generate power through electromagnetic induction. The belt is attached at both ends inside a frame and the motion of the wind passing over it causes the flutter.

Earlier this year, a joint workshop was held here with the US Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, where technologies and methodologies to combat the challenges of unconventional power generation in snow bound regions were discussed.

Field trials of the wind belt are scheduled to be held in winters later this year. This technology is also being used in Hong Kong. Wind belts, scientists said, are more energy efficient that wind turbines and also more economical.

As a pilot project, a 10 MW wind turbine was installed by SASE at the Banihal Top in Jammu and Kashmir, at an altitude of over 3000 meters with wind speeds of up to 21 meters per second, to study the effects of snow and ice on the aerodynamics of wind turbines and rotatables. Low temperature and ice effects the physical properties of materials and lubricants damages electrical equipment, seals and rubber parts, cause aerodynamic imbalances and increased vibrations and jams movable parts.

India is estimated to have a wind power potential of 45,000 MW, with an installed capacity at present of just 18,425 MW. Close to 30 per cent of the potential lies in the hills.
China’s assertion of power
Incursions can hit capital inflows
by Charan Singh

THE recent developments in Ladakh are a matter of particular concern, from a country which is known to have expansionary territorial plans against India and skillfully practises a soft speech and strong stick policy. The history of Sino-India relations since the meetings of Pandit Nehru with Premier Zhou in 1954 and 1960, the war of 1962 and constant abuse of the soft-spoken Dalai Lama, the most peaceful and globally respected spiritual leader, without any sign of remorse, should be important considerations in our China policy.

The three-week stand-off is over but India has been tested. The five tents, 19 km inside India, were certainly supported by a bigger supply chain. How we deal with the aftermath of the latest incursion is an important issue of perception by the world. If not handled skillfully, it could encourage many more negative forces to operate against India and could lead to more incursions.

First, the principle that leads to such incursions into India is the assertion of national power, an important indicator of which is economic progress as reflected in different indices like those developed by Clifford German and Ray Cline. In earlier centuries, a country that attained the status of economic super-power had worked towards it by starting from a base of domestic security.  Be it the Great Britain or the United States of America.

Once, security is provided to its citizens and its friends, the country flourished economically, attracted talent and foreign direct investment (FDI) from across the world and became a super-power, an economic engine for the world. China has already recorded phenomenal economic growth rates for over two decades and attracts the largest flow of FDI amongst developing countries, amounting to more than US$120 billion per annum. If Hong Kong is included, the annual inflow of FDI is nearly US$200 billion. In contrast, India attracts about US$30 billion annually.

The quest to become a super power has China flexing its military muscles, especially in its neighbourhood and aspiring to be the heir-apparent to the global super-power. Consequently, it is a matter of further strengthening its position when it bans rare earths exports or fights with Japan for some small isolated island. In its pursuit to establish its hegemony in the region, India is a convenient punching bag, to recover its image of strength. Be it the building dams on the waters of the Brahmaputra on the Chinese side or developing and managing sea ports across the Arabian sea facing India’s territory, India has maintained a stoic silence. In fact, since 1962 there seems to be a fearful respect for China and Indians are generally perceived to be in awe of their mighty neighbour.

There are many cogent theories that are being propounded by learned scholars to explain the behaviour of China. Each theory seems legitimate but misses on an important aspect, economics. Such power displays in the region simply to establish hegemony, pollute the regional environment and distract India in a border dispute can impact the flow of foreign direct investment to India, especially North India. In many investment decisions, especially involving multinationals, proximity to a volatile border or neighbour is a significant negative factor.

And even more importantly and concerning is a myth that is being perpetuated that China is unassailable. The situation reminds a normal citizen of the history of Mahmud Ghazni, who also had a myth surrounding him that Ghazni can never be vanquished. How he had prepared and announced the raid on Somnath Temple a year in advance. But, more importantly, there was no military preparation to meet the forces of Mahmud Ghazni when he raided Somnath. Similar is the history of Muhammad Ghori in 1192 AD and the Mughals in 1526 AD. The story of the British conquering India is also not very different. Indian history is replete with instances of lack of military preparedness and diplomacy – basically lack of objectives, vision, strategy and resolve. Consequently, the golden sparrow was bled to poverty, slavery; and social, political and economic exploitation in its own country.

China seems to be following Sun Tzu, a renowned war strategist –“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” and that “all war is deception”. This implies astute diplomacy, a strong army and a strong resolve. Consistent with this strategy is the historical narrative of China: (a) it was the “Middle Kingdom” to which the peripheral kingdoms paid tribute and are therefore an inalienable part of the modern Chinese state. (b) modern China has existed for two millennia, ignoring its origins on the East coast and rule by the Mongol, Tibetan and Manchu dynasties for centuries. In contrast, India has a long history of rule by invading armies and foreign mercantilists.

India may have some lessons to learn, the most important being to plan and strategise its objectives. India needs to develop a vision of what our country will be in the next 25 years and beyond. India is steadily growing and the flowing animal spirits should not be deterred and distracted by such events. To aspire to be an economic super-power, India needs to cultivate a perception that the country and the government are strong to protect the investments and wealth within the borders.

To ensure such an environment conducive for economic growth and attracting global investment, India needs to introspect and build a strategy for short, medium and long runs. To deter the recurrence of incursions, especially given China’s record on Panchsheel since the 1960s, India should probably assign responsibility of border patrolling exclusively to the Army. Also, probably, the defence budget should be enhanced and a technology-driven border monitoring be considered. Equally important may be the strengthening and re-skilling of the diplomatic corps to meet the needs of a new India. Finally, think-tanks dedicated to geo-political strategic research need to be established. These entail fiscal costs but hopefully will keep India on a high growth path.

To consolidate its economic strength built laboriously in the last two decades, the government must ensure a secure environment where countries in the neighbourhood, small or big, don’t bully India, and the global perception of India is that of a strong nation.
Ladakh an isolated incident, need to speed up border talks: Chinese sources to NDTV
A week ahead of new Chinese Premier Le Keqiang's visit to India, Beijing seems to be ensuring that the vexed boundary issue occupies centrestage. Chinese official sources have told NDTV that there is an urgent need to speed up border talks, citing the recent incident at Ladakh which, they say, could have spiralled out of control.

"We need to redouble efforts to push for framework settlement on boundary negotiations to reach a fair and mutually acceptable solution at an early date," Chinese spokesperson Qin Gang said.

Dubbing the incursion at Ladakh as an "isolated incident", sources in Beijing said they have "drawn many lessons" from the episode. Sources also added that the stand-off could have escalated, affecting bilateral ties but Beijing did not let it happen.
Chinese troops had set up camp in Ladakh, deep inside Indian territory, on April 15 and refused to vacate despite hectic military and diplomatic negotiations. Indian forces then set up tents just 500 metres away from the Chinese camp, even as the issue threatened to snowball into a major diplomatic row. The 20-day border stand-off finally ended on May 5 with both sides simultaneously withdrawing their troops from the Daulat Beg Oldie near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.

The resolution of the issue also came just ahead of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's two-day visit to Beijing that had also come under a cloud.
Army chief for early decision on raising Strike Corps in Northeast
The army has been pushing for a new Strike Corps to be raised along the border with China for quite some time now but it has been hanging fire due to one reasons or the other.
Against the backdrop of Chinese incursion, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh is understood to have pressed the government today for an early decision on a proposal to raise a Strike Corps in the northeast to meet any security threat in the eastern sector.

This issue is believed to have figured when the army chief briefed defence minister AK Antony on the prevailing security situation along the Line of Actual Control in wake of the recent incursion by Chinese troops in Ladakh, sources said.

The top army brass made a presentation on the present security situation along the LAC in the aftermath of the recent Chinese incursion and steps taken by the force to prevent and handle such incidents, they said.

The meeting was also attended by top security brass of the country including National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma.

The army has been pushing for a new Strike Corps to be raised along the border with China for quite some time now but it has been hanging fire due to one reasons or the other.

Under the proposal, army wants to raise formations including new armoured divisions and artillery brigades along with the China border and the IAF has also been asked to deploy its new assets in support of it.

In the meeting, the army officials are understood to have told Antony about the changes that have taken place in the security situation after the Chinese incursion and its impact on the Indian Army's capabilities to monitor its activities there.

The army had to withdraw from its positions in Chumar area after the incursion by the Chinese troops in Daulat Beg Oldi sector and the stand-off ended after the two sides agreed to move back to the pre-April 15 positions.
Despite Ladakh stand-off, India and China to hold joint military exercises in October
India and China are far from resolving a border deadlock in Ladakh, but the armies of the two countries are on schedule to hold joint military exercises this October in the Chengdu military region in China.

Sources tell NDTV that an Indian Army delegation that went to China last month even as the face-off in Ladakh was unfolding has finalised the details of the exercises. The exact dates, however, are yet to be finalised. A Chinese military delegation is expected to visit India in July when the dates for the exercises will be sealed.
Generally military exercises are only held between friendly countries, and given the recent border hostilities between India and China, this move might be viewed as a surprising one.

But, sources have told NDTV that the Indian government's decision to go ahead with the exercises is an attempt to keep the larger relationship with China isolated from the current impasse, which started when Chinese troops set up a post 19 km into Indian territory in the Depsang Valley on April 15. India responded by setting up its own post just 500 metres away.
Sources say that the China Study Group or CSG -- the highest policy making body in India on all issues related to China, headed by the National Security Advisor -- decided to cancel the army delegation's visit to send a strong message to China. But, after the army made a pitch that engagement with China must go on despite the stand-off at the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border, the visit was cleared.
"The impression then was that the face-off would end soon, and hence the visit was allowed," senior officials of the Defence Ministry told NDTV. However, that optimism was soon dashed as China dug in and three successive flag meetings between the two sides have failed to resolve the issue.

China is said to have suggested at the third flag meeting that the two armies increase the distance between the temporary camps that they have set up. India is insisting on a complete withdrawal by the Chinese troops and a return to "status quo".

The proposed exercises between the two sides will focus on anti-terror operations.

The first India- China joint military exercises was held in 2007 in China's Kunmming military region. A second one was held in Belgaum in India in 2008.
North Korea replaces hard-line defence chief
SEOUL: North Korea has replaced its hard-line defence chief with a little-known army general, according to a state media report on Monday, in what outside analysts call an attempt to install a younger figure meant to solidify leader Kim Jong Un's grip on the powerful military.

Jang Jong Nam's appointment is the latest move since Kim succeeded his late father in late 2011 that observers see as a young leader trying to consolidate control. The announcement comes amid easing animosities after weeks of warlike threats between the rivals, including North Korean vows of nuclear strikes. Pyongyang's rhetorical outbursts against massive US-South Korean war drills and UN sanctions over the North's February nuclear test were seen, in part, as a push to portray Kim Jong Un at home as a respected military commander on the world stage.

Jang's new role as minister of the People's Armed Forces, however, isn't thought to indicate a potential softening of Pyongyang's stance toward Seoul and Washington any time soon, analysts said. Jang replaces Kim Kyok Sik, the former commander of battalions believed responsible for attacks on South Korea in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans. Outsiders don't know much about Jang, but analysts said it's unlikely that Kim Jong Un would name a moderate to the post at a time of tension with the outside world.

Mention of Jang's new role was buried in a state media dispatch listing those who attended an art performance with Kim Jong Un. It's not known exactly when Jang was formally appointed to the ministerial post.

The announcement coincided with the beginning Monday of US-South Korean naval exercises involving a nuclear-powered US aircraft carrier. North Korea has criticized the carrier's inclusion in the drills, which it claims are preparations for an invasion of the North. Also, when tensions peaked in March, Washington took the unusual step of announcing that nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers had participated in the earlier, larger-scale joint drills between the allies. North Korea regularly cites the powerful US nuclear arsenal and Washington's deployment of those assets in the region as justification for its own pursuit of nuclear weapons.

One of the most notable changes from Kim Jong Un was the replacement of the powerful military chief, Ri Yong Ho, who was dismissed because of what Pyongyang called an unspecified illness. Outside observers speculated that Ri, who held a different post than the one Jang has been appointed to, was purged as Kim tried to put his stamp on his government. Ri was also replaced by a little-known general.

State media previously identified Jang as head of the army's First Corps and said he pledged allegiance to Kim Jong Un and threatened South Korea in a speech last December. Jang was quoted as saying that his corps would annihilate its enemies and "turn each ravine into their death pitfall when the hour of decisive battle comes."

Kim Jong Un appears to be naming someone from a new generation to bolster his rule of the 1.2 million-member military, said Chang Yong Seok at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University.

Jang is believed to be in 50s, while his predecessor, Kim Kyok Sik, is in his early 70s, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry, which is responsible for dealings with the North. Kim was appointed to the ministerial job last year, but Chang portrayed him as belonging more to the era of Kim Jong Il.

Because outsiders know so little about Jang, it remains to be seen whether his appointment will lead to Pyongyang refraining from attacking South Korea, Chang said.

Another analyst, Cheong Seong-chang at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea, said it's unlikely that Jang is a moderate. A moderate figure appointed defence chief after weeks of high tension with the outside world could trigger whispers at home that the North is surrendering to Seoul and Washington, he said.
Indian army, police continue massive operation in kupwara
Indian army and police are continuing massive siege and search operation in Kupwara district in Indian Occupied Kashmir for the sixth consecutive day, Sunday.

The army and police are conducting the operation in Hafruda, Zachaldara, Keran, Gurez and Machil areas of the district,KMS reported.

At least four units of army besides Special Operation Group (SOG) of police are involved in the operation. The army is also using helicopters and sniffer dogs.
Navy, Army fret over Chinese presence
NEW DELHI: Increasing presence of the Chinese maritime forces in the Indian Ocean Region and disciplinary issues in the force are expected to be discussed by the top Navy brass in their commanders' conference starting tomorrow.

The Navy has been concerned over the increasing presence of Chinese Navy's submarines and other warships in the IOR. In a recent report submitted to the defence ministry, the Integrated Defence Staff headquarters had informed the government quoting the data by American agencies that 22 encounters of Chinese submarines have taken place outside its territorial waters in the IOR.

China has also been successful in establishing its presence in ports around India including Chittagong in Bangladesh, Sittwe and Coco Island in Myanmar, Hambantota in Sri Lanka and Gwadar in Pakistan, which gives it capability to stay close to Indian waters from all sides in a move known as "string of pearls".

In the conference to be inaugurated by defence minister A K Antony, the Navy will also discuss cases of indiscipline faced by the force.

In recent times, several Navy officers have faced allegations of wife swapping and stealing the affection of brother officer's wife.

One senior officer posted on-board prestigious INS Virat aircraft carrier was dismissed by the force for sending lewd messages to several women using multiple SIM cards and mobile phones.

The top brass of the force is also expected to discuss the delay in the induction of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which is being retrofitted in Russia and has been delayed due to mishaps in its boiler.

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