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Saturday, 25 May 2013

From Today's Papers - 25 May 2013
Navy Captain held guilty of junior’s death
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
A Captain of the Indian Navy, equal to a Colonel, has been found guilty of negligence that led to the death of a young officer on board a warship in December 2011 by a naval court martial.

Captain Rahul Parmar has been punished with a reduction in seniority for three years and loss of associated benefits, virtually ending his career in the force where seniority and merit are the criteria to pick up promotions. This also means six batches of juniors have automatically superseded him.

Sources confirmed that a board of inquiry had recommended a court martial, which found Captain Parmar guilty. Parmar was commanding frontline frigate INS Talwar when a young officer, Sub-Lieutenant Vipin Kumar, died during a swimming drill in the high seas off the coast of Gujarat on December 29, 2011. The Navy had immediately removed Capt Parmar from his command and started the probe.

The young trainee officer was asked to take part in what is known as a "sea-surviving drill", where the scenario of a sinking ship is simulated. As part of the drill, Sub-Lieutenant Vipin Kumar had to swim 50 metres from the ship. Vipin Kumar did not surface after jumping into the Arabian Sea.

Several ships were pressed into service to locate the trainee officer, who was the son of an Army Havildar. He was one of the youngest officers on the ship and it was his first assignment after passing out of the Naval training academy.

Before being posted on INS Talwar, Capt Parmar was Director (Naval Operations) at the Naval Headquarters.

Tragedy at sea

    Captain Rahul Parmar was commanding frontline frigate INS Talwar when Sub-Lieutenant Vipin Kumar posted on the vessel died during a swimming drill in the high seas off the coast of Gujarat on December 29, 2011
    The young trainee officer was asked to take part in a “sea-surviving drill” where the scenario of a sinking ship is simulated
    Vipin Kumar had to swim 50 metres from the ship as part of the drill, but did not surface after jumping into the Arabian Sea
    Parmar has been punished with a reduction in seniority for three years and loss of associated benefits
3 new Army Commanders named; 2 shifted
Chachra to head Northern Command, Campose in Western Command
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 24
The Indian Army on Friday promoted three of its officers as Army Commanders and shifted two Commanders. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet clears the promotions and transfers that are made on the recommendations of the Army Chief. Army Commanders are equal to the status of Secretaries to the Government of India.

Lt Gen Sanjeev Chachra, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GoC-in-C) of the Western Army Command, Chandimandir, will move to the Northern Command, Udhampur, on July 1 to replace Lt Gen KT Parnaik, who will superannuate, according to an order issued here tonight. General Chachra is an infantry officer.

Lt Gen Philip Campose has been immediately promoted in-situ in his present rank of Director General Perspective Planning. On July 1, he will take over from General Chachra as the new Western Army Commander. General Campose is from the mechanised infantry. The Western Command strike formations rely on armoured and mechanised units when launching an attack.

Lt Gen Anil Chait, GoC-in-C of the Central Army Command, Lucknow, has been shifted to take over as Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (CIDS) to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He will take over on July 1 from Lt Gen NC Marwah, who superannuates. General Chait of the armoured corps has in the past commanded the prestigious Ambala-based 2 Strike Corps.

Lt Gen Rajan Bakshi, presently the General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Leh-based 14 Corps, has been promoted as the GoC-in-C of the Central Army Command. He is also from the armoured corps.

Lt Gen Sanjeev Madhok, presently Director General IT, has been promoted as GoC-in-C of the Army Training Command with effect from on June 1 to replace Lt General K. Sundenra Nath. General Madhok is from the Guards and has in the past commanded the Jalandhar-based 11 Corps.
Integrated military exercise held in Punjab
Umesh Dewan/TNS

Jalandhar, May 24
‘Panchjanya’, an integrated exercise by defence forces, was held in the plains of the Doaba region of Punjab. More than 15,000 troops and integrated combat elements of Vajra Corps participated in the exercise under the aegis of HQ Western Command.

A defence spokesperson said exercise ‘Panchjanya’ was conceptualised by the Army’s Western Command for rapid mobilisation and speedy multiple offensives deep into enemy territory.

In a first, all three corps of the Western Command exercised together in an integrated manner. The focus of the exercise was on new and efficient ways of fighting a war in a synergised battlefield. As part of the overall Western Command exercise, troops of the elite Vajra Corps practised their battle drills and procedures. The exercise involved participation of a large array of all arms, combat and support elements including artillery guns, rockets, missiles, armoured tanks and helicopters.

Special emphasis was laid on the functional integration of the Army with the Indian Air Force in a network-enabled environment. A senior defence officer said, “The integration has been seamless”, with the Air Force deploying their fighter and bomber aircrafts, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and attack helicopters in support of the operational plans of their Army counterparts.

Stretched over a period of 15 days, the exercise was progressively structured so that the participating units and formations are put through their paces in a simulated, realistic battlefield environment. All elements of command and combat decision-making were activated during the exercise. Army Commander and Vajra Corps Commander, along with other senior military commanders, witnessed the exercise on May 23 and 24.

During his visit to the exercise area, Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, witnessed combined arms manoeuvres, including insertion of heli-borne forces. Expressing satisfaction on the operational readiness of the formation, he appreciated the high training standards and motivation level of the troops. He complimented the Commanders and the troops for their exceptional display of professionalism.
India strongly objects to China-Pakistan rail link
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, May 24
India today strongly objected to China's plan to establish a rail link connecting Gwadar in Pakistan with China's Xinjiang region via Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). "We have serious reservations about this proposal," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters here.

He said New Delhi had made known to Beijing its opposition to any cooperation between China and Pakistan involving the disputed area of the PoK.

China and Pakistan signed an accord for the proposed rail link during Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Islamabad.

India has been quite concerned over the increasing China-Pakistan cooperation, especially on projects involving the PoK. However, Ignoring New Delhi's concern, China has indicated it would go ahead with building infrastructure in PoK as part of its cooperation with Pakistan, its 'all-weather friend'.
China adamant on border
India need not treat it as an obsession
by Kuldip Nayar

HAVE you forgotten the punishment we gave you in 1962 after you had violated our borders?” This is what a retired top army General asked me at Beijing nearly a decade ago. I recalled his warning when India was shaken in the midst of China’s inroads into our territory. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese premier Li Keqiang, on his visit to Delhi, have discussed the subject at length. But the victory by Beijing has not let it feel differently and it continues to ride a high horse. China argues that normalcy can prevail if the border issue is sealed. This means it continues to occupy our territory it has usurped. Our Prime Minister is correct in maintaining that “no peace and tranquility is possible” without the settlement at the border.

I do not know whether people on both the sides are really familiar with the border dispute between India and China. When the 1962 war ended with our defeat, China unilaterally ceased fire and then indicated the ceasefire line as the possible border. But the line, despite India wanting the delineation of a firm one, was not acceptable to China. It changed its mind and declared the actual line of control as the border. China advanced its troops on its own.

This line violated the traditional border both in Ladakh and in the Northeast on the Arunachal side. Even these borders were not sacrosanct for Beijing. The Colombo powers intervened after the 1962 war to ask both India and China to withdraw their forces by 26.5 metres behind the lines where they stood. India withdrew accordingly. But China did not. Even the lines its forces have occupied at present are haphazard and favour it all the way.

Beijing’s intrusion (our PM prefers to call it an incident to keep tension down) at Daulat Beg Oldi sector in Ladakh is in the area which it has not allowed to be demarcated. In fact, it has treated the entire disputed area under its overall control without negotiating with New Delhi or even indicating specifically which area belongs to it. Nor has China offered any explanation for staying in India’s territory (Despang) for 23 days and pitching tents inside India. Beijing wants to tell the world that it owes no explanation to anyone for going into its “own territory.”

China has made it clear that it is not in favour of having a firm border because an un-demarcated border gives it the leeway to lay claim even on Arunachal Pradesh. For example, no information is forthcoming why a separate visa is issued to people from Arunachal Pradesh and J and K. The real issue with China is Tibet. Beijing may not say so but it links the border issue with the future of the Tibetans who have taken shelter in India in thousands under the leadership of the Dalai Lama. Beijing did raise the issue at the India and China conclaves but kept quiet when it was told that the Dalai Lama was a religious leader, nothing more.

Whatever be Beijing’s wishes, New Delhi is in no position to reopen the Tibet issue. Buddhism is one of the religions which the Hindus profess. It should not be expected that for the goodwill with China, India can dare play with the sensitivities of Hindus who are 80 per cent of the population. Even otherwise, the two countries, India and China, are giants and any clash between them is bound to have stirrings in South Asia and the rest of the world. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, after the 1962 hostilities, warned the world leaders through a personal letter to each one of them that the two nations represented different traditions and conflicting ideologies. India is a democratic country while China a dictatorship. South Asian countries would be interested to know which of the two emerges successful.

From the economics point of view, China has beaten India. But political problems have been solved through dictatorship in China. Can that be the lasting solution when India, compared to China, has kept the society open and given an opportunity for a free play of different points of view and different ideologies? Only time will tell. Yet one thing that is clear is that India will have to accelerate the economic growth which is now 4.6 per cent as compared to a little over 9 per cent three years ago.

And there is an axis between China and Pakistan. There is the allegation that China is trying to surround India by having close relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Even if a war is ruled out, the pressure on India’s security forces will be immense. India need not treat the border as an obsession. China has seen to it that New Delhi does so.

This is its weakness. India should talk to China about the Tibetans who are a millstone around China’s neck. Even otherwise, the word Tibet is a bugbear for Beijing. It is too late in the day to question its authority. It is under China because of its suzerainty over Tibet. But there is a difference between suzerainty and independence. However, the issue of Tibetans’ human rights is a point which India can take up. It is strange that none in the world has taken notice of dozens of Tibetans who have burnt themselves in the name of freedom and liberation.

India’s determination to increase the bilateral trade with China is welcome. But economic cooperation is not synonymous with people-to-people cooperation which does not exist. If the problem is solvable in the lifetime of the Dalai Lama, he is willing to accept autonomy of Tibet inside China. The youth is not in favour of the Dalai Lama’s formula but cannot oppose him because he represents Tibet as long as he lives.

The enunciation that both sides would not attack each other is like what the late Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai told Prime Minister Nehru. Beijing never kept its word. There is no assurance that it would do so in the future.
4 jawans, Hizb militant killed in J-K
Gunbattle takes place in Pulwama Search operation on to flush out militants
Ehsan Fazili &
Suhail A Shah/TNS
Srinagar/Pulwama, May 24
A day after the police killed a top Lashkar militant in downtown Srinagar, four Armymen and a local Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militant were killed on Friday when ultras ambushed an Army party conducting a cordon and search operation in south Kashmir's Pulwama district.

Troops of 3 Rashtriya Rifles (3 RR) had cordoned off Bochoo village in the forest area of Tral, about 30 km south of Pulwama, and launched a search operation early this morning after a tip-off. “Some militants hiding in the village opened fire on the troops around 6.30 am and a fierce gunbattle ensued, resulting in the death of four jawans,” said Col Ankur Vashisht of the Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps Headquarters. He said the search operation would continue for the next 24 hours to flush out any hiding militants in the forest area.

“Two Army personnel died on the spot, another breathed his last at the Sub-District Hospital in Tral where he was rushed for treatment. The fourth succumbed while being shifted to hospital,” the spokesman said. The martyred Armymen have been identified as rifleman Ashwini, rifleman Ajeet, sapper Dalbeer and havaldar Kanwaljeet.

The slain militant, according to sources, has been identified as 25-year-old Saifullah Ahangar, an engineering graduate and resident of Haeriparigam, Awantipora, in Tral. He had joined the militant outfit recently and had been active in the area for the last one-and-a-half month. Three to four other militants accompanying Saifullah managed to flee and are said to have taken away some ammunition of the slain Armymen.

Additional forces have been rushed to the area and a massive manhunt and combing operation has been launched in the forests of the area.

The gunbattle comes a day after a top Lashkar-e-Toiba militant, involved in the killing of several civilians in Pattan and Sopore area of north Kashmir, was killed in an encounter with the police in the old city area.

Militant activity peaks

    March 2, 2013: 2 policemen shot dead near Handwara bus stand
    March 13: 5 CRPF men and two militants killed in Srinagar
    March 21: 1 BSF man killed, 2 hurt in ambush near Nowgam
    April 26: 4 cops killed in ambush near Sopore town
    May 10: ASI Farooq Ahmad killed in Pulwama
    May 18: JCO killed, as Army foils first major infiltration bid in Kupwara

Truce violation

Srinagar: India and Pakistan reportedly exchanged fire at the Line of Control in Karnah sector of Kupwara district late Friday evening. This is the first ceasefire violation this year. Sources said the firing lasted a few minutes and there is no report of a casualty. There are unconfirmed reports of a ceasefire violation in Nowgam.
Indian Navy Captain held guilty for officer's death
In perhaps the first case in the Indian Navy, an officer, Rahul Parmar captain of the INS Talwar has been found guilty for the death of a junior, Sub- Lieutenant Vipin Kumar.
The case goes back to December 2011 when Sub-Lieutenant Kumar was asked by Captain Parmar to jump into the Arabian Sea in Gujarat and swim to simulate a sea swimming survival drill.

The exercise went horribly wrong and Sub-Lieutenant Kumar drowned after he jumped. His body was never found. After the incident, Captain Parmar was removed from the command of the warship and faced a Board of Inquiry.
Sources add that a Court Martial has found Captain Parmar guilty of two counts - negligence and failing to ensure the safety of his own men. It also found that Captain Parmar erred in carrying out sea survival drill and it was carried out without adequate security and safeguards like having divers and life jackets on standby.

Captain Parmar has been awarded the punishment of loss of three years seniority. Sources in the Navy say his career prospects in the Navy now appear bleak.

Following this, the Navy has cautioned all commanders to be careful and asked all to follow guidelines carefully.
Taliban attack UN compound in Afghan capital, two gunmen killed: police
Taliban militants launched a coordinated attack on a U.N. compound in the centre of the Afghan capital, Kabul, on Friday setting off explosions and battling the security forces.

A plume of smoke hung over the city centre after the attack was launched, eight days after six Americans, soldiers and civilians, and nine Afghans were killed in a suicide car bombing in Kabul.

The Taliban, fighting to expel Western forces and establish Islamist rule, claimed responsibility, saying a compound used by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), had been attacked.
Concern is mounting about how the 352,000 members of the Afghan security forces will cope with the militants after most foreign NATO-led combat troops leave by the end of next year.

Kabul police chief Ayoub Salangi said four attackers had entered a U.N. compound.

"Our security forces have already killed two of them and two are still on the second floor and fighting with Afghan security forces," Salangi said.

There was no information about anyone who had been inside the compound at the time of the attack.

There were at least four large blasts and exchanges of fire were going on between the attackers and Afghan forces, supported by Norwegian special forces, at 6.20 p.m. (1350 GMT), witness said.

The first blast was a suicide car-bomb blast at about 4 p.m. (1130 GMT) near a main intersection, said Kabul police chief spokesman Hashmatullah Stanikzai.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, speaking to Reuters by telephone, claimed responsibility.

He said the fighters were targeting a compound used "mostly by members of the CIA", adding that they had gained access to the compound after the first bomb.

The Taliban routinely overstate the results of their attacks.

Shooting erupted after the first bomb, with more blasts beginning about 30 minutes later.

Insurgent attacks against civilians, government workers and Afghan security forces have increased in recent weeks as the Taliban, toppled by a U.S-led force in 2001, exert increasing pressure on the Afghan government.

Fifteen people, including six Americans, were killed on May 16 in a suicide bombing by the Hezb-i Islami insurgent group, which is allied with the Taliban.

Last year, more than a dozen people were killed during a Taliban attack in Kabul which started with coordinated suicide attacks and led to an 18-hour long siege.
Army undertaking exercise 'Panchjanya' in Punjab
The Army's Western Command is currently carrying out 'Panchjanya', a major exercise in Punjab, aimed at validating battle readiness and operational effectiveness of both Army and Air Force as part of its 'Integrated Theatre Battle' concept.

The exercise, which began on May 21, will continue till tomorrow.

During this exercise, the Rising Star Corps fielded troops and all major equipment and executed both day and night battle manoeuvres and trained on state-of-the art weapon systems and equipment, a defence release said today.

The exercise envisaged swift lethal operations seamlessly integrating with the Air Force, it said.

During his visit to the exercise area, Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Command witnessed combined arms manoeuvres including insertion of heliborne forces.

Lt Gen Chachra complimented the Commanders and the troops for their "exceptional display of professionalism and exhorted them to maintain excellent standards achieved and be prepared to protect the honour of the nation."

The Vajra and Kharga Corps exercises are also being conducted as part of exercise 'Panchjanya', the release added.
PM boasts of powerful India

New Delhi: Just weeks after the recent Chinese incursion in eastern Ladakh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday said significant additions have been made to “land forces” to protect India’s borders, even as sources said the Union finance ministry is all set to clear the proposal to establish a mountain strike corps of the Army in the eastern sector despite the high financial implications.

The mountain strike corps will for the first time give the Indian Army offensive capabilities vis-a-vis China.  The proposal is now expected to be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security for final clearance.

“India’s defence and security are a fundamental obligation of the government to our people. Our government has attached the highest priority to these tasks,” the Prime Minister said on Thursday at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Indian National Defence University in Gurgaon.

Speaking also about the Indian Ocean Region, the Prime Minister said India is “well positioned, therefore, to become a net provider of security in our immediate region and beyond”.

The recent controversy over bribery allegations in Italy regarding the VVIP helicopter deal of 2010 also seemed to find an echo in the concerns of the Indian political leadership.

“We have also been guided by the objective of making our defence acquisition transparent, smooth, efficient and less vulnerable to unethical practices,” Dr Singh added.

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