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Saturday, 1 June 2013

From Today's Papers - 01 June 2013
Sudanese rebels say shoot down army helicopter in oil area
(Reuters) - Sudanese insurgents said they brought down a military helicopter and attacked a government convoy when the army's chief of staff visited a flashpoint in Sudan's main oil region on Friday, rebels said.

A witness also reported seeing clashes, but the government denied a helicopter had been brought down, or that there had been any fighting.

Gibril Adam, spokesman for the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of the biggest rebel groups, said its fighters had attacked a government convoy carrying Sudan's army chief of staff, Ismat Abdelrahman, just outside Abu Kershola.

"We managed to shoot down a helicopter and hit another one," Adam said, adding that nine people had been killed in fighting.

Sudan's army spokesman, al-Sawarmi Khalid, said a military plane had crashed near Abu Kershola, a town in South Kordofan state which the army seized this week after rebels said they had withdrawn.

But he denied clashes took place and said the plane had crashed due to a technical fault. "It was on a routine mission in the Abu Kershola area," he said.

A witness told Reuters heavy shooting broke out after rebels opened fire on the convoy and the army had used tanks and a helicopter, which apparently was hit.

"I saw a helicopter in the air clouded in smoke," the witness said.

The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), an umbrella of rebel groups to which JEM belongs, had launched an assault on several towns late in April, occupying Abu Kershola until it said it had pulled out.

Abu Kershola lies at the northeastern tip of South Kordofan, close to White Nile state, home to the country's main Nile river port and sugar industry.

The violence has strained relations with South Sudan, which Sudan accuses of backing rebels who complain of marginalization by the Khartoum elite. Juba denies the claims.
Tory MP Patrick Mercer: Glittering army career stalled in Parliament
Building a Smarter, Smaller Army
It’s time to resize the U.S. Army given the nation’s fiscal realities and what we’re likely to need it to do in the foreseeable future.

In my new book, Healing the Wounded Giant: Maintaining Military Preeminence While Cutting the Defense Budget, I argue for a modestly smaller Army, relative to current capabilities, as well as current plans for the future Army force.

It is bigger, however, than some advocate, or than would likely result under sustained sequestration.

The recommended size of 450,000 active-duty soldiers (down from the current 538,000) is based on my assessment of what would be required for a ‘1+2’ mission capability:

    – The ‘1’ is a major theater war (like Korea).

    – The ‘2’ is a realistic and historically-based assessment of the number of substantial, if smaller, multilateral operations that the United States might participate within at a given time. They might including a post-2014 mission in Afghanistan, or a notional stabilization role in a place like Syria
Khasi, Jaintia, Garo army companies in offing
SHILLONG: The Indian Army will soon raise Khasi, Jaintia and Garo companies, in keeping with the concept of the Home and Hearth Territorial Army (TA) battalion, to recruit, train and employ youth from specified geographical areas to combat insurgents.

Meghalaya will be the fourth state in the northeast after Nagaland, Manipur and Assam to have such battalions. The exercise is also aimed at weaning away these youths from indulging in unlawful activities by gainfully employing them and making them "disciplined citizens".

The decision of the defence ministry to raise the companies comes in the wake of chief minister Mukul Sangma writing to Union defence minister A K Antony about the "chronic problem of militancy and insurgency which poses a serious threat to national security and integrity."

Pointing out that Home and Hearth formations, along with two battalions of Arunachal Scouts, have been sanctioned in several northeastern states, Sangma told the defence minister that Meghalaya's case was "equally genuine" and, therefore, needed to be considered on an "equal footing".

Specifying the "tribal composition" of the eight companies, a defence source said three each would be raised from amongst the Khasis and the Garos and two from the Jaintia community.

"The recruitment will be done from these tribes only and the battalion headquarters will have a mix of troops from all types," he said.

The eight companies would comprise approximately 110 ranks each, making a total of 14 officers, 40 junior commissioned officers and 1,012 jawans.
Army Chief to visit Nepal
Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh will be on a two-day visit to Nepal from June 10 to flag-in a joint Indo-Nepalese expedition which successfully scaled the Mount Everest around the 60th anniversary of scaling of world's highest peak by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.

Singh will visit Nepal on the invite of his Nepalese counterpart General Gaurav Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, Army officials said here.

He will also for the first time address an ex-servicemen rally of the former Gurkha troops of the Indian Army in Pokhra in Nepal, they said.

A large number of Gurkha troops serve in the Indian Army and the Defence Ministry has also opened up Ex-servicemen Contributory Health-care Scheme (ECHS) clinics to serve its former soldiers there, they said.

The joint mountaineering expedition was flagged-off from New Delhi by the Army Chief on April 3 to summit the formidable peak.

20 mountaineers finally stood on the summit of Mount Everest during the early hours of May 19 and 20 and unfurled the flags of the two nations.

This achievement came just nine days short of the diamond jubilee of the first ascent Mount Everest by Hilary and Norgay.

This expedition also made a contribution towards cleaning the peak and more than a ton of non-biodegradable waste left on the mountain by generations of climbers has been brought down, making the mountain somewhat cleaner.

Five Indian Army personnel will also participate in the 'Everest Marathon 2013' from Gorekshep at 17,000 feet to Namche Bazaar at 11,300 feet on May 20 to 30.

This is the highest marathon in the world in which participants will cover a distance of 42 km.
Army Training Command to get new chief
Lt Gen Sanjeev Madhok will take over as the 17th General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla. He would take over the command in a traditional ceremony at ARTRAC, Shimla, on Saturday, an official spokesman said on Friday.

“ARTRAC has reinforced the Indian Army's endeavour to prepare and win future conflicts. It carries the onerous responsibility of evolving and articulating operational doctrines, concepts and philosophies as an expression of the Army's new approach to war-fighting in the emerging hi-tech environment,” he said.

Lt Gen Madhok had joined the National Defence Academy in January 1972 in 47th course. He was commissioned into 15 Guards in December 1975 and he has commanded 4 Guards (1 Rajput), the spokesman added.

He added that Lt Gen Madhok was on deputation to a United Nations Mission in Iran, Iraq (UNIIMOG) as senior operations officer in 1990-1991.

He has also had tenure with the ministry of external affairs in 2006, where he was responsible for raising the office of director (security affairs), Eurasia division.

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