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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

From Today's Papers - 04 Jun 2013






http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130604/nation.htm#7
Wind up intel unit set up during VK Singh’s tenure: Probe report
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 3
An internal Army probe into the functioning of the Technical Support Division (TSD)-set up during the tenure of former Army Chief General VK Singh (retd)-has established misuse of surveillance equipment and recommended that the unit was not needed.

The TSD, a top-secret Army intelligence unit, was under suspicion for allegedly using off-air phone interceptor to listen to phone conversations of important people, rather than using the machines in border areas to snoop on enemy conversation.

An official of the rank of Lieut-General last week forwarded a probe report for further action, sources said. The aim of the probe was to audit TSD functioning, sources added.

The TSD was suspended, but not disbanded, when former Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma objected to a sudden and unusual surge in the use of secret funds by the Army’s Military Intelligence (MI) in June last year. He had sought details from the Service on the funds that were spent on pursuits “not exactly military in nature”. The Tribune was the first to report the matter on July 18, 2012.

The officers were transferred. However, the unit itself and the men posted are stationed in New Delhi, awaiting orders.

An internal Army probe has established that two of the such off-air phone interceptors were destroyed when the matter became public.

The former Defence Secretary had asked the MI to explain the nearly 33 per cent increase in spending of secret funds during the financial year ending March 2012 over the previous year. In terms of figures, the government wants to know how Rs 67 crore was spent under a particular head during the last financial year as compared to an expenditure of Rs 49 crore in 2010-11.

As per laid down norms, secret funds of the MI, like those of other snooping agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing, are not subject to audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). In case of the Military Intelligence, an internal audit is conducted at a high-level and the file is cleared by the Defence Secretary. The audited report remains secret and is neither tabled in Parliament nor can it be accessed through the Right to Information Act. Funds are allocated under the Budget and have to be spent as per the mandate of the agency.

THE REASON

The Technical Support Division was under suspicion for allegedly using off-air phone interceptors to listen to phone conversations of important people, rather than using the machines in border areas to snoop on enemy conversation

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130604/nation.htm#15
Navy inducts auxiliary craft

Kochi, June 3
The Navy today inducted an auxiliary craft, Pradayak, capable of carrying 400 tonnes of fuel and 100 tonnes of aviation fuel. Pradayak, part of the fleet of auxiliaries of the Naval ship repair yard here, can also carry 50 tonnes each of provisions and fresh water.

The vessel is named after a ship which was decommissioned in 2007.

Rear Admiral S Madhusudanan, Superintendent of Naval Ship Repair Yard (NSRY), who was the chief guest at the induction ceremony, expressed optimism that the barge would enable faster turnaround of warships at Kochi.

He complimented Shalimar World Limited of Howrah, a 125 year-old company and presently wholly owned by the West Bengal Government, for delivering the vessel in seven months, a defence press release said. — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130604/edit.htm#6
What’s holding up arms indigenisation?
There is no alternative to indigenisation. The importing country is not in a position to develop forward technology leaving its armed forces holding obsolete equipment. Then there is the ever-present danger of denial of crucial supplies by the exporter in times of conflict
N.N.Sachitanand

In the early 1940s, barely a few years after Tata Steel had set up its central research laboratory in Jamshedpur, the company was asked by the then British Indian Government to develop and make armour plate steel for the war effort. Not only did the company develop the highly specialised steel within a year but also used it to make infantry combat vehicles called Tatanagar, which earned a lot of praise for their performance from the Allied troops fighting in the Middle East. Today, seventy years later, we are looking to import infantry combat vehicles from a European country. That is the sad tale of independent India’s search for self-reliance in defence equipment.
About 75 per cent of India’s weapons purchases came from imports during 2007-11. In his recent presentation of the union budget for the next financial year, the finance minister, P. Chidambaram, expressed grave concern about the worsening current account deficit (CAD). But India’s military machine is in urgent need of modernisation which may cost as much as 100 billion US dollars in the next 10 years. With the tight foreign exchange availability, achieving this modernisation will be almost impossible if we stick to the 75 per cent imports model of the past.

Arms imports have a whole slew of harmful side effects. Corruption is not the only fallout, although the noise made about kickback scams by the media seems to indicate that. There are worse evils such as high levels of profiteering in spares and services by the foreign equipment suppliers. Since equipment imported is not the same as technology acquired, the importing country is not in a position to develop forward technology and its armed forces are left ultimately holding a lot of obsolete equipment. This is very true about India. Then there is the ever-present danger of denial of crucial supplies by the exporter country in times of conflict if its foreign policy dictates such a course.

Impediments to indigenisation

Therefore, there is no alternative to indigenisation. So what is holding it up? Historically, the first big impediment placed was the placing all the development and production eggs in the single basket of the public and ordnance factory sectors. Burdened by poor work and management cultures and handicapped by government diktats, these entities were short on productivity, innovation and anticipation. They rarely met delivery schedules for equipment involving well-established technologies. Their achievement in delivering equipment with new technologies was much worse. This pushed our armed forces to import and plug the supply—demand gap. The private sector, which had done such a commendable job in meeting the demands of the Allied forces during the Second World War, was largely ignored.

The second major impediment to indigenisation came as a result of easy and cheap access to arms from the Soviet Union in the early sixties. Although this flight to succor by the USSR came as a knee-jerk reaction to the debacle with the Chinese in 1962, the dependence rendered us technologically lazy. Even some brave and briefly successful efforts at self–reliance were given up. A prime example of this is the dismantling of the fighter aircraft design team in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which had been built up with considerable effort by Kurt Tank, Ghatge, Rah Mahindra and others and which had come up with the HF--24 Marut jet fighter all on its own in the fifties.

The pursuit of indigenously designed fighters was given up in the sixties just because the USSR dangled before us the carrot of the cheaper and supersonic MiGs. If that design team of HAL had been kept and strengthened over the years, perhaps we would have made a much better job of developing the fourth generation fighter than the sorry tale that the LCA project has been. India’s dependence on Russian arms technology has been so addictive that even today, though the Soviet Union is no more, over three-quarters of our defence equipment imports are still from Russia.

The third crucial obstacle to increasing self-reliance in our defence equipment has been, ironically, the very institution tasked with increasing indigenisation — the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of 10 existing defence laboratories, it is today a network of more than 50 laboratories manned by over 5,000 scientists and about 25,000 support staff conducting research and development on a range of topics from spices to missiles.

By and large, the DRDO has failed to deliver, barring perhaps in the areas of food, radar networks and missiles. Even in the case of missiles, perhaps it was the strong base technology acquired from our successful space programme that enabled the development. In many critical areas like light arms, ammunition, artillery, tanks, aircraft, submarines, electronic systems and others, its performance in developing new products has been characterised by inordinate delays, incompleteness resulting in unexpected problems in series production and inability to incorporate latest technologies. The result has been a scramble for imports by the defence establishment.

A committee set up in 2007 under P. Rama Rao, former secretary, department of science and technology, to recommend restructuring of the DRDO, had suggested setting up of a Defence Technology Commisssion, merging the labs into seven clusters and creating a commercial arm to spin off products and technologies for civilian use. Frankly, this does not deal with the basic problem that there is a wide credibility gulf between the defence manufacturing units and the DRDO labs.

Encouraging private sector

It is time to seriously consider merging the DRDO labs of similar domain into the production units, as for example, Laser Research and Development Establishment into Bharat Electronics Limited and National Aeronautical Laboratory into HAL. At least then, we will see more synergy and symbiosis between R&D and production. The proposed Defence Technology Commission could then become like the DARPA in the USA and direct grants for advanced technology development to our technical universities which are starved of both funds and meaningful research projects.

A succession of defence ministers have, over the decades, rendered lip service to the cause of defence equipment indigenisation but not much action was taken on the ground by them. The latest to mouth the self-reliance slogan is the current defence minister, A.K. Antony, no doubt spooked by the kickback imbroglio involving the Augusta helicopter deal. He has promised to again revise the Defence Procurement Procedure, the latest version of which was released as recently as 2011. He wants to create conditions for the private sector, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to play a greater part in defence production. Antony would be well advised to first consult some of those SMEs who have supplied components to the defence sector in the past. He might be unpleasantly surprised by the flurry of criticism he receives about the long delays in inspection and payments for the supplies made. Even large private enterprises which have taken up big projects for developing defence equipment have come up against the stone wall of indifference from the concerned customers in the defence sector.

The noises being made by the defence ministry about encouraging private sector involvement in production and the policy of compulsory 30 to 50 per cent offsets of local purchase against value of imports has enthused a few major Indian groups to invest in manufacturing facilities for defence equipment. However, they still have to tie up with foreign producers to access the technology. Foreign companies would be more inclined to such joint ventures if the FDI limit is liberalised beyond the present 26 per cent.

Perhaps Antony would do well to set up an Indigenisation Commission, under an entrepreneur–bureaucrat, with members drawn from private sector companies, both large and small, which have actually developed and supplied arms in the past. This commission could be tasked with identifying obstacles to the indigensation process and suggesting methods to eliminate them.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130604/edit.htm#7
Restructuring the DRDO

THE key measures to revamp the Defence Reseatrch and Development Organisation (DRDO), some of which are in the process of being implemented, include the establishment of a Defence Technology Commission, de-centralisation of DRDO management, making it a leaner organisation by merging some of the DRDO laboratories with other public funded institutions with similar discipline, revamp of the entire HR structure and establishment a commercial arm.

The decisions also include continuation of Aeronautical Development Agency for design and development of combat aircraft, continuation of the Kaveri aero-engine programme, development of Arjun Mk-II and Akash Mk-II and selection of industry partners by DRDO through a transparent process by evolving a suitable mechanism.

These were recommended by the committee set up on February 8, 2007, chaired by former secretary, department of science and technology, Dr P. Rama Rao. The committee was mandated through its terms of reference to review the present organisational structure and to recommend necessary changes in the institutional, managerial, administrative and financial structures for improving the functioning of DRDO. The committee submitted its report to the government on February 7, 2008.

The recommendations of the committee together with DRDO's views and report were extensively deliberated upon by the three services and the defence ministry. The defence minister subsequently constituted a committee on June 25, 2009 under the chairmanship of the defence secretary, to consider the responses and suggestions made by the stakeholders and to arrive at a set of acceptable recommendations. This committee met five times to finalise its recommendations.

The decentralisation of DRDO management will be achieved through formation of technology domain based centres or clusters of laboratories headed by directors general. Seven centres will be created based on functionalities and technology domains. It will be the responsibility of the Directors General to ensure timely execution of major programmes and encouragement of research in laboratories. DRDO will also ensure full autonomy to all laboratories as far as science and technology initiatives are concerned.

Further, the present director general of DRDO would be redesignated as chairman, DRDO. Directors general at centres and chief controllers will report to chairman, DRDO, who would head the DRDO Management Council having seven directors general and four chief controllers at headquarters and an additional financial advisor (R&D) as members. Financial advisors at the appropriate levels would report to directors general and laboratory directors to ensure accountability. — Vijay Mohan

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/foreign-trade/india-singapore-renew-agreement-on-joint-army-training/articleshow/20413641.cms
India, Singapore renew agreement on joint army training
SINGAPORE: India and Singapore today reaffirmed their strong and long-standing defence ties as they renewed a bilateral agreement for the conduct of joint army training and exercises for another five years.

The agreement was signed between Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur and his Singaporean counterpart Chiang Chie Foo after visiting Defence Minister A K Antony held bilateral talks with his host Ng Eng Hen.

Antony is in Singapore on a working visit. The Agreement for the Conduct of Joint Army Training and Exercises was first established on 12 August 2008. Its renewal allows the Singapore Army to train and exercise with the Indian Army in India for another five years.

The two armies have jointly conducted bilateral armour and artillery exercises, codenamed Ex Bold Kurukshetra and Ex Agni Warrior respectively.

The most recent bilateral armour exercise was successfully conducted in March 2013 and both armies also carried out a combined artillery live-firing in December 2012.

"The renewal of the Bilateral Agreement is testament to the warm defence relationship between India and Singapore," according to a statement issued by Ministry of Defence here.

Apart from the Army, the Republic of Singapore Air Force and the Republic of Singapore Navy engage their Indian counterparts in joint military training and exercises annually.

Besides joint military training, both defence establishments also interact regularly through high-level visits, policy dialogues, courses, seminars and other professional exchanges.

During his visit, Antony was also hosted by Ng to a dinner, during which both Ministers reaffirmed the strong and long-standing defence ties between the two countries.

Antony will also visit Australia and Thailand as part of his three nation visit aimed at strengthening India's defence ties with the countries in Asia Pacific region.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/new-china-incursion-targets-indian-army-stops-jawans-from-entering-lac-in-fingerviii/1121278/
New China incursion targets Indian Army, stops jawans from entering LAC in Finger-VIII
Indian Army was "handling" the situation arising out of the latest incursion in Ladakh, Defence Minister A K Antony said today after yet another China incursion led PLA troops to prevent jawans from patrolling up to LAC in Finger-VIII area where they have built a road inside Indian territory.

"Army is updated about latest position there. Whenever these kind of incidents happen in the local areas, they are handling it," he told reporters here and asserted that India can protect its national interests.

The Defence Minister was asked about the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh where its troops have built a road five kms inside the Indian territory.

"Indian can protect its national interests. India is not the India of the past," the Minister said.

A recent incident has come to light in Ladakh where Chinese troops prevented their Indian counterparts from patrolling up to the Line of Actual Control.

The alleged incident took place near Finger-VIII area, also known as Siri Jap, on May 17, two days before Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi after it was announced that the stand-off resulting from a 19-kilometre deep Chinese intrusion had ended.

Asked about the readiness of armed forces, the Minister said, "We are fully prepared. The nation can be fully assured that our armed forces are fully prepared."

He said countries are "showing keen interest in strengthening defence relationship with us. Every body wants more cooperation of our defence forces, that shows gradual enhancement in our capabilities."

The Minister said he would be visiting China soon as was decided during the visit of the then Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guanglie in September last year.

The Minister said that he would visit Australia, Singapore and Thailand in the first week of June.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/china/China-turns-on-the-charm-at-security-forum/articleshow/20414114.cms
China turns on the charm at security forum
SINGAPORE: Senior Chinese military officials came ready to talk at a major regional security forum over the weekend, surprising delegates with a new sense of openness at a time when Beijing is making strident claims to territory across Asia's seas.

No one expected any resolution of disputes over maritime boundaries, accusations of Chinese cyber-espionage, Beijing's suspicions about the US "pivot" to Asia or other prickly issues at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

But the charm offensive by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) officers, less than a week before Chinese President Xi Jinping meets US President Barack Obama for an informal summit, appeared to be designed to tone down the recent assertiveness by emphasizing cooperation and discussion.

"There's no question that this year the PLA delegation has come very prepared to engage in dialogue," said John Chipman, director-general of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, which convenes the forum. "The intensity of the Chinese engagement and the manner of their engagement is different."

The defence minister of the Philippines, Voltaire Gazmin, also noted a shift.

"It's a total turnaround. They have been talking about peaceful resolutions, no outward acts," Gazmin said. "But we still hope to see that these words are put into action."

China claims large swathes of the South China Sea, which could be rich in oil and gas. The Philippines and other Southeast Asia nations have challenged Beijing over those claims.

Beijing is also embroiled in a row with Tokyo over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, which are also believed to contain large energy deposits.

China, the world's second-largest economy and a rising military power, is aware it needs what it calls a "stable and peaceful external environment" for its own development.

Indeed, Chinese officials at the forum sought to ease concerns about Beijing's intentions.

"China's development and prosperity is a major opportunity instead of a challenge or even threat to countries in the Asia-Pacific region," Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, the PLA's deputy chief of general staff, told a session on regional security.

Qi, China's top official at the forum, said dialogue "by no means denotes unconditional compromise" and he gave no ground on sovereignty claims, calling the presence of Chinese warships in the East China Sea and the South China Sea "totally legitimate and uncontroversial to patrol within our own territory".

But he said "China is a peace-loving nation" and went on to answer more than a dozen questions from delegates.

Unlike most other countries, China has sent its defense minister to the Shangri-La Dialogue only once - in 2011.

Despite that absence, a senior U.S. official accompanying Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to the forum saw a big change in the Chinese delegation.

"Last year China had a very, very small contingent, a relatively junior-ranking contingent. This year they came in force ... and have been very active in the panels," said the official. "That's very, very good. We want everybody to engage."

While there was a fair amount of skepticism about China's position from security analysts during the various sessions, Chinese officials were not shy about taking tough questions or asking their own from the floor.

Major General Yao Yunzhu from the PLA's Academy of Military Science asked Hagel after his speech how Washington could reassure Beijing that the U.S. focus on Asia was not an "attempt to counter China's rising influence".

"China is not convinced," she said in fluent English.

"That's really the whole point behind closer military-to-military relationships," Hagel replied. "We don't want miscalculations and misunderstandings and misinterpretations."

The higher-ranking Chinese delegation this year and their participation in the sessions shows "a more active effort on the part of the Chinese to reach out", Canada's defense minister, Peter MacKay, told Reuters. "I see that as positive."

The Chinese worked "with a very courteous style, with a much less combative style", Chipman said, noting the remarks by "a young officer of the PLA congratulating the defense minister of Japan for his very important and serious speech".

Japan, a US ally, is strengthening its economy and military to play a responsible international role, defence minister Itsunori Onodera said in his speech.

Onodera, addressing lingering suspicion about his country's intentions given its role in World War Two, said Japan "caused tremendous damage and suffering" to its neighbors in the past but wanted to look to the future by promoting cooperation.

Those comments were what won public praise from the PLA officer, who also spoke in English.

"The other Asians are saying the Chinese have decided to play the game, that is to pitch up, make an impression and do so in the right way," said Chipman.

"How that has an impact on the ground, at sea, in space, in cyber ... is a different question."

http://www.deccanchronicle.com/130603/news-current-affairs/article/drdo-man-wins-best-scientist-award
DRDO man wins best scientist award


Mysore: Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, additional director, Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), won the ‘DRDO Scientist of the Year’ award, making him the second DFRL scientist to receive this honour. It was a proud moment  for the DFRL, which came into being in 1961 primarily to cater to the varied food challenges of Indian army, navy, air force and other paramilitary forces.

The award was given away by Defence Minister A.K. Antony, at a glittering ceremony in New Delhi on May 29. The award carries a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh and a citation.

Dr. Radhakrishnan holds the distinction of leading a group of scientists who cooked food for Indian origin squadron leader Rakhesh Sharma, during the Indo Soviet Space Mission in 1984. He was nominated for his contributions to the field of Life Sciences.

Dr. K.S. Premavalli was the first DFRL scientist to win this award in 2010. It was given to her in recognition of her contributions toward the development of convenient and functional foods for the Armed Forces as well as the “Quick Test Kit” for the evaluation of processed foods.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, Dr. Radha­krishnan said winning the award was a great honor. He has won over 30 awards, including DFRL Scientist of the Year, has 12 patents and presented over 150 papers in international and national events. DFRL director Dr. Batra congratulated his on this achievement.


http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-06-02/china/39690277_1_south-china-sea-diaoyus-territorial-claims
Chinese patrols in Asian seas 'legitimate': Chinese general
SINGAPORE: Chinese warships will continue to patrol waters where Beijing has territorial claims, a top general said Sunday, amid simmering rows with neighbouring countries over the South China Sea and islands controlled by Japan.


Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, defended the patrols as legitimate and said his country's sovereignty over the areas could not be disputed.

"Why are Chinese warships patrolling in East China Sea and South China Sea? I think we are all clear about this," Qi told the annual Shangri-La Dialogue security conference in Singapore.

"Our attitude on East China Sea and South China Sea is that they are in our Chinese sovereignty. We are very clear about that," he said through an interpreter.

"So the Chinese warships and the patrolling activities are totally legitimate and uncontroversial."

Qi was responding to a question from a delegate after giving a speech in which he sought to assure neighbouring countries that China has no hegemonic ambitions.

"China has never taken foreign expansion and military conquering as a state policy," he said.

One delegate however said there appeared to be growing regional scepticism over China's peaceful intentions because it was inconsistent with moves to send naval patrols to waters where other countries also have claims.

China is locked in a territorial dispute with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea.

The four states have partial claims to islands but China says it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the sea, including areas much closer to other countries and thousands of kilometres from the Chinese coast.

China also has a dispute with Japan over the Senkaku islands, which Beijing calls the Diaoyus, in the East China Sea.

"I do hope the statements of the good general today will be translated into action," Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told reporters.

He said Qi's remarks about China having no hegemonic ambitions were "far from what is happening" in the sea.

Manila last month protested at what it called the "provocative and illegal presence" of a Chinese warship near Second Thomas Shoal, which is occupied by Philippine troops.

Among the other moves that have caused alarm were China's occupation of a shoal near the Philippines' main island last year, and the deployment in March of Chinese naval ships to within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of Malaysia's coast.

Competing claims have for decades made the area -- home to rich fishing grounds and vital global shipping lanes and believed to sit atop vast natural gas deposits -- one of Asia's potential military flashpoints.

China and Vietnam fought in 1974 and 1988 for control of islands in battles that left dozens of soldiers dead.

The US-China strategic rivalry also loomed large during the conference, with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday accusing Beijing of waging cyber espionage against the United States.

But General Qi on Sunday allayed concerns that China had dropped a pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.

Omission of the "no-first-use" pledge in a recent defence white paper had created ripples in military circles and sparked speculation that China may have abandoned the policy.

Qi also distanced his government from claims by some Chinese scholars that the Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa, do not belong to Japan.

"This is only an article of particular scholars and their views on these issues... it does not represent the views of the Chinese government," he said.

Maritime disputes and the risks of conflicts that could hurt Asia's economic growth were a running theme during the three-day conference that ended Sunday.

"Asia holds great promise for ourselves and the world but continued peace and prosperity in this region are neither fait accompli nor automatic," Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen told the conference.

"Instead, if we are to continue to enjoy stability and progress, we must work effectively in unison to strengthen areas of common interests."

The Philippines' Gazmin defended Manila's move unilaterally to bring its territorial dispute with China before a UN tribunal after China refused to take part.

"We hope that the arbitration tribunal will issue a clarification in accordance with international law that will direct China to respect our sovereign rights," Gazmin told the forum.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Army-to-get-heavy-duty-scanners-in-JK/articleshow/20408388.cms
Army to get heavy-duty scanners in J&K
JAMMU: The Army is planning to procure heavy-duty scanners to enhance the security level at its various units and transit camps in Jammu and Kashmir.

Army's Northern Command Headquarters have recently floated Request for Proposal (RFP) for procurement of at least 11 heavy-duty scanners for important locations in the Northern Command Theatre, according to a senior Army official.

The heavy-duty baggage scanners will enhance the security-level at Army units and transit camps at various places, the official said, adding that they are high-sensitivity scanners.

Army is running several transit camps and units in high militancy-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir, where there is always a threat of passage of suspected explosive material.


http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/hero-paratrooper-court-martialled-taliban-1928047
Hero paratrooper court martialled for Taliban punch sues the Army

A former paratrooper is suing the Army claiming he was wrongly court martialled for punching a suspected terrorist.

He was sent home from Afghanistan, arrested, charged and prosecuted, his career in his elite regiment in ruins.

The court martial collapsed after four days when the judge ruled that the evidence against him was “tenuous and weak”.

The soldier, who can be identified only as Cpl C, said he hit the Taliban suspect because he was trying to escape.

The ex-corporal – serving with the Special Forces Support Group – claims his career was destroyed by a “malicious prosecution” driven by political correctness.

As a member of 1 Para he spent 10 years in the Army fighting in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cpl C’s unit captured the suspected Taliban fighter while on patrol in 2009. Another man was shot when he pulled a gun on the group. He later died.

The captive tried to flee during the interrogation process.

Cpl C’s case in his legal action has been boosted by head of the Army General Sir Peter Wall.

It is understood Gen Wall has demanded an explanation from the Service Prosecuting Authority. Cpl C, who has left the Army and is now a security contractor, said: “I am appalled that I was charged and prosecuted. It was my word against the word of a suspected terrorist and the SPA preferred not to be believe a long-serving member of the airborne forces.”

He added: “I can honestly say that I would not have done anything differently on the day in question.

“The suspect’s colleague had pulled a gun on our patrol and had been shot.

“As soon as I was left alone with him it looked like he was going to try to escape and I struck him.

“I am appalled at the way I was treated by the Army. So are my former colleagues. This is why I left the Army. If the Army had given me the backing and support I gave it for 10 years, I would still be serving in 1 Para.”

Brigadier Philip McEvoy, former SPA deputy director, who has left the Army, said: “Too many commanding officers are unwilling to shoulder the responsibility of dealing with minor offences.

“There appears to be an increasing desire to be seen to be politically correct. Perhaps they are too careerconscious. The consequence is that minor cases end up in front of a court martial when it is too late to turn back.”



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