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Monday, 10 June 2013

From Today's Papers - 10 Jun 2013






http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130610/nation.htm#16
Ministry hikes insurance cover for Army personnel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 9
The Ministry of Defence has enhanced the insurance cover for Army personnel. The increase in insurance cover comes with a hike in the monthly subscription rates to be paid by them.

A circular issued by the Controller General of Defence Accounts states that the insurance cover provided under the Army Group Insurance Fund (AGIF) for all commissioned Army officers, including reemployed officers and those from the Military Nursing Services, would be Rs 50 lakh with effect from September 2013. The insurance cover for junior commissioned officers (JCOs) and other ranks (ORs) would be Rs 25 lakh.

The earlier insurance cover was Rs 40 lakh for officers and Rs 20 lakh for JCOs and ORs. The AGIF insurance cover was last enhanced in April 2011.

The monthly subscription rates payable by officers have been increased from Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 and for JCOs and ORs from Rs 2,000 to Rs 2,500. The rates are slightly higher for officers and men deputed with the Army Postal Services.

Launched in 1976, AGIF provides life insurance cover to Army personnel against all risk, including war and war-like situations, pays lump sum maturity benefits at the time of retirement and provides other benefits as decided by its board of governors from time to time.

Payment of disability benefits to Army personnel, ex gratia disability allowance to severely handicapped and disabled personnel, sustenance allowance to differently abled children of service personnel dying in harness, post-retirement extended insurance scheme, social security deposit scheme for widows and minors and advances towards house building and vehicle purchase are among other schemes being offered by the AGIF.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130610/main5.htm
First US C-17 heavy-lift plane arrives next week
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 9
The first of the heavy lift transport planes, the C-17-Globemaster-III, is slated to land at the Hindon airbase near New Delhi on June 17. Once the entire fleet is in place, it will provide India with the ability to rapidly move troops, equipment, tanks and even choppers to far off places.

Two more planes will follow over the next six weeks after which the IAF will conduct a formal induction ceremony of the first lot of three in August. At present, the planes will be based at Hindon, where the first lot of six medium lift C-130-Js, also procured from the US, have been based.

India had ordered 10 C-17 from Boeing at a cost of $4.1 billion and deliveries are expected to completed by 2014 end. The order was placed in early 2011. The aircraft is produced at Boeing’s facility at Long Beach California.

Each of these planes will have a carrying capacity of 74 tonnes, that is more than double the capacity of the IAF’s existing heavy lift aircraft, the Soviet-origin IL-76. At present, the IAF has a 12 IL-76 which are largely used to ferry supplies to Jammu and Kashmir from Chandigarh. The medium lift requirements are met by the fleet of 100-odd AN-32 planes purchased from the Soviet Union some three decade ago.

The C-17 will play a crucial role in any force projection along the 4057-km long frontier with China. The plane can land at small forward airbases on semi-prepared runways, termed as advanced landing grounds (ALGs) in Indian defence ministry parlance. Such ALGs exist in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. It can ferry a tank and a couple of hundred troops. And with India looking to add 10 more C-17s to its fleet, the airlift capacity will then be to lift an infantry brigade (some 4,500 men) and land them at different place within hours.

The aircraft with strategic capabilities and can land at unprepared sand runways with a clearance of 3,000 feet and even when carrying its full load of 74 tonnes. The aircraft’s real use will be for carrying heavy equipment like tanks or choppers. The aircraft has an endurance of 4,500 km, hence allowing India to dominate its area of interest from the straits of Malacca to its east to the Persian Gulf to its west.

Around 250 C-17 are in service worldwide. When the US launched its offensive in Afghanistan in 2001, the plane was used to ferry supplies, vehicles and equipment. Most of these are with the US Air Force with small number of aircraft delivered to Australia, Canada, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the 12-member strategic airlift capability initiative of NATO. India, by placing the order, has become the largest C-17 foreign operator.

The Globemaster-III

    Each of these planes will have a carrying capacity of 74 tonnes, that is more than double the capacity of the IAF's existing heavy-lift aircraft, the Soviet-origin IL-76
    At present, the IAF has 12 IL-76 which are largely used to ferry supplies to Jammu and Kashmir from Chandigarh
    The medium-lift requirements are met by the fleet of 100-odd AN-32 planes purchased from the Soviet Union 30 years ago
    The C-17 will play a crucial role in any force projection along the 4057-km-long frontier with China


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130610/nation.htm#5
India on the rise in Asia-Pacific region
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, June 9
Strategic developments in the past three weeks indicate a shift in the power equation India enjoys in the Asia-Pacific region. India has announced ramped-up defence ties with Japan and Australia, one facing a stormy relationship with China and the other enjoying an economic boom due to its abundant coal reserves harvested by Chinese companies for power plants back home in China.

New Delhi is also set to deepen existing ties with Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, all locked in over-lapping claims with China in the hydrocarbon-rich South China Sea. Some 50 per cent of Indian trade transits through this route. At present, a flotilla of four Indian warships is sailing in the South China Sea making port call in these countries. Thailand has been offered collaboration in defence production while Singapore has been allowed to use the training facilities in India for another five years.

So is India testing China’s resolve or is it building its ‘own team’ under its ‘Look East Policy’? Matters will take some time to settle down and the haze on the new alignments will clear in the months to come. India’s stated position is to seek a resolution on the South China Sea dispute under the established UN framework.

The India-Japan ties, which were founded by Suzuki’s successful tie -up with Maruti in early 1980s, have progressed beyond the nuts and bolts. Last year, the navies of the two countries conducted the first-ever joint exercise. Today, soft loans and aid which New Delhi gets from Tokyo has changed the way India develops its infrastructure. The Delhi Metro being one such example. Japan is keen to invest in specific locations in the southern states in an area referred to the Chennai Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC) and has hinted that it wants to move its manufacturing units out of China. Some 14,000 Japanese companies have a base in China with an estimated investment of more than $70 billion.

Is India titling to join the ‘Asian Security Diamond’ proposed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in December 2012? He had talked about a strategy involving Australia, India, Japan and the US to form a ‘diamond’ to safeguard the maritime commons stretching from the Indian Ocean region to the Pacific.

Japan and China have a century old dispute. It may be too early to judge if India is going to be part of the ‘security diamond’ in an attempt to counter China’s ‘string of pearls’ policy aimed at encircling India. But India’s tie-ups with Japan and Australia clearly show the emergence of a ‘new grouping’ which has China terming the ‘security diamond’ as an ‘anti-China body.

Since Abe proposal, things have changed. India and Japan have announced to intensify their partnership involving cooperation in defence, high-end technology, space, energy security and rare earth minerals. China, in a rather undiplomatic response, reacted sharply. Communist Party-run newspapers warned India that its ties with Japan are at its own peril and went on to term the Japanese as ‘petty burglers’.

One week after the Indian PM and Shizo Abe had discussed matters in Tokyo, Indian Defence Minister AK Antony was in Australia, the first ever visit by an Indian Defence Minister. He along with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith announced a new bilateral grouping in the Asia-Pacific region. The Indo-Australian ties changed after Australian PM Julia Gillard, on visit to India in October 2012, allowed the sale of uranium to India. In May this year, the Australian Government’s white paper on defence reflected the change saying “Australia seeks to develop its strategic partnership with India”.

On a high

    India has announced ramped-up defence ties with Japan and Australia, former facing a stormy relationship with China and the latter enjoying an economic boom due to its abundant coal reserves harvested by Chinese companies for power plants back home in China
    New Delhi is also set to deepen existing ties with Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia, all locked in over-lapping claims with China in the hydrocarbon-rich South China Sea
    Thailand has been offered collaboration in defence production while Singapore has been allowed to use the training facilities in India for another five years

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130610/nation.htm#7
Soon robots to man frontiers

New Delhi, June 9
With futuristic warfare in mind, India is working to develop robotic soldiers as part of efforts to boost unmanned fighting capabilities, joining a select group of countries in this endeavour. Under the project being undertaken by the DRDO, robots would be developed with very high level of intelligence to enable them to differentiate between a threat and a friend.

These can then be deployed in difficult warfare zones, like the Line of Control (LoC), a step that would help avert the loss of human lives.

“We are going to work for robotic soldiers. We are going to look for very high level of intelligence in it than what we are talking today... It is a new programme and a number of labs are already working in a big way on robotics,” DRDO chief Avinash Chander said.

The newly-appointed DRDO chief listed the project for development of robotic soldiers as one of his “priority thrust areas” saying that “unmanned warfare in land and air is the future of warfare. Initially the robotic soldier may be assisting the man.”

He said in the initial phase of the project, the robotic soldier would be required to be told by the human soldier to identify an enemy or a combatant but “slowly in due course of time, the robotic soldier would be at the front end and the human soldier would be assisting him.”

Chander said the need for a robotic soldier is felt to save precious human lives and already robots are used in areas where humans do not want to venture such as defusing bombs or getting inside a high-radiation territory.

“Robotic soldier is one step further. It will have multiple technologies in terms of communication with team members, ability to recognise an enemy,” Chander said.

“Today, you have neural networks, whenever the soldier tells him (robotic soldier) that this is a human solider, he will derive his own logic as to what is the difference between him and others (civilians). That learning process will keep building up,” he said.

Asked if it would be capable of being deployed in areas such as the Line of Control, Chander said, “In due course of time but not before a decade in any way.” — PTI

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2013/20130610/nation.htm#10
IAF to outsource bird hazard control services
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, June 9
Faced with the problem of bird activity around airbases that poses a serious threat to flight safety, the IAF is outsourcing the bird hazard control services to private contractors.

Some of the airbases prone to heavy bird activity have already been identified and the IAF would now engage civilian professionals, preferably supervised by ex-servicemen, to monitor and control bird activity in the vicinity of flying zones.

Bird hits are among the major reasons behind aircraft accidents. About 10 per cent of IAF crashes have been attributed to bird hits. Technical defects and human errors are the other two major causes of accidents.

Planes are vulnerable to bird hits during landing and take-off, though there have also been instances of bird hits at higher altitudes.

The IAF’s Institute of Aerospace Safety has a special cell to study bird activity and compile data. It has come up with several measures to deal with bird activity at airbases.

Under the IAF’s plan to outsource bird-control services, the contractor would be responsible for providing and deploying the requisite manpower and equipment in designated zones around airfields to survey and ward off birds. The contractor would be held responsible for any bird hit on the runway and liable to penalty for any such mishap, sources said. Each take-off and landing would be video recorded.

All bird activity in the vicinity of the airfield would be communicated to the air traffic control for appropriate action by the ground crew.

All bird activity in the vicinity of the airfield would be communicated to the air traffic control for appropriate action by the ground crew. The contractor would be required to scare of the birds using flying aero-models, air guns, multi-shot launchers, bursting crackers, beating drums or using other biological and acoustic techniques recommended by air force authorities. Contractors and their teams would also be responsible for preventing bird nesting in hangars and buildings.

Troubleshooting

    Bird hits are among the major reasons behind aircraft accidents
    The IAF plans to engage contractors for providing and deploying the requisite manpower and equipment in designated zones around airfields to survey and ward off birds
    The contractors would be held responsible for any bird hit on the runway and liable to penalty for any such mishap


http://philamirror.info/2013/06/09/indian-army-field-post-offices-in-indo-china-1954-1968/
Indian Army Field Post Offices In INDO-CHINA 1954-1968
Since Independence, the Indian Army has taken a leading part in the peace missions to KOREA, INDOCHINA, GAZA and the CONGO. A set of stamps was overprinted for the FPOs of Indian custodian Force and was released in KOREA on 17 October 1953. No First day cover was issued. The first overprint for the FPOs of the International Control Commissions was released with a first day cover on 1 Decemeber 1954. The second overprint became necessary when the “India Map” series of stamps were introduced on the change-over to decimal coinage. It was released on 1 April 1957. A similar overprint was authorized for FPOs which accompanied the Indian contingent to the UN peace mission in the CONGO in 1960.  The overprinted stamps and the First Day cover were issued on 15 January 1962 (Army Day). The famous Nehru stamp was overprinted and issued on another Army Day (15 January 1965) with a First Day Cover at the FPOs serving with the International Control Commissions in INDO-CHINA and the United Nations Emergency Force in GAZA.A new set of overprinted stamps for the remaining ICC FPOs at SAIGON and VEINTIANE was released on 2 October 1968 (Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday) along with a First Day Cover. The stamps were cancelled on the first day of issue with an obliterator of new design.    Wherever our field offices go, in India or overseas, they function as part of the India P and T system and use the Indian postage stamps. It is purely a matter of administrative convenience whether or not these stamps in a particular area or expedition and to discourage their purchase with cheap local money for eventual sale in INDIA. The modern overprints are intended to highlight the work and achievements of special Missions.

Though field post offices accompanied the India Army on its numerous expeditions and wars prior to Independence, postage stamps were overprinted only for the China Expeditionary Force (CEF) of 1900-1904 and the India Expeditionary Force (IEF) which took part in the First Word War.
International Control Commissions were established in CAMBODIA, LAOS and VIETNAM in August 1954 in pursuance of the Geneve Agreement for peace in INDO-CHINA. The Commissions were composed of members from CANADA and POLAND with Indian Chairman. Each of these countries contributed a contingent of servicemen to man the inspection teams. The Indian Contingent included a full-fledged postal unit to look after the postal needs of the three Commissions and their national contingents.

The International Commissions Postal Unit reached SAIGON on 3 September 1954 and established field post offices at HANOI, VIENTIANE, SAIGON and PNOM PENH. On completion of their tasks, the FPOs in PNOM PENH and VIENTIANE were closed down on 26 June 1958 and 25 July 1958 respectively. When the LAOS Commission was reactivated in 1961, its FPO was also reestablished in VIENTIANE on 22 May 1961. The FPO at HANOI was eventually closed down on 13 july 1966 as the inspection teams dependent on it had to be withdrawn due to the escalation of the war in VIETNAM.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/browne-asks-military-graduates-to-widen-horizons/article4795693.ece
Browne asks military graduates to widen horizons
Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne on Saturday called upon newly graduated officers at the Indian Military Academy here to keep the horizons open for learning and making friends with counterparts in other services.

Future operations would invariably be joint ones where, in addition to the specialised core competence of each service, the degree of synergy among the services would play a key role in the outcome.

“So, widen your horizons, have full spectrum in your thinking and develop a healthy professional respect for each other’s capabilities, as these will have a force multiplier effect on India’s future military power,” Air Chief Marshal Browne said in his address after reviewing an excellent passing-out parade by 631 Gentlemen Cadets and 74 Foreign Gentlemen Cadets from friendly foreign countries.

Congratulating the officers on having chosen the most honourable profession, he urged them to always do the right thing the right way.

“The Indian Army is going through a revolutionary phase of comprehensive capability enhancement and you Gentlemen would be at the forefront of these momentous changes. Irrespective of your chosen arms, you would be operating in a knowledge-centric environment and technology would be intrinsic to each and every facet of future combat operations.

To meet the stringent demands of this new environment, there will be a need to constantly prepare and adapt. So my advice to you would be to never stop learning.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and strive towards understanding each and every aspect of your job because the future operational capabilities of the Indian Army will greatly depend on your professional capabilities,” he said.

The momentous occasion became all the more enjoyable as the weather became really pleasant after rains in the morning. The parade marched to the tunes of ‘Col Bogey' and ‘Sare Jahan Se Achha.’

The Sword of Honour for overall best performance among the Passing-Out Course was awarded to Siddhant Suhag and the Gold Medal for standing first in the overall Order of Merit was awarded to Vikash Kumar. The Silver Medal for standing second in the order of merit went to Sahil Kerni.

The Bronze Medal went to Nikam Nikhil Janardhan. The Silver Medal for standing first in order of merit in the Technical Graduates Course went to Salil and the Silver Medal for standing first the Technical Entry Scheme went to Prateek Dhankar.

http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/army-housing-project-antony-orders-probe-into-irregularities_853968.html
Army housing project: Antony orders probe into 'irregularities'
New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony has ordered a probe into allegations of irregularities in an Army housing project in Kochi.

Antony has asked senior officials in the Ministry to probe the allegations of irregularities in the Army Welfare Housing Project in Kochi, defence sources said here.

The allegations had surfaced recently in a report about the Army Welfare Housing Organisation's Silver Sands Housing Project, which was planned in 1987 but has not yet materialised.

The report suggested that the armed forces personnel, who had applied for houses in the project, were sold flats built by a private builder in Vaduthala at a higher rate.

It is alleged that a complaint has also been registered in this regard with the authorities concerned.

The Army Headquarters said a Board of Officers was directed to review the AWHO's performance and it has submitted its report.

The officials said after going through the report, all necessary action would be taken to improve the functioning of the AWHO.

Functioning under the Adjutant General of the Indian Army, the AWHO looks after the housing needs of serving and retired armed forces personnel, which mainly include officers.

Lt Gen Sanjeev Anand has recently taken over as the Adjutant General.

Antony has been prompt in taking action on complaints against any wrongdoing in the armed forces or departments.

The Army has been hit by several land scams in the recent past where officials of the rank of Lt Gens have also been indicted by Court of Inquiries. The Ministry has supported action against the erring officials.

Scams in the recent past include the Adarsh Housing society scam and Kandivali land scam in Mumbai, Sukna land scam in West Bengal and a land scam in Srinagar.


http://newindianexpress.com/nation/Mr-Clean-gets-down-to-being-a-really-good-sport/2013/06/09/article1626635.ece
Mr Clean gets down to being a really good sport


Defence Minister and original Mr Clean A K Antony is set on sweeping out corruption from sports bodies.

At a time when Indian sports federations are reeling under factionalism and nepotism unleashed by politicians and bureaucrats, Antony has stepped in with the broom.

In Indian sports bodies, a chosen few office-bearers, many of them bureaucrats and politicians, enjoy extended tenures.

The Delhi High Court in April 2012 had said that since government servants are supposed to discharge official duties with commitment and devotion, their association with sports federations should be minimal.

Taking a cue, the Defence Ministry has asked all three forces — Army, Air Force and Navy — to ensure that they play by the same rules when it comes to holding elective offices in sports federation.

Several armed forces personnel are office bearers of sporting bodies; including the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, All India Tennis Association, Rowing Federation of India and Yachting Federation of India.

The Defence Ministry’s letter dated March 14, 2013, accessed by Express, reveals that a number of serving officers are occupying positions in sports associations — at the national, state and district levels. However, these officers are governed by Army Rules 1954, and not by the Central Civil Services (CCS) conduct rule.

Now, the ministry wants to bring uniformity by amending the existing rules in all three forces and has asked service headquarters to formulate similar guidelines regulating other civilian departments of the government.


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