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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

From Today's Papers - 25 Jun 2013
MiG-29 crashes; pilot safe

Jamnagar, June 24
A MiG-29 fighter aircraft on a routine sortie today crashed near Lalparda village in Gujarat's Jamnagar district, with the pilot ejecting safely. "A MiG-29 fighter jet today crashed at 1330 hours near Lalparda village south of Khambhalia town," IAF officials said. The aircraft was on a routine sortie, they said. "The pilot ejected safely when the plane crashed," they added.

The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry in the matter, officials said, adding that their team was reaching the spot where the crash took place.

In August 2012, nine Air Force personnel, including five officers, on board two MI-17 helicopters were killed when two helicopters of the Jamnagar air base had collided mid-air shortly after take-off. — PTI
Militants strike again, kill 8 jawans in Valley
Hizb targets Army convoy on eve of PM’s visit
Majid Jahangir/TNS

Srinagar, June 24
On the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, militants carried out two deadly attacks here in a span of 30 minutes, killing eight soldiers and injuring over 13 others.

The security agencies had an input that militants were planning to carry out a sensational attack in the Valley ahead of the PM’s visit to make their presence felt.

The attack on the Army convoy took place on the Srinagar bypass at Hyderpora around 4.30 pm. Militants, riding a bike, lobbed hand grenades inside an Army truck besides opening indiscriminate fire.

“Two Army men were killed on the spot while many others were injured. Four among the injured succumbed to their injuries on way to the hospital,” sources in the police said.

Though the soldiers opened a retaliatory fire, militants managed to escape from the spot. The police and paramilitary forces cordoned off the entire stretch of the Srinagar-Jammu highway and launched a manhunt for the militants, who fled on a bike.

The bike was intercepted around 2 km away from the encounter site on the Barzulla road, but the militants lobbed a hand grenade on the security forces and injured a Sub-Inspector of the CRPF and a policeman. Thereafter, they abandoned the bike and fled in a car. A massive search was on to trace the militants, sources said.

CRPF IG (operation) Nalin Prabhat said, “The militants will be flushed out and eliminated.” The Hizbul Mujahideen has, meanwhile, claimed responsibility for the attack. Its spokesman Baliguddin from Muzaffarabad called up a local news agency in Srinagar and claimed responsibility for the attack.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Such high-profile attacks are aimed at restoring the shattered morale of militants while trying to demoralise the security forces.” He also spoke to the Srinagar Corps Commander to express condolences for the loss of lives.

Attacks this year

March 13: Five CRPF personnel and two militants were killed in a suicide attack in Bemina

March 21: A BSF jawan was killed and two others were injured in a militant attack near Nowgam on the Srinagar-Jammu bypass

June 22: Militants carried out a deadly attack in Hari Singh high street, killing two policemen in the heart of the city
Amid protests, Lankan officers leave Wellington defence college
COIMBATORE: Two Sri Lankan armed forces personnel whose presence at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington in the Nilgiris district had provoked pro-Eelam political parties to hit the streets left Tamil Nadu for Mumbai Monday evening on a Jet Airways flight from Coimbatore. Armed soldiers on 20 trucks escorted the officers and their family members from Wellington to Coimbatore. They reached the airport at 5.30pm and boarded the flight at 7.45pm.

Wing commander M S BandaraDassanayek and major CS HarischandraHettiarachchige were undergoing training at the Wellington staff college since May 27. Their presence had led to a series of protests in the state culminating in the State government issuing a strongly-worded statement against the Centre for allowing Sri Lankan armed forces personnel to attend courses at Wellington.

At least two towns in the Nilgiris had shut down on Monday as a mark of protest. Various Tamil nationalist groups had planned a joint agitation on Tuesday and MDMK leader Vaiko had arrived in Coimbatore to lead the protest. On Sunday, nearly 200 cadres of Naam Tamizhar Katchi, a pro-Eelam outfit, had protested at the campus of Madras Regiment Centre that houses the college and raised slogans against Indian and Lankan governments and tore the flags of Congress and Sri Lanka.

Army sources claimed the Lankan officers left on the orders of their government. The Lankan government, sources said, had refused to accept the offer from India government to shift the training to another military establishment.

In Tamil Nadu, both the government and Tamil nationalist groups have been opposed to allowing Lankan officers to train at the Wellington staff college. Centre had also assured that it will respect Tamil sentiments concerning Lanka. Anti-Lanka sentiments peaked in Tamil Nadu since evidence of the brutality unleashed by the Sri Lankan army began to appear in the western media. However, New Delhi has maintained the stand that Sri Lanka is a friendly nation and bilateral ties, including military ones, could not be snapped to the discomfort of political groups in Tamil Nadu.
Over 3,200 people airlifted as Army, IAF continue rescue work
 Fighting against unfavourable weather conditions, the Army and the IAF on Sunday continued their rescue operations in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand where more than 3,200 people were evacuated by defence aircraft from the worst-affected areas of the state.

"The armed forces put to use some of the best military skill-sets to great effect in the flash-flood affected zones of Uttarakhand and rescued hundreds of fatigued and exhausted stranded tourists almost seven days after the tragedy struck the Kedar Valley," a Defence Ministry release said.

"Unfavourable weather prevailed in all sectors of Uttarakhand in the morning hours, yet IAF operations continued. 45 choppers airlifted more than 3,200 pilgrims in 250 sorties, dropping/landing 1,50,000 kg of relief material and equipment," it said.

The Ministry said the air operations began in affected areas after the C-130J undertook a weather recce mission while another aircraft carried fuel for chopper operations there.

Under 'Operation Rahat', the IAF has flown 1,158 sorties and evacuated 9,228 people and dropped over 1,50,000 kg of relief material.

Meanwhile, the Army evacuated all 1,000 stranded pilgrims in the mountain folds around Jungle Chatti in Kedar Valley.

"Using cliff assault techniques, skilled mountain rescue troops of Army evacuated 460 by foot through one of the most dangerous zones in Kedar Valley...launching two columns simultaneously from Dharasu and Barkot, Army reached Hanuman Chetti yesterday and surged towards Janak Chatti and Yamunotri this morning and evacuated all stranded pilgrims from Yamunotri," the release said.

The Army also air lifted hygiene and sanitation stores and chemicals, blankets, food packets and medicines.

More than 3,000 kgs have been dumped at major rescue centres while two medical aid centres each have been opened at Gaurikund, Goucher, Joshimath and Harsil.
MoD stand can cost India dear

AK Antony has been the longest serving defence minister of the country. Sadly, we cannot say that he has been the best. Brought in to signal the need for integrity in defence purchases, and to speed up the delayed modernisation of the armed forces, his term has been one of failure and missed opportunities.

The VIP helicopter scam represents only the tip of the iceberg of the corruption that continues to dog defence deals.

As for modernisation, the Antony term has seen a further slippage in the Scorpene submarine project and an inability of the Army to push through the urgently needed artillery modernisation, to name just two of the key projects that remain mired in delays fostered by the defence ministry.

Relations between the armed forces and the civilian bureaucracy remain poisonous and break out into periodic spats, the most spectacular one being the V K Singh age issue.

In such circumstances one would imagine that Antony would be an enthusiastic supporter of reform and restructuring of his ministry. But far from it.

He maintained a reputation for indecisiveness and caution and, according to news reports, he has tamely followed his bureaucracy to block the significant proposals made by the Naresh Chandra task force on defence reform.

This has manifested itself most clearly in the opposition of the ministry to the creation of the office of a permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee (COSC).


The committee which laboured for a year, comprised of former service and intelligence service chiefs and was chaired by a person who had himself been Defence and later Cabinet Secretary.

To term the recommendation of the committee on the permanent chair for the COSC as "unwarranted" can only be termed as self-defeating impertinence.

Actually, according to news reports, the MoD has declared that not only is there no need to appoint a permanent COSC chairman, there is no need for any reform anywhere, period.

In a way this sums up the arrogant selfcertitude of the bureaucracy and hearkens to Lord Kelvin's famous 1900 statement that "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now."

Across the world, joint functioning or integration of the various arms of the services has been the trend since the time of World War I. Modern war, it was soon realised, could not be fought by individual services efficiently.

In the 1950s most countries appointed Chiefs of Defence Staff (CDS). In India, the Group of Ministers which looked into defence reforms after the Kargil war suggested that a CDS post be created, along with the integration of the armed forces headquarters with the Ministry of Defence.

However, this was sabotaged by the bureaucracy which raised all manner of objections to the proposal. They did create a tri-service Integrated Defence Staff, but being headless, its influence has been sub-optimal.

Then, in an act of blatant chicanery, the babus relabelled the service headquarters as Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence (Army/Navy/Air Force) and declared that integration had taken place.

They were able to do this by playing up to the fears of the politicians that the CDS would be a "super general" and so powerful that he could threaten the system with a coup.

Coming in a country where the last military coup probably took place in 185 BC when Pusyamitra Sunga overthrew the Mauryan dynasty, this is a bit rich.

Their actual concern, however, was that the new organisation would cut into the power that the civilian bureaucracy wields by manipulating the Transaction of Business Rules in its own favour, a power that is wielded in an inexpert, incompetent and corrupt manner.


The Naresh Chandra Committee took all the contrarian views into account and by recommending a permanent chairman of the chiefs of staff committee emphasised that the new general would be a coordinator, rather than a commander.

In its view, there was an urgent need for a high ranking officer who would assist the government in drawing up a national security doctrine and national security strategy and provide single point advice on issues that concern more than one service.

The permanent Chairman COSC would also be the key functionary in the nuclear command chain. In the decade following the nuclear test of 1998, India has steadily built up its nuclear arsenal.

It will soon have a ballistic missile-carrying submarine to anchor its arsenal, as well as long range missiles. Developments in Pakistan and China suggest the need for a much tighter nuclear command chain than has been the case till now.


Equally importantly, he would play a key role in integrating the three services, a process that needs to take place in the coming decades, if India is to have a credible military force. Already, the cost of maintaining the armed forces has become hugely expensive.

There is need to integrate the training, logistics, acquisition and some war-fighting functions of the three services to obtain the biggest bang for the buck.

This can only be done with a specialised institution which will focus on promoting that integration beginning with helping generate the annual, the five year and long term integrated plans for the three services.

There was a time when the smaller services-the Navy and Air Force-were leery of a figure like the Chief of Defence Staff.

But now they have realised the importance of the appointment and it is no surprise that in the briefings to the Naresh Chandra Committee, they strongly supported the creation of CDS-like figure because they accept that if India has to have a credible military posture in the coming decades, it needs such a figure.

It is simply not possible to go on with the haphazard coordination that the country has gone along with for so long to its own cost.

It is an unfortunate fact that India usually commits itself to reform after it is hit by a crisis. That is why the two periods of reform and restructuring followed the 1962 defeat at the hands of the Chinese and the Kargil war.

We don't know what the next crisis will be like, but you can be sure that if we do not change the way we do things in relation to our defence system, we will be the losers. And we will know who is responsible for it.
Campose to take over as Army Commander on July 1
Lt Gen Philip Campose, currently posted with the Army headquarters in New Delhi, will take over as the Army Commander of Western Command on July 1 as the present one will shift to the Northern Command.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Pune, and Indian Military Academy,
Dehradun, Campose was commissioned into the 9th Gorkha Rifles Regiment of the Infantry in 1974 and later transferred to the Mechanised Infantry in 1982.

He has done Staff College Course at Wellington, Higher Command Course at Mhow and National Defence College Course at New Delhi. His academic qualifications include Master of philosophy degree in defence management and security studies from Indore University in 1998 and in security and strategic studies from Madras University in 2006.

He has held instructional appointments at the NDA, Tactical Wing of the School of Armoured Warfare and at the Staff College, where he was the senior instructor.

He has also conducted important staff assignments such as Brigade Major of an Armoured Brigade, Colonel General Staff of a Counter Insurgency Division in North East India, deputy director general (strategy) in the Perspective Planning Directorate at Army Headquarters and chief staff officer (land vector) at Headquarters, Strategic Forces Command.

Campose's command assignments include command of a mechanised infantry battalion in 1995-97, an independent armoured brigade in 2004-05, an infantry division on the Line of Control in J&K in 2008-09 and a Corps in the Western Deserts in 2011-12.

He has attended a tactical course in Russia in 1986 and did tenures in UN peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia in 1992-93 and Northern Iraq in 2000-01, where he was the head of the mission.

He has been awarded the Eastern Army Commander's Commendation, Chief of Army Staff's Commendation (twice), the Vishisht Seva Medal and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for his distinguished services.

Since August 2012, he was posted as the director general perspective planning (DG PP) at the Army Headquarters in New Delhi. In addition, the general officer has recently taken over duties of the Colonel Commandant of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment.

Present Army Commander of Western Command Lieutenant General Sanjiv Chachra, called upon chief minister, Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal at his residence on Monday.

The visit was a courtesy call before he relinquishes charge of the Western Command and takes over the reins of the Northern Command at Udhampur (J&K) on July 1.
Antony to review Uttarakhand relief operations, future reconstruction
NEW DELHI: Defence minister A K Antony will on Monday review the relief operations being carried out by the Army and the Indian Air Force in rain-ravaged Uttarakhand and discuss the role of the defence services in the reconstruction work in the hill state.

The role of armed forces in reconstruction work in Uttarakhand will come up for discussion after demands from several quarters that they should be involved in it for the faster recovery of the state whose large parts have been devastated, defence ministry officials said here.

The defence minister will discuss the issue with the top security brass of the country including national security adviser Shivshankar Menon, defence secretary R K Mathur and the three services chiefs.

The defence minister will also hold a separate review meeting of the state of roads in the state with director general of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Lt Gen A T Parnaik, they said.

From day one of the crisis, forces under the defence ministry have deployed their assets and personnel in large numbers to provide all possible relief to the civilians and the pilgrims stranded in the higher reaches of the state.

The IAF has deployed more than 50 choppers along with its C-130J Super Hercules Special Operations aircraft to provide help to the stranded people while the Army has deployed over 10,000 of its jawans there.

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