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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

From Today's Papers - 30 Jul 2013
Tri-Services delegation to visit China in August
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 29
As a follow-up to the visit by Defence Minister AK Antony to China, the Ministry of Defence has okayed a five-day visit by a joint tri-Services delegation to that nation.

The delegation will have 27 officers drawn from the Indian Air Force, Navy and Army. It will largely include junior-level officers and the attempt is to build trust among the men who actually face action and will possibly go on to become future military leaders. The delegation will be in China between August 19 and 23.

On July 6, Defence Minister AK Antony and his counterpart General Chang Wanquan had met at Beijing. A joint statement had followed that said: “Defence exchanges are an important facet of the India-China strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity. (They also agreed) on additional exchanges and visits between India and China”.

The visit will be just one among the many bilateral exchanges scheduled between the two Asian giants. A series of measures have been initiated to bring about trust since September last year when the then Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie had come to India for talks.

From then on, the focus has been on building trust between the militaries on either side. During the last interaction at the Defence Minister-level, the ministers had decided to “focus on building trust. Peace on the border is an important guarantor for the growth of bilateral cooperation. Mutual understanding between the two militaries is important”.

Besides this visit, a joint exercise of the two armies is scheduled in October. This will be on counter-terrorism and will be hosted by China. Two such exercises have already been conducted.

A delegation of the Indian Navy met the Chinese authorities last week to work out modalities of having more exercises. This is part of the decision between the two countries to have the navies increase ship visits, consider conducting joint maritime search and rescue exercises and continued cooperation in counter-piracy operations.

Military training institutions will also strengthen their exchanges at the faculty and student levels, the two countries have decided.

Yesterday, Antony had announced that talks to maintain peace along the boundary with China are in ‘final stages’.

The two countries are trying to open at least two more points to have meetings between border personnel. These will augment the existing three at Spanggur gap in eastern Ladakh, Nathu La in Sikkim and Bum La in Arunachal Pradesh.

Military cooperation

* The delegation, with 27 officers from the Indian Air Force, Navy and Army, will be in China from August 19 to 23

* A joint exercise of the two armies is scheduled in October

* Military training institutions will strengthen their exchanges at the faculty and student levels

* The two countries are trying to open at least two more points to have meetings between border personnel
  Rs 3,510 cr to build SSB infrastructure
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Chandigarh, July 29
The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which is among the smallest of the border guarding forces, has been sanctioned an outlay of Rs 3,510 crore under the 12th Plan for building infrastructure.

The money is meant for construction of new border outposts, office buildings, technical facilities and barracks so as to boost its border management capabilities besides providing more amenities to its personnel.

The SSB is responsible for the peacetime management of the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan international borders, and is also increasingly engaged in countering the movement of Maoists through these borders.

The outlay for infrastructure was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs a few days ago. The committee also approved the construction of 2,000 residential units and 10 barracks at 12 different sites at an estimated expenditure of Rs 414 crore.

As with other central armed police forces under the Ministry of Home Affairs, the SSB is also in the process of raising additional battalions, sector headquarters and restructuring its operational hierarchy, for which additional infrastructure and accommodation is mandated.

Against a sanctioned strength of about 81,000 personnel, the posted strength of the force is 67,000, making up 61 battalions and associated formations. Out of these, 25 battalions that man 450 border outposts are deployed on the Indo-Nepal border, while 13 battalions manning 130 outposts are deployed along the border with Bhutan.
Defence Minister AK Antony will not depose in Italian court in Finmeccanica trial: sources
After an Italian judge today included Defence Minister AK Antony as a possible witness in a trial of former bosses of Italy's Finmeccanica over corruption in the Rs. 3,600 crore AgustaWestland chopper deal, sources say India has ruled out his appearance in court.

A judge in the Italian city of Busto Arsizio had cleared the names of Mr Antony, former British Defence Minister Geoff Hoon and former Chairman of Tata Group, Ratan Tata, among 80 possible witnesses in the trial of former CEO of Finmeccanica, which had secured a deal with the Indian government for the supply of 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs. Three of the helicopters had been delivered before corruption was reported in the deal.

Although reports said all the witnesses cleared by the judge may not be called to testify, high-level sources in the Defence Ministry said there was no question of Mr Antony giving evidence or appearing in any court outside India.
The trial has raised the prospect that Finmeccanica could be blacklisted in India, the world's largest arms importer and an important growth market for the state-owned aerospace and defence group.

Prosecutors have accused ex-Finmeccanica Chairman Giuseppe Orsi of paying bribes to intermediaries to secure the deal in 2010 when he was head of AgustaWestland, the Finmeccanica unit that sold the helicopters.

Bruno Spagnolini, former CEO of AgustaWestland, is being tried alongside Mr Orsi on the same charges. Both deny wrongdoing.

Defence lawyers requested Mr Hoon and Mr Tata to be admitted as witnesses to provide evidence on the defence industry in India. Mr Antony was being called to give testimony on the tendering process in India.

Mr Antony, who has a corruption-free image that sets him apart from many Indian politicians, was defence minister when the Indian Air Force awarded the contract to AgustaWestland.

He is believed to favour blacklisting the firm but could be outvoted by cabinet colleagues who worry it could hamper defence purchases in the future, several government sources said.

The next hearing in the trial will be on September 17.

At the very beginning of the trial, India had told the Italian court that its orders would not be binding on it and it will have the right to exercise all legal options available to it.
Indian Army most influential in Asia Pacific region: US General
WASHINGTON: The Indian Army is by far the most influential in the Asia Pacific region, a top American General today said as he stressed on the importance of building military-to-military relationship between the two countries.

"As is in many of the Asia-Pacific countries, the Army is the dominant service in those countries. India is a prime example. It is by far the largest service. It is by far the most influential," US Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T Odierno said.

"It is important for us to build army-to-army relations as we continue to re-balance the Asia- Pacific region," he told a Washington audience.

Odierno recently returned from a trip to India during which he met his Indian counterpart and held a wide range of discussions with the top Indian military leadership. He also travelled to the Northern Command.

"The first comments about India, specifically, is, one of things we have to remember is, we have to make sure they maintain their own strategic autonomy. And we do things in line with them to help build capacity, help learn from each other," he said.

"One thing we realised we have so much in common, the two largest democracies in the world, we are two very professional armies, and there is much we can do to learn from each other," Odierno said in response to a question at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) -- a Washington-based think tank.

"We talked a lot about the way ahead in the region, the importance of operations in the region. They took me up to their northern command, which is their most important command, which is responsible for the borders of Pakistan and China," he said.

"I had the chance to meet with their staff and their commanders, and what really caught me was the fact that, what they have been doing for the past 20 years, is what we have been doing for the past 12, counter-insurgency, protecting their space, there's a lot of lessons learned that they have that we have. And so, there is a lot of knowledge that we can share," the US General said.

"So I think that will be the basis of the continued relationship, is the sharing of information about what they face on a day-to-day basis up in the Kashmir area, with Pakistan, as well with China, as you just talked about with a minor incursion not too long ago...," he said.

He added that the two countries have a lot in common, in sharing lessons, in professional development, a lot in developing future leaders, a lot in understanding techniques on what they see will be potentially prominent as they deal with future problems, not only around the world, whether it be there or the Middle East, there's some commonality.
Indian Army Warriors who Define Courage
Bangalore: Every man and woman in uniforms is the true hero of the nation. They put their life at stake day-in and day-out to safe guard the sovereignty of our country and are even prepared to sacrifice their lives so that their fellow countrymen can lead a happy and peaceful life.

Let us remember the acts of a few courageous men in uniforms who made their country and countrymen proud by their bravery, as listed by Amr of and other sources.

Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran

Born on 13 September 1946, Ramaswamy Parameswaran, was a major in the Mahar Regiment of the Indian Army. He took part in a numerous operations carried out by the Indian Army and was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the highest wartime gallantry medal, for his bravery.

On 25 November 1987, while participating in the operation Pawan, which was intended to take control of Jaffna from LTTE in Sri Lanka, Major Ramaswamy Parameswaran and his men were ambushed by a group of militants. Unfazed by the incident, he kept his cool and encircled the militants from the rear and finally charged into them, taking the militants by complete surprise. During the hand-to-hand combat, a militant took his gun and shot the Major in the chest. But with an undaunting sprit, Parameswaran carried on fighting and managed to snatch the rifle from the militant and shot him dead. Fatally wounded, the brave Major continued to give orders to his men and inspired them till his last breath.
Indian Army Spots Chinese ‘Drones,’ Realizes ‘Drones’ are Actually Planets
Today in things a third-grader probably could have figured out, it reportedly took the Indian Army six months to realize that the “Chinese aerial drones” they believed were surveilling them were actually a couple of planets.

Between August 2012 and February 2013, the Indian Army’s forces stationed on the heavily disputed India-China border recorded 329 sightings of “unidentified flying intruders,” which defense analysts feared were “unmanned aerial vehicles [used] by the Chinese to look into Indian territory.” Yes, the Himalayan Border’s been rife with territorial turmoil for over fifty years, but come on: did nobody think it was glaringly un-strategic on the part of China that the objects appeared daily at completely regular intervals, and were easily the brightest objects in the night sky?

Astronomers were called in to investigate the situation, and probably sighed with relief (or lolz-ed extensively) at their findings: the objects were just Jupiter and Venus. The “objects” had appeared to be “flying” because the Earth was just, you know, rotating—as it’s known to do from time to time. Good work, team.

“Our task was to determine whether these unidentified objects were celestial or terrestrial,” said senior astronomer Tushar Prabhu.

Who knows what might have happened if astronomers hadn’t cleared up the confusion? Perhaps G.S. Mudur of Calcutta’s The Telegraph puts it best:

    “Phew! Science has saved a Roman god and a goddess from possible Armageddon launched from the Earth by the mighty Indian Army, egged on by TV studio patriots always keeping a gimlet eye open for Chinese intruders.”

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