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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

From Today's Papers - 13 Aug 2013
Pak fires on 11 posts in Poonch for 9 hrs
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria & Darshan Bharti/TNS

Jammu/Poonch/Kochi, Aug 12
In the fifth ceasefire violation in three days, Pakistani troops opened heavy fire on 11 Indian forward posts for over nine hours on the intervening night of August 11 and 12 along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district.

Indian troops retaliated effectively and the heavy exchange of fire, which began around 9.50 pm last night, continued till 7 am this morning.

Meanwhile in Kochi, Defence Minister AK Antony said that the armed forces had the freedom to respond to the developing situation appropriately.
In Islamabad, the Pakistan Foreign Office today summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay to protest "ceasefire violations" by the BSF along the LoC, claiming that it had resulted in the death of a civilian at Rawalakot in PoK.

Pakistan also asked India to uphold the 2003 ceasefire agreement while committing itself to a "constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement" between the two countries.

In the evening today, Pakistan Rangers opened small arms fire on an Indian forward post in Hiranagar sub-sector of Samba district.

“Around 7.50 pm, Pakistan Rangers opened small arms fire on Kothe post of the BSF in Hiranagar sub-sector. The BSF gave them a calibrated response,” said a BSF spokesperson. There was no casualty or injury to the BSF border guards due to the Pakistani firing.

On the ceasefire violation last night on the LoC, Jammu-based officiating Defence PRO SN Acharya today said, “Around 9.50 pm last night, Pakistani troops opened heavy fire with small arms, mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades on Indian forward posts in the Durga Battalion area.” The Durga Battalion area is 245 km northwest of Jammu. “Our troops effectively retaliated and gave them a matching response. There was no casualty or injury to our troops in the latest skirmish,” he said. The Defence Ministry official described it as yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan.

Though the official said that Pakistani troops targeted three to four posts in the Durga Battalion area, reports said at least 11 forward posts in Digwar, Salotri, Malti and Mankote in the Durga Battalion area along the LoC were targeted. Acharya said the situation was tense along the LoC.

Sources said that Pakistan troops also opened fire on residential areas in Salotri village. “Over two dozen 82 MM mortar shells were fired at residential areas in Salotri. These caused extensive damage to walls, water tanks and power supply lines,” said Netar Parkash, a local from Salotri village.

Pakistan troops yesterday had also resorted to heavy firing on Indian posts in Sabra Gai and Balakote sector along the de-facto border.

Constable Pawan Kumar, a BSF border guard who was critically injured in sniper fire by Pakistan Rangers near the Alpha Machail post along the international border in Kanachak sector, was flown to Delhi for specialised treatment. He had received bullet injuries on his chest and legs. He has been paralysed as the bullet pierced his spinal cord.

On the night of August 5 and 6, Pakistani army’s Border Action Team had had killed five Indian troopers in the Sarla Battalion area in Chakan-da-Bagh.

Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the launch of indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi today, Defence Minister AK Antony said that the armed forces had the freedom to respond to the developing situation appropriately.
Pak ‘trying’ two-pronged attack on Indian defence
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, August 12
Indian security agencies have assessed that the recent aggressive posturing along the sensitive Line of Control with Pakistan is the outcome of definite information of Pakistan trying a two-pronged attack on Indian defence in Jammu and Kashmir.

One is the use of heavily armed Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohamed militants to enter J&K and the second is Pakistan Army’s Border Action Teams. Indian agencies have specifically mentioned the presence of two heavily armed terror groups across the LoC facing Uri and Rampur in India. Also the presence of two Pakistan Army teams has been noticed across Poonch and specifically at Kathi Post. Some of the Pakistan Army has been relocated from elsewhere.
The motive is either to push in more militants with Pakistan Army attacking the Indian Army in the process. This could be a prelude to things that could unfold after the drawdown of US-led troops in June 2014. It is clear that firing from either side will continue as of now.

In the past 48 hours, the LoC along Mendhar, Poonch and Uri has seen heavy exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops breaching the sanctity of the 2003 ceasefire between the two countries. Defence Minister AK Antony’s words today that “the armed forces have the freedom to respond to the developing situation there appropriately”, is being seen as green signal to the Army to respond to firing from across and retaliate.

The Indian Army today did not deny that it had retaliated to firing after three major ceasefire violations since Sunday evening.

Indian agencies warn of a threat to National Highway number 1 which is only road artery linking Jammu with Kashmir and also the road on which India carries it supplies to Leh, Kargil, Drass and Eastern Ladakh. At the LoC, the Army has been responding with small arms. Even Light Machine Guns is classified as ‘small arms’ and it can hit a distance of 2 km. Sources said mortars have been fired.

Army Chief General Bikram Singh has already made it clear that his forces will uphold the sanctity of ceasefire as long as the adversary upholds it. Once fired at all commanders have been told to retaliate.
India launches its first indigenous aircraft carrier
Vijay Mohan/TNS

Kochi, August 12
India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, entered the waters today, marking a red letter day in the country’s maritime history and achieving an important milestone in the shipbuilding industry. Being built by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), the ship-the largest to be built in the country so far-was formally launched by Elizabeth Antony, wife of defence minister AK Antony at the CSL dockyard here.

Though operationalisation of the warship is still about five years away, INS Vikrant, with its compliment of 1,600 personnel and 20 fighters comprising 12 MiG-29K and eight Tejas and 10 helicopters would form a critical component of the Indian Navy’s doctrine of sea dominance towards securing national interest.
While India’s principal adversary in south Asia, Pakistan, has no aircraft carrier or any major ship building industry, which forces it to adopt the defensive posture of sea denial vis-à-vis India, China inducting an aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, that in future could be deployed in the Indian Ocean, has added a new dimension to the security situation in the region.

While the Indian Navy desires to have three aircraft carriers, for the time being it will have to make do with two carrier groups. INS Vikramaditya, the rechristened ex-Soviet Gorshkov, is expected to joining the Indian fleet by this year end, while INS Vikrant is expected to be commissioned in 2018. At present, the Navy operates a single aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, which is on its last legs and expected to be decommissioned in 3-4 years.

Terming today’s launch of INS Vikrant (P-71) as a “remarkable milestone”, Antony asked CSL personnel to cut down on time frames where ever possible so that the new carrier can become operational at the earliest. The 37,500-tonne ship is being built at a cost of Rs 500 crore.

He said that the launch of the carrier marks just the first step of a long journey, but at the same time an important one.

Stressing that the country’s warship building programme must meet the Navy’s requirements, he added that we must continue the process of strengthening indigenous capability towards securing our maritime interests and at the same time the Navy must continue to maintain high operational readiness at all times.

The project was conceived in 1989 and in 2006, the concept was finalised and go ahead given for construction. The carrier’s was laid in February 2009. With a length of 262 meters, its flight deck is over twice the size of a football field and it will have two runways with a ski-jump along with an angled deck for arrested recovery of aircraft. Its two LM-2500 gas turbine engines are capable of producing 24 MW electricity, enough to light up the city of Kochi, while its 2,700 km of cabling can cover the distance from the dockyard to New Delhi.

The carrier will have a very high degree of automation for machinery operation, navigation and survivability. Long range surface-to-air missile systems with multi-function radar and close-in weapon systems, modern C and D-Band early warning radars, tactical air navigational and direction finding systems and carrier control approach radar would be added. Integration of all weapon systems onboard the carrier would be through an indigenously developed Combat Management System.

“Vikrant”, in Hindi means courageous or bold. The new ship has been named after INS Vikrant (R-11), India’s first aircraft carrier that had played a decisive role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war and was decommissioned in 1997.
Prithvi-II successfully test-fired

Balasore (Odisha), Aug 12
India today successfully test-fired the indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-II surface-to-surface missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range in Odisha.

Prithvi is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1,000 kg of warheads and is thrust by liquid propulsion twin engines, defence sources said.

The missile uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory. The missile, based on a mobile transporter erector launcher vehicle, is versatile and designed for quick manoeuvrability and operational flexibility on the battlefield, the sources said.

The sophisticated surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur at 9.15 am. The user trial for the defence forces, conducted by a missile unit of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC), was a complete success, they said. "It was a perfect text-book launch. The missile, equipped with advanced high accuracy indigenously developed navigation and manoeuvring system achieved all its targeting and technical parameters set out for this launch,” they said.

The missile trajectory was tracked by radars of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations located along the coast of Odisha, said a defence official. — PTI

Missile power

Name Prithvi-II
N-capable Yes
Type Surface-to-surface
Strike range 350 km
Warhead carrying capability 500-1,000 kg

Today’s launch: Prithvi-II, the first to be developed by DRDO under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme, was test-fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha at 9.15 am
'How does it matter?' asks another Bihar minister on LoC killings
After the controversial remarks by two Bihar ministers on the killing of Indian soldiers at the Line of Control, another minister, Gautam Singh, on Monday said he did not think it mattered that he did not attend the funeral of one of the soldiers whose home was in his Manjhi assembly constituency.

"Kya fark parta hain (What difference does it make)?" Gautam Singh, Science and Technology minister, told reporters when asked why he did not attend funeral of sepoy Premnath Singh.

"I did not visit the families immediately after getting information about the death of the jawans because the bodies had not arrived ... but went immediately on my return from Delhi (on Friday)," he said.

He said that he had to go to Delhi by train on Tuesday night for the treatment of his brother at AIIMS.

The minister was also asked why he called on the soldier's family a day after the funeral though knowing that the Sepoy's home village, Samhauta, was part of his Manjhi Assembly seat in Saran district.

The minister, who has an army background and who said was related to the slain Sepoy, admitted he had received information about the soldiers last Tuesday when he was in Chhapra, the district headquarters of the district.

He said that after returning home on August 9 which was a day after the funeral he went to Premnath Singh's home to meet family members and that of another soldier Raghunandan Prasad also a resident of Saran district.

Other ministers like Narendra Singh and Awdesh Kushwaha had visited the families of the victims in Saran district, he said.

Gautam Singh had to face the peoples' ire when he went to the home of Premnath Singh and was held by them for nearly two hours demanding a visit by the chief minister to the village.

The minister said that he was with the army's 7 Danapur Regiment between 1972 to 1980.

The 21 Danapur regiment to which the four jawans from Bihar belonged to and were killed in an ambush by the Pakistani army in Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir was formed during this period, he said.
Aircraft carrier 'INS Vikrant' will have great significance for India: China
Chinese defence experts have said 'INS Vikrant' would have great significance for India as it would allow the Indian Navy to wade into the Pacific Ocean - which Beijing considers as its backyard.

"This bears great significance to Indian Navy. It makes India only the fifth country after the US, Russia, Britain and France to have such capabilities," Senior Captain Zhang Junshe, Vice-President of China's Naval Research Institute, told the state-run CCTV today.

India launched its first indigenously-built aircraft carrier today, a landmark moment in the $5 billion or 500 crores project that seeks to project the country's power and check the rising influence of China.

The Indian Navy will have lead over China as it will have two aircraft carriers by the end of this year with INS Vikramaditya, the re-fitted carrier from Russia joining INS Viraat, which is already in service even though Vikrant was expected to be operational by 2018, he said.

"Which means by the end of this year India will become the only country in Asia to have two aircraft carriers. This will enhance the overall capabilities especially the power projection capabilities of the Indian Navy," Zhang said.

Ruling out any race for more carriers in the region, Zhang defended India and China having more carriers since they have vast coasts and huge populations and the importance of defending the sea lanes far from home due to dependence on external trade.

Last year China launched its first aircraft carrier, Lioning. Its hull was imported from Ukraine and refurbished in China.

China also subsequently launched J-15 aircraft to operate from its deck. The ship with over 50,000 tonnes displacement will have about 30 aircraft on its deck.

China is reportedly building two more aircraft carriers but their schedules are not known yet.
Zhang earlier told the state-run China Daily that with Vikrant, the Indian Navy will be more capable of patrolling distant oceans.

"India's first self-made carrier, along with reinforced naval strength, will further disrupt the military balance in South Asia," he said.

India is very likely to quicken its pace to steer eastward to the Pacific, where the US and China are competing to dominate.

The launch of the Vikrant as well the first nuclear submarine Arihant also aroused the curiosity and concerns among analysts from different state-run think tanks in China.

"The new indigenous carrier will further strengthen India's naval power and also add some bargaining chips with the world's major military vendors such as Russia," Wang Daguang, a researcher of military equipment based in Beijing told the Daily.

Song Xiaojun, a military commentator in Beijing, said the Vikrant uses technology from the 1980s and thus serves as an experiment for the Indian Navy to set technical standards for
future vessels.
Defence association seeks Prez help to resolve soldiers’ grievances
Disappointed with the central government, the members of All India Defence Brotherhood Association (retd) have appealed to the President of India, to resolve grievances of in-service and ex-service defence soldiers in the next monsoon session.

The demands include one rank one pension, separate pay commission for Armed forces, job security to soldiers up to 60 years of age and rehabilitation of army widows, besides restoration of protocol fifth position to Chief of Army staff.

The members of the All India Defence Brotherhood said, "We have requested the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces to conduct a debate during the Monsoon session. He should take up the injustice, discrimination and demoralisation being suffered by in-service and ex-service defence personnel at the hands of the insensitive government."

Raising the issue of lack of promotional avenues, Colonel CS Sidhu (retd) said, "Unlike civilian set-ups, there are no promotional avenues like 'time scale carrier progression,' in defence services. It causes anomalies, disturbing inter-service parities and encourage insubordination in defence."

He said defence personnel have been clamouring for one rank one pension for many years, but to no avail. Col Sidhu said, "It is because of this neglect by the government, that young talent is not joining the Indian Army. There is a shortfall of 14,000 officers which has reduced the fighting strength of the Indian Army." He asked, "Why only six officers reach the level of Army Commander as a Lt. General and only 2 per cent reach the rank of Major General after 32 years of service? However, in civilians, every officer reaches the tenable position in the course of his service."

Talking about the recent killings of army men at Poonch, one of the member said, "The government's stand was very demoralising for the army. On one hand, soldiers are dying to protect our motherland, and on the other hand politicians are talking about giving benefit of doubt to Pakistan. It is a big disappointment for soldiers fighting at the borders."
Army free to respond to situation on LoC: Indian Defence Minister
NEW DELHI: India’s Defence Minister A.K Antony said on Monday that armed forces were free to respond to situation on the Line of Control (LoC).

He said that Indian forces had freedom to respond appropriately to the developing situation at the border.

Aggression of India forces coupled with this sort of statements by the minister have been fanning already tense situation as well as persistently testing Pakistan’s patience.

New Delhi’s allegations, Indian army’s aggression at the LoC and attitude of Indian rulers are also aggravating the prevailing situation between both the neighbors
Indian Army resorts to unprovoked firing in Nakial, Sialkot sectors
ISLAMABAD: Indian security forces resorted to unprovoked firing on the Pakistani border posts in the Nakial sector near Kotli district of Azad Kashmir and Pukhlian, in the Head Marala area, in Sialkot sector on Sunday.

The fighting was the latest in a spate of recent cross-border skirmishes between the two neighbours. Tensions have recently flared up in the heavily militarised Kashmir valley with both sides accusing each other of cross-border firings.

But the first of Sunday’s incidents took place near the border close to the eastern city of Sialkot in the neighbouring Punjab province.“The Indian border security forces resorted to unprovoked firing on the Pakistan Rangers posts near Pukhlian, Head Marala area, in Sialkot sector,” a senior military official, told AFP.

“Intermittent exchange of fire continues. No loss reported so far,” added the official on condition of anonymity.The official said after the exchange of fire in the Punjab, the Indian troops also resorted to unprovoked firing at the Line of Control (LOC) in the Nakial Sector in Kotli district of Azad Kashmir.

Indian Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Thursday hinted at a stronger military action along the LoC after Delhi accused the Pakistan Army of involvement in a deadly overnight ambush on Monday that killed five Indian soldiers.Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif tried to ease tensions with India by urging both sides to work swiftly to shore up a 10-year ceasefire threatened by the recent attacks.

INP adds: Indian Army Chief General Bikram Singh has reprimanded his top commanders in Jammu and Kashmir for not launching a massive retaliatory strike against the Pakistan Army along the LoC after five Indian soldiers were allegedly killed in a cross-border strike in Poonch sector on August 6.

General Singh visited the Nagrota-based Headquarters 16 Corps outside Jammu a day later and, according to top sources, asked senior commanders as to why local commanders along the volatile border did not order artillery and mortar fire at the Pakistani posts.

Meanwhile, Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khursheed said on Sunday that Pakistan was responsible if the LoC attackers came from its borders.In an interview with a TV channel, Khursheed said the Indian Army had briefed the defence minister on the situation.

Khursheed further said the recent attack along the LoC could have been an effort to sabotage the peace process between Indian and Pakistan. APP adds: Pakistan on Friday called upon New Delhi to protect the passengers of the Dosti Bus.

In a statement, Foreign Office Spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said: “It is essential for both sides to take steps to cool passions and resume a meaningful dialogue.” The spokesman said the stopping of the Dosti Bus was a regrettable incident.

Chaudhry said Pakistan was ready for talks with India at any level for the resolution of outstanding issues. He said resumption of dialogue was imperative for peace and any delay would further complicate matters.

He said it was the responsibility of the Indian authorities to provide security to Pakistani consulates and diplomats. He said Pakistan had acted in a responsible manner and India should pursue the same course to lower tensions.

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