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Saturday, 24 August 2013

From Today's Papers - 24 Aug 2013
India-China joint military exercise on November 4
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 23
Away from the tensions between India and China along the un-demarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC), military delegations of the two countries, at a meeting in Kolkata, have finalised the dates for a joint military exercise, the first since 2008.

The two Armies will conduct a 10-day exercise at Chengdu in China beginning from November 4. The location will be some 400 east of the Arunachal Pradesh. The Sikh Light Infantry will participate from the Indian side and the exercise will cover counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency tactics.

In the past, Indian and Chinese forces had conducted two joint military exercises code named ‘Hand-in-Hand’ in Karnataka in December 2008 and in ‘Kunming’ in China in 2007. The exercises came to an abrupt halt in 2009 after Beijing refused a visa to a serving Indian General on the premise that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources said the Indian and Chinese officials carried out a two days planning conference to work out details of the exercise.

The exercise is the outcome of intense diplomatic parleys since the downslide in relations in 2009. India and China had announced in September 2012 about the resumption of joint-exercises. Defence Minister AK Antony and his Chinese counterpart General Liang Guanglie had conducted a dialogue and announced the resumption of military exercises.
Ceasefire violations
Hopes raised by Nawaz Sharif belied
by T.V. Rajeswar

After the return to power, Nawaz Sharif had in his initial utterances given some hope that the relations between India and Pakistan would normalise. Subsequent events, however, have belied this hope. The series of ceasefire violations on the Line of Control (LoC), particularly in the Kashmir sector, have not ended. If anything they are occurring in more crucial areas like Kargil which were free from such infringements for quite some time. After visiting Siachen, where a number of Pakistani soldiers got entrapped in an avalanche and died, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that all issues with India and Pakistan should be resolved in a peaceful manner so that the two countries could focus on development and public welfare. But the repeated firing across the LoC by the Pakistani Army does not support this impression any more.

India's Army Chief, Gen. Bikram Singh, has said, after visiting Jammu and Kashmir, that Pakistan Army personnel were responsible for all these LoC violations. He also revealed that ceasefire violations had gone up in the last few years. While there were 61 violations in 2011, there were as many as117 LoC violations in 2012. This year as many as 82 violations had already taken place till August 6. Many of these LoC violations by the Pak Army were meant to facilitate infiltration of Pakistan terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. It was revealed that 2,000 to 3,000 trained terrorists were in camps in the PoK area waiting to be pushed into Kashmir.

The interrogation of Abdul Karim Tunda, after being handed over by the Nepalese authorities, has yielded a wealth of information to the Indian intelligence agencies about terrorists operating out of Pakistan. Tunda, a native of Ghaziabad district in U.P., went over to Pakistan and became a jehadi. He had some basic knowledge of bomb-making but it improved considerably after his training in Pakistan. Tunda has revealed that Dawood Ibrahim lives in his palatial house in Karachi and is protected by the ISI. Tunda has also revealed linkages of the ISI with other terrorist outfits such as Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Markaz-al-Dawa. The ISI continues to give shelter and assist Sikh extremist outfits such as Babbar Khalsa International and Khalistani forces operated by Lakhweer Singh Rode, Jagtar Singh Tara, etc. Some of the Sikh extremist groups are operating out of Germany and some other countries in Europe, but most of them are based in Pakistan and are being hosted and brainwashed by the ISI. Tunda has further revealed that Babbar Khalsa had plans to carry out bombings in India around the Independence Day.

Tunda also disclosed that he had met Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-Ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who continued to be active with the ISI. Apart from Lashkar-e-Taiba, the ISI also promoted Hizbul Mujahideen, headed by Syed Salahuddin, operating out of Lahore. Yet another revelation made by Tunda was that most wanted persons who participated in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, such as Majors Samir Ali and Iqbal were regularly called for briefing by the ISI.

A more important revelation made by Tunda was that he was attached to Hamid Gul, a former ISI chief, who continued to live in Lahore with ISI patronage. The attachment took place in 1995 and continued till 2008 at least. Another disclosure was that the ISI was consistently pushing counterfeit Indian currency notes through various channels into India. Large amounts of such counterfeit notes were given to Tunda, who sometimes travelled with suitcases prepared and given to him by the ISI for passing them on to Indian contacts. That Pakistan was indulging in this type of economic warfare by pushing in huge amounts of counterfeit currency notes was known to Indian intelligence agencies for quite some time and Tunda's statement confirms that.

After consistent pressure from India, Pakistan had said that it would take action against those involved in the 26/11 bombings of Mumbai. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi was one of them. The prosecution, however, has made no headway. The Pakistan Supreme Court had recently directed that a batch of jurists would like to interrogate the Indian witnesses in the Mumbai bombings of 26/11, 2008, and they should be facilitated to proceed to India and question the witnesses so as to verify all the facts of the case. Whether such a meeting in India is possible is not clear. However, it would be a better idea to arrange such a meeting after getting the necessary clearance from the judiciary. It would at least deny the opportunity to Pakistan to come out with the excuse that India did not co-operate in making available crucial witnesses in the Mumbai bombings for discussion by Pakistan jurists.

It has been reported that the Prime Minister of Pakistan recently ordered to suspend all hangings which included a large number of terrorists and jihadists. The reason and the motive behind these suspensions are not clear.

Nawaz Sharif has expressed keenness to meet Dr Manmohan Singh in New York in the last of week of September when the Indian Prime Minister, after meeting Barrack Obama, will address the UN General Assembly. The meeting between the two Prime Ministers has not been confirmed yet. Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid has also stated that repeated Pakistan aggression on the LoC did not augur well for the prime-ministerial meeting.

Given the ISI protection and patronage of terrorist outfits, it is doubtful whether the Pakistani Army would play ball in resolving Pakistan's differences with India. Nawaz Sharif has asserted the superiority of the civil authorities over the Army in the course of his earlier utterances after getting elected as Prime Minister. If so, his failure to check the Pakistan Army's repeated firing across the LoC on Indian posts is difficult to comprehend. Taking into account all these facts, and also the latest inputs from Tunda's interrogation, it is not clear whether Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif knows all this or not. The Pakistan Army and the ISI are very much hostile to India and continue to activate its operatives to indulge in hostile activities in India.
'Poacher' shot dead at NDA

'Four to five persons intruded on campus, opened fire at security personnel'

National Defence Academy (NDA) security personnel early on Friday gunned downed a man, who along with three or four others, illegally entered the academy’s campus at Khadakwasla. The deceased is yet to be identified.

The NDA claimed that the intruders were poachers and had opened fire at its personnel, who retaliated. NDA officials claimed that four to five persons were spotted by the security personnel while on patrol duty near Manoj Pandey Block on the campus at 1.15 am. They had entered the high security thickly forested area to kill wild animals, the NDA officials said.

A press communique issued by NDA stated that when the security personnel stopped the poachers near the nala at Manoj Pandey Block, the intruders opened fire. In retaliatory firing, a poacher died while his accomplices escaped.

”We found the body at the encounter site with gunshot wounds in the early morning. NDA security personnel were scanning the boundaries of NDA since the third week of July 2013 as inputs were received from intelligence agencies to necessitate enhancement of security measures in defence training establishments,” said the press release.

Senior police inspector Sunil Darekar said, ”After coming to know about the incident, we rushed to the spot. The identity of the poacher is yet to be ascertained. We have asked our officers to dig out information about past arrested poachers in order to get further information. The personnel opened fire at 3.30 am. No weapon was recovered from the spot.”

The police recovered casings of two bullets fired by the NDA security personnel. They fired a total of six rounds with INSAS rifles. The Warje Malwadi police have registered a case of attempted murder under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Arms Act, 1959 against the alleged poachers.

Recent cases of poaching at NDA
At least four hunters who intruded the high-security thickly-forested NDA campus for killing wild animals were caught with the help of sniffer dogs on March 17. The poachers were identified as Sandeep Sonar (32), Amit Sonar (26), Shanker Parge (24) and Devshanker Wangale (21). They were caught by the NDA police led by Lt Col KG Mohanty along with a pack of seven hunting dogs. The police seized from them two handmade bombs, three spears, four mobile phones and the carcass of a wild boar killed by them and other photographic proof.
Pakistan, India Trade Fire Along Kashmir Border
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani and Indian troops traded fire in a hotly contested area along the Kashmir border where the nuclear-armed rivals fought a bloody conflict over a decade ago, military officials said Wednesday. The Pakistani military said one of its army captains was killed and another soldier seriously wounded in the fighting.

The two sides have accused each other of a series of deadly attacks along the border over the last two weeks that have threatened to derail an expressed desire from the leaders of both countries to improve relations after decades of war and animosity.

The fighting Tuesday night in the vicinity of Kargil, where Pakistan and India fought a three-month conflict in 1999, could raise tensions even further. Both sides accused the other of starting the fighting.

A Pakistani military official accused Indian troops of "unprovoked" shelling starting at 11:15 p.m. local time Tuesday night in Shakma sector in Pakistan-held Kashmir, across the border from Kargil on the Indian side. An army captain was killed and another soldier was seriously wounded. Pakistani troops responded to the shelling, and the exchange of fire continued for three hours, the official said.

An Indian army officer said Indian troops in Kargil only responded after Pakistani soldiers fired upon their positions using mortars and automatic weapons. The officials both spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military policy.

The Indian army accused Pakistani troops of firing into Kargil last week as well, but the Pakistani military denied the allegation. There was no such denial on Wednesday, meaning it was the first confirmed fighting in Kargil in years.

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India but claimed in its entirety by both. The countries have fought two major wars over the disputed territory since they both gained independence from Britain in 1947.

The Kargil conflict started in May 1999 after the Pakistani army chief at the time, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, quietly sent soldiers into Kargil. The fighting cost hundreds of lives and could have led to nuclear war. The U.S. helped mediate an end to the conflict in July.

A 2003 cease-fire agreement has largely calmed the Kashmir border. But the two sides occasionally accuse each other of violating it by firing mortars or gunshots, and several soldiers were killed on each side in January in cross-border attacks.

The latest round of violence began about two weeks ago when, according to the Indian military, 20 heavily armed militants and Pakistani soldiers crossed the Kashmir border and killed five Indian troops.

The Pakistani military has denied that its soldiers killed any Indian troops and accused Indian soldiers of killing a pair of civilians and now an army captain. It has said eight civilians and five soldiers have also been wounded.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has expressed his hope that the recent violence wouldn't derail efforts to improve relations between the two countries. He is especially interested in increasing cross-border trade to jumpstart Pakistan's economy.

But his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, has said in the wake of the recent attacks that ties with Pakistan could only improve once it prevented Islamic militants from using its territory to target India.

India feels that Islamabad is not doing enough to rein in the militants. It says the Pakistani military has nurtured the militants to fight a covert war over Kashmir, though Pakistan denies the claim.

The militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has strong historical ties to Pakistani intelligence, is widely blamed for carrying out an attack on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.

Sharif has shown little inclination to crack down on the group, which is based in his party's stronghold of Punjab province.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said India's deputy high commissioner was summoned on Wednesday in protest of the death of the army captain.

"While Pakistan is committed to a constructive, sustained and result-oriented process of engagement it calls upon India to take serious and credible measures to prevent further cease-fire violations and reduce tensions," the ministry said in a statement.
Myanmar army enters Manipur
MPHAL: After China, it is the turn of Myanmar to give India the blushes. Myanmarese troops crossed the border in Moreh on Thursday and are now prepared to set up a temporary camp at Holenphai village in Manipur's Chandel district, claiming the area lies within their country.

The Assam Rifles, which is guarding the India-Myanmar border, is yet to issue any official statement on the stunning development, but its jawans are said to have intensified patrolling in the Holenphai area. A source said the state government has informed the Centre.

The intrusion comes at a time when the Manipur government has decided to set up a committee to review the India-Myanmar border-fencing work in Chandel district, considering the public furore over it. The 10-km border fencing work taken up in Chandel has kicked up a storm with various social organizations and opposition parties saying a large chunk of land will fall in neighbouring Myanmar as a result of the exercise.

Manipur shares a 398-km border with Myanmar.

The Myanmarese army has initiated the ground work for setting up a temporary platoon base camp at Holenphai village, 3 km south of Moreh police station close to international border pillar number 76, said village authorities. The state government has already planned to develop a new township at Holenphei to boost Indo-Myanmarese commercial activities.

Taking into account the report made by Lalkholun Haokip, chief of Holenphai, Moreh additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Robert Singh Kshetrimayum, along with two police officers, went to inspect the site on Thursday.

The Myanmarese troops were found clearing the ground for setting up their temporary base camp, a source said, adding that Manipur officials called the CO of Myanmar Army's 87 Light Infantry to get his response. The ADC then pursued the Myanmarese CO with a request to halt the work until a final settlement is reached by the higher authorities of the two countries. Pointing out that the area is 10 metres away from the border pillar, the ADC urged the Myanmarese officer to meet his Assam Rifles counterpart stationed in Moreh town.

The Myanmarese CO told the Moreh ADC that Holenphai falls within Myanmar territory, for which they are setting up a camp. He said unless instructed otherwise by his higher authorities, he will not halt work.

An Assam Rifles officer said the matter has not been brought to the notice of the paramilitary force.
Kolkata college boy builds a drone, wants army to take a look
KOLKATA: Most boys his age would be happy with a bike. A car would be a dream. But Subhanjan Saha owns a drone. Better still, the 21-year-old 'technopreneur' has built it himself and claims to have outdone similar campus innovations inspired by Joy Lobo's flying spy camera in '3 Idiots'.

Saha's drone is the product of an ingenious mind and India's trademark jugad technology. Built with scrap metal, pieces of plastic and cheap Chinese-made contraptions, it packs enough power to fly 10km at a stretch at a height between 5,000-10,000 feet, take clear ground photographs with a high-resolution camera and instantly relay them back to its operator. Saha has also equipped it with "bomb-dropping" and "rocket-launching" abilities, though he admits they are essentially rudimentary and he needs expert guidance as well as access to superior technology to make his prototype effective.

The third-year computer science student at Manindra Chandra College has written to the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for help and funds. If he can develop it to the level he desires, Saha believes the drone will be good enough to be used by the Army for surveillance and security operations, especially along the turbulent borders with Pakistan and China.

Saha's manufacturing cost for the drone was Rs 90,000. An NGO, Prantakatha, and Abhijit Mukherjee of the SN Bose Centre for Basic Sciences are helping him keep his dream alive. "We have sent a proposal to the department of science and technology outlining his project. Once we receive a response, we shall appeal to the government to explore the possibilities of the spycam being used by the defence forces," said Bappaditya Mukherjee of Prantakatha.

The desire to design a drone was kindled in Saha after the trauma of seeing his uncle, a BSF officer, killed by infiltrators in Kargil. "The jawans were being fired at from a greater height and they couldn't gauge the source of the bullets. If they had a flying spy camera, they could have located the enemy and fought back. My uncle's death inspired me to try and create an instrument that could be used in such situations. It has been my passion ever since I was a class V student," he says.

But, a weaver's son, he didn't have the means to fund his plan, though the desire remained strong. The first breakthrough came while he was still in school when he managed to put together a helicopter with scrap metal, wood, plastic and hand-built circuits with help from teachers. "It wasn't fitted with a camera and couldn't fly for more than a few seconds. But it did take off, which was a big step for me. I knew I was on the right path," he says.

The plan took off when he arrived in Kolkata to attend college from Kalna, his home town. "I read up what I needed on the internet. With help from a friend, I started getting some of the instruments needed from abroad," he says.

Saha has now designed three flying spy cams, one like a drone and two others that look like quadrators. Each has a propellor, light-weight batteries, an audio-video transmitter-cum-camera, a motor and an antenna. While the smallest of the three measures 1m by 1m, the biggest is about 2m in length with a wing span of 3m. It can fly 10km within a 5km radius and is remote-controlled. He is now developing encryption technology for the camera that won't allow it to be hacked. "I am working on an encoding system that will ensure the pictures taken by the camera can't be intercepted. This will make it ideally suited for defence use. I am keeping my fingers crossed," Saha said.

He approached Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for assistance but was told he needed a BTech degree. Saha now hopes the DRDO will help his drone take wing.
British army 'shot live pigs' and then used them as dummy casualties for surgeons, claim animal rights campaigners
23 Aug 2013 18:27

Animal rights group want EU to investigate Danish facility where animals are used as mock war wounded for 'trauma training' by doctors and medics

The British army has been accused of 'cruelly' shooting live pigs while training up new surgeons.

Campaign group PETA said the military practice involves "shooting, stabbing and breaking the bones" of animals.

Army medics use a Danish facility twice a year to give their surgeons a more realistic insight into war wounds.

There, PETA claims live pigs are "lined up at a firing range and shot with high velocity bullets."

The animal rights campaigners have slammed the move as 'archaic war games'.

They released a statement that said: "Animals don’t start wars and there’s no excuse for torturing them.

"It’s perfectly possible to maintain a first-class modern military without abusing and mutilating animals in the process."

Ministry of Defence officials hit back claiming the training has 'helped save lives' on a number of occasions.

The MoD said:"This training has helped save lives on operations and by participating in the Danish exercises we minimise the overall number of animals used.

"Where simulation can be used for training we do so however at the moment for pre-deployment surgical trauma training, simulation does not meet the training requirement."
Lt Gen approaches tribunal against Army decision
New Delhi: Lt Gen G S Bisht, the Commandant of the Officers Training Academy in Gaya, has approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) challenging the appointment of Lt Gen Nitin Kohli as signal officer-in-chief.

Lt Gen Kohli is presently DG, manpower planning and personnel at Army HQ and is expected to take over as signal officer-in-chief on August 31.

It is learnt that the officer in his plea has sought a stay on the appointment of Lt Gen Kohli as Signal Officer in Chief on the ground that he was junior to him.

The Corps of Signals is a vital wing of the Army which provides communications and electronic warfare support to military commanders, provides connectivity to Navy and Air Force during joint operations.

In a tenure of two to three years, a signal officer-in-chief looks after communication projects worth several thousand crores.

Hearing the plea from the officer today, the AFT has sought a response from the Government in next three weeks.

Army HQ sources had earlier said, Lt Gen Bisht was superseded on grounds of "suitability" for the job, which, they said, was an important criterion, apart from seniority in such appointments. Lt Gen Kohli was commissioned in December 1975, six months after Lt Gen Bisht.

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