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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

From Today's Papers - 24 Sep 2013
CBSE-run chools to encourage students to join Armed Forces
UDAIPUR: In a bid to dispel the notions regarding a career in the Armed Forces, the Central Board of Secondary Education has instructed its affiliated schools to encourage youngsters to join the defence services.

The board has asked the schools to visit the websites of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and gather motivational material to educate youngsters on a challenging and satisfying career in the Armed Forces.

Under the general foundation course, a compulsory subject in Class 11, students will be told about the challenges and rewards they can expect if they opt for a career in the defence. The schools have received a letter from the board in this regard on September 12.

School authorities however said that parents are extremely wary about letting their children take up a career in the Armed Forces.

As per the notice, during the two classroom periods earmarked every week for the course, students need to be exposed to prospective career options, general knowledge and current affairs.

Geeta Nair, principal of Rockwoods High School said "We have received the circular and are doing the needful to motivate the students even in the lower classes. Most students aspire for engineering, medical or accountancy careers. We need to get them to think out of the box, strive for a goal more satisfying and useful for the country as well".

"Every year we motivate students to appear in the AFMC (Armed Forces Medical College) exams which can pave way for a career in the medical wing of the defence services. Parents though have little or no interest in sending their children in the Army," said Shailendra Somani, director, MDS senior secondary school.

The school is now planning to organize a sensitization workshop for the parents so that their concerns can be addressed.

Pooja Paul, an NCC cadet said that activities organized are full of thrill and adventure. She looks forward to a career in the Armed Forces but said her parents may not agree to it. "Parents feel when there are a plethora of opportunities in other fields, why choose a career that is so risky," she added.
India-Nepal joint military exercise begins at Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh
LUCKNOW: An India-Nepal joint military training, titled "Exercise Surya Kiran-V" is being conducted at Pithoragarh.

In this exercise, an infantry battalion of the Indian Army and an equivalent strength from the Nepalese army would be sharing their experiences gained during the conduct of counter insurgency operations.

The operation which started on September 23 would continue till October 6.

Based on an agreement during the 7th India-Nepal Bilateral Consultative Group on Security, the two countries commenced joint training at platoon level (30 men each) in 2011.

The first two joint exercises focused primarily on jungle warfare and counter-insurgency operations.

According to statement released by the Press Information Bureau (defence wing) on Monday, troops shared their experiences and exhibited skill sets during joint training at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairangate in Mizoram and a similar school at Amlekhganj in Nepal.

The level of joint training was upgraded to company level (consisting of approximately 120 men) in 2012 based on experience gained in previous two exercises in 2011.

Company-level joint training also focused on counter insurgency and jungle warfare operations in hilly terrain, as the Himalayan region all along India-Nepal border is covered with thick jungles.

Surya Kiran-V is the fifth India-Nepal training exercise. It aims not only at training troops in counterterrorism operations, but also in enhancing defence cooperation and military relations between the two nations. It provides an ideal platform for the personnel of the two countries to share their experiences on counter terrorists operations, especially in mountainous terrain, as also on aspects of disaster management.

The training also envisages a full-fledged exercise on organisation and conduct of disaster response and management operations. This joint training, mutual interaction and sharing of experiences amongst both the countries shall further strengthen cultural and historical ties between both the nations and take bilateral relations forward.
General V.K. Singh Seeks Top Secret Report Under RTI
Under attack over purported activities of a secret intelligence unit set up by him, former Army chief Gen V K Singh today filed an RTI application to seek a copy of the Army probe report into functioning of the Technical Support Division (TSD).

"We have filed an RTI addressed to the Defence Ministry to get a copy of that report submitted by the Army," Singh's lawyer Vishwajeet Singh told PTI here.

The application also asks for all file notings of Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence on the report.

"We have also sought inspection of the file related to the issue and also asked what action has been taken by the Government on the story done by a particular media organisation on the issue," he said.

The former army chief has also asked for all relevant files in Army Headquarters and MoD on reports of a threatened 'coup' in 2012, published in one newspaper.

On whether the top secret inquiry report could be sought through RTI applications, close aides of V K Singh said when the government can leak the report to media organisations, it should also be willing to provide it to us as well.

The former army chief has argued that since the matter affects his life and liberty, the files should be made available to him in the next 48 hours on receipt of application, and sought to personally inspect the files both at Army Headquarters and the MoD.

The TSD, which was set up during the tenure of Gen Singh, has been accused of carrying out unauthorised operations and financial wrongdoings.

The unit has also been accused of indulging into activities for destabilising the Jammu and Kashmir government.

Gen Singh has denied the charges levelled against him and the unit. He has also argued that there is nothing that implicates the TSD in the Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia report that was submitted to MoD in March and in turn sent to the National Security Advisor (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon in July for closure.

Recently, the former army chief had clarified,  "The need for TSD was felt during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. It was created on the operational directive of the defence minister. It was given tasks which its officers diligently carried out to keep India's borders safe and to maintain internal security along with other agencies. It was not my private army and its activities were budgeted by the Directorate General of Military Intelligence,"
Armed forces tribunal increases disability pension of war veteran

He was apparently caught by Chinese troops during the Indo-China war, tortured and then left half buried in the snow. The injuries that followed, forced him to get discharged from service.

Even after such an esteemed service, J George of Tirupati, who was posted in the North Eastern Frontier Area (NEFA) during the war, had to wage a bigger battle with the Army for his disability pension, which was fixed at a lower rate than what he was entitled to.

However, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has now ordered the revision of disability pension from 20 per cent to 50 per cent, castigating the Ministry of Defence for failing to comply with its earlier order for the same applicant.

In his application, George said that he was posted in the NEFA. His battalion was decimated by an enemy raid, in which he was tortured. He was rescued by the Indian Army and underwent treatment. But, in 1963, he was discharged from service on medical grounds.

When he approached the tribunal in 2011, it had decided that George was entitled to a disability pension for the ‘Psychoneurosis’ he was suffering from. The administrative member of the tribunal expanded the pension to 50 per cent in the order. However, he was paid only 20 per cent disability pension based on a circular of the Defence Ministry, which forced him to come back to the tribunal for remedy. The AFT castigated the ministry for failing to implement its previous order and asked the ministry to pay the ex-serviceman the augmented pension of 50 per cent.
BJP chief comes out in defence of army ex-chief
NEW DELHI Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh on Sunday came out in support of former army chief general VK Singh, who is under attack over the activities of a secret spy unit set up by him, saying the government was deliberately troubling all personalities who want to join the saffron party as VK Singh has decided to file a Right to Information (RTI) petition for a copy of the report which claims that funds were misused during his tenure to destabilise the Jammu and Kashmir government.

“Whatever VK Singh has said is correct. Why was no inquiry held against him when he was in service? Why are they getting into holding investigations one year after his retirement and that too soon after he shared the dais with BJP’s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi,” Rajnath said.

“Deliberately, the Congress-led federal government is troubling eminent personalities who want to join BJP,” he said when asked to comment on VK Singh’s stand that he was being troubled for sharing dais with Modi.

The BJP president was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function where former chief minister of Bihar Satish Prasad joined the party. However, he refused to comment when asked if the former army chief was joining BJP in the near future.

Under attack over the purported activities of the Technical Support Division set up by him, VK Singh has termed as “motivated” the charges against him.

“We have come to this conclusion that the only way to establish the truth regarding this charges and regarding the activities which are being questioned now is to see the copy of the report. So we are planning to move an RTI application on Monday itself asking for a copy of that report submitted by Lieutenant-General Bhatia and also inspection of the records,” VK Singh’s counsel Vishwajeet Singh said.

“If they deny our application, we will see what else we can do,” he told TV channel Times Now.
V K Singh says Omar has an 'agenda', attacks SC's decision on his age row
A day after the Ministry of Defence said it would take "further actions" after examining a top Army panel's report detailing alleged dubious operations of an intelligence unit set up by Gen (retd) V K Singh, the former Army Chief launched a no-holds-barred attack on Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, criticised the Supreme Court, and alleged that incumbent Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh might be targeting him.

Unit set up by V K Singh misused secret funds: Army inquiry

"The Chief Minister, Honourable Chief Minister and the venerable Chief Minister, knows the type of stability work that has been done. What he is saying now is purely motivated. It is his personal agenda and it is exactly what he has been doing for the last so many years by shooting off his mouth for nothing. Whatever has been happening in Jammu & Kashmir has purely been attributable to misgovernance shown by him," Singh said.

Soz calls for probe, Azad talks of Army infighting

Singh's attack on Omar Abdullah came after The Indian Express reported on Saturday that the Army's Technical Services Division (TSD) had allegedly tapped the phones of the Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues during the protracted faceoff in 2011 between the government and the Army over the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

April 5, 2012: The January night Raisina Hill was spooked

The Indian Express report did not quote Omar Abdullah.

Singh, who has refused to respond to queries from The Indian Express, also said that Omar was "talking like this" because of approaching "elections" and his "agenda".

"All that the Army has done in Jammu & Kashmir has been to stabilise the situation. They could not even think of diverting the attention of the youth. It's the Army which came up with the idea of KPL, Kashmir Premier League, so that people could go and take time out to watch and play cricket. Similarly, lot of youth activities and lot of civic activities were launched. Are these for toppling governments? What are they talking about? I really don't know such responsible people can talk like this. Of course, elections are coming near. He has his agenda. I am quite sure if you were to check up who all from the Army have met him in recent times, you will come to know why he has said this at this particular time," he said.

'Gen Singh said you will get it in the neck if you publish'

Asked for a reaction to the allegations made by V K Singh, Omar told The Sunday Express, "I have not made any statement in the last two days. Why should I react now? I have no comments to make."

Singh, who had approached the Supreme Court seeking its intervention in his battle with the government over his date of birth but had failed to convince the court, told ANI: "If the court can define the age of a rape victim on basis of his matriculation certificate, then why has the Supreme Court failed to decide my age despite checking and cross-checking my certificates?

Now Cong too seeks a probe in secret funding of Gulam Hassan Mir

"If the superior judiciary of this country can believe the matriculation certificate, and say a rapist and a murderer is a juvenile. What happens to my certificate which has been checked, rechecked and carbon-dated over a period of time? Why? Why didn't they give a decision?

"Knowing fully well that they were not going to give a decision since people were pressurizing them and asking them not to give it. So, the controversy was created."

'Rs 8 cr missing from unit set up by V K Singh'

In an attack on his former colleagues in the Army, V K Singh told "Why has the story against me appeared now? Let me know that first. You should find out who is behind this story? I apprehend that it can be even my successor (current Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh). Since long, Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh has been manipulating things."

In his interview to ANI, V K Singh denied that he planned to join the BJP. "I haven't even thought of joining the BJP because so far, my mission has been to awaken people, to create an awareness that we need to get good people into politics, we need to put out all the corrupt people and we need to change the system," Singh said.

V K Singh also called the findings of the Army inquiry absurd and motivated — allegations that the Congress said were "silly".

Congress spokesperson P C Chacko told reporters: "Silly explanations will not be satisfactory. It appears that Gen Singh is struggling hard to defend himself. We do not want to attack any person. It is something that has happened according to military inquiry. Guilty will be taken to task. They will be punished."

The Indian Army has never interfered in politics, and if anyone has tried to "denigrate the name of the Army, they cannot go scot-free", Chacko said. According to the Army inquiry, the findings of which were reported by The Indian Express on Friday, the now-disbanded TSD misused secret service funds to try and topple Omar's government.


ON THE SUPREME COURT: If the superior judiciary can believe the matriculation certificate, and say a rapist... is a juvenile. What happens to my certificate which has been checked, rechecked, carbon-dated? Why?

ON GEN. BIKRAM SINGH: Why has the story against me appeared now? Let me know that first. You should find out who is behind this story? I apprehend that it can be even my successor (current Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh)...

ON OMAR ABDULLAH: The Chief Minister, Honourable Chief Minister and the venerable Chief Minister (of J&K)... what he is saying now is purely motivated. It is his personal agenda and it is exactly what he has been doing for the last so many years by shooting off his mouth for nothing. Whatever has been happening in Jammu & Kashmir has purely been attributable to misgovernance shown by him.
VK Singh Controversy: Former Army Chief Attacks Indian Express Editor on Twitter
Former Indian Army chief general V K Singh lashed out at Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Indian Express, on micro-blogging website Twitter, accusing him of catering to the UPA government for publishing reports against him.

The newspaper daily had published an investigative story dated 20 September 2013, where General Singh is accused of misusing secret service funds to destabilise the Jammu and Kashmir government and to buy off-air interception equipment to conduct 'unauthorised' covert operations, based on a report submitted by the army to the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD declared that it would take action after examining the report by a top army panel. The report contains details of alleged dubious operations by an intelligence unit set up by General Singh.

On Monday, the army general tweeted, "Some pieces of information about Shekhar Gupta, CE @IndianExpress: 1.His company was involved in Commonwealth Games (read scam) too (1/Many). With a 55 Cr house on Malcha marg, he can be trusted to be a UPA stooge. No doubt he has been using IE as a medium to put out slander."

The Opposition, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), called it a political vendetta against General Singh for he had addressed a rally held by the NDA prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Rewari, Haryana, on 15 September.

General Singh further accused Gupta and his wife of tax frauds. "3.Shekhar Gupta's company's data: He & his wife Neelam Jolly started a company Greenpine Agro Pvt Ltd in 2002. No accounts filed 4 many yrs," he tweeted.

He alleged that Gupta filed balance sheets of eight years on a single day of 18 January 2010. "Closed down the company by filing EES (Early Exit Scheme like @RahulDumbGandhi backops) on Aug 30, 2010. #ShekharGupta @IndianExpress. Accounts are cooked up. One loan he took in 2002, for a meagre Rs12 lakh shows he that at the time he owned three 2 acre farms #ShekharGupta," he tweeted

The former army chief said he had proof of all the allegations against Gupta.

On Saturday, Gernal Singh hit out at the UPA government saying that the controversial intelligence unit, Technical Services Division (TSD), was set up by the government itself after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

He also slammed Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah following the allegations. "Omar blames all his blunders and misgovernance on Indian Army and he thinks people are fools to believe him," he said.

The expose that began with a report from the state-held news agency, PTI, has received criticisms from most of the retired military officials.

"When our Secret Ser(vice) Fund is so secret that it is not even audit-able by CAG it is suicidal to expose its spending details in public. When we expose our secret service fund exp(enditure) in a bid to fix Gen VK, it is pathetic that we are not realising the damages it can inflict," Col (retd) NR Kurup, who is an RTI activist, had tweeted on 21 September.

"I wish our Hon'ble Def(ence) Min should have spared some time to learn about Tech Support Group sanctioned by him before making the issue public," he added.

General Singh also filed a Right to Information on Monday seeking an army board of enquiry report on the military unit TSD.

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