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Thursday, 31 October 2013

From Today's Papers - 31 Oct 2013

Kayani discusses LoC tension with Chinese leaders
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

Gen KayaniNew Delhi, October 30
On a crucial visit to China just a month before his retirement, Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani is learnt to have discussed with the Chinese political and military leadership the tension with India over ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.

Security situation in the region and the possible role the two countries could play towards “strategic stability” was also discussed during his meetings with Chinese interlocutors, reports received here said.

Officials said New Delhi was closely monitoring the Pakistani General’s four-day visit to China to see if it had any implications for India against the backdrop of frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the LoC in the past few months.

The sense here is that the Pakistan Army has intensified its activities along the border with the twin objective of pushing militants into the Kashmir valley and thwarting any attempt at resumption of dialogue between the two countries.

General Kayani, who still holds the veto power on Pakistan’s relations with India, is set to retire in the last week of November. His visit to China is said to be part of the ongoing high-level consultations between the two countries in view of the rapidly changing situation in the region, particularly the endgame in Afghanistan. General Kayani is understood to have discussed with the Chinese military top brass the recently concluded India-Russia defence exercise, “Gang Neva”, along the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan.
Antony blames Pak army for spike in infiltration
Says terrorists can’t sneak in without support of troops on other side
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 30
In a scathing attack on the Pakistan Army, Defence Minister AK Antony on Wednesday accused it of aiding and abetting infiltration of terrorists into India.

“Infiltration is on the rise, and it is going on with the support of elements across the border. I am sure that nothing can happen without the knowledge and tacit support of Pakistan,” the Defence Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Antony said the security forces have observed that the terrorists trying to infiltrate were well-equipped and prepared to sustain for a longer period while carrying out their activities.

"On their side, the border is completely guarded by the Pakistan Army. How can terrorists try to infiltrate into India without the knowledge and support of Pakistan? How can terrorists feel emboldened to increase attempt to infiltrate without the tacit or sometimes open support of the Pakistani armed forces? That is a question worrying us," he said.

About the incidence of firing on the border, he said: “Ceasefire violations are continuing. But this year, unusual developments are taking place. So far, truce violations were taking place only along the LoC. Suddenly, there have been a series of ceasefire violations on the international border. It’s a matter of serious concern.”

“We are repeatedly telling (Pakistan) that India wants improvement in relations. If they are sincere in their attempts, how can this infiltration take place,” he asked.

The Defence Minister said though the level of violations on the international border has fallen down, the armed forces are keeping a watch and are fully prepared to meet any eventuality.

"I am confident that our security forces are able to meet any challenges. They are handling the situation very effectively," he said.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had taken up the matter with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif during his US visit in September this year.

On being asked about the newly inked India-China Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), Antony said it was a sincere attempt from both sides to avoid tensions at the border.

On being asked if this could prevent face-off situations like the one in April-May this year, he said: “The fact that we have agreed on a certain set of procedures and mechanisms doesn’t mean nothing will happen. But with the agreement now, if something happens, there are mechanisms to intervene and find solutions. Both sides will make sincere attempts to maintain peace and stability in the border”.

Agusta violated contract

Regarding the Rs 3500-crore deal to buy 12 VIP helicopters and the subsequent show-cause notice to AgustaWestland, the copter-maker, Antony said: “We have to move as per law. They have violated the contract”.

No deadline for fighter jet deal

Antony refused to set a deadline for purchase of 126 fighter jets for the IAF. He said cost negotiations were going on with the French company Dassault Aviation. “I can’t interfere. The government can’t interfere. They have to negotiate, and once that is over there are various other areas of scrutiny.”

On Sino-Indian border pact

The fact that we have agreed on a certain set of procedures and mechanisms doesn’t mean nothing will happen. But with the agreement now, if something happens, there are mechanisms to intervene and find solutions.

Pak opens fire in Akhnoor

Pakistani troops on Wednesday opened fire on forward posts in Jourian sector along the LoC in Akhnoor tehsil of Jammu. “Around 7.45 pm, Pakistani troops opened fire using small arms and automatic weapons in Jourian sector. Our troops responded with similar calibre weapons,” said Jammu-based defence spokesperson, Col RK Palta. An Army source said the Pakistani Army targeted two posts—Sangam and Bada --- in Hamirpur and Gigrayal area of Khour block in Jourian sector.
Pak Army is helping infiltration, says Antony
Taking on the Pakistani military establishment for the spate of violent incidents on the border in Jammu and Kashmir in recent weeks, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said that infiltration has been increasing with the tacit support of the Pakistani Army and better-equipped terrorists are attempting to cross over.

The comments were Antony's first on the trouble along the India-Pakistan frontier, which includes an unprecedented exchange of fire between troops of the two countries since the 2003 ceasefire.

Antony said that while ceasefire violations in the past were concentrated on the Line of Control, the recent prolonged firing on the international border in the Jammu area is a matter of "more serious concern".

"Instead of preventing infiltration or trying to minimise infiltration attempts, attempts are increasing. That means, these are going on with the support of elements across the border. But I am sure nothing has happened without the support and knowledge and tacit support of Pakistani Army," Antony said, speaking on the sidelines of an event at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses.

Stressing the role of the Pakistani army in the incidents, just as Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh had done, Antony said that there is "open support" in Pakistan for the infiltration attempts.

"On the Pakistani side, the border is completely guarded by the Pakistani Army. How can terrorists try to infiltrate into India without knowledge and support of Pakistan? How can the terrorists embolden to increase the attempt to infiltrate without the tacit or sometimes open support of their armed forces? That is a question that is worrying us," Antony said.

The defence minister also said that the recent spate of infiltrations had been carried out by militants who were not only better equipped than in the past but are also geared to sustain themselves for longer periods to carry out subversive activities in India.

"Ceasefire violations are still continuing. But this year, unusual developments have taking place. So far, ceasefire violations were taking place only on the LoC. Suddenly, there is a series of ceasefire violations on the international border. That is more a matter of serious concern," he said.

The minster also linked the violations on the border with bilateral relations, raising questions on Pakistan's intention. "We are repeatedly telling that India wants improvement in relations. If they are sincere in their attempts, how can this infiltration take place...and infiltration attempts are also increasing," he said, adding that the armed forces are capable of meeting challenges on the border.

On the recent pact with China on border cooperation, Antony said mechanisms have been put in place to prevent face-offs and efforts are being made to keep the border peaceful. "If anything happens, there are mechanisms to immediately intervene and find solutions as quickly as possible. That is a new development. Both sides are making sincere efforts to maintain peace and stability," he said.

On the notice to Anglo-Italian firm AgustaWestland for the cancellation of the VVIP helicopter deal following corruption charges, Antony said that there is enough proof that the integrity pact was violated. "They have violated the contract. We have taken steps to protect our interests...the final show cause notice has been served. We have given them 21 days to reply to it," he said.
Pak violates ceasefire in Poonch
JAMMU: Pakistan army violated ceasefire and fired at Indian border posts along the line of control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu & Kashmir on Tuesday morning.

"Pakistan troops fired small arms and automatics in Gambhir Battalion area of Bhimber Gali," defence spokesman Col R K Palta said, adding there was no loss of life or injury. In the exchange that lasted about two hours, Indian army retaliated with similar caliber weapons, he said.

Though India has already recorded 236 ceasefire violations this year — the highest over the last decade — no serious firing incident has occurred across the LoC since the one at the Mendhar sector on October 23. While 184 of the violations occurred across the LoC, 51 were recorded along the 198-km stretch of the International Boundary in J&K.
Defence graft

New Delhi, Oct. 29 (PTI): A Delhi court today sentenced two former defence ministry officials and a retired army man to four years in jail for causing a loss of over Rs 7.3 crore to the state exchequer.

P.R.S. Rao, A.K. Sharma and I.B. Uppal were among 12 persons booked by the CBI in 1998 for causing loss to the government by clearing bills against which no consignment was demanded or received between 1994-97.
India Offers the Pragati Short Range Missile for Export
India’s Defence Research establishment (DRDO) is promoting an indigenously developed short range ballistic missile called Pragati, designed to strike targets at ranges of 60 – 170 kilometers. The new missile meets the limitations of Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) limiting the export of missile technology carrying warheads heavier than half a ton beyond 300 kilometers. As such, it is positioned to compete with a number of similar weapons already available from the China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia and the USA.

It is based on the Prahaar missile, developed by the DRDO for the Indian Army and is considered as the export variant of that missile. Although India has been promoting the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile for export, Pragati will be the first ballistic missile offered for export. The first international appearance of the missile was this week at the ADEX defense expo in Seoul.

The new missile measures 7.4 meters (24′, 3″) and 0.42 meter (16.5″) in diameter, it carries a conventional warhead weighing up to 200 kg. The Pragati missile uses solid propellant and is launched from a Mobile Launcher System (MLS). 2-6 missiles are carried by each vehicle (depending on the configuration). The system is designed for quick reaction, enabling a second missile launch five seconds after the first has cleared the rail. The Indian missile Prahaar was tested in 2011 striking a target at a range of 150 km with a precision of 10 meters.

At a maximum speed of 4 Mach the flight time would be 120 – 360 seconds. The missile uses a combination of thrust vectoring and aerodynamic control to stabilize its ascent and shape flight trajectory to achieve a circular error point (CEP) hit probability of ‘less than 20 meters’. For guidance, Pragati uses a combination of Ring Laser Gyro (RLG) based inertial navigation system assisted by global positioning navigation (GPS) reference.

The missile system has quick deployment with salvo firing capability. The system includes One Battery Control Center (BCC) command & Control four launch units connected via Fiber Optic/LOS wireless link. The MLS is configured on High Mobility Vehicles (HMV) with six, four or three axles, depending on the weight and number of launchers used (six, four or two canisterised missiles respectively. The MLS has an electro-mechanical auto-leveling and articulation system enabling quick positioning of the system.
Unhappy Army
growing number of clashes between officers and jawans indicate a serious crisis in the Indian Army which has resulted from the prolonged apathy of the military and political leaderships. By PURNIMA S. TRIPATHI

ON October 14, Col B.M. Hansra, the commanding officer of the 22 National Cadet Corps (Army wing) battalion on Batala, was assaulted by jawans after he admonished a havildar for not reporting for duty on time. The havildar, belonging to the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment, was on deputation to the Batala unit. A court of inquiry (CoI) has been ordered into the matter. This was the second such incident involving officers and jawans in a span of five days. On October 10, jawans beat up officers in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh after an altercation during a boxing match. Two Army majors and one jawan, again belonging to the 10 Sikh Light Infantry unit, were injured in the incident. In this incident, too, a CoI has been ordered.

What is worrying is that such face-offs have been on the rise in the last couple of years. On August 8 last year, jawans agitated against the commanding officer and certain functionaries of the 16 Cavalry regiment at Samba in the Jammu region, while on May 10-11, 2012, officers and other ranks of the 226 Artillery regiment clashed at the Mahe field firing range in the Nyoma sector in Leh. Earlier, on April 29, 2010, an altercation took place between an officer and a jawan of the 45 Cavalry unit in Gurdaspur, Punjab.

In all these cases, the Army, which follows a zero-tolerance policy in matters relating to discipline, has taken disciplinary or administrative action against more than 200 officers and jawans. This was following instructions from the Defence Minister that exemplary punishment should be meted out to the guilty in all such cases to ensure that “necessary preventive lessons” are learnt.

Frontline made futile efforts to find out from the Army what institutional mechanisms have been put in place to tackle the problem at its roots. Is psychological/behavioural counselling a part of the training regimen of officers since discipline and respect for hierarchy forms the bedrock of the Army? An Army public relations officer declined to provide any information, maintaining that “these things keep happening out there, sitting here how are we to know what’s happening?”.

The problem of communication gaps has been plaguing the Army. The Army headquarters has no clue as to what is happening out there in its various regiments. According to some senior retired officers, the problems have their roots in the changing socio-economic situation and perception of concepts such as discipline and hierarchy. “In the past few years, the difference between the socio-economic strata of officers and jawans has reduced. Earlier, jawans mostly came from rural areas and were not that well–educated, while officers came from higher socio-economic strata. So complete subordination of jawans to officers was not an issue. Things have changed now. While the majority of officers are sons of Junior Commissioned Officers, jawans also are mostly from the same background. Even when they are from a non-military background, they are better educated and more aspirational than before. They are not willing to put up with the feudal, paternal hierarchy anymore and refuse to accept abusive behaviour by officers. This leads to clashes sometimes,” says Maj. Gen. (retd) Satbir Singh, acting chairman of the Indian Ex Servicemen Movement, himself a psychological/behavioural expert and one who has headed many Service Selection Boards (SSB). He has also been an instructor at the Indian Military Academy (IMA, Dehradun) and has evaluated many doctoral theses on related issues. The changing socio-economic profile of its personnel had to be factored into the Army’s training module, but perhaps that was not happening, he said.

He said more personal interaction between officers and jawans was needed for better bonding, but this would not be possible in view of the shortage of officers the Indian Army is facing. The Army, as per the latest reports, is short of 14,000 officers. This puts the existing lot, especially in operational areas, under tremendous pressure. The actual fallout of this crippling shortage is worrying from the operational point of view. Against the sanctioned strength of 22 to 27 officers for every regiment, only 10 to 12 officers are available in each unit. If one takes into account those on leave or temporary duty or attending courses, and so on, the effective strength comes down to four or five officers a unit, which normally has a manpower of 600 to 800.

“The right amount of supervision is next to impossible in this situation and the first casualty is basic drills, which are an integral part of officers’ interaction with the men. This leads to a communication gap between officers and jawans and all other problems, such as stress, suicides and fratricide, follow suit,” said a senior Army officer.

Stress is a major problem in the Army (Frontline, September 21, 2012). Last year, Defence Minister A.K. Antony asked the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to conduct a study on this aspect and submit a report. The report is likely to be submitted soon.

Army recruitment

On the face of it, if the intake of personnel, especially officers, is streamlined, many problems will disappear. But nothing much seems to be happening on that count. The shortage of officers has not arisen overnight. It is the result of prolonged neglect by the government; figures available for intake point to a steady decline in Army recruitment since 1971. Figures available until 2009, for example, suggest that the recruitment of officers through Permanent Commission and Short Service Commission (SSC) had been declining over the years. In 2006, for instance, only 1,489 cadets joined the IMA for training after their stint in the National Defence Academy (Khadakwasla) against the sanctioned strength of 1,633. In 2007, it was 1,351. In 2008, the sanctioned strength was lowered to 1,540, but only 1,159 joined. In 2009, too, only 1,262 joined against the sanctioned strength of 1,540. At the Officers’ Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, where SSC officers are trained, against the authorised strength of 700 a year, only 575 joined in 2006, 497 in 2007, 407 in 2008 and 315 in 2009. These figures were given out by the Defence Ministry on November 30, 2009, in reply to a question in Parliament. The Defence Minister had then detailed the measures proposed to improve the intake. They are

• Making SSC attractive through measures such as grant of ex-servicemen status to all SSC officers who complete their terms of service and provision of canteen (Canteen Stores Department, or CSD) and medical facilities under the Employees Contributory Health Services (ECHS) scheme.

• Opening of professional training institutes under the Army Welfare Education Society to provide affordable professional education to the children of Army men;

• Image projection campaigns;

• Enhanced physical interaction with the target audience, in which recruiting officers visit universities and colleges for motivational talks; and

• Setting up another OTA.

Significantly enough, none of these measures has been implemented, not even the grant of ex-servicemen status to SSC officers or the provision of ECHS or CSD facilities. A letter written by Maj. Gen. (retd) Satbir Singh to the Defence Minister on August 7, 2012, seeking the implementation of the measures, has remained unacknowledged to date.

Another reason for the shortage of personnel is the recruitment formula, which is based on the recruitable male population in each region. It is fixed at 10 per cent for each region, but often many regions, such as Gujarat, Maharashtra and south India, fail to fill their quota and so seats for these regions remain vacant. Sometimes, such vacancies are filled by candidates from other regions but since it is done on an ad hoc basis there is no consistency in the numbers coming in from each region, serving officers say.

Pay and perks

Add to this the not-so-attractive pay and perks, and the choice of Army as a career falls way below other emerging and more lucrative options. In the matter of pay and perks, it may be mentioned that until the Fourth Pay Commission, the salary of military personnel was a notch higher than that in other government sectors. But this was reversed in 1986 and the pay and pension of the armed forces personnel fell below civilian salaries. To compound the problem, even genuine dues by way of rank pay got embroiled in litigation in the Supreme Court. Military personnel’s demand for “one rank one pension” has been hanging fire. “Army is no longer the first career choice for many; it has become just one of the many second options and the casualty is quality,” said another senior officer.

Why does the government not address these problems? “The political leadership of the day is weak. Maybe it has good intentions, but it is taken for a ride by the bureaucracy,” says former Army chief V.K. Singh, who says many of the problems plaguing the Army have their roots in an indifferent bureaucracy. What is unfortunate is that instead of seeing things for itself, the political leadership is blindly guided by bureaucrats even in such sensitive matters, he says. Besides, he says, there is this ridiculous idea among the civilian rulers that keeping the Army happy and contented will result in it seizing control. Hence, the tendency to brush issues under the carpet.

But for how long? Has it not already caused enough problems? Is it not a fact that otherwise highly motivated soldiers, who are trained to handle pressure, are breaking down and either taking their own lives or attacking their officers, at times even killing them? The chilling reality, according to figures put out by officials of the Defence Ministry, is that the Army is losing more soldiers to suicide and fratricide than to militancy-related incidents. Every third day, a soldier kills himself.

According to A.K. Antony’s statement in Parliament, the suicide rate in the Army is shocking, averaging over 100 every year since 2003. He said 1,018 soldiers had committed suicide since 2003, with the annual toll regularly going over 100. He said fratricide had also become a regular phenomenon in the Army. He informed the House that according to a study done by the Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR), a DRDO institution, perceived humiliation and harassment at the hands of their superiors, over and above occupational and family causes, was stressing soldiers so much that they were either killing themselves or taking the lives of their fellow soldiers or officers.

According to the 31st report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, between 2007 and 2010 some 208 soldiers lost their lives in action against militants, while 368 killed themselves and 15 to 30 soldiers attempted to kill themselves.

With such chilling facts staring one in the face and with the unpleasant situation on our borders, one would have thought that both the political and military leaderships would get cracking to set the mental and physical health of the forces right. But, unfortunately, that is not happening. If at all it is happening, it is happening with such secrecy that nobody, not even the forces themselves, knows about it.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

From Today's Papers - 30 Oct 2013

 Kashmir remains bilateral issue
Nawaz Sharif should pursue his own proposals seriously
by Kuldip Nayar

I do not know why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif goes over the same exercise on Kashmir every two to three months. He raised the question at the UN General Assembly and again mentioned it during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at New York. Now he has brought up the matter before having talks with President Barack Obama at Washington. Probably, he sought his services. America has reiterated its stand that it considered Kashmir a bilateral issue which the two countries should solve. This is what India has been saying. By insisting that Kashmir is a core issue for any conciliation with India, Pakistan is not bringing the opportunity for any solution nearer.

What does not go with the style of Nawaz Sharif is his remark that both countries are nuclear powers. Is that a threat? How can any country even say that it has a nuclear weapon or, for that matter, its opponent has? It means extinction of Pakistan and northern India.

Another ominous change I have noticed on the part of Islamabad is that it has stopped the mention of the Shimla agreement. The earlier statements stated that the Kashmir issue should be sorted out according to the UN resolution and the Shimla agreement.

At that time, then Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had orally told then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that he would see that the ceasefire line on the border became an international border. He went back on the undertaking because he could not sell the proposal to a country which had lost its eastern wing. Still Pakistan must realise that there is no solution to Kashmir except through talks. Therefore, the Shimla agreement has the greatest chance of making it to the page.

True, there is the pressure of rightists on Sharif. But this is not what an average Pakistani feels. Not long ago when I went to Pakistan and asked a cab driver what he thought of Kashmir, he replied: “I have to think of how to earn the next meal, not bother about Kashmir”. An expert in Pakistan once remarked that what they could not win in the battlefield, they could not expect to win at the negotiating table.

Sharif’s proposal, when he was in the wilderness, is worth implementing. He said that the two countries should set up a committee to talk about Kashmir without interruption. After having done that, both countries should open up for trade and business. And the visa should be made easy for people-to-people contact. In fact, the Pakistan Prime Minister should be pursuing his own proposals seriously.

In the meanwhile, the allegations by the former Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh that the Indian Army had been financing ministers in Kashmir to maintain “stability” in the state have taken a serious turn. The Speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has ruled that he would summon the general to explain to the house the charge of ministers being financed. The Speaker has already issued a notice to General V.K.Singh.

However, some of us who have followed the situation in Kashmir since its integration with India are not surprised. New Delhi always had a finger in the pie. Even a popular leader like Sheikh Abdullah had to be subservient to New Delhi. Once he did open his mouth to say that they would rather starve than accept India’s diktat and he had to spend 12 years in detention.

In fact, there were no elections in the years soon after the state joined the Indian Union. Sheikh Abdullah, then called the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, accepted the fait accompli which was decided at Delhi. The practice was vigorously pursued when Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad replaced the Sheikh when the latter was detained. The decision about who should head Kashmir was taken at New Delhi.

There was a separate Department on Kashmir affairs in the External Affairs Ministry. Probably, it was meant to convey that since the matter was before the UN, it had to be dealt with by the External Affairs Ministry, headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The Department was transferred to the Home Ministry when the more sagacious Govind Ballabh Pant took charge after quitting as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The Department is still part of the Home Ministry. To the credit of Nehru, that he did not accept Maharaja Hari Singh’s request to join the Indian Union until it had the approval of the then popular leader Sheikh Abdullah, who was in jail at that time. It is unfortunate that the Sheikh turned out to be a disappointment. He took New Delhi’s dictated arrangement like a duck to water.

Since then, chief ministers at Srinagar — Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of People’s Democratic Party or Farooq Abdullah—have understood that Srinagar has to tilt its sails according to the winds blowing from New Delhi. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah makes proper noises but it is no more than a storm in a tea cup. He is rightly strengthening the state police so that the use of Indian Army, stationed in the state, is as little as possible.

But he is defeated by the Pakistan army which keeps the pot boiling. It was a relief when the two countries agreed not to violate the LoC. But the line has been violated all the time in recent times. Pakistan is more to blame because it is giving covert support to Tehrik-e-Taliban, Pakistan, to infiltrate into India before the winter sets in and clogs the passes because of snow.

If insurgency in Kashmir is a part of Islamabad’s policy, what was the purpose of Prime Minister Sharif’s meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? They agreed to honour the agreement reached in 2004 to make the LoC sacrosanct. The Director-Generals of Military Operations of the two countries were to meet. True, no time frame was fixed but they should have met by this time, although their meeting may have turned into a formality. Political masters have to realise the futility of cross-border firing. Three wars should have made it clear to Pakistan that it cannot wrest Kashmir forcibly from the hands of India.
India, Pak to keep calm along border
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria/TNS

Octroi BOP (Indo-Pak Border), October 29
Officers from the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers met for nearly three hours today and agreed to ease 10 days of intense shelling by Pakistan that has triggered bloody skirmishes along the 198-km long International Border.

The sector-level flag meeting has brought some relief for hundreds of farmers on both sides of the border as they can now harvest their standing paddy crop right up to the Zero Line without any fear of fresh skirmishes.

“We held a meeting with the Pakistan Rangers in a cordial atmosphere wherein we discussed a wide range of issues. We took unanimous decisions on some of them,” BSF Deputy Inspector General JC Singla told mediapersons after the meeting.

“The farmers can now harvest their crop up to the Zero Line. It’s a good thing. We also agreed on removing ‘sarkanda’ (wild grass). We will do it on our side and they will do so on theirs,” said Singla.

The officer said the BSF would try to keep peace on the border. On Rangers targeting BSF guards in July and August, followed by unprovoked firing and shelling of Indian posts and villages over the past 10 days, the DIG said the BSF lodged a strong protest with them but they remained in denial.

“They were in denial this time too, but somewhere inside they knew it had resulted in a flare-up,” the officer said. On the use of 82 mm mortars by the Rangers on innocent villagers, Singla said long-range weapons were not used on a big scale and mortars did not have a fixed range. “They do miss the target.”

Villages lie close to the border and since mortars don’t have a fixed range, they do miss the target and fall here and there,” he added.

“We are here on duty and would not allow anything to happen,” he said.

Pakistan’s Inayat post is located opposite the Octroi Post of the BSF, where the talks were held.

The Rangers were represented by Brigadier Mateen, Sector Commander of the Sialkot headquarters. At least 16 officers of the BSF and 15 of the Rangers participated in the meeting.

Besides Singla, two other Deputy Inspector Generals - Dharmender Pareekh and Virender Singh - were also present. The 10-day skirmishes have left one BSF jawan - ML Meena - dead and 31 others, including women and children, injured.
Fighter pilot Raha to be next IAF chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 29
Ace fighter pilot Air Marshal Arup Raha has been appointed the next Chief of the Indian Air Force.

He will succeed Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, also a fighter pilot, on December 31. At present, Air Marshal Raha is the Vice-Chief of Air Staff.

Air Marshal Raha was commissioned into the IAF on December 14, 1974 in the fighter stream of the flying branch. In his career spanning nearly 39 years, he has commanded the vital Western Air Command which is tasked with the responsibility of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and parts of Rajasthan.

During Operation ‘Parakaram’, he was the Commanding Officer of the MiG-29 squadron at Bathinda in Punjab. He then went on to be the Air Officer Commanding at the IAF base at Adampur near Jalandhar and Advance Headquarters, Western Air Command at Chandimandir.|head
India to Bolster UAV Fleet for Border Surveillance

NEW DELHI — India plans to spend more than US $2 billion in the next five years to boost its UAV fleet, including mini UAVs, and sharpen its border surveillance, intelligence and communications capabilities.

More than a dozen domestic private-sector players are eyeing the mini-UAV market, while the Defence Research and Development Organisation concentrates on developing high-altitude, long-endurance; vertical takeoff; medium-altitude, long-endurance; and combat UAVs.

The Army this month floated a tender to acquire 49 UAVs to be used for real-time intelligence and surveillance, to detect human or vehicular movement, target recognition and identification, and electronic intelligence and communication intelligence.

The tender has been sent to private Indian companies Idea Forge, Dynamatrics, Hi-tech Robotics, Ufcon, Omnipresent Technologies, Datapattern, Tata Advance Systems and state-owned Bharat Electronics.

The mini UAVs will be used for counterinsurgency operations in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, bordering Pakistan. The UAV will have an endurance of 30 to 90 minutes carrying a camera, and be able to perform auto tracking of targets.

The mini UAVs will gather intelligence and carry out reconnaissance along the Line of Control with Pakistan and the India-China border, an Indian Army official said. Mini UAVs are effective electronic eyes in the skies against border infiltrations, which have increased recently, the official added.

The Army is employing UAVs as a communication constellation and has put them to use in rescue operations, as observation posts and for medical evacuation, said Mahindra Singh, a retired Army major general.

The Army and Air Force have an immediate requirement for more than 700 mini UAVs.

The drones need to have endurance of 90 minutes with a loiter time of one hour. The vehicle needs to be able to reach an altitude of 2,000 feet carrying its camera.

The mini UAV should have a mission range of at least 10 kilometers.

In addition, the drones would have jam-resistant uplink and secured downlink, and the system should be easily transportable in one light vehicle and carrier in dismantled configuration in backpacks.

The Army plans to have about 1,600 mini UAVs by 2017 for use by the infantry and mechanized infantry, the Army official said, adding that these vehicles would be employed to enhance the Army’s situational awareness in the border regions.

The mini UAVs will be integrated into a system that will include assets such as artillery, locating radar, bigger UAVs, aerostat radars, and airborne early warning and control aircraft, which could be used as a force-multiplier, the official said.

“The Indian Army needs to have a variety of UAVs, especially [combat UAVs] equipped with missiles which could be effectively used against insurgent hideouts. The Indian Army is spending most of its time fighting these insurgents in what is called low-intensity warfare, leaving little time for preparing for a major future battle,” Singh said.
Face of Defense: Female U.S. Army Paratrooper Trains in India

By Army Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith
4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division

JOINT BASE ELEMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, Oct. 29, 2013 – Army 1st Lt. Laura Condyles, a parachute rigger-qualified officer with the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, recently returned from graduating second place at the Indian army’s Heavy Drop Course in Agra, India.
Condyles, a 25-year-old quartermaster officer from Mechanicsville, Va., was chosen from a distinct group of officers in her unit to attend the course at the Army Airborne Training School. The 52-day event began in early August in one of the hottest areas in India with average daily temperatures hovering around 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

“When I first got there, we found out that the class wasn’t in English. The whole class was in Hindi the entire time!” Condyles said. “They had an old dictionary they used to translate the tests for me.”

Fortunately, the Indian army assigned student-sponsor Capt. Ashish Jha to help Condyles as they both worked through the course. Condyles had to pass three, three-hour written examinations.

“Of course, the questions were originally in Hindi and were translated to English, so I just kind of had to take my best guess at what they were saying,” Condyles said.

The Indian army’s AATS installation is similar to Fort Benning, Ga., Condyles said. Most of their airborne training takes place there, including airborne school, the heavy drop riggers course, high altitude low opening school, and the pathfinder school.

The Indian forces have two main aircraft used for heavy drops, the Russian-made AN-32 and the IL-76, which are comparable in size to the American C-130 and C-17, respectively.

India’s air force packs all of their personnel parachutes, and their army focuses on heavy drop rigging.

The Russian-engineered rigging equipment uses three different platforms.  “With each platform, there were three different parachutes that we learned, so I learned how to pack nine different parachutes,” Condyles said.

Condyles excelled in the heavy drop course and earned the Indian army’s Medal of Excellence for achieving the coveted “i” indicator meaning she performed at such a high level that she is qualified to be an instructor.

“I’m the first foreign officer that’s ever gotten the “i” grade before, so that was pretty neat.” she said “The cool thing was I’m the first American that went to the course.”

Condyles said she was fortunate that Capt. Jha was there to translate. In addition, she was able to learn a great deal about the Indian army and India’s culture during her time there.

“They drop live animals,” she said. “They put chickens and goats on a platform and drop them in for food.”

One of the benefits of partnership training is learning about different military organizations, she said.

The Indian army’s structure “is pretty different. Officers, soldiers, and NCOs are very, very separated. It’s not like our Army where we work together a lot more closely,” Condyles said. “When you are an officer on post, they cook your meal for you, or they deliver it to your room. They clean your bathroom for you every day. They mop your floors in your room every day. They even make your bed for you every day, and they do your laundry every single day.”

Even with the conveniences, Condyles’ said her training in India was complicated by the high temperatures, and power outages.  “I had electricity about 40 to 50 percent of the time.”

Condyles purchased Indian clothes to wear for her cultural and historical experiences, including two trips to the Taj Mahal, a visit to the historic Agra Fort, a village wedding celebration experience, and sadly, a mourning ceremony for an instructor’s 22-year-old son who was struck and killed by a train.

Condyles thought the training was very worthwhile, and she hopes for more U.S.-Indian military cross-training events to further improve interoperability between the two countries.

“The Indian army is very professional and very disciplined,” she said. “I had a great time training and getting to work with them. I would love to work with them again in the future, and I think our military would benefit greatly from working with them. We could learn from each other.”
Kayani meets top Chinese leadership
ISLAMABAD  - A joint military exercise between China and Pakistan is on the cards, whose modalities are being finalised in the ongoing visit of Pakistan's military chief to the neighbouring state, it is learnt on Monday.
The reported development follows top-level meetings between Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the Chinese political and military leadership. This is Kayani's last visit to China in his incumbent capacity as the COAS, ahead of his upcoming retirement on November 29.
Although the military sources insist General Kayani's visit was scheduled well in advance, the event takes place conspicuously at a time when Indian and Russian armies are conducting a joint military exercise in the Indian desert of Rajhastan near Pak-India border. 'Gang Neva,' the exercise, is named after Indian river Ganga and Russian river Neva.
Some sections of Indian media say India plans to lay 14 strategic railway lines close to borders with China and Pakistan, as part of its preparations to meet security challenges emanating from the two borders.
Regarding General Kayani's visit, the military insiders at General Headquarters (GHQ) confirmed that drafting a timeline for the fifth 'Pak-China Friendship' exercise or YOUYI-V was high on the agenda. The exercise is expected to be held in China in coming months, the officials said. The previous Sino-Pak joint military exercise YOUYI-IV was held in Pakistan in November 2011 while YOUYI-III was held in China in the year 2010.
"This exercise would aim at enhancing the combat operational strength of the two forces and exchange of professional notes in realtime environment," a senior army officer said.
The Pakistani COAS, he said, met with his Chinese counterpart General Fang Fenghui on Monday and is scheduled to meet Chief of General Staff of Chinese Armed Forces Kao Kuang-chi, soon.
He would also be meeting the top management of the China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), the country's premier strategic and scientific body, led by Yin Liming, in addition to meeting top Chinese military command and political leadership.
Continuing with Pakistan's traditional China-friendly policy, General Kayani, Pakistan's longest serving army chief in civilian rule, had a role in the signing of a number of Sino-Pak strategic pacts and defence agreements. His latest visit to China, a few weeks prior to retirement, is widely deciphered against the backdrop of enhanced strategic cooperation between India and Russia, which coincides with deteriorating security situation at the Line of Control (LoC) and Eastern Pak-India borders.
Apart from China, the conduct of joint military exercises with Turkey, Sri Lanka and Saudi Arabia, the countries that are included in the military establishment-coined terminology of 'friendly states,' is also under reported consideration.
Earlier this year, Pakistan Navy and Pakistan Air Force had carried out joint naval and air exercises respectively with Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Pakistan Army had last conducted military exercises with Saudi Arabia and Turkey in 2011 and with Sri Lanka, last year. In August this year, Turkey had hosted a joint military exercise held between Pakistan and Afghanistan armies.
Meanwhile, a press release said, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani held separate meetings with General Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman Central Military Commission and Guo Shengkun, State Councilor & Minister for Ministry of Public Security.
"The COAS reiterated goodwill of the government and people of Pakistan and thanked Chinese leadership for China's eternal support to Pakistan. Security situation in the region and the possible role both countries can play towards strategic stability was also discussed during the meetings. Talks also encompassed the measures to boost mutual cooperation on a wide range of issues," it said.
Defence Minister Instructs Armed Forces to be on High Alert on Indo-Pak Border
In view of repeated ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army along the Line of Control (LoC) between India and Pakistan, Defence Minister of India A K Antony held an hour-long review meeting with the heads of the armed forces on Monday.

National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Army Chief General Bikram Singh, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, Indian Air Force, Navy chief Admiral D K Joshi and Defence Secretary R K Mathur attended the review meeting.

During the meeting, Antony asked the armed forces to maintain "a high-level of alert" along the border with Pakistan. The army chief apprised the Defence Minister of the situation along the border and the measures taken to defuse the tension.

This is the first high-level review meeting headed by the Defence Minister after the anti-militancy operation by the Indian Army last month in Keran sector along the LoC.

India is said to have recorded over 200 incidents of ceasefire violations, which are minor skirmishes. This is said to be the highest number in a year in last 10 years. While over 180 skirmishes occurred across the LoC, about 50 were recorded along the 200 kilometres long International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.
Defence Ministry declines to share information on controversial Technical Support Division set up by former Army chief VK Singh
The TSD has been accused of carrying out unauthorised operations and financial wrongdoings. It has also been accused of illegally carrying out activities for destabilising the Jammu and Kashmir government.
 Information on the activities of the controversial Technical Support Division (TSD), an intelligence unit set up by former army chief V K Singh, is still out of bounds for the public.

The Defence Ministry has declined to share information related to functioning of TSD that had created a major political storm after General Singh had claimed that army had regularly paid money to ministers and politicians in Jammu and Kashmir. He had come under attack from various sections on his statements.

"In so far as your request for supply of order regarding setting up of 'TSD' and enquiry etc., are concerned, it is regretted that the same cannot be supplied in terms of Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act," the Ministry said in reply to an RTI query.

The Section bars disclosure of information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence.

The Defence Ministry was asked to give a copy of the order and file notings regarding setting up of TSD. It was also asked to provide detail of complaints of irregularities received against the snoop unit.

The TSD has been accused of carrying out unauthorised operations and financial wrongdoings. It has also been accused of illegally carrying out activities for destabilising the Jammu and Kashmir government.

General Singh, who had denied the charges levelled against him and the unit, has also filed an RTI application seeking information on TSD.

An Army report about the TSD, which was also accused of illegally tapping phones of senior Defence Ministry officials, has been submitted to the Defence Ministry and a probe has been recommended against its functioning.

The report was prepared by Director General Military Operations Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, as part of a Board of Officers (BOO) formed by Gen Bikram Singh to review the working of TSD.

The TSD was reportedly formed after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks on the basis of an operational directive given to the Army by the Defence Minister to perform a particular task to secure the borders and internal situation in the country. It is now defunct.


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