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Thursday, 17 October 2013

From Today's Papers - 17 Oct 2013

US ship won’t be allowed to move till probe is completed: Govt

Chennai/Tuticorin, October 16
The US-based ship detained off Tuticorin port for illegally carrying arms and ammunition will not be allowed to move out till the probe was over, Shipping Minister G K Vasan said today as Tamil Nadu Q Branch Police took over the investigation from Marine police.

"We are still to find answers to many questions, the probe will bring out the truth. Till then, the ship will not be allowed to move out of Tuticorin port", he told reporters here.

Vasan's remarks assumed significance in the backdrop of BJP voicing concern over what it called the Centre's "silence" over the detaining of M V Seaman Guard Ohio and its demand that the government come clean on the issue.

Meanwhile, in Tuticorin, a Q Branch team, led by Superintendent of Police K Bhavaneeswari, questioned some crew members and obtained details on various issues, including the arms and ammunition stored onboard the vessel. The state government had yesterday transferred the probe into the ship case to the Q Branch. Sources said the the Q Branch team perused records available on board the ship and they were being scrutinised.

The ship flying the Sierra Leone flag was intercepted by the Coast Guard in Indian waters some 15 nautical miles off Tuticorin coast on October 12 and an FIR registered against 35 persons onboard under the Arms Act for carrying arms without authorisation and Essential Commodities Act for buying 1,500 litres of diesel illegally with the help of a local shipping agent. — PTI
 Indian, Bhutanese troops undertake cycle expedition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
To develop synergy, better understanding, camaraderie and brotherhood amongst troops of Indian Army and the Royal Bhutan Army, a joint cycle expedition is being undertaken in the Himalayas.

The expedition, flagged-off from Drugyel Dzong in Bhutan by the Commandant, Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) on October 12, was received and flagged-off to its next destination from Binnaguri Maj Gen BK Pande, General Officer Commanding, Kripan Division, yesterday, according to a statement issued here.

The 25-member team of soldiers from both armies is being led by Lt AK Singh of 4 Dogra. The Dogra regiment comprises troops belonging to Himachal Pradesh and part of Punjab and Jammu region.

Over a course of seven days, the team members will traverse 473 km through Drugyel Dzong, Chimakothi (both in Bhutan), Hasimara, Binnaguri, Bagrakot, Pedong, Sevoke and Sukna in West Bengal, where it is scheduled to be flagged-in on October 18 the General Officer Commanding 33 Corps, Lt Gen KJ Singh.
Worried over brawls, Army to revamp HR policies
NEW DELHI: Jolted by a series of officer-jawan brawls in its ranks over the last three years, the Army is undertaking a major revamp of its human resource development (HRD) policies to ensure adequate number of officers with "requisite leadership skills" are present in each battalion.

Army chief General Bikram Singh has directed all the six operational commands — and the 13 Corps under them — in the 1.13-million strong force to implement the "new HRD philosophy" that is geared towards "saving around 43,000 officer man-days" every year.

The availability of more officers in each battalion — the infantry alone has 355 battalions — for "proper command and control" of its 800-900 soldiers is felt to be a critical requirement. At present, there is a crippling shortage of officers in the Army, making do as it is with only 37,509 of them as compared to an "authorised strength" of 47,916. To make matters worse, the overwhelming deficiency is in the junior ranks of lieutenants, captains, majors and lieutenant-colonels, who actually lead the troops into battle.

"An infantry battalion is authorised 21 officers. But even units deployed in forward areas barely have 10-12 officers each. Apart from the general shortage, each battalion has to send young officers for a multitude of courses," said a senior officer.

As per the new HRD guidelines, based on a study conducted by the Army Training Command-based in Shimla, the number, duration and capacity of courses has been curtailed. "Certain courses like signals, behavioural and social sciences have been scrapped. New courses like leadership development, in turn, have been introduced," said another officer.

Incidentally, the Army has projected a requirement of 16,222 additional officers by 2020 in tune with the raising of the new mountain strike corps and other modernization projects. Much like the officers, a new HRD philosophy for the around 91,000 JCOs (junior commissioned officers like subedars), who act as the bridge between officers and jawans, is also in the works. Both officers and JCOs have been found wanting in the recent face-offs, with their high-handed behaviour infuriating the jawans.

"The Army for long has had a feudal culture. But the socioeconomic-educational gap between the officers and jawans has lessened over the last decade. Then there is big dip in leadership qualities and moral fibre among officers. Seniors also do not properly mentor junior officers like it was done before," said a retired general.
With at least six officer-jawan face-offs being reported since mid-2010, the Army leadership has been dwelling upon the measures needed to stem the `increase in indiscipline cases" and the "deteriorating officer-men relationship" that can corrode the very backbone of the highly-disciplined force. With General Bikram Singh holding there will be "zero-tolerance" for such cases, the Army commanders conference from next week is also expected to discuss the issue.
Reforms have left the Army in chaos
 Controversial plans to restructure the Army are “failing” because cuts to the defence budget are putting off potential new soldiers and making Britain a “hostile recruiting environment”, according to a leaked document.

The memo, which is understood to have had wide distribution within the Ministry of Defence, says that “disappointing” recruitment to the new Army Reserve means that targets for a larger part-time force will not be reached.

The recruitment crisis means the Army faces “increased risk to its structure and operational capability”, according to the document, which has been seen by The Telegraph.

The Coalition is cutting the full-time Army from 102,000 to about 82,000 soldiers. Those cuts are supposed to be offset by a major expansion in the part-term reserve force, which was expected to grow from about 19,000 to 30,000.

The 10-page report, dated Aug 6 and marked “restricted”, claims the Army is currently recruiting barely half the number of new reservists needed to hit that target.
Army officer is suspect in wife’s murder, say police
A day after the 24-year-old Saujanya, the wife of an Army non-commissioned officer (NCO), was found murdered in her Sarojini Nagar home, investigators have found that money was missing from her purse, even though no other articles or valuables were found to have been stolen.

Police had earlier said no evidence of robbery had been found, and even the locks on the almirahs were untouched. However, the woman Saujanya's husband Kishore claimed that Rs 1500 was missing from her purse.

Police sources said the husband was a prime suspects so far as there were no signs of forced entry. Police are waiting for the autopsy report to confirm the time of death.

"If the time of death is found to be before 8 am on Tuesday, Kishore would be put under the radar. He usually leaves home around 8 am and returns at 6 pm," a source said.

However, police enquiries made at the Sena Bhavan found that Kishore, a head constable with the Army, had been in his office all day.

Saujanya was found dead on Tuesday evening by Kishore when he returned home from work. Preliminary medical reports showed that she had multiple stab wounds and her throat had been slit.

The couple, who hail from Andhra Pradesh, was allotted government accommodation in Delhi recently after Kishore was transferred here.

Police sources also said the investigation team was trying to track down all people whose mobile numbers were found to be active in the area during the time of the murder. They are likely to be questioned individually to ascertain the reason of their presence in the area at that time.
Ashok Leyland, L&T in line for army rocket launcher order
Hinduja Group company Ashok Leyland, along with Larsen & Toubro (L&T), is reportedly on the verge of getting an order from the Indian Army, to supply Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers.

V Sumantran, vice-chairman of Ashok Leyland, told Business Standard: “We (it is a joint bid with L&T) are the L1 (meaning, lowest bidder) in the tender which was opened. Discussions are going on. Most likely, we will execute the order to supply about 100 units.”

He said the company was also making efforts to boost its presence in defence logistics, with a heavier truck programme.
It may be noted, all the transport and logistics the company we do in Ashok Leyland, the tactical armoured vehicles and special projects are done through defence company. “We do about around 2,000 vehicles every year. This year also we will do the same level”.

Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS), a joint venture company, provide tactical and armoured solutions to address defense requirements in India and globally.

Ashok Leyland Defence Systems (ALDS), a joint venture company, provides solutions for defence requirements. According to the company's website, the two partners for the company's business in this segment are Panhard General Defense, France, and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) GmbH and Co KG, Germany. The company is the largest supplier of logistics vehicles to the Indian Army. “We do about 2,000 vehicles every year,” said Sumantran.

Leyland also supplies a large number of vehicles for various applications to the air force and navy, and to para-military forces, such as troop carriers, refuellers, vehicles for gun mounting, fire-fighting, UAV support and recovery vehicles, flat-bed trucks and buses.

According to Sumantran, defence was adjacency for the company which it saw as part of its strategies in the last five years. “It is logical to grow and it is something that the company felt will provide the scale and will help to leverage its competency and capability”.

He noted last five years were spent on the backdrop of a careful and clear strategic growth plan. The company which has been core medium and heavy vehicle (M&HCV), realised that scale is important to grow.

“In this industry without scale you can't be a long time player and for us to achieve scale, we did number of things, apart from core business (commercial vehicles, buses, foundries, engines),” he added.

Then the company saw a huge growth on the Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) side, and it was a logical investment along with Nissan and then it saw an opportunity in construction equipment and infrastructure and therefore it made investment, along with John Deere.

While these gave more platform, ofcourse tit also invested in upgrading its products and capacities on the core business, which is M&HCV. The new Pantnagar, Uttarkhand is a fully integrated and importantly higher productivity with lower cost, said Sumantaran.

“Now its time for us to realise the benefit of more modern product lines, benefits of productive manufacturing plant and realise the benefit of better products features, performance like fuel efficiency. I would say bulk of our investments are behind us and now hopefully we will make better harvesting from the investments we made,” said Sumantaran.
Indian Army pays homage to soldier killed in Kashmir
 The Indian Army on Wednesday paid homage to the soldier killed in Pakistani firing a day earlier even as his colleagues described him as a brave fighter.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Northern Army Commander at a ceremony at Rajouri to pay tributes to Lance Naik Mohd Firoz Khan of Rashtriya Rifles.

The soldier was killed following unprovoked firing by the Pakistan Army from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Bhimber Gali in Rajouri district.

Soldiers who witnessed the heavy mortar shelling by the Pakistanis on Tuesday followed by heavy firing from both sides said Khan was a fearless and dedicated soldier.

"He did not falter even in the face of heavy firing while maintaining vigil on the LoC," which divides Jammu and Kashmir between Pakistan and India, a defence ministry statement quoted a soldier as saying.

Khan, 31, was a resident of Hyderabad and is survived by his wife and two children.
Manmohan's China visit: Border pact to prevent face-offs likely
Seeking to prevent face-offs between the two armies along the LAC, India and China are expected to sign Border Defence Cooperation Agreement during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's three-day visit to China starting from October 22.

The Cabinet Committee on Security is expected to discuss the border pact, which proposes to prevent face-offs between the troops of the two countries along the over 4,000 km disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC), in its meeting on Thursday, sources said here.

The visit to China by the Prime Minister would be part of his two-nation tour, the first leg of which will take him to Russia from October 20-22. During his stay, he will hold talks with President Vladimir Putin.

In the second leg of the tour, Singh will visit China and meet his counterpart Li Keqiang to hold discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues with a view to strengthening the partnership between the two countries, an MEA release said.

The Prime Minister will also meet President Xi Jinping and National People's Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang, it said.

The BDCA is expected to be signed during the Prime Minister's visit, sources said here.

They said there are still certain differences over the modalities of some of the new CBMs agreed upon between the two sides including a hotline to be established between the two militaries but they are expected to be kept in abeyance for the time being.

The two sides are understood to have agreed upon setting up a hotline between the two militaries but so far, there is no agreement over the officers who would talk to each other from either side.

India had proposed a hotline between the Director Generals of Military Operations but the Chinese side is understood to have conveyed that they do not have any such designation in their Army.

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