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Monday, 21 October 2013

From Today's Papers - 21 Oct 2013

Army’s claim over Keran ops under lens
Defence Minister, NSA to review 15-day gun battle against large group of intruders in J&K

Srinagar/New Delhi, October 20
There is a growing disquiet over the 15-day Army operation, stretching on until well up to the second week of this month, in the Keran sector of Kupwara district in the north-west of J&K.

Defence Minister AK Antony will hold a high-level meeting with the armed forces later this month during which he is expected to review the Keran operation. The meeting comes against the backdrop of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressing his concern to the Defence Ministry over the handling of the operations, where it claimed to have engaged a large group of terrorists although nobody was found there after 15 days.

Antony’s review meeting will also include Defence Secretary RK Mathur and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, who had briefed the Prime Minister about the incident, is also expected to be present.

Prime Minister Manmohan had expressed concern over the incident as a lot of "exaggerated claims" were made by Army formations about their success. However, the results did not match the claims, reports said.

The army operations, which were said to have been stopped on October 8, continued even five days later till a joint BSF-Army managed to reach the three border posts located in Shalabhatu, a village divided between J&K and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, official sources said.

The Army's version that it killed eight terrorists around the site of infiltration appeared in contradiction with the FIRs filed by its units with the local police that said the causalities were reported from three different places that are far off from the Shalabatu village.

The three posts -- Khokhri, Kulari and Mangerta -- jointly held by the BSF and Army were taken over last Saturday.

In an email reply to questions, the Army Headquarters denied it and said, "This is incorrect. The troops on the ground were dominating the LoC and regularly approaching own posts at all times."

According to the FIRs, the Army recovered over seven bodies, 11 AK rifles, 20 pistols, eight rocket launchers, 12 grenade launchers, 44 grenades, one Tommy gun, 41 magazines, 24 magazine pistols, 985 rounds of AK ammunition, 80 rounds of pistol and 52 rounds of Tommy gun and nothing was recovered from Shalabatu area.

However, the Army, in its reply, maintained that during the operations, 59 weapons including 18 AK rifles were recovered.

Shalabatu village was one of the known infiltration routes in early 1990s. A report filed by central as well as state security agencies about the Keran encounter have picked holes in the Army's version of the episode.

The first FIR was registered on September 24 in which one militant, aged 65-70, was killed. The FIR, 237/13 was filed in Kupwara mentioning that an encounter had taken place at Lasadnath area, a place from where it takes three days to reach Shalabatu. — PTI

Claims, counter-claims

    Army's version that it killed 8 terrorists around the site of infiltration appeared in contradiction with the FIRs filed by its units with the local police.
    The causalities were reported from 3 different places that are far off from the Shalabatu village, the site of the intrusion
    The Defence Ministry has discussed with the Army HQ the issue in which details of operations figured prominently
Pak PM rakes up Kashmir; US says won’t intervene

Islamabad/Washington, October 20
Ahead of his meeting with President Barack Obama, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today sought US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue. The Obama Administration, on its part, was quick to dismiss the demand.

“There has not been an iota of change in our policy on Kashmir which considers it a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan,” said a senior US official.

Earlier in the day, Sharif,who arrived in the US on four-day visit, had said: "Though India did not want such (third party) intervention, but the world powers should get involved to resolve the (Kashmir) issue.

"India and Pakistan both were nuclear powers and the region was a nuclear flash point," state-run APP news agency quoted the Prime Minister as saying. Replying to a query on Kashmir, Sharif said during his US visit in July 1999 amid the Kargil conflict, he had clearly told then President Bill Clinton that if the US intervened, Kashmir issue could be resolved.

"I told him if he spends 10 per cent of the time he was spending on the Middle East, the Kashmir issue between the two countries would resolve," he said.

Sharif said for the last 60 years both sides were entangled in an arms race. — PTI

India rejects Sharif’s demand

Rejecting Nawaz Sharif's demand for US intervention in resolving the Kashmir issue, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday said India will not accept this as the matter is a bilateral one agreed to between the two nations. "There is no way in which India will accept any intervention on an issue that is entirely accepted in the Simla Agreement as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan," he said.
US quietly releasing $1.6 bn aid to Pak

Washington, October 20
The United States has quietly decided to release more than $1.6 billion in military and economic aid to Pakistan. The aid was suspended when relations between the two countries disintegrated over the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden and the deadly US air strikes against Pakistani soldiers.

Officials and Congressional aides said ties have improved enough to allow the money to flow again. The US and Pakistan recently announced the restart of their “strategic dialogue” after a long pause.

Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is traveling to Washington for talks this coming week with President Barack Obama.

According to Fox News, Congress has cleared most of the money, and it should start moving early next year, officials and Congressional aides said.

The State Department and the US Agency for International Development informed Congress that it planned to restart a wide range of assistance for Pakistan, mostly dedicated to helping the country fight terrorism.

The US sees that effort as essential as it withdraws troops from neighbouring Afghanistan next year and tries to leave a stable government behind. Other funds include help for Pakistani law enforcement and a multibillion-dollar dam in disputed territory. — ANI
Assessing if Pak is serious about LoC truce: India
Says DGMOs are trying to find a way forward to end violations
KV Prasad/TNS

Moscow, October 20
India is trying to assess whether Pakistan is serious or not about restoring truce along the Line of Control. It also said it will give the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries a chance to end ceasefire violations before deciding its next strategy.

Sources in the government said following the decision arrived at after a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York last month, the two DGMOs are in touch.

"The two DGMOs are in touch and it is for them to find a way. Let both try and work a way forward and we will assess the situation whether there is seriousness on part of Pakistan side to respect and restore ceasefire," the sources said here.

There are reports that the DGMOs on either side are expected to meet soon to discuss the ceasefire violations. Sources said while it was natural at this time of the year to see a 'spike' in infiltration attempts, the government will analyse the data and see if there is a pattern to it. With winter about to set in, there are infiltration attempts from across the border.

According to data available, the number of incidents last year was slightly over 100. By the first week of October this year, the number of incidents have nearly doubled. "Certainly it is more than last year. We will analyse and draw conclusions about Pakistan behaviour'' the sources said.

However, the sources said there was no confirmation available of a possible meeting between the two DGMOs on Monday, as being reported by some newspapers in Pakistan.

LoC trouble

    There are reports that the DGMOs on either side are expected to meet soon to discuss the ceasefire violations
    According to data available, the number of incidents last year was slightly over 100. By the first week of October this year, the number of incidents have nearly doubled
    With winter about to set in, infiltration attempts from across the border are set to rise further
 Retired paramilitary men seek better deal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 20
With lakhs of paramilitary personnel facing threat to their lives in Naxal-hit areas and along the frontiers with Pakistan, Bangladesh and China, their retired brethren have asked for compassionate treatment while dealing with cases of their family pension and medical treatment. They have also demanded the setting up of a commission to deal with pending issues.

The paramilitary forces include the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Sahastra Seema Bal (SSB). The existing strength of these forces is around 11 lakh, while the number of retired one is around 9 lakh.

The BSF is the first line of defence along the Indo-Pak and the Indo-Bangladesh border, the ITBP is posted shoulder-to-shoulder with the Army along the frontier with China, the CRPF undertakes anti-Maoist operations, while the CISF guards key installations like atomic energy plants, industrial complexes, oil refineries and airports.

Retired paramilitary personnel, under the aegis of the All-India Central Paramilitary Forces Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association, have announced that they will now gherao headquarters of the each force at the Central Government Offices (CGO) complex in New Delhi.

In a letter to the PM, the association has pointed out the nature of their duties is akin to that of military personnel, but do not get all the facilities and privileges to which the armed forces personnel are entitled. The association has also demanded a separate set of rules like the three armed forces.
 Fighter jets getting facelift with modern gadgetry
Dassault deal far away, IAF begins fleet upgrade
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, October 20
Faced with the reality that the deal to buy 126 new fighters from France’s Dassault Aviation will not be inked for the next few months and could possibly be delayed till the next government is in saddle in May next year, the Indian Air Force has begun upgrading a major chunk of its fleet of fighters.

The IAF faces a crisis as the key IAS official handling the Dassault Aviation purchase in the Ministry of Defence died of an heart attack a couple of weeks ago. The process is complex and the new appointee may take a few months to understand the matter that relates to purchase of 125 twin-engine Rafale planes at the cost of $15 billion (approx Rs 90,000 crore at today’s valuation). Moreover, the ongoing issue of localisation of production is yet to be sorted out.

As of now, the IAF is upgrading some 210 fighter jets in its fleet to meet the challenges and equip the planes with the gadgetry of today’s war fighting scenario. The upgrades will be on the Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar, all purchased in the 1980s from France, Russia and the UK, respectively.

The next phase will be to upgrade the older lot of Sukhoi-30 MKI planes to equip them with latest radars like the ‘X-band’ allowing a simultaneous track on 30 aerial targets and engage at least six of them. Also the radar signature will be reduced and it will have a new longer range missiles.

The upgrade was anyway needed to bring the planes in tune with latest technology, but the slow place on deciding on the purchase of 126 Rafale has added a tinge of urgency. The IAF Chief had said on October 4: “Negotiations are still on. I cannot place a timeline on when the deal will be signed…The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Dassault are in talks and hope they come with an agreement”.

Besides this, starting next year, three different versions of the MiG 21 planes are to be phased out. Also the MiG 27, another Soviet-era plane used by the IAF, will be phased out. These two planes form the lowest layer of IAF fighter jets in terms of technology. The MiG 29, the Mirage-2000 and the Jaguar are the second layer while Sukhoi-30 MKI is the frontline top-layer.

The IAF has a sanctioned strength of 42 squadrons (some 16 to 18 planes in each) but it has just 33. The 34th, a Sukhoi-30-MKI squadron, is being raised at Sirsa in Haryana.

The upgrades will make the IAF carry on with the older planes for at least 15 more years. The MiG 29 fleet of 62 twin-engined planes inducted in the mid 1980s is being upgraded at a cost of $964 million. The upgrade will convert these planes into multi-role fighters, a new avionics suite, latest radars. Similarly the fleet of 51 Mirage-2000 planes is being upgraded under a $2.4 billion contract by Dassault Aviation, its manufacturer. This will also have a new radar, a night vision compatible digital cockpit, helmet-mounted sights and new missiles.

Fitness exercise

* The upgrades will be on the Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar, all purchased in the 1980s from France, Russia and the UK, respectively.

* The next phase will be to upgrade the older lot of Sukhoi-30 MKI planes to equip them with latest radars like the 'X-band' allowing a simultaneous track on 30 aerial targets

* The Jaguars, around 100 with the IAF, called the ‘deep penetration strike aircraft’, will get a new engine and weapons delivery system
 Pak violations
Sharif must end firing on border

For the past few months now, exchanges of fire between Pakistani and Indian soldiers have become the norm along the Line of Control (LoC). Of late, however, firing has erupted between the two sides along the international border (IB) that divides J&K and Pakistani Punjab. In recent incidents, a BSF constable has been killed, four others and six local residents have been wounded. The incidents of firing are a gross violation of an agreement reached between the two countries in November 2003 to observe ceasefire along all three portions of the borders with Pakistan in J&K — the LoC, IB and the Actual Ground Position Line. The agreement held for about nine years before Pakistani troops began violating it on a near regular basis last year.

In recent months, not only has the frequency of violations increased, but the incidence of firing has expanded to other areas, including the Kargil sector and the IB. The Pakistanis had beheaded one soldier and mutilated the body of another. The violations continue notwithstanding the recent elections that saw Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif come to power. Sharif has been pledging peace and harmony in bilateral relations. Instead, soon after coming to power, Sharif’s government passed an anti-India resolution while extending support to the Kashmiri ‘struggle’ against the Indian Union. On Sunday, Sharif went on to seek US President Barack Obama’ intervention to resolve the Kashmir issue. All these events seem to indicate that Sharif is either reneging on his earlier stand or that he is not in control of the forces inimical to India, especially the Pakistani Army and the ISI.

It may be too early to conclude that the situation along the LoC and the IB is returning to the pre-November 2003 period when firing, attacks and counter-attacks by the two armies were the norm. But there remains a danger that the situation may escalate if such incidents continue. Sharif needs to rein in his Army and put a stop to ceasefire violations if he wants a meaningful peace process. The Indian Army needs to stay alert to such attacks and take all measures necessary to deal with Pakistani belligerence on the borders.|head
Bureaucracy Strangles Indian Modernization Efforts
Bureaucratic hurdles and government indecision continue to cripple India’s Army modernization plans, and planners say with no major acquisitions in the past five years, the Army must fight a domestic low-intensity conflict with outdated, ineffective weaponry.

The Army faces a weapons shortfall with an inventory about 40 percent to nearly 65 percent outdated, the planners added.

The planners warned that unless US $50 billion in new acquisitions are put on a fast track, the Army’s defense preparedness will be pushed back by at least 10 years.

One senior Army official said infantry, mechanized and armored forces, artillery, logistics, ordnance, air defense and aviation all face vast equipment shortfalls, and major purchases are 10 years behind schedule.

“We are even not prepared for basic war with our hostile neighbor Pakistan,” the Army official said.

Land forces will continue to be of prime importance, given the geopolitical situation, said most analysts.

“With over 15,000 kilometers of land boundary, almost one-third of which is disputed, a continental war will continue to be relevant both in the conventional and subconventional paradigm,” said Rahul Bhonsle, retired Indian Army brigadier general and defense analyst. “The Indian Army will have to sustain the present capabilities while upgrading these to fight in a mobile, network-centric environment in the deserts, plains and the mountains.

“For this, focus on upgradation of weapons and equipment, as well as human resources, would be necessary to cope with future challenges.”

Budget allocations have not been a major problem; complex Defence Ministry bureaucratic processes have largely been responsible for delays in procurement of essential weapons and equipment, several Army officials said.

For 2013-14, the Army received $3.3 billion out of $37.71 billion in total defense allocations, to buy new weapons and equipment, about the same amount it received for 2012-13. And yet, the Army returned nearly $259 million from fiscal 2012 because several defense programs could not be finalized.

Army purchase plans include replacing air defense systems, buying quick-reaction surface-to-air missiles, medium-range surface-to-air missiles, ultralight howitzers, military vehicles, light utility helicopters, UAVs, assault rifles and tactical communication radios.

The Army has to prepare to fight China and Pakistan simultaneously, an Army official said. But military planners privately say the pace of preparedness is slow.

“I see the defense preparedness only worsening as we go by and our mighty forces will still continue to operate and fight in the most inhospitable terrain and against a better equipped enemy, albeit for the motherland; and in return, the land responds with scanty respect for the heroes who are prepared to lay down their lives without even blinking an eye,” said K.V. Kuber, retired Indian Army colonel and defense analyst.

Defense planners also said there is little progress in replacing obsolete Army weapons and equipment. India needs to upgrade its rudimentary command, control, communication, intelligence and surveillance capabilities and improve its ability to launch offensive operations in the mountains, said Gurmeet Kanwal, retired Indian Army brigadier general and defense analyst.
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.
A month after cutting short meeting, House panel to discuss defence preparedness today
NEW DELHI: The parliamentary standing committee on defence has changed its original schedule to include fresh briefing on threat perception and preparedness of armed forces along the border. The meeting, scheduled for Monday morning, comes in the wake of a TOI report that the original meeting held on October 9 was abandoned midway by the members led by its chairman Raj Babbar, with the excuse that some of them had to catch flights home.

According to sources, the Parliament secretariat last week changed the original plan for Monday to include "threat perception and preparedness of the forces including incursion on borders". Under the original schedule issued to members earlier, it was to be held in the afternoon, and solely focused on various issues regarding Sainik Schools.

Under the revised plan, the standing committee will meet at 11.30 in the morning in the Parliament library building.

The TOI report on the callousness of the standing committee had kicked up all-round protests, with many political observers and dozens on social media ridiculing the political insensitivity at a time when the Indian Army was fighting terrorist-infiltrators in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

Monday's meeting will be briefed by the top brass of the defence ministry and senior leaders of all three services on threat perception and preparedness, coordination mechanism with paramilitary forces, and border connectivity by rail, air and road. The meeting will be followed by a working lunch.

In the afternoon, the standing committee will take oral evidence from defence ministry representatives and chief secretaries of seven states regarding action taken by them on a parliamentary report on functioning of Sainik Schools. The report had pointed out several problems with the way Sainik Schools were being run.

Sainik Schools, feeder organizations for the National Defence Academy, have been facing several financial and management issues, with its students, even from poor economic conditions, being forced to pay exorbitant fees.

The Babbar-led standing committee's attempt at getting a fresh briefing on border issues comes even as an American ship with a large cache of arms and ammunition was found roaming in Indian waters. All 33 crew members of the ship have been arrested in Chennai, even as the security establishment is baffled by the ship's intentions and huge armoury.

The standing committee's attitude towards the briefing being done by defence secretary, director general of military operations and other senior officials on October 9 was clearly symbolic of the ineffective role of parliamentary oversight committees in India. Many also pointed out that the government doesn't show much faith in the MPs who populate these committees, who are often not even given updated information.

A little over an hour into the October 9 meeting, even before the Army had finished its briefing, and Navy and IAF were awaiting their turn, Babbar called off the meeting. The excuse given was that many members had to catch flights back home.
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Foray to South Korea signals arms export ambitions of India
For six decades, slow progress in developing indigenous defence equipment and a Nehruvian squeamishness about exporting arms have together made India’s presence in the international arms only that of a buyer — last year the world’s biggest.

That has begun to change. A large Defence R&D Organisation (DRDO) team is heading to Seoul, in South Korea, where it will be one of the biggest exhibitors at the Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX-2013) later this month.

The DRDO will display a variety of indigenous defence systems at Seoul, including the Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM), the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Pragati surface-to-surface missile (SSM), an airborne early warning system (AEWS) and several other high-technology systems like sonar, battlefield radars, and identification-friend-or-foe (IFF) systems.

After half a century of operating below the international radar, often in the teeth of tough international sanctions, the DRDO’s emergence at Seoul highlights a growing confidence. With Rs 1,57,000 crore worth of DRDO-developed systems already in service with the Indian military and more on the cusp of delivery, the DRDO is targeting the Asia-Pacific region, where the rise of an assertive China is driving strong defence spending.

“A large number of products developed by DRDO and produced by Indian Industry including those being displayed at ADEX-2013, have immense export potential,” says the DRDO.

The military’s reluctance to induct DRDO weaponry into its arsenal has hindered overseas interest in Indian equipment. That is changing with the army and air force placing large orders of Akash SAM systems, the Tejas fighter entering squadron service, the Arjun tank proving its capability in comparative trials with the Russian T-90, and a string of development successes in ballistic missiles, radars and avionics.

The DRDO chief, Avinash Chander, confirms that at least two south-east Asian countries have expressed interest in buying the Indo-Soviet Brahmos supersonic cruise missile. He has declined to name the countries, but MoD insiders say they include Vietnam and Indonesia. There is also interest in the Akash SAM.

Significant foreign orders would drive down production costs, which are high because the Indian military places such small orders that economies of scale are unobtainable. The air force has so far ordered just one squadron of Tejas (20 aircraft), with one more squadron promised later. The army has ordered just 124 Arjun tanks, while an order of at least 300 tanks is needed for indigenising key components like the thermal imaging sights by purchasing technology and manufacturing them in India.

The DRDO intends to set up a marketing arm, a measure recommended by the Rama Rao Committee in its still classified 2008 report, entitled “Reconfiguring DRDO”. Meanwhile, the DRDO is doing its marketing in-house. In August, it sold an American company the technology to manufacture an Explosive Detection Kit in the US.

“We have been hesitant in showing our capabilities in building weapons. But in ADEX-2013, we will be telling the world that India is here. Our presence at Seoul will provide an opportunity for building technology partnerships for R&D and manufacture, and for creating export potential,” says Chander.

Several private sector companies that have partnered DRDO in manufacturing advanced defence platforms will also attend ADEX-2013. Tata Power (Strategic Electronics Division), which has built two of the Akash launchers that will be on display, will make its presence felt in Seoul. So too will public sector undertakings, Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Ltd.

“We want to project not just the DRDO, but all of India’s emerging defence capabilities. Indian industries are well-poised to emerge as Tier-1 and Tier-2 suppliers to foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), which will build capabilities and enhance exports,” points out the DRDO chief.

Among the hurdles before foreign vendors who choose to partner Indian companies are obtaining licences to produce defence equipment in India; and obtaining export permissions. The DRDO chief says these are not major issues, and the MoD would evaluate overseas requests on a case-by-case basis.

ADEX is being held at Seoul from October 29 to November 3, with more than 30 countries participating. The MoD has planned an Indo-Korean defence meet, where the Minister of State for Defence, Jitendra Singh will deliver the inaugural address, and an Indo-Korean industries meet.
DGMO must handle Pak border problems: India

India is inclined to encourage the two key army officers - Directors General of Military Operations - in Delhi and Islamabad to hold one-to-one meetings to restore peace along the border rather than jump to any conclusions about the recent ceasefire violations.

"The DGMOs are in touch with each other. It is for them to find a way to do the job that they have been tasked to do," official sources accompanying Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his back-to-back visits to Russia and China said in Moscow.

New Delhi and Islamabad had decided to get the DGMOs - who speak every Tuesday as part of an institutional mechanism - to sit across the table after Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month. Such interactions usually take place in the vicinity of a border post.

The initiative had come in the backdrop of the Indian army reporting a concerted attempt by Pakistan army backed militants to infiltrate into the country in north Kashmir's Keran sector, a charge that the defence establishment in Islamabad was quick to brush aside. Also, there were conflicting reports on the extent and nature of the intrusions.

On Saturday, Border Security Force guards bore the brunt of ceasefire violations along the International Border.

The DGMO-level talks have not happened so far, but official sources said both sides were working towards it.

In the meantime, New Delhi is going to make a full-fledged assessment of the ceasefire violations.

It was common for the number of attempted infiltrations to spike before the onset of winters. Pakistani forces often give the infiltrators covering fire if need be.

"It needs to be seen if the ceasefire violations are linked to the intrusion attempts," said a government source.

"We need to see how the pattern has changed and if the nature of the violations has changed," the source said, adding that New Delhi will "draw conclusions" about Pakistan's behaviour in light of this analysis.
India : INDIAN ARMY publishes tender for purchasing miniature unmanned aerial VEHICLES
A request for proposal (RFP) tender has been published by the Indian Army's Northern Command for purchasing miniature unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The move follows the increasing ceasefire violation along Jammu and Kashmir's (J&K) line of control (LoC) and international border.

The General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GoC-in-C) Northern Command is planning to purchase 49 NK Mini-UAVs.

In addition to specialised counter terrorist operations in J&K, the UAVs are expected to be used to collect intelligence and perform reconnaissance along LoC with Pakistan and Sino-India border in Lakdah.

Northern Command Headquarter's Electric and Mechanical Engineers (EMA) Branch senior officer as saying that the bids are invited from original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of defence procurement manual 2009 or permanent registered authorised distributors of OEM.

The UAVs should feature electronics sensors, a propulsion system, on-board camera, control mechanism, re-chargeable batteries, packing case and trans-receivers.

"The UAV should have an auto pilot onboard with mission pre-programming capability for autonomous operations."

The aerial vehicles should also weigh below 10kg and have the capability to fly at the altitude of up to 1,000m from hand launch and safe landing without landing strip.

In addition, the UAV should have an auto pilot onboard with mission pre-programming capability for autonomous operations.

The army units deployed in Northern Command's field of operations in J&K will use the 49 NK Mini-UAVs.

This year India has seen the highest ceasefire violations in past eight years with Pakistani troops violating border truce over 130 times along LoC in J&K, according to the news agency.

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