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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

From Today's Papers - 17 Dec 2013

Major, jawans booked for attacking J-K cops
Our correspondent
Tribune News Service

Rajouri, December 16
The Rajouri police have booked about 10 Army men, including a Major and his Captain wife, for organising an attack on a police party.

Noushera SHO Inspector Yashpal said Major Utsav was travelling in an Alto car along with his wife Captain Urvi Bhattacharya and one-year-old daughter yesterday. He was stopped by a police party at Gujral Chowk as the car had tinted glasses.

Inspector Yashpal said he told the Major that the use of tinted glasses was not allowed in vehicles. This infuriated Major Utsav and an altercation ensued between them. The police seized the car. Major Utsav informed the ADS unit about the incident and around 10 Army men reached the spot.

“Army men thrashed some policemen with lathis and rifle buts. The Major tried to drive away the car forcibly, but could not succeed,” said the SHO.

The Major, his wife and other Army men had been booked under various Sections of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA), the SHO said. SN Acharya, Officiating PRO, Defence, however, said there was no use of force during the incident. “Reports of attack on policemen are incorrect. The Army has, however, ordered an inquiry into the incident,” he added.

Major Utsav is posted at the IME unit at Garhi while his wife is posted as a doctor at the ADS unit in Noushera tehsil.
 63 Cavalry celebrates 1971 victory
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
Army’s 63 Cavalry, which was part of a five-pronged simultaneous armoured attack on East-Pakistan in 1971, today culminated its two-day celebrations and reunion to mark the 42nd Battle Honour Day.

The regiment has the distinction of earning battle honour of ‘Bogra’ and Theatre Honour ‘East Pakistan’ in 1971. The regiment with its five-pronged attack was referred by the Pakistanis as the “Ghost Regiment”.

The regiment celebrated the event at Khasa, Amritsar. A “Tresath Seema Sampark Motor Cycle Rally” was also flagged in by Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) KG Jalnawala, the senior-most veteran of the regiment.

The team of four riders led by Lieutenant Lionel Joseph Wilkins was flagged off from North-Sikkim by the GoC 33 Corps Lt Gen KJ Singh, who is also the Colonel of the regiment. The riders covered a distance of 2,795 kilometers.

A sound and light show showcasing the journey of the regiment its raising in January 1957 in Alwar and important events along the journey.

Some of the veterans, such as Lt General SS Mehta (retd), who was the leader of the Tank troop that first entered Dhaka, were also present.
 To strengthen ties, India to host Japanese navy in Dec-end
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
In a bid to strengthen ties with other nations, India under its ‘Look East’ policy will host the Japanese Naval forces this month-end. It will host the navies of 20 other nations in February 2014 at a major event to be held in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Ironically, India’s globally competing neighbour China has frosty ties and disputes with Japan and also with some of the 20 nations that will send their navies to India in the first week of February 2014. The Japanese Naval forces called the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) would be here at the end of this month as part of the ‘Japan India Maritime Exercise’ - JIMEX, sources said.

The Japanese will bring along three of their warships and India would have the same number. The first such exercise was held in 2012 and the second comes just months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe had announced in Tokyo in May that sea-based forces of the two countries would conduct joint exercises on “regular basis with increased frequency”.

India and Japan already have a bilateral maritime affairs dialogue, the first meeting of which was held in January this year in New Delhi. Announcements made by the two Prime Ministers have made Beijing react rather sharply. The country’s ruling Communist Party-run newspaper the ‘Global Times’, wrote an article “India gets close to Japan at its own peril”.

Another mouth-piece - ‘People’s Daily’ - termed the Japanese as “petty burglars”. And this ‘warning’ to India came less than two weeks after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang ended a three-day visit to India (May 19-21) amid promises of resolving the 167-year-old boundary dispute with India.

The next step will be when India would play host to 20 nations as part of exercise Milan, a bi-annual event, closely watched by China.

Some of the invitees like Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia have overlapping claims and disputes with China in hydrocarbon rich South China Sea. The Milan exercise that first started in 1995 as part of India’s “Look East” policy with just five countries participating in it has been growing as India expands its footprint eastwards.

New Delhi needs to protect the sea lanes of communication that carry cargo-laden merchant ships and has assumed the role of the “net security provider” in the Indian Ocean.

Trade between India and ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries is likely to reach $100 billion by 2015 and most of it will be through the sea route that passes through the Straits of Malacca.
 Consolidating ties
India and Afghanistan move closer

President Hamid Karzai’s visit to India is one that both sides will look at with satisfaction. He has met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the 2011 Strategic Partnership Agreement has borne fruit. India will now provide military equipment to the Afghan armed forces in addition to the training and other assistance that it is rendering. This may even include helicopters configured according to the Afghan specifications. In recent years, the role that the Indian armed forces have played in providing essential help to the Afghan army has increased, which is a natural corollary of the withdrawal of the Western forces from the war-weary nation.

India and Afghanistan have a long-standing relationship, one that dates back to centuries. In the post-2011 Afghanistan, India provided substantial aid in the form of infrastructural development and medical assistance, while carefully keeping Indian soldiers off the ground in Afghanistan. It has kept its strategic link intact while performing a delicate diplomatic dance to allay regional apprehensions of its role. It now seems that Kabul's request for more military assistance, too, has met with a positive response. It can well be argued that India needs to up the ante by training more than the limited number of Afghan National Army officers and men that have received training so far. The Indian Army has a proven track record, and its help has been acknowledged by the Afghans.

President Karzai has performed the difficult task of marginalising the Taliban, whose writ ran large over Afghanistan before 2001. The country faces a tough time ahead as the Western powers withdraw their soldiers and the Afghans look at a future where they will have to fend for themselves. India needs to invest more in Afghanistan's future, not only economically, as it has done by providing over $2 billion in aid, but also by helping the Afghans to look after their internal security. The volatile situation in Afghanistan with the Taliban on one side and the Karzai-led government on the other, will continue to throw up challenges. However, as the visit of the Afghan President shows, there is still a tremendous reservoir of goodwill that the two countries can tap into as they look at a brighter future.
A Brigadier’s riposte to the red beacon
Lieut-Gen (retd) Baljit Singh
A few days ago when the Supreme Court pronounced on curbing the unseemly proliferation of red beacons mounted atop official cars, I wondered whether their Lordships were guided by the past that till August 1947, this symbolism was confined almost exclusively to commanders (Brigadiers and above) in the armed forces alone. Much like their badges of rank, the red beacon was simply an additional trapping of command as distinct from any symbol of office per se. And I was reminded of a hilarious story of how Lieut-Col Barry Jackson (BJ) strove to preserve this cherished distinction.

BJ was reclusive by nature and it suited him that they had a bungalow, without any neighbours. After office-hours, his passion lay in his well-equipped workshop in the largest room of their bungalow. He would be building or repairing his sail-boats and/or his faithful, old Morris car. Suitable attachments were fabricated either to his own designs or borrowed from sporting magazines to carry one sail boat complete with the riggings upon the car roof. When almost every one congregated at the Officer's Institute on Saturday evenings, BJ in his dungarees would be readying the car for the Sunday family outing, sailing and picnicking with their pet dogs.

Perhaps the most loveable trait came to light when BJ was promoted to Command 19 Artillery Brigade, the only at the time (1950s) in the Srinagar valley. It was a common austerity practice in the Army those days to prescribe the maximum mileage limit, for each vehicle by type, for the year. However, the motor-cycles were kept outside the ambit of any such restrictions. So when Brigadier BJ’s staff car had logged its annual mileage quota, and there were four months ahead yet, he simply commandeered an Army motor cycle to discharge his command functions. His staff rose to the occasion. The machine was given a fresh coat of paint and the commander’s pennant was duly mounted atop the front mud-guard. One star plate was bolted to the handle bar and in the rear, another replaced the mud-flap. However, the staff were at their wits’ end as to where and how to install the flashing red beacon? BJ with his inimitable humour simply replaced his khaki beret with a striking pink-red one, when riding his machine! And in the process, acquired the sobriquet “Red Beret Jackson”!

However, the true-to-life BJ was in his elements sans any frills, that is, in olive-green overalls, canvas shoes, a corn-cob smoking pipe (a la General Douglas MacArthur) and the Grouse-shooter's tweed cap (the classic, golfing cap as opposed to today's skull caps). Lean and upright like a bean-stalk, not an ounce of fat, smiling grey eyes and a warm, big heart. He seldom lost composure, spoke only when he must and was held in a kind of awe which comes from genuine respect rather than fear of admonishment. And as they say, BJ remained a “Verray parfit, gentil knyght” with or without the red beacon!
Antony: Chinese incursions possible
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16
Admitting that local-level tensions along the India-China boundary were a reality, Defence Minister AK Antony today said that future transgressions by troops could not be ruled out totally.

He said that the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), signed in October, was helping in sorting out irksome issues much faster.

Antony was speaking after paying homage at the memorial at India Gate to mark Vijay Divas. Vijay Divas is celebrated to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

He said issues like transgressions were now getting resolved immediately in the wake of the signing of the BDCA, inked when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Beijing.

Antony said: "Our decision is to maintain peace and tranquillity. Whenever any incident takes place... that possibility cannot be ruled out as the boundary is very long, both sides should come together and resolved it amicably."

He was asked to comment on the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and in the backdrop of Chinese troops recently apprehending five Indian shepherds on the charge that they were in Chinese territory and returned them only after a flag meeting between the two sides.

India and China have 167-year-old boundary dispute. Both sides dispute the alignment of the 4,057-km long Line of Actual Control -- the name of the de facto border between the two countries.

The incident related to the five shepherds had occurred in the Chumar sector located on the south-eastern edge of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir in the first week of December.

With temperatures in those areas plunging to minus 30 degrees Celsius, it is reported that the horses belonging to the shepherds had strayed across the border and were detained by the Chinese. There is no demarcated alignment of the LAC on the ground.

On the incident, Antony said the Indians who were apprehended by PLA troops were civilians and not Army personnel and the matter was resolved through talks.

“Of late, we have been able to resolve issues without much delays. That is an improvement,” the Defence Minister said.

To a question on the border pact with the Chinese, he said, "After the agreement -- by and large -- whenever any issue arises, we are able to resolve it as quickly as possible. It does not mean that there would not be any issue as long as the India-China border issue is not settled. There can always be a possibility."

India and China had signed the agreement with an aim of preventing any possible flare-up between the two sides along the LAC, where both the countries have been upgrading their infrastructure.

Commenting on the ongoing boundary resolution talks between the Special Representatives of the two countries, the Defence Minister said that people should "not expect miracles".

“What we are trying is that till a satisfactory solution to the boundary issue is found, whenever incidents take place on the border, through discussions and the official mechanism, resolve those issues,” he said.
India marks 1971 victory over Pakistan
 New Delhi, Dec 16 (IBNS): Defence Minister A K Antony and the three Service Chiefs paid homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of Vijay Diwas - 2013 in New Delhi on Monday.

Every year, this day is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Indian Armed Forces over Pakistan leading to the historic creation of Bangladesh.

The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi and Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh laid the wreath along with the Defence Minister and paid tributes to the martyrs who fell while fighting the enemy during the 1971 Operation.

As the bugles sounded the last post, two minutes’ silence was observed.

On the occasion, the Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh and senior officials from all the three wings of Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence were present.

On December 16 every year, citizens, officials, students and war veterans lay wreaths and remember the sacrifices of the soldiers.

The anniversary of Vijay Divas is observed across the country by paying tributes to the martyrs.
ISAF head meets Pakistan Army chief
Close on the heels of a visit by the US Defence Secretary, the head of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan today met new Pakistan Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

"It was a routine coordination visit, the two discussed matters of mutual interest with particular focus on Pakistan-Afghanistan border coordination mechanism," a statement from the Pakistan military said about the visit by ISAF chief Gen Joseph Dunford.

The trip came just days after US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel reportedly warned leaders here that if they failed to resolve protests stalling NATO supplies to Afghanistan, it could be difficult to maintain political support in Washington for an aid programme that has sent billions of dollars to Pakistan.

The Foreign Office has rejected reports that Hagel had warned Pakistan during his quick visit to the country.

On December 14, Gen Sharif met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to devise a strategy for the early resumption of suspended NATO supplies through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

The supplies were suspended last month after Imran Khan's party blocked routes running through Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which it rules, to protest against US drone strikes.
DGMOs of India, Pak to meet when needed: Antony
The Directors General of Military Operations of India and Pakistan will meet each other when they feel the need for it, Defence Minister AK Antony said here today.

"The two DGMOs are talking and let them talk. Whenever they feel, they will meet. It is up to them," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function to celebrate India's victory in 1971 war with Pakistan.

The Minister was asked why the meeting between the two DGMOs was not taking place despite directions issued by prime ministers of the two countries in this regard.

"Of late, the incidents of firing on the Line of Control have come down. Not completely, but it has come down of late," Antony said on the situation on the LoC.

The DGMO-level meeting was first proposed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's talks with his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in the US.

DGMOs of the two sides talk to each other on Tuesdays and discuss the issue of ceasefire violations on the LoC and the International Border.

Flag meetings to be held at local formation commander level are mostly fixed during these talks.

This year, there have been more than 150 ceasefire violations by the Pakistan side and they have also carried out attacks inside the Indian territory on certain occasions.

The Indian Army's preparedness on the LoC has also been questioned after raids by Border Action Teams (BATs) of the Pakistan Army in January and August.
Heavy Drop System Meets Performance Parameters

A newly developed 16 tonne capacity Heavy Drop System (HDS) consisting of a platform and a highly advanced system of parachutes to drop loads successfully met performance parameters on Sunday.  The system, which can drop loads of military stores such as vehicles including BMP class, supplies and ammunition from IL76 heavy lift aircraft, demonstrated two successful drops.

Defence sources said three prototypes of the system designed and developed by the Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), an Agra-based laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had been realised.

The system is an extension of technology developed by DRDO for ‘P-7 HDS’, a seven-tonne capacity HDS developed earlier and already accepted by Indian Army for induction.

Appreciating the development, Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister and Secretary of Department of Defence (Research and Development) Avinash Chander said the system offered ‘drop and drive’ capability and once inducted, it would considerably enhance the capabilities of armed forces.  “DRDO is the prime agency for development of parachute systems and has developed wide range of parachute systems for applications covering delivery of military needs and human beings at battle field and remote locations, recovery (from spin) of parachute system for Light Combat Aircraft and recovery system of Space Recovery Experiment (SRE),” Chander added.

P-7 heavy drop system (P-7 HDS) has been developed for paradropping military equipment such as military vehicles and ammunition trolleys from IL-76 aircraft and comprises two main sub-system-platforms and parachute sub-system.

The platform has a set of removable wheels which provide transportability for load to be taken to the airfield by means of towing it behind a suitable vehicle once the load is prepared at the distantly located unit.

Among various mechanism, Platform Fastening and Release Lock (PFRL) is an important device which ensures safe carriage and release of load as well as from the aircraft in all possible flight manoeuvre conditions and emergency landing.

“The equipment kept on the platform is lashed with chains. The parachute system consists of three stages. The first stage is initiated on release command from air crew and extracts the load from aircraft cargo bay into airstream. Two auxiliary parachutes assist the opening of five main parachutes, each around 700 sq metres,” said a scientist associated with the project.

These parachutes reduce the descent rate to desired speed at touchdown. On impact with ground, parachutes are released by automatic disengage unit (ADU) to avoid dragging and toppling of load due to high surface wind, he added.

The design features built in the system ensure aircraft safety during separation of such a large body in a foolproof manner as well as smooth deployment of parachutes and landing of load at pre-designated target point.

The P-7 HDS has been tested extensively during the technical as well as users trials at different types of drop zones in planes, deserts and high altitude areas to prove its operational effectiveness.

During the development phase, the P-7 HDS system has participated in Army’s joint exercise (Excope-2009) with US Air Force and demonstration during Vayushakti-2010 at Pokhran witnessed by the President.

After successful completion, the system has been inducted in the Army. The bulk production of the parachute systems has started at an approximate cost of ` 180 crore.

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