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Sunday, 22 December 2013

From Today's Papers - 22 Dec 2013

Kishenganga: India’s right upheld
Arbitration court rejects Pakistan objection to diversion of water for power by India in J-K
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 21
The International Court of Arbitration (ICA) has upheld India’s right to divert water from the Kishenganga river for power generation in Jammu and Kashmir.

In its final award announced at The Hague last evening, the seven-member court, headed by Stephen M Schwebel, unanimously decided that India must also release a minimum of 9 cumecs of water into the Kishenganga river below the Kishenganga Hydro Electric Project (KHEP) at all times to maintain the environment downstream.

“This is much lower than the 100 cumecs of natural flow of water that Pakistan wanted to maintain,” MEA spokesman Syed Akbaruddin noted when asked for his reaction to the final award.

But Islamabad also interpreted the court verdict as a victory. “The ICA has accepted Pakistan’s right to the water as a riparian state...the decision will safeguard our water rights,” Pakistan Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif was quoted as saying.

“At any time at which the daily average flow in the Kishenganga river immediately upstream of the KHEP is less than 9 cumecs, India shall release 100 per cent of the daily average flow immediately upstream of the KHEP into the Kishenganga river below the KHEP,” the court said.

The final award imposes no further restrictions on the operation of the KHEP, which remains subject to the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty.

The court also ruled that India or Pakistan could seek reconsideration of its decision after a period of seven years from the first diversion of water.

The Indian spokesman pointed out that the court, in its partial award delivered in February, had already upheld New Delhi’s main contention that it has the right to divert waters of the western rivers, in a non-consumptive manner, for the optimal generation of power.

“We have received the final award and the court’s decision on India’s request for clarification last night. These are technical documents that are being studied in detail by experts,” he added.

The KHEP is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from Kishenganga to a power plant in the Jhelum river basin.

The construction of the project began in 2007 and is expected to be completed by 2016.

The construction of the dam was halted by the ICA in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of Kishenganga.


May 17, 2010: Pak moved for arbitration against India under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty 1960

June 2011: The Court of Arbitration conducted a site visit

Feb 2012: A court delegation carried out a second site visit

Aug 20-31, 2012: The arbitration court held a 2-week hearing

Feb 18, 2013: Partial award issued

Dec 20, 2013: Final award upholds India’s right to divert water

Pak stand

Pakistan has claimed that the Kishenganga project would rob it of 15 per cent of its share of river waters. It also accused India of trying to divert the river water to harm Pakistan's Neelum-Jhelum hydel project.
 Bhiwani village waits for its martyred son
Deepender Deswal
Tribune News Service

Bhiwani, December 21
The family of Dharmesh Sangwan, India’s rowing star and Subedar in the Indian Army, was eagerly waiting for his scheduled return next month after he was deputed to strife-torn South Sudan along with the UN peacekeeping forces six months ago. But now, they are waiting for his body to be flown to his native village — Kheri Batar in the Dadri subdivision of the district.

Sangwan, 32, was deployed in South Sudan and was among the two Indian soldiers killed in an attack on a United Nations compound on Thursday night.

Reports said that rebels from the second-largest ethnic group, the Nuer, stormed the compound and targeted their rival ethnic community who had taken refuge at the base camp.

Sangwan and another soldier, Kumar Pal Singh, suffered bullet injuries in the crossfire between the two groups that led to their death. He was recruited to the Rajputana Rifles at the age of 18 years. Later, he adopted rowing as a sport and emerged as the star performer.

According to information, he had won gold medals in two different categories at the 2005 Asian Championships in Hyderabad and again bagged the first rowing silver at Doha Asiad in 2006.

A pall of gloom has descended on the dusty village located near the Aravali range. The stream of visitors to his house has not taken a break since the news of his death reached the village yesterday. Hailing from a modest family of this village, Dharmesh had excelled in sports.

He was an Asian Games silver medallist and an Asian Championship gold medal winner.

Village sarpanch Satbir Singh said that the entire village was proud of the martyrdom of their son.
Indigenous anti-missile system to protect Mi-17
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 21
The Indian Air Force’s Mi-17 helicopters are being retrofitted with indigenous composite armour and anti-missile systems to enhance their protection envelope and improve their operational capability.

The missile protection gear, also called counter measure dispensing system (CMDS), has been developed by state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited and has undergone flight trials. These systems work by dispensing flares or metallic chaff to deflect or “confuse” the heat-seeking sensors or radar receivers of incoming hostile missiles. Composite armour, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), will replace the existing imported heavy-steel armour, thereby improving their net payload capacity in high altitude areas like Ladakh.

One set of prototype armour panels has undergone successful integration and flight trials on a Mi-17 1-V version at No.3 Base Repair Depot (BRD) here and the airworthiness certification process is underway. The modification and retrofitting of the Mi-17 fleet with the CMDS and composite armour will be undertaken at 3 BRD here, which is the nodal agency for providing technical support for Soviet-origin helicopters.

The modification of Mi-17s with defensive measures is significant because of their tactical operational role that includes offensive close-air support by mounting rocket pods and machine guns, carrying out special missions, airborne assaults, supporting the Special Forces and undertaking logistic support in forward areas.

The IAF had lost a Mi-17 along with its crew while undertaking armed missions in high altitude areas during the 1999 Kargil conflict. Earlier this year, in the first incident of its kind, an IAF Mi-17 crash landed in Chhattisgarh after it was hit by ground fire from naxalites. A police radio operator on board was injured by fire. The IAF began inducting the Mi-17 in 1986, when a total of 53 such helicopters were ordered from Russia.

The significance

    Mi-17s help in tactical operational roles such as offensive close-air support by mounting rocket pods and machine guns, carrying out special missions, airborne assaults. They support Special Forces and undertake logistic support in forward areas
    Will replace the existing imported heavy-steel armour, thereby improving their net payload capacity in high altitude areas like Ladakh
Rental claims payable by Indian Army to Kashmir landowners
Srinagar: Indian Defence Ministry has said that it is difficult to fix a definite time-frame in which the cases related to rent payable by Army to landowners can be resolved as different agencies and procedural issues are involved.

There are 125 pending cases of rentals for settlement. The maximum cases relate to frontier district Kupwara (32), followed by Baramulla (28), Anantnag (17), Budgam (17), Pulwama (10) Bandipora (7), Ganderbal (7), Srinagar (4), Shopian (2) and one case pertains to district Kulgam.

State Congress President Prof Saif-u-Din Soz in a statement issued to CNS has said that Defence Minister A.K.Antony has assured him that all these cases will be settled with Army in due course of time.

According to Soz, the Defence Minister has assured him that the Army would settle all the remaining cases of rent, as early possible.

“He (Defence Minister) has also said that whenever there is delay, it is due to procedural factors. Settlement of these 125 cases involves various agencies including the State government authorities. Continuous liaison is made with the State government authorities for expeditious settlement of these cases. As different agencies and procedural issues are involved, it is difficult to fix a definite time-frame in which the cases can be resolved, the statement reads. (CNS)
Successful Test of Pinaka

Four months after a failed attempt, India’s indigenously developed Pinaka Mark-II rocket system was successfully tested from a defence base off the Odisha coast. At least six rockets were fired from a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) from Chandipur-on-sea on Thursday.

Defence sources said the rockets were test fired from the testing range of Proof and Experimental Establishment (PXE). The successful trials were morale booster for the Pune-based Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) of DRDO which conducted the tests.

Pinaka, which has undergone several tough tests since 1995, has been inducted into the armed forces and the trials were conducted with some improvements in the system. The unguided rocket system has been developed to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos.

The older version of the rocket system has a strike range of 40 km while its advanced version can strike a target beyond 55 km and is capable of acting as a force-multiplier.  It has been developed to supplement artillery guns. The system can be operated in four modes - autonomous, stand-alone, remote and manual.

The rocket launcher can fire 12 rockets with 1.2 tonne of high explosives within 44 seconds and destroy a target area of 3.9 sq km at a time. The quick reaction time and high rate of fire of the system gives an edge to the Army during a low-intensity conflict situation.

This rocket system’s capability to incorporate several types of warheads made it deadly for the enemy as it could even destroy solid structures and bunkers.

On August 7, two rounds of second generation Pinaka rocket were test-fired from a multi-barrel rocket launcher which had failed to provide the result as expected by the mission team. The rockets reportedly could not cover the expected distance and some of their sub-systems too did not function properly.

However, in July similar trials of the Pinaka Mark-II version from Chandhan area in Pokhran field firing range of Rajasthan were stated as successful by the DRDO. The trials were conducted by the DRDO and Indian Army.
Inside account: What went wrong in South Sudan

A day after the killing of two Indian Army Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) in South Sudan's Jonglei province, newer details surrounding the camp attack have emerged which have painted a rather disturbing picture of not just the specific attack per se but the intensity of the civil war which is tearing up the world's newest nation.

According to sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD), a complete post-event assessment has revealed the attack on Akobo camp of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was a devastating one. So much so that the Indian Army detachment in Akobo had to not only implement a temporary pull out and withdraw from the Akobo base but has also lost 'heavy equipment' which generally refers to weapons like mortars, heavy machine guns and rocket launchers and suffered damages to own weapons.

The internal assessment has revealed that a mob of nearly 2000 people attacked the Akobo camp as a fallout to the UNMISS & Indian Army sheltering 36 members of the Dinka tribe yesterday, in keeping with the mandate of the mission. In the ensuing attack, the 36-member detachment of the Indian Army, which had sought reinforcement was overwhelmed by the mob which swamped the camp.

"A helicopter had indeed been activated which had onboard one officer and six men to reinforce Akobo. And at Akobo a BMP (infantry combat vehicle) was launched to secure the helipad for landing and simultaneously the mob attacked. Many of them even had weapons on them," said a source.

It was also revealed that the mob, which was seeking the 36 Dinka tribe members, fired at the shelter-seekers and ransacked the camp. "These members who attacked us were largely from the Lou Neur tribe and they were successful in dragging away the Dinka tribesmen out of the camp," added the source.

At the end of the attack, Subedar Dharmesh Sangwan (8 Rajputana Rifles) and Subedar Kumar Pal Singh (Army Medical Corps) were dead and Naik Sahabul Mandal was left seriously injured. In addition it was told that troops still trapped in Dinka were being evacuated by helicopters and being moved to Malakal. "A search will be carried out soon with the local army unit there to ascertain our losses," it was mentioned.

The mortal remains of the dead JCOs, both of whom belong to Haryana had reached Juba by the time of this publication. Additionally, it was being planned that their mortal remains would be flown into Delhi by December 22.

What is fuelling the violence?

The failed coup of December 16 attempted by the ex-Vice President Riek Machar (belonging to the Lou Nuer tribe) against the current President Salva Kiir (from the Dinka tribe) has effectively caused a split in the South Sudanese Army which has dealt a severe blow to efforts at restoring peace amidst growing ethnic killings. Unrest has been reported from 14 sites inside the country and United Nations Security Council (UNSC) too has convened an emergency meeting. Firing was reported in cities of Juba, Bor and Pibor as a result.

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