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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

From Today's Papers - 24 Dec 2013

‘Peace protocol’ tops agenda as India, Pak DGMOs meet today
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, December 23
The Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan have been asked to draw up a “peace protocol” for their respective armies along the shared boundary running through Jammu and Kashmir.

The two DGMOs - Indian Army’s Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia and his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Amir Riaz - will sit across the table to work out the modalities at the Wagah-Attari border tomorrow, a first such event in 14 years.

Sources say the two military officers, who control operations of huge armies on either side of border, have been asked to “suggest effective means for restoration and enforcement of the ceasefire, and ensure that it remains in force”.

The two officers have been talking over a dedicated hotline every Tuesday and have made some progress, reducing firing on either side after their interaction on October 25 and 29.

“There has been a significant reduction in the incidents of ceasefire violations after the telephonic talks,” Defence Minister AK Antony had acknowledged in Lok Sabha on December 17.

An understanding on having a DGMOs’ meeting was reached when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 29.

National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon later echoed India’s concerns saying: “It has been decided to first tackle the immediate issue of tranquility on the border before moving forward on other issues.”

The 2003 ceasefire along the 198-km section of the International Border and 749-km Line of Control (LoC) has been breached on several occasions.

Both sides accuse each other of killing and injuring civilians, damaging homes and sporadic killing of troops. Both countries have aggressive action teams that patrol the border.

This year has been the worst with the two sides making 195 ceasefire violations, a jump from 44, 51 and 93 such violations in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
BSF officials to meet Pak Rangers in Lahore

    A high-level meeting between BSF officials and Pakistani Rangers will begin in Lahore on Tuesday
    The BSF is expected to present evidence of “lapses” on part of Rangers that resulted in escalation of tension along the International Border in October this year
    n Two BSF men were killed and 31 others were injured in Pak shelling in October
 Defence Ministry paves way 0for Barak Missile for Navy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23
The Defence Ministry today cleared the decks for the Navy to procure Israeli Barak Missiles. Four projects worth Rs 16,000 crore were cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC). The meeting was chaired by defence Minister AK Antony.

In addition to 262 Barak missiles, the council also gave its approval for acquisition of 41 Dhruv indigenously produced advanced light helicopters, two Deepsea Submergence [submarine] Rescue Vessels (DSRV) and 16 anti-submarine shallow water crafts for the Navy, said sources.

While the Barak deal will require the clearance by the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by the Prime Minister, the DAC has accorded Acceptance of Necessity for the DSRV worth Rs 1,500 crore and shallow water craft worth 13,400 crore. While the Army Aviation Corps will get 40 Dhruv copters, the Navy will get one.

The approval for Barak anti-missile defence should bring relief to the Navy that has been struggling to fill the shortage of missiles to go on the systems mounted on 14 frontline warships, including the aircraft carrier, Shivalik stealth frigates and guided missile destroyers.

Barak missiles were acquired by the Indian Navy in the late 1990s for INS Viraat but the one ordered post Kargil conflict in 1999 came under cloud and a CBI probe was ordered in 2006. The missile is jointly developed by Israel Aircraft Industry and Rafael Armament Development Authority.

Pending the inquiry, the Defence Ministry had kept order for the missiles on the hold but understood to have got clearance from the Attorney General. The CBI case is said to be in the final stages and the probe agency is planning to file a closure report.
Nuclear-capable Agni-III test-fired
 Balasore (Odisha), Dec 23
India today test-fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a strike range of more than 3,000 km as part of a user trial by the Army from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast, defence sources said.

The operation of the surface-to-surface missile was carried out by the Strategic Forces Command of the Indian Army with logistic support from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The indigenously developed missile was flight-tested from a mobile launcher at launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range at about 1655 hrs, defence sources said. "It was the second user trial in the Agni-III series carried out to establish the 'repeatability' of the missile's performance," a DRDO official said.

For data analysis, the entire trajectory of today's trial was monitored through various telemetry stations, electro-optic systems and sophisticated radars located along the coast, and by naval ships anchored near the impact point, sources said.

The Agni-III missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system. With a length of 17 metre, the missile's diameter is 2 metre and launch weight is around 50 tonne. It can carry a warhead of 1.5 tonne which is protected by carbon all composite heat shield.

The sleek missile, already inducted into the armed forces, is equipped with hybrid navigation, guidance and control systems along with advanced on-board computer. The electronic systems are hardened for higher vibration, thermal and acoustic effects, a DRDO scientist said.

Though the first developmental trial of Agni-III carried out on July 9, 2006 could not provide desired result, subsequent tests on April 12, 2007, May 7, 2008 and February 7, 2010 as well as the first user trial on September 21, 2012 from the same base were all successful. — PTI

Two-stage solid propellant system

    The Agni-III missile is powered by a two-stage solid propellant system. With a length of 17 metres, the missile's diameter is 2 metre and launch weight is around 50 tonne. It can carry a warhead of 1.5 tonne which is protected by carbon all composite heat shield
    The sleek missile, already inducted into the armed forces, is equipped with hybrid navigation, guidance and control systems along with advanced on-board computer. The electronic systems are hardened for higher vibration, thermal and acoustic effects, a DRDO scientist said
 Defence land lease agreements being poorly managed
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 23
Glaring lapses in the management of lease agreements of surplus defence land may not only be depriving the state exchequer of revenue, but also jeopardising the government’s claim on the land.

Around 2,500 acres of land owned by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), valued at Rs 11,000 crore, is on lease for a total annual rent of Rs 2.13 crore, which the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says is “negligible given the present market value of the land”.

Vacant or unused land is often leased out to various public and private users on rent for a fixed term and is subject to renewal at enhanced rent as per the conditions mentioned in the agreement.

Of the 7,560 lease agreements, no progress has been made in the renewal of 3,780 cases and in 1,800 cases no requests for renewal have been received. Further, in 1,081 cases the status of the lease agreement was unclear.

Requests for renewal have been received by the MoD in only 899 cases or less than 12 per cent of the total number. Such landholdings and lease agreements are managed by the Defence Estate Officers (DEO) located at various places as well as the local military authorities (LMA).

“The management of these leases is extremely important as failure to renew the leases in time can lead to loss of substantial revenue to the government and can jeopardise government’s claim on the land,” PAC’s latest report states.

“Often, lack of proper contract in matters of land leads to protracted litigation,” the report adds.
Mikhail Kalashnikov, creator of AK-47, dies at 94
Lt Gen Mikhail T Kalashnikov, the arms designer credited by the Soviet Union with creating the AK-47, the first in a series of rifles and machine guns that would indelibly associate his name with modern war and become the most abundant firearms ever made, died Monday in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic, where he lived. He was 94.

Viktor Chulkov, a spokesman for the republic's president, confirmed the death, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Born a peasant on the southern Siberian steppe, Kalashnikov had little formal education and claimed to be a self-taught tinkerer who combined innate mechanical skills with the study of weapons to conceive of a rifle that achieved battlefield ubiquity.

His role in the rifle's creation, and the attention showered on him by the Kremlin's propaganda machine, carried him from conscription in the Red Army to senior positions in the Soviet arms-manufacturing bureaucracy and ultimately to six terms on the Supreme Soviet.

Tens of millions of Kalashnikov rifles have been  manufactured. Their short barrels, steep front-sight posts and curved magazines made them a marker of conflict that has endured for decades. The weapons also became both Soviet and revolutionary symbols and widespread instruments of terrorism, child-soldiering and crime.

The general, who sometimes lamented the weapons' unchecked distribution but took pride in having invented them and their reputation for reliability, weathered the collapse of the Soviet Union to assume a public role as a folk hero and unequivocal Russian patriot.

A Soviet nostalgist, he also served as the unofficial arms ambassador of the revived Russian state. He used public appearances to try to cast the AK-47's checkered legacy in a positive way and to complain that knockoffs were being manufactured illegally by former Soviet allies and cutting into Russian sales.

The weapon, he said, was designed to protect his motherland, not to be used by terrorists or thugs.

"This is a weapon of defense," he said. "It is not a weapon for offense."
Indian Army denies reports of Chinese troops entering Ladakh
New Delhi: Around 20 Chinese soldiers last week entered Indian territory near the LAC and pitched their tents in Chepzi area in Ladakh, sources said on Sunday.

Around 20-22 Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers had last week pitched around 8-10 tents in the west of Chepzi in Ladakh area, the sources said.

However, the Army headquarters insisted there was no such incident in that area.

It was not immediately known whether the Chinese troops still remained in the Indian territory or have left.

The Army had held a flag meeting with the Chinese side yesterday.

Chepzi is close to Chumar area, which has been witness to a large number of incursions by the Chinese side in the last one year.

In April, Chinese troops had entered 19 km inside Indian territory in the Daulat Beg Oldi sector and left the place only after long negotiations and a series of flag meetings between the two sides.

The reports about the Chinese camp in the area have come soon after PLA troops apprehended five Indian nationals in the Chumar area and took them to their camp across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in an apparent bid to stake their claim on the area.

After the two countries signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) in Beijing, they have agreed to resolve their issues under the mechanisms provided by the new pact aiming to prevent flare-ups between their troops.

Defence Minister AK Antony had recently warned that the new border pact does not guarantee that nothing will happen in these areas in future.

Chumar has been one of the most active areas on the LAC in terms of transgressions by the Chinese troops.

Located 300 km from Leh, it has always been an area of discomfort for the Chinese troops as this is the only place along the Sino-Indian border where they do not have any direct access to the LAC.
Army sets up war gaming centre in Mathura
Mathura: A state-of-the-art war gaming centre has been inaugurated here, to enable defence personnel "to plan, execute and analyse hypothetical war scenarios".

The war gaming centre, commonly known as WARCEN, is third of its kind with the most advanced technology in the country, and was inaugurated by Lieutenant General Gyan Bhushan, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of South Western Command.

"It will be used to train for warfare anywhere in the world by simulating scenarios at the strategic and operational level. It will also enable senior commanders to plan, execute and analyse hypothetical war scenarios," Lieutenant General Bhushan said after the inauguration yesterday.

Simulation and live exercise through networking is an effective training tool which is not only cost-effective, but also allows effective feedback and instantaneous and highly-accurate evaluation of training standards.

The officer asserted that Indian Army is continuously following the path of upgraded technology and training of war and strategic analysis through computers would be like a boon to our jawans.
AVP demands army to replace ITBP on Indo-China border
Itanagar: A delegation of Arunachal Pradesh Vikas Parishad met Defence Minister A K Antony in New Delhi to demand deployment of Army on the Sino-India border replacing ITBP force, which guards the frontier with China.

A 13-member AVP delegation of tribal leaders from the state called on Antony and submitted a 14-point memorandum with the demand on Saturday, a party release said today.

It also demanded construction of roads and other infrastructure in border areas and increase in number of surveillance and patrol posts along the China occupied Tibet, it said.

The statement said that the delegation also raised the issue of intrusion by Chinese troops in Chaklagam area of the state in August this year.

It demanded improvement and strengthening of the ITBP and BSF in all respects and raising of a Arunachal Scouts Regiment on par with the Ladakh Scouts.

The delegation also met Vice President Hamid Ansari, leaders of the opposition in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj respectively.

India conducts wargames near Pak border
JODHPUR - Ahead of DGMO level talks next week, an elite Strike Corps of the Indian Army has carried out war games near the Pakistan-India border involving over 15,000 troops and over 100 tanks.
15,000 troops of the 36 RAPID (Reorganised Army Plains Division) participated in ‘Shahbaaz Ajay’ exercise which included over 100 armoured-class vehicles among other advanced artillery and air defence equipment in western sector.
“Strike Corps validated new concepts and refined existing battle procedures. A high degree of integration was achieved with the IAF while undertaking specialised operations which included an air borne assault and a special helicopter borne operation,” Defence Spokesperson Colonel S D Goswami said.
The 36 RAPID Division is part of the elite 21 Strike Corps of India. A Para (Special Forces) battalion under the Bhopal-based strike formation also took part in the exercise.
Lt-Gen Amit Sharma, the Strike Corps Commander of India, reviewed the tactical drills and maneuvers of the division.
The culmination phase of the exercise was witnessed by Southern Army Commander Lt-Gen Ashok Singh. The Indian army in winter sends its strike formations to test and conceptualise their war fighting procedures and evolve them further.
Pakistan and India are scheduled to hold DGMO-level talks on December 24 at the Pakistan side of the Wagah border where they are expected to discuss ways of ensuring peace along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

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