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Friday, 17 January 2014

From Today's Papers - 17 Jan 2014




















http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140117/nation.htm#2
Women may get combat support role in Army
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 16
The Indian Army today made a pitch to expand the role of women in the field, seeking permanent commission for them in streams such as Signals, EME and even inductions for the first time ever in the Army Aviation Corps, the Regiment of Artillery and the Corps of Engineers.

At present, women officers are allowed permanent commission in the legal branch — Judge Advocate General and education corps. Women also serve as short service commission officers in Signals, Army Service Corps (ASC) and Ordnance. Till now, women had no role in combating arms of the Army.
The fresh move indicates that they will have, for the first time, a role in support arms such as Artillery and Army Aviation. A source said since women pilots were already flying helicopters and transport planes in the Indian Air Force, inducting women in Army aviation would not be difficult.

The matter will need an approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). Adjutant General of the Army Lt Gen Sanjeev Anand made a detailed presentation to the Ministry of Defence today. This is the outcome of a study conducted by now-retired Lt Gen Gyan Bhaushan who was the Army Commander of the Jaipur-based South Western Command. The step means women would now get command portfolios and additional avenues for permanent commission.

Army Chief General Bikram Singh had, on January 13, ruled out any combat role for women officers in near future but had said that they could be given “command roles” in combat support arms and other avenues for permanent commission.

General Bikram Singh said at present there was no scope of inducting women officers in the Infantry and armoured regiments. “Given the kind of infrastructure we have, I don't think we are prepared to make women part of infantry battalions... we have to do it in a systematic manner as there are vagaries of the battlefield and situations that have to be considered before we get them into the arena,” he said.

Last year, the Army had commissioned a study to measure the motivational and aspiration levels of women officers in the force and also assess their level of toughness to withstand hardships. The study also compared roles of its women officers with their counterparts in the US and other countries and further looked at the effect an increased role for women officers might have on their male counterparts.

There are nearly 1,200 women officers in the Army, 1,100 in the IAF and 300 in the Navy since induction started in 1992-93.


http://www.nation.com.pk/islamabad/16-Jan-2014/indian-army-chief-s-statements-provocative-fo
Indian army chief’s statements provocative: FO
The Foreign Office on Thursday said the recent statement issued by Indian army chief General Bikram Singh was unfortunate and provocative.
Addressing the weekly media briefing, FO spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam added that such remarks could lead to deterioration of ties between the two countries.
Earlier this week, General Singh was quoted by Indian media as saying that India was not bound to follow the rules if Pakistan was up to breaking them.
“If rules are followed by our neighbours, we follow them too. If rules are broken, we won’t sit on it, we will break them too,” General Singh had said warning Pakistan against ceasefire violations.
Aslam told reporters that Pakistan was doing its utmost to establish peace along the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto border diving Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
She moreover said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz had left for Morocco where he would be participating in the meeting of the Al Quds committee.
She added that Pakistan's position on Palestine was clear, adding that at the meeting in Morocco, Pakistan would speak in favour of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.
Aslam said Pakistan was against Israel's continued construction of illegal settlements in occupied territories and added that Jerusalem should be liberated from Israeli occupation.
She said that the matter of illegal Pakistanis being deported from Italy is being highlighted we do not know how many Pakistanis have been affected. Illegal migrants are a big problem for the world.
She said that a certain lobby in the world is working for the elimination of capital punishment. Drug dealers are playing with the lives of the people adding that we do not have statistics on how many Pakistanis are involved in the drug trade.
In response to a another question the spokesperson said that Pakistan does not want military solution to Iran’s' nuclear problem the matter should be solved through dialogue.
The spokesperson said Pak-Iran gas is our mutual issue there is no need for a new agreement. There is a problem with funding due to which we the project is progressing at a slow pace.
She said US-Afghanistan have bilateral relation . Afghanistan is an independent country and can decide for itself. Soil of Afghanistan should not be used against Pakistan and neither we would allow our land to be used against anyone.



http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Deals-stuck-Army-not-fighting-fit/articleshow/28864615.cms
Deals stuck, Army not fighting fit
NEW DELHI: The 1.1-million strong Army is still nowhere near fighting fit. The force may have inked contracts worth Rs 11,777 crore this fiscal but none of its critical modernization projects for howitzers, helicopters, anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), assault rifles or even night-vision devices are anywhere near closure.

Yes, matters have improved since March 2012 when the then Army chief General VK Singh complained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about "large-scale voids" in critical weaponry and ammunition.

If 17 new contracts worth Rs 2,820 crore were signed for the Army in 2011-2012, the figure jumped to 29 contracts worth Rs 7,222 crore in 2012-2013. The tally stands at 17 contracts worth Rs 11,777 crore in the ongoing fiscal.

Army chief General Bikram Singh said another 23 contracts, worth around Rs 12,000 crore, were in the pipeline. "We are hopeful they will be inked before March 31. It's an upward trend, a healthy trend," he said.

That is certainly the case. But most of the contracts inked this year are small-ticket ones, ranging from gunnery simulators and helicopter missile-warning systems to digital control harness and truck-mounted lifting devices.

The important ones approved are few and far between. These include the over Rs 2,000 crore deal for 15,000 3UBK Invar missiles for T-90S tanks and the Rs 1,200 crore one for two additional "troops" of the Israeli Heron spy drones.

The really critical projects are still stuck in the long-winded procurement process. Take the infantry, the largest arm with 355 battalions. Its desperate requirements for bullet-proof jackets, ballistic helmets, new-generation assault rifles with interchangeable barrels, close-quarter battle carbines, light machine guns and third-generation ATGMs have all been hanging fire for several years.

"The Army has a very poor anti-tank capability on the western border with Pakistan. There is a 50% deficiency in ATGMs. The infantry and mechanized infantry hold six types of ATGM launchers of old vintage. Similarly, the case for 1,78,000 advanced assault rifles (for around Rs 10,000 crore) is stuck," said a source.

The force has not inducted a single modern 155mm howitzer since the infamous Bofors scandal of the 1980s. Different artillery projects worth Rs 30,000 crore for 145 ultra-light howitzers, 100 self-propelled tracked guns, 814 mounted gun systems and 1,580 towed guns, among others, are still to come through.

Army Aviation Corps, which had chalked out big plans to induct attack helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft in the future, is yet to get replacements even for its ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

The long-delayed Rs 3,000 crore project for acquiring 197 "reconnaissance and surveillance" helicopters from abroad has gone into a tailspin, with the CBI now probing the project as a fallout of the VVIP chopper case. Defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics is also running way behind schedule to develop 187 similar light utility helicopters.


http://www.firstpost.com/india/will-india-ever-learn-to-care-for-its-soldiers-braving-icy-heights-1342267.html
Will India ever learn to care for its soldiers braving icy heights?

Left alone to fend for themselves facing the enemy at sub-zero temperatures in highly inhospitable terrain, Indian troops deployed on the icy heights of Siachen and along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir now stand threatened by already meagre and shrinking budgets. Shocking as it may sound, the government had ordered a 57 percent cut in kerosene supplies for troops due to austerity measures. And kerosene is not a luxury at those heights. It is used for cooking and running the heaters to keep the men on the frontline from freezing.

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