Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Thursday, 13 February 2014

From Today's Papers - 13 Feb 2014

Badal showers sops on defence personnel, veterans
Punjab Chief Minister lays foundation stone of war heroes’ memorial on Amritsar-Attari road
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 12
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced a bonanza for serving armed forces personnel, ex-servicemen and NCC cadets apparently with an eye on the Lok Sabha elections.

He made several announcements in this regard at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum here.

Addressing a gathering at Ranjit Avenue here to mark the occasion, Badal said the state government would soon launch a special drive to fill the backlog of vacancies reserved for ex-servicemen in various departments, boards and corporations.

He also announced the doubling of the loan extended to war widows for the construction of houses from the existing Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, besides enhancing the ‘War Jagir’ from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. He promised to waive the property tax on the property owned by serving Army personnel and ex-servicemen.

Acceding to another demand of the ex-servicemen, the Chief Minister ordered the immediately slashing of the VAT being charged on CSD items from 6.5 per cent to 4 per cent.

A special court at Jalandhar for quick dispensation of justice to serving Army personnel and veterans would be set up, he said. Two dedicated police stations at Jalandhar and Amritsar would be opened. These would be directly supervised by an officer not below the rank of SP, he said. A toll-free number in the office of Financial Commissioner Revenue (FCR) at Chandigarh would be started to enable serving and veteran Army personnel to get their cases related to revenue matters, especially eviction from houses on rent, resolved.

Enthused over the success of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Academy at Mohali, the CM said that the Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for girls would be established to enable them to get selected in the armed forces. The state government has already allotted 200 acres to the Union government for setting up a Service Selection Centre (North) at Rupnagar, he said.

About the memorial

    Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum will come up on seven acres in the Naraingarh area on Amritsar-Attari road
    To be built at a cost of Rs 100 crore, the memorial will have a 45-ft-high sword at its centre. This structure will stand atop a platform surrounded by a water body.
    The names of martyrs will be inscribed on the memorial. The boundary wall will be constructed with Nanakshahi bricks and the memorial will be constructed on the green- building principles.
    Army tanks and weapons will also be displayed at the memorial which will showcase the history of the wars fought
Ex-Army Chiefs seek national war memorial
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 12
Former Army Chiefs General JJ Singh (retd) and General Shankar Roy Chaudhary (retd) today advocated the need for having a national war memorial and ‘one rank, one pension’ for armed forces personnel and ex-servicemen at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum here.

General Chaudhary (retd) said these two wishes of Army personnel remain unfulfilled while suggesting that the memorial in Amritsar be considered the national war memorial till one is constructed by the Centre.

In his address, General JJ Singh (retd) saluted the martial spirit of Punjabis, saying Punjab is not only a land of five rivers but is also a sacred land of warriors, winners and martyrs. He lauded the state government’s move to set up a war memorial, hoping that the Centre would get inspiration from it.

Bharat Ratna for Arjan Singh

CM Parkash Singh Badal urged the Centre to bestow the Bharat Ratna upon Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh. He said Arjan Singh deserved the honour for his outstanding services in the Air Force.
Navy expands scope of Exercise Milan
 Away in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Indian Navy and 16 other nations were involved in the six-day “Exercise Milan” that concluded on February 9. The scope of the exercise and its participants is slowly increasing. For the first time since its inception in 1995, the Navy had invited countries on the western rim of the Indian Ocean and also island nations in the region. This time two African nations -- Kenya and Tanzania -- were invited, besides the island nations of Mauritius, Maldives and Seychelles, all of which are crucial to India’s reach in the Indian Ocean. It was also the first time that Philippines and Cambodia -- both important for India in the contentious South China Sea -- were invited.

Indigenous artillery guns

As the much needed modernisation of the Regiment of Artillery continues to hang fire, an Indian conglomerate has developed two artillery guns that could offer an alternate to imports that often get bogged down in red-tapism and unsavory controversies. Pune-based Kalyani Group has come up with a 155 mm gun, Christen Bharat-52 and a 105 mm gun called Garuda 105 that were show-cased at the recently concluded DefExpo-1024 at New Delhi.

The guns are however yet to be tested by the Army, for which the company has approached the Ministry of Defence. The Indian army has not procured a new artillery gun since 410 Bofors 155mm howitzers were procured from Sweden in the 1980s. Many of there guns, which performed commendably during the Kargil conflict, are said to be unserviceable due to want of spares.

Remembering a war hero

The martyrdom day of Naik Jadu Nath Singh, one of the earliest recipients of the Param Vir Chakra, falls this month. Enrolled in 1 Rajput (now 4 Guards) in November 1941, Nath had died fighting Pakistani infiltrators at Naoshera in Jammu and Kashmir on February 6, 1948. He was in command of a forward section post which bore the full brunt of the enemy attack. Nine men had stood against overwhelming odds against successive enemy attacks. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he encouraged his men to fight, warding off two attacks. The enemy launched a massive third attack to capture the post and a wounded Jadu Nath charged out of the bunker with a Sten gun taking the enemy by surprise. In the battle, two bullets hit him in the head and chest.
Maj Gen Himalay becomes first Lt Gen in Indian Army from NE
Imphal, February 11 2014: Bringing laurels to the North-East in general and his home State Manipur in particular, Major General Konsam Himalay Singh has become the first Army officer from the region to get promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

He is currently posted as Chief of Staff of a Strike Corps.

Hailing from Charangpat in Thoubal district, Major General Himalay is an alumnus of Sainik School, Goalpara (Assam) and the National Defence Academy.

He was commissioned into the Second Battalion of The Rajput Regiment (KALI CHINDI) in June 1978 and later commanded 27 RAJPUT.

The General Officer is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, College of Defence Management and the prestigious National Defence College.

According to a statement issued by Col SD Goswami, Defence Spokesperson, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, so far, Maj Gen Himalay Singh has held varied Commands, Staff and Instructional appointments during his career so far.

He has vast operational experience in Counter Insurgency (CI) Operations in Jammu and Kashmir (J& K) where he served five tenures in the last 35 years and four tenures in North East which included CI Operations in LC (Line of Control), LAC (Line of Actual Control) and HAA (High Altitude Area) environments.

He commanded 27 RAJPUT in Siachen Glacier from 1998 to 2000 .

Honoured with 'Yudh Seva Medal' in 2000 for command of a unit during 'OP VIJAY' against Pakistan's unsuccessful move to occupy Indian Territory, the General Officer later commanded an Infantry Brigade in Delhi.

He was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 25 Infantry Division in J&K and was awarded with 'Ati Vishisht Sewa Medal' in 2013. He has also been awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card thrice and also the GOC-in-C Eastern Command Commendation Card.

Maj Gen Himalay has held a number of prestigious staff appointments which included Assistant Military Secretary 1D, Colonel Administrator of a Mountain Division in Gangtok, Director PS-2, Deputy MS Eastern Command and Deputy MS (B) in the Military Secretary's Branch at IHQ of MoD (Army).

He has also been Battalion Commander and Senior Instructor at the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla.

A keen sportsman, the General has excelled in all troops games being brought up in a Sainik School environment.

He is an avid golfer, mountaineer and skydiver.

He also participated in Rajput Regiment expedition to Kedarnath Dome in 1980 and Kanchenjunga Expedition in 1987.Sainik School Goalpara, Assam, in which Maj Gen Himalay studied, was founded on November 12, 1964 .

He joined the school in the year 1968. It is a residential school for boys, providing Public School Education with an aim to prepare them to join the defence services.

Sainik School, Goalpara , would be celebrating its golden jubilee this year has excelled in its primary role as a feeder institution to the Armed Forces and has over 200 ex-Sainik School Goalpara students (SSGians) to its credit as officers in the Armed Forces, which other than NDA, including OTA, IMA, AFA and NAVAC.

A good number of ex-students are IAS, IPS officers, doctors, engineers.

The school sis erving not only in Assam and the North East but also all over the country and abroad.

The school is a member of the IPSC (Indian Public School Conference) .

Maj Gen Himalay Singh is married to Dr (Mrs) Mangala Devi, an accomplished doctor and they have two daughters, the statement of the Defence Spokesperson added.
Russia keen to sell anti-missile defence system to India
 Mumbai, February 12: 

Even as the Indian Army has entered the global market to buy short-range surface-to-air missile defence systems, Russia is keen to offer its anti-missile system Tor-M2KM to India, with the latter slated to undergo a series of tests.

Exhibited outside of Russia for the first time, a fully operational combat model of the Tor-M2KM anti missile system was displayed at the Defexpo-2014 exhibition held in Delhi recently.

Defence purchases have risen from just over $200 million in 2001 to over $14 billion currently. As part of the recently announced tender for 52 short-range air defence systems to form two missile regiments in the Indian Army, Russia has decided to test a modified version of the Tor-M2KM mounted on a wheeled chassis manufactured by Tata Motors.

Incidentally, Tata Motors also unveiled two new combat vehicles at Defexpo 2014. The Kestrel, an 8x8 wheeled armoured amphibious vehicle designed and developed indigenously by Tata and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and the Light Armoured Multipurpose Vehicle (LAMV), also developed indigenously, with technical input from Supacat, were showcased on the occasion.

Visitors to the Defexpo-2014 were able to check out a real combat model, said Vyacheslav Kartashov, Kupol’s assistant director for military technical cooperation and government orders. According to the company, Tor-M2KM is a highly versatile air defence system that can be mounted on a wide variety of platforms, including railway cars, rooftops and ships.

Yuri Baykov, spokesman for Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer, has said that the versatile nature of the Tor-M2KM missile significantly enhances the scope of its operational deployment, as the system can be used to protect stadiums from airborne attacks during large sports events.
Neutralise weapons

The main mission is to neutralise precision guided weapons, the spokesman added. The Tor-M2KM is equipped with modern electronics and radar capable of detecting and handling up to 48 targets, displaying information on the 10 most dangerous ones, and destroying four air targets simultaneously.

Rahul Madhavan, who leads the aerospace and defence sector with the US-India Business Council, noted in a statement, “Our two democratic governments have made tremendous progress in advancing technology release procedures and streamlining the acquisition process to accommodate two bureaucracies.

While seeking to advance our industrial cooperation, we also hope to advance our defence and strategic partnership.”
35 lakh civilian workers in Army to go on one-day strike
Thirty-five lakh civilians working with the armed forces are on a war path. The civil employees of all four commands — Northern, Eastern,Western and Southern — are geared up for a one-day strike on February 17 across the nation to protest against the government’s decision to allow foreign direct investment in the defence sector and its apathy in implementing the Seventh Pay Commission.

An employee working in Southern Command, on condition of anonymity, said, “This strike is not against the Indian Army. It’s against the policies of Indian government designed for civil employees working in armed forces.”

A notice of demands have been sent to Defence Minister A.K Antony as civil workforce from ammunition, ordnance and maintenance will be part of the one-day strike.

Saying the civil workers’ demands are ‘genuine’, Vijay Gaikwad, general secretary of MES Swarakshan Sanghtan, Pune, said, “We will protest against government policies in front of our respective headquarters, charter of demands are for the welfare of civil employees.

Three federations of defence civilian employees across the country are against foreign direct investment in defence sector. We don’t want foreign interference in armed forces.”

The charter of demands also include formation of Seventh Pay Commission and its implementation, immediate family member of an employee should be given job in case of her or his death, contract for water and electricty should be given to government employees working in defence sector, resolving the anomalies in 50 per cent of civilian posts lying vacant should be filled.

The civil workers are also asking for a hike in medical allowance, bonus renewal and a revison of night duty allowance. All India Defence Employees Federation, All India Defence Employees Federation, Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Sangh,

Military Engineer Services Employees Union and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh of Pune are expected to take part in the strike.

No Excuse to Put Off Military Modernisation

Defence minister A K Antony’s announcement that the IAF’s multi-combat aircraft deal cannot be inked this year because of financial constraints means that the modernisation of the military has once again been put on hold. This does not redound to the credit of the government which has not managed its finances well. While it has entered into deals with defence suppliers for a variety of items from aircraft to guns, the capital expenditure budgets of the Indian armed forces have more or less remained static. There is a mismatch between the need for arms and ammunition and the availability of money, which is a pointer to the lack of planning.

Apart from the multi-combat aircraft, the Army needs, for instance, towed artillery, which, unfortunately, is also out of the budget this year. An impression seems to have gained ground in government thinking that modernisation of the military can wait, as has been manifested in the defence spending cut. What all this suggests is that there is utter confusion in the government about what need to be bought for the military and paid for this year. Ideally, there should have been greater coordination between the military which needs the equipment and the finance ministry which needs to make provision for it. Indigenisation of defence production is now more a dream than reality. Otherwise, precious foreign exchange could have been saved by reducing such imports.

The proposal to have a joint chief of staff has been hanging fire for a long time, although reports had come that the government had cleared the proposal. Such a post would help in bringing about greater integration among the three armed forces. The “doctrine of jointness” will also pay dividends in terms of spending. It is difficult to believe that modernisation of the military can wait till some halcyon days when there will be a lot of money. The situation in India’s neighbourhood is unsettled now, not in the future. In case of any eventuality, India will have to square up to the situation. The military must, therefore, be brought up to the mark.
After Indian Rule Changes, Foreign Firms Shift Strategy

NEW DELHI — Overseas defense companies have shifted gears in the wake of India’s decision last year to steer military contracts to domestic companies when possible, executives and experts said at last week’s Defexpo exhibition.

The new name of the game: joint ventures between overseas companies and Indian firms.

Yet while joint ventures offer an avenue for defense deals, many overseas and Indian executives said India must increase the level of foreign domestic investment (FDI) from its current limit of 26 percent.

K.V. Kuber, CEO of New Delhi-based Sugosha Consulting, said no core technologies would flow to India unless the FDI limit is increased.

“Global cooperation is the norm in a global village,” Kuber said. “No country in the world can make everything in house. FDI must be increased, from the current levels to 74 percent or more with adequate checks and balances. I believe that the government is not increasing the current FDI limit due to lack of effective checks and balances and an accountable implementation mechanism, which leads to a lack of trust. This can be overcome by incorporating an effective oversight mechanism.”

India changed its procurement rules in June after the adoption of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which defense analysts feared could lead to strict overseas oversight on India’s system for importing weapons.

While the new procurement rules are tilted toward state-run defense companies, private Indian companies are aggressively competing for programs by partnering with overseas firms.

This year’s Defexpo was focused on showcasing indigenous talent. Among the highlights were displays by several medium, small and micro defense companies, said Gokul Pati, India’s permanent secretary for defense production.

Yet overseas firms are quickly reworking their strategies to tap India’s defense market, managers said.

“Our business strategy in India revolves around the building up of an extensive network of local business partners, both in the public and private sectors including [small and medium-size enterprises],” said Loic Piedevache, country manager for French missile-maker MBDA.

Added Kim Kwan-see, global director for South Korea’s LIG Nex1: “We want to work in India as production partners and not merely as sellers.”

Kim disclosed that his company has partnered with state-owned Bharat Dynamics Limited and Ordnance Factories Board to co-produce precision-guided missiles and anti-ship missile programs.

Israel Aircraft Industries and Rafael have tied up with India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to co-produce a $2 billion medium-range surface-to-air missile program.

“India is a strategic market for Rafael,” said Rafael’s President and CEO Yedidia Yaari. “We are constantly seeking new partnerships and joint ventures with Indian companies for cooperation that will help drive forward our mutual ability to address local needs and operational requirements. We are engaged in joint ventures and partnerships with local Indian industries and are in constant search to expand our activities in the country, in cooperation with the DRDO, in order to better address local needs and requirements.”

BAE Systems, which has already transferred a license to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to produce the Hawk trainer, is also exploring partnerships with domestic companies, especially for artillery projects.

“We will continue to explore partnerships with a cross-section of public and private sector companies; the forms may vary based on the goals of the collaboration,” said John Brosnan, managing director for Southeast Asia and India for BAE. “As such the preference for [buying Indian] further expands the potential for us to share technology and co-develop and co-produce with domestic industry.”

The procurement changes have largely been welcomed by the domestic defense companies. However, most of the projects have not taken off yet, said Rajinder Bhatia, CEO of Bharat Forge.

Madhukar Vinayak Kotwal, president of the Heavy Engineering division of Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), said doing defense business in India is a huge challenge because defense tendering is based on the lowest bidder and not based on the technologically superior bidder.

Kotwal further noted that L&T has the capability to build any weapon and platform in India, yet there are no long-term programs in the defense sector.

While the overseas defense companies are adjusting their strategies, analysts say domestic firms won’t receive any real benefits until the FDI limit is increased to 49 percent. Such a move will help forge major joint ventures on an equity sharing basis, they said.

“We accept the decisions of the Indian government in this respect. Is it working well? That is for the Indian government to answer, to decide whether or not the current level is helping the indigenous defense industry to advance as well as desired,” said MBDA’s Piedevache. “Of course a higher level of FDI would make investing in India a much more attractive proposition as it would provide greater control of the investment involved.”

Peter Gutsmiedl, senior vice president for Airbus Defense & Space India, said: “We respect the Indian government’s stand but we believe that should this cap be raised, it will be easier for us to develop a larger industrial base here and transfer even more cutting-edge technologies. This will secure the self-reliance of India’s armed forces without compromising national security and will also benefit the Indian economy.”

A senior executive with domestic Mahindra defense systems said his firm would support raising the FDI to 9 percent. “It will allow a re-look at whether technologies can come in with the enhanced FDI, because the present 26 percent is not facilitating this.”

However, Shyam Kumar Singh, vice president of Mumbai-based Elcome Integrated Systems, wants only a hand-holding role by the overseas partners.

“FDI will lead to formation of [joint ventures] and investment of funds. However, higher percentages of FDI will also attract larger portions of the technology being implemented by the foreign firms themselves rather than the technology being imbibed by Indian partners. In the long run, the dependency will remain on foreign partners, which is not desirable.”
Tainted Tatra trucks rechristened BEML heavy duty trucks
    After the CBI probe, production of the Tatra trucks was stopped, as BEML was restricted to do business with Vectra Global

Desperate to get rid of the 'taint' of Tatra scam, the ministry of defence is planning to rename the high mobility trucks to get back into business in the country.

Tatra, the all-weather trucks are being used to carry Indian Army's strike-power, were surrounded by controversy after former army chief General VK Singh alleged that there was an attempt to bribe him for clearing the purchase of 1,676 of the high-mobility trucks.

Subsequently, the CBI in April 2013 booked VRS Natarajan, chief of the Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) — the defence Public Sector Unit which manufacture these trucks in India. The BEML was the Indian partner of Tatra with UK-based Vectra Group.

After CBI probe, production of these Tatra trucks were stopped, as BEML was restricted to do business with Vectra Global. Production of Tatra was 40% indigenous and the reamining 60% was dependent on import from Vectra.

"Since 2012, BEML was restricted to import from Vectra. So, we decided to built it pure indigenous. But, we do not want continue with the 'tainted' name of Tatra. We decided to rename the home-made version of these trucks and will be called as only BEML heavy duty trucks,"said a senior BEML official.

BEML claims to relaunch six-wheeled-drive high-mobility vehicle and the eight-wheeled-drive high-mobility vehicles by early April this year.

The official told dna that ever since the decision for stopping the procurement of Tatra trucks from the UK-based company, the maintenance of the fleet of over 6,500 such trucks in India was adversely affected due to lack of spares and other parts.

An army official said entire strike-capability of Indian Army moves on these Tatra trucks. From BrahMos missile to Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher and the Smerch, field radars and mobile bridges, which helps moving tanks to cross canals or any other small water bodies are carried on these trucks.

A defence ministry official said, "It seems, BEML does not want to associate itself with the scam-ridden Tatra name."

Based on its experience in the Kargil war in 1999 and during Operation Parakram in 2002, the army decided to buy trucks with new parameters. And Tatra trucks emerged winner. Since then, army was using these truck.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal