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Sunday, 9 March 2014

From Today's Papers - 09 Mar 2014

 BSF artillery upgrade to bring it in line with Army
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
Augmenting its wartime capability along the India-Pakistan border, the Border Security Force (BSF) plans to upgrade its artillery in line with the Army.

BSF ex-Director General Subhash Joshi, who retired on February 28, said the government had sanctioned a modernisation budget of Rs 4,500 crore for the force for the next five years. The modernisation plan includes upgrading the BSF’s artillery wing.

“The modernisation plan has already commenced and 2013-14 was its first year. Unfortunately, there is not much money available. We plan to start the procurement process in the next financial year, subject to availability of budget,” Joshi said.

The artillery -- known as ‘The God of War’ -- is used only during wartime in India. During war, the BSF is placed under the operational control of the Army. To ensure operational consonance between the two forces, the BSF has planned to upgrade its artillery to the computer-based system that the Army will have, Joshi said.

“The process of upgrading our artillery has begun and we hope to complete it in a year or two. We will upgrade our existing system to computer-based. This will give us more accuracy in our firepower,” he said.

Sources in the security establishment said the new system was called Sigma 30 Inertial Navigation System (INS) and was produced by Sagem, a French defence and security company.

The Sigma 30 INS has an autonomous laying dial sight, which means it is a computer system that works out the artillery gun’s elevation, its range from the target and the angle needed for a shell to hit the target. Using the range, the system will also calculate shell trajectory.

It also provides ‘Shoot and Scoot’ capability, which is an artillery tactic of firing at a target and then quickly moving away from the location where the shells were fired to avoid enemy fire.

It boasts of multiple round simultaneous impact (MRSI) capability, which is the process of firing several shells at a target with the aim of ensuring they land at exactly the same time. The MRSI prevents people from running to hide after the first shell is fired. The systems in the Sigma 30 family are being used by more than 25 artillery programmes worldwide. They have been coupled with the Caesar guns that are being used by the French army in Afghanistan and for Operation Serval against Islamic militants in Mali. The Sigma 30 systems are also used by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) countries.

Sources explained that the new 155mm artillery gun ‘Dhanush’, which is being manufactured by Ordnance Factory Board for the Army, will have the Sigma 30 INS system. “It is the latest system in the world,” said a source.

On the other hand, the BSF has 105mm artillery guns deployed along the India-Pakistan border, which is one of the primary focus areas for the force, especially after the 254 ceasefire violations along the border last year.
1 killed, 2 hurt in N-sub mishap

Visakhapatnam, March 8
In yet another accident involving the Navy, one civilian worker was killed and two others were injured in an accident at the under-construction nuclear submarine at the shipbuilding centre of Eastern Naval Command (ENC) here tonight.

The incident took place when the pressure of the hydraulic tank of the Arihant-class submarine was being tested and the tank's lid fell on the workers at Building-5 of the shipbuilding centre, Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) chief Avinash Chander told PTI. He said one worker "unfortunately lost his life" in the incident.

Police sources said Amar was killed on the spot while Amzad Khan and Vishnu were seriously injured and admitted to a private hospital in the city. The under-construction nuclear submarine was a follow-up of the Navy's warship INS Arihant. Chander said an inquiry has been ordered into the incident and there was no setback to the programme for development of submarines. — PTI
Defence is of paramount importance to Pakistan: Dar
Defence is of paramount importance to Pakistan and government will allocate necessary resources to the armed forces in view of the current security situation, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said today.

Dar met Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif to discuss the budgetary requirements of the army for the year 2014-15.

The Finance Minister acknowledged the need to ensure fulfilment of the requirements of the defence in the light of current security situation, a statement released by the Finance Ministry said.

He assured the Army Chief that defence is of paramount importance to the Country and hence necessary resources will be allocated, it added.

Pakistan's 600,000-strong army faces internal security challenges. Though the government is still hoping to contain violence through dialogue with the Taliban militants, it doesn't rule out a military offensive in country's tribal belt.

Media reports said defence budget is likely to be increased by 10 to 15 per cent in the coming fiscal year.

Pakistan had in the current fiscal increased its defence spending by 15 per cent.

The defence budget was jacked up to Rs 627.2 billion for the financial year beginning July 1, 2013 compared to Rs 545. 3 billion allocated in the last fiscal year, showing an increase of Rs 82 billion.

While traditionally Pakistan defence budget is focused on India, internal security challenges have also emerged as one of the main criteria for any increase in the recent past.
256 recruits from Jammu and Kashmir join Indian Army
A total of 256 recruits from the state were inducted into the Indian Army's Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) Regiment at an impressive passing out parade here Saturday.

Over 2,000 parents and relatives of the young soldiers attended the parade held at Bana Singh Parade Ground at the JAK LI Regimental Centre in Srinagar.

"Singing their regimental song 'Balidanam Veer Lakshman', the voices of the young soldiers echoed in the valley.

"The passing out parade, depicting transformation of a recruit into a young soldier was reviewed by P.S. Sandhu, IPS, inspector general of the Border Security Force (BSF) and was attended by over 2,000 parents/relatives of the young soldiers along with a number of civil/ military dignitaries," a defence spokesman said here.

"In the investiture ceremony, recruit Azim Malik of Udhampur district, who distinguished himself in all disciplines of training, was awarded the Sher-e-Kashmir, sword of honour and the Triveni Singh medal for being adjudged as the overall best recruit in the course.

"He was also conferred the Maqbool Sherwani medal for being the best recruit in physical training," the spokesman added.

It must be mentioned that the passing out parade by recruits belonging to different parts of the state was a far cry from the early days of separatist violence in Jammu and Kashmir when locals shied away from joining the Indian Army.

All recruitment rallies held by the army and the paramilitary forces in different parts of the valley are now widely attended by youths aspiring to join the armed forces of the country.
Army captain cries during general’s court martial over alleged sex misconduct
‘I’ll kill you and your family, and I will do it in a way no one will ever know,’ the captain testified that Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair told the subordinate female officer, 30 years his junior, regarding their affair. The lead prosecutor told the jury that Sinclair coerced the captain into a three-year relationship.

 Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair is being tried in a court martial over his alleged misconduct with a lower-ranking officer with whom he had an affair.

A sobbing U.S. Army captain testified Friday that a superior officer threatened to murder her and her family if she ever said a word about their illicit three-year affair.

The riveting testimony came on day one in the court martial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, who faces a life sentence if convicted on charges of sexually assaulting the much-younger officer.

The captain, under questioning by prosecutors, glanced across the courtroom at Sinclair before identifying him from the witness stand as the man who sexually abused her.

Lt. Col. Robert Steele, the lead prosecutor, told the jury earlier that an overbearing Sinclair coerced the Army captain into a three-year relationship — and warned her to keep her mouth shut about the romance.

 “I’ll kill you and your family, and I will do it in a way no one will ever know,” Steele quoted Sinclair as telling his subordinate officer.

The victim repeated the charge, but has yet to testify about her allegation that Sinclair twice forced her to perform oral sex by shoving her head into his lap when they were arguing.

Sinclair is reportedly the highest-ranking American military officer ever to face a court martial over sexual assault charges.

 The victim is 20 years younger than Sinclair, 51, the former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne and a one-time rising star in the Army.

Sinclair pleaded guilty Thursday to improper relationships with two female Army officers and to adultery with the captain, his longtime mistress.

 The general also admitted keeping pornography on his laptop in Afghanistan. He’s already facing up to 15 years in prison for those violations.

Sinclair’s attorneys claim the spurned accuser went after the general when he refused to leave his wife of nearly 30 years.

Defense attorneys, in their opening statements at Fort Bragg, N.C., read journal entries from the captain — noting that she never wrote a word about fearing Sinclair.

“I’m so in love with him,” read one excerpt. “I do know that I love him incredibly ... I love him almost unconditionally.”

The trial opened one day after the Senate blocked a bill sponsored by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to change the way military rapes and other serious crimes are handled.

The Democratic senator proposed stripping military commanders of the power to prosecute the cases — but the 55-45 vote in favor of the legislation fell five votes short of the needed 60.
Twenty army personnel given gallantry awards

Kolkata: Twenty army personnel, including a woman officer who scaled Mount Everest and a young Olympian Army boxer, were given gallantry awards today. Major Poonam Sangwan was among the five officers of an all-woman Indian Army Everest expedition team that scaled the world's highest peak by the traditional southern (Nepal) route, deemed the toughest of the climb routes, in May 2012.

At an investiture ceremony held at Fort William auditorium in Kolkata, she received a Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) for her feat from Lt Gen MMS Rai, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C) of Eastern Command at the Investiture Ceremony held at Fort William. Seven others including Naib Subedar Laishram Devendro Singh, who nearly made it to the semi-finals in 2012 Summer Olympics, were also awarded VSMs for their distinguished services of high order at the function. VSM is a military decoration awarded to recognise 'distinguished service of a high order' by all ranks of the Indian armed forces. Besides, 12 soldiers were awarded 'Sena Medal' (SM) for 'gallantry' while four other officers received it for 'devotion to duty'. SM is awarded to members of the Indian Army for such individual acts of 'exceptional devotion to duty or courage' which have special significance for the Indian Army. Rai who presided over the ceremony pinned the medals of honour on the uniforms of the awardees and also gave away the parchment to the VSM recipients on behalf of the President of India. Twenty other EC units were also awarded the coveted GOC-in-C 'Unit Citations' and 'Unit Appreciation' at the ceremony attended by senior officers, family members of the awardees and others. The Investiture Ceremony is held each year in honour and recognition of the commitment and extreme sacrifice made by the brave soldiers in the course of their duty to nation.

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