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Sunday, 6 April 2014

From Today's Papers - 06 Apr 2014

 Can pregnant docs join Army? HC to decide
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 5
A unique case has come up before the Punjab and Haryana High Court whether the Army can debar a woman who is already pregnant from joining the Army Medical Corps (AMC) when there is no restriction on conceiving a child even a day after joining the service.

The issue assumes significance because qualified doctors joining the AMC as short service commissioned officers are eligible till the age of 45 years, need not be unmarried. On induction they are not obliged to undergo military training immediately, but can undergo a three-month training capsule within two years.

In her petition before the High court that came up for hearing today, a 39-year old woman doctor said married women till the age of 45 are eligible for short service commission in the AMC for which she was selected and declared medically fit and asked to report for duty to a hospital in February.

However, since she was carrying a child when she reported for duty, which she herself disclosed, the hospital administration after seeking clarification from higher authorities refused to let her join on the grounds that pregnancy amounted to deterioration of health.

She has contended that since short service AMC officers are initially simply posted to a military hospital and can attend a basic military course much later, conception of a child made no practical difference. She has also pointed out that the government has no objection on conceiving of a child even a day after reporting for duty but had a problem only since she conceived a child before reporting for duty.

The petition also states that since married women are eligible to apply, pregnancy, being an incidence of womanhood, could not be made a disqualification unless it involved strenuous training in a service academy.

It is also stated that reproductive process of a woman could not be held mortgage to the duration of the selection process and the right to have a child could not be shackled by the chance-based or fortuitous length of the process of such selection.
Indian Army to Buy Six Border Surveillance Systems
After having fenced 550 km of the 778-km Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, India will soon buy six all-weather border surveillance management systems to keep a tight vigil against terrorists’ infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir.
The Army’s Uddhampur-based Northern Command - which defends the state against foreign aggression and responsible for internal security in the state - has issued a tender recently for the purchase of these systems that would help it to keep a tab on the LoC that is still porous despite the fencing.

“The surveillance system is required to cater the Indian Army’s requirement for keeping a day-and-night vigil in high-altitude area,” a senior Army officer said here on Thursday. The system, he said, should be “simple, yet provide observation” at any time at a surveillance centre or observation post set up well within the Indian side of the LoC behind the sensor, under extreme cold climate conditions.

The surveillance system would be networked so that a single centre is able to observe the feed of multiple sensors and the all-weather, day-and-night camera would be able to record images.
French Unit May Work With UK UAV Team in Afghanistan
PARIS — Britain plans to send the Watchkeeper to Afghanistan this year, possibly to serve with a French Army unit working with the British Army team flying the tactical UAV, a British officer said on April 3 at a high-level defense conference here by the Franco-British Council.

Britain is pulling troops out of Afghanistan this year and still has 5,000 soldiers in the field. France brought back combat troops in 2012.

Meanwhile, the French Army is “full of hope” Paris will order the unmanned aerial vehicle, a French officer said at the conference.
Thales UK builds the Watchkeeper, based on Elbit Systems’ Hermes 450. The UAV moved closer to deployment in the field after an initial release to service was granted on March 5.

The French Army is testing the Watchkeeper for a potential order of the surveillance system. The 61st artillery regiment attached a team of noncommissioned officers to a British Royal Artillery unit flying the UAV in Wales.

The military on both sides of the Channel might be marching to the same beat, but it is unclear whether the governments will deliver satisfaction to the army high command and industry.

A French decision on acquiring the Watchkeeper has been tied to hopes Britain will order a French infantry fighting vehicle, the Véhicule Blindé de Combat d’Infanterie (VBCI) built by state-owned Nexter and Renault Trucks Defense, French media have reported.

A French Army spokesman was not available for comment.

A linking of the two deals would be “very important” for defense firms, an industry executive said.

A big hurdle for the UK to order the armored vehicle is pressure on the defense budget, a British parliamentarian said.

In London, a Defence Ministry spokeswomen declined to be drawn on whether a final decision had been made to deploy Watchkeeper to Afghanistan.

?“The deployment of Watchkeeper to Afghanistan or any location is an operational decision taken at the time to meet the operational requirement,” the spokeswoman said.

?The British have used a Thales UK-led intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance system, based on a by-the-hour payment in Afghanistan, using an Elbit Hermes 450 unmanned aircraft. The service has been used to fill the gap created by delays to the Watchkeeper program.

The 32nd Royal Artillery Regiment, the unit training to operate Watchkeeper, was not among the units recently named by the British for the final deployment to Afghanistan before combat troops depart. That does not mean the unit will not be deployed at some stage during the next few months, military sources said.?

Britain is starting to revive a move toward procurement of a fighting vehicle, after dropping in 2008 a plan to buy the Piranha V vehicle from General Dynamics UK.

In Paris’s attempt to sell the VBCI to London, a VBCI was sent over for the Jan. 31 bilateral summit at Brize Norton Royal Air Force base, when President François Hollande met Prime Minister David Cameron.

“A new phase was opened by that last summit,” said chief executive Antoine Bouvier of European missile maker MBDA.

The announcements of industrial cooperation at that summit was considered a revival of the 2010 Lancaster House bilateral defense treaty, which had stalled as a French election returned a new administration two years later.

The January summit announced plans to sign an order for an anti-ship missile, the anti-navire léger/future air-to-surface guided weapon (ANL/FASGW), along with studies for a future unmanned combat aerial vehicle and an underwater anti-mine drone.

The missile deal shows the need for cutting duplication in the European defense industry and accept a mutual dependence on key technology, Bouvier said.

A resistance to that dependence will mean future weapons “won’t be affordable,” Bouvier said.

For MBDA, one of the lessons learned was the need to take a “long term vision,” one that took into account the different political timetables on both sides of the Channel, he said.

“Without this vision it would have been absolutely impossible to work,” he said. “Timing is an issue, more than funding.”

The Lancaster House treaty “is above politics,” a senior French politician said. The 50-year accord set a long term vision for planning despite political differences between a conservative-led government in London and a socialist administration in Paris.

Hollande sees defense is “important,” a French parliamentarian said.

The president reportedly offered Jean-Yves Le Drian the prime minister’s job in last week’s government reshuffle, but the defense minister turned down the offer to stay on in the present post.

The annual defense conference held by the Franco-British Council is a high level meeting attended by British and French defense ministers, army chiefs of staff, senior executives and officials.
Here is a 9-feet tall salute to Sam Bahadur from Pune
Pune: When the 9-feet tall statue of most illustrious field marshall of Indian Army and Late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was being unveiled in New Delhi on Thursday, a sculptor from Pune Abhijeet Dhondphale had a vital to play in it. It was his hard efforts that resulted into the beautiful statue.
Statue of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw was unveiled at Manekshaw Centre situated on Parade Road in Delhi Cantonment area on April 3.
The function was organised to mark the birth centenary of the legendary marshall.
Dhondphale had sculpted the marshall’s first statue which is installed in the Pune Cantonment area near Southern Command headquarters.
It was after this attractive statue that Dhondphale was assigned this job.
Dhondphale told dna that it is perhaps for the first time that such a 9-feet tall bronze statue has been transported from Pune to Delhi.
He said that when General Bikram Singh gave me an appointment to present a small bust of Field Marshal Manekshaw today, it was my most memorable moment.
Dhondphale said, “General Singh gave ten minutes to me and discussed many things. The country is celebrating the birth centenary of the legendary marshall of 1971 Bangladesh war who had the courage of telling the political leadership that too of Late Indira Gandhi that it was not the right time to go for a war.”
Thus the country of Bangladesh was formed.
It was after that the nation got its first Field Marshal in Sam Hormusji Jamshedji Manekshaw whom people fondly refer to as Sam Manekshaw and Gorkhas know him as ‘Sam Bahadur’. Army chief Bikram Singh, while unveiling the statue, expressed the need to inculcate conviction and courage shown by the field marshal to tell it to the political leadership about right time to go for war.
He lauded Manekshaw who created a country in just 13-days. Manekshaw’s daughter Maja Daruwalla and her husband Dhun Daruwalla were also present for the function.__

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