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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

From Today's Papers - 22 Apr 2014

 Retirement plea of upset Navy Commander accepted
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 21
The Defence Ministry has accepted the voluntary retirement plea of Western Naval Commander Shekhar Sinha, who was upset over being superseded for the post of Navy Chief.

The charge of the command has been temporarily given to Vice-Admiral P Karve, who is the Chief of Staff of the sword arm of the Navy, official sources said.

Upset over being superseded for the post of Navy Chief, Sinha had filed a complaint with the Defence Ministry last week stating if "justice" could not be done to him, he should be granted voluntary retirement.

The ministry has accepted his plea for voluntary retirement with immediate effect, sources maintain.

Meanwhile, newly appointed Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan today told the Naval top brass that the headquarters of the force based in New Delhi would have to be more responsive. It would have to focus on key assets-warships, submarines and aircraft, he added.

“The headquarters cannot just be a post office," he told senior officers at a meeting at the DRDO auditorium this morning. The top brass will have to chip in and help out mid-career officers, he said.

Sources said Admiral Dhowan had laid down a three 'C' concept of commitment, compassion and credibility. He said the headquarters would have to be responsive and not just sit back on feedback originating from the lower level. All short-term and long-term plans would have to be tweaked to remove drawbacks, he added.
 Politics over posts
Must keep the services above political considerations

The BJP has urged the Election Commission to restrain the UPA from appointing the next Army Chief and Lokpal. While the code of conduct may not bar the appointments since these would hardly influence voter behviour, it is on moral grounds that the outgoing government could consider keeping this in mind. The process of selecting the country's first nine-member Lokpal began well in time but it got embroiled in controversy. Jurist Fali Nariman and Justice K.T. Thomas dissociated themselves from the search committee, realising that they would end up endorsing the government's candidates. An NGO has challenged the rules of Lokpal appointment in the Supreme Court.

Normally, the Army Chief's appointment is not politicised. The selection is made by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet which in the case of the armed forces comprising the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Defence Minister. The present Army Chief is to retire on July 31 and the next in line is Lt-Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag. Before his retirement in 2012, the previous Army Chief, Gen V.K. Singh, had ordered a discipline and vigilance promotion ban on General Suhag. The ban was lifted subsequently by Gen Bikram Singh. But the BJP’s interventions also seem suspect. Gen V.K. Singh is the party's candidate for the Ghaziabad Lok Sabha seat and his aversion to the Bikram-Suhag succession line is known. If the BJP comes to power, it is likely that he would like to have his say in the appointment. This would be unwelcome because of a clash of interest. If General Suhag is sidelined by the new dispensation, the next in line would be Lt-Gen Ashok Singh, whose son is married to Gen V.K. Singh's daughter.

The defence forces should be spared further muck-raking. Only recently, the seniority principle was not applied in the choice of the Naval Chief but then the context was different. In the best traditions of the armed forces, top appointments should be kept above party politics. Since there would still be over two monhs left for Gen Bikram Singh’s retirement when the election results are announced on May 16, the outgoing UPA should go ahead and prepare the ground work for the appointment of the Lokpal and the new Army Chief, but the announcement of the names could be left to the next government at the Centre.
Indian Army requires land for artillery drills in Kashmir
Srinagar: With the expiry of the Tosamaidan lease to Indian Army on Friday, GOC 15 Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Gurmeet Singh said that he has already forwarded his recommendations to the Government and it is now responsibility of the Government to take a decision in this regard.

Gurmeet Singh told Srinagar based news gathering agency CNS that that there is a requirement for Army to have land in Kashmir for carrying out artillery drills. “As far as Tosamaidan issue is concerned, we have already forwarded our recommendations to the government. I can’t have independent comments on the issue as there are people in Army who are superior to me. If I will comment beyond this, that means I will create confusion. My only comment is that I have sent my recommendations and now Government will take a decision in this regard, “Lieutenant General Gurmeet Singh said.

Responding to a query, Gurmeet Singh said that every Kashmiri youth is not a ‘Slumdog millionaire’ but a ‘slumdog trillioner’ (referring to the Bollywood movie Slumdog Millionaire’) replete with aptitude and talent. “These youth were born during turmoil and yet they have capabilities and can do wonders.

Instead of following the footprints of my predecessors, I tried to customize the things and I felt that local militants are misguided youth. I instructed my subordinates not to kill local militants during encounters because it is my personal belief that they have been subject to false propaganda. I told my officer’s not to target any local militant unless he fires at you,” Singh said.

Elaborating further, Singh told CNS that instead of killing notorious local militants the Army honoured his word and apprehended the militants like Talib Lali and Hizb District Commander Major Saqib. “Very few people know that during an ambush in Tral, Army instead of killing two extortionists who were carrying toy guns apprehended them. I awarded the Army commander who was handing that operation for using his brain and respecting my word,” he said adding that that we could have easily killed a 22 year old “drug addict” at Boniyar Uri who came close to our ammunition point, putting the lives of Army personnel into danger but we didn’t do that just because you can’t be a good soldier unless you are not a good human being.

GOC 15 Corps Commander, Lieutenant General Gurmeet Singh told CNS that after the Hyderpora deadly militant attack in which 8 of their jawans were killed, he carried out in depth introspection and, “I came to conclusion that Army ought to carry out truthful, professional, and ethical operations only. I have understood that unethical operations can have short term gains for you but at the end of the day you are the loser.

Besides, there are so many agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir and you can’t keep anything under carpet for a long time. Keeping these things into mind, I instructed my soldiers to be humane and during every counter terrorism operation, ensure the safety of common people,” he said adding that you will find a total change amoung soldiers operating in Kashmir.

“If my soldier fails to eliminate a militant with single bullet during the encounter then I feel that his training has gone to waste. There is no fun to create panic and chaos in and around encounter site by firing hundreds of bullets. I have talked to 47,000 soldiers ever since I assumed the charge of GOC here and I have told them to ensure the safety of common people,” he said adding that pro-people approach helped us to eliminate most of the foreign militants. “You will not believe that all the foreign militants killed so far during the initial months of the current year were eliminated with the help of local people who provided information to police to Army about their presence in the area,” Singh said. (CNS)
Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag's name forwarded for new Army chief

Notwithstanding objections by BJP, the Defence Ministry is going ahead with the process of appointing the new Army Chief and has recommended the name of Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag to the Prime Minister's Office.

The recommendation of the Defence Ministry will have to be approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, official sources said today.

As per tradition, the government announces the name of services chiefs-designate two months before the retirement of the incumbent.

Sticking to that, it is expected to announce the name of the new Army chief by May 1, three months prior to the date of retirement of Gen Bikram Singh.

The appointment of incumbent Chief Gen Singh was also done three months prior to the retirement of his predecessor Gen V K Singh, who had a turbulent relationship with the Defence Ministry and even dragged the government to the Supreme Court over his age controversy.

The Defence Ministry has taken the step even though opposition BJP has said the outgoing government should not appoint the new Army Chief and should leave it to the next government that is expected to take over towards the end of next month.

The party has even petitioned the Election Commission to halt the process.

General (retd) V.K. Singh, who is now a BJP member and contesting for Lok Sabha from Ghaziabad constituency in Uttar Pradesh, has said the UPA government "should not be in a hurry" to appoint the new Army Chief.

"I don't understand why the UPA is in a hurry to make the present chief ineffective by announcing his successor's name," he has said.

Significantly, during the last days of his tenure as Army Chief, V K Singh had put a 'discipline and vigilance ban' on Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag, then 3 Corps Commander, for the "failure of command and control" as an intelligence unit under him had allegedly carried out dacoity in Jorhat in Assam outside the jurisdiction of the Corps.

The ban was lifted soon after Bikram Singh took over as Army chief and appointed Suhag as the Eastern Army Commander.

General Bikram Singh will retire on July 31 after completing a 26-month tenure in office.
Army for sophisticated weapons procurement
Taking cognizance of the mounting obsolescence in the Army’s air defence  systems, Army has decided to talk to prospective vendors for guns, ammunition, maintenance and technology transfer. It will also be looking towards guns with calibre of 30mm or greater.

AAD- Army Air Defence which is  the youngest arm of Indian Army came into being 21 years ago. Ever since its establishment it hasn’t modernized much and needs urgent up-gradation of equipment to tackle the growing vulnerability by the enemy.
Indian military diplomacy in 2014
The Indian armed forces are slated to be very busy this year with over 25 exercises, manoeuvres and confidence-building measures scheduled with friendly countries and potential adversaries alike. A flotilla from the Eastern Fleet is to join US and Japanese forces in the Malabar wargames, which so irk China, in the Western Pacific in July. The task force will continue further to conduct Exercise Indra with the Russian Navy.

US and Indian ground forces will conduct joint counter-terrorism drills as part of the annual Exercise Yudh Abhyas at Chaubatia near Ranikhet in Uttarakhand during September.

In July, the navy will be sending a warship to participate in the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) conducted by the US Navy. The IAF is scheduled to attend the prestigious Red Flag exercises in Nevada next year.

The multi-role stealth frigate INS Shivalik will participate in the international fleet review being held at Qingdao in north-eastern China to mark that country’s navy’s 66th anniversary on April 23.

In addition, ground troops of both countries will exercise at Barrackpore near Kolkata as part of the bilateral Exercise Hand in Hand in October. The strategically important, energy rich Central Asian region comes in for attention with manoeuvres scheduled for September with Kyrgyzstan and Exercise Nomadic Elephant with the Mongolian Army in August.

MANEKSHAW’S RUN-IN WITH BM KAULBy the late 50s, having successfully commanded a brigade and a division and the Infantry School and having been Director of Military Operations, Sam Manekshaw was being talked about as a rising star with a track record for professionalism and thoroughness.

This brought him to the malevolent notice of the highly ambitious Chief of the General Staff, BM Kaul. Kaul reckoned Manekshaw to be a dangerous rival for the Army Chief ’s job. With no combat record to speak of he also sought to impress upon the rest of the army his personal power by ‘fixing’ a well thought of professional.

There was perhaps a personal bitterness too resulting out of a wargame in which both took part.

Trumped up charges to the effect that Manekshaw was too pro-Western and by implication not nationalistic enough were brought up while he was commandant of the staff college.

Kaul ordered an inquiry sending his henchmen to suborn, bribe and threaten instructors at the staff college to bear witness against Manekshaw. With some notable exceptions many succumbed to the pressure.

However, General Daulet Singh who presided over the inquiry was made of sterner stuff, honourably acquitting Sam of all charges instead asking for action against some of his accusers. Manekshaw was approved for promotion but superseded by his junior, General Harbaksh Singh.

He had also fallen under the baleful glare of the acerbic defence minister, Krishna Menon. However fate caught up with both Menon and Kaul in the shape of the humiliation in the 1962 war resulting in both being sacked.

Manekshaw was sent to succeed Kaul as commander of the ill-fated IV Corps where his arrival shored up the formation’s sagging morale. It was a mark of his large-heartedness and vision that he refrained from vindictiveness against those who bore false witness against him.

Most of them did well in later years, one even rising to be an army commander and Lieutenant Governor.
30,000 army aspirants march in, Chandigarh halts
CHANDIGARH: Traffic jams choked the roads with autos, rickshaws and even local buses running jam-packed as over 30,000 defence service aspirants thronged the city to appear for their entrance examinations on Sunday.

Chaos was witnessed at inter-state bus terminus in Sector 43, Sector 17 bus stand and the railway station.

The defence services exams were held at 60 different centres designated in government schools and colleges throughout the city.

Police officials said despite the local traffic police authorities and police station personnel being informed about the arrival of thousands of aspirants in advance, the situation turned chaotic during the evening hours when all the aspirants hit the roads.

In a similar situation on December 15 last year, the city witnessed chaos when over 1.50 lakh people, including 95,000 candidates, stormed the city to appear in the exam for the post of food inspector in the Punjab government. Elaborate arrangements by the Chandigarh administration had too failed to meet the needs of the candidates then.

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