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Monday, 5 May 2014

From Today's Papers - 05 May 2014

















http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140505/nation.htm#5
 India successfully test-fires air-to-air Astra missile
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, MAY 4
India today successfully test-fired its indigenous all-weather missile, Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) Astra, with an Indian Air Force Sukhoi-30MKI launching it.

After having hit by setbacks in the over decade-old programme, the BVRAAM was successfully tested at a naval range in the western sector. The sequence was captured by the forward and side looking high-speed cameras with the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) claiming that the launch met "all the mission objectives" and the separation was exactly as per the simulation.

Astra is India's first BVRAAM indigenously designed and developed by the DRDO, which it said possesses high single shot kill probability and makes it highly reliable. Astra is an all-weather missile with active radar terminal guidance, ECCM features, smokeless propulsion and process improved effectiveness in multi-target scenario making it a highly advanced, state-of the-art missile, the DRDO said in a statement.

Congratulating the team for the success, DRDO Director-General Avinash Chander said: "Astra's successful launch from the Su30 combat aircraft is a major step in the missile aircraft integration. Extensive flight testing that has preceded today's air launch was indeed a joint effort of DRDO and IAF. This will be followed by launch against actual target shortly. Many more trials are planned and will be conducted to clear the launch envelope. Weapon integration with 'Tejas' Light Combat Aircraft will also be done in the near future."

The project saw a Su-30 modified by Hindustan Aeronautics along with IAF with Indian industry joining hands in the production of reliable avionics, propulsion system, materials, airframe and software, each of which had to pass stringent airworthiness requirement for the missile.

Top scientists associated with the project including Director General (MSS) V G Sekaran, DRDL Director S Som, his predecessor P Venugopalan and GD (Aeronautics) K Tamilmani who oversaw the flight safety in the programme hailed the quality of integration and performance.

The missiles underwent rigorous testing on Su30 in the captive mode for avionics integration and Seeker evaluation in 2013.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140505/nation.htm#8
 Desert drill puts to test Army’s fighting skills
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 4
Lt General Arun Kumar Sahni, GOC-in-C (Army Commander), South Western Command, today reviewed the “Sarvada Vijay” exercise in West Rajasthan. The Army Commander was briefed by Lt General Ravi Thodge, Corps Commander, Strike Corps, on the training aspects.

“Sarvada Vijay” is being conducted as part of regular training where a large Army formation is practising and honing war fighting skills braving 45 °C heat and dust storms. Composite infantry and mechanised forces practised swift maneuvers deep into “enemy” territory and got linked up with airborne troops.

Networked radars, UAVs and aerial surveillance platforms ensured continuous flow of information resulting in battlefield transparency that enabled commanders to assess and suitably modify their operational plans to meet the emerging challenges.

Mobile communication systems integrated with terrestrial network provided efficient “communication on the move” across the battlefield.

Lt General Arun Kumar Sahni reviewed integrated operational manoeuvres of the formation.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140505/nation.htm#9
 ISI plan to attack US, Israeli consulates in India thwarted

New Delhi, May 4
Central security agencies have claimed that Pakistan’s ISI had plans to carry out terror attacks on two foreign consulates in India with evidence for this reportedly given by a Sri Lankan national, arrested from Chennai, during his interrogation.

Official sources claimed today that Sakir Hussain, a Sri Lankan national, told his interrogators that he had been hired allegedly by an official in the Pakistani High Commission in Colombo according to the alleged ISI plans to conduct reconnaissance of the US Consulate in Chennai and Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru.

Hussain was arrested on April 29 in a coordinated operation involving various countries including a South-East Asian nation.

He is reported to have told the interrogators that the Pakistan spy agency was planning to send two men from the Maldives to Chennai and that he had to arrange their travel documents and hideouts.

Hussain's name cropped up during an investigation in a South-East Asian country which tipped a central security agency in India about possible attacks on US and Israeli consulates, the sources said. — PTI


http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/ec-top-brass-to-discuss-the-appointment-of-new-army-chief-next-week/
EC top brass to discuss the appointment of Army chief next week
'We want to strictly follow all the procedures before taking any final decision on the issue', Defence minister AK Antony had said on Friday.

The Election Commission on Saturday said it will consider the issue of the appointment of the next Army chief at a meeting of its top brass next week.
“We have received a reference from the Defence Ministry and the issue is under examination. But no decision has been taken so far. The matter has so far not been placed on the agenda of the ‘full commission’ (the Chief Election Commissioner and the two Election Commissioners),” a senior EC official told PTI here.

“The meeting could take place on Monday or Tuesday where the matter would be considered,” the official said.

The poll panel will consider the matter in the light of its March 27 order that appointments, promotions, tenders and procurements of defence forces are not covered under the Model Code of Conduct in the ongoing elections as well as any other election in the future as well as complaints from BJP that the  government was rushing with the appointment of the next Chief of Army Staff.

Amid strong opposition by the BJP to the appointment of the next Army chief, the Government had referred the matter to the Election Commission saying any decision will be taken only after getting its nod.

“The matter is before the Election Commission. We want to strictly follow all the procedures before taking any final decision on the issue,” Defence Minister AK Antony had said on Friday when asked about the status of appointing the next Army chief.

The matter was sent to the EC by the Defence Ministry earlier this week though the poll panel has already said that appointments, promotions, tenders and procurements are not covered under the Model Code of Conduct in the ongoing elections as well as any other election in the future.

On why the Ministry has sent the matter to the Election Commission despite its March 27 order, highly-placed Defence Ministry sources said such matters are important and it was felt that nod of all authorities concerned should be taken before proceeding.

The BJP has been opposing the appointment of the next Army chief by the UPA Government, arguing that there was no hurry to do so and the matter should be left to the next government.

Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is the front-runner for appointment to the top post which will fall vacant on July 31 after the retirement of present Army chief Gen Bikram Singh.

The EC official also said the panel has not received any reference from the government on the snoopgate commission of inquiry.


http://ibnlive.in.com/news/army-commander-reviews-wargame-exercise-conducted-in-hanumangarh/469488-3-239.html
South Western Army Commander reviews conduct of wargame exercise in Hanumangarh
South Western Army Commander Lt Gen Arun Kumar Sahni on Sunday reviewed the conduct of wargame exercise "Sarvada Vijay" (Always Victorious), underway in border district of Hanumangarh in Rajasthan. Sahani was briefed by Lt Gen Ravi Thodge, Corps Commander of Mathura-based Strike Corps, on the training aspects.

The exercise is being conducted as part of regular training where a large Army formation is practicing and honing war fighting skills, defence spokesperson S D Goswami said. More than 20,000 troops, over 200 tanks and armoured personnel carrier are taking part in wargames being held close to the border with Pakistan.

The Mathura-based 1 Strike Corps and its elements are taking part in the exercise and are practising the war-fighting concepts of the force. The 1 Strike Corps is an important formation of the Army and would be tasked to carry out strikes deep inside enemy territory in case of a war. Over two days with the Strike Corps, the Army Commander of Jaipur-headquartered South Western Command reviewed complex and integrated operational manoeuvres of the formation.
Networked radars, UAVs and aerial surveillance platforms ensured continuous flow of information resulting in battlefield transparency which enabled commanders to asses and suitably modify their operational plans to meet the emerging challenges. Mobile communication systems integrated with terrestrial network provided efficient communication on the move across the battle field.

Synergy between Army and Air Force in launching coordinated air-land battle and the ability to orchestrate battle in network centric environment were successfully validated in the exercise which began few days ago.


http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/Army-to-Go-on-Rescue-Prowl-to-Save-the-Big-Cats/2014/05/04/article2204130.ece
Army to Go on Rescue Prowl to Save the Big Cats


They protect us from cross-border intruders, and soon they could be protecting the big cats from the poachers. The Indian Army would be keeping an eye on tigers in sensitive border areas of the country as the National Tiger Conservation Authori ty (NTCA) has approached the Ministry of Defence (MoD) seeking help in saving the cats by monitoring their movements using drones and CCTV cameras near high security zones, including those close to the Indo-China border.

The move comes after the NTCA, a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, was denied permission by the MoD to carry out surveillance of tiger reserves using drones in areas near international borders and places housing defence installations and ammunition depots.

The tiger conservation authority is in the process of using drones, CCTVs and virtual fence to monitor movement of tigers in and around reserves. The advanced technology will provide virtual access to difficult terrains and dense forests in tiger reserves, which forest guards do not have access to. There are 44 tiger reserves in the country.  

The NTCA took up the matter with the MoD, asking the armed forces to help in tiger monitoring at places where forest officers won’t be allowed to fly drones. After initial discussions with senior defence ministry officials, the NTCA was asked to send a detailed proposal.

“We are preparing a formal proposal which will be sent to the defence ministry by June. We have asked them if their men can fly the drones and collect information regularly in sensitive areas. They can inform the forest officers immediately if they have any suspicion or see human movement inside the core areas,” said a senior NTCA official.

The proposal will describe the kind of training and resources that will be required for the army men to handle equipment and perform the task. NTCA will also provide a list of tiger reserves in the country so that the defence ministry can mark areas which are sensitive and will be managed by its men.

“The defence ministry had earlier objected to drone trials in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park, where a large number of one-horned rhinoceroses were killed by poachers last year. The ministry did not give us permission on security grounds,” said the official. 

The drone trials are now being done at the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh and the results of initial trials have been very encouraging.

Satisfied with the initial trails in Panna and the ongoing ‘Virtual Eye’ project in Corbett Tiger Reserve, the tiger conservation authority wants to replicate it in other places, but security clearance remains a major hurdle and the process takes months in some cases.

Drone trials are also being planned in either Corbett or Dudhwa tiger reserve in northern India and Sathyamangalam or Mudumalai tiger reserves in southern India in the months ahead.

Facing shortage of forest guards to man vast areas of tiger reserves and other protected sites, the NTCA is banking upon technology to save the big cats in India, which is home to the largest number of tigers in the world.  

According to 2010 tiger census, there are 1,706 tigers in the wild and a big threat of poaching looms over them due to high demand of tiger parts in the international market. In 2013, 67 tiger deaths were reported while till now (April 19) this year, 22 tigers have died of various reasons. The NTCA is in the process of counting tigers and the census is expected to be out by December this year.

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