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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

From Today's Papers - 14 May 2014

Govt has its way, appoints Gen Suhag as Army Chief
* PM-led Cabinet panel clears his name
* To take over on July 31
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13
The government today appointed Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army Chief. He will succeed General Bikram Singh on July 31.

The name of 59-year-old Suhag was cleared by the Prime Minister-led Appointments Committee of Cabinet despite protests by the BJP. The government has followed the principle of seniority in Lt General Suhag’s appointment. He would be the senior most among the Lt Generals as on July 31.

Lt General Suhag, who is currently the Vice-Chief, will head the 1.4 million strong force till December 2016. Hailing from Jhajjar district, Lt General Suhag is the second Army Chief from Haryana. General VK Singh, who headed the Army from March 31, 2010 to May 31, 2012, hails from Bhiwani.

A third-generation soldier Suhag’s father was in the Armoured Corps. An alumnus of Sainik School, Chittorgarh, Suhag joined the National Defence Academy in 1970 and was commissioned into 4/5 Gorkha Rifles in June 1974.

A stickler for fitness, he goes for a 10-km run daily. Officers who have served with him maintain that his fitness levels shame even the young officers. His hobbies include horse-riding and golf.

Lt General Suhag has served in the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka where his unit was the first to be sent in 1987. He has served as Major General at the 8 Mountain Division Khumathang, controlling Kargil, Drass and Batalik along the Line of Control. He went on to command the Dimapur-based 3 Corps in the North-East before being elevated as the Eastern Army Commander.

The Election Commission, to which the Army Chief’s appointment had been referred in view of the model code of conduct, gave the go-ahead to initiate the process of appointing the next Army Chief on Monday. “The model code of conduct is not applicable to any matter pertaining to the defence forces, be it recruitments or promotions...”said the poll panel. The Defence Ministry sent its recommendation to the Appointments Committee of Cabinet shortly after receiving the go-ahead from the Election Commission.

The BJP had questioned the "political propriety" of the outgoing government to appoint the new Army Chief. BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “The Manmohan Singh government has only 90 hours left. I leave it to their judgement of political propriety whether to appoint the new Army Chief or not when the vacancy is arising in the end of July.”

In the past, Service Chiefs have been appointed almost three months in advance. Admiral DK Joshi, who recently quit, was appointed 87 days prior to his taking over, while his predecessor Admiral Nirmal Verma had an 85-day period as Chief-designate.

General Bikram Singh was appointed 89 days in advance. Previous Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne was appointed 73 days in advance, while his predecessor Air Chief Marshal PV Naik had a similar period as Chief-designate when he was appointed on March 3, 2009.
 Arihant N-sub gets ready to fire ballistic missiles
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 13
Movingcloser towards completing the nuclear triad, the indigenously developednuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, will soon be testing its capability tolaunch long range ballistic missiles from within the depths of the ocean.

“We willbe conducting a test launch of the K-4 missile from the Arihant submarine,which is already undergoing sea trials, within the next few months,” ScientificAdviser to the Raksha Mantri and DRDO Director General, Dr Avinash Chander toldThe Tribune during his visit to Chandigarh.

The3,000-km range K-4 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) was successfullytest launched by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) froman underwater pontoon, simulating a submerged submarine, on March 24.

Thedevelopment of the K-4 comes in the wake of the K-15 a submarine launchedballistic missile that has a range of 750 kms and is already in production. Aland-based version of the K-15 is also on the anvil.

INSArihant, which will have at least three more sister submarines which arealready under construction, will carry four K-4 missiles or 12 K-15 missilesalong with six torpedoes. Four submarines with unlimited range, each carryingfour 3000-kms range missiles gives an enormous degree of flexibility,reliability, survivability and stand-off attack capability to the nucleartriad.

Alsocoming up shortly is the test launch of the containerised version of the Agni-4Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. The 4000-kms range missile would beroad-mobile and launched from a contained, from which it would be shot in theair and its engines would ignite in mid air. The conventional version of themissile was test fired by the Strategic Forces Command in its road-mobileconfiguration in January this year, paving its way for serial production andservice induction.

DrChander said that following the successful launch of the Astra beyond visuaklrange air to air missile from a Su-30 fighter earlier this month, a launch totest its performance against a live aerial target will be conducted next month.A test of Hellina, the helicopter launched version of the Nag anti-tankmissile, is also scheduled shortly.

Lethal fire power

INS Arihant, which will carry four K-4 missiles or 12 K-15 missiles along with six torpedoes K-4 missiles with a range of 3,000 km, was successfully test launched by the Defence Research and Development Organisation from an underwater pontoon on March 24.
Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag is India's new Army Chief
 In one of its last major decisions, the outgoing UPA government today appointed Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag as India's next Army Chief to succeed General Bikram Singh who retires on July 31.

It has followed the seniority principle in appointing Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, who is the current Vice Chief of Army Staff. He will be the senior-most Lieutenant General in the Indian Army when General Bikram Singh retires.

The Congress-led government has ignored the BJP's contention that the "lame-duck government" does not have the authority to make such an important decision. The BJP has suggested that the new government should make this and other new appointments. Results of the general election will be out on Friday, May 16. (Despite BJP's Protest, Government Will Name New Army Chief: Sources)

Former Army Chief and the BJP's Ghaziabad candidate General VK Singh has led the demand that the decision be deferred, questioning the propriety and timing of the decision, which he said was "ethically wrong". A cautious UPA government had sought the Election Commission's clearance twice to name the next Chief. (Election Commission Gives Nod to Government to Appoint New Army Chief)

Gen VK Singh had, in his last week as Army Chief in May 2012, imposed a discipline and vigilance ban on Lt Gen Dalbir Singh for having allegedly ignored a botched up intelligence operation under his command in the 3 Corps based in Nagaland.

Gen Bikram Singh, who took over from Gen VK Singh in May 2012, had immediately lifted the ban on Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, which enabled him to become the Eastern Army Commander in June 2012. He took over as the Vice Chief of Army Staff on January 1 this year.

Lt Gen Dalbir Singh joined the National Defence Academy in 1970 and was commissioned into the 4/5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) in June 1974.

He has served as a company commander in "Op Pawan" in Sri Lanka in 1987, commanded the 53 Infantry Brigade, which was involved in counter-insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley and commanded the 8 Mountain Division in Jammu & Kashmir.
Ex-Indian Gorkha army men to get free medical service - See more at:
POKHARA: The Indian government and Manipal Teaching Hospital of Pokhara have signed an agreement to provide free medical services to the ex-servicemen of Indian Army’s Gorkha Regiment under India’s Ministry of Defence.

Dean of Manipal Teaching Hospital Dr BM Nagpal and Defence Attaché of Indian Embassy in Nepal Colonel Ajay Pasbola signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect for two years, at a programme organised here today. Families of Gorkha Army personnel will also be entitled to receive medical service.

The agreement, for two years in the initial phase, will be extended after that period, said Wing Commander Ravi Sharma — Assistant Military Attaché (ECHS) of Indian Embassy to Nepal.

As per the agreement, former Gorkha army personnel of Indian Army and their family members will receive all kinds of medical treatments, including surgery, free of cost at Manipal Teaching Hospital.

In case the ex-servicemen and their kin cannot be treated at Manipal, they will be referred to India, where they will be treated for free. The patients, however, will have to bear transport expenses.

According to Assistant Military Attaché of the Indian Embassy Wing Commander Ravi Sharma, there are nearly 250,000 retired Gorkha army personnel. The Indian Embassy is also planning to provide similar service for retired personnel of Indian Police.

Ravi Sharma said the Indian government would forge similar kinds of agreements with about 20 hospitals in Nepal, in the days ahead.

Medical facilities will be provided to respective personnel, their wives, sons under 25 years, and unmarried daughters.

To receive the facility, Indian Embassy will issue cards to ex-Gorkha army personnel. Within one month of registering an application for the card, the Indian Embassy will issue the cards, Ravi Sharma informed.

The Indian government will pay around NRs 2 billion per year for free health service to the ex-servicemen. The Indian government is extending the free medical facilities under Ex-servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme.

Indian Army Gorkha regiment’s ex-captain Samar Bahadur Kshetri of Ram Bazaar in Pokhara, said the MoU had elated him. “Earlier, we used to visit various health centres in India. But now we can avail the service at our doorstep,” Kshetri said.

Another former captain Dambar Bahadur Gurung said that free medical service for ex-personnel of Indian army and their family members was commendable.

Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said the MOU had been signed to this effect after long homework.

Colonel Ajay Pasbola expressed confidence that the free medical facilities would benefit many ex-servicemen and their families. Dr Nagpal said the agreement had made the entire hospital family very glad. Established in 1994 Manipal Teaching Hospital currently has 750 beds. - See more at:
Army recruits released on medical grounds are ex-servicemen:HC
Madras High Court has ruled that ex-recruits of the Army, who were boarded out or released on medical grounds and granted medical/disability pension, should be considered as ex-serviceman for all practical purposes including job reservation.

Justice R Mahadevan of the Madurai Bench of the High Court, disposing of a petition by one S Balaji, who was injured during training and released by the Army with pension, directed the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission Secretary to provide him a job in the Handloom and Textiles department within six months.

The judge said the Ministry of Defence had issued a gazette notification stating that it had been decided such recruits who were boarded out/released on medical grounds and granted Medical and Disability Pension should be covered under the category of ex-serviceman.

Hence, the Director of Ex-serviceman Welfare Board or TNPSC could not deny jobs to the army recruits by quoting an earlier letter written by the Defence Secretary that persons classified as recruits in the defence service were not entitled to claims as ex-serviceman.

The Defence Ministry later had issued a notification stating that injured recruits discharged on medical grounds with pension should be considered ex-serviceman.

The case of the petitioner was he was released on disability ground while receiving trainining and he was entitled for a job under ex-serviceman quota, the judge said.

The court quashed the GO of the Pubic Department (Ex-serviceman) and Director of the Ex-serviceman letter, denying job for the injured recruits, getting disability pension from the Army.
Indian defence delegation visits Vietnam

Sen. Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, Vice Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People’s Army, received a delegation from the National Defence Academy of India in Hanoi on May 12.
Tuan affirmed the people and army of Vietnam always attach importance to developing solidarity and friendship with the Indian people and army.

He informed the Indian guests on China’s illegal placement of a drilling rig in Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone, which is protected under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

He emphasized the country’s wish to solve the issue through peaceful measures on the basis of international law, equality and mutual respect for the benefit of the two peoples and for regional and global peace and stability.

Indian delegation chief Major General Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya voiced protest against China’s acts and support for Vietnam to settle the dispute in a peaceful manner.

He said he expects the defence ministries of India and Vietnam will continue to work towards deeper and more effective cooperation between their defence academies.

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