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Monday, 16 June 2014

From Today's Papers - 17 Jun 2014

LoC violations by Pak must stop for talks: Jaitley
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, June 15
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley today asserted that dialogue with Pakistan could not progress if ceasefire violations and infiltration continue. Ceasefire violations and talks cannot go hand in hand, he said.

"Such hostilities must stop for the situation to normalise," said Jaitley.

On Saturday, the Defence Minister had said the country was capable of responding to ceasefire violations along the LoC.

"I think it is important that this kind of violations that are taking place along the LoC must stop," Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told reporters in Srinagar before concluding his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

"Stopping ceasefire violation itself is a confidence building measure," he added.

The Defence Minister said the Army had maintained dominance along the LoC and the ability of the security forces to counter infiltration attempts were up to the mark.

"On the other side, there are incidents of ceasefire violations. But our soldiers are capable of giving a befitting reply," he added.

Jaitley said that after reviewing the situation he was "optimistic" about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. "I am confident that we are fully prepared and I am going back with a reasonable sense of satisfaction," he said.

"The Lok Sabha elections were held peacefully. It was a welcome step. Tourism season is at its peak. At the end of this month, Amarnath Yatra will also start," he said.

The Defence Minister said his maiden visit to the state had no political agenda. "My visit to J&K has no political agenda. I came here to review the security arrangements and our preparedness along the LoC," he added.

On the partial revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), the Defence Minister said: "We will have to see how things progresses."

"Local security forces have been able to handle AFSPA. Over the period of time, we have to watch how situation progresses. Today, I am not in position to make any comments on AFSPA," he said.

On Saturday, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had taken up the issue of partial revocation of AFSPA from parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP has been against any move to dilute the law.

The Defence Minister said the sanction for prosecution of armed forces personnel accused of human rights violations was decided on merit.

When asked whether China was bigger threat than Pakistan, the Defence Minister said India was capable of handling its sovereignty.
Close-In Warfare System on INS Vikramaditya next year
Will have anti-missile defence system after three years
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
Goa, June 15
As euphoria over the newly inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya settles down, it is the time for the Navy to equip the warship with two sets of weapons and missile systems.

INS Vikramaditya does not have the Close-In Warfare System (CIWS) and the long range missile firing capability that can pick out targets up to 100 km.

The CIWS is slated to be fitted in April-June 2015 at the Karwar naval base. Sources say the Navy is looking at two options, either the Israeli Barak or the Russian Shitil missiles.

The CIWS system is needed on board large warships as the last protection layer against incoming missiles as well as aircraft. It is like the ships own air-defence system. When deployed, a carrier does not float alone but moves around with a small flotilla of warships. The Navy is banking on ships in the flotilla for air defence support and also for long range missile firing. Some of the Indian warships carry the sea version of the 290 km range hypersonic missile (BrahMos).

The Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAMs) can be fitted on the warship when it goes for its first re-fit after three years. Fitting the LR-SAM will be a complex procedure and it will entail some cutting through the deck, a period of eight-nine months has been factored in for this, sources said.

The LR-SAM, a joint venture between the Israel’s IAI and India’s DRDO, is still being tested. A series of tests are slated between November and March at the integrated test range, Orissa. The LR-SAM has been designated Barak-8 by the IAI. This can be housed in vertical launch units.

Each such unit will hold eight missiles. The warship could carry up to 32 or 48 LR-SAM’s

The Israeli company is working at the front section of the LR-SAM, including its seeker head that guides the missile and the warhead. The DRDO is working at the rear section - the rocket motor, the thrust vector control and fins that can be folded.

Meanwhile, the Navy has joined hands with the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) to set up a shore-based test facility to train pilots. At present, the Navy has around 10 qualified pilots.
 Home Ministry rejects OROP for paramilitary forces
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has rejected the demand of retired central armed police force (CAPF) personnel that the formula of one rank-one pension (OROP) be extended to them on the same lines as was announced for the armed forces.

A letter received here in this context by the Paramilitary Forces Retired Officers Association (PFROA) from Border Security Force Headquarters, New Delhi states that the MHA is of the view that the concept of OROP is not applicable in the CAPFs as their personnel are retiring at the age of 57 years or 60 years (depending upon rank).

After the previous government had announced the implementation of OROP for the armed forces in the run up to the General Election – which it had failed to implement – retired paramilitary officers had also demanded that they also be granted the same benefits. They had also raised this issue with Congress vice- president Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Chandigarh and had submitted a memorandum to him.

Paramilitary forces personnel had contended that they are performing similar duties as that of the armed forces and are serving in equally tough conditions, be it on border deployment or in internal security duties.

The armed forces had been fighting for implementation of OROP for the past about three decades. OROP entails equal pension for the same rank and same length of service. At present, the pension is different for those retiring at different times because of the manner of fixation of pension whenever a new pay commission is implemented. The difference runs in several thousand rupees per month.

In addition to tough service conditions, frequent transfers, disturbed family life and other difficulties, the Armed Forces had also cited as early retirement as reasons for seeking OROP. Officers begin retiring at the age of 54 years while other ranks begin retiring at the age of 35 years.

In a letter written to the BSF Director General, urging him to take up the matter of OROP for paramilitary personnel with the MHA, PFROA has stated that it is in best interest of the nation to consider CAPFs at par with the defence services to maintain their morale as their service conditions are extremely similar. All these forces are uniformed forces and are governed by Acts similar to Army Act.
 ITBP to procure modern arms, surveillance system for LAC
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), June 15
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) is going to procure modern weapons and surveillance systems to improve patrolling along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. Sources said the force lacked basic infrastructure in the forward areas along the LAC.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had also said there was an urgent need to increase deployment of ITBP troops along the border and provide them with modern weaponry.
“Nearly two years ago, the then ITBP Director General visited forward posts in Arunachal Pradesh. He was informed about unavailability of proper equipment along the LAC. He promised to start a procurement process immediately, but nothing has happened. The surveillance equipment currently used by the ITBP are outdated,” said an official.

“The major problem the force faces is the deplorable condition of roads. Some roads leading to our posts are not motorable and can only be reached on foot. An ITBP engineer had died at a forward post when a tree fell on his tent. In the absence of proper roads, his body could be retrieved from the post after two days with the help of Army porters,” said the official.

Subhas Goswami, Director General, ITBP, at a security summit in Delhi in February this year, had said the development of the border areas would check migration. “Border development should be seen as a security requirement. Unless we develop the areas, we cannot stop migration to the plain areas,” he had said.

Sources said there was a plan to set up more border outposts. Old structures would be removed and new ones would be constructed, they said and added, more Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) huts would be set up to protect soldiers from cold, snow and chilly winds.

The ITBP is also contemplating to procure Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance. “Presently, we are dependent on the Army, but assessing the areas where they can be deployed,” said the official.

Furthermore, the ITBP said the MHA had approved the procurement of two speedboats for patrolling in the Pangong Tso (lake) in Leh through which the LAC runs. Located at an altitude of 14,270 feet, the 134 km lake extends from India to Tibet.

In the pipeline

    More fibre reinforced plastic huts will be set up to protect soldiers from cold, snow and chilly winds
    The ITBP is also contemplating to procure Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for surveillance along the LAC
    The MHA has approved procurement of two speedboats for patrolling in the Pangong Tso (lake) in Leh
Nawaz Sharif should refrain his army from violating ceasefire: D Raja
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja stated today that Pakistan should not have violated the ceasefire code and their civilian government needs to refrain its army from taking provocative acts on border.

Raja told ANI, "As far as India is concerned, we must respect the ceasefire and we also should tell Pakistan to respect ceasefire and nobody should violate them."

He further added, "Mr. Nawaz Sharif, being the Prime Minister of Pakistan should refrain his army not to involve in any incursions or provocative actions on borders violating the ceasefire."

Raja also agreed with Defence Minister Arun Jaitley's statement that India is very much capable and well-equipped to protect its borders.

Pakistan had on Friday fired at Indian posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Poonch and Rajouri Districts of Jammu and Kashmir, forcing the Indian Army to retaliate.
Punjab youth try to clear Army physical tests with aid of steroids

With the drug menace becoming a big issue in Punjab, the Army is also keen to check the entry of drug addicts in the defence forces. In a recent recruitment drive, organised by the Indian Army for the youths of Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar, scores of youth were found to have using steroids to clear the physical tests. The Army recruiting authorities found syringes and empty ampules of drugs outside the recruitment venues.

"We organised recruitment drives in Patiala and Amritsar during April and May and are currently running in Jalandhar. We found empty ampules of power enhancing drugs in Amritsar and earlier rallies too," an Army officer requesting anonymity said.

Keeping in view the growing use of drugs among Punjab's youth, Indian Army authorities have now made it compulsory for the youth to undergo a dope test.

"We want that only the strong, fit and healthy Punjabi youth join the Army. For that, the urine and pupil dilation tests have been introduced.

One time kit costing Rs.250 is being used to test the urine samples. The candidates are taken to a dark room where the light from the light from a high wattage light bulb is thrown on their faces. While the drug addicts do not blink eyes, common people immediately blink after seeing the light," the Army officer said.

The steroids enhance blood flow in muscles. The persons, who use steroids, feel active and energetic for six to eight hours. "Prolonged use of steroids in men results in breast enlargement, shrunken testicles lowered sperm count, increased sex drive and decreased sexual performance besides other side effects," an expert said.
'Indian Army strong enough to deal with ceasefire violations'
Srinagar: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday said the Indian Army is fully equipped and strong enough to deal with ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

Speaking to media persons on his arrival in summer capital Srinagar Saturday, Jaitley said: "I have come here to review the overall security situation. I shall be interacting with officials on this during my stay here".

Replying to a question on the ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu region Friday, when the Pakistani Army used mortars to target Indian positions, the defence minister said: "Our army is strong enough and well-equipped to deal with such violations."

Jaitley was briefed about the security situation on the borders and in the hinterland at the Badami Bagh headquarters of army's 15 Corps by the GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lt. General, D.S. Hooda and the commanders of the 14, 15 and 16 Corps. Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh was present during the briefing.

Jaitley is scheduled to meet Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday afternoon. Governor, N.N.Vohra is to host a dinner for the defence minister in the evening at the Raj Bhavan.

The defence minister is co-chairing a meeting of the unified headquarters here Sunday with the chief minister.

Unified headquarters is the apex security grid in the state comprising the army, paramilitary forces, state and central intelligence agencies, local police and senior officials of the state government.

He is scheduled to visit some forward positions Sunday when he will interact with officers and jawans.

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