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Thursday, 10 July 2014

From Today's Papers - 10 Jul 2014

Punjabi woman officer keeps family legacy alive

IN the days when not many youngsters from military families are joining the services, a young girl from Mohali has opted to carry forward her family’s military legacy. Lt Gursheen Dhillon has become a fourth generation officer in her family. Recently commissioned into the Army Service Corps, she is at present posted in Sikkim.

Her father, Col GS Dhillion, an Ordnance Officer, had joined the Army in 1987 and is still in service. Her great grandfather, Risaldar Nand Singh, had served with the 1st Lancers of the Patiala State Forces for 21 years, after which her grandfather, Col Surinder Singh, responded to the call of arms and joined the Army as an Emergency Commissioned Officer in 1963, serving till 1987. “Gursheen, the elder of the two sisters, had always been mesmerised by the olive green. Her father was keen that she joined the Air Force, but she went in for the Army,” Col Surinder Singh said.

Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh is Adjutant General

Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh is new Adjutant General at the Army Headquarters. Prior to this, he was the General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, at Srinagar for about a year. Lt Gen Subrata Saha has taken over from him as the Corps Commander. Commissioned into the Assam Regiment, Lt Gen Gurmeet has had several operational tenures in Jammu and Kashmir, having commanded a brigade and a counter-insurgency force in the state.

As Adjutant General, he would be among the Principal Staff Officers to the Army Chief and responsible for manpower planning, discipline and vigilance, ceremonials, welfare and other administrative matters.

Molestation: AFT upholds Major General’s conviction

Six years after a general court martial (GCM) had dismissed a Major General for allegedly molesting a woman officer under his command, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) has upheld the conviction, but modified the sentence of “dismissal from service” to “deemed removal”. In 2007, a woman Captain posted at Leh had alleged that Maj Gen AK Lal, then General Officer Commanding 3 Infantry Division, had inappropriately touched her while conducting meditation sessions at his residence. The GCM, presided by Lt Gen RS Sujlana, GOC 10 Corps, had held Lal guilty of all four charges leveled against him, though he had refuted them.

He had challenged the verdict before the AFT, which ruled that in view of Lal’s previous record and since it appeared that he committed a momentary lapse, it would be harsh to forfeit his retirement dues.

Army Chief’s farewell visit to Kargil

A few days before he hangs up his uniform, Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Bikram Singh, would be visiting Kargil, where he is expected to lay a wreath at the war memorial at Dras. The war memorial is located at the base of many strategic peaks like Tiger Hill, Rhino Horn, Point 5149, Point 5240, Sando Top and Tololing, that had seen some of the most intense battle during the conflict.

Army sources said he would be visiting the 1999 battleground on July 24, two days before the Army publicly commemorates the Kargil Vijay Diwas. During the conflict 15 years ago, Gen Bikram Singh was then a Colonel posted at the Military Operations Directorate at the Army Headquarters and the Army’s official spokesperson on the conflict who used to conduct daily media briefings in New Delhi. Before his Kargil visit, the Chief is also scheduled to visit Jammu, Udhampur and Srinagar as part of his farewell tour.

Army media outlets meet Chinese counterparts

It was a one-of-its-kind interaction in New Delhi when media-information outlets of the Indian Army met their Chinese counterparts last week. A six-member delegation of the People's Liberation Army of China, media cell, held talks with the Indian delegation led by Lt Gen Bobby Mathews, the Additional Director General (public interface) of the Indian Army. The delegation from Beijing was led by Senior Colonel Geng Yansheng, Chief of Information Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of National Defence of China, and it had some questions on how open the media in India was and how matters about the three forces get reported. The Indian side took pains to explain that unlike China, where media was state controlled, the media in India was more of a free-wheeling entity and wrote and broadcast what it felt was in public interest.
Govt must declassify Henderson Brooks Report

Last March, while in opposition, Arun Jaitley vehemently demanded declassification of the Henderson Brooks-PS Bhagat Report that has examined the Army's reverses suffered during the 1962 Sino-Indian war. Mr Jaitley voiced his demand - both verbally and in the form of an article - after former Australian journalist Neville Maxwell posted most of the report on the website. Now four months later, as Defence Minister, Mr Jaitley has done a U-turn by announcing in Parliament that the disclosure of any information related to this report will not be in national interest.

The surprising turnaround raises two issues. One, politicians have a different voice when in opposition and can be both quick and unabashed to do a complete reversal when in government. Two, the fact that the government under every political dispensation in the last two-and-a-half decades has consistently stonewalled the release of the report reflects that either there is something serious to hide or the government is being obsessively secretive. Lieut-Gen Thomas Bryan Henderson Brooks, an Anglo-Indian officer in the Indian Army, along with Brig (later Lieut-Gen) Premindra Singh Bhagat were assigned by the then Army Chief to conduct an 'Operations Review' soon after the war ended. The terms of references were confined to examining 'training, equipment, system of command, physical fitness of the troops and the capacity of commanders at all levels to influence the men under their command'. They were specifically asked not to review the functioning of both Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence.

Yet, the report continues to be classified even though 52 years have elapsed and the scenario has completely changed. Although the two countries continue to have a serious border dispute, India today is far more confident and powerful than it was in 1962. It has stronger economic relations with China as also bilateral agreements in place to prevent a flare-up on the borders. It is imperative that the government release the Henderson Brooks report and all other unpublished war histories and reports on military campaigns at the end of a reasonable time frame. Else, the adage that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it could forever remain true for the Indian military establishment and policy-makers.
VVIP copter deal: CBI quizzes AP Governor

New Delhi, July 9
The CBI today examined AP Governor ESL Narasimhan, former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, as witness in connection with bribery allegations in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters from Ango-Italian firm AgustaWestland.

CBI officials recorded Narasimhan’s statement at the Raj Bhawan in Hyderabad. He was questioned on change in service ceiling of the helicopters, sources said. Narasimhan, who was questioned for over three hours, is the third Governor be examined as a witness, sources said.

Sources said Narasimhan, then National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and then SPG Chief BV Wanchoo had attended the meeting decision to reduce service ceiling was taken. — TNS
Nepal Army seeks two advanced light helicopters from India at subsidised price
 KATHMANDU: Nepal has sought to acquire two advanced light helicopters (ALHs) from India on subsidised price and New Delhi has taken the request positively, Foreign Ministry sources here said today.

Nepal Army's request to buy two HAL-made Dhruv choppers came during the two-day meeting of 'Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group (BCG) on Security Issues' that concluded in Kathmandu yesterday, the sources said.

The Indian side took Nepal's request positively, the sources said.

However, detailed work out of the procurement of the choppers has to be carried out by both the sides.

Earlier, India had provided two ALHs to the Nepal Army temporarily during the second Constituent Assembly elections held in November last year to carry out monitoring of the elections.

These were returned to India after completing the mission.

Providing training to Nepal Army, supply of defence equipments and exchange of information were mainly figured during the recently concluded 11th bilateral consultative meeting.

Sharing of military intelligence information for stepping up border security mechanism were also discussed during the meeting.

Officials from both the countries also discussed each other's security concerns during the meetings.

Nepal has sought resumption of supply of military hardware from government of India, which was halted during the absolute rule by then King Gyanendra in February 2005, when civil rights were suspended.

India has provided some of the defence materials as per the request made by Nepal over the past couple of months and more supplies are in the pipeline, according to Nepal Army sources.

These military equipments were supplied by India at 60 per cent subsidy and 40 per cent cash payment.

However, it is not clear whether India would supply the choppers on the basis of same principle or not, a Foreign Ministry official said.

"However, we are asking for the subsidy which was applied in previous military supplies," said the Foreign Ministry sources.

Details of the talks and negotiations made between the two sides during the bilateral meeting were not disclosed to the press by both the Nepal Army as well as the Foreign Ministry.

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