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Saturday, 2 August 2014

From Today's Papers - 02 Aug 2014































http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140801/nation.htm#22
 Flutter in J&K defence circles
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 31
Outgoing Army chief General Bikram Singh’s comments on Lance Naik Hemraj Singh, who was beheaded by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) on January 8 last year in Poonch sector, have created a flutter in defence circles in Jammu and Kashmir.

Defence sources, who felt that the outgoing Army chief perhaps did so to bolster his post-retirement prospects, say, “why at the first place he kept quiet for so long to divulge Army’s retaliation to this particular incident on the LoC and why he divulged it today on the day of demitting office.”

“Had the outgoing Army chief divulged it soon after retaliatory action, it would have also given some kind of consolation to Dharamwati— martyred soldier’s wife,” they said.

On the fateful day, Lance Naiks Hemraj and Sudhakar Singh were brutally killed, their bodies mutilated and former’s head was taken away by Pakistan’s BAT after it breached the LoC and intruded 450 metres inside the Indian Territory in the Balnoi area.

Soon after the incident, family members of Hemraj, including his wife Dharamwati, back home in Mathura had went on a hunger strike demanding that the head of her husband be brought back.

The family had called off their six-day-old fast only after a visit by UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and assurances by Gen Bikram Singh that steps would be taken to get back the severed head. “The outgoing Army chief should have avoided making comments on this issue on the day of his retirement. We all know that Special Forces are meant for carrying out such tactical operations and the Army keeps them under the wraps for obvious reasons,” said the sources.

If the comments were so unavoidable then they should have been made soon after the Army avenged the brutal killings of its troopers, they added. His comment to the queries on Hemraj was unwarranted, they said.

In New Delhi today when asked if India had given a befitting reply after the January 8 beheading incident, the outgoing Army chief reportedly said: “It has been done. Please understand that when we use force, that use is from tactical to operational to strategic levels. When I mention that during that incident, it was aimed at operations at the tactical level, which have been undertaken. I think this has been done by the local commander, the chiefs have nothing to do with it”.

Soon after the incident, Gen Bikram Singh had said during a press conference that the Army would retaliate at a time and place of its choosing. He had given the statement six days after the incident.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140801/main5.htm
Gen Suhag takes over as Army Chief
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 31
General Dalbir Singh Suhag today took over Chief of the Indian Army today. He will be at the helm till December 31, 2016, a 29-month tenure.

The outgoing Army Chief General Bikram Singh handed over the charge to his successor this afternoon at a brief ceremony at the South Block here. Gen Suhag’s wife Namita Singh Suhag was by his side when he took over.

General Suhag was Vice Chief of the Indian Army and had been appointed the Chief by the outgoing UPA regime.

Arun Jaitley, Defence Minister in the newly elected BJP-led NDA regime, fully backed the decision of his predecessor AK Antony.

His appointment had earlier kicked up a row with former Army Chief General (retd) VK Singh, now a minister in the NDA government, questioning it. Jaitley then put his foot down, putting an end to any uncertainty regarding his appointment. He virtually asked the former Army Chief not to question the decision again. Gen Suhag will be the 26th Army Chief of independent India. He will inspect a Guard of Honour tomorrow and will also pay homage at the India Gate.

Gen Suhag had joined National Defence Academy (NDA) in 1970 and was commissioned into 4/5 Gorkha Rifles in June 1974.

The new Chief takes over at a time when the force is facing challenges of modernisation in its artillery, infantry and air defence arms and is also facing friction on the borders with Pakistan and China.

Gen Suhag was at the centre of a controversy triggered by “discipline and vigilance” ban imposed on him by the then Army Chief Gen V K Singh in connection with an intelligence operation in Assam.



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140801/nation.htm#13
 ‘We gave befitting reply to Pak after beheading incident’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 31
Outgoing Army chief General Bikram Singh today said India had given a befitting reply to Pakistan after the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops in 2013 along the LoC.

“It (the response) had been done. That was a tactical operation which had been undertaken by local commanders,” he told mediapersons just before demitting office.

After the incident, he had said during a press conference that the Army would retaliate at a time and place of its choosing. He had given the statement six days after the incident in which Pakistan’s Special Forces and terrorists beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj Singh and mutilated the body of another Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh along the LoC in Poonch sector of J&K.

On possibility of a skirmish with China, Gen Singh said: “I don’t foresee any war with China. We have comprehensive rules of engagement with China. We have robust mechanisms in place and there is an understanding at the macro level.”

India is raising a specialised Mountain Strike Corps at the cost of Rs 64,000 crore aimed at matching China’s rising military might. He said units of the Mountain Strike Corps to be deployed along the China border.

On being asked if he held the same opinion for the western front (Pakistan), the General said: “No the western front, you know very well there is an LoC (Line of Control). It has traditionally been a very active border and at the tactical level, there is firing from across the border.”

Asked about transgressions on the China border, he said, “On our northern borders, even we are carrying out patrolling and the patrolling by our troops and PLA soldiers is done in an area which is disputed.” “Both have claims to that area so when patrols come in over there, there is a face-off which is dealt with as per the rules of engagement,” he added.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140801/nation.htm#25
General Bikram Singh sees no war with China
Says India gave befitting reply to Pak after beheading incident
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 31
Measuring his words carefully, outgoing Army Chief General Bikram Singh today said he did not foresee a war with China but he evaded a similar direct opinion on future conflicts with Pakistan saying that was a ‘very active’ border.

On possibility of a skirmish with China, General Singh said: “I don’t foresee any war with China. We have comprehensive rules of engagement with China. We have robust mechanisms in place and there is an understanding at the macro level.”

India is raising a specialised Mountain Strike Corps at the cost of Rs 64,000 crore aimed at matching China’s rising military might. He said units of the Mountain Strike Corps would be deployed along the China border. On being asked if he thought the same for the western front (Pakistan), he said: “No. It has traditionally been a very active border and at the tactical level, there is firing from across the border.”

The General reiterated that India had given a befitting reply to Pakistan after the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops in 2013 along the LoC.

“It (the response) had been done. That was a tactical operation which had been undertaken by local commanders,” he told mediapersons just before demitting office.

After the incident, he had said that the Army would retaliate at a time and place of its choosing.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140801/nation.htm#14
 Lt Gen Campose relinquishes WC charge
Will take over as Vice Chief of Army Staff in Delhi tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Lieutenant General Philip Campose today relinquished charge as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command. He is scheduled to take over as Vice Chief of the Army Staff at Army Headquarters tomorrow from Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who has been elevated as the Army Chief.

Lt Gen KJ Singh, a cavalry officer, will take over as the Western Army commander tomorrow.

Lt Gen Campose, who is also Colonel of the Mechanised Infantry, was given a warm farewell by officers and troops at Command Headquarters, Chandimandir, today. He laid a wreath at the Veer Smriti war memorial to pay tributes to martyrs and was presented a guard of honour.

He had taken over as the Western Army Commander from Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra in July 2013. His impetus was towards enhancing operational readiness of the Command by promoting best practices based on modern technology and revamping the security mechanism in the Jammu region to enhance alertness and foil infiltration bids and terrorist attacks, a statement issued here said.

Besides operational issues, he also focused on infrastructure development, improving living standards and empowerment of all ranks, welfare of ex-servicemen and widows. Additional funds were also allotted to the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme to improve the functioning of clinics.

He also had close interaction with the administrations of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh on matters relating to rehabilitation of ex-servicemen, mitigation of grievances related to pension, land for girls hostel in Chandigarh for wards of servicemen and resolving of land issues.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140801/nation.htm#15
 Lt Gen Hira is Vajra Corps commander
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Lieutenant General Narinder Pal Singh Hira assumed charge as the General Officer Commanding of the Jalandhar-based Vajra Corps today.

He has also taken over as the Colonel of the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment from General Bikram Singh who retired as the Army Chief today. Lt Gen Hira replaces Lt Gen Ashwini Kumar Bakshi, who superannuated from service today.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakvasala, Lt Gen Hira was commissioned in the Sikh Light Infantry in December 1978. He commanded an infantry battalion in active counter-insurgency operations as part of Operation Rhino in Assam and later commanded an infantry brigade and an infantry division on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

He has done all important tri-services professional courses, including the Defence Services Staff College, Higher Command and the National Defence College.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140802/main3.htm
If Pak provokes, we’ll hit back hard: Gen Suhag
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Adopting an aggressive posture, new Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag today gave a stern warning to Pakistan, saying a military response to any misadventure from Islamabad would be ‘intense, immediate’ and more than adequate.

The warning comes a day after Suhag’s predecessor General Bikram Singh (retd) said India gave a befitting reply to Pakistan after the 2013 beheading incident along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir. General Suhag was talking to reporters after inspecting a guard of honour on his first day in office.

Responding to a question as to what was the befitting reply given to Pakistan in 2013, General Suhag said: “I can only tell you that our response to any such act will be more than adequate in the future...It will be intense and immediate.”

General Bikram Singh had already told you about the response yesterday, he said.

Pakistani Special Forces troops had beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and mutilated the body of another jawan Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh along the LoC in Poonch.The incident had resulted in widespread outrage across India. Bikram Singh said yesterday that he did not foresee a war with China but evaded reply to a query pertaining to a possible future conflict with Pakistan.

Both India and Pakistan have nuclear weapon capabilities and the dispute in J&K raises the risk of a major skirmish. In June this year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said India's nuclear warhead count was between 90 and 110, while the figure for Pakistan was 100-120.

General Suhag — who will be Army Chief till December 31, 2016 — said the thrust would be on enhancing the operational preparedness of the force. Modernisation of the force, infrastructure development, optimisation of human resources and welfare of serving soldiers would be the other focus areas, said Suhag. “My focus will be my soldier. I will ensure that our soldiers are motivated and are competently led and trained. They will get latest weapons and equipment,” said the Army Chief..

“I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the government for reposing faith in me,” said Suhag, who was appointed as the Army Chief by the outgoing UPA regime. The newly elected NDA-led BJP regime fully backed the previous government’s decision. Though former Army Chief General (retd) VK Singh, now a Union Minister, had questioned Suhag’s elevation, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley put his foot down and supported Suhag.



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140802/main7.htm
China violated border pact on June 2: Jaitley
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
Just a week after the new government took over on May 26, China violated the border pact it had signed with India. The violation of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) took place on June 2 in southeastern Ladakh.

A protest was lodged by India at a flag meeting on July 15, the government told the Lok Sabha today.

Article VI of the BDCA signed in October last year states "the two sides agree that they shall not follow or tail patrols of the other side in areas where there is no common understanding of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the India-China border areas."

In reply to a written query, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said, "Since signing of the BDCA, Chinese troops violated the provision by tailing our patrol in eastern Ladakh on June 2".

India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement to maintain peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control in October last year. After signing the BDCA, the UPA government had warned that the pact was not a guarantee that incursions or transgressions would stop, but would help in addressing issues along the border.

India and China have 3,448-km-long border which is not demarcated on the ground and roughly runs along the ridgeline in the icy heights of the Himalayas.



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140802/nation.htm#7
 Jaguar crashes near Bhuj; pilot ejects safely
Manas Dasgupta

AHMEDABAD, August 1
A Jaguar fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed near Bibber village in Nakhatrana taluka in the border district of Kutch today but the trainee pilot ejected safely.

There was no casualty on the ground, though the plane crash created panic in the village. An official spokesperson of the Defence Ministry confirmed the accident and said a court of inquiry had been ordered to investigate the cause of the crash. The aircraft had taken off from the Bhuj airbase, the district headquarter of Kutch, but crashed within about 30 kilometre on the north of Bhuj.

Eye-witnesses said as the aircraft hit the ground, people of Bibber and other nearby villages rushed to the accident site. "The wreckage of the IAF plane is totally charred," Gagubha Jadeja, deputy sarpanch of Bibber village, said. He claimed that a deep crater was formed due to the impact of the sharp fall of the plane as it hit the ground and burst into flames.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140802/nation.htm#8
 OROP under consideration, says MoS
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 1
The ‘one-rank one-pension’ (OROP) formula for retired soldiers is under consideration, Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh informed the Lok Sabha today.

In a written reply to Maj Gen BC Khanduri (Retd.) in the Lok Sabha, Rao assured that the principle of ‘one-rank one-pension’ for the armed forces had been accepted by the government.

He said the modalities for implementation were discussed with various stakeholders. “It will be implemented once the modalities are approved by the government,” he said.

On July 30, the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement had wrote a letter to the Defence Minister and also chiefs of the three services saying the delay in implementing the OROP was a cause concern.

A copy of the letter was also sent to newly appointed BJP president Amit Shah.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140802/nation.htm#9
 Lt Gen KJ Singh takes over as Western Army commander
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Lieutenant General KJ Singh today took over as the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command in a simple ceremony at Chandimandir.

Singh’s predecessor Lt Gen Philip Campose has moved to Army Headquarters as Vice-Chief of the Army Staff.

On assuming charge, Lt Gen Singh visited the Sarva Dharma Sthal in Chandimandir and paid homage to martyrs at the Veer Smriti war memorial. He also inspected a guard of honour which was presented by 63 Cavalry, his parent regiment, which he has commanded. He was Colonel of 63 Cavalry and 83 Armoured Regiment.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Lt Gen KJ Singh was commissioned in June 1977. In a career spanning over 37 years, he has served in counter- insurgency areas, including Nagaland, Manipur and Punjab. He was also part of the United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Angola. He has commanded a T-90 Armoured Brigade and served as Additional Director General of Perspective Planning at Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Army). He has held instructional appointment at the School of Armoured Warfare and Higher Command Wing of the Army War College.

The officer has been decorated with the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal twice and is also the recipient of the United Nation Force Commander’s citation and Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation for bravery. He was awarded Commandant’s Medal in the Higher Command course and the Col Pyara Lal Medal in National Defence College Course.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140802/edit.htm#1
India and the US re-start strategic dialogue

The recent visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to India was an attempt to improve relations between the two countries. In this, the visit succeeded. He managed to smoothen over a number of irritants, including the earlier denial of a US visa to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Kerry also pointed out, repeatedly, the depth and the potential of the relationship between the two nations. Calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Secretary of State laid the groundwork for the PM's summit meeting with US President Barack Obama, which is scheduled in September at the White House.

Kerry also met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who did some plain speaking on a number of issues that have become irritants. She has apparently received some reassurances, and the Secretary of State stated the known US position on others. The first high-level contact between the US and the Modi government has given reasons to believe that the US is willing to make amends about its previous attitude towards Modi. The electronic espionage issue also figured prominently, as did the WTO talks, over which perceptions between the two countries varied sharply, as they did on Russia and its activities on Ukraine.

The inclusion of US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in the delegation underlined the US desire to improve trade. The civilian-nuclear deal has got stuck in indemnity clauses and both sides need to work out a solution that will be viable. India needs US help in meeting its electricity needs by tapping nuclear energy in a most cost-effective and safe manner. Indian engineers and IT companies need more access, which the present protectionist tendencies in the US make difficult. This is one of the many issues that can be sorted out, provided both sides make the effort. Kerry's visit has broken the ice and set the stage for a more meaningful interaction between the Obama administration and the Modi government. This is an important first step, which gives rise to many more expectations.


http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/army-chief-warns-pak-on-beheading-like-incident/article1-1247036.aspx
Pak will be punished if it tries dirty tricks: Army chief
The Pakistani army will be punished if it employs dirty tricks along the Line of Control (LoC), Indian army chief General Dalbir Singh warned on his first day in office on Friday.
He said India's response would be "intense and immediate" if there was a repeat of provocations such as the beheading of an Indian soldier in January 2013 or the killing of five soldiers in a cross-border strike last August.

"I can tell you that our response to any such act will be more than adequate in future. It will be intense and immediate," he said.

Dalbir Singh's predecessor, General Bikram Singh, had on Thursday reiterated that India had avenged the murders of its soldiers along the LoC last year by inflicting casualties on the Pakistani army.

The former chief had said India could not be expected to stick to rules if the neighbour was breaking them. Bikram Singh had last year ordered the army to mount a massive response, including artillery fire, in case of provocation by the Pakistani army.

The rationale for immediate offensive action, now also being advocated by Dalbir Singh, seems to be inflicting punishment on Pakistan or the so-called non-state actors at a threshold below full-scale conflict.

Dalbir Singh said his priorities would be to modernise the army, fill critical gaps in capabilities and infrastructure development along the northern and northeastern borders.

In a border-related development, defence minister Arun Jaitley told Lok Sabha on Friday that Chinese troops had tailed an Indian patrol in eastern Ladakh on June 2, violating the new border pact inked last October.

As first reported by HT on Friday, Dalbir Singh will visit incursion-prone pockets along the Line of Actual Control — the de facto border between India and China — on August 12. He will assess the situation at Depsang, Chumar and Demchok, areas that have witnessed a series of border violations by Chinese troops.

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