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Thursday, 7 August 2014

From Today's Papers - 07 Aug 2014

FDI in Defence, Railways okayed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
The Union Cabinet today approved the proposal for raising FDI limit in Defence from 26 per cent to 49 per cent and fully opened up the Railways for the foreign investment. The two proposals were cleared by the Cabinet at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The decision has come after the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) sorted out strategic concerns raised by the Home Ministry on easing the FDI rules in the two sectors.

In Railways, the proposal is to allow up to 100 per cent FDI in infrastructure projects such as high-speed train systems, suburban corridors and dedicated freight line that are to be executed under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Currently, there is a complete restriction onany kind of FDI in railway projects except in mass rapid transport systems.

The FDI liberalisation in the sector would help in modernisation and expansion of the Qrailway projects.

According to estimates, the sector is facing a cash crunch of around Rs 26,000 crore. However, FDI is not proposed to be allowed in train operations and safety.

The Home Ministry had expressed concerns that there might be security-related issues for projects in strategic border areas. Reports said that for such projects, prior permission of the Foreign Investment and Promotion Board and clearance from the Home Ministry would be sought. In Defence-related projects, the proposal to increase FDI limit would be vetted by a Cabinet committee on security.
Army jawan killed in J-K gunfight
BSF guard in Pak custody after being swept away in Chenab
Majid Jahangir/Amin Masoodi/ Ravi K Khajuria
Tribune News Service
Srinagar/Kupwara/Jammu, August 6
An Army soldier was killed during the ongoing counter-infiltration operation along the Line of Control (LoC) in the frontier district of Kupwara while a BSF constable, on board a motorboat, was swept away in Chenab waters to Pakistan from Akhnoor belt of Jammu district this morning.

While the exchange of fire stopped in the morning, the troops were carrying out searches to flush out militants believed to be hiding in the dense forest close to the LoC in the Tanghdar sector, about 165 km from Srinagar.

A defence official said a search operation was launched on Tuesday evening after some suspected movement was noticed near Gagadari forest, six km inside the LoC.

"The militants opened fire on the search party. In the gunfight, a soldier N K Damodar Thapa of 3/1 Gorkha died," the official said. The Army said the exchange of fire continued for almost two hours.

Senior Superintendent of Police Kupwara Abdul Jabbar said, “The exchange of fire has stopped but the cordon and search operation is still on. An Army jawan was killed in gunfight." Four militants were killed last week when they were trying to sneak into the Valley from the Keran sector of Kupwara district.

The militants have made almost 10 attempts to sneak into the Valley in the past two months from various sectors.

A BSF guard, on border patrol aboard a motorboat along the 198-km international border, was swept away in the strong currents of Chenab to Pakistan after the vessel developed a technical snag and capsized in Akhnoor belt of Jammu district this morning.

The incident happened around 11.30 am in the Pargwal sector of Akhnoor belt, 55 km north of Jammu.

The jawan has been identified as SS Yadav of the 33rd battalion of the BSF, a native of Uttar Pradesh.
Maratha Light Infantry turns 246
August 1 marks the birth of the Maratha Light Infantry (MLI), one of the regiments of the Army. A potent land and naval force in 16th-18th century, the Marathas had performed well in campaigns against the Mughals and the British. The 1st Battalion of the Regiment, known as Jangi Paltan, was raised in August 1768 as the 2nd Battalion, Bombay Sepoys, to protect the British East India Company's assets on the islands of Bombay, with a second battalion being raised the next year. The MLI is a highly decorated regiment with two Victoria Cross, four Ashok Chakra and four Maha Vir Chakra among numerous other awards and battle honours.

British-era officer & former JAG turns 100

Brig (Justice) DM Sen, the first Indian Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Army celebrated his 100th birthday on August 6 and he had surprise visitor. The Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag walked into his house to wish him. Brig Sen graduated with Honours Degree in Law from Kings College, London, in 1939 and thereafter completed his Bar at Law from Middletown Temple College, United Kingdom. At the outbreak of World War II, he was enrolled in the British Army and was enlisted as a Private in the Royal Scots. Two months later he was selected for a commission in the Indian Army. After the required training as an officer cadet, he got commissioned in the First Punjab Regiment in 1942. He was appointed as the JAG of the Indian Army from in April 1948 — the first Indian to hold charge.
Naik subedar held for leaking defence info
HYDERABAD: Central Crime Station (CCS) sleuths on Wednesday arrested an Indian Army naik subedar for allegedly passing on information on defence installations in the city to a Pakistan spy, who had befriended him on a social networking site.

Acting on an alert by intelligence agencies, CCS sleuths arrested Patan Kumar Poddar, a naik subedar of EME Unit, Secunderabad. Poddar was attached to 151, MC/MF, detachment at the Secunderabad railway station.

While working for the Army, Poddar was simultaneously involved in a multi-level marketing business for a company named 'Secured Life'. In order to expand his business, Poddar was persuading his colleagues, subordinates in the Army and civilians to join the business. Being posted at the Army booking counter at the Secunderabad railway station provided him an excellent opportunity to befriend defence personnel who came into his contact mainly for train reservation.

Poddar was reportedly contacted by a woman, said to be a spy from Pakistan, through Facebook a year ago. The woman, who has her Facebook name as Anushka Agarwal, befriended him by chatting intimately and sharing naked photos. After he fell into the 'honey trap', the spy collected information about strategic locations of Army bases in India, personnel movement and specifically about the infrastructure of defence units in Hyderabad from Poddar.

Poddar used to communicate with the spy through email, Facebook and even mobile phone. "He shared information about the deployment of some defence units by speaking to Army personnel of different locations. He gathered information about location of artillery regiments, commands, corps, division headquarters and brigades and shared it with the Pakistani spy," a city police source told TOI.

With the support of the Army, Poddar was arrested from his official quarters in Secunderabad. A case was registered against him under sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 r/w 120-B, 3 & 4 Prize Chits Money Circulation Banning Act, 1977 by the CCS police. He was produced in court and remanded in judicial custody. CCS sleuths are planning to take him into police custody to identify further links in the case.
Indian Army prepared for threat environment: Jaitley
New Delhi: The Indian Army is equipped to face any "threat environment", Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said Tuesday.

"The Indian Army is equipped to cater for the threat environment that exists and is always ready to meet the role assigned to it," Jaitley said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

He said mordernisation of armed forces was a "continuous process", but refused to disclose details of acquisition plans, saying it will not be in national interest.

"Further augmentation of capabilities of the armed forces, including its modernisation, is a dynamic and continuous process. Accordingly, modernisation of the Indian Army is carried out through Annual Acquisition Plans, Army Five years Capital Acquisition Plans and Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan," he said.

The details of defence deals are related to operational preparedness of the armed forces, and disclosure of details of the deals would not be in the national interest, he said.

Jaitley said an amount of Rs.75,148.03 crore has been sanctioned for the Director General Ordnance Factories (DGOF) for mordernisation of the armed forces.
Hagel's India visit from Thursday, defence deals on cards
New Delhi: Defence deals worth over Rs 20,000 crore, intelligence sharing on counter-terrorist activities and steps to strengthen military ties are expected to be discussed during US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel's three-day visit starting from Thursday.

During the visit, Hagel is scheduled to hold meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, a defence ministry official said.
The American defence secretary is expected to hold discussions with the top Indian political and military leadership on the military ties between the two countries including the defence hardware partnership, they said.

The issue of intelligence sharing and discussions on deals for procuring 22 Apache attack helicopters, 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers along with four P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft is expected to come up for discussion in the meetings.

The deals are in the final stages and India is in final stages of procuring these equipment, which is expected to be worth around Rs 20,000 crore.

Talks will be held between DRDO chief Avinash Chander and Amerian Under Secretary for Defence Acquisition Frank Kendall on jointly developing defence hardware such as missiles.

The issue of under-negotiation Ultra Light Howitzer and Javelin anti-tank guided missile is also expected to figure in the discussions between the two countries.

The proposed Rs 3,600 crore deal for 145 ULH for Indian Army is "not progressing" as the acquisition is stuck over the issue of price and non-compliance of offsets proposal by the American equipment manufacturer.

The two sides are also expected to hold discussions on further expanding military-to-military exercises between the two sides.

India and the US hold regular exercises under the naval Malabar, Special Forces' Shatrujeet and Air Force's Cope India series of war-games at regular intervals.

The sale of military hardware by the US to India in a major way started in 2003 with the procurement of ANTPQ-37 weapon locating radars for the Army and has continued with the sale of 12 C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, C-17 transport aircraft, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and P-8I aircraft.
PM may soon visit Siachen Glacier
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi may soon visit Indian Army's forward posts in the Siachen Glacier, the highest battlefield in the world, during his tour of Ladakh.
The Prime Minister is expected to be in Leh and Kargil districts of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir to dedicate two hydroelectric projects and lay the foundation stone of a electricity transmission line there next week or in the third week of the month.

The Prime Minister may visit Indian Army posts in Siachen in that area during that time, sources said here. Army sources said Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is also planning to visit the area in second week of the month but his schedule may now be changed in view of the Prime Minister's programme.

Army posts are located in the Siachen at altitudes ranging from 17,000 feet to 23,000 feet along the Actual Ground Postioning Line (AGPL) with Pakistan.

Pakistan has been seeking the withdrawal of Indian troops from there as a confidence-building measure but this has been opposed by the Army and the Defence Ministry which say the heights are of strategic importance.

The Prime Minister was invited by the then Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh to visit the Siachen Glacier to boost the morale of the troops and show solidarity with them.

Power Minister Piyush Goyal had yesterday stated that "probably next week or the week thereafter, the Prime Pinister will visit Leh to dedicate two projects in Leh and Kargil as also lay the foundation stone for an transmission line from Leh to Kargil and on to Srinagar."
Army orders inquiry against colonel accused of raping woman in New York
NEW DELHI: The Army has ordered a court of inquiry (CoI) against a colonel, who has been accused of allegedly raping an Indian-origin doctor in New York during his posting in India's permanent mission to the UN.

The officer recently returned to India after being posted as the military attache at the Indian mission in New York for a couple of years. Posted at the Army's College of Combat in Mhow (Madhya Pradesh), the officer is facing the CoI headed by a brigadier.

"The officer had apparently assured the complainant of marriage. She has alleged he raped her inside the mission in New York after giving her some sedative since she was opposed to any intimacy before marriage. If the charges are found true, disciplinary action will be taken against the officer," said an official.

The woman, who has saved evidence like text messages, letters and emails to her from the officer, has stated that he broke all contact with her once he returned to India. She has also written to the Prime Minister, defence minister, Army chief and others.

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