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Monday, 25 August 2014

From Today's Papers - 25 Aug 2014

 Colonel misbehaves with junior’s wife, sacked
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 24
The Commanding Officer (CO) of an infantry battalion located in Sriganganagar town has been removed from command after he allegedly misbehaved with the wife of a junior officer at a social function.

The Army has convened a court of inquiry to investigate the matter. The husband of the woman had called up the brigade commander after the incident and submitted a written complaint along with the statement of his wife, sources said.

The Colonel has been attached with another formation for the conduct of the court of inquiry. The battalion of the Sikh Regiment in which the incident took place is located close to the Punjab-Rajasthan border and comes under the aegis of the Jaipur-based South Western Command.

Sources said that complaints of harassment and misconduct against the Colonel have also been submitted by four other ladies.

There have been cases of such misconduct in the past and the Army has dealt with them sternly. Several officers, including those of flag rank, found culpable of personal misconduct or misbehaving with women, have faced trial by court martial.

Army convenes CoI

    The Colonel, a Commanding Officer of an infantry battalion located in Sriganganagar town, has been removed from the command after the allegation
    The husband of the woman had called up the brigade commander after the incident and submitted a written complaint along with the statement of his wife
    The Army has convened a court of inquiry to investigate the matter.
 India, B’desh to increase joint border patrolling

New Delhi, August 24
India and Bangladesh today decided to increase joint patrolling by their border guarding forces even as the neighbouring country claimed that instances of border killings have reduced along the frontier they share.

India, during its meeting with top Bangladeshi security officials here, also handed over a list of 71 insurgent camps and those of their cadres which it suspects are based in the neighbouring country.

“Border killing instances along the Indo-Bangla border have reduced, I would say. The BSF is very sincere and they have worked in bringing down this figure. It (killings) is coming down but we are working on a situation where these killings come down to zero,” Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) chief Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed told reporters after the conclusion of a five-day meeting with their counterparts in the BSF.

Directors General of both the forces meet twice every year, with one meeting held at either location.

Border Security Force chief DK Pathak said both the forces have decided on a new and improved patrolling plan where troops from both the sides come together for vigil.

“It is working well,” DG Pathak said.

The BGB DG said he was sure that none of the fake Indian currency notes (FICN) caught at this border was being produced in Bangladesh and his country was being used as a “transit” route by smugglers.

“We have made adequate measures to seize this type of currency. We will work with the BSF to curb it further,” Ahmed said while talking to mediapersons at the BSF headquarters here.

Ahmed refuted that any “illegal migration” was taking place at this border and called these cases as only “illegal crossing” instances. — PTI

Myanmar to act against NE militants

Nay Pyi Taw: Promising all possible support to India’s fight against terrorism, Myanmar has said it will bust training camps of North-East militant groups on its soil if India provides specific inputs about their existence. — PTI
Border flare-up: 25 J-K posts shelled
* Woman dies as 23 border villages targeted
* Pak not responding to calls for flag meet: BSF
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria & Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

Jammu/New Delhi, August 24
Cross-border skirmishes, which the Indian side says are provoked by Pakistan border guards, are persisting with alarming regularity.

Pakistan Rangers shelled 25 Indian outposts and 23 villages since Saturday night along the International Border in the RS Pura sector of Jammu, inviting strong retaliation from the BSF. The flare-up has instilled fear among hundreds of villagers who are forced to spend nights in bunkers, or take whatever cover they can afford.

An old woman, having a heart ailment, died of shock after a mortar shell exploded near her house in Suchetgarh. She has been identified as Beero Devi (65).

The heavy exchange of fire between the BSF and Rangers started around 10 pm and lasted till 7.30 am.

In Delhi, BSF Director General DK Pathak said the Rangers were not responding to India’s efforts to hold flag meetings to resolve the current crisis. “Pakistan shelled 25 BSF posts and civilian areas in the RS Pura sector last night,” said BSF’s Jammu Frontier IG, RK Sharma.

“We are responding strongly to their provocations and would continue to do so. Orders of tit-for-tat are very clear from top to bottom. The morale of our boys is very high,” he said. The BSF IG said he had an intelligence input on the Pakistan Army’s involvement in the current flare-up. “We have strengthened our posts,” said the officer, adding that the BSF was maintaining tight vigil along the 198-km border.

The BSF said it has spotted armed terrorists "very close" to the IB on at least "three occasions" in the last few days and suspect the recent escalation in firing was an attempt to help them infiltrate into India.

IG Sharma said Rangers were using high trajectory long- range area weapons such as 82 mm and 51 mm mortars, besides opening LMG and MMG fire.

After July 16, when a BSF jawan was killed in a sniper fire in Arnia, there have been 30 ceasefire violations by the Rangers to date, he added. “One of our personnel carried a white flag and went to a designated point along the border in RS Pura yesterday. He waited there for a couple of minutes, but our Pakistani counterparts did not come. This is a drill we follow to inform the other side that we want to have a flag meeting,” said the BSF Director General.

“Since August 16, the BSF has made an attempt to contact the Rangers for a flag meeting thrice. But we have not received any communication from them,” said the DG. To our day-to-day written protest notes on truce violations, they have remained in denial mode, said IG Sharma.

He said the BSF was constantly in touch with the civilian population and was giving them timely warning to move to safer areas.

Pakistani troops, meanwhile, also opened unprovoked firing in Ramgarh sub-sector of Samba district. Truce violations were also reported from along the LoC in Rajouri district.

Army takes over DCB line

    With no let-up in the cross-border fire by the Rangers, the Army has reportedly taken over the Ditch-cum-Bandh (DCB) line all along the International Border
    A top official source said troops of 4 Rajputana Rifles, 4 Dogra Regiment and 12 Kumaon Regiment have been deployed on the DCB line behind the border
    The troops were conducting the inspection of the DCB line and have laid concertina wires on gaps (roads leading to Zero Line and rivulets that flow into Pakistan), said sources

"We are responding firmly and strongly to their provocations and would continue to do so. Orders of tit-for-tat are very clear from top to bottom. We have strengthened our posts and there is no shortage of men"
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley visits Behrampore military station
Taking stock of military capability building along the China border, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday visited the Behrampore military station in Murshidabad which will part of the new Mountain Strike Corps being raised there.

“The Defence Minister visited the eastern theatre and was briefed on the upcoming Behrampore Military Station, in Murshidabad District of West Bengal,” an Army statement said.

India is raising the new 17 Mountain Strike Corps along the China border and its headquarters will be in Panagarh in West Bengal. Its formations would be scattered from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag long with Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen MMS Rai were also present during the briefing to the Defence Minister.

“The Rs 600-crore project in the 250-acre land is set to be an eco-friendly ‘model military camp’ that will be replicated in all future infrastructural developments of similar military stations wherever feasible,” the Army said.

Located nearly mid-way between Kolkata and Siliguri, the military station, when ready will also help boost the local economy in the area.

The Army Chief also visited Panagarh Military Camp where he took stock of on going preparations for raising of the Army’s Strike Corps.

Suhag will now visit forward positions along the Chinese frontier in Arunachal Pradesh and other areas.
Army hands over PoK resident to Pakistan Army
 Army has handed over to Pakistan Army a resident of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), who had inadvertently crossed the Line of Control (loC) in Uri Sector of Bramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir.

“A PoK resident, Mangta Khan (72) had inadvertently crossed over into the Indian territory on August 20. He was handed over by the Indian Army at Uri frontier area to the Pakistan Army,” a defence spokesman said.

Mr. Khan was apprehended by the army when he strayed to this side of LoC.

“A message was sent to the Pakistan Army through Hot Line giving details about the Pakistani National. The message was initiated to inform them of the safety and well being of Mangta Khan along with a request for a Flag meeting so that the individual could be repatriated and united with his family at the earliest,” the spokesman said.

He said the flag meeting was held at the Chakothi—Uri crossing point yesterday and Khan handed over to the Pakistani officials along with a new set of clothes and sweets for his family.
Army's ammunition won't last 20 days of war
NEW DELHI: Even as mortars and guns once again boom along the border with Pakistan, alarm bells continue to clang over the crippling shortage of ammunition reserves in the 1.18-million strong Indian Army.

In a grim reality check in March, TOI had reported that India did not have enough ammunition to undertake a full-blown war with "intense fighting" for even 20 days. Six months down the line, the situation on the ground has not changed much.

Officials, however, contend the Modi government is "fully cognizant" of the "shocking state of affairs". Though "urgent steps" are being taken, it will take time to build up the war wastage reserves (WWR) due to the "long-winded" arms procurement procedures as well as the sluggish performance of the 39 factories under the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), they say.

The WWR, incidentally, should be sufficient for 30 days of "intense" and 30 days of "normal" fighting. With three days of "normal" equal to one of "intense", the WWR should consequently be adequate for 40 days of "intense" fighting.

"But there are deficiencies across the board. The critical ones are for tank and air defence ammunition, anti-tank guided missiles, specialized machine-gun magazines, grenades, mine fuses and the like. Some types of ammunition will not last even a week in a full-fledged war," said a source.

As per the overall Army "ammunition roadmap", the WWR will reach 100% only by 2019 if there is budgetary support of around Rs 97,000 crore. "While 23 types of ammunition have to be imported, OFB will manufacture the rest," said another source.

Phase-I of the roadmap will ensure deficiency of critical ammunition is made up to sustain 20 days of "intense" fighting and three years of training ammunition by March 2015. This will cost Rs 19,250 crore.

Under it, Rs 963 crore worth of ammunition was ordered from the OFB in 2013-2014, while contracts worth another Rs 1,964 crore are already underway in the ongoing fiscal. Similarly, orders for 15,000 3UBK-Invar missiles and 66,000 armour-piercing rounds for the T-90S main-battle tanks have already been inked.

Moreover, 17 import cases are now being "progressed'' for specialized ammunition. "Around 10 RFPs (request for proposals) have already been issued. These things take time. Overall, for instance, there were 23 contracts worth Rs 16,177 crore inked for the Army in 2013-2014," said an official.

But ammunition shortages have become the norm in the world's second-largest Army over the last couple of decades. India, in fact, had to undertake "emergency purchases" at exorbitant prices from Israel during the almost 70-day but limited Kargil conflict in 1999.

Ammunition, incidentally, is held at three levels. The "first line" of "on-weapon" and "unit reserve" is held at the battalion-level. The "second line" is with brigades and divisions. Finally, there is the WWR held in a dispersed manner in different depots.
Pakistan suggests urgent army-level meeting to India after ceasefire violation
Strongly rejecting Indian allegations of ceasefire violations, Pakistan on Saturday suggested India to hold an urgent meeting of the Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) in order to discuss the situation and halt firing along the working boundary and the Line of Control (LoC) in the divided state of Jammu Kashmir.

“Director General of Military Operations should meet immediately to discuss ways and means to stop the current spate of firing along the working boundary,” said Sartaj Aziz, adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs. “Pakistan is also sending a proposal to India for the (army-level) meeting,” he told a private TV channel.

Expressing concern over the unprovoked Indian firing inside Pakistani territory and some parts of Azad Jammu Kashmir, Sartaj said that the issue was affecting bilateral ties and peace in the region. Rejecting Indian allegations of sending militants via the tunnel and operating from the Pakistani side, he said if India has any evidence it should share (that evidence) with Pakistan as indulging in blame games wouldn't help.

He recalled that the last meeting of the military-level between Pakistan and India helped in normalising the situation along the Line of Control and the working boundary and would be helpful again. Earlier today, firing by the Indian Border Security Forces along the working boundary killed at least two people, including a woman, and injured four others in Sialkot.

In Charwa and Chaparral sectors of Sialkot, heavy weapons and mortar shells were fired early in the morning. Chenab Rangers retaliated and the exchange of fire continued till 7am. Official sources said that the unprovoked firing by the Indian troops on the working boundary near Sialkot has been continuing for the past several weeks.

“Today (Saturday) again, Indian armed forces resorted to unprovoked firing in Chaparral and Harpal sectors on the working boundary near Sialkot which resulted in the death of two civilians, a woman and a 60-year-old-man,” a Pakistan Army official said. “Intermittent exchange of fire is still continuing at this moment,” he said.

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