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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

From Today's Papers - 02 Sep 2014

 In veiled attack on China, PM slams ‘expansionist’ ideology

Tokyo, September 1
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today deplored the “expansionist” tendency among some countries which “encroach” upon seas of others, in oblique comments against China which is having a maritime dispute with Japan.

“The whole world accepts that the 21st century will belong to Asia. But I have a question. How should the 21st century be? We have to give an answer to this. It will depend on how deep and progressive our relationship (between India and Japan) is,” he said addressing business leaders of India and Japan here.

“We have to decide if we want to have ‘vikas vaad’ (development) or ‘vistar vaad’ (expansionism) which leads to disintegration. Those who follow the path of Buddha and have faith on ‘vikas vaad’, they develop. But we see, those having ideas of the 18th century, engage in encroachments and enter seas (of others),” he said.

He did not name any country but the comments may be seen as targeting China which is engaged in territorial disputes with a number of its neighbours, including India, Japan and some others, including Vietnam.

India and China share over 4,000-km of Line of Actual Control. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh besides 38,000 sq km in J&K. Also, relations between Japan and China have been tense over island disputes in the East China Sea and exploitation of undersea gas deposits in the area.

China claims 90 per cent of the South China Sea, believed to contain oil and gas deposits. Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan also lay claim to parts of the sea.

Modi underlined the need for closer and deeper cooperation between India and Japan to champion the cause of global “vikas vaad instead of vistar vaad”. He underlined that India and Japan should work for promotion of peace and progress to address the needs of the humanity.

“India and Japan have a big responsibility. It is the responsibility of not only the governments and leaders but also of the businesses to see which way the world goes.” — PTI
Japanese seaplane to add muscle to Indian Navy
Tokyo agrees to transfer US-2 amphibian aircraft technology
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 1
India’s military ability at sea will get a boost as Japan has agreed to transfer technology for a specialised seaplane, US-2, produced by ShinMaywa Industries. This will be the first military sale for Japan since its self-imposed embargo on sale of weapons and military equipment after the World War-II (1939 to 1945).

Before 1945, Japan had been formidable maritime force and even operated small aircraft carriers in 1930s.

A joint statement issued today in Tokyo after a summit meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid out the roadmap for the induction of specialised Japan-produced four-engine seaplanes into the Indian Navy. It will change the way Indian forces respond to threats along the country’s 7,516-km-long coastline or to challenges in the remote island territories.

New Delhi and Tokyo have directed a joint working group to accelerate progress and make preparations for a roadmap for the development of the Indian aircraft industry. For this, the joint statement mentions the US-2 amphibian aircraft, including “the transfer of the aircraft and its technology to India”.

ShinMaywa’s plane has numerous roles and missions that it can accomplish, making it a force multiplier and game changer in the Indian Ocean. For one, it will allow dropping of troops at places where there is no landing strip on shore. At present, ground troops of the Indian Army uses a specialised warship termed as the landing ship tank for the purpose. The plane will make the troop insertion faster and provide a more direct approach to troops during short operation.

Uniquely, the US-2, is the only aircraft in the world that operates at wind speed of 30 to 38 km per hour on the high seas as well as on rivers and lakes. It can carry around 70 personnel and 18 tonnes of load and has the longest endurance in the air with the shortest take-off and landing distance in its class (only 300m).

The aircraft is only amphibious aircraft to operate at very low speeds and consequently reduces the take-off/landing run of the aircraft.

The Indian Navy sees this as an ideal platform to carry out long-range logistics support role, island support operations, casualty evacuation, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, long-range surveillance and reconnaissance carried out by the Indian coast Guard and the Navy.

At the summit today, the Indian side expressed its intention to strengthen defence equipment and technology cooperation and conveyed its interests in this regard. Both sides decided to discuss further to identify future areas of cooperation.
Tejinder Singh sent to jail
Lt Gen Tejinder Singh (retd) was today sent to jail by a Delhi court which denied him bail in a case of alleged bribe offer to then Army chief Gen VK Singh for clearing Tatra vehicles file, saying no “mercy” should be shown only because he was not arrested during the probe. Special CBI Judge Madhu Jain dismissed the bail plea filed by 64-year-old Tejinder Singh, who appeared before the court in pursuance to the summons issued to him, observing that law of land should be equal for all.

“The law of land should be equal for all and if a person, who commits a theft of Rs 1,000 is sent to the jail under the provisions of law without any mercy, then a person who was holding the rank of Lt General in the Indian Army and who retired from this post and offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to the then Army chief should not be shown any mercy by the court merely for the reason that the CBI did not arrest him during the investigation,” the judge said.

As soon as the order was pronounced around 2.20 pm, the judge ordered that Tejinder be taken into custody after which the CBI officers present there arrested him and took him to the lockup on the court premises. He was remanded to judicial custody till October 20.

The judge, in her two-page order, also referred to the recorded proceedings of Parliament where the then Defence Minister AK Antony had raised this issue.

“Not only there is statement of then General VK Singh (retd), but also there are recorded proceedings of Parliament where this issue was raised. Hence, no ground for bail to applicant Lt Gen Tejinder Singh (retd). His application is dismissed,” the judge said and fixed the matter for arguments on framing of charges on October 20.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Tejinder alleging that he had offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to then chief of the Army staff VK Singh for clearing file pertaining to procurement of 1,676 heavy mobility Tatra vehicles.

The court had taken cognisance of the CBI’s chargesheet on August 28 after relying upon the statements of AK Antony, VK Singh and other witnesses whose testimonies were recorded by the agency during the probe.

During the day, Tejinder appeared before the court and moved a bail plea arguing that he was not arrested by the CBI and he had fully co-operated during the probe. His lawyer told the court that there was no apprehension of tampering of evidence in the case and Tejinder was falsely implicated due to political pressure.

Countering the submissions of the defence counsel, CBI’s senior prosecutor VK Sharma said while granting bail, the court should look into the nature and seriousness of the offence and the alleged offer of Rs 14 crore bribe to the then chief of Army staff was not a small offence. Sharma said no leniency should be shown to the accused as he was holding one of the senior-most positions in the Army. — PTI
 Lt Gen Menon is Chief of Staff Western Command
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 1
Lt Gen Venugopal Menon from the Corps of Engineers has been appointed as the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Chandimandir. He will take over tomorrow from Lt Gen TS Gill who has retired after nearly 39 years of service.

On demitting office, Lt Gen Gill, along with Lt Gen Memon, laid a wreath at the Veer Smriti war memorial to pay homage to the martyrs. He was later given a warm send-off from Command Headquarters by officers and troops.

Lt Gen Gill, who will be joining the Punjab Government as Chairman, Punjab Public Service Commission, saw action during Operation Pawan in Sri Lanka in 1988-89 where he was decorated with Sena Medal for gallantry while commanding a rifle company from 5 Para. He later commanded the battalion during Operation Orchid in Nagaland, He has also served as the Commander, 2 Sector Rashtriya Rifles in South Kashmir and General Officer Commanding, Golden Arrow Division. He is also a national skydiving champion.
With 13 new battalions, ITBP completes expansion plan
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 1
With the raising of four new battalions this year, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBPF) has completed its expansion and restructuring programme that had started three years ago.

As part of its first major expansion and restructuring exercise since 1978, the ITBF was accorded sanction to raise 13 new battalions to meet operational requirements of guarding the 3,488 km of international border with China. As many as 35 new border outposts were also sanctioned.

The ITBP’s total strength is now close to 90,000 troops, sources said. An ITBP battalion comprises 22 officers and 1,355 men. Four battalions were raised last year and five were raised a year before that.

The restructuring also involved converting 20 existing battalions from four- company format to six-company format and increasing the establishment strength of Headquarters at the Directorate General, Frontier and Sector level, augmenting the ITBP’s intelligence and logistic arms and providing medical and pioneer specialists at border outposts.

Consequently, to cater to the command and control mechanism of additional strength, one Frontier Headquarters, three Sector Headquarters seven specialised training centers and three recruit training centres were formed. This resulted in the creation of four new posts at the level of inspector general (IG), nine more posts of deputy inspector general (DIG) and 17 additional vacancies at the level of commandant.
Defence ministry agrees to army's long pending demand of artillery guns
Breaking almost three decade long jinx, prime minister Narendra Modi led NDA government is providing first artillery guns to the army after Swedish artillery guns Bofors deal mired with the corruption scandal in 1986.

On Friday, defence minister Arun Jaitley cleared the proposal of 40 self-propelled artillery guns, worth Rs820 crore. Jaitely, who headed the Defence Acquisition Council, accepted the Indian army's long pending demand of artillery guns. This gun system, termed a "catapult", consists of a 130-millimetre gun mounted on a Arjun tank chassis, allowing it to keep up with tank columns and provide them fire support in battle.
According to the defence ministry officials, The Arjun Catapult is a self-propelled gun (SPG), recently developed in India by the Chennai based central vehicle Research and Development of DRDO to meet Indian Army requirements.

"Catapult is mainly used to engage in indirect fire. Its typical targets are enemy artillery unit, tanks, troops at their concentration areas, permanent defensive installations and other field fortifications,"said a defence ministry official.

An artillery expert of the Indian army told dna that though these 130 mm guns will not be a substitute to Bofors or Ultra light Howitzers, but will give a stop gap arrangement for army's artillery fire power.
"These 130 mm gun barrel is mainly used to engage in indirect fire up to a maximum range of 27.4 km. It can also be fired directly on targets up to 1.4 km range. It can be fired at various angles of elevation as well. But, it is surely not a substitute to high end artillery like howitzers," an officer said.

Sources claimed that the army's 220 artillery regiments have received no new artillery since the 1980s, when the FH-77B, 155 mm/39 calibre Bofors gun was bought. Mired with the allegations of kickbacks, only 400 Bofors guns were delivered and rest of the contract could not complete. But significantly, Bofors guns played a key role in Kargil operation in 1999 against Pakistani intruders.

But, the Ordnance Factory Board's effort to build a 155 mm/45 calibre indigenous gun is facing trouble after the gun barrel was burst during its trials. And procurement of 145 M777 Ultra Light Howitzers guns has not moved towards its conclusive end.

The case for procurement of Ultra-Light Howitzer (ULH) guns through US Government has not progressed due to cost issues and because the vendor's proposal is not fully compliant to the offset requirements, defence ministry claims. Deal to buy M777 guns with US government is under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) with New Delhi.

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