Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Friday, 5 September 2014

From Today's Papers - 05 Sep 2014

India, Pak troops agree not to target civilians along LoC
At flag meet, Delhi says it will respond with full force to cross-border firing
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 4
Army commanders of India and Pakistan have agreed not to target civilians, livestock and their property on either side of the 749-km-long Line of Control (LoC) that recently witnessed a spate of cross-border firing.

The decision was taken after a three-hour Brigadier-level flag meeting at Chakkan-da-Bagh (Poonch Rawalkote sector) in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, sources said today.

Both sides accused each other of stepping up firing across the LoC and repeated violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement. The six-member Indian delegation was led by 10 Brigade Commander Brigadier Sanjay Thakaran, while the five-member Pakistan delegation was headed by Brigadier Atiq Dar.

India conveyed to Pakistan that it would respond to each ceasefire violation in equal measure. This was in line with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag’s assertion on August 1 that “our response to any such act (cross-border firing) will be more than adequate... It will be intense and immediate”.

India also expressed concern over terrorists trying to infiltrate into Kashmir. It said the Army would push them back or neutralise them along the LoC.

Both sides acknowledged that incidence of firing across the LoC had increased. In the past six weeks, both countries have complained about civilian casualties besides damage to their houses and cattle sheds.

Sources in New Delhi said both agreed to ensure safety of civilians on either side.

On August 26, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) had spoken over the phone and agreed to conduct regular flag meetings.

Indian DGMO Lieutenant-General PR Kumar had conveyed his displeasure to his counterpart Major General Aamer Riaz at increased firing from across the border and loss of civilian lives and property. This was the fourth flag meeting — first at the level of brigade commanders — after the DGMO talks.

Three flag meetings were held along the 198-km International Border in which BSF and Pak Rangers took part. One of these involved DIG-level officers.

On August 29, India and Pakistan held a sector commander-level flag meeting in the RS Pura belt of Jammu district. India had lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over ceasefire violations.

BSF troops and Pakistan Rangers held a Battalion Commandant-level flag meeting at the Ballard border outpost on August 28.

On August 27, the two countries held a commandant-level flag meeting at the Nikowal border outpost in the Pargwal sub-sector of Akhnoor in Jammu district.

Pakistan has violated ceasefire along the LoC 95 times this year. It has also breached the ceasefire pact 36 times along the International Border this year. Last year, there were over 340 ceasefire violations by Pakistan troops along the International Border and the LoC.
Security agencies warn of Al-Qaeda strikes in India
Ajay Banerjee & Azhar Qadri
Tribune News Service

New Delhi/Srinagar, Sept 4
Al-Qaeda’s threat to target India could be carried out by a mix of India and Pakistan-based radical terror groups having trained suicide bombers, Indian security agencies warned Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, after a high-level meeting today, ordered a nationwide alert, especially at tourist destinations which will see heavy rush during the forthcoming holidays and the winter season.

Last night, Al-Qaeda chief Ayman-al- Zawahiri, in a 55-minute video in Arabic and Urdu, had warned of attacks on India.

“Pakistan-based firebrand cleric Maulana Asim Umar is the head of the terror group’s India formation while Ustad Usama Mahmoud has been named its spokesman. This group will work under central Qaedat-ul-Jihad (Al Qaeda), which is an army from the armies of the Islamic Emirate of Mullah Umar,” Zawahiri said.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) found the video, posted on Islamist websites, genuine. It has been produced by Al-Qaeda’s media arm ‘As Sahaab’.

Zawahiri said this group had been formed to liberate “oppressed Muslims” of the sub-continent and listed six aims, including liberation of “Muslims lands”, defense of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and establishment of Islamic law and caliphate or Islamic state. Asim Umar, in recent months, has issued statements asking Muslim youth to take the path of jihad. He has also called for the establishment of a caliphate – a theme common with Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Jaish-e-Mohammad. The Tribune in a two-part series had reported how Al-Qaeda affiliates had warned that Kashmir would be the next battlefield after the US withdrew from Afghanistan.
Navy’s largest patrolling vessel commissioned

Chennai, September 4
Aimed at enhancing the Navy’s coastal surveillance, its largest offshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra was formally commissioned by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral RK Dhowan today. The vessel is the fourth in its class and built on in-house design of state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd.

INS Sumitra, which was commissioned at the Chennai Port Trust, would be based at Chennai under the operational control of Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.

The ship, which has a displacement of 2,200 tonnes and can travel a speed of up to 26 knots, is equipped with state-of-the art medium and short range weapons which include 76mm medium range gun, a potent Close-In Weapon System, Electronic Support System Sanket Mk III and Communication Intelligence System ELK 7036. The ship is a well-balanced weapon-sensor platform, with the capability to undertake offshore patrolling, support high value assets and defence of offshore installations. The latest generation warship will join the Eastern Naval Command fleet for maritime surveillance and coastal security. Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Commanding Officer, Commander Milind Mokashi, were present. — PTI
 Cabinet nod to 7% hike in DA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 4
The Cabinet today approved a hike in dearness allowance (DA) to 107 per cent from the existing 100 per cent, benefiting nearly 30 lakh Central Government employees and 50 lakh pensioners, including dependents.

An official statement said the Cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi today approved the release of an additional installment of DA to the Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners with effect from July 1, 2014.

This is an increase of seven per cent over the existing rate of 100 per cent of the basic pay or pension to compensate for price rise.

The increase is in accordance with the accepted formula, which is based on the recommendations of the 6th Central Pay Commission.
 Order reserved on Tejinder’s plea

New Delhi, September 4
The Delhi High Court today reserved its verdict on the bail plea of Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh, arrested for allegedly offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore in 2010 to then Army Chief Gen VK Singh for clearing the purchase of 1,676 sub-standard trucks.

A Bench headed by Justice Pratibha Rani passed the order after hearing arguments by the CBI opposing the bail plea and of Lt Gen Singh’s lawyers, led by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who questioned the logic behind his arrest after the charge sheet had been filed. — TNS
First Elephants, Now Army Trying to Rescue Clumsy Rhino
 Early this morning, villagers at Kathambari in Jalpaiguri district, West Bengal, spotted the strangest sight: A full grown rhino splashing around in a canal running beside National Highway 31. Initially, they panicked but soon realised the rhino was trapped and could not climb up the canal's steep, cemented banks. They figured it had accidentally fallen into the canal.

Forest officials arrived hastily and rescue operations were launched.

A couple of elephants were brought to nudge the rhino out of the canal. But no luck.
The hundreds of onlookers who gathered at the spot agitated the rhino, which kept splashing from one side of the canal to the other. Finally the army was called in. When the last reports came in, they were still trying to get the rhino out.

This rhino is no ordinary beast. It used to be resident of the Gorumara National Park and was known for its not-so-placid disposition. His name is Kanhela which means 'bent ear". He used to get into fights with other rhinos and the sobriquet, "bent ear" was perhaps a trophy from one such fight. A year ago, he had got into a fight with other rhinos and had to flee from Gorumara for the nearby Kathambari forest.

Forest officials say chances are Kanhela got into another fight -- at least, that's what the injury on his shoulder indicates -- and fell into the canal while trying to escape.

Once rescued, he would be asked to behave and sent home safely, officials said.
India to build 440 light utility choppers defence
The Indian armed forces have projected a combined requirement of 440 light utility helicopters which will now be manufactured indigenously involving the state-owned HAL and private sector firms in partnership with foreign players.

The IAF, Army and the Navy require 440 choppers and these would now be manufactured within India including the HAL, private sector firms and foreign players, Defence Ministry officials said here.

The armed forces had projected their their requirements to the Defence Ministry before the government scrapped a Rs 6,000 crore tender to procure 197 such helicopters for the Army and the Air Force, they said.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has already started a project in Tumkur, Karnataka for building light helicopters, which will have capability to lift 2.5 tonnes payload.

Last Friday, the Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had scrapped the scam-tainted tender for procuring the choppers to replace the vintage fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers used to move troops and equipment to high-altitude locations like Siachen.

The DAC decided to retract from the tender for procuring these choppers and the Indian industry would be given the opportunity to produce around 400 such choppers for the requirements of the armed forces.

In line with NDA government’s plan to develop the indigenous industry, the decision is expected to generate business worth over Rs 40,0000 crore for the local industry in the defence sector, they said.

This is the second time in seven years the tender has been scrapped in which European Eurocopter and Russian Kamov were competing and it had been on hold for over two years due to an ongoing CBI probe and allegations of wron- gdoings in the trial process.
Defence ministry sees work in full swing
During the first 100 days of the NDA rule the Defence ministry which only has a 'part-time' minister in Arun Jaitely seems to have shown some decisiveness and is trying to clear the backlog of work which was pending due to the 'overcautious' approach of his predecessor, AK Antony.

By increasing increasing FDI limit from 26 per cent to 49 per cent and significantly pruning the list of defence items whose production requires manufacturing licenses, the Government is eying to reduce armed force's dependence on import for military hardware. India is the largest importer of arms and ammunition in the world.

Jaitley commissioned two Indian Coastguard ships ICGS Achook and ICGS Agrim at the Mumbai naval dockyard in first week of June, within ten days of the government taking over.

A week later, Jaitley along with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated INS Vikramadiya–44,000 ton aircraft carrier to the nation at Karawar naval base in Karnataka on June 14.

Then Modi went to Mumbai naval base to commission INS kolkata-guided-missile destroyers. INS Kamrota, India's first indigenously built stealth anti-submarine warfare (ASW) Corvette at Vishakapatnam to keep watch on Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean was commissioned. All these were procured or manufactured under the UPA rule.

Two Defence Acquisition Council meetings took important long -pending decisions. Last Friday, the ministry scrapped a scam- tainted tender worth over Rs 6000 crore to procure 197 light utility helicopters to replace the vintage fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers used to move troops and equipment to high altitude locations like Siachen. The ministry decided that Indian industry would be given the opportunity to produce these helicopters and the move is expected to generate business worth over Rs. 40,000 crore for the domestic industry in the defence sector.

The Council also cleared proposals worth over Rs 17,500 crore including the mid-life upgrade of the aging fleet of submarines for Rs4,800 crore and procurement of 118 Arjun Mk II tanks for Rs 6,600 crore. The apex body for procurement also cleared proposal for offsets deviations in the Rs 15,0000 crore deal for buying 15 Chinook and 22 Apache attack helicopters from the US.

The 30-year-long jinx about not acquiring artillery guns by placing orders of 40 catapult, 130 mm artillery guns for the army.

The ministry further cleared a Rs 1700 crore proposal for anti-submarine warfare suite for Navy's warships built under Project 7 A and Project-15B warships indigenously.

In his first DAC meeting in July, Jaitley had also okayed defence procurement proposals worth over Rs 21,000 crore and also gave his approval to a project for the production of 56 transport aircraft for IAF, which is open only to Indian private sector companies.

The meeting also cleared the procurement of five fast patrol vessels (FPV) and offshore patrol vessels (OPV) each for the Coast Guard at the cost of Rs 2,360 crore. A proposal to procure search and rescue (SAR) equipment for the three services at a cost of Rs 900 crore, too, received the green light.

Meanwhile the building of strategic roads facing China will now be completed as all hurdles including environmental clearances have been granted.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal