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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

From Today's Papers - 17 Sep 2014

 3 CRPF men stay atop tree for 16 hours
Ishfaq Tantry
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, September 16
Uma Shankar Tiwari, assistant sub-inspector with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), climbed up a tree carrying his service rifle after Srinagar was inundated on September 7.

He took refuge atop the tree in the compound of an office in Polo View area of Srinagar. He was saved after around 16 hours by a rescue boat commandeered by CRPF men.

Recounting his ordeal, Tiwari said he climbed up the tree with two other CRPF men after the Jhelum breached its embankment near the CID headquarters on the night of September 6.

“Around 10:30 pm, the water level in the compound started rising. Since it is a single-storey complex, we left our quarters and climbed up a tall tree to save ourselves,” Tiwari said.

“The three of us were stuck atop the tree the entire night. CRPF men rescued us around 2:30 pm on Sunday with great difficulty,” he said.

Eight CRPF men were posted that eventful night at the office in the Polo View area. Five of them ran towards the post office across the road while Tiwari and the other two men could not come out on time. Fearing death, the three climbed up the tree.

“Several NDRF boats passed by us on September 7. We cried for help, but they did not rescue us. Men from our unit brought a boat and saved us,” Tiwari said. He thanked God for giving him a second life.
Premature retirement no ground to deny disability pension: AFT

Chandigarh, September 16
About a decade after a brigadier injured in counter insurgency operations took premature retirement, the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) held that seeking early release from the service cannot be a ground for denial of disability pension.

The petitioner, Brig AK Chatterjee, had been commissioned into the Army in 1968 and in 2001 he had suffered an eye injury while deployed under Operation Rhino. Consequently, he was placed in permanent low medical category with 40 per cent disability. In 2004, he took premature retirement to avail of higher commutation benefit, but because of this, he was denied grant of disability pension. The Tribunal observed that there was no dispute that his injury was directly attributable to military service and, therefore, the only issue was whether he was entitled to disability pension or not, regardless of the reason of retirement. — TNS
MoD orders probe into missing file

New Delhi, September 16
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has ordered a probe into a missing file pertaining to procurement of 20 Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft. The aircrafts have to be purchased to be part of the fleet of IAF’s acrobatic display team, the Suryakirans.

The file is missing from the MoD. The process to issue a Request for Proposal Information (RFF) has been initiated, sources in the MoD said, adding that a serious view has been taken of the lapse on part of the officials handling the file.

Disciplinary proceedings will be launched against officials who are found responsible for the lapses in the initial probe. A total of 123 Hawks have been ordered in two phases. The planes are manufactured in India by the Defence Ministry-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with the help of kits and equipment supplied by the British firm, BAE systems.

This is not the first time that a file related to key procurements has gone missing. Three years ago, a file related to US $20 billion deal to procure 126 multi-role combat aircrafts had gone missing from the MoD. It was found later by a passerby from a locality in New Delhi and handed over to the police. — TNS
India to defend its border with China after incursion by People's Liberation Army ahead of Xi Jinping's visit
India said on Tuesday it would firmly defend its 3,500-km- (2,200-mile-) long border with China after domestic media reported a new face-off on the disputed frontier, just days ahead of a visit by President Xi Jinping. More than 200 soldiers of the People's Liberation Army crossed into what India considers its territory in Ladakh in the western Himalayas last week, and used cranes, bulldozers and a Hummer vehicle to build a 2-km (1.2-mile) road within it, the Hindustan Times said.

Indian soldiers challenged the Chinese troops and asked them to withdraw, the newspaper said. Then, on the night of September 10, soldiers demolished a temporary track built by Chinese forces. There was no immediate comment by India's defence ministry.

Both China and India are trying to put a positive spin on Xi's first summit meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the Indian leader took office in May. He arrives on Wednesday after touring the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The two countries are expected to ramp up commercial ties and open the way for Chinese investment in Indian infrastructure, including railways, but the contested border remains a stumbling block to better political ties.

Both lay claim to vast tracts of territory and after two decades of talks are no closer to a resolution of a border dispute over which they went to war in 1962. They have not even been able to agree on the Line of Actual Control where the two armies are deployed, leading to frequent reports of border violations.

 "Let me assure you that our brave sentinels on the border will address any issue that happens on the border," said foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin. "We are confident that our borders are in safe hands."

Modi and Xi will discuss the border dispute this week, he added. In Beijing, Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry, said the border issue had not affected the development of two-way ties.

"We hope that both sides can continue efforts to keep maintaining the peace and tranquillity of the border area and create a good atmosphere and good conditions for the development of relations," he told a daily news briefing. India has reported a jump in border violations in the past two years that military experts say is a sign of greater Chinese assertiveness on the frontier. The government itself has sought to play down the incursions.

The number of Chinese infringements had reached 334 by August, the government told parliament last month. The corresponding figure in 2013 was 411, while in 2012 it was 426, in 2011 it was 213, and in 2010 it stood at 228. China denies intruding into Indian territory.

In another wrinkle ahead of Xi's trip, India on Monday extended a $100-million export credit for defence deals to Vietnam and tightened energy ties with the country, which has strained ties with China, over an increasingly ugly territorial dispute in the South China Sea. That included a deal to "consolidate" energy cooperation following a 2013 pact under which PetroVietnam offered India's ONGC oil and gas blocks for exploration and production.

If that pact covered Chinese waters in the South China Sea and any exploration went ahead without China's approval, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong said the government would be "concerned". He added, "We could not support it," but did not elaborate.

Relations sank to a three-decade low this year after China deployed a $1-billion oil rig to waters Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone, sparking a wave of riots and bloody clashes between Vietnamese and Chinese workers in Vietnam. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in deposits of oil and gas resources.

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