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Monday, 13 October 2014

From Today's Papers - 13 Oct 2014

Pak writes to UN for K-resolution
Sharif’s Adviser says India violating truce
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has written to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, drawing his attention to the latest ceasefire violations by India and urging him to help resolve the Kashmir issue in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions which were still valid.

Aziz reminded the international community of its responsibility towards the issue. This, he said, was one of the longest pending issues on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

The adviser recalled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s latest address to the UN General Assembly and said the premier had emphasised that Kashmir issue needed to be resolved.

“We cannot pull the curtain over the issue of Kashmir until it is addressed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Aziz said unfortunately India had adopted a policy that runs counter to its stated desire to engage in a serious bilateral dialogue with Pakistan and unilaterally cancelled, without any plausible justification, the Foreign Secretary-level talks that were scheduled to be held on August 25.

Asking Ban to circulate the letter as an official document of the Security Council, Aziz said Pakistan believed that the UN had an important role to play in promoting the objective of peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue, including through his "good offices, which we have always welcomed."

Aziz alleged India escalated the situation along the LoC and claimed that the persistent shelling and firing resulted in civilian casualties on the Pakistan side.

"We cannot pull curtain over the issue of Kashmir until it is addressed in accordance with the wishes of the people of Kashmir"

Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to PM on national security and foreign affairs
Navy’s infrastructure takes a hit
Radar controlling air space, hangars at INS Dega damaged I BSNL lines snapped
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

 New Delhi, October 12
Cyclone ‘Hudhud’ has caused extensive damage to Indian Navy’s infrastructure at the eastern coastal city of Visakhapatnam, the headquarters of the Navy’s eastern command. Sources said all war-going assets are safe. Crucially, the N-powered submarines docked at harbour at the Naval base are also safe. The entire fleet of 51 warships and some 60-odd planes and helicopters, that are stationed at various Naval bases along the East coast, have not been damaged.

The Eastern Naval command is mandated to protect Indian interests in the east and that includes the crucial Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) in the Bay of Bengal and the North-eastern part of the Indian Ocean. Crude oil-laden ships and trade worth US $ 80 billion pass through these waters.

Sources said the Nuclear-powered INS Chakra and the soon-to-be-ready nuclear-missile carrying INS Arihant are safe.

Navy carried out an on the spot assessment this evening. It is understood that the radar controlling the air space over the eastern coastal city has been damaged. This will impact civilian as well as military flights carrying relief material and rescue teams. Efforts are on to put all flight management on back-up radars. Roofs of a few of the hangars at the INS Dega, the naval airbase at Visakhapatnam, have been blown away. However, the planes and helicopters stored in these hangars are safe.

The landing strip at INS Dega is also used by the civilian flights. Navy sources said an estimated 60 per cent of trees in and around the INS Dega have been uprooted and the runway is littered with debris, sources said. Clearing this will be the process of no more than a couple of hours but it can start only when the rain becomes less intense. The landing strip is not damaged but a final assessment will be made tomorrow morning when the rain is expected to subside.

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited’s dedicated leased lines of the Navy’s eastern command have snapped.

The biggest task for the Navy’s Eastern Command will be tomorrow when the long-range reconnaissance planes, Boeing P8-I, take off from Arakkonamm near Chennai. These planes will be carrying high resolution cameras that will stream live pictures to allow policy planners at New Delhi to make an exact assessment of the damage to railway lines, power lines and villages, etc.

Sources said the facilities at the missile firing ranges of the DRDO are safe. These are located just a few hundred miles north of Visakhapatnam.

In New Delhi the Navy said its frontline warships the INS Ranjit, the INS Shivalik, the INS Shakti and the INS Airavat are ready to sail with relief material and have 5,000 personnel embarked on board for rescue efforts. The ships have on board helicopters. The INS Shakti is a replenishment vessel having a 16,000 tonne capacity to carry fresh water and food.
 Retired officers decry changes in health scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 12
The Paramilitary Force Retired Officers’ Association has petitioned the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare over changes in the policy for issue of medicines to Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) beneficiaries, claiming that it is causing inconvenience to aged persons.

In its petition, the association has stated that CGHS beneficiaries can now get medicines for up to one month in case of chronic illness and for three months in case of foreign travel. Earlier, they could get medicines for three months and six months, respectively, but orders to this respect were rescinded recently within a few months of being issued.

This, the association has contended, has put elderly CGHS beneficiaries to health hazards, especially those, who are residing at places far from the location of the CGHS Wellness Centre, where they are registered. As there is only a limited number of wellness centres, the central government retirees have to get themselves registered with the nearest wellness centre for healthcare.

Pensioners residing in villages or town located away from the wellness centre have to travel long distances to avail medical facilities. Instead on visiting the centre four times a year, they now have to travel every month.

The Chandigarh CGHS Wellness Centre, which has more than 25,000 registered CGHS beneficiaries, caters to three states and pensioners residing in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.

The CGHS is also in the process of revising its formulary, which is a compendium of medicines and healthcare products that can be issued or prescribed under the scheme. According to a circular issued earlier this month, the formularies of the Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme and the Employees State Insurance would also be adopted in the intervening period to avoid any inconvenience to beneficiaries.

There are several essential medicines that are not listed in the formularies and CGHS doctors have been instructed that till the revised formulary is issued, such medicines can be prescribed provided their use is approved by the Drug Controller of India and the cost and duration of prescription does not exceed Rs 1,500 and seven days.
Army commanders’ conference begins today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
Faced with multiple streams of entries for officers into the Army, top commanders of the Army will meet in New Delhi tomorrow to deliberate and suggest a way forward. With officers joining at various levels and promotions till Lieut-Colonel-rank being mandatory, there are issues with managing the cadre.

On the other side, an increasingly top-heavy force has resulted in reduced tenures at senior command level to 12-13 months for Divisional Commanders, Corps Commanders and Army Commanders.

The Army Chief, all the seven Army Commanders, along with a few key officials, will meet over the next four days to discuss various issues of the Army. Top Commanders of the Indian Air Force and the Navy will meet separately. Their respective conferences begin on Tuesday.

The top brass of the three services will brief the Chiefs on developments in their areas. The latest issue of the continuing cross border firing may crop up but not in detail. The review of the flood rescue efforts by the three services in J&K is on the cards. PM Narendra Modi is slated to meet commanders of the three services on October 17.

Sources confirmed that in the case of entry streams of officers, there is no proposal to alter anything but a way has to be found to manage the careers of all those who join at various levels.

There are at least six types of entries for officers into the Army and there is mix of permanent commissioned and short service commissioned officers. The latter can opt to either leave or seek permanent commission. Each entry is at different age level and with varying educational qualifications and skills.

Army Commanders conference will also be addressed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
Cyclone Hudhud: armed forces on standby for relief work
The Indian armed forces have repositioned their assets and are waiting for the civil administration's directions to launch rescue and relief operations in the cyclone affected regions of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha after Cyclone Hudhud struck the coast of India at Vishakhapatnam today.

The army has deployed four teams four teams at Vishakhapatnam, with further four teams at other parts of the state. They have established a Disaster Management Cell at the Air Defence College, Gopalpur. The army has also kept 25 rescue teams and two Engineer Task Forces on standby at Ranchi, Allahabad and Secunderabad.

Meanwhile the navy has also positioned its assets and personnel at key areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh for relief and rescue operations. It has kept 30 diving teams with Gemini craft and associated equipment, 20 rescue teams, four ships with Medical Bricks and medical stores, six helicopters and two fixed winged aircrafts and two medical teams ready at Vishakhapatnam for undertaking rescue and relief operations.

The Air Force is prepared to undertake relief, rescue and rehabilitation operations as and when required. Keeping the rescue operations in mind it has kept in standby mode aircrafts in Hakimpet, Yelahanka, Nagpur, Hyderabad, Kalaikunda, Suratgarh, Bagdogra and Barrackpore.

At the same time, the Coast Guard has also deployed ships and aircraft to augment the rescue and relief operations, wherever required. The vessels and aircrafts have been stationed at Chennai, Kakinada, Vishakhapatnam, Paradip, Haldia and Kolkata. Three rescue teams of Indian Coast Guard are also kept on standby at Vishakhapatnam, Kakinada and Gopalpur
The eye of Cyclone Hudhud crossed the coast of between Vishakhapatnam and Bheemilipatnam at 11.30 am. The cyclone had been moving at a speed of approximately 20 kmph with wind speeds of 180 kmph. The wind speed reduced considerably as the eye of the storm passed over the region. However, the rainfall is likely to continue for next 24 hours.

The Eastern Naval Command had been put on high alert to provide any assistance towards rescue and relief of affected persons. Towards this end the preparations made included readying ships, aircraft and diving teams. Indian Naval Ships Ranjit, Shivalik, Shakti and Airavat are ready to sail with relief material for 5000 personnel embarked onboard the ships. Additionally, four more ships have been kept ready for sailing at short notice for relief operations as required. Two Dornier fixed wing aircraft and six helicopters are also ready for deployment and one Long range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft (P 8I) has also been kept standby for carrying out damage assessment once the cyclone passes and wind speeds reduce.
CBI raids army vehicle factory at Jabalpur
BHOPAL: CBI on Saturday raided premises of Army Vehicle Factory in Jabalpur in connection with alleged irregularities in award of tender to a Kanpur-based company. The factory comes under defence ministry's jurisdiction.

Officers said office of Ashish Kumar, charge man of factory's material management section and Sanjay Puri, proprietor of M/s Bullet Lock Company, Kanpur, were raided after registration of FIR against them under sections of criminal conspiracy and Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.

It is alleged Kumar entered into a criminal conspiracy with Sanjay Puri and awarded him tenders and supply orders for material, spare parts. CBI officials alleged Kumar received Rs 46,000 from the private firm for the favour. What lend credence to CBI's probe were transactions in Ashish Kumar's bank accounts.

Sanjay Puri allegedly deposited cash amounts on different occasions at Axis Bank, Kanpur through pay-in-slip to be credited savings account of Ashish Kumar, said CBI officers. During searches, incriminating documents have been found. Searches are in progress.
Army assures impartial inquiry into boy’s death
HYDERABAD: The APSMC on Saturday convened a meeting comprising Army personnel and eminent figures from the Muslim community as a trust building measure. The commission said that there was a lot of "anger within the community" after the murder of 11-year-old Shaik Mustafauddin, of Siddique Nagar within the Army garrison in Mehdipatnam, allegedly by Army men.

According to APSMC chief Abid Rasool Khan, the meeting was attended by Brig Anupam Sharma, 47 INF, Bde who assured that the Army has launched an investigation of its own. He said that Brig Sharma has assured an impartial inquiry.

While wakf board special officer MJ Akbar suggested that the Army should announce ex-gratia for the family of the victim since the tragic incident had taken place within defence land. Others noted that the security of the victim's family was paramount and that all measures must be taken to protect them.

APSMC has decided to constitute a panel which would liaise with the government and the Army so as to prevent such incidents in the future.

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