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Saturday, 15 November 2014

From Today's Papers - 15 Nov 2014

 Chinese troops ‘training Pak army’ near LoC, IB

New Delhi, November 14
Indian security agencies have learnt that Chinese troops are training Pakistan Army personnel right across the India-Pak border in J&K.

The Chinese troops, according to a report submitted by the BSF intelligence wing, have been seen training Pak armymen in "weapon handling" techniques bang opposite the Rajouri sector of International Border.

The report said these military manoeuvres were being conducted at forward defence locations of Pakistan which are usually manned by border guarding personnel - the Pak Rangers.

Preliminary inputs analysed by the BSF also showed that some Pak army units have taken over paramilitary posts of Rangers opposite the Sriganganagar sector. The BSF found new observation towers have also been set up by Pakistan in recent past along Abohar and Gurdaspur sectors in Punjab.

The BSF intelligence reported that phone intercepts along the border indicate that Pakistan army and Rangers are planning to deploy snipers and sharp shooters at strategic locations and posts to target Indian soldiers and assets.

The BSF intelligence reported that a special squad of the Pak army commandos has been placed at select locations along the IB and LoC, which may attempt to carry out raids and Border Action Team (BAT)-sponsored attacks into the Indian territory.

It also said a large grouping of terrorists has been detected along Sialkot area in Pakistan which may be planning to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir at a time when Assembly polls are scheduled in the state.

It said agencies have detected a few launch pads for terrorists to infiltrate along either the International Border (IB) or the Line of Control (LoC).

The India-Pak border, which has been witnessing a series of ceasefire violations in the past few months, is peaceful but tense, the report said. — PTI

Targeting India

* Chinese troops have been seen training Pak armymen in weapon handling techniques opposite the Rajouri sector of the IB

* Some Pak army units have taken over paramilitary posts of Rangers opposite Sriganganagar sector

* Observation towers have also been set up by Pakistan along Abohar and Gurdaspur sectors in Punjab

* Phone intercepts indicate that Pakistan Rangers are planning to deploy snipers at strategic locations to target Indian soldiers
 Suhag gets rank of General of Nepal Army
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag has been conferred the honorary rank of General of Nepal Army by Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, at the Rastrapati Bhawan, Sheetal Niwas, in Kathmandu.

As part of a long-standing tradition between Nepal and India, both countries confer the honorary title on each other’s Army chiefs. The President also felicitated General Suhag with the insignia of the Nepal Army.

The Indian Army Chief also called on Prime Minister Sushil Koirala at his office at Singhdurbar. They discussed Nepal-India military cooperation and matters of mutual interest. The Chief visited the mountain warfare school and interacted with the ex-servicemen in Pokhara and also visited headquarters western division. General Dalbir Singh is on a four-day visit to Nepal after being invited by his Nepalese counterpart General Guarav Sumsher Rana.
2 LeT men, youth killed in Kulgam gunfight
Suhail A Shah & Amin Masoodi

Kulgam/Kupwara November 14
Two militants and two civilian were killed while four others were injured today in separate incidents of violence in the poll-bound Kashmir. Two militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba outfit were gunned down during an encounter at Chenigam village in Anantnag district of south Kashmir. A civilian was also killed in the firing.

IGP (Kashmir range) Abdul Gani Mir said two militants and a civilian were killed.

On a tip-off, a joint team of the Army, police's Special Operations Group (SOG) and CRPF cordoned off the village on Thursday afternoon. The encounter ensued when the hiding militants opened fire on the search party. The militants killed in the encounter were identified as Abbas Malla alias Khitab of Nowpora, Kulgam and Manzoor Ahmad Malik alias Moosa of Chenigam village.

In a separate incident, a civilian Zahoor Ahmad Najar (24) was killed and a Military Intelligence official was injured in a grenade blast at Lachi in Mawar Langate in Handwara (Kupwara district), about 75 km from Srinagar, on Friday.

Zahoor was reportedly carrying the grenade which went off just 200m away from the house of MLA Langate, Abdul Rashid Sheikh aka Engineer Rashid around 2 pm.
Safety checks over, Sukhois hit skies today
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 14
Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets are back in action again. The frontline fighter jets on Friday evening carried out sorties from IAF bases at Pune and Jodhpur ending a month-long 'no-flying' embargo (also called grounding) which was ordered on October 14 following a crash near Pune.

The IAF headquarters have told Sukhoi air bases to start flying the jets, sources confirmed tonight. The Russian fighter jets will also participate in the 10-day India-Russia joint exercise at Halwara, Punjab, commencing November 17. Russian pilots will be flying IAF planes. The Sukhois are based at Sirsa, Bathinda, Bareilly, Halwara, Jodhpur and Pune — all close to the western front. The planes are also based at Chabua and Tezpur in the East.

The 200-strong fleet of Sukhoi-30MKI was grounded a month ago after a pilot seat of one of a jets ejected automatically mid-air resulting in a crash. The grounding meant almost one-third of the IAF's entire fleet of 640-odd fighter jets was not available for flying. A team of experts from India and Russia carried out checks on the plane's seat ejection system.

In New Delhi, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said the findings of a Court of Inquiry (CoI) into the crash are being finalised. "The (Pune crash on October 14) was an accident which appeared to be automatic firing of the seats. The inquiry is about to be completed and the findings are being finalised. We will have the results very soon and we are going to start flying the aircraft".

He added that "preliminary findings" indicate that the experts have been able to find the reason for the malfunction and "we will be able to tackle the problem". Specific checks pertain to pilot seats - the NPP Zvezda K-36DM. The original equipment makers in Russia and the IAF are part of the probe, sources said.

A team of 10 experts from Russia is currently in Pune, Sukhoi-30 base. Sources said the Russian experts have claimed that the ejection of seats cannot take place automatically, a contention not acceptable to the IAF.

The October 14 incident in which both pilots ejected was the third such incident. In the first incident in 2008, an airman carrying out a pre-flight test at the Bareilly Sukhoi base had died. The seat ejected on its own when he was sitting in the cockpit carrying out checks. The airman, who was thrown 50 feet up in the air, hit the roof of the hangar, killing him immediately.

The second incident occurred in Jodhpur this year when one of the fighter jets was taxing to take-off. The seats ejected and the pilots were thrown about 100 feet up in the air. They made a safe landing with the help of parachutes. Since the plane was taxing and was at a slow speed, there was no damage, sources said.

In all, there have been five accidents involving a Sukhoi-30MKI since 2009.

Grounded following a crash

    The Sukhoi-30MKI are frontline fighter jets of the IAF.
    The 200-strong fleet was grounded on October 14 following a crash when pilot seats ejected automatically
    The jets will take part in India-Russian exercise at Halwara
Does India's New Defense Minister Have a Plan?
As we covered recently on The Pulse, the Indian government finally appointed a full-time defense minister after having Arun Jaitley split that crucial portfolio with his responsibilities as finance minister. The new defense minister, Manohar Parrikar, is a former chief minister and comes to the Indian defense ministry at a time when the country is looking to modernize its armed forces, build up indigenous weapons research and development programs, and manage increasingly complicated relations with China and Pakistan. During his first week on the job, Parrikar has highlighted a broad set of priorities for his ministry and also made some notable statements about what he views as India’s primary defense concerns.

For Parrikar, the primary priority for India’s defense ministry over the next three years will be building up the country’s capabilities. He told the Indian press in an interview on Wednesday that the country should not overly concern itself with Pakistani or Chinese provocation, but focus instead on fast-tracking defense purchases and investing in arms development. ”I have realized that if someone properly heads the defense ministry, then we need not worry about Pakistan and China. We are strong enough…we have to build our capability over the next two-three years,” Parrikar told the press. ”We need to provide the armed forces the required logistical support. Prime Minister [Modi] has given me the responsibility to provide all the support to defense forces. I am feeling more responsible because the defense deals are worth Rs one lakh crore [$16 billion],” he added.

Parrikar certainly hit all the right rhetorical points as far as India’s defense ministry is concerned. His predecessor in the last Congress-led government, A.K. Anthony, was criticized for bureaucratic mismanagement. He even drew criticism from India’s then-Army Chief General V.K. Singh. Parrikar’s emphasis on streamlining logistics, infrastructure and indigenous development and procurement is a welcome development. Additionally, in light of India’s recent move to allow greater foreign direct investment in its defense sector, Parrikar assuaged protectionist fears by stating that “except in case of sophisticated equipment, my endeavor will be to promote Indian companies in procurements.” He additionally criticized India’s defense deal-making under the Congress-led government, noting that cronyism, lobbying, and vested interests resulted in poor defense outcomes for India.

Parrikar has additionally stated that he will visit India’s northeastern border with China soon — an area of considerable interest for the current Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. Parrikar notably has played down the role of Chinese incursions across the Line of Actual Control. “Chinese intrusion is not a serious issue. It is a serious issue for media. The incidents of incursions by China are a small issue that is being tackled by the army chief or the concerned commander in that area,” he told reporters. ”The issue should be considered serious when they set up their camps in our territory,” he added, alluding the April 2013 Depsang incident between India and China, and the more recent stand off during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s fall 2014 trip to India.

India’s new defense minister seems to have struck all the right chords as he starts off managing a bureaucratic machine notoriously resistant to change. As a country with both great power aspirations and a long list of persistent security challenges, India needs a defense ministry that plans, operates, and executes strategically. To do so, Parrikar will have to take risks and inject bold vision into India’s defense bureaucracy. Time will tell if he’s up to the task.

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