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Monday, 8 December 2014

From Today's Papers - 08 Dec 2014

Highly trained LeT cadres behind Uri strike, says Army
Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 7
The Army today said the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) was behind the Friday attack on an artillery installation in Mohura, Uri, that left eight Army men, including a Lieutenant Colonel and three policemen, dead.

The Lashkar militants were trained like “special forces”, it said. The LeT, headed by India’s most wanted terrorist and Jamaat-ud-Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, is accused of carrying out the 2009 Mumbai attacks.

Lieutenant General Subrata Saha, Army’s top officer in Kashmir, said the militants killed in Mohura and Nowgam sector in the past week were highly trained to carry special operations.

Before Mohura, the Army had foiled an infiltration bid in the Nowgam sector of Kupwara district and shot six militants, who Army believe had planned a similar strike.

“There is enough evidence to indicate that both groups (Mohura and Nowgam) were from the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The terrorists were highly trained to carry special operations. The recoveries make it clear that things were manufactured in Pakistan,” the Srinagar-based General Officer Commanding of 15 Corps said in his first interaction after the recent attacks.

“The kind of ammunition they were carrying shows they were in for a big haul,” he said. The Army also displayed the weapons and ammunition recovered from the scene of the two encounters.

The officer said the aim of the militants was to target civilian areas to create fear among people during polls.

“…The aim must have been to come and strike at civilian targets to cause fear and disrupt the peaceful conditions ahead of the polls,” he said. He denied counter-infiltration grid failure that allowed militants to cross the LoC. The Corps Commander said the militants involved in the Mohura attack came from across the border, north of the Jhelum.

“The infiltration of the group would have taken place on December 3-4 night. They hid in the jungle and struck on the morning of December 5,” he said, adding the group had crossed the Jhelum by foot to target the Army installation at Uri, showing their level of training.

Lieutenant General Saha, however, did not give the exact location from where the militants were pushed into the Valley.

The officer said the sequence of events over the past week suggested it was a planned attack and not “routine infiltration”.

“No doubt terrorists were highly trained, whether you talk of Nowgam or Uri attacks. All incidents leading up to the attacks, including ceasefire violation to smuggling and then the attack, can’t have happened without coordination from across,” the Corps Commander said.

“Quite clearly, recent attacks are coordinated in time and space. In the backdrop of elections that saw high turnout, international events and now in Uri,” he added. The recent attacks, he said, had taken place because of elections in the state.

“The terror attacks took place because of the larger events taking place in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding the recent attacks were coordinated.

Since the first phase of elections in J&K on November 25, Kashmir has witnessed a spurt in violence that has left 31 persons, including 14 security men, same number of militants and three civilians dead.
Jind hero cremated amid police faux pas
Tribune News Service
Jind, December 7
The body of Lance Naik Kuldeep Kumar was cremated at his native Kheri Bullah village with full honours today. But the ceremony was marred by delayed discharge of weapons by a Jind police contingent during a guard of honour.
Kuldeep was on gate duty when terrorists struck at the military installation in Uri. His elder brother Wajir Singh lit the pyre.

“We are proud of our son. The government should take care of my son’s family,” said Mullar Kumar, Kuldeep’s father.

During the guard of honour for the martyr, only one out of five policemen could fire into the air in time. The shots were finally fired 10 minutes later.

While Jind Superintendent of Police Badan Singh did not answer the phone calls, Deputy Commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi said he had sought a report from the SP.

“We have received information that four policemen could not fire in time. The reason is not clear as yet. I have sought a detailed report and will initiate action if lapses are found,” said Joshi. Villagers expressed displeasure at the faux pas.

Jind Sub-Divisional Magistrate Virender Sehrawat, Deputy Superintendent of Police Suresh Kumar, Naib Tehsildar Lavjit Virk and other senior officers paid respect to the martyr.
Large crowds turn up to say goodbye to Ranchi officer
Ranchi, December 7
The mortal remains of Lt Colonel Sankalp Kumar Shukla were consigned to flames with full military honours today.

The body of the slain hero's was received by parents, SK Shukla and Sushma, as it arrived at the Birsa Munda Airport last evening.

Large crowds turned up at several places, showering petals on the body during his last journey. Hundreds of bike-borne mourners also followed the body.

Governor Syed Ahmed, Chief Minister Hemant Soren, Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Jayant Sinha, several Army and police officials were among those present at the funeral.

Lieutenant Colonel Shukla (35) completed his schooling at Ranchi's St John's School and graduated from St Xavier's College before clearing the Combined Defence Services (CDS) examination in 1999.

He was from 24 Punjab Regiment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Saturday paid tributes to the martyred Lieutenant Colonel and said his sacrifice would inspire generations. He was among 11 security men, including three Jammu and Kashmir Police officers, killed in a militant attack at an Army installation in Uri on Friday. — Agencies
Chinese army participates in Indian Army’s Flag Day celebrations along LAC - See more at:
Marking an improvement in relations between India and China after recent incursions by the latter in Ladakh, the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) participated in Indian Army’s Flag Day celebrations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Chushul sector on Sunday.

Pointing out that a ceremonial border personnel meeting was held between Indian Army and the Chinese PLA, an Udhampur based Defence ministry spokesman Colonel S D Goswami said that the latter delegation participated in the celebrations “with enthusiasm and gusto”.

“The festivities were marked by saluting the National Flag of India by members of both delegations,” he said, adding this was followed by a ceremonial address by leaders of both the delegations.

They exchanged greetings reflecting the mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the functional level on the border, the spokesman said, adding that this was followed. Thereafter, a cultural programme showcasing the vibrant Indian culture and traditional grandeur was organised.

“Both the delegations interacted in a free, congenial and cordial environment,” Col Goswami said, adding that “they parted amidst feeling of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the Line of Actual Control. Both sides also committed themselves to upholding the treaties and agreements signed between the governments of the two countries to maintain peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control.”
Indian MSMEs set to battle it out for Rs 18,000-cr defence pie
 The Defence Procurement Policy 2013 and the Make in India campaign have created a staggering Rs 18,000 crore ($3 billion) opportunity for the Indian defence MSME (micro, small and medium) sector as numerous offsets in the three wings of the armed forces are expected to be executed in the next five years.

According to defence MSMEs, the two key initiatives have opened up an estimated Rs 90,000 crore offset opportunity for the defence players in defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs), enterprise as well as for the MSME sector over the coming five-year period.

Of this, the MSME sector is expected to land offset business worth Rs 18,000 crore, which is 20 percent of the overall projection for the defence sector.

According to Samtel Avionics, Rs 72,000 crore looms from the Indian Air Force with the Indian Navy presenting another Rs 13,500 crore possibility, while the prospect from the Indian Army is anywhere around Rs 4,500 crore.

"The total value of the defence offsets contracted in the last few years is valued around Rs 28,800 crore. The Indian Air Force has signed contracts worth approximately Rs 21,600 crore, the Indian Navy worth Rs 5,064 crore and the Indian Army Rs 144 crore", Samtel Avionics Executive Director Puneet Kaura told IANS.

Indigenous manufacture of parts and sub-assemblies used in non-critical ground-based systems as replacements during maintenance of original imported equipment, and indigenous design, development and manufacture of complete equipment as a replacement for obsolete original equipment, through a process of reverse engineering, are encouraging MSMEs in the defence segment.

"Now that serious efforts are being made to attract MSMEs into this sector, there is no doubt that they will rise to the occasion by raising their standards of quality and reliability of parts and assemblies that they manufacture and supply to the larger players", G. Raj Narayan, founder and managing director of the diversified Radel Group, told IANS.

"This will lead to a significant reduction in costs as well as time of execution of projects since outsourced work can actually happen in parallel in multiple efficiently managed MSME organizations," he added.

Narayan was of the view that ensuring business sustainability by assuring MSMEs of long-term business for at least eight years and provision of special incentives for their investing in research and development, reverse engineering and indigenisation of defence equipment will boost the scenario for the sector.

At least 30 percent of the value of each programme is in electronics, or avionics as far as an airborne platform is concerned. Opportunities for MSMEs exist in a large number of segments such as armoured vehicles, aircraft, helicopters, submarines, tanks, ships and UAVs, among others.

"There are EW (Electronic Warfare) suites to be bought, as well as radar systems, optronic systems, displays and other LRUs which have to be procured. Requirements exist in segments ranging from space to underwater (submarines)", Kaura added.

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