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Saturday, 24 January 2015

From Today's Papers - 24 Jan 2015

Obama slams Pak terror havens
Ahead of visit, US Prez says 26/11 attackers must face justice, terms India global partner
New Delhi, January 23
Sending a clear message to Pakistan, US President Barack Obama has said "safe havens" of terrorism within that country were not acceptable.

Obama also said those behind the Mumbai terror attacks need to be brought to justice. "I have made it clear that even as the US works with Pakistan to meet the threat of terrorism, safe havens within Pakistan are not acceptable and that those behind the Mumbai terrorist attack must face justice," Obama said in an interview to a media group.

Obama, who arrives here on January 25 on a three-day visit during which he will be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade, said: "As President, I have made sure that the US has been unrelenting in its fight against terrorist groups — a fight in which Indians and Americans are united."

Obama said Prime Minster Narendra Modi's maiden visit to the US last September was an opportunity for him to benefit from Modi's resounding mandate in 2014 that imbued "new hopes and energy".

"Now, Modi's election and his commitment to a new chapter in the relationship between our countries, gives us an opportunity to further energise our partnership." Obama, who will be the first US President to visit India twice and the only US President to be chief guest at the Republic Day parade, said the time was opportune to realise his vision for India and the US as "true global partners".

"I'd like to think that the stars are aligned to finally realise the vision I outlined in (the Indian) Parliament (during last visit) — India and America as true global partners. That's why I accepted the generous invitation to become the first US President to attend Republic Day as chief guest," he added.

Obama in his first visit to India in 2010 had addressed the joint session of both houses of Parliament.

"On the most basic level, a good India-US relationship has to be based on the same principles as our successful partnerships with our other close partners and friends around the world," said _Obama. — IANS

India, US may reach consensus on key areas

Ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the two countries should be able to reach consensus on areas that are of top priority for cooperation between them. Without specifically mentioning the areas, Jaitley said the two countries share a mature relationship and there were many areas where they already agree to each other.

Mobiles won’t buzz in Agra

People in Agra would not be able to use mobile phones for three hours on Tuesday when Obama comes calling. The UP Govt has sent top officials to the city to work with US security officials to oversee security arrangements.  IANS
Parrikar: Some ex-PMs compromised security
Refuses to divulge names; Cong wants proof
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 23
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stirred a controversy following a remark that some former Prime Ministers had taken action that resulted in the country losing its sources of human intelligence, leading to protests from the Congress that demanded that he either provide evidence or tender a public apology.

Although the minister did not name any former PM, while speaking at an event in Mumbai on Thursday he was quoted having said: "After all, you have to build deep assets. Deep assets are created over 20-30 years. Sadly, there were some Prime Ministers who compromised deep assets. I am not going to disclose names. Many people know."

The comment came at the release of a special issue by a Hindi weekly on national security and in reference to the recent Coast Guard operation involving a boat coming from Pakistan. He said such disclosure could compromise the source of information.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the party hoped Parrikar knew what he was articulating and had the facts and evidence to substantiate his charges. "We hope that he would not follow the classical 'shoot and scoot' policy of the BJP of levelling a charge and denying it thereafter by taking a U-turn," he said.

Another Congress leader Manish Tewari said he cannot tar the former Prime Ministers irrespective of whichever party they belong to with a ‘black brush’.
Pak remains ambivalent over ban on Hafiz’s JuD
New Delhi, January 23
Pakistan today said it was proceeding strictly to ban Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the dreaded Haqqani network even as it sought constructive talks with India to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit also hoped that US President Barack Obama’s visit here beginning Sunday will contribute in injecting some stability in the region. When asked about Pakistan banning JuD, Haqqani network and other terror groups, Basit said: “We are proceeding strictly in accordance with UN resolution and Jamaat’s (JuD) bank account has been frozen and there is a ban on the travelling abroad of its leadership...

“If you are referring to Hafiz Saeed as to why he has not been put behind bars, I would like to remind you that the resolution (UN) doesn’t warrant or require member states to lock up such individuals.” — PTI
Jawan gets 7-year RI for espionage

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 23
A general court martial (GCM) has convicted an Army NCO for espionage and awarded him seven years rigorous imprisonment besides dismissing him from service.

The NCO, Naik Ramjan Khan from the Grenadiers, had faced three charges under Sections 63 and 69 of the Army Act for allegedly committing acts prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state by communicating to a person information relating to military matters which may be directly or indirectly useful to an enemy.

Sources said that Khan was arrested after the Military Intelligence busted his liaison with Pakistani agents. He had been targeted by hostile intelligence agencies after he had gone to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi for getting visas for his family members for visiting relatives across the border.

The findings and sentence of the GCM, presided by Col SP Vashist, have been forwarded to Headquarters Delhi Area for confirmation. The accused had reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges levelled against him. Sources said information passed on by him to an employee of the Pakistani High Commission over a period of two years included military publications and training notes, telephone details and contact numbers of army personnel.
Fast-tracking modernisation, says Indian Army chief
 The Indian Army has initiated certain "fast-track endeavours" to make up for the delays to fill critical gaps in equipment within two to three years, its chief has said.
Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag told the defence magazine India Strategic in an interview that it was imperative to maintain the "highest standards of operational preparedness to meet present and emerging challenges" and that "making up for critical deficiency of weapons and equipment is on fast track".

He identified towed artillery, reconnaissance & surveillance helicopters, 3rd generation missiles, air defence, mechanised forces, assault rifles and protection equipment for infantry soldiers as the key areas requiring immediate attention. The government, he said, was giving full support.

About the much-delayed acquisition of modern artillery guns, Gen. Suhag said the army will have only 155 mm medium-bore guns from now on as part of the artillery "mediumisation" effort. Both "global and indigenous routes are being adopted to hasten the process and ensure that self-sufficiency in gun manufacture is achieved".

The existing Bofors FH 77 guns, acquired nearly three decades ago, are also being upgraded along with the Soviet-origin M 46 130mm towed guns first inducted some four decades ago.

"Improved firepower in terms of quality and quantity is a pre-requisite for any success in any battle. To this end, mediumisation of the artillery has been on since 2012, with major projects of the 155mm towed gun, 155mm Dhanush (upgraded Bofors) and 155mm tracked (self-propelled) guns at the final stages of evaluation. In addition, the existing 130mm guns are being upgraded indigenously."

He said the government had already cleared the procurement of 814 155mm mounted gun systems (MGS) through the Buy and Make Indian route. This "mediumisation is likely to commence by 2017-18".

The army chief also stressed the importance of jointmanship between the three services as also development of capabilities and infrastructure, particularly in the northeastern parts of the country, and enhancement of human resource development.

"There are numerous initiatives at the macro and micro levels to streamline capital procurement procedures to ensure that the capability building of the army is progressed," Gen. Suhag told the magazine, adding that to keep up with modernisation and indigenisation, there has been regular interaction with the public and private sector industry.
"Interaction in the form of seminars and exhibitions is conducted periodically" and "liaison with industry at all levels of hierarchy is being encouraged to ensure seamless integration with the industry."

About the much-needed new helicopters to replace the legacy machines, Gen. Suhag observed that "armed helicopters (AH) provide the requisite punch in a short and intense battle with enhanced ability to the commander to look, move and strike

The defence ministry has "vested their responsibility with the army" and their induction will be carried out in due course.

Significantly, said the army chief, "plans to cater for training support and infrastructure for operational and maintenance requirements are already under way."

It may be noted that the army has projected a requirement of 39 Boeing Apache AH64E helicopters, 13 each for its three strike corps. The Army Aviation Corps is working out the detailed proposal and once approved by the defence ministry, the formal process for their acquisition will start.

Incidentally, the first lot of 22 Apaches are being acquired by the Indian Air Force (IAF), and their order is likely to be placed around mid-2015. According to sources, the army will follow the IAF parameters, or Staff Qualitative Requirements (SQRs), and place a follow-on order to cut short the acquisition time.

Gen. Suhag disclosed that the replacement process for the vintage HAL-made Chetak and Cheetah helicopters is already on and a Request for Information (RFI) was recently floated to identify probable Indian companies for their licensed production or indigenous manufacture.

The Army is also looking for newer unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for intelligence and surveillance role and proposals are under consideration "to enhance the Indian Army holdings".

The chief pointed out that modernisation of the Infantry Soldier is being accorded top priority to increase weapon lethality, night vision capability, survivability and battlefield mobility in a network centric environment. Critical voids are being filled and procurement of close quarter battle carbines, assault rifles and light machine guns is in an advanced stage. Image intensifiers for night fighting and situational awareness are being acquired and a Request for Proposals (RfP) - or tender - for image intensifier sights for carbines was issued on November 7.

Procurement of body armour items like ballistic helmets and bulletproof jackets is also at an advanced stage.

About air defence, which has a heavy obsolescence, Gen. Suhag said that action is on to upgrade its guns, missiles and radar systems.

Efforts were also on to upgrade the in-service equipment of the mechanised forces for night fighting and have better power packs. A key development under way is for induction of future combat vehicle platforms, Gen. Suhag said.

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