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Friday, 30 January 2015

From Today's Papers - 30 Jan 2015

Martyred Col cremated, daughter lets out war cry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
Eleven-year-old Alka Rai, daughter of Colonel M N Rai who was killed in a gunbattle with militants on January 27, today tried to  overcome her personal grief by letting out the fierce war cry of the Gorkhas — ‘Jai Maha Kali,  Ayo Gorkhali.’  Colonel Rai (39), an officer of the 2/9 Gurkha Rifles, was commanding the 42 Rashtriya Rifles when he was killed.

The shout, from the young girl, even moved battle-hardened Army men. Amid the grief, the tender but firm voice broke the silence and bystanders realized what had happened when she uttered the final words.

Colonel MN Rai was killed in Pulwama district in South Kashmir while leading his quick response team from the front. A day earlier, he had been honoured for his bravery and awarded a Yudh Seva Medal on the Republic Day in recognition for his capability and success as a Commanding Officer.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, himself from the Gorkha Rifles (4/5 GR), placed a wreath as hundreds gathered to pay their last respects to the officer at the Delhi Cantonment. The Army Chief assured the family of all help.

The officer is survived by his wife, two daughters and six-year-old son. The brave officer was given a gun salute. The funeral pyre was lit by the officer’s elder brother Col D N Rai, who is also from the Gorkha Rifles. The officer’s younger brother YN Rai, an officer with the CRPF, was also present. Among others present included members of Col Rai’s regiment and Rashtriya Rifles unit besides top officers from the army headquarters.

“He was a very brave officer having been awarded Yudh Seva Medal on January 26. And it is an example of his leadership that the moment he got the information about two terrorists in that area, he took charge”, the Army Chief said.
Police, Army bands enchant audience at Beating the Retreat
Tribune News Service

Jammu, January 29
The Beating Retreat ceremony at Maulana Azad Stadium here this evening marked the grand finale of the Republic Day celebrations.

It was witnessed by Governor NN Vohra, First Lady Usha Vohra, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, senior civil, police and security forces officers, students and citizens of Jammu.

Various bands of the Army, BSF and the police played enchanting tunes and received applause from the audience.

The Governor gave away prizes to the brass band and pipes and drum contingents for their outstanding display on the occasion.

He also presented awards to J&K Police Public School, Miran Sahib (Girls) and Government Hari Singh Higher Secondary School, Jammu, (Boys) for the best march past.

The Governor gave the award for the best band contingent to Girls High School, City Chowk, Girls High School, Dogra Hall and Girls High School, Kacchi Chowani, Jammu. Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Shastri Nagar, got the award for the best cultural item.

The Directorate of National Rural Health Mission got the award for best tableaux at the state-level Republic Day celebrations at MA Stadium on January 26.

The fireworks added colour to the ceremony. The function concluded with “Sare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara” and the National Anthem.
Indo-US defence deal may create strategic imbalance in S Asia: Pak

Afzal Khan in Islamabad
Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Tasnim Aslam on Thursday said the Indo-US defence deal might create strategic imbalance in South Asia.

She said this while addressing mediapersons in Islamabad on the recent visit of US President Barack Obama to India. She expressed concern that India’s defence budget had increased by 12 per cent in 2014-15.

She said the Indo-US trade deal and other agreements struck during the US President’s recent _visit to India were a bilateral matter between those two countries.

The Indo-US trade deal is their bilateral matter, Aslam said, adding that Islamabad also enjoyed good economic and trade ties with the US which _was Pakistan’s biggest trading partner.

While Obama’s visit to New Delhi was under way, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff) Raheel Sharif travelled to China where he was promised cooperation in “all respects”.

Addressing mediapersons, Aslam said Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Beijing because China was a _source of peace and stability in the region.

Pak Punjab Guv quits over ‘anti-govt’ remarks

Pakistan Punjab province Governor Chaudhry Sarwar resigned on Thursday following a conversation with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over his statements on the government's foreign policy. “Obama's visit to India is a failure of the Pakistan government. The second visit of Obama to India is Pakistan's big failure on foreign affairs front as it should have arranged his visit to Pakistan,” Sarwar said in his statement after Obama's trip to India. In a damage-control mode, the government claimed that Sarwar was asked to submit his resignation. “Unfortunately, the truth is in scarce supply in this country,” Sarwar said adding that nobody asked him to resign.
Sikh, Brigade of Guards regiments adjudged best
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 29
The Brigade of Guards Regiment and Sikh Regiment have been jointly adjudged the best marching contingents among the contingents of the Services at the Republic Day Parade 2015.

In the category of paramilitary forces and other auxiliary marching contingents, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) contingent has been adjudged the best. The results were announced by the Ministry of Defence today.

Among the 25 tableaux — including nine from Union Ministries and Departments — that took part in the parade, the first position has gone to Maharashtra which depicted “Wari to Pandharpur” (the pilgrimage to Pandharpur).

While Jharkhand's entry on “Maluti Temples” was adjudged the second best, the third position was bagged by the Karnataka tableau, based on the famous Channapatna toys.

In the competitive category of schoolchildren's items, the 'daang' dance of Gujarat presented by the West Zone Cultural Centre, Udaipur, has been adjudged the best. A consolation prize was awarded to South-Central Zone Cultural Centre, Nagpur, for their beautiful portrayal of 'lezim' dance of Maharashtra.

The tableau, giving a majestic floral depiction of 'Gaumukh', presented by the CPWD was selected for a Special Prize by the Jury.

As in the previous years, the Ministry of Defence, this time too, had appointed three panels of judges for assessing the marching contingents from three Services, paramilitary forces and tableaux from various states, ministries, departments and schoolchildren's items from schools of Delhi as well as outside Delhi.

The winning contingents, tableaux and schools will be awarded trophies and prizes by the Defence Minister later in separate functions.
Kashmir solution vital for regional peace, says Pak

Islamabad, January 29
Upping its ante on Kashmir, Pakistan today said resolving the long-standing issue was "pivotal" to the regional peace and security as it called on the international community for a "sustainable and lasting solution" to the dispute.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry briefed the Ambassadors of the P-5 countries and the European Union here today ahead of 'Kashmir Solidarity Day' on February 5.

Calling the "struggle for self-determination" in Kashmir as "indigenous", the Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement that Chaudhry reaffirmed Pakistan's "unflinching political, moral and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people".

"He emphasised that resolution of the Kashmir dispute was pivotal for ensuring peace, security and stability in the region," the statement said. The Foreign Secretary stressed that the resolution of this long-standing dispute must be ensured in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions.

He also underscored the crucial role of the international community in helping to bring about a "sustainable and lasting solution to this issue", the statement said.

Chaudhry said elections in the "Indian-Occupied Kashmir (IOK) could not be a substitute to the UN-monitored plebiscite" and also expressed "concern over the Indian attempts to alter the ground situation through demographic changes".

Chaudhry also briefed the Ambassadors of P-5 or the five member countries of the United Nations Security Council - United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom and France - on the recent positive developments in the bilateral relations with Afghanistan. — PTI
Akash induction unlikely to hit France’s Maitri project

Tribune News Service

Bengaluru, January 29
Despite the adoption of the indigenously developed surface-to-air Akash missile by the Indian armed forces, French missile manufacturer MBDA is hopeful of the Maitri project in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The delay in the development of the Akash Mk-II missile has raised the French company’s hopes.

“Do you have a date?” Loïc Piedevache, chief of MBDA’s India operations, says with sarcasm when he was informed about that the Akash-II could put the short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM), to be developed under the Maitri project, out of contention in India.

The Akash missiles that are now deployed by the IAF and the Army have outdated technology, says Piedevache. Defending himself, he said, “I am not saying Akash is a bad missile. All I am saying is that Akash meets certain requirements while the SRSAM meets some others,” says the MBDA country head.

The SRSAM on offer will have a seeker which the Akash does not possess. The launch trajectories of Akash and the proposed SRSAM are also different.

The Maitri project for joint development and production of a short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) system was initiated in 2007 between the DRDO and MBDA. A MoU to co-develop the missile was signed during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India in 2013. Since then, the situation has changed as the Indian Air Force has inducted the Akash surface-to-air missiles. The Navy, the other potential client for SRSAM, has apparently given up on the Indo-French venture and has started looking for surface-to-air missiles elsewhere.

Admitting that the Maitri project has been facing delays, Piedevache says the delay is primarily due to the change at the Central government in Delhi. “The groundwork for the missile has been completed and we may be only days or weeks away from getting the final approval from the government,” he said.
Applause should not stop
Let''s value role of men and women in uniform at all times

Colonel Munindra Nath Rai’s status on mobile messaging service WhatsApp sums up the man: “Play your role in life with such passion that even after the curtains come down, the applause doesn’t stop.” The 39-year-old was the youngest of 13 officers awarded the Yudh Seva Medal on Monday for killing a terrorist last year. A day later, he died fighting terrorists in Kashmir. Also killed in the encounter in south Kashmir was a Head Constable of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Sanjeev Singh. His last status message: “It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save.” Both of them are martyrs, both remembered by a grateful nation today. But what about tomorrow, and the day after? What about their loved ones, the real victims in a way? Do we care? Have we ever cared enough about families of such heroes?
Republic Day is one occasion when India shows to some extent that it does care, it does take pride in what the armed forces stand for. Though the spotlight at the January 26 parade this time was on US President Barack Obama, two women stood out. Wives of Ashok Chakra recipients Major Mukund Varadarajan and Naik Neeraj Kumar Singh, both of whom died fighting terrorists in Kashmir, they moved an entire nation to tears with their poise. With what one of them, Indhu Varadarajan, said later, she gave all of India a reason to introspect deeply: “I knew he would have liked me to take this award with pride. Sorrow is my personal matter, the country needs to see the man he was. I won’t blame the country if it forgets, because I don’t expect much. I want my family never to forget. I just want him to be remembered patriotically.”
A familiar answer in jest and in all seriousness in the armed forces to the question of “who supports the troops” is “the troops themselves”. They will continue to do so doubtlessly. The country has forgotten that it has to as well. At all times.

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