Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Friday, 6 February 2015

From Today's Papers - 06 Feb 2015

Agni 5 project director moved out
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5
Two days after the successful test of nuclear-capable Agni-V missile, its project director RK Gupta has been moved out. He has lodged a formal complaint to the Defence Ministry alleging victimisation.

It is the second major crisis that has hit the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) this year. Its chief Avinash Chander was removed on January 13 with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar making it clear that the decision was taken to make way for a younger man to head the organisation.
Gupta has alleged that he was singled out by two senior officials within the organisation, including Chander, who demitted his office on January 31. The incident came just days after the successful launch of the canister version of the Angi-V on January 31.
Gupta has complained to the Ministry that he received the removal letter, dated January 9, on February 2 when he reached office after the Agni-V launch.
Gupta’s complaint is addressed to Defence Secretary RK Mathur, who is currently holding additional charge of the DRDO after Chander was removed. The letter says: “I wish to bring to your notice that on February 2, I was relinquished from the post of project director Agni-V. I am shocked that... such bad treatment is meted out to such a senior scientist with an excellent track record throughout service.”
Gupta's name had come up in connection with the sudden termination of Chander's contract by the government, 15 months ahead of his tenure. It was then rumoured that one of the reasons for Chander's removal was three complaints filed by individuals, including Gupta, who has denied having lodged any such complaint against Chander. DRDO sources insisted that such transfers were routine.
“The Agni-V is no longer in development phase. It is in production and induction phase and hence transfers are routine since the services of an officer can be used somewhere else,” said sources.
India snubs Pak for calling Kashmir its ‘jugular’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 5
India today reasserted that Jammu and Kashmir remains an integral part of the country and asked Pakistan not to desire for an area that never was and never will be its.

New Delhi's strong reaction came after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described Kashmir as his country's "jugular vein" and vowed to continue political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiri people's struggle for the right to self determination.
Sharif made these remarks at the joint session of Kashmir council in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, on the occasion of Kashmir Day that is observed annually in Pakistan. A series of events, including rallies by religious and political bodies, were organised in Pakistan to observe 'Kashmir Day'.
Reacting sharply, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said: "Our view is that Pakistan's self-destructive and futile quest for territorial aggrandisement in J&K is well known to us...the entire state of J-K is and will always remain an integral part of the Indian union".
"It's high time that Pakistan starts paying attention to all the problems that afflicts it rather than covet what is not theirs and never will be," said the spokesperson.
Earlier, Sharif expressed confidence that Kashmir will soon be free and that any decision in this regard will not be made without their consultation. "Our hearts beat with the hearts of our Kashmiri brothers. As a nation we express our sympathies with those who have lost their lives in the (Kashmir) dispute," he said.
"It has been more than 60 years and despite atrocities inflicted upon them, Kashmiris have not given up their struggle...the day is not far when Kashmir would be free," he said.
The premier said that Pakistan would not accept any resolution of the dispute contrary to the aspirations of Kashmiris. He said it was widely known that the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir were undergoing worst form of human rights violations.
"I salute the Kashmiris for not letting these atrocities deter them from aspiring for their legitimate right to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter," he added.
Jordanian jets pound IS targets in Syria as King comforts pilot’s family
Amman, February 5
Jordanian fighter jets pounded Islamic State (IS) hideouts in Syria on Thursday and then roared over the hometown of a pilot killed by the militants, while below them King Abdullah consoled the victim's family.

Witnesses overheard the monarch telling the pilot’s father the planes were returning from the militant-held city of Raqqa. A security source told Reuters the strikes hit targets in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor and near Raqqa.

The show of force came two days after the ultra-hardline IS released a video showing captured Jordanian pilot Mouath al-Kasaesbeh being burned alive in a cage as masked militants in camouflage uniforms stood around watching.

State television said details of the attacks would be made known later. If so, this would be the first time Jordan has announced carrying out strikes outside the framework of the US-led military coalition ranged against IS.

A US official, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the strikes took place in the vicinity of Raqqa, where the Jordanian pilot was executed.  Military commanders briefed King Abdullah after the missions about the details of the strikes, state television said.

The monarch has vowed to avenge Kasaesbeh's killing and ordered commanders to prepare for a stepped-up military role in the US-led coalition against the group. — Reuters
India's Most-Advanced Warship to Get the Missiles That Were Missing
New Delhi:  When the Indian Navy commissioned its most-advanced warship eight months ago, the INS Kolkata was missing its primary weapon system - the Barak 8 long range surface to air missiles, 32 of which were meant to be carried onboard in ready-to-fire mode. NDTV has learned that the Barak 8 missile has cleared all its tests and is ready for induction.

The missile, designed to intercept incoming anti-ship missiles at a range of at least 70 kilometres, has been made in partnership with Israel, where it has successfully completed trials, and will be refitted on the INS Kolkata in either April or May, said sources.

The missile will simultaneously be fitted on board the INS Kochi, the sister ship of the INS Kolkata, which will soon be commissioned and subsequently, on the last ship of the class, the INS Chennai.
The Barak 8, which has been co-developed with Israel, features an advanced target tracking system designed by an Israeli company, and a rocket motor built in India. The missile is being manufactured at Bharat Dynamics Limited, a government-owned enterprise based in Hyderabad that is also supplying the Army and Air Force with the indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile system.

The Barak 8 is considered a game-changer for the Indian Navy because it adds a world-class system designed to destroy any anti-ship missile launched by the Pakistani or Chinese Navies. Key to the Barak 8's ability to intercept incoming missiles is the Israel-made MF-STAR radar system which is capable of simultaneously tracking hundreds of airborne targets to a range of more than 250 kilometres.
The Kolkata class destroyers have been designed to escort India's aircraft carriers, the INS Vikramaditya, the indigenously built INS Vikrant (still under construction), the old INS Viraat (still in service) and ultimately the INS Vishal, a 60,000 ton carrier which is still in the design phase.
For China, Army Has New Troops. But No Funds.
(Nitin Gokhale is a well-known defence and strategic affairs analyst, author and media trainer.)

India's Mountain Strike Corps, announced with much fanfare in late 2013 to augment the army's strength along the border with China, is in trouble, thanks to a 'sanction' that was not really a sanction under the UPA II government.

According to sequence of events pieced together by this writer after talking to sources in the know, the Manmohan Singh government sanctioned the raising of new Corps -40,000 soldiers-   meant as a deterrent against China along the northern frontier without catering for its funding.

The Corps, which was on the drawing board for some years, apparently acquired a momentum in the summer of 2013 after Chinese PLA troops intruded deep into Indian territory in the Depsang plains of Ladakh and camped there for more than a fortnight, exposing the gaps in India's defences along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The intrusion crisis was resolved after hectic diplomacy but the political leadership, under pressure of hostile public opinion, sought a remedy from the Army.

Sensing the chance to get the long-standing proposal to strengthen India's defences along the LAC cleared, the then army Chief Gen Bikram Singh personally pushed for creation of the Mountain Strike Corps. The proposal included integral air assets and necessary armoured and artillery elements.

According to the proposal, the new Corps would have 40,000 troops and would cost more than Rs. 64,000 crores to be spent over a seven or eight year period. It was expected that the new Corps would augment India's defence along the LAC stretching from Arunachal Pradesh in the east to Ladakh in northwest.

As the proposal gathered steam, two notes were prepared for the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), India's highest-decision making body on matters of security. One file contained details of the overall concept and justification for raising the Mountain Strike Corps and the other, file sought additional funding, over and above the sanctioned defence budget to equip the new Corps.

In an inexplicable move, the CCS under UPA II gave its approval for raising the Mountain Strike Corps but withheld clearance for additional or specific funding!

It is not clear what assurances were given about funds to be made available at a later stage, but the Army went ahead and 'raised' or announced or inaugurated the Corps at the temporary Head Quarters at Ranchi on January 1, 2014.

A year later, there is no sign of specific funds being earmarked for the Mountain Strike Corps, forcing the Army to 'cannibalise' its war wastage reserves (WWR) --stores that are earmarked for emergencies for sustaining the troops in the event of a war.

According to a report in The Tribune in late December 2014, Army Vice Chief, Lt Gen Philip Campose admitted the use of WWR for equipping the Mountain Strike Corps.

"We are not getting additional budget. A certain amount of about Rs. 5,000 crore has been set aside saying that this is meant for the Mountain Corps. But this is not over and above the budget. So, we need money over and above the budget if we are able to make up all the stores and weapons which we have pulled out from the War Wastage Reserves for the initial raisings," he is supposed to have told Parliament's Standing Committee of Defence.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was apprised of the serious situation during one of the first briefings he received at Army HQ. He has now reportedly ordered a review of the timelines for raising the new Corps and remedy the situation before it completely depletes the crucial WWR of the Indian Army.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal