Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Thursday, 26 March 2015

From Today's Papers - 26 Mar 2015

Navy plane crashes into sea, 2 officers missing
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 25
Two Indian Navy officers, including a woman, are missing after a surveillance plane, a Dornier, crashed into the Arabian Sea around 37 km south-west of the naval base in Goa on Tuesday night.

The plane went down 51 km west of the Karwar naval base in northern Karnataka.

The Navy has launched a massive search operation pressing 12 of its warships and helicopters to look for co-pilot Sub Lt Nagori and observer Lt Kiran Shekhawat.

The search and rescue operation is likely to continue for another 72 hours. The plane belonged to 310 Cobra squadron of Goa-based INS Hansa.

A third officer, Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, survived the crash, was picked up by a passing fishing boat, Niharika, belonging to a fishing hamlet off the coast of Karwar.

Commander Joshi, who was captaining the plane, was found floating in the sea in an unconscious condition with his life jacket on.

He was 10 km south of the point where the plane lost radio contact at 10.08 pm yesterday. He was located an hour later, indicating he had been swept away by the current.

“The aircraft is feared to have ‘ditched’ soon after losing radio contact,” Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said.

The automated “radio signal beep” on the surviving officer’s life jacket was not functioning. The radio “beep” allows ground-based controllers to zero in on the missing man, sources said.

The fishermen called up the marine authorities and turned their vessel towards Karwar realising the floating man was wearing a naval aviators uniform.

Midway, an Indian Navy Fast Interceptor Craft picked him up. He at presently at naval hospital ‘Patanjali’ in Karwar and is reported to be stable, said the Navy tonight.

The Navy flew in its team of doctors and specialists from Mumbai and Goa to Karwar in the middle of the night to tend to Joshi.

Sources said the aircraft was practising a low-altitude flight while training for a search and rescue mission at night. The flying is done around 200 feet above the sea level and a minute error can lead to a crash.

Dorniers are used for electronic surveillance. The pilots had taken off from Goa at 6.30 pm and were returning to base when the accident occurred. This is the first time that a Dornier has been lost since these were inducted in early 1991.

Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of the Navy, flew down to Goa and took stock of the operations. He met the families of the aircrew and Commander Joshi at Karwar before returning to Delhi in the evening.

This is the third crash of the Naval Air Wing since 2012. In October 2012, a Navy Cheetah helicopter crashed off Goa, killing three personnel. The rotor of the copter blew off in what was suspected material failure. In March 2013, a Cheetah helicopter crashed off Vishakhapatnam harbour and two pilots were reported missing. This too was a case of suspected material failure.

The Navy has a fleet of more than 200 planes and helicopters. Besides the 36-strong Dornier fleet, the Navy flies the MiG 29k fighter jets, Sea Harrier jets, Boeing P8-I long-range maritime surveillance and antisubmarine warfare aircraft, the IL-38 Sea Dragon, and the TU 142 aircraft. The helicopters include the ALH produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the Kamov-series from Soviet Union/Russia, the Seakings and the HAL-produced Cheetah, based on French-origin Lama Alouette Ill.
An officer and a gentleman
Improper to expect a General to behave like a diplomatSending a General on a diplomatic assignment may be a good subject for a comic film but in real life it can have damaging repercussions for a country. The risks get aggravated if the General is someone like VK Singh, a man with an uncomplicated worldview who actually says what he actually feels. A General cannot perhaps, like a diplomat, lie for the country. With an Army background and training to view Pakistan as an enemy, the General must have found it tough to join Pakistan’s National Day celebrations and not only greet the High Commissioner but also rub shoulders with Kashmiri separatists.

The entire experience, he tweeted later, was “disgusting” and that it was his duty to do “a job or a service allocated”. He refused to eat or drink anything at the party and walked away after a few minutes. How could a straight man like him pretend that he shared the hostile neighbour's joy when inwardly he was fretting and fuming, also angry at his senior, Sushma Swaraj, and Prime Minister Modi for forcing him to do the unpleasant job? Many in the BJP, including the General, believe their leaders' anti-Pakistan rhetoric. During campaigning Modi targeted the Manmohan Singh government for being soft towards the ever-troubling country. Gen VK Singh thinks and talks straight. If Pakistan is an enemy, then it is. Consider his plight. TV channels screamed at him for partying with Pakistanis in the middle of terror attacks. After he expressed “disgust”, others pounced on him for not being a true diplomat and not keeping his emotions in check.

The General is not the only one who finds it hard to understand Modi’s Pakistan policy, if any. First, after jingoistic noises, he invites Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in. When the peace process proceeds, he cancels the Foreign Secretary-level talks after the Pakistan High Commissioner meets Hurriyat leaders, a normal practice. Then he sends the Foreign Secretary to a “SAARC yatra”, which results in the resumption of dialogue with Pakistan. Such flip-flops can fox anyone, even a General.
SC stays AFT order quashing 2009 policy

R Sedhuraman

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, March 25
The Supreme Court today stayed the Armed Forces Tribunal’s (AFT) order quashing the January 2009 policy that had restricted about 750 additional posts of Colonels to the combat units — infantry, mechanised infantry and the armoured corps.

A Bench headed by Justice TS Thakur passed the order on the Centre’s appeal challenging AFT’s March 2, 2015 judgment in a case filed by some of the affected officers in other units.

The Bench issued notice on the appeal and posted the case for final disposal on April 15 in view of the urgency involved in the matter. The country could not afford to have Army personnel who were “dissatisfied, disgruntled and demoralised,” it noted.

Arguing for the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said the policy was based on the reports of the Ajay Vir Singh and other committees the government had set up in the light of the experience gained in the 1999 Kargil war when “sluggishness” had been noticed in the country’s response.

The reports had pointed out that Colonels leading combat units in Pakistan and China were of the age of about 37 years, while it was 41-42 in India. In Israel, their age was 32.

In fact, the government had formulated the policy in 2004 but instead of restricting the additional 750 posts to the combat units, distributed it on a pro rata basis to support and supply line units also by mistake, Rohatgi said.

The additional posts were necessary to accommodate the Colonels being released from the responsibility of commanding the units after holding the post from the age of 37 to 39-40, he said.

Citing a mistake committed in 2004, the affected officers in other units could not demand that the additional posts should again be distributed on a pro rata basis.

Further, those who were in the forefront of the battlefield and faced bullets were entitled to better promotional avenues, Rohatgi pleaded.

Appearing for the affected officers, including Lt Col PK Chaudhary, advocate Meenakshi Lekhi said the other units such as Corps of Engineers and Signals were, in fact, the first to reach the battlefront to prepare the ground for the combat units and they also suffered heavy casualty and as such they should also benefit from the additional posts.

Similarly those providing air cover to the combat units had also been ignored, she noted. How the infantry would fight a war without air cover, she asked.

At one stage, the Bench suggested that the government create some more additional posts for other units as well. This should not be a burden going by the pro rata entitlement of the other units in 2004 when they got only about 115 posts out of 750, it pointed out.

The Bench asked the respondents to file their response within two weeks and granted one-week time thereafter to the government for the rejoinder.

The Principal Bench of the AFT had also asked the government to consider the pleas of the affected personnel with retrospective effect.
OROP calculations done, to be implemented soon: Govt

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Union Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh today said the Narendra Modi-led NDA government was committed to implementing the one rank, one pension (OROP) policy and the Defence Ministry had recently forwarded the cost it would entail to the treasury.

Addressing a press conference here today, the minister said, “It is likely to cost us somewhere between Rs 7,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore. The Congress-led UPA government made a mere announcement. However, we have gone into the details and calculated the entire cost. We had initially thought of announcing it before the budget session. However, the Finance Ministry was busy with the making of the budget. We have decided the matter and it will be announced shortly,” he said.

Reacting to J&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s statement that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would be withdrawn from the state in a phased manner, Singh stated that the “army had reservations about it”.

“There is going to be no unilateral decision. Gradual withdrawal is everybody’s hope,” he remarked.
Resistance to CDS Post Was Within Army, IAF, Navy: Tharoor

Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor today said "resistance" within the three Services -- Army, Navy and Air Force -- was the reason behind erstwhile UPA government's rejection of the idea of having a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

The senior Congress leader made the remarks on the occasion of the fourth K Subrahmanyam Memorial Lecture that was delivered by Lt Gen (Retd) Shamsher Singh Mehta here.

"As indeed the idea of an integrated defence chief is apparently being given thought by the present government. It was turned down by the previous one principally because of resistance within the uniformed services.

"My understanding is that resistance may have much more to do with military ego and protocol issues amongst the chiefs than may be intellectual rejection of the value of an integrated command," Tharoor said.

His comments came days after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said integration of the three Services "is a must" and that he is working out a mechanism for the creation of a post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) with a fixed tenure that he will recommend in the next "2-3 months".

During his lecture, Mehta emphasised on the need to create the post of a CDS and said it was imperative on the part of the "political class" to take a step on that front.

"All over the world, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force fight for their own turf. It is the political class that get together and say we shall do it sooner or later," he said stressing on the need for a blueprint for creating that structure.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, who is the son K Subrahmanyam, was also present on the occasion accompanied by his mother Sulochana Jayasankar. On a lighter note, he said "sons are not particularly objective about their fathers."

Speaking on the topic 'Securing India's Insecurity: Emerging Vulnerabilities in an Interconnected World', Mehta also dwelt on the need for "intelligent" defence expenditure terming it as the "engine" for economic growth.

He stressed on the need to differentiate between the concepts of national security and national defence saying the latter was merely a "subset" of the former.

Elaborating on the topic of discussion and emerging threats to national security, Mehta charted out several issues including "vulnerability interdependence" of India's neighbours and threat on the cyberspace.

Pointing out the challenges on the technological front, he said civilian technology is more advanced than military technology in the modern world.

The former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Army's Western Command said that an iPhone is "more powerful" than the entire NASA apparatus that had put Neil Armstromg on the surface of the moon.

Mehta, who holds the distinction of leading the only tank column that had reached Dhaka during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war, added that there was a need to change the "lexicon" of the nuclear debate in the present world.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal