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Friday, 17 April 2015

From Today's Papers - 17 Apr 2015

Anti-India rally:_ Mufti acts after Rajnath prod
Tribune News Service

Srinagar/Jammu, April 16
A day after hardline Hurriyat separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Masarat Alam raised pro-Pakistan slogans and flags at a rally in Srinagar, the J&K Government today put the two under house arrest and  disallowed a separatist march to Tral on Friday.

Geelani was scheduled to address the gathering. The call for the march was given by the hardline separatist group on Tuesday to protest the killing of Khalid Muzzaffar, brother of Hizbul Muajhideen commander Burhan.

Sources said the restrictions would be imposed in the Tral and Awantipore areas.

The restriction comes after Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed promised action saying raising Pakistani flags and anti-India slogans was “not acceptable and will not be tolerated”. The Centre had asked the J-K Government to take strict action against those allegedly involved in anti-national activities during Wednesday’s rally.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Mufti on Wednesday night and made it clear that national security could not be compromised.

The Home Minister asked
him to take “strictest possible action against those involved”. Sources said the decision not to allow the march was taken by state government on the advice of the Union Government and inputs from the police.

“We will not allow the march to Tral,” said a senior officer. “The decision has also been taken after inputs from various security agencies and local administration,” he said.

Mufti today said: “Law will take its own course. If anyone has made a mistake, the law will do its work.”

Referring to Wednesday’s  anti-India rally, Mufti said:  “I think the authorities have taken note of that. They have taken a video of what has happened.” He tried to defend his decision of giving permission to the rally but made it clear that hoisting of Pakistan flags and raising pro-Pakistan slogans “is not acceptable and will not be tolerated”.

“As far as the public meeting is concerned, I think it is okay. As I say, democracy is a battle of ideas. They are free to have their own way, speak their own mind but something which is not acceptable (hoisting of Pakistan flag or raising Pakistan slogans) will not be tolerated.”

An FIR was registered last night against several separatist leaders, including Geelani and Masarat, for provocative activities, including hoisting a Pakistani flag.

A police spokesperson said: “An FIR has been lodged against Geelani, Bhat, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, alias Peer Saifullah, and other separatist leaders for provocative activities and hoisting Pakistani flag in Hyderpora.”

State BJP unit today demanded immediate arrest of the separatist saying it was not satisfied with the “mere registration” of a police case against them.

“We have conveyed to our coalition partner especially to the Chief Minister who holds the Home Ministry that we are not satisfied with mere registration of the FIR against Masarat Alam and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for their anti-national activities. We want their immediate arrest,” said J-K BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi.

BJP’s national general secretary Ram Madhav will visit Jammu on Friday to pacify party workers. With PTI inputs
When Generals were warm and friendly
The celebration of the birthday of Rajkumari Shrinagesh, who turned 100 on April 14, reminded me of two incidents associated with her late husband and former Army Chief, Gen S.M. Shrinagesh. In 1956 I was evacuated to the Army base hospital in New Delhi after a serious injury in J&K and was recuperating in the Gen Ward with plaster from hip to toe. The hospital was in temporary barracks and we used to be moved in wheelchairs to the verandah in the afternoons.

Next to my bed was Nippy Kochhar of the Gurkhas with a leg injury. One day when Nippy had been taken to the washroom block and I was alone in my wheelchair in the verandah, a huge Cadillac passed by. After a while a  suave smartly dressed officer came to  me and asked me where Nippy was  and then waited for him to emerge from the washroom but Nippy seemed to be taking his own  time. After about 15 minutes' wait and chat with me,  he left a packet  of Sohan Halwa for Nippy. When Nippy came out, he told me that the gentleman was Gen Shrinagesh, his brother-in-law, the COAS. During the time he spent with me he was alone, without even his ADC and no one in the hospital knew of his visit. All the while he was talking to me he kept standing and I never felt that I, a 2/Lt, was talking to the COAS. Rank consciousness was totally absent.

It also reminds me of a prior incident in 26 Inf Div in J&K being commanded by the famous Gen Henderson Brooks. He was very fond of Sappers (Engineers) and would hold meetings in our mud-walled, tarpaulin-roofed mess with his commanders like Brig (later Lt Gen) Harbax and Brig Gurbax. I had purchased a new camera from Bombay and was showing off to other officers. One subaltern dared me to call the GOC for a photograph. I accepted the wager and marched in when the conference was in full swing and blurted out, “Sir, will you like to be photographed with the Sapper subalterns?”

There was a pin-drop silence since I had transgressed all protocol and all the commanders were glaring at me. General Brooks saw my embarrassment. He got up and came to me and said, "Don't worry about them, you are more important. After all both of us wear the same rank on our shoulders (ie one star), then pointing to his shoulder epaulette, he said "I have just this 'gainti-belcha' extra", that is, the sword and baton on a General's epaulette. Gainti and belcha are the two tools used most by us Sappers for digging.

 Things were quite different when the officer fraternity was considered as one bereft of so much rank consciousness like ‘General's Forum/ Club’ today, as if they are a different breed. Manu seems to be slowly making incipient inroads into our psyche once again.

Mrs Shrinagesh’s three brothers were also officers — Gen Kochhar, Brig Bhaloo Kochhar,  both Sappers, and Nippy Kochar of Gurkhas, besides her father Col Kochhar,  a doctor and a contemporary of Gen Srinagesh’s father, who too was a doctor.
INS Vikrant set to undock next month
India is working on two separate projects to ramp up sea-borne aircraft carriers capability. The under construction indigenous 40,000 tonne INS Vikrant is slated to ‘undock’ from its building pontoon at Kochi next month, while India’s biggest naval warship and aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, is under a minor ‘re-fit’ to complete its Close-In Warfare System (CIWS), a protection from incoming enemy missiles.

Vice Admiral Ashok Subedar, Controller, Warship Production and Acquisition, told the media today, “In May this we will undock the INS Vikrant. As much as 95 per cent of its hull is complete as is 22,000 tonnes of steel structure. The shafting and propeller work is in last stages”.

Despite challenges, all efforts are being made to meet the December 2018 deadline set by the Cabinet Committee on Security for commission of the INS Vikrant. After the undocking it will undergo harbour trials, sea trials followed by on-deck flight trials, Vice Admiral Subedar said.

He was speaking to the media to announce the sea launch of the first of the set-of-four new warships. It is targeted for induction in 2018 and the remaining three ships shall follow at the intervals of two years each.

Talking about INS Vikramaditya, inducted in November 2013, the Vice Admiral said Israeli Barak missile is being installed on the ship at its home base Karwar, south of Goa.

Navy was originally looking at two options, either the Israeli Barak or the Russian Shitil missiles.

A Barak-missile launch will be taken from one of warships that is being decommissioned. Sources said the INS Godavari, which had been given a Barak launch system some 10 years ago, has a fully functional system that is being put on the aircraft carrier. The Godavari is 32 years old and is set for decommissioning.

“Fitting the Barak is a complex procedure which entails cutting through the deck. A period of some four months has been factored in for this”, sources said. The warship could carry up to 32 or 48 LR-SAMs.

A CIWS is needed as the last protection layer against incoming missiles as well as an aircraft. It is ship’s own air defence system. When deployed, a carrier does not float alone but moves around with a small flotilla of warships. The LR-SAMs is one part of the CIWS and it includes other guns on the deck and an electronic warfare suite.

On being asked about the next aircraft carrier, dubbed as the indigenous aircraft carrier-2 (IAC-2), Vice Admiral Subedar said the Naval design bureau would consider both the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) which enables a fighter jet to take-off _from the deck of the carrier and the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) which enables its landing. India is trying to get the technology from the US.
All About the INS Visakhapatnam, Navy's Most Powerful Destroyer
New Delhi:  Three days before it is launched, fresh details have emerged about the Navy's newest destroyer, the Project 15B Visakhapatnam Class. Four ships of this class are being built in a Rs. 29,340 crore project.

While the first ship will be named INS Visakhapatnam, NDTV has learnt that two of her three sister ships may be called INS Porbandar and INS Marmagoa. The final ship of the class will likely bear the name of a port in Gujarat. The names of the warships will need to be cleared by the President before being finalised.

At 7,300 tonnes, Visakhapatnam will be the largest destroyer commissioned in the country and will be equipped with the Israeli Multi Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR) which will provide targeting information to 32 Barak 8 long-range surface to air missiles onboard the warship.

The Barak 8 missile being co-developed with Israel is at present being integrated in the Navy's new destroyer, INS Kolkata and will be test-fired by October this year.  Like the INS Kolkata, the Visakhpatnam will be able to fire 16 long range Brahmos anti-ship missiles.

There are some important differences between the Navy's Kolkata class destroyers and the Visakhapatnam class though they share the same hull-design and Ukrainian-built Zorya gas turbines.

    The Visakhapatnam will be armed with a 127 mm main gun while the INS Kolkata has a 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM).  Both classes share the AK-630 close-in anti-missile gun system.
    The sonar of the Visakhapatnam will be bow mounted and will feature a a revised bridge layout.
    The design of the mast, which features the main radar has been revised. The Visakhapatnam will provide its crew greater protection in a nuclear, chemical or biological warfare scenario.
    She also features a rail-less helicopter traversing system to secure the helicopter she carries in heavy sea conditions.
    Central to the Visakhapatnam is network-centric layout.  She is equipped with a Ship Data Network (SDN), an Automatic Power Management System and a Combat Management System.  Essentially, all information critical for the operation of the warship during all operations is available to key officers through the SDN which the Navy describes as a data information highway.
    The Visakhapatnam is being launched on April 20 and will be delivered to the Indian Navy in July 2018.  The remaining three ships will be delivered at an interval of two years each.
Agni-III successfully test fired from Odisha coast

BALASORE (ODISHA): India today successfully test fired its nuclear-capable Agni-III ballistic missile with a strike range of more than 3,000 km from Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.

The indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher at launch complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island by army at about 0955 hrs, defence sources said.

"The trial, carried out by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC of the Indian Army), wa ..

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Russia to sell its most modern missile defence system to China
Beijing: In a major boost to Chinese military, Russia has agreed to sell its sophisticated surface to air missile system to China in an over USD 3 billion deal which could strengthen the world's largest army's air defence specially in high-altitude areas like Tibet.

The S-400 is a new-generation, anti-aircraft weapon system capable of engaging any aerial target as well as cruise and tactical ballistic missiles, with a maximum speed of 4.8 km per second, according to Russian media reports.

The system's 40N6 missiles can destroy airborne targets at ranges up to 400 km, state-run China Daily reported.
Anatoly Isaikin, chief executive of the Russian state-run arms trader Rosoboronexport, has confirmed that China has a contract with his company for the purchase of the S-400.

"I will not disclose the details of the contract, but yes, China has indeed become the first buyer of this sophisticated Russian air defence system. It underlines once again the strategic level of our relations," the report quoted Isaikin as saying.

China clinched the deal in September at a cost of more than three billion for the delivery of at least six S-400 battalions, it said.

The sophisticated air defence system is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and can simultaneously engage 36 targets.

The system is able to shoot down aircraft and missiles -- ballistic and cruise -- within a range of 400 km, a report in the Diplomat magazine said.

The deployment of S-400 system will substantially improve China's air defence capability, Chinese military experts said.

"The S-400 is definitely one of the top anti-aircraft weapons in the world. It will greatly supplement the People's Liberation Army's air defence system, which now has some loopholes in long-range, high-altitude defence of airplanes or ballistic missiles," Wang Ya'nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the daily.

China has its garrisons in the high-altitude areas of Tibet, where its troops are deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), along the India-China borders.

"The system has multiple types of missiles with various ranges, enabling it to safeguard a very large area of airspace. Some of its missiles are even specifically designed to intercept ballistic missiles. Moreover, some of its launch tubes can store and launch several different missiles, which makes it very convenient and fast to use," Wang said.

The missile deal comes at a time when the cash-strapped Russian economy is under sanctions from the US and other Western countries over the Ukraine crisis. Moscow has started warming up to China, shedding its reservations that Beijing could master its technology with re-engineering capabilities.

Last May, the two countries settled a gas deal worth USD 400 billion under which Russia will supply China with 38 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year, for 30 years.

A second gas deal, the parameters of which China says will be settled later this year, aims to supply the energy-hungry country with gas from western Siberian fields.

Wang said: "China still lacks experience in the development of long-range air defence systems, especially those that can intercept ballistic missiles. There is no shortcut because the development of such sophisticated weapons requires a great number of experiments and tests."

Currently, China relies on domestically developed HQ-9 and the Russian-made S-300 missile system, according to Western military observers.

Du Wenlong, a senior researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said the operational ranges of modern military aircraft and missiles are much longer than their predecessors, so an effective defence system must have long-range missiles that can hit aircraft as well as cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles.
"Our air force has deployed the Russian S-300 systems, which are good at dealing with aircraft, but their performance in intercepting cruise missiles and tactical ballistic missiles is not very satisfactory," he said.
"After we commission the S-400, it can work with the HQ-9 and S-300 to form a fully covered air defence network."

Zhao Zhihua, a senior missile researcher at China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, a major developer of China's missiles, said that through the introduction of the S-400, China can gain a lot of experience and expertise on how to operate a missile defence system.

"Operating such a complex system will go beyond our current knowledge and experience, which in turn will teach us things that we don't know, so it is worthy spending big money buying it," he previously told the Ordnance Industry Science and Technology magazine told the Daily.
Fund crunch hits Army's new strike corps
NEW DELHI: The Army is struggling to raise its new mountain strike corps, which was supposed to give it some concrete "quick-reaction ground offensive punch" against China, in the absence of dedicated funding for it.

Slamming the previous UPA regime for "arbitrarily" approving the raising of the new 90,000-strong corps at a cost of Rs 64,678 crore spread over seven years, the Modi government is now re-examining the ongoing project.

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, before leaving for South Korea late on Tuesday night, told journalists that the UPA did not do due diligence about cost implications while clearing the plan in 2013. "We will have to work out the size of the corps. It cannot be the size initially approved. It will have to be trimmed down," he said.

The 1.13-million strong Army, in fact, has been cannibalizing from its existing war reserves to equip the new units being gradually raised under the new XVII Corps since its flag was raised at its "temporary" headquarters in Ranchi on January 1, 2014.

The Army for long has had three 'strike' corps among the 13 such formations but they are largely geared for an offensive towards Pakistan. Confronted with China's massive military infrastructure build-up all along the 4,057-km Long of Actual Control, the Army in 2013 pushed for approval of the new mountain strike corps for "swift counter-offensive capabilities" in case of an attack by the People's Liberation Army, as was reported by TOI.

The logic was to have "requisite deterrence" since China could move over 30 divisions (each with over 15,000 soldiers) to the LAC, outnumbering Indian forces by at least 3:1 there. With two new infantry divisions geared for high altitude warfare as well as armoured, artillery, air defence, engineer brigades spread from Ladakh to Sikkim, the XVII Corps was slated to have its headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal and be fully in place by 2018-19.

But the NDA government now intends to tweak the plan for the XVII Corps, which is still headquartered at Ranchi while infrastructure slowly comes up at Panagarh.

"There are huge sums of money involved. Of the Rs 64,678 crore plan approved by the UPA's Cabinet Committee on Security, Rs 39,209 crore was meant for capital expenditure. But there has been no special allocation or big hike in the Army's budget since then," said an official.

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