Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Tuesday, 16 June 2015

From Today's Papers - 16 Jun 2015

OROP delay: Veterans start nationwide hunger strike
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 15
Upping their ante against the Central Government, retired veterans of the forces today started a countrywide relay hunger strike while threatening to hold rallies in poll-bound Bihar over the delay in implementation of the ‘One Rank, One Pension’.

Col Anil Kaul (retd), media advisor to the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), said: “We will hold our next ‘maha sangram’ rally in Bihar. We will continue our protest till our promised OROP is not given to us.”

The Assembly elections in Bihar are likely in September or October this year. The BJP faces a tough fight against the combine of Janata Dal-United and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, which is likely to have a poll pact with the Congress in the state.

Besides Bihar, the veterans think they are a strong constituency also in Punjab where the Assembly elections are slated in February 2017. The Modi government has said it is committed to OROP, a key promise made during the run-up to the May 2014 Lok Sabha polls. It has, however, not implemented it till now.

IESM Chairman Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd) said: “The question is about honoring the assurances and so far those have been not implemented on the ground. That’s why we feel the government has not lived up to what they promised us.”

Even though the government has said it is committed to implementing OROP, there has been no official word on why the scheme is getting delayed.

Sources said the OROP file is with the Finance Ministry for a final budgetary approval and it will take some more time. Politically, the government wants to contain the fallout of soldiers protesting and it getting televised live on TV. Wearing black bands to mark the protest, the former servicemen, who gathered at Jantar Mantar in the national capital, raised slogans deriding the government for bringing the soldiers to the streets.

Various ex-servicemen associations have united under one banner and have vowed to continue with the hunger strike till the time the government does not implement the OROP. The retired veterans have had five meetings with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and one meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and the deadlock continues.

Maj Gen Satbir Singh said “We asked them to implement it in two months. It is difficult to understand why they are not specifying any date. What problems do they have? The Defence Minister said they will have to spend Rs.8,300 crore. Don’t they have that amount also,” he asked. The retired military personnel have sought time to meet President Pranab Mukherjee, who is the Supreme commander of the forces.

The OROP scheme has been a contentious issue between retired defence personnel and the government for long. The OROP scheme claims to benefit around 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over 600,000 war widows.

The scheme will ensure that military personnel who retire at the same rank and have the same tenure of service will receive equal pension, even if their retirement dates differ.
Ex-servicemen protest, seek early implementation of OROP
Hundreds of ex-servicemen today rallied to press for their one rank-one pension demand. They raised slogans against the Central government in front of the Mini-Secretariat.

The ex-servicemen assembled at the Municipal Park, where they held a meeting. Rally convener Swadesh Parkash Sharma said the Union government was going back on its word as it had promised to accept the one rank-one pension demand. He said they had supported Narendra Modi’s party, thinking that he would meet their demand, but he backtracked. He said they would intensify their agitation if their demand was not met.

Later, the ex-servicemen submitted a memorandum to Una Additional Deputy Commissioner Rajesh Kumar Maria, who will further send it to the President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister. President of the Una unit Shakti Chand (retd), Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association president OP Sharma, Air Force Welfare Association president Harish Sharma, Ex-Servicemen Sewa Parishad president Yashpal Thakur, Brigadier Charan Singh (retd), Col Kuldip Singh (retd) and Col Dharminder Patial (retd) were also present.
‘Military Adviser’ brain behind Manipur attack
Niki Sumi, the self-styled military adviser of NSCN-K, is said to be the brain behind the June 4 attack on an Army convoy in Manipur, government officials said.

Quoting intelligence inputs, the officials said Sumi, who hails from Nagaland, drew up the entire conspiracy from Myanmar along with two other commanders of NSCN-K and one KYKL militant leader.

Sumi was the commander of the NSCN-K camp in Ponue in Myanmar, which was attacked by the Army on June 9 from Nagaland side. But Sumi had left the camp by then.

It is believed that 15 NSCN-K insurgents at the camp were killed in the attack by the commandos of Indian Army's special forces, officials said.

Sumi is reportedly changing his location every fortnight to avoid detection by Indian intelligence agencies. He has been working under the direct supervision of NSCN-K supremo S S Khaplang who is also wanted for hatching the whole conspiracy.

The other two senior NSCN-K insurgents identified by the intelligence agencies for the June 4 attack conspiracy were Neymlang, the "Major General" of NSCN-K, and Starson Lamkang, the head of finance wing of the group, who is suspected to have facilitated the attack, officials said.

Following the killing of the 18 Army soldiers, commandos of Special Forces had carried out a strike in the militant camps deep inside Myanmar.

Government has also decided to ban NSCN-K again for its recent violent activities after abrogating the ceasefire agreement with the Centre. — PTI
DRDO finds new model to repair LoC fences
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 15
The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE), a DRDO laboratory based here, has developed a cost-effective model for repairing the fence along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir which gets damaged due to excessive snow loads and cold weather every year.

The new design, also referred as the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System, consists of hollow section steel posts of pre-determined specifications and concreting with a special grout mix-up to the required depth. A double-twisted galvanized mesh has been added to either side of the concertina wire coils to cater to the snow load and even the method of fixing the concertina coils to the posts has been modified.

Field trials for the new design were conducted in certain specific sectors along the LoC during winter and the impact of snow and weather on the structure was analysed after snow melt. The SASE and the Army are working out on optimisation of certain parameters and design specifications, sources said.

The design has met the requirement for installation on the ground and along the vertical slope, that is, from top of a hill to the bottom. The next stage is to develop a structure suitable for fixing horizontally across the slope, that is, from left to right. The snow load on the fence which lies across the slope is heavier than the weight it has to bear when placed along the slope.

Most of the frontier with Pakistan, including the international border and the 743-km LoC is fenced to check infiltration. Several hundred kilometers of the fence runs through areas that remain heavily snowbound in winters.  The damage to the fence was largely due to its rudimentary design and poor foundations of the posts. This resulted in deployment of large manpower for yearly maintenance and repairs, leading to high recurring costs.
Pakistan army mounts veiled attack on India, makes accusations of 'creating instability' through ceasefire violations

In a veiled attack on India, Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif on Saturday accused it of "creating instability" through ceasefire violations and supporting militancy in different areas of the country.

"The entire world endorses our security concerns. Ceasefire violation, blood-letting in Balochistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Karachi manifest enemy's hostile intent," he said, without naming India. "Pakistan has shown willingness to cooperate with other nations  ..

Read more at:
Flawed arithmetic, flawed respect: Parrikar doesn't seem to understand what an army is for
In 2015, what do we make of a statement that India “has not been to war for 40-50 years”? What do we make of the country’s Defence Minister, no less, making such a statement, and at a conference on border security? What do we make of the Defence Minister claiming that as a result of these “40-50 years” without war, the “army’s importance has diminished” and people’s respect for the army “has reduced during peacetime”?

The Defence Minister’s arithmetic, first of all, is seriously flawed. These “40-50 years” take us back to 1965-’75. As pretty much every Indian knows, India fought a war with Pakistan in 1965, another in 1971 and yet another in 1999. Those were our last three wars. Yet Manohar Parrikar has forgotten at least one of them, and possibly all three.

But flawed arithmetic and failing memory are just starting points in the surreal landscape Parrikar sees around him. Consider: What, after all, is the overarching goal of an army? It shouldn’t need more than a moment of thought to come up with the answer: keeping us at peace. Fighting when necessary, certainly, but above all, making sure that nobody thinks of waging war on our country. Why else, for example, do we parade our military might along Delhi’s Rajpath every January 26? Because we want any potential enemies to look at that muscle and know: this is a country with a strong army. We better think a hundred times before we attack them.

Sixteen years of peace

And that’s the context in which to consider our several years now without war. We haven’t gone to war since 1999, Mr Parrikar. That’s 16 years and counting. That’s a substantial enough number that it doesn’t need to be inflated to “40-50”. Because 16 years of relative peace –  given the decades of mistrust and hostility between India and Pakistan (and I’m not even mentioning China) – is a remarkable achievement by any standard. It’s the second-longest war-free period in our independent history, after all: not until 1987 could we first count 16 consecutive years of peace.

For these years without war, all of us owe and feel some gratitude to our army. Yes, even a Defence Minister who forgets its valiant efforts during war.

And this hints at the really difficult task a country that has waged wars faces. If our army fights for us when it needs to, and remains a credible deterrent to those potential enemies the rest of the time, there remains a responsibility the rest of us must shoulder: making and keeping peace. After all, it’s actually rather simple to wage wars, mainly because the great majority of us don’t have to do it ourselves. We can just order our army to go fight for us. But it’s infinitely more difficult to wage peace, because it requires the great majority of us to examine our own prejudices, attitudes and motivations.

Not easy at all. Which is why Defence Minister Parrikar implies, even obliquely, that we must fight wars so that we can “respect” our army. Because Defence Minister Parrikar seems less interested in the hard work of peace.

The Costa Rica example

Many years ago, Costa Rica chose to abolish its army. This, in a part of the world –  think El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama –  that has been wracked for years by war. You can argue about why this happened and how Costa Rica sustained it, but what’s difficult to argue with is the dividend of peace. Given that it is surrounded by those war-ravaged countries, it’s entirely possible that had Costa Rica kept its army, it would have been sucked into one conflict or another. Instead, tens of thousands of its men who might have served in an army over several decades have helped build what Costa Rica is today: an island of peace and progress in a wasteland of war-wrought misery.

Circumstances differ, of course; and perhaps India cannot similarly abolish its army. But when Defence Minister Parrikar suggests that we somehow don’t respect the army because we haven’t fought wars, I’d like to say this. Keeping the peace, if we manage it, is this country’s ultimate tribute to every fine young man who joins the army.

Because with an honourable and lasting peace, we know he won’t die fighting for this country. We know he can and will instead help build the strong, wise and compassionate India of his and our dreams.

We know he will live for India.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal