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Friday, 10 July 2015

From Today's Papers - 10 Jul 2015

A first: Nuke sub Arihant to test-fire N-capable missile
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 9
Nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant, will undergo its first-ever underwater missile firing test and also conduct deep diving tests this year. The missile, code named ‘B-05’, is of medium-range variety capable of carrying a nuclear-tipped warhead, making it New Delhi’s first Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM).

INS Arihant is classified as a ship submersible ballistic, nuclear (SSBN) submarine. In comparison, China has five such operational SSBNs and the range of Beijing’s missile is much more than ‘B-05’.

Director-General of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Secretary (Research and Development), Dr S Chirstopher, told The Tribune today: “INS Arihant will go for deep sea diving this year and along with a series of tests, we would like to test B-05”.

On being asked if it will be a strategic weapon carrying nuke tipped warhead, the scientist said: “Yes, it is capable”. But he did not mention that ‘B-05’ can carry one-tonne warhead and will be launched by the submarine while being underwater, hence classified as (SLBM).

On future plans, he said the DRDO has proposed a new missile ‘AGNI-VI’ with a range of 10,000 km, albeit with a smaller warhead than ‘AGNI-V’. “It’s at the thinking stage. We still do not have the sanction to make it but have the capability. We have to now present our case to the government explaining the need for such a missile,” he said.

China’s inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) like the Dongfeng-21 have a range of about 11,000 km. A missile that can travel more than 5,500 km is classified as an ICBM. Dr Christopher, on being asked if the forthcoming test of the AGNI-V is the final one, said: “It will depend on the outcome. We normally look at three consecutive tests”.

On the progress of the advanced air defence (AAD) interceptor missile and the ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield, Dr Christopher said: “We are nearing the completion stage. We are looking at a small variation and working on that. Once AAD is perfected, it will complete the BMD”.

An AAD interceptor missile is integral to the BMD capable of tracking and destroying hostile missiles in both endo-atmospheric (below an altitude of 30 km) and exo-atmospheric (above an altitude of 80 km) region.
India capable of securing borders: Parrikar
Lucknow, July 9
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today dismissed his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Asif’s statement on use of nuclear weapons, saying India is capable of securing its borders.

“Answer to every question is not necessary. I am Defence Minister of India, not Pakistan. India is capable of securing its borders,” he said.

The minister asked to comment on Asif’s statement that use of nuclear weapons was an option as they were not kept merely for show but as deterrents.

Asif had said in a television interview that if Pakistan needed to use nuclear weapons for “our survival, we will”. On China blocking a proposal for action by the UN against Pakistan on release of Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Parrikar said, “The matter is related to External Affairs Ministry and the Prime Minister. — PTI
High Court directs SIT to arrest accused Major
Ishfaq Tantry

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 9
The High Court (HC) has directed a special investigation team (SIT) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police to arrest an Army Major for his involvement in the custodial disappearance of a chemist in 2002 and subject him to custodial interrogation.

The directions have been issued by a single Bench of Justice Hasnain Massodi, hearing a petition filed by Jana Begum in 2002, seeking her disappeared husband’s whereabouts.

Manzoor Ahmad Dar of Rawalpora, Srinagar, was arrested by the Army on January 19, 2002. His family, particularly his wife Jana, has been maintaining that an Army contingent led by the then Major of 35 Rashtriya Rifles, Kishore Malhotra, had raided their house in the night.

Later, a judicial inquiry by the Budgam Chief Judicial Magistrate had also substantiated that Manzoor was picked up by the Armed Forces of 35 Rashtriya Rifles on the intervening night of January 18 and 19, 2002.

“The special investigation team directed to investigate the matter failed to realise that Manzoor Ahmad Dar has not been seen after he was picked up by Major Kishore Malhotra and other Armed Forces of 35 RR in January 2002 and has been allegedly subjected to custodial disappearance,” the High Court has observed in its fresh orders in the petition.

“Instead of approaching the authorities concerned for prosecution of Major Kishore for offence punishable under Section 364 of the RPC, the SIT should have arrested Major Kishore and subject him to custodial interrogation and should have taken the investigation ahead to find out circumstances (under which) Manzoor was picked up and whether he was subjected to custodial disappearance,” the High Court added.

“Against the above backdrop, the SIT is directed to proceed with investigation, touching the aforementioned aspects of the case,” the High Court has said in its orders, while asking the SIT to file a fresh status report of the investigation by the next date.

Earlier in 2009, the Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court directing the accused Colonel of the Rashtriya Rifles to appear before the special investigating team. The decision of the apex court had come after it dismissed the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the Union of India challenging the High Court orders.

However, in its fresh orders, the High Court has observed that the “the efforts to ensure the presence of Major Kishore Malhotra and other Armed Forces of 35 RR for test identification have failed”.

The case
Manzoor Ahmad Dar, a chemist, was picked up by the Army on January 19, 2002. Following massive protests against it, the Saddar police station had filed an FIR under Section 364 of the RPC. Subsequently, during the investigation, the name of Major Kishore Malhotra of Army’s 35 Rashtriya Rifles surfaced as an accused
Afghanistan plans detailed Taliban talks
Kabul, July 9
Afghan negotiators said today their next round of talks with the Taliban would focus in detail on ways to end bloodshed in the country, wracked by nearly 40 years of war.

Government representatives struck a positive note after returning from their first face-to-face talks with militant commanders held on Tuesday in Pakistan aimed at ending the Taliban's 13-year insurgency.

The nascent talks have brought no let up in the Taliban's summer offensive, as the militants launched two suicide attacks in Kabul just hours before Tuesday's meeting in Murree, a hill station north of Islamabad.

The session, which lasted through the night, concluded with an agreement to meet again after the Muslim festival of Eid, due to start around July 18, and government negotiator Din Mohammad said the aim was for more substantive talks on ending the fighting.

Several informal meetings have been held in recent months between Taliban representatives and Afghan officials and activists, but Tuesday's meeting is seen as a step forward.

In the past the Taliban have laid down tough conditions for talks, including the complete withdrawal of foreign troops. — AFP
US drone attack kills IS leader
Islamabad, July 9

A senior leader of Islamic State (IS) militant group and former Pakistani Taliban spokesman was among 24 terrorists killed today in a US drone attack in Afghanistan along its border with Pakistan.

Shahidullah Shahid, a Pakistani national, was deputy chief of the IS, also known as Daesh in Arabic.

At least 24 militants were killed in today’s attack in Nangarhar where according to Pakistani officials dozens of militants were hiding.

Afghanistan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), announced Shahid’s death on its official Twitter account.

“Shahidullah Shahid, leader of Daesh in Afghanistan and former Pakistani Taliban spokesman, killed in Nangarhar drone attack,” said the NDS.

Shahid was a spokesman of Pakistani Taliban but last year joined IS due to internal rift in the ranks.

Also known as Sheikh Maqbool Orakzai, he hailed from Orakzai tribal region of Pakistan and was wanted for several cases of terrorism in the country.

The timing of the drone strike is significant as it came a day after Pakistan hosted talks between Afghan official and Taliban militants. — PTI
Defiant China says stand on Lakhvi fair, based on facts
Beijing/Ufa (Russia), July 9
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly conveyed India’s concerns to China over its move to block an Indian proposal at the UN for action against Pakistan over release of 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, Beijing today defended its step saying it was based on “facts” and in the spirit of “objectiveness and fairness”.

“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China always deals with the 1267 committee matters based on facts and in the spirit of objectiveness and fairness,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters in Beijing today. She was responding to a question on Modi raising the Lakhvi issue with President Xi Jinping in Ufa, Russia. However, in a clear message to China, Modi, while addressing the Summit of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) in Ufa today, pitched for a united fight against terrorism. With Xi listening, he said: “We must unitedly fight against it (terrorism), without any discrimination among groups, or countries, sponsors or targeted countries. We must do this in BRICS as well as UN Security Council and in other groups of nations.”

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said China had maintained good communication with India and other parties on the Lakhvi issue. About India’s concerns over terrorism, she said, “I can tell you that both India and China are victims of terrorism.” —PTI
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army chief General to pay tributes at war memorial in Ladakh

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag will pay homage to the martyrs of Kargil war at Drass war memorial in Ladakh on July 23 rpt July 23 ahead of the 16th Vijay Diwas.

Parrikar and Gen Suhag will visit the war memorial in Drass in Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir and pay homage to the martyrs of the war fought in 1999, an Army officer said.

The 'Kargil Vijay Diwas' is celebrated on July 26 every year to mark India's victor ..

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Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute: A new kind of finishing school for Punjabi girls
The Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute in Mohali (MBAFPI), to formally be inaugurated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on July 25, has been christened after the valiant 18th Century woman warrior who battled the Mughal armies alongside the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
For long lamenting the falling intake of recruits from the state into the Indian Army, Punjab's Parkash Singh Badal government is all set to open, what will the country's first ever school to prepare young women for the armed forces.

The Mai Bhago Armed Forces Preparatory Institute in Mohali (MBAFPI), to formally be inaugurated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on July 25, has been christened after the valiant 18th Century woman warrior who battled the Mughal armies alongside the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

One of its kind in India, the institute envisages a three-year undergraduate programme wherein, besides pursuing academics, students will be equipped with skills required to become officers in the Army, Navy and Air Force.

For its inaugural batch, MBAFPI has shortlisted the top 25 girls from nearly 1700 who had applied for admission. At least six among the selected students are from defence families.

The institute is expected to function as a counterpart to the existing Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute for men, which is also located in Mohali, outside Chandigarh.

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