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Saturday, 11 July 2015

From Today's Papers - 11 Jul 2015

India, Pak to resume talks
Modi, Sharif break ice in Russia | PM to visit Islamabad for SAARC Summit
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Ending months of stalemate, India and Pakistan today agreed to restart the stalled dialogue process indicating preparedness to discuss "all outstanding issues" and decided to discuss ways and means to expedite Mumbai trial case.

The decision to revive the talks came at the conclusion of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at Ufa, Russia where both leaders were present to attend the meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Summit (SCO). A joint statement issued by New Delhi and Islamabad read out in turn by respective Foreign Secretaries S. Jaishankar and Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary, said both Prime Ministers met on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in a cordial atmosphere.

Prime Minister Modi also accepted invitation from Prime Minister Sharif to visit Pakistan for the 16th SAARC Summit. Reports from Ufa said the meeting between the two leaders continued for nearly one hour during which they exchanged views on issues of bilateral and regional interest. Both leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to cooperate with each other to eliminate this menace from South Asia and agreed to take five steps: a meeting between National Security Advisers to discuss all issues connected to terrorism; early meeting of Chiefs of Border Police and  Directors General of Military Operations; release fishermen and their boats in each other's custody within 15 days; mechanism to facilitate religious tourism; and discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples.

Both the foreign secretaries did not take any questions while the joint statement said both leaders agreed that India and Pakistan have a collective responsibility to ensure peace and promote development. To do so, they are prepared to discuss all outstanding issues. The Ufa meeting was the first occasion after May 2014 when both the Prime Ministers held formal talks.

The last time they met was in Kathmandu at the concluding session of the SAARC Summit. When PM Sharif came to New Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony of PM Modi, both leaders agreed on a formal interaction between the foreign secretaries to kick-start the talks that had been on the hold since the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

Yet, just days ahead of the scheduled meeting between the foreign secretaries, India called it off protesting the move of Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to meet separatist Kashmiri leaders. Since then Track-II advocates have been urging leadership on the either side to begin the talks.

Thereafter, Prime Minister Modi took two initiatives, calling up the leaders of SAARC countries, including Pakistan, whose teams were taking part in the World Cricket Cup to wish them well and sending Foreign Secretary Jaishankar on a "SAARC yatra".  Last month he called up leaders, including Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif, to convey his greetings ahead of Ramzan.

Both the these steps were seen as attempts to re-ignite the talks called off by New Delhi as Islamabad insisted that the initiative should come from India which cried off from it. The last time the Directors General of Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers met was in Lahore in December 2013 followed by the meeting between Directors General of Military Operations.

India has ceded ground: Cong

Our policy on Pakistan continues to be characterised by fits and starts. Pakistan cannot be rewarded for going soft on 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, for unabated LoC violations and for not keeping a single promise it made in the past. —Anand Sharma, congress spokesperson

A welcome step, says Omar

Resumption of the Indo-Pak dialogue is a welcome development. I only hope that this time it is sustained over the long term for results. —Omar Abdullah, former j-k cm on twitter
A month on, Dornier’s debris found off TN
Chennai, July 10
The debris of the Coast Guard Dornier aircraft, missing for over a month, has been found on the sea bed off the Tamil Nadu coast and its flight data recorder recovered, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.

There was, however, no information about its three crew members though family members were still hopeful of their survival.

Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted that the debris was located "in position 17 NM (nautical miles) from nearest land" and approximately "20 NM southeast of Cuddalore in 950 m depth". The vital flight data recorder and a line replacement unit of the aircraft have been recovered.

"The flight data recorder of the Dornier aircraft has been found in the sea at a depth of 950 metres off Chidambaram. There is no information about the crew members," said Coast Guard Commander East Region, Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma.

The announcement sparked some hope among the family of the missing crew members. An official statement said submarine INS Sindhudhavaj picked up a barrage of transmission at a depth of 996 meters on July 6, following which Reliance vessel MV Olympic Canyon was sent for localised search. For the first time, the line replacement unit and flight data recorder were recovered from such a depth.

"The flight data recorder could provide vital inputs towards establishing the cause of incident. This is a major accomplishment to the unprecedented search operation which was launched 30 days back," the statement said. The Dornier aircraft with pilot Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar, co-pilot, Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh and navigator/observer M.K. Soni went missing on the night of June 8 while returning to the base after a regular surveillance sortie along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk  Bay. — IANS
IAF airlifts 33 marooned BSF men from border post
Downpour triggers flash floods in Basanter, other rivulets across Jammu
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 10
At least 33 BSF personnel were today airlifted to safety in five sorties by Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters from a forward post along the Indo-Pak international border in the Ramgarh sub-sector of Samba district following flash floods in the Basanter river.

The BSF has the operational responsibility of the international border. “A total of 33 BSF personnel were airlifted to safety after a flash flood inundated a border outpost in the Ramgarh sub-sector. The water level inside the post rose to around 10 feet and the jawans had to be evacuated urgently,” said a senior BSF officer.

Wing Commander Anup Sharma and his team rescued marooned the BSF jawans. The water level had risen this morning in many forward posts in low-lying areas close to Tarnah Nullah, Chhap Nullah in Hiranagar, Chenab in Akhnoor, Devak in Samba, Aik Nullah, Nikki and Baddi Tawi in the RS Pura sector of Jammu due to overnight downpour. However, the officer maintained that no other post had to be vacated and there was no big damage to the border fence as well.

“In rivulets that flow into Pakistan, we had set up improvised fence last year and this time also we have adopted the same technique,” he said.

There was no let up in the border guarding and rescued jawans were again back to their job of patrolling the border in speedboats, he added.

“Since their post is inundated, essentials are being supplied to them via other motorboats and the area domination is on and effective. Manpower in strength is already in place,” he said. But the officer expressed regrets over the fact that an embankment that was breached by the Basanter river during the monsoons of 2013 and 2014 has not been reconstructed till date.

“Last year, the Basanter, after changing its main course, had breached its embankment before merging into the Devak Nullah. Thousands of acres of fertile land were also destroyed by it but the embankment has not been constructed as yet,” he lamented. “A request was received from BSF IG RK Sharma at around 10 am today and the IAF promptly addressed the aid to BSF. A Mi-17 helicopter took off at 10.40 am,” said a Defence spokesperson.

The rescue mission was undertaken in adverse weather conditions that continued to prevail till afternoon. The jawans were rescued in five shuttles to a safe place adjacent to a nearby village and arms and ammunition were also brought out safely, he said.

The Tarnah, Devak, Ujh, Basanter, Nikki Tawi, Badi Tawi and Chenab rivers were in spate and have inundated several low-lying areas close to the border. All these rivers flow into Pakistan.
Pension not paid, AFT gears up to attach MoD’s property
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 10
The Chandigarh Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has issued a show-cause notice to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as to why property of the Defence Accounts Department’s office should not be attached and auctioned on July 15 to pay disability pension to soldiers.

The tribunal had passed judgements in favour of the soldiers, but were not implemented by the MoD even in cases where implementation had been directed by the Supreme Court in a time-bound manner.

Making it clear to the MoD that non-implementation would not be acceptable, a bench comprising Justice SS Thakur and Lt Gen DS Sidhu passed the directions with respect to two official staff vehicles of the Defence Accounts Department in Chandigarh.

Veterans have long rued non-implementation of orders passed in their favour by the AFT whereas no such problems were faced earlier in judgements rendered by the High Court.

The Kerala High Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court had made it clear that non-implementation of AFT orders amounted to criminal contempt and that the AFT could invoke the execution provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) to give effect to its orders. The CPC provides for both arrest as well as attachment of properties in order to give effect to judicial orders.

When the AFT did not take coercive action against MoD even after High Court directions, another writ was filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court praying for directions to the tribunal to take action against the government for ensuring compliance. It averred that “keeping the implementation of judicial orders in suspended animation is an affront to the majesty of law in a democracy which the AFT was duty-bound to protect and was also against the grain of judicial dignity as laid down by the Supreme Court”.
India-Pakistan Agree Top Army Officers Will Meet in Person, PM Modi to Visit Pakistan
Ufa, Russia:  Big breakthroughs were announced  after a meeting today between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif including a meeting between their National Security Advisors to tackle terrorism, and a push for more frequent and face-to-face contact between senior army officers.

The Prime Minister has also accepted an invite to travel next year to Pakistan to attend the regional SAARC Summit.

The announcements were made after a meeting between the Prime Ministers that began with a warm handshake and ran longer than planned. Then, in a surprise move, their Foreign Secretaries appeared together - a rare occurrence - to read out a joint statement.

The statement makes no reference to Kashmir, nor was it brought up by Mr Sharif, said sources, which has resulted in sharp criticism for him in Pakistan.

Mr Modi and Mr Sharif met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the Russian city of Ufa.

The initiatives announced were attacked by the opposition Congress as a weakening of the government's earlier tough stand on Pakistan. "Using the words 'breakthrough' and 'historic understanding' is laughable," Congress leader Anand Sharma said, adding, "India is expected to make a statement which has depth and maturity". The government, however, said that Pakistan had been told again about the need to tackle terrorism.  " The PM had said earlier too that he is in favour of good relations with Pakistan," said minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. 

Mr Sharif attended PM Modi's swearing-in ceremony last year. But soon, the worst cross-border violence in Jammu and Kashmir in over a decade left relations placed vertiginously. Then India cancelled talks of Foreign Secretaries after the Pakistani envoy insisted on hosting Kashmiri separatists.

Today's joint statement said that top army commanders of the Pakistani Rangers and India's Border Security Force will meet in person in an attempt to de-escalate the tension along the Jammu and Kashmir border.  So far, their contact is  restricted largely to a weekly conversation over a hotline.
Army briefs Defence Secretry about recent ceasefire violations
Srinagar: In the backdrop of two ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops which killed two BSF jawans within five days along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar on Friday took stock of the situation and also called on Governor N N Vohra here.

The defence secretary arrived here this afternoon and visited the Badamibagh Headquarters of the Army, army sources said.

General-officer-Commanding (GoC) of Army's 15 Corps, Lt Gen Subrata Saha briefed the defence secretary about the recent ceasefire violations along the LoC in Nowgam sector which claimed lives of two BSF jawans, the sources said.

One jawan was killed in the ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops on July 5 while another died in a similar incident in same sector yesterday.

Kumar was also briefed about recent counter-infiltration operations along the LoC and anti-militancy operations in the hinterland, they said.

Kumar will be staying here overnight, they said, adding his schedule has been kept under wraps.

Meanwhile, the defence secretary also called on Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra at the Raj Bhavan here.

"Besides discussing issues related to external security and border management the Governor sought Kumar's urgent interest in meeting the state government's long pending requests about release of lands held by the Army in Gulmarg and Kurbathang and and the requirements for the extension of the Jammu and Kargil airports," an official spokesperson said.

Kumar agreed to review the pending issues, including the settlement of firing ranges for the Army and Air Force, he said.
Tata Motors secures Rs900 crore order from Indian Army
The contract is the single largest land systems order awarded to an Indian-origin equipment manufacturer in the private sector

Mumbai: India’s biggest auto maker Tata Motors Ltd expects to double revenue from the defence business to Rs.3,000 crore in three years as the Indian government encourages manufacturing of military equipment by local companies via the “Make In India” programme.
“The current order book is Rs.1,500 crore and we want to double it in next three years. The ministry of defence intends to promote indigenous supply base for FICV (futuristic infantry combat vehicle),” said Vernon Noronha, the company’s vice-president, defence and government business.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on defence equipment forming part of his Make in India campaign to encourage manufacturing and attract foreign investment has seen a scramble among companies readying manufacturing capabilities in the segment.
India’s defence budget allocation ie estimated at $620 billion between fiscal years 2014 and 2022, of which 50% will be capital expenditure, according to a report released in February by lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and financial services company Centrum Capital Ltd.
The annual opportunity for Indian companies—both state-owned and private—is expected to touch $41 billion by fiscal year 2022 and $168 billion cumulatively, it said.
Noronha said Tata Motors had secured an order to supply around 1,200 of its high-mobility 6x6 multi-axle trucks from the Indian Army—the single largest order awarded to an Indian private original equipment manufacturer in land systems under the defence procurement procedures.
He said the value of this contract is Rs.914 crore and the vehicles should be delivered in the next 24 months.
Tata Motors competed for the order with companies including Bharat Earth Movers Ltd and the MAN Group to secure the order.
Noronha said the order was a validation of the company’s strategy and the growth potential of its extensive range of defence vehicles.
The government has short-listed Tata Motors for providing the 800kg category of utility vehicles along with the Mahindra Group. The value of this order is over Rs.300 crore. Tata Motors is also bidding for supplying 1,300 light armoured multipurpose vehicles costing around Rs.1,300 crore.
Tata Motors has supplied over 100,000 vehicles to the Indian military and paramilitary forces, having been associated with the sector since 1958.
In the combat vehicle space, Tata Motors has designed and developed the wheeled armoured platform (WHAP), an armoured personnel carrier. Tata Motors has also developed a light armoured multi-role vehicle, a reconnaissance vehicle, combining vital operational prerequisites of mobility, protection and firepower.
To be sure, there are other Tata group companies that are focused in defence. Currently, 14 Tata companies are engaged in providing support to the country’s defence and aerospace sector.
These are the Tata Power Strategic Electronics Division, Tata Advanced Systems, TAL Manufacturing Solutions, Tata Technologies, Tata Motors, Tata Advanced Materials, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Steel UK, Tata Elxsi, Titan Company (Precision Engineering Division), Avana Integrated Systems Ltd, Nova Integrated Systems Ltd, CMC, and Tata Industrial Services.
The Tata group expects revenue of Rs.2,500 crore from its defence and aerospace business in the year to 31 March 2015, Mint reported on 11 February. The current order book size of the Tata group in the sector is above Rs.10,000 crore.
Among the bigger and better-known entities eyeing a piece of the action in defence are Bharat Forge Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, the Godrej Group, the Mahindra Group, the Adani Group, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group and Punj Lloyd Ltd.
Indian Army to order Dhanush artillery guns after trials
The Indian Army would place an order worth Rs 1, 200 crore to get Dhanush artillery guns after their confirmatory trials are over early next year, reported PTI.

According to defence sources, if the confirmatory test of the indigenously-developed guns comes out as positive, it will pave the way for Bulk Production Clearance (BPC).

Under the first phase, the army will place an order for 114 such guns with the Ordnance Factories Board.

"The confirmatory trials are going on after and if they prove to be successful, the guns will go in for bulk production for the army," sources told PTI.

The Gun Carriage Factory, Jabalpur, plans to supply 6 guns within 6 months, another 12 within the next one year before ramping up the production.

It is important to know that Dhanush would be the first artillery gun to be acquired by the Indian Army since the purchase of Bofors guns from Sweden in 1987.

It is a modified version of the Bofors and already underwent winter trials in 2013 and summer trials in 2014.

Earlier this year, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the test for the 155/45mm caliber Dhanush gun was successful.

According to sources, minor changes were done following the trials, following which the confirmation trials have begun.

OFB is a conglomerate of 39 ordnance factories with another two new projects being set up at Nalanda in Bihar and Korwa in Uttar Pradesh.
1965 is about solemn commemoration, nothing to ‘celebrate’ in war - See more at:
To mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 India-Pakistan war, India has planned a series of events in New Delhi from August 28 to September 26. The Defence Ministry note calls for “commemoration and celebration of the Golden Jubilee of this great victory by Three Services…”.

Let us parse this statement carefully. To begin with: “great victory”.

The Defence Ministry’s official history of the 1965 war, edited by S N Prasad, blames the Indian Army’s “faulty strategy” which delivered “a large number of inconsequential jabs” and led “to stalemate on all fronts”. A stalemate can hardly qualify as a “great victory”.
- See more at:
To be fair though, India had the upper hand during the war. It captured nearly four times more territory than Pakistan did, most of it high-value territory in Punjab and Kashmir. According to the US Library of Congress Country Studies, “a continuation of the fighting would only have led to further losses and ultimate defeat for Pakistan”. That would have happened had the then Army Chief, General Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri, not miscalculated India’s ammunition stock and tank casualties, forcing the government to accept the ceasefire on September 22, 1965.

Next, the “Three Services”.

With its carrier INS Vikrant being refitted in dry docks and most other vessels under maintenance, the Indian Navy hardly played any part in the war. The Pakistan navy, in fact, destroyed the Indian radar station at Dwarka. The two air forces actively participated in the war, but neither side was able to achieve air superiority — nearly a stalemate. The Indian Army, of course, was at the forefront of the war, from the Rann of Kutch in April to Jammu and Kashmir in August, and in the tank battles in Punjab in September 1965.

The trickiest part of the statement is “commemoration and celebration”.

There can be different views on how the war should be remembered. No one can be against commemorating the valour and sacrifices of those who laid down their lives for the country. But while commemoration is a solemn act of remembrance, a “war carnival”, as planned by the Defence Ministry, conveys the impression of a festive celebration. There is an obvious possibility of glorification and triumphalism creeping into such celebrations. And with Pakistan as the enemy, jingoism and religious chauvinism might follow close behind.

What is it that India can “celebrate” about the 1965 war?

For 1971, you could celebrate the birth of a new country, Bangladesh — and the victory of liberty and freedom — while commemorating all those who fell fighting for that cause. For 1965, you can, at best, celebrate the defeat of Pakistani designs to annex Kashmir. But that would be almost a mirror image of the Youm-e-Difa or Defence Day celebrated by Pakistan on September 6: Pakistan believes that it foiled India’s designs over its territory in 1965 by putting up a formidable defence.

The planned grand military celebrations ideally need India’s own national war memorial. It was a promise that the Prime Minister had made during his election campaign, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated Rs 100 crore for a National War Memorial at India Gate in his first Budget last year. Unused, that amount lapsed — and no mention of the memorial was made in this year’s Budget. The golden jubilee of the 1965 war is a good occasion to revive the National War Memorial project.

Besides the golden jubilee, there is also a political reason for selecting the 1965 war for “commemoration and celebration” on such a grand scale. India was led during the 1965 war by Lal Bahadur Shastri, a non-Nehru-Gandhi Prime Minister with a powerful and enduring reputation for personal integrity — and the BJP would be happy to appropriate him in the same way as it has done with another Congressman, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Shastri’s slogan of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” has special resonance today, when there are reports of farmer distress across India, and retired soldiers are protesting to press the demand for One Rank, One Pension.

Trapped between the humiliation of 1962 and the exhilaration of 1971, 1965 remains a forgotten war. The grand events planned at Rajpath will bring it into public consciousness. But unless we accept and debate the competing, and sometimes contradictory, interpretations of the war, these “celebrations” are unlikely to deepen our understanding of the events of that time.

It would be a mistake to allow the golden jubilee of 1965 to pass without telling the new generation why it happened — and how a repeat of those mistakes can be prevented

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