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Sunday, 12 July 2015

From Today's Papers - 12 Jul 2015

End of the road for the country’s favourite SUV
Exit Gypsy, enter Safari and Scorpio

An end of an era might be on the cards for Maruti Suzuki Gypsy and the Indian Army. From the time the vehicle was launched in India in 1985 and soon inducted into the Army, it has since become synonymous with the Indian Army. However, the Indian Army may soon phase out its long standing companion, and the Mahindra Commander, and replace it with the Tata Safari Storme and Mahindra Scorpio, according to a report, in a bid to induct new, modern vehicles into its fleet.

This also comes as a bad news as in 2014 Maruti had bagged its single largest manufacturing order for the Gypsy from the Indian Army. Under the assignment, the company had to manufacture and deliver over 4,100 units of the SUV. Reports of the possibility of phasing out the Gypsy have been doing the rounds for sometime now. It has been earlier reported by various media organisations that Maruti Suzuki had decided to stay out of a fresh bid in April 2013, when the Army was looking for bids in the 800 kg general service vehicle category -- the Gypsy sells in the 500 kg vehicle category.
At the time, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Nissan had submitted bids for providing nearly 30,000 vehicles for over Rs 3,000 crore to the Indian Army.  The Army recently selected the Tata Safari Storme and the Mahindra Scorpio after rigorous tests, the report said.

Tata Motors also bagged an order worth over Rs 900c crore, to supply nearly 1,200 high mobility vehicles to the Indian Army. Tata Motors will deliver these 6x6 multi-axle trucks to the Army in the next 24 months. These vehicles will be mainly used to transport ammunition.

"We at Tata Motors are extremely proud to have bagged the single largest order, among Indian OEM's from the Indian army, for the most technologically advanced high mobility load carrier system ever built here in India," Tata Motors, Vice President, Defence & Government Business, Vernon Noronha said while speaking to the media.

The company expects to earn nearly Rs 4,000 crore from the sector in the next three years. Noronha said that the move came after the Narendra Modi-led government has been pushing to increase defence manufacturing in the country, to bring down the huge defence import bill. He said, Earlier, suppliers used to chase the government for orders. But now, the government- the Army and the defence ministry – is chasing us."
Pak using UAVs to spy, says BSF
Jodhpur, July 11
Pakistan troops have been using every opportunity to spy on the Indian side using UAVs or cameras along the border, a BSF officer said today. BSF DIG (Rajasthan Frontier) Ravi Gandhi said that Pakistan was making the best use of technology to keep an eye on the Indian side but had stopped the practice after objection was raised. However, there were still some concerns in other areas.

Reportedly BSF troops had spotted a moving light as high as 150–400 metres close to the border in Pakistani territory in April. “We do not know what exactly it was. But assuming them to be some drone or a UAV kind of thing, we took up the matter with Pakistani Rangers through a protest note after which the practice was dropped,” Gandhi said. — PTI
Will give befitting response to Indian attack: Pak minister
Islamabad, July 11
Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said it would give a “befitting response” to India in case of any aggression. This comes as Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for ice-breaking talks in Russia.

Dar was responding to a motion by Senator Sassui Palijo of Pakistan People’s Party in the Senate yesterday. Palijo had sought government attention towards the destruction of infrastructure along the border due to heavy mortar shelling by Indian troops. — PTI
Myanmar border used for drugs, arms: Rajnath
Says insurgents holding N-E border population to ransom
Bijay Sankar Bora

Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 11
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today reiterated the Central Government’s zero tolerance to insurgency, saying steps would be taken for effective management of the border with Myanmar and Bangladesh to check the cross-border movement of insurgents, arms and drugs.

Addressing a security review meeting with the Chief Ministers of all eight northeastern states, Singh said: “Of late, the India-Myanmar border has become more active as there are reports of movement of insurgents, weapons and drugs. I have constituted a committee headed by JIC (Joint Intelligence Committee) Chairman RN Ravi, on the effective management of the border. The Home Ministry will act as soon as the committee submits its report. We also need to step up vigil along the India-Bangladesh border.”

Singh called upon the Chief Ministers to improve policing and take extra security measures along the border areas in their respective states. “We should not ignore that there are about 240 villages with over two lakh population along the 10-km-long India-Myanmar border. The large population is without any security cover and at the mercy of insurgents. A similar situation prevails along the India-Bhutan border,” he said.

The Union Home minister also urged the CMs to provide land for border fencing on an urgent basis wherever it was pending. Singh said the region had a huge stockpile of illegal firearms which were smuggled in from across the border and sold here and beyond.

Singh said the insurgency was at an all-time low in the northeast and the ongoing peace talks with insurgent groups were on the right track. He ruled out a dialogue with residual insurgent groups in the region, including Meghalaya and Nagaland, terming them as “criminal elements”.
‘Born to battle’ batch joins OROP protest
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 11
Veterans of the June 1971 batch of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), fondly called “Born to battle”, joined the protest against non-implementation of the one rank, one pension (OROP) at Jantar Mantar here today. India went to war with Pakistan in November-December 1971 and almost the entire batch of the June 1971 IMA passouts went to battle, hence the sobriquet ‘Born to battle’.

Second Lieutenant Arun Khetrapal of the batch was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, the country’s highest battle honour, for his act of bravery at the famous ‘battle at Basantar’ in West Pakistan. More than 50 veterans of the batch arrived from all over the country, another three were represented by their wives and some of them by children.

Lieutenant General Sujlana (retd), who is from the same batch, said among the protesters today were five retired Lieutenant Generals, four Major Generals and one Air Marshall of the Indian Air Force.

General Sujlana commanded the 10 Corps at Bathinda and was commandant of the IMA.

Major General Satbir Singh (retd) of The Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM) said: “We are waiting for the government to implement the OROP by July 15 or we will intensify the agitation. There has been no feeler from the government as yet. We have already announced our intension for the programme beyond July 15.”
Flash flood hits Army camp in Poonch, four injured
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 11
At least four soldiers were injured after an Army camp near Mendhar town in Poonch district was inundated by a flash flood in the wee hours yesterday.

The flash flood which hit the camp of 37 Rashtriya Rifles of the Army was triggered by a cloudburst.

“It was raining heavily in Mendhar and a cloudburst hit the camp around 4 am on Friday. Though soldiers on guard duty blew whistles alerting troops in the camp, four among them were injured in the gush of water,” said an official source.

The camp is nearly 14 km from Mendhar town.

The entire camp was inundated within no time. However, soldiers did their best to shift arms, ammunition and other stores from the camp, said the source.

Some houses on the slopes of Kalaban Hill also suffered extensive damage due to the cloudburst.

Meanwhile, the Army had yesterday joined rescue operation to airlift marooned BSF men from a forward post on the Indo-Pak border in the Ramgarh sub-sector of Samba district.

“The Army also pressed into service two of its ALH Dhruv helicopters and ground columns along with an Mi-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force, based at Jammu, for the rescue mission,” said a defence spokesperson.

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