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Monday, 13 July 2015

From Today's Papers - 13 Jul 2015

India, Kyrgyzstan voice concern over terror
Bishkek, July 12
Voicing grave concern over the rising trend of extremism and terrorism worldwide, India and Kyrgyzstan today signed four agreements, including one to boost defence cooperation and hold annual joint military exercises.

The two countries also agreed to expeditiously consider signing an agreement on “combating international terrorism and other crimes”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here last night as part of his eight-day six-nation tour to Central Asia, emphasised the need to combat terrorism and extremism which he described as a threat without borders.

“We both seek a peaceful and secure neighbourhood at a time of challenges in our region. And, we have shared interest in combating extremism and terrorism that has become a threat without borders,” he said in a joint press meet along with President Almazbek Atambayev after their talks.

The agreements include one on defence cooperation and culture. Two MoUs were also signed for cooperation between the Election Commissions of the two countries and on cooperation in the sphere of Standards, a move that will help economic relations.

A joint statement released later said both sides “expressed grave concern at the rising trend of extremism, radicalism and terrorism in the region and whole world”.

It said the Indian side highly appreciated the steps taken by the Kyrgyz government in combating terrorism and in retaining the secular character of Kyrgyz society.

The Prime Minister underlined that his visit to all five countries in the region “demonstrates the importance that we attach to a new level of relationship with Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is a key part of that vision”. Noting that the bilateral defence ties are strong, he said a joint exercise Khanjar 2015 has just been completed.

“We have decided to hold joint military exercises on an annual basis,” he said.

Modi underlined that the new agreement on defence cooperation would provide a “framework to broaden bilateral engagement” which would also include defence technology. The defence agreement signed is aimed at deepening bilateral cooperation in defence, security, military education and training. — PTI
In U-turn, Pak won’t give Lakhvi’s voice sample
Lahore, July 12
Pakistan did a U-turn today stating that the voice sample of LeT operations commander and Mumbai attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is not likely to be provided, two days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave a commitment in this regard to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Prosecution team’s chief Chaudhry Azhar said that four years ago a Rawalpindi court handling the Mumbai terror attack case had dismissed an application for obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi on the ground that no such law exists in the country that allows obtaining of voice sample of an accused.

Azhar said that the Pakistan government will not file a fresh petition in the anti-terrorism court requesting for obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi in the 26/11 case. Lakhvi is presently out of bail for lack of evidence.

“The issue of obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi has been over. We had filed an application in the trial court in 2011, seeking voice sample of Lakhvi but the judge (Malik Akram Awan) had dismissed it on the ground that no such law exists that allows obtaining of voice sample of an accused,” Azhar told PTI here.

“The government will not file a fresh petition in the trial court requesting for obtaining voice sample of Lakhvi,” he added. Modi and Sharif at their meeting in Russian city of Ufa on Friday agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial (in Pakistan), including additional information like providing voice samples.

“Both sides agreed to discuss ways and means to expedite the Mumbai case trial, including additional information like providing voice samples,” a joint statement issued after the talks said.

The declaration by the prosecution’s team apparently showed that Pakistan may not go the ‘extra mile’ in bringing the accused of the Mumbai attack to justice despite Sharif’s commitment to his Indian counterpart in this regard.

“We have told India in writing that there was no law in Pakistan that allows obtaining a voice sample of an accused. Even there is no such law in India and the USA,” Azhar said. — PTI
India eyes defence export market with radars
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 12
India, the largest importer of weapons and military equipment in the world, is on the verge of increasing its exports and looking at indigenously produced electronic surveillance systems and airborne radars as a lead option.

Several countries have shown interest and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is ready to work at the systems and radars. It will try to match China, which figures among the top five exporters of weapons and military equipment.

DRDO’s Director General and Secretary (Defence Research) Dr S Christopher said: “We have the potential to export. There is scope for surveillance systems. It is very much within our limits to export the equipment”. He was appointed to head the DRDO on May 28 this year.

Dr Christopher, who has been associated with indigenously developed airborne early warning systems (AEWS), said South American countries and even a country in south-east Asia were interested in radars mounted on planes to capture images from deep inside enemy territory.

“We must change the notion that we do not have a potential to export. The present government is very positive and supporting us”, he said. “We have to now see which countries we could sell the equipment. The export versions have to be of ultimate quality with some sensitive elements,” Dr Christopher said.

In March this year, the Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in its assessment for 2010-2014 titled ‘Trends in international arms transfers’, said India had emerged as the world’s largest buyer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for some 15% of all such international imports.

According to the SIPRI report, China is the third largest importer and also the exporter of weapons ahead of traditional manufacturers Germany, France and UK. Its biggest benefactors are Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma — all having a shared boundary with India — accounted for 68% of Beijing’s exports.

Since 2011, India has exported defence equipment to the tune of Rs 1,812 crore. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had informed Parliament in November 2014.
Fence border with Myanmar, Manipur urges Centre
Bijay Sankar Bora

Tribune News Service

Guwahati, July 12
Faced with militancy, the Manipur Government has demanded fencing of the porous Indo-Myanmar border and construction of border roads to enhance security and stop cross border movements of insurgents.

In a submission before the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said: “Manipur has a 352 km-long porous international border with Myanmar. Unlike India-Pakistan/Indo-Bangladesh border, there is no border road along it nor is the border fenced.

“The border remains a serious concern for internal security in terms of smuggling of arms and ammunition, smuggling of contraband narcotics substances and infiltration of militants.

“Prominent insurgent groups have taken shelter in Myanmar as their cadres can hardly afford being stationed for prolonged periods inside Manipur. However, due to porous border they manage to continue their acts of extortion and intimidation through easy cross border movements. To enable any border guarding force to discharge its duty effectively, it is absolutely essential that the border is fenced and a network of roads developed on topmost priority,” he said.

The fencing work is going on along the 10 km stretch between the border pillar (BP) 79 and BP-81. Manipur government has proposed that fencing should be constructed urgently for at least addition 50 kilometers along Indo-Myanmar border. The state government has also endorsed the proposal of Director General of Assam Rifles to the MHA for selective border fencing for approximately 86 kilometers between BP-54 and BP-78 as top priority. Ass Rifles is currently entrusted with the responsibility to guard the India-Myanmar border that touches states of Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

Some of the other demands included joint operation to destroy camps inside Myanmar; procurement and installation of vehicle scanners along the NH from Imphal to Moreh (on Myanmar border) to prevent smuggling of weapons and explosives; SIMs of Indian mobile operators made non-functional in Myanmar territory; setting up of North East Regional Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) for sharing intelligence among the Northeastern states and setting up of digitised operation rooms of the MHA with state of the art equipment.
Amnesty for repeal of AFSPA in N-E
Guwahati, July 12
A day after the Union Home Minister talked about a possible scaling down in central forces’ deployment in the North-East, the Amnesty International today said it must lead to a rethink on the use of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in NE states.

“On July 11, Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh discussed a possible reduction in deployment of central forces in a meeting with Chief Ministers of northeastern states... (and) that the security situation has improved in the region,” Amnesty International India media officer Himanshi Matta said in a press statement. Worryingly, there was no discussion on the AFSA, 1958, which is in force in several north-eastern states,” the statement claimed.

The Amnesty International India stated “The Justice Verma Committee set up to review laws against sexual assault had said the AFSPA legitimises impunity for sexual violence.”

“The Justice Santosh Hegde Commission set up by the Supreme Court to investigate cases of fake encounters in Manipur described the law as ‘a symbol of oppression...” it said.

“Several international bodies and experts, including the UN Special Rapporteurs on violence against women, extra-judicial executions and human rights defenders, have also called for the repeal of the law,” the statement added. — PTI
Army Foils Another Infiltration Bid in J&K, 3 Militants Killed

SRINAGAR: Army foiled an infiltration attempt by militants along Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of border district of Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday by killing three heavily armed militants.

Defence sources said army men deployed along LoC detected a group of 4-6 militants trying to sneak into this side of LoC near Gali Gali post in Keran sector of Kupwara district during the preceding night.

“The alert army men challenged the militants, who fired from automatic weapons towards them. The fire was returned by the troops, triggering an encounter. In the ensuing firefight, which continued till wee hours, three militants were killed while three others returned back to Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK),” they said.

Defence spokesman in Srinagar Colonel N N Joshi while confirming foiling of infiltration bid said a group of militants were spotted moving from PaK towards LoC at midnight.

He said the robust counter infiltration grid in place immediately picked up the militants and kept them under constant surveillance till they reached the LoC fencing.

“The militants moved towards the LoC fencing and attempted to cut the fencing and cross over. The militants were then effectively engaged by the vigilant soldiers deployed along the LoC. Three militants were killed in the intense gunfight,” Joshi said.

He said army men conducted searches in the area early this morning and recovered bodies of three militants. “The army men also recovered three AK 47 rifles, one UBGL, 12 AK Magazines, 300 rounds of AK 47, eight grenades and other warlike stores from”.

The defence spokesman said identity of the deceased militants was being ascertained.

Sources said this was the 7th infiltration bid to be foiled by army this year along LoC in Kashmir. “15 militants have been killed by army along LoC this year so far”.

Last year 59 militants were killed by army along the LoC in Kashmir.

Army officials are expecting rise in infiltration bids by militants in view of melting of snow on the passes. In view of threat of infiltration by militants, security apparatus along LoC has been strengthened and army men and officers directed to remain vigilant 24x7.

Preparations underway for observing Vijay Diwas

Defence spokesman Col N N Joshi said Army is preparing extensively to observe Vijay Diwas to mark the 16th anniversary of Kargil War of 1999.

“The primary event is scheduled to be held at Kargil War Memorial at Drass from 25th to 26th of this month. It will be attended by a large number of dignitaries of the Army and civil administration as well as gallantry award winners of the conflict and families of many martyrs,” he said.

The conflict was fought in the summer of 1999 to evict Pakistani regular forces who had intruded and occupied winter vacated posts on this side of LoC in Kargil.

“The operation cost the Indian Army hundreds of young lives, in whose memory the commemorative function is held every year,” Joshi said.

Hundreds of Pakistani soldiers were also killed in the Kargil war.

Joshi said on July 25, the Army Bands will present a breathtaking band display, followed by a solemn memorial service. “On July 26, senior officers of the Army, martyrs’ families, war heroes, political representatives and the civil administration shall participate in the commemorative wreath laying ceremony at the Kargil War Memorial located at the base of the Tololing feature, the scene of one of the fieriest battles of the operation”.
One issue, two voices: UPA government opposed OROP four years ago -
Targeting the Modi government, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has been claiming that his party-led government had made provisions for implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) for the armed forces but the present BJP-led government was sitting on it.

Yet the Bhagat Singh Koshyari committee, which examined the OROP issue and submitted its report in 2011 when the UPA-II was in power, was told by the then government that there were administrative, financial and legal complications in implementation of the OROP scheme. Overruling the government, the committee had recommended OROP.

This is what the Koshyari committee report said of the UPA-II: “The (defence) ministry informed that the government over the years found it difficult to accept OROP in toto due to three reasons — which are financial, administrative and legal… Under the financial constraint… if OROP is implemented in toto, the financial burden incurred, as calculated by the Central Government Defence Accounts, is Rs 3,000 crore per year.”
The ministry in its deposition to the committee said that services personnel records beyond 25 years were no longer available — a prime administrative “difficulty in introducing the concept”. The committee was told that records of the early 1980s were manually maintained, a hurdle in pay restructuring.

The UPA-II law ministry too said “if today’s pension and emoluments are passed automatically to somebody who retired 30 years ago, there will be inherent discrimination against terms and conditions of service which would lead to discrimination under the Constitution”.

The department of pensions said successive pay commissions had “not supported the concept of OROP”. It pointed out that revised pay structures brought parity in pensions of jawans before and after 2006.

The department of personnel also said measures taken during the previous years had “already narrowed down the differences” in pension before and after 2006.

The finance ministry expressed the fear that sanctioning OROP to services personnel would trigger similar representations from the civilian workforce of the central and state governments. It said such a demand from civilian employees would raise the government’s pension spending to Rs 62,218 crore from the then Rs 7,840 crore.

The committee, however, said work conditions of civilian and armed forces personnel were different.

Contacted by The Indian Express on Friday, Koshyari, BJP MP from Nainital-Udhamsingh Nagar and a former Uttarakhand chief minister, said: “The Congress has no moral right to comment on the OROP issue. For 10 years, they did nothing about the issue despite a foolproof report by the committee I led. Even today, they are disowning the issue and seeking political mileage from the delay.”

He said the reasons that existed in 2011 exist even today but his party was committed to implementation of OROP. “It takes time. There are complexities. The party and party organs have said that OROP will be implemented.”

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