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Saturday, 1 August 2015

From Today's Papers - 01 Aug 2015

Lt Gen Gurdeep Singh is COS of Western Command
Chandigarh, July 31
Following the retirement of Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen Philip Campose and Lt Gen MMS Rai moving from the Eastern Command to take over the post, the postings of several other lieutenant generals are also being effected by Army Headquarters.

Lt Gen Gurdeep Singh, who was serving as Commandant of the Army War College, Mhow, will take over as Chief of Staff (COS) of the Chandimandir headquartered Western Command. He will replace Lt Gen V Menon, a sapper officer. Lt Gen NPS Hira, currently posted as General Officer Commanding, 11 Corps, is tipped to take over as the Chief of Staff, Northern Command in place of Lt Gen Parveen Bakshi, who has been elevated as Army Commander and posted as the head of the Eastern Command.. — TNS
Intake of women officers in Army declining
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The government is considering an increased role for women in the armed forces, but the intake of women officers in the army has seen a consistent decline since 2011. The downward trend comes even as the overall shortage of officers in the army has increased vis-a-vis last year.

The number of short service (SSC) women officers commissioned into the army was 166 in 2011, which came down to 104 in 2014, according to latest figures released by the Ministry of Defence. Till July this year 39 women SSC officers have been commissioned.

During his visit to Mohali on July 25, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had expressed concern over the “low participation” of women in the armed forces and announced that in the next one or two months, a number of decisions regarding role and participation of women in the services would be taken by the government. Official sources said that the intake depends upon the overall number of vacancies available and is also commensurate with annual wastages. The number of women SSC officers leaving the services has also seen a downward trend, the figure coming down from 60 in 2011 to 12 in 2014. The number of women officers leaving the army varied from 11 per cent to 36 per cent of the intake during the particular year in this period.

While a permanent commission has been introduced for women Army officers in the Judge Advocate General’s Department and the Education Branch, they first have to join as SSC officers and are considered for permanent commission only after the end of their SSC tenure.

The decline in the intake of SSC officers in the army, including male officers, come in the backdrop of the overall shortage going up from 8,455 officers last year to 9,642 this year. Though the situation has improved from 2010, when the shortage was 26 per cent of the authorised strength as compared to 17.77 per cent last year, the spurt in shortage this year is being attributed to an increase in the authorised strength due to force accretion and new raisings.

The situation is better in the Air Force, which, according to MOD’s latest figures, no longer has any officer shortage. The intake of women SSC officers in the Air force has, on the other hand, increased over the past years and in fact from 2013 to 2015, more women SSC officers have been commissioned than SSC males.
ISIS_ abducts 4 Indians in Libya; 2 freed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 31
Efforts mounted by India today led to the release of two of the four Indians who were allegedly kidnapped by the ISIS, Islamic State terror outfit, while they were on the way back to the country from Tripoli, Libya on Wednesday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced the release of the two Indians through Twitter. “Four Indians abducted in Libya — I am happy we have been able to secure the release of Lakshmikant and Vijay Kumar. Trying for other two."

The two Indians have been brought back to safety in the University of Sirte while efforts were on to secure the release of the other two, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

"Two days ago, on July 29 at around 11 pm, our mission in Tripoli came to know that four Indian nationals, who were returning to India via Tripoli and Tunis, were detained at a checkpoint approximately 50 km from Sirte.

Of the four Indian nationals, two are from Hyderabad, one from Raichur and one from Bengaluru. Three of them were faculty members at the Sirte University and one was working at the Sirte University branch in Jufra," the spokesperson said.
Shift in nature of terrorism worries former RAW chief
Naveen S Garewal

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The hanging of Yakub Memon will have repercussions in Kashmir and other parts of the country, said former head of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) AS Dulat. He expressed concern over the shift in the nature of terrorism in the Valley over the last six months, which included growing influence of the ISIS and its attraction among influential youth.

Dulat was speaking at a roundtable on Perspective on Kashmir: A Way Forward at the Institute for Development and Communication (IDC).

The former RAW chief, who has 27 years of experience in dealing with the Kashmir issue, said when he was first posted to Kashmir the ultras in the form of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) were easily identifiable, but today the father did not know his son’s activities, brother did not know what his sibling was doing and educated youth, including doctors and engineers, were being attracted to the gun out of sheer sense of hopelessness with the system.

He felt that no one was clear as to where the PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir was headed. But he hoped that the Centre would give the state government at least three years before considering any change in support to the PDP. This alliance, he said, can reduce polarisation in the state. At the same time he felt that the Centre should not push CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed much because if the Mufti quits, the ground reality in Kasmir will take a dip for the worse.

While his book ‘Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years’ was being discussed, he said that Pakistan could not be wished away from the Kashmir issue. However, support for Pakistan fluctuated in the valley based on how India dealt with the state. He advised the Centre to deal with a little more sensitivity and provide “Kashmiris a dignified exit from a hard-line stand” as none wanted to align with Pakistan. “But when Kashmir is not treated well the ISIS and Pakistan flags come out”.

Former Army Chief Gen VP Malik said many Muslims from the valley had moved to the safer Doda region.
Pak shells five posts in Poonch
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 31
Four days after the Dinanagar attack and killing of a soldier in sniper fire in the Krishna Ghati (KG) sector along the Line of Control in Poonch district on July 29, Pakistan troops used automatic weapons’ fire and rained mortars on five Indian posts in the same sector last night.

Indian soldiers retaliated in equal measure and the intermittent gun duel went on throughout the night before guns fell silent on both sides.

However, there was no loss of life or injury to the Indian troopers in the latest skirmish.

Two BSF jawans were killed in similar incidents along the LoC in the Kashmir valley in recent times.

“Pakistan troops, in another truce violation, rained mortars on Indian posts in the KG sector of Poonch district on Thursday evening. From 6.15 pm till 7.50 pm, Pak used small arms fire and then from 8 pm to 8.20 pm they fired 82 mm mortar shells on five of our posts. We also retaliated in equal measure and targeted six of their posts - Fatima, Badr, Billi, Roza, Peer and Pimple posts,” said defence sources.

The troops of the 651 Mujahid Regiment on these posts had initiated the first fire drawing troops of 22 Sikh Regiment to retaliate in equal measure, they added.

A defence spokesperson said Pakistan troops fired 82 mm mortars and the Indian troops retaliated with 81 mm mortars. “After trading mortar fire, exchange of small arms fire ended late in the night,” he added.

An Intelligence source, however, said that intermittent fight went on throughout the night. This was the third ceasefire violation in less than 24 hours.

There have been 18 ceasefire violations along the Indo-Pak border in July so far. Since July 15, Pak troops and Rangers have been regularly opening sniper fire and heavy fire on Indian posts and forward villages.

Meanwhile, the BSF opened preventive fire along the international border in the Samba sector after they noticed suspicious movement. “Last night, the BSF personnel observed some suspicious movement near the Khora post and fired three to four rounds to prevent possible attempts of infiltration,” said a BSF source.
Masked youth wave IS, Pak flags in Srinagar after Friday prayers
Mirwaiz terms Yaqub Memon’s hanging as ‘murder of justice’
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 31
For the fifth time in a row, masked youth waved Islamic State (IS) flags in downtown Srinagar after Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid, where moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the hanging of 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memon.

Alongside IS flags, Lashkar and Pakistani flags were also waved in the area today by the masked youth whose identity and antecedents are not know.

Masked youth had waved IS_flags in the Nowhatta area of Srinagar soon after the Friday prayers were over in Jamia Masjid laat week.

Earlier on three occasions — May 22, June 12 and July 17 — IS_and Pakistani flags were also waved by the protesting and masked youth in Srinagar.

The routine waving of these flags and stone throwing after Friday prayers are resented by the moderate group of the Hurriyat Conference._Mirwaiz has on an earlier occasion said there should no protests in the Jamia Masjid area without programme.

However, these calls have not been heeded by the protesting youth. Hurriyat insiders and the police are also of the view that most of the youth who resort to stone-throwing and waving of flags belong to the radical organisations.

“The youth who indulge in protests and stone throwing in the Jamia Masjid area are mostly outsiders and come from far-off places,” said a police official, adding that the protests by these people is also being resented by locals in the downtown.

Meanwhile, moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq today termed the hanging of Yaqub Memon as “unfortunate” and “murder of justice”. He was talking to the reporters outside Jamia Masjid.

“The hanging is unfortunate and murder of justice,” Mirwaiz said, while questioning “why the culprits behind the Gujarat riots, Malegoan blasts and Mumbai riots are not being punished to satisfy the collective conscience of the nation.”

Earlier in the day, Hurriyat leaders and activists also held a protest demonstration in the Press Enclave area of the city against the hanging of Memon and to highlight the plight of Kashmiri prisoners lodged in Kashmir and outside jails.

However, Hurriyat leaders, including former JKLF commander Javed Mir, Shahid-ul-Islam, Ghulam Nabi Zaki and others, were prevented by the police from moving forward and taken into custody. In the melee, Javed Mir also got injured and was later admitted to a city hospital for treatment, a Hurriyat spokesman said.

A protest was also held here by leaders and activists of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat headed by Syed Ali Geelani, who continues to be under house arrest at his Hyderpora residence. The protest, a Hurriyat spokesman said, was also a mean to show solidarity with the Muslims of Jammu.

At Kashmir University, students offered “Gaibana Nimaz-i-Jinazah” (funeral prayers in absentia) for Yakub Memon and Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Omar.
Tension on LoC after Pakistani snipers kill Indian army soldier
Pakistani army violated the border ceasefire again when its snipers killed the Indian army soldier on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in the Jammu division on Wednesday night.

The incident occurred on Wednesday night when Pakistani army sniped at the Indian army jawan who was guarding his post along the LoC. The jawan suffered grievous injuries and was shifted to the hospital where he succumbed.

“There was a sniper fire from across the (LoC) in which one of our solider was martyred. The jawan was in the post when they (Pakistan army) sniped at him,” Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu, told dna.

Indian army exercised restrain and did not retaliate to Pakistani provocation. “We did not retaliate,” said Lt Col Mehta.

The fresh ceasefire violation comes 12 days after Pakistani army pounded civilian areas to disrupt the Eid revelry in Shahpur and Qasba villages of Poonch district injuring five people including three women.

Official figures reveal that there have been 199 ceasefire violations from January 1 to June 30 2015 in which two soldiers and two civilians were killed. Last year 583 ceasefire violations took place in which four jawans and 13 civilians were killed. Official figures reveal there have been 347 ceasefire violations from Pakistan in 2013 in which 10 jawans were killed.

“All violations of ceasefire are taken up with Pakistan military authorities at the appropriate level through the established mechanism of hotlines, flag meetings as well as weekly talks between the Directorate Generals of Military Operations of the two countries. BSF, too, holds talks at various levels with its counterpart viz. Pakistan Rangers,” said Colonel SD Goswami defence spokesman at Northern Command, quoting the reply of defence minister Manohar Parrikar in Rajya Sabha.

Colonel Goswami added, “Diplomatically, India has repeatedly emphasised, the need for Pakistan to uphold the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC) and abide by the ceasefire commitment of 2003 along the International Border and LoC.”

On Thursday evening, Pakistani army resorted to unprovoked firing on the Indian forward posts at 6.15 pm in Krishna Ghati Sector of Poonch district.
"Our troops are responding appropriately. No casualty or damage has been reported till now,” said Lt Col Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu

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