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Tuesday, 8 September 2015

From Today's Papers - 08 Sep 2015

Pak Army Chief warns India of unbearable damage in war
Delhi hits back, says capable of taking every sort of action when needed
Islamabad/New Delhi, Sept 7
Calling Kashmir an “unfinished agenda”, Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has warned India of "unbearable damage" in case of a “long or short” misadventure by the "enemy". In response, New Delhi said the country “was capable of taking every sort of action when needed”.

Though General Sharif did not name India in a speech at the Army headquarters yesterday, the reference was obvious as his remarks came against a statement by Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag who said last week that the Indian Army was prepared for “swift, short nature of future wars”. “We are acutely aware that the short and swift nature of future wars is likely to offer limited warning time… It calls for maintaining high levels of operational preparedness at all times, something that has now become inherent in our operational strategy,” General Suhag had said.

In his address at a special event in Rawalpindi to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 war with India, General Sharif said, “Let me reiterate that our armed forces stand fully capable to defeat all sorts of external aggression. If the enemy ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale — short or long — it will have to pay an unbearable cost."

Reacting to General Sharif’s statement, Union Minister and former Indian Army Chief VK Singh said, “Many people have this habit of talking nonsense. We should not pay attention to everything. Let people say whatever they want, India is capable of taking every sort of action when needed.”

"Armed forces of Pakistan are fully capable of dealing with all types of internal and external threats, may it be conventional or sub-conventional; whether it is cold start or hot start. We are ready," General Sharif said. 

He also termed Kashmir as “unfinished agenda of Partition” and said it should be resolved according to UN resolution which calls for plebiscite to decide its future. He also warned that Kashmir could not be kept on the back-burner. The remarks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions and cross-border firing between Indian and Pakistani troops along the LoC recently. — Agencies
One killed in fresh shelling along LoC
Tribune News Service

Jammu/Poonch, September 7
Two days ahead of the DG-level talks between BSF and Pakistan Rangers, a civilian was killed and three others injured as the Pakistan Army pounded Indian posts and forward villages along the LoC in Sabzian sector of Poonch district today.

A 24-year-old youth, Abdul Hamid of Kerni Shahpur, was killed while the three others were injured after a shell exploded in a field where they were working at Bandi Chhaprian village.

Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Mehta said: “The Pakistan Army opened unprovoked firing in Poonch around 11 pm yesterday. They fired 82-mm mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. This morning they again opened firing and fired 120-mm mortars to target our areas.”

Villagers claimed the Pakistani troops, who have an advantage in Sabzian as their posts are on a higher altitude, wanted to hit an Army vehicle on the Mandi-Sabzian road. “The mortar missed the target and exploded in the field, killing Abdul,” they said.
Northern Army confirms life term to 2 officers, 4 soldiers
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, September 7
The Northern Army Commander has confirmed life imprisonment awarded to six Army men, including two officers, by an Army court for the killing of three youths in a fake encounter in Machil, Kashmir, in 2010. The incident had triggered a spate of violent protests in the Valley.

“General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt Gen DS Hooda, has confirmed the sentence of the Summary General Court Martial in the Machil encounter case. Colonel Dinesh Pathania, Captain Upendra, Havildar Devendra Kumar, Lance Naik Lakhmi, Lance Naik Arun Kumar and Rifleman Abbas Hussain have been awarded life imprisonment,” said a defence spokesperson. 

An Army source said following court martial proceedings, the sentence of life imprisonment had to be confirmed by the Northern Army Chief. On December 25, 2013, the Army had ordered court martial proceedings against the six personnel.

The incident came to light on April 30, 2010, when bodies of the youths were shown by the Army as those of militants trying to sneak into the Valley from the higher reaches of Machil.  However, it was established by the Jammu and Kashmir Police that they were unemployed youths — Mohamad Shafi, Shehzad Ahmed and Riyaz Ahmed — of Nadihal in Baramulla district.

In July 2010, the police had chargesheeted nine persons, including the six Army personnel. But the police had to hand over the probe to the Army after it was assured of a detailed inquiry into the case. Following an investigation, the Army ordered courtmartial proceedings against the six personnel. The encounter resulted in widespread unrest, which left over 120 persons dead.
Go beyond training manual, ’65 war hero tells IAF pilots
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Ambala, September 7
Fifty years after he shot down a Pakistani Sabre and damaged another in aerial combat, a veteran of the 1965 war has a time-tested lesson for the present and future generations of IAF pilots — Go beyond the training manual and be innovative.

“You need to know the training books, your capability and the capability of your machine backwards, but you also need to go beyond the books,” Flight Lieutenant Alfred Tyrone Cooke, who was decorated with the Vir Chakra during the war, said. The 75-year-old air ace, who is now settled in Australia, was at the Air Force Station, Ambala, to present his medal to his old unit, No.14 Squadron.

“The enemy pilots were aggressive, but they had their limitations,” he said. “They went by the book and their tactics were very structured and indicative of US training, whereas our training methodology was different, enabling us to pre-empt some maneuvers,” he said.

Carrying out a combat air patrol with his wingman over Dum Dum and Kaliakunda in the east on September 7, 1965, he was directed to intercept an attack by six Sabres. He took on three, while his wingman took on the others. “Sabres could turn quicker, but our Hunters were more powerful and faster,” Cooke said. “The fight was fast and furious with a lot of maneuvers and at times we were so close to each other that I could read the enemy pilot’s name stenciled on the back of his helmet and so low that my wingtip brushed the shrubs,” he said.

The aerial combat had lasted about 10 minutes, which to Cooke had then seemed as a lifetime. “I had fought on an empty stomach. When I took off for the first sortie, the breakfast van hadn’t arrived. On landing, I was told that the van had come and gone back, but no one remembered to save any food for me. So I grabbed a packet of biscuits before getting airborne again.”

Cooke had more anecdotes from that day . “A sergeant, on seeing a bent fin with pieces of shrubbery sticking to it threatened to report me to the commanding officer for flying too low, while another airman pointed to the black residue on the airframe and accused me of firing my guns,” he recalled. “On landing, I was still taxing on the runway when the engine cut out as the last drop of fuel was expended. That’s how close it was,” he said.
We firmly believe in peace but won’t tolerate unprovoked firing, says BSF
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, September 7
Amid warmongering by Pakistan’s Army chief General Raheel Sharif and an uneasy calm in forward areas, the BSF has put every inch of the 198-km-long international border under strict surveillance.

The ‘sensitive’ border runs from Paharpur in Kathua to the Chicken Neck area of Akhnoor in Jammu district.

Despite a spike in truce violations by Pakistan, both countries are scheduled to hold the Director General-level talks between the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers from September 9 to ease tension on the border and in the larger interest of their respective border population.

Since August 15, at least 10 persons have been killed and 42 injured in Pakistani shelling on the Line of Control and the international border.

In an exclusive interview to The Tribune, Inspector General of the BSF, Jammu Frontier, RK Sharma said the talks were on and the BSF was eagerly looking forward to them. “Talks are on and we are very positive about them. The situation as of today on the border appears to be normal during the day but at night there are certain mischievous activities by some inimical elements on their side,” said Sharma.

When asked if the BSF anticipated any attempt by Pakistan to scuttle the talks the way it called off the NSA-level talks, Sharma said: “Pakistan has agreed to hold the talks and no such symptoms are visible to us which can indicate any kind of sabotage.”

On truce violations by the Pakistan Rangers, he said the frequency had increased during the current year.

“Every third day, there is a violation. We lost two of our men in the Samba sector this year, one in shelling and the other in cross-border fire,” he said.

While the frequency of truce violations is high this year, we have put every inch of the international border under physical domination, he added. The BSF’s top officer of the Jammu Frontier admitted that incidents of sniper fire by the Rangers were a cause for concern.

“Leave aside sniper fire, any fire on the international border is not ethical and is against the UN conventions. Being a professional force, we strictly follow the rules and we hope that Pakistan will also follow them in letter and spirit,” said Sharma. “We firmly believe in peace and we don’t initiate the first fire. But, if we are fired upon, especially on our civilian areas, then we reserve the right to retaliate,” he added.

About militants on the other side of the border, he said it was not possible to give their exact figures. “There are terrorists in good numbers on their side who are waiting for an opportunity to sneak into our territory but the BSF is very alert and alive to the situation,” he said.

When asked how the BSF had been guarding against trans-border tunnels, he said since there was no foolproof technology to detect such underground tunnels, the BSF had put the entire border under physical domination.

“Every inch of the international border is under strict surveillance and any activity close to it on the other side is viewed very seriously by us. We immediately tell Rangers to stop such activities. To ensure anti-tunnelling activity, we regularly carry out manual checks on the entire border,” he said.

In 2013, a 540-metre-long trans-border tunnel was detected in Chalyari village of the Samba sector and on August 23 last year another tunnel running 50 metres into the Indian side was detected in the Pallanwala sector.

The paramilitary force has even deployed women guards on the sensitive border. “We have deployed women constables on the international border. Primarily, they are posted on the gates that lead towards Zero Line where farmers have their fields. Since womenfolk also have to go to the other side of the fence, we have deployed these women constables to frisk them,” he said.

However, these women constables also perform other border-guarding duties like their male colleagues.
Indian Army remembers soldiers who laid down life in 1965 war

POONCH (JK): Army today paid homage to the 49 brave soldiers and officers who laid down their lives while capturing the Raja and Rani posts from Pakistan in the 1965 war.

These two posts were captured by soldiers of 2 Sikh and 3 Dogra regiments who laid down their lives to capture these two strategically important posts from Pakistan army. The two posts were later returned to Pakistan following the Tashkent agreement between the two countries.

"Lt Gen G S Shergil, who is th ..

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