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Friday, 18 September 2015

From Today's Papers - 18 Sep 2015

Army teaches ‘restraint’ mantra to US
Washington, September 17
Indian soldiers participating in a joint Indo-US military exercise have impressed the American army leadership with their high professional skills especially the concept of “maximum restraint and minimum force”, top US army officials involved in the drill have said.

During the 11th exercise in “Yudh Abhyas” series, which started in 2004, the US soldiers have learned the mantra of maximum restraint and minimum force when it comes to counter-terrorism operations.

“One of the great mantras that we got (from the Indians) is the concept of maximum restrain minimum force,” said Lieutenant Colonel Teddy Kleisner from the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment.

Kleisner, who has been leading a team of US soldiers, said they have also learnt about the anti-infiltration security fence that India has on the border. — PTI
Intrusion inputs keep Army on toes
Schools in Samba closed as precautionary measure; Pak targets Poonch again
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, September 17
Following intelligence inputs of possible infiltration by a group of heavily armed Pakistani militants from across the international border in the_Samba sector, the Army has been put on high alert in the garrison town on the Jammu-Pathankot national highway.

As a precautionary measure to pre-empt a possible terror strike, the Army today closed a Kendriya Vidyalaya and an Army school in Samba, said a top Army source. Searches were still on and they were on high alert, he said.

“Agencies intercepted a telephonic conversation between suspected militants and their handlers in the Samba area. We thoroughly checked our target area, including hamlets close to the border, during the day, but found nothing. We are still on with our searches,” said the source.

If intelligence sources were to be believed, the infiltration had to take place on Wednesday night. Consequently, the Army launched search operations since Wednesday night. “We received a tip-off about infiltration by a group of armed militants. Our searches are on in the border area,” said an Army officer.

Meanwhile, Pakistani started shelling forward areas of Balakote in Poonch district this evening. No death or injury was reported on the Indian side so far.

“Pakistani soldiers have been raining 82-mm mortars on Indian positions and civilian areas, particularly Dharati, since 6:15 pm. The Army is retaliating in equal measure,” said an intelligence official. On July 27, suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists attacked Dinanagar in Punjab, killing an SP, three Home Guard jawans and three civilians.

The Jammu-Pathankot highway, dotted by several military installations, had always remained a prime target of Pakistani militants.

On March 20, four Lashkar militants in Army fatigues surfaced at Haria Chak nursery, close to the Indo-Pak border, in Hiranagar sub-sector of Kathua district. They divided themselves into groups of two each.

The first group struck Rajbagh police station on the Jammu-Pathankot highway the same day and killed two CRPF personnel, a policeman and two others. Ten others were injured in the attack.

On March 21, the second group tried to storm an Army camp in Samba on the Jammu-Pathankot highway during the wee hours. They were killed in a protracted gun battle that lasted over 11 hours.

Special forces of the Army conducted the operation.The twin attacks left nine people dead, including the four militants.

Meanwhile, Pakistan has started shelling forward areas of Balakote sector in Poonch this evening. “Pakistan has been raining 82 mm mortars on Indian positions and civilian areas since 6.15 PM today. The Army is retaliating in equal measure,” said an Intelligence official.No deaths or injuries on the Indian side have been reported so far.
UN Chief Ready to Throw Out Peacekeepers Over Sex Abuse Claims
United Nations, United States:  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Thursday he was ready to throw out entire peacekeeping units if their country fails to take action against soldiers accused of sexual abuse.

The warning was among a series of measures unveiled by the UN chief at a meeting with the 124 countries that contribute troops and police to UN peace missions worldwide.

"I will not hesitate to repatriate entire contingents or terminate deployments where there are failures in command and control, evidence of widespread or systematic violations, or when member-states fail repeatedly to respond to requests for investigations or to investigate promptly," Ban said.

The United Nations has been badly shaken by a string of sexual abuse claims targeting its peacekeepers, in particular in the Central African Republic, where many of the 17 allegations involve victims as young as 11.

Ban has moved to toughen the UN response to the crisis in peacekeeping but is heavily reliant on troop-contributing countries to do their part in confronting serious misconduct allegations.

Last month, Ban took the unprecedented step of firing the mission chief of the peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic over the wave of accusations, but new allegations have continued to surface.

In his address, Ban outlined seven measures that he said would help stamp out sexual abuse such as suspending pay to soldiers who face serious allegations.

The United Nations pays peacekeeping countries a stipend of about $1,000 per month per soldier who serves in their missions.

Ban proposed that the money from the suspended pay be transferred to a trust fund to help victims, a measure that is bound to meet some resistance from contributors.

Among the most controversial measures is a proposal to begin collecting DNA samples of peacekeepers to help with investigations and setting up courts-martial in the host country to allow justice to be witnessed.

Peacekeeping Summit

Peacekeeping nations must take "prompt and determined action" to prosecute their soldiers and ensure that the punishment is severe, Ban argued.

"I am frustrated that too few cases are prosecuted and sanctions are not nearly strong enough."

Under UN rules, it is up to member states to investigate and prosecute their soldiers who face serious accusations while serving under the UN flag.

The UN chief warned he was ready to name specific countries whose troops are accused of serious misconduct, a measure that troop-contributing nations have strongly opposed in the past.

The drive to clean up peacekeeping comes as US President Barack Obama is due to host a summit on September 28 on the sidelines of this year's annual gathering of world leaders at the United nations.

The United States, which foots the bill for nearly 30 per cent of the UN's $8 billion peacekeeping budget, hopes to draw European nations back to the blue helmets.

Britain is expected to announce a "significant" new contribution to peacekeeping, up from its current 250-member force serving in Cyprus, a British diplomat said.

In toughening the response to the sex abuse scandals, the UN chief is walking a fine line at a time when peacekeeping missions, in particular in Africa, rely on contingents with varying degrees of military discipline.

For instance, the Democratic Republic of Congo military, which has been accused of serious rights violations, is serving in the MINUSCA force in the Central African Republic.

Ban called for stronger vetting of soldiers and warned that any troops not meeting UN standards will be sent home at the country's expense.

More than 105,000 troops and police serve in the United Nations' 16 peacekeeping missions worldwide.

Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India and Pakistan are among the top troop-contributing nations.
We deserve OROP, but won't take to streets like Army veterans, say paramilitary servi
Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) want ‘One Rank, One Pension’ (OROP) too, similar to India’s defence forces, but they are in no hurry to hit the streets.

The CPMF personnel have already made representations to the Seventh Pay Commission and the Parliamentary Standing Committee. It’s learnt that the latter has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for its comment on the issue.
“The MHA’s report is awaited and once we get to know about it we’ll decide our course of action,” a retired Border Security Force (BSF) official said.

However, going by the response of Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh to a query on the subject on the floor of Rajya Sabha, it could be a long haul. “The government is not formulating any policy for implementing OROP for the paramilitary forces,” he had said in July.

CPMFs want to pursue the matter with patience while keeping a close watch on what the government announces for the defence personnel in its notification.

VPS Panwar, chairman, National Coordination Committee of Ex-Central Paramilitary Forces Personnel Welfare Association said, “CPMF veterans don't want to come out and demonstrate like Army veterans did. Right now we’re not pushing for the OROP issue and we want to give the government some time. Let it first issue notification on OROP for the armed forces. We don’t want to take this up haphazardly.”

There are close to nine lakh serving personnel in the CPMF comprising Central Reserve Police Force, BSF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Shastra Sena Bal, Assam Rifles and the Railway Protection Force. The number of retired personnel is three lakh.

In its representation, the CPMF has mentioned that since independence the Army has lost 22,500 soldiers in action while CPMFs have lost 33,678 of their personnel.

“Let it be emphatically clarified that the genesis of the CPMFs is the same as that of the country’s defence forces — Article 246, Seventh Schedule, entry two of the Union List to the Constitution of India. The CPMFs have been specifically defined as Armed Forces of the Union in various acts passed by Parliament and through various government orders. These forces have also been so upheld in various court judgments (including by the Supreme Court of India). We’re the first line of defence in the country, be it the Maoist-affected areas, the border with Pakistan or the insurgency-hit Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East states. So, we’re equally eligible to get the benefit of OROP similar to defence forces,” said Panwar.

MS Malhi, Inspector General (retd), BSF added, “No force has so high accountability as BSF because of its nature of job. We’ve a core group working on the issue of OROP and meanwhile, a representation has already been made to the Seventh Pay Commission.”

He questioned: “If OROP is possible for the army, why not for the BSF?”

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