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Friday, 25 September 2015

From Today's Papers - 25 Sep 2015

Govt to probe graft charges against Military Secretary
Gen VK Singh’s tweet triggers controversy; Army tries to clear air
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 24
The government is looking into allegations of corruption against a senior Army officer, top sources said today. A decision on the issue—if it merits a probe or not—is expected on Monday.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag returns next week from a visit to Russia and the decision may hinge upon a discussion between him and the minister.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is also aware of the issue after allegations of alleged corruption involving the Military Secretary (MS) looking after promotions, transfers and postings within the force surfaced on social media.

In response, the Army has said there seems to be some misinterpretation or misinformation making rounds on the present MS. It cited the Additional Director General Public Interface (ADGPI) saying “the rumours making rounds are false and malicious. All are requested not to fall prey to the false and malicious campaign being orchestrated against a General Officer of the Indian Army”.

The ministry has not instituted a formal inquiry into the case so far. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is looking into it. Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh (retd) has also tweeted his opinion on the matter. General Singh is a former Army Chief.

The minister has also spoken to General VK Singh (retd) after the former Army chief replied to a post on Twitter, seeking action in the alleged corruption case against the senior officer. Replying to a tweet regarding the news that the MS has been sent on leave till his retirement due to corruption, Singh had tweeted, “shame is too small to describe this. RM (a colloquial manner of addressing the Defence Minister) must come down hard to cleanse the system”.
MHA considering OROP request of paramilitary forces
Shaurya K Gurung

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 24

The Ministry of Home Affairs is considering the request of paramilitary forces to allow them the benefit under the “one rank, one pension” (OROP) scheme.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during a visit to the forward deployments of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) in Ladakh earlier this week, had assured the ITBP personnel that he would look into their demands for OROP, a better pension plan and military service pay (MSP). A sum of Rs 6,000 is given as MSP to every rank in the defence forces. The ITBP guards the India-China frontier, along with the Army.

“The Home Minister told ITBP personnel that he would take up their concerns with the Ministry of Home Affairs and then with the Director General, ITBP. He would take all their issues, including OROP, into consideration. This would take some time. First, the Ministry of Defence would have to sort out the OROP issue. If the defence forces have been granted OROP, the paramilitary forces should also get it,” explained an MHA official, privy to the developments.

The demand for OROP for the paramilitary forces is growing stronger by each passing day. Retired paramilitary forces personnel will stage a demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi from November 2 to raise their demand for OROP. Other issues that they want to raise include granting ex-servicemen status to them and exemption from the New Pension Scheme (NPS).
India Says 'Will Reply' If Pakistan Raises Kashmir Issue at UN General Assembly
New York:  India has said that it will 'reply' if Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raises the Kashmir issue in his address at the UN General Assembly scheduled for this month.

"When a statement comes from him (on Kashmir), then we will reply," said External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Earlier, a senior Pakistani diplomat in Islamabad said Mr Sharif is conscious about the importance of Kashmir and would raise the issue at the United Nations General Assembly.

The Pakistani diplomat also said the Pakistan Prime Minister, however, would offer several steps to de-escalate the tension and establish peace along the Line of Control (LoC).

Mr Sharif is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly on September 30.

Last year too, Mr Sharif had raised the Kashmir issue at the UN, evoking strong reaction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who protested to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, saying raising bilateral issues on such fora was not the way to resolve them.

The leaders of the two counties had met in Ufa earlier this year on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Summit hosted by Russia. The foreign secretary-level talks agreed on during the bilateral meeting were later cancelled after a disagreement over the agenda of talks.
India, Pakistan to follow tenets of 2003 ceasefire agreement: Army

NAGROTA : Asserting that India and Pakistan Armies have expressed concern over the safety and security of civilians who become target of the fire from both sides, a senior Army officer today said both the sides have agreed to follow the tenets of 2003 ceasefire agreement in letter and spirit.

"Various mechanisms will be set in place for maintaining peace and tranquility (along LoC in J&K). Both sides agreed to a lot of things and agreed to further continue this process so that the L ..

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Not just '65: Why India also needs to remember the 1962 war against China
Marking defeat may not be as easy as celebrating a victory, but it is necessary to learn from the past. Singapore's Total Defence Day is a good example.
Replicating scenes usually seen only during Republic Day, the might of India’s armed forces was on display at Rajpath this Sunday. Indian Air Force’s Sukhoi-30s and Dhruv helicopters enthralled the audience with various manoeuvres and formations while the Army had a parade, motorcycle acrobatics display and even a dog show. These were all a part of Shauryanjali, an exhibition commemorating the golden jubilee of the 1965 Indo-Pak war that is currently being held on the Rajpath. The exhibition also includes documentary screenings, pavilions dedicated to various battles of the 1965 war and displays of military equipment, both Indian as well as captured Pakistani trophies.

Apart from commemorating the 1965 war, one of the objectives of this spectacle was also to bridge the gap between the armed forces and civilians. The prime minister expressly urged members of the public to attend the event in his Mann Ki Baat address to the nation.

The rationale behind the celebrations seems to be that while the military’s unequivocal success in East Pakistan in 1971 and the more recent 1999 Kargil conflict find a prominent place in the public discourse today, the 1965 conflict seems to be largely forgotten.

Though opinions differ on whether it was a military success or a mere stalemate from India’s poinby t of view, the attempt to commemorate the valour of the armed forces in the 1965 war is laudable as it honours the sacrifices made by our men in uniform.

However, another important moment in modern Indian history, the humiliation suffered at the hands of the Chinese in 1962, remains completely out of the spotlight. While marking defeat may not be as easy as celebrating a victory, it is necessary to remember the dead and learn from the past.

Lesson from Singapore

Every year on February 15, Singapore celebrates Total Defence Day to mark the date on which 80,000 British troops surrendered the island to the Japanese in 1942. The day is marked not only by public events by the armed forces to demonstrate Singapore’s military preparedness but also by emphasising the role citizens play in civil defence, in times of war and peace.

In schools, colleges and at prominent public locations, demonstrations are held to educate the public about basic civil defence. This can range from routine skills like how to operate fire extinguishers and how to wear gas masks to how to take shelter during a bomb raid. These exercises cover situations of military conflict as well as skills and techniques useful during natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

Singapore’s "Total Defence" ideology consists of five catchphrases – military defence, civil defence, social defence, economic defence and psychological defence. The social and psychological aspects refer to the need for the citizens to stay united during crisis situations. On  February 15, events that encourage national unity and promote racial and religious harmony are held across the island. These emphasise that it is not the duty of the armed forces alone to protect the nation.

At 6.20 pm, the exact time when British forces surrendered on February 15, 1942, Singapore’s public warning system is used to sound a demonstration siren in order to educate residents about the sirens and the public warning system.

A disconnect

Despite efforts of the Defence Ministry in India, the 1965 war commemoration has largely remained a military event.

If the prime minister is serious about not just commemorating the armed forces but also creating a bridge between the military and the common man, India would do well to take a page out of Singapore’s book and celebrate a Defence Day of its own that involves not just the armed forces but also imparts knowledge and skills to the country's young people.
 Army nabs LeT terrorist in J&K’s Kupwara

Srinagar: After nabbing two Pakistani terrorists in separate operations, the Indian Army got yet another success on Wednesday when it apprehended a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist from Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir.
A senior defence official said that the army on Wednesday morning apprehended one LeT terrorist from Drushpura forests, Handwara in Kupwara district.

The LeT terrorists was spotted by a surveillance team of Rashtriya Rifles unit operating in the area. They discovered a man was moving “under suspicious circumstances” and before he could give the security forces a slip, he was apprehended, said the defence official adding that a 9 mm pistol was recovered from the possession of the nabbed terrorist.

After the arrest of the LeT terrorist, the security forces on investigation revealed his identity as one Bilal Ahmed Nazar, a resident of Chhan Mohalla, Badrahar (Kupwara).

On the information provided by the arrested LeT terrorist, an AK-47 rifle and other ammunition were recovered.

The arrested man has been handed over to police in Handwara who for further investigating into the matter.

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