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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

From Today's Papers - 06 Oct 2015

IAF takes a tech leap in space
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 4
In what will be a technological leap for the Indian Air Force, a satellite-based information gathering system, aided by “network centric” operations — interlinking of all ground bases, radars, planes and sensors — will soon be in place. This will enable pan-India real-time transmission of imagery and enemy targets. The work on both is underway and is running concurrently.

The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall Arup Raha, addressing a press conference in the National Capital yesterday, explained the contours of this technology leap that is underway. “We will have enough satellites for communication, navigation, targeting and imagery. Four of the IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) have been launched and a total of seven will be launched,” he said.

The IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system run by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and will provide encrypted service.

The space-based system will be implemented in phases and all are running concurrently, the IAF chief said. On being asked if the space-based system will have an offensive capability, the IAF chief said “that I am not able to tell you as of now”. China has an offensive space-based technology and the US has red-flagged this issue.

Raha listed out the second aspect of the network capabilities. “In 2-3 years time, we will be fully networked. The government has approved the IACCCS (integrated air command, control and communications system)”.

The IACCS, which was functioning on the western front, would soon cover the air space over the entire country and island territories by integrating all resources, said Raha.

Sources said the system was a combination of surveillance platforms and integrated the ability to use data and images in real-time across many battlefields. This is an IAF-owned, operated, fully secure, reliable network that will use the AF-Net an optic-fibre based network created in collaboration with US-based Cisco Systems, HCL Infosystems Ltd and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

The IACCS, by using the AFNet, will receive at a central place, direct real-time feeds from existing space-based overhead reconnaissance satellites.
Two Jaish militants killed in Pulwama encounter
Suhail A Shah

Anantnag, October 4
Two Pakistani members of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, including the militant group’s commander, were today killed in a brief encounter with security forces in the volatile Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

The militants have been identified as 35-year-old Adeel Pathan and 25-year-old Chota Burmi. Awantipora Superintendent of Police Muhammad Irshad confirmed the identities of the slain militants.

According to the police reports, a joint cordon by the Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles and the special operations group of the police was laid in Haeri village of the Tral area on Sunday afternoon following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants in the area. “Militants were holed up in a residential house, which was cordoned off and contact was established with them,” said a senior police officer who was part of the operation. He said the militants tried to sneak out of the house while firing indiscriminately.

“They were however intercepted and shot dead just outside the house they were hiding in,” the police officer said. The bodies of the militants have been retrieved and the identification process completed.

The cordon was still intact while this report was being filed and searches were being conducted in the area. The police have recovered at least two AK-47 rifles along with ammunition. The police maintain that the killing of Pathan and Burmi was a serious blow to the Jaish’s overall presence in south Kashmir.

“They had only a few people among their ranks and with the killing of these two the group stands almost wiped out,” said a police official.

Pathan had been active in the Valley since infiltrating into it in 2013. Initially, operating from north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, he was heading a group of around 10 Pakistani nationals. He shifted base to Tral in 2014 after most of his accomplices in Kupwara were killed, and has been heading the outfit in south Kashmir since then.

He had been working in close coordination with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen members in south Kashmir. The Jaish-e-Mohammad has been founded by Pakistani national Maulana Masood Azhar, who was captured by security forces only to get released during the 1999 Kandahar hijacking along with two other militants.
'Russian Air Strikes Vital, Else Middle East Will be Destroyed'
Damascus, Syria:  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in comments broadcast on Sunday that the success of Russia's military intervention in his country's civil war was vital for the whole Middle East.

"The alliance between Russia, Syria, Iraq and Iran must succeed or else the whole region will be destroyed," he said in an interview broadcast by Iranian state television.

Russia on Wednesday launched air strikes in Syria in a move Moscow insists is aimed at fighting the Islamic State group.

But opponents including the United States claim Russian bombing raids are mainly targeting Western-backed moderate opponents of Mr Assad.

"The chances of success for this coalition are great and not insignificant," Mr Assad said in his interview, according to an extract posted on Twitter, warning that the price Syria's allies pay "will certainly be high".

He called on Western countries, which have along with Gulf allies carried out air strikes on IS in Syria since September 2014, to join forces in order to fight extremism.

"If these states join the fight against terrorists in a serious and sincere manner, at least in terms of stopping them getting support, we will achieve results much faster," Mr Assad said.

Western and Gulf countries insist Assad must step down after presiding over more than four years of civil war.

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