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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

From Today's Papers - 03 Nov 2015

Two soldiers dead in Pak firing at LoC
Azhar Qadri

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 2
Two Indian soldiers were killed on the Line of Control (LoC) today as Pakistani troops attacked a forward post in remote Gurez sector of north Kashmir.

An Army spokesman said the soldiers, Tariq Ahmad Lone and Wasim Ahmad Lone, both residents of Bandipora district in J&K, were manning the forward post, the first line of defence along the LoC which are often positioned opposite to Pakistani posts.

The Army has described the incident as a “major ceasefire violation” ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state on November 7.

Sources said the possibility of the Pakistani army facilitating infiltration of militants  by providing covering fire could not be ruled out. After the firing, the Army launched a search operation in the area.

The slain soldiers belonged to Territorial Army and were on deputation with Rashtriya Rifles, the sources said.  The spokesman said a “befitting retaliation” was carried out.

Modi will visit Srinagar where he will address a rally at a cricket stadium. The security grid has been put on alert in the region and patrolling has been intensified.
Paramilitary staff begin OROP stir
Retired paramilitary forces personnel began their three-day protest here today to demand “one rank, one pension” (OROP) and service conditions similar to the defence forces.

The protest is being spearheaded by the All-India Central Paramilitary Forces (AICPMF) Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association, which represents the five paramilitary forces—Central Reserve Police Force, Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force and Assam Rifles.

“We are at the border throughout the year and we die in combat. We should also be granted ex-servicemen status, which will ensure that we get facilities from the states,” said PS Nair, national general secretary, AICPMF Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association.

These personnel are also demanding that paramilitary forces be given the “retirement pension”, which was 50 per cent of the last pay drawn. Currently the paramilitary forces are receiving the New Pension Scheme, which is applicable to those appointed on or after January 1, 2004. Under the scheme, officials have to contribute 10 per cent of their salary and the government will also make an equal contribution.

The paramilitary forces are only given CGHS facilities. “These facilities are inaccessible to the personnel who are staying at a state’s remote districts as they are only located at the capital,” explained P Sourabhan, association secretary.

GS Virk, retired ITBP Deputy Inspector General, said the paramilitary forces should also be given CSD facilities as the goods sold at the Central Police Canteen were not cheap like the ones sold in the CSD.
NCC girls have just 4 reserved seats in Army
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
The government is focusing on women’s empowerment and envisions a greater role for them in the armed forces, but a large number of NCC girls aspiring to become Army officers are unable to fulfill their dream because of an extremely limited number of vacancies available to them.

There are only four vacancies reserved for girls in each course under the NCC Special Entry Scheme for C-Certificate holders at the Officers Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, that imparts training to candidates selected for short service commission. On the other hand, there are 50 seats reserved for boys in this category.

“For the 39th Course commencing shortly, there are 271 girls from this region alone that have applied against the four vacancies,” Maj Gen GS Chima, Additional Director General NCC, who heads the Punjab, Haryana, HP and Chandigarh Directorate, said. “If we consider NCC’s 16 other directorates across the country, the number of girls applying would be several thousand,” he added. Major General Chima said while a large number of eligible girls lose out the chance to become officers, 10-15 vacancies for boys in each course remain unfilled as many aspirants fail to meet the stipulated criteria. Fro the aforementioned course, 686 boys from this region had applied.

Two courses commence at the OTA every year, with the annual vacancies being eight for girls and 100 for boys. Applicants under the NCC scheme need not undergo any written entrance exam, but are directly called for interview by the SSB.
Willing to work with India, Pakistan on terror: China
Beijing, November 2
Ahead of Sino-India talks on counter- terrorism, China today expressed “willingness” to work with both India and Pakistan in the fight against terror, raising hopes that it may take up with its all-weather ally New Delhi’s concerns about cross-border terrorism.

Responding to reports that the Indian government this time would push for greater cooperation from China on counter-terrorism, including pressuring Pakistan to act on terrorist groups based in that country, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said counter-terrorism cooperation played an important role in India-China relations.

“You mentioned Pakistan. Counter-terrorism cooperation is also part and parcel of China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership. The two sides are in sound cooperation in this regard,” she said referring to Pakistan military crackdown on East Turkistan Islamic Movement militants who carried out violent attacks in China’s Xinjiang province bordering Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.

Under pressure from China, Pakistan army launched air and ground operation called Zarb-e-Azb in Waziristan and other tribal areas where Xinjiang’s separatist Uyghur militants affiliated to Al-Qaida operated.

During his last month’s visit to Beijing, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that there were a “small number” of them (militants) in tribal areas. — PTI
Russia and India sign protocol on broader defense cooperation
The defense ministers of Russia and India, Army Gen. Sergei Shoigu and Manohar Parrikar, respectively, have signed a document aimed at developing military-technical cooperation, a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry told reporters on Nov. 2.

"Following a meeting of the commission, a protocol was signed aimed at developing Russia and India's bilateral relations in the military-technical sphere," the spokesperson said.

At a Nov. 2 meeting of the intergovernmental Russian-Indian commission for military-technical cooperation, the two defense ministers discussed the possibility of broadening arms and military-hardware projects, increasing the number and scale of bilateral military drills and cooperation in the field of military education.

In addition, the minister noted the great potential for the two countries' cooperation in missile and naval technologies and aircraft-building, the spokesperson said.

"The heads of the defense ministries noted the great potential for cooperation on missile and naval technologies, aircraft-building, ship-building and upgrading the equipment of ground forces," the defense ministry spokesperson told reporters.
Uber partners Indian Army welfare body to enrol ex-servicemen
US-based taxi hailing platform Uber today said it has inked a pact with Army Welfare Placement Organisation (AWPO) under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to create opportunities for ex-servicemen on its platform.

AWPO assists in the placement of Indian Army ex-servicemen in private sector jobs and provide entrepreneurship opportunities.

As part of the partnership, AWPO will refer potential ex-servicemen who wish to become driver-partners on the Uber platform.

This will create driver partner opportunities for over one lakh ex-servicemen and women on the Uber platform through AWPO referrals.

"At AWPO, we believe everyone who has served our country deserves the dignity to be able to support themselves when they return to the civilian workforce. That's why we're proud to be working with Uber to extend flexible, well paid work to thousands of our ex-service members," AWPO MD Major General Deepak Sapra said.

Uber unveiled its UberMILITARY campaign in the US in September last year and was open to service members, veterans and military spouses. It had said it would on-board 50,000 members over the next 18 months.

"At Uber, we understand that members of our armed forces are some of the nation's most talented, committed and skilled people. It is our honour to extend our hand and provide access to opportunities for entrepreneurship and empowerment," Uber India President Amit Jain said.

In India, Uber's rival Ola had launched a programme -- Ola Sainik -- in August this year and said it plans to enroll 10,000 ex-servicemen by 2020.

One of the world's largest e-tailers, Amazon also runs a similar talent development programme for ex-service personnel in India.

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