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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

From Today's Papers - 10 Nov 2015

No more concessions on OROP: Parrikar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
Even as ex-servicemen have expressed their dissatisfaction over the terms of the ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) scheme, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today ruled out any more concessions on OROP.

Parrikar said “This is democracy. Everyone has the right to demand. But the maximum... their main demand for same pension for same rank has been given. Rest is everything that we had declared (on September 5). Out of that, the confusion about VRS has been removed,” Parrikar said on the sidelines of a function in New Delhi. VRS is known as pre-mature retirement (PMR) in the forces.

The minister said the “basic core issue” had been addressed and if there was a problem, the judicial commission would look into that. He was replying to questions on veterans being unhappy with the OROP notification issued by the government on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Air Force Chief Arup Raha said the government had given directions on the OROP issue and everyone should accept it.

He said if anomalies were still persisting, these could be sorted out in due course of time. The notification does not include the demands for an annual equalisation of revised pension, for pegging the pension to the maximum of the current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving military personnel and ex-servicemen representatives.

Ex-servicemen, who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since June, rejected the notification. Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd), Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement spearheading the protest, had said, “The notification will not be acceptable to the rank and file. It is not one rank, one pension but one, rank, five pensions”.
J-K refuses a white paper on militancy
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 9
Much to the annoyance of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and despite massacres and fake encounters in the past over 25 years, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has refused to come out with a white paper on militancy.

While the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has so far remained a political slogan in the militancy-hit state, a report submitted by the state government to the Centre on March 19 this year cited ‘lame’ excuses, avoiding the white paper on militancy.

The parliamentary committee, it its report, felt that “though all information on militancy in J&K may have been well documented, all facts should be brought out in the form of a white paper covering all developments in the matter in a single document for public information”.

The state government, in its response, felt that it was not advisable at this stage to issue any white paper on the militancy in J&K.

However, the parliamentary panel was not in agreement with the view put forth by the state government.

It stated that “in an age when movement for transparency is gaining momentum and the country has witnessed a quantum leap in this direction, such orthodox views should not find place in a democracy. When the whole world has begun to appreciate India’s views on terrorism and regard the country as one of the most suffered victims of terrorism, bringing a white paper should not be a cause for concern”.

The parliamentary panel submitted in its 184th report on the action taken by the state government in March this year.

The state has witnessed selective killings and fake encounters in the past 25 years.

On January 21 this year, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had made a fresh demand for establishing a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the state for addressing the concerns of both Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims affected by militancy.

In March 2011, Omar as Chief Minister had suggested setting up of the commission to probe deaths and destructions in militancy-related violence in the state. The Kashmiri Pandit community observed 25 years of its mass exodus on January 19, 2015.
Pak invites India for conference on Afghanistan
Islamabad, November 9
Pakistan has invited External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for a crucial regional conference here on Afghanistan, a move that could provide an opportunity for the two neighbours to mend their frosty ties.

The ‘Heart of Asia’ conference will be held on December 7 and 8, where representatives from Azerbaijan, China, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the UAE are expected to attend.

Pakistan has also sent an invitation to Swaraj, the Express Tribune reported. “A formal invitation has been sent to India and 25 other countries for the Heart of Asia ministerial meeting on Afghanistan to be hosted by Pakistan,” a senior Foreign Office official was quoted as saying by the paper.

An Indian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed New Delhi has received the invitation but said the decision on whether the External Affairs Minister will attend the conference has yet to be taken, the paper said.

He said India is likely to send a high-level delegation headed by the minister given the conference’s importance. The meet provides a moment to unfold the process for a dialogue between the two countries after recent hiccups in their ties.

Indo-Pak ties are going through a chill particularly after cancellation of NSA-level talks following differences over the agenda proposed by Islamabad, and a planned meeting between Kashmiri separatists and Pakistan’s National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz.

India has also accused Pakistan of repeated ceasefire violations and of having a hand in recent terror incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, who were staying in the same hotel during their stay in New York in September for the UN General Assembly, did not meet on the sidelines of the summit.

Modi and Sharif had last met in Ufa, Russia, in July on the sidelines of the BRICS and SCO summits.

It is believed that Prime Minister Modi may be ready for talks with Pakistan after Bihar elections, where his party could not repeat the success it had in Kashmir last year, the paper said,

citing analysts.
The Afghan conference will discuss the current situation in Afghanistan with particular focus on helping the war-torn country’s economy. — PTI
The Pakistan Nuclear Nightmare: New York Times Editorial
With as many as 120 warheads, Pakistan could in a decade become the world's third-ranked nuclear power, behind the United States and Russia, but ahead of China, France and Britain. Its arsenal is growing faster than any other country's, and it has become even more lethal in recent years with the addition of small tactical nuclear weapons that can hit India and longer-range nuclear missiles that can reach farther.

These are unsettling truths. The fact that Pakistan is also home to a slew of extremist groups, some of which are backed by a paranoid security establishment obsessed with India, only adds to the dangers it presents for South Asia and, indeed, the entire world.

Persuading Pakistan to rein in its nuclear weapons program should be an international priority. The major world powers spent two years negotiating an agreement to restrain the nuclear ambitions of Iran, which doesn't have a single nuclear weapon. Yet there has been no comparable investment of effort in Pakistan, which, along with India, has so far refused to consider any limits at all.

The Obama administration has begun to address this complicated issue with greater urgency and imagination, even though the odds of success seem small. The meeting at the White House on Oct. 22 between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan appears to have gone nowhere. Yet it would be wrong not to keep trying, especially at a time of heightened tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir and terrorism.

What's new about the administration's approach is that instead of treating the situation as essentially hopeless, it is casting about for the elements of a possible deal in which each side would get something it wants. For the West, that means restraint by Pakistan and greater compliance with international rules for halting the spread of nuclear technology. For Pakistan, that means some acceptance in the family of nuclear powers and access to technology.

At the moment, Pakistan is a pariah in the nuclear sphere to all but China; it has been punished internationally ever since it followed India's example and tested a weapon in 1998. Pakistan has done itself no favors by refusing to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and by giving nuclear know-how to bad actors like North Korea. Yet, it is seeking treatment equal to that given to India by the West.

For decades, India was also penalized for developing nuclear weapons. But attitudes shifted in 2008 when the United States, seeking better relations with one of the world's fastest-growing economies as a counterweight to China, gave India a pass and signed a generous nuclear cooperation deal that allowed New Delhi to buy U.S. nuclear energy technology.

U.S. officials say they are not offering Pakistan an India-like deal, which would face stiff opposition in Congress, but are discussing what Pakistan needs to do to justify U.S. support for its membership in the 48-nation Nuclear Supplier Group, which governs trade in nuclear fuel and technology.

As a first step, one U.S. official said, Pakistan would have to stop pursuing tactical nuclear weapons, which are more likely to be used in a conflict with India and could more easily fall into the hands of terrorists, and halt development of long-range missiles. Pakistan should also sign the treaty banning nuclear weapons tests.

Such moves would undoubtedly be in Pakistan's long-term interest. It cannot provide adequate services for its citizens because it spends about 25 percent of its budget on defense. Pakistan's army, whose chief of staff is due to visit Washington this month, says it needs still more nuclear weapons to counter India's conventional arsenal.

The competition with India, which is adding to its own nuclear arsenal, is a losing game, and countries like China, a Pakistan ally, should be pushing Pakistan to accept that. Meanwhile, Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, has done nothing to engage Islamabad on security issues, and he also bears responsibility for current tensions. The nuclear arms race in South Asia, which is growing more intense, demands far greater international attention.
Army Cloud: Defence Minister inaugurates encrypted cloud system for the Indian Army
A highly encrypted cloud system of the Indian Army that will store personnel as well operational data, was on Monday inaugurated by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in line with the force’s plan to be a “digital army”.

The ‘Army Cloud’ includes a central date centre, a near line data centre, both in Delhi and a disaster recovery site for a replication of its critical data along with virtualised servers and storage in an environmentally controlled complex.
This is similar to ‘Meghraj’, the cloud system of National Informatics Centre, and will provide all information technology infrastructure, including servers for computing, storage, network security equipment centrally for automation of Indian Army.

Army officials said the latest technology in the field has been incorporated in the implementation of the first-ever software defined date centre, wherein all the resources could be provisioned to different applications on the cloud with the click of a button.

Another ‘Digital Army Initiative’ which was also inaugurated was ‘Digi-Locker’, provides a secure and exclusive data storage space to all the units and formation headquarters of the army over its dedicated data network.

The digi-locker of the army is similar to e-Locker of Digital India programme and has all the features like digital signatures and watermarking. This is an important step towards implementation of cyber-security as it prelude to carrying of soft copies of data on CDs/DVDs and removable media, the officials said.

They said that the infrastructure and platforms being made available for automation and digitisation will catalyse the pace of digitisation in all branches of the army and is a landmark towards transforming Indian Army from a platform-centric to network-centric force, which would leverage the technology as a force multiplier.
Indian Army receives 2 BEL-made L70 upgrade guns

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Chennai, Nov 09: Furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make in India mission, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) recently flagged off the first two numbers of L70 upgraded guns. Designed, developed and manufactured by BEL, the guns were flagged of from the company's Chennai facility. BEL had won the Rs 575-crore order for the L70 gun upgrade in a global open tender issued by the Indian Army. Later, the systems cleared a series of field trials ahead of the user finally accepting them. BEL claimed that the guns were rolled out ahead of the stipulated timeline of nine months.

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The Company, along with the Ordnance Factory Board, is expected to deliver 200 upgraded guns in the next three years. Gun boasts of fusion of technologies "The L70 gun upgrade is a fusion of the latest technologies in the areas of electrical servo drives, electro optical fire control system and video tracking, which only a few global companies have mastered," says a BEL official. He said the BEL stuck to the order plan right from the beginning, to ensure timely delivery. "Right from designing the upgrade to establishing a production line, the project was meticulously executed," the official added. Among the systems designed in-house included, processor and interface boards, power amplifiers, stabilized pedestal, high precision mechanical subsystems, video tracker and fire control solutions. BEL deputed a cross functional team of engineers from all disciplines for the speedy delivery of L90 guns.

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