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Sunday, 6 December 2015

From Today's Papers - 06 Dec 2015

Delhi cops uncover Lashkar’s ‘fidayeen’ plot to target VVIPs
Police identify two J&K-based operatives; several Indian cities on radar
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 5
The Delhi Police special cell today claimed to have uncovered a terror plot involving two alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives based in Jammu & Kashmir who have been attempting to carry out "fidayeen" attacks targeting high-profile persons in Delhi and other parts of the country.

The operatives, yet to be arrested, have been identified as Dujana and Ukasha. The police said they were using code names ‘Noman’, ‘Zaid’ and ‘Khursheed’.

A special cell investigator said the matter came to light four days ago following a tip-off that the LeT may try to help its cadres reach Delhi for the terror strikes.

“We have inputs that the LeT has infiltrated terrorists into India through Jammu & Kashmir and other border areas,” he said. 

“The two Lashkar operatives were living in Kashmir for quite some time. We have learnt that their main aim is to target VVIPs either through fidayeen or grenade attacks... They may carry out the attack themselves  or use their recruits,” said the officer.

It is also suspected that they may target crowded areas in Delhi.

The special cell has been using its sources to gather more information about the Lashkar men and their sympathisers in the country. An FIR has been registered.

In July, the special cell had registered a similar FIR against unidentified persons conspiring to target the national capital.
ISI spy ring: J&K teacher held
Tribune News Service

Rajouri/New Delhi, Dec 5
The crime branch of the Delhi Police today arrested a schoolteacher for his alleged involvement in the recently busted ISI-supported espionage network on the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indian Army deployments in the state.

The man has been identified as Sabar, who is a teacher at a government school in Rajouri, J&K. He was apprehended from Rajouri and booked under the Official Secrets Act. Sabar’s arrest is the fourth one in this case.

Sources said a team of the crime branch had been camping in Rajouri for the past few days. The team today raided the house of Sabar, whose name was figured during the sustained interrogation of Abdul Rashid, a serving BSF head constable, and Kafait Ullha Khan, a library assistant at Higher Secondary School, Manjakote, in Rajouri. They were earlier arrested for providing sensitive and national security information to the ISI.

As the crime team cordoned the house of Sabar in Amiti village in the vicinity of Rajouri town, he tried to escape after jumping from the rare window, but was nabbed by the team. He was immediately rushed to the district hospital and after initial treatment and legal formalities brought to Jammu.

On Friday, the crime branch sleuths had raided the house of ex-serviceman Munawwar Hussain Mir in Khablan village and arrested him for being part of the espionage network.

Mir was introduced to Kafait Ullha Khan by Sabar and both used to provide information related to nation security to Kafait, who was in touch with Pakistan ISI handler. Kafait was arrested last Saturday along with sensitive documents from the Delhi railway station while on the way to Bhopal to meet ISI agents on the plea to attend religious congregation.

On his disclosure, Abdul Rashid was arrested from the BSF sector headquarters where he was posted in the intelligence cell. Besides a government employee, Sabar used to run a cyber cafe in the Gujjar Mandi area.
Soldier Who Fought in Kargil War Arrested For Allegedly Spying For ISI
Srinagar:  A former soldier who had fought in the Kargil war in 1999 has been arrested on charges of spying in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Munawwar Ahmad Mir was arrested on Friday at Manjkote in Rajouri after his name cropped up during the investigations into the espionage case in which a Border Security Force official and a state government employee have already been arrested in Jammu and Kashmir.

After his arrest by a joint team of Delhi crime branch and Jammu and Kashmir police, Mir was produced before a local court and has been brought to Delhi on transit remand

Mir was an active member of the ruling Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party in Manjkote in Rajouri.

Police said he was providing crucial information to Pakistani spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI and he has been booked for charges under Official Secrets Act.

Sources say Mir has denied being part of the spy network and claimed that he is being wrongly implicated.
Armed forces raise concerns over 7th Pay Commission with Defence Ministry
Officers say that if the Pay Commission is implemented in the present form, it will position them much below their civilian counterparts in terms of salaries, facilities and status.
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The armed forces have raised concerns over the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission, including “shortcomings” in it, with the Defence Ministry, Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan said today.

He said the Commission’s report has been examined and effort is on to ensure that whatever they feel is “necessary” for the officers and men of Army, Navy and Air Force, is made available to them.

“Whatever we feel are the shortcomings are being taken up by the three services with the Ministry of Defence to see that whatever we feel is necessary for our men, our officers, our civilians, is made available to them,” Dhowan said during his annual press conference here.

He said that all issues of “concern” are being taken up with the Ministry.

The Navy chief was replying to a question on the discontent in the armed forces, especially at the level of officers, on the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission.

Officers say that if the Pay Commission is implemented in the present form, it will position them much below their civilian counterparts in terms of salaries, facilities and status.

One of the main grudge that the armed forces have is with regard to risk-hardship matrix. The officers say that a soldier posted in Siachen Glacier, which has the highest degree of both risk and hardship, gets an allowance of Rs 31,500 per month.

In contrast, a civilian bureaucrat from the All India Services draws 30 per cent of his salary as “hardship allowance” when posted anywhere outside the comfort zone.

Under the new scale, a senior IAS official posted in a city in northeast will draw much more as “hardship allowance”, compared to the Rs 31,500 per month drawn by military officers in Siachen.
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Forces split on US deals
Sujan Dutta

New Delhi, Dec. 5: The Indian armed forces are conflicted over three pacts that the US is pushing even as defence minister Manohar Parrikar is in Hawaii today for briefings from the US Pacific Command.

The pacts, referred to as the "foundational agreements" for military-to-military relations by the Pentagon, are a logistics support agreement (LSA), the basic exchange and cooperation agreement for geo-spatial cooperation (Beca) and a communications interoperability and secrecy memorandum of agreement (Cismoa).

The Indian Navy is the only one of the armed forces that is comfortable with all the agreements. It has indicated as much to successive governments over the past decade. The pacts were first proposed in the year 2002.

The army and the air force are concerned over compromising sensitive data by signing the LSA, Cismoa and Beca. But they have indicated that the agreements may be signed if ways could be found around some of the clauses just as they were found when it came to signing an end user verification agreement with the US in 2009.

"The LSA, Cismoa and Beca are talked about. The government will take a call on them. Yes, they are being looked at seriously," the navy chief, Admiral Robin Dhowan, said this week when asked how important or unimportant the proposed agreements were.

Parrikar is accompanied on the visit to the US by the navy's southern commander in chief, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, who is likely to be the chief of naval staff after incumbent Dhowan's retirement.

The chief of integrated defence staff, Air Marshal P.P. Reddy, and the army's deputy chief (planning and systems) Lt General Subroto Saha would also be joining the defence minister. The US ambassador to India, Richard Verma, is also expected to be at the briefings and the discussions, the outcome of which has the potential to intensify India-US military-to-military relations to an altogether new level if a 10-year logjam over the "foundational pacts" is broken.

The army's objection to the LSA arises from disclosing locations and practices in operational theatres - such as in Jammu and Kashmir and in the Northeast to US troops.

Indian and US armed forces have a robust exchange of troops for exercises. But these are planned mostly in peace stations. The army is more comfortable with the idea of granting access to a selected number of its locations.

The Pentagon pushes the LSA saying that it would enable militaries to not only operate jointly but also cut costs. The US has similar agreements - sometimes also called the access and cross-servicing agreement (ACSA) - with some 80 countries.

Only the Indian Navy has something close to the LSA with the US - called the fuel exchange agreement (FEA). Indian warships can refuel from US tankers under the agreement without having to pay cash. The US' vessels can similarly refuel in India.

The IAF has issues over the Cismoa because it may result to a recording of aircraft data that would disclose how the IAF operates. The IAF has sourced transport and special forces aircraft from the US - the C-130 Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster that are currently being used in relief operations in southern India. But because India had not signed the "foundational" pacts, the aircraft were delivered without some sensors on board.

The IAF and the army are now in the middle of contracting the US for Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavylifters.

There is discomfort in the establishment also over the Beca. One of the provisions in the agreement requires the exchange of classified terrain-mapping data. Such data can be fed into cruise missiles to determine their course.

But the US is saying not only that its law requires the signing of the pacts to transfer sensitive technology but also that defence trade would otherwise hit a roadblock for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" initiative.

Modi and US President Barack Obama renewed a defence trade and technology initiative (DTTI) in January this year. Four months later, defence minister Parrikar and US defence secretary Ashton Carter also renewed a 10-year India-US agreement on which rests the entire framework of bilateral military-to-military relations.

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