Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites


Thursday, 28 January 2016

From Today's Papers - 28 Jan 2016

Pak court’s no to 26/11 voice samples
Islamabad, January 27
In a fresh setback to the Mumbai attack trial, a Pakistani court has dismissed the government’s petition seeking voice samples of 26/11 mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects in the case.

The prosecution had filed an application in the Islamabad High Court seeking voice samples of the suspects to compare it with the communication intercepted by Indian intelligence and then present it before the anti-terrorism court (ATC) as evidence against the seven suspects in the Mumbai attack case.

The Islamabad High Court on Monday dismissed the petition. In 2011 and 2015, the issue of obtaining voice samples of Lakhvi had been dismissed by the trial court on the grounds that “no such law exists that allows obtaining voice sample of an accused”.

The prosecution’s petition said the Indian intelligence agencies had intercepted communication between the suspects and the terrorists in connection with the Mumbai attack in 2008. In the recorded intercepts, the suspects are heard instructing the terrorists.

The prosecution lawyers had argued that the samples were essential for concluding the investigation of this high-profile case.

The trial court had also rejected another petition of the prosecution requesting the court to declare Ajmal Kasab and Faheem Ansari absconders in order to meet legal formalities.

The prosecution had told the court that unless it declared the two men absconders, the trial against them would remain “inconclusive” as both have been cited as accused in the Mumbai attack case by Indian authorities, and that they were also wanted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) that was probing the 26/11 case.

During External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s visit here last month, Pakistan had assured India of “steps being taken to expedite the early conclusion” of the Mumbai attack trial, something that India has been pressing for long.

Pakistani authorities arrested seven Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) members involved in the planning of the attacks, including the terrorist group's operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the mastermind of the Mumbai attack.

Six accused--Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hamad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younis Anjum--have been in Adiala Jail for more than six years in connection with planning and executing the Mumbai attack in November, 2008, that left 166 people dead.

Lakhvi (56) secured bail in December 2014 and was subsequently released from Adiala Jail on April 10, 2015, after the Lahore High Court set aside the government's order to detain him under a public security act. A trial is underway against them at the ATC since 2009. PTI
Will Rafael deal fly?
Govt. must prioritise defence projects
French President Francois Holland’s visit helped create an air of finality to the deal for purchasing Rafael fighter jets. All that remains, we are told is six more months of hard bargaining over prices. By then the Narendra Modi government would have completed two years in office and come no nearer to its predecessor in resolving the question of steady drawdown of India's fighter aircraft fleet. For years, the joint development and production plan with Russia for the next generation of fighter aircraft too has been the subject of intense negotiations.  The light combat aircraft, after decades of being under development, went on its first outing to the Bahrain air show. But it cannot undertake the requirements of the heavier fighter aircraft.

If the negotiations over Rafael drag on, Modi will have himself to blame for failing to reverse the attrition in India's fighter fleet. Almost as if on impulse, he placed an order for 36 Rafael jets on the eve of his first visit to Paris last April. Rafael had emerged as the best of the six fighters that had competed for the Indian Air Force’s tender for 126 fighters. For the past three years Defence Ministry officials had been conducting intense haggling-cum-negotiations with the company. The entire exercise went topsy-turvy when Modi announced the order for 36 fighters. Exasperated officials had to begin negotiations all over again. This time they are trying to get the old price for a smaller order.

It is not just about Rafael. The Make-in-India policy for defence equipment was announced with fanfare without one crucial component — the criteria for the foreign strategic partner. The industry is not happy with the proposal to restrict one strategic partner to one project. Once this is overcome, the next hurdle will be the defence public sector workers opposing the entry of the private sector. Several other major projects such as plans to jointly build warships, nuclear submarines and helicopters are also facing challenges. The bigger challenge is there are no export markets or civilian derivatives for these products. The government will have to become realistic and prioritise products that can be realistically built in India at a comparable cost.
Balloon shot down in Barmer came from across the border
Parrikar asks External Affairs Ministry to take up matter with Pakistan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said a balloon-shaped object that was shot down by a Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft yesterday in Barmer, nearly 500 km from Rajasthan capital Jaipur, had come flying from across the border.

“The Ministry of Defence has written a letter to the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with Pakistan. Though it had no payload, it could have been sent to test our security and gauge our response time. In 15 minutes, Sukhoi (from Jodhpur) shot down the balloon after the radar noticed it coming from across the border,” Parrikar said.

IAF officials on Tuesday said the object was flying in from the western sector (implying Pakistan side) and was shot down. The balloon was flying at an altitude of 8 km, which is unusual, and was around 3 metre is diameter. The balloon was made by a US company.

“Between 1030 and 1100 hours today (Tuesday), an unidentified balloon-shaped object was picked up by the IAF radar. An IAF fighter was launched that intercepted the object and brought it down. Further investigation is underway,” an IAF spokesman said.

No one was hurt nor was any damage caused to the property in the area, the spokesman said in Jaipur. Reports said it was a private balloon and the possibility of it carrying any spying object was initially ruled out.
From Pathankot to Kupwara, tales of courage and sacrifice
Mukherjee also approved the award of two Kirti Chakras and eight Shaurya Chakras to Indian Army personnel on the occasion of Republic Day.
- See more at:
On the night of September 2-3 last year, Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami, part of the elite Special Forces, walked into an ambush inside Haphruda forest in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district. The face-off started at 8.15 pm when four terrorists opened fire at the Army personnel, injuring three of them.

Goswami dashed forward to rescue the injured men, killing one terrorist and drawing fire from others. He was hit on the thigh and the abdomen, but he continued to charge forward, killing another terrorist at point blank range and helping his colleagues eliminate two others. Goswami later succumbed to his injuries.

On Monday, President Pranab Mukherjee announced that Goswami would be conferred the Ashok Chakra — the highest gallantry award in the country. Mukherjee also approved the award of two Kirti Chakras and eight Shaurya Chakras to Indian Army personnel on the occasion of Republic Day.

Among those conferred the Kirti Chakra is Sepoy Jagdish Chand of the defence service corps platoon, who died in the Pathankot terror attack. Chand was transferred to Pathankot from Leh just a few days before the incident. When terrorists attacked, Chand ran after one of them and snatched his weapon before killing him. Two more terrorists in the vicinity opened fire on Chand, killing him on the spot.

Similar courage was shown by Colonel Santosh Mahadik, who has been conferred the Shaurya Chakra. Mahadik, who had been commanding the 41 Rashtriya Rifles since July 2014, was known in Kupwara for undertaking initiatives in the fields of education, sports and healthcare. On November 17, 2015, he led a search operation following an input about the presence of terrorists in Manigah forest.

Colonel Santosh, with his Quick Reaction Team, headed to the site, where they came under fire. Pinned down, he maneuvered to outflank the terrorists, giving his troops a chance to take cover. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds but kept the terrorists pinned down till he was evacuated. He later succumbed to his injuries.
- See more at:
The big military challenge
PM has a bold vision for defence reform. Can his defence minister deliver?
- See more at:
The terrorist attacks on Pathankot Air Force Base revealed weaknesses in our intelligence, police and security procedures. While all of them need to be addressed, however there are larger issues—which can have far more disastrous consequences for India’s national security, which need attention. This is the issue of defence reforms—initiated in the aftermath of the 1999 Kargil war (which followed from a previous Lahore yatra by a BJP Prime Minister to meet Nawaz Sharif), virtually ignored by the two UPA governments and brought to life by the current government. Indeed, in an important speech, while addressing the Combined Commanders Conference last month Prime Minister Modi challenged his defence minister and senior military commanders to reform their “beliefs, doctrines, objectives and strategies.” This is nothing less than appealing for a paradigm shift, on a number of different fronts, echoing the sentiments of generations of military reformers. The Defence Minister, who has publicly supported defence reform, has his task cut out for him. Unfortunately he should not count on support from civilian bureaucrats in his Ministry. In turn, it is far from assured whether the current generation of senior military officers are up to this task. In short, while the prime minister’s vision is bold, its implementation faces formidable obstacles. The attacks in Pathankot should remind him—and his security managers, that India lives in a dangerous neighbourhood and it should therefore focus on strengthening our military.

It is an open secret that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was keen to undertake some form of defence reforms. His office was the driving force behind the Naresh Chandra Committee, established in 2011, ostensibly to revisit the defence reforms process. This committee recommended the creation of a Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee—a less than perfect nomenclature for the Chief of Defence Staff. For the first time ever all three service chiefs supported creating such a post. However, Defence Minister A.K. Anthony, for reasons not entirely clear, was not that enthusiastic. Civilian bureaucrats in his ministry also shared his scepticism. Later, numerous controversies surrounding General V.K. Singh put paid to any talk of defence reforms.

Prime Minister Modi identified six broad areas for reforms—in defence planning, enhancing jointness (the ability of the army, navy and air force to operate together), urging manpower rationalization (smaller tooth to tail ratio), emphasizing professional military education, restructuring higher defence management and in the defence procurement process. His analysis of problems in each of these sectors challenged the assumptions, and world-view, of India’s senior military commanders. For instance, India is probably the only country in the world which is expanding its military manpower which, by definition, curtails resources for military modernization (China recently announced cuts of up to 300,000 troops). The Indian military is among the least ‘joint’ major militaries in the world and its system of professional military education emphasizes training over education. However, like with so many of the prime minister’s project, the most important issue is that of implementation. If this initiative is left to the bureaucracies—civilian or military, then reforms are unlikely to succeed.
Conventional wisdom would have the government announcing reform measures and leaving it to the military and the defence ministry to implement them. Doing so will likely subvert the reforms, as has happened in the past. In 1986, Arun Singh was instrumental in creating a tri-services and joint civil-military institution called the Defence Planning Staff (DPS) in an attempt to rationalise defence planning. It quickly lost its relevance as the services opposed this initiative. More recently, the Ajai Vikram Singh Committee was tasked to find way to lower the age of combatant commanders. However, the implementation of the committee report was left to the services. In the army this created a major controversy—which is currently being battled in the courts. The Andaman and Nicobar Joint Command, which was founded to be an experiment in jointness has, in practice, been “subverted” by a non-cooperative attitude from the services. Finally, there is a variance between the report submitted by the late K. Subrahmanyam (under the aegis of the Committee on National Defence University) on India’s Defence University and how it is currently being implemented by the military. In sum, reforms will not succeed if its implementation is not closely monitored.

There are three significant obstacles to defence reforms. First, it is not clear if, and how, will the Chiefs of the three services give up powers for the proposed Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). If the restructuring of higher defence management results in an institutionally weak CDS then it defeats the purpose. Second, it is not clear how the government will create more joint commands, especially since this is opposed by the military. Their opposition, shorn of its elegance, is primarily because it curtails the number of posts available for their upward mobility. It is not surprising therefore that they will advocate for more joint commands—Cyber, Space, Special Forces for instance, but will be unwilling to integrate existing commands. Effectiveness and efficiency is therefore sacrificed to the logic of bureaucratic expansion and increased promotion pathways. Third, there is opposition, usually in private, from civilian bureaucrats who do not want to change the status quo. They prefer the existing arrangement which gives them considerable powers with little accountability.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar—responsible for implementing the prime minister’s vision, has claimed that he has read the Goldwater Nichols Act, which transformed the U.S. military. However, this initiative did not occur overnight and was preceded by a public debate and, perhaps more importantly, required a civil-military partnership consisting of reform minded individuals. As he faces obstacles from his own officials perhaps Mr. Parrikar should consider forming a Defence Reforms Unit comprising politicians, former officials and technocrats all sharing the vision for defence reforms. This could thereby monitor the progress of different reform measures.

The media is fond of comparing the leadership styles of President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi. It is surely a coincidence that both have publicly come out with statements calling for reforming their militaries. We therefore have the unique opportunity to compare two different institutional and leadership styles. It would be India’s loss if, after a year, defence reforms remains an aspiration.
- See more at:
India talks peace with China, Pak as Army officials meet on borders
JAMMU, Jan 27: India and China have expressed commitment to maintain peace and tranquility along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh sector as the top Army officers of the two neighbouring countries met for an hour tomorrow at two Border Meeting Points (BMPs) on the occasion of the Republic Day yesterday.
Similarly, India and Pakistan also expressed desire to keep peace on the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) as the Army officers of the two nations apart from BSF and Rangers met at several places to exchange sweets and greetings on the occasion of India’s Republic Day.
Official sources told the Excelsior that the Indian and Chinese Army officials met at two BMPs including Chushul Moldo and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in Ladakh sector, where the top officials of the two countries sought to build on the mutual feeling of upholding the treaties and agreement signed between the two Government from time to time to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC.
Defence spokesperson (Ministry of Defence) Col SD Goswami said both the delegations at Chushul and DBO interacted in free, congenial and cordial environment.
“The delegations parted amidst feeling of friendship and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace on the LAC,” Col Goswami said.
At Chushul-Moldo, the Indian delegation was led by Brig RS Raman while People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China was represented by Col Cheng Zheng Shan. At DBO-TWD BMP, the Indian delegation was led by Col BS Uppal and Chinese by Lt Col Duanyug Kang. Several other Army officials from both the sides also attended the two meetings.
Indian Army and PLA officials have been inter-acting quite frequently along the LAC in Ladakh sector including days of national importance and festivals of the two countries, which has led to end in the incidents of incursions by the PLA on the Indian side in Ladakh, which had assumed alarming proportions about a couple of years back.
Sources said the proceedings commended with ceremonial flag hoisting of both the countries at the two BMPs followed by the address of Military Commanders on both sides exuding warmth and spirit of friendship. A cultural programme showcasing vibrant Indian culture and traditional grandeur was also organized on the occasion.
Meanwhile, Army officials of India and Pakistan met at two places-Chakkan-Da-Bagh along Poonch-Rawlakote route and Mendhar-Hot Spring crossing points in Krishna Ghati of Poonch district to celebrate the Republic Day.
The Army officers of two sides expressed commitment to peace on the Line of Control (LoC) and exchanged sweets and gifts at both the places. The meetings at both the places lasted more than half an hour in which the Army officers of the two neighbouring countries talked peace and exchanged greetings.
It may be mentioned here that there has been complete peace prevailing along the LoC in twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch for the past quite some time now.
The Border Security Forces (BSF) and Rangers also met at Octroi Post in Suchetgarh sector of RS Pura and various other points along the International Border in Jammu sector to exchange greetings on the Republic Day.
Both the sides decided to maintain ongoing peace on the International Border, sources said.
Indian Army Sailing Expedition 2016 flagged off from Marve Beach today
At about noon today, January 27, the Indian Army Ocean Sailing Expedition 2016 was flagged off by Lieutenant General V Menon, Commandant, College of Military Engineering, Pune.  The expedition will cover approximately 800 nautical miles (1,500 kms) from Marve to Porbandar, Okha (Gujarat) and back.  A total of 32 crew members consisting of officers, JCOs and Ors from the Corps of Engineers and the Regiment of Artillery under the helm of Lieutenant Colonel Karunakaran are participating in the expedition. The expedition consisting of four Seabird Class Yachts which set sail from Marve Beach this morning is scheduled to return on February 18.

Speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen V Menon said that the Indian Army has been a pioneer in adventure activities and has a glorious legacy in the field of sailing. He explained to the crew that the field of warfare is similar to an adventure as it involves alertness of body and mind and risk to life and that the expedition will provide big lessons in soldering. He recounted the circumnavigation of the globe, onboard the yacht ‘Trishna’ in 1985-87 by brave officers from Corps of Engineers as the crowning glory in sailing in the history of Indian Army. The expedition had covered a mammoth 30,000 nautical miles. Since then the army has undertaken numerous ocean sailing expeditions and carved a niche in the field of ocean sailing.

The current expedition is being conducted under the aegis of the Army Aqua Nodal Centre, Marve and has been planned, coordinated and organised by the College of Military Engineering, Pune.  All the sailors underwent rigorous selection process and were trained on Blue Water Sailing at the Heavy Bridging Training Camp at Marve, which, in addition to its professional training task, is a premier institute for carrying out watermanship and sailing training for the Indian Army.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal