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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

From Today's Papers - 02 Feb 2016















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/ssb-first-to-get-woman-head-dgs-named-for-bsf-crpf/190818.html
SSB first to get woman head; DGs named for BSF, CRPF
New Delhi, February 1
Senior IPS officer Archana Ramasundram was today appointed the Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). With this, she has become the first woman to head a paramilitary force.

Ramasundram is currently the Director, National Crime Records Bureau. She has been appointed to the post till the date of her superannuation (September 30 next year), an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said.

Ramasundram (58) is the first woman police officer to have been appointed the chief of a paramilitary force. The SSB is entrusted with guarding the country's frontiers with Nepal and Bhutan.

There are five paramilitary forces—the SSB, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police—and none has ever had a woman chief.

The Tamil Nadu cadre officer was in news in 2014 over her appointment as the Additional Director in the CBI. Her appointment was also challenged in the Supreme Court after which she was moved to the NCRB as its chief.

Besides her, IPS officers K Durga Prasad and KK Sharma have been appointed Director Generals of the CRPF and the BSF.  They will take over after the incumbent chiefs of these forces retire at the end of this month.

Prasad, a 1981-batch IPS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, was in 2014 unceremoniously removed as the chief of the Special Protection Group. — PTI


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/-no-headway-pak-to-seek-fresh-proof/190820.html
‘No headway’, Pak to seek fresh proof
Lahore, February 1
Pakistan’s investigation into the Pathankot terror attack has made “no headway” and it will seek more evidence from India to move forward, a source privy to the developments said today, days after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised to make the probe findings public soon.

“No headway has been made in the investigation of the Pathankot attack. The ball is back in India’s court as we need more evidence to move forward,” he said.

The six-member Pakistan government team investigating the Pathankot air base attack has written to the Foreign Ministry to seek more “leads” from India. “The team has almost completed its investigation into the five cellphone numbers (allegedly used for making calls from Pakistan to India) provided by India. No further leads were found from these numbers because these were unregistered and had fake identities,” he said. — PTI


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/-smart-fence-plan-back/190825.html
‘Smart fence’ plan back
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 1
Exactly a month after terrorists launched an attack on the Indian Air Force base at Pathankot, it now turns out that a project to install ‘smart fences’ around air bases in the country has been hampered because of high costs.

‘Smart fences’ of wires strung across poles are used by countries like the US, Israel and France in war zones. These are fitted with sensors, thermal imagers and cameras. Any intrusion sets off an alarm and even indicates the possible intrusion, allowing for retaliation.

Now, the Ministry of Defence has asked the IAF to rework the plan and present it to a committee to review security at all armed forces facilities. The IAF has submitted an audit of all its establishments detailing the shortcomings and needs of the future.  A Rs 5,000-crore estimate for ‘smart fences’ at 54 major air bases has been held back since 2011. The operating cost of power supply and manpower is separate. So far, only access at authorised entry gates has been regulated, while chip-embedded smart cards issued to IAF personnel have not been functional everywhere. 

A pilot project to try out indigenous technology in a forward air base in Jammu and Kashmir has seen glitches. In total, three air bases in the northern states have such a fence.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/parrikar-for-action-taken-report-by-feb-15/190813.html
Parrikar for action-taken report by Feb 15
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 1
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has directed all wings of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to submit an Action Taken Report (ATR) by February 15 on the steps or initiatives taken by them on the recommendations of a committee of experts constituted to help improve service conditions of armed forces personnel.

The directions were issued a few days ago, sources in the MoD said. The 5-member committee had presented its report to Parrikar on November 24 last.

The 509-page report contains as many as 75 recommendations that touch upon various aspects of pension and service matters, discipline _and vigilance, promotion issues, military justice reform, issues concerning civil employees and areas of potential disputes and litigation.

The committee was constituted on the directions of the defence minister and was claimed to be the first ever exercise aimed at strengthening institutional mechanisms related to grievance redressal. It explores upon administrative, legal, psychological and even social aspects of military life.

Prominent among the committee’s recommendations is greater personal interaction and opportunity of hearing in the system of formal complaints and petitions so as to give a better role to human interaction rather than the one-way noting sheet method and to assist in providing outlet and catharsis to individuals related to their grievances.

An innovative aspect propagated greater constructive usage of social media, including initiation of blogs by senior commanders, to promote an interactive process with the rank and file. A face-to-face ‘collegiate’ system of decision-making in various aspects rather than the file circulation method as been suggested along with more transparency in matters related to promotions and confidential reports.

Recommendations on military justice reform include steps that can be taken without any legislative change such as introduction of permanent infrastructure for Courts Martial at specified stations to reduce ad hocism and reduction of command influence.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/world/china-sets-up-new-military-regions/190763.html
China sets up new military regions
Beijing, February 1
Chinese President Xi Jinping presided today over the creation of five new military regions, part of the streamlining of the 2.3 million-member People's Liberation Army while also signaling his firm control over the armed forces. The north, south, east, west and central regions replace the seven previous regions. The new districts are being touted as better suited to command joint operations.

Xi presided at a ceremony at the Defence Ministry in his capacity as head of the Communist Party and government commissions overseeing the military. Wearing a high-collared olive green jacket, he presented PLA flags to each of the new region's commanders and political commissars.

Reinforcing that the military is ultimately loyal to the party, rather than the Chinese state, Xi called on commanders to "unshakably listen to the party's command and hold fast to the party's absolute leadership over the armed forces."

Xi's overhaul aims to make the PLA more effective as a modern fighting force by transforming it from one structured around the ground forces to one of joint command in which the army, navy, air and missile forces all have equal representation. — AP


http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/land/vehicles/2016/01/30/indian-vehicle-program-hits-hurdle-over-company-selections/79427562/
Indian Vehicle Program Hits Hurdle Over Company Selections
NEW DELHI — India's $11 billion Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) program faces hurdles after private domestic companies objected to the Defence Ministry's nomination of state-owned Ordnance Factory Board as one of the program's Development Agencies (DA).

The other DA's will be selected from among more than half a dozen competing private companies, and the MoD has extended the date of filing their bids to Feb. 16.

Under the Make India category, two DA's would be selected and the government would fund up to 80 percent of the prototypes. After trials, one of the DA's would be asked to produce the FICV.

When asked if the private companies endorse the nomination of OFB, Rajinder Bhatia, CEO of Bharat Forge, one of the competitors, said, "No comment. We hope this one-time exception and nomination would be discontinued as promised by the MoD."

However, an executive of another competitor openly disapproved of MoD's decision to nominate state-owned companies.

"The new players would contest that this short-listing of one vendor was announced after the expression of interest [EOI] was published, which did not have this qualification criteria. This constitutes a change, more like an after-thought. This ground is sufficient for retraction of the EOI," said an executive of Tata Group.

Another senior executive of a private company, also in the race, said there is confusion whether OFB will be a third DA in addition to two DA's to be selected from competing private companies.

Bhatia said the impression being given to industry and EOI recipients is that OFB will be the third DA.

In addition, selection of OFB by nomination goes against the purpose of the Make India policy, which proposes to boost the domestic defense company.

The EOIs were issued to domestic private major Mahindra; Bharat Forge; Larsen & Toubro; Punj Lloyd; Tata Power; Tata Motors; Pipavav Defence; Rolta India; and Titagarh Wagons. The second DA will now have to be selected from these private sector companies.

The FICV project has struggled since it was conceived nearly seven years ago and may not ever take off in the Make India category, said an Indian Army official.

The Army requires the FICV to have a life span of 32 years. The vehicle should be tracked and have amphibious capability with full combat load. It will ultimately replace existing Russian-made BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.

Questions Over Selection of the DA

"The basis of selection of a DA from among the private sector defense companies remains questionable as there is no strict yardstick to select the DA," said Nitin Mehta, a defense analyst here.

The commercial strength of the defense company is given priority over technical ability, according to the criteria formulated by the MoD.

"“Too much emphasis in the assessment of DAs has been laid on commercial and technical criteria, which should have already been taken into account during the feasibility study conducted for short-listing companies as potential DAs," said Khutub Hai, retired Indian Army brigadier general and managing director of Firmbase Consulting.

"Repeating the same criteria for final selection is a faulty method and only places emphasis on size of the company and the defense contracts executed earlier, even if such contracts have little in common with the FICV.”

Since commercial and technical criteria account for more than 60 percent of the assessment, Hai said, "only two or three large companies will qualify all the time.”


Meantime, the Army has pressed to upgrade existing BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles, ensuring against the delayed FICV project. The Army wants to upgrade these vehicles so they can remain in operation post-2017.

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