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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

From Today's Papers - 09 Feb 2016

Siachen miracle: Jawan found alive after 6 days
Jammu, February 8
An Army jawan who was buried under 25 feet of snow following an avalanche in the Siachen glacier was today miraculously found alive in critical condition after six days of rescue efforts.

"It was a miraculous rescue, all efforts are being made to evacuate Lance Naik Hanaman Thappa to the RR hospital in the morning," Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander, told PTI.

He said, "Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified. All other soldiers are regrettably no more with us."

He hoped that another miracle continues with Thappa, who hails from Karnataka.

A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment were buried after their post was hit by the avalanche at the altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan where the tempreature was minus 45° Celsius.

Siachen is the world’s highest active battlefield, contested by India and Pakistan since 1984 when India launched Operation Meghdoot. — Agencies
No plans to vacate Leh air base: IAF
J-K govt recently claimed Air Force had said yes to its proposal
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 8
The Indian Air Force has no plans to vacate the strategically important airbase at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.

Sources in the Ministry of Defence said neither had any such decision been taken nor was the matter discussed at any platform. Speaking to The Tribune over phone, Leh Deputy Commissioner Prasanna Ramaswamy G confirmed the develop-

ment: “The IAF will not be vacating the base.”

Over the weekend, reports (quoting a press release issued by the J&K government) had emerged that “the IAF has agreed to vacate the airbase at Leh, which would be used for expansion of the civilian airport to promote tourism in Ladakh”.

Officials here admitted that a press release had been issued, and that it “conveyed an erroneous impression”.

The IAF brass today questioned its officers who attended the civil-military liaison meeting chaired by Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) Asgar Hassan Samoon last week. The base is used for transporting troops, machines, equipment and ration for the Army during the winter months when both the approach roads via Manali and Srinagar are closed due to snow. 

Sources said the IAF had only agreed to vacate some land for the expansion of the terminal at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh. 

Located at a height of 10,600 feet, the airport is to get a new terminal building to cater to the passenger rush and for the creation of new parking bays for civil aircraft.

The IAF is learnt to have agreed to the demand by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for requisitioning 11.8 acres of land.

The upgraded facility would accommodate 600 passengers (against 100 at present) and five civilian planes instead of two currently. The expansion project has been hanging fire for the past four years. The land identified for the project belongs to the state government, but it is under the possession of the IAF.
India-Nepal military exercise begins in Pithoragarh
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, February 8
A 14-day India-Nepal combined military exercise, named Surya Kiran IX, commenced at Pithoragarh today. The exercise will culminate on February 21.

The Nepal army is being represented by officers and troops of the elite Shree RudraDhoj battalion while an infantry battalion is participating on behalf of the Indian Army. The combined battalion-level exercise is being conducted under the aegis of the Panchshul Brigade of the Central Command.

This is the 9th India-Nepal combined exercise. During the combined training, emphasis will be laid on upgrade of tactical and practical skills by sharing each other’s experiences and also on enhancing inter-operability in jungle warfare and counter terrorism operations in mountain terrain. The role and importance of Armed Forces in disaster management in both the countries has assumed increasing significance in the recent years. Therefore, focus will also be laid on humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, including medical and aviation aspects.

Brig Sanjay Sharma, officiating Major General, Staff, Central Command, was present during the opening ceremony and interacted with soldiers of both the contingents.

He emphasised that both the armies had a lot to learn from each other, especially in their approach towards handling the modern day challenges of terrorism and in disaster management, as it had been one of the most important challenges for both the countries after some recent calamities. Senior Nepalese Army officials were also likely _to attend the combined exercise along with their Indian counterparts during the validation phase _of the exercise.
L&T sees huge potential in defence under 'Make in India'
Press Trust of India | New Delhi Feb 07, 2016 01:32 PM IST

Eyeing big-ticket investment opportunities in the defence sector under 'Make in India' drive, engineering and construction giant Larsen & Toubro sees huge scope in areas like submarines, nuclear power equipment and artillery guns.

The infrastructure major, which saw its bottomline surge 19 per cent to Rs 1,034.8 crore in the last quarter, has listed indigenisation thrust for defence equipment, interceptor boats, naval vessels and submarines for Indian Navy and Coastguard and artillery guns and other equipment for Indian Army as investment opportunities.

L&T, in an investor presentation, has also listed oil and gas equipment supply opportunities in India and key petroleum/petrochem producing regions, nuclear power plant equipment in India and components for Indian space program as potential areas.

However, the company has also underlined challenges in heavy engineering and defence segments as "shrinking spends on oil and gas with low crude price" and "reduced prospect base of nuclear power equipment post-Fukushima and consequent Indian civil liability overhang."

It also sees "very long prospect-to-award timelines and dominance of public sector and foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in Defence orders" as another challenge.

L&T Heavy Engineering manufactures and supplies custom designed equipment to critical process industries such as refinery, petrochemical, and oil and gas, as well as to sectors such as nuclear power, aerospace and defence.

Likewise, its shipbuilding arm has global scale heavy manufacturing facilities.

Heavy engineering segment of the company has achieved a customer revenue of Rs 884 crore for the quarter ended December 31, 2015, registering growth of 9 per cent over the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal, mainly contributed by defence and aerospace business.

International sales constituted 52 per cent of the total customer revenue of the segment.

The order book of the segment stood at Rs 8,180 crore as on December 31, 2015.

L&T is India's largest E&C company with interests in projects, infrastructure, development and manufacturing, among others.

Its revenues stood at $15 billion last year and the company has a market cap of USD 18 billion as on December 31, 2015.

L&T is aiming to restructure its top management as part of its succession plan as well as making efforts to expand its global presence.

Group Executive Chairman A M Naik has recently said that the company is looking to expand its global presence.

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