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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

From Today's Papers - 10 Feb 2016

Siachen braveheart soldiers on
9 bodies found; miracle survivor Lance Naik comatose, 48 hrs crucial
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 9
The next 48 hours are medically crucial for the Army jawan who was miraculously found alive after being buried under 25 feet of snow following an avalanche atop the Siachen glacier.

A medical bulletin of the Army today said Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who was evacuated to Delhi this morning, is comatose but has no frostbite that would have permanently damaged the affected body part. But the bulletin, which was issued by Army spokesperson Col Rohan Anand, added: “He remains extremely critical and is expected to have a stormy course in the next 24 to 48 hours due to complications by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body.”

Army doctors treating people with long exposure to cold follow a procedure of re-warming the human body by slowly infusing medication that facilitates blood flow to parts of the body that would have gone numb due to lack of oxygen and cold.

The rescued soldier is being treated with fluids and drugs to bring up his blood pressure. He has been placed on a ventilator and is being given “humidified warm oxygen” and passive external re-warming. 

Rescue teams looking under the avalanche site at 20,000 feet atop the glacier, had last night found Hanamanthappa buried under 25 feet of ice. He was conscious but drowsy and disoriented. He was severely dehydrated, in shock and was resuscitated by the doctors at the site.

Explaining his miraculous survival, sources said he was probably lucky to be wedged between two ice blocks which created a “pocket” around him, stopping wind and thus keeping him alive despite night temperature dropping to minus 55 °Celsius. The thick alpine clothing and specialised snow boots prevented him from freezing to death.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited the Army Hospital Research and Referral (R&R) and commended the braveheart for his indomitable mental robustness.
INS Viraat to be converted into luxury hotel
Suresh Dharur

Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, February 9
The world’s oldest aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, is all set to be converted into a luxury hotel to attract tourists once it is decommissioned from service in June this year.

The Defence Ministry has given its nod to a proposal from Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) to convert the Centaur-class aircraft carrier into a hotel-cum-museum.

The decision was conveyed to the state officials on the sidelines of the International Fleet Review (IFR- 2016) at the coastal Andhra city of Visakhapatnam.

The state government has drawn up plans to convert Viraat into a 500-room hotel, the Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said. The warship would be docked at the shores of Visakhapatnam to serve as a tourist attraction.

“It will have 500 rooms and a conference hall to seat 500 people. Since it is an aircraft carrier, helicopters can easily land on it. It will be convenient to hold conferences apart from being a major tourist attraction,” the Chief Minister said.

The officials are confident that INS Viraat can be a game changer for the tourism development in the state. Its conversion into a hotel-cum-ship museum will be jointly undertaken by Indian Navy and Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA). The central government would also contribute for the project to be taken up under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

The north coastal city is also home to INS Kursura, a Soviet-built decommissioned submarine, that has been converted into a museum in 2002. It is the first submarine museum in South Asia. It received 270,000 visitors in 2010, according to Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority, which maintains the museum ship.

INS Viraat was completed and commissioned in 1959 as the Royal Navy’s HMS Hermes and was transferred to India in 1987. In April 1986, India had entered into an agreement with Britain to acquired HMS Hermes. It was part of the action during the Falklands war in 1982. After refits and new equipment being fitted on Hermes, it was commissioned as INS Viraat on May 12, 1987.
Exclusive: How Indian Army carried out its biggest rescue operation at Siachen
India Today's special coverage of the massive rescue efforts from the world's highest battlefield.
Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was found alive on the Siachen glacier six days after being presumed dead under 35 feet of snow was "extremely critical" and in coma, the army said on Tuesday.

Koppad is being treated at the Army Research and Referral Hospital where he was flown in from Siachwn base camp. The Army who continued their search operations and found Lance used mechanical ice cutters and comparative size of ice boulders to cut the ice at the avalanche site.

India Today's Jugal R. Purohit has managed to reach the Siachen glacier and obtain the inside track on the heroic rescue operation mounted by 220 personnel of the High Altitude Warfare School and the Siachen Battle School.

For over 5 days, they fought the elements and spared no effort to rescue their 10 comrades.
Paying tribute to the Army personnel who lost their lives at the Siachen glacier, India Today's Rahul Kanwal on his show Newsroom read out a poem by Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943), published in The Times newspaper on September 21, 1914. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
Pakistan ‘very concerned’ at India’s military modernisation
Pakistan’s military establishment is said to be “very concerned” about the conventional military modernisation programme of the Narendra Modi government, and “frustrated” that no “deal” had been struck with India since the NDA came to power.

As the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) published its annual “Military Balance 2016” report on Tuesday, Ben Barry, a senior expert who works with the military-strategic communities in India and Pakistan, said there was “great optimism” in Islamabad when Modi came to power.

“In the government and security community in Pakistan there was great optimism when Modi came to power, that he would be able to engage Pakistan and maybe strike a deal (normalisation of relations, reduction of tension over security),” Barry told HT.

“But I think there is some frustration in Islamabad that they haven’t been able to achieve that. We have contacts with the Pakistani military. I think they are very concerned about India’s conventional military modernisation.”

Barry, a former brigadier in the British army, said Pakistan was particularly concerned with India acquiring advanced weapons systems like Apache helicopters, C-130 Hercules aircraft and T-90 tanks. The India-US nuclear deal too remained a matter of concern in Islamabad.

According to the IISS expert, “We should take confidence that there hasn’t been a repetition of the terrible massacre in Mumbai. I may be proved wrong, though, but given the state of various extremist groups in Pakistan, it is very, very difficult for the Pakistani government to withdraw all of them. They may have had a hand in generating some of these and setting them up, but it’s quite difficult to turn them off.”

Barry said Pakistan Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif was able to “take advantage” of the 2014 massacre in an army-run school in Peshawar to launch Operation Zarb-e-Azb to clear North Waziristan of militant groups.

“There is no doubt that it has made considerable difference. Islamist terrorist groups and their capabilities have been considerably degraded by the Pakistan Army and the police,” Barry said.

The “Military Balance 2016” report details various initiatives taken by the Modi government to encourage FDI and private sector participation in defence, and lists the personnel and assets of India’s armed forces and reserve forces.

“The Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ policy aims to strengthen the indigenous defence-industrial base through measures that include reforming India’s foreign direct investment cap. However, industrial-capability limitations and bureaucratic obstacles have hampered a number of promising initiatives,” it said.

Focussing more on developments related to Russia, China, Iran and NATO, the analysis states that western military technological superiority is eroding due to the proliferation of advanced military capabilities and growing accessibility to military-relevant high technology around the world.

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