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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

From Today's Papers - 15 Mar 2016

Territorial aggression’ in PoK’s Gilgit-Baltistan raises eyebrows
New Delhi, March 14
A large chunk of the Gilgit-Baltistan area, part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), has been allegedly occupied by neighbouring North-West Frontier Province, triggering protests in the Shia-dominated region, also claimed by India as part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir state.

Large contingents of Pakistan paramilitary troopers have been deployed in the apprehension of trouble brewing in the occupied 25 km border area that connects divided Gilgit-Baltistan with the Khyber Pakthtunkhwa province, says a news report in “Baad-e-Shimaal”, an Urdu daily in PoK.

“And the Gilgit-Baltistan government is watching like a mute spectator,” the daily said in its cover of the Monday edition.

“The provincial government has deployed Chitral forces in the area after illegally taking over and including the occupied mineral-rich chunk of land in its territory.” A lawmaker, Sarfaraz Shah, has reportedly written a letter in protest against the “territorial aggression” to the government of the frontier province asking it to vacate the land.

But the government has denied the allegation and dismissed the lawmaker’s protest, saying it was part of land forms and “deploying paramilitary Chitral forces is our right”, the daily said.

The report came after alarm bells rang in the Indian security establishment following Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops being spotted at forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) along PoK where the Chinese government is building a Jhelum-Neelam 970 MW Hydel power project. —IANS
Over 2 lakh pensioners get OROP payments
New Delhi: The government on Monday announced that it has credited revised pensionary benefits along with arrears under One Rank-One Pension (OROP) scheme to more than 2 lakh pensioners drawing service and disability pensions.

As to the more than 1.46 lakh family pensioners, the government will credit the new benefits by the end of this month, the Defence Ministry said. “The amount along with first instalment of arrears has been released and credited to the accounts of these pensioners on March 1, 2016,” a statement said. PTI
China dodges response to PLA presence along LoC
Its Foreign Ministry says hasn’t heard of Chinese soldiers patrolling in PoK
Beijing, March 14
China today dodged a direct response to reports of the presence of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops at a forward post in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and refuted allegations of recurring incursions by its troops into the Indian territory, asserting that the PLA soldiers patrolled the Chinese side of the LAC.

“I have not heard about the incident you mentioned,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kong said at a media briefing here while replying to a question about the presence of PLA troops at a forward post in PoK opposite the Nowgam sector in Kupwara.

In response to another question on reports of recent incursions of PLA troops on the Indian side in the Ladakh sector, an official transcript on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website quoted Lu as saying that “it is learnt that China’s border troops were carrying out normal patrols on the Chinese side of the LAC”.

“There is no such a thing as border crossing. Some media twisted the fact and hyped up the China-India boundary question,” he said.

“We deeply regret that. At present, China-India relations are enjoying a sound momentum of development. Friendly cooperation represents the mainstream of the public opinion in the two countries.

“It is hoped that relevant media can describe the situation along the China-India border as it is and do more to promote China-India friendship, mutual trust and bilateral ties,” he said.

At the same time Lu reiterated Beijing’s stand on the Kashmir issue, saying that “China’s position on Kashmir issue is consistent”.

“We believe it is an issue between India and Pakistan left over from history and should be properly handled by the two sides through dialogue and consultation,” he added.

Asked whether the presence of PLA troops was connected to the work related to the $ 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, over which India had conveyed its protest, Lu merely reiterated

China’s stand on the Kashmir issue.

India has conveyed its protest to China on the corridor connecting China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port as it goes through PoK along the Karakoram Highway.

China in the past maintained that the corridor which was part of its Silk Road initiative was aimed at improving people’s livelihoods and in no way affected the status of the Kashmir issue. — PTI
Shortage of Officers in the Indian Army: Defence minister tells Rajya Sabha - See more at:
New Delhi, Mar 8 (IBNS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a written reply to Vijay Goel in Rajya on Tuesday, said that there were 40,525 officers against an authorized strength of 49,631 officers in the Indian Army (excluding Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Service), July 1, 2015.

He said that shortage of officers is inter alia attributable to accretions of posts from time to time, tough selection procedures, difficult service conditions coupled with perceived high degree of risk involved in the service career as also inherent limitation of number that could be trained without compromising the quality of training.

The minister, in his reply said, a number of measures have been taken from time to time to reduce the shortage of officers in the Army, including making Short Service Commission more attractive, introduction of Colonel (Time Scale) rank, enhancing promotional avenues by way of upgradation of posts in select ranks, additional family accommodation through Married Accommodation Project.

He also said that the Army has undertaken sustained image projection campaign to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career. Awareness campaigns, participation in career fairs and exhibitions, advertisements in print and electronic media, motivational lectures in schools, colleges are some of the measures in this direction.

All the above mentioned measures have resulted in progressive improvement with shortage of officers reducing from around 26 per cent in 2010 to approximately 18 per cent in 2015, in spite of accretion of about 1800 posts during this period, said the defence minister.
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46 countries to participate in 9th Defence Expo in Goa
According to the Ministry, till date 977 companies and 46 countries have registered for participating in the Expo.
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With more than 977 companies and 46 countries registering for the upcoming Defence Expo scheduled in Goa, the Defence Ministry has said the event is steering the path of steady growth.

“Defexpo India 2016, the ninth in the series of biennial Land, Naval and Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibition, will be held at Naqueri Quitol in Quepem taluka of South Goa from March 28-31, 2016,” the Ministry said on its website designed for this internationally famed event.

“Defexpo India is clearly steering the path of steady growth and has been receiving overwhelming and unprecedented international response with each edition,” it said.

This is for the first time that the Expo will travel to Goa from Delhi.

According to the Ministry, till date 977 companies and 46 countries have registered for participating in the Expo. For this edition, countries like USA, Russia, Sweden, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Portugal amongst others have confirmed their participation.

“The eighth edition of Defexpo India held in February 2014 recorded an unprecedented growth in foreign as well as domestic companies participation over its previous editions,” the Ministry said.

“An impressive 232 foreign companies from 32 countries participated in the show in 2014 along with 15 country pavilions with a growth of 12.64 per cent in terms of space booking,” it said.

This year, on the first day, March 28, hosts of seminars including that on “State of Art Technology in Shipbuilding Initiative and Requirements of Indian Defence Shipyards” would be held. There will also be a session on “International Cooperation in Futuristic Maritime Research and development” and “Advanced Technologies in Submarine Construction.”

On next day, March 29, the Industrial body Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) will hold day-long Global Investors’ Summit on Defence sector.

Similarly, there will also be a seminar on private sector participation in Defence development programme which will be chaired by Smita Nagraj, Director General (Acquisitions), Union Ministry of Defence.

The event will also host a discussion on “Defence collaboration and joint ventures with global partners” to be chaired by K Nagaraj Naidu, Director, Investment and Technology Promotion Division of Union Defence Ministry.

The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) has also planned a seminar on “Defence Off set: Challenges and Opportunities” during the event.

Another industrial body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will host “India Korea Defence Cooperation Seminar and business meet” and also discussion on modernization programme of Indian Army.
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