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Sunday, 8 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 08 May 2016

End trust deficit for better ties: Pak
Islamabad, May 7
Pakistan today said the “trust deficit” needs to be removed for better relations with India even as it voiced support for any effort to restart the stalled bilateral dialogue between the two nations.

On resumption of talks with India, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said Pakistan would support any effort to restart the dialogue process. Chaudhry said there was a “trust deficit” which needs to be removed for better ties between the two nations. “Whenever there will be talks between Pakistan and India, Kashmir will remain on top of the agenda,” he added. He also talked about the arrest of alleged Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav, and termed it as proof of “Indian involvement” in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

India has acknowledged Yadav is a retired Indian Navy officer but denied the allegation that he was connected to the government. — PTI
3 militants killed in Pulwama gunfight
Around a dozen injured in clashes; internet, mobile, train services suspended
Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, May 7
Three militants were killed in a four-hour-long gunfight in Pulwama district this morning. The killings triggered protests at many places, leaving nearly a dozen persons injured.

The protests prompted the authorities to suspend train services between Baramulla and Banihal and snap internet and mobile services in south Kashmir.

The gunfight erupted at Panzgam in Awantipora around 2 am when a joint team of the police, Army and CRPF cordoned off three houses in the village, nearly 35 km from Srinagar, after receiving an input that militants were hiding in the area.

“As a search of houses suspected of sheltering them started, the militants opened fire, triggering a gunfight. Three militants were killed in the gunfight,” said Shridhar Patil, Superintendent of Police, Awantipora.

Three AK rifles were recovered from the encounter site. The slain militants were identified as Ishfaq Baba of Tahab, Ishfaq Dar of Dogripora and Haseeb Palla of Brao Badan.

While Baba and Dar were associated with the Hizbul Mujahideen, Palla was a member of the Lashkar-e-Toiba. The house where the militants were hiding was razed during the gunfight.

The two Hizb men, both “category A” militants, had been active since 2014 and were involved in many incidents of violence. Patil said one Hizb militant was an accused in two cases of murder.

They were close associates of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, who had been spearheading the social media campaign of young militants. Palla had joined militancy last year.

As news about the killing of militants spread, villagers thronged the encounter site. A 17-year-old boy was wounded after an unexploded grenade went off at the site. He was rushed to a hospital.

Clashes broke out in Tahab as people came out on the streets, throwing stones at police and CRPF personnel. Youths threw stones at the CRPF camp and the clashes continued for almost three hours.

The police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. Nearly a dozen civilians and policemen were injured in the clashes. A shutdown was observed in the district.

Before the encounter in Pulwama today, a total of 34 militants had been killed by security forces in various anti-militancy operations.
Pak rejects US conditions for sale of F-16s
Islamabad, May 7
Pakistan needs modern F-16 fighter jets for the war against terrorism but rejects the conditions the US has attached with the sale, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said on Saturday.

Chaudhary said no conditions should be attached to the sale of F-16s because Pakistan planned to use the jets only for the purpose of fighting terrorists, Dawn online reported. The US State Department earlier this week said Pakistan would have to pay from its own funds if it wanted to buy F-16 fighter jets, after the US Congress last month withdrew funds for the deal to force Islamabad to act against the Haqqani network.

Chaudhry said diplomatic efforts were underway to convince the Congress to subsidise the sale of the fighter jets. Pakistan had earlier reached an understanding with the US for buying eight F-16 planes.

Under the deal, Pakistan was to pay about $270 million from its national funds. The US was supposed to provide the rest from its Foreign Military Financing fund. — IANS
Macho talk by videogame soldiers worrying: VK Singh
Kolkata, May 7
Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh today said macho talk by “videogame soldiers” in the country worry him. “When I look at the security issues only one thing bothers me. When people who are videogame soldiers, not actual soldiers, start talking macho things then there is a great danger because they do not understand the consequences of war or consequences of being a soldier,” Singh, a former army chief, said without specifically referring to anyone.

“We have got a lot of very macho talk at a very senior level. It can create problems, especially when your lower lot realises that you have the strength to do the things which you are being taught to,” Singh said at a seminar organised by the Centre for Eastern and North Eastern Regional Studies Kolkata (CENERS-K). Without elaborating further, Singh said: “I leave it for you to interpret.”

Asked about India cancelling visa given to a Germany-based Chinese dissident Dolkun Isa, leader of World Uyghur Congress, he said India did not have any reservations on anybody visiting the country.

He said it was cancelled because “there must be some problem with the visa itself”.

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had earlier said Isa’s visa was cancelled because he had applied for the travel document in a wrong category.

Singh said China was trying to be a peer competitor to the US or excel it. “Everything is geared that way. Whether it is economics or relations around the world, military or the restructuring of the military,” the minister said. India has, meanwhile, told Beijing it cannot have double standards on terrorism, saidVK Singh.  — PTI
To improve battle readiness, Army holds military training exercise in Rajasthan
The exercise also involves rapid mobilisation and execution of battle plans in conjunction with the Air Force.
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Indian Army is holding a major military training exercise ‘Chakravyuh-II’ to validate battle readiness and operational effectiveness of the Pivot Formation and Rapid Division, in Suratgarh.

The exercise also involves rapid mobilisation and execution of battle plans in conjunction with the Air Force.

“The exercise aims to validate the battle readiness and operational effectiveness of the Pivot Formation and Rapid Division of the Army along with all its affiliated components” Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha said.

The exercise envisages mechanised manoeuvres in the entire spectra of new generation weapons, platforms and systems are employed in areas where rapid development and urbanisation along the border is predominant, he said.
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“It has provided an opportunity to all commanders in planning and conduct of large scale operations an integrated theatre environment along with Air Force including fighter ground attack aircrafts, attack helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, remotely piloted vehicles and communication helicopters,” Ojha said.

Consequently, troop insertion by air was also integrated into the exercise using the Special Forces and other Heliborne troops.
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During the exercise, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and communication systems were put to test in a network-centric battlefield environment supported by required operational logistics.

Improved mobility, inventory management techniques and extensive use of information technology to ensure logistics are in step with the fast paced operational environment was also validated during the exercise.
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Indian army rejects homegrown missile in blow to 'Make in India'
NEW DELHI -- The Indian army reportedly plans to import missiles from abroad rather than continue buying a less-advanced locally developed system, prioritizing combat capabilities over government efforts to promote domestic manufacturing.

Not up to snuff

"There were technical, research-oriented issues" with India's Akash system, a Ministry of Defense official told the Nikkei Asian Review. The military has finished testing Israeli, Russian and Swedish alternatives, with Israel's Spyder in the lead, the official said.

The ministry's Defense Research and Development Organization had worked on the Akash surface-to-air missile system for around three decades, intending to supply the army, navy and air force. The army has ordered two regiments' worth, and the air force has ordered 15 squadrons' worth, for a total of 250 billion rupees ($3.75 billion). The army had been expected to buy more, as it needs to deploy six missile regiments along the borders with Pakistan and China. The Akash has a range of 25km.

The army has informed the R&D agency that it will not order any more Akash systems, a source said. The Akash requires eight to nine seconds to fire, compared with just four to five seconds for the Spyder, making the homegrown system more likely to fail to intercept targets in border areas where response time is limited. Its lack of the latest guidance technology was apparently also a concern to the army.

Contract negotiations with Israel "will be started sometime later," a ministry official said. The military expects to negotiate the price of the Spyder down to a level on a par with the Akash.

The Akash's technical weaknesses owe to more than a decade of development delays. The navy has avoided the Akash, citing stabilization problems, and the air force is unlikely to put in any more orders.

Security analyst Rajeev Sharma argued that the capabilities of the R&D agency, which is tasked with developing more sophisticated military technology, are lacking. The Akash is "meeting the same fate as Arjun," the indigenous tank developed by the DRDO over 20 years, "which has no more buyers now due to its weaker features," Sharma said. The government replaced the agency's head last year.

Arms race

Pakistan and China, which have locked horns with India in South Asia for years, have been building up their militaries. Pakistan is strengthening its aerial forces, marketing the JF-17 fighter jointly developed with China to Asian countries including Myanmar and Sri Lanka while seeking to buy F-16 jets built by American defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
Indian parliamentary panel decries army's financing of new mountain strike corps
India's parliamentary committee on defence has criticised Indian Army measures to create its new 17 Mountain Strike Corps (MSC) for deployment along the country's disputed Himalayan border with China.

After revealing in a series of reports to parliament on 3 May that the army was "grappling" with the non-release of state funds for the country's first mountain-specific strike corps, the 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence stated that the army was "using its own reserves to raise the formation".
Defence minister asked to add Indian army tales in textbooks
OA: Sahitya Academy award winning author Datta D Naik has submitted a proposal to the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to permit a group of Sahitya Academy award winning writers from across India to spend time at the military bases and interview the armed personnel about their experiences (within the framework of secrecy constraints).

Naik told mediapersons that he has also marked a copy of his letter to the Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani as well as the President of the Sahitya Academy so that these interviews of army officers and soldiers written as stories, reportages, travelogues and novelettes are included in the school and college text books as part of the curriculum.

The writer feels this will help inculcate patriotism and encourage youth to join the army. Naik said that there is very limited literature available on the armed forces.

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