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Friday, 3 June 2016

From Today's Papers - 03 Jun 2016

Decline in trend of youths joining militancy in J&K: Indian Army
Uri: The Army today claimed that the alarming trend of local youth joining militancy in Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a decline with fewer youths joining militant ranks this year as compared to last year.

"Last year, a large number of youth got recruited in militancy. But this year we are witnessing a decline in the trend. This year the number is very less compared to last year and among those who joined the militant ranks, six have returned or surrendered," General Officer Commanding (GoC) of Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua told reporters.

He was here in the border town to inaugurate the Chinar Youth Club set up by Army as part of Operation Sadhbavana (goodwill) to provide opportunities to the local youth to hone their skills in different fields including sports and education.

"We intend to start training for IAS competitive exams for the desirous youths from this year," he said, highlighting the efforts of Army's Super-30 coaching programme in which 16 students of the state were selected for IIT this year.

He said the Army is also providing coaching to the local students for the National Defence Academy exams.

Referring to the Chinar Youth Club, he said Army is setting up 70 such clubs across the valley.

More than 20 have already been set up and in the next couple of months, the rest will be completed, Dua said.

The Army commander also dismissed reports that the Army is obstructing tourist activity in Tosamaidan in Central Kashmir Budgam district and Bangus valley in Handwara area of Kupwara district.

"The reports are baseless and irresponsible. Three years back the lease of Tosamiadan expired and the state government decided not to renew its lease agreement and wanted us to clear the area of the littered explosives, which was a genuine demand.

Army under an operation cleared the whole area and handed it over to the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Since then, the land is not with us and tourists are going there as well,"

He said.

"As far as Bangus valley is concerned, the people mostly do not visit there as it is very sensitive area and also close to the border. If someone wants to visit the valley, we will try he will go there," Dua said.

About the upcoming Amarnath yatra starting on July 2, he said the Army is ready to meet any challenge to ensure a peaceful pilgrimage and troops guarding the Line of Control (LoC) are fully geared to foil any infiltration attempt.
Secure Ladakh before China teaches us another lesson
This article has been co-authored by Ravi Rikhye and Mandeep Singh Bajwa.
East Ladakh was so isolated and so lightly patrolled by Indian police that only in 1957 did India realise the Chinese had occupied the region. An Indian Army officer, who photographed parts of the Aksai Chin highway cutting across Ladakh, was disbelieved by Army HQ.

Because of increasing problems with China, the Army asked for three additional divisions and one-two independent brigades. The division for Ladakh was to have four strong brigades.

New Delhi reluctantly sanctioned just one division for NEFA (North-East Frontier Agency) and one independent brigade for Ladakh with two militia battalions.
Resigned to the government's inaction, the Army asked for five regular battalions for 114 Brigade. Instead it got two. The second did not even arrive until the outbreak of the war.

As the 1962 disaster, unfolded, HQ 3rd Division was raised at Leh; HQ 114 Brigade moved to Chushul, HQ 70 Brigade arrived from the west Kashmir front, as also 163 Brigade.
Prior to the 1971 War, India withdrew 163 Brigade to the Pakistan plains without replacement. Eventually, by the first decade of the 21st Century, India had only four regular infantry battalions supplemented by two Special Frontier Force battalions committed to the China front.

After we occupied Siachin, four of the six battalions were either inducting or de-inducting from 102 (I) Brigade at Thoise. The effective deployment against China was two battalions - a return to 1959. This shows India's acceptance of the de facto boundary with China, a wish to demilitarise the area, and to live in peace.

Instead, from about 2008 onward China began a long series of intrusions across the CFL (Cease Fire Line), pushing and provoking India. Possibly China wanted to pressure India into a formal acceptance of the Ladakh CFL.
Possibly as it grew in power, China, which is extremely contemptuous of India, simply wanted to show that we are only a vassal of the Middle Kingdom.

Whatever the reason, India authorised a build-up of its long-neglected northern border forces. As is always the case with India, instead of providing a force-level required by the circumstances, the government equivocated, hemmed and hawed about the money, and most amusingly, worried about provoking China. This is akin to worrying about angering the intruders who come into your house whenever they want.

Nonetheless, India has built up to what the Army wanted in 1959 and then some. A corps reserve brigade from west Kashmir was given to 3 Division to strengthen defences south of the Changchemo River, making three brigades instead of two.

A new brigade was raised north of the river. A new armoured brigade is under raising. Mandeep Singh Bajwa will explain its rationale in a subsequent article. And HQ XIV Corps is getting a new brigade to function as a reserve wherever required in the theatre.
So from two brigades facing China, India has now raised/inducted four new brigades, effectively tripling its resources for the China front. So it seems the Chinese are not really as clever as they think they are, because for no reason they have created a threat where none existed.

The new raisings, however, do not end India's requirements. No one ever won a war by relying on the pure defence. The Army has always known this, which is why it has requested a mountain strike corps for Ladakh and Kashmir.

Further, there is an urgent requirement for a brigade at Daulet Beg Oldi (DBO) with its own armour component. The new armoured brigade has to be reserved for east Ladakh.

Given that China is motorising or mechanising all its mountain troops, Daulet Beg Oldi, which has no natural defences, becomes difficult to protect. A new brigade at DBO means a new division HQ north of the Changchemo.
China's GDP today is $10-trillion, four times ours. In 1980, our countries were equal at $500-billion each. China's announced defence budget is four times ours.

Chinese expansion across all its frontiers is swift and aggressive. It stations only three brigades in Tibet proper, and a division close to east Ladakh. But it is building a formidable series of railroads in the region that will permit rapid reinforcement.

Its ground forces are shifting from a defensive to an offensive posture. Instead of doing what is needed, Delhi has cut back its GDP spending on defence to less than 1.7 per cent, showing remarkable negligence in protecting our country which is now threatened on all its frontiers.
Far from sanctioning the second mountain strike corps, Delhi is coming up with every excuse possible to cancel it altogether. More on this another time.

And Delhi is also as usual proceeding at an excruciatingly slow pace in constructing roads and railways.

The scandal about our failure to modernise our military is now globally discussed. Which then raises the question: will India need another Chinese lesson before we start taking our northern defence seriously?
312 cadets pass out of NDA, medal winners from Army stream
All the three medal winners are from the Army stream. The passing out cadets included 211 from the Army, 36 from the Navy and 65 from the Air Force.
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MARCHING TO the tune of Auld Lang Syne in the background and with Sukhoi-30MKI fighters thundering overhead in a formation, 312 cadets of the 130th course of the National Defence Academy (NDA) passed out after three years of rigorous training on Tuesday. All the three medal winners are from the Army stream. The passing out cadets included 211 from the Army, 36 from the Navy and 65 from the Air Force. These included 14 cadets from friendly foreign countries including Bhutan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Papua New Guinea, Kyrgyztan and Tonga.

General Officer Comman-ding-in-Chief of the Southern Command Lt Gen Bipin Rawat was the reviewing officer for the parade, which was held at the Khetrapal Ground of NDA, located in Khadakwasla near Pune with a background view of the picturesque Sinhagad valley.

Lt Gen Rawat was received by the NDA Commandant, Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar. Air Marshal Ajit Bhosale and NDA Deputy Commandant Air Vice Marshal Sandesh Wagle were also present on the occasion.
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In his speech, Lt Gen Rawat said, “I must remind you that the armed forces of the world are technology-driven. Non-contact warfare is emerging as a force, which would complement hard power in a conventional war. This is an age of cyber and information warfare and I am happy to say that the Indian armed forces are preparing to meet this challenge.”

“Technology is a force multiplier and therefore, without a doubt, each one of us must be technology-savvy. This requires not only building our technological capabilities, but also training men to use them. Therefore, I urge you cadets never to be complacent about updating yourself with the latest in your services. I am glad that NDA is making rapid strides and cadets in future would have better orientation to technology. That indeed is a welcome step,” Lt Gen Rawat added.

“However, I must reiterate that we are not for producing ‘armchair warriors’, instead, each of us must be battle-worthy, by being physically fit and strong, capable of doing tasks that we expect our soldiers to do, whether it be on a tank, ship, fighter jet or on our feet,” Lt Gen Rawat further said.

Academy Cadet Captain Avinash Chhetry won the Presi-dent’s gold medal for coming first in the overall order of merit. Academy Cadet Adjutant Utkarsh Pandey won the silver medal for coming second in the overall order of merit and Battalion Cadet Captain Naman Bhatt won the bronze medal for standing third in the overall order of merit. The November (N) Squadron bagged the prestigious Chief of Staff Banner, which was ceremonially presented during the parade.

All the three medal winners belong to the Army stream, who said that the initial terms of the training were the most challenging and the bonds created among the cadets during these training days would last lifelong.

Speaking to media after the passing-out parade, NDA Commandant Vice Adm G Ashok Kumar, who will soon be taking over as the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, said. “Coming back to the institution where one was trained is one of the biggest honour one can get. During my tenure here, efforts were made that cadets be more technologically aware and one of the steps in the direction was introduction of the BTech course.”
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