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Saturday, 2 July 2016

From Today's Papers - 02 Jul 2016

Foreigners among 20 taken hostage in Dhaka diplomatic zone; 2 dead
Dhaka, July 1
Suspected terrorists tonight stormed a popular restaurant in Dhaka's high-security Gulshan diplomatic area and took hostage at least 20 persons, including foreigners, triggering a fierce gunbattle with Bangladesh security forces in which two policemen were killed and nearly 30 injured.

At least nine terrorists barged into the Holey Artisan Bakery, frequented by diplomats and expatriates, and opened indiscriminate fire at around 9:20 pm (local time).
Several foreigners, including Italians and Japanese, were feared to have been taken hostage along with locals inside the restaurant, said police. “We are trying to negotiate with the gunmen holed up inside the restaurant,” Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) chief Benazir Ahmed told newsmen. “Our first priority is to save the lives of the people trapped inside.”

The officer incharge of nearby Banani police station, Salahuddin Ahmed, was among the two policemen killed in the gunbattle. The other officer killed in the attack was Additional Commissioner of Police Rabiul, identified only by his first name. At least 30 people and policemen were injured in the firefight. News agency IANS, however, quoted Assistant Superintendent of Police Fazle-e-Elahi as saying that four police officers were killed and the gunmen were holding about 40 hostages.

The attackers hurled bombs from inside the restaurant and were firing intermittently. When police tried to get iside the building, the gunmen triggered a blast to stop them. Several explosions were heard near the restaurant. MEA sources in New Delhi said they were monitoring the situation in Dhaka and trying to ascertain the details.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in touch with security agencies over the incident.

US President Barack Obama has been briefed by his top counter-terrorism official on the attack in Bangladesh, a White House official said, adding that they are monitoring the situation there.

Local media reports said the number of gunmen could be as high as 20 but there was no official word on it.

A large number of policemen and personnel from the RAB have cordoned off the area. Security personnel were seen warding off people crowding the cordon.

A kitchen staff of the restaurant, who managed to escape, said several armed men entered the restaurant around 8:45 pm and took the chief chef hostage, according to media reports. "They set off several crude bombs triggering panic," he added. It was not clear who the attackers were, but reports said that authorities suspect Islamists to be behind the attack. — Agencies
Finally, Tejas flies into IAF fleet
LCA’s first squadron ‘Flying Daggers’ gets two jets, six more to join by December
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 1
The country's first indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the Tejas, was today inducted into Indian Air Force (IAF), making it an important day in the history of India's defence manufacturing efforts.

Group Captain Madhav Rangachari will command 'Flying Daggers' — the first squadron of Tejas. He flew the inaugural flight of the plane in Bengaluru today.
Only two planes have been inducted so far and the entire squadron of 18 planes will be built over the next two years. Six more planes will join in by December-end. The euphoria of history apart, the real test of maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a public sector undertaking of the Ministry of Defence, starts now. The HAL has been asked to deliver two successive improved versions of Tejas with the second version called "Tejas Mark 1-A" to start production in 2019.

These will include new generation active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar which simultaneously tracks and aims at targets in the air and ground, an advanced electronic warfare suite, addition of latest beyond visual range (BVR) of missiles, mid-air refuelling facility and greater war fighting abilities. In all, 43 improvements will be made in the existing plane.

"These additions will make the plane truly world class. Today is a historic day and signals ours growth," said Air Marshal Kapil Kak (retd).

In all, 120-125 planes are to be produced and with HAL's existing capacity of making eight planes annually. This may take up to 15-17 years. The HAL has been asked to produce 16 jets annually and a Rs 1,252-crore modernisation plan has been approved to ramp up capacities.

Tejas will fill in the void created by MiG-21s and MiG-27s that will be phased out by 2022. The IAF needs 400 jets over the next 10 years. The gap is slated to be filled by 36 Rafale jets, 80-100 fifth generation fighter aircraft to be co-produced with Russia and another 80-100 Rafale-type medium combat jets.

Of national pride and happiness!

Induction of indigenously made Tejas fighter jet into the Air Force fills our hearts with unparalleled pride and happiness…I laud HAL and ADA on the induction of Tejas fighter jet. This illustrates our skills and strengths to enhance indigenous defence manufacturing. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister

Congratulations to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Aeronautical Development Agency for successful induction of the indigenously developed Tejas fighter jet…Moment of National pride…Tejas will take our air strength to new heights. Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister
Col Randhawa, hero of WW-II, dies at 95
Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 1
Punjab’s World War-II hero and last Military Cross awardee Colonel Daljit Singh Randhawa (retd) died in Hoshiarpur today. He was 95.

He is survived by his 92-year-old wife Satwant Kaur, two sons — Col Jasjit Singh Randhawa (retd) and Major Amanjit Singh Randhawa (retd) — and two daughters. His elder son-in-law Saravjit Singh Hothi retired as Air Vice-Marshal, while younger son-in-law Col HPS Pannu (retd) served with 71 Armoured Regiment.
The decorated officer had been undergoing treatment “after a fall at his Model Town residence two weeks ago and had been on life support”, said a family member. The last rites will be performed at his native Phulgana village on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road at noon on Saturday.

Coming from a family whose seven generations have served in the Army, Col Randhawa’s great-great-grandfather Subedar Harnam Singh was the first to join the defence services and fought during the 1857 mutiny.

Col Randhawa was decorated with the prestigious Military Cross for chivalry displayed during the 1944 Burma campaign in Kohima.

“At 24, my father was the youngest officer to receive the Military Cross. He felt proud to see my son Ibandeep, now a Major, getting inducted into the Army,” said Col Jasjit Randhawa (retd).

“He sustained injuries while killing four Japanese soldiers in hand-to-hand combat on the road to Imphal. He was the Parade Commander at the country’s first Independence Day Parade in Delhi, where Lord Mountbatten was given the guard of honour,” recalled Air Vice-Marshal Hothi.

“He was born in Montgomery, Pakistan. He was posted as Major in Poonch and often shared stories of the days of demarcation of the LoC. After receiving the Military Cross, he was allotted 28 acres in Pakistan. The land was re-allotted at Phuglana, where his last rites will be performed,” said daughter Pearl Hothi, who lives in Jalandhar.

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