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Author: Abhishek Bhalla

Surgical Strike 2.0: Indian Army planted IEDs to surprise Pak; toll could be higher

The Indian Army troops planted explosives on Pakistani side to surprise the enemy during the ‘mini surgical strike’ it carried out on Monday.According to the new details emerging from the last night’s cross-border raids, the IED blasts were targeted for initial damage on the Pakistani side. It was followed by heavy firing by the Indian troopsThe DNA had first reported on Monday about the ‘mini surgical strike’. The sources say that the toll in the cross-border raids could be much higher than the three dead and one injured identified on Monday.The Indian security forces had crossed over to the Pakistani side on Monday to retaliate the Saturday’s ceasefire violation in Rajouri that had killed three including an Indian Army officer.The Pakistani soldiers killed in the Monday raids have been identified as sepoy Sajjad, sepoy Abdul Rehman and Sepoy M Usman. The injured soldier on the Pakistani side has been identified as sepoy Athzaz Hussain.”We got a go ahead to cross over and carry out an operation to avenge the killings of four soldiers including a major rank officer,” said government sources confirming the army strike in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.According to a statement by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations, the Indian forces opened fire along the Line of Control killing three of their soldiers. The raid happened in 12 Division of the 59 Balooch Unit in PoK, sources said.

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Army for stricter scrutiny to weed out tainted during promotions

The Indian Army has put in place a stringent disciplinary policy for stricter scrutiny, when it promotes officers, to ensure those tainted do not move up in its hierarchy.The regime will keep a record of even minor offences, including misconducts of at least 10 years, and in some cases, the entire service duration, if the condemnation has been awarded by the Chief or the Central government.This is in wake of senior officers found involved in cases of misbehaviour or un-officer like acts early in their careers and reaching high ranks. Land scams, involving senior officers, scandalous affairs and sexual misconduct in some cases have dented the Army’s image.Sources said several cases at higher levels showed officers who had committed serious misdemeanours managed to go past scrutiny and got promoted. This triggered a change in the Army’s policy.”An in-house review suggested that more scrutiny is needed to make sure serial offenders don’t rise in service as many such cases were identified recently,” said an Army source.There were many instances when wrongdoings of the past were not detected and officers went on to hold high offices.”The change in policy will make sure that an officer’s shady past will not go unnoticed,” the source added.The disciplinary policy is divided into two: Court Martial for serious offences, including criminal acts, and Administrative Action in the form of a Censure, which till now was recordable and non-recordable.Non-recordable offences were minor in nature and were not part of Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) or a dossier maintained for every officer.”The customs of service of the Army demand the highest standards of personal conduct and respect for military law. The selection of officers now requires the past disciplinary and administrative record of officers to be placed before the selection boards,” a letter circulated to all sections of the Army said.With the new policy in place, non-recordable offences are a thing of the past. Every censure will be part of records for a period of at least 10 years and will reflect in ACRs that could impact future promotions.Censures are awarded for acts considered “minor in nature” and don’t involve criminality or moral turpitude. According to the new policy, cases that do not fall under the minor offence category but are not criminal acts to be tried under a Court Martial can be forwarded to the headquarters for award of a censure by the Army Chief.Censures will be of two types: severe displeasure or displeasure.While the award of a censure will not debar an officer from being considered for promotion but it will be taken note of as part of the overall record of service in assessing the credentials of the officer. This will ensure that the entire record of the officer will be placed before the selection board.

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Indian Army crosses LOC to retaliate, kills three Pak soldiers

Indian Army troops crossed over the Line of Control killing three Pakistani army soldiers and leaving one injured in a cross border raid on Monday retaliating to the death of four India army personnel including a major on Saturday. Based on ground intelligence and surveillance intelligence, agencies have identified the Pakistani soldiers killed as sepoy Sajjad, sepoy Abdul Rehman and Sepoy M Usman. The injured soldier on the Pakistani side has been identified as sepoy Athzaz Hussain. “We got a go ahead to cross over and carry out an operation to avenge the killings of four soldiers including a major rank officer,” said government sources confirming the army strike in PoK. According to a statement by Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations, Indian forces opened fire along the Line of Control killing three of their soldiers. The raid happened in 12 Division of the 59 Balooch Unit in PoK, sources said. This comes a day after Indian Army said one Pakistani soldier was killed in retaliation to the Pakistani Army firing killing four Indian Army personnel. ISPR said one other than the casualties one Pakistani soldier was injured. There have been frequent skirmishes on the line of Control with Pakistan Army indulging in repeated ceasefire violations. There has also been an increase in infiltration attempts from Pakistan trying to send terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir.

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63% plunge in foreign funding of NGOs: Govt

Foreign funding of NGOs has plunged by 63 per cent as the Centre has been coming down heavily against erring organisations and putting several international donors under the lens for working against the country’s interests.In the year 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, this was a sharp dip from Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16.In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore from foreign donors.The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cancelled registration of 4,842 NGOs banning their foreign funding for not filing their annual returns under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.The latest data on foreign funding of NGOs was given to Parliament on Wednesday.Soon after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014 intelligence agencies were told to identify advocacy groups that were receiving funds from abroad and were against the interests of the nation. Several NGOs put in the category of impacting the economic stability of the country were put on the list.Intelligence agencies also listed several donors as suspicious and blacklisted them. As a result in 2015 FCRA registration of more than 8,500 organisations was cancelled. This was a big jump from 2014 when only 59 NGOs faced action while only four lost their registration in 2013.Indian NGOs received over Rs 60,000 crore between 2009-10 and 2011-12.As part of stringent measures to monitor the activities of foreign funded bodies the Home Ministry in September asked over 1,200 organisations to give details of their bank accounts that receive funds from international donors.In July the Home Ministry issued notices to 5922 organisations including top educational institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and several other religious bodies for banning their foreign funding.”Once issues of money laundering, terror funding and derailing the country’s economic growth were raised there was a massive crackdown was planned which is continuing,” said a government official.Sources said many of the NGOs that faced the action were among the highest paid ones but did not file annual returns. Many of these were repeat offenders and failed to file their annual returns on foreign funding for four years between 2010-11 and 2014-15 despite constant reminders from the Home Ministry. All organisations are required to submit their annual return within nine months of the closure of the financial year.DIPPING NUMBERSIn 2016-17, Rs 6,499 crore poured in from abroad in different organisations, as opposed to Rs 17,773 crore in 2015-16. In 2014-15, Indian NGOs received Rs 15,299 crore.

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Not one Rohingya deported yet

There are nearly 40,000 Rohingyas in India, according to home ministry estimates, but not a single illegal immigrant flagged as a terror threat has yet been deported. The ministry had asked for states to identify Rohingyas with terror links and deport them to Myanmar, but no such links have been reported as yet.On the other hand, in the last three years, 330 Pakistanis and 1,700 Bangladeshis have been sent back to their country for illegal entry into India.In August, the Home Minstry wrote to state governments urging them to identify illegal Rohingyas and deport them. “Detection and deportation of such illegal immigrants from Rakhine state, also known as Rohingyas, is a continuous process. Therefore, it is essential to identify them and keep a watch on their activities for preventing any untoward incident that can take place,”the home ministry communication to states said.Government sources also say that keeping in mind certain strategic reasons, the Rohingyas need to be deported. The government has been under attack for its decision to deport Rohingyas and even UN human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein condemned India’s move. However, the government has defended its action and Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju has in the past called it “calibrated design” to “tarnish” India’s image.”As per an estimate, more than 40,000 illegal Rohingya immigrants are presently staying in India mostly in the States of Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan,” the Home Ministry said in a reply stated in Parliament on Wednesday.Ministry says‘Since entry of such illegal immigrants without valid travel documents is clandestine and surreptitious, it is not possible to have accurate data of such illegal Rohingya immigrants living in parts of country’

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Air Force may only have 300 fighter jets by 2032

The dipping numbers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter fleet has alarmed the security establishment as it will be operating with half of its current strength in a little over a decade.The Indian Air Force is operating with only 33 fighter squadrons against the sanctioned strength of 42. The number will be further reduced to 16 by 2032, and 19 by 2027.As of now the IAF requires at least 45 squadrons, but it is short of the target. Each squadron has 18-20 fighter jets with many of them not having full strength.This means that the total number of fighter jets could be 300 by 2032. De-induction of MiGs 21, 27, and 29 over the next 10 years will cause this critical fall in the number of fighter fleet.The numbers are part of a presentation made by the Air Force to a Parliamentary panel on Defence.The falling numbers are a cause of concern keeping in mind the two-front collusive threats.IAF is banking on Rafale, Sukhoi 30s, and indigenous Tejas to fill the critical gap.India struck a deal with French company Dassault Aviationto buy 126 Rafale fighter jets. While 36 will come in a fly-away condition, the rest will be manufactured in India as part of an offset clause.36 Rafale and Sukhoi jets will be part of the fleet by 2019, and another 83 Light Combat Aircraft are expected to be inducted by 2020.By 2019, five extra squadrons are also expected to be part of the fleet, but with some being withdrawn, the number will remain around 30-33 for some time.”The capital funding provided to IAF is not at all commensurate with the large envisaged requirements. This could lead to erosion of existing capabilities to a large extent,” the Ministry of Defence said in a reply to the standing committee on Defence.The committee has expressed anguish over the ‘customary nature’ of the reply.”The issue of depletion in squadron strength has been taken up repeatedly, but no concrete measures seem to have been taken,” the Committee has observed in its recent report tabled in parliament.The Indian Air Force has begun the hunt for 114 fighter jets to enhance its operational capabilities and add firepower to its depleting fleet.This will be done under the Strategic Partnership Model of the Narendra Modi government that aims at a synergy between foreign and Indian manufacturers to boost indigenisation in defence manufacturing. Out of the 114 fighters, 16 will be flown from the country of origin and the rest will be manufactured in Indian production lines set up here, sources said.DIPPING NUMBERSThe IAF is operating with only 33 fighter squadrons against the sanctioned strength of 42. The number will be further reduced to 16 by 2032 with the phasing out of some fighter jets.

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Army closes ammunition deals worth Rs 11K crore

Filling up a critical gap in the ammunition stock, the Indian Army recently procured ammunition worth over Rs 11,000 crore in a bid to boost its capabilities.This is part of a roadmap that is being followed after the Army’s internal review revealed serious deficits.The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has also pointed out in its recent report on Army and Ordnance Factories that 40 per cent of the ammunition will not last beyond 10 days, and only 20 per cent can meet the authorised standards of 40 days.”There is adequate stock of ammunition with the Indian Army, and it is well equipped for meeting any operational requirements,” Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply in the Parliament on Monday. He added that 19 contracts worth Rs 11,739 crore were finalised recently.Sources said most of the contracts are related to ammunition requirement.The ammunition for tanks and artillery for sustaining superior firepower is in the most critical state, sources say.Army assessments have revealed that immediate procurement of ammunition and spare parts for weapons and military systems worth Rs 40,000 crore is needed to meet the standards of ‘Minimum Acceptable Risk Level’ (MALR) to fight a 20-day intense war.”Getting the stock of ammunition to desired level is a continuous process, for which the requirements are identified every year and procurements are undertaken accordingly,” Bhambre said.The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has been falling short of its desired targets of meeting over 90 per cent of the requirements. The shortfalls ranged between 64 per cent and 95 per cent since 2013.Between 2009 and 2014, the Army placed orders worth Rs 25,000 crore for ammunition, but there was a shortfall of Rs 6,000 crore. In next phase between 2014 and 2019, the Army’s requirement was nearly double of the demand worth Rs 25,000 crore placed, but it had to be restricted due to incapacity of OFB to manufacture such high amount of ammunition.”Some of the measures taken to ensure adequate availability of ammunition include placing of a Five Year Roll On Indent on Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), finalization of Ammunition Road Map in respect of certain identified ammunition and procurements,” Bhambre added.In addition, financial power to ensure the availability and maintenance of minimum levels of critical ammunition has been delegated to the Army for emergency requirement and to enable them to maintain military preparedness at all times.SHORTFALL The Ordnance Factory Board has been falling short of its target of meeting the requirements. Between 2009 and 2014, the Army placed orders worth Rs 25,000 crore for ammunition, but there was a shortfall of Rs 6,000 crore.

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MHA allocates Rs 500 crore for CRPF modernisation

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has sanctioned around Rs 500 crore for modernisation of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for the next two years in the wake of increased participation of the force in anti-terror operations in Kashmir. Over 50 per cent of the total Rs 1,054 crore sanctioned for Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) will go to CRPF, Home Ministry officials said.The rest of the amount will be shared by other forces like Border Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Central Industrial Security Force, Assam Rifles, and National Security Guards.The money will be spent on buying modern bulletproof jackets, bulletproof helmets, body armours, weapons, and high-tech gadgets for surveillance among other crucial items to equip the force.”Since the CRPF has been serving constantly in conflict zones, there is a need to upgrade the force. A huge share of the fund has been allocated to it,” a Home Ministry official said.The CRPF along with the Army and state police has been aggressively carrying out operation in Kashmir killing over 200 terrorists this year. It is also the lead force when it comes to combating MaoistsUpgrading of crucial weapons and equipment is part of MHA’s larger plan to give a push to the modernisation drive for police forces. MHA has already laid out a blueprint for Rs 25,000 crore modernisation schemes.CRPF and has a heavy deployment in the red zone. With strength of nearly 3 lakh it has the highest presence in Maoist hit states with nearly 85,000- 90,000 personnel serving in the red zone alone.There has been a five time increase in the amount sanctioned for CAPFs as part of a two year modernisation plan with the Home Ministry approved Rs 1054 from the corpus of Rs. 25,000 crore for the years 2018 and 2019.This a huge jump from the Rs. 200 crore amount spent by the forces in the last three years, sources said.While CRPF officials are happy about the amount being sanctioned they are also sceptical the amount being released. “In the past the amount actually released was much less than what was sanctioned,” said a CRPF official.

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Air force gets two more women pilot

The Indian Air Force got two more women fighter pilots on as Flying officers Pratibha and Shivangi Singh were commissioned on Saturday after completing their training and were part of the 105 cadets who became officers of the Indian Air Force. The passing out parade took place in HyderabadShivangi Singh and Pratibha have followed the footsteps of Avani Chaturvedi, Bhawana Kanth and Mohana Singh who were commissioned as Flying Officers last year in July.The two fighter pilots will now be sent to the Bidar Air Force Station in Karnataka for more advanced training on Hawk trainer, Air Force sources said.Pratibha is from Rajgarh, Rajasthan and Shivangi hails from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.After a second phase of training that will last 15 months the duo will be assigned fighter squadrons.Rashi Raina, another women cadet who was being trained as a fighter pilot along with the two missed out this time as she was medically unfit following a recent crash during training.”There will be a review and she will be back to training once she is fit and will need to complete all the courses,” an Air Force source said.Talking about women being inducted as fighter pilots the Indian Air Force Chief BS Dhanao had said during his annual press conference in October that flying is a gender neutral like driving. “Women have to volunteer to become fighter pilots and have to make the cut,” he had said.

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INLD MP enters Parl complex on a tractor

The security staff at Parliament on Thursday was puzzled to see a tractor approaching the entry gate meant for members on the first day of the Winter Session. Soon, they realised the one who was driving the heavy vehicle was no intruder, but a Member of Parliament.The 29-year-old MP from Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Dushyant Chautala chose to ride a tractor to Parliament to protest against a government’s decision that will put tractors in the category in the normal transport vehicles.”You can call this a protest. If the government thinks a tractor is like any other vehicle, then what’s wrong in driving it on the roads,” Chautala, the youngest Member of Parliament, said. Chautala represents Hisar in Haryana, an agrarian state, with a high farmer population.The young MP believes putting it in the category of any other vehicle will lead to heavy taxes on purchasing a tractor. “This will be a big burden for thousands of farmers who are already in distress,” he said. There was drama as he sat atop a green tractor and wanted to drive into to the parliament premises from the entry meant for MPs.He was asked to use another entry and park the tractor in a different parking. Chautala claimed he gave the vehicle number of the tractor to Parliament security as per protocol and he got the clearance.Garima Bhatnagar, Joint Commissioner of Police, said, “As per rules, tractor and trolley for commercial purposes is not allowed in the National Capital. However, in this case it was only a tractor and moreover there was prior permission from the parliament security.”While leaving Parliament, Chautala was stopped by Delhi Police from driving through the Rajpath. He offered to pay a fine and face any punishment if he was violating any rule. The amendment in the Motor Vehicles Act that Chautala was protesting against also intends to put a limit on loading farm produce in tractor which will further increase the farmers’ woes, Chautala said. He claimed to have red flagged the issue at an all-party meeting whcih was held ahead of the session on Thursday and with Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.

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Give powers to CAPFs to buy new vehicles: Home Ministry

Flooded with delays in replacing vehicles damaged in ambush the Home Ministry has written to the Finance Ministry seeking powers for chiefs of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to buy new ones.There is a huge backlog of damaged vehicles that need to be declared non-operational, sources said.Among the most severely hit forces is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) serving in Maoist conflict zones as they are targeted by rebels planting improvised explosive devices on the roads. Sources said there are nearly 400-500 vehicles that need replacement.Currently the powers lie with the Finance Ministry and get stuck in bureaucratic delays leading to forces using obsolete vehicles.”A damaged vehicles needs to be declared non-operational. Till the process does not take place it cannot be replaced,” said a home ministry official.This is part of the plan to give a push to the modernisation drive for police forces. The Home Ministry has already laid out a blue print for the Rs 25,000 crore modernisation schemes. Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a review meeting on Thursday took a low down on the plan that is expected to give a push to modern technology to enhance internal security measures, women safety, better surveillance and use of better weapons. There has also been a five time increase in the amount sanctioned for CAPFs as part of a two year modernisation plan. The Home Ministry has also approved the plan worth Rs 1054 from the corpus of Rs. 25,000 crore for the years 2018 and 2019.CRPF AFFECTEDAmong the most severely hit forces is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) serving in Maoist conflict zones as they are targeted by rebels planting improvised explosive devices on the roads.

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CRPF upset over removal from ‘soft’ VIP postings

The decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to relieve the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police if VIP security and hand it over to Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has created fissures among the paramilitary forces. The CRPF is objecting to the move on the grounds that it will take away the possibility of soft postings for the force that is mostly serving in conflict zones, combating Maoists and deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.Sources said five battalions, comprising nearly 5,000 troops from CRPF are currently rotated for VIP duty, allowing them a soft posting and providing a break from continuously serving in a conflict zone.Other than taking on stone-pelters in Kashmir recently, the force has also been part of anti-terror operations in the state along with the Army and state police.The force is preparing a detailed presentation on the subject that will be taken up with the Ministry of Home Affairs, sources said.The VIP security will be handed over to CISF in a phased manner. While ITBP, entrusted with guarding the India-China border, has welcomed the move, the CISF will need to increase its strength to meet the requirement of additional VIP duty.”There will need to be a quick recruitment in CISF to meet the demand of providing security to nearly 100 more personalities to begin with,” said an official from one of the forces.According to the plan, CISF and National Security Guards (NSG) — popularly known as Black Cats — will remain the two main forces for VIP security. Currently, the CRPF and CISF protect around 150 personalities, with each force guarding close to 75 VIPs. Among the CRPF protectees are some high profile names like BJP President Amit Shah and industrialist Mukesh Ambani, who pays for his security.ITBP currently guards only 17 personalities, while NSG gives protection to 14.There are categories of security — highest being Z plus, followed by Z, X and Y, depending on threat perception.ADDED RECRUITSFive battalions, comprising nearly 5,000 troops from CRPF are rotated for VIP duty Mostly serve conflict zones, combating Maoists and deployed in Jammu and Kashmir Protect around 150 personalities, guarding close to 75 VIPs

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Facing heat for limiting education aid to martyrs’ kids, MoD doubles gallantry award money

The government has doubled the monthly allowance for gallantry award winners at a time the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is under pressure to rollback its order on putting a cap of Rs 10,000 per month on education fees for children of soldiers killed or disabled in action.Those awarded Param Vir Chakra, the highest gallantry award will be entitled to a monthly allowance of Rs. 20,000 now.Also readArmed forces are well prepared for any situation: Defence Minister Nirmala SitharamanAshoka Chakra, the highest peacetime gallantry award winners will now get Rs 12,000. The revised amounts include Rs 10,000 for Mahavir Chakra, Rs. 9000 for Kirti Chakra, Rs 7000 for Vir Chakra, Rs 6000 for Shaurya Chakra and Rs. 2000 for Sena Medal.The notification issued on December 4 said that the amount will be given to the recipients’ widow at the time of his death and she will continue to get the benefit till her death.Also readUnder fire, MoD rethinks cap on expenses of soldiers’ kidsIn case the awardee is a bachelor his parents will be entitled to get the money. According to the notification, the amount will be paid with effect from August 1, 2017.The timing of the decision is significant as the Ministry of Defence has come under criticism for restricting the education waiver to children of war heroes to Rs 10,000 per month which is considered a paltry sum for professional courses.Also readThe Indian Army needs more leeway in internal conflicts
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Yogi Adityanath


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Turning over a new leaf: How Indian Army amped up its diplomacy with new coffee table book

Gifting mementoes to foreign dignitaries is a passé for the Indian Army, instead its book diplomacy that the force believes in now.A coffee table book titled ‘The Indian Army’ showcasing its legacy, making a strong statement on a sensitive subject like Kashmir and democracy is being presented to military counterparts at various international meets.The book traces the role of the Indian Army since Independence in 1947 and the impact it has made domestically and internationally.The book has already been given to officials from Russia, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan and Vietnam.Copies of the book have been given to all defence attachés asking them to present it the book on any official events attended by them in their countries.The practice is being followed after Army Chief Bipin Rawat gave instructions that the coffee table book be presented whenever senior officers travel abroad or visiting foreign dignitaries.“It was felt that giving mementoes is an old practice and has little value. A book on Indian Army’s contributions and its role, the military’s relations with the civil government would be appropriate to send a strong message at international platforms,” said an army source.“The book also touches upon that the Indian Army’s compassion towards it own citizens,” the source added.Just last week Gen Rawat presented the book to the visiting Chief of General Staff, Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic, General Raimberdi Duishenbiyev.The book was released in October this year by the Army Chief. It has glimpses of all the wars and army action that the force has fought.The practice of handing over the book will continue as it is felt it could be an important tool towards fostering military diplomacy with friendly nations.The book opens with a page showing the documents related to accession of Kashmir. It states Jammu and Kashmir remains a conflict zone today due to state sponsored terrorism and that India has legitimate sovereign rights over the state.India has always maintained and given evidence of Pakistan pushing terrorists in Kashmir. Pakistani terror outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed have been active in the state and carried out mass local recruitment and training youth in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.The first chapter highlights that the Indian Army is pledged to constitutional authority, is committed to international defence cooperation, contributes to United Nations and has an unlimited responsibility among other roles it plays.There are over 2000 copies of the book that have been initially published, out of which more than 300 have been distributed not just to foreign dignitaries but also within the force.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Syed Salahuddin’s son among 18 inmates: Tihar jail to MHA

Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid Yusuf is one of the 18 prisoners referred to AIIMS after being allegedly beaten up by security personnel in Tihar jail, the prison authorities have informed the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).Two separate probe panels will be investigating the incident.A district judge has been appointed to look into the incident while a law professor from National Law University has been asked to provide legal assistance to inmates involved in the scuffle that led to the alleged thrashing of prisoners last week.Another inquiry will be conducted by Commandant of the Tamil Nadu Special Police posted at the high security cell who were allegedly involved in the scuffle.There were 25 prisoners in the high security ward when the incident took place on the night of November 21-22.Several Kashmiri prisoners are currently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi after being arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a terror funding case. Saluhuddin’s son Yusuf, who was a government employee in Jammu and Kashmir, is also part of the same investigation.The Tamil Nadu police personnel posted at the cell have been removed, Tihar jail authorities said in their report to MHA.”The prisoners referred to AIIMS will be examined by a panel of three doctors who will submit a report on the nature of injuries,” said a home ministry official.Yusuf faces allegations of receiving money from his father who is based in Pakistan. Syed Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jihad Council — an umbrella organisation of all terror outfits operating in Kashmir, has been declared a global terrorist by the US Department of State.The incident took place when during a search certain objectionable material was found leading to a confrontation between some prisoners and jail security following which MHA asked for a detailed report from Tihar authorities.Tihar autorities in its report to MHA also stated that jail officials have been sensitised to ensure that inherent dignity of prisoners is always maintained, especially during searches.Following reports of some Kashmiri prisoners being beaten up Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti spoke to union home secretary Rajiv Gauba expressing her concern over the security of inmates from the state.INSIDE THE JAILThere were 25 prisoners in the high security ward when the violent thrashing took place. MHA had asked for a report on the incident from the prison authorities.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Electricity, rehab of terrorists to win hearts in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rehabilitation of surrendered local terrorists, 800 mega watt power, and increased compensation of Rs 30 lakh for police officers who die on duty are part of Centre’s new plan to reach out to the people of the Valley.Sources said, Centre has decided to implement these measures at the earliest after consulting the state government.The provision for providing electricity is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Rs 80,000-crore package for the state. With mass recruitment of local youth by terror outfits, the Centre and state government have also planned a surrender strategy to convince them to return to mainstream.”There is a plan to rehabilitate them. Some have surrendered so far, but efforts are on to make sure more youth give up arms,” an official said.In view of the increase in demand of power in the state during winter, the government has decided to allocate nearly 800 MW of power.Officials said the measures are planned to win over the confidence of local population after a prolonged period of violence in the state since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani in July last year.”There have been consultations among various agencies of the Centre and the state government, and it is felt that it is important to reach out to the people of Kashmir,” a government official said.Centre has also declared an increased amount of compensation to state police constables who lose their lives while fighting terrorists. The families will be given Rs 30 lakh, Rs 18 lakh to be paid by the state and Rs 12 lakh by the Centre. This move brings compensation for state police forces at par with that of central forces.Security forces have killed 195 terrorists this year till now but over 70 security personnel lost their lives in counter terror operations.The terror kills have been higher than previous years but according to an analysis by the security agencies it has increased the hostility with new terror recruits. This has increased the cycle of violence prompting the government to take measures to win the confidence of the local population.There have been several instances of stone pelting on security forces during anti terror operations.There is also relief for first time stone-pelters as cases against them will be dropped.The Centre earlier appointed former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as a special representative to initiate a dialogue with all stakeholders in Kashmir.

Widows of gallantry award winners to get monetary allowance even after remarriage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The widows of soldiers who have won gallantry award are now entitled to monetary allowance even if they remarry a man of their choice.Till now the grant was paid only if the widow married her dead husband’s brother.Doing away with the regressive practice the Ministry of Defence has decided to remove the condition of the widow’s remarriage to her late husband’s brothers.The decision was taken by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last week after getting complaints from widows about the problem.The archaic rule that was being followed since 1972 has been overruled. Significantly the decision has been taken when a woman is holding the charge of a full time Defence Minister in the country for the first time.“Representations were received from various quarteres to remove the condition of the widow’s remarriage with the late husband’s brother for continuation of the monetary allowance,” MoD said in a statement.In a letter dated November 16, MoD stated that it has now been decided to remove the condition of the widow’s remarriage with the late husband’s brother for continuation of the monetary allowance.According to the earlier rules a widow would receive the amount until her death but if she chose to remarry she would get the grant only if she married her husband’s brother. Now the widow will be entitled to the allowance irrespective of who she marries.“The allowance shall be admissible to the recipient of the award and on his death to his widow lawfully married by a valid ceremony. The widow will continue to receive the allowance until her death,” according to the new rules circulated on the subject by defence ministry.

Joint training doctrine for armed forces released; focus on synergy and integration

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aiming to give a push and play a more robust role in diplomacy and enhancing civil-military interface, the armed forces have for the first time compiled a joint training doctrine to promote synergy in its functioning. Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba released ‘Joint Training Doctrine Indian Armed Forces – 2017’ on Tuesday.“It is for the first time in the history of the Armed Forces that such a keystone document has been promulgated. The document has been prepared in a ‘collegiate manner’ involving all the three Service Headquarters and flowing from its mother and capstone Doctrine namely, Joint Doctrine Indian Armed Forces -2017 released in April last,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.The doctrine aims integration amongst the three services—Army, Air Force and Navy along with other stakeholders leading to an enhanced efficiency and optimum utilisation of resources.Besides numerous advantages of the Doctrines, this document will also go a long way in ‘fostering initiative’ and ‘stimulating creativity’ for promoting ‘Integration’ between the three Services in times to come, the Defence Ministry said.The doctrine will serve as a ‘foundation’ and ‘knowledge base’ from which specific directives and strategies will be issued by the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee to the HQ IDS and Service HQs to consolidate proven concepts, structures, mechanisms, capacities, capabilities, etc, from time to time.Consequent to the consolidation of Joint Training, this maiden Doctrine will be further developed in due course as Doctrines are always ‘unfinished products’ being ‘Evolving in nature’, for ready reference as ‘Distilled wisdom’ and a ‘Referral document’ for the policy makers, armed forces personnel, academia, etc.Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) Lt Gen Satish Dua were also present on the occasion.

Army will train B’desh forces to combat terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army will be training Bangladeshi forces in the first of its kind counter-terror and insurgency exercise to be held at the Danapur Cantonment near Patna, amid growing radicalisation and emerging terrorist groups in the neighbouring country that have a direct bearing on India’s security.The training is aimed at carrying out operations against terrorists and insurgents on the lines of those in Kashmir and India’s northeast.Starting Monday, the Army will hold the exercise with a Bangladeshi contingent till December 17. The joint exercise will have mutual benefits as both countries are facing similar threats including those from certain groups operating on both sides of the border.Indian intelligence agencies have warned in the past about a growing collaboration between Jamat-Ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Islamic State to establish a Bangladeshi Caliphate and also target India. There have been warnings that JMB cadres active along the India-Bangladesh border could set up bases in eastern Indian states.JMB is a banned terror outfit in India that has cadres active here. It was responsible for the bomb blasts in Burdwan in 2014, a small town in West Bengal close to the Bangladesh border.”The shared threat to both countries and adding another facet to strategic cooperation prompted the two countries to state a training capsule prepared by the Indian Army based on our experiences in Kashmir and North East,” said Army sources.During the training, state-of-the art weapons and equipment for close-quarter battle, surveillance and tracking, explosives, IED detectors and communication equipment will be used. The Bangladesh team will train, plan and execute a series of well-developed operations for neutralising these threats.There will also be discussions to share counter-terror operation experiences that will be mutually beneficial.The training event will be attended by five officers and 25 other ranks of the Bangladesh Army. The Indian Army will be represented by five officers, eight Junior Commissioned Officers and 15 other jawans.”This training capsule is one of the major training events and defence cooperation endeavours between the two Armies and will be first of its kind being organized for the Bangladesh Army at Danapur Cantonment,” sources in the Army said.The Indian Army Training team will be headed by Colonel DD Swain, an experienced counter-insurgency expert having commanded a Rashtriya Rifles Battalion in Jammu and Kashmir and operated in insurgency-affected areas of Assam and Manipur for a number of years.The Indian Army will also get an opportunity to absorb lessons from the series of highly successful counter terror operation carried out by the security forces of Bangladesh.The operating principles and tactics of both countries while dealing with insurgency and terrorism related incidents are also similar.

J&K was never seen to be more anxious for talks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>AS Dulat, former chief of Research & Analysis Wing, who also served in Intelligence Bureau tracking Kashmir, speaks to DNA on the dialogue process.How do you see the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma?It’s a good, modest beginning. This is how these things start. Engagement is the key to Kashmir. We must never stop talking to all players across the board.Do you think Hurriyat is a stumbling block?I am certain with Mr Sharma there, dialogue with Hurriyat will happen. I see absolutely no reason for Hurriyat not to talk. Without Hurriyat the talks are meaningless. In the last three years, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who is among the moderate separatist leaders has shown his inclination to talk.How can Sharma bring Hurriyat on board?He should not wait for anyone to approach him. He should feel free to go to them. Just like he met Omar Abdullah, maybe in his next visit, he should just drive to Mirwaiz’s home or maybe even SAS Geelani’s. If Delhi wants to talk, Hurriyat will talk.Do you think Sharma being an IB man will not be trusted?Absolutely not. His IB past will not come in the way of talks. I was in IB, serving in Kashmir for so many years and never faced this problem. He seems to be relaxed and there is no negativity.How can he be different from other interlocutors?It’s difficult to say but the problem is that we have stopped talking, yet Kashmiris have never been more anxious to talk than now. He can be a facilitator for a political dialogue. You have to give Kashmiris an alternative; even those involved in militancy will get a ray of hope. Talks also put pressure on militants to come on board.Will a surrender policy be of any help at this juncture?Surrenders have been happening since the mid-1990s. But nobody gave importance to it. A proper rehabilitation policy would encourage more boys to shun militancy.

The peacemakers of the valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government has had a series of interlocutors before Dineshwar Sharma to lead talks and usher in peace in the restive state of Jammu & Kashmir. But the former Intelligence Bureau chief’s appointment is significant because it indicates a departure in the current government’s strategy that dealt with insurgency in the Valley with an iron fist. Insiders in the government say there was no option but to send a message that Delhi was ready to talk. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment in August that Kashmir’s problems can be solved only by embracing Kashmiris was a clear signal.There was a view that Sharma, 63, was appointed hurriedly. “He could have been allowed some time to carry out ground work and prepare a strategy,” says a government official privy to the developments. But the government did not want to be seen as not willing to start a dialogue process, at a time when there were no signs of a breakthrough in the latest spiral of violence triggered by local poster boy and Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s encounter killing on July 8, 2016. Women, young boys and girls in large numbers were part of raging mobs that protested and pelted stones at security forces. Many more young men turned to terror as groups targeted them, taking advantage of a situation that was ripe for mass recruitment.This was followed by an aggressive counter-terror tactic aimed at eliminating terrorists. Over 180 terrorists, up from 150 in 2016, have already been gunned down this year. They include some top commanders. But normalcy did not return.”In fact, recent reviews indicate that the killings have led to an increase in violence,” says another official.Right timingSharma’s appointment on October 23 followed suggestions from the top levels of the security establishment that because terrorist outfits have faced several setbacks, the time is right to start dialogue. One in two local terror recruits in Kashmir is gunned down within 100 days of picking up arms. But this has also led to an unending cycle of violence. Major General BS Raju, who heads the Army’s Victor Force carrying out counter-terror operations in the Valley, recently said that out of 115 terrorists active in South Kashmir, 99 were locals. Now, a strategy to get terrorists to surrender is also being explored.”Killing terrorists is not really a measure of success in Kashmir. It does not mean it will translate into peace,” says Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda, who headed the Udhampur-based Northern Command before retiring in November last year. Hooda says killing locals stirs up more sentiments leading to more stone pelting and locals trying to hamper anti-terror operations. “A surrender and rehabilitation policy is the need to wean out youngsters from the clutches terror groups,” he says.Hurriyat big challengeIt is felt if Sharma can initiate a dialogue process with political leaders and civil society focusing on the youth, many of the local boys who have joined terror ranks may lay down arms. It’s in this context that Sharma’s appointment as a special representative for talks with all stakeholders in Kashmir becomes more significant. Kashmir observers feel the appointment is a positive step that should be used to facilitate talks ultimately at a political level and not be viewed as a means to solve the Kashmir problem.AS Dulat, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing, says that hardline separatist group, the Hurriyat Conference, will not talk is an old story. “If Delhi wants Hurriyat to talk, they will talk. You have to convince them,” says Dulat, who spent considerable time in Kashmir serving the Intelligence Bureau. He says Sharma should approach Hurriyat, instead of waiting for it to make a move. “Just like he visited (National Conference leader) Omar Abdullah’s house, he should feel free to go to the homes of Hurriyat leaders. The Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) said, he (Sharma) can talk to whoever he wants, but he should also have the freedom to decide how he wants to talk.” Dulat says without talking to the Hurriyat the exercise will be meaningless.Hooda feels getting Hurriyat on-board will be one the biggest challenges for Sharma. “They have taken a strong stand and how he manages to convince other stakeholders to get to them is going to be the key,” says the retired officer who earlier also commanded the Nagrota based 16 Corps in Kashmir with his vast experience of serving there. He says that in 2010, there was pressure exerted from traders and other groups on Hurriyat. “It is important what message the government sends out through him,” he says.MM Ansari, part of three interlocutors appointed in 2010, has welcomed the decision of the government but is sceptical of a positive outcome. Ansari and his team had in their 176-page report to the government in 2012 recommended the setting up of a constitutional committee to review all Central Acts and Articles of the Constitution of India applicable in J&K after the signing of the 1952 Agreement made on the basis of then Maharaja Hari Singh’s instrument of accession to India in 1947 and the recommendations of J&K’s Constituent Assembly. They also recommended the word “temporary” be deleted from the heading of Article 370 that recognises special status to the state. The report is still gathering dust.Belling the catSharma’s choice as an interlocutor is intriguing and this is what makes the situation different from the past. Many feel a former head of the country’s domestic spy agency might not be the best option for the job as Kashmiris may not trust him. But the Kerala cadre IPS officer of the 1979 batch tilted the scale in his favour because he has tracked terror networks in Kashmir and India’s Northeast for decades. He is known to have compassionate views on the sufferings of the conflict-hit state.Sharma on his first visit to the state since his appointment knows he has a herculean task cut out for him. He met nearly six delegations in his three-day stay in Srinagar but Hurriyat has already ruled out any talks. Sharma has said he is very satisfied with his first visit. He met former Chief Minster Omar Abdullah and sought his suggestions on taking forward the dialogue process. The advice he got was that sitting in a guest house waiting for people to approach him will not work. Instead, he will have to take the initiative and talk to whoever he wants. He needs to make the right moves to facilitate a dialogue with the people who matter — the separatists.EXPERT’S TAKE’Govt didn’t take note, our report is gathering dust’MM Ansari, part of three interlocutors appointed in 2010, has welcomed the decision of the government but is sceptical of a positive outcome. “Our report was exhaustive and touched upon various aspects in Kashmir but it’s gathering dust as the government has failed to follow the recommendations. We had consensus from all political parties and also had the BJP and the RSS on board. A total of 19 political parties including Hurriyat Conference were consulted,” he says. Because Sharma is a former intelligence officer he will see things from the prism of security, whereas political and social points of view are a must in any dialogue process, Ansari says. He says a dialogue at any stage is welcome but, going by past experiences, there will be no headway unless there is a dialogue at the political level, and that Kashmir’s problem should not be viewed only from a security point of view.

Bharat Ratna for Field Marshal Cariappa; Army chief puts ball in government’s court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After pitching for Bharat Ratna for late Field Marshal KM Cariappa, independent India’s first Army chief, Army Chief Bipin Rawat has left it to the Narendra Modi government to decide whether to confer the military hero with the highest civilian honour in the country. “Final decision will be taken by the government. Whatever is decided will be acceptable,” he said on Friday replying to queries on his view that Field Marshal Cariappa should be given the Bharat Ratna. Also speaking about the situation in Kashmir, Rawat said stone pelting incidents have come down. On November 4, Rawat had said that time has come that Field Marshal Cariappa be honoured with the highest civilian honour posthumously. He had said if others can get why not him as he is as deserving while speaking in Kodagu district in Karnataka where he had gone to unveil statuses of Field Marshal Cariappa former Army Chief late General K S Thimayya. The two military heroes have been an inspiration to many in the region. Sachin Tendulkar was the last recipient of Bharat Ratna in 2013 when government included sportspersons for the first time.

DNA Exclusive: Pakistan terror apparatus planning strikes to derail talks in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Pakistan army, along with terror groups and ISI, has stepped up attempts to infiltrate and carry out attacks in Kashmir to derail efforts of special representative Dineshwar Sharma to initiate talks in the conflict-hit state, intelligence inputs shared with top security officials suggest.According to ground intelligence two days after the announcement of Sharma’s appointment on October 23, Syed Salauddin, who heads the United Jihad Council, an umbrella group of terror organisations active in Kashmir, in a meeting on October 25 gave instructions that 45-50 terrorists should infiltrate India and carry out strikes aiming to disrupt any efforts for a dialogue.ISI and Pakistani army officials were also present in the conference held in Muzaffarabad, according to reports based on human and technical intelligence shared with top officials in the security establishment.Sharma, a former Intelligence Bureau chief, reached Srinagar on Monday to begin talks with all stakeholders.The Centre decided to initiate talks with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir hoping to restore peace by appointing Sharma as a “special representative for a sustained dialogue” following a prolonged period of violence in the state over the last one year.The separatist Hurriyat Conference has already rejected the offer of any talks through the interlocutor.In another instance, at a meeting of 3 PoK Brigade in Kotli across the Line of Control infiltrations and cross border raids were discussed.Intelligence inputs indicate that Pakistani terror groups, with the help of Pakistani army, will continue infiltration attempts even as winter sets in.Security agencies have also indentified 10 locations from where the terrorist infiltration or a cross border raid that included Paksitani army regulars can take place. Movement of terrorists and intercepts at these locations indicate they are planning a strike.Over the last one year, since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, there has been an escalation in violence. The stone-pelting mobs including women and children clashing with security forces had become a routine affair last year. With terror outfits luring local youth and terrorists burning down schools, the dialogue process will help bringing them back to mainstream.The security forces have gunned down nearly 180 terrorists this year compared to 150 in 2016.

India raises Pak lobbying, 13 extradition cases with UK MPs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India pitched for putting an end to lobbying by Pakistani groups with British parliamentarians to influence the discourse on Kashmir and gathering support for the cause during a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on Monday, said government officials privy to the discussions.New Delhi also urged UK to ignore propaganda on minorities being targeted in India calling it a “bogey” to put pressure on the government.India also took up the pending extradition cases of 13 individuals including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, businessman Lalit Modi who was the first Chairman of the Indian Premier League and cricket bookie Sanjeev Chawla wanted in a in a match fixing scandal being probed by Delhi Police .Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju communicated India’s stand to his counterpart Minister of State for Immigration Brandon Lewis as well as concerns on the continuing anti-India propaganda carried out by Kashmiri and Sikh extremists in the UK that bear “serious repercussions on India’s sovereignty.”“It was communicated that they should not allow their territory to be used by Kashmiri and Khalistani separatists,” said a government official privy to the talks.There have been efforts by groups in UK led by Pakistanis to initiate a dialogue on Kashmir including accusing India of excesses. There have also been debates in the British Parliament on the issue.

Army mulling imported rifles for troops in combat zones

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army is exploring the option of importing modern assault rifles for the infantry engaged in counter-terror operations and other combat positions as homegrown weapons lack the potency needed for such encounters.People with the knowledge of the matter have told DNA that the force feels that at least 2.5 lakh assault rifles out of the total requirement of 8 lakh should be procured from abroad. These can be used by the front-line troops who fight terrorists in Kashmir and insurgents in North-East.The need to equip the infantry with a modern assault rifle is a top priority, Army sources said.”Buying the entire 8 lakh rifles from a foreign firm will turn out to be very expensive. But we cannot compromise on the quality of the weapon being used by the infantry,” said an army source.Another option being explored is to get the initial procurement from abroad and subsequently set up a manufacturing line in India under the Strategic Partnership model.The Army had earlier expressed reservations on the assault rifle being developed by the state-run Ordnance Factory Board. This firearm was expected to meet infantry’s requirement and be an alternative for the INSAS (Indian Small Arms Systems) rifles inducted in 1988.Listing out the limitations in the 7.62 x 51 mm rifle after an internal evaluation, the army review had said in June that the weapon is a prototype with several faults that go beyond 20 times the maximum permissible limit.In September 2016, when the Ministry of Defence came out with a Request for Information to identify probable vendors, it was said that 65,000 out of the total requirement of 1.85 lakh rifles were needed urgently.Not just the Army, but other forces like the Central Reserve Police Force, which is a part of the counter-terror operations in Kashmir and fights Maoists, is also looking at global options. Soon after Home Minister Rajnath Singh urged for speeding up indigenous procurement for para military forces, the CRPF issued a global tender for 29,823 assault rifles.Sources said the need to arm the forces with a modern assault rifle is a must in view of the changing dynamics of counter-insurgency operations, especially in Kashmir.Joint operations by the Army, CRPF and Jammu & Kashmir police have been successful and resulted in killings of terrorists including several top commanders. Nearly terrorists have been gunned down this year in Kashmir going past last year’s tally of 150.MORE FIREPOWERThe Army sources said that at least 2.5 lakh expensive assault rifles out of the total requirement of 8 lakh should be procured from abroad.
These can be used by the front-line troops who fight terrorists in Kashmir and insurgents in North-East.

Army corrects JCO status after 6 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a goof-up in 2011 when the Army referred to Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) as non-gazetted officers in a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, it has corrected the mistake and clarified its earlier stand that downgraded them. Six years later, it took another RTI application for the Army to clear the air and state that JCOs are gazette officers putting an end to the confusion over their status which impacted the morale of the ranks.JCOs play a pivotal role as a bridge between the officers and the ranks, especially in field operations.A gazetted officer has the authority to certify documents and can be given financial powers if required.Since the RTI reply in 2011, JCOs were being equated with assistant section officers of the Armed Forces Headquarters Service, a cadre that comprises civilians for administrative duties in the forces.In an order passed on October 30, 2017, the Adjutant General’s Branch set the record straight stating that two RTI replies regarding status of JCO’s are ‘contradictory’. It cancelled the July 2011 RTI reply that had called JCOs non-gazetted.JCOs comprise personnel with ranks of Subedar Major, Subedar and Naib Subedar.The February 2017 RTI says that JCOs of Armed Forces are gazetted officers and are commissioned by President of India in accordance with the Army Act, 1950.According to the Army Act, Junior Commissioned Officer means a person commissioned, gazette or getting the same pay in the Indian Army.Sources said the anomaly was affecting the morale of the JCOs and other ranks. “It was necessary to rectify the mistake and give them the status of gazetted officers that they are entitled to,” said an army source.The RTI reply dated February 27, 2017 also clarifies that there is no provision to establish one to one equivalence with civil posts. “The JCO being a gazetted officer will always remain senior to Assistant Section Officer.”The forces have been taking measures to boost the morale of the forces.As part of enhancing the status of junior ranks of the Indian Army nearly 1.45 lakh personnel will finally get promotions after a long wait of 33 years.A cadre review of the ranks, the first since 1984 was approved recently after Ministry of finance that had earlier rejected proposals of the Ministry of Defence gave the nod.With the upgrade in lower ranks 64,930 Naiks, 58,493 Havaldars, 13,466 Naik Subedar, 7769 Subedar and 479 Subedar Majors will benefit.Increasing need for counter terror operations was among the reasons cited as the need to boost morale of the force by upgrading ranks.The approval came soon after Nirmala Sitharaman took charge as the Defence Minster.

Navy holds int’l conclave in Goa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To bolster its maritime diplomacy and intelligence gathering in the seas, the Indian Navy has organised a first-of-its-kind conclave — ‘Goa Maritime Conclave-2017’ from October 31 to November 2 — that is being attended by naval chiefs of 10 other countries.The conclave is significant in view of the expansions of Chinese Navy in the region, sources said. Chinese control over ports in Djibouti, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Sitwe port in Myanmar is a matter of concern for India.Chiefs of navies of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand are meeting for a three-day brainstorming session.The Naval War College (NWC), Goa is hosting the event that will focus on emerging maritime threats, force structuring, maritime security architecture and challenges in the Indian Ocean Region.”Anti-piracy operations do not need submarines. Reports indicate they are docked in Karachi and off late have been enhancing their strength in the Indian Ocean,” said a source, adding, “In a gap of two to three months, a Chinese submarine is sent. An alternating trend of sending a conventional submarine once and a nuclear one the next time has been noticed.”Sources said the forum will give the opportunity to heads of maritime forces to address areas of common concerns.MOTIVE FOR MEETWith the Indian Ocean Region becoming the focus of strategic planning, the Indian Navy wants to play a key role in international cooperation in the area

Lt Colonel sacked for affair with 19-yr-old

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Army has sacked an officer for having an affair with his colleague’s 19-year-old daughter, calling his conduct “inappropriate,” sources said. Following the action against the Lt Colonel, his wife met Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently to discuss the matter.”The officer’s wife had met the Minister recently and the matter was being looked into,” sources in the Defence Ministry said. However, it seems his wife’s plea for intervention has failed, and the Army is not likely to reverse the decision.The officer in question can challenge the Army’s decision in a civil court.Sources said the matter was sensitive and had serious ramifications. After reviewing the situation, his actions were considered serious in nature and a decision to dismiss him was taken at the highest level.The dismissal from service was as per provisions of administrative action that is quicker than disciplinary action.There have been cases of officers being involved in illicit relationships with wives of their colleagues. “Stealing the affections of a brother officer’s wife” is considered a grave offence in the armed forces that can lead to dismissal.Such cases usually end up in civil courts after the General Court Martial proceedings.There have been instances where courts have reinstated officers dismissed for being involved in extra-marital affairs.”Such a case where an officer is involved with a colleague’s daughter is rare,” sources said.The Army was tight-lipped and did not officially comment on the decision of sacking of the Lt Colonel.The armed forces follow a strict and no-tolerance policy when it comes to extra-marital relationships and indulgences of officers to avoid grave ramifications on their functioning.

ISIS head-hunter worked at top Gujarat hospital

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the two suspected ISIS ‘head-hunters’ based in Gujarat and arrested on October 25 for recruiting youth for terror attacks worked at a prominent hospital in Gujarat, while his accomplice was a law student.The duo was planning attacks on the Jewish community, the police said.After the being arrested by Gujarat Police’s Anti Terror Squad (ATS), Stimberwala Mohammed Kasim, who worked as an echo-cardiogram (ECG) technician at the Sardar Patel Hospital and Heart Institute, Ankleshwar, resigned from his job.Interestingly, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Ahmed Patel has an old association with the hospital. The hospital’s website says: “On the 17th of June 1979 the Sardar Patel trust met under the auspices of Bhailalbhai Patel, Ahmed Patel and other trustees to establish the Sardar Vallabhai Rotary General Hospital.”When DNA sought his reaction, Patel said, “Let’s not divide peace-loving Gujaratis while fighting terrorism. We request that matters of national security not be politicised keeping elections in mind. The allegations are completely baseless. My party and I appreciate the ATS’s effort to nab the two terrorists. I demand strict and speedy action against them.”Kasim, along with Ubed Ahmed Mirza, was arrested for planning “lone wolf attacks”. He had planned to leave for hijrat to Jamaica and meet radical preacher Abdullah el-Faisal, who had been guiding them.The Gujarat ATS has stated in its report that the duo were planning attacks on the Jewish community.”Reconnaissance of Magean Abraham Synagogue in Ahmedabad was conducted by Kasim Stimberwala recently after discussion with Ubed Mirza,” the report stated.Police surveillance has revealed that Kasim was planning to move to Jamaica as a ECG technician and had obtained a work visa. “Both the accused persons are making intensive efforts to radicalise and actively recruit youth from various spectrums of society,” the Gujarat ATS report says.Based on “technical surveillance,” the police has quoted several telephonic conversations to establish how they were radicalising youth and recruiting them to carry out attacks in the name of ISIS.The two were involved in the activities of the Islamic State since 2013-14 and were in contact with Shafi Armar, alias Zahid al-Hindi, the police has stated in its report.Armar is wanted in various cases of bomb blasts carried out by Indian Mujahideen and is suspected to have joined ISIS after being on the run and was based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region initially. He has been responsible for radicalisation of several Indian Muslim youth and luring them to ISIS.Sources in the ATS said the two youth are part of a group of 15 young men loyal to ISIS. “Of this, at least nine are from Ahmedabad and Surat. Six have already been radicalised and can carry out lone wolf attacks anywhere in Gujarat,” said a source in the ATS.?Investigations have also revealed that the two Surat residents arrested on Wednesday for links with ISIS were also allegedly involved in recruiting for terror activities.The duo first came under lens of Intelligence agencies when in August 2014 a group of four boys from Hyderabad was apprehended in Kolkata as they were on their way to Bangladesh — from where they were headed to Iraq to join ISIS.The youth revealed the identities of two of their handlers as Kasim and Ubed Mirza alias Obaid and also provided their phone numbers.While Kasim was traced working at the Sardar Patel hospital in Gujarat, Ubed, a law student, ran a restaurant in Surat.The hospital, however, denied any wrongdoing on its part. It said that Kasim had resigned from his job as eco technician on October 4, and he was relieved on October 24.

Maritime security top agenda for French minister visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maritime security and technological partnership under the Make In India programme while keeping the Rafale fighter jets deal in mind will top the agenda during the two-day visit of French Defence Minister Florence Parly starting Friday. She will meet her counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.The possibility of selling more Rafale fighter jets to the Indian Air Force could also come up in the deliberations.Significantly, the French Minister will visit Mihan near Nagpur where she will participate in the foundation stone-laying ceremony of Dassault-Reliance Aerospace Limited (DRAL), a joint venture between the two companies that will carry out offset requirements as part of the Rafale deal.India has already finalised a deal for purchase of 36 French Rafale fighter jets, but with the Indian Air Force expressing the need for more, the facility can be used for future manufacturing.”DRAL will be part of the upcoming Aerospace Park in Nagpur and plans to develop an indigenous value-added supply chain, thereby building a strong base for the success of the Rafale programme under the Make In India initiative,” a statement from the French Embassy said.Cooperation on maritime security is crucial in wake of increasing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region.The French Minister will also visit Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) and the Western Naval Command in Mumbai. At MDL shipyard, she will visit the yard where Scorpene submarines are being made in India with transfer of technology under the P75 project by MDL. She will also board the INS Kalvari, the first of these six Scorpene submarines delivered to the Indian Navy.Joint exercises between armed armed forces of the two countries counter-terrorism will also be part of the defence cooperation initiatives that will be discussed.

Military-civil rift over rank parity continues

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A high-level panel looking into parity between military and civilian employees working under the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has not reached a consensus on the subject, a year after being set up, triggering friction between the armed forces and the government.With no breakthrough, the rift over a range of issues on equivalence on military and civilians working in Ministry of Defence could widen, sources said.The panel was expected to table its report by now but with no agreement between the three members of the committee, a final decision cannot be taken.”None of them have signed on the report as there is no consensus,” a defence source said.There has been a strong buzz that that the panel was in favour of implementing the MoD order of October 18, 2016, of downgrading ranks of military officers working in service headquartres of the Army, Navy and Air Force in comparison to their civilian colleagues belonging to the Armed Force Headquartres Civil Services (AFHQCS).”Several presentations have been made at the highest level opposing the government move to downgrade military ranks. It has been communicated that this will affect the morale of the forces,” said a military official.The AFHQCS cadre was introduced in 1968 for running the service headquartes of the forces.The three-member committee looking into te matter includes Additional Secretary (Defence Production) Surina Rajan, Principal Director (Military Secretariat) Archana Rai and Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Bhatt.The MoD order last year put a Major General and equivalent ranks in Air Force and Navy (Air Vice Marshal and Rear Admiral) to the level of Principal Director, Brigadier (Air Commodore and Commodore) Director level, and a Colonel (Group Captain and Captain) to a joint-director level.This, in effect, meant that military ranks were demoted in comparison to their civilian colleagues as a Lt Colonel rank officer enjoyed the status of a Director before this.The matter has also fuelled resentment among the armed forces as it was being viewed as an attempt by the government to lower the status of military officers.Following the hue-and-cry after the decision, then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar set up the ‘Equivalence Committee’ to look into the subject.The matter has remained pending since then.This is not the only issue that has triggered friction between the armed forces and the MoD in the last one year.A tussle over pay inequality between armed forces and civilians working under the MoD has led to serious “command and control problems” affecting the working in some critical areas, including field operations, which top military brass had earlier alerted the government about.The armed forces have been demanding that they should be eligible for the Non Functional Upgradation (NFU) like the civilian Grade ‘A’ officials working under MoD will put the armed forces officials at par with their non-military colleagues. The government has challenged the judgment of the Armed Forces Tribunal in favour of granting NFU to armed forces. The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing next week in the Supreme Court.The Centre’s decision to cancel free ration for officers of the armed forces serving in peace stations and replacing it with an allowance was also opposed by the services. The most contentious issue was the amount of allowance to be paid. It was communicated to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that either the practice of ration in kind should continue for officers on peace posting or an allowance of Rs 205.11 per officer per day be paid with tax exemptions.

MHA tightens guidelines amid cyber threats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The increased threats of cyber attacks targeting confidential government information has prompted the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to prepare guidelines on securing government data.The National Information Security Policy and Guidelines, prepared by MHA, have been sent to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), which is an apex body on security policies headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval as its secretary.The proposed policy looks at strengthening the mechanism to safeguard critical data by roping in experts and the use of better technology.The guidelines deal with combating cyber attacks affecting organisations in sectors such as defence, energy, finance, space, telecommunications, transport, public essential services and utilities, law enforcement and security, which, if compromised, will lead to a national crisis. A national nodal agency to deal with cyber security and developing indigenous technology has been proposed.According to a study, India is ranked the fifth most vulnerable country when it comes to cyber attacks but cases of data breach remain under-reported with the legal mechanism being limited to deal with such situations.”Almost every developed country is indulging in cyber espionage. There is a need to enhance our system to secure critical information. The policy is being vetted by the NSA,” said a senior government official.

J&K terrorists’ jilted lovers turn informers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned, the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir are fast learning to their dismay. Their jilted girlfriends have found a way to hit back, and hard, where it really hurts. These women have been turning in to informers, giving the intelligence agencies vital information, which is immensely helping the forces track down the terrorists.In fact, according to some sources in the security establishment, some of the top terrorists gunned down this year were nailed after their heartbroken lovers became turncoats. The sources further said that the trend was catching up fast, and the forces were now deliberately identifying women who might have been exploited by these womanising terrorists before being abandoned.Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Abu Dujana and Khalid, who headed the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) operations in Kashmir, were traced and gunned down earlier this year after forces were tipped off by their lovers.Dujana was trapped in Pulwama in August, after giving the security forces a slip on at least five occasions. He was visiting his wife at the time, but she and other locals were apparently irked with his womanising ways. “His wife and her father decided to share the information, which finally led us to success,” an official said.Similarly Khalid, who was responsible for the recent attack on a Border Security Force camp in Srinagar, was killed last week after his girlfriend tipped off the security forces about his movement.Only sketchy information was available about him after he infiltrated from Pakistan in August last year. He was active in Sopore area but the intelligence agencies knew very little about him.One of his girlfriends, who was upset with his philandering, provided specific details about where he was supposed to meet her. A trap was laid accordingly and he was killed.”These top terrorists were traced because of the information shared by their partners. So, now an effort is being made to win the confidence of these women and their families. It has given us good results as many women have come forward and shared information about their hideouts and movement,” a security officer said.According to sources, most of the top Pakistani terrorists lead debauched lives. The local Kashmiri youth, who are joining the terror ranks, are also getting influenced by this. Many of these terrorists start indoctrinating teenaged girls, before exploiting them.”They have a Robin Hood-like image and young girls get attracted to that. We noticed the trend and started approaching the girls’ families,” an official said. Sometimes, neighbours of these women also help agencies track down the terrorists, sources said.Over 170 terrorists have been killed this year, so far, as compared to 150 last year.

Nirmala Sitharaman to visit Nathu La along with Army chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid reports of Chinese forces being present in high numbers in the region close to Doklam, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will visit the China border at Nathu La in Sikkim and interact with troops guarding the frontier.Vice Chief of Army Sarath Chand will also be accompanying the Defence Minister. They will visit Tezpur in Assam during the two-day visit beginning Saturday. Sitharaman was earlier scheduled to visit Arunachal Pradesh, too, but it was cancelled later, a source said.Her visit to Nathu La is particularly significant as it shares the border with Chumi Valley in Tibet adjoining Doklam, where the standoff took place.Even though the standoff was resolved more than a month ago, the increasing presence of Chinese troops close to the point of standoff between Indian and Chinese troops, has alarmed India.Air Force Chief BS Dhanoa confirmed the existence of Chinese troops in the region on Thursday.There are also reports of road expansion activity in the nearby zones of Doklam where the standoff took place, but sources in the security establishment said it does not affect India’s strategic interest as it is 10 km from the point of standoff. “There increased presence in the region does not affect us at this point of time. It’s matter of few weeks,” said a source.

Chinese forces still deployed in Tibet’s Chumbi Valley post-Doklam standoff, reveals Air Chief BS Dhanoa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chinese forces are still present in Tibet’s Chumbi Valley, Air Chief BS Dhanoa said today.Addressing media during the annual press conference of the Indian Air Force in New Delhi on Thursday, the Air Chief said despite Doklam resolution Beijing has still not withdrawn the forces from ground completely.“We expect them withdraw,” Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said.The news comes almost two months after both India and China agreed to “expeditious disengagement” over Doklam.The diplomatic success came at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit China for the BRICS summit.The stand-off started in mid-June when Chinese troops entered Bhutanese territory to build a road, sparking India’s intervention, citing agreements to maintain a status quo in the region. India had deployed about 350 Army personnel in the area.The status of Chinese troops in geopolitically crucial Chumbi Valley, which was at the heart of Dokla standoff, will have its implications.Talking about surgical strikes, the Air Chief Marshal said, “Surgical strike is a decision that has to be taken by the government. Indian Air Force has the capability to carry out full spectrum of air ops.”“Our losses during peace time are cause of concern. We are making concentrated efforts to minimize accidents and preserve our assets,” he added.

BSF camp attack mastermind among top 5 terror commanders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commander in Kashmir code named Khalid, who has been active since 2016 and is among the top five terror commanders, has been identified as the mastermind behind the BSF camp attack in Srinagar.Other than Khalid, the other top commanders on the list are Zakir Musa, Riyaz Naikoo, Saddam Padder, and Zeenat-Ul-Islam.Khalid was leading a ring of 12 terrorists, 10 Pakistanis and 2 locals, who were targeting high-valued security establishments, sources said.Sources said there are sketchy details available about Khalid but he is said to be one of the key JeM terrorists given the responsibility of reviving the terror group in Kashmir.He is believed to have trained and infiltrated from Pakistan, and is active in north Kashmir’s Sopore area.His name had cropped up for the first time in October 2016, when the Army busted a JeM module in Baramulla that was responsible for an attack on an army convoy in which killed two Army men and one cop.According to sources in the security establishment, the group was also responsible for the attack on a police complex in Pulwama on August 26 where three terrorists were killed.”With three more being killed on Wednesday, the group of four Pakistanis and two locals is still on the prowl,” said a source.On their radar were the airfields in Awantipora and Srinagar but they aborted the plan seeing a strong security cordon.The dossier on other top terror commandersRiyaz Naikoo: Hizbul MujahideenThe chief of Hizbul Mujahideen, Naikoo, and an ‘A++’ category terrorist. The 29 year old is one of the most experienced Hizbul commanders and at present its head of operations in Kashmir. He took over from Yaseen Ittoo after his death in an encounter last month. Naikoo, who is from Durbug, Awantipora, is considered tech savvy. In a recent funeral of a terrorist he countered Zakir Musa’s anti-Pakistan propaganda and tried to garner support for Pakistan.He has been booked by police in several murder cases including that of policemen. To bolster his moderate image he had earlier during the year also released an 11-minute video asking Kashmiri Pandits to return to the Valley. Naikoo overlooks the Over Ground Worker (OGW) support for Hizbul.Saddam Padder: Hizbul MujahideenPadder was part of killed terrorist Burhan Wani’s group and is now the only one active terrorist among the 12 who featured in a photograph along with Wani. Apart from Padder, Tariq Pandit, who featured in that photograph, is alive as he had surrendered. Padder also comes from a family of farmers. Not much is known about Padder, except the fact that Hizbul thinks highly of him. Padder is a school dropout who joined militancy about 4-5 years ago but with little education he is said to be a ‘clever’ militant. He was with LeT until he joined Hizbul in 2015. After Musa left as the chief of Hizbul, Saddam Padder was one of the top contenders to be the next Hizb chief, a place later taken by Naikoo.Zeenat-ul-Islam: Lashkar-e-ToibaOne of the local terrorists who could take up the LeT leadership in Kashmir. The 28-year-old is a resident of Sugan Zanipura, Shopian, and was recruited in 2015. He is considered one of the main accused in the Shopian attack in February that left three soldiers dead. Known as an IED expert, he is a former member of Al-Badar Militant outfit.He was once arrested in 2008 where he is said to have confessed to being an over ground worker (OGW). He was eventually released four years later and is said to have gotten married before joining LeT.Zakir Musa: Al-QaidaAfter his split from Hizbul Mujahideen, he launched the Kashmir chapter — Ansar Ghazwat-ul Hind — of al-Qaida. In a short span, Musa has become popular among the youth and cadres of other terror outfits. He was said to be close to Abu Dujana, LeT in Kashmir who was recently killed. He’s considered quite dangerous because he’s been using propaganda to call for an Islamic caliphate in Kashmir and throughout India, an ideology that’s rapidly gaining ground in the Valley.

Army to draw up plan to tackle small arms shortage

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The top brass of the Indian Army will brainstorm and prepare a blueprint for expediting the force’s slow modernisation as they face an acute shortage of small arms. There has been no breakthrough in procuring rifles, carbines and light machine guns that are needed to enhance counter terror operations in Kashmir.This along with other issues pertaining to operations will be taken up at the army commander’s conference to be held on October 9-15 in Delhi, sources said.”Lack of small arms has been a long pending issue for the infantry. It needs to be addressed at the earliest,” an army source said.The Army needs to replace its small arms with modern weapons in the wake of changing dynamics of counter-terror operations in Kashmir.Other than modernisation, deliberations over a range of issues comprising about 30 key areas will take place in the conference. This will also include administrative issues related to promotions and pay structure that will be taken up with the Ministry of Defence.The replacement for the traditional Indian Small Arms Systems( INSAS) rifles inducted in 1988 has still not been found. The Army needs nearly 2 lakh assault rifles as an alternative of INSAS.With the Army expressing reservations about assault rifles being developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) which was expected to meet their requirement, the process to identify a suitable rifle is in limbo, sources said.A review of the ‘desi’ or indigenously designed assault rifles by the Army had found the weapon ‘unsatisfactory’ and ‘unreliable’ denting the ‘Make in India’ mantra for enhancing India’s military firepower.The need for light machine guns and carbines has also not been addressed. The Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), one of the key ‘Make in India’ projects for the Army has also not seen any breakthrough.

Women to be enlisted in military police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a big step towards addressing gender biases in the armed forces, the Army has decided to induct women into military police. Currently, women are recruited for selected roles in medical, education, legal, signals and engineering wings, and only as officers.The decision could be the first step before including women for combat duties.The increasing need for investigating gender specific allegations and crimes has prompted the need for women to be included in the military police, the Army said on Friday.During operations in Kashmir, the Army has often confronted women protesters and women soldiers as part of military police could with this situation.Army chief Bipin Rawat had also hinted at women being deployed in such situation when he announced that as a first step, women will be inducted into the military police before being sent for combat.Initially, a batch of 800 women will be inducted, targeting 52 recruitments a year.The decision was taken a day after Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s first women full-time Defence Minister, assumed office.The subject of women donning the battle fatigues has been a sticky one, with a section of the Army opposed to it in the past.Last year, the Air Force commissioned three women as fighter pilots for the first time. It’s gonna be bye-bye gender biasThe increasing need for investigating gender specific allegations and crimes has prompted the need for women to be included in the military police. The Army decision to induct women into military police is a big step towards addressing gender bias.

China salami slicing territory: Bipin Rawat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s a myth that nuclear-armed democracies will not to go to war, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Wednesday, warning of a two-front war with China and Pakistan.Referring to China, he said, “flexing of muscles” has started and “salami slicing” will gradually turn to taking over territory, testing our limits of threshold. “Situation could gradually emerge into a conflict,” he said. He also warned that Pakistan could take advantage of the situation on the Chinese frontier. “We have to be prepared in the North and the West.””Nuclear powers don’t go to war, and that nuclear weapons are a deterrence… yes they are but to say they can deter war in our context may not be true,” Rawat said, referring to the two “adversaries — nuclear powers China and Pakistan.”Rawat’s comments came about 10 days after India and China ended a 73-day military stand-off at Doklam near Sikkim. The stand-off ended ahead of Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s visit to China for the BRICS Summit.Rawat said there is no scope for reconciliation with Pakistan as people there have been made to believe through propaganda that India is all out to break their nation into pieces. He said that with the continued “proxy war”, there is scope for conflict. “When we launch into battle is difficult to predict.”Rawat was speaking at a seminar organised by the Centre of Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) in the Capital on the topic of ‘Future Contours and Trends in Warfare’.He also pointed out that during the stand-off there was psychological and legal warfare by China, referring to the high-pitched and aggressive rhetoric by their government and media. He asserted the notion that building defence forces can lead to achieving a credible deterrence to war can be true theoretically but practically the nation needs to be prepared for every situation.”When you start believing that there will be no war military suffers,” he said.He said that during war it’s not just the Armies that have to fight but a nation goes to war with another. “A nation has to be prepared, and not just the military,” he added.He also touched upon the “fervour and frenzy” created by public opinion and the media that could lead to war.He called for integration of the three forces in the wake of the emerging threats to take on the adversaries.

Rajnath Singh to visit J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) next week and meet stakeholders in an effort to reach out to people in the conflict-hit state. The three-day trip is likely to be scheduled between September 9 and 11.Singh’s visit may overlap with the Congress delegation’s trip, led by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and including party leaders such as P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Ambika Soni.Singh’s visit gains significance in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the Independence Day that hugs, and not bullets or abuses, are the solution to the Kashmir problem. The Home Minister will visit Jammu, Srinagar, and Leh, and meet with civil society members, leaders of political and social organisations and business leaders, sources said.Singh will also receive people’s representation on how to bring peace in the region. The minister will also meet Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and civil and security officials. Singh had said on August 19 that a solution to the Kashmir problem will be found before 2022.

Safeguarding India at home

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The growing threat of radicalisation with the lure of terror groups like Islamic State (ISIS) for thousands of youth has been one of the biggest internal security concerns for the home ministry. To deal with this threat, a change of strategy was introduced with the focus being on counter-radicalisation and a more proactive cyber monitoring mechanism.Bringing militants into the mainstreamThe home ministry’s counter-radicalisation approach which started two years back is yielding positive results. Counter terror agencies say that they are now being told to wait and watch suspects with arrests only being made after they cross a certain threshold. Officials also say that in many cases, after being intercepted, the suspects have not been taken into custody. Instead, with the help of family members and local community leaders, many have been “de-radicalised” and brought back into the mainstream.The government clearly views its de-radicalisation strategy as a success. Presenting a report card in June over what his ministry had achieved over the last three years, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the fact that terror groups like ISIS had failed to establish themselves in India – despite the country’s large Muslim population – was a sign the government’s policies were working.Dealing with security challengesBut while that may be so the government cannot afford to rest on its laurels. Figures show that till now over 90 ISIS aspirants have been arrested from across the country with Kerala, Telangana and Tamil Nadu being the hotbed of activity for attracting young Muslims to jihad.Experts say that to deal with such security challenges, the sharing of intelligence needs to be improved and cyber security must play a larger role in combating terrorism. “There is an urgent need to have a robust mechanism of sharing intelligence in real time between Centre and state, various intelligence agencies and even private organisations that can help,” said a senior home ministry official.On the issue of cyber security, former Home Secretary GK Pillai said old fashioned techniques of gathering intelligence were obsolete and technology had to play a larger role. “There are people who want to still do the things the old way but today the use of technology in intelligence gathering is a must. There has to be a change in the governance pattern to attract youngsters with technical knowhow to assist them in fighting terror threats.”Normalising the situation in J&KDespite condemnation from certain sections over the government allowing the Army and security forces to use excessive force to curb stone pelters in the Valley last year, the ministry claims that the situation has vastly improved today thanks to its policies.According to data from the home ministry, 583 cases have been registered this year against 2,897 cases last year. The data also states that the 2,808 incidents of stone pelting that rocked the Valley last year have come down to 664 in 2017.Asked to explain the reason for the drop in figures, ministry officials say it is thanks to more effective anti-terror operations this year. Ministry data shows that over 135 terrorists have so far been killed this year, as compared to last year’s tally of 150, and it is expected that this year’s tally will overtake 2016 by the year end.Officials believe that this “firm hand” against militancy has led to the drop in terror attacks this year. On July 9, 2017 the ministry informed Parliament that there were 172 recorded incidents of “violence by militants” in the state this year as compared to 322 in 2016. They concluded that by end 2017, the number of terror attacks would be far less than 2016.Fighting the Maoist threatApart from J&K, one of the biggest internal security challenges for the country has been the Maoist insurgency. Though it has shown signs of a decline in recent times, the Maoist threat is far from over. The challenges have certainly taken a toll on security personnel who are taking on rebels indulging in guerrilla warfare. Using their knowledge of the local terrain, guerrillas have planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and ambushed security forces which has often resulted in mass killings.The good news is that in the last three years between July 2014 and June 2017 there has been a 22 percent dip in Maoist violence. The government says that the news is all the more welcome considering that the preceding three year period, during the UPA regime, between 2011 and 2014 saw an increase of 78 percent in Maoist attacks.Ministry officials claim the fall in the Maoist attacks is thanks to the dual policy it is following – first of development in the interior areas controlled by Maoists, and second, going after the top leadership. This policy with its focus on road projects, installation of mobile towers for better communication and more recruitment of locals in the Forces has shown some positive signs.However, challenges remain. Ministry officials admit that the government’s bid to expedite road projects in highly troubled areas has not been that encouraging. For instance, the under construction road where 25 CRPF personnel were killed by Maoists in Sukma, Chhattisgarh, has still not been completed for the last three years. The failure to complete the road has continued to risk the lives of the Forces there.On the positive side, the government points to the fact that more and more Maoists are being persuaded to give up the gun. Last year, a record breaking 1,442 surrenders by the red rebels was cited as a high point of success for security forces, the various state governments and the Centre.However, critics have raised questions about the extremely high number of surrenders with some terming them as “fake” or staged. The fact that intelligence agencies too in the past have claimed that “fake surrenders” have been taking place, does take some of the shine away from the government’s claims of success in combating the Maoist threat.Modernising the ForcesEnsuring internal security and safeguarding the border areas cannot be done without modernising and keeping up the Forces’ morale. In this regard, the ministry is facing some challenges. Shortage of arms and ammunition, lack of promotional opportunities, inadequate medical facilities, and allegations of corruption against senior officers by their juniors, are huge challenges for the ministry to overcome.While the ministry has to deal with these challenges quickly, the Forces also need to keep pace with changing technologies, not only to be more effective but also safeguard themselves against new techniques being adopted by the enemy.The Maoists for example have intensified the use of IEDs and have been using new technologies for this. IEDs have accounted for a high number of CRPF deaths in the red zone. Naturally, the Central Reserve Police Force – the main Force that deals with Maoists – wants to upgrade their equipment to deal with this threat, and have written to the ministry about this.Such challenges ensure that the home ministry, despite a string of successes, has much work to do to ensure the country’s internal security. It remains to be seen just how they go about doing this.WHAT OUR FORCES DOCentral Armed Police Forces
Assist state police organisations in special circumstances like communal riots, insurgency and border skirmishes
Border Security Force & Indo Tibetan Border Police
Guard the Pakistan, Bangladesh and China borders
Central Reserve Police Force
They are main force combating Maoists
Central Industrial Security Force
Guards airports and provides security to industries
Sashastra Seema Bal
Guards the Indo-Nepal border

India’s not facing an ISIS threat because of our policies: Kiren Rijiju

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju tells Abhishek Bhalla a crackdown on terror funding has ensured the nation’s securityThere has been turmoil in Kashmir for the last one year. What is the situation now?By their continuous use of violence, the separatists and terrorists adopted means that didn’t leave any space for dialogue. The response required was strong physical operations on the ground to ensure peace and tranquillity in Kashmir. Due to the high success rate in these operations, the morale of the Forces has remained high.What is the government’s long term strategy to deal with the situation in Kashmir?Our approach is rational. Those using illegal methods to raise funds and keeping connections with the enemy cannot be spared. So tough action by the NIA against terror funding and keeping forces on the ground are part of government’s resolve to ensure no group can endanger security.How serious is the ISIS threat in India and what steps have been taken in this regard?India is not facing a threat from ISIS because of our proactive approach. On the ground, community elders and clergy have played an important role in ensuring the youth do not go astray. On the government’s side, state governments, along with the Centre, have been putting in a concerted effort towards de-radicalisation.What is your assessment of the current status of the Maoist insurgency?The Maoist challenge is immense but they have been on the retreat for some time now. The high number of surrenders by their leaders and cadres has put them on the back foot and they are very defensive now. Along with operations development in these areas, our aim is to reach out to the poor tribal people. Lack of development was one of the reasons why they (the Maoists) gained ground. Once development reaches them, they will not be able to fool people. In the past 70 years, the governments neglected the tribal people and that is why the Maoists gained ground.What is your response to allegations that communal harmony is in danger?As far as communal harmony is concerned the home ministry has taken steps in the right direction. Advisories were sent to all states to deal with these situations when they arose, and incidents of lynching in the name of cow vigilantism have been strictly dealt with. Only parties like the Congress and some pseudo secularists are trying to create a problem. This is an issue I raised in Parliament while speaking on the subject.What is the current situation regarding the insurgency in the North East?There is a dip in insurgency in the North East and most of the states are moving towards normalcy. The peace framework with NSCN (IM) is moving in the right direction.Border security has always been a concern. What measures is the government taking to better secure our borders?Technological solutions are being adopted to enhance border security. That is the way forward. Hi-tech gadgets for surveillance, better communication system have been put in place. New technology is the way forward for better border management.

Madam Raksha Mantri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nirmala Sitharaman became the first full-time Defence Minster on Sunday, adding to the list of 15 other women holding the critical portfolio in their respective countries.Sitharaman was a surprise pick as Defence Minister; she takes over from Arun Jaitley, who had been handling the portfolio for five months, along with the Finance Ministry, after Manohar Parrikar was sent to Goa to be its chief minister in March.Indira Gandhi held additional charge of the Defence Ministry twice – once when was the Prime Minister in 1975, and then between 1980 and 1982.This will also be the first time when the all important Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) will have two women — External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is the other member. The CCS is headed by the Prime Minister and comprises Ministers of Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs.Sitharaman called the move “cosmic grace” and credited the support of party leadership that for her new role. “I am overwhelmed and humbled and I can serve the country with something which is constantly on the top of my mind,” she said.Till now, she was the Minister of State for Commerce. Sitharaman will now have to address the call for a larger role for women in the armed forces.OTHER WOMEN IN COMMANDMaría Dolores de Cospedal: Spain
Andreja Kati: Slovenia
Marise Payne: Australia
Mimi Kodheli: Albania
Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide: Norway
Ursula von der Leyen: Germany
Roberta Pinotti: Italy
Martha Elena Ruiz Sevilla: Nicaragua
Raychelle Omamo: Kenya
Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert: Netherlands
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula: South Africa

Lt Col Shrikant Purohit will report back to unit, but with riders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Col Shrikant Purohit will report back to an Army unit soon after he walks out of jail, but will be remain under “open arrest” till his suspension is revoked. This means he will be confined to a particular area in his unit, not move around freely and will be under watch, Army sources said.As per the rules, he will be required to wear the uniform but may be permitted to wear plain clothes.”In case his suspension is revoked, these restrictions will not apply,” an Army source said.According to Defence Service Regulations (DSRs), a suspended officer is placed under the same restrictions as an officer under open arrest.The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to Purohit, accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. He has been in jail for more than eight years.The Army will study the bail order and decide the future course of action. “After all the scrutiny and legal advice, a decision will be taken on his suspension — whether or not to revoke it,” a source said.Purohit was arrested in January 2009 for his alleged involvement in the blast that killed seven people. The Muslim-majority town was targeted by Hindu outfit Abhinav Bharat.Purohit was posted with a liaison unit of the Army, carrying out intelligence operations when he was arrested. He had maintained that his seniors were aware of his acts as he infiltrated terror outfits as part of a mission. Purohit had last year written to the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar that he was implicated and robbed of his honour, rank and dignity.Soon after his suspension, his pay and allowance were restricted to 25 per cent but he challenged this in the Armed Forces Tribunal that ordered 75 per cent of his salary to be paid.While granting bail to him, the SC pointed out that the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) differed with the earlier probe findings of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad. The NIA had opposed his bail plea, saying there is still enough evidence to prove his role.

Additional forces to stay for anti-terror operations in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 6,000 additional troops from the Army and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed in Kashmir to strengthen anti terror operations.The extra strength deployed during Amarnath Yatra is now being used for counter terror duties, sources said. Two of the five extra battalions of the Army deployed for Amarnath Yatra have been relocated to South Kashmir, while two are guarding the National Highway 44 where forces can be targeted.From the 100 companies of CRPF, 50 will remain in Kashmir to assist the army in counter terror operations. With a battalion comprising 800-900 troops and a company close to 100, there is a sizeable increase in the troops on the ground.Sources said, while roughly 3,000 troops have been relocated exclusively for counter terror operations in South Kashmir which the hub of terror activity the others will enhance security on National Highway 44. Earlier the army had 10 battalions exclusively for South Kashmir.”With an increase in troop density the outreach and contact is expected to enhance giving a boost to terror operations. The counter terror operations that have got success recently can further be intensified,” army sources said.The security forces have killed over 135 terrorists this year, while last year’s total number was 150.According to the intelligence inputs Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba has managed to flood the terror ranks in both South and North Kashmir. Hizbul Mujahideen has also been a fresh recruitment spree identifying youth to join terror ranks.Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Friday welcomed the step taken by the United States of declaring Hizbul Mujahideen as a foreign terrorist group. Addressing the media, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the move reflects the joint commission of India and US to firmly deal with terrorism.”No cause or reason can defy the continuous profusion of shelter to such entities and individuals,” he said referring to the activities of Hizbul Mujahideen.He further said that everybody is aware, the kind of activities Hizbul Mujahideen group has been involved in.

Got Nawaz to attend Modi’s oath: Zahoor Watali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kashmiri businessman Zahoor Watali, arrested in a case of terror funding, is bragging about his links, claiming to have played a key role in getting then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend Narendra Modi’s oath ceremony as Prime Minister in 2014.The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Watali on August 17 from Srinagar on allegations of funding terror and separatist organisation Hurriyat Conference.He has been dropping to sleuths big names, including those of politicians, bureaucrats and intelligence officials, NIA sources said.Watali is said to be a man of influence and connections. “He has been boasting of his links, but these are just diversionary tactics,” said an official, tracking developments.Watali has real estate businesses in Jammu and Kashmir and business interests in Delhi, sources said.According to NIA, Watali is suspected of acting as a conduit for illegally remitting funds to secessionists, terrorists and stone-pelters. He was earlier arrested in 1990 by the Jammu & Kashmir police. He was taken into custody along with Yaseen Malik, Sajjad Gani Lone, Bilal Lone and others, and was jailed for eight months at Jammu.Sources said NIA sought his custody and informed a Delhi court on Friday that the terror funding syndicate had international links and he needs to be confronted with various other key players. NIA was granted 10-day custody for further investigation.NIA registered a case on May 30 this year to probe links of separatist leaders of Hurriyat Conference and funding of terror outfits in Kashmir. The larger conspiracy of burning schools, stone pelting and waging war against India is also part of the investigation.Hafeez Saeed, the Pakistan-based chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba, has been named in the FIR as an accused, besides organisations such as the Hurriyat Conference (factions led by Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq), terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and Dukhtaran-e-Millat, an all-woman outfit of separatists.Watali is the eighth person to be arrested in the terror funding case with seven others, including Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah, taken into custody earlier.Watali was arrested a day after NIA raided several locations in Srinagar, Handwara, Kupwara and Baramulla that belong to his relatives and employees.”The searches have unearthed highly incriminating material pertaining to receipt of funds by Zahoor Watali from foreign sources and its further distribution to the terrorists and separatists in Kashmir valley for anti-India activities,” NIA said in a statement.

After Ladakh scuffle, India and China armies meet to ensure ‘peace and tranquillity’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a scuffle between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh near Pangong Tso (lake), officers of both armies met on Wednesday in Chushul sector to address the issues that sparked the brawl which left nearly half a dozen Indian soldiers wounded.“Issues regarding strengthening of mechanism to ensure peace and tranquillity were discussed,” government sources said. Despite which the two-month-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the India-China-Bhutan trijunction, the two sides were quick to talk peace in the eastern region of Ladakh.According to sources, although the brigade-level meeting between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army was pre-scheduled and border personnel issues were to discussed, the incident of Tuesday’s stone-pelting was also discussed.Chinese troops on Tuesday tried to enter Indian territory near the Pangong Lake, but their attempts were foiled by Indian troops. The 135-km lake has eight fingers that remain to be a region of dispute between India and China. ‘Fingers’ is a reference to ridges jutting out of the mountains into the lake. There were two confrontations earlier this year that took place in mid-May and the first week of June in Ladakh between the two troops. The first face-off took place east of Karakoram in May and the second at Pangong Tso during boat patrols. Both the incidents went on for 3 -4 days, sources said.Since mid-June, the two troops have been involved in a stand-off in Doklam at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction. The Indian Army had stopped China from building a road in Doklam region. With no breakthrough, India increased its operational preparedness along the eastern border in Sikkim and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Neither sides has shown any signs of backing off from the site of confrontation in Bhutan.DOKLAM BOILINGThere were two confrontations earlier this year that took place in mid-May and the first week of June in LadakhIndian Army had stoped China from building a road in Doklam region

After Ladakh scuffle, India and China armies meet to resolve Doklam stand-off

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after a scuffle between Indian and Chinese troops in Ladakh near Pangong Tso (lake), officers of both armies met on Wednesday in Chushul sector to address the issues that sparked the brawl which left nearly half a dozen Indian soldiers wounded.“Issues regarding strengthening of mechanism to ensure peace and tranquillity were discussed,” government sources said. Despite which the two-month-long standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the India-China-Bhutan trijunction, the two sides were quick to talk peace in the eastern region of Ladakh. According to sources, although the brigade-level meeting between the Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army was pre-scheduled and border personnel issues were to discussed, the incident of Tuesday’s stone-pelting was also discussed.Chinese troops on Tuesday tried to enter Indian territory near the Pangong Lake, but their attempts were foiled by Indian troops. The 135-km lake has eight fingers that remain to be a region of dispute between India and China. ‘Fingers’ is a reference to ridges jutting out of the mountains into the lake. There were two confrontations earlier this year that took place in mid-May and the first week of June in Ladakh between the two troops. The first face-off took place east of Karakoram in May and the second at Pangong Tso during boat patrols. Both the incidents went on for 3 -4 days, sources said.Since mid-June, the two troops have been involved in a stand-off in Doklam at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction. The Indian Army had stopped China from building a road in Doklam region. With no breakthrough, India increased its operational preparedness along the eastern border in Sikkim and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Neither sides has shown any signs of backing off from the site of confrontation in Bhutan.DOKLAM BOILINGThere were two confrontations earlier this year that took place in mid-May and the first week of June in LadakhIndian Army had stoped China from building a road in Doklam region

DNA EXCLUSIVE: Army now wants ‘Made in India’ gear for terror ops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sensor-based ballistic body shields, lightweight body armour that can replace heavy bullet-resistant jackets and a robotic surveillance system are just some of the equipment on the Army’s wish-list, keeping in mind challenges faced by security personnel during counter-terror operations in Kashmir. The requirements are based on changing dynamics from traditional warfare to insurgency and hybrid warfare according to an army presentation on new proposals for manufacturing military equipment indigenously.The bullet-resistant jackets that are currently being used by personnel are heavy and do not provide proper protection. Apart from the lightweight body armour, the army is also on the lookout for a for a sensor-based protection system comprising a ballistic helmet, body suit and ballistic shoes.The ballistic body suit will not only provide protection, but will also provide vital inputs about important paramatres of an individual to be controlled.The ballistic shoes will protect the legs and feet of personnel.”The present and future concepts of conflict and challenges faced by a soldier calls for a lighter battle load,” said the presentation by the army.Based on an increasing threat from low, medium and high velocity projectiles, especially during counter-terror operations that can go on for hours, protective gear is the need of the hour, sources said.The lightweight body armour should offer protection of up to 10 metres against a 7.62 mm SLR, 7.62×39 mm AK 47 and 5 metres for a 9 mm carbine.The army has also proposed a robotics surveillance platform that will enable real-time input in a built-up area where terrorists could be taking refuge. This will help in planning the operation before troops are pressed into action. The system, fitted with a camera, should be able to provide inputs during the day and night.Officials said that these requirements are mainly to combat insurgency situations where warfare is completely different as compared to a traditional military battle.THE WISH-LISTSensor base ballistic body suit: 3-layered protection of the head and face, middle part of the body, legs and feet
Light weight body armour: To replace heavy bulletproof jackets for protection against AK 47, SLR and carbine
Robotic surveillance platform: Can be used for reconnaissance in built-up areas. Fitted with a camera to give real-time images of the spot

Road-making work in Sikkim slows

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Doklam near Sikkim, only 6.7 km of road construction has taken place near the border areas in the state this year.A military standoff continues between Indian and Chinese forces since mid-June as the Indian Army resisted China’s efforts to build a road in the strategically important Doklam area in Bhutan referred to as Donglong by the Chinese. The area is disputed between China and Bhutan and is close to the strategic Chumbi Valley in Chinese control at a tri-junction bordering India, China and Bhutan.In the last two years, 654 km of roads were constructed in states sharing a border with China. While Jammu and Kashmir that also shares a border with Pakistan recorded the maximum construction of 283 km, Sikkim the point of the ongoing standoff has had only 49 km of roads built since 2015.In Arunachal Pradesh, 200 km of roads was built since 2015-16, 40 km was constructed in Himachal Pradesh and 82 km in Uttarakhand.Minister of State for Defence Dr Subhash Bhamre, in a written reply, informed the Rajya Sabha that out of 519 roads, 61 roads of length measuring 3,417 km have been identified as strategic Indo-China Border Roads (ICBR).Devpt woesWhile Jammu and Kashmir that also shares a border with Pakistan recorded the maximum construction of 283 km, Sikkim the point of the ongoing standoff has had only 49 km of roads built since 2015.

Finally, SOPs to dispose of military ammunition

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A year after 19 defence personnel, including two Army officers, died in an ammunition depot fire in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has come out with standard operating procedures (SOPs) for disposal of defective ammunition, but no action has been initiated for the negligence that led to the disaster.While the Army is miffed on no accountability being fixed for the criminal negligence, the MoD note on the new guidelines says, “The accountability and regularisation are being dealt under a separate SOP.”The timely disposal of unserviceable ammunition will ensure safety of personnel and stocks, the SOPs circulated on June 7 by the MoD said, adding that adherence to the guidelines was mandatory.On May 31, last year, a massive fire was triggered at the Pulgaon depot after defective anti-tank mines exploded due to leakage. Over 19,000 mines were destroyed and more than 4 lakh were declared unserviceable after the disaster.The Army’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) had concluded that lapses and error of judgment at various stages of manufacture and disposal by the Director General of Quality Assurance and the Ordnance Factory Board led to the fire.”The aim of the SOPs is to lay down responsibilities and timelines for management of defective ammunition for its timely disposal.”The SOPs also state that any ammunition with a malfunction caused due to an accident, defect or failure should be segregated within 72 hours. Within one month of a defect being noticed, a joint inspection team from the agencies concerned will submit a report. The classification of the defective ammunition should specify whether the ammunition is serviceable, repairable, needs factory repairs or is unserviceable and needs immediate disposal. The unserviceable ammunition needs to be disposed of within three months and that if declared unsafe or dangerous, it will be immediately disposed of, the SOPs state.”The SOPs are the only action taken document and that too after a year. Nobody has been held responsible for the death of 19 defence personnel due to negligence,” a source said.In a representation made on June 27, the Army expressed concerns to the MoD over the delay in fixing of responsibility. Letters were sent to Secretary Defence Production Ashok Kumar Gupta and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra. Several accidents between 2015 and 2017 took place but no responsibility for the lapses has been fixed, the letter said.The defects in the mines were detected in 2010 in some depots, including Pulgaon. Sources said since then at least a dozen letters were written to OFB and MoD officials but no action was initiated.There is a need to trace back and pinpoint responsibility both by production and quality assurance agencies to restore confidence in the system, sources said.There were clear lapses that were ignored while dealing with ammunition in Pulgaon. According to inquiry reports, leakage began within four months. Despite a warning that the ammunition needed to be disposed of, the ordnance factory tried to repair the defects. It was flagged off as a “safety hazard” in 2012 but no action was taken.PULGAON TRAGEDYThere is a need to pinpoint responsibility both by production and quality assurance agencies to restore confidence in the system.
19 defence personnel died in ammunition depot fire. SOPs are out but no action initiated for negligence.

Forces to step up operations in North Kashmir after South success

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security forces are ready to intensify operations in North Kashmir after successfully eliminating terrorists in South Kashmir. The majority of the counter terror operations, that gunned down 122 terrorists this year, took place in South Kashmir, but the presence of nearly 120 terrorists in the North remains a matter of concern.The Army, the state police, and the Central Reserve Police Force have been working in close coordination, acting upon specific inputs about location and movement of terrorists to pin them down.”The movements and activities of terrorists in North Kashmir has not been significant, but a huge presence means they are a potential threat. Most of these are Pakistani terrorist,” said an army source.Sources said the intelligence agencies along with security forces have enhanced their surveillance to track the network of over ground workers who assist the terrorists.”We don’t want to be complacent and ignore terror activities in the North,” the source added.The number of slain terrorists is expected to peak this year, with the toll crossing 120 already. Last year the total number was 150.Sources said counter terror operations will continue till winter sets in. “The number of kills this year could be significantly high,” said an army source.According to intelligence inputs Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba has managed to flood the terror ranks in both South and North Kashmir.Out of 258 terrorists recruited in the past one year, 139 belong to LeT, making it the most active terror outfit in Kashmir. This includes 39 locals — a new trend — as earlier, local recruits were more attracted towards Hizbul Mujahideen, a group that is primarily oriented to the cause of Kashmir, sources said.The attack on Amarnath pilgrims, which resulted in seven deaths, was also planned by LeT cadres led by Abu Ismail. The Jammu and Kashmir state police have arrested three over ground workers who have revealed the terror conspiracy, police said.Last week, the security forces killed LeT commander Abu Dujana who had infiltrated from Pakistan a few years ago.After the Amarnath attack, a blueprint identifying active terrorists and overground workers were prepared. Sources said intelligence gathering to track their movements needs to be intensified to hunt them down.ACTION PLANAfter the Amarnath attack, a blueprint identifying active terrorists and overground workers were prepared by the security forces.
According to sources, intelligence gathering to track their movements needs to be intensified to hunt them down.
Last week, the security forces killed LeT commander Abu Dujana who had infiltrated from Pakistan a few years ago.

Govt must act now! Much more needs to be done to keep Pakistan and China in check

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A pre-dawn ambush by Pakistan-backed terrorists killed 19 Indian soldiers at an Army camp in Kashmir’s Uri in September last year. The worst terror attack in several years sparked nation-wide outrage and raised the pitch for a quick retaliation. There was a strong view in India’s security and political establishments that the Army must strike back. In strategic meetings over the next few days, a hit-back plan was discussed. But some disturbing facts were laid bare, sources say. The Army had the capacity to retaliate. But in case of full-scale retaliation by the enemy, did we have the firepower to fight even a short, intense war? The answer was — no.Low on ammoAs per the Army’s operational doctrine, it is required to maintain firepower for 40 “days of intense war”. After the Kargil conflict in 1999, new “minimum acceptable risk level”’ standards were set to be prepared to fight a 20-day, intense war. But an internal review the Army did and shared with the government post-Uri revealed that the ammunition holdings would not last beyond 10 days. The ammunition for tanks and artillery for sustaining superior firepower was in the most critical state, sources say. All this also crippled training and made troops vulnerable.The assessment said that the Army needed to immediately procure ammunition and spare parts for weapons and military systems worth Rs 40,000 crore to be ready even for a 20-day war. The CAG has also pointed out in its recent report on the Army and the state-run Ordnance Factories that 40 per cent of the ammunition will not last beyond 10 days and only 20 per cent can meet the authorised standards of 40 days.Wake-up callWithin 10 days of the Uri attack, the Army struck back, carrying out “surgical strikes” across the LoC, destroying terror camps backed by Pakistan’s Army. The possibility of retaliation could not be ruled out. “The message was clear. It’s not boot power but firepower that wins wars,” says an Army source.Finally, the political leadership took prompt decisions to fill the critical gaps. In October, the Vice-Chiefs of all three services — Army, Navy and Air Force — were given a three-month, temporary power for emergency procurements. Last month, this was further extended by another three months amid a prolonged military standoff with China on the Sikkim border and Indian troops combating regular shelling and border raids from Pakistan. In the last six months, procurements worth Rs 11,000 crore have been made by the Army. This included 19 contracts, of which 11 were for ammunition whose supplies started this month.Sources say there is still a long road ahead to meet the standard requirement that will cost around Rs 40,000 crore. “This could go up,” said an Army source. Defence Minister Arun Jaitely said on July 28 that the Indian armed forces are fully equipped to face any contingency, asserting that any shortage in terms of arms and ammunition would be expeditiously made up. “If any action has to be taken, it will be taken,” he said in the Lok Sabha.Repeated shortfallsThis is not the first time the Army has raised a red flag. In 2012, then Army Chief General VK Singh, who is now the Minister of State for External Affairs, had written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for steps to enhance the Army’s preparedness and capacity. He called the situation “alarming”, stating that bureaucratic delays in procurements led to a shortage of ammunition, lack of weaponry and obsolete air defence systems.The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) remains the main source of ammunition for the Army and is expected to meet over 90 per cent of demands, but it has regularly fallen short of targets. The shortfalls have ranged between 64 per cent and 95 per cent since 2013. Between 2009 and 2014, the Army placed ammunition orders worth Rs 25,000 crore, but there was a delivery shortfall of Rs 6,000 crore. In the next phase, between 2014 and 2019, the Army’s requirement was nearly double, but it had to be restricted due to the incapacity of the OFB in manufacturing high amounts of ammunition, sources say.In a scathing indictment, the CAG has observed in its report that despite continued slips in ammunition supplies, no mechanism has been introduced to fix the responsibility. With 41 OFB units, eight Defence Public Sector Units and nearly 50 labs for research and development, including those of the Defence and Research Development Organisation, there is enough infrastructure to cater to the need, but sources say only 30 per cent of it has been achieved.The way forwardThe poor track record has prompted the government to look for options in the private sector. To make up for the deficits and reduce import dependence, a proposal was made in March for the manufacture of eight types of critical ammunition by the Indian industry. Sources say 25 companies have showed willingness to manufacture ammunition. Lt Gen (retired) Ravi Thodge, who was the Army’s Master General Ordnance till June last year, says there has been an improvement after the government’s ‘Make in India’ plan for ammunition was put in place, but certain timelines have again been missed. “The situation is not alarming, but it’s not happy either. Soldiers on the ground should have the confidence that they will never be short of ammunition,” says Thodge.Thodge adds that getting the private sector involved is the only option to be self-reliant. “With OFB, there is no accountability. We never tried to evolve the ability to manufacture ammunition. There should be no compromise on quality. But we are nowhere near it,” he says. Lt Gen (retired) SL Narasimhan echoes a similar view. “OFB has the capability but lack of accountability has led to most of the problems,” he says.
Navy, Air Force have problems of their ownThe Air Force and the Navy, though better off than the Army in terms of modernisation and equipment, have their own problems. The Air Force is short on fighter jets. Officially sanctioned to have 42 squadrons, it has only 33. This could be down to 19 by 2027, as revealed in a Parliamentary panel report last month. This means the number of warplanes has come down from 650 to 380. While India has signed a deal for 36 Rafale jets from France, the original plan was to acquire 136. In a recent letter to his officers, IAF Chief BS Dhanoa talked about the need for the force to remain ready for operations with its “present holdings”, a reference to the force’s reduced strength.He also talked about the need for the Air Force to remain aware of new technological advancements in war-fighting and gauge the strength of India’s adversaries.Meanwhile, the Navy’s ambitious programme approved in 1999 to build six Scorpene-class submarines is going slow. India has 13 submarines but 11 have been around for 25 years completing their service life. With China enhancing its naval capabilities in the Indian Ocean Region, building ports in Djibouti, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, there is a reason for worry, experts believe.In its recent report, the CAG slammed the Directorate of Naval Design for the delay in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) since the design of the corvettes was amended 24 times.“Against the 18 weapons and sensors to be installed on ASW Corvettes, audit observed that the two ASW Corvettes delivered were not fitted with X weapon and sensor systems. Thus, ASW Corvettes could not perform to its full potential as envisaged,” it said. The MoD sanctioned Rs 331.27 crore for the augmentation of infrastructure facilities for construction of ASW Corvettes since as per the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) note of March 2003, it was felt that the existing infrastructure was considered to be grossly inadequate. The modernisation was completed in 2013-14 as against the scheduled completion of July 2009 and thus the work of modernisation of shipyard as well as construction of corvettes were undertaken simultaneously, the CAG report stated.The CAG also highlighted the lack of safety in the Navy’s ships and submarines that were involved in 38 accidents between 2007-08 and 2015-16, adversely affecting the operational preparedness of the force.The audit report on the Navy and Coast Guard said that the Navy had no institutionalised framework to deal with safety since its inception.Though a dedicated organisation for dealing with safety issues was set up by the Indian Navy in 2014, it still awaited government sanction.The loss of a ship and submarine adversely affects the operational preparedness of the Navy as acquisition of new ships and submarines takes more than eight to 10 years.“It is, therefore, imperative that Navy maintains its assets free from accidents during peacetime evolutions,” the CAG said.
What hampers the Army’s fighting capabilityFuse deficiencyWith 83 per cent deficiency in fuses, the artillery firepower is compromised. A fuse is fitted to the shell before firing to trigger explosion. Without a fuse, the ammunition cannot be used. As the shift was made from mechanical to electronic fuse without identifying alternate manufacturers, it has led to acute shortage. In the next year, the Army expects to get around 7.5 lakh fuses, sources say. The two Defence Public Sector Units have failed to supply the orders for the last 4-5 years, sources say. Poor maintenance On May 31, 2016, fire in an ammunition depot in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon killed 19 people and two officers, but till date nobody has been held accountable. Tonnes of rejected ammunition are dumped at depots risking human life. It was the delay in disposal of this unserviceable ammunition that led to the fire. Inadequate fire-control systems have made people working there vulnerable. Quest for a modern assault rifleIt’s been a while that the Army has been looking for a standard modern assault rifle that can replace INSAS (Indian Small Arms Systems). The review of an indigenously-designed assault rifle done by the Army has found the weapon “unsatisfactory” and “unreliable”. The weapon being developed by OFB was expected to meet the Army’s requirement of nearly 2 lakh assault rifles. Surveillance equipment, night fighting and gaps in weaponry have also been ailing the Army. OFB to focus on ‘core’ military itemsOFB has also been manufacturing “non-core” items that don’t require military expertise. According to an order dated April 27, 2017, the Army can procure these items from other indigenous sources. OFB can participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) and get orders on competitive basis. Sources say the decision was taken so that OFB can concentrate on core areas like ammunition, weapons and enhancing military capabilities. OFB is now free to wind up all the factories producing non-core items and put them to alternate use.

Sikkim stand-off: India junks China’s claim on troops reduction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China’s claim of Indian troops reducing their strength from 400 to 40 at the point of a prolonged standoff between the two nations in the Sikkim sector was rejected on Wednesday by government officials in New Delhi who said there was no change in the situation and 300-350 soldiers were still stationed there.China on Wednesday again urged India to “withdraw its trespassing border troops” and conduct a thorough investigation into the “illegal trespass” to appropriately resolve dispute and restore peace and tranquillity between the two countries.Since mid-June, a military standoff continues in Doklam — a disputed tri-junction where the borders of India (Sikkim), China and Bhutan converge.”There is status quo and the standoff continues as of now. There has been no withdrawal of troops by us till now,” said government sources here. Sources indicated the Indian Army was ready for a prolonged row to consolidate its position.Indian troops are also getting continuous supplies, making it very clear that they will not back off till there is a diplomatic solution to the confrontation. After PLA troops entered the plateau in Bhutanese territory to build a road, Indian soldiers had intervened, citing agreements between the three countries to maintain a status quo in the region.The Indian Army is resisting the building of the road as it will give China greater access to India’s strategically vulnerable Siliguri corridor that links the seven north-eastern states to the Indian mainland.In a 15-page statement with maps and background details, Beijing on Wednesday accused Indian troops of advancing more than 100 metres into Chinese territory on June 16. “On 18 June, over 270 Indian border troops, carrying weapons and driving two bulldozers, crossed the boundary in the Sikkim Sector at the Duo Ka La (Doka La) pass,” it said.In New Delhi, the Ministry Of External Affairs spokesperson said that India’s position on this issue and related facts have been articulated in a statement on June 30. “India considers that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas is an important prerequisite for smooth development of our bilateral relations with China,” the spokesperson said in response to a query on China’s document.The Chinese statement added that at one point of time there more than 400 troops who had pitched tents and advanced over 180 meters into the Chinese territory. “As of the end of July, there were still over 40 Indian border troops and one bulldozer illegally staying in the Chinese territory,” the statement added. India has maintained that the standoff can only end through diplomatic channels.

DNA EXCLUSIVE: Food alert for CRPF guarding Amarnath pilgrims!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Piping hot pooris with spicy curries, followed by heavy doses of sweets being served in langars (community kitchens) along the Amarnath Yatra route might be tempting for Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel deployed to guard pilgrims, but they have been warned to stay off the lip-smacking option.In an advisory sent by the force to field units, commanders have been asked to ensure that personnel on security duty do not eat the heavy langar food that can make them lethargic, upset their stomachs and also lead to serious health hazards.”There are obvious health concerns… Eating at langars can also lead to the men letting their guard down while on security duty. They need to be on their toes and vigilant at all times. They cannot be complacent at any time,” said a CRPF officer.About Rs 100 is sanctioned per day per CRPF person as ration money, sources said. If the men eat outside, the food being prepared for them will also go to waste.This year’s deployment for Amarnath Yatra was doubled, keeping in mind the security concerns as the pilgrimage coincided with terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s first death anniversary on July 8. Wani’s killing had triggered a prolonged phase of violence in Kashmir.Frequent, fatal clashes had broken out between stone-pelting mobs and security forces.Over 21,000 personnel from the central armed police forces, such as the CRPF and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), have been deployed. There are 214 companies on ground compared to 115 last year.The security on the two Yatra routes of Pahalgam and Baltal in Kashmir has been further enhanced after the July 10 terror attack on a bus, returning from the cave shrine, killing eight pilgrims. Both treks have a heavy deployment of security forces. But, the routes also have several langars where food is served to pilgrims.Source said that the advisory on food is not linked to the terror attack and has been sent to ensure that the troops remain fit and don’t fall sick. “The food cooked in our camps is healthy and nutritious and is best suited for security duties,” said a CRPF officer.The Amarnath Yatra started on June 29 and ends on August 7, but the additional deployment of forces is likely to continue keeping in mind the possibility of unrest.Despite the attack, there has not been a dip in the number of pilgrims. This year, the number is 2.11 lakh already, and is expected to go past last year’s figure of 2.20 lakh.CURB THE BINGECommanders are to ensure that personnel on duty do not eat heavy langar food that can make them lethargic or upset their stomachs.
CRPF feels that Rs 100 sanctioned per day per person as ration money should not go waste.

Army to adopt ‘Make in India’ mantra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With nearly 60% of the Army’s procurements for spare parts — used in tanks and guns for upgrading and maintenance — being imported, the force is drawing up a plan to be self-reliant for being battle-ready at all times.Instead of depending on foreign firms to provide basic spare parts that can be easily manufactured in India, the Army has prepared a blue-print for an indigenisation plan that will cut delays in procurement.The Master General of the Ordnance (MGO), responsible for artillery and other key military supplies to frontline bases, is strategising with Indian defence firms to give a push to this policy that will also be in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ mantra.The need to give a lift to local manufacturing of spare parts for upgrading weapon systems was first felt in 2009, but nothing concrete was done then, and most of the plans only remained on paper, sources said.”Now, there is an urgency to take corrective measures, keeping in mind the current scenario of security in the country, which includes the frontiers and also carrying out anti-terror operations,” said an Army source.The idea is to get low-end technology that is an available option by targeting micro, small and medium enterprises.Critical spare parts – needed for upgrading and maintenance – take a long time to be procured from other countries, affecting the Army’s military capabilities.The annual meet of MGO and Industry cooperation scheduled for July 25 and 26, where Army Chief Bipin Rawat and Minister of State for Defence Dr Subhash Ramrao Bhamre are also expected to be present, will give a final shape to the policy. The theme of the conference is ‘Evolving new strategies to fast track indigenisation.’Recently, meetings were held at regional centres across the country in Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune, Baroda and Jabalpur with an aim to target the move as part of a larger plan to enhance the Army’s readiness which has been a grave concern. In a recent report, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) also highlighted the critical deficiencies in ammunition affecting Army’s preparedness.Recently, the Army began procurement to fill up the critical gaps and to enhance its capabilities to fight a “short, intense war” lasting 15-20 days amid the standoff with China, regular ceasefire violations by Pakistan and terrorist infiltrations.The Centre has given emergency powers to the Army Vice Chief to buy ammunition and armaments without necessary sanctions that can cause delays. With the new financial powers given to the Vice Chief, 46 types of ammunition for tanks and artillery guns, spares for 10 types of weapons, armaments and mines can be purchased that can cost approximately Rs 40,000 crore.

Lack of ammunition, Navy’s safety and delayed projects ail Defence infra: CAG

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Critical deficiencies in ammunition, anti submarine warfare projects lagging behind time and lack of safety mechanism in the Navy are some of the glaring gaps in the country’s defence readiness pointed out by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in different reports on Friday.One of the most serious concerns raised by the apex audit body in the country was the poor quality and inadequate ammunition available with the Indian Army and this was observed despite the issue being highlighted in a previous report in 2015.The report also said that ammunition depots with shortage of fire-fighting staff and equipment remained accident prone.”No significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) since March 2013. Shortfall in meeting the production target by OFB continued,” the CAG report on Defence Services -Army and Ordnance Factories tabled in Parliament on Friday said.The report also pointed out that majority of the procurement cases initiated by Army between 2009 and 2013 was pending as of January 2017.In another report on Defence Public Sector Undertakings the CAG slammed the Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) for delay in Anti Sumbarine Warfare (ASW) since the design of the corvettes were amended 24 times.”Against the 18 weapons and sensors to be installed on ASW Corvettes, Audit observed that the two ASW Corvettes delivered were not fitted with X weapon and sensor systems. Thus, ASW Corvettes could not perform to its full potential as envisaged.MoD sanctioned Rs 331.27 crore for augmentation of infrastructure facilities for construction of ASW Corvettes since as per the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) Note of March 2003, it was felt that the existing infrastructure was considered to be grossly inadequate. The modernisation was completed in 2013-14 as against the scheduled completion of July 2009 and thus, the work of modernisation of shipyard as well as construction of corvettes were undertaken simultaneously, the CAG report stated.In the third report related defence the CAG pointed highlighted lack of safety in Indian Navy’s ships and submarines that were involved in 38 accidents between 2007-08 and 2015-16, adversely affecting the operational preparedness of the force.The audit report on Navy and Coast Guard said that the Navy had no institutionalised framework to deal with safety since its inception.The report added that a dedicated organisation for dealing with safety issues was setup by the Indian Navy in 2014. However, it awaits government’s sanction.The auditor said the loss of a ship and submarine adversely affects the operational preparedness of the Navy as acquisition of new ships and submarines takes more than eight to 10 years.”It is, therefore, imperative that Navy maintains its assets free from accidents during peacetime evolutions.Total expenditure of the Defence Services during the year 2015-16 was `2,43,534 crore. Navy spent `35,196 crore while Coast Guard spent `3,034 crore which constituted 14.45per cent and 1.25per cent respectively of the total Defence Expenditure.

MoD cancels Cambrian Patrol participation, Army irked

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The army is irked with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for cancelling its participation in Cambrian Patrol, an infantry competition held in England annually, where the force has done well in the past. The army in a note to MoD, after the rejection, banked on one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann ki Baat’ speeches where he praised the force for bringing glory to the county in one of the events. But the effort did not work as intended, sources said.MoD rejected the proposal saying, India should have a competition of its own and made the participation biannual instead of annual.Over 100 countries participate in the competition that is considered to be a tough test of an infantry soldier’s skills and calibre.”The MoD wants us to start our own competition, but till that happens we should be allowed to participate. It’s good exposure for soldiers to present their skills at a global platform,” said army sources.There was no response from MoD on the reasons accorded for limiting the participation biannually instead of annually.The Indian Army won gold medal in 2014, a silver in 2015 and a gold again in 2016.Speaking about the sacrifice and contribution of Indian troops Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised their efforts in 2014 after the Indian Army contingent won a gold. “You will be glad to know that these Jawans have won a gold medal in a very prestigious event in Britain called Cambrian Patrol, defeating contestants from 140 nations. I offer these Jawans my heartiest congratulations,”he had said.After we did not get the sanction to participate a note was sent to the Ministry of Defence with the reference to the Prime Minister’s speech but even that did not work, army sources said.The Army feels participating in such competitions keeps the morale of the troops high.The Exercise Cambrian Patrol started in 1959.AnalysisThe Army being irked over cancellation of the participation is not a good sign. Especially when there is a growing tension in the border region, it may not be in the best interest for the country and its security.

Bulletproof helmets to help Army face enemy head on

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army has finally received its first set of advanced bulletproof helmets, a long-pending demand of the Army’s that has been using unreliable head protection for years. In sync with the idea of ‘Make in India’, the helmets, weighing 1.8 kg, are manufactured by a private Indian company based in Kanpur and have already started replacing the old ones that were bulky and cumbersome to use during combat.The Army has received the initial batch of 7,500 helmets of the 3.28 lakh proposed, sources said.While the helmets will be sanctioned on a priority basis to troops carrying out anti-terror operations and serving on the forward areas bordering Pakistan and China, a set of 2,500 helmets has been given to those serving on United Nations missions.The Indian Army has been facing frequent combat situations, especially in anti-terror operations in Kashmir and also during skirmishes on the Line of Control with Pakistani troops and terrorists infiltrating from across the border, but it lacked a basic protective gear like a bulletproof helmet for years.Sources said that 1,58,279 of the proposed number of helmets have been cleared for procurement at a cost of Rs 170 crore and are expected to be given to the Army in the next one year.”The next lot of 5,000 helmets will be issued shortly and another 6,000 will be sent for trials. By the end of the year, we expect to get a total of 30,000,” said an army source.

Amarnath terror attack: Probe exposes gaps in security measures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Amarnath bus that was attacked left the security convoy on the way back from Baltal after visiting the shrine and went to Srinagar for two days, undetected by authorities, exposing gaps in the security mechanism.The initial investigations have also revealed that a group of four terrorists that included two local recruits of Lashkar-e-Taiba led by Abu Ismail carried out the attack. Sources said the attack was planned at a short notice when the bus halted for an hour due to a flat tyre and a mechanical snag.The bus carrying pilgrims from Gujarat was registered for the Yatra in Jammu on July 7 and was part of the security convoy reaching the shrine the next day. On the way back, the bus left the security convoy and the pilgrims decided to leave for Srinagar on July 8. They left from there on July 10 at around 4.30 pm, but had to stop as the bus broke down.“This was when the word spread that there was a Yatra bus and terrorists targeted it at Batingu, around 12 kms from the point of breakdown,” said home ministry officials giving details of a report sent from the Jammu and Kashmir police.Two Central ministers – Jitendra Singh and Hansraj Ahir, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, and CRPF DGP RR Bhatnagar rushed to Kashmir after the attack to review the situation.The ministers visited Srinagar, following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh.They discussed the security situation in detail with the chief minister and the governor, before holding an in-depth security review with the local army commander, the chief secretary, the police chief and senior officers of the state government, the DG of the CRPF, and senior officers of BSF and other security agencies, a home ministry statement said.In their interaction, the ministers stressed that the entire country was with the Kashmiris and the pilgrims and that all measures to secure the pilgrimage would continue.Security forces have been told to enhance anti-terror operations based on specific inputs. The forces managed to kill three terrorists after an all-night encounter in Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday morning.A district-wise list of active terrorists has been prepared segregating local and Pakistani terrorists, putting the total number to 258. Out of these, 130 are locals and 128 Pakistanis. Shopian, Kulgam, Pulwama, Awantipora and Anantnag are the districts where locals outnumber Pakistani terrorists and are heading terror cells.

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