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Drive to end encroachment on Noida Expressway

The local administration, along with the Indian Air Force (IAF) officials, conducted a massive anti-encroachment drive against 35 illegal farmhouses spread over several acres of government land, in the Nagla-Nagli village along the Noida Expressway on Wednesday, following an Allahabad High Court (HC) order.According to the IAF officials, they bulldozed unauthorised construction on 40 acres of land in the village. The HC, in July, 2017, had directed the district administration to identify the IAF land allotted decades ago and to initiate criminal proceedings against the accused. Several acres of land was grabbed by colonisers and illegal colonies were developed. The 482-acre land belongs to the Ministry of Defence, given to the IAF for a bombing range in 1950.”Several notices issued were not taken seriously. The encroachers were served show cause notices on November 8 and then eviction notices on December 1. Several encroachers came to the spot after knowing about the eviction drive,” said A K Shrivastava, in-charge of anti-encroachment drive and group captain in the IAF.

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Post Cyclone Ockhi relief work, 845 lives saved, but 661 fishermen missing

The defence forces and other agencies involved in rescue operations when Cyclone Ockhi battered southern India saved 845 lives, but 661 fishermen still remain missing, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha today.In a written response to a question, Sitharaman said the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard saved the lives of 821 people until December 20.Another 24 lives were saved by other agencies, including merchant navy vessels.Of the total 845 people rescued, 453 were from Tamil Nadu, 362 from Kerala, and 30 from Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.However, Sitharaman said 661 fishermen were still missing.The majority of those untraceable are from Tamil Nadu (400) and Kerala (261), the worst hit states when Cyclone Ockhi swept through the coastlines of southern India.The cyclone had caught many fishermen off guard after it formed quickly in the Arabian Sea in early December.Replying to another question, Sitharaman’s deputy and minister of state in the defence ministry, Subhash Bhamre, said admission of girl child has been approved in Sainik School in Chhingchhip, Mizoram, from academic session 2018- 2019.On another question, Bhamre sought to allay the fears of defence personnel, and said there has been no downgrading or change in the exisiting equivalance of the service ranks vis- a-vis their civilian counterparts.

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SDMC seals Chhattarpur farmhouse, traders protest

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation continued with its sealing drive on Tuesday even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the move was rather to”fill its coffers”. The corporation also extended its drive to agricultural properties being used for commercial purposes while sealing a farmhouse in Chhattarpur.The farmhouse used to host social functions and events, and had an additional built-up area, said the civic officials. The civic body had on Saturday sealed 51 restaurants and shops in Defence Colony market for “illegal” construction and not paying conversion charges.The sealing drive is being taken on the directions of the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee which, in a meeting with commissioners of the three municipal corporations and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Tuesday, directed the agencies to carry out the drives in all the areas under their jurisdiction.The AAP, however, alleged that the Monitoring Committee was acting as a”tax collector” for the BJP-led corporations in the city.”We have asked all the civic agencies to carry out the drive in areas under their jurisdiction,” said Bhure Lal, former bureaucrat and member of the committee.Meanwhile, the trader’s body of the Defence Colony market, along with AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj and local councillors, met the south corporation commissioner demanding the withdrawal of the sealing drive. They also asked for some time to pay off the conversion charges.”We were assured that the drive will be halted immediately while we have got three months time to pay the pending conversion charges. We have also urged them to reduce or waive off the conversion charges from Rs 89,000 to Rs 22,000 for which a proposal is pending with the Central government’s urban development ministry,” said RK Bhatia, member of the traders association.Kamaljeet Sehrawat, Mayor, South MCD, agreeing to the traders’demands said she will meet the Monitoring Committee in this regard on Wednesday.”We will be meeting the Committee to take the drive in a phased manner and give enough time to traders to deposit charges. Also, we plan to reduce the conversion charges from 89,000 to 22,000 as per the proposal,” said Sehrawat.

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After Defence Colony traders protest, SDMC plans to reduce conversion changes

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) plans to reduce the conversion charges of commercial-cum-residential properties from Rs 89,000 to Rs 22,000. The move has come days after the civic body conducted a sealing drive and shut down 51 popular restaurants and shops in Defence Colony market for”illegal” construction and not paying the conversion charges.Kamaljeet Sehrawat, Mayor, SDMC, on Tuesday agreeing to the traders’demands said she will meet the Monitoring Committee in this regard on Wednesday.”We will be meeting the Committee to take the drive in a phased manner and give enough time to traders to deposit the charges. Also, we plan to reduce the conversion charges from 89,000 to 22,000 as per the proposal,” said Sehrawat.However, the civic body continued with its sealing drive on Tuesday even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the move was rather to”fill its coffers”. The corporation also extended its drive to agricultural properties being used for commercial purposes while sealing a farmhouse in Chhattarpur.The farmhouse used to host social functions and events, and had an additional built-up area, said the civic officials. The sealing drive is being taken on the directions of the Supreme Court-appointed Monitoring Committee which, in a meeting with commissioners of the three municipal corporations and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Tuesday, directed the agencies to carry out the drives in all the areas under their jurisdiction.The AAP, however, alleged that the Monitoring Committee was acting as a”tax collector” for the BJP-led corporations in the city.”We have asked all the civic agencies to carry out the drive in areas under their jurisdiction,” said Bhure Lal, former bureaucrat and member of the committee.Meanwhile, the trader’s body of the Defence Colony market, along with AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj and local councillors, met the south corporation commissioner demanding the withdrawal of the sealing drive. They also asked for some time to pay off the conversion charges.”We were assured that the drive will be halted immediately while we have got three months time to pay the pending conversion charges. We have also urged them to reduce or waive off the conversion charges from Rs 89,000 to Rs 22,000 for which a proposal is pending with the Central government’s urban development ministry,” said RK Bhatia, member of the traders association.

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India’s own institute on defence studies to be a reality soon

The Indian National Defence University (INDU), which is a proposed institute for defence studies, is likely to become a reality soon, as it can come up for Cabinet clearance. The institute is being developed as center to generate research on strategic affairs, a concept unheard of in India so far. INDU will have its campus on Bimola, Gurgaon.Theministry of Human Resource Development has recently sent its suggestions to the Ministry of Defence regarding the university saying that itshould be developed as a centre which generates new knowledge and promotes research in strategic affairs. Sources said that the suggestions have been approved and final proposal on INDU is likely to come up in the Cabinet for clearance soon. The Ministry of Defence had in the year 2015 put up the draft bill to come up with an institution dedicated to defence studies, online for public comments .”While the exact nature of courses in the institute has not yet been finalised. The idea is to develop it as a center which is meant for midcareer defence professionals and those who are interested in studying about strategic affairs, at the Post Graduate level. We have suggested that the institute should be able to generate new knowledge and increase research in the area of defence,” said a senior official.”The defence personnel who enroll for higher education in the institute can be an asset for the forces later on, help them in planning and strategizing,” said a senior official.The concept of an institute like this has been prevalent internationally but not in India, like the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington. As per the official website of NDU, it aims to “create strategic advantage by developing joint warfighters and other national security leaders and forging relationships through whole-of-nations and whole-of-government educational programs, research and engagement”.INDU will be the first of its kind institute in India, which will focus on the academics side of defence, other institutes like the National Defence Academy and Indian Military Institute mostly focus on preparing personnel to join the force.

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Delhi Shocker: Depressed woman under influence of alcohol allegedly shoots mother, brother

A 47-year-old woman allegedly shot at her mother and brother late last night in south Delhi’s Defence Colony, the police said on Friday. The accused Sangeeta, who has participated in state-level shooting tournaments, was apparently drunk at the time of the incident, they said.The woman’s brother Harsaran told police that Sangeeta shot at him and his mother around midnight. Harsaran along with his mother is now out of danger.Romil Baaniya, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), said the woman has been detained and the pistol seized.She was also into adventure tourism and used to go to Sohna, Gurgaon. For the last one year, she had stopped going for shooting practise and stopped meeting people, said the officer.Her father said Sangeeta was suffering from depression and on medication.Last night, she took her medicines, sleeping pills along with alcohol and allegedly attacked her mother and brother, police said.

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BJP MP Kirron Kher urges govt to remove cap on educational reimbursement to martyred soldiers’ kids

A BJP member in the Lok Sabha today urged the government to reverse its order which seeks to limit the educational reimbursement for the children of martyred and disabled soldiers.Kirron Kher raised the issue during the Zero Hour, saying that by limiting the educational reimbursement, the government would save a mere Rs 5 crore.She said as per the order, the reimbursement, which was unlimited, has been restricted to Rs 10,000 which was not sufficient.Recently, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba had appealed to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to reverse the order.Admiral Lanba, who is also the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, had written that “this small gesture would assure the families of our brave women and men that the nation cares for them and their sacrifices are truly appreciated by the government.”P K Biju (CPI-M) said while the government is consolidating the banks, it was leading to a situation where the number of branches and ATMs were going down.Bhawna Gawli (Shiv Sena) said Bt cotton crop in Maharashtra has failed to resist pest attack and demanded action against Monsanto, the firm which had developed the Bt cotton seed.There were sharp exchanges between Shobha Karandlage (BJP) and some Left members when the former alleged that some “jihadis” were stabbing Hindu youths in coastal Kerala and Karnataka. She also displayed some photographs.Vinod Sonkar (BJP) referred to the reported killing of a Sikh in Pakistan who allegedly refused to get converted.Taking a dig at the Congress, he said the party of those who had visited temples and worn the sacred thread should move a resolution condemning the incident and the entire House should adopt it.Congress members were not present in the House as they had staged a walk-out a few minutes before Sonkar spoke.

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Rafale deal: Controversy baseless, govt bought at better terms, says Nirmala Sitharaman

The government today termed as “motivated” and “baseless” the controversy over the Rafale deal and asserted that the fighter jets have been bought at better terms.In a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said all the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) have been followed and an inter-governmental agreement was signed on September 23, 2016 after the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). “The allegations are motivated and baseless. The government has bought the Rafale aircraft at better terms,” she said. The question was asked by six MPs, including three from the BJP, BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab, Samajwadi Party member Tej Pratap Singh Yadav and Shiv Sena’s Rahul Shewale.The Congress had alleged a “huge scam” in the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter aircraft saying this was done unilaterally without following the DPP, without any inter-governmental agreement and in the absence of the then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. The Congress had also made it an election issue in the Gujarat polls. In response to a question on the number of surgical strikes made by the Army in the last three years, the defence minister did not given any direct answer.Also readA shake up has been given to the defence ministry to speed up acquisitions: Nirmala Sitharaman”Based on specific and credible inputs, Indian Army strikes at terrorists/ infiltrators at the borders from time to time, in order to preserve the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” she held. In response to another question on whether the government foresees a two-front war at western and northern borders and initiatives taken by the government to deal with situation like Dokalam and proxy war by Pakistan, Sitharaman said the government is fully seized of the security threats and remains prepared to deal with all kinds of security challenges.”Appropriate measures are taken from time to time to maintain/ upgrade the country’s defence preparedness to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India,” she said, adding that the government regularly reviews the threat perception to secure borders. Replying to another question, her deputy Subhash Bhamre said 103 defence personnel lost their lives in encounters with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir from 2014-16.On whether military expenditure as a percentage of GDP has reduced over a period of time, Bhamre said the defence budget was 1.54 per cent of the GDP. “Defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP may appear to be decreasing due to increasing trend in the growth of GDP. However, defence expenditure is increasing every year in absolute terms,” Bhamre said.

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No term like ‘martyr’ or ‘shaheed’ in our lexicon, say Defence and Home Ministry

There is no term as “martyr” or “shaheed” in the Army or the police and instead a soldier or a policeman killed in action is called a “battle casualty” or “operations casualty” respectively, the ministries of defence and home have submitted before the Central Information Commission.The issue surfaced after an RTI applicant approached the Union home ministry seeking to know the meaning and detailed definition of word “shaheed” (martyr) according to the law and the Constitution. He also asked about the legal provisions to ensure restriction on its misuse and punishment for violation. The application was transferred to different officials of the home and defence ministries but when the applicant could not get a satisfactory response, he approached the CIC, the highest appellate body in matters relating to the Right to Information Act.The respondents from the ministries of defence and the home affairs were present and heard, Information Commissioner Yashovardhan Azad said. “The respondent from the Ministry of Defence stated that word ‘shaheed’ or ‘martyr’ is not used by the MoD. Instead the one used is ‘battle casualty’. The respondent from the Ministry of Home Affairs stated that in the MHA the word used is ‘operations casualty’,” Azad said.Also readFacing heat for limiting education aid to martyrs’ kids, MoD doubles gallantry award moneyQuoting the submissions, he noted that the decision to declare cases of ‘battle casualty’ and ‘ops’ were taken after a report of a court of inquiry in both the matters.”After hearing the respondents and the perusal of the record, the commission finds that the averments made by both the respondents have duly explained the correct usage of the terms and directs the respondents to send a revised reply to the appellant accordingly,” he said.

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Assam: Three suspected ULFA-I cadre shoot dead father, son

Three suspected United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) (ULFA-I) cadre dressed in army fatigues have shot dead a Village Defence Force (VDF) president and his son in Simaluguri area of the district.Simaluguri Village Defence Force (VDF) president Anteswar Mahanta and his son W. Mahanta were killed on Monday after they were dragged out of their house and were shot dead by AK-47.”We reached the spot as soon as we received the information and we have started the investigation. The attack was carried out with an AK-47 whereby it seems that there are suspected ULFA militants behind the incident,” District Superintendent of Police (SP) Mugdhajyoti Mahanta told ANI.Earlier on Saturday, one ULFA cadre was arrested here by Dangri Kumar Army Camp of Dao Division.The said cadre, identified as Abhay Deka, was involved in the Dillighat firing incident in November 2015.

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My husband was sleeping, says wife of ‘molester’

The Dindoshi Sessions court remanded the 39-year-old Andheri businessman, Vikas Sachdev, in police custody till December 13 on Monday, for allegedly molesting a Bollywood actress on an Air Vistara flight from Delhi to Mumbai. Meanwhile, the accused’s wife claimed that the actor had implicated her husband falsely for publicity.Divya Sachdev said, “My husband had kept his leg on the arm rest of the seat in front of him only to sleep in a more comfortable position. He had no intention to harass the actor. She should have immediately responded in that situation but she chose to be silent and not report the matter. She is trying to gain publicity by implicating my husband.”Sahar police arrested Vikas, a Chandivali resident, on Sunday night and sought a 14-day custody for interrogation on Monday.The defense counsel argued that Sachdev was sleeping and had no intention of molesting the minor.The police will examine the video that the actor shot, which shows Sachdev resting his foot on the armrest of the actor’s seat. There is no CCTV footage available.”We will record the statement of the cabin crew. The airlines said Sachdev had asked the crew not to disturb him or serve him food as he wanted to sleep,” said the officer.Lata Shirsat, senior police inspector, said, “We will take the supplementary statement from the actor, if necessary.” The actor’s spokesperson told DNA that a case had been filed and they will cooperate with the probe.DEFENCE SAYSThe defence counsel said Vikas had no intention of molesting the actor as he was in sleep. It also said that Vikas had been arrested without any prior notice of the probe.

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Punjab can fund education of children of soldiers killed in action if Centre can’t: Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today said his government was willing to pay for educational expenses of the children of those killed or disabled in the line of duty.Speaking at a panel discussion at the Military Literature Festival here, the chief minister said the Congress would do everything in its power for defence veterans if it came to power at the Centre.Amarinder had on December 1 written to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking reversal of the ministry’s decision to cap educational expenses paid to children of personnel killed or disabled in the line of duty.”It is the government’s responsibility to ensure the welfare of the soldiers and veterans, as well as their families,” the chief minister said.Terming the decision “immoral” and “unprincipled”, Singh said it would impact around 32,000 students in various institutions while saving the central government a mere Rs 3 crore per annum. He called for an immediate review and revocation of the decision.”If the Centre can’t pay such a meagre amount for the education of the soldiers’ and martyrs’ children, the Punjab government is ready to do it,” he said, adding that he had conveyed the same to the Defence Minister but she was yet to respond.”It is important to look after the interests of the defence personnel and their families in order to keep their morale high,” he added.

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Indian Navy rescues 17 boats with over 180 people off Lakshadweep coast

An Indian Navy ship engaged in search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Cyclone Ockhi today located about 17 boats with over 180 people off Lakshadweep coast.However, it was not clear whether the 180 people included the about 100 fishermen missing after the cyclone.A Defence spokesman said INS Kalpeni was sent to Off Sesostris Bank/Bassas de Pedro, a traditional fishing area off Lakshadweep Island based on Naval P8I aircraft’s inputs about the boats.”She has located about 17 boats with 180 plus people.All these boats reported safe,” he said.He said the people in the boats intended to continue fishing as they have not encountered the cyclone at all.The spokesman said normalcy is being restored on a war- footing at Minicoy island, with the Naval contingent working 24X7.In addition, a relief camp was established to distribute relief materials ferried by naval ships to all 11 villages through their ‘Moopans’ (village heads) as requested by the Lakshadweep administration, he said.Other maintenance activities such as clearing of fallen trees, cleaning of premises of jetty area, Navodaya School, relief camp and Fisheries department premises are being undertaken by Naval personnel present there, the spokesman said. ​

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Prime Minister’s Office help sought for Mumbai Metro execution roadblocks

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) executing several Metro projects in the city has sought help from Prime Minister’s office (PMO) for tackling several issues involving land acquisition and getting clearances from several state and central government agencies for construction of Metro corridors in the city.According to MMRDA, PMO’s ‘pragati portal’ monitors the Metro projects in the city and regular assistance is sought from the PMO for clearances from Central government agencies like Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Defence for acquiring their land for Metro projects.Pravin Darade, Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, said, “We seek assistance from PMO where central government agencies are involved. At several stretches we either require land from the Defence Ministry or require no objection certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Railway, as our Metro alignment is going above railway tracks at several locations. In this case, seeking assistance from PMO helps in getting approvals smoothly.”A senior MMRDA official, said, “We may also seek assistance from the PMO regarding roadblocks for procuring loan from international banks. We want the 75 per cent of the Metro coaches to be manufactured in India under ‘Make In India’ but the banks that are going to finance the Metro projects have reservations about it.”The MMRDA official, added, “In this case, we will seek assistance from PMO who will certainly intervene along with the Union Ministry of Finance for having banks agree with having 75 per cent coaches made in India.”
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Cyclone Ockhi: DMK Prez MK Stalin urges Nirmala Sitharaman to find out number of fishermen missing

The DMK on Tuesday urged Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to find out the exact number of Kanyakumari fishermen who went missing after cyclone Ockhi hit the southern tip of the country last week.In a letter to the minister, DMK working president MK Stalin said that there were conflicting reports about the number — from 96 to 2,570. “I, therefore, request you to kindly use all means at your command to find out the exact number of missing fishermen. Women in the fishing community say more than 1,000 people are missing. Their cries cannot be ignored,” hesaid.He expressed his disappointment that both the state government and the central government had only speculated figures on missing fishermen and no correct or reliable information was available despite the review meeting by the Chief Minister.
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Cyclone Ockhi: Search intensified to find 92 missing fishermen

The Kerala government today said intensified search and rescue operations are on to trace the 92 fishermen missing in high seas after Cyclone Ockhi hit the state’s coast on November 29.’Operation Synergy,’ a joint rescue mission by the Navy, the Air Force, Coast Guard and state fisheries department had so far rescued 252 fishermen stranded in the seas in the aftermath of the cyclone.Besides this, several fishermen had reached ports and harbours in Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Lakshdweep, the State Minister for Fisheries Mercykutty told PTI here.With this, more than 1,000 fishermen had reached shores safely, she said.On the cyclone-related deaths, the Minister said of the 25 deaths reported so far, 21 were fishermen.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 28 boats carrying 321 fishermen land safely at Ratnagiri A total of 292 fishermen had gone for fishing on November 29 from the Thiruvananthapuram coastal region and out of that 200 persons have already been rescued, she noted.”Officially 92 fishermen are still missing…Rescue work is going with more intensity and by widening the area for search,” she said adding, however, local people have put the number of missing persons as more than 100.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Don’t panic in case of alert, evacuate when asked, advises NDMAMercykutty said the state government has also decided to open Central Control Rooms in Kochi also along with the one functioning here to provide rescue mission-related information.According to Government Medical College sources here, as many as 41 fishermen, who were rescued, are now undergoing treatment there till this morning.Yesterday, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited cyclone-hit areas here and assured the state all help.She had also asserted that rescue operations would continue till every missing fishermen was brought back safely.
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Navy dispatches relief to cyclone-hit Lakshadweep islands

The Indian Navy has provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people affected by cyclone Ockhi in Lakshadweep, a Defence spokesperson said.The relief material, carried on Indian Navy ships, reached the island of Minicoy on Sunday and the Kavaratti and Kalpeni islands yesterday, he said.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rain spoils Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar followers visit”A total of four tonnes of disaster relief material, including dry provisions like rice, dal, salt and potatoes, water, blankets, raincoats, disposable clothes, mosquito nets and dhurries, has been handed over to the local administration,” the spokesperson said.Dry provisions and ready to eat meals are also being dispatched to Bitra Island by chopper from the INS Dweeprakshak (base) at Kavaratti.The relief material would last seven days for about 2,000 people, he added.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Mumbai records highest December rainfall in a decade
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Ex-army man held for killing 1, injuring 2

An ex-army man has been arrested for allegedly killing a person and injuring another in North-East Delhi on November 30. The accused Rajesh Kumar (43) was initially in the Army and later joined the Defence Security core.”He was currently posted in the Jat Regiment at the Meerut Cantonment as a constable. He had joined the Army and during his posting in J&K, he procured an arms license from Doda District. After his license came, he purchased a double barrel half gun. In 2006, he left the Army and got recruited in Defence Security Core. The gun has been seized by the police,” said AK Singla, Deputy Commissioner of Police, North-East.The police had received a call on November 30 about a firing incident near Shiv Mandir in Welcome area of North-East. After police reached the location, which was also a spare parts shop, they were informed that three persons were injured in firing and have been taken to GTB hospital. AT the hospital, they were informed that Shah Alam and Sharik were under treatment while Bhanu Partap was declared dead on arrival. Based on Alam’s statement, a case was registered. The deceased worked at the spare parts shop while the injured were customers.During investigations, it was revealed that the shots were fired from a Datsun car having an Army logo on both the number plates and that the person driving the car had come to attend a wedding in that area. The police were then informed about a wedding which was going on near Shiv Mandir and the Barat had gone to Nangloi. The address was traced but the police did not find any car there.Later, with the help of the CCTV footage, the car was spotted in Kabir Nagar. Kumar, who hails from Bulandshahar, had come to attend a wedding here. Kumar, unaware of the exact address of the wedding, parked his car in front of the spare parts shop where the injured and the deceased were standing. Kumar’s gun was lying in the car. While he was waiting for the Barat, he decided to put the gun inside its cover.”When he was putting the gun in the cover, the trigger was pressed accidentally and a shot was fired which hit the three persons standing at the shop. Kumar then dropped his wife at the wedding and fled.WHAT HAPPENEDThe police had received a call on November 30 about a firing incident near Shiv Mandir in Welcome area. After police reached the location, they were informed that three persons were injured in firing and have been taken to GTB hospital.
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Defence Ministry raises concern over charges for military traffic, Railways clarifies

The railway ministry has issued a letter to its zonal offices clarifying the charges levied by the transporter after complaints from the Defence Ministry about discrepancies in rates for military traffic.In the letter dated November 27, the railway board said they had received communication from the defence authority about the lack of parity in charges across zones.”Reference has been received from the defence authority stating that different practises are being followed over zonal railways regarding charging in case of military traffic. The matter has been examined,” the letter read.In its letter, the Army had raised concerns regarding difference in rates across zones and charges being levied despite exemption for military traffic.The letter from the defence ministry said 20 per cent haulage surcharge was being levied on its traffic but the charge is applicable only on railway-owned wagons and not on the defence-owned ones.The railway clarified that the charge was not applicable on military-owned wagons according to the rules.It said charges related to loading, unloading, sorting and detention of rolling stock of military special trains will be similar to the charges applicable for public traffic.The railways made it clear that defence and military equipment are exempt from the GST after concerns were raised over the tax being levied on military traffic by certain zones.It said military traffic was not exempt from busy season charge and development surcharge, which the defence ministry said should not be levied.The railway board, however, said neither can the railways raise any debit nor can the defence authority expect a refund for transactions carried out in the past.
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Paytm owner Vijay Shekhar contributes Rs 500 to armed forces; gets trolled on social media

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Saturday was trolled on social media for sharing a screenshot of his contribution to the Indian Armed forces on occasion of the Armed Forces Week.Sharma’s contribution, which was shared on his Twitter profile, showed a contribution of Rs 501.Naturally, people on social media questioned the genuineness of Sharma’s contribution, given that Paytm is a billion dollar company today, with some even asking why he had even shared that he had made a contribution.It’s interesting to note that in the past year, thanks mainly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to demonetize Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and focus on a cashless economy, Paytm has thrived. In March this year, Anil Ambani’s Reliance Capital sold part of the stake it holds in Paytm to Alibaba Group, one of the investors in Paytm, for Rs 275 crore. According to media reports, the deal values Paytm at $4.8 billion, next only to Flipkart. Later in May, the sale of Paytm’s shares to Japan’s SoftBank valued the company, in which Sharma owns 18%, at $7 billion. According to a Forbes report, Sharma is valued at $ 1.47 billion, which is why people have raised questions of his contribution to the armed forces.This year the Army is celebrating this entire week as Armed Forces Week. The Defence Ministry has launched a campaign to spread awareness about the valour of armed forces. The objective is to encourage citizens to make financial contributions to the families of war heroes and promote welfare activities. While there will be a big push on social media, events in schools and colleges are also planned starting December 1 and ending on December 7, which also happens to be Armed Forces Flag Day. A sticker of the armed forces flag will be distributed at various public places including educational institutes.
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Armed Forces Week: Defence Minister urges civilians to wear Armed Forces Flag with pride

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman formally kickstarted the Armed forces Week (December 1-7) on Friday. She posted a video message in this occasion on social media. Defence Minister said that 7th December is marked as the Armed Forces Flag Day. She reminded Indians that fund collected on that day is used for welfare and protection of families of war heroes, disabled soldiers. This year the Army is celebrating this entire week as Armed Forces Week. To mark this occasion, Sitharaman urged all Indians to wear the Armed Forces flag with pride and to contribute for the welfare of the troops. Later she mentioned several tweets applauding people for contributing for armed forces. Two of them were from Bollywood actods Aamir Khan and Varun Dhawan. The Defence Ministry has launched a campaign to spread awareness about the valour of armed forces. The objective is to encourage citizens to make financial contributions to the families of war heroes and promote welfare activities. While there will be a big push on social media, events in schools and colleges are also planned starting December 1 and ending on December 7, which also happens to be Armed Forces Flag Day. A sticker of the armed forces flag will be distributed at various public places including educational institutes. “The main objective of the campaign is to get people to make financial contributions to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFD) which is used for the welfare of disabled ex-servicemen, war widows, and children of martyrs,” officials said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is his last ‘Mann ki Baat’ addressing the nation on the eve of Mumbai 26/11 attacks anniversary welcomed the idea to instil respect for armed forces as part of a campaign. “I am happy that the Ministry of Defence has decided to run a campaign from December 1 to December 7 during which they will reach out to the people of the country to disseminate information about our armed forces and to make them aware,” he said. With inputs from DNA Correspondent
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Defence Ministry launches Armed Forces Week

Over the next week the Defence Ministry will launch a campaign to spread awareness about the valour of armed forces. The objective is to encourage citizens to make financial contributions to the families of war heroes and promote welfare activities.While there will be a big push on social media, events in schools and colleges are also planned starting December 1 and ending on December 7, which also happens to be Armed Forces Flag Day.A sticker of the armed forces flag will be distributed at various public places including educational institutes.”The main objective of the campaign is to get people to make financial contributions to the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFD) which is used for the welfare of disabled ex-servicemen, war widows, and children of martyrs,” officials said.There will be a digital campaign spread across Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms to encourage people to wear the armed forces flag with pride and show their support and solidarity with the military.”The idea is to boost the morale of the forces and their families,” officials said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi is his last ‘Mann ki Baat’ addressing the nation on the eve of Mumbai 26/11 attacks anniversary welcomed the idea to instil respect for armed forces as part of a campaign.”I am happy that the Ministry of Defence has decided to run a campaign from December 1 to December 7 during which they will reach out to the people of the country to disseminate information about our armed forces and to make them aware,” he said.Videos and pictures of acts of valour of the armed forces will be put on social media hash-tag armed forces flag day (#armedforcesflagday).”Our new generation can get a good opportunity to get information about the forces. This is also an occasion to collect funds for the welfare of the jawans of our armed forces. This amount is spent through the Sainik Kalyan Board on the dependents of those who lost their lives and also for those who got injured during wars, for their rehabilitation,” the PM had said.Monetary contributions can be made to Kendriya Sainik Board at ksb.gov.in. The body is part of department of ex- servicemen welfare, Ministry of Defence.
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Pune University leads the way, gets tank used in 1971 war

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Jawaharlal Nehru University is contemplating the idea of installing a battle tank in the university, the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) will be bringing this idea into reality on Wednesday when it will be installing a T55 battle tank in the campus. According to the authorities of the university, the university is getting the tank as a gift from the Indian Army. It is a Russian battle tank which has played a key role in 1965 as well as 1971 Indo-Pakistan wars. The tank will be installed in the premises of the Defence and strategic studies department of the university on Wednesday. “The general officer commanding in chief of southern command Lieutenant General PM Hariz will be present at the time of the installation of the tank,” University officials said. The vice chancellor of the JNU had given a proposal of installation of tank in the premises of the university to instil a sense off patriotism among students. The idea had received lot of criticism on why a battle tank should be installed in a university.

In Gujarat, Rahul Gandhi targets PM Modi on Rafale deal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi alleged on Saturday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi single-handedly finalised the Rafale fighter jets deal without following the due procedure.”When Modi ji went to France, he changed Rafale contract, without consulting anyone. Instead of giving contract to company which knows how to build an aircraft, he gave it to his industrialist friend who knows nothing about it. Defence Minister was in Goa then,” Gandhi said while addressing a public gathering here, ahead of Gujarat assembly polls in December.During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France in 2015, India and France announced a government-to-government deal wherein the air force would receive 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition as soon as possible.
ALSO READ Rahul Gandhi’s calls to Sharad Yadav sealed Congress-Vasava deal in GujaratAccording to the contract, the components of the jets would be manufactured by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Defence.However, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, earlier, said the acquisition process of Rafale fighter jets got delayed because of the inaction by United Progressive Alliance (UPA), while it was in power for ten years until 2014.
ALSO READ ‘Hugplomacy fail’: Rahul Gandhi takes a dig at PM Modi as US delinks Haqqani network from LashkarThe defence minister said when Modi-led government came to power in 2014, the situation was ‘grim’ and that they “had to move quickly forward so that the air force was not left unattended”.The Congress has also accused the government of buying the jets at an exorbitant price, paying three times the price negotiated by UPA-2 in 2012.

India student refuses to be ‘anti-Pakistan’ poster girl

Kawalpreet Kaur had a Pakistani Twitter account suspended after it doctored a photo of her.

Watch | The moment when BrahMos was successfully flight-tested from Sukhoi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Wednesday successfully test-fired the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile from the Sukhoi 30MKI fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) .The defence ministry said the missile hit a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal from the combat aircraft.”Brahmos, the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile created history on today after it was successfully flight- tested for first time from the IAF’s frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI against a sea based target in the Bay of Bengal,” the defence ministry said.Brahmos is described as the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile which can carry out warheads from land, air and sea.The missile, which was launched as a test firing exercise, travels almost three times faster than sound at Mach 2.8. It weighs around 2.4 tonne and has a strike range of 290 km. It also carries a conventional warhead up to 300 kg.The fighter jet which has a cruising range of 3,200 km along with the supersonic cruise missile is said to a ‘deadly combination’.The BrahMos operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its cursing altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters.(With Inputs from agencies)

Indian Navy’s pilotless aircraft crashes in Kochi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) of the Indian Navy crashed during take off just outside the Naval base here today, a Defence spokesman said. No casualties were reported.The incident occurred this morning when the Israeli-made pilotless aircraft took off from the Naval airport here for a routine sortie, he said.The crash occurred due to technical reasons, he said “A remotely piloted aircraft ‘Searcher’ on a routine surveillance mission crashed north of the naval airfield INS Garuda after take off at 10:25 am,” a Defence release said. However, there has been no casualty or damage to property. A Board of Inquiry as been constituted to investigate the cause of the accident,” it said.The spokesman said the crash has not caused any damage to the runway. A major tragedy was narrowly averted as the aircraft crashed near a bulk liquid terminal. The crash lead to a security scare too as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu was scheduled to come to Kochi at around 12 PM. With PTI inputs

Nirmala Sitharaman seeks inquiry in firing on fishermen

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday announced that a detailed inquiry would be conducted into the incident of firing at Tamil Nadu fishermen to determine who shot at them.Fishermen from Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu alleged that Indian Coast Guard (ICG) opened fire at them, but the ICG has denied the accusation against them.Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an interaction with members of the CII here, Sitharaman said that she would order an inquiry into the firing. “After I came know about the incident, I inquired with ICG, but they have denied firing. As the media continued to report on the incident and a even fishermen showed the injury sustained by him, I asked the ICG chief about it the next day again. He has said that we don’t use such bullets,” she said.Taking exception to the narrative of “our force attacking our own fishermen”, she went on to appeal to this langauge not be used to decribe the event. “If some wrong has been committed, we will definitely punish the wrongdoers, but don’t accuse or point fingers at the ICG. We don’t use such bullets at all. We don’t know from where that bullet came. It does not mean that the fishermen are wrong. However, we can come to a conclusion only after a detailed inquiry,” she said.In his complaint, fishermen Arokiyadass said that he, along with five other fishermen, was fishing on the high seas about four nautical miles from Olaikuda at around 3.15 pm on Monday when personnel from the ICG vessel-77 asked them to stop. When they kept moving, stating that they had laid the net and could not stop, the coast guard personnel opened fire at them, they alleged.

Man accused of keeping disabled boy as ‘domestic help’, denied bail

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Kalachowky based 56 year old Sunil Shah, was denied bail by the Sessions court after the prosecution was successful in showing the court that the accused got a minor boy from Bihar to Mumbai on pretext of giving him medical treatment and had forced him to get into domestic work.The court while denying bail to the man said, Prima facie there is evidence to show that a boy aged seven years who is handicapped by his hand was brought from Bihar under the pretext of medical treatment and education, taking advantage of his poor financial condition and he was doing household work in the house of accused, thus denied bail.The boy in his statement claimed that he was asked to help in the domestic house hold work and was forced to do it. The prosecution in its case said that the accused had brought the boy to Mumbai with an intention of providing him education as well as medical assistance, but he was provided with neither of them.The defence however was of the claim that the child was never forced into any domestic work, however he voluntarily used to help in the house hold work.The prosecution denied the fact that the accused had intentions of they providing the child with education as non of the family members had any knowledge of the birth details of the child, which thus rules out the defence’s claim of they getting the child to Mumbai with an intention to educate him.

Rafale deal: Reliance Defence Limited rebuts Congress allegations of getting favour, threatens legal action

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As political controversy kicked in over Congress allegations that industrialist Anil Ambani’s company was favoured by the government in Rafale deal, Reliance Defence Limited has rebutted the allegations as “baseless and unfounded”.It sought to flag what it called “factual inaccuracies” in the statement made by AICC Communication department chief Randeep Surjewala on Tuesday. Regarding the allegation that Ambani, owner of Reliance Defence Limited was present in France with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the later visited in April 2015 announced the deal for purchase of 36 Rafale Fighter Aircrafts, the RDL said, Anil Ambani is a member of Indo French CEO Forum and in the said meeting, more than 20 Indian CEOs were present including Chairman of HAL D Suvrana Raju and othersSurjewala had alleged that on February 16, 2017, Reliance Defence Limited through its subsidiary Reliance Defence and Aerospace Limited inked a joint venture with Dassault Aviation for defence production and that the company’s website R. Infra reflects that they are undertaking offset obligations of 30,000 crore with Dassault Aviation for 36 Rafel aircrafts. The company said that In the official press statement issued by Dassault and Reliance on 03 October 2016, it is clearly mentioned that offfset obligations are to be undertaken by Dassault Reliance Aerospace joint venture company and not by Reliance Defence. “Reliance Group does not have any company by the name of Reliance Defence & Aerospace Ltd. Dassault Reliance Aerospace Ltd will be only one of the key players in the discharge of offset obligations.The RDL further said that over 500 large, medium and small Indian companies will benefit from the offsets which are nothing but an export obligation for goods and services from India and that offsets referred to are spread over a period of nearly 10 years.Regarding the Congress question as to why did the Prime Minister promote the interests of one industrial group- Reliance Defence Limited, which has led to the company tying up and entering into a joint venture with Dassault Aviation, the RLD said that the joint venture between Reliance Aerostructure Ltd and Dassault Aviation is a bilateral agreement between two private companies and Dassault Aviation selected Reliance Aerostructure Ltd as its joint venture partner. “The Indian Government has no role to play in this,” it said.Replying to the allegation why has the joint venture for the biggest-ever Indian defence deal between Dassault Aviation and Reliance Defence Limited not gone through the proper procedure of approval by the Union Cabinet, Cabinet Committee on Security and Foreign Investment Promotion Board, the company said that the government policy issued on June 24, 2016 allows for 49% FDI in the Defence Sector under the automatic route, without any prior approval.“No approvals from the Union Cabinet or CCS were required for the formation of the aforesaid Joint Venture company under the automatic route,” the RDL said. “”From the above it is very obvious that all allegations are unfounded and false. We request the AICC to correct the facts as stated by us. We reserve the right to take appropriate legal action against any party that disseminates these defamatory allegations,” the RDL said.

Not bothered with someone else’s stand on Arunachal: Nirmala Sitharaman snubs China

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Rebuffing China’s objection to her visit to Arunachal Pradesh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said the northeastern state is an Indian territory and the country is not concerned about someone else’s opinion on it.On Monday, China had objected to Sitharaman’s first visit to the border state on Saturday and Sunday, saying her tour of the “disputed area” was not conducive to peace in the region. India had rejected Beijing’s objection and asserted that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of the country. “What is the problem? There is no problem. It is our territory, we will go there,” she said in a reply to a query on China’s reaction on her visit to Arunachal Pradesh.”We are not concerned with someone else’s opinion on this,” the minister, who is campaigning for the BJP in poll- bound Gujarat, said in a press conference here. Sitharaman had visited forward army posts in remote Anjaw district of the state bordering China to take stock of defence preparedness. The minister had visited Nathu La area on the India-China border in Sikkim last month and greeted the People’s Liberation Army soldiers across the border. Her “friendly gesture” had earned appreciation from the Chinese media.Asked if giving shelter to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama was the reason for strained relationship between India and China, she said it was not so. “One issue can not make or break a relationship. There are many issues. Every issue has its own weight,” she said.

Pollution: A threat to national security?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security can no longer be confined to national security threats or international relations alone. Off-late, the world over environmental changes has now also been listed as security threats. Diplomatic historian and foreign policy scholar Richard Ullman has defined threat as “…anything which can degrade the quality of life of the inhabitants of a state, or which narrows the choices available to people and organizations within the state.” As pollution has emerged as a major threat to national security —there is a demand either to include Environment Minister as part of high-profile Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and including home, defence, finance, and external affairs ministers as the members or there must be a sperate group as ‘Cabinet Committee on Environment’ to constantly monitor environmental and pollution parameters.It was in this context that India’s premier think-tank Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in a report had asked the government to reorient itself to environmental challenges posing threats to country’s defence system. The report believed that changing environmental conditions may affect warfighting capability, the existing defence works, and elaborate communication infrastructure.Here are challenges as enumerated by the think-tankMOBILITY ACROSS SNOW-BOUND PASSES: Reminding that reduced snowfall had come to the aid of Indian troops during 1999 Kargil war, the report stated that flash floods out of glacier melt would complicate military planning. Further, more heat would result in wear and tear on equipment and demands of more water. The glacial melt in areas where the Indian military operates would affect the campaign season, logistics, surface mobility and weaponry platforms.NAVAL OPERATIONS: The scholars believe that rise in water levels would affect Indian Navy at all levels of warfare—strategic, operational and tactical—impinging on issues of maritime boundaries, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), post operations, shallow water operations, notably for submarines and naval tactics. An increase in sea level rise between 1.06 to 2.75 mm per year by the middle and end of 21st century are bound to alter the balance of the mix of Indian naval missions and strategic interests. India Navy may have to consider acquiring more shallow draught ships capable of landing in disaster areas and heavy lift helicopters for ship-to-shore transport. A number of brown water ships may have to be replaced with multi-role expeditionary capability warships.AIR FORCE: The climate change would affect the performance of the aerial platforms, as well as that of the munitions, delivered from these platforms, because weather plays a key role in weapon delivery, particularly in the case of standoff weapons and laser-guided munitions. Climate change is expected to make a difference towards the conduct of all these operations. The changes could have an impact both at the tactical as well as strategic levels. The aerosol concentration in the atmosphere affects the performance of precession-guided munitions (PGMs). Moisture content in the atmosphere, fog particles, dust particles etc adversely affects state-of-art munitions.Militaries have used the environment as a weapon of war over many years. The intentional discharge of oil into the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War is one of the examples. In a workshop organized by the Coast Guard to apprise about such threats, it was emphasized that 70% of cargo coming into Karnataka is petroleum products and any damage to this cargo can play a havoc.The workshop concluded that that environment security is a crucial element of national threat matrix with other elements being military security, economic security, resource security, and energy security.

Demonetisation played a great role in combating terrorism: Nirmala Sitharaman

Updated: Nov 8, 2017, 01:12 PM IST, ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said the decision of demonetization of higher currency gave a major blow to terrorism.”The biggest achievement of demonetization is that terrorism has been badly hit and the stone pelters which were in thousands have reduced because their cash flow was cut,” Sitharaman said here.The Defence Minister also attended a signature campaign organised by Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Youth Wing here to observe the Anti Black Money Day.BJP Youth Wing organized this event against the Congress party ‘Black Money Day’.

Nirmala Sitharaman visits army posts in Arunachal Pradesh, China objects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China on Monday objected to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, saying there is a dispute in the eastern section of the India-China border.Sitharaman yesterday visited forward army posts in remote Anjaw district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering China to take stock of the defence preparedness.The minister, in her maiden visit to the state, was accompanied by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Command Lt Gen Abhay Krishna and other senior Army officers.Reacting to her visit, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said “there was a dispute in the eastern section of the India-China border.”China views Arunachal Pradesh as Southern Tibet.The defence minister was briefed on the situation and defence preparedness along the Line of Actual Control, Defence Spokesman Lt. Col. Sombit Ghosh said in a release yesterday.Sitharaman interacted with the troops at forward army posts at Kibithu in Anjaw district and lauded their dedication to the service and their efforts in such a remote and inhospitable terrain.She also visited the key air force base in Chabua in Tinsukia district of neighbouring Assam, where she was received by Senior Air Staff Officer (HQ), Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal Rajesh Kumar and Air Commodore George Thomas.The minister took stock of the operational preparedness and infrastructure development at the base.

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.

Two sentenced to life imprisonment for raping ten-year-old

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Chandigarh court sentenced two men, guilty of repeatedly raping their ten-year-old niece, to life imprisonment.Kul Bahadur and his younger brother Shankar were arrested after the victim alleged she was raped by the two repeatedly over a period of an year. The victim delivered a girl on August 17.While Bahadur was arrested soon after the compliant was filed by the victim’s mother in July, Shankar’s arrest came two months later when the DNA sample of the baby did not match with Bahadur.”The Defence Counsel argued that there was no evidence against Bahadur as the DNA sample did not match with that of the newborn. But the next clinching evidence against him was the victim’s statement wherein she had clearly stated that she was raped by him as well,” said Public Prosecutor Atul Sethi, who demanded maximum punishment.The Court of Additional District and Session Judge Poonam R Joshi also imposed a fine of Rs 3.5 lakh which is to be paid as financial relief to the minor victim.The incident had left the city astounded after the girl was found to be 26-weeks pregnant in July. Citing severe medical complications, a local court had rejected her plea for abortion, after which a PIL was filed in Supreme Court. However, the plea was also turned down by the Apex Court after a medical examination report by PGI, citing risk to her life.The victim delivered a girl on August 17, who was shifted to a child-care home for initiating a process of legal adoption, while the victim who was a school-going child was sent home.

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.

Is this Indian Army’s job? Angry reactions on Twitter after plan to construct new FoB at Elphinstone Road

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision to take the Army’s help in the construction of a new foot overbridge at Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road station has not gone down as well as Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Defence Minister Sitharaman and Railway Minister Goyal​ would have hoped. Social media was abuzz on Tuesday morning questioning why defence resources were being used for civilian works.Visiting the site of the deadly stampede last month that killed 23 people and injured many others, CM Fadnavis said, “We are taking the Army’s help in building a new FOB at the Elphinstone Road station and at two other suburban train stations (Currey Road in Central railway and Ambivali Road Bridge in Thane). I have been informed that the work on these bridges will be completed by January 31.”Sitharaman said, “This is probably the first time we have asked the Army to come in to build what could otherwise be called a civil work, but Elphinstone tragedy was so big.” “A call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter as the Army has its role at the borders. The Army has come and seen, inspected and assessed where the bridge is going to be built, they will be there at every stage of the work,” she said.Meanwhile, plenty of criticism could be seen being voiced on Twitter regarding the issue.

After Elphinstone stampede, 3 Railways foot-over-bridges to be built by Army by Jan 31

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over a month after Elphinstone stampede, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that three railways foot-over-bridges will be constructed by 31st January with Army’s help.On September 29, 23 people were killed in the rush hour stampede on a narrow overbridge linking Elphinstone Road and Parel suburban stations during heavy rain.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the stampede site along with Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.Speaking to media, Fadnavis said, “After Elphinstone Stampede, we had asked for help from armed forces to which Defence Minister agreed and three bridges will be constructed by 31 January.””Bridges to be built in with cooperation with Army at Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali by 31st Jan 2018,” said Piyush Goyal.
ALSO READ Elphinstone Stampede | A disaster waiting to happen, yet govt springs into action only after 22 crushed to deathNirmala Sitharaman said that the Army visited the areas and assessed where the bridge is going to be built and they will be there at every stage of the work.”A call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter as Army has its role at the borders. Probably first time Army has been asked to come in to build what could otherwise be called civil work. But Elphinstone tragedy was so big, a call was taken to cooperate seeing the urgency of the matter,” she said.
ALSO READ Elphinstone Stampede: Western Railway inquiry report blames heavy rain, rumoursAn inquiry report has blamed the heavy rain for the tragedy. The panel, headed by the Western Railway chief security officer, submitted its report to WR General Manager Anil Kumar today after recording statements of 30 commuters who were injured.The report said people with heavy luggage lost their balance because of which the stampede may have occurred.

Govt relaxes arms rules to boost indigenisation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In order to boost indigenisation in manufacturing arms, the government has liberalised Arms Rules by doing away with renewal of licence every five year. Now, licenses once issued to arms manufactures will be valid for life time.This change is said to strengthen the ‘Make in India’ initiative that will encourage investment in the manufacturing of arms, ammunition and weapon systems in the country.The condition that small arms and light weapons produced by a manufacturer should be sold to the central government or the state governments with the prior approval of the Home Ministry has also been done away with.”The liberalised rules will apply to licences granted by the Home Ministry for small arms and ammunition, and those granted by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), under powers delegated to it, for tanks and other armoured fighting vehicles, defence aircraft, space crafts, warships of all kinds, arms and ammunition and allied items of defence equipment other than small arms,” the Home Ministry said in a statement.The decision comes following a proposal from the Defence Ministry to do away bureaucratic delays. A number of industry leaders had recently conveyed to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman their disappointment over delays in grant of licence for setting up of manufacturing facilities for military equipment and platforms.The new rules, which came into effect on October 27, are expected to encourage the manufacturing activity and facilitate availability of world-class weapons to meet the requirement of armed forces and police forces in sync with the country’s defence indigenisation programme.Under the new rules, enhancement of capacity up to 15 per cent of the quantity approved under the licence will not require any further approval by the government. The manufacturer will be required to give only prior intimation to the authority, the statement said.The licence fee has been reduced significantly. Earlier the licence fee was Rs 500 per firearm which added up to very large sums and was a deterrent to seeking manufacturing licenses. The licence fee will now range from Rs 5,000 to the maximum of Rs 50,000.FOR EASY BUSINESSThe new rules, which came into effect on October 27, is expected to encourage ‘Make in India’ initiative. The step has been taken to bring in more investors in the arms manufacturing field.
The earlier clause that small arms and light weapons produced by a manufacturer should be sold to government with the prior approval of the Home Ministry has also been relaxed.

Defence Ministry examining report on OROP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence Ministry is examining the report of a high-level committee which looked into the grievances of a section of ex-servicemen about the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme.Sources in the ministry talked about government’s serious approach in examining the report, on a day a group of ex- servicemen demanded removal of “anomalies” in the OROP scheme implemented by the government.”We are examining the report of retired chief justice of Patna High Court L Narasimha Reddy,” they said.The committee was appointed in December 2015 by then Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to look into the anomalies, if any, arising out of the implementation of the OROP scheme.One of the major demands of the veterans was annual revision of pension while the government had agreed to review it after every five years.Earlier in the day, police and civic officials demolished tents and makeshift structures set up by ex-servicemen protesting at the Jantar Mantar for the last two years.Police said the ex-servicemen were removed from the site as the National Green Tribunal had banned protests and dharnas around the historic Jantar Mantar. PTI MPB GVS

Government taking fresh look on appointing Chief of Defence Staff

Updated: Oct 30, 2017, 09:38 PM IST, PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The government is considering appointing a chief of defence staff (CDS) as head of the tri- services with a sense of urgency, defence ministry sources said today.They said government was revisiting the long-pending issue, indicating that a clear picture may emerge soon. The defence ministry is attending to it with a sense of urgency, the sources said. A high-level committee set up to examine the gaps in the country’s security system in the wake of the Kargil war in 1999 had called for appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) as a single-point military adviser to the Defence Minister. A group of ministers analysing required reforms in the national security system had also favoured appointing a chief of defence staff.However, successive governments were unable to take a call on the sensitive issue. “Several steps have to be taken before the appointment (of the CDS),” a source said. In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Task force had recommended creating the post of a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee. The CoSC comprises chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force and the senior-most among them acts as its chairman as per existing norm.

India, Japan start 3-day naval warfare exercise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The navies of India and Japan began a three-day anti-submarine warfare exercise on Sunday as part of strategic cooperation between the two countries. The aim of the exercise is to bolster support for each other in the Indian Ocean Region and to keep an eye on the increased presence of Chinese vessels and submarines.China has also been taking an aggressive stand in the South China Sea.The Indian Navy has deployed a P-8I Long-Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare Aircraft, while the Japanse Navy sent two P-3 Orion Maritime anti-submarine aircrafts.The exercise will conclude on October 31.Frequent forays by Chinese vessels have been a matter of great concern for India as the Chinese Navy controls ports in Djibouti, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and now Myanmar.The increased frequency of Chinese vessels docked in Karachi and “unusual” activites of their naval units in the Indian Ocean is alarming.The enhanced naval cooperation was decided during Defence Minister Arun Jaitley’s visit to Japan in July.This was just after the recently concluded Japan-India-US Trilateral Maritime Exercise — Malabar 2017.Meanwhile, in another significant move to enhance defence cooperation in the region, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhano will visit Vietnam between October 30 and November 3.”During his visit, he is scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting with the top brass of Vietnam People’s Air Force and Air Defence (VPAF) on security challenges in the current geopolitical scenario and explore ways to deepen the defence cooperation further. The main focus of the visit would be on improving bilateral relations, promoting defence ties and evolving steps to further strengthen defence cooperation between the two Air Forces,” the Indian Air Force said in a statement.Earlier this month, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba also visited Vietnam.

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.

India, France to discuss ways to boost defence cooperation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>French Defence Minister Florence Parley will hold extensive talks with her Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman tomorrow to deepen the already close bilateral strategic ties.Parley, during her two-day visit, will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meet National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, and is expected to lay the ground for French President Emmanuel Macron’s upcoming trip to India.In a statement, the French Embassy said the visit of Parley is aimed at strengthening all aspects of France’s “fast developing” defence cooperation with India, its foremost Asian strategic partner.”She will be received by the Prime Minister of India, and the Minister of Defence to prepare for the upcoming State visit of the President of the French Republic,” the Embassy said.It said Parley’s talks with Sitharaman will range from defence cooperation, in particular on maritime security, joint exercises of the armed forces, counter-terrorism, to industrial and technological partnership under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.”They will also review progress made in major cooperation projects,” it said.Parley is also likely to push for a follow up order of additional Rafale fighter jets after delivery of 36 jets under a Rs 58,000 crore deal finalised last year.Tomorrow afternoon, Parley will travel to Nagpur to attend the foundation laying ceremony of an aerospace park being set up under a joint venture by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation and Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Aerospace Ltd.The joint venture is part of Dassault’s offset obligations for the Rs 58,000 crore deal to supply 36 Rafale fighter jets to India.The aerospace park will manufacture aircraft components for the Indian and global market.The French defence minister will also visit the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) and the Western Naval Command (WNC) in Mumbai.At MDL shipyard, she will visit the yard where six Scorpene submarines are being made in India with transfer of technology under the P75 project by the MDL.The submarines are being built in collaboration with French shipbuilding major Naval Group (formerly DCNS).She will also board the INS Kalvari, the first of the six Scorpene submarines, said the Embassy.”At the Western Naval Command, Parley will be received by Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, WNC, for discussions on Indo-French defence and security cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.”One of the most dynamic aspects of the Indo-French strategic partnership, this will be a key issue of President Macron’s State visit,” said the embassy statement.

PM Modi wishes all-female crew of INSV Tarini on Diwali

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made a video call today to the crew of Indian Naval Sailing Vessel (INSV) Tarini, who are currently on a mission to circumnavigate the globe.On the auspicious occasion of Diwali, Prime Minister Modi extended his greetings on behalf of the nation, and also wished them success in their mission.Prime Minister Modi had earlier met the crew of INSV Tarini on August 16, 2017, before they embarked on the 22,100 nautical mile circumnavigation journey.INSV Tarini is currently approaching their first stop in Fremantle, Australia and is expected to reach there on October 22 after covering 4770 nautical miles.Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while acknowledging the Prime Minister’s gesture also extended her good wishes to the crew.’Thank you Hon. PM @narendramodi for encouraging the team with your wishes. Good wishes to the #NavikaSagarParikrama crew,’ she tweeted.

In Pics: Nirmala Sitharaman celebrates Diwali with security personnel in Andaman and Nicobar Islands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman celebrated Diwali today with military personnel at the strategically important tri-services command on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.Sitharaman, who arrived at the command yesterday, also reviewed its security preparedness and other operational matters.The defence minister also paid homage to the Indian Air Force personnel and their families who were killed during the Tsunami in the Car Nicobar islands.She also visited a naval facility and the Coast Guard base under the Andaman and Nicobar command here.”RM @DefenceMinIndia Smt @nsitharaman celebrates Diwali with troops&their families at Tri-Services Command A&N (sic),” the defence ministry tweeted.This is her first visit to the strategically important command after assuming charge as the defence minister.On her arrival yesterday, she was accorded a joint services guard of honour.Later, she was given a comprehensive brief on the security environment and thrust areas of the command at its headquarters, officials had said yesterday. PTI MPB TIR

Rajasthan CM visits Ajmer with slew of new projects

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Stepping up her effort to woo voters for the upcoming by-elections in the state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje travelled to Ajmer on Tuesday. The CM made major announcements for the thousands of people living in and around Nasirabad army cantonment area, which earlier fell under the defence land and development works. Hence, development works in the area could not be undertaken by the local or government bodies. However, now the people will get benefits of both state and central government schemes without any trouble, the CM added.Two days after denotifying four wards, Raje on Tuesday also promised to denotify rest four wards in the region, making all eight wards out of cantonment area. Nasirabad will soon be a municipality area, she said.”Defence ministry officials are taking forward the process of denotifying the civil areas and merging them with Nasirabad Municipality. Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has already given a nod to denotify four wards (4,5,6,7) falling under Nasirabad army cantonment. Now, the remaining four wards will be denotified as well. A process in this regard will be tabled in the state cabinet,” said Raje, doling out sops to the locals in Nasirabad, where by-poll is due after the death of MP Sanwer Lal Jat.The CM, while having dialogues with locals, also explained that they no longer need to roam around the army headquarter to get the permission of basic needs such as like electricity, water connection and permission for roads.”When Nasirabad will become a municipality the civilians living here will also get benefits from the state and central government schemes without any hazard,” said Raje.Locals issues, which have been pending, were also addressed by Raje who is touring the parliamentary constituency second time in last two weeks. She has announced to allocate Rs2 crore budget to develop Gaurav Path at Balwanta Crossing, an underpass or footbridge at Tilwara on National Highway-8 and several other road projects. Soon, a DTO (district transport office) will also be opened at Nairabad too, said Raje.POLL POLITICSTwo days after denotifying four wards, Raje promised to denotify rest four wards in the region, making all eight wards out of cantonment area.
Nasirabad will soon be a municipality area, the CM said.

NSA Doval visits Kabul, discusses strategic issues with top leaders

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Afghanistan today pledged to further strengthen strategic cooperation as National Security Adviser Ajit Doval met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and the top brass of the country’s military establishment in Kabul.”It was agreed to further strengthen strategic dialogue and consultations for achieving shared objectives,” an official statement here said.Though there was no elaboration of the shared objectives, both sides were believed to have deliberated on challenges of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, ways to deepen bilateral defence and security ties and the fragile reconciliation process in the war-ravaged country.Doval, who is visiting Afghanistan, held wide-ranging talks with his counterpart Hanif Atmar during which both sides exchanged views on various facets of the bilateral strategic partnership and regional and global issues of mutual interest.”They emphasised that bilateral and sincere regional cooperation is important for peace, security and stability in the region. Both sides welcomed the opportunities created by the new US strategy for bringing peace and security in Afghanistan,” the statement added.Atmar hosted a working lunch for Doval where the Minister of Defence, Minister of Interior, Chief of Army Staff and senior officials of the National Security Council were also present.Doval extended an invitation on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to President Ghani to visit India and the invitation was accepted, the statement said.Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah had visited India last month during which combating terrorism was one of the major focus areas of the talks he had with Indian leaders as both sides emphasised the need to dismantle terror safe havens in the region.Defence and security ties between India and Afghanistan have been on an upswing.India has given four military helicopters to Afghanistan which has been trying to strengthen its air power following a significant cut in NATO forces there. The last of the four Mi 24 attack choppers was given in November last year.Afghanistan has also been seeking India’s assistance in making functional Soviet-era helicopters and transport aircraft which were not in a flying condition.Last month, India had announced taking up 116 new developmental projects in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, weeks after US President Donald Trump sought New Delhi’s help in the economic development of that country.India has been playing a key role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and given it assistance worth USD 2 billion in the last few years.

MEA denies reports about India withdrawing additional troops in Doklam, says no change in status quo

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Thursday, several news reports suggested that additional army deployment in Doklam area was ordered to get back to their barracks. The reports stated that the process of withdrawal would be completed in a month.However, Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson denied the reports about either China ‘building wider roads’ or India pulling back its troops. Kumar said that there was no change in the status quo. He said at a MEA briefing: “We had issued a press statement, it was issued on October 6 as we had said then there are no new developments at the face of the site or its vicinity since the August 28 disengagement. The status quo prevails in this area, and any suggestions to the contrary are incorrect. I am not aware about any changes.”Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier complimented the Army for its professionalism in handling the Doklam stand-off and other challenges such as containing insurgency in the northeastern region. In an address to the top commanders of the Army, she said enhancing capacity of the Army was a major focus of the government and promised close monitoring of improving strategic infrastructure.”She conveyed admiration of the nation for the professionalism of the Indian Army during events like Doklam stand-off, response to natural disasters and keeping the situation of insurgency in the North East states fairly under control,” the Army said in a statement.With inputs from PTI

Defence Ministry seeks voluntary fund from govt staff for martyrs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An appeal seeking voluntary contribution of minimum Rs 200 has been issued to government employees by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare for welfare and rehabilitation of martyrs’ families.The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has forwarded the appeal to all the government ministries, an official order said. There are about 49.26 lakh central government employees. The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare, under the Defence Ministry, has been working for the welfare and rehabilitation of war widows, wards of martyred soldiers and ex-servicemen (ESM) by providing financial assistance for their identified personal needs such as medical grant and orphan/disabled children grant.This financial assistance is provided out of the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) for which contributions are received from the general public on the Armed Forces Flag Day (AFFD) which is celebrated on December 7 every year. “All citizens of India are requested to take the opportunity on this Flag Day on December 7, to connect with the cause of war-widows, ESM, wards of the martyred soldiers and contribute generously to the AFFDF in solidarity with our soldiers and their next of kin/dependents,” the appeal said.The contributions to the AFFDF are exempt from income tax, it said. “DoPT is requested to kindly solicit the cooperation of the staff/officers of all ministries/departments to voluntarily donate a minimum amount of Rs 200 out of their salaries for the month of November 2017 so that the amount so collected is available before the Flag Day,” the Department of ESM said in the order. The request seeking voluntary contribution has been sent to all government ministries and departments by the DoPT.

Work around budget, says Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Integration of Armed Forces in areas like training, communication, logistics and cyber is essential to prepare for any future conflict, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said speaking to top army commanders on Tuesday.Sitharaman said that integration was her top priority, as she promised close monitoring of improvement in strategic infrastructure, long-pending force modification requests, welfare of serving, retired and families, the Army said in a statement.The Army statement also said that during her address, the Minister referred to her visits to the forward areas and said that meeting the troops was eye-opening.”She conveyed the Nation’s admiration for the professionalism of the Indian Army during events like Doklam standoff, response to natural disasters and keeping the situation of insurgency in the North East states fairly under control,” the statement said.Also speaking to Air Force Commanders separately, she said that lack of timely decision-making in the last decade had resulted in gaps in the Indian Air Force and that the government is committed to filling them.”The budgetary allocations should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary,” the Indian Air Force said.She also said that the powers given to the service chiefs should be “fully utilised” in achieving required capabilities of the forces.”She said that the government is committed to fill the gaps which have arisen due to lack of timely decision making in the last decade,” the IAF said in a statement.Currently, the IAF has 33 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. The IAF has been pressing the government to expedite acquisition of combat jets to overcome the shortage.

Lack of timely decisions led to gaps in IAF, committed to fill them: Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday blamed the past regime for not taking timely decisions resulting in gaps in the Indian Air Force. Speaking at the bi-annual conference of IAF commanders, the defence minister assured that governement is fully committed to fill these gaps. She only advocated for service chiefs to ‘fully utilise’ their power. Sitharaman’s statement comes at a time when India and Pakistan continue to remain in loggerheads and relationship with China has hit a rough end even after though the Doklam stand-off was resolved amicably. IAF though has repeatedly said that it is fully equipped to face any kind of eventuality.The government is lcurrently ooking to bulk up IAF’s acquisition. Currenly it has has 33 fighter squadrons against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. Sitharaman in her speech stressed on the need of exploring greater possibility of Make in India in the defence sector. She urged IAF to work with the DRDO and the Ordnance Factory Board, a state-run defence equipment maker in this regard. According to IAF release, the minister said, budgetary allocations “should not be viewed as a constraint and should be looked at to acquire what is absolutely necessary”. The three-day conference is to deliberate on host of issues to charter the future course of IAF. With PTI inputs

China urges India to abide by ‘historic treaty’ on Sikkim border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>China on Sunday referred to the 1890 UK-China treaty which it claims demarcated the Sikkim sector of the Sino-Indian border as it urged New Delhi to abide by its provisions, a day after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made her maiden visit to the Nathu La post.Reacting to Sitharaman’s visit to the area, the Chinese foreign ministry today said “the Sikkim section of the China- India border has been demarcated by the historical boundary”. “It is the best testimony to this fact. We urge the Indian side to face the facts, abide by the provisions of the historic boundary treaty and the relevant agreement of the parties, and work together with the Chinese side to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas,” it said in a written response to PTI, to a query about Sitharaman’s visit.The ministry did not directly name the 1890 Britain-China treaty which Beijing often referred to during the Dokalam standoff stating that it has defined the Sikkim section of the boundary with Tibet, therefore the border in that area has been settled. Sitharaman yesterday visited the Nathu La area on the Sino-Indian border and interacted with Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police officials. Nathu La is the last post separating the border between the Sikkim on the Indian side and Tibet on the Chinese side.Sitharaman’s trip was the first high level visit to the area after the 73-day standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at Dokalam in the Sikkim sector of the border which ended on August 28 following a mutual agreement between India and China. Of the 3,488-km India-China border which stretches from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim. The two sides have so far held 19 rounds of Special Representatives’ talks to resolve the dispute.The Dokalam standoff began on June 16 over the PLA’s plans to build a road in the area claimed by Bhutan after which Indian troops intervened to stop the construction as it posed a security risk to the ‘Chicken’s Neck’ – the narrow corridor connecting India with its northeastern states. China, which earlier opened the Nathu La route for Indian pilgrims to visit Kailash and Manasarovar, closed it after the Dokalam standoff and is yet to reopen it.

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.

J&K: 3 Army jawans injured as Pakistan shells LoC areas

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three Army jawans were on Wednesday injured as Pakistani troops fired from automatic weapons and shelled mortars at forward posts and villages along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district.Pakistani troops also violated the ceasefire in Laam sector by briefly opening fire along the LoC, police officials said.The Indian Army is retaliating effectively and the firing is still on, a Defence Spokesman said.”Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing of small arms, automatics and mortars from 0845 hours in Poonch sector along the Line of Control (LoC)”, the spokesman said.In the firing along the LoC in Poonch sector, three Army jawans suffered injuries, police officials said.Yesterday, an Army jawan was killed when Pakistan Army violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Poonch.On October two, two minors were killed and 12 civilians injured in cross-border shelling by Pakistan along the LoC in Poonch district.Five children were among the injured, the youngest being five-year-old Zobia Kousar.

Navy Chief visits Vietnam to boost defence ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aiming to boost defence cooperation with Vietnam, Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is visiting Vietnam on a five-day trip. Lanba’s visit comes amid increasing activities by China in the South China Sea, and he is likely to discuss this issue with Vietnamese leaders.Lanba, will meet Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich, Chief of General Staff and Vice-Minister of National Defence Van Giang. Lanba will also hold extensive talks with Rear Admiral Pham Hoai Nam, Commander-in-Chief of the Vietnam Navy.Vietnam along with neighbouring countries like Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan has been opposing China’s claims in the South China Sea.India has maintained that all disputes should be resolved in accordance with international law. “The visit aims to consolidate cooperation between the Armed Forces of India and Vietnam, and also to explore new avenues of defence cooperation,” a Navy statement said.Lanba will also visit the National Defence Academy of Vietnam where he will interact with student officers and faculty members and deliver a talk on the ‘Importance of Maritime Power’.The Indian Navy cooperates with the Vietnam People’s Navy on many issues including operational interactions and training.Warships from Indian Navy regularly visit ports at Vietnam, with Indian Naval Ships Satpura and Kadmat recently making port call at Hai Phong from September 23 to 27. The Vietnamese Navy ship Dinh Tien Hoang, a Gepoard Class Frigate, also visited Visakhapatnam in February 2016, for participation in the ‘International Fleet Review’.

Govt is with you always: Nirmala Sitharaman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Spending Dussehra festival with the troops at Siachen and other forward locations in the Ladakh region, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday conveyed to them the government’s commitment to support them in all circumstances.During the visit, she also reviewed the security situation in the border region.Sitharaman, who is on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir told the soldiers that the government is committed to spending time with the jawans and do whatever is possible for them.She also recalled to them the prime minister’s visit to Siachen in 2014 when he spent time with soldiers on Diwali and said the goverment wanted to understand the conditions in which the jawans live.”Jawans from different states, which have varied weather conditions, come and serve the nation in such high-altitudes and it is laudable. I assure you that the government is with you all the time and in all circumstances. We are not only sensitive to your needs and demands but also to those of your families,” Sitharaman said addressing the troops.She was accompanied by Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D Anbu and GoC 14 Corps Lt Gen S K Upadhyay.The defence minister also inaugurated Pratham-Shyok bridge, first major construction on the Shyok Gong river, which will link Leh to Karakoram, providing connectivity on the strategically important Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Olde axis for military transport.She said it is nothing short of a miracle to construct roads and bridges in such a rough terrain and in such trying circumstances where even breathing is difficult and lauded the BRO and its men for working in difficult terrains and hostile conditions. She said that constructing roads and bridges in difficult terrains will help in development and progress of the nation and its people.WHAT DEF MIN SAIDJawans from different states, which have varied weather conditions, come and serve the nation in such high-altitudes and it is laudable. I assure you that the government is with you all the time and in all circumstances. We are sensitive to demands of your families as well

Def min inaugurates bridge near LaC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has commissioned a strategically important bridge near the Line of Actual Control (LaC) which will help the armed forces to transport men and heavy military equipment in a record time during exigencies in the cold desert of Ladakh.Pratham-Shyok bridge, which will connect the region to Karakoram in North Eastern Ladakh, was inaugurated by the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday. The bridge will provide vital connectivity on the axis of Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Olde (D-S-DBO) road for military transport.”Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited the forward locations of Leh, Ladakh and Siachen and reviewed the security situation in the area. She also inaugurated a bridge on river Shyok on the road between Durbuk and Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO), which was constructed by Border Roads Organisation”, said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Located on the 255-km long strategic road on Ladakh’s border with China, the ‘Pratham-Shyok’ bridge is a part of the massive infrastructure development push to boost the road and bridges network on the LAC for better connectivity and troop movement in all weather conditions.”There is a need for moving heavy equipment and other stores. Pratham-Shyok is a permanent bridge also called load classification of 70 yard, which can take the heaviest load. It is a 60 metre double lane bridge,” said a Border Roads Organization (BRO) officer.The bridge has been constructed in such a way that it can withstand heavy load movement including tanks and artillery. ‘Pratham-Shyok’ bridge is part of the programme to replace the 24 small bridges by heavier load classification bridges for faster movement and connectivity.”There are 24 lower load classification equipment bridges which are being replaced by heavier load classification bridges on the stretch to handle the transportation of heavier equipments for faster movement and connectivity. Work is underway on the seven important bridges. The deadline for the seven heavier load classification bridges is 2020 and we are on schedule”, he said.Meanwhile, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman interacted with the soldiers in the remote areas of Siachen Glacier and conveyed her best wishes on the auspicious occasion of Dussehra. During her visit to Leh, she interacted with the troops of Indian Air Force at Air Force Station Leh.”During her visit she was accompanied by Chief of the Army Staff, Army Commander, Northern Command and Corps Commander of the Ladakh Corps”, said Colonel Kalia.PRATHAM-SHYOKIt’s located on the 255-km long strategic road on Ladakh’s border with China
It can withstand heavy load movement including tanks and artillery
The bridge will provide vital connectivity on the axis of Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Olde road

Nirmala Sitharaman meets J&K Guv, CM; security situation discussed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra at the Raj Bhavan here and discussed the security situation in the state.An official spokesman said the meeting lasted an hour.Sitharaman was accompanied by Chief of Army Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat.”The governor and Sitharaman discussed several important inter-related issues concerning effective management of internal and external security, particularly in the context of increasing infiltration attempts, the ongoing anti-terrorist operations, and sustained terrorist attacks on security forces personnel in the Valley,” the spokesman said.At the meeting, the governor stressed the urgent need for enlargement of the Border Roads Organisation and strengthening of its resources for ensuring the maintenance of vital road networks and strategic connectivities in J&K, particularly in the Ladakh region.The governor also sought Sitharaman’s intervention for the return of certain pockets of land to the state government which were no longer required for military purposes.Sitharaman also met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here this evening.The two leaders discussed several issues related to the prevailing situation in the state.Mehbooba sought the intervention of the defence minister for the return of certain pockets of land in the state which are no longer required for operational purposes by the Army and about which consensus has already been arrived between state government and the Defence Ministry.Mehbooba also raised the issue of speeding up work on some important roads in the state being constructed by the BRO.She also pitched for the construction of tunnels at the Razdan pass on the Bandipore-Gurez road and the Sadhna pass on the Kupwara-Tanghdar road.The chief minister also proposed opening areas such as Battalik, Siachin base for tourist activities.Sitharaman assured Mehbooba to look into the issues raised by her in a time-bound manner, the spokesman said.

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