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Bipin Rawat, Birender Singh Dhanoa assume charge as army, IAF chiefs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>General Bipin Rawat assumed charge as India’s new army chief, while and Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa took over as the new chief of the Indian Air Force on Saturday.They succeed General Dalbir Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha respectively. Separate ceremonies were held on the South Block lawns and at the Air Headquarters. The new appointments were announced on December 16 by the government.Chief of Naval staff Admiral Sunil Lanba will head the Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Navy Admiral Sunil Lanba appointed as chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Thursday took over the baton of the chairman of the chiefs of staff committee (CoSC) from outgoing IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha even as the government plans to create a new post to focus exclusively on inter-services issues and acquisitions.He would, however, be assuming charge as Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee with effect from afternoon of December 31.Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh, who also retires from service on December 31 and Principal Staff Officers of all three Services and HQ Integrated Defence Staff were present on the occasion.The government is working on either creating a post of chief of defence staff (CDS) or a permanent chairman CoSC chairman.While the contentious CDS is likely to be a five star post, the permanent Chairman COSC will be a four-star, a post that that the three Services have agreed to.Admiral Lanba assumed command of the Indian Navy on May 31 this year. He is a Navigation and Direction specialist and has served on board numerous ships in both the Eastern and Western Fleets. Air Chief Marshal Raha, had taken over as Chairman COSC on August 1, 2014. Under his stewardship, the Services received a vital boost in jointmanship, a statement by the Defence Ministry said.During his tenure the Defence Communication Network got operationalised and training standards of the Tri Service Institutes such as NDA, DSSC and CDM were enhanced. The much awaited National War Museum got approval from the government.He was instrumental in enhancing the role of military diplomacy with friendly foreign countries, the statement added.Various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations during crisis situations both within and outside India such as J&K floods, Chennai floods, evacuation of Indian and foreign nationals from Yemen and Nepal Earthquake were successfully conducted.He also played a pivotal role in formulation of the new Defence Procurement Procedure, thereby “streamlining and fast tracking defence procurement which has so far been plagued by laborious procedures and long delays”.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat’s appointment by Modi government creates unease: Here’s why

Soon after coming to power in 2014, the Narendra Modi government decided to honour the outgoing UPA government’s announcement on Lieutenant-General Dalbir Suhag’s elevation as India’s army chief. There was much speculation as his predecessor, General VK Singh who had done everything under his power to stop Suhag from getting the top job, was now not only in the BJP, but had been elected to Parliament.

Putting all speculation to rest, Modi decided to honour the well-established convention of the senior-most officer getting the top job and appointed Suhag. But, when it came to the navy, the Modi government overlooked the claims of the senior-most officer — Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha — and instead appointed the vice-chief and his junior, RK Dhowan as the Chief of Naval Staff.
But the navy is a smaller arm when compared to the over one million strong Indian Army. Naval supersession did not evoke much comment.

However, two years later the decision to appoint Lieutenant-General Bipin Rawat as the next army chief superceding two highly respected and competent officers, has come as a shock to many in the armed forces. Probably for the first time, two successive chiefs come from the same regiment — Gurkha Rifles.

Interestingly, Rawat’s appointment as army chief comes days after Pakistan appointed General Qamar Javed Bajwa as their new chief, both of them served in Congo as part of the UN Peacekeeping Force under General Bikram Singh, who later became India’s army chief.

File image of Lieutenant-General Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

File image of Lieutenant-General Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

Rawat’s appointment has bypassed two senior officers. Lieutenant-General Praveen Bakshi, commander-in-chief, Eastern Command — a highly respected officer, who was seen as a natural successor to Suhag. Across all ranks, the Indian Army looked forward to Bakshi’s appointment because of his exemplary credentials and the enormous respect he commands among both officers and men. The other officer superseded is commander-in-chief, Southern Command, Lieutenant-General PM Hariz, also held in high esteem.

Why did the government supersede two officers to appoint Rawat? The real reason will never be known and the explanation put forward by the government is far from convincing. The government explanation that Rawat has more experience in tackling counter-insurgency and of high altitude warfare sounds pretty facile. After all, no army chief leads formations to battle.

Bakshi, as C-in-C of the Eastern Command, is responsible for all counter-insurgency operations along the China border and in the North East region. He has served armoured brigades in Jammu and Kashmir and the western sector.

At a time when parochial interests dictate many decisions, the appointment of Rawat is bound to keep speculators busy for a long time.

There is media speculation that Bakshi might be in for a more coveted job, that of the CDS or Combined Defence Services Chief, a post which has been debated for several years but no political party has put its final stamp of approval. In a service where seniority was taken as a norm, the government announcement on Rawat is bound to stir regional and sectional interests a lot more. Senior officers are bound to use their regional and linguistic connections to play to the gallery and even lobby regional leaders.

The appointment of Rawat has already stirred a debate on the growing importance of officers from Uttarakhand in New Delhi. This tendency is not healthy for either the Indian Army or the nation to debate on.

Unlike Pakistan, in India, civilian control over the military has long been recognised and firmly established. Appointments and succession are decided by elected governments and accepted by the armed forces quietly. Even the supersession of Lieutenant-General SK Sinha by Indira Gandhi was quietly accepted, except by the general concerned who protested and resigned from the service.

Rawat’s elevation has become politically controversial

While the Opposition has every right to question the appointment the government is in no way expected to explain an executive prerogative. A privilege of the Executive, however, has to be handled with great care when dealing with sensitive appointments like that of the army chief. Historically, there has always been an undeclared war between infantry and armoured corps for supremacy.

In this battle, once again, the armoured corps represented by Bakshi was trounced by the infantry arm of the Indian Army.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 08:48 IST

Naval chief Sunil Lanba to visit Japan today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, is on an official visit to Japan on Monday.The visit aims to consolidate existing Maritime Cooperation initiatives as well as explore new avenues. The friendship between India and Japan has a long history rooted in spiritual affinity and strong cultural and civilisational ties.India’s earliest documented direct contact with Japan was with the Todaiji Temple in Nara, where the consecration or eye-opening of the towering statue of Lord Buddha was performed by an Indian monk, Bodhisena, in 752 AD.In contemporary times, among prominent Indians associated with Japan were Swami Vivekananda, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, JRD Tata, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Judge Radha Binod Pal. The Japan-India Association was set up in 1903, and is today the oldest international friendship body in Japan.Defence cooperation between India and Japan is robust and is primarily focused towards Maritime Cooperation. Our defence cooperation was institutionalised with commencement of the India-Japan Comprehensive Security Dialogue which was initiated in 2001.Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) has participated in the MALABAR exercise in 2007, 2009, 2014 prior to being included as a regular member in the exercise since 2015. JMSDF participated in MALABAR 15 and 16 held in the Bay of Bengal and Western Pacific respectively.In 2014, Japan has also been included as an observer in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by Indian Navy in 2008.Both navies also engage in Navy to Navy Staff Talks which commenced in 2008. The seventh Navy to Navy Staff Talks are scheduled to be held in 2017.JDS Matsuyuki participated in the International Fleet Review 2016 held at Visakhapatnam. The Chief of Staff of the JMSDF, Admiral Tomihisa Takei, will also attend the review. Indian Navy too participated in the International Fleet Review conducted by the JMSDF in October 15 at Sagami Bay, Yokosuka, Japan. JMSDF for the first time participated in the Admiral’s Cup Sailing Regatta conducted by the Indian Navy in 2016 at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala from December 5-11.Warships of both countries regularly visit each other’s ports.India and Japan share similar maritime challenges such as long coastline, extensive EEZ, coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet, wherein both navies have opportunities to learn from each other?s experiences. In addition common ground exists for cooperation on a number of issues common to both navies.During the visit, Admiral Sunil Lanba is scheduled to hold discussions with Chief of Staff, JMSDF, Minister of State for Defence, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff besides other Senior Dignitaries and Naval Officers.

Suspense over new Chiefs of Army, Air Force

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Suspense is on over who will be the next Chiefs of the Army and the Air Force as the incumbent officials will be superannuating just about three weeks later.Both the Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag and the Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha are retiring on December 31 and the guessing game is on as to who will succeed them. Traditionally, the name of the new Chiefs are announced weeks in advance but it has not been the case this time. Even the current Navy Chief’s name was announced just 23 days before Admiral Robin Dhowan retired.Sources said one of the reasons for the delay in the announcement of the new chiefs could be that Parliament is in session which would end on December 16. The Defence Ministry has already sent the file to Prime Minister’s Office recommending three names each for the two Services. They are Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Southern Army Commander Lt Gen P M Hariz and Vice Chief of the Army Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, sources said.Lt Gen Bakshi, under whose tenure the Myanmar anti- insurgency operation was carried out, is the senior most of the Commanders. Speculation is that the government may appoint someone based not on seniority alone but also experience in handling Kashmir and Pakistan, two issues which will continue to be the focus in the next two years. While Lt Gen Bakshi is from the Armoured Corps, Lt Gen Hariz is from Mechanised Infantry and Lt Gen Rawat is an outright infantry soldier.

INS Betwa could have tipped over due to miscalculation says Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday indicated that one of the reasons for tipping over of guided missile frigate INS Betwa during undocking at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai could be “miscalculation of balance.”

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Parrikar, who has been briefed by Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, spoke about the importance of centre of gravity.

He explained that when a ship undergoes refit, a lot of machines and fixtures like propeller, engine, etc are removed due to which the balance gets disturbed.

“You are supposed to maintain it. Something must have gone wrong in that,” Parrikar said speaking at Agenda Aaj Tak.

He said there could have been a “miscalculation” and added that a Board of Inquiry is on and it will pinpoint the reasons.

Parrikar was responding to a question as to whether the INS Betwa accident showed Navy’s inability to absorb high technology.

Rear Admiral Deepak Bali, Flag-Officer Offshore Defence Advisory Group, is heading the Board of Inquiry.

The 3,850-tonne ship, with a length of 126 metres, tipped over while it was being undocked. The mast of the ship hit the dockyard ground.

It was docked for repairs and while being returned to the water — a process that involves tipping the ship, the system tripped and the entire ship fell sideways. The main mast of the frigate broke.

INS Betwa, a Brahmaputra-class guided missile warship (F-39), slipped on the dock blocks during a refit at about 1350 hours on Monday.

The ship had run aground in January 2014 and collided with an unidentified object which led to a crack in its sonar system, and had also seen salt water ingress into sensitive equipment.

Named after the river Betwa, the frigate has been in service for over 12 years. It was indigenously designed and built with the capability to operate at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots.

It is one of the key warships of the Western Naval Command. It is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles, Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 18:02 IST

Frigate INS Betwa’s collapse in a dry dock is beyond comprehension

Accidents happen. But ships, especially major naval vessels do not fall on their sides like beached whales.

Yachts collapse. Little fishing boats might keel over. A canoe can overturn. Ride the rapids and your rubber dinghy might flip.

But to have a 126-metre frigate topple over in dry docks is unbelievable. It is not only unbelievable, it is incomprehensible.

That two sailors were killed makes it manslaughter by neglect.

The frigate INS Betwa lies on its side. PTI

The frigate INS Betwa lies on its side. PTI

Does anyone know what the size and weight of a warship of this genre is? For one, it is over 4,000 tonnes when loaded and has a crew of 450 people officers and men and is literally a floating township with aircrew for choppers. The INS Betwa is a Brahmaputra class guided missile frigate.

That is no little ketch.

Now she lies on her side, like a crumpled can in the naval dockyard in Mumbai.

They say she slipped from her dock blocks. Technically, that cannot happen unless there was a change in the centre of gravity, the blocks were loose or malfunctioning or what should be a normal operation was so botched up that a lot of somebodies did not do the calculations and were cavalier about it.

We have lost ships before. The INS Khukri went down in 1971, ostensibly victim to an aided attack from Pakistan. We have lost several ships including the INS Andaman because she was not seaworthy. In 2014, there were a spate of incidents when there were 11 separate incidents resulting in the loss of 22 lives, forcing the then naval chief Admiral DK Joshi to do the most honourable thing and resign by taking responsibility like a good sailor should. It set a precedent in grasping the nettle in the truest traditions of the navy.

Clearly, it was a sacrifice in vain. For such an accident to occur, short of some bizarre genie coming out of a bottle and casting an evil spell there is just no reasonable explanation for such an unprecedented collapse of a vessel this size in a dry dock. While the eggheads can do their maths and figure out exactly what caused the ship to topple over, there has to be a thorough investigation of the strength and maintenance of the dock itself and whether procedures were followed.

Elements like docking position, docking drafts, docking displacements, docking conditions and shipyard docking plans are all integral to such an undertaking. All these should be really routine.

Most accidents that occur in dry docks are slips and falls because of worker error, fires and loading accidents or equipment malfunction.

But to have a whole ship that size fall off is almost unheard of in these hi-tech times.

The most generous explanation that can be given is: This is embarrassing, it simply does not happen.

Even freak accidents would not account for such an occurrence.

Clearly, this was not a singular error. Just like with most aircraft accidents that defy the norm, the INS Betwa fell victim to a series of slip-ups and goof-ups, not just one. It is always one thing that leads to the next and then the domino principle kicks in and you have a frigate on its side with no way of lifting her up.

And worse, two deaths as a result of incredible negligence.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 10:14 IST

Navy chief Lanba says INS Betwa will be operational soon

Mumbai: The Indian Navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, on Tuesday visited the naval dockyard in Mumbai where INS Betwa tipped over while undocking. The navy said the Brahmaputra-class guided missile frigate will be made operational again.

The Navy chief also met the injured personnel at the naval hospital, INHS Asvini.

Specialists are likely to reach Mumbai on Wednesday for conducting an initial assessment of the damage in the next two days, navy’s spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said.

Indian Navy chief Sunil Lanba. CNN-News18

Indian Navy chief Sunil Lanba. CNN-News18

“The Navy will upright the ship and make her operational in the shortest possible time,” he said.

INS Betwa, undergoing a refit at the dry dock here, slipped and toppled over on her side, killing two sailors and injuring 14 naval personnel.

A Board of Inquiry headed by Flag Officer of Offshore Defence Advisory Group Rear Admiral Deepak Bali will look into the incident.

Admiral Lanba was briefed about the accident on Monday and the situation at the dockyard, Captain Sharma said.

A dry dock is a narrow basin or vessel that can be flooded to allow a load to be floated in, then drained to allow that load to come to rest on a dry platform. Dry docks are used for the construction, maintenance, and repair of ships and boats etc.

Undocking a ship involves its refloating.

The frigate had slipped from her dock blocks and keeled over. Officials initially said it appeared that the dock mechanism had failed.

INS Betwa — inducted in the navy in July 2004 — was part of Task Force 54, tasked to evacuate nationals of India as well as those from Sri Lanka, Nepal and Lebanon married to Indian nationals from the conflict zone during the 2006 Lebanon war, as part of Operation Sukoon.

First Published On : Dec 6, 2016 19:52 IST

Two Navy men killed, 14 hurt as INS Betwa tips over during undocking

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two Navy personnel were killed and 14 others injured when INS Betwa, a guided missile frigate, tipped over during undocking at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on Monday.”At about 1.50 pm, INS Betwa was in the process of undocking in Naval Dockyard, Mumbai, when she slipped from her dock blocks and tilted,” said Navy spokesperson Commander Rahul Sinha.”The incident occurred during undocking evolution wherein it is suspected that dock blocks mechanism failed,” said Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma.According to sources, the Brahmaputra-class warship has suffered massive damage as it has fallen on the port (left) side thereby not only damaging the warship’s body but also the radar systems installed on top of the bridge. But, the exact extent of damage is yet to be ascertained.Immediately after the incident, search operation had to be launched to locate two missing sailors who were on the vessel at the time of the incident. While one of them fell into the waters, the other was inside the ship. Both—mechanical engineers Neeraj K Rai and Ashutosh Pandey—succumbed to injuries. A board of inquiry was ordered immediately and technical evaluation was being made to bring back the ship in upright position.Only after ascertaining the extent of damage, a decision on whether the ship can be repaired or will have to be decommissioned can be taken.Later on Monday evening, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Lanba left from Delhi for Mumbai to take a stock of the situation.Those in the know-how of the ship maintenance are of the opinion that naval ships are narrower as compared to merchant vessels. Warships are designed to be top heavy by design due to the structure and installations on it as compared to merchant vessels that have wider hull or base and lesser tools above. Therefore, it makes it all the more challenging process to undock or refloat the ship and is considered as most risky affair.Incidentally, this isn’t the first accident pertaining to INS Betwa. In January 2014, it had ran aground after colliding with an unidentifiable object while approaching Mumbai naval base. Due to the impact, the sonar system got cracked, leading to faulty readings and ingress of saltwater into sensitive equipment.Named after the river Betwa, the frigate has been in service for over 12 years. This 3,850-tonne ship was indigenously designed and built with the capability to operate at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots. Its system includes anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes. As it was under refit and repairs, the vessel wasn’t loaded with weapons and missiles.Monday’s accident is the fifth for the Indian Navy this year, the earlier four—involving INS Viraat (in March), INS Nireekshak (April), INS Vikramaditya (June) and INS Dega (August)—had killed three Navy personnel and left eight injured.In the past, incidents that have been either more serious or of similar magnitude include that of fire, explosion and submergence of submarine INS Sindhurakshak (August 2010), sinking of INS Vindhyagiri (January 2011), fire on board INS Sindhuratna (February 2014), among others.

Pakistan’s claim of sighting Indian submarine in its waters totally bogus: Admiral Sunil Lamba

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba has called Pakistan Navy’s assertion of an Indian submarine being seen in its waters as “totally bogus”.”There was no Indian submarine deployed in the area where the Pakistan navy is claiming it to be. As far as repelling submarine of any nation is concerned, it’s not an easy task. The claim made by Pakistan Navy is totally bogus,” he said. “We deploy our submarines where we need operational necessity and the need for them to be. We will continue to deploy our submarines,” he added. “A statement was made in Pakistan by a naval officer, PLA navy Spox has a different view on deployment of placement of forces on Gwadar,” the Navy Chief said. “Due to prevailing security scenario, the navy has reviewed deployment philosophy to proactively deter any menace. We remain acutely aware of our duty to shape a favourable and positive maritime environment in Indian ocean region,” he said. We have capability and assets to take on any force which is deployed, and if and when this happens, we have plans in place to tackle it. PLA nuclear submarine was deployed and did a port call at KarachiAdmiral Lamba also spoke about the South China Sea dispute saying, “Like all other Maritime boundary issues, South China Sea matter should also be resolved as per international maritime laws.”On last Thursday, Pakistan naval chief Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah had termed as “unusual” an alleged effort by an Indian submarine to enter into its territorial waters and warned of retaliation if such effort was made again. “If India does something like this again, Pakistan Navy will respond to protect our sovereignty,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of the 9th International Defence Exhibition.Pakistan Navy claimed that the Indian submarine was pushed back after being detected near its territorial waters.India, however, strongly dismissed the charge as “blatant lies”, saying the Indian Navy did not have any underwater movement in said waters as claimed by the Pakistani Navy.

Singaporean navy’s vessel arrives at Visakhapatnam

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Singaporean navy’s stealth frigate RSS Formidable on Sunday arrived at Visakhapatnam on a five-day visit to Eastern Naval Command (ENS) as a part of the ongoing Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercises.The two navies share a long-standing relationship with regular professional interactions which include exchange programmes, staff talks and training courses.Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with Indian Navy in 1994 and this year’s edition, SIMBEX-16, is being held in the Bay of Bengal region, an official release said. Commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, RSS Formidable is the first of the six multi-role stealth frigates which forms part of the 185 Squadron based at Changi, the release added.A senior Singapore Navy delegation, headed by Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer, 185 Squadron, RSN is also visiting ENC during the period, it said, adding that the visit will encompass interaction between the personnel of both the navies in various professional, cultural, social and sports events.During the visit, Colonel Aaron Beng, Commanding Officer (CO), 185 Squadron of Republic of Singapore Navy, along with Lt Colonel Khoo Aik Leong Albert, CO, RSS Formidable, will call on Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, ENC and Rear Admiral B Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, the release said.The 23rd such exercise in the series is aimed at increasing interoperability between RSN and Indian Navy as well as at developing common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations, it added.The exercise would include wide-ranging professional interactions during the Harbour Phase, scheduled from October 31 to November 2, and a diverse range of operational activities at sea during the Sea Phase, to be held from November 3-5, according to the release. The thrust of the exercises at sea this year would be on anti-submarine warfare (ASW), integrated operations with surface, air and sub-surface forces, air defence and surface encounter exercises, it said.During SIMBEX-16, Singapore Navy will be represented by RSS Formidable and maritime patrol aircraft Fokker 50, operating from Port Blair.Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvijay, a guided missile destroyer, INS Kamorta, an indigenous ASW stealth corvette, one Sindhughosh-class submarine, in addition to long range maritime patrol aircraft P8I, maritime patrol aircraft Dornier, advanced jet trainer Hawk and integral rotary wing helicopters are also scheduled to participate in the exercise, the release added.In February, Singapore Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Lai Chung Han had visited ENC and participated in IFR-16, held in Visakhapatnam, the City of Destiny, it said.

Manohar Parrikar to look into status downgrade vis-a-vis civilian counterparts

New Delhi: After crying foul over OROP and disability pension, officers in the armed forces are upset over a defence ministry circular which purportedly downgrades their status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, prompting Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to say he would personnaly look into it and resolve the issue.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The order has brought an army Major General (rear admiral in the navy and vice-marshal in the air force) on par with a principal director at the Armed Force Headquarters (AFHQ) Civil Service. A Brigadier/Commodore/Air Commodore would be equal in status to a director, and a Colonel/Captain/Group Captain equivalent to a joint director in the civil service.

The circular issued by the defence ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and
armed forces headquarters (AFHQ) civil service officers brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to their earlier status, officers said.

As per the new circular, a civilian principal director, who was earlier equivalent to a Brigadier, would now have the status of a two star general, a director rank officer to a Brigadier and a joint director to a Colonel, a development which has not gone down well with the armed forces. A Major General earlier had the rank of a joint secretary.

The circular says that the equations are to be followed at service HQs, and “has the approval of the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri” (defence minister).

Parrikar, when asked to comment on the development, said some people were trying to “misguide” as the issue related to only functional responsibility (of armed forces) and not status vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts.

“These are functional responsibilities. They (military officers) will be on the same platform as was done earlier. I will check up myself,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of the naval commanders conference in New Delhi.

“First of all, these are only for functional responsibilities…this is not status….there are some people
who are trying to misguide,” he said.

The minister said he will take a look at all previous orders to see if there was any discrepancy.

Parrikar said he and the government were sensitive to the issues related to the armed forces.

“I can assure you that I am very sensitive to such issues. The moment they are brought out, I act on them. The
only difficulty is when it becomes public discussion, I cannot be party to discussion. I will resolve the issue,” he said.

Defence Ministry will rectify discrepancies in ranks of armed forces personnel: Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday said the ministry would check if ranks of armed forces personnel have changed vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, and any discrepancies would be rectified in a week.

A circular issued by the Defence Ministry, dated 18 October, on rank equivalence between defence officers and armed forces headquarters (AFHQ), and civil service officers brings the rank of armed forces officers a notch down compared to earlier status.

File image of union minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File image of union minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

According to the circular, a Major General in the army and equivalent – which will be Rear Admiral in the navy and Air Vice Marshal in the air force – will be equal to a principal director in the civil service ranks at AFHQ.

A Brigadier in the army, and equivalents – Commodore in the navy and Air Commodore in the air force – will be equal to a director, and a Colonel in the Army – Captain in the navy and Group Captain in the air force – will be equal to a joint director in the civil service.

Earlier, a Colonel was equated with a director, Brigadier was treated at par with a deputy director-general, and a Major General was treated as equivalent of a joint secretary.

Parrikar, however, said that the classifications do not reflect the status, but are related to “functional responsibilities”, and added that it is being studied.

The minister also said if any discrepancy is found, it will be removed in a week.

“If there are any discrepancies, we will get them corrected in a week,” Parrikar said.

“Those (classifications) are only for functional responsibilities… These are not status..,” he said when asked about the circular bringing armed forces ranks down as compared to civilian employees.

Parrikar said he has sought details about the letter and also older letters referring to the subject issued in 2005, 2008 and 2009.

“I have already asked for exact status… I have asked them to give me all those orders… I will see if I find any reduction in functional responsibility,” he said.

The minister also said that some lacuna may always appear as the ministry is dealing with a large number of serving and retired servicemen, and added that the intent of the government should be noted.

“What should be taken note of is whether the government is ready to act quickly or not… For example, when 7th Pay (Commission) order was issued, there was one such comparison, a small paragraph, when brought to my notice we got it removed,” he said.

“That means government is very sensitive. When you are handling 25 lakh pensioners and 20 lakh armed forces, there are certain areas of lacuna and difficulties created, this government is very sensitive to such issues.”

Parrikar said, “The moment they are brought out I have acted on them. Difficulties, when they become public discussion, I cannot be a party to the discussion.”

Modi-Putin sign mega defence deals, India calls Russia an "old friend"

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India on Saturday inked three mega defence deals with Russia that included purchase of a most advanced air defence missile system as part of 16 pacts even as the two traditional allies strongly pitched for “zero tolerance” in dealing with terrorists and their supporters. The bilateral pacts were signed here after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held “fruitful and substantive” wide-ranging talks encompassing entire gamut of bilateral ties. The two sides also made three announcements to boost ties in sectors like trade and investment, hydrocarbons, space and smart cities.Modi prefaced his remarks at a joint press event with Putin invoking a Russian proverb to drive home the point that “an old friend is better than two new friends,” in a reflection of India’s apparent unhappiness over Russia’s recent joint military exercise with Pakistan.Besides the purchase of ‘gamechanger’ S-400 Triumf long- range air defence systems from Russia at a cost of over $5 billion, the other two deals related to procuring four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigates and setting up of a joint production facility for making Kamov helicopters.The inking of these deals assumes significance since in the recent past it was perceived that India, which had signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the US providing access to Americans to Indian military bases, was drifting away from its traditional defence ally, Russia. Russia and India condemn cross-border terrorismModi appreciated Russia’s understanding and support of India’s actions to fight cross-border terrorism, an oblique reference to India’s surgical strike across the Line of Control (LoC) last month targeting terror launch pads in PoK.”Russia’s clear stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrors our own. We deeply appreciate Russia’s understanding and support of our actions to fight cross-border terrorism, that threatens our entire region. We both affirmed the need for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters,” Modi said.The two leaders also discussed Uri attack by Pak-based terrorists during their “restricted talks” segment after which the Indian Side expressed its appreciation for Russia’s unequivocal condemnation of the attack on army base in which 19 soldiers were killed. Putin, on his part, said both countries have close cooperation in fighting terrorism.India, which has conveyed its opposition to Russia undertaking joint military exercises with Pakistan, a country which “sponsors and practices terrorism as a matter of State policy”, also said it was “satisfied” about Russia understanding of its interests.”We are satisfied that Russia understand India’s interest and they will never do anything contrary to India’s interest and I think there was a strong meeting of minds on this subject,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said when asked about the Russian response to India’s concern over the recent Pak-Russia joint military exercise.Modi said the “highly productive” outcomes of the meeting clearly establish the special and privileged nature of strategic partnership between the two countries. “They also lay the foundations for deeper defence and economic ties in years ahead. The agreements on manufacturing of Kamov 226T helicopters; constructions of frigates; and acquisition and building of other defence platforms are in synergy with India’s technology and security priorities.”Modi and Putin also dedicated the unit two of Kudankulam nuclear power plant and witnessed foundation laying of its Unit 3 and 4.A joint statement issued after their talks said the two sides noted with satisfaction “the progress in discussions on the General Framework Agreement and the Credit Protocol for Kudankulam Units 5 and 6 with a view to conclude these documents before the end of 2016.”Asserting that ties with Russia were “strong and time-tested”, Jaishankar said the commercial pacts inked today will generate “unprecedented” investment and were an effort to “bring up to speed” the bilateral economic ties, which were lagging behind.Asked why terror was becoming an important issue in BRICS, which is a body meant to deal with issues relating to economy and development, Jaishankar said the bloc has been discussing contemporary issues.”Earlier they dealt with economic challenges and now terror is an important issue and BRICS has never shied away from discussing political issues,” he said.Modi said they have agreed to work on an annual military industrial conference that will allow stakeholders on both sides to institute and push collaboration.”These projects are new chapters in a long history of strong and diverse defence partnership that both sides can take much pride in,” he said. He said, “We are working to model a partnership that befits our common ambition and meets our shared goals for the twenty-first century.”Our close friendship has given clear direction, fresh impulse, stronger momentum and rich content to our ties. In the emerging regional and global landscape, it has been a source of strength and substance, a driver of peace and a factor of stability.”Atomic Sector co-operationOn cooperation in atomic sector, Modi said the dedication of Kudankulum 2 and laying of foundation concrete of Kundankulam 3 and 4 were examples of tangible results of India-Russia cooperation in the field.”And, with proposed construction of another eight reactors, our wide ranging cooperation in nuclear energy is set to bring rich dividends for both of us. It also fits in with our needs of energy security, access to high technology and greater localization and manufacturing in India.” The joint statement said Russia strongly supported India’s early entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and welcomed India’s accession to the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation and the Missile Technology Control Regime.Talking about India’s expanding presence in Russia’s hydrocarbon sector, he said in last four months alone, Indian companies have invested close to USD 5.5 billion in that country’s Oil and Gas sector.”And, with President Putin’s support, we are ready and willing to expand the scope of our engagement further. We are also undertaking a joint study of a gas pipeline route between our two countries. A combination of robust civil nuclear cooperation, LNG sourcing, partnership in the Oil and Gas sector, and engagement in renewables can construct a promising ‘Energy Bridge’ between our two countries,” he said.The Prime Minister said the two countries also agreed to set up a Science and Technology Commission. “Through this our societies will reap the benefits of joint development, transfer and sharing of cutting edge technologies in different fields,” he said.The joint statement said Russia also supported India’s interest in full membership in the Wasseanaar Arrangement, a prominent multilateral export control regime The joint statement said the two countries reaffirmed their continued commitment to work together towards development of energy efficiency and renewable energy source.On Trade TiesOn trade ties, Modi said both countries continue to expand, diversify and deepen economic engagement. “Businesses and industry between our two countries are connected more deeply today. Trade and investment ties are on the upswing. And, with President Putin’s backing, we hope to fast track India’s association with Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement,” he said.Modi added that efforts by the two sides for early setting up of the Investment Fund of USD 1 billion between National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will help advance infrastructure partnership.The Prime Minister said success of the Summit “shines a spotlight on the abiding strength of India-Russia strategic partnership. “It also highlights our strong convergence of views and positions on pressing international and regional issues.” Modi said both he and Putin noted the similarity of views on the situation in Afghanistan and turmoil in West Asia.”We also agreed to work closely to respond to the challenges posed by the unsettled nature of the global economic and financial markets. Our close collaboration at the United Nations, BRICS, East Asia Summit, G-20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organization makes our partnership truly global, both in its scope and coverage,” he said.

India, Russia sign 16 agreements across multiple sectors

Benaulim, Goa: India and Russia on Saturday signed 16 agreements across multiple sectors following delegation-level talks co-chairedd by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Goa.

File photo of Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi. PTIFile photo of Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi. PTI

File photo of Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi. PTI

“New horizons in the India-Russia partnership. Modi and Putin exchanged 16 agreements and three announcements across fields,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted following the 17th annual bilateral summit between the two countries.

Among the agreements signed were procurement of the S-400 air defence system and construction of four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigate in India.

Another agreement was signed to set up a joint venture to manufacture 200 Kamov 226T helicopters.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for setting up an investment fund of $1 billion.

Agreements were also signed for developing smart cities in Andhra Pradesh and Haryana, and for developing transport logistics systems for such cities.

Another important agreement was signed for the joint study of a gas pipeline to India from Russia.

According to separate agreement, a Russian consortium comprising energy giant Rosneft Oil Company, commodities trader Trafigura and private investment group United Capital Partners agreed to purchase 98 percent of Essar Oil for $10.9 billion.

Rosneft also signed an agreement with ONGC Videsh for education and training in the oil and gas sector.

Both sides agreed to extend cooperation in railways development and to increase the speed of trains between Nagpur and Secunderabad.

An MoU was signed between India’s ISRO and the Russian state space agency on collaboration in space technology.

An agreement was signed on cooperation on international information security.

Another MoU was signed for expansion of bilateral trade and economic cooperation between India and Russia.

A road map for celebrating 70 years of India-Russia diplomatic ties was also announced.

Another announcement pertained to cooperation between the two countries on international issues.

India signs big ticket defence deals with Russia, to buy S-400 air defence system for $5 billion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Russia on Saturday sealed a number of big ticket defence deals including purchase of missile systems, frigates and joint production of helicopters besides deciding to deepen cooperation in a range of crucial sectors even as the two close allies resolved to fight the menace of terrorism unitedly.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held wide-ranging talks covering the entire expanse of bilateral engagement following which the two sides signed a total of 16 MoUs and made three announcements to boost ties in sectors like trade and investment, hydrocarbons, space and smart cities.The two leaders also dedicated the unit two of Kudankulum nuclear power plant and witnessed foundation laying of its Unit 3 and 4.The defence deals included India buying the ‘game changer’ S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia at a cost of over US $5 billion. The two countries will also collaborate in making four state of art frigates besides setting up a joint production facility for making Kamov helicopters.Reading out a statement to the media in the presence of Putin, the Prime Minister appreciated Russia’s understanding and support of India’s actions to fight cross-border terrorism, an oblique reference to India’s surgical strike across the LoC targeting terror launch pads. “Russia’s clear stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrors our own. We deeply appreciate Russia’s understanding and support of our actions to fight cross-border terrorism, that threatens our entire region. We both affirmed the need for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters,” Modi said.Putin, on his part, said both countries have close cooperation in fighting terrorism. Modi said the “highly productive” outcomes of the meeting clearly establish the special and privileged nature of strategic partnership between the two countries. They also lay the foundations for deeper defence and economic ties in years ahead. The agreements on manufacturing of Kamov 226T helicopters; constructions of frigates; and acquisition and building of other defence platforms are in synergy with India’s technology and security priorities.The two sides signed an Inter Governmental Agreement for the purchase of S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile system which has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km. Another important deal is for four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigates. Modi said they have agreed to work on an annual military industrial conference that will allow stakeholders on both sides to institute and push collaboration. “These projects are new chapters in a long history of strong and diverse defence partnership that both sides can take much pride in,” he said. He said, “We are working to model a partnership that befits our common ambition and meets our shared goals for the twenty-first (21st) century. Our close friendship has given clear direction, fresh impulse, stronger momentum and rich content to our ties.In the emerging regional and global landscape, it has been a source of strength and substance, a driver of peace and a factor of stability.”On cooperation in atomic sector, he said the dedication of Kudankulum 2 and laying of foundation concrete of Kundankulum 3 and 4 were examples of tangible results of India-Russia cooperation in the field. “And, with proposed construction of another eight reactors, our wide ranging cooperation in nuclear energy is set to bring rich dividends for both of us. It also fits in with our needs of energy security, access to high technology and greater localization and manufacturing in India,” said the Prime Minister.Talking about India’s expanding presence in Russia’s hydrocarbon sector, he said in last four months alone, Indian companies have invested close to US $5.5 billion in that country’s Oil and Gas sector. “And, with President Putin’s support, we are ready and willing to expand the scope of our engagement further. We are also undertaking a joint study of a gas pipeline route between our two countries. A combination of robust civil nuclear cooperation, LNG sourcing, partnership in the Oil and Gas sector, and engagement in renewables can construct a promising ‘Energy Bridge’ between our two countries,” he said.The Prime Minister said the two countries also agreed to set up a Science and Technology Commission. “Through this our societies will reap the benefits of joint development, transfer and sharing of cutting edge technologies in different fields,” he said. On trade ties, Modi said both countries continue to expand, diversify and deepen economic engagement. “Businesses and industry between our two countries are connected more deeply today. Trade and investment ties are on the upswing. And, with President Putin’s backing, we hope to fast track India’s association with Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement,” he said.Modi added that efforts by the two sides for early setting up of the Investment Fund of US $1 billion between National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will help advance infrastructure partnership. The Prime Minister said success of the Summit “shines a spotlight on the abiding strength of India-Russia strategic partnership. “It also highlights our strong convergence of views and positions on pressing international and regional issues,” he said.Modi said both he and Putin noted the similarity of views on the situation in Afghanistan and turmoil in West Asia. “We also agreed to work closely to respond to the challenges posed by the unsettled nature of the global economic and financial markets. Our close collaboration at the United Nations, BRICS, East Asia Summit, G-20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organization makes our partnership truly global, both in its scope and coverage,” he said.

India to buy S-400 anti-missile defence system from Russia for $5bn

Benaulim, Goa: India on Saturday announced that it will buy the S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia, worth over $5 billion, and collaborate in making four state of art frigates besides setting up a joint production facility for making Kamov helicopters.

The S-400 'Triumf' long-range air defence missile system has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km. Reuters

The S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile system has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km. Reuters

The deals were announced following talks held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 2016 Brics Summit being held here.

The development comes as Russia hopes to stave off tough competition from the Americans and the Europeans to continue being India’s foremost defence supplier.

The most strategically important decision is the Inter Governmental Agreement for the purchase of S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile system which has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.

India and Russia have been in talks for over a year for the purchase of at least five systems of S-400 that will be a game changer in the region.

It is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and simultaneously engaging 36 targets. If India signs the deal, it would be the second customer of the prized missile system after China which had struck a $3 billion contract last year.

Another important deal is for four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigates.

Under this deal, two vessels will come from Russian and while the other two will be built in India with Russian collaboration.

No decision has been made on the selection of the Indian shipyard.

This is in furtherance to the six Talwar-class frigates that Russia built for the Indian Navy between 2003 and 2013.

The complex agreement for production of 200 Kamov 226T helicopters domestically under a nearly $1 billion deal to replace the country’s aging Cheetah and Chetak choppers is yet another important defence deal between the countries.

PM Modi keen to hit back after Uri attack, seeks multipronged strategy to choke Pakistan

Going by the several rounds of meetings that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is holding with designated group of officers — civil, intelligence and military — it appears as though he is working on a multipronged strategic option to hurt Pakistan. A day after chairing a meeting to review the Indus Waters Treaty, it was announced that he will be holding a meeting on 29 September to review the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ (MFN) status given to Pakistan.

It indicates that he is not looking at a knee jerk military response but is weighing all possible options, assessing his own capabilities, weighing them carefully so that the cost of escalation on the Indian side can be minimised, yet the action is effective.

No one can be sure of the timeline of the action proposed, if any, but it looks as though the government is evolving a tiered strategic action plan that will be unveiled one after another in due course.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File photo. PTI

There is an unflinching faith among the ruling BJP leaders, the party and the government that Modi is working on a sound strategy and will not let Pakistan go “unpunished”. Modi’s working style has been such that nobody, not even his senior colleagues, get to know till the very end of his actual action plan. These leaders have observed him closely, been with him and have built their belief in him for action and delivery.

This time around the political leadership in the government is not rushing to respond in an ad hoc manner, responding to the popular mood but evolving its strategy based on cold calculations.

After letting his intent known on Indus Waters Treaty that “blood and water can’t flow simultaneously” and review of the stalled Tulbul project in north Kashmir, Modi has now decided to hold a meeting on Thursday to review the MFN status granted to Pakistan. Until the Prime Minister chairs that meeting, the officials of the two ministries — External Affairs and Commerce — will go over its various aspects and prepare for the meet.

There is a strong possibility that India will withdraw the MFN status granted unilaterally to Pakistan in 1996 without any reciprocation from Pakistan so far. The MFN status was granted to Pakistan by India under terms of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). While both India and Pakistan are signatories to this, which means that the two countries have to treat each other and the rest of WTO member countries as favoured trading partners, but Pakistan has defaulted on that count.

Early last year, Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit had said at a conference organised by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations that extending MFN status to India would severely harm Pakistan’s local economy. Basit argued that growing bilateral trade has hardened India’s stance on the issue of Kashmir.

It is probably India’s turn to pay back Pakistan on the same terms.

Modi has given all indications that India would find ways to maximise the use of Indus rivers system in due course and choke Pakistan to the extent it can. The tough words stated by Modi in the high level meeting on Monday, attended by the NSA, foreign secretary, water resource secretary and other senior officials concerned, are loaded with ominous implications for Pakistan.

The fact that the meeting of the Indus River Commission, which comprises of commissioners from both sides and meetings are held alternatively in India and Pakistan, which had not been interrupted even during the 1965, 1971 and 1999 wars, is being cancelled for the first time in 56 years. It means that New Delhi has began acting tough.

Modi’s words may appear tough to Pakistan, but is actually in spirit of the Indus Waters Treaty signed by then Prime Minter of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Field Marshal Mohammed Ayub Khan in 1960. The water treaty was signed in spirit of goodwill, friendship and cooperative spirit of the two neighbouring countries.

Read preamble of the treaty: “The Government of India and the Government of Pakistan, being equally desirous of attaining the most complete and satisfactory utilisation of the waters of the Indus system of rivers and recognising the need, therefore, of fixing and delimiting, in a spirit of goodwill and friendship, the rights and obligations of each in relation to the other concerning the use of these waters and of making provision for the settlement, in a cooperative spirit, of all such questions as may hereafter arise in regard to the interpretation or application of the provisions agreed upon herein, have resolved to conclude a Treaty in furtherance of these objectives…”

Former finance and external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha made a very convincing argument in an article published in The Indian Express: “Treaty terms are observed between friends, not enemies. Pakistan is an enemy state of India. It has said so repeatedly. The attacks on our military bases in Pathankot and Uri were not mere terrorist attacks; they were acts of war against the Indian state, sponsored by Pakistan. India will, therefore, be fully justified in abrogating the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan.”

He further wrote: “We all want peace with Pakistan, but we must remember that sometimes the road to peace passes through war.”

Before leaving for Kozhikode on Saturday, Modi had met Army Chief, Air Force Chief and Vice-Admiral of Navy (Naval Chief was not in New Delhi), apparently to know defence preparedness and look at the various possible dimensions involved. Earlier, he had been in the war-room of the Defence Ministry located in South Block.

A senior leader said, “Modi knows what Pathankot and Uri attack mean for the country and his image. Ultimately everyone in the party, Parivar (Sangh), the government and people at large are looking at him in great anticipation as to what he has to do. He is surely going to act tough. It may take some time because he has to weigh all options and can’t be simply guided by the overriding sentiments on social media but rest assured that tough action will be coming. Don’t think he is any less angry, but as PM he has to act with certain responsibility and we all are sure action will be firm and decisive.”

Armed forces chiefs meet PM Modi

Sat, 24 Sep 2016-06:20pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The chiefs of the Army and the Air Force along with the Vice Chief of the Navy on Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi.The meeting assumes significance as it comes against the backdrop of the deadly Uri attack. Defence sources described the meeting as “routine”. The chiefs of the armed forces have a monthly meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss various issues, they said.Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Vice Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral K B Singh met the Prime Minister. Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is out of town. The Army Chief has met the PM and top PMO officials a number of times since the attack last Sunday in which 18 soldiers were killed.

Beard row: Tribunal upholds sepoy’s dismissal over refusal to shave beard on religious grounds

The Kochi Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has upheld the Army’s decision to dismiss a sepoy who refused to remove his beard on religious grounds.Maktumhusen, an Ex-Sepoy in Army Medical Corps, had filed an application before the Tribunal challenging the order of his discharge from military service for refusing to remove his beard.Maktumhusen, who joined as Sepoy in Army Medical Corps, Indian Army in April, 2001 was posted on transfer to 371 Field Hospital during 2010.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On his request, the Commanding Officer had granted him permission to grow a beard on religious grounds with directions to apply for fresh ID Card imposing conditions that he has to give an undertaking in writing to keep the beard for the remainder period of his service. But the permission was withdrawn later.The Tribunal said that while so, the Commanding Officer issued him charge sheet imputing that despite repeated verbal and written instructions he had refused to remove his beard.He was tried on such charge, found guilty and sentenced to 14 days imprisonment in military custody.He was then transferred to Command Hospital (SC) Pune.When he reported for joining duty, the Commanding Officer asked him to shave off his beard overruling his submissions that he had been previously granted permission to grow a beard and also the pendency of a writ petition filed by him before the High Court questioning the withdrawal of the permission granted to him to keep a beard.A preliminary inquiry was conducted in which findings were entered that he had misconducted himself by growing a beard, defying the orders given for its removal. His misconduct was held to be unbecoming of a disciplined soldier, and hence he was to be treated as an undesirable soldier.On the basis of the findings in the preliminary inquiry, he was discharged from service as an undesirable soldier under Rule 13(3)III (v) of the Army Rule 1954.The Tribunal, comprising Justice S S Satheeshchandran and Vice Admiral M P Muralidharan, has found that Maktumhusen, who belong to Dharward district of Karnataka, was initially granted permission to grow and keep beard but later it was withdrawn.”The applicant, despite being directed to remove his beard, continued to be adamant and declined to do so. He was rightly discharged from military service as undesirable soldier,” the Tribunal ruled.After pronouncement of the order, the counsel for the applicant requested for leave to appeal in the Supreme Court.The Tribunal said that “in our opinion, no question of law of general public importance is involved in the matter. Hence, leave requested for is refused.”

Admiral Sunil Lanba takes over as Navy chief; vows to safeguard country’s maritime domain

New Delhi: Admiral Sunil Lanba on Tuesday took over as the new Chief of Naval Staff and vowed to ensure that the maritime domain of the country is safe and secure.

58-year-old Lanba, a specialist in Navigation and Direction, will have the full three-year tenure as the Navy Chief. He succeeded Admiral RK Dhowan who has retired.

File image of Sunil Lanba. CNN-News18

File image of Sunil Lanba. CNN-News18

“It is indeed an honour and a privilege for me to take over the command of the Indian Navy, one of the finest in the world,” he said, adding that over the years, the Navy has turned into a modern and combat ready force capable of operating in all three dimensions.

“The men and women who man the Navy are professionally trained, committed and patriotic and are committed to ensuring that our national interest are safeguarded anywhere, anytime and everywhere,” he said.

An alumnus of Defence Services Staff College, Lanba is the 21st Indian to be the Navy Chief. The first two were British. Coming in with rich operational and staff experience in a career spanning more than three decades, Lanba has served as Navigating Officer of corvette INS Sindhudurg and frigate INS Dunagiri.

He has commanded four frontline warships — INS Kakinada (minesweeper), INS Himgiri (frigate), INS Ranvijay and INS Mumbai, both destroyers. He is also an alumnus of the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, where he served as a faculty.

Lanba has also held key staff assignments such as Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet and the Chief of Staff, Southern and Eastern Naval Commands. He was also the Flag Officer Sea Training, Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area and Commandant, National Defence College.

He was the Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command at Kochi, prior to being appointed to head the Western Naval Command. He took over as the Vice Chief on 2 June, 2014.

Admiral Lanba is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal and the Athi Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service.

Indian Navy bids farewell to iconic Sea Harrier, welcomes MIG-29K fighter jets

The illustrious and unique Sea Harriers of Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS 300) were given a befitting farewell in a function organised at INS Hansa, Goa on Wednesday.The function was attended by Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Sunil Lanba, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief Western Naval Command, serving and retired Officers and men of the Indian Navy and all personnel who have served in the INAS 300.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking on the occasion Admiral RK Dhowan lauded the stellar role played by the squadron in the defence of the country and acknowledged the professionalism of the pilots, the maintainers and all those personnel associated with flying and maintaining the aircraft in peak efficiency during their service.He said that the rich legacy would continue as the baton is being passed on to the proud young crew of the MiG 29K squadron who have been successful in seamlessly integrating the fighters with INS Vikramaditya in the shortest possible time.In appreciation of the faithful service to the nation by INAS 300 ‘White Tigers’, an impressive ceremony was held today which saw the Sea Harriers fly for one last time, and MiG-29K flanking their outgoing cousins and ceremoniously taking their place.The air display included supersonic pass by MiG 29s and formation flying by two each Sea Harriers and MiG 29Ks.The composite air display symbolized a smooth transition from the old to the new in continuance with the proud legacy of the INAS 300.On completion of the Air display, ‘washing down of the Sea Harriers’ was carried out in a traditional manner. A first day cover was also released by Admiral RK Dhowan to mark the occasion.The White Tigers or INAS 300 who stand for excellence, determination and aggressive spirit, heralded the era of carrier borne aviation into the Indian Navy.Almost six decades ago the squadron was commissioned at RNAS Brawdy with its distinctive ‘White Tiger’ logo and equipped with the Sea Hawk aircraft.After providing yeoman service for over two decades, the squadron was subsequently reincarnated with Sea Harriers in 1983. This premier carrier borne fighter squadron achieved iconic status in the Indian Navy with its distinguished service, receiving numerous gallantry awards which include one Maha Vir Chakra, four Vir Chakras and one Nau Sena Medal.From the time the white tigers came into being, ‘Three Hundred’ as the squadron is colloquially called, brought about transformational change in concept of naval operations. INAS 300 with its potent sea harriers formed the teeth of naval combat power and consequently was the center piece of naval operational strategy.With their professionalism, the White Tigers assured control of these as by ensuring air dominance for the Carrier Battle Group and were a force to reckon with, with their combat skills appreciated by many which included foreign navies as well as the Indian Air Force.After 33 years sterling service, the sea harriers were being de-inducted from the Navy and under took its last flight today.To continue the proud ‘White Tiger’ legacy, the squadron has been re-equipped with the new and more lethal MiG 29Ks.INAS 300 would thus be re-equipped with the new swing role air dominance fighter giving the squadron enhanced combat power and offensive capability. For the versatile White Tigers, this resurrection also marks a full cycle from commissioning ‘Tail Hooking Sea Hawks’ to the ‘Vectored Thrust’ Sea Harrier era; and now with the induction of the MiG-29k to this elite squadron, marks the return of the ‘Tail Hookers’.

Indian Navy launches state-of-the-art underwater vigil system in Visakhapatnam

The Indian Navy has launched the state-of-the-art harbour defence systems, viz., integrated underwater harbour defence and surveillance system and mine warfare data centre, which would enhance the Navy’s surveillance capability and response to security threats at the naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.Vice admiral HCS Bisht, AVSM flag officer Commanding-In-Chief, Eastern Naval Command inaugurated the two systems.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The IUHDSS is a multi-sensor system capable of detecting, identifying, tracking and generating warnings for all types of surface and underwater threats to Visakhapatnam harbour.Post 26/11, the Indian Navy was made responsible for the security of the country’s vast coastline of 7516 km in coordination with other agencies like Indian Coast Guard, Marine Police, fisheries, etc.The creation of the Sagar Prahari Bal, induction of Fast Interceptor Crafts (FICs) and commissioning of the IUHDSS are some of the Navy’s measures to strengthen security.While the MWDC will collate, analyse and classify data collected by the Navy’s Mine Hunting Ships from various ports along the East coast.This state-of-the-art facility will be the nodal centre for maintaining an underwater information database of harbours along the East coast.The Harbour Defence Systems will function under the control of the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh), Commodore Sanjiv Issar.

Indian Navy’s iconic fighter planes Sea Harriers to be decommissioned today

The Iconic Sea Harrier’s will be decommissioned from the Indian Navy on Wednesday as it will mark the end of an era in India’s naval history, with an official ceremony phasing out the last of its iconic Sea Harrier jets.The Harriers will be replaced by a squadron of Russian Mig 29k jets and the ceremony will be held at INS Hansa base in Vasco at Goa. Admiral RK Dhowan, Chief of the Naval Staff, will be the Chief Guest for the ceremony. In a statement, Indian Navy said that its usage in the Falklands War was its most high-profile and important success, where it was the only fixed-wing fighter available to protect the British Task Force.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The aircraft, developed by the British in the 1960s, are best known for the ability to take off and land vertically, and for being the only class of jet that can hover like a helicopter. The Sea Harrier was used by the British during the Falklands War, both Gulf Wars, and during the NATO intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The retired aircraft will be put on display in museums.

Unique jet fighter Sea Harriers flies for the final time

The fighter aircraft Sea Harriers flew for a final time from Indian Naval Ship (INS) Viraat on Friday. The aircraft will be seen flying for the Indian Navy for the last time ever in the Goa airspace on Wednesday, along with MiG 29K, the fighter aircraft that would replace the aging Sea Harriers fleet.The outgoing fleet is the only jet fighter in the world with the short/vertical take-off and landing (VSTOL) feature, wherein the aircraft can take off and land vertically if there aren’t any runways. If there are short runways, the aircraft can take off with relative ease.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sea Harriers were inducted into the Indian Navy in 1983 after Sea Hawk fighters were phased out in 1978. Sea Harriers are part of Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 300 – ‘White Tigers’ — and MiG29Ks will now be inducted into INAS 300.”The Sea Harriers would be given a hero’s send-off at a ceremony presided over by Admiral RK Dhowan, the chief of naval staff, at INS Hansa, Dabolim, Goa. Traditional change of command ceremonies will be held, where commander Shikhu Raj, a Sea Harriers pilot, would hand over the command of the squadron to captain KHV Singh, a MiG 29K pilot,” said an officer.A large number of serving and retired Sea Harrier pilots are expected to be present during the send-off ceremony in Goa. Wednesday’s event would also mark the commencement of the process to decommission INS Viraat, India’s second aircraft carrier, on which Sea Harriers have been serving for decades now.The first three Sea Harriers landed at Dabolim on December 16, 1983, about three and a half years after it first entered service (April 1980) with the Royal Navy. This was followed by the first deck landing on INS Vikrant on December 20, 1983 and the arrival of the first Sea Harrier T Mk 60 trainer on March 29, 1984.Designed and manufactured by British Aerospace, Sea Harrier is a naval VSTOL jet fighter, reconnaissance and strike aircraft. Its vertical take-off and landing ability is the most unique feature of this subsonic fighter jet. The Royal Navy de-inducted the fleet back in 2006.

Coastal states’ send proposals to defence ministry to transform INS Viraat

Coastal states’ proposals to convert the country’s second aircraft carrier, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Viraat into a museum have started reaching the Ministry of Defence. The date of decommissioning and which state the vessel will go to, however, are yet to be decided.”We have not decided on the decommissioning date, but it will certainly be taken out of naval service in the months to come. The Ministry of Defence is yet to finalise it,” said admiral RK Dhowan, chief of naval staff, on Wednesday, on the sidelines of Investiture Ceremony on board the aircraft carrier. According to naval sources, the ship will exit from the operational fleet during the second half of 2016.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ship, which has served for almost six decades, is likely to be converted into a museum, but if Andhra Pradesh bags the vessel, the state might turn it into a tourism hub, based in Visakhapatnam. Andhra Pradesh has sent their proposal to use the warship for tourism related activities by getting into joint venture between the state government, Indian Navy and a private firm. The rooms inside INS Viraat will be used to house tourists, apart from having varied entertainment options.But proposals from other states are also being sought. “Some proposals have already come in and some states are in the process of sending them to us. Ministry of Defence has contacted nine coastal states regarding the subject,” added Dhowan.Once the proposals are received, they will be scrutinised and a final call would be taken. Maharashtra has already missed an opportunity to convert India’s first aircraft carrier Vikrant, decommissioned in January 1997, into a museum or tourism centre, as the state sold the warship and the dismantling process started in November 2014. “So what if they missed a chance, they still have an opportunity for Viraat,” said Dhowan.Whichever state bags INS Viraat, commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1987, a minimum of Rs300-400 crore will be required to give it a new lease of life.Naval officers awarded for bravery:Several naval officers, divers and sailors received gallantry and non-gallantry awards on Wednesday for showing exemplary courage, selfless dedication and bravery, right from evacuating Indian diaspora from Yemen to humanitarian assistance during Hudhud cyclone to responding to distress calls and rescuing merchant sailors in choppy seas.

Indian Navy, Jamia ink pact for in-service training of naval trainees

New Delhi: The Indian Navy has tied up with Jamia Millia Islamia for awarding graduation degrees to naval personnel for their in-service training.

Navy conducts training programmes for its sailors at centres across the country.

Jamia Milia Islamia to give degrees for naval trainees. ReutersJamia Milia Islamia to give degrees for naval trainees. Reuters

Jamia Milia Islamia to give degrees for naval trainees. Reuters

A Joint-Equivalence Committee, with members both from Jamia and Navy, was constituted for credit determination for
all theoretical and practical components of academic-cum-training programmes in the Indian Navy.

The admission to Jamia courses would be through the Centre for Distance and Open Learning that will lead to awarding of degrees on fulfilment of statutory requirements.

The recommendations of JEC were approved by Vice Chancellor Talat Ahmad, in his office, in the presence of Vice
Admiral AR Karve, Chief of Personnel on Wednesday.

The eligible sailors would now be able to enroll in the programmes from 16 July for academic year 2016-17.

Karve observed that it was a historic moment for the Indian Navy to enter into collaboration with Jamia and
said this MoU would benefit the sailors immensely besides establishing a long term relationship with the university, a statement by the Navy said.

Terming it as a proud moment, Ahmad said the two institutions could work together to mutually benefit both Naval personnel and Jamia students.

PTI

India, US closer to pact to share military logistics – officials

India and the United States are closing in on an agreement to share military logistics after 12 years of talks, officials said, a sign of strengthening defence ties between the countries as China becomes increasingly assertive. The United States has emerged as India’s top arms source after years of dominance by Russia, and holds more joint exercises with it than any other country. It is in talks with New Delhi to help build its largest aircraft carrier in the biggest military collaboration to date, a move that will bolster the Indian navy’s strength as China expands its reach in the Indian Ocean. After years of foot-dragging by previous governments over fears that the logistics agreement would draw India into a binding commitment to support the United States in war, PM Narendra Modi’s administration has signalled a desire to move ahead with the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>That would allow the two militaries to use each other’s land, air and naval bases for resupplies, repair and rest, officials said. Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Navy’s Pacific Command, said the two sides were working on the LSA, another agreement called the CISMOA for secure communications when the militaries operate together, and a third on exchange of topographical, nautical, and aeronautical data. “We have not gotten to the point of signing them with India, but I think we’re close,” Harris, due in India this week, told the US House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.The progress comes as the countries consider joint maritime patrols that a US official said could include the South China Sea, where China is locked in a territorial dispute with Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan among others. Both sides, though, said there were no immediate plans for such patrols, which drew strong condemnation from Beijing. An Indian government official said the main impediment to signing the LSA had been cleared, after Washington gave an assurance that New Delhi was not bound by it if the US went to war with a friendly country or undertook any other unilateral action that New Delhi did not support. “It has been clarified that it will be done on a case-to-case basis; it’s not automatic that either side will get access to facilities in the case of war,” the official familiar with the negotiations said.India’s previous centre-left government was worried the agreements would undermine India’s strategic autonomy and that it would draw it into an undeclared military alliance with the United States.Concerns linger over the proposed communications agreement, with some branches of the military including the air force fearing it would allow the United States to access their communications network. US officials said they hoped that once the logistics agreement was signed, the others would follow. A US defence industry source engaged in business in India said there were expectations the LSA could be sealed by the time US Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited New Delhi in April. The source said Modi’s office was directly involved in the matter and actively considering the agreements as a key for enhanced cooperation. India has been alarmed by Chinese naval forays into the Indian Ocean and its involvement in maritime infrastructure on island nations that it traditionally considered its back yard. It has moved to shore up naval forces and build defence ties with Japan and Vietnam, besides the United States. “There is growing convergence between Obama’s Asia pivot and Modi’s Act East policy,” said Saroj Bishoyi, an expert on the proposed India-U.S. collaboration at the government-funded Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi.”The LSA currently appears to be a doable agreement.”

Rajendra Singh takes over as new Coast Guard chief

Rajendra Singh on Saturday assumed charge as the Director General of Indian Coast Guard, succeeding Vice-Admiral H C S Bisht who has been appointed as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief of the Indian Navy’s Eastern Command.He is the first Coast Guard additional director general and the first non-Indian Navy officer to be appointed as director general with three-star rank.Till now, the Coast Guard Director General’s post was held by commissioned Indian Navy officers with two-star rank.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh’s appointment comes at a time when plans are underway to make the Coast Guard a 200-ship and 100-aircraft force by 2018 to plug operational gaps in coastal security. The Coast Guard currently has 135 ships.

Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral Bisht to head Eastern Naval Command

New Delhi: Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral HCS Bisht has been appointed as the new Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Naval Command and Vice Admiral BK Verma will take over the strategically important Andaman and Nicobar Command.

Vice Admiral HCS Bisht. Image courtesy Indian Coast GuardVice Admiral HCS Bisht. Image courtesy Indian Coast Guard

Vice Admiral HCS Bisht. Image courtesy Indian Coast Guard

The decisions were taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

The current Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Satish Soni and
Commander-in-Chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command Vice Admiral PK Chatterjee are to retire on 29 February.

The Cabinet also approved the proposal of the Department of Defence Production for appointment of N Krishnappa, GM
(MS), BEL to the post of Director (Other Units) in BEL.

The Eastern Naval Command is one of Indian Navy’s three major formations and is headquartered in Visakhapatnam. It has base in the port city as well as at Kolkata.

The Andaman and Nicobar Command is a tri-service theatre command of the Indian military and is based at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

It was created in 2001 to safeguard India’s strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca by
increasing rapid deployment of military assets in the region.

PTI

INS Viraat sets sail for final voyage

After guarding India’s maritime borders for nearly 60 years, Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier, INS Viraat, set sail on her final journey before its retirement later this year.The world’s oldest operational aircraft carrier, which entered service on May 12, 1987, on Friday reached Paradip port, Odisha for the very first time. The ship will now move to Kakinada Port and from there to Chennai and finally Mumbai.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last week, INS Viraat took part in International Fleet Review (IFR) at Visakhapatnam, in which more than 100 ships from 50 navies from around the world participated.Prior to being commissioned into the Indian Navy, the aircraft carrier had served as the HMS Hermes with the Royal Navy and went on to serve with distinction in the 1982 Falklands Islands War against Argentina.The ship has seen 18 Commanding Officers of which three went onto become Chiefs of Naval Staff viz Admiral Madhvendra Singh, Admiral Arun Prakash and Admiral Nirmal Verma. The ship has done over 40,000 hours of steaming and traversed over 5,00,000 nautical miles across the proverbial seven seas. The ship has undertaken over 20,000 hrs of flying from its deck.

Final journey of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad

Photos: 1 of 7

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Our sailors stay alert and awake: Navy Chief RK Dhowan

In the wake of David Coleman Headley’s revelation that two attempts were made prior to the final attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008, Navy Chief Admiral RK Dhowan on Monday assured the nation that the sailors stay alert and awake so that the people can sleep peacefully.Meanwhile, Admiral (Retired) Suresh Mehta, who was then the chief of Naval Staff, said that various improvements were brought after the 2008 attack.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The coast line is very long so there are possibilities of entering. After that, we put up various improvements. They have all taken effect. There is a centralised control room now. Inputs from everywhere come there. Real time information is available in one place whether it is Police, Coast Guard or Navy or aircraft,” he said. “We have increased the surveillance on the coast. There are increased numbers of coastal police stations. And keeping all this in mind, I don?t think such an event must get repeated. There was no coordination problem in 2008,” he added.In a crucial deposition of Headley before the Mumbai court through video conference on Monday, he admitted that two prior failed attempts were made by the same 10 terrorists involved in 26/11 Mumbai attacks, who tried similar attempts in September and October 2008.Headley admitted changing his name from Dawood Gilani to David Headley to enter India and to conceal his identity. Headley visited India eight times before 26/11 attacks and once after the attack. Headley also admitted to giving false information in the visa application.In a vital revelation, Headley admitted to meeting Sajid Mir of LeT who was his main contact. Headley said that he changed his name in passport on instruction from Sajid Mir. Senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani told the media that his counsel Headley has told the special court that he acted on the advice of Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed.Top Mumbai Police and NIA officials were present in the court alongside the US Embassy officials. Headley’s deposition will continue in the Mumbai court at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. It is for the first time in the Indian legal history that a foreign terrorist is providing his evidences through video link.

INS Kadmatt commissioned; Navy Chief RK Dhowan stresses on indigenisation

Flag Officer Commanding-in Chef, Eastern Naval Command Vice-Admiral Satish Soni said the Indian Navy has had a long association with the GRSE, which delivered the first warship INS Ajay in 1961. Chairman and Managing Director of the GRSE Rear Admiral A K Verma (retired) said with the latest technology the shipyard had been constructing 95 warships and has already delivered 62 of them to the Indian Navy.

PTI
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