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Lt Gen Rawat takes over as Army chief, Air Marshal Dhanoa takes charge as IAF chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Gen Bipin Rawat on Saturday took over as the 27th chief of the 1.3 million strong Indian Army succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retired after 42 years of service.Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also took charge as the 25th Air Force Chief replacing Anup Raha.Gen Rawat superseded two senior most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.Lt Gen Bakshi, who heads the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command, announced “full support” to the new chief and told theatre officers through video conferencing he will continue to lead with “full professional sincerity as hither-to-fore”.”I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” he said.Earlier, there was speculation that Lt Gen Bakshi may resign or take premature retirement. He had also met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar recently.He requested that speculation and trolling in media and social media should stop and everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.The Eastern Commander called the new Army chief to congratulate him on taking over the reins of the army.Speculation is rife that Lt Gen Bakshi may be given the new post of Chief of Defence Staff pertaining which Parrikar will meet Prime Minster Narendra Modi next month.Sources, however, have indicated that no such development will take place.Gen Suhag, who superannuated today, said army is prepared to meet any challenge as he thanked the government for “providing a free hand” and implementing the One Rank One Pension scheme.He said that infiltration bids had increased during the year and the number of terrorists killed was nearly double the previous year.The General said the army focused on operational preparedness during his tenure.Suhag said that when he had taken over he had asserted the response of the army to any action against our interest would be immediate, adequate and intense. “Indian Army has done that in the last two-and-a-half years,” he said.Later at noon, he handed over the charge to Rawat, who was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from IMA, Dehradun. He was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ at the academy.Earlier in the day, Gen Suhag and Air Chief Marshal Raha paid tributes at Amar Jawan Jyoti and inspected the guard of honour.The new IAF chief, Air Marshal Dhanoa, had developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concept of air operations of the air force into contemporary war fighting practices.He has mainly flown Kiran and MiG-21 aircraft though he has the experience of flying the entire spectrum of fighter aircraft from Jaguar to state-of-the-art MiG-29 and Su-30 MKI.The Air Marshal has many feathers in his hat. As the commanding officer of a frontline ground attack fighter squadron, he led the IAF punch during the “Limited War” against Pakistan to drive the enemy out of their “dug in” defences in the icy heights of Kargil region.During the conflict, under his leadership and supervision, the squadron devised unique and innovative methods of bombing at night at altitudes never before attempted in the history of air warfare, the IAF said.Prior to the attack, the squadron had been adjudged as the best fighter squadron of western Air Command for its high degree of professionalism and peace-time training. After the conflict, it emerged as the most decorated IAF unit of Kargil War.He also holds the highest flying instructional category in the IAF and was handpicked to establish the “IAF Training Team” abroad.Gen Rawat has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter-insurgency operations.He commanded an infantry battalion, along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern Sector, a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley, a Corps in the Eastern theatre and the Southern Command.He has tenanted instructional appointments at Indian Military Academy and at Army War College, Mhow.Gen Rawat has held important staff appointments at Directorate General of Military Operations and Military Secretary’s Branch at Army HQ.He has also been Major General General Staff (MGGS) at HQ Eastern Command.The General commanded a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC). While serving with the United Nations, he was twice awarded the Force Commander’s Commendation.An alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has been awarded various medals of high honour for gallantry and distinguished service in a span of over 38 years in uniform.He also attended the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) course at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA.Academically inclined, Rawat has authored numerous articles on national security and leadership, which have been published in various journals and publications.He was awarded M.Phil in Defence Studies from Madras University. He has a Diploma in Management and another Diploma in Computer Studies.Gen Rawat has also completed his research on military media strategic studies and was awarded Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D) from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut in 2011.

Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi rules out resignation, offers support to new army chief Bipin Rawat

Kolkata: Putting to rest all speculation about his resignation, Eastern Army Commander lieutenant general Praveen Bakshi assured his full support to General Bipin Rawat, who took charge as the new army chief superseding him.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

“I convey my best wishes and full support of Eastern Command to Gen. Bipin Rawat on having taken over as the Chief of Army Staff,” Bakshi said on Saturday. He also made it clear that he was not resigning, and even called the new army chief on the phone to congratulate him on taking over the reins of the army, an official said.

Speculation that he may seek premature retirement from service gained ground after he met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on 21 December and then proceeded on leave after Christmas.

Bakshi was initially the frontrunner for the post of army chief. However, keeping aside the trend of seniority, the government appointed vice-chief of army, lieutenant general Bipin Rawat, a batch junior to Bakshi, as the new chief.

The army commander requested that speculation in media and trolling on social media should stop and everyone should focus on contributing their best to the betterment of the army and the nation.

At a function here on new year’s eve, he greeted all ranks of Army’s Eastern Command and said he would continue to lead the Command with full professional sincerity. He, however, continues to be on leave for the next few days.

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 16:48 IST

Superseded Gen Bakshi meets Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ministry of Defence on Wednesday described Lt General Praveen Bakshi’s meeting with defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday as a “courtesy call”, but sources in army headquarters claimed it was the minster who sought a meeting with the Eastern Army Commander. Following the seniority principle Bakshi should have been appointed army chief, but the government selected Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, currently the vice chief.It was not just Lt Gen Bakshi but Southern Army commander Lt Gen PM Hariz was also superseded.The contrary claims led to speculation about the fate of Lt Gen Bakshi. While there was talk of his offering in his resignation, there was also buzz about the possibility of the officer being accommodated.”A top rated army commander cannot be wasted like this,” said an army officer in South Block.Sources said one of the options was to appoint him as the Permanent Chairman of the Chief of Staff Committee. Currently, the senior most among the service chiefs holds the post and there is no provision for a permanent chairman.There is also talk of Lt Gen Bakshi being sent as Ambassador. The proposed Chief of Defence Staff is also an option, but sources say there is little time for creating the position.Lt Gen Bakshi was Lt Gen Rawat’s immediate boss until recently in the Eastern Command. The decision has triggered a controversy among officers, fearing this could set a new trend of politicising the forces.Justifying the decision, the government came out with an explanation that Rawat was chosen over the other two, keeping in mind his experience in operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Analysing the volatile situation in Kashmir after a series of terror strikes, a candidate with sound knowledge of operations there was thought to be the right choice, sources said.Lt General Bakshi has commanded the 9 Corps in Yol, Himachal Pradesh, commanded an armoured brigade in the Western sector, a division in the deserts, and a corps in the plains sector of Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir.

All you need to know about Praveen Bakshi, the frontrunner who was superseded to post of Army Chief

When the Centre chose vice-chief of army staff, lieutenant general Bipin Rawat, to succeed the outgoing Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag, it overlooked the senior-most officer of the world’s third largest army, lieutenant general Praveen Bakshi. Here’s all you need to know about Bakshi and the possible reasons why he may have been superseded.

National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla alumni:

Bakshi is a graduate of the National Defence Academy, the premier training institute for all military officers. He was later commissioned into the Skinner’s Horse regiment.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Served two army commands

Lt General Bakshi has been at the helm of two major army commands, the Udhampur-based Northern Command and Kolkata-based Eastern Command.

Currently, he is the General Officer Commanding of the Eastern Command, which handles the anti-terror operations in the crucial North East states bordering China, Bhutan and Myanmar. Previously, he was the chief of staff of the Northern Command.

Experience in handling operations and commands:

While Rawat is an infantry officer, Bakshi is an armoured officer. He has commanded an armoured brigade in the Western sector, a division in the deserts of Rajasthan, and army corps in the plains of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, The Economic Times noted.

The Eastern Command chief has also been decorated with the prestigious Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vishisht Seva Medal.

May become first ever chief of defence staff

Media reports suggest that Lt General Bakshi might take over as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). The proposed position was first mooted after the Kargil War. The CDS would be the one point contact for the defence minister and prime minister on matters of India’s defence security.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 17:21 IST

Furore over army chief’s appointment: Cong demands answers, govt says permission of 10, Janpath not required

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Centre announcing the name of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the new Chief of the Army Staff superseding two seniors for the coveted post, the Congress on Sunday demanded an answer from the government over the decision, while asserting that the Army is a public institution and the nation deserves an answer.Lieutenant General Rawat, who took over as the Army vice-chief in September 2016, bypassed Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi (armoured corps) and Southern Army Command chief Lieutenant General PM Hariz (mechanised infantry).”With all due respect to General Rawat’s professionalism and brilliance as a soldier and no personal animosity to anybody, there is a legitimate question as to why has this supersession taken place. After all, Lt. Gen Praveen Bakshi who commands the Eastern Command, the Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen Mohammed Ali and the Central Army Commander are all senior to the gentleman who is being designated,” Tewari said.However, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi lambasted the Congress for demanding an explanation, saying the government followed standards norms and does not require the permission of 10, Janpath for the same.Taking the Congress to task for time and again questioning the government’s decision, Naqvi said the grand old party is till date not able to digest the fact that they have lost power.”I think till now the Congress is not able to understand that they have lost power at the Centre. The government is following standards norms over the appointment of Army Chief and does not require the permission of 10, Janpath (Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s official residence),” said Naqvi, adding the government won?t allow the Congress to dictate terms as it did during its tenure at the Centre.Earlier on Saturday, the government announced the name of Lieutenant General Rawat as the new Chief of Army Staff and Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa as the new Chief of Air Staff.Lieutenant General Rawat, who took over as the Army vice-chief in September 2016, bypassed Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi (armoured corps) and Southern Army Command chief Lieutenant General PM Hariz (mechanised infantry).Lieutenant General Rawat has remarkable experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and his connect with the civil society.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat ‘best suited’ to deal with emerging challenges: Defence Ministry sources

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry insisted on Sunday that Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, named the next Army Chief overlooking the generally followed seniority norm, was “best suited” for the job.

The appointment of Lt Gen Rawat has ignored the seniority of Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lt Gen PM Hariz who have spent longer years in service.

Lt Gen Bakshi was not appointed the Vice-Chief when the post fell vacant in September and Lt Gen Rawat was brought in from the Southern Command.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpi

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat. Image courtesy: [email protected]

“He was found the best suited among the Lt Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North East,” a source in the ministry said.

On Friday, asked if the line of succession will be broken, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had cryptically remarked: “Line of succession is decided by the people.”

Lt Gen Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the 11 Gorkha Rifles in December 1978 from the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.

He has commanded an infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an infantry division in the Kashmir Valley.

He also has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter insurgency operations.

“Lt Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades,” said the source who did not want to be named.

“He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC (Line of Control) with Pakistan, LAC with China and in the northeast,” the source said.

“He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society. His experience as GOC-in-C (general officer commanding-in-chief) Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services,” the source added.

Soon after the appointment was announced, the Congress questioned the government decision.

Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted: “Why has seniority not been respected in appointment of Army Chief? Why have Lt. Gen. Pravin Bakshi and Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ali Hariz been superseded, Mr PM (Narendra Modi)?”

The Defence Ministry on Saturday night announced the names of the next chiefs of Army and Indian Air Force, 13 days before General Dalbir Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha are to retire.

Air Marshal BS Dhanoa will be the next chief of IAF.

Commissioned into the IAF’s fighter stream in June 1978, Dhanoa, who has flown various types of fighter aircraft and is a qualified Flying Instructor, commanded a fighter squadron during the Kargil Operations and flew numerous night strike missions in the mountainous terrain.

He has also held a number of important operational appointments including commanding a fighter base and leading the Indian Military Training Team in Bhutan.

He has also served as Chief Instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) and Senior Air Staff Officer (Chief of Staff) of two operational commands.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 13:56 IST

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat appointed Chief of Army Staff; Air Marshal BS Dhanoa new IAF chief

New Delhi: The government appointed vice-chief of army staff Lt Gen. Bipin Rawat as the new army chief, superseding his two senior officers, while vice chief of air staff Air Marshal BS Dhanoa has been made the new chief of the Indian Air Force.

“The government has decided to appoint Lt Gen. Bipin Rawat, vice chief of army staff, as the next chief of army staff with effect from the afternoon of 31 December,” the Defence Ministry said in a tweet.

Lt Gen. Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpiLt Gen. Rawat. Image courtesy: Twitter@adgpi

Lt Gen. Rawat. Image courtesy: [email protected]

It also tweeted that Air Marshal BS Dhanoa will take over as IAF chief with effect from afternoon of 31 December.

Rawat will replace General Dalbir Singh, while Dhanoa will take over from IAF chief Arup Raha. Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, superseded senior most army commander Lt Gen. Praveen Bakshi, who headed the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief, besides Southern Command Chief PM Hariz.

Government sources said Lt Gen. Rawat was found best suited among the Lt Generals to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North East.

They said Lt Gen. Rawat has tremendous hands-on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in
the Indian Army over the last three decades. He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the North-East. He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering,
compassion, and connect with civil society. His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in mechanised warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services, the sources said.

Supersesion in the army is not new though there has not been any such instances in the recent past. In 1983, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had appointed Lt Gen. AS Vaidya as army chief superseding Lt Gen. SK Sinha, who resigned in protest.

Earlier in 1972, the Gandhi government side-stepped the very popular Lt General P S Bhagat, one of the handful of Indian Victoria Cross awardees from World War II, who was in line to succeed General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw.

This was done by giving his junior, General GG Bewoor a year’s extension, during which time Bhagat retired. Bewoor, thus, succeeded Manekshaw.

Defence Ministry sources said the focus was on suitability and merit for the selection of the new army chief. They said that Lt Gen. Bakshi, an armoured corps officer, spent most of his career in Jodhpur and had two postings in Kashmir, but the positions he was in were not considered field posting. They added that Lt Gen. Hariz had no experience in operational areas in terms of counter insurgency or seeing action along the LoC.

With Lt Gen. Rawat’s sudden promotion as the army chief, the line of succession in the force will get affected. The IAF, which has also seen supersession in the past, was set for a smooth transition with Dhanoa, the first in line for the post, named its new chief.

He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1978. He has served in various squadrons and in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters. Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA, Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.

The general officer has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter insurgency operations. He commanded an infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern sector, a Rashtriya Rifles sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley. He has tenanted instructional appointments at Indian military academy, Dehradun and Army War College, Mhow.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 22:12 IST

Why denying armoured corps its importance would be an error in late announcement of new army chief

Whenever anyone criticises Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for either his intemperate remarks or his shabby sartorial inelegance and total lack of occasion there is invariably a group of people who rush to his rescue.

This is understandable because we are, as a nation, weaned on the equation that those who are ‘simple’ (read sloppy) or disheveled and scruffy are good people at heart. This is integral to our categorisation of the human race and any effort to be smart or display a level of is indicative of a certain corruption of values. Simplicity becomes a cloak for laziness, sloth, even casual indifference.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The same sort of casual indifference that marks the attitude towards the announcement of the next Chief of the Army Staff. General Dalbir Singh Suhag, who himself, was appointed after much stress, retires at the end of the month and that is scarcely more than two weeks to go.

In a brilliant assessment of the subject of four-star appointments by Prakash Nanda in Firstpost on the inordinate delay, he has traced the frequent rocks strewn in the path of the handing over in all three services. The fact that the successor is announced at least 10 weeks before the date of retirement has been conveniently ignored because, of course, the defence ministry is clearly not cognizant of this fact. The thing is when the announcement is made automatically there is a shuffling at the Army Commander level and the domino principle kicks in. Immediately, the senior ranks know who the next leaders of their armies and Corps are going to be. The deck so to speak is reshuffled.

It is customary in India to give the fourth star to the seniormost army commander. After all, if his Annual Confidential Reports are without any negatives Indian convention follows the British model and it cannot find fault with that aspirant. After all, there is no further gauge to measure his caliber. In the US the president can appoint and leapfrog several Generals to announce a successor.

To keep the obvious choice in suspense is to inject politics into the issue and needlessly bring about speculation that is detrimental to the morale of the force and fuels rumours. At present Lt General Praveen Bakshi, GOC-in-C Eastern Command is the frontrunner and the automatic choice. The indication that since he is an Armoured Corps officer (tanks and missile regiments) there is uncertainty over his being the chief a position held usually by an infantry officer.

This is such balderdash it is unbelievable. We have had Signals officers who were Army Commanders. The Armoured Corps is not only held in the highest esteem it is an elite arm of the Service and has a history of over 250 years with regiments like Deccan Horse, Scinde Horse, Poona Horse, Hodson’s Horse, the 3,7, 8 Cavalries and Central India Horse that can display medals of gallantry in battle way back to the early 18th century. The much-touted battle of Basantar, the biggest since Rommel, was an Armoured Corps affair and if he denied command over the Army on these grounds it will be a huge pity.

If Lt General Bakshi is denied his legitimate claim to the fourth star it will also be a bruising of the huge store held in the capabilities of our men in tanks.

The black berets are the best.

Honestly, this is so indicative of civilian ignorance of how the armed forces operate that they would play tiddlywinks with such a sensitive matter.

Even the infantry would be appalled if that was a reason applied to the Parrikar decision to bypass the Eastern Command chief while appointing the vice-chief.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 21:41 IST

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.

‘Levels of tolerance’ had been crossed: Defence experts hail Modi govt after surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Top defence experts termed the ‘surgical strikes’ on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in PoK as an “operational necessity” and said those were necessitated as the “levels of tolerance” were crossed.Former top guns of the military lauded the bravery and calibrated approach of the Indian security forces as also the government for allowing the military to carry out the task and said “a long pending debt has been paid back today”.They justified the strikes, saying the forces had entered into Indian territory occupied by Pakistan. “I am very pleased that the government is letting the Army do what it needs to do. Let Pakistani military know that this is what we have done and we will continue to do it (if) they do not behave themselves. We need a big heart for doing this.”We have to congratulate the intelligence sources for providing accurate information on whereabouts of militants. We need to compliment the government for giving a free hand to the military. So, obviously, government had given a clean action chit to the military who launched a surgical strike with good dividend,” former DG Infantry Lt Gen S Prasad said.Noting that the forces adopted a “very calibrated approach” in their strikes, he said this is how the Indian government should react by leaving the military to do the job.Former RAW chief C D Sahay said the strikes had to happen and were “inescapable”, contending these should not be related to the Pathankot or Uri attacks as there has been a long history of trans-border infiltration.He lauded India for dealing with such matters with a mature approach while maintaining calm.”The red lines have (been) crossed. The levels of tolerance have (been) crossed and this had to happen. I would congratulate them, but I would still urge (India) not to go gung-ho about it. It was an operational necessity. It was a security necessity. It had to be done. I would urge everyone to move on from here and not escalate (tensions) further,” he said.India carried out ‘surgical strikes’ on terror launch pads across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir last night, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists and those harbouring them.The announcement of the sudden action by the army was made today by DGMO Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, 11 days after a terror strike by Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM on an Indian army camp in Uri in Kashmir which left 18 soldiers dead.After the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the attackers will not go “unpunished” and that the sacrifice of 18 jawans will not go in vain. PTIMaj Gen G D Bakshi, who was involved in counter-terroristMaj Gen G D Bakshi, who was involved in counter-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and has been a former DGMO, said it is a “long-pending debt” that has been paid back by the special forces in a precise operation. He said the forces kept these people under surveillance over the last week and identified and destroyed five launch pads used by terrorists for infiltration into the Indian side.”It is a long pending debt that has been paid back today. They were kept under surveillance and when these launch pads were filled with terrorists for a crossover, our special forces were inserted very neatly, precisely and created mayhem there. They destroyed those camps and launch pads, causing substantial casualties,” Bakshi said.Air Marshal P S Ahluwalia, former C-in-C of Western Command said India first carried out a diplomatic offensive, then economic and finally the military one “to show that we have the tactical strength at least in carrying out these kinds of surgical military operations”.He said Pakistan would be in “denial mode” as it will not accept the ‘surgical strikes’ and will keep calling it artillery fire and infiltration, but called for more vigilance as Islamabad will retaliate.”I’m sure we are prepared,” Ahluwalia said, adding “there is no doubt that neither Pakistan nor India wants to escalate this and carry out a war”.Former Air Marshal P K Barbora congratulated the forces for carrying out the operation at an “appropriate time” and without rushing it through. He said there is cooperation and tie-up between the Army, Navy and Air Force so that we are prepared in case Pakistan wants to escalate the situation. “We are quite ready. Now it is upto them. Plans exist to cater to any kind of escalation,” he said.Former Navy official Commodore G J Singh justified the strike, saying Indian forces entered into Indian territory occupied by Pakistan and said the neighbouring country understands only such military pressure.”We have entered in our integral part of India. PoK is part of India. If we have gone in there, it is a step in the right direction,” he said.Hitting out at Pakistan, Singh said, “The essence of Pakistan is altogether different. They don’t any longer understand as their mindset is different. The only language they understand is when we apply military pressure.”

No recent case of misuse of AFSPA in North East: Army

Defending the imposition of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the North East, the Army on Monday said there was no recent cases of misuse of the law in the region.”In Eastern Command, during the time I have spent here, there has not been a single incident which has been reported where AFSPA has not been used for the right reason,” Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi said. He said if there was any breach of AFSPA it was dealt with firmly by the Army.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If the Army is required to handle insurgency, we require AFSPA. If we don’t have AFSPA, our hands are tied and we cannot do our job. It is an enabling provision and not a draconian provision,” he said. Various human rights organisations have long been demanding repeal of the AFSPA which they call a “draconian” law. In Manipur, rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila has been on a fast-unto-death for 15 years demanding withdrawal of AFSPA. She is forcibly nose-fed at a government hospital in Imphal.

VVIP chopper scam: CBI grills former IAF chief’s cousins and advocate Gautam Khaitan

CBI questioned cousins of former Indian Air Force Chief S P Tyagi–Sanjeev, Rajeev and Sandeep– besides advocate Gautam Khaitan for nearly eight hours asking exhaustively about finances, firms established by them and their relations with European middlemen in Agusta Westland VVIP helicopter deal. The sources said questioning revolved around accounts of IDS Tunisia and remittances received by it. They said some documents which Khaitan was not carrying yesterday were brought by him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CBI claimed that Khaitan was being evasive during questioning and “concealing” information. Agency sources said the Managing Director of IDS Infotech Partap K Aggarwal and CEO of Aeromatrix Info Solutions Pvt.Ltd Praveen Bakshi have been called in connection with its probe in the case. It is believed that their firms were used to route alleged bribe money in India. Former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi has also been called on Monday again for a fresh round of questioning. The sources said Aggarwal, Bakshi and Tyagi have been called after some new facts have emerged during the questioning of the four accused today.Sanjeev Tyagi has not denied his relations with European middlemen Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa saying that they know him five to six years before the order was placed.He has said that the payments received by him were for power sector jobs which were all received through proper banking channels with income tax paid on them. He has said that payments received from middlemen were not for helicopter deal but for some power sector job.

JNU row: No room for sedition in a democratic country, says Admiral Ramdas

The slapping of sedition charges on JNU students for holding an event is “ridiculous” and there is no room for any such law in a democratic country, former Navy chief Admiral (retd) Lakshminarayan Ramdas said in Saturday.Ramdas who was addressing the JNU students during a lecture titled “De-militarisation of nationalism”, said, “they are all doctored videos. Even if anti-national slogans were raised did anybody verify who shouted them. Booking random students for sedition is ridiculous. There is no room for any such law in a democratic country”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ramdas who visited the campus to express solidarity with the three arrested students — Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya, said, “no nation can be strong just by posing its military might, nation is built of its people”.”The security agencies and government should first see if the case is worth filing sedition. The idea of nationalism is not restricted only to the military and its men, in fact it is a much broader term. Nationalism is a 17th century thing which started in Europe and we are still applying it in the 21st century. Moreover, it is an idea that should be boundary less, not restricted to only a few people,” he added.Three days ago, some ex-servicemen including retired colonel G D Bakshi had come to the university to meet the administration including the Vice Chancellor and Registrar and had suggested that an army tank be put up on the campus to instill nationalism in students.To this, the Registrar had responded saying that the administration is mulling over the idea of having a martyr wall and displaying such “nationalism symbols” on campus.

Suspected spy sent to police remand till February 10

The 30-year-old labourer arrested on espionage charges was on Wednesday remanded in police custody till February 10 by a local court.”He (Irshad) has been sent to police remand for one week,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Pathankot, R K Bakshi said.Irshad, a resident of Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, was working as a labourer at Mamoon Cantonment in Pathankot, from where he was arrested.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police had recovered a smart phone from him which contained pictures of vital installations and sensitive equipment in the cantonment area.Irshad was reportedly caught making calls to Pakistan which were tracked by intelligence agencies. His arrest came within a month of the terror attack at the Pathankot air base, which houses fighter jets and attack helicopters, in which seven security personnel and six militants were killed.According to the police, Irshad was being handled by a person called Sajjad, who was earlier stated to have been arrested by J-K police. Sajjad used to collect sensitive information from Irshad and then passed on to his Pakistani handlers who could be ISI, the police has said.

Punjab and Delhi on alert as driver of missing cab found dead

Police in Punjab and Delhi on Friday sounded an alert after the driver of a taxi hired by three unidentified persons was found dead in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra, in the aftermath of the terror attack on Pathankot air base.”We have sounded an alert in our area (Pathankot). We are taking this matter very seriously and we are making efforts to locate the missing taxi,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Pathnakot, R K Bakshi said on Friday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The taxi driver, identified as Vijay Kumar, a resident of Gaggal village in Kangra district, was found dead on Wednesday at the Kalta bridge in Kangra and his taxi missing, police said. However, the SSP said the white-colour Alto taxi with registration number HP 01D 2440 was not hired from Pathankot.”Neither the taxi was hired from Pathankot nor the incident (recovery of body) has happened here (Pathankot),” he said.Noting that he had got the matter inquired, Bakshi said three Punjabi-speaking persons had hired the taxi from Gaggal in Kangra district for Pathankot.”Three Punjabi-speaking people had hired the taxi from Gaggal at 8 pm on January 14. But on Wednesday, the body of the driver was recovered from the subdivision Jawali in HP which is about 40-50 kms from Pathankot,” he said.Police in the national capital also sounded an alert and asked citizens to stay vigilant.”The Alto car is missing. Search operations are on. Stay Alert!” the pinned tweet on Delhi Police’s official handle read.Asked on the threat perception, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi urged people in the city to remain alert without disclosing any further details citing security concerns. The alert was issued in the backdrop of the attack on IAF base in Pathankot where terrorists had first killed a cab driver and robbed his car before launching the strike on January 2.Seven security personnel were killed and several others injured in the terror strike carried out by militants suspected to be belonging to Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed. All six terrorists were also killed in the gun fight that continued for three days.

Delhi Court frees man of rape charges, terms it consensual

A Delhi court has acquitted a man of the charges of raping a woman on false pretext of marriage observing that the two, being in the prime of their youth, had consensual intimate relations in “youthful eagerness”.Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhatt, while acquitting Haryana resident Vikul Bakshi on the basis of the victim’s “contradictory and inconsistent” statements, said the prosecution failed to prove charges against the accused.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It appears that the two, being in the prime of their youth, were having sexual relations with each other in youthful eagerness and nothing else,” the court said.It further said, “There is no evidence on record to suggest that the prosecutrix had given her consent to physical relations with the accused solely on the latter’s promise to marry her or that he was having knowledge that she consented to physical relations with him only on promise to marry her.”The judge said the consent of the victim to establish physical relations with the accused appears to be voluntary and uninfluenced by any promise or assurance.According to prosecution, the woman had lodged a case against Vikul under sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC alleging that the accused forced upon her twice against her consent on false pretext of marriage and threatened to defame her if she insisted upon marrying her.However, relying on the messages exchanged between them on social networking sites, the court said it “clearly indicates that the prosecutrix herself was eager to have sexual relation with the accused and she was not doing so on any promise of marriage with him.”The court said the perusal of these messages show that these are not normal routine messages and the woman and the accused have been discussing the manner in which they would enjoy the intimate act.”Hence these messages demonstrate that the prosecutrix was a consenting partner to physical relations with the accused and she herself had been eager to enjoy sex with him and the plan to have sexual encounter December 11, 2014 had been made well in advance and it was not spontaneous,” it said.