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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of service.Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also took charge as the 25th Air Force Chief replacing Anup Raha.Gen Rawat superseded two senior most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.Lt Gen Bakshi, who heads the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command, announced “full support” to the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 meets Manohar Parrikar, officials term it ‘courtesy call’

New Delhi: Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who was superseded along with another senior officer in selection of the new army chief, met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday, amid speculation that he may seek premature retirement or will be given a new role by the government.

Defence Ministry officials termed the meeting as a “courtesy call”.

They said the meeting was sought by Lt Gen Bakshi, contrary to initial claims by army sources that Parrikar had sought the meeting. Lt Gen Bakshi also met with Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag after meeting Parrikar.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Dalbir Singh is set to visit the Eastern Command in Kolkata shortly as part of his farewell tour. The army chief will hang his boots on 31 December.

A section of military experts feel that Lt Gen Bakshi may seek premature retirement. However, the process may take a month or two, sources said, adding that during this period he may go on leave.

Lt Gen Bakshi was initially the front runner for the post of the army chief. However, keeping aside the trend of seniority being the lone criteria, the government appointed Vice Chief of Army Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, a batch junior to Lt Gen Bakshi, as the new chief.

Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, was found best suited among three officers to deal with challenges like cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and the situation with Pakistan, both areas which the government felt will be under focus for the next two-three years.

Another section of military experts claimed that Lt Bakshi may become the new Chief of Defence Staff, a post that has been hanging fire for the last many years.

While the creation of such a post is in “active consideration” of the government, it is unlikely that it will happen soon, they claimed.

The Centre had on 17 December appointed Lt Gen Rawat as the new army chief superseding his two senior officers — Lt Gen Bakshi and Southern Command Chief Lt Gen PM Hariz.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 20:11 IST

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

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.

DNA Morning Must Reads: New Army, Air Force chief; RBI officials held in currency fraud & more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next Army chief, Air Marshal Birender Dhanoa to head Air ForceThe Centre on Saturday named Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, Vice-Chief of the Indian Army as the next Army chief, succeeding General Dalbir Singh Suhag. The decision could trigger a controversy as Rawat has superseded Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who is heading the Eastern Command, and Lt Gen PM Hariz, heading the Southern Command. Read moreTwo more RBI officials held in currency exchange fraud, arrests a big blow to regulatorTwo more officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Saturday for their alleged role in currency conversion fraud cases. Read moreThree soldiers killed in militant attack on Army convoy in J&KMilitants sent a chilling reminder to the Mehbooba Mufti-led government on Saturday when they attacked an Army convoy on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu National Highway at Kadlabal, Pampore, in south Kashmir, leaving at least three army men dead. Read moreCricket prodigy Pranav Dhanawade’s brush with lawFifteen-year-old Pranav Dhanawade from Kalyan, who took the cricket world by storm with his 1,000-run world record knock in a local game in Mumbai in January 2016, was on Saturday detained by the police after he allegedly got into a spat with them on being prevented from practising on a ground being used as a makeshift helipad for a Union minister’s visit to the city. Read moreNo New Year cheer for gay couples as restaurants, bars shut their doorsSame sex couples wanting to ring in the New Year with a bang are in for a rude shock. Not only are high-end bars and nightclubs turning them away, they are actively stating that they will only accept heterosexual couples. Read more

Cyclone Vardah to cross south coast of Andhra, Met dept issues alert for fishermen

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Meteorological Department has issued a cyclone alert for fishermen and advised them not to venture into Andhra Coast. According to the alert, the severe cyclonic storm Vardah over Bay of Bengal is south-east about 580 km south east of Nellore, 550 km east-southeast of Machilipatnam and 540 km east-northeast of Chennai. It is likely to move northwest and cross the coast between Nellore and Machilipatnam by Monday. It is likely to maintain its intensity till Sunday evening and thereafter, likely to weaken gradually while moving towards south Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts.The cyclone alert said that squally winds and rough to very rough sea conditions are expected along and off Andhra Pradesh and North Tamil Nadu coasts.Under its influence, light to moderate rainfall at many places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls over south coastal Andhra and adjoining areas of north coastal Tamil Nadu likely to commence from today evening, with squally winds speed reaching 40-50 kmph and gusting to 60 kmph prevailing along and off Andhra Pradesh and adjoining Tamil Nadu coasts beginning tonight.Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu cancelling his visit to Dubai got into disaster management mode to monitor the situation. After assessing the situation he appointed four special officers to handle the cyclone effect each in Nellore, Chittoor, Prakasam and Kadapa districts, which are under threat to alert people and mobilise them in the areas where the impact would be high.The State government has set up a control room at the Command Communication Centre in Vijayawada under NDMA with helpline number 0866-2488000. The district administrations along the south coastal Andhra have asked the Revenue, Panchayat Raj and Irrigation department officials to remain in the headquarters and prepare for contingency measures.

Pentagon credits Ashton Carter with ‘spearheading’ deepening of India-US defence cooperation

Washington: In less than two years after becoming the US Defence Secretary, Ashton Carter made a record three trips to India and had an unprecedented seven meetings with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, spearheading efforts to deepen and broaden US-India defence cooperation.

In his many years at the Pentagon in various capacities, Carter “spearheaded efforts to deepen and broaden” bilateral defence cooperation with India, the Pentagon said in a fact-sheet released yesterday as Carter concluded his final trip to India in his capacity as the defence secretary.

As a result of his efforts, the Pentagon said, the US and India have improved mutual understanding of their respective defence institutions, are exchanging perspectives and coordinating policy approaches in new areas, reinvigorating military-to-military engagements, launching path-breaking cooperative technology projects and pushing bilateral defence trade to unprecedented levels.

“Today, the United States and India are closer than ever to realising their Joint Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region,” the Pentagon said.

In recent years, the US and India have engaged in what Carter has dubbed a “strategic handshake” between the two countries as American policy of rebalance to the Asia Pacific converges with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s “Act East” policy.

“This has been complemented by a ‘technological handshake’ through which we have sought to leverage our respective industrial and technological capabilities to meet mutual security needs,” the fact sheet said.

The strategic handshake accomplishments include “the US finalised India’s designation as a ‘Major Defense Partner’ today,” the Pentagon said.

The US Congress on Thursday formally passed the legislation in this regard as included in the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017.

File photo of Ashton Carter. Reuters

File photo of US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter. Reuters

The two countries launched a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue in April 2016; President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Modi issued the Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region in January 2015; and Carter and Parrikar signed the Framework for the US-India Defense Relationship in June 2015.

Carter was the first US Defense Secretary to visit Indian Eastern Naval Command in Vizakhapatnam in December 2015; annual naval exercise MALABAR expanded to include Japan as permanent member and India twice participated with a ship in the biennial Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise – in 2014 and 2016 – hosted by US Pacific Command after observing the exercise since 2006.

Among other accomplishments under strategic handshake are Indian Air Force resumed participation in Exercise RED FLAG in Spring 2016, US and India concluded Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in August 2016 and the two countries for the first time conducted a joint peacekeeping course in New Delhi in August 2016, with plans to conduct follow-on iterations of the joint course in 2017.

In the Technological Handshake, the Pentagon said that in 2012, United States and India launched the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

Under DTTI, the US and India have launched seven joint working groups to explore collaborative projects and programs and signed two Science and Technology government-to-government project agreements – the Next Generation Protective Ensembles and Mobile Hybrid Power Sources – worth roughly $2 million.

Since 2008, US-India defense trade has increased from roughly $1 billion to over $14 billion, including Indian procurement of 13 Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules aircraft, 10 C-17 Globemaster and 12 P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Boeing, as well as 22 AH-64 Apache and 15 CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

In December 2016, the US and India signed a deal worth approximately $732 million to provide the Indian Army with 145 M777 Howitzer guns, the Pentagon said.

In 2012, Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) and Lockheed Martin established a joint venture to produce C-130J Super Hercules airframe components.

The 50th empennage was delivered in September 2016.

TASL also has a joint venture with Sikorsky, established in 2011, to co-produce S-92 helicopter cabins.

In June 2016, TASL and Boeing announced a Hyderabad-based joint venture to manufacture components for Apache helicopters and collaborate on integrated systems development opportunities in India, the Pentagon said.

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 13:22 IST

Three Army officers killed in copter crash in West Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three Army officers were killed and a junior commissioned officer was critically injured on Wednesday when a Cheetah helicopter crashed at Sukna Military Camp in West Bengal.Lt Colonel Rajneesh Kumar, Major Sanjeev Lathar and Major Arvind Bazala died by the time they reached hospital, and the condition of a jawan was critical.Army officials said the five-seater chopper crashed around 11.45 am when it was returning to the camp’s helipad at Sukna, near Silgirui, from a routine mission. The Army’s 33 Corps is based at Sukna and all aircraft of the Army are run by Army Aviation Corps.While three officers died on the spot, a JCO was evacuated and admitted to a hospital in a critical condition. “The copter was on a routine mission. It crashed as it was trying to land, a spokeswoman of the Army’s Eastern Command said.

Kashmir conflict: Let’s wean back local militants, says Northern Army commander-in-chief

The outgoing commander-in-chief of the Jammu and Kashmir-based Northern Command, Lieutenant-General DS Hooda, has emphasised the need to improve processes for drawing back into society Kashmiris who had taken to arms.

“Can we do something to get the boys back? That is the concern,” he says, highlighting an aspect of counterinsurgency that most tough-talking militaristic minds tend to neglect, while focussing instead on ‘kills’ and ‘catches’. Hooda, who retires at the end of the month, is keenly aware of the importance of this concern. He and the officers and men under his command have had their hands full as a new militancy has rapidly gained ground over the past year-and-a-half, and large-scale protests and unrest have kept the Kashmir Valley on the boil through the summer and autumn.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Those with a less nuanced perspective might have expected him to talk of the need for battle preparations, fortifications and reinforcements. But it is a measure of how much the army brass has evolved since the ‘proxy-war’-oriented phase of the second half of the 1990s that Hooda emphasises the need to win back those Kashmiris who have at some point taken up arms.

To be sure, he has quietly gone about the core tasks of the army too; extraordinary steps have been taken since mid-September in terms of war preparedness. But Hooda has not lost sight of other priorities in what must be a multi-pronged strategy.

Local sentiment is one of the most important priorities. Each death of a local boy can have a multiplying effect. “The more (a) local is killed, (the more) you will have a reaction,” as Hooda says. For more than a year now, the funerals of young militants killed in action have been highly emotional events, drawing large crowds — and inspiring fresh teenagers to become militants.

These young recruits are sometimes jolted by the less-romantic reality they confront when they leave their homes. So surrender must be made easier — and the rehabilitation of former militants into society made smooth.

The rules only allow militants to surrender at four specified points — two trade and crossing points on the Line of Control, the Wagah border, and Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Hooda points out that each of those points is hazardous for those who might want to surrender. For, Pakistani officials keep a hawk-eye on those who want to cross at Wagah and the specified trade and transit points. In fact, it takes several weeks to get through the red tape of permissions that are required to use those crossing points.

The result is that many of those who actually want to surrender try and get to Nepal and then cross the border into India — or find their way surreptitiously across the Line of Control or border. But using either of those methods puts them on the wrong side of the rules. Since they cannot technically surrender thus, they can be treated as terrorists, and of course the laws for that category are daunting.

The trouble for an army commander such as Hooda is that this causes many of those who may changed their minds after getting to Pakistan to remain in the ranks of militants. And, any smart strategist knows that, even if a local militant is often less lethal than a foreigner, a local draws in the wider support of the community — and that can be a far greater challenge in a situation like Kashmir.

The general also refers critically to the post-surrender dimension of policy. “There is no rehabilitation dimension, as far as the surrender policy is concerned.”

Indeed, the message that goes out from those who have surrendered in the past is that it leads to a life of social, economic and political marginalisation, shame and harassment. In many cases, special cells of the local police demand that a surrendered militant report to them regularly, and then force them to do what those cells require.

If militants felt assured that they would be protected by law-enforcers, and be able to fruitfully resume their places as respectable members of society, it might attract more militants to surrender.

For, there are many who realie that the life of a militant is not actually as wonderfully as it is romanticised to be.

First Published On : Nov 28, 2016 07:45 IST

Army foils two infiltration bids, pushes back terrorists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after Pakistani Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) called up his Indian counterpart, alert troops forced a group of Pakistan-backed to take a hasty retreat after they tried to sneak-in from two sectors of the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir.“Two infiltration attempts foiled in last 18 hours. Alert troops pushed back intruders in Gulmarg and Nowgam sectors after heavy exchange of fire”, tweeted Northern Command of the Indian army.The first infiltration bid was foiled in Gulmarg sector on Wednesday when alert troops deployed on the LoC noticed suspicious movement. Troops challenged the intruders, who opened heavy volume of fire. Indian army retaliated and the exchange of fire continued for few hours before the terrorists took a retreat back to Pakistan occupied Kashmir.Hours later in the morning, Indian troops noticed the suspicious movement in Nowgam sector of Kupwara district. “There was an attempted infiltration. This was intercepted. It was fired upon. Exchange of fire took place at both the places and they were forced to flee back”, said an army spokesman. The infiltration bids were foiled a day after Indian army launched a punitive fire assault on Pakistani posts in different sectors of Line of Control in a bid to avenge the killing of three soldiers in the Machhal sector on Tuesday.

Indigenously designed guided missile destroyer ‘INS Chennai’ commissioned in Indian Navy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday commissioned ‘INS Chennai’, the third indigenously designed guided missile destroyer in the Kolkata class, in Mumbai.Built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in Mumbai, the ship’s construction also marks the end of the Project 15A to build Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers.Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, was also present on the occasion.With an overall length of 164 metres and displacement of over 7,500 tons, ‘INS Chennai’ is one of the largest destroyers in the Indian Navy’s fleet.The ship is armed with supersonic surface-to-surface BrahMos missiles and Barak-8 long range surface-to-air missiles.The ship is going to be assigned to the western fleet after completion of some additional trials of systems deployed on it. It is the final destroyer ship in this class.The first ship of the class, named ‘INS Kolkata’, was commissioned on August 16, 2014, followed by ‘INS Kochi’ which was commissioned on September 30, 2015.The third destroyer will be placed under the operational and administrative control of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command.

Indian Army rejects Pakistan’s claim of killing 11 soldiers along LoC

New Delhi: Indian Army on Thursday denied Pakistan’s claim of killing its soldiers after Pakistani Army Chief Raheel Sharif said 11 Indian soldiers were killed in cross border firing on 14 November.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“No fatal casualties due to Pak firing on 14, 15 or 16 Nov. Pak Army Chief claim of killing Indian soldiers on 14 Nov false,” Northern Command of Indian Army said in a tweet.

According to a report in Dawn newspaper, General Sharif on Wednesday said 11 Indian soldiers were killed on 14 November after Pakistan Army “responded to unprovoked firing”.

On 14 November, Pakistan had said seven of its soldiers were killed in firing by Indian troops along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Also on the same day, one terrorist was killed by Indian soldiers while attempting infiltration amid Pakistan Army’s shelling and firing at one of three Indian positions on the LoC in Rajouri and Jammu districts.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 10:18 IST

India will defend sovereignty with all its might: President Pranab Mukherjee

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While India is committed to peace, it will use all its “might” to protect the sovereignty of the nation drawing strength from its armed forces, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Thursday. “India’s increasing eminence in the comity of nations also draws its strength from the ever increasing capabilities of our armed forces. Though we remain firmly committed to peace, we will use all our might to protect the sovereignty of our nation, and I am confident that our valiant men and women in uniform will rise to the occasion to meet the challenges triumphantly,” he said.Mukherjee, the supreme commander of the armed forces, was speaking after presenting the President’s Standards to the 501 Signals Unit, based in Barnala, and 30 Squadron, raised in Tezpur, Assam, at the Indian Air Force base here.The 30 Squadron operates the combat superior Sukhoi-30MKI fighter aircraft to secure Indian skies in times of peace and war. The President’s Standards are given to armed forces units which render exceptional and dedicated service over a period of time.The President said the country’s armed forces, exemplified by the air warriors, epitomise “grit and determination” in fulfilling their responsibilities by upholding the highest standards of service ethos. He praised the Indian Air Force for being at the “cutting edge” of county’s military might and for being at the forefront of disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations.The 30 Squadron of the IAF was raised on November 1, 1969 and at present the unit is located at Pune under the control of South Western Air Command. The 501 Signals Unit has been entrusted with the responsibility of defending the Punjab Sector against the western adversary. The unit is located at Barnala in Punjab under the functional control of HQ Western Air Command. The unit commenced operations right from its inception in 1966. In the 1971 Indo-Pak War, the unit proved its mettle by providing uninterrupted surveillance and tactical control over air defence weapons in the Punjab sector.The President asked both the IAF units decorated today to “uphold their rich traditions” and operate as a formidable fighting force in the years to come. A display by the famed helicopter-borne ‘Surya Kiran’ acrobatics team and other drills by IAF soldiers was conducted during the event. Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Sonaki, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Health Minister Anil Vij, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Air Marshal SB Deo were among those present on the occasion.

Pakistan resorts to shelling, one jawan killed; India damages 3 Pak posts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An army jawan was killed as Pakistani troops resorted to shelling on Indian posts and civilian areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu and Kashmir, inviting a strong response in which three Pakistani military posts were said to have been damaged.”One jawan has been martyred in Pakistan shelling along LoC in Naushera sector of Rajouri district today,” said an officer of Army’s Northern Command.Firing by Pakistani troops along LoC in Naushera sector started around 8:45 am on Tuesday.”Heavy exchange of fire is going on. Heavy damage has been caused to Pakistan Army posts. Their three posts have been damaged,” a senior army official said. In another case of ceasefire violation, Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district from around 1345 hours. Indian troops guarding the border, retaliated resulting in exchanges.”Pakistani troops used 120 mm mortars and automatic weapons during the ceasefire violation,” a defence spokesman said, adding befitting reply was given to them without any casualty on the Indian side.Meanwhile, two jawans are reported to have been injured in shelling by Pakistan in Kalal belt along LoC. It may be recalled that Pakistani troops had violated ceasefire and resorted to firing in Mankote and Balakote areas of Mendhar sector in Poonch district yesterday.Earlier, on November 6, two army jawans were killed and five others–two soldiers, a BSF officer and two women–were injured as Pakistani army opened fire in an attempt to facilitate two infiltration bids along the LoC in Krishna Ghati and Poonch sectors of Poonch district.There have been over 100 ceasefire violations on Indian posts and civilian areas along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir after the surgical strike.

J&K: Grenades, explosives recovered from terrorists confirms Pak connection in Naugam attack: Army

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two days after the four militants were killed while trying to infiltrate from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK), Indian Army on Saturday said that the grenades, explosives and other materials recovered from terrorists killed in Naugam operation confirmed Pakistan’s connection.The army, during the intervening night of October five and six foiled three infiltration bids along the LoC — two in Naugam sector and one in Rampur — of North Kashmir, killing four terrorists.”Four terrorists were eliminated by Army on the LoC in Naugam sector on 06 Oct 16. Pakistan Ordinance factory markings on the hand grenades and the UBGL grenades recovered from the terrorists, confirms Pakistan complicity in abetting and equipping terrorism,” said Northern Command in the release posted on its official Twitter account.”The hand grenades recovered are ARGES 84 which are manufactured by Pakistan Ordinance Factory. Pakistan origin markings are also seen on the medicines and eatable items recovered,” the release said.”A large number of highly inflammable material, like six plastic explosive slabs, bottles of petroleum jelly, six bottles of inflammable liquid and six lighters were also recovered. Similarinflammable material was recovered at Poonch Incident of 11 September and Uri Incident of 18 September,” it added.Stating that this showed the sinister design of Pakistan to aid terrorists in causing maximum destruction, the Northern Command also listed other items recovered from the terrorists including- 1) AK 47 Rifles – 04 (2) Magazine AK 47- 16 (3) AMN -349 Rds (4) Radio set- 1 (5) GPS- 1 (6) Binocular- 1 (7) Wire cutter -2 (8) Samsung mobile – 1 (9) Rain Ponchos & Haversack- 4(each) (10) First Aid kit (11) Clothing and eatable items.The infiltration bids came barely a day after National Security Advisor Ajit Doval reportedly briefed the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) that the Pakistani army had mobilised about 100 terrorists across the LoC to push them into India to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.The Indian army had carried out surgical strikes on September 29, crossing over the LoC in Kupwara sector in the Kashmir Valley and Poonch in Jammu region, destroying launch pads meant for terrorists. It was believed that nearly a dozen terrorists were killed in Kel, Lipa and Bhimber Gali and given a quiet burial.

Army Chief meets troops who did surgical strike across LOC, conveys appreciation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army Chief Dalbir Singh on Saturday visited the Northern and Western Commands to review India’s operational preparedness along the border with Pakistan in the wake of heightened tension between the two countries following the surgical strike at terror camps across the LoC.The Army Chief was briefed by top commanders in both the crucial commands about the prevailing situation and their overall preparedness and contingency plans. At the Udhampur headquarters of the Northern Command, which planned and executed the surgical strike, General Singh interacted with the special forces personnel who successfully carried out the operation. He was briefed by Lt Gen DS Hooda, GOC-in-C Northern Command on the overall security situation in the Command theatre.”The Army Chief interacted with the Corps Commanders and took a first hand assessment of the prevailing security situation and operational preparedness,” a top army official in the Northern Command said. He said General Singh also interacted with the troops who participated in the surgical strike operation and conveyed his appreciation for the successful operation. Singh personally complimented officers and men who “successfully” targeted seven terror launch pads located in Leepa, Tattapani, Kel and Bhimbar.”The Army Chief was briefed on the operational matters by GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lt Gen Surinder Singh,” a defence spokesman said in Chandigarh. “The Army Chief interacted with senior formation commanders and exhorted them to continue to maintain the highest vigil and alertness on the western borders,” he said. Sources had said the decision on the surgical strike was taken soon after the attack on the Uri army base on September 18. They said India was ready with contingency plans considering the possibilities that Pakistan may retaliate in the wake of the surgical strike.It has been estimated that the number of casualties was at least 40 on Pakistani side but there was no official confirmation. The Army has also trashed reports in Pakistan about Indian casualties during the operation, saying one member of the special forces received minor injury while returning but it was not due to any enemy or terrorist action.

Army chief visits Northern Command after cross-LoC strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Army Chief Dalbir Singh on Saturday visited the Northern Command based here to take stock of India’s operational preparedness along the border in the wake of heightened tension in Indo Pak ties following the surgical strike targeting terror camps across LoC.”Gen Singh arrived at Northern Command headquarters this morning and chaired a high-level meeting to review the situation and operational preparedness in Jammu and Kashmir, including along the Line of Control,” a Defence official said.The surgical strike, seen as a reprisal for Uri terror attack, was planned and executed by the Northern Command.Singh also personally complimented officers and men who “successfully” targeted seven terror launch pads located in Leepa, Tattapani, Kel and Bhimbar, the official said.He is scheduled to visit army’s Western Command to review operational preparedness.Sources had said the decision on the surgical strike was taken soon after the attack on the Uri army base on September 18. They said India was ready with contingency plans considering the possibilities that Pakistan may retaliate in the wake of the surgical strike.It has been estimated that number of casualties was at least 40 on Pakistani side but there was no official confirmation.The Army has also trashed reports in Pakistan about Indian casualties during the operation, saying one member of the special forces received minor injury while returning but it was not due to any enemy or terrorist action.

Uri payback: Decoding the role of Indian Army’s Special Forces in the surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days after terrorists stuck at an Army camp in Uri on September 18, a group of the Army’s Special Forces (SF), acting on specific information, crossed the Line of Control between the Rajouri and Poonch sectors into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to attack the launching pads where terrorists had positioned themselves.This is not the first instance of surgical strikes or cross-border raid operations, but it is one of the few times when the Indian military has publicly owned up to the operation. Last year, the Special Forces had crossed into Myanmar and targeted the Naga insurgent group NSCN(K) following the strike on an army convoy in Manipur killing 18 soldiers.In military circles, the Special Forces are called the ones that act on a ‘quid pro quo’ basis. Highly trained to not only cause a surprise direct military attack, they also carry out covert operations in enemy territory, making the SF — force multipliers. They do not hold ground. They are employed in small groups to a minimum of five men and operate independently.dna spoke with Lt Gen P C Katoch, a retired Special Forces veteran who has fought in the 1971 war and commanded the Special Forces Unit in Sri Lanka. He had also authored a book on India’s Special Forces to help readers know more about the Special Forces, the cross-border operation in PoK, and what role are they tasked for.Can you elaborate on this surgical strike?The cross-border operation was a tactical raid. After the Uri attack, the Army had selected its targets and they were put under constant surveillance, waiting and looking for the opportunity on when to strike. The SF, attached with the Northern Command, were given these targets. The strikes were not conducted in one location but were widely dispersed in four different areas in the South and North of Pir Panjal where the 25 Division, 28 Division and 19 Division is deployed.How did the SF enter PoK?The SF were dropped in low-flying helicopters on the Indian side and then they crossed the LoC and entered PoK. They went in the dead of the night and before the break of the first light, came back. Till the operation got over their activity was monitored. Only after the SF’s came back to Indian territory, did the Pakistan front line open firing. They were taken by surprise because they never expected India to react in this matter. And now the political and military leadership is in a quandry and in denial.There is always an element of deniability when SF are employed in operations.Yes, that’s right. These are only short cross border raids. The SF also provide the government with an opportunity to be employed at the strategic level on politico-military missions. In covert operations, you cannot put your signature. This is so that no one can point fingers at you. SF operations are all ambiguous signatures.How long does it take for such a raid to manifest from the planning stage to actual operation?In the case of cross-border raids, targets are already chosen beforehand and it doesn’t take more than 24 hours to deploy the SF. But in the case of the operations on Thursday, where the target terrorist camps keep shifting, it may take some time to mark the exact location. There is no point in conducting a cross-border raid to a launchpad when no one is there. Post the Uri attack, the terrorist camps were moved backward and the forward launch pads kept shifting from the LoC. Heavy surveillance, including the use of satellites, was made to locate the movement that was taking place in the target area. So it’s hard to say when the strike would be made. Once the targets are chosen, there are rehearsals for the operation, ammunition is stocked and men are earmarked.What is the SF tasked out for?Special Forces are used in half political-half military missions at strategic levels. Direct action, like a cross border tactical raid, is just one of the tasks that the SF is trained for. The other is to carry strategic surveillance of areas important to you, mostly done through human intelligence which is of prime importance. The second is to get hold of the fault lines of the adversary and the third is to mould the perceptions in your favour.The SF do not create insurgencies but they fan insurgencies to suit the national interest. For example, today the biggest problem for India is that the Pakistan military is out of control conducting sub-conventional warfare in our territory. And we want them to be totally involved in only their country. How do we do this? By creating situations, where they will fan out there. By sending trained terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir Pakistan is keeping the Indian army tied up. The SF is thus acting as a quid pro quo.What is the role of SF in full-time conventional war?During the Kargil war, the military was not allowed to cross the LoC. In case of a conventional war the SF will help in military operations, some of which would be already on the enemy side while others would be tasked as cross-border once war is declared. In the 1965 war, the SF went across to the Pakistan side and raided the gun area and again in the 1971 war, there were raids across East Pakistan. Today, though I must say, India has not made the optimum utilisation of the SF. They are force multipliers, they will not hold the ground. They do the job and move out or do as tasked upon.

dna exclusive: The inside tale of Indian Army’s daring surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Army on Thursday crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and inflicted heavy casualties on terrorist launch pads based in Pak Occupied Kashmir (PoK). A rare cross-border surgical strikes was carried out by the Indian Army’s elite Special Forces (SF), 11 days after Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) terrorists killed 18 Indian Army soldiers and amidst growing clamour within India for retaliation.Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lieutenant General Ranbir Singh in a briefing said, “Based on specific and credible inputs that some terrorist teams had positioned themselves at launch pads along Line of Control to carry out infiltration and conduct terrorist strikes inside Jammu and Kashmir and in various metros in other states, the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to preempt infiltration by terrorists.”“I have been in touch with Pakistan Army DGMO and have informed him of our actions. It is India’s intention to maintain peace and tranquillity in the region,” he said further.Though he did not share more operation details, reliable Army sources, both at the headquarters here and in Northern Command said that seven terrorist launch pads and camps were destroyed by the troops of 4 and 9 para special forces leading to 40 odd casualties on their side. Two Indian Army soldiers were also injured but safely brought back and are being treated at an army hospital.The entire operation went on from 12.30 AM to 4. 30 AM was a combination of heliborne and ground forces and no Indian chopper crossed over the LoC even as para troopers were air dropped at advanced pre decided locations near the LoC, sources said.Special Forces, divided into three groups went up to three kilometres inside PoK. They were divided in three groups and carried out the attack in Lepa valley, Tatta Pani and Bimber areas across LoC even as India fired heavy artillery guns to divert attention so that the SF troops could sneak in. Sources also told dna that while the three service chiefs met defence minister Manohar Parrikar hours before the operation. While the DGMO monitored the operation from the war room at South Block, at the tactical headquarters of Northern Command in Udhampur, live UAV footage of the operation was being monitored. Curiously, Muzaffarabad-based media- eportedly said that Pakistani Army, around midnight on Wednesday, minutes before the Indian Army assault, had issued an advisory to PoK residents through local media to stay inside. PoK-based media also reported that tourists are vacating the area and movement on road 50% less than on a routine day. They further claimed that besides Pakistani military installations, civilians also bore the brunt of artillery firing.

Uran alert: Search operations over, naval areas sanitised, says defence PRO

A day after a high alert was issued along the Mumbai coast and adjoining areas after a group of armed men were allegedly spotted by a few school children in Uran, the Defence PRO on Friday said that search operations are over and the naval areas have been sanitised.

Few children from Uran Education Society’s school had reportedly spotted some armed men and their had teacher informed the police. After receiving the information, multiple agencies had launched a probe.

The Western Naval Command (WNC) had later issued a “highest state of alert” along the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigad coasts where several sensitive establishments and assets are located.

The National Security Guard (NSG), state police’s specialised commandos Force One and ATS, apart form the Mumbai police and Coast Guard were also roped in for the search operations.

The Navy had deployed its choppers for aerial surveillance and security was beefed up in parts of Mumbai.

A second battalion of the NSG was deployed on Friday. Schools in the region remained shut after the alert was issued. The Navi Mumbai police also released the sketch of one of the five suspects.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had appealed to citizens not to panic on Thursday and said all precautions are being taken. Gujarat coast was also put on high alert and security agencies were asked to keep a close vigil.

Uran alert: CM Devendra Fadnavis appeals to citizens to stay calm, says precautions are being taken

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis appealed to citizens on Thursday not to panic and said all precautions are being taken after a high alert was sounded along the Mumbai coast and adjoining areas on Thursday after a group of men were spotted moving suspiciously near a naval base at Uran in Raigad district.Fadnavis who is enroute to Mumbai from United States, spoke to the state Director General of Police Satish Mathur, Mumbai Police Commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar and Intelligence Commissioner. “CM @Dev_Fadnavis spoke to DGP , @CPMumbaiPolice and Intel Comm. All precautions are being taken. Massive combing operations are on,” the CMO Maharashtra tweeted.”State &Central forces are working in close Cordination. CM @Dev_Fadnavis has appealed citizens not to panic. Situation under close vigil,” it said in another tweet.Security beefed up at JNPTCountry’s largest container port JNPT has beefed up security measures at the port and in the vicinity following a high alert on security issued by law enforcement agencies, a senior official said. “We have beefed up the security measures and alerted all our staff. The CISF, which takes care of our security is on high alert and there has been an increase in the number of personnel out on the field,” a senior port official said.The official said the standard of surveillance in the port spread over 1,500 acres, adjoining to the fishing town of Uran where the suspects were spotted, has been upped, the official said. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) handles over half of the country’s container traffic which contributes significantly to the export-import trade. The official said the port and CISF are coordinating very closely with the local police, Navy and other agencies.Navy’s response to the alertA multi-agency search operations was initiated amidst the alert. “As per the reports, five to six persons were sighted in Pathan suits and appeared to be carrying weapons and backpacks,” Naval spokesperson Cdr Rahul Sinha said in a statement. Some reports said they were in military uniform. The Navy pressed its choppers for aerial surveillance and heightened patrolling in the sea by its vessels and high-speed boats.The Western Naval Command (WNC) issued a “highest state of alert” along the Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Raigad coasts where several sensitive establishments and assets are located. Western India’s biggest naval base, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, fertiliser plants, refineries, power plants and the country’s largest container port, JNPT are located in close vicinity of Uran.The base located close to the town also houses units of MARCOS, the Navy’s elite strike force. Indian Navy’s Chief PRO Capt DK Sharma said the search operation was launched along with Maharashtra police and other agencies.Security situations across MumbaiSecurity has been beefed up at sensitive spots along the coast, including the Gateway of India, Raj Bhavan, offshore oil assets Bombay High, JNPT, BARC and other major establishments near the sea. “Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command expeditiously reacted to the situation by first initiating an alert and informing all coastal security stakeholders… No person has been located or apprehended till now,” Sinha added.Navi Mumbai Commissioner of Police rushed to the spotNavi Mumbai Commissioner of Police, Hemant Nagarale, and senior officials rushed to Uran to review the security situation and gathered details from the children, who spotted the men moving suspiciously.The coastline is guarded by a three-tier network which starts with the local police (with its coastal police stations) closest to the land, followed by the Union Home Ministry-led Coast Guard while the Indian Navy patrols the high seas. NSG deployedTeams of elite anti-terror commando force NSG have been deployed in three locations in Mumbai and another team has been kept ready in Delhi to be flown if required. Teams of National Security Guard, drawn from its Mumbai hub, pre-positioned at three locations in Mumbai and another team is on alert at NSG base in IGI airport in Delhi, official sources said.Precautionary action taken in Mumbai to cut down reaction time in case of any emergency situation, sources said.BackgroundSome children from Uran Education Society’s school first spotted the suspects, and their teacher informed the police, the police said, adding none of them have been traced.The alert comes four days after the terror attack in Uri in which 18 soldiers were killed. Coastal security has been a top priority after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai in which multiple locations in the city were targeted by Pakistani terrorists who landed using the sea route.The fishing town of Uran is located across the eastern water front of the financial capital.With PTI inputs

Boycott threat looms large over pro-India politicians in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The spectre of a ‘social boycott’ looms large over the pro-India politicians after separatists formally issued a public warning to ministers, MLAs and MLCs to quit their seats or be ready to face ostracisation in the restive Kashmir Valley.The warning was issued on the day when joint opposition called on President Pranab Mukherjee, urging him to impress upon the Central government to initiate a credible, meaningful dialogue with no further delay and involving all stakeholders to address the political issue in the state.Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who are jointly supervising the current unrest, issued a poster letter asking pro-India leaders to join “public movement for azadi” before it is too late.”During electioneering you bypassed azadi movement and sought votes from people on the issues of power, water and roads. Some gullible people even voted for you. In fact, you have been using it as mask to support the tyrannical occupation and to hoodwink the international community,” said JRL in the poster letter, which was released through media.JRL has asked people to put up this poster letter on every wall, post and pole around the residence of MLAs, MLCs and ministers to pressurise them to quit forthwith from their posts.”Before your anti-people activities force the masses to socially boycott you, it is better and advisable to shun your treachery and resign, and join the people who are giving umpteen sacrifices for the sacred cause,” said the JRL.The JRL cautioned that the resignation is the only way out for the pro-India politicians to redeem themselves in the society. “When the voices of freedom are clearly being heard in every household, the signs of victory are looking brighter. Without wasting any time you should resign to prove your conscience is alive. Any delay in resignation from assembly will slam all doors of honorable return for you,” said the JRL.The JRL warning comes a day after lieutenant general DS Hooda, general officer commanding in chief (GoC-in-C) of Northern Command, appealed for peace and asked everyone including separatists to sit together to find a way out of the current situation.”Cycle of conflict and violence has been going on for more than 40 days now and no one is going to get away from it unhurt… We need to find a way forward from this. It is not one person or one organisation which can do this,” he said.

Army, CRPF squabbled over who killed Pampore terrorists

Hardly had the guns fallen silent after fierce fighting during Saturday’s ambush of a CRPF contingent by militants in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pampore when a row erupted between the paramilitary force and the army over whose personnel killed the terrorists.While the army claimed to have killed the two militants in retaliatory fire, the CRPF lodged a protest against it for “wrongly claiming credit”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CRPF, which has been involved in counter-militancy operations in the Kashmir Valley, alleged some army troopers arrived at the scene after the encounter was over and started clicking selfies with the bodies of the slain militants.Within no time, the army’s Northern Command tweeted,” Army kills two terrorists who fired upon CRPF convoy at Pampore, Kashmir Ops in prog. Injured CRPF personnel being attended to”.Fuming, the CRPF men and officers took up the matter with the Army’s top brass.Soon thereafter, the official twitter account of Northern Command posted a revised message, saying “Update on Pampore ops. Injured CRPF personnel evacuated to hospital. Two terrorists killed in joint op by security forces.”Unrelenting CRPF officers informed their top brass as well as that of the army that there was no joint operation. They said the army personnel arrived on the scene after the encounter was over and walked away with weapons and dates carried by the militants, besides clicking selfies with their bodies.”They were wrongly claiming credit for an operation of which they had no clue,” said an officer who was associated with the developments on Saturday when two militants attacked a CRPF bus at Pampore, on the outskirts of Srinagar, killing eight personnel and wounding 21 before being felled in the counteroffensive by the paramilitary force.The army was shown videos of its men busy clicking selfies after which an embarrassed Northern Command tweeted: “Update on Pampore Ops. Two terrorists killed by CRPF in retaliatory action. Earlier tweet stands corrected.”Director General of CRPF K Durga Prasad, who was today asked at a press conference about whether the army had played any role in the encounter, said “Army’s 51 RR (Rashtriya Rifles) unit reached the spot after the incident got over.” When contacted spokesperson for Srinagar-based 15 Corps Col N N Joshi refused to comment.Meanwhile, Army said the Rashtriya Rifles’ troops responded and helped evacuate CRPF casualties as well as terrorists from sight of the encounter.”Dead bodies of terrorists along with their weapons, ammunition and magazines were handed over to JK Police as per law,” the Army said.

Karnataka cabinet reshuffle: CM Siddaramaiah sacks 14 ministers, inducts 13 new ones

In a major revamp, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday sacked 14 ministers and inducted 13 members into his Council of Ministry in the long awaited exercise.With the Congress High Command giving the go-ahead, nine ministers of cabinet rank and four ministers of state were inducted at the swearing in ceremony at Raj Bhavan with Governor Vajubhai Vala administering the oath of office and secrecy. Ahead of the swearing in, Siddaramaiah recommended sacking of 14 ministers which the Governor accepted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tanveer Sait, Kagodu Thimmappa, Ramesh Kumar, Basavaraj Raya Reddy, H Y Meti, S S Mallikarjun, M R Seetharam, Santosh Lad and Ramesh Jarkiholi were inducted as cabinet rank ministers. Priyank Kharge, Rudrappa Lamani, Eshwar Khandre and Pramod Madhwaraj were sworn in as Ministers of State. Thimmappa and Ramesh Kumar are former Assembly Speakers, while Kharge is the son of Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.The ministers who faced the axe are: Qamarul Islam, Shamanoor Shivashankarappa, V Srinivasa Prasad, M H Ambareesh, Vinay Kumar Sorake, Satish Jarkiholi, Baburao Chinchansoor, Shivaraj Sangappa Tangadagi, S R Patil, Manohar Tahasildhar, K Abayachandra Jain, Dinesh Gundu Rao, Kimmane Ratnakar, P T Parameshwar Naik.Ministers who were seen as non-performers or were hit by some controversy or the other were shown the door, according to party sources, which also said the exercise was to inject “more dynamic members” into the ministry.The Chief Minister has embarked upon the exercise more than three years after assuming office on May 13, 2013. Siddaramaiah received the green signal from Congress High Command on Saturday after intense confabulations with party President Sonia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi, who authorised him to carry out the rejig.In the reshuffle, the Chief Minister has tried to balance equations of caste and region. The exercise is coming in order to put the party on a sound footing two years before the Assembly elections in Karnataka, which is the only major state where Congress is ruling after being recently ejected out of power in Kerala and Assam.With the reshuffle, the ministry has a strength of 33, one less than the constitutional limit.

Karnataka: Siddaramaiah gets Sonia’s nod to go ahead with cabinet reshuffle

Karnataka Cabinet is all set to be revamped in a day or two with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah saying on June 18 that he has got the green signal from the Congress High Command to drop some ministers and induct fresh faces.”We discussed all the names to be dropped and inducted with Congress Party President and Vice President Sonia and Rahulji. We have convinced them. High Command has authorised me to go ahead with the reshuffle,” Siddaramaiah told reporters after the second round of consultations in as many days with the Congress Chief. “The list will be prepared in a day or two and will be submitted to the Governor,”he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid pulls and pressures for ministerial berths, the discussion held yesterday in connection with the much talked-about reshuffle had remained inconclusive. Before the meeting, Siddaramaiah discussed the matter with Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
ALSO READ Karnataka Cabinet reshuffle: CM Siddaramaiah may drop 8 ministersSources said that the chief minister has proposed dropping of at least 10-14 ministers from the Cabinet and inducting young legislators and senior Congress leaders in order to balance caste and regional factors.Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara and Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh were present in the meeting. Gulam Nabi Azad, who was in charge of Congress affairs in Karnataka in 2014, joined the deliberations later.The exercise is being undertaken to tone up the government after Congress’ debacle in recent Assembly polls in four states, especially Assam. Karnataka is the only major state where the Congress is in power after being recently ousted in Kerala and Assam. “By tomorrow or the day after, I will prepare a list and submit it to the Governor, after which they will take oath,” the chief minister said. Siddaramaiah, however, declined to comment on names and number of Ministers who would be dropped. With 34 ministers, the Karnataka ministry is up to its full strength.Indicating ministry reshuffle before the Assembly session next month, Siddaramaiah had sought cooperation from his council of Ministers on June 15. Signalling that some ministers would have to take up party responsibility, he had said that the cabinet reshuffle would be done keeping the next Assembly elections in mind.The talk about the ministry reshuffle had been doing the rounds for long but various reasons like drought and elections to local bodies, Council and Rajya Sabha have been cited for its deferment.Siddaramaiah had earlier said that reshuffle would involve ‘dropping a few and inducting a few’, and yardstick for it is giving opportunity for new people. Several ‘like-minded’ Congress MLAs have held meetings and demanded reshuffle. They had also sought dropping of ‘non-performing’ ministers from the cabinet.

Need of the hour to make Punjab drug-free: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Mohali: Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Friday said the need of the hour was to make Punjab drug free and appealed to people to keep yoga above politics.

“It was important to make Punjab drug free. In the present situation in Punjab, everybody should come forward to make the state drug free and save the youths of Punjab,” he said during a meditation session at the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC).

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. AFPSri Sri Ravi Shankar. AFP

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. AFP

He also appealed to everyone to keep yoga above politics and participate in the event on International Yoga Day in Chandigarh in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also participate.

Ravi Shankar emphasized the importance of Yoga for every individual irrespective of cast, creed or social status and said people should not drag religion into yoga.

He said that yoga is not just asanas or physical exercise rather its a complete science which provides us techniques to lead a stress-free life.

During his brief stay at the centre, Ravi Shankar interacted with the inmates and gave them some tips to remain happy.

On the occasion of International Yoga Day, Lt Gen K J Singh, GoC-in-C of Western Command said an effort will be made to bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the PRC and interact with the bravehearts.

He said that a sports complex is going to be inaugurated shortly at the PRC complex for the fitness of its inmates.

After Pulgaon fire, Army Eastern Command reviews ammunitions depot

Close to a week after a massive fire broke out at one of Asia’s biggest ammunition depot in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon, the Army Eastern Command Headquarters reviewed security checks at its ammunition depot, said Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander on Monday.“One accident that could have been catastrophic was restricted. However, we lost two officers. It was restricted to one shed. It was accident which was beyond our control. We have done a quick review of our own, I will not mention where they are, but you are aware. All security checks have been done and they are absolutely safe. There is no such thing as unsafe. I would like to ensure all, that everything is safe,” said Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander on the sidelines of the veterans’ helpline launch at the Fort William, Eastern Command Headquarters on Monday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Wednesday, a massive fire broke out at the ammunition depot of Maharashtra’s Pulgaon. As many as 18 people were reported dead, including two officers.

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.”

Three women maoists surrender in Vizag

Three women Maoists, including a ‘commander’ involved in 20 incidents of violence, on Wednesday surrendered before the Visakhapatnam district police. The ultras turned themselves in before the Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma at his office at Visakhapatnam.”The Maoists who have surrendered are K Lakshmi alias Sarita, Commander of Central Region Command of the Andhra-Orissa Border (AOB), Area Committee Member B Ramulamma alias Bharati and Dalam member T Thummu alias Vijaya,” Sharma informed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lakshmi, a native of Shyamgedda village, was carrying a reward of Rs 4 lakh on her head. She joined the Maoists movement in 2000 and was allegedly involved in around 30 incidents of violence including murders and attack on police stations, the officer said. “Some of the cases were also registered in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Apparently, Lakshmi was promoted as the first woman Commander of the Central Region Command of AOB. She allegedly used to train the cadre”, he added.
ALSO READ 122 Maoists surrender in Chhattisgarh”Ramulammma, a native of Labadampalli village, was with the movement for the last 20 years and also carried a reward of Rs 4 lakh. She was allegedly involved in 34 incidents of violence including murder, attack on police stations and exchange of fire with police,” the SP said.According to Sharma, Thummu, a native of Thartal village, was associated with the Maoists movement since 2008 and carried a reward of Rs 1 lakh. Prima facie, health issues and difference with the leadership are some of the reasons for their surrender, he added.

Admiral Sunil Lanba appointed as Chief of Indian Navy

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 retired. “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.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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) and INS Ranvijay and INS Mumbai, both destroyers.He is also an alumnus of the College of Defence Management, Secunderabad, where he has 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 June 2, 2014.Admiral Lanba is a recipient of the Param Vishist Seva Medal and the Athi Vishist Seva Medal for distinguished service.

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.

Vice Admiral AR Karve takes charge of Southern Naval Command

Vice-Admiral AR Karve on Sunday took charge as the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command (SNC) from Vice Admiral Girish Luthra.An impressive ceremonial parade was held at the Naval base on the occasion which was followed by the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony in which the outgoing Commander-in-Chief, Luthra was ceremonially pulled out in a jeep by Flag Officers and Commanding Officers of ships and naval establishments of Kochi, amidst emotional ‘Jai’- ‘Jai’ by the men of SNC.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier in the day, Vice Admiral Karve laid wreath at the War Memorial, prior to assuming command, as a tribute to the thousands of martyrs who had fought for the country, Navy said in a statement.The Flag Officer, a native of Maharashtra, had arrived in Kochi on Saturday. In his farewell address Vice Admiral Luthra appreciated the synergy that exists in the Southern Naval Command and said without it operations and training cannot be successful. He thanked the men and women of the SNC for the unstinted support he received during his tenure.The Parade was witnessed by many senior officers, men and families of SNC. Vice Admiral Girish Luthra has been appointed Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Western Naval Command.

India sends ships with relief material to cyclone-hit Sri Lanka

India on Thursday rushed two Naval ships with relief material to Sri Lanka which has been severely hit by tropical cyclone Roanu.Navy said two Naval ships, one Naval Off Shore Patrol (NOPV) INS Sunayna and one survey vessel INS Sutlej, are being sent to Colombo coast from Southern Naval Command in Kochi.”INS Sutlej with relief material has already embarked its journey to Colombo harbour from Southern Naval Command in Kochi. INS Sunayana will leave for Sri Lanka from the Kochi coast shortly,” a Navy spokesman said here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The cyclone has wreaked havoc along Sri Lankan coast. 43 people have been killed and 133 were missing following massive landslides and floods in the Kegalle region.Schools throughout the country have been closed as a precaution.Heavy rainfall is expected in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha as the storm will move away from Lanka tracking northeastward into Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Visakhapatnam: Fire yet to be controlled at bio-diesel company, no casualties

A major fire that broke out at a bio-diesel manufacturing unit in Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone (VSEZ) here last evening is still raging even as hectic efforts are on to control it, officials said on Wednesday.Visakhapatnam District Collector N Yuvaraj, who was at the accident site, told PTI that nearly 40 fire fighting engines from Navy, Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, and Port Trust were making all efforts to put out the fire, that erupted at the Bioxmax Fuels Ltd company premises in Duvvada area here at around 7.30 PM yesterday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No casualties were reported in the incident so far, he said, adding that the blaze occurred in the storage area and no worker was present in close proximity of the mishap site.Biomax Fuels Ltd has a manufacturing capacity of five lakh tonnes of bio-diesel from multi-feedstock at VSEZ.The Collector said out of 18 storage tanks located at the site, 12 caught fire. It is expected to be brought under control by this evening as the entire oil in the tanks has to burn completely, he said.The authorities are taking steps to avoid the fire from spreading to six other tanks which are there in the same area, he said.District Fire Officer J M Rao said they were yet to ascertain the cause of the massive blaze.As the flames spread rapidly from one tank to another within minutes, the fire tenders were unable to reach the storage area, he said.Meanwhile, the Eastern Naval Command in a statement said that nine fire tenders of Indian Navy were deployed at the Biomax company to douse the flames.”On getting news from the state administration, the Eastern Naval Command launched two aircraft for aerial reconnaissance and assessment of the extent of fire. Navy’s Quick Reaction Team (QRT) and an ambulance with medical team were rushed to the site of the fire accident along with the fire tenders,” it said.Standby arrangements have been made at the Naval hospital, INHS Kalyani, for providing assistance in case of medical emergency, it said.Fire tenders are being replenished and turned around.Additional fire tenders are kept on standby for deployment, the release added.

Visakhapatnam: Major fire at bio-diesel company; no casualties

A massive fire broke out at Biomax Fuels Limited (BFL), a bio-diesel manufacturing unit in the Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone (VSEZ), Duvvada area in the city tonight, officials said.No casualties were reported in the incident, they said.Biomax Fuels Ltd has a manufacturing capacity of five lakh tonnes of bio-diesel from multi-feedstock at VSEZ. There are about 15 storage tanks and the blaze spread to the 11 of them.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Eight fire engines reached the spot and two fire engines with chemical foam were requisitioned from HPCL and Eastern Naval Command to put off the fire,” District Fire Officer J M Rao said.The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained and the fire tenders were unable to reach the storage area, Rao said.District Collector N Yuvaraj and other rushed to the spot and examined the operations.

Major fire erupts at bio-diesel manufacturing unit in Visakhapatnam, no casualties reported so far

Visakhapatnam: A massive fire broke out at Biomax Fuels Limited (BFL), a bio-diesel manufacturing unit in the Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone (VSEZ), Duvvada area in the city on Tuesday night, officials said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

No casualties were reported in the incident, they said.

Biomax Fuels Ltd has a manufacturing capacity of five lakh tonnes of bio-diesel from multi-feedstock at VSEZ. There are about 15 storage tanks and the blaze spread to the 11 of them.

“Eight fire engines reached the spot and two fire engines with chemical foam were requisitioned from HPCL and Eastern Naval Command to put off the fire,” District Fire Officer JM Rao said.

The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained and the fire tenders were unable to reach the storage area, Rao said.

District Collector N Yuvaraj and other rushed to the spot and examined the operations.

Russia-India-China meeting on cyber security may hamper Indian interest, say experts

Even as India is taking the satisfaction to bring down hacking attempts by Beijing, and secure its cyberspace, after the recent meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia India, and China at Moscow, internet policy experts feel that the communique issued at the end of meeting is against India’s national interest. Sources said that external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, in a closed-door meeting with her two counterparts, had taken up the issue of threats to cyberspaces and continued attempts of hacking from across the borders.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is now taking satisfaction that at the communique issued at the RIC meeting has now bound China to share information about hackers. But the internet community think otherwise. The communique stressed on “the importance of providing timely and appropriate responses to requests from one another for information and assistance concerning malicious incidents and activities” to combat international organised crimes. It further spoke of the need for an “international universal regulatory binding instrument under UN auspices” to combat the use of information and communications technology for criminal purposes. Apart from that, it speaks of internationalising internet governance to aid the role of the International Telecommunication Union.Cyber security expert Saikat Datta says that although the discussion may not have a prominent implication, it helps act in international positioning. “Because India, Russia and China are parts of the BRICS, this could also be a measure to counter the hegemony of the US government, and may be a bid to pressurise them,” he says. Raman Jit Singh Chima, global policy director at Internet rights group Access Now and a founding volunteer of SavetheInternet.in, says that India’s stand is surprising. India’s position in calling for a regulatory binding instrument under the UN does not seems to be in line with the national interest. “It also does not seems to take into account the political concerns and constitutional approach of India, and there seems to have been no domestic discussion on the issue,” he says. “It it surprising that India accepted the demands made by Russia and China, as the Indian position on this has never explicitly supported the Internet being regulated by a binding UN instrument under the vague ground of combating criminal acts on ICTs.”Raman adds that there are concerns of Russia’s own regressive domestic Internet laws on cyber security, and many have expressed concerns about aggressive espionage attempts from groups based in China in this context. It is widely believed that the Chinese government has state-sponsored hackers that indulge in massive data episionage. In 2010, NSA MK Narayanan said that computers in his office, and in other government offices have been hacked by Chinese hackers. Later that year, Chinese hackers reportedly broke into classified files of the defence ministry and Indian embassies around the world, gaining access to several missile and armament systems. In 2014, Chinese hackers let loose a virus that collected data from sensitive computer systems at the country’s Eastern Naval Command headquarters and sent the data to Chinese IP addresses. This is in addition to the innumerable attempts to hack into the computers of the Tibetan government in exile functioning in India. Last year in a reply to the Parliament, the minister of communications and information technology Ravi Shankar Prasad revealed that in 2014 and 2015 (upto May), 32,323 and 9,057 websites have been hacked, and that Chinese, American, Bangladeshi and Pakistani hackers are most responsible for it.“The speak on the need to enhance the role of the International Telecommunication Union in Internet governance, too, is a take-off from India’s stand two years ago when then IT minister Kapil Sibal said in Dubai that India will not take a stand without discussing it further internally,” said Raman.TimelineJanuary 2010 M. K. Narayanan, India’s National Security Adviser, said his office and other government departments were attacked by China on December 15. The Prime Minister’s office later denied that their computers had been hacked. Narayanan said this was not the first attempt to penetrate Indian government computers. April 2010 Chinese hackers reportedly broke into classified files at the Indian Defence Ministry and Indian embassies around the world, gaining access to Indian missile and armament systems. July 2012 A Shanghai-based group linked to the Peoples Liberation Army and identified as “Byzantine Candor” in leaked U.S. cables collected against a range of targets, including European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, UK Defense research firm Qinetiq, and a commercial entities in the U.S, Europe, and India. July 2012 Indian naval officials confirmed that a virus had collected data from sensitive computer systems at the country’s Eastern Naval Command headquarters and sent the data to Chinese IP addresses. The virus allegedly entered the Navy’s network | Last Modified March 10, 2014 12 via infected USB drives, which were used to transfer data from standalone computers holding sensitive files to networked systems. March 2013 The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation was hacked by an unknown source, believed to be Chinese. Thousands of documents are uploaded to a server with an IP address in Guangdong, China. March 2014 Indian defense sources say classified material may have been compromised when around 50 computers from the armed forces and the Indian defense research organization were hacked. India’s National Security Advisor reiterated the need to keep computers with internet access separate from those used for confidential work. Indian sources say they face mounting online espionage attempts by China and PakistanCourtesy: Center for Strategic and International Studies

Militants desperate to infiltrate from across LoC: Army

With infiltration bids from across the LoC showing a substantial decline, militants are now adopting a new tactic of recruiting locals, an army official on Friday said. Col SD Goswami, PRO Defence, Northern Command said the militants so far were using traditional infiltration routes but they are looking into some other areas for sneaking into India.”Seeing that infiltration is not really taking place and that the number of militants is dwindling, they have started new tactics of trying to recruit locals,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also said that social media and its blatant use by terrorists groups and separatists alike is emerging as a challenge from the security point of view.”The security situation of J&K is at an important cross road of transcending from conflict stabilisation to conflict resolution domain,” he said.”The other areas are being monitored by ground sensors, thermal imagers and battle field surveillance radars. Surveillance devices provide signatures of the movement of terrorists in real time and enable troops to take appropriate action,” he said.According to Colonel Goswami, infiltration attempts have shown a decline from 221 in 2014 to 92 in 2015. In 2011, there were 247 infiltration attempts, followed by 264 in 2012 and 277 in 2013. He said that 13 infiltrating terrorists were killed in 2012, followed by 38 in 2013, 52 in 2014 and 37 in 2015.

Handwara incident highly regrettable, says Northern Army commander

Srinagar: Terming the Handwara incident as “highly regrettable”, Northern Army Commander Lt General DS Hooda, who visited the area on Tuesday, favoured early completion of probe into the killing of three persons after security personnel opened fired during a violent protest on Tuesday.

Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda. AFPNorthern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda. AFP

Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda. AFP

“The Army has offered to take care of the expenses for hospital care and subsequent rehabilitation of those injured
in the incident,” defence spokesman Lt Colonel NN Joshi said in Srinagar.

“The Northern Army Commander Lt Gen D S Hooda accompanied by Chinar Corps Commander Lt Gen Satish Dua today visited the Handwara area and interacted with officers and soldiers regarding the incident in which three civilians were killed when protesters tried to storm an Army post,” Joshi said.

The General Officer Commanding in Chief of Army’s Northern Command termed the incident as “highly regrettable” and asked for an early completion of the inquiry which has been already ordered, the spokesman said.

Army had on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the incident while police said a magisterial probe and a departmental
inquiry are being conducted.

A junior police officer was today suspended for “mishandling” the law and order situation.

“Assistant Sub-Inspector Rafiq Ahmad has been suspended pending inquiries into yesterday’s incident,” a senior police official said on Monday.

PTI

Indian Navy’ First Training Squadron deployed in Thailand

Indian naval ships Tir and Sujata, and sail-training ship Sudarshini along with Indian Coast Guard’s Varuna, reached Phuket in Thailand on Monday as part of an overseas deployment during spring. The First Training Squadron forms part of Southern Naval Command and will stay there till April 8.The primary aim of the Squadron is to impart sea training to naval and Coast Guard trainees, with a 24-week ab initio sea training. All the participants are trained in seamanship, navigation, ship handling, boat work, technical aspects among other disciplines, while being exposed to the rigours of life at sea, so as to earn their ‘sea legs’, a naval spokesperson said. The Southern Naval Command (SNC) is the Training Command of the Indian Navy, which provides both basic and advanced training to its officers and sailors.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Navy has also been providing training to personnel from friendly foreign countries for over four decades, wherein more than 13,000 personnel from more than 40 countries have been trained. India and Thailand have a close, long-standing relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which have strengthened over the years.The present deployment of the Training Squadron to Phuket provides opportunities for extensive maritime engagement, maintenance of good order at sea and further cementing of the close relations between the two nations and the two navies, the Indian Navy said in a statement.

Kolkata flyover tragedy: Don’t expect to find more bodies under rubble, says Army

Kolkata: Army officials, who are working closely with civic authorities and NRDF teams in relief and rescue operations at the flyover collapse site, on Friday said they were not hopeful of finding any more body under the debris.

“The focus of operations is now on debris removal and clearance of the road so that normalcy is restored. As of this morning no more bodies are expected to be found under the rubble,” army officials said.

A scene from the Kolkata flyover tragedy. PTIA scene from the Kolkata flyover tragedy. PTI

A scene from the Kolkata flyover tragedy. PTI

The army rescue teams have been operating throughout the night along with the teams from civil defence, police and NDRF, trying to remove the debris from the affected area.

General Officer in Command of Army’s Bengal area Lt Gen Rajeev Tewary is monitoring the progress of the Army teams closely.

Altogether there are close to 300 Army personnel including medical teams, surgeons, engineers and gas cutters working on the spot of flyover collapse in northern Kolkata.

Missing soldier’s body recovered from under snow in Ladakh

A day after a massive avalanche hit the army patrol; the rescuers recovered the body of a missing solider from under the huge mounds of snow in the Turtuk Sector in Ladakh region on Saturday.Rifleman Sunil Rai along with Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang were buried under huge mounds of snow when an avalanche swept away army patrol on March 25. Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang who was retrieved immediately succumbed to his injuries in the hospital on Friday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mortal remains of Rifleman Sunil Raj were recovered by rescue teams from deep under the snow on Saturday morning.”The mortal remains of the soldiers are being evacuated from the area of the avalanche. Later a wreath laying ceremony will be conducted to honour the martyrs. Thereafter, they will be transported by air to their native places where they will be accorded funerals with full military honours,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command.Hailing from Lopshu village in Darjeeling tehsil of West Bengal, Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang is survived by his wife, a six-year-old daughter and his parents.Rifleman Sunil Rai of Lower Sontook Lungbhung Algarah village of Darjeeling, West Bengal, is survived by his parents and two younger brothers.General Officer Commanding in Chief (GoC-in-C) Northern Command Lieutenant General DS Hooda expressed his deep condolences to the families of the martyrs. “The Indian Army fraternity stands shoulder to shoulder with the bereaved families in their hour of grief,” he said.This is second time in a week when an avalanche has hit the Indian Army troopers in the cold desert of Ladakh. On March 17 an avalanche hit the army post situated at the altitude of 17,500 feet in the Kargil sector. Two soldiers, who were on surveillance duty, were swept away by the avalanche. One of the soldiers was immediately rescued while the body of another was retrieved from under the snow three days later.

Siachen avalanche: Body of Army jawan recovered from under snow

Jammu/Srinagar: The body of an army jawan, who had gone missing after an avalanche hit a patrol in Siachen’s Turtuk sector in Ladakh region, was recovered from under the snow on Saturday.

The avalanche claimed the life of another jawan, lance havildar Bhawan Tamang, whose body was retrieved soon after.

“Mortal remains of Rifleman Sunil Rai, who was buried under snow after an avalanche struck an army patrol on 25 March 25 in the Turtuk Sector, was recovered by rescue teams this morning,” a defence spokesman said.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“The mortal remains of the soldiers are being evacuated from the area of the avalanche, after which a wreath laying ceremony will be conducted.

“Thereafter, they will be transported by air to their native places where their funeral will be held with full military honours,” the spokesman said.

He said Tamang is survived by his wife, a six-year-old daughter and his parents, whereas Rai is survived by his parents and two younger brothers.

General officer Commanding in Chief (GoC-in-C) of the Northern Command Lt Gen DS Hooda expressed his deep condolences to the families of the jawans.

“The Indian Army fraternity stands shoulder to shoulder with the bereaved families in their hour of grief,” Lt Gen Hooda said.

The avalanche had hit the patrol party around 8 am on Friday in Turtuk area of Siachen – the highest battleground in the world.

PTI

Siachen avalanche: Hospitalised soldier Bhawan Tamang succumbs to injuries

An army jawan was killed while another went missing when an avalanche hit a patrol party in Siachen’s Turtuk sector Ladhak region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday morning.The avalanche hit the partol party around 8 AM at Turtuk area of Siachen – the highest battleground in the world – following which two jawans got buried under the snow, a Defence Spokesperson said.Immediately, rescue drills were launched and one of the soldiers, Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang was rescued in a “critical” condition and shifted to a nearest medical facility.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang, who was earlier rescued from an avalanche that hit an army patrol party this morning in Turtuk sector has succumbed to his injuries,” the Spokesperson said, adding the soldier could not be revived by the medical team.Tamang was a resident of Lopshu village in Darjeeling.Meanwhile, massive efforts are on to search and rescue the missing jawan despite an inclement weather in the area. Army Commander, Northern Command, Lt Gen D S Hooda has expressed his deep condolences to the family of Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang.

Army to vacate four places in Jammu & kashmir on PDP’s demands

Jammu: Army will be vacating large tracts of land held by it at four places in Jammu and Kashmir, including the 212-acre Tatoo ground in Srinagar, by month-end, one of the demands by PDP for formation of government with BJP.

The decision was announced last night after a meeting between Governor N N Vohra and Lt Gen D S Hooda, GOC-in-C Northern Command, during which senior officials including Chief Secretary B R Sharma were present.

It was agreed that Northern Command of Army would hand over 16.30 acres of state land held by it adjoining the Campus of Jammu University, 212 acres of land held by it at Tatoo Grounds, Srinagar and 456.60 kanals of land at High Grounds, Anantnag and land held at lower Khurba Thang in Kargil, to J&K government, an official spokesman said.

The decision is considered vital in the wake of demands by PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti that Army vacate land it has held and revocation of AFSPA from peaceful areas in Jammu and Kashmir as a confidence building measure ahead of formation of the government in J&K with BJP.

Representational image. Firstpost

Representational image. Firstpost

In extensive discussions with Hooda at the Raj Bhavan, the Governor reviewed the implementation of decisions taken in earlier Civil Military Liaison Conferences on all land matters relating to the Army, the spokesman said.

The meeting was attended by Sharma the Chief Secretary; P K Tripathi, Principal Secretary to Governor; R K Goyal, Principal Secretary, Home; Asgar Hassan Samoon, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; and Dr. Pawan Kotwal, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu.

It was agreed that the land at the lower Plateau Khurba Thang would be taken over before 31 March when Chief Secretary visits Kargil as Chairman of the Committee set up to deal with all Army Key Location Plan matters, the spokesman said. The land at other three areas would also be handed over before 31 March, the spokesman said.

Regarding the Tatoo Ground Land, the Governor and Army Commander will jointly visit the site before 31 March to discuss certain proposals regarding the utilisation of this land for creating a park, recreational facilities for youths etc, he said.

The Governor directed that the Committee headed by the Chief Secretary shall visit Jammu University, Kargil and Anantnag to satisfy all formalities on the spot and take over the said sites.

Dehradun: Tyre of IAF plane bursts while landing, none hurt

Chief of Central Army Command Lt Gen BS Negi and seven other armed forces personnel on Saturday had a narrow escape when one of the tyres of a Dornier aircraft burst while landing at the Jolly Grant airport, about 30 km from the city. Flight operations at Jolly Grant airport had been temporarily suspended after the incident.According to IAF sources, there were four Army officers and four crew members. “All were unhurt,” the sources said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dehradun SSP Sadanand Date said a helicopter from IAF’s Agra airbase had arrived with a team of technical staff to replace the tyre and clear the runway so that flight operations could be restored. Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Authorities were not available for comment immediately.

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

Supreme Court upholds Army’s policy of preferential promotion for officers in command unit

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the Army’s ‘Command and Exit Policy’ but asked the government to create 141 additional vacancies for promotion of Combat Unit officers.Under the ‘Command and Exit policy’, the infantry and artillery officers were given priority while giving promotions.The Centre had filed an appeal in the apex court against the Armed Forces Tribunal order of quashing the 2009 Command Exit Promotion Policy in the Indian Army. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government had in the last hearing given a proposal to create 141 additional vacancies for promotion of the officers of combat support units, to also accommodate officers aggrieved by the Army’s 2009 promotion policy, which gave preference to those posted in Artillery and Infantry divisions.

All 10 missing soldiers hit by avalanche confirmed dead at Siachen

Tragedy befell the Indian army on Thursday when all the 10 soldiers, who had gone missing after avalanche buried their post on the world’s highest battlefield of Siachen, were confirmed dead.A junior commissioned officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras regiment were swept away by a massive avalanche at the altitude of 19,600 feet on Wednesday.“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Lieutenant General DS Hooda, General Officer Commanding in Chief (GoC-in-C) Northern Command.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying tributes to the soldiers who died in the line of duty at Siachen glacier. “Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families”, he tweeted.Indian army said blocks of snow and ice had fallen on the post burying it very deep into the glaciated area. Heavy snow cutters and major equipment have been pressed into service to clear and cut the ice blocks.The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees during the day.Indian Army and Air Force have flown specialised teams and equipment to help in the rescue mission on the glacier. Two days on, success eluded the rescuers at the world’s highest battlefield prompting the army authorities to finally confirm the death of all the 10 soldiers.“Operations by specialised teams of the Army and the Air Force have entered the second day today. Specialised equipment was flown in to Leh today morning to further boost the rescue efforts,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command headquarters.Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarefied atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. “It is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” said Colonel Goswami.Situated at the eastern tip of Ladakh, Siachen literally means the Land of Wild Roses. Famous as the highest battlefield in the world, Indian Army is holding posts at unimaginable heights across the largest non-polar glacier in the world. Indian Army has lost hundreds of soldiers to weather vagaries, including avalanches and frost bites, in the last 30 years.Pakistani army suffered humiliating defeat in 1987 when Indian Army led by Honorary Captain Bana Singh captured their “Quaid” post located at 21,153 feet which was later named “Bana” post.However, for the last 12 years, the 150 kilometer Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen, is witnessing calm following the border cease-fire in 2003. Before that the AGPL was a regular battlefield with both armies exchanging artillery and small arms fire to pin each other down.

Siachen avalanche: All ten missing Army personnel declared dead, PM Modi condoles demise

It was a dark day for India as all the ten Army personnel trapped after a massive avalanche struck their high-altitude military post on Wednesday in Siachen Glacier were on Thursday declared dead, according to reports.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on the demise of the personnel, calling their death “very tragic”.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also condoled the death of the soldiers.

“My heartfelt condolences to the near and dear ones of our brave soldiers who were martyred in the line of duty in the most difficult terrain of Siachen,” he said in Delhi.

The Minister said it is the duty of the country to take care of their families.

Reports said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and deep distress on the confirmation of the demise of the ten Army personnel.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi also tweeted, saying he was “very sad to know that 10 of our brave soldiers lost their lives.”

A Defence spokesman had earlier said that chances of finding any survivors were “very remote” after the deadly avalanche hit an army post that was manned by the armymen attached to Madras battalion at an altitude of 19,600 feet.

“Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” Defence PRO(Northern Command) Col SD Goswami had said in a statement in Jammu.

All the ten Army personnel who went missing after the avalanche in Siachen were declared dead. PTI

All the ten Army personnel who went missing after the avalanche in Siachen were declared dead. PTI

“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” Lt Gen DS Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command, had said in a message.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor had spoken to Gen Hooda to convey his heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved families over the “tragic loss” of lives.

As rescue efforts were on Thursday scaled up with induction of specialised teams, sniffer dogs and equipment, Pakistan offered its assistance but it was declined.

Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh declined his Pakistani counterpart’s offer for help in rescuing the Indian soldiers, saying adequate resources have already been put in place.

Army sources in Delhi had said Pakistan’s DGMO Maj Gen Amir Riaz called up Lt Gen Singh earlier in the day and offered help.

They had said such calls are routine whenever any mishap happens near the border.

“We thanked them for the gesture but since our resources and teams are well placed and adequate, we have said that presently we don’t require any help,” the sources had said.

The offer of help came over 30 hours after the avalanche in Northern Glacier sector in Ladakh region in the world’s highest battlefield hit the post early Wednesday.

The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees Celsius in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees Celsius during the day, Col Goswami had said.

The Siachen Glacier in the Karakorum range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops contest an area at altitudes above 20,000 feet where they must deal with altitude sickness, high winds, frostbite and temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.

Military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire.

In 2012, at least 140 people including Pakistani soldiers and civilians were killed when an avalanche struck an Army camp in the strategically important Gayari sector.

An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat, local media reports have said.

The strategic importance of the glacier is widely seen as insignificant. Until 1984, neither side had troops permanently stationed there.

Both countries agree on a need to demilitarise the glacier, but attempts to reach any agreement have been unsuccessful.

With agency inputs

‘Enough sources put in place’: India declines Pakistan’s offer for help in rescuing Army personnel from Siachen

New Delhi: Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh on Thursday declined his Pakistani counterpart’s offer for help in rescuing Indian soldiers buried under snow after an avalanche hit their post in Siachen Glacier, saying necessary resources have already been put in place.

Army sources said Pakistan’s DGMO Maj Gen Amir Riaz called up earlier in the day and offered help.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

They said such calls are routine whenever any incident happens near the border.

“During the conversation, he offered Pakistani help which was declined for now saying that enough resources have been put in place,” the sources siad.

Incidentally, the offer of help came over 30 hours after the incident.

Ten soldiers of an army post, located at an altitude of 19,600 feet, were hit by a massive avalanche in the early hours yesterday.

Rescue operations by specialized teams of the army and the air force continued for the second day today amid fears that they may be dead.

“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” Lt Gen DS Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command, said.

Snow cutters and specialised equipment were flown into Leh to further boost the rescue efforts.

The glaciated area experiences temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees during the day.

Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors.

“However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” an Army statement had said.

PTI

Police gear up for Hyderabad civic elections

To maintain public order and peace in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad on February 2, the day of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, the police would impose prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC.Over 20,000 police personnels would be deployed that day, Hyderabad Police Commissioner M Mahendar Reddy said. Assembly of five or more persons within a radius of 200 meters from the polling stations will be prohibited under the CrPC.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There will be a web-casting from 3,200 polling stations which will be connected to Command and Control centre of Hyderabad City Police for monitoring. All the CCTV cameras under community CCTV project will be used,” Reddy said.The prohibitory orders will remain in force from 6 AM to 8 PM on February 2.

Kolkata hit-and-run: Accused Sambia Sohrab slapped with murder charge; remanded to 14 days police custody

Prime accused in the hit and run case where an Air Force officer, Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud was run over, Sambia Sohrab was remanded to 14 days police custody till January 30 by a special court here in Kolkata.Sohrab’s counsel, N Islam argued that he was not driving the car and had not confessed to the crime. However, the public prosecutor, Abhijeet Mukherjee said that Sohrab confessed to the crime in his statement. The court has slapped charges of murder and criminal conspiracy. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sohrab was arrested from Beckbagan on Saturday night and interrogated throughout the night, before being produced in the court. Two more co-accused in connection to the crime, are still at large.
ALSO READ West Bengal govt, Kolkata Police tried to ‘save’ hit-and-run accused: BJPOn Wednesday morning, around 6 am, a drill was on in the run-up to the Republic Day when a vehicle entered the cordoned off area. When Gaud tried to stop the vehicle near the south gate of the Fort William, the Eastern Command headquarters, it hit him. Gaud was immediately taken to the Military hospital in Alipore, where he was declared dead.The car is reportedly owned by TMC leader Mohammad Sohrab’s son Ambia Sohrab.

Kolkata: Look out notice against trio in Air Force officer’s death

Kolkata Police on Thursday issued a look out notice against Ambia Sohrab, Sambia Sohrab and their father former RJD MLA Mohammed Sohrab, who are absconding after a speeding car reportedly owned by them killed an Air Force officer during a Republic Day parade rehearsal here.The look out notice was issued after the trio were found “absconding” from their residence at Jorasanko area in the city, a senior police officer said. “Because they are absconding since yesterday’s mishap and we could not find them till today afternoon, this look out notice has been issued,” the officer said. Kolkata Police sleuths have meanwhile seized Ambia’s passport during a raid of one the Sohrab residence, the officer said.The police have so far have raided five houses belonging to the Sohrabs and one of their hotels on Kyd Street in search of the trio.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources in Kolkata Police told PTI that reports from the South Police Division as well as from the Traffic department on the incident were submitted to Kolkata Police Commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha during the day. “Yesterday the CP had asked for a detailed report. DC South and DC Traffic prepared report on the Red Road mishap and submitted it this afternoon,” the source said. A 22-member team was set up by the CP today to speed up investigation into the mishap in which 21-year-old corporal Abhimanyu Gaud was hit and killed by a brand new Audi yesterday after breaking three guard rails and barging into the parade rehearsal.The car dragged Gaud more than 20 metre after hitting him and he died due to blood loss.Meanwhile, the forensic report of the car suggested that it was travelling at a high speed of around 90 km -110 km per hour when it barged through the guard rails and hit the Air Force official. During investigation it was found that the Audi was yet to get the registration number and was delivered to the Sohrabs with a Trade Certificate (TC) number.”As per showroom records, the car has been registered against a company which belongs to Mohammed Sohrab. The records also show that the car purchased for Rs 90 lakh belonged to Sohrab’s son Ambia Sohrab,” a Kolkata police officer had said yesterday. The Regional Transport office sent a showcause notice to the dealer during the day asking why the vehicle was delivered to the customer with the TC number.”The TC number is strictly meant for use by motor dealers. The dealer can use it while transporting the vehicle from the manufacturing unit to the store or garage. But the dealer has delivered the vehicle with it to the customer which is illegal,” an officer at the regional transport office said. “We have send the dealer a showcause notice which they have to reply within seven days,” he added.Air Force officials have told police that only one person was in the speeding car which knocked down and killed the young officer. “Our eyewitnesses saw that there was only one person in the car. We have told this to the police and are sharing all clues we have with us to help them find the culprit quickly,” an Air Force official told PTI.Defence officials said they are also scanning cameras located on the gates of Fort William, headquarters of the Eastern Army Command, to find more clues. The Air Force is also conducting its own departmental inquiry into the incident.A team of Army and Air Force personnel conducted a solemn parade at the Command Hospital here in the early hours today to bid farewell to the officer. Wreaths were placed on the coffin by police, Army and Air Force officers before it was put on an Army vehicle and taken to the airport for the flight to Mumbai and further on by road to Surat from where Gaud hailed.Gaud’s elder brother, father, uncle and his teacher since childhood days came from Gujarat to take the body. The officer’s brother Bajrangi Gaud said his soul will find peace only if the culprit is punished.

24 hours after TMC leader’s car ran over Air Force official, no arrests in Kolkata yet

Over 24 hours after TMC leader Mohammad Sohrab’s son Ambia Sohrab’s car ran over Airman Corporal Abhimanyu Gaud during a Republic Day parade rehearsal on Red Road, Kolkata Police have made no arrests so far.West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had condemned the incident and said the guilty will be punished and charges of murder will be slapped. But till now, not a single person has been interrogated or examined in connection with the case.Ambia Sohrab’s house and office remain locked from the outside. Police say they are facing difficulty in tracking down the accused as his mobile phones are switched off, so the nearest tower location could not be traced for his location. Police also claim that it is difficult to identify the person behind the wheels as the CCTV footage is not clear.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, in the wee hours of Thursday, a funeral parade was conducted in the military hospital premises, and Gaud was given the guard of honour in the presence of his family members. Later, his body was taken in an Air Force aircraft to Mumbai, from where it was taken to Surat by road.On Wednesday morning, at around 6.30 am, a drill was ongoing in the run-up to the Republic Day, when a vehicle entered the area that had been cordoned off. When Gaud tried to stop the vehicle near the south gate of Fort William – the Eastern Command headquarters, it hit him. The driver of the vehicle – an Audi, tore off the temporary number plates and fled from the spot. Gaud was taken to the Military hospital in Alipore, where he was declared dead.

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