<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Suspense is on over who will be the next Chiefs of the Army and the Air Force as the incumbent officials will be superannuating just about three weeks later.Both the Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag and the Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha are retiring on December 31 and the guessing game is on as to who will succeed them. Traditionally, the name of the new Chiefs are announced weeks in advance but it has not been the case this time. Even the current Navy Chief’s name was announced just 23 days before Admiral Robin Dhowan retired.Sources said one of the reasons for the delay in the announcement of the new chiefs could be that Parliament is in session which would end on December 16. The Defence Ministry has already sent the file to Prime Minister’s Office recommending three names each for the two Services. They are Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Southern Army Commander Lt Gen P M Hariz and Vice Chief of the Army Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, sources said.Lt Gen Bakshi, under whose tenure the Myanmar anti- insurgency operation was carried out, is the senior most of the Commanders. Speculation is that the government may appoint someone based not on seniority alone but also experience in handling Kashmir and Pakistan, two issues which will continue to be the focus in the next two years. While Lt Gen Bakshi is from the Armoured Corps, Lt Gen Hariz is from Mechanised Infantry and Lt Gen Rawat is an outright infantry soldier.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on Tuesday reviewed security situation along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the troops to be alert against any inimical activity, in the wake of heightened tension in Indo-Pak ties.”The Chief of Army Staff, General Dalbir Singh visited Headquarters Northern Command at Udhampur today”, a senior Army officer said. The visit comes a day after Pakistan said the Indian army killed seven of its soldiers in shelling. Gen Suhag exhorted the troops to be alert against any inimical designs and be aggressive in their approach.The General interacted with the Formation Commanders and reviewed the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) as well as internal security situation in the Command theatre, he said. The army chief commended the soldiers for boldly responding to ceasefire violations along the LoC. He also lauded the synergy and co-operation between the Northern Command, Air Force, Paramilitary Forces, Civil Administration, Central Police Organisations operating in the region.The firing at the LoC has intensified ever since the surgical strike of September 29.
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Giving a thumbs down to Maharashtra politician Raj Thackeray’s diktat asking film producers employing Pakistani actors to pay Rs5 core to the army welfare fund, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar made it clear that donations cannot be forced upon anyone.Parrikar’s remarks came after MNS chief Raj Thackeray allowed the release of Karan Johar’s film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. The film got a go-ahead after its producers accepted three conditions put forward by the MNS chief, which included the payment of Rs5 crore to the Army Welfare Fund.The Defence Minister said on Tuesday that all donations to the army were voluntary. “The concept is voluntary donation and not for catching the neck of someone. We don’t appreciate that,” Parrikar told reporters on the sidelines of the Naval Commanders Conference in the Capital.The Army has shown its displeasure for being dragged into a political row over the film featuring Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. As a result, officers have not taken to the idea floated by Thackeray.”All contributions (to the welfare fund) are voluntary. Extortion is not allowed. We would want people to contribute on their own rather than under any coercion,” a senior army official said.Defence ministry sources also said even though the amount in the newly created Battle Casualty Fund is not very high but there has been a steady increase.”It started in June and the amount has been increasing each month,” said a senior defence ministry official.The Defence Minister said the concept behind the fund was to ensure that all those people who wanted to donate voluntarily for welfare of the family of martyrs could do so.”There will be a scheme managed by MoD with assistance from the Adjutant General Branch concerned. It is a voluntary donation and therefore we are not concerned with anyone demanding something to be donated to that,” he said.He added that the Ministry is formulating a scheme through which all the families of martyrs will be helped equally.Army sources said that they have a system in place to check all contributions and can even reject a contribution made under duress or by any person whom the force does not want to be associated with.
Pakistan lifts travel ban for journalist but warns media | Reuters
By Amjad Ali
ISLAMABAD Pakistan on Friday lifted a travel ban on a prominent journalist over an article he wrote about an alleged rift between the country’s government and powerful military, but sternly warned media against publishing reports against the national interest.The Interior Ministry said Cyril Almeida, a leading columnist and assistant editor of the Dawn newspaper, was being removed from the Exit Control List as a “good-will gesture” but an inquiry into the “inaccurate and fabricated” article would continue. The military’s press wing issued a separate statement calling the article a “breach of national security”.Almeida declined to comment.Dawn, Pakistan’s most respected English-language daily, has said it stands by the Oct. 6 report, which it said was verified with multiple sources.Quoting anonymous sources, the story described a tense meeting where civilian government officials called for the military not to interfere if law enforcement authorities tried to arrest members of anti-India militant groups such as Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
It immediately caused an uproar in a country where the armed forces have overthrown several civilian governments and at a time when Pakistan is facing ramped-up accusations of supporting militants.The government has issued three denials of the story, and on Monday it placed a travel ban on Almeida under the Exit from Pakistan (Control) Ordinance 1981.
Friday’s decision to lift the travel ban came after a visit to the Interior Ministry by Pakistani media editors and publishers.An Interior Ministry statement also warned other journalists that “independent media must play its role not only towards safeguarding national interests and security but also to counter negative propaganda of the enemies of state”.The military said the Dawn article was also condemned in Friday’s Corps Commanders Conference that mostly discussed relations with India and the fight against militants.
“Participants expressed their serious concern over feeding of false and fabricated story of an important security meeting held at PM house and viewed it as breach of national security,” the military’s press wing said.Pakistan ranks 147th of 179 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index. At least 59 journalists have been killed in targeted attacks since 1992, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. (Writing by Kay Johnson; editing by Mark Heinrich)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on Monday left on a four-day visit to the US during which he will hold talks with top American military officials.The visit assumes significance in the light of enhanced defence cooperation between the two countries. It is a part of the ongoing high-level exchanges between India and the US. The bilateral ties have been transformed in recent years with a renewed Defence Framework Agreement, supply of defence equipment, sharing of technology and military-to-military exchanges.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During his four days visit, Suhag is scheduled to meet the UNSG at the UN HQ to strengthen Indian Army’s commitment towards UN Missions, a statement by the Army said. He will also visit CENTCOM, SOCOM and HQ 1 Corps besides Maneuver Centre of Excellence (MCoE) where he will meet the Commanders and have extensive discussions.In Washington, he will meet US Secretary of Army, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Staff of the US Army and Commander US Marine Corps, along with other officials.