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service.Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa also took charge as the 25th Air Force Chief replacing Anup Raha.Gen Rawat superseded two senior most Lt Generals, Praveen Bakshi and P M Hariz.Lt Gen Bakshi, who heads the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command, announced “full support” to the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

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

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

From setback in Kashmir to finalising Rafale deal: Mixed year for armed forces in 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Signing of long-pending deals including one for Rafale fighters, a logistics agreement with the US, new blacklisting and defence procurement policies besides induction of indigenous nuclear submarine were some of the achievements of the defence ministry in 2016, which was a mixed year for the armed forces.The high point for the military was the daring surgical strike carried out by the special forces on terror launch pads across the LoC it lost a number of soldiers during the year. Jammu and Kashmir alone saw over 80 security personnel being killed while countering Pakistan’s proxy war. The army managed to eliminate about 160 militants in the state including the poster boy of militancy Burhan Wani.Many security personnel were also killed fighting armed insurgency. Deadly attacks on the Pathankot air base, and army camps in Uri and Nagrota were a setback that led to the loss of several lives.The armed forces also had a mixed year when it came to administration and compensation issues. While the government drastically increased the ex-gratia for the armed forces, the 7th Pay Commission recommendations and a controversial letter on parity with their civilian counterparts for administrative duties left a bad taste.The decision of the government to bypass the long-followed principle of seniority when it came to selecting an army also led to lot of heartburns in the military especially the Armoured Corps. But one thing that the armed forces seemed to be most happy with was Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s push for modernisation. Even as the government brought in a new defence procurement policy emphasising on ‘Make in India’ and a blacklisting policy offering a mixture of heavy fines and graded punishment rather than blanket blacklisting, the Ministry moved fast on procurements.A lot many deals pending for years were cleared by the Defence Ministry besides giving nod to many other proposals. The biggest deal to be struck during 2016 was the one for 36 Rafale fighter jets for 7.8 billion Euros. The file for a medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) was first moved in 2000. The Narendra Modi-led government had in 2015 agreed to go in for 36 Rafales in a direct deal with France while terminating the original tender for 126 MMRCA. The aircraft, equipped with latest weapons including the 150 KM range beyond visual range missile ‘Meteor’, can even carry nuclear bombs, will add to the strategic assets of the country. Another big move was the induction of the indigenously developed nuclear submarine Arihant. The government has still not officially announced the induction.The understanding between India and Russia to lease a second nuclear submarine was another important strategic move. The terms and conditions are still being worked out. The Inter-Governmental Agreement on the purchase of S400 Triumf air defence system is also a big development even though the nitty gritty are yet to be worked out. The decision to finally induct the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas was also a big move. India and Russia restarted talks on the fifth generation fighter aircraft programme after a hiatus of about a year.The contract for the purchase of M777 light weight howitzers was also welcomed by the army which will deploy most of them along the borders with China. The M777 was the first artillery deal cleared by the Indian government since the Bofors scandal of late 1980s. To ensure better deployment of these guns, the ministry also struck a deal for 15 heavy lift Chinook helicopters.Giving the IAF yet another fillip to its strength, 2016 saw signing of a deal with the US for 22 Apache attack helicopters. The signing of the much-debated logistics agreement with the US was also an important development. The UPA government had refused to sign it but Parrikar went along after the US rewrote the agreement as per India’s conditions. Even though the Defence Ministry was not directly involved, investigating agencies carried out raids against a number of defence middlemen while cases were registered against some staying abroad in connection with alleged corruption.Another big development that came towards the end of 2016 was the successful fourth test of the indigenously developed inter-continental nuclear capable missile Agni V that has a range to cover entire China. The missile is now ready for user trials and eventual induction into the Strategic Forces Command.

The persecution of Zakir Naik’s lawyer is both illegal and unjust

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By no stretch of imagination is Zakir Naik, the founder and head of NGO Islamic Research Foundation (IRF), a benign preacher or a saintly figure. There’s no dearth of members of his own religious community who condemn him for hate-mongering and giving Islam a bad name.However, is he indulging in terrorist activities by “radicalising” Muslim youth, as the government claims? Are the lawyers defending him to be held ‘guilty by association’? If that is the case, then no lawyer worth his salt would stop shuddering before taking on the brief of anyone accused of terror offences. Only the most intrepid of lawyers would come forward to fora without fear or favour. And most Muslim lawyers would be all the more intimidated due to the persecution and hounding they might face, for the simple reason that a majority of terror-accused (most of whom finally get acquitted) happen to profess Islam as their religion.Moreover, how judicially sound is the government’s November 2016 decision to ban Naik’s IRF as a terror outfit under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), and would it stand the legal scrutiny of the tribunal being headed by Justice Suresh Kait of the Delhi High Court?
ALSO READ Notice served on legal counsel of Zakir Naik’s NGOThese questions assume prime significance because of Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch summoning Naik’s lawyer SHA Jamati for questioning, and directing him to show cause why his client’s NGO should not be banned, and prove that he is in no way either an aide or an associate in Naik’s activities. It might appear that defending Jamati for fighting his client’s case is equivalent to supporting Naik’s activities, but that is not the case.
ALSO READ Centre transfers bureaucrat who cracked down on Zakir Naik’s NGOIn fact, the two issues are intertwined, and the root lies in the wording of definitions in the UAPA. They are too sweeping in scope and give more than ample and justifiable reasons for the tribunals to pass orders which transgress constitutional principles, as researchers from the think tank Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy have pointed out in this piece.Moreover, Justice PK Shali, who headed the tribunal in 2012, had this to say: “The language of the provisions of the Act is drafted in such a manner that the Tribunal is required to see only the ‘sufficiency of the cause’ for the Central Government to declare the association to be unlawful and conversely, the onus is put on the association, either as a body of persons or as office-bearers or even as members, to show cause as to why it should not be declared as unlawful.”
ALSO READ Ban on IRF is an attack on Indian Muslims, peace, democracy and justice: Zakir NaikSuccessive reports, available here, here, and here, have exposed in detail how, under the UAPA, the banning regime works in a grossly undemocratic and illegal manner.A Lawyer’s DutyAccording to the law, a lawyer is an officer of the court and owes his duty only to his client and the court. He is not to be subjected to humiliation or any kind of harassment merely and only because he has taken up the case of someone deemed odious by a certain section of society and some members of the ruling government. Legendary British barrister, Lord Brougham, a tireless crusader of civil liberties, said in 1937: “An advocate, by the sacred duty which he owes to his client, knows in the discharge of that office but one person in the world — the client, and no other… to protect that client at all hazards and costs to all others, and among others to himself is the highest and most unquestioned of his duties… Nay, separating even the duties of a patriot from those of an advocate, and casting them if need be to the wind, he must go on reckless of the consequences…”Nancy Hollander, former president of the National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers (US), proclaims with pride and devoid of any compunction: “So let me say it: I am a terrorist lawyer, if that means I am willing to defend those accused of terrorism. I am currently defending two men imprisoned in Guantanamo and I defend others accused of terrorism. Contrary to recent attacks by those who claim to be supporters of American justice, my defence of people accused of serious and sometimes horrific crimes is not an endorsement of those crimes. Rather, it is a testament to the strength of my belief in, and commitment to, the American system of justice. Why? Because in my defence of every client, I am defending the United States Constitution and the laws and treaties to which it is bound, and I am defending the rule of law. If I am a terrorist lawyer, I also am a rule-of-law lawyer, a constitutional lawyer and a treaty lawyer.”Sadly, in recent times in India, lawyers taking up cases of those accused of terror offences are also regarded as terrorists and hounded. The trials and tribulations faced dauntlessly by the likes of Mehmood Pracha, Sarim Naved, Trideep Pais, and Shahid Azmi (who was assassinated), who have successfully secured acquittals for those accused as terrorists, can inspire many, but not all, to soldier on. Regardless of the consequences.But, for how long? It requires a Herculean effort to withstand the might of the state and its agencies.Till date, Jamati has remained unfazed and has vowed to take the government head on. Mubin Solkar, a reputed Mumbai-based criminal lawyer, is also advising Naik and has warded off threats and persecution.But, for how long should this legally-abetted thuggery be allowed to continue?

Army inks pact with IIT Gandhinagar to set up R&D cell

Ahmedabad: Indian Army on Tuesday signed an MoU with Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar (IITGN) to set up a Research and Development cell which would focus on the finding solutions for Army’s requirements.

Lt Gen Subrata Saha.Lt Gen Subrata Saha.

Lt Gen Subrata Saha.

“The cell will work with the faculty and research students to identify problems and possible solutions for the
Indian Army,” IITGN said in a release.

IITGN director Sudhir Jain and Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and System) Lt Gen Subrata Saha signed the MoU at the institute’s campus at Palaj in Gandhinagar district.

“The MoU will result in meaningful realisation and efficient transfer of research into customised solutions for
the Indian Army,” the release quoted Lt Gen Saha as saying.

The research cell will deal with Army’s requirements such as lighter and stronger bullet-proof jackets and materials to build bunkers, among other things.

“There is a whole lot of inventory even in the aircraft engines that can be done in India. We are very hopeful that this indigenous effort will take place at a fast pace through such MoUs,” Saha said.

Army will also work with the faculty members and students to find possibility of conducting short-term courses and lectures at the institute, the release said.

Speaking on the occasion, Jain said, “Indian Army, particularly those (personnel) posted in the harsh weather
conditions face diverse problems and we want to understand and address these problems. The plan is to have a Research Centre at IITGN through which our students and faculty can be in continuous touch with the Indian Army in researching and addressing these problems.”

First Published On : Dec 27, 2016 21:12 IST

President Mukherjee, PM Modi congratulate DRDO scientists on Agni-V test

India successfully test-fired its nuclear-capable, inter-continental ballistic missile Agni 5, that has a range of over 5,000 km. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi today congratulated the DRDO scientists on the successful test-firing of nuclear-capable intercontinental missile Agni-V, saying it will add tremendous strength to the country’s strategic defence.”Congratulations DRDO for successfully test firing Agni V. It will enhance our strategic and deterrence capabilities,” Mukherjee tweeted after the test-firing of India’s most lethal missile from Abdul Kalam island off Odisha coast.The Prime Minister credited it to the hardwork of Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and its scientists.”Successful test firing of Agni V makes every Indian very proud. It will add tremendous strength to our strategic defence,” he said.It is the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the missile, which has a range of over 5,000 km.

Launch of Agni-5 a great technological, military achievement: DRDO

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) on Monday said the launch of intercontinental surface-to-surface nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-5 is a major achievement for India both in terms of technology and military might.Former DRDO spokesperson Ravi Gupta said that with this missile capabilities, current advisories will not dare to attack India with any nuclear weapon. “It is a bold statement of India strength for peace. We are a peaceful country and we want to work for establishing peace in the region. I believe peace is possible when you are strong. So, this a major quantum jam in the deterrent capability of India and with this missile capabilities I am sure that the current advisories will not dare to attack India with any nuclear weapon,” he said.He said missile that has been launched till now was to test India’s testing capabilities but the real equipped with nuclear will be launched if India is under attack. “India has a declared policy of no frosty use and I hope that we never have to use it. That is only possible if we have this kind of capabilities”. the accuracy of the missile is very high when we launched this for the first time on April 19, 2012 it was a dawn of a new era of technology,” he added.Unlike other missiles of Agni series, ‘Agni-5’ is the most advanced having some new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.The indigenously-developed surface-to-surface missile, Agni-5, is capable of striking a target more than 5,000 km. It is about 17-metre long, two-metre wide and has launch weight of around 50 tonnes.The missile can carry a nuclear warhead of more than one tonne. It is the fourth developmental and second canisterised trial of the long range missile.While the first test was conducted on April 19, 2012, the second test was carried out on September 15, 2013, and the third on January 31, 2015 from the same base.

DRDO smart anti-airfield weapon test successful

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from a Jaguar fighter jet capable of hitting ground targets within a range of 100 km.This is the second time in the last seven months when such a test has been successful. The first test was done in May 2016 in Bengaluru; this one took place at Chandipur off the Odisha coast on Friday. SAAW is an indigenously designed and developed 120-kg smart weapon, developed by DRDO. It is considered a world class weapon system that can be launched from a Jaguar and a Sukhoi aircraft. It can be effectively used to target enemy bunkers and runways with precision hitting.DRDO said in a press release that the captive and release trials were tracked by Radar and Telemetry ground stations at the Integrated Test Range during the entire duration of the flight.The performance of all systems was satisfactory with all the mission objectives achieved.“Secretary, Department of Defence (R&D) and Chairman, DRDO, Dr S Christopher, congratulated DRDO and the IAF teams for the successful mission.Scientific Advisor to RM and DG (Missile and Strategic Systems), DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy, lauded the scientific community of the DRDO for their efforts towards the design.

Parrikar floats demonetization theory behind possible alliance among Cong, SP and RLD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Amid talks of the grand alliance for upcoming Uttar Pradesh polls, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday had a dig at the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal, saying demonetization by Narendra Modi has left them in no condition to contest on their own strength.”Demonetization has caused such a powerful impact that none of these parties could be able to contest the UP Assembly polls independently,” Parrikar told reporters in response to a query over the talks about formation of ‘Mahagatbandhan’ with SP, Congress and RLD as its constituents. The minister was here to attend the 62nd national convention of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) here.Parrikar said demonetization of high value currency notes has curbed “several illegal activities” in the country.”People may be facing some problems due to demonetization, but the common man is ready to face such problems, given the good impact of this move in the long run,” the BJP leader said. Parrikar evaded direct reply on the controversial AgustaWestland Helicopter deal, saying the matter is being investigated by CBI which doesn’t work under his ministry. “We have provided all information to CBI in this matter. I could not make any comment on this issue,” Parrikar said.On escalation of tension on Indo-Pak border, Parrikar said peace is prevailing at the border to an extent as of now.

IAF gets nod for acquiring C17 transport aircraft

New Delhi: The government on Friday gave the go ahead to the IAF to purchase one more C17 heavy transport aircraft and also gave the nod to the Coast Guard’s proposal to acquire six multi-mission maritime aircraft for Rs 5,500 crore.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minster Manohar Parrikar, also reviewed the working of the DRDO besides giving the go ahead for the procurement of 1,500 indigenously designed and developed Nuclear Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare protection system for the infantry combat vehicle for Rs 1,265 crore.

Another proposal of the army and the IAF for the procurement of 55 low level light weight radar was also cleared by the DAC for Rs 419 crore.

c17 Image courtesy Boeing

C17 heavy transport aircraft. Image courtesy Boeing

Two “classified” proposals for the acquisition of arms and ammunition for the Special Forces and another related to the Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS) is also understood to have been cleared.

The aircraft likely to be shortlisted for the Coast Guard is the C295, which is already been negotiated as a replacement for the Avro transport fleet of the air force.

Asked why the IAF is purchasing just one additional C17 aircraft besides the already 10 in possession, sources said this is because that was the only lone aircraft available with Boeing.

The IAF seems to have taken too long to push through the original proposal to buy three new C-17 aircraft. The American manufacturer had already pledged four of the last five C-17s in its production line to Qatar.

As per the 2011 contract worth $4.7 billion, India had an option clause to purchase six additional C-17s but paucity of funds meant that the follow-on order got delayed.

Talking about the NBC system, sources said the infantry combat vehicles are currently fitted with a manual system and the news ones will be automatic.

Sources said the six aircraft to be purchased by the Coast Guard will be fitted with state of the art “mission suite”, designed and developed by the DRDO.

First Published On : Dec 23, 2016 19:16 IST

Superseded Gen Bakshi meets Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

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

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next army chief: Govt did what it thought right, it’s time to end row

Appointment of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the next Chief of Army Staff superseding Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi and Lieutenant General PM Hariz has got the self-appointed social media critics going ballistic on the internet. It has also given enough to feed the monstrous hunger that the media has for breaking news. Many writers have mentioned that there has been precedence of such supersession. Having known all the three officers closely, one is at a loss to explain one’s feelings. Lieutenant General Bakshi is an intellectual, straight shooter, dynamic and a thoroughly professional officer who is a dear friend and a course mate.

Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty ImagesLieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat. File photo. Getty Images

Lieutenant General Hariz is again a very competent officer and a junior in service but became the author’s boss due to residual service requirements. A mature and simple officer, he conducts himself with dignity. Lieutenant General Rawat, took over the command of the corps from this author. He is a humane, mature, professionally sound and a second generation officer. Appointments Committee of the Cabinet would have had a tough time picking one among them as the next COAS of the Indian Army. Since the supersession issue mainly pertains to these three officers, other officers considered are not mentioned here.

Be that as it may, the procedure followed is very simple and has been alluded to by some writers. A panel of all eligible army commanders and vice chief of army staff is sent to the defence ministry by the army headquarters. The defence minister makes his recommendations and sends it to the Appointments Committee of the cabinet. Previously, the appointments committee of the cabinet used to comprise of the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Foreign Minister, Defence Minister and the Finance Minister. Under this government, it has been simplified and reduced to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. A thorough 360-degree review of the individual is carried out for all promotions to and above the rank of Major General. Similarly, in this case too such a review would have been done. One is confident that all three would have been above board. After the panel is drawn and recommendations are made by the defence ministry it is purely the call of the appointments committee of the cabinet to make the selection of the next Chief of Army Staff. Needless to say that it is the prerogative of the government of the day to select the COAS of its choice.

A quick glance at the selection procedure of other democracies would be highly perceptive at this time. The organisational structure of many of the advanced countries is different from that of our country. The USA follows a theatre commands system whose commanders directly interact with the Secretary of the State for Defence and the President. In the USA, a Chief of Staff is considered to be the equivalent of the Chief of Army Staff in India. UK follows the system of a Chief of Defence Staff who has an advisory role and a Chief of General Staff who commands the army directly. Australia has a Chief of Defence Staff and a Chief of Army. Pakistan also follows a system of a Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and a Chief of Army. Sri Lanka follows a similar system to ours. One cannot compare China and other communist countries with India on this subject as “political correctness” plays a major role in such selections and the system is different.

In the USA, the selection of Chief of Staff (COS) is governed by the rule “10 US Code 3033 – Chief of Staff”. Unlike the COAS of the Indian Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army is an administrative position and does not have operational command authority over the army. The COS is recommended by the Secretary of the Army, nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In the UK, the equivalent of the COAS is the Chief of General Staff. The Ministry of Defence headed by the Secretary of State for Defence, recommends the names for Chief of General Staff and he is nominated by the Prime Minister. By the exercise of Royal Prerogative Powers, powers to appoint the senior leaders of the services is vested in the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence. The Queen, remains the ultimate authority. A similar system is followed in the Australian Army. In Germany, the Army Chief is designated as the Inspector of the Army (Generalinspekteur derNationaleVolkarmee). In peacetime, and in a state of tension, command of the Armed Forces is vested in the Federal Minister of Defence. It is only in a state of defence, which can be declared only with a two-third majority in the Bundestag (Lower House), that the power of command over the Armed Forces is passed to the Federal Chancellor.

While the systems may differ in various countries, the underlying principle in appointing the Chief of Army remains the same. That is, the political dispensation holds the privilege of choosing the person it likes to have as the Chief of its Army.

There has been disappointment and anger in some quarters about the supersession particularly those who are close friends of Lieutenant General Bakshi and Lieutenant General Hariz. This is but natural. Once the dust on this issue settles down and it dawns on people that the civilian government’s supremacy is to be respected, things will return to normal. Already, it has appeared in the media that things have reverted to normalcy and Lieutenant General Bakshi is back to his regular work schedule. Nothing less would have been expected from the true soldier that he is known to be. Similarly, Lieutenant General Hariz can also be expected to do the same. If these two generals who were directly affected have behaved in a manner befitting their stature and reputation, it behoves on all others to behave in a like manner. There are also rumours making the rounds that they will be accommodated as Permanent Chairman of Chief of Staff and Vice Chancellor, Indian National Defence University respectively. Again, it is required to keep in mind that it is the prerogative of the government to take a decision on these appointments. There is also a need to have confidence in the government that it will take the decisions in the best interests of the country.

This author has closely watched two of the COASs functioning and is convinced that every COAS works hard for the army. Therefore, we should hold the hands of Lieutenant General Rawat and support him in all his endeavours to take our famed army to higher glory.

The author is a retired lieutenant general of the Indian Army.

First Published On : Dec 21, 2016 19:20 IST

World War Two ‘remains’ found in India

A US team in India recovers possible remains of soldiers who died in a crash during World War Two.

Chief of Defence Staff coming? A flood of questions on ‘when’ and ‘who’ but still no answers

The last day of 2016 — 31 December — was to be a unique situation when reins of both the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were to be taken over by new Service Chiefs. Two Service Chiefs retiring together in itself would have been unique because it would have implied Admiral Sunil Lanba, present Naval Chief will continue as the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) till he hangs his spurs in July 2019, which is if the government does not appoint a Permanent Chairman COSC (PC COSC) or a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the interim. Though there have been plenty rumours, even indications by the Defence Minister, that a PC COSC or CDS is in the offing, it is not the political calculations of when such announcement will be made or who should be the incumbent, but in what form and with what authority this new appointment will be positioned.

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag. PTIArmy Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag. PTI

Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag. PTI

Should the government take a decision now, any out of General Dalbir Singh Suhag, Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, Lieutenant General PM Hariz, or for that matter any officer of equivalent rank from Indian Navy or Indian Air Force could be appointed PC COSC or CDS, with the previous government already having stated that the CDS / PC COSC need not be senior to the Service Chiefs. But, whether a CDS / PC COSC will actually get appointed itself is a question mark, given the games Ministry of Defence plays that can beat Chinese Checkers any day.

South Block is famous for rumours and intrigue but what is cooking, the flavour floats in all directions. The fact that General Dalbir Singh Suhag, present Army Chief has been given 10 days extension can mean two things: first, that Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Chief Designate gets more time for taking over from the General Suhag, and; second, when the current Air Chief retires on 31 December, Suhag will become senior to Sunil Lamba for taking over the baton of Chairman COSC in the rotational capacity. In both instances, after 31 December, Suhag would be senior-most to be Chairman COSC. Why has the government given Suhag the 10-day extension is perhaps to elevate him either as CDS or PC COSC, even as the previous government had clarified that the PC COSC / CDS may not be senior to the Service Chiefs. Another rumour going strong is that Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander, may be positioned as PC COSC or CDS. But, whether a CDS / PC COSC will actually get appointed itself is a question mark, given the games Ministry of Defence plays that can beat Chinese Checkers any day.

It may be recalled that news reports of July 2015, quoting Ministry of Defence sources, talked about the proposal to create the post of a PC COSC being at “an advanced stage” albeit the issue required ultimate approval by the Union cabinet. Significantly, media also stated that in creating the post of PC COSC, the three Service Chiefs will be left operationally-independent to run their own Services. The perception being built was that the PC COSC would: one, provide single-point advice to the government; two, inject synergy between the Services in doctrinal, planning, procurement and operational matters; three, prioritise inter-service procurements to build long-term capabilities; four, manage country’s strategic resources and nuclear arsenal, and; five, integrate Services HQ with Ministry of Defence and reduce civil-military divide.

Such jargon may impress the public but the establishment and the military know that the PC COSC ‘without operational powers’ would be no different from the current system of having a rotational chairman; primarily making projections for the annual defence budget, in addition to the responsibility of Out of Area Contingencies (OOAC).

Reports of the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) and follow up Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by then deputy prime minister LK Advani had both strongly recommended creation of the CDS. The term PC COSC was recommended by the Naresh Chandra Committee after Naresh Chandra was reportedly briefed by then NSA, Shivshankar Menon to make such recommendation. It was a bureaucratic mischief deliberately to water down the CDS. There is every reason to believe that top bureaucrat and then prime minister Manmohan Singh was behind this. The duo were also behind inserting the reference to Balochistan in the joint statement after the India-Pakistan summit at Sharam El Sheikh in 2009, which was ‘not’ part of draft sent by our mission in Islamabad. Manmohan and Shivshankar Menon were the reason why the Indian contingent of the Indo-Pak Track II, under the aegis of the Atlantic Council of Ottawa, recommended that India withdraw from Saltoro range in Siachen area at a great strategic disadvantage.

Menon is known to have briefed three officers of the Indian contingent personally. Sanjay Baru in his book The Accidental Prime Minister reveals that Manmohan wanted India to vacate Siachen (Noble Peace Prize – never mind the reason) while Sonia Gandhi favoured this at a later date (hoping for sonny becoming PM?). Not without reason, Tufail Ahmad, reviewing Bharat Karnad’s book Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet) wonders should Manmohan Singh, Shivshankar Menon, Salman Khurshid and MK Narayanan be tried for treason against India’s national interests along with crimes against our future generations? Not that there is no precedence – returning 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war (POW) in accordance with the 1971 Shimla Agreement but not getting back our 54 POW from Pakistani jails.

As to appointment of a CDS, Pranab Mukherjee, then defence minister (now President) had brought up the issue in a tri-Service meeting at HQ Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), wherein the then Chairman COSC and Naval Chief, the Army Chief and the Vice-Chief of Air Staff (representing the Air Chief who was on foreign visit) unequivocally voiced that not only was a CDS necessary but the CDS must be given full operational powers over the military, in order to make him effective. The defence minister then stunned all by saying couple months back not only was appointing a CDS decided but even who would be appointed. He, however, said there was no political consensus, adding in the same breath “but then plenty decisions are taken without political consensus”. That was 11 years back.

But selling the idea that PC COSC or CDS will indeed by “single point advisor” to the government is deflecting from the truth. The document under which HQ IDS was established, while referring to the CDS says, “As and when a CDS is appointed, he will have equal voting rights as Service Chiefs and in case of disagreement by two Service Chiefs, arbitration will be done by MoD.” It has been drafted so craftily by the bureaucracy that no one is wiser. Under such rules, if two Service Chiefs disagree with the CDS / PC COSC, it is the bureaucrat sitting in Ministry of Defence who will arbitrate. Can you imagine such a system within the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force where two army commanders/equivalents put up dissent notes and the Ministry of Defence arbitrate – definitely not. So, why such provision in case of the CDS?

The concept behind raising of HQ Integrated Defence Staff, an initiative of then defence minister George Fernandes, was that it would be part and parcel of Ministry of Defence but it came up as a separate HQ. The bureaucracy ensured this integration did not take place, a major reason being money, corruption and continuing bureaucratic bliss of enjoying authority sans responsibility. Even the Americans wonder how the military functions in India with its Ministry of Defence without military officers on deputation or permanent absorption. It is for the same reason that the military despite being users have been kept out of the design, planning and decision-making levels of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Ordnance Factories Board and Defence Public Sector Undertakings. Continuing with the British legacy, the defence secretary, not defence minister is officially tasked with defence of India and the Services HQ officially designated as “Attached Offices”.

What the country needs is a CDS with full operational powers and HQ IDS getting fully merged with the Ministry of Defence. This is all the more vital given the rising threats facing us. A CDS with full operational powers, aside from being a single point advice to the government, should synergize the military with speedy capacity building in network-centric capabilities, and fighting hybrid wars.

The author is a veteran Lieutenant General.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 17:31 IST

Nitin Gadkari to lay foundation stone for 4/6 laning of NH in Goa

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari would lay the foundation stone for four/six-laning of National Highway in Goa on December 22.The move is expected to reduce the travel time between one corner of the state to another by an hour.”Nitin Gadkarji is arriving in Goa on December 22. On that day, he will be laying foundation stone for four/six laning of National Highway-17 and 4A. At few places, the roads would be made into four lanes and at some places six lanes,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said addressing the Vijay Sankalp rally in Dabolim constituency on Monday evening.Parrikar said the entire project would cost around Rs 8,000-10,000 crore. During the project, all precautions would be taken to ensure that maximum houses are protected from facing demolition. He said the highway would also be connected to the site at Mopa in North Goa where Greenfield airport is proposed.”The travel time between one corner of Goa to another which is currently two-and-half hours will be curtailed to one-and-half hours after the four and six-laning of the roads,” he said.Parrikar said the Union government has decided to financially support all the infrastructure projects in Goa.”In last five years, Goa government has constructed several bridges and created infrastructure. This time when we sit to pen the manifesto for the forthcoming election, we have to find out which bridge is remaining to be taken up,” the former state Chief Minister said. He said the third bridge over Mandovi river near Panaji would be completed by August next year as 70% work on the project has been completed.The cable stayed bridge over Zuari river with six lane road would be completed in next two years, Parrikar added.

Supreme Court bats for rights of incest rape survivors

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reporting incest rape is a difficult task, especially because of the societal stigma surrounding it. In case the survivor is a child, as clinical psychologists and psychiatrists point out, reporting rape becomes all the more onerous. It is called the child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome, as lucidly described by Roland C Summit it in this article. The survivor often ends up putting all the blame on herself, and the courts buy that version. By the time she is able to come to terms with the treatment meted out to her, it’s too late — the courts have already acquitted the offender and are mostly reluctant to order a retrial or even reopen the case. Journalist Pinki Virani’s book Bitter Chocolate narrates in detail certain decisions of courts which have followed this tragic trajectory.However, in a recent decision — State of Himachal Pradesh v Sanjay Kumar @Sunny (Criminal Appeal Number 1231 of 2016) — the Supreme Court has ruled that in such cases, the courts below must follow a survivor-centric approach and not go by the hoary “proof beyond reasonable doubt” standard. Overturning a decision of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, the apex court went by the trial court’s decision of convicting the accused only on the basis of the testimony of the survivor.Since Article 141 of the Constitution mandates that Supreme Court judgements are the law of the land, this particular decision marks a watershed moment in India’s rape trial and sentencing jurisprudence, which, as many feminist and legal scholars have proved, is pockmarked with arbitrariness, victim-blaming and misogynistic stereotyping.Facts of the case(WARNING: Graphic details follow)A nine-year-old girl visits her grandparents during her winter vacations. Once she is there, an uncle lures her into a remote room, gags her mouth, undresses her, and rapes her. Not only does he gag her so that her screams go unheard, but he also threatens to kill her if she narrates or reports his dastardly act to anyone. The survivor falls unconscious, and when she regains consciousness, she finds herself alone in the room, and silently put on her garments. And remains silent.After a fortnight, the uncle repeats the same act, and again, during the survivor’s second visit, he commits rape again. Intimidated and ashamed, the girl remains silent.But after 2-3 years, when she suffers from acute stomach ache, the child is compelled to confide in her mother. Her parents immediately go to the police station and lodge an FIR for rape.The prosecution cross-examined as many as 12 witnesses, but the Supreme Court declined to repose faith in the witnesses put forward by the accused.The Defence Case, RebuffedThe accused’s defence lawyers put forth two strands of arguments— one, that the prosecutrix was being used as a pawn by her parents in order to settle a family feud. Two, that because she had complained of the alleged incident after three years, it was clearly a case of premeditated afterthought.But the court refused to believe this. It held that the survivor’s silence and hiding of the blood-stained garments was on account of the stigma and threats she would face if she opened her mouth. She was also scared of and scarred by the death threats.Instead, the court relied upon the unimpeachable medical evidence, which stated that:“prosecutrix was forcefully raped by the respondent and as a result of that her hymen was ruptured and her external anal sphincter was also torn. Even internal sphincter was not continence. She found that the anal sphincter of the prosecutrix was not functioning properly. In the opinion of the examining doctor, on account of injury to the prosecutrix’s anal sphincter, she might be a sufferer throughout her life.”Moreover, the apex court also relied upon the fact that a child of the tender age of nine would be extremely reluctant to disclose what was done to her, especially when threatened with death.The Crux of the RulingPerpetrators of child sexual abuse go out of their way to pin all the blame on the child, and more often than not, the courts are taken in by such pernicious alibi. But not so in this case. Here, the Supreme Court relied upon concrete medical evidence, psychological factors, and factors which took into account the totality of the case’s circumstances.Reasons enough to hail this ruling as a victory over those who sexually prey on children.

26 Pakistani fishermen apprehended off Gujarat coast

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Indian Coast Guard has apprehended 26 Pakistani fishermen and seized their five fishing boats off Gujarat coast near Kutch as they crossed the Indian territorial waters.A release issued by Defence PRO said in Ahmedabad that these Pakistani fishermen on five boats were held on Sunday when they were inside Indian territory.The Coast Guard vessel C-419 apprehended Pakistani fishing boats with 26 crew members on board.The PRO further said these boats and the crew are being escorted to Jakhau port for further investigation.Last month, at least 43 Indian fishermen were arrested by Pakistan for allegedly entering its territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.Pakistan and India often arrest fishermen from the other country for violation of their territorial waters in the Arabian Sea.

Coast Guard apprehends 26 Pakistani fishermen on five boats off Gujarat coast

Mon, 19 Dec 2016-10:52pm , Ahmedabad , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Coast Guard on Monday apprehended 26 Pakistani fishermen and seized their five fishing boats off Gujarat coast near Kutch as they crossed the Indian territorial waters.These Pakistani fishermen on five boats were held when they were inside Indian territory, said a release by Defence PRO.”The ICG vessel C-419 apprehended five Pakistani fishing boats with 26 crew members on board in Indian waters. These boats and the crew are being escorted to Jakhau port for further investigation,” it added.This is the second such apprehension in recent times by the Coast Guard off the Gujarat coast.Earlier in October this year, ICG ship ‘Samudra Pavak’ seized a Pakistani boat and apprehended 9 crew members onboard, off Gujarat coast during patrolling.

Naval chief Sunil Lanba to visit Japan today

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

Bipin Rawat as the new Army Chief: All you need to know about his appointment and career

On Saturday, the Defence Ministry said that Lt General Bipin Rawat will be the new Army Chief and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa will be the new chief of Indian Air Force.

The appointment of Rawat has ignored the principle of seniority as Eastern Army Commander, Lt General Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander, Lt General PM Hariz had spent longer time in service. Bakshi was also not appointed Vice Chief when the post fell vacant in September and Rawat brought in from the Southern Command.

Lt General Rawat and Air Marshal Dhanoa, presently the Vice Chiefs of their respective services, will take over on 31 December, when incumbents General Dalbir Singh and Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha demit office on retirement from service.

Bipin Rawat. Getty ImagesBipin Rawat. Getty Images

Bipin Rawat. Getty Images

Who is Lt General Bipin Rawat? 

Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA, Dehradun, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’. He has commanded an infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control, a Rashtriya Rifles Sector and an infantry division in the Kashmir Valley, and has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter insurgency operations.

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

He has also held a number of important operational appointments including commanding a fighter base and leading the Indian Military Training Team in Bhutan. He has also served as Chief Instructor (Air) at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Intelligence) and Senior Air Staff Officer (chief of staff) of two operational commands.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Rawat has authored numerous articles on National Security and Leadership which have been published in various journals and publications. He also has completed his research on military media strategic studies. He also has a Doctorate of Philosophy from Chaudhary Charan Singh University, Meerut.

Why was he chosen? 

Army Chief appointments are made at the sole discretion of the government — it is free to choose any candidate. In most cases however, the seniority principle is followed, but the government said that it is purely on the basis of merit. The government on Sunday  justified the appointment of Rawat by  insisting that his operational experience and “general dynamism” tipped the scales in the officer’s favour.

“Lt Gen Bipin Rawat fulfills this criteria by virtue of his operational assignments as Commanding Officer of 19 Division in Jammu and Kashmir and his outstanding track record, his familiarity with the functioning of the Army HQ and MoD in his capacity as Vice Chief and his general dynamism has also played a role in tipping the scales in his favour,” the sources told PTI.

A report in The Times of India quotes a government source as saying: “He was chosen because he was deemed to be suitable at a time “when the threat from Pakistan and China has increased,” and his appointment isn’t “a reflection on anyone else.” A report in India Today states that Rawat has a decade of counter insurgency ops to his credit and had led his battalion against the Chinese PLA in 1986.

What’s the controversy? 

As soon as the appointment was announced, the Opposition expressed anger that the government had failed to respect seniority.

“Why has seniority not been respected in appointment of Army Chief? Why have Lt General Pravin Bakshi and Lt General Mohamed Ali Hariz been superseded, Mr PM (Narendra Modi)?” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari posted on his Twitter account on Saturday. “Why has third senior most officer Lt General Bipin Rawat with due respects to his professionalism superseded other two in a hierarchical force?” he asked.

Tewari further corrected himself saying: “Correction… General Rawat is not third but fourth senior most. Even Lt Gen BS Negi Army commander Central Command is senior to him? Why Mr PM?…And I only hope and pray it is untrue that this supersession in the Army is not a precursor to suppressions in other institutions Like SC?” Tewari asked. On Sunday, Tewari held a press conference and raised this issue. “We would like to ask the Prime Minister what was the compelling reason why this supersession has taken place. Why the principle of seniority, which has held now for almost two decades, was not respected,” he said.

The CPM on Sunday accused the Modi government of creating controversies over appointments to top posts and said the army should not be dragged into a row.

However, BJP was quick to respond to Congress and the Left front.  Hitting back at Congress and the CPM for questioning appointment of Rawat as new Army Chief, the Bharatiya Janata Party said that armed forces should not be dragged into political debate for political gains. “We condemn the Congress’s repeated attempts at dragging armed forces into political debate to suit its narrow political ends,” BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said.

Surprise move, but not a first

This is not the first time the seniority principle has been given the go-by by the government. In 1972, the Indira Gandhi government had side-stepped Lt General PS Bhagat, who was next in seniority to then army chief General Sam Manekshaw, who later became a Field Marshal, by giving his junior, Lt General GG Bewoor a year’s extension. Bhagat retired in this period and Bewoor then succeeded Manekshaw. In 1983, again under Indira Gandhi, Lt General SK Sinha who most senior was superseded when General KV Krishna Rao demitted office and General AS Vaidya was appointed the chief.

It is likely that in the coming week, the Opposition is likely to rake up the issue more seriously.

With inputs from IANS and PTI

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 21:50 IST

Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba to visit Japan to expand maritime relations

New Delhi: To consolidate and expand the maritime relation between New Delhi and Tokyo, India’s Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba will visit Japan from 19 December, a statement said on Sunday.

During the visit, Admiral Lanba will hold discussions with the Japanese Navy chief, the Defence Minister and the Chief of Joint Staff besides other senior officials and dignitaries.

Defence cooperation between India and Japan is primarily focused towards maritime cooperation, the statement said.

The Navy is waiting for the government’s approval to purchase 12 US-2i amphibious aircraft from Japanese aircraft maker ShinMaywa for Rs 10,000 crore.

This will be the largest defence purchase from Japan after it ended its five decades old self-imposed embargo defence export. The deal is stuck since 2013.

Sunil Lanba. CNN News 18Sunil Lanba. CNN News 18

Sunil Lanba. CNN News 18

Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force has participated in the Malabar naval exercise in 2007, 2009, 2014 prior to being included as a regular member in the exercise since last year.

The force participated in Malabar 15 and 16 held respectively in the Bay of Bengal and Western Pacific.

Japan was in 2014 included as an observer in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, a maritime cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by the Indian Navy in 2008.

The aggressive posturing of the Chinese Navy in East Asia and South China sea has compelled both India and Japan to formulate a joint maritime strategy.

India and Japan share similar maritime challenges such as long coastline, extensive exclusive economic zone, coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet, and both navies have opportunities to learn from each other’s experiences.

First Published On : Dec 18, 2016 18:16 IST

Army a public institution, nation needs answers on ‘supersession’: Congress on new Chief of Staff

<!– /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).After taking to Twitter to voice his annoyance with the decision, Congress leader Manish Tewari assured that this was not a personal attack on the new Chief of Staff but a legitimate question.
ALSO READ Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next Army chief, Air Marshal Birender Dhanoa to head Air Force”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.Reiterating his demand for an answer to the legitimate question as to why this supersession has taken place, the Congress leader added that the government?s defence saying the grand old party superseded in the 80s and therefore the ruling dispensation has the right to do so is complete ‘non sequitur’. Expressing disappointment over the controversy surrounding all high-level appointments during the NDA regime, the Communist Party of India (CPI) said that transparency should go along with integrity in the appointment of new Army Chief Lt. General. Bipin Rawat, adding the decision is not in the interest of democracy.Rawat was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, Lt. Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. This is very unfortunate that the appointments in Army have become controversial. All the top-level appointments are becoming controversial. Transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise question. Now, questions are being raised and it is not new,” said CPI leader D. Raja.The CPI leader demanded a justification from the Centre and Defence Ministry over the new appointment of new Army Chief.”It is very unfortunate. This is not in the interest of our democracy, our country and of course there should be transparency. It is a question about the Army and not about any political party. Army belongs to the whole country and the nation should be convinced,” he said.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.

Cong questions new army chief’s appointment, MoD sources say Rawat best suited to deal with terror threats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lt. General. Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed as the next Chief of Army Staff, was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.According to Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, Lt. Gen Rawat has tremendous hands on experience of serving in combat areas, and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China, and in the North-East.
ALSO READ Lt Gen Bipin Rawat to be new Army Chief, Air Marshal BS Dhanoa to head IAFHe is also known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society.His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services.Also, Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa was appointed the next Chief of Air Staff. He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1978 and has served in various squadrons, and in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters.Meanwhile, the Congress has slammed the Centre over the appointment of the new army chief, as the government overlooked a tradition of elevating senior-most officers as service chiefs.The Congress asked why the Centre did not follow the seniority principle in appointing Lt Gen Rawat, the vice-chief in the army.”Why has Seniority not been respected in Appointing of Army Chief? Why have Lt Gen PRAVIN Bakshi & Lt Gen Mohamed Ali Hariz been superseded Mr PM,” questioned Congress leader Manish Tewari on Twitter.

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat is next Army chief, Air Marshal Birender Dhanoa to head Air Force

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 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.The government also appointed Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, a Kargil veteran, as the next Air Force chief. He will succeed Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who, along with Suhag, retires on December 31.“Government has decided to appoint Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, Vice-Chief of the Army staff, as the next Chief of Army Staff with effect from the afternoon of December 31,” the Defence Ministry said in a tweet.Sources said Lt Gen Rawat was found best suited among the Lt Generals to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.They said Lt Gen Rawat has tremendous hands-on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the North-East.According to convention, chiefs of armed forces are announced at least two months in advance, but the delay this time was leading to confusion. Lt Gen Rawat was commissioned in Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA, Dehradun, and was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’.An alumni of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College Courses, Rawat, in his over 35 years of service, was awarded for gallantry and distinguished service.Supersession in the Army is not new. There has not been any such instances in the recent past though. In 1983, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi appointed Lt Gen A S Vaidya as Army Chief superseding Lt Gen S K Sinha, who resigned in protest.In 1972, the Gandhi government side-stepped the very popular Lt General P S Bhagat, one of the handful of Indian Victoria Cross awardees from World War II, who was in line to succeed General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw.Defence ministry sources said that Lt Gen Hariz had no experience in operational areas in terms of counter-insurgency or seeing action along the LoC.—With inputs from PTI

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat to be new Army Chief, Air Marshal BS Dhanoa to head IAF

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government on Saturday appointed vice chief of army staff Lt Gen Bipin Rawat as the new Army chief superseding his two senior officers, while vice chief of air staff Air Marshal B S Dhanoa has been made the new chief of the Indian Air Force.”Government has decided to appoint Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, vice chief of army staff, as the next chief of army staff with effect from afternoon of December 31,” the Defence Ministry said in a tweet. It also tweeted that Air Marshal B S Dhanoa will take over as IAF chief with effect from afternoon of December 31.Lt Gen Rawat, an infantry soldier, superseded senior most army commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi, who headed the Eastern Command and was next in line to be the army chief, besides Southern Command Chief P M Hariz.Government sources said Lt Gen Rawat was found best suited among the Lt Generals to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganized and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.They said Lt Gen Rawat has tremendous hands-on experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the North-East.He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and connect with civil society.His experience as GOC-in-C Southern Army Command in Mechanised Warfare has been focused towards the western borders, in coordination with the other two services, the sources said.Supersession in the army is not new though there has not been any such instances in the recent past. In 1983, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had appointed Lt Gen A S Vaidya as army chief superseding Lt Gen S K Sinha, who resigned in protest.Earlier in 1972, the Gandhi government side-stepped the very popular Lt General P S Bhagat, one of the handful of Indian Victoria Cross awardees from World War II, who was in line to succeed General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw.This was done by giving his junior, General G G Bewoor a year’s extension, during which time Bhagat retired. Bewoor, thus, succeeded Manekshaw.Defence Ministry sources said the focus was on suitability and merit for the selection of the new Army chief.They said that Lt Gen Bakshi, an Armoured corps officer, spent most of his career in Jodhpur and had two postings in Kashmir but the positions he was in were not considered field posting.The sources added that Lt Gen Hariz had no experience in operational areas in terms of counter insurgency or seeing action along the LoC.With Lt Gen Rawat’s sudden promotion as the army chief, the line of succession in the force will get affected.The IAF, which has also seen supersession in the past, was set for a smooth transition with Dhanoa, the first in line for the post, named its new chief.He was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1978. He has served in various squadrons and in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters.Rawat was commissioned in the Fifth Battalion of the Eleven Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, from IMA, Dehradun, where he was awarded the Sword of Honour .The General Officer has vast experience in high altitude warfare and counter insurgency operations.He commanded an Infantry battalion along the Line of Actual Control in the Eastern sector, a Rashtriya Rifles sector and an Infantry Division in the Kashmir Valley. He has tenanted instructional appointments at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun and Army War College, Mhow.Lt Gen Rawat also held important staff appointments at Directorate General of Military Operations and Military Secretary s Branch at Army Headquarters.He has been Major General General Staff at HQ Eastern Command. The officer commanded a Multinational Brigade in a Chapter VII mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).An alumni of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College Courses, the General Officer, during the span of over 35 years of service in uniform, has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service.Prior to taking over as the VCOAS, Lt Gen Rawat was holding the post of the GOC-in-C, Southern Command.

China will give back seized drone, criticises U.S. hyping up the issue | Reuters

By Ben Blanchard
| BEIJING

BEIJING China’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday it had been in talks with the United States about returning an underwater drone taken by a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea, but the U.S. was not helping by “hyping up” the issue.The drone was taken on Thursday, the first seizure of its kind in recent memory, about 50 nautical miles northwest of Subic Bay off the Philippines, just as the USNS Bowditch was about to retrieve the unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), U.S. officials said.The Defence Ministry said a Chinese naval vessel discovered a piece of “unidentified equipment” and checked it to prevent any navigational safety issues, before discovering it was a U.S. drone.”China decided to return it to the U.S. side in an appropriate manner, and China and the U.S. have all along been in communication about it,” the ministry said on its website.”During this process, the U.S. side’s unilateral and open hyping up is inappropriate, and is not beneficial to the smooth resolution of this issue. We express regret at this,” it added.U.S. President-elect Donald Trump weighed in to the row on Saturday, tweeting: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.”Without directly saying whether the drone was operating in waters China considers its own, the ministry said U.S. ships and aircraft have for a long period been carrying out surveillance and surveys in “the presence” of Chinese waters.”China is resolutely opposed to this, and demands the U.S. stops this kind of activity,” it said.

China will remain on alert for these sorts of activities and take necessary steps to deal with them, the ministry said without elaborating.Earlier, the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, cited an unidentified Chinese source as saying they believed the issue would be resolved smoothly.The United States says the drone was operating lawfully.”The UUV was lawfully conducting a military survey in the waters of the South China Sea,” a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s a sovereign immune vessel, clearly marked in English not to be removed from the water – that it was U.S. property,” the official said.

The Pentagon confirmed the incident at a news briefing on Friday, and said the drone used commercially available technology and sold for about $150,000.Still, the Pentagon viewed China’s seizure seriously since it had effectively taken U.S. military property.”It is ours, and it is clearly marked as ours and we would like it back. And we would like this not to happen again,” Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said.

HEIGHTENED CONCERNS
The seizure will add to concerns about China’s increased military presence and aggressive posture in the disputed South China Sea, including its militarization of maritime outposts.A U.S. research group said this week that new satellite imagery indicated China has installed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems, on all seven artificial islands it has built in the South China Sea.The drone seizure coincided with sabre-rattling from Chinese state media and some in its military establishment after Trump cast doubt on whether Washington would stick to its nearly four-decades-old policy of recognising that Taiwan is part of “one China.”Those comments came after Trump took a telephone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Dec. 2, prompting a diplomatic protest from China.President Barack Obama said on Friday it was appropriate for Trump to take a fresh look at U.S. policy toward Taiwan, but he cautioned that a shift could lead to significant consequences in the U.S. relationship with Beijing, as the notion that Taiwan is part of “one China” is central to China’s view of itself as a nation. (Additional reporting by Josephine Mason and Meng Meng; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

First Published On : Dec 17, 2016 20:56 IST

CCS to take final decision on Chief of Defence Staff post

New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take the final decision on creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, the defence ministry has told a parliamentary panel.

The ministry told the Committee on Government Assurances that no major political party has responded to the
consultation process initiated by it to obtain their views on creation of the post of CDS.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFPPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP

In its response to the Assurances Committee, a report of which was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, the defence ministry said a Group of Ministers was set up in April 2000 to review the national security system in entirety and in particular, to consider the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee and to formulate specific proposals for its implementations.

The GoM in its report submitted to the government in February 2001, recommended the creation of the institution of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

The government approved the recommendations related to CDS after consultation with political parties as it required a “detailed examination of pros and cons of the proposal”.

The process of consultation was initiated by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee.

“It is an extremely important and sensitive decision. It was decided that there should be consultations with all
political parties. We had initiated the process in March 2006,” Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar told the panel.

So far, the opinion of 24 major political parties have been sought.

“We got response from only 10 political parties. Major political parties have not responded. Considering the fact
that this being a national issue, it is necessary that major political parties also give their opinion. But we do not have the fortune or good luck of getting their opinion,” he said.

The ministry also told the panel that the government had set up the Naresh Chandra Task Force on National Security in May 2011 to review the national security management system.

The task force recommended the creation of Permanent Post of Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).

“Considering that there (are) two proposals for the establishment of the post of CDS and Permanent Chairman, CoSC, it is expected that at the time of a final decision the CCS on the recommendations of the NCTF, both proposals will be taken note of and the final decision, as and when would be taken to settle both the proposals,” the ministry said in its response to the committee.

First Published On : Dec 15, 2016 22:41 IST

Manohar Parrikar hits out at his predecessors, says ‘still clearing the earlier mess’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hitting out at his predecessors, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Wednesday he is still “still clearing the earlier mess” and has initiated a series of steps in areas like defence procurement, which will start yielding results from next year. The Defence Procurement Manual (DPM) would soon be changed to address the concerns raised by private players, but added that even they should rope in Medium and Small scale industries while carrying out their work, he said.Speaking about the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, Parrikar said before the aircraft was finally introduced in the Indian Air Force, everyone was working in “silos” and he had to hold a series of meetings to break that. He said, now the DRDO has been mandated to rope in private sector industry for development.Parrikar also questioned about the acquisition of aircraft done in the past without technology transfers and alleged there were “many errors, mistakes and casualness”. He said, efforts taken to resolve these issues will start showing up by next year. “Slowly these issues are getting sorted out. Next year 2017, exercise has been carried out, will start yielding results,” he said.Parrikar was speaking at an ASSOCHAM seminar on ‘Defence Production: Self Reliance and Beyond’. The Defence Minister said although the ‘Make in India’ is an important aspect, FDI in defence does not come overnight. He said, a number of steps have been taken by the government in the defence sector, like removing a number of items from the exports list from the aviation sector. “For the defence license, all those which are manufactured under this (aviation) category, which were actually defence exports are now not categorised as defence exports,” Parrikar said.He stated that India had to prepare for eight months before going into war in 1971, because the country probably did not have capability to produce many of the required consumables. Parrikar said defence is a sector where “one prepares for an event, which no one want to happen.”

Make in India: Rajnath Singh’s suggestion to bring down corruption in defence deals

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh batted for promotion of defence production in the country, holding its absence under previous governments as the reason behind “spike” in corruption in defence deals. Pitching for incentives in defence manufacturing, Singh said foreign companies are not only interested in investing in India but also ready to transfer technologies.”Earlier, defence production was not promoted the way it should have been. Although governments may have had the intention to do so, they did not succeed. Due to this, instead of competitiveness, corruption spiked in defence orders. You may have come across allegations in the media. This government has taken many steps to increase competitiveness and transparency in this sector,” he said.Speaking at an ASSOCHAM event, Singh said “self reliance” was a must towards ensuring “foolproof” internal security of a country while underlining the need to reduce dependency on other countries, especially in the defence sector.”Israeli and Chinese companies seek to come to India and make investment for the purpose of defence production. They are not only ready to make investment and production, but also ready to even transfer technology to India if needed.”We should consider giving more incentives in manufacturing in defence sector,” Singh said at the event on ‘Defence Production’. “As far as the question of purchasing defence equipments is concerned, I can say that decisions to purchase defence equipment are now being taken fast as compared to past and their implementation is also ensured. If we can make ‘Mangalyaan’ in a fraction of cost, then why should we depend on import on other nations,” Singh said.He said that India was emerging as a global hub in Research and Development as well, especially in manufacturing and engineering R&D through ‘Make in India’ initiative.”Even in defence sector, indigenous defence production has been encouraged through ‘Make in India’ and the government wants to take it forward,” Singh said.”Securing internal and external security of a country cannot be imagined unless it becomes self-reliant. Even if a country is not fully self-reliant, it will have to make sure that its dependence on other nations should be less,” the minister said.

‘Self reliance’ must for ensuring ‘foolproof’ internal security of country: Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday pitched for providing incentives in defence manufacturing saying foreign companies are not only interested in investing in India but also ready to transfer technologies.Singh said ‘self reliance’ was a must towards ensuring ‘foolproof’ internal security of a country while underlining the need to reduce dependency on other countries, especially in the defence sector. “Israeli and Chinese companies seek to come to India and make investment for the purpose of defence production. They are not only ready to make investment and production, but also ready to even transfer technology to India if needed. We should consider giving more incentives in manufacturing in defence sector,” Singh said during a conference on ‘Defence Production’ organised by trade body ASSOCHAM.Singh said defence production has not been encouraged in the past, “although previous governments may have tried. This triggered corruption instead of increasing competitiveness in defence orders,” he said. “As far as the question of purchasing defence equipment is concerned, I can say that decisions to purchase defence equipment are now being taken fast as compared to past and their implementation is also ensured. If we can make ‘Mangalyaan’ in a fraction of cost, then why should we depend on import on other nations,” Singh said.He said that India was emerging as a global hub in Research and Development as well, especially in manufacturing and engineering R&D through ‘Make in India’ initiative. “Even in defence sector, indigenous defence production has been encouraged through ‘Make in India’ and the government wants to take it forward,” Singh said.”Securing internal and external security of a country cannot be imagined unless it becomes self-reliant. Even if a country is not fully self-reliant, it will have to make sure that its dependence on other nations should be less,” the minister said.

AgustaWestland scam: CBI seeks custody of ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi for seven more days

Probing the AgustaWestland chopper scam, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday sought extended custody of former chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) SP Tyagi and other accused for seven more days from the Patiala House Court in Delhi.

Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi. PTIFormer Air Force chief SP Tyagi. PTI

Former Air Force chief SP Tyagi. PTI

According to ANI, the CBI in court said that a senior official from AgustaWestland had met Tyagi at his residence, which was an abuse of his official position. It also informed the court that some material were in possession of the investigating agency from Switzerland, Italy and other countries for which more time for custodial interrogation of the accused is needed.

The defence counsel for the former Air Force chief was, however, unhappy with the CBI and said that the agency is detailing out the nature of material available with them only to help the media, the ANI said.

On Saturday, the former IAF chief said the changed specification of VVIP helicopters, especially the reduction in service ceiling, were made under the advice of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), after which the court sent him to CBI custody till 14 December in the Rs 3,767-crore AgustaWestland helicopter case.

“The PMO then advised to keep the minimum mandatory requirement of the service ceiling of the helicopters to 4,500 metres (from the earlier 6,000 metres),” Tyagi’s defence counsel N Hariharan told the court while opposing the CBI plea seeking custodial interrogration of the accused.

However, putting aside the submissions, metropolitan magistrate Sujit Saurabh allowed CBI to quiz Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie Tyagi, and Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khaitan till 14 December even as the agency sought 10 days custody to unearth bribery charges, saying a huge amount was routed to India through various companies.

“Considering the serious nature of the allegations and gravity of the matter, I am of the considered opinion that police custody for the accused is required for fair investigation,” said the magistrate after a two-hour-long argument between counsel of the CBI and the accused.

The agency told the court that crucial information was collected from three countries — Italy, Switzerland and Mauritius — via letters rogatory and the accused are required to be confronted with it to unearth the larger conspiracy in the deal.

Telling the court that regular meetings were taking place between senior officials of AgustaWestland and SP Tyagi with the help of Sanjeev Tyagi, the CBI has alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to reduce the service ceiling of the helicopters after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIP flying duties.

It told the court that the words “at least twin engine” were inserted in the amendment proposal in 2005 for procuring VVIP helicopters to bring AgustaWestland into the eligibility criteria, adding that the changes were made deliberately as AgustaWestland helicopters had three engines and a service ceiling of 4,500 metres.
Claiming innocence in the case, the former IAF chief’s defence counsel Hariharan apprised the court that it was a collective decision to procure VVIP helicopters.

Denying the charges, he opposed the request of custodial interrogation, saying that the probe agency had not given any specific and vital point for seeking remand. Countering the CBI allegations, Tyagi said that, as IAF chief 2004-2007, he had nothing to do with the deal and the decision was taken collectively in in consultation with then Defence Ministry, the Special Protection Group and the PMO.

The decision came during the tenure of Manmohan Singh but was axed in January 2013 when the corruption allegations surfaced.

The CBI told court that in 1999, the government decided to phase out the old helicopters as they were not fit to reach high-altitude areas, and the Defence Ministry in 2002 issued global tenders for procuring new VVIP helicopters in which 11 companies participated including AgustaWestland.

However, AgustaWestland could not qualify for the shortlisted companies as it could not meet the eligibility criteria.

“Therefore a conspiracy was hatched by the accused person to help AgustaWestland win the chopper contract by making change in the operational requirements,” contended the CBI, saying Italian nationals and middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke were in constant touch with Tyagi’s cousin to influence the bidding, and also accessed crucial information.

The middlemen told Sanjeev Tyagi that they had a good contact with Giuseppe Orsi and Bruno Spagnolini, then CEOs of the Italy-based Finmeccanica and Britain-based AgustaWestland, which is a subsidiary of the former, and could fix the meeting with them, CBI disclosed.

All the accused, companies included, were booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 15:56 IST

India set to test-launch Agni-V ballistic missile capable of reaching northern parts of China

India is preparing to test its Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Agni-V is capable of reaching the northern parts of China, reported The Times of IndiaAgni’s earlier versions, which have been inducted in the armed forces, can reach anywhere in Pakistan and parts of western China.

Reports suggest that testing of this missile is being done after a gap of few years. The missile was tested in 2012, 2013 and 2015 but was reported to have a technical glitch.

File photo. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had announced a glitch in the missile technology earlier this year. When asked about the much-delayed fourth test of Agni-V, DRDO chief S Christopher had earlier said in July, “The problem is solvable and the next test-firing of Agni-V is expected by the year-end.

About the delay, he had said, “It has been delayed because of a technical snag. There is a problem with the battery.”

There were also reports that the test was postponed due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to the US. Christopher had denied the reports, stating:  “The reasons for delay are only technical” IANS had reported

About the timeframe for the next test, the DRDO chief had said: “Our colleagues have said the issue can be resolved. We will do a test before the end of this year.”

This missile is strategically important as it is expected to keep a watch on China, said the reports.

Reports say that India will be the fifth country to possess this missile after America, Russia, China, France and England.

“This will be the final test of the three-stage Agni-V, which will be tested for its full range, before the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) begins its user trials,” a source told The Times Of India.

The Agni-V is the most advanced version of the indigenously built Agni, or Fire, series, part of the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) that started in the 1960s and was once overseen by APJ Abdul Kalam.

Agni-V is a three-stage missile designed to carry over one-tonne warhead. Its 5,000 km range gives it the farthest reach among all Indian missiles.

With inputs from IANS

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 15:07 IST

Cops to send car involved in Navy Nagar accident for RTO inspection for expert opinion

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to build a water-tight case against the wife of a Lance Naik who was arrested on Sunday for mowing down two children while learning driving in the Navy Nagar area, the Cuffe Parade police will rely on a report from the Regional Transport Office (RTO) to rule out any glitch in the vehicle being cited as a defence at a later stage. The couple had bought the vehicle very recently, the police said.“Normally people do tend to claim in court that some fault had occurred in the vehicle, and hence the mishap took place. We would be sending the vehicle for RTO inspection. Their expert opinion would clarify whether the vehicle had some technical glitch or not,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone I, Manoj Kumar Sharma.The RTO inspection report would later be part of the charge-sheet that would be filed against the couple in the court, police said. “We would also be recording more statement of witnesses to bolster our case,” Sharma added.According to the police, Sangeeta Rai, wife of Lance Naik Santoshkumar was practicing driving, without a drivers license,with her husband seated beside her on Sunday afternoon.“Sangeeta could not spot two brothers, Akshansh, 13, and Abhay Dhyani, 7, and instead of applying brakes, she pressed the accelerator and went on to hit the cycle on which they were riding, killing them on the spot,” said another police officer.As per the police, after the mishap, the children were rushed to INS Ashwini Hospital in Navy Nagar. “The couple first informed the defence staff about the mishap and did not make any attempts to flee. They wanted to report the matter to the police themselves,” said the officer.Meanwhile, the bodies of the two children were handed over to their family for last rites. Their father Raviprasad Dhyani was inconsolable and had fainted after he saw the bodies of his children, and had to be admitted in a hospital.Chief Defence spokesperson, Commander Rahul Sinha, said, “It is very unfortunate that such an incident took place in the restricted area of the army. A court of inquiry has been ordered for the same. The incident could have been avoided. There are driving schools within the army, if they (couple) would have used it, the environment would have been much safer for all of them. It isn’t the first incident where a learner hits the accelerator instead of the brake. ”When asked if the army would take any action on the Lance Naik who was present in the car at the time of the accident, he added, “It depends on the authorities, whether they would take any action on it.”

India, Indonesia call for ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India and Indonesia, which has the world’s highest Muslim population, decided to expand their strategic ties in defence and maritime security spheres on Monday and resolved to work closely to combat the threat of terrorism, calling for “zero tolerance” towards it. The two countries, among the very few fast growing large economies, also decided to boost bilateral trade and investment in areas of oil and gas, renewable energy, IT and pharmaceuticals, during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.The issue of South China Sea figured prominently in the talks and in a veiled message to Beijing, both sides asserted that the dispute must be resolved through peaceful means and without resorting to threat or use of force. Two MoUs, one on providing for cooperation in youth affairs and sports, and another on standardisation were signed. A joint communique on combating illegal and unregulated fishing was also firmed up. In his media statement, Modi said the talks focused on range of bilateral cooperation and that both countries agreed to prioritise defence and security cooperation, besides ramping up efforts to ensure safety and security of sea lanes.”As the world’s most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia stands for democracy, diversity, pluralism, and social harmony. These are also our values. Our nations and societies have nurtured strong bonds of commerce and culture throughout our history,” Modi, with Widodo standing beside him, said. Asked whether India raised the issue of Indian national Gurdeep Singh, facing death sentence in Indonesia on drug trafficking charges, officials did not give a direct reply but said the matter is under judicial process in that country.Signalling a new momentum in ties, the two sides agreed to commence a bilateral strategic dialogue and a separate security deliberations besides agreeing to negotiate a new comprehensive defence cooperation agreement to broadbase the cooperation. Widodo and Modi also agreed to hold annual Summit meetings, including on the margins of multilateral events.A joint statement said the two leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations in the strongest terms, holding that there must be “zero tolerance” for acts of terror and that all states must deal with transnational terrorism emanating from their territories by effective criminal justice response. “Both leaders discussed the threat from global terrorism and other transnational crimes and resolved to significantly enhance bilateral cooperation in combating terrorism, terrorist financing, money laundering, arms smuggling, trafficking in human beings and cyber crime,” it said.Modi and Widodo called upon all countries to implement the UNSC Resolution 1267 (banning militant groups and their leaders) and other relevant resolutions designating terrorist entities, seen as an apparent reference to China blocking India’s move to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the UN. The two leaders also asked all nations to work towards eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terror networks and their financing channels and stopping cross-border terrorism, seen as a message to Pakistan. Coinciding Widodo’s visit, Indonesian airline Garuda launched its flight from Jakarta to Mumbai, the first such service between the two countries.Referring to the South China Sea disputes, where Indonesia is also a party, the two leaders called for resolving the issue through peaceful means and in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law including the UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea). “In this context, they urged all parties to resolve disputes through peaceful means without resorting to threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities, and avoid unilateral actions that raise tensions,” the joint statement said.Both the leaders reiterated support for reform of the UN and its principal organs, including the Security Council, with a view to making the the global body more democratic, transparent and efficient. On boosting defence and security ties, the two leaders issued directives for early convening of the Defence Ministers’ Dialogue and the Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) meetings to review and upgrade the existing agreement on defence to a substantive bilateral defence cooperation agreement.Noting successful completion of Staff Talks between the armies and navies of the two countries, they also agreed on holding that air force staff talks at an early date. “They also tasked the two defence ministers to explore collaboration between defence industries for joint production of equipment with technology transfer, technical assistance, and capacity building cooperation,” the statement said.The two countries also issued a separate Joint Statement on Maritime Cooperation, outlining the agenda of engagement in maritime space including — maritime security, maritime industry, maritime safety and navigation. “As strategic partners and maritime neighbours, the two leaders emphasised the importance of further consolidating the security and defence cooperation between the two countries,” the joint statement said.Modi and Widodo also agreed to conclude an MoU on Maritime Cooperation in order to further strengthen and accelerate maritime cooperation. On fighting terror, the two countries agreed to enhance cooperation including through greater exchange of information and intelligence sharing. Talking about trade ties, the Prime Minister said both sides agreed that early implementation of India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment, and finalisation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would be important steps to further boost trade ties.”To sustain the momentum of our partnership, President Widodo and I have directed for an early meeting of the existing ministerial-level mechanisms to carry forward the bilateral cooperation agenda,” he said.The Indonesian President, on his first visit here, said there were detailed talks on ways to strengthen economic partnership, adding Indonesia wants to diversify exports to India. In order to meet energy mix demand in the future, both leaders encouraged renewal of the MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Oil and Gas and the working of its Joint Working Group, to expand wider scope of cooperation at the earliest. The two sides also agreed to work for direct shipping links, private sector investment in port and air-port development projects, including through Public-Private Partnerships or other concession schemes.The joint statement said the two leaders underscored the importance of pluralism, democracy, and rule of law as key values to achieve peaceful co-existence. The Indonesian President and Modi agreed to hold annual Summit meetings, including on the margins of multilateral events.

India among world’s top five defence spenders overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia: Report

London: India is among the world’s top five defence spenders with its military budget at USD 50.7 billion, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to a new report released on Monday.

The US, China and the UK remain the top three defence spenders while India has the fourth largest military budget, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia, according to the ‘2016 Jane’s Defence Budgets Report’, released by research firm IHS Markit.

India spent USD 50.7 billion this year on defence, up from USD 46.6 billion last year.

The report said that India is set to overtake Britain with the third-largest defence budget by 2018 as a result of its modernisation drive.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The US remained way ahead of the world with a budget of USD 622 billion, followed by China at USD 191.7 billion while the UK spent USD 53.8 billion on defence this year, Saudi Arabia USD 48.68 billion and Russia USD 48.44 billion.

After three years of budgetary constraints, the definitive UK-based defence magazine forecasts that Indian spending will rise from USD 38 billion in 2010 to USD 64 billion in 2020.

“Procurement spending has been constrained in India over the last three years as personnel costs have increased. However, what we expect to see from 2017 onwards is a military focused on modernisation. India needs new equipment to fulfill its modernisation drive. Over the next three years, India will re-emerge as a key growth market for defence suppliers,” said Craig Caffrey, principal analyst for Asia-Pacific at ‘IHS Janes’.

The worldwide outlook shows that global defence spending rose by 1 per cent to USD 1.6 trillion this year, against 0.6 per cent in 2015.

This rise has been attributed largely to strategic threats posed by Russia and the Islamic State terror group in
the Middle East.

“Defence spending returned to a healthy rate of growth in 2016, kicking off what we expect to be a decade of stronger global defence spending,” said Fenella McGerty, principal analyst at ‘IHS Janes’.

By 2020, China is forecast to be spending more than the whole of western Europe on defence and by 2025, more than all the states in the Asia-Pacific region combined.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 19:16 IST

SP Tyagi incident adversely affects IAF’s reputation: Chief Arup Raha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Saturday said that former air force chief SP Tyagi’s involvement in the AgustaWestland scam is unfortunate and would adversely affect the reputation of the Indian Air Force (IAF). “It is a very unfortunate episode and the incident adversely acts on the reputation of a very professional force that is the Indian Air Force. I am sure that law of the land and the judicial system will dwell into it and finally deal with the subject,” he said.Air Chief Marshal Raha assured that the Indian Air Force will correct every error quickly and will serve the nation to best of its ability. “I can rest assure you the Indian Air Force and the armed forces will continue to serve the nation to best of its abilities and if anything is wrong, we will correct it quickly,” he added.Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi (retd.) was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday, along with his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan, for their alleged involvement in the Rs. 3,700-crore AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter scam. They have been accused of routing kickbacks.
ALSO READ VVIP chopper scam | Not just SP TYagi, other bureaucrats, politicos involved must come under CBI radar: Defence expertThe CBI has determined that about Rs. 450 crore, or 12% of the Rs 3,767-crore deal for procurement of 12 helicopters was paid as bribe. The government rescinded the contract in January 2014 in view of the bribery allegations.

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: SP Tyagi and two others sent to 4-day CBI custody

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: Incident acts adversely on IAF’s reputation, says chief Arup Raha

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: Deal was ruled out because of ceiling constraints, CBI tells court

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: SP Tyagi in Patiala House Court, CBI seeks 10-dau custody for all 3 accused

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

AgustaWestland scam LIVE: CBI to seek 14-day remand in custody for SP Tyagi and other accused

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

According to an earlier report by Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had urged the Defence Ministry to purchase helicopters that were capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying 6,000 m and above and could only reach up to 4,572 feet.

The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after
Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

​AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa.

A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi being appointed as Air Force chief, the IAF had ‘’vehemently opposed’’ the lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF “conceded to reduce” altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

Initial investigations by the Italian prosecutor said that Tyagi had personally met Haschke before, and that the bribery took place via Tyagi’s cousins Julie, Sandeep and Dosca. Tyagi, however, has denied any claims of having met Haschke.

In investigations by the Milan Court of Appeals, particularly in its 225-page judgment, Tyagi’s name appeared more than once. The judgment said, “So, in the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to ‘Tyagi family’ for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

VVIP chopper scam | Not just SP TYagi, other bureaucrats, politicos involved must come under CBI radar: Defence expert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence expert Nitin Gokhale on Saturday said that former air chief SP Tyagi is not the last person to be arrested in the AgustaWestland case, adding that other high-profile officials, bureaucrats and politicians should come also be brought under the CBI scanner.”The former air chief SP Tyagi being arrested is indeed a big news and it has taken almost four years for the CBI to make a first high profile arrest. But I believe that SP Tyagi is not the last person who will be arrested because he did not take an individual decision in the AgustaWestland case. There were many other high profile and high post people were also involved in the decision making,” Gokhale told ANI. “So, just to pick out Air Chief Marshal (Retired) SP Tyagi will be unfair. So, therefore, my view is that even they should be not just interrogated, but they should be looked at very closely and if necessary also go after them,” he added.He further said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will do well to look at all those involved in that decision making process. “Otherwise, it will be seen as victimising a service personnel and allowing bureaucrats, and may be some politicians to get away from this crime. This entire deal was handled not just by Air Head Quarters, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) was involved and so was the Prime Minister’s Office. Two PMs offices that is the previous NDA government and Dr. Manmohan Singh’s Prime Minister’s Offices were involved. The special protection group which protects the Prime Minister was also involved.” he added.The CBI will produce Tyagi in court on Saturday and will seek his remand after he was arrested in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal case. Delhi based lawyer Gautam Khaitan and Sanjeev Tyagi were also arrested in the case.The deal is related to purchase of twelve helicopters for VVIPs from Italian manufacturer Finmeccanica in 2010 during UPA-2 government’s rule. Tyagi, 71,who retired in 2007, was called for questioning to the CBI headquarters along with Khaitan and Sanjeev Tyagi. These are the first arrests by CBI which came after it registered a case in 2013.

US Congress clears decks for India to become key defence partner

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The US Congress has cleared the decks for India to become a “major defence partner”, with the Senate passing the 2017 National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) the $618 billion American defence budget for 2017 by 92 to 7 votes. NDAA 2017, which asks the defence secretary and the secretary of state to take steps necessary to recognise India as America’s major defence partner in a bid to strengthen bilateral security cooperation, was passed earlier by the US House of Representatives by 375-34 votes and now heads to the White House for President Barack Obama to sign it into law. “I applaud the inclusion of forward-leaning provisions designed to strengthen bilateral defense cooperation with India, including expanded military-to-military engagement, increased defence trade, and greater cooperation on technological development,” Senator Mark Warner, Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus, said in a statement after the Senate passed the bill yesterday.”As the world’s largest democracy and one with which US strategic interests increasingly align, India is an important partner in promoting economic growth and global security,” said Warner, who will serve as Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 115th Congress.Titled ‘Enhancing defense and security cooperation with India,’ Section 1292 of the NDAA asks the defence secretary and the secretary of state to take steps necessary to recognise India as America’s major defense partner of the US.It also asks the administration to designate an individual within the executive branch who has experience in defense acquisition and technology to reinforce and ensure, through interagency policy coordination, the success of the Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship; and to help resolve remaining issues impeding US-India defense trade, security cooperation, and co-production and co-development opportunities.The act calls for approval and facilitation of transfer of advanced technology, consistent with US conventional arms transfer policy, to support combined military planning with India’s military for missions such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, counter piracy, freedom of navigation, and maritime domain awareness missions, and to promote weapons systems interoperability.Calling to strengthen the effectiveness of the US-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative and the durability of the Department of Defense’s ‘India Rapid Reaction Cell’, NDAA 2017 also seeks collaboration with India to develop mutually agreeable mechanisms to verify the security of defense articles, defense services and related technology such as appropriate cyber security and end use monitoring arrangements consistent with US’ export control laws and policy. After the passage of the bill, within 180 days, the secretary of defence and secretary of state have been asked to jointly submit to the Congressional Defence Committees and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives a report on how the US is supporting its defence relationship with India.Among other things it seeks to enhance cooperative military operations, including maritime security, counter-piracy, counter-terror cooperation, and domain awareness, in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.NDAA 2017 is still a step below what friends of India have been working for in the Congress for the past few years – brining the defence ties at par with top NATO allies and Israel. “The President shall ensure that the assessment” is used, consistent with US conventional arms transfer policy, to inform the review by the US of requests to export defence articles, defence services, or related technology to India under the Arms Export Control Act and to inform any regulatory and policy adjustments that may be appropriate, it said.NDAA-2017 also asks the defence secretary and the secretary of state to conduct an assessment of the extent to which India possesses capabilities to support and carry out military operations of mutual interest of the two countries. This, including an assessment of the defence export control regulations and policies, need appropriate modification in recognition of India’s capabilities and its status as a major defence partner.

For God’s sake, do your job: President admonishes MPs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the logjam in Parliament continued into the third week of the Winter Session, President Pranab Mukherjee — a seven-time parliamentarian himself — came down heavily on members in both Houses and said “for God’s sake, do your job.”His admonition came even as both Houses adjourned for the day again on Thursday amidst the Government-Opposition face off on demonetization. The Supplementary Demands for Grants, discussed for less than an hour in Lok Sabha, was passed in the din by a voice vote. Mukherjee, who was delivering the Defence Estate Day Lecture on “Reforms for a stronger Democracy”, used the opportunity to take on parliamentarians over both Houses being stalled ever since the session began on November 16. He expressed concern that disruption had become a “practice”.“Disruption means you are gagging majority. Majority never participates in this disruption. Only minority comes to the well, shouts slogans, stops proceedings and creates a situation in which the Chair has no option For but to adjourn the House. This is totally unacceptable,” he said. There are just four sittings left of the session, which ends on December 16.“For God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business in Parliament. Disruption of Parliament is not acceptable at all,” the President said. Asking MPs to debate issues of public importance in Parliament, he said dharnas can be organised anywhere else.With demonetization completing a month, the Opposition had organised a “black day” and held a protest at the Gandhi statue. His remarks came a day after senior BJP leader LK Advani’s outburst before parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar saying neither he nor the Speaker were running the House and that the House was running on its own.On Thursday, Advani had a five minute meeting with Speaker Sumitra Mahajan. Sources said Advani conveyed to her that his anger was not directed at her but over the way Parliament was stalled. The Speaker, according to sources, told him that she understood his anguish. Advani had also spoken to Kumar on Wednesday night and told him that it was not his intention to undermine him and that he was concerned about the way things were in Parliament with a few members holding it to ransom, the sources said.The veteran leader was also seen talking to Kumar after the House adjourned for the day on Thursday and asked if the supplementary demands for grants had been passed. After Advani, who is understood to have told union minister Venkaiah Naidu that if MPs did not do work, they should not draw salaries. Now, another BJP veteran Shanta Kumar has expressed a similar sentiment in a letter to the Speaker. Shanta Kumar asked the Speaker to take stern disciplinary measures like suspending their salaries and allowances and even go to the extent of expelling members for the session. He said some members were “crossing all limits”.He said the kind of sloganeering in the well of the House was shameful and it diluted the dignity of democracy. “The entire country is concerned. Sometimes, the school children in the visitors gallery look at us and smile. What example are we setting,” he said.The leader from Himachal Pradesh told the Speaker that she had shown a lot of patience but it was time for her to take action against members who went into the well of the house and shouted slogans despite her instructions.

President Mukherjee talks about EC’s recommendations to hold simultaneous elections

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Backing electoral reforms in the Indian political system, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday asked the government to come up with necessary amendments and hold public debates on a set of recommendations proposed by the Election Commission to hold simultaneous elections in the country. Acknowledging that the administration is feeling the pinch due to frequent elections hampering the developmental works, he said, “Many of you would aware that frequent elections are a costly affair, putting stain on the administrative resources and drainage of financial resources for holding and conducting elections. But we are ready to pay this price for the democracy, but it should not be at the cost of development in a developing economy like ours.”He was delivering a lecture on the 4th Defence Estates Day in the national capital. “I do feel that these do not affect the electoral process to that extent that voters would be influenced by the announcement. This is some sort of illusion with which the political activists believe. And here the Election Commission and the government can sit together with political parties to have discussion,” he added.The President also said that President’s Rule should be extended to more than a year in a state if general elections are around the corner. “As per the present constitutional amendment, after 44th amendment of the Constitution, president’s rule is only confined to one year subject to the ratification of both Houses of parliament at every 6 months. And if a consensus develops around simultaneous elections, there can be consensus on that as well,” he said.”During general elections, it is imperative that the President’s Rule should be extended beyond one year so that it can synchronise with the general elections of the parliament,” he added.President Mukherjee also pressed for the increase in the number of Lok Sabha seats in concomitant with rising population in the country. “We have 543 members in Lok Sabha, our electors are more than 800 million, a country of having a population of 1.28 billion which is going to much larger very soon, we must think whether we can have larger number of seats and for that constitutional amendment for delimitation is needed. We shall have to think especially under electoral reforms,” he said.The President also raised concern over women’s participation in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies, and called for passage for of the Women’s Reservation Bill. “Women’s population is almost 50% whose representations is abysmally low which is totally unacceptable and with the experience of 16 Lok Saha elections it is being said that whatever be the reason, political parties are not magnanimous enough to give adequate number of representations to the woman in parliament,” he said.

For God’s sake, do your job: President blasts MPs for stalling Parliament

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In a stinging attack on the opposition over Parliamentary paralysis, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said the House is not a place for dharna and disruption which amounts to “gagging of majority” by the minority.He told Parliamentarians that they are meant to discuss and transact business and not to disrupt.”Disruption is totally unacceptable in Parliamentary system. People send representatives to speak and not to sit on dharna and not to create any trouble on the floor,” he said speaking on “Electoral reforms for a stronger democracy” on the occasion of Defence Estates Day Lecture here. Himself a veteran Parliamentarian before he became the President, Mukherjee said, “Disruption means you are hurt, you are gagging majority. Majority never participates in this disruption. Only minority comes to the well, shouts slogans, stops the proceedings and creates a situation in which the Chair has no option but to adjourn the House. This is totally unacceptable”.Mukherjee’s sharp attack on Parliamentary disruption comes in the midst of paralysis of Parliament for over a fortnight over the issue of demonetization.The President noted that Parliament is in session for only a few weeks in a year. “For demonstration, you can choose any other places. But for God’s sake, do your job. You are meant to transact business. You are meant to devote your time for exercising the authority of members, particularly Lok Sabha members over money and finance,” he said. Maintaining that he is not targeting any single party or individuals, he said the responsibility is of everyone.”Fact remains that this (disruption) has become a practice which should not be acceptable at all. Whatever be the differences, we have the opportunity, to speak our mind, to speak freely and no court can interfere in what I say on the floor of the House,” he said. Mukherjee said that even if a member is levelling an allegation against someone, no court can prosecute him because he has said so on the floor of the House.”This type of freedom should not be misused by causing disruption,” he said.

INS Betwa mishap: Sailor’s remains cremated, professional salvers arrive to rescue the frigate

Teams of professionals are assisting the Indian Navy salvage INS Betwa, a naval frigate that tipped over at the Mumbai docks while it was being undocked on Monday.

According to The Asian Age report, “Teams of professional salvers, including from abroad, have reached the accident site to assess the damage with more teams expected to arrive later.”

The Navy said that it’s determined to salvage the frigate and make it fighting-fit by 2018. “Come what may, INS Betwa will be salvaged. The Indian Navy is looking at first to make the flipped ship stand upright, then to assess the damage and to undertake salvage operations and finally to make it battle-ready by 2018. Every equipment that the ship had can be made indigenously,” Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma told the newspaper.

The frigate INS Betwa lies on its side. PTI

The frigate INS Betwa lies on its side. PTI

According to a report in Free Press Journal, the team is expected to complete its initial assessment within a couple of days on the extent of damage the battleship has suffered and chalk out plans to make the 126-metre frigate upright.

INS Betwa, a Brahmaputra-class guided missile warship (F-39), slipped on the dock blocks during a refit at about 1.50 pm on Monday. Weighing around 3,850-tonne, with a length of 126 metres, the ship fell sideways while it was being undocked for return to water thus breaking the main mast of the frigate. The accident claimed two lives  and injured 15 others.

Mortal remains of sailors consigned to flames

The mortal remains of sailor Ashutosh Pande, who lost his life in the mishap were consigned to flames with full military honours at his hometown in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.

His body was brought by a Navy plane to Dhana airstrip near here and then was taken to his home in Sadbhavna Nagar in a military vehicle for the last rites. His kin and a large number of people were present for the cremation which took place on the 10th Battalion cremation ground on Wednesday.

However, reportedly no senior official from the district administration attended the cremation.

A “miscalculation of balance”

Meanwhile, Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar has called the incident a “miscalculation of balance”. Parrikar explained that when a ship undergoes refit, a lot of machines and fixtures like propeller, engine, etc are removed due to which the balance gets disturbed.

“You are supposed to maintain it. Something must have gone wrong in that,” he said on Wednesday while responding to a question as to whether the INS Betwa accident showed Navy’s inability to absorb high technology.

He also said that a Board of Inquiry is on and it will pinpoint the reasons.

The Board of Inquiry, formed on Tuesday, is headed by rear Admiral Deepak Bali and Flag-Officer Offshore Defence Advisory Group.

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

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

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

With input from agencies

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 16:08 IST

India, US destined to be strategic partners in future: Ashton Carter

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming India a “rising military power” and a “major defence partner”, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter has said the country is destined to be America’s strategic partner in future as both the nations have a lot in common.”I believe it is an important stop because I believe India and the United States are destined to be strategic partners in the future. It is a large country, it’s a rising military power, it is a democracy with which we share many common values and approaches to the world,” Carter told reporters travelling with him to New Delhi from Japan yesterday. “The concourse between our peoples is very strong. We’re both multicultural societies, but nevertheless, hold together extremely well. So we have a lot in common, both strategically and in terms of who we are,” he said.Carter described India a “major defence partner” and the relationship between the two countries in recent years as strategic handshakes. “This is a relationship that we’ve all watched for a long time, but it has grown by leaps and bounds just in the last few years, as measured by – I’m speaking now of the defence relationship – the pace of joint activities that we do between our two militaries, including exercises, which one of our largest programmes of exercises, their extension in scope, including two trilateral exercises as well as bilateral exercises,” he said.He said there were a lot of projects that are underway under Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) where the two countries are working out technical and sometimes economic details of them. “I think one of the things I’ll be discussing with my Indian counterparts tomorrow is the major change we’re about to make in our export regulations as regards the status of India; a major defence partner,” he said.The significance of that is, first of all, it’s unique to India. It permits the US to do things with India that have never been possible before. It creates a presumption of approval for transactions with India, he said. “We are encouraging India, and again, India has some desire to increase its pace of exercises. The extent to which those exercises are not just US-India exercise, but US-India-Japan exercises, US-India-Australia exercises, things that show that spreading of that network I have been talking about,” he added.

Manohar Parrikar likely to celebrate birthday in Goa, address rally

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is likely to celebrate his birthday on December 13 at his birthplace in Goa where he is also expected to address a ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally, a BJP functionary said on Wednesday.”Parrikar will be celebrating his birthday at Parra, the village where he was born and has an ancestral house. The village is next to Mapusa town, where he celebrates all festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali and Christmas,” BJP legislator Michael Lobo, representing Calangute constituency said.The party workers and well-wishers will prepare a special cake for the Defence Minister. “The theme of the cake will be defence. It will be decorated with miniature airplanes, tanks, guns and others. We want to salute the son of soil, our own leader,” Lobo said.Parrikar will address a ‘Vijay Sankalp’ rally in Parra on his birthday. “We are expecting more than 6,000 people to attend the rally,” Lobo added.

‘Martyr’ not used in reference to casualties in IAF: Kiren Rijiju

Tue, 6 Dec 2016-11:47pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government does not declare any of the security forces personnel who die in action as ‘martyr’, Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday. “The Ministry of Defence has informed that the word ‘martyr’ is not used in reference to any of the casualties in Indian Armed Forces,” Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said in a written reply to a question. “Similarly, no such term is used in reference to the Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles personnel who get killed in action or on any operation,” he said.However, their families/next of kin are given full family pension under the liberalised pensionary award rules and lump sum ex-gratia compensation as per rules in addition to other benefits admissible, he said. Rijiju was responding to a question “whether the government has codified the term ‘martyrs’ for placing the posthumous soldiers in the category of martyrs? If so, the details and if not, whether the government proposes to make such a codification?”

India should plan offensive, adversary should ‘feel the pain’: Ex army chiefs

Tue, 6 Dec 2016-10:06pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India should plan offensive and covert operations to take target militant leaders and hit the Pakistani Army hard, two former Army chiefs said on Tuesday. Former Army chief Gen (retd) Bikram Singh was of the view that Indian should exploit the fault lines in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) so that the Pakistani Army is forced to concentrate internally and not externally. “We need to create asymmetric capabilities which includes doing covert operations and targeting militant leaders,” he said, adding the adversary should “feel the pain” and be put in an “embarrassing spot”.Speaking at Agenda Aaj Tak here, former Army chief Gen (retd) VP Malik said, “Till now we have been focusing on defensive operation. We now have to look at offensive operation.” He was of the view that an all-out war between India and Pakistan or India and China was “unlikely”. To have a better planning of security needs, military experts should be roped into the government and be made minister of state for Defence, Malik suggested.

India-US defence ties closer than ever now, says Defence Secretary Carter ahead of visit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Days ahead of his visit to India, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter today said that the defence ties between the world’s two largest democracies has never been as close as it is now with their militaries exercising together by air, land and sea like never before.”The US-India defence relationship is the closest it’s ever been. Through our strategic handshake with America reaching west in the re-balance, and India reaching east in what Prime Minister Modi calls his Act East policy our two nations are exercising together by air, land and sea like never before,” Carter said in his address to the Regan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.Slated to be in India on December 8, Carter would travel to Japan, Bahrain, Israel, Italy and the UK. This is for the first time that an outgoing American Defence Secretary has included India in his itinerary for the final overseas trip. “We also have a technological handshake as the US- India Defence Technology and Trade Initiative, grasps hands with Prime Minister Modi’s Make in India campaign that’s helping our countries move toward more diverse co-development and co-production of weapons systems,” Carter said.Carter would meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and other leaders during his trip to New Delhi. “He (Carter) will look to build on the strategic handshake between the two nations and to continue the momentum in the relationship over the past decade, including expanded defence cooperation during his time as Secretary,” the Pentagon had said in a statement last week.Carter said the US-Japan alliance remains the cornerstone of Asia-Pacific security. “And with our new Defense Guidelines, the US-Japan alliance has never been stronger, or more capable of contributing to security in the Asia-Pacific and beyond,” he said. Carter also reflected on the re-balance strategy of US President Barack Obama. “It will ensure DoD continues to help provide the security necessary for that consequential region which is home to nearly half the global population and nearly half the global economy to remain a place where everyone can rise and prosper for decades to come,” he said.”That’s been American policy and practice since the end of World War II more than 70 years ago. Regardless of what else was going on at home or in other parts of the world during Democratic and Republican administrations, in times of surplus and deficit, war and peace the United States has remained economically, politically, and militarily engaged in the Asia-Pacific,” he said.The US, he said, has long taken a principled and inclusive approach, and collaborated with a network of regional allies and partners to enable security and uphold important principles like resolving disputes peacefully; ensuring countries can make choices free from external coercion and intimidation; and preserving the freedom of overflight and navigation guaranteed by international law.

Parrikar’s statement on ‘happiness index’ aimed at masking ‘failures’: Congress

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress in Goa on Sunday said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement on “Happiness index” was aimed at masking “failures” of the BJP-led government in the poll-bound state.Parrikar, addressing BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally in Bicholim on Saturday evening, had said if his party was voted back to power in Goa, it would work towards increasing ‘Happiness index’ of the state.Reacting to the statement, Congress Goa spokesperson Sunil Kawathankar said, “Before speaking on increasing Happiness index, let Manohar Parrikar define what is Happiness index and the methodology to measure it.””We know Parrikar is an IITian, but he cannot always use terminologies which will mask their (BJP-led) government’s failures,” he added.At the rally, Parrikar had said, “We (BJP) performed well in social sector and also built infrastructure in the state, but the ultimate target is to increase Happiness index of the state.” The former Goa Chief Minister said, “Money (alone) does not give you satisfaction. Happiness index is now being discussed worldwide. To do this, I require your support (in election).” “Last time (2012 Goa polls), 21 BJP legislators were elected and this time we want at least 25-26 BJP legislators,” he said. Goa will go to polls early next year.The United Nations takes into account GDP per capita, life expectancy, social support and freedom to make life choices as indicators of Happiness index.

AAP posters, ‘topis’ disappeared in Goa post note ban: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an apparent dig at Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said after the November 8 demonetization move, the roadside posters and ‘topis’ (caps) had disappeared in Goa.”After demonetisation, the roadside posters and ‘topis’ (a distinctive insignia for AAP supporters) had disappeared. I am told slowly they are getting visible now,” Parrikar said.The former Goa Chief Minister, addressing a ‘`Vijay Sankalp’ rally at Shiroda near here, was referring to the banners put up by the Arvind Kejriwal-led party claiming it will win the state Assembly polls, likely to be held in the first quarter of 2017.The coastal state is currently ruled by a BJP-led coalition.”Goans don’t go by banners and numbers (related to seats) flashed on them,” he said, adding voters have realised BJP is the only party which works for overall development of the state.Parrikar appealed to voters to give at least 26 Assembly seats to the BJP (out of the total 40) in the ensuing elections.Talking about the drive to make Goa a cashless society, Parrikar said 10,000 Point of Sale (PoS) machines will be installed in the state and more than 70,000 people trained in handling cashless transactions by December.”Goa was the first state that started going cashless through implementation of its social welfare schemes. The government directly transferred money under these schemes to the account of beneficiaries,” he recalled.

J-K: BSF jawan injured in ceasefire violation by Pak troops in Rajouri

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire on Friday by firing on forward posts along the LoC in Rajouri district, leaving a BSF jawan injured.”At 10 AM, a BSF constable deployed at a forward location at LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Rajouri district sustained an injury due to single round fire (sniper fire) from Pakistan Forward Defence location”, a senior BSF officer said today. The condition of the jawan is stable.The fresh ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops has taken place after a lull of over one week along the LoC.Eleven persons including six Army personnel, four BSF jawans and a civilian porter working with Army were injured in Pakistan shelling and firing in Nowshera, Manjakote, Balakote, Mendhar and Gurez sectors on November 23.A total of 26 people, including 14 security personnel and 12 civilians, have been killed and more than 83 suffered injured in Pakistani shelling and firing along IB and LoC in Jammu after surgical strikes.

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

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

‘This is a military coup’: Mamata protests army deployment in state

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a high drama over “deployment of army” at certain toll plazas in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided to stay put at the state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ on Thursday night, even after the force was removed from a toll plaza near it as per her demand. “I am the custodian of common people. So I can’t leave them insecured. I will stay put here for the whole night and observe the situation,” Banerjee told reporters at around 1.30 AM.About her demand that she would leave the office only when Armymen were removed from the second Hooghly bridge toll plaza near Nabanna, she said, “These people may have gone. But they are there in 18 other districts.” TMC will raise the issue in both the houses of the Parliament on Friday.BJP’s Siddharth Nath Singh responded to Mamata’s allegations saying, “Jo paisa unhone (WB CM) gavaaya hai, usse sadma unhe hua hai, uske baad wo apne maansik santulan mein nahin hain (She’s in mental distress about losing money). First WB CM had apprehensions about flight being low on fuel, then she related a regular army exercise to a coup.”Accusing the Centre of deploying the Army at toll plazas in West Bengal without informing the state government, Banerjee had refused to leave the office till the Armymen were withdrawn from the toll plaza at second Hooghly bridge. On Friday night, Mamata said, “This is a military coup. My officials checked with Odisha, Bihar, Kerala, Chattisgarh nowhere such a thing happened. This happened only in Bengal.”The army refuted allegations of conducting exercises without the permission, while the West Bengal police said, “In almost all areas of West Bengal army has been deployed without consent of the state government.” The Army said they were conducting routine exercise with full knowledge and coordination with West Bengal police. “Army conducting routine exercise with full knowledge & coord with WB Police. Speculation of army taking over toll plaza incorrect,” the Eastern command said on Twitter. “Routine exercise in all NE states. In [email protected] places, [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], Tripura & [email protected]″, it said.”The requisite data gathered and Army has been asked to withdraw from specific point, would be deployed elsewhere tomorrow,” Defence CPRO said.The Kolkata police, however, said they have raised objection to this Army exercise due to security reasons and traffic problem. “Army exercise at toll plaza was objected to in writing by Kolkata Police, citing security reasons & traffic inconvenience,” the city police said on Twitter. The drama unfolded on Thursday evening when Banerjee alleged that Army deployment was done in toll plazas without informing the state government and described it as “unprecedented” and “a very serious situation worse than Emergency”. She claimed that people got panicky due to deployment of Army at toll plazas.A Defence spokesperson said the Army conducts bi-annual exercise throughout the country with the aim to get statistical data about the load carriers that could be made available to the army in case of a contingency. “There is nothing alarming about this and it is carried out as per government orders”, Wing Commander SS Birdi said. The exercise gives an estimate about the number of vehicles passing through a certain area that could be tapped during operations, he said.The Chief Minister, however, said “The Secretariat is a sensitive zone and toll plaza is a sensitive place. Why is the Army here? Whatever reason they are giving is not correct. They are lying. They are changing their reasons from time to time. The MHA has the complete data of the vehicles moving in different states.” Banerjee said she has checked with other states but nothing such has happened in Maharashtra, Kerala, Odisha and Chattisgarh. “Why is that happening here? I fear that they can shoot. Either I will live or die but I will speak for the common people,” Banerjee said. “I do not have any problem if the Centre behaves like the central government. But they are repeatedly doing mistakes and now they are doing a blunder. It is an attack on the federal structure. We want to know the details,” she said.

Manohar Parrikar meets Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina to discuss bilateral ties

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday called on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and discussed measures to strengthen military and security ties between the two countries.Parrikar, the first Indian defence minister to visit Bangladesh in the last 45 years, met Hasina, who holds the defence portfolio in the cabinet, for about 30 minutes.Parrikar, who arrived back on Wednesday was on a two-day visit leading an 11-member high-powered delegation, met President Abdul Hamid who assured India that it has “zero tolerance” policy against terrorism and sought expanded military ties.The president urged the Indian minister to send more military officials to Bangladesh for training to boost ties between the armed forces of the two countries.The Defence Minister on Wednesday also met Hasina’s security adviser Major General (Retd) Tariq Ahmed and discussed bilateral military and security cooperation. Top defence ministry officials in New Delhi had said the focus of Parrikar’s trip was to deepen security ties and firm up a defence cooperation agreement that is likely to be signed when Hasina visits India next month.

Nagrota attack: Army clears two complexes, combing operations continue

Jammu: Two main complexes at the army unit in Nagrota, which witnessed a fierce gunbattle and hostage-like situation, have been cleared by the army as combing operation continued for the second day at the camp targeted by terrorists.

“Combing and sanitisation operation have resumed to clear the entire area of the unit. It will take some more time. No one has been allowed inside so far”, a senior army officer said.

Jammu: Security personnel stand guard during the search operations following the militant attack on Nagrota Army camp, near Jammu on Wednesday. PTI Photo(PTI11_30_2016_000067B)

Jammu: Security personnel stand guard during the search operations following the militant attack on Nagrota Army camp, near Jammu on Wednesday. PTI 

The officer said two main building complexes where the gun-battle and hostage-like situation took place have been cleared and they are totally free from blinds (unexploded shells). Most of the blinds blast on the spot and the area is being cleared inch by inch so it will take some time before the unit area is opened for normal operation and activity, he said.

“Operation is on to see whether there is presence of any other militant in the area. We cannot take chances”, he said. “Blinds were destroyed today at the site of the deadly terror attack on an army base in Nagrota by a bomb disposal team during combing operations that are still underway,” said a Defence spokesman.

Huge number of blinds of various types have been found in and around the two complexes and other areas of the unit, which were left behind by slain terrorists.

The army launched combing, search and sanitisation operation using sniffer dogs, bomb disposal squads with technical teams armed with equipment after conclusion of the day-long gun-battle between troops and three heavily armed militants, who stormed at 166 artillery unit of Army at Nagrota on Tuesday.

Jammu was rocked by two terror attacks in which seven army personnel, including two Major-rank officers, were killed and eight other security-men, including a BSF DIG, were injured, before six heavily-armed terrorists were eliminated in separate fierce encounters.

First Published On : Dec 1, 2016 16:44 IST

India inks Rs 5,000 crore deal with US for 145 M777 howitzers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Breaking the Bofors jinx, India and the US on Wednesday inked a nearly Rs 5,000 crore deal for 145 M777 ultra-light howitzers, which will be mostly deployed near the borders with China.This is the first deal for artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s. “India has today signed the Letter of Acceptance which formalises the contract between India and US for these guns,” sources said.The deal for 145 American ultra-light howitzers, costing about Rs 5,000 crore was recently cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The deal was inked as a two-day meeting of the 15th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) began here.India-US MCG is a forum established to progress Defence Cooperation between HQ Integrated Defence Staff and US Pacific Command at the strategic and operational levels. The meeting commenced with the US Co-Chair Lt Gen David H Berger, Commander US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific calling on Lt Gen Satish Dua, CISC, HQ IDS. The MCG meeting is co-chaired by Air Marshal AS Bhonsle DCIDS (Operations), HQ IDS.A 260-member delegation from the US Defence Forces and several officers from the three Services HQ and HQ IDS representing the Indian side are attending the bilateral event.On the issue of M777, the sources said India had sent a Letter of Request to the US government showing interest in buying the guns which will be deployed in high-altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China. The US had responded with a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) and the Defence Ministry had in June looked into the terms and conditions and approved it.The offsets, under which BAE Systems, manufacturer of the gun, will invest about USD 200 million, will be pursued independently.While 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition, the rest will be assembled at the proposed Assembly Integration and Test facility for the weapon system in India in partnership with Mahindra. The first two howitzers will be delivered within six months of the contract being inked, while rest will be delivered at the rate of two per month. The howitzers that can be heli-lifted were first proposed to be bought from BAE about 10 years back.

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