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Manohar Parrikar has a advice for Goan Media critics: Take off clothes and dance naked

Panaji: In a stern critique of a section of the Goan media, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said his advice to those who blabber needlessly was to take off their clothes and dance naked to get publicity.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Parrikar, who attended a Bharatiya Janata Party meeting in Sattari sub district in north Goa, located 40 km from Panaji, was speaking on Monday vis-a-vis the limits of criticism.

“I still remember in 1968 during the Watergate issue, he (an editor) had written a large editorial advising (Richard) Nixon. Now, how could an editorial written by him in Marathi reach Nixon? He is in America.

“Some people do not understand their limits. They keep blabbering. I have some good advice for them. Remove your clothes and dance naked (kapde kadha ani nagde nacha).

“One will get even better publicity,” Parrikar said, while referring to an editor of a vernacular newspaper in Panaji.

“I give one advice to those who abuse to get publicity. There was a newspaper here. It is still there. I will not take its name. It had an editor.

“He was an international level editor, he was brought here in his old age. His newspaper had a sale of 1,000…” the former Goa Chief Minister said.

First Published On : Dec 20, 2016 22:08 IST

Several politicians have become beggars after demonetization: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday claimed that several politicians have become beggars after the demonetization move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”Some people had made it their business to loot Goa.After the surgical strike by (Narendra) Modiji in which he demonetized Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, several politicians turned beggars,” Parrikar said addressing BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally in Ponda constituency. He claimed that one of the politician even suffered heart attack and had to clarify that the attack had no relation to the demonetization. “That politician went on sending messages to the people that his heart attack was not due to demonetization,” the Minister further claimed.Parrikar said during his tenure as Goa chief minister some people had approached him with the fear that a bridge was not getting completed. “There was one bridge in the state whose foundation stone was laid three times by earlier governments. When I became chief minister, I took up the work of constructing the bridge,” he recalled.”I announced that I will complete the bridge in six months but people did not believe me. Next day some people met me and said it is good that the bridge should be completed in time, but we had heard that the bridge is not getting completed as it requires ‘narbali’,” Parrikar said. “I asked people to just stop thinking that way and said if they want they can sacrifice chicken,” the Minister added.

AgustaWestland scam: Tyagi’s fate unknown, but defence deals highly prone to corruption

In what appears to be the rarest of a rare case, former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi has been arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his alleged involvement in the scam of purchasing VVIP chopper deal worth Rs 3,700 crores with AgustaWestland in 2010(AW-101 deal). The CBI seems to believe that the retired Air Chief Marshal influenced the decision of procuring 12 choppers, meant for the use of the top leaders of the country, including the President and Prime Minister. In the process, he is believed to have received huge kickbacks along with his cousins, known middlemen in the arms-trade.

However, the former Air Chief has always denied his role to the CBI, ever since the investigating agency was entrusted the case to find out the truth by the then UPA government in 2013.

The whole episode, in my considered view , raises two important points — the record of the CBI in presenting a strong case in matters relating to defence procurements and the very procedure of procuring defence equipments, including the role of lobbying.

Let be it be noted straightaway that so far the record of the CBI in uncovering the defence scandals has been really pathetic, to say the least. One does not remember a single case that the CBI has solved in this regard.

We all know how the CBI was asked by the UPA government to investigate about half a score of, what it said were, corrupt defence deals under the NDA rule of Atal Bihari Vajpayee during which George Fernades was the Defence Minister. However, nothing came out of these investigations and the same CBI requested the court to close the investigations years later, but not before ruining the reputations of many officials and reputations for no fault of theirs. One hopes, the same will not be the case with the former Air Chief Tyagi. If he is proved guilty in the final analysis, nobody will shed a tear for him, but if he has been a convenient ploy to save the real guilty in the top political and bureaucratic establishments, then nothing can be more tragic.

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi. PTI

Former IAF chief SP Tyagi. PTI

It is strange that a retired Air Chief can play a role in signing a deal three years after his retirement. Tyagi retired in 2007 and the deal was signed in 2010. Let it be noted here that these helicopters, though bought by the Indian Air Force (IAF), were meant for the use of the VVIPs, these were not going to be used by the Air Force as such. That being the case, it is really a riddle for me that the IAF was asked to buy the helicopters. Those could have been bought and maintained by the civil aviation ministry.

Be that as it may, the exercise to procure VVIP helicopters began during the Vajpayee regime. The then National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra wanted changes in the quality requirements (QRS), that, in turn, were agreed upon and signed later by the then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee (now our President). As the then Air Chief, Tyagi did not have any role in this; in fact, he did not have the authority to change the QRS. And that being the case, if at all Tyagi did play a role in the conclusion of the deal in 2010, then that must have been as a middle man after his retirement. But, was he a middleman? The inference that he was is because two of his cousin brothers are known middlemen and that the former Air Chief was seen along with his cousins in some social and family occasions.

In my humble opinion, to be seen with relatives cannot be construed as agreeing with or partnering with them. Can one be responsible for the deeds of his her own adult children? Can one be liable for what his or own brother or sister, let alone a cousin, does? In India, we have seen many political families whose members belong to different political parties. Can Rahul Gandhi be held answerable for what his first cousin Varun Gandhi says or does? Can Delhi minister Kapil Mishra be held accountable for the omissions and commissions, if any, by her mother, who is a leading BJP member and former mayor? The point that I am making is that we should not go hyper and kill the reputations of people just because they are accused of some wrong doings. In a country like India, accusing is the easiest of things done; but conviction of the accused is the most difficult job to do.

This bring me to the second point — revisiting our defence acquisition process. We must ask why is the present system is so highly prone to corruption. Is it really impractical, despite its goal being laudable? The basic point is very simple — we must have value for the money that we pay for buying right arms and ammunitions( the qualitative requirements, known as QRs) from abroad at right price (by floating tenders) and at right time( shortest possible time).  And  that presupposes that the QRs are formulated in such a manner that they truly reflect the country’s  requirement, that there is an objective system of technical evaluation and that there are oversight agencies such as the Central Vigilance Commission(CVC), Comptroller and Auditor  General (CAG) and Central Information Commission(CIC) to ensure the due diligence.

Theoretically speaking, we have such a system in place. Practically, however, things are not working. Our technical evaluation system takes too long a time to give the green signal. Our oversight agencies exceed their briefs more often than not by not sticking to the process and going into questioning the rationale of the very decision to procure things, a role they are not technically equipped to play. As a result, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is in a dilemma. If it strictly plays by the way the oversight agencies look at the system, the desired result may not be obtained in time.  On the other hand if it circumvents the procedure, it faces objections from the oversight agencies. And this confusion leads to unnecessary delays.

Over the last two decades, we have been witnessing more and more scams in defence procurements, it is mainly because we have made lobbying illegal.

Even otherwise, there is room for fine-tuning the system that requires clearances in every possible stage of acquisition. A study shows that from the initiation to the signing of the contract, a procurement case has to sequentially go through 7 distinct stages like “Acceptance of Necessity”, “Solicitation of Offers”, and “Trial Evaluation” etc. Each stage consists of 6 to 10 approval points with each approval point having at least 2 submission points. Therefore, any acquisition has to be processed at about 60 to 80 processing points, involving military personnel, civilian officials in the MoD, the Defence Minister, the Finance Minister and the Prime Minister. This being the case, if there is any corruption involved in the AW-101 deal, or for that matter any other deal, then the system as a whole is to blame. And when one talks of the whole system, the major responsibility for the lapses remains ultimately with the Ministers who give the final clearance.
In my considered view, when the procedure is so complicated and requires so many clearances, and all this is all in the name of transparency, the opposite just happens. Because, as we know, in any license-permit raj, corruption thrives. And this is exactly happening in the MoD.

Finally, there is the vital point of lobbying, a natural practice. In fact, if over the last two decades, we have been witnessing more and more scams in defence procurements, it is mainly because we have made lobbying illegal. In essence, a lobbyist is like a lawyer. It is a legitimate activity in established democracies such as the United States, Canada, Germany and France. In fact, by keeping lobbying illegal, we are making our decision-making process non-transparent, hence more prone to corruption. We need people from across the spectrum to present their views to the decision-makers. There will be greater transparency if the lobbyists register themselves and disclose their activities and expenditure as is the case in the US. And once these activities are transparent, we will know who are the elected officials and the administrative bureaucrats the lobbyists have met.

That way, we will be able to know better the rationale behind a particular policy-decision and be in a better position to evaluate it. Of course, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikkar has been on record to favour such a process. Sooner he implemets it, better it is.

First Published On : Dec 10, 2016 09:33 IST

Mamata flays Manohar Parrikar for ‘wild allegations’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The allegations made by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the Indian Army “run the risk of impacting the morale of the force,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a letter to Banerjee on December 8, expressed his displeasure over the controversy triggered by her regarding the deployment of the Army near her office.”Political parties and politicians may have the luxury of making wild and unsubstantiated allegations against each other, but one needs to be extremely careful when referring to the Armed Forces,” Parrikar said in the letter.Parrikar said he did not expect this from a “person of her standing and experience.””As the Defence Minister, I thought it appropriate and necessary to bring to your notice the feeling of our armed forces and the people at large for your consideration.”Mamata Banerjee, who is not one to take things lying down, said, “I take strong exception to your wild assertion that my articulation of the rights of the state government vis-a-vis the Army’s deployment without clearance has impacted the morale of the Armed Forces.””Your general observations that political parties and politicians have the luxury of making unsubstantiated allegations may be apt for your party, but we do not belong to that group,” she said in a two-page reply.The Chief Minister also said the defence ministry has not taken prior permission from the state government before deploying Army personnel in civilian areas.The letter was written in response to allegations made by Mamata on December 1 raising doubts about Army deployment at a toll plaza near the Chief Minister’s secretariat in Kolkata.The state government has also alleged that the Army was denied pernmission to carry out any exercise.

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.

Focus to remain on India border under new army chief General Bajwa, says Pakistan

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With its new army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa set to take charge, Pakistan has asserted that focus will remain on country’s eastern border with India, even as the US nudged Islamabad to keep the pledge of not allowing use of its soil for terror attacks against neighbours.Bajwa will take charge of the world’s sixth-largest army by troop numbers from Pakistan’s outgoing Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, who paid farewell visits to President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here today.Sharif and Hussain lauded Raheel’s valuable service as army chief and wished him the best for his post-retirement life, Radio Pakistan reported.”The military policy will continue and there will be no immediate change in it (under Bajwa),” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo News.”The focus will remain on country’s eastern border and the armed forces backed by the nation will meet all challenges,” he said.”The legacy of General Raheel Sharif would continue in the light of the examples he set,” Asif said.The Defence Minister expressed hope that the government and military leadership will continue to work together for the betterment of the country.General Raheel will become the first army chief in more than 20 years to step down at the end of his term. Previous army chiefs have either obtained extensions or in the case of General Pervez Musharraf, staged a coup.Meanwhile, the United States yesterday welcomed the appointment of the new army chief and expressed hope that the country would never allow the use of its soil for terrorism against its neighbours.The US embassy in Islamabad, in a statement, welcomed Prime Minister Sharif’s appointment of Bajwa.”We look forward to continuing our work with Pakistan’s elected leaders, with Lieutenant General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and with the Pakistani military to advance our shared counter-insurgency and counter terrorism goals for Pakistan and the region, and to enable Pakistani authorities to honour their pledge to prevent the use of Pakistan’s soil for terrorist attacks against its neighbours,” it said.Raheel, who is set to retire tomorrow, was appointed as army chief in 2013 by Prime Minister Sharif at the retirement of Gen Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani.According to Pakistani media and experts, General Bajwa’s “pro-democracy credentials” and his low-profile influenced Sharif to appoint him to the powerful post of army chief superseding four top generals.The military has been in charge of the country for more than half of Pakistan’s nearly 70-year history since independence.

An eight to ten-year old child can teach how to use an app for cashless transactions: Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Claiming that the technology developed to eradicate the cash transactions was easy to learn, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said a minor child can teach a related mobile application to the elder generation.”The young generation is technology savvy. They know how to use the mobile application. Centre has launched UPI application which can be used to transfer the money in case of the smallest of the purchases. An eight to ten-year old child can teach you how to use the application,” Parrikar said addressing BJP’s Vijay Sankalp rally at Sanvordem town, 70 kms from here. He sought help from the people towards making Goa a cashless society by December 30.”We aim to make Goa a cashless society. I know that it is not possible to have hundred per cent cashless society but we can very well make less-cash society,” Parrikar said. “As per Prime Minister’s instruction Goa has taken lead in it. Yesterday we had a meeting with the bank officials. We have decided to train everyone including a common man about the cashless concept so that by December 30, people will be taught how to use the technology,” he said.Parrikar said the bank officials will be conducting special training for the traders and businessman on the concept of cashless transactions. “There will be advertisements released and people will be educated about this concept,” he said, adding Goa will be a model state in the cashless society concept.

Demonetization ended terror-funding, stone-pelting: Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since the demonetization of high currency notes terror funding has come down to zero and there hasn’t been stone-pelting on security forces, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday.He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the “daring” move, which, he said, will also help clamp down on the narcotic drugs.”Earlier, there were rates: Rs 500 for stone pelting (on security forces in Kashmir) and Rs 1,000 for doing something else. PM has brought terror funding to zero,” Parrikar said.”In the last few days after PM’s daring move there hasn’t been stone pelting on security forces. I congratulate PM for it,” he said, speaking at an event here organised by the BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar.Talking to reporters later, Parrikar said those who sponsor terror will be affected by the demonetization.Earlier, at the event, Parrikar said, “Bhatkhalkar did not tell me beforehand that he will felicitate me.” A citation was presented to Parrikar, which lauded his role in surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir. It also thanked him for providing relief to people affected by land development rules in the vicinity of Central Ordnance Depots.”When I became Defence Minister, I did not think there will be things like this (dealing with COD-land issue). I thought Defence meant bang-bang on the border,” he said.”Altogether, 17.38 lakh acres of land in the country is under Defence possession. Defence is the largest land owner in India,” Parrikar said.”There was delay in resolving COD issue as there were concerns over security on one hand and people’s concerns on the other,” he said.”Whether it’s border security or economic security, PM Modi has taken daring decisions,” he said, adding “whatever is being done, our jawans on border are doing it, I and PM are just supporting it.””Problem of new notes circulation will be resolved to a large extent in the next four-five days,” Parrikar said.In the next Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections, nobody will be left with power to bribe voters, Parrikar said, without naming the ally Shiv Sena which has been critical of demonetization.

Pakistan army will respond effectively to Indian firing: Gen Raheel Sharif

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif on Monday ordered troops to “effectively” respond to firing by India across the Line of Control (LoC) after the death of seven Pakistani soldiers.The army chief was in Jhelum near Rawalpindi to attend the funeral prayers of the dead soldiers, according to army spokesman.He was given a briefing by the senior commanders about the latest situation on the LoC.General Raheel said on the occasion that army “will continue to respond effectively” and it ordered that it should “leave no stone unturned to defend motherland”.Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Pakistan responded effectively to the Indian fire and “it would have surly killed Indian troops.”He claimed that India was hiding its losses on the LoC.

Jointness among three armed services in the next few months: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence Ministry could in the next “few months” finalise higher defence reforms to bring in jointness among the three armed services which will include creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar admitted that the services did not want to leave their “turf” but they have “slowly” come to understand that jointness would be much better than individual separate forces. “I am very clear on it but there were certain aspects which need to be also taken along. I have to take all the three services on board. Let me be very clear, no one wants to leave his turf,” he said during a book launch last night.Underlining that he was not speaking in Indian military context alone, Parrikar said across the militaries, the same situation prevailed. He added that the question was whether one will “force it down the throat” or get everyone on board. “I think, I have been discussing with the chiefs and slowly they have also come to understanding that jointness would be much better than individually separate forces,” he said, seeking a “few more months”.However, the Defence Minister made it clear that the final call would be taken by the Prime Minister. Incidentally, the chiefs of both the Army and the Air Force will retire this year end.Without naming any operation, he said though India has not gone for jointness, “recent operations” were quite successful joint operations. “The Air Force and the Army integrated so well in recent operations, not saying which operation. There was total synergy and there was no problem in working together,” he remarked.The post of CDS was recommended in 2001 by a Group of Ministers (GoM) which was set up in April 2000 to review the national security system in the aftermath of the Kargil War. The recommendation, if implemented, would be the first major military reform by the Narendra Modi government, which has already announced significant changes in the procurement process. Sources said the appointment of CDS is aimed at promoting “jointness at the top” when it comes to planning, operations and modernisation of the military. Though India has a tri-service command, it is headed by a three-star officer who is junior to the military chiefs who are four-star.The post of the CDS is likely to be a four-star and he would be in-charge of the tri-services command at Andaman and Nicobar islands, the strategic command in-charge of nuclear weapons along with the upcoming cyber and space command. Parrikar said in the coming months the Andaman and Nicobar command will become a joint command in “real sense” as it was the “need of the hour”, adding that currently there was only a “partial joint command”.Stating that some joint acquisition was being done, Parrikar pointed out that jointness can save the country lot of money. “We are are replicating the same thing. Air Force does the same thing. Army does the same thing. If there is jointness, lot of things can be synchronised. “Jointness of acquisition will be advantageous. In fact we are doing some joint acquisition. Give me few more months,” he said.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had late last year called for “jointness at the top” of the military establishment. Parrikar had in March last year said that CDS was a must and hoped to propose a mechanism for the creation of the post within the next three months. The defence minister said he does not care about what people say about him taking more time even though he had given a time period.”I realised if I hurry, I will do something which will not taste well just because my ego says ‘I said six months, I should force it in six months’,” he said, adding he was “not there to satisfy his ego”.”I am there to ensure it happens properly. So I decided that someone may say anything about it, I will do it properly. Today I am confident that I have understood,” he said.

Motormouth Manohar Parrikar almost nukes India’s NSG bid with needless boast

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar‘s astonishingly witless statements straying from India’s carefully-worded official nuclear-weapons policy on Thursday comes at a particularly bad time.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

As India embarks on a renewed mission to compel Pakistan to course-correct by deploying all instruments of statecraft while simultaneously lobbying for a place in the global nuclear high table, Parrikar’s musings will be noticed and filed up for propaganda value by those who seek to block both objectives. One imagines minions in Zhongnanhai and GHQ Rawalpindi to be exceedingly pleased with this enormous Indian self-goal.

Watching the defence minister’s grandstanding — he was speaking at the launch of a very interesting new book that seeks to lay out a national security strategy for India in the 21st century — one is reminded of a late-night college bull session where a senior seeks to impress sophomores with his cleverness.

This is not the only bizarre statement from Parrikar. Not too long ago, the defence minister compared the Indian Army’s stance before the 29 September cross-LoC raids to that of Hanuman’s before being blessed by the wisdom of Jamwant. Perhaps it would be more productive for the minister to explain why that uncalled for impromptu on nuclear weapons by a key member of Cabinet Committee on Security was a terrible idea.

First, and this is to state the obvious, the real utility of nuclear weapons are as tools of coercive diplomacy — to deter an adversary from initiating a certain action, or to compel it to change its position on a political issue. Nuclear weapons are primarily tools of bargaining, in other words. But in order for this to work, messaging around nuclear weapons (non-) use has to be consistent across all stakeholders.

The first challenge that any new nuclear-weaponed state faces is to simultaneously assure its adversaries that its assets will not be used imprudently while seeking to reap political-strategic value from the mere possession of the same. Deterrence is primarily a psychological play buttressed both by resolve and restraint. Statements and restatements determine the moves and countermoves of a nuclear bargaining game whose overarching rubric is determined by a state and its adversary’s implicit or explicit nuclear-weapons policy.

Any off-the-cuff statement stands to vastly undermine the unwritten rules of this game with unpredictable consequences. This is why states are extremely reluctant to sharply change their nuclear postures, for the fear of upending the strategic calculus that upholds the “delicate balance of terror”, to steal a phrase of Alfred Wohlstetter, a leading Cold-War strategist. This is why — as an example — President Barack Obama’s personal opinion notwithstanding, the United States has been extremely reluctant to adopt a no-first-use policy in a break with its historical position.

But while nuclear weapons are tools of bargaining, they are also determinants of national prestige. New members of the nuclear-weapons club often leverage their apparent responsibility as custodians of these weapons to seek concessions in international fora. This was the main reason why India — soon after becoming a declared nuclear-weapons state in 1998 — published a draft nuclear doctrine that had the imprimatur of the newly-established National Security Advisory Board, after imposing a voluntary moratorium on further testing. The strategic benefits of this calculated stance of restraint were tremendous. It led to the landmark civil nuclear agreement with the United States and — more crucially — to a diplomatic de-hyphenation with Pakistan insofar as the US was concerned.

The BJP learnt the importance of not publicly toying with the declared doctrine the hard way, after its 2014 election manifesto — which promised a rethink on India’s nuclear weapons policy — caused a furore both at home and abroad. Since coming to power it has backed away from its election promise.

None of this is to argue that India’s extant nuclear doctrine is perfect. Far from it, it is in urgent need of a rethink. For one, the doctrine of no-first-use that India ascribes to was predicated on the conventional military balance favouring India or, at worst, on parity with other powers in the region. Certain scholars have argued that Pakistan’s flirtation with nuclear maximalism — and its development of tactical/theatre nuclear weapons — presents significant challenges to the Indian doctrine, perhaps rendering it meaningless. China’s ongoing quest for asymmetric means of waging war, through anti-satellite and cyber weapons, could also force India to move from being a reticent nuclear power, with de-altered nuclear weapons systems, to a more forceful posture with an alerted nuclear triad.

But these discussions are — as they should be — carried out within the closed confines of the security establishment. And it is not the case that the informed public does not have any avenues to understand the contours of the debate that is likely to be taking place within the government, should it rethink India’s nuclear doctrine. They would just have to turn to the published writings of well-placed analysts with ideological affinities to the current government.

That the defence minister — and his loyalists — needs to be told all this is ironic. And troubling.

Abhijnan Rej is a fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and a national security columnist for Firstpost. Views expressed here are personal. He tweets @AbhijnanRej.

First Published On : Nov 11, 2016 17:21 IST

OROP death: Sack undeserving Parrikar, says Congress leader

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for saying that 95% of ex-servicemen have already got the benefits of the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme, the Congress party on Sunday said he did not deserve to be in the union cabinet.”How does he (Parrikar) explain that for more than 500 days, ex-servicemen are camping in Delhi and agitating against the non implementation of one rank one pension? Mr. Manohar Parrikar does not deserve to be the defense minister,” Congress leader Om Prakash Mishra told ANI.He said, “He (Parrikar) does not know the difference between salary enhancement and the implementation of what is OROP that is a principal matter and that matter is yet unsettled and that is why we have seen the unfortunate death of Ram Kishan Grewal.”Parrikar claimed yesterday that only one lakh ex-servicemen (out of over 20 lakh) are not getting pension as per OROP scheme due to some technical difficulty or documentation problems, which will be resolved another couple of months.

95% have benefited from OROP, remaining issues will be resolved in next two months: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said 95 per cent of retired defence personnel have benefited from the implementation of the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme and problems being faced by the remaining 5 per per cent will be resolved in the next two months.The comments by Parrikar came against the backdrop of a row over suicide by an ex-serviceman from Haryana over the OROP issue and amid the ongoing war of words between ruling BJP and Opposition parties, including Congress.”More than 95 per cent people (ex-servicemen) are benefiting from (enhanced) pension after the implementation of One Rank One Pension. There are only 4-5 per cent who are facing difficulties in getting their pensions (as per OROP). “Most of these are old ex-servicemen, including veterans from 1962 and 1971 wars, whose records are untraceable,” Parrikar told reporters here. “Since their records are old, the Pension Department does not have them. The most important record for pension is the years of service put in by veterans. That is not available. These are old pensioners. In many cases, their families are getting the pension,” the Minister said.Parrikar said he has given special instructions to officials concerned to get the records within a month and if required, they (beneficiaries) will be asked to file affidavit. Problems being faced by them will be resolved in the next two months, he said, adding there is no discontent among the ex-servicemen over the pension issue. “I have held meetings with the ex-servicemen associations which have said they are happy with the (OROP) implementation.”Replying to a question, Parrikar said, “Only those ex-servicemen who have joined politics are now acting like politicians.” Earlier, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Saturday said that while raising questions is legitimate in a democracy, but pointing fingers at the Centre is unacceptable.‘Police has its own way of investigation and ministers cannot guide them on how to do their work. We should not complicate the matter. This incident in which the ex-serviceman committed suicide is really a tragedy,’ Rijiju told the media.‘If someone dies, it is always sad. And, there is a certain limit to politicising an issue. Every issue cannot be political and we cannot see everything in terms of votebank. If a soldier or commoner dies, it is sad, but raising fingers at the Centre for not implementing OROP is not good,’ he added.Grewal, a former army soldier had come to the national capital to protest against the government’s alleged backtracking on the implementation of the OROP scheme.The 69-year-old consumed poison even as he and four others accompanying him were waiting to meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to submit a memorandum reiterating.

Will there be surgical strikes against China: Shiv Sena to Centre

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Shiv Sena asked the Centre if there will be a similar action against China, like the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads at the LoC in September. “The time has come to look at Chinese incursions (in Indian territory) seriously. Surgical strikes against China, similar to the ones carried out against Pakistan, will be the befitting answer,” the Sena said. “Will there be such an attack (against China),” an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana asked.”When one speaks against Pakistan in public rallies, one gets claps as a response. There is a need to get out of this mindset of clapping and look at the Chinese incursions seriously,” the Sena said. “From Ladakh to Arunachal and Sikkim, the Chinese actions have been going on unabated since several years. The real question is who will stop China,” the editorial said.The Sena referred to reports that Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a stand-off since Wednesday in Ladakh’s Demchok area as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops entered an area near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and stopped the construction work on an irrigation canal under the MNREGA scheme. “Around 60 Chinese soldiers intrude in our territory and stop developmental work. What inference should one draw from this,” it said.”Our loudmouth Defence Minister should clarify what action did our soldiers take against these Chinese troops,” the editorial said. “Warning Pakistan is not enough. The Defence Minister’s job is also to protect the borders with China,” the Sena said.

Manohar Parrikar to visit Kashmir, pay homage to India’s first Param Vir Chakra recipient

Manohar Parrikar to visit Kashmir, pay homage to India’s first Param Vir Chakra recipient


Srinagar: Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar is scheduled to visit Kashmir on Thursday to pay homage to the country’s first Param Vir Chakra recipient Major Somnath on his 69th death anniversary.

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The Defence Minister will join senior army officers and other ranks in paying tribute to Major Somnath near the Srinagar Airport in Budgam district, an army official said.

He said Parikkar is likely to be briefed by army officials on the situation along the Line of Control arising due to the ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the wake of
last month’s surgical strikes and the anti-militancy operations in the hinterland.

Major Somnath was the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, the highest military honour.

He was awarded the medal posthumously for his bravery in the Kashmir operations in November 1947.

He laid down his life while evicting Pakistani raiders from Srinagar Airport during the war with Pakistan in 1947-48 in Kashmir. He belonged to the 4th Kumaon Regiment.

As casualties rise, Rajnath Singh reviews tense LoC situation with Parrikar, Doval

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With cross-border firing escalating, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday reviewed the situation along the Indo-Pak border where eight civilians were killed and 22 injured due to Pakistani shelling and two Pakistani soldiers killed after Indian forces retaliated. The meeting, attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and other top officials, took stock of the situation along the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.Singh asked for strong action to be taken against those who are worsening the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Incidents of schools being set on fire in Jammu & Kashmir, ceasefire violations by Pakistan and BSF’s befitting reply to it were also discussed in the meet. The top security brass briefed the Home Minister and the Defence Minister the steps taken to counter firing by Pakistani forces, official sources said.Since early morning, Pakistan troops resorted to heavy shelling of hamlets and military posts in Samba, Jammu, Poonch and Rajouri districts along the IB and the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. The Pakistani troops used heavy calibre weapons like 120 mm and 82 mm mortar bombs, army said.The Border Security Force, deployed along the IB, today said it had destroyed 14 posts of Pakistani Rangers in retaliatory action in Ramgarh and Arnia sectors of Jammu frontier. Army sources also said two Pakistani soldiers were killed in retaliatory firing along LoC opposite to Naushera sector of Rajouri district today.In the wake of heavy Pakistani shelling, the government has ordered closure of all the 174 government and private schools situated along the IB and LoC in Jammu. There have been more that 60 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the LoC and IB in the state since surgical strikes against terror launch pads by the Indian Army in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on September 27.

Embraer deal: CBI probe to continue; new blacklisting policy soon, says Defence Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer cannot escape Indian laws just because it has struck a settlement with American authorities over corruption in sale of planes to India and three other countries, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said today.He said a new blacklisting policy will be finalised next month. “The CBI investigation into the USD 208 million deal will go by Indian laws on corruption, kickbacks, whatever it is, subject to evidence,” he told reporters.The minister stated that the American laws were different from Indian laws. “In American law, criminal processes can be compounded (settlement through payment of fines). However, in India, criminal law is not compounded unless the acts are of very minor nature,” he said.On being asked whether the three planes supplied by Embraer to the IAF for Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) will be grounded, the Defence Minister said there was no question of grounding the planes.”I can assure you that national requirement is a priority. In fact, I am coming out with a proposal or guidelines for blacklisting. The next Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) will finalise it,” he said. “It cannot be a knee jerk reaction. Proper decision making is required,” he added. The move comes months after the Defence Ministry laid down norms for engaging agents in defence deals. Sources said the new norms will be a mixture of heavy fines, graded blacklisting and other penalties.The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer has come under the scanner of the US Justice Department after the former admitted to having paid kickbacks for a range of defence deals with many countries. Embraer has agreed to pay over USD 205 million to resolve charges of corruption and making bribe payments to officials in foreign nations, including USD 5.76 million allegedly being paid to an agent in India, in connection with the sale of three military aircraft for Indian Air Force.Under the settlement, apart from the USD 107 million penalty to the US Justice Department as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, Embraer must also pay more than USD 98 million in disgorgement and interest to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to the company’s admissions, Embraer executives and employees paid bribes to government officials and falsified books and records in connection with aircraft sales to foreign governments and state-owned entities in multiple countries.Parrikar said the Embraer deal was being discussed and efforts were being taken to fine-tune it. “The basic concept is that a criminal activity should be punished with a ban. But to what extent the ban should be, will be decided as per the national security. Giving exemption will also be based on national security,” he said.”If I have a platform where a company has been banned, I cannot stop operating the platform, because the company which is now blacklisted had supplied me the platform. Whose loss is it?,” he asked.The Embraer deal was signed in 2008 between Embraer and the DRDO for three aircraft equipped with indigenous radars for AEW&C (airborne early warning and control systems).

Manohar Parrikar ‘advises’ SAFRAN to set up manufacturing unit in Goa for Rafale

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar “advised” French firm SAFRAN on Sunday to set up a facility in his home state of Goa to manufacture small parts for the fighter aircraft Rafale, for which India recently signed a deal with France. “I would also advice you to take advantage of the off-set in Rafale deal. From my side I will put a word. You (SAFRAN) are supplying engines for Rafale. The off-set of Rafale deal is around Rs 30,000 crore. If you are interested in setting up a manufacturing facility of some small parts then you can do it in Goa,” Parrikar said during the inauguration of a joint venture between HAL and French firm SAFRAN in North Goa.He said Rs 1,000-1,500 crore of the total offset deal can be invested in Goa. “If that happens, Goa will provide technical support which is required for such activity,” he said.The Defence Minister also appealed state Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar for setting up courses for skill development in aeronautical engineering. Parrikar said Goa requires engineering industry. “Goans are in high tech jobs across India. Also a lot of talent is available locally,” he added.The Defence Minister also suggested that HAL should tie up with SAFRAN and get into manufacturing of engines. “We are going to require 6,000-10,000 engines in next ten years and most of them are SAFRAN engines,” he said. Parrikar said the Goa government is ready to provide land and other facilities required to set up an engine manufacturing plant.

Won’t speak about ceasefire violations, will give befitting reply to ones deserving it: Parrikar

Mon, 17 Oct 2016-01:55pm , New Delhi , PTI

“Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years. The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” said Parrikar. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after a jawan was killed in firing by Pakistani troops, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said the Indian Army was giving a befitting reply to such ceasefire violations. “Will not speak on it as it happens many times, hume jisko uttar dena hai de denge,” Manohar Parrikar said on ceasefire violation yesterday.”Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years…Check out the figures. The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” he said. An Indian Army jawan was yesterday killed as Pakistani troops violated ceasefire twice along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district. Parrikar had earlier equated the Indian Army to ‘Hanuman’ and made a reference to the Ramayana in which the monkey God crossed an ocean in a single stride after he was reminded about his extraordinary powers by Jamwant.

India can’t ban Chinese products but individuals can decide not to buy: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar rubbished Congress’ claim of the army having undertaken surgical strikes under it and demanded a “major” share of credit for the military action post-Uri attack for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, escalating a bruising war of words with Congress. Stung by the attack, Congress accused him of “blatant politicisation” of the issue and demanded an apology.Speaking at two events in Mumbai, Parrikar said all the 127 crore people of India, including “doubting Thomases”, and the army share and deserve credit for the operation as it was done by the armed forces and not by any political party. At the same time, he said that “major share” of credit does go to Modi and the government for decision-making and planning. He also made it clear that Congress’ claims of such attacks having been carried out when the UPA was in power were wrong as those operations were undertaken by border action teams at local level “without the knowledge” of the government.”I don’t mind sharing the credit, including on surgical strike, with every countryman because it is done by our armed forces and not by any political party. So all Indians, including, those doubting Thomases, can share the credit,” he said at a function in Mumbai, adding his statement will settle the nerves of many.Parrikar’s remarks drew stinging criticism from the Congress, which called them “misleading” and said by rejecting the claim that such strikes had taken place in the past, the Defence Minister had “undermined” the sacrifices made by the army.”Mr Parrikar, Indian Army deserves all credit but why mislead the people and undermine army’s sacrifices by denying earlier surgical strikes?”Operation Ginger in 2011 was a large-scale surgical strike. Why is Manohar Parrikar quiet on army’s valour? Is (it) not blatant politicisation?” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked and demanded an apology from the Minister. “Converting national security into an event management exercise to polish the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is extremely unfortunate,” he said.”The 127 crore people of this country and the Indian armed forces deserve the credit for the surgical strike,” the Defence Minister, who addressed events in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, said. “The only credit of the Union government is that it took the decision,” he said, adding “there were no surgical strikes ever carried out by Indian Army (prior to the September 29 strikes).” “The earlier military actions were carried out mostly in low intensity and were covert. The reports used to be communicated later to the higher authorities. This was the first such strike which was approved by the government,” he said. To a query on the mindset of the Indian army, Parrikar said, “In last 30 years, there were three wars and non-conventional attacks like terrorism. There was frustration in the society as well as among the 13.5 lakh army personnel that enemy does not bother government.”It was a 30-year steam that was vented out (on September 29). That is why people have expressed joy over it. Had anything gone wrong (during the surgical strike) entire blame would have been borne by the government,” Parrikar said.In a veiled criticism of media coverage of Kashmir events, he said, “Publicity is like oxygen. If stone pelting is not aired, 75 per cent stone pelting will stop.” Parrikar was speaking on “strengthening India’s defence capabilities”, anchored by security analyst Nitin Gokhale, in suburban Bandra.Asked if there was intelligence failure in Pathankot and Uri attacks, Parrikar said, “There were some shortcomings in intelligence. (However), I don’t call it a failure.”India’s response to terror attacks was predictable so far. Post surgical strikes, India’s response has become highly unpredictable. This is a very important position we have attained through such surgical strike,” Parrikar said.Any government should be “cheered” for taking decisions, he added. “Prime Minister Modi has tried his best for improving relationship with our neighbour (Pakistan) but our hand of friendship was perceived as weakness. Hence, we gave an unpredictable response to them,” he said.Speaking on Indo-China ties, he said the incidents of transgression have come down significantly as we have focused on dialogue. “But, as a country, we can’t put a ban on imports of Chinese products as we are part of the World Trade Organisation. However, not to buy Chinese products can be taken at individual level,” he said.

Pampore attack: Rajnath Singh holds high-level meeting to review border security situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday reviewed the security situation in the country, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval and other top officials.During the hour-long meeting, top officials briefed the Home Minister and Defence Minister on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the 56-hour gunbattle between militants and security forces in Pampore which ended on Wednesday with the killing of two ultras.The two ministers also took stock of the situation along the Indo-Pak border and the Line of Control and steps taken to check attempts of infiltration from across the border, official sources said.Unrest in Jammu and Kashmir has been continuing ever since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 that led to violent protests and clashes with security forces and death of 84 people. Terrorists also killed 19 soldiers at an army station in Uri on September 18 which led to the surgical strikes by Indian Army on terror launch pads in PoK 10 days later.The top security officials also gave briefings on the overall situation in the country and steps taken to maintain peace in view of the ongoing festival season.The Home Ministry has already sent an advisory to all states to deploy additional forces in sensitive places to foil any attempt by terrorists to disturb peace and attempts by miscreants to try to create communal disturbance.

Rajnath Singh reviews security situation with Manohar Parrikar, Ajit Doval

New Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday reviewed the security situation in the country, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval and other top officials.

File image of union minister Rajnath Singh. CNN-News18

File image of union minister Rajnath Singh. CNN-News18

During the hour-long meeting, top officials briefed the Home Minister and Defence Minister on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the 56-hour gunbattle between militants and security forces in Pampore which ended on Wednesday with the killing of two ultras.

The two ministers also took stock of the situation along the Indo-Pak border and the Line of Control and steps taken to check attempts of infiltration from across the border, official sources said. Unrest in Jammu and Kashmir has been continuing ever
since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on 8 July that led to violent protests and clashes with security
forces and death of 84 people.

Terrorists also killed 19 soldiers at an army station in Uri on 18 September which led to the surgical strikes by Indian Army on terror launch pads in PoK 10 days later. The top security officials also gave briefings on the overall situation in the country and steps taken to maintain peace in view of the ongoing festival season.

The Home Ministry has already sent an advisory to all states to deploy additional forces in sensitive places to foil any attempt by terrorists to disturb peace and attempts by miscreants to try to create communal disturbance.

Earlier army attacked on its own, first ‘surgical strike’ across LoC after govt’s instruction: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar rejected claims that surgical strikes were undertaken during the UPA regime and asserted that a “major” share of credit for the army action last month goes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking at two different events, he said all the 127 crore people of India, including “doubting Thomases”, and the army share and deserve credit for the operation as it was done by the armed forces and not by any political party. At the same time, he said that “major share” of credit does go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the government for decision-making and planning.He also made it clear that claims of having carried out such strikes earlier were wrong as such actions were undertaken by border action teams at local level “without the knowledge” of the government.”I don’t mind sharing the credit, including on surgical strike, with every countryman because it is done by our armed forces and not by any political party. So all Indians, including, those doubting Thomases, can share the credit,” he said at a function here, adding it will settle the nerves of many.The Minister said he understands the sentiments of the people who are satisfied after the strikes. Several political leaders and parties have raised questions on the surgical strike and some have sought proof.The Congress, while officially supporting the government over the strike, has also said that similar operations were undertaken during its tenure also.”I have been the Defence Minister for two years. From whatever I have known, there is no surgical strike from previous years. What they are quoting are actions taken by border action teams. These are common actions across the globe and by the Indian army,” he said. Explaining the concept, the Minister said such operations are carried out without official order or prior sanction of the government. “It is done without the knowledge of anyone. Report is subsequently given,” he said underlining the action is taken by the local commander for settling scores. Parrikar made it clear that unlike earlier, this time it was a surgical strike because “decision was taken and conveyed” and the army did the job well.”This was an operation which clearly indicates the intent of the government and the nation,” he said. Parrikar said that if the government wanted to take political mileage out of this, then he would have announced it rather than the Director General of Military Operations.

Troops given free hand to respond to enemy’s misadventure: Manohar Parrikar

Lucknow: Troops have been given a free hand to give a befitting reply in case there is any misadventure on part of the “enemy”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday while contending that the country is “totally safe” under the Narendra Modi government.

To questions being raised by some political parties on surgical strikes, he said, “the race to ask for evidence reflects their fear that this will further improve the image of Prime Minister.”

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTIA file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

A file photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

He equated Pakistan to empty utensils which make the “most noise” and said there is no need to give any importance to it.

“If terrorists attack us, they will be given a befitting reply… If they dare any such move in the future, strict action will be taken against them… There is no stopping in this regard,” Parrikar said at an event in Lucknow.

“There will be no compromise with the security of the country and the nation is totally safe under the Narendra Modi-led government,” he said.

Talking in the context of the situation on the Pakistan border where tensions are high, the Defence Minister said, “The army jawans have been given a free hand that if there is any misadventure on the part of the enemy, they should be given a befitting reply.”

He added, “it is always better to kill the enemy than sacrificing our lives. It will be more beneficial.”

People of the country have complete faith in their army that they do what they say, Parrikar said.

“For the past 20 to 22 years, the country has been facing terror attacks.. people had started believing that nothing could be done that either we do not have that capability or there is no permission for it.

“People also knew that we had the strength but political decisions were not being taken .. but the decision was taken under the leadership of Narendra Modi and the entire mood has changed in the country after surgical strike”, he stressed.

Taking a dig at Pakistan, Parrikar said, “there is an old saying that when the utensil is empty it makes the most noise… We are hearing a lot of noise in the neighbourhood.. there is no need to give it any importance”.

Commenting on a remark made earlier by a speaker who described him as a “simple person”, Parrikar said though he is simple, he knows about the “crookedness” of others and can take care of them for the security of the country.

He emphasised that the morale of the troops should be kept high so that they can face all the challenges thrown at

The Defence Minister said there has also been some respite in the kind of atmosphere which has been created in Kashmir. “The army has taken a firm stand,” he stressed.

AAP alleges Parrikar demeaned armed forces, threatens to file complaint against him

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP-AAP war of words on cross-LOC surgical strikes on Thursday intensified as the Arvind Kejriwal-led party accused Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar of “demeaning” the armed forces and threatened to file a police complaint against him.Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra called Parrikar “Shah Rangeela”, the Mughal Emperor who it is claimed indulged in merrymaking instead of paying attention to his empire, and said while a high alert has been issued across the country, the Defence Minister was busy “celebrating over the corpses of martyred soldiers”. It also lashed out Parrikar for his remarks comparing the army to Hanuman.On October 1, at an event in Dehradun, Parrikar had made a reference to the Ramayana in which the monkey god crossed an ocean in a single stride after he was reminded about his extraordinary powers by Jamwant.”Indian troops were like Hanuman who did not quite know their prowess before the surgical strikes,” Parrikar had said.Addressing a news conference, senior party leader Sanjay Singh said by giving such a statement, Parrikar was insulting the army which has time and again proved itself and did a remarkable job in the 1948, 1965, 1971 and Kargil war with Pakistan.The AAP said it will approach the police to file a compliant against Parrikar in the matter. Its attack came on a day Parrikar questioned the “loyalty” of those who doubted the Army and sought proof of surgical strikes across the LoC.BJP had earlier accused AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal of seeking proof in the garb of his statement congratulating the PM and army on the surgical strike. AAP also alleged that BJP was doing politics over surgical strikes and claimed that such a military operation was not carried out for the first time as being “tom-tommed” by the saffron party.”BJP’s GVL Narsimha Rao said that for the first time the army has been made aware of its capability. By saying this, we are demeaning the military and its sacrifice. Such statements are shameful and both Parrikar and Rao should apologise to the armed forces,” Sanjay Singh said, adding that in the last 15 years, surgical strikes were carried out nine times.The AAP leader’s criticism came after posters congratulating the Prime Minister came up across Delhi and also in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh. Mishra asked whether Parrikar has forgotten that army has been honoured with 21 Param Vir Chakra and 63 Ashok Chakra awards.”You are not aware of army’s strength, which is why the BJP is kneeling before (PDP chief and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister) Mehbooba Mufti. Parrikar is not aware of army’s strength which is why you invited the ISI to investigate the Pathankot attack. Give army the free hand and then it will show the enemy its place,” Kapil Mishra said in his blog post.On Tuesday, Mishra had publicly taken on Mehbooba at an event here asking her if she considered Burhwan Wani and Afzal Guru as terrorists or not, inviting protests from her entourage. Later he left the venue, saying he does not want to share the dais with her.Taking a jibe at Prime Minister, Mishra said even Narendra Modi has not applauded the army. “They have made a 56 inch stage and the show is on.”

‘Giving demo of their missile tech’: Twitter mocks Pakistanis for throwing stones at Wagah border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Things got a bit out of hand during the Beating Retreat Ceremony at Wagah border. when Pakistani crowd threw rocks at the Indian side. Quoting sources, ANI said that the BSF has asked for a flag meeting with their Pakistani counterparts over this issue, however, Pakistan Rangers have not responded yet.This incident comes days after India said it conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in response to the terrorist attack at Uri sector. Two Pakistani soldiers and over 30 terrorists were reportedly killed in the attack.Earlier, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today described Pakistan as an “anaesthetised patient after a surgery” and said “if you give us pain, this country’s forces are capable of giving the same pain to you”.In his first comments since the action, Parrikar asserted that India loves peace and does not believe in unprovoked aggression but it won’t take terror lying down.He said the strike against the terror launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was meant to give a message to Pakistan that Indian troops know how to retaliate.”Pakistan’s condition after the surgical strikes is like that of an anaesthetised patient after a surgery who doesn’t know that the surgery has already been performed on him. Even two days after the surgical strikes, Pakistan has no idea what has happened,” Parrikar said at Peethsain in Uttarakhand s Pauri district.”Agar aap hame peeda dena chahte hain, toh iss desh ki sena, iss desh ke log, aapko bhi peeda dene mein samarath hain (if you give us pain, then this country’s forces, this country’s people are capable of giving you the same pain),” he said to loud cheers from the crowd.The Defence Minister hailed the special para forces who delivered “five slaps on the cheeks of the enemy” who carried out the Uri attack.”Hum dusron ke upar rajya nahi karte, par apman nahi sahenge aur iske aage toh katai nahi (We do not indulge in aggression but we will not tolerate insult and now onwards, never),” he added.Terming the surgical strike as an anti-terror operation which had caught Pakistan unawares, Parrikar equated the Indian Army to ‘Hanuman’ and made a reference to the Ramayana in which the monkey God crossed an ocean in a single stride after he was reminded about his extraordinary powers by Jamwant.”Indian troops were like Hanuman who did not quite know their prowess before the surgical strikes,” Parrikar said.Congratulating the troops for the precision and efficacy of the strikes, the Minister said he greeted all its members for their extraordinary feat.”The surgical strikes gave our forces an idea of what they were capable of doing. Pakistan is bewildered following the strikes, not quite knowing how to react,” Parrikar said in his first public reaction after the strikes.”Indian troops caught Pakistan unawares as our commandos did what they had to without Pakistani authorities getting a wind of it,” he said at the event to unveil the statue of Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali, a noted freedom fighter from the hill state.India carried out surgical strike on seven terror launch pads across the LoC on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.

Pakistani boat apprehended off Gujarat coast; 9 crew members taken in for investigation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid heightened vigil, a Pakistani boat with nine crew members was apprehended off the Gujarat coast this morning by the Indian Coast Guard.Coast Guard Ship ‘Samudra Pavak’ apprehended the Pakistani boat having nine crew members on board at around 10.15 AM today off Gujarat coast during patrolling, according to a Defence Minister statement.Preliminary information indicated the people on board were Pakistani fishermen. However, “the boat and the crew members are being escorted to Porbandar for further investigation,” the release said. The apprehension of the Pakistani boat comes days after the Indian Army conducted surgical strike across LoC, following which a high alert has been sounded across the land and sea border with the neighbouring country.Earlier on Friday, the Coast Guard had said that sensitive sea areas off Gujarat coast have been “sanitised” and surveillance enhanced following India’s surgical strike on terror launch pads across the LoC. The Coast Guard had also advised the fishing community and other stakeholders to maintain enhanced vigil and report any abnormal activity either at sea or in areas close to the coast.

India may get Rafale jets sooner than 36 months

Sun, 2 Oct 2016-12:40pm , Pune , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said that India may start getting Rafale fighter aircraft from France earlier than the agreed-upon 36 months. “As per terms of the deal it is 36 months (during which the delivery has to start), but it may come slightly earlier. We have requested them to (deliver it) as fast as possible,” he said.On September 23, India and France signed the €7.87-billion (Rs 59,000 crore approx) deal for Rafale fighter jets, equipped with latest missiles and weapon system besides multiple India-specific modifications that will give the IAF greater “potency” over arch rival Pakistan. The ‘vanila price’ (just of the aircraft alone) will cost about €91 million each for a single seater and about €94 million for a two seater trainer aircraft.Parrikar also said that a 12-member committee to suggest structural changes in the military on cutting down flab and reducing revenue (maintenance) expenditure will soon submit its report. The committee is headed by Lt Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar.

Goa BJP plans grand welcome for Manohar Parrikar post surgical strikes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Goa BJP will give a warm public reception to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on October 4, to hail is role in the “historic” surgical strikes across the LoC.”It is a proud moment for the people of Goa that the son of the soil in his capacity as Defence Minister was part of the historic surgical operation,” Goa BJP Chief Vinay Tendulkar told reporters after the State Executive meeting. A procession will be taken out on the occasion.”The party will host civic reception for Parrikar on October 4 at Azad Maidan in Panaji, where he will arrive in a procession,” he said.Workers from all the 40 constituencies will participate in the procession, which will begin from the airport on his arrival. The BJP leader said around 9,000 motorcycles from all the constituencies will be a part of the procession.”We want to show our love to Parrikar. We are proud of his achievement,” Tendulkar said.

Pakistan like ‘anaesthetised patient’ after surgical attack: Manohar Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his first remarks after the cross LoC anti-terror strike, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar compared Pakistan’s condition to an “anaesthetised patient” after a surgery and said like Hanuman Indian Army has recognised its prowess. “Pakistan’s condition after the surgical strikes is like that of an anaesthetised patient after a surgery who doesn’t know that the surgery has already been performed on him. Even two days after the surgical strikes, Pakistan has no idea what has happened,” Parrikar said.India loves peace and does not believe in unprovoked aggression but it won’t take terror lying down, he said, adding that the strikes were also meant to give a message to Pakistan that Indian troops knew how to retaliate.Comparing the Army to Hanuman, he made a reference to the Ramayana in which the monkey god crossed an ocean in a single stride after he was reminded about his extraordinary powers by Jamwant.”Indian troops were like Hanuman who did not quite know their prowess before the surgical strikes,” Parrikar said.Congratulating the troops for the precision and efficacy of the strikes, the Minister said he greeted all its members for their extraordinary feat.”The surgical strikes gave our forces an idea of what they were capable of doing. Pakistan is bewildered following the strikes, not quite knowing how to react,” Parrikar said in his first public reaction after the strikes.”Indian troops caught Pakistan unawares as our commandos did what they had to without Pakistani authorities getting a wind of it,” he said addressing a gathering at Peethsain in Pauri district.The Defence Minister was addressing the gathering after unveiling a statue of noted freedom fighter from Uttarakhand Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali in his ancestral village Peethsain.India carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, inflicting “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK. Accompanied by Pauri MP and former chief minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri from Delhi, Parrikar was welcomed at Peethsain by senior party leader Satpal Maharaj, former CMs Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank besides Pradesh BJP President Ajay Bhatt. All party leaders showered praise on the Indian troops for their displaying extraordinary valour by carrying out the surgical strikes 3 kms into the LoC saying it taught a befitting lesson to Pakistan which had a track record of responding to India’s friendly advances with a terrorist or military offensive.

Wouldn’t you come home, if you were Defence Minister: BJP to scribes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP in Goa on Wednesday shot back at criticism of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar over his frequent visits to the coastal state and asked mediapersons, “would you not have come home, if you were Defence Minister”.”If you were made Defence Minister, would you not have come home? Would you have stayed back in Delhi?” BJP Goa unit general secretary Sadanand Tanavade asked the reporters during a press conference here.He was responding to a question referring to Parrikar’s frequent visits to Goa against the backdrop of militant attacks on Defence bases.The Goa Congress had recently accused Parrikar of being a “part-time” Defence Minister, and said he was more interested in issues concerning the coastal state than matters related to national security.”Congress needs to be more focused on its own party rather than Parrikar,” Tanavade told reporters in presence of state BJP chief Vinay Tendulkar.Tanavade alleged that Congress was adopting publicity gimmicks by resorting to verbal attack on Parrikar to get media publicity.”If you speak about Defence Minister or Chief Minister, you get quick media publicity. That is what Congress has been aiming at,” he said.Tanavade said BJP has been monitoring the criticism through social media and found out that only one particular party was indulging in it.”Majority of the people who respond or comment to this party’s criticism through social media are non-Goans,” he said, refusing to name any political party.

Uri attack: PM Modi calls for Pak to be isolated diplomatically, Army says India will respond at appropriate time

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As clamour for strong action against Pakistan over the Uri attack grew, the Army on Monday said it reserves the right to respond at a time and place of its choosing even as various options were discussed in a flurry of high-level meetings.Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Pranab Mukherjee to brief him on the developments related to Sunday’s cross-border terror attack, hours after he discussed the issue with senior ministers and top officials at a high-level meeting. The death toll in the pre-dawn attack, meanwhile, rose to 18 with Sepoy K Vikas Janardhan, who was airlifted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital here after being critically injured, succumbing to injuries.”The Indian Army has displayed considerable restraint while handling the terrorist situation both along the Line of Control and in hinterland. However, we have the desired capability to respond to such blatant acts of aggression and violence as deemed appropriate by us,” Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh told reporters.”We reserve the right to respond to any act of the adversary at the time and place of our own choosing.” The total recoveries from the four slain terrorists was four AK 47 rifles, four Under Barrel Grenade Launchers, 39 Under Barrel Grenade Launcher grenades, five hand grenades, two radio sets, two GPSs, two map sheets, two matrix sheets, one mobile phone and a large number of food and medicine packets having Pakistani markings, he said.Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag besides other senior officials attended the meeting convened by Modi. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj was conspicuous by her absence.As the worst ever attack on the Army in many years continued to spark outrage and triggered calls for Pakistan’s diplomatic isolation, Union Information and Broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu said India will have to respond and punish the perpetrators of the attack and “can no more take it lying down”.Key BJP ally Shiv Sena while needling Modi on the Uri attack said if he does not have the “courage to strike Pakistan” like the US did to eliminate Osama Bin Laden, there is no use of building an international image.Union Minister and former army chief Gen V K Singh, however, advised the Indian Army to decide on its response “coolly” with proper planning and not to get emotional. “…from the army’s side, alertness is required. The Kashmir situation needs to be thought about. The action has to be taken without getting influenced by emotions, anger. It has to be taken coolly and with proper planning,” Singh said.The assertion by Modi on Sunday that those behind the Uri attack will not go unpunished had triggered considerable speculation about the options that India could exercise in the current situation.A swift, surgical strike on terror camps in Pakistan- occupied Kashmir(PoK) was among the options that figured in the speculation but experts also cautioned against consequences and the damages that an escalation could pose if it goes out of hand. Separately, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and the top security brass met to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the border areas.

Congress blames Modi for ‘complete disarray’ in Pak policy, dares to sack Parrikar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress on Monday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Uri terror attack, holding him “singularly responsible for the complete disarray” in the government’s policy vis- -vis Pakistan, and dared him to act against Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for “a massive intelligence and operational failure”.’Failure of Modi'”The Uri terrorist attack, which has been propagated, planned and executed by Pakistan, is the result of failure of the political leadership of the Modi government. Reports clearly point towards a massive intelligence and operational failure inside the government,” Congress’ chief spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters here. He asked Modi to show courage of conviction by fixing responsibility and accountability for this “complete failure”.”India’s borders & National Security has been under siege for last 2 years. Def Min. should be held accountable (sic),” he tweeted earlier in the day. Surjewala said yesterday’s terror strike on an Army base in which 18 soldiers were killed “is an attack on our national conscience and perpetrators of the attack should be brought to book at the earliest”. He took a swipe at the government’s policy vis- -vis Pakistan and said it should approach the international community for imposing comprehensive sanctions on Pakistan which harbours global terror network and uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy.”Prior to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, Narendra Modi consistently counselled the Congress government to ‘stop writing love letters to Pakistan’. Modiji used the oft-quoted rhetoric of ’56-inch chest’ as also ‘bringing 10 heads back in lieu of one’, besides asking the government to ‘answer Pakistan in the language they understand’. “Time has come for us to remind Narendra Modi of his ‘jumlas’ and rhetoric once again. Since becoming the Prime Minister of the country, Modi has indulged in saree-shawl diplomacy to impromptu visits to Pakistan to attend wedding celebrations and birthday parties with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif,” he said.’Policy based on wholesale confusion'”The truth is that the Modi government’s Pakistan policy is based on wholesale confusion rather than pragmatic and decisive cohesion. “Modi is singularly responsible for this complete disarray of foreign policy wherein a renegade, pariah nation like Pakistan, which is harbinger of global terror network and which stood isolated amongst international community on account of sustained policy of the Congress-led UPA government, is trying to project itself on international arena as a player for regional stability in Southeast Asia,” he said. Surjewala said India’s borders and national security “have been under siege for last two years”. “There have been over 900 border ceasefire violations by Pakistan in J&K. India has borne the brunt of unchecked terrorist attacks coming from Pakistan in Udhampur, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Pampore leading to heavy casualties of Army and police, including senior most officers,” he told reporters.”After the grave provocation of terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase, the Modi government invited a Pakistani investigation team to Pathankot headed by the dreaded ISI. Pakistan not only brashly refused to permit a bilateral visit of Indian investigating team, it shockingly accused India of engineering the Pathankot airbase attack and killing its own soldiers,” he said. He said the Modi government “appears to have learnt no lessons” which finally resulted in the cowardly Uri attack.He also questioned why the government did not take preventive measures to pre-empt the Uri attack if there was information available from different agencies. “Modi government needs to answer as to why no preventive measures were taken to pre-empt the Uri terror attack if there was credible information available from different agencies and security experts, more so considering the vulnerability of the Uri Brigade area and also its proximity to Line of Control,” he said.Why soldiers were kept in tent?Surjewala also sought to know why the soldiers were housed in tents when two military buildings were vacant. “Why were soldiers housed in tents when two military buildings were vacant and available, which led to casualties? Who leaked information regarding troop movement and changeover, that is that the 10-Dorgra Regiment was in the process of making space for 6-Bihar Regiment? Isn’t it not a clear cut failure of command and control structure in the Modi government,” he asked.Taking a dig at Parrikar, he said the Defence Minister is “busy threatening fellow Indians like Aamir Khan” and asked whether the priorities have gone wrong for the government. “He (Parrikar) is busy attacking fellow Indians and passing intemperate remarks against everybody rather than doing his own responsibility. The responsibility, if any, lies at the doorsteps of the Modi government and at doorsteps of Manohar Parrikar, the Defence Minister of the country, who has proved himself to be a utter and complete failure,” Surjewala said.In one of the deadliest attacks on the Army in recent years, 18 jawans were killed and 19 others injured as heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the force in North Kashmir’s Uri town in the wee hours yesterday. Four militants involved in the terror strike were killed by the Army.Surjewala said the government must also take appropriate steps at the international fora so that Pakistan is declared as a “terrorist state”. Replying to a question, he said, “The government must tell the people of the country about the complete and total operational and intelligence failure. Any investigation that needs to take place must take place, but it should not be for the purpose of brushing issues under the carpet which is usually done by the Modi government.” “More so, we demand responsibility and accountability must be fixed,” he said.Asked if Congress will back action like what the USA did in case of Osama bin Laden, Surjewala said, “The government has to take a call on what kind of operational action it will take. Whatever action is taken, which is in the national interest and against terrorists and those who patronise them…not only Indian National Congress, all parties will support the government.”Asked if Congress sees any link between India raising the Balochistan issue and the Uri attack, he said, “Pakistan- occupied Kashmir is very much an integral part of India and if there are human rights violations in Balochistan and if the Army there has been accused of mass rapes, that’s an issue which successive Indian governments have raised from time to time. To link the terror attack coming from Pakistan to the Balochistan issue is uncalled for. Responsibility lies at the doorsteps of the Government of India to protect its borders as also its citizens.”Asked whether the Centre should grant asylum to exiled Baloch leader Brahamdagh Bugti, he said, “The government will have to take note of the same. I am certain that in accordance with our procedures as also our stand on national and international fora, the government will take an appropriate call on the issue.”Will Modi sack Parrikar? Attacking Parrikar, he said, “Will Prime Minister show courage of conviction and fixing responsibility and accountability for this complete failure, particularly that of his Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is more of a Swayamsevak, than holding the serious and responsible position of the Defence Minister of the country?”He said on behalf of the people of India, Congress calls upon Modi to traverse the distance from ‘rhetoric’ to ‘reality’, from ‘projection of self’ to ‘protection of national interest’. “Uri terror attack demands a firm and appropriate response from Indian Government to punish the guilty,” he said. At a Congress briefing, party spokesman Manish Tewari launched an equally scathing attack on the Modi government. “Their (Modi government’s) definition of policy is unfortunately limited to only headline management. The unfortunate reality is that this government neither has any strategic sense nor any tactical understanding,” he said. Replying to a question, he favoured India mustering required support in the international community for moving a resolution to declare Pakistan a “sponsor of terrorism”.Tewari asked the Prime Minister two questions – “can you assure the country that there will not be another terrorist attack? Do you have a policy towards Pakistan and if you do, what is that policy?” In a reply to questions about whether the Prime Minister should attend the SAARC summit scheduled to be held in Pakistan in November, he said it was for the government to take a call on the issue. He recalled that the Prime Minister had paid an impromptu visit to Pakistan last year and the way Home Minister Rajnath Singh was treated during his recent visit to the country was known to everybody.

Uri Attack: Rajnath, Parrikar, NSA, Army chief meet to discuss Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and top security brass of the country today met to review the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the border areas, in the wake of the terror attack in Uri.National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag and top officials of the ministries of Home and Defence, paramilitary forces and chiefs of intelligence agencies briefed the meeting on the latest situation in Kashmir Valley as well as along the Line of Control, official sources said.Parrikar and General Suhag had visited Kashmir on Sunday in the aftermath of the terror attack in Uri where 17 soldiers were killed.Possible strategies to deal with the fresh challenges arising out of the terror attack at the Army Brigade Headquarters, located along the LoC, was also discussed in the meeting, the sources said.Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi, who has postponed his visit to Srinagar, also attended the meeting.The Home Minister, Defence Minister and the top officials also reviewed the security situation across the country, particular along the western border – from Punjab to Gujarat, the sources said.Meanwhile, a team of National Investigation Agency is expected to visit Uri to gather leads and other evidence from the terror attack site.Heavily armed militants suspected to be from Pakistan-based JeM had yesterday stormed an army base in Uri in Kashmir, killing 17 jawans.India had reacted strongly to the deadliest attack on the Army in Jammu and Kashmir in a quarter-century-old insurgency that sparked an outrage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly condemning it.”We strongly condemn the cowardly terror attack in Uri. I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished,” Modi had said.The Home Minister, who had yesterday called an emergency meeting in Delhi, had pointed a finger directly at Pakistan, saying it is a “terrorist state” and should be isolated while BJP leader Ram Madhav said days of strategic restraint are over and suggested that “for one tooth, the complete jaw” should be the policy after the attack.

Concentrate on managing security: Parrikar gets ‘tongue’ lashing from AAP over Kejriwal comments

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday got a ‘tongue lashing’ from AAP over his comments on Arvind Kejriwal’s throat surgery with the party saying he should concentrate on managing security affairs or make way for someone else in the key post.The outfit, which has set its sight on taking on BJP in the next year’s Assembly elections in Goa, demanded Parrikar be removed as Defence Minister as he is “not concentrating” on looking after security issues.”We urge Prime Minister Modiji to either ask Parrikar to concentrate on security of the nation or give this responsibility to someone else so that Parrikar could continue making comments on health issues of other individuals,” Goa AAP Secretary Walmiki Naik said at a press conference here after 17 soldiers were martyred in a terrorist attack in Uri.Yesterday, Parrikar had said Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s tongue had to be trimmed as it had grown long due to speaking much against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and him.Kejriwal recently underwent a tongue surgery.”On one hand the defence of our nation is continuously being challenged by forces working against the country, and on the other we have our Defence Minister sarcastically commenting on personal health issues of Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal. This is unbecoming of a Defence Minister,” he said.Naik said his party is deeply pained and shocked by the death of 17 soldiers in the Uri terror attack.”AAP salutes the jawans for their supreme sacrifice and expresses solidarity with their families,” he added.

Parrikar greets DRDO, IAF for successful missile test-firings

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday congratulated DRDO and IAF on the successful test-firings of a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM), developed jointly with Israel.

Defence Minister  Manohar Parrikar. News18Defence Minister  Manohar Parrikar. News18

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. News18

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had on Thursday carried out two successful test-firings of the new missile, with a strike range up to 70 km, from a defence base off Odisha coast. The missile for IAF was again test-fired on Friday.

Parrikar rejected report in a section of media that the second test had failed to accomplish the desired targets and said “it was perfect”.

He said that of the two different tests carried out on Thursday, one was at a higher altitude and the other shorter

“But the real and challenging test was today which was accomplished successfully. The MRSAM successfully hit a
manoeuvring target, replicating a possible real life scenario,” Parrikar said.


Encounters have increased in border areas: Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday asserted that there has been an increase in the number of encounters taking place in the border areas.The Defence Minister, however, downplayed a poser when asked about the increase in terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.Parrikar’s remark assumes significance in wake of the militant attack on a CRPF convoy in Pampore, Jammu and Kashmir, in which eight security personnel were martyred.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the fierce gun-battle that took place on June 25 evening, 24 CRPF jawans were also injured.According to a recent intelligence review, 73 terrorists have been gunned down till date while the number was 34 in the corresponding period last year.

Those involved in AugustaWestland scam will not be spared: Manohar Parrikar

Cuttack: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday asserted that those involved in the AugustaWestland chopper scam will not be spared.

“The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is after them (those involved in the Augusta scam) and none of them will be spared,” Parrikar said while addressing a large gathering in Cuttack as part of ‘Vikash Utsav’ organised to mark the BJP-led NDA government’s two years in office.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. AFPDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. AFP

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. AFP

Listing Narendra Modi government’s achievements in these two years, the Defence Minister emphasised that the present government has taught as to how to remain clean (corruption-free) even in power.

Parrikar said he valued “integrity” as his most precious possession as a political leader.

Lauding the efforts of security personnel deployed in border areas, the Union Minister said these days, infiltration from across the border has declined because nearly 70 to 75 percent armed infiltrators were eliminated.

Parrikar also came down heavily on the BJD regime in Odisha claiming the Naveen Patnaik-government has done nothing to create jobs for the millions of educated youth of the state.

“There is plenty of scope to industrialise the state and develop the skills of educated youth so that they can stand up to earn their bread with dignity,” the former Goa chief minister said.

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and state BJP president Basant Panda also spoke on the occasion.

Congress attacks Manohar Parrikar over his criticism of NGOs, green activists

Panaji: The Congress on Wednesday slammed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar‘s recent criticism of a section of NGOs and green activists, and accused the former Goa chief minister of interfering in the state administration and matters of policy.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Panaji, Congress spokesperson Trajano D’Mello said that as Leader of Opposition in the Goa legislative assembly, Parrikar in the past used to encourage NGOs to agitate, which in turn had brought development in the state to a “grinding halt” back then.

File image of Manohar Parrikar. IBNlive

File image of Manohar Parrikar. IBNlive

“The defence minister’s attack on NGOs, that they are objecting every development, is an absolute lie. He should remember that as Leader of Opposition he was encouraging them to agitate, was participating in agitations and brought development to a grinding halt,” D’Mello said.

Addressing a government function in Panaji on Monday, Parrikar said that NGOs backed by vested interests were filing cases in court against government projects and were delaying creation of infrastructure.

“There are some professionals, who regularly file cases against government projects. That is why I urge state officials to take all the necessary environmental and other required clearances before starting work on a project, so that these so-called NGOs do not find the courage to file cases against us,” Parrikar said.

“This constant filing of cases against government projects has become a business. If we are wrong, punish us, but do not stop developmental projects unnecessarily,” he said, adding that such habitual litigants should be “exposed”.

D’Mello claimed that Parrikar was now crying foul because his party is in power.

“When he was doing it, it was to save Goa’s destruction. But now when rampant destruction has started and has been objected to legally, he terms it as obstructing development,” the Congress spokesperson said.

Reacting to another comment by Parrikar about his non-interference in key state issues, like the contentious medium of instruction policy for state’s schools, D’Mello said: “No one believes in Parrikar any more. He is and will continue to interfere in state government affairs.”

I will not interfere in Goa’s Medium of Instruction issue: Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said he would not interfere in the ongoing controversy about the Medium of Instruction (MoI) in elementary education in Goa.”The Chief Minister (Laxmikant Parsekar) will talk to them (the agitators). The issue is of the state and I will not interfere in it,” the minister told reporters today after inaugurating a sewage treatment plant here. The issue of MoI in the state has been going on for many years, with different organizations favouring different languages. Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) has demanded the state’s mother tongue Konkani to be the medium of instruction.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They have also sought withdrawal of grants given to English medium schools. “The Chief Minister has received a memorandum from the BBSM, which enlists their demands. He has to decide when to meet them and discuss the issue,” the former state Chief Minister said. “He (Parsekar) has to find out a solution to the problem. He will be speaking to the agitators. I am not the one who would decide on the issue,” he said, adding his role is restricted to party level.Parrikar said the stand of BJP and BBSM is not contravening, except on stopping of the grants to English medium schools. “The government wants to withdraw the grants but due to administrative reasons they can’t do so,” he said. The Defence Minister also said that the alliance of BJP and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) would continue during the Goa Legislative Assembly elections of 2017. He said the decision on seat-sharing would be taken later. BJP and MGP had fought the 2012 state Assembly polls together, in which the former had won 21 seats, and the latter got three seats.

Army items are not procured like TV or mobile, Defence deals cannot happen overnight: Manohar Parrikar

Defence deals, unlike purchase of televisions or mobile phones, are not made overnight and take “a lot of time” owing to bureaucratic procedures, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Saturday.Speaking at a function in Hyderabad, Parrikar noted that sometimes, in the bureaucracy, those who do not understand anything about the product, deal with their procurement. “Things do take time in defence (deals). Even if I make an order, it does not happen overnight because it requires time to mature. Army items are not procured off the shelf like you buy a TV or a mobile, like you walk into a shop and come out with the product,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”To place a defence order, it takes a hell lot of time. With every Tom, Dick and Harry sitting in the department, those who do not understand anything about actual product asking some vague questions, sometimes funny questions, also sometimes relevant questions. After he satisfies himself he gets transferred and somebody else comes in and raises different kind of queries again … it takes lot of time,” Parrikar said.
ALSO READ Rafale deal to be finalized soon, says Manohar ParrikarThe Defence Minister was speaking at the foundation- laying ceremony of a new facility here for Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems.Parrikar said the government’s emphasis was on skill development programmes for aviation sector, and it was working with Boeing towards that. The minister, who in the morning visited T-Hub, a technological incubator started by the Telangana government, interacted with the budding entrepreneurs there.

Flying high: Why the IAF’s induction of three women fighter pilots is a landmark move

The Indian Air Force commissioned on Saturday its first batch of three women fighter pilots. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was the Chief Guest at the combined graduation parade at the Air Force Academy Dundigal, Hyderabad. With this, the IAF has become the first to open all branches of the Service for women. Effectively, women can now engage in combat.Earlier in October 2015, in a landmark move, six women were short-listed for the initial selection and grooming. Having cleared the initial two stages of training and gained over 150 hours of flying experience each, Bhawana Kanth, Mohana Singh and Avani Chaturvedi will now proceed for a six month Stage-III, dedicated fighter training on Advanced Jet Trainer, the BAE Hawk at Bidar in Karnataka. On completion, they will be assigned different fighter aircraft and they will join the mainstream fighter squadrons.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Getting the aircrew badge, the ‘Wings’ worn over the left breast pocket is any aspiring aviator’s dream. But to be a ‘Fighter Pilot’ is a different ball-game altogether. It’s the most highly regarded position in any air force and the selection process only accepts elite candidates. It requires high academic ability, physical fitness and a strong mental drive to get selected. Fighter pilots have to display strong leadership qualities and team work in any combat mission. Decisions have to be made in split seconds, especially so at very high speeds and under high forces of gravity in ‘G’ manoeuvres. All Air Forces have only Commissioned Officers as pilots. One has to volunteer to be a fighter pilot and there are no differences in physical and mental standards between men and women. Some concerns include studies in the West that indicate women have 45 to 50% less upper body strength which may make them more prone to fractures and bone injuries. Fighter pilots also require strong muscle tissue along the extremities and abdomen for better ‘G’ tolerance, and a woman’s body structure may have lesser tolerance.
ALSO READ Scripting history: India’s first batch of women fighter pilots inducted in IAF fighter squadronWomen have had their role models. Sabiha Gokcen of Turkey was the first women fighter pilot ever in 1936. USSR had fighter pilots in WW II and Lilya Litvyak became an ‘Ace’ with 12 aerial kills. The real thrust for women becoming fighter pilots took place in the 1990s when all Western Air Forces inducted fighter pilots to fly high ‘G’ modern jet fighters. In 1989, Canada was first to induct fighter pilots. Jeannie Leavit of USA flew 300 combat hours in Iraq. China had its first batch of six women fighter pilots in 2013, and Ayesha Farooq became Pakistan’s first fighter pilot, also in 2013. More recently, we saw UAE’s Mariam al-Mansuri fly combat missions against ISIS in an F-16. A progressive democracy like India delayed the final induction in 2016.In 2013, the US Army passed an order that allows women same opportunities as men in combat arms which led to elite commando jobs for women. In December 2012, the US had its first three female submariners.Former Indian President Pratibha Patil made India proud by flying the Su-30 MKI in a 30-minute sortie at the age of 74 with minimal emergency training on 25 November 2009. By inducting women fighter pilots, IAF has hit the right notes in terms of equality and opportunities for women. Women have excelled in all branches of the IAF. Breaking the last glass ceiling will now put pressure on the Army and the Navy to open more roles for women. The initial approval is for a test period of five years. But the same would inevitably be extended. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar however clarified that the induction would be in a “phased manner” as necessary facilities for accommodation and training need to be created.Unfortunately, the number of women applying to join the armed forces has seen a decline in the last few years, as per a parliamentary report. I feel the numbers should finally go up to around 30 fighter pilots in the next 10 years. The same may be reviewed every 5 years. The issue of Command of Combat units may also be visited in years ahead. Indian women are resilient and strong and our aim should be to find ways to induct women rather than deny them opportunities. The author is a retired Air Marshal.

Defence Minister Parrikar holds discussions with industry representatives

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday held discussions with industry representatives who presented their concerns and recommendations on strategic partnerships that the government plans to enter with private firms in critical sectors of defence manufacturing.Parrikar met with the five-sub groups that were set up to have a focused discussion on the subject. They gave their presentations before the Minister and the Ministry will now study the recommendations in detail before going in for more meetings, defence sources said. The five sub-groups are focused on armoured fighting vehicles (AFV), aircraft and helicopters, submarines, ammunition and macro process management of issues.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Former DRDO chief V K Aatre had earlier this year submitted a report to the Defence Ministry recommending guidelines for selecting domestic private firms for strategic partnership. However, Indian private defence industry is divided over the issue with some big players batting for it while others pushing to delay it by at least next five years.Parrikar has already held a round of talks with the industry chambers over the issue. The feeling among several private industry players is that only the big firms will benefit out of this move.However, many large firms are not open to the idea since they feel they would be restricted to just specific fields and, therefore, their overall investment and plans will get affected.

Manohar Parrikar to meet industry representatives to discuss strategic partnerships

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will meet with industry representatives on Saturday to carry forward the discussion on strategic partnerships that the government plans to enter with private firms in critical sectors of defence manufacturing.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

The meeting will be the first one with a sub-group that has been created to have a more focused discussion on it, sources said.

Former DRDO chief V K Aatre had earlier this year submitted a report to the Defence Ministry recommending
guidelines for selecting domestic private firms for strategic partnership.

However, Indian private defence industry is divided over the issue with some big players batting for it while others pushing to delay it by at least next five years.

Parrikar has already held a round of talks with the industry chambers over the issue.

The feeling among several private industry players is that only the big firms will benefit out of this move.

However, many large firms are not open to the idea since they feel they would be restricted to just specific fields and, therefore, their overall investment and plans will get affected.

LIVE: Fire at Pulgaon kills 20; Defence Minister Parrikar, Gen Dalbir Singh rush to spot

May 31, 2016


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In a major fire followed by a blast at India’s biggest Central Ammunition Depot at Pulgaon in Maharashtra, 20 Army personnel, including 18 Defence Security Corps jawans and two officers, have been killed.

According to latest reports, Army chief General Dalbir Singh has left for Pulgaon. ANI tweeted:

The 25 injured are in the ICU at a hospital in Wardha, 40km from Pulgaon, Times Now reported. The fire has now been brought under controlThe main source of the fire was a shed which caught fire.

Fire at CAD in Pulgaon kills 20.Fire at CAD in Pulgaon kills 20.

A screengrab of the fire that broke out at Pulgaon killed 20. Courtesy – CNN News18


Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Defence Minister to visit the central ammunition depot in Maharashtra’s Pulgaon to take stock of the situation. Modi also expressed pain over the loss of lives caused by the fire and prayed for quick recovery of the injured.

The figure of casualties, including fatalities, is expected to increase even as nightlong fire-fighting efforts continued inside the sprawling CAD. Lt Col R S Pawar and Major K Manoj, were among those who were killed in the fire, reported India Today. The ammunition depot has the highest level of security, the report added.

The ammunition depot at Pulgaon is Asia’s second largest weapons depot. According to this report in NDTV, officials said the fire broke out due to secondary explosions around 1 am.

NDTV reported that over a 1,000 people have been evacuated from villages near Pulgaon Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is supposed to reach Pulgaon by Tuesday afternoon, NDTV report said.

Reactions soon started pouring in. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis offered condolences to those injured and to the families of the bereaved.

PM Modi tweeted that he was “Pained by loss of lives caused by a fire at central ammunition depot in Pulgaon, Maharashtra.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis offered his condolences.I pray that those who are injured recover quickly. Have asked RM @manoharparrikar to visit the spot & take stock of the situation.

“Secondary fire and explosions cannot be ruled out now,” the Army officer said refusing to go into the reasons of the fire.

Army has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

The central ammunition depot at Pulgaon is India’s biggest ammunition depot as stocks from various factories comes here first and is then distributed to various forward areas. Pulgaon is 110 km from Nagpur.

With inputs from PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar feels like an ‘outsider’ in New Delhi

Despite being in New Delhi for nearly one-and-a-half years, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he has not “settled” in the national capital as he can never be a “Delhi politician”.However, Parrikar, who assumed charge in November 2014 from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who till then also held the defence portfolio, said he was “well settled” in the Defence Ministry. He said though he is an “outsider” in Delhi’s political circles, his comments about not being settled in Delhi should not be mixed with constant rumours of his going back to Goa, his home state.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar’s remarks come at a time when the state is getting ready for elections next year. It is expected that Parrikar, the tallest BJP leader in Goa, will play a critical role in the party’s campaign there.”I am busy with my department. I am settled in the Ministry. But if you ask me, whether I am settled in Delhi. No. I don’t think I will ever get settled in Delhi,” he told PTI here.Parrikar said one cannot pull out a 50 year-old tree and replant it somewhere else.”At the age of 25-30 you can get in those social circles. With my coming here at 59 and, secondly, in Ministry which by nature is a closed Ministry, it becomes almost impossible for you to really get into social circles. I am busy with my work, I don’t get enough time to complete my work,” he said.Asked to elaborate, the Minister said never settling in Delhi means “politically, I will not become a part of Delhi”. But I am settled in Defence Ministry and that is adequate for my job, he said, adding his focus is on getting the job done.Parrikar, a three-time Goa CM under whom BJP swept the Goa Assembly elections in 2012, was asked to join the Narendra Modi Cabinet in November 2014. He was then elected to Rajya Sabha from Lucknow.

Has DRDO taken Defence Minister Parrikar and India for a ride?

On 30 March, 2016, media headlines stated: ‘Enough of Akash, says Army as it opts for Israeli missiles’.

The report quoting MoD sources went on to say that the Army has made it clear that it does not want any more Akash regiments after it gets the first two ordered earlier for Rs 14,180 crore, with six firing batteries and hundreds of missiles each. This marks a major blow to the ‘Make in India’ policy, especially since the Navy is turning to France for similar requirements after dumping the Akash missiles for its warships due to “stabilisation problems”.

The message was unmistakable

First, military prefers imported systems, especially the Army — why else would they stop after “ordering” two regiments worth of Akash?

Second, the military was shattering the ‘Make in India’ dream kickstarted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On 27 April 2016, a Press Information Bureau (PIB) release gave details of products/systems developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that have either been inducted in the defence forces or are in the process of trials/production/induction, as listed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to KC Tyagi in the Rajya Sabha. This list included the Akash Weapon System. On 4 May, 2016, another PIB release carried a written reply by Parrikar to Sanjay Raut in the Rajya Sabha with respect to the Akash Weapon System, which can be summarised as the following:

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTIFile photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File photo of Manohar Parrikar. PTI

-Proper trials of Akash missile were conducted prior to induction into Armed Forces
-Development user trials were completed ‘successfully’ in 2007
-Orders were placed for two squadrons by IAF in 2008 and six squadrons in 2010
-User trial of production equipment was done successfully in 2012
-Post-induction user trials for Akash Air Force equipment was conducted successfully in 2014
-An order was placed for two regiments by the Indian Army and First Off Production Model (FOPM) trials were successfully conducted in 2014
-Post-induction trials by the Army were conducted successfully in 2016
-Akash Missile System is successfully inducted and is performing as per the expectations of the armed forces.

The production of Akash is being handled by Bharat Electronics Ltd and Bharat Dynamics Ltd with the help of a number of major and MSME industries spread all across the country. So, Akash is a successful example of the ‘Make in India’ policy and proves that the government’s initiatives are successful in defence manufacturing.

What are we missing here?

Does the military deserve to be kicked for its penchant for imports and the way it undermined ‘Make in India’? To start with, the Akash Weapon System has nothing to do with Modi’s call for ‘Make in India’ given in 2014. Akash was one of the five core missile systems of the integrated guided missile development program launched by the DRDO in 1984; Akash was to replace the Russian Kvadrat System with the Army for providing air defence cover for mechanised forces during manoeuvre battles. Some 23 years later, when the trials were done in 2007, these were a complete fiasco. The Army found that while on the move, Akash could not negotiate undulating ground appropriately and had difficulty in acquiring even slow-moving helicopters, leave alone fast-moving aircraft.

The Army therefore rejected Akash outright because it did not meet the requirement of providing air defence for mechanised forces during manoeuvre battles. So Akash was ‘given’ to the IAF. The IAF did not mind because IAF deploys air defence weapons for protection of vulnerable points and vulnerable areas in layers. So, Akash became one of the air defence weapon in this multi-layered air defence.

In early 2015, the media exploded with the news that the Army will finally get some desperately-needed supersonic firepower to take on enemy fighters, helicopters, drones and sub-sonic cruise missiles after years of grappling with obsolete air defence weapons with the “Improved Akash Weapon System”, and what made this even more significant was that the improved Akash Weapon System is 96 percent indigenous.

Quoting ministry of defence sources, the report said that Parrikar was slated to symbolically hand over the first Akash to the Army in early April, adding the first full Akash Regiment should be ready by June-July 2015 with second one following by end-2016. But what the Army found to its horror is that this so called ‘Improved Akash’ is still incapable of providing air defence for mechanised forces during manoeuvre battle like the vintage Kvadrat.

So, the Army perforce has to use the ‘Improved Kvadrat’ in static role. It is for the same reason, that the Navy rejected Akash; for problem of stabilization. What should a matter of grave concern that this while we already have the technology of guns firing on the move past several years; – naval guns aboard ships and tanks in Army – the T-90 Russian tank being by far the best for accuracy on the move. Why could this technology not be incorporated in the Akash Weapon System despite three decades of development – to acquire and engage targets on the move.

The question that the civilian friends would ask is why did the Army accept the two Akash Regiments in the first place? The fiasco of the 2007 Development User trials compared to what the Defence Minister recently apprised the Rajya Sabha has been mentioned above. The system puts tremendous pressure on the Services on the plea that when so much money and time has been spent on developing a product / system, at least buy “some” to compensate the development / part development costs.

Such pressure is invariably at the level of the Defence Secretary or Secretary Defence Production. The Army would have likely agreed for two regiments worth because Army’s air defence equipment anyway is 90% obsolete. Perhaps then there was a move to make Army buy more of these Akash regiments, and that is where the Army said enough is enough. Since Akash does not meet the operational requirements of the Army, quite naturally, Army has gone in for procurement of four QR-SAM regiments through the global tender route. Missile systems from Israel, Russia and Sweden have undergone extensive field trials conducted by the Army.

The results have not been officially declared but Israeli Spyder QR-SAMs have reportedly topped in the trials. For reasons discussed above, the IAF sure is inducting more Akash squadrons but if Akash was so versatile (despite three decades of development), why would IAF be looking for imports. It may be noted that IAF is inducting four Spyder QR-SAM squadrons February 2017 onwards.

One does not expect Defence Minister Parrikar to know the above and his written replies perforce are drafts prepared by the MoD bureaucrats. But the question is when the Defence Minister says in his written reply, “Akash Missile System is successfully inducted and is performing as per the expectations of the Services … Thus, Akash, is a successful example of ‘Make in India’ and proves government’s initiatives are successful in defence manufacturing”, how much of it is true?

Hasn’t Parrikar and the nation been taken for a ride?

Akash incidentally is just one example of inadequate and unaccountable functioning of the DRDO. Scores of articles have highlighted multiple products and inadequacies in a long list of products and systems, leave aside numerous CAG reports indicating rampant corruption and sub-standard products. As per recent reports, Government is contemplating setting up not-for-profit firm to foster innovation and create R&D ecosystem.

Hopefully, this firm would also focus on military and dual-use R&D too, because the DRDO has hardly been able to meet military’s requirements. Much thought is needed on the issue.

The author is a retired Lieutenant-General of the Indian Army

Decision on permanent commission to women IAF pilots in one year, says Manohar Parrikar

The decision to grant permanent commission to women in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force will be taken in one year, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday.Responding to a series of supplementaries on induction of women as fighter pilots, he said three women candidates have been selected for ‘stage-II’ training as fighter pilots who would be ready by June-July. He said as of now they have been inducted in short service on an experimental basis to ascertain the difficulties that could be faced and taken care of before they are inducted on a permanent basis.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar said the decision on granting them permanent commission will be taken “soon” and went on to add that it will be taken in “one year”. In his written response, the Minister said both men and women pilots undergo same type of specialised jungle and snow survival training.
ALSO READ India’s first 3 women fighter pilots advised to put off motherhood by 4 yearsRejecting concerns that women may be afraid of flying fighter jets, he said there will be a flood of applications and a time will come when women will outnumber men as fighter pilots in the IAF. Responding to questions on shortage of pilots, he said in 2010, the flying branch was short of 550 pilots which has now come down to 164 as on February 1.He said out of the sanctioned strength of 4528 pilots, 164 is a small number and if the current trend continues, the flying branch will be able to wipe out the shortage in two years. The new gender-neutral approach will help decrease the shortfall, Parrikar added.

VVIP Chopper Scam: UPA govt did everything to help AgustaWestland bag the contract, says Parrikar

Maintaining heat on the Congress, the government today said the previous UPA government had “done everything” to help AgustaWestland bag the contract for VVIP helicopters and asserted that it will track down the main beneficiaries of the kickbacks in the deal.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in the Lok Sabha that former Air chief S P Tyagi and Gautam Khaitan, both accused in the case, are “small people” who “simply washed their hands in a flowing ganga (of corruption)” and that the government will “find out where the river was going”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking on a Calling Attention Motion on the chopper deal, he took a dig at Congress, saying it seemed to know where this “ganga was going”.
ALSO READ VVIP Chopper Scam: SC seeks Centre’s reply on PIL for FIR against Congress leaders including Sonia, ManmohanHe said the UPA government had “done everything” to help AgustaWestland bag the contract and that its action against the company following the disclosure of corruption was not pro-active but “forced by circumstances”.Tyagi and Khaitan were “small people who simply washed their hands in a flowing ganga (of corruption)”, Parrikar said, asserting that the government will track down the main beneficiaries of the kickbacks in the Rs 3600 crore deal for 12 VVIP choppers.
ALSO READ VVIP Chopper scam: Eight Indian missions on AgustaWestland money trail; Tyagi, lawyer Khaitan grilled”Why are you (Congress) concerned? I have not named anybody. You seem to know where the ganga was going,” the Defence Minister said, taking a swipe at Congress.Parrikar, who was criticsed by opposition members for reading from a statement during a debate over the issue in the Rajya Sabha, mostly spoke extempore and narrated the sequence of events related to the contract and its subsequent cancellation.
ALSO READ VVIP chopper scam: PM Modi lauds Parrikar’s speech; says he rose above politics & placed factsWhile a criminal case was registered in Italy in November 2011 over alleged exchange of bribe in the deal, the UPA government continued with the aquisition of choppers and three of them were delivered, he said.Only after Finmeccanica, parent firm of AgustaWestland, officials were arrested in 2013, that the then Defence Minister A K Antony asked the CBI to probe the matter, he said.Before then the government had not even written to the company and instead taken up the matter with the embassy, Parrikar said, likening it to “setting up a committee when you do not want to do anything”.”Its (UPA) action was compulsarily forced by the arrest of Finmeccanica official… It did not take any pro-action measure,” he said.

AgustaWestland: Parrikar sticks to facts but uses ‘invisible hand’ to slap Congress

In the end, protests based on technicalities by Congress benches mattered little to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar when he rose to give a ministerial response on Agusta Westland VVIP chopper scam in Parliament. All the facts and figures that Parrikar mentioned in his hour-long speech — quoting from various reports in a chronological order about the deal — were all pointed in one direction, that the Congress-led UPA had flouted all established norms to favour one company: AgustaWestland.

Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTIManohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

Manohar Parrikar. File photo. PTI

Parrikar did not name Sonia Gandhi or point fingers at any other Congress leader, but innuendos like ‘invisible hand’ made that political point. Parrikar’s response was more factual in nature than political. He gave out all the dates and described how things unfolded during the UPA regime and left the viewers or the Aam Aadmi at large to make their own conclusions.

The BJP leadership, however has made one strategic mistake throughout the AgustaWestland debate — two main speakers from its side, Subramanian Swamy and Manohar Parrikar spoke in English, something which the Aam Aadmi on the streets don’t understand, howsoever keenly he/she may have wanted to watch this debate live. This debate is perhaps the most hyped one after the one on JNU and Rohit Vemula case in the Parliament this year. Parrikar could perhaps take a lesson or two from his other colleagues on that count. For some reasons the Defence Minister was wary of taking Sonia Gandhi and other senior Congress leaders’ names or maybe it was a part of their strategy since an adverse public perception has already been created against the Congress first family.

It was heartening to see a debate of this nature, where a full five hour session concluded without unruly scenes; heated exchanges, of course, did ensue and at times Parrikar was barely audible — an accepted part of Parliamentary practices.

By focussing on the facts, the Defence Minister raised some pertinent questions.

Why were the terms of reference for acquiring choppers to be used by the VVIPs changed?

From an initial acquisition of 8 choppers, why did the number increase to 12?

Why was there a six-fold increase in the cost price of these choppers?

Who got the Defence Minister’s decision to have a mandatory field trial and the bench price of $100 million per chopper unit overruled?

What were the compulsions under which field trial on a foreign soil was accepted that too when the chopper AW101 was not used in field trial, instead some other representative chopper was used?

Why were the requirements of the internationally accepted cabin height of 1.43 meters changed to 1.80 meters? Was it allowed to make AgustaWestland the only suitable bidder, thus eliminating EC225 which had earlier met all other requirements except the 1.60 meter cabin height requirement that was made mandatory?

Who forced the entire top governmental machinery to dilute one requirement after another only to suit one company, AgustaWestland, which in the first place was a customer relationship company and not a manufacturer of the helicopter was even entitled for bid?

Parrikar’s argument was that the UPA government made conditions in a bid to deliberately create a single vendor situation, where no company other than AgustaWestland could be selected for purchase for VVIP choppers.  The Air Force had strongly noted that the field trials must be held in India only and in actual geographical locations because topography and other related things make a great deal of difference in flying performances. That was overruled. Parrikar named the company which acted as a conduit in India to disburse money to the bribe takers. He however, did detail as to what stage investigations were at to nab the scamsters.

The debate provoked Congress and got the likes of AK Antony and Ahmed Patel who otherwise rarely participate in a debate, to speak up on Wednesday.

The Congress’ principal objection to Parrikar’s speech was not on facts but about why he was reading his speech from a prepared text.

It would be interesting to see how the debate proceeds in Lok Sabha where Sonia Gandhi is a member and therefore the norm, don’t name a person and level a charge against him or her who is not a member in that House and thus not in a position to defend him or her, does not apply in Lower House. Will Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi speak in Lok Sabha as Ahmed Patel spoke in Upper House to clear his and his leader’s position on the issue? That’s a question which can only be answered by Friday.

Goa polls: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar may lead campaign, says BJP state chief

Panaji: Rubbishing media reports that Manohar Parrikar would return as Goa’s Chief Minister, state BJP chief Vinay Tendulkar on Tuesday, said that the Defence Minister may lead the party’s campaign for state Assembly polls next year.

“There is a strong possibility that he might lead the election campaign for 2017 polls in Goa. He is required to counter the agenda put forth by Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) on Medium of Instruction (MoI) issue,” Tendulkar told PTI.

Notably, the BBSM is propagating the mother tongue as the MOI in elementary education in Goa, and stopping of grants to schools teaching in English medium. RSS state unit chief Subhash Velingkar has also been criticising BJP and Parrikar for their alleged failure to protect the interest of regional languages in Goa’s MoI policy.

Manohar Parrikar. PIB.Manohar Parrikar. PIB.

Manohar Parrikar. PIB.

On reports in a section of local media that Parrikar may return as Chief Minister before the state Assembly polls, Tendulkar said, “There are no such discussions at party level over the issue. The possibility of him returning seems to be bleak as we are almost nine months away from the elections and Parrikar’s return to the state as CM would necessitate the by-election within six months,” he said.

“Then there would be state elections due in March next year. I don’t think he will allow so many elections,” Tendulkar said.

Parrikar rode the BJP to victory in the 2012 Goa Assembly elections but had to resign from the post of Chief Minister when he was elevated as Defence Minister at the Centre.

VVIP chopper scam: TMC MP asked to leave RS after Ansari rejects notice

Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is facing the Congress-Left combine in the West Bengal assembly election, on Monday sought to corner the Congress in Rajya Sabha by raising the AgustaWestland helicopter issue and wanting to know who the ‘Gandhi’ and ‘AP’ are the alleged bribe seekers in the deal. While TMC wanted to draw attention to the case, it finally led to one of their MPs being expelled from the Rajya Sabha for a day for breaking rules. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Here’s how it happened: Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy (TMC) wanted to know who has taken bribe in the deal to buy 12 VVIP helicopters. “Defence Minister has to give a statement. Why is the government silent,” he asked. “Who is this AP (named as alleged bribe taker in the deal)? Who is Gandhi? Who is Shashikant.”He wanted the Defence Minister to make a statement on the issue after suspending regular business and matter discussed. “Government has to disclose the identity (of bribe takers),” he said.Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there is no rule for suspension of business during Zero Hour and disallowed his notice.With Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari asking Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Sukhendu Sekhar Roy to leave the Upper House for the day, Congress MP and former union minister Renuka Chowdhury on Monday asked the lawmakers to maintain restraint so that such a situation does not arise in the future.”If the members do not follow what he says then he takes actions at times. It will be better if we be in our limits so that such a situation does not arise,” she told ANI outside the Parliament. Ansari invoked rule 255 against the TMC MP, asking him to leave the Rajya Sabha for misbehaviour.Roy repeatedly demanded that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar make an urgent statement on the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal. Raising objection to Ansari’s decision, the TMC members staged a walkout from the Upper House after Roy was asked to leave for the day.

AgustaWestland case: TMC sought to corner Congress in RS

New Delhi: Trinamool Congress (TMC), which is facing the Congress-Left combine in the West Bengal assembly election sought to corner the Congress in Rajya Sabha by raising the AgustaWestland helicopter issue and wanting to know who the ‘Gandhi’ and ‘AP’ are the alleged bribe seekers in the deal.

TMC sought to corner Congress in the RS. AFPTMC sought to corner Congress in the RS. AFP

TMC sought to corner Congress in the RS. AFP

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Sukhendu Shekhar Roy (TMC) wanted to know who has taken bribe in the deal to buy 12 VVIP helicopters.

“Defence Minister has to give a statement. Why is the government silent,” he asked. “Who is this AP (named as alleged bribe taker in the deal)? Who is Gandhi? Who is Shashikant.”

He wanted the Defence Minister to make a statement on the issue after suspending regular business and matter discussed.

“Government has to disclose the identity (of bribe takers),” he said.

Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said there is no rule for suspension of business during Zero Hour and disallowed his notice.

VVIP chopper scam: Govt to seek CBI report, blacklist AgustaWestland

Amid the raging row over VVIP chopper scam, the government on Wednesday said it will seek a report from the CBI on the deal and initiate the move to blacklist AgustaWestland and its parent company Finmeccanica and claimed the previous UPA dispensation had not put any embargo on the scandal-tainted company.Top Modi government sources claimed the UPA government had not blacklisted AgustaWestland despite allegations of bribery and that it was only when the NDA came to power in 2014 all acquisition proposals with the firm were put on hold. CBI had in 2013 registered a case in connection with alleged bribes paid by the firm to Indians to clinch the deal for 12 helicopters to ferry VVIPs including the President and Prime Minister.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress had yesterday claimed AgustaWestland was blacklisted under UPA rule but “removed” from the blacklist by the Modi government. Congress leader and former Union Minister Anand Sharma had said, “The chopper deal was scrapped. Action was taken by the UPA government. A K Antony, the then Defence Minister, had made a statement in Parliament and AgustaWestland was blacklisted.”
ALSO READ AgustaWestland scam: Have no role in VVIP chopper deal, says MK NarayananHowever, the government sources said, “The only punitive action taken by the Congress was in January 2014, just before the Lok Sabha elections, when the UPA govermment encashed the bank guarantee. They never blacklisted the company as claimed by them”.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier in the day challenged the Congress to show the order by the UPA government confirming the blacklisting. It was on July 3, 2014 when Arun Jaitley was Defence Minister that an order was issued which put on hold all procurement and acquisition cases in the pipeline with six companies involved in the scam including AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica, the sources said.They said it was also decided that in cases where the tender process had not started, there shall be no dealing with those companies and entities till conclusion of the CBI probe and that Request for Intent/Request for Proposal shall be issued to any of them. The sources said the question was not about being banned or not but about who the politicians, bureaucrats and IAF officials were who took the bribes as reported by the Italian Court.

VVIP chopper row | AgustaWestland not blacklisted under UPA rule, says Govt

AgustaWestland was not blacklisted during the UPA rule, top Modi government sources claimed on Wednesday, asserting it was the NDA dispensation which had put on hold all acquisition proposals with the VVIP chopper scam-tainted firm. The sources said the government will now seek a report from the CBI, which had registered a case in 2013 in connection with the scam, and initiate moves to blacklist AgustaWestland and its mother company Finmeccanica in wake of fresh information that has come out.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress had yesterday claimed AgustaWestland was blacklisted under UPA rule but “removed” from the blacklist by the Modi government. Congress leader and former Union Minister Anand Sharma had said, “The chopper deal was scrapped. Action was taken by the UPA government. AK Antony, the then Defence Minister, had made a statement in Parliament and AgustaWestland was blacklisted.”However, the government sources said, “The only punitive action taken by the Congress was in January 2009, just before the Lok Sabha elections, when the UPA govermment encashed the bank guarantee. They never blacklisted the company as claimed by them”.
ALSO READ VVIP chopper row: No bilateral meeting between PM Modi & Italian PM Renzi at UNGA – MEADefence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier in the day challenged the Congress to show the order by the UPA government confirming the blacklisting. It was on July 3, 2014 when Arun Jaitley was Defence Minister that an order was issued which put on hold all procurement and acquisition cases in the pipeline with six companies involved in the scam including AgustaWestland and Finmeccanica, the sources said.They said it was also decided that in cases where the tender process had not started, there shall be no dealing with those companies and entities till conclusion of the CBI probe and that Request for Intent/Request for Proposal shall be issued to any of them.The sources said the question was not about being banned or not but about who the politicians, bureaucrats and IAF officials were who took the bribes as reported by the Italian Court.

India attaches highest priority to ties with China: Parrikar

Beijing: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that India attaches highest priority to its ties with China, allaying Beijing’s concerns over New Delhi’s any tilt towards the US in view of its decision to sign an agreement with Washington to share military bases.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

In a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan, Parrikar said that “India attaches highest priority to relations with China and was committed to further developing friendly and cooperative relations with China”.

Allaying China’s concerns over India’s decision to sign Logistics Support Agreement with the US, Parrikar told the Chinese leader that India pursued autonomous policy to further its national interests and there is no change in it.

“India is committed to further developing friendly and corporative relations with China,” he told Chang.

Parrikar later met China’s highest military official Gen Fan Changlong, the Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, which is the overall commanding body of the 2.3 million strong military. It is headed by President Xi Jinping.

The defence minister would meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday and later visit Chengdu, the headquarters of recently integrated western command military which has jurisdiction over entire borders with India.

While the two countries discussed expediting efforts to establish hotline between the two military headquarters and more confidence building measures like opening of more border points for interactions with troops on the grounds, Parrikar reiterated India’s stand for demarcation of the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) which was proposed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s visit to China last year.

China, however, expressed reservations over such a move.

Terming the recurring incidents of Chinese troops entering what India claims as its territory as “transgressions not incursions”, Parrikar said clarity over LAC will bring down tensions between the troops on both sides which aggressively patrol the areas to assert their control.

“We are insisting it should be done in order to really ensure a very stable border…because all the issues take place because of perception,” he said.

Marking the LAC is “one of the preconditions of smooth border operations. Without that everything goes by perceptions…which has caused problems sometimes”, he said.

The issue was expected to be further discussed during 19th round of boundary talks between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing this week.

The two officials were designated Special Representatives to address the boundary dispute.

On establishing hotline, Parrikar said that China has responded to India’s memorandum on the technicalities and progress was expected to be made in this regard in the next few months. It was agreed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit.

“A lot of issues were discussed. We have generally agreed to enhance the bilateral exchanges at military level and at ministry level,” he said.

Border management was one of the issues discussed and discussions focused on steps to improve the conditions on the ground, the minister said.

Currently, both sides opened five border points for interactions with the troops and talks are on to open more such points, he said.

Asked about China’s Maritime Silk Road initiative specially in the Indian Ocean over which India has reservations, Parrikar said the issue of peace and stability of the Indian Ocean was raised.

He said the Chinese officials also raised the issue of South China Sea where China is in maritime dispute with a number of south east Asian countries.

He reiterated India’s policy that restraint should be exercised in dealing with it.

Commenting on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s meeting with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow on day and the forthcoming visit of Doval, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said the meetings show that mutual political trust between China and India have increased, and bilateral exchanges and cooperation are advancing.

Although China and India have some differences, both sides are willing to effectively control and solve the issues through friendly negotiations and consultations, Lu said.

In fact, China and India have always maintained close high-level contacts, he told the media here.

The development of China-India relations is not only in line with their interests but also conducive to regional and global peace and stability, Lu stressed, noting China and India are the two biggest developing countries, important emerging economies and major powers in a multi-polar world.

“We are ready to work with India to constantly make new progress on building the China-India Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity,” he said.


Handwara firing: Restrictions in parts of Srinagar, Kupwara districts

Authorities on Wednesday imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar and Kupwara districts in Jammu and Kashmir as tension mounted over the killing of three persons in firing by security forces to quell protests after an alleged molestation incident.As the death toll rose to four after a 55-year-old woman on Wednesday succumbed to her injuries sutained during the firing in Handwara, 85 km from Srinagar, in Kupwara district yesterday, J and K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti raised the matter with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who assured her that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing the firing incident as “very unfortunate”, Mehbooba, who is on her maiden visit to Delhi after assuming the post of chief minister, said she raised the matter with Parrikar. “I spoke to Defence Minister. He assured me that a probe will be initiated and the culprits will be punished. “At the same time the families(of the victims) will be compensated. Such incidents should not happen in the future,” she told reporters in Delhi.Two youths, including a budding cricketer, were killed when Army opened fire to disperse a stone-pelting mob which was protesting against alleged molestation of a girl by an army jawan.Army today released a purported video statement of the girl given to the police to claim there is no case of molestation by its jawan. “If you focus on the video released by us, it clears that there is no case of molestation. It is a malafide intent by some elements to malign the good image of Army,” Defense Spokesperson N N Joshi said “Army regrets the loss of life. The matter is being investigated. Anybody found guilty shall be dealt severely as per law,” he said.The Army also issued a press release in which it said the video footage “implicated” local youth of misdemeanour. “The truth from Handwara: the girl, purportedly molested by an army soldier, exposes the malicious intent of perpetrators. “Implicates local youth of misdemeanor and false propaganda that resulted in massive protests,” it said.Raja Begum (55) of Langate succumbed to injuries at SKIMS Hospital in Srinagar the wee hours, a police official said. He said four others injured in the incident were undergoing treatment at various hospitals. Curfew-like Restrictions were imposed in six police station areas of Srinagar city and Handwara area of Kupwara in north Kashmir, a police official said.He said restrictions were imposed in Rainawari, Maharajgunj, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safakadal and Maisuma police station areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure in view of apprehensions of law and order problems. Most of the shops, business establishments and petrol pumps were shut in areas other than those were restrictions have been imposed.Public transport was off the roads while private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying, the official said. He said reports of shutdown were received from most of the district headquarters of the Valley..

Defence Procurement Policy 2016: Will it overhaul India’s defence acquisitions?

As the ninth edition of India’s biggest defence equipment fair, Defence Expo 2016, kicked off in Goa on March 28, the big ticket subject was the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP–2016) that has just been uploaded on Ministry of Defence website and becomes operational from April 2, 2016. With 1055 defence related companies and 224 delegates from 48 countries participating, the flavour of the season is the hope of an ease of doing defence business in India. The Modi government’s push for ‘Make in India’ is clearly stamped on the new policy. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar used the opportunity to brand ‘Make in India’ and start up India initiatives. As part of the implementation of the report of the Group of Ministers on reforming the National Security System, new Defence Procurement Management Structures and Systems were set up in 2001. As a fall-out, the Defence Procurement Procedure-2002 (DPP-2002) came into effect from December 30, 2002. The DPP has since been revised in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013, enhancing the scope to include ‘Make,’ ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ categories, concept of ‘Offsets’ and ship building procedure.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Live England vs New Zealand 1st Semi-Final T20, ICC World T20 2016, March 30, 2016Defence acquisitions are not standard open market commercial procurements and have unique features such as supplier constraints, technological complexity, foreign government regulations, denial of technology, high cost and geo-political ramifications. In order to achieve enhanced self-reliance in defence manufacturing, MoD constituted a Committee of Experts to recommend suitable amendments to DPP-2013. The target was to facilitate ‘Make in India’ in defence manufacturing and also simplify/rationalise various aspects of procurement. DPP-2016 evolved as a document that covers the operational context, acquisition categories and plans under various ‘Buy’ or ‘Make’ categories, procedure for defence-ship-building and also the Fast-Track procedure. Concept of strategic-partnerships is proposed to be clearly defined.Often defence procurements get linked to kick-backs and therefore there is a need for transparency, probity and public accountability, and a balance needs to be maintained between expeditious procurement, high quality and cost-effectiveness. Self-reliance is a major cornerstone on which the military capability of any nation rests, so it caters to the need to leverage the indigenous manpower and engineering capability. It is proposed to utilise and consolidate design and manufacturing infrastructure within the country. DPP-2016 refines ‘Make’ procedure to ensure increased participation of the Indian industry, especially MSMEs. Defence procurement involves long gestation periods. Delays in procurement impact defence preparedness and entail cost escalation. The DPP encourages quicker decision making and delegates powers to the appropriate authorities. DPP will provide public accountability and ensure level-playing field while keeping self-reliance as a key aim. Acquisition schemes are broadly classified as, ‘Buy’, ‘Buy and Make’, and ‘Make’. ‘Buy’ is further categorised as ‘Buy (Indian indigenously designed, developed and manufactured— IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, and ‘Buy (Global)’. ‘Buy & Make’ essentially is initial procurement of equipment in Fully Formed (FF) state followed by indigenous production through Transfer of Technology (ToT). Buy Indian or IDDM must have at least 40% indigenous content. ‘Make’ portion of the contract has to be minimum 50%. Authorities would approve either an appropriate ratio of FF, CKD, SKD and IM kits; or a minimum percentage indigenous content for the ‘Make’ portion. ‘Buy (Global)’ is outright purchase of equipment from foreign vendors and the Government to Government route may be adopted. Ministry of Defence will spell out 15 years Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), the 5 years Services Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP) and Annual Acquisition Plan (AAP) for clarity.Appointment of “strategic partners” for manufacturing equipment like aircraft, warships, helicopters, submarines, tanks, etc., based on technology from foreign vendors will be a priority. The target is to kick off one or two projects under the strategic partnership model by the year-end. The separate chapter on “strategic partnerships” will require another month or two as it would require financial and Cabinet Committee on Security approvals. Defence Minister Parrikar says that DPP-2016 will break new ground. A new “penalisation provisions” policy will replace the reflexive “blacklisting” of arms vendors suspected of wrongdoing with a more appropriate range of penalties. He emphasised, however, that foreign vendors would not be allowed to get away with paying bribes. The IDDM would encourage defence industry to shift from licensed manufacture into the high-tech realm of designing and developing defence equipment. The ‘Make’ procedure will see the government reimbursing 90% of the development cost.There is also greater assurance for defence industry to recover its costs. After successfully developing a prototype, if the vendor does not get an order, even his 10% expenditure would be refunded. DPP-2016 liberalises the “fast track” procurement of urgently needed equipment. CII has appreciated the opening to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the defence manufacturing and feels it will spur more design development activities within the country. FICCI fully supports the government vision to cut down the procurement cycle and install stronger and robust mechanisms to monitor probity.DPP-2016 creates path-breaking steps for merit-driven acquisitions and will help global manufacturers and Indian companies to forge partnership. Currently, the DPSUs have their hands full for the next some years. After success in ship-building, Indian corporates are capable of pumping investments to make entry into tanks, aircrafts, helicopter, submarines etc. Many of the licensing needs have been dispensed with and export clearances are virtually online. The industry being at a nascent stage, it could have a force multiplier effect in job creation and skill development. Everyone excitedly looks forward to see if the atmosphere would become conducive for companies to enter the defence sector.

Pathankot terror attack – NIA to decide whether to allow Pakistan probe team into airbase: Manohar Parrikar

Washing his hands off the controversy over a Pakistani Joint Investigation Team’s visit to the Pathankot airbase on Tuesday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said the “crime scene” is under the control of NIA and it is up to the agency to decide who to allow there or not. Noting that no permission has been given by the Defence Ministry for entry into the airbase, he said that the “crime scene”, a “non-sensitive” area, has been completely barricaded, including visually, on his orders and no defence asset would be used to facilitate the visit of the Pakistani team. “However, an area where the actual crime had taken place had been handed over to NIA long back which is conducting the entire investigation. Who will be taken there, who will probe, depends on the decision of NIA,” Parrikar said replying to questions here on the sidelines of Defexpo. We have specifically refused them permission to go anywhere in the airbase,” he said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that as far as the Defence Ministry is concerned, they have issued clear directions that the “crime scene” should be barricaded — visually blocked or obstructed — and that external entry should be given to NIA. The minister said he had issued the instructions following media reports. “Whom to bring, when to bring is their responsibility till they complete the investigation,” he said. “If I don’t permit them this crime investigation freedom, then the crime investigation failure would be blamed on the Defence Ministry. We have isolated the area completely,” he said.Parrikar, who had earlier publicly spoken against the planned visit of the Pakistani team to the Pathankot airbase, said the crime scene was least sensitive and non-functional area except for a hostel for foreign cadres and mess. “This area is isolated and taken out from airbase till the investigation is completed. Permission to land at airbase has been refused, permission to use any of the defence instruments like vehicles has been refused. Permission to speak to any defence personnel has been refused,” he said, adding these questions should be directed to NIA.

Want good ties with Pakistan but certain groups there need to be taught lesson: India

India on Wednesday said it wants ‘good relations’ with Pakistan but issued a stern warning to certain groups based there, saying they need to be ‘taught lesson’ and that pain should be inflicted on those who have “inflicted pain on us”, citing example of the Myanmar operation.The government told Lok Sabha that India’s wish to have good relations with Pakistan cannot be at the cost of its “pride, dignity and self-respect” and that it will ensure that “our enemies” cannot go scot free as even small incidents of terrorism have to be “treated as war”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Government also targeted Congress in a veiled manner as it raked up issues related to Ishrat Jahan case and the controversial Technical Services Division (TSD) set up by former Army Chief Gen V K Singh, alleging politicisation in these.”We are in the process definitely to ensure that our enemies cannot go scot-free,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, adding “the compromise made earlier was probably one of the reasons as to why we are suffering today.” He noted that there are certain organisations across the border in Pakistan which are making statements and they “should be taught lessons”.”If you inflict pain on India, we will inflict pain on those individuals and organizations who have inflicted pain on us. I think this has to be carried out,” he said while responding to a discussion on Pathankot terror attack.He cited the example of the operation carried out by army against Myanmar-based insurgents after Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush in Manipur.”When armymen of 6 Dogra were killed in North-East, the Indian government used its forces and ensured that those who inflicted pain were taken to task,” the Defence Minister said.”Today, probably that is one of the reasons why North-East is of course, the Accord that was signed also played its role comparatively much more peaceful,” he said, but added that “I am not saying that it is entirely peaceful.” In his reply, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said India wants good relations with all neighbours but not at the cost of self-respect.”We want good relations with all our neighbours. We want good relations with Pakistan too, but not at the cost of this country’s pride, dignity and self-respect,” he said.Parrikar and Singh were responding to a debate during which the government came in for a scathing attack over handling of the Pathankot attack, with the opposition dubbing as a “critical mistake” the decision to handover the operation to NSG.The opposition also questioned as to what Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lahore stopover had achieved, noting that the terror strike had happened just a few days after that.Talking about boosting intelligence system, Parrikar said it cannot be done overnight.Targeting, in a veiled manner, the previous UPA government, the Defence Minister said, “Intelligence, which was developed, whether it is Deep Assets or the attempt of TSD (Technical Services Division) formation by (then Army Chief) Gen V.K. Singh, fell to the political aspirations, to the political policies and political scoring point.”It is not only Ishrat Jahan. It was a political issue. I think the TSD also became a political issue. A unit set up to eliminate terrorists was brought into open, leaking every information, demoralising the forces.”He went on to add, “I have seen many instances. I do not want to quote more instances. I can quote many instances when military intelligence has been sacrificed at the altar of political goals.”Talking about Pathankot attack, Parrikar said it was “an accumulation of asymmetric war. These are small attacks of weak forces on a stronger force. When the weak forces know themselves that they are not going to succeed in defeating the stronger force… they try to create disturbances and demoralise strong force.”He then added, “I can assure that the gaps have been filled and we have already security audit of all defence establishments.”With regard to the criticism over handling of the Pathankot attack, Parrikar said “Army acted properly” and standard operating procedures were followed. “You cannot have a running commentary about such operations on television channels. This puts security forces in danger,” he added.The Home Minister said while different governments might have different action plans, nobody can say that their strategy is foolproof.”No one can point finger on any government’s intention when it comes to national security… When all political parties contribute only then we can ensure safety and security of nation,” Singh said.

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