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Bihar jailbreak: 5 prisoners escape from Central Jail in Buxar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Five prisoners escaped from Central Jail in Bihar’s Buxar late Friday night, ANI reported.More details are awaited.This is the third major prison escape this year. On November 27, Khalistan Liberation Force terrorist (KLF) Harminder Singh Mintoo had escaped from Punjab’s Nabha Jail along with five others.On October 30, eight SIMI operatives escaped from Bhopal Central Jail. They were gunned down in an encounter by the state police.

Air Marshal C Hari Kumar to take charge of Western Air Command

Thu, 29 Dec 2016-03:00pm , New Delhi , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air Marshal C Hari Kumar, who is the present Commander in Chief of Eastern Air Command, will be the next Commander in Chief of the Western Air Command.Air Marshal SB Deo will be the next Vice Chief of the Air Staff. He is presently the Commander in Chief of the Western Air Command. Deo will take over from Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, who is all set to be the new Indian Air Force (IAF) chief. He will hand over the charge of the Western Air Command to Hari Kumar. Deo was commissioned into the fighter stream in 1979.Prior to taking over as Air Officer Commanding in Chief of Western Air Command, Deo was the Director General Air Operations at Air Headquarters and Air Officer Commanding in Chief of Eastern Air Command.

VVIP Chopper scam: CBI receives response from all eight countries, to begin fresh questioning

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday received reply from all the eight countries to its Letter Rogatory in connection with the Agusta Westland VVIP chopper case.Sources said the information provided by UAE and Singapore is of crucial importance to the CBI.”Both countries were recently approached through diplomatic channels for execution of the CBI’s letters rogatory (LRs) or judicial requests at the earliest. Now the agency has received responses to the LRs it sent to eight countries for establishing money trail in the Rs. 3,767 crore Agusta Westland VVIP helicopter deal case,” said sources.Mauritius, Tunisia, Italy, British Virgin Island, the UK and Switzerland are the other six countries where Letter Rogatory (a letter of formal request from court to a foreign court) was sent by the CBI, seeking assistance in probe and collection of documents in connection with this case.The CBI will very soon start a fresh round of questioning.Former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal (Retd.) S. P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and lawyer Gautam Khaitan were arrested on December 10 in connection with this case. The court had on December 17 sent all the three accused to judicial custody till December 30.The former Air Chief was yesterday granted bail on the condition that he will not leave Delhi or try to contact any witness in the case.Air Marshal (Retd.) Tyagi, who headed the Indian Air Force between 2004 and 2007, has been accused of abusing his official position to help AgustaWestland, a subsidiary of Italy based Finmeccanica, win the deal to supply a dozen helicopters meant for the country’s top politicians.

Battle against left wing extremists in Gadchiroli become intense: One state, 205 Naxals and 12,000 cops

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Maharashtra’s only naxal infested district, Gadchiroli, now has 205 active naxalites compared to more than 300 who were active a couple of years ago, says the latest statistics of the police. There were 500 Naxal fighters in 2010.Increasing number of surrenders, nearly 104 in two years, is being touted as “major success” by the Gadchiroli police. Prominent rebels surrendered in past two years include Sunil Mattami, member of divisional committee of Dalam (naxal group) and Gopi, commander of a local Dalam, who carried rewards of Rs 16 and 12 lakh on their head respectively.Besides, there were 60 arrests and 16 encounters of naxals in the same period. “There is no recruitment from the district in last four years”, claim cops.The all-out war against guerrilla fighters, lucrative surrender policy and social networking to win confidence of the tribes caught in the crossfire has been working well so far in Gadchiroli which is one of the 35 heavily naxal-affected districts in the country.Also Read: Gadchiroli can be naxalfree in five years if other departments give their 100%: Abhinav Deshmukh At present, nearly 12,000 cops including C-60 unit, Central Reserved Police Force and State Reserve Police Force are guarding the district, round-the-clock with most advanced equipment such as Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL), Multiple Grenade launcher (MGR), Sport Configurable Rifle, Light machine guns, X-95 assault rifle, AK-47 and high tech navigation devices.However, incidents of naxal activities and death of civilians and cops continue to give security forces a tough time. Several naxal-infested villages such as Hikker and Binagonda in the district remain unguarded with no police presence till 17-18 km.Also Read: In Gadchiroli: Tribals at crossfire between cops and NaxalsAs per the statistics of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Maharashtra witnessed 66 incidents in 2016 till November end in which 19 people including cops, their “informers” and civilians have lost life. Although, the same number of civilian and cops deaths occurred a year ago, it seems less compared to 2014 when 28 people were killed.The southern part of the district mainly comprising Sironcha, Aheri, Etapalli and Bhamragad are infested with the activities of naxalites since early eighties. “The naxalites usually operate in the remote and fur flung parts of the district where access is tough due to difficult terrain and dense forest. Besides, these areas share border with the naxal affected districts of Chattisgarh which further helps Naxals”, says Abhinav Deshmukh, superintendent of the police, Gadchiroli.Over 500 civilians have lost life to Naxalism in last 30 years in the state of Maharashtra of which 90% deaths were in the Gadchiroli only. Since 2004, average 10 policemen have also died every year in the district.The district has been home to naxalites of People’s War Group (PWG ) since early eighties. The PWG now operates under the banner of Communist Party of India (Maoist).In February last year, police posts were opened in the villages of Regdi and Kotmi for the first time. Ashok Bhapkar, who supervised the opening of Kotmi police post and now heads the Surrender Cell told DNA, “We patrolled the villages on foot, organised sports tournaments and held meetings to organise women’s groups and participated in local festivals to win people’s confidence.”The Naxal surrender and rehab policy also comes with substantial cash reward (Rs 2-25 lakh depending upon the ranks) and has been propagated across the district as ‘Kaun Banega Lakhpati’ scheme through posters in affected areas.Deshmukh said, “They are also given plot to construct house in specially designated colony-Navsanjeevan. We help them get work and avail benefit of government loans for tribals.”Meanwhile, to counter the efforts of cops, the CPI (Maoist) has given a call for celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Naxalbari armed uprising from 23-29 May 2017, the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution from 7-13 November 2017 and Karl Marx birth bicentenary 5-11 May 2018. This has alerted the cops.

NIA chargesheet details how Pathankot Air Base attack unfolded

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed a chargesheet in connection with the January 2nd Pathankot airbase attack, naming Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and three others of the proscribed outfit as accused. The development comes in the midst of a diplomatic rift between India and China after the latter stonewalled Indian efforts to get UN sanctions against Azhar and JeM.The agency has showcased evidences against the JeM that include DNA samples collected from the four slain Pakistani nationals, footprints of one of the terrorists obtained from Bamiyal, packages of food and drinks consumed by the slain men from the sites, and cars which they used before entering the Air Base. Among other evidences is a note which the NIA says was from Mahindra XUV vehicle recovered which read, “Jaish E Muhamad Zindabad Tanghdar se le kar Samba Kathua Rajbagh Aur delhi tak Afzal Guru Shadeed Kay Jan nisar Tum ko meltay rahege. Insha Allah. A.G.S. 25- 12-15” which translates to ‘Long live Jaish-e-Mohammad. From Samba, Kathua, Rajbagh (areas in Jammu and Kashmir) to Delhi, you will find men willing to lay their lives for Martyr Afzal Guru.’The slip was signed off on December 25,2015 as AGS shot for Afzal Guru Squad.The NIA-led probe has established that four Pakistani Nationals who attacked the air base belonged to the recently formed Afzal Guru Squad which works under the JeM command based in Pakistan.While the chargesheet could likely be used by Indian diplomats to highlight the role of Azhar in the Pathankot attack at international forums, the probe has revealed startling details about the attack that claimed lives of seven security personnel during an 80-hour long stand-off inside the Indian Air Force station located in Punjab’s Pathankot area.The chargesheet states that the four Pakistani nationals identified as Nasir Hussain, Hafiz Abu Bakar, Umar Farooq and Abdul Qayum were residents of Vehari (Punjab), Gujranwala (Punjab), Sanghar (Sindh) and Sukkur (Sindh) of Pakistan respectively.All the men had infiltrated into India through the forest area near the Simbal Border Outpost on 30th December at 2 am which means almost two days before the attack. According to NIA, the terrorists, were not only successful in avoiding getting traced from 2am on December 30 till January 1 early morning (when they entered into the air base), but also avoided detection for almost a day after hiding themselves in a ‘nallah’ inside the base. In fact, one of the men named Nasir made calls from inside the base waiting to launch the attack.The first call was made at 8.40 am to a man named Khayam Bhatti who, according to NIA, runs a local merchandise shop shop in Rum area of Sialkot in Pakistan. The conversation did not take place so Nasir called again on a different Pakistani number an hour later and requested to speak to his mother.”While speaking to the lady addressed as his mother, Nasir asked her to record his conversation on the mobile set. During his conversation with her, Nasir mentioned about one “Ustad” who was supposed to come to her with his “Wasihat” after his death. Nasir also asked her to host a “dawat” (feast) for his “derawala friends” after his death. The terrorist, Nasir also took the names of some of the members in his family / relatives, viz, Mudassir, Mariyam and Altamash, in the conversation. Nasir also disclosed that they were hiding inside the Air Force Station (referred to as Camp in conversation) and waiting to carry out the terror attack,”NIA said.NIA findings are however yet to find coherence with that of the NSG, which has maintained that not four but six militants had attacked the Air Force station.Moreover, Salwinder Singh, the Gurdaspur superintendent of police (SP), who, on December 31, was allegedly abducted by the same group of JeM militants, has been given a clean chit in the NIA probe after being on the scanner of the agency for several months. The agency has established that the claims made by Singh were founded and suggested that the JeM were not aware of the fact that Salwinder wasa a cop. It was only after his associate Rajesh Verma told them that they came to know about his profession

Supreme Court says indiscipline in armed forced to be viewed seriously

New Delhi: Indiscipline on part of security force personnel must be “viewed seriously” and deserting work by disobeying orders of superior officers is an act of “gross misconduct”, the Supreme Court has ruled. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur also said that past conduct of a delinquent employee can be taken into consideration while imposing a penalty on him.

The court’s remarks came as it dealt with a plea filed by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) against the Delhi High Court’s August 2014 judgement directing reinstatement of a constable, Abrar Ali, who was dismissed from service due to his alleged acts of indiscipline and misconduct.

In its verdict, the apex court held that though Ali was found guilty of deserting the force for a period of five days and not improving his conduct in spite of penalties imposed on him on three earlier occasions, the penalty of dismissal from service is “excessive and harsh” and “in our view, the penalty of compulsory retirement would meet the ends of justice”.

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Supreme Court of India. Reuters

The bench, which also comprised Justices D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao, said “indiscipline on the part of a member of an armed force has to be viewed seriously. It is clear that the respondent (Ali) had intentionally disobeyed the orders of his superiors and deserted the force for a period of 5 days. Such desertion is an act of gross misconduct and the respondent deserves to be punished suitably.”

The bench directed that Ali shall be entitled for notional continuity of service till the date of completion of minimum service required to make him eligible for pension but he will not be entitled for payment of salary and allowances for that period.

Ali was appointed as a constable in CISF in September 1990 and in October 1999, an inquiry was proposed against him under the CISF Rules for allegations of misconduct and misbehavior. According to the charges, he was posted at CISF unit in Dhanbad when he had disobeyed the orders of his seniors and was habitual of committing indiscipline.

In November 2000, Commandant of CISF unit in Dhanbad held him guilty of all the charges levelled against him and he was ordered to be dismissed from service.

Ali then filed an appeal to the Deputy Inspector General of CISF. While he was exonerated of the charges of maligning the image of the force, his appeal was rejected in 2001.

After his revision plea against the order was dismissed by the Inspector General of CISF, Ali had approached the Delhi High Court which allowed his plea and asked CISF to reinstate him as constable with notional seniority in his rank.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 14:11 IST

VVIP Chopper scam: Ex Air Force Chief SP Tyagi to be produced before Delhi Court today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ex Air Force Chief SP Tyagi along with other accused in the AgustaWestland chopper case will be produced before the Patiala House court on Saturday as their Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody ends.Earlier, the CBI had moved court seeking a 10-day custody to interrogate Tyagi and the other accused in the case. Last Friday, the CBI had arrested Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev and lawyer Gautam Khaitan.The Rs 3600-crore deal to supply 12 VVIP helicopters from AgustaWestland came under the scanner after Italian authorities claimed that the company paid bribes. Tyagi has been accused of influencing the deal in favour of AgustaWestland during his tenure as the IAF chief, however, he has repeatedly denied the allegations. CBI said that they have received ‘incriminating documents’ from Italy and Mauritius against the former IAF chief.

Will soon name next IA and IAF chiefs: Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that he will soon name the next Indian Army and Indian Air Force chiefs.

He was speaking after paying tributes at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in New Delhi on Vijay Diwas or Victory Day that is observed on 16 December to mark the military triumph over Pakistan in 1971 which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

The Defence Minister, however, did not give a timeline for naming the new chiefs. Asked whether the line of succession might be broken in the appointment of the next army chief, Parrikar said cryptically: “Line of succession is decided by the people.”

The Indian Army chief, General Dalbir Singh, and the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, are both set to retire on 31 December.

File photo of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

File photo of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

A file with nominations for the new chiefs is with the Prime Minister’s Office, and a formal announcement is expected after parliament’s winter session concludes on Friday, sources said.

The sources also added that the Eastern Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi; the Southern Army Commander, Lt. Gen. P.M. Hariz and the army vice chief, Lt Gen Bipin Rawat are in the fray to succeed Gen. Dalbir Singh.

Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, a Kargil war veteran, and the IAF vice chief is in the fray for the top job.

Talking about the significance of 16 December, Parrikar said it was a day when India achieved a “decisive victory”.

“I don’t have to stress on the importance of this great day. This is the day when we achieved a decisive victory and created a new country,” he said.

On the next canisterisated test for Agni V missile, the minister said he would not like to comment much on it and said: “Testing goes on, I will not comment much. We have achieved 100 percent success in all the tests this year.”

First Published On : Dec 16, 2016 11:27 IST

Cyclone Vardah: Tamil Nadu CM O Panneerselvam asks for Rs 1,000 crore for relief from Centre

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sanction Rs 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund to the state for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction in the wake of the havoc wrought by cyclone Vardah.

In a letter to Modi, he also requested that a team be deputed to study the damage caused by the cyclone in Chennai and neighbouring districts of Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur.

“I request you to urgently sanction the release of an ‘on account’ payment of Rs 1,000 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund to the Government of Tamil Nadu to enable immediate relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction measures to proceed expeditiously,” he said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

This request was being made as relief, rehabilitation and immediate reconstruction measures had to be undertaken by the government along with urban and rural local bodies in the area affected by the cyclone, which was beyond the funds available in the State Disaster Response Fund, he said.

He said the state government had swung into action and taken precautionary measures on receipt of information from the Meteorological department about cyclone Vardah, which had caused extensive damage to state infrastructure and property.

High level teams, comprising Ministers and senior IAS officers were deputed to the badly hit Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts to monitor relief operations.

Several teams of officials of various departments, including revenue, Police, Fire and Rescue services, PWD, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd, water supply and other local bodies were deployed to take up necessary interventions, he said.

Besides the services of National Disaster Response Force, Army, Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard were “requisitioned”, he said and thanked Modi for prompt response in dispatching the Central forces.

Stating that 16 people had died in rain related incidents linked to the cyclone, he said more than 15,000 people in low lying areas were evacuated to 104 relief camps and provided food, water and medical services.

Giving details of the damage, he said Vardah had uprooted more than 12,000 trees, damaged more than 10,000 electric poles and 800 transformers in the city and Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur districts, as also transmission lines, substations and distribution lines, badly affecting power supply.

The immediate priority was to restore power supply to affected areas, Panneerselvam said.

He said Government has taken up a detailed exercise to assess the damage and requirement of funds for relief works.

“State government will present a detailed memorandum (to the Centre) on the extensive damage suffered due to cyclone Vardah in next few days”, he said.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 10:17 IST

SIMI jailbreak: CISF submits report, to audit three more prisons in Madhya Pradesh

New Delhi: A security audit report by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on Bhopal Central Jail, from where eight SIMI operatives pulled off a daring jailbreak, has been submitted to the Madhya Pradesh government with suggestions to bolster manpower and technical surveillance at the high-security facility.

An exhaustive report has been prepared by the CISF experts for the jail in the state capital recommending “augmentation of human resource, and infusion of latest gadgetry and technology was suggested for making the jail security foolproof”, a senior official said.

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. File photo. PTI

Police investigate the encounter site in Bhopal. File photo. PTI

The proposed security features include enhancing perimeter security, deployment of more CCTV cameras and strict monitoring of entry and exit in the prison premises.

The eight SIMI undertrials had escaped from the high security central jail on the intervening night of 30-31 October after killing a guard, before they were gunned down in an alleged encounter by police on the outskirts of the city on 31 October morning.

The state government, the force said, has further asked the central paramilitary to similarly conduct a security and fire safety audit report of three other jails in the state in Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior.

“Appreciating the consultancy services rendered by our experts to the Bhopal jail, the state government has now requested us to further provide the same expertise to three other jails located in Madhya Pradesh. Our teams will soon conduct the audit of these jails too,” CISF director general OP Singh said.

The force has a special consultancy wing within its establishment that conducts audit of critical installations and establishments, in government and public domain, by way of suggesting them the required access-control, deployment of watch towers and sentry posts, usage of gadgets and positioning of security personnel and surveillance gadgets to enhance protection.

The force does this job on a government-approved fee and has provided consultancy to a total of 134 organisations till now.

Some of the important clients of CISF security consultancy services are TISCO Limited, Bangalore Metro, the National Security Guard (NSG) headquarters here, Allahabad High Court, Tirumala Tirupati and Devsthanam in Tirupati, British High Commission in the national capital and assemblies of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

First Published On : Dec 12, 2016 22:03 IST

VVIP chopper scam: Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi drags in then PMO, says I am not running away

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was a day of high drama in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh on Saturday when SP Tyagi, former Air Force chief, was sent to four days’ police custody, following his arrest by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday for allegedly receiving kickbacks in the AgustaWestland helicopter deal.The prosecution and the defence dropped high-profile names and levelled allegations against each other’s clients in a hearing that lasted for over three hours. In fact, the judge said that if he allowed the proceedings to continue, they will end only after three days.The highlight of the day came when Tyagi, who requested the court to speak in his own defence. This was after the prosecution accused him of buying agricultural land between 2005 and 2007 when he was the IAF chief.While the prosecution argued that fresh evidence had cropped up as a result of a judicial request the CBI had sent to some countries seeking information on the scam, the defence were belligerent, suggesting that the decision to procure the choppers came from the then Prime Minister’s Office.Tyagi is accused of influencing the IAF’s decision to tailor chopper specifications to suit Finmeccanica subsidiary AgustaWestland’s bid, resulting in what is now known as the Rs 3,726-crore AgustaWestland chopper scam.The CBI claims that kickbacks worth Rs 423 crore were paid through various middlemen, who routed the money using a maze of shell companies. Tyagi’s lawyer Gautam Khaitan and cousins Sanjeev, Rajiv and Sandeep are also accused of making the deal possible.”Yes, I have bought land and sold it off, too. But I started buying land from 2002 onwards, and if that proves I am corrupt, I have nothing to say. I can provide them (CBI) with the land records and all the data they need. Everything is accounted for,” the former IAF chief said. He said that if the alleged land deals were the basis for his arrest, he wanted to let the CBI know that he will be not be running anywhere and was ready for questioning.”Whenever the CBI asked me to come, I did that. If they want to ask anything, I am ready, I am not running away. I am not going anywhere, I am here,” the 71 year-old said. He added that the CBI had been treating him well. Sanjeev and Khaitan were also arrested on Friday.The magistrate sent the three accused to police custody till December 14. The CBI had sought a 10-day custody, claiming crucial information was collected from three countries — Italy, Switzerland and Mauritius – – via letters rogatory (LR) and they wanted to confront the accused with it. The prosecution also told the court that CBI had collected evidence from the Switzerland residence of Guido Haschke, the Swiss-Italian businessman accused in the FIR. The prosecution said the evidence was collected from Haschke’s mother.Defence counsel Siddharth Luthra opposed the CBI plea, citing multiple reasons. One of them was that the FIR was registered over three years ago and there was no fresh ground for the arrests now. The counsel also cited a separate probe into the chopper scam by the Enforcement Directorate, in which Khaitan was given bail and that no evidence had emerged to link Tyagi. The defence argued that since Tyagi had been cooperating with the probe agency and had appeared before the CBI whenever he was summoned, there was no need for custodial interrogation.”The arrest is only to use third-degree methods on the accused. By third degree, I don’t torture but what the CBI does is not any less either,” said Luthra. Hitting back at the defence, the prosecution said that the CBI was a premier agency of the country and does not arrest anyone randomly.CHARGESSP Tyagi: Allegedly met middlemen, accused of securing the deal, seven times when he was the Air Force chief. The Milan Court of Appeals had ruled that the contract involved payoffs to Indian officials, including Tyagi. The CBI is yet to establish if the money reached Tyagi.Sanjeev Tyagi: Sanjeev alias Julie, a cousin of Tyagi, made acquaintance with Guido Haschke and Carlo Gerosa and signed a consultancy contract with Gordian Services Sarl in Tunisia. Gordian Services belonged to Haschke and Gerosa, both accused in the scam. The agency found out that after May 2004, 1.26 lakh euros and 2 lakh euros after February 2005, camouflaged as consultancy fee, were paid to the Tyagi brothers as kickbacks.Gautam Khaitan: Accused of setting up shell companies that received huge amounts of kickbacks. Bruno Spagnolini, CEO of AgustaWestland, started giving payoffs to Haschke and Gerosa Gordon Services Sarl. Khaitan, legal advisory to IDS Infotech, introduced the middlemen to Satish Bagrodia and Partab K Aggarwal, managing directors of IDS. This firm received 2.166 million euros from Agusta between November 2007 and April 2010.FAMILYSPEAKSeveral members of the Tyagi family accused the government of raking up the issue to divert attention from demonetization. “The government had done a major blunder by introducing demonetization and now wants to divert public attention by arresting a former IAF chief,” said one family member, who did not wish to be named. Another family member, also requesting anonymity, said: “Chief (SP Tyagi) is 71 and a heart patient. He underwent an eye surgery 10 days ago but nothing stopped the current dispensation from taking him to court. He has fought three wars for the country and we are hopeful he will come out of this as well.”

India to get Rafale fighter jets in 3-yr time: IAF chief Arup Raha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India will get the first tranche of Rafale fighter jets from France in the next three years, Indian Air Force chief Arup Raha said on Saturday. “Rafale contract caters for delivery time between 36 months to about 66 months if I am not wrong. So within three years time we will have the first few aircraft delivered to us and within five and a half years we will have two full squadron of aircraft in operation,” Raha said at a function in Kolkata.He said the fighter jets, capable of carrying nuclear weapons and equipped with latest missiles, will tremendously increase the force’s capability. When asked about the depleting strength of jets, he said besides Rafale, India is going to produce Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas in large numbers. “The effort is on to increase production lines. The more the number of aircraft we produce, the faster we ramp up the capacity to close the gap created by obsolete and old aircraft,” Raha said.IAF has put on display one such obsolete MiG-27 fighter aircraft in front of the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata. The installation was inaugurated by the Air Chief Marshal. He also said the government is also thinking of procuring another fighter aircraft to fill up the gaps faster. On the Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), Raha said they are already working with Russia on research and development. “The project is already negotiated. Preliminary design on our part is over and if this R&D negotiations are over and we sign the contract then we should have these aircraft in another 5-6 years,” Raha said.

VVIP chopper scam: Ex-IAF chief SP Tyagi says PMO was part of ‘collective decision’ in favour of AgustaWestland

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Delhi court on Saturday sent former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi, arrested in the Rs 450 crore AgustaWestland bribery case in procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters, to police custody for four days after the CBI said he was needed to be quizzed to unearth a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.His cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie and advocate Gautam Khaitan, also accused in the procurement of VVIP choppers from the UK-based company during UPA-2 regime, were also sent to police custody till December 14.Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh sent them to CBI custody saying their custodial interrogation was required for a “fair probe” in the case. During the proceedings, CBI sought 10 days’ custody saying it was a “very large conspiracy having international ramifications”.However, the counsel appearing for the accused, opposed CBI’s plea saying FIR in the case was registered over three years ago and there was no fresh ground for the arrests now.Senior advocate N Hariharan, who appeared for the former IAF chief, claimed that the decision to procure 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister Office (PMO) was also a part of it.”It was a collective decision and not his (Tyagi’s) individual one. It was a collective decision of which PMO was also a part,” he told the court. The CBI alleged that Khaitan was the “brain” behind how the bribe money reached India and several companies through which the money travelled came into existence.While seeking their custodial interrogation, the agency said the accused were required to be confronted and their assistance was needed to collect evidence and details of the bribe amount paid by AgustaWestland through different back channels abroad.It said they were required to be interrogated and confronted with each other and the incriminating evidences.The agency alleged that Tyagi had “abused his official position, and when he was the Air Chief Marshal, he had made huge investments in land and other (properties) and he had not disclosed the source of his income.”It also said the involvement of several others in the entire conspiracy cannot be ruled out. “It was a very large conspiracy having international ramifications. Involvement of others in the conspriracy cannot be ruled out.” The agency claimed that sensitive documents were procured by the firm’s officials and several information regarding the procurement of choppers were conveyed to the firm after which the AgustaWestland got the deal.During the hearing, senior public prosecutor Raj Mohan Chand said that on October 31, 2004, S P Tyagi was appointed the IAF chief and he had to take the charge on January 1, 2005. Till that time, he was attached with the then IAF chief.The agency said at a meeting on March 1, 2005, a fresh tender was issued for procurement of choppers and a U-turn was taken on decisions taken earlier regarding the chopper deal.Under the earlier decision, the choppers had to be twin- engined but after this meeting, at Tyagi’s instance, it was amended to “at least twin-engined”, it alleged.This amendment was intended to make AgustaWestland eligible for entry as its choppers had three engines, the CBI claimed, adding that Carlo Gerosa, the alleged European middleman, and Sanjeev Tyagi were known to each other.Later, another alleged European middleman, Guido Haschke, came in contact with Sanjeev through Gerosa, it said.CBI further alleged that officials of AgustaWestland visited India several times and they, along with Haschke, met Tyagi unofficially and continued their contact.Tyagi’s counsel N Hariharan opposed CBI’s contentions and said the decision to procure the choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective decision of which PMO was also a part”.”The file moved through several levels but I am the only one who has been arrayed as accused,” he said, adding that the investments were made by him post-retirement and there is no ground for seeking his remand. Tyagi’s counsel argued that “the entire material is already with the CBI for sometime and Tyagi joined the probe whenever he was called for. There was a house search a day after the registration of the FIR and CBI had seized all the required materials”.At this stage, S P Tyagi, who was present in the court, told the magistrate, “I can give account of all my land investments if they (CBI) want.”Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for Khaitan, opposed CBI’s plea saying “I hope it’s not the consequence of demonetisation which it seems to be. The FIR was lodged over three years earlier and the arrests now are illogical and illegal.”Luthra claimed that Khaitan had attended the probe on various occasions and his arrest was “malafide”.He said Khaitan was arrested in a case registered by Enforcement Directorate (ED) in relation to the chopper deal and had already got bail in the matter.”Khaitan had nothing to do with the award of the contract. They (CBI) just want to torture him. What was the CBI doing for three years? ED has already probed the facilitation of money. Money laundering is not CBI’s jurisdiction. If they did not need me when I was in ED custody, what grounds they have now,” he said, adding that everything said by the CBI against Khaitan was mentioned in ED’s case too.Sanjeev’s counsel also opposed the CBI’s contention saying that the agency was seeking custody after over three years of filing the FIR and there was no ground to keep them in custody.After hearing the arguments, the magistrate remanded the three accused to CBI’s custody till December 14 saying, “considering the seriousness of allegations and gravity of the matter, I am of the considered opinion that CBI custody of the accused is required for a fair probe”. 71-year old Tyagi, who had retired in 2007, his cousin Sanjeev and Khaitan were arrested on Friday by the agency.These are the first arrests in the case by CBI which came three years after it registered an FIR in 2013 to probe the allegations in the aftermath of details of the scam emerging in Italy where the prosecutors levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the chief of Finmeccanica, the parent company of AgustaWestland.CBI had alleged that in 2005, Tyagi had agreed to change long held stand of Indian Air Force that minimum operational ceiling of the VVIP helicopters should be 6000 metres.Tyagi allegedly influenced the decision to reduce it to 4500 metres which brought AgustaWestland into the running for the deal when its choppers were not even qualified for submission of bids, CBI sources said.On January 1, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica’s British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of payment of kickbacks of Rs 450 crore by it for securing the deal.On April 7, an Italian court had convicted two top executives of defence major Finmeccanica (AgustaWestland is its subsidiary) for paying kickbacks in the deal.

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

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

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

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How was Tyagi involved in the scam?

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

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

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

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

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

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

AgustaWestland scam: 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

Most of the 1,400 tourists evacuated from Andaman islands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A fleet of seven ships and six helicopters evacuated most of the 1,400 tourists stranded in two islands of Andamans due to cyclonic weather since Monday, officials said on .As the weather cleared in the morning, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and union territory administration started a joint evacuation drive and brought back most of the stranded tourists to Port Blair from Havelock and Neil islands. “The remaining tourists will be shifted by tonight. All are safe and were taken care of,” an official of the Andaman and Nicobar islands said.He said three Mi-17V-5 military transport helicopters from the Air Force and three Pawan Hans helicopters of the Union territory administration besides seven ships from Navy and administration have been regularly plying between islands for the operations.Located about 40 km from Port Blair, Havelock and Neil are the most popular tourist attractions in the Andamans where the tourists were stranded since Monday due to torrential rains, choppy seas and heavy winds as neither aircraft nor ships could operate.The cyclonic storm ‘Vardah’, which was lying 250 km west-northwest of Port Blair, is very likely to intensify into a severe cyclone later in the night, according to the MeT department.Lt Governor of the islands Jagdish Mukhi said there was no untoward incident and no loss of life or property due to the inclement weather. “We are sending all tourists back home from Port Blair according to their flight timings. We have also made arrangements for their stay here,” an official said.

SP Tyagi arrested in AgustaWestland scam: All you need to know about the Rs 3,600-cr case

In February 2010, the Congress-led UPA government signed a contract with UK-based AgustaWestland to buy 12 AW101 helicopters for the Indian Air Force for Rs 3,600 crore. The choppers were to fly VVIPs, including the president, prime minister among others.

However, the government cancelled the deal later, after Bruno Spagnolin, CEO of AgustaWestland and Guiseppe Orsi, chairman of the Italian parent company Finmeccanica, were arrested on charges of bribing middlemen to acquire the deal with IAF. Then defence minister AK Antony had ordered a probe into the matter. “Yes, corruption has taken place in the helicopter deal and bribes have been taken. The CBI is pursuing the case very vigorously,” Antony had said in March 2013.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Early in 2014, the Italian court investigating the chopper scam had named former chief of the IAF, SP Tyagi in the scam, saying he was bribed by Finmeccanica to sign the deal with AgustaWestland. In 2015, however, Tyagi was acquitted by the Italian court, which said there was no corruption by Indian officials.

The IAF had urged the defence ministry to purchase helicopters capable of flying in high-altitude areas like Siachen and Tiger Hill. After careful evaluation of the AW101, it was ascertained that it was not capable of flying at 6,000 metres above sea level. The alleged middleman in the deal, Guido Haschke, revealed that while AW101 did not meet the technical requirements of the IAF, the deal was signed after Haschke tweaked the contract with the help of his Indian contacts.

AgustaWestland allegedly paid €30 million in bribes, of which €20 million was routed through Haschke and Carlo Gerosa. A CBI report that came in later said that prior to Tyagi’s appointment as Air Force chief, the IAF had “vehemently opposed” lowering of the altitude requirement. This changed after Tyagi came into the picture and the IAF conceded to reduce altitude requirements, allowing AgustaWestland to re-enter the bidding process.

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

The Milan Court of Appeals again mentioned Tyagi’s name while pronouncing its judgment. “In the absence of contrary indications, it must be concluded that the reward bestowed to Tyagi’s family for their work in support of AW in relation to the race of the Government (of) India for military helicopters amounts to €10,500,000.”

Sonia Gandhi‘s involvement

The Milan court also took note of conversations between the three middlemen — Carlos Gerosa, Christian Michel and Guildo Haschke — who mention a ‘Mrs Gandhi’ as being the driving force behind the VIP, and her close aides Ahmed Patel and Pranab MukherjeeIn a letter dated 15 March, 2008, Christian Michel wrote to Peter Hulet, the then head of India region sales and liaison for AgustaWestland, saying, “Dear Peter, since Mrs Gandhi is the driving force behind the VIP, she will no longer fly with MI8. Mrs Gandhi and her closest advisers are the aim of the High Commissioner, senior adviser Prime Minister Manmohan Singh obviously the main figure, then there’s Ahmed Patel Secretary.”

The UPA government had then denied all allegations and had claimed it had nothing to hide.

Who is Gautam Khaitan

Khaitan is a Delhi-based lawyer first arrested in 2014 for laundering the kickbacks part of the AgustaWestland deal. Khaitan, an advocate and a former board member of the Aeromatrix company, which was allegedly used to route the bribes, had accepted that he had set up a shell company to receive money from the aviation firm.

Khaitan, while admitting he accepted money from Gerosa and Haschke, had denied that it was part of kickbacks to clinch the deal.

With inputs from agencies

First Published On : Dec 9, 2016 18:45 IST

Andaman: Major rescue operation begins at Havelock Island as 205 people evacuated

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The weather in the Andamans further improved on Friday as the Navy, Coast Guard and Union Territory administration began joint evacuation of stranded tourists in Havelock island. Six naval ships, two of these from Coast Guard, sailed out in the morning hours from Port Blair for the rescue operations, officials said.The Indian Air Force told ANI that four shuttles were carried out and 85 tourists rescued from Havelock Islands. Seventeen people had been rescued in the first shuttle. The Indian Coast Guard said 120 tourists embarked on two ships departing Havelock. Three Indian Air Force helicopters were taking part in the evacuation process as the weather improved with the sun shining, days after around 1,400 tourists were stranded in two islands of Havelock and Neil, due to the cyclonic weather since Monday. All tourists are safe and their needs are being taken care of by the administration.Located about 40 km from here, Havelock and Neil islands are the most popular tourist attractions of Andamans, and the worst affected. “A decision has been taken that hotels, where tourists are stranded, will not take room rent from them, besides giving them food and water for free,” Deputy Commissioner of South Andamans Udit Prakash Rai had said on Thursday.With ANI/PTI inputs.

J&K: Kulgam encounter ends as terrorists flee spot

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The encounter between security forces and militants that broke out in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district this morning has ended as the terrorists fled the spot.Following an intelligence input about the presence of militants, the security forces launched a combing operation in the area.Last night, a Pakistani infiltrator was shot dead by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel in Bamiyal sector in Pathankot district of Punjab.Earlier on Tuesday, two terrorists were killed in an infiltration bid in Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir. One BSF jawan was also injured in the infiltration bid.

Tejas not suitable for Navy: Sunil Lanba

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas are not suited for the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Friday. This has prompted the Navy to identify an alternative aircraft, he said.”We have the MiG 29K, which operates from INS Vikramaditya, and will also operate from the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant. We were also hoping to operate Tejas from these two aircraft carriers, but unfortunately, the LCA is not able to meet their requirement,” he said.On November 8, the Ministry of Defence had given clearance to both the naval and air force version of the Tejas – the smallest and lightest multi-role supersonic fighter aircraft of its class. It is designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), respectively, for the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy.Though the Tejas has been inducted into the Air Force, officials say its full induction is likely to get delayed. “If you look around the world, there are not too many options and we need the carrier-capable version of this aircraft sooner than later. So, I am looking at the next 5-6 years,” he said.Lanba said the Navy is still encouraging the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to develop the naval LCA.

Nagrota attack: Terrorists infiltrated through small tunnel near border, unexploded shells destroyed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Keeping in mind the recent terror attack on an Army base in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir, the Ministry of Home Ministry (MHA) on Wednesday deployed a five-member team to visit the Indo-Bangladesh border in Bangaon to inspect the security arrangements.A meeting was also conducted with the Border Security Force (BSF) troops deployed at the border, asking them to increase surveillance to halt any infiltration bids from across the border.Briefing the media here, BSF DG KK Sharma said that concerted efforts have been made to modernise the nation’s border fences.”A part of Bangladesh border is unfenced including water bodies so humanly not possible for me to put manpower in such areas. We are making efforts to fill the unfenced gaps using technology,” he said.Talking about the recent Samba encounter, Sharma informed that the terrorists has infiltrated through a small tunnel in border area, adding that as of now no technology exists with the BSF to detect tunnels.”Since surgical strikes, more than 15 Pakistan Rangers have been killed and more than 10 militants neutralised. Also many Pakistan border outposts have been destroyed. Post surgical strikes, we started an operation called ‘Operation Rustom’ as we anticipated that problems won’t be confined to LoC and will affect the IB too,” Sharma said.Meanwhile, blinds (unexploded shells) were destroyed today at the site of the deadly terror attack on an army base in Nagrota, Jammu and Kashmir, by a bomb disposal team during the combing operations that are still underway.Extensive combing operations resumed today morning in Nagrota, where terrorists attacked an army base in which seven defence personnel lost their lives.

Punjab jailbreak: Captain Amarinder Singh accuses Badal govt of complicity

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress’ Punjab unit President Amarinder Singh accused the Badal government of “complicity” in the Nabha jailbreak on Sunday and said it has exposed a “complete breakdown of law and order” and triggered fears of revival of terrorism in the state ahead of the Assembly polls. The “shocking manner” in which the gangsters walked into the high-security jail and freed a dreaded Khalistani terrorist, along with four others, clearly showed complicity at the highest levels, he said.Talking to reporters during the second day of the second phase of his roadshow, he said the law and order situation in the state had “deteriorated to unprecedented levels” under the Badal regime, especially in the run-up to the Assembly polls.Armed men in police uniform on Sunday morning stormed the high-security Nabha Jail in Patiala district, opening indiscriminate fire and fleeing with five prisoners including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo, an accused in 10 cases.The rescue of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief clearly suggested an active effort from across the border to revive terrorism in Punjab, he alleged and expressed fears of terror attacks and other violent incidents in the state ahead of the polls.”The gangsters seemed to have driven fearlessly to the prison, entered in police fatigues and escaped with Mintoo and the others, all hardcore gangsters, without being stopped, clearly indicating that it was a pre-planned assault managed with the complicity of the highest authorities,” he said.He accused the Badal government of playing into the hands of the enemies of the nation and allowing the situation to come to such a pass where terrorists could walk out of high-security prisons so effortlessly. He demanded beefing up of security across the state to prevent recurrence of such incidents and strong measures to catch Mintoo and the others gangsters.

Road rash: Watch man drive onto Andheri platform

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When commuters were waiting at Andheri station on Friday afternoon, they witnessed a bizarre incident in which a man drove his car into the busy suburban railway station of Mumbai.The incident which took place around 3.30 PM, left commuters shocked.A golden Toyota Innova (MH-06-AF-7469) managed to enter Platform 1 of Andheri station. The crowd present directed the driver towards the station’s exit, but he was apprehended by Railway Police Force (RPF) before he could leave the premises.A source stated that the man was booked by RPF, but we are still waiting an official confirmation. At the moment, it is not clear if the person in question was simply confused and drove onto the station on purpose.

Indelible ink to be ONLY used for people EXCHANGING old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There seems to be some confusion over reports that banks are using indelible ink to mark customers and they won’t be able to withdraw money or use ATMs after that. That’s not true. The move is only there for people exchanging old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes over the counter.The govt said in a press release: The drawing limits against Bank Accounts and from ATMs and over the cash disbursement have also been increased. It was noted that one of the primary reasons for long queues was that the same persons were visiting Bank branches, ATMs etc. repeatedly. It was also noted that certain unscrupulous elements are using the services of poor and innocent people to convert their black money into white. To prevent such misuse of the facility and enable larger number of persons to draw cash, indelible ink used during elections shall be used for over the counter exchange against old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes. This is not applicable in the case of withdrawal from or deposit into accounts. The move it’s believed is aimed at curbing, individuals who keep on exchanging currency notes for unscrupulous elements and will hinder these elements from sending people to exchange old notes. Decision to use indelible ink mark on hands of people depositing and exchanging scrapped currency is a corrective measure to prevent unscrupulous elements from taking advantage of the demonetisation drive, Minister of State for Finance Arjun Ram Meghwal said. He said such measures would be taken on continuous basis to deal with the problem of cash crunch.”This is corrective measure (use of indelible ink mark).Some people were coming again and again,” he said. “Corrective measure would be taken on continuous basis so that public gets cash in a smooth manner,” he added. He also appealed to the public that there is no need to panic as there is sufficient cash available in the system. “We are reviewing situation continuously to provide relief and convenience to the public,” Meghwal said. Earlier in the day, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das said the government has decided to introduce use of indelible ink mark for customers exchanging defunct currency notes. “It has come to notice of the government that in many places the same people are coming back again and again and we have also received reports that certain unscrupulous elements who are trying to convert black money into white have organised groups of innocent people and are sending them from one branch to another branch to exchange notes and get Rs 4,500,” Das said.Here are some other important decisions taken regarding supply and availability of currency notes:1. Highest importance should continue to be given to ensure convenience for the public. Effort should be made to avoid long queues in Bank branches, ATMs, etc. Already separate queues for senior citizens, divyang persons etc. have been announced. The drawing limits against Bank Accounts and from ATMs and over the cash disbursement have also been increased. It was noted that one of the primary reasons for long queues was that the same persons were visiting Bank branches, ATMs etc. repeatedly. It was also noted that certain unscrupulous elements are using the services of poor and innocent people to convert their black money into white. To prevent such misuse of the facility and enable larger number of persons to draw cash, indelible ink used during elections shall be used for over the counter exchange against old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes. This is not applicable in the case of withdrawal from or deposit into accounts. Cash disbursement points, especially Bank branches will be advised to put-up notices outside their branches advising people to avoid exchange of old notes over the counter multiple times. 2. Already instructions have been issued permitting District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) for cash withdrawal from existing accounts, subject to limits applicable in the case of Banks. Arrangements have been made to enhance the availability of cash with the DCCBs. 3. Arrangements have been made to make available adequate cash to the Postal Department for their use including the branch Post Offices. There are 1.3 lakh branch Post Offices having wide coverage in the rural areas. Availability of adequate cash with the branch Post Offices will ensure wider coverage of the rural areas. 4. Contributions are made in hundis and separate boxes in places of worship. Such establishments have their accounts with the Bank branches. Bank branches have been advised to approach the concerned authorities in these establishments to obtain the currency notes, especially of lower denomination and put them back into circulation. This will help in improving the circulation of lower denomination currency notes. 5. Information has been received that there is sudden spurt in the quantum of deposits in several Jan Dhan Accounts. There are also reports of unscrupulous elements using Jan Dhan Accounts of poor and innocent persons to convert their black money into white. Such spurt in deposits will be looked into closely. Jan Dhan Account holders are requested not to allow their accounts to be misused by anyone. Further, it is also clarified that Jan Dhan Account holders will not be put to any kind of inconvenience for carrying-out their legitimate activities. 6. Old Rs.500/- and Rs.1000/- notes are accumulating in Post Offices and Bank branches. Special efforts will be made to shift such notes and create space in the Post Offices and Bank branches to receive new notes. 7. A high level Task Force consisting of representatives from various agencies is being set-up to monitor movement/receipt of fake notes in vulnerable areas. This Task Force will also take special efforts to monitor black money being deposited into Bank/Postal Accounts, especially under fictitious and other names. 8. A technology team is being set-up to popularize the use of e-wallets. 9. Government is closely monitoring the supply of essential commodities. 10. A coordination group chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and including representatives of various Departments and major Banks is holding regular meetings to monitor the implementation of all the steps.

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.

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

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

New blacklisting policy, projects worth Rs 83,000 crores cleared by Defence Ministry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Defence Ministry on Monday cleared a new blacklisting policy that will do away with blanket bans on companies indulging in corrupt acts and approved projects worth over Rs 82,000 crore for purchase of fighter aircraft, tanks, rockets and mini drones.Contrary to expectation, the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, did not take a decision on the Navy’s proposal to purchase 12 US2I amphibious aircraft from Japan, though the issue came up for discussion. However, it is expected that there would be some forward movement on this issue during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Tokyo on November 11-12.The DAC also gave Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to Indian Air Force’s plan to purchase 83 Tejas Mark 1A aircraft at a cost of Rs 50,025 crore, Defence Ministry sources said. It also accorded AON for the purchase of 15 Light Combat Aircraft being manufactured by HAL for the Army and Air Force for a tentative cost of about Rs 2,911 crore.AoN was also given for the repeat order of 464 Russian origin T90 tanks which are being manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board for Rs 13,448 crore, besides for procurement of 598 mini UAVs at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore. However, the most significant take away from the DAC is the clearance of the new blacklisting policy.Though Defence Ministry officials remained tight-lipped about the features of the new policy maintaining it will be put up on website in the next few days, sources said it will ensure that while companies are dealt with harshly, it will not affect the modernisation process. As per the new policy, the focus is on graded blacklisting and fines. This means that if a defence conglomerate is caught doing wrong in a particular project, it will be banned for a specific number of years from dealing in that particular segment only.It can continue to pitch for projects in other segments. “It will be a product specific ban rather than blanket blacklisting. Also, there will be an option for heavy penalties besides those in contract and even individuals can be banned,” a source said.The new policy would also allow many of the stuck programmes, like the heavy weight torpedos for the six Scorpene submarines, to move ahead with clarity. “The DAC considered and approved the guidelines for suspension or banning of business dealings with entities,” a Ministry source said. For the first time, the Ministry accorded AoN for two Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) products – LCA and Tejas.The LCA cost will include those for simulators and auxiliary equipment. While the IAF will receive 10 LCH, the Army will get 5 to begin with. The mini UAVs approved for the Indian Army will come under the “Buy Indian” category and the force will now issue a tender for the same.The DAC also cleared the way for the issuance of tender for six additional regiments of the Pinaka rockets for Rs 14,633 crore, sources said. Each regiment consists of three batteries of six Pinakas and each Pinaka battery comprises six launcher vehicles, each with 12 rockets, six loader-replenishment vehicles, three replenishment vehicles, two Command Post vehicle (one stand by) with a Fire Control computer, and the radar.

IAF’s Globemaster achieves rare feat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Giving a boost to Indian Air Force’s rapid airlift capability in the tough terrain of Arunachal Pradesh near the China border, a C-17 Globemaster aircraft made its maiden landing at Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at an altitude of 6,200 feet.The ALG at Mechuka in the Yargyap river valley of West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh had been upgraded recently.Situated along the international border, Mechuka was one of the strategic locations during the India-China war in 1962.”With a landing surface only 4,200 feet long, the plane landed, validating its short field landing performance at high altitude,” the IAF said.In the event of a disaster in the region, C-17 operations to the remote ALG can enhance the speed and quantum of national relief effort.IAF has plans to validate airlift operations to and from various ALGs in the region that would usher in a new dimension in enhanced disaster response.This trial landing is expected to pave the way for operation of civil flights operating to and from the newly upgraded ALGs, which has an enormous potential to boost tourism by improving connectivity to remote locations in the North East.The IAF had started its operations with Dakota and Otter in 1962 in the area and subsequently the Antonov-32, popularly known as AN-32, was operated till October 2013 before the upgrade work was started.The road connectivity to the nearest air/rail head at Dibrugarh, about 500km away, is generally two days of travel, unless the roads get damaged due to frequent landslides.”This is a quantum jump from the existing capability of An-32 and C-130J aircraft. Such airlift capability facilitates speedy transfer of men and material in this rugged terrain, interspersed with valleys and high mountain ranges that inhibit road connectivity,” a statement by the Indian Air Force said.

India giving ‘hard-hitting reply’ to Pak: Defence Ministry on ceasefire violations

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking serious note of the ongoing ceasefire violations from the other side of the border, the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday said the Indian troops are hitting them hard. Defence Ministry PRO Manish Mehta while providing details about the present state of affairs at the border said Pakistan is using heavy mortars, adding India is responding in equal measure.”Yesterday there was unprovoked ceasefire violation in Balakote sector where one of our brave soldiers was martyred. Today since 5:30 in the morning, they carried on unprovoked ceasefire violation in Nowshera sector and presently it is intermittently carried out by them,” Mehta said. “Yesterday they had targeted civilian areas. Today, presently I don’t have those details as to what areas they have targeted. However, they have targeted our forward areas and we have also responded appropriately. They are using 120 mm i.e. heavy mortars and we are also responding in equal measure… We are hitting them hard,” he added.A 19-year-old girl has been killed and two civilians have been injured as Pakistan Rangers violated the ceasefire in Nowshera, Arnia and Ramgarh sectors of Jammu and Kashmir this morning.The Pakistani forces started unprovoked shelling targeting posts as well as civilian areas in Ramgarh and Arnia areas at around 6.00 a.m.The girl was killed in Ramgarh sector of Samba district while the two civilians sustained injuries in Arnia sector. The injured have been admitted to the nearby hospital for immediate medical aid. Dr Naseeb Chand Dhingra told ANI in Jammu that three patients have been brought from RS Pura sector, adding they have sustained sprinter injuries.However, the Border Security Force (BSF) is strongly retaliating to the unprovoked firing from the other side of the border in Samba sector. Meanwhile, an encounter is presently underway between the security forces and terrorists in Bandipora’s Ajar village.Yesterday, an army jawan and a woman were killed as the Pakistani troops resorted to heavy mortar shelling along the LoC in Rajouri and Mendhar sectors. The Indian Army on Saturday launched retaliatory fire assaults at Pakistan Army positions, inflicting massive damage across the border by destroying four posts across the LoC in Keran sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.The Indian forces retaliated after Pakistani Rangers violated ceasefire repeatedly in Kathua and RS Pura sector along the International Border on Saturday. A Border Security Force (BSF) soldier was killed in Pakistani firing in Machil Sector.An Indian soldier was killed on Friday and his body was mutilated by terrorists in an attack near the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. Nearly half a dozen people and four BSF soldiers have been killed so far and over 30 others injured in the recent skirmishes along the international border.

India offers to buy 200 foreign combat jets – if they’re Made-in-India | Reuters

By Sanjeev Miglani

NEW DELHI India is offering to buy hundreds of fighter planes from foreign manufacturers – as long as the jets are made in India and with a local partner, air force officials say.A deal for 200 single-engine planes produced in India – which the air force says could rise to 300 as it fully phases out ageing Soviet-era aircraft – could be worth anything from $13-$15 billion, experts say, potentially one of the country’s biggest military aircraft deals.After a deal to buy high-end Rafale planes from France’s Dassault was scaled back to just 36 jets last month, the Indian Air Force is desperately trying to speed up other acquisitions and arrest a fall in operational strength, now a third less than required to face both China and Pakistan.But Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s administration wants any further military planes to be built in India with an Indian partner to kickstart a domestic aircraft industry, and end an expensive addiction to imports. Lockheed Martin said it is interested in setting up a production line for its F-16 plane in India for not just the Indian military, but also for export. And Sweden’s Saab has offered a rival production line for its Gripen aircraft, setting up an early contest for one of the biggest military plane deals in play.”The immediate shortfall is 200. That would be the minimum we would be looking at,” said an air officer briefed on the Make-in-India plans under which a foreign manufacturer will partner local firms to build the aircraft with technology transfer.India’s defence ministry has written to several companies asking if they would be willing to set up an assembly line for single-engine fighter planes in India and the amount of technology transfer that would happen, another government source said.”We are testing the waters, testing the foreign firms’ willingness to move production here and to find out their expectations,” the person said.

India’s air force originally planned for 126 Rafale twin-engine fighters from Dassault, but the two sides could not agree on the terms of local production with a state-run Indian firm and settled for 36 planes in a fly-away condition.Adding to the military’s problems is India’s three-decade effort to build a single-engine fighter of its own which was meant to be the backbone of the air force. Only two of those Light Combat Aircraft, called Tejas, have been delivered to the air force which has ordered 140 of them.The Indian Air Force is down to 32 operational squadrons compared with the 45 it has said are necessary, and in March the vice chief Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa told parliament’s defence committee that it didn’t have the operational strength to fight a two front war against China and Pakistan.

Saab said it was ready to not only produce its frontline Gripen fighter in India, but help build a local aviation industry base.”We are very experienced in transfer of technology – our way of working involves extensive cooperation with our partners to establish a complete ecosystem, not just an assembly line,” said Jan Widerström, Chairman and Managing Director, Saab India Technologies.He confirmed Saab had received the letter from the Indian government seeking a fourth generation fighter. A source close to the company said that while there was no minimum order set in stone for it to lay down a production line, they would expect to build at least 100 planes at the facility.Lockheed Martin said it had responded to the defence ministry’s letter with an offer to transfer the entire production of its F-16 fighter to India.

“Exclusive F-16 production in India would make India home to the world’s only F-16 production facility, a leading exporter of advanced fighter aircraft, and offer Indian industry the opportunity to become an integral part of the world’s largest fighter aircraft supply chain,” Abhay Paranjape, National Executive for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Business Development in India said in an email.U.S. TOP SUPPLIER
Lockheed’s offer comes on the back of expanding U.S.-India military ties in which Washington has emerged as India’s top arms supplier in recent years, ousting old ally Russia.Earlier this year Boeing also offered India its twin-engine F/A-18 Hornets, but the level of technology transfer was not clear. India has never previously attempted to build a modern aircraft production line, whether military or civilian. State-run Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has assembled Russian combat jets including the Su-30, but these are under licensed production.”We have never had control over technology. This represents the most serious attempt to build a domestic base. A full or a near-full tech transfer lays the ground for further development,” said retired Indian air marshal M. Matheswaran, a former adviser at HAL.He said the Indian government would be looking at producing at least 200 fighters, and then probably some more, to make up for the decades of delay in modernising the air force. (Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani, with additional reporting by Tommy Wilkes in NEW DELHI; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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

BSF says 15 Pakistani soldiers died in retaliatory firing; two civilians killed in India

The Border Security Force (BSF) on Friday said that 15 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the past week after Indian security forces personnel retaliated to the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the border in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We are not yet confirmed about the number of causalities on the other side, but approximately, 15 Pakistani army men have died,” ANI quoted Arun Kumar, ADG, BSF, as saying. He also said that India’s security forces would never fire on civilian population but would retaliate if Pakistan violated the ceasefire.

NDTV also reported that two Pakistani Frontier Force soldiers and 13 Pakistan Rangers had been killed, according to an initial assessment by the BSF.

Meanwhile, two civilians have died in India because of the repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan. One civilian was killed in the Khor belt of Jammu district while another was killed due to Pakistani shelling along the Line of Control in Mendhar sector of Poonch.

Pakistani troops have been pounding border hamlets with heavy mortar shells to especially target civilians in the latest round of ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country.

In the past four days, a six-year old boy and a man have been killed and 24 civilians injured while over 60 cattle have perished and 200 cattle left injured in firing by Pakistani troops. Scores of houses and other structures along the international border in Jammu district are riddled with ammunition from across the border.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The situation worsens during night-time as villagers struggle to find a safe place to escape from the gunfire.

“Pakistani troops are now increasingly targeting civilians. They are resorting to heavy mortar shelling and firing targeting our houses and animals,” Subash Chander of village Suchetgarh said.

Subash, whose seven family members were injured as shells exploded in the compound of his house close to the border in Suchetgarh, said the Pakistani troops rain mortar bombshells and fire from automatic weapons targeting civilians.

“We are sitting ducks for the Pakistani troops, who find civilian targets and their properties to target after they failed to fight with BSF troops,” he said.

The firing from across the border had intensified from 21 October when BSF killed seven Pakistan Rangers and a terrorist in retaliatory firing.

Many people from border hamlets in RS Pura, Arnia, Hiranagar, and Pargwal sectors have fled their homes and taken shelter in migrant camps set up by the state government at safer places.

“As the shell landed in our compound, there was a deafening blast and splinters injured us mostly in legs. All were lying in blood,” Subash’s wife Kamlesh Devi said.

Kamlesh along with her daughter Sukhi is undergoing treatment in GMC hospital.

Daljeet Kaur, who was working close to her house in Chand Chak (RS Pura), was injured when a mortar shell exploded. She was taken by her husband to a hospital.

“It looks as if Pakistan is specifically targeting civilians and cattle with specific. Their guns look for human targets,” Kaur said.

In Suchetgarh, Ramesh Chander was returning home on a motorbike when a shell exploded near him, injuring his leg. In Karotana Khurd hamlet close to the border, Pakistani troops shelled the houses of Kuwinder Singh and Bishan Dass.

“We passed the night huddled in one room as the house was shelled,” said Kulwinder, who later left his home along with his mother, wife and two daughters.

There are similar horrific tales from people, who feel they living under the shadow of death.

With inputs from PTI

BSF jawan, Army soldier fall to cross-border bullets in J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It is a battle like situation on the International Border (IB) in Jammu division. Pakistan Rangers killed another Border Security Force (BSF) soldier, the third in the last five days, injuring seven civilians including three women when they resorted to heavy gunfire along the IB in the RS Pora and Arnia sectors of Jammu division on Wednesday night.In a separate incident, an Army jawan was killed and another injured when troops foiled an infiltration bid on the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir’s Tangdhar sector.Border Security Force later hit back and killed one Pakistan Ranger grievously injuring another in retaliation to the cross-border firing and shelling along the IB in the Jammu division.BSF head constable Jitender Kumar, Bihar was killed when he received shrapnel wounds in shelling at Abdulian area of RS Pora sector. He was rushed to hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. “Salutes to martyr Jitender Kumar for standing tall to frontiers, defending borders till his last breath. True to motto,” tweeted BSF.Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked shelling at 8.30 pm on Wednesday targeting 15 Border Outposts (BOPs) and more than 18 villages. Seven civilians including three women were injured when a shell exploded in Gopar Basti area of RS Pora sector.Pakistan Rangers have been using long range weapons including 82 mm, having a range of 4.5 kilometers and 120 mm mortars, with a range of seven kilometers, to hit deep into the civilian areas along the IB. Pakistan fired around 200 shells during the night to target BSF and civilian areas.Inspector General of BSF, Jammu Frontier, DK Upadhyaya told DNA that BSF is retaliating heavily and in the retaliatory fire one Pakistani Ranger has been shot dead and another has been grievously injured.”Two Rangers were shot by the BSF at two different places. They (Pakistan Rangers) somehow managed to evacuate one of them. Another has been shot dead and he is lying there only. They are targeting almost every post. It is happening in RS Pora, Arnia and Ramgarh sectors,” he said.Upadhyaya noted Pakistan Rangers are making desperate attempts to push in militants to Indian side (under the cover of shelling). “They have been making desperate attempts to send the militants in. That is always there.And that is their prime motive,” he said.In another incident, Indian Army foiled a major infiltration bid when they intercepted a group of militants trying to sneak in from the Line of Control in Tangdhar sector. “In the ensuing encounter one soldier has been martyred and another injured,” said Colonel Rajesh Kalia, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Pakistan shelling has also forced thousands of villagers living close to the IB to flee from their homes. Police said 90 per cent of population living around 12 villages have shifted to safer areas to escape the shelling. “Since Wednesday around 18 people are injured in Pakistan shelling. Only 10 per cent people are currently living in 10 to 12 shelling prone villages. Ninety per cent of people have already shifted,” Surinder Chaudhary, sub divisional police officer, RS Pora, told DNA.Police said most of the villagers of shelling prone areas are putting up with their relatives in the safer areas.”We have set up camps for the people of the shelling-prone villages. Most of the people have gone to their relatives places. Last night, around 250 people were putting up in shelter camps,” said Chaudhary. Pakistan army, meanwhile, has violated the ceasefire in Sunderbani sector which is being strongly retaliated by the Indian Army.

Pakistan violates ceasefire, one killed, seven injured in Jammu’ shelling RS Pura sector

Pakistan violates ceasefire, one killed, seven injured in Jammu’ shelling RS Pura sector

Updated: Oct 27, 2016 12:26 IST

#BSF #Ceasefire violation #Jammu #NewsTracker #RS Pura


Jammu: A Border Security Force (BSF) trooper was killed and seven civilians were injured on Thursday during heavy shelling between Indian and Pakistani forces troops in Jammu district’s RS Pura sector.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Police said the trooper died after sustaining splinter injuries.

The seven injured civilians including five women belonging to two families of Goparbasti village have been shifted to a hospital for treatment, the police added,

Pakistani troopers also started indiscriminate shelling and firing on the international border in the neighbouring Samba district.

“Pakistan Rangers targeted BSF positions in SM Pur, Nanga and Chambyal villages of Samba district.

“People from shelling affected villages of RS Pura and Akhnoor in Jammu district and areas of Samba district have started moving to safer locations,” the police said.

Intermittent shelling and firing exchanges continued in both Samba and RS Pura.

J-K: Assistant sub-inspector of BSF, 11 civilians injured in Pak firing in RS Pura

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Assistant sub-inspector of Border Security Force (BSF) and at least 11 civilians were injured in ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in RS Pura sector of Jammu and Kashmir, on Wednesday.Heavy exchanges of gunfire are on for the last 24 hours.Several houses of civilians were damaged during the ceasefire violation by Pakistan.In the wake of escalated tension and continuing shelling, the border people are asked not to venture out of their houses and take all precautionary measures.Pakistani shelling in civilian areas has once again created panic among the border people.The international border in RS Pura and Naushera sector of Jammu region has been rough over the past week.A six-year-old boy and a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier were killed in heavy shelling and firing by Pakistani troops in RS Pura sector earlier on October 24.Another BSF soldier and eight civilians were also injured in the firing.Another BSF jawan Gurnam Singh, who was hit in the sniper attack in Hiranagar sector along the International Border in Kathua district on Friday night, had died late on Saturday.Multiple ceasefire violations have been reported along the International Border and Line of Control after India conducted surgical strikes across the border in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to target staging areas for terrorists last month.Pakistan has, however, denied the cross-border raids.

Retired air force officer, former Andhra MP booked by CBI in corruption case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have registered a case under Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act against a retired officer of the India Air Force and a former Member of Parliament who represented the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh. According to the probe agency the retired air force officials allegedly helped the former Parliamentarian to acquire agricultural land in south-west Delhi’s Najafgarh area which has recently seen a surge in land investments real estate development.The charges against the accused also include that the two men, with the help of a Delhi based bank manager, allegedly amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income during 2007 to 2012. The total amount of money involved in the case is to the tune of approximately Rs12 crore.The Indian Air Force officer has been identified as Polu Sridhar, who retired as a Squadron leader. CBI sources said that the politician allegedly involved in the case is Balashowry Vallabhaneni who was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha of India and represented the Tenali constituency of Andhra Pradesh.The agency has also booked Manish Saxena who was the then branch manager of Axis Bank. The three have been booked under section 13(2) read with 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and section 109 of the Indian Penal Code. The agency also conducted searches at three locations that include Guntur, Hyderabad and Noida.According to CBI sources, transactions worth Rs11.96 crore were made through Axis Bank’s Najafgarh branch between November 2007 to December 2012. “The transfers were allegedly made between Mr Polu Sridhar and Mr Balashowry Vallabhaneni in between the said period. Three suspected transactions that have come to fore are one running to the tune of Rs8.49 crores, Rs1.27 crore and more than two crores. The transactions include cash deposits as well,”said a CBI source.The source added that the transactions were made possible with the help of Saxena who has been accused of allegedly conniving with the senior air force official.According to officials, the accused will likely be questioned in the coming week. “We have already conducted searches at the premises belonging to those names in the case. Further action will depend on the direction which the probe against the accused takes,”said a CBI official.

Rajnath speaks to BSF DG; takes stock of border situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh took stock of the situation along the International Border on Monday near Jammu where one BSF jawan was killed and three others were injured following heavy shelling and firing by Pakistani forces.Singh, who is Bahrain on a three-day tour, spoke over phone with Director General of Border Security Force KK Sharma, who briefed the Home Minister about the situation along the International Border. “Spoke to DG BSF who apprised me of the situation in border areas of Jammu region. The BSF is capable of giving befitting reply. I salute the bravery and sacrifice of BSF jawan Sushil Kumar who was martyred in RS Pura sector of Jammu region last night,” Singh tweeted.The BSF jawan was killed and three others were injured as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire, resorting to heavy shelling and firing from automatic weapons in several sectors along the International Border in Jammu district.There have been over 40 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops since India carried out surgical strikes in PoK after the Uri terror attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed.

Bangladesh probe team questions 6 JMB operatives arrested in India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bangladesh’s elite anti-terror agency RAB arrived in India on Saturday morning to question Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) operatives that were arrested in India’s eastern state of West Bengal.A team of two investigators reached the National Investigation Agency (NIA) office and questioned the six JMB operatives, who were arrested by the Special Task Force of Kolkata Police last month.The team questioned and examined them to find out if they played any role in the attack at Dhaka’s high security zone, Gulshan. The agency will also explore their links with the Islamic State, if any.Currently, the six are under NIA custody and the agency is also examining them for their role in the October 2, 2014, Burdwan blast case in West Bengal. The six arrested include JMB’s Bengal unit chief, Inam alias Anwar Hussain, Maulana Yusuf, chief motivator of JMB across Madrasas in Bengal. Sahidul Islam, chief of the JMB in the North-eastern region. Md. Rubel alias Rafique is a resident of Jamalpur, Bangladesh and an expert in IEDs. Md. Abul Kalam was also an expert in IEDs and used to assist another operative, Sahidul. Jabirul Islam alias Jahidul Islam is a Bangladeshi national, who had entered India without any valid passport or visa.The six JMB operatives were arrested by the Special Task Force of Kolkata Police from West Bengal and several other eastern Indian states. Of the six, three are Bangladeshi nationals and three are Indian nationals of Bangladeshi origin. The arrested were running JMB sleeper cells and their modules were active in eastern and north-eastern India and were plotting a terror attack in the eastern region of India.Sources in the investigating agency highlight that these operatives were controlled and handled by JMB’s Majlish-e-Shura, think-tank, in charge of India, Salahuddin.

Pakistan violates another ceasefire in J&K, resort to firing in Pooch

Thu, 20 Oct 2016-11:21am , Poonch (J&K) , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In yet another incident of ceasefire violation, Pakistani forces resorted to heavy firing and shelling in Poonch District along the LoC and Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday night.”Detailed checking revealed that the firing at International Border in Kathua was an attempted forced infiltration bid by a group of six terrorists, foiled,” Border Security Force (BSF) official said.The Pakistani forces also started unprovoked firing on Indian posts in Bobiya area of Hirangar sector along the International Border in Kathua around 11:30 pm on Wednesday.The troops guarding the borderline retaliated the firing and the exchange of fire lasted for about four hours. There is no report of any casualty or injury on the Indian side.

Bengaluru: RSS stages protest against murder of party worker Rudresh, demands fair probe

Bengaluru: BJP and RSS workers on Monday staged a protest against the gruesome murder of a local RSS functionary and demanded a fair probe into the case and immediate arrest of the culprits.

RSS workers during the protest. CNN-News18

RSS workers during the protest. CNN-News18

Rudresh, a 35-year old RSS worker, was hacked to death by two motorcycle-borne men who struck him with machete on Kamaraja Road on Sunday, when he was returning home on a bike after attending an RSS event. RSS has called for a bandh on Monday in Shivajinagar area, where the murder took place following which prohibitory orders have been clamped in four police station limits of the eastern zone of the city Commissionerate limits till midnight.

Police said elaborate security arrangements had been made all over the city as a precautionary measure, adding that central forces have also been deployed. Platoons of Karnataka State Reserve Police, City Armed Reserve, Rapid Action Force and Central Industrial security Force have been deployed, police said.

BJP and RSS workers led by former Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka and Members of Parliament Shobha Karandlaje and PC Mohan and others, marched from Shivajinagar towards Police Commissioner’s office, but were stopped midway. Linking Rudresh’s murder to killing of BJP and RSS functionaries in different part of the country, Karandlaje said “there is a feeling that these killings are part of a planned conspiracy.”

Ashoka said the culprits should be nabbed first before they fled out of the city or state. Home Minister G Parameshwara said, “Four to five teams have been formed to investigate. Police will do their job. A few persons have already been taken into the custody, inquiry is on.”

He said “Rudres happens to be an RSS worker, other than that, we are not aware of anything about him. We will get to know the exact reasons for his killing only after the investigation.”

Assuring BJP and RSS workers that police will conduct a fair investigation into the case, city Police Commissioner NS Megharikh said, “We will nab the culprits soon.”

CBI arrests two MES officials on bribery charges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two officials of the military engineering services (MES) were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Pune for allegedly demanding and accepting bribes to tune of Rs 90,000. The probe agency on Friday said the duo had demanded bribes in return for clearing bills of the complainant whose firm works for the office of Garrison Engineer (Air Force), Lohegaon, Pune.The officials were identified as RB Aher, an assistant Garrison Engineer and Minu Gupta who is posted as junior engineer with the MES. CBI registered a case against an AGE (Contract) and a JE (QS and C) under section 120-B of IPC and section 7 of P.C. Act, 1988. The complainant had alleged that the said officers had demanded a bribe of Rs 1,10,000 for processing his bills worth Rs 7 lakh regarding civil work executed by his firm. The bribe amount was subsequently negotiated to Rs 90,000. CBI laid a trap and caught the JE (QS and C) red handed today at the office,” said Devpreet Singh, CBI spokesperson.Officials told DNA that following the arrest, searches were conducted at the official and residential premises of the accused at Nashik and Pune in Maharashtra. The arrested accused will be produced in the Designated Court, Pune, CBI said.

PM Modi’s remark comparing Ravana to terrorist draws ire in Sri Lanka

On October 11, PM Modi during his address on Vijayadashmi in Lucknow had said that ‘the first person to fight terror was neither a soldier nor a politician, but the bird Jatayu who fought against Ravana to protect a helpless Sita’. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment that Ravana was the new form of terrorism has drawn fire from Ravana followers in Sri Lanka. In his Vijayadashmi address in Lucknow on October 11, Modi had linked Ravana with terrorism and said that “the first person to fight terror was neither a soldier nor a politician, but the mythological bird Jatayu who fought against Ravana to protect a helpless Sita, whom he was trying to kidnap”.”We condemn the statement made by the Indian Prime Minister equalling King Ravana to a terrorist,” Ittapane Saddhatissa, a Buddhist monk who leads the Ravana Force, said. He said the Ravana Force would soon hand over a petition to the Indian High Commission, protesting against this remark.Saddhatissa said Modi’s comment hampers the ongoing reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. Another organisation Ravana Shakthi said Ravana had not been dubbed a terrorist in even in Ramayanaya.

Why the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos took over the Red Fort

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It was another quiet evening at Delhi’s Red Fort on Monday till 8.45 in the night. That is when Gypsies and buses carrying National Security Guard (NSG) commandos reached the iconic monument.This was no mock drill. The elite force trained for anti-terror operations took over the Red Fort in the wake of intelligence inputs about a possible terror strike during festive season. Top Delhi Police officers told DNA that this was not a usual exercise and this was the first instance when the NSG will be camping at the Red Fort, which was attacked in 2000.Paragliding prohibitedThe Delhi Police on Monday night issued an order under Section 144 of the CrPc, prohibiting sub-conventional aerial platforms like paragliders, paramotors, hang gliders, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), microlight aircraft, remotely piloted aircraft, hot-air balloons, small size powered aircraft, quadcopters and even parajumping from aircraft. The order comes will be valid from October 11, 2016 to November 6, 2016.This correspondent was present at the Red Fort as the commandos set up their barracks by 1 am. They went about their job under minimum lights. All they had were the headlights of their vehicles.In the last few days, there were two instances of security breach at the Red Fort. An officer from the Special Cell, the Delhi Police’s anti-terror unit, was sent to do a ground check in view of the heightened threat. He walked passed the security check with his weapon. In the second incident, two BSF officers were detained for carrying revolvers while entering the Red Fort.Sources say that the NSG will camp at the fort for a few days. The NSG’s arrival has also left the local police and other security agencies alarmed.The cracks1. On October 8, 2016, a Special Cell officer sneaked into the Red Fort from gate number 1 with his service Glock pistol. He was detected by a police officer and his pistol recovered only after some time. It was gross negligence on the part of the two officers manning the DFMD (Door Frame metal Detector), when the city was on high alert. The officers were transferred to district lines with immediate effect. 2. On October 9, 2016, two Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were detained while they were entering through gate number 1. Loaded service revolvers were found in their possession as well. They were later let off after a warning.The Red Fort houses around three Ramlilas and sees a gathering of over 10,000 people per day. Though dignitaries including the President, Vice-President and senior leaders of various political parties visit the fort at this time of the season, the NSG has never been positioned there before. The footfall of visitors who come to see the monument is very large and Chandni Chowk next to it is an add-on.The Special Cell received an alert on October 3 about the possibility of a terror strike at crowded places during the festive season as it would be an easy target and the attack would get maximum publicity. The advisory specifically mentioned about the tight vigil on the border areas and highways. The Red Fort is situated close to the National Highway. The advisory further said that the recent surgical strikes by the Indian Army at terrorist launch pads across borders may encourage terrorists to orchestrate indiscriminate acts of terror on iconic targets and civilians. The recent terror attacks in Uri and the Pathankot Air Force base may also encourage the terrorists to carry out another possible strike in the Capital.Another input said that two fidayeens (suicide bombers) are headed towards Delhi from Kashmir and a high alert was sounded on October 7

Govt mulling reconfiguring PAVA shells as security forces find them ineffective

New Delhi: The Centre is mulling reconfiguration of ‘PAVA shells’, recently introduced in Kashmir for crowd control as an alternative to pellet guns, as these proved to be “less effective” due to a number of anomalies.

The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the CRPF, have provided an on-ground assessment, saying the ‘chilli-based’ PAVA shells were not able to “fully deter” the protesting crowds, official sources said.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The self-melting canisters of the shells were taking time to melt and as a result, the crowds were able to throw them back at the forces in quick time. The effectiveness of the shells’ chilli fumes after exploding also needed to be enhanced, the sources said.

The Border Security Force’s (BSF) Tear Smoke Unit (TSU), based in Gwalior, has been asked to fix these anomalies and send a fresh lot after reconfiguring the shells.

An expert panel was constituted by the Union Home Ministry to find an alternative to pellet guns for crowd control following an uproar in Kashmir after its usage led to fatalities.

The panel had zeroed in on ‘PAVA shells’ which were considered “less lethal” and were capable of “immobilising the target temporarily”. ‘PAVA’ stands for Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamide, also called Nonivamide, and is an organic compound found in natural chilli pepper.

On the Scoville scale (to measure the power of chilli), PAVA is categorised as “above peak”, meaning it will “severely irritate and paralyse” humans, but the irritation and paralysis will remain “temporary” in nature. It is also used as a food additive to add pungency, flavouring and the spicy effect to eatables.

Acquisition of 36 Rafale aircrafts could greatly enhance operational ability in near term: Arup Raha

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on Saturday said that the terror attack in Pathankot and Uri are a stark reminder of the times we live in, and added, that the Indian Air Force is ready to counter such attacks in the future. “The terrorist attack on Pathankot airbase and Uri Army base are a stark reminder of the times we live in. To counter any sub-covenantal threat to our bases, we have instituted various new security measures,” said Air Chief Marshal Raha said on the occasion of 84th anniversary of the founding of the Indian Air Force. He said various courses are being conducted, that have increased security training, consciousness, physical fitness and combat efficiency of air warriors to handle such situations more efficiently. The Indian Air Force celebrated its 84th anniversary at the Hindon Air Base in Ghaziabad with a large parade and an air display. The air display commenced with flag bearing sky divers of famous AKASH GANGA Team dropping out of AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies. The flypast included the vintage aircraft, modern transport aircraft and frontline fighter aircraft. The ceremony concluded with a scintillating aerobatic display. President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted the Indian Air Force. He further said that the IAF has achieved distinction in defending.

President Pranab Mukherjee wishes IAF on its 84th anniversary

President Pranab Mukherjee wishes IAF on its 84th anniversary


New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday applauded the Indian Air Force, saying that it has achieved distinction in defending our skies, delivering vital humanitarian aid and disaster relief, while extending greetings on the 84th anniversary of the Air Force Day.

File photo of President Pranab Mukherjee. ReutersFile photo of President Pranab Mukherjee. Reuters

File photo of President Pranab Mukherjee. Reuters

“The IAF has achieved distinction in defending our skies and delivering vital humanitarian aid and disaster relief,” Mukherjee said in a tweet.

“Greetings and felicitations to all IAF personnel on the 84th anniversary of the Indian Air Force,” he tweeted.

Mukherjee, in another tweet, said: “The nation is proud of the capability and competency of the IAF.”

He said that over the “last eight decades, the IAF has emerged as an immensely professional and combat-ready force”.

The Indian Air Force is celebrating its 84th anniversary on Saturday by scintillating air display by various aircraft at Air Force Station Hindan in Uttar Pradesh.

The Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October, 1932.

IAF 84th anniversary: PM Modi hails air warriors for ‘protecting our skies’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the Indian Air Force celebrating its 84th anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday saluted all the Air Force personnel and their families, thanking them for protecting the nations’ skies.”Saluting all air warriors & their families on Air Force Day. Thank you for protecting our skies. Your courage makes India proud,” the Prime Minister tweeted.Meanwhile, celebrations began at the Hindon air base in Ghaziabad with a large parade and an air display.The air display commenced with flag bearing sky divers of famous AKASH GANGA Team dropping out of AN-32 aircraft in their colourful canopies.The flypast included the vintage aircraft, modern transport aircraft and frontline fighter aircraft.The ceremony will conclude with a scintillating aerobatic display.President Pranab Mukherjee also greeted the Indian Air Force on its anniversary and said in a message that the nation is proud of the capability and competency of the IAF as over the last eight decades, it has emerged as an immensely professional and combat-ready force.He further said that the IAF has achieved distinction in defending India’s skies and delivering vital humanitarian aid and disaster relief.The President expressed confidence that the ongoing process of modernisation will transform the Air Force into an even more potent and strategic force that can take on all future challenges.

Surgical strikes: Airports in western states, Delhi, Hyderabad on alert

New Delhi: Civil airports in western states and important ones like those in Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have been put on a high alert as part of the heightened security arrangements following cross-LoC surgical strikes by the Indian Army.

Airports on high alert. AFPAirports on high alert. AFP

Airports on high alert. AFP

Airports in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have been asked to step up vigil and security to tackle any attack or sabotage.

“Security measures at vital airports have been stepped up….put on a high alert,” CISF Director General O P Singh told PTI.

Officials said a decision in this regard was notified by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) following which the airports, especially hyper-sensitive ones like those in Mumbai and Delhi, were put on alert.

They said the Central Industrial Security Force chief had also reviewed airport security during a recent meeting with his top officials posted at all the sensitive airports.

“While a general review was done for all airports, some specific facilities were asked to be extra-vigilant,” they said, without elaborating.

Counter-sabotage teams, bomb squads and commando teams have been asked to be extra-vigilant to thwart any possible terror strikes, sources said.

Air Chief Marshal says situation live post strikes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Calling the situaiton “live” following the surgical strikes by India on terror lauchpads across the Line of Control (LoC), Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha said the armed forces are prepared to take on any challenge.Refusing to take questions on the surgical strikes by the Army last week, during his customary annual press conference ahead of the Air Force Day on October 8, Raha said the force has the power to punish its enemy, but a decision on using it in an offensive role will have to be taken by the government.”I think I should not say anything because it is very sensitive and things are still live,” the Air Chief Marshal said.Downplaying Pakistan Air Force’s “high mark” exercise amid growing tension between the two nations, he said the timing was coincidental.Raha, who is also the Chairman of Chief of Staff Committee (COSC), said, “The Air Force, Army and Navy are always ready.”When asked would it not be a let down if he did not comment on the surgical strikes, Raha candidly said he was in “half a mind” to call off the media interaction because he knew everybody is charged up and that he would be asked questions on the issue.Raha is the first chief among the three services to face the media after the surgical strikes. He said the issue of surgical strikes was a sensitive one and the force was focussed on improving its capability, but it was not directed at any specific country.”We are not going to develop our capability vis-a-vis a particular adversary or country. We just build our capability to have a strategic reach and to deter our adversary. And if we have to use that capability in a conflict or contingency, we will,” he said.Raha said that earlier the procurement was “process driven and not outcome driven”, but things were changing now. While earlier procurement was a long-drawn process, the government is now trying to think out-of-the-box to shorten the time period.An example is the Rafale deal which was in the works for nine years before a decision was taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to opt for a government-to-government contract with France.

Confusion reigns over Baramulla attack

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Director General of Border Security Force K K Sharma today denied that the death of constable Nitin Kumar took place in a friendly fire. A day after militants attacked an Army-BSF camp in Baramulla and fled, contradictory reports have emerged raising doubts on the operation that killed the young BSF constable.The BSF, while giving details of the attack said that militants had lobbed a grenade which landed close to Kumar and shrapnel hit his groin. He died after bleeding profusely from his injury. Interacting with media on the sidelines of India-Bangladesh border co-ordination conference, DG Sharma strongly denied this version of events and said constable Kumar died bravely and continued firing even when he was injured. He however added there was no way to know whose actions (on firing or grenade) killed him because it was dark.The Centre was reportedly miffed over allowing militants to escape in the `hit-and-run’ operation, although such attacks on military establishments were expected following the cross-border surgical strikes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). BSF officials said the militants took advantage of the darkness to flee. During sanitising and combing operation when the illuminator was lit up, BSF recovered GPS trackers, a compass and wire-cutter as evidence that militants planned to enter the camp.However, reports contradicted the BSF version and claimed that on late Sunday night, BSF personnel spotted some suspicious activity on the rear side of the camp near Jhelum river. They suspected human movement as dogs began to bark and fired some gunshots in the air. When the army troopers who share the camp accommodation with BSF heard the shots, they too fired in the direction of ‘suspected militants’. It was during this panic of both, BSF and Army forces shooting that constable Kumar was grievously injured allegedly from the shots in this firing, and not from terrorists. He later succumbed to his wounds.

Jaguar fighter jet crashes near Pokhran

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Jagaur aircraft, one of the key fighter jets of the Indian Air Force crashed in near Pokhran in Rajasthan minutes after taking off from Jaisalmer on Monday after both pilots ejected safely. This is the second crash of a Jaguar in the last one month.The aircraft was on a routine training mission when it crashed at 1.45 pm in an area not far away from the India-Pakistan border.A Court of Inquiry (CoI) has been ordered to look into the circusmstances that led to the crash.This is the second Jaguar crash within a month. Earlier on September 13, a Jaguar trainer aircraft caught fire during a take-off in Ambala. Then too, the pilot made a quick exit and a COI was ordered. The plane was scheduled to take part in a routine night flying mission.On June 16, 2015, a Jaguar fighter aircraft crashed near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, and both the pilots had managed to eject safely. The plane had taken off at 7:25 a.m. from the Bamrauli air strip in Allahabadand was on a routine training sortie.The same year, another Jaguar aircraft had crashed near the Kurukshetra district of Haryana. Incidentally, this aircraft too had taken-off from same Ambala Air Base.Jaguars are a deep penetration strike aircraft and their upgradation process is on. Jaguar was among aircrafts the Indian Force flew in the “Red Flag” aerial combat exercises held earlier this year in US.

IAF’s Jaguar aircraft crashes in Pokhran, both pilots safe

IAF’s Jaguar aircraft crashes in Pokhran, both pilots safe


Jaipur: A Jaguar aircraft of Indian Air Force on Monday crashed in Pokhran area of Rajasthan, but both the
pilots ejected safely.

The aircraft was on routine training sortie when the incident occurred in the area which is near the India-Pakistan border, defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha said.

A court of inquiry has been ordered, he said. The trainer aircraft crashed following a technical snag, IAF sources said.

Jaguar aircraft, a deep strike fighter plane, is capable of carrying nuclear payload.

Baramulla attack Live: Rajnath arrives in Leh, NSA briefs PM Modi about the assault

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At least two terrorists and a BSF personnel were killed while one BSF jawan was injured when militants attacked two adjoining camps of the Army and the paramilitary force at Baramulla in Jammu and Kashmir.

The heavily-armed terrorists attacked the two camps belonging to Rashtriya Rifles and Border Security Force late Sunday night, leading to a fierce gun-battle with the security forces.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Following the firefight, two terrorists were killed by the forces while one BSF personnel, who was hit by bullets, succumbed to his injuries later, a Home Ministry spokesperson said in New Delhi.

The martyred jawan has been indentified as Constable Nitin while the injured personnel is Constable Pulwinder. Both belong to the 40th battalion of the BSF, officials said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval discussed the incident and necessary instructions have been given to the forces.

Singh also spoke to Director General of BSF KK Sharma and asked him to provide all possible treatment to the injured jawan.

Firing was also reported at a BSF post along the international border with Pakistan in Gurdaspur district of north Punjab early on Monday.

The Border Security Force troopers, according to sources, repulsed an intrusion bid by 8-10 people in the counter offensive at Chakri border out post (BoP).

The sources said that the firing started around 2 am after the alert troopers, using Hand Held Thermal Imagers (HHTI), noticed movement of 8-10 people near the international border.

The intruders, who had crossed the border but were behind the barbed wire fencing, were challenged.

“They fired at the BSF post. Our troopers immediately retaliated the firing. The intruders retreated back to Pakistan. A search operation has been launched in the area today (Monday) morning,” a BSF official said.

The Baramulla attack was the first major attack on security forces by terrorists after the Indian Army launched surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir last week.

The attack comes despite intelligence inputs about possible terrorist attacks on security installations in Jammu and Kashmir following the operations in PoK on 29 September.

The strike comes exactly a fortnight after terrorists struck at army brigade headquarters at Uri, 102 km from Srinagar, killing 19 soldiers.

Terrorists, suspected to be from Pakistan, had also attacked the frontier Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Pathankot town of Punjab on 2 January this year, leaving seven security personnel dead.

The Pathankot attack was preceded by a terror attack by Pakistani terrorists in Dinanagar town of Gurdaspur district on 27 July last year.

With inputs from Agencies

Raipur: Naxal gunned down in face-off with security forces

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Naxal was gunned down in an exchange of fire with security forces in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Kondagaon district, police said on Monday.The face-off between rebels and a joint team of security forces took place near the jungles of Chheri village last evening, Kondagaon Superintendent of Police Santosh Singh said.A small party of forces comprising Chhattisgarh Armed Force (CAF) and local police was undertaking a search operation in the interiors of Bayanar, located around 300 kms away from here, yesterday.While they were advancing into jungles of Chheri, security forces came under heavy fire from a group of Maoists to which they retaliated in self-defence, he said.However, the ultras soon escaped from the place.During search, the body of a Maoist clad in uniform , a pistol with loaded magazine and many other items were recovered from the spot, the SP said.”The area could not be searched properly due to darkness, and prima facie it appears that more ultras were either injured or killed in the gunfight, he said.The patrol parties have safely reached back to camps, he said adding that identity of the killed Naxal was being ascertained.

Baramulla attack: Search called off, militants’ attempt at entry foiled

Srinagar: The over six-hour long search operation against militants was called off on Monday morning as the security forces said the attackers had failed to breach the security parameters of the army camp in north Kashmir’s Baramulla town.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

One Border Security Force (BSF) trooper was killed and another injured late Sunday night when a group of heavily armed guerrillas attacked the camp of counter insurgency 46 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in Baramulla.

“Militants with suicide intent used grenades and heavy automatic gunfire to enter the camp in Janbazpora,” a senior police official said.

“They first attacked the outpost of the camp which is guarded by the BSF,” a senior police officer said.

“The attempt of the ‘Fidayeen’ militants to enter the camp was foiled by the security forces.”

The officer said a massive search operation was launched to locate the militants immediately after the two-hour long gunfire exchange stopped.

“After six hours, the search operation was called off and traffic restored in the area,” he said.

The suicide attack at the 46 RR camp is the first such assault in the wake of the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on 29 September morning across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

On 18 September, militants had killed 19 soldiers and injured 29 others in the garrison town of Uri, which is also located in the same district.

Post Uri attack, IAF upgrades infrastructure in Eastern sector

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With alertness very high post the surgical strikes on militant camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and the Uri attack, Indian Air Force is aggressively upgrading infrastructure in the eastern sector specially in Arunachal Pradesh.IAF Eastern Air Command chief Hari Kumar said today that of the seven advanced landing grounds (ALGs) in Arunchal Pradesh, five have been made operational and two others will be ready by the end of the year.Apart from the ALGs, the IAF is also building capabilities to enhance performance in that state, he said.”Infrastructure development (in the eastern air command) has not kept pace with the rest of the world to allow us to have better equipment and better services that can be provided in this sector … When we look at the performance of any sector, we are looking at building up of capability. The capability to meet challenge and we are not looking up at any specific country as our competitor or our enemy,” he said.”In addition to the MiG 27 and the Hawks squadrons, we (EAC) are going to get another as the Rafale deal has been signed,” Kumar said.Expressing concern over Pakistan sponsoring cross-border terrorism, Kumar said, “If you’ll look at the western sector, Pakistan has made it a state policy to use unconventional warfare because they could not match the strength militarily.They use unconventional warfare wherein they are trying to hit us with a thousand wounds.” He expressed optimism that what happened in the western sector need not take place in the eastern part.”What happened in the west need not transfer to activity in the east. It is confined to that area and now we are waiting to what would be Pakistan’s reaction,” Kumar said.He said, “Both countries don’t want a war. War is not good for anybody, but we cannot let any country dictate terms to us and kill our soldiers.”

After Indian Army’s surgical strikes across LoC, Punjab govt orders evacuation of villages on border

Chandigarh: The Punjab government has ordered the evacuation of villages in a 10-km belt along the border with Pakistan following the surgical strikes by the Indian Army across the LoC.

File photo of the Indian Army. AFP

File photo of the Indian Army. AFP

The union home ministry on Thursday directed the Punjab government to get the border villages evacuated.

Local authorities were using loudspeakers to announce to residents in the border villages to leave their homes and villages and move to safer zones.

The authorities have ordered the closure of schools and other institutions in the border belt.

Punjab’s border districts include Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, Faridkot, Abohar and Fazilka.

Informed sources said the Border Security Force (BSF) was mobilising its troops and strengthening the security along the border belt.

Punjab shares a 553-km border with Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has called an emergency meeting of the cabinet on Thursday evening.

Indian Army conducted surgical ops at Pakistan terror camps across LoC: DGMO

Indian Army conducted surgical ops at Pakistan terror camps across LoC: DGMO


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Amid heightened tension with Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to review the situation along the Line of Control. The meeting is understood to have discussed various options related to the LoC in the wake of the Uri attack.

The meeting is also understood to have taken stock of ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts. Four terrorists had stormed an army camp in Uri on 18 September and killed 18 soldiers.

Pakistani troops have also violated the ceasefire along the LoC twice since Wednesday. Pakistani troops on Thursday violated the ceasefire along the LoC in Naugam sector of Kashmir by opening indiscriminate fire towards Indian Army posts.

Pakistani troops on Wednesday had targetted Indian positions with small firearms along the LoC in Poonch district.

Meanwhile, director general military operations (DGMO) and Vikas Swarup to address media shortly, ANI reported.