As of Thursday, the Indian Army had 34-lakh, 17 thousand, two hundred and thirty one (3417231) followers on its Facebook page and the number growing by the hour.
Imagine the Indian Army Brigade commander in Ladakh tweeting over a face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers. That’s one of the things senior officials at Army headquarters here claim to be aiming at in coming years by expanding the scope of their social media domain. There would be a caution on strategic and operational details and anything that goes out in public domain would have to be information which is not classified, the officials, however, underline.A ministry of defence (MoD) expert committee recently recommended that senior commanders shall have a participative social media presence through blogs so that they stay connected with the rank and file. The committee advocated ‘proactive’ use of social media to counter rumours and sensitising officers on its use.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As of Thursday, the Indian Army had 34-lakh, 17 thousand, two hundred and thirty one (3417231) followers on its Facebook page and the number growing by the hour.And going forward, in its expanding social media base, Army is also looking at a situation where it could cut down on its recruitment advertisement costs for officials believe a large number of youth are motivated to join them on being given an exposure of day to day activities of the force.An analysis of the Army’s Facebook page reveals that 48% of the followers belong to the age group of 18-24 years while 6% fall in the 13-17 age group. However, women constitute only 9% the total following.Further reading into Army’s Facebook presence throws other interesting facts.Of the total followers, while more than 31 lakh are from India, the country that gets the Indian Army highest followers abroad is the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There are over 45 thousand of them in the UAE, followed by over 32 thousand in Saudi Arabia, over 22 thousand in Nepal and over five thousand each in the US and Bangladesh.From Pakistan, while there are only little over 700 followers, it is at countries like Bhutan, Mexico, Ukraine where it has least following with little over 400 followers.While over 25 lakh followers are English speaking, 40-odd thousand Hindi speakers follow the Army on Facebook. This, followed by close to four thousand Marathi speaking ones to close to three thousand each Tamil and Bengali-speaking followers. Indian Army is followed by French, Portuguese, Arabic, Dutch, Persian,Japanese, Greek and Spanish speaking people.Back home, Kolkata has highest number of followers at over three lakh, followed by Lucknow at over two and half lakh, New Delhi at over two lakh while cities like Kollam in Kerala and Karnal in Haryana, Amritsar, Vishakapatnam, Nagpur, Rajkot having less than ten thousand followers.Chennai, where the Army’s Facebook page helped coordinate SOS requests from residents stuck in recent floods has close to two lakh followers, several of them joining it during the course of the massive rescue operations by the three services along with the Indian Coast Guard.”Our role during such emergencies like in Chennai get us substantial traction,” says a senior official.
Attacks in the first week of December have led the intelligence agencies based in Jammu and Kashmir to suspect that the banned outfits — Jaish-e-Mohamad and Harkut-ul-Mujahideen – might be attempting to re-establish a space for militant groups with a ‘global agenda’ instead of a Kashmir-centric one.
Army and special operation group personnel take positions during an encounter with militants in J&K’s Handwara district on Friday
Attacks in the first week of December have led the intelligence agencies based in Jammu and Kashmir to suspect that the banned outfits — Jaish-e-Mohamad and Harkut-ul-Mujahideen – might be attempting to re-establish a space for militant groups with a ‘global agenda’ instead of a Kashmir-centric one.While JeM claimed responsibility for an attack on Gorkha Rifles Camp in Tangdhar area, which resulted in the killing of a military contractor and three militants, HuM spokesperson Hassan Askaree, in a tele-statement to local news agency, paid ‘tributes’ to the militants slain in the Handwara and Poonch attacks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even though senior intelligence officials said that “it is too soon to say that JeM and HuM are trying to regroup,” they did not deny the possibility of the latest attacks being carried out to reclaim lost ground in the valley. While JeM’s presence was last witnessed in 2013, when the group engaged security forces on multiple occasions, resulting in the killing of several of its top commanders, HuM was involved in a major Fidayeen attacks carried out in Lal Chowk area of Srinagar in January, 2010.”Both the groups were very close to each other and, in fact, they worked in close co-ordination till 2007. However, HuM fighters in Sopore and Handwara area maintained their independence from JeM and carried out attacks till 2010,” said an official source.Counter-insurgency officials told dna that while one can see similarities in modus operandi of various Kashmir-based militant groups, the major differences lie in their goals.”Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen have confined their goals to Kashmir. Most of its fighters advocate either Kashmir’s independence or a merger with Pakistan. However, the same cannot be said of JeM or HuM,” a senior counter-insurgency official said.”Groups with global jihad waned over a period of time. It is unlikely that global jihadists will gain territory in future. The reason LeT and HM are still operational is because of their focus on Kashmir,” the official added.JeM was established by Maulana Masood Azhar in the year 2000, after he was freed by the Indian government in exchange for passengers on the hijacked Indian Airlines Flight 814. The group’s history is, however, not as elaborate as HuM which makes the December 4 Handwara attack quite significant.”JeM does not have more than 10-12 terrorists on ground. HuM is a different ball game altogether. The global network Hum possesses, gives it an edge over groups like Hizb and Lashkar whose primary goal continues to be Kashmir,” said a senior police official in J&K.”The recent attacks can also be seen as a reaction to advances of ISIS which is a sectarian terrorist force. In the past, we have seen several valley-based militant groups releasing anti-ISIS statements. Point in case is LeT’s statement against ISIS’s anti-Shia agenda,” the official added.HuM was originally formed in 1985 after breaking out from Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami (HUJI) in 1985.Towards the end of Soviet-Afghan war, the group entered Kashmiri politics, and in 1993 the group merged with HUJI to form Harkat-ul-Ansar under the leadership of Abdelkader Mokhtari, an Algerian commander who later came to be known for his participation in the Bosnian war. The group was banned in mid-90s after which it renamed itself as HuM. It was banned once again following the 9/11 twin tower attacks.
Harris encouraged senior Indian military leadership to participate in next year’s Chief of Defence Conference.
Manohar Parrikar has visited the US Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii, becoming the the first-ever Indian Defence Minister to visit the key facility in a sign of deepening of military ties between the two strategic partners. The US Pacific Command in a statement described Parrikar’s visit as a “milestone” event during which he held meetings with the PACOM Commander Admiral Harry B Harris. Harris and Parrikar discussed the growth of the strategic partnership between the two nations and how routine, regular and predictable engagements strengthen that partnership, PACOM spokesman US Army Major Dave Eastburn said. The two also emphasised the importance of expanded maritime security cooperation within the context of broader military-to-military ties, especially in the Indo-Asia- Pacific, he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Harris encouraged senior Indian military leadership to participate in next year’s Chief of Defence Conference. He underscored that the conference is important venue to build the relationships that will underpin security and stability throughout the region. Parrikar and Harris discussed the continuance of the maritime security cooperation, the potential for joint US India maritime patrols, and the value of foundational agreements such as a logistics support agreement and a communications and information security memorandum of agreement, Eastburn said.They also discussed Exercises Malabar, Yudh Abhyas, Red Flag, Vajra Prahar, and RIMPAC, re-emphasising that the United States is still India’s partner of choice for exercises and military-to-military engagements, he said.Parrikar is scheduled to meet US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on December 10. This is his first visit to the US as the Indian Defence Minister.
Members of the Force One Commandos from Maharashtra police demonstrate their skills during their inauguration ceremony in Mumbai, India, in this November 24, 2009 file photo.
In November, during an exercise to test India’s readiness for a militant attack, teams of coast guards approached Mumbai and surrounding areas by sea, just as assailants did before deadly strikes in 2008. Several teams slipped through undetected.Officials say the response to the mock assault in Maharashtra was not a disaster, but the shortcomings it exposed were a reminder of India’s vulnerability to the kind of violence that hit Mumbai seven years ago, when 166 people were killed, and Paris in November. “There was a mixed result,” said a navy spokesman in Mumbai, describing the mid-November exercise that, by coincidence, came days after gunmen targeted Paris on November 13, killing 130. “We do find weaknesses, but over the years the number of people who can go through (our defences) is much less.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The atrocity in France drew immediate comparisons with events in Mumbai in 2008, when 10 gunmen landed on the city’s shores by boat, split into pairs and attacked various high-profile sites using semi-automatic weapons. In response, Mumbai police got better equipment, and a unit of the National Security Guard (NSG) was deployed to the financial capital. Fishermen have been made aware of the seaborne threat and can call a helpline if they spot anything suspicious.Maharashtra also set up its own elite counter-terrorism police unit: Force One. But the initial zeal with which the threat was treated has faded, security experts said. “A lot of effort goes in at first. But over time, people lose interest. Momentum is lost. There is no leadership continuity,” said Govind Sisodia, a senior commander of the NSG at the time of the Mumbai raid.Sisodia, now retired, was unable to scramble his elite force from its headquarters in New Delhi for 12 hours after the start of the Mumbai attack because no plane could be found. Poorly armed, trained and equipped police first-responders were no match for the heavily armed gunmen who simultaneously attacked multiple targets. The drama evolved into a hostage crisis that dragged on for three days.
Police academy Seven years after the attack, Force One has yet to move into its promised purpose-built headquarters outside the city. For now, it protects one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas from a modest office on the fourth floor of a shabby low-rise building which it shares with a police academy. Lines of drying laundry hang from the windows.”From every incident, we take a lesson, we revise our protocols,” said Sanjay Saxena, the inspector general of police running the unit, when asked about the Paris attack. Saxena gave little away about how his squad operated, including how he might scramble his hand-picked team from a northern suburb to districts in Mumbai’s historic south along the city’s jammed roads.Some of the commandos in Force One, modelled on Germany’s GSG 9 special forces, are allowed to live at home. According to some officials, the 600-strong force trains on a police parade ground. A critical worry, say security experts, is that tactics used by militants are evolving.While the attack on Paris echoed elements of that in Mumbai, it also differed, for example in the use of suicide belts to maximise casualties and rule out capture. “Mumbai ushered in a new era,” said G.K. Pillai, India’s home secretary after the Mumbai attacks. “This is a new type of terrorism: multiple, very well-trained teams striking a variety of targets. “The lesson was that in cities you need to have a few hundred of these elite commandos available within 10-15 minutes, whether it is Paris or London.”
Needles, haystacksHistorically, India has not been a hotbed of Islamist militancy, and its main security focus has been on containing a separatist insurgency in Kashmir, which it disputes with arch-rival and neighbour Pakistan. Intelligence agencies have little handle on tens of thousands of Indians working in Iraq, the Gulf and beyond.According to the government, there are 18,000 Indians in Iraq, parts of which are under the control of Islamic State, although some experts say the real number may be much higher. “Our data (on labourers) working abroad, especially in the Gulf, who are usually targeted for joining ISIS, is woefully inadequate,” said Vappala Balachandran, a senior foreign intelligence specialist who led an inquiry into the Mumbai attacks. “This is a serious cause for worry.”A recent Indian intelligence report found Islamic State had recruited 23 Indians, but the radical group considered them to be “inferior fighters”. The main threat to India, security analysts say, is from militants crossing from Pakistan, as was the case in the Mumbai attack and in a July raid on a police station in Punjab that killed at least nine.Urban settings are seen as their most likely targets. “Any urban area remains a target,” said Chidambaram, who took over as India’s home minister just after the Mumbai attack. “In a city anyone can burrow themselves and remain invisible for weeks, months, even a year.”Read: Three more Indian youths join Islamic StateAlso Read: Indian woman involved in recruiting for ISIS deported from UAE, arrested in Hyderabad
SRM University has three campuses and its main centre in Guindy and VIT Vellore’s Chennai campus were badly-hit.
A waterlogged area in the city
18-year-old Abhik Thapa, a Nepalese student at a private university in Chennai, had come to India as one of the lucky survivors of the killer April earthquake and now he is heading back to Kathmandu after having lived through the Chennai rains tragedy.The student of genetics at the SRM University, which bore the heavy brunt of the rains during the first few days, was among the several students left stranded in their hostels, after the torrential rains pounded the city last week.Thapa and his college mates were eventually rescued by a coordinated team of defence personnel and finally brought to the Tambaram Air Base, nearly 30 km from here, before being flown to Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”My home is in Kathmandu and our family survived that massive calamity, with a little damage to our house. But, yes the disaster and the experiences thereof, of seeing Nepal get back on its feet, helped me cope with with tragedy,” Thapa told PTI in Tambaram.As per the plan, several of the rescued people after being assembled at the Tambaram Base are being taken by Mi-14 choppers in batches to the Arakkonam Naval Base, 70 km west of Chennai, and from there to different cities, mostly in C-17s. A couple of civilian rescue flights also ferried a few hundred students in the past few days to Delhi, Bengaluru or Hyderabad.Mumbai-native Sankalp Mohapatra, 21, was stranded for nearly three days at Chennai Airport along with several of his friends from VIT, Vellore. All of them were to catch a flight back to their hometown, little knowing that they had something else in store. Battling choppy weather, power crisis, inundated streets and the odds, the students, with a few girls among them, survived through the tough times, keeping each other strong.”Our flight was for December 1, and after announcement of delay it was finally cancelled. We all slept at the airport as we were expecting a replacement flight next day, but it only got worse from there. Next day evening they shut down the electricity connection, as water was coming to the arrival side, and then by late evening it went pitch dark,” Sankalp says.”We then stepped out of the airport and decided to first make way to the Koyambedu bus station in Chennai, but seeing the water gushing out, we decide to go back to the airport premises, as we felt it was safer there,” the fourth-year student of Computer Science adds.His friend Pallav Gupta, 21, a Delhi resident, shares another harrowing tale of their ordeal. “Many taxi and auto drivers tried to take advantage of our situation. They were asking Rs 35,000-Rs 40,000 for taking us barely a few kms. Even for the nearest metro, they charged about couple of thousands (of rupees). We did not have much money, the ATMs were out of cash, so we could not leave the airport,” Gupta rues. Pallav’s friend, Aditi Mehindiratta, 21, a Gurgaon resident, who was with them, says she was worried, but at no point scared. “After our flights were cancelled, we were given a bus by the airport authorities to Koyambedu Bus Terminal, but on way to the place, we saw water gushing out in front of us. “We then immediately turned around and went back to the airport and stayed put there until help arrived from defence, after one of our friends, whose father is in Air Force contacted him,” she says.SRM University has three campuses and its main centre in Guindy and VIT Vellore’s Chennai campus were badly-hit.”We were in our rooms on the ground floor when the water started entering from beneath the doors and suddenly started rising. We immediately ran upstairs on to the higher floors.Our university rescue team helped and fed us initially and then defence people came in and took us to Tambaram Air Base,” says Ayush Pandey, a Kanpur native and a 1st year student at the VIT Chennai campus.19-year-old Akhshay Jyoti, son of a retired commander in Navy, had to contact his father, after being surrounded with water at his campus in Hindustan University. “We were stuck in our university for a few days after the last heavy rain and later a ‘Chetak’ came and airlifted five of us students. We were then brought to the Tambaram Base before flying out in a civilian flight from the Arakkonam Base,” he says.Tejas Mohlah, who called help for his VIT friends at the airport, says, “We had also decided to go to the nearest dry place possible or the metro station, which nonetheless was packed like sardines. “Our friends who were there told us the ticket queues ran for so long, it was taking three hours to get a ticket, and the train were running at long intervals.”18-year-old twin brothers George and Verghese, who hail from Kerala, flashed a ‘V-sign’ from the window of the Mi-14, when they were transported to Arakkonam along with other rescued students. “We were born together, and we survived together,” says George.
PESHAWAR, Pakistan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour has been seriously wounded in Pakistan in a shootout between senior members of the Islamist movement, Taliban sources said on Wednesday, but the group’s main spokesman dismissed their report as “baseless”.
The conflicting accounts deepen the confusion over the already opaque leadership situation in the Taliban following the death of the movement’s founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and cloud prospects for any resumption of stalled peace talks.
Two Taliban commanders said Mansour, whose authority is disputed by rival factions in the Islamist movement, was wounded when fighting broke out over strategic issues in the house of a senior Taliban leader called Mullah Abdullah Sarhadi outside Quetta in western Pakistan.
“During the discussion, some senior people developed differences and they opened fire on each other,” one of the commanders said.
He said five senior Taliban members had died on the spot and more than a dozen, including Mullah Mansour, had suffered serious bullet injuries. Mansour was being treated in a private hospital after being hit four times by bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle, the Taliban commander said.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied the incident ever took place and said Mansour was in Afghanistan.
“This is a rumour which is completely baseless. Akthar Mohammad Mansour is totally fine and nothing has happened to him,” he told Reuters.
“This is the act of Afghan intelligence agencies. They spread these rumours about a clash between Taliban leaders. Nothing happened like this even in that area”.
The Taliban has faced serious internal divisions since it was confirmed in July that Mullah Omar had actually died two years earlier.
Mansour, Mullah Omar’s longtime deputy, was immediately named leader but some sections of the Islamist group quickly rejected his claim, accusing him of covering up Omar’s death and saying that Pakistan had steered his appointment.
His grip on the leadership appeared to have been tightened by the capture of the northern city of Kunduz in late September, which insurgents held for several days before government forces could regain control.
What the latest incident may mean for the Afghan peace process remains unclear for now.
There were varying accounts of exactly what may have happened in the incident, with some sources saying it took place in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar near the border with Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
According to the first Taliban commander, the meeting on Tuesday was to discuss the future of any peace talks with the United States and the Kabul government as well as the strategy for dealing with a rival splinter group headed by Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund, which rejects Mansour’s authority.
A second source said the dispute had broken out over ways of dealing with the rival faction, following heavy fighting in the southeastern province of Zabul last month in which dozens of people were killed.
“We have no access to Mullah Mansour after the incident last night. We have been hearing that he had succumbed to his injuries but we can neither confirm nor deny it,” said the second Taliban commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said this week that he was ready to talk to Taliban members but he cautioned that since the death of Mullah Omar there was “no such thing as the Taliban There are groups of Taliban…”
According to some officials in the Kabul government, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, a senior commander in the group that opposes Mansour, was killed in last month’s fighting, although the claim has been denied by a spokesman for his faction.
(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni and Hamid Shalizi in Kabul; Writing by James Mackenzie; Editing by Gareth Jones)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Indian army has recovered bags inscribed with Afzal Guru squad from the three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants killed in a foiled fidayeen attack on 3/1 Gorkha Rifles camp near the Line of Control in Tangdhar on November 25.
Indian army has recovered bags inscribed with Afzal Guru squad from the three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants killed in a foiled fidayeen attack on 3/1 Gorkha Rifles camp near the Line of Control in Tangdhar on November 25.”They are from Jaish. Jaish has claimed responsibility. Afzal Guru squad was written on their bags and our intelligence agencies are working on other aspects that you have raised (about ultras trying to use the name of parliament attack convict to drum up support),” said Lieutenant General Satish Dua, general officer commanding (GoC) 15 Corps.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The army commander noted that they have also recovered documents from the slain ultras which clearly indicated that they were coming for this target (Tangdhar army camp).”They (militants) are unable to infiltrate because of well coordinated counter infiltration grid. So they try and create sensational attack very close to the LoC and that is what you saw in Tangdhar where three terrorists got killed,” he said.Lieutenant General Dua also admitted using drones to spot militants in the suspected areas. “In any area that is suspect UAVs are being used,” he said.
West Bengal: President Pranab Mukherjee today said India is firmly committed to peace but is always prepared to deploy its military might to safeguard its sovereignty as he decorated two gallant IAF fighter aircraft squadrons at a strategic border airbase in West Bengal.
Mukherjee, the supreme commander of the armed forces, presented the President’s Standards to the 22nd and 18th Squadrons of the Indian Air Force operating the strike and combat superior MiG-27 aircraft to secure Indian skies along the eastern theater during peace times and war.
The Squadrons are based here in Alipurduar district of West Bengal, strategically located right across the India-Bhutan border with the task to keep a vigil over the entire north east border skies of India.
“India’s increasing eminence in the comity of nations draws its strength from the capabilities of our armed forces.
Though we remain firmly committed to peace, we will use all our might to protect the sovereignty of the nation. I am confident that our valiant men and women in uniform will rise to the occasion,” the President said after he accorded the honours to the two strike formations of the IAF.
He lauded the air force by calling it the “cutting edge” of India’s military might and praised its men and women as he said the armed forces, “exemplified by the air warriors who stand before us, reflect our steely resolve to defend our interests.”
The President’s Standards are given to armed forces’ units which render exceptional and dedicated service over a period of time.
Both the units which got the honours today have been doing so since 50 years now.
When water was discharged from the Red Hills Lake last week, the Home Guards rushed to evacuate more than 300 people from the low-lying areas.
Members of the Tamil Nadu Home Guards heading to rescue people in Madhavaram during the Chennai rains
The recent rains saw many people from all walks of life come together to help people in need. One group that played a vital role in rescuing hundreds of people from waterlogged areas is the Tamil Nadu Home Guards. The areas of Tamabram and Madipakkam saw heavy waterlogging due to the torrential rains last week. The water was well over five feet and practically all the houses in these areas were flooded. The Tamil Nadu Home Guards worked relentlessly for two days in these areas wading through dirty water unmindful of the contamination and the snakes to help those in distress. And when water was discharged from the Red Hills Lake last week, the Home Guards rushed to evacuate more than 300 people from the low-lying areas. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Guards with the Tamil Nadu police at Madhavaram (Pic courtesy: Sanjay Bhansali)“12 Home Guards actually did the work of rowing the boats and getting around 400 people to safety. But more than 300 of us were involved in supplementary work during this time,” explains Sanjay Bhansali, Area Commander (Chennai North), Tamil Nadu Home Guards. The Tamil Nadu Home Guards consists of regular citizens who apply to become a member when vacancies are announced by the state government. If selected, they are given a month’s training before they are put on work on the ground. And the heavy rains in Chennai last week was an emergency situation that called out for their service. There are four Area Commanders in Chennai and they took the initiative of also organising food and distributing it where it was needed like Pulianthope, Tambaram and Madipakkam.“Many of the Home Guards live in more in the suburbs and quite a lot of their houses were waterlogged. But despite that they came in for service to help others,” adds Bhansali. Many of the Home Guards have been trained in rescue operations and they also have a boat on standby for emergency.In fact, the Joint Commissioner North, Dinanakaran, recognised four Home Guards for their extraordinary work during the Chennai rains at a recent Crime Review Meeting. (Pic courtesy: Sanjay Bhansali) ‘Nishkam Sewa’ or service to the community is the Tamil Nadu Home Guards motto and this is precisely what they have been doing for years. The work of this group of citizens may not be recognised much but they play a vital role in protecting the people in the city. With their work for the Chennai rains slowly coming to an end, the Tamil Nadu Home Guards is now gearing up for duty during the state elections in 2016. But if any emergency arises before that, they will be at the service of the people of the city.
The intelligence agencies have warned the government about Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) planning major terror strikes in the near future and Army and paramilitary convoys, camps could be high on their target.
Army personnel take positions during an encounter with militants near the LoC in Uri sector
The intelligence agencies have warned the government about Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) planning major terror strikes in the near future and Army and paramilitary convoys, camps could be high on their target.According to credible intelligence inputs, a group of 15-20 well trained Lashkar terrorists are waiting at the launching pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to cross over the line of control (LoC).The terrorists are expected to infiltrate in two or three separate groups and fan out in different areas to create mayhem. They have been waiting at the POK launching pads for last 15 days, sources said. A Lashkar commander called Shaukhat is leading a group of four terrorists while another group of 6-7 terrorists is being led by LeT commander Irfan Tandewala. There could be third group also, sources added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan based terror outfits usually try to infiltrate in the valley before heavy snowfall makes the passes inundated and extremely difficult to cross over without the cover of the foliage in clear white snow. 13/11 Paris terror attacks could be a major reason for Lashkar to attack as such incidents in succession help terror outfits to charge up their recruits easily to carry out big terror strikes and help amplify their impact even more.A couple of months ago similar warning given by the intelligence agencies had proved correct. Soon after the alert two successive attacks had taken place in J&K. In one incident security forces managed to catch Lashkar terrorist Naved alive.
Lieutenant General Nimbhorkar called for extra vigil on the Line of Control (LoC) to thwart the militants plan to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir.
A day after Pakistani army chief General Raheel Sharif raised Kashmir issue with US foreign secretary John Kerry, Indian army said around 700 militants are being trained in 37 terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to be infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir.”If you take the statement given by the terrorist captured in Udhampur zone and if you correlate and calculate, to my mind around 600-700 terrorists may be there (in training camps of PoK). Out of them half can be ready to be launched (sic),” Lieutenant General RR Nimbhorkar, General Officer Commanding (GOC), 16 corps based in Jammu, told reporters at Akhnoor.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The army commander said there is sufficient number of launch pads (on the other side of Line of Control).Lieutenant General Nimbhorkar called for extra vigil on the Line of Control (LoC) to thwart the militants plan to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir.”They (militants undergoing training) will try to infiltrate. When and where they will infiltrate, one cannot say. What is in our hands is to remain alert and foil their plans to infiltrate. We have to be ready for all eventualities’ on LoC and hinterland so that no adverse incidents take place,” he said.On ISIS, the general said there seems no sighs of their influence here (in Jammu and Kashmir). “We have seen one or two things, sometimes in Srinagar… ISIS flags are being unfurled… We need to do a detailed analysis. But our job is that we have to be ready and alert,” he said.Lieutenant General Nimbhorkar also noted that ISIS is a worldwide problem and people are aware of this. “As far as our area is concerned, whether it is ISIS or Lashkar-e-Taiba, there are inimical to us and we have to be guarding against them. Our basic philosophy remains not to allow them to intrude or infiltrate. We are geared for the same,” he said.On militants particularly the ISIS using social media, the army commander underlined the fact that management of internet is a worldwide problem.”It is power and can be used by anybody. They (terrorists) can use this media to their advantage. How to fight it is a different issue altogether.. I am certain that the powers that be, they are aware of this and they will take necessary measures to counter it in a manner which is legal and firm,” he said.
“We received inputs that Hidma had arrived to take part in a marriage ceremony of a close cadre in Dubbakonta village following which we mobilised our composite forces last evening towards the region to nab him,” he said.
At least two Naxals were today killed by security forces following a major gun-battle in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Sukma district.”The operation was launched collectively by CRPF’s elite Commando Battalion for Resolute Action’s (CoBRA) 208 battalion and two teams of state’s District Reserve Group (DRG) under Bhejji Police Station limits,” Inspector General of Police, Bastar Range, S R P Kalluri said.The operation was based on the information about the location of Maoist commander Hidma, who is the head of 1st military battalion of Naxals, in the region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We received inputs that Hidma had arrived to take part in a marriage ceremony of a close cadre in Dubbakonta village following which we mobilised our composite forces last evening towards the region to nab him,” he said.When security forces reached near Dubbakonta – a Maoist hotbed – early this morning, a group of armed insurgents opened indiscriminate fire on them, triggering a gun-battle between the two sides, the IG said.”So far, two bodies of Maoists in ‘uniform’, besides a muzzle loading gun, Insas rifle magazines and Maoist articles have been recovered,” he said.However, police are yet to trace Hidma, he said.Hidma was allegedly involved in the 2013 Jiram valley Naxal attack in Bastar’s Darbha region in which 31 people, including some senior state Congress leaders, were killed and the 2010 Chintalnar ambush in Dantewada in which 76 troopers were killed.Further details will be known once the police team returns to its camp, Kalluri added.
Both Parrikar and Gen Fan condemned the recent terror strike in Paris.
Gen. Fan and Parrikar (Image source: Spokesperson MOD Twitter handle)
India and China on Monday decided to deepen bilateral defence ties and maintain peace and tranquillity at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) besides strengthening cooperation against terror, including at the international level. The decisions came after the meeting between a visiting 26 -member delegation led by General Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman of China’s powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) and the Indian side, which was headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, at South Block here. This is the highest-level Chinese defence delegation to visit India in recent years.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both Parrikar and Gen. Fan condemned the recent terror strike in Paris and agreed to strengthen cooperation to together fight the menace of terrorism, including at the international level, a late night statement by the Defence Ministry here said. Parrikar also offered to share India’s expertise in fighting terrorism by way of joint exercises, among other initiatives. “The visit signifies the enhanced defence exchanges between India and China. During the meeting with Defence Minister, the two sides agreed to implement the consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to ensure peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas,” the statement said.Gen. Fan and Parrikar were of the view that peace and tranquillity in the India-China border areas is the cornerstone for smooth development of bilateral relations in diverse areas. “They felt that the two armed forces shoulder important responsibilities for maintenance of peace and tranquillity and agreed to further enhance communications and exchanges between the two armed forces,” it said. The two sides welcomed the operationalisation of additional border personnel meeting points. They reviewed the ongoing exchanges and expressed satisfaction at the recently-held bilateral military exercise, ‘Hand-in-Hand’.Meanwhile, taking note of the intensification of defence exchanges, the Indian side welcomed the proposal for the visit of Commander of Lanzhou Military region to India early next year. Gen. Fan also extended an invitation to Parrikar to visit China, which he accepted. The dates will be decided through diplomatic channels.Gen. Fan will be calling on Prime Minister Modi tomorrow before leaving India at the conclusion of his visit.
Karnataka government has decided to celerbrate Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary from this year with the main event held here on November 10.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday described Tipu Sultan as a “servant of the French” and said the 18th century ruler of Mysore had no qualities for his memory to be celebrated. “His (Tipu) supporters say he fought the British, well he fought the British not as an independent entity, he fought the British as what I would say as the servant of the French,” Swamy said. He said,”Napolean had arrived in Africa. He was confident of winning the war there and he wanted to come to India, so there was an alliance made by the French and Tipu Sultan to fight the British together.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Of course, Napolean lost the war and ended up also losing his position in France. But there is nothing to say that this man (Tipu) has any qualities for which we can celebrate his memory,” Swamy told reporters after a ‘discussion’ organised by “The Open Platform for Netaji.”Karnataka government has decided to celerbrate Tipu Sultan’s birth anniversary from this year with the main event held here on November 10. The celebration amidst protest from few pro-Hindu outfits had lead to death of two persons in Kodagu district following clashes, and a man was stabbed in Bantwal taluk near Mangaluru.Stating that there is no academically or scholarly or intellectually acceptable biography of Tipu Sultan, Swamy said the only authentic records “we have is the letters he wrote to his commander in chief, friends and so on.” He said “on the basis of whatever material that is available, there is no doubt that in various parts of India like Coorg, Kerala, Malabar in particular, of course in Trivandrum area where he got a beating- there he has engaged in a severe brutality with focus on Poojari’s of the area.”He said rocketry for which Tipu is credited for by few historians was developed much before and was used by Kings earlier also. Pointing out that for 216 years no government ever thought of celebrating Tipu or even remembering him, Swamy said,”It is being deliberately done because Congress party is desperate that they may loose the next elections.” Swamy said he will request for reopening of cases into the deaths of few national leaders including Mahatma Gandhi after the secret files related to Subhas Chandra Bose will be declassified by the central government beginning January 23.”I will have to request for Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Deendayal Upadhyaya case also….” he said.On Subash Chandra Bose case, Swamy said “After January 23 basic thing will be clear that Subash Chandra Bose did not die in the air crash, he reached Russia after that what happened every thing will be out.”
The veteran of wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan was appointed to the senior ministerial post on Wednesday, when Trudeau and his cabinet were sworn in, following the Liberals’ October 19 election victory.
Image Credit: Twitter
Sporting a turban and a thick beard, decorated soldier Harjit Sajjan stood out in the Canadian military, but as defense minister he is among several Sikhs appointed to key positions in Justin Trudeau’s administration. The veteran of wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan was appointed to the senior ministerial post on Wednesday, when Trudeau and his cabinet were sworn in, following the Liberals’ October 19 election victory.At age 45, he takes on one of the toughest jobs of the new administration. He will be responsible for winding down Canada’s combat mission against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, withdrawing from the US-led F-35 fighter jet program and quashing sexual misconduct in the military. He will also sit on the new government’s most powerful cabinet committees, including public safety and espionage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Born in Punjab, India in 1970, Sajjan moved to Canada with his family at age five, settling in the Pacific coast city of Vancouver. He worked 11 years as a police officer, including a stint as a detective with the gang crimes unit, before joining the Canadian military and rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.Ironically, he was reportedly rejected by the first unit where he applied 26 years ago, but stuck it out. He would go on to deploy four times overseas to Bosnia and Afghanistan – where he earned honors for helping to weaken the Taliban’s influence – and became the first Sikh to command a Canadian army regiment.”He was the best single Canadian intelligence asset in theater (in Afghanistan) and his hard work, personal bravery, and dogged determination undoubtedly saved a multitude of coalition lives,” said David Fraser, former commander of the Multinational Brigade in southern Afghanistan, in a short biography of the Liberal candidate for the Vancouver South electoral district.In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Fraser said Sajjan was a “true warrior” who thrives in the face of adversity.”I picked him (for the Afghanistan job) because of his experience in dealing with gangs because the Taliban were nothing more than bunch of thugs and gangs,” Fraser told the daily.Entering politics, Sajjan faced a messy nomination that split the large Vancouver Sikh community. Many ripped up their Liberal membership cards over the backing he received from former leaders of the World Sikh Organization (WSO), including Sajjan’s own father.The WSO, which has long advocated for the creation of a Sikh homeland, was criticised in the past for praising Air India bomb-maker Inderjit Reyat, who remains the only person convicted in the 1985 attack on a jetliner that killed 329 passengers and crew over the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Ireland.
In a bid to ensure significant participation of women police personnel in anti-Maoist operations in the future, they are being imparted cutting-edge training in disposing IEDs along with jungle warfare tactics in insurgency-riddled Chhattisgarh.
In a bid to ensure significant participation of women police personnel in anti-Maoist operations in the future, they are being imparted cutting-edge training in disposing IEDs along with jungle warfare tactics in insurgency-riddled Chhattisgarh.The state’s women troopers are being trained in diffusing Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at the government’s Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College (CTJWC), located at Kanker district in north Bastar region, about 150 kms from Raipur.”Right from the constable rank troopers to additional superintendent of police, women personnel are showing special interest in training of destroying and diffusing IEDs planted in different patterns, as part of their 45-day rigorous jungle warfare training course at the college, platoon commander Narendra Singh, an instructor at CTJWC, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An ex-Army man, Singh has vast experience in counter-IED operations in the country as well as abroad.He said unfortunately hundreds of security force troopers have so far been killed in land mine explosions and injured in pressure IED blasts triggered by Naxals in sprawling Bastar region (comprising seven districts and spread across 40,000 sq kms).The devices sometimes remain hidden for years before the ultras use them to ambush security forces on national highways, important state roads and near security force camps.Even land mine detection vehicles have also been blown up by insurgents in the past, he said.”Therefore, to minimise the loss of lives of security personnel, the bomb disposal training is very much crucial for the forces,” Singh said.”Although bomb disposal training is being provided since 2006 to both men and women personnel, women troopers took least interest in sharpening their counter-IED skills. But, since past one year they themselves are coming to me and seeking additional training to diffuse and destroy bombs,” he said.
A casual Wing Commander-Commandant level meeting was held between Pak Rangers and BSF at Mangu Chak Border Out Post (BOP) along International Border (IB) in Samba sector.
A Commandant-Commander-level meeting the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers was held in Samba sector of Jammu and Kashmir to reiterate commitment to peace along the Indo-Pak border during cultivation by farmers on both sides.A casual Wing Commander-Commandant level meeting was held between Pak Rangers and BSF at Mangu Chak Border Out Post (BOP) along International Border (IB) in Samba sector of J&K on Tuesday, a BSF officer said here on Wednesday. The Pakistan side was led by Wing Commander Aseem Bhatti and while Officiating Commandant Y B Yadav represented the BSF at the meeting, which was held in cordial manner.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They discussed issues of maintenance of peace along borderline during the cultivation by border farmers, cleaning thick growth of grass (Sarkanda) along zero-line and other issues, the officer said. The two sides committed to maintenance of peace along the borderline, he added.
Neither the ATC nor the Navy however are forthcoming about how many commercial flights flew during this period, and whether there were any near-misses.
Representational Image of a Missile
dna Research & Archives
The airspace over the Arabian sea might have been the scene of a great disaster on Saturday. According to the Mumbai Mirror, the Indian Navy conducted defence exercises with surface-to-surface missiles on Saturday even as the airspace remained open for civilian flights.The Mumbai Mirror reports that the Navy had requested closing of airspace for three hours between 12:30 and 3:30 pm on Saturday. However it did not convey to to aviation authorities whether this meant IST or GMT. The Air Traffic Control (ATC) Mumbai assumed it to be GMT. Consequently, airspace remained open for three hours after the exercises had begun.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the Navy had sought a NOTAM – notice to airmen – from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, ATC kept the airspace open during this period and shut it from 6 pm to 9 pm, by which time the exercises were over. Neither the ATC nor the Navy however are forthcoming about how many commercial flights flew during this period, and whether there were any near-misses. Flights on this route usually travel to the Middle East or Europe. The consequences of a missile hit could have been catastrophic in this regard.The mistake came to light at 6 pm when Sandeep Joshi, the Watch Safety Officer on duty at Air Traffic Control in Mumbai made a routine check with the naval officials, says Mirror. “Joshi wanted to check with the naval officers if everything was as per schedule. He was shocked to learn that the exercises had taken place with the airspace open for commercial aircraft,” said a source to the newspaper.In July last year, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukrainian airspace by a missile. This led to considerable tensions between the West and Russia, with the former accusing the latter of deliberate sabotage. A former commercial pilot told Mirror that a similar tragedy could have occurred on Saturday.Commander Rahul Sinha, public relations officer (defence) said: “Procedure-wise, there will never be any danger to any civilian aircraft. There is a lot of surveillance in the area. In fact, the entire area is kept out of bounds for all ships for 24 hours.” Commander Sinha said there was no mistake on the navy’s part in seeking the NOTAM. “The AAI is the competent authority for promulgation of NOTAMs. While planning and conducting naval firing exercises at sea which require issue and promulgation of NOTAMs, the details are conveyed by the Navy to AAI. Over the last week, a few such notices were issued. It is confirmed that correct NOTAMs were issued and all naval firings were undertaken in accordance with these promulgated NOTAMs.”Other senior naval officers said that a check is always conducted during such defence exercises to make sure that no civilian aircraft is in the missile’s path before it is fired. Thus, they blamed the goof up on ‘individual error’, not failures at the level of the Navy and the ATC.Mumbai Air Traffic Control general manager Jayant Dasgupta told the Mirror that ‘talks’ would be held soon to ensure that there is no repeat of what happened on Saturday.
1. J &K: Top Lashkar commander & mastermind of Udhampur BSF convoy attack Abu Qasim killed in encounterTop Lashkar-e-Taiba commander and mastermind of Udhampur attack Abu Qasim alias Abdur Rehman was killedin encounter in South Kashmir on early Thursday. The mastermind behind Udhampur BSF convoy attack was killed by security forces in an ambush at Khanday pora area of Kulgam district. Read more here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. FTII protest: 12 filmmakers return national award as students call off the strikeTo express solidarity with the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) students — who called off their 139-day strike on Wednesday — as many as 12 filmmakers, including two students, returned their national awards. Those who returned their awards included Dibakar Banerjee, Anand Patwardhan and two students, who recently won awards. Read more here.3. Sachin stopped me from retiring in 2007: Virender SehwagDuring his playing days, Virender Sehwag traumatised bowlers all over the world with his ability to hit boundaries. He says he wanted wanted to retire in the same ‘straight forward’ manner — the way he played his cricket. The former Indian opening batsman, however, announced his retirement through social media – twitter — on October 20, his birthday. Read more here.4. Wonder whether supporters of ‘jungle raj’ now regret being called ‘junglis’: Shatrughan SinhaBharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament Shatrughan Sinha on Wednesday said supporters of ‘jungle raj’ (lawlessness) in Bihar would now regret being referred to as junglis (one who lives in the jungle). Read more here.5. Bihar Polls: Let BJP declare they are against black magic, why accuse me of it, says Nitish KumarBihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday strongly refuted suggestions of him being attracted to black magic, or practitioners of it, and added that if the BJP was so concerned about his meeting with a tantric last year, it should openly and categorically declare that it had nothing to do with it, or with ascetics and hermits. Also Read here.
Jammu: BSF on Tuesday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan Rangers over its “unprovoked” cross-border firing which killed one civilian and injured 14 in Jammu and Kashmir over past few days and warned that such acts or any other misadventure will not be tolerated at any cost.
The protest was conveyed at the Sector Commander level Flag Meeting between BSF and Pakistan Rangers at BOP Octroi (Pakistan side) in RS Pura sector of Jammu district which lasted for about two hours.
The Flag Meeting was convened in the wake of renewed firing by Pakistani Rangers after over a month-long lull.
“BSF strongly protested the killing of one civilian and injuries to others due to unprovoked firing of Pakistan Rangers,” a senior BSF officer said after the meeting.
“BSF conveyed it to Pakistan Rangers in strong words that any misadventure on the International Border and the firing and shelling on Indian villages will not be tolerated at any cost,” the officer said.
After a lull of over a month, Pakistan Rangers resorted to heavy firing and mortar shelling from 23 October targeting large number of BoPs and border hamlets with 81, 82 mm mortar bombs and heavy machine guns till on Monday morning. It resulted in the death of a civilian and injuries to 14 others. Over two dozen bovines were also killed or injured.
On 23 October, one civilian labourer Raj Kumar from Chhattisgarh was killed and two other civilians were injured in the firing by Pakistani Rangers along IB in Mangu Chack area on Samba sector.
The next day, five civilians were injured in the Pakistani firing and shelling along IB in Mawa and Bhatti villages in Samba.
On 25 October, six people were injured in Pakistani shelling in Bobiya area along IB in Hirnagar sector of Kathua district. One civilian was injured in Pak firing in Ramgarh belt of samba sector on Monday.
The eight-member Indian side was led by DIG BS Kasana while the 11-member Pakistani delegation was headed by Brig Wasim Jafer Bhatti, Sector Commander of Sialkot.
“The main agenda of the meeting was ongoing cross border firing which was initiated by Pakistan in Samba Sector on October 23, 2015,” the BSF officer said.
“As usual, Pakistan Rangers refuted the allegation and said that they didn’t open fire and counter blamed BSF for firing fiercely on Pakistan posts and villages,” he said.
He said the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and it was agreed that meetings at local level between two border guarding forces should be held more frequently.
The other issues including defence construction and infiltration bids from the Pakistan territory were also discussed and the Pakistani Commander gave an assurance of cooperation from his side in maintaining peace and tranquility on the borders, he said.
“The meeting ended on a positive note,” the officer said.
Last sector commander level meeting was held between BSF and Pakistan Rangers on Octerio BoP along IB in RS Pura sector on 18 March, 2015 as the two sides called for bringing “much needed peace” on the border in the wake of recent exchanges of heavy fire.
Prior to that, BSF and Pak Rangers had held an over three-hour long Sector Commander level flag meeting at Octerio BoP in RS Pura sector in Jammu on 29 August, 2014 after a continuous exchange of fire along the international border from Samba to Kanachak in Jammu & Kashmir for the preceding 45 days.
Talking to reporters at Octerio BOP on Tuesday evening, BSF Inspector General (Jammu Frontier) Rakesh Kumar said, “We have lodged the protest and all those protests are given to them on which they have violated the understanding which was established during the DG-level talks.”
He said, “we have told them that we have zero tolerance towards sniping, zero tolerance for infiltration and zero tolerance for cross border firing on the international border, and especially targeting of the civilian population”.
Replying to questions on the outcome of talks, he said, “In the meetings, Pakistan Rangers appear to be very positive and it appears that now they will follow the norms… Talks do bring results and I am hopeful that these talks will also produce results.”
The firing and shelling from Pakistan Rangers had stopped following Director General-level talks between the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers in Delhi on 12 September. First ceasefire violation after that was witnessed on 23 October.
The meeting has been arranged to discuss Pakistan’s ceasefire violations along the International Border (IB).
The wing commander of the Pakistan Rangers is set to meet BSF chief Devendra Kumar Pathak at 1 pm on Tuesday, at Octorai Post in RS Pura sector of Jammu and Kashmir, reports India Today.The meeting has been arranged to discuss Pakistan’s ceasefire violations along the International Border (IB).The top commander of Pakistan’s border guarding force on had Monday called up the BSF chief to urge Indian troops to stop their retaliatory firing over escalated ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country following which both sides agreed to halt the exchanges.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amidst a spurt in ceasefire violations along the Indo- Pakistan International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, the chief of Pakistan Rangers called up BSF DG DK Pathak urging the Indian side to stop its retaliatory firing.Sources said to PTI that Rangers Director General Major General Umar Farooq Burki told the BSF chief that they have suffered “very heavy” damage because of the BSF response and urged the border guarding force to stop its firing. The Border Security Force (BSF) DG told his counterpart that there will be no retaliation if Pakistan does not initiate the firing, they added.Also read: 5 things you need to know about a flag meetThe Rangers DG, sources said, rang his BSF counterpart this afternoon on the newly-operationalised hotline between the two sides and urged Pathak to ensure tranquillity and stop firing on the border. There have been repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops since October 23.”Both sides agreed to stop the firing, but BSF made it clear that they will retaliate if provoked,” they said.The Indo-Pakistan IB in Jammu and Kashmir was peaceful since the Rangers and BSF held a DG-level conference last month in the national capital recently in September, but fresh violations by the other side began last week. The two sides had decided to create a new mechanism and the two Directors General (DsG) had agreed to activate a hotline to get in direct touch in case of any problems on the border they guard.Pakistan on Monday had targeted 30 border outposts and several hamlets with mortar bombs and heavy machine gun firing in the Samba and Kathua districts of J-K, leaving a civilian injured as ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country it continued for the fourth day. The recent instances of ceasefire violations have left a civilian dead and seven others injured till now on the Indian side.(With PTI inputs)
While Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that OROP would be implemented soon after the Bihar elections, the ex-servicemen are carrying out a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, saying that the announcement made by Parrikar on September 5 regarding the implementation of OROP had several shortcomings.
The ex-servicemen would be taking out a rally at Azad Maidan in Mumbai on October 31 to press for their demands regarding the One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. Mumbai convener of the Indian Ex-servicemen movement (IESM) Col Harbhajnik Singh (Retd) said the grievance over OROP dates back to 1973 when earlier OROP scheme was withdrawn by the Centre.”Narendra Modi had declared in election campaign at Rewari, Haryana, on September 15, 2013 that his government would implement OROP within 100 days of coming to power. However, the announcement of OROP on September 5, 2015, was an apology for OROP,” Col Singh said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Rallies are being held across the country to make people aware of the machinations of the babus and netas who have relentlessly denied OROP to veterans after withdrawing it in 1973 within 18 months of the 1971 war victory,” he said.IESM convener in Mumbai, Commander SH Kalawat (Retd) and Commodore RPS Ravi, VSM, Retd, also briefed the media on the continued OROP agitation.While Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that OROP would be implemented soon after the Bihar elections, the ex-servicemen are carrying out a relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, saying that the announcement made by Parrikar on September 5 regarding the implementation of OROP had several shortcomings.
A multi-role light frigate of Indonesian Navy is in Kochi on a two-day visit during which its personnel would meet Southern Naval command officers.
A multi-role light frigate of Indonesian Navy is in Kochi on a two-day visit during which its personnel would meet Southern Naval command officers.Commanding Officer of the Indonesian Naval ship KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda (367) Commander Gung Putu Alit Jaya called on Rear Admiral R B Pandit, the Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command soon after arrival here on Saturday, a Navy release said on Sunday.”Other interaction includes sporting fixtures between the two navies as well as exchange of visits by specialist officers and men from both the countries with Indian Navy personnel visiting the Indonesian Naval ship and Indonesian personnel visiting the training facilities at Southern Naval Command,” it said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda is a Diponegoro Class ship and was commissioned in 2008.The ship is here en route to Belawan (Indonesia) and is planned to depart from Kochi on Monday morning, the release said.
A Maoist couple carrying cash reward on their heads, surrendered along with weapons in Raipur on Thursday citing disappointment with the “anti-people” activities by the outlawed CPI (Maoist) in Bastar, police said.
A Maoist couple carrying cash reward on their heads, surrendered along with weapons in Raipur on Thursday citing disappointment with the “anti-people” activities by the outlawed CPI (Maoist) in Bastar, police said.”Sannnu Poyam (40) and his wife Maini Majji (22) turned themselves at the police headquarter, Naya Raipur, expressing their desire to join the mainstream,” Additional Director General of Police (anti-naxal operations) R K Vij said in a press conference.The commander of military platoon No. 13 of Maoist, Sannu, a native of Jangla in Bijapur district, has been involved in several naxal incidents in south Chhattisgarh during past a decade, Vij said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He surrendered along with an AK-47 rifle.Sanuu had joined the banned outfit as a member of its frontal wing-Dandakaranya Adivasi Majdoor Sangh in 2003 and since then has served in different capacities within it, the ADG said adding he was carrying a reward of Rs 8 lakh on his head.Similarly, Maini was also a crucial member of the outfit who was delivering the role of a doctor for Bhairamgarh Local Guerilla Squad (LGS) in Bijapur.She also worked in the press section of the rebels for sometime as she had studied till class seventh, he said.A reward of Rs 1 lakh was announced for her arrest.The two will be rehabilitated as per the policy of the state government, Vij said.Talking to reporters, surrendered cadre Sannu said, “I was disappointed with the activities of my colleagues like destroying school buildings, halting development works and snatching ration and ration card of villagers.People were both afraid and troubled with the activities of Maoists which prompted me to quit the movement.”Besides, exploitation of local leaders from senior cadres of Andhra Pradesh was also one of the reasons for surrender, he said.Moreover he claimed that the platoon that he had left has been going through a tough time in dearth of cadres and armoury.
TRAPANI, Italy Germany, Turkey and Italy are set to keep their deployments in Afghanistan at current levels, senior NATO officials said on Monday after the U.S. government decided to prolong its 14-year-old military presence there.
The Taliban’s brief takeover of a provincial capital has raised concern about the strength of Afghan state forces and both the United States and its NATO allies now say events, rather than timetables, must dictate gradual troop reductions.
Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander in Europe, said he had assurances that NATO countries will continue alongside the nearly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. While discussions of exact numbers are still continuing, the biggest national deployments are not in doubt, he said.
“Several of our largest contributors have already communicated with us that they will remain in their current posture,” Breedlove told Reuters.
He declined to give details. But a second senior NATO official said Germany, Turkey and Italy were willing to remain in Afghanistan at their current levels.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said last week that Italy is considering keeping its soldiers in Afghanistan for another year. The official said that “our understanding is that is going to happen.”
Germany, as the top NATO-country contributor, has around 850 troops in Afghanistan, followed by Italy with 760 and about 500 for Turkey, according to the latest NATO data.
“We should make any changes on our troop structure based on conditions on the ground, not on schedules,” Breedlove said. “Other nations are already ringing in that they are committed.”
Unlike the United States, NATO has never set an end date to its “Resolute Support” training mission in Afghanistan, currently a 6,000-strong force that also includes troops from some 40 countries, including NATO members, the United States and their allies.
A formal decision is expected to come at NATO’s next meeting of its foreign ministers in Brussels in early December, a third official said.
Although Afghan forces have recaptured the strategic northern city of Kunduz, its brief fall to the Taliban last month underscored concerns about the capabilities of Afghanistan’s security forces.
A U.S. military strike in Kunduz that hit an Afghan hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, or Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), also generated international outcry and underscored the perils of leaving a fragile country too quickly.
U.S. President Barack Obama had aimed to withdraw all but a small U.S. force before leaving office, pinning his hopes on training and equipping local forces to contain Taliban militants fighting to return to power.
But now he will slow plans to draw down U.S. troops from Afghanistan and instead keep the current force of 9,800 through most of 2016 before beginning to trim levels from 2017.
Washington has spent around $65 billion on preparing the fledgling Afghan security forces of about 350,000 personnel.
That is still far from complete, with Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen saying last week in Brussels that NATO needed to make sure the Afghans were capable of keeping their country stable.
U.S. Defence Secretary Ash Carter is also preparing a U.S. funding request to sustain Afghan troops at their target peak levels of around 350,000 in 2017 “and beyond”.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Bhaderwah: Two militants, who had deserted as Special Police Officers (SPOs) a month back to re-join militancy, were on Thursday killed in an encounter with army and police in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.
Doda saw an encounter after about four years as it has remained almost free from militancy all these years.
Those killed in the encounter have been identified as Ghulam Nabi Mangnoo alias Maulvi code name Gulla Tailor and Raiz Ahmed, police said.
The duo deserted the police on the night of 7-8 September and ran away with an AK rifle, an INSAS rifle with 60 and 70 rounds, police said, adding they had rejoined militancy.
While Maulvi had surrendered as the District Commander of Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) in 2010 and joined as an SPO, Raiz had surrendered as the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) terrorist in 2010.
Acting on a specific information about the presence of SPO-turned-militants in Gadi forest area, Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operation Group (SoG) Doda launched a joint operation last night, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Doda, Zahid Naseem Manhas told PTI.
“At 4 am, both the militants were tracked down in Gadi Nullah. As the search operation was going on, the militants, who were hiding in the area, tried to break the cordon and opened firing on the forces,” Manhas said.
An encounter followed and the duo were killed, he said.
Maulvi had joined LeT in 2003 and Raiz joined Hizbul in 1999, they said.
“We were tracking them and today eliminated them in an encounter in Gadi Nallah. The area has been free from militancy for the past several years and these two SPOs had run away with weapons but we eliminated them within shortest period”, IG (Jammu Zone) Danish Rana said.
“They were trying to revive militancy in Doda district”, he said.
Defence PRO SN Acharya added that the bodies have been recovered along with one AK rifle and an INSAS rifle with some ammunition.
Doda last saw an encounter on 10 June, 2011 when two foreign-origin LeT militants were killed. They were identified as Javed alias Hurera and Akhter alias Ilyas Mubashir.
To make communication secure, terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has developed an exclusive mobile application for its operatives in Jammu and Kashmir, reported a leading daily.
Mohammad Naveed (File picture)
To make communication secure, terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has developed an exclusive mobile application for its operatives in Jammu and Kashmir, reports Hindustan Times. HT report quotes central counter terror official saying that LeT terrorist Mohammad Naveed, who was arrested after an attack on a BSF convoy in Udhampur, told interrogators that his commander in Kashmir was using an app to stay in touch with him and other operatives.The application allows the user to make phone calls and send text messages to other users who have the same application. The official also said that they suspect that the app is running on a separate server that may be installed in Pakistan. Technical experts at NIA are trying to get more details about the application, added report.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, during 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service was used by attackers to stay in touch with their commander.Also read: Udhampur attack: Terrorist Naved Yakub wants to go back to Pakistan to kill LeT handlers, says reportNaved had entered India several days before the Udhampur attack and was part of a two-member group which crossed in.Before entering Indian border, Naved had undergone two training modules, ‘Daur-e-Aam’ and ‘Daura-e-Khas’. While the first module teaches LeT cadre physical fitness, mountaineering and use of small arms, in the second they are trained in using assault rifles and manufacture of small explosives. Naved comes from a rather well-to-do family. One of his brothers is said to be a lecturer while another is running a hosiery business in Faisalabad. He has one sister. Naved has himself not studied much.
Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PSMA) spokesman Lt Commander Wajid Nawaz said that all the fishermen were arrested when they were in Pakistani waters.
Pakistan has arrested 70 Indian fishermen for allegedly violating its territorial waters off the coast of southern Sindh province, an official said on Sunday.The arrests were made yesterday and the fishermen were brought to provincial capital Karachi.Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PSMA) spokesman Lt Commander Wajid Nawaz said that all the fishermen were arrested when they were in Pakistani waters.”We arrested 70 fishermen yesterday,” Nawaz told PTI.He said the fishermen will be handed over to police in Karachi to register cases against them.Nawaz said that 10 boats were also confiscated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier reports had said that Pakistan arrested 100 fishermen.Both countries regularly arrest fishermen who stray in each other’s waters due to poorly marked sea boundary.
Here is a curated list of top 5 stories for your afternoon read.
1. Dadri killing: Victim’s family meet UP CM Akhilesh Yadav
The family members of Mohammad Akhlaq, who was killed by a mob over reports of possessing beef at his residence, met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav here on Sunday. Yadav had earlier announced a compensation of Rs. 20 lakh to the kin of 50-year-old Akhlaq. The Chief Minister had also assured justice to the family of Akhlaq and said those responsible would be severely punished. Read More <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. Top mainstream parties of Nepal unite against IndiaThree main parties in Nepal have come together against India’s bid for participation in Nepal’s constitution-making process. The main parties, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), Nepali Congress (NC) and Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) have come together to oppose India’s efforts to customize Nepal’s new constitution to its own requirements. Read More 3. Did the Indian army plan to topple the Rajiv Gandhi government in 1987?In a sensational claim that may bring into limelight cracks in the relationship between the army and the ruling class in the past, a former Army commander has claimed that there was a plan to topple Rajiv Gandhi’s government in 1987. An army coup was planned to execute the operation, reports a leading daily. Read More 4. Japanese shot dead in Bangladesh, ISIS claims responsibilityA 66-year-old Japanese man, known for philanthropic work, was today shot dead by the Islamic State militants in Bangladesh, the second foreigner to be gunned down in a week after an Italian aid worker was killed in a near-identical attack by the dreaded outfit. Read More 5. Nagpur: 20-year-old girl set ablaze on eatery’s terrace, battles for life
A 20-year-old girl in Nagpur was allegedly set on fire by some unidentified persons near a city lake, police said. The incident came to light after victim, Nikita Sulwani, was seen engulfed in flames on the terrace of a closed restaurant near a picnic spot at Futala lake in the western part of city shortly after midnight, they said.The person who saw her screaming for help came to her rescue and got her admitted to a private nursing home. Read More With agency inputs
The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border
A ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between India and China was held near Bumla in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of Chinese National Day, weeks after a face-off between the two along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.The Indian delegation was led by Brigadier D S Kushwah, Commander of Tawang Brigade while Colonel Tang Fu Cheng, Commander of Tsona Dzong Garrison represented the Chinese delegation, a defence communique informed in Itanagar on Saturday. The meeting was marked by unfurling the national flags of India and China, followed by ceremonial address by both the delegation leaders. Thereafter a function showcasing vibrant cultures took place, the statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border. Both delegations interacted with each other in a congenial and cordial environment. The delegations parted amidst feelings of bonhomie and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the LAC.Both sides also sought to build on the mutual feeling for upholding the treaties and agreements signed between the governments of the two sides to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC, the communique added.A similar exchange of pleasantries between the two countries was yesterday held at the Chinese Border Personnel Meeting huts at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in eastern Ladakh to mark the 67 Anniversary of Chinese National Day.The BPM, on the occasion of Chinese National Day on October 1, is conducted every year by Chinese troops with great enthusiasm, the communique said.
Itanagar: A ceremonial Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) between India and China was held near Bumla in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of Chinese National Day, weeks after a face-off between the two along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.
The Indian delegation was led by Brigadier D S Kushwah, Commander of Tawang Brigade while Colonel Tang Fu Cheng, Commander of Tsona Dzong Garrison represented the Chinese delegation, a defence communique informed in Itanagar on Friday.
The meeting was marked by unfurling the national flags of India and China, followed by ceremonial address by both the delegation leaders. Thereafter a function showcasing vibrant cultures took place, the statement said.
The proceedings reflected a mutual desire of maintaining and improving relations at the border.
Both delegations interacted with each other in a congenial and cordial environment.
The delegations parted amidst feelings of bonhomie and commitment towards enhancing the existing cordial relations and maintaining peace along the LAC.
Both sides also sought to build on the mutual feeling for upholding the treaties and agreements signed between the governments of the two sides to maintain peace and tranquility along the LAC, the communique added.
A similar exchange of pleasantries between the two countries was held Thursday at the Chinese Border Personnel Meeting huts at Chushul and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) in eastern Ladakh to mark the 67 Anniversary of Chinese National Day.
The BPM, on the occasion of Chinese National Day on October 1, is conducted every year by Chinese troops with great enthusiasm, the communique said.
Up to 1150 militants are in about 17 training camps in Pakistan and parts of Kashmir under its occupation and about 325 ultras are at launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) waiting to sneak in, a top Army commander said in Srinagar on Tuesday.
dna Research & Archives
Up to 1150 militants are in about 17 training camps in Pakistan and parts of Kashmir under its occupation and about 325 ultras are at launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC) waiting to sneak in, a top Army commander said in Srinagar on Tuesday.”As per our intelligence inputs, there are about 17 terrorist training camps in Pakistan and PoK put together. Out of that, nine are opposite the 15 Corps zone. Four each in Manshera which is in Pakistan and Muzaffarabad.”Total strength of terrorists in these camps is anything between 1000 to 1150,” General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 corps Lt Gen Satish Dua told reporters in Srinagar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that there are 23 different launch pads on the other side closer to the LoC having strength of 315 to 325 militants waiting for opportunity to sneak in. There is a bulge in the militants in the launch pads because they are unable to get across, Gen Dua said.”Whenever they have tried an infiltration bid, it has always been foiled or the militants have been eliminated. So, what is happening is that their numbers are swelling up but they are unable to get across,” the Army commander said.Lt Gen Dua said the militants have become desperate as their masters want them to do “something”.”So much so that they are under pressure from their masters to do something and several times they just try and sneak in and attempt is to just target either civilian or military targets very close to the LoC and then go back,” he said.
Subsequently, the flight touched down at Delhi Airport at 5 am and the passenger was immediately rushed to hospital on arrival, AI said
A passenger onboard complained of breathlessness and was in need of urgent medical attention
An Air India flight to New York was on Saturday recalled to IGI airport here due to medical emergency onboard, after being airborne for about two-and-half hours. The commander of Air India flight AI-101, which took off from Indira Gandhi international Airport here for New York at 1.56 am today, landed back at 5.00 am after a passenger onboard the flight complained of breathing problem, Air India said in a statement.”The Boeing B777 long haul non-stop flight departed from Delhi with 327 passengers onboard. However, soon a passenger onboard complained of breathlessness and was in need of urgent medical attention. “Showing a high degree of sensitivity, commander Zoya Agarwal decided to return to Delhi so that the passenger gets timely medical assistance,” the statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Subsequently, the flight touched down at Delhi Airport at 5 am and the passenger was immediately rushed to hospital on arrival, it said adding, his condition is stable now. Later, the flight took off for its destination, the statement added.
New Delhi: The veterans of the 1965 India-Pakistan war have refused to attend a tea party organised by their supreme commander, the President of India, to felicitate them. They instead have charged the government with short-changing them on the One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue and questioned the silence of the President on it.
In a letter to the President Pranab Mukherjee, on behalf of ex-servicemen, especially those who were a part of the 1965 war, Wing Commander (retd) Vinod Nebb wrote: “I write to you as a proud Armed Forces Veteran, who contributed to this war like many others… Due to the circumstances and details outlined, I sadly decline your prestigious invitation. This invitation, the purpose and the occasion will not repeat itself in my life time and this makes it even harder for me to decline… With utmost respect Sir, I look towards you as our Supreme Commander and leader of the Armed Forces to ask, why are you silent? Why would you invite me to an event, which to us veterans is symbolic of our blood, sweat and dignity and play to the government ‘show’ of respect to us and our achievements?”
It’s not just Wg Cdr Nebb, all ex-servicemen who have been part of the protest demanding OROP for over 90 days at Jantar Mantar in the heart of Delhi, have said they will boycott the invitation from the President for the event scheduled on 22 September. Besides not accepting the OROP format announced by the government, they have also decided to boycott the golden jubilee celebration of the Indo-Pak war of 1965.
In a similar gesture, Grp Capt (retd) VK Gandhi has refused to be a part of the celebration and deposited his medals as a mark of protest.
The ex-servicemen find ‘’serious shortcomings” in the OROP scheme announced by the government on 5 September.
“Whatever the government announced is not the OROP. It’s only an enhancement of pension. It’s a repetition of what the previous UPA government did. There are seven serious shortcomings in the implementation of the OROP as announced by the defence minister. We’re not accepting it and we’ve decided to boycott not only the President’s tea invitation, but also the golden jubilee functions of the Indo-Pak war of 1965,” Col Anil Kaul (retd) told Firstpost.
Col Kirit Joshipura (retd), an 80-year-old veteran of the 1965 war said, “We’re not accepting any shortchanges this time. Over the decades, the defence personnel have already accepted many. It was the government’s Koshiyari Committee that clearly mentioned about the OROP, which the Parliament accepted, but now the government has been violating it.”
The United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM) has given in writing to the Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar the seven shortcomings in the OROP implementation that are unacceptable to them:
– Base year for OROP implementation agreed to as FY 2013-14, “changed to” calendar year 2013.
– Date of implementation agreed to 01 April, 2014, “pushed forward” to 01 July 2014.
– Instead of equalizing the pensions annually as per approved definition, “equalization has been announced “once in five years”.
– “Substitution” of a one-man judicial commission instead of the five-member as suggested.
– The exclusion of those who opt for Premature Release from benefits accruing from OROP.
– The fixing of pension to be done as a mean average of the pay band instead of the top level.
– The suggestion of handing over the working out of modalities to 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC) have been objected to since once adopted by the Parliament, no CPC or any other commission has the authority to adjudicate.
“The last three points were never discussed at any level with the government representatives. Moreover, some ‘dumb bureaucrat’ or may be a cunning one introduced Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) in the OROP discussion to delay the implementation process,” Vadodara-based war veteran, Wg Cdr MMS Paintal, said.
Added Col Kaul, media advisor to UFESM, “If implemented in its present form, it will not only violate the definition of OROP but cause heavy financial hardship to all ranks.”
The ex-servicemen have decided to hold a bikers’ rally from all corners of the country, followed by a mega rally in mid-December. They will conduct marches in towns and use Raahagiri in Delhi to communicate their message. They are also planning to fan out to poll-bound states such as Bihar and approach voters with their issue.
Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, chairman, Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), has appealed to the ex-servicemen not to break under any pressure.
“Everyday three to four military personnel are martyred. Instead of showing respect and dignity to those who deserve it, the government is now trying to gag us. We’ll continue with our fight, even if it takes another five years,” he said.
Washington: India presents a wonderful opportunity to the United States, a top US Pacific command official has told lawmakers here as the Obama Administration proceeds ahead with its ambitious plan to strengthen its defence ties with India.
“India presents a wonderful opportunity for us. They share our values and our norms. One of my objectives is to improve that relationship with India,” Admiral Harry B Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) told members of Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on maritime security strategy in the Asia Pacific.
“I’m excited by the opportunities we have with India by the work that the Secretary of Defence has done and the Assistant Secretary of Defence Kendall has done with regard to the DTTI, the defence initiative with India, to help them build up their military and help them build an aircraft carrier, and aircraft carrier capability,” Harris said in response to a question.
In his testimony, David B Shear, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said in South Asia, the US is working with the Indian Navy on aircraft carrier technology sharing and design.
The US-India Joint Aircraft Carrier Working Group (JACWG) had its first formal meeting in August, led by Vice ADM Cheema, the Commander in Chief of India’s Western Fleet, he said.
Shear was in India last week holding talks with Indian officials on developing strategies to implement the vision of the leaders of the two countries — US President Barack Obama, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi – with regard to the Asia Pacific region.
“When President Obama was in India for meetings with Prime Minister Modi in January, they issued a joint strategic vision on the Indian Ocean and East Asia. And we’re in the process of devising ways of implementing that joint strategic vision,” he said.
In response to a question, Shear said the US already has a robust bilateral cooperation with the India.
“We’ll be looking at together ways to strengthening partnership. We conduct an annual exercise, the Malabar exercise in which we and Indians have just decided to include the Japanese. So that will be every year now. That will be a strong trilateral exercise in the region,” he said.
“We are looking at other, particularly in maritime domain awareness to strengthen what we do with the Indians because we have very strong common interest,” Shear said.
“I’m excited by the opportunities we have with India by the work that the Secretary of Defence has done and the Assistant Secretary of Defence Kendall has done with regard to the DTTI, the defence initiative with India, to help them build up their military and help them build an aircraft carrier, and aircraft carrier capability,” Harris said in response to a question.
File Photo: Ashton Carter (L) shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi
India presents a wonderful opportunity to the United States, a top US Pacific command official has told lawmakers as the Obama Administration proceeds ahead with its ambitious plan to strengthen its defence ties with India.”India presents a wonderful opportunity for us. They share our values and our norms. One of my objectives is to improve that relationship with India,” Admiral Harry B Harris, Commander of the US Pacific Command (PACOM) told members of Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing on maritime security strategy in the Asia Pacific.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I’m excited by the opportunities we have with India by the work that the Secretary of Defence has done and the Assistant Secretary of Defence Kendall has done with regard to the DTTI, the defence initiative with India, to help them build up their military and help them build an aircraft carrier, and aircraft carrier capability,” Harris said in response to a question.In his testimony, David B Shear, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs, said in South Asia, the US is working with the Indian Navy on aircraft carrier technology sharing and design.The US-India Joint Aircraft Carrier Working Group (JACWG) had its first formal meeting in August, led by Vice ADM Cheema, the Commander in Chief of India’s Western Fleet, he said.Shear was in India last week holding talks with Indian officials on developing strategies to implement the vision of the leaders of the two countries — US President Barack Obama, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi with regard to the Asia Pacific region. “When President Obama was in India for meetings with Prime Minister Modi in January, they issued a joint strategic vision on the Indian Ocean and East Asia. And we’re in the process of devising ways of implementing that joint strategic vision,” he said.In response to a question, Shear said the US already has a robust bilateral cooperation with the India.”We’ll be looking at together ways to strengthening partnership. We conduct an annual exercise, the Malabar exercise in which we and Indians have just decided to include the Japanese. So that will be every year now. That will be a strong trilateral exercise in the region,” he said.”We are looking at other, particularly in maritime domain awareness to strengthen what we do with the Indians because we have very strong common interest,” Shear said.
WASHINGTON China appears to be carrying out preparatory work for a third airstrip in contested territory in the South China Sea, a U.S. expert said on Monday, citing satellite photographs taken last week.
The photographs taken for Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank on Sept. 8 show construction on Mischief Reef, one of seven artificial islands China has created in the Spratly archipelago.
The images show a retaining wall around an area 3,000 meters (3,280 yards) long, matching similar work by China on two other reefs in the Spratlys, Subi and Fiery Cross, said Greg Poling, director of CSIS’s Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI).
Poling said the work “more likely than not indicates preparations for a runway” on the reef.
Satellite photographs from late June showed China had almost finished a 3,000-meter airstrip on Fiery Cross.
Poling said other satellite photos from last week showed work was advancing at Subi Reef, where “clearly, what we have seen is going to be a 3,000-meter airstrip and we have seen some more work on what is clearly going to be some port facilities for ships.”
Asked about Mischief Reef on Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei repeated China’s claim to “indisputable sovereignty” over the Spratly islands and its right to establish military facilities there.
Security experts say 3,000-meter airstrips would be long enough to accommodate most Chinese military aircraft, giving Beijing greater reach into the heart of maritime Southeast Asia, where it has competing claims with several countries.
News of the advancing work comes ahead of a visit to Washington next week by Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. worries about China’s increasingly assertive territorial claims are expected to be high on the agenda.
A spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department, Commander Bill Urban, declined to comment specifically on Poling’s assessment, but repeated U.S. calls for a halt to land reclamation, construction and militarization of South China Sea outposts to “ease tensions and create space for diplomatic solutions.”
“China’s stated intentions with its program, and continued construction, will not reduce tensions or lead to a meaningful diplomatic solution,” he added.
A new airstrip at Mischief Reef would be particularly worrying for the Philippines, a rival claimant in the South China Sea. It would allow China to mount “more or less constant” patrols over Reed Bank, where the Philippines has long explored for oil and gas, Poling said.
Three airstrips, once completed, would allow China to threaten all air traffic over the features it has reclaimed in the South China Sea, he said, adding that it would be especially worrying if China were to install advanced air defenses.
The Philippine government had no immediate comment.
China stepped up creation of artificial islands in the South China Sea last year, drawing strong criticism from Washington.
(Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Manuel Mogato in Manila; Editing by Jonathan Oatis, Christian Plumb and Dean Yates)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Faisal Shaikh, accomplices zeroed in on local trains after finding tight security at BSE, WTC, Siddhivinayak and Mahalaxmi temples
Policemen escort Faisal Shaikh outside Arthur road prison in Mumbai on Friday. (Right) A mangled train compartment after the 2006 blasts.
Faisal Shaikh, prime accused in the July 11, 2006, Mumbai serial train blasts, had come under the radar of security agencies in 2004. Though security agencies had questioned him, they had no inkling that this was a terrorist who had undergone training at many Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) camps in Pakistan in 2002 and would eventually plan the train blasts.Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) officials told dna that Shaikh was arrested in Saudi Arabia in October 2004, while on way to Mecca. Though Faisal declared to the Saudi police that he was a Pakistani national, he couldn’t produce a passport. But the Saudi police recovered an Indian driving licence from him, and he was jailed for a few days. “Indian embassy officials intervened and sent him to New Delhi on an ’emergency certificate’,” ATS officials said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At that time, he questioned and let off as there was no offences registered against him.It now comes to light that Faisal trained under LeT commander Azam Cheema in Pakistan at the order of 26/11 mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.Faisal, originally from Malegaon, went to Kothrud in Pune after completing his junior college in Mumbai. But after failing in his exams, Faisal dropped out of college. In 1996, Faisal and his brother Rahil came into contact with Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) sympathisers Sohail Shaikh and Rizwan Dawre (now wanted in the 11/7 case) in Pune.In 2001, Faisal, Rahil and third brother, Muzammil, attended many SIMI meetings soon developed a radical mentality.By now, Faisal was clear it’s time for action. He was also clear about the next destination. On the pretext of meeting a relative in Pakistan, he secured a visa. Faisal’s friend, Asif Abdul Rashid Shaikh, a resident of Kuber Garden in Pune, provided him the phone number of LeT operator Abu Harara from Lahore.In January 2002, Faisal boarded the Samjhauta Express, reached Lahore and contacted Harara. Harara gave Faisal the address of Dawa-ul-Irshad at Chuburji Chowk in Lahore. The place was later identified as a recruitment hub of LeT. Faisal met Harara in Lahore and stayed there for a few days.Faisal then met Abdul Razzak (wanted in the 11/7 case). Razzak, a resident of Hyderabad in India, had been training with the LeT for five months. Razzak told Faisal that though Zaki-ur-Rehman looks after training, Faisal would have to work with Cheema.Razzak then sent Faisal to Karachi, where one Abu Zubair introduced him to another LeT commander Arif Kasmani. Kasmani told Faisal that he had trained several Indian Muslim youths and sent Faisal to a training centre in Muzaffarabad with Razzak. Faisal completed his training under the centre in-charge, Abu Rizwan.Faisal told the police that during training, officials from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Pakistan military used to visit them and meet LeT commanders Kasmani, Cheema and Abu Muzzamil. After training, Cheema gave Rs 25,000 to Faisal with the orders that he should send youths in large numbers for training to Pakistan. Faisal then returned to India by the Samjhauta Express.Once Faisal was in India, Cheema kept sending money to him through the hawala route and Faisal started recruiting youths in order to send them to Pakistan. He sent Nagpada resident Dr Tanvir Ansari, Worli resident Jameer, Ahmedabad resident Ubaid Chipa, Grant Road resident Raheel Abdul Rehman Shaikh, Beed resident Faiyyaz Kagzi (both wanted-accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case), Firoz Ghaswala and his own brother, Muzammil, to Pakistan for training.According to a statement by Faisal, in January 2006, Cheema asked Faisal to select an appropriate target where the team could make a big incident happen. “Faisal, along with other convicts, Zamir and Sohail Shaikh, roamed around in local railway stations and visited World Trade Centre, Stock Exchange, Mahalakshmi temple, Siddhivinayak temple and a few big shopping malls. They found that security arrangements were very strict in the BSE, World Trade Centre and the temples. Then, it occurred to him that local trains will be the ideal targets,” said an ATS officer.Faisal then contacted Cheema in February 2006 and updated him about his choice. Cheema also liked the target and asked him to contemplate still more on it. “Faisal also travelled in local trains from Mumbai to Virar with Ehtesham Siddiqui, Tanvir Ansari, Jamir, Muzammil and Sohail Shaikh and found it easier to explode bombs at peak hours. He chose a working day evening for the act as trains are too crowded that point in time. Also, it will be very easy for them to mix in the crowd,” the officer said.Who is Azam Cheema?Born in 1953, Cheema was one of the top LeT operation commanders till 2006. Cheema, alias Babaji, is a resident of Javed Chaudhary Bungalow at Chiburji Chowk in Bahawalpur in Pakistan. In 2006, Cheema was heading the LeT training centre at Muzaffarabad. In 2004, the first red-corner notice (RCN) was issued against him, when his name figured in an arms seizure case in Patan, Gujarat. Faisal was jailed in Saudi in 2004According to a statement by Faisal Shaikh to the ATS, Cheema made a Pakistani passport for him in the name of Mohmad Akram and attached a pilgrimage visa with it. “In October 2004, Faisal used this passport to go to Saudi. He visited Mecca on a few occasions. Once, while on his way to Mecca , he was going through a routine security check. He told the police that he is a Pakistani. But during the search, the police found that Faisal was carrying no passport but an Indian driving licence. Subsequently, he was jailed for three days. He was then taken to Jeddah and was kept behind bars for four days. “There, Indian embassy officials intervened and sent him to Delhi with an “emergency certificate”, said an ATS officer.
Of the six absconding accused, three carry a reward of eight lakhs while the other three five lakhs.
NIA had earlier released a sketch of some of the militants.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday announced a cash reward for six terrorists in connection with Udhampur terror strike on a BSF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir. Of the six absconding accused, three carry a reward of eight lakhs while the other three five lakhs. The accused are accomplices of a Pakistani national and a self-styled commander of LeT in Kashmir Abdul Rehman. A Pakistani LeT terrorist Mohd. Naveed was caught alive in the terror attack on BSF convoy on August 5th. (
Srinagar: Clashes broke out in Srinagar on Friday between police and people protesting against the Jammu and Kashmir High Court directive to ban beef in the state with some youth displaying Pakistani and ISIS flags.
After Friday prayers, a group of masked youth set ablaze the tricolor and displayed several controversial flags including that of Islamic State, Al-Jehad terror outfits and banners resembling Pakistani flag near the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of downtown Srinagar.
They also carried posters of Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Saeed and Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar.
Some protesters also pelted stones at police personnel posted on law and order duty in the area. Police fired tear smoke shells to disperse them, a police official said.
The were no reports of any injuries.
The clashes were going on till reports last come in, the official said.
Meanwhile, several bovine animals were reportedly slaughtered in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district as a mark of protest against the High Court order.
Bangkok: Two Indians have been taken into custody for questioning after they were seen on CCTVs talking to a foreign suspect wanted in Thailand’s deadliest bombing at a temple in Bangkok while a person arrested in the case told police that the mastermind of the attack had fled the country.
The two Indians, who were not identified, have been taken to a military camp for questioning, The Nation quoted police as saying.
“Nothing is really known so far about the Indians and it is not clear what the questioning is about,” sources told PTI.
The two Indians, whose names were withheld, were taken away for questioning after Assistant Police Commissioner General Prawut Thawornsiri led a team to search the Maimuna Garden Home apartment in Minburi at 9 pm on Sunday night.
The two Indians were staying in the room next to the one where police found bomb making materials, the paper said.
A foreigner who lived at the room and a Thai woman who rented the room for him are now wanted in the case.
Thai police is closely combing areas in search of people behind the 17 August bomb blast at the popular Erawan Brahma Shrine which killed 20 people and injured more than 100 others.
A combined force of police and army officers on Sunday raided several apartment buildings and rented houses in Minburi district.
Coloner Wattana Yichin, deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police overseeing Minburi police station, said the raid was part of crime suppression measures as many foreigners rent apartments and houses in the area.
Police so far have issued arrest warrants against ten suspects in connection with the case.
Two foreign suspects have been arrested. One of them was carrying a Chinese passport.
Meanwhile, a suspect who was arrested near the Cambodia border identified as Yusufu Meralli, told military interrogators he assembled the bomb for the actual bomber, who is yet to be nabbed.
The first man arrested, Adem Karadak, also known as Bilal Mohammed, has been shifted from military custody to prison.
Meralli admitted he assembled the bomb before handing it to a yellow-shirted suspect who was seen on CCTV at the shrine leaving behind a backpack which would have had the explosive device.
Mieraili had told the military that he was asked to assemble the bomb, Bangkok Post quoted police sources as saying. Mieraili identified the mastermind of the attack only as Izaan. He said Izaan commanded the operation by using WhatsApp chatting application.
According to a source, Mierali testified that Izaan left Thailand via Suvarnabhumi International Airport on 16 August, a day before the bombing, to China and then headed to Bangladesh.
Mieraili claimed he had never met the yellow-shirted suspect before.
He said Izaan told him to buy bomb-making chemicals via Internet to make bombs. He reported to Izaan after the bombs were made, the paper said.
He was then ordered to carry a backpack with a bomb to leave it under a bench on a bank of Phadung Krungkasem Canal near Hua Lampong Railway station.
Mieraili said the man in yellow shirt came to switch his backpack with the one with the bomb. He said he did not meet the man in yellow in person.
He said the mastermind also instructed him to take a video clip of the bomb attack but he dared not do it for fear of being arrested.
Mieraili was carrying a Chinese passport which mentioned his place of birth as China’s western region of Xinjiang, but it is not known if it was forged.
Sajid aged the LeT operations commander for South Kashmir and Hanzla Asnan, the LeT commander for North Kashmir arrived from Islamabad to PoK.
Two top LeT commanders came all the way from Islamabad to Naved (above) and Nouman off
When Mohammad Naved Yakub, the Pakistani terrorist caught during Udhampur attack, and his three associates sneaked into India on June 2, two top LeT commanders came all the way from Islamabad to see them off besides handing over arms and ammunition. According to a dossier prepared to be given to Pakistan during the now-cancelled NSA level talks, Naved, after completing four months’ training at Daura-e-Lashkar camp in Muzaffarabad in PoK on May 20, 2015, left in a Hyundai open supply vehicle of LeT, along with Mohammed Bhai, Mouwaz, Abu Ali and one Ahmed. The group reached ‘Halen Det’ at Forward Kahuta next day. The ‘Halen Det’ camp was supervised by one Qital Sindhi. The group was received by Abu Ukasha, a person named Muslim and another person Zarrar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”On May 25, Sajid aged about 45 years, the LeT operations commander for South Kashmir and Hanzla Asnan, also aged about 45, the LeT commander for North Kashmir along with Noman, a resident of Bahawalpur (terrorist killed in the Udhampur attack) arrived in a car from Islamabad at Halen Det Mosque, Forward Kathua, Pakistan occupied Kashmir,” the dossier says.Noman was the “leader of the group” of terrorists who sneaked into India. The LeT commanders handed over to each of the four terrorists an E-Trax GPS device, a wireless set, a compass, a printed map on flex sheet, an AK-47 with six magazines, two hand grenades, a digital watch, a black-coloured track suit, a pair of shoes and Rs 50,000 of Indian currency.”In addition, the group carried two mobile handsets but they were not used by them,” the dossier says.
Havildar Bal Singh was rushed to the Army Research and Referral hospital after his health took a turn for the worst and he fainted.
ongoing protest at the Jantar Mantar entered its 77th day today with constant flow of family members and other supporters (File photo)
A 70-year-old Army veteran who was on a relay hunger strike here as part of agitation by veterans for early implementation of ‘One Rank One Pension’ today collapsed on stage and was rushed to the Army hospital where his condition is said to be stable. The incident took place even as the protest by ex-servicemen entered its 77th day.Havildar Bal Singh was rushed to the Army Research and Referral hospital after his health took a turn for the worst and he fainted. Veterans said his condition is stable now. The incident happened a day after the ex-servicemen wrote a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, stating that he and the government will be held responsible if any untoward incident happened.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government had last night said that it had “significantly narrowed down gaps” with the agitating veterans but held out no concrete assurances over the vexed issue. Representatives of the veterans also held a meeting with Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag at his house earlier today. “It was a routine meeting and nothing more. We met at his house,” Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd) President of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement told PTI.As the ongoing protest at the Jantar Mantar entered its 77th day today with constant flow of family members and other supporters, a group of Harley Davidson bikers from Delhi also came to the spot riding their motorcycles to show support to the veterans. Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she has retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.
These details have emerged during interrogation of Naved and have been corroborated by truck driver Khursheed Ahmed, who had ferried them to Bari Brahmana, official sources said here. The truck driver has since been arrested.
Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, who had infiltrated into Kashmir along with Mohammed Naved Yakub, who was captured alive after Udhampur terror attack, had come with a mission of targeting market place but developed cold feet at the last minute.They were part of a four-member LeT which had crossed over into the Valley from Gulmarg sector in June and were headed towards Bari Brahmana in neighbouring Samba district where a market frequented by army men was to be targeted. An army installation is also nearby.Naved, now in custody, and Abu Okasa were approaching their target on the outskirts of Jammu city on July 20.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Suddenly Abu, a 17-year-old resident of Khyber Pakthunwa in Pakistan, started crying and developed second thoughts on the mission he was supposed to carry out.These details have emerged during interrogation of Naved and have been corroborated by truck driver Khursheed Ahmed, who had ferried them to Bari Brahmana, official sources said here. The truck driver has since been arrested.The area to be attacked was the market place and an adjoining army installation but Abu started crying bitterly and was shaking due to fear, the two told the sleuths and said the plan was aborted and they returned to the Kashmir Valley.Besides Abu and Naved, the other two who had infiltrated with them were Zhargham alias Mohd Bhai and Mohammed Noman alias Momin, who was partner of Naved on August 5 and was killed in retaliatory fire by BSF. Two personnel were also killed in the attack. NIA has announced a cash reward of Rs five lakh each on Abu and Zhargham.Abu was handed over to Abu Qassim, a Pakistani national who is self-styled commander of Lashker in South Kashmir, and there was no information about him thereafter, they said. NIA has announced a cash reward of Rs 10 lakh on Qassim also.NIA, which is probing the case, was handed over three GPS recovered from a hideout in Tral by the army and two smart phones which gave away the over ground network of Lashker terror outfit in South Kashmir.The GPS was carried by the team of which Naved was a part and he told his interrogators that they deleted all the points entered in the GPS, which is used by travellers while trekking, the sources said.
Naved, who has been subjected to a lie detector test, has already recorded his confessional statement before a magistrate here last week
India should immediately hold a plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir.
Call it a referendum or plebiscite, but India will win hands down. There will be very few takers for a merger with Pakistan or independence. The resounding verdict will put an end to the debate once and for all. So let’s just get it over and done with.
I must admit that I wasn’t aware of the win-win situation for India in Jammu and Kashmir until 10 August, when I attended the launch of former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat’s book Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years, at the Oxford bookstore in Kolkata. As a result of Dulat’s presence at the event, the strategic community – serving and retired senior RAW, IB and army officers – was also in attendance.
The chief guest of the evening was General Shankar Roychowdhury, retired chief of army staff. After he did the honours, the audience heard with rapt attention a no-holds-barred discussion between Dulat and Sunanda K Datta-Ray, famous columnist who once edited The Statesman, about the book. .
After the tête-à-tête, the discussion was thrown open to the house. Several speakers stood up to ask questions or express an opinion. Without much ado, Lt Gen John Ranjan Mukherjee — the GOC of Srinagar-based 15 Corps in Jammu and Kashmir until 2001 — told the house that a plebiscite is the best solution for the festering problem because the will of the majority of people in Jammu and Kashmir is with India.
Pakistan, according to him, is living in a world of fantasy as 80 to 90 percent of the population of the state stands staunchly behind India regardless of their gripes over the quality of governance for decades.
After these stunning opening remarks, General Mukherjee provided a detailed community-wise break-up of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions in Indian-administered Kashmir and the southern and northern areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, to bolster his case for a plebiscite.
In the Jammu region, 66 percent of the population is Hindu anyway. Muslims account for 30 percent, in addition to four percent belonging to other ethnic groups. But 65 percent of Jammu’s Muslims are Shias who are bitterly anti-Pakistan because of the treatment meted out to Shias in Pakistan. Between eight and 10 percent of the Muslim population are ethnic Kashmiri Sunni Muslims — representing three to five percent of Jammu’s population. By General Mukherjee’s reckoning, at least 95 percent of Jammu’s population would vote for India in a referendum — barring Kashmiri Sunni Muslims.
In the Kashmir region, the mountain tribes like Gujjars, Bakkarwals, Paharis, Baltis and Shins comprise 20 percent of the population, and are staunchly pro-India. They regard ethnic Kashmiri Sunni Muslims — accounting for 65 to 70 percent of the population — as exploiters. Among the rest, 10 to 15 percent are Hindus and Sikhs, and five percent are Shias.
Among Kashmir’s Sunni Muslims, 20 to 25 percent are pro-India, while five percent are pro-Pakistan. Ten to 15 percent are pro-independence and 50 to 55 percent are fence-sitters, who wish to get on with their lives and are not concerned about who rules, as long as they can live in peace. But at the heart of their requirements is greater autonomy.
General Mukherjee said that if greater autonomy is ensured and if the Hindus, Sikhs, Shias and mountain tribes continue being as pro-India as they are, 70 to 80 percent of Kashmir’s population would passionately vote to remain in India.
In the Ladakh region, the entire population is pro-India, anti-Pakistan and anti-Kashmir as Buddhists and Shia Muslims account for 52 percent and 45 percent of the population respectively.
The General concluded that an objective analysis of ethnicity and religious patterns in the state left no doubt in his mind that India enjoys the backing of a formidable 80 to 90 per cent of the total population.
In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, barely 10 percent are ‘real’ Kashmiris entitled to vote in a plebiscite. The rest are Punjabi ex-servicemen, Afghans and Mirpuris settled there by the government of Pakistan to engineer a radical change in the region’s demography.
The speech totally blew my mind. It wasn’t Tom, Dick or Harry holding forth but a straight-talking army commander with inside knowledge of what Bill Clinton once called the most dangerous place on earth, addressing a gathering of those in the know of things.
Having always been under the impression that an overwhelming majority in Jammu and Kashmir is pro-Pakistan, I decided to cross-check his assertions with my contacts in the security establishment. They told me that what the General had said was accurate and known to those who dealt with Kashmir on a regular basis, the information-cum-analysis wasn’t in the public domain for obvious reasons.
After having the privilege of listening to such an honest, powerful and logical advocacy of a referendum in the troubled state, I’m convinced that despite three full-blown wars, Kargil incursions and the unending export of terror to India by successive Pakistani regimes, we should still call Islamabad’s bluff and agree to a plebiscite.
SNM Abdi is a Firstpost columnist and former Deputy Editor of Outlook
The letter requested Mukherjee to instruct the government to implement OROP as per the Ministry of Defence letter dated February 26, 2014.
Karnal Singh, 73, sits with other Army veterans at a protest site in New Delhi on August 28, 2015.
Ex-servicemen on Saturday took their 76-day-old agitation a notch higher seeking the intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee to resolve the vexed issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’, stating that if any “damage or mishap happens” to those on hunger strike he and the government will be “solely responsible”.In a letter to the President, who is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, United Front of Ex-servicemen (UFESM) said a soldier is supposed to kill enemy before laying down his life for country,<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”But under your rule, a soldier’s life is at stake and is being wasted as he is being deprived of his legitimate dues”.UFESM, an umbrella organisation of agitating veterans, noted that as many as four former soldiers, who are on fast- unto-death, have been hospitalised and that health of another ex-serviceman Havildar Major Singh, who was on an indefinite fast since August 16, was fast deteriorating.”Panel of Doctors has declared that his medical condition has deteriorated to dangerous level and he needs to be hospitalised immediately to save his life,” the letter, a copy of which has also been sent to PMO, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP President Amit Shah, said.Havildar Major has refused to be evacuated to the hospital and “he is steadfast” in his resolve that he will not take any medical treatment till OROP is implemented as per the approved definition, it said. However, Havildar Major has been sent to the hospital for detailed check-ups.”Your Excellency and the Government of India will be solely responsible if any damage/mishap happens to Havildar Major Singh or any other ex-servicemen because of hunger strike,” it said.The letter requested Mukherjee to instruct the government to implement OROP as per the Ministry of Defence letter dated February 26, 2014. The veterans said that there are some issues where financial cost cannot be the sole determinant factor and that the pensions of defence veterans is one of these.”OROP stands approved both by the UPA as well as the present NDA government. However, its implementation has not been carried out so far for the reason best known to your government,” the letter said.Meanwhile, another veteran Havildar Abhilash Singh, who was on a relay hunger strike, was admitted to hospital after his health deteriorated. It added that during the veterans’ meeting with DefenceMinister, they had been informed that the proposal for implementation of OROP costing Rs 8,298.48 crore had been approved by him and forwarded to the Ministry of Finance on March 17, 2015.”It is here, where OROP file seems to have been stuck,” the letter said.The OROP has been stuck for a while despite hectic back channel talks between the government and veterans. The government had initially wanted base year being 2011 but then relented to stick to the veterans’ demand of 2013-14 as per vote on account and finance bill 2014. But they wanted the pay out date be pushed forward from April 1, 2014 to April 1, 2015, a proposal rejected by the veterans.In subsequent talks, the government pushed the payout date from April 1, 2014 to September 1, 2014. However, there would be a provision of review of pensions once every five years against the veterans’ proposal of once a year or once at least every two years.”The UFESM retracted its offer of acceptance of payment from June 1, 2014 and rejected this proposal too. The underlying reason being the review of pension yearly or once in two years is the heart and soul of the OROP proposal. As of today all escalation points have come into immediate effect,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media Advisor to United Front of Ex-Servicemen, said.Yesterday the government had said “some more time” will be required to roll out OROP as “small gaps are being filled”.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “In principle, the Prime Minister on August 15 (Independence Day speech) has given an approval. Now, PMO is directly involved…then by saying that do it in these many days will not help. All efforts are being made to solve the issue.” Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lt Colonel who retired after 1996.
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Col Pushpendra Singh (Retd)
Photo Courtesy: ANI Twitter
The ‘One Rank One Pension’ row escalated on Monday with Col Pushpendra Singh (Retd), on a fast-unto-death for the last eight days demanding its immediate implementation, being shifted to Army hospital here after his medical report showed increased ketone levels.”The doctor who examined him today, said his ketone level has increased and he needs to be immediately shifted. Col Singh was reluctant but we persuaded him to be moved to the hospital,” Major General Satbir Singh, Chairman of the Indian Ex-servicemen Movement told PTI. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as he was being taken to the hospital, another veteran Havildar Saheb Singh (Retd) took his place and began fast-unto-death. Two others – Havildar Major Singh (Retd) and Havildar Ashok Chauhan (Retd) – are also on a similar protest.”I will come back and continue my fast. I am not ready to go but the people here want me to to as they say high ketone level will affect brain functioning,” Col Pushpender said adding that government should immediately implement the long pending issue of OROP so that the soldiers on hunger strike can end the protest.Pushpender was initially supposed to be moved to the Rockland Hospital.”Delhi administration and Delhi police personnel tried to hijack the ambulance and take him to RML hospital. We have taken him to Army Research and Referral Hospital in a private car. We have also requested Army Chief to ensure best treatment for him,” Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media advisor to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen said.Pushpender’s daughter said, “The soldiers are angry now and the government should ensure that soldiers are given their rights and are not treated this way”. Ex-servicemen have been protesting for the implementation of OROP for over two months and are hoping to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon.Four former service chiefs recently wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee, the supreme commander of the armed forces, asking him to “urgently intervene” in the OROP row. Ten former Service chiefs have also written a joint letter to Modi seeking early implementation of OROP.Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.
Bijumon, was also accused of impersonating himself as Lieutenant Commander of Indian Navy and demanding an illegal gratification of Rs. 1,50,000.
A former official of the Indian Navy was on Friday on Friday sentenced by a special court to two years of rigorous imprisonment for his involvement in a bribery case in 2009-2010. The convicted former official, named G.S Bijumon, was an official in the Mechanical Engineering department of the Naval Ship Repair Yard in Kochi, Kerala. Bijumon, his wife and father-in-law were accused of entering into a criminal conspiracy in which the trio cheated an aspirant for the post of Senior Secondary Recruit in the Indian navy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Bijumon, was also accused of impersonating himself as Lieutenant Commander of Indian Navy and demanding an illegal gratification of Rs. 1,50,000. “Bijumon, falsely assured him to be recruited in Indian Navy as Sailor on payment of 1,50,000 rupees.After the recruitment of said aspirant as Senior Secondary Recruit, on merit basis, the accused demanded and accepted Rs. 50,000/- as bribe through his father in law,” said a CBI official. The father-in-law, too was sentenced to two years of imprisonment. The court also slapped a fine of rupees 10,000 on both of the convicted men. “After the recruitment of said aspirant as Senior Secondary Recruit, on merit basis, the accused demanded and accepted Rs. 50,000 as bribe through his father-in-law. Further on the insistence of Bijumon, the said aspirant also made over a blank dated cheque for Rs. 80,000 as guarantee for the balance amount.
When the police approached the area, they came under fire and the SSP’s driver was killed, Jharkhand Director General of Police D K Pandey told PTI.
Two persons, including the self-styled area commander of banned CPI(Maoist) Chandanji were killed while Ranchi Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Prabhat Kumar and his bodyguard suffered bullet injuries during an encounter in Khunti district, about 35 km from Ranchi on Tuesday. The encounter took place when Kumar on getting information that ‘Chandanji s dasta’, firing squad of the Maoist leader was at a place on Khunti-Ranchi road headed the search operation.When the police approached the area, they came under fire and the SSP’s driver was killed, Jharkhand Director General of Police D K Pandey told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Ranchi SSP Prabhat Kumar suffered bullet injury on his right shoulder. He has been admitted to a hospital and is out of danger,” Pandey told PTI. Kumar s bodyguard is also out of danger, he said. Two Maoists were also injured in the encounter, he said. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the SSP and Chief Minister Raghubar Das, official sources said.Das has asked the officials to ensure that the injured police officer and his body guard gets proper treatment, the sources added.
New Delhi: Upset over the Prime Minister not announcing a date for the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme, two war veterans who were on a relay hunger strike for the past 64 days are now on an indefinite fast unto death and say they won’t relent until the government gives in to their demands.
“My entire family is standing with me. I am blessed to have their support. Even my granddaughter rang me up from United States yesterday and told me, ‘Nana (maternal grandfather)…we saw you on TV and we are proud of you.’” Colonel (retired) Pushpender Singh told Firstpost.
The veteran was commissioned into 3 Grenadiers and served in Sikkim along the China border, at the peak of terrorist activity in Punjab and then the international border in Jammu and Kashmir. Singh, who retired in October 1998, spent a major portion of his career in the army with the intelligence unit, which he said was tougher than fighting along the border.
“Our protest is not about money. It is the fight for our dignity. Look at the way the government is treating us. On 14 August, Delhi Police officials tried to evict us without serving any prior notice as if we, who always stood firm against enemies, are a security threat. It is really unfortunate for the nation that its veterans are forced to stage hunger strike to make the deaf hear,” he added.
Singh hails from Rohtak in Haryana and presently lives in Greater Noida. He receives a pension of Rs 55,000, which will go up to around Rs 65,000 once OROP is implemented. The former colonel wasn’t very receptive to the request made by former Chief of Army Staff General VP Malik, who has been appointed as a mediator on the issue, to call off the fast onto death.
“I am sorry, I cannot call off the strike until we get OROP as per its definition. Sacrificing for the nation is our duty, but at the same time having access to social justice is our constitutional right. Our fight is for 25 lakh ex-servicemen, 6.45 lakh widows of war heroes and 15 lakh serving servicemen. The government should immediately implement OROP. We want to tell Mr Prime Minister, ‘Enough of the promises, implement it now’,” Singh said.
Havaldar Major Singh, the second veteran on hunger strike is a resident of Jalandhar in Punjab and joined the army as a jawan in December 1975. After serving in various border areas, he retired as havaldar from 3 Sikh Light Infantry in September 1991.
“OROP is our right and we will take it at any cost. I will not relent until the government implements it. I will sacrifice my life to wake the government up. Except my mother, my death will not affect my family as I am unmarried. She will cry a bit but this life will cost the government dearer,” he said.
“I joined the Indian Army when I was in class 8 at the age of 16,” the veteran said. “I was so inspired by my uncle who was a serving officer in the Army that I ran away from home and went to Meerut to join armed forces. I used to carry food for soldiers at the border.”
Veterans who are part of the protest in Delhi are particularly incensed by the government’s delay in implementing the scheme.
“The advisors of the prime minister who have made up their mind that they won’t let it happen and the words of a former defence secretary that ‘OROP over my dead body’ cement our allegation. But we also want to state our resolve that we will take it at any cost. We are soldiers and we know how to deal with our enemies,” Wing Commander (retired) CK Sharma, who is the treasurer of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), said. IESM is spearheading the agitation by the former defence personnel.
“OROP is not pay, it is rightful compensation for services already rendered,” he told Firstpost.
Other veterans who have come to Jantar Mantar to express their solidarity with the fasting ex-servicemen questioned whether the government wanted the armed forces to “maintain an edge” to make the nation strong.
“The Third Pay Commission changed and brought military salaries in line with civil services. It set us down the road to the current fight over OROP. The biggest argument against OROP (the notion that every pension eligible soldier who retires in a particular rank should get the same pension irrespective of when he retires) is: What happens if other uniformed services like BSF, CRPF, SSB and so on also demand the same right?” Wing Commander (retired) KS Parihar said.
“This is a facile question because unlike bureaucrats and paramilitary forces who all serve till 60 years of age, most military soldiers retire at the age of 35-37, while officers below brigadier or equivalent do so at 54. The nation retires soldiers early to keep the Army young and fit. They must be compensated adequately,” he said.
Parihar, a Shaurya Chakra awardee, said the Sixth Pay Commission has granted civil bureaucrats a sort of OROP by “backdoor” under a “non-functional upgrade (NFU)”.
“This is a sort of pay promotion allowing officers of All-India Group ‘A’ services to draw higher pay than their rank under certain conditions. Almost all civil servants benefit from this, while defence services officers do not,” he said.
According to him, serious disparities seem to have crept into other field allowances as well. For example, Army special forces soldiers get an extra amount to the tune of Rs 8,00 to Rs 1,200 per month as allowance, while Cobra comandoes of the paramilitary forces earn an extra Rs 7,200-11,000 per month.
“Compared to the bureaucracy, police and paramilitary forces, defence forces keep their career pyramid much steeper to ensure professional standards. Only 0.8% defence officers make it to the rank of major general after 28 years of service compared to a much higher rate of civil servants who are eligible to become joint secretaries (an equivalent rank) at 19 years of service,” he explained.
Parihar claimed other democracies keep their soldiers “better”.
“In salaries and special allowances, US soldiers have a 15-20 percent edge over other government employees, British 10 percent, Japanese 12-29 percent and French soldiers 15 percent. In pensions, while Indian soldiers get 50 percent of their last pay drawn, American soldiers get 50-75 percent, Australian 76.5 percent, Japanese 70 percent and French soldiers 75 percent. The United Kingdom has embraced OROP. Our two biggest strategic challenges – Pakistan and China – have always given priveleges to their military,” he said.
Major General Satbir Singh (retired), who is spearheading the IESM campaign, says the government does not want to adhere to the OROP definition, which was given by a Committee of Secretaries headed by the Cabinet Secretary and accepted by two successive governments and the Supreme Court, so that its implementation can be avoided on technical grounds.
“The Modi government has sanctioned money for OROP but it does not want to give it. Mind you, sanctioning and releasing the amount are two different things,” he alleged.
Asked about the technical problem behind the non-implementation, he said, “The only problem is the intention. If the prime minister, who is the executive head of the country, really wants, who has the courage to deny his order?”
“I am sure the government will implement it just before assembly elections in Bihar to gather political mileage. I warn the NDA government at the Centre that we will campaign against it and make it bite the dust in the upcoming polls in Bihar if it fails to implement OROP without waiting,” the veteran said.
India-UAE trade, valued at $180 million (Dh 660.6 million) per annum in the 1970s, is on Sunday around $60 billion making the UAE, India’s third largest trading partner for the year 2014-15 after China and the US.
PM Narendra Modi with UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Picture credits: Vikas Swaroop twitter page
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here on Sunday on a two-day visit to the strategically- important UAE where he will seek enhanced cooperation in key areas of trade and counter-terrorism as well as promote India as an attractive investment destination.”Hello UAE. I am very optimistic about this visit. I am confident the outcomes of the visit will boost India-UAE ties,” Modi said on his arrival. He also tweeted the message in Arabic.The first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in 34 years, Modi was received by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and his five brothers at the airport, in a departure from protocol. The last dignitary to be received by him was the King of Morocco in May this year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi tweeted, “I deeply appreciate kind gesture of his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who received me at the airport.” The Prime Minister was also accorded a ceremonial reception at the airport.Clearly indicating his agenda for talks with the leadership tomorrow, Modi had said in an interview to a local daily here that he wanted to see the UAE as India’s foremost partner in trade and in countering terrorism, noting that both the countries have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including extremism.Apart from discussions with the Crown Prince, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Modi will also hold talks with Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum tomorrow.”We have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including terrorism and extremism. So India and UAE have everything to be a top priority for each other. This is the way I look at the UAE. The Gulf region is vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests,” he said in the interview.Modi further said he was keen to foster a strategic partnership, particularly in the security, energy and investment sectors, with the fastest growing Arab economy and its visionary and pragmatic leadership.Apart from seeking enhanced cooperation in energy and trade, Modi will look to reach out to investors to promote India as an attractive business destination.Visit’s focus on trade and investments is also reflected in the fact that the Prime Minister will be attending a dinner hosted in his honour by Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.ADIA has $800 billion sovereign funds and India is expected to woo it to attract investments in the infrastructure sector. India-UAE trade, valued at $180 million (Dh 660.6 million) per annum in the 1970s, is on Sunday around $60 billion making the UAE, India’s third largest trading partner for the year 2014-15 after China and the US.Given that late Indira Gandhi was the last Prime Minister to visit UAE in 1981, Modi’s visit is seen as an opportunity to boost India-UAE ties in key areas of trade and security.Marvelling at the UAE’s spectacular achievements, Modi described the Gulf nation as a paradise built up in a desert with unmatched vision and remarkable skill.”I have always thought, how this paradise could come up in a desert? What vision! What remarkable skill!” Modi said of the country.After his arrival, Modi’s first public engagement will be to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a key place of worship in UAE and known as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.The mosque is the third largest in the world after the ones in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia.It is named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. Notably, a large portion of the 2.6 million Indians in the UAE are from Bihar and many are Muslims.Modi will also interact with Indian workers at their camps I-CAD to know the problems they face and discuss ways Indian government can help them. The I-CAD Residential Labour Camp, housing thousands of migrant labourers from the Indian subcontinent in an area spread over one square kilometre.
New Delhi: Disappointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s assurance that the government has accepted “in principle” their demand for ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP), ex-servicemen on Sunday announced intensification of their stir by deciding to launch an indefinite hunger strike from 24 August.
“A group of ex-servicemen will start an indefinite fast here from August 24,” Col (Retd) Anil Kaul, media advisor to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Movement, told PTI as the agitation at Jantar Mantar here entered the 63rd day today.
The protestors have been on a relay hunger strike so far.
In his speech yesterday, Modi had not given a specific timeline for the implementation of OROP, but stressed that talks were in the final stages, drawing sharp reactions from ex-servicemen who vowed to step up their protest.
Meanwhile, AAP MLA Col (Retd) Devinder Sehrawat, who skipped the President’s at-home reception on Independence Day over the demand, has written to Pranab Mukherjee seeking his intervention on behalf of the protesting ex-servicemen.
“I have to inform you with a heavy heart that the ex-servicemen are languishing on the road, undergoing shabby and disgraceful treatment at the hands of police and municipal authorities, as they protest for their rightful demand of OROP.
“Pardon my audacity, but they do expect your intervention in the matter,” Sehrawat said in his letter yesterday to the President — who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The AAP legislator from Bijwasan constituency, Sehrawat also said he will “actively” participate in a dharna called by ex-servicemen over the OROP demand as no firm time-frame has been declared for its implementation.
Ex-servicemen are holding a protest at Jantar Mantar and in other parts of the country for two months demanding early implementation of OROP.
Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Abu Dhabi on Sunday on a two-day visit to the strategically-important UAE during which he will hold talks with the country’s top leadership to enhance cooperation in key areas of trade and security and address the Indian diaspora.
Modi, who is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit this strategic Gulf nation in 34 years, was received by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi at the airport, in a departure from the protocol.
Right after landing PM Modi tweeted saying he was very optimistic about the trip.
The last dignitary to be received by the Crown Prince, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, at the airport was King of Morocco in May this year. After the ceremonial welcome at the airport, Modi went to his hotel, Emirates Palace.
His first public engagement is a visit to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a key place of worship in the UAE and known as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture.
The mosque is third largest in the world after the ones in Mecca and Madina in Saudi Arabia.
It is named after the founder and first President of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
However, the timing of Prime Minister’s visit to the mosque has been kept in such a way that it does not coincide with the evening prayers there.
After his visit to the mosque, Modi is scheduled to interact with Indian workers in their camps-ICAD.
Later in the day, dinner will be hosted by Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
ADIA has USD 800 billion sovereign funds and India is expected to woo it to make investments in the country in the infrastructure sector.
During his visit, Modi will seek enhanced cooperation in energy and trade and reach out to investors to promote India as an attractive business destination.
Given that late Indira Gandhi was the last Prime Minister to visit UAE in 1981, Modi’s visit is seen as an opportunity to boost India-UAE ties in key areas of trade and security. He has also made it clear that he wanted the UAE to be India’s foremost partner in countering terrorism.
Describing the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a “valued partner”, Modi, ahead of his visit, had said the extent of vibrant bilateral relations were reflected by the fact that India was the second largest trading partner of the Gulf nation. The UAE is the third largest trading partner of India.
After holding talks with the Crown Prince here tomorrow, the Prime Minister will fly to Dubai, where he will stay for just few hours, which will be packed with a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the vice president and the Prime Minister of the UAE, a visit to world’s tallest Burj Khalifa and a much-hyped address to the Indian community at the Dubai Cricket Ground among other engagements.
Addressing the nation, Modi said, “The issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ came up in front on every government. Some even made small promises. Issue could not be solved. But I assure the servicemen and I am saying it under the Tricolour from the Red Fort- we have accepted OROP.”
Major General (retd) Satbir Singh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday once again failed to give a timeline for the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme, leading to anguish among ex-servicemen.Addressing the nation on the occasion of Independence Day, Modi said, “The issue of ‘One Rank One Pension’ has come up in front of every government. Some even made small promises but the issue could not be solved. I assure the servicemen and I am saying this under the tricolour at the Red Fort, we have accepted OROP.” He further added, “‘One-Rank, One-Pension’ is a long-pending issue, discussions are underway and in last stages. We will have good news soon.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, veterans rejected the Prime Minister’s assurance terming it a “Black Independence Day” for ex-servicemen of the country. Major General (retd.) Satbir Singh said that bureaucracy is the main obstacle in the implementation of OROP. “This is not about hope, this is our right. This is injustice, it has already been 17 months, what is stopping the government. The bureaucracy does not want that it is given to soldiers. We will intensify the agitation,” he said.Wing Commander CK Sharma echoed similar views and said that they would embark on protest until death. “For a Prime Minister to stand on ramparts of Red Fort and say such a blatant lie is something we did not expect. Our protest will be upgraded. We will embark on ?amaran anshan? (protest till death) now,” he said.The One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme has been a longstanding demand of nearly three million ex-servicemen and war widows in the country. It seeks to ensure that a uniform pension is paid to defence personnel, who retire at the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirementPrime Ministers assurance on OROP led to chaos at Jantar Mantar as veterans raised ‘Shame Shame’ slogans against the government. Veterans have also decided to launch a new agitation on Sunday.Meanwhile, Congress leader Manish Tewari hit out at PM Modi and said not announcing OROP is betrayal. He said, “The OROP row represents perhaps the greatest betrayal of this government. PM tried to spin the issue.”Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said that the government will fulfil the assurances given on the One Rank One Pension scheme. He said that there were some technical discrepancies, but the government will implement the OROP.”We’ll implement OROP. There are technical disparities but we are bound by our assurance and we will comply by it,” Parrikar said speaking at a press conference.
Jha, a fearless officer of the country’s largest paramilitary force, led a lethal anti-Naxal operation on July 3 last year in Jamui district of Bihar which led to the apprehension of the wife of a hardcore Maoist leader Sidhu Koda and subsequent arrest of two other red ultras.
Image Courtesy : Wikimedia commons
CRPF commander Hira Kumar Jha has become the lone paramilitary official to be decorated with the military gallantry medal ‘Shaurya Chakra’ posthumously on India’s 69th Independence day, also the commando-trained officer’s 46th birthday. Jha, a fearless officer of the country’s largest paramilitary force, led a lethal anti-Naxal operation on July 3 last year in Jamui district of Bihar which led to the apprehension of the wife of a hardcore Maoist leader Sidhu Koda and subsequent arrest of two other red ultras.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Born on August 15, 1969, Jha rose through the ranks in the force within a short span of time by the sheer virtue of his daredevil exploits and was the Second-in-Command of the 7th battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which is deployed in the Left Wing Extremism-hit areas of the state. While laying siege upon a Maoist hideout in the Lakhari village of the said district, the slain officer laid out his strike team in an strategic fashion and began the assault but later was hit by enemy fire and the bullet pierced through his right eye and exited from the back.Jha collapsed on the spot but not before giving a tactical advantage to his team-mates and draining out the bullets and ammunition of the Naxals. Jha’s the then commanding officer, Inspector General (IG) R K Mishra said he was one of the “bravest men” in his team.”He was extremely brave and hard working. I very clearly remember that the officer climbed a hill under heavy rains in the dead of the night to plan an early morning ambush. We lost a very promising officer in this operation,” Mishra, now IG (Operations) for CRPF in Jharkhand, told PTI.A colleague recounted how Jha volunteered to be posted in the anti-Naxal operations grid after he had various stints in Jammu and Kashmir and insurgency-hit areas of North East. Jha joined CRPF in 1999 in the entry-level officer rank of Assistant Commandant. The officer hailed from Ranchi and is survived by two young children and wife.The ‘Shaurya Chakra’ is the third highest peacetime gallantry medal and other than Jha, two policemen from Jammu and Kashmir police have been decorated with the award this time.
The letter was written by General SF Rodrigues Admiral L Ramdas, Admiral Arun Prakash and Admiral Sureesh Mehta
The letter was written by General SF Rodrigues Admiral L Ramdas, Admiral Arun Prakash and Admiral Sureesh Mehta (File Photo of protest)
Government is looking at a “middle path” in resolving the “ticklish issue” of ‘One Rank One Pension’ demand of ex-servicemen, officials sources said. OROP’ scheme may put a huge burden on the exchequer because of the need to revise the pensions every year and so the government is in discussions with the ex-servicemen community towards finding a middle path, they said. Meanwhile, four former service chiefs have written an open letter to President Pranab Mukherjee requesting his intervention in the issue. Expressing concern over the delay in rolling out ‘OROP’ scheme, they said, “It is with a sense of deep anguish that we are writing to draw the attention of the Supreme Commander to the dismal spectacle of our veteran soldiers, driven to undertake public protests and demonstrations to press their demand for the – long overdue grant of OROP”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The letter was written by General SF Rodrigues Admiral L Ramdas, Admiral Arun Prakash and Admiral Sureesh Mehta. They said that the denial of OROP is merely the last straw that has exhausted the veterans’ patience. It appears to be the culmination of a process by which successive Pay Commissions have been used to whittle down the financial and protocol status of the military over the years vis-a-vis their civilian counterparts, the letter said. It added that the decline in the status of military in India “has been orchestrated” to make it “subservient to the bureaucracy”.The former chiefs said there does not seem to be adequate realisation that this development “has the potential for inflicting long-term damage to India’s proud and apolitical military ethos”. No one in the political or bureaucratic establishments seems to have recognised that veterans retain a strong umbilical connection with serving personnel because the two constitute one extended family, it said. Referring to the on-going protests by ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar, the report said anything which denigrates or humiliates the veteran also hurts the self-esteem of the serving soldier – because he sees himself as tomorrow’s veteran, the four retired chiefs said. “Thus, the recent developments have not only triggered a process of politicisation of the Indian military, but also served to inflict grave damage on its morale and self-esteem,” the letter stated.It said that since no administration has deemed it appropriate to convey the actual reason for the interminable delays, there is a growing feeling in the rank and file that the senior armed forces leadership has not done enough to pursue their cause. “An erosion of confidence such as this could inflict severe damage on the officer-jawan relationship. This is a sacred trust, built on a 350-year old tradition, which we will find very difficult to rebuild,” it said.It said the factors mentioned above have the potential to cause immense damage to India’s military edifice and hence, to our national security. SAP
India is expected to give evidence that terrorists from Gurdaspur attack, Udhampur attack were Pakistanis
Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, speedy trial in 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case and capture of a Pakistani terrorist in Udhampur are some of the key issues to be raised by India at the forthcoming NSA-level talks with Pakistan. Recent terror attack in Punjab’s Gurdaspur, cross-border firing, infiltration from across the border and presence of militants’ camps in Pakistan will also be on the table as the government is preparing a detailed dossier for the high-level meeting to be held on August 23.National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on THursday held a meeting with Home Secretary LC Goyal, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, Defence Secretary G Mohan Kumar and top security officials where they discussed the issues to be raised before his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz, official sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India is expected to give evidence that the three terrorists who carried out the attack in Gurdaspur last month came from Pakistan and Mohammed Naved Yakub, arrested in Udhampur in Jammu recently after an ambush on a BSF convoy, was a Pakistani national. Doval is likely to press for handing over of Dawood, a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, expeditious and comprehensive trial of 26/11 case to ensure that LeT founder Hafiz Saeed and outfit’s operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi could be punished, sources said.The regular, unprovoked firing from across the border targeting BSF posts and civilian population in Jammu and Kashmir is also expected to figure in the talks. Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will visit India on August 23 for first-ever NSA-level talks between the two countries. The decision to hold talks was taken when prime ministers of the two countries met in Ufa, Russia last month on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit.
“We have been trying to ascertain facts,” Kumar told reporters in reply to a question about Usman.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) is formally writing to Pakistan seeking information about Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Naveed alias Usman, who was captured alive after Udhampur terror attack, even as the agency is seeking help from different countries to trace the VOIP calls made by the militants.NIA chief Sharad Kumar is in Jammu to interrogate Usman at the joint interrogation centre. Kumar questioned Usman for close to two hours before he left for Udhampur to inspect the spot where the militants attacked the BSF convoy on Wednesday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have been trying to ascertain facts,” Kumar told reporters in reply to a question about Usman.Sources said NIA will be sending a letter rogatory to Pakistan seeking information about the activities of Naveed alias Usman. So far, Pakistan has been maintaining that Usman is their national.Though NIA does not have any extradition treaty with Pakistan, it is still trying its luck to convince Islamabad to share some details about Usman.During his interrogation, Usman has given details about his residence in Faisalabad in Pakistan. He has also shared details about his family. One of his brothers is said to be a lecturer while another is a businessman dealing in hosiery.Usman’s father, Mohommad Yaqoob, fears for his life from the Pakistani army and militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba. Yaqoob had told some media people that Lashkar wanted his son dead and not be caught alive.Sources said NIA is also seeking help from different countries to trace out Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) calls. Sources said the militants have been using VoIP calls to interact with their handlers in Pakistan.Sources also indicate that NIA is also considering putting Usman to narco-analysis test to extract more information from him. Though he has shared vital information with the NIA, he is dodging on some important issues including his route of infiltration.Sources said either he is not well versed with the geography of the area or he is trying to dodge the interrogators. Therefore, to clear the air, the NIA is considering to conduct a narco-analysis test on Usman.However, no date has been finalised nor has any permission from any court been sought so far.Meanwhile, NIA and Jammu and Kashmir Police have intensified their hunt to nab the mysterious businessman who has paid Rs five lakh to Lashkar commander Abu Dujana, the second in command of the outfit responsible for finances and logistics. Efforts are also on to locate the trucker Showkat Ahmad alias Setha and Tanna, a baker, who arranged shelter for the militants. Sources said Setha’s phone was being used by the militants to escape the glare of the security forces.
J&K police suspects that in June when an encounter between the military forces and the militants took place in Pulwama, LeT commander Qasim Peer might have been there with the militants who managed to flee.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police have picked up a red colour Tipper which was by Mohammad Naved alias Usman and his associates in June 2015 to travel from North Kashmir to South Kashmir.The vehicle was used by the militants after they crossed over from Line of Control (LoC) into Inda. The driver of the vehicle was from Pulwama area of South Kashmir. An English daily reports that the militants had help from local civilian contacts.The vehicle had been found by the police in June. The Police suspects the militants have been in South Kashmir since then. In June, there was an encounter between the military forces and the militants in Pulwama. The Police believe that Lashqar-e-Taiba (LeT) commander Qasim Peer might have been there with the militants who got away. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One GPS was recovered from the house where militants had taken shelter that suggests that their final stop was in Khodwani village in South Kashmir. From there, they were taken to Udhampur by a truck driver who along with the truck is missing.