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Diplomats hail move but with caution

Sumitra Kumar, senior research fellow at the premier strategic think-tank – Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) — however, is apprehensive about Nawaz Sharif’s manoeuvrability with regard to terror elements given that the Punjab provincial government has over the last few years been allocating considerable funds in its annual budget for the Jamaat ud Dawa. “Even faced with the improbability of making much headway on terrorism and Kashmir in the resumed dialogue, it is still important for India to engage with Pakistan. If India hopes to be taken seriously by the international community it should be seen to be managing its relationships with the neighbours earnestly,” Kumar said. Also, continuing the dialogue might tend to weaken the anti-India elements in Pakistan, he said. Besides, the experience of the last 18 months during which the dialogue was interrupted twice has brought both governments to the view that if any forward movement has to be made in improving relations they can only resort to a dialogue and nothing else,” said Kumar, an expert on Pakistan and military affairs.

dna Correspondent

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PM Modi, Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold talks, sign pacts today on key areas

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The meeting took place hours after Modi arrived in Moscow to a red carpet welcome. Putin also hosted a private dinner for Modi.

Modi and Putin

PM Modi and Vladimir Putin will hold 16th India-Russia annual summit talks on Thursday at the Kremlin following which the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Wednesday night hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin for a private tete-a-tete at the Kremlin during which the two leaders touched upon issues of mutual interest for both countries.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting took place hours after Modi arrived in Moscow to a red carpet welcome. Putin also hosted a private dinner for Modi.”Building Druzhba-Dosti over dinner. President Putin hosts a private tete-a-tete for PM,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of the two leaders shaking hands.The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.In the nuclear energy sector, India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant.The new plants will be in sync with broad principles of ‘Make in India’ initiative and a decision in this regard is likely to be finalised tomorrow.It is expected that both countries will seal a number of defence deals as well.Last week, India’s Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore and there may be an announcement of the deal tomorrow besides a few others.Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.It will be Modi’s second summit with Putin who had travelled to New last year for the 15th India-Russia Summit.

PM Modi set to visit Russia for Annual Summit talks; major deals expected in defence, nuclear sectors

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He said expanding economic ties would be a “very big priority” as the two countries were aiming at enhancing annual bilateral trade to US $30 billion over the next 10 years from current US $10 billion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a two-day visit to Russia on Wednesday for annual summit talks with President Vladimir Putin that is aimed at further expanding the special and privileged strategic ties with a particular focus on nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, defence and trade.After the talks on Thursday, the two “time-tested” partners are likely to ink a number of pacts in a range of sectors including nuclear energy and defence. The talks between the two countries at the highest level have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We expect to sign a number of agreements covering a very broad range of fields. Final touches are being given on some of them,” Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told reporters.He said expanding economic ties would be a “very big priority” as the two countries were aiming at enhancing annual bilateral trade to US $30 billion over the next 10 years from current US $10 billion.Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including sthe ituation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.”This would be definitely one of the most important engagements for us,” Jaishankar said.The Foreign Secretary said India was looking at deeper engagement in Russia’s oil and coal sector besides stepping up cooperation in some other areas like diamond trade and agro business.Energy-starved India, the third largest oil importer after the US and China, has been pushing for greater involvement in major gas and oil exploration projects in Russia. Russia is one of the top oil producers globally and has huge reserves of natural gas.India is also likely to push for a Free Trade Agreement with the Eurasian Economic Zone and is sharing details of study it conducted in this regard.Without giving specific details, Jaishankar said both Modi and Putin will deliberate on enhancing cooperation in defence and nuclear energy speheres.”Russia has been a very major military and strategic partner of India. There will be a lot of discussions on that,” he said.Last week, Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore.Asked whether Russia will strongly back India’s bid for a seat at the UN Security Council, he said “Two countries have great confidence and trust in each other. We do not at all doubt Russia’s commitment to see India as a permanent member of the UNSC.”On whether India will request Russia to share details on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, he said the issue had figured during External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s recent visit to Moscow. “Let’s wait and see what happens.I do not prejudge the Russian response till we get it,” he said.

PM Modi’s visit to Russia: Are India’s defence eggs still in the Russian basket?

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Since the early 1960s, Soviet Union/Russia has been India’s largest defence weapons supplier. At the height of the Cold war, 85% of Indian Navy, 75% of Indian Air Force and over 50% of Indian Army equipment were of Russian origin.

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi
File Photo

PM Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Russia on December 23-24 to hold an annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.In addition to inking agreements on furthering the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant beyond stage 1 & 2, they are likely to push forward a plan to assemble Russian Kamov-226T helicopters in India. It is a light multipurpose helicopter and is meant to replace Chetak and Cheetah. The helicopters will be built primarily for the Indian armed forces and also for exports. Russia has reportedly offered full manufacture in India. India’s Ministry of Defence is currently scouting to choose a public or private sector partner company from within India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ahead of the visit, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) also approved purchase of the very potent Russian S-400 air defence missile system with a range of 400 km. Five units would cost Rs 40,000 crores. Only preliminary discussions may take place at this stage. Since the early 1960s, Soviet Union/Russia has been India’s largest defence weapons supplier. At the height of the Cold War, 85% of Indian Navy, 75% of Indian Air Force and over 50% of Indian Army equipment were of Russian origin. Purchase of Jaguar and Mirage-2000 aircraft in 1970-80s was a major departure. There was always a strong desire to move to alternative sources. The rise of China and desire of USA and the West to move closer to India resulted in offers of modern weapons that were hitherto not available.In fact, Russia was somewhat upset when its MiG-35 lost to the French Dassault Rafale in the MMRCA contest; and also when IAF chose to buy the Boeing Chinook CH-47 heavy-lift helicopter over the only competitor Russian Mi-26; and the Boeing Apache-64 D won the attack helicopter competition against the Russian Mi-28 N Night Hunter. Six Airbus A330 tanker aircraft are being inducted in preference to Russian IL-78. Earlier, the India Navy chose the Boeing P-8I Poseidon to replace the ageing Russian TU-142. On the other hand, India was upset with Russia for reportedly agreeing to sell four Mi-35M – very modern attack helicopters – to Pakistan to strengthen their counter terror capability. The Indian Army’s armour has been dominated by Russian T-72 and T-90 tanks. The mechanised infantry uses Russian infantry combat vehicles. Indian Navy’s aircraft carrier Vikramaditya, the latest fighter aircraft MiG-29K, many of the frigates and most of its submarine fleet are of Russian origin.For years, our Navy has flown variants of Russian Kamov helicopters. BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is an Indo-Russian joint venture for the three services. Indian Air Force (IAF) will soon have all 272 Sukhoi Su-30 MKI already committed. More orders are likely. IAF recently upgraded MiG-29s. IL-76 and An-32 transport aircraft, the AEW&C and Air-refuelling aircraft are all Russian origin. Nearly 200 Russian Mi-17 helicopter variants will dominate IAF’s medium lift helicopter fleet for next two decades. It will also act as the VVIP helicopter till a new one is decided.Nearly 400 Kamov-226T will join the three armed forces. The surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles are mostly Russian. IAF is already committed to many future projects with Russians. A sum of Rs 40,000 crore is committed for just the design and development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). 214 aircrafts are planned to be inducted into IAF at a cost of Rs 670 crores a piece. There are already delays and cost escalation. A joint venture 20-tonne Medium-lift Transport Aircraft (MTA) will finally take-off early next year with both sides agreeing to commit funds. Is the balance still tilted heavily towards the Russians? India’s experience of the last five decades is that the Russian weapon systems are rugged and fairly good operationally. While they are initially relatively inexpensive, over the years, life-cycle costs work-out much higher than Western counterparts. Poor maintenance support often resulted in lower service abilities and sometimes, accidents. With so many defence projects already unfolding, it is an umbilical cord that will stay connected in the 21st century.

India clears Rs 40,000 crore air defence system purchase from Russia ahead of PM Modi’s meeting with Putin

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar chaired Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting held on Thursday cleared an another estimated Rs 25,000 crore proposal for defence acquisitions under ‘Make in India.

Days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Russian President Vladimir Putin during the former’s Russia visit later this month, India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) gave an approval for purchase of nearly Rs 40,000 crore Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, government sources said.Defence minister Manohar Parrikar chaired Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meeting held on Thursday cleared an another estimated Rs 25,000 crore proposal for defence acquisitions under ‘Make in India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The deal of S-400 air defence systems that come with mobile launchers , will entail buying close to 6,000 missiles that can detect and destroy incoming missiles and aircraft up to a range of 400 kilometres.Besides, this, DAC also cleared a demand by the Army for six regiments of the DRDO developed Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher Systems at Rs 14,600 cr. Indian defence manufacturing Tata Power SED, BEML and Larsen & Toubro will manufacture these systems.Other major approvals under Make in India include a Rs 425 crore electronic warfare system, for the Indian Army. This system , to be developed by DRDO and manufactured by state-run Bharat Electronics Limited, are meant for use in mountain regions along the borders with China and Pakistan, said an official source.Further, at an expense of close to Rs 450 crore, 120 trawls for T-72 and T-90 tanks were also approved, the source added. These will also be made indigenously.MoD also appointed state-run Hindustan Shipyard Limited to build fleet support ships for Navy worth Rs 9000 crore , a proposal for which was sanctioned last year by DAC.Over all, close to Rs 65000 crore acquisition were approved that included nearly Rs 25000 crore under Make in India.

Defence Acquisition Council okays purchase of Russian air defence missile systems

Defence Ministry sources said that the step has been taken to enhance the national air defence capacity.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
File Photo
AFP photo
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia, Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council on Thursday cleared the purchase of an estimated Rs 40,000 crore Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, besides giving the go-ahead to other projects worth over Rs 25,000 crore. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, has decided to buy 5 units of the S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems that are capable of destroying incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones within a range of up to 400 km.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Ministry sources said that the step has been taken to enhance the national air defence capacity. “The price discovery will happen hereafter,” a source said when asked how much would the system cost.Industry estimates have suggested that the missile system will cost about Rs 40,000 crore. India will be the second buyer of the missile system after China if the deal goes through. It is expected that the deal would be a government-to- government one and could see a forward movement during Modi’s visit to Russia next week.The S400 Triumf is designed to knock down flying targets including those equipped with stealth technologies, at a distance of about 400 kms. It is also capable of taking out ballistic missiles and hypersonic targets.Compared with its predecessor, the S-300, the new S-400 has a 2.5 times faster firing rate. This is the most modern, air defence system in the Russian arsenal. The DAC also gave the Acceptance of Necessity to Army’s proposal for the purchase of six regiments of the Pinaka rocket system under the ‘Make in India’ category for Rs 14,600 crore. Each regiment of the Pinaka comes with 18 launchers and every launcher has the capability of firing 12 rockets at the same time.Tata Power SED, Larsen & Toubro and state-run BEML will be providing the system. The DAC also directed the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to continue with its process of making improved Pinaka system as it has proved to be a potent and proud indigenous product.Army’s demand for 571 light bullet-proof vehicles to be used in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations was also cleared at a cost of Rs 310 crore. The army currently uses Mahindra jeeps. The DAC also gave the go-ahead for the purchase of 120 trawls to be used on Russia-origin T-72 and T-90 tanks under “Buy Global” category for Rs 450 crore.DRDO has been tasked to field four sets of indigenous trawls by June 2017, the sources said.The DAC has also fine-tuned an already cleared proposal to built a five fleet support ships for Rs 9,000 crore. It was cleared in July last year. The DAC today nominated HSL shipyard to build the ships. The DAC also gave the go-ahead for digitisation of 24 Pechora Air Defence system for Rs 1,200 crore.The acquisition council also cleared a Rs 425-crore electronic warfare system, for the Indian Army to be deployed in the mountain region. This would be developed by the DRDO and produced by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The DAC, set up in 2001 as part of the post-Kargil reforms in defence sector, approves the long-term integrated perspective plan for the forces, accords acceptance of necessity (AON) to begin acquisition proposals, and has to grant its approval to all major deals through all their important phases. It also has the power to approve any deviations in an acquisition, and recommends all big purchases for approval of the Cabinet committee on security.

Don’t exempt women motorists from odd-even formula: Women Groups

According to the scheme, odd numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates and even numbered vehicles on even dates.

AFP photo
No exemptions under the odd-even scheme should be given to women motorists, a number of women groups have conveyed to Delhi government saying that they also want to be a part of pollution-clean drive.The Arvind Kejriwal government is, however, yet to take a final call on exempting women drivers under road-rationing experiment starting January 1.According to the scheme, odd numbered vehicles will be allowed on odd dates and even numbered vehicles on even dates.”Some women organisations have approached the government not to grant exemption to women drivers in the odd-even formula as they also want to be a part of this pollution-clean drive. However, government will soon take a decision in this regard,” the Delhi Transport minister Gopal Rai said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rai said the government will soon launch a campaign to encourage people to be a part of odd-even formula with the help of AAP volunteers, Civil Defence and NCC cadets so that people follow this formula. Later in the day, Rai held a meeting with MLAs seeking their suggestions on rationing plan of bus routes in their constituency ahead of odd-even formula.”We sought suggestions from MLAs on which routes numbers of buses should be increased in their areas so that people don’t have to face problems while commuting public transport during a 15-day trial period of odd-even scheme,” Rai said.Earlier this month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and PWD Minister Satyendar Jain had met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari respectively seeking Centre’s cooperation for the implementation of this scheme. Rai had also met Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to increase frequency of local trains on Ring Railway.

Pak boat row: Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali sacked for contradicting govt’s stand

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the “circumstantial evidence” indicated that the Pakistani boat had suspected terror links
File Image
PTI
Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali has been sacked following a Board of Inquiry over his comments that contradicted the government’s stand on the sinking of a Pakistan fishing boat last year.”He was dismissed from services after the Board of Inquiry found him guilty of all the charges on Saturday. The inquiry was conducted by a panel of senior DIG (Deputy Inspector General) rank officers for over three months,” said a senior Coast Guard official. On eve the of New Year last year, a Pakistani fishing boat said to be carrying explosives was intercepted by the Indian Coast Guard off the coast of Gujarat, but the vessel exploded and caught fire before sinking along with four occupants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said the “circumstantial evidence” indicated that the Pakistani boat had suspected terror links. Dismissing claims that the occupants of boat were smugglers, the Minister had said he would classify them as “suspected or possible terrorists” since they had committed suicide after being intercepted and added that they were in touch with Pakistani maritime officials, “army and international contacts”.While the government has claimed that the Pakistani boat had been set on fire by its crew, Loshali told an audience of Coast Guard and Larsen & Toubro officials on February 15 that he had ordered to blow off the boat, which was a major embarrassment for the government as well as the Coast Guard. On “31st December night. I was there at Gandhinagar, and I told at night, blow the boat off. We don’t want to serve them biryani,” Loshali had said.Following this, the government had removed Loshali from the position of Chief of Staff, North West and attached him to the force’s Gandhinagar-based regional headquarters. A Board of Inquiry at Mumbai was also constituted to look into the matter, which probed the matter for over three months and court martialed him.

Why should a soldier get killed? Should kill the enemy: Manohar Parrikar

The Defence Minister said he liked to go around without security as “having security might not be safe at times”.
File Photo
PTI
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday said soldiers should be asked to kill the enemy instead of being told to lay down their own lives.”It was said that soldier is ready to lay down his life for country. I am against it. Why get killed? Don’t get killed. Kill the enemy. See the record of one year and you will see the result (of the instruction),” Parrikar said. He was addressing a reception hosted by the state BJP here on his 60th birthday.Recalling the country’s counter-insurgency operation in Myanmar earlier this year, Parrikar said, “After Indian soldiers were martyred, we called for the meeting within three hours. I have got support of (Home Minister) Rajnath Singh.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”After Myanmar crisis, we held meeting within three hours and the entire operation was kept a secret. As per official statement we conducted the operation on Indo-Myanmar Border. But one should know to read between the lines”.The counter-insurgency operation was carried out by commandos in June who destroyed camps of NSCN (Khaplang) militants in Myanmar in retaliation to killing of 18 Army personnel by the ultras in Chandel district of Manipur earlier. The Defence Minister said he liked to go around without security as “having security might not be safe at times”.”They (police) relay message on wireless giving exact position of the VIP. I ask police to stay away as I don’t want security but I have to take it as attack on Union Defence Minister can make international news,” he added.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar remembers wife on his 60th birthday

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday remembered his wife Medha on his 60th birthday. Medha, passed away in 2001 following illness, a little before Parrikar became the Chief Minister of Goa for the first time.

File Photo
PTI
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Sunday remembered his wife Medha on his 60th birthday. Medha, passed away in 2001 following illness, a little before Parrikar became the Chief Minister of Goa for the first time.”Who was supposed to be 55 (this year), she (Medha) left me at 40,” Parrikar said while referring to the Hindi song “Jab tum hoge saath saal ke” played little before the formal reception.A civic reception was hosted here to celebrate his 60th birthday. He said the Goa people never allowed him to feel her absence.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”But public never allowed me to feel her absence. I am at this position due to love given by people of Goa,” the Union Minister said.

India’s map on Pentagon site excludes PoK, Aksai Chin

There was no immediate comment from either the Pentagon or the Embassy.

File Photo

In an embarrassment, PoK and Aksai Chin were not shown as India’s territory in a map by the Pentagon website ahead of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s press conference jointly with his American counterpart.The graphic was even tweeted by the Indian Embassy in Washington along with the message that the joint address by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Parrikar will begin at 10:50 AM. But this was removed later.The graphic had the Indian tricolour and a map that showed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin not as India’s territory. There was no immediate comment from either the Pentagon or the Embassy.Parrikar, on his maiden visit to the US, addressed the Pentagon correspondents, in a first such interaction by an Indian Defence Minister. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Trump Muslim comment: In India, communities are not looked with suspicion, says Parrikar at Pentagon

Parrikar, the first Indian Defence Minister to have addressed the Pentagon correspondents, earlier held talks with his American counterpart Ashton Carter on key defence and regional and global security issues.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter (L) and Indias Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar arrive at a joint press conference after their meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, December 10, 2015.

Reuters
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday ducked a question on US Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s controversial remarks over total shutdown of Muslims entering America but said in India, “we don’t look towards communities with suspicion”.On being asked by an American reporter to respond to Trump’s comments in the aftermath of the California shooting, Parrikar said the question has the “potential of a nuclear bomb” but did not give a clear response to what he thought of the remarks.”I’ll not comment on what has been talked about in the US, but as far as India is concerned, we have the second largest Muslim population in the world and we gel well. We believe that everyone has equal opportunity, equal rights. Yes, maybe there are a few small pockets of extremism, radicalisation, but they are too few to treat the different sections of society differently,” Parrikar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In India, we have equal rights for everyone, and we don’t look towards communities with suspicion. Those who are radicalised is a different issue. We tackle them separately, but that is – those were terrorists,” Parrikar said in response to a question.On Tuesday, the controversial business tycoon, Trump, called for “a total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US in the aftermath of the California massacre, in his most divisive remarks yet that drew widespread global condemnation including from his party’s rival candidates and the White House.According to a statement issued by his campaign, Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”Parrikar, the first Indian Defence Minister to have addressed the Pentagon correspondents, earlier held talks with his American counterpart Ashton Carter on key defence and regional and global security issues.

Manohar Parrikar holds talks with US Defence Secretary Carter at Pentagon

Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh and his American counterpart Richard Verma were also present on the occasion.

Manohar Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday held talks with American counterpart Ashton Carter at the Pentagon on ways to deepen bilateral long-term strategic partnership. Earlier on his arrival at the Pentagon, Parrikar was given an enhanced honour cordon by the American military as he was welcomed by the US Defence Secretary. The meeting between the two leaders began soon thereafter. Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh and his American counterpart Richard Verma were also present on the occasion along with other senior officials from both the sides. During the meeting, the two leaders are expected to discuss ways to deepen the long-term strategic partnership between the two countries, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> On Wednesday, Carter hosted an informal dinner for Parrikar at the Pentagon. Soon after their meeting, the two leaders would hold a joint press conference, the first time that an Indian Defence Minister would address the Pentagon correspondents. Thereafter, Carter and Parrikar are scheduled to travel to Norfolk in Virginia where they will fly out to the USS Eisenhower and view flight operations on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, Cook said.Parrikar also became the first Indian Defence Minister to visit the headquarters of the US Pacific Command in Hawaii. On Wednesday, Parrikar also held a meeting with the members of the American defense industry at an event organised by the US India Business Council (USIBC) during the leader’s maiden visit to the US. India is wooing American defence industry to establish their manufacturing units in India.

Manohar Parrikar asks people to contribute to Chennai flood victims instead of spending it on his birthday

On December 6, Congress had appealed to Parrikar to cancel his “lavish” birthday bash being organised by BJP on December 13 and instead use the money to help victims of Chennai floods.
File Photo
AFP photo
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday appealed to the people to contribute to the Goa Chief Minister’s fund to help victims of the recent Chennai floods instead of spending money for his birthday.”People of Goa have always supported and showered their blessings on me. On the occasion of my 60th birthday on 13th December, this year, I urge all of you to pray and help towards the loss caused by devastating floods in Chennai,” Parrikar said.”Let us stand with the people of Chennai in their difficult times. I urge my well wishers not to spend on advertisements/ presents and/ or flowers on my birthday and instead contribute towards Chief Minister of Goa Chennai Relief Fund,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This will be a cherished birthday gift from Goa as reaching out to humanity is sacred,” he added.On December 6, Congress had appealed to Parrikar to cancel his “lavish” birthday bash being organised by BJP on December 13 and instead use the money to help victims of Chennai floods. Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar had said the state government is not spending on events related to Parrikar’s birthday.

Tackle alienation with strong redressal mechanism: Pillai

This is giving rise to charge up atmosphere of insecurity and alienation that breeds radicalisation which is the first step extremism.

As security establishment grapples with the possible scenario of ISIS posing a potent threat to India, former union home secretary G K Pillai has suggested bringing focus on key factors of radicalisation – alienation of youth, unemployment, fear and grievances and tackle them with a strong ‘redressal mechanism’ at the ground level.Delivering a key note address at 3rd Annual Internal Security National Seminar on ‘Radicalisation: A Growing Security Challenge for India’ organised by the Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA), Pillai called to reach out to the communities and exhort them to work within themselves to work out anti-radical strategies.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The seminar viewed the recent attempts of mass mobilisation on ideological lines to create social polarisation as a dangerous trend that is being abetted by growing instances of religious intolerance and provocations and aided by diatribes aired on electronic and social websites.This is giving rise to charge up atmosphere of insecurity and alienation that breeds radicalisation which is the first step extremism.”Traditional family structures and communities can play a crucial role in countering radicalisation in India… Our family and community structures prevent people from switching to extreme ideologies,” asserted Pillai.Defining radicalisation, Pillai said that it is a process of changing people’s perception to the extreme extent, where it may manifest itself in violence and curbing the freedom of expression of others and advocated a ‘strong state and rule of law’ as the two key elements of the Indian counter-radicalisation strategy.Cautioning about the sudden increase in instances of religious bigotry, irrationality and a concerted effort to homogenise the society, especially by the majority community, noted sociologist Professor T K Oommen, said, they are a sure way to instill radicalisation.How people at responsible positions can proudly state that Ganesha was an example of plastic surgery and we had Pushpak Viman? Such statements devoid of scientific temper are dangerous and a sure way to instil radicalisation, Prof Oommen said.”If there is consensus on the idea of India then there can be consensus of defeating radicalisation,” he said.Describing Islamic radicalisation as an import of Pakistan’s doctrine to bleed India with the help of ISI, Lt. Gen Hasnain called for the need to constitute a national perception management board headed by academicians to understand radicalisation and suggest ways to counter it.

Cancel Manohar Parrikar’s birthday bash, donate to Chennai flood: Congress to BJP

“Parrikar should ask his party to spend it (money) for Tamil Nadu flood victims and on the welfare of thousands of people who have lost their jobs with mining gone in Goa,” the Congress leader said.

The Congress on Sunday appealed to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to cancel his “lavish” birthday bash being organised by the BJP on December 13 and instead use the money to help victims of Chennai floods.However, the BJP has defended the move, saying the bash is in fact the “much-delayed” public felicitation of the former chief minister after he was elevated as Defence Minister. “The Goa chief minister and members of his cabinet are mobilising money and manpower to celebrate the Defence Minister’s 60th birthday. Government machinery is being used to collect donations for the birthday bash. This is precious waste of resources which are meant for public good,” claimed AICC secretary Girish Chodankar. He alleged the birthday celebrations are going to be a “vulgar” show of wealth and power.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Parrikar should ask his party to spend it (money) for Tamil Nadu flood victims and on the welfare of thousands of people who have lost their jobs with mining gone in Goa,” the Congress leader said. He alleged that the BJP-led coalition government in Goa was using the state machinery to collect Rs 10-15 crore which would be spent on the bash scheduled to be held at Gymkhana ground here on next Sunday. “How can a Defence minister celebrate his birthday in such a lavish style when agencies of his ministry are engaged in relief and rescue work in Chennai, where the situation continues to be grim and people are losing hope.”People in Goa dependent on mining are facing immense hardship because mining work has not yet started. The tourism industry is also facing a slump. Is there a reason to celebrate lavishly,” Chodankar questioned.He said the BJP should deposit the money into the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund so that “it can be used judiciously towards providing relief to citizens of Chennai”. Meanwhile, State unit BJP president Vinay Tendulkar has justified the move to felicitate Parrikar who had been elected to the Legislative Assembly on five consecutive terms from Panaji Assembly constituency.

Tamil Nadu relief efforts shadowed by ‘Amma stickers’ row, AIADMK denies role

As soon as messages went viral on social media claiming that “AIADMK workers” were asking NGOs and volunteers to paste “Amma” stickers over relief material, the ruling party sent across counter-messages.

Twitter
The ongoing relief work in Tamil Nadu has been shadowed by charges in social media that AIADMK workers were nudging NGOs to paste stickers of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on relief material, a claim dismissed by the ruling party as “false”.As soon as messages went viral on social media claiming that “AIADMK workers” were asking NGOs and volunteers to paste “Amma” stickers over relief material, the ruling party sent across counter-messages.It said such claims in the social media were totally false and asked volunteers to complain to party headquarters or police if at all such demands were made.”We wish to reiterate that there is no such message in any form to anyone from the party. It is evident that it was a rumour and work by unscrupulous elements to defame the party and our honourable Chief Minister,” a senior AIADMK functionary declining to be named, told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is a rumour, a canard spread by unscrupulous elements,” he said, adding efforts were being made to identify them. To another question, he said, “there is no need for us to insist that stickers of the CM be pasted on relief material. Our partymen are already busy discharging duties assigned to them in connection with relief work,” he said.He said there was a report of a relief-truck halted on Tiruvallur-Tiruttani Road, by some men who falsely claimed to be ruling party workers, asking them to paste “Amma” stickers and banners.Following such claims in the social media, DMK chief Karunanidhi had hit out at AIADMK “for delaying relief by many hours” so as “to paste stickers of Amma on relief materials to seek publicity.”Meanwhile, a Defence Public relations official here said Army men have been sent to Cuddalore for relief work.On reports of “logistical glitches” in relief work involving Army personnel here due to lack of coordination among State, Central agencies, he said, “Relief work is going on by the Army,” but declined to elaborate.Also Read: AIADMK asks volunteers to call and register complaints. Read full report here

Chennai rains: NDRF undertakes most massive flood relief operation; rescues 16,000

NDRF Director General OP Singh, who is camping here since yesterday, said with the induction of 20 fresh combat teams overnight, close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital here and nearby places.

Close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital

Reuters
NDRF on Friday said it has launched its “most massive” deployment so far as it pressed into service 50 rescue and relief teams with over 200 boats, rescuing over 16,000 people marooned by the unprecedented rains in the southern metropolis and adjoining areas.NDRF Director General OP Singh, who is camping here since yesterday, said with the induction of 20 fresh combat teams overnight, close to 1,600 personnel in fifty teams are now undertaking the operations in various parts of the state capital here and nearby places. “This is our most massive deployment in any flood disaster till date. Now we have close to 1,600 personnel with 21 officers and 200 rubberised inflatable boats. We have rescued over 16,000 people to safer locations till now,” Singh said while talking to reporters here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also reviewed the operations of the force in the Kottupuram area along with senior NDRF and state government officials. The DG said the force is stepping up its operations each day and now their aim is to provide water and food to as many marooned people as they can. “We are also persuading people to come to safer locations with us,” he said, adding, the force is making extensive use of social media to expand its relief and rescue operations. All our helplines, be it over phone, WhatsApp, Twitter or email, they are working actively and responding to the people in distress, the DG said.With the IMD predicting more rains, he said his teams were determined to reach more and more areas so that relief material is provided before the pouring begins. Meanwhile, in Delhi a meeting of the Crisis Management Group (CMG) under the chairmanship of Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi was held to review the ongoing operations being undertaken by multiple agencies. Officials said Mehrishi issued directions to intensify the efforts so that people reeling under these floods for the last few days are helped as much as it can be and are provided with essential good items like water, milk and snacks.Representatives of Ministries of Defence, Food, Railways, Agriculture, Health, Department of Telecommunications, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) participated in the CMG meeting. An NDRF spokesperson said so far, its teams have evacuated 16,325 stranded flood victims, 30 livestock and distributed 19,465 food packets and 16,002 water packets in the affected areas.

Commendable job done by disaster-hit Chennai residents: Venkaiah Naidu

Naidu added that things were improving, but the real problem would start once the water receded and the health hazards and causalities would be known.

AFP
Complementing the people of Chennai for the resilience that they have shown in confronting their worst natural calamity after record breaking rains, Union Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said it has done a commendable job and has demonstrated a good example to the nation. “The tragedy is huge, any amount of help may not suffice as the government of India also has some limitations. Chennai is seeing a rare calamity of severe nature. The entire country needs to help the state. I am very thankful and particularly complement the people of Chennai for the resilience they have shown. All sections of the community have come forward and have done a commendable job. They have shown a good example to others as well,” Naidu told media here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Naidu added that things were improving, but the real problem would start once the water receded and the health hazards and causalities would be known. “The Army, Navy, Air Force, everyone is doing their duty and I have been in constant touch with the defence minister. Defence airplanes and Naval ships have been deployed. Air India is also making a special drive to transport stranded passenger to different places. This process will go on.. Govt of India is in constant touch with the state,” he said while talking about the rescue operations being undertaken.With rainfall easing from Wednesday night in Chennai, there has been some relief for the marooned people. However, normal life continues to be affected in Chennai, its suburbs and nearby districts. Relief agencies are working round the clock as water has flooded people’s homes, roads and offices and people sheltered in relief camps and stranded on rooftops. Rainfall has decreased compared to Wednesday. Due to less rain, water level has come down in many areas. And relief workers have been fanning out to more and more flooded places. But overflowing lakes and breaches in embankments have resulted in people being forced out of their homes. Overflowing lakes in Mudichur, Vardarajpuram, West Tambaram, Manickam have led to flooding in those areas and movement of vehicles has come to a standstill. Thousands of homes and offices are deluged and normal life has been badly affected.

Russia says it has proof Turkey involved in Islamic State oil trade | Reuters

MOSCOW Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday it had proof that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his family were benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq.

Moscow and Ankara have been locked in a war of words since last week when a Turkish air force jet shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border, the most serious incident between Russia and a NATO state in half a century.

Erdogan ressponded by saying no one had the right to “slander” Turkey by accusing it of buying oil from Islamic State, and that he would stand down if such allegations were proven to be true. But speaking during a visit to Qatar, he also said he did not want relations with Moscow to worsen further.

At a briefing in Moscow, defence ministry officials displayed satellite images which they said showed columns of tanker trucks loading with oil at installations controlled by Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and then crossing the border into neighbouring Turkey.

The officials did not specify what direct evidence they had of the involvement of Erdogan and his family, an allegation that the Turkish president has vehemently denied.

“Turkey is the main consumer of the oil stolen from its rightful owners, Syria and Iraq. According to information we’ve received, the senior political leadership of the country – President Erdogan and his family – are involved in this criminal business,” said Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov.

“Maybe I’m being too blunt, but one can only entrust control over this thieving business to one’s closest associates.”

“In the West, no one has asked questions about the fact that the Turkish president’s son heads one of the biggest energy companies, or that his son-in-law has been appointed energy minister. What a marvellous family business!”

“The cynicism of the Turkish leadership knows no limits. Look what they’re doing. They went into someone else’s country, they are robbing it without compunction,” Antonov said.

Erdogan last week denied that Turkey procures oil from anything other than legitimate sources.

He has said Ankara is taking active steps to prevent fuel smuggling, and he challenged anyone who accused his government of collaborating with Islamic State to prove their allegations.

On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said Turkey had made progress in sealing its border with Syria, but Islamic State was still exploiting gaps to bring in foreign fighters and sell oil.

WEAPONS FLOW

The Russian defence ministry also alleged that the same criminal networks which were smuggling oil into Turkey were also supplying weapons, equipment and training to Islamic State and other Islamist groups.

“According to our reliable intelligence data, Turkey has been carrying out such operations for a long period and on a regular basis. And most importantly, it does not plan to stop them,” Sergei Rudskoy, deputy head of the Russian military’s General Staff, told reporters.

The defence ministry said its surveillance revealed that hundreds of tanker trucks were gathering in plain sight at Islamic State-controlled sites in Iraq and Syria to load up with oil, and it questioned why the U.S.-led coalition was not launching more air strikes on them.

“It’s hard not to notice them,” Rudskoy said of the lines of trucks shown on satellite images.

Officials said that the Russian air force’s bombing campaign had made a significant dent in Islamic State’s ability to produce, refine and sell oil.

SMUGGLING ROUTES

Ministry officials described three main routes by which they said oil and oil products were smuggled from Islamic State territory into Turkey.

It said the Western route took oil produced at fields near the Syrian city of Raqqa to the settlement of Azaz on the border with Turkey.

From there the columns of tanker trucks pass through the Turkish town of Reyhanli, the ministry said, citing what it said were satellite pictures of hundreds of such trucks moving through the border crossing without obstruction.

“There is no inspection of the vehicles carried out … on the Turkish side,” said Rudskoy.

Some of the smuggled cargoes go to the Turkish domestic market, while some is exported via the Turkish Mediterranean ports of Iskenderun and Dortyol, the ministry said.

Another main route for smuggled oil, according to the ministry, runs from Deir Ez-zour in Syria to the Syrian border crossing at Al-Qamishli. It said the trucks then took the crude for refining at the Turkish city of Batman.

A third route took oil from eastern Syria and western Iraq into the south-eastern corner of Turkey, the ministry said.

It said its satellite surveillance had captured hundreds of trucks crossing the border in that area back in the summer, and that since then there had been no reduction in the flow.

The defence ministry officials said the information they released on Wednesday was only part of the evidence they have in their possession, and that they would be releasing further intelligence in the next days and weeks.

(Additional reporting by Alexander Winning; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Giles Elgood)

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

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar clarifies retirement rumours, says will finish task at Centre

His comment came following media reports which quoted him as saying that he is planning to retire as he will turn 60 on December 13.

Manohar Parrikar

AFP
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, on Monday, said he has no plans of retiring soon and that he will go back to Goa only after finishing the task given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.His comment came following media reports which quoted him as saying that he is planning to retire as he will turn 60 on December 13.”My statement has been misinterpreted and twisted. I did not make any such statement on retirement,” he said.Parrikar, who has served as Goa Chief Minister thrice, tweeted, “At the age of 60, normally people think of retirement and perhaps I would have also. But I had to take bigger responsibilities at Centre & I assure you that I will come back only after finishing the task I am given”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The BJP leader, who completed one year as Defence Minister on November, has an enormous task before him – to carry forward the modernisation programme of the armed forces and to streamline the procurement process in a fast and transparent manner.

Jammu and Kashmir: Army Porter injured in militants’ firing in Poonch LoC

The condition of the porter Rameez Raja (22) is stable and further reports awaited, the PRO said.

Representational Image

An Army Porter was injured in firing by militants along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. “At approximately 1700 hours today, in a militant stand off fire, one civilian porter got injured in forward post (along LoC in Saujian belt of Poonch District),” PRO, Defence, Jammu, Lt Col Manish Mehta said.The condition of the porter Rameez Raja (22) is stable and further reports awaited, the PRO said.The area has been cordoned off and search operation is on. (With inputs from agency)

Future wars may be cyber wars, so a ‘digitised army’ is the need of the hour: Parrikar

New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday expressed concern over the use of internet by Islamic State militants for recruitment and said it was important to enhance information and communications technology (ICT) capabilities to face any threat.

“…you take the example of terrorist organisation like Daesh or Islamic State; they use internet to ensure lot of recruitment and support. They are the ones who are the best users of Internet technology for promoting their cause,” Parrikar said at an event.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTIDefence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

“My worry is about information blackout due to various disruptive mechanisms… information corruption can be another danger to platforms; and information overload is also a problem,” he said.

The minister was speaking at a conference on ‘Enabling ICTEC Infrastructure and Harnessing the Human Capital for Digital Army’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

“One way to progress is through ICT use and make a more digitised army… we need to enhance our capability so that we are protected,” he said.

“ICT has a very important role to play. The future wars may be cyber wars. I see the signals for it and this is not necessarily in a way we think… I believe very strongly that ultimately a conventional army cannot be replaced but it can be equipped with all the information to fight in a well planned way without interruption,” Parrikar added.

IANS

‘ISIS one of the best users of internet technology for promoting their cause,’ says Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

“The world that we as a nation will be interacting with is increasingly fraught with turbulence and will call for dominant military might. We need to develop technology and system appropriate to evolving military doctrine,” Parrikar said addressing the DEFCOM seminar here organised by the Corps of Signal of the Indian Army and the CII.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

PTI
Stating that the future wars might be fought in the cyberspace, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday warned the Army against “information blackout” as he sought enhanced capabilities to ensure protection from disruptive cyber attacks or manipulations.Parrikar also citied the example of the terrorist organization ISIS, which he said, was “one of the best user of internet technology” for promoting their cause.The Defence Minister said a resurgent India will increasingly play a dominant role in the world affairs.”The world that we as a nation will be interacting with is increasingly fraught with turbulence and will call for dominant military might. We need to develop technology and system appropriate to evolving military doctrine,” Parrikar said addressing the DEFCOM seminar here organised by the Corps of Signal of the Indian Army and the CII.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said that Information Technology (IT) has an important role to play because “future wars may be cyber wars”.Parrikar, however, asserted that boots on the ground cannot be replaced. “Ultimately conventional armies cannot be replaced but they can be equipped with equipment which will provide them with all the information to fight with a well decided and well planned way without getting interrupted.” Speaking about the need for proper use of the developing internet technology, Parrikar said, “One can take the example of terrorist organisations like Daish or ISIS. They use the internet to ensure a lot of recruitment or support, and they are one of the best users of internet technology for promoting their cause.”He said his worry was information blackout which can be caused by various destructive mechanisms.”Information corruption can be another danger to the platform which we use,” he said adding that information overload is also a problem.”Because of Information Technology, you can get so much information that getting vital information out of that becomes something like finding a needle in a haystack,” the minister said.He said while we progress through IT and make a more digitalised army, the danger is of disruption through cyber attacks by the enemy. “We need to enhance our capabilities to ensure that they are protected from such disruptive cyber attacks or cyber manipulations,” he said.Parrikar said the Indian Army should not only use the digital advantage but also protect itself against destructive technology of adversaries. Noting that India has been at the forefront of software development, he said one needs better hardware designing and integration in our system. Parrikar also said that the new Defence Procurement Procedure was at an “advanced stage”, and he expects it to be in place in the near future.He said the government’s effort is to have as much as indigenisation as possible.The minister, however, said that it cannot happen overnight because even with best efforts, only 10% increase can be achieved.Underlining that the government has been pushing very hard, he assured the industry and the armed forces that the government is focusing on Make in India.”Our effort will be to depend on indigenously manufactured items because for a very rare eventuality in a war, you can really depend on your own resources,” he said.

India test-fires indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile

Balasore: As part of efforts to develop a full fledged multi-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system, India on Sunday test-fired its indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming ballistic missile, from a test range off Odisha coast.

Representational image. Agencies

Representational image. Agencies

“The test was conducted to validate various parameters of the interceptor in flight mode,” said defence sources.

The interceptor, known as Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile, was engaged against an electronically prepared target which simulated the trajectory of a hostile ballistic missile.

After getting signals from tracking radars, the interceptor, positioned at Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island), roared through its trajectory at around 9.46 am to destroy the incoming missile mid-air, in an endo-atmospheric altitude, defence sources said.

The ‘kill’ effect of the interceptor was being ascertained by analysing data from multiple tracking sources,” a Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist said soon after the test was carried out.

The interceptor is a 7.5-meter long single stage solid rocket propelled guided missile equipped with a navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro-mechanical activator, the sources said.

The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking andhoming capabilities and sophisticated radars, the sources said.

PTI

India to host 18-nation mega Army joint exercise with ASEAN members and dialogue partners

Senior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.

In what is slated to be the first-of-its-kind in scale, the Indian Army will hold a joint military exercise next year with 17 nations that include all the 10 member nations of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and eight dialogue partners — including India — of the regional strategic groupSenior officials in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) told dna that the exercise details are being worked out and it is likely to take place in Pune in the first week of March.The Field Training Exercise (FTX-2016) will be a week-long engagement among the armies of the 18 nations over coordination, primarily on de-mining, and the entire activity will be a part of the larger roadmap of military humanitarian understanding in the years to come between India and ASEAN members and affiliates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand are ASEAN member nations.Officials said that the dialogue partners apart from India, namely, China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Russia, are being coordinated with over their participation.The army’s mega-exercise will follow a grand Naval exercise in February next, at Vishakapatnam, where close to 50 country’s navies will come together for a five-day-long display of prowess and maritime capabilities.The Indian Army, has recently concluded a joint ‘hand-in-hand’ exercise with the Chinese army at China’s Kunming Military Academy and a two-week-long joint training in counter-terrorism operations with the Russian army at Suratgarh in Rajasthan.

Full text of PM Narendra Modi’s address at ASEAN summit

Tan Sri Dato Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council,

Tan Sri Dato Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Dato Ramesh Koddamal, Co-Chair of the ASEAN-India Business Council, Business Leaders of ASEAN, Members of the ASEAN Business Community, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am very happy to be here with you. I feel honoured to address this privileged gathering of the leaders who have transformed South East Asia into one of the most dynamic regions of the world. I congratulate you for this achievement. I also congratulate you on the creation of One ASEAN Community which you are going to sign off tomorrow. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> India and ASEAN are natural partners. Our ties date back to ancient times. They continue to serve as a bridge between our countries and regions. Friends! I have been saying that the 21st century belongs to Asia. I say this because of the track record of the ASEAN countries. Together, ASEAN’s ten member countries form an economic powerhouse. ASEAN has emerged as one of the largest economic zones in the world. Last fifteen years have seen your rapid and yet stable growth. Your Macro-economic stability has been the main reason for growth and stability in South East Asia. With good governance, futuristic infrastructure and focus on new age technologies, you have created excellence. In simple things like tourism, you have done miracles. Once again, I compliment the leadership and people of ASEAN countries for what they have achieved. When I analyse the Asian miracle, I find that small countries of ASEAN and a big country like China, both have done well. This shows that growth depends more on the spirit of people rather than the size of population. I have had personal relations with many leaders of this region. I have also visited a number of places a number of times. Even as Prime Minister, my engagements with the Asian leadership started as soon as I took over. I met a number of ASEAN leaders in the last Summit too. My government took office nearly 18 months ago. The Indian economy faced serious challenges. A high fiscal deficit, a high current account deficit, a large number of stalled infrastructure projects and persistent inflation were among them. It was obvious that reforms were needed. We asked ourselves the question – Reforms for what? What is the aim of reform? Is it just to increase the measured rate of GDP growth? Or is it to bring about a transformation in society? My answer is clear: we must REFORM TO TRANSFORM. In short, reform is not an end in itself. Reform for me is just a way station on the long journey to the destination. The destination is the transformation of India. We have to take the fruits of development to the margins of our geography and to the bottom of our demography. We have to touch lives, while reaching for the sky. By almost every major economic indicator, India is doing better than when we took office 18 months ago. • GDP growth is up and inflation is down • Foreign investment is up and the Current Account Deficit is down. • Tax revenues are up and interest rates are down. • The fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable. Obviously, this did not happen by accident. And the world economy is not exactly doing well. This success is the result of a series of concerted policies. We have embarked on a course of fiscal consolidation. We have entered, for the first time, into a monetary framework agreement with the Reserve Bank to curb inflation. Even while cutting the fiscal deficit, we have substantially increased productive public investment. This has been made possible in two ways. Firstly, we have imposed carbon taxes on fossil fuels. We have taken the bold step of de-controlling diesel prices and thereby eliminated energy subsidies, and have in fact imposed taxes on fossil fuels. We have increased the cess on coal by 300%. Globally, there is much talk of carbon taxes. We have actually acted. Secondly, we have reduced wasteful expenditure through innovative methods including targeting subsidies to the deserving through technology. Overall, there is increased confidence within and outside the country. The IMF and World Bank have expressed even better hope for our economy this year and after. The Economist magazine this week stated that “India is in healthier shape than any other big emerging economy.” However, as I said, our aim is not mere reform, but “reform to transform”. Macro-economic stability is good. But to transform India, much more needs to be done. We have begun a series of concerted steps. These include structural and institutional reforms. Agriculture remains India’s mainstay in terms of providing livelihood. We have introduced a series of simple but powerful structural reforms. There was a tendency to divert subsidised fertiliser for the production of chemicals. We have found a simple but very effective solution: by neem-coating the fertiliser, it becomes unsuitable for diversion. We are now moving towards universal neem-coating. This has already saved billions of rupees of diverted farm subsidies. We have also introduced Soil Health Card. This tells every farmer the condition of his or her soil and then enables him to choose the right crop, best quantity and mix of inputs. We have launched a housing for all program, one of the most ambitious in the world. It involves building 20 million urban houses and 29.5 million rural houses, totalling nearly 50 million. While the programme will make sure no Indian is houseless, it will also generate a large amount of employment – that too, mainly for the unskilled, the semi-skilled and the poor. We have undertaken major improvements in the transport sector. Our major ports witnessed a 4.65% growth in traffic and an 11.2% increase in operating income, in 2014-15 despite a global contraction in trade volume. The pace of award of new highway works has increased from 9 km/day in 2013-14 to 23 km/day currently. These will have large multiplier effects throughout the economy. We were committed to restore credibility in the process of allocation of natural resources. My government has intervened with legislative and administrative measures to improve the supply of critical inputs and raw materials. They include Coal, other minerals and spectrum. The hallmark of this intervention is allocation through transparent auction. We started the Jan Dhan Yojana. In less than a year, we opened 190 million new bank accounts. On Social security front, we have launched innovative and attractive schemes for insurance and pension. We have also set up MUDRA Bank to fund the small traders who were unfunded so far. More than six million small traders have already availed the loans. While expanding the banking services, we are also taking steps to strengthen the Banking system. Credible and capable bankers have been appointed to head banks. For the first time since banks were nationalised 46 years ago, private sector professionals have been appointed in key positions. We have taken concerted action to revive stalled infrastructure projects – We have started a major revamp of the power sector. These measures will also benefit our banks. Let me now turn to issues of investment, which may be of more direct relevance to you. In a break with over 65 years of tradition, we have involved India’s States in foreign policy. The Ministry of External Affairs has been asked to work with the States. When I visited China, a state-to-state summit was also held. And states have been asked to create export promotion councils. Making the States think globally is yet another reform with potential to transform. Our aim is to create jobs for more than a billion young hands. To provide this, the share of manufacturing must reach around 25% in our GDP. We have launched a campaign called ‘Make in India’ and aggressively worked on the front of Ease of doing business. Reducing complicated procedures, making them available at one platform- preferably online, simplifying the forms and formats has been taken up on war footing. That is how we have jumped up by 12 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report of 2016. Industry is realizing the benefits of these changes. Index of Industrial Production in the current year shows a distinct improvement over the previous year. We are working in all ways to make India a global manufacturing hub. World Class Infrastructure has remained a dream for India. Hence, our maximum focus is on building futuristic infrastructure. By exercising tight control over unproductive expenditure, we have greatly increased capital investment by the Public Sector. To further augment such investments, we are encouraging the PPP model. We are also setting up National Investment and Infrastructure Fund which will help us leverage public investments. We are also coming up with Tax Free Infrastructure Bonds with a view to broaden the corporate bond market and to provide long term finance for infrastructure. We are eager to work with Malaysia, Singapore and other ASEAN countries in this regard. As a result of our initiatives, • The sentiments for private investment and inflow of foreign investment have turned positive. Foreign investment is up 40%. • India has been consistently ranked as the most attractive investment destination by several global agencies and institutions. • India has also improved its UNCTAD ranking of investment attractiveness. Against 15th so far, now we are at 9th place. • India has also jumped 16 places on the World Economic Forum’s global competitive index after five years of decline in the list. • MOODY’s have upgraded the outlook for India. Campaigns like Digital India and Skill India are designed to prepare the people to take part in this process. We have witnessed exponential growth in the number of start-ups in the recent past. To tap this energy fully, we have launched the Start up India Campaign. We are aware of the interest of the Global investor community in the potential that India has. In recent months, this interest has gone up. Therefore, to re-vitalize the flow of investments, we have launched the second wave of structural and financial reforms. We are trying to further open up the economy and introduce an element of predictability and stability in taxation system. To give you some examples: • We have allowed and enhanced FDI levels in key sectors including Insurance, Defence and Railways. • Now, most of these FDI sectors have been put on automatic approval route. • We have also rationalised FDI policies in many sectors, including construction, plantation and medical devices. • We have now allowed composite caps for Foreign portfolio investors in all sectors where FDI is allowed. Earlier, portfolio investments had a separate cap. • We have greatly liberalised the licensing regime; to give you one example – we have taken out almost 60% of Defence items out of the licensing process. • We have ended retrospective taxation. • We have notified the regulations for the Alternative Investment Funds. • We have rationalized capital gains tax for Real Estate Investment Trusts. • We have also decided to defer the implementation of General Anti Avoidance Rules. • We have introduced the Goods & Services Tax Bill in Parliament. We are hopeful of rolling it out in 2016. This will create a unified system of taxation across the country. • We have drafted a new bankruptcy code. Formation of the Company Law Tribunal to expedite cases is on the way. These are just a few examples. Almost on a daily basis, we are trying to remove the bottlenecks that were affecting our growth process. Even early this month, we have taken very dynamic steps to further open up the economy for FDI. With this round of reforms, we are among the most open economies in the world. Going further, I want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators. We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is expected by the end of the year. We are moving fast to make sure that our tax regime is transparent and predictable. We are also keen to see that genuine investors and honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions on tax matters. Friends, India is a land of immense opportunities. To give you some examples: our fifty cities are ready for putting up Metro Rail Systems. We have to build 50 million affordable houses. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous. We have decided to go for renewable energy in a big way – 175 GW. We have to do all this in a short span of time. Our democratic values and an alert judicial system ensure the safety of your investments. We have set the tone of Governance with a long term vision and an open mind. We are particularly working to make India the easiest place to do business. Friends, Most of the ASEAN economies have done their bit for Asia’s resurgence. Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. We are at a take-off stage. I invite you to come and see the winds of change in India. Winds do take time to cross the borders. That is why; I am personally here to invite you. When you come, you will get the wings of a new business environment. And once you are there, I assure you of my full co-operation. Thank You. (Source: Press Information Bureau website)

Full text: Come, you will get wings of a new business environment in India, says PM at Asean meet

Prime minister Narendra Modi today invited the business community in the Asean region to see the winds of change in India and promised them the full cooperation.

“Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. We are at a take-off stage,” he said at the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Kuala Lumpur.

In the speech he claimed his government has been striving hard to bring about reforms in order to transform the country.

Referring to the recent measures on the FDI fron he said the government has taken dynamic steps to further open up the economy.

“With this round of reforms, we are among the most open economies in the world,” he claimed.

Here’s the full text of his speech:

Tan Sri Dato Dr Mohd Munir Abdul Majid, Chairman of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council,

Dato Ramesh Koddamal, Co-Chair of the ASEAN-India Business Council,

Business Leaders of ASEAN,

Members of the ASEAN Business Community,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am very happy to be here with you. I feel honoured to address this privileged gathering of the leaders who have transformed South East Asia into one of the most dynamic regions of the world. I congratulate you for this achievement. I also congratulate you on the creation of One ASEAN Community which you are going to sign off tomorrow.

India and ASEAN are natural partners. Our ties date back to ancient times. They continue to serve as a bridge between our countries and regions.

Friends! I have been saying that the 21st century belongs to Asia. I say this because of the track record of the ASEAN countries. Together, ASEAN’s ten member countries form an economic powerhouse. ASEAN has emerged as one of the largest economic zones in the world. Last fifteen years have seen your rapid and yet stable growth. Your Macro-economic stability has been the main reason for growth and stability in South East Asia. With good governance, futuristic infrastructure and focus on new age technologies, you have created excellence.

In simple things like tourism, you have done miracles. Once again, I compliment the leadership and people of ASEAN countries for what they have achieved.

When I analyse the Asian miracle, I find that small countries of ASEAN and a big country like China, both have done well. This shows that growth depends more on the spirit of people rather than the size of population. I have had personal relations with many leaders of this region. I have also visited a number of places a number of times. Even as Prime Minister, my engagements with the Asian leadership started as soon as I took over. I met a number of ASEAN leaders in the last Summit too.

PM Modi at the Asean summitPM Modi at the Asean summit

PM Modi at the Asean summit

My government took office nearly 18 months ago. The Indian economy faced serious challenges. A high fiscal deficit, a high current account deficit, a large number of stalled infrastructure projects and persistent inflation were among them.

It was obvious that reforms were needed. We asked ourselves the question – Reforms for what? What is the aim of reform? Is it just to increase the measured rate of GDP growth? Or is it to bring about a transformation in society? My answer is clear: we must REFORM TO TRANSFORM.

In short, reform is not an end in itself. Reform for me is just a way station on the long journey to the destination. The destination is the transformation of India. We have to take the fruits of development to the margins of our geography and to the bottom of our demography. We have to touch lives, while reaching for the sky.

By almost every major economic indicator, India is doing better than when we took office 18 months ago.

• GDP growth is up and inflation is down

• Foreign investment is up and the Current Account Deficit is down.

• Tax revenues are up and interest rates are down.

• The fiscal deficit is down and the rupee is stable.

Obviously, this did not happen by accident. And the world economy is not exactly doing well. This success is the result of a series of concerted policies. We have embarked on a course of fiscal consolidation. We have entered, for the first time, into a monetary framework agreement with the Reserve Bank to curb inflation.

Even while cutting the fiscal deficit, we have substantially increased productive public investment. This has been made possible in two ways. Firstly, we have imposed carbon taxes on fossil fuels. We have taken the bold step of de-controlling diesel prices and thereby eliminated energy subsidies, and have in fact imposed taxes on fossil fuels. We have increased the cess on coal by 300%. Globally, there is much talk of carbon taxes. We have actually acted. Secondly, we have reduced wasteful expenditure through innovative methods including targeting subsidies to the deserving through technology.

PM Modi at the Asean summitPM Modi at the Asean summit

PM Modi at the Asean summit

Overall, there is increased confidence within and outside the country. The IMF and World Bank have expressed even better hope for our economy this year and after. The Economist magazine this week stated that “India is in healthier shape than any other big emerging economy.”

However, as I said, our aim is not mere reform, but “reform to transform”. Macro-economic stability is good. But to transform India, much more needs to be done. We have begun a series of concerted steps. These include structural and institutional reforms.

Agriculture remains India’s mainstay in terms of providing livelihood. We have introduced a series of simple but powerful structural reforms. There was a tendency to divert subsidised fertiliser for the production of chemicals. We have found a simple but very effective solution: by neem-coating the fertiliser, it becomes unsuitable for diversion. We are now moving towards universal neem-coating. This has already saved billions of rupees of diverted farm subsidies.

We have also introduced Soil Health Card. This tells every farmer the condition of his or her soil and then enables him to choose the right crop, best quantity and mix of inputs.

We have launched a housing for all program, one of the most ambitious in the world. It involves building 20 million urban houses and 29.5 million rural houses, totalling nearly 50 million. While the programme will make sure no Indian is houseless, it will also generate a large amount of employment – that too, mainly for the unskilled, the semi-skilled and the poor.

We have undertaken major improvements in the transport sector. Our major ports witnessed a 4.65% growth in traffic and an 11.2% increase in operating income, in 2014-15 despite a global contraction in trade volume.

The pace of award of new highway works has increased from 9 km/day in 2013-14 to 23 km/day currently. These will have large multiplier effects throughout the economy.

We were committed to restore credibility in the process of allocation of natural resources. My government has intervened with legislative and administrative measures to improve the supply of critical inputs and raw materials. They include Coal, other minerals and spectrum. The hallmark of this intervention is allocation through transparent auction.

We started the Jan Dhan Yojana. In less than a year, we opened 190 million new bank accounts. On Social security front, we have launched innovative and attractive schemes for insurance and pension. We have also set up MUDRA Bank to fund the small traders who were unfunded so far. More than six million small traders have already availed the loans.

While expanding the banking services, we are also taking steps to strengthen the Banking system. Credible and capable bankers have been appointed to head banks. For the first time since banks were nationalised 46 years ago, private sector professionals have been appointed in key positions. We have taken concerted action to revive stalled infrastructure projects – We have started a major revamp of the power sector. These measures will also benefit our banks.

Let me now turn to issues of investment, which may be of more direct relevance to you.

In a break with over 65 years of tradition, we have involved India’s States in foreign policy. The Ministry of External Affairs has been asked to work with the States. When I visited China, a state-to-state summit was also held. And states have been asked to create export promotion councils. Making the States think globally is yet another reform with potential to transform.

Our aim is to create jobs for more than a billion young hands. To provide this, the share of manufacturing must reach around 25% in our GDP. We have launched a campaign called ‘Make in India’ and aggressively worked on the front of Ease of doing business. Reducing complicated procedures, making them available at one platform- preferably online, simplifying the forms and formats has been taken up on war footing. That is how we have jumped up by 12 ranks in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report of 2016. Industry is realising the benefits of these changes. Index of Industrial Production in the current year shows a distinct improvement over the previous year. We are working in all ways to make India a global manufacturing hub.

World Class Infrastructure has remained a dream for India. Hence, our maximum focus is on building futuristic infrastructure. By exercising tight control over unproductive expenditure, we have greatly increased capital investment by the Public Sector. To further augment such investments, we are encouraging the PPP model. We are also setting up National Investment and Infrastructure Fund which will help us leverage public investments. We are also coming up with Tax Free Infrastructure Bonds with a view to broaden the corporate bond market and to provide long term finance for infrastructure. We are eager to work with Malaysia, Singapore and other ASEAN countries in this regard.

As a result of our initiatives,

PM Narendra ModiPM Narendra Modi

PM Narendra Modi

• The sentiments for private investment and inflow of foreign investment have turned positive. Foreign investment is up 40%.

• India has been consistently ranked as the most attractive investment destination by several global agencies and institutions.

• India has also improved its UNCTAD ranking of investment attractiveness. Against 15th so far, now we are at 9th place.

• India has also jumped 16 places on the World Economic Forum’s global competitive index after five years of decline in the list.

• MOODY’s have upgraded the outlook for India.

Campaigns like Digital India and Skill India are designed to prepare the people to take part in this process. We have witnessed exponential growth in the number of start-ups in the recent past. To tap this energy fully, we have launched the Start up India Campaign.

We are aware of the interest of the Global investor community in the potential that India has. In recent months, this interest has gone up. Therefore, to re-vitalize the flow of investments, we have launched the second wave of structural and financial reforms. We are trying to further open up the economy and introduce an element of predictability and stability in taxation system.

To give you some examples:

• We have allowed and enhanced FDI levels in key sectors including Insurance, Defence and Railways.

• Now, most of these FDI sectors have been put on automatic approval route.

• We have also rationalised FDI policies in many sectors, including construction, plantation and medical devices.

• We have now allowed composite caps for Foreign portfolio investors in all sectors where FDI is allowed. Earlier, portfolio investments had a separate cap.

• We have greatly liberalised the licensing regime; to give you one example – we have taken out almost 60% of Defence items out of the licensing process.

• We have ended retrospective taxation.

• We have notified the regulations for the Alternative Investment Funds.

• We have rationalized capital gains tax for Real Estate Investment Trusts.

• We have also decided to defer the implementation of General Anti Avoidance Rules.

• We have introduced the Goods & Services Tax Bill in Parliament. We are hopeful of rolling it out in 2016. This will create a unified system of taxation across the country.

• We have drafted a new bankruptcy code. Formation of the Company Law Tribunal to expedite cases is on the way.

These are just a few examples. Almost on a daily basis, we are trying to remove the bottlenecks that were affecting our growth process. Even early this month, we have taken very dynamic steps to further open up the economy for FDI. With this round of reforms, we are among the most open economies in the world.

Going further, I want to assure you that India is committed to protect Intellectual Property Rights of all innovators. We have taken several initiatives for transparency and online processing in IP administration. A comprehensive National IPR policy is expected by the end of the year. We are moving fast to make sure that our tax regime is transparent and predictable. We are also keen to see that genuine investors and honest tax payers get quick and fair decisions on tax matters.

Friends, India is a land of immense opportunities. To give you some examples: our fifty cities are ready for putting up Metro Rail Systems. We have to build 50 million affordable houses. The requirement of road, rail and waterways is enormous. We have decided to go for renewable energy in a big way – 175 GW. We have to do all this in a short span of time. Our democratic values and an alert judicial system ensure the safety of your investments. We have set the tone of Governance with a long term vision and an open mind. We are particularly working to make India the easiest place to do business.

Friends, Most of the ASEAN economies have done their bit for Asia’s resurgence. Now, it is India’s turn. And we know that our time has come. We are at a take-off stage. I invite you to come and see the winds of change in India. Winds do take time to cross the borders. That is why; I am personally here to invite you. When you come, you will get the wings of a new business environment. And once you are there, I assure you of my full co-operation.

Thank You.

Second army operated UAV crash within fortnight

The November 19 crash, in fact, was the loss of all four UAVs developed by the Defence Research and Development Research (DRDO) under an indigenous project called ‘Nishant UAV’ and inducted in Army in 2011.

Second army operated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle crash within fortnight; DRDO Project to develop more of them to be grounded An indigenously developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – used for reconnaissance- belonging to the Indian Army crashed Thursday near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, leading to second such incident within a span of fifteen days. The cause of the crash was a technical snag, officials said. On November 4, at Pokhran in Jaisalmer itself, an another UAV crashed during a training exercise.The November 19 crash, in fact, was the loss of all four UAVs developed by the Defence Research and Development Research (DRDO) under an indigenous project called ‘Nishant UAV’ and inducted in Army in 2011.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The entire project cost was close to Rs100 odd crores. A senior defence ministry official who did not wish to be named also said that the army is no more interested in Nishant UAVs, as a result of their poor performance and this, he said, “has been clearly communicated to DRDO”.What this will entail is scrapping of the second phase of Nishant UAV project under which few more of them were to be developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment, a Bengaluru based DRDO lab.Conceived as early as in 1988, DRDO began first test flight of Nishant project in mid-1990s.From their traditional primary role of surveillance, UAVs are now being increasingly used in electronic strike missions, for destroying enemy air defence and communication networks.UAVs are used across the world for air reconnaissance, surveillance and in some cases, even hitting ground targets. They help correct the course of firing by the Artillary units.Since the UAVs fly at low levels, detecting them by radars become difficult.

Colonel dies, policeman injured in Kashmir operation to flush out militants

Srinagar: An Army Colonel of the elite Para Commando force was on Tuesday killed and a policeman injured after coming under fire from militants in a forest area of Kashmir where the officer was leading a search party to flush out the hiding ultras.

39-year-old Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during the operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, officials said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He was immediately evacuated to a hospital but he succumbed to injuries, the officials said.

A police constable was also injured in the firing and was undergoing treatment.

Santosh, who hailed from Maharashtra and was commissioned in the Army in 1998, was originally from the Special Forces. He had received Sena Medal for exhibiting gallantry and leadership in counter terrorist operations, Defence spokesman said.

The operation to track down the militants was continuing when last reports were received, the officials said.

The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on November 13 to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.

An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.

After the initial contact on November 13, the militants fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, the officials said.

Col Santosh leaves behind wife and two children, aged 11 and five years, the defence spokesman said, adding the Army is committed to providing all support to the family in this hour of grief.

The spokesman said the Colonel was a true soldier and had conducted many successful counter-terrorist operations.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command Lt Gen DS Hooda has expressed deep condolences on the loss of this brave Commanding Officer.

“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to officers like Santosh who lead from the front and are willing to pay the ultimate price in the fight against terrorism,” Lt Gen Hooda said.

PTI

Rafale combat aircraft deal in final stages,confirms Manohar Parrikar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in April this year during his visit to France that India will acquire 36 Rafale planes in fly-away condition under a government-to- government contract.

Manohar Parrikar

The multi-billion dollar deal for purchase of 36 Rafale combat aircraft is in “final stages” of price negotiations, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.A new roadmap for the upgradation of the inventory in the Indian Air Force is being prepared with focus on ‘Make in India’ initiative, and any future acquisition will be based on it, he told PTI. The minister said that issues that came up in talks with the French on the Rafale fighter planes, like 50 per cent offset clause, have “almost been sorted out”. Refusing to put a timeline on when the final contract will be signed, Parrikar said, “It is in the final stages of price negotiations.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in April this year during his visit to France that India will acquire 36 Rafale planes in fly-away condition under a government-to- government contract. “As of now we are talking about 36 (planes). I am not saying that it means we are thinking of buying more. For our upgradation of the air force, we are preparing a roadmap. Once that roadmap is finalised and approved by the government, then we will go ahead as per the roadmap,” he said when asked if India will be going in more Rafale aircraft.Parrikar said that the roadmap will take into account the ‘Make in India’ initiative. “One option is the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas). In principle we have agreed to buy 20 LCAs in present form and another 100 with some improvements,” he said. On the offers made by global fighter jet plane makers to set up manufacturing bases in India, Parrikar said a decision would be taken as per the new policy. The Defence Ministry is expected to come out with a new Defence Procurement Procedure soon that will be in tune with the government’s initiative of ‘Make in India’. However, Parrikar made it clear that companies wanting to set up bases in the country will have to follow India’s export control policy.”Export also comes into play only once our order is finished. That will take 10-12 years. Even the best in the world can’t make more than 16-20 per year unless they have multiple plants. Production for our own orders will take 8-10 years,” he said.From Swedish firm Saab to US’ Lockheed Martin and France’s Dassault Aviation, most of the global aircraft manufacturers have offered their planes in line with the government’s push for ‘Make in India’. Indian Air Force had last month said it would need at least six squadrons comprising 108 Rafale or similar planes to shore up its capabilities.

Colonel, soldier critically injured as encounter rages on in Kashmir’s Kupwara district

Srinagar: An Army Colonel was among two security personnel injured in an encounter near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district of Kashmir today, an official said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles sustained serious injuries when a search party he was leading came under fire from militants in the dense forests of Haji Naka, an official said.

They said a police constable was also injured in the firing and both were evacuated to a hospital.

The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on 13 November to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.

An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.

After the initial contact on 13 November, the militants fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, an official said.

PTI

India, China agree to deepen defence ties, maintain peace at LAC after high-level meet

New Delhi: India and China on Tuesday 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.

India and China agreed to maintain peace at LAC. Reuters

India and China agreed to maintain peace at LAC. Reuters

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 in New Delhi.

This is the highest-level Chinese defence delegation to visit India in recent years.

Both Parrikar and General 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.

General 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.

General Fan also extended an invitation to Parrikar to visit China, which he accepted. The dates will be decided through diplomatic channels. General Fan will be calling on Prime Minister Modi tomorrow before leaving India at the conclusion of his visit.

Incidentally, the visit by the Chinese delegation comes at a time when Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag is in Japan on an official trip.

General Suhag’s visit follows seven months after Parrikar went to Japan and agreed to deepen military cooperation.

Last month, Japan took part in the Malabar naval exercise along with India and the US.

While the ships of the three countries took part in the naval exercise, an Indian Army contingent was holding an exercise with their Chinese counterparts in the neighbouring country’s Kunming area.

General Fan is accompanied by Admiral Sun Jianguo, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), and Zhu Fuxi, political commissar of the PLA Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC).

The Chinese team arrived here yesterday following their visit to Pakistan where they met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif.

General Fan had said in Islamabad that mutually-supportive cooperation in the field of defence is a critical factor in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

PTI

OROP row: Burning medals insult to nation, says Parrikar; Kejriwal backs veterans

His comments came on a day when Kejriwal visited the protesting ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar wearing a cap and T-shirt with OROP slogans.
File Picture

The OROP row escalated on Friday with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar terming attempts by veterans to burn medals as an insult to the nation and asked the protesting ex-servicemen to prove there was no political motive behind their stir even as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal voiced support to them.”If I say something, it will become an allegation. Let them prove that it is not political,” Parrikar told reporters in Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu when asked if he saw a political link to continuing agitation despite the government’s response and notification on One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme. He said the medals are a recognition of the nation for the sacrifice done by the armed forces.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Burning and returning them is an insult to the nation and the defence forces,” Parrikar said. The minister’s comments come in the wake of a section of the ex-service personnel expressing dissatisfaction on the ground that the OROP notification has not fully met their demands. The government had this month formally notified the OROP scheme for over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country.”Medals are a recognition of bravery, for the service to the nation. It has nothing to do with service conditions whereas OROP is about service conditions. It does not say you are entitled for medals, it talks about service conditions like your pay and entitlement,” Parrikar said. His comments came on a day when Kejriwal visited the protesting ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar wearing a cap and T-shirt with OROP slogans.He asked the Centre to implement OROP for the veterans in its “true spirit” rejecting its recent notification in this regard. Kejriwal, who spoke to the media near the makeshift stage of the protesting veterans, however, he did not address the gathering as he was asked not to make any “political statement” by Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, who is spearheading the movement.”The government notification is a farce because it is not in its true spirit. Please don’t fool the veterans. Implement OROP as per its definition. They are not begging but asking for their rights. It is unfortunate that the country’s soldiers are fighting for their rights on the streets,” Kejriwal said.The Chief Minister also tweeted his support for the ex- servicemen saying all their demands are “logical” and that the BJP-led Centre has been “unjust” to them. “Centre shud immediately accept their demands.”The protesting ex-servicemen had earlier met Kejriwal and briefed him about the “shortcomings” in the OROP notification.

Goa has been put on sale with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being the "official broker": Congress

Congress today alleged that the BJP-led Goa government has put the state on sale, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being the “official broker of the Goa government”.

Congress today alleged that the BJP-led Goa government has put the state on sale, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar being the “official broker of the Goa government”.Addressing media here, Shantaram Naik, Rajya Sabha MP from Goa and All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary, said that he had visited Naquerim village in Quepem taluka in South Goa, and inspected the 250 acres of land proposed to be given “practically free” to Defexpo India to organize their defence exhibition shows.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”When the Goa government is not in a position to find 200 acres of land for establishing the proposed All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in the state, what is the rationale in squandering away precious land to a purpose which Goa cannot digest?” he said.Naik said that about 250 acres of land was identified for establishing Industrial Estate, with the intention of giving employment to local youth, but the Defence Minister has thrown the interest of Goa and its unemployed youth to winds, and ventured into a project which can be located in any other state where land is available in plenty.”The track record of Defence Ministry with regard to use of Goan land is one of land-grabbing in the name of defence requirement,” he alleged.”They (Defence Ministry) made the state government part with Anjadive island in the name of security, but made a U-turn after few years, by stopping members of Christian community from offering prayers at the church standing there, despite their earlier written agreement of allowing them to do so,” he said.Naik asserted that the Indian Navy is attempting to grab two islands off the coast of Vasco despite public outcry, not for security reasons but to build holiday homes for their personnel.”The Navy is in occupation of 1687.51 acres of land at Dabolim village, where they have succeeded in getting their names recorded in the land records without producing title deeds,” he said.Naik said that the Defence Ministry is evading reply with respect to the question he asked in the Rajya Sabha regarding its officers using residential flats in the airport area.”The Chief Minister of Goa, it is equally shocking, has put the seal of approval of his government without any murmur,” he said.The leader noted that Parrikar, when he was the Leader of Opposition in the Goa Assembly, heavily criticised the then Congress government if it agreed to part with any parcel of land in favour of the Central Government.Naik noted that the former Goa Chief Minister was highly critical of the then Defence Ministry for not considering Goa’s demand for releasing the land in its (Defence Ministry) occupation in favour of the Airport Authority of India (AAI).”However, after becoming the Defence Minister, Parrikar went to the extent of calling those who were demanding shifting of Naval Base in Goa to Karwar as ‘anti-national’, and did nothing to order Indian Navy to part with the much needed land to the AAI, to the utter shock of Goans.” The leader questioned the state government on leasing out the land for Defexpo project, when “Goa does not have any land to waste and when it took the state government three years to identify land for the National Institute of Technology (NIT), which the government has now identified at Cuncolim village”.Naik charged that the Goa government had given 300 acres of land to the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), but not more that 20 per cent of the land granted to them was utilized, and that the employment that Goans got from the ONGC project was negligible.He said that even village panchayats of Betul, Kitol-Fatorpa and Morpilla have opposed the project in the Naquerim village.”I will take up this matter in the Rajya Sabha and write to the President of India, who is the supreme commander of the Indian Air Force,” he added.

Capt Amarinder slams Manohar Parrikar on OROP issue, says his comments ‘add insult to injury’

Chandigarh: Taking exception to Manohar Parrikar’s remarks against the protesting war veterans, Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday said it was “unbecoming” of him (Defence Minister) to make observations which can badly affect the morale of the existing soldiers, who are going to be ex-servicemen tomorrow.

“This is adding insult to the injury,” he remarked.

Amarinder Singh. AFPAmarinder Singh. AFP

Amarinder Singh. AFP

In a letter to the Defence Minister, Capt Amarinder referred to his recent statements where he had bluntly said ‘no more concessions on OROP’ and ‘the behaviour of ex-servicemen protesting the notification on the OROP scheme is unlike that of a soldier’.

Stating that it was an insult to the military fraternity to accuse them of “indiscipline”, Capt Amarinder asserted, “if this country has an institution that is completely loyal and disciplined, it is our armed forces and your statement is nothing but an insult”.

Sharing the sentiments of the ex-servicemen returning the medals, Capt Amarinder said, “if today the ex-servicemen are returning their medals, this is the ultimate that they can do”.

He pointed out, these medals are a soldier’s prized possession and not government charity.

These were won by them on the battle field for gallantry or distinguished service, and are worn with pride, he said adding that this was all he has to himself after his life spent in the defence of our country.

“I hope this will bring home to you the deep hurt, anguish and humiliation faced by all who once donned the uniform of our country”, he told the Defence Minister.

Making a strong case for undiluted OROP, the former Punjab Chief Minister pointed out, “your government can give a hundred and twenty five lakh crores to Bihar, obviously to ensure votes, and Rs 80,000 crores to Jammu and Kashmir and yet deny an extra Rs 1,000 crore to those patriots who have helped in keeping J&K in this country by shedding their blood and sweat over the past 68 years. Does any day pass without pictures of the tri-colour wrapped coffins arriving from Kashmir that appear in our papers?”

PTI

Canada’s India-born Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan faces racist remarks

Canada’s newly-appointed Sikh Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has allegedly faced racist remarks by a soldier on social media, prompting the Canadian Armed Forces to launch a probe.

Canada’s newly-appointed Sikh Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has allegedly faced racist remarks by a soldier on social media, prompting the Canadian Armed Forces to launch a probe.The military declined to identify the soldier or precisely what was written, but a source said the non- commissioned member from Quebec, made an “inappropriate statement” on Facebook about India-born Sajjan’s “ethnic background”, The Globe and Mail reported.Sajjan immigrated to Canada from India when he was a young boy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The offensive post, which was written in French, was quickly removed.A Forces spokesman said the army’s chain of command is probing the matter.Sajjan is a decorated military veteran who served three tours of duty for the Forces in Afghanistan, and one in Bosnia, and worked as a detective in the Vancouver Police Service.The incident of disrespect to the minister prompted Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West to send an e-mail to soldiers warning against such conduct, the newspaper said.He lamented the fact a high-ranking member of the Forces made “negative” comments about the minister and warned them against disrespectful behaviour, adding that to say he is angry would be an understatement.The Forces issued a strong statement Wednesday condemning the behaviour.”We are very much aware of an incident in which a Canadian Armed Forces member wrote inappropriate comments on social media about the new Minister of National Defence,” Forces spokesman Dan Le Bouthillier said.”Racist attitudes are not compatible with military ethos and with effective military service. Any conduct that reflects such attitudes will not be tolerated,” he said.”The institution is entirely committed to the principle of equality of all people and the dignity and worth of every human being,” the Forces spokesman said.”As previously stated by Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance, bullies have no place in the organisation.”

OROP row: Protesting veterans attempt to burn medals

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said he was pained to see the medals being returned.

While officially, the protesting veterans had denied that that they will be burning medals today, the media was tipped off in the morning itself.

High drama ensued on Wednesday at Jantar Mantar here where two veterans tried to burn their medals in protest against the ‘One Rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme announced by the government. Amid slogans against the government, the two veterans, who had also sat on a hunger strike, tried to burn their medals before the camera glare. However, others stopped them, with Maj Gen Satbir Singh, (Retd) asking them not to burn the medals.While officially, the protesting veterans had denied that that they will be burning medals today, the media was tipped off in the morning itself. Later, the veterans, numbering around 50, marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan in protest but were stopped by the Delhi Police at Rail Bhavan. The developments came a day after some ex-servicemen returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had said he was pained to see the medals being returned. “Medals are given by the country for the service and gallantry acts that the soldiers have rendered. A section insisting on returning the medals because one is not happy with certain clauses of OROP, for which the government is paying over Rs 8,000 crore, is demeaning the medal itself,” Parrikar had said.

Medal Wapsi: Ex-servicemen protesting for OROP to set their medals on fire at Jantar Mantar

Over 2,000 ex-servicemen protesting against the government’s “diluted” one-pension-one rank scheme on Tuesday had returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.

Ex-servicemen protest for OROP implementation at Jantar Mantar in September

PTI
Ex-servicemen agitating for OROP have decided to set their medals on fire at Jantar Mantar on Wednesday in protest over OROP notification issued by the government, reports ANI.Over 2,000 ex-servicemen protesting against the government’s “diluted” one-pension-one rank scheme on Tuesday had returned their medals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab, the organisations spearheading the movement claimed on Tuesday as they hit back at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for his “unlike soldiers behaviour” remark aimed at them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Colonel (retd) Anil Kaul, spokesman of the protesters in Delhi, said 2,000 ex-servicemen’s medals were deposited at the district collector’s office.Related Read: Govt clears OROP scheme implementation for veterans”The veterans had threatened to leave the medals on the road if we didn’t accept it. Hence, we accepted those,” District Collector Sanjay Kumar told reporters.In Chandigarh, Brigadier Kiran Krishan (retd), Convener for North Haryana of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), a constituent of United Front of Ex-Servicemen that had led the nation-wide protest for OROP at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, said that more than 150 war veterans returned over 150 medals which were handed over to the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula. Kaul said ex-servicemen from Ambala, Chandigarh, Moga, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur returned their medals today while those from Mumbai, Pune, Vadodara and Bangalore will follow the suit.”Our people from Mumbai, Pune, Vadodara and Bangalore will return their medals next. By the way, this is just the trailer,” he added.The veterans claimed over 20,000 of them have returned medals since their protest began in 2008 to press for OROP. Kaul reacted sharply to Parrikar’s statement that the war veterans’ protest against OROP notification is “unlike that of a soldier” and said the Parrikar’s behaviour “too doesn’t behove that of a Defence Minister.Dismissing Parrikar’s remarks that the protesters were being “misguided” and that the OROP notification issued on Saturday has been his “achievement”, the agitators shot back at the BJP leader asking him to learn English to know meanings of the two words and asked him not to “lie” to his soldiers seeking their due rights.”He says our behaviour is unlike that of a soldier. But we feel Parrikar’s behaviour is unlike that of a Defence Minister. We have been seeking our due to rights for past 149 days. But government has found no time to listen to us. Hence, we have been impelled to agitate Mr Parrikar. Your notification is not what we have been talking about. Therefore, we are returning medals,” Kaul said.

OROP: Former defence minister AK Antony accuses govt of betraying ex-servicemen

New Delhi: Former Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday attacked Narendra Modi government accusing it of “betraying” war veterans and dubbing the notification on one-rank-one-pension as a “Diwali shock” for them.

“It’s not a Diwali gift. It is a Diwali shock,” said Antony adding “this order is a vast dilution of UPA’s order.”

AK Antony. AFP

AK Antony. AFP

“I feel that by issuing this order, this government has gone back on its solemn commitment to Indian soldiers. This is not one Rank one pension; It is one rank five pension”, he said reacting to the notification on OROP issued last week.

Noting that the order says the soldiers who retire voluntarily after 15 years of service won’t get one rank one pension, he said “this will affect our policy to maintain an ever youthful force.”

“If we follow the new policy, our armed forces would become one of the oldest in the world”, Antony said alleging that by “going back” from its commitment, the government has “betrayed” the soldiers and ex-servicemen. “It will affect their morale”.

He said the order issued by UPA government on 24th April, 2014 itself has clarified the definition of OROP. “One rank one pension means those soldiers who retire of same rank, with same length of service will get same pension, irrespective of the date on which they retire”.

Besides, UPA government had also included that all future enhancement will be automatically passed on to ex-service men also. “So it was clear, if one retires today or five years back will get the same pension. But the new order is against it”, he pointed out.

The veterans who are on the path of agitation against the notification have a point to raise, he said adding that government has “gone back “from the promise made to them. “Because of that they are disappointed. So, naturally they will agitate.”

PTI

OROP notification row: Behaviour of protesting ex-servicemen unlike that of soldier, says Manohar Parrikar

The behaviour of ex-servicemen protesting the notification on OROP scheme is “unlike that of a soldier” and they have been misguided, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday, a day after the war veterans decided to return their medals.

The behaviour of ex-servicemen protesting the notification on OROP scheme is “unlike that of a soldier” and they have been misguided, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Tuesday, a day after the war veterans decided to return their medals.He termed one rank, one pension (OROP) decision as his biggest achievement in the last one year and said it was the BJP government that had finalised the measure.”This is unlike a soldier. Whoever are still protesting despite the announcement are being misguided,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Parrikar said that if there are any grievances, the ex-servicemen can present their case to the judicial commission that will be set up for this purpose.He had yesterday said that everyone has a right to make a demand in democracy but not all demands can be fulfilled.The government had on Saturday formally notified the OROP scheme for over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country. The notification is more or less in line with what Parrikar had announced on September 5.However, it has dropped the contentious proposal to exclude ex-servicemen who had sought premature retirement from the ambit of OROP. But the armed forces personnel who opt to get discharged on their request would henceforth not get OROP benefits.”It will be effective prospectively,” according to the notification. The notification does not include the demands for an annual equalisation of revised pension, for pegging the pension to the maximum of the current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving military personnel and ex-servicemen representatives.Ex-servicemen who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since June, have rejected the notification.

OROP row intensifies as war veterans to start returning medals today

New Delhi: War veterans will start returning their medals from Tuesday to protest government notification on implementation of ‘one rank-one pension’, which they have rejected, even as they on Monday hit back at Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for his comments that not all their demands can be met.

Representational image. Firstpost

Representational image. Firstpost

“We have one and only demand and that is OROP. It was the government who inserted provisions that has made the issue complicated. We want OROP as per the definition. No junior should get more pension than his senior.

“In protest against the government notification, we will start returning our medals from tomorrow. On November 10-11, ex-servicemen across the country will start returning their medals. They have already informed the District Magistrates about this,” Group Captain VK Gandhi (retd), general secretary of Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM), said.

The government had on Saturday formally notified the OROP scheme for the over 24 lakh ex-servicemen and six lakh war widows in the country, which was rejected by the protesting ex-servicemen.

Parrikar had said earlier in the day that everyone has the right to make a demand in democracy but not all demands can be fulfilled. He said “maximum” demands of the veterans have been fulfilled and that the judicial commission to be set up by the government will look into their “problems”.

In Delhi, the medals will be returned outside Terminal 1 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on Tuesday, Gandhi said, adding selecting crowded places for the purpose was meant to educate the common man about the issue.

The protesting ex-servicemen also met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and briefed him about the OROP notification.

“He called us today and asked us to brief him about the government notification. He has said in coming days he will take up the issue, address press conference and also visit the protesting ex-servicemen at Jantar Mantar,” Gandhi said after meeting Kejriwal.

PTI

OROP row: Not all demands can be fulfilled, says Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

“This is democracy. Everyone has the right to demand. But the maximum… their main demand for same pension for same rank has been given. Rest is everything that we had declared (on September 5). Out of that, the confusion about VRS has been removed,” Parrikar said on the sidelines of a function here.

With the protesting ex-servicemen dissatisfied with the formal notification of one rank, one pension (OROP) scheme, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said that everyone has a right to make a demand in democracy but not all demands can be fulfilled.Underlining that the “maximum” demands of the veterans have been fulfilled, he said the judicial commission that will be set up, will look into the “problems”.”This is democracy. Everyone has the right to demand. But the maximum… their main demand for same pension for same rank has been given. Rest is everything that we had declared (on September 5). Out of that, the confusion about VRS has been removed,” Parrikar said on the sidelines of a function here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said, “Har ek cheez mangte hai, wohi agar satisfy hone laga to kabhi khatam nahi hoga, aur koi kuchh aur mangega (even if all demands are satifisfied, someone will ask for something else).”The minister said that the “basic core issue” has been addressed and if there is a problem, the judicial commission will look into that.He was replying to questions on veterans being unhappy with the OROP notification issued by the government on Saturday.The notification is more or less in line with what Parrikar had announced on September 5.However, it has dropped the contentious proposal to exclude ex-servicemen who had sought premature retirement from the ambit of OROP.But the armed forces personnel who opt to get discharged on their request would henceforth not get OROP benefits.”It will be effective prospectively,” according to the notification.The notification does not include the demands for an annual equalisation of revised pension, for pegging the pension to the maximum of the current pensioners, and for appointing an expert commission with serving military personnel and ex-servicemen representatives.Ex-servicemen who have been protesting at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi since June, rejected the notification.Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement spearheading the protest, had said on Saturday, “The notification will not be acceptable to the rank and file. It is not one rank, one pension but one rank, five pension.”He further said that this investment helps the government receive additional money from the equity market and thereby reduces the burden on the state exchequer.In its report, the finance department also recommended that pension should not be extended to newly-recruited employees or cadres and called for the appointment of actuarial firms to estimate the actual annual pensionary burden and set up a special fund on a permanent basis to meet future liabilities.”If we remove the pension facility, nobody will want to work with the government. Also, we have no right to set up a special fund out of the budget, otherwise the importance of Legislature will be over,” Kumar said.The proposal is currently lying with the finance department and is expected to be placed before the Cabinet in the coming days.

Black Diwali? Reject govt’s OROP notification, wish to return medals, say section of veterans

This is “One Rank Five Pension” and not “One Rank One Pension,” Colonel Satbir Singh said.
Bir Bahadur
File Photo
After the government issued notification for implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme a section of protesting veterans said that they have rejected it. “This is injustice to the soldiers, we’ll fight with the government in court. This notification is not accepted. This is “One Rank Five Pension” and not “One Rank One Pension,” Major Gen(Retd) Satbir Singh said. Some even said that the government may go ahead with the threat of returning their medals. “The desire to return medals will continue because this is more or less unacceptable,” Major Gen.(Retd) PK Sehgel.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, others were glad to know about the implementation notification but said that they would wait for the details. “We’re happy but till we receive entire details, we can’t say anything,” Colonel Kapoor on government issues OROP notification.Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary Ram Madhav on Saturday confirmed that notification regarding One Rank, One Pension have been issued after addressing most of the contentious issue. “OROP notification issued. I am told that the most contentious issue of VRS has been removed thus addressing the major concerns of d veterans,” tweeted Ram Madhav on Saturday evening.”The wait is over. OROP notification issued,” confirmed Sitanshu Kar, Ministry of Defence (MoD) Principal Spokesperson. In a series of tweets, Kar stated: “Pension of past pensioners would be re-fixed on the basis of pension of retirees of 2013 and the benefit will be from 1 July 2014. Pension will be re-fixed as per average of min and max pension of personnel retired in 2013 in same rank & same length of service. Pension for those drawing above the average shall be protected. Arrears will be paid in four equal half yearly instalments. All family pensioners including those getting Special/Liberalized family pension & Gallantry award winners to get arrears in one instalment. In future, the pension would be re-fixed every 5 years.””Personnel who opted to get discharged, now on, on their request will not get benefits of OROP. It will be effective prospectively. Govt. will appoint a Judicial Committee to look into anomalies and submit its report in six months. The ex-servicemen on Friday had announced that they would intensify their demand for early implementation of the OROP scheme as per the ‘approved and accepted’ definition. They had also threatened to return their medals, and would observe a ‘black Diwali’ on November 11.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, however, had assured that the OROP scheme would be implemented before Diwali. “As you know it will happen before Diwali,” Parrikar told reporters on Friday. With agency inputs

Pawan Hans chopper crash: Chances of pilots’ survival bleak as search operation continues

Mumbai: 24 hours after a Pawan Hans helicopter with two pilots on board crashed into the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, Defence sources said the chances of their survival was “bleak” even as Navy and Coast Guard continued their search and rescue operation.

Captain E Samuel and T K Guha, were the only people onboard the ill-fated aircraft when it crashed at Mumbai High offshore oilfield of the ONGC last evening minutes after lift off for night landing practice.

“The chances of survival of two pilots onboard the ill-fated Pawan Hans helicopter that crashed yesterday are bleak as nearly 24 hours have been passed and Navy and the CG are still searching for them,” Defence sources said.

Pawan Hans chopper. IBNLivePawan Hans chopper. IBNLive

Pawan Hans chopper. IBNLive

“It would be miraculous if the pilots survive, but there is minimal hope of their survival as they are yet to be traced”, he said.

Meanwhile, defence officials have started examining the wreckage of the aircraft to look for clues to ascertain the reason behind the crash.

The 14-seater VTPWF Dauphin aircraft of 2001-make had taken off from the ONGC installation at 7:12 PM and contact with it was lost eight minutes later.

Two Immediate Support Vessels of the Navy and ONGC vessels were pressed into service to scour the crash area, about 82 nautical miles off south Mumbai Coast.

“Destroyer ‘INS Mumbai’ with integral helicopter was also launched to join the search and rescue efforts.

ONGC hires Pawan Hans helicopters to ferry its officials from Mumbai to its offshore oilfield. Meanwhile, a release by Defence PRO issued late evening said, “Navy has received a request from Pavan Hans Limited for assistance in location of the submerges debris/fuselage. Additional assets with suitable equipment are being deployed for searching and locating the submerged debris”.

“The operation will depend on assessment of underwater structures present in the area,” it added. Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said that Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Mumbai is coordinating the efforts between ships and aircraft engaged in search of the two missing pilots.

“Advisory regarding the accident has been issued by the MRCC (Mumbai) to all ships,” said a release.

Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Vijit along with integrated Advance Light Helicopter has arrived today and joined search efforts with ICGS Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, ICGS Achook, one ICG Dornier, 3 vessels of Indian Navy and 9 Support Vessels from Oil Platforms.

Two survey vessels, CG said, are engaged in underwater and seabed mapping for locating the wreckage of helicopter and a diving support vessel is carrying out underwater search.

“Another merchant vessel received echo of ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) transmission 2.7 NM south west of suspected crash site,” it added.

“ICGS Vijit is requested to divert Furgo mapper to undertake sonar scan in new area,” the defence official said.

PTI

Pawan Hans helicopter crashes off Mumbai coast, two pilots missing

Mumbai: A Pawan Hans helicopter with two pilots onboard crashed into the Arabian sea shortly after taking off from an ONGC installation in the Mumbai high field this evening, Defence sources said.

The pilots are missing and Coast Guard and ONGC have pressed their vessels into service to locate them.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

The Medivac chopper was on its last sortie of the day from a platform on the Mumbai High south oil and gas field about 160 km off the coast.

“We don’t know the reason for that,” ONGC Director Offshore TK Sengupta told PTI.

The chopper was not on any crew duty and so there were no passengers on board.

“The chopper was on a standby duty and had taken off as part of its last sortie,” he said, adding the reasons for the crash are not yet known.

“The pilots on the board are still missing. We don’t know their whereabouts,” Sengupta said.

No oil and gas installation was damaged in the accident.

PTI

India, Indonesia to exchange notes on extradition pact: VP Hamid Ansari

“An agreement which was signed many years ago, in 2011 if I am right, on extradition, for which an exchange of notes is taking place, that is a technical formality,” Ansari said.

India will exchange notes with Indonesia to complete formalities for a pending extradition pact, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Sunday as the government stepped up efforts to bring back underworld don Chhota Rajan from this country.Emphasising on age old cultural ties with Indonesia, Ansari, who arrived in Jakarta on the first leg of his two nation tour, said India would enter into partnerships with the country on ayurveda, cultural exchange and renewable energy during the visit.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ansari also emphasised that India should build its relations with other countries “at its own momentum” and not to counterbalance any other country’s actions.During his interaction with reporters, Ansari said India will exchange notes with Indonesia to complete formalities for the extradition pact signed in 2011.”An agreement which was signed many years ago, in 2011 if I am right, on extradition, for which an exchange of notes is taking place, that is a technical formality,” Ansari said.There has been much interest in India about the status of its extradition pact with Indonesia after Rajan was arrested in Bali when he arrived from Australia last Sunday on an Indian passport.After Indonesia, Ansari will visit Brunei from November 4-6, which would be the first ever Vice Presidential trip to that country.Asked about India’s security cooperation with Indonesia and Brunei, Ansari said that with the two countries, there is cooperation at the level of Defence Ministry and armed forces.”That is one aspect. The other side is security cooperation in the internal security sense. We are happy with the level of cooperation that exists at the moment. In-fact one of the documents (related to this) is going to be exchanged, during the course of this visit,” he said referring to document exchange related to the extradition pact.Indonesia, he said, is a maritime neighbour and also the biggest ASEAN country, which fits into the India’s Look East and Act East policy.On a question whether counterbalancing China’s assertiveness in South China Sea was a priority for the government, Ansari said, “I don’t think we should be in the business of counterbalancing.””We develop our own relations at our own momentum,” he said, adding that the world of 21st century will work on commonality of interests.Ansari said that Indonesia is very rich in resources and the bilateral trade stood at US $20 billion, with India being an important buyer of Indonesian palm oil and coal.”Successive leaderships of both countries have cultivated this relationship over time and the present visit is also part of that process,” he said.Ansari will also visit Bali where he would inaugurate a bust of Mahatama Gandhi at Uddiyana University on November 3 and also address students there.Speaking about Brunei, Ansari said that it is a “very friendly country to us” and added that by accident and not by design, there have not been many high level visits to that country, except one by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who went there to attend a summit.”We buy USD one billion worth of oil from Brunei,” Ansari said.The Indian community in Brunei is quite well respected.Both Indonesia and Brunei have been very cooperative towards India’s role in 10-member ASEAN grouping.As he landed in Jakarta, the Vice President was received by Indonesia’s Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs A M Fachir.Ansari also visited the famous Istiqlal mosque in Jakarta.Ansari would be meeting Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla on Monday.

Beef ban: Defence Ministry asks Indian army to stop buffalo slaughter ritual

The ministry accepted that the practice was traditional but said that ‘laws have now changed’.

Beef

Getty Images
The Defence Ministry of the Modi government under Manohar Parrikar has asked the Indian army to stop buffalo slaughter, reports an English daily.The ministry has asked the army to ensure that none of its units indulge in the ritual slaughtering of buffaloes, which is an age-old tradition. Instructions have been issued to put an end to the practice of certain army units to behead a male buffalo during Dussehra, that is attributed mostly to Gurkha tradition. The ministry accepted that the practice was traditional but said that ‘laws have now changed’, reports the daily. Interestingly, the government is using the ‘animal cruelty’ angle combined with the fact that buffalo slaughter is illegal by law, to push for this ban.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is understood that there may be some who wish to carry out this tradition but rules should not be bent. If there is such a need, rules can be followed and the animal can be taken to government authorized slaughter houses as per the law,” said a top defence ministry source to the English daily.The reaction to this diktat has been mixed. While some in the army welcomed the order, others have opposed the move.Related Read: Now, I&B ministry blocks film on beef-eating practices in Mumbai

Defence Ministry, Indian Navy file appeal in Supreme Court opposing permanent commission for women officers

The MoD and the Chief of Naval Staff have argued that such commission is ‘something that the law itself bars’ and such an order would ‘annihilate the functional autonomy of the armed forces’.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

AFP photo
The Ministry of Defence under Manohar Parrikar and the Indian Navy have moved the Supreme Court against a Delhi HC order allowing permanent commission for women officers, says Indian Express.The MoD and the Chief of Naval Staff have argued that such commission is ‘something that the law itself bars’ and such an order would ‘annihilate the functional autonomy of the armed forces’.Challenging the order of the Delhi High Court, which said on September 4 that women officers in the Navy should be offered permanent commission after they complete their short service stints, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Chief of Naval Staff have said that it violates the principle of ‘separation of powers’ between different wings. They have said that it severely affects the operational structure and administrative exigencies in the Indian Navy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Interestingly, the appeal claims that the order would affect the seniority of personnel and their opportunities for promotion in the Navy. But it also believes the order is discriminatory because no male officer who has been recruited under the SSC has been offered permanent commission.Another contention of the appellants is that the Delhi HC has assumed the role of ‘decision maker for the Indian Navy’. The Navy has claimed intrusion into its policies, saying the HC ‘nullified its policy without any cogent reason or basis’.The Delhi HC had observed that since all three arms of the military – Army, Navy and Air Force – come under the government, they cannot have different laws. The Navy opposes this , stating that “there are wide variations between the functions of all three services and each service is given the liberty to choose the policies conducive to meet service-specific standards.”Reacting to the development, women officers said to the Indian Express that it was a ‘betrayal’ by the government. They said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had promised them that he would dissuade the Navy from filing an appeal. “The Navy’s decision to appeal against the reinstatement of lady officers proves what the HC had stated… that the Indian government is proud to showcase women power but in reality, the picture is entirely different,” the officers told The Indian Express.Last month, the Delhi HC had allowed pleas filed by 19 women officers in the education, logistics and ATC branches of the Navy, who had completed the 14 years of their SSC. It had further stated that it believed a ‘sexist bias’ existed in the present rules.The officers had also challenged a 2008 decision of the Navy to grant permanent commission only to women who joined after that year, and that too only in the education, law and naval architecture branches.

Top Chinese army general to visit India, Pakistan

These visits are regarded as part of Chinese military’s efforts to expand ties with its Indian counterpart and solidify close defence cooperation with close ally Pakistan’s armed forces.

These visits are regarded as part of Chinese military’s efforts to expand ties with its Indian counterpart and solidify close defence cooperation with close ally Pakistan’s armed forces.

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China’s highest ranking defence officer will visit India next month, the first in a decade as the PLA seeks to expand relations with the Indian military and increase mutual trust along the border amid a series of incursions by Chinese soldiers. General Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the China’s Military Commission, will visit India and Pakistan in the middle of November, Chinese defence spokesman, Senior Colonel Yang Yujun said at a media briefing here today.These visits are regarded as part of Chinese military’s efforts to expand ties with its Indian counterpart and solidify close defence cooperation with close ally Pakistan’s armed forces. The purpose of the visit is to implement the consensus reached between the political leadership of the two countries and enhance friendship and mutual cooperation between China and the two countries, Yang said. While Fan’s visit to Pakistan is seen as an attempt to solidify relations in the backdrop of China’s USD 46 billion investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, his visit to India comes at a time when New Delhi and Beijing have made efforts to improve defence ties. Fan is the highest uniformed official whose rank is above that of the Defence Minister in China’s military hierarchy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CMC is the over arching body of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), headed by President Xi Jinping who also heads the military and the ruling Communist Party of China (CMC). Indian officials say that in his three-day visit, Fan will hold talks with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and other top defence officials. A host of issues will be discussed including efforts by both sides to improve relations between the troops deployed along the disputed border in the backdrop of a number of tense standoffs.The Chinese general’s visit to India comes in the immediate backdrop of a meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) which since 2012 is focusing on resolving the tense standoffs arising out of Chinese troops’ incursions into areas on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The standoffs began before the visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to India as his first overseas destination soon after he took over the post in 2013 as a goodwill gesture. The standoff in which Chinese troops pitched tents in Depsang area in Ladakh continued for several days before they withdrew.

First submarine of the Scorpene class – Kalvari is all set for harbour and sea trials

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders on Monday performed a religious ceremony for the first submarine ‘Kalvari’ to be separated from the pontoon and set afloat at the Naval Dockyard Mumbai.

Unlocking of submarine INS ‘Kalvari’
Ateeq Shaikh
dna
Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders on Monday performed a religious ceremony for the first submarine ‘Kalvari’ to be separated from the pontoon and set afloat at the Naval Dockyard Mumbai.The vessel is now slated to undergo rigorous trials and tests which would certify each system to its fullest capacity.Initially harbour trials will be conducted followed by installation of weaponry. Sea trials would commence at a later stage.Rear Admiral R K Shrawat, Chairman and Managing Director of Mazagon Dock Limited said, “Setting afloat of the boat is a historic milestone, which has been achieved through the hard work and perseverance of all executives and operatives of the Submarine Yard of MDL. The accomplishment of this milestone would initiate commencement of sea trials which would eventually lead to commissioning of the boat into the Indian Navy in September 2016.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On April 6, Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar had undocked the submarine at MDL.Mazagon Dock is constructing six Scorpene class submarines (under Project 75) under transfer of technology from DCNS, France. Subsequent boats will be delivered at gaps of nine months from each other. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.

It’s take-off for women IAF fighters, first batch to be enrolled in June ’16

The government move follows IAF chief Arup Raha’s announcement on October 8 that women may be considered for combat flying roles.

Sky may not necessarily be the limit for the women in armed forces

In a giant leap forward, the government on Saturday approved induction of women in fighter pilot role in the Indian Air Force (IAF) setting the tone for the Army and the Navy to follow suit in line with the armed forces of some of the developed countries.”The first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. After successful completion of ab initio training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016. Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017,” the ministry of defence (MoD) said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The government move follows IAF chief Arup Raha’s announcement on October 8 that women may be considered for combat flying roles. Subsequently, defence minister Manohar Parrikar had a meeting with the three services chiefs earlier this week here to take the proposal forward, sources said.Since their induction into the transport and helicopter streams of the IAF, the women pilots’ performance has been praiseworthy and on a par with their male counterparts, MoD further said.Neither the Army nor the Navy has so far shown inclination for allowing women in combat roles. Their role currently in all the three services is restricted to administrative, medical and education branches.”The three services have been asked by Parrikar to separately list out a detailed roadmap over the issue,” a defence source said.The IAF currently has about 1,500 women on its rolls of which 94 are pilots and 14 navigators assigned to transport aircraft fleet.In the past the IAF showed reservations about inducting women in front-line combat roles over apprehensions of rape and torture on being held in enemy territory. It also raised reservations over ‘limitations’ that may come due to marriage and conceiving of a child.The Navy has largely maintained that its warships are not designed to accommodate women’s privacy in a male-dominated crew. Current roles in armed forces The IAF presently inducts women in the Transport and Helicopter stream of the flying branch, Navigation, Aeronautical Engineering, Administration, Logistics, Accounts, Education and Meteorology branches. The Army inducts women into the Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation (Air Traffic Control), Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate Generals Branches/Cadres. The Indian Navy is inducting women in the Judge Advocate Generals, Logistics, Observer, Air Traffic Controller, Naval Constructor and Education branches/cadres.

Huge leap: Govt unlocks cockpits of IAF fighter jets for women pilots

New Delhi: Women members of the Indian Air Force today broke another grass ceiling with the government approving induction of female fighter pilots, the first time when women would be in combat role in the country’s armed forces.

Ready for women pilots. ReutersReady for women pilots. Reuters

Ready for women pilots. Reuters

The first women fighter pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing training at the Air Force Academy, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The news first came in with the Ministry of Defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeting out:

“This progressive step is in keeping with the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in armed forces of developed nations,” the ministry said.

It said that the performance of women, inducted into transport and helicopter streams of the IAF, has been “praiseworthy” and at par with their male colleagues.

“Inducting women into the fighter stream would provide them with an equal opportunity to prove their mettle in combat roles as well,” the ministry said.

As per the plan, the first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy.

After successful completion of ab-initio training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016.

Thereafter, they would undergo advanced training for one year and would enter a fighter cockpit by June 2017.

Presently, the Indian Army is inducting women into the Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation (Air Traffic Control), Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate Generals Branches/Cadres.

The Indian Navy is inducting women in the Judge Advocate Generals, Logistics, Observer, Air Traffic Controller, Naval Constructor and Education branches/cadres.

However, it has moved a proposal to induct women as pilots for its fleet of surveillance aircraft.

With this decision to open up induction of women in the fighter stream, women have become eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF.

The IAF is presently inducting women in the Transport and Helicopter stream of the flying branch, Navigation, Aeronautical Engineering, Administration, Logistics, Accounts, Education and Meteorology branches.

The Ministry of Defence has also taken up a comprehensive review pertaining to induction of women in Armed Forces, both in short service commission and permanent commission, and once finalised, more branches would be opened up for induction of women to give them the space which they deserve in the Armed Forces of the country, the statement said.

The air force currently has about 1,500 women on its rolls of which 94 are pilots and 14 navigators.

The move is in sync with global trends and will help IAF overcome shortage of officers in the fighter aircraft stream.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had been batting for increased role of women in the armed forces but had said that it will take some time.

“It has to be done in a phase-wise manner. It won’t happen immediately,” Parrikar had said on 12 October, adding that the final notification on inducting women as fighter aircraft pilots would also take sometime.

He also cited that the United Arab Emirates Air Force has women fighter-plane pilots who had carried out strikes on ISIS targets.

PTI

Pakistan’s ties with India critical to its future: United States

The two leaders underlined that improvement in Pakistan- India bilateral relations would “greatly enhance” prospects for lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region.

US flag

Pakistan’s relationship with India is critical to Islamabad’s future, the US on Friday said as it emphasised on normalisation of ties between the two countries. “I think it’s clear that Pakistan’s relationship with India is critical to Pakistan’s future, and the normalisation of relations between the two countries is vital both to them and to the stability in the region,” the White House Deputy Press Secretary, Eric Schultz, told reporters soon after President Barack Obama held wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in his Oval Office.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> In the joint statement after the talks, Obama and Sharif called for a “sustained and resilient” Indo-Pak dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues. The references to Indo-Pak ties and the need to resolve all outstanding disputes, including Kashmir, between the two countries were contained in the joint statement. The two leaders underlined that improvement in Pakistan- India bilateral relations would “greatly enhance” prospects for lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. Responding to a question, Schultz said, “We talked earlier about economic linkages and a broader view of the US-Pakistan relationship beyond just counter-terrorism, and I think it is discussions like the one the President had on Friday that helps unlock opportunities for millions of people and leads to a more prosperous region which no doubt will go a long way towards counter-terrorism efforts.”On media reports that the US has decided to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan, Schultz said no such announcement is expected on Friday. “I am confident that in the Oval Office, the President did discuss with the Prime Minister how the United States and Pakistan can best continue their robust counter-terrorism cooperation,” he said. “I saw that report in the New York Times as well — I’m not sure if that came up. But I don’t anticipate having any largescale announcement like that on Friday,” Schultz said. “I can tell you that the President did discuss with the Prime Minister how the United States and Pakistan can best continue their robust counter-terrorism cooperation, but in terms of any defence deal like those that might have been referenced in the New York Times, I don’t believe any announcement like that is coming on Friday, but you should stay in touch with our friends at the Defence Department,” the Deputy Spokesman said. Earlier, a New York Times report said the Congress was notified about the proposed sale of F-16s just days ahead of the Sharif-Obama meeting though it is unclear if it will agree to the deal amid concerns whether the advanced aircraft would be used against India than for counter-terrorism.

Mumbai: Air Force chopper makes emergency landing in Bandra Kurla Complex

Indian Air Force chopper MI-17 on Wednesday made an emergency landing at Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.

Image courtesy: ANI
An Indian Air Force (IAF) MI-17 chopper on Wednesday made an emergency landing at the Bandra Kurla Complex here following a technical snag, a Defence spokesperson said.”A MI-17 aircraft of the IAF was on a routine training sortie during which it developed a technical snag,” he said.He said the aircraft carried out a precautionary landing at the Bandra Kurla complex in suburban Mumbai this afternoon.”The aircraft and all the four passengers on board are safe while a technical support team has been dispatched to the spot to assess the aircraft,” the spokesperson added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to travel to Russia next month

Though this meeting had been planned for earlier this month, it could not take place because of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to New Delhi.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

Image courtesy: ANI
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will arrive here next month to co-chair a joint military commission meeting during which the delayed 5th generation fighter aircraft development programme along with multi-role transport aircraft are likely to be discussed.In his meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Parrikar would co-chair the meeting of Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGCMTC) on November 2.Related Read: India, Russia chalk out plan to bolster special strategic ties<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though this meeting had been planned for earlier this month, it could not take place because of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to New Delhi. Parrikar is likely to leave for Russia on October 30.Besides touching upon the development of the 5th generation fighter aircraft, other issues likely to be discussed include the new-generation Russian S-400 air defence missile systems, capable of destroying incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400-km.Parrikar along with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, will also review the progress of Moscow’s plan to manufacture almost 200 Kamov 226T helicopters in India that will give a big boost to government’s flagship programme of “Make in India”. The question of a possible lease of a second nuclear submarine from Russia could also come up.The meeting comes amid growing defence ties between Russia and Pakistan. Russia is in talks with Pakistan for the sale of four MI-35 attack helicopters.India-Russia military technical cooperation has evolved from a simple buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems.Sources said spare part issues pertaining to the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft will be raised by New Delhi. Both countries are currently also working on a “Super 30” version of the fighter aircraft.Shoigu visited New Delhi for the last meeting (14th session) of the Commission on January 21 to review the ongoing cooperation and future opportunities for progressing bilateral defence cooperation. Last year, the two governments signed an agreement to train Indian Armed Forces personnel in Russia.

All you need to know about the People’s President APJ Abdul Kalam

Dr Kalam has inspired students across the country during his lifetime.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

Hundreds of students as well as dignitaries paid homage to former President APJ Abdul Kalam on the occasion of his 84th birth anniversary on Thursday. He served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007. Here’s more on the nation’s favourite President: Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on October 15, 1931 in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. During his childhood, due to his family’s unstable financial condition, he sold newspapers to generate some income. He was passionate about aeronautics since his early childhood and aspired to become a fighter pilot. But he missed out on getting into the top eight to qualify for the IAF. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He then went on to study physics and aerospace engineering. Later, he worked with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). His involvement in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts gave him the title of ‘Missile Man of India’.His other roles included serving as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Prime Minister and the secretary of the Defence Research and Development Organisation from 1992 to 1999.Dr Kalam regarded his work on India’s nuclear weapons programme as a way to assert India’s place as a future superpower. The Pokhran -II nuclear tests took place during his tenure as the Chief Project Coordinator along with Rajagopala Chidambaram. He is also remembered for developing tablet computer in the year 2012, along with cardiologist Soma Raju for the development of healthcare in rural areas.Dr Kalam has been honoured with doctorates from almost 40 universities and was conferred with various awards from the Government of India including the Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997. For his notable contribution in space related stream, the National Space Society decided to nominate him for the Von Braun Award in 2013.Not just the space sector, Dr Kalam gained prestige even in the educational sector. Right from being a guest faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, Indore and Ahmedabad to being a chancellor of the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, he taught and inspired students at several other institutes across the country. While delivering one such lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, he collapsed and died from a cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015, at the age of 83.He is widely remembered in the country as the People’s President. Also Read: 10 Inspiring Quotes by APJ Abdul Kalam