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Chennai rains: How Twitter users are making a difference to those affected by the disaster

It’s December and Chennai is submerged with torrential rain that has broken all records and disrupted daily life. The downpour hasn’t abated in days and the death toll is nearing 200.  The Armed Forces have been deployed and even the Navy is on standby as water-logging is reaching dangerous levels. Additionally, the forecast only predicts more rain for this week. CM J Jayalalithaa has also said police, fire and rescue, national and state disaster forces and Coast Guard were on standby for need-based evacuation.

As the government and Army try to help the residents stay afloat, social media has also been flooded with relief efforts and updates on situation in Chennai as #Chennairains #Chennaifloods started trending in India. Be it shelter or other material through crowdsourcing and a dedicated Google spreadsheet, Twitter has been a crucial tool to reach out to the people affected by the disaster.

Here’s a sample:

Many influential personalities also joined in the plea for help

Even Chennai’s IPL team, the Chennai Super Kings has been active in trying to help out the city

Lastly, here’s a tweet that will  show that one can always make a difference, no matter how small

Cops arrest driver for stealing Rs 22.5 crore in Delhi’s biggest cash heist

New Delhi: In a breakthrough in the biggest cash van heist reported in the National Capital, the accused driver of the vehicle has been arrested and the stolen cash recovered from a godown in the wee hours of Friday, police said.

“The driver has been arrested in the wee hours today from a godown in Okhla area where he was hiding. So far, he has turned out to be the only accused in the case,” said a police official a day after the heist.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

“The stolen cash has also been recovered but the final evaluation is yet to be done,” he added.

Identified as Pradeep Shukla, the accused driver of the cash transit van allegedly fled with around Rs 22.5 crore from southeast Delhi’s Govindpuri area on Thursday evening.

The incident was reported when the armed guard accompanying the van asked the driver to stop the vehicle near Govindpuri Metro station so that he could relieve himself by the roadside, police said. The driver allegedly told the guard that he would wait for him in a lane nearby and was last seen taking a sharp turn. When the guard returned, the vehicle and the driver were nowhere to be seen.

The guard, Vinay Patel, informed the matter to the branch concerned of the private bank whose cash they were carrying and bank authorities immediately called the police.

They told police that they had sent four cash transit vans — with total cash of around Rs 38 crore — from their Vikaspuri branch in the day, and the van (DL 1LK 9189) which headed towards southeast Delhi was carrying around Rs 22.5 crore.

Personnel from at least two subdivisions of Delhi Police’s southeast district were roped in along with a specialised crime team and the cash van was soon recovered from near a petrol pump close to the spot where the accused driver had deserted the guard.

PTI

Pilot’s body identified day after being recovered from wreckage of Pawan Hans chopper

Mumbai: The body of one of the pilots that was recovered from the wreckage of the Pawan Hans helicopter that fell into Arabian Sea last week has been identified as that of Capt. TK Guha even as the search is on for the other missing pilot, a Coast Guard official said on Tuesday.

“Capt. Guha’s body was brought to the shore this morning at around 8.30 AM and sent for a post-mortem,” the Coast Guard spokesman said.

Representational image. IBNLive

Representational image. IBNLive

Coast Guard had on Monday recovered the body after locating the wreckage, including the cockpit, of the 14-seater VTPWF Dauphin aircraft, six days after the Pawan Hans helicopter crashed into Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast on November 4.

At the time of the incident, Captains E Samuel and Guha were on board the chopper.

While salvage efforts were being led by the companies concerned, Coast Guard ship ‘Subhadra Kumari Chauhan’ was still in the deep sea to recover more wreckage (of the helicopter) and also to find the other missing pilot, the spokesman said.

The 2001-make Pawan Hans helicopter crashed during night- landing practice, 160-km away from the seashore, after it had taken off from the ONGC installation.

The door of the aircraft was sighted by the Navy and Coast Guard soon after it had crashed into the sea.

The helicopter wreckage was located on the seabed at a depth of 75m. Underwater locater and sonar inputs were thoroughly analysed while divers searched the area for four days.

Vessels of the ONGC were also roped for the westerly side of the sea and Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was coordinating the search (and rescue) operation, the spokesperson added.

PTI

Pawan Hans helicopter crash: Recovered body of pilot identified as that of Captain TK Guha

The body of the pilot recovered from the damaged cockpit of the Pawan Hans helicopter has been identified as that of Captain TK Guha.

The body of the pilot recovered from the damaged cockpit of the Pawan Hans helicopter has been identified as that of Captain TK Guha. The Coast Guard had on Monday recovered the body of one of the two pilots who were missing since the helicopter crashed into the Arabian sea off the Mumbai Coast last week.The Coast Guard also found wreckage, including cockpit, of the 14-seater VTPWF Dauphin aircraft, five days after the mishap occurred on November 4.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the recovery of other parts of the chopper was in progress.The 2001-make Pawan Hans helicopter crashed during night landing practice after it had taken off from the ONGC installation on Wednesday night.The door of the aircraft was sighted by the Navy and Coast Guard soon after it had crashed into the sea.

Pawan Hans helicopter crash: Coast Guard recover body of one pilot

Mumbai: The Coast Guard on Monday recovered the body of one of the two pilots who were missing since their Pawan Hans helicopter crashed into the Arabian sea off the Mumbai Coast last week.

The Coast Guard also found wreckage, including cockpit, of the 14-seater VTPWF Dauphin aircraft, five days after the mishap occurred on November 4.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

At the time of the incident, Captain E Samuel and T K Guha were on board of the copter. However, the body recovered today is yet to be identified.

“Wreckage of ditched Pawan Hans helicopter located and cockpit with body of one of the pilots was recovered,” a Coast Guard spokesperson said.

He said the recovery of other parts of the chopper was in progress.

The 2001-make Pawan Hans helicopter crashed during night landing practice after it had taken off from the ONGC installation on Wednesday night.

The door of the aircraft was sighted by the Navy and Coast Guard soon after it had crashed into the sea.

PTI

UP Panchayat polls: 12 injured in clash

At least 12 people including a police constable and a Home Guard jawan were injured in a clash between two groups in Manet village here during the first phase of polling for panchayats, police said.

At least 12 people including a police constable and a Home Guard jawan were injured in a clash between two groups in Manet village here during the first phase of polling for panchayats, police said.The incident occurred yesterday when some people confronted an alleged fake voter at a polling booth in the village following which the situation turned violent, they said.The argument snowballed into a group clash and stone pelting which left police constable Nishant, Home Guard jawan Ishver Singh, and 10 others injured, police said.A case has been registered and six persons arrested in this connection, they said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>All the injured persons have been shifted to a hospital.

Mumbai’s Yellow Gate police station can’t handle all offshore criminal offences, state government tells Centre

According to sources in the Mumbai police, the proposal was given by the police department to the Centre, through state government.

Guess who will handle the case if some fishermen are arrested as far as in Kanyakumari waters, under the suspicion of being LTTE cadres? The Yellow Gate police in Mumbai. For, its jurisdiction extends to a whopping 1,600 nautical miles, and is the only police station in the entire western India to investigate criminal cases that occur from Gujarat to Kanyakumari.Exactly the reason why Mumbai police have written to the Union government. In a recent proposal to the Centre, it suggested that every state in western India set up own coastal police station to investigate offshore criminal offences. Stating that it is not feasible for them to probe all such cases by regularly despatching teams to other states, Mumbai police officials pointed out that there is language barrier as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to the sources in the Mumbai police, the proposal was given by the police department to the Centre, through state government. “Since Yellow Gate is the only police station which covers a massive area in the sea from Gujarat till Kanyakumari, the said police station has to probe all criminal cases registered offshore,” said an officer from Mumbai police on condition of anonymity.The jurisdiction of coastal police is 12 nautical miles off the coast; from 12 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles it’s exclusive economic zone, which is manned by the Indian Coast Guard, Navy and Customs; and beyond 200 nautical miles is the international boundary.Stating the difficulties Yellow Gate police face while probing cases that occur in the sea off other states’ coastline, a police officer said, “If a criminal offence has taken place in sea either off Gujarat or any other southern coastal state, then the case comes to us. In such a case, we face a lot of language barriers. It becomes very difficult for us to send our police teams to other states regularly to probe the cases, trace the witnesses and record their statements,” the officer said.”A proposal has been given to the Central government informing them that every coastal state in western India should have its own coastal police station to probe criminal offences that takes place in waters in their region. We learn that Centre has taken the proposal very positively and till a decision is taken, Yellow Gate police will continue to probe the cases,” said additional commissioner of police, south region, Pratap Dighavkar. Mid-sea cases handed over to Yellow Gate police this year Sept 18: Iqbal Bhatti, 40, a fisherman from Okha dies after he was fired upon by an unknown person aboard another boat bearing the ‘Pakistani flag’. The case has been transferred to the Yellow Gate police by Okha cops for probe. The firing had taken place off Gujarat coast.April 26: The Yellow Gate police registered an offence under relevant sections of Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against eight Pakistani nationals whom were caught by the Indian Coast Guard off Porbandar coast in Gujarat on April 20 with suspected heroine 1,600 nautical miles jurisdiction between Gujarat, KanyakumariThe jurisdiction of police is 12 nautical miles off coastlineFrom 12 to 200 nautical miles is exclusive economic zone. It’s manned by Coast Guard, Navy and CustomsBeyond 200 nautical miles is the international waters

Mamata Banerjee brags about West Bengal’s coastal security

“It was stated that West Bengal is one of the best performing states in regard to coastal security,” she said quoting a recent review meeting on coastal security where officials of all concerned central and state agencies were present.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said her state has emerged as one of the best “performing” states in regard to coastal security with wide appreciation from the central agencies.”Our state has been complimented for extensive setting up of coastal police stations and various other measures for effective security management of our coastal areas,” Banerjee said in her Facebook post.Today, in a review meeting on coastal security, our State has been complimented for extensive setting up of coastal…
Posted by Mamata Banerjee on Friday, September 11, 2015<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It was stated that West Bengal is one of the best performing states in regard to coastal security,” she said quoting a recent review meeting on coastal security where officials of all concerned central and state agencies were present.A Coast Guard official said that the meeting held threadbare discussion on various issues and measures relating to coastal security where central agencies and state police could work in tandem. Since taking charge in 2011, the state government had taken up the task of setting up a comprehensive coastal security mechanism, besides setting up specialised coastal police stations to secure the state against any threats.

MDMK and PMK oppose India gifting away Coast Guard ship to Sri Lanka

Alleging that the ship was “used for killing Tamils in Sri Lanka”, he claimed “the vessel is an evidence of the use of Indian Navy to finish off the Sea Tigers by Sri Lankan Naval forces.”
File Photo

Opposing the gifting away of a Indian Coast Guard ship to Sri Lanka, MDMK chief Vaiko on Sunday said it was a “betrayal” of Eelam Tamils and Tamil Nadu fishermen.Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Varaha’ was gited to Sri Lanka on August 27 in Colombo. The ship was in the service of the island nation since 2006 and it was rechristened ‘Sagara’ by Sri Lanka. It was formally handed over at a ceremonial function in the presence of Indian and Sri Lankan top officials, according to the island nation’s official website.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Referring to the hand over, Vaiko said “this is an unforgivable betrayal of Eelam Tamils and Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Indian government.”Alleging that the ship was “used for killing Tamils in Sri Lanka”, he claimed “the vessel is an evidence of the use of Indian Navy to finish off the Sea Tigers by Sri Lankan Naval forces.”Accusing the UPA-I and its constituent parties from Tamil Nadu the DMK and PMK of being responsible for the large scale killings of Tamils during the 2009 war, he accused the Indian goverment of continuing to work against the interests of Tamils.Opposing the gifting of ship which he termed “unacceptable,” PMK chief Ramadoss said “the ship is going to be used against Tamil Nadu fishermen.” Toeing Vaiko’s line in his accusation, he said “Sri Lanka used this ship to kill Eelam Tamils (during the 2009 war).””Sri Lanka is never going to be of help in India’s defence,” he said here in a press release and wanted the Centre to take back all three ships gifted so far to Sri Lanka including ‘Varaha.’

We are dying every second: Father of officer on board missing Dornier plane writes to PM seeking answers

New Delhi: With no clue emerging about the whereabouts of the missing Coast Guard aircraft and its three personnel on board even after a month, the distraught father of one of the officers has written an ‘open’ letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating they are “dying every second” and longing to get some bit of news about these men.

File photo of a Dornier surveillance aircraft deployed by the Indian Coast Guard. AFP

File photo of a Dornier surveillance aircraft deployed by the Indian Coast Guard. AFP

The parents of Deputy Commandant Manoj K Soni (Navigator of the aircraft), who were till now in Chennai with their daughter-in-law, are now camping in the national capital to urge the PM, the Defence Minister and other senior functionaries to seek some international help in getting a clue about their son and his two colleagues.

“We are dying every second. Please understand our situation and let’s not have the sacrifice of the three young pilots go missing as a mystery.

“For us, every passing second is difficult to breathe. It is a matter of three brave young pilots who have devoted their lives for nation’s security. We have many questions popping in our mind,” Soni’s father Radheshyam Soni wrote to Modi in his ‘open’ letter.

The Coast Guard Dornier plane, CG-791, had taken off for a routine maritime surveillance sortie in coastal Tamil Nadu on June 8 and since then has been untraceable despite the CG and the Navy undertaking a massive search operation in the sea and the land areas.

Soni, in his letter, says his family and that of the two other officers Vidya Sagar (Pilot) and Subhash Suresh (Co-Pilot) have some unanswered questions.

“Till today, we don’t know what malfunction actually has happened to the Dornier plane and where are the crew members? Will this search operation end up as a mystery? And will we never get to know anything?” he asked.

The family, which hails from Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal, is at present living with their married daughter in nearby Gurgaon and travel everyday to North Block to meet officials who could answer some of their queries.

“Myself — Radheshyam Soni, proud father of Manoj Kumar Soni, with very heavy heart request you (PM) to please look into this matter with utmost urgency. The search process needs to be fast-tracked and then we should do whatever is required to get the results ASAP (as soon as possible),” he said. (More) PTI NES HU

The family while being in Chennai had requested the CG station officials to seek some foreign help to trace the aircraft and the men as the domestic efforts have not borne any positive result.

“We now fear that even whatever remains of them, we would not be able to get even those from the seabed or wherever they are. We just want to know if we are able to scan every place where they are suspected to be lost,” the officer’s brother-in-law Vishal Verma said.

The family, however, has no complaints from the Coast Guard and other authorities involved in the rescue operations.

“The Coast Guard and the Navy have done their best and they are doing their best,” Verma said.

Soni’s father has also sought to know if the safety remedy applications failed in the said Dornier aircraft and if the Indian authorities or those in the world have the “requisite technology” to find an answer to such situations.

“If we are not able to locate the missing Dornier and its crew members then it is a matter of big concern for our country. Does no country in this world has the technology to locate the missing aircraft? If yes, when will we take international assistance?” he asked.

Radheshyam Soni said these questions need to be answered as it is also troubling the minds of all those parents who send their children for serving the motherland through the defence forces.

“In future, what should be done so that such incidents doesn’t occur in future. Should the parents send their children to Defence if there is a big question mark on the safety of them?” he asked in the letter.

PTI

Coast Guard in touch with Sri Lanka over missing Dornier plane

Coast Guard authorities are in touch with Sri Lanka as part of their search efforts to locate the Dornier plane which went missing nearly a month ago, the mother of a missing crew member said here today.

Coast Guard authorities are in touch with Sri Lanka as part of their search efforts to locate the Dornier plane which went missing nearly a month ago, the mother of a missing crew member said here today.”Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral HCS Bisht has informed me that Sri Lankan authorities have been requested to alert India if they sight the aircraft or its crew,” Padma Shankari, mother of Deputy Commandant Suresh Subash told PTI.Suresh Subash was one of the three crew members who went missing after going on board a Dornier plane for a routine maritime surveillance sortie in coastal Tamil Nadu on June 8.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Since then, multiple agencies, including the Coast Guard, Navy and Coastal Security Group of state police have done extensive search operations in Tamil Nadu, including the Karaikkal-Cuddalore coastline.Expressing deep distress over the pace of search which she was told was “still on,” she said, “had this happened on foreign soil, the response would have been much speedier.” “The Defence and Coast Guard authorities could have done much better and much earlier and they should have got international support in their efforts,” she said.The top CG official wrote to Padma in response to her letter to the Defence Ministry over the issue of locating the aircraft.”The letter indicates that the Coast Guard authorities are also looking at the possibility of the crew being stranded in Sri Lankan waters. Indian High Commission in Colombo has been apprised on the issue,” she added.Sounding apprehensive, she said since a month would pass in the next two days, “what will happen now? there might not be signals any more, the earlier ones were themselves weak.” “I am proud of my son, he chose to serve the nation, but I want to see his face. I want to know what happened, uncertainty is very, very painful, this is the pain of a mother,” she said.She said it was distressing that there was no response to either her tweets to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or her letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.She had written to the Chief Minister’s cell on June 13, a few days after the disappearance of the aircraft, seeking the state’s help in locating the aircraft. Thirty-year-old Suresh Subash joined Coast Guard in 2010.He was a B Tech graduate from Regional Engineering College in Jalandhar. Eight days after the plane went missing, his wife Deepa Lakshmi tweeted to the PM’s office saying, “@PMOIndia 8 days since my husband Subash Suresh, pilot of CG791 is missing. Request your attention #FindSubash”.The couple have a son.

7 fishermen from East Godavari district go missing at sea

Rajahmundry: East Godavari district collector H Arun Kumar issued a statement in Rajahmundry on Wednesday that the Andhra Pradesh state government will extended all assistance to fishermen who went missing at sea.

According to the statement, eight farmers went to sea in a boat, but went missing due to an atmospheric depression.

File/ReutersFile/Reuters

File/Reuters

The boat overturned after which seven out of eight fishermen on board went missing though one fisherman, namely Peda Kotaiah, was brought to the shore by fellow fishermen, the statement said.

The seven missing fishermen belong to Pagadalapeta of Kakinada’s rural area. Their names are D Simhadri (40), K Nuka Raju (25), C Bucchi Babu (30), G Tata Rao (40), A Sattibabu (50), K Raju (30) and G Satyanarayana (50), the statement said.

Efforts are on to trace the missing seven fishermen, the statement said, adding that choppers are searching for the missing fishermen.

The district collector’s statement said that a search is on with Coast Guard trying to bring them safely to the shore.

Choppers belonging to the ONGC, Reliance Industries and the Coast Guard have been searching for the fishermen fishermen who went missing at sea, the statement said.

He said that 29 boats reached ashore yesterday out of 43 boats which had gone out to sea, the statement said.

“If the seven fishermen die and if their bodies are not found, a state government appointed three-member team will conduct an enquiry and provide all assistance to their families,” he said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh State Finance Minister Y Ramakrishnudu said here today that the AP state government would extend all assistance to the seven missing fishermen.

He telephoned family members of the seven fishermen from Pagadalapeta in Kakinada of East Godavari district and assured that all help would be provided to them.

AP Deputy Chief Minister N Chinarajappa, irrigation minister D Umamaheswara Rao and agricultural minister P Pulla Rao are scheduled to visit Pagadalapeta on Wednesday.

PTI

Search for missing Coast Guard Dornier aircraft with three members onboard enters fourth day

Chennai: The search for the missing Coast Guard Dornier aircraft and its three crew members entered the fourth day on Friday with INS Sandhayak, a hydrographic survey vessel of the Navy, joining the operations off the Tamil Nadu coast.

“Uninterrupted search by Coast Guard and Naval ships and aircraft continues for the fourth consecutive day,” a Defence Ministry statement said.

File photo of a Dornier surveillance aircraft deployed by the Indian Coast Guard. AFP

File photo of a Dornier surveillance aircraft deployed by the Indian Coast Guard. AFP

“INS Sandhayak arrived in the area of search in intervening night of 11/12 June and has commenced the search (along the coastline Cuddalore-Karaikal),” it said.

“The vessel is using its underwater detection equipment to detect any transmission from the Sonar Locator Beacon of the aircraft.

“Aerial search by Paramotors (motorised steerable parachutes attached to paratrooper’s back) through Coastal Security Group of Tamil Nadu was undertaken 30 km south of Cuddalore yesterday along the coast over marshy mangroves, which is not approachable by sea,” the statement said.

INS Sindhudhvaj, a submarine of the Indian Navy, is expected to join the search by Saturday.

The CG Dornier aircraft went off the radar at 9.23 PM on Monday during a routine surveillance mission along the state coast and Palk Bay after it took off from the Chennai station.

“Assistance of the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) has also been sought for analysis of the satellite imagery of the area, for possible location of the aircraft,” it said.

The Defence Ministry also said the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, has been requested to undertake ‘SAR model programming’ for the missing aircraft and to identify the most probable area (MPA).

National Institute of Ocean Technology in Chennai has been approached for oceanographic analyses of the area and feasibility of deploying their research vessel ‘Sagar Nidhi’ for augmenting the sub-surface search.

Also, a team from Omcar Foundation, Thanjavur, has embarked onboard ‘ICGS Sarang’ for undertaking underwater photography and acoustic survey.

“Unrelenting efforts by Coast Guard and Naval ships/ aircraft to locate the missing Dornier and crew continues. Interaction is also being maintained with the family members of the air crew, and are being apprised on the progress of the search operation,” the ministry said.

PTI

Modi-Doval doctrine worked in Myanmar attack, but chest-thumping unwarranted

The cross-border strike by the Indian army against north-eastern terrorist groups operating out of Myanmar yesterday (9 June) is proof that the Modi-Doval doctrine of proactive deterrence is not a one-off chest-thumping exercise. For that very reason, the actual chest-thumping indulged in by some sections in the media and spokespersons in government is unwarranted and counter-productive.

PM Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Firstpost

PM Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Firstpost

Defence and security strategy is something that evolves after one thinks through all the consequences of action or inaction; hence any premature celebration over the Myanmar swatting of terror groups would not only be wrong, but foolish. The effectiveness of the strategy will only be known over a long period of time, and premature claims of political credit can blow up in the government’s face when the next terrorist action happens – as it surely will. Rest assured, the terror groups are not going to keel over and play dead after just one blow by the Indian army.

That said, there is little doubt that the doctrine being put together by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with the blessings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the right one. It can work if it is put consistently into action – on the military, diplomatic, internal security and economic fronts.

Also, we need to be clear that dealing with terrorists in Myanmar is different from dealing with the likes of the Lashkar-e-Toiba which has the active backing of the Pakistani army and the ISI. What worked in Myanmar will not work on our western borders against Jihadi groups. For that we need covert guerilla action, not direct attacks.

The key elements of the Modi-Doval strategy, as evident from the actions of the government over the last one year, are these:

First, any violent action against India by any hostile group, whether led by state or non-state actors, will be met with a robust response. This was demonstrated first when Pakistani forces kept firing across the international border in Jammu & Kashmir, and the Border Security Force (BSF) retaliated with twice the firepower, surprising the Pakistanis. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar explained the policy last December. He said his instructions to the BSF were simple and straightforward: “When something happens, retaliate with double the force.” Parrikar’s other statement – widely criticised for being too close to the truth – was that India should “neutralise terrorists through terrorists only.” It is not clear if India has actually begun training and recruiting irregular combatants to deal with Pakistan-based terrorists (but this clearly needs to be done). Parrikar’s mistake was not in what he said was needed, but in talking about it openly, and thus alerting the Pakistanis about our intentions.

Second, pre-emption is now part of India’s counter-terror strategy. The Myanmar operation has been explained not as revenge for the ambush that killed 18 army personnel last week, but as a pre-emptive strike against another potential terror attack. This pre-emption was also evident last December, when the Coast Guard chased and destroyed an alleged Pakistani “terror boat” that critics claimed was just a smugglers’ vessel. While the versions on how it went down are divergent – the defence ministry said the “terrorists” on board set fire to their own boat and sank it, while one senior Coast Guard official claimed it was destroyed on his orders – the fact is that both versions point to the same strategy: India has decided not to take chances by treating potential threats with kid gloves.

Third, India is seeking more self-sufficiency in crucial defence equipment and armaments as a long-term goal. One area where considerable progress has been made is in field guns. The government-run Ordinance Factory Board has used Swedish drawings to produce a gun that is better than the Bofors howitzer that was successfully used in the Kargil war. According to Ajai Shukla, a defence writer in Business Standard, the India-made gun (called Dhanush) has successfully cleared field trials. It is not just a copy of the 39-calibre Bofors gun, but an improvement, with a robust 45-calibre capability. It will go into production soon. These guns are key to defending the Chinese border, where artillery will have to make up for our lack of adequate mobility due to poor roads and mountainous terrain.

In warships, India is becoming more self-sufficient with the launch of stealth destroyer INS Visakhapatnam by Modi in April. These destroyers are being built at the lowest possible cost in the world, Shukla notes. The final frontier is, of course, fighter aircraft. India signed a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighters in flyaway condition over two years, but the crucial point is whether the French will transfer technology and allow us to build it at home.

Financial stringency has forced Parrikar to cut down the size of the 17th mountain corps by half, but this decision clearly needs to be reviewed as this corps may be key to deterring China from adventurism in the north-east.

When the private sector starts getting more deeply into defence, India’s self-sufficiency will improve across the board.

Fourth, another key element of the Modi-Doval doctrine is robust external diplomacy. Even though Rahul Gandhi has referred derisively to Modi’s frequent trips abroad, the Gandhi scion should know that these tours are absolutely vital for national security – especially building an effective alliance to deter a militaristic China. Modi has visited most of our neighbours (Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar), and all of our potential allies who are on the same page as us on the China threat: Japan, the US, etc. If China is trying to contain India with its string-of-pearls strategy by building alliances with our neighbours, the Modi-Doval doctrine seeks to neutralise it by an effective neighbourhood policy, and closer relationships with the major powers opposed to China. Only Vietnam is left to be toured, though President Pranab Mukherjee did visit that country to emphasise close ties.

The Modi-Doval doctrine is the right one for India, but in order to work, it needs consistency over a long period of time. We need to make the right investments to strengthen defence and internal security. But above all, we need an economy growing well above 7 percent to bankroll this strategy. A defence strategy without an economic component will be no different from Jawaharlal Nehru’s empty foreign policy based on talk and bluster on the Chinese border.

Might respects might, and this is central to the success of the Modi-Doval doctrine that will have to handle both Pakistan and China together. Both of them are watching us closely.

Coast Guard’s Dornier aircraft goes missing with 3 crew members off the Chennai coast

Chennai:A Coast Guard Dornier surveillance aircraft with three crew members on board went missing last night off the coast of Chennai, aviation sources said on Tuesday.

The aircraft took off from Chennai at 5:30 pm on Monday and lost contact at around 10 pm in Tiruchirapalli, they said.

Representational image.Representational image.

Representational image.

It went missing about 95 miles south off Chennai.

The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard have launched an extensive search and rescue operation in the area. Four Navy and five Coast Guard ships and one P8-I aircraft have been pressed into action to trace the missing plane.

Coast Guard sources said the aircraft was on a routine surveillance sortie over sea when it went missing.

PTI

4000 fishermen go to sea after ban ends; Sri Lanka navy vessels on IMBL

Gopinath said the Lankan Navy has deployed some ships and more than 10 naval boats along IMBL to prevent the fishermen from crossing over into their territorial waters.

Representational image

About 4000 fishermen on Saturday set out to sea at the end of a 48-day ban, imposed to enable fish breeding, even as Sri Lankan Navy deployed its vessels along the International Martime Boundary Line (IMBL) to prevent them from crossing over into their waters. Assistant Director of Fisheries (Ramanthapuram district) Gobinath said officials has warned the fishermen against crossing the IMBL. Severe action would be taken against those who had left this coastal town yesterday without obtaining the requisite permission, he said.Gopinath said the Lankan Navy has deployed some ships and more than 10 naval boats along IMBL to prevent the fishermen from crossing over into their territorial waters. The Indian Coast Guard had also deployed sufficient force in the area to advice fishermen not to cross the IMBL. So far all of them have been fishing in Indian waters, he said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Narcotics boat and vessel blown up on 31 Dec had the same handlers: intel agencies

A Pakistani boat seized from near Porbandar, from which narcotics worth around Rs 600 crore was seized, had the same handlers as those of the boat which blew up on the night of 31 December – 1 January, according to intelligence agencies.

The boat which was blown up on 31 December had the same handlers as those of the narcotics boat. Agencies

The boat which was blown up on 31 December had the same handlers as those of the narcotics boat. Agencies

The suspicious boat carrying narcotics was seized in a joint operation by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard on 20 April.

The National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) had been monitoring satellite and mobile phones in the case of the narcotics boat. In fact, the boat had been successfully intercepted because of recorded conversations from Karachi and those of the handlers based in Thailand, according to Indian Express.

“The phone numbers in Karachi and Thailand were kept on constant interception mode during the three months between” the seizing of the boat with narcotics onboard on 20 April and the incident in which a boat was blown up on the night of 31 December, the report added.

However, the chatter picked up by NTRO by the monitoring of satellite and mobile phones does not indicate the destination of the recovered contraband or the nationality of the handlers, it said.

The incident on the night of 31 December took place when a Pakistani boat being chased by the Indian Coast Guard was allegedly set on fire by the people onboard and then blown allegedly blown itself up.

The incident had sparked controversy amid doubts that the boat had actually blown itself up. These were exacerbated when Coast Guard DIG BK Loshali contradicted the government’s official position and had said that it was actually the Coast Guard which had blown up the boat.

Pakistan, had on Wednesday raised the issue of the latest arrest, and had sought details of the incident.

(With inputs from PTI)

Pakistani vessel with 8 ‘smugglers’ intercepted off Porbandar coast

The security officials unearthed 140 kilograms of drugs (heroin) worth over a crore and two satellite phones from the boat. The boat was intercepted somewhere between the Jakhau and Porbandar ports, said reports.

Representational image.

A Pakistani vessel with 8 suspected smugglers on board was understood to have been intercepted off the coast of Porbandar on Monday.Accodring to reports, the operation was carried out by a joint team of the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy. Three warships from the navy and Coast Guard and a Dornier surveillance aircraft were involved in the operation. The security officials unearthed 140 kilograms of drugs (heroin) worth over a crore and two satellite phones from the boat. The boat was intercepted somewhere between the Jakhau and Porbandar ports, said reports.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier, A suspicious fishing boat carrying explosives from Pakistan was intercepted by Indian Coast Guard in Arabian Sea near Indo-Pak maritime boundary but it sank after the crew on board set it on fire, an incident that comes a month after sixth anniversary of the Mumbai terror attack.The incident, which occurred on the intervening night of December 31, 2014, and January 1 some 365-km off the Porbander coast, was being regarded in some quarters as being reminiscent of the 2008 Mumbai terror strike.More details awaited.

Two policemen killed, three others injured after firing by two assailants in Telangana

Hyderabad: Two policemen were killed while three others including a Circle Inspector and a Home Guard suffered bullet injuries after two armed assailants opened fire on them during vehicle checking in Nalgonda district of Telangana in the wee hours on Thursday, police said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The incident occurred at around 12.30 am at a bus stand in Suryapet town when a police team, led by CI Moghalaiah was carrying out checking of buses, they said.

The assailants, while on the run also fired at some cars soon after the incident and injured a Mandal Parishad Territorial Constituency (MPTC) member Dorababu who suffered bullet injuries on his shoulder, Telangana Director General of Police Anurag Sharma said.

The offenders are suspected to be from Uttar Pradesh or Bihar as country-made weapons normally used in offences in northern India were used in this attack, the top police officer said adding the details would, however, be clear only after completion of investigation.

A state-level checking of buses had been intensified following information that some offenders from other states were indulged in robberies in buses and other places, the Telangana Police Chief who visited the scene of offence told reporters.

“Based on that input, the CI with four policemen were carrying out checking of buses in Suryapet town. On suspicion, police asked two bus passengers to get down and started questioning them, when they suddenly attacked the cops and began firing on them resulting in the death of Constable Lingaiah and Home Guard Mahesh on the spot,” the DGP said.

CI Moghalaiah and Home Guard Kishore too came under the attack, while the armed men fled the scene even before the police team could retaliate, he said.

Moghalaiah, who suffered two bullet injuries in the incident along with the Home Guard were rushed to a hospital in Hyderabad and their condition is stable, Sharma said.

“Special teams have been formed to nab the absconding accused and police teams from Hyderabad have also joined the search operation. Empty cartridges found from the spot are being verified. They are used in 7.65 country-made weapons. Such weapons are commonly used in offences in UP and Bihar,” Sharma added.

A carbine is missing from the policemen who came under the attack, the Telangana DGP said.

Reacting to a query on involvement of Maoists in the incident, Sharma replied in negative.

“We are probing from all angles…the offenders will be caught soon,” he said.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Suryapet (Sub-division), Abdul Rashid said during initial questioning, the duo displayed two voter cards that carried their residence address as Sundergarh district in Odisha.

He, however, said the cards could be fake.

Telangana Home Minister N Narasimha Reddy, who visited the injured policemen at a private hospital here, said there are reports that gangs from UP and other states are committing crimes in the state.

“Police are monitoring their activities and a strict vigil has been kept to control them. The CI, who suffered bullet injuries will be operated upon. According to doctors treating the CI and the Home Guard, their condition is stable,” Reddy said.

The Home Minister said he will ensure that apart from ex-gratia, all necessary financial help will be given to family members of the deceased cops besides employment to one family member each.

“Ex-gratia of Rs 25 lakh will be given to the family of the constable and Rs 10 lakh to the Home Guard,” Reddy added.

PTI

Fresh controversy over Pak ‘terror boat’ as Coast Guard DIG claims he ordered it to be ‘blown up’

The government may have claimed that the occupants of the ‘terror boat’ intercepted by the Coast Guard on 31 December, 2014 set themselves on fire but a statement by a senior Coast Guard official saying that he had ordered the boat to be ‘blown off’ may just open a can of worms on the incident again.

In an exclusive report, the Indian Express today quoted a Deputy Inspector General of the Coast Guard, B K Loshali, saying that he was there at Gandhinagar and he had ordered officials to ‘blow the boat off’ as opposed to government’s he claim that the boat  had blown itself up under suspicious circumstances.

The DIG’s statements came while he was launching the boat and the report quotes him as saying that while he had prepared a written speech, he would deviate from it to express what was in his heart.

An image of the boat involved in the incident. PTIAn image of the boat involved in the incident. PTI

An image of the boat involved in the incident. PTI

While Lokshali’s off-the-cuff statement is likely to land him in hot water, it perhaps hints that the Coast Guard vessel that pursued the fishing vessel that set sail from Karachi may have used disproportionate force to handle the situation.

The defence establishment and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar have consistently maintained that the occupants of the boat had set fire to the vessel after  leading the Coast Guard on a chase.

Coast Guard officials have maintained that after receiving an intelligence input they had pursued the ship with an aircraft and a vessel. They said that instead of surrendering “the boat started moving in a zig-zag way and switched off lights.”

The occupants of the boat allegedly ignored warning shots that were fired at it and after some time its occupants were accused of setting the vessel on fire, resulting in it sinking. No evidence had emerged of the occupants carrying explosives.

The government had also claimed that they had evidence of call intercepts that were made from the boat to Pakistan and that the occupants were suspected terrorists.

Defence Minister Parrikar in an interview ducked questions on Pakistan Army’s involvement in the case, as claimed by him earlier, saying intercepts were “irrelevant” to the operation and how it ended and also said the crew may have taken cyanide pills to commit suicide.

Pakistan had said it expected India to conduct a “transparent” probe and had said that its own investigation has shown that there was “no sound evidence” to substantiate India’s assertions.

Given the controversy over the incident had died down, the Coast Guard official’s statements won’t help the already tenuous ties between India and Pakistan.

Analysis on suspected Pakistan boat will be released soon: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

With questions raised over the credibility of the mid-sea operation that suggested a 26/11 like terror strike was averted, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday said all details relating to the sinking of the suspected Pakistani vessel would be released soon. He said “circumstantial evidence” indicated that the occupants of the vessel were “suspected or possible terrorists” and that they were in touch with Pakistani maritime officials and army.”They are doing analysis. We will release it once they complete the analysis in 2-3 days. May be it will take four days. Let them do the analysis and after that we will release it” he told reporters here.Parrikar said the people in the boat were in touch with various authorities in Pakistan, the army and its maritime authority.”The boat was in constant touch, before the actual action took place, with various authorities which were located in Pakistan and linked with maritime security agencies, army and in Thailand,” Parrikar said.He added that all this was prior to the interception and Coast Guard was pressed into action only after receiving the intelligence.”I don’t know what was in the boat. I do not want to speculate. But their (those on board) intentions were not right. For several hours they were in the area,” Parrikar said.Parrikar dismissed the contention that the four people on board the boat, which “exploded” and sank in the Arabian Sea in the intervening night of December 31 and January one during an Indian Coast Guard operation, were smugglers.The Minister underlined that the suicidal act of setting the boat on fire by the men on board the boat showed that they were “committed” and indicated suspected terror link. He said he would classify the occupants of the boat as “suspected or possible terrorists” since they had committed suicide after being intercepted.

Congress wants government to dig deep into ‘bomb’ boat case

PTI
The Congress on Saturday urged the government to go deeper into the possible terror attack case which was averted by the Coast Guard and bring out the truth so that Pakistan could be embarrassed internationally. “I think the government should go deeply into this in particular; it must literally get into the bottom of this by going down to the sea level and tracing the remnants of this boat to find out what was the origin, who sent it, why it was sent, what was the purpose,” Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi told ANI in New Delhi. “The markings on the ammunition, the markings on the human beings who are supposedly dead, because this too serious a matter. And anything which conjures up images of 26/11 is devastating. And after we find out that information from the bottom of the sea we have to take it up internationally to embarrass and expose Pakistan,” he said. Singhvi, however cautioned that the nation cannot afford to lower its guard. “Let me say how fortunate we were how fortunate India is that this boat was detected , chased and self-destructed obviously because it had a lot of things to hide. We are fortunate; but remember the adage that we have to be right every time and the terrorists has to be right only once…..,” he added. Earlier on Friday, a possible terror attack was averted when a suspicious fishing boat carrying explosives in the Arabian Sea was intercepted near the India- Pakistan maritime boundary, approximately 365 kilometres away from Porbander. A statement from the Ministry of Defence said that as per intelligence inputs received on December 31, a fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in the Arabian Sea. A coast guard ship warned the suspicious vessel to stop for further investigation of the crew and cargo; however, the boat increased its speed and attempted to flee the maritime boundary. The coast guards operation continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots. The four persons on board disregarded warning shots from the Coast Guard and tried to hide themselves in the lower deck of the vessel; thereafter they set the boat on fire, which resulted in an explosion. Ultimately, the boat burnt and sank in the early hours of January 1, including all the people on board who could not be saved or recovered.

Pakistan ‘terror’ boat: Did the Coast Guard get it horribly wrong?

Amid the storm of back patting and loud media congratulatory messages regarding the Coast Guards claims that it intercepted a Pakistani fishing vessel filled with explosives that blew itself up off the Gujarat coast, reports are now emerging that the boat in question may not have posed a terror threat to India after all.

An official statement by the Ministry of Defence on the incident, reads as follows:

As per intelligence inputs received on December 31, a fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some “illicit transaction” in the Arabian Sea. A Coast Guard ship warned the fishing boat to stop for further investigation. However, the boat increased speed and tried to escape from the Indian side.

Image from Ministry of Defence

“The hot pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots. Four persons were seen aboard the boat and they disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard. Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in the deck below and set the boat afire, which resulted in an explosion and a major fire on the boat.”

Due to darkness, bad weather and strong winds, the boat and persons on board could not be saved or recovered.

However new reports indicate that there was little to suggest that the vessel in question really posed a threat, and says that the Coast Guard may have used disproportionate force in the incident. Doubts are also being raised on the MoD’s version of events, such as the location in which the incident is said to have taken place, the way intelligence reports about the vessel were interpreted, as well as details of the pursuit.

Writing for the Indian Express, Praveen Swami claims that “Highly-placed government sources, said the intelligence had no link to terrorism, and made no reference to any threat to India. Instead, the sources said, the National Technical Research Organisation had intercepted mobile phone traffic involving small-time smugglers operating out of the fishing port of Keti Bandar, near Karachi.

The report adds that the Maharashtra unit of the Coast Guard never got a message on 31 December that a maritime operation of this nature was underway, which was surprising, given that the “the state has several landing points and jetties that could be used by a boat carrying explosives to India’s western seaboard.”

Then there is the question of where the boat was when the Coast Guard sought to chase it down.

According to this DNA report, “Even senior intelligence agencies are wondering why the Coast Guard chased the boat when it was on the fringe of India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The EEZ extends up to 200 nautical miles or 370 km. According to UN convention, a nation can chase or intercept suspicious vessels if they prohibit the host nation’s passage or if they (suspicious vessels) loiter above or under the surface of the sea. That was not the case here” There is also the matter that Indian fishermen are claiming that they never saw a fire.

The Indian Express report points to several other potentially damning factors: Apparently the weather on 31 December was not ‘bad’, as claimed by the media release, and there is little clarity on as to why such excessive force was used.

The Ministry of Defence has however stood by its version of events, with some sources telling Times Now, that they had ‘definitely’ foiled a terror attack on Indian soil.

Porbandar: Two more suspicious boats intercepted by the Coast Guard

Two days after four men blew their boat after being cornenerd by Indian ships near Porbandar, two more suspicious boats have been intercepted by the Coast Guard reportedly. Two ships have been dispatched to inspect these suspicious boats.An intelligence-based midnight operation was conducted by the Coast Guard ships and aircraft to intercept the suspect fishing boat, approximately 365 km off Porbander in Gujarat, on the intervening night of December 31 and January 1 after a hot pursuit. As per the intelligence inputs received on December 31, a fishing boat from Keti Bunder near Karachi was planning some illicit transaction in Arabian Sea, a statement by the Defence Minsitry said on Friday.Also read:http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-pakistani-vessel-carrying-explosives-intercepted-in-gujarat-coast-4-member-crew-sets-itself-on-fire-2048947The hot pursuit continued for nearly one hour and the Coast Guard ship managed to stop the fishing boat after firing warning shots. Four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation, the statement said. Soon thereafter, the crew hid themselves in below deck compartment and set the boat on fire, which resulted in an explosion and major fire on the boat, it said.”Four persons were seen on the boat who disregarded all warnings by the Coast Guard ship to stop and cooperate with investigation,” the Defence Ministry statement said. “Due to darkness, bad weather and strong winds, the boat and persons on board could not be saved or recovered. The boat burnt and sank in the same position in early hours of Jan 1,” the statement said.