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    Kashmiri youth resorts to violence due to rumours in colonies, mosques: Army chief

    Kashmiri youth resorts to violence due to rumours in colonies, mosques: Army chief

    Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday issued a stern warning for those who are `misleading` the youth of Jammu and Kashmir.""

    Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday issued a stern warning for those who are “misleading” the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. Speaking to mediapersons, the Army chief said that at some places, “Maulvis might be giving false information to youth at mosque and madrassas”.

    General Rawat said that rumours were being spread from some mosques ot colonies and as a result of it, thousands of people were coming on streets to protest against armed forces and state administration.

    Urging the people of Jammu and Kashmir to not take up arms, the Army chief further said, “We have to tell the youth not to join militancy band, convince them that they will not live long and convince the family the same and then if they don’t listen they have to face the consequence. Kashmiri people are our people and we cannot allow violence.”

    Responding to a question on demands of Kashmiri politicians like former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah for dialogue instead of “muscular” policy to deal with issue of violence in the state, the Army chief said that terrorists would not be allowed to “create violence”

    “The government has a clear policy that it will not allow terrorist to create violence. The government has already initiated dialogue through an interlocutor with the people,” said General Rawat.

    General Rawat ruled out direct talks between Centre and terrorists, even as he said that separatists were free to hold talks with interlocutor if they wanted.

    He said, “Interlocutor is talking to people. He is open to anybody who wants to speak to him. We’re doing indirect talks, if they (separatists) don’t want to talk, what can we do?” The Army chief added, “The head of the state isn’t going to talk to the terrorists; it’s not going to happen.”

    n Supreme Court, Centre Explains Why HAL Was Not Picked as Offset Partner in Rafale Deal

    The government said HAL required 2.7 times higher man-hours compared to the French side for the manufacture of Rafale aircraft in India.

    New Delhi: The Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday that state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) failed to become an offset partner in the Rafale deal as there were several unresolved issues it had with French company Dassault.

    In the documents submitted before the top court, the government claimed that the issues pertained to lack of common understanding between HAL and Dassault Aviation.

    “The contract negotiations could not conclude mainly due to unresolved issues related to 108 aircraft to be manufactured in India. These issues pertained to lack of common understanding between HAL and Dassault Aviation on following,” the documents said.

    It said HAL required “2.7 times higher man-hours compared to the French side for the manufacture of Rafale aircraft in India”.

    Congress has claimed that Dassault has been pressurised by the government to do away with the HAL as strategic offset partner by saying the future of India’s aerospace industry has been destroyed by snatching Rafale from HAL.

    Referring to earlier aborted deal, the document said Dassault was required to undertake necessary contractual obligation for 126 aircraft (18 direct flyaway and 108 aircraft manufactured in India) as per request for proposal  requirements and contractual issues with HAL on manufacturing of 108 jets in India could not be resolved.

    The submissions were made in the document titled “Details of the steps in the decision making process leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft order”, which were made public by the Centre on Monday. The inter-government agreement (IGA) was signed by the defence ministers of both countries on Sept 23, 2016.

    Congress President Rahul Gandhi has been accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of forcing the French company to select a Reliance group firm of Anil Ambani as an offset partner to help it “pocket” Rs 30,000 crore.

    Congress has also alleged the government was procuring each aircraft at a cost of over Rs 1,670 crore as against Rs 526 crore finalised by UPA government when it was negotiating a deal for procurement of 126 Rafale jets.

    However, the document, placed by the NDA government, said, “It is reiterated that the procurement process as laid down in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2013 was followed in procurement of 36 Rafale aircraft.

    120 girls take part in NCC camp

    Divya Sharma

    Tribune News Service

    Amritsar, November 10

    One hundred and twenty girls participated in the annual cadet training camp with RDC launch concluded at Gharinda, near Indo-Pak border on Sunday. Most of them aim for joining armed forces, besides learning art of self-defense.

    The girls across Majha were trained in life skills and self-defense. The camp was conducted by the First Punjab Battalion, NCC. The girls came from Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran and Pathankot.

    “I left a private school and joined a government school as it offered NCC. I wish to join the Army and NCC is my first step,” said Palakdeep Kaur, a young cadet.

    Diksha, a college student, highlighting life lessons learnt in such events, said, “My primary aim is to make into defense service. In any case, I am unable to achieve it. The life learning skills I have nurtured here are going to stay with me. I know how to protect myself. My inter-personal skills have improved.”

    Around 350 cadets are being trained under the experts from military on their physical and mental fitness. Many of them see here an opportunity to make new friends and meet new people.

    “This is my second camp. I have met a number of cadets from different places,” said a student. The young vibrant girls feel that such camps have helped them improve their confidence level and have made them better individuals.

    “I feel much more confident than before. Debates, physical activities and shooting lessons have improved our confidence level,” said Nandini, a cadet.

    “Major Kavita along with other instructors trains these young female cadets. Most of them are learning self-defense mechanism, taking part in physical activities and understanding Army and NCC,” said Sukhpal Singh, associate NCC officer. The camp on Sunday concluded with prize distribution function followed by a cultural programme.

    Army procures anti-mine boots for troops in state

    Army procures anti-mine boots for troops in state

    Army men near an encounter site in Anantnag district. file photo

    Jammu, November 13

    The Army has procured special anti-mine boots for troops deployed along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir with the twin aims of facilitating domination of the landmine-infested forward areas and hot pursuit of terrorists if necessary, a top Army officer said.

    As part of the counter-infiltration grid, the soldiers have to get into forward areas for domination and at times even undertake hot pursuit of the terrorists and subversive elements, General Officer Commanding of Jammu-based, 16 Corps, Lt Gen Paramjit Singh said in an interview.

    “We have purchased equipment such as anti-mine boots and deep search metal detectors out of the special funds to facilitate these operations and at the same time ensure the safety of our soldiers,” he said. He said the forward areas along the LoC under 16 Corps — a length of nearly 250 km of rugged terrain and dense bushes — had inherent landmine dangers but all preparations, including safety precautions, had been taken for carrying out the operations. He was replying to a question about activation of landmines near the anti-infiltration obstacle system and subsequent casualties in which a Lt Colonel and a jawan were injured on October 28. Referring to recent incidents of two soldiers, including an officer, getting injured in anti-personnel mine blasts, the General said in both cases they had stepped on drifted mines. “Fortunately, they were wearing anti-mine boots, which limited the damage to their feet and the limbs were saved,” he added. — PTI

    Army’s unorthodox strategy pays off Over 200 ultras killed in Valley this year

    Army’s unorthodox strategy pays off

    Tribune News Service

    Jammu, November 13

    Even the cold statistics speak a lot. Today, when the number of terrorists killed this year so far crossed 200 in Kashmir, it became clear that the unorthodox counter-terrorism strategy of coordination and compassion was working.

    On Tuesday, the Army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps that has been fighting Pakistan-sponsored terrorism almost for 30 years in the Valley found that with the killing of two terrorists along the Line of Control in the Keran sector in north-west Kashmir this morning, the number of terrorists killed reached 201.

    This number inspired mixed feelings – one, that those who picked up the gun against the state at the behest of Pakistan and the Islamic extremist forces had been neutralised for the good of the people and the state at large. The poignant point, however, was that 102 of them were local militants who could have survived and gone back to their families had they heeded the repeated calls to realise the

    futility of violence.

    This year offered unique challenges to the Army as anti-militancy operations had to be put on hold during the unilateral ceasefire period of Ramzan and there was restrained action during the two-month-long Amarnath yatra.

    This means that 200-plus militants were killed in less than eight months. Some of the top militants who fell this year were Abu Mateen, Abu Hamaas, Samir “Tiger”, Saddam Paddar, Abu Qasim and Abu Maviya. As many as 27 militants were neutralised in the month of October alone – the prominent among them were Manan Wani, Sabzar Sofi and Meraj-ud-Din Bangroo. South Kashmir witnessed 109 deaths of militants while north recorded 45 and 47 others were neutralised at the LoC.

    Lt Gen A K Bhatt, Commander of 15 Corps and the author of this strategy, wanted that the local militants be given all options before they were taken on, sources told The Tribune.

    This led to a drastic reduction in local recruitment, as confirmed by Governor Satya Pal Malik, who recently observed that “the recruitment level has come down to zero.”

    The Army has had bigger challenges to confront —— machinations of the deep state of Pakistan that wanted to bleed Kashmir to force India to talk. The designs are being defeated as evident by the killing of 47 terrorists along the LoC.

    Now the next challenge is how to deal with the militants sitting across the LoC during winter. And, the Army hopes that the strategy would yield further dividend during the period of snow.

    Rohtang Pass closed for winter

    Rohtang Pass closed for winter

    Dipender Manta

    Tribune News Service

    Mandi, November 13

    Rescue posts have been set up at Koksar and Marhi on the Manali-Leh highway for villagers if they get trapped while trying to cross Rohtang on foot even as the pass was officially closed for vehicular traffic today.

    The traffic movement between Manali and Lahaul was stopped on Monday due to fresh snowfall at Rohtang.

    Generally, Rohtang Pass is officially closed every year for traffic on November 15 for winter but due to early snowfall this year, the BRO has pulled back its machinery and workforce from the area.

    According to a BRO official, the pass received more than 60 cm snow in two days. The road had turned slippery and frost started to deposit on the ground, which could be risky for those travelling on the route.

    DC, Lahaul Spiti, Ashwani Kumar Chaudhari said the district administration had set up two rescue posts at Koksar and Marhi, where 10 persons have been deployed for rescue.

    The DC said the villagers had been advised to ensure their registration at each post while coming from Manali and heading towards Lahaul.

    This has been done to enable the district administration to provide immediate help if anybody who gets trapped while crossing in the area on foot. The rescue posts will be removed on December 31 or earlier depending over the weather condition.

    During winter these days, residents of Lahaul Spiti shuttle between Manali and Lahaul via Rohtang Pass on foot, when the Pass is closed for vehicular traffic.

    Rafale deal: Crucial hearing in SC on Wednesday

    Rafale deal: Crucial hearing in SC on Wednesday

    The Centre had on Monday handed over a 14-page document titled “Details of the steps in the decision making process leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft order” to the petitioners in the case.

    New Delhi, November 13

    The sensitive pricing details of the 36 Rafale fighter jets, submitted by the Centre in a sealed cover, is scheduled to be examined by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

    A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph will hold a crucial hearing in the case during which the petitioners, who have sought a court-monitored investigation into the deal, will also make submissions.

    The Centre had on Monday handed over a 14-page document titled “Details of the steps in the decision making process leading to the award of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft order” to the petitioners in the case.

    The government had also filed in the court in a sealed cover the pricing details of the Rafale jets.

    The petitioners are likely to respond to the contents of the documents in which it has been stated by the government that the deal for 36 Rafale jets were negotiated on “better terms” and the Defence Procurement Procedure laid out in 2013 were “completely followed”.

    The Centre has also said the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approval was secured before the deal was inked with France.

    The details of the decision-making process and pricing were placed in the court in compliance with its October 31 order.

    India signed an agreement with France for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter aircraft in a fly-away condition as part of the upgrading process of the Indian Air Force equipment. The estimated cost of the deal is Rs 58,000 crore.

    The Rafale fighter is a twin-engine Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) manufactured by French aerospace company Dassault Aviation.

    The petitions seeking the probe in the Rafale deal were first filed by advocates Manohar Lal Sharma and Vineet Dhanda.

    Later, AAP MP Sanjay Singh had also filed a petition.

    Former union ministers Yashwant Sinha, Arun Shourie and activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan had also filed a joint petition in the apex court. – PTI



    New tack in Afghan game as aid gets little traction by Maj Gen Ashok Mehta (Retd)

    India has invested $2 billion in the development of Afghanistan and committed another $1 billion in aid. All it has got in return is the goodwill of Afghans. India does not exercise any influence in shaping policy like Pakistan does. It is true the road to peace in Afghanistan runs through Rawalpindi.

    New tack in Afghan game as aid gets little traction

    Playing safe: President Ghani was asking for lethal military hardware but India wants to stick to soft aid.

    Maj Gen Ashok Mehta (Retd)
    Former GOC, IPKF, Sri Lanka

    There is never good news coming out of Afghanistan. The hype about Russia spearheading Afghanistan-Taliban reconciliation talks and India getting a US waiver on Chabahar Port is misplaced. Still, the third democratic election for the Afghan parliament last month, though at a horrendous cost — nearly 500 killed or wounded in the bloodiest resistance to elections by the Taliban — is a positive. The Americans are fighting their longest war abroad, having invested $1 trillion and losing 2,500 soldiers. Their reputation as the world’s most powerful nation, militarily and economically, is at stake following the British and Soviet retreat from Afghanistan.

    According to Bob Woodward’s new book Fear: Trump in the White House, Prime Minister Modi told Trump at their first meeting in June 2017 at the White House that the US has got nothing out of Afghanistan. He told him: ‘Never has a country given so much away for so little in return’. Trump also noted: ‘Pakistan is not helping us. They’re not a real friend (sic) despite $1.3 billion annual aid the US gives them.’ Later he raged: ‘All we’ve got from Pakistan is lies and deceit’. The outburst against Pakistan could have been influenced by Modi’s remarks. Come to think of it, India has invested $2 billion in development and committed another $1 billion in aid. All India has got in return is the goodwill of Afghans and high ratings in popularity charts. India does not exercise any influence in shaping policy like Pakistan does. Not for nothing is it said that the road to peace in Afghanistan runs through Rawalpindi.

    Trump teasing Modi?

    Woodward also says in his book that Trump asked Modi why India did not put boots on the ground in Afghanistan. He does not indicate Modi’s response. According to the media, at a meeting on the sidelines of ASEAN and East Asia summit in Manila,Trump is supposed to have mimicked Modi, whom he had  called a ‘friend of mine’. Last month, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had informed her US counterpart Jim Mattis at an ASEAN plus defence ministers’ meeting that India could not provide troops in Afghanistan despite its vital security interests there. The reason for refusal was not mentioned in the news report. One can assume that India does not wish to antagonise the Taliban which considers New Delhi an important friend, good for Afghanistan’s development. This is a Taliban volte face: both on development and considering India a friend.

    The second reason is simply geographical — without a contiguous border, maintenance of a light division of 20,000 troops is difficult. Further, Indian troops in Afghanistan for Pakistan will be like a red rag to a bull. Finally, the US will not want to complicate further the Afghan imbroglio. A Trump adviser said: ‘Trump is only teasing Modi’.Not many troops to spare

    India at any time has some 8,000-9,000 troops on UN Peace Keeping operation missions. In addition it holds another 10,000 soldiers as strategic reserve. Given the inflamed situation in Kashmir and a stressed border with China, it can ill afford to commit more than a brigade — 5,000 soldiers — for out-of-area operations, which is anyway too little for effect.

    In 2003, the US Defence Department had asked India for an infantry division for Iraq. Then Army Chief Gen Vij argued based on the Sierra Leone fiasco that a self-contained battle group was necessary to combat any unforeseen contingency. This required attaching an armoured brigade to the infantry division to give it more weight and fire power. In order to maintain one division and a brigade on an expeditionary mission, a minimum of two additional brigades would have to be earmarked as backup and relief. With nearly one brigade already deployed in Lebanon, Eritrea and Congo, it was unwise to despatch such a large fighting force in a region where India’s intrinsic national interests were not at stake. But it would serve to demonstrate a BJP-led government’s solidarity with Washington. Vij also mentioned in his written note to the government that the Army had  been deployed for a full 12 months in Operation Parakram which had created turbulence in peace tenures and training cycles.

    The Chabahar carveout

    Further, the situation in Kashmir was worsening. The question of command and control (Indian troops never served abroad except under the UN flag), cost and logistics were also raised. The lifeline for the task force from Mumbai to Basra would be long and tenuous. A unanimous resolution in Parliament rejected the idea of sending troops to Iraq and took the Army off the hook. The same would certainly happen in case of Afghanistan. For Afghanistan, a carve-out for Chabahar by US sanctions regime on Iran has come.

    India has to be proactive. For too long and in too many hot spots, New Delhi has adopted its favourite wait-and-watch mode. Like Karzai earlier, President Ghani was asking in September for additional lethal military hardware in accordance with the Strategic Partnership Treaty of 2010. The list included four armed helicopters which are to come from Belarus and paid for by India. India wants to stick to soft aid which wins you friends but little influence. It is probably time to deploy a full-fledged training team in Tajikistan, backed by a field hospital. The air field at Ainey in Tajikistan that India shares with Russia and is serviced by the Indian Air Force is available for forward deployment.

    The ultimate counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism baptism is to be had in Afghanistan. Kashmir is a cakewalk in comparison.

    20 years on, dismissed colonel gets allowance

    20 years on, dismissed colonel gets allowance

    Vijay Mohan

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, November 13

    Almost two decades after a colonel was dismissed by a Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) on corruption charge, he has been granted compassionate allowance with the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) observing that orders passed by the Department of Ex-servicemen Welfare (DESW) to deny him the allowance were without jurisdiction and possibly done with malicious intent.

    The petitioner was dismissed from service in February 1999 for criminal breach of trust in respect to government property, intent to defraud and committing an act prejudicial to good order and military discipline.

    After two petitions to Army Headquarters and the Ministry of Defence seeking grant of pensionary benefits in 2001 remained unanswered, another petition submitted to the Chief of Army Staff was rejected in 2013 on the grounds that since the charges against him were serious and involved moral turpitude, the order of punishment could not be interfered with.

    Thereafter, he made various representations for compassionate allowance, but without success. In 2016, he was informed that his petition sent to the Army HQ in 2015 was examined by the competent authority in the MoD and the same has not been accepted. In 2016, he was able to obtain copies of office notings that shed fresh light on the case and after his renewed demands were rejected, he approached the AFT.

    The AFT’s Chandigarh Bench comprising Justice MA Chauhan and Vice Admiral AG Thapliyal observed that following advice from the Judge Advocate General, the Adjutant General at the Army HQ, the only competent authority to take a decision on such matters, had approved grant of 50 per cent pensionary benefits. “The consultant had no jurisdiction and authority to undo what was down by the Adjutant General.”