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    Capt opposes MHA move to mergeUT cadre DSPs

    Chandigarh, April 22

    Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has opposed the move of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to merge the Chandigarh cadre DSPs with those of all union territories, including Delhi.He has demanded that status quo be maintained till the dispute over Chandigarh between Punjab and Haryana was settled.The CM has directed the Chief Secretary to prepare a formal proposal on setting up a special cell in the General Administration to deal with Chandigarh-related issues in order to protect the interests of Punjab and bring it in the next Cabinet meeting.In a statement issued here, the CM said any move to erode the state’s stake in Chandigarh was not acceptable to Punjab. Capt said any such move would limit the avenues for the career progression of senior Punjab officers in line for promotion.The proposal of the MHA would lead to merger of all sanctioned posts of DSP of Chandigarh with the entry grade of the combined cadre of Delhi and other UTs, which would allow their transfer/posting in any UT, the CM pointed out. — TNS


    Retired Captain on mission to train youth for defence services Army man Raj Singh provides free coaching

    Retired Captain on mission to train youth for defence services

    Youth undergoing training under the guidance of Captain Raj Singh in Samba. Tribune photo

    Vishal Jasrotia

    Samba, April 22

    While most retired Army officers look forward to spend time with their families for the rest of their lives, Capt Raj Singh (retd) of Kehli Mandi in Samba had other things on his mind. After serving in the Army for 30 years, he decided to make a difference in others’ lives.Captain Raj Singh (52) has been making efforts to help youth build a career in the armed forces by providing free-of-cost training on a daily basis for the past two years.“I saw tremendous potential and zeal among the local youth who wanted to serve the nation. Unfortunately, they were not aware of the various recruitments conducted in the Army and paramilitary forces. So, I thought of getting them trained for the recruitment process based on my experience in the Army,” Captain Raj Singh said.He said there were academies to train youngsters for civil services, banking sector and other services but there was a lack of such facilities for the armed forces, especially in Samba district. “Keeping this in mind, I started giving training, which includes physical fitness and written test coaching, to aspiring youth with an aim to enable them gain entry in the Army and other security forces,” he said.With sustained hard work, practice and training, of the 150 youth he has trained, around 80 have been selected in the Army, BSF and other paramilitary forces, he said. At present, a group of around 200 to 300 youth, who were preparing to join the Army, were undergoing training, he said.The youth undergoing strenuous training were highly motivated. One of them, Abhimanyu Singh, said, “Gallantry is a cherished value for us and joining the Army to serve the nation is our dream.”“Many of our elderly generations had served in various decorated infantry regiments of the Army. So, we want to take forward the tradition. We are determined to join the armed forces come what may,” said Akshay Singh, an aspirant from Samba.

     

     


    IAF’s mega exercise achieved more than its stated objectives: Dhanoa

    IAF’s mega exercise achieved more than its stated objectives: Dhanoa

    New Delhi, April 23

    The 13-day long mega military exercise by the Indian Air Force achieved more than its stated “objectives”, Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa said on Monday, indicating its readiness to deal with a hostile Pakistan and China almost simultaneously.

    Two days after curtains came down on Gagan Shakti—the biggest exercise by the IAF in three decades—Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa said over 11,000 sorties were carried out by combat, transport and rotary wing aircraft of the force to test its combat readiness.

    “All men and women of the IAF rose to the occasion and achieved things beyond our stated objectives,” the IAF Chief told PTI in an interview.

    As part of the massive drill from April 8 to 20, the IAF deployed its entire war waging machinery for the pan-India exercise with fighter jets, equipped with strategic weapons like Brahmos and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, carrying out deep penetration strikes to revalidate its strategic reach.

    “We achieved relocation and rebalancing of assets from one sector to another in 48 hours,” Dhanoa said. “The overall objective of Gagan Shakti was fully achieved,” he said without elaborating.

    Explaining the significance, a senior IAF official said the objective of the rebalancing and relocation was to quickly flatten the enemy in one front and redeploy the assets in another sector within 48 hours—in a possible two-front war scenario.

    Dhanoa said the IAF achieved all parameters of serviceability, surge operations, relocation of resources and joint operations with the Army and Navy during the exercise which were crucial aspects of the war fighting machinery.

    The combat drill was carried out at a time when China was increasing its assertiveness along the borders with India and while Pakistan has been continuing its skirmishes along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

    The exercise covered all terrains including desert, high altitude areas like Ladakh, maritime sphere and almost all possible war scenarios were rehearsed on a real time basis.

    “We carried out the exercise thinking as if we are going to fight a war,” said a senior IAF official.

    When asked about reports of the IAF having carried out “strikes” in the Malacca Strait, Dhanoa categorically denied it. Officials said the IAF demonstrated its ability to reach maritime targets as far away as 4,000 kilometers in the Malacca Straits but the force stuck to the targets provided by the Indian Navy, none of which were in the waterway around Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

    The exercise also focused on flexible use of airspace, joint maritime air operations with the Indian Navy, joint operations with the Indian Army, simulated combat search and rescue for effective extraction of downed aircrew behind enemy lines among others.

    Officials said the aim of this exercise was to ensure real time coordination and deployment of air power in a short and intense battle scenario and the objective was fully achieved.

    They said the concept of network centric operations and long range missions were tested effectively.

    They said Pakistan and China were informed about the mega exercise.

    The officials said state-run defence organisations such as Defence Research and Development Organisation, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Ordnance Factory Board etc also provided adequate support. They said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was impressed by the ordnance efficiency. PTI


    90 older Mi-17s to get electronic warfare suite

    90 older Mi-17s to get electronic warfare suite

    Vijay Mohan

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, April 23

    The Air Force is upgrading the older variants of its Mi-17 helicopters by equipping them with electronic warfare (EW) suite to increase their capability to operate effectively in a hostile environment.
    According to IAF sources, 90 of these medium-lift helicopters — 56 Mi-17 and 34 Mi-17 1V variants — will be upgraded by No.3 Base Repair Deport in Chandigarh in collaboration with state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL). The IAF approached BEL in this regard last month.
    The move to upgrade the older series comes in the backdrop of a project to retrofit the latest version, the Mi-17 V5 that entered services a few years ago, with similar EW equipment. Last year, BEL was also approached to equip some Mi-17s with advanced navigational aids.
    The EW suite comprises of a radar warning receiver (RWR), a missile approach warning system (MAWS) and a counter measure dispensing system (CMDS). The RWR detects radio waves emitted by radars and electronic surveillance equipment whereas the CMDS enables the crew to imitate counter measures or evasive action against enemy radars and missiles by firing chaff or flares.
    The MAWS is meant to alert the crew about any incoming ground or air-launched missile and also cue the CMDS to trigger. Mi-17 helicopters are used for special operations as well as close air support, logistic supplies and troop movement, requiring them at times to operate at low altitudes and slow speeds, thereby making them vulnerable to missile attacks.
    The Air Force expects the programme to upgrade the 90 helicopters to be completed in 48 months. This includes training an initial batch of pilots, flight engineers and flight gunners to operate the new systems.

    Dassault eyes more India deals

    • French aviation major Dassault Aviation held its executive committee meeting in New Delhi to reaffirm commitment to the ‘Make in India’ policy.
    • “The company’s executive committee rallies around the huge challenge to highly contribute to the ‘Make in India’ and Skill India policies that will lead to India’s self-sufficiency in the aerospace domain,” said Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation.
    • India is buying 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation in an off-shelf purchase. The company is also in running for the 110 fighter jet tender floated by the Indian Air Force and interested in the 57 fighter jet purchase by the Navy for aircraft-carrier operations. TNS

    GLOBE SCAN : China’s Belt Road – Great opportunity for India

    If India were a partner in the BRI, her potential as a power will not be easy for China to ignore; whereas by staying away from it, India would be surrendering her role as a countervailing power, not only at the BRI forum but also in the region and the world

    EVEN as the military stand-off between India and China at Doklam was amicably resolved on India’s terms last year, much of the media and many strategists in India have continued to express serious apprehensions about China’s growing hegemonic ambitions in the region. The recent news of the Communist Party of China (CPC) endorsing Xi Jinping’s term as President for Life has given a fillip to these apprehensions in the politico-diplomatic circles throughout the world, but more so in India. Ever since Xi came to power in 2013, he has embarked upon revamping the government machinery, including purging the military and the Party of corrupt leaders. His vision to expand China’s influence across continents and oceans became clear when he propounded the idea of ‘One Belt One Road’. The big question, however, is: How justified are India’s apprehensions!The concept of One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR), which is now commonly called ‘Belt-Road Initiative’ (BRI), is undoubtedly a masterstroke in the geo-strategic matrices of today’s world that could significantly alter the equations among the regional and global powers

    The concept of One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR), which is now commonly called ‘Belt-Road Initiative’ (BRI), is undoubtedly a masterstroke in the geo-strategic matrices of today’s world that could significantly alter the equations among the regional and global powers. At a time when China’s economy is on a decline from its high growth path, this masterstroke will expand China’s strategic and economic reach across the world. The concept seeks to connect China seamlessly with Central Asia, Europe, West Asia, Eastern Africa and the littoral States of the Indo-Pacific. The term ‘One Belt’ and ‘One Road’, respectively, signify revival of the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’, a network of ancient trade routes that connected the East with the West linking the underdeveloped hinterland of China with Eurasia and Europe; and ‘Maritime Silk Road’, that will connect China’s southern provinces to the South East Asian markets through railways and sea lanes across Indian Ocean and West Pacific.

    THE mapping of the BRI network, i.e. highways, ports and rail lines, will generate enormous commercial opportunities across 65 countries, that is, 60 per cent of the global populace controlling a third of the total economic output of the world. It will boost China’s maritime activity across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, connecting China’s coastline with Persian Gulf and Africa’s East coast besides SE Asia and South Asia.

    Even as most countries in India’s neighbourhood are excited about the BRI project, India has been wary about China’s grand strategy to encircle India by casting a ‘String of Pearls’ around it in the form of development packages for the economically weaker countries in the region. India’s concerns, no doubt, have reasonable grounds that make China’s intentions suspect. Firstly, the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the BRI project, passes through the Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan, and with the Gwadar port under its control it gives China easy access to the Arabian Sea. Secondly, China’s quest to dominate the Indian Ocean by luring the smaller countries in the region through its policy of ‘Charm Offensive’ that includes infrastructure development projects like ports, airports, rail-road network and oil-pipelines could well be China’s way of developing her own military bases in the region to legitimise her presence in the Indian Ocean.

    India’s concerns, no doubt, have reasonable grounds that make China’s intentions suspect. Firstly, the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is part of the BRI project, passes through the Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan

    Whereas India’s apprehensions about the BRI Project have not been hidden, there are countries in the affected zones of the grand Initiative, especially in the Eastern Europe, SE Asia and even in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), that have welcomed the idea. As many as 52 sovereign countries are today on board with China on BRI. Significantly, even Russia has exhorted India to join the project. This eloquent and mammoth support makes BRI a reality of the future, India’s reservations notwithstanding. The CPEC project, India’s most vexatious concern in this gamut, is nearing completion with the Gwadar Port already functional under the Chinese control. Several infrastructure development projects like ports, airports and rail-road networks have been either accomplished or are currently in progress in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives.

    As a counter to BRI, India and Japan have jointly enunciated a plan called ‘Asia-Africa Growth Corridor’ (AAGC). While the BRI idea encompasses both land and oceanic routes, AAGC is essentially a network of sea lanes connecting India with Africa and the countries of SE Asia and Oceania. While China is developing Pakistan’s Gwadar port, India is developing Iran’s Chabahar port that will give access to Afghanistan, Central Asian countries and several European countries aspiring to connect with the Gulf bypassing Pakistan. India has ignored China’s warnings and steadfastly continued to support Vietnam in its oil exploration activities in the South China Sea. Likewise, it has been undertaking developmental projects in a few other ASEAN countries as well as SAARC members.

    Last year, on the side-lines of the ASEAN summit in Manila, India, Japan, Australia and the US met to lend support to Shinzo Abe’s 2007 idea of ensuring “a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.” Although, the ‘QUAD’, as the initiative is called today, is a non-formal association, it has found ‘silent’ support among the ASEAN countries as a soft-counter force to check China’s dominance in the region, especially in the aftermath of her audacious advances into the central South China Sea. Even more significantly, India’s partnership in this dialogue highlights how India’s ‘Act East’ policy has fructified in enhancing her status in the Asian and trans-Asian geopolitics. The region that was “Asia-Pacific” is now being called “Indo-Pacific” by the western world, which also highlights India’s countervailing potential signalling that China is not the only power in the region.

    In addition, India has also launched its soft-power initiatives to connect nations in the region. ‘Project Mausam’, a Ministry of Culture project, seeks to rejuvenate relations with countries of the Indian Ocean by enhancing cultural exchange. Besides developing Iran’s Chabahar port, India is also developing naval ports in countries of the IOR like Madagascar, Seychelles, and Mauritius.

    LONG before Xi Jinping’s idea of OBOR, India, Russia and Iran had conceptualised and initiated a similar project—the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a 7,200-km long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road route connecting India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

    As many as 52 sovereign countries are today on board with China on BRI. Significantly, even Russia has exhorted India to join the project. This eloquent and mammoth support makes BRI a reality of the future, India’s reservations notwithstanding

    The focus of the modern world is shifting from ‘geo-politics’ to ‘geo-economics’ today. Both China and India have emerged as giants in economic growth in the post-2008 economic crisis world. India’s apprehensions of China’s hegemonic ambitions seem to be based more on apparitions of the forgettable past than on substance of concrete evidence. Sporadic cases of intrusion and tussle between the Indian and Chinese troops notwithstanding, not a bullet has been fired anywhere on the 4,056 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) since the Nathu La episode of 1967. The ‘all-weather friendship’ between China and Pakistan might irk India, but they are both sovereign nations and perhaps pushed into this relationship by their shared animosity towards India. This can change. In 2016-17, India’s bilateral trade with China was $71.48 billion, recording a marginal decrease in India’s trade deficit. Besides the 12 investment agreements aggregating to $20 billion signed during President Xi Jinping’s visit to India in September 2014, as many as 600 Chinese companies have offered to invest a total of about $85 billion in India in projects that will create an estimated 7,00,000 jobs in the country in next five years.

    Lot of water has flown down the Brahmaputra in the post-1962 era. Crying need of the time is rapprochement between the two nations paving way for enhanced cooperation in commerce and other areas of mutual interest.

    India and China being the key players on this hemisphere of the globe, their geo-strategic interests will continue to pass through conflicts from time to time. India therefore needs to build up her own power and clout to check China from overwhelming India’s influence in the region. Some projects like the CPEC may be disadvantageous to India, but there are also some very significant advantages for India if she opts to join the BRI. A paradigm shift in India’s strategic positioning is needed to see those advantages clearly. Firstly, of the 65 countries affected by BRI, 52, including India’s neighbours except Bhutan, are already on board with China. There is no way India can stop it. By staying out of the project, India is risking its own isolation, tempting her allies to flee. Secondly, there are grounds for India to work out a win-win situation by tweaking its countervailing potential to a partnership with China in the pursuit of mutual interests while guarding her own in the IOR and the Indo-Pacific. Thirdly, the key to BRI’s success lies in factors like regional transport, energy security and blue economy.

    India’s geography makes her position strategically most vital in the security of sea traffic in its East, South and West. By joining BRI, India will naturally enhance her own importance here. Fourthly, China has surplus capital and cheaper technology to accelerate development and, like other nations, India also needs funds and resources for its own development projects. Fifthly, BRI will throw open new trade connections for India with many countries. Sixthly, India is already a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). As a BRI partner, she will find it only easier to make forays into Central Asia besides acquiring an influential role within SCO too.

    If India were a partner in the BRI, her potential as a power will not be easy for China to ignore; whereas by staying away from it, India would be surrendering her role as a countervailing power, not only at the BRI forum but also in the region and the world. India’s policy makers must remember that in the ancient times too, it was along the ‘Silk Route’ along which India’s trade flourished and her philosophy and Buddhism spread across Asia and beyond. gfiles end logo


    Why the row over DSP cadre merger with Delhi, other UTs

    SENIOR POLICE OFFICIALS SAY THE MERGER WILL SET A SYSTEM IN PLACE, CURRENTLY NON­EXISTENT, FOR PROMOTION AND TRANSFER OF CHANDIGARH POLICE DSPS, WHICH CAN ONLY HAPPEN ONCE THEY ARE A PART OF DANIPS

    From page 01 CHANDIGARH: There’s been a row over a home ministry (MHA) proposal to merge the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) cadre of Chandigarh Police with that of Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Services (DANIPS), with even the Punjab chief minister opposing the idea.

    HT FILE■ A number of Chandigarh Police officials are reportedly against the proposal for merger of the DSP cadres as they don’t want a transfer to other UTs.WHAT’S THE PROPOSAL?

    The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has proposed the merger of the Chandigarh Police deputy superintendent of police (DSP) cadre with the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police Services (DANIPS). There are at present 23 sanctioned posts of DSPs in Chandigarh police with 11 are held by officials of the Chandigarh cadre and 10 by DANIPS.

    RATIONALE BEHIND THE PROPOSAL

    Senior police officials say the merger will set a system in place, currently non-existent, for promotion and transfer of Chandigarh Police DSPs, which can only happen once they are a part of DANIPS. The police officials are permanently stationed in Chandigarh once they are recruited at the assistant sub-inspector (ASI) level.

    WHEN WAS THE PROPOSAL INITIATED?

    Anuradha Gupta, an IAS officer from the Haryana cadre, was UT home secretary when a DSPs deputation met her to ask for promotion to the rank of superintendent of police (SP). As no such provision existed then and SPs came to the city on deputation from New Delhi, Gupta proposed the merger for the first time.

    WHY ARE SOME OFFICERS AGAINST THE PROPOSAL?

    Some Chandigarh Police officers don’t fancy the idea of leaving the comforts of the city and move to other UTs. Then comes the question of seniority – once the merger happens they will be junior to their DANIPS counterparts as they are recruited as ASIs whereas the former, say in Delhi Police, are recruited a higher level as sub-inspectors.

    WILL THE MERGER BE A GOOD MOVE?

    The merger, many police officers say, will be in the interest of the local police officers as more openings will be created for promotions to SP or even DIG ranks.

    Transfer to other UTs should also not be such a big issue for the DSPs, they say.

    WHY IS THE PUNJAB CM AGAINST THE PROPOSAL?

    Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has opposed the move, saying Chandigarh is the capital of Punjab and a disputed territory as of now. He has called for continuing the existing pattern of all Chandigarh UT posts being shared between Punjab and Haryana in a 60:40 ratio. The merger will dilute the stake of Punjab in Chandigarh, making the CM a likely target for rival parties Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party for working against the interests of the state.

    WHAT NEXT?

    DANIPS now is a proposal put forward by MHA for comments and observations up to May 19, after which it will be sent to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for approval. From there, it will go to the finance and then the personnel ministries and finally to the Union Cabinet for clearance.

    It has also been learnt that inspectors and police officials in line for promotion to posts of DSPs in Chandigarh are contemplating legal action if the proposal is implemented.


    Ex­armyman guns down wife’s mother, another kin in Fatehabad

    Accused Devender Singh first fired at his wife Sunita Rani who fled the spot and managed to save herself, and then shot dead her mother Manapati Devi and paternal aunt Kaila Devi

    From page 01 HISAR:An ex-armyman shot dead his mother-in-law and her sisterin-law allegedly over dowry dispute at Gorakhpur village under Bhuna block of Fatehabad district on Monday.

    HT PHOTO■ Police near the crime spot at Gorakhpur village of Fatehabad district on Monday.

    DEVENDER HAD RETIRED AS NAIK FROM THE ARMY ON OCTOBER 31 LAST YEAR

    Accused Devender Singh, 38, a resident of Hisar, reached his in-laws’ house at about 1pm and first opened fire on his wife Sunita Rani, who had come to her maternal house last month after he allegedly harassed her for not giving his family the money demanded as dowry.

    Sunita managed to flee the spot and took shelter at a neighbour’s house. Devender then fired at her mother Manapati Devi (55) and the latter’s sister-in-law Kaila Devi. The two women received serious bullet injuries and were rushed to a nearby hospital, where doctors declared them brought dead.

    The accused later surrendered before the police. The cops recovered a .32 bore pistol from his possession, besides fired bullet shells from the spot.

    The accused told that he used his licensed weapon in the crime. Devender had retired as Naik from the Indian Army on October 31 last year.

    After the incident, Fatehabad superintendent of police (SP) Deepak Saharan, deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Jagdish Kajal and Bhuna SHO Ramesh Kumar reached the spot.

    Accused’s wife Sunita told the police that she got married to Surender in 2008 and had given his family adequate dowry as per her parents’ resources. Later when Devender’s brother Vinay Kumar got married in 2014, their family got Rs 18 lakh as dowry. Since then, Devender’s family started demanding Rs 14 lakh from her family members, Sunita alleged.

    She also alleged that Devender and his family members often beat her up and in such circumstances she returned to her maternal house last month.

    On the other hand, sources said the accused told the police that he had come to his in-laws’ house to take his wife back home. But her relatives thrashed him after which he lost his temper.

    DSP Kajal said, “The police are investigating into the matter. A case of murder has been registered against the accused.”


    Pak troops shell forward areas

    Jammu:  Pakistani troops on Monday targeted forward posts and villages along the Line of Control in Poonch district with mortar shells and gunfire in violation of the ceasefire, an official said. “The Pakistan army initiated unprovoked firing of small arms, automatics and mortars from 5.30 pm in the Krishnaghati sector along the LoC”, he said. PTI


    Towards entente cordiale Summit diplomacy aims to reset Indo-China ties

    Towards entente cordiale

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s forthcoming “informal summit” in China raises the strong possibility of improving the relations between the two countries. There has been a flurry of activity for the last few months involving National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, among others. This raises the hope of a substantial progress, an entente cordiale, since the summit meeting has been arranged after adequate preparation, including confidence-building measures on both sides.India has shown concern regarding Chinese sensitivities on the Dalai Lama. The ghost of the 73-day stand-off in Doklam has now been buried and the concerns about the Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean have been kept aside in an attempt to focus on commonalities rather than differences. The Modi-Jinping summit in Wuhan is expected to yield rich dividends and it will set the stage for the Prime Minister’s second visit to China in June, when he is scheduled to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting.India has been moving energetically to repair relations with neighbouring countries. The reset with China is needed because of the changing geopolitical situation in which both Beijing and New Delhi seek to build an alliance that can weather the mercurial US. The summit meeting is a major investment for both leaders. They will seek to set the tone of the relationship that will then be followed up by officials concerned from both nations. The devil is always in the details, but the expectation is that there would be effort to find practical solutions to each other’s concerns. President Jinping needs India to be on board his Belt and Road Initiative, while India has territorial concerns since it runs through the PoK. Just as India has done, China too has made some concessions already. It announced it would resume sharing of hydrological data of the Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers, which is crucial for flood prediction and relief planning. The two leaders have the ability to forge a new path of mutual benefit to the two countries. How well they seize the opportunity remains to be seen.


    AFSPA goes in Meghalaya, partly in Arunachal

    AFSPA goes in Meghalaya, partly in Arunachal

    New Delhi, April 23

    The AFSPA has been removed completely from Meghalaya and its area of operation in Arunachal Pradesh has been restricted to three police stations bordering Assam and three districts neighbouring Myanmar, officials said on Monday.The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which empowers security forces to conduct operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice, has been removed from all areas of Meghalaya from March 31.The decision has been taken due to a significant improvement of security situation in the state, a Home Ministry official said.In Arunachal Pradesh, areas under the controversial Act have been reduced from 16 police stations areas bordering Assam to eight besides Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts, the official said.There have been demands from various organisations in the north-east as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the Act, which, they say, gives “sweeping powers” to the security forces to act against “civilians”.The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades and in Assam from early 1990s. — PTI