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    Army funds crunch dulls OROP shine

    NEW DELHI: In the defence sector, the Modi government has held up its end of the bargain in some areas but its efforts have fallen short of expectations in others during the last four years.

    AJAY AGGARWAL/HT ARCHIVE■ Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets then President Pranab Mukherjee at the swearing­in ceremony in New Delhi.The government has delivered on a raft of bold promises such as the implementation of the one-rank, one-pension (OROP) scheme, initiating military reforms, dealing with cross-border terrorism with an iron fist, and prioritising the modernisation of the armed forces. However, budgetary constraints have slowed down its efforts to scale up the military’s capabilities although India still remains the world’s largest importer of weapons. Meanwhile, several Make in India projects are on the drawing board as a key policy that is supposed to serve as the template for cooperation between Indian and foreign firms to build high-tech weapons is yet to be finalised.

    The government deserves credit for implementation of the OROP scheme in 2015 though some issues are still being resolved. Nearly three million ex-servicemen and widows have benefitted from the scheme.

    On the modernisation front, the main projects concluded were a $8.7 billion deal for 36 Rafales, a $3.1-billion order for 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache Longbow attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers, a $2 billion deal for advanced surface-to-air missile systems from Israel, a $750-million deal for 145 ultra-light howitzers (M777) from the US, and a $720-million contract for 100 K9 VAJRA-T artillery guns.

    The government inked a $100-million contract with an Indian firm this year for supplying 1.86 lakh bulletproof jackets to the army, a key battlefield requirement that should have been fulfilled years ago.

    Projects that haven’t taken off as the Strategic Partnership model is still being finetuned include local production of next generation submarines, fighter planes, and helicopters.

    The military is facing a funds crunch and it will be a challenge for the government to make sure adequate resources are available.

    The army, for instance, is facing a shortage of ₹12,296 crore under the capital expenditure head.

    India not only carried out surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2016 but also claimed political ownership of the targeted operations.

    The strikes demonstrated India’s hardened military resolve to the world.

    In 2016, the government signed the longpending logistics exchange memorandum of agreement (LEMOA) with the US.

    It sets down the guidelines for the armed forces of India and the US to share each other’s assets and facilities for repairs, maintenance, supplies and training on an equalvalue exchange basis.

    The government brought out its Defence Production Policy-2018 in March, visualising India as one of the top five countries in the aerospace and defence sectors in the coming years, with defence goods and services accounting for a turnover of ₹1.7 lakh crore by 2025.

    Another goal is to clock exports worth ₹35,000 crore by 2025.

    “While a lot has happened during the last four years, a lot more needs to be done,” said Lieutenant General Subrata Saha (retd), director general, Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, and Principal Adviser, CII.

    “The Defence Procurement Policy-2016 is quite forward looking and its provisions seek to boost indigenisation. A new Defence Production Policy is in the works and has set clear and precise goals,” he said. “It is vital to have mechanisms in place to monitor what progress is being made on different fronts.”

    Indo-Nepal joint military exercise at Pithoragarh

    Tribune News Service

    Dehradun, May 25

    The 13-day Indo Nepal joint military exercise is set to begin in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand from May 30.Suryakiran-13, as the exercise has been named, will be see the participation by as many as 300 Army personnel from both India and Nepal. Anti-terror operations will also be part of the exercise that will conclude on June 12. The exercise will also lay focus on preparedness to meet disaster management challenges.Besides, the exercise helps in ensuring better understanding between the two armies apart from developing an expertise in jungle warfare and counter-terrorism operations, particularly in the mountainous terrains. The exercise also provides the two armies a platform to exchange experiences, ideas and skills.India and Nepal that share borders and are culturally linked have been conducting joint military exercises for long.

    How Can The Political Class Begin To Redeem Itself? by Major General Mrinal Suman

    The political class has come to be identified with everything immoral and decadent. Some suggestions on how it can begin to redeem itself.

     It is commonly said that cinema is a true reflection of popular thinking of society at large and villains have been an integral part of the Indian cinema since the beginning, However, their characterisation has been undergoing changes to conform to changing public perception. The iconic K N Singh lent a certain degree of sophistication to villainy, Ajit added wry humour and Amrish Puri some distinct mannerisms. But today, villainy seems to have become the exclusive domain of political leaders.

    Nowadays, the moment a character in khadi and white cap appears on the screen, the audience recognises him as the chief villain. Worse, he is often shown occupying the coveted chair of home minister. He patronises criminal gangs, has corrupt police officers in tow and has no inhibitions in selling the country for money. He supports widows’ homes overtly but demands women covertly. He divides people by instigating religious riots. In short, he is depicted as the most unscrupulous and devious specimen of humanity. Interestingly, no political leader has ever contested such a projection.

    One is reminded of two cartoons that appeared in the press in the wake of the terrorist attack on Parliament in 2001. One showed a terrorist dissuading another one from entering the main hall of Parliament to lob grenades, saying, “No, no, don’t kill Indian politicians. That will be a pro-India act.” Another cartoon showed Indian citizens rueing that the Pakistani terrorists had let India down, “They would have earned our gratitude by ridding us of a few politicians.”

    In India, politics has come to be identified with everything immoral and decadent. It is often said that people get the leadership they deserve. But do Indians have a choice? When they go out to vote, the whole exercise gets reduced very often to voting for the lesser devil.

    The Rot Starts at the Bottom

    A municipal corporator is the fountainhead of corruption and catalyst of every single ill that afflicts India. His sole aim is to amass as much wealth in as short a period as possible. Even one tenure as corporator is good enough to cater for the next three generations.

    A corporator encourages encroachment on government land to create vote banks. Proliferation of slums in all cities can be attributed to his political facilitation and protection. He takes money from illegal shops and vendors to save them from eviction. In some cities, corporators do not let the municipality supply piped water to certain areas so that water tankers owned by them remain gainfully employed. No development work can be carried out in a ward unless the contractor obliges the corporator.

    As corporators control local vote banks, they are wooed by all political parties, both at the state and the central levels. An unholy quid pro quo nexus thus develops — the political party provides protection to the corporator for his illegal activities and, in return, the corporator delivers vital votes to the party.

    Disregard for National Interest

    Facilitation of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh has been the gravest anti-national mischief in independent India. As a result, immense damage has been done to the demography of Assam, with 30 Islamist groups thriving in the area. Worse, some political leaders assail those who demand a check on the ongoing influx.

    To Indian politicians, vote bank politics preclude letting countrymen stay united. They generate innovative issues to divide the people to keep them embroiled in petty discords and internal dissensions. During the last elections in Gujarat, the poison of divisive politics was perfidiously injected into the social fabric. With consummate skill, parochial leadership was nurtured to generate dissensions amongst Patidars, scheduled castes and tribes and other backward classes, thereby dividing society for electoral gains.

    Recently, a renowned advocate and a former law minister told a TV channel that shouting slogans for the destruction of the country is not debarred in the Constitution. Some political leaders extended their support to a delinquent student leader who seeks destruction of India. Comparing him with Bhagat Singh was by far the most perfidious act. Perhaps India is the only country that has the ignominious track record of producing home ministers who revelled in presenting Pakistan with anti-India ammunition. Similarly, alleging that the Batla House encounter in 2008 edia ecstatic. It keeps mocking India to date.

    Some of our leaders display compassion for the stone-pelters of Kashmir who abet terrorism but never shed a tear for the hapless soldiers and policemen braving them. There seems to be no level too low for India’s politicians to stoop to.

    Disdain for legislative bodies

    India spends hundreds of crores of rupees annually to sustain central and state legislative bodies, the so-called “temples of democracy”. All political parties are guilty of lowering the image of these institutions. It is disgusting to see members storming the well of the house, displaying placards, shouting slogans and howling to prevent the house from transacting any business. And they have the brazenness to call such behaviour as their democratic right to oppose the government.

    We elect leaders and give them tenure to fulfil the promises made to us and not to waste money from the national exchequer. But it is rare today to hear a member deliver a well-researched and articulated speech. Most of the time, the houses witness shouting and slanging bouts.

    Attendance is woefully low. Most members spend time in the canteens rather than attend the sessions. Many members utilise the comfort of the house to get their forty winks as the droning and monotonous proceedings put them to sleep. It is revolting to watch leaders chewing tobacco in the house and even speaking with their mouths full with zarda. A vociferous opposition leader can hardly be understood with his mouth painted red with betel-nut. This is the example they are setting for younger generations.

    Penchant for Unbecoming Behaviour

    When Congress Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor declares, “it’s safer to be a cow than a Muslim in India today,” he puts the whole country to shame. The world media flashes such headlines with sinister pleasure. India’s image takes a terrible beating. Hamid Ansari’s last interview as the vice-president was certainly malicious. After having enjoyed all the perks and privileges of office for 10 years (three years under the present government), his conscience troubled him only on the last day in office. His assertion that India’s Muslims are living with a “feeling of unease” and “a sense of insecurity is creeping in among them” was malevolent in intent and designed to damage India’s secular image.

    We have witnessed our legislators misbehaving on aircraft, in trains, at toll barriers and other public places. Their arrogance and demand for special treatment are obnoxious. The images of a legislator sprinkling petrol in a government office and threatening to burn it down shocked the country. Thrashing of a senior bureaucrat for not acceding to the unreasonable demands of ruling legislators shows the depths to which the political narrative has sunk in India.

    As politics has acquired the traits of a family business, the conduct of their progeny is equally disgraceful. Uncouth, foul-mouthed and ill-mannered school drop-outs are commanding wealth worth hundreds of crores of rupees through sheer muscle power and political patronage. Does it surprise anyone that not a single progeny of the current crop of political leaders has excelled in any scientific or academic pursuit?

    Obsession with Personal Security

    Unfortunately, the importance of a leader has come to be judged by the number of security men surrounding him. Hence, there is a competition to obtain the highest category of security. Over 60 per cent of the NSG (National Security Guard) commando strength is deployed on personal security duties. It is a loathsome sight to see goons masquerading as mass leaders surrounded by elite security personnel. In an interesting case, an absconding criminal was made a minister; the police that had been hunting for him earlier was tasked to provide security to him.

    In an Indian state, the leader of one political party apprehends a threat from another party and demands government protection, while the leader of the second party seeks similar security fearing attack by the first party. Both leaders are provided state security. Most barefacedly, they join hands for electoral gains. Worse, most escorts are treated as personal attendants and asked to run errands. Threat to personal security is a facade to get a retinue at the state’s cost. There cannot be a bigger misuse of taxpayers’ money.

    Similarly, provision of security to retired dignitaries should be purely threat-based and not as a matter of entitlement. Why should every retired president, prime minister, chief minister or other high-ranking appointment be provided elaborate state security as a matter of routine? Who would ever want to harm Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee and Pratibha Patil?

    In any case, leaders who are paranoid about personal safety should avoid public life and shun politics. They should be ready to face threats as the common citizens do. People find it offensive when stopped for long periods by rude policemen to make way for the cavalcade of some egotistical leader. Thank god, an end has been put to the culture of flaunting red lights.

    Undue Privileges

    Members of the Indian legislatures are perhaps the most pampered lot. Interestingly, they are the only ones who have the powers to grant pay hikes and pensions to themselves. Such an arrangement makes a mockery of the principle of avoiding conflict of interest. All inter-party differences disappear when the issue of protecting their right to decide the entitlement and quantum of pension faces a challenge.

    It takes a minimum of 20 years of service for a government employee to earn a pension. Our MPs become eligible for life-long monthly pension of Rs 20,000 even if they serve for just a day. However, those who serve for more than five years are entitled an additional sum of Rs 1,500 for every year in excess of five years. On the demise of an ex-MP, his spouse or dependent receives a family pension for life. State legislatures can never be found lagging behind in such pillage of the public money. Recently, the Tamil Nadu assembly hiked the salary of its members from Rs 55,000 to Rs 1.05 lakh per month and pension from Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000.

    One has heard of food subsidy for the deprived and the underprivileged sections of society. To subsidise food for the richest and the most privileged elite is an affront to basic human values. Under considerable public criticism, the Parliament House canteen recently hiked the rates of the dishes. Even after the price increase, a plate of dal costs Rs 5, roti Rs 2 and tea Rs 3.

    Many unscrupulous characters rent out their allotted government houses to make a quick buck. Many leaders decline to vacate their accommodation after their entitlement gets over and have to be forcibly evicted. Another common stratagem is to hold on to the accommodation in the guise of a memorial for the departed leader. One odd room is used to house the household memorabilia of the deceased leader while the rest of the bungalow is merrily used by the extended family.

    Way to Redemption

    Understandably, no one joins politics for public service. It has become the most lucrative profession. In no other profession can so much be amassed in so short a time. Hence, all sensible and far-sighted parents want their children (especially if they are good for nothing else) to join politics. Parties are functioning as family fiefdoms to further the prospects of the progeny.

    Political leaders believe in the ends and not the means. Only power matters. They bank on short public memory to remain in business. However, many optimists feel that all is not lost. They want to build strong public and media pressure, hoping that some sensitive leaders may get persuaded to introspect.

    To start with, a moral code of conduct for politicians should be evolved jointly by all political parties. Leaders must be asked to behave in public in a befitting manner. They should demand no immunity for their unbecoming conduct. They must stop demanding special privileges and identify themselves with the common man. Any political leader who does not vacate the allotted government accommodation or misuses it should be publically named and shamed. Provision of security should be purely threat-based and not as a matter of perk/entitlement. It is for leaders of stature to set an example by voluntarily renouncing excessive security.

    To ensure orderly functioning of the legislative bodies, it is essential that the unruly elements be prevented from entering the well of the house to disrupt proceedings. For that, why not erect a five-feet-high glass barricade around the well? It will segregate the chair and the secretariat from the rest of the house. There should also be a facility to switch off the microphones of the rowdy members. They can cry themselves hoarse while the house can transact its business. Many will consider the above suggestions to be too drastic; but then, extraordinary problems need radical solutions.

    Most of us are sceptical about the likelihood of a change of heart amongst the political leaders; their track record hardly inspires confidence. However, one is hopeful that some elements of our political elite would certainly be feeling uncomfortable with the current standing of the political class. They must be yearning to redeem their credibility. Howsoever small their number may be, they can certainly initiate a movement to cleanse the system.

    To end on an optimistic note, let us look at two encouraging developments. They provide a ray of hope. One, MP Varun Gandhi questioned the parliamentarians’ powers to increase their own salaries and recommended that economically advantaged MPs should forego their remuneration for the remainder of the current Lok Sabha. Two, MP Manoj Tiwari proposed deducting the salaries of MPs for their failure to engage in any constructive work and wanted the fair practice of no-work-no-pay to be followed. Even if a small segment gets spurred to introspect, the country may witness a change for the better.*****

    8,000 pilgrims witness Hemkund shrine opening

    8,000 pilgrims witness Hemkund shrine opening

    Decked up with flowers, Hemkund Sahib shrine opened after winter break on Friday. Tribune photo

    Tribune News Service

    Dehradun, May 25

    Sikh shrine of Hemkund Sahib in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand opened after winter break amidst presence of 8,000 pilgrims on FridayThe proceedings started with the Sukhmani Path following opening of the portal. The portals were opened at 10 am which was followed by ‘ardas’. Many pilgrims took the holy dip in the ice cold water of the lake. The Hemkund is linked to the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.Hemkund Sahib Management Trust vice-president Narendrajeet Singh Bindra said that it was after many years that such a large number of pilgrims had come to witness the opening of portals of Hemkund Shrine. The Lokpal temple in close vicinity was also opened for pilgrims at around 9 am after long winter break. With the opening of portals of Hemkund, Char dham yatra in Uttarakhand has gained momentum.


    India wants peace, but Pak must stop sending militants into J&K: Gen Rawat

    India wants peace, but Pak must stop sending militants into J&K: Gen Rawat

    File photo of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. PTI

    Pahalgam, May 25

    The suspension of combat operations in Jammu and Kashmir can be extended further if the atmosphere of peace continues in the state, but any action by terrorists would trigger a rethink immediately, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Friday.

    Rawat also said Pakistan should stop sending militants into the state if it was interested in peace.

    “If Pakistan really wants peace, then we will want them to take the first step by stopping infiltration of terrorists into our side. The ceasefire violation mostly takes place to aid infiltration,” Gen Rawat told reporters at a function here, 95 km from Srinagar.

    The army chief said India wants peace along the borders but Pakistan was continuously violating the ceasefire, which caused loss of life and property.

    “When such an action takes place, we also have to respond. We cannot sit idle. If there is ceasefire violation, then there will be action from our side,” he said.

    Gen Rawat said for peace, it was imperative that cross-border terrorism comes to an end.

    “It is imperative to stop terrorism from across (the LoC), the camps which are there where training is given to them, from where the ammunition is infiltrated into J-K and India, that should stop. If that happens, then I can assure you that peace will prevail on the borders,” he added.

    The Army chief said the suspension of anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir was an attempt to make people realise the benefits of peace.

    “The suspension of operations or what we call NICO (Non initiation of combat operations) has been done to make the people believe and see how the atmosphere is when there is peace. The way an atmosphere of peace and calm is here right now, in my opinion, the people here are very happy with that,” he said.

    The Union home ministry had announced on May 16 that security forces would not launch any operations in J&K during the holy month of Ramzan. However, the security forces reserve the right to retaliate if attacked or if essential to protect the lives of innocent people.

    Gen Rawat said the Army will think about continuing the unilateral ceasefire if the peaceful situation continues in the valley.

    “If this atmosphere of peace continues, then I assure you that we will think about continuing with NICO. But if there is some action by the terrorists, then we will have to rethink on this ceasefire or suspension of operations or NICO,” he said.

    Gen Rawat was here to launch Digital Education in five Army Goodwill Schools which has been established with the help of Power Grid Corporation and Extra Marks Foundation.

    “Children in AGPS should get right kind of education. Their education standards should keep improving. Knowledge and education today needs infusion of technology. With this aim, we have taken help from PGC and Extra Marks foundation to start Digital education here,” he said.

    Gen Rawat said the Corporation has contributed nearly Rs 25 lakh and Extra Marks foundation is providing support.

    “This will be started in five army good schools on pilot basis. We would like to extend this technology to other Army Goodwill Schools also. We want the children from here develop and progress in life,” he added. PTI

    Army Chief hints at extending truce

    Says India wants peace, but Pakistan must take initiative to stop infiltration

    Army Chief hints at extending truce

    General Bipin Rawat takes a round of Army Goodwill Public School in Pahalgam on Friday. PTI

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, May 25

    Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Friday hinted at extending the unilateral ceasefire in the Kashmir valley.“We have suspended the operation which we call NICO (non-initiation of combat operations) so that the ‘awaam’ (people) realises how it feels when peace is in the air. In the current atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, people are happy and if such atmosphere of peace continues, I can say that we can consider extending NICO,” General Rawat told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Pahalgam.He, however, asserted that if militant activities continued, they will have to rethink on the ceasefire. “If terrorists carry out their actions then we may have to rethink on the ceasefire or suspension of NICO,” he said.The Central government had announced cessation of anti-militancy operations across Kashmir during the holy month of Ramzan that began on May 17. While there have been some militant-initiated actions during the past nine days, the situation has been relatively calm, especially in south Kashmir.General Rawat, who arrived on a two-day visit to the state on Thursday, reviewed the security situation in the strife-torn Valley on Thursday amid the ongoing cessation of anti-militancy operations by the forces.On the ceasefire violations along the border, the Army Chief said Pakistan must take the initiative to stop infiltration of terrorists into India.“As you know Pakistan is continuing violating the ceasefire and when there is loss of life and damage to property of the people, we have to respond because we can’t remain silent. When they violate the ceasefire, we will respond,” the Army Chief said. “If Pakistan wants peace and tranquillity, we would like that they should take the initiative. The initiative should be such that the terrorists who infiltrate to vitiate the atmosphere should be stopped. The ceasefire violation takes places to facilitate infiltration.”He said India wanted that peace should be maintained on the borders. “But for that it is necessary that training camps should be closed and weapon smuggling should be stopped. If that happens, peace will return to the border and ceasefire will be maintained,” General Rawat said.


    Suspected Pak spy worked as domestic help at Indian High Commission in Islamabad

    Suspected Pak spy worked as domestic help at Indian High Commission in Islamabad

    Smita Sharma
    Tribune News Service
    New Delhi, May 25

    A suspected Pakistan agent arrested in Uttarakhand’s Pitthoragarh is believed to have been working with the Indian Defence Attaché at the Indian High Commission, The Tribune has learnt.

    The suspected spy, Ramesh Singh Kanyal, landed the job through his brother, reportedly an Indian army jawan. A senior Indian official allegedly hired him to work as a domestic help in 2015, when he was posted to the defence attaché in Islamabad.

    Uttar Pradesh Assistant Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said on Friday that J&K Military Intelligence Unit, Uttarakhand Police and Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested Singh from his house in Pitthoragarh in a joint operation on Wednesday.

    “Ramesh is not very educated, but he used to go through the laptop, diaries and other files to pass on information to ISI agents. He had a debt of around Rs 9 lakh from banks and private people that he paid back after coming back to India in 2017,” Kumar said.

    Ramesh, who returned to Indian in 2017, runs a Public Distribution System shop in Didihat at Bilmara village near the Nepal border. He was allegedly paid $1,300 for spying for Inter-Services Intelligence.

    He would also pass on confidential information about army installations in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to his Pakistani handlers.

    “We have brought him on a transit remand to Lucknow and are questioning him about how he paid his loans back, and whether the ISI paid him more money, “ Kumar said.

    Investigators are believed to have been keeping an eye on Singh after Aftab, another suspected spy arrested from Faizabad earlier this year, mentioned his name during questioning.
    Investigators said they found a SIM card and a mobile phone of Pakistani make with Kanyal, and are now going through his call records.

    The Pakistan High Commission in India has yet to respond to the developments.

    4 militants killed as infiltration bid is foiled in Kashmir

    4 militants killed as infiltration bid is foiled in Kashmir

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, May 26

    Four militants were killed in a gunfight with the Army on the Line of Control (LoC) after an infiltration attempt from across the border with Pakistan was foiled early on Saturday, officials said.The operation, which is still in progress, was launched in north Kashmir border area of Tanghdar, around 120 km from here.“Four terrorists were killed while attempting to infiltrate early morning on Saturday,” a defence spokesperson said. With IANS

    Pakistan Rangers using thermal suits to avoid detection, target BSF: Intelligence report

    Pakistan Rangers using thermal suits to avoid detection, target BSF: Intelligence report

    Pakistan Rangers may be using `heat-resistant dress` to avoid detection by the Thermal Imaging Devices installed by the BSF on the international border, claim intelligence agencies.

    NEW DELHI: The heightened surveillance and border paroling by the Indian security forces may have compelled the Pakistan Rangers (Pakistani border troops) to devise new ways to avoid detection and take aim at their Indian counterparts.

    According to the inputs gathered by the intelligence agencies, the officials of Pakistan Rangers are now relying on ‘heat-resistant dress’ to avoid detection by the Thermal Imaging Devices installed by the Border Security Force (BSF) to keep an eye on any suspicious activity from across the international border.

    The Pakistan Rangers may be using ‘thermal camouflage suits’ to avoid detection by BSF’s night vision devices, the reports said. This has come to light after a BSF jawan was killed along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir in an indiscriminate firing by the Pakistan Rangers on May 18.

    This “disturbing” first-time instance has rattled the BSF and the Army which is responsible for ensuring security at the International Border between India and Pakistan and the un-fenced Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

    Twenty-eight-year-old Constable Sitaram Yadav of the 192nd battalion of the Border Security Force (BSF) was shot with a precise close-range aim by either a militant or Special Service Group (SSG) trooper from the Pakistani side at about 1:30 am on May 18, the intelligence agencies said.

    The 192nd Battalion mans a forward post along the IB in the RS Pora region of Jammu and Kashmir.

    The official sources claimed that Yadav was immediately evacuated by two other BSF men present in the nearby post but he later succumbed to his bullet wound in his left eye.

    A scrutiny of the local Hand-Held Thermal Imager (HHTI) showed that a very-grained black shadow like movement was recorded on the monitor and it came very close to the BSF post and fired shots, that is suspected to have hit the jawan leading to his death, the electronic surveillance report said.

    However, the HHTI, deployed in the border areas for night vision and surveillance, could not clearly pick the black shadow of an approaching man as he might be wearing a ‘thermal camouflage suit’ that insulates the body heat of a person, the report said.

    HHTI picks up the body heat signatures of a living being – a human or an animal – and creates a silhouette that helps the BSF and the Army to check infiltration bids and attacks on their posts in the dead of the night.

    “The electronic surveillance of the incident is being analysed and nothing can be ruled out. It could be a new camouflage overall that the Pakistani side is using to take a close aim and hit Indian troops at the border or it could also be an indigenous way of wearing a wet-sack like clothing to evade the HHTI radar,” a senior officer in the security establishment was quoted as saying by PTI.

    The officer said that this “menacing stealth operation”– carried out either by terrorists, the SSG or Pak Rangers – is a worrying development and is being investigated thoroughly.

    ”There are such thermal camouflage or insulation suits available across the globe that are used for such tactical and surprise attacks on the enemy and before anything is conclusively said, all aspects of this latest development have to be studied as it concerns border security,” the officer added.


    Major Leetul Gogoi raided our home at night: Mother of woman at hotel

    Major Leetul Gogoi raided our home at night: Mother of woman at hotel

    A day after police questioned a young woman after a fracas at a Srinagar hotel where she had shown up with two men including Major Leetul Gogoi, the officer who tied a civilian to a jeep and drove through several villages of Budgam last year, her mother claimed Gogoi had “raided” their house at night twice in the past and, on both occasions, was accompanied by Sameer Ahmed, the man who was with them at the hotel. Police sources said Sameer Ahmed too was in the Army.

    On Wednesday, Gogoi, Ahmed and the woman were questioned at a police station following an altercation at the Hotel Grand Mamta after the staff refused to let her in. Police said the officer was later handed over to his unit. SP North City Sajad Ahmad Shah, who was asked by IGP (Kashmir) S P Pani to conduct an inquiry, said police were told that a room in the hotel had been booked in the name of Leetul Gogoi.

    On Thursday, at the home of the young woman in a village in Budgam, her mother said: “She left home in the morning saying she would go to the bank and return soon. We had gone to work in the fields. We had no idea about it (the Srinagar incident) till others in the village informed us late in the afternoon.”

    She claimed that Gogoi came to their house at night twice in the past. “He raided our house twice. On one occasion, I fainted when I saw the Army. On both occasions, he (Gogoi) was accompanied by Sameer. He warned us not to tell anyone about the raid,” she claimed.

    Her daughter, the woman said, was associated with a Self Help Group. On Wednesday, she told them “she had to go to the bank to deposit some money. I gave her Rs 500. She picked her bag and left. She also took along her documents”.

    The woman said her daughter was 17 years old. But police said she was an adult. She was allowed to leave after recording her statement. Sources said her school and Aadhaar records show her year of birth as 1998. Following the incident, she headed to a distant village to stay with a relative.