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    Terror chief killed in J&K’s Kulgam carried reward on head

    HT FILE■ Police said both militants were affiliated to Al-Badr and were wanted for many terror-related incidents.

    In a statement, police said Zeenat-ul-Islam, 31, who was also an IED expert, was killed along with his accomplice Shakeel Ahmad Dar. The slain militants were from Shopian district.

    The statement said Zeenat had a “long history of terror crimes” since 2006. It added he was earlier affiliated with the Hizbul Mujahideen. Zeenat allegedly helped militants as an over ground worker before his arrest in 2008. He got married upon his release in 2010 before joining LeT in 2015. He then switched to the HM.

    Zeenat is believed to have been behind a 2017 ambush in which three soldiers were killed.

    HIZBUL MILITANT ARRESTED IN SHOPIAN Police of Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir in a joint operation have arrested an alleged Hizbul Mujahideen militant and apprehended a juvenile in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district.

    Police said the two militants were in touch with Naveed Babu, a policeman who turned militant and heads the outfit as its “area commander”. The duo was allegedly trying to establish a contact in Delhi NCR for a regular supply of weapons here, police said.

    Kifayatullah Bukhari, 22, a resident of Shopian and his accomplice were picked up from near Narwaw village, said deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Pramod Kushwah.

    “After receiving inputs last week, we had been working on identifying a module that is ISISinspired, and was trying to procure weapons from north Indian states. We learnt that the terror module was also strengthening itself in J&K and trying to expand their activities in Delhi and nearby areas,” the DCP said.

    On Friday, tracing the movement of the suspects, a trap was laid and Bukhari was arrested. He is a school drop-out and used to work for a transport company. The 22-year-old had recently applied for a visa to Pakistan, to undergo “militancy training ”. The juvenile is a student of a madarsa, police added.

    “A pistol and 14 cartridges were seized from them. They were in contact with Naved Mustaq, 30, alias Naveed Babu, a resident of Nazneenpora in Shopian. Babu had joined J&K Police in 2012 as a constable before he joined the militant group in 2017,” Kushwah said.

    A case has been filed in Jammu and Kashmir and the state police are probing into the matter.


    Army recruitment rally in February

    Tribune News Service

    Jammu, January 13

    The Army is organising a major recruitment drive for youth in the Territorial Army in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts.

    The recruitment will be done for the 159 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army), Dogra, which will commence on February 12 at the sports stadium, Doda, and will culminate on February 20.

    The recruitment drive will be for the youth between the age group of 18 and 42 of Udhampur, Kishtwar, Ramban and Doda districts for the posts of soldier (general duty), clerk and tradesman. The minimum qualification for soldier is matric with 45 per cent marks whereas for clerk, it is Class XII in any stream with minimum 60 per cent marks in aggregate and 50 per cent marks in every subject with computer knowledge.

    Last year, militant activity in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts was witnessed and a few youth also joined the militant ranks which brought focus back on the region. There were also intelligence inputs that Pakistan is trying to push in militants through the International Border and is sending them to these districts with a plan to recruit more youth.

    At this time, providing educated youth a job opportunity will prove detrimental to the plans of militant outfits and youth will get their desired jobs at their doorsteps.


    Honey-trapped’, jawan shares Arjun tank info

    Posted with armoured unit, was lured on FB, now in police remand

    ‘Honey-trapped’, jawan shares Arjun tank info

    Somveer Singh

    Yash Goyal

    Jaipur, January 13

    An Army jawan, posted with an armoured unit in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, has been arrested for allegedly sharing sensitive information with a Pakistan agent after being honey-trapped. A special court has remanded him in police custody for seven days.

    The jawan, Somveer Singh, hailing from Haryana and posted with 75 Armoured Regiment, was allegedly honey-trapped by the agent by posing as “Anika Chopra”, “Captain” in the Military Nursing Corps, on the Facebook. Somveer Singh was arrested under various sections of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, by the Intelligence Wing of the Rajasthan Police and produced before the Special Criminal Court on Saturday, said a senior official of the state police today.

    The accused, who allegedly received Rs 5,000 for spying, was currently lodged at the Central Police Station here and was being interrogated, he said. A unit of Military Intelligence had found the jawan allegedly sending pictures, locations of exercises and sensitive information, including that on Arjun tank, to the Pakistan agent. In a joint surveillance, the Military Intelligence and state police’s Intelligence Wing headed by DG-Intelligence arrested Somveer.

    Gadgets, including a smart phone, were seized from his possession. His call details were being examined to ascertain the kind of information sent across the border. “The accused has confessed to having shared crucial information with the Pakistan agent,” the official said. Asked about the possibility of other Army personnel being honey-trapped by the Pakistan operative on the Facebook, the official said: “The matter is being investigated.”

    “It is not just a case of honeytrap, but that of spying too as this jawan was paid Rs 5,000 through another account to avoid suspicion. He transferred the money into his account, probably an e-wallet,” the official said.

    “Eight months ago, the operative posing as ‘Anika Chopra’ befriended him on the social networking platform by sending lewd messages. During online chats, intimate pictures and videos, besides sensitive information, were shared on the smartphone,” he said. “The fake account originating in Karachi, Pakistan, was closed after the Military Intelligence spotted Somveer sharing sensitive information,” the official said.

     


    Martyr Zorawar Singh remembered

    Martyr Zorawar Singh remembered

    Subedar Rai Singh (retd) and his wife Shakuntala Devi honoured by SSP Kangra at Rait on Saturday. Photo: Ashok Raina

    Our Correspondent

    Kangra, January 13

    Sacrifice of martyr Havlidar Zorawar Singh of Rait near Shahpur was remembered and tributes paid to him on the 156th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. On the occasion, Zorawar Singh’s parents were honoured on Saturday at Dronacharya College of Education at Rait.

    Locals, intellectuals from Kangra and students attended the function in which parents of the martyr were honoured by the SSP, Kangra, Santosh Patial, the SDM, Shahpur, Jagan Thakur, and PR Agnihotri convenor of local branch of Vivekananda Kendra, Kanaya Kumari, and paid floral tributes to Zorawar Singh (43), who was killed in a fierce gunfight on the frontier of Kupwara district on March 21, 2018.

    Subedar Rai Singh (retd), braveheart’s father, said he was blessed to have a son like Zorawar Singh. He said he fought three wars 1962 against China, 1965 against Pakistan and 1971 when Bangladesh was created. He said he was also a witness to the surrender of 97,000 Pakistan soldiers led by Gen Niazi. He said his son was inspired by him had joined the Indian army.

    Zorwar Singh served for nine years in Jammu and Kashmir. For his dedicated service, he was given an extension of two years and posted in the 160- TA Battalion. Zorawar leading his platoon in Kupwara forests killed five militants, but only after two days, he was again assigned the job of combing the forest.He received seven bullets below his bullet-proof jacket and before attaining martyrdom shot the last militant dead. People gave standing ovation to the parents of the martyr.


    Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniv celebrations in US:: IN INDIA CREDITABLITY OF KARTARPUR CORRIDOR YET TO CONCLUDE

    Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniv celebrations in US

    • Washington: Year-long celebrations of Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary have kicked off in the US to spread his message of brotherhood and sharing.
    • The Indian Embassy and Consulates have chalked out a calendar of activities, said India’s new Ambassador Harsh V Shringla.
    • He was addressing people gathered to celebrate the occasion; artiste Bhai Baldeep Singh played devotional music on Saturday.
    • “Guru Nanak was one of greatest philosophers and social reformers. His voice was an empowering call to unshackle the human mind of centuries of religious and political tyranny,” he said. pti

    CSIO develops pilot display unit for IAF’s Hawk

    CSIO develops pilot display unit for IAF’s Hawk

    Vijay Mohan

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, January 13

    An indigenous pilot display unit (PDU) has been developed for the IAF’s indigenously upgraded Hawk-i advanced jet trainer by the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) here. The instrument, akin to a head-up display unit, is installed above the cockpit’s instrument panel with its screen at the pilot’s eye level and superimposes vital flight and mission parameters on the pilot’s line of vision of the outside world.

    The Mission Combat Systems Research and Design Centre of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bangalore, had awarded this project to CSIO and the first prototype has been fabricated. It is expected to take to the skies in a few weeks.

    The British Hawk entered IAF service in 2008, with 24 aircraft received in fly-away condition and 42 being assembled by HAL. Another 57 Hawks, with some going to the Navy, were to be licence-produced by HAL along with upgrade of the fleet and incorporation of some Indian made components and sub-systems. The upgraded aircraft have been christened as Hawk-i.

    The PDU provides a comprehensive flight-symbology display along with ambient vision under all-weather conditions. It displays navigation inputs like altitude, airspeed, angle of attack and artificial horizon, take off and landing data as well as weapon aiming and delivery cues. Since the pilot does not have to change his line of sight or visual accommodation by peering repeatedly at his instrument panel inside the cockpit, the PDU reduces his workload and reaction time, while enabling him to take split-second decisions and enhancing his weapon aiming capability.

    It is smaller and lighter than earlier head-up displays developed by CSIO for the light combat aircraft, HAL trainer aircraft and Jaguar. All modern combat aircraft as well as some transport aircraft are equipped with head-up displays.

    “The PDU can be operated in different modes that can be selected from a multifunction up-front control panel. In the ‘raster’ mode it displays the real time infrared camera video to the pilot for target seeking, while in the mixed mode, raster video is combined with other information for weapon aiming and target locking along with other flight critical information to the pilot,” Vipan Kumar, principal scientist overseeing the project, said.

    “In the eventuality of mission computer failure, PDU has dedicated information which can be displayed to the pilot in stand-by-sight mode,” he said.


    The battle for the skiesBY MK Bhadrakumar

    The battle for the skies

    Mission space: Russia can build a lone lunar station, but funds are a challenge.

    MK Bhadrakumar
    Former Ambassador

    Us space agency NASA has abruptly called off a planned visit to the US in February by the head of the Russian state space corporation, Roscosmos Dmitry Rogozin. NASA made the announcement on January 4 following criticism by the US media and lawmakers who demanded cancellation of the visit. The snub to Moscow presages sudden death of the historic Russian-American collaboration in exploring the ‘last frontier’ for mankind. It becomes an inflection point.

    Rogozin is a close political associate of President Vladimir Putin. He has been subjected to the Western sanctions over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who is a leading critic of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, threatened that the Congress will be ‘forced to act’ unless NASA withdrew the invitation to Rogozin. Shaheen called Rogozin ‘one of the leading architects of the Kremlin’s campaign of aggression towards its neighbours’ and said the invitation ‘undercuts our message and undermines the US’ core national security objectives’.

    The big question is whether the curtain is coming down on the space cooperation between the US and Russia. It is a poignant moment since the two countries have had a long history of working together in space ever since the joint Apollo-Soyuz mission in 1975, and more so, in the past two decades. Within the ambit of cooperation, the two countries have shared training, communications, operational capabilities and expenses in support of the International Space Station (ISS). In particular, following the cancellation of the US Space Shuttle Program in 2011, the US began relying on Russia’s Soyuz capsules for transport to the ISS. Russia receives an average of $81 million per seat on the Soyuz. In a joint statement in 2017, the two countries even projected the idea of collaborating on deep space exploration, including the construction of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, a research-focused space station orbiting the moon. (Rogozin’s visit aimed at fleshing out the tantalising idea.) Both countries saw clear benefits, given the high price tag for solo space exploration.

    However, times have changed. Russia and the US are flaunting today their capability to destroy each other in a thermonuclear war, something unheard of even at the height of the Cold War. Space has become a new domain of warfare. If the 2018 US National Defense Strategy characterised ‘space and cyberspace as war-fighting domains’, Russia’s 2010 military doctrine explicitly stated that ensuring superiority in space would be a ‘decisive factor’ in achieving its strategic goals. In this tense security environment, the need arises to protect space assets (satellites, etc.) with space-based weapons. Suffice to say, the scope for sharing sensitive technology or capabilities in space partnerships has dramatically shrunk due to the growing hostility between the US and Russia.

    Secondly, a private sector space industry has appeared in the US and it has spawned commercial interests. The development of advanced technologies by private companies means NASA has new options to choose from and to reduce the dependence on Russia. In fact, NASA is already in a position to use Boeing and SpaceX capsules for human spaceflight beginning in 2020 and even has the option to phase out the procurement of Russian RD-180 rocket engines by 2022. With President Trump ordering the establishment of a sixth branch of the military (‘Space Force’), the dominant aerospace companies in the US — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and BAE Systems — are eyeing the new frontier. 

    Russia’s preference has always been to press on with a space programme entwined with the US’s. But in a scenario where NASA turns its back on Roscosmos, Russia may have to turn to China or India for partnership. Recently, Rogozin openly hinted at this. In his words, ‘China is offering many initiatives for cooperation, is asking us to help them develop, though they have already achieved a good level of development. They are suggesting creating a joint station.’ Rogozin even floated the idea of a ‘BRICS station’. Of course, Russia is technologically capable of building a lone Russian lunar station. But then, as the director of the Institute of Space Policy in Moscow, Ivan M Moiseyev, told the New York Times recently, ‘The technical capability exists, but the finances don’t.’

    Quite obviously, considering that space efforts are inextricably connected to military plans, Russia needs to take a leap of faith to form an alliance with China. On the one hand, the scientific space-related endeavours have immense commercial potentials, while on the other, they signify the ultimate ‘eye in the sky’ through a combination of satellites and unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicles that would give unmatched insight into positions of enemies (as well as allies). They will phenomenally improve military logistics, facilitate ‘orbital strikes’ at enemy targets as well as open up new lucrative trade and travel routes.

    India is far better placed than China can ever be to align with Russia’s space programme, as there are no contradictions in the relations between the two countries. China is a competitor for Russia — as much as for the US — in space. Commenting on the recent landing of a Chinese scientific probe on the far side of the moon, Mary Dejevsky at the Guardian newspaper, a veteran Russia hand, wrote, ‘The response in political and military quarters in Washington, as in Moscow… is likely to reflect trepidation.’ It cannot be otherwise in New Delhi also. All factors taken into consideration, therefore, a tapering off in the NASA-Roscosmos cooperation, which is on cards in a near-term scenario, can be to India’s advantage. Delhi should seize the opportunity.

     


    J&K governor advises militants to shun violence; assures rehabilitation

    Jammu, January 14

    J&K governor advises militants to shun violence; assures rehabilitation

    Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday advised militants to shun the path of violence, assuring that his administration is ready to do whatever it could for their rehabilitation.

    “There is nothing like ‘operation all out’ and some people are using this wrong term. We want these children (militants) to come back and we are ready to do what we can do for them,” Malik told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.

    He was replying to a question on the call by some politicians to stop ‘operation all out’ and an inquiry into the killings in the Kashmir Valley.“When a terrorist somewhere opens fire or hurls an explosive, it cannot be like this: you will fire and we will give you flowers and bouquets. On our side, we do not have any ‘operation all out’. They (militants) should leave this path as they will achieve nothing from this. There is nothing like ‘operation all out’,” Malik said.

    On National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah’s statement that if his party is elected to power in the upcoming Assembly polls, it would establish a truth and reconciliation commission to probe killings in the state, Malik said he is stating something new every day. “He is a senior politician, so commenting on him is not good,” the governor added.Malik said mainstream politicians had political compulsions and “in our country one can go to any extent for a vote”.

    “They are all political people and have political compulsions. For a vote, the people go too far in this country. I understand the compulsions of everybody and honour them,” he said when asked about statements made by some politicians recently. On the assembly polls in the state, the governor said his administration is ready for the democratic exercise.

    “We are ready for polls and when the Election Commission decides, we will hold the elections,” the governor said.

    Meanwhile, Malik inaugurated a musical fountain and an open-air gymnasium constructed by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank at Rajinder Singh Park here.

    “We are being demonised across the country that everything here is wrong. But I can say with authority that Jammu and Kashmir is far ahead with many of the states in the country and the J&K Bank is one such institution which is doing good,” Malik said.

    He suggested the bank to concentrate on providing easy loans to artisans and workers and said it had the ability to uplift the weaker sections of society. PTI

     


    A Liability Called Rafale | Point of View

    A fully loaded Rafale is only as capable as the Su-30, MiG-29 and Mirage 2000. The talk of Su-30/Rafale for distant nuclear delivery against China is a joke.

    Illustration by Tanmoy Chakraborty

    Illustration by Tanmoy Chakraborty

    The French Rafale combat aircraft is a political embarrassment and a military liability. It’s an inappropriate, cost-ineffective buy that adds no real operational value to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in terms of enhancing its reach, clout and mission versatility, but adversely impacts the air order-of-battle.

    Per current plans, by 2025 and with the induction of the 36 Rafales bought in flyaway condition, the IAF will have between 272 and 312 Su-30MKIs or 17-20 squadrons upgraded to the ‘Super Sukhoi’ configuration, more than 90 Jaguars or five squadrons, more than 60 MiG-29s or four squadrons, and over 50 Mirage 2000s or three squadrons-totalling 34 squadrons of 4.5 generation aircraft. Seven squadrons of the indigenous Tejas Mk-1A and Mark-2-also 4.5 generation-replacing MiG-21 for short-range air defence means an IAF force profile of 41 squadrons (by mid-2030s).

    So, what’s wrong with this force structure? Other than Jaguar for low-level strike and Tejas, the Rafale has, with full ordnance loading, the same operational range and capability as the Su-30, MiG-29 and Mirage 2000. These are all medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) which, given range constraints, can be optimally fielded against Pakistan alone and in border affrays against China, but have zero strategic reach and worth. So, the talk of Su-30/ Rafale for distant nuclear delivery against China is a joke. This fits in with the IAF’s thinking and conduct as a tactical adjunct in the region of superior extra-territorial air forces (Royal Air Force in colonial times and the US Air Force in the immediate post-1962 war period and, perhaps, in the future). Whence the service’s emphasis solely on short- to medium-legged aircraft with no interest whatsoever in acquiring long-range strategic bombers, such as the Tu-22 ‘Backfire’ (first offered in August 1971) or the more lethal Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’, either of which could long ago have been purchased or leased from Russia. It would have enlarged the IAF’s operational/ mission envelope and firmed up the manned, recallable vector for nuclear as well as conventional deterrence of China. The IAF has had no bomber after the phasing out of the medium-range Canberra.

    Until the April 2015 Rafale announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the erst­while defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, correctly favoured the option of quickly and economically augmenting the fleet of Su-30s-rated the best fighter aircraft in the world. It had several merits. For the price of one Rafale, the country would have had two Su-30s and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Nashik, which assembles this aircraft, would have had a contract to produce more of them. The ‘Super Sukhoi’ version of the Su-30, more­over, meets the Rafale level of on-board data fusion capability. The upgrade of the Su-30 is, therefore, a critical need, except it is now imperilled by the Rs 59,000 crore down pay­ment for the Rafale, which leaves little funding for anything else.

    The Rafale’s only other attribute is the exorbitantly priced Meteor air-to-air (A2A) missile, whose effectiveness is exaggerated. Even the most advanced A2A missiles have limited ‘kill zones’. The certainty of tracking, identifying, targeting and hitting enemy aircraft diminishes markedly beyond 50-80 miles. Worse, with so few Rafales and such high investment, the IAF will be loath to deploy them in war because every Rafale lost would mean over Rs 1,600 crore down the drain and, proportionately, a seriously attrited force.

    Besotted by Western-origin aircraft, the IAF had hoped to use the initial order of 36 Rafales as a wedge to procure 90 more. That ruse being blown, it has indented for 114 new type single-engine MMRCA. With Donald Trump turning up the pressure, the 1960s vintage, museum-ready F-16 is likely to be the gap filler. It will pose no danger to the Pakistan Air Force that has been operating this plane for 30-odd years, but will fritter away resources and exacerbate an already hellish logistics problem for the IAF, created by the unmanageable diversity of aircraft in its inventory, each requiring its own expensive maintenance infrastructure.

    The writer is author of Staggering Forward: Narendra Modi and India’s Global Ambiti.

    Not Having Transfer of Technology Clause in Rafale Deal Adversely Hit Us: HAL Employee Union

    Union members of HAL, who claimed to be representing over 10,000 workers at HAL’s Bangalore plant, also demanded that the PSU be made a partner of Dassault Aviation, not just an offset partner.

     

    New Delhi: The Prime Minister assured of big investments but instead took away our money, representatives of the workers’ union of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited claimed in a press conference held in the capital on Thursday.

    Union members of HAL, who claimed to be representing over 10,000 workers at HAL’s Bangalore plant, also demanded that the PSU be made a partner of Dassault Aviation, not just an offset partner.
    The employees said that they had met Rahul Gandhi on Thursday morning in an attempt to get him to raise their issue in days to come.

    The HAL employees claimed that the decision to not allow a Transfer-of-Technology clause in the renewed deal under which 36 Rafale jets had been bought, had adversely hit the 78-year-old PSU.

    “When in their annual report Dassault chairperson had claimed that HAL was its partner, when Dassault and HAL had signed mutual workshare agreement, when HAL can build a 25 tonne Sukhoi, then what was the difficulty in making Rafale jets,” Renuka, one of the HAL employees said in the press conference.

    He added, “In a meeting with us Narendra Modi had assured us of Rs 5000 crore investments, but what actually happened is that not only did that money not come to us, the government actually siphoned off money from our reserves. They are taking away our dividends at such time.”

    So dire has the situation become, he added, that HAL has had to borrow money from the bank to pay salaries of its employees.

    A statement issued by the employees of HAL also suggested that the recent statement made by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament that Rs 73,000 crore of orders for HAL were in the pipeline was misleading.

    “We have total orders worth Rs 1.28 lakh crore. Of this Rs 26,570 crore of orders have come from the Modi government. This effectively means that HAL is running only on the orders of the UPA.”

    K Satish, another union member of employee union of HAL who was present at the press conference, added, “Against our demand for Rs 19,334 crore only Rs 6415 crore was given to us, this is why we had to borrow money to pay our employees’ salaries. On the contrary Modi government has withdrawn Rs 11024 crore from HAL. In 2015-16 Defence Minister ordered an ‘equity buyback scheme’ that required HAL to transfer Rs 6393 crore to the government.”