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    Assam floods affect 92,000; Army, NDRF deployed

    short by Ankur Vyas / 08:41 pm on 25 Apr 2016,Monday
    The floods in Assam worsened on Monday with the number of people affected in six districts rising over 92,000, of whom 7,200 have been shifted to relief camps. With several tributaries of the Brahmaputra flowing above the danger level, authorities deployed Army, NDRF and SDRF for rescue operations. Torrential rains also triggered massive landslides in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Assam.

    The six districts that have been reeling under floods included Sivasagar, Charaideo, Jorhat, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Cachar, officials in the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) said. In Dima Hasao district on the other hand several labourers engaged in stone quarrying were feared washed away due to flash floods in the Jatinga river. Landslides have cut off both road as well as railway links in the district.Sivasagar and Charaideo districts in Assam remained the worst affected with about 74,000 people affected by the floods caused by Burhidihing and Disang rivers. Sivasagar deputy commissioner Virendra Mittal said about 200 villages in the two districts were reeling under floods, while about 3,500 people have been shifted to 31 relief camps. Landslides in Dima Hasao district have also cut off road and railway communication to the Barak Valley in southern Assam. An official in the Northeast Frontier Railway headquarters here said train services that had resumed on Sunday after clearing the debris at several places had to be cancelled once again on Monday due to fresh landslides between Lumding and Badarpur. In Arunachal Pradesh, the death toll caused by landslides has reached 19 after one more person was killed in Hayuliang in Anjaw district on Sunday evening. An official in Itanagar said that while road communication to Hawai, the Anjaw district headquarters, remained cut off for the fourth consecutive day on Monday, fresh landslides have completely cut off the district from the rest of the world. Chief minister Kalikho Pul on Monday directed the officials to release Rs 2 crore for for relief and restoration works the landslide-devastated Tawang district, including ex-gratia relief to the next of kin of 18 persons killed in the past four days. The The state government also released relief fund of Rs 1 Crore each to the badly affected districts of Namsai, Lower Subansiri, Changlang and Anjaw. In Nagaland on the other hand Mon district has been the worst affected due to landslides caused by incessant rains in the past four days. Over 200 houses including a government primary school have been damaged, while Mon town remained cut off from the rest of the state. The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has been pressed into service to restore the road links, official sources said in Kohima. –

    Pak cooperating closely on Pathankot: Aziz

    HOPEFUL Says suspension of talks does not mean cancellation

    LONDON: Pakistan is “cooperating closely” with India in the investigation of the attack on Pathankot airbase and hopes that stalled bilateral talks will resume in the next few weeks, foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz has said.

    Aziz, the adviser on foreign affairs to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told a select audience at the Royal Institute of International Affairs here on Monday evening that “suspension” of talks did not mean cancellation but “temporary suspension”.

    “We still hope that as we make progress on the Pathankot investigation, the dialogue can begin because terrorism-related issues are important,” he said while delivering a lecture on the theme ‘A Strategic Vision for Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’.

    Pakistan’s regional situation, he said, was “further complicated by India’s attitude. We are not seeing a positive response from India. It is a difficult situation.”

    Responding to questions, he said: “We are cooperating closely (on the Pathankot attack). Our team visited Pathankot and Delhi. We are now pursuing those investigations.”

    India has blamed the January 2 attack on Pathankot airbase on Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed and demanded action against the banned group’s chief, Masood Azhar. Pakistan has said it needs more evidence to act against the perpetrators. Aziz also brought up the arrest of an alleged Indian intelligence operative by Pakistani authorities.

    New Delhi has acknowledged the arrested man, Kulbhushan Jadhav, was a former naval officer but dismissed reports that he was involved in espionage.

    Hoping the global community will encourage India to resume dialogue “because without that we cannot deal with the problems that we all face”, Aziz rejected claims that Pakistan is “apologetic” about the arrest of Jadhav.

    Reiterating Pakistan’s stance of Jammu and Kashmir being the “core issue” in bilateral ties, Aziz said “no dialogue can start” without talks on its future.

    He said a number of formulae had been discussed in the past, but he rejected the idea that the Line of Control be made the border between the two countries.

    Indian Army Test Its Operation Abilities

    The Indian Army is currently conducting a major exercise in the deserts of the western state of Rajasthan to test its operation capabilities during a battle.

    The military exercise, titled Shatrujeet, is being undertaken by the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh’s elite Mathura-based Strike 1 corps, the Indian Defense Ministry said.

    indian army
    indian army

    The exercise is focusing on “validating integrated battle theatre fighting concept” incorporating new-age technologies, weapon platforms and systems as well as long range precision targeting vectors, Indian Defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha told the media Saturday.

    In fact, the Indian Army regularly conducts such exercises to evaluate its operation capabilities during a war with the enemy.

    The exercise will continue till April 23.

    Indian Army’s firing exercise ‘Shatrujeet’ enters its last phase

    jaisalmer: With about 30,000 soldiers in action, the Indian Army is conducting a major exercise ‘Shatrujeet’ by the elite Mathura-based Strike Corp in desert area of Mahajan field firing range of Rajasthan, wherein the capability to strike, deep into the enemy territory in an integrated air-land battle environment is being evaluated. Now, this exercise is in the last phase and next week on April 22, army chief D S Suhag is likely to come and review the exercise.
    The operationally-oriented exercise is focusing on validating integrated theatre battle fighting concept by incorporating new age technologies, weapon platforms and systems as well as long-range precision targeting vectors. Mathura Strike Crops’ Core Commander Lt Gen Shaukin Chauhan on Saturday reviewed integrated operational manoeuvres, including insertion of heliborne and airborne activity.
    The focus of the exercise is to achieve joint and seamless coordination among all the forces in a nuclear biological chemical warfare scenario so as to deliver the enemy, a lethal punch with full might at a lightening speed. In order to achieve this aim, high-end technology and all the latest multi-dimensional modern weaponry at the disposal of the armed forces is being utilised. In the last decade or so, there has been a paradigm shift in India’s offensive doctrine and capability and such exercises are undertaken regularly by the Army to train its troops in their offensive role and weapon usage.

    In the changing scenario, the Indian Army looking to the increasing new challenges across the border, is trying to make its war talent strong and better in short notice time especially in the context of fighting war in desert.

    Top Comment

    The exercise which is currently under way in Indian Thar is clearly provocative. If it is to distract world attention from India’s proven role in Pakistan’s destabilization, it may not wo… Read MoreHussain Saqib

    Lethality and might of Indian Army with Indian Air Force was fully on display in this exercise. Most modern equipment in the inventory of the Indian Army fired with precision in cohesion with each other with the main attraction being T-90 tanks, which are counted amongst the most technologically advanced tanks in the world. The tanks are capable of firing a variety of ammunition and missiles with sharp accuracy both by day as well as night.
    Defence spokesman Manish Ojha said that Indian Army undertakes such exercises at regular intervals at different levels to ensure forces are provided real war-like situations and are kept in high state of battle readiness. The formation and units have been undergoing operation-oriented training for past two months. Post-preparatory training manoeuvres at subordinate units and formation level, the Strike 1 is now poised to conduct integrated operational manoeuvres to validate its operational plans in simulated high tempo battlefield environment and terrain.

    Tearful adieu to Major Deswal in Jhajjar

    Chief of Army Staff, Gen Dalbir Singh, and his wife Namita Suhag console the martyr’s wife, Neeta, and father Rishiraj Deswal during the homage-paying ceremony at Palam Airport in New Delhi on Friday. Tribune photos

    Tribune News Service

    Jhajjar, April 15

    Heart-rending scenes were witnessed as the body of martyr Major Amit Deswal (31) arrived at his residence in HUDA Sector-6 here today. Major Deswal was killed in an encounter with terrorists in Manipur on Wednesday nightAmit’s mother Vedvati and wife Neeta cried, while his three-year-old son Arjun was unaware of the tragedy that had struck the family. The body was brought by an Army chopper.Wrapped in the Tricolour, the body was later taken to his native Surheti village, about 12 km from here, where his younger brother Ankit Deswal lit the pyre. A contingent of the Army reversed arms and fired a volley of shots in the air to bid farewell to the departed soul.Apart from representatives of various social and non-political organisations, former Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar, MLAs Geeta Bhukkal, Raghuvir Kadian and Naresh Kaushik, DGP KP Singh and other administrative officers paid tributes to the martyr by laying wreaths on his body.Retired Subedar Rishiraj Deswal, inconsolable father of Amit, said his son had laid down his life for the sake of the nation and he was proud of his son.Maj Amit of 21 Para SF was killed in a gun battle with ZUF militants in the densely-forested Nungba area during a combing operation undertaken by the Rashtriya Rifles and Special Forces personnel.“Amit, who was born on January 15, 1985, was so passionate about serving the nation that he had started preparations for competitive examinations after 12th class and qualified CDS examination at the age of 19 years in 2005,” said Amit’s uncle Shamsher Singh.He maintained Amit got commissioned in 2006 and his first posting was with an Artillery unit. He had secured ‘Commando Daggar’ during ‘Ghatak’ course after joining the elite Para unit in January 2011. Amit had last visited his home in Jhajjar in February to attend his brother’s marriage.

    Retd military brass find lucrative careers in growing defence sector

    VEXED ISSUE While the plan to build local capacity in defence has opened up new professions for former personnel, it has also raised questions over their conflict of interest

    NEW DELHI: The Make in India plan to build local capacity in defence has fuelled a trend of private companies hiring retired top military brass and tap their expertise to get a toehold in the arms bazaar.

    LOCKHEED MARTINUS aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has offered to manufacture its F-16 fighter jet in the country under Make in India which has generated more jobs for former military personnel.While the development has opened new and greener pastures for defence personnel it has also raised questions over conflict of interest and propriety.

    Recently, Rolta India Limited hired Lieutenant General KT Parnaik, a retired Northern Army commander, to head its defence business. To kick-start its new businesses, Reliance Defence and Aerospace (RDA) inducted a battery of retired three-star officers — Air Marshal M Matheswaran, president of aerospace business; Vice Admiral HS Malhi, group president of Reliance Defence and Engineering Ltd; Lieutenant General MS Buttar, president of land systems and Vice Admiral KN Sushil, president of submarine business.

    A senior RDA executive said the officers were hired for their operational expertise and not for liaisoning.

    Industry sources said the salaries range from `36 lakh per annum to `One crore, depending on the profile of retired officers and the companies that hire them.

    Retired officers are free to join defence companies after a year-long cooling-off period. The opinion is divided on whether this ‘break’ is sufficient to avoid a conflict-of-interest situation.

    In 2012, a Parliamentary panel suggested the coolingoff period be extended to five years to address concerns about top officials being hired by firms to influence decisions.

    Air Vice Marshal AJS Walia (retd), now the regional executive (India and South Asia) of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, argues that top officers have manned sensitive positions in service and are aware of their responsibility to avoid conflict of interest.

    “They come with decades of experience. They understand technology and how requirements change. Why should this talent be wasted on the golf course?” he said.

    But some serving officers have called for stricter checks and balances to ensure the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of propriety was not crossed. “There are pros and cons…Old contacts definitely should not be used to push business interests,” said a senior officer on the condition of anonymity.

    Industry leaders contend that preference for retired officers rests solely on their understanding of customers’ requirement. “Firms hire them to communicate to the armed forces what they are all about and what they bring to the table,” said Ashok Atluri, managing director of Zen Technologies, an indigenous firm that manufactures simulators.

    “There are many experts in the market to interpret the DPP. Retired brass only provides insights into what solutions may be liked by the customers,” said the CEO of a top defence firm, adding that the defence procurement procedure (DPP) was transparent and left no room for outsiders to influence decisions.

    Lieutenant General JS Bajwa (retd), editor of Indian Defence Review, concurs. “Gone are the days when people could influence decisions,” Bajwa added.

    Italy convicts 2 in copter scam

    New Delhi, April 8

    Two former top officials of Italian aerospace and defence group Finmeccanica have been convicted by a court in Italy for corruption in the sale of 12 VVIP choppers to India for Rs 3,727 crore.Giuseppe Orsi, former CEO of Finmeccanica, and Bruno Spagnolini, former head of AgustaWestland (a Finmeccanica subsidiary) were yesterday sentenced to over four years in prison, PTI reported.All eyes are now on the CBI, which had registered a case against 13 persons and six firms. Former Air Force Chief SP Tyagi and two Chandigarh-based firms are among those booked by for alleged bribery. — TNS

    WhatsApp encrypts all messages now: Why does it matter

    SECURITY New feature helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation

    When you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.

    NEW DELHI: WhatsApp has extended the option of communicating over the application without being eavesdropped on. The encryption feature has been developed by the messaging giant with support from Open Whisper Systems, the makers of another popular messaging app, Signal.

    This means, messages sent using the app will be end-to-end encrypted: Once a message leaves the sender’s phone, it is turned into a series of numbers and alphabets that only the intended receiver’s phone can decipher.

    So what does it do, why does it matter, and what is not encrypted?


    In a blog post, the Facebookowned company explains:

    “The idea is simple: When you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us. End-to-end encryption helps make communication via WhatsApp private – sort of like a face-to-face conversation.”

    WhatsApp further stated that “your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them. For added protection, every message you send has its own unique lock and key. All of this happens automatically: No need to turn on settings or set up special secret chats to secure your messages.”


    It should be noted that the feature is enabled by default in WhatsApp, which means that if you and your friends are on the latest version of the app, all chats will be end-to-end encrypted. Users will not have the option of switching it off. Other messaging services like Telegram offer users an opt-in feature for encrypted communication called

    ‘secret chat’.


    This might further drive a wedge between law enforcement agencies and the tech industry across the world. In the US, Apple is fighting a battle with the FBI on the issue of encryption. The federal investigative agency and other law enforcement agencies believe that stronger encryption protocols may allow criminals and terrorists to communicate with impunity. Technology companies on the other hand argue that better encryption allows them to provide better privacy and security to their users.

    According to a report on Statista, 12% of India’s population (approximately about 175 million people) is active on WhatsApp.


    A report on Livemint says that WhatsApp is not encrypting everything. Buried in the fine print of its new terms and conditions is this line: “WhatsApp may retain date and time stamp information associated with successfully delivered messages and the mobile phone numbers involved in the messages, as well as any other information which WhatsApp is legally compelled to collect.”

    Pathankot attack staged by India: Pakistan JIT

    The Pakistan Joint Investigation Team (JIT) that visited India to probe the Pathankot airbase attack has said in a report that the incident had been staged by Indian authorities, reported Pakistan Today. Calling it a “vicious propaganda” against Pakistan, the team said India did not cooperate with them. The report will be submitted to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif soon.