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    Home, Defence ministers review security, Pathankot

    Mukesh Ranjan,Tribune News Service.New Delhi, January 15
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    Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met in the national capital on Friday to discuss progress on investigations into the recent attack on an Air Force base in Pathankot, review security and analyse intelligence reports ahead of Republic Day.(Also read: Foreign secys to talk, not now)NSA Ajit Doval and secretaries of Home and Defence were also present at the meeting.”In view of the continuing threats from hostile elements from across the border, the need to further upgrade both intelligence and preventive abilities specially in terms of technology was stressed.It was decided that the security audit of all vulnerable stations, of armed forces, para-military forces and police would be carried out within a given timeframe,” official sources said.French President Francois Hollande will be chief guest at the main function for Republic Day.Intelligence reports suggest that 6–10 Jaish-e-Mohammad militants had crossed over into India through Punjab recently. Six suspected JeM terrorists were killed in the Pathankot air base after three days of fierce gun battle but sources suggest some may still be at large.Besides, according to an intelligence report by the Punjab Police, 15 militants may have crossed over into India from Pakistan.An additional 10,000 paramilitary soldiers have already been stationed at Delhi. Security has been also been steeped up at Delhi’s IGI airport after another intelligence input suggested a possible hostage situation. Both domestic and international flights have been asked to upgrade security, with some passengers even being made to undergo ‘secondary ladder checking’ in some flights, conducted while entering the aircraft.Friday’s meeting came a day after India and Pakistan deferred talks between foreign secretaries of the two countries and India gave a joint team from Pakistan permission to visit to investigate the Pathankot attack.Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag had said on Wednesday that the security environment facing the nation was becoming more “complex and dynamic” and that at least 17 militant training camps remained active in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, up from the 42 earlier. — (With inputs from PTI)


    Pak conducts raids, probe team has ISI

    Simran Sodhi,Tribune News Service,New Delhi, January 11

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    Even as India maintained its position that Foreign Secretary-level talks could not be held till Pakistan took ‘action’ against perpetrators of the Pathankot attack, the government of the neighbouring nation today took a series of steps in that direction. Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif constituted a joint investigation team (JIT) comprising officials of the Military Intelligence, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Intelligence Bureau to investigate the leads provided by India and to take action against the perpetrators. Raids were conducted in Gujranwala, Jhelum and Bahawalpur districts, leading to some arrests. With the Foreign Secretaries scheduled to meet in Islamabad on January 15, it is clear Pakistan is making an effort to redeem the dialogue process. However, sources within the government maintained that talks could not happen unless Pakistan took action. Today’s developments notwithstanding, the sources said that India wanted to see action against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) leader Masood Azhar, who is believed to have masterminded the Pathankot attack. Sources said India would be closely watching the developments over the next few days. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today went to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence and is understood to have discussed the issue. However, there was no official word on the meeting that lasted 20 minutes. It is reliably learnt that the National Security Advisers of the two countries continue to be in touch.       The meeting chaired by the Pakistan PM to form the JIT was attended by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, National Security Adviser Lt-Gen (retd) Nasser Khan Janjua, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. Sources confirmed that Army Chief Raheel Sharif had also been kept in the loop by the Nawaz Sharif government.  Meanwhile, Rajindar Sachar, Chief Justice (retd), today said the India-Pakistan talks should go ahead despite the Pathankot attack. “Pathankot must not be allowed to postpone Foreign Secretary-level meetings between India and Pakistan. The open public trust between India and Pakistan, spoken of both by Modi and Nawaz Sharif meeting at Lahore, should not be allowed to go waste, notwithstanding the provocative Pathankot incident by terrorists coming from across the border,” said Sachar.

    Pilgrims denied visa

    • In a move that is likely to further strain India-Pakistan ties, India has denied visa to 75 Pakistani pilgrims. Officials in the Pakistan High Commission here said the action was inconsistent with the vision of the leadership of both countries and against the principles of ‘Protocol on Visits to the Religious Shrines, 1974’. India maintained that the visas were denied on purely procedural grounds, and that under the protocol on visits to religious shrines, an organising committee or the local authorities were required to extend logistical support to the visa applicants. However, in this case this had not been done.

    पाक जांच टीम में आईएसआई भी

    Posted On January – 11 – 2016

    सिमरन सोढी/ ट्रिन्यू
    नयी दिल्ली, 11 जनवरी

    भारत इस रुख पर कायम है कि पठानकोट हमले की साजिश रचने वालों पर कार्रवाई के बगैर पाकिस्तान के साथ विदेश सचिव स्तर की बातचीत आगे नहीं बढ़ सकती। इसे देखते हुए सोमवार को पाकिस्तान ने इस दिशा में कुछ कदम बढ़ाये हैं।
    पाकिस्तान के प्रधानमंत्री नवाज शरीफ ने संयुक्त जांच टीम (जेआईटी) गठित करने का आदेश दिया है। इसमें इंटेलीजेंस ब्यूरो, आईएसआई और मिलिट्री इंटेलीजेंस के अधिकारी शामिल होंगे। यह टीम भारत की ओर से सौंपे गये सबूतों के आधार पर जांच करेगी।
    उधर, गुजरांवाला, झेलम और बहावलपुर जिलों में कई जगह छापे मारकर कुछ संदिग्धों को गिरफ्तार किया गया। यह स्पष्ट नहीं है कितने लोगों की गिरफ्तारी हुई है।
    विदेश सचिव स्तर की 15 जनवरी को इस्लामाबाद में प्रस्तावित बैठक से पहले पाकिस्तान इस कार्रवाई से यह संकेत दे रहा है कि वह बातचीत जारी रखने की कोशिश कर रहा है। हालांकि, नयी दिल्ली में सरकार से जुड़े सूत्रों ने कहा कि भारत का रुख स्पष्ट है कि जब तक पाकिस्तान कार्रवाई नहीं करता, बातचीत नहीं हो सकती। सूत्रों के मुताबिक भारत इस हमले की साजिश रचने वाले जैश-ए-मोहम्मद के नेता मसूद अजहर के खिलाफ कार्रवाई देखना चाहता है। वहीं, भरोसेमंद सूत्रों से पता चला है कि दोनों देशों के एनएसए एक-दूसरे के संपर्क में हैं।

    ब्लैक कॉर्नर नोटिस जारी कर सकती है इंटरपोल
    नयी दिल्ली (एजेंसी) : पठानकोट एयरबेस पर हमले के मामले में भारत अब इंटरपोल के जरिये भी पाकिस्तान पर दबाव बनाएगा। नयी दिल्ली में गृह मंत्रालय के एक वरिष्ठ अधिकारी ने बताया कि एयरबेस हमले में मारे गये आतंकियों की पहचान के लिए इंटरपोल मंगलवार को ‘ब्लैक कॉर्नर’ नोटिस जारी कर सकती है। इस नोटिस में अज्ञात मृत व्यक्तियों की पहचान से संबंधित जानकारी साझा की जाती है।

    दावा- शुरुआती जांच में फोन नंबर पाकिस्तान के नहीं
    इस्लामाबाद (एजेंसी) : पाकिस्तान के अखबार द न्यूज ने दावा किया है कि पठानकोट एयरबेस पर आतंकी हमले को लेकर पाक सरकार ने अपनी शुरुआती जांच रिपोर्ट भारत को सौंप दी है। अखबार ने सूत्रों के हवाले से कहा है भारत ने सबूत के तौर पर जो फोन नंबर सौंपे थे, वह रिपोर्ट के मुताबिक पाकिस्तान के नहीं हैं।

    सलविंदर के बयान पर शक, आज भी होगी पूछताछ
    नयी दिल्ली (ट्रिन्यू) : पठानकोट हमले को लेकर संदेह के घेरे में आए पुलिस अधीक्षक सलविंदर सिंह से राष्ट्रीय जांच एजेंसी (एनआईए) ने सोमवार को दिल्ली में गहन पूछताछ की। सूत्रों के अनुसार सलविंदर को फिलहाल क्लीन चिट नहीं मिली है। उनके बयान पर एनआईए को शक है। उनसे मंगलवार को भी पूछताछ की जाएगी। उनके रसोइये मदन गोपाल को भी तलब किया जाएगा और दोनों के बयानों में किसी तरह के विरोधाभास की पड़ताल की जाएगी। उनके रसोइये और दोस्त राजेश वर्मा से पंजाब में अलग से पूछताछ की जा रही है।


    Special forces fan out in J&K

    PATHANKOT EFFECT Nine teams of 100 commandos each ready to counter terrorist attacks as Republic Day nears

    NEW DELHI: Nine combat teams comprising India’s best fighting men have been placed at the highest alert level in Jammu and Kashmir following the Pathankot fidayeen attack and fresh intelligence inputs warning of strikes against high-value military targets ahead of Republic Day, a top army official has said.

    AP FILE PHOTOFollowing the Pathankot attack, combat teams have been placed on highest alert in Jammu and Kashmir.Scattered across terrorism hotspots in the state, three Special Forces (SF) teams are based in the Kashmir valley, two in the Jammu region and three reserve teams are stationed in Udhampur to mount a swift response to terror strikes.

    “Security measures have been tightened and response plans to military-style terror strikes have been worked out by the teams following the Pathankot attack,” Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said.

    “We have carried out a comprehensive security audit of vital installations such as airbases, ammunition dumps and key administrative facilities.”

    Each team consists of close to 100 elite commandos. The state is home to two battle-hardened commando battalions – the 4 Para (SF) and 9 Para (SF).

    Hooda said the reserve SF elements located at Udhampur could be flown out for any antiterror mission on short notice.

    “Intelligence warnings are not 100% specific but we are leaving nothing to chance,” he added.

    The Udhampur-based Northern Command is the nerve centre for counter-terrorism operations in the state where military bases and soldiers have been regularly targeted by terrorists. The security of soft targets such as schools and hospitals, tightened after the 2014 Peshawar army school massacre, has also been reviewed.

    The SF units are better trained and equipped than regular infantry battalions to respond to Pathankot-style attacks. The SF specialises in covert operations, warfare in jungles, mountains and deserts, low-intensity conflict and hostage rescue.

    The SF is armed with Israeli TAR-21 assault rifles, US-made Colt M4 carbines and a mix of Israeli Galil and Russian Dragunov sniper rifles. It was an SF unit that carried out a rare cross-border assault into Myanmar last June after 18 Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush in Manipur and the insurgents escaped to the neighbouring country. The SF units account for more than 5,000 commandos.

    India’s response to the Pathankot terror attack — the second major strike outside J&K after last year’s attack in Gurdaspur — has set off a fierce debate over whether the operations should have been assigned to the National Security Guard or should SF units have been rushed there.

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    Arms, ammunition recovered in Reasi

    Tribune News Service,Jammu, January 8

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    Security forces today recovered a rich haul of arms and ammunition from Reasi district.“Based on specific information received from reliable sources, the Rashtriya Rifles battalion at Samote and police personnel from the Chasana police station recovered a cache of arms and ammunition from a natural hideout in Kuliwala Forest in Chasana tehsil of Reasi district today,” said a Defence spokesperson.The cache included one AK-56 rifle, one 7.63 mm pistol, one 303 rifle, one sniper rifle Dragunov, five magazines of AK-56 rifle, one magazine of pistol, 75 rounds of AK-56 rifle, 55 rounds of Pika, two rounds of pistol, six rounds of sniper rifle, one grenade UBGL, one rotating bolt of AK 56 rifle, 11 fired cases of AK-56 and two fired cases of sniper rifles.The recovery of the cache had prevented any untoward incident in the area and thwarted evil designs of terrorists, he said.

     


    IAF BASE ATTACKED Drug smugglers helped cross over

    More BSF men to guard sensitive points as assessment lists gaping holes

    Ajay Banerjee,Tribune News Service,New Delhi, January 7

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    After a comprehensive assessment of the Pathankot terror attack, the  Indian security establishment has found that conduits for smuggling drugs on either side of the border were used  by terrorists to cross over to India with arms, including mortars.Most of these drug conduits on the Pakistani side are controlled by the ISI and have in the past been used to push arms and terrorists inside the Indian territory.Top sources said it was clear that the six terrorists, who attacked the Indian Air Force (IAF) base at Pathankot at 3.30 am on January 2, entered India in two groups.The group carrying bigger weapons arrived before the second group of four militants who killed taxi driver Ikagar Singh and “abducted” SP Salwinder Singh. The complicity of BS Force officials in allowing the drug carriers to pass through unfenced portions of the border and also middle-level politicians in Punjab is not ruled out. After the assessment, three key steps have been initiated. First, Punjab will get additional BSF companies to guard sensitive segments, especially the riverine stretch that is not fenced. Second, a way has been found for foolproof security in the area where the Ravi and its tributaries criss-cross  the border. Third, security on the periphery of military bases  will be strengthened. A new method will be devised for the job.After an alert was received, the first priority before Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha was to secure the assets. The MiG 21 fighter jets were moved out while the Army hiked security around missiles, ATC, ammunition and fuel dumps. Some 500 armed soldiers were stationed in Pathankot on January 1, hours before the attack. The immediate task at hand was to protect the 3,000 families inside the air base.  IG Operations of the National Security Guard (NSG) Maj Gen Dushyant Singh was made the commander of the operations in consultation with the Army.

    Finding the gaps

    • Most drug conduits on the Pakistani side are controlled by the ISI and have in the past helped push arms and terrorists into India
    • It is now clear that the six Pathankot air base attackers entered India in two groups
    • The group carrying bigger weapons arrived before the second group of four militants
    • The second group killed taxi driver Ikagar Singh and also ‘abducted’Salwinder Singh, SP

    China creates three new military units in push to modernise army

    PRESIDENT XI JINPING INAUGURATED A NEW GENERAL COMMAND UNIT FOR THE ARMY, A MISSILE FORCE AND A SUPPORT FORCE

    BEIJING: China has created three new military units and will update equipment as well as modernising its command structure as part of a major overhaul of the armed forces announced by President Xi Jinping in November, state media said on Friday.

    REUTERS FILEChina has been upgrading its military hardware, but integration of complex systems has been a major challenge.Xi’s push to reform the military coincides with China becoming more assertive in its territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas. China’s navy is investing in submarines and aircraft carriers and its air force is developing stealth fighters.

    At a ceremony on Thursday, Xi inaugurated a new general command unit for the army, a missile force and a strategic support force for People’s Liberation Army (PLA), state news agency Xinhua said.

    State television showed Xi handing over a large red flag to Li Zuocheng, the new head of the land command force. Li was previously commander of the key Chengdu military region, which includes restless and strategically vital Tibet.

    The missile force is taking over from the Second Artillery Corps to control the country’s nuclear arsenal but keeping the same commander, Wei Fenghe.

    Xi urged the new unit to “enhance nuclear deterrence and counter-strike capacity, mediumand long-range precision strike ability, as well as strategic checkand-balance capacity to build a strong and modern Rocket Force”.

    His reforms include establishing a joint operational command structure by 2020 and rejigging existing military regions, as well as cutting troop numbers by 300,000, a surprise announcement he made in September.

    In a separate report listing the powerful Central Military Commission’s recommendations on the reform process, Xinhua said the troop cuts will focus on non-combat personnel.

    China has been moving rapidly to upgrade its military hardware, but integration of complex systems across a regionalised command structure has been a major challenge.

    Xi has also made rooting out deeply entrenched corruption in the military a top priority, and dozens of senior officers have been investigated and jailed.


    Awareness workshop for ex-servicemen

    Our Correspondent.Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 31

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    Artists showcase an episode from the play ‘The Last Maharaja of Punjab’ at Bassian Kothi on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

    To spread awareness about welfare schemes for ex-servicemen and their families, the Defense Services Welfare Department organised an awareness workshop at Malaudh village near here today.Director Defence Services Welfare, Punjab, Brigadier Jatinder Singh Arora presided over the function.Officers of the department led by Brigadier Arora called upon members of families of the ex-servicemen to be associated with armed forces which besides providing dignified lifestyle to them, will also give rare opportunity to serve the nation.While interacting with the ex-servicemen, widows, veer naaris of the area, Brigadier Arora told about various state and Central government welfare schemes and steps taken by the state government to hike monetary benefits for the fraternity.C-PYTE, Maharaja Ranjit Singh Armed Forces Preparatory Institute and Mai Bhaago Armed Forces Institute for Girls were cited among the organisations working for educating wards and members of families of the ex-servicemen. He listened to the grievances of the fraternity and assured them speedy action.


    New book reveals how Indian Army took enemy by surprise in Kargil

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    NEW DELHI: It was the speed and spontaneity with which the Indian Army launched its attacks that took the enemy by surprise, leading to their victory in the 1999 Kargil war, says Lieutenant General Mohinder Puri. He headed the 8 Mountain Division.

    Gripping accounts of valour and fortitude from the battle front of the war between India and Pakistan have been recollected in a new book penned by Puri.

    The book titled ‘Kargil: Turning the Tide’, which was launched here on Monday evening, is a first-hand narrative of the operations of 8 Mountain Division, which was tasked to evict the enemy from the Drass-Mushkoh Sector during ‘Operation Vijay’.

    “We surprised the enemy with the speed and ferocity of our movement. It was the speed with which we conducted the operations and took them totally by surprise, this was one of the reasons why we succeeded in evicting the enemy,” he said.

    Recounting one such incident, the then Major-General Puri said how after several failed attempts to capture the pivotal Tololing peak, he had asked his men to attack again the next evening, but by the time he reached his headquarters, India had already conquered the strategic feature.

    The Tololing, a dominant position overlooking Srinagar- Leh Highway (NH-1D), was so strategic that after it was conquered it was only a matter of six days for Indian troops to notch up a string of successes by evicting well-entrenched intruders in four nearby outposts.

    He said, Colonel MB Ravindranath, Commanding Officer of the 2 Rajputana Rifles, radioed him, camping some 20-km away and said in a terse message, “Sir, I’m on Tololing top.”

    “After I was informed that we have not been able to capture Tololing, I just asked them to consolidate and in the evening I said, ‘have a go.’ By the time I reached the headquarters, I was told that we have captured Tololing.I spoke to Ravi and when I asked him what had happened he said he just saw a window of opportunity and there he launched the attack and captured the feature which was until then with the enemy,” Puri said.
    Puri’s division was responsible for spearheading the Army’s offensive in the Kargil sector which restored the sanctity of the Line of Control by capturing Tololing, Tiger Hill and Point 4875.General (retd) VP Malik, who himself has authored a book titled “Kargil – From Surprise To Victory” in 2006 on the same subject inaugurated the event at Manekshaw Centre here.

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • It was the speed and spontaneity with which Army launched its attacks that took the enemy by surprise, leading to their victory in the 1999 Kargil war, reveals a new book by General Mohinder Puri.

    • His book titled ‘Kargil: Turning the Tide’ is a first-hand narrative of the operations of 8 Mountain Division

     

     

    “Lots of books have been written about the Kargil War and most of them are hearsay. There are only two authentic books I can mention, one is General Puri’s and I will take credit for the second one.

    “While I have dealt with the war at a macro level, General Puri’s book talks about the several battles fought. After all, there is no war without these battles,” Malik said.


    India wary as China promises more fuel to Nepal

    Simran Sodhi,Tribune News Service,New Delhi, December 29

    In yet another development that should worry India, China has decided to provide Nepal with additional 1.4 million litre fuel. The decision comes in the backdrop of the continuing blockade in Nepal which has brought the Himalayan kingdom to a state of humanitarian crisis.The decision was disclosed to the media in Kathmandu today by Kamal Thapa, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Nepal, who returned home after a week-long visit to China.While the Madhesis have blocked entry points on the Indo-Nepal border for the last four months, Nepal has turned to China to look for an additional supplier of fuel. “The Chinese government has agreed to provide 1.4 million litres of fuel worth 10 million yuan to Nepal as a grant,” Thapa said in Kathmandu today.In October, Nepal signed its first-ever fuel agreement with China for the import of petroleum products. China had then provided Nepal with 1.3 million litres of fuel, giving India the first jitters. India seems to have dug itself into a hole on the Nepal issue. By publicly demanding time and again that Nepal amend its Constitution and give more rights to the Madhesis, India has lost much goodwill in Nepal and also forced its neighbour to look to China.Despite the recent commitment made by Nepal, which was welcomed by India, that it would amend its Constitution to adjust the demands of the Madhesis, the blockade has continued. While India has denied it is behind this “unofficial blockade”, many in Nepal have publicly accused India of it.