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    Flaws put lives of soldiers at risk, says army report

    SECURING FORCES Study talks of at least 50 gaps, points out proper fuel storage could have lowered toll in the 2016 Uri terror attack that claimed 19 lives

    NEW DELHI: At a time when military is increasingly coming under attack in Jammu and Kashmir, an army report has pointed out at least 50 gaps — ranging from body armour, night-vision gear to flawed fuel storage — that pose a threat to soldiers’ lives.

    AP PHOTOA soldier takes position outside a General Reserve Engineering Force camp in Akhnoor sector, near Jammu, on Monday.

    If the army doesn’t make fuel storage safer at its forward bases, it could risk the lives of thousands of soldiers.

    Militant strikes can cause greater damage not because of their sophistication but because tens of thousands of litres of fuel is being stored in make-shift shelters, says the document.

    “The enormity of the problem can be gauged from the aftermath of the recent terrorist action on the FOL (fuel, oil and lubricants) dump at Uri,” says the report on Future Core Technologies and Problem Statements.

    Nineteen soldiers were killed when suspected Pakistani militants struck at an army base in Uri in September. Fourteen of the troops were burnt alive as their tents were pitched next to a fuel dump. The attack, one of the worst against the army in the border state, forced a rethink on fuel storage. The army design bureau (ADB), inaugurated last August, has identified FOL storage in forward bases as one of the 50 problems that need to be resolved swiftly. An initiative of the Modi government, the ADB has been tasked with promoting research and development and act as a bridge between the force and the private sector to meet the army’s requirements. The ADB has stressed on the need for smart vests for soldiers with built-in codes for identification, sniper scopes to engage targets with greater precision and robots to carry equipment in high-altitude areas, including Siachen glacier. The document, published by the CII, says “vintage barrels and jerrycans” used for storage and transportation of fuel are vulnerable, increasing the “scope for collateral damage”. Make-shift fuel storage facilities are susceptible to enemy shelling and fire hazards, too.

    The army has sought the help of academia and the industry to develop alternative mechanisms for storage.

     

    BSF jawan at LoC alleges bad quality food; inquiry ordered

    BSF jawan at LoC alleges bad quality food; inquiry ordered
    Photo courtesy: Tez Bahadur Yadav’s Facebook account.

    New Delhi, January 9A BSF jawan, deployed along the Indo-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir, has alleged that troops are served bad quality food and even have to go “empty stomach” at times, prompting the border guarding force to initiate an inquiry.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)In videos uploaded on social media platforms, the jawan, wearing camouflage uniform and carrying a rifle, claimed that while government procures essentials for them, the high-ups and officers “sell it off” in an “illegal” manner in the market.In at least three different videos clocking over 4 minutes released online, constable T B Yadav (40) of BSF’s 29th battalion also goes on to show the food that is allegedly being served to him.(Video courtesy: Tez Bahadur Yadav’s Facebook account) 

    “We only get a ‘parantha’ and tea as breakfast and this is without any pickle or vegetables… we slog for 11 hours and at times we have to stand throughout the duty hours. For lunch, we get ‘dal’ (pulses) which only has ‘haldi’ (turmeric) and salt… with roti. This is the quality of the food we get… how can a jawan do his duty?”I request the Prime Minister to get this probed… no one shows our plight,” Yadav alleged.

    He said he “may not be here” hinting action might be taken against him and urged people to take the issue forward so that corrective action is taken.He further alleged that at times jawans have to go to sleep “empty stomach”.

    The Border Security Force took cognisance of the video and tweeted from its official handle that an inquiry has been ordered.”BSF is highly sensitive to the welfare of tps(troops). Individual aberrations, if any, are enquired into. A senior officer has already rchd (reached) the location,” the force tweeted after tagging the video.

    A senior BSF official said Yadav is currently deployed along the Line of Control in J&K and the BSF jawans here work under the operational command of the army which also provides for “food and other logistics of the jawans”.It has also been found, the official said, that Yadav has been given four major punishments in the past and has been issued reprimands for alleged violation of discipline.”However, the force has already ordered for a full investigation into the allegations made by Yadav who joined the force in 1996,” the official said, adding the jawan has also applied for voluntary retirement. — PTI

     

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    PoW’s family urges voters to boycott poll

    Balwant Garg

    Tribune News Service

    Faridkot, January 5

    The family members of a prisoner of war (PoW) have started a signature campaign to persuade the people to boycott the elections in this area.Annoyed with the elected MLAs and MPs for not pursuing the repatriation of Surjit Singh, a BSF seopy languishing in a Pakistani jail for the last 45 years, his family members said they wanted to tell the people that the political leaders were not serious about the lives of those who defend the country.Surjit Singh had gone missing in the 1971 Indo-Pak war. In the first week of April 2011, when some prisoners were released from Pakistan after 27 years in jail , the wife and son of Surjit Singh had came to know about his whereabouts.Amrik Singh, son of Surjit Singh, said for the last five years, the External Affairs Ministry was making just promises of getting his father released. But there was never any concrete and plausible effort at any level.“Fed up with empty promises, we have decided to launch a campaign to persuade people not to give vote to any candidate,” he added.


    Will not hesitate to use force, asserts Army chief Gen Rawat

    Will not hesitate to use force, asserts Army chief Gen Rawat
    General Bipin Rawat addresses the media. Tribune photo

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, January 1

    Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Sunday sent out a strong message saying India wanted peace and tranquillity at the borders, but if needed, they would not hesitate to use force.General Rawat was talking to the media after inspecting a guard of honour at the South Block here. He had taken over as chief on Saturday and this was his first ceremonial guard of honour.

    (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

    Gen Rawat said, “We want peace and tranquillity at the border but the target of peace does not mean we are weak. If need be, we will not hesitate to use force.”India shares a 3,323 km boundary with Pakistan, including a 749 km Line of Control (LoC). The Indian Army lost 63 soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016 and there have been 225 violations of ceasefire by Pakistan across the LoC.On being asked about his priorities, he said, “There will be no change in vision and thrust areas of the army. It has been arrived at after due deliberations.”Earlier in his remarks, Gen Rawat said, “I am aware of the roles and tasks assigned to the army. This will include maintaining security at the borders.”On being asked about the fact that two of his seniors, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Lt Gen PM Hariz, had been superseded, Gen Rawat said, “It’s a decision of the government. I respect the superseded officers. I hope we continue to work together to strengthen the Army.”Gen Rawat also sent across a message to all ranks of the army saying every soldier counted. “Everyone counts and is equal in my eyes,” he said in a possible effort to end the social media comments about promotion of Infantry over the Armoured Corps.


    India needs a chief of defence staff, but don’t ape the west, says Lt Gen Shekatkar’s report

    The chief of defence staff will be a single-point military advisor to the defence ministers on military matters.

    Lt General Shekatkar

    LT General (retd) DB Shekatkar, Chairman of Committee on Combat Capabilities Enhancement of Armed Forces has said, “India needs a chief of defence staff but his role, responsibilities and accountability have to be defined as per Indian requirements and Ministry of Defence should not directly adopt a western model.”

    The general has just submitted his report to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who recently said a decision on appointment of CDS will be taken after studying the Shekatkar committee report.

    The 11-member committee has submitted a 550-page report to the Ministry of Defence. “Its contents are classified but on principle I can tell you a CDS is long overdue. We should not adopt a western model but keeping in mind the Indian environment appoint a CDS,” Shekatkar said speaking

    WHO IS CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF?

    Parrikar had in May 2016 set up a committee to work on enhancement of combat capabilities of the Indian armed forces. “There is need for integration of forces at two levels. One within the three services and the other with the ministry of defence. CDS should not be symbolic and the integration should not be cosmetic,” he added.

    Also read: Why Indian Army Special Forces are way behind US Navy SEALs or Israel’s IDF despite upgrade  

    Also read: We have tight military relations with India, says Russian minister countering Pakistan bonhomie

    The CDS will be a single-point military advisor to the defence ministers on military matters. He should have authority over the three chiefs but the chiefs are over all responsible for the functioning of the three forces. Keeping in mind future warfare enhancement of combat capabilities formation of a cyber space command and special forces command are included.

    There is likely to be a major debate on need to reorganise the armed forces to make them combat-ready for future wars. A section within the security establishment is of the opinion that hybrid wars, with the adversary using terror as a weapon is a bigger and immediate threat, more than conventional war in the near future. The elaborate report running into 550 pages is being studied by Parrikar and delves deep into aspects like joint planning, training and higher defence management.

    Also read: Home Ministry agrees to grant status of battle casualty to paramilitary personnel 

    Also read: Why Nagrota attack is a slap on security array of army establishments

    WHAT DOES THE REPORT LOOK LIKE

    The report looks into future requirements of the armed forces in terms of the operations to be undertaken. Despite joint training at the level of NDA initially, Defence Services Staff College at the level of majors and National Defence College at the level of Brigadiers, jointness in planning is missing in the armed forces.

    “Instead of different army, navy and air force war colleges – there should be an integrated war college for joint planning of operations. This can be at the level of commanding officers.”


    Obama signs defence bill; boosts security cooperation with India

    Obama signs defence bill; boosts security cooperation with India
    Barack Obama is currently vacationing in Hawaii. Reuters file

    Washington, December 24

    US President Barack Obama has signed into law the USD 618 billion defence budget for 2017, which enhances security cooperation with India and conditions nearly half of the funding to Pakistan on a certification that it is taking demonstrable steps against the Haqqani Network.Currently vacationing in Hawaii, Obama on Friday signed the National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA) 2017, which asks Defence Secretary and Secretary of State to take steps necessary to recognise India as America’s “major defence partner”.

    (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)

    A summary of the bill released by Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Senator John McCain said NDAA-2017 “enhances security cooperation” between the US and India.It also asks the administration to designate an individual within the executive branch who has experience in defence acquisition and technology to reinforce and ensure, through inter-agency policy coordination, the success of the Framework for the US-India Defence Relationship; and to help resolve remaining issues impeding US-India defence trade, security cooperation, and co-production and co-development opportunities.The NDAA, which among other things, creates a USD 1.2 billion Counter-ISIL Fund, imposes four conditions on Pakistan to be eligible for USD 400 million of the USD 900 million of the coalition support fund (CSF).The US Defence Secretary needs to certify to the Congress that Pakistan continues to conduct military operations that are contributing to significantly disrupting the safe haven and freedom of movement of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan and that Islamabad has taken steps to demonstrate its commitment to prevent the Haqqani Network from using any of its territory as a safe haven.Early this year, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter refused to give a similar certification to Pakistan due to which it was not given USD 300 million under coalition support fund.In his signing statement, Obama did not mention to any of these provisions of the bill, but he did express disappointment over certain other provisions in NDAA-2017.He said: “I remain deeply concerned about the Congress’s use of the National Defence Authorisation Act to impose extensive organisational changes on the Department of Defence, disregarding the advice of the Department’s senior civilian and uniformed leaders.“The extensive changes in the bill are rushed, the consequences poorly understood, and they come at a particularly inappropriate time as we undertake a transition between administrations. These changes not only impose additional administrative burdens on the Department of Defence and make it less agile, but they also create additional bureaucracies and operational restrictions that generate inefficiencies at a time when we need to be more efficient.” PTI


    India, Bangladesh recollect 1971 war

    India, Bangladesh recollect 1971 war
    Army men carry in a wheelchair Balaminda Ekka, widow of PVC awardee Albert Ekka, at a Vijay Diwas function in Kolkata. PTI

    New Delhi, December 16

    India and Bangladesh today recollected the creation of Bangladesh and the decisive victory of the Indian armed forces over Pakistan 45 years ago. On December 16, 1971, 93,000 Pakistan troops under Lt Gen AAK Niazi had surrendered to the Indian Army.The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library along with the India Foundation organised a seminar on the “1971 India-Pakistan war — Liberation of Bangladesh”. A special pictorial exhibition and seminar was opened to showcase key elements of the war.Gen VK Singh (retd) and Mofazzal Hussain Choudhury, who participated in the war in different capacities, shared the stage. Gen Singh fought the war as a young officer of the Indian Army, while Choudhury was part of the Mukti Bahini — a pro-independence militia in East Pakistan.In the audience sat greying veterans of the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. President Pranab Mukherjee, in a recorded message, hailed the relations between India and Bangladesh. He lauded the “able and mature leadership of Sheikh Bangabandhu (Mujibur) Rahman”, describing him as the father of Bangladesh. — TNS

    VK Singh compares Pak army with Nazis

    • Making a strong statement against India’s arch enemy, Gen VK Singh equated the atrocities committed by Pakistan forces in Bangladesh, then East Pakistan, in 1971 with those of Nazi forces. “The type of atrocities which went on in Bangladesh (before liberation) is something the world has probably forgotten,” said General Singh. The Army had played a key role in the training of Mukti Bahini.

    China deploys weapons in S China Sea islands

    BEIJING : China has positioned anti-aircraft guns and advanced weapons systems on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea (SCS), an US thinktank has said after releasing new satellite pictures. It also said Beijing has further fortified ongoing constructions in the region.

    REUTERSA satellite image shows what CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative says appear to be anti­aircraft guns.

    The images taken in November show “significant point-defence capabilities, in the form of large anti-aircraft guns and probable close-in weapons systems (CIWS), at each of its outposts in the Spratly Islands ,” the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), part of the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) said.

    But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Thursday the deployment had “nothing to do with militarisation”. “To conduct construction on China’s own territory and deploy necessary national defence facilities is quite normal,” he said.

    The new images revealed new construction on Fiery Cross, Subi and Mischief reefs on the Spratly islands, known as Nansha in China.

    The islands and reefs are also claimed by Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan.

    “AMTI began tracking the construction of identical, hexagon-shaped structures at Fiery Cross, Mischief, and Subi Reefs in June and July. It now seems that these structures are an evolution of point-defence fortifications already constructed at China’s smaller facilities on Gaven, Hughes, Johnson, and Cuarteron Reefs,” AMTI said.

    “China has built nearly identical headquarters buildings at each of its four smaller artificial islands. The two smallest of the islets, Hughes and Gaven Reefs, feature four arms built off of these central structures.” (With inputs from agencie


    SC upholds Air Force’s refusal to permit 2 personnel to sport beard

    SC upholds Air Force's refusal to permit 2 personnel to sport beard
    SC bench dismisses the pleas filed by two Muslim personnel of IAF. — File photo

    Legal Correspondent

    New Delhi, December 15

    The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld Air Force’s denial of permission to two Muslim personnel to grow beard, holding that the two orders were in compliance with Regulation 425(b) which applied only to “personnel whose religion prohibits the cutting off the hair or shaving off the face of its members”.

    (Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)The petitioners failed to show that they were entitled to exemption under the relevant regulation, a bench comprising Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices DY Chandrachud and LN Rao ruled.

    The policy letter of May 8, 1980 did initially permit an airman professing Islam to sport a beard of a prescribed length. This was revisited by the Air Headquarters on August 10, 1982 and a distinction was made between the cases of Muslim personnel who had already sported a beard at the time of joining service (in whose case no permission was required) and cases where personnel desire to sport a beard after joining service (in which case a formal application informing the Commanding Officer was required to be submitted).

    The policy was again revisited on February 24, 2003. This time a limited protection was granted for those who had a beard prior to January 1, 2002 at the time of enrolment but the policy also stated that no person would after joining service be allowed to maintain a beard.

    This position was clarified on June 9, 2003 by stating that personnel whose religion demands sporting a beard, would be allowed to do so provided they were granted permission prior to the date of the letter or had grown a beard at the time joining Air Force.

    The apex court ruling came on appeals by Mohammad Zubair and Ansari Aaftab Ahmed.


    AgustaWestland scam: Tyagi’s arrest unfortunate, dents our reputation, says IAF Chief

    Arup RahaPTI

     KOLKATA: Air Chief Arup Raha today described the arrest of former IAF chief S P Tyagi as “unfortunate”, and said that it has “dented” the force’s reputation.

    “Very unfortunate that such an episode has taken place. It does dent our reputation as a professional force.  But we believe in the rule of law,” Raha told reporters at a function at the city airport.

    “I am sure every Indian citizen believes in rule of law and the due process is on,” he said , adding “whatever is the final verdict we will go by that”.

    He refused to speak further on the issue, saying the matter is sub-judice.

    In a sudden and first-of-its-kind action, CBI yesterday arrested Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev, and lawyer Gautam Khaitan in the sensational Rs 450 crore Agusta Westland bribery case in the procurement of 12 VVIP helicopters.

    71-year old Tyagi, who retired in 2007, was called for questioning at CBI Headquarters along with his cousin and Khaitan, who were taken into custody after nearly four hours of grilling, CBI sources said.

    These are the first arrests in the case by CBI, three years after it registered a FIR in 2013 to probe the allegations in the aftermath of the details of the scam emerged in Italy where the prosecutors levelled allegations of corruption in the deal against the chief of Finmeccanica, the parent company of Agusta Westland.

    TNS & agencies

    Tyagi: PMO part of Agusta move

    Former IAF chief in 4-day CBI custody

    New Delhi, December 10   A Delhi court today sent former Indian Air Force chief SP Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi and Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Khetan to four days’ CBI custody till December 14 for questioning on the AgustaWestland deal to unearth the “very large conspiracy with international ramifications”.Metropolitan Magistrate Sujit Saurabh said their custodial interrogation was required for a “fair probe”,  even as he put aside the CBI’s submission for a 10-day remand. Senior advocate N Hariharan argued that the FIR in the case was registered over three years ago and that there was no fresh ground for the arrests now.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)He claimed the decision to procure 12 VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” one and the Prime Minister Office (PMO) was also a part of it. The deal to supply 12 VVIP helicopters came under the scanner after the Italian authorities alleged that bribe had been paid by AgustaWestland to clinch the deal. Tyagi, who retired in 2007, has been accused of influencing the deal in favour of the company.The CBI said crucial information had been collected from Italy, Switzerland and Mauritius and the accused were required to be confronted with the information to “unearth the larger conspiracy”. Telling the court that regular meetings had taken place between senior officials of AgustaWestland and Tyagi with Sanjeev Tyagi’s help, the CBI alleged that a conspiracy was hatched to reduce the service ceiling of the copters after which AgustaWestland became eligible to supply a dozen helicopters for VVIPs. The CBI told the court that in 1999, the government decided to phase out old helicopters as these were not fit for high-altitude areas, and the Defence Ministry in 2002 issued global tenders for  new VVIP helicopters in which 11 companies participated. AgustaWestland could not meet the eligibility criteria.“Therefore, a conspiracy was hatched to help AgustaWestland win the contract by making changes in operational requirements,” the CBI said.

    Ex-IAF chief sent to 4-day CBI custody in VVIP chopper scam

    TYAGI’S COUNSEL SAYS THE PROCUREMENT OF CHOPPERS WAS A ‘COLLECTIVE’ DECISION IN WHICH FORMER PM’S OFFICE WAS INVOLVED

    From page 01 NEW DELHI: Former air force chief SP Tyagi, arrested in the nearly `4,000-crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam, was remanded in four days’ CBI custody along with two others on Saturday.

    HT FILEThe CBI told court that SP Tyagi had made huge investments in land and other properties without disclosing source of income.

    The CBI has sought 10-day custody of the accused because it believed their interrogation was essential to unearth a “very large conspiracy with international ramifications”. The others arrested with Tyagi in the case pertaining to the procurement of 12 VVIP choppers from the UK-based firm are his cousin, Sanjeev, and advocate Gautam Khaitan.

    During proceedings at a Delhi court, Tyagi’s counsel N Hariharan said the procurement of VVIP choppers from AgustaWestland was a “collective” decision in which the erstwhile Prime Minister’s Office also played a part. “The file moved through several levels, but (my client is) the only one who has been arrayed as the accused,” he added.

    The CBI had arrested Tyagi on corruption charges during the course of its probe into the `3,767-crore AgustaWestland helicopter deal on December 9. He is the first military chief to be arrested in India’s history.

    Incumbent air force chief Arup Raha described Tyagi’s arrest as “unfortunate”, and said it had “dented” its reputation. “But we believe in the rule of law,” he added.

    The CBI told the court that Tyagi had “abused his official position” when he was the air chief marshal, and made huge investments in land and other properties without disclosing his source of income. To this, Tyagi said he could give an account of all his land investments.

    The counsel appearing for the other two accused also opposed the CBI’s remand plea on the grounds that the FIR was lodged over three years ago, and there were no fresh grounds to arrest them at this stage. The probe agency, however, alleged that Khaitan was the brains behind the transfer of bribe money to India, and Sanjeev was known to alleged European middleman Carlo Gerosa.

    After hearing them out, the magistrate said: “Given the seriousness of the allegations and the gravity of the matter, I am of the considered opinion that CBI custody is required for a fair probe”. (With PTI inputs)

    VVIP Chopper scam: CBI to produce Former IAF Chief SP Tyagi before court

    The deal is related to purchase of 12 helicopters for VVIPs from Italian manufacturer, Finmeccanica in 2010 during UPA-2 government’s rule.

    I | New Delhi | Published:December 11, 2016 4:55 am

    CBI, SP Tyagi, former Indian Air Force, SP Tyagi arrested, AgustaWestland, VVIP helicopter deal, India news, Indian ExpressFormer Air Force Chief S P Tyagi. (File)

    The CBI will produce before the court today former Air Force Chief S P Tyagi and seek his remand after he was arrested yesterday in the Agusta Westland helicopter deal case. Delhi based lawyer Gautam Khaitan and another person namely Sanjeev Tyagi were also arrested in the case.

    The deal is related to purchase of 12 helicopters for VVIPs from Italian manufacturer, Finmeccanica in 2010 during UPA-2 government’s rule. 71-year old Tyagi, who retired in 2007, was called for questioning at CBI Headquarters along with Khaitan and Sanjeev Tyagi.

    These are the first arrests in the case by CBI which came three years after it registered an FIR in 2013. CBI spokesperson Devpreet Singh in a statement last evening, said, “It was alleged that Chief of Air Staff entered into criminal conspiracy with other accused persons. She said in 2005, Air Force Chief conceded to change IAF’s consistent stand and reduced service ceiling of VVIP Helicopters to 4500 meters.”

    She said such changes in Operational Requirements made the private company based at the UK (AgustaWestland), eligble to participate in the Request for Proposal for VVIP Helicopters.

    Singh said the arrested accused persons will be produced before the competent court tomorrow where their remand would be sought