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    Switzerland backs India’s NSG bid; to help tackle black money

    Switzerland backs India’s NSG bid; to help tackle black money
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands Switzerland’s President Johann Schneider-Ammann before a meeting in Geneva on Monday. PTI

    Geneva, June 6

    India on Monday got the backing of Switzerland in its bid to become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group ahead of the elite group’s crucial meeting even as the two countries resolved to strengthen cooperation in combating tax evasion and black money.Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann announced his country’s support to India’s membership in the 48-member group after holding comprehensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.Agreeing to expand cooperation in tackling the problem of Indians stashing black money in Swiss banks was one of the key focus areas of the talks between the two leaders besides stepping up ties in areas of trade, investment and vocational training.“We have promised India support in its efforts to become a member of NSG,” Schneider-Ammann said at a joint media interaction.India has been pushing for membership of the bloc for the last few years and had formally moved its application on May 12. The group will take up India’s application in its plenary meetings on June 9 in Vienna and June 24 in Seoul.“I am thankful to the President for Switzerland’s understanding and support for India’s membership of the NSG,” Modi said.The NSG looks after critical issues relating to the nuclear sector and its membership will help India expand its atomic energy sector. Modi also said combating the menace of black money and tax evasion was “shared priority” for both the countries.“We discussed the need for an early and expeditious exchange of information to bring to justice the tax offenders. An early start to negotiations on the agreement on the automatic exchange of information would be important in this respect,” Modi said.On his part, the Swiss President said both the countries are making considerable progress in fighting tax fraud and evasion.

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    For a lion-hearted commander

    General KJ Singh and his team deserve credit for their vision and hard work resulting in the excellence of the Western Command museum

    From page 1 What does one call the only man awarded both the Maha Vir Chakra and the Kirti Chakra, the second highest awards for gallantry in wartime and peace, respectively? An officer who was wounded leading his troops into battle as a brigadier. Surely, a lion among soldiers! Joginder Singh Gharaya, commissioned in 1946, was transferred during Partition from the Frontier Force Regiment to 1st Bihar. When his company was fired upon by Razakars (anti-India

    militiamen) during the Hyderabad Police Action in September 1948, he immediately engaged them killing over a dozen, forcing them to retreat. When the Razakars deployed to make a stand, Gharaya charged them with just a section and overwhelmed them. His leadership, courage and initiative were recognised with the award of the Kirti Chakra. November 197 saw him in command of 42 Brigade of 9 Division tasked with liberating South-western Bangladesh. 14 Punjab and a squadron of 45 Cavalry from his formation captured the Boyra salient and successfully defended it against four counter-attacks by the enemy’s 107 Brigade. Fourteen Chaffee tanks were destroyed or captured. His superb tactical handling and inspiring presence in the frontline contributed largely to securing a lodgement for the planned offensive. On December 6, he personally led the attack towards Jessore and was wounded by artillery fire at the head of his troops, refusing to be evacuated till he had seen the operation through. Gharaya’s valour and exemplary leadership led to the award of the Maha Vir Chakra. He later commanded 9 and 7 Divisions. Rising to three-star rank, he retired as Director-General, Infantry in 1984. Humble and unassuming, the general always kept the welfare of his troops paramount. His career is an inspiring example for all times to come.

    GO MAYO!

    At Mayo College, Ajmer in the early 70s Sunil Lanba excelled in studies and sports with his leadership qualities honed by the National Cadet Corps (NCC). Joining the NDA, he became a naval navigation and direction specialist.

    Steadily moving up the ladder, he took over as the head of the Navy this week. It was third time lucky for his Alma Mater. In 1948, General Nathu Singh (Class of 1921) turned down the CinC’s job in favour of his senior, General KM Cariappa. General Aditya Singh (Class of 1963) retired the same day as the outgoing Chief in 2007 missing out on succeeding him. WESTERN COMMAND MUSEUM

    Army Commander General KJ Singh’s visualisation and drive were very discernible at the unveiling of the Western Command Museum. Particularly impressive was the energy shown by him and his team in replicating the mobile headquarters based on a special train from where the command oversaw operations to keep the peace during Partition and later defend J&K. Certainly worth a visit. 8 SIKH TO CELEBRATE TIGER HILL DAY

    During the Kargil War, 8 Sikh remained in contact with the enemy for over a month, provided the firm base for the attack on Tiger Hill and with their famous stand at India Gate, beat-off three determined counter-attacks. Victory effectively ended the campaign. After a number of years in field areas, the battalion will celebrate its battle honour day from July 5-7 at Chandimandir, where it serves as part of the Pine Tree Division. Meanwhile, the men of the Charh di Kala unit continue to train hard for their role; the defence of a vital stretch of the western border.

    Please write in with your narratives of war and soldiering to msbajwa@gmail.com or call on

    • MANDEEP SINGH BAJWA The lion and his kill… Brigadier JS Gharaya pictured on top of a Chaffee tank of Pakistani 3 (Independent) Armoured Squadron captured by 45 Cavalry and 14 Punjab in the Battle of Garibpur in November 1971.
    • gmail.com or call on 093161-35343

    Army gives Clement Town a facelift

    Tribune News Service

    Dehradun, May 31

    In the past couple of days, a number of projects have been undertaken by the Golden Key Division to enhance the aesthetic appeal of Clement Town Cantonment.The Golden Key Lake, located in general area of Turner Road, is a major attraction in the area, frequented by civilians and veterans alike. It has been provided a major facelift, including putting up of motivational boards, improvement of and lighting of fountains and provision of animal topiaries, besides a cleanliness drive in and around the lake. A number of solar lights along the walking plaza have been repaired. The park has been improved substantially, including painting and repair of gym equipment and swings.A sculptured monument, comprising of four soldiers signifying the indomitable spirit of the Indian Army, has been recently dedicated to all ranks by the General Officer Commanding, Golden Key Division.The inauguration of the Golden Key Monument in the 51st year of the Division is also a tribute to the soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in the defence of the motherland.


    Army Public School holds alumni meet

    Army Public School holds alumni meet
    IMA cadets at the alumni meet in Clement Town in Dehradun on Monday. Tribune photo

    Tribune News Service

    Dehradun, May 30

    An alumni meet was held at Vivekanand Hall by Army Public School, Clement Town, here today. The event was attended by 56 Gentlemen Cadets from the Indian Military Academy (IMA). They were welcomed by school principal Geetanjali Kachari, vice-principal Dr Tripty Pandey and the student council.The school choir enthralled the audience with their melodious presentation of “My Wish For You”, followed by a dance performance.A Powerpoint presentation took the Gentlemen Cadets down the memory lane and made them nostalgic about their days at the alma mater.Gentlemen Cadet Manoj Singh Birdi and SS Salaria shared their experiences. They inspired the young students to join the Indian Armed Forces as it not only gave job security but also provided a platform to serve the motherland.The head boy of the school thanked the Gentlemen Cadets and wished them success in the coming years.To treasure the memories of the day, a group photograph was taken. The event was followed by tea where the Gentlemen Cadets interacted with the students and were further able to inspire them.


    Pak can target Delhi from Kahuta in five minutes, says AQ Khan

    Pak can target Delhi from Kahuta in five minutes, says AQ Khan
    Abdul Qadeer Khan. — AP/PTI file

    Islamabad, May 29

    The father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme Abdul Qadeer Khan has said the country has the ability to target Indian capital Delhi from Kahuta near Rawalpindi in five minutes.“Pakistan could have become a nuclear power as early as 1984 but the then President General Zia ul Haq opposed the move,” Khan said while addressing a gathering on Saturday to mark the anniversary of first nuclear tests, which were carried out under his supervision in 1998.

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

    “We were able and we had a plan to launch nuclear test in 1984. But President General Zia ul Haq had opposed the move,” said Khan.He said General Zia, who ruled Pakistan from 1979 to 1988, opposed the nuclear testing as he believed that the world would intervene militarily.Khan was disgraced in 2004 when he was forced to accept responsibility for proliferation and live a life of semi house arrest.He regretted the treatment and said Pakistan would never have achieved the feat of becoming first Muslim nuclear country without his “services”.”We are facing the worst against our services to the country’s nuclear program,” he said referring to the humiliation he suffered. — PTI


    Soon, soldiers may not have to serve as sahayaks in army

    EMPLOYMENT OF SOLDIERS AS SAHAYAKS HAS BEEN CRITICISED ON GROUNDS THAT IT LOWERS THEIR DIGNITY AND SELF-RESPECT

    NEW DELHI: The army seems all set to sweep its sahayak system into the past, a step that will put an end to the practice of combatants serving as man Fridays to officers.

    A senior officer said a plan to recruit service assistants, who will eventually replace sahayaks in the 1.2-million strong army, is being worked out. The Navy and the Air Force do not have such a system, which happens to be a relic of the colonial rule.

    Employment of soldiers as sahayaks has been frequently criticised on the grounds that it lowers their dignity and selfrespect, and parliamentary panels have repeatedly called for abolishing the system. The army is now tweaking the system to ensure that fighting men do not have to serve in such roles.

    Unlike washermen and cooks, sahayaks do not carry out a listed trade in the army. They are regular soldiers drawn out of fighting and support formations to serve officers.

    “If all goes well, the service assistants will be enlisted as sahayaks. That will be their main job during peacetime. However, they will also be trained in combat-related functions so they can double as soldiers in case war breaks out. The final modalities are being worked out,” said another officer.

    The army lists strict do’s and don’ts on sahayak employment, but there have been instances of soldiers being made to do insignificant and unsoldierly household tasks. Sahayaks aren’t supposed to venture beyond duties such as maintaining an officer’s uniform and weapons, or serving as his ‘buddy’ in combat.


    11 Sainik School boys make to NDA, 2 to IMA

    Jalandhar, May 24

    It has been a proud moment for Sainik School Kapurthala as 11 of its cadets have been selected in the NDA examination, the results of which have been declared by the Services Selection Board.The successful aspirants will join the 136th NDA course commencing in July. The successful candidates include Harman Bajwa, Ankit Alok, Akashdeep Singh, Kashish Suneja, Jasnoor Singh, Gurkamalpreet Singh, Nitish Bains, Tapeesh Gautam and Rishav Chandel of the present batch. Three students of the last year’s batch – Amritpal Singh, Harkirat Singh and Shashikant- too have cleared the exam. While Harman is the son of school teachers Malkinder Singh Bajwa and Harjinder Kaur, Jasnoor’s mother Narinder Kaur is also from the teaching staff here. In addition, two boys from the school-Vivek Tewari and Aman Kumar have also cleared CDS and will be joining the Indian Military Academy Dehradun. The students and their parents have thanked the teachers for making their wards get through the tough entrance. Principal Group Captain Shakti Sharma said that a number of steps had been taken to improve the results by holding lectures on current topics, group discussions, open forum sessions, motivational lectures and improving discipline, conduct and communication skills of the cadets.—TNS


    2 YEARS OF MODI SARKAR Foundation laid, it’s time to deliver

    Foundation laid, it’s time to deliver
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, May 22

    In the past two years, the Ministry of Defence has showed its intent of bridging gaps in battle readiness. But over the next three years the Narendra Modi-led government needs to implement the same by procuring fighter jets, artillery guns, bulletproof jackets, torpedoes and helicopters among other items.Though policy changes have been made, a case of increasing the limit for Foreign Direct Investment is pending. Expectedly, the ‘Make in India’ agenda has taken some time to show on ground.Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has been at the helm since November 2015 and his biggest challenge is to reduce the import bill and dependence on imports from the US, Russia, Ukraine and France. India yet again emerged as the world’s largest buyer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for some 14 per cent of all such international imports, a report of the Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in March this year.Parrikar has announced an amendment to the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) that gives more importance to local products.The Modi government has taken key decisions to have an indigenous artillery gun programme, make the light transport aircraft in private sector in India and produce the Russian Kamov light utility helicopters here, but everything will take time to fructify. The three services collectively need around 1,000 copters. Conversely, the purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France in a fly-away condition and the decision to procure 145 ultra light howitzers (ULH) from the US is still not done.The indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, is on sea trials and so is the conventional sub Kalvari.A deepening military alliance with Japan has formalised a US-India-Japan grouping, a fact not palatable to Beijing while New Delhi has deepened ties with countries involved in the South China Sea.Focus of the MoD will have to be on building roads along the 3,488-km Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. Four strategic railway lines have been approved and will need attention.

    Achievements

    • Key decisions taken to have an indigenous artillery gun programme, make the light transport aircraft in private sector and produce the Russian Kamov light utility helicopters in India
    • Amendment to the Defence Procurement Procedure that gives more importance to local products, hence increased focus on ‘Make in India’
    • Indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant and conventional sub Kalvari are on sea trials

    Downside

    • India remains the biggest importer of weapons and military equipment, accounting for some 14 per cent of all such international imports
    • Procedures are taking long, which is holding back changes. The purchase of 36 Rafale jets from France in a fly-away condition and procurement of 145 ultra light howitzers from the US is yet to be sealed
    • Demand to increase FDI limit from existing 26 per cent

    Ladakh students join Army schools

    Ladakh students join Army schools
    Lt Gen DS Hooda, GOC-in-C, Northern Command, with APS and AGPS students at Nyoma village of Leh district. A Tribune photo

    Jammu, May 18

    Thirty students from remote areas of the Ladakh region have been sponsored by the Army to study in Army Public School (APS), Beas, in Punjab, Drona Boys Hostel in Udhampur and Army Goodwill Public School (AGPS) in Pehalgam.The students interacted with Lieutenant General DS Hooda, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, at Nyoma village of Leh, before they proceed to APS and AGPS Schools run by the Army, said Defence spokesperson Col SD Goswami.Lt Gen Hooda encouraged the students to not only do well in academics but also excel in sports.“Assistance in providing quality education to the students of the Ladakh region will go a long way in the progress of remote areas of the country,” said Col Goswami.The sponsored project by the Army is conducted under the “Operation Sadbhavana”. — TNS


    Can’t Divulge Information On Mountain Strike Corps: Manohar Parrikar

    Can't Divulge Information On Mountain Strike Corps: Manohar Parrikar

    Manohar Parrikar refused to divulge information on the Mountain Strike Corps being raised by the Indian Army.

    NEW DELHI:  Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday refused to divulge information on the Mountain Strike Corps being raised by the Indian Army, saying it would not be in the “national interest”.

    The minister was asked in the Rajya Sabha whether the “most ambitious plan to deal with Chinese challenge — raising a dedicated Mountain Strike Corps — was languishing for lack of government attention and financial allocation”.

    Rajya Sabha member Dilip Kumar Tirkey also asked him about “the future strategy of the government to deal with Chinese challenges”.

    The defence minister, in a written reply, said: “Military capacity enhancement is a dynamic and continuous process based on threat perception. Appropriate measures including force accretion are accordingly taken from time to time to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of the country.”

    “However, disclosure of further details in this regard on the floor of the house will not be in the national interest,” Mr Parrikar said.

    Following reports that the army was struggling to raise the Mountain Strike Corps due to lack of budgetary support, Army chief General Dalbir Singh said in January that the corps will be raised by 2021, keeping the timeline of nine years decided initially.

    According to sources, the Army Commanders’ Conference that is underway in the national capital will also discuss the issue.

    The Mountain Strike Corps is being raised with focus on China, along the eastern border in the Himalayas.