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    Ministry of Defence doubles honorarium for gallantry awardees

    Ministry of Defence doubles honorarium for gallantry awardees
    An Ashoka Chakra awardee will be paid Rs 12,000 a month, up from Rs 6,000. Ashoka Chakra is the highest peace-time gallantry award. PTI file

    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, December 6

    In an important decision, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has doubled the honorarium for gallantry awardees. The monies will be admissible from August 1.A notification of the MoD signed on December 4 says the highest war-time gallantry awardee of the Paramvir Chakra, will get Rs 20,000 per month, up from Rs 10,000 being paid as of now.An Ashoka Chakra awardee will be paid Rs 12,000 a month, up from Rs 6,000. Ashoka Chakra is the highest peace-time gallantry award.

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    New honorarium for Maha Vir Chakra and Kirti Chakra will be Rs 10,000 and Rs 9,000, respectively. This has also been doubled. A Vir Chakra awardee will be getting Rs 7,000, a Shaurya Chakra awardee Rs 6,000 while a Sena medal, Nao Sena medal and Vayu Sena medal awardee will get Rs 2,000 per month.The award will be dispensed to the widow of the awardee in case the awardee is dead. In case the awardee was a bachelor, the award will be paid to the father and mother.The previous enhancement was made in 2012.On the other hand, the MoD is reconsidering the cap it imposed on the fees paid for children of martyrs. The MoD had imposed a cap of Rs 10,000 per month and this would have impacted 3,200 children studying in various stages of their education, including in professional colleges. 

    Can’t rule out Rohingya terror links: BSF report

    NEW DELHI: The Border Security Force (BSF) has not caught any Rohingya with arms or terror links but it cannot be ruled out, KK Sharma, chief of the paramilitary force, said on Wednesday, adding that there were about 36,000 Rohingyas in the country.

    AP FILETill Oct. 31, 2017, fake notes worth ₹50 lakh, all of ₹2,000 denomination, were seized by BSF.“The threat that they have links with terror organisations is a very serious one. It has been given by our sister agencies and I don’t doubt them,” Sharma said on Wednesday. He said his troops apprehended 87 Rohingya Muslims along the India-Bangladesh border in 2017 and 76 “had been sent back to Bangladesh”.

    The annual report released by the BSF on Wednesday said agents lure Rohingyas with good job opportunities in India and motivate them that they will work with their own community in states such as J&K, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

    “Apart from being a natural choice due to its Muslim majority, the Rohingyas say they pick J&K on economic considerations and most of them follow a similar pattern. Once a Rohingya reaches Jammu, he stays there for a few months and then invites other relatives, informing them of job opportunities and better pay,” it said.

    In its annually collected data, released two days before its 52nd raising day, the BSF highlighted key issues and initiatives taken along the eastern border.

    Issues such as Maoism, narcotics smuggling, fake Indian currency networks, illegal sale of arms and ammunition, cattle smuggling and illegal immigration of Rohingya Muslims rank high on the agenda of the force. The operational initiatives taken by BSF in 2017 have been on the eastern border with some of them waiting approval from the ministry of home affairs.

    The BSF data between December 2016 and October 2017 — a period post demonetisation — suggested that fake Indian currency networks took a major hit after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement last year in November, but they continue to operate and have even replicated the new ₹2,000 note to the best of their “abilities”

    This year till October 31, fake notes worth ₹50 lakh, all of ₹2,000 denomination, were seized by the BSF. In 2013, the force seized fake notes worth ₹95 lakh, followed by ₹1.9 crore in 2014, ₹2.8 crore in 2015 and ₹1.5 crore last year.

    The BSF also claimed to have penetrated areas previously considered safe havens for Left-wing extremists, apprehending 120 Maoists in Odisha and Chhattisgarh along with weapons.

    In addition, the paramilitary force managed to recover over 10,000kg narcotics and seized 1.20 lakh cattle.

    Sharma said the government in Bangladesh, being “friendly”, had helped the force maintain law and order but more had to be done for its upkeep.

    Army pays tributes to Pulwama martyr

    Army pays tributes to Pulwama martyr
    Army men pay tributes to Sepoy Vrahma Pal Singh, who was killed in Pulwama. Tribune photo

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, November 7

    The Army today paid tributes to its comrade who was killed during an anti-militancy operationin Pulwama district on Monday evening.In a solemn ceremony at Badami Bagh Cantonment, Lt Gen JS Sandhu, Corps Commander, Chinar Corps, and all ranks paid homage to the slain soldier.“In a show of solidarity, officials and representatives from the state government and other security agencies also joined in paying their last respects to the martyr, Sepoy Vrahma Pal Singh,” an Army spokesman said.Singh sustained bullet injury during an anti-militancy operation at Kandi Aglar in Pulwama district. He was provided immediate first aid and was evacuated to the 92 Base hospital, but succumbed to the injuries.“The mortal remains of the martyr were flown for last rites to his native place, where he would be laid to rest with full military honours. In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved family of the martyr and remains committed to their dignity and well-being,” the spokesman added.Hailing from Shaujana Rani village in Bulandshahar, Uttar Pradesh, 30-year-old Singh had joined the Army in 2004. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a three-year-old son.

    Rosh rally was held at Pathankot by UFESM Pathankot along with Sanjha Morcha

    Rosh rally was held at Pathankot by UFESM Pathankot along with Sanjha Morcha on 01 Nov 17 to condemn Central  Govt for the following follies 
    1.Illtreating veterans and ladies at Jantar Mantar on 30 Oct 17.
    2.Misusing  Armd Forces as a labour force for Civil jobs to fulfil  political goals, thereby degrading their War Potential.
    3.Telling lies to Nation that OROP has been given to Veteran’s. PM is now sayings that it will be given in stages, while addressing Jawans at GUREZ on Diwali.
    4.Making One Man Commission Report (Justice Reddy)to address OROP anomalies Public.Same is laying with Govt  since last year.
    Brig Prahald Singh
    President UFESM pathankot and
    Chairman Sanjha Morcha
    IMG-20171101-WA0043 IMG-20171101-WA0044 IMG-20171101-WA0045 IMG-20171101-WA0046

    Himachal polls: Congress releases manifesto; promises 1.5 lakh jobs

    Himachal polls: Congress releases manifesto; promises 1.5 lakh jobs
    Congress woos farmers, employees in election manifesto. Tribune photo: Amit Kanwar

    Pratibha Chauhan

    Tribune News Service

    Shimla, November 1

    The ruling Congress in Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday released its manifesto, promising to strengthen the farm sector by granting interest-free loans to farmers, creation of 1.50 lakh jobs in the government sector and free laptops to 50,000 college students.

    The manifesto lays thrust on strengthening the farm sector and proposes a Rs 1-lakh interest-free loan and 90 per cent subsidy on anti-hail net.Also read: BJP on backfoot in Himachal, says Vikramaditya Singh(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)The manifesto also attempts to woo employees, pensioners and daily wagers.

    Our manifesto is a golden link in the chain of colossal progress in Himachal. Once again, we embark on this momentous journey

    It says the contractual employees would be regularised in two years and pensioners would get substantial hike in pension. The VAT on petrol and diesel would be reduced and the GST limit would be enhanced from present Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh to give benefit to traders, a issue raked by the BJP time and again.The Congress also promises higher compensation to landowners in land acquisition for four landing and other road projects.It also proposes pension scheme for workers in unorganised sector and says marriage grant to daughters of widows would be increased to Rs 1 lakh.The manifesto released by Chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Health Minister Kaul Singh, who is also chairman of manifesto Committee and AICC general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde claimed that Congress had fulfilled 95 per cent of poll promises and would implement the remaining promises and fresh promises in the next term, if voted to power.

    Singh said his government has ensured speedy and uniform development of the entire state, which is visible on the ground and development and welfare of all sections of people would be the main poll plank.

    Kaul Singh said the Congress provided government jobs to 75,000 youth during the present term and 1.50 lakh jobs would be given in the next five years. For land acquired by the government, four times the market value will be provided as compensation.

    The manifesto also promises enhancement of pension by 5, 10 and 15 per cent after the age of 65, 70 and 75 years, additional increments to employees after fourth, ninth and fourteenth year of service, increasing daily wages to Rs 350 and free laptops to 50,000 college students.

    The Congress also promised decentralisation of administrative and financial powers down to panchayat level and continue food subsidy scheme to control price rise.

    Speaking to reporters, Virbhadra Singh said the BJP’s decision to filed P K Dhumal would have no impact on prospects of the Congress.

    The Himachal Pradesh elections will be held on November 9 and the result will be declared on December 18.

    J&K shouldn’t be another Syria’

    NEWDELHI: The biggest challenge and the top priority in Kashmir are to deradicalise youth and militants and prevent the state from turning into a Syria of India, said Dineshwar Sharma, the newlynamed interlocutor for talks in Jammu and Kashmir.

    PTI PHOTOA jawan stands guard during a shutdown in Srinagar on Friday. Separatists in the Valley called for the shutdown to protest ‘India’s annexation of Kashmir’ on this day in 1947.

    An old Kashmir hand who headed the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for two years from December 2015, Sharma said his mission to bring an end to violence would include talking to anyone “even a rickshaw puller or a cart puller” who can contribute so that peace is ushered in the state “as soon as possible”.

    “I feel the pain and sometimes I become emotional also. I want to see this kind of violence ends as soon as possible from all sides. The youth of Kashmir like Zakir Musa (Kashmir al-Qaeda chief) and Burhan Wani (slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander) get hype when they talk about (establishing Islamic) Caliphate,” said Sharma. He said the way Kashmir’s youth was moving, “which is radicalisation”, will ultimately “finish Kashmir. “I am worried about the people of Kashmir. If all this picked up, the situation will be like Yemen, Syria and Libya. People will start fighting in so many groups. So, it is very important that everybody, all of us, contribute …”

    “I will have to convince the youth of Kashmir that they are only ruining their future and the future of all Kashmiris in the name of whether they call it azadi (independence), Islamic caliphate or Islam…”

    “I am open to talking to everybody… He can be an ordinary student, ordinary youth, a rick shawwala or a the lawala with some good idea. I will consider that,” he said.

    The former IPS officer, who led the spy agency’s “Islamist Terrorism Desk”, was widely known to have advocated a policy of arresting the problem by counselling and reforming, instead of arresting the potential recruits of the global terror network.

    He is known to have established friendly relationships with arrested militants in a bid to reform them when he was assistant director IB from 1992-94 — the time when militancy was at its peak in J&K.

    2 Army jawans injured in ‘accidental’ firing in Poonch district

    2 Army jawans injured in ‘accidental’ firing in Poonch district
    The incident happened in the forward areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Tarkundi belt.

    Jammu, October 28

    Two Army jawans have been injured in firing under suspicious circumstances along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district on Saturday, a police official said.The incident happened in the forward areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Tarkundi belt.“It is being reported to us that it was due to an accidental fire,” the official said, adding that more information was awaited.The injured jawans had been admitted to hospital, he said. PTI

    Govt plans ‘engg unit’ in CRPF

    Mukesh Ranjan

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, October 15

    Keeping in view the difficulties being faced in building physical infrastructure in Naxal-affected areas and insurgency-hit North-Eastern states, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is considering raising an engineering unit in the CRPF on the lines of the Army.To check incidents like the killing of 25 CRPF personnel deployed to protect road construction workers in Sukma district of Chhattisgarh in April, “we have proposed to raise an engineering unit within the force, which is engaged in anti-Left Wing Extremists and anti-insurgency operations”, a senior official said.“Naxal and insurgency-hit areas have long turned into a perpetual war zones. Heavy deployment of forces is a testimony to this. Lack of infrastructure in such areas does not only breed violent struggle, it also makes things difficult for the security forces and the civil administration,” he said. Fund worth crores have been sanctioned to improve infrastructure, but “so far we have failed to get the desired results”.

    ITBP’s power vehicles

    • For the first time in its over 50-year history, the ITBP is raising and deploying a mechanised column of power vehicles and machines to speedily mobilise troops along the Sino-India border in case of Chinese military transgressions
    • An official said the column of the force will comprise over 250 SUVs, all-terrain vehicles, snow scooters and excavators PTI

    Doklam fallout: Army to enhance infrastructure along China border

    Doklam fallout: Army to enhance infrastructure along China border
    Photo for representational purpose only.

    New Delhi, October 13

    Close on the heels of the Dokalam standoff, organisational changes are likely in some of the key Army formations — besides steps to boost infrastructure — along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.

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    The decisions were taken at the Army commanders’ conference, which extensively deliberated over the Dokalam stand off with China, and analysed possible security challenges on the northern border, official sources said.

    In his address at the week-long conference that began here on Monday, Chief of Army Staff Gen Bipin Rawat asked the commanders to be prepared for all eventualities at “all times”, while Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman emphasised the need to guard against “inimical forces”.

    Director General Staff Duties Lt. Gen. Vijay Singh, briefing on the outcome of the conclave that was also attended by top defence ministry officials, said it was decided that there would be considerable “heft” towards road construction activities in the northern sector.

    He said the issue of organisational changes of some of the formations for capability enhancement was examined, adding it was decided to grant additional funds to Border Roads Organisation, a defence ministry entity, for development of roads and other infrastructure.

    Official sources said capacity enhancement along the Sino-India border was an area of focus, and the conclave decided to boost infrastructure along the entire stretch with China including around areas of dispute.

    In her address, Sitharaman lauded the Army for its swift and effective response in dealing with “external and internal threats”, seen as a reference to the Army stopping the construction of a road in Dokalam by China and its anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

    The conclave discussed issues relating to military operations and evolving security dynamics in the region on Friday.

    While talking about security challenges, the Army Chief highlighted the need for prioritising to procurement of arms and ammunitions, in an apparent indication of unhappiness over delay in buying critical weapons for the force.

    “Our approach to procurement process needs to be balanced with focus at the right places,” Gen Rawat was quoted as saying by Singh.

    On her part, Sitharaman said focus would be to ensure capability enhancement and capacity building of the Army in a time-bound manner. She also emphasised the need for jointness and integration of all the services in effectively dealing with emerging challenges.

    While Gen Rawat asserted that there would be no compromise with respect to issues relating to welfare of the armymen, Sitharaman said keeping up the morale of the armed forces personnel would remain priority.

    On boosting infrastructure along the borders, Singh said: “Four passes to Niti, Lipulekh, Thangla 1 and Tsangchokla have been decided to be connected by 2020 on priority”. All these passes are along the Sino-India border in central sector.

    He said a roadmap for intra sector connectivity within central sector and inter-sector connectivity with neigbhouring areas have been discussed.

    The commanders also deliberated on the cadre review of Junior Commissioned Officers and other ranks (OR), which now stands approved, and implementation of the Shekatkar committee recommendation on carrying out reforms in the force.

    The issue of employment of women officers in areas of specialisation that require continuity also figured.

    Singh said implementation of cadre review of JCOs and 0R resulting in 1.45.5137 additional promotional vacancies will be given the highest priority.

    In the next two days, the commanders will discuss a number of issues relating human resources, which include promotion of eligible officers to the rank of Lieutenant General.

    He said the Army has decided to modernise all military stations on par with the government’s smart city project and initially, 58 stations have been identified for the project. The army has over 2,000 military stations across the country.

    During interactions with top officials of the defence ministry, the commanders discussed issues like expediting acquisition projects, providing liberalised family pension to those other than battle causalities and matters relating to defence land, said Singh.

    Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra stressed on the need for a time bound action plan to resolve the issues.

    He said the conference decided to seek necessary sanction from the government to allow the Army to carry out procurement under the existing system till March 31, 2018, when the Government eMarket system is likely to stabilise. PTI

    What China is to India Foe, friend or rival, New Delhi must decide by Pravin Sawhney

    What China is to India
    MEET HALFWAY: The road ahead is through cooperation rather than compromise.

    IS China an adversary or an enemy like Pakistan? This is a pertinent question. It has been raised by a distinguished former Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao. Writing in the context of the Doklam crisis, she has argued in the news portal The Wire that India should treat China as an adversary — with whom a compromise can be achieved through pragmatic diplomacy — rather than an enemy which should be destroyed.On the face of it, her argument appears impeccable. However, from the military viewpoint, India has itself to blame for making China an enemy from an adversary, when it signed the 1993 Border Peace and Tranquillity Agreement (BPTA). Under the BPTA, India, on Chinese suggestion, agreed to formally address the disputed border as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The argument was that by calling the border LAC — which by definition is a military line — both sides could resolve the issue in an incremental fashion, sector by sector, instead of as a single political deal for the whole border, which was not making any headway. The Chinese explained that each sector, once mutually agreed upon, could be secured under ‘equal and mutual security’ clause; once done, troops from that sector could be withdrawn. Rao takes credit for inserting this clause with her Chinese counterpart, adopting it from the model of the Sino-Soviet treaty.This argument made political sense to the then Prime Minister, PV Narasimha Rao, who favoured the Nehruvian thinking that only small changes could be made to the de-facto border handed over by British-India. Any major adjustments or swapping of territory for border resolution were not acceptable.What was not understood by the Prime Minister and his diplomatic advisers was this: a military line, by definition, has to be held by military force since it can be altered tactically by the side with better border management backed by superior war-waging capabilities. If this logic is understood, it becomes clear why Chinese border transgressions started only after 1993 (except the 1986 Somdorong Chu crisis) and increased rapidly commensurate with its improved border management (roads and airlift ability) and war-waging capabilities relative to India.While good border management is meant for exercising military coercion, better war-waging capabilities ensure that it is successful. If this is not so, the country doing military coercion has a heavy penalty to pay.For example, India attempted military coercion against Pakistan with the 2001-2002 Operation Parakram, when the two armies stood face-to-face ready for war for 10 months. India, however, blinked first; its military coercion failed because its war-waging capabilities were assessed as not being credible by Pakistan. Consequently, Pakistan’s proxy war increased, starting 2003, when foreign mercenaries found their way into the Kashmir valley.Coming back to China and the Doklam crisis, given its better infrastructure and war-waging capabilities, China has adopted an offensive border management posture. India, on the other hand, has a defensive border management posture where it can, at best, defend itself over a limited time and space (territory). I had argued in my 2001 book, The Defence Makeover: Ten Myths That Shape India, that China with its fast improving border management is an immediate military threat facing India, and not a long-term challenge as was believed by most until recently.Worse, the recent Doklam crisis, which Indian analysts read as a victory, has already imposed a big price on the Indian Army. Unlike Chinese forces, the Indian Army has been compelled to strengthen its border management locally by moving a large number of troops forward to hold vulnerable areas (and they are aplenty) along the 3,488-km military line. These troops, acclimatised for altitudes above 10,000 ft to 18,000 ft, will now stay there round the year. Given the poor infrastructure and inclement weather at high altitudes, providing snow and wind-proof tents, clothing, food, oil (to keep troops warm), ammunition (without proper storage), and casualty evacuation will now be a big burden on the already-scarce resources of the Indian Army Aviation and the Air Force. And what about the morale of troops who would find no enemy but empty spaces opposite them? Moreover, no one knows how long the Army will be required to hold this re-enforced defensive posture. Given all this, was it sensible for India to have flexed its muscles in Doklam and score a pyrrhic victory when there was an opportunity for negotiations with China?Then, there is that simply unfortunate clause — the ‘equal and mutual security’ in the 1993 treaty. Until 2005, China was assessed capable of inducting 30 divisions (each with 10,000 troops) into Tibet over three to four months. Today, it can do it in 72 hours. Since India cannot match this, how will the concept of ‘equal and mutual security’ hold? Moreover, the 1996 bilateral agreement lays down the numbers of heavy equipment (artillery, tanks, missiles) and troops that each side can bring close to the LAC under the ‘equal and mutual security’ clause. This has injected legal restrictions on India.Against this backdrop, it is difficult to visualise China as an adversary which regularly nibbles at India’s territory. Instead of give-and-take (this is what compromise is about), China claims the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh and has disowned border with India in Ladakh. While China, with its military shenanigans is an enemy, the question is: can India retrieve the situation?The way forward is through cooperation rather than compromise with Beijing. China, which is embarked on an ambitious geopolitical endeavour through the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), appears amenable to mutually exploring options to assuage India’s sovereignty concerns about it. There is a possibility of the two sides developing mutual trust by synchronising BRI and India’s ‘Act East’ policy.The writer is the Editor, Force news magazine