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    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.


    Army denies ‘mutiny’ in unit in Northeast

    The Indian Army on Sunday denied there was a “mutiny” in an infantry unit in the northeast after the death of a soldier during training.
    The army, however, said, that an officer was injured when a few soldiers became agitated and scuffled with seniors following the death.
    The army said there was no “mutiny-like” situation.
    “A case of death of a jawan during routine training activity has taken place in an infantry unit in the Northeast. It is not a case of any mutiny,” the army said in a statement.
    It said the soldier complained of chest pain prior to a route march. He was checked by the medical officer and found fit. But the soldier collapsed during the training.
    The army said four to five soldiers got emotional when they were being consoled by a senior and “indulged in agitated behaviour leading to minor scuffle”.  It said no one was injured seriously and the incident was being investigated.
    With a strong 13 lakh active personnel, Indian Army is one of the most disciplined forces in the world and such an incident is very rare.

    Pakistan a ‘duplicitous, dangerous’ partner for US :: New York Times

    Underlining that Pakistan’s “double game” has long frustrated US officials, a leading American daily today said the country remains a “duplicitous and dangerous” partner for the US and it was time to “put the squeeze” on it.

    “Pakistan’s double game has long frustrated American officials, and it has grown worse. There are now efforts in Washington to exert more pressure on the Pakistan Army,” The New York Times said in a lead editorial today.

    In the editorial ‘Time to Put the Squeeze on Pakistan’, the New York Times Editorial Board said nearly 15 years after 9/11, the war in Afghanistan is raging and Pakistan “deserves much of the blame”.

    “It remains a duplicitous and dangerous partner for the United States and Afghanistan, despite USD 33 billion in American aid and repeated attempts to reset relations on a more constructive course,” the editorial board wrote, questioning the Pakistan policy of the Obama administration.

    Of the view that the key to talks with the Taliban and bringing peace in Afghanistan lies with Pakistan, The New York Times said Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence services have for years given support to the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network and relied on them to protect Pakistani interests in Afghanistan and prevent India from increasing its influence there.

    “Under American pressure, the Pakistan Army recently waged a military campaign against the Taliban in the ungoverned border region. But the Haqqanis still operate in relative safety in Pakistan. Some experts say the army has helped engineer the integration of the Haqqanis into the Taliban leadership,” the daily said.

    The New York Times praised Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for putting a hold on the sale of eight F-16s to Pakistan with American tax payers money.

    “Mr Corker told The Times he would lift the hold on the aid if Pakistan cracks down on the Haqqani network, which he called the ‘No. 1 threat’ to Afghanistan and American troops there,” the daily said.

    However, the daily was of the view that serving ties with Pakistan is not an option given the fast expanding nuclear weapons arsenal of this South Asian country.

    The New York Times said the “grim reality presents difficult choices for Mr Obama, who must decide whether to keep the current troop strength and possibly to change the military’s role to fight the Taliban more directly.”