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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


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


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

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


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.


• 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.

Don’t expect much from India-Pakistan talks, says Sartaj Aziz


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the comprehensive dialogue in January between Pakistan and India will focus on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has said that it would not be fair to expect much from the talks scheduled here next month between the foreign secretaries of Pakistan and India.Speaking to Radio Pakistan’s Current Affairs programme about the possibility of peace between Pakistan and India, Aziz said it would not be fair to expect instant resolution of all issues between the two countries.

“And therefore, initially focus would be on reduction of tension and maintenance of calm on the Line of Control to provide relief to the people living across LoC,” he said.

Aziz said the comprehensive dialogue in January between Pakistan and India will focus on all outstanding issues, including Kashmir.

He said in a meeting between prime ministers of India and Pakistan in Lahore yesterday it was decided that foreign secretaries of the two countries would meet in mid-January to decide details of dialogue on all issues.

To a question, he said promotion of good relations with all neighbours is the policy of Prime Minister Sharif as this is a pre-requisite to benefit from projects aimed at regional connectivity and resolution of energy crisis.

Injecting an element of drama into the see-saw Indo-Pak ties, Prime Minister Narendra Moditook the world by surprise by making a “stopover” in Lahore on his way back home from Kabul to greet Sharif on his 66th birthday on December 25.

The first visit by an Indian premier in 11 years marked another step forward by the two countries in their efforts to put on an even keel in their ties which was going through a chill until recently.

Modi also attended a marriage function of Sharif’s grand-daughter Mehrun Nisa (who is the daughter of Mariam Nawaz Sharif) at the latter’s Raiwind home on the outskirts of Lahore.

Also read: No dialogue with India unless bilateral issues on agenda: Sartaj Aziz

How civil and criminal defamation lawsuits differ from each other

DDCA CONTROVERSY The twin proceedings that Jailey has charged Kejriwal with are unheard of in most parts of the world

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Arun Jaitley may have accused Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of slander, invoking both civil and criminal jurisdiction to defend himself from corruption charges, but the twin proceedings are unheard of in most parts of the world.

Unlike many countries in the West and some near home, such as Sri Lanka, defamation in India is both civil and criminal offence. One can take recourse when defamed either by words spoken or in writing. When spoken, it amounts to slander and if printed, it is libel.

Under the civil law, the person defamed can move either the high court or trial court and seek damages in the form of monetary compensation from the accused. The remedy sought is covered under the Law of Torts, a rare and slow course of relief witnessed in India.

On the other hand, the Indian Penal Code gives an opportunity to the defamed individual to also move a criminal court, asking the latter to take cognizance of his complaint. It’s a bailable, non-cognizable and compoundable offence, which means no police can register a case and start investigation without the court’s permission.

Under sections 499 and 500 of the IPC, a person found guilty can be sent to jail for two years. The Supreme Court has already reserved its verdict on a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the two penal provisions.

Since the law is compoundable, a criminal court can drop the charges if the victim and the accused enter into a compromise to that effect (even without the permission of the court).


Law defines defamatory content as one “calculated to injure the reputation of another by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule.” This is the first condition required to be fulfilled under the civil remedy.

Second, the claimant should be identified in the defamatory statement. It must address a particular person and no broad based classification is acceptable.

And lastly there must be publication of the defamatory statement in either oral or written form. A civil defamation law would stand once these conditions are attained. The defendant then has to plead his defense.


In a criminal suit, the complainant should be able to prove the accused intended to defame him. In the absence of intention it must be established that the alleged offender had knowledge that the publication was likely to defame the person. Normal stand of proof in criminal cases, which is to prove the offence beyond reasonable doubt, should also be placed before the court.

LoC traders to set up joint federation by March

Ravi Krishnan Khajuria,Tribune News Service,Jammu, December 21

Traders from PoK and J&K met in Dubai last week. Tribune photo

In a major step forward, over 1,200 traders from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have unanimously decided to constitute a joint federation of traders from Poonch and Anantnag in J&K and Rawalakote and Chakoti in PoK.In the absence of travel permits from New Delhi and Islamabad, traders from both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) met in Dubai on December 16 and 17.“It is a big achievement for traders from PoK and J&K. The joint federation exclusively meant for trans-LoC traders from Poonch, Anantnag, Rawalakote and Chakoti will be put in place by March 31,” said Pawan Anand, president of the Chakan-da-Bagh LoC Traders’ Association.“Once such a federation comes up, we will be able to efficiently thrash out trade-related disputes and, at the same time, think of more measures to streamline trade,” he added. He admitted that in the absence of travel permits to trans-LoC traders, they had to hold their third meeting in Dubai.“Two years ago, we held our second meeting in Kuala Lumpur. The first meeting took place in Istanbul. Had traders been sanctioned travel permits, there would have been no need for us to meet abroad,” said Anand.YV Sharma, president of the Jammu Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Rakesh Gupta, president of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mushtaq Wani, president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Hilal Turki, general secretary of the Cross LoC Traders’ Federation, attended the meeting.“Being purely a meeting of traders from PoK and J&K, we discussed opening more trade routes via the LoC, more tradable items in the trade list, travel permits and banking facilities to take trade to another level,” said Anand.Traders from both sides felt the need for providing direct ISD facility to traders from J&K. They urged their respective governments to reopen the Kargil-Skardu road, which was part of the once flourishing Silk Route.Traders from PoK could call up traders in J&K on their cell phones, but there was an embargo on ISD facility from J&K to PoK.Trans-LoC trade was started in 2008, but the absence of basic facilities continued to hamper its growth. The trade was a brainchild of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in 2002 during the PDP’s alliance with the Congress.

Shortfall of BMP infantry fighting vehicles affecting operational preparedness of Army: CAG



The operational capabilities of the Indian Army’s mechanised forces could be severely hampered given the state of the BMP infantry fighting vehicles in the Army. The latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has brought out that only 53 per cent of these vehicles were available for use by the Army.

The CAG report says that the MoD also accepted that the acute shortage of BMP would have an adverse impact in the 12th Army plan as five more Mechanized Infantry Battalions were planned to be raised.

“The shortfall in production and overhaul of BMP vehicles affected the operational preparedness as only 53 per cent of authorised vehicles were available with Army,” the report says.

The BMP is a Russian origin tracked infantry vehicles which is the mainstay of the Army’s mechanised infantry battalions. These vehicles can carry seven to eight soldiers and are presently manufactured by the Ordnance Factory, Medak. The mechanised infantry battalions form an integral part of the armoured brigades and are expected to be a crucial part of any strike formation of the Army which has to carry the battle into enemy territory.

The CAG report has brought out that the Army has a shortage of 47 per cent in holding of BMP vehicles. The main reason for shortfall was the delay in supply of 389 BMPs by Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) which not only adversely affected the operational preparedness of Mechanised Forces but also entailed a minimum extra liability of Rs 270.97 crore due to cost escalation.

The current production capacity of the Ordnance Factory Medak is 100 BMP vehicles per year, which includes variants of BMP like Carrier Mortar Tracked (CMT), Armoured Ambulance Tracked (AAT), Mine Protected Vehicle (MPV) and Bullet Proof Vehicle. Apart from the Mechanised Infantry, the Corps of Engineers and Corps of Signals of the Indian Army too are authorised for BMP vehicles to provide support elements to combat troops. The CAG report says that against the authorisation of 2,827 BMPs and 323 BMPS respectively, the Mechanised Infantry and the Corps of Engineers are holding 2521 and 170 numbers of vehicles only.

In order to meet the deficiency of BMP vehicles in Mechanised Infantry and Corps of Engineers, the Army HQ placed two indents on Ordnance Factory Medak in 2009 and 2011. Against the indents for 389 numbers of BMPs placed on the OFM in 2009, the delivery for Mechanised Infantry was to be completed by 2011-12 and for Corps of Engineers by 2013-14. The CAG, however, found that only 179 numbers were only delivered till January 2015. Further, against production capacity of 600 BMPs (100 BMPs per year x 6 years) OFB could produce only 265 BMPs during the last six years resulting in shortfall of 55 per cent of assessed capacity and thereby impacted operational preparedness of the Army.

The audit scrutiny of the case further revealed that out of the total number of 2,691 BMPs held, 1,025 numbers of vehicles were due for overhaul up to 2014-15. As a result only 1,666 vehicles were effectively available, which indicates that only 53 per cent of the authorized vehicles were available for use. On being pointed out by audit (September 2012) regarding supply status and impact on operational preparedness of Army due to delay in supply of BMP vehicles, Ministry of Defence/Army HQ replied in November 2012 that the indents were placed considering the urgent operational requirement and acute deficiency within the field units. They further stated that as per the current production capacity of the OFM, six to eight years would be taken to meet the projected requirement as OFM was not dedicated to production of BMP vehicles only.

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