NEW DELHI: Outgoing Army chief General Bikram Singh on Thursday said that India has given a befitting reply to Pakistan after the beheading of an Indian soldier by Pakistani troops in 2013 along the Line of Control (LoC) even as he did not rule out the possibility of skirmishes on the western front in future.
Talking to reporters before demitting office, he admitted that face-offs between Indian and Chinese army soldiers take place while patrolling their ‘claimed areas’ along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) but they are dealt with in accordance with the existing mechanisms.
Asked if India had given a befitting reply after the January 8, 2013 beheading incident, he said, “It has been done. Please understand that when we use force, that use is from tactical to operational to strategic levels.
“When I mention that during that incident, it was aimed at operations at the tactical level, which have been undertaken. I think this has been done by the local commander, the chiefs have nothing to do with it,” Gen Singh said.
After the incident, he had said during a press conference that the Army will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing. He had given the statement six days after the incident in which Pakistani Special Forces and terrorists beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and mutilated the body of another jawan Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh along the LoC in Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
On if there was a possibility of a skirmish with China and Pakistan, he said there was no such possibility with China, saying, “I do not foresee this as we have got robust mechanisms which are in place. There is an understanding at the macro level.
“When I went to China, there was tremendous understanding between the two countries and I do not foresee any contingency of a skirmish and (there are) very comprehensive rules of engagements.”
On Pakistan, he said, “On the western front, you know very well that it is the Line of Control which has traditionally been very active border and at the tactical level, there is firing always from across the border.”
To a query on spurt in incidents of ceasefire violation with Pakistan along the international border and the LoC, Gen Singh said, “It (spurt in ceasefire violation) has been on for quite some time.
“Our troops are responding to them. These are incidents at the tactical level and they should be left at that level. It is an ongoing process going on for years. The soldiers are doing their job effectively,” he said.
Asked about transgressions on the China border, he said, “On our northern borders, even we are carrying out patrolling and the patrolling by our troops and PLA soldiers is done in an area which is disputed.
“Both have claims to that area so when patrols come in over there, there is a face-off once in a while and that is dealt with as per the rules of engagement in place and we have robust mechanisms to deal with these issues and serious situations that come up, he said.
He said units of Mountain Strike Corps to be deployed along the China border have started being raised on January 1, this year.
Gen Singh is retiring on Thursday after a tenure of 26 months as Army chief.
(Source: Times of India August 1, 2014)
HAL TEAM HEADS TO ISRAEL
The first indication being a four-member HAL team procuring visas, since the process began on July 15.
A PhD student too has procured visa to take up advanced courses in mathematics.
In the 15 days, 21 visas have been processed at the Israeli visa centre. Of the 21, a good many are from scientific and technical backgrounds.
HAL is collaborating with Israel on radar systems and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) apart from a range of military electronics like navigation.
Scientists and engineers working on Light Combat Aircraft’s electronic warfare systems have direct interaction with Israeli technical personnel both in Israel and at the HAL facility. Bangalore has a good number of Israeli engineers and scientists working with HAL and DRDO labs.
Mathematics too is a highly researched subject among Israeli scientists, deployed in fields as diverse as biology, prediction of financial markets, development of algorithms to ensure 100 per cent accuracy of electronic systems, and to aid neuroscientific medical interventions.
While Bangalore has strong connection to Israel, Karnataka has three other significant collaborations with Israel.
Three centres of excellence for advanced technology in agriculture have been set up at Kolar, Bagalkot and Belgaum to develop technologies that can be adapted to Indian conditions. Israel will help Karnataka and other states in building water re-charging and recycling technologies and conversion of sea water to saline, drinking water.
It is estimated that around 40,000 Indians travel to Israel every year, while 35,000 Israelis come to India.
(Source: Deccan Herald August 1, 2014)
NO DAMAGE TO ECOSYSTEM BY MISSILE TEST: DRDO
BALASORE: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has claimed that it has been conducting missile test from the Wheeler Island in Bhadrak district off Odisha coast with strict compliance to the conditions stipulated by the experts and forest officials.
Responding to an order of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the DRDO stated that it ensures safety of Wheeler Island ecosystem and wildlife in the nearby areas.
In January, NHRC had directed the Home Secretary of Government of India to take appropriate action on the issue of protection of Wheeler Island at different stand points. On June 11, the Ministry of Home Affairs asked the Director General of DRDO to take appropriate steps. The apex human rights watchdog passed the direction acting over a petition filed by Rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy.
The DRDO authorities said the launch pad located in Wheeler Island has been designed in such a manner that it would not affect the inhabitants, flora and fauna of the area.
During the nesting season of Olive Ridley turtles from January to June, street lights on the jetty are switched off and activities on the launch pad are done only during day time. Similarly, the suggestions of the forest officials are implemented and no disruption to the ecosystem and turtle nesting is caused due to the defence activities, they mentioned.
In his petition, Tripathy alleged that due to inaction of the DRDO and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) to control the sand erosion, India’s lone missile test-firing range at Wheeler Island has become a serious concern not only for the inhabitants of Bhadrak district but also the whole country.
Since the Island is close to Gahirmatha that nests Olive Ridley turtles, the Chandipur Integrated Test Range (ITR) had filed an affidavit on behalf of the Defence Ministry, two days before the Agni-II missile test on April 9, 1999, stating that there were no plans to test-fire any missile during the mating and nesting period of the sea turtles.
(Source: New Indian Express August 1, 2014)
GEN. SUHAG TAKES OVER AS ARMY CHIEF
New Delhi: Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, whose appointment as Army Chief had kicked up a row, today took over as the head of the 1.3 million strong force succeeding Gen Bikram Singh. Gen. Suhag assumed charge after his predecessor handed over to him the Chief of Army Staff baton in his South Block office here.
The new Chief takes over at a time when the force is facing challenges of modernsation in its artillery, infantry and air defence arms and is also preparing itself for facing a possible multi-front war.
59-year-old Gen. Suhag, a Gurkha officer who had participated in the 1987 Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operation in Sri Lanka, was till now the Vice Chief of Army Staff. He will have a tenure of 30 months as the 26th Army Chief. Gen. Suhag was made the Vice Chief of Army Staff in December last year. Before that, he was the Eastern Army Commander from June 16, 2012. He was at the centre of a controversy triggered by ’discipline and vigilance’ ban imposed on him by the then Army Chief Gen V K Singh in connection with an intelligence operation in Assam earlier.
The ban on Gen. Suhag, the then 3 Corps Commander, was lifted soon after Gen Bikram Singh took over in May 2012.
BJP had questioned the hurry in making the appointment and insisted that the matter be left to the next government.
However, soon after the NDA government took over, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had said the new dispensation will continue with the appointment made during the UPA rule.
(Source: Hindu August 1, 2014)
IN A FIRST, CHINESE MILITARY ACKNOWLEDGES 2013 LADAKH INCURSION
BEIJING: For the first time, the Chinese military on Thursday acknowledged last year’s incursion at the Depsang valley in Ladakh region and said such incidents occurred due to different perception about the line of actual control.
“Last year there was some incident in the border region. All the issues have been properly solved though negotiations,” Colonel Geng Yansheng, spokesman for the ministry of national defence said.
However, he did not specifically mention the Depsang valley by name where the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops pitched tents to assert their control over the area in April last year.
“The boundary line has not been demarcated and both sides has different interpretation on the line of actual control,” he said while answering a question posed by PTI at a press briefing here in which select foreign media was permitted for the first time in the history of Chinese military.
PTI is the only Indian media to be invited to attend the once a month briefing so far confined only to the local media.
Indian soldiers patrolling an area near the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. (TOI file photo)
The foreign media has been invited to contribute to better and more objective understanding of China and Chinese military, Geng said.
The incident at Depsang valley, which took place ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to India in May last year, had created military and diplomatic tensions but was resolved after hectic round of negotiations following which the Chinese troops withdrew.
This is the first time Chinese military referred to the Depsang incident and so far there has been no explanation why Chinese troops resorted to it days ahead of Li’s visit, which was his first visit abroad after taking over as Premier.
Several such incidents including an intrusion by Chinese herdsmen this month at Ladakh region have taken place but resolved amicably.
Geng affirmed that such incidents have taken place due to different perceptions at the LAC.
“China India border issue is left over from history. The boundary line between the countries has not been demarcated. Both sides have different interpretations of the LAC,” he said.
“The two governments had reached important consensus on resolving the disputes in the border areas,” he said and referred to the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) which was signed last year to address aggressive patrolling of the disputed border by both sides.
An Indian officer on the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh. (TOI file photo)
Last October, both sides signed BDCA in which they reaffirmed the principle not to carry out respective military capabilities against each other and proposed confidence building measures, Geng said.
“For example to set up hotlines line between the two militaries and to conduct periodic meeting between the area command and operational departments and to exercise maximum restraint when a stand off occurs,” he said.
Both sides are currently making efforts to operationalize the BDCA.
Guests from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army attend a reception to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the founding of the PLA in Hong Kong. (Reuters photo)
Both sides conducted in-depth discussions on implementing BDCA on the ground during the visits of deputy chief of staff of PLA Wang Guanzhong to New Delhi this year followed by that of Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh here recently, he said.
The two militaries are in close contact to set up hotlines between their headquarters, Geng said.
India and China share over 4,000km of LAC. China claims approximately 90,000 sq km of territory in Arunachal Pradesh besides 38,000 sq km in Jammu & Kashmir sector.
(Source: Times of India August 1, 2014)
JIHADIS FORCE GOVT TO SET UP COUNTER-TERRORISM ACADEMY
NEW DELHI: In the backdrop of global terrorism knocking on India’s doors, the government is working on a proposal to set up India’s first ‘Counter-Terrorism Academy’ with an aim to redirect security establishment’s focus on training, research and forensics.
“The proposal is in the works. The academy would have a training wing, a centre for excellence in forensics and a think tank which would focus on research in internal security issues. We have no credible think tank in the country that focuses on internal security,” said a senior home ministry official.
The move is part of government’s larger effort to recalibrate counter-terrorism efforts in the face of challenges from outfits such as al-Qaida and ISIS apart from ever metamorphosing domestic outfits such as Indian Mujahideen and SIMI.
Sources in the ministry of home affairs said the proposal is being seriously thought over by the incumbent government and a series of meetings have already taken place.
A proposal encompassing this and several other measures that include massive investment in intelligence and data analytics infrastructure has also been sent to MHA by National Investigation Agency (NIA).
Touted as a ‘vision document’ by the agency, the proposal has drawn up a future plan for counter-terror apparatus in the country in general and NIA in particular. It has demanded a total of 10 NIA centres with new ones proposed at Delhi, Jammu, Patna and Bhopal.
Most importantly, in an attempt to chart a new course in terror investigations on the lines of US agencies, it has demanded significant investment in tools for database analysis, mapping terror trends, CCTV analysis and use of UIDAI in tracking domestic terrorists.
The agency has also demanded that transnational organized crime, such as fake currency and drugs smuggling, be brought under scheduled offences as they all are connected to terrorism. It has also asked for Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) to be enacted under a special law as is the case with many developed countries.
(Source: Times of India August 1, 2014)