Monday, August 17, 2009

Important Gossips....

1. Former Army Deputy Chief Gen Satish Nambiar and Vice Admiral A K Singh have reportedly blamed the IAS for delay in the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Staff.

2. 10 DIG level IPS posts have now gone to the Para-Military forces in the Government of India.

Source : Whispers in Corridors

The youth and the Uniform

A FEW weeks back, the Indian army along with the rest of the nation paid homage to the brave martyrs of the Kargil War. The occasion was the tenth anniversary of Indian victory over Pakistani military insurgence. A report by one of the television channels had relatives of a few martyrs who pledged to send their children to the army and protect the motherland. While these words sound exceedingly appropriate with the bagpipe notes in the background and successfully touch the chords of the average armchair patriot, the reality seems to be a little different.

Defense services, say the army has always carried the connotations of bravery, greatness, glory and a high level of patriotism. The Indian film industry has left no stone unturned to establish the same. Be it JP Dutta’s Border, or Farhan Akhtar’s Lakshya, (both very different in treatment and approach) made heroes out of army men. However, in spite of all the hero worship and the words of glory, the youth doesn’t quite look at the Army (the fourth largest in the world) as a viable career option.

In the year 2008, the Indian army faced a dire shortage of officers. While the Indian Military Academy enlisted only 86 trainee officers, there was room for 250 in total. So, where is the appeal gone missing? Where is the fanfare and patriotism? Does that imply that the youth is not patriotic, or that it doesn’t take the army as the only (or may be any) option to express its patriotic feelings? Like every other government run sector, the army too has had to lose possible recruits to private firms.

But are money and material possessions the only incentives for young India to turn away from Defense? Another bit of statistics would reveal that 62 out of 148 graduates who passed a separate military entrance test opted out preferring jobs in the private sector. What is still more worrying is that nearly 3,000 mid-level commanders sought early retirement. Thus, the exit process has been two way. However, according to the army Chief, the quality of the ones freshly applying is below expectation. While the army is not ready to compromise on quality, one might ask where the true soldier has vanished?

Let us look at it from the point of view of an everyday college graduate. In the times of MBAs and MNCs, where within four semesters the pay package offered is unbelievable and the perks attached only make life more comfortable, a solitary army life, difficult training period and comparatively insignificant salary in most cases do not stand a chance in a personal choice. While one has to wait for at least ten years to be promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, private sector promises quicker hikes, which are performance based. In fact, most of the officers who opt out of the army enlist in one of the business schools. The facts are indeed alarming.

What is poignant here is that pay packages just form a part of the whole problem. In the recent years, army has attracted a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons. Corruption, lack of transparency, stringent hierarchy, imbalance in lifestyle compared to a civilian life, suicide, harassment (both sexual and otherwise) show the darker side of an otherwise impeccable trade. Living alone, away from friends and family in some of the most hostile of Indian terrains has a mental strain. Top it up with a high handed senior and you got a fratricide or a suicide. In 2006, the then Chief of Army staff General JJ Singh stated that on an average the army reports a hundred suicide a year.

The year 2009 has seen a total of 41 suicides/fratricides in the army till date. In spite of many stress relieving measures taken by the government, the death toll in on the rise. Recently, Defense Minister AK Anthony owned up to eleven case of sexual harassment in the army in the last five years. These figures are the ones reported and are just a scratch on the surface. Woman officers are a relatively new inclusion in the Indian army. The year 2006 saw two woman officers taking their lives. Lt Sushmita Chakraborty and Maj Sobha Rani shot themselves for reasons unknown.

In the times when globalisation is on a final rung of evolution and varied professions claim majority of the young population, such incidents not only question the credibility of a defense life but also take away the glamour. However, there are many a brave hearts that still look up to the institution with respect and join it to be a part of the legacy. For them the salary and the perks do not stand up to the thrill and the pride of being a soldier does. It is for that handful that the poet wrote:

“Theirs not to reason why
Theirs but to do and die”

(The Charge of the Light Brigade, Alfred Tennyson)

Source : MeriNews

Latest News

India PM warns of fresh attacks

Indian PM Manmohan Singh says his government has "credible information" that Pakistan-based militants are plotting fresh attacks in India.

Mr Singh urged the country's security forces to stay on high alert to avert any such attacks.
India has announced a number of plans to boost its security after last November's deadly attacks in Mumbai.
More than 170 people died in various attacks across Mumbai on 26 November, including nine gunmen.
Mr Singh told a meeting on internal security in the capital, Delhi, that the government had information of fresh attacks being planned.

"There is credible information of ongoing plans of terrorist groups in Pakistan to carry out fresh attacks," he told a meeting of state chief ministers.

"After Mumbai attacks, we have put in place additional measures. There is a need for continued utmost vigilance," Mr Singh said.

The prime minister said all states need to share intelligence information "to avert any terror attack".
Mr Singh said cross-border terrorism remained a "most pervasive threat".

The federal and state governments have planned several security measures following the Mumbai attacks.
Mumbai and Hyderabad have already been allocated their first dedicated elite security force headquarters.
More such security task force hubs are proposed in Jodhpur and Guwahati, to ensure that the whole country is covered.

For Police : States not doing enough...

NEW DELHI: Home minister P Chidambaram on Monday expressed regret that the state governments had not done enough to stregthenthe police force and to improve intelligence-sharing, which he said were key to fight the security challenges India faces.

"We had circulated a questionnaire to the state governments requesting them to indicate the present status under a number of heads and on a number of issues. I regret to point out that the response from the states is far from satisfactory," Chidambaram said in his address to the internal security
conference attended by chief ministers here.

The home minister said the police reforms "have not received the attention they deserve" despite Supreme Court directions in that regard.

"I regret to point out that many state governments have not yet constituted the Police Establishment Board. Nor have they fully complied with the other directions," Chidambaram said.

The situation of vacant posts in police is "quite alarming", he added.

The home minister said that the setting up of the Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) and (state-level)-MACs had made intelligence-sharing better but "there is scope for more improvement".

The MAC, tasked to collect intelligence in real time and optimise intelligence flow between different agencies, was made operational in January this year after the terror attacks in November.

He added that the state governments needed to raise and deploy their own Special Intervention Units (SIUs) and Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) in as many cities as possible even as four National Security Guard (NSG) hubs have been set up in the country.

The central government had suggested that the states raise a State Industrial Security Force on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and "I would request the state governments to respond to the suggestion", the minister said.

Stressing that the government was focussing on coastal security and border management, Chidamabaram regretted that the construction of coastal police stations, outposts and check posts as well as border outposts (BoPs) was going on at a "slow pace".

CISF Medal Issue..


CISF to give relief to parents of martyrs as well

To avoid possible legal wrangles between wives of deceased jawans and their in-laws over compensation money, the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has for the first time awarded compensation to the parents of jawans who died fighting Maoists in Navratna PSU Nalco's bauxite mines in Koraput district in April this year.

On April 12, over 400 Maoists armed with sophisticated weapons launched simultaneous attacks on the CISF's fire station barrack, mines barrack, its main gate control room and the explosive magazine of Nalco at the Panchpatmali bauxite hilltop in Damanjodi area of Koraput district.

Though outnumbered, the CISF jawans stationed there fought bravely for more than eight hours foiling the rebels' plan of looting industrial explosives from the warehouse.

During the fight, CISF lost 10 of its jawans -- sub-inspector Subas Chandra Pradhan, constable Barun Paramanik, constable Bidhan Maji, constable Solanki Kirtan Kumar, constable Potupureddi Appanna, constable Lalit Kumar, head constable Bhagirath Singh, head constable A. Sarmah, constable Sarbjeet Singh and constable V K Singh.


LeT militant killed in Pulwama

A militant was killed in a gunbattle with a joint team of J-K Police and Army in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The slain militant, a resident of Tral, was associated with Pakistan-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT).
J-K Police said the joint team launched an operation at Aarmullah village of Pulwama after specific inputs about the presence of militants there. As the security forces tried to cordon off the area, the militant opened fire from a house and the joint team retaliated. The fierce battle between the holed-up militant and the joint team of police and Army lasted more than two hours and ended with the death of the militant. Police sources said two soldiers were also injured in the encounter.
The police have identified the slain militant as Jan Mohammad Ahnagar alias Hamza, a resident of Buchoo village in Tral. They said he was associated with the LeT.

'Ready for militant struggle for T-cause'

HYDERABAD: TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao on Sunday raised the pitch for separate Telangana to a new high by asserting that the party would not

hesitate to opt for militant struggle to achieve its goal.

Addressing in the inaugural session of the training program of the newly-appointed constituency in-charges, Chandrashekar Rao said that the party will concentrate on building the Telangana movement. "The elections are political process and there will be victory and defeats but the movements never die. If needed, the party will not hesitate to go in for the militant struggle," said KCR.

Denying that the separate Telangana movement was dying, KCR said "very few people who have fallen in the trap of Congress agree with this view."

Stating that the defeat of TRS in the recent elections was because of lack of workers at the grassroot level, KCR advised the constituency in-charges to regularly meet the people in the villages and to be in touch with them. He said that the party leaders should spend at least six days and nights in a month in the villages, to know the problems faced by the people. The party will start "Pallebata" and "Pallenidra" program for the purpose, he added.

He asked the party leaders to mobilise the student and working class people to the movement.

KCR claimed that he has changed his life style and added that from now on he will come to the party office at 11 am and will be taking lunch in the office and will be meeting with the district party leaders at 2 pm. He said that the any party leader can approach him directly.

KCR said that the party will take up the issue of water for Telangana district. He said that severe injustice was done to Mahabubnagar district in releasing water. The district should get 54 TMC of water from Beema, Jurala and Rajolibanda projects but only 10 TMC is released causing injustice. He said that the government should lift water from Srisailam and should supply it to the SRSP seeing the drought condition. He said that the party will take up agitations for providing water to the Telangana districts from the Godavari river.

Naveen warns Naxals on I-Day
;Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, 16 AUG: Issuing a stern warning to the Left-wing extremists, chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik said that Maoists are anti-national and they do not adhere to any policies or ideologies.
Taking salute at the Independence Day parade here yesterday, Mr Patnaik said that the state government would take stern steps against the Maoists.
He went on to note that his government had started recruiting tribal youths as special police officers to tackle the Naxal problem.
Highlighting achievements of his government, Mr Patnaik said that uplift of tribals was the prime focus of his government and in order to educate tribal girls, 1,000 girls hostels with facilities to accommodate one lakh girl students would be constructed during the current fiscal.
He underscored the rapid strides taken by the state in the industrial, agriculture and other allied sectors. “In 50 years we produced only two million ton steel in the state but over the last 10 years we have added another 10 million ton,” he said.
Agriculture is the mainstay of our economy and the agriculture policy has encouraged farmers, he claimed while adding that irrigation potential had been increased considerably over the last five years.
By 2012 all villages would be electrified, he said. With regard to women upliftment, he said that Mission Shakti had enabled over 84 lakh women members to join the SHG movement.
For the youths of the state, he said the Self Employment Mission had been established to enhance employability and provide self-employment opportunities.
The target of establishing one ITI in each block of the state would also help boys to get trained, he said.

New Delhi, August 16
The chief ministers’ conference on internal security, scheduled for tomorrow, will assess the level of preparedness to counter terrorism and other security threats and is expected to be a stormy affair. The meet, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will also review the steps taken to bolster the capability of security forces to meet internal security challenges as also the preparedness for rebuffing any terrorist attacks.

The conference will focus on operational preparedness of the ‘quick response’ teams, strengthening the states’ special branches and intelligence wings, steps to tackle the counterfeit currency menace, draw up guidelines for security at places with large footfalls, police reforms and better police-community interaction besides issues concerning border management. Coastal security including operationalisation of new interceptor boats will also be taken up.
At a separate session issues related to left-wing extremism will be discussed by CMs of seven Naxal-affected states - Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and West Bengal, who will interact with the home minister. The contours of the new force that is to be set up for areas hit by the Naxal insurgency are likely to emerge.
The daylong meet will also take stock of implementation of the decisions taken at the last chief ministers’ conference held on January 6.

Surgical Strikes against Naxals soon

New Delhi, August 16
The government is in the final stages of preparation for the launch of its "surgical" offensive against the Naxals, for which specialised training will be imparted to BSF and ITBP personnel soon.

"Specialised training for BSF and ITBP personnel will begin soon. The focus would be on surgical operations and better intelligence," sources in the home ministry said.
"The already trained men will have to undergo further training which includes topography familiarisation, besides, more gruelling on guerrilla warfare and courses on improvised explosive devices, which cause maximum casualty to the forces in Naxal areas," they said.
So far, the CRPF is the only main Central force along with the police forces from the affected states fighting against the menace. While the BSF had dealt with Naxals long ago, it would be for the first time that ITBP personnel would be facing the Left-wing extremists.
The home ministry sources said five battalions (5,000 personnel) of the BSF and four battalions of the ITBP have been shortlisted for the new offensive against the Naxals, which they believe will be a long-drawn fight against Left-wing extremism.
However, the sources did not indicate the time for the launch of the offensive.
The government has earmarked an additional 24 battalions of the Central paramilitary forces which includes some from the CRPF.
The additional CRPF battalions, the sources said, would be made available by tactical withdrawal of its personnel from areas other than those which are Naxal infested.
The Centre's offensive against the Naxals would not just be purely militarily but would also involve its civil arms to work for the welfare of the people, the sources said.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address to the nation on the 63ed Independence Day, had said the Centre will "redouble its efforts to deal with Naxalite activities." "We will also do more to ensure better coordination among states," he added.
Slamming Maoist violence, Singh said, "Those who think that they can seize power by recourse to the gun do not understand the strength of our democracy."
On August 17, the Prime Minister will chair a meeting of chief ministers organised by the Union Home Ministry on internal security where Naxalism would be one of the primary issues.
Later, a meeting is also scheduled between Home minister P Chidambaram and chief ministers of the seven most Naxal-infested states -- Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra -- to discuss the new strategy. PTI
Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar had in June visited Jharkhand along with about 12 secretaries of various central ministries and held a series of meetings besides visiting a number of affected areas.
Sources said as per the plan, there would be coordinated offensives against the Naxals which would be led by the newly set up elite force CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action). — PTI

Flu symptoms slow Aishwarya

Mumbai, Aug. 16: Actor Aishwarya Rai is down with a “chest infection” and “flu like symptoms”, leaving her father-in-law Amitabh Bachchan worried.
The 35-year-old actress who was shooting with husband Abhishek Bachchan in Ooty for the upcoming Mani Ratnam film Ravana is down with the illness, Bachchan who is in Singapore tending to politician Amar Singh wrote in his blog.
“Aishwarya has taken ill and is down with chest infection and flu-like symptoms. Had a high fever on Saturday but is settling down,” wrote Bachchan.
“It’s worrying to be so far away from children and not be there to look after them. Yes, they are mature and married and responsible, but children will always remain children,” Bachchan added.
The 66-year-old veteran also complained that he has been suffering from a “strained back.”

CJI: Judges will heed assets law

New Delhi
Aug. 16: With the question of pending judicial cases coming up in a major way at the conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts here Sunday, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, asked the chief justices to fill up the huge vacancies of judges in the country’s High Courts.

He also announced that the government had decided, on the advice of the Chief Justice of India, to establish 71 more fast-track CBI special courts across the country. Dr Singh said these courts “should conduct their business differently and faster than normal courts. Only with these shall we be able to tackle the pendency in cases.”

“The existing vacancies in High Courts is still high and needs to be filled up... I appeal to the chief justices of high courts to initiate proposals for quickly filling up these posts,” he said and pointed out that vacancies in subordinate court level comprised 20 to 25 per cent of the subordinate judicial posts. “Almost 3,000 posts of judges are vacant because of the delay in recruitment. All the posts at the subordinate level need to be filled up without any further loss of time,” he said.

Speaking to reporters after the day-long conference, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan made it clear that if Parliament were to pass a law on the declaration of judges’ assets, the judiciary would “implicitly” accept Parliament’s will and abide by such a law.

On appointment of judges. he said, “Though we have accepted the Shetty Committee recommendations on the All-India Judicial Services, so far no decision has been taken.” The Union law minister, Mr M. Veerappa Moily, said the Gram Nyalayayas would be operationalised as 90 per cent of the states want to implement it at the panchayat level.

Time for action, not words

Arun Nehru

The political honeymoon is over for the UPA Government. The poor monsoon and its effect on the economy will take some time to be fully understood. The Government’s skill in managing this crisis is crucial. We will no doubt have a fair amount of doom and gloom situation as everyone with a negative bias towards the Government will tend to exaggerate the crisis. According to current indications, our GDP growth rate may drop from 6.5 per cent to six per cent, while agriculture output may go down by five per cent and trigger shortages that could be artificially aggravated. In such a scenario price rise is inevitable. On the supply side, marginal farmers will be worst hit. Increased Government expenditure in the drought-ravaged areas is inevitable and this will certainly be a strain on our resources.

The Government should take a positive approach to deal with the situation. We have had two super harvests before this and the Government, at least in theory, has a large stockpile of food grains. Therefore, we should have no shortages of either rice or wheat, while shortages in edible oil and any other food product can be mitigated through imports. It is unfortunate that when a crisis is upon us, then we start thinking of possible solutions. But good governance demands that we be prepared for such crises beforehand. The Government and we as responsible citizens can start acting in a meaningful manner by harvesting water, storing and recycling wherever possible and by initiating cost effective measures such as avoiding wastage of water and electricity in industry and our homes.

There is always the possibility of the monsoon picking up in late August and September but media reports indicate that the predictions on the El Nino effect from the US Climate Center are not very good. I wonder why we cannot have an accurate forward projection on this from our Met Department. The media reporting has been very patchy and this is primarily because the data it is given is rather vague.

We are generally good in dealing with crisis situations as we have faced many before. But there is a difference between dealing with a situation with an action plan already in hand and reacting in panic. We have dealt with droughts before. It is time we develop a proper response system to them.

On the other hand, the Government must take ruthless measures against black-marketers and hoarders and use every law in the book to punish them. We can already see an upward trend in the prices of essential commodities as the demand and supply ratio is being negatively affected by news of a weak monsoon. The Government will have to display a great deal of deft in releasing buffer stocks of wheat and rice to prevent their prices from increasing. The Union Minister for Food and Agriculture, Mr Sharad Pawar, will have much to do. Hopefully, cricket is not going to be a priority for him in 2009. Politics for the next couple of months will take a backseat and we must wish the Governments both at the Centre and in the States well as they tackle the drought situation.

The H1N1 or swine flu epidemic has been creating news in recent weeks. I think the Government has done well in controlling the initial situation. But things can get worse in the coming months. There is little need to panic and in all probability there will be enough medicines available both in Government and private hospitals to deal with the spreading flu. However, we have to be on our guard and monitor the situation on a daily basis. The media, both print and electronic, have repeatedly highlighted the precautions that people should take against the flu, which is good. A certain degree of panic is being created by the unfortunate deaths from H1N1 in Pune and Mumbai, and a clear picture is necessary to prevent identical action being taken in other cities to tackle the flu. Shutting down schools and colleges is something no country affected by swine flu has done.

Meanwhile, the Shopian rape and murder case in Jammu & Kashmir has been transferred to the CBI, as has the fake encounter case in Dehradun where over a dozen policemen were allegedly involved in the killing. Hopefully, in both cases the culprits will be convicted at the earliest and given the maximum possible sentence. The Manipur encounter incident too deserves our immediate attention. It is good to see a great deal of accountability surfacing in these cases of human right violations. Insurgency is never easy to tackle and employing the paramilitary forces to insurgency-hit areas leads to a great deal of physical and mental fatigue for the jawans stationed there. This can lead to excesses taking place. The images from the Manipur encounter that we have seen on television do little credit to the Chief Minister of the State and there definitely has to be a greater sense of urgency in dealing with the situation.

71 CRPF personnel honoured on Independence Day

PNS | New Delhi

As many as 71 CRPF personnel were awarded with Medals on Independence Day eve on Friday, including one Inspector General and 21 Deputy Inspectors General.

Seventeen personnel were recognised for their valour and have been awarded with Police Medal for Gallantry, including head constable/criver Kunjumohan C who got this award posthumously for his courageous performance in a fatal ambush in Manipur.

Assistant Commandant SN Singh and four constables Ajay Kumar, Santosh Kumar, Gulab Singh and Balram were also decorated with Police Medal for Gallantry for their gallant shown in an encounter with Maoists at Ambatari village of Hazaribagh district in Jharkhand.

While five officers were awarded with Police Medal for Distinguished Service, including Inspector General Rajesh Pratap Singh, 49 other personnel of the paramilitary were enlisted for Police Medal for Meritorious Service.

Head constable/driver Kunjumohan C who was awarded posthumously had shown exemplary courage and drove the vehicle he was driving to a safe place even after being hit by bullet.

The fatal incident was reported earlier this year between milestone 21 and 22 on National Highway-53 near Khonglong village of Senapati district in Manipur.

While negotiating a ‘S’ turn between milestone 21 ad 22, one of the bullets hit Kunjumohan but in spite of the grievous injury on his abdomen and profuse bleeding, he managed to keep his cool and drive the vehicle from ambush site to a safe place on the hillside.

Chandrayaan-2 mission design complete

PTI | Bangalore

India has completed the design of Chandrayaan-2, its next mission to the moon — this time in collaboration with Russia — that would have a lander and rover which can collect samples of the lunar soil and analyse them and send back the data.

“Right now, the design has been completed. We had a joint review with Russian scientists here,” Chairman of ISRO, G Madhavan Nair said.

According to the Bangalore-headquartered space agency, the Chandrayaan-2 mission would have an orbital flight vehicle constituting an Orbital Craft (OC) and a Lunar Craft (LC) that would carry a soft landing system up to Lunar Transfer Trajectory.

The target location for the lander-rover would be identified using data from instruments of Chandrayaan-1, India’s own and first unmanned mission to the Moon launched on October 22 last year. While ISRO will be developing the orbiter, it will be Russia’s job to make the lander and rover. Additional scientific payloads would be acquired from international scientific community.

“Next (now that design has been completed) we will go towards prototype building, which will be taken up next year,” Nair, also secretary in the Department of Space, said.

Nair said ISRO has learnt plenty of lessons from Chandrayaan-1 mission, particularly on the thermal and redundancy management fronts and would seek to improve systems in Chandrayaan-2, slated towards the end of 2012.

New headache for cops: Women ultras

Bhubaneswar: Women Maoists in Andhra Pradesh are training their Orissa counterparts to make them "potent weapons" against police, say officers involved in anti-Maoist operations on the Orissa-Andhra border.

With support from Andhra cadres, the number of women extremists in Orissa is swelling and this could become a headache for CRPF, Andhra Police as well as Orissa Police in the coming days.

The development came to light when police gunned down three women Maoists in the dense forest of Rayagada district in Orissa last week. All three were in uniform and carrying sophisticated weapons. They, with male comrades, provided a lot of resistance to special commandos. "The three women Maoists who were gunned down were from Andhra," south-western DIG Sanjeeb Panda said, adding that in tribal society, women played a dominant role and they were doing the same in the Maoist rebellion as well.

Admitting the influence of Andhra women Maoists on those in Orissa, inspector general of police (operations) Sanjeev Marik said Andhra women cadres were teaching Orissa women Maoists different tricks.

"New women recruits are used tactfully. Most of these innocent women are operated on for family planning without their knowledge. They can marry, but not without prior permission of the central committee of Maoists and with riders. Those who defy are punished," he said, adding, "Such is their influence in the area that they have asked villagers in Malkangiri district to send their daughters for Maoist activities."

Another police officer said, "Women Maoists are almost as skilled and dangerous as their male counterparts. In fact, they are more trustworthy and seldom desert the organisation." As per a strategy, women cadres have been spilt into two groups - one gathers intelligence and cooks foods, while the other carries out attacks on state machinery. Those who gather intelligence are disguised as beggars or wood collectors and roam the streets with their children. They conduct reconnaissance and help zero in on targets for attacks.

"In the Nayagraha and Korapur armoury loots, women Maoists played a major role," a senior police office said, adding that it was difficult to identify tribal women Maoists. "Their innocent faces betray you."

Maoists have a system for recruiting girl spies. They identify families where parents are unable to provide a square meal to children and pick up a girl with a revolutionary mind. Women fighters are mostly from families who sympathise with Maoists.

Banned outfits bhai-bhai is the new Maoist mantra

Kolkata: Following in the footsteps of national parties who have been tying up with regional outfits to get the numbers in parliament, Maoists, who have been largely pushed underground after the central ban, are forming alliances with other banned outfits to extend base beyond strongholds.

The process has begun in West Bengal, where CPI(Maoist) has announced tie-ups with Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJi) and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).
HuJi will help the red brigade expand base in districts bordering Bangladesh, such as Nadia, Murshidabad, South 24 Parganas and North 24 Parganas, which are strengths of the Islamic rebels. Similarly, KLO will help CPI(Maoist) in north Bengal.

While the understanding with HuJi is informal and reciprocal, the one with KLO is official, with the Maoists floating a new party, Communist Organisation for North Bengal (Conb), with it.

The proclaimed overground CPI(Maoist) spokesman Ratan Roy said the governing body of Conb will have 11 members who will work to spread the organisation in north Bengal. "Conb's prime task will be to unite farmers and tribals against acquisition of farmland and forest land for industry," he said.

The Maoists' association with HuJi, on the other hand, will be an underground affair. Its main purpose is to ensure smooth supply and exchange of arms and explosives, development of secret shelters in Indo-Bangladesh bordering districts and setting up local units beyond strongholds Bankura, Puruliya and West Midnapore.

The CPI(Maoist) secretary for West Bengal, Kanchan, confirmed to DNA from his underground location that such alliance attempts will continue in future too. "We have started it in West Bengal. Slowly, the process will begin in other states as well," he said, adding that since the so-called democratic parties had united to combat Maoists, alliances were the need of the hour for the ultras.

Police sources, however, said the association between Maoists and HuJi was not new. A senior state police officer said HuJi had been for long procuring the deadly explosive Neogel-90 from Maoists in exchange for sophisticated arms received from underground outfits in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

IG (Intelligence) G Dutt said overground or underground, police will not allow any such joint activity in Bengal. "Maoists are banned throughout India. We will not allow them to undertake any activity in Bengal."

IAF Plan to Complete Flight trials within a Year

K.V. Prasad

Stability, control, range and endurance are some of the factors that will be considered

For the first time, the IAF will work out the cost of ownership of each aircraft

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force plans to conclude within a year the flight evaluation and performance trials of all six competitors vying to bag its order for 126 Medium Multi Range Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

It will then present its assessment of each aircraft to the government.

The IAF has drawn up an elaborate schedule to test the efficacy of the aircraft on three counts: operational, systems and armaments, IAF officers familiar with the process said here. The MMRCA is expected to serve the country for the next three decades with periodic upgrades.

The process took off with Boeing flying in F/A-18 Super Hornets, along with a team of 50 personnel for the trials in Bangalore. The aircraft will also be tested at Leh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jaisalmer and Rajasthan. The firing and weapons testing will be done at the manufacturer’s home country.

The other competitors are Anglo-Swedish Gripen, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper, Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian United Aircraft Corporation’s MiG 35 and French Dassault Aviation’s Rafale.

The officers said the technical proposal, which formed part of the process, specified how each vendor would have to meet the Service Qualitative Requirements (SQR) mentioned in the Request for Proposal issued last year before the IAF started technical evaluation.

Stability, control, safety issues, range and endurance are some of the factors that will be considered during the flight and performance evaluation.

The exercise also involves testing the systems on board such as radar, navigation equipment, self-defence suites and electronic warfare devices. Armaments will be tested in the final phase.

For the first time, the IAF will work out the cost of ownership of each aircraft. This means evaluating factors such as the life of the engine, the cost of overhaul/replacement of engine and the cost to maintain these aircraft by establishing ground support.

“It is a multi-faceted evaluation that includes flight-test pilots, flight-test engineers and operational pilots and engineers. We do not compare one aircraft with another, but evaluate against its ability to meet our requirements and arrive at a through and methodical conclusion. There are no extra points for anyone crossing the minimum [SQR] requirements,” the officials said.