Monday, September 21, 2009

Operation againsts Naxals on, 6 commandoes killed

Dantewada: Security personnel on Saturday recovered the bodies of six members of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)'s elite Commando
Battalion for Resolute Action (CoBRA) Battalion, including an Assistant Commandant, who went missing during Friday's major anti-Naxal operation in the dense forests of Chintagufa and Palachalma in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.

State Director General of Police Vishwa Ranjan told UNI over phone that combing operations had been stepped up in the entire forest area to flush out the Maoist militants from their hideouts.

Battalions of State Armed Police and CRPF constables were on the job, he said over phone from Delhi.

The martyred CRPF personnel were identified as Assistant Commandant Manoranjan Singh, Assistant Commandant Rajesh Chaurasia, Sub-Inspector Sushil Kumar Verma, Head Constable Lalit Kumar and Constables Manohar Lal and Udai Kumar.

The bodies were flown to state capital Raipur by a helicopter in presence of newly-appointed Special DIG Vijay Raman and other senior police officials, the sources said.

Mr Vijay Raman undertook an aerial inspection with Special Assistant Director General of Police Ramvilas Yadav of the spot of Friday's encounter in which 24 Maoists and six CRPF personnel were killed.

CRPF Inspector General of Police S Gill was to reach the site on Saturday, the reports said.

A large cache of explosives has been recovered from the spot.

Earlier, CoBRA battalion's Assistant Commandant Manoranjan Singh was killed and three other constables sustained bullet injuries as the security personnel launched a massive operation on Thursday night at a Naxal hideout and their arms factory in the forests, acting on intelligence inputs.

DGP Vishwa Ranjan, who rushed to Delhi on Saturday morning to discuss the issue with senior officials there, said three other CRPF constables, who sustained bullet injuries in the long gun battle, were out of danger.

Reiterating that nine Maoist rebels were gunned down in the joint operation of the security forces that lasted more than 12 hours, the DGP said police had recovered eight bodies from the encounter sites.

However, top police sources believed that more than 24 Maoist rebels were killed in the gun battles that took place at half-a-dozen places in the forest area bordering Andhra Pradesh.

The state had sealed its border with Andhra Pradesh since the operation began on Thursday night.

Mr Vijay Raman, who was sent to Chhattisgarh from Delhi only a day before the anti-Naxal operation was launched in this Naxal stronghold, was at present camping at Dantewada to supervise the entire operation, code named as Greyhunt Mission, police said.

The encounter was underway in another area and bodies of six insurgents found there were being taken to Konta, the reports said.

According to reports, police killed 24 Maoists and demolished their camp in the forests of Chintagufa in this district while taking part in the mission. However, six police personnel were also killed in the operation.

Police said a joint team of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Andhra Pradesh police were returning to the base after demolishing a camp of insurgents, 12 km from Chintagufa Police Station on Friday.

The team found a group of ultras in the way and started a gun battle killing six rebels while CRPF Assistant Commandant Manoranjan Singh also lost his life. Three police personnel were among those injured and five were reported missing. 

CRPF Company HQ Attacked

Srinagar, Sep 19-Militants attacked a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) company headquarter with automatic weapons in the south Kashmir district of Budgam.
However, no one was injured, official sources said here today.
They said militants opened fire from an unknown place towards headquarter of 130 battalion CRPF at Panzgam in south Kashmir late last night.
Security forces also retaliated but the militants managed to escape, they said adding no one was injured.
A CRPF spokesman Prabhakar Tripathi told UNI that stray firing shots were heard in the camp.
It was not immediately known from where the militants were firing, he said adding security forces later searched the nearby areas, including paddy fields but found nothing.

Navy backs Tejas with Rs 900 cr

Talk to navy fighter pilots about their air force counterparts and you cannot miss the message: air force pilots are pussycats… real fighter jocks fly from ships!

One of the most breathtaking sights in military aviation is a modern fighter landing on an aircraft carrier deck. Flying in at over 250 km per hour, it must halt within 100 metres, one-tenth the distance available to most land-based fighters. The pilot aims at a cable stretched across the landing area; a tail hook on the fighter’s rear fuselage catches the cable, effectively dragging the aircraft to a halt before it runs out of landing deck, subjecting the pilot to a deceleration 4.5 times the force of gravity.

It is called a THUMP-BASH technique. As the fighter thumps down onto the deck, the pilot bashes forward his throttle, revving up the engines to full power. It seems a crazy thing to do when trying to halt really quickly, but there’s a reason: if the tail hook misses all three arrestor cables, the fighter must have the power and speed to get airborne again before the end of the flight deck.

To hit the arrestor cables accurately, the pilot must descend steeply, hitting the deck twice as hard as his air force counterparts, who enjoy the luxury of levelling out at ground level, descending slowly till the wheels touch the runway.

“An arrested landing on an aircraft carrier is actually a controlled crash,” naval flight instructors invariably warn their cadets.

If it takes a Top Gun pilot to pull off such landings, it takes a superbly engineered aircraft to repeatedly absorb the stresses of these controlled crashes. The naval variant of India’s Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is poised to enter this challenging playing field. And its prospects have been boosted by the Indian Navy’s commitment to indigenisation.

Business Standard has learnt that the navy has okayed the placement of an order for six Naval LCAs. At an approximate cost of Rs 150 crore per aircraft, that will provide a Rs 900 crore infusion into the Naval LCA programme.

That investment in the Tejas programme is rooted in the navy’s plan to operate both light and medium fighters off its aircraft carriers. The Naval LCA will supplement the heavier Russian MiG-29K, which has already been ordered from Russia. The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC), being built at Cochin Shipyard, Kochi, has been designed with a separate aircraft lift and maintenance facilities for the LCA, in addition to facilities for the MiG-29K. That has linked the development of the Naval LCA with the construction of the IAC, which is expected to join the fleet by 2014.

But the LCA programme faces a bottleneck in choosing a new engine. Two uprated engines — the General Electric GE-414 and the Eurojet EJ-200 — are currently being evaluated, but will be supplied only by 2013-14. And only with the new engine will the LCA have the power to get airborne from an aircraft carrier.

P S Subramaniam, the Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency, which coordinates the LCA programme, explains: “We will fly the Naval LCA with the current GE-404 engine to test its flight characteristics, and whether its structural strength is sufficient for aircraft carrier operations. After the LCA is fitted with a new, more powerful engine we will take the next step of operating from an aircraft carrier.”

Meanwhile, a major shore-based test facility is coming up at INS Hansa, in Goa, which replicates an aircraft carrier deck on ground, complete with arrested recovery and a ski jump for take off. This facility, which is expected to be operational by October 2011, will be used for certifying the Naval LCA before actually flying off an aircraft carrier. This will also be used for pilots’ training and for training maintenance crews.

IAF's birds to display their prowess

MYSORE: The annual Indian Air Force show for Dasara crowd this edition will have war zone and metal birds performing low-altitude manoeuvres topped with the display of IAF's prowess in the sky.

The Surya Kiran and Sarang teams will be here to put to public display the world's fourth largest air force's calibre and perfection. The IAF, which is spending some Rs 12 crore for the show, is pulling out two of its best public performers for Dasara. The IAF has agreed to get Mysore the Sarang team while the decision on the number of aircrafts that will fly in Surya Kiran team will be taken on Monday.

Since the Air Force day is some two weeks away, the IAF has time to get Mysore what it sought since three years after the air show was introduced five years back. During earlier editions, the dates of two events clashed with each other forcing the IAF to postpone it. This edition too there were doubts since the Mysore airport runway could not handle the three HJT-16 Kiran aircrafts at a time. But the defense ministry gave its consent and the Surya Kiran will arrive here.

They will fly past and will not perform any acrobatics owing to fuel constraints, Dasara deputy special officer S Pallaiah explained on Sunday. The HJT-16 Krian aircrafts will take off from Yelahanka air base in Bangalore. The four-HAL Dhruvs Sarang team will perform here for the first time. The helicopters will operate from the Mysore airport and Infosys Mysore campus. The Sarang is headquartered in Bangalore while Surya Kiran team is based at Bidar air base. Another addition this season is Air Warrior drill team performance. Entry to the event is free.

The AIF is marching over half a dozen different types of aircrafts including a Jaguar, two Dorniers and two MIG-21 Bis at the show on Thursday. The deep penetration and fighter bomber aircraft Jaguar will fly past followed by IAF's transport ship AN-32 led by two Dorniers, which in aviation parlance is known as small boy formation. The battle scene will be created right at the middle of the ground with slithering operations, which stands for the combined operation of the IAF and Indian army. The Mi-8 copter will fly at a very low altitude when trained commandos descend on a simulated drop zone in military style and take their positions. The show will have Akash Ganga team descending from Mi-8 copter from an altitude of over 25,000 feet above the ground.

The show will start at 10 am on September 24 at Banni Mantap grounds and full dress rehearsals will be held on Tuesday.

The official requested the visitors not to bring eatables since it will create trouble for the exercise as it attracts birds to the venue. Eatables have been banned at the venue on both days of the show. Visitors can also take seats outside the grounds and witness the event. The visitors have been asked to be present before 9.30 am at the venue.

Army jawan commits suicide

JAMMU, Sept 19: An [Indian] army jawan allegedly committed suicide while another made a bid to end his life by consuming some poisonous substance in the city outskirts, here today.

The police spokesman said that one Army sepoy of 21 Grenadier died here at Army Hospital, Satwari after consuming poisonous substance in the unit in Sunjwan. It was reported that he had returned to his duty after attaining leave, two days back. He wanted to shift his family to Army quarters and during talks with his official, he started vomiting. The official rushed him to army hospital.

Doctors immediately provided stomach wash treatment followed by other medicare. Seeing his deteriorating condition, doctors shifted him to polyclinic where he breathed his last.

The deceased has been identified as Davinder Singh, son of Dalair Singh, resident of Bhopar, Khour in the Akhnoor tehsil.

The body was handed over the family members after post-mortem and other legal formalities.

Police has registered the case for inquest proceeding at Bathindi police post under section 174 CrPc.

Meanwhile, Naresh Kumar, son of Shanker Dass, resident of Sunderbani allegedly made attempt to commit suicide by consuming poisonous substance at his residence. He was immediately shifted to local hospital and later shifted to GMC, Jammu,

It was reported that he was responding to medicines when the last report came in.

Police has registered the case and initiated investigation.

Army trains state police to tackle Naxalites

BANGALORE: Concerned over the Red Brigade (Naxalites) spreading its tentacles across the country, the Indian Army has been sharing its expertise and training various state police forces to combat the Naxalites.

Colonel Commandant of the Madras Engineer Group (MEG), Major General Brajesh Kumar on Saturday told reporters that the sappers have been training the state police personnel and civil defence forces in tackling the Naxal movement which has been spreading its tentacles across the country especially south of Andhra Pradesh.

“ We have been sharing training personnel in handling Improvised Explosive Device (IED’s) and other areas where we have an expertise.

Various state government’s have approached us including Karnataka in the past and we are more than willing to help them,” he said.He added that the Sappers who have been an integral part of the relief operations after various natural disasters such as Tsunami, cyclones, earthquakes, railway accidents, floods etc have also been involved in training police and civil defence forces to tackle inland insurgency like the 26/11 and Mumbai attacks. On the rehabilitation efforts for the ex-sappers, he said “ We have a fully functional Rehabilitation Cell, where we attempt to provide gainful employment to these families along with retired personnel. Being engineers, our men are trained in some technical field. Around 65 per cent of our ex-servicemen are employed after retirement, we want it to be 100 per cent. I make a sincere appeal to the business houses to take these retiring service men who are fairly young in the 40-45 years age group, with an opportunity and in turn gain from their expertise.”

MEG’s 229th Anniversary celebration

The MEG which celebrated its 229th Anniversary in the city from September 16 to September 19, held a concluding Ceremonial Parade on Saturday.

Call of the Bugles, horse drawn carriages, and immaculately dressed soldiers comprised the parade of one of the finest regiments of the Indian Army.

Six contingents of smartly dressed soldiers, with blue Dooptas on their heads, gold and maroon coloured jari bands on their waists and spotless white spats on their boots, marched proudly to the tunes of the Pipes and Drums.

China working on a military plan against India?

New Delhi: A day after India downplayed the China threat, calling it a media creation, CNN-IBN has access to a confidential intelligence note that suggests that Beijing is acting on a definite military plan on the border.

“There is no mutually agreed or delineated line of actual control between the two countries,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said underscoring why intrusions take place.

According to the Government, no defined border exists and the armies of both countries follow a vague and illogical line where hostilities ceased in 1962.

But the perils of this situation cannot be minimised. A confidential intelligence note with CNN-IBN suggests the Chinese are working to an India centric plan:

In Arunachal Pradesh, the behaviour of Chinese troops has become more aggressive. Border pillars in some areas have been deliberately broken and bunkers have been built on the Indian side of the McMahon Line.

Opposite Sikkim's eastern border a new highway and permanent army structures have come up. Chinese forces are now positioned to cut the strategic Siliguri corridor in India in the event of hostilities.

A joint command of the Lanzhou Military Region opposite Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and the Chengdu Military Region opposite India's North-east have come up.

From Tibet, China can airlift 20,000 troops to anywhere along the frontiers with India in two hours.

By comparison the infrastructure in India's north-east remains poor. A key highway in Arunachal Pradesh has only now received environment clearance. In Ladakh, the pace of road construction linking key points along the Line of Actual Control is laggard and Chushul remains without an all-weather road link.

The only silver lining here is that hostilities of any kind could rebound on China. It would confirm suspicions about Beijing's intentions and reinforce moves in South-East and North-East Asia to form powerful new coalitions against the expansion of Chinese power. 

Terror fear? Victoria leader cancels Mumbai trip


SYDNEY: The premier of Australian state of Victoria John Brumby has cancelled his planned trip to Mumbai during his coming visit to India over fears of terrorism, media reports said Sunday.

The premier’s office released a statement on Sunday that Brumby would spend more time in Delhi and not go ahead with the earlier planned Sep 23-24 trip to Mumbai. The change was made following travel advice from the country’s department of foreign affairs (DFAT).

The foreign affairs department in its updated travel advice to India said on Friday: “Credible information indicates that terrorists may be planning further attacks in Mumbai, including at places frequented by tourists, in September or October 2009.”

“We continue to receive reporting of possible threats against prominent business and tourist locations, including in Mumbai and New Delhi,” it adds.

DFAT’s overall travel advisory for India urges Australian visitors to exercise “a high degree of caution”.

Russia will complete MiG-29 upgradation by 2013

MOSCOW: Russia will complete the upgradation of Indian Air Force's 60 MiG-29 fighters by 2013 which will extend their service life by another 15 years. 

"The implementation of the contract signed between India and Russia started last year, and it will be fulfilled in 2013," a defence source was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. 

Under the contract signed last year, Russia's RAC MiG aircraft corporation will upgrade over 60 MiG-29 fighters, in service with the IAF since the 1980s and service life of the aircraft will be extended from 25 to 40 years. 

The contract also stipulates the construction of MiG consignment depots and service centres in India to resolve the problem of timely supply of spares and after sale services, as well as flight simulators for pilot training. 

The upgrade MiG-29s will be fitted with advanced avionics, new multi-functional Zhuk-ME radars, a new weapon control system, as well as modernised RD-33 engines. 

According to defence official quoted by the agency, first four Indian MiG-29 fighters are being modernised and flight-tested in Russia and the remaining aircraft will be overhauled in India with the Russian technical assistance.

IIM, IIT professors oppose HRD proposals on pay hike, autonomy

NEW DELHI: IIM and IIT professors are up in arms and have come together for the first time to reject the latest proposals of the Human Resource Development ministry on pay scales and autonomy describing them as "infringement" on academic freedom. 

The faculties of IITs and IIMs are working on a joint charter of demands to be handed to Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal that includes better hikes and more autonomy. 

"It is for the first time that IIT professors and IIM professors are sitting down together to discuss what is there in the Sixth Pay Commission and how it is affecting us," according to Dr Bharat Sheth, a professor at IIT Mumbai. 

The IIM-A faculty council has already met in Ahmedabad on Saturday and opposed the HRD ministry's order on pay structure and asked the institute director to delay its implementation by a month, before future course of action is decided by them. 

"Faculty council has termed the recent Union HRD ministry orders on pay structure as infringement on academic freedom, and has asked the institute director to postpone its implementation by a month," a senior faculty council member and IIM-A professor said after the council's meeting voicing disappointment. 

The Council voiced its disappointed at the response of the HRD ministry to the memorandum seeking a pay hike that IIM and IIT professors had earlier submitted to the ministry. IIM (A) also decided to take up the issue with other IIMs and IITs and premier institutions like the IISc Bangalore.

Musharraf rewarded Pak militant who slit throat of Indian officer

ISLAMABAD: Ilyas Kashmiri, a militant commander who fought in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s and is believed to have been killed in a recent US drone attack, was once rewarded by Pervez Musharraf for "slitting the throat" of an Indian Army officer in 2000, a media report said. 

Kashmiri, a commander of the Harkat-ul-Jehad al-Islami, was reportedly killed in a drone attack in North Waziristan last week. 

He also served in the elite Special Service Group, a commando unit of the Pakistan Army, and was deputed by the military to train Afghan mujahideen fighting the Russian Army in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s, The News daily reported. 

On February 26, 2000, Kashmiri reportedly conducted a guerrilla operation against the Indian Army in Nakyal sector after crossing the LoC with 25 militants. He surrounded a bunker and threw grenades inside. 

"He was able to kidnap an injured Indian officer whose throat he later slit, the report said. Kashmiri came back to Pakistan with the head of the Indian officer and presented it to top army officials, including then army chief Gen Musharraf, who gave him a cash award of Rs 1 lakh," the report said. 

Pictures of Kashmiri with the head of the dead Indian officer in his hands were published in some Pakistani newspapers and he became very important among militants, the report said.

Well-prepared to counter terror strikes: Narayanan

NEW DELHI: National Security Adviser M K Narayanan held out a veiled warning of a repeat of a 26/11-type terror strike, but said the country was better prepared to deal with such a situation, having drawn lessons from the earlier attack. 

He made the remarks when asked during a television interview on Saturday how seriously he was scared that there could be a second major Mumbai like strike on India. “Here you are asking me a question that I live in almost daily dread that something that I am looking at or the home minister P Chidambaram. The home minister takes a daily meeting at which I am also present and when he is not there I take that meeting.” 

“We get so many pieces of intelligence which pass across our table, many you can sort of weed out, but as I said there are quite a few which if they are not able to nip it in bud can turn dangerous. However, it is difficult to say whether we will have another Mumbai because I think we are better prepared perhaps for that kind of situation, but it could be quite serious.” 

Mr Narayanan’s concerns come within days of a warning from Israel’s counter-terror unit about jihadi outfits planning to carry out more attacks across India, especially at sites with a large concentration of Western and Israeli tourists. It suggested the strikes could be orchestrated by Lashker-e-Toiba, which had attacked Mumbai. The travel advisory said the warning was based on a “concrete and very serious threat” to Israelis in India. A leaked copy of the advisory said the potential attackers had Al Qaeda links. 

A week ago, the US issued a travel advisory cautioning its citizens about the possibility of terrorist attacks in India during the festival season as well as the period surrounding the commemoration of the September 11 terror attacks. 

Asked if Pakistan scared him, Mr Narayanan said: “Pakistan may not scare me, but some of Pakistan’s actions scare us, because I don’t think this really adds to anything except creating problems for us.” He said Pakistan’s FIR against Hafiz Saeed did not add any credibility to its commitment to act against the Mumbai accused. Mr Narayan’s view is apparently not in sync with that of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who on Friday hailed the Pakistani police’s action against Saeed as a “good step”. 

“If you take the Saeed dossier that has been provided to Pakistan, I think we have marshaled what I would call Grade 1 evidence. You have the evidence from three people, three human beings, three admittedly terrorists — Kasab, Fahim Ansari, Soharabuddin — who talked of what Saeed had talked to them, what he had said, etc. This is apart from other connecting evidence. I agree one can never be assure what a court would do with that kind of evidence, but if you are not even willing to test that it certainly leaves in our mind a big question mark about where Pakistan stands on terrorism,” Mr Narayanan said.