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Thursday, November 26, 2009

IAF rescues over 1300 people stranded in Kashmir Valley

In a relentless effort the Indian Air Force (IAF) rescued over 1300 civilians between Srinagar and Kargil.
Snowfall during the past week had led to the closure of Zozilla Pass preventing the transit of local population between Kargil and Srinagar.
On a request from the Jammu and Kashmir Government, the IAF pressed two of its IL-76 aircrafts from the Western Air Command into the service.
On Tuesday, the two aircraft piloted by Wing Commander Deepak and Wing Commander Narula flew six sorties between Leh and Srinagar in a relentless effort to airlift the stranded civilians. (ANI) 

Security beefed up in Bangalore

Bangalore, Nov 25 (PTI) Security has been stepped up at vital installations in the IT capital including commercial and industrial establishments on the eve of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and an army Commando battalion kept as standby to assist the local police in case of any untoward incident.

A battalion of Commando Force from the Indian Army has been stationed at Bangalore to assist the city police to deal with incidents of terror, a top police official said.

This force can be requisitioned by the police commissioner in times of exigency, Shankar Bidari police commissioner said in a statement here today.

"Forming a Commando Force from out of the strength of city Armed Reserve comprising 200 personnel is also in progress," he said.

Police is also monitoring movements and activities of persons suspected to be having links with terror outfits.

IAF need not seek permission before firing on Naxals

New Delhi The Union Government on Wednesday clarified that there is no permission required to exercise the right to self-defence. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had asked for permission to fire on naxals to avoid any ambiguity.

Replying to a question raised by lawmakers K Malaisamy and N R Govindarajar over IAF asking for permission to open fire during anti Naxal operations, Defence Minister A K Antony said: “While permission is not required to exercise the right to self-defence, based upon past experience and intelligence input the Indian Air Force has sought approval of the Government for ‘Rules of Engagement’ for self-defence. These have been proposed to avoid any ambiguity and damage/injury to the helicopter and to the occupants.”

Earlier, the IAF had approached the Defence Ministry for permission to fire on Maoists if their copters are attacked.

The IAF has deployed copter to assist the state forces in their combat against Maoists in Central India.

Replying to another question raised by Bala Apte over the production of Light Combat Helicopter, Antony said : “The design and development programme for Light Combat Helicopter was approved in October 2006. The first prototype (technology demonstrator) is expected to get the initial operation clearance by around mid 2011.”

“There is a proposal for export of indigenously developed helicopters. HAL has exported five numbers of the indigenously developed Helicopters Dhruv to Ecuador and one to Mauritius,” he added. 

New grenades to replace those of World War II vintage

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) World War II vintage hand grenades – often dubbed as duds – in use with the Indian Army will finally be replaced with the defence ministry approving the indigenous mass production of the multi-mode grenade.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony in a written reply to Rajya Sabha said: ‘Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed multi-mode grenade which has been cleared for bulk production.’

Antony also discredited reports that 30 percent hand-grenades used by the Indian Army proved to be duds.

‘No such survey (of defective grenades) has been carried out. As per records available for the period from 2005-2009 out of total grenades used in training only 0.002 percent defect reports were raised,’ Antony said.

‘Certain defects were reported in 1994-1995 and in the subsequent years. Thereafter, product improvements were carried out with the result that the defect reports…were considerably lower in number,’ Antony added.

good news for UP state resident Soldiers/ex-sainiks......

Lucknow Army personnel will get exemption from Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchase of two-wheelers and light motor vehicles from CSD canteens in the state, official sources said here on Wednesday.

"A notification to give exemption to Army personnel on purchase of vehicles from canteens was issued by the Tax and Registration department on Tuesday," they said.

As per the notification, exemption in VAT would be limited to sale of 3,000 motorcycles, scooters and mopeds and 1,200 four-wheelers every year, they said adding that serving personnel of Indian Army, other security establishments and ex-servicemen will get the benefit of tax exemption.

This tax exemption will, however, result in Rs 7.29 crore annual revenue
loss to the state government, official sources said.

The notification also stated that Army personnel willing to avail tax exemption will be required to get an authority letter from the commanding officer.

Besides, an officer will not be allowed to transfer a vehicle to any person other than spouse, ward, serving or retired armyman for a period of 10 years.

This condition will be mentioned on the registration certificate of the vehicle.

At present 12.5 per cent VAT and one per cent additional tax is being charged on vehicles. 

FROM PAK : "Indian army chief’s remarks: India planning limited war against Pakistan: FO"

By Sajjad Malik

ISLAMABAD: India is planning to launch a limited war against Pakistan, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.

The FO’s statement follows Indian Army chief General Deepak Kapoor’s address during a defence seminar, where he said the possibility of a limited nuclear war was “very much a reality in South Asia”. “India has long been working on the so-called ‘Cold Start’ strategy and preparing for a limited war against Pakistan. General Kapoor’s statement confirms the hegemonic thrust of India’s nuclear doctrine,” Foreign Office spokesperson Abdul Basit said. He said Kapoor’s remarks only reaffirmed India’s dangerous and offensive nuclear designs.

Basit said the international community should take notice of the remarks and India’s long-term intentions, adding that major powers had a particular responsibility in this regard, and should ask India to refrain from steps that could affect the strategic balance in South Asia.

The Foreign Office said Pakistan was fully capable of safeguarding its national sovereignty and defending its borders. “As a responsible country, we will continue promoting peace and stability in South Asia on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” he said.

Sukhoi flight 'exhilarates' president Patil

Pune: The thumbs-up sign from 74-year-old president Pratibha Devisingh Patil and the pat that she gave Wing Commander S Sajan who piloted her sortie in the Sukhoi 30 MKI for 30 minutes on Wednesday showed her delight. "It was an exhilarating experience to fly in a Sukhoi 30," Patil told media persons.

The president, who is also the supreme commander of the defence forces, scripted history at the Indian Air Force (IAF) Lohegaon airbase near Pune when she became the oldest lady head of a nation to fly in a supersonic combat aircraft.

Her predecessor, APJ Abdul Kalam, on June 8, 2006 became the first Indian president to have undertaken a 30-minute sortie in the Su-30 MKI from Lohegaon. Kalam was also 74 years old.

Patil's sortie began at 11.03 am and the aircraft flew at an altitude of 2.7 km and gained a maximum speed of 850 kmph, close to the 0.9 MACH speed reported on Wednesday. After a smooth take-off, the fighter bomber took a circuitous path over Rajgurunagar, Shirur and Baramati in Pune district before returning to the airbase. While the manoeuvres were restricted to general turns, Patil did some minor controlling during the flight, Sajan said.

The president was dressed in an indigenously manufactured green G-suit (gravitational suit). She wore the integrated helmet and sat in the rear portion of the cockpit. She underwent pre-flight medical check-ups and sat for a briefing with Sajan.

"I suddenly felt that I was leaping forward as the aircraft took off. Within moments, it had soared high into the skies," Patil said. She said that the sortie was to understand new techniques used in fighter aircraft and how effectively the pilots operate them. "I also wanted to reassure the defence forces that the nation is behind them in their endeavour. After my flight, I can say that the nation is in safe hands," she said. The president attributed her high fitness level to regular yoga and the treadmill. "I followed instructions," she said, adding that she was "excited and confident from the very beginning."

At Rajgurunagar, she spotted two other Su 30s flying side by side and quizzed Sajan about the fighter jets. The three aircraft then proceeded in a 'trident' formation before returning to the airbase.

"She was extremely composed and confident during the entire sortie. I explained the technicalities of the fighter jet to her," Sajan said. Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, air officer Commanding-in-Chief South Western Air Command and Air Marshal PS Bhangu witnessed the event. Patil's cavalcade reached the airbase at about 9:35 am. She took the guard of honour before getting ready for the sortie.

Army training J&K Police in counter-terrorism tasks

Srinagar: With the Omar Abdullah government looking to reduce the footprint of the forces in the state, the army is training Jammu and Kashmir Police in counter-terrorism for independent operation. A batch of 199 constables, five sub-inspectors and an assistant sub-inspector recently completed a four-week specialised programme in counter-terrorism at the elite 15 Corps Battle School at Khrew in Pulwama.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah said it was time to give a greater role to central paramilitary forces and police. "We [army chief and he] are in agreement that we have to reduce the footprint of the army in a phased manner. Some steps have been already taken in this direction. J&K Police are being trained by the 15 Crops in Srinagar to take more responsibility," the chief minister said.Currently, the army, CRPF and police share the security responsibility in Jammu and Kashmir. Of the 77 CRPF battalions in the state, 62 are deployed in Kashmir alone.

CRPF performs the dual role of maintaining law and order and countering insurgency along with the state police. Mostly, they conduct joint operations. CRPF companies are attached to the special operation group of police for counter insurgency. The army also performs a dual role of guarding the line of control and countering militancy in the hinterland. "The army's job is to protect the borders. We want to create a situation where no army man is required to provide internal security," Omar said.