Friday, November 21, 2014

Israel, India Start To Equip Sea Forces With Barak-8 Defenses

TEL AVIV AND NEW DELHI Israeli and Indian navies are poised to equip their warships with advanced Barak-8 anti-missile and air defense systems following last week’s long-awaited test, capping nearly eight years of cooperative development.Led by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the vertically launched intercepting system has a 70-kilometer range and provides persistent 360-degree coverage against saturation attacks by sea-skimming missiles and a spectrum of air-breathing threats.IAI executives said sea-based versions are now ready for full-rate production for both navies, which are expected to declare initial operational capability in a number of months.In parallel, an IAI-led team is readying a ground-based version for the Indian Air Force, with projected deployment to begin next year and extend through 2017.Defense officials and Navy officers from both countries hailed the successful Nov. 10 intercept test as validation of all system elements and a testament to their strategic ties.An Indian Navy official noted that the program had run nearly four years behind schedule, primarily due to problems with the DRDO-developed rocket motor, “which affected the range and operational capability to engage sonic targets.”The Barak-8 system had been slated for delivery by 2011 under a 2006 government-to-government contract, Indian officials said.Boaz Levy, executive vice president and general manager of IAI’s Systems, Missiles and Space Group, told Israel-based reporters that engine-related problems have been resolved and that all elements of sea- and ground-based variants are validated and ready for serial production.“It was a perfect interception. Just beautiful,” Levy said of the Nov. 10 test against an air-breathing target simulating advanced maneuvering capabilities of fighter bombers.Alluding to developmental challenges and schedule glitches, Rear Adm. Ophir Shoham, director of Israel’s Defense Research and Development Directorate (DR&DD), said the Barak-8 project showcased “constructive cooperation between the Indian DRDO [Defence Research and Development Organization] and the Israeli DR&DD and the armed forces of both nations.“Together, they have pushed forward this important program, overcoming technological challenges and earning achievements along the way,” he said.Similarly, Avinash Chander, DRDO chief and scientific adviser to India’s minister of defense, hailed the test as “an important milestone” in bilateral cooperation.Chander led a delegation of Defence Ministry officials, scientists and Navy officers participating with Israeli counterparts in the milestone test. Last week’s success transitions the program into another series of operational tests as flagship partners equip and field sea-based defenses.Sources in New Delhi said the Indian Navy plans to begin equipping the Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missile defense system on its stealth warships, under construction at state-owned Mazagon Docks.An Indian DRDO official said last week’s test validated the system’s ability to perform maneuvers. He said the intercepting system will be tested in India before the project is completed.In Israel, the Navy plans to equip its three Sa’ar-5 corvettes with the system. One of the Sa’ar-5s has already been outfitted with the active electronically scanned array radar system developed by IAI’s Elta Systems subsidiary for the Barak-8 program. The radar consists of four large panels positioned at both ends of the ship for persistent, all-weather, 360-degree coverage.Under Israel’s operational concept, individual ships are capable of operating independently or as a battle group, where smaller vessels are slaved to the Barak-8-equipped command ship.“The C4I system is unprecedented in its sophistication,” Levy said. “All ships in the group see the entire picture.”IAI data released shortly after last week’s test said the system uses an advanced broadband communication network to coordinate between the missile and batteries.“The system deals with short-, medium- and long-range threats, where its interconnectivity among the various ships in the naval task force enables it to be a multilayer air and missile defense system of systems,” according to IAI.An Indian DRDO official said dozens of DRDO scientists have been stationed in Israel for the duration of the project.An IAI executive said IAI and its team of subcontractors are already supplying the system “to a number of customers” whom he declined to identify beyond flagship users in Tel Aviv and New Delhi. Email:;

India and Pakistan 'battle' for Afghanistan

Experts say the impending departure of NATO combat forces from Afghanistan could push India and Pakistan toward a proxy war in the conflict-ridden state, as New Delhi and Islamabad fight for influence in the country.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (2L) and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif (3R) arrive for a ceremony at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad on November 15, 2014
(Photo: FAROOQ NAEEM/AFP/Getty Images)
"The danger for Pakistan is [...] the Indian influence in Afghanistan," former Pakistani President and Army Chief Pervez Musharraf recently told the AFP news agency in an interview in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi. "They (India) want to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan."
"If Indians are using some ethnic groups in Afghanistan, then Pakistan will use its own support, and our ethnic allies are certainly Pashtuns," Musharraf continued.
Musharraf, a former military dictator who ruled the Islamic country from 1999 to 2007, has beenunder house arrest on treason charges, but his words still carry weight. Some Pakistani observers believe that the former general is still close to the current military leadership of the nuclear-armed state, and that he is probably only echoing his former institution's views on India and Afghanistan.
Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf meets journalists after attending the CLSA Investors Forum in Hong Kong in this September 15, 2010 file photo
(Photo: REUTERS/Bobby Yip)
'India wants to create an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan,' says Musharraf
The South Asian country's civilian leadership, too, has similar views on Afghanistan, terrorism and Islamist militants. On November 17, Sartaj Aziz, national security adviser to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, told the BBC that there was no need for Pakistan to target militants who did not threaten the country's security.
"Why should enemies of the US unnecessarily become our foes," Aziz said. "Some of them were dangerous for us and some are not. Why must we make enemies out of them all?" he said, referring to the militant Haqqani network.
These are two different statements by two Pakistani leaders but they carry a single narrative: Islamabad feels threatened by New Delhi's close ties with Kabul; hence it will likely continue to use some factions of the Taliban as counter-balancing forces in its western neighborhood.
Same old policies
There is nothing new about Pakistan's Afghanistan policy though. The country's military and civil establishment, analysts say, still consider the Taliban an important strategic ally, who they think should be part of the Afghan government after the NATO pullout. Observers say that the Pakistani military hopes to regain the influence in Kabul it once enjoyed before the United States and its allies toppled the pro-Pakistan Taliban government in 2001.
"Kabul is friendlier towards New Delhi now, whereas Islamabad continues to back the Taliban, as now officially admitted by Sartaj Aziz. Pakistan wishes to change this scenario and turn Afghanistan into its political backyard once again," London-based journalist and researcher Farooq Sulehria told DW.
German soldiers of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) arrive at the site of a bomb blast on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan 15 August 2007
(Photo: EPA/SYED JAN SABAWOON +++(c) dpa - Report+++
Afghanistan faces the daunting task of ensuring strong security forces after 13 years of foreign occupation and fire power
Matt Waldman, a researcher on the Afghanistan conflict at Harvard University, believes that Pakistan won't relinquish its support for the Taliban until the regional dynamics undergo a transformation. "The evidence indicates that the Pakistan hasn't fundamentally changed its Afghanistan policy," Waldman told DW.
Siegfried O. Wolf, a political science expert at Heidelberg University, is of the same view. He told DW that he was convinced that several elements within the Pakistan security apparatus still believe that the Taliban could be used as a strategic tool to counter Indian presence in Afghanistan.
A lost cause
Earlier this year, New Delhi announced a two billion USD aid package for Afghanistan - the biggest India has ever given to another country.
While India has been active in rebuilding Afghanistan since 2001, Pakistan's role has been negligible in this regard, says Sulehria. "By backing the Taliban, Islamabad has contributed to the country's destruction. I frequently visit Kabul and I can say that Pakistan is very unpopular in Afghanistan. Sadly, Islamabad is not ready to change course," the expert added.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) shakes hands with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai before the start of their meeting in New Delhi May 27, 2014
(Photo: REUTERS/Adnan)
New Delhi managed to forge close ties with Kabul during former President Karzai's rule
Vivek Kumar, a New Delhi-based journalist, says that the Indian and Pakistani interests have always clashed in Afghanistan, and that he does not foresee a major change in these dynamics. "The Indian government would want the new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to follow his predecessor Hamid Karzai's path. India has invested a lot in Afghanistan, and all this investment is strategically aimed at minimizing Pakistan's influence," he said, adding that Indian PM Narendra Modi would also like to enhance his country's partnership with Kabul in the security sector.
Sulehria says that Afghanistan has changed a lot over the past years, and that objective realities and subjective factors are not in Pakistan's favor anymore. "Pakistan will not be able to dictate terms to the Afghan administration and the rest of the world now. I think Pakistan has already lost the proxy war."
Long term vs short term goals
But with a bilateral security agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington in place, it will be difficult for either Pakistan or India to destabilize Afghanistan. The pact, which was approved by President Ghani in September, is aimed at strengthening Afghan security forces while they work to stave off the Taliban. Under the deal, international forces will provide training and support to Afghanistan's security forces.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, from left, speaks as Afghan presidential candidates Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah listen during a joint press conference in Kabul
(AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)
Most Afghans do not want the US to abandon their country, some experts claim
Commenting on the BSA and the future of Afghanistan, Owais Tohid, a Karachi-based senior journalist, said that the security pact was a "wake-up call" for Pakistani rulers, who should not hope for a Taliban comeback in Afghanistan.
The journalist is of the view that instead of focusing on short-term benefits, Islamabad should forge a long-term alliance with Afghanistan based on commercial and economic interests. "In the long run, it will be a blessing in disguise for Pakistan. These short-term strategic gains only reflect the myopic mindset of Pakistani policymakers," Tohid said.

Russian air force team in Punjab for bilateral exercise

An 18-member Russian Air Force team is participating in an Indo-Russian bilateral exercise being held in Punjab, a defence spokesman said here Wednesday.The exercise, "AVIA-INDRA" is being held at Air Force Station, Halwara, near Ludhiana, 135 km from here. This is Phase II of the joint exercise. Phase I of the exercise was held in Russia for two weeks during August-September this year."The Russian delegation is headed by Major General Alexander N. Lyapkin and consists of fighter and helicopter aircrew as well as air defence crew, among other members. The Russian team is in India up to Nov 28," the defence spokesman said.During the exercise, the Russian team is flying the Su-30 MKI, Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters with the (IAF).
Gandhi-Nehru soft power not sole 

reason behind freedom
In strictly historical terms, Subhas Bose emerges as primarily responsible for Indian independence, even more perhaps than Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.
MAJ GEN G.D. BAKSHI (RETD)  15th Nov 2014

Subhas Chandra Bose with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Nation states are constructed around a core of seminal ideas and values. They need a national narrative to sustain themselves and serve as a basis for their collective identity that defines who they are and what they stand for. This national narrative is usually based upon the historical path of evolution of that state. The national narrative that the Indian state evolved for itself at the time of its independence, averred that unlike all other Westphalian states that are based upon a monopoly of violence and hard power, the Indian state was unique and exceptional. It was not based upon hard power, but on the soft power concepts of ahimsa, non-violence, soul force etc. This is how it claimed it had won its freedom — not by any exercise of hard power or violence, but by non-violent persuasion and peaceful agitations. This national narrative was based upon a falsehood that went against the facts of our recent history.
The 125th birth anniversary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru is an apt occasion for such historical reflection. Nehru's seminal contribution to India was to make it a viable and functioning democracy. However, Nehru was a disaster as far as national security is concerned. It is also vital to understand how the creed of pacifism came to disable the Indian polity.
Before Gandhi came from South Africa, the Congress party was largely an effete, debating society. The Congress asked for home rule and dominion status and sought strenuously to remain on the right side of the colonial regime by trumpeting their loyalty to the King-Emperor. However, the upsurge of nationalism in India became very strong, especially after the First World War, when over a million Indian soldiers came back from the battlefields in Europe, Middle East and Africa. It was these demobilised soldiers who spread the nascent idea of nationalism in India and especially the Punjab from where a large segment of the soldiery had come. The Indians expected gratitude for their participation in the war. What they got in 1919 was Jallianwala Bagh massacre. A far more militant response came thereafter in terms of the Ghadar movement of Indian revolutionaries. Gandhi was an astute judge of the Indian scenario. He gave a mass base and populist impetus to the Congress programmes and mobilised the rural masses. Mahatma Gandhi, however, was shrewd enough to understand the unpreparedness of the highly fragmented Indian population for an armed struggle to overthrow British colonial rule. Hence, he tried to make a virtue of necessity by insisting on a non-violent freedom movement based on the psychological tools of satyagraha, fasts, moral pressure and the values of ahimsa or non-violence, designed not to cross the thresholds of tolerance of the colonial power. Frankly, it is now evident from hindsight that the British tacitly encouraged this non-violent, persuasive form of protest because they were convinced that it was not going to basically endanger their colonial rule. The extensive press coverage given to Mahatma Gandhi and his non-violent freedom movement based on peaceful demonstrations, fasts and dharnas, was designed to release the pent up energy of popular dissatisfaction with colonial rule, but at the same time, prevent it from turning very violent. That violence would have endangered the colonial dispensation. Non-violence did not, and hence it was tolerated. So even while the Congress tom-tommed its nationalist credentials and abhorrence for colonial rule, they openly admired the British system and were in turn seen by the colonial masters as "Brown Sahibs" and closet anglophiles in a nationalist disguise — who the British tried to exploit as very convenient tools for the perpetuation of the Raj. They acted as a safety valve for the popular sentiments and prevented the outbreak of large scale violence in India. Otherwise, the British found this effete and ersatz form of nationalism very convenient and entirely manageable.
The only Indian in the National Congress, who could challenge the overriding authority of the Mahatma, was Subhas Chandra Bose. He was a realist. He clearly foresaw that non-violence was absolutely within the tolerance thresholds of the colonial regime. This could mount media and psychological pressure but never of an order which would really compel the British to leave. Bose opposed the Mahatma Gandhi strategy of peaceful protest alone. He became the Congress president despite Gandhi's opposition. However, the astute Mahatma ensured that Bose did not serve a second term as Congress president. The Bose thesis was realist and simple. World War II had started in 1939. 2.5 million Indian soldiers had voluntarily joined the British Indian Army to fight Britain's wars in Europe, North Africa, Italy and in Burma. The entire Burma theatre was manned by the Indian forces of the empire. Bose emerges as the most remarkable personality of India's freedom struggle. He dared to oppose Mahatma Gandhi's grand strategy and was marginalised politically. However, he now broke ranks and single-handedly put his ideas into action with emphatic and momentous results.
The key to the colonial control of its empire was the British Indian Army. The British colonial success hinged upon their ability to "nativise" this Army. Over 80% of this colonial Army consisted of Indian peasant soldiers, who remained staunchly loyal to the Raj because of the oath of fidelity they had taken to the King-Emperor. The British organised them in ethnicity/sub-nationality based regiments, focused upon a narrow manpower base in distinct geographical areas of India. They celebrated and highlighted these distinct local military traditions to evoke fierce regimental/clan loyalties. Good British officer leadership at the junior and middle levels did the rest and helped to forge good combat units that served as an efficient and infallible instrument of colonial control.
Bose was crystal clear that the key to Indian Independence lay in turning the loyalty of the Indian sepoys of the British Indian Army. He was absolutely certain that without this native backbone, colonial rule could not last a day. It was the true centre of gravity of the Indian freedom struggle. In the classical Kautilyan tradition, Bose decided that an enemy's enemy is a logical ally. India must seek the help of Germany and Japan for its fight against the British. Only then would the fight be effective and stand any chance of success. Mahatma Gandhi felt this was morally repugnant. In fact, the Quit India movement launched by him had completely petered out by 1944. The Japanese meanwhile were causing a major upheaval in Asia. After the conquest of most of China and Korea, Japan now turned its attention to the British and other European colonies in South East Asia. It attacked and captured the Philippines Islands and captured Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It then invaded Burma and reached the borders of British India. Now, it trained its sights on the brightest jewel in the British Crown.
It is was here that the Japanese Army felt the need for Bose, who alone, they felt, could tilt the scales by arousing the 2.5 million men of the British Indian Army against their colonial masters. Bose had staged a miraculous escape to Germany where he had raised the 3,000 men strong Indian League. The Japanese, therefore, asked the Germans to send Bose. He undertook a perilous submarine voyage and reached Japan. In Japan, Bose met Gen Tojo and other Japanese leaders. He assumed command of the Indian National Army (INA). He formed the provisional government of Azad Hind in exile at Singapore and declared war against Great Britain. He went far beyond the prisoner of war pool with the Japanese Army and appealed to the vast Indian diaspora in South East Asia. He evoked a massive response in terms of recruitment and financial and gold donations to fund the freedom struggle. He expanded this rudimentary force to an impressive size of some 1,500 officers and 60,000 men. This force was organised into three combat divisions. Two of these were to take part in the fighting in Burma and the historic invasion of Imphal-Kohima. The third garrisoned Malaya and later had a contingent in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. A recent poll by the National Army Museum in London, in fact, has described the Imphal-Kohima battle as the most decisive battle of British Military history. It was "greatest" in terms of its political, social and cultural impact. Some 24,000 men of the INA were killed in the operations in Burma — hardly a non-violent struggle. Far more important than the immediate impact of a decisive operational defeat for the Japanese-INA combined forces was its aftershock that shook the loyalties of 2.5 million Indian soldiers who were being demobilised at the end of the war. By then, the INA story had leaked out. There were large scale mutinies in the Royal Indian Navy and in the British Indian Army. Some 78 ships, 20 shore establishments and over 20,000 sailors of the Royal Indian Navy were involved.
The spectre of armed revolts amongst 2.5 million Indian soldiers being demobilized, shook the British Empire to its roots. There were hardly 40,000 British troops in India then. Such a massive revolt meant the end of the British Empire in India. The war weary British saw the writing on the wall and decided to leave. Indian freedom had not come from non-violence but from the very real spectre of large scale revolt and armed violence.
Frankly, in strictly historical terms, Bose emerges as primarily responsible for Indian independence — even more perhaps than Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru. This is borne out by the testimony of the-then British Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Despite this, to fight the ghost of the INA and its legendary founder, Nehru created the contrived myth about how soft power alone had single handedly got India its freedom. He actually believed his own myth and this led him to virtually despise the military and he did his best to emasculate it. As a trained lawyer, he had great faith in his oratory to move the UN and other international bodies. This new legal paradigm, he felt, would rule the discourse between nations and the use of force would be eliminated. Hence, his soft power alone would suffice and India needed no standing armed forces, only police forces. The J&K war in 1947-48 and the Hyderabad operations made it impossible for him to have his way and realists like Vallabhbhai Patel were able to dissuade him. After Patel's demise, Nehru's pathological dislike for the army came to the fore, especially after the military coup in Pakistan. He set about emasculating the military leadership, starving the military of resources and set in train the tragic events that would bring about the humiliation of 1962. He could not live it down and died a broken man. Fortunately, his successors, especially his daughter, turned realist with a vengeance and saved the Republic.

Government, Please Act to Save a National Hero's Legacy

 In exactly one week, a Distinguished Flying Cross awarded to the man widely considered the father of the modern Indian Air Force will be auctioned in London.  
 With just a handful of days remaining, NDTV has learnt that the Indian Air Force has swung into action to try and ensure that the unique medals awarded to Wing Commander Karun Krishna 'Jumbo' Majumdar are instead brought to India, where they will find pride of place at the Indian Air Force Museum in New Delhi.
 Karun Krishna 'Jumbo' Majumdar was the ultimate flier, a hero is the truest sense of the word.  He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross by the Royal Air Force not once, but twice, for bravery during the Second World War where he flew over both the Burma front and in Europe.   
 But the prospects of getting back these treasures look bleak at the moment.  Sailen 'Bambi' Majumdar, the late Wing Commander's son, is determined to go ahead with the auction by Morton & Eden Ltd. in London. Mr Majumdar, who was just two when his father died, is reported to have said that he does not want a situation where his relatives fight over Jumbo Majumdar's medals and would prefer seeing them in the safe hands of a private collector.  The auction is expected to fetch up to 30,000 pounds or a little more than Rs. 29 lakh.
Alerted by NDTV of the possibility of Jumbo Majumdar's medals being auctioned, Air Headquarters in New Delhi have instructed their Air Attache at the Indian High Commission in London to reach out to Sailen Majumdar to convince him to instead hand over the DFC to the Indian Air Force so that it can be brought back to India.  So far, Mr Majumdar has resisted these efforts and has made it clear that he is not interested in speaking to anyone in the Indian media.  There was no reply to an email sent by us to Mr Majumdar and repeated efforts to reach him on the telephone have been unsuccessful.
 Sadly, the Indian Air Force has not been authorized by the Ministry of External Affairs to place a bid at the auction and all hope of getting possession of his Distinguished Flying Cross, his India General Service Medal (1936), original log book among other personal belongings rests squarely on the shoulders of the IAF's Air Attache in the UK. 
The auction documents state, "Jumbo Majumdar's seeming disregard for his own safety on solo bombing raids and leading others against what appeared to be insurmountable odds made him a legendary figure both in the Royal Air Force and among his own countrymen. It is generally agreed that had he lived, his example and vision for Indian air power would have seen him rise to the highest level in the post-Independence Indian Air Force."  
In 1942, Jumbo commanded a squadron flying Lysanders in Burma where he led two unescorted attacks to enemy airfields in Thailand and conducted attacks in support of the army in Tennasserim.  He also led invaluable reconnaissance missions over the Rangoon region. On one occasion, he had to crash land in the jungle where he was eventually rescued after four days by Shan tribesmen.  
 Deployed in England in March 1944, Jumbo went on to fly 65 sorties in 100 days operating in densely defended airspace.  His efforts were not unnoticed. 
In January 1945, when he was awarded a second (Bar) to his D.F.C, theLondon Gazette wrote, "His keenness for operational work and his skill on difficult and dangerous missions has always been outstanding. Before the advance northwards in France, he completed exceptionally valuable photographic reconnaissances of the Seine bridges, in the face of heavy ground defences. He has also participated in long tactical reconnaissances on which he was several times intercepted by superior formations of enemy aircraft. His skill and courage have always been outstanding." 
 'Jumbo' Majumdar was killed on February 17, 1945 in Lyallpur (in Faisalabad, Pakistan) in an air crash when the Hurricane fighter he was flying during an aerobatic display developed problems - one of the undercarriage legs deployed mid-flight upsetting the balance of the fighter as it was being put through tight turns. True to form, Jumbo had gone ahead with the display despite knowing that this particular Hurricane had a series of mechanical problems.  He was killed instantly in the crash. The display was meant to raise public awareness to improve recruitment prospects to the Indian Air Force.  

The prospect of losing what should be a considered a national treasure to a private collector comes at a time when this government has made it clear that the memory of those who served in the First and Second World War will not be forgotten and that India will publish the structured history of its armed forces. In fact, on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented the Man Singh Trophy, a prized possession of Sikh battalions to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott in Canberra in memory of the Indian and Australian soldiers who had fought together in Gallipoli in the First World War.
 Will the Government of India now act to bring back to India a piece of the Indian Air Force's history?

MH370: This video explains why Malaysian plane is still missing

Refined search along Indian Ocean strip

Latest: A video has been released explaining the nitty-gritties involved in the search of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, which went missing almost 8 months ago, Yahoo News reported.
The plane that disappeared in March had 239 passengers on board and was bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
The video states, "The search area is a long way from land, the water is very deep and the seafloor is largely uncharted."
Stressing on the ongoing search, "The expert satellite working group - comprised the best international minds in this field - is continually refining analysis of the available data to identify the areas of the highest priority.”
Search for MH370 includes all possible points along the Indian Ocean. They will be focusing on those areas where communication between the plane and a satellite could have taken place.
As the seafloor in the search area is 6km deep and cannot be penetrated by daylight, a detailed underwater search is being carried out,
Towed submersible vehicles fitted with sonar systems are being used in search.
The search is being conducted by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JAAC), a co-operative effort between Australia, Malaysia and China.
Judith Zielke, Chief Coordinator of JAAC told the New Straits Times last month that the search had begun with the optimism that the plane would eventually be found.
"We are planning for when the aircraft is located. We want to be ready to put in place all that is required at that time," she said.
"We are into the seventh month of the search and we want to be as ready as we possibly can."
Video was released shortly after Malaysian Airlines commercial director Hugh Dunleavy’s statement where he said the MH370 would be announced lost, thereby ending the search.
The comment outraged families of those who had travelled on the ill-fated flight.
Malaysia Airlines later distanced itself from Dunleavy's comments.
Missing jet to be declared 'lost'; families furious
Relatives of MH370 passengers are ‘bewildered’ after a Malaysia Airlines official reportedly said authorities plan to set a date to announce the plane ‘lost’.
Voice370, an association of relatives of passengers onboard the missing plane, said in a statement on Monday that it was ‘bewildered’ by the report last week, reported channelnewsasia. According to an industry source, such a declaration would mean the search would be called off, the report added. 
However, Malaysia Airlines and officials in Australia have denied the reported comments by the carrier's commercial director Hugh Dunleavy.
The official was quoted in a ‘New Zealand Herald’ article as saying that ‘authorities were working to set a date, likely by the year-end, to formally announce the loss of MH370’ that is missing since March 8 with 239 people aboard.
"We don't have a final date but once we've had an official loss recorded we can work with the next of kin on the full compensation payments for those families," he was quoted as saying.
Malaysians fume at MH370, MH17 Halloween
Malaysians have taken offence to Halloween revellers’ use of MH370 and MH17 costumes.
In fact, pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the hastags #MH370 and #malaysiaairline invited the wrath of other users as well.
Daughter of MH370 chief steward Andrew Nari compared the images to ‘Malaysians making fun of the World Trade Centre tragedy’,
Chief of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia told the Malay Mail that such acts must be condemned and urged the pictures be deleted.
Social media users termed the pictures ‘tasteless’, ‘insensitive’ and ‘grossly offensive’.
First lawsuit filed in Malaysia over missing fligh
A Malaysian family on Friday sued the government and beleaguered national carrier for negligence in the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370, in what is believed to be the first lawsuit filed over the disaster.
The suit was filed by lawyers on behalf of the two underage sons of Jee Jing Hang, who was on board the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight.
Gary Chong, a lawyer for Jee's relatives, said the suit was filed in a Malaysian court on Friday.
The family is suing Malaysia Airlines for breach of contract, saying the deeply troubled carrier failed in its contractual responsibility to deliver Jee to his destination.
The family is also suing Malaysia's government, civil aviation authorities, immigration department and air force for negligence.
"Our clients are after the truth. We have confidence in our judiciary system that this suit will be heard and dealt with fairly," a statement by the family's legal team said.
Chong said the family would seek damages but declined to specify a figure.
MH370 inexplicably disappeared on March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in what remains one of history's great aviation mysteries.
Malaysia's government believes the flight diverted to the far southern Indian Ocean, citing sketchy satellite data, but no trace has been found despite an extensive search.
Neither the government nor airline has revealed any results from investigations launched in the aftermath of the tragedy, and consistently stresses that only recovery of the lost Boeing 777 aircraft will provide full answers.
Some next-of-kin bitterly accuse the government and airline of a bungled response and cover-up, charges that are strenuously denied.
Malaysia's air force came under particular fire after top brass acknowledged military radar had tracked the red-eye flight as it doubled back over Malaysian airspace after diverting.
The air force took no action, saying the radar blip was not considered a security threat.
The chances of success for the lawsuit were not immediately clear.
Aviation experts have told AFP that under international law it is an airline's responsibility to prove it was not to blame for an accident.
The lack of evidence could complicate that task for the carrier.
The airline also has been hammered by the loss in July of flight MH17 - apparently shot down over Ukraine with the loss of 298 lives in another still-unexplained disaster -- and is in dire financial straits as business has dried up.
A state-linked investment fund has directly taken over the airline as part of a rescue plan.
In countries such as China - home to the majority of MH370 passengers - and Malaysia, courts are considered relatively conservative regarding the awarding of damages.
Protocol vs cost vs fading hope...
In the latest allegations by experts on the missing MH370, a pilot and air-traffic management specialist, has claimed that a breach of protocol by authorities made the ongoing search costly, according to The Malaysian Insider report.
The aviation expert also alleged that the Malaysian and Australian authorities could be involved in a cover-up, according to
Desmond Ross believes that had proper protocol been followed, the search would not have taken this long. She blamed officials’ failure to release recordings from the first hours of the aircraft's disappearance for the delay in finding the plane. She acknowledged that many facts are missing, but many are available and that should be released, she added.
 Indonesia alert; debris to be given to Australia
Following a suggestion by Australian officials about the possibility of the missing plane’s debris ‘most likely to wash up on the Indonesian coast’, reports state the country is asked to be more attentive.
According to a report in ibtimes, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has ‘issued an alert’ in Indonesia and have advised authorities to pay attention to the appearance of any evidence from MH370.
Meanwhile, Indonesia is yet to confirm if they have discovered any traces from the missing plane, the report quoted The Star.
It is stated that if the Indonesian authorities uncover any related debris, it will be handed over to Australia to be photographed and Boeing will take the investigations further.
 Wreckage most likely to wash up on Indonesian coast
Wreckage from the missing MH370 is most likely to wash up on the coast of Indonesia and not Australia, according to Australian Transport Safety Bureau officials, reported Independent.
Authorities said they continue receiving regular reports from the public in Australia about the potential wreckage, however, it is much more likely that any wreckage would have drifted the other way.
Australia has asked Indonesian officials to make public any possibility of evidence on its shoreline.
 Malaysia's defence minister hopeful plane will be found
Latest update:Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein saidWednesday his country was determined to find missing Flight MH370, as he was briefed by Australian officials leading the complex search deep in the Indian Ocean.

Hishammuddin, who is in the Western Australian port of Fremantle to inspect one of the search ships, the GO Phoenix, said the passengers and crew on board the Malaysia Airlines jet "remain in our thoughts and also in our prayers".

"We must continue to hope because sometimes hope is all we have," Hishammuddin told reporters.

"We will find MH370"

The passenger aircraft was carrying 239 people, about two-thirds of them from China, when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8. No sign of the Boeing 777 has ever been found despite a massive air and sea search.

The jet is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after inexplicably veering off course.

Hishammuddin was acting transport minister when the plane went missing and led Malaysia's search for the jet before Liow Tiong Lai replaced him in the transport portfolio in June.

During his visit he toured the GOPhoenix, a Malaysian-contracted vessel which is conducting the underwater search using sophisticated sonar systems.

The renewed underwater probe began in early October and more than 1,200 square kilometres (463 square miles) have so far been scoured without

success, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said.

GO Phoenix is expected to leave for the Indian Ocean search site on Thursday after its resupply in Fremantle.

The Australian-contracted Fugro Discovery departed the port last week and is set to arrive in the search zone Wednesday, said the ATSB, which is

Leading the search

The Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen, which has since left the search zone, and the Australian-contracted Fugro Equator have been mapping the seabed since May before the underwater hunt.

The Fugro Equator is expected to finish its seabed mapping duties on Friday before it is outfitted with a sonar system so it can join the underwater search.

Hishammuddin met officials from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, the Australian agency coordinating information about the search. He said Malaysia was dedicated in its support for the MH370 search.

"All that could have been done to find the plane at this point has been done," he said.

"This is it, the next phase. The search goes on."
Australian scientist's new lead
Seven months into the disappearance of the Malaysian flight MH370, people are questioning the accuracy of information given so far.
The company Inmarsat, which has been giving officials information about the whereabouts of the plane, says in a latest report that it is not completely convinced that the plane is in the ocean…there are too many factors at play to know for sure, according to a report in The Epoch Times.
The aircraft remained operational for at least seven hours after the loss of contact as the satellite terminal continued to transmit messages during this period, it said.
Meanwhile, Aron Gingis, head of the Australian environmental consultancy company Management Consolidated, believes that it is possible to find the missing plane by using ‘contrails’ [condensation trails] techcnology -  examining cloud changes for evidence of vapour trails that form behind aircraft. This process has previously been used to locate shipwrecks in the northern Pacific Ocean, reported ibtimes.
Wife holds on to hope; believes husband is still alive 
Almost seven months after the ill-fated flight MH370 disappeared from the radar, the wife of one of the passengers broke her silence for the first time. She spoke about the anguish of not knowing the fate of the passengers, as well as her husband. 
Australia's Jennifer Chong has been married for 22 years and she agreed that she agrees with the Emirates airline boss Tim Clark, who had stated last week that the Malaysia Airlines flight was under control until the very end.
“Not knowing where your closest loved one is, one minute you feel hope and determination, and the next you’re slapped into the depths of despair,” said Chong to
The flight had disappeared on March 8 while it was on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. There were 239 passengers and crew on board, including six Australians.
GO Phoenix 'clueless' at 670 sqkm
Latest update: Australian authorities released their first update on the latest underwater probe for missing flight MH370 Wednesday, saying more than 670 square km had been searched without success.
The Boeing 777, which is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after inexplicably veering off course, is now the subject of a renewed underwater hunt far off western Australia.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search, said the Malaysian-contracted vessel GO Phoenix was continuing to conduct underwater search operations.
The underwater search began on October 6 and followed a survey to map the seabed. About 127,000 square kilometres of the search zone has been mapped so far.
Sophisticated vehicles attached to the ship by tow cables have been programmed to detect the biggest parts of the aircraft likely to be in one piece, such as engines and fuselage.
"GO Phoenix continues to conduct underwater search operations," the ATSB said.
"At one point, operations were halted in order to recover the deep tow vehicle and rectify a cable connection fault. Operations were quickly recommenced."
GO Phoenix is searching the area considered the most likely final resting place of the plane, based on detailed analysis of the aircraft's satellite communications.
A second ship, the Fugro Discovery, is conducting sea trials and is expected to join the search mid next week in the second most likely area, officials have said. [AFP]
Emirates President Tim Clark raises doubts about satellite handshakes
The head of Emirates Airlines, one of the world's largest carriers, said there was no need to improve modern aircraft tracking systems even after a commercial jet disappeared earlier this year, according to ‘Spiegel’ magazine.
The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on a Boeing 777 jet in March has led to calls for real-time tracking of aircraft, and an airline-industry-led task force is looking at ways of improving tracking.
Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, told the German online magazine that modern planes already had the necessary equipment but measures should be taken to ensure pilots can't turn off tracking devices.
"The Boeing 777 is already one of the most advanced planes in the world, with the most modern communications systems," Clark was quoted as saying in an interview published on Thursday.
He said it was already difficult to turn off current tracking systems such as transponders and the ACARS system, which some suspect may have occurred in the case with MH370, but that plane manufacturers should work to make them impossible to switch off.
"We have to ensure that ACARS runs continuously. If that happens, then we can monitor planes over the seas, and then we wouldn't need extra tracking systems."
The task force looking at plane tracking, due to give recommendations in September, said draft proposals would be delayed, possibly until December.
International search efforts have centred around the plane's suspected crash site in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, identified via vague satellite signals, have so far failed to find any trace of the plane. Clark said this was unusual.
"Experience shows that when a plane crashes into water, you can always find something. But in this instance, we haven't found a single scrap of evidence that the plane is there. Just the satellite handshakes, and even those I have my doubts about," he said.
A report published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau on Wednesday suggested that the underwater search should be prioritised further south within the wide search area it had previously identified.
Clark said Malaysia Airlines faced an uphill struggle in restoring its fortunes after the twin tragedies of MH370 and MH17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine in June.
"As an industry we have to help the company get back on its feet. But with such a damaged brand, it will be incredibly tough."  
Slow left, spiralling
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took a slow left turn as it spiraled into the Indian Ocean after its fuel ran out. That is the conclusion of an interim report concluded Wednesday, pointing investigators towards the southern section the current search zone.

Investigators on Wednesday confirmed that the priority search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has moved further south as end-of-flight scenarios indicated it may have spiralled into the Indian Ocean.

Seven months after the Boeing jet disappeared with 239 people onboard, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, leading the hunt for the jet, said ongoing analysis had helped refine the zone where an underwater search began this week.

"The latest analyses indicates that the underwater search should be prioritised further south within the wide search area for the next phase of the search," it said.

Despite an extensive hunt for the plane, which was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it mysteriously turned southwards on March 8, no sign of it has been found.

Aviation experts had little to go on besides the satellite communications from the plane, information they have used to pinpoint a search area in the vast ocean off western Australia.

They believe the best hope of finding the plane is within the seventh arc, or the final satellite "handshake" from the plane, estimated to be when it was in descent.

The ATSB said Wednesday that when all elements of the analysis so far were taken into account, it indicated that the aircraft "may be located within relatively close proximity to the arc", although further south than initially thought.

An ATSB report in June had put the priority search zone above an underwater feature named Broken Ridge, more than 2,000km west of Perth. But the new analysis puts it south of this feature, confirming earlier suggestions.

Analysis of the satellite data and end-of-flight simulations was ongoing, and this work could result in further changes to where the search was conducted, the ATSB added.

"The simulator activities involved fuel exhaustion of the right engine followed by flameout of the left engine with no control inputs," it said in an update on the flight path analysis.

"This scenario resulted in the aircraft entering a descending spiralling low bank angle left turn and the aircraft entering the water in a relatively short distance after the last engine flameout."

The analysis of communications and flight data has been used to determine the first underwater areas to be scoured, with the first ship starting its scan of the ocean depths this week.

The Malaysia contracted GO Phoenix is using sophisticated sonar technology experts hope will detect large pieces of debris such as an engines or fuselage. It will be joined two other ships in the weeks ahead.Black-box alert... What Airbus, Boeing say 
The world's two largest commercial aircraft manufacturers are at odds over equipping airliners with black boxes that eject in the event of a crash, making them easier to find.
Questions about whether airliners should be equipped with deployable black boxes arose after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March. The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board still has not been found. The purpose of the safety board's forum was to explore new technologies that would better enable planes like Flight 370 to be tracked and found.
Airbus is nearly ready to equip airliners with data and cockpit voice recorders that eject so that they can float to the ocean's surface instead of becoming trapped in wreckage, Pascal Andrei, the French aircraft maker's chief product security officer, told a forum of the US National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday.
Boeing, Airbus' chief rival, has no plans to include such recorders in its planes, Mark Smith, an accident investigator for the aircraft maker, told the safety board. Such recorders are prone to ejecting accidentally and creating a safety risk, he warned.
Black boxes are equipped with an emergency locator transmitter that would be easier to detect if they are floating on the water's surface.
"We can say today that we are quite confident on this solution," Andrei said Tuesday. Airbus is working with its suppliers, he said.
"Something would come very soon after some more studies and assessments," he said.
A slide presentation provided by Andrei indicated Airbus plans to include the deployable recorders in its A350 and A380 airliners, which are designed for long-haul flights over ocean.

Vietnam’s Modernizing Navy Confronts China’s Sea Power

Vietnam People’s Navy honor guard at the ASEAN defense ministers meeting, Hanoi, Vietnam, Oct. 12, 2010 (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison).
As China attempts to assert maritime claims against neighboring Vietnam, Vietnam in turn has been expanding its navy and courting new allies, such as India. In an email interview,Abhijit Singh, a research fellow at India’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, discusses the capabilities of the Vietnamese navy, known as the Vietnam People's Navy.

WPR: What is Vietnam’s naval capacity, and how operationally prepared is its navy?

Abhijit Singh: Vietnam’s navy has modernized from a small coastal patrol force with limited capacity in the 1980s into a seagoing, fairly competent, combat-worthy navy. Equipped with old Soviet-era hardware and an assortment of small seagoing vessels until a decade ago, it has now upgraded itself into a modern, though still compact, fighting force. The force today consists of frigates, corvettes, patrol craft, missile boats, maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and even submarines. Unable to effectively defend its maritime stakes for much of the 1990s and 2000s, the recent improvements in the Vietnamese navy’s operational capability have expanded its ability protect its waters.

WPR: What are Vietnam’s maritime interests, and how effective is its navy at protecting them?

Singh: Vietnam’s maritime interests lie in defending its sovereign stakes in the South China Sea. This includes patrolling its legitimate Exclusive Economic Zone and maintaining its claims over the Spratly and Paracel islands, even though the latter are controlled by China. Vietnam’s principle challenge has been to counter Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea. And although it continues to remain inferior to the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Vietnamese navy has improved its effectiveness in protecting its maritime interests.

WPR: What steps is Vietnam taking to increase its naval capacity, and who are its main naval partners in terms of supplies and training?

Singh: Vietnam’s essential strategy has been to build up its navy through strategic partnerships and high-profile procurement deals. Vietnam’s principal strategic partners are Russia and India. Moscow supplied Hanoi with two Gepard class ASW frigates in 2011, and more recently delivered three submarines as part of a $1.8 billion deal for six diesel-powered 636 Kilo-class boats. Two of these have even begun operational deployments in Vietnamese waters. Russia also recently signed a contract for the supply of 12 Su-30 Mk-2 multirole fighter aircraft to provide air cover to its naval fleet. Meanwhile India, Vietnam’s other strategic collaborator, has offered assistance in procuring patrol boats using a $100 million credit line. Besides procuring naval platforms from India and Russia, Vietnam has been dealing with the Netherlands for the future supply of four high-end Sigma-class corvettes, and has also acquired three twin Otter MPAs from Canada.

India, which in the past had supplied spare parts for Russian-made Petya-class warships and OSA-II class missile boats to the Vietnamese navy, is today Hanoi’s main training partner. The Indian navy has begun training a large number of Vietnamese sailors in submarine operations and underwater warfare at its INS Satavahana submarine school in Visakhapatnam. With its experience since the mid-1980s of operating Russian Kilo-class submarines, Indian assistance is seen as an invaluable asset, not only for the submarine training program, but also for the training of Sukhoi pilots and for assisting Vietnamese military personnel in improving their information technology and English-language skills.
UPSC declares results of NDA, Naval 

Academy Examinaton (1), 2014
The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) todaydeclared the final results of the National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Examination (1), 2014 on the basis of the written examination held by it in April this year and the subsequent interviewsconducted by the Services Selection Board. 
Accordingly, it has published the list, in order of merit, of 342 candidates who have qualified for admission to the Army, Navy and Air Force wings of National Defence Academy for the 133rd Course and Naval Academy for the 95th Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC) commencing from January 2015.  The results of medical examination have not been taken into account in preparing these lists, an official press release said. The release said the candidature of all the candidates is provisional, subject to their submitting the requisite certificates in support of date of birth and educational qualifications and so on claimed by them directly to the Additional Directorate General of Recruiting, Adjutant General’s Branch, Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Army), West Block No.III, Wing–I, R.K Puram, NEW Delhi -110066 wherever this has not already been done. 
In case, there is any change of address, the candidates are advised to promptly intimate directly to the Army Headquarter at the address given above.

 PM asked to highlight India’s ceasefire violation during SAARC summit
SIALKOT – Senate’s Standing Committee for Defense Chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Wednesday expressed concern over ceasefire violation on the working boundary and termed it a pre-planned violation by the Indian Army.

Talking to journalists during his visit to Charwa Sector, he expressed solidarity with local people, the Pakistan Army and the other paramilitary troops who are facing the Indian aggression along the working boundary.

The two-member committee including Senator Mushahid and Senator Sardar Mohsin Laghari visited the working boundary to assess damages due to the Indian firing. Senator Mushahid said that the Indian forces had fired 31,872 mortar shells in six days during Eidul Fitr which was worse shelling than the shelling during the 1971 war.

He said that the Indian firing and the shelling shows the thinking of Narendara Modi’s government as it violates the working boundary. He urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to highlight the issue of the violations at the working boundary during the upcoming SAARC summit in Kathmandu.

He said he had raised the issue of firing and shelling with the UN observers and they admitted the violation by the Indian forces which was against the UN charter. “We as member of Defence Committee visited Siachen and now we are visiting the working boundary to express solidarity with the people,” he said.

India’s Border Security Forces have violated the working boundary at least 30 times, as a result, 11 civilians had been killed and 38 injured during the year. Earlier, Pakistan Rangers Director General Tahir Javed Khan briefed the visiting lawmakers about the unprovoked Indian firing and shelling at the Rangers Headquarters.


5th Ludhiana Infantry Regiment re-enactment group in Brighton last year.



The Sikh community has often played a key, though under-appreciated, role in demonstrating skills of gallantry and valor in times of war. It is heartening to note that on the eve of Armistice Day, Great Britain acknowledged their contributions in a unique way. The role of Sikh soldiers in World War I was recalled and appreciated in the House of Commons during a memorial service. This event was attended by many renowned British politicians as well as key military personnel of Great Britain. Some NRIs and members of Sikh community were also invited to this event. Moreover, descendants of many World War I  were also able to attend, making the event even more special. 
This event showcased speeches honoring Sikh wartime contributions and re-enactments by some well trained Sikh volunteers. The volunteers posed as the soldiers of . This regiment was one of the first Indian troop to engage in the war in Europe in 1914. The Sikh volunteers were selected by spreading the word via social media outlets like Twitter. Some of these volunteers rode on the B-type battle bus which carried Indian soldiers during World War I. The way the volunteers expressed their emotions during the event was moving. The volunteers then related the story of Indian soldiers, especially the Sikh soldiers and the role played by them in World War I.The event was concluded by singing a Punjabi song that expressed the emotions of the Sikh soldiers at the time of war. It expressed how a soldier feels the need to communicate with his loved ones, how he prepares for the upcoming battle, and how he suppresses these emotions and fights valiantly.
One fifth of the Indian Army (representing the British Government) consisted of Sikhs during the Great War, totaling over 130,000 Sikh soldiers. Moreover, every 6th soldier who served in British Army during World War I was Indian.
The event was organized by Paul Uppal, an MP of Wolverhampton South West and the UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA). UKPHA is a group dedicated to promoting the recognition of Punjab’s arts, literature, history, and traditions.
This is a great gesture by the British government to appreciate the sacrifices made by the Sikh community.
The event was concluded by singing a Punjabi song that expressed the emotions of the Sikh soldiers at the time of war. It expressed how a soldier feels the need to communicate with his loved ones, how he prepares for the upcoming battle, and how he suppresses these emotions and fights valiantly.
One fifth of the Indian Army (representing the British Government) consisted of Sikhs during the Great War, totaling over 130,000 Sikh soldiers. Moreover, every 6th soldier who served in British Army during World War I was Indian.
The event was organized by Paul Uppal, an MP of Wolverhampton South West and the UK Punjab Heritage Association (UKPHA). UKPHA is a group dedicated to promoting the recognition of Punjab’s arts, literature, history, and traditions.
This is a great gesture by the British government to appreciate the sacrifices made by the Sikh community.
Rampal’s forces: 300 trained by former army, police officers
After two days of gunshots, teargas shelling and clashes with followers of Sant Rampal in Barwala, the Haryana police arrived at the conclusion that they were fighting a well-armed force of at least 300 “commandos” trained by retired Army and police personnel, and even former officers from elite units such as National Security Guard and Special Protection Group.
While intelligence inputs have also suggested that this force comprised mostly men in the 25-35 age group, Haryana’s principal secretary to the chief minister, Sanjeev Kaushal, said, “They have used .315 bore rifles, .32 bore revolvers and pistols, other sophisticated revolvers and pistols and country-made weapons to fire at police personnel. In fact, it appears that they have weapons of every calibre.”
At least two policemen suffered gunshot injuries while nine received burn injuries caused by petrol bombs thrown by Rampal’s followers.
A senior Haryana police officer told The Indian Express that these followers were even dressed up like the elite Black Cat commandos.
“Considering their combat skills, they have been designated as Rampal’s commandos. They also dress up like commandos and wear black clothes and even black bandanas to resemble Black Cat commandos,” he said.
Haryana’s Director General of Police, S N Vashisht agreed, “There are people who are trained by retired personnel of various security agencies. These people include retired police and Army officers who are carrying licensed weapons. There are other people as well, who possess illegal arms and ammunition.”
What the Haryana police have not been able to explain is how Rampal managed to raise and train this well-armed force in the ashram without their knowledge.
“There has not been any intelligence failure on our part. Those found guilty will not be spared,” Vashisht said.
He added that of the 280 people detained following the clashes, 22 appear to be part of this “commando force” who have played a vital role in protecting Rampal. “There are 22 such people who have been identified as major suspects in instigating the violence and forcibly holding people inside the ashram. All such people are being questioned and likely to be arrested soon,” Vashisht said.
Asked about the combat tactics used by Rampal’s followers, including throwing acid pouches and petrol bombs, Vashisht said, “LPG cylinders are used for cooking and the same can be used for blasts; acid is used for cleaning floors, and these people have used it to attack police; petrol is used to fuel vehicles, they have prepared bombs out of it. All these things are commonly used, but these people converted them into weapons.”
- See more at:
Army jawan killed in accident
AURANGABAD: An Indian Army Jawan was killed and another person was injured in a head-on collision between the motorcycle they were riding and a tempo near the Aland T-point on the Aurangabad-Jalgaon Road late on Tuesday night.

The deceased has been identified as Babasaheb Ramrao Shelke (35), hailing from Pralhadpur in Bhokardan tehsil of Jalna district. His companion and co-rider, Annasaheb Digambar Talekar (30), a resident of Pimpalgaon in Deolgaon Raja tehsil of Buldhana district, was seriously injured and is battling for life at a private hospital.

According to the police, Shelke was a Naik in the army and was posted at Khadki in Pune. He was on leave and had visited Aurangabad on Saturday. He stayed at Jadhavwadi with his wife, son and daughter till Tuesday morning and left for his Pralhadpur to see his parents. He stayed for the day with them and left for Aurangabad on a motorcycle at 7 pm with Talekar. A tempo (with the registration number MH-04-F-7847) dashed into the motorcycle at 10 pm near the the Aland T-point.

The duo were rescued and admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) an hour after the accident, where the medical officers declared Babasaheb dead upon arrival. Talekar has been shifted to a private hospital. A case has been registered in the Wadod Bazaar police station under the jurisdiction of the Aurangabad rural police.

Babasaheb Shelke was serving in the Indian Army for the last two decades. He was posted at Khadki Cantonment as a Naik. His son Shubham (13) and daughter Pratiksha (16) stayed in Aurangabad with their mother for their education.

Superseded admiral eyes military’s judicial job

Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, who took voluntary retirement in April after being superseded by a junior officer, has applied for the post of administrative member of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) set up to settle disputes outside civilian courts, defence ministry sources told HT.
It is common for retired three-star officers to be appointed to the position.
The AFT exercises appellate jurisdiction in court martial matters and original jurisdiction in cases relating to service conditions such as promotions, seniority, transfers and pay and allowances.
Sinha was the senior-most admiral in the navy when Admiral DK Joshi stepped down as chief on February 26, 2014, accepting moral responsibility for a string of warship mishaps.
In spite of his seniority, Sinha was superseded by the UPA government since some of the worst accidents had occurred under his watch including the sinking of INS Sindhurakshak that left 18 sailors dead on August 14, 2013 and the INS Sindhuratna mishap that killed two officers and wounded several others on February 26, 2014.
Sinha’s junior Admiral Robin Dhowan was named navy chief in April.
A senior ministry official said Sinha met the eligibility criteria for the AFT post and could land up the job.
However, there are others with contrary views. “While he (Sinha) put in his papers in the correct military tradition, the fact remains he was not happy with the government’s decision. To that extent, he could be carrying some baggage and may not be truly impartial,” said Major General Nilendra Kumar, a former judge advocate general. Kumar said an administrative member’s job was of a judicial nature.
Admiral Sinha did not respond to phone calls or text messages.
Judicial members of AFT are retired high court judges, while administrative members are drawn from veterans who have held the rank of major general or equivalent or above for a period of at least three years.

On dialogue with India, Nawaz Sharif says will ‘consult’ separatist leaders first

Islamabad: Ignoring India's opposition, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said Pakistan would hold dialogue with Kashmiri separatists to take them into confidence before engaging in peace talks with India.
"It is our fundamental belief that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue. My government started dialogue with India but it cancelled the scheduled talks between the foreign secretaries," he said addressing the Kashmir Council in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
He said "before starting dialogue with India, I have decided to consult the Kashmiri leaders". Sharif's comments came ahead of SAARC summit next week in Nepal, which will be attended by him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sharif asked the international community to play its role to press India for starting talks for the resolution of Kashmir issue.
He said Pakistan army gave a befitting response to Indian troops' recent unprovoked firing across the Line of Control (LoC). He said Indian firing harmed the confidence building measures.
Sharif said his government was pro-actively highlighting the issue of Kashmir at every forum, including at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September.
He expressed concern over the silence of the UN and international community on the issue and urged them to take initiative for resolution of the dispute according to UN Security Council's resolutions and the aspiration of Kashmiri people.
He said India has always exhibited its traditional stubbornness regarding the Kashmir issue. He said declaring the struggle of Kashmiris as terrorism is wrong approach of India, which is a struggle for right to self-determination. Sharif said Pakistan is rendering great sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.
India called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held on August 25 after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit held talks with Kashmiri separatists.India said Pakistan's actions were interfering in its internal affairs and were "unacceptable".
Will consult Kashmiri separatists before talks with India: Sharif
Afzal Khan in Islamabad
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has blamed India for adopting inflexible approach towards the Kashmir issue. Ignoring India's opposition, Sharif today said Pakistan would hold dialogue with Kashmiri separatists to take them into confidence before engaging in peace talks with India.
Speaking at a meeting of Kashmir Council in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir on Thursday, Sharif said he would consult Hurriyat leaders prior to entering negotiations with India.
"It is our fundamental belief that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue. My government started dialogue with India but it cancelled the scheduled talks between the foreign secretaries," he said.
New Delhi called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held on August 25 after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit met Kashmiri separatists.
Sharif's comments came ahead of the SAARC summit next week in Nepal which will be attended by him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In September, Sharif raised the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly session invoking indirect response from his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. The Indian External Affairs Minister gave a more pointed reply reiterating Indian position that "Kashmir is an integral part of India". Calling for a peaceful resolution of the dispute in the Muzaffarabad meeting, Sharif said all issues should be resolved through negotiations and without the use of force.
"Many civilians and security personnel were injured during the recent ceasefire violations along the Line of Control. We don't want to use power," said Sharif.
He also expressed concern over the silence of the UN and international community on the issue and urged them to take initiative for the resolution of the dispute according to UN Security Council's resolutions and the aspiration of Kashmiri people. "Pakistan has always kept Kashmir issue at the forefront in all world peace forums," Sharif said.
Shunning India's accusations related to Pakistan harbouring militants, Sharif said: "Pakistan is not providing sanctuaries to anti-India elements. India has propaganda against us that we are harbouring terrorists in order to cover up their wrongdoings in Kashmir," he said. Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism and is doing everything to eliminate it, he said. (With agency inputs)

The pragmatic idealism of Nehru

Somewhere in the files of the PMO there is a 1949 query by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to his Army chief, General K C Cariappa, asking if the Indian Army would be able to intervene and prevent the Chinese conquest of Tibet. 
The General’s response was that, given the capacity of the Army and the difficult communication links with Tibet, intervention was out of the question. 
Nehru was not the caricature woolly-headed idealist that his critics make him out to be. He had to deal with the instruments under his command. And among these was an army that lacked the size and heft to take on the battle-hardened PLA across the Himalayas in Tibet in 1950. 
India’s response to the invasion of Tibet by China, beginning January 1, 1950, was, therefore, cautious. Nehru’s interim government had already supplied weapons and trained Tibetans since 1946. But with Chinese power rampant, the Indian effort became covert. 
According to one source, India quietly dispatched 40,000 rifles to the Khampa regions, the first to feel the weight of the PLA invasion. 
Sardar Patel’s famous letter to Nehru on November 7, 1950, warning of the dangers arising from the Chinese invasion of Tibet, was not meant as a critique of Nehru as many uber-nationalists claim, but as part of a policy review which was undertaken after the Sardar passed away a month later. 

Jawaharlal Nehru meets then Army chief General K.C. Cariappa at Plaam Aerodrome in 1949
A committee headed by Major General Himmatsinhji, the Deputy Minister for Defence, was set up to examine the issues of the border and external intelligence. 
The Committee, which comprised of senior army, intelligence and foreign ministry officials, submitted its reports in two parts, one dealing with the eastern border in April 1951 and the other with the western border in September. 
The recommendations called for the reorganisation and redeployment of the military forces and an increase in the size of the infantry and supporting arms, the development of certain airfields, the setting up of radar stations in the east, and an increase in the size of the Assam Rifles to patrol the border. 
It called for the strengthening of the administration in the eastern areas and the strengthening of the IB network. 
The dilemma before Nehru was stark. His army could not take on the PLA in Tibet. So, he used diplomacy to delay that moment of confrontation. Unfortunately, it came sooner rather than later and its causes had as much to do with India’s China policy as Beijijng’s internal power struggles.Read more: 

Will consult Kashmiri leaders before talks with India: Sharif

Sharif asked the international community to play its role to press 

India for starting talks for the resolution of Kashmir issue
Ignoring India's opposition, Prime Minister today said will hold dialogue with Kashmiri separatists to take them into confidence before engaging in peace talks with India.
"It is our fundamental belief that the Kashmir issue should be resolved through dialogue. My government started dialogue with but it cancelled the scheduled talks between the foreign secretaries," he said addressing the Kashmir Council in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan- occupied Kashmir.He said "before starting dialogue with India, I have decided to consult the Kashmiri leaders".Sharif's comments came ahead of summit next week in which will be attended by him and Prime MinisterModi.Sharif asked the international community to play its role to press India for starting talks for the resolution of Kashmir issue.

He said Pakistan army gave a befitting response to Indian troops' recent unprovoked firing across the Line of Control (LoC). He said Indian firing harmed the confidence building measures.
Sharif said his government was pro-actively highlighting the issue of Kashmir at every forum, including at the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September.
He expressed concern over the silence of the UN and international community on the issue and urged them to take initiative for resolution of the dispute according to UN Security Council's resolutions and the aspiration of Kashmiri people.
He said India has always exhibited its traditional stubbornness regarding the Kashmir issue. He said declaring the struggle of Kashmiris as terrorism is wrong approach of India, which is a struggle for right to self-determination. Sharif said Pakistan is rendering great sacrifices in the fight against terrorism.
India called off foreign secretary-level talks with Pakistan scheduled to be held on August 25 after Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit held talks with Kashmiri separatists.India said Pakistan's actions were interfering in its internal affairs and were "unacceptable".
The thick and thin of life
Col P S Sangha, VrC (retd)
NEXT year I shall be reaching the golden age of 70. At this stage of life, with time on your hands, it is very common to reflect on the thick and thin aspects of your life. I am no different and thus often think about the joyous and not-so-joyous moments of life.
I was born into a middle class family with my parents being very pious and honest. They educated me and my siblings to the best of their ability and fed us well. So we turned up to become tall and tough Jat Sikh boys. In due course I followed my father and eldest brother to become a commissioned Army officer. Way back in 1965 I started on the princely salary of Rs 450 a month. That was more than what an IPS or IAS chap then got as a start.
What followed over the next 15 years was a successful military career. I got top gradings on the various courses that I attended. I became an Army aviator and went on to attend the Staff College Course in Australia. I fought a war for the nation and won a gallantry award. So by the time I was due for promotion to Lt Col, the future looked very bright. I took over command of my parent regiment which is a dream of every Army officer. Over the next few years I did my best to command my regiment with elan and maintain a high level of probity and integrity. However I soon realised that things had not gone as expected and that my military career was at a dead end. So I decided to call it a day and put in my papers for superannuation.
I started a new career in civil aviation to become a commercial helicopter pilot. I was quite thrilled by getting a pay check of Rs 18,500, which was much above the last salary that I drew as a colonel. Then followed a 17-year-stint of flying all over the country with top politicians, industrialists, film stars and foreign tourists. When we went out of station, we checked into 5-star hotels. It was interesting work but I missed my Army days and the simple but neat accommodation that we had. Finally this phase also came to an end when I reached the age of 65. So I was now truly and finally retired. Time now is spent on the golf course and sometimes with old Army friends in the club. I have now reached the stage to reflect on the ‘thick and thin' of life.
So what are the lessons that I have learnt from my life? First, one should never count the chickens before they are hatched. Next, there is no point cribbing about the unfair hand dealt to you. Finally, have the courage to take the bold step to start a new life. But what about the 'thick and thin' of life? Well, I started with a monthly salary of Rs 450 and my last drawn monthly earning was Rs 4.12 Lakh. I guess that was the 'thin and thick' of my life!

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