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Tuesday, February 04, 2003

 
INSAT-3A launch after Feb.28
Bangalore Feb. 2. The Indian Space Research Organisation-built INSAT-3A is planned to be launched anytime after February 28, giving a boost to the communication and meteorological services, a top ISRO official said today.
``The launch window will be open for a week from February 28'', the Director of the ISRO Satellite Centre and Space Commission member, Dr. P. S. Goel, told PTI here.
The satellite has transponders in C, extended C and KU bands and would have applications in the communication and meteorology. It also has a transponder for search and rescue.
The Hindu 3 Feb03

posted by promila 3:38 AM

 
Air Chief reins in his officers with service rules



Express News Service Indian Express 4 Feb03


New Delhi, February 3: Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, Chief of Air Staff, has thrown the service rule book at his officers and men, making it clear that all official communication to Defence Minister George Fernandes should be routed through Air Headquarters. The former test pilot, who is known for his no-nonsense approach, has also made it clear that IAF officers should strictly follow service rules in order to prevent ‘‘misuse of resources’’. This, in effect, means that IAF officers, including the three-star Commander-in-Chiefs, cannot misuse their official transport as service vehicles can only be used for ‘‘official commitments’’. South Block sources said Krishnaswamy has told the Air Force Commanders as well as Principal Staff Officers that they should not approach Fernandes directly and that all letters as well as statutory complaints should go through Air Headquarters. Although the service rules specify that communication should be addressed to the next higher command of authority, senior Indian Air Force officers of late have been bypassing Air Headquarters and directly airing their personal grievances before the Defence Minister. Krishnaswamy reiterated the rules firmly after last year an Air Marshal rank officer decided to directly approach the Defence Ministry without keeping Air Headquarters in picture. It has now been reinforced that all statutory complaints and letters should be sent to the Defence Ministry only after comments from the IAF. However, no objections will be raised when Commander-in-Chiefs and senior officers interact with the Defence Minister when the latter visits their formations. But it is Krishnaswamy’s ‘‘optimisation of resources’’ diktat that has set the cat among the pigeons. Enforcement of this rule simply means that even Commander-in-Chiefs cannot take their flag car for a private round of golf or tennis. Senior IAF officials say IAF officers can take their official flag cars to golf courses only if there is an official function. ‘‘However, the Air Chief has no problems if the official car is used to transport those in need of medical attention,’’ said a senior official. When contacted for comments, senior IAF officials said the Air Chief was merely asking his officers to follow the laid-down procedure. ‘‘He is just enforcing discipline in the force, otherwise every senior officer will go to the Defence Ministry with complaints,’’ an officer said. Perhaps, it is time for the civilian bureaucracy headed by Cabinet Secretary Kamal Pande to follow suit and ensure that joint secretaries and above do not use their official cars for purchasing groceries.


MiG-21s force US Boeing to land at Mumbai



Express News Service



Mumbai/ New Delhi, February 3: The Indian Air Force (IAF) scrambled its MiG-21s from Bhuj airbase and forced a US commercial plane to land at Mumbai this evening after it strayed from its flight path and seemed headed for the Jamnagar sector, also home to important economic installations. The Boeing 757 of US-based Conco Corporation touched down at Mumbai at 1811 hours. In New Delhi, Civil Aviation Minister Shahnawaz Hussain said the plane did not have ‘‘air defence clearance’’ for the path it took. This is the second intrusion into Indian airspace by a foreign aircraft in three days. A US air force plane flew 150 nautical miles east of Chennai last Friday without identifying itself. Indian officials suspect that the aircraft was a Boeing modified as a KC-135 refuelling tanker. But this evening, the Indians followed the drill. The 11 persons on board the Boeing 757, all apparently crew members, were taken to an isolation bay for questioning. The pilot was named as John Burg. Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Rajendra Darda said the Conco Corporation aircraft was flying from Karachi to Male when it veered from its flight path. Personnel from the Airports Authority of India, Customs and CISF were questioning the crew, he said. In New Delhi, Shahnawaz Hussain said that the DG of Civil Aviation had been asked to conduct a probe.

US giant ready to bid for AJT



Express News Service Indian Expresss 4 Feb 03 Internet



New Delhi, February 3: Top officials from American aviation giant Lockheed-Martin today said they are ready to offer New Delhi, the medium haul C-130J transport aircraft and make a bid for the Advance Jet Trainer deal. The manufacturer of F-16 combat aircraft is seeking greater participation in the Indian defence production sector as it negotiates with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). ‘Britain confident of bagging £ 1.2 b Hawk deal’
BANGALORE: British aerospace systems (BAE systems) has completed price negotiations with the Indian Government on acquisition of its Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) and is confident of bagging the deal, J.L. Catchpole, first secretary (Defence supply) at the British High Commission in New Delhi, said on day. ‘‘We are awaiting the decision,’’ Catchpole refused to specify as to when the price negotiations with New Delhi were completed. ‘‘We are confident. We have the best aircraft (Hawk) in the world,’’ Catchpole said. In a £ 1.2 billion deal, India plans to acquire 66 AJTs — 22 outright and 44 to be manufactured under license by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. British PM Tony Blair had personally intervened twice to support the BAE systems offer. (ENS)
In India for the Aero-India 2003, Lockheed-Martin is keen on pushing through its C-130J transport aircraft as a replacement for the Indian An-12 aircraft, said a senior company official. Company’s vice-president Dennys Plessas is confident that the C-130J will meet Indian requirements and is ‘‘open to offers,’’ which could also mean producing the aircraft in India. A high-level company delegation visited HAL in August last year and will continue talks after Aero-India 2003. The company is also confident that it can offer the F-16 as well as their Advanced Jet Trainer, the T-50. Company officials claimed that it, ‘‘is the only super-sonic trainer in the world.’’


India to send elite commandos to Israel for training Indian Express 4 Feb 03



Press Trust Of India



New Delhi, February 2: With Islamabad showing no signs of relenting on infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has given a go ahead to the raising of four more battalions of special forces, who will be trained in Israel for specialised counter insurgency strikes. The proposal for raising these new elite commando forces, specially in ‘‘irregular warfare’’, has been cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and additional funds have been allocated for it, highly placed Army officials said. The officers and men from these newly-raised battalions will be sent to Israel for special anti-insurgency warfare training, the officials added. A high-level Defence Ministry delegation is scheduled to visit Israel next week to clear the deck for the training. India and Israel recently signed a 30-million dollar agreement to arm these special forces with Israeli tavros light weapons systems. The system is said to be the most advanced in contemporary warfare. India already has brigade strength special forces comprising four battalions, 1 para-commandos, 9 para-commandos, 10 para-commandos and 21st para-commandos. While, 1 para- commandos, with deep sea divers in its ranks, specialises in anti-hijacking and hostage crises, the 9 para-commandos, with experienced mountaineers, is dedicated mountain guerrilla force. The 10 para-commandos is for desert operations and the 21st was raised recently for jungle terrain. The Army brass was tightlipped about the role of the newly raised special forces, which will make India, only the fifth country in the world, to have division strength special forces after US, Russia, China and UK. Sources said the newly raised forces specially trained in high risk hit-and-run tactics will be assigned to target militants staging points near the LOC and seek and destroy mercernary ammunition dumps near the border and in the hinterland in J-K.


India, US to talk Army cooperation



Saikat Datta Indian Express 4 Feb03 downloads



New Delhi, January 31: The Indo-US Defence Policy Group (DPG) is scheduled to meet in the second week of February amidst Pakistan raising concern over deepening of military cooperation between New Delhi and Washington. According to South block sources, Defence Secretary Subir Datta and US counterpart Douglas Feith will meet on February 11-12 to broaden the horizon of India-US defence cooperation. That Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri raised objections with Washington over defence ties between India and US indicates that at least Pentagon does not believe in maintaining regional parity in the sub-continent. While Kasuri raised concern over the ‘‘tactical’’ exercise involving Indian Air Force’s Su-30 MKI planes and US F-15 C fighters, it is understood that the joint exercise will take place in India this year. The dates of exercises may get finalised in the meetings on the sidelines of DPG. The DPG could also discuss Indian plans to acquire anti-ballistic missile capability and review the ongoing military hardware sales between the two sides.
Tension on Indo-Bangla border
By Our Special Correspondent the Hindu 4 Feb 03
Kolkata Feb. 3. Tension is running high along the Indo-Bangladesh border at the Satgachi outpost in Coochbehar district of West Bengal where three days ago the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) resisted a move by 213 Bangladeshis to re-enter their country.
According to officials of the Border Security Force, the 213 Bangladeshi nationals are Hindus and snake-charmers from Porabari in Manikgunj sub-division of Bangladesh. They are now stranded on the zero line, unable to re-enter Bangladesh as talks between the BDR and the BSF have failed to resolve the impasse. "Residents of Satgachi and its nearby areas are likely to be evacuated in view of the tension along the border," the DIG (HQ) of Police, N.C. Ghosh, said today.
"Evacuation may begin any moment in view of the highly volatile situation."
Kamal Guha, West Bengal Agriculture Minister and Forward Bloc MLA from Coochbehar, has urged the Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, to take up the issue with the Union Home Ministry before it developed into a border skirmish.
PTI reports from Coochbehar:
The BDR at the Nazirgomani outpost and locals armed with clubs beat back the Bangladeshis, including 80 children and 65 women, when they tried to cross back into Bangladesh territory, the Coochbehar District Magistrate, Chandan Sinha, said.
The Bangladeshis made their bid immediately after a 45-minute sector level meeting between the DIG BSF (Coochbehar) and his Bangladeshi counterpart, Enayat Karim, (Rangpur) at Lalmonirhat in Bangladesh failed to decide their fate this morning, Mr. Sinha said.
Issue taken up with envoy
By Amit Baruah The Hindu 4 Feb 03
NEW DELHI Feb. 3. As the fate of 213 persons stranded on the "zero line'' between Bangladesh and India remained undecided, a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs, Mira Shankar, met with the Bangladeshi High Commissioner to India, Tufail K. Haider, here today.
The Foreign Office spokesman said there was a discussion on the "detention'' of the 213 Bangladeshi nationals, who were not being allowed to return to their own country. The spokesman said that they were currently near the Border Post No. 867 in the Cooch-Behar area. India would provide humanitarian assistance to them, if allowed to do so by the Bangladeshi side.
There had been three flag meetings between the Indian and the Bangladeshi border security officials since January 31, but the issue had not yet been resolved. Referring to the meeting with the Bangladesh High Commissioner, the spokesman said that an "aide memoire'' had been handed over to him by Ms. Shankar.
Replying to questions, the spokesman stressed that the citizenship of the 213 was not an issue as far as India was concerned — they were all Bangladeshi citizens and some of them were even carrying electricity bills.
In a related development, Mr. Haider told this correspondent that he was made aware of the gravity of the situation only today. The developments involving the 213 persons were taking place far away from him. He was seeking clarification and instructions from his Government.
Mr. Haider claimed efforts were on to "infuse'' a "new element'' into the strained relations between Bangladesh and India. After talking about militants from India taking shelter in Bangladesh, the Al-Qaeda factor was the "new element'' that had been introduced in the situation. ``You don't push in people,'' Mr. Haider said adding that common people suffered in the bargain. However, he could not go into the nitty-gritty of the incident. Asked if reports that the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister, Morshed Khan, would be visiting New Delhi were true, Mr. Haider said a "political contact'' between the two countries was quite possible. He also said India should not use the word "infiltration'' as it had a different connotation, but speak of "illegal immigration'' or "economic migrants'' while referring to Bangladeshi citizens crossing into the Indian territory.

posted by promila 3:37 AM


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