Archive for December, 2006

Saddam Hussien Executed at Dawn on Saturday

December 30, 2006

Saddam Hussein was hanged for crimes against humanity at dawn on Saturday, a dramatic, violent end for a leader who ruled Iraq by fear for three decades before a U.S. invasion toppled him.

“It was very quick. He died right away,” one of the official Iraqi witnesses told Reuters, saying the former president’s face was uncovered, he appeared calm and said a brief prayer as Iraqi policemen walked him to the gallows and put the noose round him.

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YEAR END REVIEW 2006: INDIAN ARMY 2006: YEAR OF CHALLENGES AND ACHIEVEMENTS FOR THE INDIAN ARMY

December 30, 2006

For the Indian Army, the year 2006 proved to be a year of challenges and achievements. The Indian Amy continued to guard the nation from external and internal threats. Though a ceasefire is holding along the LC in J & K, troops continued to guard it against infiltration and exfiltration by anti national elements. In the hinterland, in          J & K and the North East, it continued to seek and apprehend/ neutralise terrorists. In J&K alone, close to 600 militants were killed and over 400 apprehended while over 200 surrendered.   In the process large quantities of arms, ammunition and other war like stores and equipment were recovered. Various militant groups have either been neutralized or considerably weakened. The common man continues to look up to the Army as an important organ of the nation to provide safety, security and succour.

Modernisation

1.         Trials for identifying 155 mm/52 Calibre towed guns are in process and the selection process will commence once these are completed. Electronic surveillance devices such as unmanned ground sensors, Battle Field Surveillance Radars, Infra Red Sensors, Hand held thermal imagers etc have been introduced to assist in counter terrorism operations. The Army is also working towards Network Centric Warfare concept for a digitized battlefield of the future. The Army is adequately prepared to operate in the prevailing NBC environment in the region and these capabilities are regularly reviewed keeping in view the changing threat scenario, as required.

Contributions In UN Peacekeeping

2.         Besides the ongoing contribution in various Peace Keeping Missions under the UN banner, the Indian Army dispatched a contingent for the first time to Golan Heights. They joined the UN Disengagement Observation Force (UNDOF) with troops from Canada, Japan, Australia, Poland and Slovakia, UNDOF is deployed in an Area of Separation between Israeli and Syrian Forces

3.         4 SIKH, deployed in Lebanon was awarded the Force Commander’s Unit citation for the stupendous manner in which this battalion performed its tasks. It may be recalled that this battalion was located between two warring faction in the region. In a rare honour, UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan also visited this battalion.

Sino Indian Border Personnel Meetings

4.         Besides Chushul, Nathula and Bumla for the first time ever, a Sino Indian border personnel meeting was held in Area Kibithu in Arunachal Pradesh on 18 Nov 2006. Peace and tranquility prevails on the Sino – Indian frontier.

Joint Exercise

5.         Indian Army continued to hold joint exercises with foreign armies. Some of these  were with Uzbekistan Special Force in Jan 2006, United States for Counter terrorism in Oct 2006 and with US Marine, also in Oct 2006.

Rescues and Relief – Floods

6.         In early Aug 2006, Army rescued over 1600 persons in the flood affected areas of Marathwada, Chattisgarh and Ladakh. Later in the same month, it was deployed for rescue and relief of over 4000 person in Barmer District of Rajastan.

Welfare

7.         Assured decent last rites scheme was introduced this year wherein all assistance is made available to ensure dignity in death of all ex servicemen. A number of educational institutes continue to do yeoman service for the wards of serving and retired Army personnel. Army Wives Welfare Organisation has focused on the welfare of widows of service personnel and children with different abilities.

Suicides

8.         A number of steps have been initiated to address the incidents of suicides in the Army. Though the per capita figures of suicides in the Army are considerably lower as compared to civil society and also many other armies, it is to be expected that these will be controlled even further by various steps which have been initiated.

Adventure Activities

9.         The Indian Army conducted a large number of adventure activities in 2006, the major ones being:-

(a)            K2K Para Motor Expedition from Kashmir to Kanyakumari in January 2006.

(b)        Army’s Day-Night Hot Air Ballooning Expedition Jaipur to Delhi in February 2006.

(c)            Mountaineering Expedition to Mount Cho Oyu in May 2006.

(d)        Indo-Kazakhstan Joint Mountaineering Expedition to Mount Nun Peak, Zanskar in Jammu & Kashmir in September 2006.

(e)        Joint India – Myanmar Army Car Rally in December 2006.

Visits of Security Forces Commanders

10.        A number of delegation of security forces from various nations visited Army HQs. Some the Security Force Commanders who visited are as under:-

(a)        Maj Gen Mohamed Zahir, Chief of Staff, National Security Service, Maldives in February 2006.

(b)        Gen Tsutomu Mori, Chief of Staff, Japan Ground Self Defence Force in March 2006.

(c)        Lt Gen ISA Chisuzi, Zambian Army Chief Commences in May 2006.

(d)        Maj Gen Said Nazzer Slumeiman Al Salmi, Commander of Oman Army visit to India in June 2006.

(e)        Gen Peter J Schoomaker, Chief of Staff, US Army in September 2006.

(f)         Staff Maj Gen Ali M Subaih Al-Kaabi, Commander, Land Forces, UAE in November 2006.

(h)        Gen Francisco Roberto De Albuquerque, Commander, Brazilian Army in December 2006.

Martyrs

11.  The entire nation joined the Army in honouring various martyrs who have laid down lives in counter terrorism operations. The valiant sacrifice of Col GS Sarna during the concluding days of 2006 was widely acknowledged as one more supreme sacrifice on the altar of national security.

Army to Recruit 400 Psychiatrists to Combat Stress

December 30, 2006

The army plans to recruit 400 psychiatrists to cope with stress within its ranks that has led to an increase in fratricidal killings and suicides.

“We have sent a proposal for recruiting 400 psychiatrists of officer rank so that senior officers can also approach them,” Vice Admiral V K Singh, Director General of the Armed Forces Medical Service, told reporters here today on the eve of the Army Medical Corps’ Foundation Day.

Asked about an increase in suicides among army personnel, Singh agreed that the “suicides were linked to stress” but said the “morale of army officers is high”.

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CIAL air traffic up by 38 per cent

December 30, 2006

The Cochin International Airport Ltd. (CIAL) has recorded a sharp growth in passenger traffic and revenue earnings even as it has charted out a Rs 5000 crore expansion and modernization plan.

At the 12 th AGM of the company held here, Chief Minister V.S.Achutanandan, who is also the chairman of the company, said considering the impressive growth in passenger and aircraft movement, the concept of developing an airport city around the airport appeared to be feasible.

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FDI in domestic airlines may soar up

December 30, 2006

The government is considering a proposal to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in scheduled domestic carriers to 74% from 49%. The idea is being mooted to increase the funding options for domestic airlines, that have drawn up huge expansion plans. Domestic carriers are expected to buy close to 480 aircraft in five years involving an investment of $30 billion.

“The government may hike the FDI cap to facilitate funding options for airline companies,” a senior official in the civil aviation ministry said. The idea of hiking FDI in domestic carriers has been doing the rounds for quite some time, but the government now seems to have reached a broad consensus on the issue, he added. A review panel set up by the civil aviation ministry would suggest detailed policy changes in this regard early next year.

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FDI cap in airlines may go up to 74%

December 30, 2006

The government is considering a proposal to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in scheduled domestic carriers to 74% from 49%.

The idea is being mooted to increase the funding options for domestic airlines, which have drawn up huge expansion plans. Indian carriers are expected to buy close to 480 aircraft in the next five years involving an investment of about $30 billion.

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UK computer major to help upgrade Delhi airport

December 30, 2006

The award of a multi-million contract to a Lincolnshire-based computer firm to undertake part of the modernisation of Delhi’s international airport has been received with much enthusiasm.

CSE International Ltd, the Flixborough-based company, specialises in the assessment and management of high-risk computer projects and is a leader in its field worldwide. Its contract involves the design, development and delivery of all the computer-based systems, including airfield ground lighting control, baggage handling and screening.

The firm was part of a consortium led by Larsen and Toubro Ltd to secure the contract to design and build a state-of-the art passenger terminal and one of Asia’s biggest runways at the Delhi international airport. The contract is expected to be complete in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

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DGCA flies in to plug shortage; plans to hire 250 foreign pilots

December 30, 2006

Faced with a mounting shortage of over 500 commercial pilots every year, action has been initiated on several fronts to mitigate the problem. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will reduce the period for acquiring a commercial pilot licence (CPL) from 16 to 12 months, and will introduce an multi-engine pilot licence (MPL) in 2007. The DGCA will also grant CPL to about 250 foreign pilots in Q1 next year.

Besides, DGCA will acquire about 11 trainer aircraft from the Aero Club of India, and distribute them to top aviation training academies at a cost of Rs 1 crore per aircraft. “A new pilot training institute in Gondia near Nagpur will also be opened for which expressions of interest (EOIs) have already been invited from foreign companies for collaboration.

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Air India, Indian merger may be delayed

December 30, 2006

Will the proposed merger of Air India and Indian overshoot the April 1, 2007 deadline or will the time lost in administrative delays be made up?

At the time of awarding the contract to consultants Accenture, to draw out a roadmap for the merger, it was decided that pre-Cabinet work would be completed in 10 weeks while all post-Cabinet approvals would be obtained within 16 weeks.

In addition, Accenture was to handhold the new merged entity for 52 weeks to ensure that the entire process would be completed by March 2008.

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Oriental wins fog cover mandate from Air India

December 30, 2006

Oriental Insurance has won the mandate to provide fog cover to Air India ahead of two other private and pubic sector insurance companies that were in the fray. This is the first time that Air India has gone in for fog insurance.

“Oriental Insurance will provide up to Rs 20 lakh in the event of fog affecting normal operations of Air India flights. The funds would be used to cover expenses incurred by the airline on account of re-routing of the aircraft and providing hotel accommodation for passengers,” official sources told Business Line.

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