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A NAVY THAT DARES, A NAVY THAT CARES

The initiatives taken by the Indian Navy to help the nation fight massive and unprecedented challenges like Covid-19 and Cyclone Tauktae are laudable.

Cmde Srikant B Kesnur

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On this day seventy years ago, 27 May 1951, the Indian Navy (IN) was presented with the President’s Colour. There was a historical context to this. On 26 January 1950, when India became a Republic, the prefix ‘Royal’ was dropped from the Indian Navy and the King’s Colour awarded previously to all three services and their component units were laid up in the Indian Military Academy at Dehra Dun. However, resultantly, the Sovereign’s Colour that is displayed on ceremonial occasions and parades to build troop morale was no longer available. Thus, the Government of India decided to present the Colour to the Indian Navy, the first amongst the three services to be so honoured, in keeping with the British tradition of the Navy being the Senior Service. Then Lt (later Vice Admiral) M.P. Awati received the Colour on behalf of the Indian Navy, from President Rajendra Prasad, in a grand ceremony, at the Brabourne Stadium, in Mumbai.

Naval dockyarad team working on the oxygen plant at NelloreINS Jalashwa entering Vishakapatnam loaded with oxygen and other suppliesUnloading of oxygen tanks from INS Airavat at VisakahapatnamDaring rescue mission by Seaking helicopter during Cyclone TauktaeINS Kolkota sick bay giving first aid to rescued personnel of Cyclone TauktaeHeartfelt gratitude to the navy: Sentiments of those rescued to crew of INS KochiOxygen recycling system developed by Diving School, KochiOxygen loading on INS TrikandINS Jalashwa returns to Vizag with cryogenic tanks and oxygen cylinders embarked.Naval ships on oxygen mission.

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Presentation of President’s Colour to Indian Navy 27 May 1951.

Since then, the other two Services and many subordinate formations have been presented the President’s Colour in recognition of their service to the nation. These are treasured by the units and displayed at appropriate locations to instill pride and engender unit cohesion. Thus, today, seventy years later, is a good time to evaluate the growth of the Navy and its contributions across a range of national activities, especially as it has been virtually co-terminus with the growth of our Republic. The Armed Forces are, but naturally, expected to deliver on the defence and security front and the Indian Navy has done so handsomely over the last seven decades. As the nation’s principal instrument in the maritime domain, the Navy has also contributed in the spheres of constabulary and maintaining good order at sea. Further, because of the essentially multilateral nature of oceans, the Navy has also been the lead agency in our defence diplomacy missions.

Over and above this, one area where the Navy has been quietly doing a lot and built considerable expertise is in the field of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). Over the years, our ability to respond with alacrity to a range of HADR requirements within the country and in the wider Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has earned us many equities. While the inherent flexible nature of Navies enables this multi-tasking, the excellent training and humanware in our service make for successful outcomes in such enterprises.

Here, it needs emphasis that rendering HADR is an enshrined tradition within the Navy. Right from Independence, under different names such as ‘aid to civil authority’ or ‘rescue missions’ in times of accidents, or ‘restoration of services’ or ‘diving assistance’ in rivers and dams, the Navy has played a significant hand in varied HADR missions. However, the tsunami of 2004, wherein the Indian Navy earned global acclaim for its prompt response and assistance in the region, also taught us many lessons. The Navy, thereafter, built up institutionalised mechanisms which were undergirded by doctrinal frameworks in its approach to HADR. It recognised that between the desire to help and actual delivery of assistance there is a whole world of ‘capacities and capabilities’ which it has assiduously tried to build over the subsequent years. This attribute has manifested itself in the Navy’s significant, if somewhat understated, role in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic even while maintaining our combat worthiness given the fragile security situation in the neighbourhood.

COMBATING THE FIRST WAVE

The Covid-19 pandemic brought to fore unprecedented challenges for the entire nation including the Services. The challenges to the Navy were at multiple levels. At the base it was about keeping the service and community safe from the pandemic; however, since the Navy’s entire structure of warfighting and daily functioning depends upon teamwork and camaraderie, which, in turn, is contingent upon physical togetherness and close proximity in a ship, submarine, air station or other units, there were tremendous conceptual challenges as well. Tactile gestures are integral to the Armed Forces—playing games together, a shabaash, a handshake, a shoulder over the arm of a shipmate, a hug, engender bonhomie and team spirit. To move away from those paradigms needed mental and emotional adjustment. And, all of this, at a time when the Navy had to remain in constant state of alertness in view of the volatile border situation, the Galwan incident and other related issues. Simultaneously, considering its resources and organisational strengths, the Navy also hoisted the signal that it had to be at the forefront of fighting the pandemic, assist the national cause wholeheartedly and remain fully committed to contribute in all possible ways.

In the first wave of Covid the Indian Navy launched Operation ‘Samudra Setu’ (Sea Bridge) for the repatriation of our stranded citizens. In this operation, lasting over 55 days, IN Ships Jalashwa, Airavat, Shardul and Magar traversed more than 23,000 km by sea and brought back nearly 4000 citizens. The operation was a herculean task. Given the need for physical distancing, the ships had to create specially demarcated areas for quarantine, clinic and the passengers’ stationing area. Ensuring crew separation from passengers, availability of women staff for female passengers, provision of lodging, boarding, recreation, medical assistance while ensuring strict protocols, cleaning and sanitation of crowded spaces, liaison with host nations, updating documentation, speedy and smooth embarkation and disembarkation, were the many challenges the ships had to cope with and take in stride.

Many countries including the Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles had requested India for assistance in dealing with Covid-19 and India responded with ‘Mission Sagar’ which entailed deploying INS Kesari with 600 tons of food to the Maldives while sending medical personnel and medicines to other countries. A special consignment of Ayurvedic medicines was also sent to Mauritius. The mission was significant in highlighting our friendly relations with these countries during trying times. The Navy also contributed in creating small but significant innovations such as the ‘Portable Multi-feed Oxygen Manifold (MOM)’ that enabled one Oxygen Bottle to supply six patients concurrently, development of low cost handheld IR based temperature sensor for undertaking screening of large number of personnel at entry gates, designing high quality PPE kits for mass production and such like.

Fighting the Second Wave

This year we experienced the second wave of Covid-19 and its mutant; a deadlier version killing thousands. Once again, IN joined the nation’s effort to curb the transmission and help those in need. In April this year, when the extraordinary surge of the pandemic put tremendous pressure on the country’s health infrastructure, the Indian Navy launched Operation ‘Samudra Setu 2’ to augment the national mission for meeting medical oxygen requirements. Nine Indian Navy warships from all three Naval Commands were extensively deployed for shipment of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and associated medical equipment from friendly foreign countries across the expanse of the Indian Ocean Region.

The first such consignment of two 27 Metric Tonnes (MT) Liquid Oxygen containers was brought in by INS Talwar from Bahrain to New Mangalore on 05 May whilst the next batch comprising IN ships Kolkata, Kochi, Tabar and Trikand arrived on 10 May at Mangalore/Mumbai, carrying nine 27 ton Oxygen containers, over 1,800 oxygen cylinders and other medical stores from Qatar and Kuwait. Meanwhile, on the eastern seaboard, INS Airavat arrived at Visakhapatnam on 10 May carrying eight cryogenic containers with a capacity of 20 tons each, 3,650 oxygen cylinders, 10,000 Rapid Antigen Test kits and other vital medical supplies from Singapore.

India’s only Landing Platform Dock (LPD) INS Jalashwa, pulled out of maintenance and pressed for national duty, arrived in India on 23 May, bringing the largest consignment—300 MT—of LMO to India in addition to 3,600 Oxygen cylinders, ventilators and empty cryogenic containers from Brunei and Singapore. This was followed by INS Shardul bringing in 210 MT LMO and 1,200 Oxygen cylinders on 25 May and INS Airavat departing from Vietnam the same day. As of today, Indian Naval ships have delivered 910 MT of LMO, more than 12,000 Oxygen Cylinders, and a large number of Covid relief material/medical supplies from Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Singapore to various Indian ports. That this is high priority work for the Navy is evident from the fact that more such turnaround missions are planned in the ensuing days.

The Navy has also contributed in the welfare and care of people in our distant island territories by deploying ships and aircraft to transfer essential medical supplies like oxygen cylinders, Rapid Antigen Detection test kits, PPE, masks and other items to Lakshadweep & Minicoy (L&M) Islands and Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands. This operation continues till date as part of ‘Oxygen Express’ for delivery of Covid essentials and to undertake urgent movement of critical patients to/from these islands.

Elsewhere, experts from Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam, achieved a major breakthrough in repairing two large Oxygen Plants at Nellore and Shri Kalahasthi (near Tirupati) enabling a big boost to the Oxygen Supply in Andhra Pradesh.  These plants had been non-functional for a long time—six years in case of the Nellore plant—and naval teams worked around the clock in ensuring that the output was of medical grade oxygen standard. Adding another feather to the cap, the Diving School, at Kochi, designed an ‘Oxygen Recycling System’ (ORS) to remedy the ongoing oxygen shortage situation. The ORS is designed to extend the life of the existing medical Oxygen cylinders by up to four times. The overall cost of the prototype has been capped at Rs. 10,000 enabling considerable savings due to the recycling effort. This breakthrough will substantially enhance the existing Oxygen capacity in the country and can also be used to extend the cylinder life.

Indian Navy is also reaching out to civil administration with Area Commanders maintaining close liaison with Chief Secretaries and District Collectors to provide support for movement of essential medicines and supplies to the Covid affected areas, provision of oxygen to civil hospitals, setting up of community kitchens for the needy and other technical help as may be necessitated. Existing spare capacity of Covid beds are being extended to civil administration at various naval hospitals and oxygen manifolds are being used to expand the number of beds. Till date, 111 ICU beds and 450 non-ICU beds have been earmarked for use by civilian administration in various naval hospitals in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Port Blair.

Further, more than 200 personnel from Indian Navy have been deputed for duties at Covid hospitals established at New Delhi, Patna, Ahmedabad and Kavaratti Island for providing aid to civil population. Additionally, about 200 Battle Field Nursing Assistants (BFNAs) have been trained and kept ready for deployment. 62 BFNAs out of this have been already deployed at Ahmedabad. In addition, 75 Nursing Assistants are being trained per week to augment the support staff. The Navy’s medical fraternity—doctors, nurses, paramedics and ward staff—has been at the forefront braving this difficult situation while also ensuring that the regular, but by no means easy, task of looking after other medical requirements of the armed forces personnel and their families are met.

SWIFT RESPONSE TO CYCLONE TAUKTAE

Even as Indian Navy was involved in a slew of pandemic mitigation measures, the super cyclone Tauktae threatened widespread destruction and danger to lives. The Navy was once more pressed into action and, all along the western seaboard, specialist teams were kept in readiness. As the storm was picking up, the Navy undertook several rescue/relief missions off Mangalore and Kochi. But more was to come as the storm intensified off north Maharashtra. Responding to requests, INS Kochi was swiftly deployed to rescue adrift Barge ‘P305’, with 261 personnel onboard, in the Bombay High area, while INS Kolkata was deployed to render assistance to barge ‘Gal Constructor’, stricken off Mumbai, with 137 people onboard. Indian Navy relentlessly undertook Search and Rescue (SAR) operations which were intensified when Accommodation Barge P-305, unfortunately, sank on 17 May, 35 miles off Mumbai. A tug Varaprada with 13 crew members which had gone to assist Gal Constructor also sank.

From 17 to 25 May, the Indian Navy led one of the biggest SAR operations despite challenging circumstances, torrid seas and extremely unfavourable weather conditions. All 137 personnel on Gal Constructor were rescued. Of the 261 people on P 305 and 13 on Varaprada, 188 survivors were picked up and 86 mortal remains were recovered at sea or along the coast. INS Makar, a survey vessel, located the wrecks of both P 305 and Varaprada. Diving was carried by specialised teams on the wrecks to ascertain no mortal remains were there. By accounting for all personnel, the Navy led SAR mission has either rescued or brought closure to the bereaved families. Here, it also needs emphasis that locating wrecks goes beyond the realm of SAR into Salvage.

This mammoth SAR Operation involved nine IN ships—Kochi, Kolkata, Teg, Talwar, Beas, Betwa, Subhadra, Makar, Tarasa—many small Intermediate Support Vessels (ISVs) and nine naval aircraft—3 P8I maritime surveillance aircraft and 2 each ALH, Seaking and Chetak helicopters. The total area searched in this effort was approximately 10,000 square nautical miles. Handling ships, boats and helicopters in extreme weather posed great challenges but they brought to fore the high levels of professionalism and commitment displayed by all the naval personnel involved.

CONCLUSION

The outbreak of the Covid-19 virus produced many large and unexpected challenges for the world at large and India was no exception. While the government responded by ushering in several measures to meet and mitigate the effects of the pandemic, the Indian Navy has played a significant contributory role. The initiatives taken by the Navy to help the nation fight both the waves are laudable. A series of technical innovations, repatriation missions, setting up hospitals and quarantine facilities, distributing food, and other ventures have provided a measure of relief and respite in the ongoing dire situation. Above all, its gigantic effort in ferrying oxygen from all over the world has, possibly, saved many lives.

A classic illustration of the Navy’s flexibility and versatility is provided by the multi-faceted deployment of the Western Fleet in the past few weeks. Ships of the Fleet took part in Exercise Varuna with the French Navy from 25 to 27 April in the Gulf of Oman, thereafter visited Bahrain, Doha and Kuwait to load LMO and other supplies as also carry out other defence diplomacy missions, returned to India around 10 May to disembark the cargo and were involved from 17 May to 25 May for Tauktae SAR mission. Shortly, they will head back to bring more LMO and medical supplies as well as attend to other operational requirements. The Navy remains combat-ready, mission capable and in full readiness to partake in the national endeavour to fight the pandemic. It has truly responded to the adage of being ‘a Navy that dares and a Navy that cares’.

Cmde Srikant Kesnur, a serving Navy officer, is associated with the Naval History Project (NHP). He is grateful for the research assistance provided by Tiya Chatterji, a research associate at NHP.

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Defence

Major push to Make in India in defence sector

Ajay Jandyal

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To give a major push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Atamanirbhar Bharat mission, the Indian Army has joined hands with various technology firms to cater to the demands of the present security scenario.

The Army says if it has to remain operational all around, it cannot rely on obsolete technology hence latest advancement in the sector have to be adopted.

“The Northern Command is always combat ready in the times to come, the challenges will continue to increase so we have to rely on advance technology and keep on innovating,” Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi told The Daily Guardian on the sidelines of the Northern Technology Symposium held in Udhampur on Sunday.

North Tech Symposium was organized under the aegis of HQ Northern Command at Udhampur. Technology symposium, exhibition was organised wherein 162 companies from Indian defence industry including MSMEs, DRDO, DPSU, participated and exhibited their products.

In addition, 42 innovative solutions by Army establishments towards enhancement of combat potential of the Army were also on display. Lt Gen BS Raju, Vice Chief of Army Staff inaugurated the first of its kind technology symposium in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the event, vice-chief of Army staff Lt Gen V S Raju said that he would have appreciated if the investors, capital ventures would have also shown interest in the event to boost the new start-up.

“To cope up with the ever-evolving and ever-changing security scenario, we also need to adopt changes and keep on innovating. I am happy that so many companies have shown interest to showcase their products at the North Tech Symposium. I am hopeful that in near future, many of the products would be put in use by the armed forces,” General Raju said.

In the wake of recent incidence of drone dropping in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab from across the Indo-Pak border, various companies have displayed their products including anti- drone system, drone jammer which can strengthen the forces and border guarding forces to thwart Pakistan’s plan of disturbing peace.

Other than drone dropping threats, detection of tunnels on Jammu and Kashmir border is also a major threat for the security forces these days as 11 tunnels have been detected on Indian-Pakistan border in the past few years. There was number of companies which showcased their products to detect underground tunnels by using artificial intelligence and special radar.

The symposium saw active participation from of senior officers from different forces including IDS, Army HQ, HQ ARTRAC, other Commands, HQ Northern Command, and its subordinate formations. This interactive platform for knowledge diffusion through Joint Army-Industry participation was an important step in the direction of the government’s initiative of “Make in India”.

On the first day of the seminar, the participants from Army and industry discussed the policy and procedures for expeditious procurement, Raksha Atmanirbharta initiatives by Indian Army, DRDO and Defence Public Sector Undertakings, how can private sector contribute towards surveillance system, weapon sights, drones and counter drone system and miscellaneous technologies like 3D printing.

The symposium served to showcase cutting edge technologies and innovative products providing solutions to some of the complex challenges faced by the security forces in Northern Command and also acted as an ideal platform for mutual exchange of ideas between the domestic defence industry and the Army. The technologies and products on display covered a wide canvas, the prominent ones being surveillance and situational awareness, tactical mobility, firepower, force protection, communications, combat medical facility, robotics and simulators.

The symposium was a huge success and Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, AVSM lauded the initiative and innovations of all the vendors. The General Officer expressed his conviction that the plethora of technologies available indigenously can further boost the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” project of the nation. The spirit of Atmanirbharta demands that research and development, the domestic defence industry and Army have work in a synchronized manner to realise the nation’s vision.

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Defence

ARMY MAJOR SUCCUMBS TO INJURIES DURING OPERATION IN KASHMIR

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An Indian Army Major lost his life after slipping into a ravine during a counter-infiltration operation in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.

Major Raghunath Ahlawat.

Late Major Raghunath Ahlawat, 34 was leading his team on a counter-infiltration operation based on reliable intelligence input. “To identify a safe approach for the team he led from the front while carrying out reconnaissance on a route through a steep cliff. “Unfortunately, he slipped due to bad weather and slippery conditions and fell 60 meters into a ravine. Critically injured, he succumbed to his injuries enroute while being evacuated to the nearest Army Hospital,” Indian Army officials said in a statement.

The Army paid tribute to the officer in a ceremony held in the Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar led by Chinar Corps Commander Lieutenant General DP Pandey.

Major Ahlawat was commissioned into the Army in 2012 and hails from Dwarka, New Delhi and is survived by his wife and his parents.

The mortal remains of Late Maj Raghunath Ahlawat were taken for last rites to his native place, where he would be laid to rest with full military honours.

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Defence

FOR 114 FIGHTER JETS, IAF FAVOURS ‘BUY GLOBAL MAKE IN INDIA’ ROUTE

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For over USD 20 billion tender for manufacturing 114 multi-role fighter aircraft (MRFA) the Indian Air Force (IAF) would prefer to take the ‘Buy Global Make in India’ route over the strategic partnership policy model to produce the planes within the country.

‘Buy Global Make in India’ is a category of procurement process provided in the Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 under Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to smoothen the acquisition of foreign weapon systems and their production within the country under the ‘Make in India’ in the defence programme. Along with the indigenous LCA Tejas and the 5th Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft project, the 114 MRFA project would also be required by the IAF to maintain an edge over both the Northern and Western adversaries. We would prefer to go in for the Buy Global Make in India route which is preferred by the vendors also who are expected to take part in the programme, government sources said. Three American aircraft including the F-18, F-15 and F-21 (modified version of the F-16), Russian Mig-35 and Su-35 along with the French Rafale, Swedish Saab Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft are expected to participate in the programme. The Indian Air Force had also sought the views of these companies on the acquisition procedure that they would like to opt for in the programme and most of them have shown a preference for the Buy Global Make in India route only, they said.

The sources said that the force has also sought directions from the government on the project.

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Defence

INDIA GETS DEFENCE SUPPLIES FROM RUSSIA, BUT PAYMENT MAY BECOME AN ISSUE

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Amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, defence supplies from Moscow are continuing as the Indian defence forces have received a shipment of overhauled aircraft engines and spares. However, there is concern about whether this would continue in the near future as a solution for making payment to Russia has not yet been found.

“The defence forces have received shipments from the Russians very recently and it is still on. So far, there has not been any glitch in supplies for our forces,” a government source told ANI.

“However, there are concerns on whether these supplies can continue in the same manner as the Indian side cannot make payments to these Russian firms in view of the sanctions related to their banks,” he added.

The sources said the Indian and Russian sides are working to find a way this issue can be overcome and many options are being explored.

The latest supplies from Russia included overhauled fighter aircraft engines and spares for an aircraft fleet and they arrived through the sea route, the sources said.

India also received the final parts of the S-400 Triumf air defence system from Russia whose first squadron is operational with its elements deployed to take care of threats from both Pakistan and China.

India is one of the largest users of Russian weaponry including major platforms like fighter jets, transport aircraft, helicopters, warships, tanks, infantry combat vehicles and submarines.

Over the last couple of decades, it has broadened its source base by including equipment from countries like the US, France and Israel in a big way but the dependence on Russia still remains very high.

The Air Force is dependent majorly on the Russian supplies as its mainstay Su30 aircraft fleet is Russian along with its Mi-17 helicopter fleet.

The Army is also dependent on the Russian-origin T-90 and T-72 tank fleet for the armoured regiments.

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Defence

IAF, ARMY BRASS WILL ASSESS LAC SITUATION

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The top brass of the Indian Army and Air Force would be assessing the preparedness of their forces and infrastructure requirements along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the militaries of both India and China continue to remain in a standoff position in eastern Ladakh.

The Indian Air Force brass would be meeting this week from 6 April to discuss the security situation including air operations along the northern borders. The Indian Army commanders led by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane would be assessing the present deployments along eastern Ladakh and the northeastern sectors from 18 April onwards in the bi-annual commanders’ conference.

The top brass of the Indian Army had jointly discussed the infrastructure requirements and developments required by the Indian side from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh during a conference in Lucknow recently.

India has made several changes in its deployments post aggression shown by Chinese troops in April-May 2020.

India and China have been talking to each other at both military and diplomatic levels to address the issues but so far they have not been able to do so mainly because of Chinese reluctance. In recent talks to address the Patrolling Point 15 friction, they proposed a solution that was not acceptable to the Indian side.

Indian security establishment led by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has been of the view that the issue would be resolved only if the Chinese completely disengaged and went back to pre April 2020 positions.The Indian side has strengthened its deployments manifold all along the LAC. The Indian Air Force has also started building advanced bases in the forward areas including infrastructure to operate fighter jets and attack helicopters from the forward fields such as Nyoma.

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Defence

Sharp fall in infiltration of foreign terrorists, stone pelting: CRPF DG

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There has been a sharp decline in the infiltration of foreign terrorists as well as in stone-pelting incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 from the erstwhile state, Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Kuldiep Singh said on Thursday.

However, noting the targeted killings in Jammu and Kashmir, the officer said, “Some time there is a spurt in terrorist incidents” and the recent killing in “periodic series” are among those, and “it occurs”. Replying to queries during a press briefing here at the CRPF Headquarters, Singh said, “CRPF immediately try to control terrorist incidents in Jammu and Kashmir soon after it gets inputs. These incidents are not totally controlled by internal terrorist people who are there. On many occasions, it is controlled by those sitting across the border and it is directed whom to be targeted or not.”

The CRPF DG reiterated that “some directions comes from foreign lands too”, and thus, “terrorist incidents some times increase and sometimes decrease” “It does not mean that things are out of hand…You can see that the incidents of stone-pelting are almost nil. There has been a sharp decline in the number of infiltration of foreign terrorists into Jammu and Kashmir. Sometimes, there is a spurt in terrorist incidents but it happens,” he said.

The officer informed that the CRPF has neutralized 175 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and apprehended 183 from March 1, 2021, to March 16, 2022.

Meanwhile, the CRPF has recovered 253 arms from Jammu and Kashmir and seized 7,541 ammunition as well as 96.38 kg explosives, 23 Improvised Explosive Device (IED), 232 grenades, and 36 detonators from the Union Territory, Singh said. Further, he informed that as many as 91 encounters have taken place from March 1, 2021, to March 16 this year. CRPF is the premier Central Armed Police Force (CRPF) entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the internal security of the country. It is deployed across the length and breadth of the country, assisting various state police in the discharge of their duties. CRPF is providing security cover to 117 protectees of various categories, he said adding that 32 women personnel have been inducted into the VIP Security Wing.

A total of 41 VIPs were provided security cover by the CRPF during recently concluded Assembly elections in five states, the DG said adding that the security of 27 protectees has been withdrawn post-elections. The CRPF chief also said that under financial assistance from the risk fund, ex-gratia for personnel martyred in action has been increased to Rs 30 lakhs from Rs 20 lakhs, and for all other cases, the ex-gratia has been increased to Rs 20 lakhs from Rs 15 lakhs.

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