Tuesday, December 25, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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3 service Commanders hold war room meeting
Rajeev Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
Even as India is on the verge of taking more political and diplomatic steps against Pakistan which are bound to hit Islamabad hard, the Vajpayee government has started redeploying troops from peace time locations to frontiers with Pakistan in a big way.

Three strike corps one each from Ambala, Mathura and Bhopal have been ordered to move to international borders with Pakistan in Rajasthan and Gujarat sectors, well-placed sources here disclosed.

Besides, the troops are being moved from their peace time locations from southern India to strategic locations in the north and west, sources said, adding that the Jammu and Kashmir sector already had enough deployment to tackle any eventuality.

In another important development, top commanders of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy reviewed the military situation at a brainstorming session in the war room of the Ministry of Defence in South Block on December 22. The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, also discussed threadbare the military preparedness.

This was the first such tri-service meeting of top commanders since Indo-Pakistan military posturings reached a flashpoint situation. The war room meeting was convened by Lieut-Gen Pankaj Joshi, chief of the newly set up Integrated Defence Command, the main job of which is to coordinate among the three armed services.

After this meeting the armed forces commanders briefed their respective chiefs, who, in turn, briefed Defence Minister George Fernandes. On the basis of this briefing, Mr Fernandes is understood to have briefed the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) which met under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee here yesterday.

Sources said the relocation of the troops from their peace time locations to Rajasthan and Gujarat sectors had become inevitable in view of massive build-up by the Pakistani army on borders with India. Pakistan is known to be having three corps having offensive capabilities along side international borders with India.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot toured the border areas of Jaisalmer yesterday and reviewed the Army deployment.

Each Indian strike corps has 45,000 to 70,000 troops. There are only three strike corps in the Indian Army. The corps stationed at Bathinda can also be used as a strike corps as it has dual capabilities of both offence and defence, sources added.

Meanwhile, India intends to put its diplomatic offensive into fifth gear in the coming days. More political and diplomatic steps are in the pipeline which, sources said, are going to hit Pakistan hard.
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General Padmanabhan to head CSC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 24
The Chief of Army Staff, Gen S. Padmanabhan, will take over as the next Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CSC) on December 31, following the retirement of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sushil Kumar, who presently holds the post.

General Padmanabhan will take over as the Chairman, being the seniormost among the three Service Chiefs as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal A. Y. Tipnis, is also to retire on December 31.

The end of the year will see a change in the top guard of the Navy and Air Force with Air Marshal S. Krishnaswamy taking over from Air Chief Marshal Tipnis and Rear Admiral Madhavendra Singh replacing Admiral Sushil Kumar.

Sixty-year-old General Padmanabhan took over as Army Chief on September 30, 2000. 
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