Connect with us

news

Karwar in Karnataka to be India’s Maritime Theatre Command HQ

Published

on

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, December 17:

The Karwar naval base in coastal in Karnataka in southern India will be the headquarters for the country’s first Maritime Theatre Command (MTC). Set to take concrete shape by next year, its commander-in-chief will have full operational control over the western and eastern naval fleets, maritime strike fighter jets and transport aircraft, two amphibious infantry brigades and coastal patrol vessels.

The MTC will be the first new “geographical” theatre command to be created as part of the biggest-ever military restructuring plan to build an integrated land-air-sea war-fighting machinery for greater combat punch in a more cost-effective manner.

The Times of India has quoted top defence sources as saying that the final MTC plan will be submitted to the government for approval “within the next few days”. It will be headed by a senior three-star naval officer (vice admiral).

“Once approved, the MTC can come up within a year. It will look after the country’s 7,516-km coastline and 1,382 islands as well as the entire Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond. With two sub-theatres for west and east, the MTC will bolster joint operations and application of force in the maritime domain,” said a source.

This becomes crucial in face of China’s ever-expanding naval footprint in the IOR. China already has the world’s largest Navy with 350 warships and submarines, and plans to reach a force-level of 420 by the end of this decade.

Presentations on the MTC and the other proposed integrated “functional” Air Defence Command have already been made to the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and the three Service chiefs, Admiral Karambir Singh, General M M Naravane and Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria.

As per the plan prepared by a group led by Navy vice chief Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, the MTC will subsume the Western Naval Command (Mumbai), Eastern Naval Command (Vizag), the tri-Service Andaman and Nicobar Command (Port Blair) and the Southern Air Command (Thiruvananthapuram).

The Army’s two amphibious assault formations, the 91 Brigade at Thiruvananthapuram and 108 Brigade at Port Blair (each with over 3,000 soldiers), will bring the requisite “expeditionary reaction capability” of land forces to the MTC.

Similarly, the East and West regions of the Coast Guard, with their patrol boats, aircraft and helicopters, will be responsible for coastal security under the MTC.

There will be “service-specific verticals” within the MTC. The Sukhoi-30MKI fighters armed with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles at Thanjavur, the maritime-strike Jaguar fighters at Jamnagar and other “air assets”, for instance, will be under the C-in-C of the Southern Air Command, who will in turn will report to the C-in-C of the MTC.

 

“Andaman & Nicobar will no longer have a C-in-C-level post. It will be headed by a fortress commander who will report to C-in-C of the Eastern Naval Command,” said the source.

The theatre commander will report to the joint chiefs of staff committee led by the CDS. Similar will be the case when the theatre commands for the land borders with China and Pakistan come up subsequently.

At present, India has as many as 17 single-service commands (Army 7, IAF 7 and Navy 3), with very little synergy in planning and operations as well as disjointed command-and-control structures.

The only two existing tri-Service commands came up after the 1999 Kargil conflict. The Andaman & Nicobar Command was set up as a “geographical” command in October 2001, while the “functional” Strategic Forces Command to handle the country’s nuclear arsenal came up in January 2003.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

news

MCC inconsistent with Constitution

Published

on

AG agrees with Prof. Gunaruwan report

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, has informed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact, Project Implementation Agreement, as well as Articles of Association of MCA (Millennium Challenge Act), Sri Lanka, are violative of cerain provisions of the Constitution.

The AG has said so in a 20-page report sent to Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the President.

The President’s Office on Sept. 3, 2020, sought the AG’s opinion on the MCC Compact and related matters in the wake of the Cabinet-appointed Prof. Gunaruwan Committee strongly advising against going ahead with the US initiative. The US sought Sri Lanka’s consent for the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA), Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and MCC. The previous government finalised ACSA in early August 2017.

Dr. Jayasundera made available the Gunaruwan report to the AG.

The outgoing US administration in Dec 2020 announced Sri Lanka had been left out of the MCC project.

AG’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne confirmed the MCC et al were inconsistent with the Constitution and other laws.

The Island,

 however, learns that the AG’s Department on two previous occasions, in letters dated Oct 10, 2018 and June 10, 2019, addressed to Jonathan G. Nash, Chief Operating Officer, MCC, and Director General, External Resources Department, respectively, asserted that the Compact and the Programme Implementation Agreement (PIA) were in line with the Sri Lankan law.

The first letter was sent during Jayantha Jayasuriya’s tenure as the AG and the second under incumbent AG without his approval, sources said. Dappula de Livera succeeded Jayasuriya in April 2019 about a week after the April 21 Easter Sunday carnage. Jayasuriya is the incumbent Chief Justice.

Prof. Gunaruwan’s Committee soon after the last presidential election in Nov 2019 failed to obtain the AG’s Department opinion in spite of making representations through the Prime Minister’s Office.

In the run-up to 2019 parliamentary election, then Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the Attorney General had approved the US project though the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) called it a sell-out.

The following is the text of the letter dated Oct 10, 2018 captioned ‘Legal Status of Proposed MCC Compact signed by Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, Senior Additional Solicitor General, addressed to Jonathan G. Nash, Chief Operating Officer, MCC:

“I refer to your communication dated 27th September, 2018 in respect of the above captioned matter. In this regard, I am made to understand that the delegation from the Government of Sri Lanka was able to have fruitful discussion with the Millennium Challenge Corporation Team in resolving some of the outstanding issues.

“Having gleaned through the proposed Millennium Challenge Compact, the draft Program Implementation Agreement (PIA) as well as the Points of Discussion (without prejudice) between the negotiating parties which has been made available to me, I wish to at the very outset opine that no existing laws of Sri Lanka inhibit the Compact and the PIA being implemented in Sri Lanka. If I may elucidate further, the covenants of the Compact and the PIA do not infringe any existing domestic law or any previous undertakings given by the Government of Sri Lanka. It is acknowledged that the Compact imposes legal obligations on both parties to the Agreement

“Further, consequent to the negotiations and discussions had between parties, it is proposed that the Government of Sri Lanka would seek the passage of a law in Parliament to establish the MCA- Sri Lanka as a non-profit Company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act No.07 of 2007 to implement the provisions of the Compact. It is envisaged that the proposed enactment would encompass the Compact and the PIA as Annexures, which would form an integral part of this enactment.

“Thus, I am of the view that the passage of the said enactment by Parliament would result in the Compact and the PIA, having the parity of status of a domestic law in Sri Lanka.

“In the Context of the above, it is requisite that Section 7.1 of Article 7 of the Compact referring to the provisions on Entry Into Force, would be revised with the deletion of the sentence pertaining to the Compact prevailing over the domestic laws of Sri Lanka.

“However, in order to assuage any concerns with regard to the implementation of the Compact, by an unlikely event of a legislation in the future which may impinge or infringe the said compact, upon notification by the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media (the relevant Ministry) of this fact, a legal opinion would be tendered that the proposed legislation if proceeded with would violate the covenants of the Compact. This would enable the relevant Ministry to forward its observations to the Cabinet of Ministers and Parliament, that the Attorney-General has opined that the proposed Bill if enacted would violate the Compact.

“In the circumstances, I believe that the aforementioned matters would confirm the legal status of the Compact and its entry into force.”

“Copies were sent to Ms. Caroline Nguyen, Managing Director- Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America Millennium Challenge Corporation and J. Charitha Ratwatte, Head of Policy Development and Chief of Party MCC- Sri Lanka Project.”

Continue Reading

news

Environmentalist accuses Govt. of resorting to trickery to hand over 800,000 acres to pvt. companies

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Gama Samaga Pilisandara’ is a psychological operation to counter people’s resistance to a move to hand over chena and grasslands to large companies, environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara said yesterday.

Chamikara claimed that the government had earmarked 800,000 acres of land to be given to corporations, and those lands would mainly consist of forests and areas used for chena cultivations and to feed cattle by small scale farmers.

“The Gama Samaga Pilisandara is an attempt to misguide the people by giving them false promises. The government tells people they could cultivate lands belonging to the Forest Conservation Department and instructs officials not to punish people who send cattle into forests. People walk away feeling good but a few months later they will find that these same lands handed over to big companies.”

They had conducted a survey on the lands that had been given to corporations by the government during 2020 Most of those lands in fact were those used by cattle herders and chena cultivators, he said.

For example 70,000 acres in Demaliya and Wandama were being given to a company engaged in sugarcane cultivation, and almost all those lands were those used by small scale farmers and cattle herders, Chamikara said. Among the lands that were given were those earmarked for those displaced by the Uma Oya project. The previous administrations tried to provide irrigation water to those lands through the Handapanagala scheme.

Chamikara said: “Another 62,000 acres have been earmarked in Moneragala, Ampara and Badulla districts for sugarcane cultivation. 80% of these lands are chena cultivations. In Rambaken Oya 5,426 acres have been earmarked for 15 companies to carry out various agro projects and most of these lands are now used by small scale cattle herders. Recently, the Department of Agriculture wrote to the Forest Conservation Department requesting that 80,000 acres in Moneragala, Anuradhapura and Badulla districts be released. These lands are to be used for corn cultivation. The Forest Conservation Department then asked the Department of Agriculture to identify the lands and we know that these lands for the most part are those used by small scale cattle herders and chena cultivators.”

Continue Reading

news

Contempt of Court case against GMOA President re-fixed for hearing on March 03 and 10

Published

on

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Court of Appeal yesterday re-fixed for hearing on March 3 and March 10, the Contempt of Court application against the President of the Government Medical Officers’ Association Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya.

Counsel Ravindranath Dabare said that his client Dr. Padeniya was under self-quarantine and was unable to attend Court.

Dr. Padeniya was summoned for Contempt of Court under Article 105/3 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka for allegedly having criticised a Superior Court ruling in respect of the admission of students to the Sri Lanka Institute of Technology and Medicine, Malabe, at a public rally on April 7, 2016, disrespecting a Supreme Court order pertaining to the enrolment of a student in the Private Medical College, which will ultimately lead to an MBBS degree.

The Court of Appeal bench comprised Justice Arjuna Obeysekera (President) and Dr. Mayadunne Corea.

Continue Reading

Trending