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Indian ‘Flying Coffins’: After 6 plane crashes in 6 months, it’s time to wake up

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May -27, 2014- Anantnag: The debris of MIG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force that crashed today morning in Bijbehara area of Anantnag district in south Kashmir, killing the pilot, on Tuesday. Photo/Mohd Amin War

By Ila Garg

It is a matter of grave concern that in a span of just six months, Indian Defense Forces have witnessed over six plane crashes while one Dornier aircraft has been missing. Such accidents are common in other Air force camps across the globe as well; however the rate at which Indian aircraft are crashing has questioned the credibility of defense services in India.

What is more ignominious is that the officials are not much bothered about such catastrophic incidents and have taken no visible precautionary steps in this direction.

The authorities keep blaming each other till the matter is finally closed. The breaking news is soon subsided and the wounded pilots continue to risk their lives in the name of serving the nation.

NewsGram has listed out the ill-fated aircrafts which have crashed or have been missing, in the last six months.

A Jaguar fighter plane of the Indian Air Force crashed in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh on 16 June 2015. The officials said that it took off for a routine sortie and crashed just few minutes later. Both the pilots ejected safely, though the plane was destroyed.

Just about a week ago, on 8 June 2015, a Dornier aircraft which took off from Chennai airport for a surveillance sortie went missing on its way back. Its last known location, as per Trichy radar, was off Karaikal in Puducherry, 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.

The probable cause for the disappearance of the aircraft is still being debated, as the citizens are left appalled. The officials have so far been unable to disclose any further details.

The month of June has been a rough month for IAF so far as yet another fighter trainer aircraft, Hawk A-3492 crashed in Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district on 3 June 2015.

Since it crashed during afternoon hours and fell in a paddy field, away from habitation, no civilian causalities were reported. The two pilots ejected safely too.

But the question looming out of this issue is- will the pilots continue to be lucky, with such incidents of crashes being so frequent?

In yet another reprehensible incident on 27 March 2015, a Dornier aircraft met its ill fate. This was the first Dornier of the Indian Navy to crash, since it was inducted into the Navy in the early 90’s.

It was carrying out a search and rescue exercise at night when it crashed, claiming the lives of two naval officers Lt. Kiran Shekhawat and Lt. Abhinav Nagori.

In the same month, on 5 March 2015, an Indian Air Force Jaguar crashed close to Shahbad town in Haryana’s Kurukshetra district due to some technical issues. The plane had taken off from the Ambala Air base. The pilot reportedly gave a distress call before he ejected safely, though he suffered several injuries.

Such crashes continue to plague Indian Armed Forces and there seems to be no light at the end of this tunnel. On 31 January 2015, an Indian Air Force MiG-21, on a training flight, crashed into a sea near Gujarat’s Jamnagar district.

The pilot was able to safely eject before the plane crashed, though he endured minor injuries.

This particular crash had caused a major stir amongst the denizens and a court inquiry was initiated to determine the cause of the crash though as it happens with all such cases, even the investigation for this case too was soon closed.

Earlier, on 27 January 2015, a MiG-27 fighter jet crashed in Rajasthan’s Barmer. The jet fell on a passing motorcycle, badly injuring the young man who was riding it. He suffered minor burns and his hand fractured while his bike was completely burnt.

The IAF later said that the pilot was safe and had ejected few kilometers before the crash.

India thus, has had an appalling record of aircraft mishaps over recent years, and apparently no effective measures have been taken so far.

These unfortunate accidents have brought indifferent attitude of the government officials to the forefront. They continue to be negligent towards the safety of the pilots and use low quality parts in the aircraft.

With 6 plane crashes and a missing aircraft in 2015, time and again questions are raised over the reliability of Indian Defense Forces.

It’s high time that the authorities should start paying heed to this matter before it’s too late. If these events continue to recur, how can the youngsters be motivated to join Indian Armed Forces? The common faith keeps shattering down and yet the officials seem to remain unperturbed.

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Illustration By: Ila Garg

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India Demands Data on UN Staff Misconduct, Use of Immunity

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India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about misconduct by UN staff. Flickr

United Nations, Oct 7: In an attempt to break the wall of silence around the crimes and UN staff misconduct and those on its assignments, India has demanded the secretariat disclose information about such cases and the immunity invoked against prosecutions.

Yedla Umasankar, the legal advisor in India’s UN Mission, touched a raw nerve here by criticising the UN on Friday for not vigorously following up allegations of serious wrongdoing by its employees who enjoy the equivalent of diplomatic immunity, a prized possession of its staff.

“It appears that the UN system itself may be reluctant to waive immunity even for serious misconduct carried out by its personnel while serving on its missions, so that such cases can be prosecuted by the host governments,” he told the General Assembly’s committee on legal affairs.

“Even a few of such instances or allegations of crimes committed by UN personnel is highly damaging for the image and credibility of the United Nations system and its work around the world,” he added.

His statement also touched on the practice of some countries that protect their wrongdoers at the UN.

Umasankar demanded that secretariat disclose how many cases of serious misconduct by UN personnel were registered and the number of cases where the UN refused to waive immunity to allow their prosecution.

He also wanted to know in how many cases the host country wanted the immunity waived so it can prosecute those accused; the number of times the UN asked the host country or the country that sent them to prosecute them; how many times it consulted countries before waiver of the immunity of their personnel and how many of them refused UN’s request to waive their citizens’ immunity.

The information he wanted does not cover the diplomats sent by member countries to represent them at UN bodies and enjoy diplomatic immunity with the nations hosting the UN facilities.

After scores of serious allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers, especially exploitation of children, the UN vowed to uphold a policy of zero tolerance and began publishing data on such cases in peacekeeping operations including how they were dealt with.

Starting with the year 2015, it began identifying the nationalities of those accused.

However, it has not made public a roster detailing all the allegations and proven cases of serious misconduct across the entire UN.

While the focus has been on sexual exploitation and abuse reported on peacekeeping operations, Umasankar said that “at a broader level, the issue of accountability has remained elusive in some cases”.

He attributed it to “the complexities of legal aspects relating to sovereignty and jurisdiction”, the immunity or privileges that may be necessary for UN operations, and the capability or willingness of countries to investigate and prosecute the accused.

He noted that the UN itself cannot make criminal prosecutions.

While Indian laws has provisions for dealing with crimes committed abroad by its citizens, not all countries have them, he said.

Those countries should be encouraged and helped to implement such measures, he added. (IANS)

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7 killed, after Mi-17 V5 an IAF Chopper Crashed in Arunachal

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IAF chopper Mi-17 v5
IAF chopper Mi-17 V5, at Yelhanka, Air Force Station. Wikimedia

Tawang, October 6:  Seven Indian Air Force personnel were killed after a Mi-17 V5, IAF Chopper Crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday.

Tawang district Superintendent of Police Manoj Kumar Meena said the IAF Chopper Crashed around 6.30 a.m. killing all the seven people on board.

The chopper was on a routine Air Maintenance Mission, Meena quoted a Defence officer as saying.

The crash site is located at some four-to-five hours drive from Tawang. “It is a forested area,” Meena said adding that the bodies are being brought to the helipad near Tawang.

“We are told that there were no civilians and all were defence personnel,” he said.

Earlier in July an Indian Air Force chopper engaged in a flood rescue mission crashed near Papum Pare district in the hill state killing four persons including three IAF crew and one India Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel.

The frequently changing weather condition in Arunachal Pradesh makes flying of choppers difficult in the area and there have been several incidents of crashes in the hill state in the past.

The then Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Dorjee Khandu, and four others also died in an IAF Chopper Crashed in the hill state in 2011. (IANS)

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India has ‘Plan B’, ready for any challenge from China, says Indian Air Force Chief B S Dhanoa

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ACM Dhanoa
Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa.

New Delhi, Oct 5: Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa on Thursday said India is prepared to counter any threat from China and was also ready to face a two-front war.

Addressing the annual press conference of the IAF ahead of Air Force Day, the Indian Air Force Chief said they have a ‘Plan B’ to cater for the shortage of strength if there is a situation of war on two fronts.

“We need a strength of 42 squadrons to carry out full spectrum operations, but it doesn’t mean we can’t fight a two-front scenario. There is a Plan B,” he said when asked about being prepared for a two-front war.

He also said the possibility of a two-front war in the current geopolitical scenario is low.

He said “our capability is adequate” to counter any threat from the Eastern side — China.

The Indian Air Force Chief also said more than assets, the question was what China can and cannot do operating from Tibet against India.

He also said that Chinese troops are still stationed in the Chumbi valley, of which Doklam is a part, and hoped that they return soon.

Dhanoa said: “We are not in physical face-off but in Chumbi valley their troops are still deployed.”

“Hope they will withdraw in future after their exercises are over,” the IAF chief said.

He also said that there was no face-off in the air during the over 70 days long standoff and there were no air violations.

“I take this opportunity to assure the nation of our sacred resolve in defending the sovereignty of our skies,” he added.(IANS)