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OROP: Two army veterans on fast-unto-death

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New Delhi, Disappointed over the government not announcing implementation of the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme, two ex-servicemen who have been part of a two-month-long protest against the delay began a fast-unto-death here Monday.

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Col. Pushpender Singh (retd) and Major Singh, a retired havildar, began the hunger strike after Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not announce a firm date for launching the scheme in his Independence Day speech on Saturday.

The veterans’ agitation entered its 64th day on Monday. Thus far, only relay hunger strikes have been staged.

Modi said on Saturday his government had accepted the OROP scheme “in principle” and that he expected a “positive outcome” on its implementation. However, the assurance left the ex-servicemen “very disappointed”.

There are around 24 lakh retired servicemen in India and around 6.5 lakh widows who will benefit when OROP is implemented.

(IANS)

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NATO Advances Its Weaponry And Technology

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said increasing military spending by NATO members would help tackle some of the challenges.

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NATO
A general view of USS Mount Whitney of the US Navy at sunrise as it approaches the port during the NATO-led military exercise Trident Juncture, Nov. 3, in Trondheim, Norway. VOA

NATO is developing new high-tech tools, such as the ability to 3-D-print parts for weapons and deliver them by drone, as it scrambles to retain a competitive edge over Russia, China and other would-be battlefield adversaries.

Gen. Andre Lanata, who took over as head of the NATO transformation command in September, told a conference in Berlin that his command demonstrated over 21 “disruptive” projects during military exercises in Norway this month.

He urged startups as well as traditional arms manufacturers to work with the Atlantic alliance to boost innovation, as rapid and easy access to emerging technologies was helping adversaries narrow NATO’s long-standing advantage.

NATO
British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the NATO summit in Brussels, May 25, 2017.Source-VOA

Lanata’s command hosted its third “innovation challenge” in tandem with the conference this week, where 10 startups and smaller firms presented ideas for defeating swarms of drones on the ground and in the air.

Winner from Belgium

Belgian firm ALX Systems, which builds civilian surveillance drones, won this year’s challenge.

Its CEO, Geoffrey Mormal, said small companies like his often struggled with cumbersome weapons procurement processes.

“It’s a very hot topic, so perhaps it will help to enable quicker decisions,” he told Reuters.

NATO
A Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) weapon is prepared for testing at the Eglin Air Force Armament Center on March 11, 2003. VOA

Lanata said NATO was focused on areas such as artificial intelligence, connectivity, quantum computing, big data and hypervelocity, but also wants to learn from DHL and others how to improve the logistics of moving weapons and troops.

Also Read: Weapons, Bombs Easily Detected by Wi-Fi: Study

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said increasing military spending by NATO members would help tackle some of the challenges, but efforts were also needed to reduce widespread duplication and fragmentation in the European defense sector.

Participants also met behind closed doors with chief executives from 12 of the 15 biggest arms makers in Europe. (VOA)