Border issues kept defence ministry busy in 2013
Dec 25 2013 , New Delhi
Induction of long-delayed aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya into the Navy, alleged sex scandals in the force, continuing brawls between jawans and officers in the Army and tussle between the IAF and the HAL over the trainer aircraft also made headlines.
The Herculean effort made by the Army and the IAF during the flood relief operations in Uttarakhand earned bouquets for the Defence Ministry along with the successful activation of the nuclear reactor on board the indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant.
Former Army Chief Gen V K Singh, who became the first four-star General to drag the government to the Supreme Court over his age issue, continued to make headlines with reports suggesting that he had used a snooping unit under him to destabilise the Jammu and Kashmir state government.
He also created a controversy when he claimed that politicians in Jammu and Kashmir were paid for getting certain jobs done.
The year began with the beheading of Indian troops in Poonch by Pakistan Army's border action team which crossed over and beheaded one soldier and mutilated the body of another.
Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh retaliated strongly, saying India reserves the right to respond at the place and time of its choice to handle the matter.
The government also temporarily took a hard line on the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself, saying that with such incidents, "it cannot be business as usual with Pakistan".
The strong stand taken by the Army and the government did not deter the Pakistani troops which continued ceasefire violations and in August ambushed five Indian soldiers in Samba who were allegedly sleeping inside a temporary shelter.
The second incident also saw Defence Minister A K Antony committing a faux pas in Parliament while issuing clarification on the basis of ground reports prepared by the Army. The statement had to be changed later on and Pakistan Army troops along with terrorist groups were blamed for the incident.
The ceasefire violations continued and the two sides agreed for a meeting between the Directors Generals of Military Operations around the year end.
The Army also came under sharp criticism for its handling of the Keran counter terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir where the claims of the force in the operations allegedly did not match the actual achievements on ground.
Prime Minister Singh also conveyed his displeasure over the issue to the Defence Ministry.
On the front with China, Chinese troops continued their incursions into the Indian territory and the Army tried to play down the incidents of face-offs.
The two countries saw their troops engaged in a month- long stand-off when the Chinese Army marched 19 km inside India in Daulat Beg Oldi sector and pitched their tents to stake claim over the region.
The Chinese troops intruded into Indian territory frequently over the year. The incidents did not stop even after the two sides signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) in October during Prime Minister's Beijing visit in October.