September 22, 2016

Uri Avenged As Spl Forces Cross LoC, Kill 20 Terrorists

At least 20 terrorists have been neutralised in a daring cross-LoC operation by the Indian Army in response to the Uri attack. Two units of the elite 2 Paras comprising 18-20 soldiers flew across the LoC in the Uri sector in military helicopters and carried out an operation that killed at least 20 suspected terrorists across three terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).Total casualties, including those injured, could be as high as 200, sources said. Military sources revealed to The Quint, which confirmed this information from two other independent sources, that the operation happened during the intervening hours of 20 September and 21 September.Indications that the Indian Special Forces struck across LoC came in the form of Pakistan declaring a no-fly zone over PoK on 20 September night. Pakistan’s national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), had cancelled flights to northern Pakistani cities, including to Gilgit and Skardu in PoK, due to “airspace restrictions”. PIA called off flights to Gilgit and Skardu in Gilgit-Baltistan region in PoK and Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani had tweeted this information late Tuesday evening.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a telephonic conversation with the country’s powerful Army Chief General Raheel Sharif on Tuesday night ahead of his speech at the UN in which he raised the Kashmir issue. It is understood that they are likely to have discussed this cross-border raid as well.
Speaking at an event earlier on Wednesday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Uri attack may need a “knee-jerk” reaction. “Won’t go into details of what India can do, but sometimes knee-jerk reaction is required,” he said.Hours after the attack on Sunday morning by four terrorists that killed 18 Indian soldiers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted that those behind the act “would not go unpunished”.India has blamed the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist outfit for the attack in Uri.
 A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs listed the items recovered from the terrorists, including GPS tracker with coordinates that indicate the point and time of infiltration across the LoC and the subsequent route to the terror attack site; grenades with Pakistani markings; communication matrix sheets; communication equipment; and other items made in Pakistan, including food, medicines and clothes. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar had summoned Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Wednesday and conveyed India’s demand for action by Pakistan to crack down on the terror infrastructure in its territory.

the quint

Over 12,000 youth from Kashmir Valley line up for army recruitment

Yasir Ahmad Chahuan, 18, looks frail and frightened. Puffing and wheezing in a corner at the High Grounds here, Yasir took a big risk by masquerading as a labourer to crisscross the vulnerable areas of South Kashmir to reach the venue of the Indian army's recruitment rally here with a hope to become the proud soldier of this country.  "I started at 2am from my village on foot. After covering 15 kilometres, I saw a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. The driver stopped and asked me where I was heading. I said I am going for the recruitment rally. He said don't go ahead as stone-pelting was going on there," Yasir told dna.
Son of a poor shepherd, Yasir, who had fallen in love with olive greens ever since he was a child, did not give up and returned home to hire a bike for Rs 500 and set off his journey to reach the venue.  "I wanted to take this risk. We are poor people. My father is a shepherd who grazes the cattle of other farmers to eke out his living. I am mentally prepared to become a soldier to serve this country," he said.  Welcome to South Kashmir, the epicentre of the current unrest in the Valley. More than 84 people have died and over 10,000 have suffered injuries since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen leader Burhan Wani on July 8. Anantnag district, being the worst hit, has topped the list of casualties in this unrest.
Yet the Indian army is the biggest attraction for the restive youth of south Kashmir who are often being stereotyped as stone throwers and anti nationals.  More than 12000 youth had registered online for the job of soldiers in the valley. Six thousand candidates had registered online for the five districts of South Kashmir alone. On the first day of four day recruitment rally held here, over 425 candidates turned up for necessary tests for the job of soldiers.  "Initially, we had planned the rally for July but because of the situation prevailing that time we had to postpone it. We brought it down to September. I think with the present response it was a good decision under the prevailing situation," said Brigadier JS Samyal, deputy director general, recruitment, Indian army.
Given the prevailing situation and lack of transport due to the shutdowns and curfew, all the registered candidates could not make it to the venue on Wednesday.  "None the less 425 candidates have made it. It was definitely a challenge to organize and conduct the rally. But because of the civil government and the army's involvement we have been able to conduct this rally very well", said Brigadier Samyal.  Passion and enthusiasm was running high among the youth who braved azadi protests to reach the venue for the rally.
Such was the zeal that youth who could not make it in the running test struggled and pleaded before the instructors to allow them entry for the second round.  Even one of the youth had to be whisked away when he missed the finishing line by a fraction of second. However instructors did not allow him given the tough rules and regulations.  "I want to become the soldier not only to serve my country but to feed my family as well. I have traveled a long distance to reach here with a hope that I will make it inshallah (God willing)", said Mohammad Iqbal, another aspirant.


Pakistan a rogue state, should be taken to task: Balochistan leader in exile

Khan of Kalat Amir Ahmed Suleman Daud (Balochistan leader in exile) on Wednesday called Pakistan a rogue state.While lambasting Pakistan, the Baloch leader said Islamabad should be taken to task for its actions. Exposing Pakistan’s atrocities, Khan of Kalat Amir Ahmed Suleman Daud, revealed that not a day passes without Pakistan Army killing Balochpeople or burning their homes and property.Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the to human rights violations in Balochistan and the part of Kashmir that Pakistan controls, Baoch leaders in exile have strongly come forward and hit out at Islamabad.
 Pakistan’s illegal occupation of Balochistan has gained international attention after Prime Minster Narendra Modi mentioned about the struggle of Balochi people during his Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort on August 15. Stepping up its offensive against Pakistan on the Balochistan issue at the UN Human Rights Council, India last week said Pakistan is a nation that practises terrorism on its own people and the sufferings of the people of Balochistan are a telling testimony in this regard. Notably, Days after PM Modi highlighted the Balochistan issue, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati on Friday launched a website and mobile app for All India Radio’s Balochi service to reach out to the people who speak the language across the globe.
 Notably, Baloch nationalist leader Brahumdagh Bugti, who is the president of Baloch Republican Party (BRP) that is seeking independence for the troubled Pakistani province, has “discussed the terms of asylum in India” with Indian diplomats in Geneva. Grandson of Baloch leader and Bugti tribe head Nawab Akbar Bugti, Brahumdagh fled Balochistan to save his life after Akbar Bugti was killed in a Pakistan Army offensive in 2006. He was first given asylum in Afghanistan from where he shifted to Switzerland in 2010


Much anticipated Rafale deal cleared, to be signed on Friday : Breaking News

The government has cleared the much anticipated deal with France for 36 Rafale fighter jets which will cost 7.878 billion Euros and will be signed on Friday in the presence of French Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian. Defence sources said that deal for the aircraft, the first fighter jet deal in 20 years, comes with a saving of nearly 750 million Euros than the UPA era one, which was scrapped by the Narendra Modi government, besides a 50 per cent offset clause.This means business worth at least three billion Euros for Indian companies, both big and small, and generating hundreds of jobs in India through offsets.
The Rafale fighter jets, deliveries of which will start in 36 months and finished in 66 months from the date contract is inked, comes equipped with state-of-the-art missiles like Meteor and Scalp that will give the IAF a capability that had been sorely missing in its arsenal. Sources said the government today formally cleared the Inter Governmental Agreement to be signed on Friday in the presence of Drian who arrives tomorrow evening along with CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA and top government officials.
 The contract for the deal was already cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security earlier. The price of the contract was fixed in May, sources said. Sources said the “vanila price” (just the 36 aircraft) is about 3.42 billion Euros. The armaments cost about 710 million Euros while Indian specific changes, including integration of Israeli helmet mounted displays, will cost 1700 million Euros. Rest of the cost include spare parts, maintenance among others. Besides other features that make the Rafale a strategic weapon in the hands of the IAF is the Beyond Visual Range Meteor air-to-air missile with a range in excess of 150 KM.
 Its integration on the Rafale jets will mean the IAF can hit targets inside both Pakistan and across the northern and eastern borders while still staying within India’s own territorial boundary. Pakistan currently has only a BVR with 80 km range. During the Kargil war, India used a BVR of 50 km while Pakistan had none. With Meteor, the balance of power in the air space has again tilted in India’s favour. Scalp, a long-range air-to-ground cruise missile with a range in excess of 300 km also gives the IAF an edge over its adversaries.
 The tough negotiations by the MoD-IAF team extracted many concessions and discounts from the French before arriving at a price that is almost 750 million Euros less than what was being quoted by the French side in January 2016. This was when the commercial negotiations gathered pace, almost seven months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India’s intention to buy 36 Rafales off the shelf from France during his trip to Paris in April 2015.


September 21, 2016

India Said Close to Announcing 8-Billion-Euro Rafale Jet Deal

An India ministerial panel is said to have approved the purchase of 36 new fighter jets made by France’s Dassault Aviation SA, concluding a major step in its decade-long quest to modernize the country’s air force.
The Cabinet Committee on Security, which includes the prime minister, defense, foreign and finance ministers, has cleared the deal worth 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion) for Rafale fighter jets, people with knowledge of the matter said. The deal is likely to be signed later this week in New Delhi by India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, they said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.
The French embassy in Delhi and Anupam Banerjee, spokesman for the Indian Air Force, declined to comment. The deal would mark an end to a decade-long hunt for new planes to keep pace with neighbors Pakistan and China and to replace an aging fleet of fighter jets. The search, which started in 2007, has seen repeated delays since India began talks with the Paris-based company in 2012 to build 126 warplanes at an estimated cost of about $11 billion -- the world’s biggest fighter jet deal at the time. As talks stalled over price and quality guarantees, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought to directly buy 36 fighter jets from the French government last April to speed things up. The new terms would allow India to acquire planes as quickly as possible on better terms than those offered by Dassault, which had long struggled to find external buyers for its fighter.
 Both sides had agreed last year that the memorandum of understanding will include delivery dates, the equipment, systems and weapons to be carried by the jet. It will also cover an offset clause which will mandate Dassault to invest a certain portion of the deal value for local manufacturing in India over the years.


Pak Army says prepared for ‘counter-offensive’ inside India

Key security services have enough information regarding border points which can be the possible targets of Indian forces in a limited war or surgical strike plans, security agencies’ officials told The Nation during background interviews on the matter of New Delhi threats of limited military action. At the same time, security agencies’ officials foresee minimum chances of Indian adventure inside the Pakistani territory, keeping in view the level of preparedness of the latter to launch a counter-offensive on the ‘soft belly points’ of Indian defence. On Sunday, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a terrorist state, hours after suspected militants attacked an Indian army base in Uri sector in Held Kashmir.
New Delhi is attempting to link Pakistan with militant operations on its soil to paint the indigenous Kashmiris’ freedom struggle as a terrorist campaign. The Indian administration made a similar bid when its important airbase in Pathankot was targeted by suspected local militants. Without disclosing the exact border points considered sensitive by the Indian military establishment for possible targets of limited operation, security agencies’ officials told the paper the probable targets include LoC areas, Working Boundary in Punjab with little chances in Sindh connected with Rajasthan sector. “We have also targets for a counter-offensive in Indian territory, besides defending our own in case of their adventure.
The Indian security apparatus is most likely to engage Pakistan in new proxy wars instead of launching a direct attack,” they added. “To cover up its security misfortunes, the Indians can launch bids to heat up Balochistan, KP, Karachi and Gilgit-Baltistan through its proxies operating from Afghan soil,” they said. About the element of surprise on part of India, which is a prerequisite for a surgical strike, security agencies’ officials said, “We don’t think there is a room for element of surprise at the disposal of Indians and they too know this fact. But we can’t discuss this matter in detail because of the compulsions of operational secrecy. ” “War has its own dynamics and can easily spiral out of control once launched. A little miscalculation in this sensitive area can bring unthinkable and horrible consequences,” said the security agencies’ officials when asked about the radius of any possible limited war or surgical strike operations.
 Defence forces are alert and watching ordinary and extraordinary movements of the enemy at the borders to deal with any threat to the national security, they added. When asked about the surgical strikes and limited war pattern, they mentioned air raids in a certain targeted area, special forces’ operations in the immediate vicinity of the targeted border points and sometimes special forces’ raids with the backup of artillery fire at the targeted border points. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, taking notice of New Delhi’s threats during a corps commander’s conference on Monday, said Pakistan Army was fully prepared to respond to the entire spectrum of direct and indirect threats. Presiding over the conference at the General Headquarters, the COAS said the army was fully cognizant of, and closely watching, the latest developments in the region and their impact on the national security. The COAS also expressed satisfaction over the operational preparedness of the army.
The conference provided an in-depth review of the external and internal security situation and operational preparedness of the armed forces. INDIA BACKS OFF RETALIATION Reuters adds: For all the shrill rhetoric immediately following Sunday’s attack on an Indian army camp in Kashmir, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan, the threat of a sudden escalation in hostilities between the nuclear-armed rivals has receded for now.
Two days after 18 Indian soldiers were killed, some officials called for a measured response and plotted a diplomatic offensive to increase pressure on Pakistan. Military action was limited to skirmishes near the Line of Control separating the countries in Kashmir, with Indian troops killing eight people they said were trying to cross the de facto border and separately fighting four or five suspected militants. India’s Federal Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said there was a deep sense of outrage about the attack in the border town of Uri, and that patience with Pakistan was wearing thin. But he added: “Whatever decisions the government takes in this regard will be done with full diplomatic and strategic maturity. ” Prasad also warned against loose talk of conducting cross-border strikes. Senior security officials on the ground in Indian-held Kashmir say they can manage the impulsiveness of his hardcore Hindu nationalist allies. An official at the Indian interior ministry said the government was preparing to make a case before the United States to encourage it to take economic measures against Pakistan for failing to act against insurgents operating from its soil.
“You will see multiple serious action against Pakistan, the results will hurt their economy,” the Indian interior ministry official said. Military officials in New Delhi and Srinagar, have cautioned against rushing into cross-border strikes that members of Modi’s right wing Bharatiya Janata Party were baying for in the hours after the raid. “India may well decide to introduce some subtle means of punishing Pakistan into its policy toolkit,” wrote Michael Kugelman, a South Asia analyst at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center on an Indian website Rediff News. “Forget about sending in troops or raining down missiles, but don’t rule out certain types of furtive activities, including occasional covert operations that target specific terrorist leaders or facilities.

nation pk

To prove loyalty to Pakistani bosses, separatists vie to take credit for Kashmir unrest

Each separatist leader has to prove his loyalty to their bosses in Pakistan and therefore all try to take the credit. Their supporters also create problems as they raise slogans against other separatist leaders. Under pressure from Pakistan-based terror groups, Geelani buckled and announced protest programmes for weeks and keeps renewing it accordingly.
 In fact, during the 65-day turmoil in the Valley, more than half of it was hartals and shutdown called by Geelani while the rest was the curfew and restrictions imposed by the state administration. Though earlier, for example like in the Amarnath land row in 2008, all three separatist leaders — Geelani, Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik — joined hands for protests, Pakistan-based terror groups, particularly Hafiz Saeed, want them to become one and lead the protests in one voice, without any confusion, which they feel will strengthen the struggle for aazadi and will not fall to any pressure tactics from Indian establishment. While Geelani’s strongholds are in areas such as Sopore, Shopian, Tral, the Mirwaiz has a strong following in downtown areas while Malik’s influence is limited to Maisuma. “All three speak in different voices which has not gone down well with the terror masterminds in Pakistan,’’ a source said.
 “This pressure has been there from time to time earlier as well. But they have been making fresh attempts since Burhan Wani’s killing and there is enough evidence to that effect,’’ a senior official, who is supervising counter-insurgency operations in the valley, confirmed to New Indian Express. Geelani broke away from the Hurriyat Conference in 2003 citing ideological differences with Mirwaiz. Pakistan engineered the induction of eight separatist groups into the hardline Hurriyat headed by Geelani last year — a clear reflection of Pakistan’s continued support to the 86-year-old hawk. Out of the eight, five defectors were from the moderate faction of the Hurriyat led by the Mirwaiz. This also upset the Mirwaiz faction. On the other hand, another separatist, Shabbir Shah, formed another Hurriyat in 2014.


September 20, 2016

India sucessfully test fires long range surface-to-air missile

 In a bid to galvanize its air defence capabilities, India on Tuesday successfully test fired a new, long range surface-to-air missile jointly developed with Israel from a defence base off Odisha coast. The long range missile, a product of a joint venture between India and Israel, was test launched from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur near here at around 10.13 hours, a DRDO official said.
The trial was successful and some more rounds of test are expected to be conducted shortly, the DRDO scientist said. "Apart from the missile, the system includes a Multi Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile," the official said, adding the missile along with MF-STAR would provide the users the capability to neutralize any aerial threats.
 Earlier, between June 30 and July 1, 2016 three consecutive test firing of the medium range surface to air missile, jointly developed by India and Israel were conducted from the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) base at Chandipur. The missile guided by armoured seeker had successfully hit the last minute manoeuvring target. Indian Navy had also successfully test launched the long range surface to air missile (LR-SAM). The test was undertaken on the Western Seaboard by INS Kolkata on December 30, 2015.
These missiles would be inducted in all the three services after trials were completed. Many Indian industries like BEL, L&T, BDL, and TATA group of companies besides other private industries have contributed to the development of a number of subsystems which have been put into use in this flight test, the official said.
As a safety measure, Balasore district administration in consultation with the defence officials had temporarily shifted 3,652 persons residing within 2.5 km radius of the launch pad No.3 of the ITR at Chandipur to nearby temporary shelter centres this morning to ensure a safe launch of the missile, a district revenue official said. Fishermen engaged in fishing along the Bay of Bengal in three coastal districts of Balasore, Bhadrak and Kendrapada were asked not to venture into the sea during the time of the test launch.


September 16, 2016

Tibetan families urge UN to intervene over alleged rights violations by China

Five Tibetan families living in Switzerland have urged the United Nations, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the government of various countries to support them against the alleged ongoing political repression, cultural assimilation, social discrimination, economic marginalisation and environment destruction imposed by the Chinese government and Communist Party.
The Tibet Solidarity Movement in a press statement said that five families since January 13, this year have been protesting on every second Wednesday of each month in front of the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), housed at the Palais des Nations calling on the UN, especially to the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the international community to take immediate actions on the Tibet issue as the number of self-immolations in Tibet dramatically escalated to 144.   "124 of the 144 Tibetans who self-immolated are known to have died following their protest. Even eight Tibetan-in-exile have offered their lives as an expression of complete solidarity with their people inside Tibet," the statement said.
The five families also placed their demands and urged the UN to support the cause.  The demands include, "The United Nations must review the issue of Tibet based on the resolutions passed in 1959, 1961 and 1965. The return of his holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet should be facilitated. Freedom and peace in Tibet must be restored."  The statement also added that the UN must intervene towards the release of all Tibetan prisoners starting with the 11th Panchen Lama, Gedun Chorkyi Nyima, held incommunicado by the Chinese Government since 1995.
  Highlighting that on July 12th, 2015 the former political prisoner, Tulku Tenzin Delek Rimpoche, passed away in a Chinese prison of unclear death after being imprisoned for 13 years, serving a life sentence for a crime he did not commit, the statement said that the UN must urge the Chinese Authorities to investigate and make public the circumstances surrounding the death.  "The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein should lead a fact-finding mission with unfettered access to Tibet immediately.
The UN must intervene and ask the Chinese Government to hold a constructive and meaningful dialogue to settle the Tibet issue with the representatives of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, India," the statement said.  It also pointed out that the UN should also protect the Human Rights in China, Mongolia and Xinjiang.  The statement added that the UN also demand from the Chinese government the release all Chinese and Uyghur political prisoners like Xiabo and Ilham Tohti.

Indian Navy To Induct First Locally-Made Aircraft Carrier By 2018

The Indian Navy intends to induct its first home-grown aircraft carrier by 2018 and is considering building a second such ship. Indian navy has set the target of having 212 ships in its fleet by 2027 which will be a "real challenge" and there is a need to work "very hard" for it, Vice Admiral (Controller Warship Production and Acquisition) G S Pabby told reporters Wednesday. The government is seriously considering IAC-2 and it is in "concept" stage, he said.
The Information Exchange Annex signed between India and the US will benefit the navy in its IAC-1 project, Pabby said. "Since the Americans have a good experience as they have commissioned a large number of ships, we are hoping that we will draw from their experience," the senior navy officer said. For getting technologies available with the US, an agreement and protocol for sharing information -- maintaining its confidentiality and integrity -- was needed to be signed. The Information Exchange Annex is that protocol. Since then, a team of senior US Navy officials has visited the shipyard at Cochin last month to help with some issues in the IAC-1.


India To Sign Minesweepers Technology Transfer Contracts Soon

India is likely to sign contracts for transfer of technology (ToT) about Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMV) or minesweepers soon, a senior official said Wednesday. “Contracts for transfer of technology about the Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMV) or minesweepers should be signed soon,” Vice Admiral (Controller Warship Production and Acquisition) G S Pabby told reporters Wednesday. "It is moving very well. We are monitoring it very closely because we badly need these ships. We have finalised almost all issues related to transfer of technology from the foreign collaborators and that contract should be signed very soon," he said.
 Indian Goa Shipyard (GSL) has sought international companies for technology transfer. GSL won the $5 billion contract in 2014 and floated an expression of interest (EOI) from companies willing to transfer technology. South Korean Kangnam, Italy’s Intermarine, Spain’s Navantia, US Lockheed Martin, German Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and two other shipyards from Russia were sent the EOI. 20 percent of the total value of the contract will be the value of the ToT contract. India earlier this month suspended talks on the licensed production of the Alexandrit class minesweeper as the country is waiting to obtain the results of the operational evaluation of the first same-type ship in Russia. "Talks with India on the organization of the licensed production of Alexandrit-class mine sweepers are not under way. The Indian customers are currently waiting for the information on the Project 12700 lead mine sweeper Alexander Obukhov and its operational evaluation," CEO of Russia’s Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard Vladimir Seredokho told TASS.


Indian Delegation to Visit Russia for Leasing Yasen Class Submarine

India is interested in renting the multi-purpose Project 885 Yasen class submarine from Russia. This is being seen as a sign of another forthcoming India-Russia collaborative venture for the construction of six new SSN for Indian Navy.A high-level Indian delegation will be visiting Russia shortly to finalize an agreement on renting the Yasen class submarine for the Indian Navy.
 Government sources told Sputnik that renting the second nuclear powered attack submarine from Russia would result in the introduction of newer technology into India, which would eventually pave the way for Russian collaboration with India for it program to build six new SSN. Russia had originally offered Akula class submarine to India which India already had in the form of the INS Chakra. Experts consider that there may be some adversities due to the different characteristics of the two boats, but this may be more than offset by the newer technology the Yasen brings into India’s own SSN-building program in the longer term.
Executive Director of National Maritime Foundation Indian Navy Captain Gurpreet S Khurana says, “It may not be a bad idea to get the Yasen-class as the second boat. Its design is known to be based on the Akula, and yet it is more advanced and capable than its predecessor.” Project-75I that relates to the manufacturing of six new nuclear attack submarines at an approximate cost of $8.5 bln is being held up due to a delay finalizing the Defense Procurement Policy 2016.
Now the policy is ready, the tender likely to be issued by end of this year. Meanwhile, French ship building company DCNS’ alleged involvement in the Scorpene Submarine data leak controversy makes a strong case for another India-Russia collaborative venture for this project. Captain Khurana says that the Indian government’s decision to locally build the six nuclear powered attack submarines is driven by the country’s maritime interest in distant areas. “A SSN is required to influence events in distant areas of the country’s maritime interest, where conventional surface and integral aviation cannot operate for whatever reason. The Indian government seems to have realized this national imperative while approving the indigenous construction of six SSNs,” says Captain Khurana.


7.87 Billion Euro Rafale Deal To Be Signed On September 23

More than a decade after India decided to purchase a new line of fighter aircraft, it is now official. On September 23rd, India will sign a deal for 36 Rafale fighters with France for about 7.87 billion Euros, sources have told NDTV. Along with the 36 fighters, India will also get spares and weaponry, including the Meteor missile, considered among the most advanced in the world.Of the 7.87 billion Euros, about 50 per cent will be covered under offset, which means either France will reinvest this amount in India or source equipment of this value from India. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will be in India for the signing of the deal.
 An Inter-Governmental Agreement between India and France allows for a follow on order of Rafale fighters with a 10 per cent cost escalation. The government claims that it has brought down the price by about 600 million Euros from the initial demand. The deal could not be signed this January when French President Francois Hollande was the Chief Guest for the Republic Day because India wanted a better price. Negotiations went on till 2 am on January 26, but an agreement on price could not be reached then. India and France agreed to sign a general agreement without naming the price. For the Indian Air Force, the deal is bitter-sweet.
On one hand, they will be getting two squadrons of the state-of-the-art fighter, on the other hand, the original requirement was for at least 126 jets. India needs at least 42 squadrons of fighters and has an existing strength of 32. The fighter fleet will go down further by about 10 squadrons as the MiG-21 fighter will have to be decommissioned. The new fighters will begin entering service in 2019.


September 15, 2016

Beijing may be waiting for the perfect timing to strike in South China Sea

Reports suggest China may seize Scarborough Shoal during the final weeks of the US presidential election as America’s gaze turns inward. President Obama has already warned China about the consequences and he should remind its leaders that such an attempt would constitute a challenge to the peace and stability of Asia and would force Washington to rethink many areas of cooperation with Beijing.
The People’s Republic of China is headed on a tragic trajectory that should be familiar to anyone with even cursory exposure to history. Due to a complex composition of factors – a century of torment at the hands of western powers and Japan as well as a toxic brew of nationalism – the PRC is not content with its place as the world’s second largest economy, or even largest when using purchasing-parity power, or PPP, as the benchmark. Nor is China happy with its standing as the planet’s second largest military armed with advanced weapons like “carrier-killer” missiles, a budding hypersonic weapons program and other top-tier offensive platforms. Beijing doesn’t even seem to regard its undertaking of major initiatives like the “One Belt, One Road” project and the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank as signs of its rise to global superpower stature.
No, Beijing wants more, and could soon seek to transform the status-quo in Asia, especially in the South China Sea, in its favor. Indeed, recent reports suggest that Beijing’s surge for hegemony might be around the corner, as its leaders take advantage of a window of opportunity during the final weeks of the US presidential election as America’s gaze turns inward.  Many Asia specialists argued that China would boldly push forward in some aggressive manner after losing in the Hague to the Philippines over Manila’s challenge of Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea. However, China has bided its time, despite some reckless statements, provocative photo-ops including “bomber selfies” over the area and a Global Times July editorial that called Australia a “paper cat,” threatening “If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.”  Indeed, any rising great power embracing the most basic elements of strategy must pick the most opportune time to seize an initiative, something not lost on Chinese military strategists and senior Communist Party officials.
Any escalatory move after the Hague ruling would have been a strategic mistake. Beijing had committed to host the G20 summit slated to start seven weeks after the ruling, and the United States would soon be largely sidelined thanks to one of the most divisive presidential elections in its history. China, by waiting just a few weeks, would be in the best position in years to undertake any number of bold actions in South China Sea, ensuring its dominance over what it refers to as its own sovereign territory.  Senior officials at the Pentagon and a top diplomat representing an ASEAN nation in Washington have confided that Asia experts anticipate a Chinese move in the South China Sea that could escalate tensions, due to the circumstances and timing.
  “If China is going to strike in the South China Sea, mid-September right until the November presidential election could not be a better time,” explained a senior US Department of Defense official who agreed to be interviewed if not identified. Or, put a different way, another US defense official, again speaking on background, explained: “Beijing’s best window to take advantage of certain trend lines and cement its claims in the South China Sea is right after the G20. American newspapers won’t give front-page status to a China story during the heart of the election, well, unless they start shooting, and they won’t be that stupid. For Beijing, the timing is perfect.”  Such analysis is not limited to American military circles, and a senior ASEAN nation diplomat holds almost an identical view. “China is ready to cast off any illusions of a peaceful rise.
 Having worked with Chinese diplomats in Asia and here in Washington for decades now, Beijing seems ready to remove any hidden aspirations of what it really wants: to dominate the South China Sea.”  President Obama has warned “there will be consequences,” but the senior diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, continued: “China seems poised to make a serious move to solidify its hold on the South China Sea after the G20. Why wouldn’t it? America is obsessed with its elections. And if [US President Barack] Obama would not even enforce a ‘red line’ when Assad was killing his own people with chemical weapons, ASEAN nations know he won’t come to our aid over some rocks – as many in the media will surely spin in – when his time in office is almost up.”
 Beginning the morning of September 3, global media began quoting extensively from a piece in The New York Times indicating Beijing massed vessels around Scarborough Shoal, claimed by China, the Philippines and Taiwan each. The controversial move is one of a long stream of Chinese aggressions in recent years. Reports indicated that troop ships as well as barges – which could be utilized for dredging, the first steps in turning rocks into islands and islands into military bases, a play China has utilized in the past in the South China Sea – were less than 2 kilometers from the shoal.  Making matters worse, and handing China even greater incentive to begin reclamation efforts, was what can be best described as an untimely comment by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who threatened to insult President Obama during a proposed meeting at the East Asia Summit if he raised human rights issues.
With Washington and Manila at odds, Duterte gave Beijing a golden opportunity to push forward, cementing its grasp on Scarborough.  While relations between the United States and the Philippines, at least in the short term, are strained, Manila has every incentive to work with Washington to ensure that Beijing does not begin reclamation work at Scarborough Shoal. As a first step towards such an effort, in a move to attempt to deter and prevent Chinese action, President Obama should voice his opposition, in no uncertain terms, that any attempt to seize Scarborough would constitute a challenge to the peace and stability of Asia and would force Washington to rethink many areas of cooperation with Beijing.
These could include future participation in RIMPAC and a pause in bilateral investment treaty negotiations.  At the same time, the trend lines in the South China Sea suggest that China can increase its military might in the region dramatically for months and years to come thanks to its new island bases. The United States must actively begin crafting a strategy for if Beijing does move forward on reclamation with the goal of negating China’s growing military muscle. Options could include rotational or permanent US naval assets, especially attack submarines, in Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam and a permanent naval presence, including an aircraft carrier battle group, once again in the former US naval base at Subic Bay in the Philippines, about 200 kilometers east from Scarborough Shoal. No matter what plan of action is adopted, the goal must be to reinforce America’s critical alliances and strategic partnerships as well as ensure that the South China Sea will remain a part of the global commons – a body of water all nations have the sacred right to utilize.


Ahead Of Launch, A Glimpse Of Navy's Most Advanced Destroyer, Mormugao

India's latest destroyer, the Mormugao, is set to be launched for the first time on Saturday at Mumbai's Mazgaon Docks. The ship will then be fitted out and inducted into the Navy two years later.   The Mormugao is the second of a class of Project 15-B destroyers -- slated to be the most advanced destroyers built in India. Four are being built at a cost of Rs. 29,700 crore.
  With displacement of 7,300 tonnes, the Mormugao spans 163 metres in length and is powered by 4 Ukrainian gas turbine engines to achieve speeds in excess of 30 knots, approximately 56 km per hour.   With a complement of 50 officers and 250 sailors, the Project 15B destroyers are designed to operate 4,000 nautical miles at sea.  According the Navy,
"These ships are among the most technologically advanced guided missile destroyers in the world, with state-of-the-art weapons/sensors package, advanced stealth features and a high degree of automation."
The key sensor of the Mormugao will be its Israeli-designed Multi-Function Surveillance Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR), designed to track targets in the air hundreds of kilometres away.  Once a lock-on is achieved, the MF-STAR can direct several Barak 8 Long-Range Surface to Air missiles (LR-SAM) to intercept the targets. The LR-SAM is a joint venture between India and Israel and is considered among the most sophisticated missiles of its class in the world being designed to intercept enemy aircraft and supersonic missiles more than 70 km away.  
The Mormugao is also armed with the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which can hit targets at land and at sea 300 km away.   All key systems are integrated onboard the ship through a Ship Data Network, a Combat Management System, an Automated Power Management System among a host of computer controlled systems, which monitor every parameter of the ship's operations. In fact, the Navy describes the new destroyers as a true "Network of Networks, representing a high level of automation for monitoring and control of various shipboard systems that would be integrated into the ship."  The Navy is aiming for a 68% indigenisation target for the Project 15-B class. The other components are being imported and integrated by Mazgaon Docks Limited.
  Compared to the Navy's Project 15-A destroyers, which are now entering service, the Project 15B ships will be less detectable by radar, use radar absorbent paint during its construction and its propellers will be more silent to make detection by enemy submarines and warships more difficult.  In the last 6 years, the Indian Navy has inducted 8 frontline warships and has launched 5 warships which are in the process of being constructed.


Now, Pakistan Bashing By US From Indian Soil

We reaffirmed the urgent necessity for Pakistan to dismantle safe havens for terrorists and criminals networks, including LeT, JeM and the D-Company", she said.  Addressing a session at the Indian Institute of Technology here, he said one nation alone can not fight terror groups such as Daesh, Al Qaeda, LeT and Jaesh-e-Mohammad.
 In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama had come to decision to raise India-US meeting into a Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, reflecting the significance of the trade and economic ties between the two sides.  After visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry announced in New Delhi on Tuesday (Aug 30) the restart of the trilateral talks following the Second India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said the scheduled discussions were "important and they are going to continue".
 Sushma Swaraj said that she briefed Kerry on the continuing problem of cross-border terrorism that India and the larger region faces from Pakistan. "In the interconnected world we live in today, dangers that are somewhere else are not far away", Kerry said. We have talked about sanctuaries in the country. He said a society which does not give equal opportunities to its citizens makes them a potential extremist or terrorist.  On Pakistan, Kerry said, it is clear that there is work to do for Pakistan to push harder against sanctuaries of terror.
 The two countries hope to find those involved in terrorist attacks in India, including the January attack on the Pathankot air force base.  Mr Kerry said, there can not be distinction between good and bad terrorists as terror is terror no matter where it emanates from or who carries it out.  Besides supporting India on its demand to Pakistan regarding terrorism, Kerry has also confirmed that progress was made on an agreement about the construction of six nuclear reactors by United States giant Westinghouse.
 In particular, India is seeking justice for a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai that killed 172 people, and wounded more than 300.  Kerry also hinted at some of the challenges impacting India's relationship with the US. I have had many engagements with (Pakistan PM) Nawaz Sharif.  US Secretary of State, John Kerry has made an indirect dig at Modi government by lecturing it on freedom of expression in India.  India and the United States also agreed to restart a three-way dialogue with Afghanistan next month on the sidelines of the UN Genreal Assembly in NY and signed an agreement to combat and counter cyber attacks.


With Rafale, A Game-Changer Missile That Puts India Ahead Of China: Exclusive

As India and France get set to sign a Euro 7.87 billion contact for 36 French Rafale fighters, details are emerging on a previously undisclosed part of the deal, which will see India acquiring the Meteor, arguably the world’s most advanced air-to-air missile. Sources tracking the final negotiations have confirmed to NDTV that the IAF’s Rafales will come equipped with the Meteor designed to knock out enemy aircraft and cruise missiles significantly more than 100 km away.The acquisition of this weapon is likely to be game changer in South Asia.
Neither Pakistan nor China, India’s traditional military adversaries, possess a weapon of the same class. The only other air-to-air missile as capable as the Meteor is the AIM-120D, the latest variant of the US Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile which is also designed to hit targets more than 100 km away. Analysts, however, point out that the Meteor is likely to be significantly more capable because of its ramjet engine. According to War is Boring, a leading international website that explores high technology weapons systems, “A conventional solid-fuel booster accelerates the Meteor after launch, like most air-to-air missiles. But while roaring through the air, the missile opens up a chute, allowing air to rush into the engine, which heats up the oxygen and propels the supersonic missile to Mach 4 (four times the speed of sound).” Engineers from the European firm MBDA, which builds the missile, have reportedly claimed that the Meteor has a “no escape zone” three times larger than that of the AIM 120D AMRAAM missile.
 According to War is Boring, “the no-escape zone is an aerial combat term for a cone-shaped area determined by the missile’s capabilities — from where a targeted aircraft cannot escape solely using its own manoeuverability.” To survive the no escape zone, a fighter jet has to be able to jam the seeker of the incoming missile or deceive it by firing chaff, strips of metal foil released in the air to obstruct radar detection. At the moment, India and France are finalising details of the Inter-governmental agreement on India’s acquisition of the Rafale.
 A French team, currently in Delhi, is reviewing the contract which runs into several thousand pages. Once this document is firmed up, the file goes back to the Cabinet Committee on Security for final approval, which, at this stage, is likely to be a formality. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that India would be acquiring 36 Rafale fighter jets from France in an off-the-shelf purchase when he visited France in April last year. Deliveries of the fighter are likely to begin in 2019. Sharp differences between Indian and French price negotiators meant that neither side was able to achieve a breakthrough till now.


September 14, 2016

Russia displays special features of IL-112 to India

India has displayed interest in the Il-112 aircraft, details about which were introduced to the Indian Prime Minister by Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister.

Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister introduced the technological features of the Il-112 aircraft to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, while he visited the Voronezh Aircraft Building Enterprise VASO.  "This plane is of interest for some of our foreign partners. I myself handed the prospect for specifications on the airframe to Prime Minister of India, Modi," Rogozin said.
He stated that the aircraft can be made to suit both military and civilian specifications.  Additionally, the Il-112 will have unique capabilities, including being able to land on the ground and on unequipped airfields, and being able to raise bulky loads.  Rogozin said the terrain in India is mountainous and the country needs to support the military forces.  "They have showed a preliminary interest in that," said Rogozin


Baloch activists stage protest at UN headquarters in New York

 Baloch activists on Wednesday gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in New York City, to protest against what they consider to be Pakistan's illegal occupation of Balochistan.
This move comes less than a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the Balochistan issue in his widely viewed Independence Day speech. "Balochistan is not Pakistan," and "Stop human rights violations in Balochistan," were two of the messages displayed on banners during the protest. Participation in the event was open to all pro-Baloch freedom activists, and other human rights activists, and TOI learned that a few Indian human right activists who weren't affiliated with any particular organization took part.
Wednesday's protest was spearheaded by Free Balochistan Movement (FBM), a collective of Baloch activists lobbying for freedom and secession from Pakistan. Their protest coincides with the beginning of the meeting of the United Nations General Embassy, and is aimed at highlighting human rights violations, alleged political killings and violence in Balochistan by Pakistani forces. Pakistan's 'state-sponsored terrorism' The FBM has pointed out that the UN has a history of interventions in favour of separatist movements, such as Kosovo, East Timor and South Sudan. "We expect the UN to recognise Balochistan as an occupied territory and urge Pakistan to end the illegal occupation of Balochistan.
 After the independence of Balochistan we want the UN to bring Pakistani war criminals and army generals to the International Court of Justice," Faiz Baloch, a London-based FBM activist, told TOI. FBM also wants the UN to take notice of "state-sponsored terrorism" in Balochistan, and send a fact-finding mission to investigate the "Pakistani state's aggression against Balochs," Faiz said. The organization claims over 5,000 Baloch people have been killed in custody by Pakistani forces, allegedly as part of a 'kill-and-dump' policy. They also claim that 20,000 Baloch have been abducted, of which many continue to face torture.

On Tuesday, In addition to displaying banners and slogans, the protesters in New York also carried dolls painted with blood - "to show the world that Pakistan is killing our innocent children and women," said Faiz Prime Minster Modi's influence

When asked whether pro-Baloch freedom activism has intensified since PM Modi highlighted the plight of the people of Balochistan, Faiz had this to say: "No doubt Prime Minister Modi's mentioning of Balochistan in his speech has given exposure to Balochistan issue on international level including in India. But, the issue of Balochistan is much larger and we have a history of struggle against Pakistan." "We have been organising protests in London, America, Geneva, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Germany for a long time but there was no media coverage for our activities. Now the media - especially the Indian media - is giving more coverage to our protests which we appreciate," he added.


September 12, 2016

Deal for direct acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets in final stages

The government is now getting all set to ink the long-awaited contract for the direct acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets  from France for the IAF, which is grappling with just 33 fighter squadrons when at least 42 are needed to tackle the collusive threat from China and Pakistan.
"The contract and the inter-governmental agreement are now being fine-tuned. The deal is in the final stages now," said government sources on Monday. Sources said the two countries had arrived at the figure of around Rs 55,000 crore (7.3 billion Euros), which includes the cost of the 36 fighters, their weapons, spares and maintenance package, after extensive negotiations since the proposed government-to-government deal was announced during the Modi-Hollande summit in Paris in April 2015.
 The NDA government had then cited IAF's "critical operational necessity" as well as the need to cut time and costs to go in for the direct acquisition of 36 Rafales after scrapping the original but deadlocked $20 billion MMRCA+ (medium multi-role combat aircraft) project to acquire 126 fighters. Under the MMRCA project, the first 18 fighters were to be delivered "off-the-shelf", with the rest being manufactured in India after technology transfer. Under the new deal for 36 Rafales, the fighters will now be directly delivered to India from 2019 onwards.
While the jets will not be made in India, the deal does have a 50% offsets clause, as was the case in the MMRCA project, under which France will have to plough half of the actual contract value back into India.
The 36 jets are to be delivered in the same configuration as were tested and approved by the IAF during extensive field trials in the MMRCA project, where the French fighter had emerged the winner after beating the Eurofighter Typhoon, American F-16 and F/A-18, Swedish Gripen and Russian miG-35. While the current procurement is for only 36 Rafales, less than one-third of the 126 envisaged under the MMRCA project, the new contract will have the mandatory clause for acquisition of another 18 jets under the 50% follow-on order option at the same price.

Apart from the hard bargaining on the price of the 36 Rafales, France's refusal to give sovereign guarantee or bank guarantee for the deal had delayed its finalisation for some time. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier told TOI: "All issues will be addressed in the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) to be inked. The IGA will cover everything, including the guarantee. It will ensure that anything covered under it has to be executed by the two governments.
" The MMRCA project was scrapped last year after persisting deadlock over Dassault's refusal to take "full responsibility" for the 108 jets to be made by HAL as well as the stiff hike in its production costs here. The NDA government had then concurrently decided to go in for direct purchase of 36 Rafales during the Modi-Hollande summit in Paris.


Rs 120 crore spent on guarding pro-Pakistan Hawks

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear a petition against providing central funds to separatists, as “illegal and unconstitutional”. Kashmir is not the safest place in India right now, as the pro-azadi agitation continues, claiming 78 lives so far. But the state’s separatists, who refuse peace parleys and thank Pakistan in public, lead a safe existence, courtesy the Indian state. Since 2010, the total expenditure on protecting and mollycoddling them, as per government documents, exceeds Rs 560 crore.
The total strength of the Jammu & Kashmir Police is estimated as 73,363. Of these, around 18,000 policemen are deployed as guards at homes and properties of politicians and pro-separatist activists. As many as 8,000 cops work as personal security guards (PSO) of politicians. In 2014-15, the state government spent over Rs 120 crore on fuel, hotel stay and security of separatists, which is more than the state’s budget allocation of Rs 100 crore earmarked for widows and destitute women under welfare schemes. It is also three times of the Rs 40 crore allocated for integrated child development schemes and the creation of additional 1,000 anganwadi centres. A top government official told Express, “In 2015-16, Rs 234.51 crore was spent on the 1,971 persons on the protected list.” Shockingly, one of them is pro-azadi leader and Democratic Liberation Party (DLP) chairman Hashim Qureshi, who hijacked an Indian Airlines F 27 aircraft and took it to Pakistan on January 30, 1971.
 In 2013-14, the state government spent Rs 107 crore — including approximately Rs 4 crore on hotel bills and Rs 5 crore on petrol and diesel — on sedition activists in the Kashmir Valley. As per official records, the government spent Rs 69 crore on the salaries of guards on the security detail of anti-India political activists and Rs 40 crore on PSOs in 2014. The total money spent on the salaries of guards since 2010 is Rs 309 crore and Rs 150 crore went to PSOs.
A total of 669 ‘uncategorised’ activists across 22 districts also get security cover from the state. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the Hurriyat Conference who is fuelling the fire in the Valley, is among the 1,472 political activists who are guarded by the J&K Police. Pro-Pakistan separatists Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, former Hurriyat chairman Aga Syed Hassan Mousavi and Bilal Ahmed Lone, all executive members of the Hurriyat, are getting state privileges. Other names are Hashim Qureshi, a pro-Pakistani Kashmiri separatist, founding member of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF); Salim Geelani, affiliated with the moderate faction of the Hurriyat; Zafar Akbar Bhat, chairman, Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement; and Shahid-ul-Islam, spokesman of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference. Jammu district is home to 109 uncategorised political activists followed by 93 in Doda. Srinagar tops the chart with 207, including 83 who are provided security cover.
In Shopian, where separatists are leading the ongoing agitation, the government pays for guarding 39 activists, including 15 uncategorised political activists. Similarly, 114 persons are enjoying security cover in the curfew hit-Anantnag. Of these, 49 are in the uncategorised list.
There are 124 categorised protectees in Srinagar. Neighbouring Baramula has 66 political activists in the categorised list and 32 in the uncategorised category. The state police provide security cover to 82 categorised political activists in Kupwara. Baramula has 98 similar political activists covered under the state security umbrella. Pulwama and Kishtwar districts have 70 such political activists each while Budgam has 62 of these separatists. Sedition on the move The fuel expenses of separatists are intriguing.
Although they have been provided secured accommodation considering alleged threat perception, it appears that they are, in fact, travel enthusiasts averaging Rs 5.2 crore a year to fill their tanks. Since 2010-11, Rs 26.43 crore has been spent on thier fuel by the state exchequer. According to government documents, the state has provided at least 708 vehicles to 481 protectees. The government also splurged Rs 3.6 crore on hotel accommodation for 440 political activists, including 294 uncategorised political activists last year.

New Indian Express

Japan may cut price to ink aircraft deal with India

Japan is negotiating the sale of Shinmaywa US-2 search and rescue aircraft with New Delhi not for any economic gain, but because it considers India a friendly country , Tokyo has said amid reports that the deal for 12 amphibious aircraft had collapsed over pricing and technology transfer issues. Top Japanese defence ministry sources told TOI in an exclusive interaction that they would look at reducing the price for the $1.6 billion aircraft deal as much as possible, in a fresh attempt to revive the negotiations.
The agreement, if it happens, will have a huge symbolic significance as a message to China about deepening defence and security cooperation between India and Japan, both victims of Chinese territorial aggression. “Our position is that if this agreement happens, it will have a very favourable impact on our relations with India,” said a Japanese defence ministry official.
“We understand there are some consultations under way in India over pricing. Pricing is determined by several factors. We are not doing this for economic gains but for our friendly relations with India and can look at reducing the price to the extent possible,” added the official.Japan is now hoping that there will be some progress in negotiations by the time PM Narendra Modi visits Tokyo later this year for the annual summit meet. After Japan overturned its self-imposed 1967 ban on export of arms in 2014, India was expected to become the first country to purchase defence equipment from Japan with an agreement for US-2 aircraft. India and Japan had last year, after the meeting between Modi and his counterpart Shinzo Abe, signed an agreement for transfer of defence equipment and technology .
The two leaders had then said they wanted to to deepen the bilateral defence relationship through two-way collaboration and technology cooperation, co-development and coproduction.


Anger mounts against Pak after North Korea N-bomb test, nations urged to review ties with Islamabad

The latest North Korean nuclear explosion is one element of the anger against Pakistan in Washington and the other element being its “duplicity” in the war against terror, an expert said. The latest test has demonstrated North Korea’s ability to strike its Asian neighbours, mainly its rivals South Korea and Japan, an expert said, adding that The Washington Post today stands vindicated as it had first made it public that Pyongyang acquired the technology from Pakistan. In 2011, the paper had reported that the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb Abdul Qadeer Khan had disclosed that North Korea bribed top military officials in Islamabad to obtain access to nuclear technology in the late 1990’s. According to a report, the 9th September nuclear detonation is a “logical continuation of the 2011 reports in The Washington Post”.
 North Korea’s nuclear weapons can be mounted on a variety of its missiles capable of reaching Seoul and Tokyo. Hence, South Korea and Japan need to review ties with Pakistan after North Korea’s 5th nuclear test, the ANI news agency quoted nuclear expert Whang Joo Ho of Kyung Hee University as saying.
The North Korean SCUD and Midrange Rodong are capable of delivering a nuclear attack on both South Korea and Japan. Recounting Pakistan’s role in the development of the North Korean Nuclear Program, experts said what AQ Khan started in the late 1990’s is “now coming home to roost and the two most threatened nations are Japan and South Korea.” Citing the experts, ANI further reported that If anything Japan and South Korea need to question the “fountain head” for this technology which has brought the world to this point where a virtual rogue state now has nuclear weapons, the report said citing US analysts. Experts said that “Even the Pakistani President in 2006, General Pervez Musharraf, had accused AQ Khan of profiting from nuclear related commerce but did nothing to punish other members of the Pakistani establishment who were involved in nuclear trade with North Korea.”
 The North Korean nuclear blast is one element of the anger against Pakistan in Washington. The other element being Pakistan’s “duplicity” in the war against terror, another expert said. On September 8th, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Bob Corker, anguished over the flow of over 33 billion US dollars to Pakistan over the years while Islamabad continued to give safe haven to terror groups who were involved in the killing of American troops in Afghanistan. Bob Corker told the Committee that “the Government of Pakistan knows where they (terrorists) live.” Corker has been instrumental in the stopping of the sale of eight F 16`s to Pakistan and the holding back of over 300 million dollars in military aid. Sources at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who were contacted after the North Korean Nuclear explosion said “a number of influential Senators are seeking answers on how North Korea got to this point”.
The administration should have conducted detailed investigations on reports about Pakistan’s shipments of Centrifuges and other technology which North Korea bought and which has today presented the US with a real headache on how to protect its two close allies – Japan and South Korea from a unpredictable regime with a deliverable Nuclear Weapon. Sources said the real issue is not North Korea, as nothing more was expected from a regime which has refused to move on from the 1953 Armistice and which remains in a state of hostilities against the West but the country which sold the technology and drawings. Along with the United States, both Japan and South Korea need to review their ties with Pakistan because North Korea`s fifth nuclear test has now changed everything in the Asian theatre.

zee media

PM Narendra Modi’s impact? Baloch Human Rights Organisation protests in Karachi against Pakistan Army

Several members of Baloch Human Rights Organisation on Sunday protested in Karachi against the Pakistan army. Taking to streets, Baloch Human Rights Organisation members protested against the ongoing seige of Rauf Baloch’s house in Turbat by Pakistan army.Prime Minister Narendra Modi had extended his support to the province’s beleaguered people.
 Last month, PM Narendra Modi began to call out Pakistan for its so-called hypocrisy in commenting about Kashmir even as it continues to oppress people within its borders. Now, Baloch activists in Pakistan are rallying around PM Modi’s stirring speeches against Pakistan’s atrocities in the Balochistan province and in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK).


India should stop feeding its traitors in Kashmir

Pakistan – and Kashmir – are being trashed, and thrashed by the Indian, and international, media and we have been hearing quite a lot from politicians of all hues, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself, on “tough measures”.We now hear (not surprisingly, though) that the “high and the mighty” in Kashmir, who have the blessings of Pakistan, are, in fact, enjoying security cover and other perks meant only for the VIPs and a privileged few. Why? One of the leaders, we are told, has a luxury hotel coming up in the Valley; another has a flourishing business; yet another is a trader. And, all that at India’s expense! And, of course, they continue to spit venom at anything India, call India the “occupying force” and Pakistan a “friend”.
 The Congress governments over the decades have royally goofed up on Kashmir – all of them, without exception. But the fact is that we have had some non-Congress governments as well and they have continued to play ball and ignored the goof-ups of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Narashima Rao and Rajiv Gandhi. Why? Modi has been at the helm for nearly half his term and only now has he started speaking about what many knew (and most did not) about Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the others.
Take with that the Abdullahs and state chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. No one, it seems, has a clear vision on what needs to be done, even as curfew and sporadic violence continues to make people’s lives miserable. Why cannot the government withdraw security for these enemies of India? Why are they able to get phone connections? Passports? Voter cards? Why are their family members allowed to work in India? (We now know their relatives are well placed in India and abroad, including Pakistan.) What is the source of their funds? Their children study in India’s schools and colleges, they enjoy Indian water, power and internet; they drive on India’s roads; they eat Indian vegetables; they drink Indian water.
Yet, for them, India is the “occupying force”. I am appalled this is being allowed to go on and on – not for one, two, three years but for decades. The all-party delegation, the Union home minister and every other leader has been given the cold shoulder and yet we tolerate this nonsense. Withdraw all facilities, close their bank accounts, attach their properties, take away the guards and let’s see how brave they are. Leave these people on the streets to roam around like the urchins they are and all anti-India utterances they spew will be over, once and for all. And, if that does not happen, they should be shown the door. After all, what are friends for?


September 10, 2016

US Air Force: Tech Transfer Issues Key to F-16 Production Line Move to India

The issue of technology transfer is likely to be the sticking point on whether the US government sanctions the potential move of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 production line to India, the US Air Force’s top civilian said Wednesday.   Fresh off an August trip to the Asia-Pacific region with stops at India, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines, US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told reporters she discussed the possible sales of F-16s and Navy F/A-18s with Indian defense officials to help promote the US defense industry and further military cooperation between the two nations.
 Both Lockheed and Boeing, which produces the F/A-18, have proposed moving production to India in the hopes of attracting new sales of two fighter jets whose days are numbered.
  James said her discussions with Indian Secretary of Defense Production Ashok Kumar Gupta, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Vice Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa did not go into the details of the industry proposals. However, the talks did touch on technology transfer issues, something that she said was seen as crucial for finalizing a possible deal.   “Obviously technology transfer is something that India is really, really hoping for [and] looking for,” she said. “So how much we're able to work through will probably be a key determinant.
  “And also I think a key determinant in what India ultimately ends up doing will relate to the Make in India part — how many jobs, what sorts of technologies might transfer,” she said, referring to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effort to expand the country’s manufacturing sector.
Boeing and Lockheed have made buying fighter jets a condition of any possible deal to move production to India.
The country is also considering other fighter jets, such as Saab’s Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Notably, James said Indian officials did not express interest in the US Air Force’s newest fighter, the F-35, which has amassed 10 international customers so far.   She added that she did not expect India to come to a decision for at least a year.   Given the age of the aircraft and the focus on selling the F-35, it makes sense that Lockheed would be willing to move its production line in exchange for one last big sale, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst with the Teal Group. However, the Indian government has been continuously indecisive, making a deal unlikely, he said.
  “On the US side, it could be a tech transfer issue” that keeps a deal from happening, “but I doubt it,” he said. “I think in the US, they’ve realized that this stuff is not exactly F-22 territory. The bigger issue is just Indian contracting uncertainty.”   Outsourcing elements of production, or even creating a separate line, is not a novel move, he said. In the past Lockheed has established such agreements with F-16 customers such as Turkey, South Korea and, most ambitiously, with Japan’s F-2 —  an F-16 derivative that split manufacturing between Lockheed and Mitsubishi.
Although current F-16 deliveries end in 2017, the company believes it will be able to net further foreign sales to sustain the production line until 2021, Randy Howard, Lockheed’s director of F-16 business development, said in an emailed response.   Asked whether moving the production line would become prohibitively expensive after that point, Howard said Lockheed was confident it would be able to set up a line in India when given the go-ahead, although the timeline would depend “on a number of factors.”   Negotiations with the US and Indian governments are ongoing, but if a deal is reached, Lockheed may also be willing to expand Indian companies’ participation in the program at a supplier level, he said.
  “Under our current proposal, Lockheed Martin is offering India the exclusive opportunity to produce, operate and export F-16 Block 70 aircraft,” he said. “We also foresee significant Indian participation in the F-16 supply chain based on Indian industry’s capacity to offer best-value F-16 supply chain options.”


September 9, 2016

India and Russia agree on details of new joint production of fifth generation fighter aircraft

After several months of hectic negotiations on technical details, India and Russia are ready with a detailed work-share agreement for joint production of a fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Russia will now share critical new generation aircraft technologies as part of a deal that would include production of over 100 fighters in India.  
The two nations are also expected to incorporate a new company by October for the production of Kamov Ka 226 light choppers, which would involve significant private sector participation.   Both projects have been accelerated ahead of Indo-Russian summit talks in Goa next month that will be attended by President Vladimir Putin.
  Officials who have been briefed on ongoing talks told ET that the FGFA programme in particular will yield rich dividends to India due to the quantum of technology on offer.   "From a preliminary documents that was barely two dozen pages, we have agreed on a 650 page detailed plan that specifies exactly what all will be shared," the official said.   Unlike in the past when a broad agreement would be signed on fighter deals like the Su 30 MKI contract, this time around Indian negotiators have gone deep into details of the joint production plan.
 The project got a boost last year from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar after being on the brink of collapse.   The signing of the work share agreement is expected shortly, with India committing to invest $4 billion over the coming years to develop a tailor-made version of the fighter. One of the major concerns of the Indian side was the development of a new jet engine for the fighter and its weapons package.
  India has already spent $300 million in a preliminary design contract for the project with Russia that was completed in June 2013.   In the initial stage, HAL and Russian Helicopters will sign up for the joint company but the Indian side is clear that a private sector partner will be brought in at a later stage to assist the project.   Pune-based Kalyani Strategic Systems is tipped as a frontrunner for this partnership to manufacture helicopter engines for the KA 226.   On the chopper contract, officials said that work is being accelerated to ensure that a new joint company is incorporated by the time the summit level talks begin.


US to give Philippines military planes: Government

The United States is giving the Philippines two used military aircraft, the coast guard said Wednesday, to help Manila expand sea patrols in the face of territorial disputes with China.   The two Sherpa 30-seater aircraft will be delivered in December, Philippine coast guard spokesman Commander Armand Balilo told AFP.   "It will help us in the movements of the Philippine Coast Guard like patrol missions," Balilo added.
  The announcement came days after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday sparked a major diplomatic row with Manila's longtime treaty ally the United States by branding President Barack Obama a "son of a whore".   Duterte said Tuesday he regretted the tirade, sparked by the US leader's plan to raise the issue of extrajudicial killings under Duterte's war on crime.   Manila, which has one of Asia's weakest militaries, has been trying to improve defence ties with its former colonial ruler Washington and other allies.   Balilo said the Sherpas would help the coast guard augment its meagre air patrol capability, now comprised of two old Britten-Norman Islanders.
  The Philippines has expressed concern about Beijing's massive island-building over reefs, some of them claimed by Manila, in the South China Sea.   Duterte last week said China had sent barges to the contested Scarborough Shoal and had appeared to begin construction there for the first time.   On Wednesday the Philippines released photos to back its claims.   Manila scored a sweeping victory when a UN-backed tribunal ruled in July that Beijing's claims to most of the sea had no legal basis and that its construction of artificial islands was illegal.
  The US has said it does not take sides in the dispute but has raised its naval presence in the region to ensure freedom of navigation.  Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam also have competing claims to parts of the sea, through which $5 trillion in annual trade passes.


September 8, 2016

US links future of joint jet engine development project to manufacture fighter plan

The US has linked the future of a joint jet engine development project to a proposal to manufacture American combat aircraft under the Make in India initiative, with Pentagon formally putting all options on the table, including sharing of high-end weapons, radar and power plant technology, during Defence MinisterManohar Parrikar’s recent visit. Sources told ET that India will now be able to formally evaluate two proposals from US companies Boeing (F/A 18 Super Hornet) and Lockheed Martin (F16 Super Viper) to make jets in India with Pentagon giving a written assurance for transfer of technology.
A renewed push for the jet aircraft project came during the Parrikar visit, with an assurance that high-end jet engine technology that India seeks for its future combat aircraft programmes is also on the table. In fact, officials told ET that US Secretary for Defence Ashton Carter may be visiting India as early as December to take the process forward. Sources who took part in the discussions said that while in April, when the two US companies had first offered the two jets for a Make in India plan, there was reluctance in Washington on how much technology could be shared.
 However recent initiatives, including India’s entry into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the signing of a military logistics support agreement, have changed things on the ground. It is learnt that the offer from Boeing, which makes the F/A 18, is for the setting up of a new worldclass production facility in India that would cater to the production of futuristic combat aircraft. Lockheed Martin proposes to shift its F 16 fighter line from Texas to India as the sole production facility in the world. As reported first by ET, in April rivals Boeing and Lockheed Martin jointly met top defence ministry officials in New Delhi offering to locally manufacture the fighter jets. The offer came after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar publicly stated that the ministry is interested in setting up production lines for ‘one or two’ fighters at the earliest, beyond the Rafale fighter jet deal with France.


India, Russia discuss $4bn deal for 4 stealth frigates

  1. India may soon buy four upgraded Teg stealth frigates for around $4 billion fromRussia
  2. Two of the frigates will come from Russia, while the other two will be constructed inIndia
  3. The frigates require gas-turbine engines from Ukraine, which India will directly acquire from them due to its 
In what could turn into yet another mega defence deal with Russia , bilateral negotiations have gained momentum for India's acquisition of four more stealth frigates for around $4 billion. Even as the high-level India-Russia Military Technical Cooperation Working Group (MTC-WG) kicked off its two-day meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday, defence ministry sources said Moscow has submitted "a techno-commercial proposal" for the four multi-purpose frigates packed with sensors and weapons, including the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
"Under the proposal, two of the frigates will come from Russia, while the other two will be constructed in India. The MoD has asked for some clarifications before taking a decision on the price and inter-governmental agreement," said a source. The MTC-WG also discussed other pending mega defence projects like the joint development of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft and Kamov Ka-226T light utility helicopters as well as the Rs 39,000 crore purchase of five S-400 Triumf advanced air defence missile systems, as was reported by TOI on Wednesday. Russia has apparently dovetailed the frigate project - which was first offered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to PM Narendra Modi over a year ago - with India's aim to lease a second nuclear-powered submarine for around $1.5 billion.
 The first nuclear-powered Akula-II submarine INS Chakra - being operated by India since April 2012 after paying $900 million - had also been linked to the bigger $2.33 billion deal for aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. If the deal for the four new 4,000-tonne frigates is indeed inked, they will add to the six Russian stealth frigates already inducted by India. First, three Talwar-class frigates were inducted from Russia in 2003-2004.
They were then followed in 2011-2013 by three Teg-class frigates under a $1.15 billion contract inked in 2006. India is quite satisfied with the Teg-class frigates, which have an operating range of 4,500 nautical miles and can handle threats in all three dimensions - air, surface and underwater. But a major problem with the new upgraded Teg or Grigorivich-class frigates on offer is that the warships - lying half-constructed at the Yantar Shipyard in Russia due to a cash-crunch - will need Zorya gas-turbine engines from Ukraine.
"Ukraine has refused to supply power plants to Russia because of their continuing bilateral problems. But India can directly acquire the engines from Ukraine," said a source. India, of course, has begun to construct its own stealth warships, having inducted three 6,100-tonne Shivalik-class frigates. Another Rs 50,000 crore contract for construction of the seven 'Project-17A' stealth frigates - four at Mazagon Docks at Mumbai and three in GRSE at Kolkata - was inked in February 2015.

The Navy currently has around 130 warships as well as 235 aircraft and helicopters. Moreover, the seven P-17A frigates are among the 39 warships and six Scorpene submarines under construction in Indian shipyards for over Rs 3 lakh crore. But India is now eyeing the Russian frigates since it plans a 212-warship Navy by 2027 to ensure effective safeguarding of its huge geostrategic interests from Persian Gulf to Malacca Strait and beyond.


MoD to place Rs 3,500-crore order for New Hawk advanced jet trainer

India is likely to place an order for an additional batch of Hawk advanced jet trainers under a Rs 3,500-crore deal to meet requirements of the Air Force and Navy. The new deal for 32 jet trainers will add to the 123 aircraft already ordered for the Indian armed forces.
Sources in the defence ministry told ET that the Hawk deal, which had been stuck for several months on pricing issues, is now moving forward with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited expected to get the order within a few months. Hawk aircraft are the primary advanced trainers for combat pilots in India and have been used extensively due to a deficiency of intermediate jet trainers.
 While the Navy has a requirement of at least eight more Hawks to train fighter pilots for the MiG 29K fleet, the Air Force requires additional planes for its Suryakiran aerobatic team that has been reconstituted after a long break. The new order would keep HAL’s Hawk line running for a few more years. An eight point upgrade of the trainers is being planned with assistance from its original manufacturer BAE to make then capable of training operations for new generation fighters. HAL is the largest producer of the Hawk outside of the UK and also has export plans in the future for a weaponised version of the aircraft.
Officials connected with the program have told ET that an Indian-made combat version of the Hawk aircraft could be displayed at the Aero India show in February 2017 for demonstration. The Combat Hawk, for which interest has been shown by potential clients to undertake light attack missions, is currently under development jointly with BAE. HAL is looking to integrate a new engine, weapon systems and possibly a radar to the trainer.