The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to start the official process within three months for the possible purchase of 70 locally produced basic trainers from state-owned aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), three senior IAF officers said on condition of anonymity.

IAF is set to send a request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the indigenous Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) before the end of the year, they added.“The HTT-40 has entered the final stages of rigourous testing. The air force is optimistic that the trainer will meet its requirements. If all goes well, the RFP will be out by the year-end,” said one of the officials cited above who asked not to be named.

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Come October and India should be receiving the first of 36 French-built Rafale aircraft that the Air Force has long been waiting for.

The “multi-role” or “omnirole” aircraft—as the manufacturer Dassault Aviation calls it—aims to add teeth to the capabilities of the Indian Air Force, given its reputation of being the best 4+ generation fighter jet. Its capabilities include air-defence or air-superiority, it can be flown on reconnaissance missions and give close air support; it can undertake air-to-ground precision strikes, carry nuclear and conventional payloads, used for anti-ship attacks and allows re-fuelling between two Rafale aircraft without having to wait for mid-air refuelling tankers. Continue reading


The Indian Navy has demanded from the government that the Navy’s share in the total defence budget is brought back to the old level. The challenges for the Indian Navy have increased in the Indian Ocean which has increased the need for naval surveillance.

Not only are Chinese naval ships navigating in this area, but pirates are presenting a new challenge in this area against which there is constant surveillance. There is an urgent requirement of acquiring submarines, fighter aircraft, and for all, there is a heavy budgetary requirement.

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India’s second Scorpene-class submarine INS Khanderi that has superior stealth and ability to launch a crippling attack with torpedoes will be commissioned into service by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on September 28 in Mumbai, the Navy said today. Interacting with reporters here, Vice-Admiral G Ashok Kumar, the vice chief of the Navy, also said that INS Nilgiri, the first ship of the the P17A frigates, would be launched on the occasion and an aircraft carrier drydock would be inaugurated by the minister.

He said with the commissioning of ”Khanderi” and launch of ”Nilgriri”, the combat potential of Navy will “go up many fold”. Continue reading


While the alleged theft of an electronic component from the country’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier caused security concerns, the Navy downplayed the incident, claiming there was nothing strategically important in the warship which is being constructed by the Cochin Shipyard Ltd.

“Only the hull of the vessel has been constructed and there is nothing strategically important in it. The Cochin Shipyard is in charge of the security of the vessel and the Navy has nothing to do with it. The construction of the ship has not entered the advanced stage and there is nothing to worry about the alleged theft,” defence spokesperson Commander Sridhar Warrier told Express. Continue reading


India is watching the recent developments in Hong Kong with great attention, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday.
“There are developments in Hong Kong. Given that we have investments, and our community there, we are watching it with great attention,” he told reporters at a briefing to mark the External Affairs Ministry’s 100 days under the second tenure of the Narendra Modi-led government.

Since June, Hong Kong has seen daily anti-government protests that began against a now-suspended extradition bill, which have since broadened to include calls for more democratic rights, police accountability and the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is backed by Beijing. Continue reading


External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has always been part of India and some day the country will have “physical jurisdiction” over it.

“Our position on Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir has always been and will always be very clear. PoK is part of India and we expect one day that we will have the physical jurisdiction over it,” Jaishankar told a news conference.” Jaishankar said revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special rights under Article 370 was India’s internal matter and that the only issue to discuss with Pakistan was an end to cross-border terrorism from that country. Continue reading


India has been “persistently and relentlessly” pursuing the extradition of controversial televangelist Zakir Naik, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Tuesday, firmly rebutting Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The Malaysian Prime Minister on Tuesday set up a controversy over the fugitive wanted in India on terror charges by his claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not raise his extradition at their meeting earlier this month.

Mahathir Mohamad, 94, also told a radio programme that India had not insisted on Zakir Naik’s extradition, suggesting that this was because Zaik was “troublesome for India”. Continue reading


Dormant routes have been used by the Pakistani Army to infiltrate nearly 60 terrorists since the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, officials told PTI on Tuesday. This assessment comes amid intelligence inputs that there has been a surge in infiltration from across the border through higher reaches of North Kashmir and Poonch and Rajouri of the Jammu region, they said.

There is, however, no official word from the Army on the matter. During a recent meeting to ascertain the number of successful and unsuccessful infiltration attempts along the Line of Control, an Army representative was presented with a host of evidence collected by various agencies about infiltration by terrorists from higher reaches of Gurez, Machil and Gulmarg sectors of the Kashmir region, and Poonch and Rajouri areas in Jammu region, the officials said. Continue reading


The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday asserted India’s aim to build a better and stronger neighbourhood but added that it would remain a challenge as there is the issue of cross border terrorism from one neighbour.

Addressing the media on the completion of 100 days of his government, EAM S Jaishankar in a veiled jibe at Pakistan added that India has a unique challenge from one neighbour. He further added that India can’t take any step until the issue of cross border terrorism is successfully addressed and “that neighbour becomes a normal neighbour”. Continue reading


Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that no untoward incident took place in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A and peace is prevailing in the State. Speaking at the 46th National Management Convention in the Home Minister also said there would be doubts in people’s mind due to temporary global slowdown but India would achieve the target of becoming 5 trillion dollar economy.

“People were sceptical that what would happen if we abrogate Article 370. They wanted it to happen but at the same time, they were having doubts in their minds about its reputations. The dream of ‘Akhand” came true on August 5. Since then till today not a single bullet has been fired and not a single death has occurred. Kashmir is now moving ahead with peace,” he said. Continue reading


The India-US relationship is in “very good health”, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said today to a question on the trade differences between the two countries, describing the ties as “90 per cent full and 10 per cent half”. The minister also said US President Donald Trump attending the “Howdy, Modi!” event on Sunday in Houston along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a matter of great honour.

The Foreign Minister was speaking to the media on 100 days of his ministry.”India-US relations have come a long way… look at the quality of ties, the political comfort, the security cooperation…there is no facet of the relationship today which hasn’t gone upwards over the last 20 years. For an event like Houston, from both sides the approach is bipartisan. The relationship is in very good health,” Mr Jaishankar said. Continue reading


The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Tuesday inked MoUs with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for development of human centric systems for the Gaganyaan project, the Defence Ministry said. Some of the critical technologies to be provided by the DRDO to ISRO include space food, space crew health monitoring and emergency survival kit, radiation measurement and protection, parachutes for safe recovery of crew module, the ministry said in a statement.

A delegation of ISRO scientists, led by Director of Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) Dr S Unnikrishnan Nair, signed a set of MoUs with various DRDO labs here to provide technologies for human centric systems and technologies specific to the Human Space Mission, it said. Continue reading


Pakistani senior journalist Mona Alam said that there have been human rights violation under dictatorial regimes in the Pakistan province of Balochistan.

However, Mona Alam in an exclusive interview to India Today said that “Pakistan in its constitution gives full safety to minorities”. “It will be totally wrong to say that our government has turned a blind eye to the human rights of minorities in Pakistan. Around 50 people have been booked for in different human rights violations cases. Pakistan in its constitution gives full safety to minorities. Continue reading


Fake twitter handles of top serving and retired Army generals, including Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and other Army officers were created by Pakistan to spread propaganda after the abrogations of Article 370. The plot was exposed as the Indian Army ensured that 50 such handles were shut down by the social media platform.

Other than Army chief, handles of Vice Chief Lt Gen Devraj Ambu, Northern Army Commander Lt Gen Ranbir Singh and Lt Gen Balwant, who retired last year after serving as the Central Army Commander, were also taken down from Twitter. Fake news handles included one in the name of Lt Col Shrikant Purohit, who is an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. The Army sources said that the handle peddled fake news in a bid to trigger controversy. Continue reading

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