In late 1962 India and China fought a fierce war amidst the swirling clouds of the Himalayan ranges. The collision of two great geopolitical tectonic plates at that point of time threatened to irrevocably change the political map of Asia and tilt the balance in favour of world Communism. When the going got bad for India, it turned to the Western powers for assistance. It was also the time of Camelot in the United States. Under the charismatic and young President John F. Kennedy, friendship with the US was no longer politically undesirable, notwithstanding the fact that he too was no less a cold warrior than his predecessors.

China in the meanwhile had also fallen out with the world’s senior Communist state, the Soviet Union. Its internal ideological convulsions and the politics of the Great Leap Forward and its constant tirade of inventive invective, often as much against the USSR as the US, gave it the appearance of an implacable and volatile adversary. Mao Zedong’s pronouncements about his willingness to joust with nuclear weapons and his stated belief that China could afford to lose half its population and still come out a winner in a nuclear war gave the world’s political leaders plenty of sleepless nights. Mao was at his inscrutable best when he said: “In the end the bomb will not destroy the people, but it will be the people who will destroy the bomb!” At another time he jeered that Nikita Khrushchev’s scrotum was just an empty bag because the USSR seemed to have backed down in October 1962 when the US had blockaded Cuba. Continue reading


After operationalising the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) signed with France, the Indian Navy is looking for access to French naval base in Djibouti for refuelling and operational turnaround, defence sources said. Next month, Indian Navy Mig-29K fighters and French Navy Rafale-M fighters operating off their aircraft carriers will exercise together off Goa coast in May under the bilateral exercise Varuna.

“We already have access to the French base on Reunion Island for refuelling. We are in discussion for using their base in Djibouti,” a defence source said on Thursday.Beginning with the first logistics with the U.S in 2016, India has signed several such agreements and discussions are on with at least five more countries. France is the only country whose ships have docked at Karwar and Mumbai under the MLSA. Continue reading


Shorn of verbosity and pedantry, the two judgments delivered challenging the dismissal of the PILs in the Rafale judgment protect whistle-blowers and journalists who use questionable methods to extract top-secret documents pertaining to defence deals such as the purchase of 126 fighter jets for India from France. Whether these top-secret documents were obtained by bribing or coercing officials who had access to these documents is not relevant, provided the benefit accruing to the public by disclosure of these documents is more than the damage caused to the state by leaking these “secret documents,” copied from inside the defence ministry and published in a national newspaper in February.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi unequivocally dismissed the objections raised by attorney-general K K Venugopal that the review petitions challenging the dismissal of the PILs lacked bona fides because three documents were “unauthorisedly removed from the office of the defence ministry of the government of India and were appended to the review petition and relied upon by the review petitioners.” Continue reading


Pakistan will not be “pressured” by anyone on the issue of banning Masood Azhar, a top official in Islamabad said on Thursday, a day after China dismissed reports that the US, the UK and France have served an ultimatum to Beijing to lift its “technical hold” on designating the Jaish-e-Mohammed chief as a global terrorist by the UN.Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that Pakistan has a clear stance on Azhar.

Masood Azhar had claimed responsibility for the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Asked about China putting a technical hold to prevent Azhar from being designated a global terrorist at the UN, Mr Faisal said: “Whatever decision Pakistan takes in this regard will be in its national interest. Pakistan will not be pressured by anyone”. Continue reading


No Pakistani soldier or citizen died in the air strike on a terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan in February, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Thursday. Addressing women party workers here, she said Indian military was given a “free hand” in the operation but was clearly told that no Pakistani citizen should be killed and also there be “not be even a scratch” on the Pakistani army.

“Our armed forces were told to target only Jaish-e- Mohammed which was behind the Pulwama terror attack and they did just that – destroyed their camp and returned,” the senior BJP leader said.The IAF had struck a Jaish-e-Mohammad terror training camp in Pakistan on February 26, in response to the February 14 Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Swaraj said the air strike was carried out in self- defence. Continue reading


Pakistan Army took a jibe at India on Thursday after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj acknowledged that no civilian or soldier was killed in the Balakot attack, saying New Delhi should also take back its claim about the shooting down of a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet and the 2016 surgical strike.

The statement by army spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor came hours after Swaraj said that no Pakistani soldier or civilian died in the air strike on a terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan in February. “Hopefully, so will be about other false Indian claims i.e. surgical strike 2016, denial of shooting down of 2 IAF jets by PAF and claim about F16. Better late than never,” Ghafoor said in a twet. Continue reading


India suspended trade across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir over concern that the route was being misused by Pakistan-based elements to smuggle weapons, narcotics and fake currency, the Ministry of Home Affairs said on Thursday. New Delhi said the Centre will revisit the decision to suspend LoC trade at Jammu and Kashmir’s Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh after putting in place a stricter regulatory and enforcement mechanism.

Cross-LoC trade is meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir. The trade is allowed through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad, Uri, District Baramulla and Chakkan-da-Bagh, District Poonch. The trade takes place four days a week. The Trade is based on Barter system and zero duty basis. Continue reading


India will skip the second Belt and Road Forum being hosted by China next week to boost President Xi Jinping’s five-year-old flagship connectivity project, people familiar with developments said on Thursday. The reasons behind the decision to decline the invitation for the second iteration of the forum are the same ones that drove a boycott of the first event in May 2017 – core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity and the uneven playing field created by the Chinese, the people said.

Chinese officials have said about 40 foreign government leaders and representatives of more than 100 countries have confirmed their participation in the forum, expected to be held in Beijing during April 26-27. Continue reading


There have been 74 instances of ‘calibre escalation’ through the use of heavy artillery and mortars by the Pakistan Army on Indian Army positions and civilian areas along the Line of Control in March.  The development came to light in an internal army report, whose details have been shared with ET. There have been 267 instances of ceasefire violations last month as well, making it the highest this year.

Pakistan has also taken precautionary steps near the Line of Control (LoC) by moving their reserve formations forward, according to the report. In fact, a few days after the February 14 Pulwama terrorist attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troops were killed, Pakistan in expectation of a major retaliation by Indian forces had mobilised its troops along the border with India. Continue reading


A couple from Oshiwara who had been staying illegally in the city over the last two decades along with their family was arrested on Thursday. The police said that the family, obtained citizenship in Pakistan, but relocated to Mumbai and procured their passports by using fake documents.The arrested couple-Ahmed Daudani (55) and his wife Ashraf (53)-are residents of Green Park Society in Andheri (west), said an officer from Oshiwara police station. They were arrested on a tip-off on Thursday, said the police.

While Ahmed sells helmets outside Andheri railway station, his wife is a homemaker. They were picked up on the basis of a tip-off received by inspector Prafull Wagh. The police claimed the couple confessed they have stayed in Mumbai and Thane on returning from Pakistan in 1999. They travelled across the border by train. Continue reading


India is looking to place its ties with China on firm footing by exploiting the appeal from Bollywood, its soft power tool, among the Chinese. One indication of this is that Shah Rukh Khan, who was present at the China-India Film Co-production Dialogue, sat down with the delegations in Beijing on Thursday, posts on the Twitter showed.

The idea of India and China co-producing films is not new. However, the power wielded by Indian films in China and its possibility of acting as a bridge between the people of the two countries was highlighted by China’s Xi Jinping when he played host to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Wuhan. Continue reading


Japan and the US have a big role to play in getting India into the strategic Indo-Pacific region, something which has not found much favour with China, a new book has claimed.

The book was launched on Wednesday by the Institute of South Asian Studies, a think tank in the prestigious National University of Singapore, explaining the need to see the Pacific (especially Western Pacific) with the Indian Ocean linked as one region by the inclusion of South Asia, particularly India, as one strategic theatre. Continue reading


Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, vice chief of Army staff (VCOAS), is on a three day visit to the Trishakti Corps and forward areas of Sikkim. The VCOAS reached Sukna on Wednesday and was briefed by Lt Gen C P Mohanty, GOC, Trishakti Corps on operational preparedness and the prevailing situation along the borders. Lt Gen Anbu then proceeded to East Sikkim to visit key forward posts, where he interacted with troops.

The Doklam or Dolam Plateau, where troops of the Indian Army were engaged in a stand-off with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is located in Bhutan across the East Sikkim border. Though tension has eased considerably at Doklam, China has not given up its plans to create better infrastructure, including a road cutting across the valley. India had reacted to this construction that would have allowed the PLA quicker access to the strategic chicken neck corridor that connects the northeastern states to the rest of the country.

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SOURCE: Tribune News Service

India is readying itself for a much closer security embrace with the US soon after the elections are over, said government sources. Both sides are making headway on several agreements that will give India unprecedented access to American surveillance of China and ultra-encrypted communications, a privilege denied to most countries in this part of the region.

The flip side is the US will be able to leverage this closeness to transfer its high-end equipment for space, surveillance and military purposes. The sources refrained from commenting whether India will be agreeable to an overall unbalanced relationship. Trade remains a sore point after US President Donald Trump repeatedly singled out India for high tariffs. His Commerce Ministry is also examining whether India should be denied the privilege of zero duty exports on goods worth Rs. 40,000 crore. Continue reading


Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has confirmed that HJT-36 Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) had flawless flight yesterday after been grounded for nearly three years. As per picture realized by HAL, Tail section of the HJT-36 has gone through a high level of modification which was recommended by the BAe, hired as the consultant by HAL.

The modification was based on comprehensive wind tunnel studies said HAL official. As seen in the picture above, Tail has been moved little further south and ventral fins have been added so that aircraft can be easily recovered when in spin even by a rookie trainee pilot. Continue reading

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