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SOURCE: THE ASIAN AGE

For the first time after the Pulwama attack, top Indian Naval officers will be meeting on Tuesday to discuss the emerging challenges in the maritime domain and fine tune the strategies for responding to the evolving geo-strategic environment. The Indian Navy has been fully deployed after the pre-emptive air strikes by the Indian Air Force on terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan and is on high alert.

The first edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference of 2019 is scheduled from 23 to 25 April 2019. The conference is the apex forum within the service for interaction between the Naval Commanders. Continue reading

SOURCE: THE PRINT

A major reshuffle in Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet leaves key ministries in the hands of several technocrats and a former spymaster accused of protecting Osama bin Laden, all of whom previously served in General Pervez Musharraf’s military regime. Politicians loyal to Khan have also been sidelined.

The military, which assisted Imran Khan’s rise to power, used his celebrity status to tap into the yearning of change among Pakistani youth. But its objective all along was to restore what Pakistan’s generals see as their golden era. Under Musharraf, the military ran affairs of the state with the help of technocrats who managed a relatively booming economy. Continue reading

SOURCE: THE PRINT

Pakistan’s leading rights watchdog says it has documented the “unprecedented level” to which the freedom of expression and press freedom has shrunk in the country. In its annual report documenting rights abuses in the predominantly Muslim country of 207 million people, the nongovernmental Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) revealed a startling decrease in individual and collective freedom of expression in 2018.

“Media coverage was severely inhibited amid a climate of intimidation and fear, most specifically in reporting on abuses by government security and intelligence agencies as well as militants,” the report noted. According to the HRCP, Pakistani media companies were pressured by officials to avoid covering certain issues while journalists were intimidated into self-censorship as authorities punished violators of such bans by blocking television networks and the distribution of newspapers. Continue reading

SOURCE: THE WEEK

The government has decided to keep the sale process of Pawan Hans on hold till elections as only one investor has put in financial bids for buying the helicopter service provider. The government holds 51 per cent stake in helicopter service provider Pawan Hans, and the remaining 49 per cent is with ONGC. Investors had time till March 6 to put in their financial bids for up to 100 per cent stake in Pawan Hans.

“The Transaction Advisor for Pawan Hans has informed us that a single eligible bid has come in. A call has to be taken whether to go ahead with single bidder or reconvene the entire bidding process. It has been decided to wait till the elections are over and a new government is formed,” an official said. Continue reading

SOURCE: AFP

The Sri Lankan government believes a local Islamist extremist group called the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) was behind the deadly suicide bomb attacks that killed nearly 300 people, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said Monday.

Senaratne, who is also a cabinet minister, added that the government was investigating whether the group had “international support”. Documents seen by AFP show Sri Lanka’s police chief issued a warning on April 11, saying that a “foreign intelligence agency” had reported NTJ was planning attacks on churches and the Indian high commission. Continue reading

SOURCE: NDTV

The Indian Coast Guard has been placed on high alert along the maritime border to prevent any attempt by those behind the Sri Lanka blasts to enter India, sources in the central government said today. The move came hours after the Sri Lanka declared that a local Islamic extremist group — the National Thowheeth Jama’ath — may be behind the deadly suicide bomb attacks that killed nearly 300 people on Easter Sunday. There were concerns that those behind the attack may try to escape the island nation by sea.

According to news agency ANI, a number of ships and Dorniers — aircraft used to conduct surveillance  — have been deployed to identify suspicious boats along the maritime border. There are fears that the terrorists may try targeting places in India if they succeed in sneaking in. Pakistani terrorists had entered the country through the sea route to carry out the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which resulted in the death of 166 people. Continue reading

SOURCE: TNN

Come next January and India will be able to know the exact position of aircraft flying over the vast stretches of Indian Ocean falling in airspace of its own as well as that administered by it, every 30 seconds. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has tied up with American company Aireon that with its partners provides space-based global air traffic surveillance system. On land, planes equipped with automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) systems beam their positions to ground-based receivers every few seconds.

India has 30 such receivers, which, in turn, send the positional data to connected ATC monitoring systems, giving exact position of aircraft. But when over the vast ocean, air traffic controllers (ATC) get only a rough idea of position of aircraft. Continue reading

SOURCE: REUTERS

India hopes the US will allow its allies to continue to buy some Iranian oil instead of halting the purchases altogether from May, a source familiar with the talks between the two countries said today. The United States is expected to announce on Monday that buyers of Iranian oil need to end imports soon or face sanctions, a source familiar with the situation told news agency Reuters, triggering a 3 per cent jump in crude prices to their highest for 2019 so far.

“They (the US administration) have to take care of their allies, strategic partners. Under sanctions from the beginning, there was talk of a gradual reduction and not going to zero on one stroke,” said the source, who did not wish to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue. India, Iran’s biggest oil client after China, has almost halved its Iran oil purchase since November. That was when Washington granted significant reduction exceptions (SREs) from sanctions to countries, including India. Continue reading

SOURCE: ANI

India on Monday raised the issue of blacklisting Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar with China as Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale met Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi and told him that Beijing needed to be “sensitive” to New Delhi’s concerns. On a two-day China visit, Gokhale is understood to have made attempts to convince Wang Yi not to block a resolution to declare Azhar an international terrorist at a UN panel.

China in the past has repeatedly blocked all such resolutions by India, the US, Britain and France by placing a “technical hold” on them at the UN 1267 sanctions committee. This has soured China’s ties with India where Azhar is wanted for plotting deadly terror attacks. Azhar heads a Pakistani terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed that claimed responsibility for killing 40 killing CRPF personnel in a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir in February.

SOURCE: NEWS18

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday expressed “regret” over his ‘chowkidar chor hai’ jibe against the Prime Minister and gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court that he will not attribute any views to the court in his political addresses unless there are specific orders.

Submitting his affidavit in response to the criminal contempt petition moved by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi in the top court, Gandhi accepted that the words were never used by the court and his attribution came in the heat of the moment when he was campaigning in Amethi. “It is unfortunate that this slogan got intermingled with my comments on and references to the apex court’s order dated 15.04.2019. My statement was made in the heat of political campaigning. It has been used (and misused) by my political opponents to project that I had deliberately and intentionally suggested that this Court had said Chowkidar Chor Hai! Nothing could be farther from my mind,” he said in his affidavit. Continue reading

SOURCE: PTI

Pakistan on Monday criticised India for arresting and confining separatist leader Yasin Malik in connection with a case related to the funding of terror and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested JKLF chief Malik on April 10 after a special NIA court in Jammu gave the go ahead for his custodial interrogation by the probe agency.

Malik, who was shifted to Tihar jail under police protection, was taken into preventive custody in February by the Jammu and Kashmir police and shifted to Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail. Malik, whose organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre, is also facing two CBI cases. These relate to the kidnapping of Rubaiya Saeed, daughter of then Union home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, in 1989, and the killing of four IAF personnel in 1990. Continue reading

SOURCE: NEWS 18

Even as India gave specific intelligence inputs to Sri Lanka about a possible attack, Colombo did not take “adequate precautions” to prevent the explosions that killed 218 people and injured at least 450 in the decade’s worst terror strike.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday accepted that they had information regarding a possible attack but did not take adequate steps to prevent it. According to top intelligence sources, Zahran Hasim of National Thowheed Jama’ath of Sri Lanka and his associates had hatched a plan to carry out an Istishhad (suicide attack) in the island country. They had also conducted a dry run and deployed an explosives-laden motorcycle at Palmunai near Kattankudy on April 16 as a part of their plan. Continue reading

SOURCE: The Statesman

The burst of (planted and motivated) stories by a section of the Western media to negate the shooting of a US-made F-16 Falcon by an IAF pilot flying an “inferior” MiG-21 Bison is neither surprising nor unexpected. It’s but natural; at least to this author. Why? What’s the reason?

Because, the West finds it well nigh impossible for its machine to be downed by a non-Western fighter pilot’s superior performance. One, therefore, has to take into stride the condescending attitude and cacophonic propaganda to underplay, if not undermine, the performance of the Indian Air Force in trying circumstances, taking on the much-hyped “indisputable” technology superiority of the west. Continue reading

SOURCE: Tribune News Service

As shortage of officers crops up again after a brief spell of having no deficient vis-à-vis the authorised strength, the Air Force is revamping its publicity campaign to attract the youth. The IAF is roping in private firms to carry out market surveys to assess the impact of publicity campaigns and also to understand the mindset, aspirations, lifestyle parameters and influencers of prospective candidates, sources said.

In December, the Ministry of Defence had told Parliament that the IAF had a shortage of 192 officers against the sanctioned strength of 12,584, a deficiency of about 1.5 per cent. In 2017, the Air Force had reported that there was no deficiency in its officer cadre, a significant achievement considered that over the past couple of decades the shortfall, which at times had crossed over a thousand, was a cause for serious concern, particularly in the flying and engineering branches. Continue reading

SOURCE: DH NEWS SERVICE

Indian Navy had no role to play in the Battle of Imphal in 1944 between the Allied forces and the Japanese during the World War-II. But the naming of one of its new warships as INS Imphal, on the 75-year of the battle on the hills, has made many in the Northeast elated and thankful to the Navy.

“In recognition of Imphal being the major battleground during WW-II, the Indian Navy launched guided missile destroyer INS Imphal. I on behalf of the people of Manipur appreciate the Government of India for the befitting recognition,” Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh posted on Facebook, hours after the warship was “launched” in the water from Mazagon docks in Mumbai, on Saturday. Continue reading