SOURCE: Times Network

Shahid Afridi, the former international cricketer from Pakistan, finally spelt out what seems to have now been the realisation of several educated and moderate Pakistanis: Pakistan has to do away with its obsession of Kashmir! The K-word craze among Pakistan’s army men and politicians has cost it progress and stability.

The former Pakistani skipper was speaking on Tuesday, 13 November 2018 at the ‘Shahid Afridi Foundation – UK’ sponsored-session of ‘Q&A with Shahid Afridi’ at Palace of Westminster, London – the UK Parliament. “Pakistan doesn’t need Kashmir; it is not able to even handle the four provinces it has,” Afridi can be heard in a video of the press interaction. That is a pleasant surprise, to say the least, as it is coming from the man who has often raked controversy over Kashmir, alleging infliction of atrocities over the Kashmiris by the Indian Army.  Continue reading


The third meeting of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad, which comprises India, the United States, Japan and Australia, is in Singapore on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit (EAS). The four countries will share their respective perspectives on regional geopolitics, while chalking out a strategy to balance China’s growing assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific. This is the second Quad meet this year, and will be held at the joint secretary-level on Wednesday. The last meeting, that also took place in Singapore in June this year, witnessed the four countries reaffirming their support for a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. Should the Quad strategy be suitably implemented, it can definitely prove revolutionary in strengthening the current balance of power across much of the globe.

It has been a year since the revival of the Quad. However, it is yet to take a concrete shape as there has not been substantial dialogue on how to make it a reality. The Quad continues to remain a bureaucratic-level dialogue that meets occasionally — twice a year. It is not a defence dialogue yet, much less an alliance. This has understandably given rise to scepticism about the usefulness and efficiency of the formation. Continue reading


A 30-year-old soldier of the Indian Army got a new lease of life at Army’s Research and Referral (R&R) Hospital after he was transplanted with another heart, donated by a 29-year-old soldier who was declared brain dead. For the transplantation, the heart was airlifted from the Siachen base medical facility to the R&R Hospital in the national capital on Wednesday.

NK Rao, suffering from multiple organ dysfunction, received the help after the doctors treating him raised a nationwide alert pleading donors to come forward for the organ donation so as to save his life.Nearly a week after their request, NK Rao received a heart from another Army Jawan who has been declared brain dead by doctors. The organ was donated after the family members of the 29-year-old soldier gave their consent. Continue reading


The first joint military exercise of Indian and Japanese armies concluded in Mizoram today, a defence statement  said. The two-week exercise ‘Dharma Guardian 2018’ commenced on November 1 at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte with India describing it as a significant step towards fostering military and diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Emphasis was laid on enhancing tactical skills to fight against global terrorism and on increasing inter-operability between forces of both countries, the statement said. Continue reading

SOURCE: Express News Service

India is open to importing more oil and gas from the United States, that had emerged as a new crude source in recent years, agency reports from Singapore said quoting foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. Gokhale was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an Asian summit in Singapore attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We expressed our readiness to import more gas and more oil from United States as a way of expanding trade,” Gokhale said as per Reuters report. He said India is expected to import about $4 billion worth of oil from US this year. Continue reading


Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday ruled out any progress in peace talks with India before the upcoming general elections in the neighbouring country.

Speaking to journalists after attending a meeting of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Qureshi said he briefed the members on the government’s foreign policy. He added that the meeting strongly condemned atrocities being committed by the Indian security forces in Jammu and Kashmir. Continue reading


The Pakistani government has said it has “no immediate plans” to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.

Asked whether the government was considering granting MFN status to India and that prime minister Imran Khan was keen to hold peace talks with the Indian government, adviser to the prime minister for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Investments, Abdul Razak Dawood said, “No such plans at the moment”. Continue reading


The Supreme Court Wednesday said a discussion on the pricing of Rafale fighter jets can only take place if the facts of the deal are allowed to come into the public domain. The apex court, which began its hearing on pleas seeking a court-monitored probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France, also said it was dealing with the requirements of the Air Force and would like to hear from an Air Force officer and “not the official of the Defence Ministry”. “The decision we need to take is whether to bring the fact on pricing in public domain or not,” a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said.

The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, told Attorney General K K Venugopal that there is no question of any debate on pricing without making the facts public.

Continue reading


In a four-hour hearing on the Rafale jet deal today, the Supreme Court questioned the government’s stance that it had no role in the offset clause, which is the focal point of the opposition’s charge of corruption in the Rs. 59,000 crore contract. Rafale-maker Dassault has not yet submitted details of its offset partner to the government, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court. “The vendor will inform the offset partner to us. So far there is no information on this,” said Additional Secretary Defence Apurva Chandra, to questions from the judges.

The court had asked the defence ministry why the offset guidelines were changed in 2015. Continue reading


A video of cricketer Shahid Afridi commenting that “Pakistan does not need Kashmir” at a press meet in London has gone viral on social media, attracting a multitude of reactions on Twitter.

“Pakistan doesn’t need Kashmir; it is not able to even handle the four provinces it has,” Afridi can be heard saying in the video while speaking to students at the British Parliament. He went on to say that it is painful to see people dying in the state, and humanity should stay alive.”Say Pakistan doesn’t need Kashmir, don’t give it to India as well, let Kashmir become a country. The people dying there should not die; humanity should stay alive. It pains to see people die there,” he said. Continue reading


India’s heaviest rocket – Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV-Mk III)– carrying 3,423 kg communication satellite GSAT-29 blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport on Wednesday evening. Precisely at 5.08 p.m. the GSLV-Mk III rocket on its second developmental flight began its ascent with a strong deep growl that reverberated like a thunder roll breaking free from the second launch pad here at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC).

The 43.4-metre rocket weighing about 640 tonne rushed to the blue skies with thick orange flame at its rear.The GSLV-Mk III with a capacity to carry four-tonne satellite, is a three-stage/engine rocket with two strap-on motors powered by solid fuel. The second stage is a core liquid fuel booster and the third is the cryogenic engine. Continue reading


Deputy Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal V R Chaudhari and two other officers from Indian Air Force appeared in the Supreme Court Wednesday to assist it on the issue of the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

The officers appeared before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had sought their assistance in the case. “We are dealing with the requirements of the Air Force and would like to ask an Air Force officer on Rafale jets. We want to hear from an Air force officer and not the official of the Defence Ministry on the issue,” the bench said when the Attorney General began his arguments on behalf of the Centre in the pre-lunch session Wednesday. Continue reading


The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on a batch of petitions seeking a probe into the procurement of 36 Rafale fighter jets from France.

A bench comprising of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph, reserved the order as Attorney General K.K. Venugopal defended the Narendra Modi government’s decision citing national security concerns. Continue reading

SOURCE: The Shephard News Team

The Indian Navy’s (IN) Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Craft (ASWSWC) project of 16 hulls will be split evenly between two shipbuilders, Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) and Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE). Each shipyard will build its own variant of a 700t waterjet-powered ASW corvette working to common IN-issued specifications. The ASWSWC is intended for coastal ASW missions, minelaying and maritime security operations within 200nm of the coastline.

While CSL revealed broad specifications of its variant earlier this year, details of GRSE’s ship emerged recently as it seeks vendors to perform basic design work and specialised engineering studies on the proposed design. Given their association with GRSE’s existing projects, Kockums/Saab, Naval Group and Fincantieri are likely contenders. Continue reading


Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told United States Vice-President Mike Pence that Pakistan’s act of “mainstreaming terrorists involved in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks” was a matter of serious concern for the international community. In an interaction with Mr Pence ahead of the East Asia summit in Singapore, PM Modi claimed that all global terror attacks can be traced back to a single place of origin in India’s neighbourhood. This comment comes ahead of the 10th anniversary of the attacks — which claimed 164 lives and injured 308 — on November 26.

“There was some good understanding of how we can move forward in building cooperation in counter-terrorism, and both countries recognised this as a challenge we have to fight together and along with the rest of the international community,” said Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale. Continue reading