Poor weather conditions have forced seven French navy fighter jets taking part in a training exercise to make emergency landings in northern Indonesia, an Indonesian air force official said Sunday. The crews of the seven Dassault Rafale combat planes landed safely at Sultan Iskandar Muda air force base in Aceh province on Saturday, 90 minutes after taking off from their aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Indian Ocean, said Aceh air force base commander Col. Hendro Arief.

“We had to open our base to them to land as they were in an emergency state due to bad weather,” Arief said. He said air force radar confirmed that the planes were initially flying out of Indonesian territory when fog and bad weather forced them to land immediately as they were trying to return to their aircraft carrier, located 100 nautical miles west of Sumatra’s exclusive economic zone. Continue reading


Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s hopes to be self-sufficient in oil production were dashed as the expected oil and gas reserves in the Arabia Sea were not found. Exploration mission has been stopped off the coast of Karachi as the drillers hit the dry ‘wells’ despite drilling more than 5500 metres deep into the sea.It was officially announced on Saturday that the much-celebrated offshore drilling in Kekra-1 had been stopped because no reserves were found. The operators of the well have decided to plug it in the coming days, according to reports in Pakistani media.

Around 18 attempts have been made in the past, but all remained unsuccessful despite encouraging data from each drilling, says the official.”We have only drilled 18 holes for oil. Only the 18th attempt. India had offshore discoveries after 43rd attempt, Libya after 58th, and Norway, another country which nobody believed could have reserves, drilled 78 holes between 1954 to 1963 and then hit it big,” Syed Ali Haider Zaidi, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, told Gulf News. He said that hope and resilience is the way forward as the government would continue to look for alternate resources.

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The Pakistan Army will raise another division-size special force to protect Chinese nationals and projects under the CPEC, military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor has said, days after the brazen terror attack on a luxury hotel in Balochistan. Describing the USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a living example of deep-rooted friendship between Pakistan and China, Major General Ghafoor, Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said the Pakistan Army was fully determined to ensure the security of the project.

Talking to the Chinese media in Rawalpindi on Saturday, he said the Pakistan military had raised a whole division-size force to protect the project and they were planning to deploy another division for this purpose. Continue reading


Despite western insensitivity towards the problems Myanmar faces in dealing with well-armed separatist-oriented, ethnic insurgent groups, Aung San Suu Kyi has acted skillfully and carefully in dealing with both India and China, on problems and challenges arising from cross-border insurgencies. There are 25 major, armed insurgent groups in Myanmar, with nine of them refusing to even accept a national cease-fire, as a prelude to talks with the government. A number of these armed groups operate across the China-Myanmar border, while enjoying safe haven in China’s bordering Yunnan and Shan provinces.

Closer to the India-Myanmar border, the Chinese have long-term ties with four insurgent groups in the Kachin State, which borders both India and China. Two of these groups have maintained links with Indian insurgent groups like ULFA and NSCN(K). They arrange to provide assistance to Indian separatist groups, facilitating their stay and activities in both Myanmar and in the Yunnan Province of China. Continue reading


Launching Ceremony of first state of the art 2300 Tons Corvette vessel being built for Pakistan Navy was held at M/s DAMEN Shipyard Galati, Romania.  Chief of Staff (Personnel), Vice Admiral Abdul Aleem graced the occasion as Chief Guest. Corvettes are multi-purpose platforms of medium size and tonnage. Subsequent to the signing of contract for construction of two Corvettes for Pakistan Navy in 2017, the first ship is expected to join Pakistan Navy Fleet by end of this year and the second would be delivered by mid-2020.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest underscored the importance of Corvettes in the maritime domain. He further added that these platforms will act as force multipliers in enhancing Navy’s capability of safeguarding maritime frontiers and would offer more flexibility in the conduct of Pakistan Navy’s initiative of independent Regional Maritime Security Patrols in the Indian Ocean Region. Continue reading


China, which is developing its navy at a feverish pace, has commissioned two more guided missile destroyers taking the total of such warships to 20 with more in the pipeline, state-media reported on Monday. Two Type 052D guided missile destroyers were launched last Friday in Dalian, a coastal city, state-run Global Times reported. Their commissioning marked the 19th and 20th of launches of their kind, the report said and quoted Chinese analysts as saying that plans are afoot to build more guided missile destroyers.

China now has 20 Type 052Ds either in active service or being fitted out for service soon, the report said. Destroyers are fast, highly manoeuvrable long distance warships which are also used to accompany the aircraft carriers. Continue reading


Former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said that there is a “real risk” that if American troops are pulled out of Afghanistan, the Taliban might retake control of the country. The Donald Trump administration should ensure that the Afghan government is stable before bringing American forces home, Gates told CBS News. There are currently 12,000 US service members stationed in the war-torn country.

“I think that the circumstances under which you bring them home matter. And I think trying to give the Afghan government the best possible shot at survival is really important for the future of Afghanistan,” said Gates, who served as the Defence Secretary under former US President Barack Obama between 2006 to 2011. Continue reading


Pakistan’s government and its spy agency ISI have started snooping on its own people. Threats, arrests, blocked accounts and restricted posts — Big Brother is watching more closely than ever across Pakistan, as authorities accelerate efforts to censor social networks, further reducing an already shrunken space for dissent in Pakistan.In the past 18 months, a slew of journalists, activists, and government opponents — both at home and overseas — have faced intimidation or the threat of legal action for their online posts.

Large-scale censorship is already rife among Pakistan’s mainstream media, with the Committee to Protect Journalists noting last year that the military and ISI had “quietly but effectively” imposed strict limits on the scope of general news reporting throughout the country. Continue reading


Scientists have found traces of radioactive carbon—released into the atmosphere from 20th-century nuclear bomb tests—in marine organisms that inhabit the Mariana Trench, the deepest spot on Earth. Organisms at the ocean surface have incorporated this “bomb carbon” into the molecules that make up their bodies since the late 1950s.

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, finds crustaceans in deep ocean trenches are feeding on organic matter from these organisms when it falls to the ocean floor. The results show human pollution can quickly enter the food web and make its way to the deep ocean, researchers said. “Although the oceanic circulation takes hundreds of years to bring water containing bomb carbon to the deepest trench, the food chain achieves this much faster,” said Ning Wang, a geochemist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in China. Continue reading

SOURCE: Reuters

Construction of China’s first full-sized aircraft carrier is well under way, according to satellite images obtained and analysed by a U.S. think tank. The images from April, provided to Reuters by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, reveal considerable recent activity during the last six months on a large vessel at the Jiangnan shipyard outside Shanghai.

China has not formally confirmed it is building a third carrier, despite recent hints in state media, and the timing and extent of its carrier programme remain state secrets. Pentagon said last week that work had begun, but no images have emerged until now. Both Asian and Western militaries, and regional security analysts, are seeking information on the carrier, which is expected to be China’s first large, modern platform capable of leading a full range of strike group operations. Continue reading


The engine is from a roadcutter, the wings are burlap, the wheels are borrowed from a rickshaw: a popcorn seller has caught the attention of the Pakistan Air Force by building his own plane. The tale of Muhammad Fayyaz has captured the hearts of many in a nation where millions, just like him, have limited access to education and are fighting for opportunities.

“I was literally in the air. I couldn’t feel anything else,” Fayyaz said of his first flight in a machine he learned to build mainly from viewing TV clips and online blueprints. Pakistan has been thrilled before by stories of scientific prodigies plucked from obscurity before — notably, that of the engineer who said in 2012 that he had invented a car that could run on water — a story that was later debunked by scientists Continue reading

SOURCE: The Epoch Times

Rumors have been circulating for years that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has developed small satellites with robotic arms that could be used as anti-satellite weapons. A recently declassified Chinese report details these systems but brands them as research tools.

Since 2008, the CCP has been developing the weapons, which have dual uses for both military and scientific purposes. The weapons also include artificial intelligence, according to South China Morning Post. It notes some of the smaller satellites are lighter than 22 pounds, yet have a triple-eye sensor to gauge the shapes of targets and can adjust their speed and rotation, allowing them to grab objects within a distance of six inches, using a single robotic arm. Continue reading


Senior Baloch nationalist leader Dr Allah Nazar, in an exclusive interaction with The Sunday Guardian, said that for the last two years, Pakistan was operating multiple concentration camps in the Balochistan region. According to Dr Nazar, who was announced dead by the Pakistan army in 2015, the presence of these concentration camps, where the common Baloch, including women, children and the aged, are kept in detention and tortured, had come to light only recently.

Dr Nazar said that as per information gathered by him, there were at least two such camps in Nushki district in Western Balochistan, one in Dera Bugti in Eastern Balochistan and one in Awaran in South Balochistan, which was run with the assistance of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba cadre. The last mentioned camp also served as a training camp for the LeT cadre. Continue reading


Two significant developments in Pakistan have received relatively little attention in India. The first is the virtual sacking of a competent Finance Minister, Asad Umar, just after he had made progress in negotiating an IMF bailout. The second was the appointment of highly controversial former Military Intelligence official, Brigadier Ijaz Shah, as the country’s Interior (Home) Minister. Umar’s visit to Washington came when Pakistan’s economy was again on the verge of collapse, despite significant inflows of money from Saudi Arabia, UAE and China.

The IMF’s assistance has reportedly been linked to Pakistan providing it with details of its debt liabilities, including for purchase of military equipment like JF 17 fighters and submarines from China. IMF conditionalities also include politically unpopular measures like increases in power tariffs, imposition of additional taxes and adjustments in fiscal policies. Continue reading


US officials have repeatedly threatened to withhold deliveries of F-35 fighter jets and to impose sanctions on Turkey if Ankara moves forward with the delivery of Russian-made S-400 air-defence systems. Russia is ‘ready to cooperate’ with Turkey to sell its Su-57 fighter jets if Ankara stops its participation in the F-35 jet programme, the head of Russia’s Rostec corporation, Sergei Chemezov, said, as quoted by the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

“These fifth-generation Russian fighter jets [Su-57] have outstanding qualities, and show promise for export,” Chemezov told Anadolu. This comes amid the ongoing tensions between Turkey and the US over Turkey’s intention to buy the S-400 air-defence systems from Russia. Washington says that these systems are incompatible with NATO air defence standards and thus put the F-35’s stealth technology in danger. The US has offered Turkey the option to buy its Patriot missile system instead of Russian S-400s. Continue reading