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SOURCE: ANI

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be discussing on how to counter the Khalistani movement during his virtual trip to Canada on Friday, according to a top State Department official. While previewing Blinken’s virtual trip to Mexico and Canada, Julie J Chung, US Acting Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere, on Thursday confirmed that the issue of Khalistan will be taken up during the meeting on Friday.

“The Secretary will discuss with his counterparts a range of global and regional issues,” Chung told India America Today.

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SOURCE: ORF.

After decades of voicing concerns that the induction of a modern assault rifle is an urgent operational necessity, the Indian military is just an inch away from getting a new standard issue rifle which will replace the incumbent INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifle. The chosen weapon is the AK-203, which debuted in 2018, designed and developed by Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern.

As the acquisition contract has reportedly been finalised and is expected to be signed soon, it would be worthwhile to recount how the process began, the two-year long negotiations, and the lessons we can take away from this most recent bid to modernise India’s armed forces.

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SOURCE:  Republic

Some persons of Indian origin on Friday staged a protest outside lawmaker and New Democratic Party (NDP) MP Jagmeet Singh’s office in Burnaby, Canada, alleging that they are being targeted by Khalistan supporters due to ongoing farmers’ protest in India.

“We’re not against the farmers’ movement but this movement has actually turned into a Khalistani movement which is now targeting Hindu visible minorities. We really expect our leaders to protect everyone without any discrimination,” said a demonstrator outside the MP’s office.

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SOURCE: PRAVEEN SWAMI

From inside the bowels of the Truman Building in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighbourhood, spy-turned-diplomat Robert Komer glumly observed events unfolding half-way across the world. “Everybody from [Field-Marshall] Ayub [Khan] down is on a new hate-India jag,” he observed in a terse October 22, 1963, missive to President John F. Kennedy’s National Security Advisor, McGeorge Bundy. The Pakistanis, he noted, “appear to be deliberately building up tensions over Kashmir”.

From December, 1962 to March, 1963, foreign ministers Swaran Singh and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had been locked in talks on Kashmir, which optimists had thought were a hair’s breadth from success. Then, the talks deadlocked and the Field-Marshall began making new plans.

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SOURCE: India Blooms News Service

While an alert has already been sounded by the security agencies after mobile signals of Pakistan telecom operators were seen flashing on cell phones on this side of the border, the high frequency Pakistani radio FM channels being heard in Jammu outskirts is keeping the intelligence agencies on tenterhooks.

The signals of radio channels are being caught on mobile phones, music systems in cars and radio sets while travelling from Sidhra-Kunjwani Bye Pass road and the Pakistani programmes can be clearly heard by the listeners.

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SOURCE: ANI

Days after the second anniversary of the Pulwama terrorist attack, the Government of India has provided ferry facility to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans deployed in Kashmir. The soldiers going on leave from Kashmir will be transported to the nearby destination through an MI-17 helicopter to avoid IED attacks.

The decision was implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and an order has been issued by CRPF on Thursday. “In view of the new threat from Magnetic IEDs and RCIEDs, Inspector General has desired ferrying of leave jawans through MI-17 helicopter to minimise the risk of IEDs on the convoy. Accordingly, three days per week have been earmarked for the transportation of troops,” said a letter, adding that CRPF issued a letter to its jawan detailing the format of getting the helicopter facility.

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SOURCE: The New York Times

At least seven people over the past week have been threatened, detained or arrested after casting doubt over the government’s account of the deaths of Chinese soldiers during a clash last year with Indian troops. Three of them are being detained for between seven and 15 days. The other four face criminal charges, including one man who lives outside China.

“The internet is not a lawless place,” said the police notices issued in their cases. “Blasphemies of heroes and martyrs will not be tolerated.”

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SOURCE: THE PRINT

It is a question that the Indian administration has been trying to answer pretty much since Assistant Executive Engineer (Civil) Ali and the driver accompanying him, Palwinder Singh, went missing from Ladakh on 22 June 2020.

Palwinder’s body was found soon after in the Drass river near the Zojila-Kargil-Leh road in Ladakh, but the BRO officer’s body wasn’t. Then, the Pakistani administration sent word that a body was found in a river across the Line of Control, and DNA samples from the body as well as from Subhan Ali’s parents were sent over to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in Chandigarh.

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SOURCE: THE PRINT

Successful foreign policymaking, like love and dancing, is almost entirely dependent on timing. Unfortunately, at the present time, the new, sunny, administration of Joe Biden—with its utopian Wilsonian outlook—is in for a period of jarring realist education. The major players of the Indo-Pacific must not wait around for the superpower to come to its senses about its competition with China (which it will ultimately surely do), but instead use this interlude to help themselves, if Beijing’s aggressiveness is to be contained.

For there are two intellectual problems that will hamstring the Biden team in the near term: The unfeasibility of its dual-track approach to China, and its lack of concrete policy options for how ‘to work more closely with allies’ in the Indo-Pacific. Both these analytical impediments can and will ultimately be overcome. But doing so will take precious time.

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SOURCE: INDIA TODAY

With National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval believed to be playing a key role, India has eased border tensions with both China and Pakistan — Ladakh disengagement and ceasefire. Indian Army chief General MM Naravane has spoken about the “advice” given by Doval in reaching a disengagement agreement with China. While the Ladakh disengagement offers greater hope of peace on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), it is the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan that will be more in focus.

Reports suggest that the “sudden” change in Pakistan’s commitment towards maintaining peace along the Line of Control (LoC) happened after Ajit Doval met his counterpart Moeed Yusuf — in a third country. Yusuf, however, in a tweet, attempted to distance himself from back-channel diplomacy.

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SOURCE: HT

In recent weeks, reports of China’s plans to build the world’s largest dam project in the greatest gorge on the face of the earth has shaken many of us. For this is the heart of the river which we know as the Brahmaputra. It has flowed unimpeded for millennia, carving and clawing its way through rock, sand and ice, as the Yarlung-Tsangpo, through the Tibetan plateau and meadow, before rushing through the hidden gorge and entering India at the village of Gelling in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Chinese had earlier planned to build a series of 11 dams on the river, of which several are complete. Most of these were cascade dams without pondage or reservoirs but used the fall of the river to maximise the gravitational surge of power through the turbines.

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SOURCE: PTI

India was strong and resolute when it came to handling the border issue and dealt with it in an effective manner, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Friday in an apparent reference to the standoff between India and China. Similarly, India also dealt effectively with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact by fashioning its own response after listening to everyone, he said at the inaugural session of the ‘Asia Economic Dialogue’ organised by the Pune International Centre.

“Last year, we had three big developments which all impacted us nationally. They impacted the world as well — one was COVID-19, the second was its economic impact and the third was the challenges that we found on our border which obviously had implications,” the External Affairs Minister said.

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SOURCE: Reuters

India’s coast guard found 81 survivors and eight dead on a boat crammed with Muslim Rohingya refugees adrift in the Andaman Sea, and were repairing the vessel so that it can return safely to Bangladesh, Indian officials said on Friday.

The Indian government was in discussions with Bangladesh to agree for the safe return of the vessel, which was found drifting in international waters, having left southern Bangladesh about two weeks ago with hopes of reaching Malaysia.

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SOURCE: HT

There has been a significant decline in gunbattles between security forces and Maoists in Left-wing insurgency-hit Chhattisgarh over the last few years, according to the state police data. The number of gunbattles came down to 84 last year compared to 121 in 2019, 166 in 2018, 198 in 2017, and 211 in 2016 even as officials cautioned against reading too much into the data.

Multiple officials said the decrease could also be because of less engagement of security forces in core areas with Maoists and defensive counter-insurgency strategy. “…tactically Maoists are also not engaging the police until they are in a very dominant position. There was hardly any engagement between the Maoists and the forces in 2019…,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

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SOURCE: Vestnik Mordovii

The Russian defense industry traditionally has been a leader in many areas. For example, we have no equal in air defense technology. Our fighters, tanks, helicopters, small arms are good. However, there are positions where we are significantly behind. We have written many times about the problems with drone drone. Now there seem to be some positive changes, but there is still a lot to be done to catch up with the United States, Israel and China.

We do not have third-generation anti-tank systems operating on the “fire-and-forget” principle. At the same time, not only the Western states, the Israelis, the PRC, but even not the most militarily advanced India have succeeded in creating this weapon.

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