Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian Air Force pilot who became the face of a tense military confrontation between India and Pakistan in February, has started flying MiG 21 jet again. Wing Commander Varthaman returned to the fighter cockpit, nearly six months after sustaining injuries while ejecting from a fighter plane during an aerial combat between India and Pakistan on February 27.

“He has started flying,” said a top military official. At present, Wing Commander Varthaman is serving at an IAF base in Rajasthan. The 36-year-old IAF pilot was captured by the Pakistani Army on February 27 after his MiG-21 Bison jet was shot down in a dogfight with Pakistani jets during aerial combat. Continue reading


Countries like India, Iran, Russia and Turkey would have to fight against terrorists in Afghanistan at some point of time, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday, ruing that the job against terrorism was being done only by the United States.

Mr. Trump said that other nations currently were making very less efforts against the terrorists in Afghanistan. “At a certain point Russia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey they are going to have to fight their battles too. We wiped out the caliphate 100 per cent. I did it in record time.” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House while responding to a question on the reemergence of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Continue reading


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa are set to travel to Paris next month to receive the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, government sources said Wednesday. They said top military brass of France as well as senior officials of the Dassault Aviation, the makers of Rafale, will also be present at the handing over ceremony which is likely to be held on September 20.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving for France on Thursday on a bilateral visit during which further boosting of defence cooperation between the two countries will be discussed. Continue reading

SOURCE: The New York Times

Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan intensified his criticism of India on Wednesday over its Kashmir crackdown, saying he would no longer seek dialogue with Indian officials and raising the threat of a military escalation between the nuclear-armed neighbors. In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Khan complained bitterly about what he described as repeated rebuffs from Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India at his entreaties for communication, both before and after the Aug. 5 crackdown on the disputed territory of Kashmir.

“There is no point in talking to them. I mean, I have done all the talking. Unfortunately, now when I look back, all the overtures that I was making for peace and dialogue, I think they took it for appeasement,” Mr. Khan, dressed in traditional Pakistani attire, said during the interview at the prime minister’s office in Islamabad. “There is nothing more that we can do.” Continue reading


Separatist leaders in Kashmir have urged people to defy a ban and join a mass march after Friday prayers this week, the first such call since the central government revoked the region’s autonomy, stirring anger in the region and beyond.

Hundreds of political leaders and activists, many of them separatists seeking Kashmir’s secession from India, have been incarcerated and the appeal to the public came through posters that appeared overnight in the region’s main city of Srinagar. “Every person, young and old, men and women, should march after Friday prayers,” the Joint Resistance Leadership, which represents all major separatist groups, said on one poster. Continue reading


The Pakistan Army has deployed its Special Service Group (SSG) commandos along the Sir Creek area in Gujarat. According to government sources, the commandos may be used to carry out anti-India activities in the region. The post where the SSG commandos have been deployed is known as the Iqbal-Bajwa.

Ever since India abrogated Article 370 ending the special status of Jammu & Kashmir Pakistan has made multiple attempts to push terrorists across the LoC.   Terror outfits in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) have also regrouped with an aim to launch ‘jihad’ against India. Last week, Khalid Saifulla and Naib Ameer of Hizbul Mujahideen along with their supporters participated in an anti-India protest outside the Press Club in Muzaffarabad and called for jihad against India. Continue reading


For over 59 years, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), were not aware of a secret agreement which decided the political contours and governance of the territory where they have been living. Now the exiled leaders of PoK and GB are feeling the biggest betrayal at the hands of Islamabad which came through the secret ‘Karachi Agreement’ allegedly signed between three parties in 1949.

The secret agreement, carrying ‘forged signatures’ of founder President of PoK, Sardar Ibrahim Khan, Chief of Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas and key representative of the Pakistan government Mushtak Gurmani, facilitated the forcible occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan by deceit, revealed Nasir Aziz Khan, exiled leader and chief spokesperson of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), a prominent political outfit in GB. Continue reading


How did Pakistan occupy a part of J&K?

The princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was ruled by King Hari Singh at the time of Partition. While he wanted to remain independent, armed Pashtun tribesmen from Pakistan invaded J&K in October 1947 and occupied a large tract of the province. The king then sought India’s help and signed the instrument of accession in return for military aid. This led to the first direct military conflict between India and Pakistan. Even as the war was underway, India sought intervention of the United Nations on 1 January 1948. UN ordered an immediate ceasefire, leaving a part of J&K that’s now known as PoK on the Pakistan side. Continue reading


The government will appoint a high- level committee comprising ministers to draw up a road map for turning government-controlled ordnance factories, which supply arms and ammunition and other equipment to the armed forces, into defence public sector units (DPSUs), government officials who did not want to be named said.

“The defence ministry will approach the Union cabinet soon for setting up of the committee,” one of the officials said. Early into its second term in office, the Narendra Modi government has in principle decided to corporatise the 41 ordnance factories — the oldest government entities — to increase their efficiency, sharpen their competitive edge and expand their export potential. Continue reading


We are walking north along the Mahananda River in rural Bihar state, in eastern India. In Kishanganj, a nondescript highway town, we walk into a dusty-floored pizzeria. The cramped establishment, called Pizza House, hunkers in an alley within the tumbledown bazaar. It is the first pizzeria I have encountered in many months, in hundreds of miles of foot travel. A rickety table. Some low stools. The melancholic pizza maker, Mohammad Afaque Quraishi, sits on a molded plastic chair and holds forth on the subject of war.

“We had all heard about the fight between America and Osama bin laden,” Quraishi says of the war in Afghanistan, the longest conflict in United States history, now bleeding into its 18th year. “But who doesn’t like money? And if there is any hope of making a livelihood, a man will go anywhere.”

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New Delhi is sending yet another strong signal that it could play a significant role in Central Asia. In a move that comes after America withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, India along with China and a few other countries will participate in one of the biggest war exercises in central Russia this September.

In all, a mammoth force of about 128,000 soldiers, more than 20,000 items of armament and military hardware, about 600 aircraft and up to 15 warships and support vessels will be used in the exercise. This is the first time India will be taking part in the Tsentre exercise. Usually Russia conducts this exercise alone, but last year, it had invited China to an edition of this war exercise that saw a total of 3,00,000 troops from the two countries participating. Continue reading


The Supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, on Wednesday expressed concern over the situation of Muslims in Kashmir, two weeks after the centre ended the special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and split the state into two union territories.

Mr Khamenei said Iran expects the Indian government to “adopt a just policy towards the people of Kashmir.” “We’re concerned about Muslims’ situation in Kashmir. We have good relations with India, but we expect the Indian government to adopt a just policy towards the noble people of Kashmir and prevent the oppression & bullying of Muslims in this region,” he tweeted. Continue reading


In the backdrop of renewed focus on Kashmir issue, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval visited Moscow on Thursday and held talks with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev during which both sides underlined support for principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference of third parties. The reference of non-interference by third parties is seen as Russia strongly coming out in support of India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir.

The talks between Ajit Doval and Nikolai Patrushev also covered a range of key issues including ways to intensify counter-terror cooperation between the two countries and preparations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russian city of Vladivostok next month to attend the Eastern Economic Forum. Continue reading


A Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militant and a policeman were on Wednesday killed while a sub-inspector was injured in an encounter with ultras in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said. The encounter, which began on Tuesday, has ended with the killing of a militant and a special police officer (SPO) of Jammu and Kashmir Police, a police official said.

He said the encounter is the first anti-militancy operation in Kashmir since August 5 when the Centre abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Continue reading


Favouring transformation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) into a public sector corporate entity, Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that its products are of high cost, have poor quality issues and there is lack of or minimal innovation in the factories. Amidst protests by OFB employees, the ministry also said that the proposed transformation will improve efficiency, reduce import dependence and enhance combat efficiency of the armed forces.

Defence Production Secretary Ajay Kumar had on Saturday said the senior officials of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are holding talks with the employee unions of the OFB over its transformation into a corporate entity. However a day earlier on Friday, the MoD had clarified that there is no proposal to privatise the OFB. The OFB consists of forty-one ordnance factories, nine training institutes, three regional marketing centres and four regional controllerates of safety spread all across the country. Continue reading