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SOURCE: PTI

With an aim to alleviate the challenges of critically injured Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, India has presented 100 motorised wheelchairs to them, Defence Ministry statement said Monday.

Till date, the Indian Army has also trained 4,880 ANA personnel in various professional, educational and military training programs, including ANA doctors and medical technicians. Continue reading

SOURCE: HT

The United States on Monday said it will stop in May all waivers that allow eight nations, including India, to buy Iranian oil without facing sanctions, triggering a rise in global crude prices and a slump in Indian markets. The decision, taken by US President Donald Trump to pressure Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, sent oil prices to their highest in 2019, though the White House said it was working with top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ensure the market is “adequately supplied”.

“President Donald J Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions [SREs – as the waivers are called] when they expire in early May,” the White House said in a statement. “This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.” Continue reading

SOURCE: AFP

A senior US diplomat is headed for New Delhi to hold discussions on a “free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region”, a phrase often used while dealing with China’s aggressive posture in the region.

The meeting comes ahead of Beijing’s second Belt and Road Forum, which India and the US are not attending. Principal deputy secretary of state Alice Wells, who heads the state department’s South and Central Asia section, “will meet with senior Indian government officials to discuss US-India cooperation in promoting a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region”, the US state department said in a statement Monday. Continue reading

SOURCE: DNA INDIA

A day before polls, stashes of cash were burnt after a truck ferrying currency notes mysteriously caught fire in Qazigund area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

The driver and conductor jumped to safety but the truck suffered major damages.During the fire-fighting operation, bundles of burnt cash were recovered from the truck, besides other material. Both were seized by police.Police said the truck, on its way to Jammu from Srinagar, was carrying scrap and was being driven by Nazir Ahmad Rather along with conductor Inamul Haq. Continue reading

SOURCE: ANI

Defence Minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said Congress President Rahul Gandhi has lost his credibility after he expressed regret over his remarks on the Supreme Court’s order in the Rafale jet deal. The apex court had asked the Congress President to respond on his remarks made last week wherein had attributed his “Chowkidar chor hai” remarks to the top court. Gandhi on Monday accepted that the “court never said these words.”

Addressing a press conference, Sitharaman said the Congress had diluted its stand on national security after its leader P. Chidambaram sought to change India’s behaviour toward Pakistan to normalise ties. Continue reading

SOURCE: ANANT BHASKAR PANDEY/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

The year 2019 will go down as the most exciting year for the country’s Indigenous fighter jet program, since for the first time, Country showcased two brand new fighters which are under development for Indian Air Force and Indian Navy for the first time shifting focus from Tejas Mk1 and AMCA which have been two fighter programs under production and other under consideration for some years now. ADA showcased a Navy Mark-2 a Carrier based fighter jet and Medium Combat Fighter (MCF) for the Indian Air force.

Both Navy Mark-2 and MCF-Mk2 have emerged as a Fraternal Twins who have differences in appearance but since both were conceived by the same defense laboratory that’s Aeronautical Development Agency and continues to share same DNA of Tejas Mk1 fighter jets when it comes to external similarities, but similarities ends here, because both the programs will cater to different user requirements and will be based on mission specification and operational roles opposite of each other. Continue reading

SOURCE: ANI

Indian and the US Navies have held a joint submarine-hunting exercise in the Indian Ocean, aiming to lay the groundwork for coordinating maritime patrol and reconnaissance, according to the US Navy. Indian and the US’ P-8 anti-submarine aircraft, along with the USS Spruance, a guided-missile destroyer, participated in the anti-submarine warfare training on April 15, a US 7th Fleet press statement issued from Diego Garcia said.

The Indian P-8I Neptune aircraft from the Naval Air Squadron 312 based at Naval Station Rajali in Arakkonam, Tamil Nadu, joined the US P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Patrol Squadron VP-8 “Fighting Tigers”, based in Jacksonville, Florida, in the exercise, the statement said. “We look forward to developing useful lessons through this engagement and laying the groundwork for future integration efforts between our Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces,” the statement quoted Commander Zachary Stang, the commanding officer of the VP-8, as saying. Continue reading

SOURCE: THE HINDU

L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd, a joint venture between engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro and France’s MBDA, has urged the government to grant a provisional Letter of Approval (LoA) for the company’s proposed Special Economic Zone (SEZ) unit in Coimbatore to start construction of facilities.

L&T MBDA is awaiting an industrial licence, and export orders with “critical delivery timelines” were piling up, the company said. “The unit assured that the manufacturing operations will not start until the grant of industrial licence under the Arms Act 1959 by the Department for Promotion of Industrial and Internal Trade (DPIIT). Continue reading

SOURCE: ANI

Top Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) commanders have been eliminated in targeted action by India post the Pulwama terror attack, sources said on Monday.

Of the 66 terrorists killed in Jammu and Kashmir this year, 27 belong to the Pakistan-based terror outfit out of which 19 were eliminated after the February 14 Pulwama attack, sources added. Within 45 days of the Pulwama attack, the entire JeM team involved in the attack neutralised through a combination of technical and human intelligence-based operations. This also includes arrest and deportation of Jaish cadre who were involved in the operation, sources mentioned. Continue reading

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 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