The Congress may have questioned the Narendra Modi government on the Balakot airstrike after the Pulwama attack, but its Rajasthan government has decided to include information about it Class IX syllabus for students of social science. School textbooks which will be used by Class IX students from July when the new academic session begins will introduce the Balakot airtsrike and also discuss the courage and bravery shown by IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

As per the Times of India, the text regarding the airstrike does not have any headline but has been included in the chapter “Rashtriya suraksha evum shaurya parampara ( National security and tradition of valour) by the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education. The text details India’s air strikes on the camp of the terrorist group in Pakistan on February 26 after the February 14 Pulwama attack. Continue reading


The deadly Easter terror attack in Sri Lanka that claimed 253 lives has put Tamil-speaking Islamist groups on either side of the Palk Strait under the scanner. The National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ) is one of the prime suspects that the Sri Lankan government banned in the immediate aftermath of the eight serial blasts, for which the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility.

President Maithripala Sirisena used his emergency powers to ban the NTJ and another group known as the Jamathei Millathu Ibraheem (JMI). Security and counter terrorism experts in Sri Lanka believe the hitherto little-known NTJ to be an organisation that split from the Sri Lanka Thowheed Jamaath (SLTJ) in 2014. Continue reading


The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has invited India to become an “Observer” with access to International Monitoring System data, so it can take an informed decision on ratifying a much-debated nuclear disarmament treaty.

The CTBT is a global treaty that aims to ban all nuclear explosions across the world. In 1996, it was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and opened for signature. Between 1945 and 1996, over 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out all over the world. Ten nuclear tests have been conducted ever since the CTBT opened for signature in 1996. Although 184 countries have signed the treaty so far, it is yet to come into force because eight countries with nuclear capabilities – including India – are yet to sign and ratify it. Continue reading


Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to meet the Dalai Lama during a 2014 visit to India but a “cautious” Delhi did not allow it to happen, a new book has claimed. The 83-year-old Buddhist monk has made India his home since fleeing the Tibetan capital Lhasa in 1959 — and has been a thorn in Beijing’s side ever since.

“In 2014, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Delhi for talks with Prime Minister Modi, I requested a meeting with him,” author Sonia Singh quotes the Dalai Lama as saying.“President Xi Jinping agreed, but the Indian government was cautious about the meeting, so it didn’t happen,” according to excerpts from the book published Wednesday. Continue reading


The Indian Air Force’s favourite squadron patch maker is a 21-year-old Political Science graduate who has designed more than a hundred patches for the IAF, something he began when he was just eighteen. Saurav Chordia, who works as a graphics designer in New Delhi, has recently designed two patches commemorating the air battle that the IAF fought with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in February this year.

One of the patches, designed for the 51 Squadron of the IAF bears the label ‘Falcon Slayers’ and shows a MiG-21 Bison fighter in cross-hairs with Pakistan Air Force’s F-16 jet. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who shot down a PAF F-16 before being hit over Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, was a part of this Squadron but has recently been transferred to another MiG 21-Bison Squadron in Rajasthan. Continue reading


Soon after it successfully carried out an anti-satellite test, India is setting up its military space agency headquartered at Bengaluru with the ace fighter pilot Air Vice Marshal (AVM) S P Dharkar as its likely head.

The tri-services Space agency is likely to command all the space assets of the three services including the A-SAT capability, which can be used to destroy enemy space-based satellites and other assets.However, the final decision has not yet been taken on the capabilities and assets to be given to this agency. AVM Dharkar presently looks after the air defence operations of an important command along the borders. Continue reading


Pakistan on Wednesday decided not to lift its airspace ban for Indian flights till May 30, as Islamabad is awaiting the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls in India. Pakistan fully closed its airspace after an Indian Air Force strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror camp in Balakot on February 26. However, Pakistan opened its airspace for all flights except for New Delhi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on March 27.

“The top officials of defence and aviation ministries held a meeting on Wednesday to reconsider opening its airspace for Indian flights. They decided that Pakistan’s airspace will remain banned for the Indian flights till May 30,” a senior government official told PTI after the meeting. Continue reading


NASA will get a free ride to the Moon on-board India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 that is expected to lift off in July. India has accommodated an instrument from American space agency NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will not charge any ticket for carrying the foreign instrument all the way to the Moon.

Dr K Sivan, Chairman of ISRO said, “We are not charging anything for this American instrument it is being flown on a friendly basis”. Interestingly, India ignored and brushed aside threats by the chief of NASA to pull out after India’s satellite killer test.  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has supplied a special ‘Laser Retro Reflector’ that India has placed on its Vikram Lander. This instrument is used to accurately measure the exact distance between the Earth and the Moon. ISRO hopes to land very close to the South Pole of the Moon which is an unchartered territory. Continue reading


As US India defence relationship continues to grow, Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defence company, has made an offer to India. It has designated F21 fighter jet for the 114 fighter aircraft requirement. Dr Vivek Lall, globally renowned aerospace scientist, unveiled the F21 at Aero India in February. Following are excerpts from an interview of Dr Vivek Lall, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin, by Financial Express Online’s Huma Siddiqui.

What are some unique capabilities of the F-21 platform? What is different between F-16 and F-21?

The F-21 features numerous India-specific changes – inside and out – tailored to meet the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) requirements. F-21 systems/capabilities that are not part of the F-16 Block 70 baseline configuration include: Cockpit upgrades including a new Large Area Display (LAD); Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) System, developed uniquely for India; Triple Missile Launcher Adapters (TMLAs), enabling the F-21 to carry 40 percent more air-to air weapons; Dorsal fairing for increased growth capacity and future indigenous systems integration; Aerial refuelling probe. The F-21 is the only fighter in the world with both probe/drogue and boom aerial fuelling capability. Continue reading


Ace Special Forces operative and Sri Lanka war veteran Major General AK Dhingra has been appointed as the first head of the country’s first tri-services Special Operations Division comprising commandos from all three services. The Armed Forces Special Operations Division has been set up by the government to undertake joint operations by three services and will have elements from the Army’s Parachute Regiments Special Forces, Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of the Navy and the Garud Commandos of the Indian Air Force.

“Major General Dhingra is a Special Forces veteran and is from the elite 1 Para Special Forces Regiment. He has done Special Operations courses in the US also and has been appointed as the first chief of the AFSOD,” Army sources said. Continue reading


The Easter weekend terror strikes, targeting hotels and churches across the island of Sri Lanka brought forth what many had feared for a while, a large scale pro-ISIS attack in the South Asian region. While the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery act of terrorism in Bangladesh announced the arrival of the ISIS ideology in the region, the Sri Lanka attacks cemented a whole different ballgame, that of do-it-yourself terror.

The internet’s convergence with terrorism is a new theatre of war, and in the aftermath of the Easter attacks, both New Delhi and Colombo failed to engage with each other in order to manage the situation. The failures were not only of policing and intelligence, but also of managing narratives.

Continue reading


India is setting a high tempo of naval operations in Asia. In recent weeks, a series of bilateral exercises with regional navies in the Indian Ocean have demonstrated the Indian Navy’s resolve to preserve operational leverage in India’s near seas. In April, in their biggest and most complex exercise, Indian and Australian warships held drills in the Bay of Bengal.

This was followed by a much-publicised anti-submarine exercise with the U.S. Navy near Diego Garcia. Last week, the Indian Navy held a joint exercise ‘Varuna’ with the French Navy off the coast of Goa and Karwar. even as two Indian warships participated in a ‘group sail’ with warships from Japan, the Philippines and the United States on return from a fleet review in Qingdao. Continue reading


A soldier was killed and two terrorists were shot dead during an encounter in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama this morning, the police said. Troops of the Central Reserve Police Force, Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group were conducting a search-and-cordon operation when the terrorists fired at them, leading to the encounter.

Two more soldiers and a civilian were injured. The two terrorists are holed up in a house, news agency ANI reported. Continue reading


In a bid to join the global fight against violent extremist content, India joined an initiative that calls for action to eliminate such content online.”Christchurch Call to Action”, launched by France and New Zealand, aims at curbing the posting and spread of extremist violence and hate speech on the Internet, looking to stop the use of social media as a tool for terrorism.

Eighteen countries, including the European Union, back the announcement along with social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. The decision came after a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in New Zealand’s Christchurch in March while broadcasting his rampage live on Facebook via a head-mounted camera. Continue reading


As residents in Gahmar, the “village of jawans” in eastern Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district, gear up to vote in the last phase of the Lok Sabha election on May 19, the political discussions this time around are one-sided.

Local residents claim that every house in Gahmar, with a population of more than one lakh, has one person who has either served or is presently serving in the armed forces.And the majority of discussion in Gahmar this year has revolved around national security, the valour of Indian armed forces and what it takes to be a soldier. Continue reading