The 13-lakh strong Army is now slowly but steadily building its ammunition stocks ranging from rockets and missiles to high-caliber tank and artillery shells to ensure it can comfortably fight a full-blown war for over 10 days, with the eventual aim to have adequate stockpiles in place to last 40 days.

Defence ministry sources say all the different types of ammunition for the Army will be built up to “10(I) levels”, which mean adequate stocks to undertake 10 days of “intensive” full-spectrum fighting, by 2022-2023, as per the latest assessment.This, of course, does not mean the Army is not operationally ready for war as of now. “It is, especially on the western front. But ammunition reserves have to be built keeping both Pakistan and China in mind,” said a source. Continue reading


The French national space agency National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), which is collaborating with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the Gaganyaan project, will also partner with the latter in the development of India’s planned space station.

A CNES official, speaking on behalf of the president of CNES, Jean-Yves Le Gall, told The New Indian Express that the French agency and its industry partners have gained vast experience from the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) and its spin-offs such as rendezvous operations with the International Space Station (ISS). “French and European partners can bring the skills they have acquired in developing and operating systems and dedicated infrastructure for long-term six-month flights of European astronauts on the ISS,” he said. Continue reading


In the early hours of February 26, 2019, 12 Indian Air Force Mirage-2000 fighter jets from Dassault Aviation, the French company who also manufactures the Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircrafts, entered Pakistani airspace and dropped 1,000-kg laser-guided bombs on Jaish-e-Mohammed terror launch pads across the Line of Control.

The very next day, Pakistan Air Force deployed its US sourced F-16 Falcon and Pakistan-China co-developed JF-17 Thunder fighter jets. Pakistan recently updated its homemade JF-17 Thunder to add more firepower to the jet that competes against the IAF’s Tejas LCA. Continue reading


Russia and India may team up to construct nuclear power plants in Africa and the Middle East, according to India’s ambassador to Russia, building on their current experiences in Bangladesh. “There are also good prospects for cooperation of Russia and India in nuclear energy in third countries,” Ambassador Venkatesh Varma told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

“We are already working under the scheme in Bangladesh,” Varna added, referring to the current construction of the country’s first nuclear power plant, called Rooppur. “Now Russia is also pretty active in the construction of nuclear power plants in the Middle East and Africa. That opens a new pathway of cooperation for us.” Continue reading


Exactly a month from today will mark the first anniversary of the airstrikes carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on Pakistani terror camps located inside both Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK). The airstrikes, conducted by IAF pilots flying a dozen Mirage-2000 multi-role fighter aircraft imported from France over three decades ago, involved dropping deadly precision guided munitions on terror camps located in Muzaffarabad and Chakothi across the Line of Control in POJK and Balakot located across the International Border in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on the early morning of 26 February. The strikes had been retaliation to 40 CRPF personnel killed in a terror attack carried out by a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on 14 February.

The Pakistanis responded by launching a daytime airstrike the following day on Indian military installations in the Jammu region. While no damage was caused on the Indian side, the IAF lost a MiG-21 Bison fighter in an ensuing aerial fight, while at the same time announcing it had shot down a Pakistani Air Force F-16 fighter. Continue reading


As we enter the 2020s, the Indian Air Force will continue to shrink in size to twenty-six out of a required forty-two squadrons due to retirements of aging Cold War Russian MiG-21 and MiG-27 jets.  While the IAF is mulling purchases of additional advanced Western jet fighter like the Dassault Rafale, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, the Lockheed F-21 or Boeing Super Hornet, it’s meanwhile turning to its long-running relationship with Moscow to patch up the growing gap in its air defenses—even if that means it risks running afoul of U.S. CAATSA sanctions imposed on countries that import Russian weapons..

While a companion article looks at major new arms purchases by the Indian Army and Navy from Russia, this piece will survey three different buys the Indian Air Force is making entering the 2020s to stem the bleeding away of its combat strength. Continue reading


Senior People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig, who was conferred with the prestigious Padma Bhushan awards on Saturday, said on Sunday (January 26) that the award was actually conferred on the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “This award has not been conferred upon me but it is for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Baig was quoted as saying by ANI.

Baig asserted that there can never be any referendum in Jammu and Kashmir. He noted that both Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump are asking for autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, which sends a clear message that these leaders have accepted that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. The PDP leader also said that Jammu and Kashmir should be given what the Constitution gives us. Continue reading


Assam Rifles (AR), the oldest and the only Para Military Force (PMF), has been at the centre stage of an unending turf war for the last two decades. AR traces its origin to Cachar Levy, raised by British in 1835. This PMF is indeed unique: Unlike other Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) variants, it is headed by Army Generals and draws 80% of its officer cadre from Army on deputation basis.

AR has approximately 65,000 soldiers divided into 46 battalions. These battalions are organized for border guarding (BG) and counter-insurgency (CI) roles. The force, except for brief deployment in the ’90s of the sector (brigade-sized force) in Kashmir, has literally held North East together and has truly lived up to its motto of ‘Sentinels of the North East’. Till 2009, AR, jointly with Army, manned Chinese border from Sikkim to Arunachal. It also supervised Bhutan and Myanmar borders. It excelled in both World Wars, in Sri Lanka as part of Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) and United Nations deployment. The force participated in 1962 operations and recently in joint operations with Myanmar Army. Continue reading


In a major milestone to augment India’s Naval prowess, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Friday conducted the last developmental trial of intermediate range Submarine launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-4 making the weapon ready for its series of production and induction in the Armed Forces.

The indigenously developed missile with a dummy payload was fired from a pontoon (replica of a submarine) submerged in the Bay of Bengal, nearly 45 nautical miles off Visakhapatnam coast. Capable of delivering nuclear warhead 3,500 km away, the missile was tested for a reduced range to validate new technologies incorporated in the system. Continue reading


A section of protesters at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh, who have been sitting on protest demanding the rollback of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), are now hoping for a “respectable face saver” that will enable them to put an end to their 42-day-old stir. The stir has resulted in a major connector between Delhi and the satellite city of Noida getting blocked and is causing immense hardship to local residents and commuters for over a month.

But with the Central government in no mood to give in to the pressure and roll back CAA, the protesters have started feeling restless. Parliament has enacted the CAA and it has been published in the official Gazette. Even the Supreme Court has not heard the case, although it has asked the Centre to file a comprehensive response by 22 February. In this situation, dragging on the issue for such a long period will be quite difficult, admit these protesters. Continue reading


Ahead of a vote on a resolution in the European Union parliament against the new citizenship law, India called on the MEPs to engage with the government on CAA. Earlier in the day, the two largest groups of MEPs strongly criticised the citizenship law for its negative consequences for India’s internal stability and potential for creating a “statelessness crisis”.

“We hope the sponsors and supporters of the draft will engage with us to get a full and accurate assessment of the facts before they proceed further,” official sources said reacting to the MEPs stand. The officials quoted above also said the EU Parliament should not take actions that call into question the rights and authority of democratically elected legislatures. Continue reading


Banned outfit ULFA (Independent) has claimed responsibility for the four powerful explosions in Assam earlier on Sunday prior to Republic Day celebrations in the state. The ULFA(I), in a statement signed by Lt Joy Asom of its Publicity Department, claimed that all the four blasts were carried out by the outfit. The Paresh Barua-led ULFA(I), along with a few other militant outfits of the Northeast, had called for a boycott of the Republic Day celebrations in the region.

Three blasts had taken place in Dibrugarh and one in Charaideo districts of Upper Assam in a span of 10 minutes—between 8.15 and 8.25am on Sunday, a police officer said. Continue reading


National security planners on Sunday deployed anti-drone weapons to secure VVIPs during the Republic Day parade – the first instance of India attempting to neutralise the growing threat from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — according to people familiar with the matter.

While security agencies are tight-lipped on the details of its classified action, HT has learnt that anti-drone weapons, including those indigenously manufactured by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), were deployed at Janpath to protect high-value targets at the parade. Continue reading


The Centre is expected to sign a peace accord with all four factions of the banned National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) at New Delhi on Monday, giving peace a major boost in Assam, officials said on Sunday. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohiliary and senior bureaucrats flew to New Delhi on Sunday to take part in the event.

“The deal is expected to be signed on Monday. Last minute discussions are still on in Delhi with all the four groups and other Bodo organizations. This deal will bring the issue of a separate Bodoland to its conclusion,” Rajya Sabha MP from Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) Biswajit Daimary told journalists on Sunday. Continue reading


The first Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) fully built by the industry will be rolled out in 2022, K. Sivan, Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), said on Friday.

Mr. Sivan was speaking after accepting the Sree Chithira Thirunal National Award – 2019 from Governor Arif Mohammad Khan. “Very soon, the PSLV will be manufactured by the industry as a whole product,” he said. The ISRO has announced plans to outsource the PSLV to the industry so that it can focus on other research areas and important missions. Continue reading