The Indian Army’s lead counter-terrorism force, the Rashtriya Rifles, is set for major changes. According to a comprehensive proposal in the Ministry of Defence, the Headquarters (HQ) of the elite anti-terror force could soon be shifted to the Northern Command and the number of personnel stationed there could be cut.

Comprising 63 units, the HQ of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) is currently in New Delhi. Also, the force is headed by a Lieutenant General rank officer. All of its units are deployed in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with operational control of each unit in the hands of the respective Army formation in the area. Continue reading


A major catastrophe was averted by the well trained Indian Naval aircrew, when their Chetak helicopter ditched at sea last week. The helicopter was integral to an Indian Naval Warship operationally deployed in the Arabian Sea.

As per reports, the helicopter developed technical failure prior ditching and the crew displayed immense professional prowess and sound training thereby deftly landing the helicopter in the water and successfully egressing from it. Continue reading


Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Monday that Army will deploy a fleet of hovercrafts at Rann of Kutch for guarding the international border with Pakistan. The Army Chief said that the “training” and “operation” of the hovercrafts would be done by the Army in coordination with the Coast Guard which have experience in operating it.

“They are being based on the western coast in the Rann of Kutch,” said Rawat when asked about the deployment of hovercrafts. The Army Chief was talking to ANI here after inducting the Coast Guard ship “Veera” into the maritime force took after the security of the eastern coast. Continue reading


The United Nations owes India $38 million, the highest it has to pay to any country, for the peacekeeping operations as of March 2019, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said as he voiced concern over the world body’s deteriorating financial health.In his report on improving the financial situation of the world body, he said, as of March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was $265 million.

Of this, the UN owes $38 million to India, followed by Rwanda ($31 million), Pakistan ($28 million), Bangladesh ($25 million) and Nepal ($23 million), Antonio Guterres said in his report.He said the arrears to troop and police contributing countries (TCCs/PCCs) could increase to $588 million by June 2019 “in the worst-case scenario”. Continue reading


The April 11 letter by some 150 senior retired military personnel, including eight services chiefs of staff, to the supreme commander of the Indian armed forces, President Ram Nath Kovind, raises questions about whether legitimate credit is taken by a government for ordering cross border retaliation against terrorist outfits, and the rising political awareness and involvement by retired generals and the like in party politics, is not being mistaken for “politicisation” of the military.

“We refer”, said the letter, “to the unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes, and even going so far as to claim the Armed Forces to be ‘Modi ji ki sena’”. It urges the President to take “necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes to further their political agendas.”

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Pakistan Army has denied permission to its spy agency ISI’s ex-chief Lt Gen (retd.) Asad Durrani who co-authored the book ‘The Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace’, with former RAW chief A S Dulat in India, to appear on media as defence analyst. Two other former head of the military’s media wing, have also been denied permission by the army to appear on media as defence analysts.

As per a report in the Dawn, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), which is Pakistan Army’s media wing, has allowed 26 retired officers of the armed forces to appear on media as defence analysts, in a notification issued on Monday. “The prominent omissions are Brig (retd.) Mahmood Shah, Lt Gen (retd.) Asad Durrani, Lt Gen (retd.) Talat Masood, Maj Amir (retd.) and DG ISPR Maj Gen (retd.) Athar Abbas and Maj Gen (retd.) Rashid Quershi,” the Dawn reported, citing the notification. Continue reading


The Trump administration has worked to make India a more prominent part of its regional strategy, a top American think-tank has said in a report, lauding President Donald Trump for promoting strategic ties with India in a “sustained manner”.

Asserting that the Trump administration has maintained the success story of US-India relations initiated by George W Bush, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in its report gives the US President a high B+ grade when it comes to America’s ties with India. The CFR in its special report Trump’s Foreign Policy are Better Than They Seem said President Trump “deserves credit for promoting strategic ties with India in a sustained manner”. Continue reading


Ahead of elections, signature campaigns against the BJP and Narendra Modi, in particular, are nothing new. As detailed in a previous Firstpost piece, this tactic seems to have become quite popular as the prime minister seeks a return mandate in 2019.

The effectiveness of this signature campaign in terms of swaying voter mindset isn’t proven. The “open-letter” campaign, however, still retains popularity ostensibly because it gives Congress a plausible deniability, ensures discomfiting headlines for Modi during election season and it isn’t very difficult to get Modi critics from different sections of civil society to sign a letter urging the electorate to oust the man who according to them is a singular threat to their ‘idea of India’. Continue reading


The US has advised its citizens to reconsider their travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and asked them not to travel to restive Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), identified as the most dangerous areas due to terror attacks. While Pakistan in general has been placed in “Level Three” category in the latest travel advisory issued by the US on Monday, several parts of the country, including Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, have been placed in the most dangerous “Level Four” category. The US has also put Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK, which is under Pakistan’s illegal occupation in the “most dangerous” category. The advisory asked US citizens not to travel to these places due to high risk.

“Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or near Pakistan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR),” the State Department said in the travel advisory. Continue reading


The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) continued with its successful run of its missions this year, when it successfully conducted a ‘text-book precision’ launch of home-grown subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay on Monday. DRDO confirmed that the missile was launched from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, Odisha at 11:39am. This was the sixth launch of Nirbhay (NGL-06) and was aimed at testing the reliability of ‘boost phase’ and ‘cruise phase’ using way point navigation at very low altitudes.

The Bengaluru-bred missile took off vertically, then turned horizontally into desired direction separating its booster, following which the wings were deployed enabling it an engine start and cruise towards its intended way points. Continue reading


S Christopher, former DRDO Director-General told Times Now that he is extremely happy how the current DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy and his team completed the successful anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile project in record time and in a short time. He said he is extremely happy how the project brought glory to the country.

“I am happy that S Reddy and his team have taken it forward in a very short time and brought glory to the country. It’s a proud moment. Talking about the system, it was a fallout of earlier programs”. Continue reading


Amidst intense politicking over national security, India on Monday achieved another milestone in its indigenous cruise technology by successfully flight testing long-range sub-sonic missile Nirbhay at a the very low altitude of less than five metre. Defence sources said the missile with a sharp terrain hugging capability cruised at a speed of Mach 0.7 and for the first time it manoeuvred at low altitudes of as less as five metre to a range of 2.5 km.

The success came nearly three weeks after the historical mission of Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile that shot down a low earth orbit live satellite at an altitude of nearly 300 km.Powered by a solid rocket motor, the Made-in-India Nirbhay missile blasted off from a specially designed launcher and demonstrated its sea-skimming capability to cruise at very low altitudes. Continue reading


India’s successful test of an anti-satellite missile (ASAT) last month, when it shot down a satellite in space, was met with mixed reactions internationally. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the test, codenamed ‘Mission Shakti’, a “big moment for India,” US space agency NASA called the test a “terrible thing”. The test had created several pieces of space debris and posed a danger to astronauts aboard the International Space Station or the ISS, Jim Bridenstine, the head of NASA had said. The test increased the risk to the ISS by over 40 per cent, Mr Bridenstine said.

The NASA chief said that created about 400 pieces of orbital debris of which 60 pieces of debris have been tracked so far. While Indian officials said the satellite was destroyed at a relatively low altitude of 300 kilometers to minimise the impact of space debris, Mr Bridenstine said that 24 of the pieces “are going above the apogee of the International Space Station.” Continue reading


China on Monday said it won’t hold a grudge against India if it skipped the second edition of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum, an event related to the multi-billion dollar connectivity project, to be held this month.Beijing also said even though some countries have wrongly judged the project, the growing support for the initiative spoke volumes.Like 2017, India may boycott the forum, citing its opposition to the key artery of the project that passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Last month, Indian envoy to China Vikram Misri had said New Delhi could not be the part of any initiative that ignored its sovereignty and territorial integrity. He was referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the BRI’s crown jewel.”Whether the Indian side will participate in the BRI forum, I think you need to ask India for more specific answer. I would like to re-emphasise that the BRI is proposed by China, but it’s already an international public good,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said. Continue reading


The world’s second largest army is ready for the biggest ever change in the organisational structure of its Delhi-based headquarters.

The changes have been proposed right from the Army chief down to the whole setup in Delhi, which frames and approves policies to defend the country. It was in 2018 that the Indian Army started four holistic studies, in the biggest exercise after independence to “transform itself into a more lethal force to meet the desired offensive and defensive capabilities of modern warfare by undergoing a complete transformation.” Continue reading