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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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 major policy shift, the Government of India has decided to display an “aggressive stance” against Pakistan by a strong military buildup along the International Border that spans four states, including Jammu and Kashmir.

The military buildup was necessitated after India noticed Pakistan army’s activities on other side of the border, a top defence official told Greater Kashmir. He said after Balakot airstrikes, Pakistan army was seen as active in “Area of Responsibility (AOR) opposite 15 Corps (Kashmir) and 16 Corps (Jammu). Continue reading


Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command, Raghunath Nambiar visited Kumar post at 17,000 feet in Siachen Glacier on Wednesday to review air maintenance operations and preparedness along the Indo-Pak border. Siachen Brigade Commander Brigadier Bhupesh Hada also accompanied him.Nambiar, a Kargil war hero was appointed the new chief of Western Air Command on February 28. He took over from Air Marshal Chandrashekharan Hari Kumar.

Air Marshal Nambiar is credited for shooting five of the eight Laser Guided Bombs on the Pakistani positions during the Kargil war from his plane. 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


India will export its first batch of missiles this year to the South East Asian and the Gulf countries after receiving “increasing interests” from them, a top defence official said here Wednesday.

Speaking at the IMDEX Asia 2019 exhibition, Commodore S K Iyer, Chief General Manager for HR at BrahMos Aerospace, said the first missile export contract awaits a government to government approval. “A number of South East Asian countries are ready to buy our missiles,” he said. “It will be our first export and we have received increasing interests in the missiles form the Gulf countries,” Iyer said at the the three-day international maritime conference and exhibition which began here on Tuesday. Continue reading


The MiG-21 Bison Squadron, of which Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was part of when he took on the intruding aircraft of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in Jammu and Kashmir on February 27 this year, has taken on the sobriquet ‘Falcon Slayers’ and ‘AMRAAM Dodgers’ and have got special uniform patches made to commemorate the dogfight.

In the encounter, Varthaman shot down PAF’s F-16 aircraft. His Bison aircraft was also shot down as he ejected into Pakistani territory. He was captured by Pakistan but released days later. The MiG-21 squadron, No. 51, is not the only one to have had special uniform patches made for their flying overalls. The Sukhoi-30 squadron, whose aircraft also blunted the Pakistani air attack and successfully evaded the AMRAAM missiles of the PAF F-16s, have also named themselves the ‘AMRAAM Dodger’ in new patches. Continue reading


With an aim to add strategic heft to its operational ability in conventional war and anti-terror operations, India has set the ball rolling on the creation of a Special Forces Division. Major General A.K. Dhingra has been appointed as the first chief of the Armed Forces Special Operations Division, clearance for which was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Combined Commanders’ Conference in September 2018.

Along with Dhingra, a highly accomplished colonel has also been appointed, and they have been tasked with setting up the organisation, which will have its own set of equipment, top sources in the defence establishment told ThePrint. The proposed new division will have the capability to carry out crippling attacks against critical enemy targets miles away. It will have about 3,000 commandos drawn from the Special Forces of the Army, Marine Commando unit (MARCOS) of the Navy and Garud of the Air Force. Continue reading