SOURCE: KP Sanjeev Kumar / Vertical Magazine

The Indian Navy (IN) issued a Request for Information (RFI) for lease of 24 light helicopters on Friday, Apr 23, 2021. This follows parleys with few Indian operators and OEMs starting last November. The RFI seeks responses from helicopter OEMs, authorised leasing firms, third party financiers or government-sponsored agencies for 24 helicopters with ground support equipment (GSE), maintenance support including Performance-based Logistics (PBL), and training of aircrew and maintainers. The lease will proceed along Chapter IX of the latest Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP 2020). The period of initial lease is five years, extendable by another five years, with an option to buy back the airframes at residual value.

This is the first time the IN has resorted to leasing helicopters. The acute shortfall in light helicopters, low availability of obsolescent Chetaks (Alouette IIIB) and a Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) program meandering inconclusively has likely driven IN to invoke the ‘lease’ option included in the latest DAP. However, naval sources confirmed to this writer that the lease program in no way dilutes either the numbers or importance of NUH.

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With formal appointment orders coming in last week, the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), under the Defence Ministry, is now staffed with designated senior officers, including uniformed personnel as Additional Secretary and Joint Secretaries.

Gen. Rawat holds the rank of both Secretary, DMA and the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
The Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC), Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, will be the Vice CDS, but formal orders for the same are yet to come.

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India is celebrating National Technology Day today (11 May) to highlight the achievements of engineers and scientists in the field of science and technology. This year, India is commemorating the 30th anniversary of National Technology Day.

History and Significance:

On this day in 1998, India had successfully test-fired the Shakti-I nuclear missile at Pokhran, Rajasthan. The operation was spearheaded by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam and followed by more nuclear tests under the Operation Shakti initiative.

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SOURCE: The Statesman 

In a televised interview last week, SM Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign affairs minister stated that Article 370 was an internal matter of India. He added that what concerned Pakistan was Article 35A, which implied changing demography of the valley. This is the exact opposite to comments made by him during the past two years.

Even during his MidApril visit to the UAE, he had stated, “Pakistan is ready to talk with India if it takes back its steps of August 5, 2019.” He repeated this demand on multiple occasions.  Other Pakistani ministers followed suit. On 1 April this year, Pakistan’s minister for information and broadcasting, Fawad Choudhary commented, “Pakistan wishes to normalise ties with India, but it will not be possible until India changes its policy towards Kashmir and revokes its decision of abrogating Article 370.”

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China recorded 12 million births in 2020, marking a drop for the fourth consecutive year, while some Chinese demographers warned that China’s number of newborns is likely to drop to below 10 million in a few years, and if no forceful intervention policy is introduced, China’s fertility rate may become the lowest in the world. 

The number of newborns in China in 2020 was down from 14.65 million in 2019, and China’s total fertility rate of women of childbearing age was 1.3, a relatively low level, according to the results of the seventh national population census released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday. 

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday said Pakistan would welcome the third-party facilitation by Saudi Arabia or any other country for resumption of dialogue with India. “Pakistan is ready for third-party facilitation. It is India that has always shied away from it,” he said in a press conference held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Qureshi observed Riyadh was a friend but also had business ties with New Delhi, a big importer of Saudi crude oil. “If Saudi Arabia wants to play a role [in facilitating talks], we would welcome,” he said. He recalled that the ceasefire agreement between Pakistan and India was welcomed by the world, including Saudi Arabia.

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Now is a better time than any other to hold the mirror to India’s apolitical military and examine ways to arrest any fraying. But before using that mirror, it would be prudent to have a concept of what politicisation of the military implies. At the macro-level, any judgement on politicisation of the military community has to be weighed in the balance of its role in domestic politics.

The constitutional standard is clear. India’s armed forces owe their loyalty to the Constitution of India that is symbolised in the President, who is the Commander-in-Chief. This emblematic relationship of the military with the State sits alongside symbolic separation from the government. The President is the custodian of the constitutional values of the Republic of India. The government and its executive arms are its trustees. The system is so designed that as long as the orders have presidential assent, the military cannot question it.

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The homegrown 5G standard, 5Gi, developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), has become an issue of contention between India’s top two telcos Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel. To begin with, Airtel has strictly opposed 5Gi arguing that the homegrown 5G standard will increase the costs of network and mobile devices, and will “seriously impact” the interoperability between networks based on two different network technologies, Business Standard reported.

The Sunil Mittal-led telco, thus, only wants the global standard of 3GPP to be implemented for the 5G network.
Rival Jio, on the other hand, said it supports any indigenous technology if it does not compromise on the network quality and increase costs.

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China has warned Bangladesh against joining the US-led Quad alliance, saying that Dhaka’s participation in the anti-Beijing “club” would result in “substantial damage” to bilateral relations. The unusual warning from Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming came weeks after visiting Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe emphasied to Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid that Beijing and Dhaka should make joint efforts against powers from outside the region establishing a “military alliance” in South Asia and practising “hegemonism”.

“Obviously it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four (Quad) because it will substantially damage our bilateral relationship,” Ambassador Li said at a virtual meeting organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh on Monday.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took to Twitter to “salute the hard work” of scientists on National Technology Day. The Prime Minister wrote: ”On National Technology Day, we salute the hardwork and tenacity of our scientists and those passionate about technology. We remember with pride the 1998 Pokhran Tests, which demonstrated India’s scientific and technological prowess.” The theme of National Technology Day 2021 is: Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future.

In any challenging situation, our scientists and innovators have always risen to the occasion and worked to mitigate the challenge. Over the last year, they have worked industriously to fight COVID-19. I appreciate their spirit and remarkable zeal.

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Three Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were killed in an encounter that broke out between security personnel and terrorists at Vailoo in Kokernag area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Tuesday. “Encounter has started at Vailoo, Kokernag area of Anantnag. Police and security forces are on the job. Further details shall follow. @JmuKmrPolice,” Kashmir police had earlier tweeted. Vijay Kumar, IGP Kashmir, had informed news agency ANI that the three terrorists were of the LeT outfit.

On May 6, three Al-Badr terrorists were killed and one surrendered before the security forces after an encounter in Shopian district. The presence of terrorists in the area was ascertained during the search operation and all of them were given an opportunity to surrender, according to police.

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 Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday reiterated his resolve that until India reverses its August 5 decision of scrapping Article 370, the government of Pakistan will not hold any dialogue with New Delhi.

He was responding to public queries via telephone. This was the third such interactive session where prime minister took live phone calls and responded to the questions of calls.

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China has equipped its border troops facing India with a modified truck-mounted rocket, state media reported.The digital version of the PHL-03 long-range multiple rocket launchers were filmed mass deployed to an artillery battalion of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Xinjiang Military Command, CCTV said at the weekend.

This unit is stationed on the plateau area, at 5,200-metre (17,000-feet) altitude, where the PLA was involved in a deadly clash with Indian troops in June. “This rocket is the main assault equipment of artillery troops, which can be used for speedy deployment and seizing and controlling key regions,” the report said. “With its help, the PLA troops will be able to fight in the difficult terrain of plateau, desert and others in all-weather conditions.”

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As India battles a devastating wave of coronavirus infection, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said the armed forces are utilising all the resources to handle the Covid crisis in the country. Speaking exclusively with India Today TV, General Bipin Rawat said while there are constraints in handling the coronavirus crisis, “such synergy between the three armed forces has never been seen before”.

India is struggling with the second wave of coronavirus infection as hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of oxygen and beds. As Covid cases spiked in India, overwhelming the hospitals across several states and causing oxygen shortages, which resulted in many deaths, the Indian Air Force was roped in for the international operations.

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SOURCE: Arab News

Experts said on Monday that a discovery of uranium was no cause for concern as it did not pose a security threat.
The comments came a day after India’s counterterrorism organization, the National Investigative Agency (NIA), took over the probe of a case involving the recovery of more than 7kg of natural uranium in Mumbai.

“I see a remote possibility of such uranium being misused to pose a threat to the nation,” Rajiv Nayan, a New Delhi-based expert on nonproliferation and arms control at the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) think tank, told Arab News.

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