Wednesday, October 23, 2019

BrahMos Successfully Test-Fired On 2 Consecutive Days By IAF! Missile System Achieves 'Bull’s Eye Accuracy'

Today's launch was carried out in combat mode in the morning at 9:30 AM at Trek Islands in Car Nicobar Islands. The aim of the two tests was to assess the mission readiness and swift deployment capability of the surface-to-surface BrahMos cruise missile over the long-distance range of 300 kilometres

BrahMos Test-Fired Successfully! In a huge boost for India’s defence preparedness, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has conducted two consecutive successful tests of the formidable BrahMos missile. The back-to-back tests on October 21 and October 22 prove the pinpoint accuracy of the BrahMos missile system, defence sources told Financial Express Online. Today’s launch was carried out in combat mode in the morning at 9:30 AM at Trek Islands in Car Nicobar Islands. According to IAF the twin successful launches were carried out by Indian Air Force’s user unit in operational configuration. The aim of the two tests was to assess the mission readiness and swift deployment capability of the surface-to-surface BrahMos cruise missile over the long-distance range of 300 kilometres.

The first test was done on October 21 at around 2:00 PM. According to IAF, the land-attack BrahMos missile in a practice configuration “flawlessly” followed the expected flight trajectory. The missile flew for almost its full range of 300 km and hit the pre-set target with “bull’s eye accuracy”. Sources told Financial Express Online that this is the second time that two missiles have been launched on two separate days in the consecutive pattern have hit the targets with pinpoint accuracy. In 2017, the Indian Army fired missiles on May 2 and May 3 achieving accuracy. The second missile actually went through the crater created by the first missile.

The IAF has operationalised its land-based, mobile BrahMos missile system since 2014. It is now inching closer to deploying the lethal weapons system on its frontline fighter jet, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. The missile has already been integrated on the Su-30MKI and is currently undergoing trials. In 2017 and 2019, the BrahMos missile was successfully test-fired from the Sukhoi Su-30MKI hitting sea and land targets. According to BrahMos Aerospace MD Sudhir Mishra, the weapons system is the heaviest missile in the world to be integrated on a frontline fighter jet of a country.

BrahMos is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile and has been jointly developed by Russia and India. An extended 450 kilometres range BrahMos missile has also been test fired successfully and an 800-km version is currently under development.

Pakistan's Nuclear Proliferation In News Again Amid Turkey's Quest For Nukes 

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's nuclear proliferation is once again coming under scrutiny following Turkey's reported quest for nuclear weapons. Buried for nearly 15 years after Pakistan's nuclear smuggler AQ Khan confessed to nuclear smuggling and illicit exports, the issue has resurfaced in recent days after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was reported conveying his desire for Turkey to go nuclear at a party convention.

"Some countries have missiles with nuclear warheads … (But the West insists) we can't have them. This, I cannot accept," Erdogan was reported telling his party faithful in remarks that have caused a stir in Washington. "If the United States could not prevent the Turkish leader from routing its Kurdish allies, how can it stop him from building a nuclear weapon or following Iran in gathering the technology to do so?" the New York Times asked in a report on Monday, pointing out that "already Turkey has the makings of a bomb program: uranium deposits and research reactors - and mysterious ties to the nuclear world's most famous black marketeer, Abdul Qadeer Khan of Pakistan."

According to "Nuclear Black Markets", a study of the Khan network by the London think-tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, companies in Turkey aided AQ Khan's covert effort by importing materials from Europe, making centrifuge parts and shipping finished products to customers, the report said. A riddle to this day is whether the Khan network had a fourth customer besides Iran, Libya and North Korea, the report wondered, pointing to intelligence reports that believe Turkey could possess "a considerable number of centrifuges of unknown origin" by virtue of being Khan's fourth customer. Khan's nuclear network extended to Malaysia too.

Pakistan got away with its nuclear proliferation in 2004-2005 because of perceived need by the Bush administration of Islamabad's help and the transit facility Pakistan offered in Washington's war on terror in Afghanistan. The country was caught pants down proliferating nuclear blueprints; but Khan was made to confess on TV and asked to fall on the sword by claiming he did it on his own accord without government sanction, even though it was apparent that he had used government machinery and facilities with the knowledge and concurrence of the Pakistani establishment.

Khan was subsequently confined to the doghouse (and virtually under house arrest) as Pakistan's then military ruler Pervez Musharraf sought to control the damage and rescue the country from infamy and punitive sanctions. He surfaced recently though, and in fact, in a recent public appearance at the University of Karachi, he spoke of Turkey and Malaysia as countries worth of being emulated by Pakistan.

Bereft of friends and allies in the global arena because of its support for terrorism as chronicled by global bodies such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Pakistan has lately latched on to the two countries to build an Islamist coalition. They were the only two countries that have stood up for Islamabad in recent weeks with even China, Pakistan's long time patron in its effort to constrain India, leery of Pakistan's embrace of extremism.

Currently headed by China, the recently concluded meeting of FATF asked Pakistan to "do more" in addressing the issue of terrorism financing while keeping it in a grey list. Amid much mirth in the social media, Pakistani leaders celebrated remaining on the grey list as a victory, claiming India's effort to put it in a blacklist had failed.

Khan similarly generated laughter when he spoke recently at a different event about the importance of research to students in Pakistan. Described in the Pakistan media has a "nuclear scientist", Khan is actually a metallurgist who has no significant research work to his name. From most accounts, his contribution to Pakistan's nuclear program came via stealing blueprints of centrifuge technology from a Dutch firm he worked in, an effort that earned him the epithet "nuclear smuggler" in the chronicles of nuclear proliferation.

Whether Turkey has been a recipient of Khan's (and Pakistan's) nuclear largesse is something that has triggered interest among Washington's non-proliferation brigade that had hitherto not expressed much interest in the matter since Ankara - unlike Libya, Iran, and North Korea - was a NATO ally.

In fact, the NYT story wondered why Turkey would even conceivably want such arms, particularly since they already host an estimated 50 US nuclear weapons at Incirlik Air Base, while suggesting that with its advanced civilian nuclear program and ties to Pakistan's AQ Khan, Ankara "could break out in relatively short order".

Army Foils Infiltration Bid By 100 Pakistan Terrorists

The Indian Army stated that tensions on the LoC will remain till winter sets in as Pakistan would be make similar attempts to push terrorists in the valley

NEW DELHI: The Indian Army on Sunday foiled infiltration attempts in Jammu and Kashmir by around 100 terrorists holed up at six launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, just around eight kilometres from the Line of Control, losing three lives - two army men and a civilian, sources said on Monday.

The Indian Army stated that tensions on the Line of Control will remain till winter sets in as Pakistan would be make similar attempts to push terrorists in the valley.

The infiltration attempts were made across Tangdhar sector of north Kashmir's Kupwara district with Pakistan Army starting "heavy shelling and firing, violating the ceasefire on Saturday night to which India retaliated and destroyed four launch pads out of six. The Indian Army used artillery guns to target terrorist launch pads in PoK as terror infrastructure and military installations were heavily damaged.

On Sunday, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said six to 10 Pakistani soldiers were killed and four terror camps were destroyed. Rawat said that apart from Tangdhar terrorists were also coming closer to the forward areas at Keran, Machil and Naugaon sectors.

Indian Army sources said: "We had been monitoring the increased movement of terrorists and Pakistan Army across the other side of the Line of Control and found between 15 to 20 militants were holed up at these six launch pads."

An attempt to infiltrate terrorists was made in Tangdhar sector at around 11 p.m. on Saturday and it continued till about 10 a.m. next day. Tangdhar sector is close to the Line of Control and has been used as a major infiltration route by terrorists in the past as it is the quickest route to mainland Kashmir.

The main motive was to push in around 100 terrorists and carry out attacks in the valley where no major untoward incident has taken place after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The two Indian soldiers who lost their lives were identified as Hawaldar Padam Bahadur Shrestha and Rifleman Gamil Kumar Shrestha.

When they were hit during unprovoked ceasefire violations in the early hours of October 20, both were evacuated to the Field Hospital in Tangdhar but unfortunately succumbed to their injuries. The Indian Army on Monday paid tributes to the soldiers martyred.

Padam Bahadur was 38-years-old and had joined the Army in 2001. He belonged to Dighali Pather village of Dhansiri tehsil in Golaghat district of Assam and is survived by his wife, a daughter and two sons.

The 21-year-old Gamil Kumar had joined the Army in 2017 and he belonged to Rampur village of Palpa district of Nepal and is survived by his parents.

India Did Not Join Foreign Diplomats Visiting LoC Where It Claimed To Destroy Terror Camps: Pakistan

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday that six to ten Pakistan Army personnel were killed and three terror camps destroyed in a retaliatory action by the Indian Army

Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday said Indian officials did not join a handful of foreign diplomats visiting the sectors along the Line of Control, where the Indian Army has destroyed three terror camps.

Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday that six to ten Pakistan Army personnel were killed and three terror camps destroyed in a retaliatory action by the Indian Army opposite the Tangdhar and Keran sectors in Jammu and Kashmir.

He said another terror camp was severely damaged in the action by the Indian forces and the retaliation had caused substantial harm to the terror infrastructure across the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan military on Sunday that India is welcome to take any foreign diplomat or media to the site of alleged terror camps to "prove" its claim on the ground.

Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that diplomats from various foreign mission in Islamabad were visiting Jura and Shahkot sectors. "The Indian side has not joined us in the visit to the LoC neither have they provided coordinates of the alleged launch pads'," Faisal tweeted.

He said that "claims by Indian Army chief remain just that: claims'." Faisal is also accompanying the diplomatic corps to the LoC.

The numbers and nationalities of the foreign diplomats visiting the LoC was not shared.

Director General (DG) army's media wing Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said, "What good Indian High Commission is which can't stand with its Army Chief? Indian High Commission staff didn't have the moral courage to accompany fellow diplomats in Pakistan to the LOC," he said.

India, Israel Are Natural Allies, Says Envoy

(L-R) Lt. Gen. M.M. Narvane, Vice Chief, Army, Admiral Tim Fraser CB, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, UK, and General Bipin Rawat, Chairman-Chiefs of Staff Committee at the summit

NEW DELHI: Calling India and Israel not only strategic partners but “natural allies”, the Israeli Ambassador to India, Dr Ron Malka said the scope of collaboration between the two countries was more than any other allies in the world. Speaking at the Indian Defence and Aerospace Summit 2019, organised by NewsX and The Sunday Guardian of the iTV Network, Malka said India and Israel must work together in areas like food security, water security and cyber field apart from countering the common threat of terrorism.

“Looking East from Israel, India is the first and the only democratic country. Likewise, the most democratic country India finds on its West is Israel. Apart from the rich ancient culture and civilisation, the two countries also face similar challenges and hostilities which essentially make India and Israel natural allies and not just strategic partners. Israel is 150 times smaller than India yet the scope of collaboration between the two counties is immense,” Malka said.

Men in uniform at the summit (Top) - Some of the key delegates of the summit

Giving impetus to the “Make in India” mission of the Narendra Modi government, the Ambassador said Israel was keen on “Making with India”, developing and exporting defence products to other countries. He said with abundance of skilled and unskilled manpower, India was the most ideal country for investment and developing strategic partnership with Israel. He also emphasised on new technological innovations and said it had the potential of defusing tension and reducing conflicts with neighbouring countries.

Touching upon the common challenge of fighting terrorism, the Israeli Ambassador said the world now understands that they need to unite against global terrorism and that India and Israel have big scope of partnership in this area. He claimed that with the use of advanced technology, Israel has been successful in protecting its borders. However, the use of technology could also result in defusing tension and thus making world more sustainable, he added.

Malka noted that even in the area of military alliance, there was a big scope for India and Israel to forge partnership in communication and digital defence, which he termed was the future of national security. He cautioned that India and Israel must be fully prepared to tackle any cyber attack on its stock market and power infrastructure. Laying the vision for future, he urged the Israeli companies to manufacture with India and take up new research and development to be exported to the rest of the world.

J&K: Three Terrorists Killed In Encounter In Awantipora

Three terrorists have been killed in an encounter with security forces in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir

AWANTIPORA (JAMMU AND KASHMIR): Three terrorists were killed in an encounter with security forces in Awantipora, Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday.

According to the Kashmir Zone Police, arms and ammunition have been recovered from the site.

Identities and affiliations of the terrorists are being ascertained and search in the area is under way.
The encounter began in the outskirts of Awantipora on Tuesday evening. The security forces had launched a cordon and search operation in Awantipora following inputs about the presence of terrorists.

More details awaited.


Joint Counter Operation Centre of R&AW, IB, NIA & Police In Punjab

Intelligence agencies have clearly stated that Pakistan will use Kartarpur Corridor to fuel pro-Khalistan campaign by radicalising pilgrims who travel to Pakistan

NEW DELHI: Against the backdrop of Pakistan's concentrated effort to stoke terrorism in Punjab, India has decided to strengthen inter-agency cooperation by creating a joint counter operation centre of security agencies, including Punjab Police in the state, sources said on Tuesday.

The proposal has been mooted in a meeting of the top brass of security agencies in New Delhi, following the continued incidents of drone appearances including the air-dropping of arms by Pakistan-based terror outfits in the border state.

The Joint Counter Operation Centre will have representatives from National Investigation Agency (NIA), Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), apart from Punjab Police, to carry out anti-terror operations nad prevent terror outfits from taking root in the state once more.

The government has asked Punjab DGP and the top leadership of the NIA, R&AW, IB and MHA to initiate action in a time-bound manner and communicate the action taken in this regard at the earliest, according to senior government officials familiar with the decision.

Further, with the opening of the much-awaited Kartarpur Corridor on November 9 and a conspiracy by Pakistan's spy agency, ISI, to revive militancy in Punjab, the command centre will act as the nodal point for intelligence gathering, as well as an operation command room.

Intelligence agencies have clearly stated that Pakistan will use Kartarpur Corridor to fuel pro-Khalistan campaign by radicalising pilgrims who travel to Pakistan.

The agencies have warned that Sikh fundamental organisations like Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) plan to use the Kartarpur Corridor to further their secessionist agenda. The SFJ is being supported by Pakistan-based handlers to provide money and logistical support to local terrorists in Punjab to carry out subversive activities.

Intelligence sources have raised alarm that several Gurdwaras in Pakistan are still being used to promote the pro-Khalistan campaign and they have shared inputs regarding pamphlets being distributed at some gurdwaras in Pakistan that talked about "Sikh Referendum 2020".

The SFJ, headed by Avtar Singh Pannun and Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, started advocating a separate Khalistan state as well as an online secessionist campaign, the "Sikh Referendum 2020". Punjab Police has registered 10 different cases against the SFJ and its members, while the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is also probing the group in one case.

The agencies also said Pakistan is making all attempts to revive and activate members of other banned organisations like Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), Khalistan Commando Force (KCF), Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) and International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF).

Sources also said that several Pakistan-based terrorist groups were engaged in smuggling weapons into India since August 5, post the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

In September, the IB and R&AW had submitted a detailed report to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on citing about drones carrying weapons coming from Pakistan. The report had stated that Pakistan state actors were behind these incidents. It also stated that the drones recovered were of Chinese make.

The Punjab Police has already launched elaborate investigations to account for the weapons consignments apparently smuggled into India from across the frontier by the two drones recovered near the India-Pakistan border over the last around one month. The state police teams are probing drones spotted last month in Jhabal town in Tarn Taran district.

Both the recovered drones were apparently sent by different terror groups, linked with the Pakistan ISI, and the State-sponsored Jihadi and pro-Khalistani terrorist outfits working under its command.

Ground Intel, Satellite Surveillance: Inside Indian Army’s Precision Strike On Terror Launch Pads In PoK

In a counter-offensive after Pakistan's unprovoked firing, the Indian Army carried out heavy artillery strikes targeting four terror launch pads in Neelam Valley in PoK. According to sources, Indian intelligence agencies had been given a clear-cut directive: stop terrorist infiltration to Kashmir at any cost as the cross-border militant groups would try to push in as many cadre as possible in these months

New Delhi: The Indian Army’s major strike against terrorist launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on Sunday was crucial to stop infiltration ahead of the winters to stop attempts to create unrest in the Valley over the effective scrapping of Article 370.

According to sources, Indian intelligence agencies had been given a clear-cut directive: stop terrorist infiltration to Kashmir at any cost as the cross-border militant groups would try to push in as many cadre as possible in these months.

The Army had destroyed three such terror launch pads in the Neelam Valley of PoK with heavy artillery fire and caused significant damage to a fourth one, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday.

Sources revealed that the terror groups had been filling these launch pads near the Line of Control with fresh recruits over the last month and ground intelligence inputs had in the first week of October informed about the presence of terrorists from three outfits – Jaish-e-Mohammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Al Badr. The GPS locations of these terror launch pads were identified and shared with Army in Delhi as well as Srinagar.

Once the GPS locations were received, the security establishment, government officials said, set satellites on these places and started tracking movement in and around them. They said this confirmed that these were terror launchpads, as “movement of civilians and terrorists are always different” without elaborating further.

General Rawat had said that around 6-10 Pakistan Army soldiers were also killed in the cross-border strikes, and the number of terrorists killed could be higher. The government sources put the final figure of terrorists killed at 18 and the number of Pak Army personnel at 12. The strike also led to the death of six civilians, they said.

The Pakistan Army used ambulances in the middle of night to carry these dead bodies from the locations.

Pakistan has denied India’s claims of the strike on terror launch pads and said it can arrange a visit of diplomats from P5 nations to the area to expose Indian "falsehood".

The Pakistan Army has shown only the houses of civilians destroyed in the strikes to portray it as “indiscriminate shelling” and not a precision strike.

The Indian retaliation had come a day after Pakistan military resorted to firing in Tangadhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir along the Line of Control to assist infiltration by terrorists, killing two Indian Army personnel and a civilian. Three others were also injured in the attack.

Why Pakistan Continues To Struggle To Get Its Name Off Grey List

Pakistan has been given another four months by the Financial Action Task Force to act strongly on two issues: money laundering and terror financing. The country had made some progress since the last deadline was given in June, but most of the things asked of it have not been delivered. “To date, Pakistan has only largely addressed five of 27 action items, with varying levels of progress made on the rest of the action plan,” the FATF said.

Of the other countries on the grey list, Sri Lanka, Tunisia and Ethiopia were removed. Three other nations joined the grey list: Iceland, Mongolia and Zimbabwe. Only two nations are on the blacklist: Iran and North Korea.

Readers should know that the demands made by the FATF are principally about Pakistan’s ability to implement an action plan it has itself put together. And secondly, that much of this has to do with the transfer of money, a problem that is regional and cultural and not specific to Pakistan. It was Pakistan’s finance minister Hammad Azhar who represented the country before the FATF.

The FATF had wanted Pakistan to continue “demonstrating that authorities are identifying cash couriers and enforcing controls on illicit movement of currency and understanding the risk of cash couriers being used for terror financing.”

Let us try and understand what the issue really is and why Pakistan is struggling to get its name off the grey list. The cash courier is a part of the networks that operate outside the usual channels in South Asia, including for the financing of the diamond trade. It will not be easy for Pakistan or India to eliminate such entrenched systems even when they take strong action. India’s government deliberately put its economy through extreme pain in 2016-17 because the problem of black money was thought to be unaddressable through conventional means. However black money, which is what money is called before it is laundered into white, has not gone away from India.

The second problem Pakistan has is that it is not able to differentiate between groups that are linked to religion, social service and community service but also to violence. There is a parallel with India, but today is not the place to look at that. In Pakistan, groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad have a very large presence in the community service through their affiliated religious formations. When there is a flood or an earthquake, it is these groups that send a large number of volunteers and supplies to the affected areas. Because of this, they can have an open presence in urban areas for fundraising and mobilisation.

Also, because of this, they can mingle more easily into politics, offering support to candidates and framing not just policy and law but also national outlook. Of course, this is dangerous and has to be countered by Pakistan but again, just like the black money issue, this is cultural and widespread and will be difficult to do.

Post 9/11, and particularly after the attack on the Indian Parliament, President Pervez Musharraf acted against the Deobandi and Salafi groups. The effect was immediate. In India, fatalities from terrorism and related violence collapsed in Kashmir. It had peaked with 4,000 deaths in 2001, then dropped to 3,000 in 2002, 2,000 in 2003, 1,000 in 2004, 500 in 2008 and then 300 in 2009. Meaning, less than 10 per cent of the violence seen at peaks. It had remained stable at that figure and, in fact, had fallen further under Manmohan Singh, though it is now going back up again. Last year, the 450 fatalities were the highest in 12 years. This year may be worse.

India has fenced the LoC and the J&K authorities and police believe that exfiltration and infiltration have become very difficult. Meaning that Pakistan’s role is limited and locals are unable to cross over to receive training. It is essentially those Kashmiris who are motivated enough to fight against the Indian state who are keeping our army occupied.

The fallout of this action against groups it nurtured was felt immediately in Pakistan. The violence that they had exported all these decades began showing its teeth at home. Terrorism related fatalities in all of Pakistan were 166 in 2000. When Musharraf tried to shut them down, terror exploded in Pakistan’s cities. Fatalities went from 900 in 2004 to 1,400 in 2006, 3,000 in 2007, and then 6,000 in 2008. They peaked at 11,000 in 2009, a year after Musharraf left. Since then, they have been on a decline, falling to 7,000 in 2010, 6,000 in 2011, 5,000 in 2013, 3,000 in 2015, 1,000 in 2016 and 600 last year. This year, 2019, will be the most peaceful year in Pakistan in almost two decades.

Indian governments have always told their people that all terrorism is the product of Pakistani mischief. If we believe that Pakistan is responsible for violence going up, we have to accept that it is also responsible for violence going down. This we have not been willing to do. Of course, the fact is that today the violence in Kashmir is almost entirely local. It is the product of Indian policies over decades, the Indian media’s recent hatred of Kashmiris, the Indian judiciary’s refusal to protect their fundamental rights, and our absolute refusal to consider with sympathy their human rights.

Even if Pakistan faces sanctions in February and is punished for its many mistakes over the decades, this will not deliver any relief to India on the matter of what we call terrorism, other than the satisfaction that the enemy has been humiliated.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Stands by Kashmir Comments Despite Palm Oil Boycott By Indian Traders

India's top vegetable oil trade body on Monday asked its members to stop buying Malaysian palm oil after Mahathir said at the UN General Assembly last month that India had 'invaded and occupied' Kashmir

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday he would not retract his criticism of New Delhi's actions in Kashmir, even though Indian traders have urged a boycott of Malaysian palm oil.

The impasse could exacerbate what Mahathir described as a trade war between the world's second biggest producer and exporter of the commodity and its biggest buyer so far this year.

India's top vegetable oil trade body on Monday asked its members to stop buying Malaysian palm oil after Mahathir said at the UN General Assembly last month that India had "invaded and occupied" Kashmir.

On August 5, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government abrogated provisions of articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, a move that the administration has termed as a purely internal matter and criticised countries that have spoken out against it.

"We speak our minds and we don't retract or change," Mahathir told reporters outside parliament. "What we are saying is we should all abide by resolutions of the (United Nations). Otherwise, what is the use of the UN?"

The UN Security Council adopted several resolutions in 1948 and in the 1950s on the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, including one which says a plebiscite should be held to determine the future of the region.

Mahathir said Malaysia would study the impact of the boycott called by the Mumbai-based Solvent Extractors’ Association of India and look at ways to address the issue. India has so far refused to comment on the trade spat.

"This is not the Indian government, so we have to find out how we can communicate with these people, because trade is a two-way thing and it is bad to have what amounts to a trade war," Mahathir said.

In a separate statement, Malaysia's Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said the country viewed the call for a boycott with "great concern." The underlying sentiment tied to the association's decision was understood, but it was seen as a major setback in cooperation and working relations between the two countries, she said.

"I urge (the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India) to not take such decisions unilaterally and allow both governments to resolve the current situation," Kok said.

Malaysia's exports to India were worth $10.8 billion in the fiscal year through March 31, while imports totalled $6.4 billion, according to Indian government data.

Malaysian palm oil futures slipped on Tuesday over concerns demand would fall from India. India was Malaysia's third-largest export destination in 2018 for palm oil and palm-based products worth 6.84 billion ringgit ($1.63 billion).

Malaysia said last week it was considering raising imports of raw sugar and buffalo meat from India, in a bid to ease the trade tensions. India, the world's biggest importer of edible oils, also buys palm oil from Indonesia, soyoil from Argentina and Brazil and sunflower oil from Ukraine.

Politicians, Hurriyat, Bureaucrats Have Crushed Dreams of Kashmiri Youths: Satya Pal Malik

The governor said he told such youths that they already have a paradise in Kashmir

JAMMU: Leaders of Hurriyat and mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir, religious preachers and clerics have used their influence to get the children of ordinary Kashmiris killed while none of them lost their own to terrorism, Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Tuesday.

Alleging that "affluent and powerful" sections have crushed the dreams of the youths in Kashmir and destroyed their lives, he appealed to the people to understand the truth and join the Centre's efforts to usher peace and progress in the state.

Their own children are studying abroad and are well settled. But to the children of commoners, they show the "way to 'Jannat' (paradise) get them killed. All this has been happening here", Malik said addressing the seventh convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University in Katra town.

"Politicians, bureaucrats, affluent and powerful have crushed the dreams of the youths and destroyed their lives. The society leaders, religious preachers, Moulvis, Hurriyat and mainstream parties have used their influence to get the children of ordinary Kashmiris killed. None of them have lost their own child and nobody from their families joined terrorism," he said Malik, who is known for his candid remarks, said that after joining as Governor, "I have not taken input from the intelligence agencies. They are not telling the truth to Delhi or us".

"I directly talked to 150 to 200 youths and tried to identify those in colleges and universities who do not stand up for the national anthem. I talked to them and those in the age group of 25 to 30 years, whose dreams have been crushed, are misled and are angry. They do not want Hurriyat, us or Delhi government or autonomy because they were shown that the way to paradise is by getting martyred," he said.

The governor said he told such youths that they already have a paradise in Kashmir.

"I want to tell the people of Kashmir and the youth to understand the truth. You have beautiful place in the world to live. Give it in the hands of Delhi which has opened its treasure for you. We are not going to take it (the place) anywhere. Come forward and be part of the new phase and tread the path of progress and development," the governor said.

The governor said 22,000 Kashmiri youths are outside the state for education and accused the politicians of neglecting the needs of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Why do they have to go outside for education? It is because we have not been able to provide standard education in the state over the last many decades.

If the money which was pumped into Kashmir was used by politicians and bureaucrats in a proper manner, the roof of your homes would have been of gold," he said.

"I visited Amarnath shrine, a local youth was not having a sweater but the politicians of this place have houses everywhere from here to Delhi to Dubai. Name a hotel or investment business, they are everywhere," he said.

Malik said he had sanctioned 53 degrees colleges last year and is opening 50 more colleges, including professional colleges, in the state shortly.

"I have upgraded 242 schools to higher secondary school overnight," he said. The governor said he told the misled youths that he will offer them "two paradises".

"I told them that it is your religious faith and I will not say anything about it. But I am ready to give you two paradises -- one in this life and the second in afterlife. There can be a discussion whether you get the paradise after martyrdom or not, but as Emperor Jehangir had rightly said that if there is a paradise on earth, it is in Kashmir.

"You have already one paradise and you can turn into a crown of the world in this life and secondly if you die as a true Muslim, you will get the promised paradise. That means you can get two paradises, one here and second after the death," Malik said.

India's Palm Oil Buyers Told To Shun Malaysia to 'Punish Country' Amid Kashmir Standoff

India was Malaysia's third-largest export destination in 2018 for palm oil and palm-based products worth 6.84 billion ringgit ($1.63 billion)

India's top vegetable oil trade body on Monday asked its members to stop buying palm oil from Malaysia, an unprecedented call aimed at helping New Delhi punish the country for criticising India over its policy towards Kashmir.

The directive by the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India (SEAI) shows how nationalist sentiments can affect international business, and is a big blow to Malaysia, the world's second largest producer and exporter of palm oil after Indonesia.

India was Malaysia's third-largest export destination in 2018 for palm oil and palm-based products worth 6.84 billion ringgit ($1.63 billion). Vegetable oil contributed 2.8% of Malaysia's gross domestic product last year and 4.5% to total exports.

The SEAI's decision could weigh on the Malaysian benchmark palm oil contract for January delivery when the market reopens on Tuesday. "Our government has not taken kindly to the unprovoked pronouncements by the Malaysian prime minister and is contemplating some retaliatory action," SEAI President Atul Chaturvedi said in a statement carrying a note to its members.

"It would be in fitness of things, as responsible Indian vegetable oil industry, we avoid purchasing of palm oil from Malaysia till such time clarity on the way forward emerges from Indian government." He said the guidance was issued in its own interest as well as a mark of solidarity with the country.

Reuters reported that India was considering curbing imports of some products from Malaysia, including palm oil, after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said last month that India had "invaded and occupied" Kashmir. India stripped the valley of statehood and autonomy on Aug. 5.

Some Indian traders said refiners had already stopped buying Malaysian palm oil for shipment in November and December, fearing higher import taxes or other measures. In any case, household palm oil consumption falls in India during winter as the tropical oil solidifies at lower temperature.

"After the Reuters story, many importers stopped buying Malaysian palm oil," said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trading firm, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to media.

"Now since the trade body has issued an advisory, almost all refiners will stop buying. In the last one week alone, I saw two buyers switching to Indonesia from Malaysia."

India's government has rebuked Malaysia for its stance on Kashmir but has not commented on any trade measures. India's trade ministry declined to comment. Malaysia said last week it was considering raising imports of raw sugar and buffalo meat from India, in a bid to ease the trade tensions.

Earlier in the day, Malaysian state news agency Bernama quoted the chief of the Malaysian Palm Oil Association as saying that curbing purchases from the country would hurt India, too. But the SEAI said there was no dearth of options.

"This rare advisory we issued considering rising tensions between Malaysia and India," SEAI Executive Director BV Mehta told Reuters. "There are many alternatives to Malaysian supplies that our refiners can easily tap."

Kashmir Remarks Fallout: India Mulls Trade Curbs On Turkey, Malaysia

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is exploring the possibility of both tariff and non-tariff measures

India is considering placing curbs on some imports from Turkey and Malaysia, in response to their leaders’ comments on the autonomy of Kashmir, people familiar with the matter said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is exploring the possibility of both tariff and non-tariff measures to limit import of goods from the two countries, the people said, asking not to be identified as a final decision is yet to be taken. The options include stringent quality tests and a safeguard tax in addition to existing levies, they said.

While India’s bilateral trade with the two was only 2.9% of its total in the fiscal year ended March 31, New Delhi enjoys a trade surplus with Turkey and runs a deficit with Malaysia on account of its reliance on imported palm oil. Futures in Kuala Lumpur fell on Tuesday after an influential Indian processors’ group asked its members to refrain from buying the tropical oil from the second-largest producer.

Spokespersons for India’s finance and commerce ministries couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

‘Invaded’ Kashmir

India last month increased customs duty on refined palm oil import from Malaysia by 5% for six months as a measure to safeguard the domestic industry. The duty could be further increased, the people said.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday said the country won’t bring the palm oil issue with India to the World Trade Organisation “at the moment” and he won’t retract his comments claiming India had “invaded and occupied” Kashmir.

Modi separately cancelled a planned visit to Ankara this year to show displeasure over Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments over Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly. Erdogan had urged India to hold talks with Pakistan over the disputed region following Modi’s August decision to revoke autonomy in the Muslim-majority state.

Key imports from Turkey are mineral fuels and oils, nuclear reactors and salt.

There is an informal instruction from India’s foreign ministry to go slow on all diplomatic and business relationships with Turkey and Malaysia as part of retaliatory measures, Business Standard reported, citing government officials it didn’t identify.

China, Russia Increase Military Expenditure But U.S. Far Ahead

According to data collated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China had the highest increase in military spending for any country in the past decade but still remains behind US numbers

by Rohan Abraham

China, which is quelling pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, celebrated 70 years of Communist Party rule by flexing its military muscle in Tiananmen Square, the site of a bloody massacre where thousands were killed in 1989. The military parade was witnessed by past and present leaders.

The event highlighted the technological achievements of the Chinese Republic, with the military showcasing state-of-the-art tanks, artillery, and nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. China has increased its military investment in the past decade, substituting outmoded Soviet-era equipment with indigenously developed alternatives.
The modernisation push coincides with China’s emergence as the world’s shop floor, and the United States’ focus on fighting overseas wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, even with the increased military expenditure, China trails the U.S apropos military budget outlay. The U.S. Congress approved spending of USD 649 billion on defence last year compared to China’s USD 250 billion.

But China’s rise has been unparalleled. According to data collated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China had the highest increase in military spending for any country in the past decade, in keeping with its objective of turning the People's Liberation Army (PLA) into a world-beating fighting unit by 2049.

Between 2009 and 2018, China bolstered its military spend by 83 percent, the results of which were manifest on the streets of Beijing during the parade. Saudi Arabia, which is a high spender on defence hardware for many years, raised its military spend by 28 per cent in the same period, marginally less than India’s 29 per cent.

Under Vladimir Putin, Russia has also adopted a militaristic approach to solving geopolitical issues, like the invasion of Crimea. This has been aided by 29 per cent rise in military spend since 2009. On the other hand, the U.S. has reduced its budgetary outlay for defence, with total spend contracting by 17 per cent over the past decade.

However, over the past couple of years, U.S. President Donald Trump has committed to the modernisation and expansion of the military to retain its head start over Beijing and Moscow. South Korea and Japan, which share a frosty relationship over World War II but are united by the common threat faced by a rogue North Korea, both upped defence spending.

In absolute terms, all countries cumulatively spent USD 1.82 trillion on the defence sector, representing a 5.4 per cent increase since 2009. Among the top 15 countries with highest military budgets, the U.S accounts for 36 per cent of the overall spend, followed by China with 14 per cent. India, which spent USD 66.5 billion on defence in 2018, accounts for 3.7 per cent of the cumulative expenditure of the top 15 countries.

Here's All About Indian Army Sourced Nissan Jonga SUV Bought By MS Dhoni

Nissan made JONGA for the Indian Armed Forces and MS Dhoni was spotted driving one of these restored SUVs

Former captain of the Indian Cricket Team, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was recently spotted driving a modified Nissan Jonga. He arrived at the local JSCA Stadium in Ranchi, his hometown, which is hosting the third and last Test between India and South Africa, in the former Indian Army owned SUV. While Dhoni's love for cars and bikes isn't new and many may consider Jonga as just another car in his garage, this SUV is a special one. Here's all you need to know about the Nissan Jonga-

To start with, the Nissan Jonga Dhoni arrived in was once used by the Indian Army. The full name of the SUV is Nissan Jonga 1 Ton and was used by the Indian Armed Forces for a long time before its services were discontinued.

Post the discontinuation, many Jongas have been refurbished and the unit owned by Dhoni is one of those rare working units. The car is painted in bright green and has been modified to meet the requirements of the World Cup-winning captain.

The Jonga was not for private buyers and hence it is not that easy to spot unlike other military cars like the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy. Nissan produced this car for the Indian Army at the Jabalpur Ordnance and Guncarriage Assembly and hence the acronym JONGA. The Jonga is actually the earlier generation Nissan Patrol and has been a trusted Army car for a long time due to its massive size that was immensely useful for tough terrains.

Before discontinuation, Jonga was sold to civilians for a short period of time, but couldn't gather much interest and several modified examples of the Jonga are available these days.

As for MS Dhoni, his garage hosts some of the rarest and India's first vehicles. Dhoni recently bought India's only Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk worth around Rs 1.5 crores. He also owns ultra-rare Confederate Hellcat X132 along with several other bikes like the Kawasaki H2, Kawasaki Ninja ZX14R, and Yamaha YZF600 Thundercat among others.

His car collection includes Hummer H2, GMC Sierra, Mahindra Scorpio and the Mitsubishi Pajero.