Sunday, September 24, 2017

Indian Navy's First New Conventional Submarine In 20 Years

INS Kalavari

India's first indigenously built conventional submarine is finally a part of Indian Navy. The order was procured by state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai, Maharashtra. INS Kalavari is the name for Indian Navy's first new conventional submarine in twenty years. With global situation a little tense, the induction of this submarine will be a landmark milestone in India's bid to build its underwater warfare capabilities. 

All about INS Kalavari:

  • INS Kalavari is first of six Scorpene-class submarines built in India under Project-75
  • It is a diesel electric attack submarine named after tiger shark
  • The submarine is stealth which makes it difficult to detect under various conditions by the enemy
  • It weighs 1,550 tonnes and is equipped with six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes for launching anti-ship torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and sea mines as part of its ammunition
  • From multifarious warfare, anti-submarine warfare to Intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance, the submarine can undertake various roles
  • Precision guided weapons and attack can be used against targets from underwater or on surface

About the Submarine Project:

  • The submarines under this project are being made by Mazagon Docks Limited with technology transferred from France's DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales Services), a naval shipbuilder 
  • France's DCNS was awarded 4.16 billion USD contract to build six next generation Scorpene-class submarines in cooperation with Mazagon Docks Limited in 2005 under the strategic Project-75
  • The six of them will be fitted with indigenous Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to extend their endurance.

PAK SCAN: Mainstreaming of Terror Outfits

Hafiz Saeed's terror outfit garnered substantial votes in the recent by-election in Lahore

by Marvi Sirmed 

The recent by-election in Lahore’s National Assembly constituency NA 120 has ignited an important debate about the counter violent extremism, radicalisation and terrorism in the country. For many, the candidates fielded by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) linked Milli Muslim League (MML) and Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), led by Barelvi extremists was alarming.

But there is a far greater number of ‘experts’ and commentators, belonging to even the liberal quarters supporting it as the best strategy to ‘eliminate’ terrorism by allowing them in the political and social mainstream if they renounce violence.

The proponents of ‘mainstreaming’ are quoting Northern Ireland’s IRA/Sinn Fein duo and a more recent process in Afghanistan wherein a former militant warlord Gulbadin Hekmatyar was allowed to join politics. The narrative, howsoever it seems appealing, is thoroughly misleading to say the least. Talking about the Afghan process, it was led by the political leadership of that country with transparency and openness to the extent that several drafts of the ‘peace agreement’ were signed with the militant group, the text of which appeared in media and was commented upon by a range of commentators, before finally declaring the group ‘former militants’.

The optics of such an opaque ‘mainstreaming’ of terrorist organisations such as the JuD won’t go down well with the rest of the world. Whosoever is propagating the image of us as a terror-supporting nation will likely be dancing to see all this because this gives them enough meat to continue with their hoopla

Also, Afghanistan’s scenario is absolutely sui generis, with a history of warlordism, which was so intertwined with the political fabric of the country that it still is quite difficult to completely isolate warlords from their tribal areas of political influence. Almost the entire parliament comprises these former (or current) warlords. In this backdrop, it is a sensible approach to bring the rogue warlords to the folds of legitimate political activity, to prevent them from joining or to isolate them from their existing alliances with domestic militants and terrorists actively engaged in crimes against Afghan people and state.

Coming to the Northern Ireland process, ever since this successful peace process it is pretty common in the world of counter terrorism to try applying the lessons learnt during this textbook case of negotiating with the terrorists. In 2012, Jeffrey Donaldson and Denis Haughey, two prominent Irish politicians flew to Afghanistan to offer advice to Hamid Karzai’s government to help kick-start a formal process of peace talks with the Taliban. Donaldson was in the Ulster Unionists’ negotiating team in 1998 for the famous Good Friday Agreement, while Haughey led the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) team in the Brooke-Mayhew Talks and later the talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement. Although the Irish and the Afghan insurgencies has altogether different ideological shades, with the former demanding the right to self determination and the latter committing acts of terrorism on Afghan people in order to impose their rule and their own version of religion. Yet there were some applicable lessons from the Irish experience that Afghanistan could employ in dealing with its own domestic militants.

The Northern Ireland peace process, however, is starkly different from what happened in NA 120 recently or has been happening generally in Pakistan despite military operation Zarb-e-Azb and the National Action Plan (NAP). The peace process followed in Northern Ireland was stretched over various years and culminated in the complete disarmament of the insurgency and its leader’s mainstreaming into the political process. The process was completely transparent wherein various agreements were achieved and announced, but not before briefing the parliament thereon. One could cite speeches by John Major and later by Tony Blair to the parliament briefing on the process.

In case of JuD, all of it might not be applicable or even comparable. Sinn Fein was political face of Irish Republican Army, an underground organisation with domestic agenda that disarmed and surrendered weapons to be accepted as legitimate actor in political process. The groups like JuD, LeT and JeM are already quasi-state supported and there is no sign they have been disarmed. Secondly, these groups have been carrying out violent activities outside Pakistan. This will certainly affect our image internationally.

Since they are not protagonists in a civil war, their international targets and victims have to accept their demobilisation. Otherwise, Pakistan’s international isolation would exacerbate.

More importantly, these groups will inject xenophobia and extremist views in the body politic if given free hand in politics. They’ll propagate their xenophobic ideology to masses who are already ripe to fall for the trap. If it happens, the state would gradually lose its agency to change the policy if it wants to change it in future. The recent example being the anti conversion law that Sindh’s provincial assembly passed. After strong opposition led by JuD and other groups, the provincial government decided to let go of a law made by the elected representatives.

The optics of such an opaque ‘mainstreaming’ of these terrorist organisations won’t go down well with the world. Whosoever is propagating the image of us as a terror-supporting nation, would be dancing to see all this because this gives them enough meat to continue with their hoopla.

The question, then arises, how else to deal with these Frankenstein monsters? The answer is simple; the state should immediately stop all kinds of ideological or logistic support to these groups. If there is a process of negotiations, parliament must be requested for input and buy-in. Once the disarmament is achieved, it must be properly announced with evidence of arms decommissioning, so that the entire world knows what these groups are committing themselves to. A carefully devised de-radicalisation framework should be developed for these groups before allowing them any political activity. For a specific period, all activity by these groups must be watched by a specially designated Commission to ensure they don’t eulogise their militant achievements and glorify their violent methods and objectives. We have to have guarantees in place to ensure that while mainstreaming the violent extremists, we are not mainstreaming extremism.

Indian Warships Make Port Call In Northern Vietnam

The INS Satpura docked at Chua Ve Port in Hai Phong

by Giang Chinh

The visit aims to enhance relations, understanding and trust between the two countries' navies

Two Indian warships docked at Hai Phong's Chua Ve Port on Saturday for a four-day visit to the northern city.

The stealth frigate INS Satpura (F48) and the anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt (P29) carry a total of 645 officers and sailors, led by Captain Rahul Shankar, commander of the INS Satpura.

The crews were welcomed by representatives of the city's Foreign Affairs Department, the Ministry of National Defence's Foreign Relations Department, the Vietnamese Navy's 1st Regional Command and local units of the people's armed forces.

During the visit, the crews will participate in joint training drills and knowledge and cultural exchanges, as well as sports games with the Vietnamese Navy. The activities are aimed to enhance relations, understanding and trust between the two navies.

After leaving Hai Phong, the ships' crews would conduct a passing exercise (PASSEX) and a search and rescue exercise with the Vietnamese Navy.

The warships' visit this year comes after the 45th anniversary of Vietnam-India diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the two countries' strategic partnership.

The last visit to Vietnam by Indian naval ships was in May 2016, when the INS Satpura and the corvette INS Kirch visited Cam Ranh International Port in central Vietnam.

Explain How Terrorist Dawood Ibrahim's Wife Visited Mumbai Undetected: Congress To Centre

Terrorist Dawood Ibrahim's wife visited Mumbai in 2016, his brother told investigators yesterday

New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday demanded that the Narendra Modi government explain how underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's wife managed to visit Mumbai last year undetected and said that it raises questions on the credibility of the Centre and Maharashtra government as well as the state and central security agencies.

"Wife of Ibrahim, Mehajabin Shaikh came to meet her father in 2016 in Mumbai and the Modi government kept on sleeping," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said in a video message.

Mr Surjewala's remarks came a day after the arrested brother of Dawood, Iqbal Ibrahim Kaskar told investigators that his sister-in-law, Mehjabin Shaikh (Dawood's wife) visited Mumbai sometime in 2016 to meet her father, Salim Kashmiri, before quietly departing. The Thane Police, however, have denied making any such revelation.

Targetting the investigative agencies of the government, Mr Surjewala questioned, "What was CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) doing? What was Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W) doing?"

Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the Congress leader said, "Wife of a terrorist, who is wanted in many terror cases arrives in India to meet her father and then goes back."

"Why she was not arrested? Why no action was taken against her?" he asked.

He also said that this shocking revelation was made by Mumbai's Thane police.

"The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi), Defence Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman) and Home Minister (Rajnath Singh) must give answers," he said.

Iqbal was arrested early on Tuesday by a crack team of Thane Anti-Extortion Cell headed by former encounter specialist Pradeep Sharma who had picked him up from his Mumbai home late on Monday night in an extortion case.

Congress Rajya Sabha leader Rajiv Shukla termed the matter as very serious and said that it raises question on the credibility of the central and state government as well as the central investigative agencies.

"Dawood's wife Mehajabin Shaikh came to India in 2016 for 15 days. What was Mumbai Police doing? What were the central and Maharashtra government doing? What were the other agencies doing?" he asked.

"It is a very serious issue. It is like 'Diya Tale Andhera' (darkness under a lamp -- or something taking place right under your nose). The state government, Mumbai Police and all the central agencies should answer how it happened, as it raises questions on their credibility," he added.

IDN TAKE: Pakistan Or Terroristan?

A bloodthirsty and war mongering Pakistan

by Brigadier Arun Bajpai (Retd)

Indian first secretary in United Nations, Inam Gambhir exercising India’s right to reply to the ranting of Pakistani Prime Minster Abbasi, who once again raised the issue of referendum in Kashmir in United Nations General Assembly on 21 Sep, put Pakistan on back foot by calling it Terroristan who pampers jihadist organisations, provides them with safe heavens and then sends them across the neighbouring states borders to carry on terror attacks. It is good that India is taking this tough stand on Pakistan.

One thought that Pakistan, currently under pressure from all quarters for its terror activities, its new prime Minster Abbasi will this time take a conciliatory approach and will try to deflect the current world attention on Pakistan in his speech in the UN General Assembly. However nothing of sorts happened, thanks to the Pakistani Army which rules the roost in Pakistan. Abbasi was all fire and brimstone on India and Afghanistan, refusing to accept that it is involved in cross border terrorism. Abbasi even talked about Pakistan having developed tactical nuclear weapons to guard against India’s cold start doctrine.

India in its reply let Pakistan have it. India exposed Pakistan double speak and its policy of Hunting with hounds and running with hare. India highlighted the fact both Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar were finally found in Pakistan. India said that now Pakistani Army is propelling major jihadist organisations like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish Mohammad into political stream by creating a political parties and fighting elections. Recently L-e-T candidate, who fought as an independent in the Punjab by elections for National Assembly, garnered 5,000 votes. This is just the start. Afghanistan also came heavily on Pakistan. Afghanistan described in a systematic manner with facts and figures of how Pakistan based Jihadists are doing terror attacks on Afghanistan. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hassena described how Pakistani Army conducted genocide in Bangladesh in 1971 killing 30 lakh Bengalis. Nobody in UN General Assembly was taker of Pakistani statement that it is peaceful country which itself has suffered heavily due to terror.

If all this is not enough, American president Donald trump refused to meet the Pakistani prime Minster Abbasi on the sidelines on this UN Summit. Another shocker to Pakistan was China's refusal to tow Pakistani line of demanding of referendum in Kashmir. China made it clear that it is confident that India and Pakistan will solve the Kashmir issue bilaterally. This has been India’s stand for so long. Any other country but Pakistan would have seen the writing on the wall with these recent happenings in UN gen Assembly but not Pakistan. It continues to be in denial mode and refuses to dismantle its terror network and jihadist camps. So where do we go from here? India must play on psychic of US to use its drones to destroy jihadist camps within Pakistan as already threatened by US president Trump. China for the success of its 50 billion dollar CEPC in Pakistan must also put pressure on Pakistan read Pakistani Army to stop using x border terror as its state policy. At the same time India must replenish and regroup its Armed forces for a limited war with Pakistan at a moment’s notice.

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same

After Sushma Swaraj's Sound Whipping, Pakistan Back To Stirring K-Pot Again

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN Maleeha Lodhi

New Delhi: Pakistan resorted to raising the Kashmir rhetoric at the United Nations again, a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj launched a scathing attack on the country for “exporting terrorism”.

Replying to Swaraj’s speech at the General Assembly, Pakistan said it was open for dialogue and called upon the world body to “define terrorism”, but at the same time sought to rake up tensions by again taking up the Kashmir issue and taking potshots at the BJP.

Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to UN Maleeha Lodhi said Swaraj belonged to a political party “which was accused of assassinating Mahatma Gandhi” and called the Indian Army’s presence in Jammu and Kashmir “illegal”.

“Jammu and Kashmir is not part of India and thus India’s military operation is illegal,” Lodhi said despite Swaraj’s reminder a day before that India and Pakistan had mutually decided in the 1972 Simla Agreement that both countries would not raise the issue at international or third-party forums.

Islamabad also accused New Delhi of “spreading terrorism” in Pakistan, saying “spy” Kulbhushan Jadhav was “sent” for this purpose. Jadhav is a former Indian Navy officer who has been sentenced to death by a military court in Pakistan on charges of “spying”, a claim India has rubbished at the International Court of Justice.

On Saturday, Sushma Swaraj had asked Pakistani leaders to introspect as to why India is recognised as a global IT superpower, while Pakistan is infamous as the "pre-eminent export factory for terror".

In her address to the 72nd UN General Assembly session, Swaraj accused Pakistan of waging a war against India and said a country that has been the world's greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium.

She was referring to Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's speech on Thursday wherein he accused India of violating human rights and state-sponsored terrorism.

"I would like today to tell Pakistan's politicians just this much, that perhaps the wisest thing they could do is to look within. India and Pakistan became free within hours of each other. Why is it that today India is a recognised IT superpower in the world, and Pakistan is recognised only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror?" Swaraj asked.

India had ripped into Pakistan yesterday, describing it as "terroristan" and a land of "pure terror" that hosts a flourishing industry to produce and export global terrorism.

Speaking in Hindi for the second consecutive year at the annual UNGA session, Swaraj said India has risen despite being the principal destination of Pakistan's nefarious export of terrorism.

"There have been many governments under many parties during 70 years of Indian freedom, for we have been a sustained democracy. Every government has done its bit for India’s development," she said, highlighting India's achievements in the fields of education, health, space etc.

"We produced scientists, scholars, doctors, engineers. What have you produced? You have produced terrorists... you have created terrorist camps, you have created Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen and Haqqani network," she said, adding that if Pakistan had spent on its development what it has spent on developing terror, both Pakistan and the world would be safer and better-off today.

PAK SCAN: Pak Sees India, Afghanistan Behind ‘Free Baluchistan’ Drive In Geneva

A bus in Rue de Ferney of Grand Sacconex with the "Free Baluchistan" in Geneva

QUETTA: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) provincial president in Baluchistan Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind on Saturday condemned the ‘free Baluchistan’ campaign in Geneva and alleged that India and Afghanistan were behind it.

Addressing a press conference, he said that those running the ‘free Baluchistan’ campaign in Geneva received support from both these two neighbours of Pakistan.

He demanded that the federal government call back Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland for some days to register its protest. “If such a campaign was run in India or Afghanistan we would not have any complaint, but it is sad to say that the campaign is being run in a country which is a free and democratic state,” Mr Rind said.

He claimed that the Indian leadership had never wanted to see progress in Pakistan, saying that soon after independence some Indian leaders had started to hatch conspiracies against Pakistan.

On the occasion, former district nazim of Kharan and leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Q Mir Shoakat Baloch announced joining the PTI along with his other colleagues.

Mr Rind welcomed Mr Baloch and his other colleagues in the PTI.

He said the PTI’s central leadership would soon visit Quetta and Zhob. He said on the directives of party chairman Imran Khan, PTI’s local leaders would contact people across Balochistan and tell them about injustices and corruption in the province.

The PTI leader condemned the government for bad civic infrastructure in Quetta, saying that the city had been turned into ruins.

Mr Rind accused a former chief secretary of Baluchistan of being involved in corruption. He said after coming into power the PTI would make those accountable who had been involved in corruption in past.

Pakistan Army Officer Killed In Militant Firing Along Afghanistan

A Pakistani army soldier standing guard at suicide bombing site in Lahore

ISLAMABAD: A 22-year-old Pakistan Army officer was killed today when militants from across the border in Afghanistan opened fire on a newly-established border post, the military said.

Lt Arsalan Alam was posted in Rajgal, Khyber Agency, Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistan military, said in a statement.

"Terrorists fired from across the border on a newly established Pakistani border post in Rajgal, Khyber Agency," it said.

Lt Alam, the officer commanding that post, got hit while performing his duties and died, the statement added.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been tense for months, with the two sides accusing each other of turning a "blind eye" towards certain militant outfits.

Fighter Jets, Drones On Table As US Defence Secretary James Mattis Visits Key Ally India

LUSCIOUS OFFER: Boeings F/A-18E/F  "Super Hornet" carrier based multi-role combat jet

James Mattis "will express US appreciation for India's important contributions toward Afghanistan's democracy, stability, prosperity, and security", the Pentagon said

NEW DELHI: Fighter jets, drone deals and shared concerns over Afghanistan's security challenges look set to dominate the agenda when US Defence Secretary James Mattis visits India this week.

Mattis is scheduled to arrive in Delhi late Monday and is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his new defence minister in the first visit by a top US official since Donald Trump became US president in January.

"The United States views India as a valued and influential partner, with broad mutual interests extending well beyond South Asia," a Pentagon statement said.

Trump and Modi met in June in Washington, and Mattis' visit is a sign "the political leadership in both countries place defence cooperation as a top priority", Mukesh Aghi, president of the US India Strategic Partnership Forum, told AFP.

Delhi and Washington share concerns about Afghanistan, and Trump announced a new strategy for the war-torn country last month, which cleared the way for the deployment of thousands more US troops.

The billionaire president has urged India to boost assistance to Afghanistan's economy, and has lambasted Delhi's arch-rival Pakistan for offering safe haven to "agents of chaos".

Mattis "will express US appreciation for India's important contributions toward Afghanistan's democracy, stability, prosperity, and security", the Pentagon said.

India has long vied with Pakistan for influence in Afghanistan, building dams, roads and a new parliament in the troubled country. Last year, it offered some $1 billion in aid.

Delhi frequently accuses Islamabad of stirring up violence in Afghanistan and harbouring militant groups.

In 2016, the United States designated India a "Major Defence Partner" and Trump has sought to further boost military ties, praising India for contributing to regional peace and stability, and for purchasing US military equipment.

Mattis is likely to seek to convince India to purchase Lockheed Martin's F-16 Block 70 aircraft -- a lucrative deal pegged at $15 billion.

Lockheed Martin has offered the most upgraded version of the fighter jet to India, the world's largest weapons importer.

The US manufacturer is competing with Swedish defence giant Saab, whose Gripen-E made its maiden flight in June.


India has said it requires at least 100 single-engine fighters to counter the growing air threat posed by China and Pakistan.

SAAB and Lockheed have both offered to build the jets locally to comply with Modi's "Make-in-India" initiative, which aims to cut imports and build a domestic defence industry.

US giant Boeing has also offered to set up a manufacturing facility in India for production of its F/A 18 Super Hornet aircraft if it wins a deal.

A drone deal for the Indian Navy will also likely be up for discussion, a source familiar with the negotiations told AFP.

"Since Chinese assets have started to dominate the Indian Ocean region, the Trump administration is keen on fast-tracking the acquisition of the drones," the source said.

Many commentators have said that US-India cooperation is crucial to countering an increasingly assertive China, which has been developing its military capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region.

PMO To Review Progress Made Under Make In India Scheme In Defence Sector

A stunning picture of India's indigenous ARJUN Main Battle Tank

Almost three years after the Narendra Modi government called for promoting Make in India in the defence sector, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is planning to review the progress made in the project with several schemes such as infantry combat vehicles, submarines and fighter aircraft already been initiated by the defence ministry.

"The PMO is planning to review the progress made in the Make in India scheme with all stakeholders, including officials from the defence ministry and department of defence production," a government source told Mail Today.

Sources said the focus of the meet would be on ongoing and long-pending projects under the Make in India category, which have been stalled or slowed down due to different issues, and ways on which they can be pushed towards completion at a faster rate.

The meeting will give special focus on armoured vehicles to be provided to the Indian Army , which has been working on its futuristic infantry combat vehicle project for over a decade now. Efforts are being made to revive the project where big industrial players, including TATA and L&T are in the fray, along with the state-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

The meeting is also likely to discuss the strategic partnership policy that was announced this year and also suggest new additions to it. The defence ministry has brought the manufacturing of submarines, helicopters, fighter aircraft and armoured vehicles and tanks under the project for promoting local military industry indigenously for complex weapon systems and platforms.

While former defence minister Arun Jaitley had decided in favour of indigenous Akash surface-to-air missiles over systems offered by foreign vendors, new minister Nirmala Sitharaman decided to try DRDO developed light machine guns when the case was stuck due to a single vendor situation after trials.

The government is also moving fast on the Air Force's project to manufacture 114 single-engine Made in India jets under the strategic partnership policy where Indian companies would tie up with American or Swedish firms to build the planes in India.

Sitharaman Sees Fire Power of Arjun Tank In Pokhran

Jaisalmer: Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman witnessed the firing capability of 155 MM ATAGS (Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System) gun developed indigenously for the Indian Army that can hit a target at a long distance, on Saturday at Khetolai area in Pokhran field firing range in Jaisalmer.

Prior to this, she took feedback about the gun from DRDO and Kaveri group company. Army Chief General Vipin Rawat, senior scientists of DRDO and other officers were present on the occasion.

The minister also saw the firing capability of upgraded Arjun Mark 2 developed by DRDO.

Sitharaman and Army Chief General Vipin Rawat reached Jaisalmer airbase by special aircraft of Air Force at 8.35 am where they were extended a warm welcome by Konark Core Commander Lt General P S Rajeshwar, Jaisalmer Air Force station commander D Vedanjana, MLA Chotu Singh Bhati, collector K C Meena and SP Gaurav Yadav.

MLA Chotu Singh Bhati raised the issue of fencing at Shahgarh Bulj area adjoining Indo-Pak border. He said that due to shifting dunes fencing has been damaged at various places and got buried due to which there is a possibility of intrusion from Pakistan side. The MLA demanded to strengthen the security arrangements in the area.

Meanwhile, Sitharaman with Army Chief General Rawat and Core Commander Lt Rajeshwar left for Khetolai by helicopter and reached there at 9.15 am.

Here, she saw the firing capability of 155mm ATAGS gun developed by DRDO, Pune, in a joint venture with Kaveri group. The army officials briefed her about the benefits of the gun. A DRDO scientist said that the gun has set a record by hitting the world's longest target.

A few days ago, ATAGS 155-millimetre, 52-calibre gun-howitzer fired three shells to a world-record distance of 47.2 km from the gun position, thus, demonstrating its potential to be a world-beating system.

Later, the minister reached Lathi field firing range where they saw the firing capability of Arjun Mark 2. The firing range resonated with explosion. Sitharaman also met the jawans and officers and boosted their morale. She left for Jodhpur in the evening.

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India Third In Nuclear Power Installations: Study

But share of nuclear energy generation stagnates globally, and several countries shut down nuclear reactors in 2017

India is third in the world in the number of nuclear reactors being installed, at six, while China is leading at 20, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017, released this month, shows. The number of nuclear reactor units under construction is, however, declining globally for the fourth year in a row, from 68 reactors at the end of 2013 to 53 by mid-2017, the report says.

The latest report further reveals that most nuclear reactor constructions are behind schedule, with delays resulting in increase in project costs and delay in power generation. There are 37 reactor constructions behind schedule, of which 19 reported further delays over the past year. In India itself, five out of the six reactors under construction are behind schedule. Eight nuclear power projects have been under construction globally for a decade or more, of which three have been so for over 30 years.

In the foreword, S. David Freeman, an American energy policy expert who led the Tennessee Valley Authority under U.S. President Jimmy Carter, writes that the debate regarding the value of nuclear energy “is over”. “The most decisive part of this report is the final section — Nuclear Power vs Renewable Energy Development. It reveals that since 1997, worldwide, renewable energy has produced four times as many new kilowatt-hours of electricity than nuclear power,” he writes, concluding, “The world no longer needs to build nuclear power plants to avoid climate change and certainly not to save money.”

Data gathered by the authors shows that global nuclear power generation increased by 1.4% in 2016 due to a 23% increase in China, though the share of nuclear energy in electricity generation stagnated at 10.5%. By comparison, globally, wind power output grew by 16% and solar power by 30%. Wind power increased generation by 132 TWh (terawatt hours) or 3.8 times, and solar power by 77 TWh or 2.2 times more than nuclear power’s 35 TWh respectively. Renewables represented 62% of global power generating capacity additions.

Russia and the U.S. shut down reactors in 2016, while Sweden and South Korea both closed their oldest units in the first half of 2017, the report notes.

Financial Crisis

The report also documents the financial crisis plaguing the industry. After the discovery of massive losses over its nuclear construction projects, Toshiba filed for bankruptcy of its U.S. subsidiary Westinghouse, the largest nuclear power builder in history. AREVA has accumulated $12.3 billion in losses over the past six years.

French Bailout

The French government has provided a $5.3 billion bailout and continues its break-up strategy, the report notes.

In the chapter on the status of the Fukushima nuclear power project in Japan, six years after the disaster began, the report notes how the total official cost estimate for the catastrophe doubled to $200 billion.

The lead authors of the report are Paris-based energy consultant Mycle Schneider, who advised the European Parliament on energy matters for over 20 years, and Antony Froggart, energy policy consultant and senior researcher at Chatham House, a London-based non-profit organisation working on international affairs.

F-16V International Orders Cast Doubts Over Lockheed Martin's Make-In-India Program

Lockheed Martin's offer of moving its F-16 manufacturing facility to India may be in doubt following a large order from Bahrain for the F-16's latest version, the "V" together with issues over transferring critical technology to Indian companies.

When Lockheed Martin announced the F-16V a couple of years ago, it came at a time when the Indian government was pushing for the replacement of its MiG-21 fleet with a latest generation single-engine aircraft to be made in India for use by the Indian Air Force (IAF) besides for export. The US-based company was enthusiastic about the project it had no customer for the F-16V then.

However, the coming of the Trump administration with its mantra of keeping American jobs home changed this perspective. A Lockheed Martin executive had announced at the last IDEX show in Abu Dhabi that the next F-16s would be built in the USA.

Last week, the Government of Bahrain requested a possible sale of 19 F-16V aircraft along with upgrading its existing 20 F-16s to the V configuration together worth US$3.8 billion. The key systems and equipment that go into the F-16V include Vulcan 20mm Gun Systems, F-110-GE-129 Engines, APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array Radars, 22 Modular Mission Computers, Embedded Global Navigation Systems, Improved Programmable Display Generators and 38 LAU-129 Launchers.

The state department notice makes it clear that work on the Bahrain contract would be executed at Lockheed Martin's facility in the US. There are several sales prospects for the F-16V, both new and upgrades to existing versions such as the Block C and D.

There are hundreds of legacy F-16s operating with air forces in Europe, Asia and the Middle East which could potentially be updated to the F-16V version.

Interest in the F-16V is rising as a low-cost alternative to the F-35 whose development problems appear to be seeing no end. Lockheed Martin executives have been hard-selling the F-16 at defence and air shows much more than the F-35 in recent months. The company is optimistic about more F-16V international deals in the coming years.

Then there is the issue of technology transfer. The US department of defense has been denying parting with critical technologies to foreign countries. These include integrated systems for active electronically scanned array radar, electro-optical targeting pod, infrared search and track and radio frequency jammer with India under the manufacturing the aircraft for local consumption and exports.

In August last year article, was among the first to point out that the setting up of F-16 production line would not be possible on the same grounds. It was undoubtedly clear that the US would not part with the critical technologies as it has denied the same technologies to South Korea, which is building its own fighter aircraft modelled along the F-16 with inputs from Lockheed Martin. Seoul is considered a closer ally to Washington than New Delhi.

The Indian government has sent a request for information (RFI) to manufacturers of single-engine fighter aircraft manufacturers for a possible make-in-India program. Only two global companies fit this bill- Lockheed Martin with its F-16 and SAAB with its Gripen.

Both have tied with Indian companies to execute the project should they receive the contract to manufacture some 100 plus aircraft for the IAF.

India has sought guarantee from US for technology transfer in case any US based company bids for fighter jet program under the ‘Make in India’ initiative in July this year.

It was certain by March this year that the production line would not be set up in India. Lockheed Martin started shifting production of its F-16 fighter jets to Greenville from its existing Fort Worth, Texas facility effectively burying its plans to move the production line to India.

BSF’s Major Assault: 3 Rangers Among 9 Pakistanis Killed

by Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU: The BSF launched major counter offensive against Pakistani Rangers late last night along the International Border targeting their Chappar, Harpal and Charwa sectors opposite Ramgarh, Arnia and RS Pura in which nine Pakistanis including three Rangers and six civilians were killed and 26 others were injured while five posts and some bunkers were decimated.

The strong retaliation from the BSF was necessitated as Pakistani posts in these three Sectors were raining mortars and bullets in civilian areas falling along the International Border from Ramgarh to RS Pura, leading to migration and evacuation of the civilians in bullet proof bunkers.

In another development, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Bhat talked tough with his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza on the hotline stating that India reserved the right to retaliate appropriately to any incident leading to loss of lives of our troops in Pakistan shelling and firing. The talks were held at the behest of Pakistan DGMO.

On the Line of Control (LoC), Pakistan army opened firing in civilian areas at Khari Karmara in Poonch sector at 6.30 pm today causing injuries to Mohammad Shoaib, 8, S/o Mohammad Rafiq.

Tonight again, Pakistan resorted to heavy mortar shelling and firing in entire Ramgarh sector and parts of Arnia and R S Pura sectors. In Hiranagar sector, many people shifted to safer areas late tonight anticipating firing from across.

Authorities pressed bullet proof bunkers to evacuate civilians from Joura Farm in RS Pura, Arnia town, Jerda and SM Pur in Ramgarh and some other villages at the midnight last night as Pakistani Rangers were pounding civilian areas with 82mm mortars and there was apprehension of civilian casualties.

“As many as 727 civilians, majority of them women, children and elderly citizens were evacuated in the bullet proof bunkers and shifted to safer locations,” sources said.

Sources told the Excelsior that the BSF targeted posts of the Rangers at Chappar, Harpal and Charwa sectors in Sialkot district of Lahore province, opposite Ramgarh, Arnia and RS Pura sectors of Jammu district to silence the enemy guns, which were pounding the civilian areas.

Pakistan today admitted killing of nine persons on their side in the three Sectors including three Rangers and injuries to 26 others, many of them troopers. It said condition of number of injured was serious and death toll could significantly go up.

Pakistan summoned Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Gautam Bambawale and lodged protest over the killings.

Sources said India remained committed to its stand that it won’t initiate first fire and retaliate heavily only when fired upon by the Rangers.

Apart from the casualties, sources pointed out that Pakistan has suffered heavy damage in retaliatory firing by the BSF. Five posts of the Rangers and some bunkers were razed to ground overnight. Large number of villagers in forward areas of Sialkot sector of Pakistan have already deserted their houses.

Seven civilians were injured during past two nights in Arnia and RS Pura sectors and condition of two of them was stated to be serious. A BSF jawan and a woman have been martyred in Pakistan shelling and firing so far in Arnia sector.

In overnight firing, sources said, nearly 50 houses have been damaged in the three Sectors of Ramgarh, Arnia and RS Pura while large number of cattle were killed and injured. Authorities were conducting survey to find out exact number of cattle dead and wounded in Pakistan shelling and firing. A number of cattle shed and other structures were also damaged.

Shelling stopped around 6 am today.

Meanwhile, following intense shelling last night and heavy damages suffered by Pakistan, the civilians from various border villages of Ramgarh sector in Samba district and Arnia and RS Pura sectors in Jammu district, migrated tonight to safer areas anticipating that Pakistan, frustrated by the losses, might again resort to shelling.

Authorities said a number of relief camps including the Government buildings and premises of religious and social organizations have been designated as the camps for border dwellers. However, number of people have shifted to houses of their relatives while others were putting up in the relief camps.

People from some border villages in RS Pura sector held demonstration in the border town today demanding strong reply to Pakistan for frequent violations of ceasefire. They also demanded 5 marla plots for the border people, free and regular power supply and other facilities to the people living along the International Border.

Director Health Dr Gurjit Singh visited border villages and directed doctors and para-medical staff to remain stationed at all health centres round-the-clock to help Pakistan shelling and firing victims. He assured the people that they will be provided all possible medical help in the village hospitals. He also directed stationing of ambulance in the border village hospitals.

Meanwhile, in a blunt message, the Indian Army today conveyed to Pakistan that it reserves the right to “retaliate appropriately” to any incident leading to the loss of lives of its troops due to Pakistani firing along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a telephonic conversation, Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen A K Bhatt conveyed to his Pakistani counterpart that the trend of cross-border infiltration with “active support” of Pakistani forward posts has been continuing, impacting peace and tranquility in the border areas, the Army said.

“Lt Gen Bhatt reiterated that the Indian Army is a professional Army and reserves the right to retaliate appropriately to any incident leading to loss of lives of Indian troops,” it said.

Bhatt also told Pakistan DGMO Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza that cross-border infiltration was also impacting internal security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and that this was evident from continued attempts of sniping and targeting of Indian troops undertaken through cross-border actions “duly supported” by the Pakistan army troops, the Army said.

The DGMO also reaffirmed that the Indian Army would like to maintain peace and tranquility along the LoC provided there was a reciprocal effort from Pakistan.

The telephonic conversation was initiated by Maj Gen Mirza who claimed the Indian Army was targeting Pakistani civilians in the Jammu sector.

“The Indian DGMO in his response highlighted that all ceasefire violations in the Jammu sector were initiated by Pakistani Rangers and the BSF troops deployed only responded appropriately to them.

“It was also emphasized that no targeted firing on civilians was carried out by the Indian troops. Apart from this, firing by BSF troops was initiated against armed intruders attempting to infiltrate from close proximity of Pakistani posts along Amritsar border,” the Army said.

The LoC in Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a spurt in ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops and the Indian Army has been retaliating effectively to Pakistani actions.

We Made IITs, Pakistan Made Lashkar, Says Sushma Swaraj At UN: 10 Points

Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj takes on Pakistan in her speech at UN General Assembly

United Nations: In a take down of Pakistan for its non-stop support to terrorism, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj today dismissed Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's accusations of violating human rights, telling the United Nations General Assembly, "Look who is talking". "We are completely engaged in fighting poverty; alas our neighbour Pakistan seems only engaged in fighting us," Ms Swaraj said in a hard-hitting speech that took swipes at Islamabad for exporting terror that kills hundreds of people. Ms Swaraj also asked Pakistani leaders to introspect, reminding them that though both countries became independent at the same time, India is globally known as an IT superpower, and Pakistan, "as the pre-eminent export factory for terror".

Here are the top 10 points of Sushma Swaraj's speech:

  1. "We set up IITs, IIMs, AIIMS and ISRO. What did Pakistan make? They set up Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Haqqani Network, Hizbul Mujahiddeen," said Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, who addressed the gathering of leaders from 193 countries for the second consecutive year. She spoke in Hindi.
  2. Ms Swaraj said a country that has been the world's greatest exporter of havoc, death and inhumanity became a champion of hypocrisy by preaching about humanity from this podium. The jibe was aimed at Pakistan Prime Minister, who had devoted much of his first address accusing India of terror against his country and what he referred to as "war crimes" in Kashmir.
  3. Sushma Swaraj also spoke about climate change and UN reforms. But before she outlined India's vision on these points, she took Pakistan to task for its support to terror.
  4. She had a word of advice for India's neighbour as well. "If Pakistan had spent on its development what it has spent on developing terror, both Pakistan and the world would be safer and better-off today," she said to a loud applause at the UNGA.
  5. Turning to world leaders at the UN meet, Ms Swaraj wondered how the world could fight terror together if there was no agreement on who the enemy was. If even the United Nations Security Council cannot agree on the listing of terrorists, how can we fight together?" she said, an oblique reference to China blocking India's request to blacklist Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.
  6. Complimenting Ms Swaraj for delivering a "strong message" on the dangers of terrorism at the world meet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described it an "incredible" and "insightful" speech. "She has made India extremely proud at the world stage," PM Modi tweeted.
  7. India has caustically described Pakistan as a country whose counter-terrorism policy was to "mainstream and upstream terrorists" by either providing safe havens to terror leaders in its military town or protecting them with political careers -- a reference to Osama bin Laden.
  8. The foreign minister has called for terrorists' funding, their weapon supply, training and political support to be systematically cut off.
  9. Sushma Swaraj had earlier asked the BRICS grouping comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to condemn efforts, including by states, of using religion to sponsor terrorism against other nations.
  10. The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism or CCIT was proposed by India in 1996 to enhance prosecution and extradition of terrorists.