Saturday, May 25, 2019

With An Eye On China, Eastern Command Unit Test Fires BrahMos Missile From Car Nicobar Islands

In 2018, the Indian government cleared the fourth regiment, which has over 100 upgraded BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, for deployment along the Sino-India border

New Delhi: The Indian Army's Eastern Command Unit, which looks after the China border, has "validated the deep penetration capability" of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile "as part of joint training by Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force".

A BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile was successfully test-fired by a Unit of Eastern Command, Indian Army from Car Nicobar Islands at 1450 hr on 22 May 2019 as part of joint training by Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force. The Combat missile was test fired on a specially designed target chosen at a range of 270 Km, thus validating deep penetration capability by the supersonic cruise missile and accurate engagement of targets in depth.

The launch of the BrahMos missile involved coordination with large number of agencies for a successful and smooth conduct of firing. It was a cohesive effort of all three services demonstrating high standards of Inter Service Synergy.

Lt Gen MM Naravane, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command witnessed the launch along with other officers and congratulated the Unit and all agencies involved in the process, resulting in the successful launch of the Combat missile.

BrahMos missile has by now established itself as a major 'Force Multiplier' in modern day battlefield with impeccable multi role and multi platform launch capabilities furthering the confidence amongst our troops.

"The BrahMos missile has by now established itself as a major 'Force Multiplier' in modern day battlefield with impeccable multi role and multi-platform launch capabilities furthering the confidence amongst our troops", the army statement read.

In 2018, the Indian government approved another regiment of 100 BrahMos missiles for the region. The step invited a sharp reaction from the Chinese military, which warned not to make such decisions and asked to "do more for peace and stability in the border region rather than contrary".

Fighter Jets, Submarines, Combat Vehicles, Carbines: The Wish List of IAF, Navy And Army

Now, their hope hinges on the new government under the leadership of Narendra Modi

Indian defence forces need a range of latest weaponry to ensure a strong deterrence capability against China and Pakistan. They are awaiting the formation of the new Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government following Lok Sabha election 2019. While the Indian Navy needs lethal submarines and fighters for its aircraft carriers, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is expecting 114 jets to make up for the depleting squadron strength. Now, their hope hinges on the new government under the leadership of Narendra Modi.

Indian Army needs new and technologically advanced Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) i.e. armoured vehicles to ensure faster transportation of troops in the event of a war. The Indian Army now uses approximately 1200 Russian BMP armoured vehicles bought more than three decades ago in 1987. The Indian Army is waiting for the Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) for the last decade. Hopefully, the new government will speed up the acquisition of the much-needed FICV.

Similarly, the Army needs more than 3.5 lakh carbines and about 36,000 light machine guns for. These weapons are expected to arrive soon after the new government is formed. The Army is facing a severe shortage of rifles for the last two years. The IAF is in need of 114 fighters in order to handle the situation of a two-front war. The IAF needs 42 fighter squadrons but currently, it is down to only 31.

A squadron consists of 16 to 18 fighter jets. The IAF had started the process of buying 126 fighter jets during the Congress-UPA government but it never culminated. The 36 Rafale jets ordered by the previous Narendra Modi government under direct purchases will be of help to some extent. While the IAF is already scouting for 114 more jets, it is important to complete the purchase fast.

The Indian Navy has got many modern warships in the last few years. But the most important requirement of the Indian Navy is of a nuclear submarine. The Navy currently has a nuclear submarine INS Chakra, taken on lease from Russia, and the indigenously developed nuclear submarine INS Arihant. Besides it also has 9 Sindhu and Shishumar class submarines each. The indigenously developed first submarine INS Kalvari, of the Kalwari class, was recently inducted into the Navy.

But Indian Navy needs to increase it's submarine strength fast as both China and Pakistan are adding similar warships at a great pace. Navy had set a target of 24 new submarines by 2030, but only INS Kalvari has been commissioned. In addition to the 6 Kalvari Class submarines, there were six modern diesel-electric, 6 nuclear attack submarines and 6 ballistic nuclear submarines planned in collaboration with foreign companies i.e. Strategic Partnership Model.

The entire plan to have more submarines has been going on for quite some time now. Apart from this, the Indian Navy needs fighter jets for the first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. There is a possibility of INS Vikrant joining the Navy in the next two years but the force is waiting for fighter jets for the same.

Why Modi Govt Needs To Focus On Affordable, Sustainable And Prioritised Modernisation of Indian Armed Forces?

Accordingly, ‘Equipment Modernisation Strategy’ must address the strategic, technological and fiscal environments and build our equipping priorities based on value, vulnerability and risks in temporal terms. Why Modi govt needs to focus on affordable, sustainable and prioritised modernisation of Indian armed forces?

by Lt Gen A B Shivane

Inadequate budgetary support, decision paralysis, lack of accountability and responsibility, frustrating procurement cycles and weak defence industrial base are only some of the ills. The key remedy is that the trajectory of defence budget which has hit rock bottom of 1962 debacle, be gradually reversed to attain 2.5 to 3% of GDP. Further, defence budget needs to dovetail a fifteen-year assured financial perspective with inbuilt non-lapsabilty.

Greater accountability and mixed uniform and civil manning of MoD is essential for accountability. Even the defence services need to review their modernisation strategy to a more pragmatic model. Accordingly, ‘Equipment Modernisation Strategy’ must address the strategic, technological and fiscal environments and build our equipping priorities based on value, vulnerability and risks in temporal terms. To build and maintain the desired capabilities, we must focus on affordable, sustainable, prioritised and cost effective modernisation decisions which integrate mature technologies and incremental improvements, while investing in emerging technologies for the future in a spiral approach.

Inadequacies in the Present Approach to Modernisation Although modernisation is an ongoing process however, there are inadequacies and infirmities in the present, which are listed under:-

• The present approach is personality-oriented approach and not an institutionalised approach, resulting in frequent cancellations / review even of cases, sometimes at advance stage resulting in waste of time and man hours retarding capabilities.

• In the present dispensation, budget seems to be driving modernisation and not vice versa or a balance between these conflicting requirements. Resultantly schemes which may have manifested to a contract stage after years of effort are not progressed / diluted due to insufficient budget.

• Modernisation endeavours and QRs (Qualitative Requirements) are predominantly driven by acquisition of state-of-the-art capabilities which are either unrealistic or cost prohibitive. Lack of pragmatism and quest for ‘top of the line’ capability often result in denial of even available mature technologies. More often than not the procurement and kitting cycle is longer than the technological cycle due to sluggish processes and time insensitivity.

• While there is a scaling committee in place, but the quest for uniform scaling a large military is cost exorbitant and often at the cost of another capability.

• The hard disk memory of defence equipment scams of the past has given way for a risk averse culture in the processing and decision-making chain, especially of high value procurement which merit either a MoF or CCS approval. Thus, while there is accountability for decisions there is no accountability for indecisiveness and time eg FICV case.

• Modernisation, expansion and sustenance are not balanced within the meagre budgetary allocation. Expansion and modernisation cannot go hand in hand. Further, modernisation and sustenance are two sides of the same coin. This balance needs to be addressed to obviate voids and foster prioritised modernisation needs.


Modernisation will be to balance capability, sustainability, and readiness within the allocated resources to achieve the desired ends. This requires us to build our equipping priorities based on value, vulnerability and risks in temporal terms. The contours of such a strategy will entail:-

• Tiered Modernisation. This approach prioritises in terms of progressive capabilities and tiered modernisation while mitigating the risks of low funding reality.

• Spiral Approach to Technology Induction. The need is to encourage indigenous solutions and integrate mature technologies with incremental improvements, while investing in future disruptive technologies.

• Risk – Vulnerability Analysis. Calibrated modernisation relates to prioritised modernisation based on acquisitions adding maximum value to combat effectiveness, mitigating critical vulnerabilities and accepting certain risks in temporal terms.

• Cost Informed Decisions. Modernisation decisions must be both affordable and cost effective within the overall budget to include life cycle costs. The opportunity cost of “over-spending” to close a specific high cost gap is that we will not be able to afford closing several other gaps; thus, we must make cost informed decisions to manage ‘best bang for the buck’.

New Emerging Threats Present New Foreign Policy Challenges Before Modi 2.0

The new government would need to strengthen ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), home to eight million Indian diaspora and their livelihoods, Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Australia where a number of opportunities will arise.

India is wading through trying times and the International discourse is fraught with unpredictability, unilateralism and multiple centres of conflict that would pose challenges and impinge in short and medium term on the pursuit of our national interests says, foreign policy experts.

The new government would need to strengthen ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), home to eight million Indian diaspora and their livelihoods, Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Australia where a number of opportunities will arise.

According to Ambassador Anil Trigunayat, “One of the biggest will be the art of managing the opposites in zero-sum game scenarios for example the US Vs Russia or Iran or China where certain choices could be forced upon. The neighbourhood will have to be managed with dexterity and non-reciprocal manner.”

He says that Africa and Latin America will have to be cultivated with clarity and greater vigour and focus. Soft power projection will have to be professional, consistent and long term. India could work for alternate foreign policy initiatives and choices that are necessarily traditional if we wish to play an appropriate role in global affairs. Of course, economic diplomacy has to be clearly articulated and robust to match India’s rising aspirations.

Says Prof Srikanth Kondapalli, at Jawaharlal Nehru University “The foreign policy priorities of the new government will be reflected in the President’s speech to the Joint Parliamentary session in June. Broadly, these include firstly protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, protecting India’s rights in the immediate neighbourhood including in the Indian Ocean region and creating conditions for economic growth.

Secondly, Kondapalli says, given the recent Air Force strike at Balakot, the new government is likely to consolidate gains in this regard and make political overtures in Jammu and Kashmir.

Thirdly, the new government needs to evolve a sound strategy one to address the fallout of reducing oil imports from Iran and at the same time diversifying towards renewable as the oil prices are steadily increasing in the recent years. This would be a Herculean task for the new government.

Lastly, relations with major powers like the US, Russia, the European Union, China and Japan are likely to attract the attention of the new government as India has been increasingly focusing on the dual tasks of external stability and economic growth rates. A more nuanced approach is likely to be formulated even as New Delhi protects its core interests, Kondapalli opines.

Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, former secretary Ministry of External Affairs points out that the new government faces multiple challenges on the foreign policy front. “Foremost is the tension between the US and Iran, which threatens to engulf the GCC. It also has potential fallout on the energy security of India,” he says.

On the immediate horizon is the trade squeeze being put on India by the US on the trade front – the latest salvo being the withdrawal of the GSP treatment and the ongoing negotiations on increased duties on Indian steel, aluminium and other products.

“Chinese President Xi Jinping will come calling some – perhaps in August – and on the agenda will be India’s ballooning trade deficit with China and the challenges. India because of the Belt and Road Initiative Projects (BRI) of China in the Indian ocean and the neighbourhood as well as the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC) which violates Indian sovereignty. A challenge before India is to ensure that Chinese industry does not stifle Indian industries – especially in consumer products and durables,” says Wadhwa.

From a security point of view, according to Wadhwa, China’s forays into the Indian Ocean remain a matter of concern and India will have to undertake appropriate measures to safeguard our interests.

There will be calls to restart a dialogue in Pakistan. “While there will be pressure to restart a dialogue with Pakistan, India would do well to insist on Pakistan cracking down on militancy and terrorist activities in its own territory,” Wadhwa adds.

In Afghanistan, India faces a prospect of being left out in the cold in the peace process involving the US and Taliban and Pakistan would like to step into this space. India faces a strong test ahead in terms of actions it could undertake.

On the trade front, there will be pressure on the new government to sign on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has been a protracted stint of negotiations.

Doval Doctrine: The End of Separatists Had Begun, Now The Menace Would End

by Vicky Nanjappa

New Delhi: The past five years have witnessed a sustained action against the separatists of the Kashmir Valley.

The Valley has witnessed two major developments over the past couple of years. One is the Doval doctrine and the second is an iron fist by the Indian Army.

"Do not overreact, it will pass off as they cannot sustain beyond a point." This is one of those very famous lines from National Security Adviser Ajit Doval's doctrine for Jammu and Kashmir.

The government came under criticism for not talking to the separatists. However the government decided to implement Doval's doctrine and it did pay off.

An senior official in New Delhi explained that talking to the separatists was not an option. It is not as though they would tow the line of the Indian government had we tried speaking to them, he also said. The approach towards the Kashmir problem was based on the Doval doctrine. He had made it clear that there was no need to overreact as these troublemakers could not sustain beyond a point.

The broader message that Doval was sending out is that appeasement will not work and if these people in the Valley do manage to sustain beyond a point then there would be a price to pay.

Doval says that the biggest problem was the policy of appeasement that was being followed since 1947. He felt that the focus should have been to vacate the Pakistan forces out instead of going to the United Nations. Also, by accepting Article 370 in the state, it only made the people of Jammu and Kashmir look different and this led to separatism.

Yasin Malik On The Mat:

Yasin Malik was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a terror funding case. Malik has without a doubt been one of the most dreaded persons in the Valley and his crimes range from killing of Indian Air Force (IAF) officials, the genocide of Kashmiri pandits, just to name a few.

The action against Malik was a much awaited one and the man is set to face justice after being given a reprieve by successive governments, both in J&K as well as the Centre. Malik was at the centre of terror related activities for a long time in the Valley.

He saw another opportunity in the genocide of Kashmiri pandits and led several movements on the issue. Malik got away with nearly everything. The government was silent when terrorists had issued threats against the Pandits in newspapers.

The government remained silent when rapes and murders of Pandits took place.

Amidst this, he also continued to receive huge chunks of money from various sources in Pakistan through Hawala.

Cases dating back to the 1990s were not probed properly. Malik also played his cards well and one day declared that he was shunning violence and would follow the Gandhian path to carry forward his movement. Even as he made this statement, he continued to support stone pelters and instigate the youth against the Armed Forces.

A 30 year old case continued to lie in the cold storage. The case related to the killing of Rubaiya Saeed, the sister of Mehbooba Mufti. The other case related to the killing of four IAF personnel in Kashmir.

Yasin Malik and ten others were chargesheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the Terrorist and Disruptive Act. The CBI named Yasin Malik as the main accused in both these cases.

The CBI moved the Jammu and Kashmir high court seeking vacation of the stay and also shifting of the proceedings to Jammu. In 2009, the Srinagar bench had granted an interim stay of the trial before the special anti-terror court.

The HC held that the Srinagar bench had no jurisdiction to decide a case that is being tried in a Jammu special court. Justice Gita Mittal further held that the petitions filed by Malik and others at the Srinagar wing could not have been taken up for consideration.

The hearing has to be sent to the Jammu wing for consideration, the court further held. The court also noted that only the Jammu wing of the HC was authorised to hear and decide a plea against the TADA court.

Malik has been investigated several times in the past for his role in channelising funds to create unrest and aid terror related activities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

NIA sources say that the funding has gone both to terrorist groups and separatists as well. Money has been pumped into the Hurriyat Conference, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Islamic Students Front, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Jamiat ul-Mujahideen.

In the case of Syed Ali Shah Geelani an FIR had been registered in the year 1997 in which it was alleged that he had got funding to the tune of Rs 190 million from Saudi Arabia and also another donation of Rs 100 million from the Kashmir American Council.

Investigations had revealed that all these funds were routed through a Delhi based Hawala operative. It was also found that Yasin Malik had received funding of 1 lakh US dollars and the money was being carried by a lady called Shazia. The NIA says that it is probing into all these angles. We are looking at each case since the 1995 onwards and this will help us get a better picture of the entire racket, the officer further added.

US Working With India On Enhanced ASW Capability

US sends LoA to India for 24 MH-60R Seahawk maritime helicopters for the navy

Clearly, as the challenge from the Chinese Navy grows, the US needs to work with core allies and partners to shape more effective defences in the years ahead. India is clearly a partner in this effort. According to an article published in April 2019 by our partner India Strategic, the US State Department has approved sale of MH-60R ASW helicopters to India

New Delhi. The US State Department has approved the sale of 24 Lockheed Martin MH-60R anti-submarine helicopters to India, paving the way for final negotiations to set the price and what on-board equipment and weapons will be required by the Indian Navy.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) of the State Department announced approval on April 2, under the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) programme “for an estimated $2.6 billion” for the multi-mission helicopters. Procedurally, DSCA has to notify the US Congress, which it did, saying the proposed sale will strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and “improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.”

This is the first time that the Indian Navy will get one of the most advanced Anti-submarine helicopters, equipped with Raytheon’s MK-54 torpedoes, Lockheed Martin’s Hellfire missiles, Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) and its Rockets, Night Fighting systems, sophisticated radars and secure communication devices. Just about the same that the US Navy uses.

The Indian Navy had decided about five years ago to go in for this helicopter, then Made and Sold by Sikorsky, and as usual there were procedural hiccups in India. Later, Lockheed Martin acquired Sikorsky, and the deal was closed.

Air Vice Marshal AJS Walia (Retd) and later Dr Vivek Lall, Lockheed Martin’s Vice President for Strategy and Business Development, coordinated the negotiations with Indian authorities. The Ministry of Defence will now set up a Price Negotiations Committee (PNC) to finalise the deal, and the supply of helicopters will commence around three years after the first payment is made.

Indian Navy sources said the helicopters are needed at the earliest possible, and the US company may be asked to expedite the delivery on As Soon As Possible basis.

As for the Weapons and Systems on board, DSCA said:

The Government of India has requested to buy twenty-four (24) MH-60R Multi-Mission helicopters, equipped with the following: 

Thirty (30) APS-153(V) Multi-Mode radars (24 installed, 6 spares); sixty (60) T700-GE-401C engines (48 installed and 12 spares); twenty-four (24) Airborne Low Frequency System (ALFS) (20 installed, 4 spares); thirty (30) AN/AAS-44C(V) Multi-Spectral Targeting System (24 installed, 6 spares); fifty-four (54) Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) (48 installed, 6 spares); one thousand (1,000) AN/SSQ-36/53/62 sonobuoys; ten (10) AGM-114 Hellfire missiles; five (5) AGM-114 M36-E9 Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); four (4) AGM-114Q Hellfire Training missiles; thirty-eight (38) Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System (APKWS) rockets; thirty (30) MK-54 torpedoes; twelve (12) M-240D Crew Served guns; twelve (12) GAU-21 Crew Served guns; two (2) Naval Strike Missile Emulators; four (4) Naval Strike Missile Captive Inert Training missiles; one (1) MH-60B/R Excess Defense Article (EDA) USN legacy aircraft. 

Also included are seventy (70) AN/AVS-9 Night Vision Devices; fifty-four (54) AN/ARC-210 RT-1990A(C) radios with COMSEC (48 installed, 6 spares); thirty (30) AN/ARC-220 High Frequency radios (24 installed, 6 spares); thirty (30) AN/APX-123 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders (24 installed, 6 spares); spare engine containers; facilities study, design, and construction; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; communication equipment; ferry support; publications and technical documentation; personnel training and training equipment; US Government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support.

The total estimated cost is $2.6 billion.

Another Success Story For DRDO's Made In India: 500 Kg Inertially-Guided Bomb Successfully Tested

Last week, the India Navy and the DRDO had successfully test fired from the test range a Man-Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) which has advanced features like an image infrared radar seeker with integrated avionics

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired an indigenously-developed 500 kg Inertially-guided bomb at the Pokhran test firing range in Rajasthan.

Fired from SU-30MKI fighter aircraft, the guided bomb achieved the desired range and hit the target at 30 km with high precision.

The DRDO this month has had several successful test firing trials. Last week, the India Navy and the DRDO had successfully test fired from the test range a Man-Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) which has advanced features like an image infrared radar seeker with integrated avionics.

Earlier this week, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had successfully tested BrahMos air version missile from Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. The IAF had said that the launch from the aircraft was smooth and the missile followed the desired trajectory before directly hitting the land target.

The IAF has plans to have 40 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter planes to be fitted with the BrahMos (designated PJ-10) missiles which will help it in carrying out strikes at the enemy targets. These missiles have been made lighter for being carried on the plane.

DRDO, Made in India, Inertially guided bomb, IAF, Indian Air Force, SU-30MKI fighter aircraft, MPATGM, Anti-tank Guided Missile, BrahMos, Sukhoi, PJ-10, ABHYAS, PINAKA, defence news

Before that, DRDO had also carried out the flight test of ABHYAS – High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from test range in Chandipur in Balasore, Odisha. The ABHYAS missile has been designed on an in-line small gas turbine engine and it uses the indigenously developed MEMS-based navigation system.

In March, the PINAKA-guided-missile from the Pokhran range was test fired. This indigenous missile is a multiple rocket launcher produced by DRDO for the Indian Army.

From Engineering Dropout To Terrorist: Story of Hizbul Terrorist Who Quit Outfit

Musa rose to ranks in the group led by Burhan Wani after Idrees was killed by security forces in an encounter in 2015

NEW DELHI: Zakir Rashid, alias Commander Musa, the face and voice of a resurgent Islamic jihad in Kashmir who defied the entire separatist and militant leadership in the Valley, is a 23-year-old middle-class boy who flunked his exams at a private engineering college in Chandigarh before taking to militancy.

In Kashmir, militants are often mythologised in the local lore. Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, for example, was projected as highly educated even though he was a school dropout. Like Wani, his successor Musa, too, is a dropout.

He quit Ram Dev Jindal College, Chandigarh, after he failed his B.Tech exams in 2013, police sources said. Born Zakir Rashid Bhat on July 25, 1994 to Abdul Rashid Bhat, a resident of Noorpora in Awantipora, Musa was raised in comfort.

Musa's father is a government employee in the irrigation department, while Musa's siblings were studious and went on to do well in life. His brother Shakir became a doctor in Srinagar, while sister Shaheena is an employee of J&KBank.

Even though Musa got admission to class 9th at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Pulwama in 2008, he continued his studies at Noor Public School in his village and scored 65.4% marks in Class 10 exams.

He then went to the government higher secondary institution at Noorpora and passed his 12th in 2011 with 64.8% marks.

After dropping out of college, Musa joined the banned Hizbul Mujahideen terror group in the autumn of 2013 at the behest of his close friend, Idrees.

Musa rose to ranks in the group led by Burhan Wani after Idrees was killed by security forces in an encounter in 2015. Several FIRs have been registered against Musa for grenade attacks and killings.

Police said Musa's defiance of Hizbul on Saturday and his declaration to go alone with his band of indigenous militants in Kashmir was an indication that he and his group were self-reliant.

"They have been looting banks and stealing weapons from the forces... They do not really need help from the Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan.

They can operate autonomously," a police officer said. Another police source, however, said, "They are loosely structured. So we do not know what his dissociation will mean on the ground."

PAK SCAN: India Cautioned Not To Change Status of Occupied Kashmir

The spokesman said that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif would reach Islamabad on Thursday night

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday cautioned India against changing the constitutional status of occupied Kashmir and reminded it that its high-handed tactics could not suppress the freedom movement.

“Pakistan opposes any move which violates the United Nations Security Council resolutions on the Jammu & Kashmir dispute. In principle, there cannot be any change in the status of Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir until a UN-administered plebiscite is held in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions,” FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing.

The BJP, which has won the Lok Sabha polls and would get a second consecutive term, had pledged to revoke Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gives a special status to occupied Kashmir. The BJP had also expressed its intent to annual Article 35A on the Constitution, which also relates to Kashmir.

FO says Pakistan opposes any move that violates UNSC resolutions on disputed region

The spokesman mentioned that Indian security forces had in fresh acts of violence martyred 14 Kahsmiris in Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Sopore and Bhaderwah areas of the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

He also condemned the house arrest of All Parties Hurriyat Conference leaders Syed Ali Shah Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and imposition of curfew across Srinagar on May 21 to prevent a march towards the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Eidgah.

“We also condemn the illegal detention of APHC leader, Masarrat Aalam Bhatt, under the draconian Public Safety Act, which is the worst example of lawlessness and human rights violations in IOK,” he added.

The spokesman expressed concern over continued illegal detention, despite deteriorating health, of senior Hurriyat leaders, including Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Masarat Alam Bhatt, Dr Hameed Fayaz, Syeda Aasiya Andrabi, Nahida Nasreen, Fahmida Sofi, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Mohammad Aiyaz Akbar, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Peer Saifullah, Mehrajudin Kalwal, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Maulana Sarjan Barkati, Qazi Yasir Ahmad, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Syed Shakeel Ahmad, Zahoor Ahmad Watali, Shahid-ul-Islam, Advocate Zahid Ali, Moulana Mushtaq Veeri, Muhammad Yousuf Mir, and over a thousand other Hurriyat leaders, activists, and students languishing in India’s notorious Tihar Jail in New Delhi and various other jails in occupied Kashmir.

“Imposing curbs, restrictions and caging the Kashmiri leadership can neither kill the reality of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and the ideology that runs deep in the heart of every single citizen of IOK, nor will it wash away memories of the martyrdom of great leaders and all the martyrs of the Kashmir struggle from the minds of Kashmiris,” he said.

ZARIF: The spokesman said that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif would reach Islamabad on Thursday night. He will meet Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday.

Commenting on the latest escalation between Iran and US plus its Arab allies, he said, the issues need to be resolved through dialogue.

“We believe the situation in the region is serious and needs to be addressed through dialogue by all parties. We expect all sides to show restraint, as any miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict,” the spokesman added.

Modi’s Big Win Has Averted A Nightmare Scenario: Brahma Chellaney

Faced with a choice between a stable, firm government and a possible retreat to political drift and paralysis, voters in the world’s largest democracy have returned Narendra Modi to power with a thumping majority. This reflects the desire of Indians for a dynamic, assertive leadership to help revitalise the country so that it stops punching below its weight.

Mr. Modi’s election triumph represents a fresh mandate to reinvent India as a more secure, confident and competitive country.

The Indian vote came after elections in most other countries in southern Asia. In the past 18 months, elections have brought pro-China communists to power in Nepal and a military-backed party to office in Pakistan, while voters have booted out a quasi-dictator in the Maldives, elected a new government in Bhutan and, in Bangladesh, retained a prime minister who has turned the country into one of Asia’s fastest-growing economies.

The only country in the region not to go to the polls recently is Sri Lanka, where the Supreme Court forced the country’s President to roll back a coup after he unconstitutionally dismissed the Prime Minister and called fresh parliamentary elections.

India’s biggest neighbour, however, is the world’s largest, strongest and longest-surviving autocracy, China – a reminder that the new Indian government’s most pressing security challenges relate to the country’s neighbourhood, not least a deepening strategic nexus between China and Pakistan. Both these nuclear-armed allies stake claims to vast swaths of Indian territory and employ asymmetric warfare.

Not surprisingly, national security weighed on the Indian voters’ minds, especially because, in the run-up to the elections, a Pakistan-based, United Nations-designated terrorist group claimed responsibility for a massacre of more than 40 paramilitary troops in Indian Kashmir. An Indian retaliatory airstrike on the group’s hideout in the Pakistani heartland helped burnish Mr. Modi’s credentials as a strong leader.

Mr. Modi’s dramatic rise in 2014 from being a provincial politician to heading the national government had much to do with the Indian electorate’s yearning for an era of decisive government after a scandal-marred, decade-long tenure of former prime minister Manmohan Singh, who was widely seen as a proxy of the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi (no relation to the apostle of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi).

Mr. Modi’s stint in office has helped change Indian politics and diplomacy. He has animated the country’s foreign policy by often departing from conventional methods and shibboleths. And as underscored by his latest election triumph, he has helped turn his Bharatiya Janata (Indian People’s) Party, or BJP, into India’s largest political force.

The BJP has long espoused the cause of the country’s Hindu majority while claiming to represent all religious communities. It sees itself as being no different than the Christian political parties that played a key role in Western Europe’s post-Second World War recovery and economic and political integration. Mr. Modi has subtly played the Hindu nationalist card to advance his political ambitions.

However, like U.S. President Donald Trump, Mr. Modi has become increasingly polarising. Consequently, Indian democracy perhaps is as divided and polarised as U.S democracy. Mr. Modi’s landslide election win is unlikely to heal the polarisation.

In fact, Mr. Modi, like Mr. Trump, is accused by his critics of behaving like an authoritarian strongman. The truth, however, is that Indian democracy, like American democracy, is robust enough to deter authoritarian creep.

If anything, the “strongman” tag that political opponents have given Mr. Modi helps to cloak his failings. For example, his “Make in India” initiative to promote domestic manufacturing has failed to seriously take off. He has also been reluctant to introduce national-security reform. India’s defence modernization has lagged, widening the yawning power gap with China.

However, to his credit, Mr. Modi has reduced political corruption and cut India’s proverbial red tape by streamlining regulations and reining in the bloated bureaucracy. For example, government permits and licences can be sought online.

A new simplified national tax regime serves as further advertisement that India is open for business. The tax and regulatory overhaul will likely yield major dividends in Mr. Modi’s second term.

To be sure, India’s economic growth has remained impressive. Its economy now is about 50 per cent larger than when Mr. Modi took office five years ago.

After overtaking France, India – the world’s fastest-growing major economy – has just edged out its former colonial master, Britain, to leap to the fifth place in the international GDP rankings. But if GDP is measured in terms of purchasing power parity, India’s economy ranks third behind the United States and China.

India is respected as the first developing economy that, from the beginning, has striven to modernise and prosper through a democratic system. Less known is that India’s British-style parliamentary democracy has fostered a fractious and fragmented polity, weighing down the country’s potential. Some 2,300 parties fielded candidates in the latest election.

The British-type parliamentary system is rife with inefficiencies, as Britain’s Brexit mess highlights. This system’s limitations appear greater in much bigger India, which is more populous and diverse than the whole of Europe.

Fortunately for India, Mr. Modi’s big win has averted a nightmare scenario – an indecisive election verdict fostering political paralysis.

India Declares Bangladesh Based Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen As Terror Outfit

The decision was taken in view of the arrests of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen (JuM) operatives by the Indian police from different parts of West Bengal in the last few months. Kolkata Police, during interrogations, said that the outfit is active in recruiting cadres for the group in bordering districts of the state

New Delhi — India's Ministry of Home Affairs has declared Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, which operates from Bangladesh, as a terrorist organisation following intelligence input indicating that the unit has plans to set up permanent bases within a 10 km area along the Bangladesh border.

Intelligence reports warned that the terror outfit is in the process of establishing a base close to India's eastern border in West Bengal, Assam, and Tripura states. The outfit has been also planning to spread its network in South India, with an overarching motive to establish a caliphate.

The notification issued by the Indian Home Ministry on 24 May stated that "the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh and its formations like Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen India or Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Hindustan and their manifestations have committed acts of terrorism, promoted acts of terrorism and have been engaged in radicalisation and recruitment of youth(s) for terrorist activities in India".

The Indian investigation agency established the involvement of the outfit in two major bomb blasts in 2014 and 2018. Police have arrested over 56 accused belonging to the outfit involved in the blasts and conducting terror activities in Assam and Bangladesh in the last few months.

India and Bangladesh have been sharing closer ties in tackling anti-terror activities under the incumbent government in Dhaka. On 20 May, Bangladeshi Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said that after receiving special intelligence input, security personnel have been taking action to stop potential terror attacks in the country.

Blast Rocks Mosque in Pakistan, 2 Dead, 15 Injured

An explosion occurred at the Rehmania Mosque during Friday prayers in Quetta, Pakistan's Pashtunabad area, according to Dunya News.

At least two people were killed and some 15 others injured on Friday when an explosion hit a mosque in the western Pakistani city of Quetta, broadcaster Geo TV reported, citing regional emergency services. According to Geo TV, the explosion took place during a prayer in which from 30 to 40 people participated.

Abdful Razzak Cheema, deputy inspector of police has told reporters that at least seven people were wounded in the blast. The epicentre of the blast was reportedly the place where the imam stood. Dunya News has reported citing the police that the bomb was hidden inside sacks of potatoes.

"Three of the injured are in critical condition including the prayer leader as the blast occurred near him", Quetta's police chief Abdur Razzaq Cheema stated.

The source of the explosion is not immediately clear and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident.

An-32 Fleet of IAF Allowed To Use Bio-Jet Fuel

The approval for use of bio-fuel to fly the Russian made fleet was given by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), officials said. IAF officials said the bio-fuel, to be used by AN-32 fleet, would be produced from tree borne oils (TBOs) sourced from tribal areas

NEW DELHI: In a significant move, the fleet of AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force was on Friday certified to fly on blended aviation fuel containing up to 10 per cent bio-jet fuel.

The approval for use of bio-fuel to fly the Russian made fleet was given by the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), officials said.

"IAF's formidable workhorse, the Russian made AN-32 aircraft was formally fleet certified to fly on blended aviation fuel containing up to 10 per cent of indigenous bio-jet fuel," IAF spokesperson Group Capt. Anupam Banerjee said.

The IAF undertook a series of evaluation tests and trials using the green aviation fuel for the last one year.

"The scope of these checks was in consonance with the international aviation standards. Today's approval is an acknowledgement of the meticulous testing using the indigenous bio-jet fuel by the IAF," Banerjee said.

The use of bio-fuel for military aircraft was cleared for use by IAF after months of exhaustive ground and flight trials.

The indigenous bio-jet fuel was first produced by the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun in 2013, but it could not be tested or certified for commercial use on aircraft due to lack of test facilities in the civil aviation sector.

On 27 July, 2018, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had formally announced IAF's intention to permit the use of all its resources for testing and certifying the indigenous fuel.

Since then, IAF's flight test crew and engineers have been evaluating the performance of this fuel against international standards.

IAF officials said the bio-fuel, to be used by AN-32 fleet, would be produced from tree borne oils (TBOs) sourced from tribal areas.

PAK SCAN: If Modi Returns

IF the exit polls are to be believed, Narendra Modi appears headed to return to power for another five-year term. Defying the pre-poll forecast, the right-wing BJP-lead coalition is expected to win a comfortable majority, riding on the wave of Hindu nationalism and aggressive national security slogans.

Described as the most divisive and most powerful Indian leader in decades, Modi’s re-election is likely to have significant implications for regional geopolitics given his jingoistic rhetoric. His election campaign largely revolved around projecting himself as India’s ‘Chowkidar’, and bashing Pakistan.

India is much more politically polarised with Modi trying to turn the country into a Hindu Rashtriya. Secularism, which kept the multi-ethnic and multi-faith country united, has weakened — that is likely to have a direct bearing on India’s regional policy under Modi 2.0. Depending on the scale of his electoral mandate, it may lead to a significant societal change in the country.

Not surprisingly, the prospect of Modi’s return to power is most distressing for India’s minorities. The BJP’s politics, rooted in Hindu supremacist groups, has polarised this heterogeneous country, raising fear and tensions. Mob violence against Muslims, who make up about 14 per cent of India’s population, and lower-caste Hindus has risen alarmingly. In many cases, the right-wing communal groups that form the nucleus of Modi’s support base have perpetrated the violence. And the bloodshed often goes unpunished. A divided and rudderless opposition will hardly be able to stop the BJP’s communal roller-coaster.

Unsurprisingly, the prospect of Modi’s return is most distressing for India’s minorities.

Unlike the 2014 elections when Modi swept into power on the basis of his economic agenda that got him the support of corporate India, this time, he garnered support on the basis of national security. India’s incursion into Pakistani territory, the first since the 1971 war, just weeks before the polls, was used by Modi to whip up nationalist fervour — even though the attack on alleged militant camps proved baseless, and Pakistan downed Indian Air Force jets.

Modi’s claim of destroying terrorist camps and killing hundreds of militants in the strike may be preposterous, but the incursion itself has huge symbolic significance and propaganda value for the Modi government. With that burst of jingoism, Modi’s approval ratings went up instantly. The portrait of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, the Indian pilot who was briefly made prisoner by Pakistan, adorned BJP rallies.

Modi’s recklessness may have won him votes in the Hindu heartland, but it brought the region close to a conflagration. The underlying calculation of Modi’s escalation was that India could afford this brinkmanship given the country’s growing diplomatic clout.

The Modi government has tried to redefine its nuclear threshold. He pursued a strategy of what is described as ‘vertical and horizontal’ escalation. He sought to test Pakistan’s capability to respond without crossing the threshold. Modi believed his government could manage the diplomatic fallout of an escalation because India is today much better placed in the world. Surely, as one of the fastest-growing economies, India’s standing has significantly improved. But Pakistan’s retaliation to the Balakot attack foiled Modi’s attempt to set a new norm. That, however, hasn’t affected India’s nationalist frenzy.

Modi in a second term would be facing multiple challenges, particularly on the economic front. Although the Indian prime minister seems to have emerged from the polls relatively unscathed by slower-than-expected economic growth, rising joblessness and the worsening plight of farmers, it will be a tough job for him to put the economy back on track in an increasingly polarised atmosphere and with India’s growing militarisation.

Modi’s re-election would certainly not be good news for Kashmiris fighting for their right to self-determination. The brutal use of force by the Indian military and the latter’s gross human rights violations have failed to crush the Kashmiris’ struggle. The situation in the disputed territory is worse than at any time in the past. One of the reasons behind Modi’s escalation was to divert the world’s attention from the popular uprising against Indian atrocities in India-held Kashmir.

The BJP has promised to abolish Article 370 of the Indian constitution that provides the disputed territory a special status. There is no indication of Modi 2.0 changing his policy on Kashmir. That may lead to a rise in violence in the occupied territory. Such a situation will have a direct bearing on relations between New Delhi and Islamabad. But blaming Pakistan will not help New Delhi deal with the Kashmiri struggle. What the Indian government refuses to accept is that it is India’s problem rather than an external challenge — and one that it needs to deal with. Confrontation with Pakistan will only aggravate the situation.

There is no indication of the easing of tensions with Pakistan under Modi 2.0. Modi’s re-election will be projected as a vindication of his belligerent policy towards Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan’s hope that it would be easier for his government to deal with a right-wing Indian government under Modi has rightly drawn huge scepticism. There is big question mark over whether, in his second term, Modi would change his policy of (what his national security adviser described as) “offensive defence”.

Modi is not Vajpayee, and it would be a grave mistake to equate the two. Modi seeks to use force rather than dialogue to resolve outstanding problems between the two countries. Surely, it is in the interest of Pakistan to bring regional tensions down and take a more prudent approach. Will Modi respond positively to Imran Khan’s peace gesture? It remains to be seen whether Modi 2.0 will be different than he was in his previous term.

Some Indian analysts do believe that a more confident Modi would resuscitate the currently stalled diplomatic dialogue with Pakistan at some point. But will the resumption of dialogue produce lasting peace in the subcontinent?

PAK SCAN: India’s Sequential Missile Tests

by Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

India’s sequential missiles tests mark that the newly elected government will be obliged to increase defence spending to restore the ‘punctured’ reputation of the Indian armed forces and pursue the regional strategic objectives with military might. It will continue investing in the missile program of the country. India recently did following missile tests, which reveals its growing military ambitions in the region and also validates Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘muscular policy.’

Last week, the Indian Navy conducted successfully a live firing test of a medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) using the cooperative engagement capability (CEC) sensor netting system, which allows the real-time sharing of sensor data on incoming air targets among warships.

India has successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile. Indeed, the ASAT missile test was a significant technological achievement of the DRDO which contribute constructively in India’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) program.

On 17 May 2017, the Indian Ministry of Defence stated, “The firing was undertaken on the western seaboard [of India] by Indian naval ships Kochi and Chennai wherein the missiles of both ships were controlled by one ship to intercept different aerial targets at extended ranges.” Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) jointly manufactured the MRSAM.

According to the Indian Ministry of Defence, the MRSAM would improve the combat effectiveness of the Indian Navy. It would provide “an operational edge over potential adversaries.” It is a debatable proclamation because both China and Pakistan have been systematically advancing their military capabilities.

Last month, DRDO conducted the sixth flight test of the nuclear-capable Nirbhay a subsonic long-range (1,000 kilometre), solid-fuel cruise missile from the Integrated Test Range on Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha. The missile can be armed with a 200-300-kilogram warhead.

It was reported that DRDO has been working on an extended-range air-launched variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, with an estimated strike range of around 800 kilometres. The operational realisation of both Nirbhay and advanced version of BrahMos would not be adequate shortly.

Previously, a few Nirbhay tests were not successful. India tested the anti-satellite (ASAT) missile on 27 March 2019, to demonstrate its prowess to destroy satellites in orbit. By testing ASAT missile, New Delhi joined the small group of countries with weapons to carry the war into space.

The interceptor employed a Kinetic Kill Vehicle to strike and shatter the target satellite. The test proves India’s counter-space capability and also contributes to its efforts in developing BMD capabilities.

Previously, only three States — the US, Russia and China — have ASAT missiles in their inventory. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come.

One such moment is today. India has successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile.” Indeed, the ASAT missile test was a significant technological achievement of the DRDO which contribute constructively in India’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) program.

India developed ASAT capability through its BMD program, which is a flagship project of the DRDO. India’s BMD program is aimed at producing two-tiered missile defensive systems that comprise the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) system and Advanced Air Defence (AAD).

The PAD provides long-range high-altitude ballistic missile interception during an incoming missile’s mid-course phase, and the AAD offers short-range, low-altitude defence against missiles in the terminal phase of their trajectory. The Prithvi Delivery Vehicle Mark-II (PDV MK-II) struck and destroyed 1,630-pound (740-kilogram) MICROSAT-R satellite orbiting at an altitude of 270 kilometres (170 miles).

The tests were conducted to boost the morale of the Indian armed forces and also assure the public that the Modi Government was vigilant of national security.

India launched this satellite in January 2019. The interceptor employed a Kinetic Kill Vehicle to strike and shatter the target satellite. The test proves India’s counter-space capability and also contributes to its efforts in developing BMD capabilities. Indeed, ASAT missile test exacerbates arms race in the outer space and have a destabilising impact on the South Asian strategic environment.

The MRSAM, Nirbhay and ASAT missiles provide a great striking advantage to the Indian armed forces. Satish Dua, former chief of integrated defence staff of the Indian army, pointed out: “India has to be fully equipped for war — whether it is subsurface, surface, air or space warfare.” The new missiles tests underscore that country has been fully equipping for war. However, these developments are a portent of the lethal arms race between the global and regional strategic competitors of India.

To conclude, the timing of the MRSAM, Nirbhay, and ASAT missiles tests was very critical. The missiles were fired during the polling in India. Indeed, the tests were conducted to boost the morale of the Indian armed forces and also assure the public that the Modi Government was vigilant of national security and continuously advancing its striking capability.