Saturday, August 19, 2017

Deal That Wasn't: No, India Has Not Sold Brahmos Missile To Vietnam

Brahmos is co-developed by Russia and India's Defence Research and Development Organisation

India's Brahmos deal with Vietnam may be in final stage but New Delhi denied sending any missiles to Hanoi yet

Amid the worst stand-off between India and China, a defence deal between Beijing's arch-rival Hanoi and New Delhi would have escalated the tension to a new heights. However, the government has firmly rejected the media reports about the sale of BrahMos missile to Vietnam that could have irked China.

“It is not correct, that is what I am trying to say. The person who has been quoted, the ministry has already rejected and they are saying that the news item which is running and which is out is incorrect," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. The denial comes after many in India took a local Vietnamese report as a confirmation of the deal.

Earlier in the day, a report in VN Express International was interpreted as the confirmation of the BrahMos sale. The report said that, “the purchase of defense equipment (BrahMos) is in line with Vietnam’s peaceful national defense policies.” Vietnamese foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang's words were seen as acceptance of the possible defence deal.

The Vietnamese media report said, “Hang didn't directly address the question, but said that the procurement of defense equipment "is in line with Vietnam’s peaceful national defense policies aimed at protecting the country.” Beijing would be keenly observing any such deal in the region especially that involves India and Vietnam. The defence ministry has yet not issued a statement on the BrahMos issue.

In February, while replying to a question in Lok Sabha on whether the government has any plans to sell Akash and BrahMos missile to Vietnam, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre had said that India has held talks with the South Asian country on the issue. "India and Vietnam share a strategic partnership. Defence cooperation, including supply of defence equipment, is an important aspect of this partnership.

"Both countries have held discussions on range of issues in this regard," he had said in a written reply. Vietnam, which is involved in a territorial dispute with China, is keen to get it hands on the supersonic missiles that can be fired on land, water and under water.

Why India Preferred U.S. Made Apache Over Russian Mi-28N Helicopter?

A Russian Mi-28N Attack Gunship

Armed with Hellfire and Stinger missiles, six Apache attack helicopters are set to become part of the Indian Army after the Defence Ministry on Thursday cleared a proposal to procure them.

The Army has been demanding such attack helicopters for a long time. The Army had originally sought the government's approval for the acquisition of 11 Apache helicopters from the US.

In 2015, the Indian Airforce had inked a deal for 22 such choppers. According to reports, the IAF had strongly opposed the creation of a separate mini-Air wing by the Army.

The Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter is the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter in the world.

When India set out to buy attack helicopters, it had to choose between the Apache AH-64D Longbow and the Russian made Mi-28N "Night Hunter".

The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-turboshaft attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. It features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a 30 mm M230 chain gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft's forward fuselage.

The Mi-28 combat helicopter has been developed by Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant and is known by the NATO codename Havoc. In August 1996 Mil rolled out a prototype of the day and night capable version, the Mi-28N Night Havoc. The first production Mi-28N took its first flight in April 2004 and began flight testing with the Russian Air Force in June 2005.

AH-64 Apache  Vs Mi-28N:

Several experts believe that the Mi-28N was just as good as the AH-64D Apache Longbow. Experts also are of opinion that in terms of flight performance, arms specifications, combat survivability, and operating convenience Mi-28N is superior to Apache. But, when it comes to shooting accuracy, the US chopper is better than the Russian aircraft. Also, the ammunition of the Russian helicopter is smaller.

Another reason stated by experts is that India wants to diversify its arms procurement and not depend on only one supplier. Indian already has many defence equipment, choppers and fighter jets made by Russia. India has tried to move to even Israel and France in recent times for its defence procurement than depend only on Russia like it used to be some two decades back.

India has also not been satisfied with Russia's execution of its obligations. Defence journalists have quoted Indian officials as saying that Russia does not meet the requirements of delivery dates, modernisation and repairs.

Apache has also proved its mettle in many conflict zones world over including Afghanistan.

General Atomics Targets To Sell 100 Avenger Drones To India

The Avenger extended-range UAV is manufactured by General Atomics. (General Atomics)

Fewer than a dozen Avenger drones have been purchased since the product first flew in 2009, but General Atomics believes it may be able to sell about 90 aircraft in the next few years to a single international buyer, its president said Wednesday.

General Atomics has struggled to find a major customer for the Avenger, also called the Predator C, since the collapse of the U.S. Air Force’s MQ-X program and the U.S. Navy’s UCLASS program, both of which sought out UAVs that could survive contested environments.

But speaking to reporters on Aug. 16, GA president David Alexander said the company was engaged with an unnamed foreign nation on a potential Avenger purchase.

“A quantity of 90. It would be a big program,” he said.

Robert Walker, senior director of strategic development, added that “a lot of work” needs to be done to refine the requirements and that details were still being ironed out.

Although GA officials would not spell out which country is interested in the UAV, signs point to India. In April 2016, Reuters reported that India’s Air Force had inquired about the potential procurement of up to 100 Predator Cs.

Even if India, if it is the unnamed country interested in the Avenger, decides to press on with the sale — which is especially uncertain given the country’s fondness for rapidly changing weapons acquisition plans — it is unclear whether the United States would agree to export the armed UAVs. Unmanned aircraft are currently subject to the Missile Technology Control Regime, which spells out a “presumption of denial” for Category I systems like the Avenger.

The Trump administration is reviewing America's drone export policy, with industry hopeful it will result in increased sales of unmanned systems abroad.

Further export controls enacted during the Obama administration made it difficult to export many UAVs outside of NATO countries and other treaty allies.

“That restriction probably existed a long time before that as an unspoken reality, but the formalization in 2015 formalized the strictness of that interpretation,” General Atomics’ CEO Linden Blue said. “Which means if you’re not in NATO, or you’re not Japan, South Korea or Australia, forget it.”

That Obama-era policy is now under review by the Trump administration, which could open a path for an Avenger sale to India, a longtime partner nation of the United States that has been denied armed UAVs in the past, or other interested countries that have trouble getting weaponized drones.

Within defense circles, General Atomics is known for its reticence and protectiveness of its intellectual property, with its top executives and program managers seldom engaging with the press. But as unmanned systems become more pervasive, the company is slowly opening up — it held its first-ever media open house at its Poway, California, headquarters on Aug. 15 and 16.

Defence reporters got to see GA’s Avenger prototype, Angel One, during a trip to the company’s hangars at Gray Butte Field Airport. Angel One — which is slightly smaller than the production version of the Avenger — has been configured for humanitarian aid missions such as airdropping food rations from its expansive payload bay.

However, most details about the Avenger continue to be tightly guarded, with company officials saying they were not permitted to talk about the operational use of the aircraft for classification reasons.

GA has acknowledged the production of up to nine Avenger aircraft: the Angel One prototype that the company currently still owns; one bought by the U.S. Air Force; and no more than seven units owned by a classified U.S. government customer, Alexander said.

India to Buy $75 million Ukrainian Engines For Russia Made Frigates

A CGI cutout image of Ukrainian M7N.1E gas turbine engine

After Crimea fallout, Russia and Ukraine suspended all defense ties which rendered the under-construction Admiral Grigorovich class frigates of limited operational use to Russian Navy until they were re-engined with Russian alternative which is expected to be ready only by 2020.

New Delhi – India’s defence acquisition council has sanctioned $75 million for acquiring M7N.1E gas turbine engines from Ukraine for powering the two Grigorovich class frigates that are expected to soon arrive in India from Russia. India had agreed to purchase the two frigates Admiral Butakov and Admiral Istomin as part of a $4 billion order for four Russian frigates. As per the deal signed in 2016, two other Grigorovich class frigates would be constructed at the facility of Goa Shipyard Limited in India.

India Welcomes US Designation of Hizbul Mujahideen As Foreign Terrorist Group

Formed in 1989, Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the largest and oldest Pakistan based terrorist groups operating in Kashmir

NEW DELHI: India today welcomed the US' decision to designate Kashmiri terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen as a foreign terrorist organisation and said it reflected the joint commitment of the two countries to firmly deal with terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

"We welcome the designation of the Hizbul Mujahideen that has been responsible for carrying out heinous acts of terrorism and taking innocent lives in the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

He also referred to the US declaring the group's Pakistan-based chief Syed Salahuddin as a global terrorist nearly two months ago.

"We feel that these designations reflect the joint commitment of India and the US to firmly deal with terrorism in all its forms and manifestations," Kumar told reporters.

The MEA spokesperson said it is an obligation for everyone to end moral, diplomatic and material support to such internationally designated terror outfits and individuals.

"No cause or reason can justify continued provision of support, shelter and sanctuary to such entities and individuals in any manner," he said.

PAK SCAN: India’s Nuclear Triad & S Asia’s Stability

by Uzge A Saleem

INDIA and Pakistan are the two key players of South Asia and the region’s stability largely depends on their bilateral relations. Tensions between the two are nothing new and have existed for decades. However with one state on its road to becoming a regional hegemon and the other trying to stop them in their tracks is not a good picture for the entire region. Indian claims that they face a threat from China in the north and any measures they take are to counter that threat. They have developed their nuclear weapons based on this narrative. On the other hand Pakistan gives a similar narrative claiming India’s nuclear programme is a threat to Pakistan and the development of our nuclear weapons is a deterrence. Both the states are basically dealing with security dilemma.

On March 31, 2016, India tested their K-4 nuclear ballistic missile from INS Arihant. This test marked completion of India’s nuclear triad and acquisition of second-strike capability. The reason why Pakistan is now forced to take counter protective measures is because we cannot let the conventional asymmetry become a nuclear asymmetry as well. With issue of Pakistan’s strategic depth and India’s robust cold start doctrine we can simply not allow the Indians to have dominance over the Indian Ocean as well.

The fact that India has a desire to become the regional hegemon is not hidden from anyone. Their recent activities, including the US-Indo nuclear deal, K-15 and now the K-4 testing is a show of power and strategy. The alarming thing is that not only is this a threat to Pakistan but it is also a threat to the strategic instability of the entire region. Pakistan’s foreign office spokesperson, Nafees Zakaria, gave a statement saying that the K-4 testing is a serious development which will impact the delicate strategic balance in the region. Pakistan will not sit idle and welcome this test with open arms. Counter measures will be taken from this side as well.

The arms race between India and Pakistan will take a never ending turn. History is proof of the fact that whenever two nations have indulged in an arms race only bad things have happened and everyone has suffered. A nuclear crisis between India and Pakistan will not only threaten the safety and security of these two nations but also that of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal as well.

The international community claims that Pakistan is developing its nuclear assets at a fairly rapid pace which might disturb the regional stability. What they need to understand is that the steps for instance taken by Pakistan are a counter action to India’s aggressive nuclear development. Now with such sea based advancements coming from India, Pakistan is bound to take further preventive measures. As Pakistan has been bringing to attention, there are speculations of Indians using civil purpose nuclear material for military purposes. The international community need to observe and question India’s developments as well.

Furthermore, in hope of deterring Pakistan, India has taken extreme measures. They have threatened the peace of the entire region just to satisfy their desire a nuclear triad. Pakistan has so far willingly steered clear of the option of nuclearizing the Indian Ocean in attempts to ensure peace of the region and to not indulge in an arms race. Indians would like to believe that they have an upper hand on Pakistan now after this test just like they believed they had developed a master plan and named it Cold Start. However, they should be very clear about the fact that Pakistan had a plan to counter that and will also come up with strong counter measure for this as well.

If we are to study the dimensions of deterrence post K-4 testing, there can be several ways to look at it. We can believe that India has K-4 and we have nuclear first use policy. This way Pakistan will not attack India because of their nuclear submarine and India will refrain from doing so because of the threat of a strong nuclear retaliation. If this is to be believed then it is safe to say that the South Asian region has reached a position of stable deterrence. However, this might not be entirely achievable. It is true that these two factors are essential in deterring both the nations but Pakistan will not leave itself vulnerable to India by not pursuing its own assured second strike capability and the situation will be back to square one where both states are at an equal standing. This position can be considered equally vulnerable or equally secure, depending on the lens one sees it through.

To sum it up it would be safe to say that the level of trust between the two states is nonexistent due to historic reasons. Therefore, it is not rational for Pakistan to sit back in hope that India will be deterred based on our nuclear first use policy and substantial nuclear arsenals. A step from Pakistan is expected and given the situation, it seems like the right thing to do. However, if India is willing to roll back on their nuclearization of the Indian Ocean then Pakistan might also not want to go ahead with it. This can be done keeping in mind the greater benefit of the region and its stability. However this may be unlikely since India considers the testing as a great achievement. In this case Pakistan is left with no other choice but to take necessary steps for its national security.

— The writer is Internee at Strategic Visions Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad

Chiefs of Army, Navy, IAF Review India’s Security Preparedness

Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, Army Chief Gen Bipin  Rawat & Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa during homage ceremony at the Amar Jawan Jyoti on Independence Day

The meeting came two days after Indian border guards foiled an attempt by Chinese soldiers to enter Indian territory along the banks of Pangong lake.

The powerful Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC) comprising chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force on Thursday reviewed the security preparedness of the three services including along the Sino-India border, official sources said.

The standoff between armies of India and China in Dokalam and attempts by Chinese troops on Tuesday to enter the Indian territory along the banks of Pangong lake in Ladakh were also discussed at the meeting, they said.

“Issues relating to the country’s external security as well as situation along the borders were discussed,” a source said.

The meeting came two days after Indian border guards foiled an attempt by Chinese soldiers to enter Indian territory along the banks of Pangong lake.

Soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) tried to enter the Indian side in two areas – Finger Four and Finger Five – twice between. But on both the occasions their attempts were thwarted by alert Indian troops.

Personnel from both sides received minor injuries and the situation was brought under control after the customary banner drill under which both sides hold banners before stepping back to their respective positions.

The incident was discussed at a flag meeting between the two sides at Leh’s Chusul sector yesterday.

The Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a bitter face-off at Dokalam in India-China-Bhutan tri-junction for little over two months.

China has been ramping up rhetoric against India, demanding immediate withdrawal of Indian troops from Dokalam. The Chinese state media, particularly, has carried a barrage of critical articles on the Dokalam stand-off slamming India.

In the face of heightened rhetoric by Beijing, India has poured in more troops along the entire stretch of its border with China in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

The “caution level” among the troops has also been raised, according to officials.

The decision to increase the deployment along the nearly 1,400-km Sino-India border from Sikkim to Arunachal Pradesh was taken after carrying out a detailed analysis of the situation and considering China’s aggressive posturing against India on Dokalam, the officials had told PTI last week.

BYPASSING PAKISTAN: Cargo Flights Resume Between India And Afghanistan

Afghanistan offers 17 percent subsidy on cargo flights to India bypassing Pakistan

Traders have said that problems have largely been resolved and over 80 tons of fresh fruit flew out of Kabul on Thursday for India

After a 17-day delay, the fifth cargo flight carrying over 80 tons of fresh fruit left Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday, bringing new hope that flights between Afghanistan and India will now take place on a regular basis.

A number of fresh fruit exporters said government should ensure that these flights are carried out as scheduled from now on. Thursday's freight consisted of 60 tons of melon, 15 tons of grapes and 5 tons of apricots. This is the fifth cargo flight to India since the inauguration of the route in early July.

“Four cargo flights will be conducted every month, if more flights are needed, we are fully prepared for the operations,” said Younus Mohmand, deputy of Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).

Meanwhile, officials of Kam Air Aviation company, which is responsible for the aircraft used, have said that its Boeing-737 plane has the capacity to transport 100 tons of fruit at a time.

“The plane which we chartered is able to fly anywhere in Asia and Europe, but the chamber of commerce and industries and fruit exporters should ensure that they have markets outside the country; we don’t have any problem to transfer their products,” said Hajji Raqi, an official from Kam Air.

A number of businessmen have said that in view of exporting more local produce and goods, government should ensure there are world class cargo services available at Hamid Karzai International Airport and other airports around the country.

“The fruit should be transferred as soon as possible, the airport should be equipped according to (international) standards, in that case they would have the ability to keep the fruit fresh for 24 hours,” said local businessman Atta Mohammad Mohammadi.

According to ACCI, problems faced by exporters recently have been resolved. The Afghan government has announced a 17 percent subsidy for cargo flights to India. Traders hope however that government will keep this up.

US, Japan Vow To Boost Defence Cooperation With India, South Korea, Australia

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson shakes hands with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, Thursday, August 17, 2017, after a news conference at the State Department in Washington

The US and Japan have agreed to advance their multilateral security and defence cooperation with countries like India, South Korea and Australia, amidst China’s growing assertiveness in the Asia Pacific region. “We will cooperate to advance trilateral and multilateral security and defence cooperation with other partners in the region, notably the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and other southeast Asian countries,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters at a news conference here with Defence Secretary James Mattis.

The news conference was also jointly addressed by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera. “(With) ROK (South Korea), Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries, we will promote more than ever before cooperation in security and defence,” Kono said in Japanese which was translated into English. The four top officials were interacting with reporters after the newly launched US-Japan two plus two dialogue.

During the meeting held yesterday at the headquarters of the State Department, the four leaders among other issues discussed the increasing challenge posed by China in the region and the need to enhance multilateral cooperation with other countries, including India, in the region. “The ministers highlighted ongoing Alliance efforts to advance trilateral and multilateral security and defence cooperation with other partners in the region, notably the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and Southeast Asian countries,” a joint statement issued after the meeting said.

“The ministers underscored the importance of cooperating to promote a rules-based international order, taking note of the United States’ continued commitment to maintain a strong presence in the region and Japan’s initiatives demonstrated by its ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy’,” the statement said.

According to the joint statement, the ministers strongly encourage China to take decisive measures to urge North Korea to change its course of action. Expressing continuing concerns about the security environment in the East China Sea, they reaffirmed the importance of working together to safeguard the peace and stability of the East China Sea.

Expressing serious concern about the situation in the South China Sea, they reaffirmed their opposition to unilateral coercive actions by claimants, including the reclamation and militarisation of disputed features, that alter the status quo and increase tensions.

Reiterating the importance of the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes through full respect for legal and diplomatic processes, including arbitration, they emphasised the importance of compliance with the international law of the sea, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including respect for freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea. “The Ministers underlined the significance of continued engagement in the South China Sea, including through respective activities to support freedom of navigation, bilateral and multilateral training and exercises, and coordinated capacity building assistance,” the statement said.

Tillerson said they discussed their concern about the security environment in the East China Sea and South China Sea. “The United States and Japan oppose any unilateral action that seeks to undermine Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands, and we reaffirmed that Article 5 of the US-Japan Security Treaty covers these islands. We also oppose militarisation activity in the South China Sea,” he said.

“Maritime disputes should be settled peacefully and maintain the freedom of navigation in accordance with the United Nations Conventions on the Law of the Sea. We maintain our unwavering commitment to the 2015 guidelines for US-Japan defence cooperation, and we have instructed our staff to accelerate their implementation,” he said.

Kono echoed Tillerson’s views, saying, Japan shared its concerns regarding the situation surrounding East and South China Sea. “We reaffirmed that the Senkaku Islands are within the scope of Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty, and that we would oppose any unilateral behaviour attempting to undermine Japan’s administration of the Senkaku Islands,” he said.

“For the peace and stability of East Asia and East China Sea, we will continue to cooperate with the United States. On the South China Sea, we have confirmed that we need to continue to engage ourselves and watch for any acts which would impede freedom of navigation,” Kono said.

“Under this severe security environment, under all situations, the alliance must secure seamless response, and it’s extremely important. And we agreed that we would properly examine ways to strengthen the alliance,” he said.

China Offers Aid to Nepal, Unsettling India’s Attempt to Woo Back Old Ally

An Indian and a Chinese soldier maintain ceremonial positions marking the international boundary of their countries respectively at the opening of the Nathu La Pass, Sikkim

The development is important as it comes on the eve of Nepalese president's India visit next week and it could circumscribe India-Nepal efforts to restore friendly ties after the 2015 blockade

New Delhi – China has offered $1 million humanitarian aid to Nepal besides signing major agreements for cooperation in the exploration of oil and gas with the Himalayan country which has just endured huge economic loss due to heavy floods.

As part of the agreements, China will provide approximately $150 million to Nepal for the repair and reconstruction of the Kodari Highway, destroyed during the 2015 earthquake. China will also fully fund a feasibility study on natural gas and petroleum resources in the mountainous regions and the plains of the Terai. The two sides have also agreed to jointly explore other sectors like tourism. China has designated 2017 as the Nepal Tourism Promotion Year.

The move has irked India as it comes just ahead of Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Dueba’s visit to New Delhi. Indian experts are of the opinion that China’s ‘cheque-book’ diplomacy goaded lately by ‘early harvest’ thesis of President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative has come into full play in Nepal.

“Even before Nepal has come up with any initial estimates on the damage from recent floods China has used the visit by vice premier Wang Yang to present to Nepal a whole range of aid and investment offers. Most of these are symbolic in either providing instant financial aid (typical Chinese way) or in upgrading road connectivity between Kathmandu and Lhasa or in reconstructing the 17th century world heritage pagoda that was destroyed in 2015 earthquake,” as per Dr Swaran Singh, Professor at the School of International Studies, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“India is losing goodwill in Nepal after the 2015 blockade, and China could use the simmering discontent since then to its advantage,” adds Singh.

Given the fact that the Himalayan nation is sandwiched between the two Asian giants, historically Nepal has always maintained equidistant outlook towards both. However, relationship between Nepal and India has been rough since Nepal promulgated a new Constitution in 2015. India viewed the new Constitution as a blatant denial of equal rights to the Madhesi people (who have close ties to India's bordering states) and imposed an unofficial economic blockade. Meanwhile, China and Nepal and grew closer in recent times with the latter anticipating huge economic benefits from China's vision of Belt and Road Initiative. The year 2016 saw China passing India as a top aid donor to Nepal. In the current standoff between India and China at the Doklam region, Nepal has chosen a neutral stand despite prodding by both the neighbours.

Ladakh Scuffle: After China's 'Not Aware' Remark, India Says Yes It Happened

"Today, I can confirm that there was an incident at Pangong Tso on August 15. This was subsequently discussed by the local army commanders of the two sides. Such incidents are not in the interest of either side. We should maintain peace and tranquillity," external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

However, he did not confirm whether the incident involved stone pelting or use of rods and asserted that, "I just said there was an incident." He also emphasised that the incident should not be linked with what was happening in any other sector. The confirmation for New Delhi comes after Beijing issued a statement saying that it was 'not aware' about any such incident.

In response to a question on Ladakh scuffle, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said she was “not aware of the information”. Meanwhile, amid reports of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's probable visit to Beijing for BRICS summit, the external affairs ministry's spokesperson said he does “not have any information about it.

”Asked about the current status of Sikkim standoff, Raveesh Kumar said, "It is a sensitive issue... We will continue to engage with China to find mutually acceptable solution. Peace and tranquillity in border areas are important pre-requisites for smooth development of bilateral relations." However, he quipped, "I am not an astrologer, so cannot predict", when asked by when the Dokalam standoff will be resolved.

MEA On Ladakh Scuffle: ‘Not Confirmed Stone Pelting Or Use of Rods, Just Said There Was An Incident’

Ladakh Clash: Indian border guards had thwarted an attempt by Chinese soldiers to enter Indian territory along the banks of Pangong lake in Ladakh. The latest incident in Ladakh took place amid the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese armies in Doklam.

Nearly three days after the brief clash between Indian and Chinese boat patrols at Ladakh’s Pangong Tso lake, the Ministry of External Affairs on Friday refrained from confirming reports of stone-pelting or use of rods during the scuffle. “I have not confirmed stone pelting or use of rods, just said there was an incident,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, as quoted by news agency ANI.

The MEA also admitted that an incident between the armies of India and China had taken place along the banks of Pangong lake in Ladakh on August 15 and that it was later discussed by Army officers of both the nations, as per ANI. “There was an incident on 15th August, it was later discussed by Army officers on both sides,” Kumar said while addressing a press conference. He also said such incidents are not in the interest of either side.

A day after the incident, armies of India and China held border personnel meetings (BPM) in Leh’s Chushul sector. Commenting on the same, the MEA spokesperson said the border personnel meetings were held between India and China in Leh’s Chusul sector on 16th August and Sikkim’s Nathu La region a week before.

On Tuesday, Indian border guards had thwarted an attempt by Chinese soldiers to enter Indian territory along the banks of Pangong lake in Ladakh. The latest incident in Ladakh took place amid the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese armies in Doklam in India-Bhutan-China trijunction, which has now entered the third month.

According to PTI reports, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat will pay a three-day visit to Ladakh beginning Sunday in order to take stock of the security preparedness along the border with China besides discussing key operational matters with top commanders.

Meanwhile, India also welcomed the US’ decision to designate Hizbul Mujahideen as a foreign terrorist organisation, saying that the move reflected the joint commitment of both the countries to deal with the menace of terrorism. “We welcome the designation of the Hizbul Mujahideen that has been responsible for carrying out heinous acts of terrorism and taking innocent lives in the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US,” Kumar said.

India, Japan Resolve To Boost Ties In Cyberspace Sector

The Indian side also made a presentation on the 5th Global Conference on Cyberspace to be held in New Delhi on November 23-24, 2017

NEW DELHI: India and Japan have resolved to strengthen their cooperation in the field of cyberspace, and reaffirmed their commitment to an open, secure and accessible cyberspace, enabling economic growth and innovation, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

The Second Japan-India Cyber Dialogue, held here on August 17, saw discussions on domestic cyber policy landscape, cyber threats and mitigation, mechanism on bilateral cooperation and possible cooperation at various international and regional forums.

Both sides attested that existing international law is generally applicable in cyberspace.

At the same time no country should conduct or support ICT (Information Communication Technology)-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to its companies or commercial sectors, a statement by the ministry said.

The Japanese delegation was led by Masato Otaka, the envoy in charge of Cyber Policy and Deputy Director General of Foreign Policy Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Japan.

It was also attended by representatives from Japan's National Centre of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cyber security, Cabinet Intelligence, and Research Office, National Police Agency and Japan Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Centre (JPCERT/CC).

Doklam Standoff: Will Continue To Engage With China For Mutually Acceptable Solution, Says India

India on Friday said it will continue to engage with China to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Doklam standoff, asserting that peace and tranquillity on the border is an important pre-requisite for smooth bilateral relationship. “We will continue to engage with China to find a mutually acceptable solution,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said replying to a volley of questions on the issue.

He said said peace and tranquillity in the border areas is an important pre-requisite for smooth development of bilateral relationship.

Asked about incident between Chinese troops and Indian border guards in Ladakh on August 15, the MEA spokesperson said, “Such incidents are not in the interest of either side.”

He said two border personnel meetings (BPMs) had taken place between Indian border guards and Chinese troops recently. He said one BPM had taken place at Chushul on August 16 and another one at Nathu La a week before.

When asked whether China had shared hydro-logical data with India as floods have severely hit Assam and Bihar, Kumar said no such data was received from Beijing on Brahmaputra this year.

India and China have an existing mechanism under which both countries share hydro-logical data. Kumar said non sharing of hydro-logical data by China cannot be linked to the current standoff as there can be technical reasons for it.

Shiv Sena Slams Manohar Parrikar Over His Alleged Remark On Returning To Defence Ministry

The article added that Manohar Parrikar, by making such statements, is insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had appointed him as the defence minister

The Shiv Sena on Friday slammed Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar over an alleged video circulated on the social media, which quoted him saying he may go back to the Centre if he loses the upcoming Assembly by-polls in Goa. The Sena, in an editorial published in its mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, said that Parrikar’s image as an honest and true politician has been proved wrong now.

“In the video, he has said that if he loses the Panaji by-polls, then it will not be an issue as he would again acquire the post of the Defence Minister. Such words do not present the Chief Minister in a promising light. Through his remark, Parrikar has not only shown that the post of Goa Chief Minister is near to nothing, but he also has portrayed that how easy it is to get into the Defence Ministry of India,” the article read.

The article added that Parrikar, by making such statements, is insulting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had appointed him as the defence minister. “When India was facing difficulties at the border, Parrikar went on a vacation to Goa to devour fish curry and rice,” the article further said.

The Sena further questioned the authenticity and decorum of the post of the Defence Minister. Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday complained to the election authority about fake news claiming that Parrikar would return to the Central Ministry if he loses the Goa by-election.

The complaint has been filed against violation of code of conduct by circulating distorted and false news item. Parrikar had resigned as the defence minister and was sworn-in as the Goa Chief Minister on March 14 this year.

The by-election in Panaji and Valpoi constituencies will be held on August 23. Parrikar is contesting the Panaji Assembly by-polls against Girish Chodankar of the Congress and Anand Shirodkar of Goa Suraksha Manch.