Monday, September 25, 2023

Indian Ocean Power Play: Why Indian Navy Needs A Third Aircraft Carrier

An MH60R helicopter undertakes maiden landing on the INS Vikrant aircraft carrier

Indian Navy has sent a formal proposal to the Ministry of Defence to acquire a second indigenous aircraft carrier — a necessity at a time when China is expanding its naval fleet at breakneck speed

“Whoever controls the Indian Ocean will dominate Asia. This ocean will be the key to the seven seas in the 21st century. The destiny of the world will be decided on its waters,” US Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan famously said in 1890. As the waters in the Indo-Pacific get more and more turbulent, the Indian Navy needs to be equipped with more powerful maritime assets to maintain peace and stability, and counter China and other expanding naval powers like Pakistan in the West Asian region. And Mahan’s prophecy should be factored in while formulating the Indian Ocean strategy.

With many powerful nations following this dictum and making serious efforts to dominate the Indian Ocean, the Indian Navy’s formal proposal to the Ministry of Defence to acquire a second indigenous aircraft carrier holds great significance. Amid fast-changing geopolitical alliances, the maritime might of a nation assumes great significance. An aircraft carrier represents the symbolic naval might of a nation and is a great deterrent factor in preventing rival forces from dominating the oceans and the skies. India being a principal force in the region, the world has been keeping a close watch on the developments in the Indian Ocean.

China is expanding its naval fleet at a breakneck speed, with reported plans to deploy one aircraft carrier on a permanent basis in the Indian Ocean. It becomes imperative for the Indian Navy to take note of the challenges China will pose in the coming years. Though the Indian Navy currently has two aircraft carriers, with the second one set to become fully operational at the beginning of next year, the naval headquarters’ official proposal, if actually materialises in roughly a decade or so, the Indian Navy will be a force to reckon with in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indian Navy has the primary responsibility to safeguard economic, territorial and strategic interests in its 2 million square kilometre Exclusive Economic Zone. The Indian Ocean, known as the third biggest ocean on Earth, touches the shores of Australia to Africa to the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, from where the Mediterranean Sea can be accessed and the Malacca Strait would be the entry gate to the South China Sea. The strategic significance of the Indian Ocean can be gauged from this geographical expanse of its waters.

China has at present two operational aircraft carriers — Liaoning, which was made operational in 2012 by retrofitting a Soviet-era aircraft carrier made at Mykolaiv shipyard, and Shandong, made in China’s Dalian shipyard and operational since 2017. It will soon have a third one, called Fujian, which is in the last stage of fitment, and a fourth one that is under development and yet to be officially named. China has plans to acquire more advanced aircraft carriers, including those nuclear-powered like the US Navy maintains. These are under the design stage and will make the Chinese Navy a global expeditionary maritime force once operational.

Not Enough To Match China Might But Indian Navy Must Have 3 Carriers

In this backdrop, we can understand the significance of the Indian Navy making a formal proposal for a third aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy plans to permanently deploy one aircraft carrier on each side of the Indian coasts — eastern and the western, i.e. the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. Since one of the three aircraft carriers will mostly be docked in the shipyard for maintenance, only two will remain operational. Hence, the two operational aircraft carriers cannot be spared for expeditionary assignment, as both carriers will be principally on guard duty to keep an eye on both coasts and deter any enemy movement in the vicinity.

China considers the US Navy, which has 11 aircraft carriers of over 1 lakh tonnes displacement, its principal rival. It also has ambitious plans to match this maritime might and is working in that direction. It will be a humongous challenge for India to match the Chinese plans to be equipped with aircraft carriers in similar numbers and of similar sizes.

A three-carrier Indian Navy can only be dubbed as having modest capacity if we consider the fact that the Chinese Navy will have five or six aircraft carriers a decade from now. However, since the Indian Navy does not aspire to have globetrotting capacity, the three carriers can be described as the optimum level, which must be maintained all the time.

What The Navy Proposal Entails

Since the decade of sixties, the Indian Navy has taken a lead in maritime firepower when the first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant with 18,000-tons displacement, acquired from the United Kingdom, was inducted. Two and a half decades later, in 1988, India got another second-hand aircraft carrier — Hermis from the British Navy, which was renamed as INS Viraat. This was of 28,000-tons displacement and went on to serve for nearly three decades.

While the INS Vikrant retired in 1997, the Indian Navy inducted, a decade and a half later, the next aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (formerly Admiral Gorshkov of the Soviet Navy) in 2013. It was a 44,500-tons megastructure of floating steel city. The Navy has a fourth aircraft carrier of equal size, the first to be made in India and named after the first retired Indian aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant.

An aircraft carrier is a floating air base equipped with dozens of maritime fighter planes, anti-sub and reconnaissance helicopters, defensive and offensive missiles, electronic warfare suites, anti-submarine defensive mechanisms etc. To fast-track the acquisition process, the Indian Navy proposes to place a repeat order to Cochin Shipyard, worth Rs 40,000 crore. The carrier would be of the same size and displacement of 45,000 tons as IAC-1 i.e. Vikrant. The second carrier will be a major push to indigenisation and would be initially called IAC-2. Earlier, the Navy was considering a 65,000-tons displacement capacity aircraft carrier. However, the opinion prevailed in the Naval Headquarters that a carrier of a different size would entail a different design, which may delay the acquisition by a few more years.

The MoD is expected to soon take a call on this official proposal from the Navy. The matter will be first discussed by the Defence Procurement Board headed by the Defence Secretary, and then by the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by the Defence Minister. After the latter’s green signal, the proposal will finally need to be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Defence and Security. Naval observers believe the government will show sincerity in putting its final seal on the proposal at the earliest.

India Navy To Muscle Up As Pak Gets Chinese Submarines

"With Pakistan soon to acquire eight Chinese Yuan class submarines between 2023-2028, pressure has mounted on Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders (MDL) to conclude a deal for building three additional diesel-electric Kalvari class submarines with French Naval Group this year so that its submarine building capacity (currently 11) does not turn idle by the end of the year.

MDL is giving finishing touches to last of the six Kalvari (Scorpene) class submarine, INS Vagsheer, before commencement of sea trials, and has begun negotiations with Naval Group for the additional three submarines which will have features that are operation specific and with indigenous torpedoes and air independent propulsion (AIP) for longer endurance. It is understood that the heavyweight indigenous torpedo and AIP are currently being tested in France for operational validation.

As of now Pakistan has one old French Agosta 70 (called PNS Hurmat) and another old and upgraded Agosta 90 B (called PMS Hamza) with French single use MESMA AIP operational . It also has four Yuan class diesel-electric submarines to join this year. The Yuan class submarines will induce a paradigm shift in Pakistan's sub-surface fleet as the 039 B submarine is equipped with AIP and, possibly, submarine-launched cruise missiles.

It is understood that the three additional submarines MDL is in talks for will have much more advanced features than those of the Kalvari class, which were ordered by India in 2005 on the basis of A B Vajpayee government's 30-year submarine plan in 1999. The three subs, the acceptance of necessity for which were accorded by the Modi government in July, will possibly be seven meters longer than Kalvari class subs if the Navy wants a pure diesel-electric submarine, with additional batteries for staying submerged for longer periods or will be 10 meters long to house the AIP unit designed by DRDO.

The new three submarines will have advanced optronics, electronic warfare suites and heavy weight torpedoes with a range of 40 kilometers and higher explosive content. The new boats will also have advanced/upgraded SM-39 Exocet missiles with future boats equipped with SCALP 1000 km range submarine-launched cruise missiles. But there is more to this. With Naval Group signing an MoU this July with MDL to build submarines in Mumbai dockyards to export to other countries, there is much excitement within the yard as through this joint venture India will export Scorpene class submarines to Indonesia, Malaysia and others. Naval Group has also signed an MoU with Kolkata based GRSE to build surface combatants such as destroyers and frigates under a joint venture and export these to third countries. This will ensure that the machine tooling capacity of the two dockyards does not erode for want of work orders.

With India's submarine force strength going down with ageing INS Shishumar (HDW) class and INS Sindughosh (Kilo) class submarines facing spare parts issues on account of Russia's Ukraine war, the Indian Navy needs more sub-surface combatants to protect its 7500 km coastline as well as pose deterrence threat to Pakistan and China. The Indian Kalvari class ships frequently patrol Pakistan's Makran coast, some six hours from Mumbai, and were operationally deployed outside Karachi and Gwadar harbour during Operation Balakot in 2019.

While the US Seventh Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Karl Thomas told the Malabar partners during 2023 exercise off the coast of Sydney that the US expects a military emergency in Taiwan in 2027, the Indian Navy is quite clear that Chinese patrols or carrier-based strike force with nuclear powered conventionally armed submarines will start patrolling the Indian Ocean by 2025-2026. It is for this very reason that India's indigenous submarine building capacity needs to be promoted, say experts, adding that as it is the lynchpin of PM Narendra Modi's “Atmanirbhar Bharat” plan in defence and security.

Delhi To Host Over 30 Countries At Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference

New Delhi will host the Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference from September 25 to 27, with over 30 countries participating. The event aims to promote peace and stability in the region and foster mutual understanding and dialogue among Indo-Pacific partners. Representatives will discuss issues of mutual interest, with more than 20 chiefs of friendly armies expected to attend. Participating countries include the US, France, and the UK.

The national capital will host over 30 countries for the Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference from September 25 to 27.

The event is aimed at exchanging views and developing mutual understanding among the Indo-Pacific partners, officers in the Indian Army said.

Representatives from over 30 participating countries will discuss issues of mutual interest at the meeting, the Army informed further.

The conference will be a platform to exchange ideas and views on security, promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and develop mutual understanding and dialogue amongst the Indo-Pacific partners, officials added.

More than 20 chiefs of friendly armies are expected to take part in the main event, the officials said, adding that the participating countries include US, France and the UK.

"The Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference is being held in New Delhi from September 25 to 27 where over 30 countries will be represented in discussing issues of mutual interest. This will be a platform to exchange ideas and views on security, promote peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and develop mutual understanding and dialogue amongst the Indo-Pacific partners. More than 20 Chiefs of friendly Armies are expected to take part in the main event including countries like the US, France and the UK," the Army said in a statement.

Apollo Micro Systems Incorporates Subsidiary For Defence Business

Apollo Micro Systems Ltd (AMSL) on Saturday said it has incorporated a separate entity to carry out the business in the defence sector. Hyderabad-based AMSL offers technology-based solutions in sectors like infrastructure, transportation, aerospace and defence, among others.

In a statement, the company said it has incorporated a subsidiary named Apollo Defence Industries Pvt Ltd (APDIPL) on September 21, 2023.

Promoter Karunakar Reddy has subscribed to 1,400 equity shares of Rs 10 each in APDIPL, the statement said.

It further said that APDIPL shall work on defence platforms through collaborated approach both in domestic and international companies.

Won't Sit Idle Until Mark of Terrorism Stamped Out From Kashmir, Says LG

Jammu: The Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha said that he won’t sit idle until mark of terrorism stamped out from valley.

"I won’t sit idle until the mark of terrorism is stamped out from the valley," Singh said while addressing a function atLakhisarai’sBarahiya block in Bihar after offering prayers at a local Bala Tripur Sundai temple.

As per reports, Sinha also focused on the country's safety and nationalism.

He claimed that Jammu & Kashmir was now scripting a saga of development and harmony under the able leadership of PM Narendra Modi.

“Many obstacles came in the way of this change, but I am not the one to stop and back down,” he added.

He further said that he is fulfilling the responsibility given by Prime Minister Narendra for Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that youth are getting employment in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Today the government is running with transparency in Jammu and Kashmir. Today Kashmir is the number one state of India. The stream of change is increasing rapidly,” he added.

Earlier, LG and Union Minister for Rural Development, Shri Giriraj Singh visited Simaria, Begusarai and attended the RashtrakaviRamdhari Singh Dinkar’s birth anniversary event.

Paying tributes to the Rashtrakavi, LG remembered the significant contribution of Ramdhari Singh Dinkar in the field of literature and his selfless service to society and the nation.

“I bow to the memory of great freedom fighter, writer and parliamentarian, who continues to inspire young generation,” LG added.

“Dinkar ji is undoubtedly one of the greatest poets of India, a giant intellectual, a national icon who played a pivotal role in shaping the genre of heroism and courage in Hindi literature. His deep commitment to social values, public aspirations and welfare is unparalleled,” he observed.

Indian Navy Chief, US Naval Operations Chief Discuss Collaborative Maritime Security

Washington: Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral R Hari Kumar discussed defence engagements and collaborative maritime security with the US Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Lisa Franchetti and US Navy Vice Admiral Charles V Cooper II.

Adm R Hari Kumar visited the US from September 19 to 22 to attend the 25th International Sea Power Symposium (ISS).

ISS is conducted by the US Navy at US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island and provides the opportunity to engage with Friendly Foreign Countries towards the shared vision of enhancing maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Taking to their social media 'X', formerly known as Twitter, Indian Navy stated, "Adm R Hari Kumar #CNS, during the 25th ISS met Adm Lisa Franchetti, Ag CNO, @USNavy & VAdm Charles B Cooper, Commander NAVCENT, @US5thFleet. Discussions on enhanced defence engagements & collaborative #maritimesecurity, & shared commitment to Free, Open & Inclusive #IndoPacific."

Earlier, the US Navy quoted Adm R Hari Kumar saying, “I firmly believe that despite all technological advancements, our men and women have been – and will remain – our greatest asset in the foreseeable future."

The CNS also held bilateral engagements on the sidelines of the ISS with his counterparts from various countries including the USA, Australia, Egypt, Fiji, Israel, Italy Japan, Kenya, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the UK.

The extensive engagements during the visit are a demonstration of the Indian Navy’s steadfastness towards realising the vision for a Free Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific and International Rules-Based Order.

During the visit extensive deliberations were also held towards exploring greater IN-USN operational engagements at bilateral and multilateral exercises such as the Malabar, RIMPAC, Sea Dragon and Tiger Triumph.

Regular Subject Matter Expert exchange also takes place between both the Navies to institutionalise interoperability in various fields.

Kumar’s visit to the US provided a significant opportunity for Apex Level Navy to Navy engagements for deepening bilateral cooperation as well as engaging with diverse partners across the Indo-Pacific.

'It Is Still A World of Double Standards': EAM Jaishankar Takes Dig At ‘Dominant’ Nations

New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar while speaking on Saturday evening during an event here at ‘South Rising: Partnerships, Institutions and Ideas’, said that economically dominant countries are leveraging production capabilities and those countries who have institutional influence have weaponized these capabilities.

Further, citing the example of the COVID-19 pandemic, the minister also stressed that "it is still a world of double standards."

"There is a growing sentiment in the world and the Global South in a way embodies it. But there’s also political resistance. Those occupying positions of influence are resisting pressure to change", said EAM Jaishankar during the event hosted by the Observer Research Foundation, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, United Nations India and the Reliance Foundation.

"They will mouth the right things, but the reality is still today, it’s a world very much of double standards," he added.

Speaking about the Global South and India’s G20 Presidency, Jaishankar highlighted how India was ‘the voice of the Global South’ and how it steered the global conversation back to global growth and development issues by getting the G20 to talk about what the world wanted to talk about, the real problem of the G20.

“To get the G20, to talk about what the world wanted to talk about, that was the real problem with the G20. Our Prime Minister put it very well, he said first let’s talk to the people who are not going to be on the table. Let’s find out what they have to say. This is why, we were the voice of the Global South. I think it gave us the basis to say, look we have spoken to 125 countries and this is really what is troubling them and that is why we need to focus on this issue”, said Jaishankar.

“I think there's clearly a sense of history. There is much of the Global South coming from a world that was colonized. There is a sense of geography. Not all countries in the South are part of the Global South. And, I think there's also the mindset. So, the Global South is an expression, in a way, of a certain solidarity and generosity and sort of a sharing spirit community. I think if you're part of the Global South, you know it," he added.

Talking further, the Minister also said that the Global South ate less wheat and more millets.

“In the name of the market a lot of things are done, like in the name of freedom a lot of things are done,” said EAM Jaishankar.

In his Europe’s mindset comment from last year, where he said that “Europe’s problems are the world’s problems but the world’s problems are not Europe’s problems”, EAM Jaishankar said that "particular statement had a particular context" while also listing five big problems which is troubling the entire world.

“That particular statement had a particular context. If you look at what happened at the G20, part of the challenge in the G20 was actually to get the G20 to focus on, I mean anybody who travels around the world will tell you, list five big problems which are troubling the entire world. People will say debt, SDG resourcing, climate action resourcing, digital access, and I would say it could be nutrition, gender,” said EAM Jaishankar.

“If you look between SDGs redevelopment, woman-led development, the digital public infrastructure, these are actually going to be the issues determined to the global progress of the next decade. Why I said this, I must also recognise, at the G20, that slot of European countries and other G20 nations, you know once you kind of reason with them and focus on them, I think everybody came on board. So, it took a country or a set of countries really to make that effort and bring the global conversation back on track,” he added.

Referring to the full consensus achieved by the New Delhi Declaration, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that many people were surprised when India was able to get everybody together.

“On the G20 Summit, a lot of folks were still surprised that we actually got everybody together. I don’t think they completely expected that. So there will be one set of people who are still wondering how that happened”, said EAM.

“The other part, which I think includes some people with me here now has appreciated that we got the G20 to focus on the Global South and that the job for which the G20 was created, which was global growth and development, we got them to refocus on it and with particular attention to the Global South. We did that partly by organizing a Global South summit in advance,” he added.

EAM S Jaishankar, Armenian Counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan Affirm 'Strong Bilateral Partnership'

New York: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a meeting with Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. The two leaders affirmed a "strong bilateral relationship."

After the meeting, Jaishankar in a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, stated, "On the sidelines of #UNGA78, met with @AraratMirzoyan FM of Armenia. Appreciate his sharing assessment of the current situation in the Caucasus. Affirmed our strong bilateral relationship."

Notably, India recognized Armenia in 1991 and India's Ambassador in Moscow was concurrently accredited to Armenia, according to the Ministry of External Affairs. The protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations was signed on 31 August 1992 in Moscow.

Earlier, EAM Jaishankar also met Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Elmedin Konakovic. The two leaders discussed growing bilateral ties with a focus on trade and economy.

Sharing a post on X, Jaishankar stated, "Good meeting with FM Elmedin Konakovic of Bosnia and Herzegovina on #UNGA78 sidelines. Discussed growing our bilateral ties with a focus on trade and economy."

He also met Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alicia Barcena and discussed taking forward the partnership between the two nations with a focus on business, science & technology, education, economy and traditional medicine.

After the meeting, Jaishankar in a post on X, stated, "A real pleasure to meet with Secretary of Foreign Affairs @aliciabarcena of Mexico this morning in New York. Discussed taking forward our Privileged Partnership focusing on business, science & technology, education, economy and traditional medicine. Also exchanged views on the reforming multilateralism and our work together in G20."

Notably, EAM Jaishankar is in New York to lead the Indian delegation for the UNGA session where he will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, according to an official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs. After concluding his visit to New York, he will travel to Washington, DC.

On Saturday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar along with United Nations General Assembly President Dennis Francis and foreign ministers of other nations attended the India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development event in New York.

He called India's G20 Presidency challenging due to a "very sharp East-West polarization and a very deep North-South divide." He said that India was very determined to ensure that India's G20 Presidency was able to get back to its core agenda.

In his address at India-UN for Global South: Delivering for Development event in New York, Jaishankar began his speech by speaking about India's G20 Presidency and recently held the G20 Summit.

"Your presence means a lot to us. It also expresses the sentiments that you feel for India and underlines the import of South-South cooperation. We meet just a few weeks after the New Delhi G20 Summit, a summit which took place on the theme of 'One Earth, One Family, One Future," Jaishankar said.

"Now, it was a challenging summit. It was actually a challenging presidency, and it was challenging because we were confronting a very sharp East-West polarization as well as a very deep North-South divide. But we were very determined as the Presidency of the G20 to make sure that this organization on which the world really had put so much hope and was able to get back to its core agenda," he added.

Canadian Defence Minister Urges India, Canada To Start Taking, Find A Common Ground

Ottawa: Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair has urged India, Canada to start talking to find a common ground in view of the recent strain in relations, CBC News reported.

"I really want [the two countries I love] to start talking. I know once they start talking, once they really want to help their citizens, I'm pretty sure they'll find common ground to make friends," Blair said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Liveon CBC News which aired on Sunday.

CBC News is a division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the news gathering and production of news programs.

Blair said he is aware of the impact the diplomatic dispute was having on Indian-Canadians.

This comes as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week alleged India’s involvement in the fatal shooting of Khalistan Tiger Force chief Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Najjar, who was a designated Terrorist in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.

Canada has called on India to co-operate with the investigation into Nijjar's death.

Trudeau on Friday said that Ottawa wants to "work constructively with India" regarding the alleged involvement of New Delhi in the killing of Nijjar, designated as a terrorist by India.

The Canadian Defence Minister said: “It's another reason why I place such emphasis on the investigation that's taking place, that we'd be able to move beyond credible intelligence to evidence, strong evidence of exactly what happened, so that we and the Indian government can know the truth, have the facts and then work together to resolve it in an appropriate way.”

"I'm not going to say anything that would in any way compromise the integrity of that investigation, it's just too important,” he said, as per CBC News. Allies also urge cooperation with investigation, he said.

India has meanwhile denied “any attempts to connect the government of India" with Nijjar's murder. The MEA also referred to Canada as having a "growing reputation" as a "safe haven for terrorists, for extremists and organized crime."

"The only request we've made of our allies and India is that they co-operate fully in that investigation because its outcome is very important," Blair told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton.

As per CBC News, Blair skirted a question about what intelligence Canada had received from allies to help reach the point where they made the decision to speak publicly on the issue.

Canada’s Allegations Against India May Be Based On Intelligence Collected By US Or UK: Foreign Affairs Expert

New Delhi: Foreign affairs expert Robinder Sachdev has said Canada’s allegations against India may be based on intelligence collected by America or England on their own or it may be that Canada asked them to find out some information.

Sachdev was referring to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations that the Indian government was behind the fatal shooting of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada.

Najjar, who was wanted in India, was gunned down outside a Gurdwara, in a parking area in Canada's Surrey, British Columbia on June 18.

Canada recently announced that the intelligence it is using to investigate the Nijjar case has got inputs from one of the other five Eye country members.

The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and the UK.

Sachdev said: “Most probably, given the geographic understandings, it would have been maybe America or England who had collected some intelligence on their own, or Canada asked them to find out some information that would also be so.”

“And they collected some information and passed it back to Canada. So this is certainly becoming a concerning matter. Canada has an inquiry underway already, and in that inquiry also, I think the Five Eye countries would be collaborating with Canada when they're sharing the information.”

The foreign affairs expert said Canada, the US are pressing India to share or cooperate but India is pushing it back. “So, the Canadians are continuing with the inquiry. The problem will get bigger now when the Canadians say that their inquiry is completed, maybe in two weeks, four weeks, four months, whichever time, then it will be a decision time for Canada, the US, England to decide what to do and for India also to decide what to do.”

Speaking on the Five Eyes, Sachdev said it is the most sophisticated electronic intelligence gathering network of five countries. It was set up just after the Second World War, initially with the United States and England for intelligence sharing because during the Second World War, they were already intelligent sharing

After the Second World War, the two countries added Canada and then added Australia and New Zealand as a network where intelligence would be shared between these countries.

“They have highly sophisticated and very deep capabilities and technologies. The American National Security Agency. The British have the general communication headquarters, the GCHQ. The GCHQ has very deep capabilities of gathering signal intelligence from telephonic, wireless, satellite, whichever signals, and then of course, the Australians and New Zealand, they have their own,” Sachdev said.

“So mainly, I think the work which they are able to focus more is electronic intelligence, which they call as signal intelligence. But at the same time, these five countries also hugely collaborate in what they call human intelligence, physical spying by physical people. They do both of these things and collect that information and share with each other,” he said.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen has said it was “shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners” that led the Trudeau administration to make the claim of a potential link between “agents” of the Indian government and the killing of separatist Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

"I will say this was a matter of shared intelligence information. There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this, and I think that's as far as I'm comfortable going," Cohen told Canada's CTV News in an interview.

However, Cohen refrained from detailing the type of intelligence shared by the Five Eyes partners with the Canadian government.

'Fantastic Job Done On G20:' Mexico Foreign Minister Ibarra Congratulates India

New York: Mexico's Foreign Minister Alicia Bárcena Ibarra has congratulated India on its G20 Presidency and said it has been a "fantastic job" that the country has done with the Summit in New Delhi.

The G20 Summit witnessed the arrival of global leaders in New Delhi from September 9-10.

Speaking to ANI, Mexico's Foreign Minister said, "I want to congratulate India and the ministers on the fantastic job done on G20. I think there were great advances in the declaration and to come back to many topics that are so crucial for the agenda....the multilateral agenda."

She also congratulated India on its successful lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 and stated that it is a great advancement.

"I want to congratulate India for landing on the moon. I think that's a great advancement and we discussed cooperation in the space industry or we have an agency...a space agency that we want to bring together, I mean we want to collaborate," the minister said.

After a 40-day journey into space, the Chandrayaan-3 lander, 'Vikram', touched down on August 23 at the uncharted lunar South Pole making India the first country to do so. After transversing over 100 meters on the lunar surface from the Shiv Shakti Point, the touchdown spot of the Vikram lander on the lunar surface, the Pragyan Rover was safely parked and set into sleep mode on September 2.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister of Mexico further said, "And then we discussed about the IT Forum that is, an encounter that's gonna be taking place in India I guess...and then we are going to participate of course. We discussed in certain ways matters that are dealing with, traditional medicine, which we are very interested in, looking at the Indian experience and vice versa."

"We have a couple of MOUs that we are signing on Cofepris and the medical entities of India. Finally, we discussed matters of the world, the BRICS, the security council, matters, and I think we agree on mechanisms of how we can relate better for Mexico it’s important to participate in the BRICS debates, not to become a member, but we want to be there. And also on the discussions of the security council, how do we, how can we engage in intergovernmental negotiations," she told ANI.

"And of course, India has a candidacy for the Security Council, which we are very happy to support," the minister added.

Earlier, Mexico's Foreign Minister held a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

India-Mexico relations have consistently been friendly, warm and cordial, characterised by mutual understanding and growing bilateral trade and all-round cooperation.

Both countries are large emerging economies, with similar socio-economic development priorities and constraints, and have democratic, secular, and pluralistic systems, as well as convergent worldviews, according to the Ministry of External Affairs.

Jaishankar is leading the Indian delegation for a week-long visit to New York, where he will address the United Nations General Assembly on September 26.

Pakistan's 40 Pc Population Lives Below Poverty Line: World Bank

Islamabad: Pakistan’s 40 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, as per the World Bank, Dawn reported.

Dawn is a Pakistani English-language newspaper.

The country now needs to take a look at its policy decisions driven by strong vested interests of military, political and business leaders, as per the World Bank.

The warning by the financial institution comes ahead of the new election cycle so that the upcoming government can make early choices.

The World Bank has asked Pakistan to tax its agriculture and real estate to achieve economic stability through steep fiscal adjustment of over seven per cent of the size of the economy, as per Pakistan-based The Express Tribune newspaper.

The lender on Friday also revealed that poverty in Pakistan shot up to 39.4 per cent as of last fiscal year with 12.5 million more people falling into the trap due to poor economic conditions. About 95 million Pakistanis now live in poverty.

The Washington-based lender unveiled the draft policy notes that it prepared with the help of all stakeholders for the next government.

The lender identified low human development, unsustainable fiscal situation, over-regulated private sector, agriculture and energy sectors as the priority areas for reforms for the next government.

The World Bank proposed measures that immediately increase the tax-to-GDP ratio by five per cent and cut expenditures by about 2.7 per cent of GDP, aimed at putting the unsustainable economy back on a prudent fiscal path, according to the Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, the WB’s lead country economist Tobias Haque said the bank is deeply concerned about the economic situation of today.

Pakistan is facing serious economic and human development crises and it is at a point where major policy shifts are required, he added.

The bank’s note on strengthening government revenues showed a host of measures to improve the revenue-to-GDP ratio by five per cent through the withdrawal of tax exemptions and increasing the burden of taxes on the real estate and the agriculture sectors, as per The Express Tribune.

France To End Military Presence In Niger, Bring Back Ambassador: Emmanuel Macron

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday announced that Paris will end its military presence in Niger by the end of 2023, CNN reported.

He also announced that he has decided to bring back the country's Ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, to France

The development comes amid high tensions between the two nations since the military junta seized power in Niger in July.

Macron said, "We are putting an end to our military cooperation with the de facto authorities of Niger because they don’t want to fight terrorism anymore," CNN reported.

The decision to end the "cooperation" has been taken "because we are not there to deal with internal politics and be hostages of putschists,” the French President said while referring to the military group. He announced that the withdrawal would take place in the coming weeks.

"They will come back in an orderly manner in the weeks and months to come, and for that, we will coordinate with the putschists because we want this to happen calmly," Macron said.

Asked about the timeline of withdrawal, Macron said that there will not be any French soldiers in Niger by the end of 2023.

Macron also announced that he has decided to bring back the country's Ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, to France. He said, "France has decided to bring back its ambassador," CNN reported.

He further said, "In the coming hours, our ambassador along with several diplomats will return to France." His decision comes over a week after Macron said the French Ambassador was “literally being held hostage at the French embassy." He further said that the “food was prevented from being delivered” to the embassy in Niger's Niamey.

French troops have been stationed in Niger, many of whom were there to assist with counterterrorism missions, on the basis that Niger was a relatively stable democracy in a region that faces problems like political upheaval and terrorism, CNN has reported. Some 1500 French troops have been stationed in Niger.

Notably, France has not recognized Niger’s military authorities and stressed that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum remains the country’s only legitimate authority.

After the coup in July, Niger military junta has asked Sylvain Itte to leave the country. It later revoked his visa and ordered police to expel him. However, the diplomat continued to stay in Niger.

Man Killed In Terrorist Attack In Pakistan's Baluchistan

Islamabad: A Levies man was killed after terrorists opened fire in Mazai Adda Chaman area of Pakistan's Baluchistan, Pakistan-based ARY News reported.

According to details, DPO Muhammad Ali Kasi said that Levies man was heading home from his workplace when the terrorists opened fire, according to ARY News report. He said that the Levies man was killed on the spot and his body was taken to hospital.

Earlier, one soldier and three terrorists were killed after a security forces post was attacked near Wali Tangi area of Quetta, according to the statement released by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

According to ISPR statement, the terrorists attacked a security forces post near Wali Tangi. During the exchange of fire, Subedar Qaiser Raheem was killed and one soldier was seriously injured, ARY News reported.

On Saturday, a soldier was killed during an exchange of fire with terrorists in the North Waziristan district of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan-based Dawn reported citing the military’s media wing.

In a press release, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said security forces carried out an intelligence-based operation (IBO) in North Waziristan's general area of Mir Ali. During the operation, an “intense fire exchange” took place against terrorists.

ISPR said, "Own troops effectively engaged terrorists’ location." It further said that during the operation, Sepoy Shakeel Shafqat aged 21 years was killed, Dawn reported.

According to ISPR, the area was being sanitised to eliminate any terrorists found in the vicinity. In a press release, ISPR said, "Security forces of Pakistan are determined to eliminate the menace of terrorism and such sacrifices of our brave soldiers further strengthen our resolve."

Earlier in July, a think tank Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies said that 389 people died in terror and suicide attacks in half of the current year, according to Dawn report.

According to the report, a total of 271 attacks had taken place in Pakistan during the period under review, which took 389 lives and injured 656 others, Dawn reported.

During the same period in last year, Pakistan witnessed 151 attacks, causing 293 deaths and 487 injuries. The figures depict a staggering 79 per cent increase in attacks during the first half of 2023 in comparison to the period last year.

Terror Module Busted In Jammu And Kashmir, 5 Lashkar Terrorists Arrested

Kulgam, Jammu and Kashmir: In a joint operation by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a terror module was busted in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district with the arrest of five terrorists of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terror outfit, an official statement said on Sunday.

A huge quantity of arms and ammunition including two pistols, three Hand Granedes, one UBGL, two pistol magezines, 12 poistol rounds, and 21 AK-47 rounds was recovered from their posession, the statement added.

As per the statement, the arrested terrorists were identified as Aadil Hussain Wani, Suhail Ahmad Dar, Aitmad Ahmad Laway, Mehraj Ahmad Lone and Sabzar Ahmad Khaar.

A case has been registered in this regard under the relevant sections of law.

Further investigation is underway.

More details are awaited.

Earlier in August, Jammu and Kashmir Police along with 26 Assam Rifles and 3rd BN CRPF busted a terror module in North Kashmir's Bandipora and successfully foiled the nefarious designs of Pakistan-based terror handlers in reviving the terrorists in the district.