Friday, May 24, 2024

How India Can Improve Its Military Mobility: The Foremost Winning Factor

Military logistics are simple yet cumbersome due to the variety of echelons that need to cater for different terrain and operational cycles and manoeuvres

For companies manufacturing military hardware such as armour vehicles, artillery guns, earthmovers, and military vehicles, it is very important for them to design equipment that conforms to military standards of shape and size. Image via TATA Motors

The ability to mobilise to the operational area and combat mobility within the war zone are foundational for the operational success of any professional armed force of the nation. Some military units can be declared ‘unfit for war’ primarily because they could not shake out of their military stations within the designated time, which could be anything as little as 45 minutes to two hours of warning.

National mobilisation is a larger subject. The strategy of Cold Start was adopted by the Indian Army primarily against Pakistan to ensure that large military formations are so located and equipped that they can reach their operational areas faster than the adversary. Strategic mobility entails the heavy lifting of large military formations over longer distances; these are mostly trans-theater. The airborne troops are always prepared for such mobility, fundamentally by large aircraft such as the C-17 or IL-76 class. The standard military formations are generally mobilised by military special trains and trucks. In both cases, the dimensions of the equipment and vehicles matter.

For companies manufacturing military hardware such as armour vehicles, artillery guns, earthmovers, and military vehicles, it is very important for them to design equipment that conforms to military standards of shape and size and is pliable for mobilisation. The vehicles or equipment that cannot fit on standard military rakes or aircraft is called OSD (Over Sized Dimension). During the mobilisation, the satellites of the adversary are always on a lookout to track these military movements. Nations can ill afford to have sluggish, disorganised, and time-consuming mobilisation. Stealth and speed dictate the success of military mobilisation.

Once deployed, the forces have to be highly mobile and manoeuvrable. The Jeep was an expression used by Americans for a General Purpose vehicle and was used extensively for reconnaissance, movement of small bodies of troops and officers, or even for combat when fitted with automatic weapons. In combat, speed, stealth, survivability, and swiftness in combat and operational mobility are extremely important. Militaries cannot risk having combat transport that is slow, noisy, terrain-sensitive, and delicate. The tactical and operational manoeuvre is all about projecting a superior force at the time and place of decision by beating the enemy in time, space, and force ratios. Manoeuvre is a factor of physics that is effectively achieved by mobility and firepower.

For combat mobility and operations, one needs a vehicle that is also amenable to modifications in military workshops and that can be repaired in field conditions and then congenial for long-term MRO support. It must have a low weight-to-power ratio that can ensure universal cross-country mobility without losing the Centre of Gravity (CoG). Even if it rolls over, it should have strong anti-roll protection and return to the top position. The vehicle tyres must create enough traction in deserts, plains, and roads in winter or snow; no longer should there be a need to put tardy non-skid chains in snow-bound areas. The troop-carrying vehicles must be able to withstand splinters, direct bullet hits, and belly attacks. The store and equipment carrying vehicles need additional fireproofing. Certain transport needs should be catered to operate in the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) environment that is scaled to every combat unit.

Invariably and increasingly, the militaries are fielding sophisticated military equipment into the war zone. Most of the gadgets in vehicles need power and protection. EVs shall revolutionise and off-set the power generation in combat; however, in military combat, this may take some time. Some combat vehicles need double conventional engines that alternate between power generation and traction. When required, both engines can singly or together generate traction and power. Both engines need not be of the same power or be dependent on one type of fuel. Such vehicles should have the ability to perform the duties of Articulated All Terrain Vehicles (hook-pull-push) with easy reconfiguration.

Quick mobilisation needs palletisation models. The air mobility, rail mobility, and road mobility pallets have to be configured by the industry for rapid mobilisation. Similarly, combat loads need palletization. Military logistics are simple, yet cumbersome due to the variety of echelons that need to cater for different terrain and operational cycles and manoeuvres. The military innovates on the go. The military transport should have combat kits that can make the same vehicle perform different roles. The self-recovery winches can work for pulling the small pallets into the truck body, especially for loading heavy ammunition boxes. Some vehicles need waterproofing for deep fording or the ability to float—with simple modifications. Military ambulances are rarely comfortable in the mountains for an injured, lying soldier. The role of the ambulance in the mountains does not allow the patient to stabilise. The CoG of ambulances should be low, and these vehicles should lend themselves to juxtaposition to form a field hospital; this is being done in some cases. Military kitchen lorries, command posts, and caravans are being built in most armies.

‘Internet Inside’ for combat vehicles is the future of swarm warfare with autonomous vehicles. In the battle, no vehicle can be classified as a non-combat vehicle. All vehicles, including troop-carrying, store carrying, specialist vehicles, and logistical vehicles, have to be able to fit into a combat role. Every military vehicle manufacturer must assign the CW (Combat Worthiness) value to the vehicle. Military vehicles are likely to be put under a hard test, never seen before, as future battles are networked, transparent, highly volatile, and require high speed, manoeuvrability, and survivability. The combat columns need high redundancy, self-recovery, and self-healing properties. Military vehicles need positioning and tracking systems that are secure. Ground-based hopping positioning systems would ensure that location spoofing is built into a combat vehicle column. Most of the mobilisation would be done at night. Certain guide and pilot vehicles need combined night driving and navigation aids. Future military vehicles will invariably have drone companions built in to act as guides, surveillance buddies, and logistic support systems.

The combat monitoring and control vehicles would be necessary for mosaic battles. As and when the autonomous wars kick in, the column and combat commanders should be able to see themselves from terrestrial and space sensors. This would be necessary for any evasive or proactive decisions that the commanders would need to take. The commanders at all levels would be expected to be in the networked OOSDA (Observe-Orient-Share-Decide-Act) loop. These vehicles would need to have inbuilt jamming radiations to disturb the incoming guided ammunition targeting a vehicle or a column. These vehicles need to generate extra power to generate these energy waves.

Military vehicle designers need to cater for models that can be air-transported by Chinook helicopters and aircraft, such as C-295 aircraft, C-17 Globemaster, IL-76, and C-130. The vehicles and guns can either be loaded, taken underslung, or even paradropped. The traditional manufacturers in India, such as Tata, Ashok Leyland, and Mahindra, have their respective backgrounds in lorry and tractor manufacturing, both requiring heavy-duty and rugged designs and materials. Force Motors, with the background of manufacturing Light Commercial Vehicles also transformed, like the former three, into military grade vehicle manufacturing. Industrial houses like BEML, Kalyani Group, and Midhani brought in their traditional manufacturing strengths and expertise in materials to produce defence heavy lift and rugged mobility designs. These manufacturers are currently the suppliers of conventional war mobility hardware. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Research and Development and collaboration with future technology providers will make these companies stacked with designs and capabilities that will make them future-ready to work on networked and contested battlefields around the world.

Lt Gen (Dr) PJS Pannu is a former Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff. He is a PhD in Management with the subject ‘Indigenization of Defence Industry’

(With Reporting by FirstPost)

L&T, Airbus Deepen Partnership With State-of-The-Art Simulation Centre In Bangalore

L&T Technology Services announced the inauguration of the Simulation Centre of Excellence for Airbus, strategically located at the LTTS state-of-the-art campus in Bangalore. This Centre of Excellence is designed to bolster engineering support for Airbus aircraft structural simulation activities across its diverse business units in Europe spanning France, Germany, the UK, and Spain.

Equipped with the latest simulation software, hardware, and high-performance computational machinery, the Simulation CoE aims to unify and standardize processes across all Airbus European business units and aircraft programs. The ultimate objective is to streamline efficiency and enhance productivity, facilitating the timely achievement of program milestones.

Initiated approximately 18 months ago with a specialized core team, the Centre of Excellence (CoE) has demonstrated significant growth and development. The strategic plan includes a substantial scaling up of the centre over the next two years. This expansion reflects the deep commitment of LTTS to fostering innovation and excellence in aerospace engineering, highlighting the dedication to advancing the industry through sustained development and expertise.

Speaking on this significant development, Alind Saxena, President – Sales and Executive Director, L&T Technology Services stated, “The establishment of the Simulation CoE for Airbus reflects our deep-seated commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation alongside Airbus. This Centre is not just about technology; it’s about creating a standardized, efficient framework that propels Airbus’ industry-leading aircraft into the future Together, we are not just navigating the present landscape but also shaping the future of aviation, ensuring that our collaboration remains a key driver of our success in India and the world.”

The establishment of the Simulation CoE for Airbus marks a decade of fruitful collaboration between LTTS and Airbus India, highlighting a shared dedication to innovation and excellence in the global aerospace industry. It serves as a foundation for both companies to continue their dominance in important markets like Europe and India, driving forward with a common process that enhances operational efficiency and productivity.

(With Agency Inputs)

India To Get Next-Generation Nuclear Fuel; Russia Ready To Help India Build More Reactors

Alexey Likhachev, Director General of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, and Ajit Kumar Mohanty, Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission

Alexey Likhachev and Ajit Kumar Mohanty also discussed the progress of the joint Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project comprising six 1000 MW capacity power units

NEW DELHI: Russia is ready to help India with the construction of high-capacity nuclear power units at a new site, in addition to the atomic power project at Kudankulam, as part of efforts to expand cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy, the head of the Russian nuclear agency said on Thursday.

Alexey Likhachev, director general of the ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, made the offer during a meeting with Atomic Energy Commission chairman Ajit Kumar Mohanty at Seversk in Russia. The two officials held talks when Mohanty visited the “Proryv” or “Breakthrough” project, which seeks to create a new power plant with a closed nuclear fuel cycle.

“We are ready [for] serious expansion of the cooperation with India in the field of using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” Likhachev said, according to a statement issued by ROSATOM. This includes “serial construction of the Russian-designed high-capacity nuclear power units at a new site in India”, he said.

The Russian side is also open to the implementation of land-based and floating low-power generation projects, and cooperation in the nuclear fuel cycle and non-power applications of nuclear technologies, said Likhachev.

Russia is currently assisting India with the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu, which will have six light-water nuclear reactors of 1,000 MW each. Work on the project began in 2002 and the first reactor began commercial operations in 2014, followed by the second in 2016. Work on two more reactors is underway.

During external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Russia last December, the two sides signed agreements to move forward on the fifth and sixth reactors for the Kudankulam project. Jaishankar told a news conference in Mumbai on May 13 that India is “looking at additional sites for Russian reactors”.

Mohanty and Likhachev met when the Indian official visited the Pilot Demonstration Energy Complex (PDEC) at Seversk in Tomsk region, which is part of the Proryv project. They also discussed the progress in the Kudankulam project, the statement said.

Besides creating a platform with a closed nuclear fuel cycle, the Proryv project is focused on resolving the problems of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste.

The Kudankulam project is India’s largest nuclear power plant, which ROSATOM, described as the flagship venture of “Russian-Indian technological and power industry cooperation”.

“Currently, construction and installation works are underway and equipment supplies are being completed at Units 3 and 4, two power units of the project’s third stage being built parallelly. ROSATOM State Corporation is providing fuel to the power units of Kudankulam NPP throughout their entire life cycle,” the statement said.

(With Agency Inputs)

Pakistani Intelligence Agents Cloning Numbers, Voices To Infiltrate Indian Defence Systems, Classified Report Exposes

According to classified information Pak agents are currently cloning numbers as well as voices to contact these targeted individuals

The central government's intelligence apparatus has uncovered that Pakistan Intelligence Operatives (PIOs) are actively involved in highly advanced and sophisticated operations.

The special bureau at government’s intelligence agency has shared classified information with sister agencies, revealing that they have identified a disconcerting pattern: 66 meticulously orchestrated calls by PIOs aimed at extracting sensitive information from high-ranking defence service personnel, top Indian Army officials linked with sensitive departments and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). According to classified information accessed by the Free Press Journal, PIO agents are currently cloning numbers as well as voices to contact these targeted individuals.

According to official sources PIO agents are cloning numbers, converting them into spoofing calls, and sampling the caller's voice which they have in their archive to contact the target. Sources added that they were using cutting-edge technology to replicate the speaking style, posture, specific vocabulary, and language skills of the intended caller to deceive top Indian Army officials and other secret service agencies.

In the 66 PIO calls, the special bureau identified three numbers used as backups for data extraction and transfer. These numbers belong to another country and are currently under scrutiny.

Under the condition of anonymity, a senior official confirmed that in recent months, data from a few top officials had been compromised. Additionally, a network of seven linked numbers regularly in contact with the senior officer linked to different secret service departments was also found to be compromised. Sources said that the investigation is currently figuring out how the data breach occurred, and which spoofed numbers were used.

According to classified information findings, PIO agents currently possess extensive data on defence officials, acquired over the past few years through hacking, honeytrap operations, fraudulent schemes, and fake corporate offers. The PIOs strategically select top targets by analyse the data extracted from these devices. After scrutinizing this data, they have launched sophisticated and high-level operations targeting top officials of sensitive departments.

The central government's intelligence apparatus, while sharing information, has advised defence officials to approach the military intelligence desk first if they identify any suspicious activity on phones of officials.

(With Agency Inputs)

'I Would've Taken Kartarpur Sahib From Pakistan In Return of Their Soldiers': PM Modi In Punjab

Noting that more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered in the 1971 Indo-Pak War, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asserted if he had been in power he would have taken Kartapur Sahib from Pakistan before freeing their troops. Addressing a rally at Patiala, his first in the state for the seventh phase of Lok Sabha polls on June 1, Modi said Punjab and the Sikh community have always been at the forefront of national-building efforts, even as he lambasted the current AAP government over issues of corruption and drugs trade.

He called Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann only a 'Kagazi CM' -- chief minister only on paper.

Modi brought up the emotive issue of the gurdwara in Kartarpur Sahib, a place sacred to Sikhs as Guru Nanak Dev spent the last years of his life there, and blamed the Congress for country's partition, saying they did it for sake of power.

The partition left Kartar Sahib in Pakistan's Punjab, just a few kilometres away from the border with India. "For 70 years, we could have a 'darshan' of the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara only with binoculars," Modi said.

He said opportunity presented itself to take back the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in 1971 when more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers surrendered before the Indian Army and "we had the trump card in our hands".

"Had Modi been there at that time, I would have taken Kartapur Sahib from them (made it part of Indian territory) and then freed their troops," he said.

"They (Congress) did not do that, but I did as much I could," Modi added, referring to the opening of the Kartapur Sahib Corridor in 2019 that made it easier for Sikh pilgrims to travel to the shrine.

Campaigning for Preneet Kaur, the wife of former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who is BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Patiala, Modi said he had come to seek the blessings in the land of Gurus "by bowing my head".

Other BJP candidates -- Parampal Kaur Sidhu from Bathinda, Arvind Khanna from Sangrur, Hans Raj Hans from Faridkot and Gejja Ram Valmiki from the Fatehgarh Sahib seat -- were also present on the stage as Modi spoke, donning the traditional Sikh turban.

Punjab has given leadership to the country in various sectors, from agriculture to industry, Modi said. But, the current "fiercely corrupt" Bhagwant Mann government has changed all that, he added. "Trade and industry are leaving Punjab while the drug trade is growing. The entire state government is running on debt."

The government's writ does not run here while sand and drug mafia, and shooter gangs' rule, the prime minister said. "All ministers are enjoying and the 'Kagazi CM' is always busy marking his presence in the 'Delhi Darbar'. Can such people bring development in Punjab?"

He also took a dig at the AAP and the Congress for fighting the Lok Sabha polls together in Delhi and against each other in Punjab.

"In Punjab, they are fighting against each other in elections just to show to people. Delhi's 'fiercely corrupt party' and the party which is guilty of anti-Sikh riots are enacting a drama of fighting against each other)," he said.

"But the truth is 'Panja' (Cong symbol) and 'Jhadoo' (AAP symbol) are two outfits, but the shop is the same. Over here they may give any statement (against each other), but in Delhi both are dancing together. That is why, I urge people of Punjab to beware of them."

He said the party that "betrayed" their guru Anna Hazare and can speak lies 10 times a day can never do any good to Punjab or its children.

Modi listed out steps taken by his government for the benefit of the Sikh community such as tax exemption on material used for making 'langar' and relaxing foreign donation norms to the Golden Temple. He further said his government had announced 'Veer Baal Diwas' to mark the martyrdom of the tenth Sikh guru's sons.

"But some people do not understand what is the meaning of announcing 'Veer Baal Diwas'. I feel sad that there are certain people who have no understanding of it. I wanted every child should know the sacrifices of the sons of Guru Gobind Singh."

He further said his government brought Sikh families and 'saroops' of Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan. "I have blood relations with you," said Modi, adding that one of the 'panj pyare' (five beloved ones) of Guru Gobind Singh belonged to Gujarat.

He said he was the Gujarat chief minister, he rebuilt a gurdwara, where first Sikh Guru Nanak Dev once halted, which got damaged in an earthquake. "Modi does not do it for votes. Modi's head bows before the sacrifices of Sikh Gurus," he said.

Keeping up the attack on the INDIA bloc, he said "hey neither have a leader, nor intent" and their biggest aim is the appeasement of their vote bank while the BJP's mantra is 'Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas'.

Slamming the Congress for opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Modi said Sikh families were persecuted in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and his government decided to give them citizenship. "It is not for vote bank," he stated.

He said the INDIA bloc lies to farmers. "They made a promise with farmers but did not fulfill it. It is the BJP which gives priority to the welfare of farmers."

In the last 10 years, there was a record purchase of wheat and paddy from Punjab, he said. "We raised MSP two-and-a-half times in the last 10 years," he added.

Security was beefed up in view of the call given by farmer bodies to hold a demonstration against Modi.

(With Agency Inputs)

Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif Likely To Visit China Next Month

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to undertake an official visit to China from June 4 to 7, reported ARY News citing sources on Thursday.

During his four-day state visit, the PM will hold meetings with the Chinese president and prime minister and will discuss the matters related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) phase II and other issues

CPEC is a USD 50 billion Pakistani component of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The 3,000 km Chinese infrastructure network project is under construction in Pakistan and aims to connect Pakistan's Gwadar and Karachi ports to China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region by land.

This visit would mark PM Shehbaz's inaugural visit to Beijing since taking office following the February 8 general elections. Currently, the prime minister is in the UAE for a day-long visit.

During his visit, the prime minister is anticipated to meet with the President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

PM Sharif is also expected to convene with other Emirati officials, business figures, and leaders of financial institutions.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar recently visited Beijing for a four-day trip. During his visit, he co-chaired the Fifth Pakistan-China Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

It's important to note that Pakistan and China have agreed to accelerate the implementation of projects under CPEC across various sectors.

This agreement was reached during a meeting between Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal and Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China Zhao Chenxin in Beijing on Friday.

The two sides agreed to implement the Industrial Cooperation Framework Agreement and develop an Action Plan for the modernization of industry, mines and mineral sectors.

They also resolved to prioritize cooperation in Artificial Intelligence and agriculture modernization in the second phase of CPEC.

They vowed to enhance the connectivity of the coastal city of Gwadar by constructing the Eastbay Expressway to fully harness the potential of its port and industrial zone.

(With Agency Inputs)

Army Hoists 108 Ft High Mast National Flag On LoC

Srinagar: Army hoisted 108 feet high mast National flag on the Line of Control (LoC) in Uri sector of North Kashmir district of Baramulla today.

The national tricolor was hosted at Kaman Post, the last border point between India and Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK), was dedicated to the citizens of Uri jointly by the Army and Flag Foundation of India symbolising national pride and unity at the LoC.

The event was graced by the officials from Indian Army, Civil administration, members of the Foundation, community leaders, school children and tourists, Srinagar based defence spokesman said.

The flag mast is a testament to India’s rich heritage and the enduring spirit of its people.

This new addition to the impressive ‘KAMAN POST’ not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the area but also is a testimony to sacrosanct values and ideals that the Indian tricolour represents.

The overwhelming participation by citizens in the event reinforces the positive propagation and actualization of ethos vital for nation-building.

EAM Jaishankar Bids Farewell To Outgoing Saudi Arabian Envoy Saleh Bin Eid Al-Hussaini

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday warmly bid farewell to outgoing Saudi Ambassador Saleh bin Eid Al-Hussaini in Delhi.

During their meeting, Jaishankar also appreciated the Saudi Ambassador's efforts towards strengthening the India-Saudi Arabia relationship

In a post on X, S Jaishankar said, "Pleased to receive Saudi Ambassador Saleh bin Eid Al-Hussaini for a farewell call. Thank him for his contribution to the strengthening of India and Saudi Arabia's relationship."

India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties. The diplomatic ties between India and Saudi Arabia were established in 1947, according to the Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister Meenakashi Lekhi also bid farewell to the Ambassador of Italy to India, Vincenzo De Luca as he embarks on his new assignment.

"Bade farewell to Ambassador Vicenzo de Luca @Videluca59 of Italy, as he embarks on his next journey," said Meenakashi Lekhi on X.

Further, she expressed gratitude for Luca's contribution and commitment while emphasizing the progress in bilateral relations and wished him success in his future endeavors.

"Thank him for his contribution and commitment we have seen India and Italy's bilateral relations going strength to strength. Wished him success in his future," said Lekhi.

Vincenzo de Luca was appointed as the Ambassador of Italy to India on December 18, 2019 and Ambassador of Italy to Nepal on October 22, 2021. He is completed his tenure this year.

Italy and India recently elevated their bilateral relations to the levels of Strategic Partnership during the visit of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to India in March 2023.

(With Agency Inputs)

UK's Sikh Diaspora Applaud India's Democratic Process

London: Members of the Indian Sikh diaspora in the UK have expressed their strong support for India's democratic process, even as they reject a handful of criticisms against the electoral process of the country, which is billed as one of the world's largest.

Harpreet Singh Multani, who resides in Southall, a suburban town in West London, says that there is visible progress that India has made in recent years.

"The kind of development happening in India, we have been observing while sitting in the UK. Major developments has happened in the past few years. I am not favouring any political party, but if positive work has happened, it has happened. The elections are free and fair. People are going to vote because they have witnessed development; otherwise, they will not vote. People must vote for a candidate who has been doing good work," he said.

Baljinder Singh Rathore, a solicitor based in London, emphasised the importance of free and fair elections and the role of local representatives.

"It's election season in India, and the elections should be free and fair, which is already happening. I hope people will vote for deserving candidates, depending on their local issues. Your local Members of Parliament (MPs) can resolve your issues, and you must vote for them," said Rathore.

Rathore also noted India's growing appeal to international investors. "India is fast becoming a superpower. Investors have now realized that after China, they should invest in India. A large number of Indians are now settled in countries like the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, and even Europe. India's development helps us to grow, and our prosperity helps to make India proud."

Darshan Singh Nagi, a Sikh social worker in London, praised the economic advancements in Punjab. "If I come down to Punjab in the past 10 years, there used to be only one airport, but now we have six, which is a phenomenal advantage for people living in Punjab. They can travel anywhere in the world," he said.

Nagi also highlighted new international flight routes from Chandigarh, saying, "Now, I understand there are flights starting from Chandigarh to go to Singapore and other countries through the Middle East, which is wonderful news for people living in Punjab. It's a lot easier to go anywhere in the world."

Speaking about the ongoing elections, Nagi said, "We are having free and fair elections, which is amazing. It doesn't happen in many places, but in Bharat, it's doing a great job of holding fair elections."

He added his support for the current government's ambitious goals, noting, "The present government has given the slogan 'Ab ki baar 400 paar.' If it hits 400 seats, it will be a big achievement, and we will have further development. We are going to become the third-largest economy in the world. We have overtaken Britain, and we are ahead of European countries. What more do we want? It ensures a very good life for people, and that's brilliant."

Jaswant Singh Thekedar, chairman of Gurudwara Miri Piri in London, echoed the sentiment about India's democratic strength but pointed out specific community concerns. "India is known for its democracy. People are happy with the government, but if they come to power again, I wish the issues related to Sikhs would be resolved. These are minor disputes which will benefit the Sikhs in India."

He added, "India is a democratic country, and the elections are free and fair. The country deserves a strong government that will work for the welfare of its people."

As India concludes its election period, the UK Sikh diaspora's reflections underscore a blend of optimism and anticipation for continued progress and fair governance. The UK Sikh voices have reposed full faith in the democratic process and the sound judgement of the Indian voters.

(With Agency Inputs)

'She Is Very Scared And Wants To Come Back': Kin of Indian Student Stuck In Kyrgyzstan

Chhattisgarh: Amid the violence that has gripped Bishkek, the family members of Ayesha Shirin Roy, a girl from Gaurela Pendra Marwahi, who is stuck in Kyrgyzstan, said their niece is scared by the prevailing unrest and wants to return to her homeland.

Her family members said they haven't been able to establish contact with her.

Speaking to ANI on Thursday, Susanna Roy, Ayesha's aunt said, "My niece lives there. She is a fourth-year MBBS student. She is caught up in the prevailing violence and riots and is spending anxious days. Earlier, we would often stay in touch with her over the phone. However, after the prevailing cycle of violence erupted, we spoke last night but there has been no contact since 5 in the morning."

"She (Ayesha Shirin Roy) said they do not have any information about what is happening outside as they are being sheltered under tight security. She said: 'please call me back. I am very scared as situation is getting worse by the day. So, please use all means to establish contact with me'," Sussana added.

She said her niece and other boarders at the hostel have been moved to a bunker as the hostel received information that it could come under attack.

"Amid these fights, riots, the hostel received information that it could be attacked. So, the dean shifted all the boarders to a bunker at another place where they could stay safe. The madam there has been ensuring the students' safety," she said.

Also speaking to ANI on Thursday, Ayesha Shirin Roy's uncle said they had spoken to her yesterday but were unable to contact her now. "We spoke to her yesterday night. We are worried as we have been trying to contact her since morning today but haven't been able to."

Asked whether they are satisfied with the security provided to her, he said, "We are not fully satisfied. However, the university has provided security to her and fellow boarders. Security guards are fewer and rioters on the streets more amid the prevailing unrest. They are getting food only once a day. The outside supply of their food is being hampered. They are facing difficulties in sourcing food. If they get food from outside, the rioters might sense their presence and attacks might follow."

He said they have urged the collector to take their worries to the authorities concerned and even spoke to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai, seeking his intervention in the matter.

"We have appealed to the Collector Madam here. After we took our worries to the CM, he spoke to my niece over there and assured her that the government would do everything to bring her back at the earliest.

In Bishkek, violent clashes have broken out among student groups, with reports indicating the use of batons by attackers. International students have been wounded after attackers forcibly entered hostel rooms.

Every year, a large number of Indian students join medical and other universities in Kyrgyzstan for further studies. At the moment, about 17,000 Indian students are in the country spread across many cities but most of them are in Bishkek, according to Indian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan press release.

Following the situation, the Indian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan also shared an update that it has been working actively with the universities and senior government functionaries to address the concerns of the Indian students. Two helplines 0555710041 and 0555005538 have been functional 24x7 where students can continue to reach out to the Embassy for all kinds of assistance.

Students and their families were urged not to pay attention to rumours being spread by some mischievous elements. However, the Indian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, on Thursday said that the situation in Bishkek has returned to normal.

In a post on X, the embassy stated, "Situation in and around Bishkek is normal and stable today. Flights to India are operational. Embassy is in contact with Medical Universities in Kyrgyzstan to address concerns of Indian students. They can reach out to the Embassy for any assistance at 0555710041 and 0555005538."

"The Embassy has been concerned at the recent incidents of violence against foreign students in Bishkek. However, due to swift action by the Kyrgyz authorities, the situation in Bishkek has returned to normal," the Embassy of India in Kyrgyzstan said in a release.

This report is auto-generated from a syndicated feed

60 Indians Rescued From Job Scam In Cambodia Return Home

Phnom Penh: The first batch of 60 Indian nationals rescued by the Indian Embassy in Cambodia from fraudulent employers have returned home, the embassy said on Thursday.

These Indians were rescued by authorities from a place called Jinbei-4 on May 20. The operation was carried out in coordination with authorities in Sihanoukville.

The Indian Embassy recently issued an advisory as well for those travelling to Cambodia for jobs. It asked Indian nationals to secure employment only through authorized agents approved by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

In a post on X, the Indian embassy said, " Always committed to helping Indians abroad. First batch of 60 Indian nationals rescued by the Indian Embassy in Cambodia from fraudulent employers returned home. Thank the Cambodian authorities for their support."

Further in another post the Indian Embassy disclosed that, "These individuals were transferred from Sihanoukville, in Cambodia to Phnom Penh today with assistance from the Embassy for travel documents and other arrangements to facilitate their return home."

"60 nationals have been rescued by the Embassy in cooperation with Sihanoukville(SHV)authority. These nationals, victims of fraudulent employment, were sent from SHV to PhnomPenh today. Embassy is assisting with travel documents & other arrangements for their early return home," Indian Embassy in Cambodia said on X.

"The Embassy of India, Phnom Penh is in touch with several Indian nationals who have reached out to us, and who have been subsequently evacuated by Cambodian authorities from a place called Jinbei-4 on May 20," the Indian Embassy in Cambodia said in a press release.

The matter has been taken up with the Cambodian authorities at the highest level for immediate repatriation of these Indian nationals.

"Cambodian authorities have informed us that around 60 Indian nationals have been sent from SHV to Phnom Penh today so that they can be sent back to India with the Embassy's assistance for travel documents, etc." the release added.

Further, the embassy also stated that it is in constant touch with the Cambodian authorities and necessary assistance and guidance are being provided to these Indian nationals on their way back to India.

A team of Embassy Officials are already in Sihanoukville to extend necessary assistance to these Indian nationals. Any other Indian nationals facing difficulties and wishing to return to India may get in touch with the Embassy.

The Mission has also set up a temporary Control Room at Sihanoukville for three days ( May 21-23).

The Embassy has been issuing several Advisories to alert Indians seeking jobs in Cambodia cautioning them not to fall prey to unauthorized agents. Indian nationals have been cautioned to not indulge in practices contrary to the purpose for which the Visa is granted by the host government such as seeking employment on a "Tourist Visa". They have also been advised to not undertake illegal cyber crimes and reach out to the Embassy and Cambodian hotline numbers.

The Government of India and the Embassy of India remain committed to extending all possible help to Indian nationals who are trapped in scam centres through unscrupulous elements. As of now, over 360 Indian nationals have been rescued/repatriated to India through the Mission's intervention.

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'Request Chhattisgarh Govt That Students Should Be Brought Back Safely': Father of Medical Student Stranded In Kyrgyzstan

Father of Medical student from Chhattisgarh who is stranded in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek: At a time when violence has gripped Bishkek, the family members amid growing concerns about the safety of the students stuck in Kyrgyzstan have requested the Chhattisgarh government to bring their children back to the country.

"This incident happened on May 18. There was a lot of panic atmosphere at that time and since the army and police forces have also arrived in Bishkek, so now the atmosphere is not like before. Students have been asked not to go out. The college management is delivering food and water to the hostels and now the classes have been asked to be taken online and students have been asked to go back to India," the father of Shivani Tamboli, a student stuck in Bishkek told ANI.

He said that as soon as he got to know of the violence arising in Bishkek, he informed the district administration and also messaged Chattisgarh's Deputy CM to take a stalk of the situation and do the needful for the return of the students.

"Our daughter will return on May 26 and the management there will take her to the airport. Our request from the Chhattisgarh government is that the students should be brought back safely. We also informed the district administration and messaged the Deputy CM. In this regard, he has assured us that if any problem arises then contact us immediately," he said.

In Bishkek, violent clashes have broken out among student groups, with reports indicating the use of batons by attackers. International students, including Indians, have been wounded after attackers forcibly entered hostel rooms.

Meanwhile, Janjgir-Champa Additional Collector, SP Vaidh said in a press conference recently that the district administration had come to know about the situation in Bishkek about 4-5 days back.

"4-5 days ago, the district administration received information that some students who had gone to Kyrgyzstan for medical studies informed that there was some dispute situation. Their parents requested that if there has been any such incident of violence with the local people then our children should be brought back," the additional collector said.

He noted that initiatives are being taken in this regard at the government level.

"I had a discussion with them and their parents to bring them back. They say that the situation is under control right now and the students will return only after their exams are over. If any such situation arises, it will be discussed at the government level and they will be brought back," he said.

Every year a large number of Indian students join medical and other universities in Kyrgyzstan for further studies. At the moment, about 17,000 Indian students are in the country spread across many cities but most of them are in Bishkek.

Following the situation, the Embassy also shared an update that it has been working actively with the universities and senior government functionaries to address the concerns of the Indian students. Two helplines 0555710041 and 0555005538 have been functional 24x7 where students can continue to reach out to the Embassy for all kinds of assistance.

Students and their families were urged not to pay attention to rumours being spread by some mischievous elements.

However, the Indian Embassy in Kyrgyzstan, on Wednesday said that the situation in Bishkek has returned to normal with no restrictions on any movement.

In a post on X, the embassy stated, "Situation in Bishkek continues to remain normal with no restrictions on any movement. Medical Universities are conducting classes online. Students are advised to follow the University's instructions. In case of any issue, they may contact us at 055-571-0041 & 055-500-5538."

"The Embassy has been concerned at the recent incidents of violence against foreign students in Bishkek. However, due to swift action by the Kyrgyz authorities, the situation in Bishkek has returned to normal," the Embassy of India in Bishkek said in a release.

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Over 20 Passengers Injured In Turbulence On Singapore Airlines Flight Being Treated For Spinal Injuries, Hospital Says

Singapore: Of the dozens of people injured during turbulence on a Singapore Airlines flight from London on Tuesday, more than 20 suffered spinal injuries, CNN reported, citing a Bangkok hospital that treated some of the passengers.

Speaking to reporters, Samitivej Srinakarin, the hospital director, said 22 patients with spine and spinal cord issues, six with skull and brain injuries, and another 13 with bone, muscle, or soft tissue complaints were undergoing treatment at the healthcare facility.

The doctor further said 17 patients underwent surgery, including procedures like suturing to spinal operations. Flight SQ321 heading from London to Singapore was flying at 37,000 feet on Tuesday when the plane dropped sharply before climbing several hundred feet, CNN reported, citing flight tracking data. The plane then continued to dip and ascend for about a minute.

At the time of the incident, many passengers were having breakfast. After its emergency landing in Bangkok, video and images from inside the aircraft showcased the extent of the damage that was caused, with overhead compartments smashed open and emergency oxygen air masks dangling above the seats.

A picture of one galley showed a section of the ceiling open, with parts of the plane's interior hanging down. Following the incident, the plane carrying 211 passengers and 18 crew was diverted to Bangkok, where ambulances and emergency response teams were waiting.

Previously, the hospital said that those injured onboard the flight included people from Australia, Malaysia, US, UK, New Zealand, Spain, and Ireland.

Of the total 71 passengers who were reported injured on the plane, 55 remain in hospitals, including 40 at the Samitivej Srinakarin facility, according to a CNN report.

A British man identified as Geoff Kitchen (73) with an existing heart condition died on board. Although hospital officials have not yet confirmed the cause of his death.

He was described as "always a gentleman with the utmost honesty and integrity" by the Thornbury Musical Theatre Group, an establishment where he worked for more than 35 years.

Of the passengers and crew on board the original flight, 143 passengers were flown to Singapore on a relief flight sent by Singapore Airlines on Wednesday morning.

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China Announces 'Large-Scale' Military Drills Around Island Days After Lai Ching Te Sworn In As Taiwan's New President

Beijing: Days after Taiwan's Lai Ching Te was sworn in as the island's President, China launched two-day-long military drills surrounding the nation in what it called "punishment" for so-called "separatist acts," reported CNN.

According to China's state broadcaster CCTV, as part of the drills, dozens of Chinese fighter jets carrying live ammunition carried out mock strikes against "high-value military targets" of the "enemy" alongside destroyers, frigates and missile speedboats.

The exercises, which began early Thursday and will encircle Taiwan, are the first real test for newly elected President Lai Ching-te as he attempts to manage relations with the island's powerful authoritarian neighbour.

Despite never having controlled Taiwan, China's ruling Communist Party claims it as part of its territory and has vowed to take the island by force if necessary.

China said it began joint military drills involving the army, navy, air force, and rocket force in areas around Taiwan at 7.45 a.m. on Thursday. The drills are taking place in the Taiwan Strait, a narrow body of water that separates the island from mainland China, as well as north, south, and east of Taiwan, reported CNN.

They are also taking place near Taiwan's outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Wuqiu, and Dongyin, which are just off China's southeastern coast, according to a statement from the PLA's Eastern Theatre Command.

PLA Naval Colonel Li Xi, the command's spokesperson, described the exercises as "a strong punishment for the separatist acts of Taiwan independence forces and a serious warning against interference and provocation by external forces, as per CNN.

Taiwan, in retaliation, has also deployed its own warships to monitor the situation.

This comes as Beijing regards Taiwan's Lai as a "dangerous separatist" because he advocates for the island's sovereignty and distinct identity, reported CNN.

He succeeded two-term President Tsai Ing-wen, marking the Democratic Progressive Party's unprecedented third consecutive term in power. Beijing condemned Lai's inauguration speech, in which he urged China to end its intimidation of Taiwan.

It was, in his inaugural speech after being sworn in as Taiwan's President, Lai Ching-te, in a stern warning to China, had called on Beijing to stop intimidating the island nation, over which China continues to make its claim.

In his inauguration address, Lai called on Beijing "to cease their political and military intimidation against Taiwan, share with Taiwan the global responsibility of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait as well as the greater region, and ensure the world is free from the fear of war."Lai, 64, is a diplomatic veteran in politics, comes from the DPP's more radical wing and was once an outspoken advocate of Taiwan's independence, which Beijing finds unacceptable.

China never forgot his remarks from six years ago, when he referred to himself as a "practical worker for Taiwan independence," even though his opinions have now softened, reported CNN.

Lai, a former doctor and vice president, was inaugurated alongside newly appointed Vice President Hsiao Bi-khim, who most recently held the position of Taiwan's principal ambassador to the United States.

Beijing publicly despises both the leaders and their party for defending Taiwan's sovereignty. Despite never having ruled the island, China's ruling Communist Party claims it is part of its territory and has threatened to annex the island, using force if necessary.

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Porbandar Fisherman Held For Spying For Pak

Accused Jatin Charania came in touch with Pak agent on Social Media

Gujarat ATS nabbed Jatin Charania who shared sensitive information about the movement of Coast Guard Ships with a Pakistani agent who befriended him via a fake account; he was paid Rs 6,000 for every info

The Gujarat ATS on Thursday nabbed yet another man for spying. Cops caught Jatin Jeetendra Charania, 21, a fisherman from Porbandar, who was allegedly in touch with a Pakistani Intelligence Operative (PIO) for the last four months. Jatin came in touch with the PIO through the social media handle named Advika Prince, which was a front for the officer. Jatin allegedly shared sensitive national security information with the Pakistani officer.

This comes close on the heels of CID Crime arresting a former aeronautical engineer Praveenkumar Mishra on charges of espionage and supplying information about drone and missile technology.

DSP ATS Shankar Chaudhry said Jatin provided the Pakistani agents with information about the movements of Indian Coast Guard ships and other vessels leaving or coming to the jetty. “Jatin initially provided information through FB messenger and then started communicating through WhatsApp and Telegram in return for money. We have recovered sensitive pictures from Jatin,” said Chaudhary.

ATS officials said Jatin came in touch with an FB account by the name of Advika Prince in January 2024. The PIO impersonated a woman and when the officer came to know that Jatin was a fisherman and ventured into the sea, the Pakistani spy developed a friendship with him. Gradually Jatin was trapped by the FB handle and he began to share information.

“Jatin also made a video of ships anchored at Porbandar Jetty and sent it to the PIO. The PIO transferred ₹6,000 to Charania for the information. They then began chatting on telegram and most of their chat history was deleted within 24 hours of correspondence. The PIO also activated an Indian SIM card through OTP and also talked to him via WhatsApp. The IP address of the device on which the WhatsApp account was operated is of Pakistan,” said an ATS official.

(With Agency Inputs)