Archive for ‘navy’


No survivors, says IAF after first recce team reaches crashed An-32 aircraft

Air force and army helicopters on Wednesday had airdropped 15 mountaineers for rescue operations last evening. The IAF said eight reached the An-32 crash site on Thursday morning.

INDIA Updated: Jun 13, 2019 14:35 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IAF,An-32 aircraft,An-32 crash
Air force and army helicopters on Wednesday had airdropped 15 mountaineers for rescue operations last evening.(ANI )

Thirteen military personnel on board the An-32 aircraft that crashed in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3 have died, the Indian Air Force said on Thursday hours after the first recce team reached the crash site. Air force and army helicopters on Wednesday had airdropped 15 mountaineers for rescue operations. Eight of them reached the crash site and transmitted the tragic news.

“IAF is sad to inform that there are no survivors from the crash of An32,” the air force said in a string of tweets to “pay tribute to the brave air-warriors who lost their life” in the crash.

The IAF also identified the air warriors who died in the crash: Wing Commander GM Charles, Squadron Leader H Vinod, Flight Lieutenants R Thapa, Ashish Tanwar, S Mohanty and Mohit K Garg, Warrant Officer KK Mishra, Sergeant Anoop Kumar, Corporal Sherin, Leading Air Craftsman SK Singh and Pankaj and two non combatant enrolled employees Putali and Rajesh Kumar.

Also Read | AN-32 pilot’s wife was on ATC duty in Jorhat when the aircraft went off the radar

The An-32 was on its way to an advanced landing ground at Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Siang district – about 15 km from the Line of Actual Control, the disputed border with China – when it lost contact with ground control in about 30 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam.

The aircraft was equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, an emergency beacon in the cargo section that can broadcast distress signals to reveal the location of an aircraft. But no signal came from this device.

The The 24-metre-long aircraft with a wingspan of about 29 metres was a speck in a treacherous search zone spanning hundreds of square kilometers dotted with towering ridges, thick forests and deep valleys, officials familiar with the search said. The search efforts were hampered by bad weather, with fierce rains and poor visibility narrowing the scope of operations.

For eight days, the IAF deployed every possible asset it could – right from satellites in space, specialised surveillance aircraft from the Navy, unmanned aerial vehicles, and Global 5000 surveillance jet of the country’s external spy agency to locate the Soviet-origin transport plane that mysteriously disappeared from its radar screens. It also announced a Rs 5 lakh reward for information that could help it locate the aircraft.

The first firm clue about the crash site came eight days later from a villager in Arunachal Pradesh’s remote mountains, according to state government officials in the West Siang district.

Also Read | From ‘missing’ to ‘crash’: The family of IAF cook swings between hope and despair

A Mi-17 helicopter, among the scores of aircraft involved in the massive search, finally sighted the wreckage at 12,000 feet near a tiny village called Lipo with a population of just around 120 people. The first image of the crash site indicated the plane had blown up into a ball of fire on impact and dimmed hopes about the possibility of the IAF personnel surviving the crash.

The crash is similar to an incident from 10 years ago in which the wreckage of an AN-32 that crashed in West Siang with the same number of people on board was found at 12,000 feet. There were no survivors in the June 2009 crash. The IAF has lost 10 aircraft this year.

In 2016, another AN-32 – flying from Chennai to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands – went missing above the Bay of Bengal with 29 people on board. Search teams were not able to locate the aircraft despite a massive operation.

Source: Hindustan Times


China’s massive military spending is creating a ripple effect across the Asia-Pacific region

  • With a defence budget second only to the US, China is amassing a navy that can circle the globe and developing state-of-the-art autonomous drones
  • The build-up is motivating surrounding countries to bolster their own armed forces, even if some big-ticket military equipment is of dubious necessity
Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews an honour guards before a naval parade in Qingdao. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews an honour guards before a naval parade in Qingdao. Photo: Xinhua
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the fastest-growing markets for arms dealers, with economic growth, territorial disputes and long-sought military modernisation propelling a 52 per cent increase in defence spending over the last decade to US$392 billion in 2018, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The region accounts for more than one-fifth of the global defence budget and is expected to grow. That was underscored last week by news of 

’s bid to strike a

US$2 billion deal

to purchase US tanks and missiles.

Taiwanese Soldiers on a CM11 battle tank, jointly developed with US arms manufacturer General Dynamics. Photo: EPA
Taiwanese Soldiers on a CM11 battle tank, jointly developed with US arms manufacturer General Dynamics. Photo: EPA
The biggest driver in arms purchases, however, is 

– responsible for 64 per cent of military

spending in the region. With a defence budget that is second only to the


, China is amassing a navy that can circle the globe and developing state-of-the-art autonomous drones. The build-up is motivating surrounding countries to bolster their armed forces too – good news for purveyors of submarines, unmanned vehicles and warplanes.

It is no coincidence that the recent 
Shangri-La Dialogue



, a security conference attended by


chiefs, was sponsored by military contractors including Raytheon,

Lockheed Martin


BAE Systems


Opinion: How the Shangri-La Dialogue turned into a diplomatic coup for China

Kelvin Wong, a Singapore-based analyst for Jane’s, a trade publication that has been covering the defence industry for 121 years, has developed a niche in infiltrating China’s opaque defence industry by attending obscure trade shows that are rarely advertised outside the country.

He said the US is eager to train allies in Asia and sell them arms, while also stepping up its “freedom of navigation” naval operations in contested waters in the

South China Sea

and Taiwan Strait. It has lifted a ban on working with


’s special forces over atrocities committed in

East Timor

. And it is considering restarting arms sales to the



In his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan touted American advancements in technology “critical to deterring and defeating the threats of the future” and said any partner could choose to win access to that technology by joining the US defence network.
Wong said the message was clear: “Buy American.”
Analysts say Chinese soldiers have less training, motivation and lower morale than their Western counterparts. Photo: Reuters
Analysts say Chinese soldiers have less training, motivation and lower morale than their Western counterparts. Photo: Reuters
The analyst said there is a growing admission among the Chinese leadership that the

People’s Liberation Army

has an Achilles’ heel: its own personnel.

He said one executive at a Chinese defence firm told him: “The individual Chinese soldier, in terms of morale, training, education and motivation, (cannot match) Western counterparts. So the only way to level up is through the use of unmanned platforms and 
artificial intelligence


To that end, China has developed one of the world’s most sophisticated drone programmes, complete with custom-built weapon systems. By comparison, Wong said,
US drones rely on weapons originally developed for helicopters.
Wong got to see one of the Chinese drones in action two years ago after cultivating a relationship with its builder, the state-owned China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation. He viewed a demonstration of a 28-foot-long CH-4 drone launching missiles at a target with uncanny ease and precision.
“Everyone knew they had this,” Wong said. “But how effective it was, nobody knew. I could personally vouch they got it down pat.”
China unveils its answer to US Reaper drone – how does it compare?

That is what Bernard Loo Fook Weng, a military expert at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, told the author Robert Kaplan for his 2014 book, Asia’s Cauldron, about simmering tensions in the South China Sea.

He was describing the competition for big-ticket military equipment of dubious necessity.

Southeast Asia

is littered with examples of such purchases.


owns an aircraft carrier without any aircraft. Indonesia dedicated about one-sixth of its military budget to the purchase of 11


Su-35 fighter jets. And


splurged on two


submarines it could not figure out how to submerge.

“It’s keeping up with the Joneses,” Wong said. “There’s an element of prestige to having these systems.”

Submarines remain one of the more debatable purchases, Wong said. The vessels aren’t ideal for the South China Sea, with its narrow shipping lanes hemmed in by shallow waters and coral reefs. Yet they provide smaller countries with a powerful deterrence by enabling sneak attacks on large ships.

Nuclear-powered PLA Navy ballistic missile submarines in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters
Nuclear-powered PLA Navy ballistic missile submarines in the South China Sea. Photo: Reuters
Asia and


are home to 245 submarines, or 45 per cent of the global fleet, according to the US-based naval market intelligence firm AMI International.

The Philippines remains one of the last coastal nations in the region without a sub – though it is in talks with Russian builders to acquire some.
Singapore recently received the first of four advanced


Type 218 submarines with propulsion systems that negate the need to surface more frequently. If the crew did not need to eat, the submarine could stay under water for prolonged periods. Wong said the craft were specially built for Asian crews.

“The older subs were designed for larger Europeans so the ergonomics were totally off,” he said.
Singapore, China deepen defence ties, plan larger military exercises
Tiny Singapore plays a crucial role securing the vital sea lanes linking the Strait of Malacca with the South China Sea. According to the

World Bank,

the country dedicates 3.3 per cent of its gross domestic product to defence, a rate higher than that of the United States.

State-of-the-art equipment defines the Singapore Armed Forces. Automation is now at the centre of the country’s military strategy, as available manpower is shrinking because of a rapidly ageing population.
Wong said Singapore is investing in autonomous systems and can operate frigates with 100 crew members – 50 fewer than they were originally designed for.

“We always have to punch above our weight,” he said.

Source: SCMP


Exclusive: In rare move, French warship passes through Taiwan Strait

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A French warship passed through the strategic Taiwan Strait this month, U.S. officials told Reuters, a rare voyage by a vessel of a European country that is likely to be welcomed by Washington but increase tension with Beijing.

The passage, which was confirmed by China, is a sign that U.S. allies are increasingly asserting freedom of navigation in international waterways near China. It could open the door for other allies, such as Japan and Australia, to consider similar operations.

The French operation comes amid increasing tensions between the United States and China. Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, which also include a trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea, where the United States also conducts freedom of navigation patrols.

Two officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a French military vessel carried out the transit in the narrow waterway between China and Taiwan on April 6.

One of the officials identified the warship as the French frigate Vendemiaire and said it was shadowed by the Chinese military. The official was not aware of any previous French military passage through the Taiwan Strait.

The officials said that as a result of the passage, China notified France it was no longer invited to a naval parade to mark the 70 years since the founding of China’s Navy. Warships from India, Australia and several other nations participated.

China said on Thursday it had lodged “stern representations” with France for what it called an “illegal” passage.

“China’s military sent navy ships in accordance with the law and the rules to identify the French ship and warn it to leave,” defence ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang told a regularly scheduled media briefing, while declining to say if the sailing had led to the withdrawal of France’s invitation to the parade of ships this week.

“China’s military will stay alert to firmly safeguard China’s sovereignty and security,” he said.

Colonel Patrik Steiger, the spokesman for France’s military chief of staff, declined to comment on an operational mission.

The U.S. officials did not speculate on the purpose of the passage or whether it was designed to assert freedom of navigation.


The French strait passage comes against the backdrop of increasingly regular passages by U.S. warships through the strategic waterway. Last month, the United States sent Navy and Coast Guard ships through the Taiwan Strait.

The passages upset China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory. Beijing has been ramping up pressure to assert its sovereignty over the island.

Chen Chung-chi, spokesman for Taiwan’s defence ministry, told Reuters by phone the strait is part of busy international waters and it is “a necessity” for vessels from all countries to transit through it. He said Taiwan’s defence ministry will continue to monitor movement of foreign vessels in the region.

“This is an important development both because of the transit itself but also because it reflects a more geopolitical approach by France towards China and the broader Asia-Pacific,” said Abraham Denmark, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defence for East Asia.

The transit is a sign that countries like France are not only looking at China through the lens of trade but from a military standpoint as well, Denmark said.

Last month, France and China signed deals worth billions of euros during a visit to Paris by Chinese President Xi Jinping. French President Emmanuel Macron wants to forge a united European front to confront Chinese advances in trade and technology.

Source: Reuters


Chinese navy’s 70th birthday parade set to showcase country’s rising sea power

  • Next month’s nautical spectacle will allow country to show off its most advanced warships to an international audience
  • More than a dozen foreign navies are expected to join in, including the United States

Chinese navy’s 70th birthday parade showcases rising sea power

1 Mar 2019

Chinese warships pictured at the end of joint exercise with the Russian navy in 2016. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese warships pictured at the end of joint exercise with the Russian navy in 2016. Photo: Xinhua
China will hold a naval parade next month to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy and will invite more than a dozen of foreign navies to participate.
The parade will take place on April 23 in the Yellow Sea off the coast of Qingdao in Shandong province, Ren Zhiqiang, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defence, said on Thursday.
Ren did not provide further details of the parade but military analysts said the exercise would give the navy the opportunity to display its rapidly growing strength and show how that has increased in the past 12 months.

In April last year a naval review in the South China Sea featured a total of 48 vessels and 76 planes, including China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, its Type 094A and 095 nuclear submarines, 052D guided missile destroyers and J-15 fighter jets.

The experts expect that next month’s event will provide a showcase for several new and more powerful vessels including its home-grown aircraft carrier Type 001A, the Type 055 – Asia’s most powerful destroyer – and several nuclear submarines.

“The fact that China is holding the naval parade just one year after the South China Sea review shows the great importance [the leadership] attaches to the development of China’s maritime interests, the navy and its expansion,” navy expert Li Jie said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping joined the crew on the deck of the cruiser Changsha following last year’s naval review. Photo: Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping joined the crew on the deck of the cruiser Changsha following last year’s naval review. Photo: Xinhua

China also held a major naval parade in 2009 to mark the navy’s 60th anniversary.

It was smaller in scale than the upcoming extravaganza with 25 PLA vessels and 31 fighter jets taking part.

Fourteen foreign navies sent ships to the 2009 parade, including the USS Fitzgerald from America and the guided-missile cruiser Varyag from Russia. France, Australia, South Korea, India and Pakistan also joined in the event.

More foreign countries are expected to join the party this year as the PLA has become more active internationally and China has sold more warships to foreign navies.

China’s new veterans’ law to be reviewed at National People’s Congress next week

“The parade is more like a birthday party for the PLA Navy and the participation of foreign navies is a matter of diplomatic courtesy with few military implications,” said Yue Gang, a former PLA colonel.

Yue said the US and its allies would attend despite the rising tensions between the two sides.

Since 2015 the US and Chinese navies have engaged in a series of confrontations in the South China Sea as China strengthens its military presence in the region and the US has sought to challenge Beijing’s claims to the waters by conducting what it describes as “freedom of navigation” operations.

“I don’t expect they will send any of the warships that have taken part in such operations [to the parade],” Yue said.

China has greatly expanded its naval capabilities in recent years. Photo: AP
China has greatly expanded its naval capabilities in recent years. Photo: AP

It has been reported that the Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force has expressed an interest in joining the parade and the Philippines – which has a rival claim to the South China Sea – is planning to send a vessel to the event for the first time.

Li said militaries such as the US and Japan would not want to miss the chance to observe the PLA Navy closely.

“In addition, greater transparency [through the parade] will also help reassure smaller regional partners such as the Philippines that China is a friendly power despite its growing military strength,” he said.

China held its first naval parade in 1957 and April’s display will be the sixth such event.

Sailors also took part in the parade through Tiananmen Square to mark the foundation of the People’s Republic on October 1 1949.

Source: SCMP


Live updates| PM Modi holds key meet on Pak situation with top officials

IAF strike on Jaish camp in Pakistan updates: IAF pilot who engaged Pakistan jets missing in action, said the government. India verifying Pak claims on his custody. Follow live updates here:

Pakistani aircraft violated Indian air space in the Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Wednesday morning. The Indian Air Force scrambled jets and pushed them back. News agency ANI has reported that a Pakistan Air Force F-16 was shot down in Indian retaliatory fire in Nowshera’s Lam valley.

The Pakistani jets had entered into Indian air space over Rajouri district this morning, sources said.

The air space violation by Pakistani jets comes a day after Indian Air Force jets flew across the Line of Control to blow up Jaish-e-Mohammed’s biggest terror camp.

Watch| India lost one MiG 21, pilot who engaged Pak jets ‘missing in action’: Govt


Follow live updates here:

4:55 pm IST

Army’s Eastern Command chief visits Panagarh base in West Bengal amid escalating tensions

Amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, Army’s Eastern Command chief Lt General Manoj Naravane visited Panagarh base in West Bengal on Wednesday and reviewed operational preparedness, a defence official said.

Lt Gen Naravane, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, emphasised the need for remaining alert at all times to meet the emerging security challenges, the official said.

4:50 pm IST

“Whole country is proud of this brave son,” Arvind Kejriwal tweets for IAF pilot’s safe return

“I pray for the safety of Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan,” tweeted Arvind Kejriwal. “Whole country is proud of this brave son and everyone is hoping for his safe return. We all stand united to keep our country safe and strong,” Arvind Kejriwal said in the tweet.

4:35 pm IST

Pakistan has long denied its role in terror acts in India

In his last televised statement, Imran Khan appeared to ignore the claims made by Jaish. Pakistan has long denied its role in terror acts in India, which has handed it over several dossiers containing evidence of involvement of terror groups working from its soil.

4:33 pm IST

Imran Khan’s fresh call for dialogue comes in the wake of Pulwama terror attack

Imran Khan’s fresh call for dialogue comes in the wake of India’s effort to corner Pakistan among international community in the wake of Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 40 soldiers were killed. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the attack.

4:26 pm IST

Imran Khan calls for talks to de-escalate rising tensions with India over Kashmir

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan calls for talks to de-escalate rising tensions with India over Kashmir.

3:57 pm IST

Better sense should prevail: Imran Khan after Pak strike

“We offered that we are ready for any kind of investigation after Pulwama attack in India. We didn’t take action on Tuesday morning because we weren’t aware of the damage caused by air strike by India. We did not want to cause much collateral damage in India when there was not much damage on our side. The only motive of Pakistan’s strike today was to demonstrate that we have the capability to hit back.

All the wars have happened due to miscalculation. With all the weapons that Pakistan and India have, can we afford to miscalculate. If we take to war neither I nor Mr Narendra Modi would be in a position to control its course. This is why I suggest that better sense should prevail,” said Imran Khan.

3:25 pm IST

IAF pilot who engaged Pak jets missing in action: Govt

IAF pilot who engaged Pakistan jets missing in action, said the government. India verifying Pak claims on his custody.

Pakistan used air force to target military installations, attempt foiled successfully, the government added.

3:20 pm IST

Foreign ministry and Air Vice Marshal brief media

Foreign ministry and Air Vice Marshal briefed the media.

3:00 pm IST

Maharashtra on high alert amid border tensions

Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai have been put on high alert’ in the wake of the rising tensions on the country’s north-west border, official sources said in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Heightened security was seen in Mumbai, the commercial capital of the country. Police vigil has been enhanced in Pune, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Nashik and Kolhapur as well. The government is ensuring there is no disturbance to the ongoing HSC (Class XII) examinations in the state, reported news agency IANS.

2:45 pm IST

Pakistan closes its airspace for commercial flights

Pakistan has closed its airspace for commercial flights, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced on Wednesday amid escalating tensions with India.

The aviation authority made the announcement on Twitter after Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of the Pakistan Army’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), acknowledged the closure of Pakistan’s airspace due to the security situation, Dawn News reported.

2:35 pm IST

Air India avoiding route of Pakistan air space with immediate effect

Air India avoiding route of Pakistan air space with immediate effect. India use Pakistan airspace for flights to Gulf countries, Europe and USA, said an Air India official

1:25 pm IST

Pakistan says 2 IAF jets shot down, India rejects claim

There are no reports of any IAF jet suffering damage in action by India’s adversaries, defence sources said on Wednesday according to news agency PTI.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan claimed it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested at least one of the pilots, according to PTI.

1:20 pm IST

Army, BSF troops along IB, LoC on highest degree of alertness: Officials

The Army and BSF have been put on the highest degree of alertness along the border in Jammu after air space violations by the neighbouring country and the night-long heavy firing and shelling by Pakistani troops on forward and civilians areas across the LoC which stopped on Wednesday, reported news agency PTI.

Authorities have ordered temporary closure of educational institutions in a 5-km radius along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts on Wednesday amid mounting tensions between the two countries, following the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 and an Indian air strike on Jaish-e-Mohammed camp inside Pakistan on Tuesday.

1:14 pm IST

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs DAC meeting

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman met here today and accorded approval for acquisition of defence equipment for about Rs 2700 crores.

Approval was granted for procurement of three Cadet Training ships for the Indian Navy, which would be utilised to provide basic sea training for officer cadets including women officer undertrainees. The ships would be capable of undertaking Hospital Ship duties, providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, undertaking Search and Rescue (SAR) missions and Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations.

1:08 am IST

China reiterates call for India and Pakistan to exercise restraint

China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said it reiterated its call for India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.

Ministry spokesman Lu Kang made the comment at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

1:00 pm IST

PM Modi rushes to review security situation: Report

Prime Minister Narendra Modi cut short his address at a function in Vigyan Bhawan on Wednesday and rushed to attend a meeting to review the security situation arising out of Pakistan’s attempt to violate Indian air space, reported news agency ANI.

Modi was replying to the questions from youngsters during the National Youth Festival 2019 when he was handed over a small piece of paper by an official of Prime Minister Office (PMO).

The Prime Minister immediately stopped and walked towards the panelist where Union minister Rajyavardhan Rathore was also present.

12:53 pm IST

Pakistan stops domestic, international flight operations from Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad

Pakistan immediately stops its domestic and international flight operations from Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Islamabad airports, reported news agency ANI.

12:30 pm IST

Sensex turns negative; cracks over 200 points

The benchmark BSE Sensex gave up all early gains and fell over 200 points in afternoon trade Wednesday on widespread selling after Pakistani fighter jets violated Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir.

After dropping 238 points, the Sensex was trading 161.74 points, or 0.46 per cent, down at 35,811.97 after hitting a low of 35,735.33. The gauge rallied nearly 400 points in morning trade.

The 50-share Nifty also fell 62.55 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 10,772.75.

According to brokers, investor sentiment took a beating after Pakistan claimed that it shot down two Indian military aircraft over Pakistani air space and arrested one of the pilots.

The Pakistani fighter jets on Wednesday violated Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch and Nowshera sectors.

12:08 pm IST

Rajnath reviews security situation

Home Minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday reviewed the security situation in the country, especially along the border with Pakistan, a day after Indian fighter jets bombed the biggest camp of terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad in that country, officials said.

During the meeting, attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval among others, a detailed presentation was given about the security situation in the country and steps taken to ensure peace in all sensitive places.

Singh directed the officials to ensure the Border Security Force, which guards the India-Pakistan border continues to remain on highest level of alertness so that any misadventure from across the border could be foiled, a home ministry official said.

12:01 pm IST

‘Don’t want to escalate tensions, but we are prepared’, says Pakistan

“Today, Pakistan Air Force undertook strikes across Line of Control from within Pakistani airspace. This was not a retaliation to continued Indian belligerence. Pakistan has therefore, taken strikes at non military target, avoiding human loss and collateral damage. Sole purpose being to demonstrate our right, will and capability for self defence.

We have no intention of escalation, but are fully prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. That is why we undertook the action with clear warning and in broad daylight. For the last few years, India has been trying to establish what they call “a new normal” a thinly veiled term for doing acts of aggression at whatever pretext they wish on a given day.

If India is striking at so called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, we also retain reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan. We do not wish to go to that route and wish that India gives peace a chance and to resolve issues like a mature democratic nation,” read a statement released by Pakistan on Wednesday.

11:50 am IST

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval arrives at Home Ministry

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval arrived at the Home Ministry in Delhi.

11:45 am IST

Hope India, Pak conduct dialogue to establish facts through investigation: Wang Yi

“As a mutual friend to both India and Pakistan, we hope that they can conduct dialogue to establish facts through investigation to keep things under control and maintain peace and stability in the region. In this process China is playing a constructive role not the opposite,” said China’s foreign minister Wang Yi.

11:42 am IST

Russia, China and India reaffirmed strong opposition to terrorism: Wang Yi

“Russia, China and India reaffirmed strong opposition to terrorism. At the same time we (China) believe Pakistan has always been opposed to terrorism. China appreciates statements from Indian and Pak friends saying they’ll exercise restraint and avoid escalation of situation,” said China’s foreign minister Wang Yi.

11:37 am IST

Pakistani jets violate Indian air space in Nowshera

Pakistani jets violated Indian air space in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera sector but were successfully confronted.

An official said the jets were immediately pushed back by Indian jets on air patrol.

10:55 am IST

Discussed establishment of UN led global counter-terrorism mechanism: Swaraj

“We need a global strategy, global cooperation. I’m happy to tell you today we discussed the establishment of UN led global counter-terrorism mechanism and finalising CCIT (Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism) proposed by India to implement it,” said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in Wuzhen, China.

“As far as Pulwama is concerned, I had raised this issue in the bilateral meeting with Mr Wang Yi and also at RIC (Russia-India-China) forum,” she added.

10:42 am IST

All countries need to show ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism: Sushma Swaraj

Terrorists attacks like Pulwama are a grim reminder for the need of all countries to show ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday, a day after India conducted pre-emptive air strikes deep inside Pakistan hitting Jaish-e-Mohammad training camps.

The operation was carried out in light of Pakistan’s refusal to acknowledge and act against terror groups operating from its soil and credible information that JeM was planning attacks in India, she said.

10:10 am IST

India’s response to Pulwama attack top agenda of Opposition meet

Left parties will participate in the meeting of the opposition parties, scheduled to be held later today. They had earlier said that they will not participate in the meeting. Pulwama attack and India’s response to it are on the agenda of discussion, reported news agency ANI.

9:55 am IST

Defence minister to meet Army, IAF, Navy chiefs shortly

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba will attend DAC (Defence Acquisition Council) meeting shortly today.

9:35 am IST

Mumbai on high alert, govt asks schools to exercise caution

In the wake of air strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) on terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot, the Maharashtra government has called for office bearers of the School & Co. Bus Owner’s Association to ensure the safety of school children keeping the prevailing situation in mind, reported news agency ANI.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis told the state legislature that security has been tightened across the city and appealed to people not to panic.

After intelligence informed Mumbai police to be on high alert, the vigilance and CCTV surveillance has been increased in places like the airport, railway stations, and other key locations.

9:22 am IST

2 Jaish terrorists killed

At least two Jaish terrorists were killed in an encounter that broke out with security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

9:20 am IST

Villagers being shifted to safer places

After cross LoC shelling and ceasefire violations , the villagers in some areas of Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri are being shifted to safer places according to officials.

9:05 am IST

Balakot camp blown up by IAF was Jaish’s preferred training spot for 18 yrs

Balakot’s Jaba Top first emerged as a preferred training ground for militants in the time of President Zia-ul-Haq. It was an ideal place for a camp for non-state actors — remote, located near a small town, yet far enough from it, on a wooded hilltop, and on Pakistani territory in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. India crossed into Pakistan’s territory in 1971 (and then again, its aircraft on Tuesday), and so the Pakistanis may have thought it was a good place to host a training camp for militants whom the rest of the world called terrorists.

8:58 am IST

Underscore priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action: Mike Pompeo to Pak foreign minister

“I spoke to Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to underscore the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil,” said US Secy of State Mike Pompeo, according to news agency ANI.

8:50 am IST

Objective was to act against terrorist infrastructure: Sushma Swaraj in China

“It wasn’t a military op, no military installation targeted. Objective was to act against terrorist infrastructure of JeM to preempt another terror attack in India. India doesn’t wish to see further escalation of situation. It’ll continue to act with responsibility and restraint,” said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at the 16th Foreign Ministers meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) in Wuzhen, China.

8:45 am IST

Target selected to avoid civilian casualties: Sushma Swaraj

“In the light of continuing refusal of Pak to acknowledge and act against terror groups on its territory and based on credible info that JeM was planning other attacks in parts of India, GoI decided to take preemptive action and target was selected in order to avoid civilian casualties,” said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at the 16th foreign ministers meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) in Wuzhen, China, reported news agency ANI.

8:43 am IST

Pakistan outrightly denied any knowledge of Pulwama attack: Sushma Swaraj

“Such dastardly terrorist attacks are a grim reminder for the need of all the countries to show zero tolerance to terrorism and take decisive action against it.

Following the Pulwama terrorist attack instead of taking seriously the calls by international community to act against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terror groups based in Pakistan, it denied any knowledge of the attack and outrightly dismissed claims by Jaish-e-Mohammed,” said external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj at the 16th foreign ministers meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) in Wuzhen, China, reported news agency ANI.

8:40 am IST

Did the US know of India’s strike on Balakot? And how much?

Asked about India’s right to self-defence, President Donald Trump told reporters last week, “India is looking at something very strong. And, I mean, India just lost almost 50 people and… with an attack, so I can understand that also.”

And his national security adviser John Bolton had on his own told reporters at a briefing that he had conveyed to his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval in a phone call “that we support India’s right to self-defence”.

8:37 am IST

Only 7 people knew of timing of air strike

On February 18, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the strike. According to intelligence officials, only seven people knew of this decision – Modi, Doval, the three service chiefs, and the heads of RAW and Intelligence Bureau.

Starting February 22, the Air Force started flying night sorties from various frontline bases to confuse the Pakistanis. On February 25, intelligence inputs suggested the presence of a large number of JeM terrorists, around 300-350, at the Balakot camp. The same evening it was decided to go ahead with the strike immediately. Modi knew by late evening that an attack could happen in the next few hours.

8:31 am IST

Exercise ‘maximum restraint’: UN chief to India, Pakistan

UN chief Antonio Guterres is following the situation between India and Pakistan “very closely” and has appealed to the governments of both nations to exercise “maximum restraint” to ensure the situation does not deteriorate further, a top UN official said Tuesday.

The UN Secretary General’s remarks came after Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a pre-dawn air strike on a terror training camp inside Pakistan.

8:27 am IST

Pak must take ‘action’ against terror groups: US after IAF strikes

Pakistan must take ‘meaningful action’ against terror groups, says US after IAF strikes on Jaish camp, reported news agency PTI

8:25 am IST

Encounter underway between militants, security forces in J-K’s Shopian

An encounter broke out on Wednesday between militants and security forces in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said. Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Meemendar area of Shopian following information about presence of militants there, the officials said.

They said the search operation turned into an encounter after militants opened firing towards the security forces, who retaliated.

Source: Hindustan Times


Chinese navy veteran warns training, not hardware is key to military preparedness

  • As China expands its military might a retired naval officer points out that size is not everything in modern warfare
  • ‘It is the people who use these weapons that count’
The cloud was low and the sky was murky and overcast. “The cloud was barely 200 to 300 metres above ground and the jets immediately disappeared into the cloud after take-off,” Wang said.

“In China, [our military planes] would not have taken off [for training] if the cloud was lower than 400 metres above ground,” he explained.

“Such conditions are dangerous [for military aircraft to take off] but they were able to carry on training despite the weather.”

As China expands its military might with new aircraft carriers, advanced fighter jets and other world-class weaponry, questions have been raised about whether the People’s Liberation Army can compete with other advanced forces.

Wang, now a naval armament expert, pointed out that size was only one determining factor in modern warfare, and hardware could only answer part of the question as China raced to catch up with leading powers like the US and its top allies, including Japan“It is the people who use these weapons that count, and that essentially boils down to our level of training.

“Some people hold the view that our military planes are more advanced than others. But if we look at the level of training of our forces … We are not at the same level [as others] yet.”

Antony Wong Dong, a military expert based in Macau who has spent years studying the PLA, agreed with Wang’s assessment.

Although the PLA – which has not fought a major war since the Korean war – has made great strides in improving training for its rank and file in past decades, Wong said there was much room for improvement to raise its “preparedness”.

That was in fact the message from President Xi Jinping in December in a speech reminding the top brass that strengthening training and preparation for war would be the top priorities for the PLA in 2019.

Naha, in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, is home to the 9th Air Wing, which was set up three years ago with 40 F-15 fighter jets. It was a time of growing assertiveness by China in the East China Sea, including over the contested Diaoyu Islands, which are administered by Tokyo but also claimed by Beijing and Taipei.

According to the Joint Staff of the Japanese defence ministry, in the 2017 fiscal year, which started on April 1, there were 500 scrambles by Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force to intercept Chinese military aircraft flying over the region, compared with 851 scrambles in 2016.

But in the first three quarters of the 2018 fiscal year, the number of scrambles reached 476, as Xi pushed the PLA to conduct more training, including exercises further from home.

And, as China starts testing its first home-made aircraft carrier, Tokyo announced in December that it would convert its helicopter carrier, the destroyer Izumo, into an aircraft carrier capable of launching American F-35B fighter jets.

Against such a background, Wang said China needed to reflect deeply on its overall military strength in addition to investing in cutting-edge weaponry.

This was the reason for his heavy heart at Naha Airport, as he watched the extent of Japanese military training.

“On that day it was not just the F-15s taking off [at Naha], but also Ospreys and Sikorsky Seahawks, and the training went on non-stop the whole day,” Wang said.

“It immediately came to my mind that we should not look down upon the Japanese forces. We must bear in mind that the level of training reflects your level of combat preparedness.

“Our fleet of warships and military planes far outnumber the Japanese forces, even by the number of more advanced generations of fighter jets … but in real combat, the size of the battlefield is limited, whether it is at sea or in the sky.

“You cannot deploy everything you have. And when both sides deploy the same resources into the battlefield, we must not be blindly [optimistic] about our chance of winning.”

The rapid development of new hardware could also pose challenges for training Chinese troops, especially in helping them master the skills necessary to use and understand the new weapons.

“We are still exploring. It is not that we are slack. [These new weapons] are just too advanced,” Wang said.

“Like [the stealth fighter jet] J-20… or [carrier-based fighter jet] J-15, we initially didn’t know how to make the best use of them in different circumstances.

“We only recently mastered how to take off and land [J-15s] at night. It is not certain if we are ready to undertake evening flight missions of these aircraft when they are loaded with heavy missiles,” he said.

Military expert Wong said the PLA had yet to resolve many issues, including pairing up its J-15 fighter jets and its aircraft carriers.

“To what extent can PLA troops and these weapons work seamlessly in executing tactics?” Wong said.

“From what we saw on the news, [I would say that] there are still gaps in the quality and quantity of weapons that [our carrier-based aircraft] can actually carry.”

Source: SCMP


Odisha, navy teams reach Meghalaya mine, to begin rescue operations tomorrow

The initial rescue operation to help the miners had to be stopped as the pumps were not adequate to flush out large volumes of water. The state government then sough Centre’s help and high-powered pumps and a team was dispatched from Odisha.

INDIA Updated: Dec 29, 2018 18:10 IST

Meghalaya,miners trapped,East Jaintia Hills
An Indian Navy team has reached the mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills where 15 people have been trapped since December 13 but will begin their operations on Sunday morning. (HT Photo)

After delays and hiccups, two teams of rescuers—one comprising divers from Indian Navy and another from the Odisha fire services—reached the flooded coal mine in Meghalaya on Saturday where 15 miners are trapped since December 13.

But except conducting recce at the site located at Khloo Ryngksan in East Jaintia Hills district and attempts to set up the high-powered pumps needed to flush out water nothing much happened during the day. Actual work on the ground will begin early on Sunday morning.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Assistant Commandant Santosh Kumar Singh, who is overseeing operations at the rat hole coal mine. said a three member team of the Indian Navy visited the site.”They did a recce of the spot, spent 30 minutes inside the main pit. They also held a meeting with us and are likely to start operation tomorrow. Now that they are here we will assist them,” he said.

The water levels inside the mine remains unchanged, he said.

Ace diver Jaswant Singh Gill from Amritsar with prior experience of saving miners in West Bengal was again at the coal mine today.

A team of Odisha fire and emergency services, who finally reached the spot, tried to install their high-powered pumps. “They may be operational by tomorrow,” Singh said.

“Pumps and other machinery are being installed at the site. Everyone is working overtime with extreme dedication and zeal as our mission is to save lives. That is our top priority,” East Jaiñtia Hills district police chief Silvester Nongtnger told Hindustan Times.

He aid that after all the gear has been installed and put into place on Saturday night, rescue operations will begin on Sunday morning. “We will start right from the first hour itself.”

The initial rescue operation to help the miners started on December 14 once the NDRF and SDRF teams arrived. On December 17, a team of Directorate General of Mine Safety along with Coal India officials arrived and suggested 100 HP submersible pumps be used. The district administration wrote to the state government seeking immediate help from Coal India on December 20. However, it was only on December 26 that Coal India received a request from state government for assistance.

The rescue operation launched by the state government had to be stopped as the pumps were not adequate to flush out large volumes of water. The state government then sough Centre’s help and high-powered pumps and a team was dispatched from Odisha.

But due to total lack of coordination and support from the local administration in Meghalaya, the arrival of 21-member team was delayed.

The team reached Guwahati on Friday morning around 11:30 am, but due to lack of transport provided by Meghalaya they had to wait till 5:45 pm to start their 220 km journey to the mine.

“Initially we were told that we would be travelling by trucks. Then the plan was changed and it was decided that dumpers would be used to shift the equipment to the accident site,” said Sukant Sethi, Chief Fire Officer (Odisha), who is leading the team.

“By the time we reached a primary school (located 25 km from the mine) where we were supposed to spend the night it was 2 am on Saturday. There was no person from Meghalaya government’s side who helped us with basic needs,” Sethi said.

Despite the problems faced by them, the team was keen to reach the spot soon to help the trapped miners. They finally reached around 1 pm on Saturday

Another aspect of seemingly lukewarm response by the government has emerged. Tata Trusts had offered to lend two pumps which it had airlifted from London to augment rescue efforts during the Kerala floods to Meghalaya but till date, there has been no response from the government.

Efforts to reach Peter W Ingty, additional chief secretary in-charge revenue and disaster management by Hindustan Times proved futile as he did not respond to calls.

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India