Indian Navy Begins Mega Coastal Defence Exercise To Check 26/11 Type Attacks


The exercise will provide a realistic assessment of Navy’s strengths and weakness. (Representational)

New Delhi: 

Ten years after the Mumbai terror attack, the Navy on Tuesday launched a first of its kind multi-agency drill, covering the entire 7,516 km-long Indian coastline and exclusive economic zone and involving 13 coastal states and Union Territories to check the efficacy of maritime security and surveillance.

Nearly 150 ships, 40 aircraft and a number of other strategic assets of the Navy and Coast Guard have been deployed as part of the ‘Sea Vigil’ exercise which is “unprecedented” in its scale and size, Navy officials said.

“The exercise aims to comprehensively and holistically validate the efficacy of the measures taken since the Mumbai terror attack,” Navy Spokesperson Capt. D K Sharma said.

He said the scale of the two-day exercise is unprecedented in terms of the geographical extent, the number of stakeholders involved, the number of units participating and in terms of the objectives to be met.

The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard have taken a series of measures to bolster coastal security after the Mumbai terror attack in which over 166 people including 28 foreigners from 10 nations were killed by a group of Pakistani terrorists.

The terrorists had sneaked into Mumbai through the sea, arriving by boat from Karachi.

Post 26/11, the Indian Navy was designated as the agency responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security.

Capt Sharma said the exercise aims to simultaneously activate the coastal security mechanism across all states and Union Territories.

“The exercise will cover a wide frontage covering for the first time in the entire coast of India, including island territories,” he said.

All stakeholders including marine police of various coastal states and fishermen were also involved in the exercise.

Evaluation of critical areas and processes, including inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance will be undertaken during the drill.

“Exercise Sea Vigil will provide a realistic assessment of our strengths and weakness and this will certainly help further strengthening of maritime security and in turn national security,” said Capt. Sharma.

The exercise is a build up towards the major theatre level tri-service exercise TROPEX [Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercise] which Indian Navy conducts every two years.

There have been biannual coastal security exercises at the level of states, but for the first time an exercise involving all coastal states, island territories and all central and state agencies is being carried out.

The ‘Sea Vigil’ exercise is also being facilitated by the ministries of Defence, Home Affairs, Shipping, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Fisheries, Customs and state governments.

On the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai attack, navy Chief Adm. Sunil Lanba had said that critical gaps and vulnerabilities in the country’s coastal infrastructure have been addressed, and that a robust surveillance network comprising 42 radar stations linked to a control centre headquartered Gurgaon has been put in place.





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Czech Defence Minister To Attend Aero India In Bengaluru: PM Andrej Babis


New Delhi: 

Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Saturday said his country is ready to step up Indo-Czech cooperation in defence and other sectors, and its defence minister will visit Bengaluru next month to attend Aero India.

Interacting with reporters on the sidelines of an event at the Czech Embassy, he also hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “charismatic leader” with a “vision”.

Mr Babis was on an official visit to India from January 17-19. He led a Czech delegation at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 2019, with Czech Republic as a partner country.

The two leaders also held a bilateral meeting on Friday on the sidelines of the Summit. The entire gamut of bilateral relations including important global and regional issues of mutual interest was discussed during the talks, officials said.

“We discussed concretely, defence cooperation, Tatra (trucks), Skoda, our investments, possibility of a direct airline service between Delhi and Praguie, tourism and other areas of cooperation,” he said on Saturday, when asked what the two prime ministers discussed.

Czech car maker Skoda Auto and Volkswagen Group India on Saturday inaugurated a new technology centre at its Chakan manufacturing plant in Pune as part of its 2.0 India project.

Mr Babis attended the programme and also inaugurated a Center for European Studies at Symbiosis University in Pune.

On defence cooperation, he said, “We are ready to increase our defence cooperation in passive radars and other things… Our defence minister will visit India next month to participate in Aero India event in Bengaluru.” 

Aero India 2019 will be held in Bengaluru from February 20 to 24 and the defence exhibition will see participation of top fighter-jet manufacturers, defence equipment makers and companies related to the sector.

On bilateral ties, Mr Babis said, “Both countries have a long history of cooperation. Old Czech brands like Skoda and Bata symbolise that tie. A lot of Indians think Bata is an Indian firm, which shows the deep connect.” 

He also pitched for extending cooperation in the education sector through students exchange programme.

Addressing a gathering at a reception held at the embassy in the evening, the Czech prime minister described his visit as “fantastic”.

“We are looking forward to cooperate with Indian companies, universities, thinking about exchange of students. It was a great visit, and I leave with a lot of pleasant memories,” he said.

Mr Babis also unveiled a book on the journey of Ideal Jawa and Yezdi motorcycle brand in India, whose history is linked to the original motorcycle manufacturer Jawa which was founded in the then Czecholslovakia in 1929.





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India’s Defence Export May Cross Rs 10,000 Crore By End Of Financial Year: Official


This year, by November, India has done Rs 7,500 crore worth of exports. (Representational)

Gandhinagar: 

India’s defence export is likely to double to Rs 10,000 crore by the end of the current financial year, Secretary of Defence Production Ajay Kumar said today.

He was speaking at a seminar on “Opportunities for Defence and Aeronautics in Gujarat” organised as part of the ninth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

“Indian industry has been doubling the defence exports in the last three years. Three years back, total defence export from India was only about Rs 1,500 crore. Last year, the figure reached Rs 4,500 crore. This year, by November, we have done Rs 7,500 crore export, and by March we are going to cross Rs 10,000 crore,” Mr Kumar said.

He said the growth in defence export was possible due to the government’s reforms, which made it easier for private companies to enter the defence sector.

“One of the reforms that government has done is making the entry into the defence (sector) simpler. Nearly two third of the items have been made licence-free, especially on the component side,” he said.

He said the current government’s endeavour was to add a bridge between the start-up and the defence forces. “One of the biggest challenges for the industry working in the defence sector is the opacity of the system…there is far more openness, willingness to share information, collaborate and work with each other,” he said.

Mr Kumar said the defence investor cell, an online cell created by the government, acts as a guide to get information, understand issues, etc. “This was started about ten months back and the MSMEs
have particularly benefited from the cell in the last 10 months,” he said.





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US, India In Talks Over Strategic Missile Defence Cooperation: Pentagon


US, India hold talks over missile defence cooperation as New Delhi is “key” to US’ Indo-Pacific strategy

Washington: 

The Trump administration has discussed a potential missile defence cooperation with India as part of its effort to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership, the Pentagon has said, asserting that New Delhi is a “key element” in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

The Pentagon’s announcement in the 81-page ”Missile Defense Review” report released by President Donald Trump gains significance in view of India placing a USD 5 billion order to purchase S-400 air defense system from Russia, for which the US had publicly expressed its displeasure.

Noting that the threats posed by offensive missile capabilities are no longer limited to a few regions around the world, the Pentagon in its report said there were now a number of countries in South Asia that are developing an advanced and diverse range of ballistic and cruise missile capabilities.

“Within this context, the United States has discussed potential missile defense cooperation with India. This is a natural outgrowth of India’s status as a Major Defense Partner and key element of our Indo-Pacific Strategy,” said the Pentagon report on Thursday.

The report, which identifies missile development projects by Russia and China as major threats to the US, did not give any further details about its potential missile defense cooperation with India.

The US has shown reluctance to offer its missile defense system to India.

Given the tough neighbourhood that India is in, New Delhi several years ago had approached US and expressed its desire to acquire a missile defense system from it, particularly the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system popular as THAAD.

The previous Obama administration was not very forthcoming in sharing its advance missile defense system with India, following which New Delhi went ahead to procure it from Russia.

As part of its Indo-Pacific strategy, the Trump administration now seems to be more than inclined to let India procure its missile defense system with talks between the two countries having already started.

“We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region,” said the 2017 National Security Strategy of the US, which has been mentioned in the Pentagon report.

The Missile Defense Review report said that the cornerstone of US’ security and diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region is its strong bilateral alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia, and emerging security relationships with others such as India.

Japan and South Korea are working with the US to build missile defense systems that are increasingly interoperable with American defences and increasingly capable against regional offensive missile threats and coercion.

This cooperation includes bilateral missile defense training exercises with the US.

Australia participates in a trilateral discussion on missile defense with the US and Japan. The US and Australia meet annually to discuss bilateral missile defense cooperation. New areas of focus include joint examination of the challenges posed by advanced missile threats, it said.
 





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Army Marks 64 Years Of The National Defence Academy. See Post


The Indian Army today shared a post on social media to mark 64 years of the National Defence Academy in Pune. “#NationalDefenceAcademy (NDA) was formally inaugurated on 16 Jan 1955,” the Army posted this afternoon, along with a photo of NDA cadets praying.

The National Defence Academy is the joint services academy of the armed forces, where cadets of the three services – Army, Navy and Air Force – train together. Calling it the “Pride of Nation”, the Army in its post said that it is “one of the biggest and most modern tri-service academies in the world.”

See their post below:

Since being shared online, the post has collected over 22,000 ‘likes’ on Instagram alone, along with a ton of comments.

“Happy NDA day,” wrote one person in the comments section. “Salute to the Indian Army,” said another.

The iconic defence institute is located at Khadakwasla, on the outskirts of Pune. It is recognised by the Jahwaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, and offers BA, B.Sc and B.Tech degree courses to cadets.

 

Click for more trending news





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China Warns US, India Against Transfer Of Defence Technology To Taiwan


China deems self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province. (Representational)

Beijing: 

China on Monday warned the US, India and other countries against transferring defence technology to Taiwan for producing submarines and said such a move could “hurt bilateral ties with Beijing”.

An Indian firm is reportedly among the six companies from the US, Japan and the European Union which have submitted designed proposals to Taiwan for building submarines.

“China is firmly opposed to any country selling arms to Taiwan and having any form of military links with Taiwan. This position is consistent and clear cut,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.

“We urge the US and other countries to fully recognise the sensitivity of this issue and earnestly abide by the one-China principle and do not allow enterprises to participate in the submarine programme of Taiwan and stop any form of military link with Taiwan.

“We urge them to handle the issue prudently and properly to avoid harming bilateral ties (with China),” Mr Hua added.

China deems self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province that it has vowed to reunite with the mainland even if it has to resort to force.

It resents and chides any country for any having any sort of contact with the island across the Taiwan Strait.

Even if Washington does not officially recognise Taiwan as a country, it keeps testing Beijing by signing arms deals with Taipei.

India also has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan but the island maintains a Taipei Economic Cultural Centre in New Delhi as its de facto Embassy.





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India, US Hold Talks To Expand Cooperation On Defence, Foreign Policy


The two sides also exchanged views on regional developments as partners for prosperous Indo-Pacific.

New Delhi: 

India and the US on Friday discussed ways to expand bilateral cooperation on defence and foreign policy issues and exchanged views on regional developments as stakeholders for a free, open, inclusive and peaceful Indo-Pacific.

The inaugural round of the India-US 2+2 inter-sessional meeting was held with the Indian delegation led jointly by Gourangalal Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and Shambhu S Kumaran, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence, while the US side was headed jointly by Ambassador Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense.

The inter-sessional meeting was set up to follow up on the decisions taken during the India-US Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue, the first round of which was held in New Delhi in September 2018, and to make continued progress on bilateral cooperation on cross-cutting defence and foreign policy issues of interest to both sides, the MEA said in a statement.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional developments as partners and stakeholders for a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific, it said. 





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Rahul Gandhi’s Comments On Defence Minister Insults Women, Says PM Modi


Agra: 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accused the Congress of insulting Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s “first woman defence minister”, in the Rafale controversy. Rahul Gandhi had earlier said that the prime minister “got a woman” to defend him in parliament instead of facing the debate on the fighter jet deal at the core of a huge political row.

“For the first time, a daughter of the county has become defence minister. It is a matter of pride. Our defence minister silenced all the opposition parties in parliament (on Rafale) and exposed their lies. They were so stunned that now they are insulting a woman defence minister. Not just the minister but they are insulting India’s women power,” PM Modi said at a rally in Agra in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

Later in the evening, Mr Gandhi hit back with a sharper taunt.  “Stop shaking, Be a man,” he tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Rahul Gandhi had mocked PM Modi saying he told a woman to defend him on Rafale in parliament.

“The watchman with a 56-inch chest ran away and told a woman, Sitharaman ji, defend me. I won’t be able to defend myself, defend me. For two and a half hours, the woman could not defend him. I had asked a straight question – answer yes or no – but she couldn’t answer,” said the Congress president, using the Hindi word ‘mahila” for woman.

Nirmala Sitharaman, 59, is the first full-time woman defence minister of the country, but Indira Gandhi was the first woman to hold the defence portfolio.

Earlier this week, Ms Sitharaman delivered a marathon rebuttal in parliament to Rahul Gandhi’s allegations that PM Modi signed an overpriced deal for 36 Rafale jets to help industrialist Anil Ambani, whose inexperienced defence firm won an offset contract with Rafale-maker Dassault.

Rahul Gandhi kept accusing the prime minister of avoiding the debate by not attending parliament.

He also demanded a “yes or no” answer from the Defence Minister on whether the defence ministry or the Air Force raised objections when an earlier deal for 126 Rafale jets negotiated by the previous Congress-led UPA was scrapped.

The ruling BJP alleges that the previous deal didn’t materialise because the Congress failed to score a lucrative deal.

Disclaimer: NDTV has been sued for 10,000 crores by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Group for its coverage of the Rafale deal





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India Will Receive S-400 Defence Systems In Due Time, Says Russia


Centre informed Lok Sabha it will start receiving the S-400 missile systems from October next year (File)

New Delhi: 

Russia on Wednesday said there will be no delays in the delivery of the S-400 air defence systems to India and a payment mechanism for the deal is being worked out, said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov adding the missile systems will significantly enhance India’s air defence capability.

Last week, the government informed Lok Sabha that it will start receiving the missile systems from Russia from October next year and the deliveries will be completed by April 2023.

India inked an agreement with Russia in October last year to procure a batch of the missile systems at a cost of Rs 40,000 crore. India went ahead to seal the deal notwithstanding the US’ warnings against it.

There were apprehensions about the payment mechanism for the deal in the wake of the US sanctions against Russia.

“India would receive the systems as agreed upon in due time, without any delays. And, your (India’s) national security will be enhanced substantially,” Mr Ryabkov told reporters.

“We (Russia) want to be immune to arbitrary unilateral measures undertaken by some country against a very legitimate form of international cooperation,” he said.

Asked how President Vladimir Putin extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an economic conclave in Vladivostok in Russia in September, at a time when who India’s new Prime Minister will be known only after the parliamentary elections in around April-May, he said Moscow is no mood of assessing the political situation in India.

On the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, the deputy foreign minister said there are “huge chances” for the US to formally depart from the treaty in the very near future.

The 1987 pact helps protect the security of the US and its allies in Europe and the Far East.

“We are deeply concerned on the situation around the INF treaty. We do not see any signs of any improvement so far… We have received a formal note, a formal notification from the US side, of its intention to suspend the implementation of the treaty,” he said in response to a question.

President Donald Trump in October had confirmed that the US will pull out of an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that limited the number of missiles in the two nations, accusing Moscow of violating the deal.

“The material implementation of the treaty was concluded in 2000, to suspend something that was materially finished, would mean now only a departure from the treaty, altogether some action in contravention from the core, principles of the treaty which is very unfortunate,” Mr Ryabkov said.

The deputy foreign minister said Russia was “ever prepared to bilaterally deal with this if and when the US would be prepared”.

“It can be done through a dedicated round of consultations with involvement of all agencies, the military, the diplomats, the security council apparatus and can be done in the form of joint commission, with new implementation of the treaty or in any other form comfortable to the US,” Mr Ryabkov said.





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Padraig Harrington Tasked With Masterminding Europe’s Ryder Cup Defence


Padraig Harrington has been handed the task of defending Europe’s Ryder Cup title in the United States in 2020 after being named team captain on Tuesday. The three-time major winner succeeds Dane Thomas Bjorn and becomes just the second golfer from the Republic of Ireland to take the reins for the tournament after Paul McGinley, who was victorious in 2014. Harrington — who has won 30 titles worldwide — was selected by a five man panel, which included McGinley, Bjorn and the losing 2016 skipper Darren Clarke. 

“I’m thrilled to be named as Ryder Cup captain for 2020, it’s not something I went into lightly,” he said.

“I’m putting it on the line — we know when you’re a successful Ryder Cup captain it’s great and a losing captain — it’s his fault.”

Harrington was clear favourite for the role after receiving high profile support for his nomination from the likes of Northern Irish superstar Rory McIlroy. Meanwhile his main rival Lee Westwood had expressed his desire to try and qualify as a player.

“I’ve won three majors in my career but taking the Ryder Cup captaincy is a different level,” he said.

“You could look at this as being a natural progression from player to vice-captain to captain but it’s not something I take on without a certain amount of trepidation,” he added.

Four-time Ryder Cup winner Harrington, who is not able to play at the moment having broken his wrist falling down the stairs at Christmas, acknowledged the size of the task he faced in winning at Whistling Straits, a course he knows well having competed three times there in the PGA Championship.

Europe’s last stateside success in the biennial event came at Medinah in 2012.

“I know we are going to a new venue, it’s an away match … I have to be part of that team and ensure that I find an edge to make the team perform to the best of their abilities and hopefully get a win,” said Harrington, who accrued 10 1/2 Ryder Cup points since he made his debut in 1999.

“I want to hopefully leave the European Tour and Ryder Cup in a better place after two years.”

Harrington said he knew what his goal would be over the next two years with respect to the players.

“I want to find an edge to get the players to perform to best of their abilities and hopefully get a win,” he said.

“I’m really conscious that I have to find the edge and add to it. It’s going to take a great deal of my time over the next two years to do it.”

The US are yet to name their next captain, with 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples and Steve Stricker among the leading candidates.



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