New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) India on Wednesday successfully flight-tested the new generation surface-to-air missile Akash Missile (Akash-NG) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the Odisha coast.
The flight trial was conducted at around 12.45 p.m. from a land-based platform with all weapon system elements such as multi-function radar, command, control and communication system, and launcher participating in the deployment configuration.
The missile system has been developed by Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad, in collaboration with other Defence Research & Development Organisation laboratories.
The launch was witnessed by the representatives of the Indian Air Force. Production agencies Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) also participated in the trials.
In order to capture flight data, ITR deployed a number of Range stations like Electro Optical Tracking System, Radar and Telemetry, and the flawless performance of the entire weapon system has been confirmed by complete flight data captured by these systems.
"During the test, the missile demonstrated high manoeuvrability required for neutralising fast and agile aerial threats," the DRDO said in a statement.
Once deployed, the Akash-NG weapon system will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capability of the IAF.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has congratulated the DRDO, the BDL, the BEL, the Indian Air Force and the industry for the successful test.
Earlier in the day, the DRDO successfully flight-tested indigenously-developed, low-weight, fire and forget Man-Portable Antitank Guided Missile (MPATGM). All
The missile was launched from a man-portable launcher integrated with a thermal site and the target was mimicking a tank. The missile hit the target in direct attack mode and destroyed it with precision, and all the mission objectives were met.
It also validated the minimum range successfully. The missile has already been successfully flight-tested for the maximum range.
New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Amid the fierce battle between the government armed forces and Taliban, Afghanistan Army Chief will visit India for two days next week to interact with top security officials, including the Indian Army Chief General M.M. Naravane.
Afghanistan Army Chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai will be in India from July 27 to July 29 during which he is going to meet top dignitaries here, including National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
Top officials in the government remained quiet over the issue. However, sources said that the Afghanistan Army Chief might look for logistic support and military equipment. India has been training the Afghanistan cadets in military academies for a long time.
Further, the visit comes when Pakistan in collaboration with the Taliban has started to target Indian assets in Afghanistan. India has invested over 3 billion US dollars in infrastructure projects, including roads, dams and the Parliament building, in Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, an Afghan politician who leads the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR) Abdullah Abdullah made a visit to India. He is making efforts for peace despite the ongoing fighting between government forces and the Taliban.
A government delegation led by Abdullah and Taliban representatives are holding peace talks in Qatar's Doha.
For India, the main concern remains the use of Taliban-controlled territory by Pakistan-based terror groups. India is in touch with the Afghan government about the developing situation.
The fighting between the Afghan forces and Taliban has intensified in the last one month post the US forces withdrawal. Taliban has started expanding its influence in the war-torn county after the US withdrawal.
Amid security concerns, India withdrew its staff from the Consulate in Kandahar on July 11.
Tel Aviv/New Delhi, June 30 (IANS) Israeli defense manufacturing company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd on Wednesday unveiled 'Sea Breaker', a fifth-generation long-range, autonomous, precision-guided missile system, enabling significant attack performance against a variety of high-value maritime and land targets.
Sea Breaker is a naval and artillery unit force-multiplier, designed to overcome the modern warfare arena challenges, using Rafael's legacy of high-end precision-guided solutions.
The company claims Sea Breaker provides surgical, pin-point precision strikes from stand-off ranges of up to 300 km.
"It features an advanced IIR (Imaging Infra-Red) seeker, ideal for engagement of maritime and land targets, stationary or moving, in advanced Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2/AD) arenas, and in littoral or brown water, including archipelago, as well as for engagements in which previous generation RF-seeker-based missiles are not effective," Rafale stated.
Sea Breaker can be launched from naval platforms, varying in size, from fast attack missile boats to corvettes and frigates. The land version is a central part of the shore defense, based on Rafael's highly mobile SPYDER launchers.
The battery architecture supports standalone launchers, or operation as an integrated solution, with a command and control unit (CCU) and various sensors, based on customer requirements.
Using Artificial Intelligence, Sea Breaker performs deep-learning and big data-based scene-matching, a unique combat-proven Rafael technology, enabling Automatic Target Acquisition (ATA) and Automatic Target Recognition (ATR).
The system has full operational capability in GNSS-denied arenas, in all weather conditions. The missile is ECM immune and jam-resilient. Sea Breaker's mission profile enables sea-skimming and terrain-following low-level flight above ground.
The state-owned company Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced it will manufacture and deliver 69 tactical mobile radar systems to the German Army in a deal valued at 36 million euros.
The systems are IAI's WatchGuard, the fifth generation of motion-detection tactical ground surveillance radars, Xinhua news agency quoted the company as saying on Thursday.
Employing both staring and electronic-steering search techniques, the systems are expected to replace the aging legacy systems in the German army, the IAI said.
Featuring a high update rate, IAI's radar enables a high probability of target detection and tracking to support complex missions.
A combination of staring and scanning allows adapting and optimizing the radar operation for any scenario.
With the all-weather and day-night capability, the systems are able to undertake long-term reconnaissance and surveillance in large areas while occupying a small force footprint.
The systems intend to supply comprehensive information acquisition to determine threat potential and operational conditions.
The systems will be delivered by the IAI through its subsidiary Elta Systems and its partner German electronic and IT systems company ESG.
Israeli defence electronics company Elbit Systems has announced two deals with the Swedish and US armies, totaling $52 million.
The first deal, worth $23 million, includes the supply of Elbit's E-LynX software defined radios (SDRs) for the Swedish Armed Forces, Xinhua news agency reported citing the company as saying on Thursday.
The contract will be performed over a period of 30 months.
This system was previously selected by several armed forces across Europe including Switzerland and Spain.
Haim Delmar, General Manager of Elbit Systems C4I and Cyber, said: "We appreciate the trust placed in our digital communication capabilities by the Swedish Armed Forces, attesting to the technological quality and credibility of our solution.
"Sweden is an important market for Elbit Systems, and we hope to continue in growing our activities."
Under the second deal, worth $29 million, Elbit will upgrade the US Aarmy helicopter units' night vision imaging systems.
Elbit will replace the existing green image intensification system on the helicopters, with high performance white phosphor image intensifier tubes.
White phosphor will enhance the imaging system as it presents visuals in black and white detail, which may appear more natural to the eyes.
The new image intensification tubes will also provide better contrast, along with high image resolution at greater distance for pilots, Elbit said.
Raanan Horowitz, President and CEO of Elbit Systems of America, said: "US Army pilots can successfully achieve their mission and fly with confidence in any light conditions. Upgrading the US Army aviation fleet's goggles to high performance white phosphor provides improved clarity.
"Whether soldiers are on the ground or in the air, our team is committed to providing advanced capabilities to the US Army to suit their evolving night vision needs."
Elbit Systems, founded in 1966 and based in the Israeli city of Haifa, develops and supplies airborne, land and naval systems and products for defence, homeland security and commercial applications.
New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Amidst border standoff with China, the Indian Army holds a commanders' conference led by General Manoj Mukund Naravane from Thursday to review the operational situation at the border with China and Pakistan. Indian Army Commanders' Conference is an apex level biannual event, which formulates important policy decisions through collegiate deliberations.
The conference is attended by senior officers of the Army including the vice chief of the army staff, all commanders, principal staff officers (PSOs) of the Army Headquarters and other senior officers.
In the two-day conference, the Army top brass will discuss the current position of Chinese People's Liberation Army positions in disputed areas at Gogra, Hot Springs, Demchok and Depsang at Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh.
China has enhanced troops, artillery and armour deployment in three sectors of Line of Actual Control -- western (Ladakh), middle (Uttarakhand, Himachal) and eastern (Sikkim, Arunachal) sectors.
A year after the Galwan valley clash in Eastern Ladakh, China is still sitting at the Line of Actual Control and India has geared up for a long grind. Indian and Chinese military delegates had 11 rounds of talks to resolve border disputes at friction points.
During the commanders' conference meeting, Army top brass discuss how to be better prepared to face Chinese belligerence in Ladakh over the last year as a final resolution seems far off. India has enhanced military infrastructure, increased troop deployment to 50,000 to 60,000, and constructed better roads connectivity for quick mobilisation.
Last month, General Naravane said that the troops are on high alert at Line of Actual Control and are keeping watch on Chinese People's Liberation Army activities.
The Indian Army chief stated that India wants the status quo ante of April 2020 to be restored. He also stated that India has made it clear to China that de-escalation will only be considered once disengagement is completed to the mutual satisfaction of both the sides.
He had said that Indian troops are on high alert and deployments have not thinned after the disengagement in Pangong River.
General Naravane said that India is currently concentrating on resolving outstanding problems at other friction points like Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang at Line of Actual Control.
The army chief also stated that trust levels between two countries are low but pointed out that the trust deficit should not hinder the negotiation process.
At Galwan valley, the clash took place on June 15 last year sparking a war like situation. Later by the end of August last year there was a further build up across and Pangong Lake at 14,000 ft turning it into a battle zone as India occupied key mountain tops at the Kailash Range overlooking the southern bank of the lake.
New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) China is conducting the final trials of Xian H-20 strategic stealth bombers at its Hotan airbase, opposite eastern Ladakh, as the US pulls out its troops from Afghanistan and the border standoff with India continues.
Top government sources said that H-20 bombers are aimed at ending the edge India acquired through the acquisition of Rafale jets.
The final trials of the long-range strategic stealth bomber began on June 8 and will continue till June 22, the day that marks 100 years of the formation of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
The Xian H-20 strategic stealth bomber has stealth feature and long endurance, coupled with capability to carry heavy payloads, which could potentially dodge the "detect and disable radar" capability of India's newly-inducted Rafale aircraft.
India had signed an inter-governmental agreement with France to procure 36 aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore in September 2016. After the arrival of the sixth batch last month, the Indian Air Force has now received two-third of the planes ordered from France. Rafale is a 4.5 generation aircraft and has the latest weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. It is an omni-role aircraft which means it can carry out at least four missions in one sortie.
India had displayed the capability of Rafale aircraft in eastern Ladakh and also where it will be positioned. China has not yet announced where H-20 likely to be deployed after assessment of the final test runs and possible tweaks at its bases opposite Ladakh.
China, which has touted induction of H-20 bombers as a "game changer", is the third country after the US and Russia to possess stealth technology for fighters.
The move could have repercussions for geopolitics in the region as also power play by the US and its allies in the disputed South China Sea and Taiwan.
A top government source said that the stealth feature makes the Chinese strategic supersonic jets undetectable by any radar and Beijing seems to be going aggressive in protecting its investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as also Afghanistan. It is a matter of worry for India, the source said.
The jets have enhanced "beyond visual range" (3,000 km) and significant payload can make these bombers hit targets in Balochistan, Afghanistan or Ladakh even without crossing the boundary. As per a 2020 Pentagon report on Chinese military power, the H-20s are estimated to have a range of 5,281 miles and lift capacity of 10 tons of munitions.
China started development of the H-20 bombers in 2010 when India was negotiating with France's Dassault Aviation to buy 126 Rafale jets.
Sources said that Chinese to making these strategic bombers an area specific asset. It is clear that Beijing wants to designate the Hotan base as a testing base for these stealth machines and are to deployed in the areas to even take on targets in Afghanistan, Balochistan or Ladakh.
Earlier, these bombers were slated to be inducted in 2025. However, the timeline has been compressed which signals a shift in China's approach in the region and the larger geopolitical space.
New Delhi/Jerusalem, June 7 (IANS) Israel on Monday said that it is concerned about the billions of dollars that could go to terror organisation Hamas if the US lifts its sanctions on Iran.
In a special virtual exchange with the Indian media, Nevo Barchad, the head of the counter-terrorism department in the strategic affairs division of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that though Israel trusts the judgment of its old friend and US President Joe Biden, it has concerns about the funds that will go to Hamas once the US lifts sanctions on Iran, which is the major sponsor of the Islamist terror group operating in Gaza.
The Biden administration is likely to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) -- which had been negotiated by P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, the US plus Germany) together with the European Union.
Recently, indirect talks on the restoration of the agreement between the US and Iran resumed in Vienna.
In response to an IANS question on the latest development, Barchad said that Israel has opposed the JCPOA.
"We think it is a bad deal. If P5+1 are holding indirect talks and if Americans are going back to the deal, we hope it includes various changes and with a stronger enforcement. We also hope that the Americans won't lift all the sanctions," the top Israeli official said.
Emphasising that US President Biden is "a true friend" of Israel, Barchad said that his government trusts his judgement on Iran, which he said funds 50 per cent of Hamas' terror activities against the Israeli people.
The remaining 50 per cent comes from various other sources, including funds raised from Islamic charities in Muslim nations and Europe, Barchad said, adding that Israel has been making efforts to block all those channels of terror-funding.
At the same time, he added, it is not far-fetched to think that billions of dollars will go to Hamas, Hezbollah, Houtis and the pro-Iranian militia in Syria, once the sanctions are lifted.
Barchad, however, warned that Hamas should not underestimate Israel's defence capabilities.
Responding to another question on the use of Chinese weaponry by Hamas against Israel, Barchad said that Israel and China shared a good relationship and understanding.
"Any use of Chinese weapons or technology by the Hamas has happened without the knowledge of China," he said.
Barchad added that the Chinese military technology serves a dual purpose -- for surveillance as well as military build-up. If their equipment is being used for military and not civilian purposes, it is not happening knowingly, the official said.
Barchad also said that the truce with Palestine after the 11-day ‘war' is not a permanent solution.
Hamas, he said, openly wants destruction of Israel and even as the ceasefire is the best outcome at the moment, it can't be a long lasting solution.
The counter-terrorism chief said that the ideal solution would be that the Hamas regime steps down followed by PLA and Israel coming to the table for talks.
The US President Joe Biden’s announcement regarding the complete withdrawal of American and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 20th anniversary of 9/11 has prompted the discussions on the subsequent security vacuum as well as changing geostrategic situation in India’s contiguous neighbor as well as strategic partner Afghanistan. India has been supporting Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process as India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar has reiterated in the Raisina dialogue on the theme “Junction Kabul: the Road to Peace” held on 16th April. In which, Iranian Foreign minister Javad Zarif has argued that the US decision should be taken in the light of the reality of the region that foreign forces has never contributed to peace and stability to the region and their removal will lead to at least less chances for violence. Pointing out the opportunities for Afghan forces to take full control, Afghanistan’s NSA Hamdullah Mohib has claimed that Afghan Taliban is possessing no religious legitimacy and nationalistic causes due to its relentless attack’s overs $900 million dollars’ worth of national infrastructure annually.
But it is noteworthy that US withdrawal without any final outcome regarding the power sharing proposal accompanied by President Ghani’s contention pertaining to transfer of power through democratic processes merely would have been provoking Afghan Taliban to suddenly increase attacks. Moreover, latest intelligence report has pointed out that Pakistan is planning to expedite anti-India activities by facilitating Afghan Taliban’s “spring offensive” alongside mobilizing all terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, who were shifted to Afghanistan by Pakistan for diverting extreme pressure exerted by FATF over it.
India is concerned about the “vacuum” erupting in Afghanistan following the proposed withdrawal of foreign forces, as chief of defense staff General Bipin Rawat has pointed out that it can be utilized by “disruptors”. India’s big concern is that instability in Afghanistan can be used by Pakistan to further the proxy war against India. Furthermore, it will also be inimical to the counter terror operations in Muslim-majority union territory of Kashmir as many militants, who were eliminated here last year, had been trained in different terrorist camps located in Afghanistan. By highlighting Pakistan’s relentless support to Taliban alongside other active militant outfits including Haqqani network and Islamic States Khorasan Province (ISKP), which are creating parallels in Afghanistan, Hamdullah Mohib has manifested the challenges ahead in his country. Any frictions among these parallel militant groups for capturing power can also destabilize the entire nation. A United Nations report, published in January, confirming that there are as many as 500 al-Qaeda militants in Afghanistan who are in close relationship with Afghan Taliban has also reflected the seriousness of the prevailing situation.
Moreover, reconciliation of the interests of the multiple ethnic groups including Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek in Afghanistan has always been emerging as a big challenge, regardless of the regimes prevalent at the different span of time in this country. Afghan minorities encompass 27 percent Tajiks, 9 percent Hazara and 9 percent Uzbek, etc. It is noteworthy that Taliban, an essentially “Pashtun formation”, has remorselessly repressed all the ethnic groups except Pashtun during 1990s; which has fuelled the ethnic rivalry among minorities and Pashtun, which covers 42 percent of the Afghan population. Although Pakistan, which has been relentlessly oppressing the Pakistani Pashtun peoples seeking peaceful redressal of grievances, basic human rights, social justice, equality of opportunity, etc through the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement; has been striving to generate a favorable majoritarian environment in Afghanistan by strengthening the Afghan Taliban- a Pashtun formation. Furthermore, the prevalent ethnic disharmony can also be used by Pakistan indirectly to fuel the ethnic clashes by spreading rumors for weakening the Afghan government and making subsequently a favourable condition for Afghan Taliban. Canada’s former ambassador to Afghanistan Chris Alexander has also contended that Pakistan’s proxy war is an impediment to restoring peace in Afghanistan and there will be no peace without dismantling this covert proxy war.
Moreover, Afghanistan is a gateway to the oil and mineral rich Central Asian republics. The decision of the withdrawal of the US and NATO forces and intelligence report on Pakistan’s conspiracy accompanied by over aggressive postures of terrorists in Afghanistan have intensified the security concern for India’s strategic interests including energy security. But it is noteworthy that Afghan forces, as Hamdullah Mohib has presented in Raisina Dialogue, has led over 94 percent of the counter terror operations launched after 2014. India-Afghanistan defense cooperation will definitely enhance the capability of counter terror operations of Afghan National Defense and Security forces. India’s developmental projects strengthening the ease of living of the Afghan peoples, inculcation of democratic values including minority rights and respect for will of the peoples, development of civil society, improvement in education facilities, etc have made impossible to return to Afghanistan of 1990s. Furthermore, Iran’s support, as Javad Zarif has contended in Raisina Dialogue, for Afghanistan's trade and commerce through Chabahar port instead of exploitation of Afghan natural resources by militant groups will enhance its development leading to strengthen the long-lasting and sustainable peace.
Islamabad, May 26 (IANS) After the Pentagon official claimed that Pakistan has allowed the US to use its airspace and ground routes as part of its Afghanistan campaign, a debate is underway in Islamabad regarding giving such an access to the US.
Pakistan officials have also categorically denied the claim made by Pentagon, pushing US to rethink its Afghan approach as its troops prepare to leave the country by September 11, this year.
In Pakistan, allowing access to airspace and ground routes to the US would be a costly mistake as it would have serious repercussions on Pakistan's national security.
Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Pakistan foreign office spokesperson, said in a statement on Monday: "There was no US military or air base in Pakistan, nor was any such proposal envisaged," adding that any speculation on the topic was "baseless, irresponsible and should be avoided".
Since 2001, Pakistan and the US have had a framework of cooperation for Air Lines of Communication and Ground Lines of Communication, but "no new agreement has been made in this regard", the statement added.
The pentagon claim was also echoed in the Upper House, the Senate of Pakistan, where a member submitted a call for attention notice, calling on the house to discuss the Pentagon claim.
"This would be a grave and serious violation of the Parliament of Pakistan's unanimously adopted terms of engagement for American/foreign forces adopted on April 12, 2021," read the notice submitted by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed.
Syed contested that the decision to give US forces airspace and access to airbases and ground routes would be contrary to the national security interests of Pakistan as he said "Pakistani people experienced the worst blowback from our previous entanglement after 9/11, and people of Pakistan would resolutely resist the encroachment of their sovereignty under any pretext".
Experts say that Pakistan cannot afford to become party with the US again as it would increase hostility against Pakistan in Afghanistan and would have major negative impact on Pakistan's relations with the Taliban.
US recently revealed that even though it would withdraw from Afghanistan, some troops would remain stationed in nearby neighbouring countries, adding that US was in consultation with several Central Asian neighbours of Afghanistan to survey where it can reposition troops to prevent landlocked Afghanistan from becoming a militant hub once again.
Pakistan is a key role player in the ongoing Afghan peace process and is also among the prime beneficiaries of challenges, if normalcy is not restored in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal.
Experts also highlight that any deal with the US would have a negative impact on Pakistan's relations with China, especially on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
China would not like any physical US presence in Pakistan as it would affect their interests and the CPEC project.
A Delhi Court has sought response from the Superintendent of Tihar Jail on an application moved by businessman Anoop Kumar Gupta, accused in AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, seeking home cooked gluten free vegetarian food and caretaker in jail.
Counsel for Gupta told the court that their client has allergy and may be provided home-cooked gluten vegetarian food, as has been advised by the doctor.
The accused also sought attendant cum caretaker, spectacles and bedding. It was further submitted that applicant may be permitted to have some person from his family as attendant in view of the medical condition.
He claims to suffer from chest pain, palpitation, high blood sugar, osteoarthritis and dyspnoea due to which he has difficulty in breathing, walking and sitting and was referred to G.B.Pant Hospital on March 10.
Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to Tihar and stated, "Issue notice to the Superintendent, Tihar Jail with the direction to produce the medical record of the applicant."
In another major breakthrough in the Rs 3,600 crore AgustaWestland VVIP chopper deal case, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested businessman and joint managing director of KRKB Limited Anoop Gupta in January 2021.
According to ED officials, Gupta was arrested in after the agency allegedly got several evidences against him in connection with its money laundering probe.
The ED had arrested British national Christian Michel James in connection with the probe in January 2019. Michel was extradited from UAE in December 2018 and was arrested by the CBI in connection with the probe.
The case pertains to the buying of 12 AgustaWestland helicopters from the Italian defence manufacturing giant Finmeccanica at an estimated cost of Rs 3,600 crore for ferrying VVIPs. In the deal, bribes were allegedly paid to middlemen and others. The purchase was cleared in 2010 by the then UPA government.