A decomposed body was recovered on Wednesday by police in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district, which is suspected to belong to the Territorial Army (TA) soldier reportedly killed by terrorists in August 2020.
Police have decided to carry out DNA mapping of the body to confirm whether it belongs to TA soldier Shakir Manzoor who was abducted and later reported to have been killed by terrorists in August 2020.
On August 2, 2020, rifleman Shakir Manzoor of 162 TA battalion had come home at Reshipora Shopian to celebrate Eid with his family.
He was driving his car to report back on duty when he went missing.
An official statement issued the next day said that Shakir's burnt car had been found in the neighbouring Kulgam district.
"It is suspected that the soldier has been abducted by militants. Search operation is in progress," the official statement had said then.
After recovering the decomposed body, a police officer said although the body is beyond recognition, yet the father of the missing TA soldier insists that it is of his son.
"We have decided to get DNA sampling done to identify if the body is that of Shakir or not", the officer said.
The decomposed dead body was recovered from an orchard in the Mohammadpora area of Kulgam district.
Police said it was wrapped in a blue tarpaulin sheet near a BSNL tower and it had decomposed beyond recognition.
The leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) or Pakistan Taliban has rejected the idea that the power-shift in Afghanistan would affect TTP strategies and added that TTP is already intensifying attacks against the government of Pakistan.
The head of the Islamic militant group Pakistani Taliban (TTP), Mufti Wali Noor Mehsud, welcomed the Taliban's return to power in Afghanistan after 20 years of absence, in an exclusive interview with the Mainichi Shimbun.
He rejected the idea that the power-shift in Afghanistan would affect TTP strategies, adding, "We are already intensifying our attacks from time to time against the government of Pakistan."
The Pakistani government is tightening its guard against the TTP, who is gaining momentum with the Taliban back in control. The two groups are known to share the ideal of governing by Sharia, or Islamic law.
During the interview, the leader spoke of the relationship with his Afghan counterpart to be "cordial and like a brotherhood." But he denied collaboration and commented, "We don't have any opportunities to participate (in their activities)," claiming that the TTP's activities are confined within Pakistan, as per the report.
The Mainichi asked about the TTP's relationship with China. Beijing has invested heavily in Pakistan's infrastructure based on an economic package known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.
Recently, the Chinese nationals related to these projects are believed to have become targets of repeated terrorist attacks. Quite a few cases have been linked to the TTP, but Mehsud claimed, "There is no hostility between the TTP and China." But he warned the Chinese government and its people to "not be influenced by Pakistan's conspiracy and deception, and to avoid initiating a war against the TTP", the report added.
Reacting to the interview, Chinese mouthpiece, Global Times reported that the TTP may continue its attacks in Pakistan and cause damage to China's projects and personnel in the country.
Zhang Jiadong, a professor at the Center for American Studies, Fudan University, told the Global Times that encouraged by the Afghan Taliban's victory, the TTP wants to realize Pashtuns' rule in Pakistan. This is an issue of concern for the Pakistan government, noting that the resurgence of extremist groups in the region may affect the regional situation and more problems may emerge after the US withdrawal.
Zhu Yongbiao, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at Lanzhou University said TTP has absorbed many anti-Pakistan militants including other ethnic groups and international terrorist forces. It differs from the Afghan Taliban in its goals and attitude toward the Pakistan government.
Zhu noted that Pakistan has two main concerns over this: first, whether the victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan might stimulate the TTP and boost its confidence; and second, whether there will be stronger nationalism among the Pashtuns in Pakistan, which could lead to requests for territory.
Zhang warned it is possible that the TTP may conduct more activities in Pakistan and more Chinese people or Chinese projects may be attacked in order to increase pressure on the Pakistan government.
Kabul/New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) The US provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the US military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion, Forbes reported.
Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn't an easy task. In the fog of war, or withdrawal, Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine, the report said.
Between 2003 and 2016, the US purchased and provided 75,898 vehicles and 208 aircraft, to the Afghan army and security forces, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
Forbes reported estimated vehicle costs:
Armoured personnel carriers such as the M113A2 cost $170,000 each and recent purchases of the M577A2 post carrier cost $333,333 each.
Mine resistant vehicles ranges from $412,000 to $767,000. The total cost could range between $382 million to $711 million.
Recovery vehicles such as the ‘truck, wrecker' cost between for the base model $168,960 and $880,674 for super strength versions.
Medium range tactical vehicles include 5-tonne cargo and general transport trucks were priced at $67,139. However, the family of MTV heavy vehicles had prices ranging from $235,500 to $724,820 each. Cargo trucks to transport airplanes cost $800,865
Humvees – ambulance type (range from $37,943 to $142,918 with most at $96,466); cargo type, priced at $104,682. Utility Humvees were typically priced at $91,429. However, the 12,000 lb. troop transport version cost up to $329,000.
Light tactical vehicles: Fast attack combat vehicles ($69,400); and passenger motor vehicles ($65,500). All terrain 4-wheel vehicles go up to $42,273 in the military databases.
This month, the Taliban seized Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft. Black Hawk helicopters can cost up to $ 21 million.
In 2013, the US placed an order for 20 A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft for $427 million – that's $21.3 million for each plane. Other specialised helicopters can cost up to $37 million each.
The Afghan air force contracted for C 208 light attack airplanes in March 2018: seven planes for $84.6 million, or $12.1 million each. The airplanes are very sophisticated and carry HELLFIRE missiles, anti-tank missiles and other weaponry.
The PC-12 intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance airplanes use the latest in technology. Having these planes fall into Taliban control is disconcerting. Civilian models sell new for approximately $5 million each and the military planes could sell for many times that price.
Basic fixed-wing airplanes range in price from $3.1 million to $22 million in the DLA database.
Since 2003 the US gave Afghan forces at least 600,000 infantry weapons, including M16 rifles, 162,000 pieces of communication equipment, and 16,000 night-vision goggle devices, according to the GAO report.
The howitzer is the modern cannon for the US military and each unit can cost up to $500,000; however, most are in the $200,000 price range. At the higher end, there's GPS guidance on fired shells, Forbes said.
A common price of a M16 rifle is $749, according to DLA. Adding a grenade launcher can push the price of the M16 to $12,032. M4 carbine rifles are slightly more expensive with unit prices as high as $1,278.
Just the sights on night-vision sniper rifle rifle scopes can run as high as $35,000, however, most vary in price between $5,000 and $10,000, Forbes said.
New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) The Taliban has warned India against military moves in Afghanistan, pointing to the fate of other military powers.
"If they (India) come to Afghanistan militarily and have their presence, I think that will not be good for them. They've seen the fate of military presence in Afghanistan of other countries, so it is an open book for them," Taliban spokesperson Muhammed Suhail Shaheen said as per media reports.
He also denied that the Taliban has ties with other terror groups based in Pakistan.
"They are not based on ground realities but on basis of their certain policies towards us, on the basis of politically motivated goals," he added.
The Taliban has assured embassies and staff that there is no danger from their side.
The Taliban spokesperson said that it follows a general policy of not allowing anyone to use Afghan soil against any country including the neighbouring nations.
On reports of Indian officials meeting the Taliban in Doha, the spokesperson said that he could not confirm the development.
Shaheen said the Taliban appreciates India for helping the Afghan people, while also praising reconstruction activities.
"We appreciate everything that has been done for people of Afghanistan like dams, national and infrastructure projects and anything that's for Afghanistan's development, reconstruction, and economic prosperity for people," he added.
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.