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Anticipated Taliban takeover but ready to deal with terrorism spilling out of Afghanistan, says CDS Rawat

NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat said that insurgency spilling out of Afghanistan into India would be dealt in a same way India deals with terrorism at present. He also said that India would welcome additional support in the form of intelligence input as it does its part in fighting the global war against terrorism.

“As far as Afghanistan is concerned, we'll make sure that any activity likely to flow out of Afghanistan and find its way into India will be dealt with in the manner in which we're dealing with terrorism in our country,” Rawat was quoted as saying at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF)’s event ‘The India-US Partnership: Securing the 21st Century’.

His request was directed at the Quad nations. He was also accompanied by Command Admiral John Aquilino who is the commander of the US Indo-Pacific.

Rawat also said that India anticipated the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. India on Tuesday made it clear at the United Nation Human Rights Council session that it expects that Afghanistan’s soil won’t be used to foment terrorist activities aimed at creating instability in the region.

Indramani Pandey, India’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, outlined that New Delhi expects that the rights of Afghan women, aspirations of Afghan children and the rights of minorities will be respected. India also gave shelter to Afghan refugees who fled the war-torn country after the Taliban laid siege to it.

The Taliban, however, informally requested India last week to retain its diplomatic presence in Afghanistan. Senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammed Abbas Stanekzai told Indian authorities that it was aware of India’s concerns regarding its officials and diplomats in the country, according to a report.

Stanekzai was responding to concerns that fighters from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) were deployed at check posts set up by the Taliban on the route to the international airport in Kabul.

The Taliban who have full control of Afghanistan are awaiting to announce its council of ministers on August 31, the deadline day for the US and NATO troops to evacuate Afghanistan. The US Army and NATO troops, who entered the nation and once ousted the Taliban from power, have been asked by the Taliban to evacuate the country fully by August 31.

Navies of India and Philippines conduct military drills in South China Sea

NEW DELHI, Aug 23: India on Monday carried out a naval exercise with the Philippines in the South China Sea, five days after it conducted a similar drill with Vietnam in the region that has been witnessing growing Chinese military expansionism.

While the Indian Navy deployed its guided missile destroyer INS Ranvijay and guided missile corvette INS Kora in the exercise, the Philippine Navy was represented by its frigate BRP Antonio Luna, officials said.

The Philippines government refers to the eastern parts of the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea.

The Indian and Vietnamese navies carried out a naval exercise in the South China Sea on August 18.

'Two ships of the Indian Navy, INS Ranvijay and INS Kora, on deployment to the Western Pacific, carried out a maritime partnership exercise with BRP Antonio Luna of the Philippine Navy on Monday in the West Philippine Sea,' Indian Navy Spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

'The joint evolutions conducted during the exercise included several operational manoeuvers and the participating ships of both navies were satisfied with the consolidation of interoperability achieved through this operational interaction at sea,' he said.

China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, have counterclaims.

'Both navies remain committed to further strengthening bilateral collaboration in the maritime domain towards a collective aim of ensuring a stable, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific,' the Indian Navy spokesperson said.

The two Indian naval ships are currently deployed to the Western Pacific with an aim to strengthen maritime security collaboration with partner nations.

'The interaction with BRP Antonio Luna was an enriching opportunity for the Indian Navy to consolidate its bilateral relations with the Philippine Navy,' Commander Madhwal said.

The defence and security cooperation between India and the Philippines is on an upswing in the last few years.

Eye on Beijing, India and Vietnam Hold Naval Exercise in South China Sea

NEW DELHI, Aug 18: India and Vietnam on Wednesday carried out a naval exercise in the resource-rich South China Sea, a region that has been witnessing growing Chinese bullying and militarisation.

The Indian Navy deployed its guided-missile destroyer Ranvijay and guided-missile corvette Kora for the exercise with the Vietnamese Navy, signalling growing convergence of interests in the maritime security domain, officials said. Both India and Vietnam have common concerns over China's military expansionism in the South China Sea.

"In continuation with ongoing deployment of Indian Navy ships in the South China Sea, INS Ranvijay and INS Kora undertook bilateral maritime exercise with Vietnam People's Navy frigate Ly Thai To on Wednesday," Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

He said the exercise was aimed at consolidating the strong bond of cooperation between the two navies.

Vietnam, an important country of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region. India has oil exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, have counterclaims.

Last month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart Sr Lt Gen Phan Van Giang, during a phone conversation, vowed to further enhance bilateral military-to-military cooperation.

Indian, Chinese armies disengage from Gogra

NEW DELHI, Aug 6: The Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have pulled back their forward deployed troops from Gogra or Patrol Point-17A, one of the friction points on the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC), with the breakthrough coming after the 12th round of military talks held in the Ladakh sector last week, the Indian Army announced on Friday.

The second round of disengagement, carried out on August 4-5, comes almost six months after the two armies pulled back their front-line troops and weaponry from the Pangong Tso sector in mid-February after the ninth round of talks.

“As per the agreement (reached during the 12th round of talks on July 31), both sides have ceased forward deployments in this area (PP-17A) in a phased, coordinated and verified manner. The troops of both sides are now in their respective permanent bases,” the army said in a statement.

As part of the disengagement process, both armies have dismantled temporary structures erected by them along with allied infrastructure, with the actions being mutually verified. “The landform in the area has been restored by both sides to the pre-standoff period (April 2020),” it said.

India deploys warships in South China Sea as part of 'Act East' policy

NEW DELHI, Aug 4: India is sending a naval task force to the South China Sea this month to expand security ties with friendly countries, officials said on Wednesday, signalling its intent to play a bigger role in regional efforts to counter China.

The Indian military has been traditionally wary of antagonising China but the mood has hardened following clashes between troops on the disputed land border last year. The government has since drawn closer to the United States in efforts to push back against China.

Four ships including a guided missile destroyer and a missile frigate will be deployed for a two-month period to southeast Asia, the South China Sea and the western Pacific, the navy said in a statement.

"The deployment of the Indian Navy ships seeks to underscore the operational reach, peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain..." the navy said.

The South China Sea has become one of many flashpoints in the testy relationship between China and the United States, with Washington rejecting what it calls unlawful territorial claims by Beijing in the resource-rich waters.

In June, a U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Ronald Reagan entered the South China Sea as part of a routine mission and a British carrier group is due to undertake exercises in the Philippine Sea this month.

As part of their deployment, the Indian ships will take part in annual joint war drills involving the United States, Japan and Australia off the coast of Guam, the navy said.

The four countries make up the Quad, an informal group, that U.S. President Joe Biden's administration is promoting as a way to counter an assertive China.

"These maritime initiatives enhance synergy and coordination between the Indian Navy and friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and commitment towards Freedom of Navigation at sea," the Indian navy said in its statement.

India's first indigenously made aircraft carrier begins sea trials

KOCHI, Aug 4: The first indigenously designed and built aircraft carrier of India, which will be named INS Vikrant once commissioned, Wednesday began its sea trials off the coast of Kochi. The landmark achievement will put India in the list of only a few countries that have the capacity to manufacture aircraft carriers.

Calling it a “proud and historic day for India”, the Navy in a statement said, “Reincarnated Vikrant (IAC) sailed for her maiden sea trials today (Wednesday), in the 50th year of her illustrious predecessor’s key role in victory in the 1971 war.”

The Navy also dubbed the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) as the “largest and most complex warship ever to be designed and built in India”. The achievement, it said, is a proud and historical moment in “our quest for Atmanirbhar Bharat and Make in India initiatives”.

The keep of the 40,000-tonne warship was laid in February 2009 and was floated out at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), which has built it, in December 2011. The basin trials were completed in November 2020. The project cost nearly Rs 23,000 crore.

In June, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had visited CSL to review the progress of the project.

According to the Navy, IAC-1, as it is called till commissioned, will operate MiG-29K fighter aircraft, Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, the soon-to-be-inducted MH-60R multi-role helicopter and the indigenously-manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters.

Expected to be commissioned by August 2022, INS Vikrant will become India’s second aircraft carrier in service. At the moment India’s sole aircraft carrier is INS Vikramaditya, which is a Russian-origin vessel.

With the second carrier to be commissioned soon, the Navy is on the search for 36 multi-role fighter jets that will cater for both IAC-1 and INS Vikramaditya.

Even as the IAC-1 project is finally close to its conclusion, the Navy has been demanding that the work for a third 65,000-tonne aircraft carrier should begin soon. However, the government is still unconvinced of its need.

According to the Navy, a third carrier is an operational necessity. On Navy Day, the force’s Chief Admiral, Karambir Singh, had said the Navy does not want to be a force “tethered to the shore” and “air power at sea is absolutely required”.

“The Navy is all about reach and sustenance. If you, as a nation, that is aspirational…you will have to go outwards, seek the world, you will have to move out…And for that you require air power and you require it at longer ranges…aircraft carrier is absolutely necessary,” he had said.

However, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, who is mandated to prioritise defence acquisition among the armed forces, said on more than one occasions that aircraft carriers can be high-value targets for the enemies and islands of Laskhadweep and Andaman & Nicobar can be developed as “unsinkable” aircraft carriers.

However, the Navy has been going ahead with its push for the third carrier, with sources saying that there needs to be a change in the mindset for the government to be convinced.

China, which has two serving aircraft carriers, is building a third, and is expected to have five carriers by the end of the decade.


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