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Indian Navy to showcase combat prowess in memory of Operation Trident

India celebrates December 4 as Navy Day every year to acknowledge the role of the Indian Navy and commemorate its achievements in ‘Operation Trident’ during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

The Indian Navy is all set to demonstrate the country’s combat prowess and capability through an ‘Operational Demonstration’ at Visakhapatnam on Sunday on the occasion of Navy Day.

India celebrates December 4 as Navy Day every year to acknowledge the role of the Indian Navy and commemorate its achievements in ‘Operation Trident’ during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

The day has great significance in the history of the nation and the Indian Navy as it marks a decisive victory for India when the missile boats of the India Navy during Operation Trident, in the 1971 India-Pakistan War, successfully fired their missiles onto ships, oil installations and shore defence installations of Pakistan at Karachi.

(Photo: Indian Navy)

During the 1971 operations, the Indian Navy sank many Pakistani ships carrying war sustenance efforts and critical stores. Fighter aircraft from the deck of the INS Vikrant, struck at enemy harbours and airfields at Chittagong and Khulna, destroying ships, defence facilities and installations. Both the missile strikes at Karachi and air strikes from Vikrant led to the defeat of Pakistani Forces in the then East Pakistan.

Traditionally, the Navy Day celebrations – aimed at fostering greater outreach, renewing maritime consciousness amongst citizens and highlighting the Navy’s contributions towards national security – are conducted in New Delhi in the presence of the President and other dignitaries.

However, this year, Navy Day Celebrations are being conducted outside the national capital for the first time with President Droupadi Murmu witnessing the Visakhapatnam event as the Guest of Honour as India ushers in the ‘Amrit Kaal’.

Indian Naval ships, submarines, aircraft and Special Forces from Eastern, Western and Southern Naval Command would showcase the capability and versatility of Indian Navy with the event culminating with a sunset ceremony and illumination by ships at anchorage.

Several dignitaries from the Central and State governments are also expected to attend the event, which will be hosted by Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff.

(India Narrative)

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B-21 Raider: US unveils high-tech stealth bomber

Delivering his remarks at the ceremony in California, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the B-21’s edge will last for decades, reports Asian Lite News

The United States has unveiled the B-21 Raider stealth bomber, the world’s first sixth-generation aircraft that will soon be delivered to the US Air Force.

“The Northrop Grumman team develops and delivers technology that advances science, looks into the future and brings it to the here and now,” said Kathy Warden, chief executive officer of Northrop Grumman which developed the bomber. “The B-21 Raider defines a new era in technology and strengthens America’s role of delivering peace through deterrence.” Delivering his remarks at the ceremony in California, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the B-21’s edge will last for decades. Austin explained that the B-21 bomber will not be theater-based, it won’t need logistical support to hold any target at risk, and the most sophisticated air defence systems will struggle to detect the stealth aircraft.

Austin added that the B-21 will be the most maintainable bomber ever built, designed to deliver both conventional and nuclear munitions with formidable precision.

He said the aircraft will be able to gather intelligence to integrate with allies and partners. The aircraft will be able to support joint and coalition forces across the full spectrum of operations.

In a statement, Northrop Grumman described the B-21 Raider forms the backbone of the future for U.S. air power. Its sixth-generation capabilities include stealth, information advantage and open architecture.

“The B-21 Raider is a testament to America’s enduring advantages in ingenuity and innovation. And it’s proof of the Department’s long-term commitment to building advanced capabilities that will fortify America’s ability to deter aggression, today and into the future. Now, strengthening and sustaining U.S. deterrence is at the heart of our National Defence Strategy,” said Austin.

“This bomber was built on a foundation of strong, bipartisan support in Congress. And because of that support, we will soon fly this aircraft, test it and then move into production,” he added.

The B-21 is capable of networking across the battlespace to multiple systems, and into all domains.

“Supported by a digital ecosystem throughout its lifecycle, the B-21 can quickly evolve through rapid technology upgrades that provide new capabilities to outpace future threats, according to Northrop Grumman’s statement,” the American multinational aerospace said.

The B-21 Raider is named in honour of the Doolittle Raids of World War II when 80 men, led by Lt. Col. James “Jimmy” Doolittle, and 16 B-25 Mitchell medium bombers set off on a mission that changed the course of World War II.

The designation B-21 recognizes the Raider as the first bomber of the 21st century, the US company adds. (ANI)

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Armies of India, Malaysia to share experiences of jungle terrain ops

A Ministry official said that Harimau Shakti is an annual training event which has been conducted since 2012…reports Asian Lite News

A contingent of the Indian Army’s Garhwal Rifle Regiment has reached Malaysia to participate in a joint military exercise during which the two sides will share experiences of conducting operations in jungle terrains.

According to a Defence Ministry official, the “Harimau Shakti-2022” commenced at Pulai, Kluang, on Monday and is scheduled to end on December 12.

A Ministry official said that Harimau Shakti is an annual training event which has been conducted since 2012.

“The exercise will enhance the level of defence co-operation between Indian Army and the Malaysian Army, which in turn will further foster the bilateral relations between the two nations.”

The Defence Ministry said that the exercise’s schedule includes the establishment of a joint command post, surveillance centre, sharing expertise in employment of aerial assets, technical demonstrations, casualty management and casualty evacuation apart from planning logistics at the battalion level.

Joint field training exercises, combat discussions and demonstrations will culminate with a two-day validation exercise, where special emphasis will be on enhancing tactical skills and enhancing inter-operability between the forces and to promote Army-to-Army relations.

The Indian Army informed that combat-experienced troops of the Garhwal Rifle Regiment and the Royal Malay Regiment will also share experiences gained during operations in order to enhance inter-operability in planning & execution of various operations in jungle terrain.

The scope of this exercise involves a Command Planning Exercise at the Battalion level and Company-level Field Training Exercise on sub-conventional operations in jungle terrain, the Army added.

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Japan’s PM seeks to ramp up defence spending

This is the first time that the Prime Minister has stated the specific level of defence costs…reports Asian Lite News

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has required cabinet Ministers to increase Japan’s defence budget to around 2 per cent of GDP in the fiscal year of 2027.

As Japan moves to expand its defence budget in the year starting April 2027, Kishida gave those instructions to Defence Minister Yasukazu Hamada and Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki on Monday.

This is the first time that the Prime Minister has stated the specific level of defence costs, local media reported.

Japan’s initial budget for fiscal 2022 accounted for 1 per cent of GDP at 5.4 trillion yen (nearly $39.3 billion), Xinhua news agency reported.

The government will determine the budget size and secure funding over the following five years by the end of December, seeking a change in Japan’s post-World War II security strategy, according to Nikkei Asia.

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Indian Navy launches new survey vessel ‘Ikshak’

The ship has been named to signify the contribution of the Survey ships towards facilitating safe passage for Mariners at Sea..reports Asian Lite News

‘Ikshak’, the third of the four Survey Vessels (Large) (SVL) Project being built for the Indian Navy was launched on Saturday at Kattupalli in Chennai.

As per the Ministry of Defence, ‘Ikshak’ made her first contact with the water of Bay of Bengal at 10.40 a.m. at the launch ceremony graced by the Vice Admiral M.A. Hampiholi, Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Southern Naval Command.

In keeping with the Naval maritime tradition, Madhumati Hampiholi, spouse of M.A. Hampiholi, launched the ship to the chanting of invocation from Atharva Veda.

The ship has been named ‘Ikshak’ which means ‘Guide’.

The ship has been named to signify the contribution of the Survey ships towards facilitating safe passage for Mariners at Sea.

The first of class ship ‘Sandhayak’ was launched on December 5, 2021 at GRSE, Kolkata.

SVL ships will replace the existing Sandhayak Class survey ships with new generation hydrographic equipment to collect oceanographic data.

The Survey Vessel (Large) ships are 110 m long, 16 m wide with deep displacement of 3,400 tonnes and a complement of 231 personnel, a release said.

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India reminds world of need to root out terror

In a veiled reference to China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that India is concerned about “complicating actions and incidents that have eroded trust and confidence, and undermined peace and stability” in the region…reports Asian Lite News

Just two days before the 14th anniversary of the dastardly 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, India reminded the world on Wednesday that transnational and cross-border terrorism remains the gravest threat requiring “urgent and resolute intervention” by the international community. 

“Indifference can no longer be a response, as terrorism has found victims globally,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM)-Plus in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on Wednesday.

The first ADMM-Plus conducted in-person after two years of virtual meetings was attended by the 10 ASEAN Defence Ministers and their counterparts from the eight Plus countries, namely India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

Citing last month’s ‘Delhi Declaration’ following the meeting of the United Nations Security Council Committee on Counter-terrorism, the Defence Minister stated that India has taken “serious note” of the developments as it counters the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes – to propagate ideologies, transfer money and recruit supporters.

“Terrorist groups have created interlinkages across continents backed by new-age technologies to transfer money and recruit supporters. The transformation of cyber-crimes into organised cyber-attacks point to the increasing use of new technologies, by both, State and non-State actors,” Singh told the gathering.

He hoped that with participation from 18 countries constituting half of the world’s population together, ADMM Plus can position itself not just as a forum for regional security but a driver for world peace.

The meeting, reminded Indian Defence Minister, is taking place at a time when the world is seeing increasing strife amplified by disruptive politics thus making a peaceful Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN at its centre, more vital than ever for the security and prosperity of the world.

In his address, Singh reiterated that India calls for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific, based upon respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws.

In a veiled reference to China, Singh said that India is concerned about “complicating actions and incidents that have eroded trust and confidence, and undermined peace and stability” in the region.

New Delhi, he said, stands for the freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, peaceful settlement of maritime disputes and adherence to international law, particularly, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.

“We hope that the ongoing negotiations on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea will be fully consistent with international law, in particular, UNCLOS, and should not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not party to these discussions,” he added.

India also reaffirmed that it remains committed to nurturing practical, forward-looking and result-oriented cooperation with ADMM Plus countries for enhancing the maritime security in the region and the safety of the global commons.

Singh spotlighted that while terrorism continues to remain a big threat, other security concerns that have emerged in the aftermath of the global Covid-19 pandemic cannot be ignored.

“The ongoing geo-political developments have brought the world’s attention to the challenges of energy and food security. As a responsible member of the international community, India has worked with its partners, in extending humanitarian aid and food grains on large scale. If there was ever a time to look at the collective solutions borne from the path of dialogue and diplomacy, it is now,” he stressed to the Defence Ministers from Southeast Asia (ASEAN) and the dialogue partner States.

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Indian and French Air Force chiefs take to the skies

The unique flight provided the perfect overview of the Exercise to both the Commanders,” the Indian Air Force’s Media and Communications Centre tweeted…reports Asian Lite News

The Chiefs of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, and the French Air and Space Force (FASF), General Stéphane Mille, participated in a combined flight on Tuesday during the ongoing exercise Garuda VII.

The FASF Chief flew in an IAF Su-30MKI fighter, while CAS did a sortie in an IAF Rafale fighter. Both took part in the exercise, which was carried out as a part of a joint training operation that out of Air Force Station Jodhpur in the desert terrains of Rajasthan.

“Leading by example. Chiefs from both the #IAF & @Armee_de_lair took to the skies in one of the multi-aircraft missions flown during #ExerciseGaruda.

The unique flight provided the perfect overview of the Exercise to both the Commanders,” the Indian Air Force’s Media and Communications Centre tweeted.

Later, speaking to the media alongside the FASF Chief, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari noted that Ex Garuda offers an exceptional chance for both Air Forces to absorb best practises from one another when conducting missions.

He also emphasized the expanding interoperability between the two air forces, which has grown with each revamped version of the bilateral exercise, which has been taking place regularly since 2003.

The LCA Tejas and the freshly inducted LCH Prachand are both participating in Ex Garuda VII for the first time in an international exercise.

In addition to the LCA and LCH, the IAF contingent also includes Mi-17 helicopters, Su-30 MKI, Rafale, and Jaguar fighter aircraft. Combat-enabling assets, including AWACS, AEW&C, AWACS, and Garud Special Forces, are also part of the IAF contingent.

From the French Air Force side, four FASF Rafale fighters and one A-330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft are participating in the exercise, which is scheduled to end on November 12th.

After a two-year hiatus, the exercise will once again boost bilateral ties between the two nations and provide an opportunity for the air forces on both sides to further develop their operational capabilities, interoperability, and best practices sharing. (India News Network)

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Navy to promote indigenous development of drones

Additionally, programmes on sensitization and skill development shall also be undertaken as a part of this collaboration…reports Asian Lite News

The Technology Development and Acceleration Cell of the Naval Innovation Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) under the Indian Navy and Drone Federation of India (DFI) have come together to collaborate towards promoting indigenous development, manufacturing and testing of drone, counter-drone, and associated technologies for the Indian Navy.

As a part of this collaboration, TDAC and DFI will increase the Navy-Industry-Academia synergy, source technology development challenges towards component indigenisation. A special maritime drone testing site shall also be earmarked for the Indian drone industry to facilitate faster development and testing of drones especially in maritime environments, thus enabling development for a host of applications.

Additionally, programmes on sensitisation and skill development shall also be undertaken as a part of this collaboration. “TDAC has been working towards accelerating the development of indigenous technologies to be utilised by the Indian Navy. Our collaboration with the Drone Federation of India will help us in developing a deeper industry connection as well as create a stronger roadmap for induction of drone platforms in the Indian Navy in a time-bound manner.” said Cmde A. P. Golaya, VSM, OiC TDAC, Indian Navy.

“It is a proud moment for the Indian drone industry to have established a partnership with the Indian Navy to build and test superior drone platforms. The maritime testing site being developed under this initiative will accelerate the development of versatile and reliable drone platforms for advanced maritime use cases like maritime patrol, drone landings on moving ships, ship to ship deliveries, ship to shore deliveries, etc.” said Smit Shah, President, Drone Federation of India.

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Kuwait welcomes India Navy’s First Training Squadron

India and Kuwait traditionally enjoy friendly relations, which are rooted in history and have stood the test of time…reports Asian Lite News

In an opportunity to expose trainees to the military and maritime linkages of India with Kuwait, the ships of the First Training Squadron comprising Indian Naval Ship Tir, Sujata and Coast Guard Ship Sarathi arrived at Port Al-Shuwaikh, Kuwait.

The ships arrived at the port on Tuesday and are deployed in the Persian Gulf as part of their training deployment. The naval ships were accorded a warm welcome by senior officers of the Kuwaiti Naval forces, Border Guard and the Embassy of India officials besides school children.

The three-day port call includes professional engagements, cross-ship visits, community outreach and social interactions. The ships of 1TS, based at Kochi, are part of the Southern Naval Command, the Indian Navy’s Training Command.

The deployment of 1TS is aimed at exposing the trainees to the conduct of various evolutions at sea and port familiarisation. The present deployment also provides an opportunity in exposing the trainees to the sociopolitical, military and maritime linkages of India with friendly countries in our maritime neighbourhood.

India and Kuwait traditionally enjoy friendly relations, which are rooted in history and have stood the test of time. This year, India and Kuwait are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Both countries have maintained regular high-level contacts.

Kuwait stood with India during the second COVID and provided quick support in the form of oxygen and other relief material to India. An air/sea bridge was established between both countries in this regard.

Kuwait had sent a special aircraft with 282 oxygen cylinders, 60 oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical supplies on May 4, 2021. Indian Naval Ships, INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, INS Tarkash, INS Tabar and INS Shardul carried liquid medical oxygen in ISO tanks, oxygen cylinders, concentrators and other medical supplies to India.

Over 425 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen, 12,500 oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, ventilators and other medical equipment was sent from Kuwait to India during the month and half long operation. Indian community in Kuwait also contributed to the efforts. (ANI)

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India’s growing Defence exports

Besides the strategic importance of the deal with Armenia, the export order is a boost for the indigenous defence industry with the Indian government keen to increase the value of Indian arms exports, writes Asad Mirza

India’s defence exports to various countries have increased manifold in recent years, the latest deal is to export Indian rocket launchers to Armenia.

According to reports, India would supply the ‘Pinaka’ multi-rocket launcher system, which can fire a salvo of 12 HE rockets in 44 seconds to Armenia besides anti-tank missiles and a variety of ammunition as part of a package agreement.

The complete details of these armaments have not yet been disclosed. Pinaka saw service during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralising enemy positions on the mountaintops.

While the deal’s value has not been disclosed, the report claims armament worth $250 million or Rs 2,000 crore would be sold over the next few months. The deal was signed earlier this month and supplies are to be fast-tracked.

It is not the first time that Armenia has received weapons equipment from India.

In 2020, India triumphed over Russia and Poland in a $40 million defence agreement with Armenia providing it with four indigenous ‘Swathi’ counter-battery radars.

This disclosure comes days after India called on the “aggressor side” in fresh fighting along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border to “immediately cease hostilities” without directly naming Azerbaijan. Latest fighting erupted between the two sides on September 13.


India’s defence exports

Meanwhile, it seems the Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict has helped India to boost its arms exports. According to reports, India recently announced figures for the highest-ever defence export growth that swelled by a staggering 334 per cent over the last five years.

In fact, India is chasing an even higher target.

In 2020, the Narendra Modi government had set a target of Rs 35,000 crore ($5 billion) export in aerospace, and defence goods and services in the next five years. This is part of the turnover of Rs 1.75 lakh crore ($25 billion) in defence manufacturing by 2025 that the government is aiming to achieve.

India’s defence exports touched a record Rs 13,000 crore in 2021-22, “eight times” of what it was around five years ago.

Besides the strategic importance of the deal with Armenia, the export order is a boost for the indigenous defence industry with the Indian government keen to increase the value of Indian arms exports.

India had also signed a contract with the Philippines in January 2022 for the sale of BrahMos missiles.

Currently, India exports defence equipment to 75 countries and these include weapon simulators, tear gas launcher, torpedo loading mechanism, alarm monitoring & control, night vision monocular & binocular, light-weight torpedo & fire control systems, armoured protection vehicle, weapons locating radar, high-frequency radio, coastal surveillance radar among others.


Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

The issue of the conclave of Nagorno-Karabakh has always been the bone of contention between Armenia and Azerbaijan ever since the two countries became independent republics, after gaining independence from the erstwhile USSR.

The disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh lies in Azerbaijan and is inhabited mostly by ethnic Armenians.

The conflict escalated into a full-scale war in the early 1990s which later transformed into alow-intensity conflict until four-day escalation in April 2016 and then into another full-scale war in 2020.

A ceasefire signed in 1994 in Bishkek was followed by two decades of relative stability, which significantly deteriorated along with Azerbaijan’s increasing frustration with the status quo, at odds with Armenia’s efforts to cement it.

Azerbaijan, for one, has received backing from its traditional allies and supporters, Turkey and Israel. During the 2020 skirmish between the two combatants, Baku turned the tide in its favour by overwhelmingly deploying Turkish Bayraktar and Israeli kamikaze drones.

While Armenia has often turned to Russia for support, Moscow’s preoccupation with the on-going war against Ukraine has resulted in not a very supportive response, this time.

In the face of rising hostilities and little military aid, the defence deal with India may prove to be a shot in the arm for a beleaguered Armenia.

Azerbaijan-Turkey-Pakistan relationship

India’s military assistance for Armenia comes against the backdrop of its regional rival’s bonhomie with Azerbaijan. Pakistan has consistently backed Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and has refused to establish diplomatic ties and legally recognise Armenia as an independent state.

Azerbaijan is seen by many as part of an emerging axis with Turkey and Pakistan. It has used Turkish drones to fight war against Armenia, and is also in talks with Pakistan to buy the JF-17 fighter aircraft.

In 2017, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Pakistan had signed a Trilateral Ministers Agreement that established security cooperation, and built upon previous bilateral military aid arrangements.

These three countries also conducted a joint exercise named ‘Three Brothers’ last year.

The rise of Azerbaijan with increased Turkey-Pakistan military cooperation is a direct warning to India.

Azerbaijan has acquired many deadly weapons by increasing friendship with Turkey and Pakistan in the name of Islam. Indian fears that other countries may also go along this route in the name of Islamic countries are not unfounded.

However, in spite of these developments, an interesting fact is that India has stronger economic ties with Azerbaijan than with Armenia. Indian company ONGC has also invested heavily in Azerbaijan’s gas sector.

The Indian bilateral trade with Azerbaijan in 2019 stood at $1,093 million, while with Armenia it was only $48 million in 2020.

Broadly this latest defence deal will place India as one of the emerging global powers with rising defence exports capability. In addition it will also allow it to play a significant role in the central Asian republics and regionally, both.

(Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in New Delhi. He writes on Indian Muslims, educational, international affairs, interfaith and current affairs)

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