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Event held in honour of Indian Army veterans in US

India has been designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ by US, and conducts more military exercises with the US, than with any other country…reports Asian Lite News

Recognising the importance of Indian armed forces’ veterans, the Indian Embassy in Washington on Monday organised ‘Varishtha Yoddha’, an event to honour the ex-servicemen who are now living in the United States.

More than 140 people, including some distinguished veterans who had fought in various wars and their families, attended the event here.

“Friends, you have served and sacrificed for mother India, with utmost sense of duty and selflessness. You and your family members as a part of 4 million-strong Indian community are instrumental in strengthening India-US ties across a diversity of sectors,” Taranjit Singh Sandhu, India’s Ambassador to the US, said.

“While no recognition and award can do justice to your contributions, today’s event in a small way expresses our respect and gratitude and tells you that we are here for you,” he said in his admiration to the veterans. “It’s a matter of pride, privilege and honour for me to be a part of this special gathering.” There are people in this room, who have fought for India in 1948, 1962, 1965 or 1971, 1985, the Kargil war in 1999 and in numerous other operations, he said.

“Today’s Varishtha Yoddha event is our humble effort to recognise the sacrifice and service of our veterans and honour them for the patriotism, dedication and willingness to serve and sacrifice all for the nation.

“We remain committed to taking care of our veterans in the same way as they have taken care of the security of our country,” he said.

Sandhu said Indians veterans, wherever they go, carry the highest standards of duty, discipline and professionalism for which Indian armed forces are known.

“Our veterans living in USA remain the flag-bearers of the traditions of our armed forces and continue to inspire the Indian community,” he said.

India-US strategic partnership is enriched by their wisdom, hard work and high moral values, he added.

In his address, Sandhu said the defence partnership between the US and India has been instrumental in intensifying a variety of pacts between them, including those related to sharing of defence technology and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy.

India has been designated as a ‘Major Defence Partner’ by US, and conducts more military exercises with the US, than with any other country.

Currently, an Indian naval contingent, including a naval ship, is in Hawaii for participation, in RIMPAC naval exercise, Sandhu told the veterans.

Over the last decade, he said, India has procured defence-related acquisitions from the US worth over $20 billion.

“Today, Indian forces are operating US defence platforms, including transport planes, helicopters, howitzers, ships and a number of other light equipment many of which have been fully deployed in operational and humanitarian uses, including during the COVID pandemic to deliver aid and transport medical supplies,” said the Indian envoy.

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Hackers post crypto scams on UK Army’s YouTube, Twitter accounts

The hacked Twitter account posted various retweets for NFT giveaways, and its pinned tweet linked users to a fake NFT minting website…reports Asian Lite News

Hackers infiltrated the British Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts to promote cryptocurrency scams and on YouTube, they replaced the British Army’s videos with old livestreams featuring Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

The UK Ministry of Defence confirmed in a tweet late on Sunday that they were aware of a breach of the Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts and an investigation was underway.

“The Army takes information security extremely seriously and is resolving the issue. Until their investigation is complete it would be inappropriate to comment further,” the Ministry further posted.

Both the social media accounts were later restored.

“The breach of the Army’s Twitter and YouTube accounts that occurred earlier today has been resolved and an investigation is underway,” the Ministry said on Monday.

The hacked Twitter account posted various retweets for NFT giveaways, and its pinned tweet linked users to a fake NFT minting website.

The hackers also entered the British Army’s YouTube channel, deleting all its videos, as well as changing its name and profile picture to resemble the legit investment firm Ark Invest.

Hackers replaced the British Army’s videos with a series of old livestreams featuring Dorsey and Musk.

A Twitter spokesperson later said that the British Army’s account has since been locked and secured and the account holders have now regained access and the account is back up and running”.

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India govt nod for Rs 76k crore military upgrade

Defence Acquisition Council okays 8 new warships for Navy, special vehicles for Army and next generation corvettes as part of Indian Navy’s ongoing plan to have a 175-ship Navy…reports Asian Lite News

In a significant move, the defence ministry approved the procurement of military equipment and platforms worth Rs 76,390 crore from domestic industries.

The procurement proposals were approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the ministry said.

For the Indian Navy, the DAC accorded approval for the procurement of next generation corvettes (NGCs) at an estimated cost of around Rs 36,000 crore, it said.

These NGCs will be versatile platforms for a variety of roles namely surveillance missions, escort operations, deterrence, Surface Action Group (SAG) operations, search and attack and coastal defence.

The NGCs would be constructed based on a new in-house design of the Indian Navy, using latest technology of ship building, the ministry said in a statement.

The DAC also approved a proposal for the manufacture of Dornier aircraft and Su-30 MKI aero-engines by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with a focus on enhancing indigenisation.

For the Indian Army, the DAC accorded a fresh approval for the procurement of Rough Terrain Fork Lift Trucks (RTFLTs), Bridge Laying Tanks (BLTs), Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Wh AFVs) with Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) and Weapon Locating Radars (WLRs) through domestic sources, with an emphasis on indigenous design and development.

“In pursuance of the government’s vision for digital transformation in defence, ‘Digital Coast Guard’ project under ‘Buy’ (Indian) category has been approved by the DAC,” the ministry said.

“Under this project, a pan-India secure network for digitising of various surface and aviation operations, logistics, finance and HR processes in Coast Guard will be established,” it added.

“This will provide substantial boost to the Indian Defence Industry and reduce foreign spending significantly,” a Defence Ministry statement said. “For the Army, the DAC accorded fresh Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procurement of rough terrain fork lift trucks, bridge laying tanks, wheeled armoured fighting vehicles with anti-tank guided missiles and weapon locating radars through domestic sources with emphasis on indigenous design and development,” it stated.

These NGCs would be constructed based on new in-house design of the Navy using latest technology of ship building and would contribute to further the Government’s initiative of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region), it noted.

The DAC also accorded AoNs for manufacture of Dornier aircraft and Su-30 MKI aero-engines by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited with focus on enhancing indigenisation particularly in indigenising aero-engine material.

Further, a ‘Digital Coast Guard’ project under ‘Buy (Indian) Category has also been approved by the DAC. Under this project, a pan India secure network for digitising of various surface and aviation operations, logistics, finance and human resources processes in Coast Guard will be established, the statement added.

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Indian Army in Bangladesh to participate in joint exercise Sampriti

Over the years, India and Bangladesh have seen close cooperation in defence and security including regular visits by the top military leadership…reports Asian Lite News

An Indian Army contingent is in Bangladesh to participate in the 10th edition of the India-Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise.

The exercise, being conducted at Jashore from June 5-16, will focus on Counter-Terrorism and Disaster Relief operations.

#IndianArmy contingent arrived at #Bangladesh to participate in the 10th Edition of India – Bangladesh Joint Military Exercise being conducted at #Jashore, #Bangladesh from 05 – 16 Jun 22. The Exercise focuses on Counter-Terrorism & Disaster Relief Operations,” the Indian Army said in a tweet on Saturday.

The previous edition of the Joint Exercise was held in Meghalaya, India in February 2020. Exercise Sampriti IX aims aimed at achieving Synergy & Interoperability between the Indian Army & Bangladesh Army. In earlier editions, contingents had worked together & share best practices in Counter-Terrorism.

Exercise Sampriti is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh. The first edition of the joint exercise was held in 2009. The exercise is hosted alternately by India and Bangladesh.

Over the years, India and Bangladesh have seen close cooperation in defence and security including regular visits by the top military leadership.

In 2021, a joint contingent of the Bangladeshi Army had participated in the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi to mark 50 years of the creation of Bangladesh and India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 War.

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Defence India News

How Indian Army upheld its highest traditions even after 1971 War

A senior officer in the Army believes that such incidents about that great War need to be highlighted along with the gallantry and valour of our troops…reports Asian Lite News

While 2021 was celebrated as Swarnim Vijay Varsh or the 50th anniversary of the 1971 India-Pakistan War resulting in a crushing defeat for Pakistani forces and the Liberation of Bangladesh, 2022 can certainly commemorate how Indian armed forces upheld their ethos and traditions by punishing their own who fell out of line, even slightly, during the War.

Nearly 93,000 Pakistani troops surrendered and were held as Prisoners of War by India after the 13-day War. Though a large number of them, including officers, were involved in the genocide that took place in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), not a single soldier was punished after the surrendered troops were returned to West Pakistan. That marks the difference between the armed forces of the two countries.

In India, one case that comes to mind is the punishment meted out to a young Captain in the Army who may have felt that he was doing nothing wrong in robbing a bank at Hajiganj in Bangladesh where he was posted in 1971. After all, it was December 11, 1971 and the bank could well have been treated as enemy property, the officer — who we will simply call Captain HU here — may have felt. A senior officer in the Army believes that such incidents about that great War need to be highlighted along with the gallantry and valour of our troops.

The officer entered the United Bank Ltd Comilla District, threatened the staff with bodily harm and made off with Rs 11,222.91 in Pakistani currency, some 12 bore guns and cartridges, a wall clock, a couple of telephone sets, pens, winter uniforms of bank staff as well as personal property of the manager and the security guard. From the manager, he took away a Romer Popular wrist watch and from the guard, Rs 6 in Pakistani currency.

Captain HU’s seniors did not take too kindly to this and a general court marshal was convened. On May 3, after the military court pronounced him guilty, the then general officer commanding (GOC) of the 23 Mountain Division noted: “It should be clearly borne in mind that our Forces had been ordered to march into Bangladesh as the liberators of the oppressed people who had been subjected to untold torture and miseries at the hands of Pakistani troops. It is, therefore, clear that our Forces had gone there as guardians and custodians of the lives and property of the people of that country. The conduct of the accused by indulging in broad day light bank robbery is despicable and his stooping so low as to deprive the security guard of the paltry sum of Rs 6 in Pakistani currency as also taking away wrist watch from the manager is indeed highly reprehensible. Such actions on the part of responsible officer of the Indian Army are calculated to bring a blot on the fair name of the Indian Army. It is, therefore, our imperative duty to ensure that such cases dealt with firmly when a verdict of guilty has been returned by the court.”

The military court ordered that the Captain be ‘cashiered’. This is a punishment every officer of the armed forces dreads. He is marched to the parade ground under guard and all his rank badges, ribbons and awards are torn off in the presence of all personnel. He is then made to leave the premises. His commanding officer, though, wasn’t satisfied with such a light sentence and insisted that the Captain serve two years of rigorous imprisonment as well. This order was confirmed by the then chief of Army staff Gen (later Field Marshal) SHFJ Manekshaw. It was Manekshaw who had told his troops to uphold the highest traditions of the Indian Army while conducting themselves in Bangladesh. The Captain challenged the order before the Supreme Court on technical grounds but his petition was rejected on November 27, 1972.

“Just as we celebrated Swarnim Vijay Varsh, we also need to celebrate such incidents. This will show the younger generation that the Indian Army doesn’t spare even its own in case of wrongdoing,” the serving officer said.

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Ex-Army chief questions Mann meeting’s with anti-India UK MP

Former Army Chief Gen JJ Singh has sought an explanation from Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadda over a meeting with British Labour Party MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi who has an anti- India stand on the Kashmir issue…reports Asian Lite News

“Despite knowing that Dhesi has an anti-India stand on Kashmir, why CM Mann and Raghav Chadda met him recently in Punjab and must explain what assurance has been given to the British MP by Maan and Chadda,” Gen Singh said.

He further said that it was said that discussions were held on giving certain facilities to the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) in Punjab.

He also said the Indian government has given many facilities to the NRIs of Punjab and many of them have been de-listed from the ‘black list’ and were allowed to visit the state.

In 2019, Dhesi had said: “I do not support the Indian government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and removing the statehood from the Kashmiris.”

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He had reiterated his stand when he came to India in August 2019 and had criticised the Indian government for abrogating Article 370 and dividing the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

Gen Singh’s remarks came ahead of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to India from April 21-22.

This will be his maiden visit to India as the Prime Minister of UK and he will discuss various bilateral issues with Indian Prime MInister Narendra Modi on trade, defence and Ukraine crisis.

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General Naravane discusses defence ties with Singapore Defence Minister

On Monday, General Naravane laid a wreath at the Kranji War Memorial…reports Asian Lite News

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met on Tuesday and discussed regional geopolitical developments.

General Naravane reviewed the Guard of Honour at the Ministry of Defence in Singapore and complimented the Guard for an impeccable turnout and parade.

The strong and long-standing bilateral defence relationship between both the two nations was reaffirmed, the Army said in a statement.

He also called on Brigadier General David Neo, Chief of Army of Singapore Army and discussed the roadmap to further enhance defence cooperation between the two nations.

General Naravane is on a three-day visit to Singapore to enhance military cooperation from Monday (April 4).

On Monday, General Naravane laid a wreath at the Kranji War Memorial.

Last year in December, General Naravane went on a week-long visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the first ever trip by an army chief to both West Asian countries to significantly boost the security ties.

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Indian Army conducts airborne exercise at Pokhran

The Army carried out a similar exercise at Siliguri corridor near the Northern border with China…reports Asian Lite News

The Indian Army conducted an airborne exercise at Pokhran in Rajasthan on Friday to validate its rapid response capabilities along the western border with Pakistan.

The exercise included combat-free fall jumps with guided precision aerial delivery system and battle drills in a simulated hostile mechanised environment, the Army said.

With the onset of summer, the Army top brass is reviewing deployment of troops on Western and Northern borders.

Army Chief General M.M. Naravane, along with other top military leaders, went to Central Command in Lucknow on Wednesday to review the deployment of the force along the border.

The Army carried out a similar exercise at Siliguri corridor near the Northern border with China.

Last week, nearly 600 paratroopers of the Indian Army’s Airborne Rapid Response teams carried out large-scale drops near the Siliguri corridor in an airborne exercise, after being airlifted from various airbases.

Siliguri corridor is the strategically important region near the country’s Northern border with China that borders Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The corridor is considered very important from the military perspective and connects the northeastern region with the rest of India.

The 60-kilometre long and 22-kilometre wide Siliguri corridor in West Bengal is also known as the “Chicken’s Neck”.

India has enhanced deployment across Northern and Western borders amid threat over a two-front war.

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Top army brass to carry out review of security at borders

With the onset of summer, the Indian Army reviews the deployments of the troops at the Line of Actual Control…reports Asian Lite News

Army Chief General M.M. Naravane, Vice Chief Lieutenant General Manoj Pande and other top military commanders reached the headquarters of the Central Command in Lucknow on Wednesday to review deployments of troops in the Western and Northern borders.

The military top brass will discuss the force preparedness at the Line of Actual Control with China and Line of Control with Pakistan. They will be there for three days and hold deliberations over various military issues amid changing geopolitical turmoil.

India and China have been engaged in a border dispute for around almost two years and talks are on to resolve the matter. Even as talks with China are on, the People’s Liberation Army deployment has been intact. India too has dug in and made a mirror deployment of troops.

With the onset of summer, the Indian Army reviews the deployments of the troops at the Line of Actual Control.

Last week, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Delhi and discussed bilateral relations “that have been disturbed as a result of the Chinese actions in April 2020”.

Jaishankar had said the current situation of disengaging the disputed borders is happening at a “slower pace than desirable”.

He also stated the relationship with China is “not normal. Our effort today is to sort out the issue in its entirety,” he said.

China’s People’s Liberation Army made an aggressive move at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh in April 2020 leading to the border dispute between India and China. It has been two years and the border dispute is still not resolved.

Earlier, this month India and China discussed resolving the existing border dispute along the Line of Actual Control during the 15th round of Corp commander level talks but nothing moved in the meeting.

The joint statement issued by the Ministry of Defence in India had stated that the 15th round China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side on March 11, 2022.

The two sides carried forward their discussions from the previous round held on 12th January 2022 for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector.

“They had a detailed exchange of views in this regard, in keeping with the guidance provided by the State Leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest,” said the statement.

They reaffirmed that such a resolution would help restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and facilitate progress in the bilateral relations.

Fourteen rounds of talks till now have resulted in the resolution of the North and South Bank of Pangong Tso, Galwan and Gogra Hot Spring areas.

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Defence India News

Army’s healing touch in Kashmir

In south Kashmir’s Shopian district, an Army evacuation team carried another pregnant woman on a stretcher from snowbound Ramnagri village to the district hospital…reports Asian Lite News

Heavy snowfall across Jammu and Kashmir has led to many far-flung areas getting cut off from the mainland. But the security forces, including Army and Border Security Force, are lending a helping hand to the people in distress.

The soldiers carrying pregnant women and other terminally ill people to hospitals on foot has been a common practice in J&K during winter months for the past many years. In distress residents of far-flung areas have only one hope, i.e., the Army soldiers or the jawans of other security forces, who are deployed in their areas all throughout the year.

Recently a video clip showing the Indian Army soldiers carrying a pregnant woman to a hospital on their shoulders amid heavy snowfall in north Kashmir’s Uri sector went viral on social media. The locals from Ghagar Hill village along Line of Control in Boniyar had sought the help of an Army unit in their area to carry a pregnant woman to the hospital. The jawans amidst heavy snowfall carried the woman on their shoulders over a distance of 6.5 Kms to the primary health centre.

In south Kashmir’s Shopian district, an Army evacuation team carried another pregnant woman on a stretcher from snowbound Ramnagri village to the district hospital.

The BSF jawans airlifted three patients for medical attention from the snow-bound Tangdhar sector to Kupwara. Tangdhar remains cut off for days altogether during winter due to snowfall and mud slides that block the road.

Indian Security forces on patrol during harsh weather,while the country celebrates new year ,in gulmarg kashmir (photo: pallav paliwal)

Always at forefront

Security forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir besides fighting Pakistan sponsored insurgency have always remained at forefront to help the local people. During winter months civil administration usually seeks help from the Army to reach out to the people living in mountainous areas. Army and other security forces have never said no. Even if the locals approach the security forces directly for any assistance, it’s provided to them without any recommendation from the local authorities as the local commanders don’t want people to get caught in wrangles during crisis time. Their only aim is to solve the problem.

The people friendly approach of the security forces has helped them win the hearts of masses. Denizens of Jammu and Kashmir rely heavily upon the security forces in difficult situations.

The local Army units deployed in far-flung areas keep on organizing medical and other camps for the local population. These units also provide ration, clothes, blankets and quilts to the people in winter so that they are equipped to fight the inclement weather conditions.

People’s Army

During the past thirty years, Pakistan and its advocates in Jammu and Kashmir have tried their best to project the Indian Army and other Central armed forces as “occupational forces” but their propaganda based on lies and deceit has fallen flat. The security forces have built a strong relation with the local populace in J&K. Officers and jawans despite facing all the odds have always remained available for the common man. They have protected him from the militants and have ensured that whenever a civilian is in need the armed forces reach out to him without any delay.

There have been instances where the Army has rescued the people from accident sites, and has prevented the fire from gutting the entire village. The soldiers have built a strong bond with a common man. The residents of J&K reposing faith in the security forces have hurt the militants and their bosses sitting across the Line of Control. Many civilians during the past 30-years have been labeled as informers of security forces and killed by the ultras.

There was a time when militant groups used to issue diktats to people, asking them not to visit the camps of security forces and attend their programmes. But the common people didn’t succumb under pressure and maintained a cordial relationship with the security forces. By doing so they sent a clear message that the Indian Army is People’s Army and it’s not an “occupational force”.

By helping security forces to fight the militancy, a common man in J&K has made it clear that ultras are not their friends as their only aim is to disrupt their lives and kill people to fight the proxy war of Pakistan.

Human face, big heart

Till August 5, 2019 — when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and divided it into two Union Territories — a common man in J&K was unable to give vent to his feelings in an explicit way but during the past two years nationalist voices have become vocal. They are calling spade a spade and are openly acknowledging who is their friend and who is their enemy.

The human face and big heart of the security forces has always been visible. In 2005 when an earthquake devastated villages, hamlets and towns in Kashmir, the security forces provided shelter to people in their camps and helped them in rebuilding their homes.

When Kashmir witnessed the worst floods of the century in 2014, central armed forces, including the Indian Air Force, were the first ones to reach out to the marooned people. The security forces pressed their boats and manpower into service to pull the people out of the inundated areas in Kashmir. The IAF helicopters airlifted thousands of people and took them to safer places.

Security forces in J&K by their actions have on every occasion proven the adversary wrong. Their presence in Jammu and Kashmir has helped a common man to carry out his daily chores without any fear. The soldiers put their lives at stake to ensure that a civilian remains safe and the enemies of peace, prosperity and development don’t succeed in their nefarious designs.

Indian Security forces on patrol during harsh weather,while the country celebrates new year ,in gulmarg kashmir (photo: pallav paliwal)

Security forces have always been there to serve the people of J&K and ensure their well being. Besides protecting a common man from the enemy and the elements inimical to peace, jawans of Army, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force and others have always extended a helping hand. Whenever a common Kashmiri has been in distress he has always looked towards the armed forces and they have never let him down.

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