Ceasefire violations matter of concern: Antony
NEW DELHI, Oct 30: Defence minister AK Antony on Wednesday voiced concern over increasing ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts from across the border and said they cannot take place without the "tacit support" of the Pakistan Army.
"We are watching all these new developments. Instead of preventing infiltration or trying to minimise the infiltration attempts, still there attempts are going on increasing. That means, these are going on with the support of elements across the border. But I am sure nothing has happened without the support and knowledge and tacit support of Pakistan Army. It is a matter of concern to us," he said addressing a press conference.
The defence minister wondered how such attempts can take place without the support or knowledge of the armed forces of Pakistan when the international border is guarded on one side by Indian Army and BSF and Pakistan Army and Rangers on the other.
"Both sides of borders are completely guarded by armed forces. So how can the terrorists try to infiltrate in Indian border without the support or knowledge of armed forces of Pakistan.
"How can terrorists embolden to increase the attempts to infiltrate with the tacit support and sometimes open support of the Pakistani Armed forces," he asked.
"That is a question that is worrying us," he said.
Antony said India has been saying that it is sincere in improving relations with Pakistan, but questioned how this can happen when infiltration is taking place.
India test fires nuke-capable Agni-V missile
NEW DELHI, Sept 15: India on Sunday test-fired the 5,000 km-plus range Agni-V missile for the second time, from Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast, a step towards boosting the country's nuclear deterrence.
The missile, first tested in April 2012 - will arm India with the capability of delivering a one-tonne nuclear warhead anywhere in China.
Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Agni-5 can carry a single nuclear warhead of over 1000 kg and can strike with precision targets in China and Europe.
The first test flight of the Agni-5 on 19th April 2012 was a phenomenal success after which India joined the select club of USA, Russia, France, UK and China who have such capabilities.
Agni-5 will give India the ability to hit back or have second-strike capability even after a nuclear attack.
GSAT-7, India's first military satellite, launched
KOUROU, Aug 30: GSAT-7, India’s first full-fledged military communication spacecraft, meant for exclusive use by the Navy, was launched on Friday morning from Kourou in South America on a European Ariane 5 launcher.
The satellite is expected to give a big boost to the country’s maritime security and intelligence gathering in a wide swathe of the Indian Ocean region.
Built to the Navy’s multiple-band requirements as platform to safely link up its ships, submarines, aircraft and command from land in real time, it is ISRO’s latest communication satellite.
Until now the defence forces have used minuscule capacities on ISRO’s various INSAT/GSAT satellites.
It will be doubly empowered when its sibling, GSAT-7A, follows it in 2014-15 at the earliest; it is said to share some of the GSAT-7A resources with the Air Force and the Army.
For the Navy, this is part of a long-term modernisation plan involving the use of satellites and information technology.
In recent years successive Chiefs of Naval Staff have identified space-based communications as the core of the Navy’s futuristic network-centric operations.
To be placed over 74 degrees East longitude in the coming days, the 2,650-kg satellite is designed to enable communication in four frequency bands ranging from the lower UHF (ultra high frequency) to the higher Ku bands, along with the rare S band and the commonly used C band.
It provides a decent slice of 15 mHz of the premium S-band for MSS (mobile satellite services); the S-band is now the preserve of the military and strategic State users including All India Radio.
The UHF has never been used until now in an Indian communication satellite; this gives the user (Navy) a long sweep of intelligence network, or what it calls COMINT/ELINT, on moving non-land platforms like ships.
The Ku band allows high-density data transmission, including voice and video. A special ground infrastructure has also been put in place for GSAT-7.
IAF shows might to China, lands Super Hercules plane in Ladakh
LADAKH, Aug 20: In a subtle show of strength to China, the IAF on Tuesday landed its C-130J Super Hercules transport plane at the world's highest and recently-activated Daulat Beg Oldie airstrip in Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control, the scene of a stand-off with Chinese troops in April.
The achievement will enable the armed forces to use the heavy-lift aircraft to induct troops, supplies, improve communication network and also serve as a morale booster for maintenance of troops positioned there.
Chinese troops had crossed the 4,087 km LAC more than 150 times this year. In fact, ever since the intrusion in Daulat Beg Oldie in April, which lasted three weeks, the incursions have become a frequent affair.
"The commanding officer, group captain Tejbir Singh and the crew of the 'Veiled Vipers' along with senior officer touched down on the DBO airstrip located in the Aksai Chin area," the IAF said in a statement.
The airfield was reactivated by the IAF in 2008 with the landing of an Antonov-32 aircraft there from Chandigarh after it was last used in the 1965 war with Pakistan.
"Once again this strategic base in the Northern Himalayas gained importance when it was resurrected and reactivated by the IAF along with the Indian Army and made operational when a twin engine AN-32 aircraft from Chandigarh landed there after a gap of 43 years (in 2008)," the IAF said.
The decision to deploy the C-130J, which is capable of lifting up to 20 tonnes of load, was taken by the IAF considering the lower load carrying capability of AN-32s and helicopters.
Fresh ceasefire violations by Pakistan
NEW DELHI, Aug 20: In fresh ceasefire violations, Pakistani troops opened fire from automatic weapons and mortars in Hamirpur and Mendhar along the LoC in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday, drawing retaliation from Indian troops.
The Pakistani troops targeted the battalion in Hamirpur this(Tuesday) morning, sparking an exchange of fire, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.
The Pakistani army also fired at Indian forward posts with automatic weapons along the LoC in Mendhar sub-sector in Poonch district.
Pakistani troops had on Monday fired in the same area, leading to exchanges between the two sides.
Pakistani troops had earlier fired heavily on Indian posts in Hamirpur and Balakote border belts along the LoC in Poonch and also pounded civilian areas in Mankote and Mendhar belts.
This year, there have been 82 violations by Pakistan till August.
From 6th August, there has been increase in frequency with 24 violations taking place including the tragedy in which five soldiers were killed in Poonch by Pakistani troops.
India retaliates strongly after unprovoked Pak attack at LoC
NEW DELHI, Aug 15: Using heavy calibre guns, Indian Army retaliated strongly after Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing with rocket and mortar shell attacks on LoC posts in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector on Thursday that injured three Army jawans and a civilian.
This is the 11th ceasefire violation by Pakistan in the past five days, Army officials said.
Defence Spokesman (Jammu) S N Acharya said in a official release that Pakistan Army started unprovoked firing at Indian forward posts in Mendhar sector from 06:30 am.
"Own troops retaliated immediately with heavy calibre weapons," he said. The exchange of fire was still going on Thursday night.
Pakistani troops opened fire along the Line of Control (LoC) on several Indian forward posts in Balakote belt of Poonch district, Army officials said.
They fired automatic weapons, rockets and mortar shells in which three jawans received minor injuries. The jawans have been shifted to hospital, the officials said.
A shell of 82-mm mortar fired by Pakistan troops fell in Sanjote forward area of Mendhar tehsil resulting in injury to Parvaiz, a civilian, who was shifted to GMC hospital in Jammu.
A rocket fired by Pakistani troops fell and exploded on a cowshed in Basonia village of Mendhar this afternoon resulting in death of a dozen cattle.
Under attack from opposition parties over Government's response on the killing of five Indian soldiers, Defence Minister A K Antony had said the Armed Forces have the freedom to respond appropriately to a developing situation along the LoC.
"The Armed Forces have the freedom to respond to a developing situation there (along the LoC) appropriately," he said, replying to questions after the launch of 37,500-tonne aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi on August 12.
INS Sindhurakshak sinks with 18 sailors on board, submarine fleet suffers 'dent'
MUMBAI, Aug 14: All 18 sailors on board a submarine which exploded and sank on Wednesday are feared dead,Indian navy said. It also admitted that the incident had left a "dent" in the country's defences.
The blast and fire on INS Sindhurakshak — a kilo class submarine that had undergone a major refit at Russia’s Zvezdochka shipyard — is Indian Navy’s worst-ever tragedy.
“I am saddened at the loss of life of naval personnel ,” said defence minister AK Antony outside the Parliament in New Delhi.
Among the 18 trapped submariners are three officers. Those injured because of the explosion were taken to INHS Ashwini hospital where they are undergoing treatment.
INS Sindhurakshak was 15 to 20 metres away from the jetty in the sea when the incident took place.
A naval release said due to as yet unknown damage suffered as a result of the explosion, the submarine has submerged at her berth with only a portion visible above the surface.
Armed forces have freedom to respond on LoC: Antony
KOCHI, Aug 12: Defence Minister A K Antony has said the armed forces have the freedom to respond appropriately to a developing situation along the Line of Control with Pakistan.
"The armed forces have the freedom to respond to a developing situation there (along the LoC) appropriately," he said, replying to questions after the launch of 37,500-tonne aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi on Monday.
Antony, however, refused to take questions on the volatile situation on the LoC and frequent violations of ceasefire by the Pakistan Army, saying Parliament is in session and he could not make a statement outside.
He also declined to comment on the change of stand over the killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistani troops on 6th August.
With the opposition launching a tirade against him for his statement on the issue in Parliament, the Minister had to retract from it and squarely blamed the Pakistan Army for the brutal incident.
He had maintained that his first statement about the involvement of "terrorists along with persons dressed in Pakistan Army uniform" in the killing of soldiers in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch sector was based on information available at that time.
"When Parliament is in session, I have to first answer to Parliament," he said.
On the programmes of the Navy, Antony said after much delay, the Defence Ministry has prepared a proposal for more submarines and sent it to Cabinet Committee on Security for clearance.
About the much-delayed induction of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, now rechristened INS Vikramaditya, from Russia, he said, "I hope we will get the ship by the end of this year."
Asked about the hike by the US in the price of howitzer guns, which India wants to buy, after three years of negotiations, Antony said the proposal is still in the negotiation stage.
"Nothing has been finalised. We have a long way to go," he said.
The Minister also said there was no definite proposal yet on starting work on a second indigenous aircraft carrier. One has to "wait and not to be impatient," he said.
He declined to put a deadline on the induction of indigenously built submarine INS Arihant but said everything is going as per schedule.
Prithvi-11 test fired successfully
CHANDIPUR, Aug 12: India on Monday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, as part of a user trial for the defence forces.
The sophisticated surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur at 9.15 AM, defence sources said.
Describing the trial as successful, they said the launch of the sleek missile was conducted as part of operational exercise by the strategic force command (SFC) of the defence services, they said.
"The missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the total launch activities were carried out by the specially formed SFC and monitored by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of practice drill," the sources said.
The Prithvi-II missile, developed by the DRDO, is already inducted into the Indian Armed forces. Prithvi, the first missile developed under India's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads and thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines, uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory.
The last users trial of Prithvi-II was successfully carried out from the same base on on December 20, 2012, the sources said.
C-17 boosts India's strategic airlift capability: Browne
LONG BEACH, July 23: The induction of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster military transport aircraft into the Indian Air Force has tremendously boosted India's strategic airlift capability, IAF Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne has said on receiving delivery of second from Boeing in Long Beach, California, USA.
"Our first C-17 Globemaster III not only signifies a tremendous boost in our strategic airlift capability, but also is poised to form a major component in the IAF's modernization drive," Browne said.
The first of the 10 C-17's being bought from America's Boeing Company was inducted into the IAF a month ago. Boeing will deliver three more C-17s this year and another five in 2014.
All 10 C-17 are being purchased from Boeing at an estimated cost of USD 4.1 billion.
The C-17, which would replace the ageing fleet of Russian-built cargo planes, can operate in extreme climates, transport large payloads across vast ranges and land on short, austere runways.
"Because it was delivered mission-ready, it soon undertook its first strategic mission to our Andaman Nicobar Command at Port Blair," Browne said.
"I wish to place on record my appreciation to the US government, the US Air Force and the Boeing team for the timely delivery of the aircraft that makes the IAF the world's second-largest operator of the C-17 after the US," he said in a statement.
C-17s have an important role in supporting unique IAF operations in remote locations such as the Himalayas and desert environments, said Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 programme manager.
"The C-17 provides the versatility to complete any mission, anywhere. We look forward to working with the Indian Air Force and the US Air Force as we deliver the remainder of India's fleet," he said.
Boeing so far has delivered 255 C-17s, including 222 to the US Air Force, and a total of 33 to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the UAE, Britain and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.
India, China talk on defence cooperation
NEW DELHI, July 23: With reports of frequent incursion of chinese troops into indian territory, officials of India and China met on Tuesday in New Delhi to discuss defence cooperation.
The two day talks, called the 'Working Mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs,' have foreign and military officials on both sides.
The meeting focuses on maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border and ensuring better coordination and communication.
It will also be reviewed if existing mechanisms work properly.
India to deploy 50,000 additional troops along China border
NEW DELHI, July 17: Indian government on Wednesday boosted Army’s war fighting capabilities along the Line of Actual Control as it gave go ahead for the creation of corps including deployment of 50,000 additional troops along the China border at the cost of around Rs 65,000 crore.
The Union Cabinet took several other decisions including approval to constitute central monitoring committee to oversee implementation of scavenging eradication Bill, making of marriage laws more women friendly, continuation of R&D in water sector, providing more power to SEBI to crack down on ponzi schemes and providing of extra fund to Information and Broadcasting Minister.
The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cleared the proposal in its meeting.
As part of the plans, the around 1.3 million-strong Army is expected to raise the new Corps' headquarters at Panagarh in West Bengal along with two divisions in Bihar and Assam and other units from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh.
Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne were also present at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for providing any possible clarifications, if any, sought by the CCS members including Defence Minister A K Antony, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.
As per the plans, the IAF will also deploy its force multiplier assets such as six each mid-air refuelling tankers and C-130J Super Hercules special operations aircraft at Panagarh.
The army had sent the proposal in this regard in 2010 but it was returned by the Government asking the three Services to work together on plans to strengthen their capabilities in that region.
The Army will also get a number of new armoured and artillery divisions along with it to be deployed along the Northeast region.
The existing Strike Corps in the force include the 1, 2 and 21 Corps are all based close to the Pakistan border and are mainly armed to fight a land battle unlike the new Corps which will mainly focus on mountain warfare.