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India, China Complete Disengagement In Ladakh's Hot Springs Region: Sources

NEW DELHI, Sept 13: Indian and Chinese troops have completed disengagement from a key standoff point in Ladakh, according to government sources. The process started on September 8 after the discussions between the two sides during the 16th round of corps commander level.

India and China last week announced the disengagement of their troops from the Patrolling Point 15 in the Gogra-Hot springs area of eastern Ladakh in a "coordinated and planned way".

Both armies had agreed to move back from their positions towards their respective sides of the LAC and verify each others' positions after that.

The two sides have now resolved all the friction points that came up after the May 2020 aggression by the Chinese army in the Pangong Lake areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping will both be in Uzbekistan on September 15 and 16 to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit.

The first in-person SCO summit since 2019 will be watched closely for the possibility of bilateral meetings on the sidelines between Xi and other leaders, including Putin and Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

It will be the first time Modi and Xi Jinping will come face to face after their meeting at Brasília on the sidelines of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) in 2019.

India, China Troops Begin Disengagement From Key Standoff Point In Ladakh

NEW DELHI, Sept 8: Indian and Chinese troops have started withdrawing from Gogra-Hot Springs in Ladakh after reaching a consensus in the 16th round of military talks, the two sides said in a joint statement this evening.

The Chinese forces in this area are likely to return to pre-2020 positions, sources have said.

India and China have been able to disengage so far from the Galwan region where fierce clashes between soldiers of both sides took place in June 2020, in which 20 Indian soldiers laid down their lives for the country. Over 40 Chinese soldiers were killed or injured.

There have also been breakthroughs on both banks of Pangong Lake further south in Ladakh.

However, Chinese soldiers are still believed to hold large swathes of Indian territory to the north in the Depsang plains.

"On 8th September 2022, according to the consensus reached in the 16th round of India China Corps Commander Level Meeting, the Indian and Chinese troops in the area of Gogra-Hot Springs (PP-15) have begun to disengage in a coordinated and planned way, which is conducive to the peace and tranquillity in the border areas," the joint statement said today.

The 16th round of Corps Commander level talks between India and China were held on July 17. Before that, the two sides met for talks in March.

Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant To Be Commissioned on Sept 2

KOCHI, Aug 25: Indian Navy will get INS Vikrant, the country's first indigenously built aircraft carrier, formally on September 2. The timing happens to be crucial, when China is building up its presence in the Indian Ocean region.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest when the 45,000-tonne warship would be commissioned. Multiple phases of sea trials have been completed since August 21 last year. Aviation trials will be held after the navy has its command.

At present, India has only one aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, which is built on a Russian platform. Defence forces have been seeking three carriers in all — one in spare besides one each for the two main naval fronts, in the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal.

INS Vikrant — the largest warship to have been built in India — is named after its predecessor, which played a key role during the 1971 war against Pakistan for the liberation of Bangladesh. "The induction and reincarnation of 'Vikrant' is... also our humble tribute to the sacrifices made by our freedom fighters for the independence of the nation and our brave soldiers during the 1971 war," the navy said.

Built at a cost of ₹ 20,000 crore, it's designed by the Navy's Warship Design Bureau and built by the public-sector manufacturer Cochin Shipyard Limited. With it, India joins a a select group of nations, such as the US, UK, Russia, China and France, that can design and build their own aircraft carriers.

The warship was in the works for over a decade. There were three stages of contract between the Defence Ministry and Cochin Shipyard Limited, starting from 2007. The ship's keel was laid in February 2009.

It will be able to have 30 aircraft on board, including MiG-29K fighter jets and helicopters, "in addition to indigenously manufactured advanced light helicopters (ALH) and light combat aircraft (LCA)", the Navy said. To start with, it'll have the MiG fighters and some helicopters. The Navy is in the process of procuring 26 deck-based aircraft, having narrowed down to some Boeing and Dassault aircraft.

At 262 metres long and 62 metres wide, it can house a crew of 1,600, and has around 2,200 compartments, including specialised cabins for woman officers and sailors. It has a medical complex with latest equipment, including several laboratories, CT scanner, X-ray machines, and isolation ward.

China has been aggressively expanding its strength at sea. Recent satellite images indicate that China's naval base in Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, is now fully operational and supports warships deployed in the Indian Ocean region. India was also worried recently when a Chinese "spy" ship docked in Sri Lanka.

Indian Navy sees the new warship as a key addition to its arsenal. "[It] can be utilised for power projection and ensuring maritime security in the Indian Ocean region, and can provide for credible deterrence," said Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command.

The officer who will command INS Vikrant is Commodore Vidhyadhar Harke.

3 Indian Officers Sacked for Missile Misfire Into Pak

NEW DELHI, Aug 23: Three Indian Air Force officers have been sacked for the accidental firing of a BrahMos missile into Pakistan earlier this year, the government said Tuesday.

"A BrahMos missile was accidentally fired on 9 March 2022. A Court of Inquiry (Col), set up to establish the facts of the case, including fixing responsibility for the incident, found that deviation from the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) by three officers led to the accidental firing of the missile," the Air Force said in a statement.

"These three officers have primarily been held responsible for the incident. Their services have been terminated by the Central Govt with immediate effect. Termination orders have been served upon the officers on 23 Aug 22," it added.

The missile was fired accidentally from the Indian side into an area in Pakistan in March, in an incident the Defence Ministry had called "deeply regrettable" and blamed on "technical malfunction".

According to Pakistan, the missile flew more than 100 km inside their airspace, at an altitude of 40,000 feet and at three times the speed of sound, before it landed. There was no warhead on the missile, so it did not detonate.

The country's foreign office said it had summoned India's charge d'affaires in Islamabad to protest what it called an unprovoked violation of its airspace. Pakistan called for an investigation into the incident, which it said could have endangered passenger flights and civilian lives.

Pakistan warned India "to be mindful of the unpleasant consequences of such negligence and take effective measures to avoid the recurrence of such violations in future".

Army boosts firepower along LAC, deploys new assault vessel in Pangong Lake

NEW DELHI, Aug 16: In a big boost to India’s military capabilities in Ladakh, the Indian Army has deployed a new assault vessel in Pangong Lake along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. The Landing Craft Assault (LCA) will enhance operations along the LAC.

The Landing Craft Assault is much more versatile and has overcome the limitations of launch, speed and capacity. The LCA has enhanced capability to operate across the water obstacles in Eastern Ladakh. LCA has been indigenously developed by Aquarius Ship Yard Limited, Goa, officials said.

2 Pilots Killed In Air Force's MiG-21 Jet Crash In Rajasthan's Barmer

JAIPUR, July 28: Two pilots were killed on Thursday evening when Air Force's MiG-21 jet crashed during a training sortie in Rajasthan's Barmer.

"A twin seater Mig-21 trainer aircraft of the IAF was airborne for a training sortie from Utarlai air base in Rajasthan this evening. Around 9:10 pm, the aircraft met with an accident near Barmer. Both pilots sustained fatal injuries," the Air Force said in a statement.

"IAF deeply regrets the loss of lives and stands firmly with the bereaved families," it further said.

A court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, it said.

According to the Air Force, the MiG-21 is a Soviet-era single-engine multirole fighter/ground attack aircraft that forms the backbone of its fleet.

It was first inducted into the IAF in the 1960s, soon after the Indo-China War and upgraded to the MiG-21 Bison version in 2006.

The upgrades included powerful multi-mode radars, better avionics and communication systems. Although these jets could initially only carry "dumb bombs", they are now capable of transporting a wide range of guided munitions.

India to deploy second S-400 squadron near China border amidst Ladakh Standoff

NEW DELHI, July 25: A new squadron of S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems is set to become operational in the next two to three months along the northern borders with China.

The addition to the Indian Air Force (IAF) will give a boost to India's ability to detect and destroy hostile fighters, strategic bombers, missiles and drones at long ranges.

Sources noted that the delivery of the second operational S-400 squadron through ships and aircraft is underway from Russia. It would be the first military delivery ever since the Russia-Ukraine war erupted earlier this year in February.

Notably, the fresh delivery of the S-400 squadron comes in the backdrop of China increasing its air activity near Ladakh. Chinese fighters were often sighted flying close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) violating the 10 km no-fly zone between the two sides.

"Chinese fighter deployments and sorties have gone up along the 3,488-km LAC since mid-June, especially across Ladakh but also in other sectors like Arunachal Pradesh. There are often two-three Chinese fighter sorties near the LAC in a day," a source noted.

The first S-400 squadron, delivered in December last year, is deployed n Northwest India to tackle threats from both, Pakistan and China. The second S-400 squadron will be deployed on the China front.

Earlier this year in April, the IAF obtained 'simulators and other equipment for S-400 training squadron.'

India to have joint theatre command of tri-services: Rajnath Singh

JAMMU, July 24: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said a joint theatre commands of tri-services would be set up to enhance coordination among armed forces. He was speaking during a programme organised by the Jammu Kashmir People's Forum to pay tributes to the martyrs of the Indian Armed Forces.

"Keeping in view (joint operations as seen in Operation Vijay in Kargil), we have decided to set up joint theatre commands (in the country)," Singh said.

In June 2021, the government formed an eight-member panel to fine-tune the theaterisation plans and bring all stakeholders on board, especially the Indian Air Force, for speedy roll-out of the new joint structures.

The Indian military’s theaterisation model, a long-awaited reform, will have inbuilt flexibility to fall back on the current command and control structures to deal with any contingency during the transition phase, an official said. Stabilisation of theatre commands could take up to five years, and it is critical to ensure that there is a mechanism to swiftly return to the pre-theaterisation status quo if a crisis unfolds when the restructuring is underway.

Singh, paying homage to martyrs, also said the country cannot forget their supreme sacrifice to safeguard the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

"It is the duty of the society and the people to give their utmost respect to the martyrs and their families," he said.

"Whatever support you can offer, do to for their families. It is the responsibility of each citizen," he added.

The defence minister also said India is moving quickly from being the world's largest importer of defence equipment to an exporter.

"India was the world's largest importer (of defence products). Today, India is not the world's largest importer but is among the top 25 nations engaged in defence exports," he pointed out.

Singh said the country has started defence exports worth ₹13,000 crore and it has fixed a target to increase it to ₹35,000 to ₹40,000 crore by 2025-26.

 



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