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Disruption in military affairs

At the root, multi-domain warfare is autocratic in nature and suit China and Pakistan. The challenge for democracies like India is to develop a multi-domain warfare model which can disrupt the Sino-Pak tide.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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Three months back I was approached to speak at the Army War College, Mhow, during a doctrine and strategy seminar on multi-domain operations. During the seminar, many things happened. I co-related the topic with the current international military and strategic events. I realised that the actual scope was wider since the concept is evolving. I eventually spoke up on ‘Disruption in Military Affairs’ at the seminar. There was a lot of resonance. I outlined the issue in my last article, “Dealing with Dragon effectively”. Thereafter I discussed this concept with some real military intellectuals. They found it interesting. Hence I am attempting to give shape to the concept of “Disruption in Military Affairs”. That is the future and we might as well start seriously thinking about it.

Military affairs have been continually disrupted ever since the Cold War ended. Many of us barely realised it. Reflect. Ideology redefined the way wars were fought. It democratised, humanised and diversified the battlefield. Technology has always impacted and reformed warfare since times immemorial. However, disruptive technologies are driving battles to be fought through new domains in innovative ways. The old order of revolution in military affairs is passe. Ideology and technology have provided tremendous bandwidths to why, where and how battles are fought. They disrupt military affairs completely and take them into the arena of multi-domain warfare when synthesised. This article examines “Disruption in Military Affairs” and dilates on the “Multi-Domain Warfare” faced by India in the SinoPak context with Iran as an outlier example.

Ideological disruption

Ideology as casus belli for wars exists since the Crusades and Holy wars. Nothing new. Nazi ideology disrupted the world in the 1940s. In the post-WW2 era two competing ideologies — capitalism and communism — fought the Cold War with each other. Once the Cold War ended, conflicts revolved around race, ethnicity, religion and political ideologies. These conflicts were for one ideology against another or its anti-thesis, but fought conventionally.

The disruption started with LTTE using terror, assassination and suicide bombing combined with their propaganda. From thence, ideological disruption of military affairs progressed geometrically. Groups like Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, LeT and JeM started fighting through ideology rather for it. Their approaches constantly refined disruption. They radicalised and weaponised constituents of their groups and the target population. The distinction between friend or foe and the protected or the targeted vanished. They aligned with state power for support and growth. In turn, they were harnessed and cultivated by radicalised, weak, and failing states which used them asymmetrically against stronger states. Pakistan in particular used ‘radicalised’, ‘Islamist’, ‘jihadi’, ‘terror’ groups in their ideologically-driven proxy wars. They used the concept first in Afghanistan against the Soviets. They refined against India to attempt annexation of Kashmir. Pakistan is now the international exporter of this ‘low cost, high effect’ concept.

Simultaneously, the Chinese were propagating their modified ideology silently under the wraps. This newly minted communism was blended with hard capitalism. The main tool of this cash rich communist ideology was the supremacy of political authoritarianism. The second tool of this ideology was economic weaponisation — intertwine economies, create dependencies and destroy target economies. The third tool set of this ideology is now commonly known as three warfare strategy — influence, legal and information operations. It undermines institutions, especially in democracies by operation at a psycho-physiological level. The fourth tool of this ideology was to build an opaque information firewall between itself and the outside world. Packaged and practised as a whole this new communist ideology has disrupted the battle field in a very significant way. It undermines the target and weakens it to the point of defeat by acquiescence.

Technological disruption

Technology has disrupted warfare as it developed. It is easy to understand since most of us have experienced it in conventional domains — Air, Land and Sea. As technologies advanced and became disruptive, they separated into independent domains due to the wide spread nature of their cause and effect. Many technologies started underpinning other domains. These technologies could be used to propagate hard or soft power. Dualuse technologies could affect a wide range of securities at national levels to include economic, energy, resource, environmental and data security. Warfare and competition have transgressed into these domains beyond traditional domains of military security.

Multi-domain warfare

 When the ideological and technical disruptions are driven into existing domains a model of “Multi-Domain Warfare” emerges. To reiterate, Clausewitz said: “War is politics by other means” and conversely “politics is war by other means”. Mao’s view was that “politics is war without bloodshed” and “war is politics with bloodshed”. Both these put together encapsulate the Multi-Domain Warfare spectrum. It can be defined as conventional and/or non-conventional war carried out by state, non-state or state sponsored actors using hard and soft power during war, conflict or peace situations by day or night for specified national outcomes in various interacting and overlapping domains. These multiple domains are represented in the graphic below. This concept is an understandable version of ‘unrestricted’ warfare propounded by the Chinese.

The Iran model

The domain to fight from varies with each country and its capabilities. Let us consider the case of Iran for ease of understanding. It is operating in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. It is under heavy sanctions, it does not have an Air Force, any space or nuclear capability of note. Yet the Aramco attacks were hugely successful, low cost and disruptive. Iran has exploited conventional domains through surface to surface missiles, surface to air missiles, armed UAVs, cruise missiles, limpet mines, antiarmour claymore type mines and irregular forces in a calibrated manner. Their ‘Quds Force’ is a combination of ideology, CIA and Special Forces. It allows them to operate from political, ideological, influence and information domains to achieve strategic outcomes through tactical actions. Iran has militarised Shiaism and stitched an overseas Shia-based alliance of militias and regulars. Iran has developed decent cyber-warfare capabilities. Overall, it banks heavily on ideology, has its own brand of technology and conducts warfare through its politics and economy besides conventional domains. Notwithstanding many severe limitation, It is feared by Sunnis, respected by the US and keeps Israel on its toes. Iran has conducted warfare through multiple domains seamlessly. Iran’s model of Multi-Domain Warfare looks something like this.

The Chinese model

China wages 360-degree full spectrum Multi-Domain Warfare seamlessly. It is a constant game of GO to attain advantage and corner opponents. Disruption of conventional Air, Land and Sea domains is through indirect and insidious moves (Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh). China is investing heavily in disruptive technologies. Space is an enterprise activity to attain energy and high technology dominance. Cyberspace and Electromagnetic Spectrum are offensive domains on their own right. However, they enable disruption through social media, surveillance, data collection and by intelligence collection. These two key domains underpin Chinese disruption through other domains. The nuclear domain also encompasses geopolitics of denial and proliferation (Pakistan, North Korea and Iran). Chinese ‘Three war’ strategies enable manipulating public opinion, provide legal justification, and exert Influence through pre-set narratives. These are dark power domains of ideological disruption. They exploit fissures of democratic societies, convey political intent and prepare ground for other domains to succeed. They build Chinese invincibility and ensure compliance/subjugation to Chinese ideology. Economy, diplomacy, politics & ideology, and energy & resources are traditional domains. However disruption comes through threats, coercion, subversion, weaponising commercial dependency, economic intertwining and ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy. China has weaponised health through the Wuhan virus and mask diplomacy also.

 The Pakistani model

 The Pakistani model is unique. It has two schismatic entities — the Army and the nation. One does not know which entity is being dealt with. Whenever the nation is unstable, the Army is stable and vice versa. This ensures its survivability despite being constantly bankrupt and at war with itself. The Army perpetually bankrupts the nation while enriching itself. It is in a constant state of internal disruption. Hence using disruption in military affairs comes naturally to it. It has blended ideology with technology to conclusively disrupt military affairs. Its model of Multi-Domain Warfare is dominated by high levels of state-sponsored terrorism using radicalised islamist political ideology, nuclear sabre rattling and exploiting cyberspace. It uses political, diplomatic, public opinion, legal and influence domains in a focused anti-India manner to enhance disruption. It will posture in conventional domains but avoids fighting there. It outsources conventional tasks to the highest bidder. However its own tasks are outsourced to jihadi non-state radicals. The jihadis are then enabled with latest technologies and training. Economy, energy and resource domains are its black holes. Hence it needs a constant benefactor. It is, however, most untrustworthy. Earlier benefactors — Uncle Sam and Saudi Sheikhs — are learning it the hard way. Uncle Xi is the new benefactor whose pocket is under tap. Alignment with Turkey balances China through the Uighur factor. It is not without reason that Pakistan has the most professional Army never to have won a war but is termed as the most dangerous force on earth.

The syncretic disruption

Ever since Pakistan midwifed Richard Nixon’s visit to China in the 1970s, there has been a deep bond between China and Pakistan. With time, political and ideological accommodation between the two has strengthened. Both these revisionist countries have syncretised their ideologies when dealing with India. They overlook each other’s rough edges. Each of them individually have synthesised their respective ideologies with suitable technologies. In effect they present us a wide range of challenges to which we are forced to respond. In the foreseeable circumstances as Pakistan becomes more indebted to China, this issue will compound and magnify. What India is to face hereafter is not mere collusion but a syncretised version of SinoPak Multi-Domain Warfare with an expanding spectrum of disruptive capability.

Indian response

A rising India will have to think beyond the conventional domains. It is up against the most dangerous force and the most ambitious force in a fractured battlefield. Our conventional mindset will not work. Not because of lack of capability. We have not been able to use our formidable capabilities in conventional, space and nuclear domains. These have not deterred our nuclear adversaries from doing what they want to. At the same time we do not have to simply ape what the Chinese or Pakistanis are doing. Hence we need to develop our own model consistent with our politics, culture and capabilities. Most importantly, we need to put structures in place to enable conduct of Multi-Domain Warfare. Disruption has to be beyond traditional military structures. At the root, Multi-Domain Warfare and disruption are autocratic in nature. They suit countries like China and Pakistan. The challenge for amorphous democracies like India is to develop a Multi-Domain Warfare model which can disrupt the Sino-Pakistani tide. It can be done. It needs a whole of government approach.

 Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www.gunnersshot.com.

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Defence

SINO-INDIAN LOGJAM: THE STRATEGIC GAINS AND IMPLICATIONS OF GALWAN

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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Galwan is a turning point in our history. It was India’s ‘Casablanca’ moment when our boys stood on the burning deck to turn tables. It was that moment in time when India and the world realized that the Chinese can be overcome. It was the Nth coming of the Indian Armed Forces from behind. It ensured that India regained its strategic confidence. Many articles have appeared to commemorate the incident. However, a strange dichotomy has emerged. Most analysts say that India is in a state of asymmetry with PLA which has hung a Damocles sword over Ladakh to tie us down to our Northern Borders at the expense of our maritime interests in the IOR. One detects ‘Strategic Hesitancy’ due to a gross overestimation of Chinese capabilities despite Galwan and its aftermath. We need to understand the strategic gains of Galwan and their implications. 

Indian Army officer Capt Soiba Maningba Rangnamei of 16 Bihar Regiment during the clash with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley. (ANI Photo)

Fact 1: In Mar 2020, the Belfer Centre analysis stated “China is regularly operating with a permanent Indian conventional force advantage along its border areas…it would have to rely upon mobilization primarily from Xinjiang and secondarily from the Western Theatre Command… By contrast, Indian forces are already largely in position”. This forecast has been borne out on ground. My own view is that China does not have an ‘Akshay Patra’ from where it can draw forces without consequences – long and short term. The PLA does not have numerical superiority over Indian Army along the LAC if numbers are crunched. Further, the recruitment standards of PLA have been lowered as per South China Morning Post and many other inputs. The quality of PLA is suspect.  

Fact 2: PLA Air Force (PLAAF) suffers from a numerical disparity in comparison to the IAF along the LAC. India has a stronger air position, with a large number of airfields. Even if some airfields are down, operations can continue from other locations. The same is not true for PLAAF. IAF has a clear edge for the present. The PLAAF is trying to neutralise this edge by building up air infrastructure at a frenetic pace. 

Fact 3: Any terrain allows deployment up to a level only. Beyond that, pumping in more forces results in diminishing returns. It is a matter of space, logistics, effectiveness, survivability, mobility and recuperability. In high altitudes, these factors get compounded. From a defensive perspective, India has adequate forces to thwart China. In my considered opinion, China does not have enough forces to wage a decisive  war in its favour against India.

Fact 4: China is transforming PLA from a conventional land based force to a multidimensional force with a global foot print. Increasing force levels along the LAC is at expense of the larger role. The assessment to be done is whether a hand brake has been already put on this process post Galwan.     

Fact 5:  Comprehensive national power is a fictional metric coined by the Chinese to create a halo. It has no value on the battle field. Otherwise Taliban should not have kept USA on the run for so long. India needs to fight asymmetrically to defeat PLA. While India has the tools to do so in Tibet, PLA does not have it. There are no morals in not using the asymmetric option against an untrustworthy enemy.     

Fact 6:  Conventional ‘big’ battles between nuclear nations is fertile imagination. Most of the conventional weapons are now consigned to deterrence only. However we need to be prepared to defend our territorial integrity conventionally if push comes to the shove. The trend will be localised battles of high pressure and intensity.  

Pre-Galwan Opinion: As per the Belfer Center Report, ‘India has key under-appreciated conventional advantages that reduce its vulnerability to Chinese threats and attacks. India appears to have cause for greater confidence in its military position against China than is typically acknowledged in Indian debates, providing the country an opportunity for leadership in international efforts toward nuclear transparency and restraint. Indian strategists have not focused on this opportunity, in part because they draw pessimistic conclusions regarding China’. How true!

Corroboration. Overall all these facts and opinion have been borne out in the past one year on ground in Eastern Ladakh. However things are changing. 

PLA ACTION

The PLA executed a premeditated and calibrated operation to ensure that the focus of Indian action remains on the LAC instead of expanding to POK and Aksai Chin. This was in response to abrogation of Article 370 and its political postulations. To that extent, China has achieved its aim as I have enunciated in my article ‘Aim Revisited’@ https://www.gunnersshot.com/2021/06/please-read-in-conjunction-with-these.html . However when viewed in the larger context, PLA did not achieve objectives to cripple India like  cutting off the DSDBO road or inflicting a military defeat on the Indian Army or coercing India into alignment with China or preventing India from doing what it wants. In fact the opposite has happened. PLA had to retreat humiliatingly after destroying their own defences and obliterating the Chinese flag. To that extent China stands defeated. However there are larger issues which have exposed the severe limitations of the PLA and China. We need to exploit them. Unfortunately at a military level, these have not come out clearly. At the political level it has not been  realised as to how to drive home the advantage which Galwan gave us. I will leave the bureaucratic level out, whose (in)action has contributed more to the detriment of national interests, objectives and strategy. 

PLANNED OFFENSIVE VS SPEED OF REACTION

The PLA incursions were meticulously planned with two divisions at a time and place of China’s choice. News of rehearsals on walk-through GIS models had also been publicised. It was probably appreciated that India will not be able to react in time and space to even pose a challenge to PLA. Hence two divisions would be able to militarily coerce India to achieve multiple political aims and objects. The execution failed due to gross under-assessment of Indian capabilities. All these were probably based on PLA norms. These norms indicate PLAs lack of military grasp. Its incapability to exploit the advantage and initiative when the window of opportunity opened is well established now.  However the more important issue is the Indian reaction. We could build up an equivalent amount of forces to mirror PLA deployment in a matter of 2-3 weeks and stymie the offensive in super high altitudes. In the battlefield equations of time and space, capability to build up forces in such quick time frames indicates India’s latent offensive capability. Any one noticed that?  India’s military capability to launch an offensive into Tibet at a time and place of its choosing by beating the PLA in time is now established. The edge which IAF brings to the table enhances Indian offensive potential. India will win the ‘Race to the Swift’ unless PLA commits additional forces in Tibet on a permanent basis. It seems to be doing that now! Anyone with fundamental common sense will discern as to who is tying down whom. Further, it tells us that we need to get into a preventive counterattacking mode rather than being permanently defensive. 

OUTMANOEUVRE IN HIGH ALTITUDE

Occupation of Kailash Range and heights above Finger 4 in the face of PLA led to China being outmanoeuvred. More importantly, there was no counter manoeuvre by the PLA due to its limited capability in high altitude. The limitations of a political Army when set against a professional  Army have been exposed.  Significantly, the capability of PLA will not get better since it has already degraded its intake standards of height, eyesight and even hearing. Overall it leaves PLA as a vulnerable force in the mountains at super high altitudes. This will be exploited by all forces opposing China anywhere. It has taught everyone that PLA can be arm twisted into retreat.     

TURNOVER IMPLICATIONS

There are reports in the media that PLA is turning over both the divisions from Eastern Ladakh.  It begs a question. Why are they doing so? It takes more than a year for troops to get used to the environment and be fit for fighting. Just when those two divisions were getting fit to fight they are being turned over. PLA will now have two new divisions which are not fully fit for high altitude warfare. There are two explanations. First. The two divisions are beat-up and fatigued in near combat. Poor show then. Second.  PLA troops do not identify with Tibet as their home land worth defending by sacrificing their  life. After all, China as it exists today is an unnatural country which has never existed earlier in history. It has a spatial divide, an ethnic/racial divide and an economic divide between its Han dominated core in the East and the non-Han West. Despite all the talk of change of demography, Hans have not settled in Tibet in droves. Both these issues need monitoring to assess PLA’s ability and commitment to fight a last man last round battle in high altitudes.

REBALANCING DIVIDEND

Rebalancing a strike corps deployed against Pakistan to face the PLA has a tremendous strategic dividend for India. The rebalancing exercise does not detract our capability against Pakistan or in the IOR. On the other hand dual tasking  significantly enhances our defensive and offensive options and capabilities along the LAC. PLA has now been forced to react to this. It will have to deploy additional forces in Tibet which is its secondary theatre and it will be at the cost of its larger geopolitical priorities.  It has come to light that PLA is busy building infrastructure to house troops permanently along the LAC. PLA has been forced to commit itself much more to the LAC than hitherto fore and it no more takes Indian Army for granted.

THE GEO-STRATEGIC FALLOUT

Galwan inspired many countries to face up and counter China which were hesitant to do so till then. Malaysia, Phillipines, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam took up issues more forcefully with China after Galwan. These countries will be thankful that India has tied down China in remote Tibet. It takes Chinese focus away from them. Unfortunately, this fact has not been played up by either our diplomacy or strategic community to build or form a coalition of nations which are militarily affected by China and have a dialogue with them for joint action. Galwan also forced convergence of all democratic nations to form an unitary view about China. QUAD would not have come about without this action. NATO would not have declared China as a systemic global security challenge. The geo-strategic fallout has been huge.   

SUMMARY

We have turned ‘Defeat into Victory’ but are we capitalising on it? We have exposed the limitations of PLA. The Chinese seem to have learned from their shortcomings. They are increasing the depth of the battlefield and building a firm base.  I do not see a plan to overcome our short comings.   We remain in awe of Chinese!  We are not able to tell the world as to how to deal with China! There is a need for political and strategic introspection. Galwan has also brought out that while we are fully prepared and capable of taking on the PLA in close battles, we are unprepared for the deep battle. We need to be able to deter the Chinese from any further adventurism by re-tooling for war in super high altitudes. We  should enforce ‘Standoff’. Standoff can be imposed by improving battlefield transparency, reach, and survivability of existing forces. Let me put it across simply, the table which I outlined in my earlier article can be implemented incrementally, with indigenous technology as an evolutionary process. It needs unified thinking and clarity of mind. More than great financial investment, it needs commitment and dedication. That is sorely lacking. Strengthening the LAC is not at the cost of our maritime aspirations as being perceived by many.  The challenge before the CDS is to increase joint ‘force’ and ‘operational’ capability. Theatre commands are  contentious and emotive issues. Let them evolve. Increasing indigenisation rather than importing Russian tanks and Israeli guns should be the greater priority. We have a task cut out ahead.    

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vastoperational experience. He contributed significantly to the Modernization and Indigenisationof Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved inapplied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read onwww.gunnersshot.com

India’s military capability to launch an offensive into Tibet at a time and place of its choosing by beating the PLA in time is now established. The edge which IAF brings to the table enhances Indian offensive potential. India will win the ‘Race to the Swift’ unless PLA commits additional forces in Tibet on a permanent basis. It seems to be doing that now! Anyone with fundamental common sense will discern as to who is tying down whom. Further, it tells us that we need to get into a preventive counter-attacking mode rather than being permanently defensive.

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Defence

INDIAN COAST GUARD ON ALERT OVER OIL SPILL FROM MV DEVON

Ashish Singh

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The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) received information from MRCC Colombo in late hours of Thursday regarding a mid-sea oil spill about 450 Km South East of Chennai. On further investigation, it was revealed that a Portugese Flag Container ship MV Devon on passage from Colombo to Haldia (West Bengal), developed an underwater crack in the left side fuel tank containing about 120 KL of Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO).

The crack resulted in spillage of about 10 KL of oil into sea before preventive action was taken and remaining oil in tank was transferred to another tank by ship’s crew. The vessel is carrying 10795 Tonnes of general cargo in 382 containers and manned by 17 crew of mixed nationality. The container ship is continuing her voyage to Haldia & likely to reach today. ICG is in continuous contact with MV Devon and master has reported that the vessel is stable. ICG pollution response team at Chennai has been alerted and kept standby. In addition, ICG ships & aircraft deployed at sea are also put on alert in pollution response configuration.

It may be recalled that, ICG ships & aircraft in a coordinated operation with Sri Lanka deployed vessels had successfully undertaken a major firefighting operation last month onboard MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo, thereby averting a major environmental disaster. The vessel now partially sunk off Colombo is under the supervision of Sri Lankan authorities and efforts are in hand for its salvage.

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Defence

NORTHERN COMMAND PAYS HOMAGE TO GALLANT SOLDIERS ON ITS 50TH RAISING DAY

Ashish Singh

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‘Golden Jubilee Raising Day of Northern Command’ was celebrated at Udhampur amidst strict COVID protocol. On this occasion, Lt Gen S Harimohan Iyer, COS, HQ Northern Command, on behalf of Lt Gen YK Joshi, Army Commander, Northern Command and all ranks, laid wreath at the Dhruva War Memorial and paid homage to the gallant soldiers of Northern Command who have made the supreme sacrifice for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

Northern Command was raised on 17 June 1972 and completed 50th Raising Day. In his message to the troops, the Army Commander stated that these glorious years are testimony to historic operational achievements of Northern Command in ‘Op Meghdoot’, ‘Op Parakarm’, ‘Op Vijay’ ‘Op Rakshak’ and ‘OP Snow Leopard’. The resolute response of the Indian Army against aggression on the LC & LAC has won numerous accolades. In addition, our firm yet people friendly sub-conventional operations have not only thwarted attempts by our Western adversary to destabilise the nation but also, won the hearts and minds of the local populace.

Northern Command has been at the forefront to assist the administration and people of UTs of J&K and Ladakh during every natural calamity like snow blizzards, earthquakes (2005), Cloudburst of Leh (2010), floods in Jammu & Kashmir (2014) and frequent avalanches. The current COVID-19 pandemic is yet another example when the Indian Army has gone out of its way to support the people, in their times of need.

The Army Commander in special order of the day complimented all ranks for their extraordinary leadership, courage and sacrifice to keep the flag of the Command, the Indian Army & Nation flying high and exhorted all ranks to rededicate towards safeguarding our Nation’s integrity and resolve to confront new challenges with exemplary professionalism and courage.

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Defence

INDIAN COAST GUARD SAVES 16 LIVES FROM SINKING BARGE MV MANGALAM NEAR REVDANDA PORT

Ashish Singh

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In a swift sea-air coordinated operation amid inclement monsoon weather, Indian Coast Guard ship and helicopters undertook successful rescue of all 16 crew on Thursday from sinking MV Mangalam near Revdanda port of Maharashtra. MRCC Mumbai received information from Second officer of Indian flagged MV Mangalam (IMO-9084619) intimating that the vessel was partially sinking with 16 crew onboard approximately 3 Km from Revdanda Port (Raigarh District), and the master was planning to abandon the vessel. The crew of the distressed vessel were in panic due to swelling water ingress and waves breaking over the ship. MRCC team initiated rescue action and convinced the master and crew to remain onboard with life jackets as Coast Guard ships were dispatched for assistance.

Indian Coast Guard Ship Subhadra Kumari Chauhan pressed into action and proceeded towards distressed vessel with best speed for rendering assistance. Meanwhile, two Indian Coast Guard Chetak Helicopters were also launched at 9:45 am from Indian Coast Guard Air Station Daman for evacuation of the crew from MV Mangalam. Braving rough seas, Indian Coast Guard ship Subhadra Kumari Chauhan quickly arrived at scene of distress and post assessment of situation lowered the rescue team in inflatable boat amidst challenging sea conditions. Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard Helicopters also arrived at the location and despite gusting monsoon winds commenced airlifting of crew. Through daredevil operations, the ICG Ship & helicopters successfully rescued all 16 crew. The rescued crew were taken to Revdanda and administered first aid following COVID protocol. All crew were safe and healthy.

The timely co-ordination and rescue by ICG once again saved precious lives. On an average, Coast Guard saves one precious life every second day at sea. The incident once again showcased Indian Coast Guard’s resolve and commitment towards safety of life at sea, upholding its motto ‘We Protect’ and ready to undertake operations at sea 24×7 through the year.

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Defence

DEFENCE MINISTER INAUGURATES 12 ROADS BUILT BY BRO IN NORTHERN AND EASTERN BORDER AREAS

Ashish Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicated to the nation 12 roads, built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the Northern and Eastern border areas on Thursday. At an event organised in Lakhimpur district of Assam, the Raksha Mantri e-inaugurated a 20-km long double lane Kimin-Potin road, along with nine other roads in Arunachal Pradesh and one each in the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. The roads have been constructed under ‘Arunank’, ‘Vartak’, ‘Brahmank’, ‘Udayak’, ‘Himank’ and ‘Sampark’ projects of BRO.

Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh lauded BRO for its contribution in infrastructure development of remote border areas of the country, especially amid the COVID-19 restrictions. He said the roads inaugurated today hold strategic and socio-economic importance as they will play an important role in strengthening national security as well as promoting development of the North-East region. “These roads will be helpful in fulfilling the needs of our Armed Forces and transporting necessities like medicines and ration to remote areas,” he said. The Raksha Mantri added that these road projects are part of the ‘Act East Policy’ of the Government wherein special emphasis is being laid on the overall development of the border areas. He reiterated the resolve of the Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the development of North-east, describing the region as the gateway to not only the overall development of the country, but also to the nation’s relations with East Asian countries. Rajnath Singh paid tribute to the soldiers who showed exemplary courage during the Galwan Valley incident last year and made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation. He said India is a peace-loving nation but its response to aggression has been resolute.

Chief Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Mr. Pema Khandu, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports, Minority Affairs and Ayush (Independent Charge) Mr. Kiren Rijiju and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region & Minister of State for PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh were among the dignitaries who attended the event virtually. The Raksha Mantri also touched upon some of the major reforms undertaken by the Government, including appointment of Chief of Defence Staff, measures to boost self- reliance in defence manufacturing and Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). These reforms are proving to be a game changer in the military preparedness in the rapidly changing times, he said.

Rajnath Singh underlined the constant efforts of the Government to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing under the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by the Prime Minister. “We are actively working towards making India a defence manufacturing hub. Self-reliance in defence production will reduce our dependence on imports, increase exports and strengthen our economy,” he said. In his address, DG Border Roads Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry gave a brief overview of the achievements of BRO and reiterated the commitment of the organisation towards infrastructural development of border areas.

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Defence

SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH CELEBRATIONS AT RASHTRIYA RIFLES SECTOR HEADQUARTERS

Ashish Singh

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NEW DELHI: The Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Flame after having entered the serene Kashmir Valley through the Navyug Tunnel on Tuesday, continued its journey and made its way to Anantnag City, also known as the ‘Land of Infinite Springs’. The Victory flame was received by Commanding Officer of Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, Wuzur and travelled to Khanabal, Anantnag via Mir Bazar, Khudwani and Wampoh and reached Rashtriya Rifles Sector Headquarter, Khanabal.

The flame was received with tremendous fervour by school children, local youth, 13 Veer Naris, 55 ex-servicemen, personnel from Security Forces & Law Enforcement Agencies and many other civilian dignitaries from the local administration. Thereafter, the Victory Flame was escorted through the Khanabal Junction, proudly carried by military personnel & civilians alike before entering the Khanabal Military Garrison. Later, the Victory Flame was handed over to the Commander, Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal at the War Memorial. Wreaths were laid to pay homage to the unsung War Heroes, by the visiting dignitaries, including Mr Hilal Ahmed Shah, Mayor Anantnag, Mr Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, IAS, Additional DC Anantnag, Mr Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, SSP Anantnag, Mr DP Upadhyay, DIG CRPF, Mr Abdul Jabbar, IPS, DIG (South Kashmir) and Commander Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal, followed by a ceremonial Guard of Honour. Post the solemn event, the celebrations continued with cultural performances by school children and local artists, followed by the felicitation of Veer Naris, Veer Matas & veterans by the dignitaries present.

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