Indian Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘Sarthak’ launched - The Daily Guardian
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Indian Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel ‘Sarthak’ launched

Ashish Singh

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In an impressive ceremony at Goa Shipyard Limited, Yard 1236, the fourth in the series of five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) for the Indian Coast Guard, was launched and rechristened as Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Sarthak’ by Veena Ajay Kumar, wife of Dr Ajay Kumar, IAS, Defence Secretary, adhering to the government’s protocol on global pandemic Covid-19. This unique launching ceremony was conducted through video conferencing from Coast Guard Headquarters at New Delhi, in the presence of Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, DG K. Natarajan, Director General Indian Coast Guard, Chairman & Managing Director, Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and MoD officials. Coincidently, the ship’s keel was laid by Dr Ajay Kumar, IAS as Secretary Defence Production on 10 Nov 2018.The 4th Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPVs) has been designed & built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) in line with PM’s vision of ‘Make in India’.

 The Ship is fitted with state-ofthe-art Navigation and Communication equipment, sensor and machinery. The 105 m ship displaces approximately 2350 tons and is propelled by two 9100 KW diesel engines designed to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots, with an endurance of 6000 Nm. The sustenance and reach, coupled with the latest equipment and system, provides her the capability to perform the role of a command platform and undertake tasks to fulfil the Coast Guard charter. The ship is designed to embark and carry a twin-engine helicopter, four high speed boats and one inflatable boat for swift boarding and Search & Rescue operations. The ship is also capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to undertake oil spill pollution response at sea.

 Commending the Indian Coast Guard and GSL for this initiative of launching through digital means, Dr Ajay Kumar said that it was reassuring to witness the growing strength of Indian Coast Guard, and capabilities of Indian shipbuilding industry, a strong supporting pillar for production and maintenance of ships of Indian maritime forces. He also commended the professionalism of Goa Shipyard in meeting the timelines of the contract despite the pandemic Covid-19. Speaking on the occasion, DG K. Natarajan, Director General Indian Coast Guard said that launching marks an important milestone for any ship since she touches the water for the first time, the place where she belongs through her entire service life. He also brought out that the mere presence of Indian Coast Guard unit at sea serves dual objectives of Deterrence and Reassurance. It deters people with ill-intent and at the same time reassures maritime community, who look up to Indian Coast Guard as ‘Saviours at sea’, as they are aware that Indian Coast Guard will swiftly respond to any distress call or life-threatening situation at sea. He conveyed his appreciation to CMD, GSL and Coast Guard Refit and Production Superintendent (Goa) and their teams for their dedicated efforts which culminated in launching of this majestic ship.

 Indian Coast Guard has been a pioneer in inducting indigenous assets which has enabled it to remain operationally available throughout the year. The ship launched today, has about 70% indigenous content, thus providing the necessary fillip to the Indian shipbuilding industry and a giant leap towards achieving ‘Aatmanirbar Bharat’. The ship will be deployed extensively for EEZ surveillance, coastal security and other duties as enshrined in the Coast Guard charter of duties, to safeguard the maritime interests of the Nation. In addition to the 05 OPV project, 52 ships are at various stages of construction at different Indian Shipyards and 16 Advanced Light Helicopters are under production at M/s HAL, Bengaluru, which will provide the added strength to the surveillance capabilities of Indian Coast Guard to deal with the dynamic maritime challenges.

 True to its motto “Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”, Indian Coast Guard has to its credit of saving about 9,730 lives at sea, 12,500 lives as part of assistance rendered to civil authorities and undertook 400 medical evacuations. Indian Coast Guard saves one life every second day at sea. The deterrence created by the Indian Coast Guard is not limited to the Indian waters, but collaboration with friendly littoral states as per provisions of bilateral cooperation agreements resulted in successful apprehension and seizure of drugs in Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The real time information sharing, close coordination and understanding between ICG and other Intelligence agencies has been the key success of these operations. The hawk eye vigil by the Indian Coast Guard of the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) has ensured seizure of Rs 6,800 crore contraband. Indian Coast Guard remains committed to ensure ‘Safe, Secure and Clean seas’ around the Indian subcontinent.

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Defence

Two Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists killed in the J&K encounter

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Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH), an Al-Qaeda-linked terror outfit in Kashmir, has suffered a major setback. In an encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar, security forces killed two more AGH terrorists.

The AGH terrorists were apprehended after the army and police received specific information about their presence.

During the exchange of fire, forces killed two local Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists from AGH. Both terrorists are Pulwama residents who have been involved in a number of terrorist attacks.

According to police, the terrorists were also involved in an attack on a migrant worker in Pulwama.

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Defence

N. Korea enacts law on preventive nuclear strikes, France calls “threat to peace”

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France criticised North Korea’s adoption of a law announcing its preparedness to launch preventive nuclear strikes on Friday, calling it a “threat to international and regional peace and security.”

The announcement from the foreign ministry came after North Korean state media earlier on Friday reported that Pyongyang had enacted a law authorising preventative strikes, including in the event of conventional attacks.

“This new escalation on the part of the North Korean authorities represents a threat to international and regional peace and security,” said a ministry spokeswoman.

France “notes with great concern the increasingly aggressive declarations from North Korea,” she added.

The decision by Pyongyang practically puts an end to the possibility of denuclearization talks after leader Kim Jong Un said that the nation’s nuclear status is now “irreversible.”

The announcement comes at a time when the North and South are experiencing greater conflict.

In addition to conducting a record number of weapons tests this year, Pyongyang has blamed the COVID-19 outbreak in its territory on Seoul.

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Defence

China has successfully tested its first solar-powered drone capable of acting as a satellite

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A Chinese government official informed in a tweet that China has successfully tested its first fully solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), named Qimingxing-50, which can fly for months and can function even as a satellite if required.

What is the significance of this test flight?

The Qimingxing-50, with a wingspan of 50 m, is a high-altitude long-endurance drone that is capable of high-altitude aerial reconnaissance, assessing forest fire and can also be used for communications.

This technology will bolster Chinese defences in space and at sea. It can be used in the fields of renewable energy, new materials, and aeronautical engineering. The Chinese official also asserted that this test flight is an important step towards sustainable development.

Use of the UAV as a satellite:

The UAV, whose name translates as “Morning Star-50” in English, is claimed to be capable of functioning uninterrupted for months. This capability of having a long-endurance flight gives it a use case of operating as a satellite.

Like satellites, it is fully electric-driven, powered by solar energy and can operate at 20 km above the Earth’s surface for an extended period of time continuously. It is also referred to as a “High Altitude Platform Station” or a “pseudo-satellite.”

It can be used when there is unavailability or disruption in satellite services. The report says that compared to the cost and complexity of installing a satellite in orbit, this UAV is much more cost-effective and easy to operate.

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Defence

Strict security measures have been taken at the Central Vista ahead of the inauguration by PM Modi

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As Prime Minister Nrendra Modi is going to inaugurate the newly revamped Central Vista on Thursday, over 1,500 police personnel have been deployed for security over there.

A senior official of Delhi Police who is aware of the security arrangements said that the area has been divided into eight zones, which will be manned all day by eight deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) and additional deputy commissioners of police (ADCPs).

The officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Besides 17 assistant commissioners of police (ACPs), 43 inspectors and nearly 1,200 upper and lower-rank staff of Delhi Police will be patrolling in the areas. While ten Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies will patrol the area during the day, two additional CAPF companies have been deployed for security arrangements during the evening shift.As many as five patrolling teams in 10 mobile patrolling vans (MPVs) will be keeping a constant watch on all the public movement in the area.” 

Another officer said that, “The Multi Zone Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMD) have been installed at 90 points in 25 locations in the area. Apart from one anti-drone gun, one counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has also been installed in the area, to detect, track, and ultimately disrupt and destroy any suspicious aerial intrusion. While five teams of spotters will keep a strict vigil in the area, another five traffic decongestion teams have been deployed there to immediately remove any traffic bottlenecks in the area. As many as five SWAT teams have been deployed in the area to avert any emergency crisis.”

The official added that drones will not be permitted near Central Vista on Thursday.

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Defence

Pakistani rangers opened fire on BSF patrolling party in J&K

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As per the reports, Pakistani rangers opened fire on a Border Security Force (BSF) patrolling party in Jammu and Kashmir’s Arnia sector on Tuesday morning, prompting the BSF to respond appropriately to the “unprovoked firing”.

“Today morning the alert BSF Jammu troops gave a befitting reply to the unprovoked firing by Pak rangers on BSF patrolling party in Arnia Sector. No loss (of lives) or injury (reported) to the BSF troops,” a statement issued by a BSF spokesperson said.

On February 24, 2021, India and Pakistan agreed to strictly adhere to all agreements and understandings concerning cross-border firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, among other sectors.

Other incidents of firing by Pakistani troops have occurred in the last year and a half, but Tuesday’s incident was “a major one” and occurred on a day when Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in India for talks, an officer anonymously said.

According to a second officer, the Indian Army and BSF respond immediately and effectively to unprovoked firings and ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC and IB.

Before the agreement in 2021, there were 5,133 ceasefire violations in 2020, 3,479 in 2019, and 2,140 in 2018. However, this number dropped to around 700 last year. Statistics for 2022 are not yet available.

The Indian government has maintained that it is Pakistan’s responsibility to create a conducive environment by taking credible, verifiable, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for cross-border terrorism against India in any way.

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Defence

India sends the body of Lashkar terror operative via LoC in Poonch

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Pakistan accepted the body of Tabarak Hussain, Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist operative via Chakan Da Bagh on the Line of Control in Poonch district on Monday.

“Officials of the Indian Army and civil administration took the body of slain terrorist in an ambulance to Chakan Da Bagh where it was handed over to Pakistani army officials,” said a senior official.

Tabarak Hussain, son of Mistri Malik of Sabzkote in PoK, was apprehended in an injured state by the army on August 21 in the Jhanger area of the Nowshera sector in Rajouri.

Tabarak was apprehended while allegedly infiltrating with a fidayeen terror group to attack Indian army posts along the LoC.

However, Indian army troops noticed the movement and opened fire on the intruding terror group, injuring Tabarak while other infiltrators fled to PoK.

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