MISCONSTRUED HISTORICAL CLAIMS HAVE NO PLACE IN MODERN, CIVILISED WORLD - The Daily Guardian
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MISCONSTRUED HISTORICAL CLAIMS HAVE NO PLACE IN MODERN, CIVILISED WORLD

Ashish Singh

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Mankind and the world have travelled a long and tedious path to achieve what we enjoy today as various amenities in modern-day life. While travelling this path, nations and mankind have since time immemorial witnessed immense struggle and destruction. Apart from wiping out of civilisations due to natural calamities, world history is full of incidents where nations have waged war over other nations and people have suffered immeasurably. A pragmatic and comprehensive opinion can definitely be formed about the overall reasons behind such undesired happenings such as craving to expand territorially, gain more power, more wealth or more resources and may be even getting unquestioned subjugation of individuals or community of people. Mankind understood the futility of all these actions influenced by desires and took a wise decision by coming together to form the United Nations and ratified an idealistic charter with a new hope to see a peaceful and harmonious world community post World War II.

We are witnessing a change again and it is important that we understand the nature of this change and respect it, rather than keep denying it. Earlier, great players in sports dominated for longer periods and similarly in the fields of other professional activities such as movies and corporate, but now the times are changing and the period of domination is shorter and in most cases shared between more numbers of such professionals. Era of kings was denounced and so, we thought, was the era of dictatorship. World was supposed to turn more humane and considerate and if we analyse holistically it has. We can give numerous examples how the world has changed for better since the WWII in form of various nations growing economically providing succour to their populations, increased trade between nations thereby ensuring availability of all worldly goods at all places in the world and also research and provisioning of medicines for longevity and addressing health issues worldwide. The list goes on however, what we failed to undertake is taking adequate steps to guard against any such catastrophic occurrences of the past by timely and appropriately modernising the world organisation and providing it more teeth. The core issues need to be resolved first before we embark on a journey to world peace and that is where we are failing. Basic tenets of any relationship are trust and honesty. Display of these tenets by various nations is a must for long lasting reliable friendship and cooperation.

Challenge of Covid-19 is a biological emergency that humankind is facing now. We have overcome greater conflicts and destruction in the past and we should be assured that we would also overcome this one while ending up more resilient and strong for any such eventuality in future. More pertinent concern at this juncture would be to zero on to the causes of the same. This emergency is just one way the overall threat to mankind has manifested. There could have been many other ways however; the main threat is that we are not able to cope up with the challenging and changing times morally and ethically. This is more serious and in case we fail, then more and more such situations would be confronted by mankind in future with devastating results. As individuals we have adjusted to the change and are more considerate of views of partners and children. Families have become more understanding to the demands of all members and so is the requirement of all nations to be obliging and cooperative towards the needs of various other counterparts in the world.

Nations, same as individuals, are bound to have ambitions or the potential for growth would be suppressed. This somehow cannot be overarching on other nation’s interests. This basic prerequisite must be understood before any individual, family or nation sets a target to be achieved. Fair competition is a precondition prior to embarking on competition. The saying that all is fair in love and war has lost its relevance in the modern world as there is supposed to be no place for war. If we give place to war for resolving our differences then we do not deserve to be called a growing society and modern world. We would be failing in our responsibilities to our coming generations in case we give them a world which , rather than travelling towards a more prosperous future, has been pushed and relegated to the thoughts of the past. World cannot afford to have a war whether kinetic or cold and accordingly all the intentions of leaders of nations of the world should be to take adequate steps to ensure that there is no war.

Utopian or idealistic world is achievable and humankind must keep striving for it. The theory of realism and functioning in shades of grey must be discouraged worldwide. Evil in all forms must be destroyed and purity must be given ascendancy. While it is understandable why these things came into play during the course of our history but in the modern world, wherein we have achieved so much during the course of development these evil thoughts and behaviour have no place. Systems must function and laws must be upheld without bias or prejudice uniformly. Values, ethics and morality must be given priority over achievements, showoff and dominance. World must start celebrating ethical and moral behavior by nations and ethical nations must never be dominated and allowed to be perished or subjugated. Emphasis should be given to Giving rather than Getting. This is the only way forward for a prosperous humanity and a peaceful world as propagated in the preamble of the United Nations Charter.

When a nation bases its plan for growth on its own understanding of historical happenings then it must not infringe into territorial integrity of another nation. If in history some territory was with someone then during other periods it was not. We must have a start point for all assumptions of territorial demarcations and that should be, when the world order changed after WWII and the United Nations was formed with adoption of the UN Charter by most countries of the world. Nations signing that charter cannot claim that the basic premise of the country at that time was incorrect. If China has different perceptions of territorial demarcation of nations of the world then so do others but that cannot be termed as morally right or ethically correct? Also an effort to subvert other countries basic territorial integrity must be contested by all nations’ signatories of UN Charter unequivocally. Nations and leaders of the nations must respect other counterparts and should not violate other nation’s sovereignty or integrity quoting their own national interests.

Great Chinese civilisation with rich history and heritage is showing signs of being chained in its own archival thoughts and selfish intentions. Expansionist plans of China implemented by their previous rulers and now by the Xi Jinping regime is virtually challenging the status quo of the world which existed after WWII. Imagine if Europeans and British harvest such plans and start putting it in place, even China would be colonised again. It is naïve to believe that by mere military occupation people can be subjugated in modern era that denounces inhumanity and slavery. Forcible religious conversions are also detested uniformly throughout the world. It is quite perplexing that the most populous country and the second largest economy of the world would embark on fulfilment of a mission that is full of contradictions in the modern world. Too many rules and laws of the modern world have already been violated with impunity such as humanitarian, territorial and in the oceans. Morally and ethically China has failed to live up to the standards desired of P5 nations. Not only that, today they have unholy alliances with damaging plans of religious subversion and territorial gains as if the evil is contemplating to once again destroy humanity. World has to find a way to deal with this complex situation non militarily to ensure no one in future harvests such ambitions which encroaches on someone else’s rights and privileges. World community and the United Nations have to make such belligerent nations understand that territorial claims based on selfish intentions and misconstrued history have no place in the modern, civilised world.

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Defence

INDIAN NAVY EXERCISES WITH ROYAL NAVY CARRIER STRIKE GROUP

Ashish Singh

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Indian Navy participated in a three-day bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG)-21 led by HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Bay of Bengal from 21st to 23rd July. The bilateral Maritime Exercise was designed to hone the ability of the two navies to operate together in the maritime domain. The maiden exercise between Indian Navy and the Royal Navy’s latest Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth included participation of CSG-21 comprising Type 23 Frigates and an Astute-class submarine in addition to the other surface combatants. Indian Navy was represented by IN Ships Satpura, Ranvir, Jyoti, Kavaratti, Kulish and a submarine. Anti-Submarine Warfare capable Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I also participated in the exercise.

With the presence of the CSG-21 in the Indian Ocean, the ongoing exercise has afforded excellent opportunity to engage over the entire spectrum of maritime operations including ASW, Anti-Air and Anti-Surface warfare. The exercise also witnessed the maiden participation of the F 35 B Lightning which operate from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Regular IN-RN interactions over the years have augmented their professional content, interoperability and adaptability in the ever-changing security scenarios. The inter-operability achieved over the years has ensured a quantum jump in the complexity and scale of professional exchanges which is being further enhanced by the presence of the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean.

Both the UK and India are in the midst of a carrier renaissance, with the CSG spearheading the UK’s Joint Expeditionary capability. The joint endeavour provides tangible security to friends and a credible deterrence to those who seek to undermine global security. An Indian warship will also exercise with the Royal Navy off the coast of the UK in August. First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said, “This is a month that will see the Royal Navy and Indian Navy meet and work together in two oceans – beginning in the Indian Ocean as the UK Carrier Strike Group arrives for the first of multiple UK-India exercises and events. Later this summer, both will participate in a separate exercise in the Atlantic Ocean. The deployment is proof of the strength, energy and significance of the growing relationship between our navies.”Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said, “The UK and India are key defence partners and the Carrier Strike Group’s deployment is a symbol of Global Britain in action, showcasing our commitment to India, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order.”Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, mentioned, “As HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group cross the Indian Ocean, it is only natural that we should exercise with the Indian Navy. At the strategic level, the exercise is a muscular expression of the closer defence partnership that Prime Ministers Johnson and Modi envisaged when they agreed the UK-India Roadmap 2030 earlier this year.”

As part of its maiden operational deployment, the CSG will sail over 26,000 nautical miles, engaging with 40 countries from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific and back again. The fifth generation HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier, at 65,000 tonnes, is the largest surface vessel ever constructed in the UK. Taller than Niagara Falls, her propellers generate the power of 50 high-speed trains. She leads six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a frigate from the Netherlands in the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation. It is equipped with the fifth generation F-35B Lightning multi-role aircrafts. They are being jointly crewed by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps. From defending democratic values and tackling shared threats, to seizing new trade opportunities through engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and others, the deployment marks a step-change in UK engagement in the region. The UK is already investing significantly in the region by seeking ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, kicking off negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and rapidly progressing trade talks with Australia, New Zealand and India.

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Defence

DRDO CONDUCTS SECOND SUCCESSFUL FLIGHT TEST OF AKASH-NG IN THREE DAYS

Ashish Singh

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Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a successful flight-test of New Generation Akash (Akash-NG), a surface-to-air missile from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha at 1145 hrs on Friday. The test was carried out against a high-speed unmanned aerial target which was successfully intercepted by the missile. The flight test has validated the functioning of complete weapon system consisting of the missile with indigenously developed RF Seeker, Launcher, Multi-Function Radar and Command, Control & Communication system. The test was carried out amidst inclement weather conditions proving the all-weather capability of the weapon system. The system performance was validated through the data captured by a number of Radar, Telemetry and Electro Optical Tracking systems deployed by ITR, Chandipur. A team of Indian Air Force Officers witnessed the test.

First test on Wednesday was done successfully without seeker meeting all the mission requirements

DRDO successfully flight-tested the New Generation Akash Missile from Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the coast of Odisha on Wednesday. The flight trial was conducted at around 12:45 pm from a land-based platform with all weapon system elements such as Multifunction Radar, Command, Control & Communication System and launcher participating in deployment configuration. The missile system has been developed by Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories. The launch was witnessed by the representatives of Indian Air Force. In order to capture flight data, ITR deployed a number of Range stations like, Electro Optical Tracking System, Radar and Telemetry. The flawless performance of the entire weapon system has been confirmed by complete flight data captured by these systems. During the test, the missile demonstrated high manoeuvrability required for neutralising fast and agile aerial threats. Once deployed, the Akash-NG weapon system will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capability of the Indian Air Force. Production agencies Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) also participated in the trials.

Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh has congratulated DRDO, Indian Air Force and the Industry on the second successful flight test of Akash-NG in a span of three days. He said the development of this state-of-the-art missile system will prove to be a force multiplier for air defence capabilities of Indian Air Force. Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy congratulated the teams for successful trial of Akash NG which is capable of intercepting high speed and agile aerial threats.

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Defence

ARMY, NAVY, AIR FORCE AND COAST GUARD LAUNCH OPERATIONS FOR FLOOD RELIEF

Ashish Singh

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With the unprecedented rains and resultant heavy flow of water in various rivers, a number of areas in many states are likely to be impacted by floods. Presently the districts of Ratnagiri, Raigad, Pune, Satara and Kolhapur and Sangli in Maharashtra have been affected. In order to support the state civil administration, the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force & Coast Guard launched multiple operations for flood relief, search and rescue.

COAST GUARD TEAMS IN MAHARASHTRA,GOA AND KARANATAKA

Indian Coast Guard has mobilized and dispatched adequate resources for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the affected districts of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka to work in coordination with the local administration towards Rescue and Relief Operations. Coast Guard units located in Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka are extending all assistance and support to the concern District Administration in mitigating the effect of incessant rains. A total of 7 Disaster Relief Teams (DRTs)have been working relentlessly in the affected Coastal Districts to rescue people in distress and relocate them to safe locations. Karnataka Coast Guard has pressed 3 DRTs(One each in Unglijoog Island, Kharejoog Island and in bodojoog village) and have rescued and relocated 161 distressed people to safe locations. Maharashtra Coast Guard has pressed 2 DRTs(One each at Mahad and Chiplun) besides pressing a Chetak helicopter into Rescue operations. These teams are working in tandem with the Local Administration and have rescued52 in number people so far and shifted them to safe locations. Coast Guard has extended the facility of its Airbase at Ratnagiri to Indian Navy and Indian Air Force aircraft to operate from this base for Rescue and Relief operations inMaharashtra.Goa Coast Guard has pressed 2 DRTs into service at Ponda besides launching 04 helicopter sorties to drop 200 food packets for the stranded people towards Rescue and Relief Operations.

ARMY LAUNCHES OPERATION VARSHA 21

Indian Army based on request by the civil administration has mobilised flood relief and rescue teams to assist the local administration in flood affected areas. A total of 15 relief and rescue team comprising of troops from Aundh Military Station and Bombay Engineer Group based at Pune have been deployed overnight in affected areas of Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Sangli. These columns will be assisting the civil administration in rescue of local population stranded in submerged areas till normalcy is restored. Lt Gen JS Nain, GOC-In-C Southern Army stated that the Indian Army stands with people in these testing times and all assistance will be provided by the Army in the affected areas. The flood relief columns include engineering efforts and medical teams from Army for providing necessary first aid and medicines to locals being evacuated from flood prone areas.

INDIAN NAVY MOBILISES RESCUE TEAMS FOR FLOOD RELIEF AND EVACUATION

With large parts of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa reeling under extensive flooding of both urban and rural areas caused by incessant rains and consequent overflowing of riverbanks and dams over the last few days, the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy has mobilised considerable resources to provide assistance to State and District administrations of affected areas.

Maharashtra: Based on request received for assistance from civil authorities, a total of seven Naval Flood Rescue Teams (FRT) from Mumbai have been deployed to Ratnagiri and Raigarh districts commencing Thursday evening. One Seaking 42C Helicopter from, Mumbai was deployed for aerial reconnaissance at Poladpur/Raigad during on Friday. One ALH helicopter from Goa was positioned at Ratnagiri for relief/rescue Friday morning, Additional Flood Rescue Teams are being maintained on a high degree of readiness at Mumbai, for immediate deployment.

Karnataka: At Karwar, Indian Naval Emergency Response Team (ERT) comprising 17 Divers, five Geminis, associated equipment such as Life Jackets and Life Buoys was deployed in the morning hours on Friday in response to a request for assistance from the District Collector, Uttara Kannada. District to rescue people stranded near Kadra Dam, Mallapur Kurnipet, Kaiga due to heavy rains / floods. The team was able to successfully evacuate over 100 stranded people at Singudda and Bhaire villages whilst rescue efforts are being continued at Kaiga and Mallapur. The rescued personnel were shifted to safe locations in coordination with the district administration. In an another swift Search and Rescue mission undertaken at Dongri in Gangavalli river belt, eight personnel stranded in two hotels were air lifted by Naval Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), when local attempts for rescue were unsuccessful. The Naval ALH was launched from Goa and successfully completed rescue of the stranded people in over two hours.

Goa: In addition to providing aerial support to Karwar rescue efforts, A sortie was made to Ganjem near Ponda to check and verify the receding water levels. Another ALH has been deployed at flood affected Ratnagiri to undertake Search And Rescue missions.

IAF FLOOD RELIEF OPERATIONS: RATNAGIRI

On Thursday, at around 1:30 pm, the IAF received a message for requirement of flood relief operations in Chiplun and Khed towns of Ratnagiri district Maharashtra. When the weather permitted, a Mi-17 IV helicopter got airborne from Mumbai for Ratnagiri at 3:40 pm and landed at Ratnagiri at 5 pm. Bad weather did not permit any further operations in the evening. Operations have resumed today with the helicopter deployed at Ratnagiri along with another one flown in from Mumbai. An NDRF team of 10 personnel with approximately one-ton load has also been flown in by IAF to Ratnagiri. On Friday, a helicopter from Ratnagiri got airborne at 11:35 am, carried out reconnaissance and rescued two people before landing back at Ratnagiri. The IAF is also positioning two Mi-17V5s and two Mi-17s for flood relief operations. Another helicopter is standing by at Pune for any emergent requirement.

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Defence

Three decades ago, the first European Earth observation satellite was launched into space: A historic journey

ERS-1 provided never-before-seen details of the Earth’s surface and laid the foundation for modern space radars.

Ashish Singh

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Thirty years ago, on 17 July 1991, an Ariane 4 launch vehicle took off into space with the Earth observation satellite ERS-1 of the European Space Agency (ESA). The abbreviation stands for European Remote-Sensing Satellite and the “1” marks it as the first of its kind. ERS-1 is the ancestor of all modern European Earth observation satellites. The ERS-1 mission marks both the beginning of ESA’s modern Earth observation and the start of a long and successful remote sensing history for Airbus’ space division. Weighing 2.4 tonnes, ERS-1 was developed and built under the leadership of what is now Airbus Defence and Space by an industrial consortium of more than 50 companies in 14 countries. It was the most advanced and complex satellite of its time and the first European satellite to feature a radar system and microwave instrumentation for measurements and imaging over sea and land. This made it possible for the first time to observe areas of the Earth that often elude the view of satellites due to frequent clouds or fog.

At the heart of the ERS-1, which orbited the Earth at an altitude of 785 km on a polar orbit, was a radar that operated at a wavelength of 5.7 cm (corresponding to a frequency of 5.3 GHz in the so-called C-band). During each orbit, the beam scanned a 4000 km-long and 100 km-wide strip on the Earth’s surface. From this, images with a resolution of 30 metres were created. After nine years of outstanding service, more than three times its planned lifetime, the ERS-1 mission ended on 10 March 2000. Since its launch in July 1991, it completed 45,000 orbits and transmitted 1.5 million radar images to Earth. Today, ERS-1 is also considered a pioneer of environmental research from space.

The launch of ERS-2 four years later (April 1995) opened up even more possibilities. For one thing, this satellite also had the ozone measuring instrument GOME (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment). It regularly monitored the ozone content in the stratosphere and in particular the changes in the ozone hole over the South Pole. Secondly, both radar satellites were able to be used simultaneously for a few years. During this so-called tandem mission of ERS-1 and -2, the new technique of radar interferometry was tested. Here, the same area was imaged twice or several times at different times with the two satellites. The superimposition of the images then produced an interferogram. Interferograms are used to create digital terrain models with a height resolution of a few metres. Above all, however, it is possible to register changes that have occurred on the surface between the images with an accuracy in the millimetre range.

Volker Liebig, Director of Earth Observation at the European Space Agency (ESA) from 2004 to 2016, assesses the first remote sensing programme in retrospect said, “ERS-1 was the initial spark for a unique development in Europe. Earth observation is probably the only space sector in which Europe is a world leader and in which the states have also invested comparably to the USA. This was of course driven by Europe’s strong commitment to environmental protection, especially climate change. Without the success of the ERS programme, I don’t think that would have happened.” Building on the ERS experience, a number of national satellite programmes and other European projects developed. The second-generation MetOp satellites (MetOp-SG) are currently being built under the leadership of Airbus. The “Earth Explorers” are satellites with primarily scientific missions. Airbus Defence and Space is responsible, for example, for the ice research satellite CryoSat (launched in 2010) and the three-satellite mission Swarm (launched in 2013) to study the Earth’s magnetic field and Aeolus (launched in 2018) to create global wind profiles. With EarthCARE and Biomass, two further “Earth Explorers” are in development by Airbus for ESA.

With the launch of Sentinel-1, which also carries a C-band radar from Airbus, the European Copernicus programme (EU/ESA) for environment and security received its first “own” satellite in April 2014. Copernicus is designed to provide vital information in six key areas: land monitoring, marine monitoring, disaster and crisis management, atmospheric monitoring, climate change monitoring and security. The comprehensive and uniform data on a global scale that is necessary for global environmental monitoring is inconceivable without satellite systems. “With Copernicus, Europe has finally taken the lead in Earth observation,” Liebig continues. He added, “Today, the whole world congratulates us on this system, which provides such important environmental data about our Earth. Copernicus was the crucial step from scientifically exploring important processes in our environment, as we do with ESA’s Explorer missions, to operationally observing. Scientists analysing the climate need data showing processes of more than 30 years. This in itself shows us why we needed Copernicus so badly, and it also shows us why it makes sense to celebrate 30 years of ERS-1. Since ERS-1, we now have data series, for example, for polar ice cover, sea-level rise, ocean surface temperature trends and many other climate variables.” At the heart of the space component are specially developed space missions for Copernicus, the “Sentinels”. Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for the industrial management of seven of the 13 Sentinel missions.

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Defence

INDIAN-ORIGIN CREW MEMBER ON UK’S CARRIER STRIKE GROUP

Serving aboard the fifth-generation aircraft carrier, Jagjeet Singh Grewal works in the Marine Engineering Department and handles crucial tasks like maintaining aviation fuel to the highest standard.

Ashish Singh

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The UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is currently sailing through the Indian Ocean Region. Jagjeet Singh Grewal is a leading engineering technician in the Royal Navy and embodies the unique living bridge that exists between the UK and India. The Carrier Strike Group has entered the Indian Ocean and preparing to meet the Indian Navy for a series of routine maritime exercises.

Jagjeet Singh Grewal

Serving aboard the fifth-generation aircraft carrier, Grewal works in the Marine Engineering Department and is responsible for maintaining aviation fuel to the highest standard. He also maintains fuelling pumps on the flight deck so that the F-35B jets, Merlin helicopters, and other aircrafts can operate to their optimum capacity. Currently settled in the UK, Grewal has a long family history in the Indian military. He shares, “My grandfather and grandfather-in-law served alongside the British Army in the Second World War and received a Mention in Dispatches, Burma Star, Africa Star, War Medal and Defence Medal. My father served in the Indian Air force and currently my wife’s brother and uncle are serving in the Indian Navy.”

“I am focused on doing my job to the highest standards, but it is good to know I am maintaining my family links while working with the Indian military,” Grewal added.

As the CSG sails in the Indian Ocean, engaging with its allies on its 26,000 nautical miles long maiden deployment, Grewal feels a special delight being part of the crew, training in the waters near to his ancestral home. The UK and India benefit from a unique living bridge of people, ideas, institutions, arts and culture. This includes an Indian diaspora of over 1.5 million people (2011 census) in the UK, contributing significantly to the UK’s prosperity via interests in business, politics, academia, medicine and the arts.

UK CARRIER STRIKE GROUP REACHES INDIAN OCEAN REGION

The United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2021, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, has sailed into the Indian Ocean Region, having recently transited the Suez Canal. Following a series of successful engagements and operations in the Mediterranean, it is now sailing East across the Indian Ocean towards India. It will then meet with ships from the Indian Navy to conduct routine maritime exercises. The deployment represents the UK’s deepening diplomatic, economic and security ties with India and in the Indo-Pacific region. It also demonstrates both the UK’s support for the freedom of passage through vital trading routes and for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific.

On this occasion, the British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “The UK Carrier Strike Group deployment is a major moment for UK defence as we develop this cutting edge capability across the globe. The group is sailing the Indian Ocean and will shortly conduct exercises with the Indian Navy, building on our already strong partnership with an important ally and friend.” He added, “The deployment illustrates the UK’s enduring commitment to global defence and security, strengthening our existing alliances and forging new partnerships with like-minded countries as we face up to the challenges of the 21st century.” The British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab emphasised, “The Carrier Strike Group deployment marks the start of a new era of defence cooperation with allies in India and the Indo-Pacific. By visiting 40 countries and working alongside our partners, the UK is standing up for democratic values, seizing new trading opportunities and tackling the shared threats we face together.” He added, “The deployment will interact with India, strengthening our already deep ties for the benefit of both our peoples’ security and prosperity.”

From defending democratic values and tackling shared threats, to seizing new trade opportunities through engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and others, the deployment marks a step-change in UK engagement in the region. The UK is already investing significantly in the region by seeking ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, kicking off negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and rapidly progressing trade talks with Australia, New Zealand and India. The British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, said, “The Carrier Strike Group is a powerful demonstration of our commitment to the security of India and the Indo- Pacific. Its arrival follows the UK’s first International Liaison Officer joining the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram. Today marks another step towards delivering the ambition set out jointly by our Prime Ministers in the 2030 Roadmap, bringing our countries, economies and people closer together.”

As part of its maiden operational deployment, the CSG will sail over 26,000 nautical miles, engaging with 40 countries from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific and back again. This deployment will provide tangible reassurance and security to the UK’s friends and a credible deterrence to those who seek to undermine global security. As the spearhead of UK’s Joint Expeditionary capability and a cornerstone of the UK’s conventional military deterrent, the CSG comprises nine ships, 32 aircraft and one submarine and is manned by 3,700 sailors, aviators and marines from the combined forces of the UK, US and the Netherlands. The fifth-generation HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier, at 65,000 tonnes, is the largest surface vessel ever constructed in the UK. Taller than Niagara Falls, her propellers generate the power of 50 high-speed trains. She leads six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a frigate from the Netherlands in the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation. It is equipped with the fifth-generation F-35B Lightning multi-role aircrafts. They are being jointly crewed by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps.

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India successfully test-fires Akash-NG

Ashish Singh

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Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested the New Generation Akash Missile (Akash-NG), a surface-to-air Missile from Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the coast of Odisha on Wednesday. The flight trial was conducted at around 12:45 pm from a land-based platform with all weapon system elements such as Multifunction Radar, Command, Control & Communication System and launcher participating in the deployment configuration.

The missile system has been developed by Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories. The launch was witnessed by the representatives of the Indian Air Force. To capture flight data, ITR deployed a number of Range stations like Electro-Optical Tracking System, Radar and Telemetry. The flawless performance of the entire weapon system has been confirmed by complete flight data captured by these systems. During the test, the missile demonstrated the high manoeuvrability required for neutralising fast and agile aerial threats.

Once deployed, the Akash-NG weapon system will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capability of the Indian Air Force. Production agencies Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) also participated in the trials. Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO, BDL, BEL, Indian Air Force, and the industry for the successful test. Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO applauded the efforts of the team and said that the missile will strengthen the Indian Air Force.

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