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The seminar was attended by Defence Ministers, Service Chiefs and delegations from friendly foreign countries, in a hybrid format involving both physical and virtual participation.

Ashish Singh



Indian Navy conducted a seminar on Building Collective Maritime Competence towards Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) on 4 February, during the ongoing Aero India 2021. The seminar was attended by Defence Ministers/ Service Chiefs/Delegations from friendly foreign countries, academia, diplomats from various missions and media personnel in a hybrid format involving both physical and virtual participation.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The esteemed dignitaries at the event.

Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Naval Staff delivered the Welcome Remarks. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh delivered the Keynote Address. Quoting historic wisdom from our scriptures, he said “Unity is Strength of any Society, and a Society is weak without it”, the Defence Minister lauded the topic of the seminar as chosen by the Indian Navy, which delves into building collective maritime competence.

The prominence of Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in global strategy has mandated many nations establishing a presence in the region to ensure their strategic interests and assist in overcoming challenges in the maritime domain viz., piracy, maritime terrorism, human trafficking, Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, loss of bio-diversity and battling climate change. Since energy and trade are critical in geo-political strategies, any disruption and consequent turbulence in smooth flow would have strategic security implications for all of us (in the Region) and the world at large. In order to ensure collective growth and prosperity, it is imperative that we build competence in the maritime domain, on a collective basis. India, due to its geo-strategic location in IOR, quintessential maritime character, historical and cultural ties with the littoral states, considers it obligatory to keep the maritime neighbourhood safe and secure, through unity and togetherness, against menace originating from the maritime domain. We believe that, in unity lies our strength.

In recent years, India has taken a number of initiatives driven by the need for ‘collective growth’ in the region, which has included our initiatives of ‘Look East’ policy of the late nineties to the more recent ‘Act East’ policy and our maritime initiatives of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). All these initiatives have underscored the need for a ‘Whole of Government’ approach to strengthen relations in the IOR in a mutually supportive and cooperative manner and we have identified shared concerns from our partner countries. These concerns, necessitate that our response must be synchronised and coordinated, to accomplish a common goal. Indian Navy has sustained its prominence as the ‘First Responder’ in the IOR during natural disasters and also during the testing times of Covid.

‘Mission Sagar’ was aimed at providing medical and humanitarian aid, food supplies to our maritime neighbours. The prompt assistance provided for arresting fire onboard Motor Tanker Diamond off Sri Lanka, assistance rendered in aftermath of the oil spill incident involving Motor Vessel Wakashio off Mauritius and search and rescue efforts undertaken off Indonesia to locate missing fisherman, were indicative of collective readiness at all times to respond to the unforeseen.

The Defence Minister emphasised that, “Towards maintaining a safe and secure maritime environment in the IOR, the Navies/ Maritime Agencies in the region are partnering to develop a comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness in the IOR.” Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary provided the Closing Remarks. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, “One Must Continue to Grow and Evolve”, he drew relevance, as the Indian Navy continues to be the ‘Preferred Security Partner’ and eventually aims to be the ‘Dependable Maritime Neighbour’.

Speaking on relevance of the IOR, the Defence Secretary stressed that, Any threat, ‘whether man made or natural’, emanating from within this region or from adjacent domains, would have adverse effect on the livelihood of population. The issues that plague are not limited by boundaries and not specifically against a particular sovereign state. Therefore, the Navies/ maritime agencies which are also not limited by boundaries, and are work horses of the maritime domain, need to aim at working together by ‘Keeping Station’ with each other.

During the Seminar, two panel discussions were held on Identifying Common Maritime Security Challenges and Building Collective Maritime Competence to Overcome Security Challenges.

Panel 1- Identifying Common Maritime Security Challenges.

Moderator – RAdm SJ Singh, NM, Commandant Naval War College, Goa


Maj Gen Abdulla Shamaal, Chief of Defence Force, Maldives

Dr Frederic Grare, Non-resident Senior Fellow, South Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC (Virtual)

VAdm Pradeep Chauhan (Retd), Director General National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi (Virtual)

Mr PS Raghavan, Former Chairman NSAB

Adm Ravindra Chandrasiri Wijegunaratne, Former Chief of Defence Staff, Sri Lanka

Panel 2 – Building Collective Maritime Competence to Overcome Security Challenges

Moderator – RAdm Sudhir Pillai (Retd).


Adm Aurangzeb Chowdhury, Former CNS Bangladesh Navy.

RAdm VK Saxena (Retd), Chairman and Managing Director, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd, Kolkata.

Ms Jane Chan, Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore (Virtual).

Timothy Walker, Maritime Project Leader and Senior Researcher, Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Pretoria (Virtual).

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Ashish Singh



Indian Navy deployed its surface and air assets for the search and rescue (SAR) of missing fishermen at sea off the coast of Mangalore.

It was reported that an Indian fishing boat ‘IFB Rabah’ with 14 fishermen embarked had suffered a collision with a Singapore flag merchant ship ‘MV APL Le Havre’, 40 nautical miles west of New Mangalore at about 0200hrs on 13th April.

Indian Naval Ships Tillanchang and Kalpeni along with naval aircraft from Goa were deployed in the area to augment SAR efforts of Coast Guard vessels. While two rescued fishermen have been shifted to safety ashore, three bodies have been recovered thus far.

The search is on for the remaining nine fishermen. To assist in the rescue efforts INS Subhadra, a patrol vessel, was sailed from Karwar with a Diving Team embarked.

The ship arrived on scene in the early hours of 14th April.

Two specialist diving teams are undertaking snag-line search in the area in an effort to locate the sunk fishing craft.

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A strong military in Pakistan and a strong political leadership in India were supposed to be the harbingers of a peace settlement between the two nations, but the politico-military leadership of Islamabad is weak.




As I keep reading Dawn, I come across some thought-provoking articles. I am sharing them with you. It will give you an insight into this troubled frontline nation which prided itself on the terrorists it produced as national assets rather than investing in vaccines. Like always there is nothing original in these articles except my comments.


Complete Solidarity with Kashmir @

The Pakistan Army’s top brass on Thursday reaffirmed its “complete solidarity” with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir in their struggle for the right to self-determination, the military’s media wing said. The support was expressed during the 240th Corps Commanders Conference chaired by Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the GHQ. 

My Comment: Pakistan Army will lose their reason to exist if they do not express complete solidarity with Kashmir. Every one forgets one thing above all, the Pakistani army wants revenge against all defeats they have suffered at the hands of India. Their only option is Kashmir. How will they give it up? Some things never change.  

U-turn on ECC decision @

The cabinet’s reversal of the Economic Coordination Committee decision on imports from India is a bizarre development—one that falls squarely under the unfortunate category of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. Not only does it betray a lack of coordination within the government, it also points to poor decision-making on a serious matter that requires a sensible and level-headed approach. The episode raises several questions, and cannot be shrugged off by ministers. It points to a faulty system, creating the impression that the key job of decision-making is conducted in a juvenile manner. At the moment, this fiasco is casting a cloud of uncertainty over Mr Khan’s leadership skills. As demonstrated by this latest U-turn, communication problems, an inability to make and stick to decisions and poor conflict-resolution skills are becoming the hallmark of this government. The nation deserves to know who is responsible and what action will be taken to avoid such blunders in the future.

My Comment: The U-turn only indicates that a weak Pakistan—economically and politically—is not suited for peace. In fact a weak Pakistan can never be at peace with itself. How can it come to peace with India?  

A Line on the Map by Khurshid Kasuri @  

The formula had 11 or 12 important ingredients:

 (i) Substantial demilitarisation beginning with major urban centres with an agreement to keep troops to a minimum along the LoC.

(ii) Defining units of Kashmir: There would be two units for the purposes of the agreement regarding the disputed State of Jammu & Kashmir under the control of Pakistan and India(where) governments would be free to have more than one administrative region in the units under their control.

(iii) Maximum self-governance would be granted in legislative, executive, and judicial areas to each unit. A mechanism would be evolved to achieve this objective

(iv) A joint mechanism would consist of a specified number of elected members from each of the two units. It would be entrusted with the responsibility of increasing the number of crossing points, and encourage travel, trade and tourism. It was decided to further streamline transport services and encourage interaction between the peoples as well as exchange of commodities.

(v) This mechanism was to encourage the promotion of common policies towards the development of infrastructure, hydroelectricity, and exploitation of water resources.

(vi) Centres to wean militants away through DDR (de-radicalisation, disengagement, and rehabilitation).

(vii) Elections: Free and fair elections in the respective units would be held regularly. They would be made open to international observers and the media.

(viii) Monitoring and review process: Any solution that was presented could experience unanticipated difficulties. The foreign ministers of Pakistan and India would meet at least once a year to monitor the progress of the agreement and it would be subject to a review at the expiration of 15 years.

(ix) LoC – ‘A line on the map’ would cease to exist between the Kashmiris, and they would require no visas or passports to travel across the LoC.

(x) The signing of a treaty of peace, security and friendship like the Élysée Treaty between Germany and France.

(xi) Unwritten understanding/agreement that neither side would proclaim victory.

(xii) There would be equal self-governance in both units.

My Comment: The ‘Midnights Children’ have changed in four decades. As per Salman Rushdie, they have changed in a manner he never visualised. That is a fair comment. After all he is not god and 1.5 Billion people either side of the divide have a mind of their own and have morphed as per their wishes in four decades. In any case in the 17 years since this plan was conceived, the pace  of change in both countries has been great in diametrically opposite directions. Laudable as it seems, this peace plan is just a whiff  of an ill-fated romance  gone sour.    

Changing Security Paradigm @

A series of recent events has led many to speculate that winds of change pertaining to the national security paradigm may be blowing in Islamabad’s policy corridors. From the Pakistan army chief’s calling on India and Pakistan to bury the past and move on, and the exchange of letters between the two countries’ prime ministers, to the renewed discourse on bilateral trade  despite the subsequent backtracking – it reflects Pakistan’s apparently changing and intertwined national security and economic diplomacy outlooks. On the whole, in Pakistan, democracy or democratic processes are hardly considered a factor in nurturing national cohesion, building trust among communities and bringing economic prosperity to the country. The existing power structure is not capable of conceiving new ideas nor can it implement even what it devices on its own. To handle its internal and external challenges, Pakistan needs a strong economy and good relations with the world, especially with its neighbours. Among the neighbours, India is the most critical challenge, mainly because of the Kashmir issue. To deal with India, there are several courses of action possible, including direct talks, mediation or complete disengagement. In that context, does there need to be a shift in Pakistan’s security approach? Does the conventional security paradigm not serve the purpose? If so, why, and what kind of shift does the power elite have in mind? These questions need an open discussion on public forums, media, and most importantly, in parliament. Pakistan has to focus more on transforming its economy, which may require good relations with India, Afghanistan and Iran. 

My Comment: This article gives you the sense that the Pakistani establishment can never ever get peace for Pakistan. Too coiled up. 

PDM Collapse No Relief For PTI @

Even when the opposition PDM alliance, in the form we have known it, is collapsing, the question being asked is if the governing PTI really needs enemies given its incredible propensity to cause self-harm as the events of the past few days have demonstrated again.

Take for example the lead headline in this newspaper’s April 1 edition that said: ‘Govt moves to restore trade ties with India’. It was based on the news conference of the newly crowned Finance Minister Hammad Azhar.

This seemed to be a natural progression from the main story the day before, on March 31, whose heading was: ‘Pakistanis want peace with India, Imran tells Modi’. The story summarised the letter of thanks the prime minister sent in response to a message of felicitation sent by his Indian counterpart on March 23.The March 23 message and its response, for their part, did not come out of the blue as earlier in the month addressing the Islamabad Security Dialogue the prime minister and then the army chief offered an olive branch to New Delhi which represented a policy rethink. The Islamabad Security Dialogue saw the two Pakistani leaders call on India to move towards a solution of all bilateral issues including Kashmir but a reference to Article 370 was missing. But then the day after the trade resumption headline, the main story in April 2’s Dawn, read: ‘Cabinet nixes ECC decision to allow imports from India’. Who knows what happened in the 24 hours that saw the decision announced and later rescinded. Perhaps, reminders in the media that Nawaz Sharif was vilified for trying to better ties with India and called a traitor, made key decision-makers nervous.

My Comment: Very clearly it is not the opposition which made Imran Khan take the U-turn.

Covid Registration After Eid @

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar has said that the government plans to open registration for Covid-19 vaccination for all citizens after Eid. “We will be able to vaccinate more than 125,000 people per day after Eid,” Umar told media representatives.

My Comment: For the next two months Pakistan will not have any vaccines, not even those ineffective Chinese ones. After that Pakistanis can register themselves however vaccines might not be available there is complete silence on any concrete plan this will only push Pakistan deeper into the hole that it is inbtw a study conducted by American newswire Bloomberg showed that it would take a decade for Pakistan to inoculate 75pc of its population despite the fact that over one million people have already been vaccinated against the virus…the hole has a long time span too.

Pakistan-India Peace @

Even over the last few weeks there have been many ups and downs, with the first positive sign in a long time coming in late February, when both sides agreed to silence their guns along the LoC. This was followed by an exchange of pleasantries and public pronouncements calling for peace in the region from the highest offices in both capitals, along with a decision by Pakistan to import Indian sugar and cotton. However, shortly afterwards, the trade plan was nixed. Now, two fresh developments have posed further questions. Firstly, the Foreign Office has said the SAARC summit, due to be held in Pakistan in October, can take place if “artificial obstacles” are removed, in a thinly veiled reference to India. In the second, more ominous development, the US National Intelligence Council has said Pakistan and India may “stumble” into a large-scale war within the next five years.

My Comments: The US has started the old game raising bogeys of a nuclear holocaust remains to be seen whose arm it is trying to twist. The India-Pakistan fledgling peace process has hit a rude wall after the EEZ fracas; there is a need to remain careful as to whose bed we are getting into in the Quad, I mean.

Overall comments: A strong military in Pakistan and a strong political leadership in India were supposed to be the harbingers of a peace settlement in the India-Pakistan scenario but the politico-military leadership of Pakistan is weak. Make no mistake. A strong India will never compromise since any compromise on Kashmir is only feasible if the CPEC and China are out of Kashmir. Will that happen? The Pakistani expectation of a compromise involves rescinding Abrogation of Article 370. Article 370 is history; it existed once upon a time; it will not get reinstated. It brings us to the pointed fact that peace with Pakistan is a pipe dream. In fact it has gone out of the window. Let us not live in a fossilised world where peace with Pakistan continues to be a romantic obsession. All we can foresee is a no-war situation; let us be happy with that in the meanwhile. We need to see beyond Pakistan at the composite challenge presented by a predatory China and a toxic Pakistan. 

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

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Ashish Singh



National Cadet Corps (NCC) paid homage to the martyrs of Jallianwala Bagh massacre who lost their lives on April 13th in 1919. The homage coincides with the ongoing ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ wherein the nation is celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Independence. The cadets of NCC, which has a strong cadet base of 14 lakhs, gathered at 75 places across the country paying gratitude to the freedom fighters through Nukkad Nataks, patriotic songs, speeches and skits. This tribute by the cadets filled the environment with patriotic fervour with many locals also joining the events. The social media was also flooded with #NCCremembersJallianwala.

On the occasion, the NCC also launched a pan-India campaign to educate people against ‘Single use Plastics’. The cadets gathered at these 75 locations after conducting Plog Runs and spreading the message of cleanliness and putting an end to ‘Single use Plastic’. The message was spread on social media through #NCCagainstPlastic. The NCC, a premier uniformed youth organisation of the country, has contributed significantly in nation building since its inception. It has transformed the lives of millions of youth by shaping their character and showing them the path of ‘Unity and Discipline’. The corps has made praiseworthy contributions in spreading awareness amongst the masses on important issues like water conservation, environment protection, digital awareness and Swachhta Abhiyan.

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Fuselage arrival in Renton marks a major production milestone.

Ashish Singh



The first P-8A Poseidon fuselage for Norway arrived at Boeing facilities in Renton, Washington, from Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, marking a major milestone in the production of the first of five Poseidons for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. A derivative of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation commercial aircraft, the P-8 is first assembled at Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ 737 production line, where the fuselage receives additional wiring and systems needed to support military components, equipment and operation. The aircraft is then delivered to Boeing’s Defense, Space & Security unit for the installation of military systems, testing and delivery to military customers. “Boeing uses a proven in-line production process to efficiently build the aircraft”, said Christian Thomsen, P-8A Europe program manager. “Implementing established best practices and common, commercial production-system tools enables the team to reduce flow time and cost while ensuring quality and on-time delivery to our customers.”, He added.

Norway is expected to receive its first P-8 later this year. In total, five P-8s will eventually replace Norway’s current fleet of six P-3 Orions and three DA-20 Jet Falcons and will provide advanced capabilities to maintain situational awareness in neighbouring waters on and below the surface of the ocean. To date, Boeing has delivered 104 P-8 aircraft to the U.S. Navy and customers in Australia, India and the United Kingdom.

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Ashish Singh



The Institute of National Integration (INI) of Indian Army is located at Dapodi, Pune. The Institute is a true emissary of Indian Army’s stated goal of ‘Nation Building’ through ‘National Integration’ as summarized by INI’s logo ‘Unity and Diversity’. The INI was an outcome of ideas between the Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff in 1980, as a pilot project of giving depth to cohesion and inter faith harmony which prevails in the Indian Army. A batch of 31 Recruits qualified were appointed religious teachers (RT) in the rank of Junior Commissioned Officers on 13th April. A colourful Passing Out Parade was conducted at Institute of National Integration, Pune. Brigadier Hardeep Singh Dhodi, Commandant of Institute, reviewed the parade and awarded General Officer Commanding in Chief, Army Training Command and INI Commandant’s Silver Medal to Naib Subedar Puneet Bhargav of Raj Rif Regtl Centre and Gold Medal to Naib Subedar Gurnarender Singh of BEG & Centre Kirkee,, respectively who distinguished themselves in respective facets of intense training.

The Commandant congratulated the newly commissioned JCOs and their parents, for successful completion of training incorporating subjects related to National Integration, Behaviour & Social Science including Spiritualism, Yoga, Psychological Counselling and Stress Management. The Religious Teachers passing out from INI are ready to perform assigned duties of ‘Dharam Yodha’ as also shoulder additional responsibilities of a Psychological Counselor and Mental Health Mentor for troops deployed across varied and harsh terrains along Northern and Eastern Borders. The Religious teachers in Indian Army play a prominent role towards building up of Morale, Motivation amongst troops and their families, to serve as a catalyst toward Unit Cohesion, thus contributing to Battle Winning Ethos prevailing in units. Their primary role is to instil unity and create an ethos of secularism in the Armed Force.

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Ashish Singh



In the line of duty, Indian Army Havildar Bhadouria Kuldip Suresh Singh fainted on 8 April 2021 and was rushed to the hospital but later declared dead due to Acute Coronary Syndrome (Query) Massive at Ladakh. He was deployed in eastern Ladakh along Line of Actual Control (LAC) since 23 August 2020 at an altitude of 16,082 feet with extreme climatic conditions coupled with temperature plummeting to -35 degree and high velocity winds.

Mortal remains of battle casualty Havildar Bhadouria Kuldip Suresh Singh of 12 Guards were transported in civil aircraft by Air India AI 531 to Ahmedabad. Homage was paid to him at the Ahmedabad airport by Army officials and Commanding Officer. Mortal remains were further escorted to his native place at Jantanagar, Chandkehda, Ahmedabad with full military honours for the funeral rites. Hav Bhadouria Kuldip Suresh Singh was enrolled in Indian Army on 25 September 2000. A selfless soldier with unprecedented bravery and indefatigable will who served with high level of commitment throughout his career. The soldier served from the scorching deserts of Rajasthan to icy heights of Ladakh to the High Altitude Active Area of Jammu & Kashmir. On 8th April, the soldier breathed his last while defending the nation in such inhospitable condition conforming to the highest values and ethos of Indian Army. Mortal remains of the soldier were paid full military honours by personnel and senior officials of Army by laying wreaths at Ahmedabad Cantonment before being transported to his native place in Ahmedabad.

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