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PAKISTAN IN CANCER WARD

Understanding Pakistan and its deep-rooted problems through the articles that have appeared in its own newspaper, Dawn.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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As I was reading Dawn, I came across some thought provoking articles. I am sharing them with you. These articles 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 a weak ‘Endya’. Like always there is nothing original in these articles except my comments. 

IRONIES OF A NO-WIN WAR BY MALEEHA LODHI

 https://www.dawn.com/news/1615258/ironies-of-a-no-win-war 

My Comment: Maleeha Lodhi reviews the book No-Win War by Zahid Hussain in this article. The review suggests to me that it is a must-read book for all professionals who deal with Pakistan. The most important aspect is that Maleeha Lodhi commends the author about not being defensive about Pakistan’s interests. It is a different matter that these interests were against Pakistan’s own interests.     

Several books have been written on Pakistan-US relations. But few have explored the connection between domestic political developments and American foreign policy and the way Pakistan’s internal politics was at times influenced by geopolitical shifts in the region. Zahid Hussain’s latest book does just that. Titled No-Win War, it examines the ups and downs of Pakistan-US ties in the context of their often-divergent post-9/11 views and strategies in Afghanistan. This completes the author’s trilogy—his first book Frontline Pakistan and second, The Scorpion’s Tail, offered well-researched accounts of Pakistan’s policy dilemmas in the wake of 9/11 and the country’s battle against militant groups.

For me what is most important about the book is that it is written by a Pakistani who is not defensive about his country’s interests and who by his deep understanding of the country’s policies is able to offer Pakistan’s perspective on a pivotal period in a dispassionate and persuasive manner.

VACCINE NATIONALISM BY AYESHA IJAZ KHAN 

@ https://www.dawn.com/news/1615256/vaccine-nationalism

My Comment: If Pakistan has invested in terror as a tool of national progress and has diplomats like Maleeha Lodhi commending authors for not being apologetic about Pakistan’s interests and if a bankrupt Pakistan can only show off military prowess on Pakistan Day and it can discuss only blasphemy intellectually, then how on earth can it think of Vaccines? The most poignant note in this article…. A formidable Pakistan Day parade showing off military prowess seems out of touch when there is no local vaccine factory that can rival India’s production capacity…

When it comes to vaccinating its population, the United States is in a secure position. With 14 per cent of the country fully vaccinated and 26pc having received a first dose… anger has been brewing in European capitals, particularly as they watched the UK racing ahead, vaccinating its elderly, while the virus continued to surge and deaths continued to mount in Europe. This vaccine rivalry has festered to a point where Europe is threatening a ban on vaccine exports to the UK, or indeed any country that has vaccinated more of its population than Europe has. This could include countries like the UAE… As Europe and the UK scramble for vaccine supplies, the US is sitting on excess doses which it does not need. It has promised to send some to Canada and Mexico, but there are many more takers, the latest pleas coming from the Caribbean countries… So while less fortunate countries are begging the US to share its doses, China is engaging in a more proactive form of vaccine diplomacy. In fact, a March 17 article in The Guardian titled, ‘Why home-produced Covid vaccine hasn’t helped India, Russia and China rollouts’, stated that in all three countries the indigenously produced vaccines were being used more as diplomacy tools than to vaccinate their own populations…. So where does all this leave Pakistan? Relying primarily on vaccine donations doesn’t seem to be a wise strategy. No contact seems to have been made at the governmental level to negotiate favourable deals with pharmaceuticals, as Israel did, for instance, and received the Pfizer vaccine for a fraction of cost in exchange for a data-sharing arrangement… A formidable Pakistan Day parade showing off military prowess seems out of touch when there is no local vaccine factory that can rival India’s production capacity. Scientists are saying this may not be the only pandemic we will have to face in our lifetimes. That alone should force a national rethink.

ECONOMIES OF VACCINES BY SHAHID MEHMOOD 

@ https://www.dawn.com/news/1614997/economics-of-vaccines

My Comment: The author raises a valid question: Why is there no domestically produced vaccine, or even a semblance of an effort to produce it? Well. You have produced Ayub Khan. Yahya Kahan, Zia ul Haq, Pervez Musharraf and Bajwa, besides Hafiz Sayeed, Azhar Masood and Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. Do you think these social scientists could have invented Covishield and Covaxin? 

Covid-19 brought the world to its knees. The Covid vaccine has been the most sought-after product. However, as governments around the world rush to vaccinate their citizens, some aspects need deliberation and clarity. For instance, what explains the short supply of vaccines? And there’s the lesser discussed (but very important) aspect of non-production of vaccines in Pakistan.

Why publicly fund research into vaccines? As Covid-19 and historic episodes like the Spanish flu and bubonic plague (‘black death’) aptly demonstrated, viruses have the potential to bring the world to its knees, causing massive financial and economic losses plus utter misery. It is perfectly sensible and logical to pre-empt such a catastrophe. Since viruses also mutate over time, it requires constant research plus investment in infrastructure, which in turn requires extensive financial resources. Pharma firms will only be willing to devote the required resources if there is a good demand for vaccines. In a manner of speaking, government support ameliorates fears of investment going to waste. It’s a win-win situation for both the industry and government: companies get much-needed financial support to lessen uncertainty, while the government gets the vaccines it requires for public welfare.

Now we come to another very important topic. In Pakistan, not a single vaccine of any kind is being produced despite over 700 pharma firms. Why is there no domestically produced vaccine, or even a semblance of an effort to produce it? In our immediate neighbourhood, India has the world’s leading producers such as SII (Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine — known locally as Covishield — and Covaxin), Bharat BioTec (Covaxin, CoraVax), Biological E (Johnson & Johnson), Zydus Cadila (ZyCov-D), Hetero BioPharma (Sputnik V) and Dr Reddy’s Lab (Sputnik V). SII, aside from providing millions of Covid-19 doses within India, is in commercially contracted to providing 900 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine and 145m doses of Novavax globally. While exports are held up at the moment, imagine the scale of Indian vaccine production with the local authorities aiming to administer 600m doses within seven months, meaning about 85m doses a month.

Contrast this to Pakistan’s predicament, where the pharma industry is being charged tax in the name of ‘research’ (the Central Research Fund or CRF) since 1976, equivalent to one per cent of its gross sales. Put another way, the government’s message to the industry is: leave research to us and just pay for it. While the industry has obliged, the government has utterly failed. There is little or zero research to show for. Where did all that money since 1976 go? Officials remain tightlipped. What we do know is that there is not a single FDA-approved lab (international gold standard) nor any international-level infrastructure established through public expense.

THE ROCKY ROAD TO PEACE BY ABBAS NASIR 

@ https://www.dawn.com/news/1614996/the-rocky-road-to-peace

My Comment: The knives are out. This article is as insidious a peace as I have seen which is going to subterfuge the peace process. Equally it brings out the truth behind this entire proposal: Self-preservation of the Bajwa-Imran combination. 

Some 10 days after Pakistan’s Islamabad Security Dialogue saw Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa offering an olive branch to India amidst toned-down rhetoric on Kashmir, details remain sketchy of the process that led to the country’s civil and military leaders’ change of tack.

And this is what is going to be a tricky area. As discussed last week in these columns the Islamabad Security Dialogue speeches of the prime minister and the army chief were markedly different from their words of recent months.

Their rhetoric had understandably acquired a particularly strident tone since the August 2019 scrapping of Article 370, governing India-held Kashmir and its recognition as a disputed territory, by the Modi government and its unilateral annexation of Kashmir.

The Islamabad Security Dialogue speeches, which marked a softening of position towards India and an attempt to allay US fears about China’s growing economic proximity to Pakistan, were welcomed in editorials and by some analysts as a positive move.

Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, who has also served as Pakistan’s envoy to India, has written in this paper indicating nothing less than status quo ante will allow credible negotiations to commence. He has also mentioned the positive reaction of the Indian media to the statements of Pakistani leaders.

That, in his view, was because the statements were seen as Islamabad implicitly accepting India’s fait accompli in Kashmir. He feared that would exacerbate scepticism in the valley that the “talk of a new era in India-Pakistan relations comes without any concession from India while the Kashmiris of the Valley face the prospect of genocide”.

Pakistan would do well to elicit the support of more moderate Hurriyat leaders, after explaining the context of the statements of the country’s two leaders and possibly at least privately detailing the give and take involved.

There are indications that the initiators of this new dialogue with the hostile eastern neighbour are also now sending out feelers to our own opposition political parties to suss out their reaction to and stance on the issue.

SECURITY FRAMEWORK BY ADNAN RAFIQ 

@ https://www.dawn.com/news/1614995/security-framework

My Comment: The author rightly points out that Pakistan’s national security interests lie beyond protecting it from India. However the more interesting part is that the cancer in Pakistan—its security establishment aka deep state—has spread  far and wide…into  development (the National Development Council and CPEC Authority), health (the NCOC), criminal justice (JITs), disaster management (NDMA) among others, and at state-owned enterprises, with mixed results… Has Pakistan entered the cancer ward?

For most of its existence, Pakistan’s national security interests have been defined as protecting the country from India. During the last two decades however, factors such as internal discord epitomised by violent religious and secessionist movements, extremism, economic woes, climate change and, most recently, Covid-19 have challenged the traditional understanding of threats to national security.

The framework emphasises economic security as the key guarantor of other elements of national power—defence and deterrence, foreign policy and diplomacy and national cohesion. Increasing the national resource pie, it says, is key to stronger defence capability and meeting human security needs that include food security, water security and public health. It suggests leveraging Pakistan’s geographic location for economic growth by focusing on regional trade, connectivity and peace.

The World Bank report titled Pakistan@100 points to elite capture and jobless growth as key impediments to realising the nation’s true potential.

Second is the need for political stability and inclusion. Without settled rules of the game and consensus among all political players to abide by them, none of the objectives outlined by any national policy can be achieved. The peculiar nature of Pakistani polity requires greater consensus building and acceptance of a split mandate given by a diverse electorate.

Lastly, one would have to see whether the proposed policy paves the way for a greater role of the security community in various social sector fields or whether space can be created for actors in these realms to inform the security agenda. The security apparatus has now expanded its footprint in areas such as development (the National Development Council and CPEC Authority), health (the NCOC), criminal justice (JITs), disaster management (NDMA) among others, and at state-owned enterprises, with mixed results.

MISSING THREAT BY ZEBA SATHAR 

@ https://www.dawn.com/news/1614874/missing-threat

My Comment: Very erudite article on population problem facing Pakistan. Beautifully compared – Bangladesh development vs Pakistani non development. To me the scary part is …340m Pakistanis by 2050…they are more than a nuke! Need to think ahead and out of the box. Will the day come when the question arises whether we have to shoot down impoverished Pakistanis on the border fence or accept them as part of our humanity?   

The national security dialogue last week renewed hope that finally Pakistan plans to focus on its own issues and rising internal non-traditional threats. Included in the agenda were climate change, water security, food security and a host of other challenges.

However, it did not go unnoticed that there was no reference to concerns regarding our unabated population growth rate or planning for projected population numbers. Once again in a policy shift that stressed greater introspection for national security issues, the conversation on population is missing. Clearly, 220 million people, growing at twice the level of others in the region, with threats to their livelihood and survival, were not deemed an important topic.

Bangladesh is now posting statistics showing that child mortality is half the levels in Pakistan and its citizens will live five years longer on average, while female literacy has gone up to 72 per cent (compared to 47pc in Pakistan). If we do not care about these statistics, we certainly should when other figures that do matter to our powerful leaders are presented. Our per capita income today is approximately $1,400 while that of Bangladesh is above $2,000; their foreign exchange reserve is $42 billion, ours is half that at about $21bn; their economic growth during the pandemic last year was 5.2pc compared to our -0.4pc or so.

Bangladesh has achieved replacement fertility of 2.1 children allowing them to make investments in people and their education and health. Our fertility today is 3.6 children per woman. Bangladesh will stabilise at 200m, implying its population size will level off at that maximum for many years while we leap beyond the 350 million-plus mark in a few decades. Who is more likely to prosper, combat pandemics, improve health systems, maximise exports and become more prominent as a nation?

The choice is between two paths: We can focus on one of the largest non-traditional threats or on ‘big boy’ issues. I fear I know which path Pakistan will take. So, let us be prepared for the consequences for internal security and viability as the threat implodes with all the pressure exerted by 340m Pakistanis by 2050. 

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 www.gunnersshot.com.

Several books have been written on Pakistan-US relations. But few have explored the connection between domestic political developments and American foreign policy and the way Pakistan’s internal politics was at times influenced by geopolitical shifts in the region. Zahid Hussain’s latest book does just that. Titled ‘No-Win War’, it examines the ups and downs of Pakistan-US ties in the context of their often-divergent post-9/11 views and strategies in Afghanistan. This completes the author’s trilogy—his first book ‘Frontline Pakistan’ and second, ‘The Scorpion’s Tail’, offered well-researched accounts of Pakistan’s policy dilemmas in the wake of 9/11 and the country’s battle against militant groups.

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Defence

INS AIRAVAT REACHES JAKARTA WITH COVID RELIEF SUPPLIES FOR INDONESIA

Ashish Singh

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Indian Naval Ship Airavat arrived at the Port of Jakarta, Indonesia, carrying essential COVID-19 relief supplies. The ship has brought five Cryogenic containers containing 100 MT of Liquid Oxygen and 300 Concentrates to support Indonesia in its fight against the ongoing pandemic.

INS Airavat is a Landing Ship Tank (Large) type of ship with a primary role to carry out amphibious operations and is capable of carrying multiple tanks, amphibious vehicles and other military cargo. The ship is also deployed for HADR relief operations and has been a part of various relief efforts across the Indian Ocean Region. India and Indonesia enjoy close cultural and commercial ties. Both countries have been working together in the maritime domain towards a safer Indo-Pacific. The navies regularly carry out joint naval exercises in the form of bilateral exercises and coordinated patrols.

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22ND KARGIL VIJAY DIWAS CELEBRATIONS COMMENCE AT DRAS SECTOR IN KASHMIR

Ashish Singh

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The celebrations of 22nd Kargil Vijay Diwas commenced at Kargil War Memorial, Dras on Sunday. Early in the morning, a special event narrating the stories of Operation VIJAY was organized by the Army at Lamochen near Dras where an account of the epic battles on Tololing, Tiger Hill, Pt 4875 and other prominent features was narrated with these very landmarks visible to the audience in front of their eyes. A number of military personnel including the gallantry award winners and families of Kargil War heroes attended the event. The narration took everyone down the memory lane showcasing the daring feat achieved by the valiant soldiers of Indian Army.

Later in the day, the venue of the celebrations shifted to the Kargil War Memorial. A Fusion Military Band put up a display which was followed by a solemn ‘Beating the Retreat’ Ceremony and a Memorial Service, where the attendees paid silent tribute to the fallen heroes. At the memorial, 559 Lamps were also lit, which were a symbolic reminder of lives sacrificed by 559 bravehearts for the Nation. The last event of the day was, ‘A Twilight with Brave Hearts’, with the soldiers at Polo Ground, Dras. In a special tribute to the heroes of Kargil War, musician Aman Chandra enthralled the audience with his musical performance during the eve. Later in the evening, a performance by the Fusion Band of Indian Army along with their lighted pipers was planned as a humble tribute to the valour of our brave soldiers. The trailer of Captain Vikram Batra’s biopic, ‘Shershah’ by Dharma Productions was also released and ‘Maa Teri Kasam’, a soulful and emotive song, conceptualised by Northern Command was screened.

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COAST GUARD CARRIES OUT RESCUE AND RELIEF OPERATIONS AMID HEAVY RAINFALL AND FLOODS

Ashish Singh

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Heavy rainfall over past week has triggered devastating floods in various districts of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka and many areas are still waterlogged. Indian Coast Guard was one of the first responders towards providing aid to the general populace at the request of civil authorities which is also one of the charter of duties of ICG, by promptly despatching Disaster Relief Teams (DRT) with inflatable Gemini boat and life saving gears to the affected areas.

ICG DRTs reached areas rendered unapproachable due to water inundation especially in Chiplun & Mahad districts of Maharashtra and Umlijoog, Khargejoog, Bodjug Island and kinnar village in Uttar Kannada district of Karnataka and with dedicated efforts evacuated the stranded persons to safety and provided required relief material. At Goa, Coast Guard aircraft have undertaken aerial assessment of Ganjem Dam, Usgaon and Codli areas. Coast Guard helicopter has air dropped approximately 100 kgs of relief materials including food packets and drinking water for the stranded people. ICG efforts have translated in saving of 215 precious lives under the current rescue operation till today across these three states. The services of Coast Guard air station at Ratnagiri are also being extended to IN and IAF aircrafts for airlifting of NDRF teams, relief material and facilitating rescue operations across the affected regions. In addition to the already deployed teams, the Coast Guard DRTs as well as ships & aircraft are standby at high readiness for immediate mobilization for exigencies, if any and a close coordination with local administration is being maintained.

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FLOOD RELIEF OPERATIONS BY THREE SERVICES IN MAHARASHTRA, KARNATAKA AND GOA

Ashish Singh

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The three Services have joined hands with the civil administration and national as well as the State Disaster Management authorities in relief and rescue operations in flood-affected areas of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa. Working in close coordination with the administrations of worst-hit Ratnagiri, Kolhapur and Sangli districts of Maharashtra, the Indian Army has deployed Task Forces, comprising Infantry, engineers, communication, recovery and medical teams in the affected areas. The teams conducted rescue and relief operations and saved precious lives in Chiplun, Shirol, Hatkangle, Palus and Miraj areas.

In Karnataka, the Indian Navy mobilised seven well-equipped flood relief teams along with Naval divers, rubber ‘Gemini’ boats, life jackets and medical equipment for flood relief operations. The teams evacuated 165 people from Singudda and Bhaire villages near Kadra Dam, while 70 people were evacuated from low lying areas of Kaiga. Naval Seaking, Advanced Light Helicopters & Indian Air Force MI-17 helicopters conducted multiple sorties and rescued people marooned due to sudden and sharp rise in the water levels. They also conducted aerial survey of the affected areas to enable senior officials to assess the situation and plan rescue and relief operations.

Around 400 personnel of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were airlifted by Indian Air Force aircraft from Bhubaneshwar, Kolkata and Vadodara to Pune, Kolhapur & Ratnagiri in Maharashtra and Goa along with 40 tons of rescue equipment. The teams of the three Services are working round the clock to rescue the locals affected by floods, besides providing them with food, water, medical. More rescue teams and aircraft are on standby for deployment.

INDIAN ARMY INTENSIFIES FLOOD RELIEF OPERATIONS IN MAHARASHTRA

With the unprecedented rains and resultant overflowing of various rivers, a number of areas in Ratnagiri, Kohlapur, Sangli and other districts of Maharashtra have been inundated. On request of civil administration, Southern Command has mobilised flood relief and rescue teams to assist the locals in flood affected areas. A total of 15 flood relief teams from Aundh Military Station and Bombay Engineering Group, Pune have been deployed for flood relief and rescue operations in Sangli, Palus, Burli and Chiplun. The columns are involved in rescue of local villagers stranded in submerged areas and in restoring normalcy in these inundated areas. Over 100 persons have been rescued from the affected areas to safe locations.

The Indian Army is also providing cooked meals and drinking water in tankers to the villagers. Medical camps have also been established wherein medical teams of Army Doctors and Nursing Assistants have been deployed for providing necessary first aid and medicines to locals being evacuated from flood affected areas. The Army also with its deployed engineering efforts cleared the main route at Posare Budruk village of Ratnagiri district which was blocked due to landslide. The Army has established a Flood Relief Operation War Room at the Pune based Headquarters Southern Command to monitor the ongoing situation. Additional 10 flood relief teams have been put on alert for any contingency.

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. One Seaking 42C Helicopter from, Mumbai was deployed for aerial reconnaissance at Poladpur/Raigad. One ALH helicopter from Goa was positioned at Ratnagiri for relief/rescue, 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.

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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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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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