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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

INDIA REPATRIATES YOUTH FROM POK AT TITHWAL CROSSING POINT

Ashish Singh

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On the night of 5th April, a youth inadvertently crossed the line of control into Karnah, Kupwara (J&K). The youth identified as Mausam son of Manzoor Ahmad from Lipa area of Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan was kept by the Indian troops deployed along the line of control for the night with due care & Pakistani authorities were informed of the whereabouts of the child. Based on the interaction between the authorities of both sides on the hotline, the Indian authorities repatriated the youth to the Pakistani authorities from Tithwal crossing point as a humanitarian gesture. The youth was presented clothes and sweets, on return. On the occasion of repatriation, the representatives of civil administration, Karnah were present. The exchange took place at 1150 a.m. Indian standard Time on 7th April. Such inadvertent crossings have taken place earlier also due to close proximity of villages along line of control on either sides. However, the Indian side has always been prompt in returning the individuals keeping the humanitarian issue in mind.

That way Tithwal Crossing Bridge located on Kishanganga river has been acting as a point of peace between the two sides. It would be pertinent to highlight that the site is visited by lots of people from either sides and is emerging as tourist site especially after the recently agreed ceasefire between India and Pakistan. The peace and tranquility as a result of the agreement, is being appreciated by the civil population on either sides of line of control.

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RAJNATH SINGH HOLDS BILATERAL TALKS WITH KAZAKH DEFENCE MINISTER

Discusses ways to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.

Ashish Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with Defence Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev in New Delhi on Friday. During the meeting, the two Ministers exchanged views to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation, including through training, defence exercises and capacity building. They agreed that both sides must look at the possibility of defence industrial collaboration of mutual interest. The Defence Minister of Kazakhstan thanked Rajnath Singh for the opportunity given to the Kazakh troops for deployment as part of the Indian battalion in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Both Ministers also positively assessed the annual KAZIND Exercise.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and other senior civil and military officials of Ministry of Defence were also present on the occasion. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India from April 7th to 10th. He visited HQs 12 Corps at Jodhpur and the Longewala sector in Jaisalmer. The Kazakh Defence Minister is in India on the invitation of Rajnath Singh.

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MADE IN CHINA: NOT IN A BATTLE PLEASE

Ashish Singh

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The recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh is being avidly studied in think tanks and military academies over the world for its unusual lessons and the optimisation of disruptive technologies, particularly the success of Azerbaijan’s drones. However, another set of people are quietly studying the conflict even more closely—the global arms industry. Every conflict spurs arms sales. After the overwhelming and quick success of the US-led forces in Gulf War I, there was a long lineup for the latest weapons used in the war. The Saudis wanted F-15 fighters, Apache helicopters, Abrams M1A1 tanks, AWACS radar planes, Patriot missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, Seahawk helicopters, and Bradley fighting vehicles. The Egyptians wanted Hawk missiles, M-60 tank upgrades, and F-16 fighters, while the Israelis negotiated for portable battlefield-navigation systems, upgrades for the F-15 fighter and the M-109 artillery piece, and more Patriot missiles. A similar interest in the weapon systems, particularly drones, deployed in this conflict is being shown today in cash-rich capitals of many nations.

However, nobody is taking the next flight to Beijing to close an arms deal, though the Chinese have a reputation for being the cheapest in the market. The reason is evident, but hushed. For all their claims of technological prowess, the Chinese systems have failed to deliver. China commenced with large scale sales of drones to many countries as early as 2011. It was a ‘supply shock’, and countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria obtained them. The prices were unbelievably low—both for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). However, the performance of these inexpensive platforms leaves a lot to be desired. The export versions are regularly falling out of the sky. Algeria has reported a series of accidents in the last six years with the Chinese-supplied CH-4 UCAVs. The CH-4 is produced by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It is one of the Rainbow series of aircraft built by the state-owned corporation. In Algeria, repeated crashes of CH-4 were reported near Tindouf, Bir Rogaa and Ain Oussera airbases.

Jordan had to put on sale Chinese-supplied UAVs after they failed on all parameters. After purchasing with much fanfare in 2016, within three years, the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) had put its Chinese-made six CH-4B UAVs up for sale in June 2019, indicating disappointment with their performance. The RJAF had acquired them in 2016 along with AR-1 laser-guided missiles and FT-9 guided bombs. In June 2020, a Chinese drone crashed in Cambodia, in Koh Kong province’s Kiri Sakor district. It was a Chinese BZK-005, a high altitude UAV used primarily as a long range reconnaissance aircraft, designed by Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics and Harbin Aircraft Industry Company. Within China, their much hyped ‘Predator’ unmanned helicopter developed by Hangzhou Star Low Altitude Helicopter Development Company and hailed as one of the “trailblazers” in the development of China’s drone industry suddenly dived towards the ground and crashed at air show in Hangzhou in October 2020.

The key Chinese system in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict was the WM-80 Multiple Rocket Launcher (MRL), sold to Armenia in 1999 with great promises of devastating fires and annihilation of enemy forces. The MRL system was developed by Norinco, the China Ordnance Industries Group Corporation Limited, on Chinese designed Type 83 273 mm. It has a modular design, with two launcher boxes each containing four ready-to-launch rocket rounds on a TAS-5380 8×8 truck chassis. It failed to make any impact on the opposing Azerbaijan forces. In short, the Chinese weapon platforms have proved undependable even in mildly contested environments, leave aside wars with dense and unpredictable Air Defence environment.

There are numerous reliability and supplies issues with China. China signs agreements for a certain variant of a weapon platform but delivers a lower version with many changes. Often the buyer has no choice but to accept since the requirements are urgent, as in case of Algeria who purchased the lower variant as their border situation was worsening with Libya, Mali and Niger. Pakistan has similar compulsions, not to mention a worsening economy. China is also known to avoid providing spare parts and after sales service. Reports indicate that instead of adhering to the original contract, Chinese middlemen keep putting forth new options for better platforms, and make sales pitch simultaneously to rival factions and groups, particularly in Africa. Maybe the Chinese will improve their weapon platforms in near future, and offer some quality along with quantity. Even without quality, there would always be some buyers from the cash-strapped regions. However, for anywhere else where ethics and human lives matter, no ‘Made in China’ crashing drones and dysfunctional systems in a battlefield.

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INDIA, MALDIVES CALL FOR GLOBAL COOPERATION AGAINST TERRORISM

First meeting of India-Maldives Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism; the two nations strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms.

Ashish Singh

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The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism, countering violent extremism and de-radicalisation between India and the Maldives was held in New Delhi on Thursday. The Indian side was led by Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, and the Maldivian side was led by Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed. The meeting was held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere that symbolises the time-tested and good neighbourly ties between India and the Maldives and the energy, ambition and scale acquired by our bilateral relations under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

India and the Maldives strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and emphasised the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism in a comprehensive and sustained manner. Both sides reviewed threats posed by terrorist entities that are under UN sanctions and emphasised the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks.

They underlined the urgent need for all countries to take immediate, sustained, verifiable and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under their control is used for terrorist attacks on others and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks. Referring to the joint statement issued during the state visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Maldives in June 2019, the two sides recognized the critical threats that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation pose to peace and security in the region.

India appreciated the clear-eyed stance taken by the Government of President Solih to counter such threats and the concrete steps taken by the Maldives in this regard. The two sides also exchanged views on various areas of cooperation in the sphere of counter-terrorism including countering radicalization and violent extremism, combating financing of terrorism, preventing exploitation of the internet for terrorism and violent extremism, information sharing, capacity building and establishing institutional linkages between police, security forces, Customs, Immigration and other relevant agencies.

Further, the two sides exchanged views on enhancing bilateral cooperation against narcotics and drug trafficking. The discussions were also informed by the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented to countering terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism.

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation that will include assistance and capacity building for the security and law enforcement agencies and other relevant agencies of the Maldives as well as collaboration and the exchange of best practices in the areas of counter-terrorism, preventing and countering of violent extremism and de-radicalisation. The two sides also discussed cooperation in multilateral fora. The Maldivian delegation will also visit the training facilities of National Security Guard and the Bureau of Police Research and Development during its stay in New Delhi.

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Indian Army Chief Naravane proceeds on a five-day visit to Bangladesh

Ashish Singh

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Continuing with the excellent tradition of strong bilateral and defence ties between India and Bangladesh, General M.M. Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) has started a five day visit to Bangladesh from 8th to 12th April. General Naravane’s visit comes in the midst of Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations which mark 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh, made possible by the historic leadership of the Bôngobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and heroics of the Mukti Bahini who fought shoulder to shoulder with Indian Armed Forces. 

The Army Chief paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by laying a wreath at the Shikha Anirban on Thursday. This was followed by one to one meetings with the three Service Chiefs of the Bangladesh’s Armed Forces. General Naravane is also scheduled to visit the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi, where he will pay tributes to Bangladesh’s founding father. The COAS will interact with Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on 11th April at Bangladesh Army’s Multipurpose Complex in Dhaka where he will attend a seminar on UN Peace Support Operations and deliver a keynote address on “Changing Nature of Global Conflicts: Role of UN Peacekeepers”

General MM Naravane is also scheduled to interact with the Force Commanders of the United Nations Missions in Mali, South Sudan and Central African Republic and the Deputy Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutanese Army on 12th April. He will also attend the closing ceremony of Exercise Shantir Ogrosena, a multilateral UN-mandated counterterrorism exercise comprising the Armed Forces of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka along with observers from the US, UK, Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among others. The Chief will also witness the innovations of the Bangladeshi Armed Forces personnel during the Hardware Display. The Chief of the Army Staff will interact with the members of Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support and Training Operations (BIPSOT) during the last leg of his visit. This visit will further deepen the bilateral relationships between the two Armies and act as a catalyst for closer coordination and cooperation between the two countries on a host of strategic issues.

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Kazakhstan Defence Minister visits India for bilateral talks

Ashish Singh

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Minister of Defence of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India from April 7th to 10th. The Kazakh Defence Minister arrived in Jodhpur on Wednesday and is scheduled to travel to Jaisalmer, New Delhi and Agra for meetings and visit to defence establishments. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev will hold a bilateral meeting with Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi today. This will be the first meeting after Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev was re-appointed as Defence Minister of Kazakhstan. The two Ministers had last met in Moscow on 5th September 2020 on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting. The Kazakh Defence Minister is in India on the invitation of Raksha Mantri.

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