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What Mission Shakti meant for India

Ashish Singh

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An Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) test was successfully conducted by DRDO on 27 March, 2019 with a new interceptor missile against a live orbiting satellite in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a “Hit to Kill” mode. The interceptor missile is a three-stage missile having two solid rocket boosters and a “Hit to Kill” capable Kill Vehicle (KV). The A-SAT mission was conducted, as per the directives of the PM in 2016, to demonstrate India’s advancing technological capabilities in engaging space-based threats involving complex mission planning and execution.

The geographically distributed C4I weapon system detected, tracked and classified it as a satellite. The mission control centre (MCC) authorized destruction of the target through an assignment to the launch control centre (LCC). The LCC, in turn, computed a feasible intercept solution, prepared and launched the interceptor missile from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island, Dhamra, Odisha. The “Kill Vehicle (KV)” was released as per the real-time computation of the sequence of events followed by the jettisoning of the heat shield. The KV with innovative design and the indigenous state of the art “Hit to Kill technology” homed onto the target satellite. The advanced terminal guidance with the strap down Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) seeker and Ring Laser gyro based inertial navigation system guided the KV to hit the target satellite at closing speeds of more than 10 km/sec. The Electro Optical Tracking System (EOTS) tracked the entire engagement and captured the “Direct Hit” which was also corroborated by the last image frame of onboard IIR seeker. Technically, the KV had the capability to neutralize the target satellites in the entire LEO region. However, as a responsible nation for peaceful use of space, India had chosen a much lower orbit of around 300 km for capability demonstration with the purpose of avoiding threat of debris to the global space assets. This ensured that the debris would decay in a matter of weeks.

PM’S ADDRESS TO THE NATION

It all started with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation. In a series of tweets, the Prime Minister said “In the journey of every nation there are moments that bring utmost pride and have a historic impact on generations to come. One such moment is today. India has successfully tested the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile. Congratulations to everyone on the success of Mission Shakti. Mission Shakti was a highly complex one, conducted at extremely high speed with remarkable precision. It shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space programme. Mission Shakti is special for 2 reasons:

(1) India is only the 4th country to acquire such a specialised & modern capability.

(2) Entire effort is indigenous. India stands tall as a space power! It will make India stronger, even more secure and will further peace and harmony.”

PM INTERACTS WITH SCIENTISTS

Shortly after his address to the nation, Prime Minister spoke to scientists involved with the successful conduct of Mission Shakti, via video conference. The successful conduct of Mission Shakti has made India the fourth nation in the world, with the capability to successfully target satellites through an Anti-Satellite Missile. Congratulating them on their success, the Prime Minister said that the entire nation is proud of our scientists for achieving well, what they had set out to accomplish. He said that in line with the “Make in India” initiative, the scientists have given a message to the world that we are less than no one.

The Prime Minister said that India follows the philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam—the world is one family. He however, also emphasized, that the forces which work for peace and goodwill, must remain ever-powerful, for the achievement of peace. The Prime Minister asserted that for global peace and regional peace, India should be capable and strong. He said that the scientists have contributed to this effort with dedication. He also conveyed the greetings of the entire Union Cabinet to the scientists. The scientists thanked the PM for giving them this opportunity to prove their skills.

INDIA JOINED SELECT GROUP OF NATIONS

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ from the Dr AP J Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha 27th March 2019. A DRDO-developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode. The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters. Tracking data from range sensors confirmed that the mission met all its objectives. The test demonstrated the Nation’s capability to defend its assets in outer space. It was a vindication of the strength and robust nature of DRDO’s programmes. With this India joined a select group of nations, which have such capability. The test once again proved the capability of indigenous weapon systems.

STRATEGIC EXPERTS AND TECHNOCRATS DELIBERATE

On 6 April 2019, a special interaction session was organized by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to present first-hand account of the mission details, development milestones including technological aspects of Mission Shakti. Many eminent serving/retired strategic experts, technocrats, diplomats, top brass of Armed forces, Scientific fraternity across various departments participated in the deliberations.

DRDO presented the objectives, mission challenges and achievements of the Anti-Satellite Test (A-SAT). DRDO had successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite Missile Test (A-SAT) ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on March 27, 2019 and made India join the select group of three nations (USA, Russia and China) possessing such capability. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Principal Scientific Adviser to Govt of India, Prof K Vijay Raghavan, Deputy National Security Advisers Pankaj Saran & Rajinder Khanna, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy K.N. Vyas, Secretary Dept of Science & Technology, Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences Dr M. Rajeevan, strategic experts and think tank of India, former DRDO chiefs and retired service officers along with Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&D Dr G Satheesh Reddy were present during the event.

POSTAGE STAMP RELEASED ON A-SAT

A customised ‘My Stamp’ on India’s First Anti Satellite Missile (A-SAT) launch was released by Department of Posts on the occasion of Engineers Day today in the august presence of Ajit Doval, National Security Advisor (NSA) on the 1st anniversary of Mission Shakti. On the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Research and Development Organisation had successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ exactly a year ago. The entire effort was indigenous which demonstrated the Nation’s capability to develop such complex and critical missions. A number of industries also participated in the mission. With this success, India became fourth nation in the world to possess such capability.

Doval in his address had stated that it was a very brave step on part of DRDO to go for Mission Shakti. He further stated that DRDO has plenty of achievements to be proud of; however, the future is in space-based technologies. Satellites are critical and with this capability India can defend its assets in space. He appreciated the way in which the mission was kept a secret and complimented the whole DRDO fraternity for doing well in all other fields.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, Secretary DDR&D & Chairman DRDO had thanked Prime Minister and NSA for having confidence in DRDO and assigning such a critical and complex mission to DRDO. He had further stated that A-SAT mission enabled development of many technologies and capabilities for precision kill at higher altitudes. He had called upon DRDO fraternity to take up more such complex and critical projects. The function was also attended by Pradipta Kumar Bisoi, Secretary, Department of Posts and Senior Scientists of DRDO. The release of Stamp reminded the nation about the technological achievement, which made the nation proud.

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Defence

Infiltration and narco smuggling attempt foiled along LoC in Karnah forests

Ashish Singh

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Indian Army, BSF along with J&K Police foiled a narco smuggling attempt in forward areas of Tangdhar Sector last night and recovered 10 kg of narco estimated to be approximately Rs 50 crore. This is the second consecutive busting of ‘Pak-sponsored narco terror model’ in the past one week. Incidentally, a 10 kg heroin consignment was recovered from the same general area a week ago in a joint operation, however, this time smugglers were spotted carrying the narcotics along the Line of Control. Indian Army & BSF’s strong anti-infiltration posture denied the smugglers accompanied by Pak-based terrorists, the opportunity to cross the fence. It further forced them to abandon their consignment and flee on being challenged. The operation to identify individuals of Karnah Tehsil involved in this activity was in progress during filing of this report. Local sources have affirmed high likelihood of arrests of certain kingpins in upcoming days. 

Narco terrorism has been Pakistan’s long espoused model to culturally degrade the social fabric of the border areas of Kashmir & Punjab. This attempt of Pakistan to support smugglers with armed terrorists has exposed the nexus. Pak handlers controlling the nexus, get money in lieu of Narco supplied which is in turn used to fund terror organisations operating in Pak & PoK. Pak Army is a key stakeholder in this Narco-Terror nexus which involves using of civilians on both sides of the Line of Control as cannon fodder. The modus operandi involves pushing the handlers and smugglers across the borders with an aim to exchange the drugs in lieu of money to support the militant organizations. Parents and Civil Society in the past have been urged to play their role in strengthening their fight to combat the menace for the larger benefit of society. Pak’s nefarious designs has not only affected youth of J&K but also those in PoK who are involved in Narco consumption & smuggling.

Explosives Recovered – Major Incident Averted in Karnah by Army & Police

In a major success to Security Forces deployed in Karnah, 15 sticks of Plastic Explosives were recovered on Monday evening owing to high state of alertness of the Army and Police. Last week, a specific intelligence was received on likely explosives being exchanged near Jama Masjid of Tangdhar. Security Forces increased alertness level and monitored the area through a comprehensive surveillance grid. A detailed search by the Army Bomb Disposal Team led to recovery of the explosives which was supposedly being transhipped to hinterland. The operation was conducted in the heart of Tangdhar market with zero inconvenience to locals as per the market vendors who were eye witness to the precision operation.

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Defence

IAF’s 2-day commanders’ conference commences

Ashish Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference (AFCC-21) on 15 April 21 at Air Headquarters. Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), welcomed the Defence Minister, Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and other senior officials from the MoD. During his address, Rajnath SIngh expressed happiness that the conference coincides with the birth anniversary of the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC. He congratulated IAF for ensuring a timely and befitting response to the sudden developments in eastern Ladakh. He advised the Commanders to draw up long term plans and strategies for capability enhancement to counter future threats. He appreciated the critical focus of IAF towards reorienting for the future.

Speaking about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the RM appreciated the role played by the IAF in assisting other Govt agencies in their task. Referring to changing international geopolitics, he observed that the perceptible shift of focus from Trans-Atlantic to Trans-Pacific has become more obvious in the recent past. Changing dimensions of war would now include advanced technologies, asymmetric capabilities and info-dominance, and it was very important that the IAF’s preparations for the future must include these aspects. Reiterating the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Self Reliance’, the RM stressed on the need to promote Atmanirbharta in Defence Infrastructure. He added that the IAF’s order for LCA would result in a substantial boost to the domestic defence industry and will be a game changer from the indigenisation perspective. He urged the Commanders to continue their efforts for achieving even greater results in the field of indigenous defence production and aircraft maintenance. He added that national security and economic development are complementary aspects of national policy. The IAF’s support for the indigenous industry would result in the development of MSMEs in this field which will simultaneously serve the cause of self-reliance and socio-economic development of the country. He urged the Commanders to take stock and implement all directions issued by the PM during the Combined Commanders’ Conference. He stressed on the need to continue to work proactively towards the integration process currently underway, implementation of the joint logistics plan and to enhance synergy in areas of joint planning and operations.

In his closing remarks, the RM assured the AF Commanders of the wholehearted support from the Ministry of Defence in achieving the goal of being a potent Strategic Aerospace Force. He expressed confidence that important decisions taken during the conference would enhance the combat potential of the IAF. The Commanders’ Conference will conclude today evening. The status of strengthening current combat capabilities and the action plan for making IAF a future-ready combat force would be examined. Issues pertaining to systems, reforms and restructuring for ensuring more efficient processes across all domains and optimised operational training will also be discussed.

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ATS GUJARAT SEIZES NARCOTICS FROM PAK FISHING BOAT

Ashish Singh

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In a joint intelligence based operation with ATS Gujarat, a Pakistani boat ‘NUH’ has been apprehended by Indian Coast Guard off Jakhau, Gujarat on the intervening night of 14-15 April with 30 Kgs of Heroin. 8 Pakistani nationals have also been arrested from the boat.

On 13th April, an input was received regarding suspected narcotics trafficking by Pak boat off Indo-Pak notional IMBL. On receipt of input, a coordinated operation was launched swiftly by Indian Coast Guard in association with ATS Gujarat. The Coast Guard fast Interceptor Boat with ATS officials embarked was deployed to intercept the suspected Pak boat. On the midnight of 14/15 April, the suspected Pak boat was sighted inside Indian waters and intercepted by ICG. On boarding and rummaging, about 30 packets of Heroin weighing approximately 1 kg each were recovered from the boat. The value of seized narcotics in international market is estimated to be approximately Rs. 300 Cr. Preliminary investigations revealed that the consignment being smuggled was destined for landing on Gujarat shore. The boat along with 8 Pakistani crew is being escorted to Jakhau for further rummaging and joint investigation.

It may be recalled that recently on 18 March 21, ICG had apprehended SLB Ravihansi with about 300 Kg of Heroin, 5 AK-47 Rifle and 1000 round of ammunition off Lakshadweep Island, which was suspected to have originated from Makran coast. Prior to this, ICG had successfully apprehended SLB Akarsha Duwa in Mar 21 which admitted of carrying 200 kg high grade Heroin and 60 kg Hashish and jettisoning it at sea on sighting of ICG ships on patrol. In a similar operation in Nov 2020, ICG had apprehended Sri Lankan boat Shenaya Duwa off Kanyakumari, carrying 120 kgs narcotics worth approximately Rs. 1000 Cr and five weapons. The past one year has proved to be a big setback for drug traffickers as ICG has successfully seized more than 1.6 tons of narcotics worth approximately Rs. 5200 Cr. The total drug haul done by ICG since inception amounts to Rs. 11,252 Cr.

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KRAS ROLLS OUT FIRST DELIVERY OF 1000 MRSAM MISSILE KITS FOR ARMY, IAF

Ashish Singh

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Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd (KRAS)—a joint venture between two India’s Kalyani Group and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel—rolls out its first batch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) for the Indian Army and the Air Force. All of this in consonance with the umbrella Make-in-India idea. The roll-out event marked KRAS’ commitment to deliver more than 1,000 MRSAM ‘missile kits’ for the Indian Army and Air Force over the coming years. These missile sections will then be ‘forwarded’ to India’s state-run defence miniratna Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for further and future integration. Also, the event designated the beginning of the journey of a MSME Indian company which is committed not only to the “Make-in-India” concept, but to, as well, taking its own stride towards the larger “aatmanirbharta” idea (self-reliance). In this effort the company has fused Rafael’s state-of the-art technology with the engineering excellence of the Kalyani Group.

The event was being attended by dignitaries from the Ministry of Defence, (MOD), Indian Army, Indian Air Force, DRDO, the BDL, and the Israeli delegation including EVP, Brig. Gen. (r) Pinhas Yungman, Head of Air and Missile Defense Systems division of Rafael. The Kalyani delegation was being led by Mr Rajinder Bhatia, President and CEO of BFL Defence and also by representatives from the IAI, Israel. Baba Kalyani, Chairman/ Managing Director, Kalyani Group, said, “This is beginning of a new era, filled with self-confidence, a marked step-change in technological expertise and a collective demonstration of capability to be the global manufacturing hub for defence products. We are confident to complete the order far ahead of the stipulated time, and support the armed forces with the best in class missile kits. Apart from the missile kits, we will extend our support in Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) as in-service Air Defence Missile System for the armed forces.” Speaking on the occasion, Brig. Gen. Pinhas Yungman, Head of Air and Missile Defense Systems division of Rafael Advanced Defense System said, “We have been a reliable partner to the Indian armed forces for almost three decades, and these missile kits are a testimony of our commitment to ‘Make in India’ cause. We are confident KRAS will not only build products for the Indian armed forces but will, at the same time, trigger and help achieve Indian government’s vision of exports from India.”

KRAS is India’s pioneering private sector MSME with advanced manufacturing capabilities and facilities dedicated to especially address the assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of the state-of the-art weapon systems being inducted by the defence forces. Parallel with manufacturing, KRAS is maturing to address Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) too, that of a major in-service Air Defence Missile System for the Indian Air Force. As part of its “Make-in-India” efforts, KRAS has also expanded its scope to include development of Advanced Defence Systems and Remotely-Controlled Weapon System. The Joint Venture, thus, is a testament to the enhanced and deep cooperation between Israel and India in the strategic defence sector space, as the coming together leverages and conflates the technology of Rafael and engineering strength of the Kalyani Group.

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INDIAN NAVY ASSETS DEPLOYED IN SEARCH AND RESCUE EFFORTS FOR MISSING FISHERMEN AT SEA OFF MANGALORE COAST

Ashish Singh

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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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Defence

PAKISTAN: ANATOMY OF A U-TURN

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.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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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.

WHY HAS PAKISTAN MADE A U-TURN?

Complete Solidarity with Kashmir @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1617119/army-huddle-reaffirms-complete-solidarity-with-kashmiris-in-struggle-for-self-determination

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 @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616152/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 @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616153/a-line-on-the-map  

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 @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616292/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 @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1616291/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 @ https://www.dawn.com/news/1617103/govt-to-open-covid-vaccine-registration-for-all-citizens-post-eid-asad-umar

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 @https://www.dawn.com/news/1617777/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 www.gunnersshot.com.

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