10 Chinese military aircraft enter Taiwan’s air defence identification zone

Taipei [Taiwan] (ANI): China’s 10 military aircraft entered the southwest sector of Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) on Saturday just one day after 11 incursions were recorded, reported local media.
The Chinese aircraft included eight Shenyang J-16 fighter jets, one Shaanxi Y-8 anti-submarine aircraft, and one Shaanxi Y-8, reported Taiwan News citing the country’s Ministry of National Defence. Taiwan issued radio warnings, tasked aircraft and deployed air defence missile systems to monitor the Chinese planes, said the Taiwanese military.
It came after 11 Chinese aircraft entered Taiwan’s ADIZ on Friday.
China claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades.
Taiwan, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing. (Image source: Unsplash)

Washington’s NATO military commitments complicate US strategic priority in Europe

Washington [US] (ANI): North Atlantic Treaty Organizations’ military commitments may prove costly for US strategic interest as Washington may be entangled in conflicts in Europe.
Many of America’s so-called allies are major liabilities rather than assets to US foreign policy. Indeed, they are potential snares, ones that can entangle America in unnecessary military confrontations, according to National Interest magazine. In too many cases, the “allies” that Washington touts are small, weak, often militarily useless dependents. Worse, some of them are on bad terms with more powerful neighboring states, writes Ted Galen Carpenter for the National Interest.
NATO constitutes a system of collective security, whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.
Earlier, the US along with NATO took part in military operations in Afghanistan and in Libya under the United Nations Security Council-mandated mission.
However, NATO’s strategic fixation on Russia might complicate US interest in Europe as many of the member countries such as the Baltic nations are militarily weak.
Meanwhile, the current tension between Moscow and Kiev has increased Washington’s attention.
Washington’s security relationship with Kiev goes far beyond arms sales. Over the past five years, US forces have conducted multiple joint exercises with Ukrainian units.
Further, Washington also has successfully pressed NATO to include Ukraine in the alliance’s war games.
Earlier, in April last year, US President Joe Biden assured Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Washington’s “unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression.”
On the other hand, Baltic nations are vulnerable dependents that could trigger a war between NATO (primarily the United States) and Russia, according to the 2016 RAND corporation think-tank report.
As a result of NATO’s expanded membership and mission, the United States has acquired a worrisome number of both types, according to National Interest. (Image Source: FreeRange)

Taiwanese President Tsai advises China against ‘military adventurism’

Taipei [Taiwan]: Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during her New Year address at the presidential office in Taipei on Saturday called on China to resolve their differences peacefully, saying Beijing should curb the spread of “military adventurism.”
Tsai strongly protested against China’s “military incursions,” which she said “are of no benefit to the preservation of regional peace and stability,” reported NHK World. Reiterating Taiwan’s position she said that it was consistent and that it “will neither bow to pressure nor act rashly when we have support.”
Tsai said Chinese authorities “should not misjudge the situation, and that they should stop the spread of military adventurism within their ranks,” reported NHK World.
Tsai added that “the use of military means is absolutely not an option” for resolving the differences between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. She warned that military clashes would deal a blow to economic stability.
Further, Tsai also brought up the recent arrests of people in Hong Kong in connection with an online media outlet known for its critical stance against the Hong Kong government.
Tsai said the pursuit of democracy and freedom is not a crime, and that Taiwan’s position in support of Hong Kong will not change, reported NHK World.
She said Taiwan will cherish its “own hard-earned freedom and democracy even more deeply.”
She expressed resolve to “show the world that democratic Taiwan has the courage to step out from the shadow of authoritarian China.”
China continues to consider Taiwan a breakaway province even after decades of separate governance. Taipei has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, even as Beijing continues to threaten that “Taiwan’s independence” by means of war.
Amid the constantly increasing military and diplomatic pressure from China, Taiwan President noted the challenge to uphold its freedom, democracy, and consensus to connect with the world.
Taiwan witnessed 950 intrusions by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) military planes into its Air Defence Identification Zone in 2021 so far, a 60 per cent increase from the previous year.
Moreover, Taiwanese media reported that the island is anticipating a further rise in the number of intrusions as China has ramped up sorties over the past few years.

Russia increases military co-operation with Indonesia

Moscow [Russia]: Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev held a series of high-level consultations with Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs of Indonesia Mohammad Mahfud in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, during which both sides explored ways of expanding military and military-technical cooperation between the countries, the Russian Security Council said on Tuesday.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of military departments, special services, financial monitoring services, law enforcement agencies, and ministries of justice of the two countries. “The parties identified ways to expand military and military-technical cooperation, as well as collaboration on legal and regulatory issues and ensuring international information security,” the council said in a statement.
The parties considered the prospects for cooperation in combating drug trafficking and organised crime, as well as countering terrorism. The issues of combating the laundering of the proceeds of crime and terrorism were also discussed.
The officials also exchanged views on the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and other issues of mutual interest.
“The delegations noted their firm commitment to the comprehensive deepening of Russian-Indonesian relations,” the council added in the statement.
On Monday, Patrushev also met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Jakarta. They discussed issues of Russian-Indonesian bilateral cooperation, as well as interaction in multilateral formats, including the G20 and ASEAN.
Following the high-level consultations, Russia and Indonesia are expected to sign a new strategic partnership declaration in 2022, the parties said in a joint statement.

Last rites of CDS Gen Rawat to be performed with military honours, says Rajnath Singh

New Delhi [India]: The mortal remains of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and 12 others will be brought to Delhi via IAF plane by Thursday evening and the last rites will be performed with full military honours, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
While addressing the Lok Sabha on the chopper crash in Tamil Nadu, the Defence Minister said, “The last rites of CDS General Bipin Rawat will be performed with full military honours. The last rites of other military personnel will be performed with appropriate military honour.” Informing about the timeline of the fatal crash, the Defence Minister said that the IAF chopper lost contact with the Sulur base control room at around 12.08 pm, after it took off at 11.48 am.
“CDS General Bipin Rawat was on a scheduled visit to Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course. IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter took off from Sulur airbase at 11.48 am. The helicopter was to land at Wellington at 12.15 pm. At around 12.08 pm, the helicopter lost contact with Sulur airbase’s air traffic control room,” the Defence Minister noted.
He further said Indian Air Force (IAF) has ordered a tri-service inquiry into the accident and the investigation will be led by Air Marshal Manavendra Singh.
Air Marshal Manvendra Singh is Commander of Indian Air.
“The inquiry team reached Wellington yesterday itself and started the investigation,” the minister said.
A total of 14 people were on-board the IAF Mi-17V5 helicopter that crashed near Coonoor on Wednesday claiming the lives of 13 people including General Rawat and his wife Madhulika Rawat.
“Group Captain Varun Singh is on life support in Military Hospital, Wellington. All efforts are being made to save his life,” said Rajnath.
Those who died in the crash include General Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat, his Defence Adviser Brigadier Lakhbinder Singh Lidder, Staff Officer Lieutenant Colonel Harjinder Singh and nine other Armed Forces personnel including the Air Force helicopter crew.
“Their names are Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan, Squadron Leader Kuldeep Singh, Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das, Junior Warrant Officer Arakkal Pradeep, Havildar Satpal Rai, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, Lance Naik Vivek Kumar, Lance Naik B Sai Teja,” Rajnath informed.
Soon after the news of the chopper crash on Wednesday, the minister visited General Rawat’s residence in the national capital.
General Rawat was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defense Staff on December 31, 2019. He previously served as Chief of the Army Staff from January 2017 to December 2019. He was commissioned into the Indian Army in December 1978.
A veteran of counterinsurgency warfare, CDS Rawat served in the most difficult terrains including Northern and Eastern commands.

US, European allies underscore support for Ukraine amid tensions with Russia

Washington [US] : The US and its allies in Europe underscored their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, after President Joe Biden briefed them about his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a statement from the White House said.
“The leaders [of European partners] underscored their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the need for Russia to reduce tensions and engage in diplomacy,” a statement said on Tuesday. US President Joe Biden in his call with President Putin on Tuesday discussed the serious consequences of Russian military action in Ukraine and the need to de-escalate and return to diplomacy.
“They agreed their teams will stay in close touch, including in consultation with NATO allies and EU partners, on a coordinated and comprehensive approach,” the statement from the White House added.
Biden and Putin held their bilateral talks in a video conference format.
According to CNN, President Biden told his Russian counterpart that the US is prepared to launch strong economic measures that would cause a bigger punch than the sanctions issued in 2014 that failed to stop Russia from occupying Crimea.
This came as recent US intelligence findings estimated that Russia could begin a military offensive in Ukraine in a matter of months as it amasses up to 175,000 troops along the border, CNN reported.

US calls for greater cooperation with its allies to counter Chinese threat in Indo-Pacific region

Washington [US] : In a bid to promote peace in the Indo-Pacific region, the US on Monday (local time) called for additional cooperation with its allies to deter potential military aggression by China.
The statement came from the US Department of Defence (DOD) while summing up the conclusions of ‘Global Posture Review’, initiated by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in March. “In the Indo-Pacific, the review directs additional cooperation with allies and partners to advance initiatives that contribute to regional stability and deter potential Chinese military aggression and threats from North Korea,” the DOD said.
These initiatives include seeking greater regional access for military partnership activities; enhancing infrastructure in Australia and the Pacific Islands; and planning rotational aircraft deployments in Australia, as announced in September.
The review also informed Secretary Austin’s approval of the permanent stationing of a previously-rotational attack helicopter squadron and artillery division headquarters in the Republic of Korea, announced earlier this year.
In addition, the US has also planned to modernize the military bases it operates in Australia and on the western Pacific island of Guam to counter the threats emanating from China.
Following several months of analysis and close coordination across the U.S. government, the Department of Defense released the results of the Global Posture Review (GPR) today, the statement from the DOD informed.
This came as the US is making efforts to counter threats emerging from China.
Tensions between the US and China have significantly escalated, particularly over the issue of Taiwan with senior Pentagon officials expressing alarm about China’s efforts to upgrade and modernize its military, reported CNN.
A week ago, the US administration had also expressed “deep concerns” upon the reports that Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai appears to be missing after accusing a former PRC official of sexual assaults, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Myanmar junta warns citizens against purchase of bonds issued by democratic forces

Naypyidaw [Myanmar]: Myanmar junta on Friday threatened to arrest people who will ‘invest’ in bonds offered by the supporters of democratic forces in the country.
This came after the National Unity Government (NUG), an alliance of pro-democracy groups in Myanmar informed that it has raised USD 9.5 million in the first 24 hours of its bonds sale, Taiwan News reported. The Myanmar military has warned that people will be sentenced to long imprisonments for their involvement in what it called ‘terrorist financing’.
The NUG says the proceeds from the zero-interest bonds will fund the revolution against the military coup, which ousted the democratically elected government in February, Taiwan News reported.
“Action can be taken under terrorism charges with heavy sentences for those financing the terrorist groups,” junta spokesperson told a regular televised news conference
“If you buy the money bonds, it falls under that (provision),” the spokesperson added.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup on February 1, when the Myanmar military led by Senior General Ming Aung Hlaing overthrew the civilian government and declared a year-long state of emergency. The coup triggered mass protests and was met by deadly violence.
Meanwhile, Myanmar Military has arrested and sentenced at least 7595 people since February 1, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners informed.

Indo- France military exercise, ‘Ex SHAKTI 2021’ ends in France

New Delhi [India]: After 12 days of intense joint military training, the 6th edition of Indo- France military exercise, ‘Ex SHAKTI 2021’ concludes in France on Thursday.
“The military exercise culminated on November 25 after twelve days of intense joint military training, exhibiting their combat power and dominance over the extremist groups in simulated Counter Insurgency / Counter Terrorism environment,” informed the Indian Ministry of Defence in a statement.
“The exercise provided an opportunity to both the contingents to train in Counter-Terrorism operations in the joint environment under United Nations charter,” the statement said.
The military exercise was conducted in two phases involving combat conditioning and tactical training of Counter-Terrorism operations.

It also included validation of training in a semi-urban environment. The respective contingents expressed great satisfaction on the outcome of the military exercise, in terms of the standards achieved during the conduct, the ministry said.

“The exercise proved to be another remarkable milestone towards the pledge of terrorism-free world. The exercise has certainly added another dimension to ever enhancing military diplomacy between both the participating countries,” the statement added.

UK to increase global military presence under ‘Future Soldier’ plan

London [UK]: The United Kingdom is determined to step up its military presence in the world, according to a plan, released by the UK defence ministry on Thursday.
“More of the Army will be deployed across the globe, more of the time. Greater forward deployment will improve our ability to anticipate crises and be ready to compete beneath the threshold of open conflict. It will prevent conflict by reassuring allies and partners and deterring adversaries,” the “Future Soldier” modernization plan read. The UK defence ministry also announced an additional investment in military equipment, worth 8.6 billion pounds (USD 11.46 billion), during the next decade. This will raise the total investment to 41.3 billion pounds for the same period.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Future Soldier is reinforced by the ambition outlined in the Defence Command Paper to transform the Army into a more agile, integrated, lethal, expeditionary force.”
“We have underpinned this generational work with an extra £8.6bn for Army equipment, bringing the total investment to £41.3bn,” he added.
A total of over 100,000 soldiers will serve in the British Army by 2025, according to estimates of the ministry, as the UK regular army is expected to include 73,000 soldiers, and the number of reservists will stand at 30,000.
One of the most substantial innovations is a new Ranger Regiment, which will start operating from December 1, 2021. As a part of the Army Special Operations Brigade, the regiment “will be routinely deployed alongside partner forces around the world to counter extremist organisations and hostile state threats.”
“Our Army will operate across the globe, equipped with the capabilities to face down a myriad of threats from cyber warfare through to battlefield conflict,” Wallace said.

Primary objective of Indian Navy to keep Indo-Pacific route secure

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India] : Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said that Indo-Pacific being a key route is important for the world economy and it is the primary objective of the Indian Navy to keep it secure.
“Indo-Pacific is a key route and it is important for the world economy. It is the primary objective of the Indian Navy to keep the route secure,” Singh said while speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the INS Visakhapatnam in Mumbai.
“The entire world is increasing its Military power in coming years and expenditure on defence budget will increase. We have moved towards the development of an indigenous shipbuilding hub,” said Singh.
“Out of 41 ships ordered by Indian Navy 38 ships have been developed in India. It is the best example of indigenisation,” he added.
Singh on Sunday morning formally commissioned the INS Visakhapatnam in Mumbai.

INS Visakhapatnam is the first stealth-guided missile destroyer ship of Project 15B.
INS Visakhapatnam has been constructed using indigenous steel DMR 249A and is amongst the largest destroyers constructed in India with an overall length of 163m and displacement of over 7,400 tons.
The ship has a significant indigenous content of approx. 75 per cent contributing towards AtmaNirbhar Bharat. The ship is a potent platform capable of undertaking multifarious tasks and missions spanning the full spectrum of maritime warfare.
Visakhapatnam is equipped with an array of weapons and sensors, which include supersonic surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, medium and short-range guns, anti-submarine rockets and advanced electronic warfare and communication suits.
The ship is propelled by a powerful combined gas and gas propulsion which enables her speed of over 30 knots. The ship has the capability of embarking two integrated helicopters to further extend its reach.
The ship boasts of a very high level of automation with sophisticated digital networks, a Combat Management System and an Integrated Platform Management System. 

Amid Chinese military threat, Taiwan unveils new F-16V fighter jets

Taipei [Taiwan]: Amid rising military threats from China, Taiwan on Thursday (local time) unveiled more than two dozen upgraded F-16 fighter jets – F-16V at the Chiayi base.
The F-16s screamed across the sky at Chiayi Air Base on the island’s southwestern coast as pilots performed aerial maneuvers to demonstrate the capabilities of Taiwan’s first squadron of US-made F-16V, reported CNN. During the commissioning ceremony, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said the formation of a new F-16V combat wing has demonstrated the deepening friendship between the island and the US.
“The Lockheed Martin team has provided us with a lot of assistance in completing the upgrade,” she said.
“This not only signals the further progress of Taiwan-US friendship but also represents a firm commitment to Taiwan-US relations.”
In the event of an air attack from China, F-16V fighter jets, or Viper will defend the island nation. The planes were upgraded from older F-16A/B fighter jets, originally acquired by Taiwan in the 1990s, and are equipped with advanced radar systems and new mission computers, according to the official Central News Agency (CNA). The island has plans to upgrade 141 fighters to the newer version by 2023.
That upgrade has already been done to more than 60 F-16s, Vice Defense Minister Wang Hsin-lung told Taiwan’s Parliament on Wednesday, reported CNN.
Taiwan has also purchased 66 new F-16Vs from manufacturer Lockheed Martin in the United States, and delivery is expected to start in 2023, CNA reported.
Beijing’s ruling Communist Party has been stepping up its military pressure on Taiwan, including sending 150 warplanes near the island in just five days in October, prompting Taipei to issue radio warnings and deploy air defense missile systems to monitor the activity.
Communist authorities in Beijing have refused to rule out the use of force to take Taiwan despite having never ruled it. The democratic island has had its own government and military since the end of the Chinese Civil War more than seven decades ago.
The subject of Taiwan was high on the agenda during a virtual summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Monday, reported CNN.
In the talks, Biden raised his concerns over Beijing’s behavior in the region. While he reaffirmed the US “One China” policy, which recognizes Beijing’s claim of sovereignty but allows for US defense ties with Taiwan, he voiced worry that China’s actions were destabilizing the region.
According to a readout of the meeting from China’s Foreign Ministry, Xi blamed rising tensions across the Taiwan Strait on what he called Taipei’s attempt to “rely on the US to seek independence,” and “the intention of some Americans to use Taiwan to contain China.”

Taiwan deploys first squadron of F-16 jets amid China’s military aggression

Taipei [Taiwan]: Taiwan on Thursday deployed the most advanced version of the US-made F-16 fighter jet in its defence force, a move that experts say would significantly boost the island’s defence against the Chinese military aggression.
These aircraft are equipped with advanced technology that will substantially strengthen Taiwan’s national defence against threats emerging from the Chinese Communist Party. The defence machines also symbolize Taipei’s close cooperation with the US, President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen informed in a tweet. “Taiwan’s first squadron of upgraded F-16V fighter jets has entered service. These aircraft symbolize our close cooperation with the US & are equipped with advanced technology that will substantially strengthen our national defence,” Tsai said in a tweet.
This came as Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has increased military incursions in the democratic country.
In October, a border security analyst had said that early delivery of the US-made F16 jets would help Taiwan speed up the incorporation of the jets into its Air Force and strengthen its air defence capabilities amid the increase in incursions from China.
The remarks came from Institute for National Defence and Security Research analyst, Shu Hsiao-huang, who said that if the US agrees to hand over the 66 F-16Vs Taiwan purchased in 2019 earlier than scheduled, they could be stationed in Taitung and be used to respond to threats in southern Taiwan, where the possibility of an aerial conflict with China is greatest, Taiwan News reported citing the CNN.
Taiwan is a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the southeastern coast of mainland China.
Despite being governed separately for more than seven decades, China has threatened that “Taiwan’s independence” means war.

Afghanistan: Taliban undertake military parade on US vechiles, Russian helicopters

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Hundreds of members of the Taliban on Sunday gathered upon the US-made armed vehicles to undertake a military parade in the capital of Afghanistan.
This was the second time when the group has undertaken a military parade after it ousted the democratically elected government in the country in August. The parade was supported by Russia-made helicopters, Khaama Press reported. Spokesperson of Taliban-formed Defense Ministry Enayatullah Khwarazmi said that the military show was held by the newly graduated soldiers.
The developments came as the Taliban has said that they will soon form their own army, Khaama Press reported.
Earlier in September, a bunch of helicopters was also seen flying over southern Afghanistan while jubilant Taliban members below stood aboard captured US military hardware as the Islamist group paraded them with pride.
Meanwhile, more than ten weeks since the takeover of Afghanistan, the Taliban government is now facing its biggest test of managing the country’s governance and its abject failure is threatening the regional stability.
Di Valerio Fabbri, writing in said that the Taliban’s governance tests are too many. But it looks like the regime doesn’t realise the enormity of the challenges as it pursues the single-line agenda of international recognition.
Earlier in the day, about 100 Afghans and Iranians gathered in front of the UN office in Vienna on Sunday to condemn the Taliban amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
This protest in Vienna is part of a global demonstration, organized by National Resistance Front (NRF) supporters and also Iranian diaspora organizations.

Russia starts supplying S-400 Air Defense Systems to India

Moscow [Russia] : Russia has started delivering the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems to India, the deliveries are going as planned, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Dmitry Shugaev told Sputnik ahead of the Dubai Airshow.
“The supplies of the S-400 air defense system to India have started and are proceeding on schedule,” Shugaev said. The S-400 has already entered service in China and Turkey. Russia and India signed a contract on the delivery of S-400s in October, 2018.
In August, the head of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, told Sputnik that negotiations on the supply of S-400 air defense systems were underway with seven countries in the Middle East, the Asia-Pacific region and Africa.

Japan raises concerns with Beijing over Chinese ships repeated entry into its waters

Tokyo [Japan] : Japan has voiced concerns over the increasing military capabilities of Beijing in a virtual meeting with a Chinese official, reported local media.
Takehiro Funakoshi, head of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau at Japan’s Foreign Ministry, raised issues including repeated entry into Japanese waters by Chinese vessels near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea during his virtual meeting with Hong Liang, director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, reported Kyodo News. Funakoshi called for self-restraint on Beijing’s part while Hong asked Japan not to take any action that could “complicate the situation.
The Senkaku Islands are administered by Japan but claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.
It was the first meeting between the two senior officials since Fumio Kishida, the new Japanese Prime Minister assumed office a month ago. Earlier the two officials spoke in June.
The Japanese ministry said that Funakoshi and Hong during the videoconference agreed to continue to communicate for a “constructive and sustainable” bilateral relationship.
The early creation of an emergency hotline between Japan’s Self Defence Forces and Chinese People’s Liberation Army was agreed by the two sides during the meeting to avoid contingencies.
China in late September had proposed to hold the virtual meeting when former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s party was holding a leadership race to pick his successor.

Taliban appoint new provincial governors, military commanders

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Taliban on Sunday unveiled the names of new provincial governors, deputy governors and military commanders.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid in a statement said that Qari Baryal has been appointed governor of Kabul, Mufti Mohammad Idrees will serve as his deputy and Wali Jan Hamza will be the military commander of the Afghan capital, reported The Express Tribune. Taliban on Tuesday had appointed governors and military commanders on key positions at the provincial level on the directives of the group’s supreme leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada.
The interim Afghanistan government headed by Akhunzada appointed Abdul Ghani governor of Badakhshan province, Muhammad Ali governor of Paktia province, Nisar Ahmad governor of Kunduz province while Qari Bakhtiar and Haji Mali Khan have been appointed as governors of Baghlan and Logar provinces, respectively, reported The Express Tribune.
Likewise, Abdullah Mukhtar will serve as governor of Paktika province, Abdullah Sarhadi of Bamyan, Haji Dawat of Uruzgan, Rouhani Sahib of Farah, Abdul Rehman Sar-e-Pol and Shoaib of Jowzjan. Ishaq Akhunzada has been appointed governor of Ghazni province.
The development comes days after the Taliban supreme leader warned against the danger of turncoats and infiltrators.
Reflecting the seriousness of the threat, the reclusive Haibatullah Akhundzada issued a rare written public statement to urge Taliban commanders to purge their ranks, reported The Express Tribune.
In it, he said: “All those elders of their groups must look inside their ranks and see if there is any unknown entity working against the will of the government, which must be eradicated as soon as possible”.
“Whatever wrong happens, the elder will be responsible for the consequences of the actions in this world and in the afterlife,” he warned, in a statement tweeted out by multiple Taliban accounts.

India must enhance military capabilities in line with changing world, says PM Modi

Nowshera (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, while addressing soldiers in the Nowshera district of Jammu and Kashmir, emphasised on expanding and transforming India’s military capabilities in line with the changing world.
He also highlighted the need for ensuring an integrated military leadership, modern border infrastructure and changes in technology. “Indian military power needs to be expanded and transformed according to the changing needs. The fast-changing technology landscape has demanded new changes. That is why it is critical to ensure coordination in the integrated military leadership. The Chief of Defence Staff and the Department of Military Affairs are taking steps in that direction. Similarly, modern border infrastructure will enhance the country’s military muscle,” said PM Modi.
“Connectivity in border areas from Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh, from Jaisalmer to Andaman Nicobar has been established with modern infrastructure, leading to unprecedented improvement in the infrastructure and convenience for soldiers,” he added.
The Prime Minister like all his previous years in the constitutional position celebrated Diwali with armed forces this year too.
The Prime Minister further said that the country has been giving a befitting reply to those attempting to disturb peace in the region.
He said, “The role played by this brigade during the surgical strike fills everyone with pride. I will remember that day forever as it was decided that all soldiers should return before sunset… I was sitting beside the phone and was asking about the whereabouts of every soldier.”
“There were many attempts to disturb the peace here but each time they were given a befitting reply,” the Prime Minister added.
In his address, the Prime Minister also lauded the soldiers for serving on Indian borders and pointed out that security personnel were the “suraksha kawach” (armour) of the nation.
The Prime Minister further said that it is because of the soldiers that people can sleep peacefully.
“Today I have in front of me brave brothers and sisters who have the good fortune of serving our motherland. I can see the dedication to protect our land in your eyes. It is because of you, we are able to celebrate our festivals with peace,” said the PM.
“I am not here as a Prime Minister but as your family member to celebrate Diwali,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister paid tribute to soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Last year the PM had celebrating Diwali with soldiers at Longewala in Jaisalmer.
In 2019, the Prime Minister had celebrated Diwali with soldiers in the Rajouri district along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.

Poland’s ruling party weighs drastic military buildup

Warsaw [Poland]: Poland’s governing party is considering ratcheting up national defence capabilities, its leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski said in an interview to RMF FM radio on Saturday.
“We must significantly bolster our military capabilities. Initiatives to this effect will soon be presented to the Sejm and later to the Senate,” he said, referring to the Polish bicameral parliament. Kaczynski told the radio he meant giving the armed forces a “drastic boost” and hinted at “far-reaching changes” going forward. Poland has recently increased military personnel and secured new arms contracts.
Kaczynski, 72, has been Poland’s de facto ruler. He said on Wednesday that he would step down as deputy prime minister in charge of national security to focus on leading his right-wing PiS party.

US military equipment left behind in Afghanistan will now benefit Russia, China: Trump

Washington [US]: Former US President Donald Trump has said US military equipment left behind in Afghanistan was not disabled and will now benefit other powers, including Russia and China.
“Russia and China already have samples of our great helicopters. We have the Apache helicopters … and they are now re-engineering the equipment, they are de-engineering. They are taking it apart, they are figuring it out and very soon they’ll be building the best stuff for less money,” Sputnik quoted Trump as saying at the “Save America” rally in Des Moines on Saturday. Trump alleged that only three per cent of all people who were taken out of Afghanistan on US evacuation flights were qualified to be taken to the United States.
“They had no idea who was getting on those planes,” Trump said.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, US troops destroyed or disabled nearly 100 combat vehicles and dozens of aircraft before leaving Kabul in August.
Trump said that contrary to some claims, the equipment left in Afghanistan was not disabled and “tremendous numbers” of US weaponry and equipment are now being sold on the black market.
In September, Trump told a crowd of supporters in Perry, Georgia that US President Joe Biden’s handling of the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan was a major display of incompetence.

India, China to address military stand-off, hold 13th round of talks today

New Delhi [India]: India and China on Sunday are set to hold the 13th round of talks to address the ongoing military stand-off between the two countries, according to Army sources.
The sources also divulged that the talks will be held at Moldo (Chusul) on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Resolution of friction point at Hot Springs will be discussed during the talks, added the source.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday had said that it expected China to work towards early resolution of the remaining issue along the Line of Control (LoC) in Eastern Ladakh by fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols.
Addressing a weekly media briefing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “It is our expectation that China will work towards early resolution of the remaining issue along the Line of Control (LoC) in Eastern Ladakh while fully abiding by bilateral agreements and protocols.”
Earlier, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, met Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and both the leaders discussed the border tensions and disengagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in border areas.
Soldiers of India and China clashed last year resulting in the loss of several lives on both sides. The clashes erupted after the transgression by Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) in Galwan Valley. More than a year had passed since the incident, but tensions continue to simmer between the two Asian giants.
More than 12 rounds of military talks and a series of diplomatic parleys were held between India and China, but the tensions still continue.
There has been some disengagement, but India says full disengagement will only result in de-escalation. Some disengagement has indeed taken place recently, but it is not complete.

France has no plans to retain military presence in Mali for long lime, says President Macron

Paris [France]: France has no intention to retain its military presence in Mali for a long time, President Emmanuel Macron said.
“We have no intention to remain [in Mali], that is why we are closing the bases. Our work in Tessalit or Kidal [northern Mali] is not aimed at retaining bases,” Macron said on the sidelines of the Africa-France summit in Montpellier on late Friday. The French president added that Paris wanted to leave the bases in Mali as soon as possible but that required a strong state in Mali and significant investment projects in this country.
France has been conducting Operation Barkhane against terrorist groups in the Sahel region – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – since August 1, 2014.

China shows off new military gear in Zhuhai

Hong Kong: The China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition, typically referred to as the Zhuhai Air Show because of its location near this southern Chinese coastal city, was delayed by eleven months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the 13th edition of the enormous event was held last week from 28 September till 3 October.
The Zhuhai Air Show has the full support of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), central government and Chinese defense industry. While it is described as an air show, in fact air, land and naval equipment are all on grand display. In terms of innovation, variety and scale, China’s premier defense show is one of the most dynamic in the world. Indeed, the event gives the world a glimpse of the latest PLA equipment, as well as concepts and designs from Chinese manufacturers. It thus gives foreign analysts a useful glimpse into future directions and priorities of the Chinese military.
In this regard, the latest Zhuhai Air Show did not disappoint, although foreigners were pretty much absent because of China’s strict quarantine measures and anxiety from media and businesspeople over Beijing’s arbitrary “hostage-taking” practices highlighted by two recently released Canadians.
The biggest news from the 2021 edition of the show were manned aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and land equipment, so these are examined in turn below.
Beginning with aircraft, the PLA Air Force (PLAAF) showed the J-16D electronic warfare (EW) fighter and J-20A stealth fighter powered by WS10C engines for the very first time. China has never displayed its J-11, J-15 or J-16 fighters at the Zhuhai Air Show before, these being knock-offs of the famous Russian Su-27/Su-30 fighter family.
Perhaps, China previously did not want to flaunt its reverse-engineered fighters in front
of Russian delegations. Nonetheless, the PLAAF statically displayed a twin-seat J-16D. It is China’s equivalent of the US Navy’s EA-18G Growler, the EW variant of the Super Hornet. The J-16D is presumed to be in service, as the aircraft in Zhuhai bore the construction number “0109”, indicating it is the ninth in the first production batch. However, its operational unit has
not been ascertained yet.
According to Senior Colonel Shen Jinke, PLAAF spokesperson, the J-16D “improves the PLAAF’s electronic offensive capabilities, and guarantees its expansion of operational range and strategic transformation”.
The aircraft had four stand-off jamming pods, two on the wingtips and two on under-wing hardpoints. This family of pods – two of which are known to be designated RKZ930-22 and RKZ930-32 – detects, identifies, locates and analyzes radio frequency emissions.
According to Chinese sources, these passive pods are heavier and larger than previous types. Covering the 0.05-20GHz frequency range, a power level of 100kW allegedly gives a range of more than 150km.
The J-16D has a shorter nose radome, indicating a smaller radar is fitted, perhaps an advanced electronically scanned array type. Moving on, two J-20A stealth fighters performed an aerobatic display at Zhuhai.
Notably, they were powered by WS10C Taihang engines, the WS10 being China’s first high-thrust turbofan. The Taihang is now powering the J-20 instead of originally used Russian-made
AL-31 engines. Usefully, the manufacturer revealed specifications for the J-20, listing a length of 21.2m, height of 4.69m and wingspan of 13.01m. Its maximum speed is given as Mach 2.
The J-20 is the PLAAF’s most modern fighter. However, Chinese industry also designed another stealth fighter platform. Unveiled as the FC-31 in 2014’s Zhuhai Air Show, it failed to attract any PLAAF or export attention. However, it is widely believed the design will form the basis of a new PLA Navy (PLAN) fighter for Chinese aircraft carrier operations.
The PLAN currently relies on the J-15, an older-style and heavy fighter copied directly from the Russian Su-33. The navy needs a new more capable aircraft, and there is informed speculation that it will adopt the J-31, a further development of the FC-31.
Sun Cong, chief designer of Chinese jet fighters, tantalizing said at a show press conference that “people should be able to see good news on the next-generation aircraft carrier-based fighter jet” before the end of this year.
In other aircraft news, making its maiden appearance was the PL-15E long-range air-to- air missile. This is an export version of a PLAAF weapon used aboard the J-20, and which could be used against critical assets like enemy airborne early warning and tanker aircraft, for example. The PL-15E’s range was listed as 145km; it is 3.996m long, has a 203mm diameter and 210kg weight. Inevitably, the export version will have a lower range than that used by the PLAAF.
Other PLAAF aircraft to reappear at Airshow China included the J-10 fighter, Y-20 transport aircraft, KJ-500 airborne early warning aircraft and H-6K bomber.
The JL-10 trainer jet was a debutant, while the under-development AG600 amphibian performed in a flight display.
Perhaps the greatest excitement at the show should be reserved for China’s vigorous UAV sector, among the world’s most active. Some highlights are described below. Firstly, the CH-6 medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) emanates from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
This entity has sold UAVs to 10+ export customers so far, with its most popular CH-4 having achieved more than 4,000 flights by foreign users to date. The CH-6 is a top-end UCAV featuring a chined fuselage, T-tail and tapered wings that end in split winglets, a novel configuration for CASC.
Shi Wen, chief designer of CH-series UAVs, explained: “The CH-6 is capable of performing a wide range of tasks, including high-altitude reconnaissance and airstrike, anti-submarine and sea patrol operations, long-range early warning and close-in firepower support. In future combat scenarios, the drone can engage in action in groups and can also cooperate with piloted aircraft or other unmanned hardware to conduct various types of operations.”
The CH-6’s development reportedly started in June 2019, with a prototype completed in July 2021. Its first flight is slated for October 2022. In terms of dimensions, its maximum take-off weight is 7.8 tonnes, and it measures 15m long, 5m high and has a 20.5m wingspan. Two turbofans provide a top speed of 800km/h, or cruise speed of 500-700km/h.
Its ceiling is 12km, and maximum range is 12,000km or 4,500km, depending on whether it is an unarmed UAV or an armed UCAV.
The CH-6 can carry a 300kg payload of sensors (reconnaissance type) or 2 tonnes of sensors and munitions (attack type). The two versions have a maximum endurance of 20 hours or 8 hours respectively.
Secondly, on display for the first time was a WZ-7 Soaring Dragon of the PLAAF. It is China’s primary high-altitude long-endurance UAV for strategic reconnaissance, the equivalent of the American RQ-4 Global Hawk. The most distinctive thing about the WZ-7 is its joined tandem wings, said to give an increased lift-to-drag ratio. It is 14m long, 3.9m high and has a 22.8m wingspan.
The WZ-7 is in service with the PLAAF, and so far seven examples have been spotted at Shigatse Air Base in Tibet, Lingshui Air Base on Hainan Island, and at Yishuntun Air Base near North Korea in the past few years.
The WZ-7 is routinely used for border reconnaissance missions and for maritime surveillance, and it can presumably designate targets for Chinese cruise missiles and anti-ship ballistic missiles.
Thirdly, also making a maiden appearance at Zhuhai was the WZ-8 high-speed and high- altitude reconnaissance UAV. This mysterious aircraft debuted at a Beijing military parade on 1 October 2019, and two liquid-fueled rocket engines offer a claimed supersonic speed of Mach 3.
Two lugs on the WZ-7’s back suggest it can be carried by H-6N strategic bombers; release from the air greatly multiplies the WZ-7’s range. As part of an early-warning network, the WZ-8 can perform close reconnaissance and aid precision strikes for weapons like the DF-26 ballistic missile.
Fourthly, as well as the CH-6, CASC showed off its Feihong (FH) series of UAVs. The most interesting family member is the FH-97, a medium- and long-range UAV with stealthy design similar to the American XQ-58A Valkyrie.
If it enters production, the FH-97 could be intended as a Chinese “loyal wingman”, a lower-cost unmanned platform that can go into dangerous situations instead of or alongside regular Chinese fighters.
The FH-97 mock-up at Zhuhai had a stealthy trapezoidal fuselage, sharply swept main wings, a V-shaped tail and a dorsal air intake. It had an internal weapons bay and nose-mounted electro-optical sensor. The FH-97 is powered by two jet engines, and it appears roughly similar in size to the XQ-58A. Whether the FH-97 is aimed at the PLAAF or export markets is unclear, nor is the status of its development known.
Fifthly, a mock-up of the GJ-11 Sharp Sword armed reconnaissance UAV was also exhibited in Zhuhai; this too had been unveiled in the aforementioned Beijing 2019 parade. This flying-wing design reminiscent of the American X-47B has two internal weapon bays, each able to hold four weapons.
Turning to land-based equipment, Chinese firms displayed new radars, air defense systems and armored vehicles.
Displayed on the tarmac were radars from the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation’s (CETC) 14th Institute. These included the Lingdong family: the YLC-8E UHF-band anti-stealth air defense radar; trailer-mounted SLC-7 L-band multifunctional air defense radar; SLC-12 S band alert radar; and YLC-12 C-band medium- and low-altitude multifunctional radar. These radars can network with each other.
The YLC-8E, mounted on a 12×12 truck chassis, is the flagship. This mobile stealth-target detection radar detects medium- and long-range targets. Its antenna is the size of two badminton courts, and the array can unfurl and stow away in ‘tens of seconds’. Cao Jian, deputy director of the 14th Institute, said this multiband anti-stealth radar was at ‘an advanced level in the world,’ and that it can change its working wavelengths to spot stealthier targets.
CETC also showed the Type 610 long-range radar, a type that had appeared in the 2019 parade.
As for air defense systems, new was CASC’s LY-70 mounted on a 6×6 truck. This featured two sets of four missile canisters, with three shorter-range FB-10A short-range missiles mounted above each set. Interestingly, company literature showed an alternative launcher configuration of three sets of four canisters plus three FB-10As.
The LY-70 missile’s range is believed to be up to 40km, suggesting it is a variant of the HQ-6A/LY-60 with added booster.
Also on show was an HQ-9BE air defense system, with the “E” indicating it is destined for export. It has a 260km maximum range. Furthermore, new from the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC) was a reconfigured FK-1000 short-/medium-range air defense system based on an 8×8 truck chassis. The FK-1000 missiles (two sets of six canisters) are combined with two Gatling guns and surveillance radar.
A new armored vehicle from state-owned Norinco was the new-generation VN22, a 6×6 vehicle fitted with UW5 unmanned turret featuring a 30mm cannon and pop-up twin anti-tank missile launcher. Norinco said the VN22 can perform troop transport, patrol, reconnaissance, counterterrorism and peacekeeping missions. The PLA currently relies on the Type 92/92B 6×6 family, and it is unclear if it will be adopting the VN22.
Norinco showed different unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) too. The largest was the tracked VU-T10 combat system. Bearing an overhead weapon station with automatic cannon, it has a combat weight of 11 tonnes. Smaller was the 1.8-tonne tracked VU-T2 with a 12.7mm machine gun and two anti-tank weapons.
The PLA employs Mengshi 4×4 and 6×6 tactical vehicles in a plethora of variants. The newest type to be developed is a Mengshi 4×4 fitted with a 30mm automatic cannon in a rotating rooftop remote-controlled weapon station.
Also exhibited was a new counter-UAV laser system. Mounted on a 6×6 truck, it could well be a development of the LW-30 30kW laser revealed in 2018.
China has a very healthy defense industry, with research, development and production occurring at an incredible pace. With new products available for both the domestic market and export, China shows no sign of slowing down its prioritization of military technology.

EU weighs sending military training mission to Ukraine

Berlin [Germany]: The European Union is considering a Ukrainian military training mission after the eastern European nation asked for an allied military presence on its border with Russia, German media reported Sunday.
An EU working document, seen by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, mentions an EU Military Advisory and Training Mission Ukraine for Ukrainian officers. The internal document justifies sending military personnel to Ukraine by Russia’s “ongoing military activities.” Ukrainian foreign and defense ministers reportedly asked for the training program in July in a letter addressed to EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell.
Russia denied claims by Ukraine and its Western allies that it amassed troops on its western border in spring to invade Ukraine. A Russian presidential spokesperson said in April that Russia was free to move military personnel anywhere within its borders.

US Congressman introduces sanctions bill targeting China’s military, surveillance companies

Washington [US]: A US Congressman unveiled legislation on Wednesday to “target sanctions against Chinese Communist Party (CCP) military or surveillance companies”.

Member of the House Foreign Affairs and Financial Services Committees, Republican Andy Barr, introduced the bill which requires President Joe Biden to sanction CCP military companies included on the US Department of Defence’s annual listing and other Chinese military and surveillance companies that pose a risk to US national security, according to a statement released by the office of Congressman Barr on Wednesday.
The Chinese Military and Surveillance Company Sanction Act of 2021 protects US national security and limits western capital from fueling CCP military and surveillance companies, the statement added.

The bill seems to target certain Chinese companies that have been listed by US authorities as posing a threat to national security. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and Department of Defence have included various Chinese companies in this list including telecom giant Huawei, New York Post said

Barr stressed that the legislation protects “the privacy of every American by imposing sanctions on companies clearly identified as CCP military or surveillance companies”.

He added that “without question, these companies present real and imminent threats to national security, and my bill would limit their access to capital and investment”.

Supporters of the legislation argue that it’s necessary to combat the possibility of US capital helping finance the Chinese Communist Party’s rise without hindering investors’ ability to invest in non-threatening Chinese companies, the New York Post reported.

Barr crafted the bill as part of a “broader effort by Republicans on the Financial Services Committee to combat the rise of the CCP”. (ANI)

Sudanese Prime Minister believes coup attempt reveals need for army reform

Khartoum [Sudan]: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok expressed the belief on Tuesday that the attempted military coup indicated the need for army and security agencies reform.
“The [attempted] coup is a manifestation of a national crisis, it indicates the need for a reform of our security agencies and military institutions,” Hamdok said in an address, broadcast on Sudanese television. The prime minister described the thwarted coup as an attempt by supporters of ex-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who was ousted in 2019, to undermine the democratic transition.
Hamdok pledged that all those involved in the coup will be held accountable.

Faults in Chinese-made Unmanned Aerial Systems damaging Pakistan’s military capability

Islamabad [Pakistan]: The faults in Chinese-made Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) has been damaging Pakistan’s military capability, said a Bangladesh based think tank.
A critical part of Pakistan’s military capability has run into serious trouble with the UAS remaining on the ground due to crippling defects within days of induction. According to Ourtime BD, three armed drones, designed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group of China and sold by China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC), were inducted into Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in January 2021.
These aerial combat drones are part of a larger deal between Pakistan and China to co-produce 50 of them in Pakistan.
Both Pakistani and Chinese military officials had boasted that these armed drones, capable of firing laser-guided bombs and missiles to attack and destroy air or ground-based targets.
According to the think tank, PAF officials who are grappling with the nightmare of these armed drones running aground due to serious faults.
The Pakistan Air Force’s misery is the pathetic service and maintenance provided by the Chinese firm. CATIC has so far been indifferent to desperate calls for repair and maintenance of the grounded drones.
The spares supplied by the firm were substandard and mostly unfit for use. The engineers dispatched to Pakistan to make the grounded aerial vehicles operational at the earliest proved to be incompetent. Pakistani officials have now asked the Chinese firm to send a better trained group of professionals to tide over the serious crisis, the Ourtime BD said.
According to the think tank, there are many failures in Chinese made UAS which include GPS, a key component of an armed drone.
Two of the three drones experienced repeated GPS failures during test flights and had to be grounded.
Equally serious problem was the leakage of nitrogen from EO/IR cameras mounted on the UAVs, which rendered Electro-Optical / Infra-Red (EO/IR) systems useless.
Serious faults were also detected in High-Performance Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) within hours of its putting the drones into operation.
Another critical failure has been that of SATCOM in some of these drones during launch and take-off stage. On the ground, the SATCOM antenna failed during the Site Acceptance Test (SAT).
Other defects included the failure of the rear fuel pump on the UAV.
The think tank further reported that this is not the first time that Pakistan military brass is realising the unreliability of Chinese military hardware and poor, substandard servicing and maintenance.
Pakistan Air Force has been coping up with a series of inferior military hardware imported from China, including combat aircraft and armed drones, two critical operational components, it added.

China’s massive military, nuclear build-up cause for major concern

New Delhi [India]: The head of the US Indo-Pacific Command has said that China’s military expansion, the largest military build-up in history since the second world war, is a cause of major concern.
Speaking at an Observer Research Foundation event on “The India-US Partnership: Securing the 21st Century” in New Delhi on Wednesday, Admiral John C Aquilino the commander of US Indo-Pacific Command also expressed concerns over Beijing’s larger aircraft carrier programmes. “Entire Chinese way forward with regard to military expansion, the largest military build-up in history since WWII both conventional and nuclear in all domains. I don’t think I will try to explain what their intent is but trying to understand their intent is a little concern,” said Admiral Aquilino.
Aquilino said: “The articulation of defensive capabilities is what we continue to hear. We also continue to see that the words from the People’s Liberation Army do not meet their deeds. So it’s also one of the reasons that we are concerned.”
Expressing concerns over Beijing’s larger aircraft carrier programmes, Admiral John C Aquilino said, “Chinese aircraft carrier programme has seen the largest growth and what they intend to do with much larger carriers is a concern.”
During the event, Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat also expressed India’s concerns saying that New Delhi is also concerned with the rising nuclear arsenal of not only northern neighbour but also of western neighbour.
“We are surrounded by two neighbours which are armed with strategic weapons and therefore we are evolving our strategies accordingly,” he added.

US Embassy officials in Kabul warned of Taliban takeover in July

Washington [US]: US Embassy officials in Kabul had warned top officials in Washington of the Afghanistan government’s collapse in July, a media report said on Thursday.
In July, nearly two dozen US officials in the Kabul embassy had warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top Amerian officials of the Afghanistan government’s fall soon after the completion of US troops withdrawal, The Wall Street Journal reported. The cable was sent through the State Department’s confidential dissent channel. The cable warned of rapid territorial gains by the Taliban and the subsequent collapse of Afghan security forces and offered recommendations on ways to mitigate the crisis and speed up an evacuation, The Wall Street Journal quoted two people as saying.
The cable, dated July 13, also called for the State Department to use tougher language in describing the atrocities being committed by the Taliban, one of the people said.
US officials’ classified information had told the State Department that the Taliban’s aggressive advance might not be stopped by Afghanistan’s government forces.
Officials have also informed Washington that they should start collecting data of Afghans who helped the US and qualify for special immigrant visas. They also asked Washington to begin the evacuation process by August 1 not beyond that.
Nearly 23 officials signed the cable that went to Blinken and Director of Policy Planning Salman Ahmad, The Wall Street Journal added.

Taliban appreciates India’s capacity building efforts in Afghanistan, cautions on any military role

Doha [Qatar]: Appreciating India’s humanitarian and developmental efforts in Afghanistan such as building the Salma Dam, roads, and other infrastructure projects in the country, the Taliban has asked India to refrain from playing a military role in Afghanistan.
Qatar-based spokesperson of Taliban Suhail Shaheen said, “What do you mean by military role? If they come to Afghanistan militarily and have their presence. I think that will not be good for them, they have seen the fate of military presence in Afghanistan of other countries. So it is an open book for them. And about their help to the Afghan people or national projects, I think that is something which is appreciated.” India has been assisting Afghanistan in capacity building, whether it is parliament, schools, roads or dams. India has infused more than USD 2 billion in assistance to Afghanistan.
“We appreciate everything that has been done for the people of Afghanistan like dams, national projects, infrastructure and anything that is for the development of Afghanistan, for its reconstruction, for economic prosperity and for the people of Afghanistan,” Shaheen added.
Fearing an escalation of violence between Afghan forces and Taliban, many countries including India and the United States had evacuated staff from consulates located in provinces that had fallen under the Taliban. Many countries have cut the number of staff even as the Taliban said that the diplomatic community will not be targeted.
“About assurance to diplomats and embassies, there is no danger from our side to them. We will not target any embassy, any diplomat that we have said in our statements, not once but many times. So it is our commitment that is being published is in media. On India’s concerns, I think it is up to them. About us, our position is clear we are not targeting any diplomat or embassy,” Suhail Shahen said.
Asked about the safety of Sikhs and Hindus living in Afghanistan specifically about the incident when a gurdwara in Paktia province had brought down the Sikh religious flag, the Taliban spokesperson claimed that the flag was brought down by Sikh community themselves and minorities will be allowed to practice their rituals.
“That flag was removed by the Sikh community there. They removed that themselves. When there were reports in the media, we reached to our officials in Paktika province and informed them about that and then our security forces went to the gurdwara and asked about the problem,” said Shaheen adding the group has assured that the community can perform their religious rituals and ceremonies.
Taliban and Pakistan-based terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba are said to share deep ties. For more than a decade Shuras have been operating from the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Peshawar. It is believed that Taliban leadership also enjoys good ties with the Pakistan spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Meanwhile, India fears that if the Taliban takes guard in Afghanistan, its land will be used against anti-India activities.
Taliban spokesperson discards the link between Pakistani terror outfits and the Taliban and termed it as politically motivated and baseless allegations. He also added that Afghan soil will not be used against any foreign country including India.
“These are baseless allegations. They are created not based on ground realities but on the basis of their certain policies towards us and on the basis of politically motivated goals. We have a general policy about that we are committed not to allow anyone to use the soil of Afghanistan against any country including the neighboring countries,” Taliban spokesperson said in an interview.
In 1999 an Indian plane IC 814 was hijacked and brought to Afghanistan right under the nose of then Taliban regime. Taliban has taken control of almost all major provinces including Kandhar, Herat, Mazhar-e-Sharif and Lashkar Gah and is making swift advances with no intra-Afghan peace deal in sight.
Taliban spokesperson said that there has been no use of violence from its side and provinces are falling on their own.
“We are taking the provincial centres and areas falling to us. They are falling voluntarily to us. You can see the videos of hundreds and thousands of security forces and administration. They are coming to our side and joining that is true but they are not joining because of violence. Violence or killing of innocent people is carried by the Kabul administration and we condemn that. Why we should tell our people to increase violence when it is contrary to our policy.”
He also spoke on possible power-sharing and alleged that Kabul was reluctant and not showing flexibility.
“We hope to negotiate with Kabul. They should come forward and show flexibility in order to reach a peaceful solution because our people need that. We expect that to happen as soon as possible but there is slow progress. The first factor is that the other side is reluctant to show flexibility and reach a solution. There are hurdles in releasing our prisoners and removing our blacklist which is clearly mentioned in the Doha agreement, which is very important for confidence-building measures,” Taliban spokesperson said.

US, Indonesia begin their ‘largest ever’ military drill

Kalimantan [Indonesia]: The US and Indonesia have started a two-week military exercise, in three main Indonesian islands, including Kalimantan.
The exercise is said to be the largest-ever joint military drill between the two countries with over 3,700 soldiers from both countries taking part in it, the exercise is being held to emphasize the strength of Indonesia’s ties with the United States, NHK World reported. Troops from both countries have been holding joint drills annually for the past 14 years.
Meanwhile, in a bid to check China’s predatory moves in the South China Sea (SCS), the US and Indonesia have also decided to cooperate in developing Natuna Islands in SCS.
The US has also provided Indonesia with 3.5 million dollars to build a maritime training centre this year, NHK World reported.
China has territorial disputes with Indonesia regarding the Natuna Islands. Indonesia claims sovereignty over the islands and has designated an exclusive economic zone off the island.,
Japan too, is helping Indonesia in developing fishing ports and enhancing patrol capabilities in the area to restrict China’s territorial ambitions.

Bagram The Last Of Military Bases The US Had, Handed Over To Afghan Forces

Bagram is the seventh and last of military bases the US has handed over to Afghan forces as it winds down its presence there of two decades and leave much ahead of the self-imposed deadline of September 11.

The United Sates on Tuesday said the Bagram base was turned over after discussions and coordination at “higher levels” in both the Afghanistan government and forces and disputed an Afghan commander’s account of Americans leaving quietly in the night without notifying anyone.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby told reporters the “final conversations” with the Afghans took place 48 hours prior and there had been a “general understanding and again, as we got closer, more detail was provided to Afghan leaders”.

But, he conceded, “we didn’t go into the exact hour at which all US would leave Bagram” for operational security reasons.

A top Afghan general who is the new commander of the Bagram base, Mir Asadullah Kohistani, had told reporters earlier, “We (had heard) some rumour that the Americans had left Bagram … and finally, by seven o’clock in the morning [last Friday], we understood that it was confirmed that they had already left Bagram.”

Asked about the Afghan commander’s remarks, Kirby said, “I can’t speak for the level of information that went down the Afghan chain of command, but I can tell you that Afghan leaders, civilian and military, were appropriately coordinated with and briefed about the turnover.”

Kirby said these conversations with Afghans included a walk-through of the Bagram base to give them a preview of what was being turned over to them.

Bagram is the seventh and last of such bases the US has handed over to Afghan forces as it winds down its military presence there of two decades and leave much ahead of the self-imposed deadline of September 11 announced by President Joe Biden.

A smaller number of US military personnel will be stationed in Afghanistan to provide security to the sprawling American diplomatic compound in Kabul and guard the Kabul airport till Turkish forces take over at the conclusion of a final agreement currently in discussion.

The US Central Command, which has military jurisdiction over US deployment in Afghanistan, has said 90% of the drawdown has been finished.

The US has said it is also watching closely the tightening military grip of the Taliban on the country. Though it has declined to change its drawdown schedule or slow it down, the US has said politically negotiated settlement is the only way forward in Afghanistan, and not a military solution.

State department spokesperson said at a separate briefing that “any Afghan government that comes to power at the barrel of a gun, that comes to power through the use of force, is almost certainly going to lack … critical ingredients” that will be needed – international assistance, international legitimacy and popular support of the Afghan people.

The Taliban have sought to assure the world of their commitment to a negotiated settlement but have stalled talks till the US forces are out. The last round that was supposed to take place in Istanbul, Turkey was never held.

As an important stakeholder in Afghan peace, India has watched US drawdown with some concern. On a recent US visit, external affairs minister S Jaishankar attributed US drawdown to “political expediency”. And at a UNSC debate, he reiterated India’s call for a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire” in Afghanistan and for the United Nations to play a leading role.

Military Plane Crash In Philippines Kills 50 And Injure 49

The death toll in the crash of a transport aircraft in Philippines has reached 50, with 49 others injured, officials said Monday. According to the details, the Lockheed C-130 Hercules was carrying 96 mostly combat troops when it overshot the runway while landing Sunday at the Jolo airport in Sulu province. It slammed into a coconut grove beyond the airport and burst into flames in a noontime disaster witnessed by horrified soldiers and villagers.

Troops, police and firefighters rescued 49 military personnel, including a few who jumped off the aircraft before it exploded and was gutted by fire. Seven people on the ground were hit by aircraft parts and debris, and three of them died, the military said.

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules was one of two refurbished US Air Force aircraft handed over to the Philippines, Washington’s oldest treaty ally in Asia, as part of military assistance this year.

The aircraft earlier had carried two-star Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr., his wife and three children from Manila to southern Cagayan de Oro city, where he’s set to become the new military regional commander on Monday.

Those who boarded the C-130 in Cagayan de Oro for the flight to Sulu were army troops, many of them newly trained recruits, to be deployed in the battle against Abu Sayyaf militants in the south.

Brawner was stunned to learn the plane he’d just flown on had crashed. “We’re very thankful that we were spared but extremely sad that so many lost their lives,” Brawner told The Associated Press.

A video taken by troops showed the aircraft landing in clear weather then vanishing beyond the airport. “It vanished, it vanished,” one soldier exclaims. Dark gray smoke later billowed from the crash site in a wooded area as the troops, yell, “It fell, it fell” and let off curses in horror.

“They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” Sulu military commander Maj. Gen. William Gonzales said. Government forces have been battling Abu Sayyaf militants in the predominantly Muslim province of Sulu for decades.

It was not immediately clear what caused the crash and investigators were looking for the C-130’s black boxes containing the cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

Regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan said it was unlikely that the aircraft took hostile fire. Military chief of staff Gen. Cirilito Sobejana told reporters Sunday that “the plane missed the runway and it was trying to regain power but failed and crashed.”

An air force official told The AP that the Jolo runway is shorter than most others in the country, making it more difficult for pilots to adjust if an aircraft misses the landing spot. The official, who has flown military aircraft to and from Jolo several times, spoke on condition of anonymity because of a lack of authority to speak publicly.

President Rodrigo Duterte expanded the military presence in Sulu to a full division in late 2018, deploying hundreds of additional troops, air force aircraft and other combat equipment after vowing to wipe out Abu Sayyaf. The small but brutal group has been blacklisted by the U.S. and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for ransom kidnappings, bombings and beheadings.

Before Sunday, the Philippine air force’s deadliest disaster was a crash in a rice field north of Manila in 1971 that killed 40 military personnel, military historian Jose Custodio said.

A recently delivered S-701 Blackhawk helicopter crashed more than a week ago near Clark freeport, a former U.S. airbase, killing all six air force personnel on board.

The Philippine government has struggled for years to modernize its military, one of Asia’s least equipped, as it dealt with decades-long Muslim and communist insurgencies and territorial rifts with China and other claimant countries in the South China Sea.

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