Pakistan Yet To Give Sovereign Guarantee For Visit of Jadhav’s Wife: VK Singh

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Pakistan Yet To Give Sovereign Guarantee For Visit of Jadhav’s Wife: VK Singh

The minister also said India does not care about 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed approaching the United Nations to get his name struck off the list of designated terrorists.

Pakistan Yet To Give Sovereign Guarantee For Visit of Jadhav’s Wife: VK Singh

The minister also said India does not care about 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed approaching the United Nations to get his name struck off the list of designated terrorists.

Pakistan is yet to give a sovereign guarantee about the safety and security of Indian prisoner on death row Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife if she visits that country to meet her husband, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh said today.

Talking on the sidelines of an event in Nagpur, Singh rubbished as “rumour” reports that China has erected a 400 metre high wall to camouflage the construction going on in Dokalam, the scene of a prolonged stand-off between Indian and Chinese armies.

The minister also said India “does not care” about 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed approaching the United Nations to get his name struck off the list of designated terrorists.

Talks are still in progress. They (Pakistan) are yet to provide guarantee on the safety aspect.

Pakistan’s foreign office had earlier this month said it will allow Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet his wife.

Responding to Pakistan’s offer of arranging a meeting between the former naval officer and his wife, India also requested that his mother be allowed to meet him too.

A military court in Pakistan had in April this year sentenced Jadhav, a former navyman, to death on the charge of his alleged involvement in espionage and terror attacks. India strongly denied the allegation.

The International Court of Justice has stayed Jadhav’s execution.

Talking about Saeed, Singh said, “The government has been saying this from the beginning. Those who are terrorists are terrorists. We have no doubt about it. We don’t care where a terrorist goes and approaches whom to seek protection.

Saeed has petitioned the UN seeking removal of his name from the list of designated terrorists on the ground that none of the allegations against him - either related to terrorism or otherwise - have been proved in the Pakistani courts.

The banned Jamaat-ud-Dawah (JuD) head, who carries a $10 million American bounty on his head for terror activities, walked free on Friday after the Pakistan government decided against detaining him further in any other case. He was under house arrest since January this year.

Do not believe in such rumours,” he said when asked to comment on reports about China having built a 400 metre high wall to hide construction activities in Dokalam on Sikkim- Bhutan-Tibet trijunction.

Singh said India wanted its citizens going abroad to believe that their government will help them in the event of any trouble.

He said India was working on maintaining healthy relations with every country.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/418087-pakistan-yet-to-give-sovereign-guarantee-for-visit-of-jadhav-s-wife-vk-singh

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US Blacklist of State Sponsors of Terrorism More Symbolism Than Substance: Experts

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US Blacklist of State Sponsors of Terrorism More Symbolism Than Substance: Experts

As North Korea marches toward nuclear mastery, President Donald Trump slaps the country back on an American blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism. But is it anything more than bluster?

US Blacklist of State Sponsors of Terrorism More Symbolism Than Substance: Experts

As North Korea marches toward nuclear mastery, President Donald Trump slaps the country back on an American blacklist of state sponsors of terrorism. But is it anything more than bluster?

After all, former President George W Bush removed North Korea from that same list nearly a decade ago, also in an attempt to halt its march toward nuclear mastery.

Aside from a pretty good illustration of just how hopeless the decades-long effort to get North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions can seem, the contrasting approaches also show that the list has always been more about symbolism than substance.

The top US diplomat, Rex Tillerson, acknowledged as much -- and undercut Trump's declaration that it was part of a "maximum pressure campaign" to isolate North Korea+ -- when he called the decision a "very symbolic move" with limited practical effects.

After months of nuclear and missile tests that put North Korea ever closer to completing a viable long-range nuclear arsenal that can hit the US mainland, the designation has the ring of a counter punch that's more impressive to look at than painful to feel.

And since North Korea will see it as a yet another in a long list of provocations -- even if symbolic -- it likely pushes a negotiated end to the dangerous standoff on the Korean Peninsula further away. There will be angry words from Pyongyang, maybe more weapons tests, and then more angry words from Washington, and maybe more sanctions.

The listing will raise animosity and speed up North Korea's nuclear development, said Hong Min, an analyst at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification.

North Korea will also see the move as proof that the Trump administration has no genuine interest in diplomacy, considering the shame and global stigma the designation still brings, Hong said.

One problem for Trump is that while North Korea cared very much about the terror list a decade ago, it may not worry as much about it now.

When North Korea was taken off the list in 2008 -- part of a pledge Bush made in a 2007 nuclear disarmament deal that blew up within a year-- North Korea chafed at what it saw as an impediment to doing international business and pursuing large multilateral financial loans, analysts at the time said.

But 2017's North Korea is very different from the nation that did a deal with Bush.

The dictator now in charge -- the young Kim Jong-un, who took over after his father, Kim Jong Il, died in 2011 -- has so far seen little benefit to the interminable diplomatic wrangling his father dove into between so-called provocations.

Kim Jong-un, instead, has pursued with breakneck speed the building of an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles. Granted, the messages from Washington -- where Trump has swung between threats of "fire and fury" and offers to talk -- have been mixed, but when there has been US outreach, North Korea has seemed uninterested.

The move by Trump will also fit neatly, from North Korea's perspective, into its long-running claim that Washington harbors "hostile intentions" that make the nuclear program a crucial part of national defence.

How you see the respective moves by Bush and Trump may depend on how you define terrorism.

Those who thought North Korea shouldn't be on the list a decade ago argued that it had not been tied directly to terrorism since its agents planted a bomb on a South Korean commercial jetliner in 1987. The other side saw North Korea's abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s, and its alleged assassinations of North Koreans who fled to South Korea, as clear evidence of terrorism.

Trump, in announcing the listing, mentioned an American student imprisoned in North Korea who died of injuries suffered there, and also "assassinations on foreign soil," a reference to the killing of Kim Jong-un's half brother with nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur airport in February.

Some in South Korea believe that, regardless of Washington's actions, North Korea has no intention of negotiating over its weapons+ until it successfully builds a working long-range nuclear arsenal, something that may happen in the next couple of years.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/417348-us-blacklist-of-state-sponsors-of-terrorism-more-symbolism-than-substance-experts

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Timeline: The Numerous Escapes of India's Most Wanted Man Hafiz Saeed

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Timeline: The Numerous Escapes of India's Most Wanted Man Hafiz Saeed

Despite multiple attempts to bring Jammat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to justice, he’s been released after another stint of house arrest.

Saeed, said to be the founder of terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba, had sent hundreds of militants to fight in Kashmir since 1990 without facing any action.

Timeline: The Numerous Escapes of India's Most Wanted Man Hafiz Saeed

Despite multiple attempts to bring Jammat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed to justice, he’s been released after another stint of house arrest.

Saeed, said to be the founder of terror organisation Lashkar-e-Taiba, had sent hundreds of militants to fight in Kashmir since 1990 without facing any action. However, things changed after the November 2008 Mumbai attacks after which he has been constantly evading the law.

Ten members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist organisation based in Pakistan, carry out synchronized attacks at multiple locations in Mumbai and kill a total of 166 civilians. Nine militants are killed, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab is the sole attacker to be caught alive.

India sends a formal request to the UN Security Council to list Hafiz Saeed and his charity organisation, Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), as known aliases of Lashkar-e-Taiba. India says “the close links between the (two) organizations are of immediate concern with regard to their efforts to mobilize and orchestrate terrorist activities.

Saeed is listed on 10 December 2008 by the UN Security Council as “being associated with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT).

Saeed goes on a news channel to deny this association publicly.

On 11 December, Saeed is placed under house arrest under the Maintenance of Public Order law.

The case against Saeed drags on, until the Lahore High Court deems his containment to be unconstitutional, and orders his release.

The Punjab provincial government files an appeal in the Supreme Court against the release order.

On August 25, Interpol issues a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Saeed, which is intended to compel Pakistan to share information about crimes, criminals, and threats etc. with intelligence counterparts around the world. The notice comes after India’s efforts at extraditing Saeed.

Saeed is placed under house arrest again.

The Lahore High Court drops all criminal charges against Saeed, saying there is not enough evidence, and that Jamaat-ud-Dawa is not a banned organization. This order comes after India gives Pakistan information against Saeed which is based on the testimony of Kasab.

In an effort to pressurise Pakistan into action, India publishes a list of its 50 most wanted fugitives hiding in Pakistan.

On 3 April, 2012, the United States places a 10 million dollar bounty on Saeed. JuD and Lashkar-e-Taiba are both blacklisted by the US. The JuD responds by describing the US move as “yet another attack on Islam and Muslims”.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram says he hopes the bounty will “prod the Pakistan government to take action,” but says he isn’t too hopeful because “Pakistan was in denial and continues to be in denial.

As of 2013, Saeed “lives an open, and apparently fearless, life in a middle-class neighborhood” in Pakistan, according to this account by Declan Walsh.

I move about like an ordinary person — that’s my style,” Saeed, now 64-years-old, tells the reporter.

The United States imposes economic sanctions against two senior members of Lashkar-e-Taiba and designates Jamaat-ud-Dawa as a “front organization.

US State Department names Jamaat-ud-Dawa a “foreign terrorist organization,” in another attempt to freeze any assets they may have under US jurisdiction.

In a move towards the execution of the National Action Plan against terrorism, Pakistan’s interior ministry includes the Jamaat-ud-Dawa and the Haqqani network on a list of banned outfits.

Saeed says the ban will make no difference and his party “will continue serving the humanity on the same pattern.

Pakistan government bans the coverage of Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Saeed after the organisation is added to the international list of terrorist groups.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs demands action from Pakistan, says despite the ban on JuD, Saeed continues to broadcast messages and mobilise people.

On 31 January, the Trump administration threatens to put Pakistan on the list of nations against whom an immigration ban is imposed because their citizens are seen as a threat.

A day later, Hafiz Saeed is put under house arrest by Pakistani authorities. Pakistan’s army explains the action as a “policy decision in the national interest. he government announces that the 90 day detention period can be extended if needed.

Pakistan bans Saeed’s new terror front Tehreek-e-Azadi-Jammu & Kashmir (TAJK). As JuD was earlier put on the list of proscribed organisations, Saeed was forced to run his activities under the TAJK banner.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif acknowledges that Hafiz Saeed, the Haqqanis and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are “liabilities” for the country, but Pakistan does not have the required “assets” to get rid of them.

Lahore High Court warns that Saeed will have to be freed from house arrest unless enough evidence is generated against him.

Approximately 10 months after his house arrest in January, Saeed is freed once again on the orders of the Lahore High Court. The high court overrules the government’s request to extend the detention period. The government says the release of a world recognised terrorist may trigger international sanctions against Pakistan.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/416747-timeline-the-numerous-escapes-of-india-s-most-wanted-man-hafiz-saeed

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Beijing's Stand On Masood Azhar Doing Material Harm To China-India Ties: Experts

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Beijing's Stand On Masood Azhar Doing Material Harm To China-India Ties: Experts
Beijing's Stand On Masood Azhar Doing Material Harm To China-India Ties: Experts

Beijing's Stand On Masood Azhar Doing Material Harm To China-India Ties: Experts
Beijing's Stand On Masood Azhar Doing Material Harm To China-India Ties: Experts

The recent decision by China to block a bid at the United Nations to list Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant group, as a global terrorist, is doing "material harm" to its ties with India, top American experts said today.

Last week, China had blocked a bid at the United Nations by the US, France, and Britain to list Azhar as a global terrorist, citing a lack of consensus among the members of the UN Security Council.

A veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India's move to designate Azhar a terrorist under the Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council.

I think it's an unfortunate move on China's part and I question the logic of continuing to block sanctions on known Pakistan-based terrorists at the United Nations," Jeff Smith from the Heritage Foundation told PTI.

Smith said that China was "clearly" seeing its action as a favor to its all-weather friend, Pakistan.

But the policy is increasingly undermining China's own strategic interests and stated foreign policy objectives," he said, noting that in September, China had, for the first time, relented to including specific criticism of JeM and other Pakistani terror outfits in the statement issued at the BRICS summit in Xiamen.

It grievously undermines an increasingly prominent Chinese narrative about the need to take a tougher line on terrorism broadly, and in Afghanistan specifically," Smith said.

It's actions are also doing material harm to the health of a China-India relationship already under duress," he said.

The Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations said that the Committee discussions over whether to add an individual or entity to the 1267 sanctions list are confidential to the committee.

However, we would support efforts to list Azhar, Jaish-e Mohammed's founder and leader, on the 1267 Sanctions List and would encourage others to support his listing as well," a spokesperson for the US mission in New York told PTI.

According to Rick Rossow from Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), an American think-tank, China's latest move affirmed Delhi's belief in Sino-Pakistani collusion.

By supporting this decision, China could have taken an important step to restart its ties with Delhi, yet Beijing chose a different path," Rossow told PTI.

Rossow alleged that China continued to use the international system where it saw fit, "such as this vote", while undermining the international system in other areas, "such as maritime law".

The timing is significant, coming on the heels of Washington's stronger rhetoric against Pakistan's support for terrorism. Much like the announcement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, this decision was another Chinese lifeline to Islamabad at a precarious time," Rossow said.

Director of Initiative on the Future of India and South Asia at Hudson Institute think tank, Aparna Pande, said she was not surprised by Beijing's decision.

While China worries about Islamist radicals it is concerned primarily with Uyghurs and on that front it will apply pressure on Pakistan," she noted.

When it comes to Jihadis that target India, China does not see it as in its interest to force Pakistan. Further, being seen as Pakistan's benefactor in the international arena is another benefit for Beijing," Pande told PTI. The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN's list of banned terror outfits.

Last year in March, China was the only member in the 15- nation UN Security Council to put a hold on India's application.

The other 14 members supported New Delhi's bid to place Azhar on the sanctions list that would subject him to an assets freeze and travel ban.

Azhar is accused of several terrorist attacks in India, including one on the Pathankot air force station in January 2016.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/413364-beijing-s-stand-on-masood-azhar-doing-material-harm-to-china-india-ties-experts

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US Shares Names of 20 Terror Groups With Pakistan: Report

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US Shares Names of 20 Terror Groups With Pakistan: Report
US Shares Names of 20 Terror Groups With Pakistan: Report

The US has shared with Pakistan a list 20 terrorist groups like the LeT, JeM and HUM that Washington believes are operating from its soil to target India and Afghanistan, a media report said today.

US Shares Names of 20 Terror Groups With Pakistan: Report
US Shares Names of 20 Terror Groups With Pakistan: Report

The US has shared with Pakistan a list 20 terrorist groups like the LeT, JeM and HUM that Washington believes are operating from its soil to target India and Afghanistan, a media report said today.

Top on the list is the Haqqani network which, the US says has safe havens in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in northwestern Pakistan and uses them to launch attacks into Afghanistan, Dawn reported.

The list includes three types of militants groups: those who launch attacks into Afghanistan, those who attack targets inside Pakistan and those who are focused on Kashmir, the newspaper quoted diplomatic sources as saying.

India-specific terror groups like Harakatul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) are also onthe list.

Harakatul Mujahideen is a Pakistan-based militant group operating primarily in Kashmir. The US says that group had links to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda as well, the report said.

JeM operates mainly in Kashmir.

The United States identified LeT as one of the largest and most active terrorist organisations in South Asia. Founded in 1987 by Hafiz Saeed, Abdullah Azzam and Zafar Iqbal in Afghanistan, the group had its headquarters in Muridke in Punjab province. It too is focused on Kashmir, the report said.

Lashkar-e-Taiba was involved in the 2001 Indian parliament attack and the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The US blames this group for committing hundreds of target killings and dozens of mass attacks inside Pakistan.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), an umbrella organisation of various militant groups, was based in FATA, but has now relocated to Afghanistan. The US says that the group wants to enforce its own interpretation of Sharia and plans to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. It has conducted hundreds of terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

Other groups on the list are: Harakatul Jihadi-i-Islami, Jamaatul Ahrar, Jamaatud Dawa al-Quran and Tariq Gidar Group, which is one of 13 TTP affiliates.

The Tariq Gidar Group has been behind some of the deadliest attacks inside Pakistan, including the Dec 16, 2014, massacre at the Army Public School in Peshawar that left 132 schoolchildren and nine staffers dead.

The sources, however, rejected as incorrect the suggestion that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson gave a list of 75 terrorists to Pakistani officials when he visited Islamabad last week.

Tillerson told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Monday that Pakistan was willing to target terrorists if provided specific information about their whereabouts and Washington plans to give Islamabad the opportunity to do so.

He said the information that the US delegation gave Pakistan went "beyond just names of individuals" and also expected "to receive information" from Pakistan that would be useful in targeting militants.

Tillerson said that it was in the interest of Pakistan to change its "long-standing" relationship with terrorist organisations.

The conversation with the Pakistani government is for them to recognise that they will be one of the greatest beneficiaries of a successful peace process in Afghanistan, Tillerson told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Monday.

Tillerson, who also visited Afghanistan and India last week, responded to questions on Pakistan's co-operation in the fight against terrorism in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump's South Asia Policy.

Pakistan lives with two very unstable borders, one with Afghanistan, one with India and our message to them is -- You have to begin to create greater stability inside your country and that means denying safe haven to any of these organisations that launch attacks from your territory," Tillerson said.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/412350-us-shares-names-of-20-terror-groups-with-pakistan-report

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China Does It Again: Blocks Another Move To List Masood Azhar As Global Terrorist By The UN

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China Does It Again: Blocks Another Move To List Masood Azhar As Global Terrorist By The UN

China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the the US, France and UK-backed proposal to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

China Does It Again: Blocks Another Move To List Masood Azhar As Global Terrorist By The UN

China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the the US, France and UK-backed proposal to list Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.

China on Thursday blocked another bid by the US, France and the UK to list Pakistan-based JeM chief and Pathankot terror attack mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN, saying it has rejected the move as "there is no consensus".

A veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India's move to put a ban on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief under the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the Council.

The JeM, founded by Azhar, has already been in the UN's list of banned terror outfits.

China had in August extended by three months its technical hold on the the US, France and UK-backed proposal to list Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN after having blocked the move in February this year at the United Nations.

China has rejected the move as there is no consensus+ ," sources in the Chinese foreign ministry told PTI here.

The comment came as the China's technical hold on a proposal by the US, France and Britain to list Azhar as a global terrorist was set to lapse today.

The official's comment indicates that China will veto the application in the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council to allow it to lapse.

This is the second year in succession that China has blocked the resolution. Last year, China had done the same to stall India's application before the same Committee.

Earlier, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing: "we raised a technical hold so as to allow more time for the committee and its members to deliberate on this matter. But there is still absence of consensus on this matter.

Defending China's consistent technical holds, Hua said China's actions are meant to ensure and safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the 1267 Committee of the UN Security Council.

We will continue to follow the mandate of the Committee and its rules of procedure and remain in constant communication and coordination with the members of the Committee," she said.

To the follow-up questions, Hua said the Committee has its rules. The committee is yet reach the consensus.

The Committee is yet to reach an agreement. This is a fact," Hua said.

Hua's remarks indicate that China will continue its policy to block moves by India and other countries led by the US to block Azhar's listing during the second term of Chinese President Xi Jinping, which began over a week ago.

China in the past had asked India to discuss the issue directly with Pakistan in order to reach an understanding on Azhar's listing.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/412348-china-does-it-again-blocks-another-move-to-list-masood-azhar-as-global-terrorist-by-the-un

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India Not Going To Supply Weapons To Afghanistan For Anti-Taliban Operation

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India Not Going To Supply Weapons To Afghanistan For Anti-Taliban Operation
India Not Going To Supply Weapons To Afghanistan For Anti-Taliban Operation

India Not Going To Supply Weapons To Afghanistan For Anti-Taliban Operation
India Not Going To Supply Weapons To Afghanistan For Anti-Taliban Operation

New Delhi has made it clear that it has no immediate plans of supplying weapons to the Afghan forces to help in the counter-offensive against the Taliban.

We have no plans to supply weapons to Afghanistan. India's role will be limited to providing training to the Afghan security forces. Besides, India is already providing the medical support system to Afghan forces for the treatment of soldiers injured during operations," top sources in the Ministry of Defense told Sputnik on Monday.

After the recent visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to India and Afghanistan, there were fresh speculations that India might agree to supply weapons to the insurgency-hit country as the US wants India to get more actively involved in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

India will be an important partner in the effort to ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan. We welcome its role in supporting Afghanistan," the US Secretary of State said during his visit to India last week.

Rex Tillerson had also assured India that the US will continue to strengthen India's capability to provide security throughout the region as a leading power.

In the changing Asian geopolitical situation, the US wants India to play a major role in the Indo-Pacific region. In fact, the US wants India to increase its sphere of influence in the region, especially in Afghanistan since the US wants to reduce the influence of Pakistan and China in the region. One of the objectives of Rex Tillerson's recent visit to India was to put pressure on the Indian government to toe to their line. But India has a clear and precise Afghanistan policy. India's policy is more focused towards capacity-building of Afghan defense forces," Major General (Retd) A K Siwach told Sputnik.

Last year, Afghanistan formally requested India to hand over some of its most lethal weapons including the Russian-made Mi-25 and Mi-35 aircraft, to the fledgling Afghan National Army and also to assist in the restoration of its Soviet-era tank and ammunition factories. When the Afghan Army Chief General Qadam Shah Shamim visited New Delhi in August 2016, he handed over a list of weapons including the Russian made attack and utility helicopters, artillery, ammunition, tanks and "trainer" vehicles to the Indian authorities. The list was reportedly prepared in consultation with the United States.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/411948-india-not-going-to-supply-weapons-to-afghanistan-for-anti-taliban-operation

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Make In India: Defence Production Put In The Fast Lane

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Make In India: Defence Production Put In The Fast Lane
Make In India: Defence Production Put In The Fast Lane

Make In India: Defence Production Put In The Fast Lane
Make In India: Defence Production Put In The Fast Lane

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is spearheading a process that will put in place a new system to push defence manufacturing under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government.

Faster approvals on issuance of industrial licences needed to start production, as also cutting short bureaucratic delays are in the works, senior Defence Ministry officials said. Elaborating on this, officials said that licences would be considered as “deemed approved” if security clearance from the Home Ministry is not received in a “reasonable” amount of time.

Indian defence industry, where concerns were raised over long-pending requests for security clearances to set up small and medium level defence related manufacturing projects. A proposal is being contemplated under which if a licence remains pending for two months, or any decided period after its due date for approval has passed, will be considered as "deemed approved" in certain cases. Details of the modus operandi of this new mechanism will be announced soon, officials said.

Alongside, another measure being undertaken by the Defence Ministry to push defence manufacturing is to draw up a master list of defence technologies developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) that can be commercialised by sharing it with government or private sector companies for manufacturing and exports.

Some of the technologies developed by DRDO have already been given to private sector and equipment are being manufactured and also exported. We will work with DRDO to make a list of items which can be commercialised," the official said.

The Defence Ministry will also discuss tax concessions with the Finance Ministry for domestic manufacturers as in the case of foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers, officials said. India has been looking at expanding its defence manufacturing base under the Make in India programme, and small and medium scale industries have been identified as a special component under it.

As already reported first, Sitharaman in her first interaction with the private defence companies on Saturday had assured that a decision on the three big-ticket Make in India projects – the Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), Tactical Communication System (TCS) and Battlefield Management System (BMS) will be taken up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in the next two months (by 31 December 2017). The three programmes have been stuck for many months for placement of development contracts. A timely decision on these programmes is a major milestone in India’s quest for self-reliance in defence and is seen as a significant step in setting up a contemporary defence industrial base in the country.

Delays spanning over seven years in initiating this programme has been a major concern amongst a large section of the Indian industry as also many global technology providers who have forged partnerships and entered into MoUs for developing or providing critical technologies for this program.

Therefore, the foremost suggestion from the Indian industry to boost the sector was to compress the procurement decision timelines in order to align or even better the stipulated timelines. Even for Make in India II projects, the Defence Minister has asked the industry to draw up a list of 10-12 projects, which will then be looked into by a committee of MoD to be constituted.

Getting Make in India programs under way is a sure way to indigenisation and for kicking off a series of design and development programmes. In spite of great intentions, since 2010, expressions of interest have been issued only for three programmes (TCS, BMS and FICV); and as on date progress on development phase orders is yet to happen.

As many as 25 Indian and foreign defence companies including Larsen and Toubro, Bharat Forge, Mahindra and Mahindra, Adani, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Dynamatic Technologies Ltd and others, besides Boeing, Airbus, BAE, Rolls Royce attended the Saturday meeting with Sitharaman.

Read more http://theindiansubcontinent.com/defense/item/411941-make-in-india-defence-production-put-in-the-fast-lane

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