In the wake of Jammu terror strike, MoD clears Rs 160 bn rifle procurement

Two days after yet another deadly terrorist strike in Jammu claimed six Indian lives, the government restarted a faltering procurement aimed at strengthening the firepower of the frontline infantry soldier, who bears the brunt of counter-insurgency operations and deployment along the Pakistan and China borders.
On Tuesday, the ministry’s apex Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, cleared the capital purchase of assault rifles, sniper rifles and light machine guns worth about Rs 159.35 billion ($2.5 billion).

“In the last one month, to equip the soldiers on the border with modern and more effective equipment, the DAC has fast-tracked procurement of the three main personal weapons, i.e., rifles, carbines and light machine guns”, a defence ministry release stated.
The “Fast Track Process” of the Defence Procurement Policy of 2016 (DPP-2016), is directed at concluding an acquisition within a year.
Over the preceding decade, the defence ministry has gone through several long-running acquisition processes for small arms – which include assault rifles, carbines and light machine guns – but cancelled them all, most recently last year.


Nirmala Sitharaman says Pak to pay for Sunjuwan attack: Top 10 developments

Pakistan will pay for its “misadventure” and India reserved the right to respond at a “time of its choosing”, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday, while blaming Islamabad for the terrorist attack at the Indian Army’s Sunjuwan military camp in Jammu. After a visit to the Army camp, Sitharaman also asserted that Islamabad was expanding its “arc of terror” to areas south of the Pir Panjal Range in the Jammu region.

The defence minister added that Rs 14.87 billion (Rs 1,487 crore) has been allocated to enhance security at military installations.
ALSO READ: Sunjwan: Army sets camp ablaze; Pak alleges India creating ‘war hysteria’
A group of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists had struck the Sunjuwan military camp in the wee hours on Saturday, killing six people, including five soldiers. Three terrorists were also gunned down.
However, despite her strong words, the defence minister refused to “set a timeline” for when Pakistan would “pay for its misadventure”.
Here are the top 10 developments:
1) Pakistan will ‘pay’ at a time of India’s choosing: Sitharaman blamed Pakistan for the terrorist attack at the Sunjuwan military camp and made it clear that it will pay the price for its “misadventure”.
She asserted that even though evidence of Pakistan’s role may be shared, India still reserved the “right to respond adequately at the time of our choosing”.

Sentenced to death, Kulbhushan Jadhav faces terror, sabotage trials in Pak

Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav, who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on spying charges, is now facing trial in multiple cases related to terrorism and sabotage, according to a report in media.
Jadhav, 47, was sentenced to death by the military court in April last year. Pakistan claims that its security forces arrested Jadhav from its Balochistan province on March 3, 2016, after he reportedly entered from Iran. India denies all charges.
India moved the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in May last year against the verdict.

The ICJ halted his execution on India’s appeal pending the final verdict by it.
Dawn reported quoting an official that Jadhav has multiple cases against him in which he had been indicted on terror and sabotage related charges.
The cases are progressing, the paper quoted the official saying.
He said only the spying case against Jadhav has been concluded out of the multiple cases against him.
The paper quoting a source also said that Pakistan on a number of occasions had sought access to 13 Indian officials to ascertain information in the case.


US issues new travel advisory for citizens, says India ‘user friendly’

The US on Wednesday issued a new travel advisory for countries including India, which its officials said is “user friendly” as it is based on ready-to-understand level of advice ranging from one to four.India has been ranked Level 2 (exercise increased caution) while Pakistan has been places in Level 3 (reconsider travel).

Level 1 advises travllers to exercise normal precaution, while Level 4, which has countries like Afghanistan, recommends “Do Not Travel”.Now every country has a travel advisory based on this system, which has replaced all the previous such advisories.”These improvements will provide US citizens with clear, timely, and reliable safety and

security information worldwide,” the State Department said.Placing India on Level 2, the State Department identified “crime and terrorism” for Americans to exercise increased caution.

However, it asks Americans not to travel to Jammu and Kashmir, except for eastern Ladakh and Leh and not to venture within 10 miles of the India-Pakistan border due to read more


Saw fear in my mother’s eyes: Jadhav in new video released by Pakistan

Pakistan on Thursday released yet another video of Indian death row prisoner Kulbhushan Jadhav in which he purportedly said he had not been harmed in custody and also asked why India was “lying” that he was not working for an intelligence agency.
In what is being described as a confessional video, Jadhav says he is a commissioned officer of the Indian Navy and that his commission has not gone and also purportedly tells that the Indian diplomat who accompanied his family for the meeting “yelled” at his mother.
However, the veracity of the video which was released by the Pakistan Foreign Office could not be ascertained. The video was released days after India had hit out at Pakistan for violating understandings for the Jadhav-family meet and raised questions about  read more

Don’t blame us for your failures in Afghanistan: Pak’s retort to Trump

Just hours after United States President Donald Trump accused Pakistan of doing nothing in ‘war on terrorism’ except lying and cheating them, the latter has retorted that the US should not blame Pakistan for its failures in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asifwas first to respond on Monday. He tweeted, “We will respond to President Trump’s tweet shortly inshallah…Will let the world know the truth..difference between facts & fiction.”

Trump, in a strongly-worded tweet, said America had been ‘foolishly’ providing military aid to Pakistan for 15 years, but in return, it has only received ‘lies and deceit.’

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with read more


Medical visas: No restrictions on foreign patients except Pak, says govt

India has not imposed any restrictions on medical visas for foreign patients but in case of those from Pakistan, a recommendation letter from Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs is required for obtaining a visa, the Lok Sabha was informed on Thursday.
In a written reply, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said the government has issued more than a lakh of medical visas so far in this year.


The government has not put any restrictions on medical visas for foreign patients, and requests for such visas for urgent medical cases are expeditiously processed and issued on the same day, he said.
“However, in case of Pakistan, we ask for recommendations letter from Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, to process genuine and urgent cases,” Singh read more