https://militarymen.in Real heros of the nation Fri, 21 Jan 2022 05:09:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://militarymen.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/favicon.jpg https://militarymen.in 32 32 178104225 Hundreds of combat ready British troops could be sent to Ukraine’s Nato neighbours https://militarymen.in/hundreds-of-combat-ready-british-troops-could-be-sent-to-ukraines-nato-neighbours/ https://militarymen.in/hundreds-of-combat-ready-british-troops-could-be-sent-to-ukraines-nato-neighbours/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 05:09:40 +0000 https://militarymen.in/hundreds-of-combat-ready-british-troops-could-be-sent-to-ukraines-nato-neighbours/ Hundreds of combat ready British troops could be sent to Ukraine‘s NATO neighbours to bolster their security forces amid the threat of a Russian invasion.   [...]

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Hundreds of combat ready British troops could be sent to Ukraine‘s NATO neighbours to bolster their security forces amid the threat of a Russian invasion.  

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland could all see an increase in NATO personnel after its member states held talks over expanding their presence in the region.

Britain already has 830 troops, tanks armoured military vehicles, self-propelled artillery, air-defence, intelligence assets and engineers in Estonia, where it is leading a battle group of 1,200. More than 300 French troops are set to join them.

Poland is also playing host to 140 British troops as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence mission, while around 100 British troops are currently in Ukraine.

And British presence in the region could be set to increase further under plans being discussed by the Ministry of Defence, according to The Times.

Pictured: Soldiers from the British Army's Royal Welsh Regiment stand in front of their Warrior armoured fighting vehicle near a base in Tapa, Estonia last year

Pictured: Soldiers from the British Army’s Royal Welsh Regiment stand in front of their Warrior armoured fighting vehicle near a base in Tapa, Estonia last year

Citing a defence source, the newspaper reported today that the UK is looking at bolstering the existing missions with ‘hundreds’ of combat-ready soldiers that would be able to deploy at short notice.

‘They [Nato] have asked the question around boosting those [enhanced Forward Presence missions] and the Nato mission in the Baltics. Countries are thinking about what they could do,’ the source told The Times.

With regard to when the deployment could happen, the source added: If there was a  NATO ally about to have Russian troops knocking on their doorstep then they [the force] would be there quickly.’

Russia has demanded an end to NATO deployments on its borders, and has said such moves are a provocation. 

Discussions over the deployments come amid mounting fears a major conflict could break out in Europe, as many as 127,000 Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border and the West trading threats over the increasingly tense situation. 

Western intelligence officials fear that the Kremlin is plotting a ‘multi-axis’ invasion that could come from the land, air and sea, with Russian troops believed to have set up in Belarus at a base some 25 miles from the Ukrainian border. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed to CNN on Thursday that NATO was looking at Russia-related sanctions and ‘considering to increase deployments of NATO troops in the eastern part of the alliance.’ 

He added that Russia has been invited to a series of meetings to find a political solution. 

Russia presented the West with a list of security demands at talks last week that produced no breakthrough. Russian officials have denied planning to invade, but the Kremlin has massed some 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders. 

U.S. President Joe Biden said Thursday that any Russian troop movements across Ukraine’s border would constitute an invasion and that Moscow would ‘pay a heavy price’ for such an action.

Pictured: Ukraine soldiers conducts tactical exercises at one of the all-military training grounds of the southern Ukraine's Kherson region, just north of annexed Crimea

Pictured: Ukraine soldiers conducts tactical exercises at one of the all-military training grounds of the southern Ukraine’s Kherson region, just north of annexed Crimea

Soldiers of assault engineer and recovery-and-salvage units of the Russian Army 1st Guards Engineer Brigade are seen during tactical and special training in the city of Murom, some 260 km east of Moscow

Soldiers of assault engineer and recovery-and-salvage units of the Russian Army 1st Guards Engineer Brigade are seen during tactical and special training in the city of Murom, some 260 km east of Moscow

It was the latest White House effort to clear up comments Biden made a day earlier when he suggested that a ‘minor incursion’ by Russia into Ukrainian territory could result in a more measured response by the United States and allies.

Mr Stoltenberg said on Thursday that U.S. President Joe Biden’s ‘minor incursion’ comment was not a green light to a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

‘Not at all,’ Stoltenberg told CNN in an interview when asked if Biden’s remarks gave a green light to Russian aggression.

Biden’s comments came as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken prepared to meet Friday in Geneva with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a high-stakes bid to ease tensions that appears likely to fail.   

Before traveling to Geneva, Blinken warned in Berlin that there would be a ‘swift, severe’ response from the United States and its allies if Russia sent any military forces into Ukraine.

‘If any Russian military forces move across the Ukrainian border and commit new acts of aggression against Ukraine, that will be met with a swift, severe, united response from the United States and our allies and partners,’ Blinken told a news conference with his German counterpart.

Later, Blinken accused Russia of threatening the foundations of world order with its buildup of an estimated 100,000 troops near Ukraine.      

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected today to urge the West’s allies to ‘step up’ in solidarity with Ukraine in the face of perceived Russian aggression, in a speech in Sydney.

The UK’s top diplomat, on an official visit to Australia alongside Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, is set to urge Russia to ‘de-escalate and engage in meaningful discussions’ following its troop build-up on the Ukrainian border.

‘We need everyone to step up,’ Truss will say in a wide-ranging foreign policy speech at the Lowy Institute in Australia’s biggest city, according to excerpts released by her office in advance.

‘Together with our allies, we will continue to stand with Ukraine and urge Russia to de-escalate and engage in meaningful discussions.’

Adding ‘what happens in Eastern Europe matters for the world,’ she will note that ‘invasion will only lead to a terrible quagmire and loss of life’.

Truss, who took the helm at Britain’s foreign ministry last September, is hoping to use the visit to forge closer defence and security ties with Canberra, as London looks to reposition itself after leaving the European Union.

Rebranding itself ‘Global Britain’ and eyeing new opportunities beyond the EU, it announced a new defence alliance with Australia and the United States – AUKUS – last September.

It will see Canberra acquire nuclear-powered submarines using US technology.

In her speech, Truss will argue like-minded democracies – including Israel, India, Japan and Indonesia – must ‘respond together’ as global aggressors become ’emboldened in a way we haven’t seen since the Cold War’.

‘They seek to export dictatorship as a service around the world,’ Truss is set to say, noting the close ties between countries like Belarus, North Korea and Myanmar with Moscow and Beijing.

‘Threats to freedom, democracy and the rule of law are not just regional – they’re global.

‘Building closer ties with our friends and drawing other countries closer to the orbit of free-market democracies will ultimately make us all safer and freer in the years to come,’ Truss will add.

‘It is time for the free world to stand its ground.’  



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Miram Taron news: Indian Army takes up abducted Arunachal boy’s case with PLA https://militarymen.in/miram-taron-news-indian-army-takes-up-abducted-arunachal-boys-case-with-pla/ https://militarymen.in/miram-taron-news-indian-army-takes-up-abducted-arunachal-boys-case-with-pla/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 04:10:44 +0000 https://militarymen.in/miram-taron-news-indian-army-takes-up-abducted-arunachal-boys-case-with-pla/ The Indian Army contacted the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through hotline and sought the return of abducted Arunachal Pradesh teenager Miram Taron. This is the [...]

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The Indian Army contacted the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) through hotline and sought the return of abducted Arunachal Pradesh teenager Miram Taron. This is the second such incident since 2020 and China is using this tactic to buttress its “claim” on Arunachal Pradesh.

Defence ministry PRO in Tezpur tweeted, “17 yr old youth Miram Taron of Zido, Arunachal Pradesh was reportedly captured by PLA across the LAC. On receipt of info, Indian Army imdtly contacted PLA through a hotline. Assistance from PLA has been sought to locate and return him as per protocol.”

The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi is keeping a close watch on the development, ET has learnt.

Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu told media persons in Itanagar, “The defence ministry has taken up the matter. I am optimistic that the youth will be released and return to his village soon.”

Arunachal health minister Alo Libang, who is also the local MLA, said this incident took place on January 18. The youth belonged to Zido and was a hunter. “The Army and the Centre have taken up the matter. We hope that the youth will return soon.”

Arunachal BJP MP Tapir Gao had tweeted, “Chinese #PLA has abducted Sh Miram Taron, 17 years of Zido vill. yesterday 18th Jan 2022 from inside Indian territory, Lungta Jor area (China built 3-4 kms road inside India in 2018) under Siyungla area (Bishing village) of Upper Siang dist, Arunachal Pradesh.”

In September 2020, the PLA had kidnapped five boys from Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Subansiri district and released them after about a week.

Beijing claims 90,000 sq km of areas in Arunachal Pradesh as part of the territory of China and calls it Zangnan or south Tibet. Recently, China renamed 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh to reaffirm its claim on the state. Subsequently, the MEA, in a sharply worded response, noted, “Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact.”

The 15 places, which the Chinese Government renamed, included eight residential places, four mountains, two rivers and a mountain pass in Arunachal Pradesh.

Beijing’s latest attempt to assert its territorial claim came almost six-and-a-half-years after India dismissed a similar move by China in April 2017 to rename six places in Arunachal Pradesh. The MEA spokesman had then said, “Assigning invented names to the towns of your neighbours does not make illegal territorial claims legal”.

In October, China introduced a new Land Border Law, which will come into force on January 1, 2022.

Just as its Maritime Police Law and Maritime Traffic Safety Law signalled its intent to aggressively assert its expansive claims on South China Sea and East China Sea, its new Land Border Law too indicates China’s resolve to manage its demarcated boundaries with other nations and seek settlement of the boundary disputes with India and Bhutan on its own terms.

Its emphasis on the development of villages in the border areas and the role of civilians in protecting the sovereignty indicates that China would expand settlements all along its disputed boundaries with India and Bhutan.



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India successfully test-fires new version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile off Odisha coast https://militarymen.in/india-successfully-test-fires-new-version-of-brahmos-supersonic-cruise-missile-off-odisha-coast/ https://militarymen.in/india-successfully-test-fires-new-version-of-brahmos-supersonic-cruise-missile-off-odisha-coast/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 03:28:59 +0000 https://militarymen.in/india-successfully-test-fires-new-version-of-brahmos-supersonic-cruise-missile-off-odisha-coast/ Image Source : ANI. India successfully test-fires new version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile off Odisha coast. Highlights India successfully test-fired supersonic cruise missile BrahMos [...]

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BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos missile, BrahMos missile news, Odisha coast, latest BrahM
Image Source : ANI.

India successfully test-fires new version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile off Odisha coast.

Highlights

  • India successfully test-fired supersonic cruise missile BrahMos off the Odisha coast in Balasore
  • The missile was equipped with new technological developments which were successfully proven
  • India had successfully test-fired BrahMos missile from Navy’s INS Visakhapatnam warship on Jan 11

India successfully test-fired supersonic cruise missile BrahMos off the Odisha coast in Balasore on Thursday (January 20), DRDO sources said.

With new the added technologies, including the control system, the missile was test-fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) launch pad-III at Chandipur around 10:45 am, said a source at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to news agency PTI.

The detailed data is being analysed analysis, the source said.

According to Defence sources, the missile was equipped with new technological developments which were successfully proven. Earlier on January 11, the country had successfully test-fired BrahMos Supersonic Cruise missile from the Indian Navy’s INS Visakhapatnam warship.

“Advanced sea to sea variant of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise missile was tested from INS Visakhapatnam today. The missile hit the designated target ship precisely,” DRDO official had said.

Also, the Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh complimented Brahmos, DRDO teams and industry for successful flight test. Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO appreciated scientists and engineers for continuously putting efforts to maximize the weapon systems efficiency. 

ALSO READ: India successfully test-fires air version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile off Odisha coast

The missile is a joint venture between India and Russia where Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) represents the Indian side. The missile was tested from INS Visakhapatnam which is the latest warship of the Indian Navy inducted recently.

BrahMos is the main weapon system of the Indian Navy warships and have been deployed on almost all of its surface platforms. An underwater version is also being developed which will not only be used by the submarines of India but will also be offered for export to friendly foreign nations.

(With agencies inputs) 

ALSO READ: India planning to deploy BrahMos missile at China border? Here’s what Govt told SC

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Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft participates in multinational exercise Sea Dragon at Guam, USA https://militarymen.in/indian-navys-p8i-aircraft-participates-in-multinational-exercise-sea-dragon-at-guam-usa/ https://militarymen.in/indian-navys-p8i-aircraft-participates-in-multinational-exercise-sea-dragon-at-guam-usa/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 01:49:09 +0000 https://militarymen.in/indian-navys-p8i-aircraft-participates-in-multinational-exercise-sea-dragon-at-guam-usa/ New Delhi [India], January 20 (ANI): The Indian Navy’s Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I participated in the multinational Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Exercise Sea Dragon-22 [...]

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New Delhi [India], January 20 (ANI): The Indian Navy’s Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I participated in the multinational Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Exercise Sea Dragon-22 that concluded at Guam, USA on January 19, 2022.

The exercise was aimed to enhance interoperability among participating nations by evolving common tactics in response to emerging traditional and non-traditional security challenges in the maritime domain.

Naval aircraft from six navies — USA, India, Japan, Canada, Australia and South Korea — participated in the exercise. These aircraft included P8A, P8I, P1, CP140 Aurora and P3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

India’s aircrew also undertook professional interaction with other participants from friendly foreign countries. (ANI)



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India Missile Test: Watch: India successfully test fires Brahmos missile with enhanced capabilities – The Economic Times Video https://militarymen.in/india-missile-test-watch-india-successfully-test-fires-brahmos-missile-with-enhanced-capabilities-the-economic-times-video/ https://militarymen.in/india-missile-test-watch-india-successfully-test-fires-brahmos-missile-with-enhanced-capabilities-the-economic-times-video/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 01:03:25 +0000 https://militarymen.in/india-missile-test-watch-india-successfully-test-fires-brahmos-missile-with-enhanced-capabilities-the-economic-times-video/ Company Name: Times Internet Limited Registered Office Address: 9-10,Bahardurshah Zafar Marg, New Delhi – 110002 Corporate Identity Number: U74999DL1999PLC135531 Customer Support Team: care@etprime.com Grievance Officer: [...]

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Why India needs to pay attention Russian military build-up in Ukraine https://militarymen.in/why-india-needs-to-pay-attention-russian-military-build-up-in-ukraine/ https://militarymen.in/why-india-needs-to-pay-attention-russian-military-build-up-in-ukraine/#respond Fri, 21 Jan 2022 00:06:01 +0000 https://militarymen.in/why-india-needs-to-pay-attention-russian-military-build-up-in-ukraine/ It’s not surprising that with several other issues facing India, the Russian military build-up near Ukraine — one of its largest recent mobilisations — is [...]

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It’s not surprising that with several other issues facing India, the Russian military build-up near Ukraine — one of its largest recent mobilisations — is not getting much attention. But it should. What happens in Europe will not stay in Europe. In 2014, the Russian annexation of Crimea created problems for India. And if Moscow again takes military action against Ukraine, it will significantly complicate India’s objectives vis-à-vis Russia, China, the US, Europe, and even Ukraine.

For one, it would hinder Delhi’s interest in preventing a further deepening of Russia’s ties with China. Potential Russian military action against Ukraine and western backlash would mean that Moscow will need Beijing’s diplomatic support even more. Beyond the strategic challenge that a close Sino-Russian partnership poses for India, a Moscow that is more beholden to Beijing would be particularly problematic at this moment when India is dependent on Russian military supplies and Sino-Indian border tensions could flare up again. If Beijing asks Moscow to take some steps (for instance, stall military supplies to India), what will Russia do at a time when its need for China is acute due to a crisis with Ukraine? It’s worth keeping in mind that in 1962, when Moscow needed Beijing’s backing during the Cuban missile crisis, it resulted in Soviet support for ally China versus friend India at a crucial moment in the China-India war.

Russian military action against Ukraine would also impede Delhi’s suggested approach for stalling Sino-Russian ties or fuelling friction between them — that the West, particularly the US, stabilise relations with Russia. For this reason, Delhi welcomed last summer’s Biden-Putin meeting — it would also help if two of India’s key partners were not at loggerheads. But another Russian invasion of Ukraine would put paid to any near-term prospect of a rapprochement between the West and Russia. Some critics already argue that Vladimir Putin saw Joe Biden’s outreach as a sign of weakness to exploit. German and French efforts have received similar criticism. And Japanese attempts have already been stymied by the Russian military build-up on the disputed Kuril islands, and the Sino-Russian military exercises.

Further, Russian military action against Ukraine would complicate India’s efforts to maintain a delicate balance between its partnerships with the US, Europe, and Russia. Delhi could try its posture, post the Russian annexation of Crimea, of neither openly criticising nor endorsing Russian actions. However, its silence will be seen as an endorsement. Moreover, even as Moscow might seek support from Delhi, it will sell India’s silence as an endorsement, as it did in the case of Crimea, and recently when it unilaterally issued a joint statement on Afghanistan.

A worsening Russia-Ukraine conflict would also bring India-US and India-Europe contradictions on Russia to the fore. The western response will involve even more sanctions that will further hinder India’s ability to do business with Russia and diversify Russia-India ties. And all this could come at a time when Washington is considering a waiver for India from CAATSA sanctions. Even advocates of a waiver who are Russia hawks, such as Senators Ted Cruz and Mark Warner, could look askance at the seeming Indian support for Moscow.

Delhi and Washington might manage that problem but there will be others too. A deteriorating situation in Europe could draw US attention away from the Indo-Pacific theatre, as Afghanistan and Middle East crises did in previous administrations. It has already absorbed considerable American bandwidth at a time when Delhi wants Washington to be focused on the China challenge.

A Russia-Ukraine crisis could also create headwinds for India’s move to deepen security and economic ties with European partners. A crisis nearer home could reduce the latter’s increased attention to Asia, especially India. Moreover, in order to focus on the Russia challenge, European capitals could seek to stabilise ties with China, rather than act against its assertive actions. This, in turn, could negatively affect the coordinated approach that Delhi seeks among like-minded partners to balance China. Furthermore, whether or not Beijing seeks to use the opportunity of the West being distracted to take further military action against India or elsewhere, China would benefit from American and European attention focused on Russia-Ukraine rather than on Asia. It could potentially present itself as a useful interlocutor between the West and Moscow, or seek accommodation from a West that needs stability in Asia to focus on Europe, or try to deepen the cleavages between the US and Europe on itself.

There are other problematic aspects of a Russia-Ukraine crisis for Delhi. For instance, India has economic and defence trade ties with Ukraine, as well as 7,500-odd citizens residing there. There are precedent and principle-related concerns, though many in Delhi argue that power often trumps those. Nonetheless, Moscow’s justifications for its actions against Ukraine are similar to those Beijing makes versus India: Historical claims, ethnic linkages, and Indian steps that it says threaten China. And Russian military action would go against respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty that Delhi frequently advocates.

For all the reasons above, India will hope for a diplomatic solution and that Russia does not take military action against Ukraine. It is unclear if Delhi privately has expressed or will express its concerns to Moscow. Regardless, it is likely considering such a scenario, and will have to prepare for the potential fallout for India’s interests with Russia, the West and China.

The writer is director of the India Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC

 





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India stays in the game facing a pushy China https://militarymen.in/india-stays-in-the-game-facing-a-pushy-china-2/ https://militarymen.in/india-stays-in-the-game-facing-a-pushy-china-2/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 22:26:52 +0000 https://militarymen.in/india-stays-in-the-game-facing-a-pushy-china-2/ China will never “bully” its neighbours in the South China Sea, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi promised the Philippines this week. Instead, he preached: “Stressing [...]

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China will never “bully” its neighbours in the South China Sea, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi promised the Philippines this week. Instead, he preached: “Stressing only one side’s claims and imposing one’s own will on the other is not a proper way for neighbours to treat each other and it goes against the oriental philosophy of how people should get along with each other.” Why doesn’t Philippines believe China so much anymore?

Wang’s homily came weeks after China blocked Philippines’ resupply ships in the South China Sea, prompting the US to threaten to invoke the US-Philippines security treaty if China interfered again. Much more interesting, even as Wang Yi was preaching good behaviour, Manila awarded a $374-million contract to India to buy what is known as the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, Brahmos, to equip the Philippines navy against Chinese incursions into its territorial waters.
The Philippines is the first export destination for the Brahmos missile, which in the past has been deployed against the Chinese in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in the wake of China’s incursions and land grab in eastern Ladakh. It’s also the first step towards attempting to correct a huge imbalance in the South China Sea, where China uses its navy, coast guard and even its armed fishing militia to conduct “swarming” expeditions to intimidate its neighbours. The Brahmos may not be enough, but it’s a start. Its also shows countries in the region can explore non-China, Non-US options for the very few defense items that India can make. Unspoken is the fact that a Brahmos sale would not have been possible if both India AND Russia were not on the same page.

Other countries in the region are watching. Indonesia, for instance, uses the Russian Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, but could be a potential Brahmos buyer. Thailand is also said to have expressed interest in them. To the West, the UAE is a prospective Brahmos buyer as well. Contrary to popular belief, Vietnam, which uses Russia’s Bastion-P systems, is not an interested country at present, and a previous attempt by India to sell them the Akash missiles went nowhere. But Vietnam is a close strategic partner for India in that region.

The Brahmos export should not be burdened with too many strategic expectations, but the fact is, it has opened a doorway for India to put its foot through in the contested South China Sea. That carries its own implications for the future.

In the Indian Ocean region, China has resumed its big diplomatic outreach enterprise in India’s neighbourhood, after almost two years of being isolated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. China brings the same force, the same overwhelming largesse (albeit followed by debt), and the same promise of diplomatic manoeuvring space to large and small countries in the region, particularly in India’s neighbourhood.
But China hasn’t had it all her way in recent times.

Last week, Wang Yi was in Colombo trying to paper over recent problems with Sri Lanka after contaminated fertilisers from China created a furore in the small island nation.

But a bigger threat looms over Sri Lanka, of economic insolvency. Sri Lanka is deep in the suds, largely due to a tragic combination of poor policies and economic mismanagement and huge external debt mainly to China, racked up recklessly over the years. China owns almost $3.5 billion of Sri Lanka’s $35-billion of external debt. That’s huge. As one official explained, it’s not the quantum of the debt, but the servicing conditions that are onerous. It wasn’t long ago that Sri Lanka had to give an equity stake to China in Hambantota Port after they failed to repay debt.

Sri Lanka has to make $6.9 billion in debt repayment this year and no white knight is in sight. In a sign that China continues to be an economic marauder — Wang Yi was silent when his Lankan hosts asked Beijing to restructure their debt. But the Chinese foreign minister used his visit to Colombo to push them to sign an FTA with China, which is impossible for Sri Lanka to accept.

In a sign that the normally pliable Rajapaksa government was still miffed, the Lankan transport minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi chose the day of the Yi’s visit to inaugurate a luxury train service between Colombo and Jaffna, built with Indian assistance.

India came in with a last-minute rescue package to help Sri Lanka tide over the next few months. India offered to defer a $500 million Asian Clearing Union (ACU) payment by three months (it was due in the first week of January), as India did in 2019. India also allowed Sri Lanka to avail $400 million in a currency swap under the SAARC facility, which it had done earlier in 2020. In the coming months, India will extend a $1 billion credit facility for food, medicines and essential supplies as well as a letter of credit of $500 million for fuel.

For the first time, India got something in return from Sri Lanka. In December, India got Sri Lanka to prevent the Chinese from building power projects in three islands off Jaffna, creating a security problem for India. India will now build those energy projects.

But more importantly, the new year kicked off with Sri Lanka finally completing the Trincomalee oil tank farms agreement with India, hanging fire for decades, that gives India control over 14 of the oil tanks and create a strategic storage facility.

India cannot match the deep Chinese pockets or the low-cost infrastructure offerings, but it has other tools to further its own outreach to the Indian Ocean region. It may have been coincidental, or not — but Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Comoros islands at the mouth of the strategically positioned Mozambique Channel coincided with the visit of INS Kesari at the port of Moroni, Comoros, to undertake some repairs and technical assistance that the Comorian Coast Guard needed for their ships. Wang Yi blitzed through the Indian Ocean-island countries with a promise of a new China-Indian Ocean development forum bringing all of them under one platform. The model is the same — cash for infrastructure projects under the BRI.

The same INS Kesari had supplied medicines and protective kits to Comoros in June 2020 as the pandemic broke out, including a 14-member Indian Medical team to help the tiny island address a dual emergency of Covid and dengue.

In the Maldives, where China lost her staunch ally Abdulla Yameen when he lost the election to Ibu Solih, Beijing has been trying to claw back. They have recently been accused of covertly funding an “India out” campaign by Yameen himself. India has been hard at work in the Maldives, particularly during the pandemic. India agreed to “develop, support and maintain” a harbour at Uthuru Thila Falhu naval base in the island nation, ostensibly for use of the Maldivian defence forces.
The Indian Ocean and western Pacific are becoming keenly contested spheres for strategic influence. In the coming years, India will win some, lose some. The key is to stay in the game and use opportunities as they appear. Diplomacy and geopolitics in this region have never been more exciting.



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Russia announces huge naval drills as tensions with West soar https://militarymen.in/russia-announces-huge-naval-drills-as-tensions-with-west-soar/ https://militarymen.in/russia-announces-huge-naval-drills-as-tensions-with-west-soar/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 21:56:34 +0000 https://militarymen.in/russia-announces-huge-naval-drills-as-tensions-with-west-soar/ Russia said on Thursday it would hold huge naval drills across four seas, in a new bout of sabre-rattling as tensions with the West soared [...]

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Russia said on Thursday it would hold huge naval drills across four seas, in a new bout of sabre-rattling as tensions with the West soared to new heights over the threat that Moscow would march on Ukraine.

The Russian defence ministry‘s announcement to deploy more than 140 warships and supporting vessels this month and in February to the Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic and Mediterranean followed an angry condemnation from the Kremlin of what it described as “destabilising” remarks from US President Joe Biden.

The American leader had vowed a “severe” response to any invasion of Ukraine, as he assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin will “move in” on the ex-Soviet nation.

With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border, fears are mounting that a major conflict could break out in Europe.

In a bid to defuse the worst tensions between Russia and the West in decades, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on a whirlwind diplomatic tour that took him to Berlin on Thursday.

Blinken is huddling with his counterparts from France and Germany, as well as Britain’s junior foreign minister, seeking a common front against Moscow, a day before his crunch talks with Russia’s Sergei Lavrov.

Moscow insists it has no plans to invade but has at the same time laid down a series of demands — including a ban on Ukraine joining NATO — in exchange for de-escalation.

Washington has rejected Moscow’s demands as “non-starters” and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg this week insisted that the alliance “will not compromise on core principles such as the right for each nation to choose its own path”.

Upping the ante, Russia announced new war games on the seas involving “more than 140 warships and support vessels, more than 60 aircraft, 1,000 pieces of military equipment, and about 10,000 servicemen”.

They follow joint military drills Wednesday between Russian forces and those of ex-Soviet republic Belarus, which also neighbours Ukraine.

A US official said the exercises could presage a permanent Russian military presence involving both conventional and nuclear forces in Belarus.

– High price – The West has repeatedly warned Russia it would pay a “high price” of economic and political sanctions should it invade Ukraine.

Hours before Blinken arrived in Berlin to coordinate the possible response to Russia, Biden sparked controversy as he appeared to indicate that a “minor incursion” might prompt a smaller reaction from NATO allies.

“It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion, and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, etcetera,” he said.

But the White House moved swiftly to clarify the comments, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki vowing any Russian movement in Ukraine would face “severe” retaliation.

Statements like that, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “can facilitate the destabilisation of the situation because they can inspire some hotheads in Ukraine with false hopes”.

With both sides’ positions entrenched, a series of talks between Western and Russian officials in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna has failed to yield any breakthrough.

– Dialogue preferred – NATO allies have signalled their willingness to keep talking but Moscow has demanded a written response on its proposals for security guarantees.

On the Russian wish list are measures that would limit military activities in the former Warsaw Pact and ex-Soviet countries that joined NATO after the Cold War.

But in Kyiv on Wednesday, Blinken said he would not present such a formal response at Friday’s talks with Lavrov in Geneva.

Rather, the onus is on Putin to dispel fears that Moscow is planning an invasion of its pro-Western neighbour.

Ukraine has been fighting Moscow-backed forces in two breakaway eastern regions since 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

More than 13,000 people have been killed, and the latest Russian troop build-up has also greatly rattled neighbours in the Baltics.

Washington said Thursday it has approved requests from the Baltic nations to ship US-made weapons to Ukraine.

Britain has also said it would send defensive weapons to Ukraine as part of a package to help the country secure its borders.

Kyiv has repeatedly pleaded with Germany to send armaments, a call that has so far been rebuffed.

During her first visit to Ukraine on Monday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Germany would “do its all to guarantee Ukraine’s security”, but again rejected the call for weapon shipments.

In Berlin, the controversial gas pipeline Nord Stream 2, which is due to double supplies of cheap natural gas from Russia to Germany, could once again surface as a sticking point among allies.

Amid the latest bout of tensions with Moscow, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned of consequences for the pipeline, which is operational but not yet in service as it awaits approval from Germany’s energy regulator.



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India stays in the game facing a pushy China https://militarymen.in/india-stays-in-the-game-facing-a-pushy-china/ https://militarymen.in/india-stays-in-the-game-facing-a-pushy-china/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 20:44:47 +0000 https://militarymen.in/india-stays-in-the-game-facing-a-pushy-china/ China will never “bully” its neighbours in the South China Sea, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi promised the Philippines this week. Instead, he preached: “Stressing [...]

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China will never “bully” its neighbours in the South China Sea, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi promised the Philippines this week. Instead, he preached: “Stressing only one side’s claims and imposing one’s own will on the other is not a proper way for neighbours to treat each other and it goes against the oriental philosophy of how people should get along with each other.” Why doesn’t Philippines believe China so much anymore?

Wang’s homily came weeks after China blocked Philippines’ resupply ships in the South China Sea, prompting the US to threaten to invoke the US-Philippines security treaty if China interfered again. Much more interesting, even as Wang Yi was preaching good behaviour, Manila awarded a $374-million contract to India to buy what is known as the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile, Brahmos, to equip the Philippines navy against Chinese incursions into its territorial waters.
The Philippines is the first export destination for the Brahmos missile, which in the past has been deployed against the Chinese in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in the wake of China’s incursions and land grab in eastern Ladakh. It’s also the first step towards attempting to correct a huge imbalance in the South China Sea, where China uses its navy, coast guard and even its armed fishing militia to conduct “swarming” expeditions to intimidate its neighbours. The Brahmos may not be enough, but it’s a start. Its also shows countries in the region can explore non-China, Non-US options for the very few defense items that India can make. Unspoken is the fact that a Brahmos sale would not have been possible if both India AND Russia were not on the same page.

Other countries in the region are watching. Indonesia, for instance, uses the Russian Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, but could be a potential Brahmos buyer. Thailand is also said to have expressed interest in them. To the West, the UAE is a prospective Brahmos buyer as well. Contrary to popular belief, Vietnam, which uses Russia’s Bastion-P systems, is not an interested country at present, and a previous attempt by India to sell them the Akash missiles went nowhere. But Vietnam is a close strategic partner for India in that region.

The Brahmos export should not be burdened with too many strategic expectations, but the fact is, it has opened a doorway for India to put its foot through in the contested South China Sea. That carries its own implications for the future.

In the Indian Ocean region, China has resumed its big diplomatic outreach enterprise in India’s neighbourhood, after almost two years of being isolated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. China brings the same force, the same overwhelming largesse (albeit followed by debt), and the same promise of diplomatic manoeuvring space to large and small countries in the region, particularly in India’s neighbourhood.
But China hasn’t had it all her way in recent times.

Last week, Wang Yi was in Colombo trying to paper over recent problems with Sri Lanka after contaminated fertilisers from China created a furore in the small island nation.

But a bigger threat looms over Sri Lanka, of economic insolvency. Sri Lanka is deep in the suds, largely due to a tragic combination of poor policies and economic mismanagement and huge external debt mainly to China, racked up recklessly over the years. China owns almost $3.5 billion of Sri Lanka’s $35-billion of external debt. That’s huge. As one official explained, it’s not the quantum of the debt, but the servicing conditions that are onerous. It wasn’t long ago that Sri Lanka had to give an equity stake to China in Hambantota Port after they failed to repay debt.

Sri Lanka has to make $6.9 billion in debt repayment this year and no white knight is in sight. In a sign that China continues to be an economic marauder — Wang Yi was silent when his Lankan hosts asked Beijing to restructure their debt. But the Chinese foreign minister used his visit to Colombo to push them to sign an FTA with China, which is impossible for Sri Lanka to accept.

In a sign that the normally pliable Rajapaksa government was still miffed, the Lankan transport minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi chose the day of the Yi’s visit to inaugurate a luxury train service between Colombo and Jaffna, built with Indian assistance.

India came in with a last-minute rescue package to help Sri Lanka tide over the next few months. India offered to defer a $500 million Asian Clearing Union (ACU) payment by three months (it was due in the first week of January), as India did in 2019. India also allowed Sri Lanka to avail $400 million in a currency swap under the SAARC facility, which it had done earlier in 2020. In the coming months, India will extend a $1 billion credit facility for food, medicines and essential supplies as well as a letter of credit of $500 million for fuel.

For the first time, India got something in return from Sri Lanka. In December, India got Sri Lanka to prevent the Chinese from building power projects in three islands off Jaffna, creating a security problem for India. India will now build those energy projects.

But more importantly, the new year kicked off with Sri Lanka finally completing the Trincomalee oil tank farms agreement with India, hanging fire for decades, that gives India control over 14 of the oil tanks and create a strategic storage facility.

India cannot match the deep Chinese pockets or the low-cost infrastructure offerings, but it has other tools to further its own outreach to the Indian Ocean region. It may have been coincidental, or not — but Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi’s visit to Comoros islands at the mouth of the strategically positioned Mozambique Channel coincided with the visit of INS Kesari at the port of Moroni, Comoros, to undertake some repairs and technical assistance that the Comorian Coast Guard needed for their ships. Wang Yi blitzed through the Indian Ocean-island countries with a promise of a new China-Indian Ocean development forum bringing all of them under one platform. The model is the same — cash for infrastructure projects under the BRI.

The same INS Kesari had supplied medicines and protective kits to Comoros in June 2020 as the pandemic broke out, including a 14-member Indian Medical team to help the tiny island address a dual emergency of Covid and dengue.

In the Maldives, where China lost her staunch ally Abdulla Yameen when he lost the election to Ibu Solih, Beijing has been trying to claw back. They have recently been accused of covertly funding an “India out” campaign by Yameen himself. India has been hard at work in the Maldives, particularly during the pandemic. India agreed to “develop, support and maintain” a harbour at Uthuru Thila Falhu naval base in the island nation, ostensibly for use of the Maldivian defence forces.
The Indian Ocean and western Pacific are becoming keenly contested spheres for strategic influence. In the coming years, India will win some, lose some. The key is to stay in the game and use opportunities as they appear. Diplomacy and geopolitics in this region have never been more exciting.



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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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India says teen ‘captured’ by Chinese army after going missing near border https://militarymen.in/india-says-teen-captured-by-chinese-army-after-going-missing-near-border-2/ https://militarymen.in/india-says-teen-captured-by-chinese-army-after-going-missing-near-border-2/#respond Thu, 20 Jan 2022 19:05:23 +0000 https://militarymen.in/india-says-teen-captured-by-chinese-army-after-going-missing-near-border-2/ Tapir Gao, a lawmaker for the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. (Twitter, @TapirGao) India’s defence ministry said on Thursday a 17-year-old Indian youth was [...]

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Tapir Gao, a lawmaker for the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. (Twitter, @TapirGao)

Tapir Gao, a lawmaker for the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. (Twitter, @TapirGao)

India’s defence ministry said on Thursday a 17-year-old Indian youth was “reportedly captured” by the Chinese military after going missing near the countries’ shared border.

The Indian army has contacted its Chinese counterpart to locate and return the teenager, Miram Tarom, according to a statement on the defence ministry’s Twitter account.

In a separate tweet, Tapir Gao, a lawmaker for the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh where Tarom lives, said the teenager was allegedly abducted on Tuesday while a friend escaped and notified Indian authorities.

The Chinese foreign ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

India and China have frequently clashed over their lengthy and disputed Himalayan border, and China claims the entirety of Arunachal Pradesh as part of its Tibet region.

Skirmishes in the Galwan valley in 2020 left at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers dead.

There have been several instances of Indian civilians going missing near the border in recent years, which New Delhi has often said were kidnap attempts by China. Beijing denies this.

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