Indian Navy

Navy’s Daring Ops Showcases Its World-Class Defence Capabilities

The massive operation carried out by the Indian Navy to rescue a commercial ship from pirates off Somalia’s coast last weekend shows how New Delhi’s military has developed special forces capabilities on par with some of the world’s best, CNN reported, citing several analysts.

The navy rescued 17 crew members of the vessel MV Ruen during an anti-piracy operation lasting nearly two days, with no casualties reported. Around 35 pirates surrendered and were taken into custody, the Indian Navy said.

The operation involved a navy destroyer, a patrol ship, an Indian Air Force C-17 transporter flying more than 1,500 miles to airdrop marine commandos, a naval drone, a reconnaissance drone and a P-8 surveillance jet, the Indian Navy release said.

“The success of the operation marks the Indian Navy as a top-class force in terms of training, command and control, and other capabilities,” said John Bradford, a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs fellow.

“What marks this operation as impressive is how risk was minimised by using a coordinated force that includes the use of a warship, drones, fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and marine commandos,” he added.

Experts are concerned that the volatile security situation in the Red Sea due to attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels on commercial shipping may tie up international forces and provide a window for Somali pirates in the nearby Horn of Africa – presenting a multi-billion-dollar threat to the global economy, CNN reported.

Yemen and Somalia are among the region’s poorest nations, both ravaged by years of civil war.

Somali pirates’ capture of the MV Ruen in December last year marked the first successful hijacking of a vessel off the country’s coast since 2017.

Spanish, Japanese and Indian warships tracked the Malta-flagged, Bulgarian-managed bulk carrier as it was taken into Somali territorial waters, according to a December report from the European Union Naval Force.

But when the Ruen, now operated by a pirate crew, last week left Somali waters with the intent of committing acts of piracy on the high seas, the Indian Navy made moves to intercept it.

The destroyer INS Kolkata, operating in the area to help ensure international maritime security, used a ship-launched drone to confirm the Ruen was being operated by armed pirates, the Indian statement said.

After the pirates fired on the drone, destroying it, and then on the Indian warship itself, the INS Kolkata responded by firing on the Ruen, disabling its steering and navigation, the statement said.

As INS Kolkata sought the surrender of the pirates, the commandos parachuted in after a 10-hour flight from India, the air force said on X. Rafts were also dropped into the ocean from the large transport for marines to reach the Ruen.

The Indian show of force proved too much for the pirates, the CNN report added.

“Due to sustained pressure and calibrated actions by the Indian Navy over the last 40 hours, all 35 Somali pirates surrendered,” the navy statement said.

Bulgarian leaders, including President Rumen Radev, thanked India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the operation.

“My sincere gratitude to (PM Modi) for the brave action of (the) Navy rescuing the hijacked Bulgarian ship ‘Ruen’ and its crew, including 7 Bulgarian citizens,” Radev posted on X.

Analyst Carl Schuster, a former US Navy captain, said the incident highlighted the professionalism of the Indian Navy and said Delhi’s marine commando force, known as MARCOS, had learned from its US and British counterparts.

“The Indian Navy itself is a highly trained and disciplined professional force,” Schuster said.

“MARCOS’ nearly eight months of training is modelled after Britain’s SAS. Despite a very intense selection process, only about 10-15 per cent of those who enter the training graduate,” he said.

The analysts further emphasised that the Indian Navy holds over 20 years of experience in anti-piracy operations – and the restive security situation in one of the world’s major shipping lanes meant they were likely to be called on again, as reported by CNN.

The Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, in January that maritime security in the region is a priority for India.

“The ongoing activities there are indeed a matter of concern, and it affects our economic interests,” MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.

“We are consistently monitoring the situation. Our naval forces, and naval vessels are engaged in ensuring the safety of our commercial vessels,” he added. (ANI)

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MP from Patiala Preneet Kaur BJP

Former Congress MP Preneet Joins BJP

In another setback to the Congress, Former MP from Patiala, Preneet Kaur on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi.

Kaur joined the BJP in the presence of BJP National General Secretary Vinod Tawde, leader Tarun Chugh and Sunil Jhakhar.

Addressing the press conference, Preneet Kaur praised PM Modi for his development works in the country.

“I am happy that today I am joining the BJP. In the last 25 years, I have worked in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assembly. Today, the time has come when everyone should come together and look at the works of PM Modi and his policies, like the ‘Viksit Bharat’ Programme. I have full confidence that under the leadership of PM Modi, we will be able to keep our country safe and take it forward,” she said.

BJP National General Secretary Vinod Tawde asserted that the inclusion of leaders like Preenet Kaur in the party will make it stronger in the Punjab.

“Preneet Kaur ji is a parliamentarian who has proved her potential by working on many committees. When such people come to BJP, especially in Punjab where public mentality is being formed against the state government, it makes us strong. BJP is emerging in the mind of a common Punjabi. The development of Punjab as desired by PM Modi will become stronger with Prennet Kaur ji,” he said.

Kaur is the wife of former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who also left Congress in 2022 and joined the BJP. Notably, Preneet Kaur was suspended for indulging in anti-party activities and helping the BJP.

She was elected to the 13th Lok Sabha in 1999 and was re-elected to the 14th Lok Sabha in 2004.

Kaur won the elections in 2009 and 2019 and was re-elected to the Lok Sabha. (ANI)

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BJP-NDA Lok Sabha

Modi To Present First Ever National Creators Award Tomorrow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will present the first-ever National Creators Award tomorrow at 10:30 am at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi.

The award has witnessed immense public engagement; more than 1.5 lakh nominations and around 10 lakh votes were cast.

Prime Minister will also address the gathering on the occasion.

The National Creators Award is an effort to recognize excellence and impact across domains, including storytelling, social change advocacy, environmental sustainability, education, and gaming among others. The award is envisioned as a launchpad for using creativity to drive positive change.

The National Creator Award has witnessed exemplary public engagement. In the first round, more than 1.5 lakh nominations across 20 different categories were received.

Subsequently, in the voting round, about 10 lakh votes were cast for digital creators in various award categories. Following this, 23 winners, including three international creators, were decided.

The award will be provided across twenty categories including the Best Storyteller Award; The Disruptor of the Year; Celebrity Creator of the Year; Green Champion Award; Best Creator For Social Change; Most Impactful Agri Creator; Cultural Ambassador of The Year; International Creator award.

The categories also include the Best Travel Creator Award; Swachhta Ambassador Award; The New India Champion Award; Tech Creator Award; Heritage Fashion Icon Award; Most Creative Creator (Male & Female); Best Creator in Food Category; Best Creator in Education Category; Best Creator in Gaming Category; Best Micro Creator; Best Nano Creator; Best Health and Fitness Creator. (ANI)

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EU-India unmanned aerial systems (UAS)

Delhi To Host First Ever EU-India Roundtable On Countering Terrorist Exploitation Of Drones

The first ever European Union (EU)-India Track 1.5 dialogue on countering the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) by extremists and non-state actors will take place in New Delhi on Thursday.

The day-long EU-India roundtable seeks to better understand the range of current and emerging threats particularly involved with consumer-grade UAS technology. Participants from the EU and India will also discuss best practices regarding regulatory, tactical and investigative responses to addressing UAS threats in both regions, according to an official release.

Commercial UAS has been developing rapidly in recent years, both in terms of technological sophistication and consumer availability. Violent extremists have exploited these inexpensive and adaptable consumer devices for different purposes, including reconnaissance and violent attacks.

This roundtable is part of a series of ongoing counterterrorism engagements between the EU and India, building on recent activities under the EU project Enhancing Security Cooperation In and With Asia (ESIWA). In the field of counter-terrorism and preventing violent extremism (CT-PVE), activities have included successful chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) risk management training for Indian security practitioners, and moderated expert discussions on countering online extremism, the release added.

“Security and terrorist threats are increasingly of an hybrid nature. The use of commercial drones is a case in point. If a relatively cheap device can carry and fly a pizza or biryani, then clearly, they can also be used for carrying more nefarious payloads, such as weapons or explosives” EU Ambassador to India Herve Delphin said.

“Sharing knowledge and experiences between us, the EU and India, is highly relevant and crucial to counter drones’ threats that we each face, in this rapidly evolving field. This seminar testifies to EU and India’s general joint commitment to intensify dialogue and cooperation on security issues,” he added.

Seizing the opportunity to exploit these relatively inexpensive and adaptable devices, terrorist organisations and individual violent extremists across the world have deployed ‘off-the-shelf’ drones. The swift rise of this phenomenon and the evolving technologies involved mean that threat assessments and mitigation strategies are recent and ongoing. Sharing information with peers is therefore vital in forging a common response to ensure our security and defence.

This EU-India roundtable has been organised by the ESIWA project, in partnership with the National Security Guard of India, and the EU Delegation to India. Highlighting the Team Europe approach, expert inputs will be provided from the EU’s Directorate General of Migration and Home Affairs (DG Home), Spain’s Ministry of the Interior, Hungary’s national police (Rendorseg), along with the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCCT), it also said.

The ESIWA project is co-funded by the European Union, the German Federal Foreign Office and the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. It works to enhance the EU’s security and defence cooperation with the Indo-Pacific in four thematic areas: counter-terrorism and preventing violent extremism, crisis management, cyber security and maritime security. The project is co-implemented by the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) & Expertise France.

ESIWA’s activities in counter-terrorism and preventing violent extremism (CT-PVE) aims to contribute to information exchange, capacity building and mutual learning.

In October 2023, the EU Commission issued a Communication to the Council and European Parliament on countering potential threats posed by drones. The document sets out the EU’s commercial drone policy for the next several years.

The communication specifically aims to “provide a comprehensive and harmonised policy framework; build a common understanding of applicable procedures to face the continuously evolving threats possibly posed by drones; and take into account the rapid developments in technology”. (ANI)

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Kajol Shares Throwback Pic From Kartavya Path

Actor Kajol, on Friday, shared a throwback picture of herself from New Delhi’s Kartavya Path.

The ‘Baazigar’ actor took a stroll down memory lane and dropped a picture on Instagram.

In the photo, she can be seen sitting on the Kartavya Path and posing with a bright smile. She wore a T-shirt and jeans with sneakers.

Along with the post, Kajol wrote, “The road belonged to me that day, and it felt good.. So, I decided to claim the entire world as my own. #flashbackfriday #goodolddays.”

Netizens bombarded the comment section with heart emojis.

Meanwhile, on the work front, Kajol recently wrapped up shooting for ‘Do Patti’.

The film also stars Kriti Sanon.’Do Patti’ also marks Kriti and Kajol’s second collaboration after ‘Dilwale’. (ANI)

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French Contingent Participates In 75th R-Day Parade

French Contingent Participates In 75th R-Day Parade

A few months after Indian troops and aircraft paraded in Paris for the 2023 Bastille Day, a 95-member marching contingent and a 33-member band contingent from France participated in the 75th Republic Day Parade in New Delhi today.

The French detachment marching is drawn exclusively from the French Foreign Legion, a well-known and unique corps strong of about 10000 men from all around the world, including India.

Kartavya Path witnessed a march past by a combined band and marching contingent of the French Armed Forces. The band contingent was headed by Captain Khourda and followed by a marching contingent led by Captain Noel.

Then it was followed by the second Infantry regiment of the French Foreign Legion comprising 90 legionnaires led by Captain Noel. The Legionnaires wear the famous ‘White Cap’, which can be worn only by legionnaires who successfully went through four months of hard selection tests.

The best legionnaires get promoted and wear the ‘Black Cap’.

French President Emmanuel Macron is attending as a chief guest at India’s 75th Republic Day celebration.

This marks a unique reciprocal exchange following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France on its National Day in July 2023.

This momentous visit by Macron culminates in the 25th-anniversary celebrations of the Strategic Partnership between India and France.

Macron was earlier welcomed in Jaipur on Thursday where he held a bilateral discussion with the Indian Prime Minister

“Taking India-France Strategic Partnership to greater heights! Productive discussions held between PM @narendramodi and President @EmmanuelMacron of France in Jaipur. The two leaders took stock of bilateral ties & exchanged perspectives on a wide-range of bilateral and global issues,” Ministry of External Affiars (MEA) Official Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal wrote on X.

PM Modi said that it is a matter of great pride that the French President will be taking part in the 75th Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on Friday.

He said that Macron’s presence not only strengthens the ties between the two nations but also adds a significant chapter to “our shared history of friendship and collaboration.”

PM Modi and President Macron have engaged in a series of high-profile meetings throughout 2023, underscoring the strength and depth of the bilateral relationship.

Their interactions have spanned various global platforms, including the COP 28 Summit in Dubai, the G20 Leaders’ Summit, and the G7 Summit in Hiroshima. Notably, President Macron was also the Guest of Honour at the Bastille Day Celebrations in France in July 2023.

This is the sixth time (the highest for any country) a French leader is participating in India’s biggest ceremonial event.

This tradition began with President Jacques Chirac in 1976, followed by Valery Giscard d’Estaing in 1980, Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008, and Francois Hollande in 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s last visit to France for Bastille Day in July 2023 was a spectacle of symbolism and substance. The visit showcased the strong bonds between the two nations, with a tri-service Indian armed forces contingent marching at Champs-Elysees and a spectacular flypast by Rafale jets. (ANI)

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India Nepal Power Deal

India, Nepal Ink Power Deal; Nepal To Sell 10k MW Electricity in 10 Yrs

Kathmandu and New Delhi on Thursday inked a long-term agreement on electricity trade, as part of which Nepal will export 10,000 megawatts of electricity to India over the next ten years.

The agreement was signed in the presence of Nepal’s Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet.

Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Gopal Sigdel and India’s Energy Secretary Pankaj Agrawal signed the agreement on behalf of the two countries.

The bilateral understanding on electricity exports was reached during Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India from May 31 to June 3, last year. During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed India’s commitment to long-term

electricity purchase from Nepal and both nations reached a consensus in this regard.

The Council of Ministers in India has already endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached between the two neighbours in this regard. The agreement was signed during the ongoing two-day visit of External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, starting Thursday.

Further, by virtue of this agreement, various government and private entities in India will engage in power trade with Nepal through short-term, medium-term, and long-term contracts. Private sectors in Nepal can also participate in the import and export of electricity after completing the necessary procedures.

In the joint statement issued during the visit of the Nepalese PM to India last year, the premiers of both nations said the power export deal was historic and significant.

Nepal has already devised an energy development strategy with an objective of producing 28,000 MW of electricity in the next 12 years.

Of the 28,000 MW of power, a target has been set to export 15,000 MW of electricity to different countries, including India. Earlier, a delegation led by the Indian Energy secretary paid a courtesy call to Nepalese Energy Minister Basnet.

Expressing happiness over the start of a meaningful cooperation between the two countries in the energy space, Basnet pointed to the need for taking it to a logical conclusion.

He stated that the deal to export 10,000 MW of electricity in the next 10 years would take the relations between the two countries to new heights. The Energy minister urged Indian officials to accelerate other projects and complete them within the stipulated time while voicing hope of further investment in large projects across sectors. (ANI)

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov UNSC

Lavrov Bats For India’s Permanent Seat At UNSC

Hailing the G20 communique under New Delhi’s presidency, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed Moscow’s support for India’s candidacy as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.

He said that the New Delhi Declaration in September this year perfectly reflected the balance of interest of global powers.

“The G20 Summit in New Delhi that took place last year was truly a triumph for Indian foreign policy, the triumph for multilateral diplomacy, and it was possible primarily due to the chairmanship of G20. It didn’t allow the final communique to be one-sided, it reflects the perfect balance of interest,” Lavrov said while addressing the joint press conference with EAM Jaishankar in Moscow on Wednesday.

“This is an example of how G20 and other groups should be working and…this includes the UN and the Security Council. We support India’s candidacy for the Security Council,” he added.

He also said that taking note of multilateral cooperation, Russia supports India’s aspiration as a permanent UNSC member along with representatives of Latin America and Africa.

Speaking on the bilateral meeting between the two leaders, the Russian Foreign Minister further said that the two leaders discussed energy cooperation and piloted space programmes.

“We reaffirmed our aspiration to strengthen energy cooperation. This is a strategic area of our relations. We agreed on the expansion of exports of hydrocarbons to the Indian market as well as cooperation for peaceful use of nuclear energy. First of all, the implementation of the Karnakulam Nuclear Plant project. This is our practical contribution to India’s activities and work to satisfy its needs for clean and safe energy produced in the country,” Lavrov said.

He added, “We have a positive outlook for cooperation in piloted space programmes, as well as rocket engines, satellite navigation systems. We have also touched upon regional and international affairs”.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during his address, appreciated the India-Russia trade, which is at an all-time high, and said that the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between India and the Eurasian Economic Union will resume in January next year.

The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union of five post-Soviet states located in Eurasia. The five member nations are; Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

He further said that the relationship between New Delhi and Moscow remains very steady, and strong and is based on strategic convergence on geopolitical interests. (ANI)

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Israel India

Israel National Security Council Issues Advisory for Israelis In India

Following the bomb explosion near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on Tuesday, the Israel National Security Council issued an advisory for Israelis staying in India, particularly in New Delhi, advising them to avoid visiting crowded places and places that are used by Western or Israeli visitors.

Delhi Police received a call on Tuesday informing them that a blast had occurred near the Israel Embassy in the Chanakyapuri diplomatic area on Tuesday evening.

After the blast, a letter addressed to the Israeli ambassador was also found near the Israel Embassy in the national capital. The Delhi Police have sent relevant evidence for forensic evidence.

Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to India, Ohad Nakash Kaynar, said on Tuesday that the workers and the diplomats at the Israel embassy are safe and their security teams are investigating the matter further.

“On December 26, a bomb exploded near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi. It is possible that this is an attack,” the Israel National Security Council highlighted.

Further stressing the recommendations for the Israelis living in India, the council advised the people to “try to avoid going to crowded places (malls, markets) and places identified as being used by Western/Jewish and Israeli elements.”

It also called for maintaining more public places, including restaurants, hotels and bars, to avoid externalising Israeli symbols.

“Avoid participating in events with many participants that are not secure,” the advisory added.

Moreover, it also asked people to avoid posting trip details on social media networks and posting photos and visit details before the trip and in real time.

Following the attack, the Israeli Deputy Ambassador said, “This evening, several minutes after five, an explosion occurred in close proximity of the embassy. All our workers are safe, and all our diplomats are safe. Our security teams are working in full cooperation with the local Delhi security and they will investigate the matter further.” (ANI)

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Modi Flags Off Second Vande Bharat Train Between Varanasi And Delhi

In a historic moment for India’s rail infrastructure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off a second Vande Bharat Express between Varanasi and New Delhi on Monday.

The Varanasi-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express, Dohrighat-Mau MEMU train and a pair of Long Haul goods trains were flagged off by the Prime Minister at the newly inaugurated Dedicated Freight Corridor.

The highlight of the event was the 10,000th locomotive made by Banaras Locomotive Works.

The Vande Bharat Express, a symbol of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, promises to revolutionize travel between Uttar Pradesh and the national capital.

Scheduled to commence regular operations on December 20, the train will connect Varanasi, Prayagraj, Kanpur, and New Delhi, offering a swift and modern travel option for pilgrims and professionals alike.

The Vande Bharat Express, a self-propelled semi-high-speed train, boasts superior design, interiors, and speed, promising passengers a pleasant and efficient travel experience.

Departing from Varanasi at 6:00 AM, the Vande Bharat Express is set to reach Prayagraj, Kanpur Central and finally New Delhi, enhancing connectivity and fostering cultural, industrial, and economic development in the region.

The return journey will commence from New Delhi at 3:00 PM, concluding its route in Varanasi at 11:05 PM.

In parallel, the dedication of the 402 km-long stretch of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor from New Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction to New Bhaupur Junction underscores the government’s commitment to strengthening the logistics sector.

Built at Rs 10,903 crore, this corridor connects coal fields in Jharkhand and West Bengal to power plants in Northern India.

Operating at speeds of up to 100 km/h, freight trains on this corridor have significantly reduced logistic costs and time, benefitting industries such as coal, iron, and steel.

The completion of this segment not only eases the pressure on the Delhi-Howrah main line but also paves the way for additional passenger train services and the development of a multimodal logistics park near New Kanpur Junction.

The Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor stands as a testament to the government’s vision for modernizing infrastructure and fostering economic growth.

Indian Railways, often considered the engine of India’s progress, continues to play a pivotal role in the nation’s economic development under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi. (ANI)

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