17 August 2017

News Report: We Can Work it Out? US, China Announce Intention to Strengthen Military Ties

American and Chinese military leaders have announced a commitment to “work through difficult issues” to strengthen military ties and improve bilateral relations between the world’s two largest economies.

General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the highest-ranking military officer of the United States Armed Forces, traveled to Beijing to meet with his approximate Chinese counterpart Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and one of China's highest ranking military officials.

According to a statement from the Chinese Defense Ministry, Fang told Dunford that both nations should "push forward stable military ties as an important and major stabilizing factor in bilateral relations"

"We have many, many difficult issues where we don't necessarily share the same perspective," Dunford replied. "We share a commitment to work through these difficult issues."

He added that they had signed a framework to build a new communication mechanism between the two states that would strengthen Sino-US cooperation.

News Report: Indian Defense Sector Opens up to Private Players; Clears $2.8 Bln of Orders

Indian private companies would have to forge a joint venture with foreign firms for the purpose of manufacturing specific products with complete transfer of technology. The foreign firms, however, would not hold a majority stake in such joint ventures.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Army has selected eleven priority defense projects worth $2.8 billion to be awarded to the private sector, in what is being seen as a bid to hasten the plugging of critical shortage.

The contracts mainly comprise development and manufacturing of arms and equipment including short range unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced robotic surveillance systems, 1200-1500 HP modular engine for tank T-90 S/SK, and third generation missile for 125mm gun barrels of T-90 And T-72 Tanks. The biggest of the contracts is the manufacturing of modular engine for T-90 tanks. The project alone is pegged at $1.5 billion.

Development of short-range remotely piloted aircraft system has an indicative cost of approximately $350 million. The Indian Army wants to purchase the robotic surveillance platform for the Rashtriya Rifles battalions which primarily tracks terrorist hide-outs in urban or built up areas.

News Report: India’s New Domestic Artillery Gun Fails Weapons Trials for Third Time

Dhanush howitzer during test firing (File Photo)
India’s homemade Dhanush towed howitzer may be domestically produced, but a multitude of failed tests have proven that the weapon is unready for use in warfare. An Indian Army source told Defense News that the artillery gun has failed three times in as many months, pushing the induction date back further and further.

"The Dhanush 155mm/45-caliber artillery gun has failed on three occasions in a row in the last three months when the shell of the gun hit the muzzle brake in one of the six prototype guns currently undergoing user trials," the source told Defense News.

This isn't the first time the Dhanush has encountered troubles. In July, The Times of India reported that "in May when six guns were being fired at one go, a shell hit the muzzle brake in one of the pieces…Last week when the test fires were being undertaken, again a shell hit the muzzle brake, bringing the whole process back to square one."

"Shells hitting the muzzle brake could be due to a number of reasons such as overexploitation of the munitions, overcharging of the munitions and so on or even faulty ammunition; all of these aspects will have to be evaluated," said Rahul Bhonsle, retired Indian Army brigadier and defense analyst, to Defense News.

News Report: Trump - North Korea 'Wise' to Postpone Missile Launch Toward Guam

Ken Bredemeier

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made "a very wise and well reasoned decision" to postpone a plan to launch missiles toward the shores of the U.S. territory of Guam.

In a Twitter comment, Trump said, "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"

The North Korean leader was quoted Tuesday in state media as saying that he would, for the moment, call off the plan to fire four missiles over Japan into the waters near Guam, 3,400 kilometers to the south, to see "if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous, reckless actions."

News Report: Indian, Chinese Troops Square Off in Disputed Himalayan Region

Indian security officials say their troops engaged in a stone-throwing clash with Chinese forces in a disputed area of the Himalayas Tuesday.

The incident occurred after Indian soldiers prevented their Chinese counterparts from entering the mountainous region of Ladakh in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The confrontation ended after both sides retreated to their respective positions.

China did not immediately comment on the incident.

Indian and Chinese forces are locked in a 2-month-old standoff in a disputed area between India’s close ally, Bhutan, and China. The tensions began when Indian troops were deployed to obstruct a Chinese road-building project at Doklam Plateau. The area also known as Chicken’s Neck is hugely strategic for India because it connects the country’s mainland to its northeastern region.

New Delhi cites its treaties with Bhutan, with which it has close military and economic ties, for keeping its soldiers in the area despite strident calls by Beijing to vacate the mountain region.

The standoff is believed to be the most serious confrontation between the two Asian giants, who fought a brief war in 1962.

This story first appeared on Voice of America & is reposted here with permission.

News Story: India Jaguar fighters face upgrade challenges

Indian Air Force SEPECAT Jaguar (Image: Wiki Commons)
By: Vivek Raghuvanshi

NEW DELHI ― The Indian Air Force’s British-made Jaguar aircraft completed its maiden flight last week after integrating an advanced active electronically scanned array radar, but service officials say the Jaguar upgrade program is moving slowly and that there’s uncertainty regarding the mounting of proposed new engines.

The upgrade program of the Jaguar fighter, undertaken by India’s state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, includes mounting new engines from Honeywell of the U.S., but an executive with HAL said it’s ”still awaiting the go-ahead from the Indian Air Force for the new engines.”

“Not only is the upgrade program slow, but the autopilots on the Jaguar aircraft are malfunctioning,” the IAF official said.

Furthermore, only 18 autopilot systems out of a required 108 could be integrated on Jaguar aircraft, according to a second Air Force official. India contracted the purchase of 35 autopilots from Thales of France on the Jaguar, which were received between December 2006 and January 2008.

Due to contractual restrictions, HAL could integrate only 18 out of the 35 autopilots up until March 2017.

And the autopilots installed on the aircraft are functioning at a suboptimal level because a vital component ― the Auto Pilot Electronic Unit, which maintains the flight path of the aircraft ― required repairs by Thales, which are expected to be completed in 7 to 26 months.

The HAL executive placed blame: ”Upgrade of autopilot has been slow because of delays in supplies by French defense companies.”

The Jaguar with the new AESA radar made its maiden flight Aug. 10, but the Air Force will carry out six more tests before induction.

Read the full story at DefenseNews

News Story: Cambodian PM says to set up new brigade, naval base in Stung Treng after border dispute with Laos

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said Wednesday that the country would establish a new intervention brigade and a naval station in northern Stung Treng province bordering Laos.

"All preparation does not intend to wage war with the neighboring country, but aims at defending the nation and people and increasing good relations with the neighboring country," he wrote on his official Facebook page while flying by helicopter to Stung Treng province for a troop visit.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Chinese troops patrol control line on China-India border - FM spokesperson

BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese border troops have always patrolled the Chinese side of the line of control on the China-India border, said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wednesday in response to a recent altercation between the two troops.

According to media reports, Chinese and Indian soldiers yelled and threw stones at each other in Ladakh, a disputed area between China, Pakistan and India in southeastern Kashmir on Tuesday.

Speaking at a daily press briefing, spokesperson Hua Chunying said she was not aware of the latest reports, but added that "Chinese border troops are always committed to maintaining peace on the China-India border and always patrol along the Chinese line of control."

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Afghan gov't launches new security plan for Kabul

KABUL, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Afghan Interior Ministry has devised and implemented a new plan for Kabul to ensure security in the national capital and adjoining areas, the Government Media and Information Center (GMIC) said on Wednesday.

Giving priorities to providing security to diplomatic enclaves, the GMIC said the security plan would cover Kabul and adjoining districts and provinces close to the capital city.

"Up to 26 checkpoints have been placed around the capital's diplomatic areas on priority basis and 10 more mobile-checkpoints have been considered to patrol the roads and streets leading to the capital city," acting Kabul police chief Salim Ehsas said in a statement.

Read the full story at Xinhua

News Story: Terrorist Activities In Afghanistan A Threat To India - Envoy

By Mir Aqa Popalzai

Hinting indirectly at Pakistan, the Indian ambassador in Kabul, Manpreet Vohra, said some countries in the region have damaged all peace efforts and are following destructive policies.

“Sadly, in our immediate neighborhood, there are some who deliberately sabotage all attempts for peace and greater regional cooperation and connectivity,” he said. “India hopes that better sense will prevail on them one day and their self-destructive policies will change.”  

Marking the 70th Independence Day of India at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the ambassador said New Delhi will stand beside Afghans in the fight against terrorism.

“We champion Afghanistan’s cause and stand with it shoulder to shoulder as it faces serious challenges and strives to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous nation,” he stated. 

Read the full story at TOLOnews