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HINDON (Ghaziabad): The Indian Air Force has “clearly” demonstrated its resolve, operational capability and will to effectively engage with the adversary whenever the need arises, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria said on Thursday, referring to his force’s prompt deployment and combat readiness along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

Speaking during an event at the Hindon air base on the 88th anniversary of the IAF, Bhadauria also assured the nation that the force will evolve and be ever ready to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and interests in all circumstances.

Talking about security challenges in eastern Ladakh, the Chief of Air Staff commended the air warriors for their “prompt response” in the recent standoff on the northern frontiers and talked about rapid deployment of combat assets along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at short notice to handle any eventuality.

“I would like to commend all warriors for the quick response, in the recent stand-off on our northern frontiers, when we deployed our combat assets at short notice to handle any eventuality, and provided proactive support to all the requirements of deployment and sustenance for the Indian Army,” Bhadauria said after inspecting the Air Force Day parade.

“We have clearly demonstrated our resolve, operational capability, and the will to effectively engage the adversary, should the need arise,” he said.

88th Air Force Day celebrations

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IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria addresses during the 88th Air Force Day celebrations at Hindon airbase in Ghaziabad

The Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a five-month bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh and the IAF has made significant deployment in the region.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh greeted the IAF on its foundation day and said the government is committed to enhance its combat capability

“The nation is proud of its men and women in blue and salutes the prowess of the IAF as it stands ready to face challenges and deter adversaries. We remain committed to enhancement of IAF’s combat capability through modernisation and indigenisation,” he said.

In his address, the Chief of Air Staff said the evolving threat matrix in the region is becoming complex and it mandates a greater need to have a strong air force to fight across domains and the entire spectrum of warfare.

“The evolving threat matrix in our region is becoming complex, ranging from aspirational adversaries with huge investments in military arsenal, to those collusively supported by non-state actors, apart from growing sub-conventional threats emanating from terrorism and cyber space,” he said.

Bhadauria said disruptive technologies and easy access to low cost options like drones are increasingly demanding greater attention to the sub-conventional domain

The IAF also carried out a spectacular air display at the event showcasing its vintage aircraft and modern fleet including the newly inducted Rafale jets.

In his address, Bhadauria said notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic, the IAF maintained its capacity to undertake full scale operations as it took proactive measures to counter the spread of COVID-19.

“The tenacity and resolve of our air warriors ensured that the IAF continued to retain its capability and capacity to undertake full scale operations, throughout this period,” he said.

Bhadauria also talked about the IAF’s culture and ethos of team work and told the air warriors that “it will help you to overcome temptation, if any, to seek personal glory, while in service or beyond.”

He also called creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff and Department of Military Affair as a “landmark step” towards increasing tri-service effectiveness, coordination and overall combat capabilities of the armed forces.

“We are working proactively towards setting up joint command structures. The formation of air defence command is spearheading the envisaged tri-service commands, and it will further optimise all available air defence resources and supported with a robust decision making structure, and this is at an advanced stage,” he said.

On modernisation of the IAF, he said the vision is to continue to comprehensively scale up the combat capability, and be a force to reckon with across the entire sphere of influence through careful force structuring and acquisition of indigenous equipment.

“The recent induction of state-of-the-art Rafale, Chinook and Apache aircraft have added significantly to our combat capability over our adversaries on the battlefield,” Bhadauria said.

“Our offensive strike capability has been honed further, with upgradation of our aircraft with weapons and sensors, ably supported by a networked decision making matrix,” he added.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

India calls for complete ceasing of support to terrorist forces in Middle East

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UNITED NATIONS: India has called on all concerned parties to completely stop supporting terrorist forces, like the ISIS, while urging all stakeholders in the Middle East to work constructively for peace, stability and development.

India underscored that it has invested considerably in the peace and stability of the region by deploying its personnel as part of UN peacekeeping forces, through humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, capacity building, and will continue contributing towards peace-building in the Middle East.

“India calls on concerned parties to completely stop support to terrorist forces, like ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and others. India also urges all parties in the region to work constructively and in good faith to promote peace, stability and development for the benefit of all people in the Middle East,” India said in a written statement on Monday on the Security Council’s open debate on ‘The Situation in the Middle East’.

India said the truce between Israel and the Hamas has eased the humanitarian situation in Gaza and expressed hope that the temporary truce is converted into a permanent ceasefire, which can save precious human lives on both sides and create a conducive environment for talks.

“It is an unfortunate reality that the interlinked and mutually reinforcing challenges faced by the people of the Middle East have not yet been resolved. Political instability, long-festering conflicts, sectarian divides, issue of refugees and terrorism continue to plague the region. The COVID-pandemic has only exacerbated the threats posed by these challenges,” India said.

The statement made India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador T S Tirumurti, will go as part of the official record of the Council.

India said it appreciates the agreement between Fatah and Hamas for holding Parliamentary and Presidential elections and also elections for the Palestinian National Council, which will help fulfill the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people.

India also welcomed the agreements for normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. “India has always supported peace and stability in West Asia, which is our extended neighbourhood,” India said.

Further, India said the commencement of discussions on the disputed border between Israel and Lebanon is a significant development, expressing hope that this will provide an opportunity to resolve the longstanding issue between the two countries.

India highlighted that Palestinian aspirations for a sovereign and independent state are yet to be fulfilled and stressed that New Delhi has been unwavering in its commitment to the Palestinian cause and continues to remain supportive of a peaceful negotiated resolution of the Palestinian issue.

“India has supported the two-state solution as a just and acceptable solution to the conflict. Establishment of a Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel, within mutually agreed borders should be achieved through negotiations directly by the two parties,” India said adding that any stalemate could strengthen the hands of extremists and shut the door to cooperation thereby jeopardising the security, stability and prosperity of the people on both sides and the region.

Accordingly, India urged Israel and Palestine to resume direct negotiations at the earliest and called upon the international community to take concrete steps towards resuming and facilitating these negotiations quickly.

India noted that the decade-long armed conflict in Syria has claimed over 400,000 lives, displaced 6.2 million people internally and compelled another 6.3 million people to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

“While we are heartened to see return of normalcy to major parts of the country, we are also reminded of the enormous resources that would be required to provide urgent humanitarian aid, rebuild infrastructure, enable return of the refugees and restore a normal and dignified life of all Syrians,” the statement said.

India said in the statement that it is not only contributing to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria, but has also consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria.

India voiced concern over the security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and said the recent exchange of prisoners by the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah, who had been detained in connection with the conflict, is a welcome development.

“India hopes that the parties will take more confidence building measures to provide the necessary impetus for the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement,” the statement read.

India also hopes for peace and stability in Iraq with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India noted that in the aftermath of the August blast that brought destruction to vast swathes of Beirut and inflicted heavy loss of lives, India stood in solidarity with Lebanon.

New Delhi sent emergency humanitarian aid of over 58 metric tons to Beirut. “We look forward to the swift formation of a new government that can offer political stability and also tackle the grave socio-economic challenges being faced by the people of Lebanon,” the statement said.

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INDIA

US, India must focus on threat posed by China: Secretary of state Mike Pompeo

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NEW DELHI: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Tuesday stressed on the need for Washington and New Delhi to work together to counter the threat posed by Beijing to “security and freedom”

Pompeo’s comment came during the crucial 2+2 dialogue between India and the US, which saw the signing of a crucial defence agreement between the two countries.

“There is much more work to do for sure. We have a lot to discuss today: Our cooperation on the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom to promoting peace and stability throughout the region,” Pompeo said during talks with defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Pompeo was joined by defence secretary Mark Esper.

Esper too focussed on the apparent threat posed by China, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our focus now must be on institutionalising and regularising our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” Esper said.

The comments assume significance as India is locked in a border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.

In June this year, 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of PLA soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, hardening the mood in India against China and driving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to seek closer military ties with the United States.

In the US, President Donald Trump has made being tough on China a key part of his campaign to secure a second term in next week’s presidential election and Pompeo has been trying to bolster allies to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

This month, India invited Australia to join naval drills it holds each year with the United States and Japan, brushing off Chinese concerns that the exercises destabilise the region.

(With inputs from agencies)

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark Esper meet NSA Doval

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NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper on Tuesday held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, covering key aspects of growing strategic ties between the two countries.

Issues of strategic importance were discussed at the meeting, sources said.

The meeting took place ahead of the third edition of 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Esper and Pompeo arrived here on Monday for the crucial talks aimed at further boosting the defence and security ties between the two countries.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held separate talks with their US counterparts on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, both the top US administration officials visited the National War Memorial and paid tributes to India’s fallen heroes.

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