2019, February, Newsletter

Newsletter Issue Feb 27, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

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INDIAN AIR FORCE JETS RAID PAKISTAN, DESTROY 3 TERROR CAMPS IN 21 MINUTES

Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets struck at three terror camps in Pakistan
in the wee hours of Tuesday. These include training camps of the
Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba. One of the camps is in Pakistan and
the other two are in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, while addressing a press conference, said a
large number of terrorists and their commanders had been eliminated in the
air strike.

Tension between the two nuclear-armed neighbours has been high following the
Pulwama terror attack. Heavy exchange of fire also started across the 749
km-long LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. The IAF mission inside Pakistan and PoK
lasted 21 minutes.

Stressing that the Indian government is firmly and resolutely committed to
taking all necessary measures to fight the menace of terrorism, Gokhale said
that this “non-military pre-emptive action was specifically targeted at the
JeM camp”.

The Foreign Secretary was taking the care of asserting that the targets had
been carefully selected, based on hard intelligence inputs about the
presence of terrorists in the camp. This intelligence would be from
technical inputs (via satellites), or communication intercepts or human
intelligence sources on the ground. By calling it an intelligence-led
operation, the government was trying to send a message to the global
audience that the airstrikes were not done at some arbitrarily chosen place
but were part of a well-considered action.

The first to be hit was Balakot, located 24 km north-west of Muzaffarabad
around 3.45 am. A simultaneous strike was carried out at Muzaffarabad around
3.48 am and the third one at Chakoti at 3.58 am. The IAF mission started off
at 3 am. A group of Mirage 2000 fighter jets that had the back-up of a
mid-air refueller, airborne radars and more fighter jets on standby for a
second strike, hit terror camps and destroyed them; 1,000 kg precision bombs
were used in the attack.

Sources claim that at least 325 terrorists and 25 to 27 trainers were at the
Balakot camp at the time of air strikes.

COUNTRY IS IN SAFE HANDS, WON’T LET HER DOWN: NARENDRA MODI

In his first public address after the air strikes on terror camps in
Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the country is in
safe hands and nothing is above the nation. “I want to assure the people
that the country is in safe hands. There is nothing above the nation,” he
said addressing a public meeting in Churu, Rajasthan.

“My soul says today is the day to reiterate what I had expressed in 2014. I
swear by my land I won’t let my country be destroyed. I will not let the
country stop. I will not let the country bow down. I pledge to the
motherland that I will not let her head down,” he said.

The prime minister, however, did not make a direct reference to the strikes.

Addressing the rally, the prime minister said he was able to work because
the party is above individuals and the country is above the party.

PAK DENIES ANY DAMAGE

“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately
scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow,” tweeted the
Pakistani army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor this morning at 5.12
am.

This tweet alerted media and the strategic community on both sides of the
Line of Control about the big early morning development on Tuesday. Within a
few hours Ghafoor in a series of tweets claimed, “Indian aircrafts’
intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles. Under
forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in
open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and
other important information to follow.”

But as details emerged from New Delhi claiming a major ‘non-military
pre-emptive’ Indian Air Force early morning strike at the biggest
Jaish-e-Mohammad camp in Balakot in KPK (Khyber Pakhtwukhwa province), well
inside Pakistani territory, the Pakistani army, establishment and government
huddled into series of high-profile security meetings.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in a statement to local media called
it an act of ‘grave aggression’ by India that would be given a ‘befitting
response’ adding that ‘Pakistan has a right to self-defence’.

However, soon after the national security committee special meeting convened
by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, the tone and tenor was different with
the Indian claims called as fictitious made with an eye on upcoming general
elections in the country.

“Forum strongly rejected Indian claim of targeting an alleged terrorist camp
near Balakot and the claim of heavy casualties. Once again Indian government
has resorted to a self serving, reckless and fictitious claim. This action
has been done for domestic consumption being in election environment,
putting regional peace and stability at grave risk,” said a statement
released by the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan has called for a special joint session of the
Parliament on February 27 even as both sides stepped up their diplomatic
offensive.

POLITICIANS HAIL AIR STRIKES; LEFT SILENT, OMAR, MAYA TAKE SWIPES

Politicians across board hailed the air strikes carried out by the pilots of
the Indian Air Force today with the Congress, TMC, NCP, SP and BSP leaders
saluting the forces.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi was among the first to hail the strikes
saying he salutes the pilots. NC’s Omar Abdullah raised a query regarding
the quality of the strike saying if the strike is in Poonch sector along the
LoC it is most symbolic.

BSP president Mayawati while welcoming the strikes took a swipe at Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and said had the PM taken hard decisions earlier,
India would not have had to see Uri, Pathankot and Pulwama attacks and the
lives of many jawans would have been saved.

The Left was conspicuous by its silence on the strikes while TMC chief
Mamata Banerjee saluted the pilot’s saying IAF also stands for India’s
Amazing Fighters.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav too posted tweets to back
the IAF action.

All Opposition parties were silent on the government role in the strike.

“I salute the bravery of Indian Air Force pilots who have made us proud by
striking terror targets in Pakistan,” AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal said in a
tweet.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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GLOBAL COMMUNITY ASKS INDIA-PAKISTAN TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT

As India conducted pre-emptive airstrikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camp
in Pakistan’s Balakot on Tuesday morning, the global community expressed
concern and urged India to “exercise restraint”.

The European Union has called for ‘maximum restraint’ from India, Pakistan
after the airstrike.

France has also called for restraint but also supported India’s “legitimacy
to ensure security” and asked Pakistan “to put an end to the operations of
terrorist groups established on its territory”.

In a press release, the Australian government said, “Pakistan must do
everything possible to implement its own proscription of Jaish-e-Mohammed.
It can no longer allow extremist groups the legal and physical space to
operate from its territory.”

Australia also urged both India and Pakistan to exercise restraint.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told the media in Beijing that
the country has “taken note of relevant reports”. “I want to say that India
and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. A sound
relationship and cooperation between the two serves the interests of both
the countries and peace and stability in South Asia,” he said. “We hope that
both India and Pakistan can exercise restraint and do more to improve mutual
their bilateral relations,” Lu Kang said.

Reacting to what it described as India’s violation of the LoC between
Pakistan and India, the general secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic
Cooperation condemned the action against an OIC founding member state. “The
OIC condemned the Indian incursion and aerial violation and dropping of four
bombs today, February 26, 2019. It urged India and Pakistan to exercise
restraint and avoid any steps that would endanger peace and security in the
region,” it said.

Notably, this comes after the OIC invited India as a ‘Guest of Honour’ for
the inaugural plenary of its meeting of foreign ministers to be held next
week.

THERESA MAY OFFERS MPs A CHOICE OF RULING OUT A NO-DEAL BREXIT

The campaigns to delay, modify – or even halt – the British government’s
interpretation of Brexit gained a boost, as Prime Minister Theresa May said
she could offer MPs a choice of ruling out a no-deal exit, or a time
limited-delay to Brexit. The move comes a day after the Labour Party said it
would support the holding of a second referendum if the government failed to
back its alternative vision of Brexit.

The developments come as Britain prepares to leave the EU in just over a
month’s time, so far without a withdrawal agreement amenable to both sides,
and as the Prime Minister prepares to put the terms of leaving the EU to MPs
in a meaningful vote on March 12, just 17 days before Britain is due to
leave.

Should her deal not be agreed to on March 12, Ms. May has pledged to offer
MPs votes on the next two days, firstly (on March 13) on ruling out a
no-deal exit, and secondly (on March 14) on requesting an extension to the
Article 50 negotiation process. “So the U.K. will only leave without a deal
on March 29 if there is explicit consent in this House for that outcome,”
Ms. May told a heated session of the House of Commons on Tuesday.

HOUSE VOTES TO BLOCK TRUMP BORDER WALL NATIONAL EMERGENCY

The US House of Representatives has voted to revoke President Donald Trump’s
emergency declaration over building a US-Mexico border wall.

The bid to overturn the declaration now goes to the Republican-majority
Senate, where some conservatives have said they will vote with Democrats.

Mr Trump, who declared the emergency after Congress refused funding for the
wall, has said he will veto the bill.

The resolution passed the Democrat-led House by a margin of 245-182.

Thirteen Republicans sided with Democrats in rejecting Mr Trump’s national
emergency, which suggests Congress would not have the two-thirds majority of
both chambers needed to override a veto from the president.

Lawmakers are using a provision from the National Emergencies Act to
overrule the president, but it requires both chambers to vote for it and to
complete voting within 18 days.

THE REST

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HOW IAF TOOK DOWN JAISH TRAINING CAMP

While the Indian Air Force was deployed during the 1999 Kargil conflict,
Tuesday was the first time after the 1971 war that it fired on targets
inside Pakistan. The IAF used its finest pilots, best aircraft and most
modern weapons for the precision targeting air strike.

These explosions were from precision-guided munitions fired by the IAF’s
French origin Mirage-2000 fighter jets which have been recently upgraded.
These jets have a night vision-capable glass cockpit, upgraded navigation
and IFF (identify friend or foe) systems, advanced multi-mode multi-layered
radar, and a fully integrated electronic warfare suite.

While a dozen Mirage-2000 were used, they were escorted by four Sukhoi Su-30
aircraft. The Russian origin aircraft, which forms the bulk of the IAF’s
fleet, were deployed in an air defence role in case there was a need to
respond to any action from Pakistan Air Force – but that never came.

The Sukhois also executed a “forward sweep,” which allows the escorting
aircraft to test the adversary’s response before the strike aircraft move in
to hit the target. The IAF, sources said, was able to beat Pak radars by
employing the technique of “masking by hills” while flying, using two decoys
to distract Pakistan Air Force and by flying low before pulling up to hit
the target.

The Israeli Phalcon Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and the
indigenous Netra Airborne Early Warning and Control System Aircraft (AEW&C)
aircraft, deployed to monitor the mission, showed that no aircraft was
within 100 km while the operation was carried out.

Sources said the Mirage-2000 fleet were given the designated locations of
targets at the terror camp for firing their precision-guided munition. These
targets at Balakot, identified on the basis of intelligence inputs, were
chosen with the consideration that there was no habitation and no danger of
any collateral damage.

The jets, which were also used successfully during the Kargil War, were
armed with SPICE-2000 and Crystal Maze Mark2 also known as AGM 142 Popeye
missile. Both these weapons gave the IAF the capability to hit the target
with pinpoint accuracy.

The “eye in the sky,” the Heron Unmanned Aerial vehicle (UAV), was also up
in the air for monitoring and assessment of the target. The IAF has not
shared details of damage assessment.

Two IL-78 mid-air refuelling tankers were also used during the operations by
the Mirage-2000 and Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft after the target was hit to return
to various separate air bases.

BJP TO ITS LEADERS: KEEP RESTRAINT, PROJECT BALAKOT AS PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE,
NOT REVENGE

While upbeat after the IAF’s strike at Balakot terror camps in Pakistan, the
BJP on Tuesday is learnt to have asked party leaders to maintain restraint
in their reactions and project the move not as “revenge” for Pulwama terror
attack but as a “pre-emptive strike at terror camps to protect the sovereign
space and its security” at a time when as the Jaish-e-Mohammad is “preparing
for a series of suicide attacks on Indian soil”.

Briefing BJP’s national spokespersons after a meeting of the Cabinet
Committee on Security (CCS), both Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Defence
Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are learnt to have told them specifically that
party leaders should refrain from chest-thumping over the strike — at least
for a few days. “We do not have an idea how Pakistan will react to it. It is
not yet the time to rejoice, but we have to stay alert. This was the
direction from the leadership,” a senior party leader said.

KEJRIWAL POSTPONES INDEFINITE HUNGER STRIKE

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said he has postponed his
indefinite hunger strike, scheduled from March 1. “In view of prevailing
Indo Pak situation, I am postponing my upwas for full statehood of Delhi. We
all stand as one nation today,” he posted on Twitter.

SC FOR MEDIATION IN AYODHYA ROW, TO PASS ORDER ON MARCH 6

Nearly 25 years after it first voiced ‘negotiated settlement’ as the best
way for amicable resolution of the Ayodhya land dispute, the Supreme Court
on Tuesday decided to explore this possibility and said it would pass orders
on a “court-appointed mediation process” on March 6.

A Constitution bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y
Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer decided to invoke the court’s
inherent powers under Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code to formulate
terms of settlement and seek observations of the parties before referring it
to mediation.

Hindu parties opposed negotiations for resolution of the dispute, saying it
would serve no purpose as similar attempts in the past had failed. However,
Muslim parties supported the court’s move on mediation.

Justice Bobde said: “Section 89 of the CPC provides for court-mandated
resolution of dispute through mediation. We are considering it seriously. We
would like to have it even if there is 1% chance of success. We would like
to know who are the persons who can mediate. It shall be strictly
confidential. We do not want third parties to make comments and derail
mediation.”

FISCAL DEFICIT IN JAN AT 122% OF FULL-YEAR TARGET

Fiscal deficit touched 121.5% of the full-year revised target of Rs 6.34
lakh crore at the end of January on account of lower revenue collections,
government data showed on Tuesday. The fiscal deficit, or the gap between
the government’s expenditure and revenue, stood at Rs 7.7 lakh crore during
the first ten months of the current financial year ending March.

At the end of January 2018, the deficit was 113.7% of the revised estimate
(RE).

According to the data released by the controller general of accounts (CGA),
the government’s revenue receipts totalled Rs 11.81 lakh crore or 68.3% of
the RE till January in 2018-19, compared with 72.8% cent during the same
period last fiscal. The data also shows the total expenditure at January-end
was Rs 20.01 lakh crore or 81.5% of the RE. The total expenditure for the
current fiscal has been raised to Rs 24.57 lakh crore in the RE, from the
budgeted Rs 24.42 lakh crore.

JIO LOSS AT RS 15K CR LOSS IF STANDARD A/C FOLLOWED, SUBSIDIES INCLUDED:
BERNSTEIN

Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio would post a loss of Rs 15,000
crore in the current fiscal year ending March 31 if the cost of subsidised
mobile phones it sells is included and accounts are prepared using standard
depreciation metrics, brokerage Bernstein said on Tuesday.

The loss would be larger than rivals Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, it
said.

“Jio’s disclosed income statements show a positive, albeit small, return on
invested capital (about 3.1 per cent), but as we have pointed out in the
past this relies on ‘non-standard’ depreciation metrics and all the handset
subsidies being booked through Reliance Retail,” Bernstein said in a report.

After considering these factors, Jio may see “a potential loss of Rs 15,000
crore in FY 2019. Far worse than Bharti’s or Vodafone Idea’s,” it said.

INDICATORS

Sensex 35,974 (-240), Nifty 10,835 (-45), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores)
33,658

Nasdaq 7,549 (-5) Dow 26,058 (-34), S&P 2,794 (-2)

US$-Rs. 70.95 GBP-Rs. 93.58, Euro-Rs. 80.65, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.31, Can$-Rs.
53.76, Aus$- Rs. 50.83

GBP 0.75 /US$, Euro 0.87 /US$, Jap.Yen 110.76 /US$, Aus$ 1.39 /US$, Sing
1.34 /US$, Bang Taka 83.18 /US$, Can$ 1.31 /US$, Mal Ring 4.06 /US$,

Pak Re 138.73 /US$, Phil Peso 51.98 /US$, Russian Rouble 65.63 /US$, NZ$
1.45 /US$, Thai Baht 31.25 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.84 /US$, Norway NOK 8.58
/US$

Bitcoin – USD 3,811

Dollar Index 95.98 Brent Crude 65.60 BDI 637

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,329 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3385 / 3205,
Silver (Rs. Per KG) 43,700

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will
scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will
refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which
affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept
it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this
way. – Bertrand Russell

OFF TRACK

Five-year-old Becky answered the door when the census taker came by. She
told the census taker that her daddy was a doctor and wasn’t home, because
he was performing an appendectomy.

“My,” said the census taker, “that sure is a big word for such a little
girl. Do you know what it means?”

“Sure! Fifteen hundred bucks, and that doesn’t even include the
anesthesiologist!”

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