2019, February, Newsletter

Newsletter Issue Feb 28, 2019

NEWS TO SHIPS BY NEWS ACCESS INDIA – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2019

FRONT PAGE NEWS

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IAF PILOT CAPTURED BY PAK AFTER AIR COMBAT; PAK F16 SHOT DOWN

An IAF pilot was captured by Pakistan after an air combat on Wednesday
during which the two sides said they shot down each other’s warplanes that
followed an unsuccessful attempt to target Indian military installations in
retaliatory strikes that sparked fears of war.

The aerial engagement between India and Pakistan for the first time since
the 1971 war marked a dramatic escalation of confrontation prompting world
leaders to urge the two neighbouring countries to exercise “utmost
restraint”.

India said it shot down a F-16 warplane of Pakistan while it lost a MiG 21
during the fierce engagement between the air forces of the two countries
along the LoC.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) summoned the acting high commissioner
of Pakistan Syed Haider Shah and demanded immediate and safe return of the
pilot identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. It was also made
clear to Pakistan that no harm should be caused to the Indian defence
personnel, the ministry said, adding it has conveyed strong objection to the
neighbouring country at the “vulgar display” of an injured personnel in
violation of all norms of International Humanitarian Law and the Geneva
Convention.

In a strongly-worded statement, the MEA said the envoy was clearly told that
India reserves the right to take “firm and decisive action to protect its
national security”.

Pakistan detained the pilot following the aerial engagement in which a
Pakistani jet, stated to be a F-16, was downed by Indian air defence forces
in Jammu region’s Rajouri sector. The IAF also lost a MiG 21 jet in the
engagement, an Indian official said. Pakistan has denied losing the jet.

The Pakistan Army retracted its earlier statement that two IAF pilots were
arrested and in the evening said it had “only one” pilot in its custody.
“There is only one pilot under Pakistan Army’s custody. Wing Comd Abhi
Nandan is being treated as per norms of military ethics,” Pakistani military
spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said in the evening.

All in all, it was a day of hectic developments moving with dizzying
rapidity. Three Pakistani fighter jets entered Indian air space at 9.58 am
to target key military installations in Rajouri and Naushera in Jammu and
Kashmir, as part of the retaliatory strike, official sources said. However,
the bombs dropped by the Pakistani jets fell in uninhabited areas.

Minutes after Pakistani jets violated Indian air space, the IAF’s Combat Air
Patrol (CAP), comprising MiG-21 and other jets engaged with the enemy
aircraft, successfully thwarting their attempts to bomb a number of key
military installations in Naushera and Rajouri, they said.

Islamabad claimed it hit back at India by bringing down two Indian military
aircraft, one of which crashed in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) while the
other fell in Jammu and Kashmir.

“This morning PAF (Pakistan Air Force) jets while remaining in Pakistani
airspace engaged six targets across the LoC,” Major General Asif Ghafoor
told reporters in Islamabad. “Our pilots locked on those six targets and we
struck on open places,” he said, adding that it was decided that the PAF
will not hit the military targets.

PAK PM OFFERS TALK TO DEFUSE TENSIONS; INDIA UNMOVED

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday claimed that two Indian MiGs
crossed the Line of Control and they were shot down, as he offered to defuse
tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours and resolve the issues
through talks.

“Our action was only intended to convey that if you can come into our
country, we can do the same. Two of their MiGs were shot down (in the
ensuing action),” Khan said in a live TV address.

His comments came minutes after the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi
said that Pakistan Air Force targeted military installations in India in
response to Indian counter-terrorism operations but their attempts were
foiled successfully though one Indian pilot is “missing in action”.

Noting that all wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to,
Khan said that better sense must prevail and the two sides should act with
wisdom. “I ask India: with the weapons you have and the weapons we have, can
we really afford a miscalculation? If this (situation) escalates, it will no
longer be in my control or in (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi’s,” Khan said.

“Let’s sit together and settle this with talks,” he added.

Unmoved by Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s overture for talks, India said
Wednesday’s aerial battle along the LoC was an act of aggression, raising
the prospects of a fresh escalation. Highlighting this, New Delhi issued a
demarche to acting Pakistan high commissioner Syed Haidar Shah.

India’s submission, which came even as PM Narendra Modi held discussions
with three service chiefs, raises the possibility of retaliatory action
against what India said was an “unprovoked act of aggression, including
violation of Indian air space by the Pakistan Air Force and targeting of
Indian military posts”.

In response to Khan’s talks offer, high commissioner Shah was given a
dossier with what India said were “specific details and JeM complicity in
the Pulwama attack and presence of JeM terror camps and its leadership in
Pakistan”.

INDIA SAYS IT DOES NOT WANT TO SEE FURTHER ESCALATION OF SITUATION

India did not wish to see further escalation of the situation and would
continue to act with responsibility and restraint, External Affairs Minister
Sushma Swaraj told China and Russia in Wuzen (China) on Wednesday after the
country targeted a terrorist training camp in Pakistan.

Swaraj is in Wuzen for a Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral meeting.

Launching a scathing attack on Pakistan for the February 14 Pulwama terror
attack at the Russia, India and China (RIC) meeting there, she defended
India’s airstrikes on terrorist bases in Pakistan, saying it was pre-emptive
action aimed at stopping further attacks by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

“The recent dastardly terrorist attack on our security forces in Pulwama in
Jammu and Kashmir is perpetrated by Jaish-e-Mohammad, a Pakistan-based and
supported terrorist organisation proscribed by the UN and other countries.
We lost more than 40 personnel from the CRPF,” Swaraj said. “Such dastardly
terrorist attacks are grim reminder for all the countries to show zero
tolerance to terrorism and take decisive action against them,” she said at
the meeting attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Russian
counterpart Sergei Lavarov.

“In the light of continued refusal of Pakistan to acknowledge and act
against terror groups on its territory and based on credible information
that the JeM is planning other attacks in various parts of India, the
Government of India had decided to take pre-emptive action,” she said.

“The target was selected in order to avoid civilian casualties,” she said.

She said India’s action was not a military operation and the aim was to
dismantle the terror infrastructure. “No military installations were
targeted. The limited objective of the pre-emptive strike was to act
decisively against the terrorist infrastructure of the JeM in order to
pre-empt another terrorist attack in India,” she said.

ANGUISHED OVER ‘BLATANT POLITICISATION’ OF SACRIFICES OF ARMED FORCES: OPPN

Twenty-one opposition parties on Wednesday expressed anguish over what they
alleged was “blatant politicisation” of the sacrifices of armed forces.

After a meeting in the Parliament Library, the leaders of these parties
issued a joint statement, expressing concern over the prevailing security
situation in the country.

Anguished over blatant politicisation of sacrifices of armed forces by
ruling party. Urge government to take nations into confidence on all
measures to protect India’s sovereignty, unity, integrity.

“National security must transcend narrow political consideration,” the joint
statement said.

The parties also condemned the “dastardly” Pulwama terror attack by
“Pakistan-sponsored” terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammed on February 14. The
leaders paid homage to the soldiers killed in the attack and expressed
solidarity with the Armed Forces.

The statement also said that the prime minister has “regrettably” not
convened an all-party meeting as per established practice.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

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PAKISTAN CLOSES ITS AIRSPACE FOR COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS

Pakistan on Wednesday closed its airspace for commercial flights and
suspended flight operations across major airports, including in Islamabad,
Lahore and Karachi, for an indefinite period in the wake of the escalating
tensions with India.

Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority made the announcement after the
Director-General of Inter-Services Public Relations, the military’s media
arm, acknowledged the closure of Pakistan’s airspace due to the prevailing
security situation.

The airport will be used for “military purposes” till it is reopened for
commercial activities, an official told DawnNewsTV, adding that a red alert
has also been issued. “All civilian flight operations have been suspended,”
the official said.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Mujtaba Baig said the flight operations
in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces have been suspended for an
indefinite period. He said the flight operations from and to Lahore,
Sialkot, Faisalabad, Multan and Rawalpindi/Islamabad airports have been
suspended.

US ASKS PAKISTAN TO TAKE ‘MEANINGFUL ACTION’ AGAINST TERRORIST GROUPS

The US on Wednesday firmly asked Pakistan to take “meaningful action”
against terrorist groups operating on its soil and underscored the
importance of avoiding escalation at any cost after India targeted terrorist
camp in Pakistan.

Pompeo is currently in Vietnam to attend the second summit between President
Donald Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on the denuclearsation
of the Korean peninsula. “Following Indian counter-terrorism actions on
February 26, I spoke with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj
to emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining
peace and security in the region,” Pompeo said in a statement.

“I also spoke to Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi to underscore the
priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and
the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups
operating on its soil,” Pompeo said.

TRUMP, KIM HANDSHAKE KICKS OFF NUCLEAR SUMMIT

US President Donald Trump shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
at the start of their second summit on Wednesday, saying the totalitarian
state could enjoy a brilliant future if it gives up nuclear weapons.

Trump predicted a “very successful” summit as the pair prepared for dinner
at the luxury Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in Hanoi to follow up on their
initial historic meeting in Singapore in June.

In a brief sit-down ahead of one-on-one talks, Trump repeated his view that
North Korea had “tremendous” economic potential.

For his part, Kim pledged to do his “best” to achieve an outcome that “will
be welcomed by all people”.

They were due to open with about 20 minutes of head-to-head talks before
sitting around a table with only a handful of top advisers. Negotiations
were then scheduled to resume on Thursday.

THE REST

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IN PAK HANDS, OFFICER STANDS TALL

Apprehended after his plane crashed across the Line of Control, Wing
Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was beaten by locals, made to identify
himself with hands tied behind his back and a rag across his injured face
and then recorded saying he was being treated well by his captors.

Three videos showed the pilot display remarkable poise in custody. In one –
shot in what seems like an office room where he stands with hands tied and a
bloodied face – the young pilot says he is not required to reveal anything
more than his name and service number and inquires who his captors are.

The videos, particularly the one released last which has the officer saying
he has been treated well and will not change his account even if out of
captivity, seemed part of a Pakistani PR effort to signal the pilot was not
being maltreated (the earlier clips might be intended to address sentiments
at home). It shows Wing Commander Abhinandan holding a cup of tea and
saying, “The officers of the Pakistani Army have looked after me very well,
are thorough gentlemen, starting with the captain who rescued me from the
mob… this is what I would expect my Army to behave.”

Despite the hostility he faced and being in captivity at a time of high
tension between India and Pakistan, the officer remained calm and composed.

In the first video that was released, locals in Pakistanoccupied Kashmir are
seen punching and slapping him and hurling abuses even as the officer is on
the ground. Pakistani soldiers are heard saying he should be left alone.

Indian officials said there was a possibility he was further beaten as this
clip does not show any injury to his face. However, in the second video, the
officer has a bloodied face. Here, his hands and feet are tied as he stands
in a room.

IAF CHOPPER CRASHES IN JK, 2 PILOTS AMONG 7 KILLED

An IAF helicopter crashed in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir on
Wednesday, killing both its pilots and four others onboard besides a local
resident, officials said.

The helicopter crashed in an open field near Garend Kalaan village in Budgam
around 10.05 am, they said, adding seven bodies have been recovered from the
scene. Besides the pilots, an operator and three other crew members lost
their lives in the crash, the officials said.

OPERATIONS AT 9 AIRPORTS HAVE RESUMED AS OF NOW: DGCA

Aviation watchdog DGCA on Wednesday said operations at the nine airports,
which were shut earlier in the day, have resumed “as of now”.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) issued a notice
to airmen (NOTAM), saying flight operations at the airports in Srinagar,
Jammu, Leh, Pathankot, Amritsar, Shimla, Kangra, Kullu Manali and
Pithoragarh will remain shut from February 27 to May 27.

The move to suspend operations the airports had come amid escalation of
tensions between India and Pakistan after the IAF carried out strikes on
terror bases in Pakistan.

The escalation of military tension between India and Pakistan is set to have
an adverse impact on the aviation industry, which is already under stress.
For Air India and Jet Airways, it would mean their flights to the US and
Europe will stretch the travel time by almost two hours

CENTRE URGES SC TO MODIFY ORDER ON EVICTION OF TRIBALS FROM FOREST LAND

The Centre on Wednesday requested the Supreme Court to modify its order
directing 21 states to evict nearly 11.8 lakh forest dwellers, mostly
tribals, whose claims over the forest land had been rejected.

“It is respectfully prayed that this court may consider modifying its
order…And direct the state governments to file detailed affidavits
regarding the procedure followed and details of the rejection of claims and
till then the eviction of tribal may be withheld. The eviction of tribals,
without such information would cause serious prejudice to such tribal who
have been residing in forests for generations,” the Union Ministry of Tribal
Affairs submitted.

A Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra agreed to take up the Centre’s plea on
Thursday after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the order needed to be
modified.

ESCALATING INDO-PAK TENSIONS KEEPS MARKETS ON TENTERHOOKS

The escalating tensions between India and Pakistan kept markets on
tenterhooks. The benchmark Sensex on Wednesday swung 636 points, or 1.75 per
cent.The index finally ended 68 points, or 0.2 per cent, lower at 35,905.
The 50-share Nifty also fell 28.65 points, or 0.3 per cent, to 10,806.65.

The India Vix, a measure for market volatility, spiked 10.4 per cent,
extending its two-day surge to 23 per cent – suggesting that traders were
expecting more wild swings in the coming days.

MAXWELL SCORES TON, AUSTRALIA BEAT INDIA BY 7 WICKETS TO WRAP SERIES 2-0

Glenn Maxwell struck an unbeaten hundred as Australia beat India by seven
wickets to win clinch the T20 International series by 2-0 margin here on
Wednesday.

Riding on skipper Virat Kohli’s unbeaten 72 off 38 balls, India scored a
competitive 190 for four.

However, Maxwell hammered the host bowling attack scoring an unbeaten 113
off 55 balls with nine sixes and seven fours as Australia chased the target
in 19.4 overs.

SAURABH, MANU COMBINE TO SHOOT GOLD IN 10M AIR PISTOL MIXED EVENT

The trailblazing teenaged duo of Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker
comfortably claimed the gold medal in the 10m air pistol mixed team event of
the ISSF World Cup here on Wednesday.

The Indian pair shot a total of 483.5 to finish on top of the podium to
finish the tournament with a flourish after a few results that did not go
their way over the last three days.

Such was the Indian duo’s dominance through the final that the difference
between gold and silver medallist at the end was a hopping at the end was
5.8.

Having entered the final after equalling the qualification world record,
Saurabh and Manu continued in the same vein and once they moved to the top
spot, there was no looking back as they consistently shot high and mid 10.

INDICATORS

Sensex 35,905 (-69), Nifty 10,807 (-29), Trading Value NSE (Rs.crores)
33,809

Nasdaq 7,555 (+5) Dow 25,985 (-73), S&P 2,792 (-2)

US$-Rs. 71.10 GBP-Rs. 94.48, Euro-Rs. 80.92, UAE Dhm-Rs.19.35, Can$-Rs.
54.05, Aus$- Rs. 50.91

GBP 0.75 /US$, Euro 0.87 /US$, Jap.Yen 110.69 /US$, Aus$ 1.39 /US$, Sing
1.34 /US$, Bang Taka 83.12 /US$, Can$ 1.31 /US$, Mal Ring 4.06 /US$,

Pak Re 138.95 /US$, Phil Peso 51.84 /US$, Russian Rouble 65.74 /US$, NZ$
1.45 /US$, Thai Baht 31.36 /US$, Ukraine Hryvnia 26.81 /US$, Norway NOK 8.54
/US$

Bitcoin – USD 3,805

Dollar Index 95.99 Brent Crude 66.20 BDI 649

Gold world Spot Price USD/aoz 1,319 India (Rs. per gm 24k/22k) 3385 / 3205,
Silver (Rs. Per KG) 43,500

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Is it not excessively ridiculous to seek the good opinion of those whom you
would never wish to be like? – John Chrysostom

OFF TRACK

A plane made an emergency landing on water. The stewardess asked the
passengers to slide down to the lifeboats, but the passengers refused.

The stewardess then asked the captain to help. The captain, being very
knowledgeable and experienced, guided her – You tell the Americans this is
an ADVENTURE.

Tell the British this is an HONOUR.

Tell the French this is a ROMANTIC activity,

and tell the Germans this is the LAW.

Tell the Japanese this is an ORDER, and everyone will be sorted out.

The stewardess remembered the flight had some passengers from India and
Singapore too. “What about them,” she asked.

The captain, taking a deep breath, patiently explained, “You need not tell
the Singaporeans anything, my dear. Once they see a QUEUE, they will join it
without questions.”

“And what about the Indians?” she persisted.

The captain laughed, “Easy. Just tell the Indians this activity is FREE.”

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