Two killed in Kashmir militant attack on Indian army camp

An Indian policeman fires a pellet gun at Kashmiri protesters in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, Friday, May 18, 2018. (AP)
Updated 28 May 2018
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Two killed in Kashmir militant attack on Indian army camp

SRINAGAR, India: Two people have died in a shootout in the disputed territory of Indian Kashmir, officials said Monday, the first attacks since the army suspended operations against the militants for Ramadan.
A soldier was killed late Sunday when militants attacked an army camp in Kakapora, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the main city of Srinagar, said army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia.
A civilian driving past was also killed in the exchange, a police officer said.
Three soldiers were later wounded when a roadside bomb was detonated underneath a military vehicle near Shopian district.
No militant group has claimed responsibility for the twin attacks.
The assaults were the first in the Kashmir Valley since the army declared a nearly 30-day halt to military operations, the first of its kind in the tense region for nearly two decades.
The decision meant Indian troops would pause operations against insurgents and halt door-to-door house searches, but would retaliate if attacked.
Despite the suspension of operations, violence has not abated in the region bordering Pakistan, which also controls part of the disputed Himalayan territory but claims it in full, like India.
The Indian army claimed it killed five militants on Sunday as they tried to cross the heavily militarised border.
On May 17, the army claimed three suspected militants were killed in a forest area near the border.
Both incidents could not be independently verified.
In a separate clash along the border, a heavy exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani forces this month left 16 dead on both sides, forcing around 80,000 citizens living on the Indian side to flee.
India deploys an estimated 500,000 soldiers in Kashmir, which has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947.
Rebel groups have been fighting for an independent Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan since 1989.
New Delhi accuses Pakistan of fueling the insurgency that has left tens of thousands of civilians dead, a charge Islamabad denies saying it only provides diplomatic support to Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.


Indian cancellation of defense equipment orders hurts investor sentiment: Experts

A tender was withdrawn for short-range surface-to-air missiles, with Israel’s SPYDER system having been the front-runner. Supplied
Updated 18 June 2018
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Indian cancellation of defense equipment orders hurts investor sentiment: Experts

  • New Delhi scrapped a $500 million deal for Israel’s Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile. Israel had agreed to transfer the technology to India, and had set up a factory in a venture with an Indian company
  • Modi wants the country to decrease its reliance on foreign firms, reduce its import bill and manufacture equipment in-house

NEW DELHI: The Indian government’s penchant for canceling or withdrawing tenders for defense equipment at the last minute is likely to hurt investor confidence in the country, experts said on Sunday.
New Delhi called off a $9 billion deal to co-develop with Russia a next-generation fighter aircraft, after the state-owned Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) said it would do the job in-house, Indian media reported this week.
Under the deal, a significant amount of the research would have been carried out in India. Russia had agreed to tailor the aircraft to Indian needs, and was to hand over all the technology, the Economic Times reported.
India is the world’s largest importer of defense equipment, and imports at least 90 percent of its equipment, including parts for assembly.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the country to decrease its reliance on foreign firms, reduce its import bill and manufacture equipment in-house.
But India lacks much of the high-end technology needed for such equipment, which is why deals where foreign partners agree to share technology are useful for its long-term plans, experts say.
When such deals are canceled, “it greatly reduces confidence in India,” said Saurabh Joshi, editor of StratPost Media Pvt Ltd., a defense news website.
“We can’t willy-nilly… accept arguments that a particular equipment can be developed and produced indigenously before such tenders are withdrawn,” he added.
“There should be an adequate test to develop and produce indigenously. Otherwise, we’re simply postponing an acquisition process by 10 to 15 years, and it’s the armed forces that have to go without critical equipment until then.”
Experts say one reason for the government canceling orders could be a lack of funds. The Russian deal is not the only one to be jettisoned recently.
New Delhi scrapped a $500 million deal for Israel’s Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile. Israel had agreed to transfer the technology to India, and had set up a factory in a venture with an Indian company. The reason given for the cancellation was the same: To develop the missiles indigenously.
A tender was also withdrawn for short-range surface-to-air missiles, with Israel’s SPYDER system having been the front-runner, experts said.
On average, it takes a tender at least six years to go through the various steps before the final purchase order can be placed.
Any company that loses a bid has to account for that time and investment to its head office and its board, Joshi said.