21 July 2017

AUS: Defence Hosts Senior Chinese Military Delegation

This week Defence hosted General Wei Liang, Political Commissar, Southern Theatre Command from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on a recent goodwill visit to Australia.

The visit, which occurred on 15–19 July, included discussions with senior Defence officials, including the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Mark Binskin, AC. The delegation also visited Victoria Barracks and HMAS Watson in Sydney.

The meetings between senior Defence officials and General Wei Liang provided an opportunity to exchange views on regional issues and Australia-China defence engagement.

“It is important for Australia and China to maintain a positive defence relationship,” Air Chief Marshal Binskin said.

“I had a meaningful discussion with General Wei and welcomed the opportunity to reinforce the relationship between Australia and China.”

The Goodwill delegation’s visit provides an opportunity to strengthen people-to-people links and foster transparency between the Australian Defence Force and China’s People’s Liberation Army.

USA: USS Milius to forward deploy to Japan in 2018

From U.S. Naval Forces Japan Public Affairs

In this file photo, USS Milius (DDG 69) returns home to San Diego in 2015 following a deployment. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Ryan J. Batchelder) >>

YOKOSUKA, Japan - The U.S. Navy announced today that the ballistic missile defense (BMD)-capable guided missile destroyer USS Milius (DDG 69) will become part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) based at Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan in 2018.

The ship was initially planned to arrive this summer, but Naval Surface Forces, Pacific Fleet delayed the ship’s arrival to ensure completion of the ship’s maintenance and modernization, as well as to ensure that the ship completed testing and certification before joining the 7th Fleet.

Milius is undergoing a midlife modernization and will be fitted with the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, which includes state of the art air defense, BMD, surface warfare and undersea warfare capabilities.

India: Indian Director General of Military Operations Raises Issue of Specific Targeting of Civilians by Pakistan

Indian Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen AK Bhatt spoke to his Pakistani counterpart at 1530h today. Consequent to unprovoked and coordinated ceasefire violations onto Indian civilians along the Line of Control, Pak DGMO was informed of action by Pakistani troops wherein they had deliberately targeted civilian villages and then fired at school children while they were being evacuated. This, he was told does not behove of any Army. The Indian Army as professional force takes due care to avoid targeting of civilians and Pak Army was expected to do the same. 

Pakistani DGMO was also informed about the spate of Ceasefire Violations which also included caliber escalation coupled with incidents of sniping and attempted infiltration bids. Pakistani DGMO was exhorted to exercise strict control on his troops and instruct them to refrain from any nefarious activities. 

Indian Army has been taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of live and property of Indian citizens and avoided targeting Pakistani citizens. 

News Report: South Korea Unrelenting After North Snubs Rare Military Talks Offer – Reports

South Korea has urged the North to respond to its offer of first military talks in years after the deadline passed for holding a high-level bilateral meeting on Friday, media reported.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Seoul offered on Monday to stage the talks at a "truce village" in the demilitarized zone. But Pyongyang left the call made through media unanswered after previously cutting all hotlines, the Yonhap news agency said.

"The Ministry of National Defense once again calls on the North to respond positively to our offer as soon as possible," a ministerial statement read, as cited by the agency.

South Korean military again stressed the importance of deescalating tensions between the two countries after the North tested what it said was its first intercontinental ballistic missile. Earlier this month, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said that a dialogue was urgently needed and called for a peace truce.

This story first appeared on Sputnik & is reposted here with permission.

News Report: Fighting Words - Pyongyang Blasts Seoul’s ‘Nonsense’ Invitation to Talks

Just three days after South Korea proposed holding inter-Korean military talks with its northern neighbor, Pyongyang’s most notable publication slammed the efforts as "nonsense."

According to the Rodong Sinmun, if Seoul wants to have any chance at keeping the peace, it needs to fully abandon its confrontational policies and say goodbye to its decades-long dependence on the United States. 

"Ditching confrontation and hostility is a precondition for opening the door for the two Koreas’ reconciliation and unity," stated the Hermit Kingdom’s top newspaper.

Talks were proposed after recently elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced in Berlin that he wanted to hit the reset button and bring about a calmer relationship between the divided Koreas.

News Report: ‘Unusual Activity’ Detected in North Korea May Indicate Submarine Missile Test

North Korean Bukkeukseong-1 (Polaris-1) SLBM
US defense officials say that North Korea’s next missile test could happen under water, as Pyongyang appears to be gearing up for submarine-based launches in the near future.

Over the last 48 hours, a 65 meter-long North Korean submarine has exhibited "unusual deployment activity," according to what two unnamed officials told CNN on Thursday. The vessel has sailed farther than it has before into international waters, travelling 62 miles to the Sea of Japan.

According to one of the officials, the submarine’s atypical behavior has caused South Korean and US forces to raise their alert levels slightly, as Washington keeps an eye on the vessel through reconnaissance.

This activity comes weeks after Pyongyang completed what Washington has deemed its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) test launch on the Fourth of July, with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un calling the launch a "gift package" for the US on the anniversary of its Independence Day. 

News Report: China’s Trijunction Action a Threat to India, Says Foreign Minister

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told India’s Parliament that the Chinese action in the trijunction region of India, Bhutan and China was a threat to India when opposition lawmakers asked her about the ongoing standoff. She claimed that many countries are supporting India’s stance.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — Indian experts hoped the upcoming visit of India's National Security Adviser Ajit Doval to Beijing to attend a BRICS meeting could help bring about a negotiated resolution to the current standoff.

A former intelligence officer in India's Research and Analysis Wing, Doval is considered a key official in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government security architecture.

"We should wait for Ajit Doval's Beijing visit next week. Although he is going to attend a BRICS-related meeting, there can also be some headway in the Sikkim standoff. Doval is pragmatic and is one of the most trusted officials of the current establishment and his meeting with his Chinese counterpart could see significant progress," Retired Commodore C. Uday Bhaskar, a distinguished fellow of the Society for Policy Studies, told Sputnik.

News Report: Maoist Rebels on the Run in India Over the Last Three Years

India has recorded a 22 percent decline in violence in Maoist insurgency-affected states since the Narendra Modi government came to power. Experts said the government has adopted a carrot and stick approach which is yielding results but challenges remain in wiping out leftist insurgents.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — India's Deputy Home Minister Hansraj Ahir informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that the left wing extremism-affected areas have seen a reduction in incidents of violence.

Between July 2014 and June 2017, the number of incidents of violence committed by Maoists, or Naxals in local parlance, have come down from 3,999 to 3,109, registering a 22.5 percent decline compare to the preceding three years.

Experts said the Modi government and its predecessor governments have adopted a dual approach towards the problem.

News Report: US Lauds Counter-Terrorism Cooperation With India

The US State Department’s annual Country Reports on Terrorism has applauded India’s counter-terrorism efforts in cooperation with the United States.

New Delhi (Sputnik) — The South and Central Asia section of the US State Department Country Reports on Terrorism for 2016 said India and US leaders directed officials to identify new areas of collaboration through the July US-India Counterterrorism Joint Working Group and applauded finalization of a bilateral arrangement to facilitate the sharing of terrorism screening information.

"Indian leadership expressed resolve to redouble efforts, in cooperation with the US and other like-minded countries, to bring to justice the perpetrators of terrorism," US State Department's Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 said.

Apart from that, the US report criticized Pakistan for not taking enough actions against those militant groups that target India and Afghanistan, despite being an important counter-terrorism partner.

News Report: Chinese Army Mobilizes Military Assets to Tibet Following Live Fire Drills

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) mobilized thousands of ground vehicles and other military equipment as the standoff between Chinese and Indian troops near the disputed area of Sikkim continues, according to a report from the PLA Daily.

PLA Daily is widely considered the main outlet the Chinese army uses for external communications, LiveMint notes.

The report did not specify the exact date the military assets were relocated to Tibet but said it occurred at the end of June. The unspecified military "hardware" was transported via rail and conventional roads.

It’s not entirely clear where in Tibet the chess pieces have been placed. The report also failed to indicate whether the military equipment would be used in tandem with a Chinese battalion that recently completed drills in Tibet, China’s second-largest province.