India Establishes Naval Base In Lakshadweep
New Delhi: India Monday took a major step towards strengthening of the security of its island territories, an issue that has acquired urgency in the wake of the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes, by commissioning a full-fledged naval base in the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.
The base, christened INS Dweeprakshak, was commissioned at Kavaratti in the Lakshadweep archipelago by Southern Naval Commander Vice Admiral K.N. Sushil.
Following a 50-man honour guard, the naval base was named by Lakshadweep State Social Welfare Board chairperson Sunitha Ismail. The base’s first commanding officer, Captain S.M. Hanchinal, read out the commissioning warrant and hoisted the naval ensign.
At the ceremony, Sushil said: “Lakshadweep islands form the maritime frontiers of our country on the western side.” He noted that the commissioning of a full-fledged naval base was another milestone in the commitment of the Indian Navy to maintain effective coastal surveillance and defence capability.
The officer also informed that the radar stations and other surveillance measures were in place for shipping traffic monitoring and intelligence gathering.
The Indian Navy has been operating a detachment at Kavaratti since the early 1980s.
With the commissioning of INS Dweeprakshak, the island territories would see calibrated strengthening of assets in step with their growing relevance to the security calculus of the nation.
A firmer footing in the islands, which are spread out astride some of the busiest shipping lanes of the world would provide the necessary wherewithal to the Indian Navy to suitably discharge its responsibilities.
Indian naval warships, on anti-piracy patrol in the south Arabian Sea, would now extend their reach farther with base support from INS Dweeprakshak. The INS Dweeprakshak commanding officer will also function as naval officer in charge of Lakshadweep and Minicoy.
Lakshadweep is India’s only coral island chain. The archipelago consists of 36 islands, 12 atolls, 3 reefs and 5 submerged banks.
Only 10 islands – namely, Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Bitra, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni, Kavaratti, Kiltan and Minicoy – are inhabited. Kavaratti is the administrative headquarters of the union territory. The islands are restricted area and a permit is required to visit the islands. The islands have a total area of 32 sq.km. and the lagoons enclosed by the atolls cover an area of 4,200 sq.km.
Pakistani Anti-graft body wants travel ban on Nawaz Sharif, kin
Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog has asked authorities to place ousted premier Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and son-in-law on the Exit Control List to prevent them from leaving the country.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) sent a formal request to the ministry of interior. The interior ministry officials confirmed that the NAB wrote that names of Sharif, his daughter Maryam Nawaz and son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar should be put on the Exit Control List (ECL), which listed individuals not allowed to leave Pakistan.
The NAB argued that as the trial of the three nears its conclusion, it is feared that they would leave the country.
Earlier, a similar request to place name of finance minister Ishaq Dar on ECL was not accepted, allowing him to go to London and never return.
Sharif, 68, and his family this week filed an application with the accountability court seeking a fortnight’s exemption from personal appearance from February 19 onwards to let them go to London to see Sharif’s ailing wife. Three cases were filed against Sharif and his family last year, including Avenfield properties, Azizia & Hill Metal Establishment, and Flagship Investments.
Maryam and Safdar are accused only in Avenfield properties case. The NAB had filed two supplementary references against Sharif, his sons Hasan and Hussain regarding Al-Azizia Steel Mills & Hill Metal Establishment and Flagship Investment cases.
Pakistan “breaches obligations’ on nuclear arms reduction, UN court told
The Hague: Pakistan is violating its “obligations” to the international community by failing to reduce its nuclear arsenal, the Marshall Islands told the UN’s highest court on Tuesday.
The small Pacific Island nation is this week launching three unusual cases against India, Pakistan and Britain before the International Court of Justice.
Majuro wants to put a new spotlight on the global nuclear threat, its lawyers said yesterday, by using its own experience with massive US-led nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s.
“Pakistan is in breach of its obligations owed to the international community as a whole,” when it comes to reducing its nuclear stockpile, said Nicholas Grief, one of the island nation’s lawyers.
DeBrum warned that even a “limited nuclear war” involving the two countries would “threaten the existence” of his island nation people.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir.
In 1998, the rival neighbours both demonstrated nuclear weapons capability.
The ICJ’s judges are holding hearings for the next week and a half to decide whether it is competent to hear the lawsuits brought against India and Pakistan — neither of which have signed the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
A third hearing against Britain — which has signed the NPT — scheduled to start on Wednesday will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.
The Marshalls initially sought to bring a case against nine countries it said possessed nuclear arms: Britain, China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons.
But the Hague-based ICJ, set up in 1945 to rule in disputes between states, has only admitted three cases against Britain, India and Pakistan, because they have accepted the ICJ’s compulsory jurisdiction.
Pakistan’s lawyers did not attend Tuesday’s hearings.
It did however file a counter-claim against Majuro’s allegations saying “the court has no jurisdiction to deal with the application” and insisting that the case is “not admissible”, said ICJ President Ronny Abraham.
Bangladesh to drop Islam as official religion following attacks on Hindus
New Delhi: Bangladesh is likely to drop Islam as its official religion following a series of attacks on people from other faiths in the country. The country’s Supreme Court is hearing a plea challenging the status of the official religion of the country to Islam.
Bangladesh, which was declared a secular country after its formation in 1971, was declared an Islamic country following a constitutional amendment in 1988.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the plea has challenged the declaration of Islam as the national religion of the country.
The move is being supported by leaders from the minority communities like Hindus, Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
Bangladesh has 90 per cent of Muslims, 8 per cent Hindus and remaining constitutes Christians and Muslim minority Shiites.
In last month, a Hindu priest was hacked to death following an attack on a temple in Panchgarh district. Two others were seriously injured in the attack. There have been several lethal attacks on writers and bloggers.
According to a report in the Independent, Islamist groups Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh and Ansarullah Bangla Team are believed to have carried out at least seven attacks on foreign and minority people in Bangladesh in the past year.