Antony gives Army a free hand at LoC

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Kochi: Defence minister A.K. An­t­­o­ny said on Mon­day the “armed forces have the fr­eedom to respond to the developing situation app­ropriately” on the Line of Control bordering Pakis­t­an-occupied Kashmir. The statement virtually ensu­r­es a free hand for the Army to retaliate effecti­v­e­ly in the face of provocati­on by the Pakistani army.
Army chief Gen. Bikram Singh had already stated in January that he had issued orders to his commanders to retaliate and “hit back” without crossing the LoC in case fired upon by the Pakistani army. 
Meanwhile, Pakistani  on Monday violated the ceasefire for the seventh time in the last three days by targeting forward Indian posts along the LoC in Poonch district with mortar shells, rockets and small arms firing. Indian troops, guarding the borderline, took positions and retaliated resulting in heavy exchanges.
Also, Pakistan summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay to protest “ceasefire violations” by the BSF along the LoC, claiming that it resulted in the death of a civilian at Rawalakot in PoK. 
Next: Desi aircraft carrier launched 

Desi aircraft carrier launched 
Kochi: India on Mond­ay­ ‘lau­nched’ its first  Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)—-the INS Vikrant— built at the Cochin Shipyard here, making it  the fifth country in the world having the capability to design and build an aircraft carrier. The INS Vikrant is expected to be inducted into the Indian Navy by 2018.
 
The 37,500-tonne 262-metre-long carrier was pulled from the dry docks  and launched into the waters of the Ernakulam channel leading to the Arabian Sea about noon, even as Kochiites  lined the bridges of the city to watch the grand spectacle.
 
Amid the chanting of hymns from the Atharva Veda, the massive aircraft carrier was named the INS Vikrant — after India’s first aircraft carrier that was de-commissioned in 1997 —at a function  by defence minister A.K. Antony’s wife Ms Elizabeth. The event was hailed as the rebirth of the  Vikrant  carrier, a Sanskrit wo­rd  meaning `courageous’ and ‘victorious.’  
 
China upset over Vikrant
 
The launch of Vikrant has raised hackles in China, with Chinese defence experts saying the aircraft carrier would have great significance for India as it would allow the Indian Navy to wade into the Pacific Ocean - which Beijing considers as its backyard. 
 
"This bears great significance to Indian Navy. It makes India only the fifth country after the US, Russia, Britain and France to have such capabilities," Senior Captain Zhang Junshe, Vice-President of China's Naval Research Institute, told the state-run CCTV on Monday.
 
India’s shipping hub: Vasan
 
Union minister G.K. Vasan on Monday claimed India would be the “next hub” of ship-building industry among the emerging economies, though the industry is still reeling under the global economic slowdown. “A robust ship-building industry is a vital component of any strong economy,” Vasan told reporters here.
The Union shipping minister, while giving examples of USA, western European countries and Japan and South Korean in Asia, stressed that “India wou­ld be the next hub of ship-b­uilding industry.” 

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