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Turkey Begins Constructing Advanced Warships For Pakistan Navy To Achieve ‘Balance Of Power’ In Indian Ocean

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Pakistan Navy had inked a deal in July 2018 to procure four MILGEM-class ships from Turkey’s state-run defence firm ASFAT. Based on the agreement, two MILGEM-class ships will be developed in Turkey and the remaining ones in Pakistan.

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The ground-breaking ceremony to commence the construction of the MILGEM-class ships by Turkey was held in Karachi, the Pakistan Navy said. The ceremony at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) was attended by officials of Pakistan Navy, and ASFAT officials.

The keel-laying or the ceremonious acknowledgement of the construction of the first MILGEM Ada class corvette was held in Istanbul last week.

MILGEM vessels are 99 meters long with a displacement capacity of 24,00 tons with a speed of 29 nautical miles. MILGEM anti-submarine combat frigates can reportedly be obscured from the radar which can significantly improve the defence capability of Pakistan Navy.

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The MILGEM Class Corvettes will be state-of-the-art platform outfitted with the latest surface, subsurface and anti-air weapons, sensors, and combat management system. These vessels will be among the most technologically advanced platforms of the Pakistan Navy and will immensely assist in securing peace, stability, and balance of power in the Indian Ocean region – the statement said.

Commodore Jahanzeb Ahasn, the GM Ship Building, emphasised the historical alliance between Turkey and Pakistan in the field of indigenous warship development and other vital defence areas.

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Earlier in 2019, Turkish President Erdogan had stated that he wished that Pakistan benefited from the naval warship that was being provided to it by Turkey. “Our navy, rich with glorious victories, is carrying this legacy into the future by further strengthening it,” he was quoted as saying. He added that Turkey was proud of the accomplishments of the defence sector.

Via: AA

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Middle East

Israeli Air Force Unveils New ‘Special Forces Squadron’, Experts Call It Blue Print For Indian Air Force

Could Israel’s Revolutionary Air Force Unit become the blueprint for future Indian Air Force (IAF) squadrons? Aviation experts suggest it could happen and much like the Israeli Air Force, it would revolutionize the IAF as well.

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Israel’s Air Force has unveiled a revolutionary unit which contains all the special forces of the aerial warfare branch, consolidating them under one command.

The 7th Aerial Special Forces Wing will combine all Israeli Air Force’s special forces under one command. Aviation experts in India believe that the revolutionary squadron from Israel could become a blueprint for future Indian Air Force (IAF) squadrons.

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According to an army press release, the 7th Aerial Special Forces Wing was established to meet operational needs and respond to changing and growing threats in the various arenas. The 7th Aerial Special Forces Wing will include search-and-rescue Unit 669, Shaldag commando unit and outfit that builds airfields behind enemy lines.

The move aims “to increase the operational effectiveness of the units. The wing will function as a complementary and unique component to Israeli Air Force activities through special depth, routine and emergency operations.”

The Israeli Air Force routinely carries out military operations in the Gaza Strip, typically targeting installations of Hamas, as well as carrying out airstrikes against Iranian targets in Syria, as part of the effort by Israel to ensure Tehran does not expand its military presence in the war-torn country.

The new wing will contain the air force’s Unit 669, the elite search-and-rescue group; the Shaldag commando unit; the Frontal Landing Unit, which builds ad hoc landing strips behind enemy lines; a dedicated intelligence unit for the wing; and a special forces school.

IAF Commanding Officer Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin has hailed the introduction of the 7th Aerial Special Forces Wing and has described it as moving into a new era in the history of Israeli Air Force.  “We are standing on the shoulders of our predecessors, who were courageous and took action, and now we are leading the way.”Today we move forward to a new chapter,” he said.

The introduction of 7th Aerial Special Forces Wing has generated a buzz amongst aviation experts and enthusiast in India who feel that this squadron could be the blueprint for future IAF squadrons.

Surrounded by adversaries Pakistan and China, IAF is looking to increase its squadrons from 28 to 40. An IAF squadron modelled after the 7th Aerial Special Forces Wing would be ideal for India to counter any aggression by Islamabad or Beijing. It would also prepare India for a two-front battle, should that scenario ever become a reality, experts talking to EurAsian Times argue.

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Americas

US exasperated over Iran-China $400 billion pact

China’s 400 dollar deal is a breather for Iran’s economy which is hard hit by Trump “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic nation. Tehran has been hit hard by these sanctions reimposed following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018.

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The US is fuming with China over a possible $400 billion deal with Iran. China and Iran are negotiating a 25-year pact which would get China a substantial discount on the Iranian oil. In return, Beijing will invest a whopping $400 billion in the Islamic nation over a period of 25 years.

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Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic coupled with severe US sanctions, Iran is seeing a looming economic crisis which has led to a destruction of the livelihood of millions of Iranian people.

China’s billion-dollar deal is a breather for Iran’s economy which is hard hit by Trump “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic nation. Tehran has been hit hard by these sanctions reimposed following Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal in 2018.

Iranian crude exports have been severely curtailed by the US sanctions, as has much of the country’s foreign trade. “Every road is closed to Iran,” said Fereydoun Majlesi, a former diplomat and a columnist for several Iranian newspapers on diplomacy. “The only path open is China. Whatever it is, until sanctions are lifted, this deal is the best option.”

The deal is yet to be approved the Majles, Iran’s parliament. It is expected to expand economic development in a variety of fields, including banking and infrastructure, such as telecommunications and transport.

In return of this investment, Beijing is going to receive Iranian oil at a sharply reduced price for the next quarter-century. This would potentially help Iran roll out its 5G network through China’s global positioning system.

The deal also incorporates military cooperation between Iran and China including weapons development, combined training and intelligence sharing in order to combat “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes”.

Unlike most of the countries, China has sensed the American weakness during the reeling recession amid the Covid-19 pandemic and is ready to defy the US by withstanding Trump’s penalties amid the US-China trade war.

Tehran and Beijing’s show of strength against their common foe, the US has evoked a bitter reaction. The expansion of military assistance, training and intelligence-sharing has alarmed Washington.

China and the US continue to tangle in the internationally disputed waters of the South China Sea while the US warships often challenge Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf. “The United States will continue to impose costs on Chinese companies that aid Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” a US State Department spokeswoman wrote in response to questions about the draft agreement.

“By allowing or encouraging Chinese companies to conduct sanctionable activities with the Iranian regime, the Chinese government is undermining its own stated goal of promoting stability and peace,” she added.

“Iran and China both view this deal as a strategic partnership in not just expanding their own interests but confronting the U.S.,” said Ali Gholizadeh, an Iranian energy researcher at the University of Science and Technology of China in Beijing. “It is the first of its kind for Iran which is keen on having a world power as an ally.”

Beijing’s indifference to regime transgression against the Iranian people and to keep the regime afloat has shattered Washington’s dream of any potential influence that it dreamt of through its maximum pressure campaign. After trying to cut off all of the options available to the regime, it is hardly a surprise if Tehran is willing to accept the way out offered by the Chinese.

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Turkey stands with Azerbaijan “with all it has” against clash with Armenia

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Turkish foreign minister on Monday strongly denounced the deadly attack by Armenian armed forces on Azerbaijani troops.

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Mevlut Cavusoglu in a televised interview called on Armenia to “pull its head together” and noted that Turkey stands with Azerbaijan “with all it has”.

Cavusoglu’s remarks came shortly after three Azerbaijani soldiers were killed and four others injured in a border clash with Armenian troops on Sunday.

Regarding Turkey’s recent decision to reconvert Istanbul’s iconic Hagia Sophia into a mosque after serving decades as a museum, the minister said the country strongly rejects comments that try to intervene with country’s the sovereignty rights on the decision.

On Friday, a Turkish court annulled a 1934 Cabinet decree that had turned the Hagia Sophia into a museum, paving the way for its use again as a mosque after 85 years.

The court ruled that the architectural gem was owned by a foundation established by Sultan Mehmet II, the conqueror of Istanbul, and presented to the community as a mosque — a status that cannot be legally changed.

Furthermore, Cavusoglu reiterated Turkey’s aspirations of cease-fire in Libya and said: “We believe that a political solution is the only solution, but the necessary conditions must be met.”

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya’s new government was founded in 2015 under an UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement failed due to the military offensive by warlord Khalifa Haftar’s forces. The UN recognizes the Libyan government headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj as the country’s legitimate authority.

Merve Aydogan, AA

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