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As India's first indigenous aircraft carrier, Vikrant, begins its sea trials this year, it not only epitomises a significant milestone in the country's native techno-industrial prowess but also marks the fulfilment of a dream long nurtured by a nation aspiring to revive its maritime tradition and restore to itself the prestige it held among seafaring countries in the past.
Indeed, the impact of seapower in shaping India's past and the role that it would play in forging her future had been well understood by our national leadership and strategists alike, and soon after independence the Indian Navy (IN) embarked on a cogently articulated plan to strengthen its capabilities. Specifically, within six months of Independence, the Navy drafted a ten-year expansion plan which, inter alia, included two light fleet carriers to be later replaced by four fleet carriers.
This focus on carrier borne airpower emerged from the experiences of the Second World War where aircraft carriers indubitably played a central role on both sides. But it wasn't the Navy alone which sought to bolster its aviation capabilities. The eminent civil servant, historian and strategic thinker, Sardar KM Panikkar presciently noted in his book titled India and the Indian Ocean: An Essay on the Influence of Sea Power on Indian History (1945). "Equally important, especially for a country like India, with a vast coastline is the development of a naval air arm, as an integral part of the sea forces. The naval air arm has an important part to play in naval warfare, by patrolling the coasts, by keeping the sea clear and affording air cover to the navy."
Indian Navy created a Directorate of Naval Aviation in 1948, five years before the first Sea-land aircraft were inducted. wikimedia
Sure enough, the Indian Navy created a Directorate of Naval Aviation in 1948, five years before the first Sea-land aircraft were inducted. However, due to the vicissitudes of limited budget versus enormous demands for public spending from all sectors, the Navy's requirement of a strong air arm and aircraft carriers was trimmed in 1950 to only a Fleet Requirement Unit (FRU) with 12 aircraft.
Notwithstanding the vagaries of defence budget, Indian naval aviation followed a sure-footed trajectory of growth - from Sea-land aircraft to Firefly, Vampire, Alize, Sea Harrier and Mig 29K; from Super Constellation to IL 38, Tu 142, Dornier and P 8I; a variety of helicopters and augmentation of infrastructure, technological base and quality manpower.
Carrier aviation is ostensibly the bellwether of a navy's aviation prowess. That is perhaps the reason why those who possess it desire to preserve it and those who do not, aspire for it. The operational history of the IN's carriers is illustrative of the capabilities of carriers. Late Vice Admiral GM Hiranandani has accurately chronicled the deployment of INS Vikrant during the 1971 Indo-Pak war in his book Transition to Triumph: The Indian Navy. In this war, INS Vikrant dominated the Eastern maritime theatre where it repeatedly struck ports in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), destroyed about 60,000 tons of merchant shipping and sank a number of Pakistani war vessels. In sum, Vikrant was instrumental in enforcing a maritime blockade of East Pakistan.
India prepares to secure its maritime interests in a gradually changing global strategic stage, there is an emergence of a complex security scenario in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond. wikimedia
In recent years, aircraft carriers have proven their capability in various conflicts such as the First Gulf War in 1990 (Operation Desert Storm), the War on Terror in Afghanistan in 2001 (Operation Enduring Freedom) and the Second Gulf War in 2003 (Operation Iraqi Freedom). Significantly, carriers have played an equally crucial role in containing and managing less than war situations, demonstrating national will and supporting friendly countries. In India's context, the possible roles of aircraft carriers could be supporting the land battle, security of Sea Lines of Communication, protecting vital interests overseas and defence of island territories. Captain Gurpreet Khurana of the Indian Navy has elucidated these roles in an article titled eAircraft Carriers and India's Naval Doctrine'.
While most advanced navies accept the importance of aircraft carriers, critics have often called these versatile platforms as a "self-licking ice-cream cone" and a "white elephant", highlighting the need for a large number of escorts to protect the carrier. Lee Willet has rebutted such criticism in the book 'British Naval Aviation : The First Hundred Years'. He calls attention to the fact that "no carrier has been sunk since 1945 and the vulnerability of carriers is not a military matter but an enduring one for budgetary and inter-service battles". Former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash is of the view that rather than needing protection from a large number of escorts, the carrier actually provides protection to the force that may accompany it.
Although the debate on the cost effectiveness of aircraft carriers is likely to continue, their role and need in naval warfare cannot be overstated. The United States, for example, was only able to respond to the Korean crisis in time because it had readily deployable carriers on call. Similarly, it was the carriers HMS Hermes and HMS Invincible that enabled the United Kingdom to defend the Falkland Islands.
In an incisive article titled "Lessons from Modern Warfare: What the Conflicts of the Post-Cold War Years Should Have Taught Us", Benjamin Lambeth concludes that aircraft carriers can substitute land-based airpower and sometimes they are the only available option for wielding airpower.
As India prepares to secure its maritime interests in a gradually changing global strategic stage, there is an emergence of a complex security scenario in the Indian Ocean Region. wikimedia
Very often, though, aircraft carriers supplement land-based airpower, as evidenced by the performance of the US Navy's carriers in Operation Iraqi Freedom. These characteristics of deck-based air power are critical for India's maritime security. With ever increasing maritime trade, investments overseas and presence of a large Indian diaspora across the globe, there is no way to guarantee security of our maritime interests other than an assured reach in distant regions and the ability to respond quickly in the face of a developing crisis. The navy, by virtue of its mobility, reach, sustainability and versatility can preserve our maritime interests overseas as well as at home in our maritime zones and island territories. However, when ships are deployed beyond the reach of shore-based aircraft, they require support from carrier-based aircraft. This ability of the aircraft carriers to protect own forces and project power ashore is what makes them a key component of naval power.
As India prepares to secure its maritime interests in a gradually changing global strategic stage, there is an emergence of a complex security scenario in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond. The rise of an assertive China and its far-reaching repercussions across economic, geo-strategic and cultural domains symbolises the turbulence in global affairs in general and the Indo-Pacific in particular. The rapid modernisation of the Chinese Navy - which is now the world's largest navy, according to a report released earlier this year by the United States Department of Defence - is of primary concern to its neighbours. The Chinese Navy presently operates two aircraft carriers and is building two more which would be significantly larger and more capable. The consequences of such an exponential growth in China's naval capability will most likely have consequences for India's maritime security.
The pan-IOR vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) articulated by the Indian Prime Minister requires a robust and agile Navy which is capable of ensuring secure seas in our areas of maritime interest and responding to a wide range of potential crises in the region. Aircraft carriers are the sine qua non for such a Navy which aspires to secure core national interests. It is through perspicacity of the Navy's earliest leadership and the consistent guidance and course corrections of their successors, that the Indian Navy has built a credible and effective air arm today. This needs to be preserved and further bolstered in order to forge an adaptive capability to address the emerging regional maritime challenges.
(Article originally published at IANSlife) IANS/SS
Keywords: Aircraft, Indian, maritime, India, aircraft carriers
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
Bitcoin has become an essential crypto asset in modern portfolios and investment funds. The confidence generated in this cryptocurrency will depend a lot on the diversification that companies make in their balance sheets in Bitcoin and the increase of institutional investors that allocate a percentage of their funds in this crypto. American fund manager Cathie Wood makes some interesting predictions, both in the rise that the Bitcoin price will experience in the next 5 years, suggesting these institutional investors allocate 5% of their funds; this will help leverage the Bitcoin market.
Bitcoin will grow by a tenfold
Bitcoin is projected to grow by 10 times its current value in five years, i.e., it could reach $500,000. Of course, this will require companies to invest in cryptocurrencies. This makes it necessary to increase the weight of Bitcoin on balance sheets through investments. One of the investment gurus who supports this prediction is Catherine Wood. Contrarily, Ray Dalio, despite being clear that relying on cash is not a good strategy, views Bitcoin with suspicion, although he calls for its investment. This behavior is due to the actions of governments against the cryptocurrency market.
If something is undoubted is the vertiginous increase that cryptocurrencies have had in general, they have risen more than 60% so far this year. So, even when some governments are trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, they will fail. This attempt to regulate will end up triggering even more cryptos, especially Bitcoin, which is the oldest and most solid of that market.
Bitcoin, is the oldest and most solid of the market. | Photo by Executium on Unsplash
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The current Bitcoin price means is time to buy:
The current price of bitcoin invites you to buy, and perhaps it would be foolhardy not to. In either case, bitcoin will always represent money. Maybe some external factors generate some misgivings, but if you refuse to invest in cryptocurrencies, you are basically denying the near future, it would be as if you didn't have a cell phone or internet.
In India, more and more people are becoming convinced of the benefits of holding some Bitcoin. This can be clearly seen in the rapid increase in the number of new accounts at crypto exchanges such as WazirX and CoinDCX.
ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?
Bitcoin, despite its fluctuations, represents an excellent financial strategy. The support users give is significant. The same cannot be said of the FIAT currencies, which have lost value and support, showing how fragile they are, being subjected to a constant devaluation. As long as confidence in cryptos grows, the foundations will continue to be laid to maintain their rise and to be able to continue making transactions. We know this by previous experience, as has happened with Ether, thanks mainly to the growing activity of Defi and NFT, i.e. decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens.
Remember that when you invest in Bitcoin, you can do it by buying or trading. When you want to make these transactions do it in a secure Exchange, study your finances to invest, manage the risk, and learn to manage your portfolio efficiently.