Defence Current Affairs

Agni-II ballistic missile successfully test fired

Surface-to-surface Agni-II ballistic missile was successfully test-fired from the Abdul Kalam Island, off Odisha coast. The test was conducted as part of user trial by Strategic Forces Command (SFC) with logistics support from Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). It was aimed at re-establishing operational effectiveness of weapon system.

Agni-II

Agni-II is two-stage nuclear capable surface-to-surface missile developed indigenously by DRDO. It is 21-metre long and weighs 17 tonnes. It has strike range of 2000 kilometres, which can also be increased to 3000km by reducing the payload. It is propelled by the solid rocket propellant system. It can carry a nuclear payload of 1 thousand kilograms.

It is one of the sophisticated weapons that can act as a deterrent against nuclear-armed neighbours. It is equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system. It is guided by a novel scheme of state of the art command and control system. It can be fired from both rail and road mobile launchers and it takes only 15 minutes for the missile to be readied for firing.

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Pakistan to deploy troops in Saudi Arabia

Pakistan Army has announced to deploy troops in its close ally Saudi Arabia under existing bilateral security cooperation agreement. The decision comes after meeting between Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Saudi ambassador to Pakistan Nawaf Saeed Al-Maliki at the army headquarters in Rawalpindi.

Key Facts

The troops have been deployed for training and advise mission. They will not be employed outside Saudi Arabia. The move comes three years after Pakistan decided against sending soldiers to join the Saudi-led military intervention in strife-torn Yemen. Already around 1,000 Pakistani troops have been deployed in Saudi Arabia, a close ally of Pakistan in various advisory and training roles. Pakistan is treading fine line in maintaining relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Qatar and other regional players. The decision of deploying troops may annoy Saudi Arabia’s regional rivals like Iran and Qatar.

Background

Pakistan army maintains bilateral security cooperation with many other Gulf/regional countries. Saudi Arabia has been pushing its fellow Sunni-majority ally Pakistan to provide troops since 2015 when it joined Yemen’s civil war but Pakistan steadily refused, saying it would not become party to any regional conflict. Pakistan also had joined Islamic Military Alliance (IMA) set up by Saudi Arabia and is led by former Pakistan Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif which is still in an early stage to play any role in the conflict.

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