North Korea

North Korea fires another ballistic missile over Japan

It flew far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam, which Pyongyang had earlier threatened to target.

Escalating tensions even further, North Korea on Friday fired a missile that flew over Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean. The test comes a day after Pyongyang threatened to “reduce the United States to ashes and darkness” and “sink Japan into the sea” using nuclear weapons. The missile flew far enough to reach the US Pacific territory of Guam, Reuters reported.

South Korea and Japan said the missile, launched at 6.57 am, flew over Japan’s northern island of Hoakkaido and landed 2,200 km away in the Pacific Ocean. Japanese authorities sounded sirens and issued alerts, warning residents to take shelter when the missile passed over Hoakkaido. According to the US Pacific Command, it was an intermediate-range ballistic missile.

This was the second missile North Korea fired over Japan in as many months. On August 30, North Korea had fired a missile over Japan, saying it was a “first step” to counter the military action in the Pacific Ocean to contain the US territory of Guam.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned the test and called for a unified international response against Pyongyang. “We can never tolerate that North Korea trampled on the international community’s strong, united resolve toward peace...,” Abe said, according to The Telegraph. South Korea has urged the North to stop its “reckless provocation”.

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Decoding the symbolic threads and badges of one of India’s oldest cavalry units

The untold story of The President’s Bodyguard.

The national emblem of India; an open parachute and crossed lances – this triad of symbols representing the nation, excellence in training and valor respectively are held together by an elite title in the Indian army – The President’s Bodyguard (PBG).

The PBG badge is worn by one of the oldest cavalry units in the India army. In 1773, Governor Warren Hastings, former Governor General of India, handpicked 50 troopers. Before independence, this unit was referred to by many titles including Troops of Horse Guards and Governor General’s Body Guards (GGBG). In 1950, the unit was named The President’s Bodyguard and can be seen embroidered in the curved maroon shoulder titles on their current uniforms.

The President’s Bodyguard’s uniform adorns itself with proud colours and symbols of its 245 year-old-legacy. Dating back to 1980, the ceremonial uniform consists of a bright red long coat with gold girdles and white breeches, a blue and gold ceremonial turban with a distinctive fan and Napoleon Boots with spurs. Each member of the mounted unit carries a special 3-meter-long bamboo cavalry lance, decorated by a red and white pennant. A sheathed cavalry sabre is carried in in the side of the saddle of each trooper.

While common perception is that the PBG mainly have ceremonial duties such as that of being the President’s escort during Republic Day parade, the fact is that the members of the PBG are highly trained. Handpicked by the President’s Secretariat from mainstream armored regiments, the unit assigns a task force regularly for Siachen and UN peace keeping operations. Moreover, the cavalry members are trained combat parachutists – thus decorating the PBG uniform with a scarlet Para Wings badge that signifies that these troopers are a part of the airborne battalion of the India Army.

Since their foundation, the President’s Guard has won many battle honors. In 1811, they won their first battle honor ‘Java’. In 1824, they sailed over Kalla Pani for the first Burmese War and earned the second battle honour ‘Ava’. The battle of Maharajapore in 1843 won them their third battle honor. Consequently, the PBG fought in the main battles of the First Sikh War and earned four battle honours. Post-independence, the PBG served the country in the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

The PBG, one of the senior most regiments of the Indian Army, is a unique unit. While the uniform is befitting of its traditional and ceremonial role, the badges that augment those threads, tell the story of its impressive history and victories.

How have they managed to maintain their customs for more than 2 centuries? A National Geographic exclusive captures the PBG’s untold story. The documentary series showcases the discipline that goes into making the ceremonial protectors of the supreme commander of the Indian Armed Forces.

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This article was produced by Scroll marketing team on behalf of National Geographic and not by the Scroll editorial team.