North Korea

Kim Jong-un understands that North Korea must denuclearise quickly: US

Mike Pompeo said there would be no relief on sanctions on Pyongyang till their denuclearisation is complete.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un understands that the country must give up its nuclear weapons as fast as possible, and that there would be no relief on sanctions on Pyongyang till the process is complete, AFP reported.

“We believe that Kim Jong-un understands the urgency...that we must do this quickly,” said Pompeo, who is in South Korea to brief his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on Tuesday’s historic summit between Washington and Pyongyang. The following day, US President Donald Trump claimed that the dialogue had helped avert a “potential nuclear catastrophe”.

Pompeo said the US, North Korea and South Korea are committed to complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and emphasised that verification would be central to the process, the Financial Times reported.

However, Seoul was surprised by Trump’s announcement that the US would halt its “provocative” joint military drills with South Korea as long as negotiations were going on with the North. South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who addressed a press conference along with Pompeo and his Japanese counterpart Tara Kono, later said the alliance with the US remains “as robust as ever”.

Pompeo also met South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday. “There have been many analyses on the outcome of the summit but I think what’s most important was that the people of the world, including those in the United States, Japan and Koreans, have all been able to escape the threat of war, nuclear weapons and missiles,” Moon said ahead of their meeting.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia urged the UN Security Council to consider steps towards lifting sanctions on North Korea, AFP reported. Last year, the council adopted three rounds of tough economic sanctions, banned most of North Korea’s exports of raw commodities, and severely restricted oil supplies.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

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.

Play

The National Geographic exclusive is a landmark in television and is being celebrated by the #untoldstory contest. The contest will give 5 lucky winners an exclusive pass to the pre-screening of the documentary with the Hon’ble President of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. You can also nominate someone you think deserves to be a part of the screening. Follow #UntoldStory on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to participate.

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