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Defence Current Affairs - October 2022

Satellite-Based Internet at Siachen: The Indian Army recently activated a satellite-based Internet service on the Siachen Glacier.

Key Points:

  • The Satellite-based Internet service was activated on the Siachen Glacier at 19,061 feet, the World's Highest Battlefield.
  • The installation has been done by the Indian Army’s XIV Corps or Fire and Fury Corps’ Siachen Signallers.
  • The satellite internet service has been provided by the Broadband Network Limited (BBNL), a Government of India (GoI) undertaking.
  • It will provide internet connectivity to the Army Siachen Glacier frontier.

About Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL):

  • BBNL provides net connectivity to the Army at Siachen and is responsible for the implementation of the BharatNet Project.
  • The organization is also responsible for the BharatNet Project under which 2.5 lakh gram panchayats across India are to be supplied with broadband connectivity.
  • It plans to deliver satellite-based internet to around 7000-gram panchayats and other remote areas where fiber-based internet is difficult. 

About the Fire and Fury cops of the Indian Army:

  • Fire and Fury Corps or XIV Corps is part of the Indian Army’s Northern Command.
  • They looked over the military deployment along with Kargil-Leh.
  • They protect the frontiers with China and Pakistan, and guards the Siachen Glacier.

Facts About Siachen Glacier:

  • The Siachen Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield.
  • This glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range of the Himalayas and on the north of Nubra Valley at about 35.421226°N 77.109540°E, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
  • At 76 km (47 mi) long, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second-longest in the world's non-polar areas. 
  • It acts as a barrier between the Shaksgam Valley and Baltistan.
  • India controls the entirety of the Siachen Glacier since 1984 after the 'Operation Meghdoot’.
  • Pakistan maintains a territorial claim over it, controls the region west of Saltoro Ridge, lying west of the glacier and operates many outposts there.
  • Currently, India has the dominating position on the Saltoro ridge, under its control.
  • The Pakistani posts are located 3,000 feet below that place.
  • Army and soldiers serving in this region have to face harsh weather, avalanches, and landslides.
  • Approximately 3000 soldiers always remain on duty in the glacier.
  • Every soldier who gets the duty to guard the glacier serves about three months as the harsh weather condition cannot be survived for more than that.

INS Ajay Decommissioned: Indian Navy decommissioned INS Ajay after 32 of illustrious and distinguished services to the nation.

Key Highlights:

  • The decommissioning ceremony’s guest of honour was Vice Admiral AG Thapliyal, AVSM Bar (Retd), who served as the ship’s first commanding officer.
  • The chief guest was Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command.
  • The decommissioning ceremony was conducted in the traditional manner at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
  • The National Flag, Naval Ensign, and the ship’s Decommissioning Pennant were lowered for the last time at sunset to mark the conclusion of the vessel’s services to India.

About INS Ajay:

  • INS Ajay was an Abhay class anti-submarine warfare corvette of Western Naval Command.
  • INS Ajay was commissioned on January 24, 1990, at Poti, Georgia in the erstwhile USSR.
  • It was part of the 23rd Patrol Vessel Squadron under the operational control of Flag Officer Commanding, Maharashtra Naval Area.
  • The ship joined various naval operations including Op Talwar during Kargil War in 1999 and Operation Parakram in 2001.

About Indian Navy:

  • The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Navy.
  • The Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star admiral, commands the navy.
  • Indian Navy was founded on 26 January 1950. The current Chief of Navy Staff (CNS) is Admiral R. Hari Kumar.

There are 3 commands under the Navy which are:

  1. The Western Naval Command (Headquarters at Mumbai).
  2. The Eastern Naval Command (Headquarters at Visakhapatnam)
  3. The Southern Naval Command (Headquarters at Kochi)

The Indian Navy is the fifth largest in the world, employing 67,109 personnel.

  • The main objective of the Indian Navy is to protect the country’s maritime borders and help in the expansion of its forces.
  • Indian Navy promotes bilateral between nations through joint exercises, humanitarian missions, and goodwill visits.

Indian Navy day is celebrated on the 4th of December every year.

RPF celebrates 38th Rising Day: Railway Protection Force (RPF) celebrated its 38th Raising Day on September 20, 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • A parade was organized as a part of the celebrations for the first time at the central level at Jag Jeewan Ram RPF Academy in Lucknow.
  • The Union Minister of State for Railways & Textiles, Darshana Vikram Jardosh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and took the salute of the parade.
  • She inaugurated and hoisted a 100 feet high monumental national flag at the academy campus.
  • She also unveiled the installation of a railway coach with engine for train intervention training.
  • She inaugurated the renovated main hall of the academy too.
  • A 100 feet high Monumental National Flag was inaugurated and hoisted at the event.
  • The minister presented the ‘President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service’, ‘Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Service’, ‘Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak’, ‘Uttam JeevanRaksha Padak’ and ‘Jeevan Raksha Padak’ to 23 RPF personnel, including award of Sarwottam Jeewan Raksha Padak posthumously to Late Gyan Chand, Head Constable RPF NCR.

Background:

  • Over the years, it was felt that the force needed to be given the status of “An Armed Force of the Union" and finally the status was bestowed upon the force on 20th September 1985 by amending the RPF Act by the Parliament.
  • As a result, 20th September is celebrated every year as the Raising Day of RPF by members of the force and their families.

About RPF:

  • The Railway Protection Force (RPF) was constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1957 for providing security to Railway property.
  • Subsequently, the force was empowered to enquire, arrest and prosecute the offenders involved in unlawful possession of railway property in 1966.

BrahMos Missiles: Government of India (GoI) recently signed a contract worth 1700 crore rupees with Brahmos Aerospace private limited for procuring BrahMos missiles.

Key Highlights:

  • The contract was signed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to purchase 35 combat and 3 practice BrahMos supersonic dual-role surface-to-surface cruise missiles providing further drive to Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
  • They are brought under Buy-In category, which aims to boost indigenous production of critical weapon systems and ammunitions with active participation of indigenous defence industry.

Key Points about Brahmos Missiles:

  • BrahMos is the fastest supersonic missile and the fastest anti-ship cruise missile in the world.
  • The range of these missiles is 290 km.
  • They are capable of both land attack and anti-ship strikes.
  • With their speed is 2.8 Mach, which is almost three times the speed of sound have emerged as the “precision-strike conventional(non-nuclear) weapon.
  • The missiles are placed along with surface-to-air missiles, tanks, howitzer and other weapons.
  • Two Indian Navy P-15B class stealth guided missile ships will be equipped with these missiles.

Significance:

  • This is expected to significantly enhance the operational capability of Indian Navy fleet assets.
  • They are included in the buy-in category, which aims to increase domestic manufacture of critical weapons and ammunition with active participation of indigenous defence industry.
  • The Army’s BrahMos missile batteries have been established in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh.

Background:

  • BrahMos has been developed by BrahMos Aerospace – a joint venture between DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya.
  • The missile was named after Brahmaputra river in India and Moskva river in Russia.
  • In 2016, when India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR),
  • India and Russia decided to develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with a range of 400 km and then increase it to 600 km.
  • The extended range version has been tested from warships, including from INS Visakhapatnam.
  • The Indian Air Force (IAF), has also inducted two land-based BrahMos squadrons.
  • In addition, the sleeker air-launched version is also being progressively fitted on Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets.
  • A Sukhoi armed with BrahMos forms a formidable long-range weapons package with a radius of almost 1500 km mid-air refueling.

About BAPL:

  • Brahmos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) is a Joint Venture between India and Russia.
  • It has been making an important contribution to increasing the new generation of Surface-to-Surface Missiles with advanced range and dual role capability for land and anti-ship attacks.

About Project 15B:

  • Under Project 15B, four stealth guided missile destroyers which are improved versions of Kolkata-class destroyers are being built at the cost of Rs. 29,643.74 crore.
  • These four vessels are named after major cities from all four corners of India.

These are –

  1. Visakhapatnam
  2. Mormugao
  3. Imphal
  4. Surat
  • Indian Navy's INS Visakhapatnam lasted guided missile destroyer was commissioned in November 2021 while the rest were launched into waters.
  • INS Visakhapatnam, in January 2022, successfully tested the missile’s extended range version.
  • They were designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai.
  • Modern armaments and sensors, such as surface-to-air missiles BrahMos and Barak-8, will be installed on these vessels.
  • Furthermore, ten frontline warships are already armed with the missiles while the vertical launch systems have also been installed on another five warships.

Defence Current Affairs - September 2022

Border Security Force (BSF): BSF's first female camel riding squad is ready to be deployed along the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Key Highlights:

  • This Squad will be the first of its kind in the world.
  • The squad will participate for the first time in the BSF Raising Day Parade on 1st December.
  • The BSF is the only force in the country to have the Camel Contingents and the Camel Mounted Band.
  • BSF, traditionally known as the 'first line of defence', the Camel Contingents are used to keep a vigil in the vast expanse of the Thar Desert.

About BSF:

  • The BSF is India's border guarding organisation on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh and has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.
  • It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India.
  • It was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965.
  • It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It is the only Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to have a Full-fledged Water Wing, Air Wing and even an Artillery Regiment of its own.
  • The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director-General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service.
  • Border Security Force (BSF) is one of the 7 recognized Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the other 6 being Assam Rifles (AR), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • It currently stands as the world's largest border guarding force.

JIMEX 2022: The sixth edition of Japan India Maritime Exercise 2022 (JIMEX 22) hosted by Indian Navy commenced in the Bay of Bengal on 11 September 2022.

Key Points:

  • The Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) ships are being led by R Adm Hirata Toshiyuki, Commander Escort Flotilla Four while the Indian Naval ships are being led by R Adm Sanjay Bhalla, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.
  • The Indian Navy is represented by three indigenously designed and built warships, Sahyadri, a multi-purpose stealth frigate and Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes Kadmatt and Kavaratti.
  • In addition, the Guided Missile Destroyer Ranvijay, Fleet Tanker Jyoti, Offshore Patrol Vessel Sukanya, submarines, MIG 29K fighter aircraft, Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft and ship-borne helicopters are also participating in the exercise.

Aim:

  • The main aim of these exercises are to enhance interoperability and streamline seamanship and communication procedures.
  • This exercise is part of the ongoing efforts between the two navies toward ensuring safe and secure international shipping and trade in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • The two countries have been carrying out regular exercises in IOR towards reinforcing maritime association.

About JIMEX 22:

  • JIMEX 22 involves two Phases; exercises at sea and a harbour phase at Visakhapatnam.
  • This edition marks the 10th anniversary of JIMEX, which began in Japan in 2012.
  • It also coincides with the 70th anniversary of establishing of diplomatic relations between India and Japan.
  • JIMEX 22 seeks to consolidate the high degree of interoperability that exists between maritime forces of the two countries, through complex exercises in the surface, sub-surface and air domains.

Ceasefire Agreement With NSCN-K NIKI SUMI Group: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently extended the ceasefire agreement with the Niki Sumi faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.

Key Points:

  • The MHA said that a ceasefire agreement was in operation between the Government of India and NSCN (K).
  • The MHA, in a statement said that it was decided to extend the Ceasefire Agreement with the NSCN (K) Niki for a period of one year with effect from 08.09.2022 to 07.09.2023.”
  • The MHA first signed the agreement in 2021.
  • Sumi is wanted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for allegedly planning the attack on an army convoy in Manipur’s Chandel district on June 4, 2015 in which 18 personnel were killed.

General Bipin Rawat Military Garrison: The military camp at Kibithu, which is very close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, has been renamed “General Bipin Rawat military garrison” in honour of the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

Key Highlights:

  • Along with the renaming of the military camp, the 22km Kibithu-Wallong Road was also renamed General Bipin Rawat Road.
  • In addition, the unveiling of a life-size mural of Rawat, a gate to the garrison built in the traditional style was also inaugurated by Governor Brigadier D.B. Mishra (retd).
  • The function was attended by Governor of Arunachal Pradesh Brigadier (retd) BD Mishra, Chief Minister Pema Khandu, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita, and Gen Rawat’s daughter Tarini.

About:

  • Kibithu is a small hamlet near Walong on the banks of the Lohit Valley in Arunachal Pradesh close to the India-China border.
  • Gen. Rawat, his wife Madhulika, and 12 other persons died in a helicopter crash in Tamil Nadu in December 2021.
  • The main reason for the crash of the IAF helicopter was bad weather leading to a phenomenon called Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT).
  • Gen. Rawat commanded his Battalion 5/11 Gorkha Rifles here as a Colonel from 1999 to 2000.
  • At the time of his death, Rawat was in command of the military's efforts to theaterize operations in order to increase military effectiveness and alter how future operations will be carried out.
  • He was the 27th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) who took over the reins of the Indian Army from General Dalbir Singh Suhag on December 17, 2016.
  • After serving his whole three-year tenure as army commander, Rawat became the CDS on December 31, 2019.
  • General Rawat was the first sitting Chief of Army Staff to be appointed to the top post.
  • He held the rank for nearly five years, making him India’s longest-serving four-star general.
  • On the eve of Rawat’s birthday in March 2022, the army established a chair of distinction in his honour at the United Service Institution of India (USI), the country’s first think tank founded in 1870.
  • This January, on the eve of Republic Day, General Rawat was posthumously awarded the Padma Vibushan-India’s second-highest civilian honour.

History:

  • Five Indian infantry brigades and a Chinese infantry unit fought each other in this sector of the 1962 conflict.
  • Many Indian soldiers sacrificed their lives there before slaying approximately 4000 Chinese troops at Namti in the Battle of Walong.
  • The majestic Namti plains, which the Chinese dubbed "Tiger's Mouth" 60 years ago after suffering significant losses there during the Battle of Walong, which is regarded as one of the few triumphant moments for India in the 1962 war, are not far from the General Rawat army post.
  • The Chinese army still has a sizable deployment of troops opposite Kibithu Tatu, Tithang and at Rongto Chu valley west of Tithang (Rima).
  • The entire Chinese deployment opposite Kibithu is maintained via the Rau transit point.

Taragiri: Taragiri, the third stealth frigate of Project 17A was recently launched by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL), which is under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In compliance with the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Government of India (GoI) declaring a state mourning on September 11 (due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II), the event was limited to a technical launch.

About Taragiri:

  • Taragiri is the third stealth warship to be built under Project 17A.
  • The ship has been built using an integrated construction methodology which involves hull block construction in different geographical locations and integration and erection on the slipway at the MDL.
  • It is 149 m long and 17.8 m wide.
  • It is powered by a combination of two gas turbines and two main diesel engines.
  • It is designed to achieve speeds in excess of 28 knots at a displacement of 6,670 tonnes.
  • The ship was named by Charu Singh, President, Navy Wives Welfare Association (Western Region), wife of vice admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, FOC-in-C Western Naval Command, who was the chief guest.
  • The keel of ‘Taragiri’ was laid on September 10, 2020.
  • The ship is expected to be delivered by August 2025.
  • The vessel is being launched with an approximate launch weight of 3,510 tons.
  • The frigate is designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house design organization, the Bureau of Naval Design.

Significance of Taragiri:

  • The indigenously designed ‘Taragiri’ will have state-of-the-art weapons, sensors, an advanced action information system, an integrated platform management system, world-class modular living spaces, sophisticated power distribution system and a host of other advanced features. 
  • It will be fitted with supersonic surface-to-surface missile system.
  • The ship’s air defence capability, designed to counter the threat of enemy aircraft and anti-ship cruise missiles will revolve around the vertical launch and long-range surface to air missile system.
  • Two 30 mm rapid-fire guns will provide the ship with close-in-defence capability while an SRGM Gun will enable her to provide effective naval gunfire support.

About Project P17A:

  • The coveted ‘Project 17A’ was cleared by the Central Government in 2015.
  • It involves the building of seven stealth frigates at an estimated cost of Rs 50,000 crore.
  • Of these seven, the contract for three of the frigates was given to GRSE, and the contract for the other four frigates was given to the Mumbai-based, government-owned Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL).
  • The first ship of Project 17A, 'Nilgiri', was launched on September 28, 2019.
  • It is expected for sea trials in the first half of 2024.
  • The second ship of the 'Udaygiri' class under the project was launched on May 17, 2022.
  • It is expected to start sea trials during the second half of 2024.
  • The keel of the fourth and final ship was laid on June 28.
  • All the ships under project P17A have been designed in-house by Directorate of Naval Design (DND) of Indian Navy.

Honorary General of the Nepalese Army: Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari recently conferred the title of Honorary General of the Nepali Army to the Indian Army chief General Manoj Pande.

Key Points:

  • General Pande was honoured at a special ceremony at the President’s official residence ‘Shital Niwas’ in the Nepal's capital city Kathmandu.
  • He has also presented a sword and scroll during the function.
  • He is on a four-day official visit to Nepal from 5th to 8th of this month.
  • This is his first visit to Nepal as the Chief of Army Staff.
  • On behalf of the Government of India (GoI), General Manoj Pande provided training equipment along with light vehicles to the Nepalese Army which will enhance the capabilities of the Nepalese Army personnel.

History behind the Practice:

  • Commander-in-Chief General KM Cariappa was the first Indian Army Chief to be awarded this title in 1950.
  • In November 2021, Nepal’s Army Chief General Prabhu Ram Sharma was also conferred with the title of Honorary General of the Indian Army by President Ram Nath Kovind at a function held in New Delhi.
  • The practice follows a seven-decade-old tradition of decorating army chiefs of each other’s country with the honorary title.

About Lieutenant General Pande:

  • An alumnus of the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun and the National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, Lieutenant General Pande was commissioned into the Bombay Sappers after passing out from the IMA in 1982.
  • He held prestigious command and staff assignments in counter-insurgency and conventional operations in all types of terrain during his 39-year military career.
  • He has commanded an engineer brigade in the Western theatre.
  • He has also commanded an infantry brigade along the Line of Control (LoC), in the Ladakh sector and a corps in the North-east region of the country.
  • Before taking over as the army’s vice-chief, he has served as the Eastern Army Commander.
  • From June 2020 to May 2021, he served as the Andaman and Nicobar Command’s commander-in-chief.
  • After General Narvane retires, he will be the senior-most officer of the Army.

CAPF e-Awas Portal: Union Home & Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah, on 1st September 2022 launched the CAPF e-Awas Portal web-portal in New Delhi.

Key Points:

  • The CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) e-Awas Portal has been launched for the purpose of allocating residential quarters to CAPF personnel and Assam Rifles.
  • The CAPFs, apart from the Assam Rifles, also include Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • According to the data released by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), currrently, about 19% of the houses of the CAPFs are vacant and through this portal, the force personnel can find the houses available with other forces.
  • With the introduction of e-Awas, the personnel from other CAPFs will have the access to unoccupied houses.
  • The process of allotment process is completely automated and is done through the online application of allotment.

Background:

  • Till now, there was such a mechanism in CAPF that only the force for which the houses were built were made available to them. As a result, thousands of houses were left vacant.

Advantages of CAPF eAwas Portal:

  • The web portal will serve as an accurate inventory of “Residential houses and SFAs” lying with all the CAPFs along with their location.
  • It will bring in transparency in the allotment process of accommodation to personnel of CAPFs.
  • Allocation of quarters and SFAs to CAPF members is in accordance with a set of guidelines and "Standard Operating Procedure" (SOP) for inter-Force allocation of quarters.
  • The process will be transparent and user friendly for the applicant and department too.
  • All the data and records relevant to the allotment process will be centralised and available to all the parties.
  • If the residence of any one force is not assigned for any reason for a period of four months then there is also a provision allowing any member of the Central Armed Police to apply for that residence online.
  • This web-portal also has a provision of the desired information related to allotment to be received from time to time by the employees on their mobile and through e-mail.

With the efforts of the Government, the housing satisfaction rate which was 33 per cent in 2014 is expected go up to 73 per cent by 2024.

Other Initiative for the welfare of Jawans:

  • The MHA and the National Health Authority jointly launched the Ayushman CAPF scheme 23 JAN 2021.
  • The scheme was launched to provide cashless healthcare benefits to CAPF personnel from all seven forces- BSF, CISF, CRPF, Assam Rifles, ITBP NSG and SSB.
  • Under this scheme, CAPF personnel & their families would be able to avail cashless in-patient and out-patient healthcare facilities across the hospitals that come under Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY.
  • As of now, ten lakh workers have received Ayushman cards totalling more than 35 lakhs. Likewise, over 56 thousand bills totalling more than Rs 31 crore have already been paid.

About CAPF:

  • CAPF is an acronym for the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • CAPF refers to uniform nomenclature of security forces in India under the authority of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • However, its operational control rests with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • Their role is to defend the national interest mainly against the internal threats.

 The seven organizations under the CAPF are:

  1. Border Security Force (BSF),
  2. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),
  3. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),
  4. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)  
  5. National Security Guard (NSG) and
  6. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  7. Special Protection Group (SPG).
  • Of the CAPFs, the AR, BSF, ITBP and SSB are Border Guarding Forces.
  • The NSG is a commando trained force Organisation in India and is used for special operations.
  • The CAPF forces battle terrorists, insurgents and naxalites and even play a role in the smooth conduct of elections.
  • CAPF which are tasked with doing the job of both the army and the police in guarding the borders as well as battling terrorists and insurgents are 365 days swinging Machine.
  • These personnel also serve in various important organisations such as Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Special Protection Group (SPG), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) State Armed Police Force (Jharkhand Jaguars, Bihar Military Police etc.) on deputation and have attachment/training in various levels/formations/courses along with the Indian Army.

The CAPF’s are headed by DGP rank officers.

INS Vikrant Commissioned: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently commissioned India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Indian Nava Ship (INS) Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) in Kochi, Kerala.

Key Highlights:

  • The commissioning of INS Vikrant showcases India's growing prowess of indigenous manufacturing and a major milestone in the path towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
  • With Vikrant, India has joined a select group of nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier.
  • As of now, countries such as the US, Russia, France, China, and the UK can design and develop an aircraft carrier from the scratch.
  • INS Vikrant is the country's second aircraft carrier after INS Vikramaditya, which was built on a Russian platform.
  • During the event, the Prime Minister also unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past and befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage.
  • He dedicated the new ensign to Chhatrapati Shivaji.

About INS Vikrant:

  • The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier is named after her illustrious predecessor, India's first aircraft carrier, which had played a vital role in the 1971 war.
  • Vikrant means victorious and gallant in English.

Design and Development:

  • The aircraft carrier is designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house Warship Design Bureau (WDB) and built by Cochin Shipyard Limited, a state unit under the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways.
  • Several design iterations, including the use of 3D Virtual Reality models and advanced engineering software, were used by the Directorate of Naval Design in shaping the design of the carrier.
  • It has been built using indigenous equipment and machinery supplied by India's major industrial houses as well as more than 100 MSMEs.
  • The warship grade steel required for construction of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier or IAC was successfully indigenised through SAIL in collaboration with Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL) and the Indian Navy.

Key Features:

  • Touted as “the city on the move”, Vikrant has been built with state-of-the-art automation features.
  • It is the largest ship ever built in the maritime history of India.
  • Its sheer size of the flight deck can be compared to two football fields.
  • The ship is 262 m long, 62 m wide and 18 stories tall.
  • It has a full displacement of close to 45,000 tonnes which is much larger and more advanced than her predecessor.
  • The ship is powered by four gas turbines totalling 88 MW power.
  • It can attain a maximum speed of 28 knots with an endurance of 7500 nautical miles.
  • This warship carries a mix of about 30 aircraft.
  • It could fly the MiG 29k fighter aircraft in anti-air, anti-surface and land attack roles.
  • It will be able to operate the Kamov-31 which is an early air warning helicopter, the recently inducted but yet-to-be commissioned MH-60R which is a multi-role helicopter as also our very indigenous ALH.
  • The ship would be capable of operating an air wing consisting of 30 aircraft comprising of MIG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31, MH-60R multi-role helicopters, in addition to indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy).
  • Using a novel aircraft-operation mode known as STOBAR (Short Take-Off but Arrested Landing), the IAC is equipped with a ski- jump for launching aircraft, and a set of 'arrester wires' for their recovery onboard.

Facilities:

  • It consists of 14 decks with 2,300 compartments which can carry around 1,500 sea warriors and to cater to the food requirements.
  • The ship not only been designed with specialized compartments to accommodate women officers and sailors but it is also fitted with a physiotherapy clinic, ICU, laboratories and isolation ward.
  • It has been built with a high degree of automation for machinery operation, ship navigation and survivability, and has been designed to accommodate an assortment of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.

Construction Timeline:

  • Constructed at a cost close to Rs. 20,000 crore progressed in three Phases of the contract between MoD and CSL, concluded in May 2007, December 2014 and October 2019 respectively.

The ship's keel was laid in Feb 2009, followed by launching in August 2013.

Indian Navy’s New Ensign: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled the new Naval Ensign (FLAG) at Kochi, Kerala.

Key Points:

  • The new ensign takes inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
  • The New Naval ensign received by the Indian Navy is without the Saint George’s cross that has been on its flag since the British placed it during the pre-independence era.
  • The cross sign was taken off the flag between 2001 and 2004 under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee administration, but it was put back on after the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA regained power.
  • The government noted several objections made by then-Navy authorities over the insignia (New Naval ensign).
  • According to the Indian Navy official statement, all formations, establishments, and ships would be adopting the new naval ensign. And as also the new distinguishing masthead pennants, car flags and flags.

About the design:

  • St. George’s Cross has been removed from this new ensign.
  • The White Ensign now comprises of 2 main components:
  1. The National Flag in the upper left, and
  2. A navy blue-gold octagon in the center of the fly side away from the staff.
  • The octagon is with twin golden borders, encompassing the golden National Emblem (Lion Capital of Ashoka – with ‘Satyamev Jayate’ underscribed in blue Devanagari script).
  • The octagon, with a golden double border, has been inspired by the Raja Mudra — seal — of the Maratha emperor Shivaji, which was adopted when he was only 16 years old.
  • This is superimposed on a shield, and resting atop an anchor.
  • Within the octagon, below the shield in a golden bordered ribbon on a navy-blue background, the motto ‘Sam No Varunah’ of the navy in Devanagari script is inscribed in golden.
  • "Sam No Varunah" in Sanskrit language means that Varuna, the god of water, is auspicious for us.
  • The fouled anchor, which is connected with colonial past and was used as the design for the octagon, was taken from the Indian Naval crest and replaced with a clean anchor to emphasise the steadfastness of the Indian Navy.
  • The Blue Water capabilities of the Indian Navy are depicted by the Blue colour of the octagonal shape.
  • The twin octagonal borders draw their inspiration from the Seal of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
  • The blue octagonal shape in this new ensign represents the eight directions (four cardinal and four inter cardinal), symbolizing the multi-faceted reach and multi-functional operational capability of the Indian Navy, while the anchor symbol represents “firmness”.

Background:

  • Even after India gained independence from being a British colony, the Indian Navy's ensign still offers a glimpse of the British era.
  • The red cross seen on the Navy ensign is the ‘St George’s Cross’, which was once part of the English flag, the Union Jack.
  • It bears the insignia of the Red Cross Navy and the tricolour was placed in the top left.
  • In 2001, changes were made to this ensign and by replacing the Red Cross with the Ashoka symbol which was made in blue colour.
  • However, due to complaints that the blue colour is mixing with the colour of the sky and sea so it is not visible.
  • Thus, in 2004 the Red cross was again established. But this time the Ashoka symbol was placed in the middle of the Red Cross.
  • In 2014, it was changed again and ‘Satyamev Jayate’ was written below the Ashoka emblem.

Historical Importance:

  • The Cholas and later the Marathas were among the historic Indian navies.
  • The Great Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj laid the foundation of the modern Navy.
  • The Maratha Navy was the naval wing of the armed forces of the Maratha Empire, which existed from around mid-17th century to mid-18th century in India.
  • Around 1674, the Maratha Navy's strength was around 5,000 men and 57 warships.
  • During its expedition to Karwar (present-day Karnataka), the navy possessed around 85 assorted Gallivats (warboat) ranging from 30 to 150 tons and 3 three-masted Gurabs/Grabs (warship).

India and Australia Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX): The Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) between the navies of India and Australia concluded on August 20, 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • INS Sumedha, together with HMAS Anzac took part in the exercise, reaffirming the close ties and strong interoperability between the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy.
  • The MPX included cross deck landing of helicopters, tactical manoeuvres and a farewell steam past.
  • Indian Navy's INS Sumedha was docked at Perth in Australia to celebrate India's 76th Independence Day.
  • On August 15, 2022 a flag-raising ceremony aboard the ship in the presence of veterans and Australian Defense Force commanders was planned to commemorate the spirit of independence.

About INS Sumedha:

  • INS Sumedha is the third Saryu class patrol vessel of the Indian Navy.
  • She is an indigenously built Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel deployed for multiple roles independently and in support of Fleet Operations.
  • INS Sumedha was launched at Goa Shipyard on 21 May 2011, and was handed over to the Indian Navy on 11 March 2014.
  • She has been designed and constructed indigenously by the Goa Shipyard Limited.
  • She is part of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet based at Visakhapatnam and functions under Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command.
  • She is designed to undertake fleet support operations, coastal and offshore patrolling, ocean surveillance and monitoring of sea lines of communications and offshore assets and escort duties.
  • She has been deployed to the South Eastern Indian Ocean as part of the Indian Navy's Operational Deployment.
  • She is part of the Indian Navy's initiative to hoist 'Tiranga' on all continents (except Antarctica) as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.

Significance of India and Australia Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX):

  • The INS Sumedha's visit highlights India's vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), as well as the shared objectives of the two countries towards maintaining peace and order in the maritime sphere and the Indian Navy's dedication to fostering goodwill and enhancing cooperation with friendly maritime nations.
  • It is in consonance with Joint Guidance provided by the Chiefs of both the navies in August 2021 and is aligned to the '2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership' between the two nations.
  • It aims to further strengthen a shared commitment to addressing regional and global security issues while promoting Indo-Pacific peace, security, and stability.
  • Both navies have been collaborating on various fronts and are playing a critical role in ensuring the safety of international maritime trade and working towards global commons.

Indian Light Tanks ‘Zorawar’: In order to improve its capabilities in mountain warfare, the Indian Army is modernizing its equipment.

Key Points:

  • The Indian Army, with the experience of deploying armour at an altitude of 15,000 ft. to outmaneuver the movement of Chinese forces during the stand-off in eastern Ladakh is prioritising the procurement of the indigenous Indian light tank named ‘Zorawar’, for deployment in the mountains.
  • Apart from the light tank, the Army will also induct niche technologies such as loitering munitions, anti-drone capabilities and next generation Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
  • The fire power of the existing fleet of T-72, T-90 and indigenous Arjun tanks are being upgraded.
  • The project, which has already received in-principle approval, is planned to be procured under the ‘Make-I’ acquisition category of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020, in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) from the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) is expected next month.

Significance:

  • The recent experiences along the northern borders have shown that armour equipment profile is one of the most prominent factors in defining the operational capability of land forces.
  • The threat to Indian Northern borders have increased with China inducting  a large number of state-of-the-art medium and light tanks.
  • Following the clash on the Kailash range on the south bank of Pangong Tso in August 2020, India and China had positioned tanks on the mountain peaks at the height of the protracted stalemate in Eastern Ladakh. The tanks were later withdrawn as part of the withdrawal from both banks of the lake.
  • While the huge tank fleet consisting of T-72 and T-90 tanks were effective in obtaining tactical surprise over the enemy, the heavy tanks were primarily made for operations in plains and desert terrains, and thus had some limitations when deployed in the Rann of Kutch's marginal terrain.
  • Therefore, it has become an operational necessity to procure a lighter tank to overcome these limitations, and design and develop it indigenously.

Note:

  • As per official reports, China, in the last two years has deployed the third-generation modern light tank ZTQ 15 (Type 15), latest ZTL-11 wheeled Armoured Personnel Carriers and the CSK series of assault vehicles along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh.

About Zoravar:

  • These light tanks to be procured under ‘Project Zorawar’ are named after legendary Zorawar Singh, a military general who served under Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu.
  • They will have equal firepower as the current ones.
  • These tanks are designed to operate in varying terrain from high altitude areas and marginal terrains to island territories.
  • They will be highly transportable for rapid deployment to meet any operational situation.
  • They will feature niche technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), drone integration, active protection systems, and a high degree of situational awareness.

Light tanks employed by the Indian army in the past:

The Army has in the past successfully utilized light tanks as force multipliers in a variety of combat situations.

  • They include the deployment of Stuart Tanks of 254 Indian Tank Brigade in the Battle of Kohima in World War II, at Naushera, Jhangar, Rajauri and most successfully at Zojila during the Indo-Pak war in 1947-48.

Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002: The highest court of India, The Supreme Court will hear in open court a review of its judgment upholding key provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.

What was the Supreme Court ruling on PMLA?

  • In Vijay Madanlal Choudhary & Ors v Union of India, a judgment delivered on July 27, the Supreme Court upheld the key provisions of the PMLA.
  • The SC accepted the government’s arguments on virtually every aspect that was challenged by the petitioners which were -reversing the presumption of innocence while granting bail to passing the amendments as a Money Bill under the Finance Act to defining the contours of the powers of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

How is a judgment reviewed?

  • A ruling by the Supreme Court is final and binding.
  • However, Article 137 of the Constitution grants the SC the power to review its judgments or orders.
  • A review petition must be filed within 30 days of pronouncement of the judgment.

What is Money Laundering?

  • Money Laundering refers to the conversion or misrepresentation of money which has been illegally obtained by unlawful sources and methods.
  • It is a heinous crime which not only affects the social and economic fabric of the country but also tends to promote other serious offences like terrorism and drug trafficking which India has been witnessing a lot lately.
  • It is a criminal offence in India and charges in this instance refer to statutory provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

About PMLA 2002

  • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) formulated in the year 2002 has undergone various critical changes from time to time in order to give itself more strength to deal with the offence of money laundering.
  • The PMLA was enacted in response to India’s global commitment (Vienna Convention) to combat the menace of money laundering. These include:
  1. United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1988
  2. Basle Statement of Principles, 1989
  3. Forty Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, 1990
  4. Political Declaration and Global Program of Action adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1990

The PMLA is applicable to all persons which include individuals, companies, firms, partnership firms, associations of persons or incorporations and any agency, office or branch owned or controlled by any of the above-mentioned persons.

Defence Current Affairs - August 2022

Gallantry Awards for Armed Forces and CAPF personnel: The President of India, Droupadi Murmu recently approved 107 Gallantry awards to Armed Forces and Central Armed Police Forces personnel on the occasion of Independence Day 2022.

The awards include -

  • 3 Kirti Chakra,
  • 13 Shaurya Chakras,
  • 2 Bar to Sena Medals (gallantry),
  • 81 Sena Medals (gallantry),
  • 1 Nao Sena Medal (gallantry) and seven Vayu Sena Medals (gallantry).

The president has also approved 40 mention-in-despatches to the Indian Army, one to Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel and another to the army dog, ‘Axel’ (posthumously), for their significant contributions in different military operations which include Operation Rakshak, Operation Snow Leopard, Operation Rhino, Operation Orchid, Operation Falcon, Operation Hifazat and Operation Trikut (Deoghar).

List of gallantry awards approved by President Murmu:

Kirti Chakra:

  1. Nk Devendra Pratap Singh, Armd, 55 Rr
  2. Sudip Sarkar, Constable/gd, Bsf (Posthumous)
  3. Paotinsat Guite, Sub-inspector/gd, Bsf (Posthumous)

Shaurya Chakra:

  1. Maj Nitin Dhaania, 2 Para (Sf)
  2. Maj Amit Dahiya, Sm, 1 Para (Sf)
  3. Maj Sandeep Kumar, Grenadiers, 55 Rr
  4. Maj Abhishek Singh, Mech Inf, 50 Rr
  5. Hav Ghanshyam, Grenadiers, 55 Rr
  6. L/nk Ragh Vendra Singh, Mech Inf, 9 Rr
  7. Sep Karn Veer Singh, Rajput, 44 Rr (Posthumous)
  8. Gnr Jasbir Singh, Arty, 19 Rr (Posthumous)
  9. Lt Cdr Mritunjay Kumar
  10. Amit Kumar, Assistant Commandant, Crpf
  11. Somay Vinayak Munde, IPS, Addl. Superintendant of Police, Maharashtra Police
  12. Ravindra Kashinath Naitam, Police Naik, Maharashtra Police
  13. Tikaram Sampatrao Katenge, Police Naik, Maharashtra Police

Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry):

  1. Maj Archit Sharma, Sena Medal, Mech Inf, 42 Rr
  2. Maj Narender Singh Waldia, Sena Medal, Engrs, 44 Rr

Sena Medal (Gallantry):

  1. Lt Col Vivek Kumar Dwivedi, Arty, 663 Army Avn Sqn (R&o)
  2. Lt Col Sudhanshu Dhyani, 671 Army Avn Sqn (R&o)
  3. Lt Col Prasoon Singh, 5 Rajput
  4. Maj Angad Singh Behl, 14 Jat
  5. Maj Vaibhav Bhatnagar, 3 Rajput
  6. Maj Sahil Kumar, 4 Para (Sf)
  7. Maj Parth Chandel, Bihar, 24 Rr
  8. Maj Vivek Kamboj, Grenadiers, 55 Rr
  9. Maj Mritunjay Katoch, Garh Rif, 14 Rr
  10. Maj Sudeep Kumar, Sikh, 46 Rr
  11. Maj Divya Agre, Garh Rif, 14 Rr
  12. Maj Rishav Jamwal, Garh Rif, 14 Rr
  13. Maj Anuj Veer Singh, Jat, 34 Rr
  14. Maj Prabhjot Singh Saini, Raj Rif, 9 Rr
  15. Maj Mandeep K Narwal, Garh Rif, 48 Rr
  16. Maj Akash Sen, Sikh Li, 19 Rr
  17. Maj Arun Kumar, Asc, 1 Rr
  18. Maj Abhinav Nehra, 2 Para (Sf)
  19. Maj Rajesh Rawat, Mahar, 1 Rr
  20. Maj Navneet Singh, 1 Para (Sf)
  21. Maj Vijay Singh, Armd, 6 Assam Rif
  22. Maj Aditya Bisht, Assam, 42 Rr
  23. Maj Sankalp Yadav, Arty, 33 R&o Flt (Posthumous)
  24. Maj Apraant Raunaq Singh, Raj Rif, 9 Rr
  25. Maj Soubam Kinobabu Singh, 2 Jak Li
  26. Maj Jasmeet Singh Bhatia, Engrs, 55 Rr
  27. Maj Vikas Kumar, Kumaon, 13 Rr
  28. Maj Dinesh a, Engrs, 44 Rr
  29. Maj Irengbam Vishal Meetei, 19 Jak Rif
  30. Capt Anchit Sarpratap Rattani, 9 Para (Sf)
  31. Capt Nikhil Manchanda, 2 Para (Sf)
  32. Capt Abid Sohail, Sigs, 13 Rr
  33. Capt Reshab Dhungana, Sigs, 50 Rr
  34. Capt Srivathsan K, Gr, 6 Assam Rif
  35. Capt Mushtaq Ul Islam Khan, 12 Jat
  36. Sub Ram Singh, Garh Rif, 48 Rr (Posthumous)
  37. Nb Sub Sandeep Kumar, 9 Para (Sf)
  38. Nb Sub Kailash Joshi, 2 Para (Sf)
  39. Nb Sub Daljeet Singh, 9 Para (Sf)
  40. Nb Sub Gursev Singh, 8 Sikh Li
  41. Hav Rajendra Singh, 2 Para (Sf)
  42. Hav Manish Dhuliya, 4 Para (Sf)
  43. Hav Sonit Kumar Saini, 102 Engr Regt (Posthumous)
  44. Hav Om Prakash, Grenadiers, 55 Rr
  45. Hav Ashok Kumar, Rajput, 44 Rr
  46. Hav Bhupendra Chand, Kumaon, 13 Rr
  47. Hav R Bithungo Lotha, Assam, 2 Arunachal Scouts Bn
  48. L/hav Major Singh, 4 Sikh
  49. Nk Jagjit Singh, Mech Inf, 9 Rr
  50. Nk Norden Lepcha, Mech Inf, 9 Rr
  51. Nk Akash Sadhotra, Mech Inf, 50 Rr
  52. Nk Sarabjit Singh, Armd, 55 Rr
  53. Nk Banwari Lal Rathore, 270 Engr Regt (Posthumous)
  54. Nk Bhuva Rajubhai Rambhai, Guards, 50 Rr
  55. Nk Lalit Singh Shekhawat, Raj Rif, 9 Rr
  56. Nk Bhupinder Singh, 2 Para (Sf)
  57. Nk Amit Kumar, Grenadiers, 55 Rr
  58. Nk Guddu Kumar, Grenadiers, 55 Rr
  59. Nk Sanjeev Kumar, 3 Rajput
  60. Nk Shakti Singh, 3 Rajput
  61. Nk Mahipal Singh, Rajput, 44 Rr
  62. Nk Kesar Singh, Rajput, 44 Rr
  63. Nk Sartaj Ahmad Wagay, Jak Li, 50 Rr
  64. L/nk Sutinder Singh, Mech Inf, 42 Rr
  65. L/nk Satish Kumar, Dogra, 62 Rr
  66. L/nk Parveen Singh, Jat, 34 Rr
  67. L/nk Pramod Lamba, Jat, 34 Rr
  68. Sep Vikas Khatri, Mech Inf, 50 Rr
  69. Sep Dalvinder Singh, Mech Inf, 9 Rr
  70. Sep Sasankha Sekhar Samal, 233 (I) Fd Wksp Coy(Posthumous)
  71. Sep Jagpreet Singh, Sikh, 16 Rr
  72. Sep Adesh Singh, Jat, 34 Rr
  73. Sep Amarjit, Jat, 34 Rr
  74. Sep Chaina Ram, Jat, 34 Rr
  75. Sep Narender Sharma, Kumaon, 50 Rr
  76. Rfn Lakhan Singh, Raj Rif, 9 Rr
  77. Rfn Deepak Phogat, Raj Rif, 9 Rr
  78. Rfn Sheikh Shahbaz Yousuf, 1 Jak Li
  79. Rfn Ishan Hussain Khan, Jak Li, 19 Rr
  80. Swr Rajbir Singh Tanwar, Armd, 24 Rr
  81. Spr Hanamant Dhareppa Ayatti, Engrs, 44 Rr

F-INSAS System: Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh recently handed over the much-awaited Future Infantry Soldier as a System (F-INSAS) and and Nipun, Landing Craft Assault (LCA) to the Indian Army at the unveiling ceremony of various defence and strategic systems held in Delhi.

 These weapons were launched under Indian Army modernisation plan.

About the (F-INSAS) System:

  • F-INSAS stands for Future Infantry Soldier as a System.
  • It is a programme for infantry modernisation.
  • It is aimed at increasing the operational capability of the soldier.
  • As part of the project, soldiers are being equipped with modern systems that are all-weather-all-terrain, lightweight, cost-effective and low maintenance.
  • The F-INSAS project was conceptualised by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) in the early 2000s in accordance with the goals of the Army's Infantry Soldier Modernization Programme to maximise the soldier's performance across the full spectrum and duration of a military operation.

Full gear of the F-INSAS:

The full gear of the F-INSAS includes

AK-203 assault rifle:

  • It is a Russian-origin gas-operated, magazine-fed, select-fire assault rifle which has a range of 300 metre.

Multi-Mode Hand Grenade:

It can be used in defensive as well as offensive modes.

  • The grenades, in defensive mode can be hurled when the thrower is in a shelter or has a cover.
  • The grenades, in offencive mode do not fragment and the adversary is harmed by the blast or is stunned.

Ballistic Helmets and Ballistic Goggles:

Along with a bullet-proof vest, it equips soldiers with ballistic helmets and ballistic goggles for protection against small projectiles and fragments.

  • The helmet and the bullet-proof jacket are capable of protecting the soldier against ammunition fired from AK-47 rifles and 9 mm bullets.
  • Elbow pads and knee pads have also been provided in the system.
  • F-INSAS also includes a state-of-the-art target acquisition and communication system.

Nipun Anti-Personnel Mines:

  • Nipun Anti-Personnel Mines act as first line of defence to counter infiltrators and advancing enemy infantry.
  • These mines have been developed by collaboration of Armament Research and Development Establishment.
  • Around 7 lakh Nipun anti-personnel mines will be inducted into service by the Indian Army.

Landing Craft Assault:

  • The Landing Craft Assault (LCA) is intended to replace the boats with limited capabilities currently in use in the Pangong Tso lake.
  • It has better launch, speed and capacity to operate across water obstacles in eastern Ladakh.
  • Similar vessels are already in operation in the Indian Navy.

Mudhol hounds: Mudhol hounds, a ‘desi’ (indigenous) breed of dogs could be inducted into the Special Protection Group (SPG), the elite force protecting the Prime Minister of India.

Key Points:

  • This breed of hunting dogs is native to north Karnataka.
  • The dogs already serve with the Indian armed forces and some paramilitary forces.
  • It could become the first indigenous breed to be part of the SPG.
  • A team of SPG comprising two doctors and soldiers visited the Canine Research and Information Centre (Mudhol hound) at Thimmapur in Karnataka’s Bagalkot district in April and took two male puppies.
  • The PM's security team chose Mudhol hounds after considering Rajapalayam dog breed from Tamil Nadu and Rampur greyhound from Uttar Pradesh.

History:

  • The Mudhol hounds are believed to have been bred first by Raja Malojirao Ghorpade of the erstwhile Deccan kingdom of Mudhol.
  • Known for their hunting and guarding skills, the characteristically lanky Mudhol hounds get their name from the erstwhile kingdom of Mudhol (in present-day Bagalkot), whose rulers first began to breed them.
  • The dogs are fast runners, with excellent stamina and agility, and have a sharp vision and a keen sense of smell.
  • These dogs grow up to 72 centimeters and weigh between 20 to 22 kilograms.
  • They adapt itself to the weather.
  • It is known for its bravery.

Ex Vajra Prahar 2022: The 13th Edition of the Indo-US Joint Special Forces exercise “Ex Vajra Prahar 2022” recently commenced at the Special Forces Training School at Bakloh of Himachal Pradesh.

Key Points:

  • The Vajra Prahar series of joint exercise aims to share best practices and experiences in areas such as joint mission planning and operational tactics as also to improve inter-operability between the Special Forces of both the Nations.
  • The Indian Army contingent is represented by drawing Special Forces personnel under the aegis of SFTS, while the US contingent is represented by personnel from the 1st Special Forces Group (SFG) and Special Tactics Squadron (STS) of the US Special Forces.
  • According to the Defence Ministry, during the course of the next 21 days, teams of both armies would jointly train, plan and execute a series of special operations, counter-terrorist operations, and airborne operations in simulated conventional and unconventional scenarios in mountainous terrain.
  • This annual exercise is hosted alternatively between India and the United States.
  • The 12th edition was conducted at Joint Base Lewis Mcchord, Washington (USA) in October 2021.

 Significance:

This joint exercise is a significant step in strengthening the traditional bond of friendship between the special forces of both nations as well as improving bilateral defence cooperation between India and the US.

Udarashakti 2022:  Udarashakti is a bilateral exercise between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).

This is the first bilateral exercise that is being conducted between the two countries

About Udarashakti 2022:

  • Indian Air Force is taking part in air exercise Udarashakti 2022 with Su-30 MKI and C-17 aircraft while the Malaysian Air Force is taking part with Su 30 MKM aircraft.
  • During the four days, various aerial combat drills will be conducted between two Air Forces.

Significance:

  • The exercise will secure the long-standing bond of friendship and enhance the line of defence cooperation between both the armies.
  • This in turn will strengthen security in the region.
  • Through this exercise, IAF will get an opportunity to share and learn best practices with the Royal Malaysian Air Force.
  • They would also discuss mutual combat capabilities.

Background:

  • The first bilateral Air Force exercise that staged frontline Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft was conducted in 2018.
  • From 2008 to 2010, the Indian Air Force Training Team was deployed in Malaysia to give training to Malaysian pilots on the SU-30SKM aircraft.

Indian Air Force (IAF):

  • IAF is the air wing of Indian Armed Forces.
  • It was set up on October 8, 1932.
  • It is ranked third worldwide.
  • Its main objective is to secure Indian airspace and conduct aerial warfare during armed conflict.

Royal Malaysian Air Force:

The Royal Malaysian Air Force was established on June 2, 1958.

Him Drone-a-thon’ programme: The Indian Army recently launched the ‘Him Drone-a-thon’ programme.

Key Points:

  • It was launched in association with the Drone Federation of India.
  • The initiative is in line with self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
  • The programme connects all stake holders including industry, academia, software developers and drone product manufacturers.
  • It aims to catalyse and provide focused opportunities to the Indian drone ecosystem to develop path-breaking drone capabilities for meeting the needs of frontline troops.
  • The Indian Army’s support to India’s drone ecosystem is based on the principle of ‘good available indigenously’ is better than the ‘best available globally’.

Point 5140 named as ‘Gun Hill’: To commemorate the victory of Indian armed forces and pay tribute to the supreme sacrifice of the gunners in 'Opersation Vijay', Point 5140 at Drass in Kargil has been christened as ‘Gun Hill’.

Key Facts:

  • With its deadly and precise firepower, the Regiment of Artillery was able to have a significant impact on the enemy forces and their defences, especially Point 5140, which was essential to the early conclusion of operations in the 1999 Kargil war.
  • On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army announced the successful culmination of ‘Operation Vijay’, declaring victory after a nearly three-month-long battle with Pakistani troops on the icy heights of Kargil in Ladakh.
  • The capture of Point 5140 was a key factor in the early completion of operations.
  • On behalf of the Regiment of Artillery, a wreath was laid by Lieutenant General T. K. Chawla, Director General of Artillery, at Kargil War Memorial, Drass.
  • Lieutenant General Anindya Sengupta, General Officer Commanding of Fire and Fury Corps, also laid a wreath on the solemn occasion.
  • The ceremony was conducted in the presence of veterans from all artillery regiments, which got the honour title “KARGIL” in Operation Vijay.
  • Serving officers of the gunner fraternity were also present during the event.
  • This week India marked the 23rd Kargil Vijay Diwas.
  • On July 26, 1999, the Indian Army declared victory in Kargil War and successful culmination of Op Vijay.

Kargil War:

  • Point 5140 at Dras, one of the highest enemy-occupied posts, was captured on June 20, 1999 by a team led by Kargil hero Captain Vikram Batra.

Kargil Vijay Diwas 2022:

  • Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated every year on July 26 since the year 1999, to mark India’s victory over Pakistan in the Kargil conflict.
  • This year was the 22nd years of victory in Kargil war.

History of Kargil War:

  • The Kargil War was fought between May-July of 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir along the Line of Control (LoC) in which India got the victory.
  • In India, the conflict is also referred to as Operation Vijay.
  • It was fought for more than 60 days, ended on 26 July.
  • During the war, the Indian Army evicted Pakistani intruders and succeeded in recapturing the Tiger Hill and other posts as a part of Operation Vijay.
  • The Indian soldiers had secured this victory after a three-month conflict that led to a loss of lives from both sides with the Indian side losing nearly 490 officers, soldiers, and jawans.

What was the cause of the war?

  • The cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani troops—disguised as Kashmiri militants—into positions on the Indian side of the LoC, which serves as the de facto border between the two states in Kashmir.
  • Pakistan army taking advantage of the melting snow and betraying the bilateral understanding of both the nations (that the post would remain unattended during the winter season) took command of the high outposts of India.
  • During the initial stages of the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan's Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed the involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces,led by General Ashraf Rashid.
  • The Indian Army, later supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LoC.
  • Facing international diplomatic opposition, Pakistani forces withdrew from the remaining Indian positions along the LoC.

Operation White Sea:

  • The operation White Sea was also launched during the Kargil war, 1999.
  • During the operation, the Indian Air Force jointly acted with Indian Army to flush out regular and irregular troops of the Pakistani army.

Operation Vijay:

  • Operation was launched twice by the Indian Army in Indian history.
  • The first Operation Vijay was launched in 1961 that led to the capture of Goa, Anjediva islands and Daman and Diu while
  • the second operation was launched in 1999.
  • Both the operations were of huge success.

However, the Kargil Vijay Diwas is marked on the culmination of Kargil war.

Ex VINBAX 2022: The 3rd Edition of Ex VINBAX 2022 began at Chandimandir on August 1.

It will continue till August 20, 2022.

Theme of Ex VINBAX – 2022:

The theme of Ex VINBAX - 2022 is “employment and deployment of an Engineer Company and a Medical Team under United Nations Contingent for Peacekeeping Operations”.

India has a rich heritage of locating troops in United Nations missions.

 It has best capabilities to impart United Nations peace operations training, including its best practices and hands to train prospective United Nations peacekeepers at operational, tactical, & strategic levels.

About Ex VINBAX - 2022:

  • Ex VINBAX is Bilateral Army Exercise between India and Vietnam.
  • The exercise is a sequel to a previously conducted bilateral exercise in Vietnam in 2019.
  • It is a major milestone in strengthening the bilateral relations between India and Vietnam.
  • India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership.
  • Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.
  • Ex VINBAX - 2022 will be conducted as a field training exercise with a larger scope than past bilateral exercises, that will improve interoperability and mutual trust and enabling the Indian Army and Vietnam People's Army to share best practices.
  • The joint exercise will also provide an opportunity to the troops of both Indian and Vietnamese contingent to learn about the social and cultural heritage each other.
  • Indian Army will be represented by troops from 105 Engineer Regiment.
  • Exercise will assess the standards achieved by contingents of both the countries.
  • It will also execute technical military operations in UN missions as well.
  • A 48 hours Validation Exercise is part of the schedule to assess the standards achieved by both contingents while executing technical military operations under similar scenarios in UN missions.
  • A Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief demonstration and equipment display will showcase India’s capacity to undertake rescue and relief operations during natural and manmade disasters utilizing indigenous solutions.

Additional Info:

India- Vietnam Relations:

  • India and Vietnam have many things in common.
  • Both of them are listed among the fastest-growing economies of Asia and both aim at enhancing peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region through multi-faceted cooperation.
  • They are equally concerned about the aggressive and expansionist policies of China in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The two countries also share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership.
  • Bilateral defence engagements have expanded over a period of time to include wide-ranging contacts between the two countries, including Defense Policy Dialogue, military-to-military exchange, high-level visits, capacity building and training programmes.
  • When Vietnam's then-Prime Minister Nguyan Jan Dung visited India in 2007, the two nations' relations were raised to the status of "Strategic Partnership."
  • The relationships were enhanced even more to "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership" in 2016, as Vietnam is a key ally in India's "Act East" Policy and Indo-Pacific strategy.

Bilateral Trade:

  • Vietnam is the 15th largest trade partner of India and India is its 10th largest partner with bilateral trade standing at USD 11.12 billion in 2020-21.

Cultural Relations:

A cultural agreement between the two nations was struck in 1976, and since then, it has opened up numerous avenues for cultural exchange.

  • In 2016, the Swami Vivekananda Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi was established.
  • In 2012, the Institute of Indian and South-West Asian Studies under the aegis of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences was inaugurated in Hanoi.

President's colour to the Tamil Nadu Police: Vice-President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the prestigious ‘President’s Colours’ to the Tamil Nadu Police.

Key Highlights:

  • This prestigious award for the Tamil Nadu Police was presented to Chief Minister M.K. Stalin in a customary ceremony in Rajarathinam Stadium in Chennai.
  • Vice President Naidu also released a Special Cover to honour the occasion.
  • The President’s Colour is the highest honour given to the military, paramilitary and police forces of States and Union Territories.
  • Tamil Nadu Police is one of the very few law enforcement agencies in the nation to be awarded the coveted “President’s Colours.
  • The State of Tamil Nadu ranks second in the list of more women in the police force and the State was the first to create a women commando force.
  • It is the only State to have a police unit to investigate smuggling of idols and statues.
  • To commemorate the achievement, Mr. Stalin declared that each police officer in the service would get a medal.

Background:

Though the ‘President’s Colours’ for the Tamil Nadu Police was approved as early as August 19, 2009 when late leader M. Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister, it could not be presented in all these years.

About Tamil Nadu Police:

  • Tamil Nadu State Police is the primary law enforcement agency of the state of Tamil Nadu, India.
  • It is over 150 years old.
  • Itis the fifth largest state police force in India.
  • The current Director General of Police of Tamil Nadu is C. Sylendra Babu.

AL NAJAH-IV: The 4th Edition of India-Oman Joint Military Exercise ‘AL NAJAH-IV’ recently began in Rajasthan at the Foreign Training Node of Mahajan Field Firing Ranges.

Key Highlights:

  • This joint Military Exercise will be conducted by the Indian Army and Royal Army of Oman from 1st to 13th of August 2022.
  • The Royal Army of Oman contingent comprise 60 personnel from the Sultan of Oman Parachute Regiment while the Indian Army is represented by troops from the 18 MECHANISED INFANTRY Battalion.
  • The previous edition of Ex AL NAJAH IV was organized at Muscat from 12 to 25 March 2019.

Key points about the exercise:

  • The ambit of the exercise includes “professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills and procedures, the establishment of joint command and control structures and elimination of terrorist threats”.
  • The main focus of this joint exercise would be on Counter Terrorism Operations, Regional Security Operations, and Peace Keeping Operations under United Nations charter apart from organizing joint physical training schedules, tactical drills, techniques and procedures.
  • The objective of this joint military exercise is to enhance the level of defence cooperation between the Armies of India and Oman as well as the bilateral relations between the two nations.

Significance of Oman for India:

Oman is the only country in the Gulf region with which all three services of the Indian armed forces conduct regular bilateral exercises and staff talks, enabling close cooperation and trust at the professional level.

The three exercises are:

  1. AL NAJAH-IV which is a joint military exercise.
  2. Naseem-Al-Bahr which is a joint Navy exercise.
  3. Eastern Bridge is an Air Force exercise.

Strategic Significance of Oman for India:

  • The Sultanate of Oman is a strategic partner of India in the Gulf.
  • Both nations are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations.
  • It is an important interlocutor at the Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC), Arab League and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) fora.
  • It is at the gateway of Strait of Hormuz through which India imports one-fifth of its oil imports.
  • The two countries across the Arabian Sea are linked by geography, history and culture and enjoy warm and cordial relations, which are attributed to historical maritime trade linkages.
  • An Indian consulate was opened in Muscat in February 1955 which was upgraded to a consulate general in 1960 and later into a full-fledged embassy in 1971.
  • The first ambassador of India arrived in Muscat in 1973.

India-Oman Friendship:

  • The longest-reigning leader of the Oman- Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said was a friend of India.
  • He had studied in India.
  • He was taught by Shankar Dayal Sharma who went on to become the President of India.
  • Sultan Qaboos’s father, an alumnus of Ajmer’s Mayo College, sent his son to study in Pune for some time, where he was former President Shankar Dayal Sharma’s student.
  • India honoured the Arab world's longest-serving ruler, late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman by conferring him with Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019 posthumously.

Key Amendments to Agnipath Scheme: Amid outrage and violent protests, the central government has rolled out several amendments and support measures in the recently unveiled  Agnipath recruitment scheme into the armed forces.

This has been done to calm down the protestors  because protestors in several parts of the country are of the view that, this scheme will limit the opportunities for permanent jobs in defence forces, that provide fixed salaries, pensions along with other benefits.

About Agnipath scheme:

  • Under the scheme, youths will be enrolled for four years into service.
  • After completion of the tenure, 25% of Agniveers will be retained or re-enlisted into regular cadre.
  • 75% will be demobilized with a generous exit package of Rs 11.71 lakh,.
  • They will be given priority in government services like CAPFs, state police forces.

What are the amendments?

The lists of amendments made in the Agnipath scheme are as follows:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved reservation of 10 per cent of the job vacancies in Ministry of Defence for Agniveers who meet the requisite eligibility criteria.
  • It would be in addition to existing reservation for ex-servicemen.
  • The 10 percent reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence posts, and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (HAL, BEL, BEML, BDL, GRSE, GSL, HSL, MDL, Midhani, AVNL, AWEIL, MIL,YIL, GIL, IOL, TCL).
  • The Centre has decided to increase the upper age limit in the eligibility criteria of Agnipath scheme from 21 years to 23 years for the recruitment cycle of 2022.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has announced a 10 per cent reservation in vacancies and upper age limit for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles for Agniveers after completing four years.
  • Thus, the upper age limit for CAPFs now stands at 26 years.
  • For the first batch of Agniveers, the age relaxation will be of five years taking it to 28 years.
  • The Directorate General of Shipping under Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) along with Indian Navy has announced a system for the smooth induction of the Agniveers into the Merchant Navy.
  • The National institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) under Department of school education has announced that it will start a special programme, to enable 10th pass Agniveers to further their education and obtain 12th class pass certificate through customized courses.
  • A three-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme for Agniveers will be launched by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in order to recognise the skill of the Agniveers and to equip them for various job roles in civilian sector.
  • Skill India and the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship will work collaboratively with the Armed Forces to train students in additional skills to make them better suited for civilian jobs.

Cantonments Act, 2006: The Government of India (GoI) has proposed amendments in the Cantonments Act, 2006.

Key Points:

  • The amendment proposes incorporating provisions for imparting, inter-alia, greater democratisation to Cantonment Boards including direct election of Vice-President.
  • This information was given by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.
  • He said the draft bill is under finalization.
  • The elections to Cantonment Boards are proposed to be held thereafter.
  • Defence Minister stated that a framework for cutting out civil areas of certain Cantonments and to merge them with neighbouring State municipalities is under consultation with concerned States.
  • He said that this will provide uniformity in local governance and greater ease of living for citizens in the process.
  • He also said that several suggestions were received from public representatives and general public on the administrative structure of the Cantonment Boards.
  • The suggestions mainly pertain to direct election of Vice-President, financial powers to Vice-President, empowerment of Civil Area Committee, power to vary the constitution of Boards, and power to suspend decisions of the Board.

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant: On July 28, 2022, the Indian Navy created maritime history by taking delivery of the prestigious Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant from her builder Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), Kochi.

Key Highlights:

  • With the delivery of Vikrant, India has joined a select group of nations having the niche capability to indigenously design and build an Aircraft Carrier.
  • The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier would soon be commissioned into the Indian Navy as Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant which would bolster India's position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and its quest for a blue water Navy.

About Vikrant:

  • Vikrant has been designed by Indian Navy's inhouse Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built by CSL, a Public Sector Shipyard under Ministry of Shipping (MoS).
  • The carrier is christened after her illustrious predecessor, India's first Aircraft Carrier which played a vital role in the 1971 war.
  • The 262 m long carrier is substantially longer and more modern than her predecessor, with a full displacement of around 45,000 tonnes.
  • The ship is powered by four Gas Turbines totaling 88 MW power and has a maximum speed of 28 Knots.
  • It has been built at an overall cost of close to Rs. 20,000 Crs.
  • The project has been progressed in three Phases of contract between MoD and CSL, concluded in May 2007, Dec 2014 and Oct 2019 respectively.
  • The ship's keel was laid in Feb 2009.
  • It was launched in Aug 2013.
  • With an overall indigenous content of 76%, IAC is a perfect example of the nation's quest for "Aatma Nirbhar Bharat” and provides thrust to Government's 'Make in India' initiative.

INS Sindhudhvaj: The Navy’s Kilo class submarine INS Sindhudhvaj was decommissioned on July 16, 2022 from Indian Navy, after providing service for 35 years.

Highlights:

  • Vice-Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command was the Chief Guest of the ceremony.
  • The decommissioning ceremony was attended by 15 former commanding officers, including Retired Commodore SP Singh.
  • With this, the Navy now has 15 conventional submarines in service.

About INS Sindhudhvaj:

  • Sindhudhvaj means “flag bearer at sea”.
  • A nurse shark in grey colour is depicted on the submarine's crest.
  • Throughout her service in the Indian Navy, this Ship was the flag bearer of indigenisation as well as efforts of Indian Navy in attaining Atma Nirbharta in Sindhughosh class submarines
  • She has had many a firsts to her credit, including operationalisation of the indigenised sonar USHUS, Indigenised Satellite Communication systems Rukmani & MSS, Inertial Navigation System and Inertial Navigation System & Indigenised Torpedo Fire Control System.
  • She has also undertaken mating and personnel transfer successfully, with Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel.
  • Sindhudhvaj is the only submarine, to receive the CNS Rolling Trophy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had awarded the trophy for Innovation.
  • She was commissioned into the Navy in June 1987.
  • Sindhudhvaj is one of the 10 Kilo class submarines in India that was bought from Russia between 1986 and 2000.

Note: Kilo class submarine are diesel-electric attack submarines, designed in 1970s. They were  built in Soviet Union for the Soviet Navy.

  • One of these, Sindhurakshak, was destroyed in an accident in Mumbai's harbour in August 2013, while the other, Sindhuvir, was transferred to Myanmar in 2020, becoming the first underwater platform in that country in Southeast Asia.

Sindhughosh-class submarines:

  • Sindhughosh-class submarines are designed under Project 877.
  • They are diesel-electric submarines from Kilo-class
  • They were constructed as a part of contract between Rosvooruzhenie and Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • They have a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, max speed of 18 knots, and the max diving depth of 300 meters.
  • These ships have a crew capacity of 53, for 45, and are capable of sailing solo.

Navy’s sub-surface fleet:

The Navy’s sub-surface fleet now includes -

  • Seven Russian Kilo class submarines,
  • Four German HDW submarines,
  • Four French Scorpene submarines and
  • One indigenous nuclear ballistic missile submarine Arihant.

The last two of the Scorpene class submarines are in various stages of trials and outfitting.

SPRINT Challenges: Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled the “SPRINT Challenges”  for Indian Navy.

Key Highlights:

The SPRINT Challenges was launched on July 18, 2022 during Swavlamban seminar at Dr. Ambedkar International Centre in New Delhi.

The seminar was organised by “Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO)”.

The SPRINT Challenges is aimed at giving a boost to the usage of indigenous technology in the Indian Navy.

About Sprint Challenges:

  • In a bid to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence and as part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav NIIO, in conjunction with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), aims to induct at least 75 new indigenous technologies/products, which will be inducted into the Navy in the coming year.
  • This collaborative project is named SPRINT that stands for "Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), NIIO and Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC)".

Significance of Sprint Challenges:

  • An imperative pillar of Aatmanirbhar Bharat is attaining self-reliance in the Defence Sector.
  • The Indian Navy is also making consistent efforts to bring made-in-India technology and innovation.
  • Aligning with this same ethos, ‘SPRINT Challenges was unveiled.
  • It aims to engage Indian industry and academia towards achieving self-reliance in the Defence sector.
  • It will provide a platform for leaders from Industry, Academia, Services and Government to come together on a common platform to ideate and come up with recommendations for the Defence Sector.

About Swavlamban Seminar:

  • Swavlamban Seminar is a two day Seminar that was held from 18 to 19 July, 2022.
  • The seminar was organised by the NIIO and the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).
  • It brought together leaders from Industry, Academia, Services and Government under a common roof to ideate and come up with recommendations for the Defence Sector.
  • Sessions dedicated to Innovation, Armament, Aviation and Indigenisation were held.
  • The second day of the Seminar witnessed outreach to Indian Ocean Region, in order with SAGAR Vision of Indian government.

About NIIO:

The Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) was launched by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in August 2020.

It was launched with an aim to encourage innovation and indigenisation for self-reliance in defence sector, in line with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

It is a three-tiered organization. They are -

  1. Naval Technology Acceleration Council (N-TAC): It was created to bring the double aspects of innovation and indigenisation together besides providing apex level directives.
  2. Working group: It was created under the N-TAC, for implementing the projects.
  3. Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC): It was created to induct new disruptive technology in accelerated time frame.

Lokayan 2022: INS Tarangini, the first Sail Training Ship of the Indian Navy, recently departed for Lokayan 2022 to hoist the tricolor in London, a momentous occasion for the Indian Navy as well as the country.

Key Highlights:

  • The Voyage is named Lokayan 2022.
  • It departed from Southern Naval Command (SNC) in Kochi, Kerala
  • The highlight of this voyage will be hoisting the national flag in the heart of London on the 75th Independence Day.
  • This is a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • During the voyage, the ship will be visiting 17 ports across 14 countries.
  • The voyage includes the main aspect of training under trainee officers that form a part of the first Training Squadron.
  • During the course of this voyage, 300 sea trainees would embark on the ship at various phases for undergoing sea training.
  • It is supposed to participate in prestigious Tall Ship Race events in Harlingen, Antwerp, and Aalborg.
  • The ship will come back in November 2022.

About INS Tarangini:

  • INS Tarangini (her name comes from the Hindi word ‘Tarang’ meaning waves) is a three-masted steel barque.
  • INS Taranginis the first sail training ship of the Indian Navy.
  • It was commissioned on 11 Nov 1997.
  • She is square rigged on the fore and main masts and fore-and-aft rigged on the mizzen mast.
  • She was constructed in Goa to a design by the British naval architect Colin Mudie.
  • She was launched on 1 December 1995.

That is part of the first training squadron based at Kochi, under the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.

AIDef Symposium and Exhibition: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently inaugurated the first ever “Artificial Intelligence in Defence (AIDef) symposium and exhibition” of AI-enabled solutions.

About AIDef symposium and exhibition:

  • The AIDef symposium and exhibition was organised by Department of Defence Production under Ministry of Defence, as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • It sought to promote “Aatmanirbharta” in Defence sector.
  • The event featured an exhibition to showcase the cutting-edge AI-enabled solutions developed by the Armed Forces, research organisations, start-ups, and innovators.
  • All these products belong to the fields of automation or unmanned or robotics systems, cyber security, logistics & supply chain management, human behaviour analysis, intelligent monitoring system, speech/voice analysis and C4ISR (Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) systems.
  • Among the AI-enabled products launched by the Minister were autonomous weapon systems, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, robotic products, human behavioural analysis software and a range of simulators and testing equipment.
  • The products are in the domains of automation, robotics systems, cyber security, human behaviour analysis, intelligent monitoring system, logistics and supply chain management, Computer and Intelligence and Operational Data Analytics.
  • Some products like AI-enabled voice transcription software, driver fatigue monitoring system and evaluation of welding defects are expected to have applications in the civil world as well.

India is taking steps to harness the huge potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in developing futuristic weapon systems as well as in other sectors.

Panel Discussions during the event:

  • Panel discussions on "GenNext AI solutions," "Deploying AI in Defense," and "AI in Defence - Industry Perspective" took place during the Artificial Intelligence in Defence (AIDef) conference and expo event.
  • Academia, industry and research organisations, services and students  actively took part in the discussions.

GenNext AI Solutions Competition:

  • A competition called GenNext AI Solutions was also held to hear kids' bright, creative suggestions for cutting-edge AI solutions.
  • The top three ideas will be commended by experts. An expo of AI-related products was also organized for the occasion.

AI task force on Defence:

  • AI task force on Defence was created in 2018 by the Government.
  • It was established to provide a road map on promotion of AI in defence.
  • Defence AI council is leading the efforts on the recommendations of the task force.

Note: Defence AI Council is headed by defence minister.

17A stealth frigate ‘Dunagiri’: Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh recently inaugurated the second Project 17A stealth frigate ‘Dunagiri’.

Key Points:

  • Dunagiri frigate was launched into the Hooghly River in Kolkata.
  • Rajnath Singh launches Project 17A stealth frigate 'Dunagiri.'
  • The ship has been christened after a mountain range “Dunagiri” in Uttarakhand.

Mythological fact: This mountain range was brought to Sri Lanka by Lord Hanuman to bring ‘sanjeevani booti’ for Lord Laxman.

  • It is the fourth ship of P17A Frigates.
  • It is the improved version of P17 Frigates (Shivalik Class), with some improvements in stealth features, platform management systems, advanced weapons and sensors.

About Project P17A:

  • Project 17A ships are advanced guided-missile frigates.
  • Each of them is 149 metres long with a displacement of approximately 6,670 tonnes and a speed of 28 knots.
  • The first two ships of the P17A Project named INS Nilgiri and INS Himgiri were launched in 2019 and 2020.
  • INS Nilgiri was launched at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited while INS Himgiri  was launched at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited.
  • The third ship INS Udaygiri was launched at Mazagaon Dock Ltd (MDL) on 17 May 2022.
  • The P17A frigate ‘Dunagiri’ is the reincarnation of the erstwhile ‘Dunagiri’, the Leander Class ASW Frigate, which served the nation for 33 years ( 05 May 1977 to 20 Oct 2010), and had witnessed various challenging operations and multinational exercises.

Significance of P17A class ships:

  • All the ships under project P17A have been designed in-house by Directorate of Naval Design (DND) of Indian Navy.
  • With the ethos of ‘self-reliant India’, 75% of the orders for equipment & system are also being placed under the project with indigenous firms including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • The Project 17A project involves the development of seven advanced guided-missile frigates, of which four will be built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders and the remaining three ships by GRSE.
  • The ships will be named Nilgiri, Himgiri, Udaygiri, Dunagiri, Taragiri, Vindhyagiri and Mahendragiri after the names of hill ranges in India.
  • These projects launch by Indian shipyards signify the advancement of self-reliance of the country.
  • The project will generate employment opportunities for more than 2,000 companies and MSMEs in the country.

Launch of AI products:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated 75 newly-developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) products, as a part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ during the first ever AI in Defence Symposium and exhibition recently.
  • These products belong to different domains including AI platform automation, computer & intelligence, blockchain-based automation, cyber security, surveillance and reconnaissance, etc.

AI-based Change Detection Software: The Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE) recently developed an Artificial Intelligence-based Change Detection Software.

Key Details:

  • This AI-based software can automatically detect unauthorised constructions & encroachments on the defence land using Satellite Imagery, demonstrating once again how technology has benefited the country’s defense-related issues.
  • The AI-based software has been developed by Centre of Excellence on Satellite & Unmanned Remote Vehicle Initiative (CoE-SURVEI) established by DGDE at National Institute of Defence Estates Management at Meerut Cantonment in Uttar Pradesh.
  • CoE-SURVEI is responsible for developing AI-based software.
  • The initiative uses the latest technologies in surveys, including satellite imagery, drone imagery and geo-spatial tools for effective land management and urban planning.

Note: The Center of Excellence (CoE) was inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh last December.

  • The CoE-SURVEI along with knowledge partner Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), has built the change detection software.
  • Currently, the software uses National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) Cartosat-3 imagery with trained software.
  • The changes are detected by analysing satellite imagery of different time periods.
  • Tools for analysing unoccupied land and 3D imagery analysis of hill cantonments have also been created by the Centre of Excellence on Satellite & Unmanned Remote Vehicle Initiative for land management.
  • With this leveraging technology, the optimum use of defence land through Geographic Information System (GIS)-based land management systems can be done.

Functioning of AI:

  • The AI-based Change Detection Software uses a time series of satellite images to automatically identify changes on the ground, such as unauthorised structures and encroachments.
  • CoE has employed the software in 62 Cantonments.
  • AI-based software facilitates better control of unauthorized activities, ensures accountability of field staff, and helps in reducing corrupt practices.
  • It is important to note that 570 out of the 1,133 unlawful alterations discovered have already been dealt with.
  • In the remaining 563 cases, wherever legal action is warranted, the same has been initiated by the Cantonment Boards after changes were detected by the software.

Suraksha Manthan-2022: The Desert Corps of the Indian Army recently organised the “Suraksha Manthan 2022”, on aspects of Border & Coastal Security at Jodhpur (Rajasthan).

Key Points:

  • The manthan was jointly presided over by Shri Pankaj Kumar Singh, IPS, Director General Border Security Force (BSF), Director General VS Pathania, Indian Coast Guard and Lieutenant General Rakesh Kapoor, General Officer Commanding Desert Corps and attended by serving officers of the Army, BSF and Coast Guard.
  • During the course of the discussions, aspects of interoperability, operational cohesion and logistics were ironed out in order to enhance overall security along the International Boundary (IB) and coastal sectors.
  • A joint training calendar was also formulated to achieve a higher degree of interoperability and jointness amongst the security forces.
  • Current security threats and challenges, along with joint mitigation response, were deliberated upon and such scenarios would now form part of the forthcoming exercises.
  • In addition, it was agreed to build a concrete road map for capability growth in addition to an enabling security environment.

840 Squadron: Eastern region of Indian Coast Guard (ICG), inducted the indigenously designed and developed Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mark III.

Key Points:

  • The new air squadron known as 840 Squadron was established in Chennai, with an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mark-III aircraft as its first aircraft.
  • It will be the first ALH MK-III to be positioned in the Coast Guard Region East.
  • The capabilities of the first ALH MK-III aircraft would boost the operational footprint of Unit.
  • Three more ALHs will be added to the “840 Squadron” shortly.
  • The Advanced Light Helicopter Mark III was received at the Coast Guard Air Station in Chennai, with ‘water cannon salute’.

About ALH MK- III:

  • The ALH MK-III has been indigenously designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as part of the government’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
  • It is powered by two Shakti engines.
  • Modern radars are used to detect beyond the visual range of the aircraft.
  • It is armed with a mounted Heavy Machine Gun for target neutralisation operations.
  • It is equipped with surveillance radar, electro optic pod, medical urgent care unit, high-intensity searchlight, infrared suppressor, heavy machine gun, and glass cockpit.

The squadron’s operations area will encompass the entire Eastern Region due to its strategic importance and geographical location.

PADMA: Shri Rajnish Kumar, Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) inaugurated a Pay Roll Automation for Disbursement of Monthly Allowances (PADMA), an automated Pay & Allowances module for the Indian Coast Guard on June 28, 2022.

About PADMA:

  • PADMA is an automated platform leveraging latest technology.
  • It will provide seamless and timely disbursal of Pay & Allowances to around 15,000 Indian Coast Guard personnel.
  • This module has been developed under the aegis of Defense Accounts Department and will be operated by Pay Accounts Office Coast Guard, Noida.

Significance:

  • The foundation of CPS is being laid by the Defence Accounts Department Headquarters. 
  • The launch has marked the beginning of the Centralized Pay System (CPS) which is a one stop pay accounting solutions for all organisations under the MoD.
  • It will not only strengthen the Digital India concept but it is also an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative as the entire module has been designed and developed by Indian entrepreneurs assisted by domain experts.

About CPS in India:

In India, the Centralized Pay System (CPS) are Real Time Gross Settlelment (RTGS) and National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) systems which are both owned and operated by the Reserve Bank of India.

About ICG:

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is an armed force that protects India's maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone.
  • IGC was founded in 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of Parliament of India an independent armed force of India.
  • It works under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Defence.
  • The moto of IGC is Vayam  “Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”.
  • The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces.
  • The Director General of IGC is V.S. Pathania(24TH DG of ICG). 

835 Squadron (CG): On June 28, 2022, 835 Squadron (CG), an indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) MK III squadron, was commissioned into Indian Coast Guard at its Air Enclave in Porbandar, Gujarat

Key Highlights:

  • The commissioning ceremony was presided over by DG, Coast Guard Shri VS Pathania which was attended by various military & civil dignitaries based at Porbandar and Gujarat area.
  • The commissioning of this squadron marks a tremendous leap towards self-reliance in the field of Search and Rescue (SAR) and maritime surveillance, in line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
  • It will give a major fillip to the abilities of the Indian Coast Guard in the Gujarat region and further strengthen the country’s maritime security.
  • The 835 Sqn (CG) is commanded by Commandant Sunil Dutt.

Advanced Mark III (ALH Mark III) helicopters:

  • The ALH MK III helicopters have been indigenously manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • They feature state-of-the-art equipment including advanced RADAR as well as Electro optical sensors, Shakti engines, full glass cockpit, high-intensity searchlight, advanced communication systems, automatic identification system as well as SAR homer.
  • The features enable them to undertake maritime reconnaissance as well as carry out SAR at extended ranges even while operating from ships during both day and night.
  • The aircraft has the ability to switch roles from an offensive platform with heavy machine gun to that of a benign one carrying a Medical Intensive Care Unit to facilitate transfer of critically ill patients.

So far, 13 ALH MK-III aircraft have been inducted in the Indian Coast Guard in a phased manner and four of these aircraft are positioned at Porbandar.

 Since the induction, the squadron has flown over 1,200 hours and conducted numerous operational missions, including the maiden night SAR mission off Diu coast.

Dinkar Gupta: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed Senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and former Punjab Director-General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta as the Director-General of National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Key Highlights:

  • An officer of the 1987 batch of the IPS, Gupta will succeed Yogesh Chandra Modi.
  • A notification from the Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) said the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) had approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard.
  • According to the notification, the appointment will be with effect from the date of his joining the post and up to March 31, 2024, the date of his superannuation,or till further orders, whichever takes place earlier.
  • The ACC has also approved the appointment of Swagat Das, IPS (CH:87), currently Special Director in the Intelligence Bureau, as Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

About Dinkar Gupta:

  • The 1987 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Punjab cadre was removed as the State DGP and posted to the Police Housing Corporation after Charanjit Singh Channi replaced Captain (retd.) Amarinder Singh as Punjab’s Chief Minister in 2021.
  • He has held the post of Director General of Police, Intelligence, Punjab, which involved the direct supervision of Punjab State Intelligence Wing, State Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and Organized Crime Control Unit (OCCU).

Awards:

  • He has been decorated with two police gallantry medals in 1992 and 1994.
  • He was also decorated with the Police Medal for Meritorious Services by the President and the Presidents Police Medal for Distinguished Service (2010).
  • In 1999, Gupta was awarded the British Chevening Gurukul Scholarship by the British Council at London School of Economics, London.

About NIA:

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is the primary counter-terrorist task force of India.
  • The agency is empowered to deal with the investigation of terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states under written proclamation from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008, which was passed after the deadly 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The branches of NIA are located in Hyderabad,  Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur, Guwahati, Kochi, Jammu, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Chennai and Imphal.

Tapan Kumar Deka: The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) recently appointed Tapan Kumar Deka as Director, Intelligence Bureau for a period of two years, till June 2024.

Key Highlights:

  • Deka is a 1988-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer.
  • He will assume charge for a tenure of two years from the date of assumption of the charge of the post or until further orders, whichever is earlier, by granting extension in service under the provisions of FR 56(d) and Rule 16 (1A) of All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958.
  • He will be in service during the remaining term of the present government as the next Lok Sabha election will conclude in May that year.
  • He was set to retire in February 2023.
  • He will assume office on July 1 after incumbent Arvinda Kumar retires on June 30.

About:

  • Deka has spent most of the career in the Intelligence Bureau.
  • He was an Additional Director in Intelligence Bureau when he was promoted to the rank of Special Director in the Wing in June last year.
  • Deka has handled crucial cases like terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, especially targeted killings in the Valley.

Samant Kumar Goel

  • Meanwhile, RAW Secretary Samant Kumar Goel, whose two-year fixed term would have ended on June 30, 2021, was granted another one-year extension by the ACC.
  • Mr. Goel is a 1984-batch IPS officer from the Punjab cadre.

Defence Current Affairs - July 2022

Key Amendments to Agnipath Scheme: Amid outrage and violent protests, the central government has rolled out several amendments and support measures in the recently unveiled  Agnipath recruitment scheme into the armed forces.

This has been done to calm down the protestors  because protestors in several parts of the country are of the view that, this scheme will limit the opportunities for permanent jobs in defence forces, that provide fixed salaries, pensions along with other benefits.

About Agnipath scheme:

  • Under the scheme, youths will be enrolled for four years into service.
  • After completion of the tenure, 25% of Agniveers will be retained or re-enlisted into regular cadre.
  • 75% will be demobilized with a generous exit package of Rs 11.71 lakh,.
  • They will be given priority in government services like CAPFs, state police forces.

What are the amendments?

The lists of amendments made in the Agnipath scheme are as follows:

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved reservation of 10 per cent of the job vacancies in Ministry of Defence for Agniveers who meet the requisite eligibility criteria.
  • It would be in addition to existing reservation for ex-servicemen.
  • The 10 percent reservation will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence posts, and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (HAL, BEL, BEML, BDL, GRSE, GSL, HSL, MDL, Midhani, AVNL, AWEIL, MIL,YIL, GIL, IOL, TCL).
  • The Centre has decided to increase the upper age limit in the eligibility criteria of Agnipath scheme from 21 years to 23 years for the recruitment cycle of 2022.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has announced a 10 per cent reservation in vacancies and upper age limit for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles for Agniveers after completing four years.
  • Thus, the upper age limit for CAPFs now stands at 26 years.
  • For the first batch of Agniveers, the age relaxation will be of five years taking it to 28 years.
  • The Directorate General of Shipping under Ministry of Ports Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) along with Indian Navy has announced a system for the smooth induction of the Agniveers into the Merchant Navy.
  • The National institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) under Department of school education has announced that it will start a special programme, to enable 10th pass Agniveers to further their education and obtain 12th class pass certificate through customized courses.
  • A three-year skill-based bachelor’s degree programme for Agniveers will be launched by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in order to recognise the skill of the Agniveers and to equip them for various job roles in civilian sector.
  • Skill India and the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship will work collaboratively with the Armed Forces to train students in additional skills to make them better suited for civilian jobs.

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act): The Central Gernment is considering transferring the administration of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (PITNDPS) Act, 1988 from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Key Points:

  • This move is being considered to bring all issues related to narcotics under one department.
  • Currently, while the home ministry governs the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Department of Revenue (DoR) in the finance ministry administers the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act of 1985 and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1988.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is a central law enforcement and intelligence agency that has been tasked with combating drug trafficking and the use of illegal substances under the provisions of the NDPS Act.
  • The NDPS Act prohibits a person from production/manufacturing/cultivation, possession, sale, purchase transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
  • The PITNDPS Act, 1988 provides for detention in certain cases for the purpose of preventing illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • The transfer was being considered under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.
  • Transferring administration of the NDPS Act and PITNDPS to MHA will lead to a single command chain and unification of all matters related to narcotics.

Squadron 840 CG: A new air squadron, 840 Squadron, was established by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in Chennai, with an Advanced Light Helicopter Mark-III aircraft as its 1st aircraft.

Highlights:

  • A new air squadron, 840 Squadron, was established in the presence of the Commander of the Eastern Coast Guard Region, Inspector General AP Badola. 
  • This is the 1st time the defence force has deployed such a plane in the eastern region.
  • According to the Coast Guard, 3 more ALH aircraft will also be added to the new Squadron’s inventory in the near future.

Canister Launched Anti-Armour Loiter Ammunition (CALM) System: The Indian Army recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) for smart loiter munitions, known as Canister Launched Anti-Armour Loiter Munitions (CALM) Systems.

Key Points:

  • The Armed Forces intend to deploy Canister Launched Anti-Armour Loiter Munitions (CALM) Systems in the plains and deserts along the western border, as well as high altitude areas up to 16,500 feet along the northern border.
  • Earlier, the Indian Army had issued a RFI for the supply of Articulated All-Terrain Vehicles to be deployed in Ladakh and Kutch.The Army has specified that it intends to procure 150 such systems.
  • These systems are being procured under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ programmes

What is a CALM System?

  • The CALM System is a pre-loaded canister with loiter ammunition or a drone which once fired can remain aloft for a period of time over the area of operation, and when a target is sighted it can be guided down to destroy the target with the explosive payload that it carries.
  • Usually, loiter ammunitions carry a camera which is nose-mounted and which can be used by the operator to see the area of operation and choose targets.
  • When a target is sighted it can be guided down to destroy the target with the explosive payload that it carries.
  • These munitions also have variants which can be recovered and reused in case they are not used for any strike.

Has CALM system been used by any country?

  • The CALM System had been very effectively used in during the 2021 Armenian-Azerbaijan conflict where the Azerbaijan forces made extensive use of Israeli systems to wreak havoc on Armenian tanks, radar systems, communication hubs and other military targets.

About Loiter munitions:

  • Loitering munition is a type of weapon system that consists of an unmanned platform with a warhead as its main component.
  • They are a mix of a surface-to-surface missile and a drone.
  • While a missile, once fired heads straight to its target after a flight of usually a few minutes, loiter munitions, which also carry warheads and onboard surveillance equipment, are launched in a manner similar to a drone and they stay aloft for a longer time, surveying a designated area and seeking targets.
  • Once a target is identified and locked on, they act as a missile to destroy it.
  • If a mission is aborted or there are no suitable targets, loiter munitions can be recovered.
  • Loiter munitions, however, are smaller, cheaper and less complex systems than combat or armed drones.

Agneepath Yojana Entry Scheme 2022: The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on May 14, 2022 approved a new short-term recruitment policy called "Agnipath" for Indian youth to serve in the armed forces as "agniveers".

Key Details:

  • Following extensive deliberation over the last two years, the Cabinet Committee on Security authorized the radical recruitment programme.
  • The policy, which comes into immediate effect, will hereafter govern the enrolment for the three services.
  • The Agnipath scheme, earlier christened as "Tour of Duty", was launched in the presence of Union Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh and the chiefs of the three services.

Note: The Agnipath scheme will also be “progressively opened” for women based on service requirements.

About the scheme:

  • The process to recruit 46,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen this year will begin on an “all-India, all-class” basis within 90 days.
  • This new scheme will enable youngsters aged 17.5 to 21 to be inducted into any of the three services as “agniveers” for a period of four years.
  • Under the new scheme, around 45,000 to 50,000 soldiers will be recruited annually, and most will leave the service in just four years.
  • Of the total annual recruits, only 25% soldiers, the best professionals  will be allowed to continue for another 15 years under permanent commission.
  • During this period of service to the nation, the Agniveers will be imparted with various military skills and experience, discipline, physical fitness, leadership qualities, courage and patriotism.
  • Post this stint of four years, the Agniveers will be infused into the civil society where they can contribute immensely towards the nation building process.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The new system is only for personnel below officer ranks (those who do not join the forces as commissioned officers).
  • They would form a distinct rank in the Armed Forces, different from any other existing ranks.
  • Aspirants between the ages of 17.5 years and 21 years will be eligible to apply.
  • The recruitment standards will remain the same, and recruitment will be done twice a year through rallies.

Benefits to the Agniveers:

  • Agniveers will be given an attractive customised monthly package along with Risk and Hardship allowances as applicable in the three services.
  • On completion of the engagement period of four years, Agniveers will be paid one time ‘Seva Nidhi’ package which shall comprise their contribution including accrued interest thereon and matching contribution from the Government.
  • The ‘Seva Nidhi’ will be exempt from Income Tax.
  • Agniveers will be provided non-contributory Life Insurance Cover of Rs 48 lakhs for the duration of their engagement period in the Indian Armed Forces.
  • Also the soldiers relieved of service will also be assisted in getting placed in civilian jobs after completing their 4 years term.
  • In case of death, the payout will be over Rs 1 crore, including pay for the unserved tenure.

IND-INDO CORPAT: The 38th India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) between the Indian Navy Units of Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC) and Indonesian Navy was recently being conducted in the Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca.

Key Highlights:

  • The 38th CORPAT conducted from June 13 to 24 2022 is the first post pandemic Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) between the two countries.
  • It included a visit by the Indonesian Navy units to ANC at Port Blair from June 13 to 15, 2022 followed by a Sea Phase in the Andaman Sea and visit by IN Units to Sabang (Indonesia) from June 23 to 24, 2022.

Note: Naval Component, under the aegis of HQ ANC, conducts coordinated patrols with other littoral countries of the Andaman Sea along respective Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) to enhance regional maritime security as part of the Government of India's vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region).

About the CORPAT exercise:

  • The Navies of India and Indonesia have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) since 2002.
  • Both the countries have enjoyed especially close relations, covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions which have strengthened over the years.
  • It not only highlights the mutual trust and synergy but also cooperation between the two friendly Navies.

Aim:

  • The IND-INDO CORPAT is aimed at keeping the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) safe and secure for commercial shipping, international trade and conduct of legitimate maritime activities.
  • Its objective is to build understanding and interoperability between both the Navies.
  • It has facilitated measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy, etc.
  • It also contributes towards forging strong bonds of friendship across the Andaman Sea and Straits of Malacca.

Puneet Sagar Abhiyan: The National Cadet Corps (NCC) launched the latest phase of its nationwide flagship campaign ‘Puneet Sagar Abhiyan’ on May 30, 2022 which continued till June 5, 2022, that marks the World Environment Day.

About the campaign:

  • The campaign witnessed the participation of around 74,000 cadets from 10 States and 4 Union Territories.
  • NCC cadets NCC cadets along with NCC alumni, locals, and tourists from various places across India also participated in it.
  • The waste collected during the campaign was disposed of in an environment friendly manner, in association with the cooperation with Government and Private agencies.
  • During the campaign, drawing, essay writing, article writing, poetry, poster making,  debate, etc were also conducted at various locations.

Why was the campaign launched?

  • The Puneet Sagar Abhiyan was launched by NCC, in a bid to clean Sea Shores or Beaches and other water bodies including rivers & lakes, by removing plastic & other waste.
  • The main purpose of this campaign is to increase awareness amongst local population about importance of keeping beaches and river fronts clean.
  • It also seeks to educate locals and sensitise about ‘Swachh Bharat’.

When was campaign launched?

The campaign was launched on December 1, 2021 by the National Cadet Corps, to keep seashores and beaches free from plastic & other waste materials.

National Cadet Corps (NCC):

  • The National Cadet Corps (NCC) is the youth wing of Indian Armed Forces.
  • It is a Tri-Services Organisation, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Wing, engaged in grooming the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens.
  • It operates under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • It is also the largest uniformed youth organisation of the country.
  • It was formed on 16 April 1948.
  • Since its inception the NCC cadets have been contributing to the national cause during natural calamities like cyclone, floods etc.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It is open to students from schools and colleges on voluntary basis as a Tri-Services Organisation.
  • The cadets are recruited from high schools, higher secondary, colleges and universities by the soldier youth foundation in India.
  • In the camp, cadets are given basic military training in small arms and drill.
  • The current Director-General of NCC is Lieutenant General Gurbirpal Singh, AVSM, VSM.

Motto of NCC: 

  • The motto of NCC is "Unity and discipline".

Emblem of the NCC:

  • The emblem of NCC comprises of 3 colours namely, red, dark blue and light blue.
  • Red colour represents he Indian Army, dark blue represents the Indian Navy while light blue represents the Indian Air Force.
  • The 17 lotuses on it indicate 17 directories of India.

Decommissioning of INS Nishank (K43) and INS Akshay: The Indian Navy Ships Nishank and Akshay were recently decommissioned, after rendering 32 years of glorious service to India.

Key Highlights:

  • The Decommissioning event was conducted on June 3, 2022 at Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
  • The national flag, the navy ensign, and the decommissioning pennants of both ships were all dropped for the final time during the traditional ceremony at dusk.

About INS NISHANK and INS AKSHAY:

  • INS Nishank was commissioned on September 12, 1989 while INS Akshay was commissioned on December 10, 1990 at Poti, Georgia.
  • INS Nishank was a part of 22 Missile Vessel Squadron while INS Akshay was a part of 23 Patrol vessel Squadron, under operational control of Flag Officer Commanding, Naval area of Maharashtra.
  • They served the country for over 32 years.
  • During their service to the nation, they participated in several naval operations including Operation Talwar during Kargil War and Operation Parakram in 2001.

About INS Nishank (K43):

  • INS Nishank is a Veer class corvette.
  • It has the length of 56 m (184 ft).
  • It can attain the speed of 32 knots (59 km/h) and a range of1,650 mi (2,660 km).

Note: Veer class corvettes are a customized Indian variant of Soviet Tarantul class. They form 22nd Killer Missile Vessel Squadron.

About INS Akshay:

INS Akshay refers to following vessels of the Indian Navy:

  1. INS Akshay (P3136): It is an Ajay-class patrol vessel that was completed in 1962. In 1973, it was given to Bangladesh where she served as BNS Padma.
  2. INS Akshay (P35): It is an Abhay-class corvette commissioned in 1990.

About Indian Navy:

  • The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Navy.
  • The Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star admiral, commands the navy.
  • Indian Navy was founded omn 26 January 1950.
  • The current Chief of Navy Staff (CNS) is Admiral R. Hari Kumar.

Objective of Indian Navy:

  • The main objective of the Indian Navy is to protect the country’s maritime borders and help in the expansion of its forces.

There are 3 commands under the Navy which are:

1. The Western Naval Command (Headquarters at Mumbai).

2. The Eastern Naval Command (Headquarters at Visakhapatnam)

3. The Southern Naval Command (Headquarters at Kochi)

The Indian Navy is the fifth largest in the world, employing 67,109 personnel.

Note: Indian Navy day is celebrated on the 4th of December every year.

  • Indian Navy operates in Persian Gulf Region and Horn of Africa to the Strait of Malacca.
  • It also conducts two to three month-long deployments in South & East China sea, and western Mediterranean Sea simultaneously.

Amendments in Armed Forces Service Rules: Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently issued gazette notifications for amending regulations of Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, related to appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff.

Key Points:

  • The notification issued by the Indian government aims to amend regulations of three defence forces related to appointment of Chief of Defence Staff.
  • As per notification, government may consider an officer for this post, who is serving as Air Marshal or Air Chief Marshal or a retired officer in the similar ranks but below the age of 62 or any retired three-star officer also below the same age.
  • Government would made considerations, “if considered necessary, in public interest.”
  • The government may also extend the service of Chief of Defence Staff “for a period as it may deem necessary”, but would be subject to a maximum age of 65 years.
  • The post of Chief of Defence staff fell vacant after the sudden demise of General Bipin Rawat, in a helicopter (Mi-17V5) crash on 8 December, 2021.
  • India has been left without a CDS since then.

About CDS:

  • The Chief of Defence Staff of Indian Armed Forces (CDS) is the permanent Chairman and military head of Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC) of Indian Armed Forces.
  • He is the highest-ranking uniformed officer on active duty in Indian military.
  • He acts as the chief military adviser to Defence Minister.
  • He also heads the Department of Military Affairs.
  • He is assisted by a vice-chief, who is the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff.

Who was the first Chief of Defence staff?

  • General Bipin Rawat had retired as an Army Chief before he was appointed as the first CDS.
  • He took office on 1 December, 2020.
  • The position was created with an objective of improving coordination, tri-service effectiveness and overall integration of the combat capabilities of the Indian armed forces.
  • At the time of the creation of the post, no analogous position existed.

About General Bipin Rawat:

  • General Bipin Rawat was an Indian military officer.
  • He was a four-star general of Indian Army.
  • He was also the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) from January 2020 until his demise in December 2021.
  • Before taking over as the CDS, he was the 57th Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee of the Indian Armed Forces and the 26th Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Indian Army.

ASTRA MK-I BVRAAM: In a major boost to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Key Points:

  • The contract has been signed for supply of ASTRA MK-I Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Air to Air Missile (AAM) and associated equipment for the Indian Air Force (IAF) & Indian Navy at a cost of Rs 2,971 crore under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category.
  • Till now, the technology to manufacture missiles of this class indigenously was not available.
  • Astra Mk-I missile and all associated systems for its launch, ground handling and testing has been indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in coordination with the IAF catering for Beyond Visual Range as well as Close Combat Engagement reducing the dependency on foreign sources.
  • The missile, for which successful trials have already been undertaken by the IAF, is fully integrated on the Su 30 MK-I fighter aircraft & will be integrated with other fighter aircraft in a phased manner, including the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas).
  • The Indian Navy will integrate the missile on the MiG 29K fighter aircraft.

Significance:

  • This missile is technologically and economically superior to many such imported missile systems.
  • A missile with these features, i.e., AAM with BVR capability, provides an aircraft with large stand-off ranges.
  • With this, an aircraft can neutralize the adversary’s fighter jet without having to expose itself to enemy air defence measures thereby gaining & sustaining superiority of the Air Space.

Gun Violence Bill: The U. S. Senate recently passed the historic gun violence bill the most significant firearms legislation in nearly 30 years.

Key Points:

  • The US Senate has approved a bipartisan gun violence bill that seemed unthinkable just a month ago, clearing the way for final congressional approval of what will be lawmakers’ most far-reaching response in decades to mass shootings.
  • The bill is now headed to President Joe Biden to be signed into law.
  • The bill came after mass shootings last month at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and a primary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 31 people dead.
  • In 2020, U.S. had witnessed 24,576 homicides, of which approximately 79%, or 19,384 incidents, involved the use of a firearm.
  • The bill is significant because it is the first time in decades that proposed reforms have received this level of support from both Democrats and Republicans.

Measures approved:

The reforms include-

  • Tougher background checks for buyers younger than 21.
  • $15bn (£12.2bn) in federal funding for mental health programs and school security upgrades.
  • Funding to encourage states to implement "red flag" laws to remove firearms from people considered a threat.
  • Closing the so-called "boyfriend loophole" by blocking gun sales to those convicted of abusing unmarried intimate partners.
  • President Biden has pushed for bigger reforms - including a ban on assault weapons, which were used in the Texas and Buffalo mass shootings - or at least an increase in the age at which they can be purchased.
  • The gunman in the Texas shooting is believed to have purchased two semi-automatic rifles days after turning 18.

What is the root cause of all firearm-related violence?

  • The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed”, is often attributed as the root cause of all firearm-related violence.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court previously held that the amendment protects the right to “keep and bear arms” for self-defense.

Arms Act in India:

  • The Arms Act, 1959 is an Act of the Parliament of India to consolidate and amend the law relating to arms and ammunition in order to curb illegal weapons and violence stemming from them.
  • It replaced the Indian Arms Act, of 1878.
  • The Arms Act was passed in 1959.
  • The Arms Act amended in 2019 reduces the number of firearms that an individual can procure from three to two.
  • The most recent amendment was in 2010 through an amendment to the Arms Act.
  • There was also controversy around air guns to be included as part of this act which was rejected by the Supreme Court of India.

Gun license in India:

  • Gun license applicants in India must be at least 21 years and not convicted of any offense involving violence, of ‘unsound mind’, or a threat to public safety and peace.
  • Upon receiving an application, the licensing authority (i.e., the Home Ministry), asks the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station to submit a report about the applicant after thorough vetting.

2nd squadron of P-8I aircraft-Condors: The Indian Navy commissioned its second P-8I aircraft squadron Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 316 at INS Hansa, Goa.

Key Details:

  • INAS 316 has been christened ‘Condors’ after one of the largest flying land birds with a massive wingspan.
  • Condors are known for excellent sensory capabilities, powerful and sharp talons and large massive wings symbolizing the capabilities of the aircraft and envisaged roles of the squadron.
  • INAS 316 will operate four P-8I aircraft procured as part of the optional clause in 2016 in a deal worth over $1 bn, the deliveries of which were completed recently by Boeing.
  • The new air squadron will be commanded by Cdr Amit Mohapatra who is an accomplished Boeing P-18 pilot.
  • The INAS 316 will operate the second batch of four additional P-8I aircraft, adding teeth to the armor of the Indian Navy, to 'deter, detect and destroy' any threat to the nation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • The Defence Ministry has already approved a proposal for procurement of six more P-8Is but that is now under review as part of an overall review of all imports.

Significance:

  • This ‘Game Changer’ aircraft is a potent platform for maritime surveillance and strike, electronic warfare missions, search and rescue, providing targeting data to weapon platforms, time-critical surveillance information to the Indian Army and the Air Force.

Missions undertaken by P8I aircraft:

  • The P-8I aircrafts have been deployed for extensive search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Cyclone ‘Tauktae’.
  • They have rendered Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) assistance post-cyclone ‘Hudhud’.
  • They were also deployed for support to friendly foreign countries during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the government’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative and participated with distinction in numerous multinational exercises, the Navy Chief asserted.
  • The aircraft was also used for surveillance over the land. It has been in operation in Ladakh during the stand-off with China and also on the Indo-Pak border.

About Boeing P-81:

  • The Boeing P-81 is the most sophisticated multi-role Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft.
  • It is powered by twin jet engines.
  • It can be equipped with air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.
  • It is also the platform of choice for detecting and neutralizing enemy ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • Since December 30, 2021, these aircraft have been operating from Hansa, and the squadron is integrated with full-spectrum surface and subsurface naval operations.
  • The P-8I is an integral part of the Since its induction in 2013, Indian Navy's fleet and has surpassed 35,000 flight hours.
  • The aircraft are a part of the 312A Naval Air Squadron based at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.

Note:

  • The P-8 aircraft's first international customer was the Indian Navy.
  • The aircraft is also operated by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

Other long-range surveillance aircraft squadrons with the Indian Navy:

  • The Indian Navy also operates an IL-38 Squadron, INAS 315 called ‘The Winged Stallions’.
  • This squadron is based in Goa.
  •  It was raised in 1977 with the IL-38 aircraft which received a mid-life upgrade in 2009.

Varuna: The 20th edition of the bilateral naval exercise that is named ‘Varuna’ was conducted by India and France in the Arabian Sea.

Key Highlights:

  • Various units of the two navies which include submarines, ships, fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters participated in this exercise.
  • These exercises continue to allow both navies to learn from one another's best practices.

About VARUNA:

  • The two Navies have been conducting bilateral naval exercises since 1993.
  • The exercise was christened 'VARUNA' in 2001.
  • It has become an important part of the bilateral strategic relationship between India and France.
  • This exercise is conducted so that the participating units can polish and enhance their their maritime operating skills.
  • The participating units also look to enhance their inter-operability so that they can undertake various maritime security operations.
  • The units also demonstrate their commitment to the region's security, peace, and stability as an integrated force.

Objective:

  • The scope of this exercise has grown over the years.
  • These exercises provide the navies of India and France with various opportunities to the best possible practices from each other.
  • This exercise plays the role of the significant driver for interactions at the operational level between the navies of both nations.
  • Also, this exercise has highlighted the shared commitment of both countries to the safety, security, and freedom of the global maritime sector.

Fleet Card- Fuel on the Move: The Indian Air Force (IAF), along with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), recently  introduced a “Fleet Card- Fuel on the Move” for its varied fleet of vehicles.

Key Highlights:

  • This innovative initiative taken by the IAF provides a paradigm shift to the logistics management of fuel.
  • Fleet Card’, the energy security for IAF vehicles on move, was launched by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Air Staff at Headquarters Western Air Command, Subroto Park in the presence of Air Marshal S Prabhakaran, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command and Mr. SM Vaidya Chairman IOCL on 28 March 22.
  • The headquarters was earmarked as lead agency in the implementation and execution of the “Fuel on Move” concept.

About Fleet Card:

  • Availability of Fleet Card will permit the convoy to refuel at any IOCL fuel station thus increasing the pace of movement and reducing the lead time for readiness at operational locations across India.
  • Personnel and other resources which are now involved in fuel management within the IAF can now be re-allocated towards other operational tasks.
  • This in line with the Shekatkar Committee recommendations of improving the Teeth to Tail ratio with the armed forces.

CAPF Punarvaas: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recently launched the ‘CAPF Punarvaas’ through the Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB).

Key Points:

  • CAPF Punarvaa has been launched to facilitate retired Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) and Assam Rifle personnel to secure employment with private security agencies.
  • The portal will help retired personnel seeking re-employment to find an appropriate match by uploading their personal details on the WARB website along with their area of expertise and preferred employment location.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs also runs a portal under Private Security Agencies Regulation Act (PSARA) for the registration of Private Security Agencies (PSAs).
  • Both websites have now been interlinked whereby the database of retired CAPFs personnel who have applied on ‘CAPF Punarvaas’ can be accessed by PSAs through PSARA website resulting in a single platform for both job seekers and job providers.
  • This new initiative of MHA provides access to the data base under ‘CAPFs Punarvaas’ to PSAs digitally.

About CAPF:

  • CAPF is an acronym for the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • CAPF refers to uniform nomenclature of security forces in India under the authority of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • However, its operational control rests with the Ministry of Defence.
  • Their role is to defend the national interest mainly against the internal threats.

They are the -

  • Border Security Force (BSF),
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) 
  • National Security Guard (NSG) and
  • Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

 

  • Of the CAPFs, the AR, BSF, ITBP and SSB are Border Guarding Forces.
  • The NSG is a commando trained force Organisation in India and is used for special operations. 
  • The CAPF forces battle terrorists, insurgents and naxalites and even play a role in the smooth conduct of elections.
  • CAPF which are tasked with doing the job of both the army and the police in guarding the borders as well as battling terrorists and insurgents are 365 days swinging Machine.

These personnel also serve in various important organisations such as

  • Research and Analysis Wing (RAW),
  • Special Protection Group (SPG),
  • National Investigation Agency (NIA),
  • Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI),
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF),
  • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)
  • State Armed Police Force (Jharkhand Jaguars, Bihar Military Police etc.) on deputation

 They have attachment/training in various levels/formations/courses along with the Indian Army.

  • The CAPF’s are headed by DGP rank officers.

Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB):

  • The Welfare and Rehabilitation Board (WARB) was established by the Ministry of Home Affairs for welfare and rehabilitation of the Central Police Force personnel (CPF).

Shaurya Chakras: President of India, Ram Nath Kovind recently conferred 13 Shaurya Chakras which included six posthumous to the personnel of the Indian Armed forces for their conspicuous courage displayed during operations.

Key Highlights:

  • The President also conferred 14 PVSM, four Uttam Yudh Seva Medals (UYSM) and 24 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals (AVSM) for distinguished service of an exceptional order.
  • These awards of Gallantry and other Defence decorations conferred were approved by the President in January on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day celebrations this January.
  • Army Chief General Manoj Pande was conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) for his distinguished service of exceptional order at a defence investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • Gen Manoj Pande assumed the charge of the 29th Chief of the Army Staff on April 30.
  • Before that, he was serving as the Vice Chief of Army Staff for three months and was the General Officer Commander in Chief, Eastern Command of the Army before that.

About Gallantary Awards:

  • Gallantry Awards have been instituted by the Government of India (GoI) to honour the act of courage and self-sacrifice of the officers/personnel of the Armed Forces and in addition to other lawfully constituted forces and civilians.
  • These gallantry awards are announced twice in a year that is first on the occasion of the Republic Day and on the occasion of the Independence Day.

The following are the gallantry awards:

War Time Gallantry Awards:

  • Param Vir Chakra (PVC)
  • Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)
  • Vir Chakra

Peace Time Gallantry Awards:

  • Ashok Chakra
  • Kirti Chakra
  • Shaurya Chakra

Shaurya Chakra: History

  • Shaurya Chakra is an Indian military decoration awarded for gallantry, otherwise than in the face of the enemy.
  • It may be awarded to civilians, also as military personnel, sometimes posthumously.
  • On 4 January, 1952, it was established as the Ashoka Chakra, Class III by the Government of India, with effect from 15 August, 1947.
  • On 27 January, 1967, the decoration was renamed as 'Shaurya Chakra' awarded for gallantry, otherwise than in the face of the enemy.

 

Defence Current Affairs - June 2022

247th Army Ordnance Corps Day: Army Ordnance Corps (AOC) units of Southern Command celebrated their Corps Day on 08 April 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • The year 2022 marked the 247th Army Ordnance Corps Day.
  • On this momentous occasion, Lt Gen JS Nain, PVSM, AVSM, SM, GOC-in-C, Southern Command felicitated all ranks and civilian members of the AOC and lauded their professionalism and commitment in ensuring an extremely high standard of Ordnance logistics support to the Indian Army, across the entire spectrum of conflict.

About AOC:

  • The AOC came into existence with the establishment of ‘Board of Ordnance’on 8th April 1775.
  • It was formed to ensure systematic distribution of weapons, ammunition and equipment to the British Army.
  • The AOC is responsible for ammunition, vehicles and stores support to the Indian Army.
  • Over the years, the Board of Ordnance underwent a number of transformations and in 1922 it came to be known as the Indian Army Ordnance Corps.
  • In 1950 when India became a Republic, the prefix ‘Indian’ was dropped and the organization became the Army Ordnance Corps.

57th CRPF Valour Day: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Valour Day  also called Shaurya Diwas is observed on 9 April every year, as a tribute to the brave men of the Force.

The year 2022 marks the 57th CRPF Valour Day.

History:

  • It was on this day in 1965, a small contingent of CRPF created history by defeating an invading Pakistani army, several times larger, at the Sardar Post located in the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.
  • The CRPF men eliminated 34 Pakistani soldiers and captured four alive.
  • In the conflict, CRPF lost six personnel who attained martyrdom.

About Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF):

  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is largest Central Armed Police Force in India.
  • It was established as the Crown Representative’s Police in July 1939.
  • After Indian Independence, it was renamed as CRPF in accordance with the CRPF Act.
  • It functions under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),of the Government of India (GoI).
  • MHA is currently headed by Amit Shah.
  • Besides law and order and counter-insurgency duties, the CRPF has played an increasingly large role in India's general elections.
  • Its motto is Service and Loyalty.
  • The current Director-General (DG) of CRPF is Kuldiep Singh.

Tour of Duty: The Department of Military Affairs recently finalised a radical proposal for future recruitment to the armed forces.

Key Points:

  • The Army will be the first to try out the concept –the ‘Tour of Duty’ recruitment model, which involves recruiting some soldiers for a fixed period of three years.
  • The ‘Tour of Duty’ (ToD) concept was first unveiled in 2020.

 What is the ‘Tour of Duty’ model?

  • Tour of Duty is a model of recruitment that would let young individuals voluntarily serve for a temporary period of three years.
  • It will be a voluntary engagement.
  • It is for youths who “do not want to make defence services their permanent vocation, but still want to experience the thrill and adventure of military professionalism”.
  • The proposal is a shift from the concept of permanent service/job in the Armed Forces, towards ‘internship’/temporary experience for three years.
  • While the original proposal in 2020 would have extended the ToD to officers as well, it’s now being restricted to jawans, as officers already have the Short Service Commission (SSC) route.

 Benefits for the government:

  • There are immense financial benefits to the organization due to a reduction in pay and gratuity payouts.
  • The cost of a three-year service per officer will be a fraction of the cost incurred by Short Service Commission (SSC) officers.
  • The cost incurred on an officer, who leaves after 10 or 14 years, is Rs 5 crore-Rs 6.8 crore, which includes the cost of pre-commission training, pay, allowances, gratuity, and leave encashment among others.
  • The corresponding cost for a three-year service will be Rs 80 lakh-85 lakh.
  • SSC officers have the option to join the service permanently, which further increases the cost incurred, including pension bills.
  • For soldiers, who usually serve for 17 years, the Army has calculated a lifetime savings of Rs 11.5 crore per person, as compared to a three-year service.

 Benefits for citizens and the country:

  • It will help to “channelize the youth energy into positive utilization of their potential”.
  • Rigorous military training and habits inculcated will lead to a healthy citizenry.
  • The entire nation will benefit from “trained, disciplined, confident, diligent and committed” young men or women who have done the three-year service.
  • An “initial survey” has indicated that the corporate sector will prefer to hire such youths rather than fresh graduates.

Purpose:

  • The Army’s pay and pension bill has been increasing steeply over the years, accounting for 60% of its budget allocation.
  • According to a report of the Standing Committee of Defence, 2019, the deficiency in the officer cadre of the Indian Army stood at approximately 14 percent.
  • Advocates of this scheme also cite the “resurgence of nationalism and patriotism”, and the fact that “unemployment in our country is a reality”.

 Pinaka Rocket Systems: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Army recently flight-tested the Pinaka Mk-I (Enhanced) Rocket System (EPRS) and Pinaka Area Denial Munition (ADM) rocket systems successfully at Pokhran Firing Ranges.

Key Details:

  • A total of 24 EPRS rockets were fired for different ranges during the last fortnight.
  • Required accuracy and consistency was achieved by the rockets meeting all trial objectives satisfactorily.
  • With these trails, the initial phase of technology absorption of EPRS by the industry has successfully been completed and the industry partners are ready for user trials/series production of the rocket system.
  • The Pinaka rocket system has been developed by Armament Research and Development Establishment, Pune supported by High Energy Materials Research Laboratory, another Pune-based laboratory of DRDO.
  • The EPRS is the upgraded version of Pinaka variant which has been in service with the Indian Army for the last decade.
  • The system has been upgraded with advanced technologies enhancing the range to meet the emerging requirements.

Additional Info:

  • Earlier, DRDO had successfully flight-tested Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) booster at the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.
  • In continuation with Government’s efforts to promote Private Industry,MSMEs and Startups in defence production ecosystem, the Ministry of Defence has now decided that 25% of the Domestic Capital Procurement/Acquisition Budget, amounting to Rs. 21,149.47 Crore, will be earmarked for Domestic Private Industry in the Financial Year 2022-23.

HELINA: Indigenously developed helicopter launched Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) ‘HELINA’ was successfully flight tested at high-altitude ranges as part of user validation trials in Pokhran.

Key Points:

  • The flight test was jointly conducted by the teams of scientists from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The flight trials were conducted from an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and the missile was fired successfully engaging a simulated tank target.
  • Helina has a maximum range of seven kilometers and has been designed and developed for integration on weaponized versions of the ALH.
  • Helina has been developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad under the Missiles and Strategic Systems (MSS) cluster of the DRDO. Successful user trials of the missile have been conducted since 2018.

 

Defence Current Affairs - April 2022

2nd squadron of P-8I aircraft-Condors: On March 29, 2022, the Indian Navy commissioned its second P-8I aircraft squadron Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 316 at INS Hansa, Goa.

Key Details:

  • INAS 316 has been christened ‘Condors’ after one of the largest flying land birds with a massive wingspan.
  • Condors are known for excellent sensory capabilities, powerful and sharp talons and large massive wings symbolizing the capabilities of the aircraft and envisaged roles of the squadron.
  • INAS 316 will operate four P-8I aircraft procured as part of the optional clause in 2016 in a deal worth over $1 bn, the deliveries of which were completed recently by Boeing.
  • The new air squadron will be commanded by Cdr Amit Mohapatra who is an accomplished Boeing P-18 pilot.
  • The INAS 316 will operate the second batch of four additional P-8I aircraft, adding teeth to the armor of the Indian Navy, to 'deter, detect and destroy' any threat to the nation in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • The Defence Ministry has already approved a proposal for procurement of six more P-8Is but that is now under review as part of an overall review of all imports.

Significance:

  • This ‘Game Changer’ aircraft is a potent platform for maritime surveillance and strike, electronic warfare missions, search and rescue, providing targeting data to weapon platforms, time-critical surveillance information to the Indian Army and the Air Force.

Missions undertaken by P8I aircraft:

  • The P-8I aircrafts have been deployed for extensive search and rescue operations in the aftermath of Cyclone ‘Tauktae’.
  • They have rendered Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) assistance post-cyclone ‘Hudhud’.
  • They were also deployed for support to friendly foreign countries during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of the government’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative and participated with distinction in numerous multinational exercises, the Navy Chief asserted.
  • The aircraft was also used for surveillance over the land. It has been in operation in Ladakh during the stand-off with China and also on the Indo-Pak border.

About Boeing P-81:

  • The Boeing P-81 is the most sophisticated multi-role Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare (LRMR ASW) aircraft.
  • It is powered by twin jet engines.
  • It can be equipped with air-to-ship missiles and torpedoes.
  • It is also the platform of choice for detecting and neutralizing enemy ships and submarines in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • Since December 30, 2021, these aircraft have been operating from Hansa, and the squadron is integrated with full-spectrum surface and subsurface naval operations.
  • The P-8I is an integral part of the Since its induction in 2013, Indian Navy's fleet and has surpassed 35,000 flight hours.
  • The aircraft is a part of the 312A Naval Air Squadron based at Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu.

Note:

  • The P-8 aircraft's first international customer was the Indian Navy.
  • The aircraft is also operated by the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

Other long-range surveillance aircraft squadrons with the Indian Navy:

  • The Indian Navy also operates an IL-38 Squadron, INAS 315 called ‘The Winged Stallions’.
  • This squadron is based in Goa.
  •  It was raised in 1977 with the IL-38 aircraft which received a mid-life upgrade in 2009.

Varuna: The 20th edition of the bilateral naval exercise that is named ‘Varuna’ is being conducted by India and France in the Arabian Sea from 30th March till 3rd April 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • Various units of the two navies which include submarines, ships, fighter aircraft, maritime patrol aircraft, and helicopters are participating in this exercise.
  • These exercises continue to allow both navies to learn from one another's best practices.

About VARUNA:

  • The two Navies have been conducting bilateral naval exercises since 1993.
  • The exercise was christened 'VARUNA' in 2001.
  • It has become an important part of the bilateral strategic relationship between India and France.
  • This exercise is conducted so that the participating units can polish and enhance their maritime operating skills.
  • The participating units also look to enhance their inter-operability so that they can undertake various maritime security operations.
  • The units also demonstrate their commitment to the region's security, peace, and stability as an integrated force.

Objective:

  • The scope of this exercise has grown over the years.
  • These exercises provide the navies of India and France with various opportunities to the best possible practices from each other.
  • This exercise plays the role of the significant driver for interactions at the operational level between the navies of both nations.
  • Also, this exercise has highlighted the shared commitment of both countries to the safety, security, and freedom of the global maritime sector.

Fleet Card- Fuel on the Move: The Indian Air Force (IAF), along with Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), has introduced a “Fleet Card- Fuel on the Move” for its varied fleet of vehicles.

Key Highlights:

  • This innovative initiative taken by the IAF provides a paradigm shift to the logistics management of fuel.
  • Fleet Card’, the energy security for IAF vehicles on move, was launched by Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of Air Staff at Headquarters Western Air Command, Subroto Park in the presence of Air Marshal S Prabhakaran, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Air Command and Mr. SM Vaidya Chairman IOCL on 28 March 22.
  • The headquarters was earmarked as the lead agency in the implementation and execution of the “Fuel on Move” concept.

About Fleet Card:

  • Availability of Fleet Card will permit the convoy to refuel at any IOCL fuel station thus increasing the pace of movement and reducing the lead time for readiness at operational locations across India.
  • Personnel and other resources which are now involved in fuel management within the IAF can now be re-allocated towards other operational tasks.
  • This is in line with the Shekatkar Committee recommendations of improving the Teeth to Tail ratio with the armed forces.

 

Cold Response 2022: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has organized the massive military drill ‘Cold Response 2022’ in Norway.

Key Highlights:

  • It began on March 14, 2022, and will continue till April 1, 2022.
  • Around 30,000 troops from 27 nations are taking part in the 2022 edition of the exercise, with about 220 aircraft and more than 50 vessels.
  • This is the largest ‘Cold Response’ being exercise conducted in Norway since the 1980s.
  • The exercise is held in Norway every two years, for NATO Allies and partners.

About the exercise:

  • The Cold Response is a long-planned and defensive exercise where Norway and its allies exercise in defending Norway against external threats.

 Note: This exercise was planned and informed about long before the war in Ukraine.

  • The Norwegian-led exercise provides an opportunity to train together in cold weather conditions over challenging terrain.
  • It demonstrates NATO’s ability to respond decisively to any threat, from any direction.
  • This exercise has been held off Norway’s coast since 2006.
  • The main aim of this exercise is to improve the collaboration and military capability of the alliance.
  • It is held in a combat environment that portrays the harsh Arctic setting with cold weather and rough terrain.

About Norway:

  • Norway officially the Kingdom of Norway is a Nordic country in Northern Europe whose mainland territory comprises the western and northernmost portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
  • The remote Arctic island of Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard also form part of Norway.
  • Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak Strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side.
  • The capital of Norway is Oslo.
  • The currency used here is the Norwegian krone.

About NATO:

  • NATO is an acronym for North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • It is an intergovernmental military alliance between 30 North American and European countries.
  • NATO was founded on 4 April 1949, Washington, D.C., United States.
  • The organization implements the North Atlantic Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
  • It is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.

Assam Rifles Raising Day 2022: The 187th Raising Day of the Assam Rifles was observed on 24th March 2022.

  • Assam Rifles Raising Day is observed every year on March 24 in India to celebrate and honour the Assam rifles who served the country in several conflicts including both the World Wars.

About Assam Rifles:

  • The Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force of India.
  • The unit can trace its lineage back to a paramilitary police force that was formed under the British in 1835 called Cachar Levy to mainly protect British Tea estates and their settlements against tribal raids.
  • Since then the Assam Rifles have undergone a number of name changes— the Assam Frontier Police (1883), the Assam Military Police (1891) and Eastern Bengal and Assam Military Police (1913), before finally becoming the Assam Rifles in 1917.
  • It is headquartered in Shillong, India. Since 2000, they are guarding the Indo-Myanmar Barrier under “one border one force” policy of the Government of India. Its governing body is the  Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence of India.
  • It is the only paramilitary force with a dual control structure. which means that while the control of the force is with the Indian Army, the salaries and infrastructure of the force are provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Its Motto is 'Sentinels of the North East'. 
  • The current Director-General of the Assam Rifles (DGAR) is Lt Gen Pradeep Chandran Nair, AVSM, YSM.

Contributions of Assam Rifles:

  • Assam Rifles have served in a number of conflicts including World War 1, where they served in the Middle East and Europe while World War II, where they served mainly in Burma.
  • They have also served after the Chinese annexation of Tibet where they were tasked with manning the Tibetan border of the Assam Himalayan Region.
  • The force has also been instrumental in maintaining the law and order in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It made a substantial contribution to the opening of the Assam region to administration and commerce, earning the moniker "right arm of the civil and left arm of the military" over time.
  • Two battalions of the Assam Rifles are stationed in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as one National Disaster Relief Force battalion, which is playing its active role in case of natural disasters.
  • Although India has long contributed to UN peacekeeping, the establishment of the Assam Rifles Riflewomen Team adds a social and human dimension to India's commitment to the community of nations.
  • The other services performed by Assam Rifles also include the provision of aid to the civilians at the time of emergency, education in remote areas, medical assistance, and provision of communications, among others.

Suraksha Kavach 2: The Indian Army with Maharashtra Police recently conducted “Suraksha Kavach 2” Exercise.

Key Points:

  • The joint exercise “Suraksha Kavach 2” was organized by the Indian Army's “Agnibaaz Division” with Maharashtra Police at Lullanagar, Pune.
  • The exercise involved the participation of the Counter-Terrorism Task Force (CTTF) of the Indian Army, Anti-Terrorism Squad of Maharashtra Police along with Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs), Dog Squads, and Bomb Disposal Teams of both agencies.

Aim:

  • The main aim of this exercise is to counter any terrorist actions in Pune.
  • The exercise also aimed to harmonize the drills and procedures undertaken by Army and Police to counter-terrorism.
  • This exercise looked to improve the interoperability between both organizations.

 

Defence Current Affairs - March 2022

Induction of Girls Cadets in RIMC: Rashtriya Indian Military College, for the first time in its history of 100-years, will induct girl cadets from July 2022.

Know as the "cradle of warriors", India's oldest military school, the Dehradun based Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), turned a hundred years old on 13th of March 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • RIMC Commandant Col Ajay Kumar revealed at the Rashtriya Indian Military College's Centennial Founder's Day Celebration, which was attended by over 500 alumni, that after the government opened the doors of the National Defence Academy (NDA) to women, RIMC has chosen to follow suit.
  • The institute will be admitting 5 girls students in July 2022.
  • The RIMC centenary celebrations in Dehradun witnessed the participation of Uttarakhand Governor Lt Gen Gurmeet Singh (Retd), former Indian Air Force Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa (retd) along with the Western Army Commander Lt Gen Nav Khanduri.
  • On the occasion, a postal stamp and a book titled ‘Bal- Vivek’, authored by cadets were also released. 

RIMC Admission:

  • Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) takes students from class VIII onwards.
  • The institution is regarded as a premier preparing ground for those aspiring to join the Indian armed forces.

About RIMC:

  • RIMC is the premier feeder institute for the prestigious National Defence Academy and Naval Academy, Ezhimala.
  • This military training institute, on the 13th of March 2022 was inaugurated by the then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII.
  • This institute at that time aimed at educating and training the Indian youth as a part of the Indianization programme of the officer cadre of the British Indian Army. 
  • The institution has given India 6 Service Chiefs —
  1. General KS Thimayya,
  2. Gen GG Bewoor,
  3. Gen VN Sharma,
  4. Air Chief Marshal NC Suri,
  5. Gen S Padmanabhan,
  6. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, and

41 Army Commanders and equivalent and 163 in the rank of Lt. General.

  • The role played by RIMC pass outs from World War II to the Balakot Operations has been much appreciated, and the stuff of legends.

Note: Not only in India but many top-ranking officers from Pakistan and Bangladesh have graduated from the RIMC.

Pakistan's General Gul Hassankhan, the last Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army and two Pak Air chiefs, Air Marshal Asghar Khan and Air Marshal Nur Khan, have passed out from the intuition.

Chair of Excellence: Indian Army on 15 March 2022 instituted a Chair of Excellence in the memory of late Gen Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) at the United Service Institution (USI) of India on the eve of his 65th birthday.

Key Highlights:

  • The formal announcement was made by Gen. Manoj Naravane, Chief of Army Staff and Officiating Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, at a ceremony organized at South Block.
  • He was killed in a helicopter crash near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8 along with his wife Madhulika and 12 armed forces personnel.
  • The main aim of the proposed 'General Bipin Rawat memorial Chair of Excellence' will be to conduct research on strategic issues of significance pertaining to the armed forces.
  • The Chair will focus on the field of jointness and integration among the armed forces.
  • The Chair will be open to veterans of the three Services and civilians having expertise in the field of national security and military affairs.
  • Naravane also handed over a cheque for ₹5 lakh to Maj. Gen. B.K. Sharma (retd), Director, USI, will be paid as an honorarium to the nominated Chair of Excellence.

About General Bipin Rawat:

  • In a tragic turn of events that followed on December 8, 2021, India lost one of its gems, General Bipin Rawat, in a helicopter crash.
  • General was on his way to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington (Nilgiri Hills) to address the faculty and student officers of the Staff Course.
  • Late General Bipin Rawat who served as India's first CDS as well as the 27th Chief of the Indian Army was an outstanding professional and was in the midst of steering one of the most radical transformations of the Indian military.
  • He took charge as the first CDS on January 1, 2020, with a mandate to bring in convergence in the functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country's overall military prowess.
  • One of the CDS's primary responsibilities was to assist in the restructuring of military commands in order to maximise resource use by promoting jointness in operations, notably through the development of theatre commands.
  • As the CDS, General Rawat carried out the extensive groundwork to roll out tri-services reforms.

About United Service Institution of India (USI):

  • United Service Institution of India (USI) is a national security and defence services think tank.
  • It is based in New Delhi.
  • It was founded in 1870 by a soldier scholar, Colonel (later Major General) Sir Charles MacGregor.

India’s Ordnance Factories’ Day 2022: The Ordnance Factories’ Day is observed on the 18th of March every year in India to commemorate the foundation of the first ordnance factory at Cossipore near Kolkata in the year 1801.

Highlights:

  • The day is celebrated by displaying the rifles, guns, artillery, ammunition, etc in exhibitions all over India.
  • The celebrations start with a parade and the exhibition will also display the photographs of various mountaineering expeditions.
  • It was on this day in the year March 1801 the first Ordnance Factory was established at Cossipore, Calcutta (now Kolkata).
  • It was known as the Gun Carriage Agency (now known as Gun & Shell Factory, Cossipore).

India’s Ordnance Factories’ Day 2022:

  • The Ordnance Factories observed its 220th foundation day across the country.
  • The day was observed by organizing an awareness rally on ‘Hygiene and Healthy Life,’ which was flagged off by Sanjay Dwivedi, General Manager, OFT.
  • Over 500 employees and members of the Women Welfare Association took part in the event.
  • It was noted that the OFT this year supplied 6.62 mm TAR rifles to the Ministry of Home Affairs and 12.7 mm guns and 30 mm guns for armoured fighting vehicles to the Indian Army.
  • OFT had also achieved milestones including the inauguration of 12.7 mm Stabilized Remote Controlled Gun (SRCG) Assembly and Testing Facility and launch of 14.5/20mm Anti Material Rifle by Rajnath Singh.
  • V. Gunasekaran, Joint General Manager, was awarded ‘Ayudh Bhushan’ award and K. Karthikesh, Security Officer, was awarded the ‘Best Security Officer’ award at a celebratory event.

About OFB:

  • The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) is an industrial organization, functioning under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India.
  • It works in the field of Research, Development, Production, Testing, Marketing, and Logistics.
  • OFB is referred to as the “Fourth Arm of Defence” and the “Force Behind the Armed Forces” of India.
  • The OFB was responsible for producing a variety of military equipment including small arms, explosives and propellants, ammunition and so on.
  • It is an organization of around 41 ordnance factories, 9 training institutes, 3 regional marketing centers and 4 regional controllers of safety.
  • The seven PSUs — Munitions India Limited (MIL), Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVNL), Troop Comforts Limited (TCL), Yantra India Limited (YIL), Gliders India Limited (GIL), Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL) and India Optel Limited (IOL) — have currently absorbed the functions of the previous 41 ordnance factories.
  • It works in the field of Research, Development, Production, Testing, Marketing, and Logistics.
  • The Indian Ordnance Factories supply products to all three Indian Armed Forces. ie the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air force.
  • The products include military-grade and civilian arms and ammunition, chemicals for missile systems, explosives, propellants, armoured vehicles, parachutes, optical and electronic devices, troop clothing, support equipment, and general store items for the armed forces.
  • The Arms and Ammunition, Weapon Spares, Chemicals & Explosives, Parachutes, Leather and Clothing items are also being exported to more than 30 countries worldwide.
  • It is the 37th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India.

History of Ordnance Factory Board:

  • In 1712, the Dutch Ostend Company's Gun Powder Factory was established at Ichhapur.
  • The OFB came into existence on April 2, 1979, in the new form. 
  • It possesses 200 years of experience in defence production.
  • The OFB is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • OFB consists of 41 Ordnance Factories, 9 Training Institutes, 3 Regional Marketing Centres and 5 Regional Controllerates of Safety, which is spread all over India.

 

Flying Trainer HANSA-NG: India's first indigenous aircraft trainer HANSA-New Generation (HANSA-NG) has successfully completed the sea level trials at Puducherry from 19th February to 5th March, 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • The aircraft, on 19th February 2022, flew to Puducherry, traversing 140 nautical miles in one and a half hours at a cruising speed of 155 kilometres per hour.
  • The aircraft was piloted by Wg. Cdr. K V Prakash and Wg. Cdr. Dilip Reddy of ASTE.
  • According to CSIR-NAL sources, the objective of the sea trials were to evaluate the trainer’s handling qualities, climb and cruise performance, balked landing and structural performance, including positive and negative G-forces which were all met successfully.
  • The aircraft ferried back to Bangalore after completing 18 hours flying at Puducherry.

 About HANSA-NG:

  • HANSA-NG is indigenously designed and developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), Bangalore.
  • It is one of the most advanced flying trainers.
  • It is powered by Rotax Digital Control Engine with unique features like Composite light weight Airframe, Just-In-Time Prepreg (JIPREG), Glass Cockpit, Bubble Canopy with wide panoramic view and electrically actuated flaps.
  • The aircraft is designed to meet the Indian flying club needs.
  • Due to its affordable cost and low fuel consumption, it is a good aircraft for Commercial Pilot Licensing (CPL).
  • Aircraft like the HANSA-NAL will assist India achieve its 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' aims through boosting indigenous ability.

About National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL):

  • NAL was founded in 1959 by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in New Delhi.
  • It is India's very first largest aeronautical research organization.
  • The core objective of NAL is to build civilian aircraft in India.
  • It works collaboratively with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

SLINEX: The 9th edition of India – Sri Lanka Bilateral Maritime Exercise dubbed SLINEX (Sri Lanka–India Naval Exercise) was conducted at Visakhapatnam from 07 Mar to 10 Mar 2022.

Key Highlights:

  • The exercise was conducted in two phases.

The harbour phase conducted on March 7 and 8, 2022 in vishakhapatnam.

  • It included professional, cultural, sporting and social exchanges.

The sea phase was conducted on March 9 and 10, 2022 in the Bay of Bengal.

  • Surface and anti-air weapon firing drills, aviation operations, seamanship evolutions, including cross-deck flying, advanced tactical manoeuvres, and special operations at sea were all part of the sea phase.
  • The Indian Navy was represented by INS Kirch, a guided missile corvette while the Sri Lankan Navy was represented by SLNS Sayurala, an advanced offshore patrol vessel.
  • Other participants from the Indian Navy included INS Jyoti, a Fleet support tanker, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), Seaking and Chetak Helicopters and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
  • The previous edition of SLINEX was conducted off Trincomalee in October 2020.

Aim:

  • SLINEX aims to improve inter-operability, mutual understanding and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between the two navies.
  • It symbolizes India and Sri Lanka's deep maritime engagement and has grown in scope over the years to strengthen mutual cooperation, in line with India’s policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).

Dharma Guardian 2022: Exercise Dharma Guardian 2022, an annual exercise between Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) successfully culminated.

Key Highlights:

  • It was conducted from 27th February to 10th March 2022 at foreign training node, Belagavi (Belgaum, Karnataka).
  • The Indian Army’s 15th Battalion the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment and the 30th Infantry Regiment of Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) participated in the exercise.
  • This 12 day long joint exercise, culminated after intense joint military training, provides a unique opportunity of achieving synergy between the Armed Forces of both Nations which is focused towards strengthening the timeless bonds of India - Japan friendship.
  • It covered a vast spectrum from cross training & combat conditioning in field conditions to sports and cultural exchanges successfully.
  • This joint exercise included raids on terrorist hideouts in semi-urban terrain, house interventions drills, unarmed combat & close quarter combat firing where both sides jointly trained combat first aid, execution and planning of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats.
  • Both contingents also utilized this opportunity to share their experiences on exploiting disruptive technologies like Drone and Anti-Drone weapons.
  • Furthermore, the exercise provided a platform for professional and cultural learning as well as social interactions which in-turn broadened their horizon towards knowledge and cooperation aiming towards co-existence as one in the Indo-Pacific Region.

About Exercise Dharma Guardian:

  • Exercise Dharma Guardian is an annual training event that is being conducted in India since 2018.
  • The scope of this exercise covers platoon level joint training on operations in the jungle and semi-urban/urban terrain.
  • This exercise has a strong emphasis on honing the tactical abilities needed to combat global terrorism. It also aims to improve interoperability between the two forces and strengthen Army-to-Army ties.

Other Joint Exercises with Japan:

SHINYUU Maitri: This is a bilateral exercise conducted between the Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) and the Indian Air Force.

JIMEX: It is a bilateral maritime exercise held between Japan and India.

Sahayog-Kaijin: A joint bilateral exercise between the Japan Coast Guard and the Indian Coast Guard.

CISF Raising Day 2022: India celebrated the 53rd anniversary of CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) Raising Day on March 10, 2022.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on this occasion pitched for a “hybrid” security model where the CISF could train and certify private security agencies so that they can take over the task of efficiently guarding various kinds of industrial and manufacturing units in the country.

About CISF:

  • The Central Industrial security force (CISF), an armed force of the Union established in its present form on 15 June 1983 is a Central Armed Police Force in India.
  • It was set up under an Act of the Parliament of India on 10 March 1969 with a strength of 2,800.
  • It was subsequently made an armed force of India by another Act of Parliament passed on 15 June 1983.
  • It is mandated to provide security to the premises staff along with the security of property and establishments.
  • It is one of six paramilitary forces in India and functions under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • It is the only force with a customized and dedicated fire wing.
  • The CISF has 12 reserve battalions and 8 training institutes.
  • The current Director-General of CISF is Sheel Vardhan Singh.

Mandate

  • It which works to provide security cover to over 300 industrial units, government infrastructure projects and facilities and establishments located all over India.
  • CISF guard strategic establishment includes the department of space, department of atomic energy, airports, seaports, Metro and historical monuments.
  • It also provides security in private sector units and some important government buildings in Delhi as well as consultancy services to private industries as well as other organizations within the Indian government.
  • The scope of CISF's consulting practice includes security consulting and fire protection consulting.
  • It also plays a major role in Disaster Management.
  • The CISF has a 'Fire Wing' which helps during fire accidents in Industries where the CISF is on guard.

 

Armed Village Defence Groups: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recently given a nod to re-establish village defence committees (VDCs) in Jammu and Kashmir with a changed nomenclature.

Key Points:

  • The VDCs will be called ‘village defence groups’ (VDGs) now.
  • Residents from the villages of Jammu and Kashmir will be enrolled for local defence before the delimitation process of Union Territory starts.
  • The VDGs can respond to threats in areas such as those with hilly terrain where the local police presence is thin.
  • Each VDG will consist of 8 to 10 members of the same rank and pay, which the government will credit to their accounts every month.
  • The VDGs will also operate in parts of the Kashmir valley.
  • The nomads, who live in Dhoks or mud huts in the upper reaches, would also be allowed to form such defence groups.
  • The current system of assigning one or two special police officers with VDGs will be discontinued.

Background:

  • The concept of VDG has existed in Jammu and Kashmir for a while, but the members left after they were not paid for a long time.
  • During peak terrorism in the 1990s, 4,125 VDCs existed in J&K.
  • At that time VDGs helped people in remote areas and defended their areas from terror attacks.
  • With the help of VDGs, the armed forces will be looking to eliminate all the terrorist activities that happen in that region.

Why were the village defence committees (VDCs) disbanded?

  • The VDCs were constituted in 1995 in 10 districts of the Jammu region to fight militants in far-off places. Around 26,567 locals were recruited into them.
  • Most of the VDCs were disbanded by the previous governments following allegations of misuse of weapons in several cases.

Modernization Plan-IV for Central Armed Police Forces: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved the scheme - Modernization Plan-IV for Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in continuation of the scheme “Modernization Plan-III for CAPFs.

Key Points:

  • The Modernization Plan-IV will run from 1 February 2022 to 31 March 2026.
  • The total financial outlay of Modernization Plan-IV for CAPFs is Rs.1,523 crore.
  • Under this project the CAPFs will be equipped with modern state-of-the-art equipment and weapons as per the operational requirements, keeping in view their deployment pattern in different theatres.
  • CAPFs will also be provided with upgraded IT solutions.

Implementation:

It is to be implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Significance:

  • Implementation of the scheme will equip CAPFs in improving the overall operational efficiency and preparedness.
  • This in turn will positively impact the internal security scenario in the country.
  • This scheme also aims to strengthen the government’s ability to address difficulties on the international border, Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LoC) as well as in various theatres such as areas afflicted by Left Wing Extremism, the Union Territories (UTs) of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and insurgency-hit North Eastern States.

About Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF):

  • Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) refers to the uniform nomenclature of security forces in India under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • Their role is to defend the national interest mainly against internal threats.
  • They are the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • The CAPF forces battle terrorists, insurgents and Naxalites and even play a role in the smooth conduct of elections.
  • CAPF is tasked with doing the job of both the army and the police in guarding the borders as well as battling terrorists and insurgents.

DAP 2020: Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently offered 4 projects to the Indian industry for design and development under the Make-I category of DAP 2020.

About Make-I category:

The Indian industry will be provided financial support for the prototype development of these projects.

The list of projects which were accorded ‘Approval In-Principle (AIP)’ by the Collegiate Committee of MoD is as follows:

  1. Indian Air Force: Communication Equipment with Indian Security Protocols (Routers, Switches, Encryptors, VoIP Phones and their software)
  2. Indian Air Force: Airborne Electro-Optical pod with Ground-Based System
  3. Indian Air Force: Airborne Stand-off Jammer
  4. Indian Army: Indian Light Tank

This is for the first time since the launch of DAP-2020 that the Indian Industry has been involved in the development of big-ticket platforms such as Light tanks and Communication Equipment with Indian security protocols.

Make-II procedure:

In addition, AIP, approval has also been granted to five projects under the Make-II procedure. They are as follows:

  1. Indian Air Force: Full Motion Simulator for Apache Helicopter
  2. Indian Air Force: Full Motion Simulator for Chinook Helicopter
  3. Indian Air Force: Wearable Robotic Equipment for Aircraft Maintenance
  4. Indian Army: Integrated Surveillance and Targeting System for Mechanised Forces
  5. Indian Army: Autonomous Combat Vehicle

Projects under the 'Make-II' category involve prototype development of equipment or their upgrades or their components, primarily for import substitution/innovative solutions.

However, no Government funding will be provided for prototype development purposes.

Significance:

The indigenous development of these projects in the country will help harness the design capabilities of the Indian defence industry and position India as a design leader in these technologies.

DAP 2020:

  • Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was first initiated in 2002.
  • It was to streamline the procurement of military hardware for the Armed Forces in a systematic and time-bound manner.
  • In 2016, it was reformed putting an emphasis on indigenously designed, developed and manufactured weapon systems.
  • It eventually moved towards self-reliance in the field of defence manufacturing.
  • DPP-16 has been revised as Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020 to further promote self-reliance in the field of defence manufacturing.
  • DAP 2020 has been aligned with the Government's vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and empowering Indian domestic industry, especially to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through the Make in India initiative which is aimed towards turning India into a global manufacturing hub.
  • It eases the procurement and acquisition of upgraded technology, products, and services for the Tri-Services and allied defence services.
  • It also establishes public accountability, transparency, fair competition, and a level playing field in the defence sector.

Make Category:

Make category of capital acquisition is the cornerstone of the Make in India initiative:

Make-I refers to government-funded projects

Make-II covers industry-funded programmes.

Make-III covers military hardware that may not be designed and developed indigenously but can be manufactured in the country for import substitution.

  • The Indian firms can manufacture these in collaboration with foreign partners.

Reservation in Categories for Indian Vendors:

The categories of Buy (Indian-IDDM), Make I, Make II, Production Agency in Design & Development will be exclusively reserved for Indian Vendors meeting the criteria of Ownership and Control by resident Indian Citizens with FDI not more than 49%.

National Security Day (NSD 2022): National Security Day or the Rashtriya Suraksha Diwas is celebrated on March 4th every year in India.

Key Facts:

  • The year 2022 marks 51st NSD.
  • NSD is celebrated in the honor of the Indian Security Forces who have given their lives in the service of preserving our country.
  • On National Security Day, several events are planned to highlight how India's military has kept the country safe from both external and domestic threats.
  • The country's security forces include policemen, para-military forces,  guards, army officers, commandos, and other persons involved in security, who sacrifice their lives in maintaining the peace and security of the people of the country.
  • Apart from this, National Security Week 2022 is being celebrated from March 4 to March 10, 2022.

History of the day:

  • 4 March also marks the day when the National Security Council (NSC) of India was established, in 1966 by the Ministry of Labour under the Government of India.
  • The first National Security Day (NSD) was held in 1972.

Objectives of National Security Day:

The objectives of National Security Day are as follows:

  • To achieve the participation of the public in valuing the importance of safety.
  • To promote the values and importance of safety in all sectors of life.
  • To implement safe practices at the workplace by considering safety measures as a priority to prevent accidents and mishaps.

Some facts regarding India's security forces:

  • According to the Global Fire Power annual ranking in 2022, India has the world's fourth-largest military, trailing only the United States, Russia, and China.
  • India is second only to China in terms of active military manpower.
  • India has a total of 1,450,000 active military personnel.
  • With a workforce of 1,155,000 people, the country is rated third in the world in terms of reserve personnel.
  • The country's defence budget has been boosted to Rs 5.25 lakh crore for the fiscal year 2022-23.
  • In 1998, then-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee established the National Security Council (NSC), which is the top council in charge of managing the country's political, strategic, economic, and energy security problems.

About National Security Council (NSC):

  • The National Security Council (NSC) of India is an executive government agency tasked with advising the Prime Minister's Office on matters of national security and strategic interest.
  • It was established by the former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 19 November 1998.
  • Ajit Doval is the current NSA and has the same rank as a Union Cabinet Minister.

Note: Brajesh Mishra was the first National Security Advisor.

Members:

Besides the NSA the Deputy National Security Advisors, the Ministers of Defence, External Affairs, Home, Finance of the Government of India (GoI), and the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog are members of the National Security Council.

Organizational Structure:

The NSC is the apex body of the three-tiered structure of the national security management system in India. 

The three tiers are:

  1. The Strategic Policy Group (SPG),
  2. The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB)
  3. The National Security Council Secretariat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presidential Fleet Review 2022: President Ram Nath Kovind took part in the Indian Navy’s 12th Presidential Fleet Review of the Indian Navy in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Key Highlights:

  • The Eastern Naval Command is hosting the Fleet Review for the second time.
  • This year marked the twelfth Fleet Review.
  • It is being conducted on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.

Key Points about Presidential Fleet Review 2022:

  • President Kovind, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces embarked on the presidential yacht.
  • Before boarding the President’s yacht, the president was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour and a 21-gun salute on his arrival at naval dockyard, Visakhapatnam.
  • This year i.e. 2022, the President’s Yacht “is an indigenously built Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel.
  • The yacht comprised more than 60 ships and submarines, and 55 aircraft.
  • INS Sumitra, lead the Presidential Column.
  • The yacht will be distinguished by the Ashoka Emblem on her side and will fly the President’s Standard on the Mast”.
  • The ships from all naval commands and Andaman & Nicobar Command were docked on one of the naval ports for the Review in Visakhapatnam.
  • As part of this exercise, Presidential Yacht sailed past the columns of ships anchored in lanes, and they were accorded the ceremonial salute.
  • There was a combination of ships from the Indian Navy as well the Coast Guard, along with some vessels from the Shipping Corporation of India and the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

As per the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the participating platforms in Fleet Review included:

  • Newly inducted combat platforms,
  • Latest stealth destroyer INS Visakhapatnam and INS Vela, which is a Kalvari class submarine commissioned into the Indian Navy recently.
  • Three Shivalik class frigates
  • Three Kamorta class ASW Corvettes
  • Ships from the Coast Guard, Ministry of Earth Sciences and Shipping Corporation of India.
  • The events also included waterfront activities such as Parade of Sails, Search and Rescue Demonstration at Sea, Aerobatics by Hawk aircraft, and Water Para Jump by the elite Marine Commandos.
  • The review was followed by the release of a special First Day Cover and a commemorative stamp by the president in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Communication Devusinh J Chauhan.

What is the President’s Fleet Review?

  • President’s Fleet Review is the country’s President taking stock of the Navy’s capability.
  • The Fleet Review is done with the aim of assuring the country of preparedness, high morale and discipline of the Indian Navy.
  • It showcases all types of ships and capabilities the Navy has.
  • It takes place once under every President, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces.
  • The President is taken on one of the Naval ships, which is called the President’s Yacht, to look at all the ships docked on one of the Naval ports.

Significance:

  • It is one of the most important events for the Navy, which is essentially showing its allegiance and commitment to defending the country.
  • It is a long-standing tradition followed by navies across the world, and according to Navy officials, it is a strong bond that links seafarers of the world.

Background:

  • First Fleet Review was hosted in 2006 by the then President of India APJ Abdul Kalam.
  • So far, 11 Presidential Fleet Reviews have been conducted since Independence, of which two have been International Fleet Reviews, in 2001 and 2016.
  • The Indian Navy too has participated in international fleet reviews in other countries, including Australia, America, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and the UK.

Eastern Bridge-VI: The Indo-Oman exercise, Eastern Bridge-VI (2022) was successfully conducted at Air Force Station Jodhpur.

Key Highlights:

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) participated in The Eastern Bridge-VI (2022) from 21 to 25 February 2022.
  • For the Exercise, IAF’s contingent in action, comprised of MiG-29, Mirage 2000 and Jaguar aircraft.
  • This is the sixth edition of the exercise.
  • IAF’s various dignitaries also visited the air force station in Jodhpur during the five-day exercise.
  • Earlier, the Eastern Bridge V was held at Air Force Base Masirah, Oman, in 2019.
  • The IAF contingent comprised of MiG-29 and C-17 aircraft.
  • This was the first time that MIG-29 fighter aircraft participated in international exercise outside India.

Aim:

  • This bilateral exercise was aimed at providing operational exposure and undertaking mutual exchange of best practices, towards enhancing operational capabilities of both the Air Forces.

Significance:

  • The exercise provided an opportunity for fruitful interaction between IAF and RAFO elements through mutual exchange of experience and operational knowledge.
  • It also provided avenues of cultural exchanges between the personnel of both countries.
  • Both sides also discussed further prospects of mutual co-operation.

Background:

  • The Indo-Oman bilateral exercise is being organized after the recent visit of Oman’s top defence official Mohammed Nasser Al Zaabi to India.
  • He also co-chaired a meeting of the Joint Military Cooperation Committee, which initiated a series of high-level defence engagements between both countries.

India-Oman Defence Partnership: 

  • Oman is considered one of the strongest defence partners of India in the Gulf region, and all three services have bilateral exchanges and exercises with Oman’s services.
  • Importantly, Oman also provides operational support to the Indian Navy in the Arabian Sea.
  • India has access to the Duqm port, which has strengthened India’s capability and maritime strategy in the Indian Ocean Region.

Insurgency in Manipur: The Defence Minister of India Shri Rajnath Singh recently called upon insurgency groups operating in Manipur to shun violence and come to the negotiating table.

Raksha Mantri Singh called upon the militant groups in Manipur to shun violence in an election rally on 14th February, in Imphal.

Rise of insurgency in Manipur:

  • The emergence of insurgency in Manipur dates back to 1964 with the formation of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), which still remains one of the formidable militant outfits.
  • The rise of separatist insurgency in Manipur mainly attributed to perceived discontent over the alleged “forced” merger of Manipur with the Union of India and the subsequent delay in granting it full-fledged statehood.
  • While the erstwhile Kingdom of Manipur was merged with India on October 15, 1949, it became a state only in 1972.
  • The later years saw a slew of militant outfits being formed, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), among others.
  • Tensions amongst these three tribes have added new chapters of violence in the state.
  • Secessionist movement by Naga militants in the neighboring state of Nagaland spilled over into Manipur’s hill districts with the NSCN-IM controlling most of it while pressing for “Nagalim” (Greater Nagaland), has created an atmosphere of hate in the hill regions of Manipur.
  • In the early 1990s, the ethnic clashes between Nagas and Kukis led to the formation of several Kuki insurgent groups, which have now scaled down their demand from a separate Kuki state to a Territorial Council.

Imposition of AFSPA:

  • In 1980, the Centre declared the entire Manipur as a “disturbed area” and imposed the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to suppress the insurgency movement, which remains in force to date.

About AFSPA:

  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 is an act of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces to maintain public order in "disturbed areas".
  • It gives the armed forces the authority to use force or even open fire after warning a person who is found to be in contravention of the law.
  • The armed forces have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area.
  • They can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  • If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
  • Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.

What is a disturbed area?

  • A disturbed area is one that is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA.
  • An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language, or regional groups or castes or communities.

Who has the power to declare an area a disturbed area?

  • The Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
  • A suitable notification would have to be made in the Official Gazette.
  • As per Section 3, it can be invoked in places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs would usually enforce this Act where necessary, but there have been exceptions where the Centre decided to forego its power and leave the decision to the State governments.

Note: Geographically Manipur is divided into Hill regions and the Imphal Valley.

Ceasefire Agreement:

  • The NSCN-IM entered a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India (GoI) in 1997, even as peace talks between them have still been continuing.
  • Similarly, the Kuki outfits under two umbrella groups, the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and United People’s Front (UPF), also signed the tripartite Suspension of Operation (SoO) pacts with the GoI and Manipur on August 22, 2008.
  • However, major valley-based militant outfits (Meitei groups) such as the KYKL, UNLF, PLA, etc. are yet to come to the negotiating table.

Defence Current Affairs - February 2022

India's First NMSC: Former Vice Chief of Navy Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, who retired last year, has been appointed as India's first National Maritime Security Coordinator (NMSC).

Working of NMSC:

  • The NMSC will be part of the National Security Council Secretariat.
  • The coordinator will report to National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval.
  • The NMSC will have the responsibility of coordinating between the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), security agencies who are involved in providing maritime and coastal security, in 13 Union Territories and coastal states of the country.

Key Points:

  • The creation of NMSC is part of Act East Policy, SAGAR (Security and Growth of All in the Region), Deep Ocean Mission and the Sagarmala project, the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convert 12 major ports of India into a world-class standard.
  • The Center took the decisive move to ensure reliability on security and its objective to strengthen the country’s maritime security.
  • The post is being created after two decades after the Kargil Group of Ministers' recommendation.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by PM Narendra Modi had given its nod to the proposal for the creation of the post in November 2020.
  • The appointment of Kumar appointment is seen as part of India's consistent efforts to bolster its maritime security following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that the terrorists commenced via the sea route.
  • Since the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, the government has authorized a plethora of security measures to ensure that a repeat of such attacks does not occur again.

Mumbai 26/11 Attack:

  • On November 26, 2008, 10 Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) gunmen directed by ISI handlers in Karachi sneaked into Mumbai through the sea, arriving by boat from Karachi.
  • They made their way into Mumbai through the Indian coast and conducted one of the biggest terrorist attacks on Indian soil while the maritime security agencies like the Navy, Coast Guard, and Mumbai Port were all at sea.
  • They carried out coordinated attacks on the main Chattrapati Shivaji railway terminus, the iconic Taj Mahal hotel, the Trident hotel, and a Jewish centre all in the heart of the financial capital's downtown area killing over 166 people and injuring many more.
  • This sent shock waves across the country and even brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war.

Why was the need felt?

  • The need for the appointment of NMSC was felt as it is the need of the hour as the Navy, Coast Guard and state maritime boards all tend to operate in isolation from one another with overlapping jurisdictions and is constantly at odds with each other.
  • India has a huge coastline of around 7,516 km including island territories and a two million sq km Exclusive Economic Zone so it has to be secured for the country’s integrity and safety.
  • Apart from this, over 70 percent of India's trade is done, including the critical crude oil exports through the sea. Also, the protection of sea shipping lanes is vital to India’s security.
  • Additionally, nine coastal states and four union territories of India feel that maritime and coastal protection is the responsibility of the Centre.
  • China too is moving towards a sea-based security doctrine and penetrating into the Indian Ocean through Pakistan and Myanmar.
  • Beijing is looking to reach Africa's eastern seaboard through the Indian maritime domain.

About G Ashok Kumar:

  • G Ashok Kumar is an alumnus of Sainik School, Amravathi Nagar and National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, Pune.
  • He held several important staff and command assignments in his nearly four-decade-long Navy career.
  • He retired from service in July 2021 after 39 years of service.

National Maritime Domain Awareness Center:

  • The Navy has also proposed the development of a National Maritime Domain Awareness Center.
  • It will be a multi-agency body including the Navy, Coast Guard, intelligence agencies, state marine police forces, ministries of Shipping, Ports and Fisheries among others for a stronger integration for maritime security.

 

Operation AAHT: The Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) has launched a nationwide ‘Operation AAHT’ to curb human trafficking.

About Operation AAHT:

  • As part of “Operation AAHT”, special teams will be deployed on all long-distance trains/routes.
  • Their main focus will be on rescuing victims, particularly women and children, from the clutches of traffickers.
  • As a part of this mission, the infrastructure and intelligence network of the force could be utilized to collect, collate and analyze clues on victims, source, route, destination, popular trains used by suspects, the identity of carriers/agents, kingpins, etc and shared with other law-enforcing agencies.
  • The RPF will act as a bridge cutting across States to assist the local police in the mission to curb the menace.

What is the need for this mission?

  • The Railways, which operate about 21,000 trains across the country daily, is the most reliable mode of transportation for the traffickers who often move their victims on long-distance trains.
  • Thousands of persons from India and neighboring countries are trafficked every day to some destinations where they were forced to live like slaves.
  • They are also being trafficked for organ transplants, illegal adoptions, working in circuses, begging, and the entertainment industry.

About RPF:

  • The Indian Railway Protection Force (RPF) is a security force, established by the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957.
  • It was enacted by the Indian Parliament for "the better protection and security of railway property and passenger area".
  • It has the power to search, arrest, investigate, and prosecute offenses committed under Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act 1966
  • The force is under the authority of the Indian Ministry of Railways.

Governance:

The governance of RPF is based on the following relevant legislation, rules and directives.

  • Railway Protection Force Act, 1957
  • Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act, 1966
  • Railway Protection Force Rules, 1987 – Laid, by the central government, as per provisions under RPF Act, 1957.
  • Railway Protection Force Directives, 1987

Milan 2022: The Indian Navy is set to hold the 12th President’s Fleet Review (PFR) on February 21 at Visakhapatnam.

A few days from that it will host the largest multilateral exercise in this region, Milan 2022.

About Milan 2022:

  • Milan 2022 will see the participation of all major Navies including Quad countries, Russia and from West Asia amid tensions in Ukraine and developments in West Asia.
  • This year’s Milan will see the participation of all Quad countries, with the U.S. being invited for the first time.
  • Exercise Milan is scheduled to be held from February 25 to March 4.
  • 46 countries have been invited.
  • The harbour phase is scheduled from February 25 to 28 and the sea phase from March 1 to 4.
  • It has several themes such as anti-submarine warfare among others along with deliberations, including by subject matter experts.
  • During the exercise, the Navy will also be showcasing its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) capabilities meant to rescue submarines in distress.

Note: India is one of the few countries in the region which possesses this capability.

About MILAN:

  • MILAN is a biennial multilateral naval exercise hosted by the Indian Navy.
  • It was first held in 1995.
  • The event features professional exercises and seminars, social events and sporting fixtures between participating nations.
  • Apart from the Indian Navy, the navies of Indonesia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand participated in the inaugural edition.
  • All editions of Milan had been hosted under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command and were held in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (mainly in Port Blair).

About the Indian Navy:

  • The Indian Navy is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Navy.
  • The Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star admiral, commands the navy. Indian Navy was founded on 26 January 1950.
  • The current Chief of Navy Staff (CNS) is Admiral R. Hari Kumar.
  • The Indian Navy is the fifth-largest in the world, employing 67,109 personnel.

Objective:

The main objective of the Indian Navy is to protect the country’s maritime borders and help in the expansion of its forces.

There are 3 commands under the Navy which are:

  • The Western Naval Command (Headquarters at Mumbai).
  • The Eastern Naval Command (Headquarters at Visakhapatnam)
  • The Southern Naval Command (Headquarters at Kochi)

Indian Navy day is celebrated on the 4th of December every year.

 

Beating Retreat ceremony: A mega drone show dazzled the sky today during the Beating the Retreat ceremony at Vijay Chowk in the national capital as part of the country's 73rd Republic Day celebrations.

Key Highlights:

  • The Beating Retreat ceremony marks the end of the nation's Republic Day celebrations, which began on January 23 on the occasion of freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's 125th birth anniversary.
  • The Beating Retreat ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and defence minister Rajnath Singh among others.
  • In a first-of-its-kind laser show, around a thousand made-in-India drones lit up the sky in different formations.
  • The show was organized by a startup called Botlab Dynamics and supported by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.
  • India has become the fourth country in the world after UK, Russia and China too have achieved this feat.
  • In addition, the Beating Retreat ceremony also included a projection mapping show to commemorate 75 years of independence on the walls of North Block and South Block.

About Beating Retreat ceremony:

  • The ceremony is held annually at Vijay Chowk in Delhi.
  • At the ceremony, the bands of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) stood in various formations and played music.
  • The entry band played the ‘Veer Sainik’ tune, followed by Pipes & Drums Band, CAPF Band, Air Force Band, Naval Band, Army Military Band and Massed Bands.
  • Commander Vijay Charles D’Cruz was the principal conductor of the ceremony.
  • To celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, new tunes were added to the ceremony. These included ‘Kerala’, ‘Hind ki Sena’ and ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’.
  • The event concluded with ‘Sare Jahan Se Acha’.

For the first time in more than 70 years, the popular hymn 'Abide With Me' was not part of the ceremony.

Note:

  • The Beating Retreat ceremony is a centuries-old military tradition.
  • It dates back to the days when troops disengaged from the battle at sunset.
  • As soon as the buglers sounded the retreat, the troops ceased fighting and withdrew from the battlefield.

Scorpene Submarine-VAGIR: On 1 February 2022, the fifth submarine of Project 75, Yard 11879, Indian Navy’s Kalvari class commenced her sea trials.

Key Facts:

  • The submarine was launched in Nov 2020 from the Kanhoji Angre Wet Basin of Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL).
  • The submarine would be named Vagir, after commissioning.
  • The submarine will now undergo intense trials of all its systems at sea, including propulsion systems, weapons and sensors.
  • The submarine is scheduled for delivery to the Indian Navy in the year 2022 after the completion of these trials.

Note: Despite the Covid pandemic, MDL has 'delivered' two submarines of Project 75 in 2021 and the commencement of sea trials of the fifth submarine is a significant milestone.

Background:

  • In 2021, INS Vela, the fourth submarine in the series of six submarines of Project-75, was inducted into the Navy.
  • The other submarines built and already commissioned under the project are INS Kalvari, INS Khanderi and INS Karanj.
  • The new Vela carries forward the legacy of her namesake, the erstwhile INS Vela which was commissioned on August 31, 1973, as the lead boat of Vela class submarines.
  • Apart from being a training ground for many submariners, INS Vela had several noteworthy operational achievements during her long and illustrious career.
  • She rendered yeoman service to the nation for 37 years and was the longest operational submarine at the time of decommissioning on January 25, 2010.

About Scorpene Submarines:

  • The Scorpene Class submarines are being built in India by the MDL, under collaboration with Naval Group, earlier DCNS, France.
  • The Scorpene submarines are extremely potent platforms.
  • They have advanced stealth features and are also equipped with both long-range guided torpedoes as well as anti-ship missiles.
  • These submarines have a state-of-the-art SONAR and sensor suite permitting outstanding operational capabilities.
  • They also have an advanced Permanent Magnetic Synchronous motor (PERMASYN) as their propulsion motor.

Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles: Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) recently signed a contract with the Indian Army.

Key Highlights:

  • The contract worth Rs 3,131.82 crore was signed to manufacture and supply Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles.
  • The Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles are being manufactured by BDL as a part of a license agreement with the Russian Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).
  • This contract will be executed in three years.
  • The missile has been indigenized up to the maximum extent.
  • Bharat Dynamics has augmented its manufacturing capacity to meet the domestic as well as overseas demand for Konkurs-M.
  • As a part of its global outreach, BDL is also offering Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, Nag, Milan-2T, and Amogha, in addition to Konkurs M, for export.

About Konkurs-M:

  • Konkurs-M is a second generation, mechanized infantry anti-tank guided missile.
  • It is being manufactured to destroy armoured vehicles equipped with explosive reactive armour.
  • The missile can be launched either from the BMP-II tank or from a ground launcher. It has a range between 75 to 4000 metres.
  • It can work in daylight as well as night light conditions.
  • Because of its launcher design, the Konkurs-M system can be installed on a variety of tracked and wheeled platforms.

About Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL):

  • BDL is an enterprise of the Government of India under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • It is the Lead Integrator for the Akash Weapon System of the Indian army. 
  • It was founded in 1970 as a manufacturing base for guided missiles and allied defence equipment.
  • It is headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana, India.
  • It is associated with DRDO for various missile programmes and is the production agency for Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM), for which, trials were conducted successfully.
  • It is also the production agency for Astra Air- to- Air Missile System which is indigenously developed by the DRDO for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The current Chairman and Managing Director of BDL is Siddharth Mishra.

Lt Gen GAV Reddy: Lieutenant General GAV Reddy has been appointed as the new head of the Defence Intelligence Agency.

Key Highlights:

  • General Reddy would be succeeding Lt Gen KJS Dhillon.
  • Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon retired after serving in various strategic positions during his 39-year career in the Indian Army.

About Lt Gen GAV Reddy:

  • Lt Gen Reddy is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington and has held a variety of senior command and staff positions.
  • After graduating from the Officers Training Academy in Chennai, he was appointed into the 9th Battalion of the Jat Regiment on March 8, 1986.

About Defence Intelligence Agency (D.I.A):

  • Defence Intelligence Agency (D.I.A)was founded on 1 March 2002.
  • The Director-General (DG) of the Defence Intelligence Agency (D.I.A) is the head of the organisation.
  • It is among the principal advisors on intelligence to the Minister of Defence (MoD) and the Chief of Defence Staff.
  • The post of the director general is held on a rotation basis between the three Armed services.

The first Director-General of the DIA was Lt Gen Kamal Davar, former director-general of the Indian Army’s Mechanised Forces.

Army Day 2022 Parade Trophies: General MM Naravane COAS recently presented the Army Day 2022 Parade trophies.

Key Highlights:

  1. The Trophy for Best Marching Contingents was presented to ASSAM Regiment for standing 1st & RAJPUT Regiment for standing 2nd.
  2. Best Military Bands for the Army Day 2022 Parade was presented to MADRAS Regimental Centre for standing 1st and ASC Centre (South) for standing 2nd.
  3. The trophies for Best Pipes and Drums Bands for the Army Day 2022 Parade were awarded to SIKH Regimental Centre for standing 1st and LADAKH Scouts Regimental Centre for standing 2nd.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gallantry Awards: The President of India Ramnath Kovind has approved awards of 384 gallantry and other defence decorations on the eve of the 73rd Republic Day celebrations, which includes 12 Shaurya Chakras.

Key Points:

The 384 awards approved by the President on the eve of 73rd Republic Day include -

  • 29 Param Vishisht Seva Medals,
  • 4 Uttam Yudh Seva Medals,
  • 53 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals,
  • 13 Yudh Seva Medals,
  • 3  Bar to Vishisht Seva Medals,
  • 122 Vishisht Seva Medals,
  • 3  Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry),
  • 81 Sena Medals (Gallantry),
  • 2  Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry),
  • 40 Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty),
  • 8  Nao Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty), and
  • 14 Vayu Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty).
  • This year's list of defence decorations also includes gallantry medals for soldiers and police forces involved in counterterrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.
  • The central and state police forces have been accorded 189 medals for gallantry. The highest numbers of medals have been awarded to the Jammu and Kashmir Police, involved in counter-terror operations.
  • This is followed by 30 to the CRPF, 10 to the Chhattisgarh Police, 9 to the Odisha Police, 7 to the Maharashtra Police, 3 each to the ITBP and the SSB and 2 to the BSF, among others.
  • In addition, the President has awarded one President’s Tatrakshak Medal (PTM), three Tatrakshak Medals (TM) and one TM for meritorious service to Coast Guard personnel.

Shauriya Chakra Awrdees:

  • Indian Army’s six soldiers have been conferred with the Shaurya Chakra Medals for their conspicuous acts of gallantry.
  • Five of them have been awarded posthumously with the country’s third-highest peacetime bravery award for operations in Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC).
  • The five personnel conferred Shaurya Chakra posthumously are Naib Subedar M. Sreejith and Sepoy Maruprolu Jaswanth Kumar Reddy from the 17 Madras Regiment; Havildar Anil Kumar Tomar from the Rajput Regiment; Havildar Kashiray Bammanalli from the Corps of Engineers and with the 44 Rashtriya Rifles (RR); and Havildar Pinku Kumar from the Jat Regiment and with the 34 RR.
  • The sixth Shaurya Chakra awardee is Rifleman Rakesh Sharma, 5 Assam Rifles.
  • Rifleman Sharma was part of an ambush that took place after receiving information on the movement of insurgents for extortion and killing of civilians in a village in Assam in May 2021.

About Gallantry Awards:

  • The President honours the country's military personnel with the gallantry awards for their show of gallantry and valour.
  • These gallantry awards are announced twice in a year - first on the occasion of Republic Day and then on the occasion of Independence Day.
  • The order of precedence of these awards is the Param Vir Chakra, the Ashoka Chakra, the Mahavir Chakra, the Kirti Chakra, the Vir Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra.

Investiture Ceremony:

  • Gallantry awards along with some other Defence Distinguished Service awards are conferred to the awardees/Next-of-Kins (NoKs) by the President at the Defence Investiture Ceremony held every year at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
  • However, the Param Vir Chakra and the Ashoka Chakra are conferred by the President to the awardees/NoKs on the occasion of the Republic Day Parade at the Rajpath.

History:

  • Post-independence, the first three gallantry awards namely Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra were instituted by the Government of India on 26th January 1950 which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August 1947.
  • Thereafter, other three gallantry awards i.e. Ashoka Chakra Class-I, Ashoka Chakra Class-II and Ashoka Chakra Class-III were instituted by the Government of India on 4th January 1952, which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August 1947. These awards were renamed Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra respectively in January 1967.

 

Pilot Shivangi Singh: Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh is India’s first woman fighter pilot on the Rafale combat aircraft.

Key Points:

  • Singh, who hails from Varanasi, was a part of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Tableau at the 73rd Republic Day celebrations.
  • She was flying MiG-21 Bison before being inducted into the Golden Arrows squadron of the IAF. 
  • She joined the Indian Air Force in 2017. She is the only second woman pilot to participate in the Indian Air Force Tableau.
  • Fighter Jet pilot Bhawna Kanth was the first woman pilot to participate in the IAF tableau.

Note: The IAF was the first force to have allowed women officers in combat and has the highest percentage of female officers.

IAF Tableau:

  • The tableau of the IAF at the Republic Day parade displayed the theme ‘Indian Air Force Transforming for the Future.
  • The tableau showcased the scaled-down models of MiG-21, Gnat, Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), Aslesha radar, and Rafale aircraft.

About:

The MiG-21s strike worked as the final trigger to capitulate the adversary and bring about a decisive victory in the 1971 war.

  • Gnat, also known as ‘Sabre Slayer was the first indigenous aircraft, armed with 30 mm Aden guns and rockets.
  • Gnat was considered to be the best aircraft to take on an enemy aircraft in a dog fight.
  • The indigenously developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) is capable of high altitude operations and is armed with Dhruvastra anti-tank guided missile.
  • Aslesha MK-1 is a three-dimensional Low-Level Light Weight and multi-beam ground-based 3D Surveillance Radar.
  • It is deployed in diverse terrains and has the capability to detect and track heterogeneous air targets, including helicopters, fighters, and UAVs at low and medium altitudes.
  • GSAT 7A is a Geostationary satellite.
  • It enhances IAF’s Network Centric Warfare capabilities by interlinking all ground-based Radars, airbases, Airborne Early Warning, and Control Radars for detecting aircraft and vessels.
  • Rafale with its advanced technology, equipped with a wide range of weapons is a game-changer to attain air supremacy.

 

Anti-armour weapon AT4: Swedish defence company ‘Saab’ has been selected by the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF) for the supply of single-shot anti-armour weapon AT4.

Key Details:

  • Saab was selected through a competitive programme.
  • The Indian armed forces are a new customer for AT4.
  • AT4 will be used by the Indian Army and the IAF.
  • The order includes the AT4CS AST, which can be fired from confined spaces such as from inside buildings, bunkers and other urban environments.

Note: Carl-Gustaf system of Saab is being already used by the Indian Armed Forces.

About the AT4:

  • AT4 will be operated by a single soldier. The single-shot system has proven efficacy against structures, landing craft, helicopters, armoured vehicles and personnel.
  • It is 84 mm calibre warhead offers enhanced power and performance.
  • The AT4 systems are combat-proven across the world.
  • They are lightweight, single-shot, fully disposable and truly characterized by their ease of use and handling.
  • The weapon can be fired with a range of projectiles, such as high-explosive anti-tank rounds, anti-structure tandem-warheads, and high explosive rounds.
  • It can penetrate more than 17.5 inches (44 centimetres) of armour.

About Saab:

  • Saab is a Swedish defence company.
  • It was founded in 1937.
  • It is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • The current President and CEO is Micael Johansson.

 

Defence Current Affairs - January 2022

NDRF Raising Day 2022: The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) observed its 17th Raising Day on January 19, 2022.

Key Points:

  • The NDRF Raising Day highlights the role of the NDRF personnel for their help and assistance during disaster situations in India.
  • NDRF celebrates the NDRF Raising Day on 19th January annually to mark its formation in 2006.

Significance:

  • NDRF, with its selfless service and unrivaled professionalism in disaster management, has earned a good name and fame both nationally and internationally.
  • In its 3100 operations, the NDRF has saved over one lakh lives and rescued/evacuated over 6.7 lakh people during disasters.

About NDRF:

  • NDRF is an Indian specialized force under the National Disaster Management Authority which came into existence on 19th January 2006.
  • It was constituted for the purpose of a special response to a threatening disaster situation under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • The act of 2005 was introduced after the successive natural calamities between 1990 and 2004.
  • Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted with 8 Battalions.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is under the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

About the DG of NDRF:

  • The head of the NDRF is designated as Director General (DG).
  • The Director Generals of NDRF are IPS officers on deputation from Indian police organizations.
  • Director-General is a three-star officer.
  • The current Director General (DG) of NDRF is Atul Karwal.

Motto of NDRF:

  • The motto of the National Disaster Response Force is ‘Aapada Seva Sadaiv Sarvatra’ which means the sustained disaster response service under all circumstances.

Aim of NDMA:

  • The aim of the NDMA is to build a safer and disaster-resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster and technology-driven strategy for disaster management.
  • This has to be achieved through a culture of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to generate a prompt and efficient response at the time of disasters.
  • This national vision inter alia aims at inculcating a culture of preparedness among all stakeholders.
  • In the beginning, the personnel of NDRF was deployed for routine law and order duties also.

Note:

  • On 25th October 2008, in a meeting of the NDMA with the Prime Minister, the need for NDRF to be made a dedicated force was highlighted and accepted.
  • This led to the notification of NDRF Rules on February 14th, 2008, making NDRF a dedicated force for disaster response-related duties, under the unified command of DG NDRF.

 Organization of NDRF:

  • At present, NDRF consists of 16 battalions from the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Assam Rifles.
  • The total strength of each battalion is approx. 1149.
  • Each battalion has 18 self-contained specialist searches and rescue teams of 45 personnel each including electricians, engineers, technicians, dog squads and medical/paramedics.
  • All 15 battalions have been equipped and trained to respond to natural as well as man-made disasters.
  • Battalions are also trained and equipped for a response during chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies.
  • In 2021, NDRF inducted its first women's team.
  • A batch of 100 women officials were inducted as disaster combatants and rescuers.
  • They were deployed to banks of the Ganga River in the Hapur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Disaster Response:

  • NDRF has proved its efficacy with its commendable performance during various disasters including drowning cases, building collapses, landslides, devastating floods and Cyclones.
  • NDRF has saved 133,192 human lives and retrieved 2760 dead bodies of disaster victims in 73 response operations in the country.

India & Japan Maritime Partnership Exercise: A Maritime Partnership Exercise was recently held between the Indian Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF) in the Bay of Bengal in a non-contact mode amid COVID-19.

Key Highlights:

  • The Indian side was represented by Indian Naval Ships (INS) Shivalik and INS Kadmatt while JMSDF Ships Uraga and Hirado participated from the Japanese side.
  • Both JMSDF ships are part of Minesweeper Division One and are on deployment to the Indian Ocean Region with Captain Noguchi Yasushi, Commander Minesweeper Division One embarked onboard JS Uraga

Aim:

The exercise was aimed at strengthening bilateral relations, promoting defence cooperation, enhancing mutual understanding and interoperability, and sharing best practices between IN and JMSDF.

Some Important Exercise:

  1. India and US - Red Flag
  2. India and Oman - Al Nagah
  3. India and Oman - Naseem-Al-Bahr
  4. India and Maldives - Ekuverin
  5. India and Indonesia - Garuda Shakti
  6. India and Egypt - Desert Warrior

Chief of the Army Staff Commendation: The Chief of the Army Staff Commendation was awarded to Virat, Darmi and Heena on the eve of Army Day on January 15, 2022, for their exemplary service.

Virat is a horse with the President’s Bodyguard (PBG), while Darmi and Heena are Army dogs.

About Virat:

Virat, a Hanoverian breed, was issued to the PBG on September 12, 2000.

He performed his duties as the Commandant’s charger for over a decade and awed spectators, including foreign dignitaries, with his trademark poise and confidence.

The Army has eight different trades of dogs. They are:-

  1. Tracker
  2. Guard
  3. Mine detection
  4. Explosive detection
  5. Infantry patrol
  6. Avalanche rescue operations
  7. Search and rescue
  8. Assault and narcotic detection

About Darmi:

Darmi was pressed into service for a search and rescue operation at a post on the Siachen Glacier on April 25 last year.

About Heena:

Heena, a Labrador retriever, is a tracker aged five years and is highly loyal, even-tempered, intelligent, obedient and exceptionally reliable.

Demilitarization of the Siachen glacier: Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane recently said that India was not averse to the possible demilitarisation of the Siachen glacier provided the neighbour accepted the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) that separates Indian and Pakistani positions.

Note: Acceptance of AGPL is the first step towards demilitarization.

Islamabad has so far not agreed to authenticate troop positions on the glacier.

Background:

  • Several rounds of talks between India and Pakistan on demilitarizing the Siachen glacier have failed with Islamabad refusing to authenticate troop positions on the ground.
  • Discussions of possible demilitarization of the Siachen Glacier had been going on in Track 2 talks between India and Pakistan.
  • Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran said in his 2017 book that the two countries had come close to an agreement in 1989, 1992 and 2006.
  • Siachen and Sir Creek have long been termed “low hanging fruits” in the past for resolution between India and Pakistan and the two countries have held 13 rounds of Defence Secretary-level talks on Siachen, the last one in June 2012.

About Siachen Glacier:

  • The Siachen glacier is the world’s highest battleground.
  • It is a glacier located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas at about 35.421226°N 77.109540°E, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
  • The Saltoro Ridge originates in the north from the Sia Kangri peak on the China border in the Karakoram Range.
  • It is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and the second-longest in the world's non-polar areas.
  • The boundary beyond this point was referred to simply as “thence northwards to the glacier,” leading to different interpretations.
  • The glacier's melting waters are the main source of the Nubra River in the Indian region of Ladakh, which drains into the Shyok River.
  • The Shyok in turn joins the 3000 kilometer-long Indus River which flows through Pakistan.
  • Thus, the glacier is a major source of the Indus.

About Indian, Pakistan and Siachen Glacier:

  • The Line of Control that divides India and Pakistan ends at a reference point NJ 9842.
  • The 76-km-long glacier acts as a wedge between the Shaksgam valley under Chinese control and Baltistan, which is occupied by Pakistan.
  • The Siachen conflict sometimes referred to as the Siachen Glacier conflict or the Siachen War was a military conflict between India and Pakistan over the disputed 1,000-square-mile (2,600 km2) Siachen Glacier region in Kashmir.
  • The Indian Army launched Operation Meghdoot in April 1984 and continued with Operation Rajiv in 1987 to secure the glacier after the Pakistan army occupied the heights on Siachen.
  • Since then, the entire Siachen Glacier, with all major passes, is currently under the administration of India
  • Almost 80% of posts on the glacier are located above 16,000 feet, with Bana towering above the rest at 21,753 feet.
  • India currently occupies dominating positions on the Saltoro ridge with Pakistani posts located 3,000 feet below.

Indian Army Day 2022: India celebrated the 74th Army Day to salute the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens.

Key Highlights of the event:

  • The celebrations for the Indian Army Day 2022, took place amidst stringent protocols at all Army Command Headquarters.
  • Army chief General Naravane, Air chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, and Admiral R Hari Kumar (Navy) paid homage at the National War Memorial to mark the 74th Army Day at the National War Memorial on the occasion of Army Day.
  • Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane inspected the parade on Army Day at the parade ground in Delhi Cantt.
  • Army’s Parachute regiment commandos marched in the new digital combat uniform of the Army during the Army Day parade.
  • It is the first time that the uniform has been unveiled in public.
  • General MM Naravane presented awards and unit citations, conferred Sena Medal to Major Anil Kumar and Major Mahinder Singh
  • Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha's wife received Sena Medal from Army chief General MM Naravane at the parade today for his acts of valour in the Galwan clash.
  • This year, the Indian Army showcased their collection of weapons including drones, advanced Light Helicopters, the BLT T-72 ‘Bharat Rakshak’ tank, the BrahMos Missiles, the 155mm Soltum Gun along with new Light Combat Helicopter from the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • The parade also included International Sports awardees and seven marching contingents, including mounted horse cavalry.

About Indian Army Day:

  • Army Day in India is celebrated on 15 January every year.
  • This day is observed to salute the valiant soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect the country and its citizens.
  • On this day, the soldiers are acknowledged and honoured for their selfless act and the celebrations set an example of brotherhood among the citizens.

History and Significance:

  • The Indian Army was officially established on 1 April 1895.
  • But, the Indian Army got its first Indian chief only in 1949, when India got its independence.
  • The day is marked to commemorate the day when the formal handing over of the Indian Army took place.
  • General (later Field Marshal) KM Carriappa took over the command of the Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief in 1949.
  • He became the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army post Independence.
  • Later in 1986, Lt Gen Cariappa became the second-highest-ranking officer in the Indian Army.
  • He even received the title of Field Marshal of India and was the second officer to receive the title.
  • In 1973, the first officer to receive this rank was Sam Manekshaw.
  • When Lt Gen Cariappa retired from the Indian Army, he further went to serve as High Commissioner to New Zealand and Australia till 1956.

About the Indian Army:

  • The Indian Army is the land-based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It was founded on 1 April 1895.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India. It is the world's second-largest military force.
  • It has the world's largest volunteer army.
  • The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Army, and its professional head is the Chief of Army Staff, who is a four-star general.
  • The current Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army is President Ram Nath Kovind and the 28th Chief of Army Staff is General Manoj Mukund Naravane.
  • The motto of the Indian Army is “Service Before Self”.

Note: In 1965, the then Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri had given the slogan like “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”.

Armed Forces Veterans Day 2022: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on 14th January 2022 greeted all veterans and their families on the occasion of Armed Forces Veterans Day.

This year i.e. 2022 marks the 6th Armed Forces Veterans Day.

Defence Reforms:

Ministry of Defence (MoD) launched three new initiatives for the welfare of ex-servicemen and their families on the occasion of Armed Forces Veterans’ Day.

  • The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (DESW) has allotted Rs 320 crore to Armed Forces Flag Day Fund (AFFDF) for the welfare veterans and their families.
  • This will benefit over 1,66,000 wards/widows of Ex-Servicemen (ESMs).
  • DESW has also launched a dedicated Raksha Pension Shikayat Nivaran Portal designed to speedily redress pension, including family pension-related grievances of ex-servicemen and their dependents.
  • The portal will enable the processing of grievances quickly by the DESW.
  • Directorate General of Resettlement has issued around 7,900 job letters to freshly retired Ex-servicemen during the period of April to December 2021.
  • The aim is to facilitate re-employment of ESM in the corporate sector and provide jobs through schemes for self-employment.

About Armed Forces Veterans Day:

  • India celebrates the Armed Forces Veterans Day each year on January, 14.
  • This day is being celebrated since 2017.
  • The day aims to acknowledge and honour the selfless devotion and sacrifice of our veterans in the service of the nation.

Why is the day observed?

  • This day is observed as a mark of respect and recognition of the services rendered by Field Marshal KM Cariappa OBE, the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces who retired on 14 January 1953.

About Field Marshal KM Cariappa:

  • Field Marshal KM Cariappa (fill name- Kodandera Kipper Madappa Cariappa) was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Indian Army.
  • He was called ‘Kipper’, by his colleagues.
  • He had received military training during World War I (1914-18).
  • In 1919, he was in the first group of Indians to be selected and he was sent to Indore for training.
  • At the end of his training, he was commissioned in the Carnatic Infantry.
  • He had led his troops in World War II and the first Indo-Pak war of 1947.
  • He successfully recaptured Zojila, Drass and Kargil and established a linkup with Leh.
  • After a long outstanding career, he became the first chief of the Indian Army in 1949, January 15.
  • In 1983, he was given the title of Field Marshal (five stars). The only other person who has been conferred the title so far is Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in 1973.
  • He went on to receive many awards and accolades in his career spanning three decades.

Awards:

  • He was the first ever Indian officer who was conferred the ‘Order of the Chief Commander of the Legion of Merit – by US President Harry Truman.
  • He received the prestigious Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his role in Burma against the Japanese force during World War II.
  • When he retired from the Indian Army, till 1956, he went to serve as High Commissioner to Australia and New Zealand.

MPATGM: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight-tested Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM).

Key Points:

  • The indigenously developed anti-tank missile is low weight and fire & forget missile.
  • The missile successfully destroyed the target during the test flight.
  • The current test was to prove the consistent performance for the minimum range.
  • All the mission objectives were met.
  • The missile has a miniaturized infrared imaging seeker and advanced avionics for onboard control and guidance.
  • The missile performance has been proven for the maximum range in earlier test trials.
  • It has been developed to strengthen the combat capabilities of the Indian Army.

About DRDO:

  • It is an acronym for the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • DRDO is India's largest research organization.
  • It was founded in 1958.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • It is an agency under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Government of India (GoI).
  • It is charged with the military's research and development.
  • It has a network of laboratories engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems.
  • The Minister currently responsible for DRDO is Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence.
  • The present Chairman of DRDO is Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy.

Colombo Security Conclave: The first Virtual Workshop of Colombo Security Conclave Virtual Workshop on “Developing Regional Cyber Security Capabilities on Defensive operations, Deep/Dark Web handling and Digital Forensics” was recently hosted.

Key Details:

  • It was hosted by the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), Government of India (GoI) in association with National Forensic Science University, Gandhinagar (Gujarat) and the Secretariat of the Colombo Security Conclave, over two days on 10-11 January 2022.
  • Delegates from Member and Observer States of the Colombo Security Conclave (CSC) including India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Bangladesh participated in the workshop.
  • At the 5th Deputy NSA Level Meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave held on 04 August 2021, Members and Observer States had agreed on four pillars of cooperation including the following-
  • Maritime Safety and Security,
  • Terrorism and Radicalization,
  • Trafficking,
  • Organized Crime & Cyber Security and
  • Protection of Critical Infrastructure.
  • The workshop was the inaugural activity under the fourth pillar.
  • It addressed the following key areas of
  • Deep Web and Dark Net Investigation and Challenges;
  • Digital Forensics;
  • Cyber Threat intelligence; and
  • Defensive Operations in Cyber Domain.
  • Discussions focused on technological advancements, research challenges, and approaches in these areas.
  • Participants agreed to identify key deliverables and continue to work on the way forward for cooperation on cyber security under the Colombo Security Conclave.

About National Security Council:

  • The National Security Council (NSC) also called the Rāṣṭrīya Surakṣā Pariṣad of India is an executive government agency tasked with advising the Prime Minister's Office on matters of national security and strategic interest.
  • It was established by the former Prime Minister of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 19 November 1998.
  • Brajesh Mishra was the first National Security Advisor.
  • Ajit Doval is the current NSA, and has the same rank as a Union Cabinet Minister.

Members:

Besides the NSA the Deputy National Security Advisors, the Ministers of Defence, External Affairs, Home, Finance of the Government of India, and the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog are members of the National Security Council.

Organizational Structure:

The NSC is the apex body of the three-tiered structure of the national security management system in India.  The three tiers are

  1. The Strategic Policy Group (SPG),
  2. The National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and
  3. The National Security Council Secretariat.

 

 

Exercise Milan 2022: India will host 46 nations in mega naval wargames in 2022, known as Exercise Milan.

Key Points:

  • India has invited a total of 46 friendly foreign countries to participate in the multinational naval exercise Milan.
  • This exercise will take place in Visakhapatnam which is scheduled from February 25, 2022.
  • This time besides the member countries of the QUAD (Japan, the US and Australia), the member nations of AUKUS (the UK, Australia & the US) too are going to be participating in this drill which is going to be all about interoperability and jointness in the waters.
  • The countries that have been extended invitations for participation include Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Japan, South Korea, Israel, Iran, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, among others.
  • According to an official, India has increased its naval engagements with friendly nations at bilateral, trilateral and multilateral levels since 2018.

Theme of Exercise Milan 2022:

  • The theme of this 11th edition of exercise Milan is camaraderie, cohesion and collaboration.

Key Points about Exercise MILAN 2022:

  • During this phase, competent competitions and conferences will help to set the operational tone for the Sea Phase, which will take place from March 1-4.
  • This Phase would be utilized to consolidate upon the lessons learned during harbour interactions and to build upon the experience of operating together at sea.
  • Both India and like-minded navies are getting together to find ways to counter the growing presence of China in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific.
  • The focus will also be on ensuring the sea lanes are open and freedom of navigation.

About Milan Exercise:

  • Milan is a multilateral naval exercise hosted by the Indian Navy.
  • ('Milan' means 'Meeting' in Hindi)
  • The biennial event features professional exercises and seminars, social events and sporting fixtures between participating nations.
  • Milan was first held in 1995.
  • Apart from the Indian Navy, the navies of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand participated in the inaugural edition.
  • All editions of Milan had been hosted under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command and were held in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • In 2020, the Navy decided to hold the next edition of Milan in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh under the Eastern Naval Command.
  • The biggest edition of the event ever was in 2014 when 17 nations, including India, participated in it.

 

Nuclear Weapons: For the first time, the five most powerful nations pledged to prevent atomic weapons from spreading and to avoid nuclear conflict, in a rare joint statement ahead of a review of a key nuclear treaty later this year.

Key Points:

  • The 5 nations are the US, Russia, China, UK and France.
  • These nations were nuclear weapons states recognized by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
  • They were also the 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). They are known as P5 or N5.

About the joint statement:

  • The joint statement includes - "We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented" and "A Nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought".
  • These five countries, also permanent members of the UN Security Council, said they believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented.
  • They also reaffirmed the importance of addressing nuclear threats and emphasized the importance of preserving and complying with their bilateral and multilateral nonproliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements and commitments.
  • The statement was issued after the latest review of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) — which first came into force in 1970 — was postponed from its scheduled date of January 4 to later in the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What was the reason for such a statement?

  • The statement comes as tensions between Russia and the United States have reached heights rarely seen since the Cold War over a troop build-up by Moscow close to the Ukrainian border.
  • That has raised fears that the Kremlin is planning a new attack on its pro-Western neighbour.
  • The rise of China meanwhile has also raised concerns that tensions with Washington could lead to conflict, notably over the island of Taiwan.
  • Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and has vowed to seize it one day, by force if necessary.

About Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT):

  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is also commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT.
  • It is an international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
  • NTP was signed on 1 July 1968 and became effective on 5 March 1970.

Which UN member states have not signed the treaty?

  • The UN member states who have not signed the treaty are India, Pakistan, South Sudan and Israel.

Note: North Korea is the only country that has withdrawn from the treaty.

 

Exercise Sea Dragon 22: India and five other nations begin the anti-submarine exercise with the US.

Key Points:

  • The countries that are participating along with India in the exercise are Australia, Canada, the US, South Korea and Japan.
  • The exercise started from started on January 5th, 2022 at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
  • It is a US air force base.

About Sea Dragon 22:

  • It is a US-led exercise.
  • The exercise is primarily focused on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training.
  • It aims to enhance interoperability among the participating forces and respond to regional contingencies.
  • It will involve more than 270 hours of in-flight training and activities ranging from tracking simulated targets to tracking a US Navy submarine.
  • During the exercise, the countries will discuss traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo – Pacific region.
  • Each event will have grades and scores. the nation that will score the highest total points will be honoured with the coveted Dragon Belt award

In 2021, the Dragon Belt Award was won by Royal Canadian Air Force.

 

V.S Pathania:  V.S. Pathania recently took over as the 24th Director General (DG) of the Indian Coast Guard.

He succeeded Krishnaswamy Natarajan as the 24th Director General (DG) of the Indian Coast Guard, who had retired.

About V.S. Pathania:

  • The Flag Officer is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, and the National Defence College, New Delhi.
  • He was elevated to the rank of Additional Director General in Nov 2019 and took over the reins as Coast Guard Commander (Eastern Seaboard) at Visakhapatnam.
  • In a career of over 36 years, Pathania has held several key appointments afloat and ashore and has also commanded all classes of Coast Guard ships namely Inshore Patrol Vessel ‘Ranijindan’, Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ‘Vigraha’ and advanced OPV ‘Sarang’.
  •  
  • Pathania is the recipient of President’s Tatrakshak Medal for Distinguished Service, Tatrakshak Medal for gallantry, and DG Coast Guard Commendation.

About ICG:

  • ICG refers to the Indian Coast Guard.
  • It is an armed force that protects India's maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone.
  • IGC was founded on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of Parliament of India an independent Armed force of India.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The motto of IGC is Vayam  “Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”.
  • The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces.

 

 

Defence Current Affairs - December 2021

Quantum Lab MCTE in Mhow: The Indian Army, with support from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), has recently established the Quantum Lab at Military College of Telecommunication Engineering (MCTE) in Mhow in Madhya Pradesh.

Key Points:

  • The move is intended to spearhead research and training in the emerging Quantum technology field.
  • Indian Army has also established an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Centre at the same institution with over 140 deployments in forward areas and active support of industry and academia.
  • Training on cyber warfare is being imparted through a state of art cyber range, and cyber security labs.
  • Ideation for Army’s involvement in Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations was done in a seminar on Electromagnetic Spectrum and National Security organised in October last year.
  • Since then, an impetus has been given to Indian Army’s Technology Institutions for investing in AI, Quantum and Cyber.

Significance:

  • Research undertaken by Indian Army in the field of Quantum Technology will help leapfrog into next generation communication and transform the current system of cryptography in the Indian Armed Forces to Post Quantum Cryptography (PQC).

Key thrust areas are Quantum Key Distribution, Quantum Communication, Quantum Computing and Post Quantum Cryptography.

AERV: On December 21, 2021, the first set of indigenously developed next generation batches of indigenously developed Armoured Engineer Reconnaissance Vehicle (AERV) were inducted into the Indian Army by the Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane .

Key Points:

  • Indigenous Armoured Engineer Reconnaissance vehicle has been designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • This next-generation vehicle has been manufactured by Ordnance Factory Medak (OFMK) and Bharat Electronics Limited, Pune.
  • The Indian Army has ordered 53 units of the AERV
  • These vehicles will be deployed with individual engineering formations, mainly on the Western front.

About AERV:

  • The AERV has been developed by modifying the amphibious infantry fighting vehicle BMP-II. It is designed to meet the tactical and combat requirements of military engineers carrying out terrestrial and under-water surveys in hostile terrains
  • It will be primarily used for the construction of assault bridges in desert, flat and even riverine areas for both offensive and defensive operations.

Benefits:

  • According to the Defence ministry, the vehicle is capable of carrying out reconnaissance of water obstacles and boggy patches for the execution of engineering tasks with capabilities to carry out reconnaissance and provide real time update to force commanders,”
  • The new platforms will enhance existing engineer reconnaissance capabilities of Indian Army and would be a major game-changer in support of mechanized operations in future conflicts.

CADS: The Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), an R&D laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), on December 19, 2021, conducted a flight demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System (CADS).

Note: ADRE is a laboratory of DRDO.

Key Highlights:

  • ADRDE conducted a flight demonstration of Controlled Aerial Delivery System of 500 kg capacity (CADS-500).
  • The flight demonstration was part of a series of activities organised towards celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, commemorating 75 years of Independence.
  • System performance was demonstrated yesterday at Drop Zone at Malpura in Agra from an altitude of 5000m.
  • The system was para-dropped from AN32 aircraft and then steered to the predesignated landing point in autonomous mode.
  • Eleven paratroopers of Indian Army and Indian Air Force chased the CADS-500 in air and landed simultaneously.

What is ‘CADS-500’?

  • The CADS-500 is used for precise delivery of payload upto 500 kgs at predetermined location by making use of manoeuvrable capabilities of Ram Air Parachute.
  • It uses Global Positioning System for the coordinates, altitude and heading sensors for the heading information during its flight.
  • The CADS, with its onboard electronics unit, autonomously steers its flight path using waypoint navigation towards target location by operating controls.
  • The system can travel up to 30 km.

About ADRDE:

  • Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE) is an R&D laboratory of DRDO.
  • It is located in Agra in Uttar Pradesh (UP).
  • Its research scope includes development of systems for dropping heavy loads, brake parachutes, towed targets, aircraft arrester barriers and aerostats.

Exercise EKUVERIN 2021: The 11th Edition of Exercise EKUVERIN is being conducted at Kadhdhoo Island, Maldives from 06 to 19 December 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • The exercise is set to enhance synergy & inter-operability between armed forces of both the countries in terms of understanding transnational terrorism both on land & at sea, conducting Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations and sharing best military practices and experiences.
  • Besides rigorous training, the joint military exercise will also include cultural and sports activities to enhance defence cooperation and bilateral relations.

In 2019, the tenth edition of the Exercise Ekuverin was held in Pune in Maharashtra and in 2018 the exercise was held in Maldives.

Significance:

  • The 2021 Exercise Ekuverin will go a long way in strengthening India’s relations with Maldives amidst emerging security dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region.

About Exercise Ekuverin:

  • The Exercise Ekuverin is a joint military exercise held between the armies of India and Maldives.
  • The word ‘Ekuverin’ means ‘Friends’ in Dhivehi, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Maldives and Lakshadweep.
  • The Ekuverin Exercise between India and Maldives is being conducted since 2009.
  • This joint military exercise is held alternatively in India and Maldives.

Positive Indigenisation Lists: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has made a provision to grant exemption to the Services for the import of equipment and systems on the “Positive Indigenisation Lists” or the negative import list in certain cases.

Key Points:

  • This will be reviewed by the Defence Indigenisation Committee (DIC) to be constituted under the Chairmanship of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS).
  • These guidelines will be applicable prospectively with effect from the date of issuance,” the notifications dated November 2, 2021 stated.
  • It was put out by the MoD on November 24.
  • To oversee the implementation of the List an empowered monitoring committee, DIC will be constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary DMA with members drawn from all stakeholders, the guidelines state.

Source: Hindu

Exercise EKUVERIN: The 11th Edition of Exercise EKUVERIN between India & Maldives was recently conducted at Kadhdhoo Island, Maldives from 06 to 19 December 2021.

Note: Earlier, the 15th edition of the biennial trilateral Coast Guard Exercise ‘Dosti’ involving India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka was held in the Maldives.

Key Highlights:

  • The exercise will enhance synergy & inter-operability between Armed Forces of both the Nations in terms of understanding transnational terrorism both on land & at sea, conducting Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations and sharing best military practices and experiences.
  • Besides rigorous training, the joint military excercise also included cultural and sports activities to enhance defence cooperation and bilateral relations.
  • The exercise seeks go a long way in strengthening India’s relations with Maldives amidst emerging security dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Background:

  • India and Maldives have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin meaning “Friends” in the Dhivehi language in the Maldivian language since 2009.
  • The 14 days Joint Exercise is held alternatively in India and Maldives.
  • In 2019, the exercise was held in Pune, Maharashtra and in 2018, it was held in the Maldives.

About Dhivehi Language:

  • Dhivehi language is an Indo – Aryan language.
  • It is spoken in India, Lakshadweep and Maldives.

Sandhayak: The Indian Navy recently launched 'Sandhayak', the first of the four large survey vessels, in Kolkata, West Bengal.

Highlights:

  • The ship was launched by Pushpa Bhatt, spouse of Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, who was the Chief Guest at the event.
  • The primary role of these survey ships would be to conduct full-scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of ports and harbours, and determination of navigational channels and routes.
  • "Sandhayak’ reinforces Government’s commitment of indigenous shipbuilding and is a big step towards 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'.

Key Points about Sandhayak:

  • These Vessels have been designed and developed by Defence Public Sector Undertaking (DPSU), Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited, which is among the leading warship building companies in India.
  • Its design is in compliance with applicable provisions and regulations of the Classified Society.
  • These Sandhayak-class survey ships are equipped with new generation hydrographic equipment to collect oceanographic and geophysical data.
  • The ships are 110 metres long, 16 metres wide with a deep displacement of 3,300 tons and a complement of 235 personnel.
  • The ship's propulsion system consists of two main engines in twin shaft configuration and is designed for a cruise speed of 14 knots and maximum speed of 18 knots.
  • The ship has taken its name from the first ship of the erstwhile Sandhayak-class survey ships. The erstwhile Sandhayak, incidentally, was also launched in Kolkata 44 years ago, on April 6, 1977.

Significance:

  • These survey ships are capable of full scale coastal & deep-water hydrographic survey of Ports & Harbour approaches and determination of navigational channels & routes.
  • These ships also capable of undertaking survey of maritime limits and collection of Oceanographic & Geographical data for Defence applications, thereby boosting the maritime capabilities of the country.
  • These ships have two Marine Diesel Engines combined with Fixed Pitch Propellers and fitted with Bow & Stern Thrusters for manoeuvring at low speeds during surveys.
  • These ships are also capable of performing roles such as Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief, besides serving as hospital ships with limited facilities during emergencies.
  • These survey vessels will have over 80 per cent indigenous content.

President’s Standard: The 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron, also known as the Killer Squadron of the Indian Navy were awarded the President’s Standard by the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind, at a ceremonial parade to be held at Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 08 December 2021.

Highlights:

  • To mark this occasion, the postal department has released a special day cover and a commemorative stamp.
  • The year 2021 also marks the 50 years of inception of the Missile Vessel Squadron, also known as Killers.

About 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron:

  • The 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron was formally established at Mumbai in Oct 1991 with ten Veer Class and three Prabal Class missile boats.
  • However, the genesis of ‘Killers’ dates back to the year 1969, with the induction of OSA I Class missile boats from erstwhile USSR to bolster the strength of the Indian Navy.
  • These missile boats were transported to India on heavy lift merchant ships and commissioned in early 1971 at Kolkata.
  • They were baptized by fire in the same year during the Indo – Pak war of 1971 where they played a decisive role in the outcome of the war.
  • The squadron carried out ‘Operation Trident’ and bombed Pakistan’s Karachi Port during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
  • It has also taken part in several missions including Operation Vijay, Operation Parakram and also during the heightened security state following the 2019 Pulwama attack.
  • The squadron had received several battle honours including 1 Maha Vir Chakra, 7 Vir chakras and 8 Nausena Medals (Gallantry).

About President’s Standard:

  • The President’s Standard is the highest honour bestowed by the Supreme Commander to a military unit in recognition of the service rendered to the nation.
  • The Indian Navy was awarded the President’s Colours on 27 May 1951 by the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad.
  • The President’s Standard is the same honour as the President’s Colours, awarded to a relatively smaller military formation or unit.

Defence Current Affairs - November 2021

Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA): Sixty-seven militants of the banned Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA), an extremist group based in Assam, have surrendered to the Assam government.

The DNLA militants also deposited a large cache of arms and ammunition.

The DNLA had announced a ceasefire in September and 46 cadres of the group had surrendered on November 13.

The group, mostly active in Dima Hasao district in Assam, had announced a unilateral ceasefire in September and 46 cadres of the group had surrendered on November 13.

About Dimasa Tribe:

The Dimasa tribe is an indigenous, ethno-linguistic community living in Assam and Nagaland.

The DNLA was formed in early 2019 with the purported aim to create a “sovereign, independent Dimasa Nation”.

Pralay Ballistic Missile:India has successfully test-fired its surface-to-surface guided ballistic missile ‘Pralay‘ off the Odisha coast in Balasore.

Pralay was launched from the APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.

All about Pralay
• This tactical Short Range Ballistic Missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
• With a payload capacity of 500-1,000 kg, Pralay is a 350-500 km short-range, surface-to-surface missile.
• This quasi ballistic surface-to-surface missile has been developed in a way to able to defeat interceptor missiles. It has the ability to change its path after covering a certain range midair.
• The solid-fuel, battlefield missile Pralay can be launched from a mobile launcher, and its guidance system includes state-of-the-art Navigation System and Integrated Avionics.

• The project to develop Pralay was sanctioned in March 2015 with a budget of Rs 333 crore.

 

• The missile is based on Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) exoatmospheric interceptor missile from Indian Ballistic Missile Defence Programme.

• The indigenously developed missile can be compared to Russia’s 9K720 Iskander and China’s Dongfeng 12, both short-range tactical ballistic missiles.

Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC): The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC), 2021 is being held from 07 to 09 November 2021 under the aegis of Naval War College, Goa. This is the third edition of the conclave.

The GMC is Indian Navy’s Outreach Initiative providing a multinational platform to harness the collective wisdom of practitioners of maritime security and the academia towards garnering outcome oriented maritime thought.

GMC-21 would build upon the working level deliberations of the Goa Maritime Symposium-21 held earlier in May this year, as the Sherpa event for the Conclave.

About Goa Maritime Conclave, 2021
Chiefs of Navies/ Heads of Maritime Forces attended the conclave. They are from 12 Indian Ocean littorals including Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The Chiefs of Navies/ Heads of Maritime Forces were hosted by Adm Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff of Indian Navy.

 

The GMC is Indian Navy’s Outreach Initiative providing a multinational platform to harness the collective wisdom of practitioners of maritime security and the academia towards garnering outcome oriented maritime thought.
Visitors to the conclave are being afforded an opportunity to witness India’s indigenous shipbuilding industry at the ‘Make in India Exhibition’ and the capabilities of Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) for Submarines at the Marmugao Port Trust, Goa.

The Conclave is focussing on the Indian Ocean Region as it has become strategic landscape in the 21st century

Theme of the Conclave
The theme of GMC 2021 is as follows:
Theme: Maritime Security and Emerging Non-Traditional Threats: A case for proactive role for Indian Ocean Region

Benefit of the conclave
The participants of the conclave will benefit from the interactions with subject matter experts and eminent speakers

Sessions at the Conclave
The conclave was held over three sessions.

The three sessions focuses on

• Leveraging Collective Maritime Competencies to Counter Emerging Non-Traditional Threats
• Strengthening regional cooperation enforcing maritime laws
• Mitigating emerging non-traditional threats

Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW): The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force (IAF) have jointly carried out two flight tests of the indigenously-developed smart anti-airfield weapon (SAAW).

Key Points
• Smart anti-airfield weapon has been designed and developed by DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat with support from IAF
• Two different configurations on satellite navigation & electro optical sensors tested successfully
• First Electro optical seeker based flight test of this class of bomb in the country
• Equipped with Imaging Infra-Red Seeker technology to enhance precision strike capability of the weapon
• Smart anti-airfield weapon has a maximum range of 100 kms

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force (IAF) have jointly carried out two flight tests of the indigenously-developed smart anti-airfield weapon (SAAW).

The two different configurations based on satellite navigation and electro optical sensors have been successfully tested. Electro optical seeker based flight test of this class of bomb has been conducted for the first time in the country.

The electro optic sensor has been developed indigenously.

The weapon was launched by an IAF aircraft from Chandan ranges at Jaisalmer, Rajasthan on October 28, 2021 and November 03, 2021.

 

Electro optical configuration of the system is equipped with Imaging Infra-Red (IIR) Seeker technology enhancing the precision strike capability of the weapon. In both the tests, the intended target was hit with high accuracy.

The system is designed for a maximum range 100 kilometres.

The newly adapted launcher ensured smooth release and ejection of the weapon.

Advanced guidance and navigation algorithms, software performed as per the mission requirements.

The telemetry and tracking systems captured all mission events throughout the flight.

All the mission objectives were achieved.

Smart anti airfield weapon has been designed and developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in coordination with other DRDO Laboratories and extensive support from IAF.

Quality and design certification agencies have contributed significantly in its development and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru has carried out weapon integration with the aircraft.

INS Visakhapatnam: INS Visakhapatnam, a P15B stealth guided-missile destroyer, was commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai on 21st November.

The warship has been indigenously developed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Mumbai.

INS Visakhapatnam measures 163m in length, 17m in breadth with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes. The ship is propelled by four powerful Gas Turbines, in a Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration, capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in a reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved through efficient shaping of hull, full beam superstructure design, plated masts and use of radar transparent materials on exposed decks.

 

The ship is packed with sophisticated state-of-the-art weapons and sensors such as Surface-to-Surface missile and Surface-to-Air missiles. It is fitted with a modern surveillance radar which provides target data to the gunnery weapon systems of the ship. The anti-submarine warfare capabilities are provided by the indigenously developed rocket launchers, torpedo launchers and ASW helicopters.

The ship is equipped to fight under Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions.

A unique feature of this ship is the high level of indigenisation incorporated in the production, accentuating the national objective of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

Some of the major indigenised equipment/system onboard INS Visakhapatnam include Combat Management System, Rocket Launcher, Torpedo Tube Launcher, Integrated Platform Management System, Automated Power Management System, Foldable Hangar Doors, Helo Traversing system, Close-in Weapon System and the Bow mounted SONAR.

Named after the historic city of Andhra Pradesh on the east coast, Visakhapatnam, the ‘City of Destiny’, the ship has a total complement of about 315 personnel.

With the changing power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region, INS Visakhapatnam will augment the Indian Navy’s mobility, reach and flexibility towards accomplishment of its tasks and goals.

Ex SHAKTI 2021: The sixth edition of Indo – France joint military exercise “Ex SHAKTI 2021” has commenced at the Military School of Draguignan, France.

The Indian Army contingent is being represented by a composite team of three Officers, three Junior Commissioned Officers and 37 soldiers from a battalion of Gorkha Rifles and support Arms.

The Indian and French contingent, participating in joint military exercise ‘EX-SHAKTI’, also visited the MAZARGUES War Cemetery in Marseilles where 1,002 Indian soldiers of World War I were cremated.

The training so far has focused on aspects of joint planning, mutual understanding of conduct of operations and identification of coordination aspects required for jointly operating in a Counter Terrorism environment under United Nations mandate.

 

Shakti exercise is conducted alternately in India and France.

The last edition of the Shakti exercise had taken place in Rajasthan in 2019, in which “Counter Terrorism operations in semi-desert terrain were practised”

INS Vela: INS Vela, Indian Navy’s fourth stealth Scorpene class submarine under Project 75, has been commissioned by Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh at the naval dockyard, Mumbai. The induction of INS Vela, known as the ‘Silent Killer’, will boost the Navy’s combat capability.

Project 75 includes construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. Before INS Vela, KaranjKalvari and Khanderi submarines of Scorpene design have already been commissioned.

Sea trials are ongoing for Vagir, while the sixth, Vagsheer, is under construction.

The submarine has been built by Mumbai-based Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in collaboration with M/s Naval Group of France.

 

The previous avatar of INS Vela was commissioned in 1973 and served the Navy for 37 years before being decommissioned in 2010.

The new ‘Vela’ is a potent man o’ war and is capable of offensive operations that span across the entire spectrum of maritime warfare.

On 21st November 2021, Indian Navy’s stealth guided missile destroyer NS Visakhapatnam was commissioned at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.

Defence Current Affairs - October 2021

National Police Commemoration Day:

 National Police Commemoration Day observed on October 21 every year.

Key Facts:

  • Police Commemoration Day is observed to honour the policemen who have lost their lives on duty for the nation.
  • The day also commemorates the sacrifices of 10 policemen who lost their lives in Chinese firing in 1959.
  • Many tributes are paid to the martyrs on this day.

History:

  • Police Commemoration Day owes its origin to a 1959 clash with Chinese troops in the Hot Springs area of Ladakh.  
  • On October 21, 1959, twenty Indian soldiers were attacked by Chinese troops in Ladakh due to arguments between the troops, ten Indian policemen lost their lives and seven were imprisoned.
  • After a month, on November 28, 1959, Chinese troops handed over the dead bodies of the martyred policemen and, since that day, October 21 has been observed as Police Commemoration Day in honour of the martyrs every year.

Significance of the Day:

  • This day holds more significance in the aftermath of Covid 19 pandemic.
  • Ever since the COVID 19 outbreak in India in 2020, Indian police officers have been on the frontline along with healthcare officials.
  • Several police officers have lost their life while discharging their duties.

National Police Memorial:

  • The National Police Memorial was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 15, 2018 in honour of the occasion.
  • The memorial also includes a Wall of Valour, as well as a museum and a central sculpture dedicated to the force.
  • The national police museum represents and depicts the history, uniform, and gear of central and state police forces in India.
  • It is handled by the central armed police forces (CAPFs) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

About CAPF:

  • It is an acronym for the Central Armed Police Forces.
  • CAPF refers to uniform nomenclature of security forces in India under the authority of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Their role is to defend the national interest mainly against the internal threats.
  • They are the Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • The CAPF forces battle terrorists, insurgents and naxalites and even play a role in the smooth conduct of elections.
  • CAPF which are tasked with doing the job of both the army and the police in guarding the borders as well as battling terrorists and insurgents are 365 days swinging Machine.

                             

2021 Cambrian Patrol Exercise: The Indian Army team has won the gold medal at the 2021 Cambrian Patrol Exercise.

Key Points:

  • The Cambrian Patrol Exercise 2021 was conducted at Brecon, Wales, in the United Kingdom between 13th October and 15th October 2021.
  • This exercise which was organized by the UK Army is considered as the ultimate test of human endurance and team spirit.
  • It is sometimes also referred as “Olympics of Military Patrolling” among militaries of the world.
  • From the Indian side, a team from 4/5 Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force) represented the Indian Army at the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise.
  • In this exercise, a total of 96 teams participated.
  • The competition also witnessed the participation of 17 international teams representing Special Forces and prestigious Regiments from around the world.
  • The Teams performed under harsh terrain and inclement cold weather conditions.
  • This year, out of 96 participating teams, only three international patrols have been awarded a gold medal till phase 6th of this Exercise.

Indian Army Team:

  • The Indian Army team competed with a total of 96 teams including 17 international teams representing Special Forces and prestigious Regiments from different parts of the world.
  • The team displayed a fabulous display of navigation skills, delivery of patrol orders, and overall physical endurance, which ultimately resulted in the gold medal.
  • The team members were presented the gold Medal by General Sir Mark Carleton Smith, the Chief of General Staff of the British Army in a formal ceremony on 15 October 2021.

About Camrian Patrol Exercise:

  • The Exercise Cambrian Patrol is an international event in which militaries across the world take part.
  • It is an annual international military patrolling exercise.
  • In this exercise, the participating teams have to cover a 50 mile (80 km) course in less than 48 hrs while performing numerous types of military exercises placed throughout the rugged Cambrian Mountains and swamplands of mid Wales, UK.
  • Cambrian Patrol was first set up more than 40 years ago, by a group of Welsh Territorial Army soldiers who designed the training event to feature long distance marching over the Cambrian Mountains culminating in firing.
  • The aim of the exercise is to test their leadership, self discipline, physical endurance, courage, and determination.

About 5th Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force):

  • 5th Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force), also abbreviated as 5GR(FF) is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army.
  • It comprises Gurkha soldiers of Nepalese origin.
  • It was formed in 1858 as part of the British Indian Army.
  • The regiment was known as the 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) when it was one of the Gurkha regiments that were transferred to the Indian Army following independence of Indian and Pakistan in 1947 and given its current name in 1950.
  • The regiment's battalions served in the First World War (Mesopotamia) and Second World War (Anglo Soviet invasion of Iran, Mediterranean, Italian campaign, and in Burma).
  • Since 1947, the regiment has served in a number of conflicts, including the Indo Pakistani War of 1965 and the Indo Pakistani War of 1971.
  • It has also participated in peacekeeping operations in Sri Lanka.
  • The motto of 5GR(FF) is Shaurya Evam Nistha (शौर्य एवं निष्ठा)  which means Courage and Determination.

                                                                                 

Integrated Defended Localities: The Army has significantly augmented its firepower along the 1,300 km Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern sector while also beefing up overall defences in the region, especially in the Tawang sector, by integrating various services in real time through automation.

Key Points:

  • This includes upgraded L 70 air defence guns, M777 Ultra Light Howitzers, and automated and electronic fusion of Bofors and other artillery guns deployed along the LAC.
  • The Army has set up “integrated defended localities” at several locations along the LAC.
  • These integrate various arms of the Army such as infantry, engineers, artillery, air defence, aviation and also the fighter aircraft of the Air Force, to respond to any threat in real time and bring in maximum firepower.
  • There were primarily two approaches for the enemy to move towards Tawang, 35 km from the LAC.
  • One is the valley after the ridgeline of the LAC and the other is the road from Bumla to Tawang for a stretch of 35 km.
  • The M 777 Ultra Light Howitzers inducted in November 2018 have been deployed all along the LAC.
  • The M777 is a 155 mm, 39 calibre towed artillery gun and weighs just four tonnes.
  • The M777 had given significant flexibility in employment options for long range fire power.

About Line of Actual Control (LAC):

  • The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the effective border between India and China.
  • It is the demarcation that separates Indian controlled territory from Chinese controlled territory.
  • The LAC is 4,057 km long and it is divided into 3 sectors which are:  
  • The eastern sector which spans Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
  • The middle sector in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
  • The western sector in Ladakh and Kashmir.

Reason for Disputes:

  • The reason for the continuous disputes between china and India are that for India, the LAC is 3,488 km long, however for China; it is just 2,000 km long.
  • The major disagreements between India and China are over the LAC in the Western sectors (Ladakh).
  • There is no clarification on the LAC boundary.

Agreements between China and India on boundary issue:

  • China and India have signed 4 agreements on this boundary issue. These agreements were signed in September 1993, November 1996, April 2005 and October 2013.
  • Indian & Chinese bilateral talks on border disputes are held on the basis of these four agreements.
  • However, these agreements are considered to be flawed and are unable to resolve the boundary issue between the countries.

Difference between LAC & LOC:

  • The LAC is the Line of Actual Control between India and China where as LOC is the Line of Control between India & Pakistan.
  • The LAC is not located in the map of both the countries and there is no agreements regarding this where as the LOC is located on the map of both the countries and is backed by the Shimla Agreement.

                                                                                                    

Hypersonic Glide Vehicles: China, with an aim to become a major space power in the near future has carried out it’s first ever test of a “nuclear capable hypersonic missile”,

Key Points:

  • The missile in August “circled the globe before speeding towards its target, demonstrating an advanced space capability that caught U.S. intelligence by surprise.”
  • The Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle.
  • The missile flew through low orbit space before cruising toward its target.
  • The missile “missed its target by about two dozen miles”, but it “showed that China had made astounding progress on hypersonic weapons and was far more advanced than U.S. officials realised.”
  • Only the U.S., Russia and China were developing hypersonic glide vehicles, that are launched on rockets and then orbit the earth on their own speed.
  • They are difficult to track because such weapons fly at five times the speed of sound and can manoeuvre during flight.
  • According to the experts, full development of such technology by China would impact the missile defense systems of the US and Japan,

What is a hypersonic missile?

  • A hypersonic missile can travel more than the speed of sound in the upper atmosphere and can cross Mach 5.
  • These missiles can travel faster than current nuclear capable ballistic and cruise missiles at low altitudes, but can manoeuvrability similar to them.
  • This capability bears all the hallmarks of a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS).
  • FOBS comprise an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that launches a warhead into low Earth orbit.
  • When the payload approaches its target, an onboard retro rocket detaches the payload and causes it to return to Earth.
  • The trajectory of FOBS is very different to that of a ballistic missile, which follows a parabolic curve with its apogee in space.
  • FOBS, on the other hand, are more manoeuvrable and have a flatter trajectory, making them more difficult to track and hit.
  • Along with China, the United States, Russia and at least five other countries are working on hypersonic technology.
  • Companies such as Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) and Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N) are working to develop the U.S.'s hypersonic weapon capability.

Has any other country tested hypersonic missiles?

  • Russia, in July, successfully tested a Tsirkon (Zircon) hypersonic cruise missile. Moscow also tested the weapon from a submarine for the first time.
  • The United States said in late September that it had tested an air breathing hypersonic weapon   meaning it sustain flight on its own through the atmosphere like a cruise missile   marking the first successful test of that class of weapon since 2013.
  • Days after the US announcement, North Korea also fired a newly developed hypersonic missile, calling it a "strategic weapon" that boosted its defence capabilities. However, some South Korean analysts described the test as a failure.

 

Ex Yudh Abhyas 2021: As part of the ongoing Indo US Defence Cooperation, the 17th Joint Military Training Exercise “Ex Yudh Abhyas 2021” is scheduled to be conducted at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, Alaska (USA) from 15 to 29 October 2021.

Key Highlights:

The previous version of this exercise was held at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges in Bikaner, Rajasthan in February 2021.

The Indian contingent will comprise of 350 personnel of an Infantry Battalion Group.

The exercise aims to further enhance understanding, cooperation and interoperability between the two Armies.

About the Exercise:

  • The Exercise is the largest running joint military training and defence cooperation endeavour between India and the USA.
  • The joint exercise is hosted alternately between both the countries.
  • The joint exercise will focus on Combined Arms Manoeuvres in cold climatic conditions and is primarily aimed at sharing tactical level drills and learning best practices from each other.
  • The exercise will culminate after a 48 hour long validation.

                                                                                            

Exercise Malabar Phase II: The second phase of multilateral maritime exercise called “Exercise Malabar” kicked off in the Bay of Bengal on 12th October 2021 for a "free, open and inclusive" Indo Pacific.

Key Facts:

The Indian Navy (IN) is participating in the sea phase of Exercise Malabar 2021 along with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the United States Navy (USN).

Note: The first phase of this exercise was conducted from August 26 29, 2021 in Philippines sea.

The exercise by the quadrilateral nations is being conducted in the Bay of Bengal from October 12 15, 2021.

India is represented by INS Ranvijay, INS Satpura as well as P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft.

US is represented by USS Lake Champlain, two destroyers, and USS Stockdale. It will also deploy Aircraft Carrier USS Carl Vinson.

Japanese Navy is represented by JS Kaga and guided missile destroyer Murasame besides their integral SH60K helicopters.

Australia is represented by Royal Australian Navy will deploy HMAS Ballarat and HMAS Sirius.

Significance:

The Second Phase of the Malabar exercise seeks to build synergic coordination between the participating nations.

It will also enhance interoperability developed during the First Phase of the exercise.

The main focus of this exercise is on advanced surface and anti submarine warfare exercises, seamanship evolutions, and weapon firings.

About Malabar exercise:

Malabar exercise started as an annual bilateral naval exercise in the year 1992 between India and the US.

It comprises of a series of exercises, increasing scope and complexity over time.

                                                                                  

Border Security Force (BSF): The Union Home Ministry has expanded the powers of the Border Security Force (BSF).

Key Points:

  • The Centre amended Section 139 of the Border Security Force (BSF) Act, by extending the juridiction of BSF.
  • As per the amended act, the BSF is authorized to “arrest, search and seize” to within 50 km from the international boundary in Assam, West Bengal and Punjab.
  • They have been given the right to take this action under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), NDPS Act, Passport Act and Passport (Entry to India) Act.
  • The October 11 notification replaces a 2014 order under the BSF Act, 1968, which also covered the States of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya.
  • They also have the power to search and arrest in Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
  • According to a notification published in the Gazette of India on October 11, it will also be applicable to the newly created Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • It has also reduced the area covered by the force in Gujarat.
  • Prior to this, the BSF’s limit was fixed up to 80 km from the international boundary in Gujarat and 15 km in Rajasthan, Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

Significance:

  • The amendment establishes uniformity in defining the area within which the BSF can operate” as per its charter of duties.
  • The enhancement of the powers of BSF would enable improved operational effectiveness in curbing trans border crimes.

Limitations:

  • After a suspect has been detained or a consignment seized within the specified area, the BSF can only conduct “preliminary questioning” and has to hand over the suspect to the local police within 24 hours.
  • The BSF does not have the powers to prosecute crime suspects.

Why was this decision taken?

  • This decision, as per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was taken because of the recent incidents of droppings of drone weapons from across the border.
  • This decision will help in curbing illegal activities related to national security across 10 states and 2 Union Territories.

About BSF:

  • It refers to the Border Security Force.
  • The BSF is India's border guarding organization on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh and has been termed as the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories.
  • It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces of India.
  • It was raised in the wake of the 1965 War on 1 December 1965.
  • It is a Union Government Agency under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It is the only Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to have a Full fledged Water Wing, Air Wing and even an Artillery Regiment of its own.
  • The BSF has its own cadre of officers but its head, designated as a Director General (DG), since its raising has been an officer from the Indian Police Service.
  • Border Security Force (BSF) is one of the 7 recognized Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the other 6 being Assam Rifles (AR), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • It currently stands as the world's largest border guarding force.
  • Its motto is जीवन पर्यन्त कर्तव्य (Duty Unto Death)

                                                                               

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB): The Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi recently dedicated seven new defence companies, carved out of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), to the Nation.

Key Highlights:

  • These new defence companies were dedicated to the nation at a function organized by Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • The function was organized on the occasion of ‘Vijayadashami’ in New Delhi on October 15, 2021.
  • The seven new Defence companies are:
  • Armoured Vehicles Nigam Limited (AVANI)
  • Munitions India Limited (MIL)
  • Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWE India)
  • Yantra India Limited (YIL)
  • Troop Comforts Limited (TCL) (Troop Comfort Items)
  • India Optel Limited (IOL)
  • Gliders India Limited (GIL)
  • These companies have commenced business from October 01, 2021.

Background:

The Government, to enhance functional autonomy, efficiency and to unleash new growth potential & innovation, had decided to convert OFB from a Government Department into seven 100% Government owned corporate entities as a measure to improve self reliance in the defence preparedness of the country.

Aim:

  • The main aim of this move is to improve India’s self reliance in defence preparedness.
  • The Government's move of restructuring was done with the following objectives:
  • To transform Ordnance Factories into productive & profitable assets
  • To improve expertise in product range
  • To improve quality
  • To enhance cost efficiency
  • To increase competitiveness
  • To ensure self reliance in defence preparedness.

About Ordnance Factory Board (OFB):

  • OFB is an organization working under the Department of Defence Production (DDP) of Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • There were 41 Indian Ordnance Factories which now have been converted into 7 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

  

IAF Foundation Day:

 The Indian Air Force (IAF) is celebrated its 89th anniversary on September 8, 2021.

AIF Day is observed to mark the birth of the IAF and to raise awareness about the Indian air force in any organization of the national security both officially and publicly.

Key Events:

  • The AIF Day parade was held at the Hindon airbase, Ghaziabad.
  • Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh attended the event.
  • IAF Chief Vivek Ram Chaudhary inspected the 89th Air Force Day.
  • The air show at the Hindon airbase showcased Dakota, Dornier, LCA Tejas and Rafale fighter jets, among other aircrafts.
  • The fleet performed skillful maneuvers to mark the platinum jubilee year of India's Independence.
  • A total of 75 aircraft took part in the air show marking the marks the 75th year of India's Independence.
  • VR Chaudhari, on the occasion,  also presented the Vayu Sena Medal – Gallantry to the officers.
  • This occasion is being celebrated as ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’, to commemorate the victory of 1971 war.  

About IAF:

  • Indian Air Force is also known as “Bhartiya Vayu Sena”, is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal.
  • With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.
  • IAF ranks as the fourth best air force in the world.
  • The present Commander in Chief of IAF is Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a four star officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force.
  • The present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM.
  • The motto of IAF is Touching the Sky with Glory.
  • This motto is to remind the IAF to reach for the sky and overwhelm their adversaries.

Note: The phrase, 'Touching the Sky with Glory',  has been taken from the Gita said by Krishna to Arjuna before the Kurukshetra War.

History of IAF:

  • Indian Air Force Day was first observed in the year 1932.
  • Its first ac flight came into being on 01 Apr 1933.
  • It possessed strength of six RAF trained officers and 19 Havai Sepoys (literally, air soldiers).
  • The aircraft inventory comprised of four Westland Wapiti IIA army co operation biplanes at Drigh Road as the "A" Flight nucleus of the planned No.1 (Army Co  operation) Squadron.
  • The Indian pilots were led by British RAF Commanding officer Flight Lieutenant.

Digitalization of IAF:

  • The IAF has technologically evolved and grown in strength over these years to thwart any threat to the nation.
  • In 2010, the Air Force Network (AFNET) was launched.
  • AFNET is a robust digital information grid that enabled quick and meticulous threat responses.

                                          

JIMEX 21: The fifth edition of India – Japan Maritime Bilateral Exercise JIMEX was conducted in the Arabian Sea from 06 to 08 October 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • The Indian Navy (IN) was represented by indigenously built Guided Missile Stealth Destroyer Kochi and Guided Missile Frigate Teg, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, integral helicopters and MiG 29K fighter aircraft.
  • The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) was represented by JMSDF ships Kaga, an Izumo Class Helicopter Carrier and Murasame, a Guided Missile Destroyer.
  • The exercise saw the ships and aircraft of Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and Indian Navy (IN) engaging in a high tempo of operations focused on air, surface and sub surface dimensions of maritime operations as well as the air domain.

About the JIMEX:

  • JIMEX series of exercises between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) are being held since 2012.
  • JIMEX 21 aims to develop a common understanding of operational procedures and enhance inter operability through the conduct of a multitude of advanced exercises, across the entire spectrum of maritime operations.
  • It will further enhance the cooperation and mutual confidence between the two navies.

                                                         

Indo Nepal Border Security: The fifth annual coordination meeting between the Director General, SSB and Inspector General, Armed Police Force, Nepal recently concluded.

Key Facts:

  • The meeting was held between October 4 and7, 2021.
  • The Indian delegation was led by Kumar Rajesh Chandra, Director General, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and included officers from SSB, Union Home Ministry External Affairs Ministry.
  • The Nepal delegation was led by Shailendra Khanal, Inspector General of APF and included officers from APF and Home and Foreign Ministries of Nepal.
  • The meeting deliberated on the security scenario on the Indo Nepal border.
  • The decision to take further measures for enhancing coordination and cooperation between the two Border Guarding Forces was taken in the meeting.
  • As per the statement by the SSB, the border guarding forces of India and Nepal will conduct regular joint patrolling along the border to control trans border crimes, smuggling of arms, human trafficking and other areas of concern.

Note: The SSB, a central armed police force, secures the Nepal and Bhutan borders.

                                     

Dare to Dream 2.0: Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh recently felicitated the winners of ‘Dare to Dream 2.0’ Contest of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) in New Delhi.

Key Highlights:

  • The Raksha Mantri gave away awards to 40 winners   22 in Individual category and 18 in Startup category.
  • He also launched ‘Dare to Dream 3.0’ to promote innovators & startups and provide a platform for the young ignited minds in the country.

About Dare to Dream:

  • Dare to Dream is DRDO's pan India contest to promote Indian academicians, individuals and startups to develop emerging defence and aerospace technologies/systems.
  • DRDO provides technical and financial support to the winners for realisation of their ideas under the Technology Development Fund (TDF) scheme.

DRDO Young Scientists awards:

  • He also gave away DRDO Young Scientists awards for the year 2019.
  • Sixteen DRDO scientists, under the age of 35 years, were awarded for their outstanding contribution in areas of their expertise.

                                     

Gallantry, Meritorious Service Medals: Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, on October 9, 2021, conferred gallantry and meritorious service medals on the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) personnel.

Key Highlights:

  • The Medals were presented in the Investiture ceremony held at National Stadium Complex in New Delhi.
  • A total of 21 awards, including three President’s Tatrakshak (Coast Guard)Medals (Distinguished Service), eight Tatrakshak Medals (Gallantry) and 10 Tatrakshak Medals (Meritorious Service) were presented during the ceremony.
  • The medals were in recognition of the selfless devotion, exemplary courage and acts of valour of the ICG personnel under extreme conditions.

About ICG:

  • It refers to Indian Coast Guard.
  • ICG is an armed force that protects India's maritime interests and enforces maritime law, with jurisdiction over the territorial waters of India, including its contiguous zone and exclusive economic zone.
  • IGC was founded in 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of Parliament of India an independent Armed force of India.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The moto of IGC is Vayam  “Vayam Rakshamah” meaning “We Protect”.
  • The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces.
  • The Director General of IGC is Krishnaswamy Natrajan, PTM, TM, and Additional Director General is Krupa Ram Nautiyal, PTM, TM.

 

Defence Current Affairs - September 2021

New Chief of Air Staff: Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Marshal VR Chaudhari has been appointed the next IAF chief.

Highlights:

The current Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria is set to retire on September 30.

Air Marshal Chaudhari is presently serving as Vice Chief of the Air Staff.

About Air Marshal Chaudhari:

  • He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
  • Air Marshal Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force on December 29, 1982.
  • He has a flying experience of more than 3,800 hours on a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft, including missions flown during Operation Meghdoot, the Air Force’s support to capture Siachen glacier in 1980s, and Operation Safed Sagar (the support provided by the IAF during the Kargil conflict in 1999).
  • He has held command, staff and instructional appointments at various levels, including the present one as Vice Chief of Air Staff.
  • He has commanded a frontline fighter squadron and a fighter base during his career.
  • He has also held various other positions including the Deputy Commandant, Air Force Academy; Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence) and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers).
  • He is a recipient of the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Vayu Sena Medals.

About IAF:

  • It is an acronym for the Indian Air Force of India.
  • IAF is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal.
  • With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.
  • The present CommanderinChief of IAF is Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a fourstar officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force.
  • The present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, and VM.

 

C295MW Transport Aircraft: Ministry of Defence (MoD), on September 24, 2021 signed a contract with M/s Airbus Defence and Space, Spain for acquisition of 56 C295MW transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

  • Key Points:
  • The MoD has also signed an Offset Contract with M/s Airbus Defence and Space through which M/s Airbus will discharge its offset obligations through direct purchase of eligible products and services from Indian Offset Partners.
  • These contracts were signed following the approval accorded by the Cabinet Committee on Security earlier in September 2021.
  • The induction of C295MW will be a significant step towards modernisation of the transport fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The 56 C295MW transport aircraft will replace the IAF’s ageing 56 Avro aircraft that were procured in the 1960s.
  • It is the first project of its kind under which military aircraft will be manufactured in India by a private company.

About Airbus C295:

  • It is a transport aircraft of five to 10 tonne capacity with contemporary technology.
  • The aircraft is capable of operating from semiprepared strips and has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and paradropping of troops and cargo.
  • The plane can also be used for long deployments with its capability of up to 11 hours in the air.
  • The C295’s Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) capability combined with a strong landing gear enable it to operate in the most austere locations with the worst conditions for takeoff and landings.

About the deal:

  • Under the deal, 16 aircraft will be delivered in a flyaway condition by the Airbus Defence and Space of Spain within 48 months of signing the contract.
  • Out of 56 aircraft, 40 will be manufactured in India by a consortium of the Airbus Defence and Space and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL).
  • All the deliveries will be completed within 10 years of signing of the contract.
  • All 56 aircraft will be installed with indigenous Electronic Warfare Suite.

Significance:

  • The aircraft will give a major boost to tactical airlift capability of IAF, especially in the Northern and NorthEastern sector and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • The project will provide a major boost to the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that offers an opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter into technology intensive and highly competitive aviation industry.
  • The project will give a boost to aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several MSMEs spread over the country will be involved in manufacturing of parts of the aircraft.
  • The program will also involve development of specialized infrastructure in the form of hangars, buildings, aprons and taxiway.

About Avro748 planes:

  • The Avro Hawker Siddeley HS748 is a twinengine turboprop military transport and freighter of British origin.
  • The aircraft, which could carry 48 paratroopers or six tonnes of freight, has been in the IAF fleet since the 1960s.

About IAF:

  • IAF is an acronym for the Indian Air Force of India.
  • It is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal.
  • With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.
  • The present CommanderinChief of IAF is Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a fourstar officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force.
  • The present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, PVSM, AVSM, VM.

 

Samudra Shakti: The third edition of the bilateral exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’ was held between the navies of India and Indonesia from 20 to 22 September 2021.

Key Highlights:

  • Indian Navy ships ‘Shivalik’ and ‘Kadam’ and Indian Navy’s AntiSubmarine Warfare Capable Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I participated in the exercise while Indonesia was represented by KRI Bung Tomo, KRI Malahayati and Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft CN235.
  • Various tasks like Military Interdiction Operations (MIO), Cross Deck Landings, Air Defence serials, Practice Weapon Firings, Replenishment Approaches, and Tactical Manoeuvres were performed in the exercise.

Aim:

  • The main aim of the ‘Samudra Shakti’ exercise is to strengthen the bilateral relationship between two navies.
  • It will enhance mutual understanding and interoperability in maritime operations as well.
  • The exercise will also provide an appropriate platform to share best practices and develop a common understanding of Maritime Security Operations.

About the exercise:

  • In pursuance of India’s Act East Policy, Exercise ‘Samudra Shakti’ was conceived in 2018 as a bilateral INIDN exercise.
  • The exercise has matured in complexity over the last two editions and involves the conduct of complex maritime operations including Military Interdiction Operations (MIO), Cross Deck Landings, Air Defence serials, Practice Weapon Firings, Replenishment Approaches and Tactical Manoeuvres.

 

Baijayant Panda Committee:

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recently constituted a High Level Expert Committee, under the chairmanship of former Member of Parliament Shri Baijayant Panda.

  • This committee has been constituted for a comprehensive review of National Cadet Corps (NCC) in order to make it more relevant in changed times.

Key Points:

The Terms of Reference of the Committee, interalia, broadly provide for the following:

  • To suggest measures which can empower NCC cadets to contribute more effectively towards nation building and national developmental efforts in various sectors;
  • To propose measures for gainful engagement of its Alumni for betterment of the organization as a whole and
  • To recommend best practices of similar international youth organizations for the inclusion in NCC curriculum.

Members of the Committee:

The Chairperson of the committee is Shri Baijayant Panda, former Member of Parliament.

Other member includes:

  • Col. (Retd) Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
  • Vinay Sahasrabuddhe
  • Anand Mahindra
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  • Sanjeev Sanyal
  • Prof. Najma Akhtar
  • Prof. Vasudha Kamat
  • Mukul Kanitkar
  • Maj. Gen. Alok Raj (Retd)
  • Milind Kamble
  • Rituraj Sinha
  • Vedika Bhandarkar
  • Anand Shah
  • Mayank Tewari

About NCC:

  • It is an acronym for National Cadet Corps.
  • The NCC is the youth wing of Armed Forces of India.
  • It is the largest uniformed organization which aims at developing character, discipline, a secular outlook and ideals of selfless service amongst young citizens.
  • It is a TriServices Organization, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Wing, engaged in creating a pool of organized, trained and motivated youth with leadership qualities in all walks of life.
  • It operates under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • It is also the largest uniformed youth organization of the country.
  • It was formed on 16 April 1948.
  • Since its inception the NCC cadets have been contributing to the national cause during natural calamities like cyclone, floods etc.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • The motto of NCC is "Unity and discipline".
  • The current DirectorGeneral of NCC is Lt Gen Tarun Kumar Aich.

 

SCO PEACEFUL MISSION 2021: The Indian military contingent consisting of an all arms combined force of 200 personnel, including 38 personnel from the Indian Air Force, participated in the Joint Counter Terrorism Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION  2021.

Key Highlights:

  • The 6th edition of Exercise Peaceful Mission is being hosted by Russia in the Orenburg Region of South West Russia from 13th to 25th September 2021.
  • The exercise has been organized under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Aim:

The aims of the exercise are as follows:

  • To foster close relations between SCO member states.
  • To enhance the abilities of the military leaders to command multinational military contingents.
  • To increase global cooperation to counterterrorism.
  • To share best practices between the armed forces of SCO nations.

Indian Contingent:

  • Indian contingent was inducted to exercise area by two IL76 aircrafts.
  • Before their departure, contingent underwent training and preparation under the aegis of South Western Command.

Significance of the exercise:

  • This exercise will enable the sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of SCO nations.
  • It will also provide an opportunity to the Armed Forces of SCO Nations to train in CounterTerrorism Operations in an urban scenario in a multinational and joint environment.
  • The key scope of the exercise includes professional interaction, mutual understanding of drills & procedures, the establishment of joint command & control structures, and the elimination of terrorist threats.
  • It is a landmark event in the military interactions and the global cooperation to counterterrorism.

About SCO Peaceful Mission:

  • SCO Peaceful Mission or Joint Counter Terrorism Exercise PEACEFUL MISSION is a Multilateral Exercise.
  • It is conducted biennially as part of military diplomacy between Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states.
  • India, for the first time, participated in the 5th edition of the Exercise (2018).

About SCO:

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is an eightmember economic and security bloc that has also emerged as one of the largest transregional international organization.
  • It was founded in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and the Kyrgyz Republic.
  • Both India and Pakistan became a permanent member of SCO in 2017.

 

Surya Kiran – 15: The 15th Edition of Indo  Nepal Joint Military Training Exercise "Surya Kiran" between Indian Army and Nepali Army is commencing from 20 September 2021 at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.

Key Points:

  • During this exercise, an Infantry Battalion from Indian Army and an equivalent strength from Nepali Army would be sharing their experiences gained during the conduct of various counterinsurgency operations over a prolonged period in their respective countries.
  • The joint military training would culminate with a gruelling 48hour exercise to validate the performance of both armies in counterinsurgency operations.
  • The aim of the exercise is as follows:
  • To share their experiences of various counterinsurgency operations.
  • To familiarize themselves with each other’s weapons, equipment, tactics, techniques, and procedures of operating in a counterinsurgency environment in mountainous terrain.
  • It will also boost the bilateral relations and further strengthen the traditional friendship between India and Nepal.
  • Last edition of Exercise Surya Kiran was conducted in Nepal in 2019.

 

INS Dhruv: India’s first nuclearmissile tracking ship, named INS (Indian Naval Ship) Dhruv, has recently been commissioned from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

Highlights:

  • INS Dhruv was launched by the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval in the presence of Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Sings.
  • It will be under the controll of the SC (Strategic Forces Command).
  • It will advance India's presence in the IndoPacific regiion.
  • The 10,000tonne ship has the ability to track nuclear ballistic missiles at a longrange and is at the heart of India’s antiballistic missile capability.
  • With the induction of INS Dhruv, India joins a select group of countries like the US, the UK, Russia, China and France to have such specialized vessels.

About INS Dhruv:

  • This nuclear missile tracking ship is built by the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in collaboration with the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and the National Technical Research Organization (NTRO).
  • It has been designed in India by Vik Sandvik Design India Pvt. Ltd. (VSDI) which is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • INS Dhruv is capable of tracking nuclear missiles at a long range.
  • The INS Dhruv could provide early warning of attacks by ballistic missiles launched from Pakistan and China.
  • It is also equipped with the capability to map ocean beds for research and detection of enemy submarines.
  • The ship is equipped with the DRDO developed stateoftheart active scanned array radar or AESA that can scan monitor spy satellites watching over India as well as monitor missile tests in the entire region.

 

Emergency Landing Facility: 

Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh and Union Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari recently inaugurated India's first Emergency Landing Facility ELF) on a National Highway in Rajasthan.

Highlights:

  • On the occasion, C130J Super Hercules transport aircraft of Indian Air Force (IAF), carrying the two ministers and Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat landed at the emergency field landing at the National Highway in Jalore, Rajasthan.
  • Multiple landing and touchdown sorties were conducted starting with a Sukhoi30MKI fighter.
  • AN32 military transport aircraft and Mi17v5 helicopter of the IAF also landed at the ELF, showing its complete operational readiness to act as an auxiliary military airbase.

Key Points about the ELF:

  • The ELF has been constructed on the SattaGandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A in Barmer, Rajasthan.
  • It is a 3 km section of the SattaGandhav stretch of NH925A and is part of the newly developed Bakhasar and Gandhav section.
  • It has a total length of 196.97 km.
  • This project, under the Bharatmala Pariyojana has been constructed at the cost of Rs 765.52 crore.
  • Apart from this ELF, three helipads (100 x 30 metres each) have been constructed in Kundanpura, Singhania and Bakhasar villages as part of this project according to the requirements of the Air Force/Army, which will be the basis for strengthening the military and security network on the Western borders.

Significance of ELF:

  • This emergency landing area is strategically important from the national security point of view also as it is just 40 kilometre from the IndiaPakistan border.
  • This Project will be used for aircraft operations during emergencies on the Western borders with Pakistan.
  • It will improve connectivity between villages of Barmer and Jalore districts located on the international border.
  • On daily basis this facility will be used for road traffic flow but during operations of IAF, it will be used to facilitate the landing of all types of aircraft of IAF. 

AUSINDEX’ 2021: Navies from Australia and India have commenced the bilateral maritime exercise, codenamed Australia India (AUSINDEX) 2021 off Darwin.

Key Details:

 

  • This is the 4th edition of AUSINDEX which started on 6th September 2021 until 10 September,2021.
  • The maritime exercise focuses on developing deeper understanding and cooperation between the Indian Navy (IN) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
  • The wargame took place in the North Australian exercise area.
  • Indian Navy task group comprising vessels Shivalik and Kadmatt participated in the exercise while the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) deployed an Anzac Class frigate, HMAS Warramunga.
  • The exercise included complex surface, subsurface and air operations between ships, submarines, helicopters and longrange maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) of the two participating navies.
  • The exercise is a representation of Joint Guidance signed by the Chief of the Naval Staff, IN and Chief of Navy, RAN on 18th August 2021.

Significance:

  • The exercise provides the two navies with an opportunity to strengthen joint defence capabilities in support of a stable and secure IndoPacific region.
  • The 2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two nations and aims to further consolidate shared commitment to regional and global security challenges promoting peace, security and stability in the IndoPacific region.

About AUSINDEX:

Commenced in 2015 as a bilateral INRAN maritime exercise, AUSINDEX has grown in complexity over the years and the 3rd edition of the exercise, held in 2019 in the Bay of Bengal, included antisubmarine drills for the first time.

Background:

  • In June 2020, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal.
  • The deal was signed during an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support
  • The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

 

 

MRSAM System: In a significant boost to India’s defence capabilities, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently handed over the first deliverable Firing Unit (FU) of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) System to Indian Air Force (IAF).

  • The system was handed over to IAF in the presence of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh at Air Force Station, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan on September 09, 2021.

About MRSAM System:

  • MediumRange SurfacetoAir Missile (MRSAM)  is an advanced network centric combat Air Defence System.
  • It is a surfacetoairmissile, 4.5m in length.
  • It provides point and area air defence for ground assets against a wide range of threats including fighter aircraft, UAVs, helicopters, guided and unguided munitions, subsonic & supersonic cruise missiles etc.
  • It is capable of engaging multiple targets at ranges up to 70 kms in severe saturation scenarios.
  • The missile is powered by indigenously developed rocket motor and control system for achieving high manoeuvrability during the terminal phase.
  • The firing unit comprises of Missiles, Combat Management System (CMS), Advanced Long Range Radar, Mobile Power System (MPS), Mobile Launcher Systems (MLS), Radar Power System (RPS), Reloader Vehicle (RV) and Field Service Vehicle (FSV).
  • It was jointly developed by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in collaboration with Indian industry consisting of private and public sectors as well as MSMEs.

 

President’s Colour:

President of India Ram Nath Kovind, on 6th September 2021, will award the President’s Colour to Indian Naval Aviation at the ceremonial parade to be held at INS Hansa, Goa.

Key Highlights:

  • During the occasion, a Special Day Cover will be released by the Postal Department.

  • The ceremony is expected to be attended by the Governor of Goa, Raksha Mantri, Chief Minister of Goa, Chief of the Naval Staff several other civil and military dignitaries.

Note: Naval Aviation has been at the forefront in inducting women into the fighting arm of the Navy, and making them work shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts.

About President’s Colour:

  • The President’s Colour is the highest honour bestowed on a military unit in recognition of its exceptional service to the nation.

  • The Indian Navy was the first amongst the Indian Armed Forces to be awarded the President’s Colour on 27 May 1951 by Dr Rajendra Prasad, the then President of India.

  • Subsequent recipients of the President’s Colour in the Navy include Southern Naval Command, Eastern Naval Command, Western Naval Command, Eastern Fleet, Western Fleet, Submarine Arm, INS Shivaji and the Indian Naval Academy.

About Indian Naval Aviation:

  • Indian Naval Aviation came into being with acquisition of the first Sealand aircraft on January 13, 1951 and commissioning of INS Garuda, the first Naval Air Station, on May 11, 1953.

  • It has played a major role in operations such as Op Cactus, Op Jupiter, Op Shield, Op Vijay and Op Parakram as well as spearheaded Humanitarian And Disaster Relief (HADR) operations on numerous occasions both in India and the extended neighbourhood.

  • Naval Aviators have been decorated with one Mahavir Chakra, six Vir Chakras, one Kirti Chakra, seven Shaurya Chakras, one Yudh Seva Medal and a large number of Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) over the years,

  • Naval Aviation boasts of nine air stations and three naval air enclaves along the Indian coastline and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  • Over the past seven decades, it had transformed into a modern, technologically advanced and highly potent force, with more than 250 aircraft comprising carrier-borne fighters, maritime reconnaissance aircraft, helicopters and remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

Maritime Partnership Exercise: The Indian and Algerian navies conducted their first ever naval exercise off the coast of Algeria

Key Highlights:

  • The Indian Naval Ship, INS Tabar, is on her goodwill visit to the number of ports in Africa and Europe since June 2021 till September 2021.

  • As a part of this visit, INS Tabar took part in the Maiden Maritime Partnership Exercise with Algerian Navy, off the Algerian coast, in the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Tabar represented India while Algeria was represented by its naval ship Algerian Naval ship (ANS) Ezager.

  • The exercise included diverse activities like communication procedures, coordinated maneuvers, and past steam were carried out between Indian and Algerian warships.

The objective of the exercise:

  • The objective of the exercise was to enhance interoperability, understand the concept of operations followed by each other, and open up the possibility for both the navies to understand the concept of mutual operations, in the future.

Note: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the Satellite Alsat 2A of Algeria into orbit in July 2010.

About INS Tabar:

  • INS Tabar is a Talwar-class stealth Frigate built in Russia for the Indian Navy.

  • It is a third Warship of the Talwar class frigate.

  • The ship is a part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet, based in Mumbai.

About Algeria:

  • Algeria, officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa.

  • It is bordered to the northeast by Tunisia; to the east by Libya; to the southeast by Niger; to the southwest by Mali, Mauritania, and Western Sahara; to the west by Morocco; and to the north by the Mediterranean Sea.

  • The capital and largest city is Algiers.

  • The currency used here is Algerian dinar.

  • The current President of Algeria is Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

India's Meeting with Taliban: According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India's Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal, recently met the head of the Taliban’s political office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai.

Key Highlights:

  • The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, on the request of the Taliban side.

  • The Government of India (GoI), with this meeting, has softened its stance on the Taliban.

  • The discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan as well as the travel of Afghan nationals wishing to come to India.

  • India’s only concern was that the soil of Afghanistan should not be used for any anti-Indian activities and terrorism”.

  • During the meeting, Taliban leader assured the Indian Ambassador that all issues will be positively addressed.

  • India has long had concerns about the Taliban because of the group's close ties to arch rival Pakistan.

  • In particular, India has had concerns regarding the Haqqani group, which is a part of the Taliban as well as Taliban Deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, who carried the attacks on the Indian Embassy in 2008-2009.

ZAPAD 2021: Indian Army is all set to take part in ‘ZAPAD 2021’, a multi-nation military exercise being held at Nizhniy, Russia from 3rd to 16th September 2021.

Highlights:

  • There will be 17 countries participating in the ZAPAD exercise that includes Mongolia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Serbia, Russia, India, and Belarus.

  • Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, and Sri Lanka are observers at the exercises.

Key Points:

  • 200 personnel strong contingent of the Indian Army, primarily from the Naga Regiment will take part as an all ‘Arms Combined Task Force’ for the exercise, which is one of the theatre level exercises of the Russian armed forces.

  • The Naga Battalion group participating in the exercise will feature an all Arms combined task force.

  • The exercise aims to enhance military and strategic ties amongst the participating nations,

  • The NAGA Battalion group aims to boost military and enhance strategic ties amongst the participating nations while they plan and execute this exercise.

About ZAPAD:

  • Zapad' is a theatre-level exercise of Russian armed forces focusing primarily on operations against terrorists.

  • The aim of the exercise is to enhance military and strategic ties amongst the participating nations while they plan and execute this exercise.

Exercise Konkan 2021:

Exercise Konkan 2021 was held between INS Tabar and HMS Westminster on 16 August 2021 in the English Channel.

Key Points:

  • The Indo-UK Naval exercise included the participation of integral helicopters of the two ships and the Falcon Electronic Warfare aircraft.

  • A wide range of exercises like co-ordinate anti-submarine procedures, combined maritime picture compilation, firing drills, replenishment at sea and combat formation maneuvering were conducted during the exercise.

  • These along with the diverse professional engagements held earlier in harbour, have enabled Exercise Konkan 2021 consolidate interoperability which in turn have helped cement the strong bonds of friendship between the two navies.

About Konkan exercise:

  • The bilateral naval exercise Konkan is being held every year since 2004.

  • The Indian Navy and Britain’s Royal Navy hold this bilateral naval exercise to enhance the interoperability, synergy and cooperation between both navies. It is based on the long-term strategic relationship between them.

About INS Tabar:

  • INS Tabar is the third Talwar-class frigate in Indian Navy.

  • It was commissioned on April 19, 2004 in Kaliningrad, Russia.

  • The current Commanding Officer (CO) of INS Tabar is Captain Mahesh Mangipudi.

  • It reached the home-port of Mumbai on July 31, 2004.

  • INS Tabar is assigned to Western Naval Command of Indian Navy, which is headquartered in Mumbai.

  • This warship can handle air or surface or subsurface missions and defend herself.

About HMS Westminster:

  • It is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy of England.

  • It was launched on February 4, 1992.

  • It has been named after Dukedom of Westminster.

Malabar Naval Exercise:

The navies of the Quad countries—India, the US, Australia and Japan are all set to conduct the Malabar Naval Exercise from August 26, 2021.

Key Details:

  • On August 21, 2021, Indian stealth frigate INS Shivalik and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt arrived in Guam to take part in the exercise that will feature an array of complex drills.

  • The annual exercise will be four-day affair.

  • The next edition of the high-voltage Malabar naval exercise will be conducted from 26th August to 29th August 2021 amid mounting global concerns over China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.

  • This exercise will be conducted off the coast of Guam which is an island territory of the U.S. in the Western Pacific.

  • It is located 2,500 km east of the Philippines.

  • It will be conducted with the aim of enhancing inter-operability, gaining from best practices and developing a common understanding of procedures required for maritime security operations.

  • The Malabar-21 will witness high-tempo exercises among destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, helicopters and long-range maritime patrol aircraft of the participating navies.

  • Complex surface, sub-surface and air operations including live weapon firing drills, anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, and joint manoeuvres and tactical exercises will also be conducted during the exercise

About Malabar Exercise:

  • Malabar exercise is an annual naval exercise between the navies of India, Australia, Japan, and the USA.

  • It is held alternately in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

Background:

  • The Malabar exercise started in 1992 as a bilateral drill between the Indian Navy and the U.S. Navy in the Indian Ocean.

  • Japan became a permanent member of the exercise in 2015.

  • This annual exercise was conducted off the coast of Guam in 2018 and off the coast of Japan in 2019.

  • Last year, the exercise was hosted in two phases in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

  • Following India's invitation, Australia participated in the Malabar exercise last year that effectively made it a drill by all four member nations of the Quad.

Aim of the exercise:

  • The Malabar exercise which is conducted annually aims to support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

  • Its aim is also to remains committed to a rule based international order.

  • It also seeks to achieve interoperability with an emphasis on humanitarian assistance, anti-submarine warfare, gunnery training, surface war manoeuvres, counter-terror operations, and aerial surveillance.

Women in Army:

A Selection Board of the Indian Army, for the first time has approved the promotion of five women officers to the rank of colonel (time scale) rank, post completion of 26 years of reckonable service.

Note: Army officers are given the rank of time scale colonels after they complete 26 years in service.

Key Details:

  • The five women officers selected for Colonel Time Scale rank are Lt Col Sangeeta Sardana from the Corps of Signals, Lt Col Sonia Anand and Lt Col Navneet Duggal from the Corps of EME and Lt Col Reenu Khanna and Lt Col Ritcha Sagar from the Corps of Engineers.

  • Previously, only women officers serving in the Army Education Corps (AEC), Judge Advocate General (JAG), and the Army Medical Corps (AMC) were applicable for promotion to the Colonel Time Scale rank.

Background:

  • In a landmark verdict in February 2020, the Supreme Court had directed that women officers in the Army be granted a permanent commission, rejecting the Centre’s stand of their physiological limitations as being based on “stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”.

  • In yet another feat, on August 18, 2021, the Apex Court passed an interim order to allow women to take the admission exam to National Defence Academy (NDA) where only men could appear. The exam is scheduled for September 5, 2021.

  • The bench added that admissions, etc be subjected to its final order.

Significance:

  • The widening of promotion avenues to more branches of the Indian Army is a sign of increasing career opportunities for women officers.

  • Along with permanent commission to women officers as well as allowing women to appear for NDA exam are steps of the Indian Army towards a gender-neutral Army.

China's Missile Silos:

A new report by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) shows that China is building more than 100 new missile silos in the desert near its Yumen city.

Key Details:

  • Satellite images have revealed that China is building at least three missile silo fields in Yumen in Gansu province, near Hami in Xinjiang province, and at Hanggin Banner, Ordos City, in Inner Mongolia.

  • It seems that China is constructing around 120 missile silos at Yumen, around 110 silos in Hami, and 29 in the Hanggin Banner field.

  • Earlier this year, 16 missile silos were detected in the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force’s (PLARF) Jilantai training area, also in Inner Mongolia.

  • China, for several decades before these discoveries in 2021, operated only 20 missile silos for its DF-5 liquid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

  • On completion of the ongoing work, China could have 250-270 new missile silos, more than 10 times the number it had maintained for several decades.

  • This comes in the backdrop of a June 30 report from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies which showed the first new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silo field at Yumen in Gansu province could have 120 under-construction silos.

How were the fields discovered?

  1. The Yumen field was discovered by commercial satellite images obtained by researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, California.

  2. The Hami field was identified by nuclear experts at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) using Planet Labs satellite images.

  3. The Hanggin Banner field was discovered by researchers at the China Aerospace Studies Institute, Washington DC.

Why is China building missile silos?

There could be three possible explanations. They are as follows:

  1. Firstly, some Chinese political scientists believe this could be China’s attempt to move towards a launch-on-warning (LOW) nuclear posture.

Note: LOW refers to a launch at an adversary on detection of an incoming missile before the adversary’s missile hits its target.

  1. Secondly, it enables China to achieve its goal of increasing its nuclear warhead stockpile.

  2. Thirdly, China could maybe use these silos as decoys.

Significance for India:

The matter assumes a great significance for India because India and China are locked in a military standoff at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh since 2020.

Even after a disengagement of troops from both sides at the contentious Pangong Tso area in March 2021, there has been no further breakthrough in military and diplomatic talks between the two countries.

Although both China and India have pledged nuclear ‘no first use’ doctrines, India’s modest ballistic missile defence capabilities and China’s nuclear ambiguity are matters of concern for India.

What is a Missile Silo?

  • A missile launch facility, also known as an underground missile silo, launch facility (LF), or nuclear silo, is a vertical cylindrical structure constructed underground, for the storage and launching of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

  • The structures typically have the missile some distance below ground, protected by a large "blast door" on top. They are usually connected, physically and/or electronically, to a missile launch control center.

KAZIND-21:

The 5th edition of Indo- Kazakhstan Joint Training Exercise, “KAZIND-21” will be held from August 30 to September 11, 2021, at Training Node, Aisha Bibi, Kazakhstan.

Key Details:

  • KAZIND-21 is being held as part of military diplomacy and to strengthen the growing strategic relation with Kazakhstan.

  • The exercise is a joint training between both the Armies, which will boost the bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan.

  • It is also a platform for the Armed Forces of India & Kazakhstan to train for Counter Insurgency and Counter-Terrorism operations in the mountainous, rural scenarios under UN mandate.

  • The Indian Army contingent represented by a battalion of The Bihar Regiment consists of a total of 90 personnel led by a Contingent Commander. The Kazakhstan Army will be represented by a company group.

MANTHAN 2021:

On 26th August 2021, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have jointly launched the MANTHAN 2021 hackathon.

About MANTHAN 2021 Hackathon :

  • MANTHAN 2021 Hackathon is a unique national initiative to identify innovative concepts and technology solutions for addressing the security challenges of the 21st century faced by our intelligence agencies.

  • This hackathon will have two phases.

  • In the first phase, participants would submit their concepts against the problem statements which they wish to solve on the portal.

  • These submitted ideas will be evaluated by group of experts in the field and only the innovative ideas will be selected for the Grand Finale or 2nd round scheduled from 28 November 2021.

  • During this 36 hours online hackathon, scheduled from 28th November to 1st December 2021, selected youths from education institutions across the country and registered start-ups will participate to offer strong, safe and effective technology solutions using their technical expertise and innovative skills.

  • Participants are expected to develop digital solutions under 6 themes for 20 different challenge statements such as using new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Augmented reality, Machine Learning, etc. for ever-changing protection associated challenges, which include photo/video analysis, Fake Content Identification alongside with the information of creator, predictive Cyber Crime records analytics, etc.

  • The winning teams will receive a prize of Rs 40 lakhs.

ARMY-2021:

The International Military and Technical Forum ‘ARMY 2021’ was organised in Moscow, Russia from August 22 to 28, 2021, at Patriot Expo, Kubinka Air Base and Alabino military training grounds.

Key Points:

  • The ARMY 2021 is the 7th edition of the annual International Military-Technical Forum.

  • Delegations from at least 70 nations participated in this high-profile event.

  • The forum showcased over 730 pieces of Russian weapons and equipment, as well as 28,000 exhibits from industrial enterprises for a free inspection.

About the India Pavilion:

  • The India Pavilion at the Army-2020 International Military and Technical Forum was inaugurated by Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and Indian Ambassador DB Venkatesh Verma outside Moscow, the Indian Embassy in Russia.

  • The Indian pavilion was represented by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Goa Shipyard Limited, Bharat Dynamics Ltd. (BDL), BEML and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

  • The DRDO showcased its 11 products, having the capability of being exported.

  • These include:

  • Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile (BVRAAM) ‘ASTRA’,

  • Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)-NAG and HELINA, Surface to Air Missile (SAM) ‘Akash’, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas,

  • Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C),

  • Identification of Friend and Foe (IFF), Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC),

  • Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK1A),

  • Rohini Radar and Air Defence Fire Control Radar (ADFCR)-Atulya Radar.

About the forum:

  • The International Military and Technical Forum ‘ARMY’ is being organized by the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation since 2015.

  • This Forum is the world’s leading exhibition of armament and military equipment and the authoritative platform for discussing innovative ideas and developments for the armed forces by various foreign exhibitors, delegations and visitors.

Defence Current Affairs - August 2021

Gallantry Awards: 

144 Gallantry awards to Armed Forces, police, and paramilitary personnel were approved by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces President Ram Nath Kovind on the eve of Independence Day 2021.

Key Details:

  • These include one Ashok Chakra, one Kirti Chakra, 15 ShauryaChakras, four bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry), 116 Sena Medals (Gallantry), five Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry), and two Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).

  • The President has also approved 28 Mention-in-Despatches to the Army personnel for their significant contributions in different military operations which include three posthumous for ‘Operation Rakshak.’

  • Besides, President also approved four awards for conspicuous gallantry and meritorious service to ICG personnel including one Tatrakshak Medal (Gallantry), and three Tatrakshak Medal (Meritorious Service).

  • ASI of Jammu and Kashmir Police, Babu Ram has been posthumously honoured with Ashok Chakra while Altaf Hussain Bhat who was serving as a Constable in Jammu and Kashmir police has been posthumously honoured with the Kirti Chakra.

Note: For the first time in J&K police history, Ashok, Kirti and Shaurya chakras have been awarded to the force together.

  • Of 15 Shaurya Chakras, six have gone to the Army, including one posthumous; three to CRPF; two to Odisha Police, both posthumously; two to the Air Force; and one each to the Navy and J&K Police (posthumous).

  • All of the Army’s Shaurya Chakras were awarded for operations of intercepting, or killing militants in J&K.

  • For the Air Force, Shaurya Chakras were given to pilots who displayed exceptional expertise, and skill to manoeuvre their aircraft after they had developed some issues, and regaining control of the aircraft, and preventing major disasters.

  • One of the Vayu Sena medals was awarded to Squadron Leader Deepak Mohanan who is on deputation with the Coast Guard since 2017.

  • His citation mentioned that as captain of a Chetak helicopter, Mohanan “displayed extraordinary courage and professional skills of a very high order wherein he carried out damage assessment of fire and explosion on-board MT Diamond, a Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) off the east coast of Sri Lanka, carrying 3.40 lakh metric tonnes of crude oil”.

List of the personnels being conferred with gallantry awards on the occasion of Independence Day:

Ashok Chakra

  • ASI Babu Ram, J&K Police (Posthumous)

Shaurya Chakra

  • Maj Arun Kumar Pandey, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Maj Ravi Kumar Chaudhary, Grenadiers, 55 Rr

  • Capt Ashutosh Kumar, 18 Madras (Posthumous)

  • Capt Vikas Khatri, Mech Inf, 16 Rr

  • Rfn Mukesh Kumar, Raj Rif, 9 Rr

  • Sep Neeraj Ahlawat, Jat, 34 Rr

  • Captain Sachin Reuben Sequeira - Navy

  • Group Captain Perminder Antil (26686) Flying (Pilot) - Air Force

  • Wing Commander Varun Singh (27987) Flying (Pilot) - Air Force

  • Chitesh Kumar, Deputy Commandant, Crpf

  • Manjinder Singh, Sub Inspector, Crpf

  • Sunil Choudhary, Constable, Crpf

  • Debasis Sethy, Commando, Odisha Police (Posthumous)

  • Sudhir Kumar Tudu, Commando, Odisha Police (Posthumous)

  • Shahbaz Ahmad, Special Police Officer, J&k Police (Posthumous)

Bar To Sena Medal (Gallantry)

  • Lt Col Krishna Kant Bajpai, Sm**, 6 Rajput

  • Maj Surendra Singh Lamba, Sm, Grenadiers, 29 Rr

  • Maj Rahul Balamohan, Sm, Mahar, 1 Rr

  • Maj Ankit Dahiya, Sm, Punjab, 22 Rr

Sena Medal (Gallantry)

  • Lt Col Dhirendra Pratap Singh Rawat, 3/11 Gr

  • Lt Col Bhagat Akshay Suresh, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • Lt Col Manpreet Singh, Sikh Li, 19 Rr

  • Lt Col Chetan Kaushik, 37 (I) R&o Flt

  • Maj Bharat Singh Jhala, Jat, 34 Rr

  • Maj Yashovardhan Bhati, Grenadiers, 29 Rr

  • Maj Ankit Thakur, Arty, 6 Assam Rif

  • Maj Rakesh Ranjan, 3 Gr, 32 Rr

  • Maj Rohit Sharma, Grenadiers, 29 Rr

  • Maj Anil Kandpal, Engrs, 44 Rr

  • Maj Ajit Pal Singh, 8 Sikh

  • Maj Govind Joshi, 5 Gr, Hq Sff

  • Maj Anil Kumar Rangi, Grenadiers, 29 Rr

  • Maj Gaurav Anand Bourai, Engrs, 1 Rr

  • Maj Vipranshu Pandey, Engrs, 42 Rr

  • Maj Gaurav Choudhary, 10 Para (Sf)

  • Maj Tapan Kumar Tamang, Jak Rif, 52 Rr

  • Maj Narender Kumar, Sigs, 24 R&o Flt

  • Maj Abhishek Kumar, Arty, 32 Rr

  • Maj Ashutosh Kumar, Engrs, 2 Rr

  • Maj Randeep Singh, Jak Rif, 3 Rr

  • Maj Mahendra Singh, Asc, 42 Rr

  • Maj Rahul Dutta, Arty, 32 Assam Rif

  • Maj Satish Kumar Gupta, Sigs, 44 Rr

  • Maj Sahil Sharma, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Maj Mayank Vishnoi, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Maj Athul James, Engrs, 1 Rr

  • Maj Rohit Kumar Upreti, Engrs, 34 Rr

  • Maj Pathak Saket, Eme, 44 Rr

  • Maj Ankesh Jarial, Engrs, 3 Rr

  • Maj Naorem Chingthangkhomba Singh, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • Maj Kundan Kumar, Engrs, 42 Rr

  • Maj Harjeet Singh, 5 Rajput

  • Maj Manish Kumar Verma, Sigs, 19 Rr

  • Maj Vibhore Joshi, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • Maj Abhishek Ghosh, Eme, 55 Rr

  • Capt Aaditya Anand Tyagi, Assam, 42 Rr

  • Capt Surya Prakash, Armd, 53 Rr

  • Capt Neil Silas Lobo, Armd, 55 Rr

  • Capt Sanjay Kumar Khanka, Jat, 34 Rr

  • Capt Rohit Kumar Swami, 19 Garh Rif

  • Capt Snehashish Paul, Sigs, 3 Rr

  • Capt Manoj Kumar Kataria, 18 Jak Rif

  • Sub Sukhdev Singh, 16 Grenadiers (Posthumous)

  • Sub Amar Pal Singh, Jat, 34 Rr

  • Sub Satwarg Singh, 15 Sikh Li

  • Sub Balkar Singh, Sikh Li, 19 Rr

  • Nb Sub Anil Kumar, 38 Fd Regt

  • Nb Sub Ravinder, 16 Grenadiers (Posthumous)

  • Nb Sub Sukhwinder Singh, 8 Sikh

  • Nb Sub Rajwinder Singh, 1 Sikh Li (Posthumous)

  • Nb Sub Pushakar Raj, 18 Jak Rif

  • Dfr Ranjit Kumar, Armd, 22 Rr

  • Hav Gurjeet Singh, 9 Para (Sf)

  • Hav Suresh Dewan, Jak Rif, 3 Rr

  • Hav Rakesh Kumar Tiwary, Mech Inf, 50 Rr

  • Hav Hardhan Chandra Roy, 59 Med Regt (Posthumous)

  • Hav Cheekala Praveen Kumar, 18 Madras (Posthumous)

  • Hav Mahaveer Singh, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Hav Kayam Singh, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Hav Gokaran Singh, 21 Kumaon (Posthumous)

  • Hav Ajit Singh, 15 Sikh Li

  • Hav Guljar Singh, Mahar, 1 Rr

  • Hav Showkat Ahmad Sheikh, 9 Para (Sf)

  • Nk Rakesh Kumar, Jak Rif, 3 Rr

  • Nk Radhe Shyam, Mech Inf, 42 Rr

  • Nk Govind Singh, Punjab, 22 Rr

  • Nk Rajwinder Singh, Punjab, 53 Rr (Posthumous)

  • Nk Sayar Khan, Grenadiers, 29 Rr

  • Nk Shaitan Singh Meena, Grenadiers, 29 Rr

  • Nk Jeevan Singh, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • Nk Shivaji, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • Nk Gurpreet Singh, Sikh Li, 19 Rr

  • Nk Baljit Kumar, Mahar, 1 Rr

  • L/nk Nongmaithem Dhanabir Singh, 21 Para (Sf)

  • L/nk Himmat Singh, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • L/nk Brij Mohan, Mech Inf, 16 Rr

  • L/nk Kuldeep Kumar, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • L/nk Dileep Kumar Yadav, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • L/nk Rajendra Singh Dosad, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • L/nk Surya Bahadur Soti, 3/3 Gr

  • Sep Jahaneer Ahmad War, Sikh Li, 163 Inf Bn (Ta)

  • Sep Mohit Bhadana, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Samsad Ali, Mech Inf, 42 Rr

  • Sep Gautam Tamang, Mech Inf, 9 Rr

  • Sep Prashant Sharma, Mech Inf, 50 Rr (Posthumous)

  • Sep Manish Kumar, Armd, 55 Rr

  • Sep Kuldeep Singh, Armd, 55 Rr

  • Sep Rohin Kumar, 14 Punjab (Posthumous)

  • Sep Ryada Maheshwar, 18 Madras (Posthumous)

  • Sep Ashish Kumar, Grenadiers, 55 Rr

  • Sep Hawa Singh, Grenadiers, 55 Rr

  • Sep Lachchhu Singh, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Gaurav Kumar Tomar, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Jitendra Singh Jodha, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Anuj Mavi, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Anuj Rana, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Rajesh Singh Kasana, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Deepak Kumar, Jat, 34 Rr

  • Sep Elonthung N Patton, Assam, 42 Rr

  • Sep Ramandeep Singh, Sikh Li, 19 Rr

  • Sep Tanveer Ahmed, Jak Li, 55 Rr

  • Rfn Rohit, Jak Rif, 3 Rr

  • Rfn Naranjan, Jak Rif, 3 Rr

  • Rfn Sajad Hussain Khan, Jak Li, 9 Rr

  • Spr Bibin C, Engrs, 44 Rr

  • Spr Sivakumar G, Engrs, 44 Rr

  • Spr Burla Anjaneyulu, Engrs, 1 Rr

  • Gdr Vikash Kumar Ram, Grenadiers, 29 Rr

  • Gdr Ravi Kumar Singh, Grenadiers, 29 Rr (Posthumous)

  • Gdr Prashant Singh, Grenadiers, 29 Rr (Posthumous)

  • Gnr Bhupender, 327 Med Regt (Posthumous)

  • Gnr Subodh Ghosh, 59 Med Regt (Posthumous)

  • Ptr Manmohan Singh, 4 Para (Sf)

  • Swr Jilajeet Yadav, Armd, 53 Rr (Posthumous)

  • Scout Tashi Namgyal Lepcha, 11 Gr, 1 Sikkim Scouts

Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry)

  • Captain Prashant Handu - Navy

  • Commander Sunil S Korti - Navy

  • Commander Bipin Panikar - Navy

  • Lieutenant Commander Raj Krishna Manu - Navy

  • Prahlad, Mca (Fd) Ii - Navy

Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry)

  • Wing Commander Uttar Kumar - Air Force

  • Squadron Leader Deepak Mohanan - Air Force

Mention-in-despatches

Operation Rakshak

  • Col Jasbir Singh Maan, 666 Army Avn Sqn (R&o)

  • Lt Col Shiv Bahadur Singh, 112 Engr Regt

  • Maj Swapnil Zende, Arty, 34 R&o Flt

  • Maj Deepak Kumar Singh, Asc, 3 Rr

  • Maj Partha Sarathi Batabyal, Arty, 29 Rr

  • Maj Pradip Shukla, 11 Garh Rif

  • Maj Aditya Bhadauria, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • Maj Himanshu Pradhan, 8 Sikh

  • Capt Shivam Dagur, Sigs, 1 Rr

  • Capt Sachin Malhotra, 33 R&o Flt

  • Lt Harinder Jit Singh, 4 Grenadiers

  • Hav Kuljinder Singh, Sikh Li, 2 Rr

  • Nk Roshan Singh, 628 Sata Bty

  • Nk Karuppa Samy K, 872 Lt Regt

  • Nk Aneesh Thomas, 17 Madras (Posthumous)

  • Nk Mandle Pradip Sahebrao, 10 Mahar (Posthumous)

  • Nk Kuldeep Kumar, Jak Li, 19 Rr

  • Nk Sartaj Ahmad Wagay, Jak Li, 50 Rr

  • Nk Rayees Ahmad Magray, Jak Li, 42 Rr

  • Nk Vikram Singh, 11 Garh Rif

  • L/nk Gaurav Singh, 8 Garh Rif

  • L/nk Kamlesh Pant, Kumaon, 50 Rr

  • Sep Ladhu Singh, Rajput, 44 Rr

  • Sep Khuvendra Singh, Armd, 55 Rr

Operation Snow Leopard

  • L/dfr Vikram Singh, 90 Armd Regt (Posthumous)

Operation Rhino

  • Maj Soubam Kinobabu Singh, Jak Li, 15 Assam Rif

  • Nb Sub Prem Kumar Tamang, 3/11 Gr

  • L/nk Anal Jyoti Nath, Assam, 166 Inf Bn (Ta)

NDA Exam:

The Supreme Court of India on August 18, 2021 passed an interim order stating that girls can also appear for the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

Key Points:

  • The apex court also slammed the Indian Army for not allowing women to take part in NDA entrance exams and called the Army’s policy decision as gender discrimination.

  • With this order, women will now be able to appear for the NDA exam which is scheduled for September 5, 2021.

  • According to the Apex Court, admissions will be subject to final orders of the court.

  • The court has also directed Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to take out the corrigendum and advertise it widely.

  • This is for the first time that women candidates are allowed to appear for the NDA exam to take admission in the Army, Navy and Air Force wings of NDA and Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC).

  • The court has also directed Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to take out the corrigendum and advertise it widely.

Background:

  • This order was issued on the basis of a writ petition filed by Kush Kalra seeking permission for women to sit in the exam for the entry in NDA.

  • The petition for the NDA exam raised the issue of violation of Articles 14, 15, 16, and 19 of the Indian Constitution by denying the opportunity to eligible women candidates to join NDA.

Important Info:

NDA II 2021 written exam is scheduled to be conducted on November 14 across 75 exam centres spread throughout the country. Earlier, the exam was scheduled to be conducted on September 5.

About NDA Exam:

  • National Defence Academy or NDA is one of the most sought-after defence entrance exams in the country.

  • The exam is conducted for admission to Army, Navy and Air Force wings of NDA and Indian Naval Academy Course (INAC).

  • NDA is conducted twice a year in two stages: written exam and Services Selection Board (SSB) Interview.

  • It covers general aptitude, team skills, psychological testing, Physical and social skills besides the medical tests.

  • NDA exam, before the latest order by the Supreme Court permitting women to appear for the exam, was only reserved for unmarried men between the age of 16-19 years.

  • The educational qualification is the pass certificate in 10+2 exams via a recognised board or University.

About NDA alumni:

  • Alumni of NDA comprises of 3 Param Vir Chakra recipients and 12 Ashoka Chakra recipients.

  • It has also produced 27 service Chiefs of Staff as of now.

About NDA:

  • The National Defence Academy (NDA) is the joint defence service training institute of the Indian Armed Forces.

  • This academy trains cadets of three services namely, the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy together before they go on to respective service academy for pre-commission training.

  • This academy is world’s first tri-service academy.

  • The NDA was commissioned on December 7, 1954, with an inauguration ceremony that was held on January 16, 1955.

DTIS:

In order to boost domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing, Ministry of Defence (MoD) has launched Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS).

Key Points:

  • It is an Rs 400 crore scheme for creating state-of-the-art testing infrastructure in partnership with the private industry.

  • The scheme was launched by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh on May 08, 2020.

  • DTIS is aimed at boosting domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing.

About DTIS:

  • This scheme would run for the duration of five years.

  • The scheme proposes to up of 6-8 Greenfield Defence Testing Infrastructure facilities that are required for defence and aerospace related production.

  • The collaboration will ease the process of indigenous defence equipment, thereby making India self-reliant.

  • The projects under the scheme will be provided with up to 75 percent Government funding in the form of ‘Grant-in-Aid’.

  • The remaining 25 percent of the project cost will have to be borne by the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which will be composed of the Indian private entities and State Governments.

  • The special purpose vehicles, under the scheme will be registered under the Companies Act, 2013.

  • They will operate and maintain all assets under the scheme in a self-sustainable manner by collecting user charges.

  • The system tested will be certified according to proper accreditation.

  • The majority of test facilities will come up in the Defence Industrial Corridors (DICs).

  • In this regard, Department of Defence Production/Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DDP/DGQA) has published eight Expression of Interest (EOIs) catering to setting up of defence test facilities in selected domains.

Note:

  • At present, India is one of the top importers of military hardware globally.

  • The government has been focusing on making India a hub of defence production.

  • According to the latest report by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading think-tank on military spending, India''s defence expenditure stood at USD 71.1 billion in 2019, which is third highest after the US and China.

Zayed Talwar 2021: The Indian Navy, on 7th August 2021 took part in a bilateral exercise "Zayed Talwar 2021" with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navy off the coast of Abu Dhabi.

Zayed Talwar 2021 was designed to enhance interoperability and synergy between the two navies.

About Zayed Talwar 2021:

  • The UAE participated in the exercise with Al-Dhafra, a Baynunah class guided missile corvette, and one AS-565B Panther helicopter while the Indian Navy deployed its warship INS Kochi and two integral Sea King MK 42B helicopters.

  • The exercise took place amid rising tension in the Gulf region after a drone attack on a merchant tanker off Oman killed a British national and a Romanian citizen over a week back.

  • As part of the exercise, the ships undertook tactical manoeuvres, over the horizon targeting, search and rescue and electronic warfare.

  • Helicopters were extensively used all through the exercise, ranging from search and rescue series to passing of targeting data to ships for simulated missile engagement drills.

  • The naval exercise came a week after Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited the United Arab Emirates.

Background:

In December 2020, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane had visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a first-ever visit by a head of the Indian Army to the two important Gulf countries.

Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021: India and Saudi Arabia are all set to conduct their first-ever naval exercise called “AL-MOHED AL-HINDI 2021”.

Key Highlights:

  • The joint naval exercise showcases the reflection of growing defence and military cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia.

  • Indian Navy's guided-missile destroyer INS Kochi reached Saudi Arabia on 9th August 2021 for the "Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021" exercise after conducting the “Zayed Talwar” drill with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) off the coast of Abu Dhabi

  • The harbour phase of the "Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021" exercise began on 9th August while the sea-based drills are taking place from 11th August 2021.

  • The joint naval exercise is taking place amid increasing tension in the Gulf region following a drone attack on the merchant tanker off Oman that killed a British national and Romanian citizen.

  • INS Kochi, on its arrival was given a warm welcome by officials of Royal Saudi naval forces.

Al-Mohed Al-Hindi:

  • Al-Mohed Al-Hindi comprises a number of shore and sea-based drills between the two navies.

  • During its stay at Jubail port, the Indian warship will follow all Covid-19 protocols laid down by Saudi authorities.

Note: Planning by India and Saudi Arabia for their first naval exercise had begun in 2019 but the move was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Significance:

  • The exercise is taking place amid rising tension in the Gulf region after a drone attack on a merchant tanker off Oman killed a British national and a Romanian citizen over a week back.

  • United States and United Kingdom had accused Iran for carrying the attack on MV Mercer Street.

Background:

  • Indian Army Chief General M M Narvane, in December 2020, was the first ever Army Chief to visit Saudi Arabia.

  • The armies of the two nations planned to hold the first ever joint military exercise in the later part of 2021.

About INS Kochi:

  • INS Kochi is an indigenously designed and built Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyer.

  • The warship incorporates new design concepts for stealth and has a large component of indigenous combat suites.

  • It was built for Indian Navy under the code name Project 15A.

  • The ship was constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in Mumbai and commissioned to Indian Navy service in September 2015.

  • This ship is classified as a ‘Network of Networks' because it is equipped with sophisticated digital networks, and a unique feature of the warship is the high level of indigenization, with most systems sourced from within India.

  • Some of the major indigenized systems on INS Kochi include the electronic warfare suite and the ship’s stabilizers.

  • It is also equipped sophisticated array of state of art weapons and sensors that can neutralise any threat from air, sea and underwater.

Honour FIRST: The Indian Navy has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC) FIRST Bank

Highlights:

  • The MoU was signed at the Naval Headquarters in New Delhi to initiate ‘Honour FIRST’, a premium banking solution for serving personnel and veterans of the Indian Navy.

  • The MoU for Honour FIRST has been signed between Commodore Neeraj Malhotra, Commodore – Pay and Allowances, Indian Navy and IDFC FIRST Bank’s senior officials.

About Honour FIRST:

  • ‘Honour FIRST’ is a premium banking solution for serving personnel and veterans of the Indian Navy.

  • This Defence Account has been introduced to fill the needs of the Armed Forces and its veterans.

  • It has been especially designed keeping in mind the needs of the Armed Forces and its veterans.

  • It is supported by a dedicated team of defence veterans.

Key features of Honour FIRST Defence Account:

  • The Honour FIRST Defence account offers a range of privileges and features like zero balance salary account, net banking and mobile App.

  • The account holders can take a free enhanced Personal Accident Insurance Cover of Rs 46 lakhs for both on-duty and off-duty incidents.

  • In addition, the insurance not only covers accidental death but also total and partial permanent disability.

  • Personal Accident Insurance Cover includes a Child Education Grant of Rs 4 lakhs, and a marriage cover of Rs 2 lakh.

  • It also comprises a free lost card liability and fraud protection of up to Rs. 6 lakhs, purchase protection against theft and damage up to 90 days.

  • Furthermore, other benefits like free unlimited ATM transactions across all domestic ATMs in the country, free online payment transactions, unlimited cheque books and anywhere banking across the Bank’s network of branches and ATMs are also included.

About IDFC FIRST Bank:

  • IDFC (Infrastructure Development Finance Company) First Bank (formerly IDFC Bank) is a professionally managed new private sector bank in India, promoted by IDFC Limited (Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited).

  • The bank started operations on 1 October 2015.

  • It received a universal banking license from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in July 2015.

  • It was listed on BSE and NSE.

  • It is headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

  • The current CEO of IDFC FIRST Bank is V. Vaidhanathan.

About IDFC Limited:

  • Infrastructure Development Finance Company Limited, more commonly known as IDFC, is a finance company based in India.

  • It provides finance and advisory services for infrastructure projects as well as asset management and investment banking.

International Army Games 2021: A 101-member Indian Army contingent is set to participate in the International Army Games 2021.

  • Highlights:

  • This has officially been confirmed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

  • The 7th edition of the International Army Games, 2021, will be held from 22 August to 04 September 2021 in Russia.

  • The competition will be hosted in eleven countries in the 2021 Games.

  • Over 280 teams from 42 countries will compete in the game to show their combat skills, professionalism and determination to win.

Key Points:

  • The International Army Games is organized each year by the Russian Ministry of Defence, since 2015.

  • The International Army Games also referred to as ‘War Olympics’, is an international military sports event, which aims to strengthen military-to-military cooperation between countries and trust between the participating nations.

  • This competition also fosters military to military cooperation while building upon the best practices of participating nations.

About the Indian Contingent:

  • The Indian Army contingent has been selected out of the best from various arms after three levels of screening.

  • The contingent will participate in Army Scout Masters Competition (ASMC), Elbrus Ring, Polar Star, Sniper Frontier and Safe Route games showcasing various drills in High Altitude Area terrain, operations in snow, sniper actions, combat engineering skills in obstacle ridden terrain in the various competitions.

  • It will also contribute two observers (one each) for the Open Water and Falcon Hunting games in which Pontoon Bridge laying and UAV crew skills will be showcased by the participating teams.

  • Participation in these annual games is a reflection of the level of professionalism of the Indian Army amongst the world Armies.

  • Previously India stood first amongst the eight countries that had participated in Army Scouts Master Competition 2019 in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Flame: The Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Flame was taken to Cellular Jail at Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands to mark the 50th anniversary celebrations of India’s victory in the 1971 war.

Highlights:

  • The event was organized by the Andaman & Nicobar Command at Cellular Jail to mark 50th anniversary of India’s victory in 1971 war.

  • The Chief Guest at the event was Army Component Commander Brigadier Rajeev Nagyal.

  • Service veterans, senior Military Officers & civil dignitaries were also present on the occasion.

  • The events included a band display from the troops of joint services; a light and sound show and a short movie on the 1971 war.

About the Cellular Jail:

  • The Cellular Jail proudly stands as a symbol of India’s freedom struggle.

  • This Jail was also known as Kala Pani.

  • It was used to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago.

  • Many notable freedom fighters including Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, , Yogendra Shukla , Batukeshwar Dutt and V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, were imprisoned there during the freedom struggle.

  • Today, the Cellular Jail serves as a national monument.

About Andaman and Nicobar Islands:

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a Union territory of India comprising 572 islands of which 37 are inhabited, are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.

  • The Andaman Sea lies to the east and the Bay of Bengal to the west.

  • The territory's capital is the city of Port Blair.

  • The territory is divided into three districts: Nicobar District with Car Nicobar as capital, South Andaman district with Port Blair as capital and North and Middle Andaman district with Mayabunder as capital.

  • The islands host the Andaman and Nicobar Command, the only tri-service geographical command of the Indian Armed Forces.

  • The current Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Island is Admiral Devendra Kumar Joshi.

Talisman Sabre: Australia is keen that India joins its biggest war games ‘Exercise Talisman Sabre’ in 2023.

A formal invite could be extended during Australian Defence Minister’s visit to India, in next couple of months.

About Exercise Talisman Sabre:

  • It is a biennial, multinational military exercise between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the U.S. military.

  • Talisman Sabre 2021, conducted in July 2021 was the largest bilateral combined training activity between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the U.S. military.

  • It also saw the participation of approximately 17000 military personnel from seven nations on land, air and sea.

  • To reflect its bilateral nature, leadership of the exercise switches between Australia and the US every 2 years.

  • The exercise focuses on crisis-action planning and contingency response, enhancing both nations’ military capabilities to deal with regional contingencies and the War on Terrorism.

  • The exercise is historically held in odd-numbered years starting from 2005, with the ninth iteration taking place in 2021.

  • The other countries include Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and U.K.

Additional News Info:

  • Quad group of countries, comprising India, Australia, Japan and the U.S., are also set to hold the annual Malabar naval exercise 2021 off the coast of Guam towards August-end.

  • Australia was included in the Malabar 2020.

India’s participation in other Exercises:

Four frontline warships from the Navy’s Eastern Fleet are scheduled to depart on an overseas deployment of over two months to South East Asia, the South China Sea and Western Pacific during which they will conduct a series of exercises and interactions.

  1. Samudra Shakti with Indonesia

  2. AUS – INDEX with Australia

  3. SIMBEX with Singapore

  4. Malabar 21 Exercise (hosted by US) with Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy

Why are such exercises and interactions conducted?

Such exercises and interactions are conducted for the following reasons:

  • To deepen interoperability and high technology cooperation between member countries

  • To enhance synergy and coordination between the Indian Navy and friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and commitment towards Freedom of Navigation at sea.

India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting: The 12th round of India-China Corps Commander Level Meeting was recently held at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side.

Key Details:

  • Both the Indian and Chinese sides had an in-depth exchange of views on resolution of remaining areas related to disengagement along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of India-China border areas.

  • The two sides had undertaken partial disengagement from Patrolling Points (PP) 15 and 17A in Gogra and Hot Springs last July after disengagement from PP14 in Galwan.

  • However, the process was stalled after the aggressive actions on the south bank of Pangong Tso in August.

About Chushul:

  • Chushul or Spanggur Gap is in the Leh district of the Indian state of Ladakh region.

  • It is located in the Durbuk tehsil, in the area known as "Chushul Valley", south of the Pangong Lake and west of the Spanggur Lake.

  • The Line of Actual Control with China runs about 5 miles east of Chushul, across the Chushul Valley.

  • It is famous as site for historical battle grounds.

History:

  • On August 1842 the concluding battle of Dogra-Tibetan War with subsequent signing of Treaty of Chushul on September 1842 for border non-proliferation took place at Chushul.

  • On 18 November 1962 Sino-Indian War, PVC Major Shaitan Singh with his five platoons of 120 men fought to the 'last man, last round' at Rezang La (Chushul), only 6 men survived the Chinese massacre.

  • The meeting point is named after the nearby town (Chushul) or the mountain pass (Spanggur Gap).

IAC Vikrant: India's first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant successfully completed its five-day maiden sea voyage on August 8, 2021.

Highlights:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had congratulated the Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard Limited for the maiden sea trial of India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant.

  • The Indian Navy officials said that the performance of the key systems of the 40,000-tonne warship was found to be satisfactory.

  • During the sea trials, IAC Vikrant's performance, including the hull, main propulsion, power generation and distribution (PGD) and auxiliary equipment were tested.

  • Vikrant set sail to begin its first sea trial.

  • With a planned induction of Vikrant in less than a year, India is set to join a select group of countries having the capability to indigenously design and build an aircraft carrier.

Key Details:

  • Vikrant is named after the Majestic-class aircraft carrier which was operated by the Indian Navy from 1961 to 1997.

  • INS Vikrant was designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a public sector shipyard under the Ministry of Shipping.

  • This is the first aircraft carrier designed and built in India.

  • INS Vikrant has 75 per cent indigenous content and will be commissioned into the Eastern Naval Command.

  • It will be commissioned into the Indian Navy by August 2022.

Note: An aircraft carrier is one of the most potent marine assets for a nation, which enhances a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations.

About the INS Vikrant:

  • INS Vikrant is 262 m long, 62 m wide, and has a height of 59 m;

  • It has 14 decks and 2,300 coaches;

  • It has a top speed of around 28 knots;

  • Its design is completely modelled in 3D.

  • Its construction began in 2009.

Background:

  • India’s earlier aircraft carriers were either built by the Russians or the British.

  • The INS Vikramaditya, currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier that was commissioned in 2013, started out as the Soviet-Russian Admiral Gorshkov.

  • The country’s two earlier carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Viraat, were originally the British-built HMS Hercules and HMS Hermes before being commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.

INDRA-2021: The 12th Edition of Indo-Russia joint Military Exercise named "INDRA-2021" will be held at Volgograd, Russia from 1st to 13th of next month.

Key Highlights:

  • The exercise will be yet another "milestone" in strengthening the bilateral security cooperation and will serve to reinforce the longstanding bond of friendship between India and Russia.

  • In the exercise, 250 personnel from both nations will take the part.

  • The exercise will entail conduct of counter terror operations under the United Nations mandate by a joint force against international terror groups.

  • The Indian Army contingent comprising of a Mechanized Infantry Battalion underwent rigorous training at different locations in India to refine their drills for participation in the joint exercise.

Delhi Police Commissioner: IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, on 28 July 2021 has been appointed as the Commissioner of Delhi Police.

Highlights:

  • Mr. Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer, was to retire on July 31.

  • His service was extended by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) for a one year period beyond the date of Asthana’s superannuation.

  • While clearing Mr. Asthana’s appointment as CP, Delhi, the ACC, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the inter-cadre deputation from Gujarat to Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre.

  • This is one of the very few instances when an IPS officer outside of the AGMUT cadre has been appointed as the Delhi Police chief.

  • Usually, an officer belonging to the AGMUT cadre is appointed to the post.

  • Asthana, who is currently serving as Director General of the Border Security Force (BSF), will join as the Delhi Police Commissioner with immediate effect.

About Rakesh Asthana:

  • Rakesh Asthana is an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1984-batch Gujarat Cadre.

  • He was serving as the Director General of Border Security Force.

  • Rakesh Asthana, has previously headed the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

  • Mr. Asthana had held the post of the special director in CBI.

Note: He was the Narcotics Control Bureau chief when actor Rhea Chakraborty was arrested in a drugs case in Mumbai.

SN Ghormade: Vice Admiral Satish Namdeo Ghormade who is navigation and direction specialist, on July 31, 2021, assumed charge as the new Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.

Highlights:

  • He has succeeded Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar who retired after 39 years of service.

  • Prior to taking charge as the Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, Ghormade was serving as the Deputy Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (Operations and Training) since March 8.

About Vice Chief of the Naval Staff:

  • The Vice Chief of the Naval Staff is the second-highest-ranking officer in the Indian Navy.

  • The Vice Chief of the Naval Staff is a Principal Staff Officer (PSO) at Naval HQ in New Delhi.

  • The post is held by a Three-Star Officer in the rank of Vice-Admiral.

  • He reports to the Chief of the Navy Staff.

  • The Vice Chief is responsible for Naval operations.

About Vice Admiral Ghormade:

  • He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Naval Staff College at the US Naval War College in Rhode Island, and the Naval War College, Mumbai.

  • He was commissioned in the Indian Navy on Jan 1, 1984, and is known as a navigation and direction specialist.

  • His important staff appointments ashore included assistant chief of personnel (human resources development), principal director of personnel and director of naval plans at naval headquarters.

  • In the rank of Vice Admiral, he has held the challenging and coveted appointments of director-general naval operations, chief of staff Eastern Naval Command and controller personnel services.

  • He is currently serving as the 36th Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.

Awards:

  • He has been awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) on January 26, 2017 and Nausena Medal (NM) in 2007 by the President of India, and Commendation by the Chief of the Naval Staff in 2000.

Note:

During Vice Admiral Kumar’s tenure -

  • The Navy had seen an increase in budget allocations with 100% utilization of the allocated budget with a capital acquisition boost.

  • The first ever procurement case under the Strategic Partnership model for Project 75(I) was successfully progressed for issuance of Request For Proposal (RFP).

  • The Navy’s INS Airavat rescued a fishing vessel which was adrift near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Defence Current Affairs - July 2021

MPATGM: A guided missile named “Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) “ has been has been successfully flight tested by India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The successful test flight of the missile marked a major boost for the PM Modi's Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign and would strengthen the Indian Army.

Key Points:

  • The low weight, fire and forget MPATGM has been indigenously developed by DRDO.

  • A man-portable launcher that was integrated with thermal site was used to launch this missile.

  • In direct attack mode, the missile hit the target and successfully destroyed it with impressive precision.

  • The missile was successfully tested for the maximum as well as the minimum range.

About MPATGM:

  • The missile is incorporated with state-of-the-art Miniaturized Infrared Imaging Seeker along with advanced avionics.

  • The man-portable missile is launched using a tripod is designed for a maximum range of 2.5 km with a launch weight of less than 15 Kg.

  • Control Flight Tests have been successfully carried out and Guided Flight Tests (with IIR Seeker) are planned.

Akash-NG: Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO, on 21st July 2021, successfully flight-tested the New Generation Akash Missile (Akash-NG), a surface-to-air Missile from Integrated Test Range (ITR) off the coast of Odisha.

Highlights:

  • The latest Akash missile is a surface-to-air missile with better accuracy.

  • The range of the new version is about 80 kms, an enhancement from the current 40 kms.

  • It is capable of intercepting high speed aerial threats and will be a force multiplier.

  • The test was carried out against a high-speed unmanned aerial target that was successfully intercepted by the missile.

  • The test was carried out amid inclement weather conditions proving the all-weather capability of the weapon system.

  • ITR, in order to capture flight data, deployed Radar and Telemetry and Electro-Optical Tracking System

About Akash-NG:

  • The missile system has been developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Hyderabad in collaboration with other DRDO laboratories.

  • The new version of the Akash missile (Akash-NG) can strike targets at a distance of around 60 km and fly at a speed of up to Mach 2.5.

  • The New Generation Akash Missile will prove to be a force multiplier for the air defence capability of the Indian Air Force.

Sarang Helicopter Display Team: The Sarang Helicopter Display Team of the Indian Air Force is all set to perform for the first time at the MAKS International Air Show held at Zhukovsky International Airport, Russia.

The air show is scheduled from 20th July to 25 July this year.

Key Points:

  • This is the first occasion when the Sarang Team is performing its four helicopter aerobatics display in Russia, with its Made in India – Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH).

  • Apart from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army, Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard also operate this helicopter.

  • These HAL manufactured machines have hinge less rotors and are equipped with state-of-the-art avionics, which makes them extremely suitable for military aviation.

About Sarang Team:

  • The Sarang Team was formed in 2003 at Bangalore and its first international display was at the Asian Aerospace Airshow at Singapore in 2004.

  • Since then, Sarang has represented Indian aviation at air shows and ceremonial occasions in UAE, Germany, UK, Bahrain, Mauritius and Sri Lanka till date.

  • Apart from aerobatics displays at national and international venues, the team has also taken active part in numerous Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Missions.

Exercise Shield: A Trilateral Table Top Exercise (TTX) – 2021 anti-narcotics and maritime search and rescue exercise, ‘Exercise Shield’, was held between Indian and Sri Lankan Navies and Maldives National Defence Force through virtual mode.

Key Details:

  • The two-day exercise, TTX-2021, was held virtually on July 14 and 15 with the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command as the lead agency.

  • The exercise is aimed at enhancing mutual understanding and exchange of best practices procedures for countering common transnational crime.

  • This exercise commenced with the opening address by Rear Admiral Gurcharan Singh, Chief Staff Officer (Operations), Western Naval Command, Mumbai.

  • Rear Admiral Prasanna Mahawithana, Director General Operations, Sri Lanka Navy, and Colonel Ibrahim Hilmy, Area Commander- Maldives National Defence Force participated in the inaugural session.

  • The exercise was coordinated by Maritime Warfare Centre, Mumbai.

About TTX-2021:

  • This exercise is a part of ongoing efforts towards strengthening maritime partnership amongst the three countries and further boosts the security environment in the Indian Ocean Region [IOR].

  • It was focused at enhancing maritime security cooperation and mutual understanding, exchange of best practices, procedures for countering common trans-national maritime crimes such as narcotics smuggling, evolving modalities for exchanging information, intelligence and to assist each other in maritime search and rescue.

Significance:

  • Interaction between the three neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has also grown significantly in recent years, in consonance with India’s policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and vision of ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR).”

  • The exercise gains additional relevance in light of the successful Operation Sagar Aaraksha 2 executed in support of MV X-Press Pearl, the Singapore-flagged cargo ship that caught fire on May 21.

  • The cargo ship MV X-Press Pearl was carrying 1,486 containers of chemicals and cargo when it went up in flames near the Colombo Port. Apart from the 325 metric tonnes of fuel in its tanks, the ship was loaded with 25 tonnes of hazardous nitric acid.

  • The Sri Lankan Navy, Airforce and the Indian Coast Guard jointly doused the fire in an operation that took days. However, the ship sank off the country’s coast on June 17.

  • Environmentalists have dubbed it as one the worst ecological disasters in Sri Lanka’s history.

  • Furthermore, there has been a steep increase in recovery of narcotics in the IOR in recent years and has been a major concern for maritime security agencies.

  • For instance, in April the Navy had recovered over 300 kg of narcotics from a fishing vessel in the Arabian Sea estimated to cost ₹3,000 crore in the international market. Thus, disrupting smuggling routes, which emanate from the Makran coast and flow towards the Indian, Maldivian and Sri Lankan destinations.

Background:

The exercise came as a follow up to India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives agreeing to focus on ways of enhancing maritime security cooperation in the IOR at the fourth National Security Adviser (NSA)-level trilateral meeting held in Colombo in November last year with the participation of India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and the top defence brass from Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

War Memorial of Capt Gurjinder Singh Suri: The Indian Army recently inaugurated a War Memorial of Capt Gurjinder Singh Suri in Gulmarg near the Line of Control (LOC).

Key Details:

  • The war memorial was inaugurated on the occasion of the birthday of Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri, who died during the operation “Birsa Munda” in 1999.

  • Lieutenant Colonel (Col), Tej Prakash Singh Suri (Retd), father of Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri, MVC (Posthumous) was also present on the occasion.

  • Gurjinder Singh Suri was later awarded Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumous).

About the Operation Birsa Munda:

  • Operation Birsa Munda was a punitive raid conducted against a Pakistani post by a Bihar battalion of the Indian Army, in the month of November 1999.

  • This was the time when Operation Vijay had drawn to a close, but the LOC was still active with sporadic incidents of trans Line of Control violence.

  • In a swift and meticulously planned operation, the entire Pakistani post was destroyed, killing 17 Pakistani soldiers.

  • During 1999, Capt Gurjinder Singh Suri was attached to 12 Bihar when the battalion was deployed in the Gulmarg sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • It was here at Faulad Post situated at a height of 11,200 feet, on a cold November day that this 25-year old Captain Suri attained martyrdom by sacrificing his life in the defence of the motherland.

About Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri:

  • Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri was born on 4th July 1974 in Ambala district of Haryana in a military family.

  • He was the Son of an army veteran Lt Col T P Singh and Smt Surjit Kaur.

  • His younger brother Randhir Singh who is currently serving Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army..

  • His grandfather, Subedar Gurbaksh Singh had participated in overseas campaigns during World War II and also during the wars in 1947-48 and 1962.

  • His father Lt Col TP Singh Suri, a Sikh Light Infantry veteran, took active part in the 1971 war with Pakistan in the Naushera sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • He went on to join the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, in July 1993 and was commissioned into Army Ordnance Corps in June 1997.

  • Capt Gurjinder Singh Suri, commissioned in Ordnance Corps, while on attachment to 12 Bihar Battalion in their finest innings, did something which made the Ordnance, the logistic arm of the Army and 12 Bihar, the sword arm, proud of this young Khalsa.

  • During 1999, Capt Gurjinder Singh Suri was attached to 12 Bihar when the battalion was deployed in the Gulmarg sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • It was here at Faulad Post situated at a height of 11,200 feet that Captain Suri attained martyrdom by sacrificing his life in the defence of the motherland.

  • For his conspicuous act of bravery and supreme sacrifice, Capt Gurjinder was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra posthumously.

  • He was the lone recipient of Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest military decoration for gallantry, during the investiture ceremony on August 15, 2000.

AI-Powered Grievance Management Application: Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, on 15th July 2021, launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered grievance management application in New Delhi.

Key Points:

  • This is the first AI based system developed to improve grievance redressal in the Government.

  • The app has been developed by the Ministry of Defence in the collaboration with IIT-Kanpur.

  • The AI tool developed as part of the initiative has capability to understand the content of the complaint based on the contents therein.

  • As a result, it can identify repeat complaints or spam automatically.

  • Based on the meaning of the complaint, it can categorize complaints of different categories.

Features of the App:

  • This AI-powered application will automatically check out and analyse the complaints of the people.

  • It will help in reducing human intervention, save time and bring more transparency in their disposal.

  • it has the capability to understand the content of the complaint based on the contents.

  • The app can identify repeat complaints or spam automatically.

  • The app will also categorize complaints into different categories.

  • Also, it can inspect geographical analysis of complaints in a category.

MTech in Defence Technology: A regular M.Tech. Program in Defence Technology has recently been launched by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Key Details:

  • M.Tech. Program in Defence Technology has been launched with an aim to impart necessary theoretical & experimental knowledge, skill and aptitude in various defence technology areas.

  • This programme can be conducted at any AICTE affiliated Institutes or Universities, IITs, NITs or private engineering institutes.

  • The institutes for conducting this programme will receive the support from the Institute of Defence Scientists & Technologists (IDST).

  • The programme can be conducted in online as well as offline formats.

About the Programme:

  • It is a four-semester programme with a total of 80 credits.

  • The program has the following six specialized streams:

  1. Combat Technology

  2. Aero Technology

  3. Naval Technology

  4. Communication Systems & Sensors

  5. Directed Energy Technology

  6. High Energy Materials Technology

  • The first semester will have a common curriculum and the second-semester curriculum will be varied as per the specialization.

  • The third and fourth semesters include dissertation and industrial training.

  • The course would offer specializations in combat vehicle engineering, aerospace technology, communication systems and sensors, directed energy technology, naval technology and high energy materials technology.

DRDO:

  • It is an acronym for the Defence Research and Development Organization.

  • DRDO is India's largest research organization. It was founded in 1958.

  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.

  • It is an agency under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India.

  • It is charged with the military's research and development.

  • It has a network of laboratories engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems.

  • The Minister currently responsible for DRDO is Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence.

  • The present Chairman of DRDO is Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy.

Vidya Balan Firing Range: The Indian Army recently named one of its firing ranges in Kashmir after Bollywood actress Vidya Balan.

Highlights:

  • The Vidya Balan firing range is situated at Gulmarg in the Baramulla district of Jammu & Kashmir.

  • The decision was taken in recognition of her contribution to Indian cinema.

  • She has contributed to Indian cinema for over two decades after she started her career on small screen.

  • Earlier in the year, the actress and her husband Siddharth Roy Kapoor had attended the Gulmarg Winter Festival organised by the Indian Army.

  • Apart from this, she has been invited to join Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which is the governing body behind Oscars.

About Vidya Balan:

  • Vidya Balan is one of the revolutionary actresses in Bollywood since 2000s for her female-led projects.

  • She started her career in 1995 with ‘Hum Paanch’ small screen show. She made her debut to Bollywood after appearing in Bengali movie Bhalo Theko.

  • She has worked in movies like Parineeta. Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulaiyaa.

  • She has been honoured with several awards in past years for her phenomenal work in film industry.

  • With consecutive successful movies like Paa, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica and Kahaani, the actress bagged a National Award for her role in The Dirty Picture.

About the Indian Army:

  • The Indian Army is the land-based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces.

  • It was founded on 1 April 1895.

  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.

  • It is the world's second-largest military force. It has the world's largest volunteer army.

  • The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Army, and its professional head is the Chief of Army Staff, who is a four-star general.

  • The current Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army is President Ram Nath Kovind and the 28th Chief of Army Staff is General Manoj Mukund Naravane. The motto of Indian Army is “Service Before Self”.

SPARSH System: The Ministry of Defence has recently implemented the SPARSH (System for Pension Administration (Raksha).

Key Details:

  • SPARSH System is an integrated system for automation of sanction and disbursement of defence pension.

  • This web-based system processes pension claims and credits pension directly into the bank accounts of defence pensioners without relying on any external intermediary.

  • A Pensioner Portal is available for pensioners to view their pension related information, access services and register complaints for redressal of grievances, if any, relating to their pension matters.

About the SPARSH:

  • Full form of SPARSH is System for Pension Administration Raksha.

  • SPARSH envisages the establishment of Service Centres to provide last-mile connectivity to pensioners who may be unable to directly access the SPARSH portal for any reason.

  • In addition to several offices of the Defence Accounts Department, which are already functioning as Service Centres for pensioners, the two largest banks dealing with defence pensioners – Punjab National Bank (PNB) and State Bank of India (SBI) – have been co-opted as Service Centres.

About MoD:

  • MoD refers to the Ministry of Defence.

  • It was created in 1776 which is 244 years ago as Military Department by the British East India Company at Kolkata but in 15 August 1947, the Department of Defence became the Ministry of Defence under a cabinet minister.

  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.

  • It is charged with coordinating and supervising all agencies and functions of the government relating directly to national security and the Indian armed forces.

  • The President of India is the ceremonial commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the country.

  • The responsibility for national defence rests with the Cabinet.

  • The function of MoD is to provide policy framework and resources to the armed forces to discharge their responsibility in the context of the defence of the country.

  • The Indian Armed Forces (including Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy) and Indian Coast Guard under the Ministry of Defences are primarily responsible for ensuring the territorial integrity of the nation.

  • The current Defence Minister is Rajnath Singh.

Child Soldier: The United States of America recently added Pakistan along with 14 other countries to a Child Soldier Recruiter List published under its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

Key Details about CRC:

  • The recruitment or use of children below the age of 15 as soldiers is prohibited by both the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions.

  • The CRC was adopted on November 20, 1989 and entered into force on September 2, 1990.

  • As of now, 193 countries have ratified the CRC. The CRC requires state parties to “take all feasible measures” to ensure that children under 18 are not engaged in direct hostilities.

  • It further prohibits the state parties from recruiting children under 15 into the armed forces.

  • It is also considered a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

What is the Optional Protocol to the CRC?

  • In 2000, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child adopted the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

  • While the CRC requires states to refrain from using children under 15 in direct hostilities, the Optional Protocol raises this age to 18.

  • The United States is a party to the Optional Protocol.

Akash Missiles: The Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) recently signed a contract with the Ministry of Defence for the manufacture and supply of Akash missiles to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Key Details:

  • The total worth of the deal is around Rs 499 crore.

  • As per the statement of CMD, BDL Commodore Siddharth Mishra (Retd), BDL is supplying Akash Missiles to the Indian Army and Indian Air Force. With the announcement from the Union Cabinet regarding clearance of Akash Weapon System for Export, the Company is exploring offering Akash for export to foreign countries.

  • BDL has already received export leads from some countries expressing interest in procuring the Missile.

  • The Company has a well-established infrastructure and expertise to execute these orders and meet the customer delivery schedule.

About Akash:

  • Akash is a medium-range mobile surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, being developed under India’s Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).

  • Akash missile is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), both for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.

  • BDL is the prime production agency for projects under IGMDP.

About IAF:

  • It is an acronym for the Indian Air Force of India.

  • IAF is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces.

  • It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal.

  • With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.

  • The present Commander-in-Chief of IAF is Ram Nath Kovind.

  • The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a four-star officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force.

  • The present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC.

War Memorial of Capt Gurjinder Singh Suri: The Indian Army recently inaugurated a War Memorial of Capt Gurjinder Singh Suri in Gulmarg near the Line of Control (LOC).

Key Points:

  • The war memorial was inaugurated on the occasion of the birthday of Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri, who died during the operation “Birsa Munda” in 1999.

  • Lieutenant Colonel (Col), Tej Prakash Singh Suri (Retd), father of Captain Gurjinder Singh Suri, MVC (Posthumous) was also present on the occasion.

  • Gurjinder Singh Suri was later awarded Maha Vir Chakra (Posthumous).

About the Operation Birsa Munda:

  • Operation Birsa Munda was a punitive raid conducted against a Pakistani post by a Bihar battalion of the Indian Army, in the month of November 1999.

  • This was the time when Operation Vijay had drawn to a close, but the LOC was still active with sporadic incidents of trans Line of Control violence.

  • In a swift and meticulously planned operation, the entire Pakistani post was destroyed, killing 17 Pakistani soldiers.

Border Infrastructure Poject: Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh dedicated to the nation 63 bridges in a virtual program from Kyungam in Leh district.

Highlights:

Shri Rajnath Singh is an a three-day visit to Ladakh to review the security situation on the ground as India and China prepare for the 12th round of Corps Commander talks to take forward the disengagement process in Eastern Ladakh.

These bridges are built by Boarder Roads Organization (BRO).

The combined cost of the projects is Rs 240 crores.

Key Details:

Mr. Singh inaugurated a 50-metre-long bridge constructed on the Leh-Loma Road in Ladakh.

  • This single span steel super structure bridge replaces an existing bailey bridge.
  • The Leh-Loma Road, which connects Leh with places such as Chumathang, Hanley and Tso Morori Lake, is vital for access to forward areas in Eastern Ladakh.
  • This will ensure unhindered movement of heavy weapon systems including guns, tanks and other specialized equipment.

Amongst the rest 62 bridges, he virtually inaugurated -

  • 11 in Ladakh,
  • 4 in Jammu & Kashmir,
  • 3 in Himachal Pradesh,
  • 6 in Uttarakhand,
  • 8 in Sikkim,
  • 29 in Arunachal Pradesh and
  • 1 each in Nagaland and Manipur.

BRO’S Infrastructure Poject:

  • With the inauguration of 63 bridges in one go, BRO has surpassed its own record of 44 bridges launched in 2020.
  • These 63 bridges, combined with 12 roads dedicated to the nation by Rajnath Singh on June 17, 2021, form a bouquet of 75 infrastructure projects completed by the BRO.

About the Bridges:

  • BRO used the latest technologies in building of these bridges.
  • These are Class-70 bridges and can bear the load of movement of Tanks and other heavy vehicles.
  • These bridges facilitate strategic and quicker access not just to Armed forces but to people living in the border villages as well.

About BRO:

  • It refers to the Border Roads Organization.
  • In order to ensure coordination and expeditious execution of projects, the Government of India (GoI) set up the Border Roads Development Board (BRDB) with the Prime Minister as Chairman of the Board and Defence Minister as Deputy Chairman. The BRO was formed on 7 May 1960 to secure India's borders and develop infrastructure in remote areas of the north and north-east states of the country.
  • It develops and maintains road networks in India's border areas and friendly neighboring countries.
  • It is responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads along the borders with China and Pakistan.
  • Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.
  • BRO has been entirely brought under the Ministry of Defence. Earlier it received funds from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
  • The current Director General of BRO is Lt. Gen. Rajeev Chaudhary.

Additional Info:

  • Shri Rajnath Singh, on the development of Ladakh, said a number of welfare schemes are being implemented, including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Rural Livelihood Mission, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi.
  • He also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to start the democratic process in the region.

INS Tabar: INS Tabar was recently deployed to participate in joint exercises with friendly navies in Europe and Africa.

Highlights:

It will visit a number of ports in Africa and Europe till the September end, 2021.

It will also participate in a number of joint exercises with friendly navies.

Key Details:

 

  • The ship will transit across the Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, North Sea and Baltic Sea while making port calls at Djibouti, Egypt, Italy, France, UK, Russia, Netherlands, Morocco, and Arctic Council countries like Sweden and Norway.
  • During port visits, the ship is scheduled to participate in bilateral exercises like Ex Konkan with UK Royal Navy, Ex Varuna with French Navy and Ex Indra with Russian Federation Navy, to strengthen military relations, develop interoperability and project long-range sustenance.
  • The deployment will also see participation by the ship in the Russian Navy Day celebrations from July 22 to 27.

Aim:

  • These engagements are aimed at further strengthening maritime security in the region and consolidating combined operations against maritime threats.

About INS Tabar:

  • The Indian Navy's Talwar-class stealth frigate, INS Tabar, was built in Russia for the Indian Navy.
  • The ship, which is one of the Indian Navy's first stealth frigates, is outfitted with a diverse array of weapons and sensors.
  • The ship is part of the Western Fleet of the Indian Navy, which is stationed in Mumbai and is part of the Western Naval Command.

Indrajaal: Hyderabad-based technology R&D firm Grene Robotics has designed and developed India’s first indigenous drone defence dome called “Indrajaal”.

Key details about Indrajaal:

  • The drone defence dome has the capability to autonomously protect an area of 1000-2000 sq km against the aerial threats by assessing and acting on aerial threats such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), loitering munitions, and Low- Radar Cross Section (RCS) targets.
  • The ANTI-UAV systems will not only provide protection to defence bases but it will be beneficial for linear infrastructures like international borders against advanced weaponry.
  • The design principles of Indrajaal are based on delivering autonomy to the armed forces.
  • The synergic combination of 9-10 modern technologies helmed by Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybersecurity and robotics.
  • Capable of real-time situational awareness, Indrajaal comprises all current weapons suite and infrastructure along with a honeycombed cell structure to provide a seamlessly built over a combination of 9-10 technologies for 24×7 persistent monitoring, tracking and action.

Salient Features:

  1. Real-time situational awareness
  2. Integrated and Intelligent meshed network
  3. Integrated all current weapons suite and infrastructure
  4. Honeycombed cell structure for seamlessly built
  5. Synergic combination of 9-10 technologies
  6. 24×7 persistent and autonomous monitoring, action and tracking

Why is modern warfare of the utmost importance?

  • India must embark on responsive and autonomous systems to be prepared for modern warfare rather than adopting reactive measures.
  • Manual weapons and point based defense systems cannot fight modern warfare which are operated by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics.
  • For the first time in India and many times, globally rogue forces have adopted cutting-edge technologies such as UAVs, Smart Swarms, etc.
  • Jammu Air Base on June 27th was attacked by such technologies to drop explosives next to the Mi-17 hangar.

IAF: Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari PVSM AVSM VM recently took over as the Vice Chief of the Air Staff on 01 Jul 21 while Lt. Gen. Sanjeev Kumar Sharma assumed office as Deputy Chief of the Army Staff (Strategy).

He succeeds Air Marshal H.S. Arora, who retired on 30 June 2021 after over 39 years of service.

About Air Marshal Chaudhari:

  • Air Marshal Chaudhari was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Air Force on December 29, 1982, and has a flying experience of more than 3800 hrs on a wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft and trainer aircraft, including missions flown during Op-Meghdoot and Op-Safed Sagar.
  • He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.
  • Prior to the present appointment, he was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) of the Western Air Command.

Key details:

  • Air Marshal Ballabha Radha Krishna, who was the Director General (DG) Air Operations, took over as the new AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command.
  • Air Marshal P.M. Sinha assumed office as DG Air Operations.
  • Air Marshal RJ Duckworth would be taking charge of the Central Air Command in Prayagraj.
  • On the occasion, the Air Marshals were presented the ceremonial Guard of Honour at Air Headquarters. 
  • They also took part in the wreath laying ceremony at the National War Memorial.

About IAF:

  • IAF is an acronym for the Indian Air Force of India.
  • It is the air arm of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the British Empire which honoured India's aviation service during World War II with the prefix Royal.
  • With the government's transition to a Republic in 1950, the prefix Royal was removed.
  • The present Commander-in-Chief of IAF is Ram Nath Kovind. The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal, is a four-star officer and is responsible for the bulk of operational command of the Air Force.
  • The present Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) is Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC and the Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) is Air Marshal Vivek Ram Chaudhari PVSM AVSM VM.

Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS): The 7th edition of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a biennial event, was recently hosted by the French Navy at Réunion Island.

Highlights:

  • This biennial event which was conceived by the Indian Navy in 2008 was hosted from 28 June to 01 July 2021.
  • From the Indian side, Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy, participated virtually in the inaugural session of the event.
  • He provided his congratulatory remarks to the Outgoing and Incoming Chairmen.

Key Details of the Symposium:

During the Symposium, Subject Matter Expert (SME) presentations were made by French Institute of International Relations - Observatoire du Climat, European Union, Indian Ocean Commission, IFC Singapore, RMIFC Madagascar and EU led Critical Maritime Routes Indian Ocean (CRIMARIO).

The Symposium also held panel discussions themed on the three IONS working Groups - HADR, Maritime Security and Information Sharing & Interoperability.

The Naval Maritime Foundation (NMF) also participated in the Panel Discussion on HADR.

CoC 2021:

  • IONS Conclave of Chiefs (CoC) is the decision-making body at the level of Chiefs of Navies, which meets biennially.
  • The 6th IONS abd CoC was conducted by the Iran Navy in april 2018 at Tehran, Iran.
  • Due to the Pandemic, the CoC 2021 will be hosted by the French Navy later this year.

About IONS:

  • Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) was initiated by the Indian Navy in 2008.
  • The symposium was first held in 2008 with India as host.
  • The IONS is a voluntary and inclusive initiative that brings together navies of Indian Ocean Region littoral states of the Indian Ocean region.
  • It provides a forum to increase maritime security cooperation, discuss regional maritime issues, and promote friendly relationships among the member states.
  • It also serves to develop an effective response mechanism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) against natural disasters.
  • In addition to the symposiums, numerous other activities like workshops, essay competitions and lectures are also held under the umbrella of the organization.

IONS chairmanship:

  • The chairmanship and location of the Symposium rotates between the various member states.
  • The chairmanship of IONS has been held by India (2008-10), UAE (2010-12), South Africa (2012-14), Australia (2014-16), Bangladesh (2016-18) and Islamic Republic of Iran (2018-21).
  • France assumed the Chairmanship in June 2021 for two-year tenure.

IONS Members:

IONS include 24 member nations that touch or lie within the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), and 8 observer nations.

The members have been geographically grouped into the following four sub-regions:

  1. South Asian Littorals: Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and United Kingdom (British Indian Ocean Territory)
  2. West Asian Littorals: Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates
  3. East African Littorals: France (Reunion), Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania.
  4. South East Asian and Australian Littorals: Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

Observers:

The Observers nations are China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, the Netherlands, Russia and Spain.

Significance for India:

  • IONS fit into India’s three-fold ambitions in the region:
  1. Strengthening and deepening the relations with the Indian Ocean littoral states;
  2. Establishing its leadership potential and aspirations of being a net-security provider;
  3. Fulfilling India’s vision of a rules-based and stable maritime order in the IOR.
  • It will help India to consolidate its sphere of influence from the Straits of Malacca to Hormuz.
  • IONS can be used to counter-balance the increasing presence of China in the region.

Agni P: The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has successfully flight-tested a New Generation Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile Agni P from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha.

About Agni-P:

  • Agni P is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles.
  • Agni P is a canisters based missile.
  • Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility,
  • This means that it can be launched from rail and road and stored for a longer period. It can also be transported across the length and breadth of the country.
  • The missile weighs 50% less than Agni III and has new guidance and a new generation of propulsion.
  • The missile has a range between 1000km to 2000km.
  • It has been developed specifically to strike targets in Pakistan.
  • Its range is too short to reach targets in the Chinese mainland.
  • The Agni-P will replace the Prithvi, Agni-1 and Agni-2 missiles that were built two decades ago with technologies that are now considered outdated.

About Agni Missiles:

  • Agni Missiles trace their origins back to the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme(IGMDP).
  • IGMDP was conceived by APJ. Abdul Kalam in 1980s to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.
  • The missiles developed under this programme include –

(a) Agni

(b) Akash,

(c) Trishul

(d) Prithvi

(e) Nag.

About DRDO:

  • It is an acronym for the Defence Research and Development Organisation. DRDO is India's largest research organisation.
  • It was founded in 1958.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • It is an agency under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India (GoI).
  • It is charged with the military's research and development.
  • It has a network of laboratories engaged in developing defence technologies covering various fields, like aeronautics, armaments, electronics, land combat engineering, life sciences, materials, missiles, and naval systems.
  • The Minister currently responsible for DRDO is Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence.
  • The present Chairman of DRDO is Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy.