AFPA

India gifts 1 lakh vaccines to Bangladesh Army

 

In a bid to help Bangladesh tackle the coronavirus pandemic Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane gifted over 1 lakh Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh Army. General Naravane is visiting the neighbouring country on the invitation of his Bangladeshi counterpart General Aziz Ahmed to be a part of golden jubilee celebrations of the liberation war of Bangladesh. The two generals discussed issues related to the good relations between the armed forces of two countries, implementation of the Border Road Organization, exchange of defence experts and trainers, training of Army pilots, mutual defence cooperation, etc. While thanking India for the vaccines General Aziz expressed hope that India would also help the country to resolve the Rohingya crisis. Earlier General Naravane paid tributes to the fallen heroes of Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War.

 

 

 

US Warship in Indian waters without India’s consent

 

To assert navigational rights and freedoms, the 7th Fleet of the US Navy has sent a warship 130 nautical miles west of Lakshadweep islands. A press note by the 7th Fleet Public Affairs admitted that the move by guided missile destroyer USS John Paul Jones was without India’s prior consent but it didn’t violate international law. Not paying heed to Indian laws that require prior notice for such passage or manoeuvers through its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or continental shelf, the US maintains that it conducts “routine and regular Freedom of Navigation Operations (FONOPs) and they are not about one country. However Indian concern is more about the way this passage has been justified. Usually in a passage exercise, a foreign ship passing through the waters of a country is accompanied by that country’s ship- which did not happen in this case. As per the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982, waters up to 12 nautical miles of a coastline is that country’s sovereign waters and between 12 and 200 nautical miles is its EEZ. India allows innocent passage of foreign ships, including navies through EEZ but doesn’t allow commercial or research activities including fishing. Earlier also such passage of the US warship has taken place several times but this is the first time that an aggressive note has been put out by the Fleet. Geo-political experts have been taken by surprise by this development as it has come at a time when the relationship between the two countries is on an upswing. Former Navy chiefs have termed this move by the US warship as an unnecessary one especially by a friendly nation. Even if the US clarifies that the move is aimed against China but it should not have been done without India’s prior consent. Also, the US is one of the few countries that haven’t signed the international law being quoted by the US. 7th Fleet is infamous for sailing into the waters of the Bay of Bengal in 1971 at a time when the liberation war of the Bangladesh was going on.

 

 

 

Army strengthens mountain strikes corps at LAC

 

Indian Army is adding around 10000 more troops to its only mountain strikes corps that looks after the offensive operations along the China border. The move is aimed at strengthening the deployments along the northern borders. The forces are trying to rebalance their focus from western border with Pakistan towards Chinese borders. An existing Division formation with around 10000 personnel located in the Eastern sector has been assigned to the 17 Mountain Strike Corps with its headquarters in West Bengal’s Panagarh. The corps cleared by the centre around a decade ago had only one division attached to it but will now have more firepower and manpower at its disposal. More reshuffling has been done by the Army recently with the companies getting dual tasks and asked to focus on China more. The security forces are returning to their summer bases in the Ladakh sector and other mountainous areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Mathura-based One Strike Corps has been reoriented towards the Northern borders. The deployments along the Sugar sector, Central sector and the north eastern borders have also been strengthened.

 

 

 

IAF chief flies Su-30MKI

 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria flew a Su-30MKI fighter jet in Bengaluru to witness its capability enhancement. He also interacted with the test crew of Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) and software engineers of Software Development Institute. The ASTE conducts flight testing of aircraft, airborne systems and weapons prior to their induction in the IAF.

 

 

 

Suspicious boats stuck in sea near Kerala coast

 

The 580 km long Kerala coast have been put under strict surveillance after intelligence inputs regarding Sri Lankan fishing boats carrying contraband and weapons reached the authorities. The boats might try to sneak into the area to evade the vessels of Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Coastal Police along areas that are not easily accessible from land. In two separate incidents in March, four Sri Lankan fishing vessels were seized off the Kerala coast. Following the combing operations by Indian agencies, a couple of Sri Lankan boats are stuck in the ocean. Patrolling has been increased and local fishing community is also being involved to put a check on foreign vessels. The probe of the seizure of Sri Lankan boats has revealed the role of Pakistan-based rackets that are trying to traffic drugs and weapons through Arabian Sea. They are using Sri Lankan vessels for their ulterior motives that has prompted Intelligence Bureau and the intelligence units of Ministry of Defence (MoD) to swing into action. An official release by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) points to the role of Pakistan-based drug trafficking network. The report establishes link between narcotics trafficking and extremist elements. The enforcement agencies suspect the role of the drug cartels based in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They try to push narcotics to the Indian coast with the help of local drug networks and employ fishing boats to smuggle the contraband. This has brought the agencies on highest form of alert.   

Bilateral Talks between India and Kazakhstan Defence Ministers

 

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Defence Minster Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev. The two ministers discussed ways to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation through defence exercises, training and capacity building. They agreed that there is a need to look at the possibility of defence Industrial collaboration in mutual interest. India extended an opportunity to the Kazakh defence troops to be deployed as part of the Indian battalion United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Kazakh defence minister thanked India for this opportunity. Both the ministers also assessed the annual KAZIND exercise. Other dignitaries like the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Defence Secretary and other civil and military officials were present in the event. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India on the invitation of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. He visited HQs 12 Corps Jodhpur and Longewala sector in Jaisalmer.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with the Republic of Kazakhstan’s Defence Minster Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev. The two ministers discussed ways to strengthen bilateral defence cooperation through defence exercises, training and capacity building. They agreed that there is a need to look at the possibility of defence Industrial collaboration in mutual interest. India extended an opportunity to the Kazakh defence troops to be deployed as part of the Indian battalion United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Kazakh defence minister thanked India for this opportunity. Both the ministers also assessed the annual KAZIND exercise. Other dignitaries like the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, Defence Secretary and other civil and military officials were present in the event. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India on the invitation of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. He visited HQs 12 Corps Jodhpur and Longewala sector in Jaisalmer.

Kazakhstan is seeking help of India in modernization and upgradation of its Soviet/ Russian aircraft. It also seeks India’s cooperation in co-development of aircraft component. Kazakhstan seeks to procure components and sub-systems from BEL to upgrade its Mi fleet.

Alpha Design Technologies Private Limited (ADTL) is providing a new cockpit, smart displays, transponder, digital voice recorder (DVR), Missile Launch Detection System (MILDS) for the Mi-17 helicopter that has attracted attention of Kazakhstan. The Su-30SM fleet being operated by the Kazakhstan air defence forces is the Russian version of the Indian Su-30MKI. Thus there is a high possibility of cooperation in the supply of components and spares of the fleet.

 

 

 

The Rafale deal with India clean, claims Dassault Aviation

 

The makers of Rafale fighter jets, French Aerospace major Dassault Aviation have maintained that the deal to supply 36 fighter jets to India went through numerous checks and no violations were found. The strict internal procedures of the company and numerous controls carried out by official organisations including French Anti-corruption Agency made sure that the process remains corruption free. The company has strengthened its systems and procedures to prevent any kind of influence and peddling both at the level of parent company and its subsidiaries. The Indian contract for the acquisition of 36 Rafales was established on government to government basis. This contract and its offsets meet the rules and regulations of the company and are being executed in full transparency between the government and Industrial partners.

The allegations of the deal being inflated and corruption by the government have already been negated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.

 

 

 

India – China discuss Border Disputes for 13 hours

 

After a gap of almost two months, the 11th round of the Corps Commander talks took place at Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The talks didn’t provide any forward movement in the disengagement process of the troops of India and China at the remaining friction points of Hot Springs, Gogra and Depsang in eastern Ladakh. The talks, second after the disengagement process between the two armies in the Pangong Tso sector lasted for 13 hours. It is said that the Chinese side came with a premeditated mindset to prevent further disengagement process. Indian Army said that the two sides held deliberations on the disengagement in remaining areas, agreed to jointly maintain stability on the ground avoiding any new incidents and resolve the outstanding issues in an expeditious manner. The disengagement in remaining areas will pave the way for de-escalation of forces and ensure full restoration of peace and tranquility in the region. Indian delegation was led by Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps Lieutenant General PGK Menon. The two sides agreed to take guidance from the consensus of their leaders. They need to continue their dialogue and communication in order to come up with mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest.

 

 

 

Indian Defence Forces plan to lease weapon systems

 

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is in plans to lease a greater number of mid-air refuelling aircraft. IAF will analyse the minimum and maximum number of flying hours available per year. This analysis will help the IAF in deciding the number of aircraft to be leased for this process. The IAF will utilise the existing fleet of IL-78 aircraft for operational purposes, while the newly leased aircraft will be used for training purposes. IAF presently has a fleet of 6 IL-78 aircraft for mid-air refuelling, but this fleet fails to fulfil the demands of the force. The deal for another batch of 6 IL-78 aircraft is in pipeline since a long time. The only option left with the IAF is to lease the aircraft for a specified period of time.

The IAF is also facing acute shortage of training aircraft. To solve this problem, IAF is planning to lease 20 Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA) for an expected period of 4-5 years. These aircraft will be used by the IAF till the new version of indigenous trainer aircraft HTT-40 is inducted into the service. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is developing the HTT-40 trainer aircraft for the forces. Kiran Trainer aircraft has also retired from the service.  The previous agreement to procure 75 PC-7 MK-II BTA amounting to Rs. 4,000 crore has been signed in the year 2012. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd agreed to supply these aircraft till 2015, but the deal was scrapped due to the corruption allegations.

Indian Army is in plans to lease 4 Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), developed by Israel. The Navy will lease a certain number of advanced technological weapons like minesweepers and tankers in the near future. The Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP) has opened ways for the defence forces to lease out the equipment required for their operations.