India exports defence equipment to more than 84 countries
At present, India is exporting defence items to more than 84 countries. This information was given by Shripad Naik, the Minister of State for Defence in the Parliament. He did not disclose the names of the countries which will be receiving the defence products. The question regarding the export of defence equipment was raised by Kaushal Kishore and PP Chaudhary in the parliament. Tear Gas Launcher, Torpedo loading mechanism, weapon simulators, night vision monocular and binocular, alarm monitoring and control, lightweight torpedoes and fire control systems are he important items that are exported by India.
He told that special provisions were made to initiate and enhance the manufacturing and development of defence equipment in the country. The defence exports in last 6 years increased because of the reforms brought by the government and their implementations. Steps were taken to include special chemicals, organisms, material, equipment and technologies (SCOMET) in production of these items. Open General Export License (OGEL) has been notified by the government. It is a special type of export license which permits companies to export their products to specific destinations. An online portal has been developed to receive and process the export authorization permission. After consulting with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the export parts and components of small arms is permitted.
India’s 2nd Nuclear Submarine to be commissioned in 2021
INS Arighat, India’s second nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine will be commissioned this year. It was scheduled to be commissioned last year, but the plan was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The final stages of sea trials are being conducted before its official induction. India has only one SSNB in service, INS Arihant.
INS Arighat consists of 4 missile launch tubes which can carry 12 K-15 Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBMs). 4 K-4 SLBMs can also be integrated with it. K-15 can hit targets up to a range of 750 kms, and has been inducted, while K-4 has the target range of 3,500 kms. The development trials of K-4 have completed, and it will be soon inducted to the service. Two SSBNs, currently named as S4 and S4*, are still in development stages and will be assembled soon at the Ship Building Centre, Vishakhapatnam. They both can carry 8 K-4 SLBMs and will be better armed than INS Arihant and Arighat.
The Nuclear Powered Submarine program (SSN) was launched by the government in 2015. The mission was to develop advanced submarines equipped with missiles and conventional warheads. The Submarine Design Centre, Gurgaon initiated the process and started working on the project in 2017. The aim was to develop 6 SSNs.
SC notice to Centre, NDA on denying entry to women
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed has challenged the denial of entry to women in the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA) and Naval Academy (NA). Honorable Supreme Court has elicited response from the Centre and the NDA regarding the issue. Chief Justice of India SA Bobde headed three-judge bench has issued a notice to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), NDA and Department of Defence. The petition filed by advocate Kush Kalra has questioned categorical exclusion of eligible female candidates from entering the NDA and Naval Academy via the exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). As the Supreme Court has allowed permanent commission to women inducted for short service in the Army in February 2020, it’s high time that this unnecessary discrimination with eligible female candidates be done away with. Such kind of exclusion at the entry level solely based on sex violates the fundamental rights of women as equal citizens. The only option they are left with is entry through short service commission. This is against the very spirit of the Indian Constitution that vouches for equality among the citizens.
India to develop defence base with US help
According to a senior Pentagon official, the Biden administration is keen at deepening its technical and military cooperation with India. For this the US will not only provide India with arms and equipment but also help the country to develop its own defence industrial base. This will help create interoperable forces and India will be able to produce equipment to serve their needs and work with the US forces in the areas of common interest. India is a rising partner of the US and has been provided a unique designation of US’s major defence partner. India is a major player in the Indo-Pacific region and most potent against rising China. Biden administration wants to build on the existing defence agreements with India. For example, the countries can share valuable information through information security and logistics agreement and build a common strategic understanding of the threats they face together. The US wants to leverage India’s position in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) to work in the areas of maritime domain awareness or humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR). The two countries have shared intel on various issues regarding growing Chinese presence in Indo-Pacific and conditions at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The two nations are building strategic understanding with complex exercises and defence trade. As most of the foundational defence agreements have been signed between the two nations, the mutual partnership will accelerate from here. Besides, the US is also building ties with Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Maldives to counter China in the Indian Ocean Region and ensure that the region remains free and open.