Mapping by private entities opposed by the Army
Ministry of Defence has proposed mapping of the border and coastal areas by private entities. The Indian Armed Forces citing security reasons have opposed the proposal. Special permission for the terrain mapping of areas 25 km away from the border and coast is required. Various services like Google Maps, app-based taxi, traveling apps, hotel booking apps, food or shopping apps, etc. are in the list of sectors that require geospatial mapping data.
Border areas of state Rajasthan, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh and of Union Territories like Ladakh and Jammu Kashmir needs permission from the Ministry of Defence. Similar is the case with coastal cities. The proposal has a provision that allows private entities to freely map and cover the areas falling within ‘No Trespassers Zone’ by reviewing the policy on geospatial and geophysical systems. The proposal also includes the mapping of areas falling within 12 nautical miles from the seashore. But the proposal comprises a provision that allows pinpoint areas pointed out by the forces that will be excluded from it.
Armed forces are reserve because the software and tools used in geo-spatial mapping come from other countries and data of terrain are significant for missile operations. If the data breach, our security is likely to be compromised because such data will be helpful for the enemy to precisely hit a missile on our crucial infrastructure and missile systems. To avoid this misuse of data, a sole piece of equipment will be needed which will counter the data breaching. The US & some European countries comprise the technology but India is yet to have such technology. Mapping of terrains is done by the Surveyor-General, a department that comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
New weapon from Israel for Indian Armed Forces
Smart Shooter is an Israeli firm. The Indian Navy has given an order for Smash Fire Control System. The number of weapons ordered is yet to be specified. According to recent updates, the firm is planning to set up a manufacturing plant in India. The plant will be of smart weapon which was transformed by the company into SMASH 2000 PLUS. The system has been used by the US forces and some European countries.
At present Indian Army and Border Security force is in the hunt for a weapon to counter enemy drones. Various incidents of drone smuggling have been noticed by the forces and the count is still increasing. SMASH 2000 Plus consists of a built-in targeting algorithm that helps to engage (Hit and Track) multiple targets at a moment. According to Smart Shooter company officials, Israel Defence Ministry has provided them permission to cooperate with India to set up a new manufacturing plant in India.
At present, the company is conducting its Research & Development and Manufacturing in Israel only. To increase the business opportunities worldwide the company is looking for new locations. From a market point of view, India could be an option. But India’s demand and quantity will influence the decision of the company.
SKYROS military exercise between Indian Air Force and French Air Arm
Between 19th to 25th January 2021, a military exercise between the air force of India and France will be conducted in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. The exercise is named SKYROS. The main aim of the exercise is to increase interoperability and coordination between the Indian Air Force and French Air Force. Recently inducted French Dassault Rafale Aircraft will be mainly participating in the exercise. This is the second exercise which is going to be conducted between the two air forces, Garuda is the other one which is conducted at regular intervals. In SKYROS Exercise, Indian Air Force fighter pilots will showcase their flying skills midair.
Before this, in the year 2014, Rafale had participated in an aerial exercise in which the aircraft was flown by then IAF Chief Arup Raha. India has done a multi-billionaire deal with France to acquire 36 Rafael jets from Dassault Aviation. In July 2020 and September 2020, several units have been delivered by France and at the end of the year 2021, all units are expected to be delivered. The Rafale is the second fighter acquired by IAF from Dassault Aviation after long served Mirage 2000. The Rafale fleet will be stationed at Ambala Air Base and Hasimara Air Force Station situated in West Bengal.