Defence Minister’s address on IOR Conclave
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh delivered the keynote address in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) Defence Minister’s Conclave on 4th February at the Aero India Event. The conclave was attended by 26 out of 28 countries from the IOR region physically and virtually. He stressed that India being the largest nation in IOR with a coastline of about 7500 km, has a vital role in the peaceful and prosperous coexistence of the region’s countries. Indian Ocean Region is the new hotbed for global powers as it consists of major sea lanes carrying half of the world’s container ships, 1/3rd of the world’s bulk cargo traffic, and 2/3rd of oil shipments.
He emphasized the SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region Policy of India. SAGAR focuses on Security, Commerce, Connectivity, Fight against terrorism, and Intercultural exchanges. Sustainable Regional Development, Sustainable Fishing, Blue Economic, and promoting collective action to tackle natural disasters, piracy, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) are SAGAR elements. Conflicting claims over maritime assets has resulted in a need to ensure peace in IOR. The nations of IOR are connected through mutual respect for international laws and the rules-based order. India has enhanced cooperation in IOR through projects like Sagarmala, Mausam, Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, etc.
With India’s growing Aerospace and Defence sector, IOR countries can leverage this for mutual benefit. He lauded India’s efforts towards indigenization through the contract of 83 LCA Tejas Aircraft to HAL. India has adopted a cooperative approach through capacity-building assistance in partner countries. India is developing a comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness picture in IOR. As a result, Technical Agreements sharing of White Shipping Information have been signed-in India’s Maritime Diplomacy, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Non-Combat Evacuation and Search and Rescue Operations are important and have been highlighted in help extended to Madagascar and Mozambique during cyclones.
Under Operation Sagar-I, India supplied medical teams, medicines, diagnostic kits, and other essentials during COVID times to various countries. Operation Sagar-II saw 300 metric tonnes of humanitarian aid being delivered to 4 nations in IOR. Vaccine supplies under grant assistance to several nations show India’s commitment to protecting humanity from Covid-19. India is also training personnel involved in immunization in concerned countries. All this can be attributed to PM Modi’s Five ‘S’ vision – Samman (Respect), Samvad (Dialogue), Sahyog (cooperation), Shanti (Peace), and Samriddhi (Prosperity). Defence Minister concluded by saying that he hoped ideas generated at the conclave would lead to sustainable action and partnerships.
DRDO’s International Seminar at Aero India
Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) organized an International Seminar on ‘Energizing the R&D capabilities of Industry for Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ on 4th February, during Aero India 2021 event. A synergetic interaction between DRDO and industry preceded the event. In this, Aerospace professionals worldwide shared ideas for promoting self-reliance in the aerospace and defense sector. DRDO highlighted its latest policy initiatives, sustained engagements, intense technology transfers, test facility support, an initiative of DRDO for R&D funding to the industry under Technology Development Fund (TDF), and free use of DRDO patents.
Officials of DRDO covered a diverse range of topics followed by suggestions and debates. A suggestion involved cutting down on an elaborate trial schedule through simulation analysis and third-party certification. Defence Secretary said that R&D is the most important pillar of self-reliance. He mentioned a list of 108 defense items identified by DRDO for local production by the industry. He encouraged and challenged the industry to take up this wonderful opportunity and praised DRDO for its role in fighting against Covid-19.
Chairman of DRDO G. Satheesh Reddy spoke about the role of DRDO in developing indigenous technologies for armed forces for the last six decades. He defined Aatmanirbhar Bharat as having design, development, and production capabilities. The new technologies have huge export potential as well. Along with industry contribution, state of the art weapons can be developed indigenously, paving the way for self-reliant India.
HAL plans to export Tejas
At the Aero India event, R. Madhavan, chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), highlighted the export potential of indigenous LCA Tejas at just Rs. 309 Crore per aircraft. He said that certain Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern countries had evinced interest in buying Tejas. He explained Tejas’s price break-up and termed it as the cheapest yet strong offer to attract foreign nations.
It is argued that Tejas has superior performance with a better engine, radar systems, EWS, and BVR missile system, giving it a notch higher than its closest contender, Sino-Pak Joint product JF-17. HAL is about to set up logistics facilities in Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka to woo countries to buy Tejas and Military Helicopters. This will aid in selling the product and ensure after-sales service.
MoU signed between MIDHANI and HAL
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited (MIDHANI) for the development and production of composite raw materials during Aero India 2021. For the first time, such an MoU has been signed for composite raw materials. Composite raw materials in prepregs used in platforms like LCA, Advanced Light Helicopter are currently imported. There is no equivalent proven Indian approved supplier of various prepregs (Carbon, Aramid, Glass types, etc.) for aircraft applications, thus creating dependency on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Thus, there is a need to develop and manufacture such prepregs in India through collaboration.
India to get Anti-Torpedo defense system from Israel
MoU signed at Bandhan event of Aero India 2021, between Israeli Defence Technology Company Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Bharat Dynamics Limited for joint induction of Anti-Torpedo defense system SHADE’ for Indian Navy. SHADE will be the first system to employ a combination of soft kill and hard kill decoys providing a robust and effective defense against modern torpedoes.
SHADE signifies Rafael’s commitment to the Aatmanirbhar Bharat policy of the government. With advanced Transfer of Technology and very high indigenous content, this cooperation will lead to attaining self-sufficiency in the field of cutting-edge technology in defense. The pact is an ideal opportunity for industrial collaboration between India and Israel, and both will work jointly to explore the potential of this technology.