Army Chief calls for better synergy among 3 forces
Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane delivered a lecture on ‘Developments along the Western and Northern Borders and their impact on the Future Road Map of the Indian Army’ at Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, Tamil Nadu. In his lecture he observed that India is facing renewed challenges along its borders. The threat of two-front war simultaneously with China and Pakistan is always looming. He emphasized that the military officers undergoing training should keep themselves abreast of all the happenings and make a road map for future struggles. Future conflicts would be all encompassing spread across various domains and hence require enhanced synergy of the 3 forces. The increasing jointmanship and steps towards theaterisation of the commands are efforts in bringing the forces and resources together to tackle future threats.
Kazakhstan’s Defence Minister visits India
Defence Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India from April 7-10 2021. He arrived in Jodhpur and will be heading to Jaisalmer, New Delhi and Agra for visit to defence establishments and meetings. He has arrived India on the invitation of the Defence Minister and they will meet on April 9. The two ministers had met last on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Moscow on September 05 2020. India and Kazakhstan share common interests of actively combating the threat of global terrorism and maintaining peace. This visit is aimed at boosting bilateral defence ties as both the countries hold a special partnership based on trust, confidence and mutual understanding. The visit will bolster the military to military contacts and cooperation between Kazakhstan and India.
Maritime Security Dialogue between India and Vietnam
Maritime Security Dialogue was held between India and Vietnam in which the countries deliberated on the maritime cooperation and evolving regional situation. The virtual meeting was a part of the second maritime security dialogue. The defence and security cooperation between the two nations has increased steadily. A virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc focused on measures to boost overall defence and security cooperation was conducted. The two nations stress on the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. China is unilaterally expanding its footprints in the South China Sea attacking the sovereignty of other nations. Moreover, Vietnam an important player in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region. Along with Vietnam, Phillipines and Brunei also have counter claims against China in South China Sea region that is a huge source of hydrocarbons.
Russia keen on enhancing military-equipment production in India
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia is pushing for additional production of Russian military equipment in India, a move that may irk the US. The two countries have confirmed their determination towards development of military-technical cooperation. India has manufactured Russian MiG fighter planes and Su-30 jets under license and may produce supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles in India. The US has been targeting Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors by imposing trade sanctions after the Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election. The US has been discouraging nations from buying Russian weapons. Inspite of the warnings from the US, New Delhi has marched ahead in purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. The US has already sanctioned Turkey for buying S-400 missiles from Russia. According to Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, ties between India and Russia are time-tested and are based upon consistent ability to identify and update shared interests. Traditionally, Russia has been biggest arms supplier to India. Only since last few decades India has turned over to the US and Israel for supplies of transport planes, attack helicopters, high-tech drones and other surveillance equipment.
PASSEX in Persian Gulf
A Passage Exercise (PASSEX) was conducted by the navies of India and Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf on April 6. Indian Navy Ship (INS) Talwar carried out a maritime drill with Royal Saudi Naval Force Ship HMS Khalid. This short exercise might be a prelude to the full-fledged joint drill by the two navies later. The INS Talwar deployed for Operation Sankalp in the Gulf Region arrived at Jubail Port, Saudi Arabia on April 3. Operation Sankalp is the maritime security operation by Indian Navy in the Gulf Region started in June 2019 in order to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz. This operation was started in the backdrop of deteriorating security situation in the Gulf Region wherein merchant ships were facing constant attacks. Indian Navy conducts PASSEXs with the naval units of friendly foreign nations which includes visit to each other’s ports by the naval vessels or during a rendezvous at sea. Indian Navy has earlier conducted similar exercises with the US, Vietnam, Russia and other nations. Both the Indian Army and Indian Navy are taking steps such as joint exercises to bolster the military ties between India and Saudi Arabia. In the wake of Chinese extending its influence in the Indian Ocean Region, Indian Navy has been expanding cooperation with the like-minded countries to ensure freedom of navigation and security in maritime domain. As part of these efforts India is participating for the first time in the multi-lateral maritime exercise La Perouse being conducted in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region. The exercise involves joint drill by the aircraft and ships of the French Navy (FN), the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the United States Navy (USN) for three days. India is being represented by INS Satpura with an integral helicopter embarked and INS Kiltan with P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The exercise signifies joint efforts by the major powers of the world to maintain the rules based order at a time when expansionary ideas of China is threatening the maritime sovereignty of many countries.