Thursday, June 21, 2018

Fire at DRDO’s Hemrl Complex

A fire broke out on 19 June, 2018 at around 1500 hrs in one of the buildings at High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) in Pune. Immediately, the fire fighting vehicles were called and the fire was contained. In the incident, one contractual worker was found unconscious, who was working in the building when the incident occured. He was immediately taken to HEMRL’s Medical Inspection Room, where doctor declared him dead. The body was sent to Sassoon General Hospital, Pune. An FIR has been lodged in this regard.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Airbridge for Mansarovar Yatra : An IAF Effort

Airbridge for Mansarovar Yatra : An IAF Effort
For three months, starting 18 Jun 2018, the Indian Air Force would create an airbridge between Pithoragarh and Gunji, in an effort to airlift 1080 registered passengers to Gunji to enable them to continue their journey for the coveted annual Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
The requirement for the IAF to pitch in arose, when the MEA approached the MoD for air effort between the places where the connectivity was envisaged to be poor. “The IAF is ever ready to take over any task assigned by the Govt and thereafter ensures that it is executed in a most professional manner” said Air Cmde Pendse of Western Air Command, who is overlooking the operations.
The command had been chosen by Air HQ for this task, especially due to the experience its heptr pilots have in flying in mountainous terrain and landing at high altitudes, given the fact that Gunji is at an altitude of 3100 mts above the sea level.
“We have deployed three MLH class of heptrs at Pithoragarh which would be carrying approximately 60-80 passengers per day” said the task force commander positioned at Pithoragarh. The heptrs, from the Kirpan and Nubra Warrior units of the IAF, would be deployed for about three months catering for the return journey as well and would fly about 300 hrs in the duration of the operations.

Indian Army Reaches Out to its Bravehearts Disabled in the line of duty

To commemorate the 'Year of  Disabled Soldier in  Line of Duty', Indian Army  today honoured the soldiers who have been disabled while serving the nation in a seminar on 'Physical & Mental Issues of Disabled Soldiers' organised at Manekshaw Centre. The event was attended by disabled soldiers and veterans, along with serving soldiers, officers and ladies. This event was used as an opportunity to connect with injured Indian Army bravehearts and acknowledge their service to the Nation.

DGAFMS, Lt Gen Bipin Puri delivered the welcome address for the event which was presided over by Chief of Army Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat. The COAS emphasized on the need to recognize both the physical and mental aspects of the disability and providing comprehensive care to the disabled soldiers to help them reintegrate into the society. He also highlighted various disabled-friendly initiatives that have been taken in Armed Forces Hospitals.

On the occasion, Maj DP Singh (Retd), a Kargil war veteran and celebrity blade runner also shared his experiences with the audience. Other speakers included Col Sachin Saxena, Psychiatrist from Base Hospital Delhi and Col AS Kalra, Prosthetic Surgeon from Artificial Limb Centre, Pune. They spoke about the challenges faced by disabled soldiers and discussed the very pertinent issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD) that afflicts a large proportion of disabled soldiers.    
The aim of the Seminar was to provide an educative experience about the various stresses faced by the soldiers and their families, especially when a family member suffers from an injury leading to a devastating disability. A detailed account of various problems with special emphasis on effective solutions to combat them, was deliberated upon. This Seminar is one of the events which focuses to establish 'feel good' connect between disabled soldiers and the organisation and also aims to galvanise support for them.

Qatar Armed Forces Chief In India

Chief of Qatar Armed Forces, Maj. Gen. (Pilot) Ghanim Bin Shaheen Al Ghanim, in New Delhi on India visit, meet IAF Chief BS Dhanoa & Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.

Workshop on Cyber Security Framework - 2018

Workshop on Cyber Security Framework - 2018

A workshop on Cyber Security Framework for Department of Defence was organised by DDP, Ministry of Defence. The workshop was inaugurated by RakshaMantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman.
During her address, Smt Sitharaman stressed upon the fact that Defence sector is more prone to the cyber threats and hence it becomes important to safeguard our cyberspace with anticipation of possible attacks. The RakshaMantri congratulated Department of Defence Production for formulating Cyber Security Framework for DDPand also establishing Cyber Security Cells at various levels to handle cyber security related issues. She further touched upon the requirement of creating the work force in all establishments in accordance with the nation’s vision to become a dominant force in cyber space.
Earlier addressing the participants Secretary (Defence Production)Dr. Ajay Kumar emphasised that all Defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories are increasingly relying on Information Technology. However, any compromise in Information and Cyber Security in Defence Production environment can have far reaching consequences on effectiveness of our defence forces and national security. Therefore, it is important to establish a strong, robust and resilient cyber security infrastructure on priority basis.
Joint Secretary and Chief Information Security Officer of DDP, Dr Amit Sahai who welcomed the participants to the workshop, explained that this one day workshop has been organised by the Ministry of Defence to bring in synchronised approach for cyber security based on frame work document released by the Department of Defence Production in 2018. The framework which is in line with National policies & guidelines, provides a common mechanism for all organisations to describe their current cyber security posture & the target area for cyber security, identify and prioritize opportunities for improvement and continuously assess progress towards the target area.  More than 100 Chief Information Security officers from Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA), Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA), Directorate of Standardisation, Defence PSUs and Ordnance Factories are participating in the workshop.
CUNPK Training of Trainers Course

The Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping (CUNPK), India and the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect jointly started the pilot “Training of Trainers (ToT) Course on Civilian Protection and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)”, at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi, India from 18 to 22June 2018. 
The course is being attended by 30 officers including eight from Friendly Foreign Countries. In the Opening Ceremony, Setting the Context was done by Ms Savita Paundway, Deputy Executive Director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, followed by Inaugural Address delivered by Lt Gen Ajae Kumar Sharma, UYSM, YSM, SM, Director General Staff Duties.
The course is designed for mid-level military officials from the countries that are active “Troop Contributing Countries” to the UN peacekeeping operations. The training is targeted towards experienced trainers currently facilitating the pre-deployment training at respective peacekeeping training centres, or officers with recent experience in UN Peacekeeping Missions who may undertake training roles within their peacekeeping institutions, as well as officers identified for deployment in Peacekeeping Missions with a POC mandate.

Monday, June 18, 2018

IAF Mi-17 V5 Chopper Douses Flames On Merchant Vessel In Sunderbans

IAF MI 17 Uses Bambi Bucket to Douse Offshore Fire On Ship

A Mi-17 V5 Helicopter of the Indian Air force was requisitioned on 17 Jun 2018 for dousing the flames on a merchant vessel MV SSL on the shores of Sunderbans. The Helicopter carried out Bambi bucket operations from Franzergunj Harbour helipad in West Bengal.

The Helicopter flew offshore and located the ship engulfed in flames. After ascertaining the wind pattern and point of impact of water, the fire was doused with 15000 litres of water carried in 6 shuttles with a Bambi bucket. The crew displayed great professionalism and dropped the water with pin-point accuracy over the exact location of fire. The operations by IAF Mi-17 V5 Helicopter controlled the massive fire and fully doused it within a short period of time.

 TASA Launches Medicine Inventory Management System For ECHS

Major General N Srinivas Rao, General Officer Commanding, Telangana and Andhra Sub Area launched Medicine Inventory Management System (MIMS) for ECHS in TASA which is first of its kind in the country, in the presence of senior officers, veterans and their families. In his Inaugural address, Major General N Srinivas Rao stated that the Integrated Medicine Inventory Management System will bring in revolutionary changes in the medicine procurement in ECHS. With the launch of MIMS, TASA has accomplished complete automation of the process of indenting, procurement and distribution of medicines. The system also incorporates online financial concurrence and in future online audit module for CDA will be incorporated in the system. Taking lot of encouragement from the launch of Integrated MIMS, HQ TASA now envisions the successful completion of Phase 3 of the project which is Central Monitoring System.  The GOC complimented the positive attitude of CDA Secunderabad, CDA IT and Senior Executive Medical Officers and Senior Executive Dental Officers for all the support and guidance provided to TASA team for the development of the software. The General Officer felicitated Intellobots Technologies team who developed the software, Synchrony Financials and ZOHO Mail for their contributions to ECHS beneficiaries. He also rewarded cash prizes to ECHS Staff in recognition of exceptional job performance.

Colonel Anil Kumar NR, Director ECHS, HQ TASA explained that the Integrated Medicine Inventory Management System helps ECHS Polyclinics to create demand, modification of demand and also facilitates the online approval of demand for medicines. It provides predictive analysis using machine learning, thereby ensuring optimal procurement of medicines. It also facilitates real time monitoring of stock levels and online financial concurrence from Controller of Defence Accounts. Integrated MIMS is the second phase of a series of IT Initiatives undertaken by HQ Telangana ECHS.  In the first phase, ECHS Doctor Appointment Booking Application was launched on Army Day, 15 January this year, which is being extensively used by ECHS beneficiaries of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Veterans, members of ECHS TASA Consultative Committee, senior Army Officials including Lieutenant General KR Rao (Retd), Deputy GOC, Brigadier MD Upadhay, Commandant 1 EME Centre, Brigadier Sandeep Bhalla, Commandant AOC Centre, Brigadier PK Sharma, Commandant, Military Hospital, Secunderabad, Brigadier Vivekananda, Controller of Defence Accounts (ITSDC), Shri Raja Reddy, Director, Sainik Welfare, Telangana, Colonel Ramesh (Retd) were present on this occasion.

 Year of Disabled Soldiers In Line of Duty

To honour soldiers who have been disabled in line of duty, while serving the Nation and to celebrate the undying spirit of ‘Soldiering’, Indian Army is observing the year 2018 as the ‘Year of Disabled Soldiers in Line of Duty’. The primary focus is towards alleviating the sufferings of these soldiers, who have done their duty with utmost dedication to the Nation and have been disabled for the life.

The endeavour this year is to provide a onetime financial assistance to disabled soldiers who have been boarded out from service on medical grounds and are rendered non-employable due to their medical or physical conditions.

Indian Army recognizes the inherent stress and strain on such soldiers & their dependents and has well established rehabilitation programmes and beneficiary schemes but these require to be reinforced. The Government is considering proposal of major grant to establish a separate fund which can be further enhanced by contributions from individuals, establishments and corporate sector thus facilitating meaningful initiatives for disabled soldiers. 

Indian Army plans to create awareness on organizational support available to soldiers and their dependents with respect to medical, rehabilitation, various beneficiary schemes of Central and State Governments, vocational opportunities and assistance for their placement. Indian Army also plans to showcase talent of disabled soldiers by organizing sports and physical activities, cultural events and their art exhibitions. These disabled soldiers have inspiring deeds behind them, hence, it is planned to felicitate them along with selected organizations which dedicate in their rehabilitation.

Management of disabled soldiers is an onerous responsibility. Indian Army plans to galvanise due support for the unemployable disabled soldier, his wife and his family with initial financial support to ensure a life of dignity through partially-funded entrepreneurship venture.

Kenyan Defence Minister On India Visit 

The Cabinet Secretary for Defence Ambassador of Kenya, Ms. Raychelle Omamo inspecting the Tri-Services Guard of Honour, in New Delhi on June 18, 2018.

Indian Navy Anchors Burning Merchant Vessel SSL Kolkata at the Ganges Delta

In a daring and  complex operation, a Seaking 42C helicopter from Eastern Naval Command  winched down a MARCO officer on the ill-fated merchant vessel SSL Kolkata  which was on fire  and was abandoned by the 22 crew members on 14 June 2018 off Sagar Island at the mouth of the Ganges Delta. The MARCO officer  ascertained the conditions in the forward part of the ship and later called in the helicopter to lower onbord three crew members of the ship. The team managed to drop the starboard anchor of the ship to prevent her from drifting any further. Thereafter the team prepared the seamanship gear for the ship to be towed, if required. The live nature of the threat was evident from the explosion onboard in the forenoon which restarted the fire. The helicopter skillfully recovered all four members of the team and returned to base for a turnaround. Earlier, Vice Admiral Karambir Singh , Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Naval Command, had directed that the ship's drift towards the Sundarbans delta had to be stopped at all costs notwithstanding the high temperatures onboard to avoid an ecological disaster, should the ship capsize on the sandbanks, causing pollution from oil on board. Accordinglty, a Seaking 42C helicopter and a Dornier aircraft were despatched from Visakhapanam  with a core  team comprising of divers,  Indian Marcos, shipwrights and seamanship specialists to stage through the indian Air Force  airbase at Kalaikonda.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

President's Commission Conferred On IAF's Flight Cadets

The blue skies of Air Force Academy turned vibrant with a colourful march-past by the passing out Cadets on the ground and amazing aerobatics in the air by various aircraft of Indian Air Force on Saturday, which marked the momentous occasion of the graduation of 113 Flight Cadets as Flying Officers of the Indian Air Force which included 13 women officers. The ceremony also marked commissioning of another woman fighter pilot, Flying Officer Meghana Shanbough, in the IAF. Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS) graced the solemn ceremony as the Chief Guest and reviewed the Combined Graduation Parade.  The Chief Guest was received by Air Marshal SRK Nair, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command and Air Marshal Amit Tiwari, Commandant Air Force Academy.

A total number of 113 Flight Cadets including 13 women cadets were commissioned as Flying Officers, at their alma-mater, the Air Force Academy, the ‘Cradle of IAF Leadership’ that has moulded generations of prodigious aviation leaders.  It was also indeed a proud moment for 80 young pilots, 06 navigators and 27 ground duty officers who earned their coveted ‘Wings and Brevets’, along with 06 officers of Indian Navy and 05 officers of Indian Coast Guard on successful completion of their flying training.  The CAS gave away various awards to the Flying Officers who had excelled in their training.  Flying Officer Tarun Nair from the Flying branch was awarded President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff ‘Sword of Honour’ for standing first in Overall Merit in Pilot Course. Flying Officer Abhishek Bajpai and Flying Officer Banti were awarded President’s Plaque for being first in overall merit in Navigation and Ground Duty branches respectively.

The grand event was witnessed by esteemed guests who included proud parents of the graduating trainees, various military and civilian dignitaries and few foreign Defence Attaches. The ceremony began with the sky diving by the ‘Akash Ganga’ Team, enthralling the spectators by dotting the skies of Dundigal with tri- colours and precise landing right in front of them in the parade square. Spectators were held spellbound by the spectacular movements of the Air Warriors Drill Team, the ‘Nishan Toli’ marching-past with the ‘President’s Colours’ of the Academy and impressive Parade by the graduating trainees. The spectators were awestruck by the breath-taking aerobatics of highly experienced and skilled pilots of Suryakiran Aerobatic team, ‘Sarang’ the Helicopter Aerobatics Team, and PC 7 MK-II of the IAF.

The Reviewing Officer was accorded ceremonial salute by the Cadets followed by an impressive march past.  The highpoint of the parade was the ‘Pipping Ceremony’. The Flight Cadets were awarded their ‘Stripes’ (Air Force rank) by the Chief Guest, the AOC-in-C Training Command and Commandant, Air Force Academy.  They were then administered the ‘Oath of Service’ (the Pledge) by the Commandant of the Academy in the presence of the Chief Guest, Parents and other dignitaries.

Later, addressing the Parade, the Chief of Air Staff complimented the newly Commissioned ‘Flying Officers’ for an exceptional standard of parade.  Congratulating the passing-out Cadets the Air Chief said, “It is a matter of pride and honour to review the Combined Graduation Parade and welcome the fine men and women into the Indian Air Force as Military Aviation leaders”. Keeping in view the changing geo-political and strategic environment and varied security challenges faced by India, he urged the young officers to remain in heightened state of preparedness by dynamically adapting to the continuously changing environment. While bringing out that our country is going through a transformational shift to continuously modernise its forces, he told them to widen their horizon and keep pace with the swiftly advancing technology to exploit the true potential of the Aerospace Power. He advised the Cadets to focus on the core values of the IAF- Mission, Integrity and Excellence and to be an inspiration for today’s young generation through selfless service and devotion to duty.He also reminded the Cadets that the task cut out for the Defence forces is painstakingly challenging one and the task of IAF is to defend our aerospace in addition to supporting the people by providing them succor in times of natural calamities. He told the newly commissioned officers that they must serve as role models to the men under their command and hence they must keep themselves mentally agile, physically fit and professionally updated. In conclusion, he exhorted the newly Commissioned Officers to constantly strive to improve their professional qualifications and expand skill levels failing which they will become outdated.

All the Flight Cadets were imparted their initial basic training at AFA for six months (known as Stage–I) and subsequently undergo professional and advanced training at various Air Force Stations namely  Hakimpet, Begumpet and Yelahanka  besides AFA itself, based on their area of specialization, for another six months (known as Stage–II). After completion of both the stages of training, they re-assemble at Air Force Academy, Dundigal for the ‘Combined Graduation Parade’ from the portals of the majestic “Sekhon Block”, a landmark building named after Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, Param Vir Chakra. 

The glittering ceremony  culminated with the newly Commissioned Officers marching-out  in two columns in slow march to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, the poignant farewell tune played by Armed Forces of the world when bidding adieu to colleagues and comrades, proudly  acknowledging the first salute given to them by their immediate juniors. They marched in absolute synchrony and with purposeful strides as they saluted the Reviewing Officer and crossed through the portals of their alma mater to take-on their future assignments and challenges unstintingly to “Touch the Sky with Glory”.

First Woman Fighter Pilot From the South of Vindhyas

Chikmanglur is known for the finest coffee, beautiful nature and waterfalls. From now onwards, it would be known for giving India another woman fighter pilot, first from south of Vindhyas and also from the Karnataka. All other fine woman fighter pilots who were commissioned earlier in the IAF hailed from various states of MP, Rajasthan, Bihar and UP. Flying Officer Meghana Shanbough was born in Chikmanglur in a family of lawyers.
 Her father Shri MK Ramesh is a practicing lawyer and mother Smt SC Shobha is presently serving as a judge in the District Consumer Forum, Udupi. She had her schooling at Little Rock Indian School a boarding school in Brahmavar, Udipi. She did engineering in Information Science and Engineering from Sri Jaya Chamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore from 2011-15. After having joined in January 2017 in the Flying branch at Air Force Academy, she was cleared for flying in fighter stream in a trifurcation board in December 2017. She will be the sixth woman fighter pilot to be inducted in the IAF. After her graduation in 2015, she did basic mountaineering course form Manali and Para gliding at Goa during 2016, before joining IAF.

Indian Navy Anchors Burning Merchant Vessel SSL Kolkata at the Ganges Delta
In a daring and  complex operation, a  Seaking 42 C helicopter from the   Eastern Naval Command  winched down  one MARCO officer on the ill-fated  merchant vessel SSL KOLKATA which had been on fire since the last two days and abandoned by the 22 crew members on 14 Jun18 off the Sagar Island at the mouth of the Ganges Delta.

The Marine Commando Officer  ascertained the conditions in the forward part of the ship and later called in the helicopter to lower onbord three crew members of the ship.   The team managed to drop the starboard anchor from the ship to prevent her from drifting any further.

Thereafter the team prepared the seamanship gear for the ship to be towed if required.

The LIVE nature of the threat was evident from the explosion onboard in the forenoon which restarted the fire.

The helo skillfully recovered all four members of the team and is returning base for turnaround.

Earlier, VAdm Karambir Singh , Flag Officer Commanding- in-Chief Eastern Naval Command had directed that the ship drift towards the Sundarbans delta had to be stopped at all costs notwithstanding the high temperatures onboard to avoid an ecological disaster should the ship capsize on the sandbanks causing pollution from oil on board.

Accordingly, a Seaking 42C helicopter and a Dornier aircraft were despatched from Visakhapanam  with a core  team comprising divers, Marcos, shipwrights and seamanship specialists to stage through the IAF airbase at Kalaikonda.

 Simultaneously, the Naval Officer-in-charge West Bengal  laised with the officials of the DG Shipping, ICG, KOPT, the ship owners, Agents and Salvage specialists at Kolkata and kept them informed of the plans.

 INS Kadmat which was exercising in the Bay of Bengal on 15 Jun 18 was   directed to proceed at best speed and arrived on site at first light this morning ie 16 Jun 18 to augment the on site support wherein the ICG ships were also standing by.

The operation this morning has successfully managed to arrest further drift of the ship to enable salvage operations by the company. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Flood Relief Operations in Tripura

Flood Relief Operations in Tripura

Three Mi 17 helicopters of Indian Air Force undertook flood affected areas of the state of Tripura, particularly in the town of Kailashahar on 15 Jun 18.
The helicopters are operating from Radhanagar helipad located about nine kilometers from Kailashahar and 4.1 tons of food and other essential supplies were delivered to the affected people in the area.

Naval Women Mountaineers Summit Mount Deotibba

An all women Naval mountaineering team led by Lt Cdr Kokila Sajwan  summited Mount Deotibba an 10 Jun 2018. The exp[edition was flagged off by Vice Admiral AK Chawla, AVSM, NM, VSM, Chief Of Personnel on 28 May 18 from New Delhi laying foundation for a team, which would attempt to scale many more challenging peaks in the near future. Mount Deotibba provided excellent opportunity to the team in honing their mountaineering skills.

 Mt Deotibba is the second highest peak (6001M) in the Pir-Panjal range in Himachal Pradesh. It is considered to be a difficult peak to summit. The team was led by Lt Cdr Kokila Sajwan and includes Lt Cdr Nanadini Dam Roy, Lt Cdr Seema Chaudhary, Lt Cdr Pooja Sharma, Lt Cdr Rekha Shree, Lt Cdr Rashu Tyagi, Lt Saino Wilson, Lt Chamm Kumari, Surg Lt Himwant Kaur, Lt Surbhi Sharma, Lt Shristi Thakur, Lt Vipasha Sharma, Lt Kritika Sharma as other team members.

The team started the trek from the road head (Bara Hazari) to the base camp at an altitude of 4250 mtrs through Chikka and Seri. They advanced towards the Summit through advance base camp at 4700 mtrs and the Summit camp at 5250 mtrs. Displaying exemplary courage and esprit de corps, the team battled         extreme weather conditions including white outs and heavy snowfall              accompanied by strong winds. After a strenuous push of about 12 hrs of climbing, the team summited the peak at 1300 hrs on 10 Jun 2018.

Casualty Evacuation: Bhadarwah Sector

On 13 Jun 18, Chetak Helicopter of Indian Air Forceundertook a challenging evacuation of two lying casualties to Jammu from a location of 8800 Ft altitude, injured in a bus accident. One lady aged 23 years with pelvic and multiple fracture and one male aged 32 years with spinal trauma along with one attendant were evacuated. The Chetak helicopter was flown by Wing Commander Vishal Mehta with Squadron Leader S Selva Kumar as co-pilot.

The third casualty along with the attendant was evacuated from the same place to Udhampur as the patient becoming convulsive enroute to Jammu. The Cheetah helicopter was flown by Wing Commander AH Kulkarni with co-pilot Squadron Leader Rajat Sharma.

Raksha Mantri Inaugurates BEL representative office in Vietnam

Raksha Mantri, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the first Representative Office of Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in Hanoi, Vietnam today. Smt Sitharaman handed over the symbolic key of the Representative Office of BEL at Vietnam (VIRO) to Chairman & Managing Director, BEL Shri Gowtama MV during the Vietnam-India Defence Industry Business Meeting in the presence of Ambassador of India to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Shri P Harish, Secretary (Defence Production), Dr. Ajay Kumar and other senior officials of India and Vietnam Defence forces (VIRO is located in close proximity to the Embassy of India, Vietnam, on the 10th Floor of TNR Tower, Hanoi).

BEL, India’s leading defence electronics company, is fast expanding its global presence, putting its best foot forward to give a thrust to exports worldwide, especially South East Asian countries such as the Republic of Union of Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Philippines. Spotting a niche market in Vietnam, BEL has now set up its first Representative Office at Vietnam for addressing export business opportunities and to provide unstinted product support and services to users in the region. The Representative Office will aim to promote BEL’s exports in areas such as Weapon Systems, Radar Systems, Naval Systems, Military Communication Systems, Electronic Warfare Systems, Combat Management System and Coastal Surveillance System.

Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Defence, Govt. of India today said that there is immense potential to be explored by Indian defence industry in Vietnam in areas of co-production of platforms, spares, repair and overhaul services.

Inaugurating the Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) liaison office in Hanoi, Vietnam at the Business Interaction organized by FICCI, Ms. Sitharaman handed over a symbolic key to Mr. M.V Gowtama, CMD, BEL. The interaction was held between the defence sector companies from India and Vietnam, and senior officials of Vietnam’s military. The FICCI led Indian delegation saw participation by leading members from both private and public sector of the Indian defence industry looking to enter the Vietnam market. 

In her keynote address, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister, Govt. of India said that the sprit and mood of her discussion with the Defence Minister of Vietnam had been very forward looking and encouraging. “There is immense scope in the co-production of platform, spares, and repair and overhaul services”, she said. Citing BEL as an example, she said that the opening of offices of Indian defence companies highlights the seriousness of the commitment to doing business with Vietnam.
India has enjoyed robust defence cooperation with Vietnam, as both India and Vietnam largely rely on Russian military hardware, there has been significant bilateral cooperation between the two nations. This includes MRO services for Vietnam’s MiG aircraft, providing the Vietnam People’s Navy with submarine training, and providing technical training for vessel construction. India and Vietnam have agreed to take forward a proposal for training of Vietnam Air Force personnel on Su-30 aircraft.

Vietnamese Deputy Defence Minister of National Defence, Senior Colonel General, Mr. Be Xuan Trong was also enthusiastic for the future Indo-Vietnamese relations, saying that “Bilateral defence relations between the two countries was finally getting its due”. He invited Indian companies to set-up business in Vietnam with the intent of not just supplying to India and Vietnam but also to the other countries.

Mr. Parvathaneni Harish, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam said that the defence industry requires a particular focus and it traverses both economic and security aspects. He noted that the Vietnamese companies have developed an interest in Indian businesses looking at Vietnam for electronics, maritime, aerospace sectors. Bilateral interactions such as the one set up by FICCI have strengthen the comprehensive engagements with Vietnam.

Closing Ceremony: India-Nepal Joint Ex SURYA KIRAN-XIII

Exercise SURYA KIRAN-XIII, a joint military training exercise between India & Nepal culminated today at Pithoragarh, wherein the troops of both Armies participated in 14-day long joint training based on counter terrorist operations.   
The training culminated with a 72-hour outdoor exercise in which troops of both contingents carried out a Cordon and Search Operation in a mock counter-insurgency village. During the final phase of the exercise, Maj Gen Neeraj Verma, Chief of Staff, HQ UB Area was present as Observer Representative of Indian Army and Maj Gen Rajendra Karki, Division Commander, Mid Western Division was present from Nepal Army.

Besides training, both the contingents also participated in a number of extra-curricular activities including friendly Football, Basketball, Volleyball matches and a cultural event on the final day to increase the bonhomie between troops. The joint training was undoubtedly, an unprecedented success. Besides promoting understanding and inter-operability between the two armies, it further helped in cementing ties between both the nations.

Kashmir Super 50

Project Kashmir Super 50, a joint initiative by Indian Army, Center for Social Responsibility and Leadership (CSRL) and PETRONET LNG Limited (PLL) was launched on 22 March 2013 to transform the educational status of children from economically weaker sections in the Kashmir region.  As part of the 11-month program, selected students are provided with complete free residential coaching for IIT-JEE, JKCET and other premier Engineering Institutes.

The outgoing batch is the fifth batch of Kashmir Super 50 which had 45 boys based in Srinagar and five girl students based in Noida.  Out of which this year, 32 students (30 boys and 02 girls) have cleared IIT-JEE Mains and seven students have cleared IIT-JEE Advance.

 Kashmir Super 50 has been one of the most successful projects undertaken by the Indian Army in the valley and has directly impacted the lives of number of youths in J&K by providing them the right guidance and opportunity to make a career for themselves. The project has equally helped the families of these youths in their growth and prosperity. It is a major initiative towards bringing normalcy in the valley.

A group of 30 students, part of Kashmir Super 50 visited New Delhi and interacted with General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff on 12 Jun 18. The General shared his experiences while serving in these areas, with the students and motivated them to work hard & contribute actively in the nation building process.

On similar lines of Kashmir Super 50 for engineering aspirants, Indian Army has recently signed a MoU for medical aspirants with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) & National Integrity Educational Development Organisation (NIEDO), under which selected students will be provided with complete free residential coaching for National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET).

ENC Mountaineering Team Scales MT Mentok Kangri

Setting foot atop Mt Mentok Kangri, a challenging 6250 meters peak, the mission on which 11 mountaineers including two women officers of Eastern Naval Command (ENC) embarked in end May 2018 was realised when all members successfully submitted Mt Mentok Kangri located in Rupshu plateau in Eastern Leh on 10 June 2018.  The expedition included a weeks approach trek from Tsokar lake, crossing  four high passes  ranging from 4800 meters-5400 meters and reaching base camp at 5300 meters and the team could finally summit the peak after a daunting and extremely challenging summit climb of 11 hrs including a 70 degrees wall of  around 350meters , traversing through the glacier in 10-15 knots winds with occasional snowfall throughout the climb. The team also undertook yoga practise enroute as a run up to the International Yoga Day being celebrated on 21 June 2018 across the world.

Indian Navy Proposals to Enhance Airspace Synergy and Safety at Visakhapatnam Airport

Apropos some apprehensions noticed in the section of the media about flying operations from naval airfield at Visakhapatnam, it is clarified that Indian Navy has proposed to dedicate time slots for civil and military flying operations at Visakhapatnam airport to ensure synergy of airspace management and facilitate safe conduct of both civil and military flying operations. The Navy’s proposal is on the lines of similar arrangements existing at other joint civil-military aerodromes such as Goa, Pune etc.

Visakhapatnam is a dual user airport where civil and military flying from INS Dega is undertaken concurrently. Over the past five years, both civil and military flying from Visakhapatnam has witnessed a steep increase in numbers and passenger volumes. Presently, around forty civil flights operate from Visakhapatnam constituting eighty movements of civil aircraft per day. Military flying from INS Dega has also increased significantly due to enhanced surveillance requirements on the Eastern sea board and induction of fighter squadrons for training and operations. On an average, there are 90 to 100 military aircraft movements every day. With simultaneous civil and military aircraft operations on a unidirectional runway, which is peculiar to Visakhapatnam, landing and takeoffs of civil flights encounter delays thereby inconveniencing passengers and affecting connecting flight schedules.

After deliberations and concurrence of all airline operators and Airport Director Visakhapatnam, dedicated time slots for exclusive military flying were proposed from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM between Monday to Friday, 03:00 PM to 05:00 PM on Tuesday and Thursday, 07:00 PM to 09:00 PM on Tuesday and Thursday. Subsequently the proposal is further being reviewed to have dedicated military flying slot only from 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM between Monday to Friday. The above time slot has been arrived at taking into account frequency of movement of civil flights to ensure least disturbance. Out of the forty civil flights daily, on an average only six to eight civil flights operate between 09:30 AM to 12:30 PM. A final decision on the proposed dedicated military slots will only be taken post discussions with AAI and Airline operators at Integrated Headquarters Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi.

The Navy’s proposal is intended to synergise civil and military flying, enhance safety on a unidirectional runway and minimise delays in arrival and departure of civil flights. The proposal will not restrict or reduce the number of civil flights operating from Visakhapatnam. Operations of air ambulance flights, aircraft in emergency and VIP flights would continue to be accorded priority at all times over both civil and military flying as hitherto fore.

Indian Navy Evacuates Injured From MV Nu Shi Nalini

Based on a request from Cochin Port Trust at about 1845 hours on 13 June 2018, Southern Naval Command launched an ALH helicopter and dispatched INS Kalpeni to provide assistance to Indian merchant ship MV Nu Shi Nalini anchored 14.5 nautical miles South West of Kochi. The ship had reported a fire incident on board in which a crew member, Yogesh Kanji Solanki, Trainee Mechanical Engineer was reported to have suffered 80% burns as a result of the fire. The casualty was winched up from the deck of the ship using a 'basket' by the ALH, whose pilots displayed great skill in the face of  adverse weather conditions, including gusting winds and torrential rain, and brought to Naval Air Station INS Garuda. The patient was thereafter shifted to Medical Trust hospital for further treatment. The fire is reported to have started in the engine room of the merchant vessel, apparently due to an internal explosion. MV Nu Shi Nalini is a chemical tanker, which was carrying naphtha. The fire was brought under control and rest of the crew is reported to be safe. Naval ships are maintaining in close vicinity of the merchant vessel and will undertake evacuation of the remaining crew, if required.

Air Force Academy To Hold Combined Graduation Parade On 16 June 2018 

On the momentous occasion of successful completion of Pre-Commissioning training by the Flight Cadets of various branches of Indian Air Force (IAF), a grand ceremony, known as ‘Combined Graduation Parade’ (CGP), will be held on 16 Jun 2018 (Saturday), at Air Force Academy, Dundigal near Hyderabad. Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the Chief of Air Staff will be the Chief Guest at this grand event. He will review the Passing out Parade and confer the ‘President’s Commission’ on behalf of the Honourable President of India, to the graduating trainees of various branches. The Chief of Air Staffwill also present the ‘Wings and Brevets’ to the newly commissioned officers of the Flying branch and to the officers from sister services i.e. Navy and Coast Guard who have successfully undergone the Flying training, which  is a significant milestone in every Military Aviator’s career.

The Reviewing Officer will present the President’s Plaque and the ‘Sword of Honour’ to the Flight Cadet standing first in the Order of Merit in ‘Flying Branch’ who will also have the privilege of commanding the Graduation Parade. The Reviewing Officer will also award the President’s Plaque to the toppers (first in Overall Merit) in the Navigation branch and Ground Duty branches of the graduating course.

On the eve of the Graduation, the Reviewing Officer would also attend the Ceremonial Guest Night and interact with graduating trainees and their proud parents.  During this event, he will award trophies to the Flight Cadets who have excelled in their respective streams.

The Pre-Commissioning training at Air Force Academy, for various branches such as Flying, Navigation, Administration, Logistics, Accounts, Education and Meteorology commences in January and July every year, and culminates with the ‘Combined Graduation Parade’ after nearly 12 months of rigorous training in December and June respectively. It is at AFA, the raw civilians are transformed into capable and efficient leaders to safeguard the aerospace of the Nation and shoulder the responsibility in their respective spheres of operations of the IAF. On Commissioning, they are awarded with the rank of ‘Flying Officer’ in the IAF.