Saturday, June 30, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Task Force Hands Over Final Report to Defence Minister

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to have transformative impact on national security. It is also seen that AI is essentially a dual use technology. While it can fuel technology driven economic growth, it also has potential to provide military superiority. India has strong IT industry and huge talent pool of engineers which are advantages which need to be leveraged. Ministry of Defence has already initiated the process of preparing Indian defence forces in their use of AI and how these capabilities can be increasingly developed within the country.

To study the whole gamut of issues surrounding strategic implications of AI in national security perspective, in global context, a multi-stakeholder Task Force represented by members from the Government, Services, Academia, Industry Professionals and Start-ups was constituted in February 2018, under the Chairmanship of Shri N Chandrasekharan, Chairman, Tata Sons. The Task Force, on June 30, 2018 has handed over its Final Report with recommendations. The Task Force in its report has, inter alia studied the level of AI/ML development in India in general and specific in the context of defence needs.

Made recommendations of making India a significant power of AI in defence specifically in the area of aviation, naval, land systems, cyber, nuclear, and biological warfare;

Made recommendations for policy and institutional interventions that are required to regulate and encourage a robust AI based technologies for defence sector in the country. 

Considering that most AI work is happening in private sector, made recommendations to work with start-ups/commercial industry in the field of use of AI for defence purposes.

As part of its deliberations, the Task Force had an intensive deliberations with all stakeholder representatives, including officers from Army, Navy, Airforce, Coast Guard, representatives of all Defence PSUs, namely BEL, HAL, BEML, BDL, MIDHANI, MDL, GRSE, GSL and HSL and OFB. Senior representatives from these organizations participated in the day long workshop to deliberate in-depth the various use-cases which are relevant from their respective needs. These discussions had led the Task Force to understand the potential military and civilian applications in AI domain.

Raksha Mantri is the main promoter and patron of the AI Task Force of the Ministry of Defence. The Task Force handed over the Final Report to Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, today, for the Government to accept it and to implement its recommendations.


J&K Students Meet Army Chief




A group of 25 students comprising of 20 boys & 05 Girls, accompanied by 05 teachers from Jammu and Kashmir on National Integration Tour, visited Delhi and interacted with General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) on 29 June 2018. The COAS shared his experiences while serving in these areas with the students and motivated them to work hard and contribute actively in the Nation Building process. He also exhorted them to join the Indian Armed Forces and serve the cause of the Nation.

The National Integration Tours are educational and motivational tours for youth of Jammu & Kashmir and North Eastern States, with an aim to provide an insight into the rich heritage of the country as well as various developmental and industry initiatives that are underway. This initiative will expose them to various career options and enable them to interact with renowned personalities.



The Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat with the Officers of the Indian Defence Accounts Service, in New Delhi .


The UN Peacekeeping delegation led by the Under Secretary General, UN DPKO, Mr. Jean Pierre Lacroix meeting the Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, in New Delhi .

Russian Helicopters overhauled 6 helicopters of the Indian Border Security Force


Russian Helicopters Holding Company (part of Rostec State Corporation) delivered six Mi-17-1V helicopters to the Border Security Force of the Republic of India. The helicopters were overhauled at Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant (NARP).

“NARP performs activities associated with the repair and overhaul of Mi-8/17 type helicopters for the whole range of foreign operators, however, the contract with the Border Security Force has been implemented for the first time. During the acceptance the customer’s delegation got familiarized with the results of performed activities and technologies applied at the enterprise. The plant has been highly praised by the Indian military specialists and now further cooperation is being discussed,” - stated Igor Chechikov, Deputy Director General for After-Sales Support Services of Russian Helicopters Holding Company. 

The specialists of NARP carried out a complete cycle of activities related to the overhaul of the Indian helicopters. In the short term the batch of Mi-17-1V will get off to the permanent home base, where the final acceptance report will be signed after check flight procedure.

“Currently the Border Security Force is an independent military unit in the Ministry of Home Affairs of India with the sole command and it is considered as the largest border security force in the world, that is why this cooperation means high quality evaluation of our activities and huge experience,” - noted Alexey Belikh, Managing Director of JSC "NARP”.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Governor Of AP & TS Confers Engineering Degrees To Army Officers








Shri ESL Narasimhan, Honourable Governor of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State conferred Engineering Degrees to 20 Officers of Technical Entry Scheme Course (TES-29), in a smartly conducted Convocation Ceremony at Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering (MCEME), Secunderabad today. Speaking on the occasion Shri ESL Narasimhan said “Rapid advances in technology are relentlessly fuelling changes at a rate that is both awesome and exhilarating. Your challenge is to harness these technologies for the Army and ensure that each and every one is touched by this change”. The impressive Ceremony was attended by a host of senior dignitaries from military and civil administration and an august gathering of more than 300 Service personnel and their families.

While delivering the inaugural address Lieutenant General Paramjit Singh, Commandant, MCEME said, “This Premier institution has not only excelled in the field of technology and training but has also left its indelible mark in the field of sports and Adventure activities”.
                                                                                   
GOC-in-C ARTRAC Trophy, Best student book prize and DGEME Gold medal were awarded to Lieutenant Siddharth Siwal for standing best all round student officer of the course. Lieutenant Aayush Vatsal (Electronics) and Lieutenant Nitin Dabas (Mechanical) were awarded Commandant’s silver medals. The chief guest appreciated the Best project “Vehicle mounted wind turbine” designed by Lieutenant Nitin Dabas, Lieutenant Bhupendra Singh Rathore, Lieutenant Jai Prakash Saraswat and Lieutenant Gaurav Chaudhary.

Military College of Electronics and Mechanical Engineering, Secunderabad was established in 1953. Over the years, the College has developed into a premier training institution of the Indian Army. The training standards of the College have been recognised and College has been rewarded with Prime Minister’s Awards for various Students Projects. The MCEME trains technical capital for providing sustainment and engineering support to the complete equipment of the Indian Army.
 

Indian Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba Visits Bangladesh









Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff is on a goodwill visit to Bangladesh from 24 to 29 June 2018. The visit is aimed at consolidating bilateral defence relations between India and Bangladesh and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation. During the visit, Admiral Sunil Lanba called on the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh H.E. Sheikh Hasina. The Admiral also visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.

HAL Sukhoi Crashes, Pilots Safe

Sukhoi Crash In Nashik 




A Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter crashed in Nashik, Maharashtra. Both pilots - Wing Commander Prashant Nair and pilot LS Biswal , ejected out safely. Wing Commander Nair is a test pilot in the Indian Air Force (IAF). The aircraft was still under production at the HAL (Hindustan Aeronautical Limited) production facility and was therefore not yet part of the IAF. An investigation has been ordered.

Launch of MES Website
Military Engineer Services (MES), which is the dedicated Engineering Department to provide infrastructure (development and maintenance) support to Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and DRDO, launched its newly designed website on 28 June 2018. The website was launched by Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra in the presence of Engineer-in-Chief Lt Gen SK Shrivastava. The website is bilingual and has been developed in line with aspirations of 3500 officers and approximately 1.2 Lacs subordinate staff of MES. Policies and advisories related to Recruitment, Promotions, Postings and other personnel matters of MES civilian employees would be easily accessed through the Website.

With its impressive look, the website has been made more user friendly and in conformity with GIGW guidelines. Online Registration of Contractors, approved list of contractors and consultants, product approvals and enlistment procedures are the additional facilities which have been added to the website. Certain Technical Drawings of unclassified nature will also form part of the website. MES publications like MES Regulations, Standard Schedule of Rates and scales of Accommodation have also been made accessible to the authenticated registered users.

The website contains information about MES to be published in compliance with section 4(1) of RTI Act 2005. With its clutter free design, improved functionality and user friendliness, the website will serve the purpose of increasing the visibility of MES and its contribution towards Nation building.

The website will be located at the address https://www.mes.gov.in.


MoD Enhances Financial Powers of DRDO

To enhance efficiency and effectiveness of Defence Research establishments, Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman has decided to delegate greater financial powers to various authorities. This wind of change in Defence Research and Development (R&D) is intended to neutralise the ill-effects of over-centralisation and facilitate quicker decision making. This is in line with similar financial delegations made to Armed Forces in the last one year. The delegated powers now stands enhanced as under:-

Powers of Secretary, Defence R&D to sanction projects and for procurements enhanced from Rs. 75 Crore to Rs. 150 Crore and for the Directors General (DG) enhanced from Rs. 50 Crore to Rs. 75 Crore

Enhancement of powers for Proprietary Article Certificate (PAC) cases
From Rs. 50 Crore. to Rs. 150 Crore for Secretary Defence (R&D);
From Rs. 25 Crore to Rs. 75 Crore to DGs;
From Rs. 2 Crore to Rs. 5 Crore for Lab Directors.
Enhancement of powers for Single Tender cases
From Rs. 50 Crore to Rs. 75 Crore for Secretary Defence (R&D);
From Rs. 25 Crore to Rs. 37.5 Crore for DGs;
From Rs. 1 Crore to Rs. 2.5 Crore for Lab Directors.

All Competent Financial Authority empowered to reallocate funds, reduce and enhance costs of projects/programmes within their delegated powers.

The powers of Director General (DG) have been enhanced from Rs. 3 Crore to Rs. 5 Crore for sanctioning Research projects to Universities, Technological Institutions and to Indigenous Defence Industry under the Technology Development Fund Scheme of DRDO.

Powers of post-contract management and maintenance support in respect of contracts for which CFA is the Ministry of Defence, have been delegated to Directors General of DRDO in line with the delegations already made to the Armed Forces.

Delegations for Hygiene and Maintenance Contracts, training expenses, miscellaneous and contingent activities have been rationalized and enhanced to ensure that sanctions are given at the Director and DG levels with minimal flow of files to DRDO HQ.

Consequently, the powers for sanctioning of projects and for procurements that were hitherto with the Secretary Defence R&D have now been delegated to the Directors General of DRDO and the delegation to the Secretary, Defence R&D has been doubled, A number of powers relating to day-to-day functioning that were centralized at DRDO HQ have now been delegated to the DGs and Lab Directors. The delegations also bring flexibility in Universities and by indigenous defence industry. All the  delegations that had been made in respect of the services have also been extended to the DRDO.

The Director Generals of DRDO has expressed their satisfaction at this major initiative by the Government and have opined that these forward-looking measures would ensure that majority of the decisions relating to  implementation and functioning would largely be taken within the technology clusters whereas policy issues would primarily come to the Government. Given the geographically dispersed Clusters and Laboratories, this will be greatly reduce file movements to and from the DRDO HQ at New Delhi and facilitate faster decision-making.


RIMPAC 2018







In pursuance of India’s Act East Policy and demonstration of India’s commitment to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, Indian Naval Ship Sahyadri is presently at Pearl Harbour, Hawaii to participate in the 26th edition of Exercise Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC). As part of harbour activities Vice Admiral John D Alexander, Commander, US Third Fleet and also the Commander Combined Task Force for RIMPAC 18 visited INS Sahyadri at Pearl Harbour on 27 June 2018.

lndo-Bangladesh CORPAT - 2018



Indian Naval Ships Satpura and Kadmatt Visit Chittagong, Bangladesh. Visit of Special Children from Ashar (ALO) School Onboard INS Satpura.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

India Gifts HAL Do -228 Aircraft to Seychelles; Aircraft to Fly on Seychelles Independence Day



India Gifts HAL Do -228 Aircraft to Seychelles; Aircraft to Fly on Seychelles Independence Day

The External Affairs Minister Mrs Sushma Swaraj handed over HAL Do- 228 aircraft to the President, Republic of Seychelles, Mr. Danny Faure at a ceremony in New Delhi today. With this, the Maritime surveillance of the island nation received the much needed boost.

Appreciating India’s support, Mr.  Faure described the `momentous occasion’ as historical day and said the inclusion of HAL Do-228 aircraft would bolster the coastal surveillance of Seychelles and provide strategic depth to policing its extensive Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The aircraft has come at the right time and would be flown on the forthcoming 42nd Independence Day of Seychelles on June 29, signifying the strong relations between the two countries.

Describing the event yet another milestone in furthering bilateral defence cooperation between India and Seychelles, Mrs Swaraj said, “The handing over of HAL Do 228 to Seychelles reflects the firm commitment and continued engagement of the Government of India in further developing, consolidating and expanding the comprehensive multifaceted cooperation between India and Seychelles”. Mrs Swaraj also handed over airworthiness certificate of the aircraft to the President of Seychelles.

General (Dr) V K Singh (Retd) Union Minister of State for External Affairs, who was present on the occasion, handed over the symbolic key to the President of Seychelles.

Mr. T Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL in his welcome address hailed the event as `proud moment’ for HAL as the aircraft  has been delivered ahead of schedule and accepted by the Seychelles Air Force. “We have provided hands-on training to the pilots and technical staff from Seychelles.  We are committed to extend full-fledged support to the teams involved with its maintenance and operations of the aircraft”, he added.

Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, DCNS, Senior officials from Seychelles, MEA, MOD and HAL were present on the occasion.    

About the aircraft:  The Do- 228, manufactured by HAL is equipped with combination of 360 deg Surveillance Radar, Forward Looking Infra-Red System, Satellite Communication, Traffic Collision and Avoidance System, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System and host of other customer specified sensors.  

The first such aircraft was handed over to Seychelles on January 31, 2013 much ahead of contractual delivery schedule.  Significantly, Prime Minister of India,       Mr. Narendra Modi during his visit to Seychelles in March 2015, announced one additional Do-228 aircraft to Seychelles. Accordingly, the contract for Supply of Do-228 to Seychelles was signed between HAL and MEA on March 16, 2017 followed by another contract between Government of Seychelles and HAL on March 29, 2017.

The HAL Do-228 aircraft is a high wing monoplane with a cantilevered wing and two turboprop engines in wing-mounted pod designed for multipurpose utility like EEZ Monitoring, Maritime Surveillance, Pollution Monitoring and Control, Search and Rescue and commuter services.  The cockpit is designed to accommodate two crew members and is fitted with duplicate controls. The cabin can accommodate 19 passengers in commuter configuration.

It is noteworthy that HAL Do-228 has found wide acceptability in Maritime Surveillance and Patrol roles. It scores over larger aircraft for such applications due to similar endurance and range with full mission equipment, low operating cost, ease of maintenance, STOL (short take off- landing) capability – all at much less acquisition cost offering an optimum solution for Maritime applications.
Currently, the Dornier aircraft is produced at HAL’s Transport Aircraft Division, Kanpur. They are proven workhorse of Indian Armed Forces for maritime related roles and have established their versatility in variety of roles.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff Visits Bangladesh

Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff will be proceeding on a goodwill visit to Bangladesh from 24 to 29 Jun 18. The visit is aimed at consolidating bilateral defence relations between India and Bangladesh and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation.

During the visit, the Chief of the Naval Staff, will hold bilateral discussions with the Chiefs of the three Armed Forces of Bangladesh and other senior officials of the Bangladesh Government and Military. The Chief of the Naval Staff is also scheduled to call on the Hon’ble President H E Mr Md Abdul Hamid and Hon’ble Prime Minister H E Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh as part of his official meetings during the visit.
In addition to Dhaka, the Admiral is also scheduled to proceed to Chittagong and Khulna where he will be visiting various Bangladesh Naval establishments. The Chief of the Naval Staff is also scheduled to inaugurate the first edition of Indian Navy - Bangladesh Navy Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) which is being instituted as an annual feature between the navies of both countries. The commencement of CORPAT is major step towards enhanced operational interaction between both navies.
Naval cooperation between India and Bangladesh has been traditionally strong, encompassing a wide span which includes operational interactions through Port Calls, Passage Exercises along with Capacity Building, Capability Enhancement and Training initiatives. Bangladesh Navy was also the Chair of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) from 2016 to 2018. IONS is a Multilateral Maritime Cooperation platform launched by the Indian Navy in 2008. The Goodwill visit of Chief of the Naval Staff will further strengthen the strong bonds of friendship between the navies of both countries.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Kenyan Defence Minister Visits Western Naval Command





Ms Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary for Defence (Defence Minister), Kenya, accompanied by a high level military delegation visited Headquarters, Western Naval Command today.

The Defence Minister interacted with Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, and other senior officers of the  Command. Issues of mutual interest including maritime security and stability in the Indian Ocean Region, strengthening of defence cooperation, and enhancing training interaction were discussed. The delegation was also briefed about the Western Naval Command.

The Defence Minister also had an interaction with a few women officers, posted at the Command, and visited the indigenously built stealth destroyer INS Kolkata, and  Mazagon Docks Ltd.

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.

26TH Indo-Thai CORPAT



The Royal Thailand Navy and the Indian Navy have been participating in Coordinated Patrols (CORPATs) in the Indian Ocean region since 2005. Royal Thailand Naval Ship HTMS Longlom arrived at Haddo Wharf, Port Blair to mark the culmination of 26th edition of the Indo- Thai CORPAT on 21 June 2018. A high level Thai Naval delegation led by Vice Admiral Sonuk Preampramot, Third Naval Area Commander of Thai Navy flew into Port Blair,  INS Utkrosh and the Admiral called on Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, ADC, Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command.  Apart from keeping a vigil in the Indian Ocean Region the Coordinated Patrol also serves to enhance mutual understanding and inter–operability between the two navies.


Indian Navy Conducts Coastal Security Campaign in Thrissur, Kerala





As part of monthly initiative to enhance security consciousness among fishermen, a Coastal Security Awareness Campaign was conducted at Thrissur District on 19 and 21 June 2018 at Fishing Landing Centres Azhikode, Kaippamangalam, Chettuva and Munakakadavu. Representatives from District Administration Thrissur, Dept of Fisheries and Coastal Police participated in the campaign and discussed various aspects of coastal security, communication procedures and action to be taken on sighting a suspicious vessel.

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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

India's Independent Foreign Policy Forges Ahead Russian S-400 Deal Despite US Pressure, To Be Signed In October In Delhi

India's Independent Foreign Policy Forges Ahead Russian S-400 Deal Despite US Pressure, To Be Signed In October In Delhi



India has demonstrated its independent foreign policy by not being affected by US sanctions on Russia and pressure on New Delhi as far as purchase of defence equipment  from Moscow is concerned.

The deal in question is the much discussed Rs 40,000-crore S-400 Triumf air defence missile system  from Russia for the Indian Air Force, which was cleared by the Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by the former Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in 2015. India has signed up for five units for defensive purposes. These long-range surface-to-air missile systems can target aircraft, incoming ballistic and cruise missiles and also ground targets. India wants to position them on its 4,000-km-long eastern Indo-China border. It is suitable for mountainous regions owing to its capability of detecting cruise missiles within 40 kilometres , as they can operate in low-altitude flight paths.

The S-400 Triumf mobile multichannel air defence missile system (ADMS) began development in the late 1980s. The system comes with a YAMZ-8424.10 Diesel V12 400 HP/294kW engine and is equipped with a warhead that is directed to ensure a complete destruction of targets. A gas system fires the missiles from a launch tube upto an altitude of 30 meters. S-400 is a complete system with an aim to thwart future air threats.

Despite Pentagon's concerns about Indo-US military interoperability , especially in joint exercises might take a hit if India goes in for S-400 missile systems, South Block is determined to take this up with Washington on July 6th, 2018 in the upcoming first ever meet of the 2+2 Dialogue in which the Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will meet their US counterparts Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defence James N. Mattis.

New Delhi will take up the issue of getting immunity from the newly formulated American law - CAATSA ( Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) , as Moscow was placed under sanctions after its annexation of Crimea in 2014, border tension on eastern Ukraine , its alleged interference in the US Presidential elections in 2016 and the more recent accusations by the UK Government of poisoning of an ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, based in London, in 2018. The UK Govt alleged that Moscow used chemical agents on Skripal.

In May 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met for an informal Summit in Sochi, where the matter was taken up. In June this year Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev expressed satisfaction at the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's statement at a press conference, where she said that India follows only UN sanctions and not unilateral sanctions by any country, Kudashev said at a meet,"We are glad that despite the pressure put on India regarding the purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system, the deal is still on table." Kudashev also assured that the commercial negotiations were almost over and the deal could be signed in the first week of October, during President V Putin's visit to New Delhi, beginning October 5th, 2018 for the annual India-Russia Inter-Governmental Military Commission.
Payment Issues :

The Government-owned Russian defence trading company Rosoboronexport was placed under sanctions by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and essentially has more than 40 Russian arms manufacturing OEMs being affected. The issue is of payments and finding a legal and safe method so as to circumvent the US sanctions as the Indian govt-owned State Bank of India (SBI) cannot be used for the purpose. In all defence deals India makes use of the state-owned SBI for payment purposes, but for dealing with Russia henceforth, SBI will have to be avoided.

Talks are on with other banks like the Vijaya Bank and UCO Bank, according to sources. According to a Govt official,"Either payment will be made in kind, a sort of a barter, or through these banks, where Russia will open an account and trade in the Indian Rupee, so that SBI is not affected by sanctions. Vijaya and UCO banks are not affected by sanctions therefore they could be used. India buys oil from Russia and exports pharma products, chemicals and food products, so these products could be traded as barter."

Bilateral trade between India and Russia has shown an increasing trend. The year 2017 showed an inspiring trend with 21.5% increase in the turnover as compared to the year 2016, making the final figure close to 10 billion US dollars. Together both nations are striving to achieve 30 billion US dollars in trade and 15 billion US dollars in investments by 2025.

CAATSA:

CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) is a stringent American law , which enables the US Government to punish those nations which engage in defence business transactions with Russia.

India has been a long-time partner of Russia and is the largest buyer of defence hardware.US sanctions on Rosoboronexport can affect deals worth billions of dollars. Besides the Rs 40,000-crore S-400 Triumf air defence missile system  from Russia , there are other defence purchases like three more stealth frigates, one more nuclear submarine to be leased from Russia for 10 years, like the earlier Chakra, 200 helicopter deal to be signed with Kamov-226 with a Make in India- total number required in 444 for the Navy. Army and the IAF, half will be bought and remaining to be made in India, with joint venture with TASL (Tata Advanced Systems Ltd).

Huang Yunsong - Associate Dean, School of International Studies, Sichuan University, on June 18, 2018, said in New Delhi , "The way India has decided to buy S-400 missiles from Russia, despite US strongly opposing it and placing sanctions, India has shown that it does not follow US and does not need it and can  have a foriegn policy without an alliance. It has shown independent foreign policy with Russia."


Timeline :

The deal was announced during Prime Minister Narendra  Modi's visit to Moscow on December 23-24, 2015.

The Inter-Governmental Agreement for the procurement of S-400 Air Defence System was signed in Moscow on October 15, 2016, between both nations, by their representatives, Alexander Fomin, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation and Indian Ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran.

In a recent interview, earlier this month, Indian Ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran told a Russian press publication,"Military-Technical cooperation between India and Russia was discussed during the meeting between the leaders. We are committed to all our agreements in this sphere, including purchase of S-400. India has a long history of military-technical cooperation with Russia based on trust and mutual benefit. There is no change in the approach of India to our partnership in this field."

Other Nations:

Iraq , Qatar have shown interest in the missile system.

Already operating the system besides Russia are Belarus, China and Algeria, which have already received and are in the process of inducting the system.

Other nations are India and Turkey in the pipeline, who have signed up and will receive the systems. Turkey too like India was in a fix owing to US sanctions, as Washington threatened withdrawal of the fifth generation fighter jets F-35s if Ankara was to buy S-400s from Russia, but the issue was resolved and the first F-35 has been delivered to Turkey.

Former US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said in February 2018 about the deal with Turkey,"We want to consult with Turkey and at least ensure they understand what might be at risk in this particular transaction. We don’t have all the details yet, so I can’t give you any kind of a conclusion, but it’ll be given very careful scrutiny, obviously, and we’ll fully comply with the law. And we are – we are now implementing CAATSA and fully applying it around the world."