Monday, January 7, 2019

French Naval Chief To Visit India

Visit of French Naval Chief ADM Christophe Prazuck, to India from 06 – 09 Jan 19


Admiral Christophe Prazuck, Chief of the Naval Staff, French Navy is visiting India from 06 Jan 19 in conjunction with Raisina Dialogue (08-09 Jan 19).  The visit aims to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and France, as also to explore new avenues for naval cooperation.

During his visit, the Chief of the Naval Staff, French Navy will hold bilateral discussions with Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman COSC and Chief of the Naval Staff and other senior officials of the Indian Navy.  A range of issues of mutual interest to both navies, encompassing maritime operations, training, logistics and maintenance would be discussed during these meetings.

The Indian Navy cooperates with French Navy on many fronts, which include Bilateral Naval Exercise ‘Varuna’, Interaction on Aircraft Carrier Operations and in generating Maritime Domain Awareness through the medium of Security Dialogue and Staff Talks.  In addition, ships from both navies make regular port calls at each others’ ports.



Army Chief Visits Chainpur




The Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, along with Mrs Madhulika Rawat (President Army Wives Welfare Association) and other top military brass visited Chainpur in Gumla District in Jharkhand on 04 Jan 2019.

Chainpur is the native village of war hero Lance Naik Albert Ekka, who was posthumously awarded Param Vir Chakra (PVC) for his exceptional bravery in the line of duty during the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The Army Chief paid homage to the braveheart by laying wreath at his statue at a ceremonial function.

This was followed by an ex-servicemen rally at the Barway Ground wherein the Army felicitated Smt Balamdina Ekka, war widow of Lance Naik Albert Ekka and other war widows. The COAS felicitated and interacted with veterans and assured them of the sincere commitment of Army towards their welfare. A mega medical camp was also organized by the Army and civil administration for the ex-Servicemen and local villagers at the venue. The ex-servicemen also got an opportunity to address their pension related anomalies through Grievances Redressal Cells established at the rally site. 


In Parliament 


Defence Cooperation with Japan


Air Chief Marshal visited Japan from 10 to 13 December, 2018.  Divulging details on the issues discussed during the visit is not in the national interest.

Defence cooperation with different countries is progressed through Joint Military Exercises, training courses, Subject-Matter Exchanges on specialised issues, high level visits, defence industry ventures, exchanges on defence technology and Research & Development, as well as Service level Staff Talks.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri T. Radhakrishnan and others in Lok Sabha today.


SU-30 MK JET


Russian SU-30 and indigenously manufactured SU-30MKI are not the same, hence, one to one comparison of cost may not be appropriate.

The higher cost of indigenously manufactured SU-30MKI is due to following factors:-

Additional modifications are incorporated in the indigenous  Su-30MKI to enhance the operational capability and to suit Indian   Air Force (IAF) requirements.

Being a Transfer of Technology (ToT) programme, cost is involved towards payment of license fee to Russian side.

Owing to the low volume of production of Indian SU-30 MKI as compared to Russian SU-30, economies of scale come into play.

Import of raw materials and proprietary components from Russia involves dependency on Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for the offered kit costs, which are not proportionate with the kit contents.

However, indigenous manufacturing has created advanced skill sets in the country, a step towards self-reliance and will result in lower Life Cycle Cost and reduced dependency on OEM on repair & maintenance and faster turn-around time and quick support to IAF bases.

Since the facilities are indigenously established, future production supplies is likely to be cheaper if new order for bulk production is placed on HAL.

The Contract for upgradation of 61 Jaguar Display, Attack, Range and Inertial Navigation-I (DARIN-I) aircraft to DARIN-III standard was signed with HAL in December 2009. Contractual timelines for Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) and Final Operational Clearance (FOC) were December 2012 & June 2013 respectively. Contractual timelines for delivery of all the Series Upgrade aircraft was December 2017.  IOC has been obtained in February 2017.   FOC has not yet been achieved. The delay in the project is due to following reasons:-

Introduction of certain new requirements projected by IAF which required additional software design, implementation and flight trials efforts.

Delay in supply of certain Buyers Furnished Equipments by IAF.

Up gradation of certain equipment like Smart Multi- Function Display sought by IAF.

The development of Mission Computer was taken up by HAL through its Joint Venture Company, HAL Edgewood Technologies Limited (HETL). After some initial delay, the development of Mission Computer has now been completed.

Regarding Smart Multi Function Display (SMFD), as per the revised requirement of IAF, a suitable alternative has been identified by HAL. This SMFD has also attained certification.

The progress of Jaguar DARIN-III upgrade programme is regularly reviewed by Ministry of Defence through meetings with HAL & IAF.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Hariom Singh Rathore in Lok Sabha today.


Vendors in Defence Procurement


Capital procurement of defence equipment from domestic and foreign vendors is undertaken as per the extant Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).  During the last three years and current year (upto October, 2018), 121 contracts have been signed with Indian vendors worth about Rs.73918 crore and 67 contracts have been signed with foreign vendors worth about Rs. 1,65,590 crore for capital procurement of defence equipment for Armed Forces such as Radars, Aircraft, Rockets, Artillery Guns, Helicopters, Missiles, Ballistic Helmets, Bullet Proof Jackets, Weapons, Simulators and Ammunition.

DPP-2016 focuses on institutionalizing, streamlining and simplifying defence procurement procedure to give a boost to the “Make in India” initiative of the Government of India, by promoting indigenous design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment, platforms, systems and sub-systems.  Ministry of Defence is committed to the objectives of DPP-2016 and is taking all steps necessary to realize these objectives.

Government has also promulgated the policy of Strategic Partnership in the Defence Sector which encourages participation of the private sector in manufacture of major defence platforms and equipment in four selected segments viz. Submarines, Fighter Aircraft, Helicopters and Armoured Fighting Vehicles / Tanks.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri C. Mahendran in Lok Sabha today.

Transport Aircraft


To replace the ageing Avro aircraft and to promote participation of Private Sector in Defence manufacturing, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded approval for Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) of transport aircraft under ‘Buy and Make’ category in July, 2012.  The proposal envisages OEM to supply 16 aircraft in flyaway condition and the balance 40 aircraft to be manufactured in India by the OEM selected Indian Production Agency (IPA).

There were several representations for and against the RFP dated 8th May 2013.  The Ministry of Law opined that the RFP does not suffer from any illegality.
The government has procured C-130 Aircraft for special operations and    C-17 Heavy lift aircraft.  The deliveries of Dornier Aircraft from HAL are underway.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Janardan Singh Sigriwal in Lok Sabha today.


PRIS in DRDO


Performance Related Incentive Scheme (PRIS), has not been recommended in 7th Central Pay Commission for Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Government has always incentivized DRDO scientists to motivate them and boost their morale.  The present incentive scheme for DRDO scientists are as follows:

Financial Incentives:

Up to maximum of six increments are granted to deserving Scientists at the time of promotion under Flexible Complementing Scheme (FCS) depending upon merit.  Recently, the value of this variable increments has been revised, applying the fitment factor, as suggested by 7th Central Pay Commission for Basic Pay.

Growth related Incentives:

To give better growth and promotional avenues to the Scientists in DRDO, Merit based FCS is in place, where promotions are based on assessment and not on available vacancies.
Further, incentivizing is a regular phenomenon on need basis.

This information was given by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman in a written reply to Dr. P.K. Biju in Lok Sabha today.

Missile Defence System


A contract has been signed on 05 October 2018 for delivery of S-400 system from Russia. The deliveries will commence from October 2020 and will be completed by April 2023.

The system will provide a very capable air defence coverage to Vulnerable Areas/ Vulnerable Points (VAs/VPs).

Government is aware of all developments that may impact procurement of defence equipment and it takes sovereign decision based on threat perception, operational and technological aspects to keep the Armed Forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Kesineni Nani and Shri R. Dhruva Narayana in Lok Sabha today.

Functioning of Coast Guard


The Government has established a robust maritime search and rescue framework to address and respond to various contingencies in deep sea and in coastal areas of India, which includes distress onboard fishing boats and merchant vessels, safety of life during marine incidents and SAR (Search and Rescue) response during Cyclones etc.  Director General Indian Coast Guard has been designated as the Chairman of National Maritime Search and Rescue Board (NMSARB), which constitutes members from national / coastal state administration / agencies.

The sanctioned strength of Coast Guard has increased from 8149 in 2008 to 16792 in 2018 which is 100% increase from manpower recruited in 2008.  The ships and air assets of ICG are fitted with latest state-of-the-art technology equipment / systems / sensors to enhance surveillance capability of the Coast Guard.  Adequate research & deliberations are undertaken while formulating the staff requirements for all acquisition cases so that the new ships & air assets inducted are the best in class.

A Coast Guard station at a particular location is set up taking into consideration the threat perception, vulnerability gap analysis and presence of other maritime organization / security set up in the vicinity.  Presently, there are 08 stations functioning in the state of Gujarat at various locations.  In addition, there is one CG Air Enclave and 02 District Headquarters for undertaking ICG charter in the area.  Therefore, at this juncture no additional Coast Guard Station is planned in Gujarat and the existing assets are adequate to respond to any contingencies involving ICG charter.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shrimati Poonamben Maadam in Lok Sabha today.


Defence Procurement from Private Sector


Capital procurement of defence equipment from domestic and foreign vendors is undertaken as per the extant Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).  During current financial year 2018-19 (upto October, 2018), out of 22 contracts signed with Indian vendors, 8 contracts have been signed with Indian private vendors for procurement of defence equipment.

Government is pursuing initiatives to achieve higher levels of indigenization and self-reliance in the  defence sector by harnessing the  capabilities  of  the  public  and  private  sector  industries  in  the country. 

These measures include according priority and preference to procurement from Indian vendors and liberalization of the licensing regime.  Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) accords the highest priority to Buy Indian (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured) (IDDM).  The ‘Make’ procedure has been simplified with provisions for earmarking projects not exceeding development cost of Rs.10 crores (government funded) and   Rs.3 crores (Industry funded) for  micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and with provisions for involving private  industry as production agencies and technology transfer partners.  Government has also promulgated the policy on Strategic Partnership in the Defence Sector to encourage broader participation of the private sector in manufacture of major defence platforms and equipment.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Manshankar Ninama in Lok Sabha today.

Electronic Industry in Defence


The Government proposes to promote indigenous product development and manufacturing in the entire value chain of the Defence Electronic sector and to develop capacities for manufacturing of strategic electronic within the country with increasing value addition. It proposes to use it to leverage India’s strength in IT / software area to support Aerospace and defence driven Ecosystem. Following are the steps taken by Government for promotion of domestic electronics manufacturing:

Modified Special Incentive Package (MSIPS) provides financial incentives to offset disability and attracts investments in the Electronic Systems Design and Manufacturing sector.  The scheme is available for both new projects and expansion project, and is open to receive applications till 31.12.2018.

Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC) Scheme to provide financial support for creation of state-of- the art infrastructure for electronics manufacturing units.

Tariff Structure has been rationalized to promote domestic manufacturing of electronic goods, including inter-alia mobile handsets, Televisions etc.

As per extant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy, FDI upto 100% under the automatic route is permitted for electronic product manufacturing, subject to applicable laws / regulations; security and other conditionalities.

For promotion of exports in the sector, Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and Export promotion capital goods (EPCC) are available under Foreign trade policy, 2015-20.

The imports of used plant and machinery having a residual life of at least 5 years or use by the electronics manufacturing industry has been simplified through the amendment of Hazardous and other wastes Rules, 2016.

Notified capital goods for manufacture of specified electronic goods are permitted for import at ‘Nil’ Basic customs duty.

The Department of Revenue vide Notification No.60/2018-Customs dated 11.09.2018 has amended the Notification No.158/95-customs dated 14.11.1995, relaxing the ageing restriction from 3 years to 7 years for specified electronic goods manufactured in India and re-imported into India for repairs or reconditioning.

Steps taken to promote innovation and R&D:

Electronics Development Fund (EDF) has been set up as a “Fund of Funds” to participate in professionally managed “Daughter Funds” which in turn will provide risk capital to companies developing new technologies in the area of electronics, Nano-electronics and Information Technology.

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) provides grant-in- aids support to institutes of higher learning like IITs, IISc, Central Universities and R&D Organizations to conduct research in identified thrust areas.

An Electropreneur park has been set up in New Delhi for providing incubation for development Electronic System Design & Manufacturing (ESDM)  sector which will contribute IP creation and Product Development in the sector.

National Centre of Excellence for Technology on Internal Security (NCETIS) has been set up at IIT-Mumbai with the objective to address the internal security needs of the nation on continuous basis by delivering technology prototypes required for internal security and to promote domestic industry in internal security.

Centre of Excellence on Internet of Things (IoT) has been set up in Bengalure jointly with NASSCOM.

An incubation centre with focus on medical electronics has been set up at IIT- Patna.

As a part of Government efforts to develop specialized zones dedicated to defence production including electronic industry in defence sector, the Government has announced setting up of two defence corridors, one in Uttar Pradesh and other in Tamil Nadu. Detailed project report on defence corridors is under preparation.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri N.K. Premachandran in Lok Sabha today.


Armed Forces Tribunal

Currently, 195 out of 593 posts are vacant in Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) which include Group ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ posts as well as Members.  Vacancies arise from time to time on account of completion of deputation period / tenure, superannuation, delay in selection process because of litigation, non-availability of eligible candidates etc.

There are 11 Benches of AFT in the country including the Principal Bench in New Delhi. The Regional Benches are functioning from Chandigarh, Chennai, Guwahati, Jabalpur, Jaipur, Kochi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar (currently functioning at Jammu).

As on 30.11.2018, a total number of 11,705 cases are pending with Armed Forces Tribunal since its inception in 2009.

After the notification of ‘The Tribunal, Appellate Tribunal and other Authorities (Qualifications, Experience and other Conditions of Service of Members) Rules, 2017’ on 01 June 2017, nine persons were appointed as Members in AFT in accordance with the same Rules.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shrimati  Meenakashi  Lekhi in Lok Sabha today.


Mazagaon Dock Shipbuilders


Vacancy position of permanent posts in Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) is as follows:-

Executive posts-173

Non-Executive posts- NIL

There are some skilled workers working in Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) for last 10 years. However, there are no permanent vacancies to be filled up as indicated at above.

Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) had floated an open tender on 03.01.2018 for engaging an agency to supply hands on outsourced basis. After following due commercial procedure, order was placed on the agency on 04.09.2018. In addition, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has also advertised for recruiting 798 persons on fixed term contract basis.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Arvind  Sawant in Lok Sabha today.


Defence Projects Under Make In India


‘Make in India’ in defence sector is primarily driven by capital acquisition of defence equipment and other policy measures taken to promote indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment in the country by harnessing the capabilities of the public and private sector.  In the last three financial years i.e. from 2015-16 to 2017-18, Government has accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) to 111 proposals, worth Rs.1,78,900 crore approximately, under ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ or ‘Make’ categories of capital procurement as per Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), which means Request for Proposal (RFP) is issued only to Indian Vendors.  In the last three financial years i.e. from 2015-16 to     2017-18, 99 contracts worth about Rs.65,471.28 crore have been signed with Indian vendors for procurement of defence equipment.  DPP stipulates a time schedule for completion of the procurement cycle.  The time taken to undertake capital procurement of defence equipment depends on the nature and complexity of the equipment being procured.

The Government had promulgated the Defence Production Policy in 2011 which aimed at achieving substantive self-reliance in the design, development and production of equipment, weapon systems, platforms required for defence in as early       a time frame as possible; creating conditions conducive for private industry to play an active role in this endeavour; enhancing potential of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in indigenisation and broadening the defence R&D base of the country.  Recently, a draft Defence Production Policy-2018 was prepared and placed in public domain to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to development of defence design and production capabilities in the country.  The Defence Production Policy 2018 has not yet been finalized.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Ram Kumar Kashyap in Rajya Sabha today.

Defence Manufacturing Contract to Non-Governmental Agencies

Government is pursuing initiatives to achieve higher levels of indigenization and self-reliance in the defence sector by harnessing the capabilities of the public and private sector industries in the countries.  These measures include according priority and preference to procurement from Indian vendors and liberalization of the licensing regime.  Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) accords the highest priority to Buy Indian (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured) (IDDM).  The ‘Make’ procedure has been simplified with provisions for earmarking projects not exceeding development cost of Rs.10 crores (government funded) and Rs.3 crores (Industry funded) for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs);  and with provisions for involving private industry as production agencies and technology transfer partners.  Government has also promulgated the policy on Strategic Partnership in the Defence Sector to encourage broader participation of the private sector in manufacture of major defence platforms and equipment.

During last three financial years, out of 99 contracts signed with Indian vendors, 49 contracts have been signed with Indian private vendors for procurement of defence equipment.  Delivery schedule of equipment is specified in each contract.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Dr. Amee Yajnik in Rajya Sabha today.
Nampi/DK/HS

Indo-US 2+2 Dialogue

Joint statement on the inaugural India-U.S 2+2 Ministerial dialogue: Minister of External Affairs Smt Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Smt Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis to India on September 6, 2018 for the inaugural India-U.S. Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue. They welcomed the launch of the 2+2 Dialogue as a reflection of the shared commitment by Prime Minister Modi and President Trump to provide a positive, forward-looking vision for the India-U.S. strategic partnership and to promote synergy in their diplomatic and security efforts. They resolved to continue meetings in this format on an annual basis.
       
Celebrating over 70 years of diplomatic cooperation, the Ministers reaffirmed their view that India and the United States, as sovereign democracies founded on the values of freedom, justice, and commitment to the rule of law, must continue to lead global efforts to promote peace, prosperity, and security.

Recognizing their two countries are strategic partners, major and independent stakeholders in world affairs, the Ministers committed to work together on regional and global issues, including in bilateral, trilateral, and quadrilateral formats. The two sides further decided to establish secure communication between the Minister of External Affairs of India and the U.S. Secretary of State, and between the Minister of Defense of India and the U.S. Secretary of Defense, to help maintain regular high-level communication on emerging developments.

Strengthening the Defense and Security Partnership:  

The Ministers reaffirmed the strategic importance of India’s designation as a Major Defense Partner (MDP) of the United States and committed to expand the scope of India’s MDP status and take mutually agreed upon steps to strengthen defense ties further and promote better defense and security coordination and cooperation. They noted the rapid growth in bilateral defense trade and the qualitative improvement in levels of technology and equipment offered by the United States to India in recent years. They welcomed the inclusion of India by the United States among the top tier of countries entitled to license-free exports, re-exports, and transfers under License Exception Strategic Trade Authorization (STA-1) and also committed to explore other means to support further expansion in two-way trade in defense items and defense manufacturing supply chain linkages. They welcomed the signing of a Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) that will facilitate access to advanced defense systems and enable India to optimally utilize its existing U.S.-origin platforms. The Ministers also announced their readiness to begin negotiations on an Industrial Security Annex (ISA) that would support closer defense industry cooperation and collaboration.      

Recognizing their rapidly growing military-to-military ties, the two sides committed to the creation of a new, tri-services exercise and to further increase personnel exchanges between the two militaries and defense organizations. The Ministers reviewed the recent growth of bilateral engagements in support of maritime security and maritime domain awareness, and committed to expand cooperation. Toward that end, the Ministers committed to start exchanges between the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) and the Indian Navy, underscoring the importance of deepening their maritime cooperation in the western Indian Ocean.          

Acknowledging the unique role of technology in the India-U.S. defense partnership, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to continue to encourage and prioritize co-production and co-development projects through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), and to pursue other avenues of defense innovation cooperation. In this regard, they welcomed the conclusion of a Memorandum of Intent between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX).          

Welcoming the expansion of bilateral counter-terrorism cooperation, the Ministers announced their intent to increase information-sharing efforts on known or suspected terrorists and to implement UN Security Council Resolution 2396 on returning foreign terrorist fighters. They committed to enhance their ongoing cooperation in multilateral fora such as the UN and FATF. They reaffirmed their support for a UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism that will advance and strengthen the framework for global cooperation and reinforce the message that no cause or grievance justifies terrorism. The Ministers denounced any use of terrorist proxies in the region, and in this context, they called on Pakistan to ensure that the territory under its control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, they called on Pakistan to bring to justice expeditiously the perpetrators of the Mumbai, Pathankot, Uri, and other cross-border terrorist attacks. The Ministers welcomed the launch of a bilateral dialogue on designation of terrorists in 2017, which is strengthening cooperation and action against terrorist groups, including Al-Qa’ida, ISIS, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul Mujahideen, the Haqqani Network, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, D-Company, and their affiliates. The two sides further reaffirmed their commitment to ongoing and future cooperation to ensure a stable cyberspace environment and to prevent cyber-attacks.          

Partners in the Indo-Pacific and Beyond:     

The Ministers reviewed cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, noting that the common principles for the region articulated in the India-U.S. Joint Statement of June 2017 have been further amplified by President Donald Trump at Danang, Vietnam on November 10, 2017, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Singapore at the Shangri-La Dialogue on June 1, 2018. Both sides committed to work together and in concert with other partners toward advancing   a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on recognition of ASEAN centrality and on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, rule of law, good governance, free and fair trade, and freedom of navigation and overflight. Noting the importance of infrastructure and Connectivity for the Indo-Pacific region, both sides emphasized the need to work collectively with other partner countries to support transparent, responsible, and sustainable debt financing practices in infrastructure development.            

The Ministers reaffirmed their shared commitment to a united, sovereign, democratic, inclusive, stable, prosperous, and peaceful Afghanistan. The two sides expressed support for an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. The United States acknowledged India’s longstanding and ongoing contributions of economic assistance to Afghanistan and also welcomed India’s enhanced role in Afghanistan’s development and stabilization.  

India welcomed the recent U.S.-North Korea summit. The two sides pledged to work together to counter North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction programs and to hold accountable those countries that have supported them.  

The United States welcomed India’s accession to the Australia Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Missile Technology Control Regime and reiterated its full support for India’s immediate accession to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.      

Promoting Prosperity and People-to-People Ties:

The Ministers recognized the importance and the potential for increasing bilateral trade, investment, innovation, and job creation in both countries. Both sides committed to further expanding and balancing the trade and economic partnership consistent with their leaders’ 2017 joint statement, including by facilitating trade, improving market access, and addressing issues of interest to both sides. In this regard, both sides welcomed the ongoing exchanges between the Ministry of Commerce of India and the Office of the United States Trade Representative and hoped for mutually acceptable outcomes.

Both sides looked forward to full implementation of the civil nuclear energy partnership and collaboration between Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) and Westinghouse Electric Company for the establishment of six nuclear power plants in India.

Observing the strong ties of family, education, and business, and the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that unite their people, the Ministers highlighted the unmatched people-to-people ties between their countries and recognized the benefits to both nations and the world from these ties, including the free flow of ideas and collaboration in health, space, oceans, and other areas of science and technology.

The next 2+2 meeting is to be held in the United States in 2019.            

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Binoy Viswam in Rajya Sabha today.


Progress In Production of Tejas

Light Combat Aircraft Tejas has already achieved Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) in December 2013 for fighter version of aircraft and 10 fighter version aircraft have been delivered to Indian Air Force.  These aircraft are equipped with various combat equipment as envisaged for IOC version of aircraft.

Final Operational Clearance (FOC) was initially planned by Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) for December 2012.  However the same has not yet been achieved by ADA.

Delays in attaining FOC have been mainly due to delay in finalization of Air to Air Refuelling contract; challenges faced in integration of Air  to Air Refuelling probe and associated major hardware (structural modification) and software (Flight control software) modification & flight testing etc.

Two contracts were signed between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., (HAL) for procurement of (i) 20 Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) standard aircraft, including 16 IOC fighters and 04 trainers on 31st March 2006 to be completed in December 2011 and (ii) 20 Final Operational Clearance (FOC) standard aircraft including 16 FOC fighters and four trainers on 23rd December 2010 to be completed by December 2016.

Till date, out of 16 IOC fighter aircraft, 10 fighters have been delivered by HAL and are operational with IAF’s 45 Squadron.  The delivery of remaining 6 IOC fighter aircraft is planned by March, 2019.  The production of 4 IOC trainer aircraft would be taken up only after design clearance from ADA.  Production of 20 FOC aircraft will be taken up only after FOC by ADA.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Anubhav Mohanty in Rajya Sabha today.



Mantle of Administration handed over at Headquarters Western Air Command





The Senior Officer in charge of Administration at the Delhi based Headquarters Western Air Command, handed over charge to Air Vice Marshal K Anantharaman VSM.

Air Vice Marshal AK Singh AVSM VSM, the outgoing SOA of HQ WAC, hangs his uniform after 36 years of glorious service in the IAF. He was commissioned in Dec 1982 as an administrative officer and a fighter controller, tasks which he went on to excel in over the years. The Air officer has also served abroad on deputation, as instructor and supervising staff in the academies of foreign air forces. The distinguished officer had a tenure of approx. 2 years in HQ WAC, wherein, heading the Administrative branch in the command, he accomplished coveted milestones like successful conduct of Ex Gagan Shakti 2018, three Presidents Standards Presentations in the command, successful conduct of the Airforce Day Parade at Hindon from 2016 to 2018 and ensured the work services required for new induction to the IAF in general and WAC in particular, went on hassle free.

In a command, the Senior Officer in charge of Administration heads the activities of the administrative branch for the entire area of responsibility, under the guidance and orders of the Air Officer Commanding in Chief. Western Air Command being one of the most active in the IAF, the post of SOA entails responsibilities with far fetching effects. This post would now be tenanted by AVM Anantharaman. “I am sure he would do a great job and carry forwards the ethos of IAF while in the chair” said AVM AK Singh about his successor.

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