Weekly Defence Current Affairs Digest: 5 Aug – 11 Aug 2018

In this weekly digest, we cover 13 important topics in the Indian defence from 5 Aug – 11 Aug 2018:

  1. Indo – Thailand Joint Exercise Maitree 2018

  • Exercise Maitree is being held between the Indian Army and Royal Thai Army from 06 to 19 August 2018 in Thailand. It is a platoon level exercise which comprises of infantry component. The opening ceremony started with the familiarization of organisation and display of weapons & equipment of both armies.
  • The exercise will emphasize to hone the tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter-terrorist operations in the rural and urban scenario under UN mandate.
  • Due emphasis will be laid on increasing interoperability between forces from both countries which is crucial for the success of any joint operation. Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario. Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their experience on varied topics for mutual benefit.

    Indo - Thailand Joint Exercise Maitree 2018
    Indo – Thailand Joint Exercise Maitree 2018
  • Exercise Maitree will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and bonhomie between the two armies in order to counter terrorism.
  1. The budget for DRDO made public

  • The total Budget of Department of Defence Research & Development (R&D) for the Financial Year 2018-19 is Rs. 17861.19 crore with a manpower of approximately 24224 (including 7354 scientists).
  • A total of 13 research projects in Technology Development (TD) and Science & Technology (S&T) category have been taken up in the year 2018-19 in the broad areas of hybrid power system, advanced materials, CBW Defence technologies, laser diode technology, technologies for insensitive munition etc. and since these are in the design phase, outcome of research projects will be seen in the subsequent years.
  1. Indigenous Manufacturing of Defence Equipments

  • Capital procurement of defence equipment is undertaken from various domestic as well as foreign vendors as per extant Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), based on threat perception, operational challenges and technological changes and to keep the Army in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.
  • DPP focuses on institutionalising, streamlining, and simplifying defence procurement procedure to give a boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India, by promoting indigenous design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment, platforms, systems and sub-systems.
  1. Infiltration across LoC and IB in J&K border Decreases

  • Indian Army & Border Security Force have adopted a robust counter infiltration strategy which has an appropriate mix of technology and human resource to check infiltration effectively.
  • Innovative troop deployment, proactive use of surveillance and monitoring devices and the Anti-Infiltration Obstacle System have enhanced the ability to detect and intercept terrorists attempting to infiltrate/exfiltrate.
  • Issues of infiltration / suspicious activity close to the border are taken up regularly with Pakistan authorities at appropriate level through the established mechanism of hotlines, flag meetings as well as talks between the Director General of Military Operations of the two countries. BSF, too, holds regular talks at various levels with its counterpart viz. Pakistan Rangers.
  • In June 2018, Number of CFVs on Line of Control (LoC) were 19 and Number of Cross-Border Firing on International Border (IB) were 39. In July 2018, they were reduced to 13 and 0 respectively.
  1. UPSC Relaxes age for Defence personnel appearing in Civil Services

  • For appointment to any vacancy in Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ services or posts filled by direct recruitment otherwise than on the result of an Open All India Competitive Examination, the upper age limit of Ex-servicemen shall be relaxed by the length of military service increased by three years in the case of ex-servicemen and Commissioned Officers including Emergency Commissioned Officers or Short Service Commissioned Officers.
  • For appointment to any vacancy in Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ services or posts filled by direct recruitment on the result of an All India Competitive Examination, the ex-servicemen and Commissioned Officers including Emergency Commissioned Officers or Short Service Commissioned Officers who have rendered at least five years military service and have been released (i) on completion of assignment (including those whose assignment is due to be completed within one year otherwise than by way of dismissal or discharge on account of misconduct or inefficiency; or (ii) on account of physical disability attributable to military service or on invalidment, shall be allowed maximum relaxation of five years in the upper age limit.
  1. Dependence on Foreign Weapons Shifted Due to Indigenisation

  • Capital procurement of defence equipment is undertaken from various domestic as well as foreign vendors, based on operational requirements of the Armed Forces, the availability or capacity to produce the equipment in India and abroad to keep the Armed Forces in a state of readiness to meet the entire spectrum of security challenges.
  • During the last three years and current year (up to June, 2018) out of total 168 contracts, 106 contracts have been signed with Indian vendors for procurement of defence equipment for Armed Forces such as Helicopters, Radar, Ballistic Helmets, Artillery Guns, Simulators, Missiles, Bullet Proof Jackets, Electronic Fuzes and ammunition.
  1. Conversion of cantonments into “Exclusive Military Stations”

  • There are 62 Cantonments, governed by the Cantonments Act, 2006, located in 19 States with a population of about 20.76 lakhs.
  • Cantonments have and continue to play an important role in the delivery of services to the inhabitants residing in the cantonments.
  • Apart from carrying out municipal functions like sanitation, running of STPs, street lighting, drainage, etc., they also undertake numerous developmental activities.
  • Cantonments with a 250-year history are important institutions that bear testimony to the harmonious co-existence of civilians and defence personnel.
  • The Army has suggested excision of civil areas of Cantonments and converting military pockets into Military Stations. No decision has been taken in the matter yet.
  1. New Defence Production Policy Prepared

  • In the Budget Speech 2018, Government has announced that it will bring out an industry-friendly Defence Production Policy 2018 to promote domestic production by public sector, the private sector and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Consequent to this, a draft Defence Production Policy 2018 has been prepared which provides a focused, structured and significant thrust to development of defence design and production capabilities in the country.
  • The draft policy has been shared with all concerned stakeholders for their views before notification.
  1. Joint cycling cum Trekking expedition by Indian Army & Royal Bhutan Army

  • A joint Cycling cum Trekking Expedition of Indian Army and Royal Bhutan Army was conducted to commemorate “Fifty years of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between India and Bhutan”.
  • The expedition began on 31 July from Haa Dzong in Bhutan and was flagged-in at Thimpu on 07 August 2018.
  • A total of seventeen personnel of both armies participated in the expedition which covered a total of 384 km of the distance across challenging mountainous terrain in both India and Bhutan.

    Joint cycling cum Trekking expedition by Indian Army & Royal Bhutan Army
    Joint cycling cum Trekking expedition by Indian Army & Royal Bhutan Army
  • The expedition team passed through Binnaguri in India during the final phase of the expedition.
  • The expedition has furthered the strong bonds of bonhomie between the two armies, adding yet another glorious moment in the relations between the two nations.
  1. HADR operations launched by IAF in Kerala

  • IAF had responded immediately to the Kerala flood crisis and is extending all possible assistance to the people affected by landslides and floods in Kerala through Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) missions.
  • Five An-32 transport aircraft were deployed to transport NDRF teams and their equipment from Arakkonam to Calicut on 09 Aug 18.
  • In addition, two NDRF teams from Vijayawada and two teams of Army Engineering Group from Bangalore & Hyderabad have been transported to Calicut.
  • Two Mi-17 V5 helicopters and one Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) has been pressed into service for distribution of relief material and winching operations.
  • On 09 Aug 18, three persons were winched to safety by IAF helicopters and 300 Kg of relief material was dropped for flood-affected people. These helicopters continue to be deployed for relief and rescue operations even now and are being tasked as requested by the state administration.
  • The IAF will continue to provide HADR till the situation is normalized.
  1. Operation ‘Madad’ by Southern Naval Command Launched

  • Operation “Madad” has been launched by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi since 09 Aug 2018 for assisting the state administration and undertaking disaster relief operations due to the unprecedented flooding experienced in many parts of Kerala, owing to incessant rainfall and release of excess water from Idukki and other dams.
  • Based on a request received from Deputy Collector, Wayanad, one diving team with Gemini inflatable boat was airlifted and sent to Kalpetta at 10:00 pm on 09 Aug to undertake rescue operations due to floods and landslides.
  1. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan car cum bike rally flagged off by WAC

  • A Car cum Bike Rally from New Delhi to Thoise via Manali-Leh was flagged off by Air Marshal NJS Dhillon AVSM, Senior Air Staff Officer, HQ Western Air Command New Delhi on 10 Aug 18.
  • The objective of the Rally is to promote Prime Minister’s noble mission of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.The Rally aims at spreading awareness amongst tourists and locals to maintain cleanliness in mountains and make them garbage free zones.
  • The rally team consisting of 12 Air warriors is headed by Air Vice Marshal AK Singh AVSM VSM, Senior Officer-in-charge Administration, HQ WAC. In a span of next 15 days, the team will traverse through Ambala, Manali, Jispa, Pang, Leh, Pangong Tso, Thoise en route to its final destination at Base Camp. The rally will culminate in Delhi on 24 Aug 18.

    Swachh Bharat Abhiyan car cum bike rally flag-off
    Swachh Bharat Abhiyan car cum bike rally flag-off
  • During its journey, the team will interact with the locals and tourists to highlight the importance of cleanliness and the need to protect the environment.
  • They will also spread awareness about ‘Swachhta’ by distributing pamphlets, installing banners and placing dustbins at prominent tourist destinations en-route. The team plans to collect garbage for further disposal of the same at designated places. It is also planned to carry out ‘Swachhta’campaign at Leh city and Thoise in order to make the general public aware of the Mission.

    Swachh Bharat Abhiyan car cum bike rally team
    Swachh Bharat Abhiyan car cum bike rally team
  1. Curtain Raiser: Exercise SCO Peace Mission 2018

  • As part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) initiatives, SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for SCO member states. The joint exercise for the year 2018 will be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia from 22 August to 29 August 2018 at Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk, Russia.
  • This will be a historic occasion due to the maiden participation of India post becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017.
  • This exercise marks a major milestone in the multilateral relations of SCO member nations. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international counter-insurgency or counter-terrorism environment under SCO Charter.

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