NAVAL FLEET MODERNISATION TO DRDO INVENTIONS: DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT - The Daily Guardian
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NAVAL FLEET MODERNISATION TO DRDO INVENTIONS: DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT

The information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to questions asked by Members of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha.

Ashish Singh

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A draft ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy’ (DPEPP) 2020 was placed in public domain by the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence. This draft policy is positioned as Ministry of Defence’s overarching guiding document to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports. It envisions to make India amongst the top countries of the world in the defence sector, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding sectors, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector. This policy, inter alia, aims to create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.

The new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020 has been released on 30th September, 2020. DAP-2020 is a product of extensive analysis, deliberations, interactions and focused formulations. It aims to further ‘self-reliance’ of the country in the defence sector by promoting indigenisation and bring ‘Ease of Doing Business’ with emphasis on Simplification, Delegation, Reduced Timelines and make the process as Industry friendly. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Dr Banda Prakash in the Rajya Sabha.

MODERNISATION OF THE NAVAL FLEET

Indian Navy remains operationally ready and maintains combat ready platforms with additional forces in readiness at various bases/ports. Indian Navy is always ready to address any eventuality posed by the adversaries in its area of operations. It also diligently follows the Maintenance, Training, Operations and Deployment Cycle ensuring a high state of material as well as combat readiness encompassing all spectrums of maritime operations. Modernisation of Indian Navy is an ongoing process, and is undertaken in accordance with Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan which is reviewed from time to time. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Dr Sabmit Patra in the Rajya Sabha.

PROPOSALS FOR INDIGENOUS DESIGNING AND MANUFACTURING OF DEFENCE SYSTEM

Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020 envisages the basic tenets of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and encourages indigenous designing and manufacturing of defence items. The proposals for indigenous design and manufacturing are considered under ‘Make’ Procedure of DAP-2020. The ‘Make’ Procedure aims to achieve the objective of self-reliance by involving greater participation of Indian industries including private sector through following mechanisms:

• Make-I (Government Funded): This involves design and development of equipment, systems, major platforms or upgrades thereof by the industry. Ministry provides financial support upto 70% of prototype development cost or maximum Rs. 250 crores per Development Agency (DA).

• Make-II (Industry Funded): This includes design & development and innovative solutions by Indian vendor, for which no Government funding is provided, but it has assurance of procurement on successful prototype development.

As on date, there are 4 ongoing projects under Make-I category. Further, 56 proposals have been accorded ‘Approval in Principal’ under Make-II category out of which 23 proposals have been accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN). In addition, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also undertaken 233 projects during the past three years since 2018. The projects include new defence equipment such as Cruise missile, Hypersonic missile, Anti-Ship missile, Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket, Mounted Gun System, Ammunitions, Electronic Warfare system, Radars, Torpedos, High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, etc. AoN has been accorded for 45 DRDO developed systems during last 03 years since 2018 for induction into Services. Further, in order to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ category under DAP is accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment. Ministry of Defence has notified a ‘Negative List’ of 101 identified items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This is a big step towards self-reliance in defence. This offers a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items indigenously and develop capabilities to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. This list includes some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars, etc, to fulfil the needs of our defence services.

Further, an indigenization portal namely SRIJAN has also been launched in August, 2020 for Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)/Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/Startups/Industry for import substitution. As on date, 9,370 defence items, which were earlier imported, have been displayed on the portal. The Indian industry has shown interest for 1864 displayed items so far. The items displayed on the SRIJAN portal have well-structured description including specification, images, business volume etc. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Sambhaji Chhatrapati in the Rajya Sabha.

MEASURES TAKEN TO PREVENT LOSS OF FISHERMEN LIVES FROM CYCLONES

Indian Coast Guard initiated the following pre-emptive and proactive measures to prevent loss of fishermen lives and to reduce impact from Cyclone Nivar and Burevi:

• ICG formations were put on high alert and high state of preparedness. Fisheries authorities, State authorities and local administration were warned for precautionary measures.

• Constant liaison had been made with the State administration, various departments and Indian Meteorological Department to ensure wide spread precautionary measures in the affected areas.

• Indian Coast Guard Remote Operating Centres (ROC) and Remote Operating Stations (ROS) passed security/safety messages in local languages on VHF (very high frequency) to all fishing boats to return to harbor or take shelter in nearest port.

• ISN (International Safety Net) was activated in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea by Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) at Chennai and Mumbai respectively requesting transiting Merchant vessels to advise and warn fishermen to return to harbor/take shelter at nearest fishing harbor and render assistance, if required.

• Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft were deployed in advance for issuance of advisories and warnings in vernacular languages to fishermen at sea for safe return to ports.

• A total of 23 and 33 Coast Guard Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) were kept standby during cyclones Nivar and Burevi respectively.

Due to the preventive and proactive efforts by multiple stakeholders during cyclone Nivar and Burevi, neither any incident/accident nor loss of any life at sea was reported. As per the Disaster Management Act, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) are mandated to deal with all types of disasters; natural or man-made. The Armed Forces are called upon to assist the civil administration when required. ICG form an important part of the Government’s response capacity and are immediate responders in all serious Coastal disaster situations. ICG has prepared Standard Operating Procedures for Disaster Management and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been percolated to all formations and has initiated efforts for capacity building and training of ICG personnel. ICG units maintain close liaison and coordination with all State and District Authorities. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Sanjay Seth and Rajeev Satav in the Rajya Sabha.

NEW SAINIK SCHOOLS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NGOS/ PRIVATE SCHOOLS/STATES

Government is proposing to bring a new scheme for setting up Sainik Schools in the country in partnership with NGOs/Private Schools/States, etc. The endeavour is to provide schooling opportunities in “CBSE Plus” type of educational environment by involving desirous Government/Private Schools/NGOs to partner in establishing/aligning their system with Sainik Schools ethos, value system and national pride. It envisages enrolling existing/upcoming schools to be run on the lines of Sainik Schools curriculum. The schools are proposed to be affiliated to Sainik Schools Society. Detailed guidelines and requisite approvals are at an advance stage. Following are the details of Sainik Schools set up during last three days:

The details of the number of schools functioning at present in the country, state-wise, are:

FEMALE EMPLOYEES IN DEFENCE SERVICES

The number of female employees in the armed forces is as under:* Excluding Medical and Dental personnel.

In addition to the provision of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps, the Government of India has recently announced grant of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in all other Arms/ Services in which they are eligible for commission. Further, the Government of India has sanctioned 1700 women in Military Police Corps in a phased manner. The Indian Air Force (IAF) undertakes various induction publicity measures to encourage youth including women to join IAF. Modules like direct contact programme, print and electronic media is extensively used to create awareness about IAF and educate students about various mode of entries. Approval to induct women in the Indian Navy was initially accorded in 1991 for a period of five years in the Education Branch, Logistics & Law Cadre of the Executive Branch. Since then, avenues for employment of Women Officers in the Navy have steadily expanded. Women induction commenced in various Branches/ Cadres/Specialisations viz. Air Traffic Controller (ATC) in 1993, Naval Constructor Cadre in 2001, Observers in 2008, Pilot and Naval Armament Inspectorate (NAI) Cadre in 2017, Sports and Musician Cadres and lateral induction into Provost Specialisation in 2019. The total avenues presently available to Women Officers are 11 in various Branches/Cadres/ Specialisations. Further, consequent to the Supreme Court’s Order dated 17th March, 2020, Women Officers in the Indian Navy are eligible for consideration for grant of Permanent Commission in ten out of eleven avenues open to them. Accordingly, in December 2020, 40 SSC Women Officers have been granted Permanent Commission. This is, in addition to the nine Women Officers who were granted Permanent Commission prior to the Supreme Court’s Order in the Cadres/Branches. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Saroj Pandey in the Rajya Sabha.

NEW INVENTIONS BY DRDO

During the past 3 years, 79 projects amounting to Rs.8201 Crores directly pertaining to development of new defence equipments i.e. Cruise Missile, Anti-Ship Missile, Surface-to-Air Missile, Air-to-Air Missile, Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket, Mounted Gun System, Ammunitions, Electronic Warfare System, Radars, Torpedoes, High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, etc. have been undertaken. Some of the DRDO developed systems which are likely to be available to our defence personnel during 2021-23 are as follow:

Many DRDO developed technologies such as Battle Field Surveillance Rader (BFSR), Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC) Jammers, 5.56 mm Rifle, 40 mm Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBRL), Oleo Resin (OR) Grenade etc are being utilized by the State Police. Upgrades to some of the systems have been developed by DRDO. Details of the same are as follow:

• Arjun Mk-1A

• Akash-NG

• Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A

• Medium Power Radar-Extended Range

• PINAKA- Extended Range, Guided

• Electronics & Communication System: Unified Mission Computer for SU-30 MKI aircraft, Internal EW System for MIG-29 Upgrade Aircraft, EW systems for Naval platforms.

This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Harnath Singh Yadav and Vijay Pal Singh Tomar in the Rajya Sabha.

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Defence

UP CM INAUGURATES ISDA 2021; ALIGARH NODE OF UP DEFENCE CORRIDOR TO BE INAUGURATED BY AUGUST

Ashish Singh

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The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), in partnership with the Confederation on Indian Industry (CII) and the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), is organizing the Indigenisation Summit on Defence and Aerospace (ISDA) 2021 from 28th to 31st July. Speaking at the Inaugural Session of ISDA 2021, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath said that the Defence corridor in UP is a greenfield project and the industries coming alongside the six nodes of the corridor can benefit immensely from the scheme by becoming part of the ecosystem. 1409 hectares of land has been earmarked under the corridor. The project proposals received so far from 54 companies would create employment of more than sixteen thousand people. He shared that development of roads, electricity, water & boundary walls are underway for the Aligarh node and the inauguration of the Aligarh node, comprising of 74 hectares of industrial land divided into 19 units is proposed in August 2021.

Sharing that 2500 crores have been earmarked by the central government for promoting investments in the defence corridors, he said that land banks were being created for zones where there is a greater demand of land for investment projects. The state government along with the Defence Ministry is also working on the establishment of labs under the Common facilitation centre, Defence testing and Infrastructure scheme which would benefit MSMEs & Start-ups in prototyping, technology training as well as design & development. The state government has also established centres of excellence at IIT Kanpur, BHU for a greater engagement between the Indian navy, industry & academia. The first instalment of the grant for research & development at these centres has already been disbursed & the second is under consideration. Awanish Awasthi, ACS-Home & CEO, UPEIDA noted that the vision of the UP government is to attain 1st position as a business destination. Speaking on the progress of the nodes of the Defence corridor, he mentioned that infrastructure development to the tune of 32 crores is underway at Aligarh and the node is expected to be ready for inauguration by August 2021.

The Kanpur node, where 25 crores has been assigned infrastructure development would also be ready in a couple of months whereas the Jhansi node work would be taken up in the next six months. Chairman ISDA 2021 & Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace Manoj Gupta remarked that a strong and empowered defence ecosystem is crucial for any country seeking to emerge as a significant global player. With the thrust provided by the ‘Make in India’ movement, today India’s exports are to the tune of ten thousand crores which was merely five hundred crores eight years back. Measures like only domestic tenders for contracts below 200 crores, increasing FDI limit in defence production from 49% to 74%, greater number of production categories, defence offset program as well as an updated DAP 2020 will further embolden the defence manufacturing in the country. He further pointed out that a higher offset for defence industries as well as a single-window system for license issuance for the defence manufacturers will go a long way in making UP a hub for defence & aerospace. Jayant Patil, President, SIDM pointed out that the reforms pertaining to the defence sector are focused on building capacity. This is evident through the 15% increase in defence budget allocation. He also highlighted that two-thirds of the defence budget is now dedicated to purchases from Indian industries, of which 20% has been reserved for MSMEs. Patil mentioned that 208 items have been moved to the positive list now hence no imports of these items would be allowed into the country to promote the Indian manufacturers. He highlighted that Indian is expected to be the security provider in the Region, for which the industry can prove to become the sixth arm of the Indian Defence system. Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Agarwal, Chairman, SIDM UP Chapter pointed out that today, close to 8000 Defence Sector MSMEs, primarily from tier 2 and tier 3 cities form the backbone and are the largest part, in terms of volume, of the Industry. He also mentioned that the industries that are bound to grow and mature in this phase of development will find that UP can provide the necessary infrastructure and support needed to augment production and services. Agarwal highlighted that the Government planning to spend $250 billion over the next 10 years for the modernization of its Forces and the Industry will have a critical role to play in meeting these demands. Ashmita Sethi, Co-Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace spoke about the various emerging technologies being deployed in defence manufacturing for which UP can become a potential hub. These included defence electronics, MRO facilities, space related research & development, electric military vehicles among others. Over the 3 day period, Sessions with UPEIDA, DPSUs and the Services HQs will be held to generate awareness about opportunities available for the Industry vis-a-vis Defence Manufacturing.

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Defence

IAF FORMALLY INDUCTS RAFALE AIRCRAFT INTO NO. 101 SQUADRON

Ashish Singh

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The Indian Air Force formally inducted Rafale aircraft into No. 101 Squadron at Air Force Station Hasimara in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on Wednesday. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) presided over the induction ceremony. On arrival, CAS was received by Air Marshal Amit Dev, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. The event also included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale aircraft to Hasimara followed by a traditional water cannon salute.

Addressing the personnel during the induction ceremony, CAS said that the induction of Rafale had been carefully planned at Hasimara; keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF’s capability in the Eastern Sector. Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, CAS urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform. He said that he had no doubt that the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.

101 Squadron is the second IAF Squadron to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The Squadron was formed on 01 May 1949 at Palam and has operated Harvard, Spitfire, Vampire, Su-7 and MiG-21M aircraft in the past. The glorious history of this Squadron includes active participation in 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.

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Defence

RAJNATH SINGH ADDRESSES SCO DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING IN DUSHANBE ‘

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Member-States of the SCO on successful completion of 20 years of its existence. He said that though India joined the organisation in 2017, historical and civilisational relations and geographical connects make India inseparable from the SCO. Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Wednesday Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, Terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and security. “Any act of terror and support to such acts, including cross border terrorism, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever motives, is a crime against humanity,” he added. The Defence Minister reaffirmed India’s resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Rajnath Singh emphasised, “India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners bilaterally on the basis of equality, mutual respect and understanding.” The challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their sincere practice, he added.

Stressing on the importance of the regional group, Rajnath Singh said, “The SCO Nations, together, encompass nearly half the human population on our planet. In terms of geography, it covers approximately three fifths of the Eurasian continent. We, therefore, have collective stakes to create a safe, secure and stable region that contributes towards progress and improvement of human development indices of our people and the generations which will follow.” He pointed out that it is in the same spirit India helps people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far India completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and continuing with some more with total development aid of US dollar 3 billion. Speaking about geo-strategic location of India that makes it both a Eurasian land power and also a stake-holder in the Indo-Pacific, the Defence Minister said, “Our intent and aspirations are therefore focused towards prosperity and development of the entire region. We affirm this intent through our national policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region, commonly known by the acronym SAGAR.” Security and Stability are most essential components to create conducive environment for growth and economic development of the region and of our respective Nations, he added.

Reiterating India’s resolve to work within the SCO framework for helping create and maintain a peaceful, secure and stable region, Rajnath Singh highlighted, “India also reiterate commitments to partner with fellow SCO Member-States to develop joint institutional capacities that respect individual national sensitivities and yet generate a spirit of cooperation to create contact and connectivity between people, societies and nations.” Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Defence Minister said “It has affected nations, civil societies and citizens in multiple ways. This is a warning sign of how non-traditional security challenges like pandemics, climate change, food security, water security and associated societal disruptions can impact national and international landscape.”

Rajnath Singh said the Armed Forces and the Defence Research and Development Organisation played a stellar role in efforts against Covid-19. He said, “During the global pandemic, India was able to provide support and assistance to countries around the world. This includes 6.6 crore doses of vaccines to 90 countries, support with medicine, medical consumables and equipment to 150 countries. We may mention the massive ‘Vande Bharat’ logistic service to move over 70 lakh stranded people, including foreigners, mostly by air route, but also by our ships in the Indian Ocean.”

Defence Minister assured, “India plans to produce well over 250 crore doses of vaccines between August and the end of 2021.We are determined to vaccinate at least 90 crore adult Indians and to help other friendly countries with vaccine.”

The Defence Minister called upon Member-Nations to evolve to meet the needs of its time. He said, “No institution, howsoever important, can remain frozen at the moment of its foundation. The inherent strength of SCO lies in the fact that Member-States participate in cooperation programme at their own pace and as per respective national policies. We are glad that SCO has evolved as truly an international organisation of significance.” Event of today is yet another step towards strengthening stability and security in the region. This will serve to further development of multilateral cooperation within the SCO format, he added.

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Defence

INDIAN NAVY & IDFC FIRST BANK OFFER HONOUR FIRST BANKING SOLUTIONS TO NAVAL PERSONNEL

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IDFC FIRST Bank announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Navy to offer Honour First, a premium banking solution, to serving personnel and veterans of the Indian Navy. Honour First is specially designed keeping in mind the needs of the Armed Forces community. It includes a zero balance salary Honour First salary account with unlimited free ATM transactions from any location, free fund transfers through IMPS, RTGS, and NEFT, free lost card liability protection and purchase protection. It has an accident insurance cover of Rs 46 lakh which include a children education grant of Rs. 4 lakh for wards of age up to 23 years and an additional Rs 2 lakh for girl child marriage cover for daughters in the age bracket of 18 years to 25 years. The MoU for Honour First was signed at the Naval Headquarters in New Delhi between Commodore Neeraj Malhotra, Commodore – Pay and Allowances, Indian Navy and Colin D’Souza, Head – Corporate Salary, IDFC First Bank.

Indian Navy is responsible to safeguard the maritime frontiers of the country including the island territories against external aggression as also assist in the safety of the world sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Speaking on the occasion, Amit Kumar, Head-Retail Liabilities & Branch Banking, IDFC First Bank, said, “It’s a proud moment for us. The association couldn’t have come at a better time as the Indian Navy celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the 1971 war. The Honour First solution is customised to the needs of Naval personnel and stands rooted in our customer-first and nation-first approach. We are constantly improving our offerings using state-of-the-art technology for a superior customer experience. It is a privilege for us to now serving the Indian Navy with an array of our convenient banking services, digitised financial solutions and enhanced access.” Malhotra said, “I welcome the initiative of IDFC First bank to offer customised banking solutions to suit the needs of Indian Navy and its personnel.”

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FLEET AWARD CEREMONY OF WESTERN NAVAL COMMAND HELD AT MUMBAI AFTER ONE-YEAR GAP

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The Fleet Award Ceremony each year marks the end of the operational cycle of the Western Fleet, the Sword Arm of the Western Naval Command. The ceremony was held at Mumbai after a gap of a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the ceremony was hosted by Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. The ceremony marked the operational achievements of the Fleet from April 2020 to March 2021. The event was attended by Flag Officers of Western Naval Command with Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command as the Chief Guest.




The ceremony hosted this year was a modest one in adherence to Covid norms. While the attendance was in limited numbers, the achievements of the Fleet were numerous as expected of the Sword Arm. A total of 20 trophies were given away covering a myriad spectrum of naval operations, safety practices and morale. INS Kolkata was awarded the ‘Best Ship’ among the capital ships for exhibiting immaculate grit whilst undertaking a plethora of maritime operations. INS Tarkash was awarded the ‘Most Spirited’ ship for an awe-inspiring display of enthusiasm and morale in all Fleet activities, exercises at sea and indomitable spirit. INS Deepak won the award of ‘Best Ship’ in the category of Tankers and OPVs.

The year covering the operational cycle from April 2020 to March 2021 was anything but ordinary. While the norm of the hour was to work from home, the Western Fleet remained mission deployed and poised for action during the challenging period last year. The Western Fleet also contributed immensely to Covid relief missions in support of the National effort to fight the pandemic. The ships and aircraft of the western fleet also undertook daring rescue operations to save innumerable lives when cyclone Tauktae struck the western coast of India. Today’s ceremony also paid a tribute to the sacrifices of the men and their families who put the call of duty before themselves for all these missions. The Sword Arm remains the first responder, operationally deployed, combat-ready and stood too.

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US STATE SECRETARY BLINKEN ARRIVES IN NEW DELHI ON A TWO-DAY VISIT

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The USA State Secretary Antony J. Blinken has landed in New Delhi on a two-day visit to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to strengthening Indo-US partnership and underscore cooperation on shared priorities. Secretary Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar to discuss a wide range of issues, including continued cooperation on Covid-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis. On Indo-US ties, Secretary Antony J. Blinken has said, “The US and India are working together on so many of the most important challenges of our time and ones that are having a profound impact on the lives of our citizens. The partnership between the US and India is vital, it’s strong, and it’s increasingly productive.”

THE INDO-PACIFIC FRONT

India is a leading global power and a key US partner in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. At the inaugural Quad Leaders’ Summit in March, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi joined their Japanese and Australian counterparts in pledging to respond to the economic and health impacts of Covid-19, combat the climate crisis, and address shared challenges, including in cyber-space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime security.

DETERRING ADVERSARIES AND DEFENDING INTERESTS

US-India defence cooperation is reaching new heights, including through information sharing, liaison officers, increasingly complex exercises like Malabar, and defence enabling agreements, such as the secure communications agreement COMCASA. As of 2020, the US has authorised over $20 billion in defence sales to India. Through the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the US and India work together on co-production and co-development of defence equipment. The US and India are also closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan.

STRENGTHENING THE US-INDIA PARTNERSHIP

The US and India have a strong strategic partnership founded on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The US has supported India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion. The US and India cooperate on a wide range of diplomatic, economic and security issues, including defence, non-proliferation, regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, shared democratic values, counterterrorism, climate change, health, energy, trade and investment, peacekeeping, the environment, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, and oceans. In 2008, the US and India signed an agreement, making India a full partner in the governance and funding of the Fulbright Program. An increase in exchanges under the agreement has allowed for the development of new and innovative programs, and India now has the largest Fulbright Scholar (faculty) program in the world. In FY 2019, this funding provided opportunities for 61 U.S. Scholars, 66 Indian Scholars, 80 US students, including 29 English Teaching Assistants, and 55 Indian students, including 13 Foreign Language Teaching Assistants. The US and India are working to expand cooperation in international organisations. The US welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in January 2021 for a two-year term. In October 2020, India hosted the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, and the US looks forward to the next 2+2 later this year.

COMBATING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The US has contributed more than $200 million to India’s Covid-19 relief and response efforts since the pandemic began, including more than $50 million in emergency supplies and training for more than 218,000 frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, benefitting more than 43 million Indians. Earlier this year, the US and India initiated the renewal of a memorandum of understanding to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases, including Covid-19 and other emerging threats. The US and India are partnering to strengthen the global response to Covid-19, on issues ranging from addressing infectious disease outbreaks to strengthening health systems to securing global supply chains. The US pharmaceutical companies have coordinated with Indian companies since the beginning of the pandemic. This cooperation includes voluntary licensing and technology transfer agreements to increase global manufacturing capacity for Covid-19 vaccines, therapies, and conducting clinical trials.

TACKLING CLIMATE CRISIS

The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry travelled to India in April of this year and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed the importance of two of the world’s largest economies leading together to address the climate crisis. At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi launched the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership to strengthen cooperation on strong actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to help each country achieve its respective climate and clean energy goals. Under the new Agenda 2030 Partnership, the US and India look forward to launching the new Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue, led by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and relaunching the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership, led by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, later this year. The US looks forward to furthering cooperation with India on tackling the climate crisis and rising global ambition ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, in November.

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