General M.M. Naravane, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), has proceeded on a three-day visit to South Korea from 28 to 30 December 2020. During the visit, he will be meeting senior military and civilian leadership of the Republic of Korea.
General Naravane is scheduled to lay wreath at the National Cemetery and War Memorial at Seoul. He is scheduled to call on with the Minister of National Defence, ROK Army Chief, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Minister of Defence Acquisition Planning Administration (DAPA) where he will discuss avenues for enhancing India-South Korea defence relations. The Army Chief will also visit Korea Combat Training Centre in Inje Country, Gangwon Province and Advance Defence Development (ADD) at Daejeon.
The bilateral relations between India and South Korea go back to the start of the Korean war of 1950 when India deployed an Army medical unit ie the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance commanded by Lieutenant Colonel AG Rangaraj, Mahavir Chakra. The unit played a significant part in various Allied offensives over the course of three years.
India’s proposal for termination of the war was adopted in the United Nations General Assembly and was invited to head the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission (NNRC).Lieutenant General K.S. Thimmaya was appointed as the Chairman of NNRC. India dispatched one Brigade Group designated as Custodian Forces-India (CFI) comprising 5500 All Ranks and took charge of over 25000 Prisoners of War, assisting in their repatriation to parent nations. The discipline, neutrality, fair play and firmness displayed by the Indian troops were highly admired by everyone in the global community.
Both nations have a convergence of outlook in the strategic and defence realm. India’s “Act East Policy” finds resonance in the present South Korea administration’s “New Southern Policy”.The major areas of concern for South Korea are increasing Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea, security of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) due to incidents of piracy and hostilities with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). South Korea considers India as a stabilising influence in the Indian Ocean region.
India considers South Korea as a high-quality manufacturer of defence-related equipment in sectors such as aeronautics, ship-building, electronics, missile technologies, miniaturisation and software. South Korea also has the potential to be the principle partner in developing Indian defence industry base. South Korea has always been supportive of India’s inclusion and participation in various regional forums.
South Korea and India are also signatories to Mutual Logistics Support Agreement between the navies and which can further be expanded to other services as well.
South Korea’s armed forces are one of the strongest professional armies in the world. They have extensive operational experience since they operate alongside US troops as well as exercise regularly with US and other regional Armed Forces. This enables them to be at the cutting edge in technological, doctrinal and operational terms. Due to constant hostilities with DPRK, they maintain their troops at high levels of training and readiness.
India’s armed forces can therefore gain substantially from exchanges with South Korea’s armed forces. Service to Service cooperation was identified as an important aspect of bilateral defence cooperation during the visit of former Defence Minister, late Manohar Parikkar, to South Korea in 2015. It was agreed to enhance engagements between the services commencing with Navy and then expanding to other service as well.
The Indian Army has also initiated strategic level exchanges with the Army of South Korea. The inaugural Army to Army Staff talks were held in South Korea in August 2018. Second edition of the staff talks were held in India in September 2019. The third staff talks were scheduled to be held in South Korea in 2020, however, due to Covid-19, they have been postponed and planned in first half of 2021.
Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE) in Border Management & Surveillance, Counter terrorism, Special Forces Operations and peacekeeping operations form a major part of these discussions.
South Korea has been regularly sending officers to attend courses at the National Defence College, Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare (CIJW) School and at the Defence Services Staff College, on a self-financing basis. Indian Officers have been subscribing to Basic Course at Joint Forces Military University (JFMU) and Korea National Defence University (KNDU). This year (2019) South Korea deputed one officer for CIJW course and one officer for DSSC. India has deputed two officers for Military courses in South Korea one each in JFMU and KNDU.
Bilateral ties between the two countries were raised to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’ during the visit to India by the previous President of ROK Mr Lee Myung-bak in January 2010 and further elevated to “Special Strategic Partnership” during the visit of PM Narendra Modi to ROK in 2015.
A number of MoUs have been signed between the two countries such as cooperation in the field of defence (September 2010), protection of classified military information (January 2014), cooperation in ship building (April 2017) and Roadmap for Defence Industries Cooperation (February 2020), among others. The two countries have instituted several forums for regular interaction and discussions between the two Ministries of Defence on the entire gamut of bilateral defence relation including defence industries relations and cooperation in Research and Development.
Major dialogues and interactions have been planned, mostly virtually, between the two countries since the onset of Covid-19. These include the India- South Korea 2+2 dialogue between Vice Minister of Defence & Secretary East, MEA in the month of Jan 2021.
Past interactions include the first Leadership Video Tele Conference between DRDO & Agency for Defense Development (ADD) which was conducted on 17 November 2020 at Embassy of India, Seoul. Further, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has proposed to form a joint working group for smooth facilitation of implementation of Roadmap on Defence Industries Cooperation between India and South Korea.
Defence relations between India and South Korea are headed for a marked expansion with more such high level visits and initiation of new forums & agreements.
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INSPECTOR GENERAL M.V. PATHAK TAKES OVER AS THE COMMANDER OF COAST GUARD REGION NORTH EAST
Inspector General MV Pathak took over as the Regional Commander, Coast Guard Region North East, Kolkata from Inspector General AK Harbola on Monday. Inspector General Pathak is an alumnus of the US Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut, having undergone the IMO Course from this academy.
During his illustrious career of more than three decades, Inspector General Pathak has commanded all classes of Coast Guard Ships. The shore appointments held by the flag officer include Chief of Staff to Coast Guard Commander (Western Seaboard) Mumbai, Commander Coast Guard (Kerala and Mahe), Principal Director (Administration), and Director (Manpower, Recruitment and Training) at Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhi.
Before taking over the reins of Coast Guard Region North East, Inspector General Pathak was the Regional Commander, Coast Guard Region (Andaman & Nicobar) at Port Blair for three years. The flag officer is a recipient of the ‘Tatrakshak Medal’. Inspector General Maneesh Pathak on taking over said that his priority will be strengthening the Coastal Security mechanism through coordination with all State and Central Agencies and to make the seas safe for all fishermen and seafarers. He further added that the Indian Coast Guard is committed to in motto “Vayam Rakshamah” which means “We Protect”.
INDIAN ARMY CONDUCTS RAIL TRIALS ON DEDICATED FREIGHT CORRIDOR
The recently developed “Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC)” by the Indian Railways provides faster movement of freight across the Country. The Indian Army, on Monday, conducted a successful trial by moving a military train loaded with vehicles and equipment from New Rewari to New Phulera validating the efficacy of the DFC. The intricate and synchronised coordination by the Indian Army with Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) and Indian Railways will significantly enhance the mobilisation capability of the Armed Forces. These trials were part of the “Whole of the Nation Approach” for optimising national resources and achieve seamless synergy among various ministries and departments.
Interactions by the Indian Army with all stakeholders including DFCCIL and Indian Railways will now assist in leveraging the DFC and allied infrastructure into the mobilisation matrix of Armed Forces. Development of infrastructure at certain locations to support mobilisation and trials to validate move of defence owned rolling stock on Roll On-Roll Off (RO-RO) service is being formalised and modalities are being evolved. These trials herald the first step in this process to pave the way for enhancing the operational readiness of the Armed Forces. This initiative would set in place processes to ensure that military requirements are dovetailed in the national infrastructure development at the planning stage itself.
NORTHERN ARMY COMMANDER FELICITATES ‘VEER NARIS’ AND WAR HEROES OF 1971 INDIA-PAK WAR
NEW DELHI: Lt Gen YK Joshi, GOC-in-C, Northern Command laid a wreath to Swarnim Vijay Mashaal and paid tributes to fallen heroes at the Warrior’s Grove War Memorial, Crossed Swords Division, Akhnoor as a part of Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations. The Army Commander accompanied by Lt Gen MV Suchindra Kumar, GOC White Knight Corps was briefed on the saga and valour of gallant soldiers of Indian Armed Forces during the 1971 Indo-Pak War. A documentary on the 1971 Indo-Pak War was screened for the audience.
The General officer felicitated Veer Naris and war heroes of the 1971 Indo Pak war at Akhnoor. The GOC-in-C, a war hero and Vir Chakra awardee, appreciated the veterans for their invaluable services for the motherland. He also expressed deep gratitude for the sacrifices of the Veer Naris. Lt Gen YK Joshi, GOC-in-C, Northern Command interacted with all veterans and Veer Naris following Covid protocol. He expressed gratitude and acknowledged the contributions of the populace of Jammu & Kasmir who have played a pivotal role during various operations. He assured Veer Naris and veterans of full support at all times as was extended during the Covid pandemic. He motivated them to take maximum benefits from the facilities rendered by the Indian Army at their doorstep including Covid Care Facilities, Covid vaccination, Covid preventive measures, and government schemes, etc.
RAFAEL’S BNET SDR COMMUNICATION SELECTED BY ASIAN AIR FORCE
Yoav Wermuth, head of Rafael’s C3I directorate, said that this new contract strengthens its position as a major supplier of aerial communication systems.
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems has been selected by an Asian Air Force to equip its fleet of aircraft with the BNET-AR communication solution. The BNET Family of SDR provides a robust voice and data-link solution and supports simultaneous services of data, voice, and video services with multiple auto relays. The BNET is operational and combat-proven with a number of air forces around the world, featuring a unique, patented software-defined radio and network architecture, delivering wide-band communications with low delay and reliable connectivity.
The variant that will be supplied is the BNET-AR, a modular multi-band SDR for airborne platforms, integrated onboard fighters and helicopters as well as Ground Control Stations equipped with the same BNET-AR, enabling net-centric operations and real-time situation awareness. The BNET Family is a Spectrum-Aware SDR — utilising the spectral arena of the battlefield to the fullest in a cognitive way, thus addressing the challenges of the modern battlefield (e.g. limited spectrum, connecting multiple sensors and shooters, etc). All this is achieved by BNET-patented technology — Multi-Channel Reception (MCR), which enables it to receive and analyse information from numerous frequency channels, simultaneously, using a single RF head. VP Yoav Wermuth, head of Rafael’s C3I directorate said, “This new contract strengthens our position as a major supplier of aerial communication systems as vital enablers, required to be agile, allow fast deployment, be highly scalable, and remain robust in the face of the chaos of battle, all the while operating under constant jamming and cyber-attacks”.
TRIBUTES PAID TO THE BRAVEHEARTS ON ‘SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH’ CELEBRATIONS
The ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Mashaal’, symbolic of India’s 1971 war victory over Pakistan, reaches Kashmir Valley, given a grand reception at Wuzur.
The ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Mashaal’, symbolic of India’s 1971 War Victory over Pakistan has reached the valley, was given a grand reception at Wuzur. To commemorate 50 years of India’s victory over Pakistan in the epic war of 1971, on 16 December 2020, Prime Minister lit the ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’ from the hallowed and the eternal flame of the National War Memorial that marked the commencement of this Golden Jubilee Year. Four such ‘Mashaal’ travelled in the four cardinal directions, reaching the remotest corners of the nation to include villages of our valiant and intrepid warriors who participated in the war and received PVCs and MVCs for their gallant actions. Today, one of these ‘Mashaal’ entered our beautiful Kashmir valley through the newly constructed Navyug Tunnel and was received by Brigadier Vivek Singh Thakur, Commander 2 Sector Rashtriya Rifles at the northern portal of the tunnel.
The presence of 1971 War Veterans, Veer Narees and ESMs during the event made it all the more memorable and magnificent. Carrying of the Mashaal by these esteemed guests during the event added all the more glory to this sacred torch. Hundreds of school children from Army Goodwill Schools of Wuzur and Behibagh, dressed in saffron, white and green attires symbolising our national flag, marching to the beat of an impeccably turned out Military band playing martial tunes, left everyone witnessing this splendid event in awe. The grand reception of the Mashaal was followed by a very solemn ceremony held at Wuzur Garrison to pay homage to the fallen heroes of that war and to remember the sacrifice they made in honour of their beloved motherland.
The ceremony is being conducted with full military honours resulted in high emotions running through the crowd like never before, swelling their hearts with patriotism and love for their nation. The NCC cadets in attendance drew inspiration from the ceremony, further strengthening their resolve to join the Armed Forces and serve their motherland. The ceremony concluded with the felicitation of the War Veterans and Veer Narees as a mark of respect for the sacrifices they made and hardships they endured all these years, without ever complaining, personifying courage and resilience.
The event was also attended by prominent civil dignitaries to include Dr Bilal Mohd-ud-din Bhat, DC Kulgam and other senior military officers. The school children deserve a special mention here for the enthusiasm and energy they exuded during the event and for brightening the entire atmosphere through the incandescence on their faces. Their happiness knew no bounds when they got the chance to go for a joy ride on the Ho-Ho buses, waving the national flag and singing patriotic songs.
Speaking to the media persons present, Brigadier Vivek Singh Thakur paid homage to all the brave soldiers of the 1971 war who laid down their lives in the finest traditions of the Indian Army and expressed his gratitude to all the War veterans, Veer Narees, and Ex-Service Men who made this event possible by their benign presence. He said that the Indian Army continues to move forward with its ethos of honour, valour and tradition and is always prepared and ready to defend the nation and give a befitting reply to any adversary.
1971 WAR: NORTHERN COMMAND PAYS HOMAGE TO SWARNIM VIJAY MASHAAL
To commemorate the decisive and historic victory of Indian Armed Forces over Pakistan Army in December 1971 and to pay homage to the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal (Victory Flame), a solemn Wreath Laying Ceremony was held at ‘Dhruva Shaheed Smarak’ at Headquarters Northern Command in the Udhampur Military Station. Lt Gen YK Joshi, Army Commander, Northern Command laid the wreath to honour the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal lit in remembrance of the valiant soldiers who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation. The event was attended by Veterans, NCC Cadets and senior Army officers of Udhampur Military Station.
The Swarnim Vijay Mashaal had arrived at Udhampur on 13 Jun 2021 from Nagrota & was received with full ceremonial honours. The Victory Flame was then escorted to the local unit quarter guard. After the customary ‘Last mile run’ the Victory Flame was handed over to the Station Commander, Udhampur Military Garrison who placed the Victory Flame at Dhruva War Memorial. Wreath laying was thereafter carried out by JCOs / OR and Veterans followed by Wreath Laying by the Army Commander, Northern Command. On culmination of the Wreath Laying Ceremony the Swarnim Vijay Mashaal was further handed over to Counter Insurgency Force (Delta) where it will be taken to various units to commemorate the unforgettable victory of 1971.
The year 2021 has been named as “Swarnim Vijay Varsh”, by the government of India and the Nation started the celebrations of the 50 years of Indo-Pak War which had resulted in the largest military surrender after World War-II. The inaugural event was held at the National War Memorial (NWM) in New Delhi on 16 Dec 2020 where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh, Chief of Defence Staff and Tri-Services Chiefs laid wreath and paid homage to the fallen soldiers. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi lit the ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’ from the eternal flame of NWM on the occasion. Four Victory Mashaals (flames) lit from the Eternal Flame of NWM were then carried to various parts of the country including to villages of Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra Awardees of 1971 War. Soil from the villages of these Awardees and from areas where major battles were fought in 1971 are being brought to the NWM.
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