COVID VACCINES TO MAKE-IN-INDIA DEFENCE PRODUCTS: DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT’S MONSOON SESSION - The Daily Guardian
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COVID VACCINES TO MAKE-IN-INDIA DEFENCE PRODUCTS: DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT’S MONSOON SESSION

The following information was disclosed and discussed in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Ashish Singh

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The Government has taken several measures to reduce vaccine shortages. This inter-alia include sustained image projection, participation in career fairs and exhibitions and publicity campaigns to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career. To encourage the youth to join the Armed Forces, motivational lectures are regularly organised in schools/colleges/other educational institutes and National Cadet Corps (NCC) camps. Further, the Government has taken various steps to make the job in the Armed Forces attractive including improvement in promotion prospects in the Armed Forces and to fill up vacancies.

ALTERNATE MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD TO FEMALE OFFICERS LEAVING ARMY

29 Women Officers (WOs), who did not opt for Permanent Commission in the Special Selection Board No. 5 have been released from service. Out of these 29 officers, three WOs were released without pension based on their own option/willingness as these officers had served between 10 to 14 years of service in the Army. Some of the schemes run by the Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR), inter-alia, include placement assistance through online registration at DGR. For example Security Agency Schemes, Ex-servicemen Coal loading and transportation scheme, Management of CNG stations, Allotment of Mother Dairy Milk Booth and Safal shops in NCR, Coal/Tipper Attachment Scheme for Widows and disabled soldiers, Retail outlet dealership (petrol/diesel), employment seminars and resettlement training. Age relaxation has been provided to Ex-Servicemen, including Female Officers for the appointment to all Central Civil Services & Posts up to the level of Assistant Commandant in all Para-Military Forces under the Government of India. Adequate reservation has also been provided to Ex-Servicemen in various categories of posts. Women Officers, who have retired after 20 years of service, have also been granted Pensionary benefits.

STRENGTHENING THE DEFENCE MANUFACTURING SECTOR

DRDO has taken the following measures for strengthening the industry to reduce the timelines from development to induction:

· Accessibility of DRDO Test Facilities to Indian Industry.

· Identification of Development-cum-Production Partner/ Production Agency/ Lead System Integrator (DcPP/ PA/ LSI) for early integration of industry.

· Technology Development Fund (TDF) has been implemented to provide support for the design and development of technologies/ prototypes, indigenisation of imported systems/ components and new systems especially by MSMEs/startups.

· Simpler Transfer of Technology (ToT) Policy to encourage industries

· Free access of DRDO patents to industries

· Identified 108 exclusive systems for development by industry which will not be taken by DRDO

· DRDO is focused to carry out R&D work on critical & advanced technologies that industries cannot do.

Measures proposed to be taken for strengthening the Ordnance Factories and DPSUs to meet countries defence requirements are as follows:

· To carve out a future growth path, a visioning exercise and study has been commissioned for DPSUs for restructuring and reforming them to become cost-competitive and efficient. 

· DPSUs have been encouraged to work as aggregators and maximise outsourcing from indigenous sources. Over the last 2 years, the vendor base of DPSUs/OFB has increased substantially from 8000 to 12878 as of 30 June 2021.

· Disinvestment of DPSUs is being pursued.

· Focus on the modernisation of production facilities through higher CAPEX. Further, the following roadmap is being implemented by the OFB/DPSUs for technology modernisation:

· Investing in Industry 4.0 technologies in areas of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and other broader digital transformation initiatives. 

· Focusing on emerging areas of Artificial Intelligence, Data Fusion, Web Technologies, Data Analytics, 3D Printing, Networking and Cyber Security. These technologies are now being incorporated into Products and Systems at the design stage itself. 

· Change in the traditional ToT based manufacturing approach to a more proactive Co-development and Co-Production approach. 

· Increased software-based testing for reducing the time and efforts that go into testing products.

· Promoting IP culture in DPSUs through Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti. So far, 32,799 officers and staff of DPSUs/ OFB/DGQA have been trained in IPRs and 2,417 IPs have been filed and 981 IPs have been granted/registered.

· For 2021-22, the allocation for Domestic procurement has been enhanced compared to previous years and is planned to be about 64.09%, that is Rs 71,438.36 crore of the allocated amount for military modernisation. 

· Ministry of Defence has notified two ‘Positive Lists’ for Indigenisation comprising of 209 items on 28 August 2020 and 31 May 2021, respectively, for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. 

· An indigenisation portal namely SRIJAN has been launched in August 2020 for DPSUs/OFB/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/Startups/Industry for import substitution. So far, more than 10,945 Defence items, which were earlier imported, have been displayed on the portal. The private industry has expressed interest in indigenising more than 2400 items.

· To enhance functional autonomy, efficiency and unleash new growth potential and innovation in Ordnance Factories, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in its meeting held on 29 July 2020 had approved to convert Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), a subordinate office of the Ministry of Defence, into one or more than one 100% Government-owned corporate entities, registered under the Companies Act, 2013. The Cabinet in its meeting held on 16 June 2021, has now, inter-alia, approved to convert the production units of OFB into 7 DPSUs with 41 units.

· The Government has enhanced FDI in Defence Sector up to 74% through the Automatic Route for companies seeking new defence industrial licenses and up to 100% by Government Route. The obligatory government approval for existing FDI approval holders / current defence licensees for change in equity /shareholding pattern up to 49% FDI has been replaced with a mandatory declaration for the same within 30 days of the change of equity/shareholding pattern. These reforms are likely to attract foreign investment in Defence & Aerospace sector. 

· Reforms in Offset policy have been included in DAP 2020, higher multipliers have been assigned for Transfer of Technology (ToT) to DPSUs/OFB. 

· To promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and manufactured)}’ category has been accorded topmost priority for procurement of capital equipment.

· Department of Defence Production has notified 46 items under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017 notified by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), for which there is sufficient local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value. 

Services are the primary stakeholders in DRDO projects. They are involved right from the conceptualisation of the project through peer reviews, design reviews, that is Annual Joint reviews, Joint reviews, and bi-annual reviews and a three-tier project monitoring mechanism as per DRDO procedure for all Mission Mode (MM) projects undertaken by DRDO. Also, several Collegiate interaction meetings between DRDO and Users are being held for specific requirements/ issues as and when required. Moreover, DRDO, OFB, DPSUs and Armed Forces being part of the same Ministry regularly interact with each other for the design development and production of Defence equipment as per the requirements of Defence Forces.

INDIGENOUSLY MANUFACTURING DEFENCE PRODUCTS

The Government has taken several policy initiatives and reforms to promote indigenisation and self-reliance in defence manufacturing, under Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission in the defence sector. Important policy initiatives are as under:

• Ministry of Defence has notified a ‘First Positive Indigenisation list’ of 101 items on 21 August 2020 and ‘2nd Positive Indigenisation list’ of 108 items on 31 May 2021 for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timelines indicated against them. This is a big step to promote indigenisation in the defence sector. This offers a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items using their own design and development capabilities to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. These lists include some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars, wheeled armoured platform, rockets, bombs, armoured command post vehicles, armoured dozor, and many other items to fulfil the needs of our Defence Services. 

• SRIJAN portal to promote indigenisation was launched on 14 Aug 2020. As of date 10940 items, which were earlier imported, have been displayed on the portal for indigenisation. The Indian industry has shown interest in the indigenisation of 2880 displayed items so far. DPSUs/OFB interact with these industries to facilitate the indigenisation of the items as per extant procedures.

• 1776 components and spares have been indigenised in the year 2020-21 as a result of efforts of indigenisation by DPSUs, OFB, and SHQs through their own process of indigenisation (In-house, Make-II & Other than Make-II). 

• DPP-2016 has been revised as Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020, which is driven by the tenets of Defence Reforms announced as part of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. 

• To promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ category has been accorded topmost priority for procurement of capital equipment.

• The ‘Make’ Procedure of capital procurement has been simplified. There is a provision for funding up to 70% of development cost by the Government to Indian industry under the Make-I category. In addition, there are specific reservations for MSMEs under the ‘Make’ procedure. 

• Procedure for ‘Make-II’ category (Industry funded), introduced in DPP 2016 to encourage indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment has several industry-friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry/individual etc. So far, 58 projects relating to Army, Navy & Air Force, have been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’.

• The Government of India has enhanced FDI in Defence Sector up to 74% through the Automatic Route and up to 100% by Government Route.

• An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled “Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)” has been launched in April 2018. iDEX is aimed at the creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Start-ups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.

• Reforms in Offset policy have been included in DAP 2020, with thrust on attracting investment and Transfer of Technology for Defence manufacturing, by assigning higher multipliers to them.

• Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model in May 2017, which envisages the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie-up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.

• Government has notified a ‘Policy for indigenisation of components and spares used in Defence Platforms’ in March 2019 to create an industry ecosystem that can indigenise the imported components (including alloys, and special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platform manufactured in India.

• Government has established two Defence Industrial Corridors, one each in the States of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The investments of Rs 20,000 Crore have been envisaged in Defence corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by 2024. So far, investment of approx. Rs 3342 crore have been made in both the corridors by the public as well as private sector companies. Moreover, the respective State Governments have also announced their Aerospace & Defence Policies to attract private players as well as foreign companies including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in these two corridors.

• An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on “Mutual Cooperation in Joint Manufacturing of Spares, Components, Aggregates and other material related to Russian/Soviet Origin Arms and Defence Equipment” was signed in Sep 2019. The objective of the IGA is to enhance the “After Sales Support” and operational availability of Russian origin equipment currently in service in the Indian Armed Forces by organising the production of spares and components in the territory of India by Indian Industry by way of creation of Joint Ventures/Partnership with Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) under the framework of the “Make in India” initiative. 

• Defence Products list requiring Industrial Licences has been rationalised and manufacture of most of parts or components does not require Industrial License. The initial validity of the Industrial Licence granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 03 years on a case-to-case basis.

• Department of Defence Production has notified 46 items under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017 notified by DPIIT, for which there is sufficient local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value.

• Defence Investor Cell (DIC) has been created in February 2018 in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedures and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector. As of date, 1182 queries had been received and addressed by Defence Investor Cell.

• Technology Development Fund (TDF) has been created under DRDO to promote self-reliance in Defence Technology through the participation of Public/Private industries especially MSMEs and startups. 

• For the year 2021-22, the allocation for domestic procurement has been enhanced compared to the previous year and is about 64.09% i.e. Rs 71438.36 Crore of the allocated amount for military modernisation. 

There are six Ordnance Factories and one Manufacturing Unit of BEL in Tamil Nadu. As reported by Tamil Nadu Government, 35 major private companies are manufacturing products for defence. These 250 companies are supported by MSMEs. After the announcement of the defence corridor in Tamil Nadu, 30 more companies have expressed their intentions to set up/expand manufacturing units. Industrial development is a continuous process.

This is Part I of the two-part series.

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Defence

‘ARMY CAN MEET ANY CHALLENGE TO SAFEGUARD COUNTRY’

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The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.

Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.

On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”

He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”

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SOUTHERN NAVAL COMMAND OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP DAY IN KOCHI

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The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.

Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.

Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.

Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.

Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.

During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.

To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.

Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.

With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.

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IAF TO HOLD AIR SHOW OVER DAL LAKE IN SRINAGAR ON 26 SEPT

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An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.

The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.

The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.

More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.

During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.

Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the

IAF, he said. 

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ARMY ORGANISES EXHIBITION IN JAIPUR TO COMMEMORATE INDIA’S VICTORY IN 1971 WAR

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JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.

Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.  

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BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit

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The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.

BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.

“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”

As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.

Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.

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IN FIRST FOREIGN VISIT AFTER TAKING OVER AS CDS, GEN BIPIN RAWAT TO VISIT RUSSIA, US

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In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.

Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.

The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.

The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.

The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.

The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.

The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services. 

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