DEFENCE DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT: CREATING ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE ON BORDERS - The Daily Guardian
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DEFENCE DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT: CREATING ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE ON BORDERS

A defence-related discussion was recently held during the Monsoon session of Parliament.

Ashish Singh

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The Defence Industry sector, which was hitherto reserved for the public sector, was opened up to 100% for Indian private sector participation in May 2001. As of date, 333 private companies have been issued 539 industrial licenses. Out of these, 110 companies have reported commencement of production.

Further, the following measures have been taken by the Government to promote private sector participation in the Defence sector:

· Out of the total Capital Acquisition Budget for the year 2021-22, 64.09% has been earmarked for domestic capital procurement.

· Defence capital outlay has been increased by 18.75 % in the budget of 2021-22.

· 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)’ category has been accorded topmost priority for procurement of capital equipment. IDDM is indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured.

· Positive indigenisation list: Ministry of Defence has notified a ‘Positive indigenisation list’ of 209 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This would offer 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 Armed Forces in the coming years.

· 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, and 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 for companies seeking new defence industrial licenses and up to 100% by Government Route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.

· 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.

· To give a major boost to the development of innovative defence technology and support a growing Startup base in the country, MoD has earmarked Rs 1000 crore during 2021- 22 for the procurement from the iDEX Startups.

· Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence has also approved a scheme for iDEX during the current year worth Rs 498 crore for fiive years. The scheme aims to benefit 300 new Startups for innovative design and development in the defence sector.

· 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.

· Reforms in Offset policy have been included in DAP 2020, with a 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 is able to 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 Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The investments of Rs 20,000 crore have been envisaged in the defence corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by the year 2024. So far, investment of approx. Rs 3342 crore has been made in both the corridors by the public as well 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 OEMs under the framework of the ’Make in India’ initiative.

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

· 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.

· Defence Investor Cell (DIC) has been created in Feb-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.

CREATING NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE ON THE BORDERS

The Government is fully seized of the security needs of the country and reviews the same from time to time. Required measures including the development of infrastructures like construction of roads, tunnels, and strategic railway lines are taken to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India.

As per the operational requirement of the Armed Forces and the need for development along with border areas, road construction is taken up by Border Roads Organisation (BRO). Amongst these, 73 critical roads have been designated as Indo-China Border Roads of 4203 km length and are being accorded the highest priority with dedicated funding.

Further, to ensure all-weather connectivity to far-flung areas, the construction of tunnels has also been undertaken across passes.

Currently, the construction of four tunnels is underway. Infrastructure development in Uttarakhand is being holistically executed with budgetary support from the Ministry of Defence, MHA, State PWD and Central projects like Bharatmala and Chardham.

As of date, 21 roads with a length of approximately 800 km are being constructed/upgraded by BRO over and above certain roads being constructed by state PWD.

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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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Defence

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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Defence

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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Defence

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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Defence

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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Defence

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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