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This year Aero India 2021 has been organised in hybrid mode with a concurrent virtual exhibition to encourage maximum participation.

Ashish Singh



The Inaugural ceremony for Aero India 2021, Asia’s largest aerospace and defence exhibition is being held at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru between 3-5 February 2021. This year Aero India 2021 has been organised in hybrid mode with a concurrent virtual exhibition to encourage maximum participation.

Opening the proceedings Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar addressed the gathering and said that India has taken a leap in organising a completely Covid compliant Aero and Defence exhibition. He expressed his gratitude to ambassadors and delegates from more than 55 nations who were in attendance. Raj Kumar said that the large attendance at Aero India 2021 reflects positive temperament of people across the world and renewed global interest in the capabilities of India. He said that Aero India 2021 would provide a platform for exchange of ideas and forge partnerships in the aerospace and Defence sectors. He also provided a brief about the events to be organized during Aero India 2021, including the Chief of Air Staffs Conclave, the Bandhan ceremony and the India Pavilion.

Later contract documents to produce Light Combat Aircraft Tejas were handed over by the Ministry of Defence to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Chairman and Managing Director, HAL Mr. R Madhavan presented a model of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh. This was followed by the screening of a short film on the journey of the aircraft.

Addressing the gathering, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his happiness at the attendance of delegates from around the world at Aero India 2021. He said that the existing supply chains developed over the years by aerospace and engineering firms and an investor friendly government with simplified procedures and single window clearance mechanism makes Karnataka an attractive destination for industry. He expressed his gratitude to Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa for extending full support in organising Aero India 2021.

Speaking on Aero India 2021, Rajnath Singh said the exhibition would display the vast potential and the multifarious opportunities that our country offers in the field of defence and aerospace sector. He added that it promises to be the world’s first ever hybrid aero & defence exhibition with a concurrent virtual exhibition making it a truly digital and global event.

The Defence Minister appreciated the growing optimism of the global community, reflected in the participation of over 540 exhibitors including 80 foreign companies and defence ministers, delegates, service chiefs and officials from more than 55 nations. He highlighted that the unique opportunity in defence and aerospace manufacturing that India offers through a “Sangam” of rising demand, greater innovation, conducive policies and maturing ecosystem in the sector.

Rajnath Singh also announced that the government plans to spend 130 billion dollars on military modernisation over the next seven years. He said that steps had been taken to strengthen the nation’s security apparatus with domestic manufacturing and complex Defence platforms becoming the focus of the Aatmanirbhar Policy. He said that the government had enhanced Foreign Direct Investment in the Defence Sector up to 74 per cent through the automatic route and 100 per cent through the government route.

Hailing the reforms brought in by the government since 2014 he said that they would create a conducive system for exports, foreign direct investment and offset discharge. The newly introduced (Buy Global-Manufacture in India) category of capital procurement in Defence Acquisition Policy 2020 allows outright purchase of equipment from foreign vendors and indigenous manufacture through an Indian subsidiary, a joint venture or an Indian agency. He said a large number of indigenous Defence equipment had been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation to cater to the needs of the nation’s defence forces.

Rajnath Singh informed that reforms aimed at bringing ease in doing business, have shown good results. India has jumped from 77th rank in 2019 to the 63rd rank in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings. He added that industrial licensing requirements have been eliminated for a number of items in the defence sector. More than 500 companies have now taken defence licences, doubling the number in the last 6 years.

The Defence Minister invited business leaders from across the globe to take advantage of the various initiatives of the government of India and set up manufacturing units. Rajnath Singh said that the India pavilion at Aero India 2021 would showcase India’s design and manufacturing supply chain associated with various facets of the rotary wing system. Raksha Mantri expressed great happiness that HAL got the orders for 83 new indigenous LCA-Tejas MK1A for Indian Air Force valued at more than Rs 48,000 crore, the biggest “Make in India” defence contract till date. He said with a strong and diversified Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise sector composed of more than active 5000 units, India has the potential to become a reliable supplier of defence equipment to many of its friendly nations. He shared the vision of making India one of the biggest countries of the world in defence sector, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector. He said that to achieve the twin goals of self-reliance and exports, we have set a target to achieve Rs 1,75,000 crore turnover, including export of Rs 35,000 crore in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2024.

Rajnath Singh recognised India’s interests beyond its shores and said that it was India’s duty to remain capable and willing to assist them in times of natural calamities and security challenges. He expressed happiness at the organisation of the first Indian Ocean Region’s Defence Ministers’ Conclave with the theme “Enhanced peace, Security and cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region” in this edition of Aero India. He said that this was an implementation of the concept of the Indian Ocean built around Security and Growth for All (SAGAR), visualised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Indian Ocean Island states in 2015. Raksha Mantri emphasised that India is also a victim of the global threat of state sponsored and state inflicted terrorism. He said that the nation has long witnessed attempts by other to change the status quo along our borders. He assured that India is vigilant and prepared to counter and defeat any misadventure as well as to defend its territorial integrity and its people. He said that this resolve is exhibited in India’s growing defence capabilities, which will be showcased in Aero India 2021. Rajnath Singh concluded his address by declaring Aero India open.

Karnataka CM Yediyurappa said that it was a matter of pride for people of Karnataka and Bengaluru for being selected to host yet another edition of Aero India. He said that the holding of Aero India this year was an expression of confidence in the ability of the state administration to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and assured that his government has taken measures to ensure the safety of participants and delegates.

The Chief Minister said that Karnataka made a significant contribution to the nation’s aerospace and defence sector of India and was the first state to announce an aerospace policy with a proposed investment of close to Rs 14,700 crore and employment potential for about 10,600 people. He highlighted the role of Micro, Small and Medium scale enterprises in the growth of the country’s industry. The Chief Minister said that “Laghu Udyog Bharati” and IMS foundation with the support of Government of Karnataka would be organising the MSME, Aerospace and Defence expo in Bengaluru from 27th to 29th September, 2021 to realise the potential of MSMEs and requested the support of the Ministry of Defence in this endeavour. He thanked the Defence Minister for reposing faith in the Karnataka Government for Aero India.

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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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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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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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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



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 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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