FROM CYBER WARFARE TO CHINESE THREAT: DEFENCE DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT - The Daily Guardian
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Defence

FROM CYBER WARFARE TO CHINESE THREAT: DEFENCE DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT

Ashish Singh

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The government has approved establishment of Defence Cyber Agency, under the aegis of Ministry of Defence. This agency is now fully functional. To mitigate cyber threats, all the three Services have established their respective Cyber Emergency Response Teams (CERT). Furthermore, Government of India is formulating the National cyber security strategy, which is in the final stages of approval.

There have been repeated attempts by various cyber threat actors to target our various sectors. However, measures are being taken to detect and deter these threats. Adequate safeguards have been instituted in the form of Cyber Audits, Physical Checks and Policy Guidelines to ensure a robust cyber posture of armed forces.

BOOSTING DOMESTIC PRODUCTION OF DEFENCE EQUIPMENT

The government has taken several policy initiatives and brought reforms to encourage indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment in the country, thereby reducing dependency on imports in coming years. These initiatives, inter-alia, include according priority to procurement of capital items from domestic sources under Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020; Notification of two ‘Positive Indigenisation Lists’ of total 209 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them; Simplification of Industrial licensing process with longer validity period; Liberalisation of FDI policy allowing 74% FDI under automatic route; Simplification of Make Procedure; Launch of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) scheme involving start-ups & MSMEs; Implementation of “Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India), Order 2017”; Launch of an indigenization portal namely SRIJAN to facilitate indigenisation by Indian Industry including MSMEs; Reforms in Offset policy with thrust on attracting investment and Transfer of Technology for Defence manufacturing by assigning higher multipliers; Establishment of two Defence Industrial Corridors one each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

In addition, for 2021-22, the allocation for Domestic procurement has been enhanced compared to previous years and is planned to be about 64.09 % i.e. Rs. 71,438.36 Crore of the allocated amount for military modernization. Further, year-wise annual Turnover of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), 09 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), 06 other PSUs & 37 private companies manufacturing defence items, indicates the impact of measures taken by the government to make successful “Make in India”. The year-wise details of annual Turnover of these units are as below:

The measures taken by the government for indigenisation are likely to result in import substitution. On the basis of data received from Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA), the details of procurement of defence equipment (both Capital and Revenue) by the three Services (Army, Navy and Air Force), in the last three years which indicates decrease in imports, are as follows:

Further. the details of procurement of defence equipment (both Capital and Revenue) done from foreign sources by the three Services (Army ,Navy and Air Force), in the last five years are as follows:

Moreover, value of Export Authorization issued by Department of Defence Production to DPSUs/OFB and Private companies, during the last five years has been as under:

NATIONAL WAR MEMORIAL

The construction cost towards establishing the National War Memorial is Rs 176.65 crore. Further, Bharat Electronics Limited has been nominated to execute the project of Enhancement of Digital Appeal at National War Memorial.The online portal dedicated to the gallantry award winners has already been created during 2017-18. The online portal dedicated to the gallantry award winners has been created during 2017-18 with an estimated expenditure of Rs 7,11,500.

Further, Ministry of Defence has entered into an agreement with Raksha Rashtriya University (RRU) for improvement of the portal at a monthly payment of Rs. 1,59,000. In the FY 2020-21, the expenditure was Rs. 4,77,000 and in FY 2021-22 till May 2021, the expenditure was Rs. 3,18,000. Ministry of Defence has also entered into a contract with M/s Broadcasting Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL) w.e.f. 01 May 2021 to 30 Apr 2022 @ Rs. 77,172 per month for deployment of consultant (Social Media) to assist the Ministry in enrichment of Gallantry Awards Portal.

The Ministry has introduced various modules/activities viz. option of paying tribute, taking pledge, motivational videos, information of war memorials and war histories, e-Books etc. Various public participative events viz. Quiz on Gallantry Awards, tribute competition, logo design competition, live streaming of NCC activities at statues of Awardees are also conducted from time to time. MoD have also created dedicated social media handles for publicity of activities planned on Gallantry Portal and also YouTube channel for uploading of videos relating to the Awardees.

Ministry of Defence, in coordination with National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space and Geo-informatics (BISAG) (under Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology), Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU), Armed Forces and NIC, is maintaining the portal to honour the gallantry awardees.

CHINESE THREAT AT THE COASTAL REGION

India’s relations with its neighbours stand on their own and are independent of the relations of those countries with third countries. The Government has well articulated policy of ‘Neighbourhood first’ with a focus on creating mutually beneficial, people oriented regional frameworks for stability and prosperity. Government carefully monitors any developments having a bearing on India’s security and economic interests, and takes all necessary measures to safeguard them.

The government has taken a number of measures to strengthen coastal, offshore and maritime security. The Indian Navy, Coast Guard and State Marine Police along with other agencies such as Customs and Port Trusts patrol the Maritime Zone of India using surface and air assets to detect and check infiltration. Further, electronic surveillance of maritime zone is undertaken using radars, Automatic Identification System, open sources, etc.

The government has also set up Joint Operation Center, Information Management Centre and National Command, Control, Communications and Intelligent Network. Sagar Prahari Bal with Fast Intercepting Crafts and Immediate Support Vessels have been established for the security of Offshore Development Area. The Standard Operating Procedures for coordination among various agencies on coastal security issues have been formulated. Besides this, exercises with various security agencies are conducted regularly to assess the effectiveness of existing mechanisms.

Towards engaging coastal and fishing communities, Community Interaction and Awareness Programmes are being regularly conducted by Indian Navy and Coast Guard. Security of Atomic Power Plants at Kalpakkam and Kudankulam is entrusted to the Central Industrial Security Force (CSIF). In addition units of Army, Air Defence (AAD) and Air Force are placed for Air defence at Kalpakkam and Kudankulam.

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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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