Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of Defence of Republic of Korea (RoK) Suh Wook successfully concluded their bilateral talks on defence cooperation in New Delhi on Friday. The defence and security engagements between India and RoK have grown exponentially over the last few years. Latest talks explored new domains of bilateral defence cooperation and avenues to strengthen the long-standing bilateral defence partnership. Rajnath Singh and Suh Wook acknowledged that the bilateral defence cooperation has broadened significantly in scale and scope across Tri-Service as well as agencies dealing with defence technology and industry. Both the countries have also found common ground on several multilateral fora and engagements.
Both the Ministers exchanged views on the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the defence and security engagements as well as best practices followed by the Armed Forces of both nations. Rajnath Singh lauded stellar contribution of RoK in the pandemic mitigation efforts. They reaffirmed their support to multilateral initiatives to promote lasting peace and stability in the region and beyond. As brought out by the Defence Minister during his interaction with his counterpart, the bilateral relations between both the countries are set to grow further and the meeting between them will give it the necessary impetus to take it to the next level. The Ministers also expressed satisfaction over the commitment exhibited by diverse agencies of both countries to sustain structured annual dialogues at various levels of leadership through virtual means when travel and physical engagements became increasingly challenging during the ongoing pandemic. This has kept up the momentum of bilateral defence engagements. The Armed Forces of both countries hope to approach 2021 with renewed confidence.
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, Chief of Army Staff General M.M. Naravane, Secretary, Defence Production Raj Kumar and Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G. Satheesh Reddy formed part of the Indian delegation during the talks. Earlier, Rajnath Singh and Suh Wook jointly inaugurated the India-Korea Friendship Park in a ceremony to mark the occasion at Delhi Cantonment. The park is a symbol of close relations between both the countries and acknowledges the contribution of the Indian Army’s Medical Mission during the Korean War. The presence of distinguished guests from the Korean War Veterans Association during the inauguration ceremony was an acknowledgement of the event. Both the Ministers planted a sapling each to mark the momentous occasion. Suh Wook felicitated Korean War Veterans Association of India General Secretary Anil Malhotra on the occasion.
INDIA-SOUTH KOREA BILATERAL DEFENCE COOPERATION
The bilateral relations between India and South Korea go back to the start of the Korean war of 1950 when India deployed an Army medical unit ie the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A.G. Rangaraj, Mahavir Chakra. The unit played a significant part in various Allied offensives over the course of three years. India‘s proposal for termination of the war was adopted in the United Nations General Assembly and was invited to head the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission (NNRC).
Lieutenant General K.S. Thimmaya was appointed as the Chairman of NNRC. India dispatched one Brigade Group designated as Custodian Forces-India (CFI) comprising 5,500 All Ranks and took charge of over 25,000 Prisoners of War, assisting in their repatriation to parent nations. The discipline, neutrality, fair play and firmness displayed by the Indian troops were highly admired by everyone in the global community. Both the nations have a convergence of outlook in the strategic and defence realm. India’s “Act East Policy” finds resonance in the present ROK administration’s “New Southern Policy”.
The major areas of concern for ROK are increasing Chinese hegemony in the South China Sea, security of sea lines of communication (SLOCs) due to incidents of piracy and hostilities with the Democratic People‘s Republic of Korea (DPRK). ROK considers India as a stabilising influence in the Indian Ocean region.
India regards ROK as a high-quality manufacturer of defence-related equipment in sectors such as aeronautics, ship-building, electronics, missile technologies, miniaturization and software. ROK also has the potential to be the principal partner in developing Indian defence industry base. ROK has always been supportive of India’s inclusion and participation in various regional forums. ROK and India are also signatories to Mutual Logistics Support Agreement between the navies and which can further be expanded to other services as well.
ROK Armed Forces are one of the strongest professional armies in the world. They have extensive operational experience since they operate alongside US troops as well as exercise regularly with US and other regional Armed Forces. This enables them to be at the cutting edge in technological, doctrinal and operational terms. Due to constant hostilities with DPRK, they maintain their troops at high levels of training and readiness. Indian Armed Forces can therefore gain substantially from exchanges with ROK Armed Forces.
Service to Service cooperation was identified as an important aspect of bilateral defence cooperation during the visit of former RM, late Shri Manohar Parikkar to ROK in 2015. It was agreed to enhance engagements between the services commencing with Navy and then expanding to other service as well. The Indian Army has also initiated strategic level exchanges with the Army of the ROK. The inaugural Army to Army Staff talks were held in ROK in Aug 2018. Second edition of the staff talks were held in India in Sep 2019. The third staff talks were scheduled to be held in ROK in 2020, however, due to Covid-19, they have been postponed and planned in first half of 2021. Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE) in Border Management & Surveillance, Counter terrorism, Special Forces Operations and peacekeeping operations form a major part of these discussions. ROK has been regularly sending officers to attend courses at the National Defence College, Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare (CIJW) School and at the Defence Services Staff College, on a self-financing basis. Indian Officers have been subscribing to Basic Course at Joint Forces Military University (JFMU) and Korea National Defence University (KNDU). This year (2019) ROK deputed one officer for CIJW course and one officer for DSSC. India has deputed two officers for Military courses in ROK one each in JFMU and KNDU.
Bilateral ties between the two countries were raised to the level of ‚Strategic Partnership‘ during the visit to India by the previous President of ROK Mr Lee Myung-bak in January 2010 and further elevated to “Special Strategic Partnership” during the visit of PM Narendra Modi to ROK in 2015. A number of MoUs have been signed between the two countries such as cooperation in the field of defence (Sep 2010), protection of classified military information (Jan 2014), cooperation in ship building (Apr 2017) and Roadmap for Defence Industries Cooperation (Feb 2020), among others. The two countries have instituted several forums for regular interaction and discussions between the two Ministries of Defence on the entire gamut of bilateral defence relation including defence industries relations and cooperation in Research and Development. Major dialogues and interactions have been planned, mostly virtually, between the two countries since the onset of Covid-19. These include the India-ROK 2+2 dialogue between Vice Minister of Defence & Secretary East, MEA in the month of Dec 2020/Jan 2021. Past interactions include the first Leadership Video Tele Conference between DRDO & Agency for Defense Development (ADD) which was conducted on 17 Nov 2020 at Embassy of India, Seoul. Further, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has proposed to form a joint working group for smooth facilitation of implementation of Roadmap on Defence Industries Cooperation between India and ROK.
Some of the important weapons’ platforms and accessories over which India has approached ROK for its expertise are 155mm SP Gun Howitzer (K-9/ Vajra), Ampule batteries, Air Defence Gun Missile system, carbon fibres and silicon carbide composites, and Medium Range- Surface to Air Missiles (MR-SAMs) among others. Defence relations between India and ROK are headed for a marked expansion with the high-level visits by the Defence Minister and the PM, and initiation of new forums and agreements.
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‘ARMY CAN MEET ANY CHALLENGE TO SAFEGUARD COUNTRY’
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.”
SOUTHERN NAVAL COMMAND OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP DAY IN KOCHI
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.
IAF TO HOLD AIR SHOW OVER DAL LAKE IN SRINAGAR ON 26 SEPT
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.
ARMY ORGANISES EXHIBITION IN JAIPUR TO COMMEMORATE INDIA’S VICTORY IN 1971 WAR
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.
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.
IN FIRST FOREIGN VISIT AFTER TAKING OVER AS CDS, GEN BIPIN RAWAT TO VISIT RUSSIA, US
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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