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MULTIPLE MID-LEVEL CHANGES IN NAVY

Rear Admiral S. Venkat Raman takes charge of Goa’s Naval War College; Rear Admiral Sanjay Sharma assumes the charge of Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ship Repair Yard, Kochi; Rear Admiral B. Sivakumar takes over as Admiral Superintendent of Mumbai’s Naval Dockyard. Commodore M. Goverdhan Raju takes the charge of Naval Officer-In-Charge, Andhra Pradesh.

Ashish Singh

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New Delhi: Rear Admiral S. Venkat Raman has assumed command of the prestigious Naval War College of the Indian Navy, at Goa. The Admiral took charge of the Navy’s Apex Training Institution from Rear Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh. The Naval War College conducts training for senior officers, including foreign participants, on defence planning, strategic and operational subjects, with a view to promote a culture of strategic and operational thinking.

Rear Admiral Venkat Raman is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy Khadakvasla. Commissioned on 1 January 1990, the Rear Admiral is a specialist in Communications and Electronic Warfare and has tenanted various appointments onboard frontline warships of the Indian Navy. His sea tenures include command of the stealth frigate Tabar. Prior to taking over command at Goa, the Rear Admiral was heading the Directorate of Naval Intelligence at Naval Headquarters.

He has completed several post graduate study programmes, including Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies in addition to a Masters in Management Studies from the College of Defence Management.

NAVAL SHIP REPAIR YARD KOCHI

Rear Admiral Sanjay Sharma took over as Admiral Superintendent, Naval Ship Repair Yard (Kochi) from Rear Admiral Deepak Bansal. Before assuming charge, Rear Admiral Sharma paid floral tributes at the memorial of ‘The Unknown Worker’.

Rear Admiral Sanjay Sharma was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 1st Aug 86. Prior to this appointment, the Flag Officer has held various important appointments at IHQ MoD(N), Advanced Technology Vessel Program and Headquarters Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam.The incumbent Rear Admiral Deepak Bansal, who spent fourteen months at the helm of NSRY(Koc), would assume charge as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air Materiel) at IHQ MoD (Navy).

NAVAL DOCKYARD, MUMBAI

Rear Admiral B Sivakumar, took over as Admiral Superintendent of Naval Dockyard, Mumbai from Rear Admiral Rajaram Swaminathan. Rear Admiral B Sivakumar was commissioned on 1st Jul 87 and is a Post Graduate from IIT, Chennai. He is also an alumnus of National Defence Academy, College of Defence Management and National Defence College.

In a career spanning more than thirty years, he has held various operational, staff and dockyard appointments including Commanding Officer, INS Valsura. On promotion to Flag rank, he was appointed as Additional Director General, Project Seabird and subsequently moved as Chief Staff Officer (Technical), Western Naval Command, prior taking over the present assignment.

NAVAL OFFICER-IN-CHARGE, ANDHRA PRADESH

Commodore M. Goverdhan Raju took over as Naval Officer-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) from Commodore Sanjiv Issar at an impressive ceremonial parade held in the Naval Base at Visakhapatnam. Cmde Raju is an alumnus of Sainik School, Korukonda and National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. He was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 1 July 1989 and is a specialist in Navigation and Direction.

He held a spectrum of highly challenging operational, staff and training appointments viz; the commissioning crew of INS Sagardhwani, specialist and executive officer appointments on frontline warships, Joint Director Staff Requirements at Naval Headquarters, Director (Training & Policy) at HQ Integrated Defence Staff, Principal Director (Training) at the premier training establishment, Indian Naval Academy (Ezhimala) and Director, Maritime Warfare Centre (Vizag). He has also carried out the duties of Fleet Operations Officer of Eastern Fleet during Dec 2014-May 2016, and he concurrently carried out the duties as the Chief Coordinator for Static Review, Operational Demonstration, Passage Exercise, etc, during the prestigious International Fleet Review-2016 and contributed to its grand success.

He is also a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Army War College, Mhow and National Defence College, Mirpur (Bangladesh).He has the distinction of commanding four Indian Navy ships viz; Torpedo Recovery Vessel-71, Ocean Going Minesweeper Ratnagiri, Dhanush OPV Suvarna and Destroyer Ranvijay, as well as two shore units; the premier training establishment INS Chilka with concurrent charge as Naval Officer-in-Charge (Odisha), and the Forward Operating Base INS Sardar Patel with concurrent charge as Naval Officer-in-Charge (Gujarat).He is a proud recipient of Nao Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty) in 2014.

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Defence

HARPOONS@50: AWAITING RESURGENCE

The 50th anniversary of the Harpoons also marks the 50th anniversary since the last war.

Commodore G Prakash (Retd)

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April 17, 2021, marks the Golden Jubilee of one of the most important Air Squadrons of the Indian Navy, the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 330. With the commissioning of this Squadron on 17 April 1971 at INS Garuda at Kochi, six brand new Seaking Mk 42 helicopters that had arrived from the UK a few months before the 1971 war, got a formal unit. On that occasion, the Squadron also got its official Crest, duly approved by the President of India. The Crest shows a writhing shark that symbolises an enemy submarine, in the last throes of its painful demise, with a blood laden harpoon impaling it. The surprised shark looks up to see its killer, but sees only the menacing golden wing of the Fleet Air Arm attached to the head of the harpoon. Fittingly, the Squadron and the people who serve there are referred to as Harpoons.

MEMORIES OF A GOLDEN TIME

I had the privilege of becoming a Harpoon in 1990 and I was lucky to be there at the right time in history. The world’s most lethal multirole helicopters (MRH) then, the Seaking Mk 42Bs, had just replaced their older cousins, the ones that came in 1971, and there was an unbelievable air of invincibility at sea, centred around the mother squadron, INAS 330. With more Seakings available on the Godavari class ships, each of which carried two Seakings, the Arabian Sea was reduced to a pond. The new Seakings, rightly called Flying Frigates, were real force multipliers. Today as INAS 330 reaches its 50th birthday, there are too many great memories for a large number of people to cherish. Memories of personally experiencing virtually every major element of warfare at sea.

The most exhilarating memories are of hunting submarines. This is done best, hovering about 50 feet above the waves, even on rainy, moonless nights. Hunting, done in complete darkness, straining every nerve to recognise weak metallic echoes from a submarine, through the dull noise of the huge helicopter seeping in through our tight-fitting helmets, gazing at various electronic displays, manipulating many controls, communicating within the aircraft and with the rest of the Fleet in short spurts and all this, with the promise of sure disaster, in case something went wrong with the aircraft. With shared danger of this kind come, memories galore, of brilliant friendships and lifelong bonding too. Being there, during the most golden period of the squadron in its fifty years, was a rare fortune.

But milestones in history have limited use if they are treated only as occasions for reliving the glories of the past and revelling in them. Milestones are better used for reflection, for learning from the past and for using the lessons of the past for charting the way ahead. Here is an attempt at that.

ESSENTIAL HISTORY

Beginnings are important. The Royal Indian Navy (RIN) was a small coastal force for seaward defence duties. The larger role of defending India, was looked after by the Royal Navy (RN), with RN Fleets at Trincomalee and Singapore and a small squadron at Bahrain. So, Indian Officers in the RIN had limited experience in the larger aspects of maritime warfare. To complicate matters, the small RIN had to be apportioned between the new born Indian and Pakistani navies. This included personnel too, thus further diluting the indigenous naval talent available at independence. Senior indigenous naval leadership, capable of high-level policy making was absent in 1947, as under the British, Indians had started becoming Officers of the executive branch only in the 1930s. Naturally, we had to depend on the British for advice in the beginning. That was a peculiar situation. It was akin to a freshly divorced husband advising his ex-wife on living her future life well. The ex-husband was sure to protect his interests. The British as a country was no different. They did try to palm off some of their not-so-great platforms to us, for commercial gains.

But several British Officers on loan to the IN showed integrity. For instance, Commodore D.W. Kirke, the Chief of Naval Aviation, whose opposition enabled IN to acquire the brand new French ASW Reconnaissance Alize for Vikrant, over the old and difficult to maintain, British Garnett. This was one of the first episodes of an amazing capability that India has shown since independence, the ability to take autonomous strategic decisions, based purely on its own interests. Many times have India surprised those who sat smug, assuming that they had India in their pocket. Perils of taking old civilisations for granted perhaps. But bridges too are never burnt. Just when someone is upset at a lost business opportunity, there would be a purchase from them, to bring cheer. Wisdom of old civilisations, perhaps. Big ticket deals are never easy for any government. Goodwill has to be spread around, mainly as cash. 

The helicopter story for Vikrant, which starts with the smaller ones for Search and Rescue (SAR) was no different. The British tried to sell their Dragonfly, but India chose the French Alouette. The Dragonflies were older in technology, more difficult to maintain and more expensive than the ultra-modern French Alouettes. True to form, this didn’t prevent IN from getting the next big thing, in fact one of the most important elements of airpower at sea, MRH, from Britain. They had the 10 Ton Seaking Mk 42s, the most capable Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopter in the world then. The Seakings were so new, that they entered service with the IN, almost immediately after they entered service with the RN.

ASW HELICOPTERS: ESSENTIALS OF EVOLUTION

Post WW-II, the world was seeing frenetic efforts at developing ASW. The terrible losses German submarines had forced on the Allied Forces during the two World Wars was not the only reason. With the Cold War getting colder and the USSR basing their offensive capabilities majorly on submarines, the ASW situation was getting serious. Ironically, the credit for making the most reliable helicopter went to a Russian, Igor Sikorsky, whose ‘S 6A’ helicopter won him glowing accolades at a military competition held at Saint Petersburg in 1912. He was just 23. In 1919 he became a US citizen, founded the Sikorsky Corporation and went into making one of the most successful series of helicopters in the world. Talk of nations attracting talent. Westland Helicopters Limited (WHL), UK, bought a licence from Sikorsky and began to produce one of the most successful maritime helicopters in the world. Talk of nations buying the right technology and turning it into a great business model.

With the US loaning a submarine, USS Diablo, to Pakistan in 1963, IN had a new enemy to think of. That this came immediately after the 1962 debacle was bad news. Two years later, when Diablo, renamed Ghazi, claimed some diabolic action off the Saurashtra coast in the 1965 war, there was reason to take notice. To quote Admiral GM Hiranandani, the erstwhile official historian of the Indian Navy, ‘the acquisition of new French Daphne class submarines by the Pakistan Navy increased the urgency of acquiring Anti-Submarine helicopters. In 1968, a proposal was made for acquiring 12 Seakings. Sanction for the acquisition of six Seakings was accorded in 1969 and in 1970 an order was placed for their delivery in 1971. Concurrently an order was also placed for the acquisition of the MK 44 homing torpedoes.’ Talk of buying the best, to cater for the worst.

A MIXED BEGINNING FOR HELICOPTER-BASED ASW

Catering for the worst, is more than just buying the best. There are many more aspects to it. As per Adm Hiranandani, after acceptance trials in the UK, our helicopters were utilised to train our aircrew in the UK. The first batch (of crew) returned to Kochi in April 1971. On arrival, all access to the Seakings and their documentation was restricted on a ‘need to know’ basis, (never a great idea when war looms). The second batch, after tactical training at the British Naval Air Station at Culdrose, reported directly to Mumbai in October 1971, two months before the war started.

ASW helicopters are best employed from ships, as an integral resource deployable at will. But when they arrived in 1971, they could have operated only from Vikrant, because the world itself had not got around to operating helicopters from smaller ships. Vikrant having been earmarked for operations on the East Coast where submarine threat was assumed to be lesser than on the West coast, the Seakings remained ashore. That PNS Ghazi finally met her end outside Visakhapatnam harbour, ostensibly while lying in wait for Vikrant, is an eternal reminder of the perils of assumptions and even careful assessments about enemy intentions in war.

When Naval Headquarters at Delhi signalled the likelihood of a pre-emptive Pakistan strike on 14 October, four Seakings were moved from Kochi to Mumbai. However, the use of the Seakings was defensive and lustreless. Official Naval history has this to say. ‘Due to their newness and shortages of technical equipment, they were not utilised to their full potential during the 1971 War. It took another two years for the Seaking’s potential to be fully realised.’ In the war per se, Pakistani submarine threat was assessed to be serious off the Gujarat coast and FOC in C West decided to deploy the 14th Frigate Squadron along with the Seakings operating from Mumbai to eliminate the submarine threat off Diu. The Seaking helicopters were to operate in the southern sector of the search area closer to Mumbai and thereby have longer Time on Task.’

As it turned out, we lost INS Khukri to a submarine in the area. It emerged that the Seakings could have been better utilised operating from Diu but they were considered to be defenceless if attacked by Pakistani aircraft. The Navy asked itself many questions and found honest answers for future use. One among them was that ‘since the Daphne class submarine›s anti-ship capability was known to be superior to our ASW capability, should the ASW operation have been launched at all?’ Happily, ‘the consensus was that in war, it is unacceptable to let an enemy submarine threaten you on your doorstep – it has to be hunted.’ That is an eternal lesson for those in the field, for those who control operations from shore, for those who build and run navies and for those who provide for the whole enterprise. The man in the field will fight with what is at hand. It is everyone’s duty to enable him in doing his job.

LESSONS TO REMEMBER

Between May and October 1971, the Seakings were used to train aircrew and ground crew. Meanwhile, the Tactical School (now Maritime Warfare Centre) at Kochi studied Seaking’s capabilities and limitations, for promulgation of preliminary Tactical Instructions. While promulgating these instructions, NHQ consulted the crew available in India, which was the first group of crew that had received only familiarisation flying at UK. As this group had only limited information of operational use, the preliminary evaluation was to prove misleading. Further, the Tactical School’s Seaking books were given high security classification, causing the people who mattered, remaining ignorant of the aircraft’s potential.

LEARNING FROM THE PAST

With four wars in the first 27 years of existence, the government and the armed forces had learnt good lessons. The government became aware of the importance of ensuring strong military capabilities, balancing the money available, with the myriad requirements of an impoverished country emerging from colonialism. Unavoidable gaps in military capability had to be bridged through other means like diplomacy and foreign policy. The result was there for the world to see. The 1980s saw a virtual explosion of naval capabilities and this reflected on the Fleet Air Arm too. The mighty Seaking Mk 42Bs, were an important part of that great capability surge in the Indian Navy.

In the decade after the 1971 war, the Indian Navy carefully charted out options for all round upgradation of military equipment, and some much-required indigenisation. In the field of MRH, it was to be a two-pronged approach. For indigenisation, HAL was to first make a smaller MRH to develop skills and confidence. A larger one could follow later. Meanwhile, to meet operational needs, some MRH were to be imported. The choice fell again on Seakings. But this time, there was a difference. As I have written elsewhere, the aircraft was to be equipped with state-of-the-art Weapons, Sensors, Communication systems, Navigation systems and most importantly, a Tactical Mission System (TMS) to integrate everything so that operating them becomes humanly possible. The mix was eclectic. Air to Surface Missiles (British Sea Eagle), Torpedoes (Italian A244S), Depth Charge Mk 11 (Indian), Radar (British), Dunking Sonar (French), ESM (Italian), Sonobuoy System (British), Tactical Air Navigation System (British), V/UHF & HF Communication systems (USA) and a British TMS.

This was the first time anyone was attempting to integrate this stupendous mix of capabilities into one helicopter. The best part was that this entire architecture was designed by India, to be executed by WHL.

The 42Bs arrived in India between 1988 and 1990 through possibly the best ever induction process. The planning, placement of a core team in UK for almost five years, extensive training of over thirty air crew and adequate ground crew in UK, timely creation of infrastructure in India, preparation of training facilities and material, and subsequent utilisation of the core team from UK on their return to India, were without blemish. The golden decade that followed, was natural.

DOWNS AND UPS

India’s nuclear test in 1998 brought on US sanctions. The linkages of globalisation created echoes of it elsewhere too. Maintenance support for which we were dependent on the British, was now unavailable. Unfortunately, the indigenous development of a good MRH had also faltered. The Fleet Air Arm had to re-adjust. The Harpoons now had the tough job of continuing to fly their aircraft, using every trick in the book. It was more than just tricks in the book. There was much raw courage too. A mature service also did its best to make things as comfortable as possible.

True to form, the man on the field did his best, with what was at hand. The Harpoons experimented, adapted, reoriented, added on several equipment, unlearnt some lessons and continued to remain operationally credible. They continued to execute some incredible Rescue Missions, picking up distraught people from stricken ships, burning platforms, sinking boats, flooded areas and high-rise buildings. They delivered supplies to disaster hit areas and continued to provide service beyond their logical capabilities. The rich pedigree of the Harpoons motivated them to continue to shine.

LOOKING AHEAD

After two decades of straining to perform their classical role, the Harpoons are poised at the threshold of yet another beginning. Later this year, they expect to receive the third wave of MRH in their history, 24 MH 60 R helicopters from the US, again, from the Sikorsky family. While the $3 billion India will pay for these helicopters is big, even bigger, is going to be the operational gains for IN. As the Harpoons are poised to receive their new birds, there are several questions to be asked to ensure that old lessons are not lost sight of. Have the good aspects of the induction of the 42Bs been replicated? Have provisions been made to avoid the mistakes made with the utilisation of the first lot? Have we put a plan in place for the indigenous development of a MRH that can soon join the new MH 60Rs? That is critical, as the real need for MRH is much beyond the 24 contracted for.

No friendship is permanent. What is white today, can turn black tomorrow. Meanwhile, the enemy is busy proliferating submarines. There is not much time left, for a carefully considered reorientation. But here, we miss a great teacher. War. The 50th anniversary of the Harpoons also marks the 50th anniversary since the last war. That calls for much study of history. Meanwhile, the Harpoons continue to remain sharp, ready to surprise lurking sharks, whatever the odds.

Commodore G. Prakash, Nau Sena Medal, served the Indian Navy for 35 years. A specialist in aviation and anti-submarine warfare, he has held several command and staff appointments at sea and ashore. He has been speaking and writing on military and strategic affairs for long. He is available at gp1064@gmail.com.

With four wars in the first 27 years of existence, the government and the armed forces had learnt good lessons. The government became aware of the importance of ensuring strong military capabilities, balancing the money available, with the myriad requirements of an impoverished country emerging from colonialism. Unavoidable gaps in military capability had to be bridged through other means like diplomacy and foreign policy.

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Infiltration and narco smuggling attempt foiled along LoC in Karnah forests

Ashish Singh

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Indian Army, BSF along with J&K Police foiled a narco smuggling attempt in forward areas of Tangdhar Sector last night and recovered 10 kg of narco estimated to be approximately Rs 50 crore. This is the second consecutive busting of ‘Pak-sponsored narco terror model’ in the past one week. Incidentally, a 10 kg heroin consignment was recovered from the same general area a week ago in a joint operation, however, this time smugglers were spotted carrying the narcotics along the Line of Control. Indian Army & BSF’s strong anti-infiltration posture denied the smugglers accompanied by Pak-based terrorists, the opportunity to cross the fence. It further forced them to abandon their consignment and flee on being challenged. The operation to identify individuals of Karnah Tehsil involved in this activity was in progress during filing of this report. Local sources have affirmed high likelihood of arrests of certain kingpins in upcoming days. 

Narco terrorism has been Pakistan’s long espoused model to culturally degrade the social fabric of the border areas of Kashmir & Punjab. This attempt of Pakistan to support smugglers with armed terrorists has exposed the nexus. Pak handlers controlling the nexus, get money in lieu of Narco supplied which is in turn used to fund terror organisations operating in Pak & PoK. Pak Army is a key stakeholder in this Narco-Terror nexus which involves using of civilians on both sides of the Line of Control as cannon fodder. The modus operandi involves pushing the handlers and smugglers across the borders with an aim to exchange the drugs in lieu of money to support the militant organizations. Parents and Civil Society in the past have been urged to play their role in strengthening their fight to combat the menace for the larger benefit of society. Pak’s nefarious designs has not only affected youth of J&K but also those in PoK who are involved in Narco consumption & smuggling.

Explosives Recovered – Major Incident Averted in Karnah by Army & Police

In a major success to Security Forces deployed in Karnah, 15 sticks of Plastic Explosives were recovered on Monday evening owing to high state of alertness of the Army and Police. Last week, a specific intelligence was received on likely explosives being exchanged near Jama Masjid of Tangdhar. Security Forces increased alertness level and monitored the area through a comprehensive surveillance grid. A detailed search by the Army Bomb Disposal Team led to recovery of the explosives which was supposedly being transhipped to hinterland. The operation was conducted in the heart of Tangdhar market with zero inconvenience to locals as per the market vendors who were eye witness to the precision operation.

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IAF’s 2-day commanders’ conference commences

Ashish Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed the biannual IAF Commanders’ Conference (AFCC-21) on 15 April 21 at Air Headquarters. Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), welcomed the Defence Minister, Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and other senior officials from the MoD. During his address, Rajnath SIngh expressed happiness that the conference coincides with the birth anniversary of the Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh, DFC. He congratulated IAF for ensuring a timely and befitting response to the sudden developments in eastern Ladakh. He advised the Commanders to draw up long term plans and strategies for capability enhancement to counter future threats. He appreciated the critical focus of IAF towards reorienting for the future.

Speaking about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the RM appreciated the role played by the IAF in assisting other Govt agencies in their task. Referring to changing international geopolitics, he observed that the perceptible shift of focus from Trans-Atlantic to Trans-Pacific has become more obvious in the recent past. Changing dimensions of war would now include advanced technologies, asymmetric capabilities and info-dominance, and it was very important that the IAF’s preparations for the future must include these aspects. Reiterating the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Self Reliance’, the RM stressed on the need to promote Atmanirbharta in Defence Infrastructure. He added that the IAF’s order for LCA would result in a substantial boost to the domestic defence industry and will be a game changer from the indigenisation perspective. He urged the Commanders to continue their efforts for achieving even greater results in the field of indigenous defence production and aircraft maintenance. He added that national security and economic development are complementary aspects of national policy. The IAF’s support for the indigenous industry would result in the development of MSMEs in this field which will simultaneously serve the cause of self-reliance and socio-economic development of the country. He urged the Commanders to take stock and implement all directions issued by the PM during the Combined Commanders’ Conference. He stressed on the need to continue to work proactively towards the integration process currently underway, implementation of the joint logistics plan and to enhance synergy in areas of joint planning and operations.

In his closing remarks, the RM assured the AF Commanders of the wholehearted support from the Ministry of Defence in achieving the goal of being a potent Strategic Aerospace Force. He expressed confidence that important decisions taken during the conference would enhance the combat potential of the IAF. The Commanders’ Conference will conclude today evening. The status of strengthening current combat capabilities and the action plan for making IAF a future-ready combat force would be examined. Issues pertaining to systems, reforms and restructuring for ensuring more efficient processes across all domains and optimised operational training will also be discussed.

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ATS GUJARAT SEIZES NARCOTICS FROM PAK FISHING BOAT

Ashish Singh

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In a joint intelligence based operation with ATS Gujarat, a Pakistani boat ‘NUH’ has been apprehended by Indian Coast Guard off Jakhau, Gujarat on the intervening night of 14-15 April with 30 Kgs of Heroin. 8 Pakistani nationals have also been arrested from the boat.

On 13th April, an input was received regarding suspected narcotics trafficking by Pak boat off Indo-Pak notional IMBL. On receipt of input, a coordinated operation was launched swiftly by Indian Coast Guard in association with ATS Gujarat. The Coast Guard fast Interceptor Boat with ATS officials embarked was deployed to intercept the suspected Pak boat. On the midnight of 14/15 April, the suspected Pak boat was sighted inside Indian waters and intercepted by ICG. On boarding and rummaging, about 30 packets of Heroin weighing approximately 1 kg each were recovered from the boat. The value of seized narcotics in international market is estimated to be approximately Rs. 300 Cr. Preliminary investigations revealed that the consignment being smuggled was destined for landing on Gujarat shore. The boat along with 8 Pakistani crew is being escorted to Jakhau for further rummaging and joint investigation.

It may be recalled that recently on 18 March 21, ICG had apprehended SLB Ravihansi with about 300 Kg of Heroin, 5 AK-47 Rifle and 1000 round of ammunition off Lakshadweep Island, which was suspected to have originated from Makran coast. Prior to this, ICG had successfully apprehended SLB Akarsha Duwa in Mar 21 which admitted of carrying 200 kg high grade Heroin and 60 kg Hashish and jettisoning it at sea on sighting of ICG ships on patrol. In a similar operation in Nov 2020, ICG had apprehended Sri Lankan boat Shenaya Duwa off Kanyakumari, carrying 120 kgs narcotics worth approximately Rs. 1000 Cr and five weapons. The past one year has proved to be a big setback for drug traffickers as ICG has successfully seized more than 1.6 tons of narcotics worth approximately Rs. 5200 Cr. The total drug haul done by ICG since inception amounts to Rs. 11,252 Cr.

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KRAS ROLLS OUT FIRST DELIVERY OF 1000 MRSAM MISSILE KITS FOR ARMY, IAF

Ashish Singh

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Kalyani Rafael Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd (KRAS)—a joint venture between two India’s Kalyani Group and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel—rolls out its first batch of Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) for the Indian Army and the Air Force. All of this in consonance with the umbrella Make-in-India idea. The roll-out event marked KRAS’ commitment to deliver more than 1,000 MRSAM ‘missile kits’ for the Indian Army and Air Force over the coming years. These missile sections will then be ‘forwarded’ to India’s state-run defence miniratna Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) for further and future integration. Also, the event designated the beginning of the journey of a MSME Indian company which is committed not only to the “Make-in-India” concept, but to, as well, taking its own stride towards the larger “aatmanirbharta” idea (self-reliance). In this effort the company has fused Rafael’s state-of the-art technology with the engineering excellence of the Kalyani Group.

The event was being attended by dignitaries from the Ministry of Defence, (MOD), Indian Army, Indian Air Force, DRDO, the BDL, and the Israeli delegation including EVP, Brig. Gen. (r) Pinhas Yungman, Head of Air and Missile Defense Systems division of Rafael. The Kalyani delegation was being led by Mr Rajinder Bhatia, President and CEO of BFL Defence and also by representatives from the IAI, Israel. Baba Kalyani, Chairman/ Managing Director, Kalyani Group, said, “This is beginning of a new era, filled with self-confidence, a marked step-change in technological expertise and a collective demonstration of capability to be the global manufacturing hub for defence products. We are confident to complete the order far ahead of the stipulated time, and support the armed forces with the best in class missile kits. Apart from the missile kits, we will extend our support in Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) as in-service Air Defence Missile System for the armed forces.” Speaking on the occasion, Brig. Gen. Pinhas Yungman, Head of Air and Missile Defense Systems division of Rafael Advanced Defense System said, “We have been a reliable partner to the Indian armed forces for almost three decades, and these missile kits are a testimony of our commitment to ‘Make in India’ cause. We are confident KRAS will not only build products for the Indian armed forces but will, at the same time, trigger and help achieve Indian government’s vision of exports from India.”

KRAS is India’s pioneering private sector MSME with advanced manufacturing capabilities and facilities dedicated to especially address the assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of the state-of the-art weapon systems being inducted by the defence forces. Parallel with manufacturing, KRAS is maturing to address Maintenance and Repair Operations (MRO) too, that of a major in-service Air Defence Missile System for the Indian Air Force. As part of its “Make-in-India” efforts, KRAS has also expanded its scope to include development of Advanced Defence Systems and Remotely-Controlled Weapon System. The Joint Venture, thus, is a testament to the enhanced and deep cooperation between Israel and India in the strategic defence sector space, as the coming together leverages and conflates the technology of Rafael and engineering strength of the Kalyani Group.

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INDIAN NAVY ASSETS DEPLOYED IN SEARCH AND RESCUE EFFORTS FOR MISSING FISHERMEN AT SEA OFF MANGALORE COAST

Ashish Singh

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Indian Navy deployed its surface and air assets for the search and rescue (SAR) of missing fishermen at sea off the coast of Mangalore.

It was reported that an Indian fishing boat ‘IFB Rabah’ with 14 fishermen embarked had suffered a collision with a Singapore flag merchant ship ‘MV APL Le Havre’, 40 nautical miles west of New Mangalore at about 0200hrs on 13th April.

Indian Naval Ships Tillanchang and Kalpeni along with naval aircraft from Goa were deployed in the area to augment SAR efforts of Coast Guard vessels. While two rescued fishermen have been shifted to safety ashore, three bodies have been recovered thus far.

The search is on for the remaining nine fishermen. To assist in the rescue efforts INS Subhadra, a patrol vessel, was sailed from Karwar with a Diving Team embarked.

The ship arrived on scene in the early hours of 14th April.

Two specialist diving teams are undertaking snag-line search in the area in an effort to locate the sunk fishing craft.

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