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On Mahatma’s birthday, remembering Indian Navy’s pre-independence journey

As we celebrate Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and the freedom struggle, let us also raise
a toast to the Royal Indian Navy which is an Indian story in many ways. After all, as historian
K.M. Panikkar described, RIN was ‘a glorious page in Indian history’.

Cmde Srikant B Kesnur

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On 02 Oct 2020, we mark the 151st birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. By a wonderful coincidence, this date also marks the formation of the Royal Indian Navy (RIN), albeit many years later in 1934. The RIN was the immediate predecessor of the Indian Navy (IN) of today; in fact RIN became IN on 26 Jan 1950 when India became a Republic. 

While the Indian Navy celebrates the Navy Day on 04 Dec to commemorate the attack on Karachi in 1971 war with Pakistan, 02 Oct 1934 also has some salience with regard to what IN has become today – a strong, powerful and professional service with many distinctions to its credit. And so, on Mahatma’s birthday as we celebrate his life and legacy of the freedom movement, let us also celebrate the story of the Indian Navy which, in a sense, began on 02 Oct 1934.

Formation of Royal Indian Navy
HMIS Hindustan which played active role in WW2
HMIS Jumna which played active role in WW2
Hollywood stars navy day messages RIN Dec 49
Indian navy contingent leading parade on 26 Jan 50
Sub Lt HMS Chaudhri receiving Colou on 02 Oct 34 from Lord Brabourne. Chaudhri was later CinC Pakistan Navy.
London Gazette notification DCS of Daya Shankar and Krishnan.

The Indian Navy has inherited the DNA of its forbears – illustrious maritime kingdoms of many centuries ago and great seafaring traditions of many millennia past. The spirit that was inherent in the exploits of the Cholas or the Maratha Navy pervades the Indian Navy of today. At the same time, its formal structure derives from its colonial moorings beginning with the formation of Indian Marine in Surat in Sep 1612. Over more than three centuries this entity went through several different incarnations, changing name and role until it finally metamorphosed to become the Royal Indian Navy on this day 86 years ago.  While this is well known to maritime and naval historians, it is shrouded in obscurity for the rest of our citizens. Yet, one could argue that the formation of the RIN was a significant moment in the nation’s history for many reasons.

First, being the immediate precursor to the Navy of today, much of the foundation stones and building blocks were laid during that period. For example, almost all our post-independence naval leaders – Katari, Soman, Chakravarty, Karmarkar, Chatterji, Samson, Nanda, Kohli, Cursetji, Pereira et al – joined the Navy when it was still RIN. Second, the RIN witnessed tumultuous times – World War 2, Indian Freedom Struggle, Partition and each of these exerted huge influence on it. This, possibly, had consequences on the thinking of future leadership, budgets, hardware and many other aspects that the Indian Navy inherited. Third, the prefix Royal should not detract us from the fact that this is essentially an Indian story, notwithstanding the umbilical cord of the British.

To begin at the beginning, the Royal Indian Navy (RIN) was set up on 02 Oct 1934, with its headquarters at Mumbai under the Flag Officer Commanding Royal Indian Navy (FOCRIN). In his book ‘Under Two Ensigns’ the Navy’s pioneering historian the late Rear Admiral Satyindra Singh says “Between 1934 and 1939 the RIN was developed into a small and efficient naval force and by the time the WW 2 broke out, the RIN Fleet comprised five sloops, a survey vessel, a patrol ship, a depot ship and large number of small craft. Recommendations were made in 1939 for assigning greater responsibility for the naval defence of India to the RIN and for the modernisation of Service….the personnel strength of the RIN on 01 Oct 1939 was 114 Officers and 1732 ratings with only sixteen officers as the Headquarters Staff’.

Incidentally, the Naval Headquarter was situated inside dockyard premises. Currently, it is the office of Principal Medical Officer (PMO) of the dockyard. The grand façade and ornate staircase are indicators of its ‘tryst with naval history’. Naval historian and former curator of the Maritime History Society (MHS) Cdr Mohan Narayan (Retd) adds another nugget that ‘for some time the Dockyard Signal Station located where currently the Commodore of the Yard (C of Y) building is also functioned as NHQ’. That structure, though, no longer exists.

The outbreak of WW 2 changed everything. Ships were commissioned and inducted at rapid rate, many of them built in India. Merchant ships were armed and requisitioned for war. Naval Headquarters shifted to Delhi in March 1941. RIN ships operated across wide swathes of ocean in different campaign theatres – Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden, Mediterranean, Atlantic, Bay of Bengal, Arakan coast, Southern Indian Ocean and so on. Raids, Amphibious operations, Merchant ship escort, joint operations with Indian army, Minesweeping Operations, Coastal defence and variety of other tasks were carried out with distinction by this fledgling force. RIN ships were also part of British Commonwealth Occupation Forces (BCOF) in Japan after the war.

Many of them are stories worth telling but in particular the exploits of HMIS Bengal are legendary. A Bathurst class minesweeper of  just over 700 tons tasked to escort a Dutch tanker MV Ondina from Australia to Diego Garcia she took on two mighty Japanese raiders much larger than her (10000 and 8000 tons) and more heavily armed; she got the better of them, sinking one and chasing the other away without suffering much damage herself. Bengal was the toast of town in many naval stations thereafter and her predominantly Indian crew given a hero’s welcome.

The reoccupation of Berbera (in British Somaliland) on 16 Mar 41 was a historic event – possibly the first ever joint operations by the RIN, Indian Army and Air Force. HMIS Netravati and HMIS Parvati successfully landed troops of 15th Punjab and 2nd Punjab regiments in a quick operation that was completed by daylight and with Italian POWs brought back to Aden by Parvati the same night. RIN ships were also involved substantially in the capture of Massawa in April 41.

In the East, RIN ships were involved in convoy escort, withdrawal operations from Rangoon and Akyab, and communications duties in Bay of Bengal. The Coastal Forces of RIN did commendable work off Arakan coast in 1943-44. The successful recapture of Rangoon (Op Dracula) in May 1945 was the grand finale in which the RIN ships were involved in minesweeping, convoy ops and amphibious assault. Significantly, many of these operations were with allied forces of several nations and involved heterogeneous forces. They were also joint operations with Army and Air Force.

Interestingly, Lt YN Singh, Royal Navy’s first Indian fighter pilot flew Grumman Hellcat fighters with 804 Naval Air Squadron from Carriers that were part of East Indies Fleet headquartered at Trincomalee, under the command of Admiral Sir Arthur Power in Aug 1945. HMIS Kistna (Cdr SG Karmarkar) was also among the escort forces in East Indies Fleet at that time. Many Indian Officers – especially those on training – were also involved in the war while posted in RN ships or establishments.

It was in this crucible that the young officers and sailors of those times were baptised. By the end of the war, and thereafter, the Indian component in RIN had only got bigger. Further, the RINR (Royal Indian Naval Reserve) and RINVR (Royal Indian Naval Volunteer Reserve) had also been constituted to aid war effort. In addition, as a war time measure Women’s Royal Indian Naval Service (WRINS) was introduced in 1943. They were primarily employed in Communications and Signals duties. This branch was disbanded in 1947 but their story holds the promise of a separate article in itself.

During the war, two young Indian Officers Lt N Krishnan (later VAdm and FOCinC East during Indo Pak war 1971) and Lt Daya Shankar (later RAdm and Controller General Defence Production) were awarded Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for their acts of gallantry. Lt SG Karmarkar (later RAdm) was awarded MBE for skilfully navigating HMIS Ratnagiri through uncharted waters, in landing operations off Eritrean coast. The CO of HMIS Bengal Lt Cdr WJ Wilson (RINR) was awarded the DSO while his second in command Jai Mehra was awarded an MBE and two gun crew, Leading Seaman Ismail Mohammed and Petty Officer Mohammed were awarded gallantry medals. Two RINR officers KP Rahalkar and FS Sopher were involved in picking up survivors of HMIS Sophie Marie which stuck a mine and was lost at sea. Many Indians – Katari, Soman, Chakravarti, Karmarkar, Chatterji, Krishnan also commanded ships or smaller craft during the war, gaining invaluable experience.

The war also resulted in massive expansion in training and maintenance infrastructure and baby steps in indigenous shipbuilding – Basset class trawlers and Bangor class minesweepers. From training in sheds at the dockyard in Mumbai, new establishments and facilities were set up in Karachi, Kochi, Visakhapatnam, Lonavla and in other parts of Mumbai. Among these were specialist training schools for engineering, radar, signals, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious operations, officer training, coastal forces and such like. Many were to prove useful after independence in providing continuity in a time of transition. Between 1941 and 43, new branches – electrical, accounts, education and medical – were created in RIN.

When the war ended on 15 Aug 1945, the strength of RIN was over 2700 officers and 27650 personnel and the Fleet comprised 7 sloops, 4 frigates, 4 corvettes, 14 minesweepers, 16 trawlers, 2 depot ships, 30 auxiliary vessels, 150 landing craft, 200 harbour craft, several motor launches and huge number of shore establishments. Thus, in just 6 years, its strength increased 20 fold in manpower and about 30 times in terms of hardware. It was truly staggering. It needs to be noted that despite the wide range and scale of operations, the RIN losses were negligible – six ships in six years of the war.

Vice Admiral Sir Herbert Fitzherbert, C-in-C, Royal Indian Navy (a Royal Navy officer on deputation) was handsome in his praise stating, “Ships of the RIN had been employed in fighting or helping to fight the battle of the Atlantic and had operated as far east as Singapore and as far south as Australia; they had come up against the enemy, the enemy mine and the enemy gun, and they had done magnificently. The men had had their ships sunk under them, and in every case their behaviour had accorded with the very highest traditions of the Royal Navy in times of great stress and hardship”.

Incidentally, one of the reasons for the huge increase in the Indian component was due to the continuous efforts by Indian freedom fighters to ‘Indianise’ the Armed Forces, especially in the officer cadre. Conscious of the fact that when freedom finally dawns, the Indian Armed Forces would need our own people at the helm, these leaders relentlessly campaigned for a change in the status quo and it was from around 1933 that this became visible. The SS Dufferin started by Indian Mercantile Marine Department, in 1926, to train officers for Merchant Navy also contributed many officers to the Indian Navy. In an essay on this issue, historian Srinath Raghavan brings out how several leaders – Gopal Krishna Gokhale, BG Tilak, Motilal Nehru, Sir Sivaswamy Iyer, Tej Bahadur Sapru, Shanmugham Chetty – unceasingly worked for this objective. Thus, the Indian Freedom struggle also had a collateral mission of increasing the Indian component of our Armed Forces. The growth and ‘Indianisation’ of RIN is directly related to this. Katari in his autobiography “A Sailor Remembers” describes Iyer as redoubtable champion of Indian Shipping.

The end of the war though resulted in many deleterious consequences for the RIN. As Satyindra Singh describes “a young over expanded service rapidly disintegrating in the rush to demobilise, living in a supercharged political atmosphere with its own additional feelings of disappointment, apprehension, uncertainty and un-redressed grievances”. This was to result, among other things, in the Naval Uprising of February 1946. While early historians have, understandably, characterised it as a mutiny, revisionist histories have led many to conclude that along with the INA trials and similar revolt by the Royal Air Force personnel at that time, the RIN mutiny was among the many factors that may have hastened the exit of the British. Hence, the Naval Uprising, as it is now described, occupies a historical place as an event that played a role in our freedom struggle.

Irrespective of how one chooses to look at it, there can be no doubt that it was an important moment in the history of RIN and one that would influence people who served in the Navy then and those who were to follow in their wake.  While the Indian Navy and the Maritime History Society (MHS) at Mumbai have done much to preserve the memories and commemorate the uprising, we could look forward to more research on that front in the future.

Independence and Partition were soon to follow leaving their own imprint on the service and people who manned it. The autobiographies or recollections of Katari, Soman, Chatterji, Daya Shankar, Nanda, Krishnan – Admirals all – attest in one form or other to the various feelings they had when Independence dawned and the challenges brought about by partition. They were also privileged to meet with, interact and have conversations with the political leaders of the day. Perhaps it was a smaller world then and more intimate circle of people in high places.

And, thus, on 15 Aug 1947, the RIN was reduced to a small force – of 4 sloops, 2 frigates, 1 survey vessel, dozen minesweepers and an assortment of smaller craft. In some ways it was back to 1934. There was the brief ‘gun boat diplomacy’ action off Junagarh but essentially it boiled down to getting down to the brass-tacks and working on a new Navy. Happily, and despite being ‘cut down to size’, our post-independence leadership were not lacking in vision and thought big. A 1948 Plan paper envisioned aircraft carriers, submarines and other components of a balanced Fleet. It continues to be our template even today. To signify our ambitions, our first big buy, our first Capital ship, was the 6 inch cruiser, the HMIS (later INS) Delhi (formerly HMS Achilles), in Jun 1948, a huge formidable ship, possibly the most powerful, east of Suez. This ship set the way for our subsequent growth and development over the last 70 years where we have come to be one of the biggest navies in the world.

Thus, the story of the Royal Indian Navy is fascinating in many ways. Its brief life saw several tumultuous events in an eventful decade and half, and offers us several lessons. As Cmde Johnson, current Director of the Maritime History Society and author of a book on the RIN says, “it was a seamless bridge from the mercantile and military heritage to the emerging Navy of a young India’.

It is also possible to see many takeaways from our freedom moment in the monumental journey of the RIN and subsequently the Indian Navy. To give just one example, the rebirth of the Kalvari class submarines and Nilgiri class frigates are not merely ‘old names on new platforms’ but the cherished naval tradition of continuity or handing over of the baton. It signifies trusteeship and stakeholdership – tenets that the Mahatma believed in and espoused. Further, Mahatma Gandhi and his contemporaries exemplified and contributed to the spirit of India between the two World Wars where the quest for modernity, industrial advancement, self-reliance, freedom from British all went hand in hand. It did not stop them from borrowing a trick or two from the Brits or emulating some of their good practices. The Royal Indian Navy was a product of that zeitgeist and its short life belies its significant imprimatur.

In many intangible ways our freedom movement and the thoughts that emerged then contributed to the ‘Indianisation’ of RIN and provided us our leadership post independence. These officers were battle hardened and, in addition, the exhilaration of independence, the agony of partition and the trauma of uprising contributed to their experiences thereby influencing the trajectory of post-independence Navy. There is scope to further study this aspect with a view to providing the political and intellectual underpinnings to the Indian Navy.

As we celebrate the Mahatma, Lal Bhadur Shastri and the freedom struggle, let us also raise a toast to the RIN which is an Indian story in many ways. Historian and author KM Panikkar described RIN ‘as a glorious page in Indian history’. While his reference was to the war, we could extrapolate it to its entire brief odyssey. On 26 Jan 1950, as Indian became a Republic, the RIN became Indian Navy and our ships now used the prefix INS instead of HMIS. But the RIN did go out with a high. On the Republic Day 1950, it was the Navy that led the parade for one last time as the RIN was the senior most of the three services then. After that, the Indian Navy yielded that position to our much bigger and distinguished sibling, the Indian Army.

And for the trivia buffs, the RIN celebrated its first Navy Day on 17 Dec 49. Among the many people who wished it were three stars of Hollywood – Burt Lancaster, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (see pic accompanying). Quite a big bang for a small service.

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Defence

INDIA REPATRIATES YOUTH FROM POK AT TITHWAL CROSSING POINT

Ashish Singh

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On the night of 5th April, a youth inadvertently crossed the line of control into Karnah, Kupwara (J&K). The youth identified as Mausam son of Manzoor Ahmad from Lipa area of Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan was kept by the Indian troops deployed along the line of control for the night with due care & Pakistani authorities were informed of the whereabouts of the child. Based on the interaction between the authorities of both sides on the hotline, the Indian authorities repatriated the youth to the Pakistani authorities from Tithwal crossing point as a humanitarian gesture. The youth was presented clothes and sweets, on return. On the occasion of repatriation, the representatives of civil administration, Karnah were present. The exchange took place at 1150 a.m. Indian standard Time on 7th April. Such inadvertent crossings have taken place earlier also due to close proximity of villages along line of control on either sides. However, the Indian side has always been prompt in returning the individuals keeping the humanitarian issue in mind.

That way Tithwal Crossing Bridge located on Kishanganga river has been acting as a point of peace between the two sides. It would be pertinent to highlight that the site is visited by lots of people from either sides and is emerging as tourist site especially after the recently agreed ceasefire between India and Pakistan. The peace and tranquility as a result of the agreement, is being appreciated by the civil population on either sides of line of control.

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RAJNATH SINGH HOLDS BILATERAL TALKS WITH KAZAKH DEFENCE MINISTER

Discusses ways to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.

Ashish Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with Defence Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev in New Delhi on Friday. During the meeting, the two Ministers exchanged views to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation, including through training, defence exercises and capacity building. They agreed that both sides must look at the possibility of defence industrial collaboration of mutual interest. The Defence Minister of Kazakhstan thanked Rajnath Singh for the opportunity given to the Kazakh troops for deployment as part of the Indian battalion in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Both Ministers also positively assessed the annual KAZIND Exercise.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and other senior civil and military officials of Ministry of Defence were also present on the occasion. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India from April 7th to 10th. He visited HQs 12 Corps at Jodhpur and the Longewala sector in Jaisalmer. The Kazakh Defence Minister is in India on the invitation of Rajnath Singh.

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Defence

MADE IN CHINA: NOT IN A BATTLE PLEASE

Ashish Singh

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The recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh is being avidly studied in think tanks and military academies over the world for its unusual lessons and the optimisation of disruptive technologies, particularly the success of Azerbaijan’s drones. However, another set of people are quietly studying the conflict even more closely—the global arms industry. Every conflict spurs arms sales. After the overwhelming and quick success of the US-led forces in Gulf War I, there was a long lineup for the latest weapons used in the war. The Saudis wanted F-15 fighters, Apache helicopters, Abrams M1A1 tanks, AWACS radar planes, Patriot missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, Seahawk helicopters, and Bradley fighting vehicles. The Egyptians wanted Hawk missiles, M-60 tank upgrades, and F-16 fighters, while the Israelis negotiated for portable battlefield-navigation systems, upgrades for the F-15 fighter and the M-109 artillery piece, and more Patriot missiles. A similar interest in the weapon systems, particularly drones, deployed in this conflict is being shown today in cash-rich capitals of many nations.

However, nobody is taking the next flight to Beijing to close an arms deal, though the Chinese have a reputation for being the cheapest in the market. The reason is evident, but hushed. For all their claims of technological prowess, the Chinese systems have failed to deliver. China commenced with large scale sales of drones to many countries as early as 2011. It was a ‘supply shock’, and countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria obtained them. The prices were unbelievably low—both for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). However, the performance of these inexpensive platforms leaves a lot to be desired. The export versions are regularly falling out of the sky. Algeria has reported a series of accidents in the last six years with the Chinese-supplied CH-4 UCAVs. The CH-4 is produced by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It is one of the Rainbow series of aircraft built by the state-owned corporation. In Algeria, repeated crashes of CH-4 were reported near Tindouf, Bir Rogaa and Ain Oussera airbases.

Jordan had to put on sale Chinese-supplied UAVs after they failed on all parameters. After purchasing with much fanfare in 2016, within three years, the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) had put its Chinese-made six CH-4B UAVs up for sale in June 2019, indicating disappointment with their performance. The RJAF had acquired them in 2016 along with AR-1 laser-guided missiles and FT-9 guided bombs. In June 2020, a Chinese drone crashed in Cambodia, in Koh Kong province’s Kiri Sakor district. It was a Chinese BZK-005, a high altitude UAV used primarily as a long range reconnaissance aircraft, designed by Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics and Harbin Aircraft Industry Company. Within China, their much hyped ‘Predator’ unmanned helicopter developed by Hangzhou Star Low Altitude Helicopter Development Company and hailed as one of the “trailblazers” in the development of China’s drone industry suddenly dived towards the ground and crashed at air show in Hangzhou in October 2020.

The key Chinese system in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict was the WM-80 Multiple Rocket Launcher (MRL), sold to Armenia in 1999 with great promises of devastating fires and annihilation of enemy forces. The MRL system was developed by Norinco, the China Ordnance Industries Group Corporation Limited, on Chinese designed Type 83 273 mm. It has a modular design, with two launcher boxes each containing four ready-to-launch rocket rounds on a TAS-5380 8×8 truck chassis. It failed to make any impact on the opposing Azerbaijan forces. In short, the Chinese weapon platforms have proved undependable even in mildly contested environments, leave aside wars with dense and unpredictable Air Defence environment.

There are numerous reliability and supplies issues with China. China signs agreements for a certain variant of a weapon platform but delivers a lower version with many changes. Often the buyer has no choice but to accept since the requirements are urgent, as in case of Algeria who purchased the lower variant as their border situation was worsening with Libya, Mali and Niger. Pakistan has similar compulsions, not to mention a worsening economy. China is also known to avoid providing spare parts and after sales service. Reports indicate that instead of adhering to the original contract, Chinese middlemen keep putting forth new options for better platforms, and make sales pitch simultaneously to rival factions and groups, particularly in Africa. Maybe the Chinese will improve their weapon platforms in near future, and offer some quality along with quantity. Even without quality, there would always be some buyers from the cash-strapped regions. However, for anywhere else where ethics and human lives matter, no ‘Made in China’ crashing drones and dysfunctional systems in a battlefield.

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Defence

INDIA, MALDIVES CALL FOR GLOBAL COOPERATION AGAINST TERRORISM

First meeting of India-Maldives Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism; the two nations strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms.

Ashish Singh

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The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism, countering violent extremism and de-radicalisation between India and the Maldives was held in New Delhi on Thursday. The Indian side was led by Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, and the Maldivian side was led by Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed. The meeting was held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere that symbolises the time-tested and good neighbourly ties between India and the Maldives and the energy, ambition and scale acquired by our bilateral relations under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

India and the Maldives strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and emphasised the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism in a comprehensive and sustained manner. Both sides reviewed threats posed by terrorist entities that are under UN sanctions and emphasised the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks.

They underlined the urgent need for all countries to take immediate, sustained, verifiable and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under their control is used for terrorist attacks on others and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks. Referring to the joint statement issued during the state visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Maldives in June 2019, the two sides recognized the critical threats that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation pose to peace and security in the region.

India appreciated the clear-eyed stance taken by the Government of President Solih to counter such threats and the concrete steps taken by the Maldives in this regard. The two sides also exchanged views on various areas of cooperation in the sphere of counter-terrorism including countering radicalization and violent extremism, combating financing of terrorism, preventing exploitation of the internet for terrorism and violent extremism, information sharing, capacity building and establishing institutional linkages between police, security forces, Customs, Immigration and other relevant agencies.

Further, the two sides exchanged views on enhancing bilateral cooperation against narcotics and drug trafficking. The discussions were also informed by the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented to countering terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism.

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation that will include assistance and capacity building for the security and law enforcement agencies and other relevant agencies of the Maldives as well as collaboration and the exchange of best practices in the areas of counter-terrorism, preventing and countering of violent extremism and de-radicalisation. The two sides also discussed cooperation in multilateral fora. The Maldivian delegation will also visit the training facilities of National Security Guard and the Bureau of Police Research and Development during its stay in New Delhi.

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Defence

Indian Army Chief Naravane proceeds on a five-day visit to Bangladesh

Ashish Singh

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Continuing with the excellent tradition of strong bilateral and defence ties between India and Bangladesh, General M.M. Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) has started a five day visit to Bangladesh from 8th to 12th April. General Naravane’s visit comes in the midst of Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations which mark 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh, made possible by the historic leadership of the Bôngobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and heroics of the Mukti Bahini who fought shoulder to shoulder with Indian Armed Forces. 

The Army Chief paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by laying a wreath at the Shikha Anirban on Thursday. This was followed by one to one meetings with the three Service Chiefs of the Bangladesh’s Armed Forces. General Naravane is also scheduled to visit the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi, where he will pay tributes to Bangladesh’s founding father. The COAS will interact with Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on 11th April at Bangladesh Army’s Multipurpose Complex in Dhaka where he will attend a seminar on UN Peace Support Operations and deliver a keynote address on “Changing Nature of Global Conflicts: Role of UN Peacekeepers”

General MM Naravane is also scheduled to interact with the Force Commanders of the United Nations Missions in Mali, South Sudan and Central African Republic and the Deputy Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutanese Army on 12th April. He will also attend the closing ceremony of Exercise Shantir Ogrosena, a multilateral UN-mandated counterterrorism exercise comprising the Armed Forces of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka along with observers from the US, UK, Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among others. The Chief will also witness the innovations of the Bangladeshi Armed Forces personnel during the Hardware Display. The Chief of the Army Staff will interact with the members of Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support and Training Operations (BIPSOT) during the last leg of his visit. This visit will further deepen the bilateral relationships between the two Armies and act as a catalyst for closer coordination and cooperation between the two countries on a host of strategic issues.

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Defence

Kazakhstan Defence Minister visits India for bilateral talks

Ashish Singh

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Minister of Defence of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India from April 7th to 10th. The Kazakh Defence Minister arrived in Jodhpur on Wednesday and is scheduled to travel to Jaisalmer, New Delhi and Agra for meetings and visit to defence establishments. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev will hold a bilateral meeting with Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi today. This will be the first meeting after Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev was re-appointed as Defence Minister of Kazakhstan. The two Ministers had last met in Moscow on 5th September 2020 on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting. The Kazakh Defence Minister is in India on the invitation of Raksha Mantri.

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