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RAJNATH SINGH FLAGS-IN CLIMB-A-THON

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flagged-in a climb-a-thon, organised by Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling, to celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in New Delhi.

Ashish Singh

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Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh flagged-in a climb-a-thon, organised by Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI), Darjeeling to celebrate ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ in New Delhi on Tuesday. The climb-a-thon was organised at four smaller peaks of the Sikkim Himalayas from 20 to 25 April 2021. The climb-a-thon, under the leadership of Group Captain Jai Kishan, was conducted at Mt Rhenock, Mt Frey, Mt BC Roy and Mt Palung, by a team of 125 mountaineers.

The National Flag, measuring 7,500 sq ft and weighing 75 kg, was hoisted atop Mt Rhenock at an altitude of 16,500 ft above sea level. The point where the National Flag was hoisted has been named after the first freedom fighter from Sikkim, Trilochan Pokhrel, fondly remembered as Gandhi Pokhrel. The feat was recorded as the biggest Indian National Flag hoisted atop a mountain in the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records. The team also performed a world record 75-hour nonstop Surya Namaskar 2.51 lakh times at HMI, Darjeeling.

Appreciating HMI for this unique initiative, Singh stated that such events will promote patriotism through adventure among the youth. He conveyed his best wishes to the team and released the certificates of participation for the team. Group Captain Jai Kishan presented the replica of the Indian Flag to the Raksha Mantri. Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence were also present on the occasion.

The National Flag is planned to be displayed at different locations across the country, including the Statue of Unity in Gujarat on 31 October 2021; National War Memorial/South Block in New Delhi on 16 December 2021 on the occasion of Swarnim Vijay Diwas; Lal Chowk in Srinagar on 15 August 2022; Andaman & Nicobar Islands on 23 March 2022 and Kanyakumari. In addition, the team plans to display the Indian Flag over the highest peak of the South Pole in January 2022.

TRI-SERVICES MOUNTAINEERING EXPEDITION TO MT MANIRANG

The IAF had organised a tri-services, all women mountaineering expedition to Mt. Manirang (21,625 ft) as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mohotsav’ celebrations. The team of 15 mountaineers, led by Wg Cdr Bhavana Mehra, was flagged off by Air Marshal VPS Rana, Air Officer-in-Charge Administration. The team scaled the peak on 15 August. The Air Marshal encouraged the team to achieve their aim and appreciated the efforts by the organisers to facilitate the expedition. The other 14 members of the team included Wg Cdr N Linyu, Wg Cdr Nirupama Pandey, Wg Cdr Lalita Mishra, Wg Cdr Vyomika Singh, Flt Lt Komal Pahuja, Lt Col Geetanjali Bhatt, Maj Saumya Shukla, Maj Veenu Mor, Maj Usha Kumari, Maj Rachna Hooda, Lt Cdr Nandini Damroy, Lt Cdr Sino Wilson, Lt Cdr Chham Kumari, and Lt Cdr Renu Ramdurg. Mt Manirang is located at the border of the Kinnaur and Spiti districts of Himachal Pradesh. The Manirang Pass is located close to the peak and is one of the early trade routes between these two districts.

RAKSHA MANTRI FLAGGED-IN INDIAN ARMY SKIING EXPEDITION ARMEX-21

Rajnath Singh flagged in the Indian Army Skiing Expedition, ARMEX-21, in New Delhi in July. The ARMEX-21 was conducted in the mountain ranges of the Himalayan region to promote the adventure activity in the country and the Indian Army. The expedition was flagged off at Karakoram Pass in Ladakh on 10 March 2021 and culminated at Malari in Uttarakhand on 6 July 2021, covering 1,660 km in 119 days. During the expedition, the team travelled through several passes of 5,000-6,500 m, glaciers, valleys and rivers. The team also interacted with the local population of the far-flung areas. It was able to gather detailed information about several hitherto unchartered areas along the international boundary and the hinterland.

Singh congratulated the team on the successful completion of the challenging expedition and lauded them for their courage and resilience. Terming the expedition as extraordinary, he said not only did the team completed a thrilling journey, but also conducted an operational recce of the region. The Raksha Mantri commended the courage, dedication and spirit of the Armed Forces and expressed satisfaction that the safety and security of the country are in safe hands. He exuded confidence that the success of ARMEX-21 will inspire a new generation of adventurers across the nation. Sharing the team’s experiences of the journey, Major AK Singh, the team leader said there were several occasions when their resolve was tested. One of the most difficult moments the team faced was while crossing Kalindi Khal in Garhwal. He said that the team had to set camp at an altitude of 5,500 m due to the white-out conditions. The team leader described the interaction with the civilian population residing in remote areas as a refreshing experience. Their simplicity and helping attitude were heart-warming, said Singh, adding that the expedition served to bring fringe populations closer and strengthened their faith in the Indian Army’s ability to reach out to them in case of need.

The team members explained how traversing long distances in the high mountains differs from scaling of peaks which is the more common form of adventure activity in the mountains. Traverse can test your endurance like no other activity, they said. The team remained beyond the reach of logistics and rescue teams for long durations which necessitate the carriage of loads more than 30 kg by each member of the team. Unlike ascent of peaks where a very small part of the team actually scales the peak, in traversing long distances the entire team completes the adventure activity. Team spirit was the key, the team stressed. The team members informed the Raksha Mantri how they were able to cover long distances by use of skis. They covered 66 km in a day while crossing the Lamkhaga Pass, it was the longest distance covered by them in a single day during the entire expedition. Singh also felicitated the team members of ARMEX-21.

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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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