Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The First All-Women Crew Of Indian Coast Guard Takes Flight For Maritime Recce

DSC04329 by Chindits
DSC04329, a photo by Chindits on Flickr.
On 19 Jun 2013, a Coast Guard maritime reconnaissance aircraft had taken off in the skies of Daman and adjoining Arabian Sea with all women crew comprising of Asst Comdt Neetu Singh Bartwal (Captain of the aircraft), Asst Comdt Neha Murudkar (pilot in command) and Asst Comdt Shristi Singh (Co-pilot). This Flight was a maiden all women flight by ICG Dornier in the history of Indian Coast Guard and was undertaken from Coast Guard Air Station Daman situated on the Western Sea Board of the country.

This achievement was possible with passing out of 1st Short Service Entry (observers) course comprising of 03 women officers who had undergone long drawn training in various Naval and Coast Guard establishments for qualifying as an air borne tactician. These women officers had toiled long hours gaining proficiency in handling Dornier aircraft and sensors, for safeguarding the maritime borders of India. During this mission the crew flew over one hour and landed safely with a warm welcome by Station Commander, Officers and men of Coast Guard Air Station Daman applauding the milestone achieved.

The first all women flight has not only brought laurels to the Indian Coast Guard but also to the women fraternity proving exceptional skills and commitment to the nation.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Indian Army Launches Op Ganga Parhar, For Rescue In Uttarakhand

Central Command spear heading the Army’s rescue and relief operations in Uttarakhand has achieved major successes today which are truly unprecedented in the annals of history.  All the 500 people stranded in and around Gangotri have been evacuated.  Barring 25 people, Gagariya on the Hemkund axis has been evacuated.  Weather permitting the balance 25 will be evacuated at the earliest.  Army troops skilled in mountain rescue operations had established contact with more  than 1000 persons stranded in mountain folds in Jungle Chatti between Gauri Kund and Rambara on the Kedarnath axis.  Till reports last came in Army helicopters have evacuated 350 people so far and search operations are continuing.  Food and medicines have also been dropped.  Two medical teams have now established at Gauri Kund to treat patients.  

Besides, a composite relief staging area has been opened at Gauri Kund providing food, water and medicines to the people.  Early in the morning today, dedicated Army teams worked tirelessly to prepare a helipad at Jungle Chatti which facilitated evacuation from one of the most dangerous and inaccessible areas of Kedar valley.  This helipad is now being improved to facilitate landing of Dhruv helicopters.  Army also constructed two helipads at Gauri Kund.

Army created history in Badrinath valley today when a heli-bridge was created at Govind Ghat to transport pilgrims across the Alaknanda River.  Helicopters did shuttle service from either banks of the river as the temporary crossing made earlier had collapsed.

Army today operationalised the foot track between Govind Ghat and Lambagar on Badrinath road.  Another column conducting road clearing operations from Badrinath to Lambagar successfully launched a foot bridge over Alaknanda this evening, thus opening the foot route from Badrinath to Govindghat. Road Govindghat to Joshimath is open to vehicular traffic.

Army achieved another milestone on Gangotri axis.  All stranded people in Gangotri have been evacuated.  Road is now open for light vehicles from Gangotri to Harsil.  Due to a series of landslides between Harsil and Uttarkashi, Army is now moving people using ‘Staging Area’ concept.  Across all landslides, people are being made to cross on foot and in between any two landslides, vehicles are being used.  Two staging areas at Sukhi and Gangnani have been established to provide food and medicines to evacuated people.
Army column reached Barkot on Yamunotri axis today.  The column would start evacuating people from Yamunotri by tomorrow.  As per the latest data, approximately 700 people are at Yamunotri.

In Tawaghat – Dharchula axis in Pithoragarh district, Army is in the process of establishing link up with approximately 1000 people in Sobala valley and medical teams and food has already been sent there today.  Army column evacuated all 45 children who were stranded on Pindari glacier in Bageshwar district.  Search operations are on to link up with 10 to 12 people stranded on Sunderdhunga glacier.

Eight columns of Army have also been deployed in 08 districts of North Western UP.  2500 people have been evacuated to safer places in Pilibhit district and 260 people have been moved to safer places near Palwal.

Army has so far deployed 19 medical teams in Uttarakhand with each team led by a doctor. 45 satellite phones have also been deployed in various parts of the state to enable stranded people to contact their families.  More than 2300 people used Army communication facilities to talk to their loved ones at home.

Army so far has evacuated 18500 people and deployed 10000 soldiers for rescue and relief operations.  Lt Gen Anil Chait, Army Commander, Central Command after reviewing the flood situation in UP today is returning to Uttarakhand on Sunday to direct and intensify Army’s efforts.  “Army operations will continue till the last man is brought back home”, said Lt Gen Anil Chait while addressing media persons in Lucknow today.


Friday, June 21, 2013

INS Venduruthy Celebrates 70th Anniversary

INS Venduruthy, the Flag Ship of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief celebrated its Seventieth Anniversary on 21 Jun in a well attended function at the Naval Base.Speaking on the occasion the Commanding Officer of INS Venduruthy, Commodore MR Ajay Kumar traced the origin of the Naval Base from 31 Aug 1939 when a small naval contingent was placed in Cochin under a Royal Indian Navy officer who assumed the duties of Naval Officer-in-Charge, Cochin. The contingent was tasked to cater to the requirements of Local Naval Defence, running a Port Wireless Signal Station and an Examination Service. The present day INS Venduruthy was commissioned as HMIS Venduruthy on 23 Jun 1943 and with Independence was renamed as INS Venduruthy. Since then Venduruthy has continued to grow, modify and beautify over the years.

The Commodore said that today, INS Venduruthy as the Flag Ship of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command, has burgeoned into the largest establishment of the Indian Navy and  provides logistics and administrative  support to 73 units. Within its four walls the Naval Base houses the Headquarters of Southern Naval Command, Ships, Air Base, Repair Yards, Hospital, Professional Schools, accommodation for married and in-living Officers & Sailors, Shopping Complex and a host of other facilities.

The Minister for Fisheries, Ports and Excise, Shri K Babu graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Speaking on the occasion the Minister expressed his happiness at the important role played by INS Venduruthy in maintaining a link between the Navy and the civil administration. The reliable role played by the establishment in providing assistance to the government agencies during various natural disasters was specifically appreciated by Shri K Babu. The Minister also appreciated the major role played by the Navy in coordinating the Coastal Security requirements in Kerala and the help accorded for putting in place a strong and reliable network where various agencies like the District administrations, the Marine Police, the Fisheries department and the port authorities can discuss and go ahead together.

The Minister also highlighted the extensive discussion held by the Navy and the State Government and said they are vigorously pursuing a major role for the Navy in the Vizhinjam Port project. The Honourable Minister also presented Proficiency Certificates and Cash Awards to the sailors and Defence Civilians of Venduruthy.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

C 17 Globemaster III Touches Down At Air Force Station Hindan

18 Jun 2013 saw the first of the ten Boeing C 17 Globemaster III, ordered from the United States, touchdown in India, at Hindan airbase. With the training of the aircrew and the ground crew being conducted by the United States Air Force (USAF), the Indian Air Force accepted the delivery of the aircraft on 11 Jun 2013 at Long Beach, California.

Received by Air Marshal S Sukumar, Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at the Hindan airbase, where it would be based.
The aircraft will enhance the operational potential of the IAF with its payload carriage and performance capability and would augment the strategic reach of the Nation during disaster relief or any similar mission. The induction of C 17 is a major milestone in the modernization drive of the IAF.  

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Boeing Transfers 1st C-17 to Indian Air Force

C-17 by Chindits
C-17, a photo by Chindits on Flickr.
LONG BEACH, Calif., June 11, 2013 -- The Indian Air Force (IAF) flew its first Boeing [NYSE: BA] C-17 Globemaster III to India today, becoming the newest operator of the leading airlifter.

"The C-17 will equip the Indian Air Force with amongst the world's most advanced humanitarian and strategic capabilities," said Air Vice Marshal SRK Nair, Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Transport and Helicopters). "We have looked forward to this day when our Indian Air Force flies the first C-17 to its new home in India."

Boeing is on track to deliver four more C-17s to the IAF this year and five in 2014. This first aircraft was transferred today after completion of a flight test program at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, Calif., that began following the Jan. 22 delivery.

"Congratulations to the Indian Air Force on this milestone as India joins the worldwide community of C-17 operators," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing vice president of Business Development for Mobility, Surveillance and Engagement. "Nations turn to the C-17 for the capability to perform a wide range of operations, from peacekeeping and disaster relief to troop movements from semi-prepared airfields. This aircraft will provide the Indian Air Force with the versatility to augment airlift capability."
Boeing will support the IAF C-17 fleet through the Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics contract. The GISP "virtual fleet" arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Central Air Command Turns Fifty

Year long celebrations on the occasion of Golden jubilee of Central Air Command came to a close here on Monday, 10 Jun 13. In a mega ceremony specially arranged at Air Force Station Bamrauli to mark the completion of fifty glorious years, His Excellency Shri BL Joshi, Governor of Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Guest of the function graciously released the ‘FIRST DAY COVER’ of Central Air Command. The events were very keenly witnessed by a huge crowd of over 3000 people which included Justice Tarun Agarwala, High Court of UP, Shri Alok Johri, General Manager Northern Central Railways, Prof AK Singh Vice-Chancellor Allahabad University, Maj Gen Bishamber Dayal VSM, GOC HQ Purv UP & MP Sub Area, Dr Nandlal Jotwani, Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Ministry of Minority affairs Govt of India, Commissioner Allahabad Region, Dist Magistrate Allahabad, besides senior officers from civil administration as well as armed forces.

Earlier in the day, Air Marshal J Chauhan AVSM VSM Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Air Command laid the wreath at CAC War Memorial to pay tributes to air warriors of CAC who laid down their lives for the nation. While the buglers played the tune ‘Last Post’ and the guards stood with reverse arms, all personnel present there solemnly observed two minutes silence.

The mega ceremony included a fly past by front line fighter aircraft, breath-taking performance by ‘Air Warrior Drill Team’, slithering demo by ‘Garud’ commandoes of Air Force Special Forces from Medium lift Heptrs and ‘Akash Ganga’ sky diving team, which kept the audience enthralled.

In their first ever air display in Allahabad, Air Warrior Drill Team performed synchronized rifle drill movements with superb agility. In the scintillating and hair-raising display of rifle handling skills the team demonstrated various formations like ‘PLUS’,‘V’, ‘SQUARE’, ‘ZIG ZAG’ etc which evidently conveyed their motto ‘Drill to Thrill’. Equally mesmerizing were the manoeuvres, twists, twirls and rolls by the sky divers while descending at a great speed before opening the chutes and making a perfect landing right in front of the audience. The spectators looked in awe and admiration when country’s best multi role combat aircraft Su-30 MKI, Mirage 2000 and Jaguar flew across the skies of Allahabad. Amidst the thunderous applause by the audience, ‘Garud’ commandoes demonstrated grit and courage while slithering down from MI-17 helicopters. The musical performance by the Air Force Band had filled the audience with the feeling of patriotism. 

While departing, the Governor complimented Air Marshal J Chauhan for the meticulously conducted ceremony. He lauded the contribution of Central Air Command in ensuring overall safety of region’s air space, and wished the Indian Air Force and Central Air command for attaining greater heights.
On this occasion Air Marshal J Chauhan AVSM VSM Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Central Air Command also addressed a press conference. Later in the evening a special gathering of Air Veterans of Central Air Command was organized in the sprawling lawns of Headquarters building.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Army Chief Reviews PoP Of Third Batch At OTA Gaya

COAS ON THE SALUTING BASE, a photo by Chindits on Flickr.
General   Bikram Singh, the Chief of Army Staff reviewed the Passing out Parade of the third batch of officers of Officers’ Training Academy (OTA), Gaya, at the sprawling Drill Square of the academy. The Drill Square of Officers Training Academy wore a spectacular look with traditional military regalia and splendour. 37 Special Commission Officers were commissioned into the Army while 91 cadets completed their Basic Military Training before proceeding to various military technical institutions to complete their balance training. The passing out parade mesmerised a large gathering of military, police and civil dignitaries and family members of the trainees with their suave and graceful drill movements.

It will be recalled that OTA, Gaya was raised on 18 July 2011 with the motto ‘Shaurya, Gyan, Sankalp’ (Courage, Wisdom, Resolve) to plug shortage of officers in the Indian Army. Presently, the Academy conducts training for the Technical Entry Scheme (TES) and Special Commission Officer (SCO) entries. The cadets belonging to the former category join the academy after completing their 10+2 schooling while the cadets for the latter are selected from the rank and files of the armed forces.The TES entrants undergo one year of basic military training before proceeding to various Military Technical Institutions for engineering studies. Commission is granted on completion of technical training. The SCO Cadets Course entrants receive pre- commission training before joining as officers in the Army.
The Reviewing Officer was accorded a salute by the parade followed by an impressive March Past. The Reviewing Officer also gave away various awards to the gentleman cadets who had excelled in training. The Gold Medals for standing first in the Order of Merit for the SCO and TES entries were awarded to Rajesh Sharma and KartikeyaRawat respectively.

Later, addressing the parade, the Chief of Army Staff congratulated the gentlemen cadets for an excellent standard of turnout and drill. He spoke of the glorious history of the Indian Army and exhorted the newly commissioned officers to follow its great traditions and strive harder to achieve higher goals. He stressed on the challenges of modern warfare, including asymmetrical threats and emphasised the need to keep pace with technological advancements. Quoting Chetwodian credo- “The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your Country Come First, Always and Every Time.  The Welfare and Comfort of the men you command come next. Your own Ease, Safety comes Last, Always and Every Time”, he impressed upon the need to follow it in letter and spirit. The General expressed his satisfaction at the infrastructure and training standards achieved in the Academy in a short period of time.
The parade culminated with the ‘AntimPag’ ( the ‘Final Step’)  after which the new officers were administered the oath by the Adjutant of the Academy in  presence of the Reviewing Officer, Commandant and other senior officers present on the occasion. The officers also received their badges of rank in the following ceremony.

The parents and relatives of the newly commissioned officers were overwhelmed with emotion and expressed pride as their children joined the elite officer cadre of the Indian Army. Congratulating the parents, the reviewing officer said that they were amongst the few lucky parents whose children got the opportunity to serve the nation by being in the Army. 


PoP OTA Gaya

COAS REVIEWING THE PARADE, a photo by Chindits on Flickr.

Helicopter Pilots Passing Out Parade Held At INS Rajali, Arakkonam

002 by Chindits
002, a photo by Chindits on Flickr.
An impressive passing out parade was held today to mark the graduation of the 80th Helicopter Conversion Course at Naval Air Station, INS Rajali, Arakkonam wherein 11 Navy and 03 Coast Guard Pilots were awarded “Wings” by Vice Admiral Bimal Kumar Verma, Chief of Staff, Headquarters Eastern Naval Command. The Pilots underwent rigorous training for 21 weeks in flying and aviation subjects at the Helicopter Training School INAS 561 (HTS). The school has graduated 578 pilots for the Indian Navy and Coast Guard till date and is commanded by Commander Ashish Bhargava. The unit was recently awarded ISO 9001:2008 certification. The School was based at Kochi till 1992 and thereafter shifted to INS Rajali at Arakkonam which is the largest operational air base of the Navy. The base is commanded by Commodore Puneet Kumar Bahl.

The Governor of Kerala Rolling Trophy for the best all round trainee pilot was awarded to Lieutenant Ankit Sharma. The Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command Rolling Trophy for the trainee pilot standing first in order of merit in flying was awarded to Midshipman Puneet Kumar. A book prize for standing first in ground subjects was awarded to Lieutenant Ayush Kumar.

The graduated pilots would be joining operational flights at Mumbai, Port Blair, Goa, Kochi, Vizag and Daman.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

India Offers Thailand Collaboration in Defence Production

Photo-C by Chindits
Photo-C, a photo by Chindits on Flickr.
The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today offered to discuss with Thailand possible areas of cooperation and collaboration in Defence production. During talks with his Thai counterpart Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat in Bangkok, Shri Antony said India has, over the years, developed a well established defence industry which can meet varying requirements of the Thai Armed Forces. He said India would welcome the visit of Thai teams to various Defence production facilities. Shri Antony said conscious planning, hard work by our scientists and support by the government is resulting in the growth of a strong defence industrial base in the country.

The talks between the two ministers covered a wide range of issues including regional security concerns. Shri Antony said both our countries have large stakes in the maintenance of peace and stability in our immediate neighbourhood and in the wider Asia Pacific region. He said our trade is dependent on the sea lanes. Hence, security of the sea lanes and freedom of navigation is critical to our economic and overall security. India supports the freedom of navigation in accordance with the principles of international law.

Shri Antony said our view is that peace and stability is in the interest of all countries in the region. “We support the resolution of differences and disputes through the process of dialogue and consensus between the parties to such disputes. All countries must exercise restraint and resolve issues diplomatically, according to the principles of international law”.

Shri Antony said New Delhi has been of the consistent view that ASEAN is central to any security architecture for the region. “India is committed to efforts of ADMM Plus, ARF and the East Asia Summit for promoting dialogue and consensus building among all countries of the region”, he said.

Earlier on his arrival at the Thai Ministry of Defence, Shri Antony was accorded an Inter-Services Guard of Honour. The Thai Defence Minister also hosted a lunch in honour of Shri Antony and his delegation.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

India, Australia To Hold Defence Talks Today

Photo-4 by Chindits
Photo-4, a photo by Chindits on Flickr.
On the second leg of his three-nation official visit, The Defence Minister AK Antony arrived in Perth from Singapore yesterday (Tuesday). Mr Antony was received at the airport by the Australian Defence Minister Mr Stephen Smith.

This is the first ever official visit to Australia by an Indian Defence Minister.

Speaking at a reception hosted in his honour at Perth, Mr Antony said the defence cooperation between India and Australia has increased substantially in the last few years. He said India values its strategic partnership with Australia and we are committed to further strengthen our bilateral relations in various areas including defence.

Referring to the Indian Ocean Region, Mr Antony said it is critical to our maritime interests. He said India’s economic development is dependent on maritime trade. The security of shipping along with sea-lanes is of vital interest to us, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Smith said the Indian Defence Minister’s historic visit is indicative of the increasing importance and depth of the Australia India bilateral relationship, including Defence-to-Defence and Military-to-Military cooperation. The reception was attended by prominent members of Western Australian and Indian academic, business and community organisations.

Mr Smith said the 2013 Australian Defence White Paper ‘outlines the profound strategic changes that are occurring as economic, strategic and military weight shifts to our part of the world, the Indo-Pacific region’. He said ‘India and Australia have a shared interest in helping to address these strategic changes, including through Defence collaboration’.

Mr Smith referred to Perth as Australia’s ‘Indian Ocean capital’.

The city is home to several significant Australian Defence Force establishments, including Australia’s Indian Ocean Naval Base, HMAS Stirling.

While in Perth, Mr Antony and Mr Smith laid wreaths at the State War Memorial at Kings Park.

The State War Memorial, situated in the sprawling 1000 acre+ King’s Park, overlooks the City of Perth with beautiful views of the Swan and Canning Rivers and the Darling Ranges.

The State War Memorial comprises the Cenotaph, the Court of Contemplation, The Flame of Remembrance within the Pool of Reflection.

The Cenotaph was unveiled in the year of the Centenary of Western Australia - on 24 November 1929 by the Governor Sir William Campion, and had as the honorary architect General Sir J. Talbot Hobbs. The court of contemplation is at the western side of the precinct and was unveiled on 6 November 1955 by Sir Charles Gairdner.

The Flame of Remembrance within the Pool of Reflection which burns continuously was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II on 1 April 2000. It symbolises the promise of all Western Australians that "We will remember them”.

Underneath the Cenotaph is the roll of honour with the names of all servicemen and women who enlisted in Western Australia and died in the Boer War, World War I, World War II, Korean War or Vietnam.
Distributed throughout the park are more specific memorials to various battles, military units, prisoners of war and other groups.

There are also a number of memorial avenues where each of the roadside trees bears a plaque honouring an individual killed in World War-I or World War-II.
Last evening, Mr Antony and Mr Smith travelled together to Canberra.


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