Saturday, March 19, 2016

Standards Presented To 75 Armoured & 43 Armoured Regiments By Army Chief

Jaisalmer Military Station witnessed a historic moment on Wednesday, 16 Mar 2016, when General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, on behalf of the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, presented the ‘President’s Standards’ to 75 Armoured Regiment and 43 Armoured Regiment. Both the Regiments conducted a mounted parade on the indigenous Arjun tanks with clockwork precision and immaculate coordination in consonance with the highest traditions of the Indian Army. To commemorate this historic event, the Chief of Army Staff also released a “Special Cover”. 

In his address, the Chief of the Army Staff congratulated both Regiments and brought out that “This veneration (President's Standard) will add to your responsibility and certainly I believe that you all will go beyond your capabilities to execute every single task that would be assigned to your Regiments.”  While highlighting the achievements of the two regiments, Gen Dalbir Singh said that ‘Enriched history of 43 and 75 Armoured Regiment is overwhelmed with true valour, bravery and professional competence, which befits the highest traditions of Indian Army.’ The Chief further added that ‘With industrious and determined soldiers from all over India, with distinct caste and religion, both Regiments reflect the spirit of unity within.’

75 Armoured Regiment was raised in 1972 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Vijai Singh (Later Lieutenant General). The squadrons of 75 Armoured Regiment participated in the 1971 Indo-Pak war to include the Battle of Laungewala. 75 Armoured Regiment has a unique distinction of being the only unit of Indian Army to be raised on captured Pakistani Territory ‘Sakna’ (26 kilometres inside Pakistan) on 12th March, 1972. The Regiment Colours are Canary Yellow over Bottle Green and the Regiment’s motto is “SAHASAM VIJAYATE” which means,“COURAGE WINS”.

43 Armoured Regiment was raised in 1981 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel BM Kapur (later Lieutenant General). 43 Armoured Regiment is the first armoured Regiment to be equipped with India’s indigenous tank, MBT Arjun. The Regiment Colours are Sky Blue and Navy Blue. Sky Blue signifies limitlessness and navy blue signifies fearlessness. The Regiment motto is “YUDHYASVA VIGAT JWAR” which means “TO FIGHT WITH A CALM AND DETERMINED MIND”.

This honour has been bestowed upon 75 Armoured Regiment and 43 Armoured Regiment in recognition of their dedicated and meritorious service since their raising. The Regiments are among the frontline Units of Indian Armoured Corps. The hard work and sacrifices made by the valiant soldiers of both the Regiments have been recognized by various awards and medals.

The Standard Presentation ceremony also brought to the fore, the awe-inspiring armoured might of the Indian Army showcasing 51 Main Battle Tanks, thereby displaying the Nation’s technological prowess. The grand ceremony was held in the backdrop of the recently developed Jaisalmer War Museum which displays the valour and sacrifices by the Indian Armed Forces. The occasion was graced by many senior serving and retired military officers and civil dignitaries including Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command.

IAF Conducts Day – Night Exercise ‘Iron Fist’ In Rajasthan

Indian Air Force’s day-night exercise demonstrating its combat and fire power was conducted on 18 Mar 16 at Rajasthan’s Pokhran firing range in the presence of Hon’ble President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Hon’ble Prime  Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Chief of the Air Staff in his welcome address gave an insight into the exercise and the modernisation in the Indian Air Force.  During his address, he stated that the primary objective of this exercise is to reassure the nation about our commitment and capabilities in safeguarding our national interests.  The Air Chief said that the IAF moves ahead on its transformation path despite certain constraints, maintaining a high combat potential for meeting challenges.

The event comprised six packages depicting six themes in which more than 180 aircraft, including fighters, transport and helicopters participated.

Fly Past.     The great journey of the IAF over eight decades was summed up by means of this package, with the aircraft of yesteryear flying wing to wing along with the latest acquisitions of the Indian Air Force.  A MiG-27 aircraft heralded the commencement of the flypast by towing the Ex “Iron Fist” banner, which was followed by Supersonic run by the MiG-29 aircraft.  The “real time recce” capability of the IAF was displayed by a Jaguar aircraft.  Vintage aircraft flypast by “Tigermoth” evoked the memories of the birth of military aviation in India and was followed by the Pilatus, the latest trainer aircraft of the IAF.  The fly past by a mixed formation comprising a MiG-21 Bison, MiG-27 Upgrade, MiG-29 and the mighty Su-30, showcased the transformation of the IAF over the decades.

Net Enabled Operations.     This segment commenced by the majestic fly past of the indigenously developed Airborne Early Warning and Control System and the display of AWACS aircraft.  The flypast was followed by a synchronized multiple aircraft weapon delivery demonstration of precision based bombing at simulated enemy targets by Mirage-2000, Su-30, MiG-27 Upgrade aircraft and the Jaguar.

Air Defence Operations.   After demonstrating the offensive capabilities, the exercise demonstrated the multi-layered Air Defence Operations of the IAF.  It comprised of the fly past by the Flight Refuelling aircraft (IL-78 FRA) along with two Su-30 aircraft and the indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, which displayed its swing role attack capabilities by delivering Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) followed by firing an air to air missile, engaging both targets with deadly precision.  The phase also included Surface to Air Guided Weapons like the IGLA shoulder-fired missile system and the OSA-AK missiles striking down airborne targets successfully.  There was also a spectacular simulation of a Combat Search and Rescue operation carried out by the IAF’s versatile helicopters, the Mi-35, Mi-25 and Mi-17V5.

Combat Support Operations.  This phase showcased the very important role played by the Indian Air Force in support of the ground forces.  There were numerous targets simulating the enemy’s vital assets, engaged on the ground from the air by a variety of aircraft on the IAF’s inventory.  Apart from the fighters, the assault landing capability of versatile C-130 J aircraft and the fire fighting capability of the Mi-17V5, were also displayed in this phase.

Flying Displays.  After the demonstration of live weapon, an array of aerobatic displays by the Sarangs, the Suryakirans and the Su-30 added a dash of colour to the evening.  The Air Warrior Drill Team (AWDT) and Air Force Symphony Orchestra (AWSO) enthralled the audience with their performances.

All Weather Operations.       As the night drew upon the desert skies, the night capabilities of the IAF came to the fore.  A number of targets were engaged in this phase by fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters using rockets as well as bombs.  The “Search light” and Slithering Operations engaged the attention of the audience while the Combat Free Fall during the night phase showed how the IAF could take on insertion of troops in the enemy territory undetected.  The Akash Missile firing was a first in the history of Fire Power Demonstration.  The exercise inched towards a close by a beautiful and awe-inspiring display of Flare dispensation by a C-130J and an An-32 aircraft. The final event of the exercise was the awesome display of firepower by a MiG-27 Upgrade aircraft, giving a befitting close to a grand display.

The event showcased more than 22 types of platforms and Weapons Systems.  Frontline fighter aircraft including Sukhoi-30, Mirage-2000, Jaguar, MiG-29, Attack helicopters, Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) and high tech AWACS displayed their potential during the show in which prestigious indigenous project – Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas” was also a part.  Transport aircraft like An-32, Embraer, IL-76, IL-78 and C-130J participated in all their glory while medium lift helicopters  (Mi-17, Mi-17 1V, Mi-17 V5) and attack helicopters (Mi-25, Mi-35) constituted the rotary wing ingredients.

Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parikar, Hon’ble Rajasthan Governor Shri Kalyan Singh, Chief Minister Smt Vasundhara Raje and Chiefs of Indian Army and Indian Navy were among others present during the Exercise.

The President, Prime Minister and the Defence Minister complimented Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Air Marshal RK Dhir, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the South Western Air Command for the excellent Fire Power Demonstration.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Indian Navy's Annual Refit Conference & Infrastructure Review Meeting Concludes

Indian Navy’s Annual Refit Conference (ARC) and Annual Infrastructure Review (AIR) Meeting concluded today at Headquarters, Eastern Naval Command. The two-day conference was chaired by Vice Admiral AV Subhedar, Chief of Material, Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and attended by all the stake-holders representing the Naval Headquarters, three Naval Commands, the Tri-Services Command at Port Blair, Dockyards, Repair Yards and Material Organisations of the Navy. 

Addressing the participants of the Conference, Vice Admiral HCS Bisht, AVSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command appreciated the role of Naval Dockyards and Repair Yards in maintaining and refitting the ships and submarines of Navy. He further highlighted the growing role of Indian Navy with extended deployment of ships away from base port, which calls for greater reliance on refitting authorities. Within the next few years, he said, several strategic platforms fitted with highly advanced and longer range weapon systems, would be based at Visakhapatnam. He concluded by highlighting the successful conduct of IFR-16 at Visakhapatnam which demonstrated Navy’s capability to host and manage events of international repute. All arms of the Navy and Civil Administration came together and seamlessly integrated to form a cohesive and effective team that resulted in successful conduct of the mega event that has brought laurels to our country. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Indian Army's Second Rescue Operation In Nasta Chhun Pass Avalanche

Indian Army carried out its second rescue operation in Shamshabari ranges, after heavy snowfall along the Shamshabari and the Nasta Chhun Pass since 10 March , resulting in numerous avalanches.

Yesterday at Nasta Chhun Pass an Army detachment rescued Arshad Mir, Police Constable who was caught in snow near Khooni Nala about 4 Kms from Nasta Chhun Pass. 

The avalanche rescue team at Nasta Chhun Pass immediately sprung to action despite heavy snowfall, snow blizzard, and zero visibility. Medical aid was immediately rendered.

This was the second consecutive rescue operation of the Army detachment at Nasta Chhun Pass after they had rescued 73 civilians from an avalanche in the same area on 11 March 16.

Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti IV Continues at Magelang, Indonesia

The fourth edition of the Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI, scheduled from 10 to 23 March 2016 is under progress at Magelang, Indonesia. The Indian contingent comprises of platoon sized troops of an Infantry Battalion from Southern Command theatre and the Indonesian Army comprises of troops from 503 Airborne Battalion of the TNI -AD. 

The exercise is underway with adequate stress being laid on weapon handling and live firing practices. The Indian Army contingent was given time to familiarise themselves with the Indonesian Army’s weapon system before commencing firing practice using their Weapons. On 13 Mar, the Indonesian Army conducted a firing Skills demonstration explaining the mechanics of reflex firing which was followed by practice by Indian Army contingent of the same. 

On 14 Mar Indian Army contingent presented a similar demonstration of reflex firing skills including ambidextrous weapon handling in combat situations. The demonstration was conducted in phases and was followed by firing practice by Indonesian Army under guidance of instructors from Indian Army. 

The aim of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between both the armies and to enhance their ability to undertake joint tactical level operations in a Counter Insurgency environment under United Nations Charter. The scope of exercise also includes identifying areas of expertise/ specialization of each other, evolution of combat tactical drills for conduct of tactical Counter Insurgency operations and to undertake combined training for neutralization of insurgency threat. 

The Indian Army contingent had arrived at Jakarta airport on 09 Mar. The Opening Ceremony was conducted on 11 Mar at Military Training Area, Magelang, Indonesia. In an impressive Military function, witnessed by senior ranked officers of both the countries, the contingents conducted a ceremonial parade where the National flags of both nations were marched in. The Commandant wished both the contingents a fruitful and effective exercise ahead and encouraged both sides to understand and absorb the positive aspects of each other's military training and tactics. He stated that this exercise would serve as a platform for both countries to pave the way for better co-operation and stronger mutual relations in the future. The exercise will culminate on 23 Mar 16. 

Revised Pensionary Benefits Under OROP Released To Over Two Lakh Defence Pensioners

The Defence Pension Disbursing Offices (DPDOs) functioning under Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA) in the Ministry of Defence have released revised pensionary benefits to 2,21,224 Defence pensioners drawing service/disability pension. The amount along with first instalment of arrears had been released and credited by the Defence Ministry to the accounts of these pensioners on 01.03.2016. 

In the case of remaining 1,46,335 family pensioners drawing pension from DPDOs, payment along with arrears is expected to be released by March end. Banks are under process of revision work. 

These steps are a follow-up to Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW) of the Ministry of Defence’s notification on 07.11.2015 ordering implementation of One Rank One Pension (OROP) scheme for Defence pensioners. 

The total additional annual financial increase for grant of One Rank One Pension (OROP) is Rs. 7488.70 crores. The total amount on account of arrears to be paid for the period 1.7.2014 to 31.12.2015 is Rs. 10925.11 crores. 

Out of total annual liability of Rs. 7488.70 crores, PBOR family pensioners shall get Rs. 6,405.59 crores, which works out to 85.5% of total expenditure of OROP. 

Due to increase in defence pension budget, the additional liability for current financial year 2015-16 shall be Rs. 4,721.34 crores which will increase the current defence pension liability of Rs. 60,238 crores to Rs. 64,959.34 crores for the year 2015-16. 

Detailed implementation orders of OROP with 101 tables containing revised pensions of different ranks and categories were issued by the Department of ESW on 03.02.2016 through their website According to the orders, the Pension Disbursing Agencies have been authorized to make payments with arrears as scheduled. 

To facilitate the pension disbursing agencies, the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (P) have also issued implementation instructions through a circular on 04.02.2016. The implementation instructions along with Government orders are available on the website 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Indian Navy's Sixth Indigenous Landing Craft Utility Ship- L-56, Under Yard 2097, Made By GRSE Kolkata, Launched

The sixth ship of LCU MK IV project, was launched on 12 March 2016 at an impressive ceremony at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd, Kolkata.

In accordance with the traditions, invocations from Atharva Veda were recited and Smt Seema Verma, wife of Vice Admiral Bimal Kumar Verma, AVSM, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command, applied ‘Kumkum’ on the ship’s stem. She, thereafter, named the ship as ‘LCU-L56’, wished the ship good luck and launched the vessel.

Rear Admiral AK Verma (Retd), VSM, Chairman & Managing Director, GRSE Ltd, commenced the proceedings with a formal welcome, which was followed by an address by the Chief Guest, Vice Admiral Bimal Kumar Verma.

Vice Admiral Bimal Kumar Verma asserted that Indian Navy has been supporting the drive for indigenous construction of warships leading to advancements of our shipbuilding industry and acknowledged the role of GRSE as a reliable partner in pursuing the national goal of ‘Make in India’. He extended warm felicitations to the entire team of the GRSE for their significant contribution towards meeting the Navy’s growing requirements of state-of-the-art warships.

LCU L-56 is the sixth vessel of the series of eight Landing Craft Utility Ships being designed and built by M/s GRSE for the Indian Navy. The ship can be deployed for multi-role activities like beaching operations, Humanitarian and Disaster Relief operations and evacuation from distant islands. The first ship of the class ‘LCU-L51’ was launched on 12 March 2014 and is presently undergoing sea trials at GRSE. The vessel is likely to be delivered shortly to the Indian Navy.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Indo-Indonesia Joint Army Training Exercise - Garuda Shakti IV

Indo - Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI IV opening ceremony conducted at magelang, Indonesia 

The opening ceremony of the fourth edition of the Indo- Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI IV/2016 was conducted at Military Training Area, Magelang, Indonesia. The Indian contingent comprised of platoon sized troops of an Infantry Battalion under Southern Command theatre and the Indonesian Army comprised of 503 Airborne Battalion of the TNI -AD. In an impressive military function the contingents of both the Armies conducted a ceremonial parade where National flags of both nations were marched in. The event was witnessed by senior ranked officers of both the countries. 

The ceremony was filled with enthusiasm and has opened another chapter in enhancing ties between Indian and Indonesian Army. The opening ceremony showcased the dedication and commitment towards joint training and the will to share expertise gained in combat by both the armies. Post the ceremony the Indian Army troops were oriented to the terrain and tactical aspects of training. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Curtain Raiser: Ex-Iron Fist 2016

The Indian Air Force of today has evolved into a capable force to reckon with. From the days of flying vintage aircraft like the Tiger Moth and the Harvard, the Indian Air Force has transformed itself into a modern fighting force. While upgrading its inventory in terms of aerial platforms, sensors and weapon systems, the IAF has also simultaneously improved upon the capabilities of the ‘human behind the machine’ whilst rightfully upholding its mission statement, “People First, Mission Always”. 

The Indian Air Force would demonstrate its Combat and fire power capabilities at Pokhran on 18 Mar 16. This mammoth exercise in the Thar Desert would involve the participation of 181 aircraft departing from multiple bases, and demonstrate a synchronized aerial ballet that would showcase its deadly combat capability over the entire spectrum of aerial operations. This exercise holds special significance as it represents the lethal face of the Indian Air Force in its pre-eminent role as the cutting edge of our nation’s military capability. The exercise shall showcase the journey of the IAF’s transformation over the years and cover its glorious history. Glimpses of an exponential increase in the operational capabilities of the Air Force with focus on the concept of all weather, network centric operations, precision weapon delivery and ability to deliver lethal firepower would be on display during the exercise. The exercise shall also bring to light the multifaceted nature of Indian Air Force through its ability to showcase itself with aerobatic displays by modern combat aircraft like the Su-30 MKI, Sarang and the Surya Kiran Aerobatic team. Live demonstration by IAF Garuds and special heliborne operations shall be a ‘highlight of the proceedings of the event which shall straddle both day and night. 

The Hon’ble President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi have consented to witness the proceedings of the exercise at Pokhran. The Indian Air Force looks forward to their presence and encouragement for the event. The event shall also be broadcast live on National television for the nation to witness the prowess of its Air Force. 

Indian Naval Ship Tabar Visits Mauritius

Indian Naval Ship (INS) Tabar, a stealth frigate of the Indian Navy entered Port Louis, Mauritius and shall remain there till 13 March 2016. The primary aim of the visit is to participate in the Mauritius National Day celebrations and to strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between the two nations. On the occasion of the National day (12 Mar), the ship would be fielding a marching contingent in addition to fly-past by Chetak helicopter and performance by the Indian Naval Band. 

India and Mauritius have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly relations. The National Day Celebrations in March 2015 coincided with the Joint Commissioning of MCGS Barracuda by the Prime Ministers of both countries. The Indian Navy also undertakes regular joint exercises with nations in the Indian Ocean and INS Teg had undertaken joint patrolling with Mauritius in July 2015. These joint missions have fostered seamless interoperability between the two maritime nations and have developed a strong friendship and mutual trust that underpin Indo-Mauritian partnership. These visits reinforce the cultural and ethnic ties of the two countries and are testimony to their joint commitment towards maritime security in the region. The present deployment of Tabar for participation in the National Day celebrations of Mauritius will further cement the close relations between the two nations and the two navies. 

In addition to the National Day celebrations, the experts from ship would also impart harbour training through lectures and demonstrations to the National Coast Guard of Mauritius. The lectures would cover a wide spectrum of maritime activities including anti piracy drills, Visit Board Search and Seizure of ships at sea, use of special equipments and weapons, engineering and preventive maintenance capsules, training on radar, chart plotting, GPS operations for coastal surveillance radar system, damage control and fire fighting. 

INS Tabar is a state of the art guided missile frigate. The ship is presently in her eleventh commission and is commanded by Captain Ashutosh Ridhorkar. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Two LeT Militants Killed By Indian Army In Wandakhpora Awantipora.

Two militants killed in the operation by Indian Army's 50 RR and 55 RR and J&K Police SoG in Awantipora.

Security forces cordoned off Hadoora, Khembar in Hazratbal area on City outskirts.
One AK 47 rifle recovered.

Suspected militants, exchanged gunfire in Srinagar outskirts

A police official said that militants fired at a search party in Khimber area of Ganderbal district near Hazratbal.

Encounter started at Wandakhpora Awantipora. 

Gunshots heard as forces cordon off Pulwama village, people ran for cover as gunshots were heard near the orchards in the village at around 3:30 pm.

Less than half an hour later, the forces cordoned off the adjacent Goripora village after inputs that the militants after exchanging the fire might have taken cover inside the village.

Encounter Started at Vandakpora Near Govt Nursery in Pulwama.

Two video journalists said to be trapped near the site.

According to Superintendent of Police (SP) Pulwama, Rayees Ahmad Bhat a search operation was launched in several villages after militants opened fire on them in Wandakhpora village.

Reinforcements rushed to the spot and a cordon laid around Wandakhpora, Goripora and Kunjipora villages. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

“Exercise Force -18” Culminates

“Exercise Force -18”, the largest ground forces multinational field training exercise on ‘Humanitarian Mine Action and Peacekeeping Operations’ culminated at Pune with a closing ceremony which was presided over by General Dalbir Singh, Chief of Army Staff. The week long exercise witnessed participation of over 300 foreign participants and observers from ASEAN Plus countries.

The closing ceremony began with marching in of contingents from the participating ASEAN Plus countries followed by National Anthem and ASEAN Anthem. The Chief of Army Staff handed over plaques to all contingent commanders of foreign armies and also gave away Award of Excellence to the best performers in the exercise. Excerpts of closing address by Chief of Army Staff are contained below.

“This exercise in India is a watershed event in the history of ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting (ADMM). It has showcased perfect harmony amongst the ASEAN Plus Nations in the field of Humanitarian Mine Action and Peace Keeping Operations.”

“The activities conceived and planned under the ADMM Plus umbrella are of strategic importance to all of us. They further the all encompassing aim for the peace, stability and development of the region. The forum provides an equal and beneficial playground for all the participants, harmonizing relations, building capacities and facilitating meaningful interaction among the regional players.”

“Since its establishment, the ADMM Plus has made remarkable progress. The forum has enabled alignment of views to collectively address the humanitarian    and security challenges that confront us. It provides valuable platform for our armed forces to work together, in a constructive and meaningful manner to enhance peace and security of the region.”

“Sharing the responsibilities for removing  Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) is a humanitarian matter and a topic of mutual concern for our region and the international community.”

“Peacekeeping with multiple troop contributing countries and multidimensional mandates in dynamic and complex environment is a challenging task. It demands more intrusive consultative process for developing credible and legitimate response mechanisms.”

“The Exercise Force Eighteen gave all of us an excellent platform to introspect Country specific practices in Peacekeeping Operations, and evolve common understanding towards handling complex situations.”
Senior dignitaries from the participating countries including Deputy Chief of General Staff Vietnam Army, Senior Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan also attended the closing ceremony. The event was then followed by speech by co-chairs from Vietnam, South Korea and India.

Indian Army later displayed combat deployment of Special Forces using Indian origin Helicopters DHRUV. The participants later witnessed the Equipment display by Indian Army, DRDO, Private and Public Sector Units and NGOs.

All-Women Crew Completes Maiden Voyage On Indian Navy Sailing Vessel Mhadei

The Navy’s famous sailing vessel “Mhadei” set sail from Visakhapatnam for her home port, Goa, after participating in the International Fleet Review. Unique to this seemingly normal voyage was that she was skippered and crewed by an all-women crew of Naval officers for the very first time. Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, a Naval Architect, was appointed as the first woman Skipper of Mhadei on 08 Feb 16 just prior to the return voyage. Mhadei is crewed by Lieutenant P Swathi, Lieutenant Pratibha Jamwal (Air Traffic Control specialists), Lieutenant Vijaya Devi and Sub Lieutenant Payal Gupta (both Education officers). The sixth member of the crew, Lieutenant B Aishwarya is a naval architect and is expected to join the boat shortly. 

These women officers are training to form an all-women crew that would attempt to circumnavigate the Globe in 2017. To prepare themselves for the arduous voyage, they have undergone theoretical training in Navigation, Communication, Seamanship and Meteorology at the Navy’s various Training Establishments based at Kochi in August last year. Since then, the officers have been training under the guidance and watchful eyes of Cdr Dilip Donde. Cdr Donde was the first Indian to solo-circumnavigate the globe in 2009-10 on board the same boat, Mhadei. The rigorous training included sorties of various durations with Cdr Donde as well as working on the boat and training on the equipment fitted on board. The officers sailed for the Fleet Review along with Cdr Donde and post the IFR, the Navy decided to appoint Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi as the Skipper for the return journey.

Mhadei visited the Ports of Chennai (12-19 Feb) and Kochi (27 Feb-02 Mar) on her return journey. She returned to her homeport Goa today which coincidentally happens to be International Women’s Day. Future training plans include an independent voyage to Mauritius in May 2016. The officers would shift to a new boat of the same class as Mhadei that has been ordered by the Navy on M/s Aquarius Shipyard, Goa slated for delivery in Feb 2017. Mhadei and her yet to named sister are both completely made in India. 

During the maiden voyage by these gritty and adventurous women officers of the Navy, Mhadei and her crew encountered moderately rough weather and heavy seas in the Gulf of Mannar. The present Skipper, Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi, was part of the crew on board Mhadei for the return leg of the Cape to Rio race in 2013-14. Lt Swathi was also part of the crew for the return leg of the boat from Cape to Goa. This is the first all women crew ocean-going sailing boat of the Navy. All the crew members are volunteers and are driven by their passion for adventure and a love for sailing and the seas. 

Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise Garuda Shakti IV

Indo-Indonesia Joint Training Exercise GARUDA SHAKTI is conducted as part of military diplomacy between Indian and Indonesian Army alternatively in India and Indonesia respectively. The exercise is conducted on a reciprocal basis and its first edition was conducted in the year 2012 in India. The second edition was conducted in Indonesia in 2013 and third in India in 2014. The exercise is aimed at building and promoting positive relations between the two Armies of India and Indonesia.

The fourth edition of the joint exercise will be conducted for 13 days from 10 to 23 March 16 at Magelang, Indonesia in which an Indian Army platoon strength contingent will carry out cross training with a platoon from the Airborne battalion of the Indonesian Army. The selected Indian unit has had varied operational experience in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist operations in the Northern, Western and Eastern theatres. The Indian Contingent has been put through a rigorous training schedule to prepare it for the exercise which includes combat conditioning, firing, tactical operations, tactical skills and special heliborne operations training.

To coordinate modalities of training of the exercise, an Exercise Planning Conference was held at Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 22 and 23 September 2015. During the conference both Armies finalized the modalities of conduct of joint training and signed an Agreement. The operational part of the exercise commenced with individual Armies training in respective countries and this would translate in exchange of expertise during the Joint Training Exercise in Indonesia. The opening ceremony for the exercise will be conducted on 11 March 16. The Indian contingent will reach the exercise location at Magelang, Indonesia, familiarize with the weapons, equipment, tactical drills and orient themselves to the terrain.


 The exercise will be conducted as joint Counter Insurgency operations exercise in urban and rural scenario and encompass various facets of tactical Counter Insurgency operations. The aim of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between the armies of India and Indonesia and to enhance the ability of Indian and Indonesian Army to undertake joint tactical level operations in a Counter Insurgency environment under United Nations Charter. The scope encompasses visualization of insurgency related crisis situation in rural / urban setting in Counter Insurgency environment, learn each other's Counter Insurgency doctrines, tactics and share experience of Counter Insurgency operations. It also includes the ambit of identifying areas of expertise/ specialization of each other, evolution of combat tactical drills for conduct of tactical Counter Insurgency operations and to undertake combined training for neutralization of insurgency threat.

             The exercise will culminate with the Closing Ceremony to be conducted on23 March 16 and is to be attended by senior officers from both the armies and civil dignitaries.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Standard Presented To 18 Cavalry By Army Chief

General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, on behalf of the HON’BLE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, presented the ‘Standard’ to 18 CAVALRY. It was a unique and proud moment for the Chief as he is also the Honorary Colonel of the Regiment and his father Risaldar Major Ramphal Singh (Retired) had served with distinction during both the Indo-Pak War of 1965 & 1971.  To commemorate this historic event, the Chief of the Army Staff also released a “Special Day Cover”. 

The ceremony was also attended by Lieutenant General KJ Singh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command and a number of senior officers and civil dignitaries.

This honour has been bestowed upon the 18 CAVALRY in due recognition of the dedicated service rendered by the Regiment since its raising on 31 Jan 1842.  18 CAVALRY is a frontline Regiment of the Indian Armoured Corps which has participated in a large number of operations undertaken by the Army since its raising. In the course of discharging its onerous duties, both in operations and in peace, the hard work done and sacrifices made by the valiant soldiers of this Regiment have been duly recognised by the 29 battle and theatre honours received by the Regiment, second highest in the Armoured corps.

The Parade was commanded by Colonel Anup Tiwary, Commandant 18 CAVALRY along with other regimental officers, Junior Commission Officers and Other Ranks. 

Foreign Observers Witness Multinational Exercise At Pune

After the successful culmination of the field training phase of ‘Ex FORCE -18’, the multinational exercise of ASEAN Plus countries on ‘Humanitarian Mine Action and Peacekeeping Operations’, over 80 observers including 28 Foreign Services Attaché’s of participating and non-participating countries were shown and briefed on the exercise and they witnessed the validation phase of the exercise on 07 March 2016. The senior dignitaries included, Senior Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan from Vietnam (equivalent to Indian Army Chief), Lieutenant General W Wacharikul from Thailand and Director General Yoon Soon Gu from South Korea.

The observers were taken to College of Military Engineering for witnessing the Humanitarian Mine Action Exercise in the initial part of the day. They were briefed by the FTX Planners about the background of exercise and the activities undertaken till date. The observers later visited the Mine Action Centre where they witnessed the mine action teams being effectively controlled from a single command post.

Post lunch the observers were taken to Aundh for witnessing the Peacekeeping Operations Exercise which include military drills such as patrolling, convoy protection and deployment of Standard Combat Deployment.

This was followed by Exercise Debriefing, wherein contingent heads of all ASEAN Plus countries brought out the lessons learnt, experiences shared, expertise gained and the way ahead. Maj Gen Ashok Narula in his summing up complimented each one the FTX participants and trainers for display  of professional military skills of the highest order.

At the end of the day a Camp Fire will be organized for all observers and FTX participants, where contingents from  ASEAN Plus countries will present a cultural programme. The large scale attendance by high ranking foreign observers for final phase of FTX is a testimony to the confidence bestowed on the professional acumen of the Indian Army.

Chief of the Naval Staff on Official Visit To United Kingdom

Admiral RK Dhowan Chief of the Naval Staff on Official Visit To United Kingdom 07-10 Mar 16 

 India and United Kingdom have several commonalities, which serve as the foundation for closer cooperation and multi-faceted interactions. Both countries are vibrant, secular and multi-cultural democracies.

The Indian Navy (IN) has had traditional links with the Royal Navy (RN) which have come a long way since institutionalization of various defence fora for enhancing bilateral relationship between the two countries. With constitution of the Indo-UK Defence Consultative Group (DCG) and the Military Sub Group (MSG) in 1995, a two-tier system of cooperation was established to progress various areas of defence cooperation. In Sep 04, the two countries inked a pact to embark upon a strategic partnership in which defence cooperation figure prominently. Establishment of Navy-to-Navy Staff Talks’ forum, officially referred to as Executive Steering Group (ESG) is the main mechanism of enhancing cooperation between the two navies.

Indian Navy and Royal Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS); a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by the Indian Navy in 2008. Conduct of the Exercise ‘KONKAN 15’ from 05 Sep to 11 Sep 15 at Plymouth off the UK coast was the continuation of a long standing series of exercise between the two navies. The two navies also interact on a host of issues like training, doctrinal concepts, Maritime Domain Awareness(MDA) etc.

The ongoing visit of  Admiral RK Dhowan, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy to UK from 7 to 10 Mar 16 will consolidate on existing Maritime Cooperation initiative as well as explore new avenue. The Admiral’s visit to UK also aims to take forward the vision statements was set forth during the visit of Hon’ble PM to UK in Nov 15.

During the visit, Admiral RK Dhowan is scheduled to hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Defence, First Sea Lord, Chief of Defence Staff, and the other Senior Officers of the Royal Navy.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Army Organises Mega Ex Servicemen Rally At Pathankot

A Mega ESM Rally was organized by Pathankot Sub Area under the aegis of Rising Star Corps on 5th March 2016.  The rally was attended by approximately 6500 Veterans and 100 Veer Naris hailing from Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Pathankot and Kangra districts.  The rally was addressed by Lt Gen KJ Singh, GOC-in-C Western Command who reassured the Veterans and War Widows that they shall always remain inseparable members of the Armed Forces fraternity.

The rally was held in close coordination with the State Administration and Rajya Sainik Boards.  The focus of the rally was to resolve anomalies in disbursement of pension, land and legal cases being confronted by the Veterans and War Widows.  A number of stalls from various welfare agencies and organisations of the army and civil administration were set up at the venue. A medical team, fully equipped with modern equipment and medicines, was also in place.  An ‘Employment Fair’ for advising kith and kin of Veterans and War Widows on employment avenues was another attraction.

The rally was a major step forward for ameliorating the day to day problems of the Veterans and Veer Naris.  It gave a platform to the War Widows to express their concerns directly to the concerned officials. The Western Army Commander presented mobility equipment to handicapped veterans and besides honouring the war widows, he also felicitated gallantry award winners among the veterans.

Friday, March 4, 2016

President Awards Standard To IAF's 119 Helicopter Unit & Colours To 28 Equipment Depot

The Honourable President of India and the Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces, Shri Pranab Mukherjee awarded the prestigious Presidential Colours to 28 Equipment Depot and Presidential Standard to 119 Helicopter Unit at a ceremonial parade, held at Air Force Station Jamnagar on 04 March 16. The Air Officer Commanding of 28 Equipment Depot, Air Commodore NR Chitnis and Commanding Officer of 119 Helicopter Unit, Wing Commander Suseem Siwach received the President Colours and Standard respectively. 

Indian Air Force's operational squadrons become eligible for award of Presidential Standard after completion of 18 years of service to the Nation. The selection is based on the unit's performance and achievements during peace as well as hostilities. The honour is an acknowledgement of the meritorious service rendered by the units. 

A ceremonial parade was held to mark the occasion, which was commanded by Group Captain S Chauhan, Chief Operations officer, Air Force Station Jamnagar. The President also released First Day covers of 28 Equipment Depot and 119 Helicopter Unit at the function. There was a spectacular display of precision and dare devilry by the Air Warrior Drill Team and fly-past consisting of Jaguar, Mi-17 V5 and Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team which mesmerised the audience. The breathtaking fly-past was synchronized with significant events of the parade. The centre of attraction for the entire ceremony was an impressive display of the ALH Sarang display team in their attractive colours which enthralled the gathering. 

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Pranab Mukherjee expressed confidence that our armed forces would rise to the occasion whenever called upon and always keep the country's flag flying high. He also said that the professional excellence, grit and determination exhibited by both the units over the years is highly commendable. He complimented all the personnel and families of 28 Equipment Depot and 119 Helicopter Unit and wished them continued success in their future endeavours. 

Interacting with media after the function, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Chief of the Air Staff said that Indian Air Force is on a trajectory of modernization and is transforming into a strategic aerospace power with full spectrum capability. Accretion through new acquisitions, replacement of obsolete equipment with state-of-the art inductors and up gradation of vintage weapon platforms would definitely go a long way in enhancing IAF capabilities. Induction and speedy operationalisation of IAF's new assets and aircraft have afforded unprecedented response capabilities. He also emphasized that the long term planning of the IAF would ensure that the men and women in blue continue to achieve greater level of professional skills and capabilities. He stated that the challenge for IAF is to manage the fast-paced changes effectively, without compromising on the high operational Standards. 

The Governor of Gujarat, Raksha Mantri, Raksha Rajya Mantri, and Defence Secretary, Senior Govt Officials from Gujarat administration along with other senior Defence and Civilian dignitaries were present on the occasion. From the IAF, in addition to Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, Air Marshal RK Dhir. AOC-in-C, SWAC, AOC-in-C Maintenance Command, Commodore Commandant of the 119 HU, AF, Air Cmde Mohan Gupta also attended the function. 

Fine-Tuning Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Procedure with US Government by Ministry of Defence

Fine-Tuning Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Procedure with US Government by Ministry of Defence 

Part of Scrupulous and Holistic Financial Management 

The Ministry of Defence has fine-tuned the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) procedure with the US Government. Rather than raising bills case-wise every quarter, all the funds against various cases have been pooled together in a corpus. As and when funds are required to be paid per case, in fulfillment of contractual liabilities, the said amount is being withdrawn from the corpus. Consequent to this creation of the corpus in consultation with the US Government, no payments have been made in the last two quarters of the financial year 2015-16, against cases which necessitated payments, against the said contracts. Instead, payment is being effected from the corpus of 2.3 billion US Dollars. It is hoped that no payments shall be required to be made till the amount of 2.3 billion US Dollars is depleted and there is a necessity for us to replenish certain amount as required. This has happened through scrupulous and holistic financial management. Consequently, while US government will continue to meet their contractual obligations, there will be no additional burden on Government of India on this account. It enables utilization of scarce funds on other projects and hedges the country against adverse exchange rates. 

Infiltrator killed Near LoC in Keran J&K, Two Army Soldiers Injured: Army

Infiltrator killed near LoC in Keran: Army

Army on Thursday claimed to have killed an infiltrator near Line of Control (LoC) in Keran sector of north Kashmir's Kupwara district.

According to the Army last night at around 11:30 pm, a group of infiltrators tried to sneak into this part of Kashmir near Routa Nar opposite Pakistan Administered Kashmir's Attmuqam area. However, the army's 11 Kumaon challenged the militant group and engaged them in a gunfight.

As the searches were underway in the area, the group of militants from the opposite side of the LoC opened heavy fire on the army resulting in injuries to two soldiers.

The soldiers were immediately airlifted and were shifted to army's 92 base hospital here in Srinagar for treatment where their condition is stated to be stable, he said.

 The injured soldiers have been identified as Sepoy Krishen Kumar and Sepoy Harkes.

When reports last came in, the intermittent firing in the area was still going on.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Three Militants Killed In Tral (J&K) Gunfight

Operation in  Dadsara, Tral, Jammu and Kashmir, Tral gunfight over; 3 militants killed:

Three terrorist killed. All HM.Three AK47  and eight magazine recovered.
 Identified as :-

 (a) Asif Ah Mir@chotu S/O: Mohd Yusuf Mir R/O: Dadasur Cat: A Recruited : 19 Jul 14
 (b) Aashiq Hussain Bhat@Ubaieda
 S/O:Mohd Shabhan Bhat
 R/O: Charsoo  Cat: A++ Recruited :12 Aug 14
(c)   Mohd Issac Parray S/O: Mohd Ismail Parray R/O: Laribal Cat: C
Recruited: 17 Mar 15.

Operations at 0215 hrs on 03 March 16 . No casualties to own troops . Stone pelting by locals during the operation. Well handled by JK Police and CRPF .

Police Superintendent of Police (SP) Awantipora Muhammad Irshad said that all the three militants who were holed up inside a residential house in Mir Mohalla of Dadsara were killed during the gunfight.

The gunfight had erupted late Wednesday evening after forces launched a search and cordon operation in the area after information about the presence of militants.

Raisina Dialogue Remarks - "Let's Be Ambitious Together" By Admiral Harry B. Harris, Chief U.S. Pacific Command

Raisina Dialogue Remarks
“Let’s Be Ambitious Together”
New Delhi, India
March 2, 2016
As Delivered

Good afternoon folks, and thank you, Your Excellencies Minister Swaraj and Foreign Secretary Jaishankar who have organized this flagship event in India.

And a special thank you to the Observer Research Foundation for hosting the inaugural Raisina Dialogue and bringing together leaders and experts from diverse backgrounds. I know the Raisina Dialogue is envisioned to be India’s flagship conference of geopolitics and geo-economics, and predicated on India’s vital role, not only in the Indian Ocean, but the greater Indo-Asia-Pacific region. I believe you are off to a wonderful start.

I’m deeply honored to be at this venue to discuss ways to make this region a more prosperous and thriving part of the world.

I’ve just got to say up front: It’s always great to visit India. This is my second trip here in as many years. My first came way back in 1995 when I commanded a P-3 squadron and participated in one of the early Malabar exercises – we operated out of Trivandrum and Cochin down south. I also visited India in 2012 as part of former-Secretary of State Clinton’s team.

With each visit I become more and more attached to the Indian people that I admire greatly, your culture that I respect deeply, and, of course, the wonderful cuisine. This certainly seems to be the case for all of my U.S. component commanders. As we all like to say, the PACOM area of responsibility stretches from Hollywood to Bollywood, but I had no idea how seriously my commanders took this phrase. Every time I try to get one of them to see me at my headquarters in Hawaii, it seems they are unavailable because they’re in India.

I’m glad I’m the one who is unavailable back in Hawaii so that I could join you here. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about America’s growing relationship with India, which I’ve made a priority line of effort at PACOM.

As the world's two largest democracies, we are uniquely poised to help bring greater security and prosperity to the entire region. And I think that’s primarily because two visionary policies are now coinciding at the perfect time. Initiated two years ago by Prime Minister Modi, India is implementing your “Act East” policy. While at the same time, the United States is conducting our strategic Rebalance west to the Indo-Asia-Pacific. You need look no further than last October's Malabar maritime exercise between India, Japan and the United States to see the security inter-connectedness of the Indian Ocean, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean regions.

An important component of these policies involves leadership engagement. So it was great to see President Obama visit New Delhi last year to discuss the strengthening of ties between our great nations. During that visit, I was struck by what Prime Minister Modi said:

"This is a natural global partnership. It has become even more relevant in the digital age. It is needed even more in our world for far-reaching changes and widespread turmoil. The success of this partnership is important for our progress and for advancing peace, stability and prosperity around the world."

Those prophetic words set the tone for my remarks today.

Being from a small Southern town in the United States, I’m certainly not as eloquent as your Prime Minister. So if you can understand my Tennessee accent, I’ll simply say:
Chalein saath saath … “Forward together we go.”

And in my opinion, we can’t go forward, together fast enough. That’s why I was pleased that last year, Prime Minister Modi and President Obama outlined the U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision.
I believe this is a true indicator of the potential that exists between our two nations. Together, we can develop a roadmap that leverages our respective efforts to improve the security architecture and strengthen regional dialogues.

Together, we can ensure free and open sea lanes of communication that are critical for global trade and prosperity. This is a pillar of the international and inclusive rules-based global order and a principle upon which we cannot waver.

So for the next few minutes, let’s be ambitious together and consider how we might realize the security aspects of the Joint Strategic Vision by identifying some actions we can take to advance our special relationship.

I’ll begin by recognizing that India’s historical and cultural influence extends from Southeast Asia to Mongolia and from Indonesia to the steppes of Central Asia - and to the United States where approximately 3.5 million Americans of Indian descent live and thrive.
India is an important fabric in the American tapestry.

I also believe that India is a critical part of PACOM’s tapestry. I’m sometimes asked why I always use the term “Indo-Asia-Pacific” versus the commonly used term “Asia-Pacific” by smart people like those in the room today. My answer is simple. Indo-Asia-Pacific more accurately captures the fact that the Indian and Pacific Oceans are the economic lifeblood that links India, Australia, Asia, Oceania and the United States together. Strengthening that economic connective tissue through security and diplomatic partnership is what America’s Rebalance is all about.

Expanded cooperation with India will not only be the defining partnership for the Rebalance, it will arguably be the defining partnership for America in the 21st century.

Let’s be ambitious together.

On the security front, India is beginning to exert its leadership in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
We are ready for you.
We need you.
Let’s be ambitious together.

I’m clear eyed – and perhaps a bit moonstruck – by the opportunities a strategic partnership with India represents. I’m also just as clear-eyed about the threats in this region. There are significant security challenges that no one country is capable of solving alone.

For example, by 2050, it is expected that 7 out of every 10 people who walk the planet will live in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. This level of population and urbanization will present special challenges in regard to the demand for food, energy, housing and, importantly, freedoms.

While these challenges will test the global community in the coming years, they are not insurmountable. While there is much to do, much has already been done to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

Last year, India hosted Japan and Australia for its first ever high-level trilateral dialogue in New Delhi. Some of the topics discussed were maritime security -- including freedom of navigation patrols – and trilateral cooperation in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. An idea to consider is perhaps expanding this tri-lateral to a quadrilateral venue between India-Japan-Australia and the United States. We are all united in supporting the international rules-based order that has kept the peace and is essential to all of us.

The India-U.S. Joint Strategic Vision charges New Delhi and Washington to develop a roadmap – together – to leverage our respective efforts to improve the security architecture and strengthen regional dialogues.

Additionally, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Abe signed the Japan and India Vision 2025 for a Special Strategic and Global Partnership. One week later, Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Turnbull had similar discussions in Tokyo where both voiced opposition to coercive actions in the South and East China Seas, hearty support for America’s Rebalance policy, and recognition of the challenges of nuclear proliferation, North Korea and terrorism.

This is ambition in action. It ensures the vision of our country’s leaders by strengthening military-to-military collaboration and in the process, it will improve the security and prosperity of the entire region.

We must also continue to encourage robust senior defense and leadership dialogues like the one held last year between U.S. Defense Secretary Carter and Indian Defense Minister Parrikar. This meeting renewed a 10-year Defense Framework that helped put the U.S.-India security relationship on a fast-track.

Fast-track is good, because in my opinion, all of us should be rushing to strengthen the U.S.-India relationship while helping India position itself as a global power and the security partner of choice in this region.

Another promising outcome of Defense Minister Parrikar’s 8-day visit to Washington was an agreement for a series of joint India-U.S. exercises scheduled to take place this year.
This kind of progress is, frankly, stunning. We went from rarely talking only a few years ago to not only talking together, but doing together. Skepticism, suspicion, and doubt on both sides have been replaced by cooperation, dialogue, and trust.

Secretary Carter will visit India next month for the second time in the past year, as will Undersecretary Kendall. Both of them have spent many years strengthening bilateral ties that helped lay the groundwork for Defense Framework. We’re all appreciative of how they have both led from the front.

Speaking of robust senior leadership engagements, our Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson told me about his recent visit in New Delhi, and was amazed by what he saw during the Visakhapatnam International Fleet Review.

He was proud to be one of 50 countries with visiting warships to join a number of heads of navies from around the world to celebrate your Fleet Review. Our crews from USS Antietam and USS McCampbell will never forget the hospitality they received in Vi-Zag. Our C.N.O. is only one of many U.S. joint military leaders working closely with their Indian counterparts. In fact, nearly a dozen flag and general officers from the Pacific region will have visited India in the past 6 (sic) months.

At every level, this relationship flourishes and is strengthened by senior leadership visits, increased port visits and exercises.

This summer, India will join 27 nations during the Rim of the Pacific – or RIMPAC as we call it. This is the world’s largest international maritime exercise and Admiral Scott Swift, who just visited India in January, looks forward to hosting everyone in Hawaii. India will also participate in Red Flag ’16, an advanced aerial combat training exercise hosted by the U.S. Air Force in Alaska.
Exercising together will lead to operating together.

By being ambitious, India, Japan, Australia, the United States and so many other like-minded nations can aspire to operate anywhere on the high seas and airspace above them. The idea of safeguarding freedom of the seas and access to international waters and airspace is not something new for us to ponder – this is a principle based upon the international, rules-based global order that has served this region so well. And for decades, the United States has conducted freedom of navigation patrols – or FONOPs – without incident. No nation should perceive FONOPs as a threat.

U.S. Ambassador Verma recently spoke about “Mare Liberum” – the Latin term for “a free sea for everyone.” Freedom of navigation on the high seas and the airspace above them are not some abstract concept to be studied in academia.

They're not privileges of rich and powerful countries. They’re fundamental rights of all nations. While some countries seek to bully smaller nations through intimidation and coercion, I note with admiration India's example of peaceful resolution of disputes with your neighbors in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

India, indeed, stands like a beacon on a hill, building a future on the power of ideas… not on castles of sand that threaten the rules-based architecture that has served us all so very well.

That’s why it’s critical that India’s powerful voice be added to the chorus of like-minded nations in this increasingly complicated and inter-connected world. As India takes a leading role as a world power, military operations with other nations will undoubtedly become routine.

So I echo Ambassador Verma’s vision that, in the not too distant future, American and Indian Navy vessels steaming together will become a common and welcome sight throughout Indo-Asia-Pacific waters, as we work together to maintain freedom of the seas for all nations.

Considering the $5.3 trillion in trade that traverses each year from the Indian Ocean and through the South China Sea, we all have a vested interest in ensuring the entire region remain secure, stable, and prosperous. How Indo-Asia-Pacific nations employ naval forces to support these economic interests matters greatly.

And because of ventures like the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative – or D.T.T.I. – prosperity for India and the United States is also enhanced. This initiative charts an exciting course for the India-U.S. relationship and is aligned with the “Make in India” campaign. It fosters technology cooperation, works to build industry-to-industry ties, and identifies opportunities for the co-development and co-production of defense systems.

This is truly a new brand of partnership for us and one unique to the US-India relationship. We have overhauled our approach to defense licensing to India with a presumption of approval for the vast majority of sophisticated platforms. Our offers to provide Indian forces with Apache attack helicopters – the most advanced in the U.S. inventory – Chinook heavy lift helicopters, and M777 howitzers are akin to our defense relationships with our closest NATO allies.

Last month, the joint Aircraft Carrier Technology Working Group met here in India and laid the ground work to bring state-of-the-art technology to India’s indigenous carrier. This includes advanced launch and recovery equipment that will enable India to operate heavier planes from its carriers, and ultimately, increase your capacity to safeguard the maritime domain.

I pledge my unwavering support to programs like D.T.T.I. by providing subject matter experts, increased opportunities for joint training, and championing pilot programs tied to this joint endeavor.
As we expand civil-military collaboration, we should also explore building a strong cyber security infrastructure, especially as it relates to industrial control systems and “Smart Cities.” Our nations could structure coalition cyber exercises to explore how we can better protect critical infrastructure and industrial control systems where the threats are not completely understood.

I mentioned North Korea earlier, a belligerent nation and notorious proliferator. Regional security requires that we be ambitious together in adopting a more proactive counter-proliferation posture to put an end to W.M.D.-related trafficking. And this means encouraging all like-minded nations to join the P.S.I. – the Proliferation Security Initiative.

Finally, the last ambitious action that I will mention today is the need for cooperative response to natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. And as Ambassador Verma just said last month, the threat caused by rising sea levels represents an enduring challenge for this region.
These ambitions will allow us to move forward, together. With each engagement, U.S.-India defense ties grow stronger.

And we are stronger, together.

Our two nations share a vision for a partnership in which India and the United States work together -- not just for the benefit of both countries – but for the benefit of the entire region by supporting an open and inclusive rules-based global order based on international law.

The United States and India have committed to expanding our strategic partnership in order to harness the inherent potential of our two great democracies and the growing ties between our peoples, our economies, and our governments.

As both countries work toward a common future, this is a relationship that will be critical in strengthening the Indo-Asia-Pacific security architecture so that everyone can continue to develop and prosper.

By virtue of India’s geography and history, it must chart its own path on the world stage. But I think Prime Minister Modi has it right in saying that “our destinies are linked by the currents of the Indian Ocean.’’

So let’s be ambitious together and create a model of strategic partnership for the rest of the world to emulate.

Thank you.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

ASEAN Plus Multinational Field Training Exercise ‘Ex Force 18’ Commences At Pune

Multinational Field Training Exercise (FTX) – Exercise FORCE 18, involving ASEAN Plus countries commenced at Pune today displaying true jointmanship and team spirit. This is the largest Ground Forces Exercise ever conducted on Indian soil and would be conducted from 02 to 08 March 2016  with themes based on ‘Humanitarian Mine Action’ and ‘Peacekeeping Operations’. In its first phase, over 28 foreign trainers were trained by the Indian Army from 24 Feb to 01 Mar 2016. These trainers will form the training backbone for the conduct of ‘Exercise FORCE 18’.

A grand opening ceremony was held at Aundh Military Station which was presided over by Lt Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Commander of Pune based Southern Command. The ceremony began with marching in of the various participating contingents from the ASEAN Plus nations. The ceremony witnessed playing of National Anthem and fly past and was followed by playing the National Anthem of participating countries of ASEAN. Thereafter, Lt Gen Bipin Rawat delivered his opening speech where he highlighted the importance of ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus forum to meet the regional aspirations of peace, security and addressing issues related to mitigating the effects of Mine Menace in many of the South East nations. He added that Exercise FORCE 18, would build common understanding and achieve interoperability amongst the 18 ASEAN Plus countries. The General officer also wished everyone for a professionally satisfying experience and declared the training event ‘Open’.

The foreign participants also witnessed martial skills performed by the Indian Army, including Drill by soldiers from the Mechanised Infantry Regimental Centre. 

The Indian Army contingent of 40 soldiers is being led by Lt Col Sophia Qureshi, a Woman Officer from the Corps of Signals, who now has the rare distinction of becoming the first woman officer to lead an Indian Army training contingent in such a large multinational exercise. The officer also happens to be the only Woman Officer Contingent Commander amongst all other ASEAN Plus contingents present for the exercise.

 Later, in the day the FTX participants were briefed about the exercise settings and its conduct on the sand model. Over 80 foreign dignitaries would be witnessing the culmination of the multinational FTX on 07 and 08 March 2016. The high level dignitaries include Deputy Chief of General Staff from Vietnam People’s Army(equivalent to Indian Chief of Army Staff), a three star officer from Mine Action Centre from Thailand and Director General from South Korea.

Apart from this, senior officers from Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs and other government organizations including the Defence Secretary are also likely to witness the FTX.

Information regarding the exercise can also be  accessed from

Rash Negligent Driving By Civilian Claims Indian Army Soldier's Life, Culprit Let Off On Bail

Rash driving claims braveheart's life:

A speeding Audi A4 driven negligently by a certain Sarabjeet Singh claimed the life of Nk Ram Swaroop Rajput of ASSAM Regiment at Delhi Cantt in the Capital today. The brave soldier was crossing the road at the time of the accident.

According to eyewitnesses, Sarabjeet was driving the car at a very high speed and was unable to control the same. The impact was such that Nk Ram Swaroop Rajput was thrown in the air and sustained severe injuries due to which he succumbed later at the Base Hospital, Delhi Cantt where he battled for life for about 6 hours.

Nk Ram Swaroop Rajput had just returned to his unit after successful IS duties in the neighbouring state of Haryana where he was part of a force instrumental in restoring law and order in the riot affected areas of Panipat & Hissar.

The deceased soldier leaves behind his wife and a two year old daughter. The army authorities are filing a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) case against Sarabjeet Singh.

He killed the soldier n been released on bail at 1900