Monday, December 24, 2018

Validation and Closing Ceremony Sino-India joint exercise Hand-in-Hand 2018

Validation and Closing Ceremony Sino-India joint exercise Hand-in-Hand 2018 

The seventh edition of joint Sino-India military exercise Hand–in–Hand 2018 concluded on 23 December 2018. The exercise included lectures and discussions on various counter terrorism aspects like cordon and search operations, raid on terrorist hideouts, intelligence collection and joint operations. Also, integrated live firing were conducted for both the contingents to enhance interoperability & promote jointmanship.

 As part of validation exercise held on 22 December 2018, troops of both the armies carried out specialised joint counter terrorist operations including room intervention and hostage rescue which was witnessed by dignitaries of both the armies. The validation exercise was reviewed by Major General Sanjiv Rai, General Officer Commanding Trishul Division of the Indian Army in presence of senior Army officers of both the participating countries. The Chinese side was represented by Maj Gen  Li Shizhong. The exercise concluded on 22 December 2018 with a ceremonial closing ceremony, which included a grand cultural show presented by both the countries.

Exercise Hand in Hand 2018 was very successful in increasing the bonhomie and camaraderie amongst both the participating nations. The troops shared best practices being followed by both nations in counter terrorism operations in urban and jungle terrain and the exercise provided an opportunity to both the armies for greater understanding and strengthening mutual trust and cooperation.

Raksha Mantri Inaugurates Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)

Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Honourable Raksha Mantri, launched the Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) today, 22 Dec 18, at Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) Gurugram. Apart from representation by officials from the MoD, MEA, MHA, Ministry of Shipping and the NSCS, Ambassadors and Resident Defence Attaches of partner countries also participated in the event. 

The Indian Ocean Region is vital to world trade and economic prosperity of many nations as more than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR. However, maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching pose myriad challenges to maritime safety and security in the region. Response to these challenges requires enhanced situational awareness of the maritime activities in the region so as to enable security agencies function effectively. 

However, the scale, scope and the multi-national nature of maritime activities, make it difficult for countries to address these challenges individually. Hence, collaborative efforts between maritime nations in the IOR, is essential. Towards this, the IFC-IOR aims to engage with partner nations and multi-national maritime constructs to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and share information on vessels of interest. The intention of this collaborative endeavour shall be to secure the global commons for a peaceful, stable and prosperous region towards the well-being of all. 

In his address to the gathering, Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chief of the Naval Staff said that the IFC – IOR shall be a collaborative construct that will work with partners, countries as well as international agencies; to enhance maritime security and safety. It would also aim to work closely with the multi-national constructs and other information fusion centres said the Admiral. He further added that the IFC-IOR would work towards capability building in the region, coordination of incident response and disaster relief, and in time, also share submarine safety information. 

During her address the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri said that the objective of having an IFC-IOR is more for partners, equals to work towards keeping the global commons safe and democratically available for all of us. She further added that, in addition to utilising our collective wisdom and resources towards addressing the myriad challenges in our region, the IFC-IOR will help us interface and integrate, wherein, we would benefit from each other’s best practices and expertise. More significantly, the IFC-IOR will help foster bonds of trust, camaraderie and partnership; ingredients that are vital for relationships between nations to transcend from being merely transactional to ones that are transformational”.

The information exchange at the IFC-IOR would be initially undertaken by virtual means, using telephone calls, faxes, emails and video conferencing over internet. Subsequently, to enable better interaction, quicker analysis of information and provide timely inputs, the IFC-IOR would host Liaison Officers from partner countries. Additionally, towards enhancing capability building, the IFC-IOR would undertake conduct of exercises and training capsules in maritime information collation and sharing.

The IFC-IOR website is accessible through and will be hosted as an independent portal in due course of time.

Japanese Navy Ship Visits Kochi

Japan Navy Ship JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force) Samidare, commanded by Commander Gen Kawai is on a visit to Kochi from 20 - 22 Dec 18. On 21 Dec 18, Captain Takahiro Nishiyama, Commander Escort Division Four accompanied by the Commanding Officer JMSDF Samidare, Commanding Officer of the Japan Coast Guard Somalia Dispatch Investigation Team and Mr Yamashita, Japan Coast Guard Attaché/ Second Secretary, Embassy of Japan called on Vice Admiral AK Chawla, AVSM, NM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command and interacted with him over professional matters of common interest to both the navies. On completion, crests were exchanged.

During the stay at Kochi, various activities such as visit of IN(Indian Navy) specialists onboard JMSDF Samidare and professional interaction between the two navies were conducted. The visiting foreign ship’s crews were also given a guided tour of certain professional schools and the Naval Maritime Museum to familiarise them with IN's method of imparting training to its personnel and preserving its naval heritage.

India’s bilateral relations with Japan are rooted in historical social and cultural interactions and extensive people-to-people contact. The current visit of Japanese ship enhances the interoperability and friendship between the two navies. JMSDF Samidare is planned to depart for Bahrain on  22 Dec 18 and will be participating in anti-piracy mission in Gulf of Aden.

“International Workshop on Integrated Protection of Civilians (IPOC) in UN Peacekeeping Operations” At Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi 

 A Joint workshop between ICRC and CUNPK on “Integrated Protection on Civilians (IPOC)” in UN peacekeeping operations was conducted at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi from 17 – 21 Dec 2018. The seminar focused on Protection of Civilians (PoC), Conflict Related Sexual Violence (CRSV) and Child Protection (CP) issues on vulnerable populations and UN strategies to address the ongoing challenges.

A total of 25 participants from 23 different countries and 10 Indian Officers attended the seminar to derive benefit from it and be available to the United Nations for deployment in field areas. The seminar was conducted by some of the most experienced and seasoned speakers from across the globe including those from CUNPK and ICRC. Participation from all the continents including instructors and facilitators ensured a balanced mix towards training, focus and direction.

The inaugural session was held on 17 Dec 2018. Lieutenant General IS Ghuman, Deputy Chief of Army Staff (IS&T), Indian Army was the Chief Guest for the occasion and delivered the inaugural address. Mr Jeremy England, Head of Regional Delegation, ICRC, Delhi and other senior officers/ dignitaries of the Army and ICRC, DAs of various countries, Officials from UN agencies and academia were also present during the inauguration.

Visit of Admiral Luechai Ruddit, Commander-in-Chief Royal Thai Navy Visit India(18-21 December 2018)

Admiral Luechai Ruddit, Commander in Chief, Royal Thai Navy (RTN), is on a visit to India from 18 to 21 December 2018 along with a nine member Royal Thai Navy delegation. This is the first visit of the Admiral to India after taking over as Commander in Chief, RTN. The visit aims to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and Thailand, as also to explore new avenues for naval cooperation. 

During his visit, the Commander in Chief, Royal Thai Navy held bilateral discussions with Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff. The Commander in Chief, Royal Thai Navy, also called on the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri on 19 December 2018.
Various important maritime engagement issues related to operational interactions such as conduct of Coordinated Patrols (CORPATs), Training, Hydrography and METOC cooperation, participation in Admiral’s Cup and deputing of Sea Riders were discussed during the bilateral interaction with the CNS. 

A significant achievement during this visit was the signing of the Technical Agreement (TA) on White Shipping Information Exchange between India and Thailand. The TA will help enhance the Maritime Domain Awareness in the region for the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy.
The Commander in Chief RTN Navy is scheduled to visit the Western Naval Command at Mumbai on 20 December 2018, where he will hold discussions with the senior naval officials and visit various naval units.

Commissioning of Fifth Ship of Landing Craft Utility Mk-IV ‘IN LCU L55’ (GRSE Yard 2096) At Port Blair- 19 December 2018

Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar P, AVSM, VSM, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, commissioned IN LCU L55 into the Indian Navy today at Port Blair. IN LCU L55 is the fifth ship of Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV class to be inducted into the Indian Navy. The ship has been indigenously designed and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata. The Commissioning of IN LCU L55 is yet another manifestation of the country’s indigenous design and ship building capability.

LCU Mk-IV ship is an amphibious ship with its primary role being transportation and deployment of Main Battle Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore. These ships based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command, can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations, search and rescue, disaster relief operations, supply and replenishment and evacuation from distant islands.

The ship, commanded by Lt Cdr Abhishek Kumar, has a complement of 05 officers, 45 sailors and is capable of carrying 160 troops in addition. The ship, displacing 830 Tons, is capable of transporting various kinds of combat equipment such as the Main Battle Tank, T72 and other vehicles. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).

The remaining three ships of the same class are in advanced stages of construction at M/S GRSE, Kolkata and are scheduled to be inducted over the next year and a half. The induction of these ships will contribute to the nation’s maritime security needs and is in consonance with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s drive for ‘Make in India’.

Chief of the Air Staff Reviews Ex Aviaindra 2018 At Jodhpur

Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Chief of the Air Staff visited Air Force Station Jodhpur on 19 Dec 2018 to interact with the participating forces of ongoing Ex AVIAINDRA 2018 between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Russian Federation Aerospace Force (RFASF). Chief of the Air Staff was received by Air Commodore Philip Thomas Air Officer Commanding Air Force Station Jodhpur.

 The second edition of Ex AVIAINDRA is aimed at exposing RFASF and IAF pilots to single/multi aircraft missions in a Counter Terrorism Scenario within the predefined scope.  The 30 member RFASF contingent comprises of fighter, transport and helicopter pilots.

The Chief of the Air Staff was briefed in detail about various phases of the exercise and was apprised of its progress. Post briefing, Chief of the Air Staff visited the RFASF and IAF detachment, wherein he interacted with the personnel of both the Air Forces.

 During the interaction, Chief of the Air Staff welcomed RFASF team and emphasised the importance of joint exercises, as they create an environment of camaraderie and provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices. He spoke about the long standing military partnership between RFASF and IAF and the common equipment that both the nations operate. He complimented the efficacy of Russian equipment, as it has played a pivotal role during various IAF air campaigns. 

Ex AVIAINDRA is a testimony of the Indo-Russian Military relationship and would enhance mutual cooperation and understanding between IAF and RFASF.
India’s first military flight using Blended Bio-Jet Fuel Flown by IAF

On 17 December 2018, Experimental Test Pilots and Test Engineer from IAF’s premier testing establishment ASTE, flew India’s first military flight using blended bio-jet fuel on the An-32 transport aircraft.The project is a combined effort of IAF, DRDO, Directorate General Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA) and CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum.

On 27 July 2018, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Chief of Air Staff had announced IAF’s intention to promote biojet fuels. Addressing the CII-SIDM seminar on promoting indigenised technologies, the CAS had stated that IAF intended to fly the An-32 with 10% biojet fuel on 26 Jan 2019 Republic Day flypast.

Indian Air Force carried out extensive engine tests on the ground. This is now followed by flight trials using 10% biojet blended ATF. This fuel is made from Jatropha oil sourced from Chattisgarh Biodiesel Development Authority (CBDA) and then processed at CSIR-IIP, Dehradun. IAF intends to fly the An-32 transport aircraft using biojet fuel on 26 January 2019, in the Republic Day flypast.

Tri Services Cycling & Trekking Expedition In Sikkim

The Indian Armed Forces have a rich saga of fostering the spirit of adventure amongst its ranks by undertaking various and varied adventure activities.  To enhance the spirit of adventure ingrained in the Indian Armed Forces, demonstrate high standards of physical fitness, competitive spirit, mental robustness and camaraderie amongst the three Services - a Tri Services Adventure Expedition is being conducted from December 17, 2018 to January 05, 2019. The expedition is being undertaken by a Tri Services team comprising of three Officers, three warrant rank officers and thirteen soldiers from the Army, Navy and Air Force. The expedition is in three phases which includes cycling-cum-trekking, para gliding and sea diving. The first leg of the expedition comprising of a cycling-cum-trekking expedition will cover a distance of 200 kilometres from Kalimpong to north Sikkim under the aegis of the Striking Lion Division.                        

The Expedition was flagged off today by the General Officer Commanding, Striking Lion Division from the Gompa ground of Durpin Monastery at Kalimpong. The Armed Forces Team would cycle the treacherous and challenging mountains of North Sikkim for the next five days reaching altitudes of 15,000 feet in the Lachen&Lachung valleys. Apart from cycling, the team would also trek through the mountain ranges along the Teesta river. During course of the expedition, the team will spread the message of ‘Green Sikkim, Clean Sikkim’.

High Level Meeting Between Indian and Indonesia Coast Guard 

Director General Indian Coast Guard (DG ICG) Shri G Rajendra Singh is hosting a seven-member delegation of the Indonesia Coast Guard (BAKAMLA) led by Chief of BAKAMLA Vice Admiral ATaufiqoerrochman in India from December 16 to 19 2018.

India and Indonesia have established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and there is considerable emphasis from both sides to enhance bilateral defence cooperation including maritime security cooperation. During the 6thIndia-Indonesia Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) meeting, held in New Delhi on August 09, 2018 both sides had agreed that Chief of BAKAMLA will visit India for a High Level Meeting (HLM).

Consequently, a HLM between the Indian Coast Guard and BAKAMLA was held in Coast Guard Headquarters, New Delhion December 17, 2018. During the HLM, both sides agreed to pursue early signing of the Memorandum of Understanding which is in the final stages of approval.  Timeline for conduct of reciprocal ship visits and table top exercise in the domain of Maritime Search & Rescue was also agreed.  Mutual cooperation between the two agencies in the multilateral forum of Asian Coast Guards, ‘HACGAM’, was also acknowledged.

Relations between ICG and BAKAMLA go back a long way with ICG ships visiting Indonesia for professional interactions since 2003. This meeting and visit is in continuation of the efforts by the governments of the two countries to enhance cooperation between the Coast Guards in the field of maritime safety and security at sea.
The meeting was significant being the first high level meeting and marks a new era in maritime cooperation. 

Visit of COAS to Tanzania and Kenya

General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) is scheduled to visit Tanzania and Kenya from 17 to 20 December 2018 on an official bilateral visit. During the visit, COAS led delegation will interact with senior military and political hierarchy of both countries with an aim to enhance and energise defence cooperation. The Army Chief will also visit National Defence College at Tanzania and key military establishments.

The Chief of the Army Staff is scheduled to meet Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi, Minister of Defence and National Service, General Venance  S Mabeyo, Chief of Tanzania Defence Forces in Tanzania and Ambassador Raychelle Awour  Omamo, SC, Cabinet Secretary for Defence and General Samson Mwathethe, Chief of Defence Forces, Kenya Defence Forces in Kenya.

The visit to the African countries aims to give impetus to the military to military relationship with Tanzania and Kenya which has been nurtured over the years.

‘President's Commission' Conferred To 139 Flight Cadets At Air Force Academy 

The amber sky dawned sagely over Air Force Academy, Dundigal to witness the grand Combined Graduation Parade on 15 Dec 18 (Saturday), which marked the momentous occasion of the passing out of 139 trainees as Flying Officers of the Indian Air Force which included 24 women officers. The ceremony also marked commissioning of another woman fighter pilot, Flying Officer Priya Sharma, in the IAF. This solemn event was graced by General Bipin Rawat, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, Aide- De- Camp, Chief of the Army Staff. As the Reviewing Officer of the parade, he conferred the ‘President’s Commission’ to the graduating Flight Cadets who successfully completed their basic and professional training. 

The Reviewing Officer was received at the venue by Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayu Sena Medal, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Training Command and Air Marshal AS Butola, Vayu Sena Medal,  Vishist Seva Medal, Commandant Air Force Academy.  The Reviewing Officer was accorded a ceremonial salute by the parade followed by an impressive march past.  The highpoint of the parade was the ‘Pipping Ceremony’. The Flight Cadets were awarded their ‘Stripes’ (Air Force rank) by the Chief Guest, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command and Commandant Air Force Academy.  They were then administered the ‘Oath’ by the Commandant of the Academy in the presence of the Chief Guest and other dignitaries. On this occasion, 15 officers of Indian Navy and Coast Guard were also awarded their ‘Wings’ on successful completion of flying training from Air Force Academy. Indian Air Force routinely trains members of other services and para-military forces in basic aviation and related courses at Air Force Academy.

General Bipin Rawat, the Reviewing Officer after pipping ceremony gave away various awards to the Flying Officers who had excelled in training.  Flying Officer Sukhmandeep Singh of  Flying branch was awarded President’s Plaque and the Chief of the Air Staff Sword of Honour for standing first in overall merit in Pilot Course.  Flying Officer Rashmi Kumari and Flying Officer Abhishek Mandyal were awarded President’s Plaque for being first in overall merit in Navigation and Ground Duty Branches respectively.

Later, addressing the Parade, the Chief of Army Staff complimented the newly Commissioned ‘Flying Officers’ for the exceptional standard of parade.    Congratulating the passing-out cadets, the Army Chief said, “It is a matter of great pride to review the Combined Graduation Parade of Indian Air Force”.  Stressing on the importance of jointmanship amongst Defence Services, the Army Chief urged the passing out Cadets to think in a joint manner to cope with the future challenges posed by dramatic changes taking place in warfare.  He remarked that there can be  nothing more satisfying than participating in the defence of one’s nation.  He advised the graduating trainees to be alive to various situations, rapidly changing geopolitical  scenario and constantly strive to keep themselves fighting fit at all times to take on any task.

All the esteemed guests, including proud parents of the graduating trainees and various military and civilian dignitaries were held spell bound at the grand ceremony. They were delighted to witness the magnificent parade by the passing out Flight Cadets and were awestruck at the spectacular movements of Air Warrior Drill

Team. The Sky Diving Team of Indian Air Force ‘Akash Ganga’ enthralled the spectators by dotting the blue skies of Dundigal with tricolour and perfect landing right in front of them. The spectators were mesmerised with the breathtaking aerobatic display by ‘Sarang’ helicopter team, ‘Suryakiran’ Hawk team and PC 7 aircraft.

The glittering ceremony  culminated with the newly Commissioned Officers marching-out  in two columns in slow march to the traditional notes of ‘Auld Lang Syne’, the poignant farewell tune played by Armed Forces of the world when bidding adieu to colleagues and comrades,  acknowledging the first salute given to them by their immediate juniors. They marched in absolute synchrony and with purposeful strides as they saluted the Reviewing Officer and crossed through the portals of their alma mater to take on their future assignments and challenges unstintingly to “Touch the Sky with Glory”.

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