Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Indian Navy on high alert for Cyclone FANI Relief Efforts

Indian Navy on high alert for Cyclone FANI Relief Efforts

As the cyclone Storm ‘FANI’ intensifies into a Severe Cyclonic Storm over South East and adjoining South West Bay of Bengal and lie about 770 km East-South-East of Chennai at 1730 hrs on 29 Apr 19, the Eastern Naval Command(ENC) has assumed high degree of readiness to render necessary humanitarian assistance. Indian Naval ships at Visakhapatnam and Chennai are standing-by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake Humanitarian Aid Distress Relief (HADR), evacuation, logistic support including providing medical aid. These ships are embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats  and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines, blankets etc, in quantities sufficient. Naval aircraft are also standing by at the Naval Air Stations INS Rajali at Arakkonam, Tamilnadu and INS Dega at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded if required.

ENC is monitoring the developments in the Bay of Bengal closely and Flag Officer Tamilnadu & Puducherry Naval Area(FOTNA) and Naval Officers-in-Charge (Andhra Pradesh) and (Odisha) are in constant communication with respective State Administrations to augment rescue and relief operations as needed.

Vice chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Anil Khosla PVSM AVSM VM ADC retires

Air Marshal Anil Khosla PVSM AVSM VM ADC, Vice Chief of the Air Staff retired today after an illustrious career spanning four decades.

Born on 09 April 1959, the Air Marshal was commissioned in Fighter stream of Indian Air Force in the year 1979 and had more than 4000 hours of accident free flying mainly on Jaguar, Mig-21 and Kiran aircraft. He is also a post graduate from Defence Services Staff College and holds two M Phil degrees in military studies. 

Air Officer had vast instructional experience and was a Directing Staff at prestigious institutions like Tactics and Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and Flying Instructors School (FIS). He commanded a Jaguar squadron and two frontline bases of the IAF. During his service, Air Marshal Khosla has held various appointments including Senior Air Staff Officer, Central Air Command, Director General Air (Operations) at Air HQ (Vayu Bhawan), Director General (Inspection & Safety) at Air HQ (RK Puram) and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Air Command.

For his distinguished service, Air Marshal Anil Khosla was awarded Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayu Sena Medal and was commended by the Chief of the Air Staff and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief.

The Air Marshal celebrated his sixtieth birthday on 09 April and remained a soldier till the last day of his service. 

Cyber Exercise on Scenario Building & Response
After the successful conduct of workshop on Cyber Warfare & Technology, wherein plethora of lessons emerged, Directorate of Indian Defence University is organising a two day Cyber Exercise on Scenario Building & Response on       29-30 Apr 19 at Purple Bay, Jodhpur Officers’ Hostel, New Delhi.  The Exercise is represented by Services, NSCS, NTRO, CERT-in, DRDO, NIC, CSRC, Academia and Industry.  This exercise shall incorporate all best practices which were recommended during the cyber workshop held earlier with a view to exercise options at different levels to seek synergized response based on the assessment of situation and own capability.   The scope of the exercise would encompass the threat landscape and its impact, incident reporting & response framework, procedures for information exchange, attribution, evidence gathering and malicious service takedown, enhancement of capabilities required to protect information, and information systems, enhance cyber awareness, readiness and coordination, integrated international responses & inter-governmental / inter-agency partnerships.

Lt Gen PS Rajeshwar, AVSM, VSM, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff delivered the keynote address for the two day cyber exercise. It was followed by painting of Scenarios to seek responses from the stakeholders.
This exercise is planned to be conducted on an annual basis under the aegis of Indian Defence University, which will also involve Indian agencies and subsequently participation from agencies from Friendly Foreign Countries to jointly build the capability against cyber threats.

Govt gives Contract Worth 6,300 Crore to GRSE for Building Eight anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts 

Ministry of Defence has awarded Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited (GRSE)contract to build eight Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts (ASWSWCs) for Indian Navy. The contract worth Rs. 6,311.32 crore was signed today by Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Maritime Systems) Shri Ravi Kant on behalf of Ministry of Defence and Shri S S Dogra, Director (Finance), on behalf of GRSE, in New Delhi.  

It may be noted that the RFP was issued by Indian Navy to DPSU Shipyards and Indian Private Shipyards in April 2014, with GRSE emerging as the successful bidder for design, construction and supply of the eight ASWSWCs. The 1st ship is to be delivered within 42 months from contract signing date and subsequent balance ships delivery schedule will be two ships per year. The project completion time is 84 months from today. The GRSE is currently handling major projects to make three Stealth Frigates for Indian Navy under P17A Project, ASW Corvettes for Indian Navy, LCUs for Indian Navy, four Survey Vessels (Large) for Indian Navy, FPVs for Indian Coast Guard, etc.

The GRSE has been a pioneer warship builder of the nation having delivered the highest number of warships till date since its inception as a DPSU in 1960. The 100 warships built by GRSE so far ranges from Advanced Frigates to Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes to Fleet Tankers, Fast Attack Crafts, etc. with the Shipyard having many firsts to its credit in terms of Innovation and Design. The present Project will further consolidate GRSE’s position as a unique shipyard with all round capability to design and build ASWSWC warships with state-of-the-art technology. 

These Anti-Submarine Warfare Shallow Water Crafts are designed for a deep displacement of 750 tons, speed of 25 knots and complement of 57 and capable of full-scale sub surface surveillance of coastal waters, SAU and Coordinated ASW operations with Aircraft. In addition, the vessels shall have the capability to interdict/ destroy sub surface targets in coastal waters. These can also be deployed for Search and Rescue by day and night in coastal areas. In their secondary role, these will be capable to prosecute intruding aircraft, and lay mines in the sea bed.

The vessels are equipped with highly advanced state-of-the-art integrated platform management systems including Propulsion Machinery, Auxiliary Machinery, Power Generation and Distribution Machinery and Damage Control Machinery, etc.These warships will be built as per Classification Society Rules and Naval Ship Regulations and will conform to latest Marine Pollution Standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).

The design and construction of these ships at GRSE is another significant milestone in the ‘Make In India’ Initiative of the Government of India.

Second General K Sundarji Memorial Lecture

The 2nd Gen K Sundarji memorial lecture was conducted on 27 Apr 2019 at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, graced the occasion as Chief Guest. The event was attended by serving and retired officers of the three Services as well as members of academia and think tanks. The lecture started by commemorating the dynamic and visionary General K Sundarji, the 14th Chief of the Army Staff, who is also fondly called as the ‘Father of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment’. 

Gen K Sundarji had during his tenure from 1986 to 1988, introduced a number of technical and operational initiatives for the Indian Army. Post his conceptualisation of the Mechanised Forces, Gen Sundarji went on to raise the Mechanised Infantry Regiment. With emphasis on speed, technology and mobile weaponry, the youngest arm of the Indian Army is now an integral part of the strike forces. 

The Memorial lecture commenced with a welcome note by Lt Gen PC Thimmaya, which was followed by Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff delivering the keynote address. Shri Navtej Sarna delivered a talk on "Leading India in the 21st Century : Strategic Leadership incorporating Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic (DIME) Aspects" followed by Lt Gen PM Hariz, PVSM, AVSM, SM, VSM (Retd) who articulated on the topic "From Brasstacks to Doklam : Exigent need for wisdom and vision in our strategic military leadership".

Incident onboard INS Vikramaditya

A case of fire was reported onboard INS Vikramaditya this morning when the ship was entering harbour in Karwar. The fire was brought under control by the ship’s crew in a swift action preventing any serious damage affecting the ship’s combat capability.

 Lt Cdr DS Chauhan bravely led the firefighting efforts in the affected compartment. Whilst the fire was brought under control, the officer suffered loss of consciousness owing to the smoke and fumes during the firefighting efforts. He was immediately evacuated to the Naval Hospital at Karwar, INHS Patanjali for medical attention. However, the officer could not be revived.

A Board of Inquiry to investigate in to the circumstances of the incident has been ordered.

Naval Commanders’ Conference Concludes 

The first edition of this years’ bi-annual Naval Commanders’ Conference which commenced on 23 Apr 19, concluded on 25 Apr 19 after three days of fruitful deliberations. 

The Hon’ble RM addressed Naval Commanders on 23 Apr 19 and complimented the Indian Navy for maintaining a high operational tempo and its ability to not only safeguard India’s interest in the maritime domain but also coerce an adversary into submission as was evident during the recent standoff. She appreciated Navy’s efforts in the area of indigenisation, self-reliance and support to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government. She expressed happiness at the numerous initiatives taken to achieve ‘Digital Navy’ vision in line with the Government’s ‘Digital India Programme’.
During the interaction, the Hon’ble RM reviewed the combat readiness, pace of modernisation and progress of various acquisition and infrastructure related cases. While praising the Indian Navy’s foreign cooperation efforts to support the Navies in the region, she urged the Naval Commanders to optimally utilise available resources to build a strong Navy that is ready and vigilant to counter any challenge that may emerge in the maritime domain.
Chairing the conference, the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba addressed the Commanders on various important issues pertaining to operational readiness, capability enhancement, maintenance, op logistics, infrastructure development and human resource management.
Functional Reorganisation of Indian Navy towards improving Operational efficiency’ and ‘Optimal Manning’ formed the core of discussions towards finalising the long term road map of the Navy. In keeping with the Navy’s ethos of harnessing niche technologies, concrete plans to incorporate ‘Big Data Analytics’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’ for solutions in the domains of naval combat, convergence of networks/ information, logistics, administration and equipment health monitoring for sustained operation were also discussed.
The Indian Navy’s sustained prominence as the first responder for HADR and its role as the Net Security Provider in the IOR were reviewed by the Commanders. The Navy’s partnering with many Friendly Foreign Countries for developing comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness, undertaking concrete steps such as 10th IONS anniversary celebrations at Kochi, concluding numerous defence cooperation agreements related to logistics, training and operations, which are a testimony to its primacy in the sphere of defence diplomacy in the wider Indo Pacific region and beyond were also reviewed during the conference. 
The next edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference is scheduled in Oct/ Nov later this year.

 Naval Commanders’ Conference 

The conference is the apex forum within the Service for interaction between the Naval Commanders. The Chief of the Naval Staff, with the Commanders-in-Chief, will review major operational, materiel, logistics, HR, training and administrative activities undertaken during the previous six months and deliberate upon the course to be steered in the ensuing six months.
The Conference assumes greater significance in the backdrop of Pulwama associated events that have brought country’s defence under sharper focus and will provide the higher naval leadership a forum to discuss the emerging challenges in the maritime domain and fine tune the strategies for responding to the evolving geo-strategic environment.
The Hon’ble Raksha Mantri is scheduled to address the Naval Commanders on the opening day and interact with them. The conference also serves as a platform for institutionalised interaction of Naval Commanders with senior Government Officials.
Interaction with Chiefs of Indian Army and Indian Air Force during the conference would be utilised to analyse the operational environment, deliberate on Tri-Service synergy and readiness to deter and neutralise threats aimed at the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The themes of 'Functional Reorganisation of Indian Navy towards improving Operational Efficiency' and 'Optimal Manning' will form the core of discussions towards finalising long term road map for the IN.
Discussions are planned on acquisition of new capabilities, harnessing niche technologies like 'Big Data Analytics' and 'Artificial Intelligence' for solutions in the domains of naval combat, convergence of networks/ information, logistics, administration and equipment health monitoring for sustained operations.
In keeping with the expectation of IN being the Net Security Provider in the IOR and first responder to any crisis, the forum will also deliberate upon the lessons learnt from the recently concluded HADR operations by the IN and various other maritime security initiatives such as the IFC-IOR. 

Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Vessel C-441

A new Coast Guard vessel is commissioned by Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala Sri Tom Jose at Vizhinjam harbour, today, under the aegis of Regional Commander Western Region, Inspector General Vijay D. Chafekar. The function was witnessed by senior officers from Army, Navy, Air Force, BSF, Police, Airport Authority, Central & State Authorities and National Cadet Corps.

The function was conducted with full ceremony of parading the guard and band.  Indian Coast Guard Ship C-441 is capable to undertake multifarious tasks such as close coast surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue and rendering assistance to boats and crafts in distress at sea and will enhance the search and rescue capacity of Kerala seas. The ship is commanded by Assistant Commandant Amit K Choudhary and has 13 crew onboard with specialisation in various fields.

Rajendra Kumar Nayak Takes Over as CGDA

Shri Rajendra Kumar Nayak took over as the 52nd Controller General of Defence Accounts on April 22, 2019. He is from the Indian Defence Accounts Service of 1983 batch. 

During the career span of more than 35 years, Shri Nayak has held important assignments in the Defence Accounts Department and on deputation in the Government of India. He has vast and varied experience in handling Finance, Personnel, Pay & Budget matters of Ministry of Defence. 

He was Additional Controller General of Defence Accounts, Defence Accounts Department, Ministry of Defence before taking over as the CGDA.

IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti are at Qingdao, China to participate in IFR to mark 70TH Anniversary of PLA(N)

IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti entered Qingdao, China to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR) as part of 70TH Anniversary Celebrations of PLA (Navy) on 21 Apr 19. Entry of IN Ships was marked by firing of 21 gun salute to the Peoples Republic of China. The Ships were welcomed into harbour by officials from PLA (N) North Sea Fleet with live performance of Naval Band as part of Welcome Ceremony. 

The participation of Indian Navy in PLA (N) IFR, for third consecutive time (2009, 2014 and 2019), is a demonstration of the Nation’s commitment to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies and bolster bonds of friendship between the two Countries. The IN has deployed its finest assets for the IFR with an aim to strengthen existing cooperation, enhance mutual trust, extend interoperability and build greater synergy to address common maritime concerns among participating navies.

During the stay in harbour, activities scheduled include courtesy calls to various dignitaries of PLA(N), naval band performance in the famous MAY 4THSquare and various other functions of IFR including opening ceremony, planning conferences and table top exercise . IN Ships will take part in the parade of naval ships scheduled on 23 Apr which will be reviewed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Personnel from IN Ships would also be participating in various sporting events, professional exchanges with participating navies and ship visit by PLA (Navy) personnel and local populace. The Indian Ambassador to China, Shri Vikram Misri, will also host a reception onboard INS Kolkata for dignitaries, officers of PLA (Navy) and delegations participating in the IFR.

The IN Ships had earlier called at Port Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam for a good will visit prior entering Qingdao. The ships are also scheduled to visit Port Busan, South Korea and Singapore on their return journey to India as part of Eastern Fleet Overseas Deployment. The Annual Overseas Deployment to the South China Sea is an important facet of Government of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and Indian Navy’s efforts to “Unite Nations Through the Oceans”, through which India wishes to extend the ‘Bridges of Friendship’ through enhanced cultural, economic and maritime interactions with countries of East and South-East Asia.
Medical Assistance to Afghan National Army

To alleviate the challenges and sufferings of some of the critically injured Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, HE Shri Vinay Kumar, Ambassador of India presented 100 motorized wheelchairs to the ANA today. India also remains committed to extending medical relief and assistance to the ANA personnel. 

Till date, Indian Army has also trained 4880 ANA personnel in various professional, educational and military training programs, including training ANA doctors and medical technicians.
India remains committed to further strengthening the strategic relationship between the Indian Army and the ANA.

Launch of Yard 12706

Admiral Sunil Lanba PVSM, AVSM, ADC Chief of the Naval Staff launched the third ship of Project 15B, Guided Missile Destroyer Imphal, today (20 April 2019) at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited, Mumbai. This launch marks yet another significant milestone in the annals of the indigenous warship design and construction programme of India. With a launch weight of 3,037 tonnes, the vessel made its first contact with water at 1220 Hours with full fanfare during the launching ceremony. In keeping with maritime traditions, Smt Reena Lanba, President NWWA, broke a coconut on the ship’s bow and launched the ship, as invocation from the Atharva Veda was being rendered. 

Project 15B ships feature cutting edge advanced technology and are comparable to the best ships of similar class anywhere in the world. These ships have been designed indigenously by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design, New Delhi. Each ship spans 163 metres in length and 17.4 metres at beam and displaces 7,300 tonnes. These ships will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots. The P15B destroyers incorporate new design concepts for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and manoeuvrability. Enhanced stealth features have been achieved through shaping of hull and use of radar transparent deck fittings which make these ships difficult to detect. P15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.
These ships are packed with an array of state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, including multi-functional surveillance radars and vertically launched missile system for long distance engagement of shore, sea-based and air targets. With significant indigenous content, these ships are a true hallmark of self-reliance attained by our country in warship design and shipbuilding, and a shining example of the ‘Make in India’ philosophy.    

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest, Admiral Sunil Lanba commended the synergic partnership of MDL, Indian Navy, DRDO, OFB, BEL, other public sector enterprises and the private industry in ensuring that force levels are made available to meet India’s National strategic maritime objectives. He also congratulated all agencies associated with the milestone.

IN Ships to participate in International Fleet Review at Qingdao, China

IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti are scheduled to arrive Qingdao, China on 21 Apr 19 to participate in the International Fleet Review as part of 70TH Anniversary celebrations of PLA (Navy). International Fleet Review (IFR) is a parade of naval ships, aircraft and submarines, and is organised by nations to promote goodwill, strengthen cooperation and showcase their organisational capabilities. IFR also serves as an ideal platform for world’s navies to showcase their prowess and indigenous ship designing and ship building capabilities in a global/ international arena. The second IFR conducted by India off Visakhapatnam in Feb 2016 saw overwhelming participation of 50 navies with nearly 100 warships.

The Indian Navy would be represented in the IFR at Qingdao by indigenously built stealth guided missile destroyer INS Kolkata and fleet support ship INS Shakti. INS Kolkata is equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors to address threats in all dimensions of naval warfare. INS Shakti, a replenishment ship, is one of the largest tankers displacing over 27,000 tonnes and capable of carrying 15,000 tonnes of liquid cargo and over 500 tonnes of solid cargo including victuals and ammunition. The visit of Indian Navy’s most potent destroyer and versatile fleet support ship showcases India’s prowess, reach and sustainability in addition to indigenous ship building capability. 

The harbour stay of IN Ships will be marked by interaction between personnel of participating navies, courtesy calls to various dignitaries of PLA (N) and Government officials, professional exchanges and various sporting events. Ships will be opened for visits by PLA (Navy) personnel and local populace to showcase Indian Navy’s prowess and India’s ship building capability. The ships are likely to sail in the evening of 22 APRIL to participate in the Naval Parade of ships scheduled to be reviewed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping on 23 April.

Second Edition of Indian Navy-Vietnam Peoples’ Navy Bilateral Exercise (IN – VPN BILAT EX) Concludes

In the backdrop of the growing maritime engagement between India and Vietnam, the Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy at/ off  Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam from 13 to 16 Apr 19. The maiden edition was conducted from 21 to 26 May 18 at Da Nang, Vietnam. The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries. IN Ships Kolkata under the command of Capt Aditya Hara and Shakti under the command of Capt Sriram Amur participated in the exercise, comprising a harbour and a sea phase.  

The Indian Navy and the Vietnam Peoples’ Navy have traditionally shared good relations. Conduct of the bilateral exercise on an annual basis would give a further fillip to the existing strong bilateral relation between the two countries, which since Sep 16 have been elevated to the level of ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ after the visit of the Hon’ble PM to Vietnam. The Navy to Navy cooperation involves a Composite Training Programme in the fields of Submarine, Aviation and Dockyard training. The two countries have also signed an agreement to exchange White Shipping Information and have a running ‘Information Sharing’ programme. 

The Indian Navy-Vietnam Peoples’ Navy Bilateral Exercise is a significant step in further strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing best practices between the Indian and the Vietnam Peoples’ Navies.

Exercise SEA VIGIL

The maiden national level Coastal Defence Exercise SEA VIGIL was conducted by Indian Navy from 22-23 Jan 19. The exercise witnessed the simultaneous activation of the coastal security apparatus across the country involving maritime stakeholders at the Centre and all the 13 Coastal States and Union Territories. 

The debrief of Exercise Sea Vigil was held on 16 Apr 19. The debrief was chaired by Vice Admiral MS Pawar, AVSM, VSM, the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff and was attended by high functionaries of the Navy, Indian Coast Guard, Central Ministries/ Agencies and State Governments/ Union Territory Administration, including intelligence agencies. All relevant agencies from the field units in different states participated through Tele-Conference.

The Chairperson highlighted the significant achievements during the exercise and complimented all stake holders for the progress made over last decade in the realm of Coastal Defence and Security. He complimented the strong interagency coordination and interoperability achieved during the exercise and reiterated the need for flexibility and agility to deal with security challenges. 

Key takeaways from the exercise debrief were deliberated and disseminated to all for further action/ follow-up. The feedback from the exercise, and the deliberations, would be presented at the next meeting of the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS).

Chetak incident at Sea

A major catastrophe was averted by the well trained Indian Naval aircrew, when their Chetak helicopter ditched at sea last week.

The helicopter was integral to an Indian Naval Warship operationally deployed in the Arabian Sea.
As per reports, the helicopter developed technical failure prior ditching and the crew displayed immense professional prowess and sound training thereby deftly landing the helicopter in the water and successfully egressing from it.

While all three crew members are safe, a Board of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the technical failure leading to the loss of the helicopter

AUSINDEX-19 Concludes

The Australian and Indian Navy have concluded a two-week long bilateral maritime exercise code-named AUSINDEX on 14 Apr 19.  Personnel from the Eastern Fleet bid farewell to Her Majesty's Australian Ships Canberra, Newcastle, Paramatta and Success with a promise to meet again. 

The current edition of the exercise had the participation of the highest number of units thus far with four frontline ships with integral helicopters, one submarine and a variety of aircraft including P8I and P8A long-range Maritime Reconnaissance Anti-Submarine Warfare aircraft took part from both navies. For the first time, 55 American and 20 New Zealand military personnel embarked onboard the RAN ships and witnessed the exercises during AUSINDEX-19.

The third edition of the exercise which commenced on 02 Apr 19 included a series of advanced warfare drills in all three dimensions comprising anti-submarine warfare exercises, air defense exercises, anti-surface warfare exercises including live-fire drills, replenishment at sea, and cross deck flying. The bilateral exercise was aimed “to strengthen and enhance mutual cooperation and interoperability between the IN and RAN, providing opportunities for interaction and exchange of professional views between the personnel of the two navies”.

Visit of Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff To Thailand 

Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Chief of the Naval Staff is on a bilateral visit to Thailand from 17 to 19 April 2019. The visit is intended to consolidate and enhance the maritime bilateral relations between India and Thailand and also to explore new avenues of defence cooperation.

During his visit, Admiral Sunil Lanba will hold bilateral discussions with General Ponpipaat Benyasri, Chief of Defence Forces, Royal Thai Armed Forces, Admiral Luechai Ruddit, Commander-in-Chief Royal Thai Navy and other senior government officials.

 In addition to holding important bilateral discussions, the Admiral will visit the Royal Thai Navy and Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters in Bangkok and the 3rd Naval Area Command at Phuket.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Successful Trial of 'Nirbhay' Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile

Successful Trial of 'Nirbhay' Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) today successfully test fired indigenously designed & developed Long Range Sub-Sonic Cruise Missile “Nirbhay” from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur Odisha.

It is the sixth development flight trial with objective to prove the repeatability of boost phase, cruise phase using way point navigation at very low altitudes. The missile took off vertically turning horizontally into desired direction, booster separated, wing deployed, engine started, cruised all the intended waypoints. The missile demonstrated its sea-skimming capability to cruise at very low altitudes.

The entire flight was fully tracked by a chain of Electro Optical Tracking Systems, Radars and Ground Telemetry Systems deployed all along the sea coast.
All the mission objectives were met.

IAF Celebrates Birth Centenary of Late Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh DFC

Today, Indian Air Force marked the beginning of celebration of birth centenary of Late Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh DFC. This day reminds the nation of contribution made by the Marshal to the nation and Indian Air Force. Marshal was known for his Professional Competence, Leadership and Strategic Vision.

Arjan Singh was born on 15 April 1919 in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad in Pakistan). He was 19 years of age when he was selected for training at RAF College Cranwell in 1938 and was commissioned into RAF as a Pilot Officer in December 1939. He was awarded Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for outstanding leadership, great skill and courage in Burma Campaign during World War II. He also led India as Chief of the Air Staff in the 1965 war against Pakistan, wherein IAF gained air superiority over PAF and helped Indian Army score strategic victories. He passed away on 16 September 2017 at the age of 98. His dynamic personality, professional competence, honesty of purpose in his service to the country and the IAF truly sets him apart as a leader and an icon of the Indian Air Force.

To commemorate this, various events have been planned over a period of one year. IAF conducted a Half Marathon on 14 April 2019 flagging off from Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium covering prominent places like Lodhi road, Mathura road, India Gate, Rajpathetc, and culminating again at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. Marshal of the Indian Air ForceArjan Singh was a visionary, a proponent of Air Power and he played a stellar role in laying the foundation of IAF as a formidable fighting force. As a tribute to his vision for IAF, a seminar with the theme “Air Power in the 2040s: Impact of Technology” was also held today at Air Force Auditorium, Subroto Park. The seminar was attended by various serving and retired dignitaries.

After the seminar, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC unveiled the bust of Marshal of the Indian Air Force atAir HQs(Vayu Bhawan). IAF has also planned to conduct Marshal Cup All India Hockey tournament which kicked offtoday at Chandigarh  and the same will  conclude on 25 April2019.

Connections drawn between The Tax issue and The Rafale matter is totally inaccurate

We have seen reports drawing conjectural connection between tax exemption to a private company and procurement of Rafale fighter jets by Government of India. Neither the period of the tax concession nor the subject matter of the concession relate even remotely to the Rafale procurement concluded during the tenure of the present Government. Any connections drawn between the tax issue and the Rafale matter is totally inaccurate, tendentious and is a mischievous attempt to disinform.

"Virtual reality centre" a reality - shall boost indigenous warship design capabilities

Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC the Chief of the Naval Staff, inaugurated the maiden ‘state-of-the-art’ Virtual Reality Centre (VRC) at the Directorate of Naval Design (Surface Ship Group), today. This centre would provide major boost to the Indigenous warship design capabilities of Indian Navy, providing impetus to self-reliance and greater fillip to warship construction under “Make in India” initiative of the Indian government.
During his address at inauguration ceremony, Admiral Lanba complimented the Directorate for their untiring efforts, foresight and initiatives to conceptualise design and execute the project. This project will facilitate collaborative design reviews for continuous interaction between the designers and the end users to improve design and ergonomics onboard warships.
Directorate of Naval Design (Surface Ship Group) had a humble beginning in 1960s and since then has made major contributions towards indigenous warship design capabilities of the Indian Navy improving self-reliance for warship design and construction. The multi-disciplinary team has successfully developed 19 warship designs on which more than 90 platforms have been constructed to date.

Army Commanders Conference: 08-13 April 2019

The Army Commanders’ Conference, an apex level biannual event, which formulates important policy decisions, is being held in New Delhi from 08 to 13 April 2019. Army Commanders' Conference is an important event in planning & execution process of Indian Army. To ensure due diligence, decisions are taken through collegiate system comprising Army Commanders & Senior Officers.
The Army Commanders’ Conference has comprehensively deliberated all aspects of extant security dynamics, emerging security scenarios, enhancing operational capability in near and long term and enhancement of combat edge over potential adversaries.
It has been emphasized in the Conference that Indian Army is committed to peaceful security environment and shall holistically address emerging threats, challenges & ensure no room for terror. Reviews during the Conference included readiness, tri-services synergy, military diplomacy, joint exercises that  have created capacity & environment and supporting operational plans that have evolved. Defence cooperation has facilitated new vistas and these shall provide excellent opportunities for enhancing strategic engagements.
The sessions of Commands was followed by Principal Staff Officers providing update on contemporary issues. To mitigate the cyber threats, management and streamlining of communication and data security, were emphasised. Live issues pertaining to administration and human resources development were deliberated in detail.
All future conflicts would be planned and executed jointly by the three services. For developing deeper understanding and enhancing jointness, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, Chief of Air Staff addressed Army Commanders & Staff wherein he conveyed vision & high credibility of IAF missions and ideas for synergised application. Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee has also addressed the Army Commanders and focused on jointness and challenges in maritime domain.  
Additionally, to promote indigenisation through ‘Make in India’, an exhibition of emerging and future defence technological innovations was held.   A total of 53 domestic companies participated in this event.  This interaction of industry representatives with the senior leadership of the Army facilitated in obtaining a direct feedback regarding product development and enhancement keeping in view the requirements of Army.
With a focus on the welfare of the families of brave soldiers who made supreme sacrifice in the services of the Nation, Year 2019 has been declared as the year of ‘Next of Kin’.
The deliberations in Army Commanders’ Conference validated the current course set by the military hierarchy, as merited by the dynamics of emerging security and operational events.
The key highlights of the conference are as given below:-

Optimum force readiness to be ensured.

Re-prioritising the existing requirements to ensure that the resources allocated for force modernisation and capacity building be ensured by optimising allotted budget.

Increase the content of indigenisation in force modernisation.

The state of existing infrastructure along Northern Borders and it has been decided to pursue these projects on higher priority. Ensure speedy move and all weather connectivity to Northern Borders are the focus areas.

As the Indian Army was becoming a more networked and digitised force, the COAS emphasised on the need to enhance technological threshold of   all ranks so as to imbibe state of art technology and exploit the same.

The need to appreciate role of women officers in view of their permanent   commission and align their employment gainfully with organisational requirements has been concurred by all.  Avenues for making the lady officers experts in foreign languages, artificial intelligence, data      management, cyber and space domains are being examined.

Raksha mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurates Air force commanders’ conference

The first bi-annual Commanders’ Conference of IAF for the year 2019 began today at the Air Headquarters (Vayu Bhawan). Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC, welcomed the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman to the conference.
The Raksha Mantri addressed the Air Force Commanders. She complimented the IAF and its air warriors for achieving and maintaining the highest standards of professionalism in the service of the nation. She praised the IAF for its flawless execution of the Balakot strikes and subsequent thwarting of the Pakistani response. She said that the IAF has proved its mettle in Exercise Gagan Shakti 2018 and Vayu Shakti 2019 and the same reflected in the successfully conducted Balakot Strike and air action on 27 February.

She stressed on a proactive role of the IAF in the Indian Ocean Region and relationships through Military interactions and HADR. She asked the IAF to look at the future with the latest technologies available across the world and those that can be developed within India, in order to meet its needs.
She added that the IAF will play a vital role in enhancing the defence manufacturing capabilities of the nation through its acquisitions in the form of Strategic Partnership Model. She added that she is aware of the critical requirements projected by the IAF and assured that as a Nation we need to build those capabilities. She said that IAF personnel, serving and retired could contribute immensely in enhancing defence manufacturing and production in India. The defence production industry must utilize these assets to the fullest. She expressed great appreciation for the training imparted to all personnel in the IAF as reflected in the actions and conduct of  Wing Commander Abhinandan.
The CAS while addressing the Commanders emphasised on further enhancement of the IAF’s capability in the field of Space, Cyber, Information, AI and Drone technology.
During the two day conference, discussions and deliberations will take place in line with the theme of the conference of ‘Enhancing our operational capability in the short and long term’. The successful strike over Balakot and air action on 27 February will also be discussed along with the latest technologies in the aviation field to make IAF a more high tech force.

Closing Ceremony: Indo-Singapore Joint Training Exercise Bold Kurukshetra 

The 12th edition of joint military exercise between India and Singapore, BOLD KURUKSHETRA 2019, culminated on 11 April 2019 after an impressive closing ceremony held at Babina Military Station. The four day long joint training focused on developing interoperability and conduct of joint tactical operations  in mechanised warfare. The troops learnt about each other’s organisations and best practices being followed in combat.
Reviewing officers addressed the contingents and congratulated the participating nations for successful termination of the exercise. The exercise was a grand success and taught valuable lessons to troops of both the participating nations. 

INS Shikra hosts Naval Investiture Ceremony

The Naval Investiture Ceremony for 2019 was held at the naval helicopter base INS Shikra of Western Naval Command (WNC), Mumbai on 10 Apr 19.

Admiral Sunil Lanba PVSM, AVSM, ADC, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), on behalf of the President of India, conferred Gallantry and non-Gallantry Awards announced on the Republic Day this year to meritorious personnel, as well as citations to Naval units which have distinguished themselves during the past year. The ceremony was witnessed by senior dignitaries of the Indian Navy and families of the awardees. 

A 50-men Guard of Honour was paraded during the ceremonial parade which was held as a part of the Investiture ceremony. The Guard of Honour was inspected by Admiral Sunil Lanba prior to reviewing the parade comprising 18 platoons of Naval personnel drawn from various ships and establishments of WNC. 

On completion of the review, the CNS awarded the medals, citations and CNS Trophy for Best Green Practices to the various recipients. 45 medals which included 18 Nao Sena Medals for Gallantry, 09 Nao Sena Medals for Devotion to Duty and 16 VishishtSeva Medals for distinguished service, the Capt Ravi Dhir Memorial Gold Medal for Promoting Innovativeness in Flight Safety and the Lt VK Jain Memorial Gold Medal for best applied research in Naval Technology were presented. 

The CNS also presented Unit Citations to four afloat units, viz. INS Trishul, INS Sahyadri, INAS 322 and INS Tarasa and four ashore units - NSRY (Kochi), INS Utkrosh, INHS Kalyani and Material Organisation (Mumbai) - for delivering exceptional performance over the past one year. Naval Dockyard (Vizag) and INS Dwarka were awarded the ‘CNS Trophy for Best Green Practices’ for their environment friendly green initiatives. 

Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Lanba said that the occasion is of special significance as it has allowed the Navy to formally acknowledge conspicuous acts of gallantry, as well as devotion to duty, of fellow shipmates. He thanked the family members of the award winners for their support to the service personnel in performance of their duty.

Supreme Court’s order dated 10 April 2019 on 36 Rafale Procurement Case

Supreme Court has passed an order dated 10 April 2019 on 36 Rafale Procurement Case.

In the Review Petitions, the petitioners have relied upon the documents, some of which could not have been placed in public domain. The Central Government raised an objection that while considering Review Petitions, the said documents may not be considered as they are classified.

In the Order passed by the Supreme Court today, the Court has decided to look into the documents also while deciding the Review Petitions. The Review Petitions are pending and are yet to be heard.

The Supreme Court by a well-reasoned judgement and order dated 14 December 2018 had already dismissed the Writ Petitions.

It is reiterated that the petitioners are using documents with the intention to present a selective and incomplete picture of internal secret deliberations on a matter relating to National Security and Defence. The documents presented by the petitioners are failing to bring out how the issues were addressed and resolved and necessary approvals of the competent authorities taken. These are selective and incomplete presentation of the facts and records by the petitioners.

Government had provided the requisite information as desired by the Hon’ble Supreme Court to the Court and also to the petitioners as per directions of the Court and in the manner prescribed by the Court. Government also provided all records and files as required by CAG. The main concern of the Government is relating to availability of sensitive and classified information concerning National Security in the public domain.
1TS Ships visit to Port Victoria, Seychelles

Ships of the First Training Squadron (1TS) INS Tarangini, INS Sujata, INS Shardul and ICGS Sarathi entered Port Victoria, Seychelles on 06 Apr 19. While Tarangini had sailed from Kochi, the other three ships had arrived from Port Beira, Mozambique after undertaking a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief mission Op Sahayata in the wake of the devastating Cyclone Idai which hit that country. The visiting ships were accorded a warm reception and were received alongside by Cdr Varun Panicker, Naval Attaché (NA) along with his staff. The IN band embarked onboard Sujata played popular tunes as the ships entered harbour. Shortly after arrival, an administrative briefing on various activities scheduled during the ship stay at harbour was conducted by the NA onboard Sujata. 

On 07 Apr 19, yoga was conducted onboard the 1TS Ships which was attended by the High Commission Staff. This was followed by a trek along the Morne Blanc Trail and Trois Feres Trail led by the officer Sea Trainees. The ships were kept 'Open for Visitors,' amongst whom were Deck Cadets from the Seychelles Maritime Academy.

On 08 Apr 19, Capt Varun Singh, the Senior Officer 1TS, along with other Commanding Officers called on H.E Mr. Barry Faure, Ambassador and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, H.E Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, High Commissioner of India, Colonel Clifford Roseline, Chief of Defence Forces, SPDF and Colonel Simon Dine, Commander, Seychelles Coast Guard. During each call on, the efforts by the Indian Navy ships in carrying out HADR operations at Mozambique were highly appreciated by all the dignitaries. In addition, the Sea Trainees made visits to the Botanical Garden, Seychelles Maritime Academy and the Seychelles Coast Guard Base.  Sailors from the Seychelles Coast Guard base also visited INS Shardul for training on fire fighting and damage control.

On the evening of 08 Apr 19, a Reception was hosted on board INS Sujata and ICGS Sarathi. Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Ambassador Barry Faure, Col Clifford Roseline, as well as Mr. Makoto Tominaga, Ambassador of Japan, British High Commissioner Mr. Caron Rousles and the Leader of the Opposition were amongst the dignitaries who attended the event. In addition, five Officers including the Force Commander EUNAVFOR RAdm Ricardo A Hernandez Lopez, Capt Massimiliano, Italian Navy and Chief of Staff, EUNAVFOR, embarked onboard Spanish Navy Navarra, as well as the Commanding Officer and Executive Officer of the Spanish ship also attended the reception. A welcome address was given at the reception by Capt Varun Singh, which was followed by a speech by Ambassador, Barry Faure, during which he spoke about the close bilateral relations between India and Seychelles. He also expressed his appreciation for the Indian Govt having gifted second Dornier to Seychelles in 2018. A gift was also presented to the Guest of Honour by HCI and TS1 respectively. This was followed by a scintillating performance by the naval band and cultural music/dance performance by the Sea Trainees. Approximately 120 guests attended the reception.

On the evening of 09 Apr 19, a 10 min dance programme was performed by the Seychelles Dance Academy at the International Convention Centre of Seychelles as part of the ICCR Foundation Day Program. This was followed by a one hour musical performance by the naval band. 

The First Training Squadraon is currently on the last leg of its Overseas Deployment, known as Sambandh 05/18-19 and are scheduled to depart on 10 Apr 19 for Kochi. During the deployment, the ships had first visited Port Louis, Mauritius before being diverted to undertake relief operations at the Cyclone Idai affected Port Beira in Mozambique.

Platinum Jubilee Commemoration of Battle of Kangla Tongbi

The Battle of Kangla Tongbi, considered one of the fiercest battles of World War II, was fought by Ordnance personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot (AOD) on the night of 6/7 April 1944.  Japanese forces had planned a three pronged offensive to capture Imphal and the surrounding areas.  In their attempt to extend their line of communication to Imphal, the 33rd Japanese Division cut in behind the 17th Indian Division at Tiddim (Mynmar) and establishing themselves firmly on the main Kohima – Manipur highway, started advancing towards Kangla Tongbi.  Here at Kangla Tongbi, a small but determined detachment of 221 AOD put up stiff resistance against the advancing Japanese forces. 

The position of 221 AOD was not at all sound from a tactical point of view.  It was exposed to the enemy from all sides and had to rely on its own combatant manpower for its defence.  Major Boyd, the Deputy Chief of Ordnance Officer (DCOO) was made in charge of the operations for defence of the Depot.  A Suicide squad comprising of Major Boyd, Havildar/ Clerk Store Basant Singh, Conductor Panken and other personnel from the Depot was created. 

On 06 Apr 1944, orders were received to evacuate 4,000 tons of ammunition, armaments and other warlike stores.  On the night of 6/7 Apr 1944, the Japanese mounted a heavy attack on the Depot, rushing downhill into a deep nallah which was used as a covered approach to the Depot.  A very well camouflaged bunker had been sited by the Depot on this approach.  The Bren Gun Section in this bunker having spotted an enemy section within range, opened fire.  This shook the enemy and forced the Japanese to withdraw leaving many dead.  The Bren Gun was manned by none other than Hav/ Clerk Store Basant Singh.     

For this act of gallantry, Major Boyd was awarded the Military Cross (MC), Conductor Panken, the Military Medal (MM) and Hav/ Clerk Store Basant Singh, the Indian Distinguished Service Medal (IDSM).

The Kangla Tongbi War Memorial is a mute testimony to this battle and the unflinching devotion to duty of the Ordnance personnel of  221 AOD, 19 of whom made the supreme sacrifice. It conveys to the world at large that Ordnance personnel, apart from being professional logisticians, are second to none in combat, being equally proficient soldiers, should the occasion demand.  As it commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of this hard fought battle, the spirit of Kangla Tongbi lives eternally in the hearts of all Army Ordnance Corps personnel of the Indian Army and continues to be source of inspiration for all ranks.   

The Platinum Jubilee of the Battle of Kangla Tongbi War was commemorated on 07 Apr 2019 by Army Ordnance Corps at Kangla Tongbi War Memorial near Imphal honouring the valiant brave hearts of Ordnance Personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot who made their supreme sacrifice in the line of duty during the battle of World War-II on the night of 6/ 7 April 1944.

The event commenced with wreath laying by Lt Gen Dalip Singh, VSM, DGOS & Senior Colonel Commandant as the chief guest, Veteran Officers and next of kin of Britishers who participated during the Kangla Tongbi Ops and Descendants of Indian Martyrs. The event was also witnessed by the representatives of the local civil administration.  The locals enthusiastically participated during the complete event. 

Apart from laying wreath at Kangla Tongbi War Memorial, the DGOS & Senior Colonel Commandant, senior dignitaries and next of kin of the Britishers and descendants of Indian Martyrs visited the Kangla Tongbi Childrens Home. To commemorate the occasion and as a matter of charity, the inmates were presented with gifts during the interaction with them.

Strategic Experts and Technocrats Deliberate on "Mission Shakti"

A special interaction session was organized by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), here today to present first-hand account of the mission details, development milestones including technological aspects of Mission Shakti. Many eminent serving/retired strategic experts, technocrats, diplomats, top brass of Armed forces, Scientific fraternity across various departments participated in the deliberations. 

 DRDO presented the objectives, mission challenges and achievements of the Anti-Satellite Test (A-SAT).

DRDO had successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite Missile Test (A-SAT) ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on March 27, 2019 and made India join the select group of three nations (USA, Russia and China) possessing such capability. 

National Security Advisor Shri Ajit Doval, Principal Scientific Adviser  Govt of India,Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Deputy National Security Advisers Shri Pankaj Saran & Shri Rajinder Khanna, Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy Shri K. N. Vyas, Secretary Dept of Science & Technology Prof Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences Dr M. Rajeevan, strategic experts and think tank of India, former DRDO chiefs and retired service officers along with Chairman DRDO & Secretary Department of Defence R&DDr G Satheesh Reddy were present during the event.

Army Commanders' Conference: April 2019

The biannual Army Commanders’ Conference shall commence on  08 April 19. The opening address will be given by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.

During the conference, chaired by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, the senior commanders will deliberate on specific issues to Army formations and Army as a whole.

Important issues that are likely to be discussed are management of the extant security dynamics, mitigation of future security threats and enhancement of combat edge over potential adversaries. Other issues like infrastructure development for capacity enhancement along the Northern borders, review of strategic railway lines, optimization of limited budget to ensure making up of critical deficiency in ammunition, issues related to Border Road Organization projects, ECHS, as also other matters relevant to operations, administration and welfare of troops will be discussed in detail for planning and execution.

Army Commanders’ Conference, chaired by Chief of the Army Staff is held biannually for formulating important policy decisions through collegiate deliberations. It is an important event for planning and execution process of the Indian Army.

Indian Navy signs MoU with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

The Indian Navy and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) today inked a MoU to undertake joint research and development of advanced technologies for the Indian Navy. This will be a collaborative arrangement between labs of CSIR, the Indian Navy and Indian industry.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Vice Admiral GS Pabby PVSM, AVSM, VSM Chief of Materiel of Indian Navy and Shri Shekhar C Mande, Secretary DSIR and Director General, CSIR. The event was attended by Directors of Seven CSIR Labs, Flag Officers and Heads of Directorates of Indian Navy and eminent scientists from distinguished CSIR Labs.

The MoU provides a formal framework for interaction between Indian Navy and CSIR. It would facilitate joint R&D activities in diverse fields of Mechanical, Electronics, Communication, Computer Science, Propulsion systems, Metallurgy and Nanotechnology. 

Speaking on the occasion, Vice Admiral GS Pabby congratulated CSIR for its yeoman service to the nation in the field of Scientific Research and Development and noted some of the futuristic technology being developed, which could be used for enhancing operational availability and combat capabilities of Naval platforms. He emphasised on the necessity of such partnerships between the armed forces and world class National Institutions like CSIR which would allow Indian Navy to leapfrog towards latest technologies as well as jointly engage under ‘Make in India’, and other innovative programmes of our Government. Signing of this MoU would form the foundation for exchange of ideas and development of new technologies in the future, he added. Shri Shekhar C Mande complimented the joint efforts and emphasised that defence remain a priority area for CSIR with an aim towards indigenisation and self-reliance in advanced technologies. 

Some of the immediate projects to be progressed under this MoU include development of alternative desalination technologies, installation of wireless MEMS based sensors for remote operation, Residual Life Assessment studies of Gas Turbine Generator blades to improve reliability.

Staff Maj Gen (Navy) Abdulla Hassan M A Al-Sulaiti, Commander, Qatar Emiri Naval Forces visits India (02 to 05 Apr 19)

Staff Maj Gen (Navy) Abdulla Hassan M A Al-Sulaiti, Commander, Qatar Emiri Naval Forces (QENF) visited India from 02 to 05 Apr 19 along with a three member Qatar Navy delegation. The visit aims to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and Qatar, as also to explore new avenues for naval cooperation. 

During his visit, Commander, QENF held bilateral discussions with Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff and other senior officials of the Indian Navy. As part of his visit to New Delhi, the Commander QENF also discussed a range of issues with senior Government officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Air Force. 

Indian Navy cooperates with the Qatar Navy in many areas, which include operational interaction, training, Exchange of White Shipping Information and participation in the annual Admiral’s Cup Regatta at the Indian Naval Academy (INA), Ezhimala. In addition, port calls by Indian Naval Ships, latest being INS Tarangini in Dec 18, have further strengthened Defence cooperation with Qatar.

In addition to New Delhi, Commander QENF also visited Kochi and Ezhimala where he held discussions with the Commander-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command and Commandant, Indian Naval Academy respectively. The General also visited various naval training institutions at Kochi and witnessed conduct of various training activities at the Indian Naval Academy.

Indian Army patrol discovers wreckage of World War II us aircraft in Roing

A 12 member Indian Army patrol along with a police representative recovered wreckage of a World War II vintage US Air Force aircraft in Roing district of Arunachal Pradesh on 30 Mar 2019. The patrol located the aircraft debris covered by thick undergrowth and buried under five feet of snow. Based on the information received from local trekkers of Lower Dibang district through the police, a special patrol of Army was sent to locate the wreckage in a remote location, 30 kms from Roing. The patrol moved cross country for 30 kilometers in thick jungles and snow covered areas for eight days to trace out the wreckage.  The region had seldom been ventured by anyone in the past and is even obscured from air due to thick foliage. The discovery of the vintage aircraft and other warlike stores will definitely lead to revelation of some historical inputs .

Air Marshal D Choudhury AVSM VM VSM takes over as SASO Hq WAC 

 Air Mshl D Choudhury AVSM VM VSM has taken over as Senior Air Staff Officer, Western Air Command.

Air Mshl D Choudhury AVSM VM VSM is an alumnus of National Defence Academy and was commissioned on 22 Dec 1983. The Air Officer is a Fighter Combat Leader and an Instrument Rating Instructor and Examiner. He is an alumnus of Royal College of Defence Studies UK, a Post Graduate in Strategy and International Security from King's College London and Master of Philosophy on Defence and Strategic Studies.
He has over 5000 sorties of flying on operational fighter ac and is Fully Ops and MG on MiG-21(all variants), MiG-27, MiG-29 and Su-30 aircraft. He has commanded 15 Sqn, Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and two frontline bases as the AOC. He has served two tenures at TACDE – first as an Instructor and then as Commandant. He has held staff appointments in Air HQ as Director Air Staff Inspection, Director Operations Joint Planning and Director Operational Planning and Assessment Group. He has served as Air-I of HQ WAC, Air Defence Commander of HQ CAC and HQ SWAC, AOC of COBRA Group and Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Insp) at Air HQ (RKP). He has vast experience in fighter operations and planning at the field, operational and strategic levels. He has led three International exercises – Red Flag, Desert Eagle and Garuda. He has also authored a large number of service papers on operational matters, Air Power and Leadership, many of which have been implemented / published.
The Air Marshal was awarded the CAS commendation in Aug 1992, VishishtSeva Medal in Jan 2007, Vayu Sena Medal in Jan 2011 and AtiVishishtSeva Medal in Jan 2018.

Visit of Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Commander of the Sri Lankan Navy (30 Mar to 02 Apr 19) 

Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy visited India from 30 Mar to 02 Apr 19 on an official visit. This is the first visit of the Admiral to India after taking over as Commander, Sri Lanka Navy. The visit aims to consolidate bilateral naval relations between India and Sri Lanka as also to explore new avenues for naval cooperation. 

During his visit, the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy held bilateral discussions with Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of the Naval Staff and other senior officials of the Indian Navy on 02 Apr 19.  

Various important maritime engagement issues related to operational interactions such as Port Calls, conduct of Bilateral Exercise, Training, Hydrography cooperation and exchange of Subject Matter Experts in various fields were discussed during the bilateral interactions. 

In addition to New Delhi, the Commander, Sri Lanka Navy visited Kochi and Mumbai, where he held discussions with the senior naval officials and visited various naval units. The training facilities at the Indian Naval Academy were also witnessed first hand during the visit of the Commander Sri Lanka Navy to Ezhimala, Kerala. 

Royal Australian Navy Ships and Submarine at Visakhapatnam to participate in AUSINDEX-19

Her Majesty's Australian Ships(HMAS) Canberra (L02), a Landing Helicopter Dock, Newcastle(06)  and Paramatta(154), both frigates and Success(OR 304), a Durance-class multi-product replenishment oiler along with  HMAS Collins, a conventional submarine arrived Visakhapatnam to participate in the third edition of Australia – India Maritime Exercise, AUSINDEX on 02 Apr 19.  The bilateral maritime exercise is aimed to strengthen mutual cooperation and enhance interoperability between the Royal Australia Navy (RAN) and Indian Navy (IN) by providing opportunities for interaction and exchange of professional views between the personnel of the two navies. 
The third edition of AUSINDEX scheduled from 02 to 14 April 19 would involve exercises in all three dimensions with focus on Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) and shall be held in three phases.  The harbour phase from 02 to 07 April at Visakhapatnam – ‘the City of Destiny’  shall witness professional interaction in the form of Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) for sharing best practises, cross deck visits in addition to sporting, social and cultural engagement.  Operational planning conferences towards the smooth conduct of the sea phase shall also be held during this period.  The sea phase from 07 to 11 April shall be held in the Bay of Bengal.  This shall be followed by a second harbour phase from 12 to 14 April during which debrief and setting up of goals for the next edition of AUSINDEX, which is likely to be hosted by Australia in 2021 – would be discussed.
During AUSINDEX-19,  RAN would be represented by HMAS Canberra, an Amphibious Assault Ship; HMAS New Castle and HMAS Paramatta, both frigates; HMAS Collins, a conventional submarine and HMAS Success, a replenishment tanker. While the ships are embarked with MRH-90 and MH-60R helicopters, this year, the Australian version of P8A and ASW helicopter would also be participating.  The IN would be represented by INS Ranvijay, a multi-role destroyer, INS Sahyadri, a multi-role stealth frigate, INS Kora, a missile corvette, INS Kiltan, an ASW corvette and INS Sindhukirti, a conventional submarine.  In addition to embarked helicopters such as Seaking Mk 42B and Chetak, the aviation component of the IN shall include Dornier maritime patrol aircraft, Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers and P8I ASW aircraft.  The sea phase of this year’s edition is being conducted under the command of Rear Admiral Suraj Berry NM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.  The RAN maritime assets would be headed by Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, the Commander of the Australian Fleet.
The number and variety of units participating in the bilateral exercise is the highest till date from both navies and signifies the importance attached to the exercise by both countries while the enhanced complexity is indicative of the interoperability between the two navies.  The current exercise will contribute towards consolidating bonds of friendship across the seas.

Third Edition of Bilateral Maritime Exercise between Royal Australian and Indian Navies – AUSINDEX-19 

The third edition of AUSINDEX, an acronym for Australia India Exercise is scheduled to commence with the arrival of HMAS Canberra (L02), a Landing Helicopter Dock, HMAS New Castle(06)  and HMAS Paramatta(154), both frigates; HMAS Collins, a conventional submarine and HMAS Success(OR 304), a Durance-class multi-product replenishment oiler at Visakhapatnam on 02 April 19. The aim of the exercise is, “To strengthen and enhance mutual cooperation and interoperability between the IN and RAN, providing opportunities for interaction and exchange of professional views between the personnel of the two navies”.  

 A sign of strengthening of bilateral and defence cooperation between the two countries as envisaged in the Framework for Security Cooperation (FSC) announced by the Australian and Indian Prime Ministers in 2014. The maiden edition of the exercise was held in September 2015 at Visakhapatnam. Australia hosted the second edition of the exercise off Freemantle in June 2017, wherein ships of the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy (IN) exercised with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships and submarines.

Building on a long history of cooperation – including the shared experiences in the trenches of World War I in Gallipoli and along the Western Front – Australia and India have a positive defence relationship, underpinned by the 2006 Memorandum of Defence Cooperation and 2009 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation.  However, post the 2014 bilateral FSC the cooperation on defence and security matters between the two countries has gained significant momentum thus, witnessing conscious and focussed enhancements. 

The complexity of the biennial maritime exercise over the past four years has steadily increased.  The third edition would involve exercises in all three dimensions with focus on ASW. The number of units being fielded by both navies in the bilateral exercise is the highest till date.  The increased scale of participation signifies the importance attached to the exercise by both countries while the enhanced complexity is indicative of the interoperability between the two navies.  Overall, the exercise underscores India’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and shared objectives of the two countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and solidarity with friendly and harmonious countries.

Visit of Chief of the Army Staff to USA

General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff is scheduled to visit United States of America from 02 April to 05 April 2019 on an official visit. During the visit, General Bipin Rawat led delegation will interact with senior military hierarchy of the US Armed Forces with an aim to take forward the military to military cooperation. The Army Chief will also visit the US Military Academy at West Point and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

General Bipin Rawat shall interact with General Joseph F Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and General Mark A Milley, Chief of Staff of the US Army to discuss military cooperation issues of mutual interest. General Bipin Rawat is also an alumnus of Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth. The visit to US aims to give impetus to the military ties and enhance strategic engagements. The functional experience gained during the visit shall further enhance Indo-US relationship.

IAF MIG-27 (Upgrade) Crash

An Indian Air Force MiG-27 (Upgrade) aircraft got airborne from Air Force Station Uttarlai, Rajasthan at 1127 hrs today for a routine sortie. The aircraft crashed at 1145 hrs, approximately 120 km south of Jodhpur. The pilot ejected safely and has been recovered by Search and Rescue helicopter. The pilot is safe and preliminary investigations have revealed no damage to any person or property on ground. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident.

Induction of in LCU L-56 in the Navy

Yard 2097 (LCU L 56), the sixth of the class of LCU MK IV ships, have been built and delivered by M/s GRSE Ltd today, on 30 March 19 at Kolkata. This is the 100th ship delivered by the DPSU in Kolkata. The construction of the ship was overseen by Warship Overseeing Team, Kolkata.  

Amongst the dignitaries who attended the ceremony held in GRSE included the Defence Secretary, Vice Admiral BK Verma AVSM, ADC,  the C-inC Andaman & Nicobar Command and Vice Admiral MS Pawar AVSM, VSM, the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff. Indian Navy's amphibious operations capability including transport of troops, tanks and equipment will get enhanced with the addition of this Landing Craft Utility which will be based at Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The ship is commanded by Lt Cdr Gopinath Narayan and has a compliment of five officers and 50 sailors.

Rear Admiral Suraj Berry takes over as the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet 

Rear Admiral Suraj Berry, NM, VSM takes over the Command of Eastern Fleet, the Sword Arm of the Eastern Naval Command from Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, AVSM, NM at an impressive ceremony held at the Naval Base, Visakhapatnam on 30 March 19.

Rear Admiral Suraj Berry was commissioned on 01 January 1987 and is a specialist in Gunnery and Missile Warfare. His Sea commands include the missile vessel INS Nirbhik, missile corvette INS Karmuk, stealth frigate INS Talwar, and the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya of which he was the commissioning Commanding Officer. His prestigious Staff and Operational appointments include those as the Operations Officer of the Mobile Missile Coastal Battery, Fleet Gunnery Officer of the Western Fleet, Defence Adviser to the Indian High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and Maldives, Director at the Directorate of Staff Requirements and Naval Assistant to the Chief of Naval Staff and Principal Director Strategy, Concepts and Transformation at the Naval Headquarters. 

He was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal (Meritorious Service Medal) in 2006 for services during the Tsunami Relief operations in Sri Lanka/ Maldives and the Nau Sena Medal (Navy Medal) in 2015 for devotion to duty. He was elevated to the Flag Rank in October 2016, and was the Assistant Chief of Personnel for Human Resource Development prior taking over command of the Eastern Fleet.

Over the past 14 and half months, the Eastern Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, undertook various operational missions including the maiden edition of multilateral exercise at sea off Port Blair as part of MILAN-18 and Operational Demonstration as part of Defence Expo 18 off Chennai. A Task Force of the Eastern Fleet under the Flag Officer was also deployed to South East Asia and the Western Pacific including the first ever visit by Indian Naval Ships to Guam, USA for Malabar-19. The Eastern Fleet under him alsoparticipated in various bilateral exercises, most notable being INDRA-18 with the Russian Federation Navy, JIMEX-18 with the Japanese Navy and the 25th edition of SIMBEX with the Republic of Singapore Navy. Rear Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi has been placed in the select list for promotion to Vice Admiral and is headed to New Delhi as the Assistant Director General, Project Seabird.

Rear Adm Mahesh Singh takes over as Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Area 

Rear Admiral Mahesh Singh, NM assumed charge as Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area at a ceremonial parade at Karwar today. 

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned into the #IndianNavy in January 1987 and is a Navigation and Direction specialist. His notable sea appointments include commissioning crew of INS Akshay and Jyoti, Executive Officer of Frigate Tabar and Command of missile vessel INS Nirghat during Op Vijay, MCGS Vigilante whilst on deputation to Government of Mauritius and the LPD INS Jalashwa.

His staff assignments include tenures as Joint Director at the Directorate of Naval Operations and Principal Director at Directorate of Personnel. He has also headed the Navigation and Direction School at Kochi and the Maritime Warfare Centre at Visakhapatnam. He is a post graduate from the Defence Services Staff College and the College of Defence Management Secunderabad. He has also attended a course at the prestigious Royal College of Defence Studies UK. On promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral in October 2016, he was appointed as the Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command.

The Flag Officer is a recipient of the Nao Sena Medal for Devotion to Duty.
Development of Combat Management System for Indigenous Aircraft Carrier through Private Sector 

The Combat Management System (CMS) for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) developed with M/s Tata Power Strategic Engineering Division (TPSED), in collaboration with Weapon and Electronics System Engineering Establishment (WESEE) and M/s MARS, Russia was handed over by Mr Sukaran Singh, CEO and MD, M/s Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. to Indian Navy/ Chief of Materiel, Vice Admiral GS Pabby, PVSM, AVSM, VSM on 28 Mar 19 at M/s TPSED, Bengaluru, on successful completion of all tests and trials. The event was attended by Rear Admiral Antony George, NM, VSM, ACNS (SR), Rear Admiral SK Nair, NM, ACOM (IT&S) and other senior officers from the Indian Navy, and M/s TPSED, including firm’s COO, Mr NeeleshTungar and CTO, Mr R. Muralidharan.

This is a major landmark on IN’s thrust towards GoI's policy of 'Make in India' to encourage indigenous development and promoting private industry participation. It also assumes great significance as it is the first CMS developed by a Private Industry for IN and is for India’s Indigenous Aircraft Carrier. Prior accepting, the system software and hardware were subjected to rigorous acceptance trials. The system successfully cleared all acceptance tests, endurance and full load trials.

Visit of Air Marshal RKS Shera AVSM VSM Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Maintenance Command, IAF at Air Force Station Tughlakabad 

Air Marshal RKS Shera Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief,  Maintenance Command, Indian Air Force accompanied by Mrs. Jaspreet Shera, President Air Force Wives Welfare Association (Regional) arrived at Air Force Station Tughlakabad, a premier Base Repair Depot (BRD) under Maintenance Command, on 26 March 2019 on a three days visit. Air Commodore RL Narayanan, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Air Force Station Tughlakabad along with Mrs R Rajlakshmi Narayanan, President AFWWA (L) received them. The Air Marshal was introduced to the key personnel of the Depot.

During the course of visit, AOC-in-C visited various Production Wings, Calibration facilities, Logistics sites, Lodger units and other vital installations. During his interaction with Depot personnel, he appreciated the commitment, sense of purpose and quality of work displayed by them in ensuring high serviceability of the equipment towards operational preparedness of the field units. He also emphasized on the need to focus on indigenization efforts so as to achieve self-reliance, while ensuring reliability and quality of production.

President AFWWA (Regional) was given a warm welcome by the ladies of AFWWA (Local) Tughlakabad during AFWWA meeting where she interacted with Sanginis. During her visit to SMC, Play School and other AFWWA (L) ventures, she expressed her appreciation for the whole hearted involvement of Sanginis in all their endeavors.

Incident at Sea 

In an unfortunate incident, Mohan Raj, Seaman First Class, of the Indian Navy serving onboard INS Gomati suffered grave injury whilst carrying out combat weapon firing drills at sea. The sailor was airlifted from the ship to the nearest naval hospital INHS Asvini, Mumbai by a Seaking helicopter, however, he succumbed to his injuries. A Board of Inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the incident.

Mohan Raj aged 21 years, hailed from Katpudi, Tamil Nadu and is survived by his parents and two siblings..

Navy brings cheers to the residents of Cheriya Kadamakudi \

As part of the rehabilitation activities being undertaken by the Southern Naval Command after the devastating floods of August 2018, Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, AVSM, NM, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (C-in-C), Southern Naval Command, handed over the keys of newly constructed houses to three smiling families of Cheriya kadmakkudi on 28 Mar 19.  The houses that were sponsored by the Indian Navy belong to Shri Binu PP of Puliyal Parambil House, Mrs Mariyamma of Pashni Parambil House, and Shri Joseph Antony of Madathil Parambil House, and have been constructed at a total cost of Rs. 28 lakhs. These new houses were built as per specific suggestions and requirements of each house owner. Each house has bedrooms, drawing room and kitchen with modern amenities such as vitrified tiles in all the rooms and electrical fittings etc. The project was being steered by INS Venduruthy and has been completed in precisely five and a half months. 

In addition, the Navy is installing solar power equipment in all the 55 houses of Cheriya Kadmakkudi, of which 30 have been completed, including the three newly constructed houses. Cheriya Kadamakudi, will therefore be a fully Green Village in the next few weeks. 

The residents of the village were in for a big surprise, when the C-in-C announced construction of a steel Arch Bridge connecting Cheriya Kadamakudi with Pizhala Island and laid the foundation stone for the same. The residents have been requesting for a new bridge since the floods receded, as the existing concrete walkway bridge has been in a dilapidated condition for long, and it was recently declared unsafe even for pedestrian traffic by the PWD. The new bridge will be constructed adjacent to the existing bridge and will be 50 metres long and 3.5 metres wide. Vehicles up to 4 tons will be able to ply on this bridge, thus providing the much-needed connectivity to the villagers.  

The C-in-C was accompanied by Mrs Sapana Chawla, President, Navy Wives Welfare Association (Southern Region), and few other senior officers. Vice Admiral Chawla was taken around the new constructions and had a good interaction with the happy families. Mrs Chawla also distributed sweets to these families. 

The Rehabilitation Package was earlier announced by Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Chief of the Naval Staff during his visit to Muttinakam in Aug 2018, and has been funded by the Indian Navy, which includes contributions from service personnel of Southern Naval Command.

INS Magar Departs for Mozambique with Relief Material
INS Magar, an amphibious warfare vessel, departed Mumbai for Port Beira in Mozambique with essential relief material for the cyclone ravaged areas.
The Indian warship is carrying 300 T of relief supplies including essential medicines, anti – epidemic drugs, food provisions, clothing, repair and rehabilitation equipment, and temporary shelters. The ship is also carrying a naval Chetak Light Utility helicopter that will be used in the ongoing relief operations.
She is bound for Port Beira and will become the fourth Indian Navy ship after INS Sujata, Shardul and Sarathi of 1 Training Squadron to augment the Indian Navy's ongoing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts in Mozambique.

Closing ceremony: inaugural edition of AFINDEX-19 Culminates with an impressive closing ceremony at Pune on 27 March 19

The inaugural edition of the Africa-India Field Training Exercise-2019 (AFINDEX-19) culminated on 27 March 2019 after a validation exercise and an impressive closing ceremony at Foreign Training Node, Aundh Military Station, Pune. General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff witnessed the closing ceremony alongwith other dignitaries included senior military officers of the Indian Army and representatives of   17 African nations namely Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Indian contingent was represented by MARATHA Light Infantry (Jangi Paltan). The validation exercise showcased various tactical drills which included protection of civilians, establishment of standing combat deployment, convoy protection, patrolling aspects and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices which were practiced as part of joint exercise for the past 10 days. AFINDEX-19 demonstrated the commitment and capabilities of the participating nations in working closely with each other in Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping Operations under the United Nations mandate. The exercise was also attended by observers from three African nations i.e. Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Mozambique.
The validation exercise was followed by equipment display organised under the aegis of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) at Aundh Military Station. General Bipin Rawat and other senior army officers witnessed more than 11 categories of indigenously developed defence related equipment displayed by various agencies to include Ordnance Factories, Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO), leading private sector companies and startups to showcase some of the latest weapon systems and vehicles produced indigenously.
During the closing address, General Bipin Rawat brought out that the exercise has been a grand success with the troops of all participating nations showing impeccable training standards and mutual cooperation. He congratulated the participating nations for showing great enthusiasm and zeal during the entire duration of AFINDEX-19. He also interacted with the contingents and Defence Attaches of the participating nations after the closing ceremony.
The social interactions between the contingents have also contributed towards developing better interpersonal relations and bonds of friendship across geographical boundaries and the exercise has been a landmark event to promote values of Peace, Prosperity, International Brotherhood and Trust amongst the participating nations.

Nine Iranians held with 100 Kg Narcotics off Gujarat Coast 

In a joint operation launched by Marine Task Force (MTF), Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Anti-Terrorist Squad of Gujarat apprehended nine Iranian personnel along with 100 kilograms of narcotics off the coast of Gujarat on 26 March 2019.

On 24 March 2019, inputs were received from ATS, Gujarat, regarding an illegal consignment of narcotic drug, heroin, likely to be smuggled in Gujarat through a Dhow ex-Iran. It also revealed that the consignment was loaded in Pakistan and destined for Gujarat. A team of ATS embarked Indian Coast Guard Ship for the mission while communication frequencies were constantly monitored by the ATS personnel.

After extensive search of more than 24 hours, the suspicious Dhow was intercepted on 26 March 2019 by ICG ship off Gujarat coast. On being challenged the suspicious Dhow resorted to evasive tactics to avoid apprehension. On realising that apprehension by ICG was inevitable, the crew set the Dhow on fire to destroy the evidence. In a daring Joint Boarding Operation, the ICG and ATS team embarked the Dhow and apprehended nine Iranian crew along with recovery of 100 Kg of Heroine.  

The ICG ship thereafter, attempted to extinguish the fire on-board the Dhow however, due to presence of large quantity of fuel and few gas cylinders, the fire became uncontrollable and consequently the Dhow sank. The apprehended crew along with the consignment has been brought to Porbandar by Indian Coast Guard Ship and handed over to Marine Task Force (MTF), Gujarat AM 27 March 2019 for further action.

Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM, NM assumes charge as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO) 

Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM NM has assumed charge as Director General Naval Operations today, on 27 Mar 2019. He is a graduate of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 01 Jul 85.  

The Flag Officer is a specialist in Anti-Submarine Warfare and has held important assignments both afloat and ashore.  In the initial years of his career, he served onboardIN Ships Himgiri, Agray and Ganga as ASW specialist officer and subsequently as an instructor at ASW School.   His Command tenures afloat include INS Nashak (missile vessel), INS Magar {Landing Ship Tank (Large)} and INS Talwar (stealth Frigate) and Second in-Command of INS Khukri (Missile corvette). He commanded the National Coast Guard, Mauritius for two years (2003 – 05) and was also the Commandant, Naval Academy and Commanding Officer of INS Mandovi.  

His staff appointments include Joint Director at Directorate of Personnel at Naval Headquarters, Naval Adviser to the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Senior Directing Staff at the Naval War College, Mumbai and Principal Director Staff Requirements at Naval Headquarters. 

On promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral in Feb 2015, he was appointed as the Assistant Chief of Personnel (Human Resources Development), and subsequently as the Flag Officer Sea Training in Oct 16. He was later appointed as the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Fleet in Jan 18 and Commanded the sword arm prior to his assuming of his present appointment as the Director General Naval Operations on promotion to the rank of Vice Admiral.

The Admiral is a graduate from the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the prestigious National Defence College, New Delhi.  He is a recipient of the Nao Sena Medal in 2011 and the AthiVishistSeva Medal in 2019.

Opening Ceremony Indo-Sri Lanka Joint Exercise Mitra Shakti-VI 

Opening ceremony of Exercise MITRA SHAKTI VI, a 14 days joint training exercise of the Indian Army and the Sri Lankan Army has been held on 27 March at Diyatalawa Parade Ground in Diyatalawa, Badulla District, Sri Lanka. This is the sixth edition of the joint exercise between the two nations.  The exercise is being conducted from 26 March to 08 April 19.

 The Indian Army contingent comprises of a company group from BIHAR Regiment and a similar strength from the First Gemunu Watch Battalion of Sri Lankan Army. Brigadier HPNK Jayapathirana, General Officer Commanding 21 Division of  Sri Lankan Army was the chief guest for the opening ceremony.

The primary focus of the exercise is to train and equip the contingents to undertake joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in urban/ rural environment under the United Nations flag. The exercise provides an ideal platform for both contingents to share their operational experience and expertise while being instrumental in broadening interoperability and cooperation between the armies of India and Sri Lanka. 

India Joins Select Group of Nations, Destroys Live Satellite in Low Earth Orbit

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) today successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test ‘Mission Shakti’ from the Dr AP J Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. A DRDO-developed Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Interceptor Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a ‘Hit to Kill’ mode. The interceptor missile was a three-stage missile with two solid rocket boosters. Tracking data from range sensors has confirmed that the mission met all its objectives.

The test has demonstrated the Nation’s capability to defend its assets in outer space. It is a vindication of the strength and robust nature of DRDO’s programmes.

With this India joins a select group of nations, which have such capability. The test has once again proven the capability of indigenous weapon systems.

Rear Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, takes over as Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra Naval Area

Rear Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar, VSM has assumed the charge as the Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra Naval Area on 25 Mar 19. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was commissioned into the Indian Navy in Jan 1987 and is an Anti-Submarine Warfare specialist. His notable sea appointments include Executive Officer of missile corvette INS Kirpan and missile destroyer INS Mysore and command of missile corvette INS Kora, missile frigate INS Shivalik and the aircraft carrier INS Viraat.
His staff assignments include tenures as Joint Director in the Directorate of Staff Requirements, Joint Director in the Directorate of Personnel, Principal Director in the Directorate of Net-Centric Operations and Principal Director in the Directorate of Personnel.
He is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Naval War College, Karanja, and Naval Command College, Newport, Rhode Island, USA and holds a Masters Degree in Defence and Strategic Studies.
On promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral in Feb 2016, he was appointed as the Assistant Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Int–A) at HQ IDS, New Delhi, and subsequently as the Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at Headquarters Western Naval Command. The Flag Officer is a recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service.

INS Kadmatt at Langkawi, Malaysia to Participate in LIMA-19 

Indian Navy’s frontline ASW corvette, INS Kadmatt arrived at Langkawi, Malaysia on a seven days official visit on Monday 25  Mar 19.  The ship is scheduled to participate in the 15th edition of Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition, LIMA-19 during the visit. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command would also be attending various engagements as part of LIMA 19 as head of Indian Navy Delegation.

The ship would be participating in numerous activities planned as part of LIMA 19 during the seven days at Langkawi, including the International Fleet Review (IFR) by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, maritime and air demonstration, Sea Exercises with 29 other participating navies, cultural exchange programmes, cross visits to ships, sporting events. Numerous seminars and interactions are also planned on the side lines of the main event.

INS Kadmatt (P 29) is an indigenous stealth anti-submarine warfare corvette and was commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 2016. The ship is fitted with state of the art weapons, sensors and machinery and is also designed to embark the Seaking anti-submarine helicopter. 

Malaysia and India are maritime neighbours and the two navies continue to interact closely on issues related to training and exchange best practices during visits by ships from both sides. As part of such friendly engagements, Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Ship KD Jebat, a frigate underwent the Operational Sea Training by Flag Officer Sea Training FOST at Kochi in October 2018 and RMN KD Lekir had participated in the IFR held off Visakhapatnam in February 2016.

Admiral Sunil Lanba commissions Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Training Facility - ABHEDYA, at INS Shivaji, Lonavala

Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM AVSM ADC, Chief of the Naval Staff commissioned a state of the art  "Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Training Facility - ABHEDYA", at  INS Shivaji, Lonavla today. The ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries including VAdm AK Chawla, FOC-in-C Southern Naval Command, VAdm GS Pabby, Chief of Materiel &Cmde BB Nagpal CMD, GSL. 

M/s. GSL had signed the contract with Indian Navy for construction of NBCTF on 31 Mar 2016. In line with its tradition of delivering projects ahead of schedule, GSL has handed over the facility to Indian Navy on 28 Sep 2018, well ahead of schedule.

Cmde BB Nagpal CMD GSL stated “The timely completion of this Project is a reflection of the superior technical design and execution abilities of the Indian Navy and Goa Shipyard Limited. This unique facility will assist Indian Navy in providing realistic simulation of  Nuclear, Chemical & Biological warfare to its personnel during their NBC damage control training, which till now was limited to theoretical training largely.”

The steel structure of the simulator represents the relevant NBC compartment of the ship such as upper decks, citadels, cleansing stations, DCHQ, etc. The upper deck compartment is equipped with live agents along with NBC equipment such as SIRS, SICADS and other NBC detection and monitoring equipment. The trainees will have to detect, monitor, survey and decontaminate the areas using actual NBC equipment, providing real time NBC scenarios.

Media Reports Maligning GoI over NFFU/NFU to Armed Forces

Certain section of media is attempting to generate  motivated controversy on the NFFU/NFU for Armed Forces while the case is still subjudice in the Apex Court. The targeting of Govt officials ascribing false statements to them with an intent to pressurise them is highly condemnable. In case of complicated policies with long term and wider consequences, there may be times when agreement is not easy to build not  only between two parties but also within a party, such cases are debated for merit in judicial Courts as per the law of the land. This process must not be attempted to be highjacked by publically targeting the reputation of individuals discharging their duties as the authorised representatives of one side, GoI in this case. In the instant case, the recourse to judicial review was taken as per the existing policies and at the decision of the GoI. Certain facts have been twisted and misrepresented in media with the purpose of misleading uniformed community and the general public. One, the Central Pay Commission has been incorrectly quoted to have recommended NFFU/ NFU for the Armed Forces. Two, there has been no attempt to malign the uniformed community or quote them as staying in 'palatial houses' as the hardships faced by military fraternity are well known and deeply respected by everyone including those in the Govt. The counsel of GoI has only read out the recommendations of the 7th CPC as the argument of the case in the Apex Court.

Three, the originators of smearing campaign have not spared even a uniformed veteran representing GoI in judicial matters but who has no connection with the instant case. Four, the delay is not at the behest of the Govt but because of the Apex Court asking the Govt to serve the notices to remaining petitioners so that they can also be heard.

MoD requests all to allow the legal procedure in the Apex Court to complete. It is reiterated that Govt stands by its uniformed fraternity and is custodian of its high morale and operational effectiveness.

Induction of Chinook Helicopters in Indian Air Force

On 25 March 2019, the IAF formally inducted the CH 47 F(I)- Chinook heavy lift helicopters into its inventory at Air Force Station Chandigarh. Air Chief Marshal

BS Dhanoa PVSM AVSM YSM VM ADC, Chief of the Air Staff was the Chief guest and the event was attended by various dignitaries.

IAF had signed a contract with M/s Boeing Ltd in September 2015 for 15 Chinook helicopters. The first batch of four helicopters has been delivered on schedule and the last batch is to be delivered by March next year. These helicopters will be deployed in the Northern and Eastern regions of India.

The addition of heavy-lift CH 47 F(I) helicopter is a significant step towards modernisation of Indian Air Force’s helicopter fleet. The helicopter has been customized to suit IAF’s future requirements and capability roadmap. The helicopter has a fully integrated digital cockpit management system, advanced cargo handling capabilities and electronic warfare suite that complement the aircraft’s performance. The helicopter is capable of airlifting diverse military and non military loads into remote locations.

Exercise Al Nagah – III 2019 Validation and Closing Ceremony 

The third edition of joint military training exercise between Indian Army and Royal Oman Army, Exercise AL NAGAH 2019 concluded at Jabel AI Akhdar training camp, Oman on 25 March 2019. Closing ceremony witnessed final validation by observer delegation group of both the nations. Indian side was represented by HE Mr Munu Mahawar, Indian Ambassador to Oman and Major General A K Samantara. Royal Oman Army was represented by Major General Matar Bin Salim Bin Rashid Al Balushi and many senior officials. Contingent commanders of both the contingent briefed the delegation on the progress of the exercise. The   two-week long exercise had commenced on 12 March 2019.  60 Soldiers of Indian Army took part in the exercise alongwith similar strength of pers from Royal Army of Oman.  

Both sides jointly planned and executed a series of well-developed tactical operations based on scenarios that are likely to be encountered in semi-urban and mountainous terrain.  Commanders at various levels from both sides were exercised to work in close coordination to receive and collate information, jointly plan operations and issue suitable order to respective components.  Subject experts from both the contingents also held in-depth discussions on various facets of counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations.

Exercise AL NAGAH will go a long way in further cementing relationship between the nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation while undertaking such operations under the United Nations mandate.

Local Indian Diaspora Join Indian Navy's - Humanitarian efforts in Mozambique 1P

The HADR efforts by the Indian Navy in Mozambique have galvanised the local Indian Diaspora to work in tandem with the ships of the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy (Sujata, Sarathi and Shardul) currently deployed there. 

The local community along with Indian Community has enthusiastically joined the HADR efforts being undertaken by the ships. The Rescue teams have voluntarily been provided vehicles by the Indian community for travel to affected areas and for coordination with the local authorities. The Indian Diaspora  have also organised local SIM cards for the teams so that effective communication is maintained while undertaking rescue work.  

During the ongoing operations at Port Beira since 18 Mar 19, the ships have rescued more than 192 survivors from Buzi area near Port Beira, which is cut off from the mainland. Three medical camps have been set up at Port Beira, Gaura-Gaurathe Island and Matadoura School, Imnhamizua and Medical assistance has been provided to over 1500 affected people from the local population.

The Chetak helicopter of Indian Navy has undertaken a number of sorties in difficult conditions for evacuation of local personnel in coordination with local authorities and the UN Mission. In addition, it has also dropped relief material (food and water) including that provided by World Food Programme. 

Community services are being undertaken by the ships crew at affected locations like schools, churches, hospitals, orphanages in coordination with the local government officials. The ships have setup a Community Kitchen kept open 24x7 for local populace including the workers at the port and 22 tons of fresh water has been provided to local authorities.

The HADR operations by the ships of the First Training Squadron are likely to continue at Port Beira till 30 Mar 19. INS Shardul is enroute to Maputo to embark relief material and will  return to Beira by 28 Mar to disembark relief material and also supply provisions to IN Ships. Meanwhile INS Magar, with relief stores being embarked at  Mumbai and is likely to depart for Beira 27/ 28 Mar 19 to alleviate the suffering of the cyclone affected population of Mozambique.

The indomitable spirit, humane approach and professionalism of the ships of the Training Squadron and the helicopter operations by the IN have received wide acknowledgement from the local government as well as the international agencies including the UN staff involved in HADR operations in Mozambique. 

Vice Admiral Karambir Singh will take over as Next Chief of Naval Staff

The Government have appointed Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, presently Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) Eastern Naval Command as next Chief of the Naval Staff with effect from afternoon of May 31, 2019. The present Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba retires on the same day. 

Born on November 03, 1959, Vice Admiral Karambir Singh was commissioned on July 01, 1980 into the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy. 

During his long and distinguished service spanning nearly 39 years, he has served in a variety of Command, Staff and Instructional appointments. Vice Admiral Singh’s Sea Command includes Guided Missile Destroyers INS Rana and INS Delhi. He also served as Fleet Operations Officer of the Western Fleet and was Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujrat area. Before taking over as FOC-in-C Eastern Naval Command in October 2017, he was Director General Project Seabird, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff and Vice Chief of the Naval Staff. 

Vice Admiral Karambir Singh is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh has been decorated with the Param VishishtSeva Medal (PVSM) and the AtiVishishtSeva Medal (AVSM).

Rear Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh takes over as Western Fleet Commander

At an impressive ceremonial parade held on 22 Mar 19 at Naval dockyard, Mumbai, Rear Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh, NM took over charge of Western Fleet, the 'Sword Arm' of the Indian Navy, from Rear Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM, NM.

Rear Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh was commissioned into the Indian navy in 1986 and is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla. A specialist in Navigation and Direction, he has held a range of command, training and staff appointments during his career. His sea command appointments include that of the ASW and UAV-control Frigate Taragiri, where he was awarded the Nao Sena Medal, and the multi-role Frigate Trishul. His other important appointments include Officer-in-Charge Local Workup Team (West), Indian Naval Attache at Iran, Joint Director of Personnel, Principal Director of Naval Operation and Principal Director of Strategy, Concepts and Transformation at IHQ MoD (N). On promotion to Flag rank, he served as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Communication Space and Network Centric Operation) and Flag Officer Sea Training.

He also has the distinction of being the lead drafter for the Indian Navy’s Maritime Doctrine in 2009, Indian Maritime Security Strategy and Strategic Guidance to Transformation in 2015. A keen student of military affairs, he has completed several post-graduate study programmes, including MSc and MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies from Madras University, MA in Defence Studies from King’s College, London and MA (History), MPhil (Pol) and PhD in Political Science from Mumbai University.

Rear Admiral MA Hampiholi is proceeding to IHQ MoD (N), New Delhi, as Director General Naval Operations in the rank of Vice Admiral on 27 Mar 19. Under Rear Admiral MA Hampiholi, the Western Fleet had undertaken several operational deployments and multinational exercises, strengthening maritime security and deterrence at sea, for which he was recently awarded the Ati Vishist Seva Medal.