US, S.Korea begin "Foal Eagle drill" army drills amid diplomatic thaw
On April 1, 2018, United States and South Korea kicked off the annual military exercise ‘Foal Eagle drill’.
i. This edition of ‘Foal Eagle drill’ will be a low-key event, featuring fewer strategic weapons, as North Korea has proposed to hold summits with the South Korea and US, which has in turn eased the tension and diplomatic rhetoric on Korean peninsula.
Indo-Korean joint exercise SAHYOG-HYEOBLYEOG 2018 held
i. The exercise was a part of a proposed establishment of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Indian Coast Guard and South Korea Coast Guard to improve maritime security in Indian Ocean Region.
ii. As a part of this exercise, ships of the Indian Coast Guard and Korean Coast Guard ship 'BADARO' jointly undertook tactical manoeuvres and drills to counter piracy and carry out maritime law enforcement tasks.
iii. Along with ICG Shaurya, C-423, C-431, Indian Coast Guard also deployed a Dornier aircraft to carry out sea-air coordinated search.
IAF to conduct Exercise Gaganshakti 2018 along Pakistan, China borders
From 10th to 23rd April, 2018, Indian Air Force (IAF) will conduct exercise ‘Gagan Shakti, 2018’, its biggest ever combat exercise along Pakistan and China borders.
i. The exercise will be conducted in day and night mode, with the enemy encompassing China border in the Northern areas and along Pakistan border in the Western areas.
ii. IAF will mobilise more than 1100 combat, transport and rotary wing (helicopter) aircraft for Exercise Gaganshakti 2018.
iii.Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be taking part in the exercise for the first time. Besides, Indian Navy's Maritime Combat Aircraft MiG 29s will also take part.
Japan activated its first marine unit since World War Two
On April 8, 2018, Japan activated its Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (ARDB), its first marine unit since World War Two.
i. The activation ceremony was held at a military base near Sasebo on the southwest island of Kyushu, wherein about 1500 ARDB members conducted a 20-minute mock public exercise recapturing a remote island from invaders.
ii. In context of this news, it is important to note that in Japan’s Constitution that was formed after World War Two, it renounced the right to wage war. iii. The marine unit has been activated to counter invaders who attempt to occupy Japanese islands along the edge of the East China Sea. Japan fears that those islands are vulnerable to attack by China.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia concluded joint military exercise “Desert Tiger 5”
United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Malaysia concluded "Desert Tiger 5" joint military exercise aimed at sharing expertise and enhancing joint military actions.
i. It was aimed at improving combat readiness, raising combat efficiency and enhance interoperability of the ground forces of both the countries.
ii. The concluding ceremony was attended by General Dato' Sri Zulkiple bin Hj Kassim - Malaysian Chief of Army and Brigadier Saeed Rashid Al Shehi - Deputy Commander of the UAE land forces.
The four-day DefExpo begins
Tenth edition of India's mega defence exhibition, DefExpo 2018 began at Thiruvidanthai (on the outskirts of Chennai) on April 11, 2018.
i. DefExpo 2018 was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 12, 2018.
ii. This exhibition of weapons and military hardware showcases India's defence manufacturing capabilities to the world.
iii. Live demonstrations, flying display and seminars on weapons and military hardware will be held during the course of this four-day event.
iv. Theme of DefExpo 2018 is “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”.
EAM Sushma Swaraj meets Afghan Defence Minister
On April 13, 2018, Union External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj met the Afghan Defence Minister Lieutenant-General Tariq Shah Bahramee in New Delhi and agreed to make efforts in combating terrorism in the South Asian region.
i. During the meeting, Ms. Sushma Swaraj and Lieutenant-General Tariq Shah Bahramee pushed for efforts to combat the menace of opium cultivation and drugs trafficking which is the main source of funding terrorism against the people of Afghanistan.
ii. Ms. Swaraj assured India's support to Afghan government and the people of Afghanistan for building a peaceful, stable, united and prosperous nation.
iii. Lieutenant-General Tariq Shah Bahramee was in India to attend 10th edition of Defence Expo 2018 in Tamil Nadu. During the course of this visit, he also met Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
Dedicated defence, aerospace SME fund
Indian Government will be setting up a dedicated defence and aerospace small and medium enterprises (SME) fund, registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
i. Objective for setting up this fund is to channelize investments into the two defence corridors announced by Government of India in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
ii. Annoucement in this regard was made by Department of Defence Production Secretary, Ajay Kumar during a session organised by FICCI, 'Offsets: Way forward towards a win-win framework', at the DefExpo 2018 in Tamil Nadu.
Sagar Kavach: Coastal security exercise held in Kerala
A two-day coastal security exercise 'Sagar Kavach' began on April 24, 2018 along Kerala shores.
i. Exercise 'Sagar Kavach' is being conducted to strengthen and assess the loopholes in the coastal security mechanism along Kerala shores.
ii. Along with Coastal Police and Marine Enforcement wing, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy is also participating in Exercise 'Sagar Kavach'.
iii. 10 ships of Indian Coast Guard, three ships of Indian navy, four fishing boats, and 20 coastal police stations from Vizhinjam to Kasaragod are among those taking part in this exercise.
iv. It is to be noted that Exercise 'Sagar Kavach' is held twice a year.
Commissioning of Third Ship of Landing Craft Utility Mk-IV ‘IN LCU L53’ (GRSE Yard 2094) at port Blair- 25 Apr 18
On 25th April 2018, the third ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV project was inducted into the Indian Navy at Port Blair.
i. The ship was commissioned as INLCU L53 by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, ADC, Commander-in-Chief A&N Command.
ii. It was designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
iii. The ship shows the potential of India’s indigenous ship building capability. It is in line with the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
iv. LCU MK-IV is an amphibious ship. It has a displacement of 830 Tons. It is capable of transporting combat equipment like Main Battle Tanks Arjun, T72 and other Armoured Vehicles.
v. The ship has advanced equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS). vi. Indigenous CRN 91 Gun with Stabilised Optronic Pedestal offers offensive capability for undertaking patrolling.
Exercise HARIMAU SHAKTI will be conducted in Malaysia from 30 April 18 to 13 May 18
“Harimau Shakti”, a joint training exercise between India and Malaysia will be conducted in the forests of Sengai Perdik, Hulu Langat, Malaysia from 30 April 2018 to 13 May 2018.
i. Harimau Shakti is aimed to enhance cooperation & coordination between armed forces of India and Malaysia and to share the expertise of both the contingents.
ii. Counter insurgency operations will be conducted in jungle terrain. Indian contingent will be represented by 4 GRENADIERS, one of the oldest infantry battalions.
iii. The Malaysian contingent will be represented by soldiers from 1 Royal Ranjer Regiment and the Royal Malay Regiment.
iv. Main focus of the exercise will be on tactical operations in jungle warfare. A cross training phase and a field training phase of seven days in the jungles of Hulu Langat will be carried out.
India, Pakistan to participate in SCO counter-terror exercise
For the first time, India and Pakistan will be part of a multi-nation counter-terror exercise, schedule to be held in Russia in September 2018.
i. This multi nation exercise will be conducted under the framework of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
ii. The exercise has been named ‘Peace Mission 2018’ and almost all SCO member countries including China will be a part of this exercise.
iii. Objective of conducting ‘Peace Mission 2018’ is to enhance counter-terror cooperation among the eight SCO member countries.
iv. India’s participation in this military drill was confirmed by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during the recent SCO Defence Ministers' meeting in Beijing, China.