♦ Indian Navy signs MoU with Cochin Port Trust
Indian Navy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) for increasing the berthing capacity of naval ships in Kochi.
i. Under the MoU, Cochin Port Trust has leased 228 metres of berths at Mattancherry Wharf to Indian Navy for a period of five years.Approximate cost for this lease is Rs. 10 crore per annum.
ii. Availability of expanded berthing space will enable greater operational flexibility to Indian Naval ships based in Kochi.
iii. The MoU has been entered into by keeping into consideration the scheduled fleet expansion of Indian Navy in near future.
♦ Defence ministry clears procurement of Barak missiles, guided bombs
On January 2, 2017, Union Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman cleared two proposals to procure Barak Missiles from Israel and precision guided bombs for the Indian Air Force from Russia.
i. 131 Barak missiles and associated equipment will be procured from Israel's Rafael Advance Defence Systems Ltd at a cost of Rs 460 crore.
ii. 240 precision guided bombs will be procured from M/s JSC Rosonboron Exports, Russia at a cost of Rs 1254 crore.
♦ Defence Ministry approves projects worth Rs. 2420 crore
On January 4, 2018, Union Defence Ministry approved procurement of simulated training solutions for Indian Navy’s P-8I long range maritime patrol aircraft and electronic warfare systems for the Army. Total cost involved in these deals is Rs. 2420 crore.
i. Simulated training solution for P-8I will be bought from Boeing for Rs. 1949.32 crore.
ii. This training solution accurately simulates P-8I aircraft and mission systems and will thereby help Indian Navy train and realistically rehearse for sophisticated missions in a cost effective manner.
iii. The second proposal is for Low Intensity Conflict Electronic Warfare System (LICEWS) for the Army, which will be procured from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for Rs. 470 crore.
♦ Indian, Vietnamese armies hold first military exercise ‘VINBAX’
On January 29, 2018, armies of India and Vietnam began ‘VINBAX’, a six day-long military exercise in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.
i. Vietnam – India Bilateral Army Exercise (VINBAX) is the first military exercise between India and Vietnam. i. Defence ties between India and Vietnam have strengthened in recent times with the primary focus being cooperation in the maritime domain.
ii. With the first protocol on defence cooperation signed in 1994, India and Vietnam have been periodically elevating their defence cooperation since then.
iii. In 2016, India-Vietnam strategic partnership was elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
♦ Indian Army establishes skill training centre for Kashmiri youth
With an objective to empower the Kashmiri youth, the Indian Army has established a Skill Training Centre at sector 10 Headquarters of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir.
i. This skill training centre is a public-private venture and has state of the art equipments.
ii. Unemployed educated youths of Pattan and its adjoining areas of Baramulla district will be imparted highly skilled training under National Skill Development Centre (NSDC).
iii. Initially, this centre will offer courses in Food Processing and Information Technology.
♦ Coast Guards of India, Japan organised joint naval exercise
8th edition of biennial ‘National Maritime Search and Rescue Workshop and Exercise’ between ships and aircraft from the Indian and Japanese Coast Guards commenced on January 16, 2018 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
i. During the course of this event, a workshop was held on January 16, 2018 and search and rescue operations was conducted on January 17, 2018 in Bay of Bengal.
ii. Ships and aircraft of Coast Guards from India and Japan, the Indian Navy and Air Force and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) participated in this event.
iii. Search and rescue operations were jointly reviewed by Indian Coast Guard Director General, Rajendra Singh and Japanese Commandant Admiral Satoshi Nakajima.
♦ Defence Acquisition Council clears procurement of assault rifles & carbines
On January 16, 2018, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Union Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, cleared procurement of 72400 assault rifles and 93895 carbines to meet their immediate requirement of Defence Forces deployed in border areas.
i.This fast track procurement will be done at a cost of Rs 3547 crore.
ii.In a bid to give a boost to ‘Make in India’ programme and to encourage participation of private sector in defence design and production, DAC has simplified the ‘Make II’ category of the Defence Procurement Procedure.
iii.As per the revised procedure, Ministry of Defence will now accept suo-motu proposals from the industry. Start-ups have also been allowed to develop equipment for Indian Armed Forces.
♦ Chennai to host DefExpo in April 2018
The DefExpo India 2018 will be hosted by Chennai for the first time from April 11 to 14 at a temporary expo centre on East Coast Road near Mahabalipuram.
i. DefExpo India is the largest event of India’s defence sector. It is held once in 2 years.
ii. It is a Land, Naval & Internal Homeland Security Systems Exhibition. It displays latest technologies and products manufactured by both Indian and foreign companies.
♦ Indian Coast Guard conducts 'Day at Sea' programme for children of fishing hamlets
On January 29, 2018, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) conducted a 'Day at Sea' event for children of fishing hamlets at Frazerganj in South 24 Parganas district, West Bengal as part of its initiative for close interaction with the fishing community of coastal areas.
i. Frazerganj is a fishing harbour on Bay of Bengal coast at the southern tip of West Bengal. 19 boys and girls from Frazerganj got an opportunity to have a joyride on board a hovercraft that had been brought in from the ICG base at Haldia.
ii. At the conclusion of this programme, children were explained as to how the Coast Guard carried out its duty of ensuring coastal security and how the fishing community can help and thereby benefit by providing security related inputs to Coast Guard.