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Daily Category  (Security Forces)

Malabar Exercise

Context:

India seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain, and in the light of increased defense cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy.

Background:

  • In 2017, Australia had requested observer status in the Malabar Exercise.
  • China has repeatedly expressed strong opposition to any expansion of the Malabar Exercise, which it sees as a multilateral naval construct designed to “counter and contain” it.
    • However, the recent India-China tensions over the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) may have brought more flexibility to India's decision-making process.
  • Japan and the U.S.A also have been pressing India for Australia’s inclusion in Malabar Exercise.

Malabar Exercise:

  • The Malabar series of naval exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral Indian Navy-US Navy exercise.
  • Japan joined the naval exercise in 2015.
  • The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaged to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
  • The exercise has been planned on a ‘non-contact - at sea’ format and the exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries.

2020 Malabar Exercise:

  • Objective: To enhance safety and security in the maritime domain.
  • The 2020 Exercise is expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. In 2019, the exercise was conducted off the coast of Japan.
  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the exercise had been planned in a ‘non-contact - at sea’ format.

Source: The Hindu

An inflection point in Indo – China Relations

1. CONTEXT OF THE NEWS

The long drawn Sino-Indian border dispute reached its inflection point on Monday with the unfortunate death of 20 soldiers of the Indian Army. This is the first deadly clash in the border area between the two nations over the 45-year long dispute.

1.1 News in Detail

  • The deadly clash took place in Galwan Valley in the disputed Eastern Ladakh Region.
  • There is no official report on causalities on the Chinese side.
  • China accused Indian troop of crossing the border twice, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel".
  • Later, Military officials from both the side met to diffuse the situation.

2. INDIA – CHINA BORDER DISPUTE

2.1 History of the dispute

  • India – China cultural relations go back to ancient times. The traditional Silk Route and spread of Buddhism to South East Asia via China are testimony to it.
  • Today, India and China share a 3,488 km long boundary, which it disputed in its entirety. 
  • The India – China border is demarcated by the McMahon line, after its author Sir Henry McMahon, a British negotiator. The line was agreed upon during a tripartite conference in Shimla between India, China and Tibet and led to delimitation of Indo-Tibetan boundary.
  • Initially all the three parties agreed but later china refused to accept the boundary line calling it illegal.
  • In 1950s china built a 1200 km road which ran through the Aksai Chin Region of Ladakh claimed by India. This coupled with other boundary skirmished led to the 1962 border war between the nations. The boundary established after the war is called as Line of Actual Control (LAC).

2.2 Boundary Skirmishes between the two nations

  • After establishment of the LAC, the border peace between India and China has been hanging by a thread.The border line is marred by many skirmishes, most highlighted being:
    • 1967 -Nathu La and Cho La clashes
    • 1987 -Sino-Indian skirmish in Sumdorong Chu Valley
    • 2017 -China–India border standoff in Doklam - In June 2017, the Chinese began constructing a road in the disputed area of Doklam, near the Doka La pass.

2.3 Attempts to resolve the India – China Border dispute.

  • Harmony was established between India and China in 1976 and High Level border talks were initiated in 1981 to find a permanent solution. The talks proved unfruitful and broke after eight rounds in 1987.
  • 1988 - Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visited China and consequently the Joint Working Group (JWG) was set up to resolve the dispute.
  • 1993 - Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Indo – China Border areas was signed.
  • 1996 - Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field along the LAC was signed.
  • 2003 - One special representatives each from India and China were appointed to solve the border dispute politically but this too did not yield much

2.4 Bilateral treaties between India and China to address border disputes

  1. 1993: Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas
  2. 1996: Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field along the LAC
  3. 2005: Protocol on the Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas
  4. 2012: Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs
  5. 2013: Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China

3. WHY ARE TENSIONS AT A ALL TIME HIGH

At the heart of it is competing and conflicting strategic goals of both the nations. Following developments shed more light on the underlying issue:

3.1 The Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie(DSDBO) Road

  • The construction of the 255-km long Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) all-weather road is probably the most important reason for the recent conflict between India and China.
  • The DSDBO Road is at an elevation of 13,000 https://images.indianexpress.com/2020/06/graph-4.jpg- 16,000 ft. It took almost 20 years for the India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to build it.
  • The road connects Leh to DBO, which is the northernmost part on Indian territory in Ladakh.
  • DBO lies at base of Karakoram pass, which separates Xinjiang Autonomous Region from Ladakh.
  • The Galwan River has traditionally been a peaceful location. Recently China revamped military infrastructure constructions along the Galwan River, posing a direct threat to DSDBO Road.
  • The Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet held that the Galwan Valley region is a Chinese territory and according to the Chinese military, India has forced its way into the valley changing the status quo along the LAC.

3.2 The Union Territory of Ladakh

  • Last year India ended the limited autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31st of October 2019.
  • The federally administered area of Ladakh includes Aksai Chin, an area claimed by India but administered by China.

3.4 China – Pakistan Economic CorridorThe China – Pakistan Economic Corridor: India's Dual Dilemma ...

The Karakoram Highway passes through the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, connecting Pakistan to its all-time ally China.

The highway connects China to the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar and provides China a foothold in the Arabian Sea.

China has invested $60 Billion in China Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) under its Belt and Road Initiative. It has been pushing aggressively for its Belt and Road Initiative and the recent strategic and geo-political developments in India have marred the Chinese ambitions.

3.3 The 2020 Border Skirmish

  • The first standoff in 2020 took place on 5 May which soldiers clashing at PangongTsowhich is a lake that extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. The LAC passes through the Pangong Tso.
  • Later again in May, the soldiers clashed again in Sikkim.
  • The third skirmish took place in Eastern Ladakh when Chinese troops had entered the Indian territory in the Galwan River valley objecting the construction of a road branching off from the Darbuk–Shyok–DBO Road into Galwan valley.
  • There are reports of huge development in Chinese military infrastructure including military-style bunkers, military trucks, and road-building equipment.
  • Diplomatic talks for de-escalation were underway when the 15 June incident took place in Galwan Valley leading to the killing of 20 India Soldiers.

4. ESCALATING CHINESE BORDER CONFLICTS WITH OTHER NATIONS

  • Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general, strategist, writer and philosopher held that, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.
  • China seems to be using this dictum to act while leaders around the world are distraught and engaged in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Recently China intercepted and detained Vietnamese fishing boats near the Paracel archipelago
    • Declared two new municipal districts to control the disputed islands.
    • Published Chinese names of 80 geographic and underwater features in South China Sea.
    • Imposed a fishing moratorium on other countries.
    • Intruded into Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
    • Crossed themedianlineintheTaiwan Strait.
    • Harassed commercial vessels from the Philippines.

5. GOING FORWARD

5.1 Importance of the region for India

  • Ladakh is strategically very important to India. It has the Siachen glacier where Kargil conflict took place. “Operation Meghdoot” was launched in 1984 to capture the Siachen Glacier and it has since, played a central role in India's security spectrum.
  • West of the Glacier lies Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan, East of it lies China-occupied Aksai Chin.
  • The Indian Army has maintained a strong presence in the Glacier to ensure peace in the region.

5.2 Pakistan and Chinese Ideology

  • Pakistan constantly pursues the policy of “bleeding India by a thousand cuts”.
  • China has been tactically nibbling away land, by taking recourse to the deceptive rubric of “perception of claimlines”.
  • Mao Zedong had said that Tibet (Xizang) is China’s right-hand palm which is detached from its five fingers of Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (Arunachal).
  • The Chinese establishment aim to reclaim theso called “MiddleKingdom”, which according to the Chinese was taken away by the foreign powers when China was at its weakest in the 1950s.

5.3 The way forward for India

  • India cannot propagate peace at the cost of its territorial integrity. Indian hospitality and call for peace under Wuhan spirit and Mahabalipuram meeting has not been reciprocated by China which continues with its old aggressive and expansionist ways.
  • The government should call for an all party meet including the opposition to foster a unanimous stand on the current escalation and a united Indian response.
  • The severed diplomatic ties with Nepal on Indo-Nepal border issue need to be amicably resolved.
  • India should continue to form amicable relations with its neighbours and democracies around the world.
  • The tragic deaths of our brave and courageous soldiers cannot and should not go invain. We the people of India should firmly resolve to maintain communal harmony in our societies and promote prosperity with equality and aid out bit in defence preparedness of the country.
  • Determined and united we can protect the integrity of our country and its people and show the Chinese establishment that fear can only get you so far.

First Seaplane Project

Context:

The Indian government has decided to launch the first of the five seaplane services in Gujarat, connecting the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Narmada district, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

First Seaplane Project:

  • A seaplane is a fixed-winged airplane designed for taking off and landing on the water which offers the public the speed of an airplane with the utility of a boat.
  • The two main types of seaplane are flying boats (often called hull seaplanes) and floatplanes.
  • The bottom of a flying boat’s fuselage is its main landing gear which is usually supplemented with smaller floats near the wingtips, called wing or tip floats.
  • The hull of a flying boat holds the crew, passengers, and cargo and it has many features in common with the hull of a ship or a boat.

Details:

  • The first seaplane project of the country is part of a directive of the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation.
  • Under the directive, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) requested state governments of Gujarat, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana and the administration of Andaman & Nicobar to propose potential locations for setting up water aerodromes to boost the tourism sector.
  • The proposed Terminal will be spread over 0.51 acres in the premises of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd., located in the Panchmuli lake (Dyke 3) of the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Limdi village.
  • The Ministry provided that the SpiceJet will operate a 19-seater plane, which will be able to accommodate 14 passengers.

Implications:

  • The water aerodrome is not a listed project/activity in the Schedule to the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, and its amendments.
  • The Expert Appraisal Committee was of the opinion that the activities proposed under the water aerodrome project may have a similar type of impact as that of an airport.
  • In Narmada, the Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary is located at an approximate aerial distance of 2.1 km from the proposed project site which serves local sensitive species of fauna.
  • The bathymetric and hydrographic survey was conducted by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) before finalizing Dyke 3, which is a rock-filled pond and popularly called the ‘Magar Talav’ as it is infested with crocodiles.
  • The seaplane operations will create turbulence in the water while takeoff and landing of seaplanes which will lead to more operation processes i.e. mixing of oxygen in the water.
  • It will have a positive impact on the aquatic ecosystem near seaplane operations increasing oxygen content and decreasing carbon content in this system.

Operation of Seaplane Services:

  • The seaplanes by multiple airline carriers are operational in countries like the Philippines, Canada, Australia, the United States, Finland, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, etc.
  • In India, Jal Hans, a commercial seaplane service based in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was launched as a pilot project on 30 December 2010.

Source: The Indian Express

The Naval version of the BrahMos

Context:

A naval version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was successfully test-fired in the Arabian Sea.

  • The missile was fired from an indigenously developed stealth destroyer, INS Chennai.

Details:

  • BrahMos, as prime strike weapon, will ensure the warship’s invincibility by engaging naval surface targets at long ranges.
  • The BrahMos Aerospace, an India-Russia joint venture, produces the supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft, or from land platforms.

INS Chennai:

  • It is the third indigenously designed guided-missile destroyer in the Kolkata class.
  • It is armed with supersonic surface-to-surface BrahMos missiles and Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air missiles.
  • It is powered by a combined gas and gas (COGAG) propulsion system that includes four Zorya-Mashproekt DT-59 reversible gas turbines.

BrahMos  Missile:

  • Brahmos is named on the rivers Brahmaputra (India) and Moskva (Russia).
  • It is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation of India (DRDO) and the NPOM of Russia.
  • It is the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile.
  • It travels at a speed of Mach 2.8 (nearly three times the speed of sound).
  • It is a multiplatform i.e it can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions.
    • It is, therefore, used by all three forces, the Army, Navy, and the Air Force.

Features:

  • The missile features an indigenous Booster and Airframe Section, along with many other indigenous sub-systems.
  • It operates on the "Fire and Forget" principle i.e it does not require further guidance after launch.
  • BrahMos is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft, with a weight of 2.5 tonnes.
  • Its range has been recently enhanced from 300 Km to 450-600 Km,
  • Increasing the missile’s range became possible after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.

Source: The Hindu

SLINEX 2020

Context:

The Eighth Edition of the annual Indian Navy and Sri Lanka Navy called SLINEX scheduled off in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.

  • Objective: To enhance interoperability, improve mutual understanding, and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between both navies.

About SLINEX:

  • It is a bilateral maritime exercise SLINEX-20 between the Indian Navy and Sri Lanka Navy.
  • The Sri Lanka Navy will be represented by SLN Ships Sayura (Offshore Patrol Vessel) and Gajabahu (Training Ship).
  • The Indian Navy will be represented by ASW corvettes Kamorta and Kiltan.
  • The Indian Navy Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Chetak helicopter embarked onboard IN ships and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft will also be participating.

Significance:

  • The exercise will showcase the capabilities of India's indigenously constructed naval ships and aircraft.
  • SLINEX series of exercise exemplifies the deep engagement between India and Sri Lanka which has strengthened mutual cooperation in the maritime domain.
  • The exercise is being conducted in a non-contact ‘at-sea-only’ format in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

INS Kamorta:

  • It is the first of four anti-submarine Kamorta-class stealth corvettes which have been built for the Indian Navy.
  • The Kamorta Class indigenous Anti-submarine Warfare (ASW) corvettes are being built by Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers (GRSE).
  • The Kamorta Class succeeds in the Kora-Class guided-missile corvettes that are in service with the Indian Navy.
  • The Kamorta Class corvettes will serve as the frontline warships for the Indian Navy.
  • The primary task of the Kamorta Class will be ASW, while the vessels will also be deployed in anti-surface warfare (AsuW) and anti-air warfare (AAW).

INS Kiltan:

  • It is an indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette.
  • It is the third of the four Kamorta-class corvettes being built under Project 28.
  • It is designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata.
  • It is India’s first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fiber composite material resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight and maintenance costs.

Source: PIB

The Geneva Conventions

Context:

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) requested to Indian and Chinese governments that they observe the Geneva Conventions to which both countries are signatories.

  • The committee has requested after the Galwan clash in Ladakh in June 2020.

The Geneva Conventions (1949):

  • It is an international treaty that contains the most important rules limiting the barbarity of war.
  • It protects people who do not take part in the fighting (civilians, medics, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, sick and shipwrecked troops, prisoners of war).

Features:

  • The first Geneva Convention: It protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during the war.
  • The second Geneva Convention: It protects wounded, sick, and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during the war.
  • The third Geneva Convention: It applies to prisoners of war.
  • The fourth Geneva Convention: It affords protection to civilians, including in occupied territory.

Article 3 of Geneva Conventions:

  • This article is common to the four Geneva Conventions.
  • It covers situations of non-international armed conflicts.
    • They include traditional civil wars, internal armed conflicts that spill over into other States, or internal conflicts in which a third State or a multinational force intervenes alongside the government.

Protocols of 1977:

  • Additional to the four 1949 Geneva Conventions were adopted in 1977. They strengthen the protection of victims of international (Protocol I) and non-international (Protocol II) armed conflicts and place limits on the way wars are fought.
  • In 2005, a third Additional Protocol was adopted creating an additional emblem, the Red Crystal, which has the same international status as the Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems.

The International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC):

  • It is an international humanitarian organization established in 1863.
  • It has the mandate to monitor that signatories follow the rules in situations of conflict.
  • The ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The ICRC is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Source: Indian Express

INS Sindhuvir

Context:

India will deliver submarine to Myanmar Navy as part of growing defence cooperation between the two neighbouring countries. 

  • The submarine will be an EKM or kilo class submarine INS Sindhuvir.

INS Sindhuvir:

  • The submarine was purchased from the Soviet Union in the 1980s and has undergone modernisation at the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) in Vizag.
  • It belongs to a class of diesel-electric attack submarines built by the Soviet Union during the Cold War years.
  • This will be the first submarine of Myanmar.

Significance of the move:

  • The submarine is likely to be used by Myanmar initially for training and orientation purposes for its Navy personnel.
  • The move is in line with the overall Indian vision that aspires to guarantee security for all maritime partners as per its SAGAR doctrine. 
    • Last year, India supplied Myanmar ‘Shyena’ advanced light torpedoes as part of a defence deal. 
  • This initiative of India’s military outreach to Myanmar is considered to be important as it comes in the backdrop of the ongoing military tension along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh between India and China, a leading industrial and business partner of Myanmar.

Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) Doctrine:

  • It was outlined by Indian Prime Minister in 2015 underlining the growing salience of the Indian Ocean and global maritime commons in India’s strategic calculus.
  • The doctrine advocates for intensifying cooperation among navies and maritime agencies of the world to engineer virtuous cycles of cooperation.
  • The initiative gives priority to the Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of India in the Indian Ocean region.
  • It approaches significant importance while India playing the role of a security provider for the entire Indian Region.

Source: The Hindu

Indian Air Force Day

Context:

The Indian Air Force is celebrating 88th Air Force Day on October 8.

Air Force Day:

  • October 8 is celebrated as the Air Force Day because, on this day, the Air Force in India was officially raised in 1932 as the supporting force of the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom.
  • The first operational squadron came into being in April 1933. After participation in World War II, the Air Force in India came to be called the Royal Indian Air Force in the mid-1940s.
  • In 1950, after the republic came into being it became the Indian Air Force.

India Air Force:

  • It is the fourth largest in the world after the USA, China, and Russia.
  • The President of India holds the rank of Supreme Commander of the air force.
  • The Chief of Air Staff, an air chief marshal is responsible for the operational command of the air force.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Motto: ‘Touch the Sky with Glory’ and it was taken from the eleventh chapter of the Bhagavad Gita.

Operation Meghdoot: 

  • In 1984 when the Indian Army along with the Indian Air Force and paramilitary forces launched the 'Operation Meghdoot' to secure the control of the heights predominating the Siachen glacier.
  • IAF works with the United Nations’ peacekeeping missions.
  • HAL HF-24 Marut is the first Indian developed jet aircraft to enter into service and also the first in Asia to go beyond the test phase. It is a fighter-bomber aircraft and was developed by Hindustan Aircraft Limited (HAL).

Source: Indian Express

Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART)

Context:

Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) has been successfully flight tested from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.

Details:

  • All the mission objectives including missile flight up to the range and altitude, separation of the nose cone, the release of the Torpedo, and deployment of Velocity Reduction Mechanism (VRM) have been met perfectly.
  • The tracking stations (Radars, Electro-Optical Systems) along the coast and the telemetry stations including down range ships monitored all the events.

SMART Missile:

  • It is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond the Torpedo range.
    • The torpedo is a cigar-shaped, self-propelled underwater weapon, launched from a submarine, surface vessel, or airplane and designed for exploding upon contact with the hulls of surface vessels and submarines.
    • Varunastra is the first indigenous heavyweight ship-launched anti-submarine electric torpedo.
  • This launch and demonstration are significant in establishing Anti-Submarine warfare capabilities.

Functioning:

  • SMART, when launched from a warship or a truck-based coastal battery, takes off like a regular supersonic missile.
  • It covers most of its flight in the air at lower altitudes with a two-way data link from the warship or an airborne submarine target detection system and provides the exact location of the hostile submarine to correct its flight path midway.
  • Just when it approaches close enough to the submerged submarine, the missile will eject the torpedo system into the water and the autonomous torpedo will start moving towards its target to take out the submarine.

Source: PIB

Maritime Surveillance Satellites

Context:

Recently, the constellation of maritime surveillance satellites for the Indian Ocean Region is to be jointly launched by India and France.

Details:

  • In 2019, CNES and ISRO committed to developing and building a constellation of satellites carrying telecommunications and radar and optical remote-sensing instruments.
  • The agreement between India and France called for constituting the first space-based system in the world capable of tracking ships continuously.
  • The constellation of maritime surveillance satellites will be able to trace illegal spillage of oil by ships.
  • The monitoring center for maritime surveillance satellites will be based in India.

Significance:

  • The satellites will be designed with a revisit capability which makes it possible to task acquisitions several times a day.
  • The satellites will be operated jointly by France and India to monitor ships in the Indian Ocean.
  • The system will also cover a wide belt around the globe, benefiting a broad range of French economic interests.
  • The parts of the satellites will be built in both the countries and launched from India.
  • ‘Trishna’, a highly precise thermal infrared observer, will also be part of the fleet of Indo-French satellites.

TRISHNA:

  • It is known as Thermal infraRed Imaging Satellite for High-resolution Natural resource Assessment.
  • It will be the latest satellite in the joint Franco-Indian satellite fleet.
  • It is dedicated to climate monitoring and operational applications.
  • TRISHNA observations will enhance the understanding of the water cycle and improve the management of the planet’s precious water resources.

Source: The Hindu

Shaurya Missile

Context:

A successful trial of the nuclear-capable Shaurya missile was conducted by India.

About Shaurya Missile:

  • It is a land-based parallel of the submarine-launched K-15 missile.
  • Shaurya is a land variant of short-range SLBM K-15 Sagarika, which has a range of at least 750 kilometers.
  • Shaurya, like many of the modern missiles, is a canister-based system, which means that it is stored and operated from specially designed compartments.
    • In the canister, the inside environment is controlled thus along with making its transport and storage easier, the shelf life of weapons also improves significantly.
  • These ballistic weapons belong to the K missile family — codenamed after late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam — which is launched from the Arihant class of nuclear submarines.

The K Family of missiles:

  • The K family of missiles are primarily Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBM) developed by DRDO and named after Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
  • The development of these naval platforms launched missiles began as a step towards completing India’s nuclear triad — the capability of launching nuclear weapons from the land, sea, and air-based assets.
  • Because these missiles are to be launched from submarines, they are lighter, smaller, and stealthier than their land-based counterparts, the Agni series of missiles which are medium and intercontinental range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles.
  • While K family are primarily submarine-fired missiles to be fired from India’s Arihant class nuclear-powered platforms, the land and air variants of some of its members have also been developed by the DRDO.
  • India has also developed and successfully tested multiple times the K-4 missiles from the family which has a range of 3500 km.
  • It is reported that more members of the K-family — reportedly to have been codenamed K-5 and K-6 with ranges of 5000 and 6000 km are also under development. 

Importance of SLBMs:

  • The capability of being able to launch nuclear weapons submarine platforms has great strategic importance in the context of achieving a nuclear triad, especially in the light of the ‘no first use’ policy of India.
  • The sea-based underwater nuclear-capable assets significantly increase the second strike capability of a country and thus boosts its nuclear deterrence.
  • These submarines can not only survive the first strike by the adversary but also can launch a strike in retaliation thus achieving Credible Nuclear Deterrence.
  • The development of these capabilities is important in light of India’s relations with the two neighbors China and Pakistan.
  • With China having deployed many of its submarines, including some which are nuclear powered and nuclear-capable, this capacity building is crucial for India’s nuclear deterrence.

The recent tests:

  • Recently, DRDO conducted two successful tests of the K-4 missile from submerged platforms off the coast of Andhra Pradesh in a span of six days.
  • These tests were a key step towards ultimately deploying K-4 on INS Arihant, which already has K-15 onboard. In the Saturday’s test, Shaurya was examined for several advanced parameters compared to its earlier tests, according to sources.

Source: Indian Express

Atal Tunnel

Context:

Prime Minister has inaugurated the Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh’s Rohtang.

  • The tunnel has been named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. It was scheduled to be completed by May 2020 but was delayed by a few months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Details:

  • The tunnel connects Solang Valley near Manali to Sissu in Lahaul and Spiti district.
  • The Atal Tunnel is the longest highway tunnel in the world (9.02-km), built at an altitude of 3,000 meters. 
  • The tunnel cuts through a mountain west of the Rohtang La and will now shorten the distance between the two points by around 46 km. What was a nearly 4 hour will now take around 15 minutes.
  • The double-laned tunnel can handle around 3,000 cars and 1,500 trucks per day, with a maximum speed of 80 km per hour.

Features:

  • The unique features of this tunnel begin a fair distance away from it on the approach roads to the north and south portals. Bridges in rivers on the approach to the tunnel from both the portals have also been completed and are now being painted.
    • Snow galleries have also been built at the approach road to the tunnel from Manali side, and this will ensure all-weather connectivity.
  • Other features include an emergency escape tunnel under the main tunnel. This would provide an emergency exit in case of any untoward incident which may render the main tunnel unusable.
  • The tunnel also provides a telephone every 150 meters, a fire hydrant every 60 meters, an emergency exit every 500 meters, a turning cavern every 2.2 km, air quality monitoring every one km, a broadcasting system, and an automatic incident detection system with CCTV cameras every 250 meters.

Significance:

  • Atal tunnel will give new strength to India’s border infrastructure. It is an example of world-class border connectivity. 
  • Such border connectivity projects will also aid the security forces in ensuring regular supplies to them and also in their patrolling.
  • The tunnel holds a strategic advantage as well. While it will be a boon to the residents of the Lahaul and Spiti Valley who remain cut off from the rest of the country in winters for nearly six months due to heavy snowfall, the tunnel will provide almost all-weather connectivity to the troops stationed in Ladakh.

Rohtang Pass:

  • Rohtang Pass (elevation 3,978 m) is located in the state of Himachal Pradesh.
  • It is present on the Pir Panjal Range of Himalayas.
  • Other passes of Himachal Pradesh are Bara Lacha La, Debsa Pass, Rohtang Pass, Shipki La.

Source: Indian Express

Exercise Bongosagar

Context:

Recently, the second edition of Exercise Bongosagar is scheduled to be held in the Northern Bay of Bengal.

About Exercise Bongosagar:

  • It is an annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Bangladesh Navy.
  • The first edition of Exercise Bongosagar was held in 2019.
  • It is aimed at developing inter-operability and joint operational skills through the conduct of a wide spectrum of maritime exercises and operations.
  • India will be represented by INS Kiltan and INS Khukri whereas Bangladesh is represented by BNS Abu Bakr and BNS Prottoy.

Significance:

  • The second edition of Exercise Bongosagar assumes greater significance since it is being conducted during Mujib Barsho, the 100th birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
  • This exercise will be followed by the 3rd edition of IN - BN Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) in Northern Bay of Bengal from 4 to 5 October 2020, wherein IN and BN units will undertake joint patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
  • The conduct of CORPATs has strengthened understanding between both the navies and instituted measures to stop the conduct of unlawful activities.

INS Kiltan:

  • It is an indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette.
  • It is the third of the four Kamorta-class corvettes being built under Project 28.
  • It is designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata.
  • It is India’s first major warship to have a superstructure of carbon fiber composite material resulting in improved stealth features, lower top weight, and maintenance costs.

Source: PIB

Defence Offsets

Context:

The Defence Ministry came up with its latest Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP 2020) which comes into effect from October 1.

  • The government has also decided to remove the clause for offsets if the equipment is being bought either through deals or agreements between two countries or through an ab initio single-vendor deal.

Defence offsets:

  • The policy was adopted on the recommendations of the Vijay Kelkar Committee in 2005. The first offset contract was signed in 2007.
  • The first policy mentioned that all defence procurements exceeding Rs 300 crore, estimated cost, will entail offsetting obligations of at least 30%, which could be increased or decreased by the DAC (Defence Acquisition Council).
  • The offset is an obligation by an international player to boost India’s domestic defence industry if India is buying defence equipment from it.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a report defined offsets as a “mechanism established with the triple objectives of:
    • Partially compensating for a significant outflow of a buyer country’s resources in a large purchase of foreign goods
    • Facilitating the induction of technology and
    • Adding capacities and capabilities of domestic industry”.
  • An offset provision in a contract makes it obligatory on the supplier to either reverse purchase, execute export orders or invest in local industry or in research and development in the buyer’s domestic industry.

The objective of the Defence Offset Policy:

  • To leverage capital acquisitions to develop Indian defence industry by fostering the development of internationally competitive enterprises, augmenting capacity for Research, Design and Development related to defence products and services and encouraging the development of synergistic sectors like civil aerospace, and internal security”.

Offset obligations:

  • There are multiple routes through which foreign vendor fulfil its offset obligations. Until 2016, the vendor had to declare around the time of signing the contract.
  • In 2016, the new policy amended it to allow it to provide it “either at the time of seeking offset credits or one year prior to discharge of offset obligations”.
  • The August 2012 Defence Ministry note mentioned these avenues:
    • Direct purchase of, or executing export orders for, eligible products manufactured by, or services provided by Indian enterprises
    • Foreign Direct Investment in joint ventures with Indian enterprises (equity investment) for eligible products and services
    • Investment in ‘kind’ in terms of transfer of technology (TOT) to Indian enterprises, through joint ventures or through the non-equity route for eligible products and services
    • Investment in ‘kind’ in Indian enterprises in terms of provision of equipment through the non-equity route for manufacture and/or maintenance of products and services
    • Provision of equipment and/or TOT to government institutions and establishments engaged in the manufacture and/or maintenance of eligible products, and provision of eligible services, including DRDO (as distinct from Indian enterprises).
    • Technology acquisition by DRDO in areas of high technology.
  • The DAP 2020 has given transfer of critical technology to DRDO.

Will no defence contracts have offset clauses now?

  • Only government-to-government agreements (G2G), ab initio single vendor contracts or inter-governmental agreements (IGA) will not have offset clauses anymore. For example, the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets, signed between the Indian and French governments in 2016, was an IGA.
    • IGA is an agreement between two countries under which you can go on signing individual contracts. G2G is a transaction-specific or an acquisition specific agreement.
  • According to DAP 2020, all other international deals that are competitive, and have multiple vendors vying for it, will continue to have a 30% offset clause.

Source: Indian Express

ICGS Kanaklata Barua

Context:

A Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) named ICGS Kanaklata Barua was commissioned in the Indian Coast Guard.

  • It is named after a teenage freedom fighter who was shot dead in Assam during the Quit India Movement.

About the ship:

  • It is the fifth and last in a series of FPVs built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd.
    • The other four are ICGS Priyadarshini (named after Indira Gandhi), ICGS Annie Besant, ICGS Kamala Devi (after Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay), and ICGS Amrit Kaur.
  • These FPVs are upgraded versions of the inshore patrol vessels and can achieve a speed of 34 knots.
  • In the Coast Guard, these FPVs and their earlier versions belong to the Rajashree class of patrol vessels.
    • The previous versions were named ICGS Rajashree, Rajtanag, Rajkiran, Rajkamal, Rajdoot, Rajveer, etc; the modified versions are named after freedom fighters.

Significance:

  • These are suited for patrolling, maritime surveillance, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching operations and also for fishery protection, and rescue and search missions.
  • These FPVs are medium-range surface vessels with a length of around 50 m, and a displacement of over 300 tonnes.

Kanaklata Barua:

  • She was one of the youngest martyrs of the Quit India Movement who has iconic status in Assam.
  • She led the Mukti Bahini which was a procession of freedom fighters to unfurl the Tricolour at Gohpur police station in 1942.
  • When police did not let them move forward, an altercation led to the firing, killing Barua at the head of the procession.
  • The Coast Guard had named an earlier ship after her. The previous ICGS Kanaklata Barua was commissioned in 1997 and decommissioned in 2017. The ship was dismantled in 2018 and sold as scrap.

Source: Indian Express

BrahMos Missile With Indigenous Booster

Context:

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired the BrahMos cruise missile with an indigenous booster and airframe sector, along with other sub-systems made within the country.

Details:

  • BrahMos missile featuring indigenous Booster and Airframe Section along with many other ‘Made in India’ sub-systems were successfully flight tested for designated range.
  • The BrahMos land-attack Cruise Missile (LACM) was cruising at a top speed of Mach 2.8.
    • The missile weighs around 2.5 tonnes and has a strike range of approximately 300 km.
  • The supersonic missile is one of the prime precision-strike missiles used by all three forces, the Army, Navy and the Air Force.
  • The test comes at a time when BrahMos has been deployed in Ladakh as well as the Eastern Sector in Arunachal Pradesh to tackle any threats in the ongoing standoff with China.
  • India is also working on a hypersonic missile, BrahMos-II (K), capable of taking out hardened targets such as underground bunkers and weapon storage facilities at seven times the speed of sound.

 Brahmos Missile:

  • It is a surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile featuring indigenous Booster and Airframe Section.
  • It is jointly developed by the DRDO and NPOM, a leading aerospace enterprise of Russia.
  • The name BrahMos is formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
  • It is the world's fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation.
  • The land-launched and ship-launched versions are already in service.

Features:

  • It is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile capable of being launched from submarines, warships, fighter jets or land.
  • Brahmos is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft, with a weight of 2.5 tonnes.
  • It can be launched from land, air, and sea and multi capability missile with pinpoint accuracy that works in both day and night irrespective of the weather conditions.
  • It is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage and the liquid ramjet as its second stage.
  • It has a flight range of up to 290km with supersonic speed all through the flight.
  • It operates on ‘Fire and Forget’ principle.

Source: Indian Express

The Regiment of Artillery of the Indian Army

Context:

The Regiment of Artillery of the Indian Army is celebrating the 193rd Gunners Day.

History of Artillery:

  • The artilleries of Mughals, Marathas and those of Sikh armies among other historic entities have played a major role in their successful campaigns.
  • The foundation of the Regiment of Artillery was laid on September 28 in 1827 when Bombay Artillery, later renamed 5 Bombay Mountain Battery, was raised.
  • In 1857, the mutiny by Indian soldiers started in the artillery of the Army of the Bengal Presidency.
    • The incident prompted a complete ban on Indian artillery units, except the mountain artillery batteries in select provinces.
  • Motto: ‘Sarvatra Izzat-O-Iqbal i.e. Everywhere with Honour and Glory’.

Role of Artillery in the Indian Army:

  • The Artillery of Indian Army consists of a dynamic inventory which ranges from Ballistic Missile, Multi-Barrel Rocket launchers, High Mobility Guns and Mortars Precision Guided Munitions.
  • The Artillery is aimed at the destruction of enemy targets to Radars, UAVs and Electro-optic devices for locating and carrying out Post Strike Damage Assessment (PSDA).
  • The Regiment of Artillery has played a key role in all the post-independence conflicts with the neighbours including the Kargil War.
  • The importance of the artillery in conventional warfare remains intact, especially with the artillery guns playing a major role in the ‘Integrated battle groups’.
  • The battlegroups are formations comprising artillery, mechanised infantry and armoured and infantry elements along with the modern-day force multipliers like UAVs and electronic warfare systems.
  • The artillery fire can be used for suppressive and destructive purposes to get an upper hand over the enemy.

Significance:

  • The introduction of self-propelled and automated artillery weapon systems has reduced the footprint of artillery because of removal of ancillary systems.
  • The artillery is extensively being deployed and used in the counter-insurgency (CI) battles because of the advent of precision ammunition.
  • The artillery formations have been deployed in counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir as well as the northeastern theatre by the Indian Army.
  • The advancements have also helped in increasing the survivability of the systems against the enemy fire because their ability to manoeuvre in all types of terrains has also increased.
  • The introduction of ‘force multipliers’ like satellite communication, UAVs, networked electronic systems and artificial intelligence have increased the efficacy of artillery.

Source: Indian Express

Defence Acquisition Procedure–2020

Context:
Recently, the Ministry of Defence has unveiled the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020.

Objective:

  • It is aimed at empowering the Indian domestic industry through Make in India initiative with the ultimate aim of turning India into a global manufacturing hub.
  • It has adequately included provisions to encourage FDI to establish manufacturing hubs both for import substitution and exports while protecting interests of the Indian domestic industry.

Background:

  • The first Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) was promulgated in 2002.
  • It is aimed at promoting the use of indigenous military material with provisions for the examination of platforms and other equipment/systems.

Key Highlights of Defence Acquisition Procedure–2020

  • Request for Information: RFI stage will explore the willingness of the prospective foreign vendors to progressively undertake the manufacture and set up an indigenous ecosystem.
  • Time-Bound Defence Procurement Process and Faster Decision Making: The Project Management Unit (PMU) will facilitate obtaining advisory and consultancy support in specified areas to streamline the Acquisition process.
  • Realistic Setting of General Staff Qualitative Requirements (GSQRs) of Weapons/Platforms: The process of formulation of SQRs has been further refined with greater emphasis on identifying verifiable parameters.
  • Reservation in Categories for Indian Vendors: The categories of Buy (Indian-IDDM), Make I Make II, Production Agency in Design &Development, OFB/DPSU and SP model will be exclusively reserved for Indian Vendors.

Significance:

  • It has been aligned with the vision of the Government of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • It emphasises the need to conduct trials with an objective to nurture competition based on the principles of transparency, fairness and equal opportunities to all.
  • It has since been revised periodically to provide impetus to the growing domestic industry and achieve enhanced self-reliance in defence manufacturing.

Concerns:

  • The document like its previous iteration in the DPP 2016 continues to carry along a few below-par policies and notions that may hinder India’s attempts at indigenisation.
  • It does not make provisions to analyse or compare the cost premium and consequent potential decrease in output delivered in implementing such high levels of indigenous content in platforms.
  • India lacks several core sub-systems manufacturing capabilities, production expertise, resulting in many of the systems being developed and produced for the first time in India.

Source: PIB

JIMEX 2020

Context:

The 4th edition of India - Japan Maritime bilateral exercise JIMEX will be held in the North Arabian Sea from 26 to 28 September 2020.  JIMEX 20 will be spread over three days and is being conducted in a ‘non-contact at-sea-only format’, in view of COVID-19 restrictions.

About JIMEX:

  • JIMEX is conducted biennially between the Indian Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
  • JIMEX series of exercises commenced in January 2012 with a special focus on maritime security cooperation.
  • The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam, India.

Significance:

  • Naval cooperation between India and Japan has increased in scope and complexity over the years.
  • The exercise is an example of Indo-Japanese defense relations and continued efforts to work closely for a more secure, open, and inclusive global commons, in accordance with international regulations.
  • JIMEX 20 showcase a high degree of inter-operability and joint operational skills through the conduct of a multitude of advanced exercises, across the spectrum of maritime operations.
  • Multi-faceted tactical exercises involving weapon firings, cross deck helicopter operations and complex surface, anti-submarine, and air warfare drills will consolidate coordination developed by the two navies.

Other Military Exercises between India and Japan:

  • Dharma Guardian: It is an annual joint land military exercise.
  • Shinyuu Maitri: It is a Joint Air Force exercise.
  • Malabar: It is a trilateral maritime exercise with the USA.

Source: PIB

ABHYAS - High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) Vehicles

Context:

India successfully conducted the flight test of ABHYAS - High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) vehicles from a test range in Odisha.

  • This is the second time that the target vehicle was flight-tested successfully. The first successful test was in May 2019.

Details:

  • The trial, carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here, was tracked by various radars and electro-optic systems.
  • ABHYAS can be used as a target for the evaluation of missile systems.
  • ABHYAS has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO.
    • ADE is a key Aeronautical Systems Design Laboratory under DRDO.
    • It is involved in the design and development of state-of-the-art Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Aeronautical Systems and technologies to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed forces.

Features: 

  • The air vehicle is launched using twin underslung boosters. It is powered by a small gas turbine engine and has an Inertial Navigation System (INS) along with a Flight Control Computer (FCC) for guidance and control.
  • The vehicle has been programmed for a fully autonomous flight.
  • The check out of the vehicle is done using a laptop-based Ground Control Station (GCS).
  • During the test campaign, the user requirement of 5 km flying altitude, vehicle speed of 0.5 mach, an endurance of 30 minutes, and 2g turn capability of the test vehicle was successfully achieved.
  • It proved its performance in a fully autonomous waypoint navigation mode.

Source: PIB

Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA)

Context:

The USA is looking forward to India signing the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA), at the next India-USA 2+2 ministerial dialogue likely to be held in October 2020.

Details:

  • A meeting of the Quad Foreign Ministers is scheduled to take place in Tokyo in October 2020. Earlier, the meeting was expected to be held in New Delhi.
  • The U.S. wants BECA to be signed at the ministerial 2+2 in October.
  • A maritime information agreement is also under active deliberation between India and the U.S. Once concluded, India will have such arrangements with all Quad countries naming Australia, Japan, and the U.S.

BECA:

  • It will allow India to use the geospatial maps of the USA to get pinpoint military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons such as cruise and ballistic missiles.
  • BECA is an important precursor to India acquiring armed unmanned aerial vehicles such as the Predator-B from the USA. Predator-B uses spatial data for accurate strikes on enemy targets.
  • In 2016, India has signed three foundational agreements with the USA.
  • BECA is one of the four foundational military communication agreements between the two countries. 
    • The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA),
    • The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA)
    • The General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)

2+2 talks:

  • These talks are between two appointed ministers from each country. Defense and foreign ministers or secretaries meet with their counterparts from another country. 
  • Objective: To discuss issues of strategic and security interests between the two countries.
  • The talks were announced in June 2017. The 2+2 dialogue has replaced the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue between the foreign and commerce ministers of the two countries that were held previously.
  • India holds ministerial-level talks only with the USA. Apart from India, the United States holds such talks with Australia and Japan also.

Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (COMCASA):

  • It was signed by India in 2018.
  • It is valid for 10 years only.
  • Objective: To provide a legal framework for the transfer of highly sensitive communication security equipment from the USA to India that will streamline and facilitate interoperability between their armed forces.

General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA):

  • In 2002 it was signed by India.
  • The agreement allows militaries to share the intelligence gathered by them.
  • An extension to the GSOMIA, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed at the 2+2 dialogue in 2019.
  • ISA provides a framework for the protection as well as the exchange of classified military information between the USA and India.

Source: The Hindu

Special Security Force (SSF)

Context:

Uttar Pradesh's government issued a notification on forming the Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force (SSF).

Details:

  • The Additional Chief Secretary directed the Director-General of Police to prepare a road map in the next three days.
  • The government aims to form the force in the next three months with 9,900 personnel in the first phase.
  • The UPSSF has got the nod from the DGP.
  • This force will be deployed at places such as metro rail, airports, industrial institutions, courts, religious places, banks, and other financial institutions.

Formation:

  • It will be formed on the lines of the Central Industrial Security Force and will be responsible for the security of important government and private buildings, and industrial establishments.
  • According to the Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force (UPSSF) Act, 2020, the force will not require a magistrate’s order or warrants to make an arrest or conduct searches.
  • Its powers will be governed by a set of rules made by the state government.
  • The headquarters will be in Lucknow, and an ADG-level officer will head the force.
  • The private firms can also hire the services of the force at a fixed cost, and the DGP can give his approval for the same.
  • 9,919 SSF personnel would be deployed within three months in the first phase, following which 1,913 more posts will be created.

Central Industrial Security Force (CISF):

  • CISF is a central armed force formed under the Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968.
  • It is directly under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • It provides security cover to industrial units, government infrastructure projects, and facilities and establishments located all over India.

Source: The Hindu

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy in the Defence Sector

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved a new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy in the defence sector.

  • The new policy raising the cap of FDI through automatic approval in the defence sector from 49 % to 74 % now has a ‘National Security’ clause as a condition. 

Scrutiny on the ground of National Security:

  • Now, FDI in the Defence Sector shall be subject to scrutiny on the ground of National Security and the Government reserves the right to review any foreign investment in the Defence Sector that may affect national security.
  • Investment route: Under the existing policy, the defence industry can bring FDI up to 49 % under the automatic route, and above it “under government route.
  • The national security clause is in addition to the existing four conditions specific to FDI in the defence manufacturing sector, including security clearance and some guidelines of the Ministry of Defence.

Significance:

  • The government has been focusing on the defence sector to act as an engine for boosting the manufacturing sector.
  • The government aims to achieve a turnover of Rs 1.75 lakh crore, including exports worth Rs 35,000 crore, by 2025. 
  • Through a more liberalised FDI policy, the government wants foreign original equipment manufacturers to shift operations to India, and also encourage private players to play a larger role.

Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020):

  • The government has brought a draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020).
  •  Objective: To provide an overarching guiding document to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports.
  • Negative imports list: The government has also brought a negative imports list for defence equipment and a dedicated budget for capital acquisition from the domestic industry. It was done with an aim to reduce the defence import bill.
    • This list contains a list of weapons that will not be imported and can only be purchased from within the country.
  • The government has inaugurated two defence industrial corridors, in Tamil Nadu and in Uttar Pradesh, to boost the flagship 'Make in India' programme that in turn would attract investments as well as encourage employment generation.

Source: PIB

Indra 2020

Context:

Indian and Russian navies are scheduled to hold the bilateral naval exercise, Indra 2020, in the Andaman Sea.

Indra exercise:

  • The INDRA series of exercise began in 2003.
  • Indra was conducted as a single service exercise alternately between India and Russia.
    • However, the first joint Tri-Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.

Details:

  • Indra 2020 will be held close to the Strait of Malacca.
    • Straits of Malacca is a narrow stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
    • It is the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
    • It is named after the Malacca Sultanate that ruled over the archipelago between 1400 and 1511, the centre of administration of which was located in the modern-day state of Malacca, Malaysia.
  • Three Russian navy ships will take part in the exercise along with an equal number from the Indian Navy.
  • The timing of the exercise coincides with Defence Minister's visit to Russia for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) defence ministers meet
  • The exercise comes just after India withdrew from the Kavkaz-2020 multinational exercise in Russia.
  • Earlier, the frontline warships of the Indian Navy conducted a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the U.S. aircraft carrier with USS Nimitz strike group in the same area near the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands.

Source: The Hindu

An inflection point in Indo – China Relations

1. CONTEXT OF THE NEWS

The long drawn Sino-Indian border dispute reached its inflection point on Monday with the unfortunate death of 20 soldiers of the Indian Army. This is the first deadly clash in the border area between the two nations over the 45-year long dispute. 

1.1 News in DetailKashmir map

  • The deadly clash took place in Galwan Valley in the disputed Eastern Ladakh Region.
  • There is no official report on causalities on the Chinese side.
  • China accused Indian troop of crossing the border twice, "provoking and attacking Chinese personnel".
  • Later, Military officials from both the side met to diffuse the situation.

2. INDIA – CHINA BORDER DISPUTE 

2.1 History of the dispute

  • India – China cultural relations go back to ancient times. The traditional Silk Route and spread of Buddhism to South East Asia via China are testimony to it. 
  • Today, India and China share a 3,488 km long boundary, which it disputed in its entirety.  
  • The India – China border is demarcated by the McMahon line, after its author Sir Henry McMahon, a British negotiator. The line was agreed upon during a tripartite conference in Shimla between India, China and Tibet and led to delimitation of Indo-Tibetan boundary. 
  • Initially all the three parties agreed but later china refused to accept the boundary line calling it illegal. 
  • In 1950s china built a 1200 km road which ran through the Aksai Chin Region of Ladakh claimed by India. This coupled with other boundary skirmished led to the 1962 border war between the nations. The boundary established after the war is called as Line of Actual Control (LAC).

2.2 Boundary Skirmishes between the two nations

  • After establishment of the LAC, the border peace between India and China has been hanging by a thread. The border line is marred by many skirmishes, most highlighted being:
    • 1967 - Nathu La and Cho La clashes
    • 1987 - Sino-Indian skirmish in Sumdorong Chu Valley
    • 2017 - China–India border standoff in Doklam - In June 2017, the Chinese began constructing a road in the disputed area of Doklam, near the Doka La pass.

2.3 Attempts to resolve the India – China Border dispute. 

  • Harmony was established between India and China in 1976 and High Level border talks were initiated in 1981 to find a permanent solution. The talks proved unfruitful and broke after eight rounds in 1987.
  • 1988 - Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s visited China and consequently the Joint Working Group (JWG) was set up to resolve the dispute. 
  • 1993 - Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Indo – China Border areas was signed. 
  • 1996 - Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field along the LAC was signed.
  • 2003 - One special representatives each from India and China were appointed to solve the border dispute politically but this too did not yield much

2.4 Bilateral treaties between India and China to address border disputes

  1. 1993: Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas
  2. 1996: Agreement on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Military Field along the LAC
  3. 2005: Protocol on the Modalities for the Implementation of Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field Along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas
  4. 2012: Establishment of a Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs
  5. 2013: Border Defence Cooperation Agreement between India and China

3. WHY ARE TENSIONS AT A ALL TIME HIGH?

At the heart of it is competing and conflicting strategic goals of both the nations. Following developments shed more light on the underlying issue:

3.1 The Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie(DSDBO) Roadhttps://images.indianexpress.com/2020/06/graph-4.jpg

  • The construction of the 255-km long Darbuk-Shyokh-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) all-weather road is probably the most important reason for the recent conflict between India and China.
  • The DSDBO Road is at an elevation of 13,000 - 16,000 ft. It took almost 20 years for the India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to build it.
  • The road connects Leh to DBO, which is the northernmost part on Indian territory in Ladakh.
  • DBO lies at base of Karakoram pass, which separates Xinjiang Autonomous Region from Ladakh.
  • The Galwan River has traditionally been a peaceful location. Recently China revamped military infrastructure constructions along the Galwan River, posing a direct threat to DSDBO Road.
  • The Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet held that the Galwan Valley region is a Chinese territory and according to the Chinese military, India has forced its way into the valley changing the status quo along the LAC.

3.2 The Union Territory of Ladakh

  • Last year India ended the limited autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh became a Union Territory on 31st of October 2019.
  • The federally administered area of Ladakh includes Aksai Chin, an area claimed by India but administered by China.

3.4 China – Pakistan Economic Corridor

  • The Karakoram Highway passes through the Pakistan The China – Pakistan Economic Corridor: India's Dual Dilemma ...Occupied Kashmir, connecting Pakistan to its all-time ally China.
  • The highway connects China to the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar and provides China a foothold in the Arabian Sea.
  • China has invested $60 Billion in China Pakistan Economic corridor (CPEC) under its Belt and Road Initiative. It has been pushing aggressively for its Belt and Road Initiative and the recent strategic and geo-political developments in India have marred the Chinese ambitions.

3.3 The 2020 Border Skirmish

  • The first standoff in 2020 took place on 5 May which soldiers clashing at PangongTsowhich is a lake that extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. The LAC passes through the Pangong Tso.
  • Later again in May, the soldiers clashed again in Sikkim.
  • The third skirmish took place in Eastern Ladakh when Chinese troops had entered the Indian territory in the Galwan River valley objecting the construction of a road branching off from the Darbuk–Shyok–DBO Road into Galwan valley.
  • There are reports of huge development in Chinese military infrastructure including military-style bunkers, military trucks, and road-building equipment.
  • Diplomatic talks for de-escalation were underway when the 15 June incident took place in Galwan Valley leading to the killing of 20 India Soldiers.

4. ESCALATING CHINESE BORDER CONFLICTS WITH OTHER NATIONS 

  • Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general, strategist, writer and philosopher held that, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting”.
  • China seems to be using this dictum to act while leaders around the world are distraught and engaged in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Recently China intercepted and detained Vietnamese fishing boats near the Paracel archipelago
    • Declared two new municipal districts to control the disputed islands.
    • Published Chinese names of 80 geographic and under water features in South China Sea.
    • Imposed a fishing moratorium on other countries.
    • Intruded into Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
    • Crossed themedianlineintheTaiwan Strait.
    • Harassed commercial vessels from the Philippines.

5. GOING FORWARD 

5.1 Importance of the region for India

  • Ladakh is strategically very important to India. It has the Siachen glacier where Kargil conflict took place. “Operation Meghdoot” was launched in 1984 to capture the Siachen Glacier and it has since, played a central role in India's security spectrum.
  • West of the Glacier lies Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan, East of it lies China-occupied Aksai Chin.
  • The Indian Army has maintained a strong presence in the Glacier to ensure peace in the region.

5.2 Pakistan and Chinese Ideology

  • Pakistan constantly pursues the policy of “bleeding India by a thousand cuts”.
  • China has been tactically nibbling away land, by taking recourse to the deceptive rubric of “perception of claimlines”.
  • Mao Zedong had said that Tibet (Xizang)is China’s right-hand palm which is detached from its five fingers of Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and NEFA (Arunachal).
  • The Chinese establishment aim to reclaim theso called“MiddleKingdom”,which according to the Chinese was taken away by the foreign powers when China was at its weakest in the 1950s.

5.3 The way forward for India

  • India cannot propagate peace at the cost of its territorial integrity. Indian hospitality and call for peace under Wuhan spirit and Mahabalipuram meeting has not been reciprocated by China which continues with its old aggressive and expansionist ways.
  • The government should call for an all party meet including the opposition to foster a unanimous stand on the current escalation and a united Indian response.
  • The severed diplomatic ties with Nepal on Indo-Nepal border issue need to be amicably resolved.
  • India should continue to form amicable relations with its neighbours and democracies around the world.
  • The tragic deaths of our brave and courageous soldiers cannot and should not go invain. We the people of India should firmly resolve to maintain communal harmony in our societies and promote prosperity with equality and aid out bit in defence preparedness of the country.
  • Determined and united we can protect the integrity of our country and its people and show the Chinese establishment that fear can only get you so far.

Source: Indian Express