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Daily Category  (Security Forces)

More than half of Indian Army personnel seem to be under severe stress: Study

CONTEXT:

The Indian Army has been losing more personnel every year in

  • Suicides,
  • Fratricides and
  • Untoward incidents
  • than in any enemy action

Over half of its soldiers seem to be under severe stress presently, said a study by think tank United Service Institution of India (USI).

                      Indian armed forces in need of a common disciplinary code

NEWS IN DETAILS:

100 soldiers every year: The Indian armed forces have been losing over 100 soldiers every year due to suicides and fratricides leading to the "grim reality" of one soldier dying every third day, the study noted.

Greater than the operational casualties: This loss is substantially greater than the operational casualties suffered by the Armed forces.

Affected by multiple ailments: In addition, a number of soldiers and leaders have been affected by hypertension, heart diseases, psychosis, neurosis and other related ailments

Significant increase in stress levels: There has been a significant increase in stress levels amongst Indian Army personnel during approximately the last two decades due to operational and non-operational stressors,

Furthermore, presently more than half of Indian Army personnel seem to be under severe stress.

Stress management measures: Various stress management measures implemented by the Indian Army and the Defence ministry during the last 15 years have not been able to achieve the desired results, the study stated.

Units and sub-units under stress are likely to witness an increased number of

  • Incidents of indiscipline,
  • Unsatisfactory state of training,
  • Inadequate maintenance of equipment and
  • Low morale

that adversely affects their combat preparedness and operational performance, it noted.

REASONS FOR STRESS:

  • Prolonged exposure of Indian Army personnel to CI (counter- insurgency)/CT (counter-terrorism) environment has been one of the contributory factors for increased stress levels."
  • The major organisational causes of stress amongst Army officers include
    • Inadequacies in the quality of leadership,
    • Overburdened commitments,
    • Inadequate resources,
    • Frequent dislocations,
    • Lack of fairness and transparency in postings and promotions,
    • Insufficient accommodation and
    • Non-grant of leave.
  • The main organisational stressors as perceived by junior commissioned officers (JCOs)/other ranks (ORs) include
    • Delay and denial of leave,
    • Excessive engagements,
    • Domestic problems,
    • Humiliation by seniors,
    • Lack of dignity,
    • Unreasonable restrictions on the use of mobiles,
    • Lack of recreational facilities and
    • Conflict with seniors as well as subordinates.

United Service Institution of India,New Delhi (@USI_1870) | Twitter

United Service Institution of India (USI).

The United Service Institution of India was founded in 1870 by a soldier scholar, Colonel (later Major General) Sir Charles MacGregor.

The foundation stone for the new premises was laid on 26 April 1993 by the then Chief of the Army Staff and Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Vice Patrons: The USI's website says that the three service chiefs - General M M Naravane, Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria - are its Vice Patrons.

President: Its president is Vice Adm R Hari Kumar, who is Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chief of Staffs Committee (CISC).

Source: The Economic Times

Armed Forces Flag Day

Context:

7th December is observed as the Armed Forces Flag Day.

Background:

  • Since 1949, 7th December is observed as the Armed Forces Flag Day to honour the martyrs and the men in uniform who valiantly fought & continue to fight on our borders to safeguard the country's honour. Soldiers are one of the greatest assets of any country.
  • On August 28, 1949, a committee set up under the defence minister decided to observe a Flag Day annually on December 7.
  • The committee had suggested that it would distribute flags to the citizens in exchange of them contributing to the fund for armed forces personnel.

Why this day is observed?

  • The Indian Armed Forces Flag Day is mainly observed to rehabilitate those wounded in wars, for the welfare of serving soldiers and their families and the welfare of ex-servicemen and their families.
  • Also, the money collected is used for providing help to the ex-servicemen who are battling serious health issues including heart ailments, cancer, and joint replacement, etc.
  • Flag Day brings to the forefront our commitment of looking after our war disabled Soldiers, Veer Naris and the families of martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the country.

Details:

  • To celebrate the day, all three branches of the Indian armed forces - the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Navy - arrange a variety of shows, carnivals, dramas and other entertainment programmes to showcase to the general public the efforts of their personnel to ensure national security.
  • Armed forces personnel are the guardians of the nation and protect its citizens at all costs. To fulfil their duties, soldiers have sacrificed a lot of things in their lives. The country is forever indebted to these gallant heroes who lay down their lives in the service towards the motherland.

Source: PIB

Intelligence-Sharing Agreement

Context:

India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives agreed to expand the scope of the intelligence-sharing agreement.

Background:

  • The dialogue was held against the backdrop of China’s growing assertiveness in the Indian Ocean and the India-China border standoff.
  • New Delhi has focused on shoring up security linkages with key neighbors in recent months.

Details:

  • It aims to tackle common threats such as terrorism, drug trafficking, and money laundering.
  • The sides agreed to broad base cooperation by expanding the scope to improve intelligence-sharing and include issues like radicalization, extremism, arms and human trafficking, cybersecurity, and the effect of climate change on the maritime environment.
  • The representatives of the three sides also agreed to meet regularly for discussions and to ensure timely implementation of decisions made at the meeting.
  • It was decided to hold deputy NSA-level working group meetings biannually for cooperation at the operational level.
  • The significance of the trilateral forum is in promoting cooperation in the Indian Ocean region to discuss the maritime security environment.

Importance of Maldives to India:

  • Maldives archipelago comprising 1,200 coral islands lies next to key shipping lanes which ensure uninterrupted energy supplies to countries like China, Japan, and India.
  • Maldives is an important member of SAARC and it is important for India to have the Maldives onboard to maintain its leadership in the region.
  • It is strategically located along major sea lanes in the Indian Ocean.
  • India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, and commercial links.
  • India was among the first to recognize the Maldives after its independence in 1965 and later established its mission at Male in 1972.
  • India is a preferred destination for Maldivians for education, medical treatment, recreation, and business.

Source: The Hindu

Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC)

Context:

Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Police have prepared a three-tier security cover in the coastal areas and an organisation named the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) which was set up in 2014.

Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC):

  • IMAC is the nodal centre for maritime security information collation and dissemination.
  • It is the cornerstone of the National Command Control Communication and Intelligence Network for monitoring maritime traffic in India’s area of interest.
  • It is jointly operated by the Navy based in Gurugram.

Functions:

  • IMAC’s task is to facilitate the exchange of maritime security information among various national stakeholders and generate a common operational picture.
  • IMAC tracks only non-military or commercial ships, known as white shipping.
  • The military ships, or grey hull ships, are tracked by the Directorate of Naval Operations.
  • IMAC focuses on ships passing through the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Sources of Data for IMAC:

  • 51 nodes across the country run by the Navy or the Coast Guard and there are 46 stations in the Coastal Radar Chain that have radars, optical and meteorological sensors.
  • The Vessel and Air Traffic Management System under the Petroleum Ministry.
  • The National Automatic Identification System, which has 87 stations.
  • The Long-Range Identification and Trading Information from 174 countries, which comes from the Directorate General of Shipping.
  • India’s White Shipping Information Exchange Agreements with 36 countries and three multinational constructs
  • Space-based AIS that provide information on offshore and deep-sea vessels, sanctioned vessels list, additional databases, intelligence inputs, and information about research vessels.

Significance for IMAC:

  • The Indian Navy is responsible for overall maritime security (coastal and offshore) and is supposed to be assisted in coastal security by the Coast Guard, State Marine Police and other agencies.
  • The ten Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorists who carried out the 26/11 attacks had entered Mumbai through the sea, using inflatable speedboats.
  • The aftermath of the attacks bought several vulnerabilities of coastal security into the fore and IMAC was created so that another dastardly act like the 26/11 attacks do not take place.
  • In 2009, the Coast Guard was additionally designated as the authority responsible for coastal security in territorial waters, and thrust was given to enhance surveillance in territorial waters by all agencies including the Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Police, and Customs.

Source: Indian Express

Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT)

Context:

The 30th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy was conducted. The 30th Indo-Thai CORPAT will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate inter-operability and forge strong bonds of friendship with the Royal Thai Navy.

Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT):

  • The Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Chao Phraya Class Frigate along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies participated in the CORPAT.
  • The two navies have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line twice a year since 2005.
  • The aim of the Indo-Thai CORPAT exercise is to keep the vital part of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
  • CORPAT builds up the understanding and interoperability between navies and facilitates the institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery, and piracy.
  • CORPAT enhances the operational synergy by the exchange of information for the prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration, and for the conduct of SAR operations at sea.
  • The other countries with which India conducts CORPAT exercise are Bangladesh (IN-BN CORPAT) and Indonesia (IND-INDO CORPAT).

INS Karmuk:

  • It is an indigenously built Kora-class missile corvette.
  • It is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, communication, and radar systems and boasts of contemporary Surface-to-Surface missiles.

 Source: PIB

Microwave Weapons

Context:

Indian Army has rejected a report published in the British daily newspaper as “baseless and fake”. The report had quoted a Chinese professor to claim that the Chinese army had used “microwave weapons” to drive Indian soldiers away from their positions in eastern Ladakh.

Background:

  • India and China have been locked in a tense standoff at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh for the last six months.
  • The Beijing-datelined report in ‘The Times’ titled “China turns Ladakh battleground with India into a microwave oven”.
  • The Chinese professor quoted in the report claimed that Chinese forces had turned two strategic hilltops occupied by Indian soldiers “into a microwave oven”, forcing them to retreat, and allowing the positions to be retaken without an exchange of conventional fire.

Microwave Weapons:

  • These are supposed to be a type of direct energy weapons, which aim at highly focused energy in the form of sonic, laser, or microwaves, at a target.
  • Microwave weapons used beams of high-frequency electromagnetic radiation to heat the water in a human target’s skin, causing pain and discomfort.
  • Concerns have been raised on whether they can damage the eyes or have a carcinogenic impact in the long term.

Working of a Microwave:

  • In a microwave oven, an electron tube called a magnetron produces electromagnetic waves (microwaves) that bounce around the metal interior of the appliance, and are absorbed by the food.
  • The microwaves agitate the water molecules in the food, and their vibration produces heat that cooks the food.

Possession of Microwave Weapons:

  • A number of countries are thought to have developed these weapons to target both humans and electronic systems.
  • China had first put on display its “microwave weapon”, called Poly WB-1, at an air show in 2014.
  • The United States has also developed a prototype microwave-style weapon, which it calls the “Active Denial System”.
  • The Active Denial System is needed because it’s the first non-lethal, directed-energy, counter-personnel system with an extended range greater than currently fielded non-lethal weapons.

Source: Indian Express

15th East Asia Summit 2020

Context:

Union External Affairs Minister of India addressed the 15th East Asia Summit 2020. The minister talked about the growing interest in the region as an integrated and organic maritime space with 10-nation ASEAN at its center.

Key Highlights:

  • The summit was chaired by the Prime Minister of Vietnam.
  • The summit underlined the need for greater international cooperation in the post-COVID-19 world to tackle the challenges cutting across national boundaries such as terrorism, climate change, and pandemics.

Significance:

  • The summit reaffirmed the importance of the EAS as the leaders-led forum to exchange views on strategic issues.
  • It called for the importance of adhering to international law, respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty, and promoting rules-based global order.
  • The summit adopted four statements on marine sustainability; epidemics prevention and response; women, peace and security; and steady growth of the regional economy.
  • The summit discussed ways to strengthen the EAS platform and to make it more responsive to emerging challenges on its 15th anniversary and adopted the Ha Noi Declaration.

East Asia Summit:

  • It was established in 2005 to play a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical, and economic evolution of East Asia.
  • EAS is a premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region dealing with issues relating to security and defense.
  • Its member states include 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States, and Russia.
  • At the 14th East Asia Summit, 2019, India proposed setting up of the Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI).
    • The IPOI aims to conserve and sustainably use the maritime domain and to make meaningful efforts to create a safe and secure maritime domain.

Source: The Hindu

20th Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

Context:

The 20th Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Heads of State was held on November 10, 2020.

Details:

  • The Meeting was chaired by the Russian President while the Prime Minister of India led the Indian delegation.
  • The other SCO Member States were represented by their Presidents, while India and Pakistan were represented at the level of Prime Minister.
  • This was the first SCO Summit held in Virtual Format and the third meeting that India participated in after becoming a full member in 2017.

Key highlights:

  • This summit brought President Xi Jinping of China and Prime Minister of India together in the virtual format even as both sides are caught in the high tension confrontation in Eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • The Republic of Tajikistan assumed chairmanship of SCO for 2021-22.
  • India has proposed to set up a Special Working Group on Innovation and Startups and a Sub Group on Traditional Medicine within SCO.
  • Prime Minister of India highlighted India's role in supporting infrastructure and connectivity development projects in the SCO region.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation SCO:

  • It was formed in 2001 by the ‘Shanghai Five’ (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan).
  • The SCO, an intergovernmental body for security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian region.
  • It was formed in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.
  • SCO is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Uzbekistan joined the SCO in 2001 and in 2017 India and Pakistan joined it.
  • The SCO has traditionally prioritized counter-terrorism, listing terrorism, separatism, and extremism as the three evils.

Source: PIB

An enhanced version of the Pinaka Mark (Mk)-1

Context:

An enhanced version of the Pinaka Mark (Mk)-1 missile was successfully flight-tested from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha.

  • DRDO has also developed and successfully tested the Mk-II and guided variants of the Pinaka, which has a range of around 60 km, while the Guided Pinaka system has a range of 75 km and has integrated navigation, control, and guidance system to improve the end accuracy and enhance the range.

Details:

  • Enhanced PINAKA rocket is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
    • An enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets which are currently under production.
  • Development of Enhanced Pinaka system was taken up to achieve longer range performance compared to an earlier design with a reduced length.
    • While the Mark-1 has a range of 38 km, the enhanced version of Mark-1 has a range of 45 km and some key additional features.
  • The design and development have been carried out by Pune based DRDO laboratories, namely  Armament Research and Development Establishment, ARDE and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory, HEMRL.

Pinaka Missile:

  • In 1980 the development of the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket systems was started by the DRDO as an alternative to the Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher systems of Russian make called the ‘Grad’, which are still used by some regiments.
  • After successful tests of Pinaka Mark-1 in late 1990, it was first used successfully in the battlefield during the 1999 Kargil War. Subsequently, multiple regiments of the system came up over the 2000s.

Features:

  • The Pinaka, a multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) system named after Shiva’s bow, can fire a salvo of 12 rockets over a period of 44 seconds.
  • One battery of the Pinaka system consists of six launch vehicles, accompanied by loader systems, radar and links with network-based systems and a command post. One battery can neutralize an area of 1 km by 1 km.
  • As a key tactic of long-range artillery battle, the launchers have to ‘shoot and scoot’ to ensure they themselves do not become the targets, especially being detectable due to its backblast.

Source: PIB

Mission Sagar II

Context:

The Ministry of Defence has sent the Indian Naval Ship Airavat to Port of Sudan as part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’.

Details:

  • The Government of India is providing assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries to overcome natural calamities and the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Towards the same INS Airavat is carrying a consignment of 100 Tonnes of food aid for the people of Sudan.

Mission Sagar-II:

  • It follows the first Mission Sagar undertaken in May-June 2020.
  • Under the first mission, India reached out to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines. 
  • As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Eritrea. 
  • Mission Sagar-II, is in line with the vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) and highlights the importance accorded by India to relations with her maritime neighbors and further strengthens the existing bond. 
  • The Indian Navy is progressing this mission in close coordination with the Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.

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

  • It was launched in 2015.
  • It is India's policy or doctrine of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. 

Objectives:

  • Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbors and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.
  • Further, India seeks to safeguard its national interests and ensure the Indian Ocean region to become inclusive, collaborative, and respect international law.

INS Airavat:

  • It is the Indian Navy’s fifth Landing Ship Tank (Large).
  • It is a Shardul class vessel that is built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders.
  • It is also an assault platform capable of operating both Sea King 42C and the indigenous Dhruv helicopters.
  • The ship can be effectively tasked for HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) missions during natural calamities like tsunami, cyclone, earthquake, etc.

Source: PIB

Anti-Ship Missile (AShM)

Context:

The Indian Navy has successfully test-fired an Anti-Ship Missile (AShM) from INS Kora in the Bay of Bengal as part of a drill.

  • The missile was launched as part of a mega drill involving aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, aircraft, and warships.

Anti-Ship Missile (AShM):

  • It is fired by Indian Navy’s Guided Missile Corvette INS Kora hits the target at max range with precise accuracy in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The Anti-ship missile reflected the Indian Navy’s combat readiness in the strategic sea lanes around India.

INS Kora:

  • It is the lead ship of the Kora-Class of Corvettes in active service with the Indian Navy.
  • It is equipped with 3M-24 Anti-Ship Missiles as a primary weapon, with two Strela-2M Anti-Air Missiles as defensive weapons.
  • The Kora-class corvettes were built at Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) and outfitted at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).
  • The Kora-class corvettes were designed by India's naval design bureau under Project 25A, as a replacement for the Russian-designed Petya II-class corvettes of the Indian Navy.
    • The four Kora-class corvettes are INS Kora, INS Kirch, INS Kulish, and INS Karmuk.

INS Vikramaditya:

  • It was built in 1987 and had served the Soviet navy (named as Baku) and later renamed Admiral Gorshkov under the Russian navy.
  • It is India’s most powerful aircraft carrier.
  • The Indian navy purchased the vessel in 2004 and commissioned it in November 2013 at Severodvinsk in Russia.
  • It can carry over 30 aircraft comprising MiG-29Ks, Kamov-28s, Kamov-31s, ALH-Dhruv, and Chetak helicopters.
  • It was retrofitted with a Barak missile system under joint development with Israel.
  • It is based at its homeport at Karwar in Karnataka.

Source: Indian Express

India, US Ministerial Meeting

Context:

India and the US are preparing for the third 2+2 ministerial meeting between External Affairs Minister and Defence Minister, and US Secretary of State.

  • The meeting will mainly focus on the various agreements signed between the two countries. 

Agreements signed between the two nations:

The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA):

  • BECA largely pertain to geospatial intelligence and sharing information on maps and satellite images for defense.
  • The signing of BECA will allow India to use the US’s advanced geospatial intelligence and enhance the accuracy of automated systems and weapons like missiles and armed drones.
  • The agreement will give access to topographical and aeronautical data and products that will aid navigation and targeting.
  • It will also provide Indian military systems with a high-quality GPS to navigate missiles with real-time intelligence to precisely target the adversary.

The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement  (LEMO):

  • LEMO was signed between India and the US in August 2016.
  • It allows the military of each country to replenish from the other’s bases i.e. access supplies, spare parts, and services from the other country’s land facilities, air bases, and ports, which can then be reimbursed.
  • It is extremely useful for Navy-to-Navy cooperation since the US and India are cooperating closely in the Indo-Pacific.
  • In military terms, one’s Naval ships are strategic assets and the use of another country’s base would expose one’s military asset to the host.

The Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA):

  • The agreement was signed in September 2018, after the first 2+2 dialogue.
  • It allows the US to provide India with its encrypted communications equipment and systems so that Indian and US military commanders, aircraft, and ships can communicate through secure networks in peace and war.
  • COMCASA paved the way for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India to facilitate “interoperability” between their forces and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secure data links.

Source: The Hindu

3rd generation Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) NAG

Context:

Final user trial of 3rd generation Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) NAG was carried out successfully from the Pokhran range in Thar desert (Rajasthan).

  • The missile was launched from NAG Missile Carrier NAMICA. The missile hit the target accurately defeating the armor. 

ATGM NAG:

  • It has been developed by DRDO to engage highly fortified enemy tanks in day and night conditions.
  • The missile has “Fire & Forget” “Top Attack” capabilities with passive homing guidance to defeat all MBTs equipped with composite and reactive armor.
  • The NAG missile carrier NAMICA is a BMP II-based system with amphibious capability.

Significance:

  • With this final user trial, Nag will enter the production phase.
  • The missile will be produced by Defence Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), whereas Ordnance Factory, Medak, will produce the NAMICA.
  • This means that the Indian Army will no longer have to import this weapon from either Israel or the USA for the range of four kilometers.
  • It was due to the unavailability of a credible anti-tank weapon, that India had to buy around 200 pieces of Spike anti-tank missiles from Israel as emergency purchases after the aggression by the People's Liberation Army (China) in Ladakh.

Integrated Guided Missile Development Program:

  • The program was conceived by Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
  • In 1983 the program was approved by the Government and in 2012 it was completed.
  • Objective: To enable India to attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.

Missiles:

  • Following 5 missiles have been developed under this program:
    • Prithvi: Short-range surface to surface ballistic missile.
    • Agni: Ballistic missiles with different ranges
    • Trishul: Short-range low-level surface to air missile.
    • Nag: 3rd generation anti-tank missile.
    • Akash: Medium range surface to air missile.

Source: PIB

INS Kavaratti

Context:

The Ministry of Defence announced the commission of INS Kavaratti into the Indian Navy.

INS Kavaratti:

  • INS Kavaratti derives its name from the eponymous INS Kavaratti, which was an Arnala class missile corvette. The older INS Kavaratti operated during the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war.
  • It is the last of four indigenously-built ASW under ‘Project 28’ or Kamorta-class corvettes of the Navy. It’s a class of ASWs currently in service with the Navy.
  • The other three warships under this project are INS Kamorta (commissioned in 2014), INS Kadmatt (2016), and INS Kiltan (2017).
  • INS Kavaratti has up to 90% indigenous content. The use of carbon composites to build it has been described as a ‘commendable feat achieved in Indian shipbuilding.’

Significance:

  • It portrays the growing capability of the Indian Navy and GRSE and the nation in becoming self-reliant through indigenization.
  • It has completed sea-trials of all its systems fitted onboard and, hence, will be commissioned as a combat-ready platform.
  • It has state-of-the-art weapons and sensor suite capable of detecting and prosecuting submarines.

Project 28:

  • It is a project under which four Anti Submarine Warships have to be built indigenously in India.
  • The project was approved in 2003, with the construction of the lead ship, INS Kamorta commencing in 2005.

INS Kamorta:

  • It is the first of four anti-submarine Kamorta-class stealth corvettes.
  • High-grade steel produced in India was utilized for its construction.
  • It is the “first Indian Naval warship ever built in the country with almost 90  %of indigenous content.”

 INS Kadmatt (P29):

  • It was inducted into the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
  • It has been named after the Kadmat Island of India’s Lakshadweep and carries on the legacy of her predecessor INS Kadmatt (P 78), which served the Navy for 24 years.

INS Kiltan:

  • 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.
  • It named after one of the islands in the Aminidivi group of the strategically located Lakshadweep and Minicoy group of islands.

Source: Indian Express

Extension of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty

Context:

Russia has proposed to extend the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) by one year between the USA and Russia expiring in February 2021.

Details:

  • Russia has extended the proposal along with concerns of a lack of interest from the United States.
  • The USA in 2019 has also suspended the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia.
    • INF Treaty was a nuclear arms-control accord reached by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1987 in which the two nations agreed to eliminate their stocks of intermediate-range and shorter-range land-based missiles.
  • The United States withdrew from the Treaty on 2nd August 2019.

USA’s Proposal:

  • The USA wanted any replacement treaty should include China.
  • The USA wanted to encompass all of Russia’s nuclear weapons not just the “strategic” weapons covered under New START but also Russia’s sizable stockpile of smaller, “tactical” nuclear weapons that fall outside the treaty.

New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START):

  • The treaty was signed in 2010 in Prague by the United States and Russia and entered into force in 2011.
  • It replaced the 1991 START I treaty, which expired in 2009, and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT).
  • The New START is the first verifiable U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control treaty to take effect since START I in 1994.
  • Nuclear warhead limit: The New START limits went into effect that capped deployed strategic nuclear warheads and bombs at 1,550 which is down approximately 30 percent from the 2,200 limits set by SORT.

Missile, bomber, and launcher limits:

  • The deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bombers assigned to nuclear missions are limited to 700.
  • The New START does not limit the number of non-deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, but it does monitor them and provide for continuous information on their locations and on-site inspections to confirm that they are not added to the deployed force.
  • The Treaty does not place any constraints on the testing, development, or deployment of current or planned U.S. missile defense programs or U.S. long-range conventional strike capabilities.

Source: The Hindu

Vessel traffic services (VTS) and Vessels Traffic Monitoring Systems (VTMS)

Context:

The Union Ministry of Shipping launched the development of an Indigenous Software solution for Vessel traffic services (VTS) and Vessels Traffic Monitoring Systems (VTMS).

Details:

  • VTS and VTMS are Softwares that determine vessel positions, the position of other traffic or meteorological hazard warnings, and extensive management of traffic within a port or waterway.
  • The Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) contribute to the safety of life at sea, safety, and efficiency of navigation, and protection of the marine environment.
  • The VTS provides protection to adjacent shore areas, worksites, and offshore installations from possible adverse effects of maritime traffic.
  • The Vessels Traffic Management Systems are installed at the busiest waters in the world and are making valuable contributions to safer navigation, more efficient traffic flow, and protection of the environment.

Features:

  • VTMS is mandatory under the IMO Convention SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea).
  • The VTMS traffic image is compiled and collected by means of advanced sensors such as radar, AIS, direction finding, CCTV, and VHF.
  • Currently, India has approximately 15 VTS systems operational along the Indian Coast and there is no uniformity of VTS software as each system has its own VTS software.

Significance of VTS software:

  • VTS Software can be provided to Indian trade-friendly nations viz. Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bangladesh, and Gulf countries.
  • Minimize the cost for future upgradations of software.
  • Easier to interconnect with MIS/ERP software of ports.
  • Saving of foreign exchange for various VTSs in India.
  • The availability of Indian VTS software shall make Indian companies be competitive commercially in global bids.

Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS):

  • It was born after the sinking of the 1914 RMS Titanic.
    • The third version of the Convention was adopted in 1960 and entered into force in 1965.
  • It is an international maritime treaty that requires signatory flag states to ensure that flagged vessels meet minimum safety standards for operation, equipment, and construction.
  • It contains various chapters dealing with ship-building, security, cargo transport, and International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.
  • It provides for international maritime safety for flag vessels to meet minimum safety standards with reference to the construction, equipment, and operation.

Source: PIB

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