Augmentation of Nation’s defence preparedness by adding new milestones in defence R&D, capacity building in existing and new strategic areas through up gradation and modernization, further strengthening of coastal security initiatives in different areas particularly in air defence and blue water capabilities and a systematic force projection of our armed forces in India’s neighbourhood and far off Asian region by engaging them through exercises and defence diplomacy were the main highlights of the year.
The year also saw massive welfare measures being undertaken for service personnel and ex-servicemen, scaling of new heights by armed forces personnel in fields like sports and adventure activities. The achievements of defence scientists in developing different soldier support systems like Suicide Risk Assessment Test, BMP Urban Survival Kit, Armour for Mi 17-IV for helicopters and Heavy Weight Anti-Submarine Electric Torpedo – ‘Varunastra’ also marked the eventful year.
New Weapons Systems to Strengthen Defence Preparedness
AGNI-V – India proudly entered the exclusive club as the sixth country on 19 April 2012, when its Long-range Ballistic Missile took to sky on its maiden flight and reached the pre-designated target point over 5000 km away in the Indian Ocean with remarkable accuracy. The missile which was launched from Wheeler Island off Orissa Coast incorporates many indigenously developed technologies. These include the composite rocket motor, state-of-the-art avionics, 5th generation ‘On Board Computer’ distributed architecture, highly accurate Ring Laser Gyro-based inertial navigation system (RINS), reliable redundant micro navigation system and the re-entry kit shield that withstands temperature with more than 4000 degree Celsius ensuring that avionics function normally by maintaining an inside temperature less than 50 degrees Celsius.
AGNI-IV – The 4000 km range nuclear capable ballistic missile Agni-IV was successfully flight tested on 19 Sep 2012. The long-range missile propelled by composite rocket motor technology was tested for its cool capability. Launched from road mobile launcher, it reached the predefined target in about 20 minutes.
With Agni-I, Agni-II, Agni-III and Prithvi P-II surface to surface missile and also its naval version Dhanush already in the arsenal of the Indian Armed Forces, the missile from the production lots were flight tested by the Armed Forces as part of training exercises to ensure defence preparedness. Thus, Agni-I, India’s 700 km range ballistic missile had its flight tests on 13 July and 12 Dec 2012.
The 2000 km range ballistic missile Agni-II and Agni-III with a range of 3000 km were test fired on 09 Aug and 21 Sept 2012 respectively.
The 350 km range surface-to-surface strategic missile Prithvi (P-II) was successfully flight tested on 25 Aug and 04 Oct 2012 from ITR Chandipur, Odisha. While its naval version Dhanush was test fired from a naval ship off the coast of Balasore, Odisha on 05 Oct 2012. The tests were like textbook launches meeting all mission objectives and the missiles reached the target points with high accuracy.
Brah-Mos Block III version with advanced guidance algorithm was flight tested on 28 Mar 2012 from ITR Balasore. The missile flew through the designated 290 kms distance at Mach 2.8 and achieved high precision with steep dive.
BALLISTIC MISSILE DEFENCE (BMD)
DRDO has developed a two-layer Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability against missiles with range upto 2000 km class. Both the exo and endo atmospheric interception have been demonstrated with direct hits leading to disintegration of target missile.
The Interceptor Missile AAD launched by the Scientists of DRDO on 23 Nov 2012 from Wheeler’s Island, Odisha, successfully destroyed the incoming Ballistic Missile at an altitude of 15 Kms. The target missile, a modified version of Prithvi, mimicking the enemy’s ballistic missile, was launched from Launch Complex III, Chandipur. Long Range Radar and MFC Radar located far away could detect the Missile from take-off and tracked it through its entire path. The total trajectory of the incoming Missile was continuously estimated by the guidance computer and subsequently the AAD Missile was launched at an appropriate time to counter and kill the ballistic missile.
In this mission, a special feature of intercepting multiple target with multiple interceptor was demonstrated successfully.The complete Radar Systems, Communication Networks, Launch Computers, Target update Systems and state of the art Avionics have been completely proven in this Mission.
AKASH AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM – Induction and productions of Akash, the medium range air defence system with multi-target, multi directional capability is another shining achievement. The production value of Akash missile systems ordered by Army and Air Force is over Rs 23,000 crores. Orders for two Army regiments and six Air Force Squadrons are under execution.
LONG RANGE SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE (LRSAM) – Control and Navigation Tests (CNT) for LRSAM, a joint development Programme between DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industry (IAI), to develop an Advanced Naval Air Defence System for Indian Navy) were conducted on 16th and 18th July 2012. All Planned mission objectives were fully met in both the tests. The missiles showed good navigation and control performance. DRDO is the Prime Development Agency and IAI the design authority for supply, installation and final acceptance.
NAG ANTI-TANK MISSILE – the fire and forget anti-tank missile with top attack capability is another important missile developed by DRDO. Its helicopter mounted version, Helina, underwent 2 successful flights from ground launcher proving full range of the missile.
LIGHT COMBAT AIRCRAFT–NAVY (LCA-Navy) – had its first flight on 27th April 2012 followed by flights during month of Jun/Jul 2012. Initial Operation Clearance of this aircraft is expected by Dec 2014. LCA, country’s first indigenous modern Light Combat Aircraft with four variants (air force, Navy and their trainer versions), is a precision weapon launch platform to carry a range of Air to Air missile, unguided rockets and bombs. The aircraft is integrated with advanced cockpit, digital avionics and weapons interface, to provide effective point and shoot capability with quick turnaround time. A Shore based Test facility (SBTF); one of its kind in Asia and third in the world; developed by DRDO at Naval Air Station INS Hansa, Goa is now ready for use. Besides testing of LCA-Navy, the test facility will also be used for training of pilots on LCA – Navy and MiG29K aircraft.
AIRBORNE EARLY WARNING AND CONTROL SYSTEM (AEW&C) – In a landmark event the first EMB-145I aircraft fully modified for the indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) landed on Indian soil at CABS (Centre for Airborne Systems, Bangalore, a DRDO laboratory) on 23 Aug 2012.
UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLES (UAVs) – There have been significant achievements in the field of UAVs. NISHANT, with its ground control system has been made ready for the Army after confirmatory trials. An indigenous Wankel rotary engine has been developed by DRDO jointly with NAL, Bangalore, for powering UAVs like NISHANT. Rotary engine technology, especially suited for such applications, is the first of its kind in India. Orders for Lakshya II pilotless target aircraft; capable of flying in sea skimming mode and tree top heights; are expected from the Services after successful demonstration to them. Similarly, UAV Rustom-I, a forerunner to Mediun Altitude Long Range (MALE) UAV Rustom-2, had series of successful trials. Indigenously designed and developed RUSTOM-1 underwent series of successful test flights. This UAV has the potential to be used for military missions like Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Target Designation, Communications Relay, Battle Damage Assessment and Signal Intelligence. A mini UAV -‘NETRA’, especially suited for Low intensity conflict operations was inducted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). ‘NETRA’ has four high speed propellers allowing it to take off and land vertically. Similarly a fixed wing mini UAV for low intensity conflict was demonstrated to security forces at various locations for surveillance within the range of 10 kms. It is also useful in reconnaissance over hills.
ELECTRONIC WARFARE – There has been a significant achievement in the Electronic Warfare Area which includes integration and testing of country’s first indigenous active array radar, operationalisation of Combat Information Decision Support System (CIDSS) and development and testing of laser based ordnance Disposal System and advanced Laser Guided Bomb Tester. The initial development of Indira-1, a short range 2D system has now been extended to high power 3D system like 3D Central Acquisition Radar and Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) based on phased array. The DRDOs radar warning receivers have been selected to upgrade most of Indian Air Force aircrafts like MiG 21, MiG 29, SU 30MKI, MiG 27 and Jaguars.
MBT ARJUN MK-II –Arjun Mk-II the advanced version of India’s first main battle tank Arjun, commenced its user trials in record time of 2 yrs. The Arjun Mk-II incorporates 89 improvements over the Arjun Mk-I, of which, two regiments are already in service.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Smerch Rockets – Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a Joint Venture with M/s Rosoboronexport, Russia and M/s Splav “SPA”, Russia to manufacture five versions of SmerchRockets based on the technology received from Russia. The SmerchRockets are technologically superior having a range of 70-80- kms. With formation of this Joint Venture, a new Chapter in the Indo-Russian Friendship has commenced.
Joint Venture for Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) – Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the aerospace major, signed the Preliminary Design Phase (PDP) Contract on 12 October 2012with the United Aircraft Corporation – Transport Aircraft (UAC-TA), the Russian partner and their JV-Multirole Transport Aircraft Ltd (MTAL) for the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA) project as a follow on contract of the General Contract signed between the three parties in May 2012. “With this HAL and UAC-TA will start the preliminary designwork immediately at Moscow.
CAPACITY BUILDING THROUGH INDUCTIONS/ACQUISITIONS
Mi-17 V5 Helicopter Inducted into IAF
Mi-17 V5 helicopter was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) on 17 February 2012. This helicopter falls in the category of armed helicopter, with substantial and effective firepower with the latest and more powerful engines that will greatly enhance its payload carriage capability at higher altitudes.
Mi-17 V5, an upgrade of Mi-17 in the medium-lift category, is equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and on-board Navigation Systems. It is a glass cockpit variant; the first of its kind to get inducted into the IAF. It has onboard weather radar, state of the art autopilot and is compatible with the latest Generation (Gen-III) Night vision Goggles. With this, the helicopter can undertake all-weather, day and night operations in any kind of terrain. The helicopter is also equipped with a Bambi-Bucket that can be used for fire fighting. It is also fitted with a powerful winch–a feature useful in the Disaster Relief Operations in restricted areas where landing is not possible.
Indian Navy inducted INS Chakra to itsunder water fleet on 04th April 2012 at Vishakhapatnam. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony inducted the submarine into the fleet of Eastern Naval Command. This four plus generation Russian origin submarine is capable of fulfilling multiple roles and will go a long way in strengthening Navy’s blue water operating capability.
The third of the follow-on class indigenous stealth frigate was commissioned on 21 July 2012 at Mazagaon Dock Limited, Mumbai by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony. Conceived and designed by Indian Navy Design Team this Shivalik class frigate will be mainstay frigate of the Navy in the 21st Century.
INS Teg and Tarkash
The First and Second of the three Talwar-class stealth frigates constructed at Yantar Shipyard, Kalinigrad Russia were inducted into Indian Navy on 27 April and 09 November 2012 respectively by the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command. These multi-role stealth frigate with advanced combat suits are fitted with formidable array of weapons and sensors onboard the Ship including the super-sonic BrahMos missile system and advance surface-to-air missile system.
Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Ship H-187, H-188 and H-189
To provide a boost to coastal security Indian Coast Guard Ship H-187, the first of the series of twelve Air Cushion Vehicles (ACVs), was commissioned at Okha on 11 June 2012 by Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan, DG Coast Guard. The 21 meter long ACV (hovercraft) designed and built by GriffenHaverwork Limited (GHL), UK displaces 31 tonnes and can achieve a maximum speed of 45 knots. The ACV is capable of undertaking multi-farious tasks such as surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue and responding assistance to small boats / crafts in distress at Sea.
The second in the series, H-188 was commissioned at Haldia by Inspector General of Coast Guard Shri Rajendra Singh on 20 Nov 2012.
The third ACV in this series, H-189 was commissioned in Mumbai by Vice Admiral SK Sinha FOC-in-C Western Naval Command. With the commissioning of H-189, the force level of Indian Coast Guard has gone up to 77 ships and First Attack Boats and with the planned induction the force level would be doubling by 2018.
Commission of Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Samudra Paheredar’
Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘SamudraPaheredar’, the second of the series of three Pollution Control Vessels (PCVs) being built by M/s ABG Shipyard, Surat was commissioned by Admiral NirmalVerma, the then Chief of the Naval Staff in July 2012.
The 95m long indigenous PCV displaces 4300 tonnes and can achieve a maximum speed of 20.5 knots with an endurance of 6500 nautical miles.The ship’s primary role is pollution response at sea and is equipped with the most advanced and sophisticated pollution response and control equipment for mitigating oil spills, which include containment equipment like hi-sprint booms and river booms, recovery devices like skimmers and side sweeping arms. The ship is capable of unhindered oil recovery operations with storage tank capacity of 500 KL in addition to inflatable barges.
The ship is installed with modern Integrated Platform Management System and Power Management System, which makes it unique for unmanned machinery operations. It is also fitted with Dynamic Positioning System for fire fighting and pollution response operations and an infra-red surveillance system for night surveillance.
Commissioning of First Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV) ‘Rani Abbakka’
The Indian Coast Guard Ship Rani Abbakka, the 1st of a series of five Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV) built at M/s HSL, was commissioned at Visakhapatnam by the then Minister of State for Defence Dr.MM PallamRaju,on 20 Jan 2012.
The 50 meter indigenous IPV displaces 300 tonnes and can achieve a maximum speed of 31.5 Knots with an endurance of 1500 nautical miles.The special features of the ship include an Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Machinery Control System (IMCS), and an indigenously built Gun Mount with Fire Control System. The ship is designed to carry one Rigid Inflatable Boat and two Geminis for Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement and Maritime Patrol.
Commissioning Of ICGS ‘Dahanu’
Coast Guard Station Dahanu, the third Coast Guard station in Maharashtra, was commissioned by Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan, Director General Indian Coast Guard at Dahanu on 22 March 2012.
The station is part of ongoing efforts by the Coast Guard to strengthen coastal security along the Indian coastline. The station at Dahanu will help augment patrolling along the north Maharshtra coast and prevent illicit activity such as infiltration and smuggling.
Commissioning Of ICGS Krishnapatnam
Coast Guard Station Krishnapatnam, the third Coast Guard Station in Andhra Pradesh, was commissioned in Andhra Pradesh by Dr MM PallamRaju, the then Raksha Rajya Mantri on June 18, 2012.
The establishment of a Station at Krishnapatnam is part of the ongoing efforts by the Coast Guard to strengthen coastal security in the coastal states of the nation.
Commissionig of Coast Guard Station Karaikal
Coast Guard Station Karaikal, the fifth CG station on the Puducherry – Tamil Nadu coastline was commissioned by Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan, Director General Indian Coast Guard at Karaikal on 25 July 2012.
The station is part of ongoing efforts by the Coast Guard to strengthen coastal security along the Indian coastline. The station at Karaikal will help augment patrolling along the east coast and prevent illicit activities such as infiltration, smuggling and illegal fishing.
Commissioning of Naval Base INS ‘DweepRakshak’ and ‘BAAZ‘
Naval base INS ‘DweepRakshak’ was commissioned in Lakshadweep Islands and INS ‘Baaz’ was commissioned in Andaman Islands (Campbell Bay) in 2012. Commissioning of these full fledged naval bases was another milestone in the commitment of Indian Navy in maintaining effective coastal surveillance and defence capability. The positioning of radar stations and other surveillance measures will add positive control over movement of Ships and intelligence gathering.
COASTAL SECURITY INITIATIVES
Inauguration of StaticSensors Project in Mumbai and Porbandar
With the inauguration of the Static Sensors Project of Coastal Surveillance Network by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony on 25 Aug 2012, the coastal security mechanism got a big boost. Shri Antony said that the patching up of National Automatic Identification System Network (AIS) and Vessel Traffic System (VTS) of Gulf of Khambat, along with the Coastal Security Network, will help us in identifying a friend or foe in our waters.
Under Phase I of Coastal Surveillance Network, Coastal Static Sensors will be put up at 46 locations. Out of these, the mainland radars are expected to be operationalized later this year, while those on the island territories will become operational next year.
Kerala Cluster of Coastal Radar Network Commissioned
The Remote Operating Station (ROS) of the coastal surveillance sensor chain of Kerala cluster was inaugurated by Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan, Director General Indian Coast Guard at the Coast Guard District Headquarters No 4 Fort Kochi on 15 Sept 2012. Speaking on the occasion, Vice Admiral Muralidharan highlighted the efforts of BEL the agency who executed the project, Department of Lighthouses and Light Ships , MTNL, BSNL, and ISRO in seeing the project through.
In Kerala, the feed and data from the four coastal surveillance radars at Mount Dilli in Ezhimala, Ponnani, Vypin and Kollam will be available at the ROS Fort Kochi. Two more additional sensors will be installed at Alapuzha and Azhikode in the phase two of the project.
Step towards Eastern Coast Sensitisation
Minister of State for Defence Shri Jitendra Singh inaugurated the Chain of Static Sensor at Vishakhapatnam on 23 Nov 2012, which will provide real time surveillance cover up to 25 nautical miles along the coast line. Post 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the emergent need to strengthen coastal security was
recognized by the Government and on recommendation made by the Group of Ministers, Indian Coast Guard was delegated to implement the project. With the inauguration of Eastern clusters at Vishakhapatnam, the phase-I of implementation of CSN at mainland is completed.
EXERCISES / INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
· Exercise YUDH ABHYAS is part of joint exercises between the Indian and United States Armies since 2005, agreed upon under the New Framework of India-US Defence Relationship. Commencing at the platoon level, the exercise graduated to a command post (CPX) and field training exercise (FTX).
The seventh edition of Yudh Abhyas commenced on 05 March 12 in two locations under the South Western Command. The US Army contingent is from the US Army Pacific (USARPAC), part of their Pacific Command (PACOM). The Command Post Exercise has an engineer brigade headquarters with its planners from both sides, while the Field Training Exercise comprises troops of 2nd Squadron 14th US Cavalry Regiment from 25th Infantry Division,Hawaii, along with a platoon of Strykers, and a similar sized Indian Army contingent of mechanized infantry.
· Navies of India and Japan conducted routine passage exercises ‘PASSEX’ during the visit of Japanese ships to Indian ports this year.
· INS Sudarshini sets sail for ASEAN Sailing Expedition from Kochi on 13 Sept 2012. This expedition was organised to celebrate India’s warm ties with the countries of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Admiral DK Joshi flagged off the six months voyage, a unique collaborative venture of Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs. The voyage commemorates 20 years of dialogue partnerships. During the course of voyage, 12,000 nautical expedition of INS Sudarshini will visit 13 ports in nine countries in South East Asia.
· The 15 nation Naval Exercise ‘MILAN-2012’, a biennial congregation of Littoral Navies of the Asia-Pacific region, hosted by the Indian Navy, commenced at Port Blair, in Andaman and Nicobar islands, on 01 February 2012. It significantly contributed in strengthening cooperation among the Navies of 14 countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
· ‘Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX)’ was held on 07-08 February 2012 at Vishakhapatnam by Eastern Naval Command. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony, who inaugurated the exercise, spent two days with the Indian Navy and he was given a glimpse of the expansive scope and scale of the Indian Navy’s annual exercise.
· Indian and Indonesian Armies participated in the ‘Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare Training Drill’in March 2012.Training together to counter the scourge of insurgency in various contemporary scenarios including jungle warfare, the operational part of the first-ever platoon-level joint training exercise – EX GARUDA SHAKTI – of the armies of India and Indonesia, concluded successfully at the Indian Army’s elite ‘Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School’ (CIJWS), Vairengte in Mizoram.
· Exercise ‘Shoor Veer’ is based on the integrated theatre battle concept under South Western Army Command with the elite Strike Corps in the lead, supported by Chetak Corps and all other relevant elements of South Western Army.
The Army and IAF has tested new battle fighting concepts and doctrines during the exercise with real time pictures of the battle zone provided to a centralized command and control centre from fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and attack helicopters, waging war in network centric environment and massed tank drills backed by long range
More than 300 combat vehicles including main battle tank T-90, T-72, long range 150mm artillery guns, multi barrel rockets and about 60000 troops has taken part in this massive major exercise in Rajasthan.
A major highlight of the joint exercise was the integrated air-land war-fighting machinery and the synergy between the Indian Army and IAF.
· Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted Exercise ‘PRALAY’ in the North East on 29 February 2012.
IMPORTANT VISITS PROMOTING DEFENCE COOPERATION
· The twelfth meeting of the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) was held on 10 October 2012. In a joint India-Russia press conferene held in New Delhi by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony and Russian counterpart Mr.AE Serdyukovendorsed the Protocols of the meetings of the Working Group on Shipbuilding, Aviation and Land Systems, (WGSALS) and the Working Group on Military Technical Cooperation (WG-MTC) which were held in New Delhi on 27-28 August, 2012 and 30-31 August, 2012 respectively.
· The US Secretary of Defence Mr. Leon Panetta was on a visit to India05-07 June, 2012. Mr. Panetta met the Defence Minister Mr. AK Antony in New Delhi on 06 June 2012. Mr. Panetta was accompanied by a ten member delegation, including the US Ambassador to India and other senior officers from the US Department of Defence. During the delegation level talks, both sides exchanged views on the security situation in South Asia, West Asia and the Asia-Pacific and on various global security challenges, including in the area of cyber security.
· Indo-China delegation level talkson defence cooperation held in New Delhi on 04th September 2012. The two Defence Ministers had an extensive exchange of views on defence and military exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. They also discussed the regional security situation and international issues of common interest and concern. Both Ministers agreed that expanding bilateral cooperation between the Defence Ministries and Armed Forces of India and China helps enhance mutual trust, deepens friendship and promotes comprehensive development of the India-China Strategic and Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. The two Defence Ministers agreed to work together to enhance mutual trust in the security field and continue to maintain peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.
Chinese Defence Minister Gen Liang Guangliealso visited the National Defence College (NDC) on 05 Sep 12. This is the first time since its inception in 1960 that such a high level military delegation from China visited the College.
· Defence Minister Shri AK Antony inaugurated the 8th Heads of Asian Coast Guards Meeting (HACGAM) in New Delhi on 03 Oct 2012. HACGAM is an apex level forum facilitating congregation of all the major Coast Guard Agencies of Asian region. This initiative was developed initially in 2004 to discuss cooperation among the member organizations to combat piracy in the region. However, the scope of discussions has been expanded to include law enforcement, maritime security, disaster prevention and relief and capacity building. Presently, there are more than 20 member organizations from 17 countries that are part of the initiative.
· Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services of Myanmar Gen Min AungHlaing visited India in August 2012 and called on the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony.
· The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony addressed the 11th Asia Security Summit, also known as ‘Shangri La Dialogue’, in Singapore in June 2012. Shri Antony said the international community must ‘remain sensitive to the problems of smaller nations and ensure that their rights, as equal members of the global community, are not overlooked or compromised’. He said the spirit of cooperation among international community shown in anti-piracy measures can be extended to ‘de-conflict contentious maritime issues’.
· Minister of Defence of Singapore Dr. Ng Eng Hen visited India in November 2012 and met the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony. During the delegation level talks, it was agreed to further enhance the bilateral defence relationship in the mutual interest of both countries as it would contribute to regional peace and stability. Both sides also agreed that the on-going interactions between the defence establishments of the two countries, including through regular joint military training and exercises, had been useful. They also agreed to continue such interactions in future.
· The first meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation was held in New Delhi on 10 Sep 2012. The 11-member Saudi delegation was headed by Maj Gen Suleiman Saleh Al-Khalifa, Chief of the Armed Forces Operations of Saudi Arabia. The Indian delegation was headed by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence. The Joint Committee was mandated to formulate a programme to develop areas of cooperation between the defence establishments of both countries. During the meeting both sides expressed their interest in further enhancing defence exchanges and interactions between their armed forces.
· Vice Admiral Axel Schimpf, Chief of Naval Staff, Germany visited India in February 2012. Defence Secretary level talks between India and Germany to expand defence co-operation were also held in June 2012.
· Defence Minister of Spain called on the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in New Delhi on 26 Oct 2012.
· Defence Minister of BrazilMr.CelsoAmorim visited India on 06 Feb 2012 and held one-to-one talk with the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony.
· Defence Minister Mr AK Antony laid foundation stone of maritime training academy of Maldives during his visit to Maldives in September 2012. Continuing with his dialogue on defence cooperation with the top leadership of Maldives, he called on the President MohamedWaheed Hassan Manik in Male.
· Defence Minister of Republic of Korea Mr. Kim Kwan Jin visited India and held the delegation level talks with his Indian counterpart Shri AK Antony on 30 Nov 2012 on the matters of bilateral interests.
· A high level delegation led by Rear Admiral AARA Dias, the Director General Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG), who was on a visit to India from 26-30 Aug 2012, held a High Level Meeting, with the Indian delegation led by Vice Admiral MP Muralidharan, Director General Indian Coast Guard in New Delhi in August 2012. The visit was in continuation of the various efforts by the governments of the two countries towards cooperation between the ICG and SLCG and pursuance of the discussions on maritime issues of mutual concerns to formulate a cooperative approach.
· General Haruhiko Kataoka, Chief of Staff, Japan Air Self Defence Force was on a three day goodwill visit to India from 19-21 Nov 12. The visit assumed special significance in the light of improving military cooperation between the two countries in consonance with India’s growing relationship with Japan.
· The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) and Chairman Chief of Staff Committee (COSC) was on a four day Defence Cooperation visit to the Union of Myanmar from 26-29 November 2012. The CAS led a five member Composite Defence Delegation team comprising of senior officers of the three services.
· Vice Admiral ZahirUddin Ahmed, Chief of Naval Staff, Bangladesh Navy visited India from 08-10 July 2012. He was given a Guard of Honour on 09th July. Later he met the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral NirmalVerma and discussed matters on mutual interests.
· BNS (Bangladesh Naval Ship) Bangabandhu entered Kochi on 2nd November. The modern frigate and veritably the Flag Ship of Bangladesh Navy was on en route to Doha to participate in Exercise Ferocious Falcon. A host of professional and social interactions were scheduled between India and Bangladesh Navies on the occasion which included sports fixtures and mutual visits. Mr Tariq Ahmad Karim, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India also flew in to Kochi to welcome BNS Bangabandhu.
· Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, US Navy visited India on 23 April 2012 and held talks with the then Chief of Naval Staff Admiral NirmalVermaon matters of bilateral interests.
SEMINARS / WORKSHOPS / CONFERENCES
· Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addressed the Combined Commanders’ Conference in New Delhi on 11 October 2012 which was attended amongst others by Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram and Minister of External Affairs Mr. SM Krishna. In the beginning Defence Minister Shri AK Antony introduced the top level Commanders’ of the three Services to the Prime Minister.
· Unified Commanders’ Conference commenced in New Delhi on 24 April 2012. Inaugurating the Conference Defence Minister Shri AK Antony urged all commanders to ensure that the fast track procurement of equipment and upgradation of infrastructureis followed in letter and spirit.
Shri Antony told the top brass of Armed Forces that while modernization remains the topmost priority of the Government and to achieve the same a mechanism has been put in place to fast track procurement of equipment and upgradation of infrastructure. He appealed the top commanders’ to be honest and upright while fast tracking important acquisitions for the defence forces.
· ‘DefExpo India 2012’, the 7th international Exhibition on Land, Naval and Internal Security Systems, commenced on 29 March 2012 at New Delhi. The four-day event was inaugurated by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony. The largest ever Defence Exposition in Asia showcased India’s emergence as an attractive destination for investment in the Defence Sector and provided a platform for alliances and joint ventures in the Defence Industry.
A total of 567 companies from 32 countries displayed weapon systems for the Army, Navy and Internal Security. Major participants were from Russia, France and Israel besides Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Poland, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, Turkey, USA and UK.
· Fourteenth Asian Security Conference organized by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) was inaugurated by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony in New Delhi on 13 February 2012.
· Global Hypoxia Summit & the 4th International Conference on Chronic Hypoxiawas inaugurated by the then Minister of state for Defence Dr M.M. PallamRaju in New Delhi on 09 Aug 2012. Addressing the gathering he said High Altitude hypoxia research is important for our country because we are constrained to deploy considerable number of soldiers in the high altitude areas.
· Defence Minister Shri AK Antony addressed a Workshop on Nanotechnologyin New Delhi on 01 Oct 2012 organised by the DRDO.Shri Antony said that India has proved its strong capabilities and efficiency in the fields of information technology and biotechnology and DRDO must make all-out efforts to bring about a convergence of nanotechnology with information technology and biotechnology.
· Defence Minister Shri AK Antony inaugurated a two-day International Seminar and Exposition ‘Defcom India-2012’ in New Delhi on 08 Nov 2012. The Defcom-2012 was organized jointly by the Integrated HQ of Ministry of Defence (Army), Corp of Defence Signals and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
SECURITY ISSUE / POLICY PROCEDURES
· Defence Minister Shri AK Antony convened a meeting of all stakeholders on coastal security in New Delhi on 08 Oct 2012 and reviewed the various steps taken to enhance coastal security network in the country and progress achieved so far in different fields. Presiding a high-level meeting, Shri Antony said that there must be a time bound action plan to complete all pending decisions at the earliest.
· The revised Defence Offset Guidelines (DOG) were approved by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) at its meeting held on 23rd July, 2012 and shall be applicable w.e.f. 1st August, 2012.
· A Meeting was taken by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony on Defence OperationalPreparedness on 02 Jul 2012 where three Service Chiefs and Defence Secretary were also present.
· The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony gave his ‘in principle’ approval to a three-fold hike in the delegation of financial powers to Service Headquarters – from the
current Rs.50 crores to Rs.150 crores on 28 May 2012 to accelerate the process of procurement for the Armed Forces.
· The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony announced a number of decisions taken by the Centre for infrastructure development and for creation of job opportunities in Arunachal Pradesh while inaugurating the five- day long celebration of the completion of 25 years of statehood of Arunachal Pradesh at a function in Itanagar in February 2012. Shri Antony announced that the Ministry of Defence has cleared the raising of 2nd Battalion of Arunachal Scouts.
· India-UK defence consultation group meeting was held in New Delhi on 08 Feb 2012.
· Ministry of Defence debarred six firms from business dealings for a term of ten years on 05 Mar 2012.
· A Decision was taken by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) to purchase M-777 guns for the Indian Army on 11 May 2012.
WELFARE MEASURES OF SERVICEMEN / EX-SERVICEMEN
· Defence Minister Shri AK Antony chaired the meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry on 18 Dec 2012 in New Delhi and took note of latest progress in different welfare measures for ex-servicemen.
Government has widened the scope of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) and established more polyclinics and regional health centres. In 2010, 199 polyclinics were sanctioned by the Government out of which 99 polyclinics have become functional and 100 polyclinics are under various stages of operationalization. The scheme is presently been implemented to 326 functional polyclinics. At present, the scheme has over 41 lakh beneficiaries including 13 lakh ex-servicemen and over 28 lakh dependents.
· The Government has also taken up special measures to accelerate the Married Accommodation Project (MAP). Under the project, a total of nearly two lakh dwelling units are being constructed in four phases at an estimated cost of over Rs. 17, 000 crores. Presently, 54, 000 dwelling units have been constructed out of a total of 58, 000 dwelling units under Phase-I of the project. Phase-II of the project involving the construction of 70, 000 dwelling units has also begun. Phase-Ill and Phase-IV of MAP have been merged so that the work on the remaining 71, 000 dwelling units of MAP Phase III and Phase IV can be expedited.
· The Union Cabinet has approved the recommendations of the Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary for benefits to ex-servicemen on four issues. The financial implications of the improvements made as per the Cabinet decision on the four items are broadly estimated at Rs.2300 crore per annum.
One Rank One Pension – On One Rank One Pension, the demand of the Defence Forces and Ex-Servicemen Associations is that uniform pension be paid to the Defence Forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service irrespective of their date of retirement and any future enhancement in the rates of pension be automatically passed on to the past pensioners. On this issue the following was approved by the Cabinet:
(i) Bridging of the gap in the pension of pre 1.1.06 and post 1.1.06 JCO/OR retirees by determining the pension of pre 1.1.06 retirees on the basis of notional maximum for ranks and groups across the three Services as in the case of post 1.1.06 retirees. In addition, the weightage of qualifying service in the ranks of Sepoys, Naik and Havaldar would be increased by two years for both pre and post 1.1.06 retirees.
(ii) The pension of pre 1.1.06 Commissioned Officer pensioners would be stepped up with reference to the minimum of fitment table for the ranks instead of the minimum of pay band.
Enhancement of Family Pension –
(i) The pension of pre – 1.1.2006 family pensioners(Commissioned Officers, Honorary Commissioned Officers, JCOs/ORs ) be stepped up based on the minimum of the fitment table instead of the minimum of the Pay Band;
(ii) Establishing linkage of the family pension with the pension of JCOs/ORs, in those cases where the death takes place after the retirement of the JCO/OR since such a JCO/OR drew a pension based on the maximum of the pay scales, 60% of the pension applicable to JCO/OR pensioners would be granted to the family pensioner in case of normal family pension calculated a 30% of last pay drawn. Accordingly, based on the rank, group and length of service of the deceased JCO/OR pensioner, his pension would first be determined on notional basis. In cases where death of JCO/OR took place after retirement, the family pensioners in receipt of normal family pension would become entitled to 60% of the said pension determined on notional basis and those in receipt of enhanced family pension will be entitled to 100% of this pension. Similar entitlements would be determined in the case of Special Family Pension; and
(ii)family pensioner of the JCO/OR would be granted pension arrived at on the basis of the family pension worked out as per the formulation at (i) above or the pension on the basis of stepping up with reference to the minimum of the fitment table, whichever is beneficial. Further, the linkage of family pension with retiring pensionbe applied in the case of post 1.1.2006 family pensioners of JCOs/ORs also.
Dual Family Pension – Dual family pension would be allowed in the present and future cases where the pensioner drew, is drawing or may draw pension for military service as well as for civil employment.
Family pension to mentally / physically challenged children of armed forces personnel on marriage – Grant of family pension to mentally/physically challenged children who drew, are drawing or may draw family pension would continue even after their marriage.
· Defence Food Technological Research Laboratory (DFRL) under DRDO,by using a set of cold shock dehydration technologies,has developed a ready to eat packaged food ‘Aahaar’ having shelf life of more than a year without compromising the nutrition and taste. Besides providing a ready to eat food, these products are eminently suitable for use during long journeys, nutritional feeding, mass catering programmes and other similar civilian applications.
· Bio-digester toilets were launched by DRDO in a tie-up with FICCI in June this year at Dhamra, Odisha. An evolved technology to treat biological wastes of soldiers serving in high altitudes of Ladakh and Siachen, is set to radically alter the rural sanitation and decomposition woes of fecal wastes in the plains across the country.
· Indian Air Force (IAF) has opened a Directorate of Air Veterans for retired air personnel on 04 Oct 2012.
· Indian Navy’s first executive IT cadre launched in July 2012.
· To reduce the incidents of suicide and fragging in armed forces, Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR) under DRDO has developed a suicide risk management test to help identify security personnel at risk so that preventive measures can be taken in advance. DIPR has already handed over this to the Army. The laboratory has also planned a comprehensive soldier fitness programme resilience building to generate awareness towards well-beingamong troops.
SCALING NEW HEIGHTS IN SPORTS AND ADVENTUROUS ACTIVITIES
· Four air warriors of IAF ‘Delphinus’ became the first services team in the world to swim the English Channel on 26 June 2012 by safely and successfully crossing the channel in 12 hours 14 minutes. They became the fastest Asian team to swim English Channel in its category.
· Subedar Major Vijay Kumar brought glory and laurels to Indian Army as well as to the Country by winning a Silver Medal at the London Olympics in 25 meter pistol shooting event.Olympic silver medalist Vijay Kumar was subsequently promoted asSubedar Major and given a cash award of Rs.30 lakh by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony.
· 49 naval sportsmen represented the country at various international sports events during the year and have won three Gold, two Silver and five bronze medals.
· Chief Petty Officer Omkar Singh of the Navy shooting team has been bestowed the Arjuna Award for sporting Excellence for the year 2012.
· Indian Army Women’s Everest Expedition-2012 put four women officers on the summit of Mt. Everest. They achieved this feat on 25 May 2012.
REACHING OUT TO PEOPLE IN DISTRESS
· IAF evacuated 171 persons and distributed 4600 kg of relief material during its Relief and Rescue Operation in flashflood hit Uttarakhand.
· Army synergizes rescue efforts to save precious lives in Cloud burst hit Rudraprayag District of Uttrakhand.
· Joint flood relief operations by the Armed Forces in Arunachal and Assam were carried out from 20 to 28 September 2012.
CHANGE OF GUARDS
· Change of Guards in nation’s land and naval forces as well as consequent crucial changes in the top command levels in these two services had definitely a bearing on the shape of things to come in the Armed Forces.
General Bikram Singh took over as the 25th Chief of the Army Staff in place of General VK Singh on 31 May 2012, who retired after the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s decision of agreeing to Govt’s stand of General’s Date of Birth as 31 May 1950.
The Navy also saw Vice Admiral DK Joshi assuming the charge of Chief of Naval Staff on 31 Aug 2012 after the superannuation of the outgoing Admiral NirmalVerma