Nirmala flags Indian Ocean issues
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman expressed concern at the increased militarisation in the Indian Ocean and the extra-regional nations setting up a “near permanant presence” in the region, in an apparent reference to the expanding Chinese presence in the region.
We have also witnessed extra-regional nations maintain near permanent presence within the region on one pretext or the other. In order to sustain such a presence through operational turn around, these countries which are extra-regional are creating naval outposts as well as dual-use infrastructure in the region.
She was addressing the first Goa Maritime Conclave of Navy Chiefs of Indian Ocean littoral states hosted by the Indian Navy at the Naval War College in Goa.
There is an “incremental yet steady” increase in numbers of warships operating in the region. This militarisation “increases the complexities for the countries of this region.”
The GMC is intended to be held every year and aims to “bring together like-minded countries to evolve collective responses to challenges in the maritime domain.
Land-based disputes and riparian issues which are predominantly a legacy of colonial rule are a key cause for conflict. As international behaviour in the maritime domain is influenced considerably by land-based imperatives, cordiality or latent hostility prevalent among nations on land tends to get reflected in the seas too.
In the last few years, China has set up or acquired stakes in a series of infrastructure facilities in the region and has recently opened its first overseas military base at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
The Chinese Navy has also maintained a steady presence of warships and submarines in the Indian Ocean under the garb of anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.
To counter this, the Indian Navy has now put in place a new concept of ‘mission based deployment’ to maintain round the clock surveillance on India’s vital areas of interest across the length and breadth of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Nod for buying 111 Navy copters
In a major move, the Defence Ministry approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for the Navy at a cost of Rs.21,738 crore. The long-pending proposal was cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister.
16 helicopters would be procured at a fly away condition while 95 would be manufactured in India. The procurement of the helicopters would be the first major acquisition made under the strategic partnership model.
Joint Indo-Russia Tri-Services Exercise Indra-2017 successfully conducted
The Joint Indo-Russia Tri-Services Exercise INDRA-2017 was successfully conducted from 19 to 29 Oct 2017 at Vladivostok in Russia. The name of the exercise INDRA has been derived from INDia and RussiA. So far INDRA exercises have been undertaken between respective Armies, Navies and Air Forces engaged with each other without concurrent participation from other Services. 17 such service specific exercises with the Russian defence forces have been conducted since 2003. Exercise INDRA-2017 is the first Joint Tri-Services Exercise between Russia and India. This is also the first time that Russia has hosted a Tri-Services Exercise on its soil.
The theme of Exercise INDRA-2017 was ‘Preparation and Conduct of Operations by a Joint Force for Suppression of International Terror Activity at the request of a host country under UN mandate’.
More than 900 soldiers, sailors and air warriors from the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force participated in the exercise along with over 1000 personnel from the Russian Defence Forces. The exercise was conducted in the Sergeevsky Combined Arms Training Range, Cape Klerk Training Area and the waters of the Sea of Japan.
Army exercise tasks involved check point defence and humanitarian convoy escort in the back drop of threat from armed groups.Naval tasks comprised Visit, Board, Search and Seizure (VBSS) operations besides Force Protection Measures, Joint Air Defence and Anti-mining Operations. The Air Forces of both countries, combined their air crews for Combat Air Patrols, Reconnaissance Missions, Formation Flying and Slithering operations utilising Russian fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters.
It was indeed a historic occasion for two of the world’s greatest Armed Forces to join hands and successfully conduct an exercise of this magnitude with professionalism, providing an opportunity for both defence forces to imbibe the best practices from each other and jointly evolve and practice drills to defeat the scourge of terror. The first ever Indo-Russia Joint Tri Services Exercise has been a combination of training and cross training in field conditions on land, sea and air, to achieve seamless integration. The validation of the exercise tasks is a testimony of the contingents of both countries having integrated and synergised seamlessly to achieve the laid down objectives. The exercise also provided an opportunity to all personnel for cultural exchange and for friendly sports competitions.
Exercise INDRA-2017 will surely be a benchmark for future exercises of this nature all across the world. The espirit de corps and goodwill generated during the exercise will facilitate further strengthening of bonds between the defence forces of India and Russia enabling them to understand each other’s organisations and the methodology of executing joint counter terrorist operations. It is even more satisfying that this milestone in Indo-Russia defence cooperation has been realised as we commemorate 70 years of Indo-Russian friendship.
12th Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant held in Vairengte
The 12th edition Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant 2017 has begun at Vairengte in Mizoram.
Vairengte houses Indian Army’s elite Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School. The first joint Nomadic Elephant was held in 2004 and since then it is annually held. It seeks to promote military associations between India and Mongolia.