History is created today during the Passing out Parade of Officer Training Academy (OTA) held at Chennai, as Academy Cadet Adjutant (ACA) Preeti Choudhary received the Sword of Honour whereas Senior Under Officer (SUO) Vreeti was awarded with the silver medal. This is for the first time in the history of OTA that two lady Cadets received the top honours. Lieutenant Chaudhary and Lieutenant Vreeti belong to Haryana.
In September 2010 lady cadet, Academy Under Officer (AUO) Divya Ajith Kumar became the first female cadet to secure prestigious ‘Sword of Honour’ and President’s Gold Medal. Again in March 2015 lady cadet, AUO M Anjana was awarded ‘Sword of Honour’.
Today 234 cadets are commissioned into the Indian Army after completing the rigorous training of 11 months.
India is advancing forward by crushing the gender discrimination in the armed forces. Last year in June during the passing out parade of Indian Military Academy (IMA) Chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat hinted towards the induction of women in combat role in the Indian Army.
Punita Arora is the first woman in India to reach the second-highest rank, Lieutenant General of the Indian Army. She was commissioned in the army in 1968. She became the commandant of the Armed Forces Medical College in 2004. Lt. Gen. Arora also co-ordinated medical research for the armed forces as additional director-general of Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS). Later, she moved from the Army to the Navy as the AFMS has a common pool that allows officers to migrate from one service to another depending on the requirement. She served as Vice-Admiral in the navy.
Captain Divya Ajith Kumr is the first woman in the history of Indian Army who received the coveted sword of honour and also got the opportunity to lead the first all-women contingent of the Indian Army on Republic Day in 2015.
As on 1st January 2018, total of 1,548 lady officers (excluding medical, dental and nursing) were serving in the army.
Positive change can be witnessed in the Indian Air Force (IAF). Women officers can be seen in a combat role. Flying Officer Avani Chaturvedi becomes the first woman IAF officer to fly the fighter jet. Padmavathy Bandopadhyay is the first woman Air Marshal of the IAF. As on 1st Feb 2018 total of 1,598 lady officers were serving in the IAF. This figure excludes lady officers serving in medical, dental and nursing.
Sub –Lieutenant Shubhangi Swaroop becomes the first women pilot of the Indian Navy. Last year in November three other women officers got commissioned into Naval Armament Inspection (NAI) branch. These four women officers script history. As on 1st February total of 493 lady officers were serving in the Indian Navy.
We also should not forget the fact that our defence minister is also a lady. Nirmala Sitharaman is the first women defence minister of the country.
In addition to women officers in three wings of the armed forces, our central police forces are also moving a step forward. Indo-Tibetian Border Police get its first woman combat officer. Prakriti cleared her UPSC examination for the recruitment of officers in Central Armed polices force and becomes the first women combat officer.
Uncertainty prevails over $500 million deal that Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited hopes to sign with the Indian government.
India on the other hand is trying to develop its own Anti-Tank Guided Missile, NAG 190. According to reports published in Israeli website Globes, Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) tested its anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) NAG 190 in desert conditions against two tank targets last week.
Indian defence experts believe that by the end of this year NAG will be fully developed, whereas Israeli defence experts hold different opinion. According to them It will take minimum five years for NAG to be fully operational.
According to some media reports, there has been dispute between DRDO and the Indian Army. The army wants to buy 8,000 Spike Missiles which are developed by Rafael in collaboration with an Indian company. On the other hand DRDO wants that NAG should be favoured but the army still insists on Spike missiles as they are fully operational.
India had earlier scrapped this long pending deal in November last, but during Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to India in January this year the deal is revived again.
Netanyahu is in favour of this deal. During his visit he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed $500 million Spike missile deal. In his tweet Netanyahu said, “Following the talks I had with my friend Prime Minister @NarendraModi, the Indian government has informed us that it is putting the Spike deal back on track. This is very important and there will be many more deals.”
CEO of Rafael Advanced System Yoav Har Even accompanied Netanyahu in his visit to India in January.
As quoted by Globes, An Israeli defence ministry source said, “The dialogue with the Indians is continuing all the time and lately it seems that institutions in the country are falling in line behind doing the deal with Rafael because it will be a long time before the Indian missile is operational. Clearly the Indians want to develop and manufacture everything they need and the idea that until they will have full capabilities on this subject, they will buy Israeli missiles.”
Rafael has already formed a joint venture with the Indian company Kalyani to manufacture Spike missiles in India. Plant for developing Spike missiles in India was already inaugurated in Hyderabad in 2017. Over 30 countries have purchased Spike missiles from Israel.
The much awaited naval exercise ‘Milan – 2018’ hosted by the Indian Navy begins in Port Blair on Tuesday. In this week long naval exercise 38 contingents from 16 navies will display their skills. The theme of ‘Milan- 2018’ is ‘In Pursuit of Maritime Good Order – Need for Comprehensive Information Sharing Apparatus’, so the main focus will be to create a cordial environment in the region to check unlawful activities and to strengthen the ties
For the first time Oman is taking part in this exercise. The main aim of this exercise is to enhance regional cooperation and to check unlawful activities.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Naval Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba will visit Port Blair for this international event.
The main aim of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Russia will be to conclude Rs 40,000 crore deal to procure S-400 Triumf air defence system. The deal is yet to be inked mainly due to differences over price.
In 2016 an agreement was signed between both the countries on ‘Triumf’ interceptor based missile system. S-400 ‘Truimf’ can destroy incoming enemy fighter jets, missiles and even drones upto the range of 400 km. S-400 is an advanced version of S-300. This missile system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is serving Russian Military since 2007.
India wants to purchase S-400 Triumf missile system to strengthen its air defence mechanism as China is increasing its military activities near the Sino-India border. China is also the first country to purchase S-400 from Russia.
According to sources decision on the long-pending fifth-generation fighter jet project with Russia could not be taken due to the high cost involved in it.
For the first time ever India will project its Defence Manufacturing capabilities to the world in DefExpo 2018 which is to be held in Chennai from April 11 to 14. The tagline of the DefExpo2018 is ‘India : The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’. India will exhibit weapons and military hardware along with showcasing its potential to be an exporter of military platforms.
According to an official statement, India will display indigenous built military weapons including helicopters, fighter jets, missiles and Air Defence systems. DefExpo 2018 will also showcase its capabilities to manufacture naval vessels such as frigates, corvettes and other ships.
India will exhibit fourth-generation Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) – Tejas and Advanced Light Helicopter – Dhruv which are domestically designed and manufactured by state run Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL). Missile and Rocket manufacturing capabilities will also be showcased in DefExpo. Brahmos and Akash Missiles and Pinaca rockets will be also be highlighted in exhibition.
India will unveil its 155mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun (ATAG) in DefExpo 2018. This is the first time that India has its own ATAG which has been designed and developed by DRDO in partnership with Kalyani Group, Tata Power and OFBs. Tank making capabilities are also likely to be showcased in this exhibition. India will also be showcasing 155mm artillery gun ‘Dhanush’. DefExpo 2018 is seen as an opportunity to showcase India’s plans to go global in terms of manufacturing of small arms manufacturing with its decision to manufacture about 7.5 lakh Assault Rifles, 3.5 lakh Carbines and about 40,000 LMGs.
In a statement Defence Ministry said, “India as a defence exporter of several defence systems and components for all three Services – Army, Navy and Air Force. While showcasing strengths of India’s substantial public sector, it will also uncover India’s growing private industry and spreading MSME base for components and sub-systems.”
As DefExpo will be held on a sea Shore, so it will provide an opportunity to the Indian Navy to brandish its capabilities to manufacture naval vessels. Domestically built frigates, corvettes and ships will be showcased along the sea shore.
The ministry said, “The exhibition will also unveil India’s capabilities in manufacturing Scorpene class submarine. Naval shipyards in public sector including Mazagon Docks, GRSE, Goa Shipyards, Hindustan Shipyard and private shipyards will bring to view their capabilities in manufacturing and servicing ships.”
India is one of the largest importers of military equipment. So the government is promoting domestic defence industry so that dependency on the foreign manufacturing companies can be reduced.
India is going to host navies from at least 16 countries across the world for eight-day mega naval exercise, ‘Milan’ starting from March 6 to March 13. Biennial exercise Milan is going to be hosted by the Indian Navy at Port Blair. The main aim of this exercise is to expand regional cooperation. India has a long history for its contribution with respect to Indian Ocean and maritime domain. India’s involvement in wider multilateral groupings such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and the Indian Ocean Naval symposium (IONS) and carrying out series of exercises with other countries puts the case in point.
The first edition of ‘Milan exercise was held in 1995, with just four countries participated in the exercise. Till now it has only been held nine times.
The ‘Milan’ is to be held by Andamn and Nicobar Command, this area is positioned at the entrance of Malaca Starits. This is a strategic move which clearly shows India’s intentions to build strong ties with South-East Asian countries. ‘Milan’ will improve India’s interoperability and relations with the participant countries such as Indonesia and Singapore.
Smaller countries like Myanmar will be benefited by this exercise as it will give an opportunity to such countries to interact with significant strategic players of the world other than super powers.
‘Milan – 2018’ can be seen as New Delhi’s strategy to counter China’s operations in the South China sea. In the latest development Maldives has rejected India’s invitation to participate in the ‘Milan’. There have been reports that China is looking to establish ‘Joint Ocean Observation Station’ in the Maldives. Earlier in February Chinese warships were seen sailing into the East Indian Ocean. Maldives has signed a Free Trade Agreement with China in December 2017.
The 16 countries confirmed by the Indian Navy which are participating in ‘Milan – 2018’ are Australia, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Oman, Vietnam, Thailand, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya and Cambodia.
Exercises like Milan will have India to enhance its stature in maritime realm.