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How China, followed by India, has led greening efforts across world

Why in News?

  • A new satellite-based study shows that China and India are leading the crease greening efforts” across the world.

The findings of MODIS:

  • The research team set out to track the total amount of Earth’s land area covered by vegetation and how it changed over time (2000-17).
  • Through NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data, the team found that the global green leaf area has increased by 5% since the early
  • This translates to a net increase in leaf area of 2.3% per decade, which is equivalent to adding 4 × 106 sq km new leaf area over the 18-year period of the record (2000 to 2017).
  • This is equivalent to the area of the
  • China alone accounts for 25% of the global net increase in leaf area. India has contributed a further 8%.
  • The greening in China is from forests (42%) and croplands (32%) but in India is mostly from croplands (82%) with minor contribution from forests (4.4%).

What is MODIS?

  • MODIS is a key instrument aboard the Terra and Aqua satellites of
  • With its low spatial resolution but high temporal resolution, MODIS data is useful to track changes in the landscape over time
  • MODIS is playing a vital role in the development of validated, global, interactive Earth system models able to predict global change accurately enough to assist policy makers in making sound decisions concerning the protection of our
  • Its data helps improve our understanding of global dynamics and processes occurring on the land, in the oceans, and in the lower

Highlights of the study:

  • The study was entirely based on satellite data with access to forest inventory
  • There were no physical checks carried out in either China or India to assess what kind of trees or vegetation was
  • The quality of trees is good in view of leaf
  • Satellite data do not have the ability to accurately recognise the species at the global
  • When the greening of the Earth was first observed, it was thought due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance
  • Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also

India’s growth:

  • With only 2.7% of the global vegetated area, India accounts for 6.8% of the global net increase in leaf
  • It is as expected because most of the land cover type in India is cropland (2.11×106 sq km).
  • Total cereal production in India increased by 26% during the same
  • There are only a few forests in India, and that is why their contribution is
  • Data show that since Independence, a fifth of India’s land has consistently been under forests.
  • The Forest Survey of India’s State of Forest Report 2017 had recorded that forest cover had increased by 6,600 sq km or 0.21% since 2015.

INDIAN AND FRENCH NAVIES CONDUCT VARUNA

Why in News?

The first part of the Indo-French joint naval exercise, Varuna 19.1 will be conducted off the Goa coast.

Ex Varuna:

    The exercise will be conducted in two phases:

  • The harbour phase at Goa would include cross-visits, professional interactions and discussions and sports events.
  • The sea phase would comprise various exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations.
  • The second part of Varuna is scheduled to be held at the end of May in Djibouti.
  • The bilateral naval exercise initiated in 1983 form a vital part of the Indo-French strategic partnership.
  • Having grown in scope and complexity over the years, this exercise exemplifies the strong relations between the two nations, in line with the Joint Strategic Vision of India-French Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The Varuna exercise aims at developing interoperability between the two navies and fostering mutual cooperation by learning from each other’s best practices to conduct joint operations.
  • The exercise underscores the shared interests and commitment of both nations in promoting maritime security

INDIAN COAST GUARD VESSEL C-441

GS 3: Internal Security

Why in News?

The Indian Coast Guard commissioned its latest acquisition, an interceptor vessel named C-441, at a ceremony held at the Vizhinjam harbour

Highlights:

  • ICGS C-441 is the seventh interceptor vessel amongst the series designed and built indigenously by L & T Ltd., Surat
  • The 27.8-metre-long vessel displaces 106 tonnes and has a maximum speed of 45 knots (83 km/hr).
  • It is equipped with twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion.
  • It also has the capability to undertake multifarious tasks such as close coast surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue and rendering assistance to boats and crafts in distress at sea.
  • The ship is fitted with state-of-the art communication, navigational equipment and with light, medium and heavy automatic machine gun onboard as main armament.

NAVAL COMMANDERS’ CONFERENCE 2019

Why in News?

  • The first edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference of 2019 is scheduled at New Delhi (from 23 to 25 April 2019).

Highlights:

  • The conference is the apex forum within the Service for interaction between the Naval Commanders.
  • The Chief of the Naval Staff, with the Commanders-in-Chief, will review major operational, material, logistics, HR, training and administrative activities undertaken during the previous six months and deliberate upon the course to be steered in the ensuing six Months
  • The Conference assumes greater significance in the backdrop of Pulwama associated events that have brought country’s defence under sharper focus and will provide the higher naval leadership with a forum to discuss the emerging challenges in the maritime domain and fine tune the strategies for responding to the evolving geo-strategic environment.
  • Interaction with Chiefs of Indian Army and Indian Air Force during the conference would be utilised to analyse the operational environment, deliberate on Tri-Service synergy and readiness to deter and neutralise threats aimed at the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • The themes of ‘Functional Reorganisation of Indian Navy towards improving Operational Efficiency’ and ‘Optimal Manning’ will form the core of discussions towards finalising long term road map for the IN
  • Discussions are planned on the acquisition of new capabilities, harnessing niche technologies like ‘Big Data Analytics’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’ for solutions in the domains of naval combat, the convergence of networks/ information, logistics, administration and equipment health monitoring for sustained operations
  • In keeping with the expectation of IN being the Net Security Provider in the IOR and first responder to any crisis, the forum will also deliberate upon the lessons learnt from the recently concluded HADR operations by the IN and various other maritime security initiatives such as the IFC-IOR.

ARMY COMMANDERS’ CONFERENCE 2019

GS 3: Internal Security

Why in News?

  • The biannual Army Commanders’ Conference 2019 began on April 8, 2019 in New Delhi. The opening address was delivered by the Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • The conference will go on till April 14, 2019 and will be chaired by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff.

Highlights of the Army Commanders’ Conference 2019:

  • The senior commanders will deliberate upon specific issues pertaining to Army formations and Army as a whole.
  • The conference will witness discussions over a few important issues including management of the extant security dynamics, mitigation of future security threats and enhancement of combat over potential opponents.
  • It will also deliberate on issues like infrastructure development for capacity enhancement along the Northern borders, review of strategic railway lines, issues related to Border Road Organization projects, and operations, administration and welfare of troops

Army Commanders’ Conference:

  • ‘The Army Commanders’ Conference is held biannually for formulating important policy decisions through collegiate deliberations.
  • It is an important event for planning and execution process of the Indian Army
  • The conference is chaired by the Chief of the Army Staff.

INDIAN NAVY SIGNS MOU WITH COUNCIL OF SCIENTIFIC AND INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH

GS 3: Internal Security

Why in News?

The Indian Navy and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on April 5, 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to undertake joint research and development of advanced technologies for the Indian Navy.

Highlights:

  • The agreement facilitates a formal framework for interaction between the Indian Navy and the research council.
  • Under the agreement, joint research and development activities will be undertaken in the diverse fields of Mechanical, Electronics, Communication, Computer Science, Propulsion systems, Metallurgy and Nanotechnology.
  • The agreement will be a collaborative arrangement between labs of CSIR, the Indian Navy and the Indian industry.
  • Some of the immediate projects to be progressed under this MoU include development of alternative desalination technologies, installation of wireless MEMS based sensors for remote operation and residual life assessment studies of gas turbine generator blades to improve reliability.

Significance:

  • The collaboration between the armed forces and world class national institutions such as the CSIR will allow the Indian Navy to leapfrog towards latest technologies as well as jointly engage under ‘Make in India’ and other innovative programmes of the Union Government.
  • It would also form the foundation for exchange of ideas and development of new technologies in the future.

STRATEGIC EXPERTS AND TECHNOCRATS DELIBERATE ON “MISSION SHAKTI”

GS 3: Internal Security

Why in News?

A special interaction session was organized by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), here today to present first-hand account of the mission details, development milestones including technological aspects of Mission Shakti.

Highlights:

  • DRDO presented the objectives, mission challenges and achievements of the Anti-Satellite Test (A-SAT).
  • DRDO had successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite Missile Test (A-SAT) ‘Mission Shakti’ from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha on March 27, 2019 and made India join the select group of three nations (USA, Russia and China) possessing such capability.

Mission Shakti:

  • Mission Shakti an anti-satellite weapon ASAT is successful by targeting a live satellite in a low earth orbit.
  • It is an important step towards securing India’s safety, economic growth and technological advancement. No doubt ASAT weapon system will give a new strength to India’s space programme
  • ASAT is anti-satellite weapon system that is designed to destroy or incapacitate satellites. Development of such type of weapon systems has a long history.
  • Significance of the test is that India is successful in demonstrating its capability to intercept a satellite in the outer space that too based on complete indigenous technology.
  • The satellite that was destroyed was Indian and DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor was used. India used the technology of Kinetic Kill to achieve the objectives that were set out in the mission.

MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters

GS 3: Internal Security

Why in News?

  • The United States has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of 2.4 billion US dollars. The announcement was made by the US State Department on April 2, 2019.
  • In its notification, the state department told the Congress that this proposed sale will support the US foreign policy by helping strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship. The statement added that the sale of the helicopters will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

Significance:

The sale is expected to improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.

Highlights:

  • The MH-60 Romeo Seahawk helicopter is considered to be the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter.
  • Built by Lockheed Martin, the helicopters are designed to hunt down submarines, as well as knock out ships and conduct search-and-rescue operations at sea.
  • India has been in need of these formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopters for more than a decade now. The advanced choppers would replenish India’s aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.
  • They will provide the Indian defence forces with the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions along with the ability to perform secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue and communications relay.

Impact:

  • India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense.
  • The helicopters are the need of the hour for India, especially with the aggressive behaviour of China in the Indian Ocean region.

Background:

  • The helicopters are currently deployed with the US Navy as the primary anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones.
  • According to industry experts, it is the most capable naval helicopter available in recent times, which is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.

Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT)

GS 3: Internal Security| Linkages of organized crime with terrorism

Why in News?

In the wake of growing threats and acts of terrorism across the world, India and Bolivia have called for an early finalization of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism:

  • CCIT is a proposed treaty which intends to criminalize all forms of international terrorism and deny terrorists, their financiers and supporters access to funds, arms, and safe havens.
  • The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996.
  • CCIT provides a legal framework which makes it binding on all signatories to deny funds and safe havens to terrorist groups.
  • The original draft that was tabled in 1996 included following major objectives:
  • o To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law.
    o To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps
    o To prosecute all terrorists under special laws
    o To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide

Pinaka Guided Weapons System

GS 3: Internal Security

Why in News?

Defence Research and Defence Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired the Guided PINAKA from Pokhran ranges.

Highlights:

  • The successful test trial gives a boost to the artillery capability of the Indian Army.
  • Pinaka Guided Weapon System is equipped with a guidance kit comprising an advanced navigation and control system.
  • In both the missions, the weapon systems impacted the intended targets with high precision and achieved desired accuracies.
  • Telemetry Systems tracked and monitored the vehicle all through the flight path. All the mission objectives have been met.

Pinaka Guided Weapons System:

  • Pinaka rocket systems are developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).The rocket system is named after Pinaka, the bow of Lord Shiva.
  • Pinaka was initially a 30 to 40 km range rocket. Its range was increased 70 to 80 km with Pinaka Mark II.
  • Multi-Barrel Rocket System PINAKA, an area weapon system to supplement the existing artillery gun at ranges beyond 30 kms, having quick reaction time and high rate of fire has been accepted by the user after extensive trials.
  • Pinaka rockets were used in the Kargil War with Pakistan.
  • With the increased range there came a need for a more accuracy.
  • To fulfil this requirement guided version of the Pinaka is being developed by DRDO.

INDIA, RUSSIA TO INK NUCLEAR SUBMARINE DEAL

Why in News?

India is set to sign a $3-billion deal with Russia.

Highlights:

  • The intergovernmental agreement for the submarine lease is likely to be inked on March 7.
  • Akula class submarine — dubbed Chakra III the vessel will be ready by 2025 after an extensive building programme on mothballed hulls at a Russian shipyard.
  • The Chakra III will be in service for at least 10 years and will replace the Chakra II that was obtained under similar conditions in 2012.
  • It is believed that the lease of the Chakra II, which is to expire in 2022, could be extended for a five-year period till the new vessel gets built and tested.

Background:

  • This will be the third Russian nuclear submarine to be operated by India, starting from 1988 when the original INS Chakra was taken on a three-year lease.
  • The second was inducted in 2012 after a prolonged refit that saw a time delay.
  • The Akula submarines are considered to be next only to newer US nuclear submarines when it comes to stealth and attack capabilities.

Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Meet on Disaster Risk Management

GS 3: Disaster Management

Why in News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is organising a meeting of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Cluster Group on Disaster Risk Management (DRM) in New Delhi.

Highlights:

Indian Ocean Rim Association is an inter-governmental organisation and has many disaster-prone countries among its 22 members and nine dialogue partners. DRM is one of its priority areas and its Action Plan (2017-2021) has specific goals to improve resilience in IORA countries.

  • The two-day meeting will feature interactive sessions and will focus on development of a draft Work Plan for DRM in IORA.
  • It will also deliberate on the need for establishing a DRM Core Group to take forward the
    agreed objectives under the Work Plan.

IORA action plan (2017-2021):

Under the IORA Action Plan 2017-2021, the development of DRM in IORA has been given focused direction. The Cluster Group on DRM, chaired by India for a period of two years, is tasked with leading the formulation of a Work Plan for this Priority Area, with the aim to enhance cooperation and develop resiliency in the IOR.

  • The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is sometimes called the “World’s Hazard Belt” as it is prone to disasters, both natural and man-made. Natural disasters under the group of Climatological (cyclones and droughts), Geological and Tectonic (earthquakes and tsunamis) and Hydrological (floods and tidal surges) origins are very common and reoccurring phenomena in the region.

According to the UN ESCAP, around 50% of natural disasters occurring in this region are climatogenic and seismogenic in nature.

Small Farmers Agri – Business Consortium

Why in News?

  • The Government established Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) as a Society in January 1994 to facilitate agri-business ventures by catalysing private investment through Venture Capital Assistance (VCA) Scheme in close association with financial institutions.

Objectives:

    • To catalyse agro-industrial growth in the country based on the principles of:
      • Ecological sustainability
      • Economic efficiency
      • Social equity
    • To undertake or assist in undertaking programs for employment generation, growth and diversification of agriculture & agro-based industries to increase food production and export of agriculture products, in both primary and processed forms.
    • To identify and promote post-harvest processing/manufactures units in the public, private and cooperative sector.
    • To promote organization of marketing chain both for domestic and export marketing.
    • To influence Government policies for agriculture, thereby increasing the flow of resources and augmenting the rate of capital formation in agriculture sector.
    • To pave the way for establishment of integrated producers’ organizations with forward and backward linkages.
    • To prepare, print and publish papers, periodicals, monographs in furtherance of the objectives of the society.

Role of SFAC:

  • The role of State SFACs is to aggressively promote agribusiness project development in their respective States. The main functions of SFAC are:
  • Promotion of development of small agribusiness through VCA scheme;
  • Helping formation and growth of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) / Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs);
  • Improving availability of working capital and development of business activities of FPOs/FPCs through Equity Grant and Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme;
  • Implementation of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Electronic Trading platform.

SEA VIGIL

GS 2: Internal Security

Why in news?

The first coastal defence Exercise Sea Vigil, conducted by the Navy and Coast Guard, in close coordination with State Governments and Union Territories concluded.

Higlights:

  • It was the largest such exercise the country had ever witnessed in recent times and saw participation by more than 100 ships, aircraft and patrol boats manned and operated by various security agencies.
  • Sea Vigil conducted by Indian Navy and assisted by all stakeholders will facilitate in establishing shortfalls, working out new ways to optimise resources, recommend solutions to higher authorities and refine Standard Operating Procedures.
  • With active support from all stakeholders, such exercises further strengthen the overall security architecture and enhance confidence to thwart any misadventure by anti-national elements.

ARMOURED SYSTEMS COMPLEX (ASC)

GS 3: Internal Security

Why in news?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Armoured Systems Complex (ASC), developed by Larsen & Toubro (L&T) at Hazira near Surat in Gujarat.

Armoured Systems Complex (ASC):

  • This Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) is the country’s first private facility where the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns will be manufactured. The Armoured Systems Complex (ASC) at Hazaria is a striking example of Make in India Defence.
  • The L&T is executing the production of the K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer guns and has signed a transfer of technology contract for guns with South Korean company Hanwha Corporation.
  • Also, around 400 SMEs are involved in developing 13,000 parts and steps are being taken to make a totally indigenous battle tank without having to depend on external help/
  • The Army now doesn’t have to depend on foreign nations for spare parts during its 40-year life cycle.
  • The Army’s life cycle cost will be drastically reduced.

K9 Vajra self-propelled Howitzer gun:

  • The gun weighs 50 tonnes and can fire 47kg bombs at a 43-kilometre distance target.
  • It can turn around at zero radii. K9 Vajra is a variant of K9 specially designed for operation in the desert areas bordering Pakistan.

DIFFO BRIDGE

GS 2: Internal Security

Why in News?

The Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the 426.60 m long ‘Pre Stressed Concrete Box Girder’ type Diffo Bridge over Diffo river on Roing-Koronu-Paya road in Arunachal Pradesh. The construction of the bridge was undertaken by the Project Udayak of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

Significance of the Diffo Bridge:

The Diffo Bridge will provide for uninterrupted access between Dibang Valley and Lohit valley region of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh together with providing an all-weather road to our troops deployed on the China border.

Project Udayank:

  • Project Udayank of the Border Roads Organisation was raised on June 1990 at Doomdooma Assam.
  • The name of the project Udayank is synonymous to the land of rising sun which fits appropriately to the area it operates.
  • It consists of two border road taskforces undertaking construction activities in the North Eastern region.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO):

  • Border Roads Organisation (BRO) develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighbouring countries. Border Road Organisation has also undertaken the infrastructure development activities in neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. The Border Roads Organisation works under the Ministry of Defence. Develop & Maintain the operational road infrastructure of General Staff (GS) in the border areas. Contribute to the socio-economic development of the border states. Developing & Maintaining roads to keep line of control through in Original Sectors and Re-deployed Sectors.
  • Executing additional tasks as laid down by the government contributing to the war effort.

USE OF SPACE TECHNOLOGY REPORT IN BORDER MANAGEMENT

GS 2: Internal Security

Why in news?

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the report of a task force created by MHA to identify areas for use of space technology in improving Border Management.

Objective:

The key aim is to strengthen island and border security and facilitate the development of infrastructure in border and island areas.

The report has identified the following areas for the use of space technology:

  • Island development
  • Border Security
  • Communication and Navigation
  • GIS and Operations Planning System
  • Border Infrastructure Development

Highlights:

  • Headed by Joint Secretary (Border Management) and comprising members from BSF, Department of Space and BM Division, MHA, the task force consulted all stakeholders including Border Guarding Forces (BGFs), ISRO, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) to finalise the report.
  • The major recommendations of the report include building capacity in BGFs to use space resources for security, operational planning and border infrastructure development.
  • To execute the project in a time bound manner, the report has proposed a short, medium and long term plan for implementation in five years in close coordination with ISRO and MoD.
  • In short term, the report proposes to meet the immediate needs of BGFs through procurement of high-resolution imagery and the hiring of bandwidth for communications.
  • In the midterm, one satellite will be launched by ISRO for the exclusive use of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Over the long term, the Home Ministry will develop ground segment and network infrastructure to share satellite resources by user agencies, develop a Central Archival Facility for storing various imagery resources and dissemination of the same to user agencies.
  • The deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in remote areas will be also coordinated by satellite communications.
  • Besides, the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) -based GPS will provide navigation facilities for operational parties in high altitude, remote and difficult borders and naxal areas.

INS KOHASSA

GS 2: Internal Security

Why in News?

  • Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur will be commissioned as INS Kohassa by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba on January 24, 2019. The move is being undertaken to enhance the operational capability of Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC). NAS Shibpur was established in 2010.
  • The NAS Shibpur was set up as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for surveillance in North Andaman. Located in the northern-most part of the islands, the airfield holds strategic importance not only for the security of the islands but also for its overall development.

INS Kohassa:

  • INS Kohassa has been named after a White-Bellied Sea Eagle, which is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • By commissioning NAS Shibpur as INS Kohassa, the ANC’s ability to operate independently from all the regions of Andaman and Nicobar Islands will get a great boost.
  • Post commissioning, the station will function as a base for joint operation of both military and civil aircraft in keeping with the UDAN scheme of the government.
  • INS Kohassa will become the third Naval Air Base in the Andaman and Nicobar islands after INS Utkrosh at Port Blair and INS Baaz at Campbell Bay.
  • As part of the Phase II expansion plan, the runway length would subsequently be extended to 3000 metre. This would enable the operation of wide-bodied civil and defence aircraft in the future.
  • Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur was established in 2001 as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for enhanced surveillance in North Andaman.
  • In 2009, the government of India accorded sanction to commission NAS Shibpur as a full-fledged air station.
  • The length of the runway was extended to 12,000 ft, enabling both day and night operations.
  • Dornier Do 228s of the navy and coast guard conducted the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from this base.
  • In 2017, it was reported that the runway length would be extended to 3000m after the acquisition of about 100 hectares of land. This enabled the operation of wide-bodied civil and defense flights.

DEFENCE INDIA STARTUP CHALLENGE

GS 2: Internal Security

Why in news?

An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) was launched in April 2018. iDEX is aimed at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Startups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.

Defence India Start Up Challenge:

Taking the iDEX initiative further, Defence India Startup Challenge “has been launched by Ministry of defence in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission, aimed at supporting Startups/MSMEs/Innovators to create prototypes and/or commercialize products/solutions in the area of National Defence and Security.

The vision of the Challenge is two-fold:

  • Help create functional prototypes of products/technologies relevant for national security (prototyping), and spur fast-moving innovation in the India defence sector.
  • Help new tech products/technologies find a market and early customer (commercialization) in the form of the Indian Defence Establishment.

Who can Apply:

  • Start-ups, as defined and recognized by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India.
  • Any Indian Company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956/2013, primarily a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) as defined in the MSME Act, 2006.
  • Individual innovators are also encouraged to apply (research & academic institutions can use this category to apply).

Indian Coast Guard conducts Exercise at sea off Port Blair: Clean Sea-2018

Why in news?

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has conducted Regional Level Marine Oil Pollution Response Exercise titled ‘Clean Sea– 2018’ at the sea off Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar (A&B) Islands.

Highlights:

  • The objective of the exercise was to ascertain preparedness of IGC, resource agencies and other stakeholders in responding to a major oil spill in line with the provisions of National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP).
  • ICG ships Viswasth, Vijith, Rajveer, Rajshri, 4 interceptor boats and its air assets Dornier and Chetak helicopters participated in the exercise.
  • The exercise was conducted in two phases for synchronizing support and cooperation provided by all stakeholders for combating oil spills in such ecologically sensitive areas.
  • The exercise saw participation of ICG Pollution Control Vessel and integration of ICG Dornier/Chetak aircraft into Oil Spill Disaster Management System for aerial assessment and delivery of Oil Spill Dispersant for mitigation of spilled oil.
  • The exercise was planned to evaluate preparedness for Response Operations for any such oil pollution incident in the highly sensitive area of A&B islands.

Significance of the exercise:

  • Great Channel between Nicobar Islands and Northern Sumatra that leads into Malacca Straits is a marine drive of high seas.
  • Almost 200 ships cross 160-km wide Straits daily making it among busiest sea routes of world.
  • Considering, the high intensity of oil tanker traffic through this route, the area is highly vulnerable to oil spills.
  • So, the need for a robust national system for oil spill response is critical.

National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan:

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under Ministry of Defence is responsible for marine environment protection in maritime zones of India and is the coordinating authority for response to oil spills in Indian waters.
  • It has drawn up the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) and has established three pollution response centres at Mumbai, Chennai and Port Blair.
  • It mandates that all major ports in India should have basic, minimum equipment, like inflatable booms and oil skimmers, to tackle oil spill.
  • It highlights the responsibilities for individual Ports.

Objectives of the plan are:

  • To develop appropriate and effective systems for the detection and reporting of spillage of oil.
  • To ensure prompt response to prevent, control, and combat oil pollution.
  • To ensure that adequate protection is provided to the public health and welfare, and the marine environment.
  • To ensure that appropriate response techniques are employed to prevent, control, and combat oil pollution, and dispose off recovered material in an environmentally accepted manner.
  • To ensure that complete and accurate records are maintained of all expenditure to facilitate cost of recovery.

Indian Navy commissions Naval Hospital INHS Sandhani

Why in News?

  • The Indian Navy has commissioned a naval hospital ship, the INHS Sandhani at Naval station Karanja in the Raigad district of Maharashtra.

Highlights:

  • INHS Sandhani was flagged by Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra and the commissioning plaque of the hospital was unveiled by Preeti Luthra, President of NWWA (Navy Wives Welfare Association), Western Region.
  • The hospital has its origins as a small primary health care unit established in 1955.
  • As Naval station Karanja expanded rapidly over the last couple of decades, there was a need to develop the station’s healthcare services.
  • Hence the upgrade was sanctioned by the Ministry of Defence in September 2016.
  • The hospital has been expanded from a 16-bed facility to a 30-bed hospital.
  • The hospital is capable of providing treatment in the fields of General Medicine, Surgery, Gynaecology, Anaesthesia, Paediatrics and dental services to naval personnel at the station.
  • INHS Sandhani is the tenth commissioned hospital by the Indian Navy.
  • The Navy had earlier commissioned its ninth hospital ‘INHS Navjivani’ at the Indian Naval Academy in Kerala’s Ezhimala.

Information Fusion Centre (IFC) – IOR

Why in news?

  • The Navy will formally inaugurate the Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Highlights:

  • This center will provide information on “white shipping”, or commercial shipping, which will be exchanged with countries in the region to improve maritime domain awareness in the Indian Ocean.
  • White-shipping refers to commercial shipping information about movement of cargo ships.
  • The IFC has been established at the Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram, which is the single point centre linking all the coastal radar chains to generate a seamless real-time picture of the nearly 7,500-km coastline.
  • All countries that have signed white shipping information exchange agreements with India, about 21 of them, are IFC partners.

Significance:

  • The IFC-IOR is established with the vision of strengthening maritime security in the region and beyond, by building a common coherent maritime situation picture and acting as a maritime information hub for the region.
  • Establishment of the IFR-IRO would ensure that the entire region is benefited by mutual collaboration and exchange of information and understanding the concerns and threats which are prevalent in the region.
  • This will help in addressing issues related to Piracy by mutual coordination with other countries.
  • This will also help in tackling the growing influence of china in the region.

Challenges in IOR:

  • The Indian Ocean Region is vital to world trade and economic prosperity of many nations.
  • More than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR.
  • However, maritime terrorism, piracy, human and contraband trafficking, illegal and unregulated fishing, arms running and poaching pose myriad challenges to maritime safety and security in the region.
  • Response to these challenges requires enhanced situational awareness of the maritime activities in the region so as to enable security agencies function effectively.

Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN):

  • India has signed the ascension agreement to join the Trans Regional Maritime Network (T-RMN).
  • The pact will give India the access to information on ships which pass through the Indian Ocean region that will greatly help the security forces in keeping a tab on any suspicious activity.
  • The multilateral construct comprises of 30 countries and is steered by Italy.

UN Global Counter Terrorism Coordination Compact

Why in news?

  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has launched a new framework to combat the scourge of international terrorism and coordinate efforts across the peace and security, humanitarian, human rights and sustainable development sectors.
  • Termed the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, the framework is an agreement between the UN chief, 36 organizational entities, the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) and the World Customs Organisation, to better serve the needs of Member States when it comes to tackling the scourge of international terrorism.

Objectives of the agreement:

  • To bring the UN agencies together to combat terrorism with common approach and find the ways to improve the strategies to support member states.
  • To protect the people from violent extremist groups and hate speeches.
  • To adopt the strategies that do not compromise the international human rights standards and rule of law.
  • To monitor use of technology which is the main source of reaching people globally and manipulate them.
  • To devise the policies that will protect communities and their religious belief.

Need of the Framework:

  • The Global terrorism index released by Institute for Economic and Peace showed that there is a decrease in deaths due to terrorism, but the impacts of terrorism are still spreading all over the world.
  • United Nation is actively working to bring peace and cooperation among member states.
  • To combat counter terrorism UN created UN counter-terrorism implementation task force in 2005.
  • The task force consists of 38 international entities.
  • The goal of Counter terrorism Implementation task force was to organize working groups and the project related to counter terrorism.
  • Finally, on 23rd February 2018, a new agreement was signed to create more integrated working approach between the agencies and coordinate them for counter terrorism and prevention of violent extremism. UN Global counter terrorism coordination compact replaced counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force.

Ex Aviaindra 2018

Why in News?

  • The second edition of the service-specific exercise AVIAINDRA between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Russian Federation Aerospace Force (RFAF), has been commenced at Air Force Station Jodhpur in Rajasthan on December 10, 2018. This bi-annual air-service exercise will conclude on December 22, 2017.

Highlights:

  • The primary objective of this bi-annual air service exercise is to strengthen both of the air forces for anti-terrorist operations.
  • Besides strengthening air forces, it also seeks to increase cooperation and build understanding between IAF and RFAS. This air service exercise takes place in two phases.
  • This exercise allows foreign partners to participate without their assets. Indian Air Force pilots and Russian Federation Aerospace Force pilots flew aircraft when this air exercise was held at Lipetsk, Russia in September 2018.
  • Similarly, RFSAF and IAF pilots will fly aircraft during in this 12-day long service specific exercise.
  • Russia has been a major partner of India in the defence sector and the cooperation has been steadily growing further.
  • In October 2017, India and Russia held a 10-day mega war game involving their armies, navies and air forces for the first time ramp up military ties.
  • The exercise Indra, which took place in Russia, primarily focused on achieving coordination between forces of the two countries in tri-services integrated theatre command scenario.
  • It was the first time, India participated in tri-services exercise with a foreign country with large scale participation by the Navy, the Army and the Air Force.

Indian Navy to conduct TROPEX Exercise

Why in news?

  • Indian Navy will carry out its flagship huge-scale coastal defence work out Theatre Stage Operational Readiness Exercising (TROPEX) from January to March 2019 to examination robustness of total coastal security equipment.
  • As portion of TROPEX, Indian Navy will conduct substantial-scale coastal defence exercising ‘Exercise Sea Vigil’.
  • It will see participation of all operational ships, submarines and aircraft as effectively as units of Indian coast guards (ICG), Indian Military and Indian Air Power (IAF).

Exercise TROPEX:

  • Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX) is an inter-service military exercise involving the participation of the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy and the Coast Guard.
  • The exercise generally commences at the beginning of each year and lasts a month.
  • It is generally carried out in three phases: independent workup phase, joint workup phase and tactical phase.
  • It also seeks to strengthen interoperability and joint operations in a complex environment.
  • It will see participation of above 45 ships from the two Western and Japanese Naval Instructions of Indian Navy, which includes plane provider INS Vikramaditya, submarines such as nuclear powered Chakra, naval plane MiG-29K, helicopters as well as ships from Indian Coast Guard.
  • Since it’s a tri-services workout, troops from Indian Military and fighter plane from Indian Air Pressure including SU-30 MKI, Jaguars and AWACs will also take part.

Exercise Sea Vigil:

  • The Indian Navy will conduct a large-scale coastal defence exercise next month to test the robustness of the entire coastal security apparatus.
  • It will involve all stake holders across mainland and Island territories, and will see the participation of all operational ships, submarines and aircraft as well as units of Indian coast guards, Indian Army and the Indian Air Force.

India set to Build New Fighter Jet Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft

Why in News?

India’s next indigenous fighter jet – the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) – is expected to make its first flight by 2032.

Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft:

  • The aircraft will be powered by the same GE-414 engine on the LCA Mk-2 variant which is in the design phase.
  • A GE-414 produces 98kN thrust compared to 84kN thrust of the GE-404 engine which is on the LCA Mk1.
  • The Indian Air Force has given land to the Defence Research and Development Organisation to set up facilities for the project.
  • The plan is to build on the capabilities and expertise developed during the development of the light combat aircraft (LCA) and produce a medium fifth generation fighter aircraft.
  • At Aero India 2016, DRDO officials had stated that the basic design configuration has been frozen after wind tunnel testing and there are three critical technologies that need to be developed — stealth, thrust vectoring and super cruise.

Improvising Stealth Capacity:

  • There are two major ways of making a military platform stealthier. One is geometric stealth and other is material stealth.
  • In geometric stealth, the shape of the aircraft is designed at such angles so as to deflect away maximum radar waves thereby minimising its radar cross section.
  • In material stealth, radar-absorbing materials are used in making the aircraft which will absorb the radio waves thus reducing the radar footprint.
  • The AMCA will initially be based on geometric stealth.

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