Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2016

India, France ink deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets

India and France has signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of 7.87 billion Euros.

The deal was signed by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian. Eric Trappier in New Delhi.

This is the first fighter aircraft deal signed by India with other country since the purchase of Sukhoi aircrafts from Russia in the late 1990’s.

Key Facts

  • The defence deal includes the aircraft in fly-away condition, simulators, weapons, spares, maintenance, and Performance Based Logistics support for five years.
  • The Rafale is a twin-engine fighter, multi-role fighter aircraft manufactured by French aviation company Dassault.
  • These aircrafts is capable of carrying out all combat missions such as interception, air defence, in-depth strikes, ground support, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes and nuclear deterrence.
  • They will come with various India- specific modifications including Israeli helmet mounted displays, low band jammers, radar warning receivers, infra-red search and tracking, 10 hour flight data recording, towed decoy systems among others.
  • The weapons package of deal includes Meteor radar guided Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile which is considered the best in the class with range of over 150 kms.
  • It also includes Scalp long range air to ground missiles. Meteor missile has a superior BVR than any of its competitor in the South Asia region.

Comment

  • The Rafale fighter jets are likely to succeed ageing fleet of Indian Air Force (IAF’s) Mirage fighters for nuclear warhead delivery as part of India’s nuclear doctrine.
  • They will be stationed at two IAF bases, Sarsawa in Haryana and Hasimara in West Bengal.
  • Integration of Meteor missile on Rafale jets give IAF air superiority to hit targets inside both Pakistan and across northern and eastern borders while staying within India’s territorial boundary.

Background

The deal comes after 17 months of tough negotiations since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision for direct purchase of the Rafale fighter jets in fly-away condition in April 2014 citing “critical operational necessity” of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

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Union Government to launch Mission Parivar Vikas for improved family planning services

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is going to launch Mission Parivar Vikas for improved family planning services in 145 High Focus districts in seven states.

The objective of mission is to accelerate access to high quality family planning choices based on information, reliable services and supplies within a rights-based framework.

Key features of Mission Parivar Vikas

  • These districts are located in the seven high focus states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Assam.
  • They are having the highest total fertility rates and constitute 44% of the country’s population.
  • They also have a substantial impact on maternal and child health indicators. As about 25 to 30% of maternal deaths and 50% of infant deaths occur in these districts.
  • The key strategic focus of this initiative will be on improving access to contraceptives through delivering assured services, dovetailing with new promotional schemes.
  • It will also ensure building capacity (service providers), commodity security, creating an enabling environment along with close monitoring and implementation.

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India and Russia joint military exercise Indra 2016 begins

The eighth edition of joint military exercise ‘Indra-2016’ between India and Russia has begun in Russian city of Vladivostok.

The main focus of this edition of bilateral military exercise is on Counter-Terrorism Operations in semi mountainous and jungle terrain under United Nations Mandate.

Key Facts

  • The eleven days bilateral military exercise seeks to achieve interoperability in joint operations.
  • Troops from both sides would acquaint themselves with the respective approach to such counter-Terrorism operations.
  • Indian army contingent is represented by 250 soldiers from the Kumaon Regiment . It is led by Brigadier Sukrit Chadah.
  • Russian army is being represented by 250 soldiers from the 59th Motorised Infantry Brigade.

The ‘Indra’ series of annual bilateral exercises and is one of the major bilateral defence cooperation initiatives between India and Russia since 2003. The seventh edition of this military exercise or ‘Indra-2015’ was held in Bikaner district of Rajasthan, India.

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