Defence Current Affairs 2017

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India-South Korea sign MoU on shipbuilding

A MoU has been signed between India and South Korea for defence industry cooperation in shipbuilding. Under the MoU, the two countries would recommend the organisations for collaborating in the implementation of specific projects. The MoUs signed will be valid for a time period of 5 years and are automatically extendable for further successive five years at a time.

While South Korea is yet to name its recommended organisation, India has nominated Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), Visakhapatnam for the collaboration.

HSL and the nominated shipyard by South Korea will find and develop indigenous sources for the supply of majority of the material and equipment for the construction of the warship. HSL has already teamed with Hyundai Heavy Industries to build five fleet support ships and two strategic operating vessels.

In addition to the above project, Kangnam Corporation of South Korea is slated to provide consultancy, design and technological assistance to India’s state-owned Goa Shipyard Limited in building 12 mine countermeasures vessels.

Significance

The cooperation is part of the ‘Make in India’ policy. Accordingly, the warships will be built at domestic shipyards with the help of South Korea. This will enable HSL to upgrade and modernise its facilities and finish shipbuilding projects in a timely and cost effective manner. It would be able to imbibe best practices in shipbuilding. As a result of which, the production of HSL will increase manifold leading to the creation of more employment opportunities to the unemployed.

In addition, the plan to identify and develop indigenous sources for the supply of material and equipment would pave way for the development of ancillary industry /maritime cluster in the region.

Background

The partnership was conceived under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership‘ as declared in the Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers of both the nations in May 2015. Subsequently, the two countries agreed to encourage co-operation between their shipyards in the defence sector.

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12th Indo-Mongolian Joint Military Exercise Nomadic Elephant held in Vairengte  

The twelfth 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. 

Key Facts 
  • The two week exercise (from 5 to 18 April 2017), is aimed at training the troops in Counter Insurgency & Counter Terrorism Operations (CICT Ops) under the United Nations mandate.
  • In this edition of exercise, Indian Army is represented by a contingent comprising of three officers, four JCOs and 39 soldiers of the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles.
  • While, Mongolian Army is represented by nine officers and 36 soldiers of the elite 084 Special Forces Task Battalion.
  • In this edition, both countries will lay emphasis on conducting operations by joint subunit, comprising of troops from both armies, in adverse operational conditions to enhancing interoperability between them.
  • It encompasses important aspects like convoy protection, room intervention drills, ambush/counter-ambush drills while jointly conducting counter-terrorist operations under the UN mandate.

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India ink defence deals with Israel for advanced MRSAM

India and Israel have inked defence deals worth over $2 billion for advanced medium-range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) systems.

As part of the deal, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will provide the Indian Army with Barak-8 advanced MRSAM systems.

About MRSAM

  • MRSAM is an advanced ground breaking air and missile defence system that can provide ultimate protection against a variety of aerial threats such as hostile aircraft, missiles and drones.
  • It has been developed jointly by IAI and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Other firms involved in project include Rafael, Bharat Electronics Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited and L&T.
  • The system includes advanced phased-array radar, command and control systems, mobile launchers and missiles with advanced RF seekers.
  • Using its Multi-Function Surveillance and Threat Alert Radars (MF-STARs), as well as weapon control systems with data links, it can detect and track hostile aerial threats at a range of 100-km and destroy them at 70-km.
  • The MRSAM is operational with the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy and Israel Defense Forces. Its deployment in Indian Army will help in plugging the existing holes in India’s air defence coverage.
Comment

Israel currently is the fourth-largest arms supplier to India after the US, Russia and France. The MRSAM systems defence deal between India and Israel will further tighten the bilateral strategic partnership between both countries ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impending visit to Israel in July 2017.

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