Current Affairs – December 2016

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India, Russia bilateral naval exercise Indra Navy 2016 begins 

The ninth edition of exercise INDRA NAVY, an annual bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy began in the Bay of Bengal.

The primary aim of exercise INDRA NAVY-16 is to increase inter-operability amongst the two navies and develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.

Key Facts
  • The scope of the exercise includes wide-ranging professional interactions in harbor phase and a diverse canvas of operational activities across a spectrum of maritime operations at sea.
  • The exercise will be held in two phases viz. Harbour Phase (14 to 18 December 2016) at Visakhapatnam and tSea Phase (19 to 21 December 2016) off Visakhapatnam.
  • The Harbour Phase will encompass table-top exercises, planning conferences, and professional interactions prior progressing to sea.
  • The thrust of exercises at sea will be on Air Defence Drills, ASW, Surface Firings, visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and Tactical procedures.
  • Indian Navy will be represented by INS Ranvir a guided missile destroyer, INS Satpura an indigenous frigate and INS Kamorta an indigenous Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) corvette.
  • In addition, an INS submarine, Dornier Short Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, P8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft and other integral rotary wing helicopters will also participate.
  • Russian Navy (RuFN) will be represented by Rear Admiral Eduard Mikhalov, Deputi Chief of Flotilla, Pacific Fleet and ships from the Pacific Fleet, based at Vladivostok. RuFN ships Admiral Tributus (cruiser) and Boris Butoma (fleet tanker) are part of the fleet.
Background

INDRA NAVY is a bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian and Russian navies was initiated in 2003. It epitomizes the strategic relationship between the two countries. Over the years, the exercise has matured with increase in scope, complexity of operations and level of participation.

Comment

Exercise INDRA NAVY 16 will help to further strengthen mutual confidence and inter-operability, and also enable sharing of best practices between both navies. It will be another milestone in strengthening maritime security cooperation between Indian and Russia. It will also serve to reinforce the long standing bond of friendship between the two countries.

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India becomes world’s 4th largest defence spender

According to the recently released 2016 IHS Jane’s Defence Budgets report, India has become the world’s fourth largest defence spender.

In this edition of report published by US research firm IHS Inc, India has surpassed Russia, France, Japan and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s fourth largest defence spender. 

Key Highlights from report
  • United States, China, and the UK remain the top three defence spender in the world. In 2016, the total global defence spending increased to $1.57 trillion.
  • US tops with mammoth defence spending of $622 billion. China is second with defence spending of $191.75top-10-defence billion.
  • India had spent $50.6 billion in 2016 on defence sector, up from $46.6 billion the year 2015. Thus, India spends some 1.8% of its GDP on defence. Of this, up to 36% is spent on capital acquisition.
  • Over the next few years, India will re-emerge as a key growth market for defence suppliers to fulfill its military focused modernisation. India will surpass the UK in defence spending by 2018.
  • India needs to spend some $130 billion to modernise its military over the next seven years.
  • NDA Government since coming to power in May 2014 has laid tremendous stress on ramping up the country’s defence facilities.
  • India also has been looking at increasing share of domestic manufacturing in defence goods. The foreign direct investment (FDI) limit for the defence sector in India also has been raised to 49%.
  • India’s defence and aerospace market is among the most attractive globally. Government is keen to leverage this advantage to promote investments in the sector.

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NASA building robotic spacecraft to refuel, repair satellites in orbit

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is building a robotic spacecraft dubbed as ‘Restore-L Spacecraft’ to refuel, repair satellites currently in orbit.

In this regard, NASA has awarded a $127 million contract to California-based satellite company Space Systems/Loral to build Restore-L Spacecraft.

Space Systems/Loral will provide NASA with spacecraft bus, critical hardware and services for the Restore-L mission. This mission will be launched in 2020 to perform in-orbit satellite servicing in low-Earth orbit.

Key Facts
  • The robotic spacecraft (Restore-L Spacecraft) will be outfitted with the latest tools and technologies to repair, refuel or service satellites currently in orbit.
  • It will help in extending life of existing satellites and reduce operation costs. It can also be used for cleaning space debris or testing asteroid platforms.
  • The Restore-L Project is managed within NASA’s Satellite Servicing Projects Division located Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

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