Defence & Security Current Affairs - 2019

Defence Current Affairs of 2018-19 related to India’s Defence, Indian Armed Forces, Defence Production, Defence Acquisition and related matters for SSC, States Civils, UPSC and Other Competitive Examinations.

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Defence Minister approves reform of Army headquarters

Union Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh has approved certain decisions regarding re-organisation of Army Headquarters. This approval for restructuring of Army headquarters was part of four studies conducted by Army for a leaner and more efficient force.

Key Decisions Taken

Defence Minister approved setting up separate bodies to probe allegations of wrongdoings against officials with an aim to enhance transparency and put in place a more stringent mechanism to look into corruption and human rights violations in armed forces. These Two Special Vigilance Cells approved by Defence Miister were part of the military reforms.

1. FOR CORRUPTION: A separate Vigilance Cell under COAS with Tri-Services representation

At present, the vigilance function for Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) is through multiple agencies and there is no single point interface. As per restructuring of Army headquarters an independent vigilance cell will be made functional under COAS and accordingly, ADG (Vigilance) will be placed directly under COAS for this purpose. It will have 3 Colonel-level officers including one each from Indian Army, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy. This will be done within existing posts at Army headquarters.

2. FOR HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS: An umbrella organisation under VCOAS for enhanced focus on human rights issues

It has been decided to set up a special Human Rights Section headed by ADG (Major General rank officer) directly under Vice Chief of the Army Staff (VCOAS) for giving high priority to observance of human rights convention as well as values. This Human Right section will be nodal point for examining any Human Rights violation reports. Further, to enhance transparency and ensure best of investigative expertise is available to section, a Police officer of SSP or SP rank will be taken on deputation.

Re-location of 206 Army Officers from AHQ to Formations/Units of Field Army

Defence Ministry felt that combat worthy officers who are serving in Army Headquarters should be in field units. 206 officers in total will be optimized from AHQ and who will be then be made available additionally to Formations/Units of Field Army. Among those who will be moving out of AHQ include 186 Lieutenant Colonels, 9 Colonels, 8 Brigadiers and 3 Major Generals.

Idea behind re-locating Army Officers is to enhance leadership in filed areas and enhance its operations in forward areas as number is nearly 20% of strength of these officers in Army Headquarters. Currently, the number of officers till rank of Colonel at Army Headquarters is around 1,000 to 1,100.

Reason: Less number of fighting officers on front to lead soldiers had been a long standing demand of Army. Field units had been operating with only 50% requirement of officers. S even though around 25 officers are considered ideal, the field units have been functioning with only 10-12 officers.

It is the officers who lead men in combat therefore having more of them with field units will definitely enhance operational capabilities.

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High-Level Meeting held between Indian and Sri Lankan Coast Guards

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) held a High-Level Meeting (HLM) with Sri Lanka Coast Guard at Coast Guard Headquarters in New Delhi to discuss issues of mutual safety and security. The Indian side was led by K Natarajan, Director General, Coast Guard while Sri Lankan delegation was headed by Rear Admiral Samantha Wimalathunge. A four member delegation of Sri Lanka Coast Guard is on an official visit to India from 19–23 August 2019.

Highlights of High-Level Meeting

HLM took place under provisions of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between two sides (India-Sri Lanka) for establishment of a collaborative relationship to combat transnational illegal activities at sea and develop regional co-operation.

Both sides agreed to strengthen co-operation in addressing a spectrum of maritime issues concerning safety and security.

Both sides discussed and agreed to continue capacity building of Sri Lanka Coast Guard by Indian Coast Guard, training of Sri Lanka Coast Guard personnel and mutual co-operation in multilateral forums.

Recent Developments: Apprehension of 2 fishing boats involved in drug trafficking by Sri Lanka based on information exchange undertaken by Indian Coast Guard invoking MoU was recognised as an important enabler for pursuing further collaborative response to emerging situations at sea.

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