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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Operation Bandar: IAF’s code name for Balakot Airstrike

The preemptive non military air strike conducted by Indian Air Force (IAF) on a terrorist training camp in Balakot, Pakistan, on 26 February 2019 was code-named Operation Bandar (Monkey).

Key Highlights

The code name was given as a nondescript, mundane tag to the air strikes, in order to maintain secrecy and ensure that plans about Balakot operations don’t leak out.

Although as per the defence officials there was not any specific reason behind the name chosen but in general a monkey have had a cultural significance and held a special place in India’s war culture such as in Ramayana, where Lord Rama’s lieutenant Lord Hanuman swiftly sneaked into Lanka and destroyed entire capital city of Ravana.

The Indian Air Force is planning to reward IAF pilots who took part in attack with Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) for their acts of bravery.

About Balakot Air Strike

As a response to Pulwama terror attack which claimed the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) security personnel and whose responsibility was taken  by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), 12 IAF Mirage-2000 fighter jets struck on JeM training camp in in Balakot town of Khyber Pakhtunwa province  inside Pakistan in early hours on 26 February with precision guided munitions.

The IAF pilots carried out pre-dawn attacks by dropping five Spice 2000 bombs on their designated targets and returned to their bases. The aircraft used in strike belonged to No 7 and No 9 squadrons of IAF and included non-upgraded planes.

On one hand some of Mirage aircraft carried out attack on Jaish positions while a team of other few Mirages and Su-30MKI combat aircraft were engaged in keeping Pakistan air force planes away from causing any hindrance to Balakot operation or launching any counter-offensive.

The operations were ably supported by indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control systems (AEW&C) plane Netra and IAF had also kept its Garud commandos team on stand-by for any kind of emergency oparation.

Indian Navy launches Operation Sankalp in Persian Gulf

Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Sankalp’ in Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman to reassure safe passage of Indian flagged vessels transiting through area. This deployment is in the wake of following recent maritime incidents in region.

Key Highlights

Indian Naval Ships, INS Chennai (Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyers) and INS Sunayna (Saryu-class patrol vessel) have been deployed in region to undertake maritime security operations. In addition to this aerial surveillance is also being done in area by IN aircraft.

The Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) of Indian Navy is also keeping a close watch on movement of ships in Gulf region. IFC-IOR, launched in December 2018, engages with partner nations to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and also share information on vessels of interest.

Need: Operation Sankalp has been launched in wake of escalating tension in Gulf of Oman, where two oil tankers, one Norwegian-owned and other Japanese-owned were attacked on 13 June 2019. This incident has led to heightened tensions between Iran and United States (US). Although, it remains unclear that who was responsible for attacks but US has put the blame on Iran, which, in turn, has denied all allegations.

Importance of Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman

World’s major oil exporters and importers have a joint interest in security of Gulf of Oman this is because Gulf of Oman offers the only entrance from Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean into Persian Gulf.

Persian Gulf is an arm of Arabian Sea, lies between Arabian Peninsula and Iran, extending from Shatt al Arab delta to Strait of Hormuz. Approximately 50% of world’s total oil reserves are estimated to be found here.