Current Affairs 2017 (August)

Current Affairs 2017 (August) with Latest Current Affairs for preparation of Banking, SSC, IBPS, State Level Public Service Commission, IAS, UPSC and other exams. Current Events August 2017 news summary on current events of national and international importance.

Nirmala Sitharaman: India’s first full time woman Defence Minister

Nirmala Sitharaman (58) became first full time woman Defence Minister of India after she was promoted to the Union Cabinet. She takes charge of the crucial ministry from Union Finacne Minister Arun Jaitley.

Ms Sitharaman is second woman to become Defence Minister of India. First was former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was holding additional portfolio as Defence Minister from 1980-82.

Nirmala Sitharaman

Nirmala Sitharaman was born 18 August 1959 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Currently, she is Rajya Sabha MP representing Karnataka. She hails from Andhra Pradesh. She had obtained BA degree from Seethalakshmi Ramaswamy College, Tiruchirappalli and MA degree in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University followed by Ph.D in Indo-European textile trade within GATT framework and MPhil. She has served at Pricewaterhouse Coopers as a Senior Manager and later for the BBC World Service.

Before her elevation to Union Cabinet in NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she was Minister of State (MoS) for Finance and Corporate Affairs and Minister for Commerce and Industry with independent charge. Before that she was national spokesperson for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). She was member of National Commission for Women (NCW) from 2003-05. She is founder member of Pranava School in Hyderabad.

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SAAB, Adani Group announce collaboration for defence manufacturing

Swedish defence and security company SAAB and Indian conglomerate Adani Group have announced collaboration in defence manufacturing entailing billions of dollars of investment.

The partnership was announced mainly for design, development and production of single engine Gripen fighter jets under ‘Make in India’ if they win government contract to equip Indian Air Force (IAF) with new jets. They will compete with collaboration of US aircraft major Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) which are planning to manufacture F-16 fighter aircrafts in India.

Key Facts

The $12 billion Adani Group has interests in energy, real estate, logistics and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), among others. It has no presence in the defence sector and nor does have experience in manufacturing space either.

SAAB is manufacturer of Gripen, a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft featuring state-of-the-art technology, including advanced data links and sensors.

Background

IAF is expected to begin process for procuring 100 plus single engine fighter jets to replace ageing fleet of Russian Mig-21s and Mig-27s in service. The procurement will be under recently promulgated Strategic Partnership (SP) model of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The deal is estimated to be worth over Rs. 60,000 crore.

Under this deal, first 18 aircraft will be brought to India in a flyaway mode and rest will be manufactured in India by Indian private company with technology transfer from foreign manufacturer. Only two aircrafts are available in global market to meet IAF’s requirement criteria viz, F-16 and Gripen.

Need for new aircrafts

The IAF needs minimum strength of 42 fighter squadrons to dominate and tackle two-front collusive threat simultaneously from China and Pakistan. Currently, IAF has 32 fighter squadrons. Further due to retirement of old aircraft, numbers will further go down by 2021. By then, 11 squadrons of Mig-21 and Mig-27, which are 35 to 45 years old, will be retiring from service. So to mitigate the shortfall, IAF is procuring new advance single engine fighter aircrafts.

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