Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Current Affairs - 2020

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IAF resurrects 17th Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ to operate Rafale aircraft

Indian Air Force (IAF) has resurrected the Air Force Station (AFS) Ambala-based Number 17 Squadron, also known as ‘Golden Arrows’, which will operate the 1st squadron of Rafale fighter jets in near future. The resurrection ceremony of 17th Squadron was presided over by IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal (ACM) B.S. Dhanoa.

First batch of Rafale jets are scheduled to be formally handed over to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 8 October in France and are set to arrive in India in May 2020.

IAF also plans to resurrect another former MiG-21 squadron, 101 Squadron also called as ‘Falcons’, which too was ‘number-plated’ (removed from active list, and its identity mothballed for future use) and were later decommissioned as part of IAF’s long-term plan to phase decades-old aircraft out of service. 101 Squadron, the 2nd Rafale squadron, will be based in Hashimara to operate on Sino-Indian front.

About 17th Squadron: ‘Golden Arrows’

The resurrected17 Squadron aka Golden Arrows will be the first IAF squadron to be equipped with state of the art Rafale fighter aircraft. Rafale is an extremely capable, 4th generation, multirole aircraft with advanced weapons.

This Rafale squadron will be based in Ambala and operationally committed to India-Pakistan frontier.

Combat history of 17 Squadron: It was formed at Ambala in 1951 and was equipped with Harvard-II B fighter. By November 1955, the Squadron converted fully to De Havilland Vampire and by 1957 Hawker Hunter fighter aircraft were flown by ‘Golden Arrows’, which it flew with distinction in 1971 war (Bangladesh Liberation War), winning numerous gallantry awards.

In December 1961, Golden Arrows actively participated in Goa Liberation Campaign and in 1965 operations as a reserve force.

In 1975, the Squadron converted to Mig-21 M and on November 1988, the Squadron was presented ‘Colours’ by then President of India R Venkataraman.

Under the command of then Wing Commander and current ACM BS Dhanoa, the squadron distinguished itself in Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ (or 1999 kargil conflict).

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh meets his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeong-doo

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held talks with his South Korean counterpart Jeong Kyeongdoo, Minister of National Defence, on the second day of his 3-day visit to Republic of Korea (ROK) in Seoul. Indian Defence Minister is on a three-day visit to South Korea with an aim to intensify bilateral defence and security relations.

Key Highlights of Meet

Two leaders comprehensively reviewed bilateral defence co-operation between the countries and noted that defence co-operation lies at heart of Special Strategic Partnership between India and ROK. Both also exchanged views on regional and international developments of mutual interest.

Discussions were held on ongoing co-operation at Service-to-Service level and prospects for enhanced co-operation between defence industries of India and Korea.

Agreements Signed: To further the defence educational exchanges and to extend logistical support to each other’s Navies both countries signed two major agreements. This agreement is expected to enhance defence co-operation between two countries.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also paid homage at National Cemetery of Korea to brave martyrs who had laid down their lives for Korean nation. He also visited War Memorial to which he presented a copy of citation received by Indian 60th Para Field Hospital for its exceptional contributions during Korean War (1950 –1953).

India-Korea Defence Ties

India is already developing strong military hardware cooperation with South Korea as Indian Army has already inducted K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers (which is a modified version of South Korea’s Samsung-Techwin K-9 Thunder) built in partnership with Indian firm Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and South Korean Hanwha Techwin.