India-Australia Current Affairs - 2019

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Pitch Black – 18: Indian Air Force for first time participates in multinational exercise in Australia

Indian Air Force (IAF) for first time will participate in multinational air exercise Pitch Black – 18 (PB-18) in Australia hosted Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It will be three week multi-national large force employment exercise (27 July to 17 August 2018) conducted from RAAF Base Darwin and RAAF Base Tindal.

Pitch Black – 18

PB-18 Exercise will host up to 4000 personnel and up to 140 aircraft from 12 participant countries including Australia, Canada, India, Germany, Indonesia, France (New Caledonia), Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and United States.

The multilateral exercise will feature range of realistic, simulated threats found in modern and dynamic battle-space environment. It will provide opportunity to test and improve our force integration, utilising one of largest training airspace areas in the world — Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range. It will include day and night flying.

IAF contingent comprised of 145 air-warriors including Garud commando team, four Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter planes and C-130 and C-17 transport aircraft. IAF men and planes will undertake simulated air combat exercises in controlled environment and mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing its operational capability.

After completion of exercise, on its return leg from Darwin to Subang (Indonesia), IAF fighters will be refuelled in air for the first time by RAAF KC-30A. Moreover during transit to Australia, IAF contingent will also have constructive engagement with Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces. This will be IAF’s overall third participation in multilateral air combat exercises over last three years after Red Flag exercise held in United States in April-May 2016 and Blue Flag air combat drill in Israel in November 2017.

Exercise Pitch Black

It is a biennial warfare exercise hosted by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). It is normally held in Northern Australia, primarily at RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal. The aim of the exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat, in simulated war environment. It traditionally consists of red team and blue team based at separate locations, with one attacking other. The first Pitch Black exercises took place in 1981 between different RAAF units. Later in 1990, it began as training exercise between Australia and Singapore and then was expanded as multilateral exercises by inviting international air forces with which Australia has defence ties.

Cabinet approves signing of India-Australia MoU for Secondment Programme

The Union Cabinet approved signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) for Secondment Programme between India and Australia.

The MoU will be signed between Department of Economic Affairs (DEA)-Indian Economic Service Cadre and The Treasury, Government of Australia for period of three months.

Key Facts

Under the Secondment Programme, one officer from Australian Treasury will be seconded to DEA, Ministry of Finance and one officer from IES (at Deputy Secretary/Director level) nominated by IES Cadre, DEA will be seconded to Australian Treasury, Government of Australia, for period of three months.

The validity of both MoUs will terminate at end of the three months’ period of assignment and will not be extendable. The programme may be repeated in subsequent years with mutual consultation and after agreement on both sides.

Significance

Australia is one of the important bilateral partners of India. The proposed Secondment Programme will help to deepen understanding of current economic policy issues in both countries. It will also help to explore further opportunities for future collaboration and engagement. It will also provide the seconded officers with valuable and unique development opportunities and also provide exposure on global best practices.