India-France Current Affairs

India’s first high-speed electric locomotive of 12000HP capacity launched

India’s first high-speed electric locomotive with 12000 horsepower (HP) engine has been flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Madhepura Electric Locomotive Factory in Bihar. It is first big Make-in-India project developed and completed by Indian Railways in collaboration with French firm Alstome.

Key Facts

Capacity and Speed: India’s first high-speed electric locomotive has 12000 horsepower (HP) engine with maximum speed of 110 km per hour. With this, India joins elite list of countries, including Russia, China, Germany and Sweden that have 12,000 HP and above capacity electric locomotives. Till now, most powerful electric engine in Indian Railways was of 6,000 HP.

Usage: The high horsepower electric locos are equipped with IGBT (IGBT based propulsion technology) based propulsion technology. They will have the ability to endure the tough Indian climate and will be pressed into service as freight trains. They will be used to transport coal and iron ore.

IGBT Technology

It has three-terminal power semiconductor device primarily used as electronic switch. It gives combined advantages of high efficiency and fast switching. It offers greater power gain than standard bipolar type transistor combined with the higher voltage operation and lower input losses.

Significance: The induction of heavy-haulage electric locos will help to decongest saturated routes by improving speed and carrying capacity of freight trains of Indian Railways. With 100% electrification, they will bring down operating costs of Indian Railways and also significantly cut down greenhouse gas emissions.

Background

Indian Railways had entered into agreement with France’s Alstome for manufacturing 800 high-speed locomotives. Under this pact, first five electric engines were to be imported while remaining 795 will be manufactured in India under Make in India imitative over a period of 11 years.

The total cost of this project is Rs 20,000-crore project, which includes setting up the factory at Madhepura (Bihar) and two loco maintenance depots at Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra) at cost of Rs 1,300 crore. The average cost of each locomotive is estimated to be Rs. 25 crore.

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Varuna 2018: Indian Navy hosts bilateral naval exercise with French Navy

The Indo-French joint naval exercise Varuna-18 was held in Arabian Sea off Goa coast. It was aimed to explore measures to facilitate operational-level interactions between their armed forces and increase mutual cooperation, considering the common global threats.

Key Facts

Varuna-18 was conducted in three sea areas, including the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and South Western Indian Ocean. The exercise was conducted in three phases and included anti-submarine, air defence and asymmetric engagement exercises.

The first phase of the exercise was held in Arabian Sea. The second phase was held off the Chennai coast in Bay of Bengal in April 2017 and third near France’s La Reunion Island in South Western Indian Ocean in May 2018.

This edition of exercise saw participation of French submarine and frigate Jean de Vienne from French side. The Indian Naval was represented by destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate Trikand with their integral helicopters, INS submarine Kalvari, P8-I and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as well as the Mig 29K fighter aircraft.

Background

India is major partner of France in Indian Ocean region. Maritime security is priority in India-France’s defence and security policy, along with the fight against terrorism. Indian Navy and the French Navy have been conducting naval exercises since 1983. These exercises were christened as Varuna in 2001.

The last edition of this annual bilateral exercise was conducted off French coast in April 2017. The Varuna series of exercises now has grown in scope and complexity and provides opportunity to naval forces of both countries to increase interoperability and learn from each other’s best practices.

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