Nirmala Sitharaman Current Affairs
The 12th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) and 5th ADMM-Plus was held on October 19 and 20, 2018 Singapore. ADMM and ADMM-Plus serves as key Ministerial-level platforms in regional security architecture for promoting strategic dialogue and practical cooperation between ASEAN and its partners. The conferences were attended by defence ministers from India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and US. India was represented by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. This was second time Singapore has chaired ADMM since its establishment in 2006 and first time to chair ADMM-Plus since its establishment in 2010.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
ASEAN is regional intergovernmental organisation comprising 10 Southeast Asian countries, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration. 10-member ASEAN comprise of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos. India is a full dialogue partner of the ASEAN.
ADMM-Plus is platform for ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners to strengthen security and defence co-operation for peace, stability, and development in the region. Its objective is to promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency. The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2010. The defence ministers then had agreed on five areas of practical cooperation, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance.
Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for Indian Navy at cost of over Rs 21,000 crore. DAC is Union Defence Ministry’s highest decision making body on capital procurement of Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force).
The procurement of 111 utility helicopters will be first project under Defence Ministry’s prestigious Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that aims at providing significant fillip to Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme. Several aviation majors including Airbus (Eurpore), Kamov (Russia) and Bell (US) have offered their bids for this project in addition to state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Indian Navy will shortlist helicopter it wants after extensive evaluation process which will be followed by contract where most of these helicopters will need to be built in the country in conjunction with local partners. The contract when finalised will result in vibrant and wide-spread Defence industrial eco-system in Indian Aviation Sector with private industry and MSMEs as major stakeholders.
Strategic Partnership (SP) Model
It envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by Indian Strategic Partner, who will collaborate with foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacutures), acquire niche technologies and set up production facilities in country. The model has long-term vision of promoting India as manufacturing hub for defence equipment. It will help in enhancing self-sufficiency and establishing an industrial and R&D ecosystem, capable of meeting future requirements of Indian Armed Forces.