1. INS RANJIT DECOMMISSIONED AFTER 36 YEARS OF GLORIOUS SERVICE
On May 6, 2019, INS Ranjit, a Rajput class missile destroyer of Indian Navy was decommissioned at a solemn ceremony at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam bringing to end its glorious 36 years of service. The Chief Guest for the Decommissioning ceremony was Admiral DK Joshi (Retd) Hon’ble Lieutenant Governor, Andaman & Nicobar Islands who was also a part of the commissioning crew. The ship was commissioned on 15th September 1983 by Captain Vishnu Bhagwat in erstwhile USSR. INS Ranjit has been at the forefront of major naval operations and has the distinction of serving on both Eastern and Western seaboards. Apart from various naval operations like Operation Talwar and various multinational exercises, the ship has also been a flag bearer of the Indian Navy`s benign role by participating in relief operations post Tsunami in 2004 and Hud-Hud in 2014.
2. ARMED FORCES LAUNCH MAJOR RELIEF AND REHABILITATION OPERATION POST THE CYCLONE FANI
Cyclone FANI, one of the most severe tropical cyclones to hit India in 20 years, made landfall on May 3, 2019 off the Odisha coast. Pre-emptive measures undertaken by NDRF, Indian Coast Guard, Indian Navy and the IAF resulted in minimising loss of human lives. Around 14 ICG ships and four aircraft commenced warning fishing and merchant marine community well before FANI made its landing off the coast of Odisha. More than 11 lakh people were evacuated in Odisha as a precautionary measure. A total of 34 Coast Guard Disaster Response Teams were put to action along with lifesaving equipment, basic relief material, food packets and water etc. The armed forces have launched a major relief and rehabilitation operation in Odisha in the aftermath of cyclone. Indian Navy has deployed five warships along with their helicopters and the IAF has deployed its C-130J Super Hercules, AN-32 aircraft and Mi-17 helicopters from different bases with relief material and emergency equipment. The streamlining of procedures by the ever vigilant NDRF was instrumental in minimising losses.
3. FAMILIARISATION TOUR OF DEFENCE ATTACHES OF 29 COUNTRIES
Defence cooperation is an important pillar of India's diplomacy. Towards this the Indian Army conducted a familiarisation tour of Defence Attaches of 29 countries to Nathu La and other places of tourist interest in Sikkim on May 1 and 2, 2019. The visit showcased the operational challenges and difficult environment under which Indian Army operates in these remote and inhospitable terrain. Visiting Defence Attaches also experienced India's rich cultural heritage. A unique feature of the visit was the that during the tour Maj Gen Yu Haibo, Defence Attaché of China had the opportunity to meet the PLA officers and soldiers across the wire fence that demarcates the border between two nations at Nathu la. In the picture he is seen hugging a PLA officer across the wire fence that demarcates this border.
4. DEFENCE ACQUISITIONS COUNCIL (DAC) GIVES INITIAL APPROVAL TO BUY 10 KAMOV-31 AEW HELICOPTERS
The DAC headed by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved the Rs 3,600 crore proposal to buy 10 Kamov-31 AEW Helicopters for the Indian Navy. The rotating radar system of Ka-31 has the capability of scanning for targets on the surface of the sea or on land. These helicopters, intended for use in the role of airborne early warning are crucial for enhancing the Indian Navy’s radar coverage.
5. IAF FIGHTER AIRCRAFT OPERATE FROM CIVIL AIRFIELDS IN EASTERN AIR COMMAND
IAF fighter aircraft conducted day and night operations from various civil airfields of the Eastern Air Command with aim to validate the use of civil airfields for fighter operations by day and night and streamline procedures with civil agencies. The two-day operations were conducted on May 1 and 2, 2019. The SU-30MKI aircraft operated from Kolkata and Guwahati while the Hawks operated from Andal airfield. Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, Senior Air Staff Officer, Eastern Air Command, expressed satisfaction with the exercise and emphasised the significance of operating from Kolkata as it was vital for maritime operational requirement (@SpokespersonMoD).
6. 59TH BORDER ROADS ORGANISATION (BRO) RAISING DAY
BRO, the leading road construction agency under the MoD celebrated its 59th Raising Day this week. Its primary role is to provide road connectivity in border areas through construction and maintenance works along the Northern and Western frontiers. It has also constructed roads in friendly foreign countries like Bhutan, Myanmar, Afghanistan etc. thus contributing towards Indian strategic objectives in the region. On this occasion, DG BRO, Lieutenant General Harpal Singh conveyed his greetings to all Veterans and BRO Personnel and called upon them to continue on the path of excellence with renewed vigour and dedication.
7. LAUNCH OF FOURTH SCORPENE CLASS SUBMARINE – VELA
As per a MoD press release, Vela the fourth Scorpene class submarine being constructed by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) was launched on May 6, 2019, by Mrs Veena Ajay Kumar, wife of Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary Defence Production, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. Vela will undergo rigorous harbour and sea trials before delivery to the Indian Navy. The contract for the construction and Transfer-of-Technology for six Scorpene class submarines in series, has M/s Naval Group (formerly DCNS) of France as ‘Collaborator’ and are being built by MDL. Presently Eight Warships and five submarines are under construction at MDL. n