1. INDIA—4th BIGGEST DEFENCE SPENDER LAST YEAR
The latest Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) data released recently places India as the world’s fourth biggest military spender last year. USA, followed by China lead the world military expenditure. The top ten spenders are United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, Britain, Germany, Japan and South Korea. As per the report, the total world military expenditure increased by over 2.6% to $1822 billion in 2018 from 2017. US, the largest spender in the world, enhanced its expenditure by 4.6% to $649 billion—equal to the combined expenditure by the next eight largest-spending countries. China was the second-largest military spender—an increase by 5% to $250 billion. The Indian military spending went up by 3.1% to $66.5 billion accounting for 3.7% of the global defence spending. As per the report, Pakistan with a military spending of $11.4 billion, was at the 20th place on the list.
2. RAKSHA MANTRI ATTENDS SHANGHAI CO-OPERATION ORGANISATION (SCO) IN KYRGYZSTAN
Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman attended the SCO Defence Ministers’ conclave at Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. The conclave discussed aimed at enhancing cooperation in the field of defence and security among the member countries especially in the wake of evolving security challenges in the region. During the conclave, the Raksha Mantri also held bilateral meetings with her Chinese and Russian counterparts and Chief of General Staff of Kyrgyz Armed Forces. India became the member of SCO last year.
3. INDIAN AIR FORCE DENIES REPORT ON LINKING OF INVESTIGATION INTO MI-17 HELICOPTER CRASH TO ELECTIONS
Photo of Twitter of an Indian air force
4. INDO-FRENCH NAVAL EXERCISE-VARUNA 19.1
A ten-day Indo-French joint naval exercise-Varuna 19.1 (first part), commenced off the coast of Goa on May 1, 2019. It aims at developing interoperability between the two navies and fostering mutual cooperation. The exercise will be conducted in two phases. The harbor phase includes cross-visits, professional interactions and sports events. The sea phase will include exercises across the spectrum of maritime operations. French Naval Ships participating in the exercise include their carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle, two destroyers, a frigate, a tanker and a nuclear submarine. The Indian ships include aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, a destroyer, a frigate, submarine and a tanker. The second part of the exercise, Varuna 19.2, will be held at the end of May in Djibouti. This strengthening of relations between the two countries is in line with the Joint Strategic Vision of India-French Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region signed by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the former’s State visit to India in March 2018.
5. GENERAL DALBIR SINGH SUHAG APPOINTED AS HIGH COMMISSIONER TO SEYCHELLES
Government of India has appointed General Dalbir Singh Suhag (Retd), the former Army Chief as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Seychelles. He was the Army Chief when the Indian Army conducted surgical strikes at terrorist launch pads inside Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir as also inside Myanmar to eliminate hideouts of the Naga insurgent groups. Commissioned on July 16, 1974, Suhag has held numerous important posts as he rose to the highest rank in the Indian Army.
6. BANGLADESH AIR FORCE DELEGATION VISITS TEZPUR
On April 24, 2019, a high-level Bangladesh Air Force team led by Air Vice Marshal FM Fazlul Haque visited Air Force Station Tezpur under the Eastern Air Command, IAF. The delegation was received by Air Commodore Tejpal Singh VM, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station Tezpur. Indian Air Force showcased its operational capability through display of low-level aerobatics by the SU-30 MKI, display by elite Guards and base security exercise. The visit marked a further step in the ongoing defense cooperation between the two countries and indicated the growth of defense relations between them in general and the two air forces in particular.
7. FIRE INCIDENT ONBOARD INS VIKRAMADITYA
MoD press release indicates that an incident of fire onboard the INS Vikramaditya occurred on April 26, 2019 when the ship was entering harbor in Karwar. The fire was brought under control by the crew preventing any serious damage to the ship. Lt Cdr DS Chauhan, bravely led the firefighting effort. Whilst the fire was brought under control, the officer suffered loss of consciousness owing to the smoke and fumes during the firefighting efforts. He was immediately evacuated to the Naval Hospital at Karwar—INHS Patanjali for medical attention. However, the officer could not be revived. A Board of Inquiry to investigate in to the circumstances of the incident has been ordered.
8. CONTRACT FOR ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE SHALLOW WATER CRAFT (ASW SWC)
MoD press release indicates that contracts for sixteen ASW SWC ships have been signed for construction of eight ships each from M/s CSL, Kochi and GRSE, Kolkata respectively. The delivery of ships is scheduled to commence from October 2022, with two ships per year subsequently, by each shipyard. Equipped with state-of-art indigenous Integrated Platform Management Systems, Propulsion, auxiliary, and PGD Machinery, these ships are capable of subsurface surveillance of coastal waters and lying of mines, making them a potent platform and adding another milestone to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India. In view of India's vast coastline of 7516.6 kilometers with 12 Major ports, 184 minor ports and 1197 Island territories, coastal surveillance for ASW operations is considered critical. Induction of these specialized ships with lower draught would significantly enhance coastal shallow water Anti-Submarine Warfare capability of the Indian Navy.