Defence Current Affairs And Updates 31 July 2020

India may add 35,000 troops along China border as tensions simmer, changing the status quo forever

  • India is preparing to position an additional 35,000 troops along its Himalayan border with China as the possibility of an early resolution to the deadly tensions between the two neighbours fades.
  • The move would change the status quo along the contested 3,488-kilometre (2,162 mile) LAC and stretch the nation’s already tight military budget.
  • 20 Indian soldiers and unknown number of Chinese troops were killed in an ugly skirmish on June 15 and since then, both sides have rushed thousands of soldiers, artillery guns and tanks to the region. With India-China border agreements not holding, the situation required additional troops, the officials said.
  • “The nature of the Line of Control, at least in Ladakh, has changed forever,” the director of Delhi-based think-tank United Service Institution of India and retired major general, B K Sharma said. “Additional troops rushed by either side will not move back, unless there is a rapprochement at the highest political level.”
  • For now, the skirmishes have stopped. And after several rounds of high-level military talks, Beijing said troops were disengaging in most locations.
  • “Currently the two sides are actively preparing for the fifth round of commander-level talks to resolve outstanding issues on the ground,” China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular briefing in Beijing on Tuesday. “We hope the Indian side will work towards the same goal with China, implement the two sides’ consensus and jointly uphold peace and tranquillity along the border.”
  • The Indian Army did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
  • Stretched Budget: The extra deployment to eastern Ladakh comes as the Indian Army is heavily committed — from protecting the 742 kilometre (460 mile) disputed border with Pakistan, to counter insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern states and monitoring every ingress point along its border with China.
  • Strengthening border defences comes at huge cost and places new pressure on the nation’s military modernization program. While New Delhi is the world’s third-biggest military spender, its air force, navy, and the army are still equipped with weapons that are largely obsolete.
  • About 60% of defence spending goes to paying salaries for India’s 1.3 million soldiers — one of the world’s largest standing armies. What’s left is spent on past purchases, leaving the forces with obsolete equipment and not enough ammunition.
  • “The additional commitment in Ladakh would put further pressure on serviceability, research and development and capital expenditure as revenue cost rise,” Laxman Kumar Behera, a senior research fellow at the Delhi based think-tank Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses said. “It will be painful if the defence budget isn’t increased.”

Manipur: PLA terrorists ambush 4 Assam Rifles unit near Myanmar border; 3 personnel martyred, 5 injured

  • In an attack by terrorists from the local militant group People’s Liberation Army, three personnel from 4 Assam Rifles unit lost their lives and five were injured in Sadiktampak village of Chandel district of Manipur around 3 km from the border with Myanmar, on Wednesday night. The terrorists first carried out an improvised explosive device blast and then fired at the troops who were returning to their post after three days of operation along the international border.
  • “On July 29, 2020, an area domination patrol in Khongtal, Chandel dist, Manipur. At 6:45 pm the patrol party got ambushed on their way back,” a senior government officer said.
  • A group of 15 soldiers were returning from an area dominance patrol at Khongtal in Chandel area when an improvised explosive device exploded and they came under heavy fire from the members of an insurgent group, he said.
  • The martyrs have been identified as Havildar Pranay Kalita, Rifleman YM Konyak and Rifleman Ratan Salim. The injured jawans — Subedar S Hoakip, Havildar Nitul Sharma, Rifleman Vivekanan, Rifleman Sandeep Kumar and Sepoy Anish Kumar — have sustained “minor injuries” and are receiving treatment at the military hospital.
  • “The local administration and intelligence agencies are working to identify the insurgent group which carried out the attack on the patrolling party,” the officer state.
  • The casualty on the PLA side is not known. A combing operation has been launched in the area by Assam Rifles and Manipur Police personnel following this attack.
  • Assam Rifles is a paramilitary force under the Ministry of Home Affairs and comprises Indian Army soldiers & officers & their own cadre officials & officers.
  • A report published by the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) on June 23 stated that Indian insurgents from the country’s North-eastern states, who have been sheltered for years in Myanmar, present security challenges for India.
  • “In addition to being threats to national security, they are also irritants that impact India’s Act East Policy. The Indian suspicion, not without basis, is that impeding the progress of India’s Act East projects has assumed weight in China’s strategic thinking. The influx of Chinese weapons is, accordingly, in tune with such thinking,” the EFSAS said.
  • In 2015, in an attack by Naga group NSCN (K), a total of 18 Indian Army soldiers were killed in Chandel district of Manipur. As retaliation, the force had carried out strikes on Myanmar hideouts of the group.

Names of soldiers killed in Galwan clash to be inscribed on National War Memorial

  • The names of 20 Indian Army personnel, who were killed after valiantly fighting Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15, will be inscribed on the National War Memorial, officials said on Thursday.
  • They said the process for inscribing the names of the Army personnel on the memorial may take a few months.
  • Chinese and Indian troops clashed in Galwan Valley for several hours on the night of June 15 in their deadliest brawl in the last five decades.
  • Colonel B. Santosh Babu, the commanding officer of the 16 Bihar regiment, was among the Indian Army personnel killed in the clash
  • The incident significantly escalated the border tension in eastern Ladakh with India calling it “a premeditated and planned action by China”
  • The Chinese soldiers used stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs in carrying out brutal attacks on Indian soldiers after they protested the erection of a surveillance post by China around patrolling point 14 in Galwan Valley.
  • China has not disclosed the number of casualties its troops suffered. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35.
  • During a visit to Lukung forward post in eastern Ladakh on July 17, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh personally conveyed his appreciation and compliments to the troops from the Bihar regiment for displaying exemplary grit and courage in fighting the Chinese troops.
  • In his address to the soldiers, the defence minister said the Indian soldiers killed in the Galwan Valley clash not only showed exemplary courage in safeguarding the border but also protected the pride of 130 crore Indians.
  • Last month, Army Chief Gen M.M. Naravane awarded ‘Commendation Cards’ to five soldiers for their bravery in dealing with Chinese troops during the Galwan Valley clash as well as confronting rival soldiers in Pangong Tso in May.

PLA carrier plans way ahead: INS Vikrant work stays on track despite Covid

  • India has kept the construction of its indigenous aircraft carrier on track despite the Covid crisis by using innovative methods like video conferencing but the fast paced carrier build up by China remains a reason for concern, especially as Beijing is looking westward to expand influence in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The construction of the Vikrant aircraft carrier at Kochi has been on track, though other shipyards executing warship orders have lagged behind by a few months due to the Covid crisis. The ship is expected to join the Navy next year and become operational by 2022 as per current plans.
  • “At some yards, six to seven months have been lost due to the Covid crisis but CSL (Cochin Shipyard Ltd) did not take a break. A lot of effort was put in, including setting up cameras all across the ship so that original equipment manufacturers could monitor progress and work was carried out despite the crises,” sources told.
  • Other yards, like the Mumbai based Mazagaon Docks Limited (MDL), which is constructing submarines, frigates and destroyers for the Navy, may have lost over six months of time as more than half the staff could not turn up for work as the city became a Covid hotspot and the supply chain broke down.
  • However, as things stand, the Navy will have two aircraft carriers by next year, while China has been aggressively building up its carrier fleet, with current plans to field at least four of such warships. “The PLA Navy has decided to go for four carriers and all other countries in the region like Japan and South Korea are converting their ships into carriers by inducting the F 35 fighters (that can land and take off from short decks). They know air power at sea will be vital,” top sources told.
  • As reported earlier, the Navy has been pushing for another indigenously built aircraft carrier after the Vikrant joins service and has put up an operational requirement for at least three of these ships to secure maritime interests.

Army Supports Uttarakhand Locals Stuck in Floods

  • Troops of Indian Army conduct Rescue Operations for evacuation of villagers in flash flood affected areas in Dharchula, Uttarakhand. Logistics & Medical Aid are being extended to the locals.

NZDF trialling electric motorbikes

  • The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) announced on 27 July that it has begun trialling electric utility motorbikes to determine their suitability for military use.
  • The force said in a statement that, as it explores “greener” means of transport, it is testing four specially built bikes from Tauranga-based company Ubco for their suitability in areas such as reconnaissance and surveillance, and airfield security, among others.
  • “The 65 kg bikes are much lighter than normal military motorcycles, have an electric motor in each wheel, and with regenerative braking can travel up to 120 km on a single charge,” said the force, adding that the 12-month trial package includes a camouflage colour scheme, extra battery packs, a trailer and a range of spare parts.

About the World Defence Show 2022

  • World Defense Show is founded by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) the regulator, enabler, and licensor for the kingdom’s military industry. GAMI is responsible for defense sector development in line with the national commitment to localize 50% of military manufacturing by 2030.
  • This will be held from March 6 – 9, 2022 at Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.
  • WHY SAUDI ARABIA? In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 ambition, to localize 50% of domestic military expenditure, Saudi Arabia aims to be at the forefront of future defense technologies making it an increasingly important catalyst for change shaping the future of defense.
  • World Defense Show is an interactive platform for governments and industry thought leaders from across the global defense and security supply chain, to help shape the future of defense. As the defense industry continues to evolve, decision-makers are facing more complex choices regarding defense solutions than ever before. This makes interoperability across systems increasingly challenging.
  • Every two years, the show will provide insight and access to technological innovations that are shaping the defense industry: from start-ups and innovators to established multinationals. As one of the world’s top spenders in the defense sector, Saudi Arabia’s geographic location and international presence allows the kingdom to serve as the ideal location for such a show.
  • VISION: World Defense Show will serve as a platform where the global defense industry can convene, connect, and gain valuable insight and access to the latest innovation-driven defense & security solutions. The show aims to encourage integration and interoperability between air, land, sea, satellite, and security sectors, to help accelerate the future of defense.
  • MISSION: The latest addition to the global defense show circuit, World Defense Show is on a mission to develop and sustain a world leading defense & security exhibition in the heart of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Taking place at the core of the global supply chain, the show will bring together the largest players and start-up visionaries from the defense sector to collectively craft the future of defense.
  • For four trade days, World Defense Show will provide a unique platform for the world’s defense industry to network, partner, share knowledge and discover new innovations and capabilities across all defense sectors.
  • Focused on interoperability, the show will feature cutting-edge defense frameworks and multi-domain systems that allow the sectors to interoperate seamlessly.
  • World Defense Show will address the industry’s most pressing challenges, showcase pioneering innovative solutions on display throughout the exhibition halls and offer attendees access to network with leading experts from around the globe.

REVIEW QUESTIONS

  1. The names of 20 Indian Army personnel, who were killed after valiantly fighting Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15, will be inscribed on:
  2. Indian War Memorial Museum
  3. National War Memorial
  4. Jaisalmer War Museum
  5. Cavalry Tank Museum

ANSWER: B

  • Which country’s defence force has been recently trialling electric motorbikes?
  • Australia
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand

ANSWER: D

  • Which among the following statements is correct?
  • World Defense Show is founded by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI).
  • This will be held from March 6 – 9, 2022 at Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.
  • In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 ambition, to localize 70% of domestic military expenditure, Saudi Arabia aims to be at the forefront of future defense technologies.
  • 1 only
  • 1 and 2
  • 2 and 3
  • 1, 2 and 3

ANSWER: B

Hemanth Kasturi

    General Studies Tutor at SSBCrackExams, Graduate in Aeronautical Engineering, Cleared NDA, CDS, INET, AFCAT exams.

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