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Indian Armed Forces- Year End Review 2023

2023 was a landmark year for Ministry of Defence (MoD) as giant strides were made towards realising the vision of the Government, led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to...

2023 was a landmark year for Ministry of Defence (MoD) as giant strides were made towards realising the vision of the Government, led by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, to create a strong, secure, self-reliant, and inclusive India. Efforts to achieve ‘Aatmanirbharta’ in defence and Armed Forces modernisation surged ahead with renewed thrust, with the country witnessing record defence exports and all-time high defence production. 

Year End Review 2023

Strengthening border Infrastructure, utilising Nari Shakti and ensuring Ex-Servicemen Welfare have been at the core of the functioning of MoD under the guidance of Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh and these have moved forward with unprecedented pace and vigour.


Aatmanirbharta in Defence

Defence Acquisition

Border Infrastructure

Nari Shakti

Defence Exports

Military Exercises

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Aatmanirbharta in Defence

Positive Indigenisation Lists

Record Defence Production

Record Defence Exports

Separate Budget for Domestic Industry

HAL Helicopter Factory

PM’s Tejas Sortie

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Positive Indigenisation Lists: Fifth Positive Indigenisation List (PIL) of Department of Military Affairs (DMA) comprising 98 items was released by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh during the plenary session of ‘Swavlamban 2.0’. The list includes Highly complex systems, sensors, weapons and ammunition have been included in the list. All these items will be procured from indigenous sources as per provisions given in Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 in staggered timeline. 

Record Defence Production: The value of defence production in Financial Year (FY) 2022-23 crossed the figure of Rs one lakh crore for the first time ever. It was Rs 95,000 crore in FY 2021-22. The Government is continuously working with defence industries and their associations to remove the challenges faced by them and promote defence production in the country. Due to these policies, the industries, including MSMEs and start-ups, are forthcoming in defence design, development & manufacturing and there is almost a 200% increase in the number of defence licenses issued to the industries in the last 7-8 years by the Government.

Record Defence Exports: Through consistent policy initiatives of the Government and tremendous contribution of the defence industry, defence exports reached an all-time high of approx. Rs 16,000 crore in FY 2022-23, almost Rs 3,000 crore more than the previous financial year. It a rise of over 10 times since 2016-17. India is now exporting to over 85 countries. Indian industry has shown its capability of design and development to the world, with 100 firms exporting defence products at present.

Separate Budget for Domestic Industry: Record 75 per cent (approx. Rs one lakh crore) of the defence capital procurement budget was earmarked for domestic industry in FY 2023-24, up from 68 per cent in 2022-23. This was announced by the Raksha Mantri during 14th Aero India in Bengaluru. In FY 2023-24, Ministry of Defence was allocated a total Budget of Rs 5.94 lakh crore, which is 13.18 per cent of the total budget (Rs 45.03 lakh crore). Capital outlay pertaining to modernisation and infrastructure development was increased to Rs 1.63 lakh crore.

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Defence Acquisition Council: In 2023, Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh, approved in its meetings proposals worth a total of over Rs 3.50 lakh crore to enhance the operational preparedness of the Armed Forces.

 In a meeting held in November, the DAC accorded approval in respect of Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) for various Capital Acquisition Proposals amounting to Rs 2.23 lakh crore, of which, acquisition worth Rs 2.20 lakh crore (98% of total AoN amount) will be sourced from domestic industries. Procurement of Light Combat Helicopters & Light Combat Aircraft Mk 1A from HAL got a nod. The AoNs were also accorded by the DAC for upgradation of Su-30 MKI aircraft indigenously from HAL. Medium-Range Anti-Ship Missiles for surface platform of the Indian Navy was also accorded approval. Acquisition of Towed Gun System was cleared to replace Indian Field Gun.

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Infrastructure Projects: 118 infrastructure projects of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) were dedication to the Nation by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh this year. In September, he launched 90 infrastructure projects, worth over Rs 2,900 crore, spread across 11 States/Union Territories. The projects were inaugurated at an event in Jammu.

These include Nechiphu Tunnel in Arunachal Pradesh; two airfields; two helipads; 22 roads and 63 bridges. Of these 90 projects, 36 are in Arunachal Pradesh; 26 in Ladakh; 11 in Jammu & Kashmir; five in Mizoram; three in Himachal Pradesh; two each in Sikkim, Uttarakhand & West Bengal and one each in Nagaland, Rajasthan and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. 

Budget: The budget expenditure of BRO reached a record high of Rs 12,340 crore in FY 2022-23 with a 100% jump in the funds allocated under GS Capital Head over the preceding two years which now stands at Rs 5,000 crore.

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Nari Shakti

Shattering the glass ceiling, Captain Shiva Chauhan became the first woman officer to get operationally deployed in Kumar Post, Siachen Glacier in January. Siachen is the world’s highest battlefield. In December, Captain Geetika Koul became the first woman medical officer to be deployed at Siachen after successfully completing the induction training at Siachen Battle School. Days later, Captain Fatima Wasim became the first woman medical officer to be deployed on an operational post on the Siachen Glacier.

  • Lt Cdr Prerna Deosthalee was named as the first woman officer to command a Indian Naval Warship.
  • The induction of Women Officers in the Regiment of Artillery is under progress. 10 Women officers were commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery during 2023
  • The Indian Air Force deployed Group Captain Shaliza Dhami to take over the command of a frontline combat unit in the Western sector. She is the first woman to command any combat unit of IAF.
  • Sqn Leader Manisha Padhi was named as India’s first Woman Aide-De-Camp (ADC) to a Governor (Mizoram).
  • Army Medical Corps Officer Col Sunita became the first woman to command Armed Forces Transfusion Centre, Delhi Cantt, the largest blood transfusion centre of the Armed Forces.
  • Air Marshal Sadhna S Nair assumed the appointment of Director General Hospital Services (Armed Forces) in the office of DG Armed Forces Medical Services, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
  • The process for induction of women officers in Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) commenced in March. Four have been inducted into RVC this year.
  • 30 Army Girl Cadets are under training in National Defence Academy.
  • Raksha Mantri approved a proposal for extension of rules for Maternity, Child Care and Child Adoption Leaves for women soldiers, sailors and air warriors in the Armed Forces at par with their officer counterparts.
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2023 is the Year of Transformation for the Indian Army. The process of transformation hinges on the five pillars- ‘Force Structuring & Optimisation’, ‘Modernisation & Technology Infusion’, ‘Systems, Processes & Functions’, ‘Human Resource Management’ and ‘Jointness & Integration’.

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Indian Navy  (IN) has constantly strived towards achieving ‘Self-Reliance through Indigenisation’ and synchronised the efforts in tandem with various flagship schemes of the Government viz., ‘Make’, ‘Technology Development Fund’ and ‘Innovation for Defence Excellence’, in addition to procurements under the ‘Revenue’ route. IN has been the torch bearer amongst the three Services to leverage the distinct advantages of Govt schemes and has engaged actively with industry partners including MSMEs and Start-ups, to encourage their active participation in our Indigenisation Programmes.

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 In pursuance of India’s endeavor for self-reliance, Ministry of Defence is promulgating ‘Positive Indigenisation Lists’ at periodic intervals. The fifth PIL was released in October with 98 items, out of which 13 pertain to IAF. IAF has also facilitated joint exercises through the ambit of Yojna plan which
synergises joint training with sister services. These were aimed a practicing/ review of Air Strategy and Conops in joint environment.

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Aero India 23

The 14th edition of Aero India 23 was held at AFS Yelahanka from 13 to 17 Feb 23. AF was tasked with provision of venue, conduct of Flying Display, Static Display, Security, Disaster Management within the Station, Medical Services and the fire prevention measures in coordination with State Govt. Fly past by 13 formations of IAF and indigenous aircraft (except P-81) flown by IAF, IA, ICG and IN was the signature event on the inaugural day. The multi directional fly-past added to the visual appeal and thrill of the event. Flying display was conducted only once during the business days and twice during public days.

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Bharat Drone Shakti-2023 

Bharat Drone Shakti 2023, a drone exhibition-cum-display event, jointly organized by the Indian Air Force and the Drone Federation of India (DFI) was inaugurated by the Raksha Mantri, at Air Force Station Hindon on 25 Sep 23. It was a two day event featuring over 75 drone start-ups from across the country that showcased the capabilities of the Indian drone industry through a series of aerial static demonstrations. The event is a key milestone in the Govt of India initiatives to make India a major drone hub by the year 2030. The drones featured can be employed in a variety of military and civil applications. By co-hosting this event, the IAF seeks to bolster the drone ecosphere in the country.

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In alignment with the Government’s strategic vision for Digital Armed Forces, a contract was signed between Ministry of Defence and Telecommunications Consultants India Limited, worth at a total cost of Rs 588.68 crore, for the acquisition of Digital Coast Guard (DCG) project, under the Buy (Indian) category. The DCG Project will unfold a comprehensive narrative of technological progression, encompassing the construction of an advanced Data Centre, the establishment of a robust Disaster Recovery Data Centre, amplification of connectivity across ICG sites, and the development of the ERP system.

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In a major step towards promoting digitisation and in sync with Digital India mission, Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh launched an NCC Integrated Software in July. The software, developed in partnership with Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo Informatics, is a single window interactive software for Cadets, designed on the ‘Entry to Exit Model’. It is based on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Once a Cadet always a cadet’, and will digitalise the entire process from the stage of enrolment as a cadet in NCC till exit registration as alumni. 

 The National Cadet Corps (NCC), the largest uniformed youth organisation in the world raised in 1948, celebrated its 75th Anniversary on November 26, signifying a momentous chapter in its legacy of honing youth with core principles such as discipline, leadership, and unwavering patriotism. 

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Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh approved the setting up of 23 New Sainik Schools in partnership mode, taking the tally of such schools functioning under Sainik School Society to 42. This number is apart from the existing 33 Sainik Schools already functioning under the erstwhile pattern. The objectives behind Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of setting up of 100 new Sainik Schools is to provide quality education to the students in tune with National Education Policy.

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  • Akash-NG: Flight trial of new generation Surface-to-Air Missile Akash-NG was conducted against a Banshee target from the Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, Odisha. It is meant for use by Indian Air Force with an aim of intercepting high manoeuvring low RCS aerial threats. The system has been developed with better deployability compared to other similar systems with canisterised launcher and much smaller ground system footprint.
  • ITCM Missile: Indigenous Technology Cruise Missile is a new generation ‘Long Range Land Attack Cruise Missile’ being developed for land and sea platforms. Flight trial was conducted on 21st Feb 2023 form the Integrated Test Range, Balasore, Odisha.
  • Maiden test of ASTRA BVRAAM Missile on LCA Tejas: ASTRA is a state-of-the-art BVR ‘Air-to-Air missile’ to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aerial targets. Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, successfully fired the ASTRA indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile.
  • Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile: MPATGM is a 3rd generation ATGM with ‘Fire & Forget’ and ‘Top Attack’ capabilities with day and night operational capability. Flight Trials of MPATGM was conducted for a range of 2.5 Km at NOAR, Kurnool.
  • Very Short Range Air Defence System: VSHORADS is a 4th generation Man Portable Air Defence System system, it employing state of art uncooled imaging infrared seeker. The missile was flight tested against high speed unmanned aerial targets, simulating approaching and receding aircraft from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha.
  • Medium Range Surface to Air Missile for Indian Navy: MRSAM for the Indian Navy is a joint development programme of DRDO and Israeli Aero Space Industries, Israel. The weapon system provides a point and area defence for P15A ships of the Indian Navy against a vast variety of aerial threats including fighter aircrafts, subsonic and supersonic missiles, etc. The Indian Navy successfully flight tested MRSAM from Visakhapatnam.
  • Heavy Weight Torpedo: Indigenously Designed and Developed Heavy Weight Torpedo ‘Varunastra’ was successfully test fired with a live warhead against an undersea target by Indian Navy. ‘Varunastra’ is a ship-launched anti-submarine torpedo having low drift navigational systems, acoustic homing, advanced acoustic counter measure features, autonomous guidance algorithms, insensitive munitions warhead and a GPS based recovery aid for practice torpedo.
  • Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile: VL-SRSAM is a vertical launch short range surface to air missile having a strike range upto 80 km for Fighters aircraft, helicopter, UAVs etc. The missile has been developed for the Indian Navy for neutralizing various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets. The missile was flight tested from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur.

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