1. ISRAEL SIGNS CONTRACT FOR SUPPLY OF SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILES
The Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard Ltd have signed a contract with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for provision of Naval Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile systems (MRSAM). The contract is worth US$ 93 million and involves provision of various systems for the MRSAM Air Defence System. These include follow up orders, maintenance and other services. Earlier last year, IAI had entered into contract with Bharat Electronics Limited to supply it with Long Range Surface-to-Air Defense Missiles.
2. VIETNAMESE NAVAL DELEGATION VISIT
A delegation consisting of an officer and three cadets of the Vietnamese People’s Navy visited the Indian Naval Academy (INA) Ezhimala from 24th to 28th January 2019 and interacted with staff and the trainees. The delegation was briefed about infrastructure, academic facilities and the training procedures.
3. MALDIVIAN DEFENCE MINISTER VISIT
Raksha Mantri Sitharaman received the Maldivian Defence Minister Ms Mariya Ahmed Didi at South Block, who is on an official bilateral visit to India. The visiting Defence minister was given a guard of honour. The two sides held discussions on further strengthening bilateral defence cooperation especially on issues relating to maritime security, counter-terrorism and medical cooperation. During the discussions, the Raksha Mantri reiterated India’s commitment to contribute towards capacity building and training the Maldives National Defence Forces. The Chiefs of three services and the Additional Director General of the Indian Coast Guard called on the Maldivian Defence Minister. Ms Didi witnessed the 70th Republic Day Parade and visited various Indian defence institutions.
4.IAF JAGUAR FIGHTER AIRCRAFT CRASHES
An Indian Air Force Jaguar Fighter Aircraft crashed near Gorakhpur on January 28, 2019 at 1240 hrs. The aircraft was on a routine mission and was airborne from Gorakhpur at 1211 hrs. The aircraft crashed at an approximate distance of 46 Km east of Gorakhpur. Pilot ejected safely. A court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident.
5.INDIA DISPLAYS ITS MILITARY MIGHT AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY DURING ITS 70TH REPUBLIC DAY CELEBRATIONS
India celebrated its 70th Republic Day on January 26, 2019 with the traditional grand military parade and display of its rich cultural heritage and traditions. The overall theme for the Republic Day celebrations this year was the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was the chief guest this year. President Kovind hoisted the tricolour as the national anthem played along with a 21-gun salute. Woman power was on display during the parade with contingents of the Navy, Army—Services Corps and Corps of Signals led by women officers. Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi created history by becoming the first woman to lead an all-men parade contingent (Pic. 1). For the first time in the history of the paramilitary forces, an all-women contingent from the Assam Rifles participated in the parade (Pic. 2).
Major Khushboo Kanwar, a 30-year-old mother, lead this contingent. In another first, four Indian National Army veterans took part in the Republic Day parade under the theme ‘Veterans: Accelerators in Nation’s Growth’. All of them were over the age of 90. 22 tableaux of States and Central Government departments and performance by school children were part of the parade. The self-propelled howitzer K9 Vajra, manufactured by L&T in partnership with a South Korean firm made its debut at the parade (Pic. 3). It has a range of 38 kilometres. Another highlight of the parade was the flypast by 33 aircraft of the IAF and four helicopters of the Indian Army. The Air Force flew an An-32 aircraft in a formation whose lead aircraft used a mix of traditional and biofuel showcasing Indian quest to seek alternative sources of fuel.
Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier of 162 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry, who laid down his life fighting a group of terrorists in Shopian in Kashmir in November 2018, was awarded the Ashoka Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind during the parade. This highest peacetime gallantry honour was received by Wani’s wife and mother (Pic. 4). Wani is the first Kashmiri to be conferred the Ashoka Chakra. According to the citation, Wani single-handedly killed two terrorists during the Shopian operation and injured a third one despite receiving serious injuries. Wani was a recipient of the Sena Medal for gallantry twice in 2007 and 2018.
The centuries old tradition of ‘Beating the Retreat’ that used to mark troops ceasing the fight at sunset, sheathing their arms & returning to Camps was conducted as ‘Beating the Retreat Ceremony’ on Vijay Path on January 29, 2019 that marked the end of Republic Day Celebrations.