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Russia-Reliance group pact, 197 defense choppers for army and IAF

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Reliance_Infra-640x434New Delhi: There is a possibility of a Rs. 6,000 crore ($925 million) project between the defence arm of the Anil Ambani led Reliance Group and the Russian government, to make 197 helicopters for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, sources said on Friday.

Proclaimed as one of the largest deals under the “Make in India” programme, it calls for making 197 Kamov 226T choppers to retire the Chetak-Cheetah fleet that has been the key inventory in frontline operations for over 30 years, notably in difficult terrain like Siachen, the sources added.

“We are committed to actively participating in Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ program,” the spokesperson for Reliance Defence said when asked for the company’s comment on the deal, which involves manufacture of these light utility helicopters in the country.

“The manufacture of both military and civil helicopters to meet the needs of the country are a significant part of this commitment,” the spokesperson added.

It is reliably learnt that the project is to be executed under a new joint venture, for which the chosen Indian partner is a newly set-up chopper arm of Reliance Defence — which, in turn, is a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure. The process is on to acquire an industrial licence.

putin modi brics

Russian President Vladimir Putin had pushed for the Ka-226T during the summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here last December. Upon agreeing to be make these choppers in India, Russia was offered an initial deal for 200 of these helicopters with the potential for another 400.

In May, the Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar cleared the proposal. Now, after extensive talks, the Russian government has communicated to New Delhi that it will be implementing the project in a joint venture with an Indian company — and that the partner so chosen is Reliance Helicopters. It also involves transfer of technology, sources said.

Earlier this month, Pipavav Defence, a part of the Reliance Group, was selected by Zvyozdochka Shipyard of Russia for the refit of 24 EKM 877 submarines in India, a deal potentially worth Rs.30,000 crore.

The company, the controlling stake of which was acquired by the Reliance Group earlier this year, was also selected by United Shipbuilding Company of Russia for the manufacture of four Talwar-class frigates, according to sources.

The company is also said to be a strong contender to build six advanced submarines for the navy, along with five other firms, for which the Indian government is expected to float a request for proposal soon. This deal is potentially worth Rs.60,000 crore.

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10 Things to know about Vijay Diwas , when Indian Army Bifurcated Pakistan and liberated Bangladesh in 1971 war

December 16: On this day in 1971, Indian Army liberated Bangladesh from Pakistan in one of the most heroic wars ever.

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Vijay Diwas
The most famous photograph in Indian military history! Lieutenant General A A K Niazi, the Pakistan army commander in East Pakistan, signs the Instrument of Surrender, before Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, General Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Command, December 16, 1971 (DPR Photo Division Archives)
  • Bangladesh celebrates its Independence day on December 16 and India hails the day as Vijay Diwas
  • 16 December 1971. On this day, 46 years ago, 93,000 Pakistani troops raised white flags and surrendered to the Indian Army
  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and the chiefs of the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force gathered at India Gate to pay homage to the soldiers who lost their lives in 1971 India-Pakistan war, at Amar Jawan Jyoti today
  • “On Vijay Diwas we salute the unflinching courage of all those who fought in 1971 and protected our nation diligently. Every Indian is proud of their heroism and service”, tweeted PM Modi

The India-Pakistan War of 1971 is known as one of the most heroic victories in military history. It ended with the surrender of Pakistani forces in East Pakistan, with almost 1,00,000 soldiers being taken prisoners of war. Victory of India led to liberation of Bangladesh on December 16. Vijay Diwas is celebrated on this day.

Vijay Diwas
Bangladesh Liberation (The Tribune, Archives)

Here are 10 things to know about Vijay Diwas, 16 December 1971, the day when Indian Army liberated Bangladesh from Islamic Republic of Pakistan

  1. On 16 December 1971, the Governor of East Pakistan Lt General Niazi and his 93,000 troops admitted defeat to the joined forces – the Indian Army and East Pakistan’s Mukti Vahini – led by Lt General Jagjit Singh Arora. The surrender was signed at Ramna Race Course in Dhaka.
  2. In just 13 days, Indian forces, which included the Air Force, Para Troopers, Ground Force and Navy, made Dhaka independent.
  3. The war was a result of genocide by the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) which led to the migration of lakhs of refugees into India and humanitarian crisis. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made many attempts to gather international action against Pakistan and support to India to look after the refugees, but it did not happened. Only way ahead for India was to liberate Bangladesh.
  4. The genocide earned General Tikka Khan the nickname ‘Butcher of Bengal’ because of the widespread slaughters he had committed.
  5. Sri Lanka helped Pakistan in the 1971 War by allowing its aircraft to refuel at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo.
  6. US supported Pakistan in this war. A long standing ally of Pakistan, China was encouraged by US to mobilise its armed forces along its border with India.
  7. The war lasted for few days but we lost 42 Indian fighters and 81 tankers as opposed to 86 aircrafts and 226 tankers of Pakistan.
  8. The war stripped Pakistan of more than half of its population and with nearly one-third of its army in captivity.
  9. Lance Naik Albert Ekka, Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, Major Hoshiar Singh and Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal were awarded with Param Vir Chakra for their selfless service in the 1971 India Pakistan war.
  10. In 1972 the Shimla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan. India returned the POWs to Pakistan along with certain captured areas. In return, Pakistan recognized Bangladesh as an Independent country.
Vijay Diwas
Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw during 1971 India-Pakistan war (DPR Photo Division Archives)

In his book The 1971 Indo-Pak War: A Soldier’s Narrative Pakistani Major General Hakeem Arshad Qureshi a veteran of this conflict noted:“We must accept the fact that, as a people, we had also contributed to the bifurcation of our own country.” The Hamoodur Rahman Commission, which was set up to investigate the causes of defeat of Pakistan, laid the blame squarely on Pakistani generals, accusing them of debauchery, smuggling, war crimes and neglect of duty.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Submarine INS Kalvari Commissioned by PM Modi : Best Example of Make in India

INS Kalvari is the first of the six Scorpene-class submarines handed over by shipbuilder Mazagon Dock Limited, real boost to Make in India project

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INS Kalvari, Indian Army
INS Kalvari, Indian Navy (Photo: Twitter/Indian Navy)
  • “INS Kalvari is a great example of ‘ Make in India ‘. I would like to congratulate everyone associated with this submarine,” PM Modi said. PM Modi also thanked France for its co-operation

    In Mumbai PM Modi has commissioned scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari into the Indian Navy. INS Kalvari has been named after the maritime force’s first-ever underwater craft.

The commissioning ceremony was attended by Prime Minster Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba, Maharasahtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, other senior Indian Navy officers, and delegates from France.

The Scorpenes are being built by the Mazagaon Dockyard Ltd under Project 75 with transfer of technology from a foreign collaborator — DCNS of France.

INS Kalvari
INS Kalvari is named after the dreaded tiger shark (Photos: Twitter/Indian Navy)

INS Kalvari : Proud Moment for Indian Navy and Entire Country

It is a proud moment for the the entire country as the submarine is a prime example of flagship program of PM Modi government’s ‘ Make in India ‘ project. The special combat features of the Scorpenes include superior stealth and ability to launch crippling attacks with precision-guided weapons. The attacks can easily be carried out with torpedoes while submerged or on the surface, making it a deadly weapon.

Facts about INS Kalvari

  • The submarine has a length of 67.5 metre and a height of about 12.3 metres. The hull form, fin and hydroplanes are specifically designed to produce minimum underwater resistance.
  • The boat has 360 battery cells, each weighing 750 kg, to power the extremely silent Permanently Magnetised Propulsion Motor. The stealth of the boat is further enhanced through the mounting of equipment inside the pressure hull on shock absorbing cradles.
  • This is first of the six Scorpene-class submarines to handed over by MDL. The six submarines are being built as part of the Rs 23,652 crore “Project-75” of the Indian Navy.

“The technology utilised in the Scorpene has ensured superior stealth features such as advanced acoustic silencing techniques, low radiated noise levels, hydro-dynamically optimised shape and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision-guided weapons,” an official of the MDL said.

It is really very positive to see Make in India boosting the defence sector. INS Kalvari will surely add more strength to mighty Indian Navy.

– by Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Defence Minister looking into education fund cap issue: Army Chief

The Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare had capped tuitions and hostel fees at Rs 10,000 per month in a letter dated September 13.

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The Defence Minister shall look into the education fund cap issue to resolve the problem
Minister of Defence Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi. Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has promised to resolve the issue of a cap of Rs 10,000 on educational expenses paid to the children of defence forces martyrs.

The Army chief further revealed that the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba, has informed the Defence Minister of the issue, and she that has said the issue will be addressed on priority.

Defence Ministry sources reported that the Minister had held a meeting on the issue on Wednesday and a decision is likely to be announced soon.

General Rawat said: “For our martyrs, children are entitled (to) free education. It is a very good thing that the government has done. What has happened is possibly because of some misunderstanding– they have now capped it at Rs 10,000 because somebody must have calculated as to how much a person spends per month on child education,” .

“In our case, we have written to the government. I think the Defence Minister is completely seized of the problem. She is aware of it, and after we explained the reason to her… she said she is certainly concerned about it and will address the issue on priority,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

According to informed sources, Admiral Lanba, the most senior among the three service chiefs, wrote to the Minister to urge her to resolve the problem.

A letter dated September 13 by the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare had capped fee for tuitions and hostel expenses at Rs 10,000 per month.

The demand to a rollback on the decision was also raised by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, and Union Minister of State for External Affairs General V.K. Singh, who is himself an Army ex-chief. (IANS)