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Rak­sha Mantri Nir­mala Sithara­man at­tended the 5th ASEAN De­fence Min­is­ters Meet­ing Plus (ADMM) Plus meet in Sin­ga­pore on Oc­to­ber 20, 2018 which is a fo­rum for De­fence Min­is­ters from ten ASEAN and eight ASEAN Plus coun­tries and the high­est de­fence con­sul­ta­tive and co­op­er­a­tive mech­a­nism in ASEAN. The theme of this year’s di­a­logue was ‘Strength­en­ing Co­op­er­a­tion, Build­ing Re­silience’. The di­a­logue adopted two res­o­lu­tions on ‘Coun­ter­ing the Threat of Ter­ror­ism’ and ‘Prac­ti­cal Con­fi­dence Build­ing Mea­sures’.

She ad­dressed the meet­ing, ex­cerpts of which are given be­low.

Ter­ror­ism. Em­pha­sised In­dia’s con­cern on the grave chal­lenges to in­ter­na­tional peace and sta­bil­ity due to the threat of ter­ror­ism. She also high­lighted that the con­tin­ued pres­ence of ter­ror­ist in­fra­struc­ture and sup­port to ter­ror­ists in the im­me­di­ate neigh­bour­hood con­stantly tested In­dia’s pa­tience.

Indo-Pa­cific. Re­it­er­ated In­dia’s view on Indo-Pa­cific, as an open, bal­anced re­gion, con­nected by open and se­cure seas, in­te­grated by bal­anced trade and shaped by a rules-based or­der, an­chored in ASEAN cen­tral­ity and con­veyed In­dia’s com­mit­ment to main­tain a sus­tained fo­cus of its ‘Act East’ pol­icy in terms of eco­nomic, cul­tural and devel­op­men­tal en­gage­ment of the re­gion.

ADMM as a plat­form. Com­pli­ment­ing the ADMM Plus for emerg­ing as a cred­i­ble and ef­fec­tive plat­form forg­ing prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion among the mem­bers of the armed forces, Rak­sha Mantri in­formed the part­ners of In­dia’s ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in all the ADMM Plus mech­a­nism con­tribut­ing ef­fec­tively to their suc­cess.

In­ter­na­tional Or­der. Em­pha­sised In­dia’s com­mit­ment to a rules-based in­ter­na­tional or­der that was in­clu­sive and demo­cratic.

On the side-lines of the ADMM Plus meet­ing, Rak­sha Mantri also held con- struc­tive bi­lat­eral dis­cus­sions with the De­fence Min­is­ters of sev­eral coun­tries present.


A series of flight tri­als of As­tra Be­yond Vis­ual Range Air-to-Air Mis­sile (BVRAAM) was con­ducted suc­cess­fully by the In­dian Air Force (IAF) from Septem­ber 26 to Oc­to­ber 3, 2018 at In­te­grated Test Range, Balasore. The tri­als were a com­bi­na­tion of com­plex tests for en­gage­ment of pi­lot­less tar­get in dif­fer­ent modes of ma­noeu­vring, off-bore­sight at medium and long ranges. As­tra has been tested six times un­der dif­fer­ent launch con­di­tions and ranges as part of the fi­nal de­vel­op­ment trial. With IAF’s ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion, DRDO has de­vel­oped the mis­sile and in­te­grated the weapon on Su-30 and other air plat­forms. Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited (HAL), Nasik has been in­stru­men­tal in the mod­i­fi­ca­tion of a number of Su-30 air­craft for As­tra weapon in­te­gra­tion and sup­port dur­ing the tri­als. More than 50 pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor com­pa­nies are in­volved in the de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of dif­fer­ent sub-sys­tems of the mis­sile. The mis­sile is ex­pected to be in­ducted into the IAF in 2019. Rak­sha Mantri Nir­mala Sithara­man con­grat­u­lated DRDO, IAF, HAL and associated in­dus­tries for suc­cess­ful tri­als.


The IAF has an­nounced the Me­har Baba Prize – In­dia’s very first com­pe­ti­tion in the de­fence sec­tor which in­tends to se­lect and shep­herd par­tic­i­pants from con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion to pro­duc­tion. The com­pe­ti­tion’s prize is named in the hon­our of Late Air Com­modore Me­har Singh, DSO MVC, af­fec­tion­ately called Me­har Baba. Com­mis­sioned as a Pi­lot Of­fi­cer in 1936 at the Royal Air Force Col­lege, Cran­well, UK, he was posted to the sole squadron in the Royal In­dian Air Force – No. 1 Squadron, then based in the North West Fron­tier. Post in­de­pen­dence, Me­har Baba was the first to land in Sri­na­gar, was the first to land in Poonch in Kash­mir, and later the first to land in Leh, Ladakh and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) – the then high­est alti­tude airstrip in the world. The com­pe­ti­tion urges in­di­vid­u­als, start-ups and other “for profit” en­ti­ties to com­pete to build a swarm of 50 drones to lead Hu­man­i­tar­ian Aid and Disas­ter Re­lief op­er­a­tions. The win­ners (up to three) will get up to ` 10 lakh in prize fol­lowed by de­vel­op­ment fund of up to ` 10 crore fol­lowed by a co-pro­duc­tion op­por­tu­nity with a Base Re­pair De­pot to­wards a Rs

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