RAKSHA MANTRI ATTENDS ADMM AT SINGAPORE
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.
DEVELOPMENT TRIALS OF ASTRA BVR-AAM
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.
MEHAR BABA PRIZE FOR BUILDING A SWARM OF 50 DRONES
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