Militarization of Andaman and Nicobar

  • A&N Command: First and only Tri-Service theatre command of the Indian Armed Forces.
    • Patrols India’s EEZ to suppress gun running, narcotics smuggling, piracy, and poaching,
    • Conducts maritime surveillance and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

 

Andaman & Nicobar Islands group

  • Group of 572 islands
  • 38 are inhabited.
  • Extend from 6° to 14° North latitudes and from 92° to 94° East longitudes.
  • Highest point: Saddle Peak (732 m)
    • Location: North Andaman Island.
  • An only active volcano in India: Barren Island
    • Location: A&N, last erupted in 2017.
  • Mud volcanoes: Diglipur and Baratang.
    • Mud volcanoes in Baratang island have erupted sporadically.
  • Also called: India’s ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’ to the East.

 

India’s presence in Indian ocean

  • Military Exercises: MILAN, MALABAR (US-Japan- India)
  • Logistics-sharing agreements: with the US and Australia, as well as with France, Singapore, and South Korea.
    • A similar agreement with Japan is in an advanced stage of negotiations.
    • Examples: Logistics exchange at ports Sabang, Changi, Duqm, Agalega, Chabahar, etc.

 

Space Warfare

  • It is the combat that takes place in outer space.
  • Space Warfare began in 1962: US exploded a ground-based nuclear weapon in space, which eventually led to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
  • Scope:
    • ground-to-space warfare, such as attacking satellites from the Earth;
    • space-to-space warfare, such as satellites attacking satellites; and
    • space-to-ground warfare, suchas satellites attacking Earth-based targets.

 

Outer Space Treaty (OST), 1967

  • A multilateral treaty providing a basic framework on international space law.
  • Administered by: UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
  • India is a signatory to this treaty and ratified it in 1982.
  • Key principles of the OST:
    • Freedom of exploration and use of space
    • Non-appropriation of outer space: It includes the Moon and other celestial bodies, by any nation
    • Prohibition of the deployment of nuclear weapons or other kinds of weapons of mass destruction in outer space.

 

Other international treaties for the regulation of outer space

  • Moon Agreement, 1979: ensuring Moon and other celestial bodies are used exclusively for peaceful purposes and that their environments are not disrupted.
  • Liability Convention of 1972: establishes the standards of liability for damage caused by space objects
  • Registration Convention, 1975: States to register all objects launched into outer space with the United Nations.
  • Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT): prohibits all testing nuclear weapons in outer space.

 

Global developments that may impact peace in Space

  • USA’s Space Force: Air Force Space Command of the US transformed into the U.S. Space Force
    • Military branch to protect the interests of the USA in space, deter aggression, etc.
  • First French Space Defense Strategy released by France in 2019
    • French military space organization elevated
    • Control reassigned: French military satellites from the French space agency to the military.
  • Iran: successfully launched a military reconnaissance satellite, called Noor (Light).
  • Rendezvous and proximity operations (RPOs): conducted by the U.S.A., China, and Russia.
    • RPOs: conducted for civil/ commercial purposes such as servicing, repair and refueling, and inspection of satellites.

 

India’s Counter space capabilities

Mission Shakti: 2019, India became the 4th country to successfully test a direct-ascent anti-satellite.

  • Other 3: United States, Russia and China

• (ASAT) missile: targeted a satellite in Low Earth Orbit.

  • interdict and intercept a satellite in outer space based on complete indigenous technology.

• Defence Space Agency (DSA): command the space assets of the Army, Navy and Air Force, including the military’s anti- satellite capability.

  • Formulates a strategy to protect India’s interests in space, including addressing space-based threats.

Defence Space Research Organisation (DSRO): provide technical and research support to DSA.

IndSpaceEx (simulated space warfare exercise): conducted in 2019 to identify key challenges and shortfalls if a conflict escalates in the space dimension.

 

Defense Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS)

  • Objective: to promote indigenous Defense Production.
  • Funding: 75% in the form of ‘Grant-in-Aid’.
  • 25% by the Special Purpose Vehicles.
  • SPVs – constituted by private entities only
  • Registered under the Companies Act, 2013.
  • Responsible for obtaining statutory clearances required for testing of weapons and ammunition.
  • Operate and maintain all assets under the scheme in a self-sustainable manner by collecting user charges. 
  • Setting up test facilities in the DICs only.

 

National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)

  • The integrated intelligence grid which connects databases of core security agencies.
  • Assist intelligence and law enforcement agencies in ensuring national and internal security.
  • Aim: to counter terror
  • Attached office of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
  • Link 10 user agencies with certain databases that would be procured from 21 organisations.
    • Database: data related to credit and debit cards, tax, telecom, immigration, airlines and railway tickets, passports, driving licenses.
    • Available for various central agencies, on a case-to-case-basis, including Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Department of Revenue Intelligence etc.
  • Proposed after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
  • Its Physical infrastructure Project will be live by 31st December 2020.

News: MoU by NATGRID with NCRB to access the centralized online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.

 

Draft Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2020

  • DPP will cover all Capital Acquisitions undertaken by MoD and Service Headquarters both from indigenous sources and ex-import, except for medical equipment.
  • It will supersede DPP 2016.
  • DPP was first introduced in 2002.

Key features and changes in DPP 2020

  • Indigenous Content (IC) ratio hiked
  • New Category Buy (Global – Manufacturer in India)
  • Leasing introduced as a new category for acquisition in addition to existing ‘Buy’ and ‘Make’ categories to substitute huge initial capital outlays with periodical rental payments.

 

Overall Enhancement in Requirement of Indigenous Content (IC)

CategoryDPP 2016Proposed
Buy (Indian-IDDM)Min 40%Min 50%
Buy (Indian)Min 40%Indigenous design – Min 40%, otherwise Min 60%.
Buy and Make (Indian)Min 50% of MakeMin 50% of Make
Buy and MakeBuy & Min 50% of Make
Buy (Global-Mfr in India)Min 50%
Buy (Global)Min 30% for Indian vendors

 

Border Infrastructure

News: Recently, Government implemented 3 recommendations of Shekatkar Committee.

Recommendations

  1. Outsourcing road construction work beyond the optimal capacity of the Border Roads Organization.
  2. Engineering Procurement Contract mode is made mandatory for all works costing more than Rs. 100 crore. 
  3. Introduction of modern construction plants, equipment, and machinery by delegating enhanced procurement powers to BRO.
  4. Land acquisition and all statutory clearances are made part of the approval of the Detailed Project Report.

 

Border Road Organization (BRO)

  • BRO started in the 1960s – leading road construction agency under the Ministry of Defense
  • Role: providing road connectivity in border areas.
  • Execution of road construction and maintenance works along Northern and western frontiers.
  • Constructed roads in friendly foreign countries.

 

Shekatakar Committee

  • To enhance combat capability and rebalance defense expenditure of armed forces.

Key recommendations:

  • Defense budget – 2.5 to 3% of the GDP.
  • Closure of military farms and army postal establishments in peace locations.
  • Restructure civilian workforce – work of Military Engineering Services could be partly done by departmentally employed staff and other works could be outsourced.
  • Abolition of 9304 posts in MES.

 

Recent Border Constructions

Zojila tunnel project

  • Changes to project structure to avoid cost escalation.
  • Aim: to provide all-year connectivity between Leh and Srinagar.
  • Longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia.

Daporijo bridge

  • strategic bridge in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • built over Subansiri river, a right bank tributary of Brahmaputra river.
  • constructed by BRO

Kasowal bridge

  • Constructed by BRO
  • opened a 484-meter permanent bridge on river Ravi connecting the Kasowal enclave in Punjab to the rest of the country.
  • An enclave of around 35 square km had hitherto been connected via a pontoon bridge which is dismantled every year prior to monsoons.

 

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985

  • Control and regulation of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and forfeiture of property related to illicit traffic.
  • Prohibits a person to produce/manufacture/cultivate, possess, sell, purchase, transport, store, and/or consume any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
  • Setting up of Narcotics Control Bureau: coordinate action of authorities over the trade of illicit narcotics.
  • On lines of UN Conventions.
  • NDPS Act, 1985 – according to SC, the quantity of the entire banned drug mixture and not its purity will determine a punishment for an offender.
  • In 2008, SC: in a mixture of narcotic drugs, only weight of banned substance is relevant for purpose of determining whether it would constitute small quantity or commercial quantity.

Note: India is signatory to

  • UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961,
  • Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and
  • Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.

 

Eurasian Group on Money Laundering (EAG)

Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG)

  • A regional body with nine countries: India, Russia, China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
  • It is an associate member of FATF.

 

Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) report

  • By FATF

Key highlights:

  • IWT is a “global threat”.
  • It is linked with other organized crimes like modern slavery, drug trafficking, and arms trade.
  • Money laundering laws should be applied to wildlife trade.

 

Project Cheetah

  • Around 90 Heron drones of the three defense services would be upgraded to be armed with laser-guided bombs, air to ground, and air-launched anti-tank guided missiles.
  • Heron: a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned air vehicle (UAV) system.
  • designed to perform strategic reconnaissance and surveillance operations.
  • Designed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries.

 

FATF

  • Financial Action Task Force: inter-governmental body established in 1989
  • Aim: to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other related threats.

 

Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D)

  • Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Mandate: to promote excellence in policing, promote the speedy and systematic study of police problems, apply science and technology in the method and techniques by the Police.

 

Special Frontier Force (SFF)

  • Known as: Vikas Battalion
  • Occupied some heights on Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh.
  • Raised after the 1962 Sino-India war.
  • A mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas.
  • Falls under Cabinet Secretariat.
  • Nickname: Establishment 22.
  • SFF units are not part of the Army.
    • Function under the operational control of the Army.

 

Assam Rifles (AR)

  • Controlled by the Defence Ministry as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)
  • Founded in 1835
  • Role: to protect the North-eastern border.
  • Other 6 Central Armed Police Forces are Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Indo Tibetan Border Police, National Security Guard, Sashastra Seema Bal.

 

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

  • It is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control, and disarmament.
  • Report: Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019
    • Among the biggest military spenders in 2019, India ranked third while the USA was the first.
    • India had the highest military spending in South Asia.
  • Report: Trends in international arms transfer, 2019.
    • India is the world’s second-largest arms importer, just behind Saudi Arabia.
    • India’s arms imports from both Russia and the US fell since 2015.
    • India ranked 23rd in the Exporter list.