New Delhi, Dec 31 : Right from carrying out Balakot airstrike to creation of post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), in the rank of a four-star General with salary and benefits equivalent to a Service Chief, are among the major achievements of the Ministry of Defence this year.
The Balakot airstrike by the Indian Air Force destroyed the biggest training camp of Jaishe-Mohammad (JeM) in Balakot, Pakistan. In this operation, a huge number of JeM terrorists, trainers, and jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated. Soon after airstrike, IAF pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthman was captured while retaliating the violation of airspace by Pakistani Air Force on February 26 and he was later released by Pakistan and awarded for his bravery of shooting down a Pakistani F-16 fighter aircraft.
This was in response to February 14, 2019 suicide terror attack, conducted by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad in which over 40 CRPF personnel were killed. The CDS is to head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2019 had announced for the creation of post of CDS. PM Modi on February 25, dedicated to the nation the National War Memorial near India Gate. The memorial has been erected in the memory of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the service of the nation after India became independent in 1947.
The induction of Rafale fighter jet was the most remarkable achievement of IAF when the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh received the first fighter jet from the manufacturer at handing over ceremony at Merignac in France in October. The long awaited Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will make India stronger and give a boost to its air dominance to ensure peace and security in the region. The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also flew in the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) 'Tejas' at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Airport in Bengaluru in September 2019.
He had also handed over Medium Range Surface-to-Air-Missiles to IAF at the Bharat Dynamics Limited premises in Hyderabad on August 3. This year Indian Air force also received additional Su-30 MKI Aircraft, Apache helicopters, Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopters (HLH), ASTRA BVR, integration of BrahMos Air to Surface Missile on Su-30MKI aircraft and inducted Do-228 Dornier aircraft with on board Flight Inspection System (FIS). The force upgraded Mirage-2000, MiG-29 and Jaguar DARIN-III. Successful summer user trials were carried out of third generation anti-tank guided missile NAG at Pokhran Field Firing Ranges in July.
The NAG missile has been developed to engage highly fortified enemy tanks in all weather conditions with day and night capabilities and with a minimum range of 500 metres and maximum range of four kilometres. The year 2019 also witnessed India signing many defence cooperation pacts with countries like US, France, Russia, Ukraine, Japan and South Korea in a bid to strengthen bilateral and multilateral defence cooperation.
This year taking forward coastal security and anti-piracy operations, Indian Navy ships and aircraft were deployed to maintain continuous surface and aerial coastal surveillance off the west coast of India including Lakshadweep & Minicoy (L&M) Islands. Similar sorties are also undertaken on the east coast and the Andaman and Nicobar islands to further augment coastal surveillance measures. As part of its wider role of providing security to shipping in the Indian Ocean Region, the Indian Navy continues to deploy one ship for anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden. A total of 75 warships have been deployed till November 19.
The Indian Navy also undertakes Passage Exercises with friendly foreign countries deployed in the Gulf of Aden. Indian Navy has been undertaking Mission Based Deployments in the Areas of Interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) with an aim to safeguard national maritime interests and maintain continuous and near continuous presence in areas of significant maritime importance in the Indian Ocean Region. Apart from these, the defence forces extended humanitarian assistance during natural calamities throughout the year. (UNI)