Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - November 10, 2018

Defence

M777 Ultra Light Howitzers and K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery gun inducted into the force

What

  • The Army inducted its first artillery gun systems in three decades.
  • The M777 Ultra Light Howitzers from the U.S. and K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery gun from South Korea were inducted at the Devlali Field Firing Ranges in Maharashtra.
  • The third equipment inducted is a common gun tower.
  • The Army last inducted an artillery gun system — the Bofors guns procured from Sweden — in the early 1980s. Attempts to buy new guns did not make progress.
  • The Army will get 10 K-9 guns this year.

Third equipment

  • A third equipment is also being inducted today — The common gun tower, a 6x6 vehicle with cross-country capability. Required to tow the medium guns. These are made by the Indian company Ashok Leyland

Connect to K9 Vajra

  • In April 2017, the Indian engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin signed a contract to make the K9 Vajra-T guns.
  • The gun was short-listed by the Army after extensive trials.

The deal is worth 4,500 crore for 100 guns.

  • The K9 Vajra-T is a 155-mm, 52-calibre self-propelled gun with a maximum range of 40 km.
  • It has been customised from the original K9 Thunder. Its fire control system has been customised for desert conditions.
  • Under the agreement, the first 10 guns will be imported from South Korea and the rest will be made by L&T in India.
  • The first regiment will be in place by July 2019 and all 100 guns will be delivered by November 2020.

Connect to M777

  • India signed a $737-million deal with the U.S. in November 2016 under the Foreign Military Sales Programme for 145 M777 Ultra Light Howitzers.
  • Twenty-five guns will be imported and the rest will be assembled in India in partnership with Mahindra Group.
  • Deliveries will be completed by mid-2021.
  • The M777 brings a new level of capability to the artillery unit by offering rapid deployment and extreme accuracy
  • The M777 is a 155-mm, 39-calibre towed artillery gun. It weighs just four tonnes, making it transportable underslung from helicopters.
  • The Army’s Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan, 1999, envisages induction of 3,000 guns of various types for 220 artillery regiments.

Rafale fighter made for India takes maiden flight First aircraft is named after Air Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria

What

  • The first aircraft built by Dassault Aviation for the IAF, a two-seater variant, made its maiden flight on October 30 in France and is designated RB 008

RB 008

  • RB stands for Air Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria as he had a major role in the contract negotiations
  • Air Marshal Bhadauria was the Deputy Chief of the IAF during the contract negotiations for 36 Rafale jets
  • In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition.
  • The surprise announcement for the 36 aircraft was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a visit to Paris in April 2015, citing “critical operational necessity” of the IAF.
  • RB 008 will be the 36th aircraft to be delivered to the IAF in 2022, 67 months after the contract is signed

United Nations

United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA)

What

  • United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) has issued special stamps with Diyas lamps (special event sheet) to commemorate India Hindu festival of Diwali.
  • It contains ten stamps and tabs featuring festive lights and symbolic lamps known as diyas.
  • The background of sheet features United Nations Headquarters building illuminated with message of “Happy Diwali” to celebrate the spirit of the festival.
  • The description accompanying information about stamps mentioned that Diwali, also known as Deepawali is joyous and popular festival of lights, which is celebrated in India and by followers of many faiths across the world.

United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA)

  • It is postal agency of United Nations.
  • It issues postage stamps and postal stationery, denominated in United States dollars for United Nations offices in New York, in Swiss francs for offices in Geneva and in euros for the offices in Vienna.

India and its neighbourhood

India to join Afghanistan peace talks

What

  • The government announced it would participate at a “non-official” level. Two former senior diplomats will attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process to be held in Russia

Moscow format

  • The talks, known as the “Moscow format” will include a “high-level” delegation from the Taliban as well as a delegation of Afghanistan’s “High Peace Council”, along with representatives of 12 countries, and will mark the first time an Indian delegation has been present at the table with the Taliban representatives based in Doha.

Role of India in establishing peace

  • India supports all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability and prosperity to the country.
  • India’s consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the Government of Afghanistan

Defence

Bilateral Exercise Between Indian & Republic of Singapore Navies – SIMBEX 18 Marks Silver Jubilee this Year

What

  • The 25th edition of SIMBEX, an acronym for “Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise” is scheduled from 10th to 21st November 2018 off Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
  • Bilateral cooperation between Singapore and India was first formalised when RSN ships began training with the Indian Navy in 1994.

Connect to the bilateral relations

  • Complementing India’s ‘Act-East’ policy, there have been a number of agreements and high level visits in the recent past between the two countries.
  • Indo-Singapore bilateral relations have been on an upswing in the recent past. Both countries have a full calendar of more than 20 bilateral mechanisms, dialogues and exercises, many of which take place annually.
  • In November 2015, the robust relationship between the two countries was elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’.

SIMBEX 2018

  • The 2018 edition marks the Silver Jubilee of SIMBEX.
  • To mark the historical occasion, both navies are undertaking exercises over an extended geography.
  • SIMBEX 2018 will be the largest edition since 1994 in terms of scale and complexity.
  • The initial harbour phase will be held at Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands from 10 to 12 November followed by Sea Phase from 12 to 16 November in the Andaman Sea.
  • The second harbour phase from 16 to 19 November will be held at Visakhapatnam – ‘the City of Destiny’.
  • Silver Jubilee Commemoration Ceremony, various professional and training interactions, 10 Km ‘Friendship Run’ during the Annual Vizag-Navy Marathon, social evening and joint cultural programmes would be held during the harbour phases to commemorate the 25th anniversary.
  • The final sea phase would be held in the Bay of Bengal from 19 to 21 November.
  • The 25th edition will witness a diverse range of exercises at sea ranging from live weapon drills including multiple missile firings, Heavy Weight Torpedo (HWT) and Medium Range Gun/ Anti Submarine Rocket firings; advanced Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises, Submarine Rescue demonstrations; integrated Surface and Anti-Air Warfare (AAW); Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations and Cross Deck Helicopter flying among others.

Science & Technology

Global Cooling Innovation Summit

What

  • Two-day Global Cooling Innovation Summitwill be inaugurated in New Delhi on 12th November 2018.

Connect to the summit

  • The Summit is a first-of-its-kind solutions-focused event that will bring together leaders from around the world to explore concrete means and pathways to address the climate threat that comes from the growing demand from room air conditioners.
  • The event is jointly organized by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, along with Rocky Mountain Institute, Alliance for An Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE), Conservation X Labs and CEPT University.
  • The summit will also see the launching of Global Cooling Prize— Mission Innovation challenge that aims to spur development of a residential cooling solution that has at least five times (5x) less climate impact than today's standard.
  • Global Cooling Prize is a competition with global reach and participation to achieve dramatic breakthroughs in cooling technologies.
  • The objective of this competition would be to develop a cooling technology that requires radically less energy to operate, utilizes refrigerants with no ozone depletion potential and with low global warming potential, and has the potential to be cost-effective at scale.
  • The Global Cooling Prize and Innovation Summit will see distinguished speakers from around the world- including innovators, philanthropists, venture capitalists, and other industry leaders - converge to participate in discussions over a two day period.