(Current Affairs) India and The World | September: 2016

India & The World

Modernisation of Su-30 fighters made significant progress

  • India and Russia made significant progress in the discussions for modernisation of all Su-30 fighters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the visit of a Russian team last month.
  • The upgrade will give the fight jets new avionics and radar, improved stealth characteristics to reduce the radar cross-section, better electronic warfare capability and new weapons.
  • Though the quantum of the deal is not finalised, some officials said it could be in the range of $7-8 billion.
  • Su-30 are the most modern fighters and the main stay of the IAF. Given the delay in procurement of new fighters, they are crucial for maintaining the combat edge of the IAF.
  • Discussions had been under way for some time for upgrading the aircraft to what was called ‘Super Sukhoi’, but the talks gained momentum recently.
  • India had signed the initial agreement with Russia in the late 1990s for procuring 50 Su-30 multi-role fighter jets in a fly-away condition.
  • Then, it ordered 272 Su-30MKI fighter jets to be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at Nasik.
  • Most of the aircraft to be made by HAL have been delivered, and the entire lot of 222 aircraft is expected to be completed in the next couple of years. The HAL has a production rate of 10-12 aircraft a year.
  • This comes in the backdrop of the delay in concluding the final deal for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to be developed by India and Russia, besides the delay in concluding an agreement for the purchase of the Rafale fighter jets and in the induction of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft.
  • A preliminary design agreement was signed in 2010 between HAL and Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau to make the FGFA for use by both countries. So far, both sides have invested $295 million in the preliminary design.
  • But, the final agreement got stuck because of the disagreements over the work share and investment.

India gets Bangladesh’s support over Balochistan

  • Bangladesh came out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stand on the Balochistan issue, saying Dhaka would soon make a policy declaration on Pakistan’s human rights abuses in Balochistan.
  • The visiting Minister of Information said Balochistan was facing the brunt of Pakistan’s military establishment, which “targeted” the Bengalis in East Pakistan in 1971 before the creation of Bangladesh.
  • “Bangladesh is constitutionally bound to support liberation struggles and we will soon declare an official policy on Balochistan,” he added.
  • His comment comparing the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 with the situation in Balochistan came a day after Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar compared East Pakistan of 1971 with “simmering Balochistan”.
  • “Bangladesh wants India to partner a joint effort to control distortion of Islam and history, which can safeguard the memory of 1971,” the minister said.
  • In the last few years, Dhaka has detected multiple cases where Pakistani diplomats posted in Bangladesh were found to have been involved in terror plots.
  • Bangladesh, he said, is worried of the fallout of Pakistan’s official policies regarding nationalities and promotion of cross border violence.

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