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Russia sanctions UK’s media representatives, defence figures

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the European Union (EU) to impose a seventh package of sanctions against Russia due to its continued war against Kiev…reports Asian Lite News

Russia has imposed personal sanctions against 29 media representatives and 20 defence figures of the UK in a retaliatory move, the Russian Foreign Ministry has said.

The media representatives, including journalists working for The Guardian, BBC, and others, and the defence figures, including British Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin, would be denied entry into Russia.

According to the ministry, the move is a response to personal sanctions introduced by the UK government against leading Russian journalists and heads of Russian defence companies.

“The British journalists included in the list are involved in the deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia and events in Ukraine and Donbass,” the ministry said, adding that with their biased assessments, they also contribute to fueling Russophobia in British society.

The 20 individuals “linked to the UK defence industry were involved in making decisions on the supply of weapons to Ukraine, which are used by local punishers and Nazi formations to kill civilians and destroy civilian infrastructure,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the European Union (EU) to impose a seventh package of sanctions against Russia due to its continued war against Kiev.

He made the remark at a joint press conference in Kiev with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on last Saturday.
“The war continues, so a seventh package of sanctions is needed,” the President said.

He believes sanctions should be imposed on all Russian officials and judges who are working on repression.

“Sanctions are also needed against companies that are helping the Russian state in one way or another, whether in the military sphere or in suppressing democracy,” Zelensky said.

He also insisted that the EU should completely abandon Russian energy resources.

“The EU must work for its own benefit to completely eliminate Russian energy resources. This is a fundamental security issue for all.”

Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has already signed a letter to the EU setting out Ukraine’s vision for the seventh package of sanctions.

Zelensky’s statement came just days after he signed a decree on June 9 to impose personal sanctions on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, and a number of other high-ranking officials in Moscow.

The sanctions list comprise a total of 35 Russian figures, and some of the important ones include Secretary of Russia’s Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Sanctions include bans on entry to Ukraine; revocation of visas and permits; revocation of state awards of Ukraine; revocation of all issued licences and permits; blocking of financial assets; and a ban on transportation of property belonging to the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.

In addition, Zelensky also signed a decree imposing sanctions on 236 Russian universities.

ALSO READ-Russia cuts gas supplies to Europe

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India News

India govt nod for Rs 76k crore military upgrade

Defence Acquisition Council okays 8 new warships for Navy, special vehicles for Army and next generation corvettes as part of Indian Navy’s ongoing plan to have a 175-ship Navy…reports Asian Lite News

In a significant move, the defence ministry approved the procurement of military equipment and platforms worth Rs 76,390 crore from domestic industries.

The procurement proposals were approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, the ministry said.

For the Indian Navy, the DAC accorded approval for the procurement of next generation corvettes (NGCs) at an estimated cost of around Rs 36,000 crore, it said.

These NGCs will be versatile platforms for a variety of roles namely surveillance missions, escort operations, deterrence, Surface Action Group (SAG) operations, search and attack and coastal defence.

The NGCs would be constructed based on a new in-house design of the Indian Navy, using latest technology of ship building, the ministry said in a statement.

The DAC also approved a proposal for the manufacture of Dornier aircraft and Su-30 MKI aero-engines by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with a focus on enhancing indigenisation.

For the Indian Army, the DAC accorded a fresh approval for the procurement of Rough Terrain Fork Lift Trucks (RTFLTs), Bridge Laying Tanks (BLTs), Wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (Wh AFVs) with Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) and Weapon Locating Radars (WLRs) through domestic sources, with an emphasis on indigenous design and development.

“In pursuance of the government’s vision for digital transformation in defence, ‘Digital Coast Guard’ project under ‘Buy’ (Indian) category has been approved by the DAC,” the ministry said.

“Under this project, a pan-India secure network for digitising of various surface and aviation operations, logistics, finance and HR processes in Coast Guard will be established,” it added.

“This will provide substantial boost to the Indian Defence Industry and reduce foreign spending significantly,” a Defence Ministry statement said. “For the Army, the DAC accorded fresh Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procurement of rough terrain fork lift trucks, bridge laying tanks, wheeled armoured fighting vehicles with anti-tank guided missiles and weapon locating radars through domestic sources with emphasis on indigenous design and development,” it stated.

These NGCs would be constructed based on new in-house design of the Navy using latest technology of ship building and would contribute to further the Government’s initiative of SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region), it noted.

The DAC also accorded AoNs for manufacture of Dornier aircraft and Su-30 MKI aero-engines by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited with focus on enhancing indigenisation particularly in indigenising aero-engine material.

Further, a ‘Digital Coast Guard’ project under ‘Buy (Indian) Category has also been approved by the DAC. Under this project, a pan India secure network for digitising of various surface and aviation operations, logistics, finance and human resources processes in Coast Guard will be established, the statement added.

ALSO READ-Britain to give Ukraine long-range missile systems

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-Top News India News

Rajnath to visit Vietnam, explore new defence initiatives

The two Ministers will also exchange views on regional and global issues of shared interest…reports Asian Lite News

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Vietnam from Wednesday (June 8) to explore new initiatives to further strengthen the defence engagements.

During talks with Vietnam’s Minister of National Defence General Phan Van Giang, Singh will review defence cooperation between the two countries and explore new initiatives to further strengthen the defence engagements, the Ministry of Defence said, announcing the visit on Sunday.

The two Ministers will also exchange views on regional and global issues of shared interest.

During the visit, he will preside over a ceremony at the Hong Ha Shipyard in Hai Phong to hand over 12 High Speed Guard Boats constructed under the Government of India’s $100 million Defence Line of Credit to Vietnam.

“This project is significant in the context of the growing defence industry cooperation with Vietnam and exemplifies Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India, ‘Make for the World’,” the defence ministry said.

The Indian Defence Minister is also scheduled to call on President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, the defence ministry said.

He will start his visit by paying respects to late President Ho Chi Minh at his Mausoleum in Hanoi.

Defence Minister Singh will visit the training institutions of Vietnam at Nha Trang, including the Telecommunication University where an Army Software Park is being established with the $US 5 million grant from Government of India. He will also attend a community event organised by the Embassy of India, Hanoi and interact with the Indian diaspora in Vietnam.

India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.

Bilateral defence engagements have expanded over a period of time to include wide-ranging contacts between the two countries, including defence policy dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, high-level visits, capacity building and training programmes, cooperation in UN Peace Keeping, ship visits and bilateral exercises.

Defence Minister Singh’s visit on the historic occasion of 50 years of establishment of India-Vietnam Diplomatic relations and 75 years of India’s Independence will further consolidate the bilateral defence cooperation and the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the Ministry of Defence pointed out.

ALSO READ-Rajnath: India’s maritime security demands have shifted

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Arab News News

Israel successfully completes first tests of laser-based air defence system

Israel has successfully completed the first tests of a new laser-based system designed to intercept drones, missiles and other aerial threats, Israel’s Defence Ministry has said…reports Asian Lite News

In the first-phase tests, the system was able, for the first time, to intercept drones, mortars, rockets, and anti-tank missiles, the Defence Ministry added on Thursday in a statement.

“The program aims to develop a high-power ground and aerial laser system equipped to deal with long-range, high-intensity threats,” it said.

The development of the system has been led by the Defence Ministry’s Research and Development Division, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Elbit Systems, two Israeli weapons and security companies, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the Ministry, following the tests, Israel became “one of the first countries in the world to successfully develop high-power laser technology at an operational standard with operational interception capabilities.”

“Today marks the first time that a high-power, Israeli-made laser system successfully intercepted various targets, constituting a breakthrough on a global scale,” Defence Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter.

Israel’s goal is to develop “an efficient, inexpensive, and innovative” system and to bring it to operational status “as soon as possible,” Gantz added.

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Yaniv Rotem, Head of the Defence Ministry’s Research and Development Division, said in a statement that the laser “is a game-changer thanks to its easily operated system and significant economic advantages.”

“The next step is to continue the development and initial system deployment within Israel,” he said, adding that the Ministry plans to station multiple laser transmitters along Israel’s borders over the next decade.

The Ministry said the laser system has been developed as “an effective and economically efficient addition” to the country’s multi-tiered air defence array, which includes the short-range anti-rocket Iron Dome system; David’s Sling, a medium to long-range missiles defence system; and the long-range Arrow-3.

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-Top News India News

India’s emergence as defence exporter

Defence items being exported by India include missiles, the advanced light helicopter, offshore patrol vessels, personal protective gear, surveillance systems and a variety of radars.

India is all set to position itself as a global hub of manufacturing weapons, warships, planes and arms and ammunitions. It is steadily becoming self-reliant in the sector and the Union government is also giving the necessary impetus with proper budgetary allocation of funds.

According to Department of Defence Production, Italy, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Nepal, Mauritius, Israel, Egypt, UAE, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Poland, Spain and Chile are India’s export destinations for defence items.

Developing economies find India an attractive destination given the quality of product and price range it offers.

India has spent 2.1 per cent of GDP on defence in 2021-22. In the Union Budget of 2022-23, Rs 5.25 trillion is allocated towards defence and there is a 19 per cent increase in defence capital expenditure in FY 2021-22.

India has 15 per cent share in global arms import.

The government’s constant push to become self-reliant in the defence manufacturing sector is bearing fruit and India along with manufacturing and reducing its dependence on only imports is also exporting defence equipment.

The value of exports of defence items, including major items in FY 2014-15 and 2020-21 was Rs 1,940.64 crore and Rs 8,434.84 crore respectively. The government has also spelt out its vision of achieving a turnover of $25 billion, including export of $5 billion in aerospace, and defence goods and services by 2025. In the fiscal ended on March 31, 2022, military equipment exports stood at Rs 11,607 crore ($1.54 billion).

ALSO READ: India still walking fine line on Ukraine-Russia war

Defence items being exported by India include missiles, the advanced light helicopter, offshore patrol vessels, personal protective gear, surveillance systems and a variety of radars.

India accounts for 3.7 per cent of the global military spending, making it the third highest military spender in the world. Under the Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan — 1,580 towed guns, 100 tracked guns and 814 mounted gun system will be required in India.

Government has issued a total of 568 defence industrial licenses to 351 companies. Out of these, a total of 113 companies covering 170 defence industrial licenses have conveyed commencement of production.

To provide a competitive advantage to the sector, Government of India changed the automatic route limit for FDI in the defence sector to 74 per cent; this will boost national security, self-sufficiency in product design, increase investments, income and employment.

In November 2021, Defence Acquisition Council boosted the ‘Make in India’ initiative by according Acceptance of Necessity– to capital acquisition proposals worth Rs 7,965 crore ($1.07 billion) — for modernisation and operational needs of armed forces.

On October 15, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the seven defence public sector undertakings — created through the restructuring of the Ordnance Factory Board — to improve functional autonomy, efficiency, growth potential and innovation in the defence sector.

According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, India’s defence manufacturing sector has been witnessing a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 per cent between 2016 and 2020. Demand growth is likely to accelerate with rising concerns of national security.

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2021, report published in March 2022, the volume of international transfers of major arms in 2017-21 was 4.6 per cent lower than in 2012-16, but was 3.9 per cent higher than in 2007-11. The five largest arms exporters in 2017-21 were the US, Russia, France, China and Germany. The five largest arms importers were India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia and China.

Between 2012-16 and 2017-21 Indian arms imports decreased by 21 per cent. Despite this, India was the world’s largest importer of major arms in 2017-21 and accounted for 11 per cent of total global arms imports in the period. Russia was the largest supplier of major arms to India in both 2012-16 and 2017-21, but India’s imports of Russian arms dropped by 47 per cent between the two periods as several large programmes for Russian arms wound down, the report said.

This combined with India’s increased efforts to diversify its arms supplier base meant that Russia’s share of total Indian arms imports fell from 69 to 46 per cent, it added.

To bolster defence manufacturing in the country, DRDO and Directorate of Defence Research and Development, Ministry of Defence, Israel, have entered into a Bilateral Innovation Agreement to promote innovation and accelerated R&D in startups and MSMEs of both countries for the development of dual-use technologies.

The Cabinet Committee on Security on March 30, 2022, approved procurement of 15 light combat helicopter limited series production at the cost of Rs 3,887 crore along with Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore.

Light combat helicopter limited series production is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state of the art modern combat helicopter containing nearly 45 per cent indigenous content by value which will progressively increase to more than 55 per cent for SP version.

The success story of Indian private defence companies is ruling the roost and showing promising future for others. A few names include Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge, Tata and Bengaluru-based Dynamite Technologies.

Mahindra is manufacturing the ULH M77 guns in collaboration with Bae Systems. It also has a separate contract with Indian Navy to make submarine warfare suites.

The Ministry of Defence has also identified 18 major platforms for industry-led design and development.

The major international investors in India in the sector are Airbus, Bae Systems, Pilatus, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Rafael and Dassault.

ALSO READ: India wants ‘soft govt’ in Pakistan: Qureshi

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-Top News India News Singapore

General Naravane discusses defence ties with Singapore Defence Minister

On Monday, General Naravane laid a wreath at the Kranji War Memorial…reports Asian Lite News

Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Singapore Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen met on Tuesday and discussed regional geopolitical developments.

General Naravane reviewed the Guard of Honour at the Ministry of Defence in Singapore and complimented the Guard for an impeccable turnout and parade.

The strong and long-standing bilateral defence relationship between both the two nations was reaffirmed, the Army said in a statement.

He also called on Brigadier General David Neo, Chief of Army of Singapore Army and discussed the roadmap to further enhance defence cooperation between the two nations.

General Naravane is on a three-day visit to Singapore to enhance military cooperation from Monday (April 4).

On Monday, General Naravane laid a wreath at the Kranji War Memorial.

Last year in December, General Naravane went on a week-long visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the first ever trip by an army chief to both West Asian countries to significantly boost the security ties.

ALSO READ-Pande set to helm Army, Naravane likely to be CDS

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UK News

Defence publishes its Zero Tolerance approach to sexual offences

The Zero Tolerance policy is one of a range of measures intended to tackle unacceptable sexual behaviour in the Armed Forces…reports Asian Lite News

As part of Defence’s commitment to crack down on unacceptable sexual behaviour and sexual offences, a new Zero Tolerance policy has been announced.

His policy aligns the Royal Navy, RAF, and Army under one approach to dealing with incidences, that will be implemented across the UK Armed Forces to enable services to better support victims and secure justice for them.

Key changes to existing policies include that those found guilty of sexual offences are to be administratively discharged from service with no option to serve elsewhere. The policy also stipulates that sexual relationships between instructors and trainees are unacceptable and will result in discharge of the instructor.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty said, “Sexual offences and sexual relationships between instructors and trainees have no place in Defence, or wider society, and a zero tolerance approach will ensure our commitment to providing a better working environment for our serving personnel is met. We are sending a clear message that the women and men of the Armed Forces must uphold our values and standards. As we set out in our response to the House of Commons Defence Committee’s Report into “Women in the Armed Forces: From Recruitment to Civilian Life”, it is a Defence-wide goal to stamp out sexual offences and ensure that the Armed Forces continues to be a place where people are proud to work and have faith in their justice system.”

The Zero Tolerance policy is one of a range of measures intended to tackle unacceptable sexual behaviour in the Armed Forces. It is intended to improve the career experiences of serving personnel, providing clearer, tri service direction to those in a position to prevent and address instances of sexual offence. We have already taken important steps to ensure that all reported offences are subject to prompt, thorough, efficient, and independent investigation. The policy also sends a clear signal to everyone in the Armed Forces that these offences will not be tolerated.

Where proven, personnel convicted of a sexual offence will be discharged from the Armed Forces.

The policy has been produced with input and consultation from a wide range of stakeholders across Defence and the Service Justice System and is just one on a number of new policies being introduced this year to stamp out unacceptable behaviours.

ALSO READ-Russia to fine Google over Ukraine war videos

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-Top News Africa News India News

India to repair Ugandan Sukhoi Su-MK30 jets

India and Uganda have yet to disclose the financial details of the agreement…reports Asian Lite News

The government of Uganda has tapped the Indian defense industry to provide maintenance and technical support for its Sukhoi Su-MK30 jet fighters.

A memorandum of understanding was signed earlier this month between the African nation and Indian state-owned aerospace firm Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, which was granted a Sukhoi manufacturing license by Russia.

According to the Indian High Commission, the agreement is the first major defense deal signed with Uganda after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the “10 Principles of India-Africa Engagement” in 2018.

India and Uganda have yet to disclose the financial details of the agreement.

However, the move has sparked debate among military analysts regarding the future of the country’s combat jets since they are regarded as among Uganda’s “most prized” military assets.

Uganda used the Sukhois to bomb several Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) camps last year in DR Congo.

Based on the Su-30, the Su-MK30 is a multi-role two-pilot combat fighter aircraft equipped with a fly-by-wire flight control system.

It includes a passive electronically scanned array radar, a laser-optical locator system, and a target designation pod to guide air-to-surface missiles and munitions.

The plane is armed with a 30-millimetre cannon and can launch various air-to-surface missiles, including the Kh-31A/P, Kh-59M, and Nirbhay.

The Su-MK30 is powered by two Al-31FP turbojet engines, providing a maximum speed of Mach 1.9 (2,346 kilometres or 1,457 miles per hour).

The aircraft has a maximum flight range of 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) without refueling.

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-Top News London News UK News

Sunak resists rise in defence spending

The chancellor said he had already allocated a £24bn cash increase for military spending over four years, while allies said his spring statement was not a moment to announce more, reports Asian Lite News

Rishi Sunak is resisting pressure for a big increase in defence spending this week in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as he attempts to free up money for cuts in fuel duty and taxes to ease the crisis in the cost of living.

Sunak has told ministers he is turning off the spending taps and they will have to make do with the money they have got, ordering a search for £5.5bn of efficiency savings.

He has vowed to cut taxes but has warned that reductions must be funded by controlling public spending. Sunak’s allies believe the defence and health budgets are particularly badly managed.

The chancellor said on Sunday he had already allocated a £24bn cash increase for military spending over four years, while allies said his spring statement on Wednesday was not a moment to announce more.

“This is not a spending review,” said one ally of the chancellor. Sunak told the Mail on Sunday: “Let’s not be spending any more money — let’s make sure the money we’re spending is spent really well.”

Sunak argued that he increased the military budget before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, telling the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme that was “a good thing”.

He insisted the government’s integrated defence and foreign policy review last year recognised the Russian threat, although critics claim the document was overly preoccupied with a “tilt to the Asia-Pacific”.

With Sunak attempting to hold down public spending, he is expected to use his spring statement to start mitigating cost-of-living pressures, as households confront soaring energy prices and rising inflation.

The chancellor said he would help families struggling with the cost of living when he presents updated economic forecasts on Wednesday, saying: “Where we can make a difference, of course we will.”

Sunak admitted that energy prices were “the number one priority” for people at the moment and that, as MP for the rural Yorkshire constituency of Richmond, he knew fuel prices were “a big issue”.

“It’s something that’s challenging to families, I get that,” he said, hinting at fuel duty cuts. He said his policy was to take “targeted action where we think there is most acute pressure”.

Sunak is under pressure to go further and cut taxes more generally, and said they would come down “over time”. He blamed the pandemic for the fact Britain has its highest overall tax burden since the 1950s.

But he refused to say whether he would cut income tax or change the threshold for the payment of national insurance in the spring statement, as many Tory MPs would like.

The chancellor said his priority was to cut taxes over the rest of the parliament, after analysis showed he had raised taxes more in two years than Gordon Brown, former Labour chancellor, did in a decade.

Sunak insisted that Brown had not had to contend with a pandemic, but his credibility with Conservative MPs now rests on his ability to control spending and push down taxes before the election.

The Labour party is calling for a reversal of the £12bn national insurance rise, which Sunak insisted would go ahead in April to help fund the NHS and deal with a treatment backlog. Labour also wants a windfall tax on North Sea oil companies.

Rachel Reeves, shadow chancellor, said it was about time Sunak lived up to his rhetoric about wanting to cut taxes and said Labour would not “stand in the way” if he decided to cut fuel duty by 5p a litre.

ALSO READ-Sunak calls on G7 to go faster in support of Ukraine

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Defence India News

Indian Navy to induct women cadets from NDA

The top court was hearing a plea by Kush Kalra, which was filed last year, seeking the induction of women in the NDA….reports Asian Lite News

The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that the Indian Navy has decided to induct women cadets into three branches or cadres through the National Defence Academy (NDA).

The Indian Navy, in an affidavit, said: “Given the intent of the interim directions from the court, Navy has decided to induct women into three Branches/Cadres through NDA. There are total of four Branches and four Cadres in the Navy which are further sub-divided into 23 subspecialisations.”

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and M.M. Sundresh was informed that all cadets inducted through the UPSC examination post 10+2 into the NDA are trained towards executive (general service) which is not open for induction of women officers.

“In fact, Navy does not have any direct induction of men and women through NDA (UPSC) entry post 10+2 for the Branches! Cadres! Specialisations which are open for induction of women,” added the affidavit.



Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, submitted that the Navy does not have direct induction of women or men through the NDA. She added however, against the backdrop of Supreme Court direction to give Permanent Commission (PC) to women officers in services, they are allowed entry.

The affidavit added that given the intent of directions by the Supreme Court, Navy decided to have intake of women as PC officers through UPSC examinations into logistics, the Naval Armament Inspectorate (NAI) and the education branch.

“It is important to note that this would be the first instance (whether for male or female) that a cadet will be trained at NDA for direct induction as PC officer into Education Branch, Logistics and NAI Cadres. There are presently no PC male officers being directly inducted into these branches through NDA,” added the affidavit.

The top court noted Centre’s submission that on an average, 20 to 25 women are already being inducted through IN every six months for all the branches/cadres, which are open for their induction

“That at NDA, there will be an economy of training effort with total induction of 19 women cadets per term {after three years the total number will be 114 women cadets (19 women x 2 batches/years x 3 years)}. Upon passing out from NDA, all cadets who are inducted as Naval cadets report at Indian Naval Academy for Navy specific training of 6-12 months (depending on Branches/Cadres/ Specialisations). So effectively, these women cadet trainees are also being routed through IN,” added the affidavit.

The Centre’s response came after senior advocate Chinmoy Pradip Sharma and advocate Mohit Paul complained against a fresh notification issued by the Union Public Services Commission for the NDA-I exam in 2022, which limited the intake of women cadets to just 19.

The top court was hearing a plea by Kush Kalra, which was filed last year, seeking the induction of women in the NDA. In August, 2021, the apex court allowed women to appear in entrance tests conducted for the NDA.

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