Balance of power
According to a PTI report, in many ways, 2020 was a watershed year for Indian armed forces as they displayed boldness in standing up to unprovoked Chinese military aggressions in eastern Ladakh and remodelled the national security doctrine in view of China intensifying the geo-political rivalry with India with an apparent goal to effect a radical realignment of balance of power in South Asia
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India in July, nearly four years after the government signed an agreement with France to procure 36 of the aircraft at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore. A second batch of three Rafale fighter jets joined the IAF in November. The Rafale jets, manufactured by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, are India’s first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. The newly- inducted fleet has been carrying out sorties in eastern Ladakh.
CDS takes charge
On January 1, Gen Bipin Rawat took charge as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country’s overall military prowess. A key mandate of the CDS was to facilitate restructuring of military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of theatre commands.
In October, India and the US signed a landmark defence pact called Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) that provides for sharing of high-end military technology, geospatial maps and classified satellite data between their militaries.
In June, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support. India and Japan signed a similar pact in September.