India sends the first batch of BrahMos to the Philippines

  • India has delivered the first batch of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines, marking a key milestone in bilateral defence cooperation.

India-Philippines Brahmos Deal

  • In January 2022, the Philippines signed a $375-million agreement with India for three batteries of the shore-based, anti-ship variant of the BrahMos missile, becoming the first export customer for the joint venture between India and Russia.
  • Several countries, including Indonesia and Thailand, have expressed interest in purchasing BrahMos systems, and conversations are now underway. 

About BrahMos Missiles


  • The DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya formed a joint venture to develop BrahMos missiles.
  • The term BrahMos is derived from two rivers: the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
  • The first successful test in 2001 was carried out using a specially built land-based launcher.


  • BrahMos is a medium-range, ramjet-powered supersonic cruise missile.
  • Launched from a submarine, ship, aeroplane, or land.
  • This is the world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile.
  • The rocket has two stages: a solid fuel booster and a liquid-fueled ramjet.


  • Ship-launched and land-based missiles can carry a 200 kg warhead, whereas aircraft-launched variants (BrahMos A) may carry 300 kg warheads. 

Variants & Range

  • The missile travels at speeds ranging from Mach 2.8 to 3.0 and is being improved to Mach 5.0.
  • A hypersonic version of the missile, BrahMos-II, is also being developed, with a Mach 7-8 speed to improve airborne quick attack capability.
  • The Missile Technology Control Regime initially limited the BrahMos missile’s range to 290km, but after India joined the regime in June 2016, the range was increased to 450km.
  • Ongoing efforts aim to extend the missile’s range beyond 600 km, increasing its operational reach and efficacy in a variety of scenarios. 

Strategic Implications of the Move

  • This breakthrough comes amid rising tensions in the South China Sea between the Philippines and China, emphasising the importance of improving defensive preparedness.
  • The procurement of BrahMos missiles under Horizon 2 of the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Programme will improve the Philippine armed forces’ defensive capabilities. 

Exercise DUSTLIK

  • The Indian Army team departed for the fifth edition of Exercise DUSTLIK in Uzbekistan.
  • Exercise DUSTLIK is an annual event that alternates between India and Uzbekistan.
  • It is called after the village of Dustlik in Uzbekistan’s Jizzakh region.
  • The inaugural version of the exercise took place in 2019 near Tashkent.
  • The previous event was held at Pithoragarh, India, in February 2023.

Objectives and focus areas 

  • They include physical fitness, joint planning, and tactical drills.
  • The emphasis is on special weapons skills and multi-domain operations.
  • Tactical drills involve setting up command posts, intelligence centres, heliborne operations, and room intervention.
  • Incorporating combat support weaponry and services in addition to infantry.
  • An opportunity to communicate joint operation tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs).
  • Strengthening interoperability and camaraderie amongst soldiers from both countries. 

India’s bilateral exercises with Central Asian Countries

KyrgyzstanEx KHANJAR
TajikistanEx  Farkhor

Exercise IMT TRILAT-2024

  • INS Tir and INS Sujata will participate in the second edition of the India-Mozambique-Tanzania (IMT) Tri-Lateral (TRILAT) Exercise. 

Exercise IMT TRILAT-2024

  • It is a biennial drill organised by the navies of India, Mozambique, and Tanzania.
  • The inaugural edition of the exercise was held in October 2022.
  • It aims to strengthen India’s commitment to maritime security and cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The Indian Navy’s joint exercise aims to establish mutual trust and understanding with its maritime partners in Mozambique and Tanzania. 

Phases of the Exercise

  • The exercise’s phases include combined harbour training for damage control, fire fighting, search and seizure procedures, medical lectures, casualty evacuation, and diving operations.
  • The Sea Phase focuses on fighting asymmetric threats, Visit Board Search and Seizure procedures, boat handling, manoeuvres, fire drills, and combined EEZ monitoring.

Exercise Tiger Triumph – 24

  • The third edition of the bilateral tri-service ‘Exercise Tiger Triumph- 24’ between India and the US will take place on the Eastern Seaboard of the United States from March 18 to March 31. 

Exercise Tiger Triumph-24

  • The primary aim of this exercise is to enhance interoperability between the Indian Navy and the US military for conducting Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.
  • It has been held since 2019. The second edition was held in 2022.
  • The exercise focuses on improving Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to allow for swift and seamless coordination between the military of both countries during HADR operations.
  • Participants include the Indian Navy, Army, Air Force, and RAMT.
  • US Military: US Navy ships carrying personnel from the US Marine Corps and Army.
  • Following the harbour phase, Indian and US naval assets, as well as personnel and equipment, are sent to the sea.

All major defence exercises between India and the United States

  • Yudh Abhyas is an annual bilateral exercise between the Indian and US armies. It aims to improve interoperability and cooperation in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
  • Malabar drill: This is a trilateral naval drill between the United States, India, and Japan. The goal is to promote cooperation in maritime security, anti-submarine warfare, and disaster relief.
  • Cope India is an air force exercise involving the Indian Air Force and the United States Air Force. It aims to improve interoperability and cooperation in air combat tactics, techniques, and procedures.
  • Vajra Prahar is a bilateral Special Forces exercise between the Indian and US armies. It specialises in counterterrorism operations, hostage rescue, and other special operations.
  • Red Flag Exercise: While not a bilateral exercise between India and the United States, the Red Flag Exercise, held by the United States Air Force at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, frequently features participation from the Indian Air Force. This drill emphasises advanced aerial combat training and tactics.

Significance of the Exercise

  • The exercise aims to deepen strategic relationship and cooperation between India and the US.
  • Preparedness: Both countries want to improve their preparation and capacities for responding to humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters effectively.
  • Cooperation: The drill demonstrates India and the United States’ commitment to international peace and security by partnering on humanitarian operations.

The MIRV jump that boosts India’s nuclear deterrence

  • The “Divyastra” test of the Agni-5 ballistic missile, carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is strategically significant.


  • The Agni-5 missile has a range of more than 5,000 kilometres, making it the longest-range missile tested by India. However, it is not just its range, but also its lethality, that marks a watershed moment in India’s nuclear deterrent.
  • This variant strengthens India’s nuclear deterrent by including Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs).

What is a MIRV?

  • MIRVs- A MIRV is a’missile bus’ loaded with nuclear weapons that can be delivered to multiple targets using a single rocket. This means that MIRV can use a single missile to target many targets that may be hundreds of km apart.


  • In 1970, the US deployed the Minuteman III, the first MIRV-ed ICBM with three warheads. In 1971, it deployed the Poseidon, the first MIRV-ed submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), capable of carrying up to ten warheads on each missile.
  • Following the lead of the United States, the Soviet Union developed its own MIRV-ed ICBM and SLBM technologies in the 1970s.
  • China has developed and deployed MIRV technology, with multiple warheads installed on its DF-5B ICBMs.
  • France and the United Kingdom are known to possess MIRV-equipped missiles.

Why MIRV technology is so lethal?

  • Unlike conventional missiles, which deploy a single warhead, MIRV-equipped missiles can launch numerous warheads at varied speeds and trajectories.

In comparison to China: 

  • India’s late entry: While MIRV technology is not new in the world, India’s development of MIRV-capable ballistic missiles places it within a narrow group of nations that have such capabilities, including established nuclear powers such as the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom.
  • MIRV-tipped missiles have the potential to limit damage because they can strike many targets at the same time and evade ballistic missile defences. China’s developments in ballistic missile defences, such as the HQ-19 interceptors, offer a challenge, though their efficacy against India’s Agni series missiles, particularly the Agni-5, requires further improvement.
  • Further Testing: While incorporating MIRV technology into the Agni-5 is a big step forward, additional testing and refinement will be required to improve the credibility and effectiveness of India’s nuclear ballistic missile arsenal. The Indian armed forces are anticipated to conduct several tests to guarantee reliability and readiness.

The challenges to the development of MIRV-capable ballistic missiles include:

  • Nuclear Warhead Miniaturisation: Miniaturising nuclear warheads is a difficult technical challenge for MIRV-capable missiles. Inadequate nuclear testing by India has limited the extent to which warheads can be miniaturised for MIRV uses.
  • Receptacle Weight Reduction: Before being released from the Post Boost Vehicle (PBV), the receptacle containing the warhead or re-entry vehicle must be light in weight or mass. This need complicates the design and engineering of the missile system.
  • Precision Configuration: Re-entry vehicles must be properly configured to fit into the missile while remaining distinct from the PBV, which must be manoeuvrable. This demands rigorous design and testing to ensure optimal functionality. 
  • Guidance and precision are critical for MIRV-capable missiles because re-entry vehicles must be spin-stabilized during atmospheric reentry. Achieving the requisite level of precision complicates the development process.
  • Geographic limitation: MIRV-based missiles can only attack numerous targets within their geographic footprint. This constraint necessitates careful strategic planning and implementation.
  • Limited Nuclear Testing: India’s limited nuclear testing history has hindered the ability to miniaturise warheads and develop MIRV technology. The absence of testing has caused issues for Indian missile and nuclear developers.
  • Integration Difficulties: Integrating warheads with missiles is a difficult procedure that necessitates cooperation across multiple entities, including the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) and Advanced Systems Limited (ASL). Overcoming integration problems increases the difficulty of MIRV development.
  • Decoys and countermeasures: The Agni-5 missile’s ability to carry decoys and chaff remains uncertain, particularly during the boost and intermediate phases of flight. Integrating countermeasures introduces new technical hurdles.
  • Agni-5 is anticipated to launch from a road-mobile platform, which raises logistical and operational concerns for deployment. 

Future Scope of Indian Projects:

  • Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) Testing: India plans to test a long-range SLBM that will be launched from its nuclear ballistic missile submarines. This initiative attempts to strengthen India’s nuclear deterrence capabilities by including a sea-based component into its arsenal.
  • Continued Development by DRDO and AEC: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and India’s Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) are likely to continue working together to develop advanced missile and nuclear technology. This agreement demonstrates India’s commitment to enhancing its defence capabilities.
  • Strategic Focus on China: The Agni-5 with MIRV capability was developed particularly to address possible threats from China’s missile and missile defence programmes. India’s strategic focus remains on maintaining a credible deterrent against China.
  • Enhanced nuclear capabilities: The successful test of the Agni-5 MIRV missile is a big step forward in India’s drive to become a highly credible nuclear and missile force. It demonstrates India’s willingness to strengthen its nuclear capabilities in order to adequately respond to rising threats.


Despite challenges, India’s MIRV breakthroughs strengthen nuclear deterrence against China. Continued testing and SLBM development demonstrate India’s commitment to improving defence capabilities and maintaining regional stability. 

Defence Security Issues

AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter Fleet Inducted into the Army

  • The Indian Army Aviation Corps launched its first unit of AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters at Jodhpur Air Base.

AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter

  • The AH-64E Apache, often known as the ‘Apache Guardian’, is widely regarded as the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter.
  • It was developed in the United States and is manufactured by Boeing.
  • In February 2020, India signed a contract with Boeing to acquire six AH-64E helicopters for the Army, with an additional six helicopters contracted later.
  • Several countries have purchased the AH-64E, including India, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the UAE, and the United Kingdom. 

Combat Features:

  • Designed with an open systems architecture to include cutting-edge communications, navigation, sensor, and weapon systems.
  • Features better thrust and lift capabilities, cooperative digital interoperability, survivability, and cognitive decision-making.
  • Introduces a new integrated infrared laser for easier target identification, as well as enhanced infrared imagery that combines infrared and night vision capabilities.

Strategic Significance of Induction

  • Enhancing Combat Capability: The introduction of Apache helicopters represents a big step forward for the Army Aviation Corps, offering powerful firepower and manoeuvrability in combat settings.
  • Complementing Indigenous Capabilities: The Apaches will supplement the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), enhancing the Army’s aerial combat capabilities.
  • Replacing the outdated arsenal: The Apache fleet will replace the Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters now in service.

India leads in arms imports during 2019-23

  • According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India would be the world’s largest arms importer from 2019 to 2023, emphasising its importance in global arms trade dynamics.
  • Despite geopolitical developments and regional tensions, India’s arms buying trends show strategic imperatives and defence priorities. 

India’s Arms Imports and Global Trends

  • Top Arms Importer: India was the world’s greatest arms importer from 2019 to 2023, with a 4.7% rise over 2014 to 2018.
  • The top ten arms exports are as follows: the United States (42%), France (11%), Russia (11%), China (5.8%), Germany (5.6%), Italy (4.3%), the United Kingdom (3.7%), Spain (2.7%), Israel (2.4%), and South Korea (2%).
  • Other Importers: India is the leading arms importer, followed by Saudi Arabia (8.4%), Qatar (7.6%), Ukraine (4.9%), Pakistan (4.3%), Japan (4.1%), Egypt (4%), Australia (3.7%), South Korea (3.1%), and China (2.9%).
  • European Arms Imports: Between 2014-18 and 2019-23, European countries’ arms imports increased by 94%, coinciding with the conflict in Ukraine.
  • Shift in Suppliers: While Russia remained India’s leading arms supplier, its percentage of deliveries fell, marking the first time since 1960-64 that it accounted for less than half of India’s arms imports.
  • Regional Distribution: In 2019-23, Asia, Oceania, and West Asia accounted for nine of the top 10 arms importers, with Ukraine ranking fourth. 

Budget Allocation and Procurements

  • The interim Budget for FY 2024-25 allotted ₹6.2 lakh crore to the Defence Ministry, with a capital allocation of ₹1.72 lakh crore for new procurements. This is a 5.78% increase from the previous year.
  • India’s Position: India resumed its position as the leading arms importer, surpassing Saudi Arabia, while Pakistan saw a large increase in weaponry purchases, primarily from China. 

Analysis and Forecasts

  • US Global Role: The US increased its role as a major armaments supplier, in line with its foreign policy goals of strategic alliances and influence.
  • French Arms Exports: France became the world’s second-largest arms provider, with a considerable amount of exports going to Asia, Oceania, and West Asia, mainly combat aircraft to India, Qatar, and Egypt.
  • Future Projections: With significant orders for high-value weaponry, such as combat planes and helicopters, European arms imports are projected to continue high in the coming years.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

  • Security issues: India has long-standing disputes with neighbouring countries such as Pakistan and China, which have raised security worries and fueled the perception of a need for a robust military.
  • Slow and difficult procurement procedure: India’s procurement process for armaments is frequently slow and complex, resulting in delays in purchasing weapons and equipment. As a result, India’s defence demands are being met through imports.
  • Lack of domestic production: India’s domestic arms production capabilities remain restricted, making it difficult to create advanced weapons and equipment. This has pushed India to rely on imports to meet its defence needs.
  • Diversification of suppliers: While Russia has traditionally been India’s primary supplier of armaments, in recent years India has expanded its sources of weapons and equipment to include France, Israel, and the US.


  • These trends highlight the changing dynamics of global arms trade, which are shaped by geopolitical developments, regional conflicts, and strategic alliances. 

Operation Sarvashakti

  • The Indian Army has launched Operation Sarvashakti in the Rajouri-Poonch region of Jammu and Kashmir to confront escalating terrorist threats against security personnel.
  • This article delves into Operation Sarpvinash, a similar military operation carried out in the same region over two decades ago, and sheds light on its goals, relevance, and historical background.

Operation Sarvashakti: The Need for Action

  • In recent years, there have been three significant terrorist strikes in the area, resulting in the loss of 20 soldiers. This highlights the urgency of Operation Sarvashakti.
  • Foreign Terrorist Presence: The region is known for hosting foreign terrorists, which is a major security problem.
  • Increasing Troop Presence: Operation Sarvashakti entails deploying more troops to boost density, hence increasing the likelihood of contacts with terrorists.

Reflecting on Operation Sarpvinash 

  • A counter-insurgency campaign in 2003: Indian military launched Operation Sarpvinash in response to the rising insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Extensive Troop Deployment: The operation lasted around three months and involved approximately 10,000 troops from the 15th and 16th Corps.
  • Aerial Support: Mi-17 helicopters transported troops to Hilkaka, a terrorist-seized village, while Lancer attack helicopters destroyed concrete bunkers created by infiltrators.
  • Decisive Outcomes: The operation resulted in the elimination of approximately 100 terrorists, large seizures of weaponry and ammunition, including explosives, and the demolishing of 40-50 terrorist hideouts.

Origins of Operation Sarpvinash

  • Operation Sarpvinash began in the aftermath of the 1999 Kargil War and the December 2001 Parliament attack, resulting in a significant military mobilisation near Pakistan’s border.
  • Preparation for 2003: Operation Sarpvinash preparations began when intelligence reports revealed the existence of over 300 foreign terrorists who had infiltrated the Line of Control (LoC) and built secure camps in Surankote and Hilkaka.
  • Terrorist Control: These terrorists, who were associated with various Pakistan-based organisations, established a demilitarised zone and exerted dominance, including the construction of numerous hideouts and bunkers.

Strategic significance

  • Crucial Location: The area south of Mendhar leading to the Pir Panjal range via Hilkaka provides the quickest infiltration route from over the LoC into the Kashmir valley.
  • Infiltration Potential: Controlling this territory creates a possible route for personnel during a Pakistani military operation and promotes terrorist infiltration.
  • Natural Cover: Dense trees and steep mountain slopes provide natural concealment, allowing terrorists to avoid Indian forces during searches and engage them strategically.

After Operation Sarpvinash:

  • The region was relatively peaceful until 2017-18, despite continuous terrorist events in the Kashmir valley.
  • Recent Escalations: However, since 2021, this area has seen a revival of high-intensity attacks against security forces.
Defence International Relations

Turkey finally supports Sweden’s NATO bid

  • Sweden’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has made a crucial step forward, with Turkey’s parliament approving its membership.
  • This significant development highlights the shifting dynamics of global politics and Sweden’s reaction to regional security challenges.


FormationEstablished on April 4, 1949
MembersConsists of 30 member countries
HeadquartersLocated in Brussels, Belgium
MissionSafeguard freedom and security through political and military cooperation
Key feature: Article 5Mutual defense provision, attack on one is an attack on all
OperationsInvolved in peacekeeping and crisis management operations worldwide
NATO-Russia RelationsComplex relationship with Russia, involving cooperation and tensions
Evolving Security ChallengesAdapts to address evolving security challenges like terrorism, cyber threats, and hybrid warfare

Sweden’s Neutrality and Shift of Stance

  • Sweden has remained neutral for more than two centuries, staying out of conflicts such as World Wars and the Cold War.
  • EU and NATO Collaboration: Despite its membership in the European Union and cooperation with NATO, Sweden has previously indicated that it did not intend to join the military alliance.
  • Changing Landscape: Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Sweden’s neutrality was called into question, prompting widespread support for NATO membership.

Turkey’s Opposition and Resolution

  • Turkey and Hungary had resisted Sweden’s NATO admission for nearly two years.
  • Turkish Concerns: Turkey expressed concerns over Sweden’s perceived leniency towards terrorist groups, especially the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
  • Free Speech Controversy: Protests in Sweden that burned Qurans, which were permitted by free speech regulations, strained relations with Turkey even further.
  • Recent Reforms: Sweden has taken many steps to meet Turkey’s concerns, including tightening anti-terrorism laws, cracking down on PKK operations, and lifting limitations on military sales to Turkey.
  • Positive Developments: Sweden has also committed support for Turkey’s EU membership ambition.

Hungary’s Influence and Response

  • Following Turkey’s Lead: Hungary, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, was regarded as siding with Turkey in rejecting Sweden’s NATO ambition.
  • Grievances with Sweden: Hungary was dissatisfied with Sweden’s criticisms of the rule of law and the democratic state under Orban.
  • Russia-Friendly attitude: In comparison to other NATO members, Orban took a more pro-Russian attitude.
  • Invitation to Cooperation: Following Turkey’s approval, Orban invited Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest to discuss future security and defence cooperation as allies.

Sweden’s NATO membership 

  • It will expand the alliance’s presence to practically the entire Baltic Sea coastline, except for the area under Russian control.
  • Strategic sites: This expansion places NATO’s strategic sites near Russia, streamlines supply routes, and makes it easier to defend assets in the Baltic Sea.
  • Modern Military: Despite its small military size, Sweden has modern and experienced armed forces, including advanced aircraft and submarine capabilities.
  • Global Missions: Sweden’s military has taken part in prior NATO missions, contributing to the alliance’s operational capabilities.

@the end

  • Sweden’s NATO membership ratification marks a dramatic departure in its long-standing neutrality, motivated by shifting geopolitical forces and regional security concerns.
  • Sweden’s entry into the alliance provides strategic advantages to NATO’s posture in the Baltic Sea region and strengthens the alliance’s collective defence capabilities.

India’s Iron Dome is the Akash Missile System

  • During the recent Exercise Astrashakti 2023, India showed the firepower of its Akash surface-to-air (SAM) weapon system, in which a single firing unit engaged and killed four unmanned targets at the same time.
  • Armenia, Brazil, and Egypt have expressed interest in procuring the Akash SAM.


Development and ProductionDeveloped by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), produced by Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL).
TypeShort-range Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM).
Engagement CapacityEngages four aerial targets at a range of 25 km from a single firing unit.
Target EngagementCapable of simultaneously targeting several threats in group or autonomous modes.
Electronic Counter-Counter Measures (ECCM)Protected against hostile jamming and evasion methods.
Mobility and AgilityConfigured for quick deployment and relocation on mobile platforms.
Operational UseIn service with the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Range and AltitudeEffective range of 4.5 km to 25 km, with an altitude range of 100 meters to 20 km.
Physical DimensionsLength: 5,870 mm; Diameter: 350 mm; Weight: 710 kg.
Automation and ResponseFrom target detection to neutralisation, the system is fully automated and responds quickly.
System ArchitectureAdaptability to existing and future air defence environments is enabled via an open-system design.

Comparison with Israel’s Iron Dome

  • Interception Capabilities: Akash is sometimes likened to Israel’s Iron Dome due to its capacity to intercept UAVs, smaller munitions, helicopters, and aeroplanes.
  • While comparable to the Iron Dome, Akash is intended to defend against larger aerial threats such as aircraft rather than tiny rockets.
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