Defense Exercises and other Important Topics | Current Affairs Compilation for Prelims 2022 | Nov. 2021 to March 2022

Dear Friends,

This post is a part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered all of the current affairs linked to Defense exercises from Nov. 2021 to  March 2022. In the 2nd part, we will cover the rest of the current affairs of the period July 2021 to 31st April 2022.

To Read Other Current Affairs Compilations for UPSC Prelims 2022– Click here


Defense exercises


Exercise PANEX-21

News: The Indian Army organized an exercise named “PANEX-21” for the member nations of Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries.

About Exercise PANEX-21

It is a multi-nation Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief exercise.

Participants: The exercise will involve BIMSTEC Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and India.

Aim: To foster joint planning and build regional cooperation for responding to natural disasters.

The exercise will look at analyzing the capabilities of member states and share best practices for response to disasters, including capability development and training. Protocols for military-to-military cooperation will also be discussed.


Exercise EKUVERIN

News: The 11th Edition of Exercise EKUVERIN between India & Maldives has been conducted at Kadhdhoo Island, Maldives.

About Exercise EKUVERIN

It is a joint military exercise conducted between India and Maldives since 2009. The exercise is held alternatively in India and Maldives. The 10th edition of the exercise was held in Maharashtra, India.

Aim: To enhance synergy & interoperability between the Armed Forces of both the Nations in terms of understanding transnational terrorism both on land & at sea, conducting Counter Terrorism & Counter Insurgency Operations, and sharing best military practices and experiences.

Other exercises between India and Maldives

Exercise Dosti: It is a Biennial Trilateral Coast Guard Exercise between India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka.


Exercise Sea Dragon

News: India is among the six Indo-Pacific nations that participated in Exercise Sea Dragon, held in the Pacific Ocean.

About Exercise Sea Dragon

It is an annual US-led multinational exercise.

Aim: To practice and discuss anti-submarine warfare tactics so as to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

Participating Countries:  United States, India, Australia, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

Note: India, Japan, Australia and America are also part of the Quad and also participate in the Malabar exercise.


Exercise Milan

News: The US and Russia will be participating in India’s biggest maritime exercise named “Milan-2022” amidst escalating tensions between them over Ukraine.

About Exercise Milan

Aim: To enhance professional interaction between friendly foreign navies and learn from each other’s strengths and best practices in the maritime domain.

Conducted by: Indian Navy

Type: Biennial multilateral naval exercise that was first held in the year 1995 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Significance: It was held in Visakhapatnam for the first time this year instead of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Theme: ‘Camaraderie Cohesion Collaboration’.

Participating countries: Around 40 countries such as the US, Russia, Australia, UK, Japan, South Korea, France, Israel etc.


Exercise Eastern Bridge-VI

News: Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) participated in the 6th edition of bilateral exercise named Eastern Bridge-VI at Air Force Station Jodhpur.

About Exercise Eastern Bridge

Conducted between: India and Oman.

Type: Bilateral air exercise that was first held in 2009.

Aim: The exercise will provide an opportunity to enhance operational capability and interoperability between the two Air Forces.

Other bilateral exercises between India and Oman

Naseem-al-Bahr: It is a bilateral biennial naval exercise between India and Oman.

AL NAGAH: It is a bilateral military exercise between India and Oman.


Exercise Dharma Guardian

News: Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces participated in a Joint Exercise with India named “Ex Dharma Guardian-2022”. The exercise has been conducted at Belagavi, Karnataka.

About Exercise Dharma Guardian

It is conducted between India and Japan since 2018.

Type: Annual joint military exercise

Aim: To share experience gained during various Counter-Terrorism Operations in respective Countries.

Other exercises between India and Japan

SHINYUU Maitri– It is a bilateral exercise between the Indian Air Force and the Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).

JIMEX- It is a bilateral maritime exercise between India and Japan.

Sahayog-Kaijin – Joint bilateral exercise between the Indian Coast Guard and the Japan Coast Guard.


Exercise Cobra Warrior

News: Indian Air Force participated in a multi-nation air exercise named ‘Ex Cobra Warrior 22’ at Waddington, UK.

About Exercise Cobra Warrior

Aim: To provide operational exposure and share best practices amongst the participating Air Forces, thereby enhancing combat capability and forging bonds of friendship.

Conducted by: Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom (UK).

Type: Annual multinational air exercise

From the Indian side, indigenous LCA Tejas fighter aircraft will participate in the exercise and a C-17 aircraft will provide transport support.

Apart from India, the other countries participating in the exercise are Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria.

Other bilateral exercises between India and the UK

Ajeya Warrior: It is a joint military exercise between India and the UK. It was held for the first time in 2013.

Konkan: It is an annual maritime bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Britain.

Indradhanush: It is a joint bilateral air exercise between India and the UK.


Exercise SITMEX

News: Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette, is participating in the 3rd edition of Exercise SITMEX.

About Exercise SITMEX

It is a trilateral annual maritime exercise between India, Singapore, and Thailand. The first edition of the exercise was hosted by India at Port Blair in 2019. The third edition of the exercise is being hosted by Thailand in the Andaman Sea.

The 2021 edition of the exercise is being conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 restrictions.

Aim: To enhance mutual interoperability and imbibing best practices between the Indian, Singapore and Thailand Navy.

Other exercises between India, Singapore and Thailand

SIMBEX– It is a bilateral naval exercise between India and Singapore.

Maitree- It is a bilateral military exercise between India and Thailand.


Exercise Shakti

News: The Sixth Edition of Indo – French joint military exercise named “Ex SHAKTI 2021” took place at the Military School of Draguignan, France.

About Exercise Shakti

It is a biennial military exercise between the Indian and French Army.

Aim: To enhance military cooperation and interoperability between the two Armies.

Other exercises between India and France

Exercise Garuda – It is a biennial air force exercise between the Indian & French Air Force.

Exercise Varuna – It is a biennial naval exercise between the Indian & French Navy.

Exercise Desert Knight-21 – It is a Bilateral Air Exercise between India and France.


Miscellaneous International topics


Barbados – the world’s newest republic

News: Nearly 400 years after the country became a British colony, Barbados has become the world’s newest republic.

This happened after Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth II as the head of the state in a ceremony attended by Prince Charles.

About Barbados

Barbados first became an English colony when a ship arrived at the Caribbean in 1625.

On November 30, 1966, Barbados gained its independence however Elizabeth II continued as the Queen of Barbados.

Now it will become the world’s newest republic. However, it will continue to be one of the 54 Commonwealth nations.

Barbados will not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. Guyana took that step in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain. Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.

Note: Commonwealth of Nations is a loose association of former British colonies and current dependencies, along with some countries that have no historical ties to Britain.


Kenya Transmission Project

News: Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Africa50 to develop the Kenya Transmission Project.

About the Kenya Transmission Project

The Project aims to develop power transmission lines in Kenya under a public-private partnership framework.

Under the project, POWERGRID will provide technical and operational know-how to the project, while Africa50 will bring its project development and finance expertise and act as a bridge between the Kenyan government and private investors.

Once completed, the project will be the first Independent Power Transmission (IPT) in Kenya and will set a reference point in Africa as the first financing of transmission lines on a PPP basis.

About Africa50

Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s economic growth by developing and investing in bankable infrastructure projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact.

Currently, Africa50 has 31 shareholders comprising 28 African countries, the African Development Bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), and Bank Al-Maghrib.


Unitary Digital Identity framework

News: India has agreed to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to implement a ‘Unitary Digital Identity framework’.

About the Unitary Digital Identity framework (UDIF)

UDIF is apparently similar to India’s Aadhaar card.

The proposed UDIF is expected to introduce a:

– Personal identity verification device based on biometric data

– Digital tool that can represent the identities of individuals in cyberspace and

– Identification of individual identities that can be accurately verified in digital and physical environments by combining the two devices.


Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route

News: India has successfully conducted the maiden voyage of foodgrains via inland waterways from Patna to Pandu through Bangladesh in Guwahati.  The vessel started from Patna on National Waterway (NW-1) (river Ganga), passed through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and through National Waterway (NW-2) (river Brahmaputra).

About Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route

The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route was signed between India and Bangladesh in 1972. It aims to provide inland waterways’ connectivity between the two countries, particularly with the North Eastern Region of India, and also to enhance bilateral trade.

Under this Protocol, Inland vessels of both the countries can move on the designated protocol route and dock at Ports of Call in each country notified for loading/unloading of cargo.

Some of the existing protocol routes include Kolkata-Pandu-Kolkata, Kolkata-Karimganj – Kolkata, Rajshahi-Dhulian-Rajshahi and Pandu-Karimganj-Pandu among others.


Humanitarian Corridors

News: Russia has declared a temporary ceasefire in the Russia-Ukraine War to provide “Humanitarian Corridors” for civilians.

About Humanitarian Corridors

Humanitarian Corridors are demilitarized zones in a specific area and for a specific time. They are created when both sides of an armed conflict agree to them.

The United Nations considers humanitarian corridors to be one of several possible forms of a temporary pause of armed conflict.

Need: The corridors are necessary when cities are under siege and the population is cut off from basic food supplies, electricity and water.

Purpose: Through these corridors, both food and medical aid can be brought to areas of conflict, or civilians can be evacuated.

Sets up: In most cases, humanitarian corridors are negotiated by the United Nations. Sometimes they’re also set up by local groups.

Access to corridors: Access to humanitarian corridors is determined by the parties to the conflict. It’s usually limited to neutral actors, the UN or aid organizations such as the Red Cross.

Concerns: There is a risk of military or political abuse. For example, the corridors can be used to smuggle weapons and fuel into besieged cities.


Missile misfired

News: Pakistan recently made the claim that an unarmed Indian missile landed 124 km inside its territory, which India has conformed and cited technical malfunction as the reason that led to the accidental firing of a missile.

Protocols that countries need to follow before conducting tests

According to the ballistic missiles agreement signed in 2005-

Each country must provide the other an advance notification on a flight test it intends to take for any land or sea launched, surface-to-surface ballistic missile.

The pre-notification has to be “conveyed through the respective Foreign Offices and the High Commissions, as per the format annexed to this Agreement.

However, regarding this incident, there was no prior contact between the two countries.

One of the reasons for this may have been that for the kind of missile that was tested, there was no mandatory clause to pre inform. Both the countries have not disclosed the type of missile that was involved in the incident.

Probable reasons for the change in missile’s trajectory

It can happen due to various reasons like insertion of wrong target coordinates, corrupting of target data fed into the missile etc.


Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Status

News: The US and other members of the Group of Seven (G7) will revoke Russia’s “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR)” status to punish Russia for war over Ukraine.

About Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR)

The status of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) is a legal designation in the United States for free trade with a foreign nation.

In the United States, the name was changed from Most Favored Nation (MFN) to PNTR in 1998.

About the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Status

The World Trade Organization members commit to treating other members equally, so they can all benefit from each other’s lowest tariffs, the highest import quotas and the fewest trade barriers for goods and services. This principle of non-discrimination is known as the most favoured nation (MFN) treatment.

Article 1 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 1994 requires every WTO member country to accord MFN status to all other member countries.

However, there are also some exceptions, such as when members strike bilateral trade agreements or when members offer developing countries special access to their markets.

For countries outside the WTO, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria or Belarus, WTO members can impose whatever trade measures they wish without flouting global trading rules.

The process for the removal of MFN Status

There is no formal procedure for suspending MFN treatment and it is not clear whether members are obliged to inform the WTO if they do so.

Note: India suspended Pakistan’s MFN status in 2019. Pakistan never applied MFN status to India.

What does losing MFN status mean?

It does not in itself change conditions for trade with Russia. However, it does formally allow the Western allies to increase import tariffs or impose quotas on Russian goods or even ban them and restrict services out of the country. They could also overlook Russian intellectual property rights.


Glaciers named after cities

News: A glacier in Antarctica has been experiencing rapid melting. It has now been named Glasgow Glacier in honour of Glasgow, Scotland.

This is because Glasgow hosted the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

About the other glaciers named after cities

Source: BBC

Geneva: Named after the world’s first climate conference in 1979. The conference set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Rio: Commemorates the first Earth Summit in 1992 where the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was opened for signatures.

Berlin: It is named after the first Conference of Parties (COP) in 1995 which assessed the progress of dealing with climate change.

Kyoto: It commemorates the formal adoption in 1997 of the protocol that legally bound developed countries to emissions reduction targets.

Paris: It memorializes the agreement of a legally binding treaty in 2015 that aimed to limit global temperature rise to well below 2C, preferably below 1.5C.

Incheon: It marks the meeting of the IPCC in 2018 to consider the special report on the impacts of 1.5 degrees of warming and the difference in risks of going to 2C.

Why were these Glaciers named after cities?

Scientists from the University of Leeds in England have studied several glaciers in the Getz basin of Antarctica. They have found that 14 glaciers in this region are thinning by an average of 25% between 1994 and 2018 due to climate change.

Naming will be a symbol of what is at stake and is also a great way to celebrate the international collaboration on climate change over the last 42 years.


Salami Slicing Tactics

News: According to reports, China has constructed a second village along the disputed border in Arunachal Pradesh. However, the Indian Army has said that the location of this enclave was north of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Chinese-held territory.

Moreover, this strategy of construction of villages shows China’s salami-slicing tactics to nibble away territory of its neighbours like India and Bhutan.

About the salami-slicing tactics 

Salami slicing is described as a strategy that involves the divide and conquer process of threats and alliances to overcome opposition and acquire new territories.

The term was coined by Stalinist dictator Mátyás Rákosi during the 1940s. He used the term to justify the actions of the Hungarian Communist Party to grab complete power in Hungary.

The acquisition of Tibet, the capture of Aksai Chin and the annexation of Paracel Islands are some of the examples where China used salami-slicing tactics.

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