New Delhi: The Indian armed forces devised an assertive approach in 2021 to deal with national security challenges and also took several initiatives towards empowering Women in the Services. Permanent Commission of women officers has been implemented in the Armed Forces.

Several major initiatives have been launched during the year to make India self-reliant in the field of Defence manufacturing. Atmanirbharta in Defence is aimed at enhancing domestic manufacturing and making the country a net exporter in this field.

'Make in India' and 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' have been given a major impetus during planning and procurement of equipment for Indian Army, wherein, there is endeavour to support the emerging defence industry in the Country.

Induction of LCA (Tejas), Arudhra and Aslesha Radars, Astra Air to Air missile, Akash Surface to Air missile system, Advance Light Helicopter and Light Combat Helicopter etc. systems were added in IAF's inventory proving IAF's commitment to the vision of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'.

The MBT 'Arjun' Mk-1A was handed over to the Indian Army by Prime Minister on 14 Feb 2021 and Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed an order with Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF), Avadi, Chennai for supply of 118 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) Arjun Mk-1A for Indian Army on September 23, 2021.

Advanced Electronic Warfare System 'Shakti', designed and developed by Defence Electronics Research Laboratory (DLRL) Hyderabad a laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), was handed over to Indian Navy on 19 Nov 2021 by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 'Vikrant' successfully accomplished its maiden sea voyage in August 2021. This milestone with few parallels reinforces confidence in the largest indigenously designed platform of Indian Navy and the resolve of countrymen in our quest for 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'. Commissioning of Vikrant is being targeted by August 15, 2022.

INS Visakhapatnam, first ship of Project 15B, was delivered by Mazagon Dock Limited to Indian Navy on October 28, 2021 at Mumbai and commissioned into IN on November 21, 2021 by the Raksha Mantri.

Two sophisticated and potent platforms Karanj and Vela were commissioned on 10 Mar 21 and 25 Nov 21 respectively, with over 75 percentage of Indigenous content, having State-of-the-art weapon fit to strengthen our security apparatus in the Western Seaboard.

The forthcoming DefExpo-2022, scheduled to be held at Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 10th to 13th March 2022, is being planned in line with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and the wide expanse of the domestic Defence Manufacturing Industry will be co-opted to showcase India @75.

Rajnath Singh handed over five Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) developed products to the Armed forces and other security agencies at an event held at DRDO Bhawan, New Delhi on 14 December 2021, as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations and iconic week of Ministry of Defence.

Rajnath Singh handed over six Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreements to seven public and private sector companies. Products handed over to the Armed Forces & Ministry of Home Affairs include Anti-Drone system, Modular Bridge, Smart Anti Airfield Weapon, Chaff Variants and the Light Weight Fire Fighting Suit.

Air version of BrahMos supersonic missile was successfully test fired from supersonic fighter aircraft Sukhoi 30 MK-I on December 8, 2021. BrahMos is a Joint Venture between India (DRDO) and Russia (NPOM) for the development, production and marketing of the supersonic cruise missile.

DRDO-developed supersonic missile assisted torpedo system was successfully launched on 13 December 2021.

To provide autonomy and enhance efficiency, and unleash new growth potential in Ordnance Factories, the Ordnance Factory Board has been converted into seven new Defence Public Sector Undertakings while safeguarding the interest of all stakeholders. The new Defence PSUs have become operational from 1st October, 2021.

Women's Empowerment In The Armed Forces

Several initiatives have been undertaken by the Ministry of Defence towards empowering Women in the Services. Permanent Commission of women officers has been implemented in the Armed Forces.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement during his Independence Day speech this year that all Sainik Schools, across India, will now be open for girls. All the Sainik Schools are now offering admissions to girls and more than 350 girls have been admitted so far.

BRO appointed women officers to command important Road Construction Companies (RCC) along border areas. In Apr 2021, EE (Civil) Vaishali S Hiwase, a GREF officer took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company and was employed on an important Indo-China Road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam.

Government has now allowed girls of the country to appear in the National Defence Academy examination. The necessary administrative training and policy changes have been made. The NDA June 2022 course will have the first batch of women cadets.

First batch of women Naval Operations officers were inducted into rotary wing and joined the helicopter squadron INAS 336 at INS Garuda, Kochi on February 03, 2021. Lt Kumudini Tyagi and Lt Riti Singh have operated onboard warships as combat aircrew.