Indian Army receives advanced Israeli Heron drones
The advanced Israeli Heron-II drones will be deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern Ladakh sector.
The Indian Army has received advanced Israeli Heron drones after a delay of few months due to COVID-19. The deployment of the drones will boost the Indian Army's surveillance capabilities and help it keep a watch on the Chinese activities in the Ladakh region. The drones will be deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the eastern Ladakh sector.
The new Heron drones are far more advanced than the Heron drones that India already has in its current inventory. The new drones have now been made operational in the Ladakh region. The Indian Forces had announced that they are expecting the arrival of the advanced Heron-II drones from Israel in May 2021.
The Indian Army had procured the drones under the emergency financial powers granted by PM Narendra Modi-led central government to the defence forces, under which, they can buy equipment worth Rs 500 crores to upgrade their warfighting capabilities amid India's border conflict with China.
The defence forces had earlier in 2019 utilized these initiatives and powers to obtain weapon system after the Balakot airstrikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan. Similarly, the Indian Navy had leased two Predator drones from General Atomics, an American firm. The Indian Air Force has acquired long-range precision-guided artillery shells, Hammer air, and anti-tank guided missiles.
About Heron-II drones
•Four satellite communication enabled Heron Mark-II drones on a three-year lease will be acquired from Israel under the Rs 500 crore emergency financial powers.
•The drones have been manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries. The medium-altitude long-endurance (MALE) Heron Mark-II drones are the upgraded version of Heron UAVs.
•These advanced drones will give a major boost to the surveillance system of Indian forces to keep a watch on the Chinese activities in the Ladakh region.
•The Heron Mark-II drones with their anti-jamming capability, long-range radars, and the ability to fly as high as 35,000 feet will be beneficial to gather information across the LAC with China from a safe distance.
•The Indian defence forces will acquire hand-operated drones and mini-drones from the US. Hand-operated drones will be used to obtain information about a specific area or location while mini-drones would be provided to the troops at the Battalion level.
Line of Actual Control (LAC) conflict between India-China
•The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the demarcation line that separates the territory controlled by India from the territory controlled by China. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China is different from the Line of Control (LOC) with Pakistan.
•The LAC is divided into three regions: the Eastern region in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh (1346 km), the Middle region in Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand (545 km), and the Western region in Ladakh (1597 km).
•India claims LAC to be 3,488 km long while China says it is 2,000 km only. The territorial claim by both nations is also a reason for the dispute. India claims to extend up to all of Aksai Chin (occupied by China) while China claims Arunachal Pradesh in the Eastern region of LAC as South Tibet.
•The LAC in the Eastern region runs along the 1914 McMahon Line.
India-China Galwan Valley Dispute
•India and China had witnessed a face-off in June 2020 in the Galwan Valley during which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives. This was the first stand-off between India and China since 1975.
•Beginning May 2020, Chinese troops had entered into the Galwan Valley that they claim to be under the China-controlled territory. However, India claims the valley falls within India’s control.
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