7 OCTOBER 2023

by | Oct 12, 2023


Indian Navy’s Swavlamban Seminar Unveils Cutting-Edge Maritime Technologies

Anticipation is on the rise as the Indian Navy gears up for the much-awaited second edition of the Naval Innovation and Indigenization Seminar, Swavlamban, scheduled to unfold on October 4th and 5th in the heart of New Delhi. This momentous event is poised to mark a significant milestone for the Indian Navy, as it unveils state-of-the-art technologies, notably the Autonomous Weaponized Boat Swarms, and introduces the Autonomous Vessel Underwater (AUV) for the very first time.

Key Highlights:

  1. Seminar Showcase: The much-anticipated Swavlamban seminar, slated for early October in New Delhi, is set to become a pivotal event for the Indian Navy.
  2. Technological Marvels: The spotlight of this event will undoubtedly be the unveiling of cutting-edge technologies, notably the introduction of Autonomous Weaponized Boat Swarms and the maiden appearance of the Autonomous Vessel Underwater (AUV).
  3. Crucial Agreement: In a strategic manoeuvre, the Indian Navy has forged a significant partnership with Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt. Ltd to collaborate on the development of Autonomous Weaponized Boat Swarms.
  4. Expansion with AUVs: Demonstrating their commitment to enhancing their capabilities, company officials have revealed the issuance of an Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for acquiring 30 AUVs for the Indian Navy.
  5. Innovative Partnership: Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt. Ltd has earned recognition as one of the successful participants in the Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) DISC 7 program, particularly under the SPRINT (Supporting Pole-vaulting In R&D through Innovations for Defence Excellence) framework.
  6. Government Backing: The iDEX initiative, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, aims to foster innovation and technological development within the Defense and Aerospace Sector. It actively involves various sectors, such as Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), startups, and individual innovators, in the development of specialized technologies.
  7. 50th SPRINT Contract: The collaboration between Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt. Ltd and the Indian Navy signifies the 50th contract awarded under the ‘SPRINT’ program. This program has set ambitious goals, aiming to produce 75 indigenous technologies for the Indian Navy, contributing to the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  8. Maritime Security Enhancement: Captain Nikunj Parashar, Managing Director and founder of Sagar Defence Engineering, emphasized the role of these autonomous swarm boats in enhancing maritime security and aligning with global advancements in unmanned technology. These swarm boats have exhibited their effectiveness across various tasks, including oceanography, bathymetry, hydrography, environmental monitoring, freight transport, search and rescue, as well as military applications.
  9. Naval Tactics: Captain Parashar explained that these swarms are strategically designed for naval tactics, involving a coordinated deployment of numerous small unmanned boats to overwhelm an adversary’s naval defenses.
  10. Integrated Autonomous System: The implementation of an integrated autonomous system aims to address India’s maritime security needs through diverse naval and security missions, including high-speed interdiction, surveillance, constabulary operations, C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), and low-intensity maritime operations through Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs).
  11. Supporting Defense Industry Growth: Captain Parashar expressed how their engagement with iDEX-DIO and the Indian Navy offers an opportunity to contribute to the growth of the defense industry, supporting start-ups and enhancing the nation’s defense and aerospace capabilities.
  12. Preserving Lives: In pursuit of these goals, substantial steps have been taken to preserve human lives during challenging and hazardous missions, with a focus on promoting the localization of such technology, contributing to the development of a Secure India.
  13. Autonomous Weaponized Boat Swarms: These swarm boats are equipped with various types of weaponry and sensors, capable of remote or autonomous operation. Their integrated system enables the execution of a range of naval and security missions, including littoral/ODA Patrol, High-Speed Interdiction, Coastal Surveillance, Local Naval Defence, Constabulary Operations, C4ISR, Medium-Sized Unmanned Surface Vessel, and Low-Intensity Maritime Operations (LIMO). The Naval Innovation and Indigenization Organization (NIIO) and Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC) oversee these initiatives.
  14. Strengthening Security: The defense minister is optimistic that the SPRINT initiative will elicit enthusiastic responses from the Indian industry, contributing to a more robust and self-sufficient military sector, ultimately strengthening the country’s security system.
  15. Focus on ‘Make in India’: In recent years, India has fostered a domestic industry-friendly environment, promoting the growth of local companies and ensuring holistic development while catering to the security needs of friendly nations, aligning with the vision of “Make in India, Make for the World.”
  16. About AUVs: The acquisition of 30 AUVs for the Indian Navy offers significant tactical advantages in underwater and surface warfare through their swarming capabilities. These AUVs are versatile and can be deployed for missions like Mine Counter Measures (MCM), anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), hydrographic and oceanographic data acquisition, wreck localization, port and coastal security, with swarming capabilities enabling multiple missions while keeping capital and operational expenses low. Their modular architecture allows customization to meet specific user requirements and adapt to different environmental conditions.

Protecting the Pristine Ecosystem: Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary’s Eco-Sensitive Zone Status

The Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary, a gem nestled in the heart of Andhra Pradesh, is on the brink of a significant transformation. The Andhra Pradesh Forest Department’s Wildlife Division is gearing up to create an inventory of land use and activities surrounding the Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary, a crucial step towards designating it as an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). This move holds the promise of preserving the delicate ecosystem of Kolleru Lake, a haven for diverse bird species and a vital wetland.

Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary: A Natural Marvel

  • Location and Size: The Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary, spanning approximately 308 square kilometers, is strategically positioned between the Krishna and Godavari river basins in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Importance: This sanctuary is more than just a protected area; it’s a critical refuge for both resident and migratory birds. With its exceptional ecological significance, it was officially recognized in 1953, and it is celebrated for the diverse avian life it harbors.

A Sanctuary of Birds: The Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary is renowned as a bird watcher’s paradise, attracting avian enthusiasts from across the globe. Some of the significant features of this sanctuary include:

  • Migratory Birds: The sanctuary plays host to a dazzling array of migratory birds. Flamingos, pelicans, storks, herons, ibises, and many other species find solace here during the winter months, creating a mesmerizing spectacle.
  • Resident Birds: Kolleru is not just a seasonal home; it’s also a permanent residence for certain bird species like storks and spot-billed pelicans. These feathered inhabitants grace the sanctuary with their presence all year round.
  • Protected Status: In 1999, Kolleru was officially designated as a Bird Sanctuary under India’s Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, recognizing its pivotal role in avian conservation.
  • Global Recognition: Ramsar Site and Important Bird Area

Kolleru’s importance goes beyond national borders, earning it international acclaim. Here’s how:

  • Ramsar Wetland: In 2002, Kolleru Lake received the prestigious title of a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention. This recognition underscores its global significance in preserving wetland ecosystems.
  • Important Bird Area (IBA): The sanctuary was also designated as an Important Bird Area due to its consistent support for more than 50,000 waterfowl, making it a vital hub for avian diversity.

A Biodiverse Haven

The Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary is not just about birds; it’s a thriving ecosystem with diverse flora and fauna:

  • Flora: The water bodies within the sanctuary are adorned with water hyacinth, water lilies, duckweed, and various types of algae. The surrounding land boasts a rich variety of grasses, shrubs, and trees like tamarind, neem, and palm trees.
  • Fauna: The wildlife includes Indian mongooses, Indian jackals, lizards, Indian pythons, and the Indian Golden Gecko, adding layers of biodiversity to this exquisite sanctuary.

Preservation and the Road Ahead

The impending declaration of Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary as an eco-sensitive zone signifies the government’s commitment to safeguarding this precious ecosystem. The inventory of land use and activities will aid in better management and conservation efforts, ensuring the delicate balance of nature within the sanctuary is preserved.

The Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary stands as a testament to the extraordinary biodiversity that our planet harbors. As it takes steps towards becoming an eco-sensitive zone, it reaffirms the importance of coexistence between human activities and the natural world. It’s a reminder that with responsible conservation, we can cherish these ecological wonders for generations to come.

Safeguarding Aviation Leasing Interests: Key Changes to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

In a significant development, the Indian government has recently introduced a pivotal change that could reshape the dynamics of aviation leasing in the country. Transactions involving aircraft, aircraft engines, airframes, and helicopters are now exempt from the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC). This momentous decision, conveyed through an official notification by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs on October 3, 2023, carries profound implications for aviation leasing, industry stakeholders, and the ongoing cases within India’s aviation sector.

Understanding the IBC Exclusion

The exclusion primarily pertains to Section 14 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, which deals with the power of the adjudicating authority, the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), to enact a moratorium upon accepting a company into the insolvency resolution process.

Typically, once a moratorium is imposed, various activities related to a company’s assets are prohibited. These encompass initiating legal proceedings, continuing ongoing suits, executing judgments, transferring or disposing of assets, and enforcing security interests. In essence, it temporarily shields the distressed company from these actions during the insolvency resolution process.

Understanding the IBC:

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) is a landmark legislation introduced in India to streamline and expedite the insolvency and bankruptcy resolution process. It consolidates and amends the existing framework, providing a comprehensive mechanism for resolving financial distress and ensuring the efficient allocation of distressed assets.

Significance of IBC:

  • Resolution Over Liquidation: IBC promotes a resolution-oriented approach, prioritizing the revival and continuation of businesses over their liquidation. This approach preserves economic value and jobs, contributing to overall economic growth.
  • Time-Bound Process: IBC mandates strict timelines for the resolution process, ensuring expeditious decision-making and reducing delays, which were common in the pre-IBC era.
  • Creditor Empowerment: The Code empowers creditors, both financial and operational, by giving them a say in the resolution process. This is a significant departure from the earlier debtor-friendly system.

Advantages of IBC:

  • Efficiency: IBC’s time-bound nature reduces the scope for prolonged litigation and ensures a swift resolution.
  • Creditor Protection: It provides a structured and robust framework for the protection of creditors’ interests, instilling confidence in the credit market.
  • Rescue of Businesses: By facilitating the revival of distressed businesses, IBC helps in preserving entrepreneurship and employment.

Challenges Faced by IBC:

  • Operational Hurdles: Implementation challenges, such as the shortage of insolvency professionals, delays in National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) proceedings, and the need for better infrastructure, have impeded the IBC process.
  • Haircuts and Liquidations: Some resolutions have resulted in significant haircuts for creditors, while others have ended in liquidation, raising concerns about the effectiveness of the resolution process.
  • Cross-Border Insolvency: IBC currently lacks provisions for cross-border insolvency, making it challenging to deal with assets and creditors located abroad.

The Way Forward for IBC:

  • Streamlining Processes: Addressing operational challenges, increasing the number of insolvency professionals, and expediting NCLT proceedings will enhance the efficiency of IBC.
  • Balancing Resolution and Liquidation: Striking a balance between resolution and liquidation outcomes is essential to optimize the effectiveness of the Code.
  • Cross-Border Insolvency: Introducing provisions for cross-border insolvency will facilitate the handling of assets and creditors with international dimensions.

Implications for Aviation Leasing

The exclusion from the IBC marks a significant transformation in the dynamics of aviation leasing in India. Aircraft lessors and their rights are now in the limelight, with the ability to reclaim their aircraft from defaulting lessees. This is especially relevant for lessors leasing their planes to airlines undergoing insolvency proceedings, a scenario that has garnered attention with the grounded carrier, Go First.

Go First is currently navigating voluntary insolvency proceedings and is embroiled in a legal battle with its aircraft lessors. The exclusion from the IBC could potentially have an impact on cases like Go First.

It’s important to note that this amendment is not just forward-looking but could also apply retrospectively, which may affect ongoing cases in the aviation sector.

The Role of the Cape Town Convention

The move also underscores the importance of aligning Indian regulations with international conventions, particularly the Cape Town Convention (CTC). India is a signatory to the CTC but is yet to ratify the convention.

Under the CTC, lessors have the right to repossess aircraft leased to airlines in cases of default. However, the moratorium imposed during insolvency proceedings has created a roadblock, leading to legal battles between lessors and airlines over the repossession of leased aircraft.

The recent announcement acknowledges the significance of harmonizing Indian regulations with international standards, specifically the CTC. This step may lead to more clarity and consistency in dealing with aircraft leasing and repossession issues in the country.

The government’s decision to exclude aircraft-related transactions from the IBC signifies a momentous shift in the landscape of aviation leasing in India. It not only empowers lessors to safeguard their interests but also aligns Indian regulations with international standards. As the aviation sector evolves and contends with insolvency cases like Go First, these amendments will play a pivotal role in shaping the industry’s future.

Written By Vishakha Khatri

My name is Vishakha Khatri. I am an engineering graduate and a civil service aspirant with a passion for spreading knowledge about Indian polity. I believe that understanding our political system is crucial for every citizen, and I am committed to making this information accessible to everyone in my own easy way. Through my experiences in civil service preparation and my unique perspective as an engineering graduate, I hope to inspire and educate others on the importance of Indian polity.

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