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13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference in New Delhi: Key Highlights

The 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC) took place from September 26 to 27, 2023, at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi. This biennial event, co-hosted by the Indian Army and the US Army Pacific, brought together army chiefs from 30 Indo-Pacific nations to deliberate on security cooperation, collective strategies, and pressing regional issues.

13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference: Key Discussion Points:

1. Security Cooperation and Collective Strategies:

  • The primary objective of the IPACC was to foster security cooperation among participating nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Army chiefs discussed and formulated collective strategies to address regional security challenges.

2. Military Diplomacy and Crisis Mitigation:

  • A crucial focus of the conference was the role of military diplomacy in mitigating crises within the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Army leaders deliberated on the potential contributions of their respective armed forces in crisis management.

3. Display of Domestic Defense Manufacturing:

  • Indian vendors showcased a wide array of locally-produced weapons and systems to representatives from 30 countries.
  • The exhibition featured advanced drones, artillery guns, unmanned ground vehicles, surveillance equipment, and armored personnel carriers, highlighting India’s advancements in defense manufacturing.

4. Drone Technology Showcase:

  • The exhibition highlighted various drone technologies, including loitering munitions, UAVs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, multi-payload drones, and nano UAVs.
  • Notably, the ALS-50 loitering munition, manufactured by Tata Advanced Systems, was featured, with deliveries to the Indian Air Force underway.

5. Nano UAVs for Counterterrorism:

  • The Indian Army acquired nano UAVs, named Doot and Parush, built by IDR Research and Development for its counterterrorism units deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Doot UAV, weighing 350 grams, is palm-sized.

6. Indigenous Drone Manufacturers:

  • Prominent indigenous drone manufacturers, such as Kalyani Group and ideaForge, displayed their products, including multi-mission drones and UAVs for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

7. Artillery and Ground Vehicles:

  • The exhibition featured Kalyani Strategic Systems’ MaRG 155mm/39 caliber artillery guns with shoot-and-scoot capability, as well as other artillery systems.
  • Additionally, wheeled and tracked unmanned ground vehicles were showcased.

8. India’s Defense Export Targets:

  • India has set an ambitious defense export target of ₹35,000 crore by 2024-25, reflecting the nation’s growing capabilities in defense manufacturing.
  • Export figures have risen significantly, while imports have decreased due to policy initiatives and reforms.

9. Multilateral Security Partnerships:

  • Chief-of-Staff of the US Army, General James C McConville, co-hosted the conference alongside Chief of Indian Army Staff General Manoj Pande.
  • Two other conferences, the Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) and the Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum (SELF), were held concurrently to strengthen multilateral security partnerships.

10. Indo-Pacific’s Global Significance:

  • Lieutenant General M. V. Suchindra Kumar emphasized the critical role of the Indo-Pacific in the global landscape.
  • He highlighted that the region represents 64 percent of the world’s population, contributes 63 percent of the global GDP, and accounts for 46 percent of world merchandise trade.

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