1. Intro
  2. Defense exercises
  3. Missiles, weapons and vehicles
  4. Navy: New bases
  5. Blue water navy
  6. Defense PSUs
  7. FDi limit
  8. Exhibitions
  9. Paramilitary forces?
  10. Important organizations
  11. Mock questions


  • Agni, Prithvi, Trishul……whenever you’re preparing for UPSC, State PSC, IBPS, SSC or LIC you’ve to prepare these things over and over again. Sometimes it feels as if Indian Government  tests these missiles not only to annoy China and Pakistan but also to annoy the competitive exam aspirants. Anyways, earlier I gave the compilation for persons in news 2012-13. click me if you haven’t read it already. Now here a new article dealing with defense related current affairs (2012-13) and basic stuff.
  • If you feel any important term is missing, do mention it in the comments below.

Defense exercises

Kinda one of the most important topics for CSAT paper I. It’s not that UPSC asks defense exercises every year but just because it was asked once or twice then it becomes important forever, especially when it has a catchy name hahaha.




Bold Kurukshetra

India, Singapore in UP Army (Tanks)

Cormorant Strike Iii

India, Srilanka, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Maldives. (held in Sri Lanka) All 3

Garud Shakti

India, Indonesia Army


India, US Navy


India, Russia, bi annual Navy

Iron Fist

Only India. In Rajasthan Air Force


India, Japan Navy


India, UK Navy


India, US Navy


India and 14 other countries: Australia, Bangladesh etc. Navy


India, Japan Navy


India only, in North East Airforce+Army

Red Flag

India, US in Nevada Airforce


India, France in Uttarakhand Army


India, US in California Army (Infantry)

Shoor Veer

Only India, Rajasthan border Army


India, Singapore Navy


TROPEX=Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise.India only Navy

Vajra Prahar

India, US in Uttarakhand Army (Special Forces)


India, France Navy

Yudh Abhyas

India, US in Rajasthan Army (Tanks)

^this is one of the uses of pib.nic.in

Missiles, weapons and vehicles


  • Surface to surface missile by DRDO.
  • Range increases as version increases.
  • >5000kms.
  • It is India’s first Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
  • India is the 7th country to have ICBM. Other 6 are= US, Russia, China, UK, France and Israel.
  • North Korea is also developing an ICBM named Taepodong-2.
Agni-4 4000kms
Agni-3 3000kms
Agni-2 2000kms. Pakistan’s HATF-5 (Ghauri) has range of about 1300 kms.
Agni-1 700kms (some books/magazines say 800 but India 2013 Yearbook says 700 so I keep it 700).


  • Surface to surface. Short range (150-350)
  • Range increases as number increases: Prithvi I=150, II=250 and III=350kms
  • Its naval version is known as Dhanush. Dhanush can be launched from Navy ships.

Aircraft destroyer

  • Surface to air (SAM)
  • It can destroy many targets at once, using Rajendra radar system.
  • Its range is higher than trishul.
  • Air to air missile to destroy enemy aircrafts.
  • Surface to air (SAM)
  • Destroy low level flying objects. E.g. from a ship against low flying attacking enemy missiles.



  • 290 km range.
  • Only Supersonic cruise missile in the world. (speed close to 3 Mach)
  • Named after two rivers: Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
  • can be used against ship and land targets.
  • Can be installed on ships, submarines & aircraft and ground vehicles
  • Can receive navigation signals from both GPS (USA) and GLONASS(Russia).


  • sub-sonic cruise missile
  • Nirbhay is India’s equivalent of Tomahawk, a long-range, sub-sonic cruise missile, developed by the U.S.
  • developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
  • will travel at a sub-sonic speed (less than the speed of sound).

Navy / Submarine


  • It is the naval version of Prithvi II missile.
  • Nuke capable.
  • 350kms

K-15 Sagarika

  • Can be launched from submarines. Range abt 700kms.
  • Will be used from nuclear powered submarines (like Arihant).


  • Anti-submarine torpedo



  • The helicopter-fired version of Nag (anti-tank missile).
  • Helina =Helicopter + Nag


  • Laser Homing Attack or Laser Homing Anti-Tank missile
  • will be used in the upgraded Arjun battle tanks.


  • ‘fire and forget’ anti-tank missile.
  • can destroy enemy tanks four km away
  • NAMICA=carrier of NAG missile.
  • Both of them did not perform well during field trials in Rajasthan.


It is a vehicle to carry and launch NAG missles.
Invar Anti-tank Missiles that can be launched from Arjun T-90 tanks. India will buy these from Russia
Adrushya Anti-tank mine. By DRDO

Tanks and artillery

Arjun Main battle tank. (T90)Kanchan=name of the armour used on this tank.
Ajeya T-72 tank
SARVATRA Mobile bridge laying system. So army’s tanks and vehicles can cross rivers.
DAKSH It is a robotic vehicle for disabling IED (explosives).
Pinaka Multibarrel rocket system (it looks like a truck with lot of rockets on its shoulder).
BHIM 155mm artillery gun. (these type of guns are known as “howitzer”) Bofors is also a howitzer.
BMP-2 Infantry combat vehicle. To transport soldiers in the battlefield.

Rifles/ uniforms

  • it is a self loading rifle (SLR)
  • by DRDO.
  • INSAS=Indian small arms system.
  • Before INSAS, we had ISHAPORE SLR.
  • Compact communication and electronic warfare suit
Baby viper
  • An equipment for clearing land mines. By DRDO

Indian Radars and Sonars

First understand the difference.



RAdio Detection and Ranging SOund Navigation And Ranging
Uses radio waves Uses sound waves
Mostly used above water (air) Underwater.
Faster response Slower (because speed of sound is slower than radio waves and depends on medium through which it travels)
  1. aerial and naval navigation
  2. air defense
  3. checking weather patterns
  1. Locate submarines and mines in the sea
  2. underwater surveillance and communication
  3. mapping underwater terrains

Now let’s check the DRDO projects related to Radars and Sonars

Revati (3d radar for navy) HUMSA (shipborne)
Rohini (3d radar for airforce) MIHIR (airborne)
Indra Panchendriya, USUSH (Submarine)
Rajendra Tadpole
3D Car 3D Central Acquisition Radar

^most of these are given in India Yearbook, that’s why important for MCQs.


(list is definitely not exhaustive)

SU30-MKI Fighter jets, India will buy them from Russia.
Dornier-228 Transport aircraft
Saras Transport aircraft
LCA NP-1 Light combat aircraft, Naval prototype 1.India’s first indigenous naval fighter jet (that can be used from aircraft carrier ships such as INS Vikramaditya).

It has STOBAR capability. STOBAR= Ski Takeoff but arrested recovery.TejasLight combat aircraft. (LCA)Kaveri=name of Tejas’s engine. It is India’s first indigenous gas turbine engine.

It single seat, single engine, supersonic, light-weight, all-weather, multi-role aircraft.Darin-IIIIt is upgraded version of Jaguar fighter. Developed by Hindustan Aeronautics ltd.AEWC

  • Airborne Early warning and control system.
  • it is a really huge airplane , with high tech radar system.
  • It can detect enemy aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges.

MirageFighter aircraft, From franceMiG-21Russia


By the way, fifth generation air-craft were separately discussed in another article long time back. Click me


Mi-17 v5 Attack helicopter, India will buy them from Russia.Can carry out operation in any weather, any terrain, day n night + disaster, Search-rescue operations.
Rudra Attack helicopter.
Dhruv, Cheetal, Chetak Utility  helicopter= transporting very few men, material etc.
AgustaWestland Transport helicopter. From Italy but deal is stuck due to scam.


NISHANT, Rustom-I, Lakshya-I These are UAV= Unmanned Aerial vehicles. Developed by DRDO
NETRA Mini-UAV. CRPF will use it to fight naxals. BSF in counter-insurgency.It looks like that helicopter Mr.Lobo was building in 3-idiots (and then he conveniently committed suicide so that Amir Khan could fix it and dance on a song.)
Harpy, Heron, Harop These UAV are bought from Israel.


INS Chakra Nuclear submarine. We rented this from Russia.Only US, UK, Russia, France and China had such nuke submarines. (we are  the sixth one)
INS Arihant Nuclear submarine. Currently undergoing  trial.
INS Sindhurakshak Submarine, bought from Russia

Navy Ship

INS Sahyadri Stealth frigate.Project 17= Indian navy is building stealth frigates under this project.
Teg, Tarkash, Trikand These are also stealth frigates. India bought these from Russia.These will be used for anti-piracy operations.
Sudarshini Indian navy ship. It is on sailing expedition to ASEAN nations.
INS Vikramaditya Aircraft carrier ship. Originally known as Admiral Gorshkov. India bought this from Russia.

Coast guard ships

Again list not exhaustive, but following names were in news

Samudra Paheredar Pollution control
Rani Abbakka Patrolling. By the way Rani Abbakka ruled over coastal parts of Karnataka, had fought against Portugese in late 16th centuary.
Dahanu patrolling (mainly Maharashtra coast)
Rajkamal Patrolling

Coast guard vs Navy


Coast guard

Admiral Director general
Overall Maritime-security Coastal security in Territorial waters
Anti-piracy Anti-smuggling
Reports to Defense ministry Same
Help fishermen in distressSearch and rescue
Marine pollution, environment protection

Navy: New bases

Dweep Rakshak Indian Navy’s new base in Laskhweep islands.
Baaz Indian Navy’s new base in Andaman Islands.

Blue water navy

  • It is a really powerful navy, can operate across the deep waters in open oceans. E.g US Navy.
  • Indian navy also wishes to be a Blue water navy. The purchase/induction of Vikramaditya, nuclear submarines, fifth generation air crafts etc. are part of that strategy.

Defense PSUs

  • To run army, navy, airforce, coast guards or any other force you need weapons, vehicles, uniforms etc. so who provides these materials?= 1) via import from Russia, US, Israel, etc.+ 2) domestic production via DRDO, defense factories and PSUs.
  • Often, we import stuff from other countries, then our PSUs will refit them to suit Indian terrain and requirements.
  • Now let’s take a look at the organizations related with domestic production
  • The main “boss” is Dept of Defense production –>Defence ministry
  • Under this Department  of defense production, you’ve two type of organizations
Defense factories Make ammunition, explosives, weapons, uniforms etc.
Defense undertaking (or PSUs) HAL, BEL, other shipyards.
  • DRDO is a separate R&D organization that directly reports to Defense ministry. DRDO does the research –Development stuff. Once that is complete, mass production starts with the help of factories / PSUs.
  • Tagline of DRDO = Balasya Mulam Vigyanam = the source of strength is science. (lolz but first you need money to finance the scientific research, so then what is the source of strength?)

Defense Undertaking (PSUs)

(list not exhaustive)

  • Hindustan Aeronautics ltd.
  • HAWK jet trainer
  • SU-30 MKI
  • LCA
  • Dornier (transport aircraft)
  • Dhruv (light helicopter)
  • Cheetal/Chetak (Helicopters)
  • Bharat Electronics
  • Sonar, communication devices, electronic systems for tanks, aircrafts.
  • Also develops solar cells, EVM (electronic voting machine) etc.
  • Garden Reach, Kolkata
  • Mazagon, Mumbai (and not Goa)
  • MIshra-DHatu NIgam ltd.
  • Provides high quality  metals, alloys, materials required for air-craft, tank, weapons production.
  • National institute for Research and Development in Defense Shipbuilding.
  • For self-reliance in defense production related to navy.
  • Near Kozhikode, Kerala
  • It is not a PSU but a society.

Private sector

  • Before 2001, private sector wasn’t allowed in defense production. But now
  • 26% FDI is allowed in Defense sector.
  • Issue: 26% is very low. It doesn’t encourage foreign players transfer their defense technologies in India, therefore Commerce ministry wants this FDI limit to be increased to 74%. for more, click me to read the news article


  • AERO india: air force related. 2013’s show held in Bengaluru.
  • Defexpo India: weapons, machines related to Land, Naval and Internal Security. 2012’s show held in New Delhi.

Paramilitary forces?

  • Different books give different definitions of what is meant by “Paramilitary forces”.
  • For example, some would say Paramilitary = those fall under Home ministry and not under Defense ministry. E.g. CRPF, BSF, ITBP etc. Others will counter it saying forces like IB and CBI also fall under Home ministry but by no means they’re paramilitary.
  • In 2011, Government of India made the formal definition: Paramilitary force =headed by Military officer (and not an IPS officer).
  • CRPF, BSF, ITPB etc are all headed by “Director Generals” but these director generals are actually IPS officers (and not military officers.) Hence going by that definition, we are  left with only three “real” paramilitary forces
  1. Assam Rifles
  2. Special Frontier Force
  3. Coast Guard

Ok then

  1. what are CRPF, BSF, ITBP, CISF and SSB? =these are “Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).”
  2. Then what are RAW and IB = they are intelligence gathering agencies (internal and external)
  3. Then what are CBI and NIA= they are law enforcement agencies.


Establishment Years are not important but the chronology is.


Assam Rifles

  • originally Catchar Levy.
  • Also known as “Sentinels of North East” and “Friends of the hill people” (kinda too clichéd, hence unlikely for MCQs).
  • Falls under Home ministry (and not Defense ministry).
  • However, its DG is an army officer, hence it is a “true/real”  paramilitary force.(and the oldest one)
  • It also protects the Indo-Myanmar border. (SSB looks after Nepal, Bhutan border)


  • Railway protection force. Its evolution can be traced to Indian police Act made in 1861. Under that Act, part of the British police manpower was deployed for protection of railways.


  • Territorial army. Falls under Defense Ministry.
  • This is like a part time job. A member can continue his routine job / business as a civilian and every year he has to render service in Territorial army for a few months.
  • Similar force in USA = known as National Guards.


  • CRPF (originally Crown representative’s police).
  • Sardar Patel renamed it to Central Reserve Police force.
  • Falls under Home ministry. This is the main fighting force against naxal and internal disturbances.


  • Under special police establishment Act. Later turned into CBI. (1963)
  • On TV channels, you often hear Congies giving argument that CBI is “independent” because doesn’t fall under Home ministry so “we” are not controlling CBI.
  • It is a bogus argument because CBI reports to Department of personnel and training, and personnel ministry falls under Prime Minister. Although for corruption cases, CBI reports to CVC.
  • Similar force in USA=FBI.

Home Guards

  • Home guards. (Army has similar force known as Territorial army). These are “Voluntary” forces (part time job). Work: bandobast during election, rioting, traffic, disasters etc.
  • Home ministry frames the policies, functions, training for home guards. The cost of force is shared between centre +states.


  • National cadet Corps.
  • Motto: Unity  and Discipline (Ekta aur anushasan.)


  • Indo Tibetan border police. Setup in the wake of Chinese aggression.
  • It was also responsible for KASAB’s security in Mumbai jail. Then they asked crores of rupees and Maharashtra Government  refused to pay.
  • Falls under Home Ministry.


  • Special Frontier Force. For carrying guerilla operations behind Chinese lines.
  • Falls under Defense ministry.


  • Originally Special service bureau, now Sashastra Seema Bal.
  • It protects Nepal and Bhutan border.


  • Border security force.
  • During war time, BSF will do the policing work in any enemy territories captured by Indian Army + taking care of refugees and prisoner of war (PoW).


  • Research and Analysis wing (RAW)
  • Doesn’t fall under Home / Defense / Foreign ministry. This organization  directly reports to PM.
  • Similar force in USA=CIA, Russia=FSB (earlier KGB), Israel= Mossad, China=MSS.
  • RAW looks into External intelligence gathering.
  • IB (Intelligence bureau) under Home ministry looks into Internal intelligence gathering. Before RAW was created (1968), this IB used to do both internal and external intelligence gathering.


  • Central Industrial security force. Protection of airports, PSUs, nuke labs and powerplants.
  • CISF is a cost-reimbursement force meaning its cost is borne by the client and not the taxpayer. E.g. if airport is getting CISF cover, then air port has to pay them (so ultimately air-passengers have to pay.)
  • Infosys is the first private company to get CISF protection.


  • Special protection group. Setup after Indira’s assassination. Provides security to PM, and his family.


  • Rashtriya Rifles. Counter insurgency in Kashmir. It is part of Army (hence defense ministry).


  • Rapid Action force
  • Made from CRPF
  • It was setup mainly for controlling riots. But nowadays also used in disaster  Management, anti-naxal ops, UN peace keeping ops.
  • Vajra= riot control vehicle of RAF.
  • Falls under Home ministry.


  • Combat battalion for resolution action. Made from CRPF.  To fight naxals.
  • Similar force of Andhra police Is known as “Grey-hounds”.


  • National investigation agency. After 26/11 attacks. Just like CBI, this one also reports to Personnel Ministry.

Let’s try to consolidate some important stuff from above table

Defense ministry vs Home ministry

Defense ministry Home
  1. Army: Rashtriya Rifles, Territorial army
  2. Navy
  3. Airforce
  4. Coast guard
  5. For special ops: Marcos (Navy), Garuda (Airforce), Ghatak (Army), Special Frontier Force.
  6. NCC
  1. Internal security=CRPF, RAF, COBRA, Assam Rifles(NE), CISF (PSUs, Airports etc.)
  2. Border security=SSB (Nepal Bhutan), BSF (Pak, Bangla), ITBP (Tibet), Assam Rifles (Myanmar)
  3. Law Enforcement=CBI, NIA: but they don’t report to home ministry.
  4. Intelligence=IB (internal) + RAW (external) but RAW falls directly under PM.
  5. For special operations=NSG

Special forces across world

For Surgical operations like airplane hijack, terrorist/hostage situation.

NSG India
Delta Force US
GSG-9 Germany
GIGN France
Shar-et-matkal Israel

Mock questions

  1. Which of the following is not a UAV?
    1. Nishant
    2. Rustom
    3. Netra
    4. Dhruv
  2. Which of the following has highest range in kms?
    1. Prithvi
    2. Brahmos
    3. Dhanush
    4. Agni-V
  3. Which of the following country doesn’t have ICBM missiles?
    1. India
    2. China
    3. USA
    4. South Korea.
  4. Which of the following is not a Surface to surface missile
    1. Agni
    2. Prithvi
    3. Trishul
    4. None of above.
  5. What is the FDI limit in Defense sector in India?
    1. 0
    2. 26
    3. 49
    4. 74
  6. What is NIRDESH?
    1. State of the art electronic communication system for Navy
    2. An organization for making India self-reliant in defense technology
    3. Joint naval exercise between India and USA
    4. None of above
  7. Correct statement
    1. Garden Reach shipbuilders= Andhra
    2. Mazagon dock= Goa
    3. Both A and B
    4. None
  8. In terms of range, find correct order: from lower to higher?
    1. Agni V, Sagarika, Dhanush, Brahmos
    2. Sagarika, Dhanush, Brahmos, Agni V
    3. Brahmos, Dhanush, Sagarika, Agni V
    4. None of above.
  9. Find the odd term
    1. Helina
    2. Nirbhay
    3. Sagarika
    4. Nirdesh
  10. Find the odd sequence
    1. Indra, Rajendra, Mihir, Revati
    2. Mihir, Panchendriya, USUSH, Rajendra
    3. Indra, Rajendra, Rohini, Revati
    4. None of above.
  11. incorrect Match
    1. Mirage=Russia
    2. J31=Japan
    3. SU30-MKI=S.Korea
    4. All of above.
  12. Kaveri is an engine Developed for
    1. INS Arihant
    2. Light combat aircraft
    3. T90 Arjun tank
    4. none of above
  13. Which of the following ship can be used during oil spills?
    1. Sahyadri
    2. Arihant
    3. Chakra
    4. Samudra Paheredar
  14. Correct Match
    1. Dweep Rakshak:Indian Navy’s new base in Andaman
    2. Baaz: Indian Navy’s new base in Maldives.
    3. Both A and B
    4. None
  15. First private sector company to get CISF cover was
    1. TCS
    2. WIPRO
    3. Satyam
    4. infosys
  16. Which of the following is not a central armed police force?
    1. BSF
    2. CRPF
    3. CISF
    4. Rashtriya Rifles
  17. Which of the following is not a central paramilitary force?
    1. Assam Rifles
    2. Special Frontier Force
    3. Coast Guard
    4. NSG
  18. Which of the following doesn’t report to home ministry
    1. RAF
    2. CRPF
    3. SSB
    4. RAW

–Main article stop here. Now just some filler material.


this is too cliched for the MCQs.

Operation Why Force year
Blossom Evacuate Indians from Libya navy 2011
Black Tornado Kill terrorists responbile for 26/11 NSG 2008
Sukoon Evacuate Indians during Israel-Lebanon conflict. Navy 2006
Madath, Sea Waves, Castor, Gambhir, Rainbow, Rahat Relief after 2004 tsunami Navy 2004
Enduring Freedom It was US operation in Afghanistan but India navy escored American ships through straight of Malacca Navy 2001
Talwar Kargil war Navy 1999
Vijay(99) Army 1999
Safed sagar Airforce 1999
Cactus To prevent coup in Maldives All 3 1988
Pawan Peace keeping in Sri Lanka Army 1987
Meghdoot Capturing Siachen glacier Army 1984
Triden, Python Attacking Karachi port Navy 1971
Vijay (61) Capture of Goa, Daman and Diu and Anjidiv Islands Army 1961
Polo Hyderabad freedom Army 1948

Now Some more misc. GK that is not much important for MCQs.

  • Field formation, in terms of no. soldiers= corps > division  > brigade > battalion > company > platoon > section.
  • In gallantry awards: Param Vir > Maharvir > Vir.
  • Ashok chakra = equivalent of Param Vir charka, given for bravery in peacetime. (e.g. given to police officers who martyred during 26/11).
  • Medal of Honor = American equivalent of Param Vir Chakra.
  • Highest rank in Indian Army is not General but Field marshal. So far only two field marshals: Cariappa and Manekshaw. In American system, these two are “five star generals” and rest (e.g. V.K.Singh, Bikram Singh, ) are “four star” generals.
  • India= RAW (external intelligence) , IB (internal) Similarly UK = MI5 (internal intelligence) and MI6 (external intelligence).

Finally some time pass questions/ food for thought

  1. If India has CBI and US has FBI then what does UK have?
  2. Every country would need a RAW but not a CBI why?
  3. USA has FBI + US Marshalls. FBI looks after federal investigation and US Marshalls’ do the transporting of federal prisoners, serving warrants and securing federal courts. On that logic, While India has CBI, but why doesn’t India have Indian marshals?

Answers for time pass questions

  1. Nothing. Because UK is not a federal country. Although UK  does have special police forces to fight organized crime and narcotics. But in terms of  jurisdiction and functions, they’re not equivalent to CBI/FBI.
  2. Hint given in answer 1.
  3. because most of the “federal” prisoners in India are either out on bail or doing Aiyaashi in the jail so separate police to transport prisoners=not needed.