New Delhi: The government on Monday allowed private companies in the defence sector to sell equipment to state-run entities without prior approval of the defence ministry, a move that could attract investments in the sector. The decision came after the government opened the sector for higher foreign direct investments (FDI) and relaxed compulsory licensing for a number of equipment.
“The licencee shall be allowed to sell defence items to government entities under the control of ministry of home affairs, state governments, public sector units and other valid defence licensed companies without prior approval of the Department of Defence Production (DoDP),” said a commerce and industry ministry statement.
However, it said, for sale of the items to any other entity, the licencee shall take prior permission from DoDP. The government also decided to deregulate the annual capacity for production of defence items by industrial licencees with the condition that licencees shall submit half-yearly production returns to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion and DoDP.
Further, it said as a measure of ease of doing business, two extensions of two years each in the initial validity of three years of the industrial license would be allowed up to seven years.
Earlier, the government had raised FDI cap in the defence sector to 49 per cent from existing 26 per cent and allowed even beyond that limit on a case-to-case basis if results in infusion of state- of-art technology.
(Source: Business Standard October 21, 2014)
WITH EYE ON CHINA, INDIA TO STEP UP MILITARY TIES WITH SRI LANKA AND MALDIVES
NEW DELHI : India will further step-up defence cooperation with Sri Lanka and Maldives, including assistance in “capacity-building” of their armed forces through both training and supply of equipment, in tune with the overall policy to steadily boost military ties with countries in Indian Ocean to counter China’s strategic inroads in the region.
Defence minister Arun Jaitley on Monday held a meeting with visiting Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakshe, the brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, to discuss ways to expand the bilateral military relationship. On Tuesday, Jaitley will hold similar discussions with Maldivian defence and national security minister Mohamed Nazim, who is on a three-day trip to India.
Incidentally, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha is also scheduled to leave for Japan on Tuesday, where he will also call on PM Shinzo Abe and defence minister Akinori Eto, soon after PM Narendra Modi visited the country in his first bilateral visit outside the sub-continent. Both India and Japan are wary of China’s increasingly assertive behaviour in the Asia-Pacific region.
As for Sri Lanka, India is going to supply two naval offshore patrol vessels and other military equipment to the island nation. India has earlier provided 24 L-70 guns, 24 battle-field surveillance radars, 11 USFM radars, four Indra-II radars and 10 mine-protected vehicles, among other things, to the Sri Lankan forces. Moreover, around 800 to 900 Sri Lankan military personnel are trained in Indian military establishments every year.
Similarly, India is supplying Dhruv advanced light helicopters (ALH) and other hardware to Maldives, apart from regularly sending its warships and Dornier reconnaissance aircraft to the archipelago to undertake maritime patrols and surveillance operations.
Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) during the static display of indigenously manufactured aircrafts at HAL in Bangalore.
China in recent years has forged extensive links with both Sri Lanka and Maldives, which have expressed enthusiasm for its Maritime Silk Route construct, as well as other IOR countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh, Mauritius and Seychelles.
As reported by TOI earlier, a Chinese Type 039 “Song-class” submarine had openly docked at the Colombo International Container Terminal, which has been funded by China, from September 7 to 14 just ahead of Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit to Sri Lanka. The Chinese navy is rapidly growing into a potent “blue-water” force capable of long-range deployments, which is a marked change from being a force that mainly operated close to its own shores.
(Source: Times of India October 21, 2014)
INDIA AND VIETNAM TO SIGN A DEFENCE PACT AMID CHINA’S GROWING AGGRESSION IN REGION
NEW DELHI: With a little over a month after President Pranab Mukherjee’s Vietnam visit when a defence MoU was signed the two countries are expected to conclude another defence pact when Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is in India on October 27-28 amid China’s growing aggression in the region.
This proposed pact, coming after last month’s MoU that entails 100 mn USD Line of Credit to Hanoi to purchase patrol boats to boost coastal security, is aimed at providing military hardware to Vietnam’s armed forces, official sources told ET. Both counties predominantly use Russian defence equipment and this enables smooth bilateral cooperation including maintenance and supply of spare parts to Vietnamese armed forces by Delhi, sources informed.
The two countries, since becoming strategic partners in 2007, have growing defence and security ties necessitated by China’s growing ambitions in the region including South China Sea and South Asia, pointed out experts who did not wish to be quoted given the sensitivity of the matter.
That the two countries are planning to expand their defence partnership was indicated by a senior South Block official. “India and Vietnam are trusted partners and there has been steady growth in defence ties. India would like to further assist Vietnam with the capacity building of its armed forces. The two countries are also looking at more joint exercises and training programs,” said Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), MEA while delivering a key note address to a select audience at a Round Table titled “Indo- Vietnamese Co-operation in Emerging Asia”, organized ahead of PM’s trip next week.
But it is not just defence that is driving two countries closer. As India intensifies it ‘Act East Policy’ where Vietnam forms a critical pillar of Delhi’s engagement with ASEAN region, the two countries are keen to expand trade basket. The Vietnamese Prime Minister is accompanied by a 50-member high profile business delegation that wants to explore trade and investments in various sectors with an eye on reducing Hanoi’s economic dependence on Beijing.
“Vietnam is looking forward to Indian investments in new sectors where India has advantages — infrastructure and power generation and distribution, international bidding of projects in Vietnam, IT, education, pharmaceutical research and production and agro-products. India can export equipment and machineries, industrial products, raw materials for industries, pharmaceuticals and processed foods to Vietnam,” Nguyen Tuan Quang, a senior Vietnamese diplomat, told ET on the sidelines of the Round Table.
Quang claimed that the Vietnamese government is creating all favourable conditions for Indian investors. The sectors where Indian firms can invest include oil and gas exploration and exploitation, infrastructure, mining, mechanical production, shipbuilding, IT, textile and garments, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, agro growing and processing, Quang informed.
Culture will also be high on PM Dung’s agenda as he embarks on Bodhgaya en route to Delhi with an eye on attracting more Vietnamese tourists to India. The direct flight between the two countries is finally being launched from November 5.
(Source: Economic Times October 21, 2014)
RUSSIA OFFERS INDIA 3 ADDITIONAL TALWAR CLASS STEALTH FRIGATES
Russia offered India three additional Project 11356 or Talwar class frigates, after New Delhi made a formal request, Vladimir Spiridopulo, the general director working on this project at the Northern Design Bureau, said. Negotiations have been taking place since this spring, TASS said.
India to spend $3 billion for 3 more Talwar-class frigates Russia supplied India with two sets of three Project 11356 frigates, with the last one being the INS Trikand.
“Negotiations on the third set of three frigates have been taking place with the Indian side since this spring. India sent us a request and we presented a proposal in response,” Spiridopulo said. “I cannot talk about all the details of the third set of three frigates,” he added.
Spiridopulo also would not specify which shipyard might be given the order – the first three ships were built in the Baltic Shipyards of St. Petersburg, and the second set in Kaliningrad’s Yantar Shipyards.
The general director of the bureau reported that negotiations are underway for the modernization of the first three Indian Project 11356 frigates, handed over in the early 2000s. “But the contract for the modernization has not been signed yet,” said Spiridopulo.
Speaking about the other areas of military-technical cooperation with India, Spiridopulo said that the Northern Design Bureau is helping to install a combat information and control system, of its own design, on Indian Project 17 destroyers (Kolkata-class). According to him, this system is now being installed on the third ship of this project.
India would be looking for the next frigates to be equipped with BrahMos missiles. The Indian Navy’s existing Project 11356 frigates are not BrahMos-equipped because they were designed before the BrahMos naval variant could be developed.
These ships, a modification of Krivak III class Russian frigates, are designed to carry and operate one heavy duty early warning helicopter which can provide over-the-horizon targeting. The frigates can also have the indigenously built Dhruv light combat helicopter.
The frigate’s efficacy in anti-submarine warfare can be gauged by the fact that its RPK-8 rocket system has a firing range from 600 to 4300 metres and the depth of engagement of up to 1000 metres.
Its combat data system independently generates combat missions based on situation analysis, determines optimal number of missile firings, displays information on the state of ship-borne weaponry and transmits data to protection systems.
(Source: Russia India Report October 21, 2014)
INDIA, CHINA LIKELY TO HOLD JOINT ARMY EXERCISE NEXT MONTH
New Delhi: India and China are likely to hold a joint “Hand-in-Hand” army exercise next month in Pune that will focus on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism tactics, weeks after a stand-off between their troops in along the border in Ladakh region.
“Hand-in-Hand” is an exercise aimed at exploring useful experiences, advancing pragmatic cooperation and promoting a friendly environment between the two armies. The first such annual exercise was held at Kunming in China in December 2007 while the second was held at Belgaum in December 2008.
However, there was a gap of five years till an exercise was held in China’s Chengdu area last year. While final dates for the exercise are yet to finalised, Army sources say it could be held mid-next month in Pune. Last year, a group of 160 personnel from Indian Army’s 16 Sikh Light Infantry had visited China.
The exercise comes just weeks after a stand-off between its forces at the border.
(Source: Deccan Chronicle October 21, 2014)
NEW INDIAN MISSILE CAN STRIKE DEEP INTO CHINESE TERRITORY
India has successfully completed the test of a new long-range subsonic cruise missile capable of hitting Chinese territory.
On Oct. 17, the surface version of the Nirbhay — meaning “dauntless” or “fearless” — missile was tested at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in the Balasore district of Odisha, meeting all parameters and completing all 15 way-points. The missile reportedly traveled more than an hour and accurately hit its target.
“The missile maintained an accuracy better than 10 meters throughout its path and covered more than 1,000 kilometers,” said Avinash Chander, head of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Nirbhay’s developer.
The Nirbhay was test fired for the first time in March 2013 but the missile veered away from its trajectory, forcing the command center to detach the engine and destroy the missile mid-flight.
Referred to as India’s answer to America’s Battleaxe subsonic cruise missile, the Nirbhay is an all-weather low-cost long-range cruise missile with stealth and high accuracy. It weighs about a tonne and has a length of six meters. The missile has its own wings and tail and has a range of more than 1,000 km, meaning it has the ability to strike deep into Chinese territory.
Notably, the Nirbhay can fly at very low altitudes to avoid the detection of enemy radars and can be launched from the land, sea and air. It can also carry 24 types of warheads — including nuclear — depending on mission requirements and uses an inertial navigation system for guidance.
Once the Nirbhay is inducted into the Indian Navy, Army and Air Force, currently expected around 2016, New Delhi will begin to stop importing new missiles.
“Our target is to make India missile-import free by the year 2022. This means that we need not import any missile in terms of air-to-ground, surface-to-air or the air-to-air missiles,” Chander said.
(Source: Defence News October 21, 2014)
ARMY CHIEF TO HONOUR FRONTLINE REGIMENTS IN PATHANKOT
Jammu: Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh will present the honour of President’s Standards here to two frontline Regiments of the Indian Army for their dedicated service, officials said.
Singh will visit the Pathankot-based Mamun army cantonment on November 5 to bestow the award to 50 Armoured Regiment and 84 Armoured Regiment for decades of meritorious and distinguished service to the nation, Ministry of Defence (MOD) in Jammu Lt Col Manish Mehta said.
“Gen Singh will be visiting Mamun, Pathankot in Punjab on November 5. The Chief of the Army Staff on behalf of President Pranab Mukherjee, will present the ‘President’s Standards’ to 50 Armoured Regiment and 84 Armoured Regiment,” he added.
A mounted parade with tanks will be one of the significant events of this historic occasion at Mamun Military Station, he added.
The function is scheduled to be conducted on November 5 at Mamun Military Station.
The event will be witnessed by a large number of military and civil dignitaries. The Chief of the Army Staff will also release a “Special Cover” to commemorate this historic event, Mehta said.
(Source: Business Standard October 21, 2014)
STAND-OFF IN UKRAINE HITS IAF FLEET REFIT
New Delhi: Five Indian Air Force planes have been grounded in Ukraine where they had been sent for a refit and upgrade.
The five Antonov 32 aircraft — the last batch of 40 from the IAF’s fleet of about a 100 — were to be delivered by Ukraine in August.
The AN32 aircraft is integral to the daily operations of the IAF, transporting troops, materiel and dropping rations and stores at high altitude posts as well as being deployed for search and rescue during natural disasters.
But Ukraine’s continuing troubles with Russia are now threatening to hit the Indian military hard. The IAF has taken the first blow.
The upgrade of the aircraft is stuck because Russia has refused to supply some of the components that are to be fitted in the aircraft.
Under a 2009 agreement between the Indian Air Force and Kiev-based SpetsTechnoExport, the Ukrainian firm was contracted to give the workhorse of the IAF’s transport fleet a “total technical life extension” that would keep the aircraft flying beyond 2025.
The upgraded aircraft, designated the AN32RE, were to be given a modified cockpit, newer avionics and noise and vibration reducing technologies. Forty of the aircraft were to be modernised in Ukraine and the remaining in India.
According to the original schedule, the upgrades in Ukraine were to be completed by March this year. Kiev requested and was permitted to alter the schedule to August. Now, Ukraine has missed that deadline as well.
The AN32s were procured by India in the 1980s. The upgrade programme, initially estimated to cost $400 million, involves a refit of major systems as well as strengthening the airframes.
In a written reply in Parliament in 2009, the then defence minister had said: “The project includes calendar life extension up to 40 years, overhaul and re-equipment of AN32 aircraft. There were no conditionalities at the time of acquisition of AN32 with the Russian government.”
When the AN32s were first contracted, Ukraine was a Soviet republic. An estimated 30 per cent of the former Soviet Republic’s military industrial complex was based in Ukraine. Since the dismantling of the Soviet Union, India has continued to depend on Ukraine not only for its Antonov aircraft but also for the supply of engines for the Indian Navy’s Delhi-class warships (destroyers).
(Source: Telegraph October 21, 2014)
PASSING OUT PARADE HELD AT INS VALSURA IN JAMNAGAR
RAJKOT: A Passing out Parade of Electrical Officers at INS Valsura, Jamnagar, the premier training establishment of the Indian Navy concluding 94 weeks of professional training was held on Monday. The batch comprised of 72 Indian Navy, 10 Coast Guard and 05 International trainee officers.
Vice Admiral KR Nair, AVSM, VSM, Chief of Material reviewed the parade which was witnessed by the proud parents of the Passing Out course as well as naval families of INS Valsura.
The Admiral, in his address to the trainees, encouraged them to foster the spirit of nationalism. He expressed hope that these young men would live up to all the challenges that would be thrown to them in the call of duty at sea”.
The coveted Best All-Round Officer trophy was awarded to Lt Pranav Anand while Lt Upendar Singh stood first in the Order of Merit.
The officers will now join front line warships of the Indian Navy across the nation on their first appointment.
(Source: Times of India October 21, 2014)
ARMY CHIEF TELLS COMMANDERS TO ASSESS SECURITY SITUATION
New Delhi: Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag on Saturday asked his commanders to “continuously assess” the situation in view of the security transition taking place in the neighbourhood and directed them to maintain relentless pressure on terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure peaceful polls.
In his address on culmination of the Army Commanders Conference here, Gen Singh also expressed satisfaction over the situation in North East and stressed upon all stakeholders to be made a part of the conflict resolution mechanism.
While addressing the external security concerns, he asked the commanders to continuously assess the situation in the sub-continent with respect to the force and security transition taking place and its concomitant effect on the nation’s security, Army sources said.
His remarks came in the backdrop of NATO forces starting the process of withdrawing from war-torn Afghanistan.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while on a visit to the US in September, had cautioned the American government against hasty withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, citing the mistakes committed while pulling out from Iraq.
On the internal security plane, the Army chief stressed on the need to maintain relentless pressure in Jammu and Kashmir so that terrorists could not carry out any meaningful operations to interrupt the forthcoming elections.
He also expressed satisfaction on the situation in North East and stressed upon all stakeholders to be made a part of the conflict resolution mechanism.
Gen Singh praised the Northern and Western commands for their exemplary response to the floods in Jammu and Kashmir which saw spontaneous mobilisation of Army resources, both manpower and equipment, without waiting for any formal requisition.
He lauded the selfless commitment of Indian soldiers, who never once turned back to look at their posts and families that had suffered equally in the floods, the sources said.
The Army should not forget that the human dimension would always remain the biggest battle winning factor, he said, adding the focus must remain on training, equipping and character development of the soldier.
On the issue of modernisation, the Army chief said the force had the support of Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and commitment of the Ministry of Defence towards fulfilling the Army’s requirements.
He also exhorted all to streamline and refine in house procedures aimed at preserving and enhancing the life of all service equipment.
Gen Singh expressed hope that the measures being planned to address the issue of shortage in officer cadre would fructify at the earliest.
He also voiced concern over isolated issues of unethical behaviour and directed zero tolerance towards them.
The Chief of Army Staff asked all to stay committed towards welfare of the veterans, who were the “bedrock of the Army” and applauded the recent initiatives including the functioning of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme.
The Army Chief stressed that the “Indian Army must remain the pride of the nation”.
(Source: Zee News October 21, 2014)
INDIA-PAKISTAN NUCLEAR WAR WOULD KILL 2 BILLION PEOPLE, END CIVILIZATION
A nuclear war between South Asian rivals India and Pakistan would trigger a global famine that would immediately kill 2 billion people around the world and spell the “end of human civilization,” according to a study by an anti-nuclear group. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) also warned that even a limited nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan would destroy crop yields, damage the atmosphere and throw global food markets into chaos. China, the world’s most populous country, would face a catastrophic food shortage that would lead to enormous social convulsions.
“A billion people dead in the developing world is obviously a catastrophe unparalleled in human history,” said Ira Helfand, co-president of PSR and the study’s lead author. “But then if you add to that the possibility of another 1.3 billion people in China being at risk, we are entering something that is clearly the end of civilization.” Helfand explained that China’s destruction would be caused by longstanding tensions between its neighbors, India and Pakistan, two enemies that have already fought three wars since 1947. Moreover, given the apocalyptic power of contemporary nuclear weapons – which are far more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 – the impact of an India-Pakistan war would be felt across the globe.
“With a large war between the United States and Russia, we are talking about the possible, not certain, but possible, extinction of the human race,” Helfand said, according to Agence France Presse. “In this kind of war, biologically there are going to be people surviving somewhere on the planet, but the chaos that would result from this [South Asian nuclear war] will dwarf anything we’ve ever seen.”
Specifically, the study noted, a nuclear war in South Asia would release black carbon aerosol particles that would cut U.S. corn and soybean production by 10 percent over a decade. Those particles would also reduce Chinese rice production by an average of 21 percent over a four-year period and by another 10 percent over the subsequent six years. Even more devastating, China’s wheat crop would drop by 50 percent in just the first year after the hypothetical Indo-Pak nuclear war.
CNN reported that there are at least 17,000 nuclear warheads (other reports suggest that there are perhaps as many as 20,000) around the world, which present a far greater threat than the current obsession with Iran’s nascent atomic program. Most of these warheads are currently owned by the United States and Russia, while India and Pakistan are believed to have “only” about 100 warheads each.
But given the state of endless enmity between India and Pakistan, they are more likely to launch a nuclear war than the superpowers who possess far more and far deadlier nuclear weapons. Helfand told CNN that in an India-Pakistan nuclear war scenario, more than 20 million people would be dead within one week from the explosions, firestorms and immediate effects of radiation. “But the global consequences would be far worse,” he said.
Indeed, the firestorms produced by this imaginary South Asian war “would loft 5 million tons of soot high into the atmosphere, blocking out sunlight and dropping temperatures across the planet. This climate disruption would cause a sharp, worldwide decline in food production.” The subsequent global famine would place the lives of 870 million people in the developing world at immediate risk of starvation.
On the brighter side, Helfand indicated, a movement to ban atomic weapons is gathering storm. Helfand called for the removal of all nuclear weapons as the only way to avoid Armageddon. “This is a disaster so massive in scale that really no preparation is possible. We must prevent this,” he said.
In May of last year, 17 nations issued a joint statement warning of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons and advocated for their elimination. By the fall of 2013, 125 nations attached themselves to the statement. “The international community should continue to take practical steps to prevent additional countries from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Helfand said. “But this effort to prevent proliferation must be matched by real progress to eliminate the far greater danger posed by the vast arsenals that already exist. Simply put, the only way to eliminate the threat of nuclear war or risk of an accidental launch or mishap is to eliminate nuclear weapons.”
(Source: Times of India October 21, 2014)