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THE RAFALE FIGHTER JET DEAL AND WHY IT MAKES CHINA NERVOUS

defThere were six in contention; four were dropped, and one became the Chosen One: The Rafale.

 

In French, ‘Rafale’ poetically means a ‘sudden gust of wind.’

 

It was one of the six fighter aircraft in competition for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, MMRCA, when the Indian Air Force wanted to acquire 126 polyvalent fighter planes.

 

In April 2011, the IAF shortlisted two birds — the Rafale produced by Dassault Aviation and the Eurofighter (known in Europe as ‘Typhoon’) from EADS, the European consortium.

 

It was a big deal worth $12 billion. You can imagine the stakes, especially for Dassault which a few months earlier, was unsuccessful in exporting its flagship plane to Brazil and the Emirates.

 

Finally on January 31, 2012, the IAF announced that the Rafale was the chosen one.

 

The ‘deal of the century’ was that 18 Rafales would be supplied in fly-away condition by Dassault to the IAF by 2015 (or three years after the signature of the contract) and the remaining 108 pieces would be manufactured in India under a transfer of technology agreement.

 

The concurrent company did not let go easily and a lot of lobbying started. The British prime minister wanted Delhi to explain the reasons of favouring the French. ‘The Typhoon is a superb aircraft, far better than the Rafale,’ David Cameron said, adding: ‘Of course, I will do everything I can — as I have already — to encourage the Indians to look at the Typhoon, because I think it is such a good aircraft.’

 

Interestingly, the Chinese were also unhappy with the selection of the Rafale by the IAF, but for other reasons.

 

An article published in The People’s Daily (French edition only) argued that India and France were supposed to be non-violent countries, how could they ink such a deal?

 

The Chinese Communist Party newspaper affirmed: ‘During the twentieth century in France there was a great writer called Romain Roland (1866-1944), the Nobel Laureate for Literature, who was strongly opposed to war. In India, there has been an illustrious politician named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) who was a pacifist leader, known worldwide for his fights against violence.’

 

‘At present, their homelands are engaged in a sinister and repulsive arms race, which shakes and profoundly changes the international scene. If by chance these two great and illustrious men were still alive, what would they feel about this selfish and pernicious transaction and what opinion would they give in this matter?’

 

Is it not amusing that the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece today quotes Gandhi in connection with the Rafale deal?

 

The People’s Daily article also says the sale of the Rafale ‘encourages, excites and spurs India’s appetite and ambition to become a great military power while intensifying its aggressive and expansionist tendencies, which poses a serious threat to peace and stability in Asia.’

 

Well, does India have a choice, considering the frantic speed of development of the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), PLAAF (Chinese Air Force) and PLAN (Navy)?

 

A few months later, an Indian MP alleged that there had been ‘manipulation in the evaluation process’.

 

This eventually delayed the process as an independent investigation had to be conducted; it finally concluded that the evaluation was conducted according to the RFP (Request for Proposal) terms and defence procurement procedures. The intricate negotiations thus lost several months.

 

Once the hurdle created by the MP was removed, it was reported that in September, while in Bangalore, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne stated that the process continued: ‘The negotiations are absolutely on. We hope that at least this financial year, we should be able to finish the negotiations and finalise the deal… It is a very complex project, as we are discussing various areas like transfer of technology, the offset clause, what Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will do and the cost as well.’

 

Dassault had some doubts about HAL’s capacity to produce 108 aircraft; probably with reason, looking at the fate of the Tejas project which has taken more than 30 years to take off.

 

On November 6, Rakesh Sood, the Indian ambassador in France, told the Indian Journalists Association at India House in London that the contract would soon be concluded. ‘The Rafale deal is in the final stages and hopefully, it should be concluded in the next 3 to 4 months.’

 

The negotiation, Sood added, was a hugely complex exercise. ‘Along with that a pretty stringent clause has been put for transfer of technology, (there is an) offset clause, and Dassault Aviation has accepted them.’

 

At that time, it was probably thought that the signature of the deal could be synchronised with French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India. Though Sood had certainly not read the French edition of The People’s Daily, he spoke of France’s ‘long interest in Indian civilisation’, adding ‘recently a (French) lady had produced a nine volume Ramayana in French… Indian music, yoga and films are quite popular in France.’

 

Sood’s conclusions about the civilisational closeness between India and France were not similar to Beijing’s: India needed the Rafales. But it was not considering the cash crunch. The Indian economy was not doing as well as Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission, had announced, and the fiscal deficit had to be cut, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.

 

Last May, Defence Minister A K Antony told Parliament that his ministry would seek a hike in the Rs 193,408 crore (Rs 193 trillion) defence outlay of the 2012-2013 budget as only a budget increase could take care of the threat of the China-Pakistan military nexus. Antony spoke of ‘new ground realities’ and the ‘changing security scenario’.

 

But with the changing scenario, the Indian defence ministry announced it had to prioritise its expenditure for the remaining months of the financial year. The ministry decided to focus on purchases that would impact on the armed forces’ operational preparedness.

 

For example, the ministry planned to speed up infrastructure development in Arunachal Pradesh, buy ammunition to end shortages and acquire high-value assets, from aircraft to warships.

 

In December, the finance ministry announced that the armed forces’s modernisation budget would be slashed by around Rs 10,000 crore (Rs 100 billion) in the forthcoming Budget.

 

The Rafale deal would have to wait for the next financial year, along with the artillery guns modernisation programme (Rs 20,000 crore/Rs 200 billion), and the creation of a new mountain corps to counter China (Rs 65,000 crore/Rs 650 billion).

 

In the plan expenditure, the government has already allotted Rs 55,000 crore (Rs 550 billion) for the MMRCA deal. But this was five years ago and cost escalations are bound to have crept in, which might prove to be a serious problem.

 

The Times of India commented: ‘The move will lead to a major slowdown in the ongoing acquisition projects. It also makes it clear that the already much delayed $20 billion MMRCA project to acquire 126 fighters will not be inked anytime before March 31.’

 

Though the IAF had been promised an additional Rs 10,000 crore to cater for the first installment of Rafales, defence expert, Major General Mrinal Suman (retd) told The New Indian Express that the budgetary cuts would impact ‘all acquisitions in the pipeline, as they become easy targets.’

 

It is in these circumstances that a new development occurred — Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid visited Paris last week. While many had doubts about the deal, Agence France Press reported that India could buy up to 189 Rafales instead of the 126.

 

Apparently, Khurshid raised the possibility of an additional 63 jets being added to the shopping list. A source told AFP: ‘There is an option for procurement of an additional 63 aircraft subsequently for which a separate contract would need to be signed.’

 

The deal would then mean a staggering $18 billion contract, which would be a great boon for the French defence industry, but costly for India though Indian suppliers could secure work equivalent to 50 per cent of the total value with the clause currently under negotiations.

 

Khurshid seemed confident during his visit to Paris. ‘We know good French wine takes time to mature and so do good contracts. The contract details are being worked out. A decision has already been taken, just wait a little for the cork to pop and you’ll have some good wine to taste.’

 

His counterpart Laurent Fabius said, ‘The final decision belongs to the Indian government in its sovereignty. But from what I am told by my colleague minister of India things are progressing well, and I can confirm the full support of the French government.’

 

Another issue which might slightly delay the deal is that the IAF requires two-seater jets and not the one-seater model presently produced by Dassault, but this should be solved in due time.

 

The People’s Daily had said, ‘The delirious and bustling feeling of excitement from the French side resembles the behavior of Fanjin, which had a fit of madness upon learning that he was successful in the three-year provincial tests (under the Ming and Qing dynasties).’ It is not exactly the attitude of the French (and the Indian) authorities who are progressing slowly, but surely towards an agreement, which is very important for both countries.

 

One can however understand that the Chinese are nervous.

 

Major General Luo Yuan, a well-known Chinese expert on military issues, recently quoted the ancient Art of War: ‘The best policy in war is to thwart the enemy’s strategy; the second best is to disrupt his alliances through diplomatic means; the third best is to attack his army in the field; the worst policy of all is to attack walled cities,’ his conclusion was that to thwart the enemy’s strategy, deterrence is the key.

(Source: Rediff October 20, 2014)

 

 

USA’S TOMAHAWK VS INDIA’S NIRBHAY VS PAKISTAN’S BABUR CRUISE MISSILE

 

USA‘s Tomahawk Vs India’s Nirbhay Vs Pakistan’s Babur-Three subsonic cruise missile|wiki,differences,facts.

 

USA ‘s Tomahawk Land Attack Missile (TLAM) is an all-weather,long range,subsonic cruise missile used for land attack warfare,Launched from U.S. Navy surface ships and U.S. Navy and Royal Navy Submarines.

 

India’s Nirbhay is an all-weather low-cost,long range subsonic cruise missile capable of being launched from multiple platforms on land,sea and air and shall be inducted in to Indian Navy,Army and Air force.

 

Pakistan’s Babur is the first land attack cruise missile to developed by Pakistan.It is medium ranged subsonic cruise missile launched from ground-based transporter erector Launcher,warships and submarines.

 

USA’s Tomahawk missile family consists of number of subsonic,jet engine-powered missiles designed to attack a variety of surface targets.Tomahawk has a modular design,allowing a wide variety of warhead ( nuclear and conventional ),guidance,and range capabilities. Currently only sea launched variants are in service.

 

India’s Nirbhay is the two stage missile and capable of carrying 24 different types of nuclear warheads .the size of Nirbhay is no too big as it will be without booster type.It blasts off like a rocket and turns it into aircraft and has wings and tail fins.

 

Pakistan’s Babur is made with tubular fuselage,with a pair of folded wings attached to the middle section and the empennage at the rear along with the propulsion system.Propelled by either turbofan or turbojet jet engine.It is capable of carrying either conventional or nuclear warheads.

 

USA’s Tomahawk Block III versions incorporates engine improvements,an insensitive extended range warhead,time-of,arrival control and navigation capability which can reduce mission-planning time and increase navigation and terminal accuracy.Enhancements includes increased flexibility utilizing two-way satellite communications,increased responsiveness with faster launch timelines,loiter capability in area of emerging targets and improved affordability .

 

India’s Nirbhay blasts off like a rocket and unlike from other missiles it turns into the aircraft.After its launch in early flights the rocket falls off and small wings get deployed.At that time gas turbine comes into work and it turns into full aircraft.It cannot be jammed as it operates on fire and forget system.It is very maneuverable and cost efficient.and can fly over tree-top level and cannot detected on enemies radar.

 

Pakistan’s Babur missile is stated to have a high degree of maneuverability and have the ability of terrain hugging that helps the missile to avoid enemy radar detection by utilizing”terrain masking”,giving it the capability to penetrate enemy air defense systems undetected and survive until reaching the target.On its launch, a booster rocket provides additional thrust to accelerate the missile away from the launch vehicle. After the launch the wings unfold, the booster rocket is jettisoned and the jet engine started.

(Source: Aermech October 20, 2014)

 

 

INDIA’S MISSILE PROGRAMME FOR PEACE: DRDO CHIEF

 

BHUBANESWAR: Claiming that India’s missile programme purely aims at peace in the country, Defence Research Development and Organisation ( DRDO) Director General Avinash Chander today said Bhubaneswar has been the Gateway for all the Missile Launch campaigns.

 

“I feel proud to say that Bhubaneswar has been the Gateway for all the Missile Launch campaigns for last many decades,” Chander, who is also the scientific advisor to Defence Minister, said while addressing the third convocation of IIT-Bhubaneswar here.

 

Stating that many of the Launch Complex and other Range Stations are located in proximity to Bhubaneswar, Chander said they play a vital role in strengthening the National deterrence.

 

“Whatever Research and Development effort goes in any corner of India with respect to our Missiles, ultimately needs to reach Bhubaneswar and then taken to Chandipur or Dhamra for its final testing,” he said adding this place has divine blessings. Chander said this while telling students that they should be proud of the place and their institute.

 

Referring to the deterrent aspects of missiles, Chander said, “Our missile programme is for peace in the country. And the message of peace went to the entire world from Odisha where Kalinga war was fought.”

 

Indian Science and Technology is regarded as one of the most powerful instrument of growth and development, Chander said adding, “Today, India has become one of the strongest in the world in terms of scientific manpower in capability and maturity.”

 

“We are in a position not only to understand the technologies that we may have to borrow, but also to create our own technologies with extensive indigenous scientific pursuits. We have come a long way since our Independence, from mere buyers of technology to those of who have transformed science and technology for national development,” he said.

 

Claiming that India is a technology leader, the renowned scientist said it is a time when the Nations are measured by their technological prowess. Right from the explorations in Deep Space, down to commercial aviation to communication, Nations are assessed by their potential to explore and venture into new areas.

 

India to its credit stands tall as a power to reckon with, he said and added “We have developed ourselves the Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicles, Arihant nuclear submarine, our own fighter aircrafts and Battle Tanks. The Intercontinental Ballistic Missile AGNI-5, Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan Mission.”

 

He said India could pool and augment the resources effectively and has been able to network the knowledge base available in the Universities and other academic Institutions. “We are looking at the new generation to lead with new ideas,” he said.

 

However, Chander pointed out that higher academic institutions in India lack orientation towards research and as a result, their standing amongst the top global institutions is not very high. Research is a neglected domain in our higher education structure, he pointed out.

 

A developing country like India has to address the grand challenges of renewable energy, climate change, drinking water and sanitation. Research in these areas will have spin-offs, unimaginable in terms of benefits to the common man, he said.

 

Therefore, he said Universities and Institutes have to be the breeding ground for creative pursuits and source of cutting edge technological developments.

 

He told the students, “You may not be a born genius, yet you may come up with a brilliant idea that has numerous scientific implications. Go down to rural India and you will find that the people in small villages living in isolation from the big scientific globe have small innovative ideas to get their regular chores done.”

 

During launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, he recalled having emphasized that “If we can convert Millions of Tonnes of Waste in the country into useful tangible products by affordable technological means, there is a huge scope for development.”

 

Speaking on the occasion, S K Roongta, Chairman, Board of Governors of IIT, Bhubaneswar, congratulated the successful students and said initiatives at IIT, Bhubaneswar will go a long way in establishing new benchmarks.

 

The Institute from the time of its inception envisaged to evolve as a global institute in science and engineering offering students a broad-based but flexible curriculum with a distinct global perspective, said Roongta, who is also MD of Sesa Sterlite Ltd.

 

Backed by a strong and modern curriculum, the Institute is firmly committed to strengthen its science and engineering programmes to enhance knowledge, advance research and contribute to breakthroughs in science, engineering and technology with special emphasis on core areas of Energy, Climate Change, Minerals and Materials Manufacturing and Bioengineering, he said.

(Source: Economic Times October 20, 2014)

 

 

WHEN INDIA CAME CLOSE TO WAR

 

Last Christmas, fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force’s No. 1 Tiger Squadron of Mirage-2000 aircraft were not in celebratory mode. Moved a week earlier from home base Gwalior to the forward base Adampur near Jalandhar, the Tigers packed pistols, high protein Swiss chocolates and a quarter-inch map of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). This was not a routine exercise. It was preparation for war.

 

It all began on December 13, 2001, when Pakistan based terrorists of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) attacked the Parliament, killing nine people. As the real intent of the strike sunk in and evidence of Pakistan’s involvement mounted, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee made it clear that India’s patience had worn thin.

 

At a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and the three service chiefs on December 15, Vajpayee asked the service chiefs, “Can we do something quickly?” All three responded in the affirmative.

 

In Delhi’s war calculus, limited action in PoK made sense as it would not only convey the Indian resolve to Pakistan but also keep international retribution to manageable levels.

(Source: India Today October 20, 2014)

 

INDIA, PAKISTAN ARMY CHIEFS SQUARE OFF ON KASHMIR ISSUE

 

The army chiefs of India and Pakistan squared off on the Kashmir issue on Saturday, with General Dalbir Singh directing his commanders to put “relentless pressure” on terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir and his Pakistan counterpart, General Raheel Sharif, reiterating Islamabad’s push for Kashmiris to be given the right to self-determination.

 

During his address at the culmination of the Army Commanders Conference, a key brainstorming session of the top generals, Indian Army chief Gen. Singh referred to the internal security situation and “stressed on the need to maintain relentless pressure on the terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir”.

 

This is necessary so that the terrorists “are not capable of disrupting the forthcoming elections”, Singh was quoted as saying in an official statement.

 

The polls are due in the last week of November so that a new government can take over by January 19, 2015, when the current Assembly completes its term.

 

Gen. Sharif, who was addressing a passing-out parade at the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, raked up the Kashmir issue and pushed Islamabad’s line that Kashmiris should have the right to self-determination and said his force would give a “befitting response” to any “aggression”.

 

“Lasting peace in the region will only come about with the fair and just resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the will of Kashmiri people as enshrined in the UN resolutions,” he said.

 

“Coercion and repression of the Kashmiri people will never shake their confidence to ultimately exercise their freedom of choice promised by the international community. It is our firm belief that the determination of our Kashmiri brethren and collective conscience of free world will bear fruit and their aspirations will eventually be realised,” he claimed.

 

The general, whose remarks echoed recent comments by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and foreign policy chief Sartaj Aziz, said the Pakistan Army is fully capable of “deterring and defeating aggression across the entire spectrum of threat”.

 

“Yet, we persistently seek peace in the region and beyond… We desire regional stability and a relationship based on equality and mutual respect. Sentiments of goodwill and amity notwithstanding, let there be no doubt that any aggression against our beloved country will get a befitting response and no sacrifice will be too great in this sacred cause,” he said.

 

The Line of Control and International Border in Jammu and Kashmir recently witnessed the worst exchanges of fire since a ceasefire was put in place in late 2003 and the Indian government has directed its troops to forcefully retaliate against shelling by Pakistani troops. The tensions on the frontiers coincided with efforts by the Pakistani leadership to internationalise the Kashmir issue.

 

The situation in Afghanistan, where US-led foreign forces are preparing for a drawdown, figured prominently in the speeches of both army chiefs.

 

Singh, without naming Afghanistan, referred to external security concerns and advised his commanders to “continuously assess the situation in the subcontinent with respect to the force and security transition taking place and its resultant effect on the nation’s security”.

 

Sharif expressed the hope that the “new political dispensation in Afghanistan brings peace, stability and prosperity to the people of Afghanistan and the region at large”.

(Source: India Today October 20, 2014)

 

WILL GO AHEAD WITH CONSTRUCTION OF ROADS IN ARUNACHAL: CENTRE

 

GUWAHATI: Stating India will go ahead with construction of roads in Arunachal Pradesh along China border, Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday said the country has freedom to carry out development works inside its own territory and other nations should not object to it.

 

“We have to develop our territories, especially those areas which are neglected for too long time. We are going to develop our own region,” the Union Minister of State for Home told reporters on the sidelines of Infrastructure Conclave by industry chamber PHDCCI here.

 

He was responding to a query on China’s objection to India’s plans to develop border road network in Arunachal Pradesh.

 

“We are not venturing into others territory. Whatever we are doing it is our territory. It is our domain. We have freedom to do (anything) inside our territory. Other countries should not have any objection when we are not doing anything harmful to them,” Rijiju said.

 

He said India is not doing or not planning to do anything that will challenge any country.

 

“We are not doing anything which is adverse to the interest of our neighbours. Whatever is being done, it is for our own people and for the connectivity of our own people living in border areas,” he said.

 

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday had sent a strong message to China and asserted that no one can warn India.

 

China had sharply reacted to India’s plans to construct a road network along McMahon line from Mago-Thingbu in Tawang to Vijaynagar in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh to match China’s infrastructure development.

 

Asked about possible rise in Islamic fundamental activities in Northeast, Rijiju said “any place, any fundamental activities to the extreme is disturbing. We have to contain that kind of forces anywhere in the country. We are checking everything and we are ensuring that it does not go beyond a point… There are reports and we are very careful now.”

 

On increasing cases of racial attacks on people from Northeast in other parts of India, he said “wherever incidents are happening, whether it is Gurgaon or Bangalore or Delhi, we have ensured strict action. We will not spare the culprits. We are making no stone unturned.”

(Source: Times of India October 20, 2014)

 

RAFALE CAN BE SHOT DOWN LIKE ‘MOSQUITOES BY CHINESE-MADE SUKHOI : RUSSIAN ENVOY

 

Indirectly expressing his country’s surprise over the Indian Government and its defence establishment’s decision to go ahead with its reported plan to buy 126 Rafale combat aircraft from France, Russia’s Ambassador to India, Alexander M. Kadakin, said the Dassault Aviation-manufactured fighter aircraft could be shot down like a mosquito by a Chinese-manufactured or produced Sukhoi jet should there ever be a conflict in the neighbourhood.

 

Ambassador Kadakin, who was attending an interaction between Russian and Indian journalists in the national capital yesterday, said, “We (Russia) are still very surprised that Rafale is being bought, because if the Rafale is intended to oppose Pakistani or Chinese planes, then the Sukhoi which the Chinese produce, or mobilizes, but which is only 50 percent of the Sukhoi which you (India) produce, then even for the Chinese Sukhoi, these Rafales will be like mosquitoes on an August night. They will be shot down like mosquitoes. That’s why I don’t understand why….”

 

Rafale had won the bid to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft. In July this year, Indian media reported that the Ministry of Defence is continuing its final negotiations for acquiring these aircraft for almost USD 20 billion.

 

The negotiations, which have been protracted and complex, are reportedly at a final stage, with over 50 per cent of the final contract as well as the inter-governmental agreement, and all that reportedly remains is for the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to give its political approval for the inking of the contract.

 

Ambassador Kadakin, however, said that he or the Russian Government must not be misunderstood on the issue.

 

“There were some reports about difficulties. Of course, if you mobilize funds to buy Rafales, which has become from 10 million U.S. dollars to 23 million U.S. dollars (in terms of cost), then it is another story. That is a story of mobilizing finance and resources. But it doesn’t have to affect the (sale or purchase of) fifth generation aircrafts,” he said.

 

“The fifth generation aircraft, work is going according to schedule, and there were no problems reported about the designing work which carried out now by Indian and Russian scientists. Work is going according to schedule, and there were no complaints. There were some negotiations about the share of designing work. We understand India has already accumulated good experience in designing aircrafts, and that is why we were thinking of doing it fifty-fifty. But this has to be now specified and elaborated on paper because there are certain fields of aircraft building industry where India is not yet ready completely to take up responsibility for designing it. This can be done jointly by Indian and Russian designers and engineers,” Ambassador Kadakin added.

 

Taking an apparent dig at New Delhi’s reported shift towards acquiring weapons from the United States, Ambassador Kadakin said, “When people start speculating around world, U.S. their technology, and that there would be much more military supplies, all that, you understand, it is all just hullabaloo, it’s all hype, it’s not much technology coming from them (U.S.) to India. Or, should that be corrected, zero technology is coming from U.S to India.”

 

He took pains to highlight Russia’s contribution to India’s defence sector over the years.

 

“At the same time, India is building Russian Sukhoi 30s in Pune, India is producing the world’s best cruise missile Brahmos, India is navigating in the open waters in nuclear powered submarines (Akula-II class). India is building Kudankulam with our help. These are the real facts, and wrong are those doomsayers,” the Russian envoy said.

 

Once the project is finalized, the first 18 jets are to be delivered to IAF within 36-48 months, while the rest 108 will be manufactured by HAL with transfer of technology over the next seven years.

 

In July, then British Foreign Secretary William Hague lobbied hard for the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is backed by UK, Germany, Spain and Italy, in his meetings with the Narendra Modi Government. Germany is also learnt to have renewed the push for Typhoons.

 

The U.S. lobby reportedly still hopes that either the F/A-18 ‘Super Hornet’ or the F-16 ‘Super Viper’ can fly back into the MMRCA competition.

 

But the Indian defence establishment is quite clear there can be “no comebacks” in the ongoing MMRCA project.

 

With IAF down to 34 fighter squadrons, when at least 44 are required, IAF has identified the MMRCA project as its “topmost priority” for the NDA Government.

(Source: ANI News October 20, 2014)

 

SOON, A PM-LED COUNCIL FOR NUCLEAR SAFETY

 

NEW DELHI: India will set up a new Council on Nuclear Safety to be headed by the Prime Minister, taking a leap forward towards setting stronger safety standards for nuclear reactors.

 

In the coming weeks, the Union Cabinet is expected to approve a pending legislation to set up a Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) for consideration in the coming winter session of Parliament. The new authority will be responsible for regulating radiation and nuclear safety.

 

The PM-led council will be in charge of policies with regard to nuclear safety and radiation. The NSRA will be the successor body to the present Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) which will be dissolved. However, this body will not have the powers to inspect and regulate the strategic sector including facilities involved in India’s nuclear weapons programme.

 

Two recent radiation incidents have influenced the contents of the proposed Bill — the Mayapuri radiological accident of April 2010 and the Fukushima disaster of March 2011.

 

In the former, an unused gammacell 220 research irradiator, owned by Delhi University, was sold at an auction to a scrap metal dealer in Mayapuri on February 26, 2010. The cobalt-60 item was broken up by people who had no idea of the hazardous nature of the material. The incident was a shocker to the Indian nuclear system even leading to the death of one person and injuries to many.

 

Subsequently, the DAE worked on amendments to the Atomic Energy Act to strengthen the AERB (set up in 1983) to expand its role in inspection and safe disposal of radioactive material.

 

Fukushima triggered a fresh set of worries about nuclear safety all over the world — Germany decided to do away with nuclear power while Japan shut down many of its aging reactors. The lessons from this were also incorporated into yet another proposal for a new law and the first proposal for a Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority was drafted in 2011.

 

The Bill was sent to a standing committee, which made certain recommendations. But this Bill could not be passed by the last Lok Sabha and lapsed. The new government has revived the Bill, indicating a continuity in upgrading nuclear safety.

(Source: Times of India October 20, 2014)

 

INDIAN ARMY RAZES 19 TERRORIST CAMPS IN PoK

 

New Delhi : The army has destroyed 19 terrorist camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) while retaliating to unprovoked firing on civilians in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan forces.

 

This was disclosed in a report submitted to Defence Minister Arun Jaitley by General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

 

The report says there were more than 2,000 terrorists waiting in camps on the LoC to cross over and some of them were killed in the army action. Some of the terror camps were close to Pakistan army check posts and several of them were also damaged.

 

Truce violated again Meanwhile, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire twice on Friday LoC in Poonch district, inviting retaliation from the Army, PTI reports.

 

“There was small arms and automatic weapons firing by Pakistani troops on Indian posts along the LoC in Hamirpur sector of Poonch district,’’ a senior Army officer said. There was no loss of life.

(Source: Free Press Journal October 20, 2014)

 

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