Wednesday / June 26.


defNEW DELHI: Eyeing joint-production of military and civilian items with a foreign partner, India and Russia could clinch deals on co-production of mid-range civilian aircraft as well as military helicopters during President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Delhi on December 11-12.


During Putin’s maiden visit to Delhi for the annual summit after Modi became the Prime Minister the two sides might agree on joint production of the MC-21 mid-range civilian aircraft, South Block officials said. This aircraft can carry 180 passengers and have a range of 5,000 km.


The first flight of this aircraft – currently being manufactured in Russia — is scheduled for 2016, and the mass production will begin in 2017. Thereafter the aircraft could also be jointly produced in India, sources indicated. “The Russian project fits into Modi’s agenda of Make in India which will not only create domestic jobs but also result in transfer of technology and self-sufficiency in the long run,” an official remarked.


Similarly, the two countries are currently discussing the possibility of building production plants in India for the Sukhoi Superjet-100 – another civilian aircraft. Officials said that this will not only meet the needs of the Indian market but also enable joint-entry into the markets of other countries. Indonesia has already expressed interest to purchase Sukhoi Superjet -100. Sukhoi is no stranger to India as Indian Air Force has been using advanced Sukhoi fighter jets.


Putin’s visit could also witness an agreement on joint production of KA-226 helicopters in India that can be utilised for both military and civilian purposes. The helicopter has performed well at high-altitude and would come handy for India’s mountainous terrain, sources claimed. Indian Air Force and Army have been using Russian manufactured helicopters for disaster relief and rescue missions besides combat operations.


The Modi government has also expressed interest in collaboration in aircraft engine manufacturing projects and this was discussed at last week’s Sushma Swaraj-Dmitry Rogozin meeting in Delhi, sources informed.


Joint initiatives in the field of space will be a key item on the agenda of Modi-Putin summit on . Ahead of the Summit both sides will hold different consultations on cooperation in space exploration. These will involve manned space missions and deployment of projects in India connected to the use of the Russian navigation system GLONASS, according to officials.


The two sides are also looking at the possibility of joint-production in India of GLONASS signal receiving modules and introduction of the ERA-GLONASS satellite monitoring system for transport vehicles, which are used for automatic notification of emergency services in case of accidents and other emergencies. Officials recalled that two countries have had old cooperation in the field of space including supply of cryogenic engines by Moscow when Delhi faced Western sanctions. Space instrument engineering could be a new area of partnership for future, officials hinted.


Meanwhile, officials said that the two sides are still working on the possibility of visit by Putin to Kudankulam Atomic Power Project site following Modi’s invitation to the Russian leader when they met at Brazil. “Unlike Chinese President Xi Jinping Putin travels on short-business like visits and two city schedule in a host nation is often not on his cards. But the possibility of visit to Tamil Nadu to project site is being explored,” an pointed out an official speaking on the condition of anonymity.

(Source: Economic Times November 15, 2014)





New Delhi: At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is stressing on `Make in India’, CRPF has said bye-bye to locally made Insas rifles. The largest force fighting Maoists has written to the government to replace all Insas rifles it uses with AK (4756) rifles because of the former’s poor operational quality.


CRPF has said the gun gets frequently jammed at crucial times and is a danger to the life of jawans during anti-Naxal and anti-insurgency operations. The move, if approved by the government, would mean massive procurement of AK guns in the years to come as over 40% of guns used by the three lakh strong force are Insas rifles.


“We have sent a proposal to the government that all Insas rifles with the force be replaced by AK rifles. The Insas has a problem of jamming.Compared to AK and X-95 guns, Insas fails far more frequently . While the error percentage in AK guns is 0.02%, in Insas it is 3%,“ CRPF DG Dilip Trivedi said.


Close sources said the force is expected to use the inferior quality Insas guns just because it is indigenously produced.


“The government must ponder if it’s okay to lose the lives of our jawans to promote a faulty indigenous gun,“ said another senior CRPF officer.

(Source: Times of India November 15, 2014)




New Delhi: India’s frontline combat aircraft Sukhoi-30 fleet, which was grounded after a crash near Pune, will be back in air ‘within a week’s time’, Air Force Chief Arup Raha on Friday said.


He also said that the findings of a Court of Inquiry into the crash are being finalised.


This is the longest period that the Russian-made aircraft has been grounded since 2009 when its operation was suspended for nearly three weeks following an accident.


“This (Pune crash on October 14) was an accident which appeared to be automatic firing of the seats. Court of Inquiry is about to be complete and the findings are being finalised. We will have the results very soon and we are going to start flying the aircraft very soon,” Raha said.


He said that “preliminary findings” do indicate that they have been able to find the reason and “we will be able to tackle the problem without much issue”.


“I am very hopeful that the CoI will end soon and we will be able to fly this fleet all over again and get back to normal,” he said.


Asked specifically how long will it take for the Sukhoi flights to resume, he said, “Within a week’s time we will start flying this aircraft.”


Talking about the issues related to after sales support by Russians, the Air Force Chief said SU-30 is a “huge and complicated project” under which 270 plus aircraft are being acquired from Russia.


“Of course IAF has been involved in final configuration of the aircraft. A lot of it is from our side, indigenous and from other sources. So this is a huge project, a complicated project,” the Chief of Air Staff said.


Raha said the aircraft has good operation capabilities but there are spare supply issues that are being tackled.


“Any equipment that you buy, whether it is your own indigenous or from outside, it has its own problems and issues. Whatever you mentioned is being tackled,” he said, replying to questions about lack of proper post-sales support from Russians and huge delay in setting up of repair and overhaul facilities here.


Raha said the Air Force has been interacting with officials from Russia and HAL, which is also involved in the licensed production of aircraft and maintenance activities.


“All these are complicated procedures. It involves not only technology but also fiances. But these are being resolved. I will not say everything is in order but things are being worked out which happens in any product. There is distinct improvement, he said.


A team of 10 experts from Russia is currently in Pune, the Sukhoi-30 base, probing the crash that took place on October 14 near there with both the pilot seats ejecting without any command during landing.


The pilots were safe but the aircraft crashed about 20 kms short of the runway.


As standard operating procedure, the flying of the aircraft was suspended and a CoI ordered.


The sources said the Russian experts have claimed that the ejection of seats cannot take place automatically, a contention that is not being accepted by the Indian Air Force.

(Source: Indian Express November 15, 2014)




PANAJI: In what may well be his first significant announcement as the country’s defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, on Friday, promised to take a decision on the 2,300 crore deal to acquire eight Mine Counter-Measures Vessels or minesweepers from South Korean firm Kangnam Corporation for the Navy as quickly as possible.


“The anti-mine vessel (deal) got stuck because of some clause in the contract which said they have appointed an agent though they have not paid money. But they (the firm) have not been blacklisted,” said Parrikar.


“What we are trying to do is give the orders to Goa Shipyard and ask the PSU to go into the technical collaboration… This is the line of thinking and not the final decision,” said Parrikar, speaking on the sidelines of a function at Vasco-based Goa Shipyard Ltd. It’s his first visit to a defence PSU after taking charge as defence minister.


The former chief minister of Goa also said, “They (officials from the South Korean company and GSL) came to me when I was chief minister. They wanted me to take up the case with the defence minister.” The South Korean company officials were in Goa in the last week of October this year.


In 2008, the defense ministry floated a tender for eight minesweepers, which was bagged by Kangnam Corporation. The firm had bid the lowest among three competing vendors. According to the agreement, Kangnam Corporation was to deliver the first two minesweepers by 2016, while Goa Shipyard Ltd would build the remaining six in India through technology transfer by 2018. Each minesweeper is expected to cost around $670million.


The acquisition deal got stalled during the erstwhile Congress-led government’s tenure on allegations that the South Korean firm had engaged middlemen. The allegation had been made at that time by BJP MP Radha Mohan Singh, currently the Union agriculture minister.


Minesweepers are specialized warships capable of neutralizing sea mines. The vessel locates mines by high-definition sonar and then a remote-controlled underwater vehicle is used to detonate the mine. Minesweepers are able to locate, sweep, hunt, and neutralize marooned as well as drifting mines. They are usually deployed with local naval defence and search-and-rescue missions. The Navy requires at least 24 mine counter-measures vessels to clear mines laid by enemy warships and aircraft to blockade harbours during war.


The Indian Navy is keen on acquiring minesweepers to replace their aging fleet of 12 Pondicherry and Karwar class minesweepers, which are expected to be phased out by 2020. The 200ft-long Pondicherry class ships are minesweepers built for the Indian Navy by the erstwhile Soviet Union from 1978-88, and are modified versions of the Russian Natya class minesweeper. The Karwar class ships, which came much later, are upgraded warships with the addition of surface-to-air missiles.

(Source: Times of India November 15, 2014)




The Chinese and Indian armies will hold a joint counterterrorism military training drill in the near future, a source with the Chinese military said on Thursday.


The drill, code-named “Hand-in-Hand 2014”, will take place in the western Indian city of Pune, the source said, adding that the drill had been coordinated through talks between the two countries’ leaders and military.


The date of the drill has not yet been released.


A company of 139 soldiers from southwest China’s Chengdu Military Command will join their Indian counterparts and conduct drills in urban cities and townships.


The two sides will also send representatives to observe the drills.


The upcoming drill will be the fourth of its kind between the two countries’ armies.


The first was in southwest China’s Yunnan Province in 2007; followed by another in Belgaum, India, in 2008; and in southwest China’s Sichuan in 2013.


The previous three drills were focused on mountainous areas.

(Source: ECNS November 15, 2014)




Hyderabad: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is in the process of setting up at least 10 ‘centres of technology’ in the country over the next five years, primarily aimed at developing high-end technologies, according to Avinash Chander, scientific adviser to ministry of defence, secretary to the department of defence research and development (R&D), and director-general, DRDO.


“The first set of such centres will be coming up at IIT-Mumbai and IIT-Chennai this year, where PhDs and MTechs will work on technologies including high-end robotics, advanced propulsion aeronautics and directed energy weapons. We are expecting an intake of 500 PhDs and MTechs for each centre,” Chander said.


Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of Defence and Aerosupply India, a three-day international conference and exhibition on defence and aerospace technologies that concluded here on Friday, he said the DRDO had earmarked Rs 500 crore a year to enhance defence R&D content in Indian universities. “Today, many universities are maths-oriented. Our idea is to make them research-oriented,” he said.


According to Chander, creating a dedicated fund, either through venture capital or micro financing, to extend cash support to startups in the defence and aerospace sector is the need of the hour.


“I feel that a fund of this kind could be started with an initial corpus of Rs 200 crore and extend it on a recoverable basis to young industrialists who are willing to enter the sector,” he said, adding that the DRDO had also been talking at the central level to create a material bank where they could stock critical material.


It is looking at setting up more establishments in and around Hyderabad with an investment of around Rs 1,500 crore. The ministry of defence undertaking has already acquired 100 acre at Nagarjuna Sagar for setting up a systems and component testing facility, while works on hypersonic and transonic wind tunnel facilities at Shamirpet and a radar cross-section measurement facility at Dundigal, both on the outskirts of Hyderabad, are under way.


“The tunnels facility, the second in the country with the first being in Bangalore, should be operational in three years from now, while the radar cross-section unit will be up and running within a year,” Chander said.


On the status of the proposed missile test launch centre at Nagayalanka in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, he said the DRDO was awaiting land clearances for 250 acre and approvals from environmental agencies for the Rs 1,500-crore missile test range project.

(Source: Business Standard November 15, 2014)




HYDERABAD: The DRDO has proposed setting up of an exclusive Central fund with an initial corpus of Rs 100-200 crore for supporting start-ups and smaller units in the areas of research, development and production in defence sector.


Speaking on the sidelines of Defence & Aerosupply India 2014 here, Avinash Chander, Director General of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) said it is also planning to set up ten centres of technology where students in specialised fields can work on various defence-related projects, across the country in next five years.


“I think there is a need for supporting start-ups. A lot of talent is there but they don’t have incubation centres. They can develop an idea but to sustain that idea till it becomes a mature product, they require some funding support. And that’s where I feel that a fund of this kind (as a soft loan) for upcoming industrialists till their turnover becomes sufficiently large, will help them grow in a big way,” Chander said.


He said the fund can be set up with Rs 100-200 crore to start with.


According to him, talks are also going on at the Central level for creating a material bank where stock of critical material is maintained.


Chandar said the DRDO is planning to earmark around Rs 500 crore every year for setting up centres of technology and is aiming to set up two such centres soon.


On the proposed missile testing centre at Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, he said they are awaiting clearances from environmental agencies.


“We need 250 acres of land for setting up of our facilities and a small launch pad facility. Also, we have to get clearances from environmental agencies for the missile test range.The facility needs Rs 1500 crore investment,” he said.


The three-day Defence & Aerosupply India 2014 organised by an Israel-Kenes Exhibitions and Telangana Government concluded today.

(Source: Economic Times November 15, 2014)




BALASORE(Odisha): India on Friday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-II surface-to-surface missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, from a test range at Chandipur near here as part of a user trial by Army.


Defence sources said the state-of-the-art missile, which is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads, was test-fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of Integrated Test Range at about 10.40 hrs.


It is thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines and uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory.


Describing the trial as “fully successful,” ITR Director M V K V Prasad told PTI that the test was conducted by Strategic Force Command.


The sophisticated missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the entire launch activities were carried out by SFC and monitored by scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of training exercise, defence sources said.


“The missile trajectory was tracked by DRDO radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations located along the coast of Odisha.


“The downrange teams onboard the ship deployed near the designated impact point in the Bay of Bengal monitored the terminal events and splashdown,” the sources said.


Prithvi II, which was inducted into the SFC in 2003, is the first missile to be developed by DRDO under India’s prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP) and is now a proven technology.


Today’s launch was part of a regular training exercise of SFC and was monitored by DRDO scientists, the sources said.


Such training launches clearly indicate India’s operational readiness to meet any eventuality and also establishes the reliability of this deterrent component of India’s Strategic arsenal, the sources said.


The last user trials of Prithvi-II in 2014 were successfully carried out from the same base on January 7, 2014 and March 28, 2014, they added.

(Source: Times of India November 15, 2014)




NEW DELHI: Chinese troops have been spotted imparting arms training to Pakistan Army on Pakistani forward locations on the border opposite the Rajouri sector in Jammu & Kashmir, the Border Security Force (BSF) has told the National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval in a secret report. BSF has also warned that Pakistan Army is taking charge of key Pakistani border posts from the Pakistani Rangers, beefing up manpower and posting snipers to target Indian troops.


This comes as a major concern for India after the heightened tension on the border that led to repeated firing from both sides in October. The BSF has informed the NSA that in one such firing incident on October 6, five Pakistani soldiers were killed after strong retaliatory firing from the Indian side. The input of Chinese presence on Pakistani Forward locations, albeit only for Weapon handling Training, is bound to raise tensions between India and China as well, a Intelligence official said.


The BSF report, sent to the NSA, Intelligence Bureau Chief and the Home Secretary, says it has been learnt that Chinese troops have been seen in some of the Pakistani Forward locations of the 3rd and 4th Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir Brigades opposite India’s Rajouri sector and they are imparting weapon handling training to Pakistani troops.


BSF has said that the situation on the International Border in Jammu remains tense but Pakistani civilians who had shifted from the border areas due to cross-border firing have returned to their villages. In the second week of October, units of Pakistani Army have also moved to Pakistani forward locations opposite the Rajouri Sector to beef up manpower strength of troops on the border, the BSF has said.


The BSF has also warned that intercepted conversations across the border reveal that Pakistani Rangers and Pakistani Army will be deploying commandoes and snipers on some of their border posts on both the International Border and the Line of Control to carry out targeted attacks on forces on the Indian side.


The Centre has been warned that there is a large presence of terrorists on forward locations in the Sialkot area waiting to infiltrate into India ahead of the assembly elections in the state. BSF has warned that terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Hizbul Mujahedeen have stepped up their activities in South Kashmir in districts of Anantnag, Shopian and Pulawama and there could be attacks on security forces convoys and political party workers in the upcoming J&K elections in these areas. It has been mentioned that the situation in J&K hence remains sensitive but under control of security forces.


The BSF report has also cited a input sent out by the Headquarter Pakistani Rangers to all its Wings saying that the Tahreek–E-Taliban (TTP) commander Mohammad Abdul Wali has put together 22 terrorist teams of 6 men each to target security forces and locals in Pakistan. The TTP has claimed responsibility for the recent attack on the Wagah border in which over 60 Pakistanis were killed and on Thursday had also released a photograph of the suicide bomber.

(Source: Economic Times November 15, 2014)




India’s worst nightmare situation of a military gang-up between Pakistan and China, the only two foreign countries which have fought wars with independent India, is threatening to come true.


This writer had put his finger on this possible dreadful scenario here and here.


A news agency report on 14 November said the Chinese troops are training Pakistan Army personnel right across the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir. The agency report, purportedly based on a report submitted to the Narendra Modi government by the intelligence wing of the Border Security Force (BSF), says that the Chinese troops have been training Pakistani troops in “weapon handling” techniques opposite the Rajouri sector of International Border and that Pakistani army units have taken control from Pakistan Rangers of several forward posts in Rajasthan’s Sriganga sector in Rajasthan. The details of the agency report can be seen here.


The above report confirms and corroborates several things that this writer has been shrieking about of late.


One, while the Modi government has no illusions about the real intentions of Pakistan, it is the role of China that is of utmost importance. China was absent in the first India-Pakistan military conflict in 1947-48 (as Communist China was born only in 1949) and had played a supine role during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak Wars. But the Chinese attitude may change.


Implications: Any military move of Pakistan, particularly hereon, has to be carefully sifted and analyzed from the inevitable Chinese angle. The presence of some twenty thousand Chinese troops in PoK is a stark reminder of the Chinese intentions and capabilities.


Two, China’s real intentions vis a vis India are not above board. China may indulge in every possible way to gang up covertly with Pakistan against India while keeping its own hands clean. In a way, China is already doing that for years by its stapled visas policy. While China gives stapled visas to Indians domiciled in Jammu and Kashmir (and also Arunachal Pradesh), it gives regular visas to people domiciled in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, thus taking a stand on the India-Pakistan dispute over the Kashmir issue.


Implications: The above-mentioned news agency report is nothing but a direct corroboration of the pincer strategy that China and Pakistan may be planning vis a vis India. It means that the Modi government will have to take every goody-goody word of China not just with a pinch of salt but with a bucketful of salt. China pulled the trigger against India in 1965 but that was a different era. None of the three Asian countries being discussed here – India, Pakistan and China – was a declared nuclear weapon power; but now all three are.


Three, China may not pull the trigger at India by itself but instead use Pakistan for the dirty job.


Implications: This is the best possible military and strategic tactic of China. Why put its own military boots on the Indian ground when it can achieve the same, or probably better results from the Chinese perspective, by using the Pakistanis as pawns on the larger strategic chess board?


The above scenario raises multiple questions about how India should deal with this pincer strategy of China and Pakistan.

Mercifully, winter has already set in and Pakistan cannot infiltrate its merchants of death into the Indian territory at will, the upcoming elections in Jammu and Kashmir notwithstanding.


China has been cleverly keeping the Indians bogged down with zero progress on the boundary dispute – the only grouse for which China can “punish” India. Important Chinese leaders have hinted last year (when the new regime took over in Beijing) that an out-of-the-box solution to the vexed Sino-Indian boundary dispute may be forthcoming. But nothing has actually happened.


While India has always been wary of the China-Pakistan nexus, it is here and now that New Delhi needs to be alert.


Diplomatically, China has been all sugar and honey to India. But getting to know the real intentions of China is as tedious a task as reading the reading the Chinese tea leaves.


India must not forget that China is the land of Sun Tzu, the famous military general, strategist and philosopher and China’s Chanakya who penned his thoughts in his immortal work “Art of War” some 2500 years ago.

(Source: First Post November 15, 2014)

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