defNEW DELHI: To expedite infrastructure projects — road and rail — along the border with China for strategic reasons and also for better connectivity, principal secretary to Prime Minister has called a meeting of top officials of key ministries such as defence, rail and road, head of Border Roads Organization (BRO), national security adviser and others on Thursday.


Sources said the agenda of the meeting to be chaired by Nripendra Mishra includes review of the plans and projects close to India-China border in Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand and northeast. Ways to speed up work on projects already identified will also come up for discussion.


“In recent years there has been greater focus on pushing infrastructure projects particularly road and rail network close to China border considering our late start and slow progress in comparison to what has happened across the border. The plans have been there, but what is needed is financial support and clear direction to accelerate the progress,” said a senior government official.


Just like China, construction of roads and laying of rail network along the bordering areas will help India generate more employment in these regions and will also give boost to the tourism sector in these areas. This is also likely to put a check on Chinese incursions as security forces could be mobilized to these regions, which are largely inaccessible regions at present.


The road transport ministry has already identified 29 corridors close to international border covering around 3,600km. Several of these projects are along the Indo-China border. There is a proposal to bring these road plans under a new phase of National Highway Development Project (NHDP). Moreover, the ministry has prepared a detailed plan for better highway connectivity in Uttarakhand.


Officials said that in recent months, the Narendra Modi government has put focus on road development in northeast and particularly in Arunachal Pradesh. The minister of state (MoS) for home affairs Kiren Rijju held several meetings with focusing on expediting road projects in Arunachal Pradesh along the China border.


Now the home ministry has proposed construction of a road network along the McMahon line from Mago-Thingbu in Tawang to Vijaynagar in Changlang district in Arunachal Pradesh. At present there are small stretches of minor roads on this corridor and there is little habitation, sources aware of road networks in northeast told TOI.

(Source: Times of India October 16, 2014)





SRIHARIKOTA: Scripting yet another milestone in outer space, Isro successfully launched IRNSS 1C, the third member of the seven satellite constellation of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), in the wee hours of Thursday.


Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) – C26, carrying IRNSS 1C, lifted off from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 1.32am. The satellite detached from the launch vehicle about 20 minutes after the launch at an altitude of 499.63km soaring with a velocity of 9604.87 metre per second. This was the 27th consecutive successful flight of PSLV.


“It is a perfect launch. The injection was very precise and the PSLV was integrated at Sriharikota in 60 days, and there was a team of 1000 members working for the last four days to make this launch a success,” said ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan after the launch.


Initially, the satellite was injected into a sub-geosynchronous transfer orbit with a 282.56km perigee (nearest point to Earth) and 20,670 apogee (farthest point from Earth). Later, it was lifted to a geo-stationary orbit.


The satellite, which is similar in composition to its predecessors 1A and 1B, carries navigation and ranging payloads. It will play a vital role in the IRNSS operations right from guiding drivers on city roads to aerial navigation, disaster management, mapping and surveillance activities.


The IRNSS with a 1500km range will make India self-reliant on navigation and surveillance from outer space as it is expected to cover the Asian region. It will be utilized for two services — standard positioning service (SPS) extended to all users and restricted service (RS) which will be encrypted.


Mission director Kunhi Krishnan ​attributed the success of the IRNSS 1C launch to the determination of the scientists and other stake holders.


The fourth navigational satellite of the IRNSS segment will be launched in December, and the project will be fully operational next year.


Radhakrihnan said Isro’s next mission would be the experimental test flight of GSLV Mark III. It will carry an unmanned crew module and will play a vital role in sending Indian astronauts into space in the near future.


M Chandradathan, director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre of Isro, said the GSLV Mark III would be launched in 45 days. “It is one of the heaviest indigenous launch vehicles that is being developed,” he said.


Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Jitender Singh attended the launch and lauded the scientists. He claimed that IRNSS 1C was the latest success story in the ‘Make in India campaign’ of the Narendra Modi government.

(Source: Times of India October 16, 2014)




India is preparing to conduct the second developmental trial of its indigenously developed sub-sonic cruise missile Nirbhay from a defence base off the Odisha coast on Friday. Its maiden trial had failed as the missile veered off the trajectory.


Sources said preparation was on full swing at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, nearly 15 km from Balasore for the test after the missile components, including its body parts and motor arrived here on Monday. The missile, which can be compared with America’s Tomahawk missile, is slated to be fired from the launching complex-III of the test facility.


Planned to be tested earlier this month, the schedule was delayed due to the cyclonic storm Hudhud. As the storm passed off sparing the northern coastal region, the DRDO doesn’t apprehend any risk in carrying out the mission later this week. “After the missile components are assembled, the weapon will be integrated with a mobile launcher. Along with that range integration also has been started,” said the source.


The defence scientists are eyeing for the successful trial of this homegrown surface-to-surface cruise missile as it had failed to cover the pre-designated flight path during its first test on March 12, last year. The missile was to be terminated mid-path after 20 minutes of flight as it veered off the coordinated trajectory.


After it was blown off mid-way, the missile remnants had fallen in the orchard of a resident in Giripada village under Gadaharishpur panchayat in Jagatsinghpur district. Though none was hurt, panic gripped the village following such an incident, perhaps occurred for the first time during a missile test in the State.


A defence scientist associated with the Nirbhay project said the guidance component in the navigation system of the missile had malfunctioned. “The guidance component, known as gyro, guides the missile till the point of impact. It deviated from the path due to the technical glitches in this component which have been fixed properly. We hope this time the missile will perform as expected,” he said.


The cruise missile having a strike range of around 750 km to 1,000 km is expected to supplement the Indo-Russian joint venture supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, which can carry warheads up to 290 km. While India is yet to have its own technology to develop supersonic or hypersonic cruise missiles, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) prohibits the signatories from providing technology to any other country developing a cruise missile with a range greater than or equal to 300 km.


According to defence sources, the two-stage missile has a length of six meters, diameter of 0.52 m, wing span 2.7 m and a launch weight of about 1,500 kgs. While the Bengaluru-based Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) has designed the missile, it has been developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) of DRDO.

(Source: New Indian Express October 16, 2014)





New Delhi: Six years after the Mumbai terror attack, Indian Navy has readied a national hub to tackle all aspects of coastal security to prevent another 26/11.


The maritime force, however, will have to overcome several challenges to information flow to make the security net foolproof.


Located at Gurgaon, the national command, control, communication and intelligence centre (NC3I) now receives real time information from 51 naval stations, including 46 Doppler radar units along the coast and maritime operational centres of all commands, sources told Deccan Herald.


Inputs from 40 odd Indian Coast Guard stations too would soon be fed into the NC3I centre and analysed to decide the threat to  brown waters (inland, coastal waterways). After 26/11, Indian Navy was made the lead agency for coastal security.


Operationalisation of the NC3I hub and subsequent challenges to foolproof coastal security were discussed at the ongoing naval commanders conference here, attended by close to 40 top officers.


Information flow from central and state agencies involved in coastal security poses the biggest challenge to a fully functional hub for coastal security. For instance, there is still no mechanism to monitor thousands of small fishing boats that go out to sea every day.


While Indian Coast Guard keep an eye on all boats measuring more than 20 mt in length as these vessels have automated identification system (AIS) on-board, smaller vessels like the one used by Ajmal Kasab and his mates to enter Mumbai, pose the real problem as they lack AIS.


“Smaller boats have been registered by the state governments. We plan to install radio-frequency identification tags on those boats. A prototype has been made and a card reader to examine those tags are also being developed under the supervision of Home Ministry,” said a source.


There are close to 2 lakh fishing boats in India, out of which 60,000-70,000 go out to sea every day.


“Boat owners are now asking for money to install these systems on-board,” said an officer. Though the Cabinet Secretary reviews  monthly progress, there are still many obstacles as close to a dozen agencies from fisheries and customs to Navy and Coast Guard are involved.

(Source: Deccan Herald October 16, 2014)





Former Indian Navy chief, Admiral D.K. Joshi, who had resigned in February this year after a number of accidents on naval platforms, has dwelt on the background to his unprecedented decision in an extended media interview and in the process shed much needed light on the deeply embedded institutional flaws that plague India’s higher defence management.


In his candid observations, Joshi noted of the stasis in the country’s defence and military edifice: “For more than a decade now recognizing fully that higher management of defence needs reforms, several expert committees have been formed. Virtually all their recommendations have been identical, but vested interests have ensured that the more substantive ones, which bring authority and accountability together, have not been approved. Some peripheral ones have been progressed but nothing substantive.”


As it happens, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address the top brass of the Indian military, for the first time collectively, after assuming office Friday (Oct 17) and both the nature of the prevailing regional strategic environment and the orientation of India’s principal security interlocutors – China and Pakistan – draw attention to the critical need of of ensuring that India’s composite military capability is of appropriate quality and credibility. However, many inadequacies abound, both within the military and in the delicate pyramid that is subsumed in the rubric of civil-military relations, which have resulted in a less than optimum national military capability.


Admiral Joshi has illuminated the central policy void when he avers: “The root cause is this dysfunctional and inefficient business model that we have, wherein professional competence, domain expertise, accountability, responsibility and authority, these all reside in separate silos in different locations. While professional competence, accountability, responsibility is with the service, that is not the case with authority. And by authority I really mean the power to approve something, empowerment to approve something or the other. For example, change of submarine batteries, which are available indigenously or for commencing refits and repairs of ships, aircraft, submarines in Indian yards, the service (navy) does not have that empowerment. That’s a broad construct as a background. Where there is authority, there is no accountability. And where there is responsibility, there is no authority.”


This mismatch between the different parts of the democratic lattice – namely the elected political leader, the civil servant as representative of the executive and the military as an institution has been India’s Achilles heel since August 1947. India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru had an innate disdain for the military and this was the beginning of the civil-military divide in the Indian structure of governance. The fear of a military coup was subtly stoked by vested interests in the corridors of power and a naïve military apex allowed the Indian bureaucracy to gradually quarantine them to the cantonment.


Imprudent choices by the Indian service chiefs in the early decades and the debacle of the 1962 war with China resulted in an anomalous division of collective responsibility and empowerment and India has a piquant reality as regards national defence. The three service chiefs have become ‘invisible’ in the country’s higher defence management and this onerous responsibility devolves on the defence secretary, who more often than not may be serving a first tenure in the Ministry of Defence.


This institutional anomaly was noted post the 1999 Kargil war when the NDA government led by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee set up a group of experts to restructure the higher defence system. Many eminently useful recommendations were made in relation to external and internal security – but alas remained unimplemented. The adage that a diffident Indian political leadership chose to cross the national security chasm in two leaps is valid.


The late K. Subrahmanyam, who headed the Kargil Review Committee, pithily summed up the Alice in Wonderland situation. He wryly noted that that when it comes to national security: “Politicians enjoy power without responsibility, bureaucrats wield power without accountability, and the military assumes responsibility without direction.”


The internal health of the Indian military is cause for deep concern and anguish. Morale is low, institutional values and principles are frayed, aspersions of moral turpitude have been cast against the top leadership and the entire General V.K. Singh saga during UPA-II that went all the way to the Supreme Court has led to deep internal fissures within the army.


The material state of the military inventory is frail and whether fighter aircraft, tanks or submarines – it is cannibalization and ‘jugaad’ that is keeping operational readiness at bare minimum levels. In short, Pime Minister Modi and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley have before them the equivalent of cleaning the Manmohan Singh-Antony stables with very limited time and resources.


The gaps in higher defence management and poor civil-military relations have engaged the attention of Modi’s predecessor. A review of Manmohan Singh’s many observations and speeches are instructive. It may be recalled that in late 2013, Singh made his last address to the combined commanders and he dwelt on the need for “urgent and tangible progress in establishing the right structures for higher defence management and the appropriate civil-military balance in decision making that our complex security demands”. He added: “I encourage you to give this the highest professional consideration, harmonise existing differences among the individual services and evolve a blueprint for the future. I can assure you of the most careful consideration of your recommendations by the political leadership.”


Modi would be well advised to seek an objective review from all stakeholders in India’s higher defence management and harmonize institutional authority with accountability in a meaningful and effective manner. Many difficult decisions have to be taken if national security is to be put back on track. And if he probes further, he may be appalled to learn that the Indian military is locked in a series of legal wrangles with the Ministry of Defence over pay and pension and that in the current dispensation of Indian governance, officers of the armed forces are no longer on par with Class I civilian cadres and have become a lower ‘caste’.


Can Modi bring both redress and justice to a skewed domain and its subaltern inhabitants? Oct 17 may provide some answers.

(Source: Business Standard October 16, 2014)




India will be focusing efforts on strengthening military ties with countries in the immediate neighbourhood. Army chief General Dalbir Singh’s first set of foreign tours in the coming months will be to Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.


This is in line with the new government’s plans to revitalise ties with neighbouring countries.


The army chief is likely to travel to Bhutan and Nepal later this year followed by visits to the other neighbouring countries next year.


Bhutan’s significance as one of India’s closest allies was evident when Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to visit Thimphu in June barely three weeks after being sworn in as PM.


China, which shares a 470-km long boundary with Bhutan, has unresolved border issues with the Himalayan kingdom. New Delhi had established the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) in Bhutan in 1962 to train Bhutanese officers.


During the years of the royal autocracy and the initial years of peace process when there were restrictions on the military’s operations, India had stopped supplying arms to the Nepal Army. But supplies have now been restored. There remains a special relationship between the two armies, with their chiefs treated as honorary generals of the other army. The visits to Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are also significant in view of growing Chinese presence in these countries.

(Source: Hindustan Times October 16, 2014)




New Delhi: Former Navy chief admiral DK Joshi, who resigned in the wake of a blast in a submarine last year, on Tuesday made a sharp criticism of the defence management in the previous government and alleged there was no accountability and authority.


He was also amused that there was a “great haste” in accepting his resignation given to the then Defence Minister A K Antony.


“Where there is authority, there is no accountability and where there is responsibility, the authority is not there. You don’t have to accept it coming from me but for more than a decade now recognising fully that the higher management of defence needs reforms,” Joshi told an English news channel.


When asked what prompted him to resign, Joshi said the root cause was the “dysfunctional and inefficient” business model that exists wherein professional competence, domain expertise, accountability, responsibility and authority, these all reside in separate silos in different locations.


“And whilst professional competence, domain expertise, accountability, responsibility is with the service, that is not the case with the authority,” he said.


By authority, Joshi said, he meant empowerment, “the power of proving something over the other.”


Asked what prompted the government to accept his resignation with such alacrity, Admiral Joshi said he was amused that there appeared to be such great haste to pin it on someone.


“On the speed of its acceptance, I really have no comments. In my letter I had requested that it would be with immediate effect. Neither then or now do I have any issue with that. The fact that it got accepted in a couple of hours, surprised is not the word but I certainly was amused that there appeared to be such great haste to pin it on someone,” he said.


Admiral D K Joshi quit suddenly in the wake of a series of accidents. Admiral Joshi’s resignation came after a fire on INS Sindhuratna, which left two sailors dead.


An official investigation had found that deaths happened due to their failure to adhere to mandatory protocols to wear gas masks during such incidents. Last year, the INS Sindhurakshak exploded and sank, killing 18 crew members.

(Source: Zee News October 16, 2014)




Bangalore: Indians, let’s wish ‘happy birthday’ to one of the most popular Rashtrapati the country every had – Dr APJ Abdul Kalam ! Kalam, also known as ‘missile man of India’, is celebrating his 83rd birthday today.


He assumed the office as India’s 11th president in 2002. During his tenure, he made the highest office in India accessible to the common man in the country and was affectionately called ‘people’s president’. Kalam was a gentle, amiable, approachable president, known for his simplicity. He has been by far the most loved President India has ever seen.


Before his term as the country’s Rashtapati, Kalam worked as an aerospace engineer with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).


Kalam was born into a family of Tamil Muslims in Rameswaram, a small temple town located in the southern most edge of India in 1931. A brilliant student, Kalam graduated from Madras Institute of Technology and joined DRDO and later, ISRO.


“After observing my teacher teaching me how birds fly…I aimed something to fly…Then I pursued my studies in Physics and aerospace,” he said recently at an event attended by students.


There are many missions to the credit of this ‘missile man’. Kalam is well-known for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology and he played a pivotal role in India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998, the first since the original nuclear test by India in 1974. Kalam was the project director of India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully deployed the Rohini satellite in earth’s orbit in July 1980. In a poll conducted by news channel CNN-IBN, he was selected as India’s Best President.


The country has conferred on him the prestigious Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan. During his term as Rashtrapati, Kalam visited universities and schools across the country, interacted with children. No wonder, his 79th birthday was recognised as World Student’s Day by United Nations. Kalam has also received honorary doctoral degrees from 36 unversities and institutions worldwide. Kalam has penned a number of books including ‘The Wings of Fire’, his autobiography, which has been translated and published in 13 languages so far.


His books are largely popular among the student community in the country. “For the last one decade when I became President and after it, I had one dream and that was when can I in my lifetime see smile on a billion faces,” he recently told a boy who asked him what kept him motivated all the time.

(Source: Defence News October 16, 2014)





PUNE: A Sukhoi-30 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force crashed at a village near here this evening with both the pilots ejecting to safety, defence and police officials said.


The aircraft was on a routine training mission from the IAF Pune airbase.


It crashed while coming in for landing at a distance of approximately 22 km from the Pune airfield.


Both the pilot and the co-pilot were safe and inquiry had been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident, a defence release said, adding that no loss of life and property was reported from the spot of mishap.


Although the release issued tonight did not name the fighter aircraft, defence PRO attached to the Southern Command confirmed that it was a Sukhoi-30 jet.


Pune rural police superintendent Manoj Lohiya told PTI that the aircraft came down about 4 km from village Theur, famous in Maharashtra for its Ganesh temple.


The pilots, who bailed out, were immediately taken to safety by airforce officials who rushed to the spot.


As the plane crashed on a grassy patch of land, away from the residential area, there were no reports of any damage or casualty on the ground, Lohia added.


About two years ago, a Sukhoi training flight had crashed near Pune in similar circumstances.

(Source: New Indian Express October 16, 2014)


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