The last few years have seen a gradual decline of American power in west Asia balanced by a rapid rise in the influence of Russia and China. The European Union has been sidelined in the region as a result of its ancillary position towards the United States and its failed policies in the Libyan and Syrian conflicts.
The modern world is changing rapidly with the development of new technologies constantly emerging and revolutionising approaches to various tasks[i]and modern wars. Drones are being used to drop explosive payloads, deliver harmful substances and conduct reconnaissance[ii]. Drones are set to change the contours of national security.
China has released its new defence white paper titled, “China’s National Defense in the New Era”. It proclaims that we are now an “information society” in an increasingly multi-polar world with economic globalization and developing cultural diversity. In contrast, the previous white paper released in 2015indicated “rapid emergence of information society”. Chinese goal of“mechanization of the military” will be complete by 2020 coupled with substantial “informationization” of the military.
China has released its new defence white paper titled “China’s National Defense in the New Era”. This is the 8th white paper on defence since 1998 when the first one was published. An analysis of 8 white papers indicates how Chinese thought on world situation and the security and military capability that they need to develop has evolved and is evolving. The analysis also indicates a long-term goal setting as well as the evolution of the goals and objectives by China when it comes to their evolving role in the world scenario.
Military Commerce and its prospects increase with the escalation of military tensions and conflicts with the rapid increase in demand for advanced weapons. Tensions between India-Pakistan relations with unresolved border dispute and regional geopolitics in the 21st century created business opportunities for global military industrial powers.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is arriving in New Delhi on June 25 for a two-day visit. This is the first visit of a senior minister from the USA after the formation of the new government in India. The significance of this visit has increased due to heightened hostility in the Middle East, the trade dispute between the two countries and US’ opposition to Indo-Russian S-400 missile deal.
In October 2018, the Cabinet Committee on Security gave approval to the formation of three agencies for the armed forces namely, Defence Cyber Agency, Defence Space Agency (DSA) and Special Operations Division. These agencies would directly serve under the command of the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee. All three agencies would be headed by a two-star officer (Major General equivalent). Service personnel from the Army, Air Force and Navy would be posted in these agencies based on the requirement and qualifications.
In May 2017, Ministry of Defence (MoD) introduced a new chapter in the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) – 2016 titled as ‘Revitalising Defence Industrial Ecosystem through Strategic Partnerships’. It is better known as SP Model. Through this groundbreaking policy initiative, MoD aims to develop “the defence industrial eco-system in the country through the involvement of both the major Indian corporate as well as the MSME sector.”
National security is no more restricted to securing the physical boundaries and pursuing strategic interests but encompasses all aspects that have a bearing on the nation’s well-being. The capability development in land, sea and air will not suffice in future wars. The future threats are from air, land, sea, space and cyberspace. Winning a war requires integration across all five domains of warfighting.
Since 2014, ‘Make in India’ is the buzz word in defence. The Narendra Modi led NDA government, in its tenure, has made some very significant policy changes in the defence sector to give more avenues to private players, provide level playing field between the public and private sector. Some of these changes have created some new challenges for the government of one of them is a reduction in the capital budget due to the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
India and Pakistan have not been on talking terms since the turn of events that marked this year beginning with Pulwama attack and the following Balkot strikes by India; and then the ensuing stand-off between the two countries. However, there has been one platform where the defence ministers of the two countries have shared dais in April and very soon the Foreign Affairs Ministers will come face-to-face by the end of May – the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
Mission Shakti, the historic event held on March 27 that made India the fourth nation in the world after US, Russia and China to successfully demonstrate an indigenous A-SAT weapon employing a "Hit to kill" technology. A matter of great Pride for every citizen, in addition to boosting the public moral and enhancing India's status in the world, it has rattled anti-India forces.
Indian Navy’s submarine arm celebrated 50 years of Golden service to the nation on December 8, 2017, commemorating the date in 1967 when India’s first Foxtrot class submarine INS Kalvari, was commissioned at Vladivostok. And a week later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi with fanfare commissioned Navy’s first Scorpene submarine of the Project 75 also named INS Kalvari on December 14 at the Mazagon Dock, Mumbai.
Corridors of South Block are not a suitable place for anyone who is simple, straightforward and believes in trusting people. One such person was Manohar Parrikar, the former defence minister who was at the helm of the affair of the Ministry of Defence for two and half years (November 14 – March 17).
The Indian sub-continent has spent the last few weeks on the brink of war. Apart from all the analysis of what transpired between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Balakot air strikes; and who packed more power in each punch, India’s lack of strategic communication has been one glaring expose. It seems the Indian Government and security establishment has not taken any lessons from its previous mistakes and media management continues to be an afterthought.
Rafale controversy, though not new to high profile defence procurements, has generated unprecedented and avoidable acrimony and bitterness among various stakeholders, be it political parties or different wings of the same Government! later is far more damaging for the nation; while politicians are what they are and will be politicians, any persistent disharmony within various wings of the government can have far-reaching and damaging consequences for the nation! Before attempting to find a solution, it is pertinent to analyse and understand the problem.
The intent of the government at the Centre has been very clear – to aggressively indigenise the Indian defence industrial sector. But from ‘intent’ to ‘delivery’ there is a huge mismatch, primarily because the bureaucracy has been playing spoilsport.
The military is undoubtedly a powerful instrument of state policy for securing vital national interests. Military diplomacy is symbolic of strategic signaling and ability of a nation to use the military as a tool of national power. Joint military training, multinational exercises, port calls by naval ships, military to military dialogues, imparting training and cross-attachment of military personals is part of military diplomacy and military to military engagement.
India-Russia defence ties, a critical pillar of Indo-Russian strategic partnership, have come under scrutiny and some stress in recent times. Despite some irritants, the Indo-Russian partnership is time tested and rests on very strong strategic foundations. It is a relationship that is based on mutual trust, and a long history of strategic interdependency that has been strengthened by people to people interactions in social, cultural, scientific, economic, and technological domains.
Why not go for MiG-35?
By Rohit Srivastava
Fighter programme - India needs consistent strategy
By M Matheswaran
Military modernization has been part of military writings of Chinese scholars for many centuries. Technology played its role from the battles of Guiling and Maling in ancient China to the Gulf War of the 1990s. Chinese military strategist Sun Bin directed Qi’s military forces to deploy crossbows in large scale for the first time against Wei army in mid-fourth century BCE. The book titled ‘Six Secret Teachings’ associated with Chinese scholar Taigong has different descriptions of military equipment.
The recently concluded 2018 edition of the ‘Zhuhai Air Show’ in China proved to be an exemplary demonstration of China’s aerospace industry’s high-tech competence and maturity in design, development and manufacturing of aircraft, drones, weapons, and sensors. While the Indian media provided very scant or no coverage, China watchers across the world were deeply impressed with the airshow. The Zhuhai airshow is held every two years and is part air-show and part arms-expo for new weapon systems developed by defence contractors.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a significant technological tool to achieve superiority in global military competition. China’s military has focused on the development of AI-based military technologies to address its security challenges in the 21st century. AI-based defence technologies are expected to provide an advantage to China to overtake the United States in producing advanced weapon system for future military conflicts. China’s Top leadership has highlighted AI and its various applications multiple times in their speeches.
An Engineers’ Conclave was held for three days, October 5 – 7, at Lonavala. It was heartening that one of the themes adopted by the Industry was “Defense Manufacturing”. I addressed the participants on the shifts required in defence research and development (R&D) from the users’ perspective. I interacted with defence scientists and industrialists. A major issue which struck me was that many tend to see research or manufacturing as an end to itself.
Commercial and cultural relations between Russia and India have a long history and are grounded in civilisational affinities going back thousands of years. In the 19th century, Russian rulers and elites took a keen interest in India and sometimes caressed the idea of pushing the British colonial power out of the subcontinent as part of the Great Game.
S-400 is all over in the media space. High decibel, high frequency breaking news (es) are at work to make their audience believe the many combat virtues of this "one solution for all ills" weapon system. Many sweeping statements are doing the rounds; it will provide an "impregnable missile shield" over our skies; it will care of "all aerial attacks" from our western or northern borders; no aircraft/ missile dare attack us now - we have S-400!
After much discussion and debate and ignoring all the sceptics, India, on September 6, signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with The United States (US) during the inaugural India-US Ministerial 2+2 Dialogue held in New Delhi. Though postponed for various reasons, the signing of the COMCASA now begins a new era of Indo-US defence co-operation.
After the Defence Acquisition Council’s nod to the Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) procurement programme under the Strategic Partnership Model, the road for the acquisition of 111 helicopters is open for Indian Navy. The Rs 21,000 crore (USD 3 bn) programme is not only going to energise the India defence sector but will also bring in the much-required technology.
Four systems are covered under the ‘Strategic Partnership’ model - submarines, single-engine fighter aircraft, helicopters and armoured carriers/main battle tanks. Logically, Artillery Guns, which are a major firepower component of any Armed Force should have been part of this model. However, they are not. Why? The reason is that the Indian Artillery is undergoing dramatic changes.
On August 25, Ministry of Defence (MoD) gave its consent to the proposal for procurement of “111 Utility Helicopters for the Indian Navy at a cost of over Rs. 21,000 crore.” The decision was taken during a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the topmost procurement body of the ministry, chaired by the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
India is planning to acquire National Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) from the United States. Reportedly, the system will provide protection to Indian capital against a range of threats from aircraft to drones to cruise missiles. Indian capital will be the world’s third capital, after the US’ Washington DC protected by NASAMS II and Moscow by Buk missile system, to have such an air defence shield.
The Indian Air Force lost two highly accomplished Test Pilots in a Mirage trainer aircraft crash, early this month, at the Bangalore complex of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The aircraft was on an acceptance test flight by the two pilots after HAL had completed its upgrade modification on the aircraft. The aircraft reportedly had a major malfunction on the take-off role, forcing the pilots to eject, which resulted in their unfortunate fatalities.
India, though one of the largest economies, has a dubious distinction of being one of the largest importers of the weapon systems of the world. India, also, has been trying to boost its own arms industry through Offset obligations imposed on its foreign suppliers. There have been several panels, task forces and think tank sessions that fine-tuned Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) to leverage our advantageous position as a buyer to seed technologies within the country. These initiatives have generally failed to achieve the desired objective of self-reliance.