“Europe, I am afraid, was not supported by a large number of countries outside the collective West. Reason developing countries are suspicious of Europe's colonial instincts and they feel that the 'untimely Ukrainian crisis' (Kanwal Sibal") was engineered and instigated from outside. Ukraine is treated as a mere puppet in this logic,” Prof Volodin said while discussing Ukraine’s policy and the current situation in Europe.
When Russia joined the ongoing civil war in Syria, in the summer of 2015, it shocked the United States and its partners. Out of frustration, then President Barack Obama claimed that Syria would become a “quagmire” for Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Syria would be Russia’s Vietnam or Putin’s Afghanistan, a grievous mistake that would eventually rebound against Russian interests.
The ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia has many lessons for India that aspires to be a leading world power. India, except in 1971, has followed a path of high moral position and coexistence. Unfortunately, the world since time immemorial has been about decimating opponents or fighting the adversary till it surrenders.
It was a time of hope. NATO, with the breakup of the Soviet empire, became obsolete. President Mikhail Gorbachev reached out to Washington and Europe to build a new security pact that would include Russia. The US Secretary of State James Baker in the Reagan administration and then West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher assured the Soviet leader that if Germany was unified NATO would not be extended beyond the new borders.
The budget is the foundation of all planning. And planning is the foundation of future successes. Going by the 75 years of the Indian defence expenditure, after every crisis, India opens its purse to avoid similar crisis.
Her adversaries are shrewd. They never repeat. They go on to plan something new. Each time India is caught off-guard.
On this Army Day, India needs to analyse why it has failed to deter its adversaries from executing plans to change the status quo on both working boundaries. Indian Army is forced to salvage the situation. As the saying goes ‘jo mare so meer’ - who hits first wins. Indian strategy of (not)managing its adversaries in the last 75 years is a testament to this. Only once, India proactively acts (1971) and reap benefits. Since India has gone back to being reactive.
The Central Asian republics have lately been in the news for the very wrong reasons. Five authoritarian dictators are ruling these republics. Three of them (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) are governed by leaders of the Soviet era who have retained the presidencies. All three are nominally democratic, but freedom has certainly been curtailed.
Post- independence the defence industry followed the Nehruvian philosophy on the lines of the Russian model, which treated the defence sector as a strategic sector as totally under the government with no involvement of the private sector.
Australia's decision to scuttle a $66 billion contract to jointly build diesel-electric submarines with France and sign a new deal with the US and Britain to buy eight nuclear-powered subs has nearly torpedoed relations between the Western allies. With France describing it as a stab in the back and recalling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra, some observers are turning this into an Anglosphere versus Europe moment. But the truth is that it makes perfect strategic sense for Australia to cancel the contract.
The 5th Battalion (Napiers), The Rajputana Rifles, one of the oldest battalion (Bn) of the Indian Army, in which I was commissioned after passing out from Officers Training School, Madras on April 24, 1966, and had the honour to command the same unit and take it to operations during Operation Pawan (Sri Lanka).
India’s intervention in Sri Lanka in July 1987 was the first overseas deployment of the Indian Armed Forces outside the UN charter post-independence. When this operation is reviewed many flaws that ailed the planning and execution are noteworthy even this day.
Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) military operations cannot be looked at in isolation from the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 29, 1987, which is inherently flawed from India’s standpoint. Serious practitioners of geopolitics will always wonder as to how India, which vigorously pushed its way to get the accord signed and implemented, failed to safeguard its geopolitical interests.
The USA went into Afghanistan not to occupy the country but to smoke out and bring the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice. The Taliban was ruling then and they refused to support the USA in their hunt for the Al Qaeda Terrorists who were holed up under the Taliban patronage. This mission which was to last a few years, at its best, lasted 20 years for reasons beyond the anti-terror.
The victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan shocked the world, with the US being shocked more than others. The blazing speed and unpredicted victory of the Taliban against the mighty US Army which was equipped with the most modern and latest generation of arms and ammunition. The Americans used the “Mother of all Bombs”, drones, helicopters and aircraft and several other Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven weapons of war and assistive devices including satellite imagery in Afghanistan.
The Indian Armed Forces have been undergoing rapid modernisation over the years. There has been a progressive upgradation of our weapon systems and platforms in keeping with our threat perceptions. However, due to budgetary constraints and other factors we have not been able to achieve our desired end state. At the same time our main adversaries China and Pakistan have also kept on their modernisation drives and today pose a serious threat to our sovereignty by resorting to provocation at the borders and within our hinterland.
The planned withdrawal of the US forces from Afghanistan commenced last month and resulted in an unprecedented crisis in this land-locked country. No sooner than this happened, the Taliban went on an all-out offensive and consolidated its position in most districts of Afghanistan. It is reported that they enjoy almost 90 per cent domination of areas in the entire country. It is also unfortunate to hear daily incidents of killing of journalists and innocent people who dare to expose the ideology of the Taliban.
IDI – What is the exact ground situation in Afghanistan?
Farid Mamundzay – It is a very difficult and dire situation because of the failure of the Taliban to honour the obligation under the Doha peace agreement. We have acted in good faith since the announcement of the departure of foreign troops from Afghanistan yet the Taliban launched a massive terror campaign across the country.
It was quite disconcerting to hear and read about the twin drone attack at the Indian Air force Station, Jammu on the midnight of June 27-28. The nation woke up to a feeling of anger, anguish and despair. The probe into this attack is still on but the vital clues are still evading our intelligence agencies as no debris of these drones has been located at the blast site. It seems likely that the drones were pulled back by the handlers on completing their mission.
The Jammu airport located at Satwari was attacked by Drones on night 26/27 July. There were two blasts around 2 AM at the IAF premises co-located with the airport. The blasts occurred at the area where a Helicopter Squadron of the Indian Air force is located. No equipment was harmed even as some buildings were damaged and two Air Force personnel on duty sustained minor injuries.
On Indo-Pacific as a geopolitical entity
“Israel and Iran are officially not at war with each other, yet they both are at war.”
The above statement in a nutshell sums up the relations between the two countries whose hostility for each other is well known. Israel’s strong reaction to election of new Iranian President as ‘hangman of Tehran’ was therefore not at all surprising. The Israeli statement also indicates what lies ahead in relations between sworn enemies.
It was April 2020 and there was peace and tranquillity on the Indian post somewhere in Eastern Ladakh. The nation was grappling with the onslaught of the COVID-19 and the Indian Army had curtailed its major training exercises to combat this newfound viral threat. All training establishments had virtually closed down and the focus remained to maintain maximum safety measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Atma Nirbhayata is a laudable initiative by the Government of India. It is a strong slogan to start the Nation thinking towards self reliance. However, if we take a peep into history, when we got independence, the British left us in an infant state. The Indian industry which was contributing more than a quarter of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the world was in dire straits. The Nehrurian policy thus came into being where the Russian model was adopted, wherein the strategic sectors were state owned and the private sector was kept away.
Currently, there appears only one certainty in Afghanistan and that is the US withdrawal. Beyond that “AF-PAK” is looking at an uncertain future. What the region would be looking at after the withdrawal of the US and its allies from Afghanistan in the days ahead would primarily be a struggle to control the reins of power. Beyond that, a bleak future awaits the people of Afghanistan, women in particular.
The Indian Army with its geographical spread across twenty-nine states of the country probably has the most overstretched logistics chain amongst all armies of the world. For the Army to serve its objective i.e. to win a war, it needs to keep on evolving enhanced capabilities taking into account the ever-growing threat and an extremely sensitive operating environment. However, the acquisition of such capabilities requires much more than just hardware.
In the past eighteen months, there have been several significant developments in the new world order which indicate a paradigm shift in the way major superpowers like the USA, China, Russia, France and others will see each other and dictate the course of events in the Eastern part of the World.
Fast-paced developments to bring some semblance in India-Pakistan relations and a new quest for a way forward in Afghanistan have rekindled hopes for peace in South Asia, a region that has been in a state of throes brought about by violence unleashed and perpetuated by terrorism across borders.
The armed ethnic conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region (Republic of Artsakh) amounting over 4,400 Km sq.
The world is witnessing the efficiency and lethality of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for the last two decades in various theatres of war. For the first time, in the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, the manned and unmanned aircraft teamed together to bring a quick end to the long-standing dispute. This was the first time when a decisive victory is credited to a UAV system, in this case, Turkish made TB-2 of Turkish and Azeri air forces.
The sudden announcement of the disengagement process at the line of actual control (LAC) on February 11 was received with surprise and trepidation. Surprise for the Indian population in general and expected trepidation in strategic and security circles. The cautious and very restrained information released by the Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh in the parliament indicated a process of phased withdrawal with heavy equipment and guns being pulled back from the Pangong-Tso sector.
Every nation will need to comprehend, construct, operate and evolve in the upcoming decade (years 2021-2030) where the multi-polar world that is rapidly emerging will transform the current peace-war plex into a chaotic, uncertain and explosive soup. We explain below the paths that are visible and how these may evolve to superposition of peace and war states in physical, phygital and emerging quantum cyberspace.
If the massive impact of Covid-19 pandemic does not wake us to the fragility of our modern life, coming life forms will perhaps consider year 2020 to be the initiation of extinction of homo-sapiens age.The exponential technological revolutions that we have unleashed on ourselves and on the planet, have given us a wonderful world of seamless multi-dimensional long-range connectivity that will be shocking even to the 1970’s readers of Toffler’s Future-Shock.
Recently, there were talks about the two-front war and the Indian military hierarchy had made tall claims that they are more than prepared for it. Fighting a two-front war is tough and drains out the resources by splitting them. It is always advisable to check one front and try to win on the other front. Thought it is always debatable which front one should be looking at a victory and which front should one be trying to win.
The conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen were triggered in 2011 and they continue to simmer even after nine years. The human cost of these wars is unprecedented and there is no end to the conflict with regional and extra-regional powers stepping up the scale of violence.
This year 2020 has thrown up unprecedented strategic security challenges for India with significant lessons for the future. While the world reeled under the impact of the pandemic, India was combating the ongoing war on two fronts as never before -the war against Chinese Pandemic and the conflict against Chinese Himalayan intrusions.
The recent border incidents at Ladakh, with the PLA intruding into the undemarcated line of actual control resulting into an eyeball to eyeball situation with the Indian Army, has woken up the mandarins in South Block to review the strategic preparedness of the nation and give the much languishing defence manufacturing industry in the country, the needed elixir to re-vitalise the otherwise defunct ‘Make in India’ initiative launched with much fanfare five years ago.
In the last ten days, Indian armed forces have test-fired BrahMos cruise from various platforms. On November 24 and 25, Indian Army launched land to land version of the missile. Again on November 25, Indian Air Force (IAF) launched land to land version. Before this, in October IAF had test-fired air to land version from Su-30MKI.
Indian Armed Forces are the largest procurers of military hardware in the world, yet most major players in the world do not want to do business with India. The few global suppliers who are still doing business with India are frustrated or hanging on just to be there without much hope of success.
On November 4, Rosoboronexport (RoE), part of Rostec Corporation, completed twenty years in global weapons trade. It is the only Russian entity responsible for weapons export. This makes the company central to Russian weapons export business. Before the RoE, Russian weapons export were channelized through export entities like Rosvooruzhenie and Promexport and their numerous weapons manufacturers.
As United States struggles to elect its new President, who has traditionally been regarded as the leader of the free world, Europe has witnessed a series of attacks by Islamic terrorists.
When a special court in Pakistan sentenced ex-President General Pervez Musharraf to death in December 2019 it crossed the Rubicon of keeping Pakistan’s defence forces and more particularly its Army from any scrutiny, much less than indicting one of its Chiefs on charges of treason. The death sentence was eventually overturned by Lahore High court a month later in January 2020. It was for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a military ruler had been indicted on charges of treason and convicted.
The standoff between Indian and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), in northern Ladakh, now entering its sixth month, has precipitated an extended deployment of forces on both sides as the long haul of winter sets in. As troops and associated equipment and installations firm in their maintenance and sustenance become extremely important in the frigid and hostile conditions of the terrain that obtai
The great captains have changed the outcome of the war by altering the character of warfare. Today the academicians and theorists are defining new wars, such as cyberwar, hyper war, hybrid war, non-linear war, asymmetric war, ambiguous war, fourth/fifth generation wars, non-contact war, new generation wars and grey zone conflicts.
Last few years have seen exponential development in unmanned vehicles or radio controlled vehicles (commonly known as drone) technology. Starting from unmanned aerial vehicles, today drones operate in all spheres – land, air, water surface and under surface and are being used in variety of roles including, commercial, scientific, transportation, military and host of other uses, the restriction today is the imagination only.
The Indian Army’s recent internal report figured in the print media highlighting the poor quality of ammunition manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) in the past six years which resulted in over 400 accidents from 2014 to 2019. The Indian Army said in its report to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) that Rs 960 crores was spent on poor quality ammunition and mines produced by the state owned OFB during this period.
According to military terminology, a two-front war occurs, when opposing forces encounter on two geographically separate fronts. The forces of two or more allied parties usually simultaneously engage an opponent to increase their chances of success. The opponent consequently encounters severe logistic difficulties as it is forced to divide and disperse its troops, defend an extended front line and is at least partially cut off from access to trade and exterior resources.
Pakistan, since its birth has faced the quintessential dilemma of defining its identity, albeit with little success. This dilemma has also defined its approach to its relations with the Muslim world.
The ongoing deployment and parleys between military commanders in Eastern Ladakh have held centre stage for five months since the Chinese occupation of disputed areas along the LAC. Despite the recent agreement not to further augment troops in the area by both sides, all indications are of a strength of approximately three divisions that have moved into the area and are likely to be there for a considerable period if not permanently.
More than 100 years back, in 1917, the Soviet people had overthrown an unpopular czar and made modernization a priority. The new Soviet Government – The Communist Government - chose to opt for one of the emerging communications technologies – the loudspeakers. Instead, they could have chosen the other emerging communication technology, i.e. the telephone.
An acrimonious birth in 1947 with a major dispute with India over Kashmir and a not so acrimonious dispute over the boundaries with Afghanistan, set the agenda of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Its endeavour to seek support for its security, economy and political growth forced it to seek new friends, more aligned to its religious entity than any other common factor.
The failure of the numerous military and diplomatic level talks to resolve the Line of Actual Control(LAC) impasse of the Chinese intrusion into India’s territory has added complexity and deepened the dimension of conflict resolution to Apr 2020 status.
On July 10, 2020, Boeing announced the completion of the delivery of 22 AH64E Apache and 15 CH-47(I) Chinook military helicopters to the Indian Air Force (IAF). These deliveries were made as per a contract signed on September 28, 2015. Of the total contract value of Rupees 21,999.42 crores, the Chinook contract was worth Rs 8047.85 crores.
On July 14, 2020 a report published on the front page of ChinaAviation news, announced the successful test of a new generation of air-to-air missile. The title, roughly transliterated (using an online translator) meant “Helan Mountain Vibrated with the Sounds”. The accompanying photograph indicated the moment the missile leaves the port outer hard point on the pylon of a WZ-10 helicopter.
Predicting combat outcomes between two military forces - armed, organized, developed and evolved over a period of time is not a trivial problem. In fact, it is one of the most complex ones.
The media hype on the five Rafale aircraft like a cyclone swept away the threat of COVID-19 and the Chinese intrusions. Over the next few days, the focus will be on the ‘Formal Induction’ of the French fighter into the Indian Air Force (IAF) followed by the Bhoomi Poojan at Ayodhya for the construction of the Ram Mandir.
In the ongoing India-China standoff in Eastern Ladakh, China and India are reported to have deployed a large complement of advanced air defence weapons consisting of anti-aircraft guns, short and medium range missiles and long range area defence surface to air missiles (SAMs).How will the dense deployment of these air defence weapons, in the tactical battle area (TBA), affect air operations? This article discusses the deployment of air defence (AD) weapons by China.
The strategically located Chabahar port along the Makran coast in the Persian Gulf region is immensely important for Iran from strategic as well as an economic perspective. The fact that it has made only incremental progress in last so many years is due to its linkages to the geopolitics of the region including external influences as also due to inability of Iranians to chalk out a cohesive plan for its development.
On 18 January 1977, L. Brezhnev, the Soviet Union President, addressed a conference in Tula where the unsustainability and ineffectiveness of nuclear war as an instrument of policy was established as consensual truth amongst the soviet military, academics and political leaders. It will bring a substantial change in Soviet Military doctrine. It was also perhaps the acknowledgement of the rise of precision convention strike capabilities of new NATO doctrine of striking deep and also the concepts of Follow-on-Forces-attack (FOFA).
As India and China are disengaging troops in the Northern Ladakh region, it is time to evaluate India’s friends who could have stood with her against China. There are not many significant global powers that have the requisite weightage to counter or control a belligerent China.
The Chinese hegemonic ambitions are an outcome of multiple thrusts undertaken in a systematic and prolonged manner over a period of time to increase its military capabilities in conjunction with strengthening its economic capabilities.
Last few days have witnessed geo-political developments politically, economically and militarily inimical to a belligerent Dragon. France extended ‘steadfast & friendly’ military support to India amid Line of Actual Control (LAC) tensions with China. US and Germany blocked China's move in United Nation Security Council (UNSC) on Terrorist attack on Karachi Stock Exchange.
According to information available in open domain, the present Indo-China standoff began on May 5/6 astride the Pangong Tso lake and multiple other locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Everyone was stunned to see the visuals of opposing soldiers pushing, jostling, and engaging in fist-fights and use of batons and non-military methods to pin down their adversaries.
If you are a Chinese, you would say ‘One Swallow Does Not Make a Summer’. If you are an Indian, you would say ‘Out of Small Acorns Grow Mighty Oaks’, whenever Galwan is discussed. In battle as in life, truth alone prevails, irrespective of the fact that it is the first casualty of war.
While Covid-19 cases spike up exponentially in India with political capital New Delhi and financial capital Mumbai battling with the collapsing medical system, the country is struggling hard to manage its aggressive adversaries. On Monday night, India lost 20 soldiers along with the Commanding Officer of an Infantry Battalion stationed at the Galwan valley in north Ladakh during a violent brawl with Chinese soldiers who are occupying the Indian territory there.
16th June 2020, will remain etched in the history of India as a major clash took place during a de-escalation process which has led to casualties on either side. Reportedly, both the armies are on their side of Line-of-Actual Control (LAC).
The political statements which were made on re-claiming the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir aimed at the Indian vote bank did not take into consideration the likely ramifications.
India since its independence have been rattled with the question that can its strategic culture be defined as pacifist? India thus continues to grapple with the evolving geo-political development that have rattled it from time to time.
Technological Display is one of the power projection strategy deployed by nation-states in geopolitics. The Display of military technological advancements at military parades, military exercises, and exhibitions transmit messages for friends, competitors, and prospective buyers in the global military-industrial complex. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) / Drones have emerged as a major trading item in both civilian and military domains with its multi-purpose uses across various fields.
“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
As an aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, India has decided to achieve self-sufficiency in Defence through local manufacturing and by restricting the import of items. It is a fact that India, like other nations, is facing an economic slowdown, which will impact the availability of funds for defence purchases.
Corporatization of Ordnance Factory Board(OFB) and ‘not privatization’ repeat ‘not privatization’ was announced with emphasis by the Finance Minister as one of the big bang reforms being undertaken in the Defence Sector as part of the Atma Nirbharta campaign. I welcome it wholeheartedly.
‘’A nation has security when it does not have to sacrifice its legitimate interests to avoid war and is able to, if challenged to maintain them by war” -Walter Lipman
There have been a plethora of defence policy reform statements over the past one month, ranging from COVID generated cuts in the defence budget, to pragmatism in the formulation of general staff qualitative requirements (GSQR) and thrust on harnessing indigenous defence manufacturing capabilities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on May 12, in his address to the nation called for a self-sufficient India (Atma Nirbhar Bharat). He also announced an economic relief package equivalent to 10 per cent of Indian Gross Domestic Product.
Talking about the pre and post COVID worlds, Prime Minister observed that in order to fulfil the dream of making the 21st century India’s, the way forward is through ensuring that the country becomes self-reliant.
The Pandemic Effect
The Pandemic is a watershed event of 21st Century. The eventual normal is more than 4-5 years away. In between there will be many false normals. Major upheavals in geopolitics, economies and lifestyles on the cards. While the Indian economy is under the pump, this period also represents a period of economic opportunity for India as we seek ‘Atma Nirbhartha’.
One of the most persuasive and best documented accounts for the origins of the first world war highlights the role of Cecil Rhodes's Round Table society, a semi-secret conclave of influential British imperialists whose avowed goal was to unite the world under Anglo-Saxon hegemony by bringing the United States back under the Crown's control and extending the City of London's sway over the other great powers, primarily France and her colonies,Turkey, Russia, Japan and China.
Covid-19 is causing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions and is roiling people worldwide. As per reports the peak of this pandemic seems to be still ahead. Its outcomes might be even more disastrous than what we have seen so far. The world is on the cusp of change notwithstanding the human misery trail the virus leaves behind.
When I wrote in this very forum [i]in September 2019 that,“Quantum Technologies based on quantum computing will be one of the key transformational catalyst. We propose that India should …. Take a mission mode approach like what we took in creating the BARC and ISRO.
India is all set to purchase two dozen MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopters (MRH) for Indian Navy and six AH-64E Apache attack choppers for Indian Army from the United States of America. Indian exchequers will pay USD 2.6 billion for the MH-60 Romeo and USD 930 million for Apache. This will be the follow on order for the AH-64E which is operational with Indian Air Force (IAF). In 2015, India signed a contract for 22 Apaches for around USD 2 billion of which 17 have been inducted in IAF in 2019.
India will be organising one of the biggest DefExpo at Lucknow from February 5 to 9. It is expected that more than 1000 companies are likely to showcase their defence products. The theme for this year’s DefExpo is “Digital Transformation of Defence".
The DefExpo is a platform for global and domestic defence industries to showcase their products in the field of aerospace, defence, digital, cyber, weapons and equipment. Apart from Indian defence industries, global industries from the US, UK, Russia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Germany and France are participating.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Defence, on January 21, selected the government-owned Mazagon Dock (MDL) and Indian engineering giant Larsen and Toubro (L&T) as the two contenders for the construction of the second line (Project 75I) of six conventional submarines for Indian Navy.
Escalation of conflict between the US and Iran post assassination of Maj Gen Qassim Suleimani is inevitable. Retaliation from Iran is near certainty, but the question is will Iran confront the US militarily or will Iran employ its irregular assets that are spread across Asia and even Europe? Gen Suleimani was heading the Quds Force that has footprints across Asia and North Africa and had a tactical alliance with Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) of Iraq and Hezbollah of Lebanon.
Despite Pakistan’s economic tatters and a Chinese economic slowdown their militaries are expanding and modernizing, unabated. While our relationship with both our nuclear neighbours is increasingly adversarial, there is an increasing collusivity between them. The latest being that China is going to give 236 of the latest 155mm Howitzers to Pakistan. On the domestic front, societal events and upheavals are forcing our so-called ‘Strategic’ friends and neighbours into a rethink mode to recalibrate their relationships with us.
2019 IISS Military Balance published its theme article titled Quantum Computing and Defence[i] with an interesting statement, “The integration of quantum technologies currently represents one of the most anticipated advances for armed forces, yet their precise impact remains difficult to predict.” Its definitely in the news especially this decade (2011-2019) which has advanced physics
Israel, the foremost military and technology power of West Asia, is just one year younger to the Republic of India. Both India and Israel were created in 1947 and 1948 respectively. The two friendly nations share very similar hostile neighbourhood and security challenges and are fighting religiously motivated militant neighbours since their birth.
In spite of sharing strategic relationship and multiple multi-billion dollar defence purchase deals, India and the United States have failed to come up with any co-production or co-development programme in the defence sector. Considered as one of the major failures of Indian defence diplomacy, the two governments, till date, have failed to explain this.
But, finally, the answer is out. And the culprit is the Indo-Russian defence cooperation.
About a year ago, there were press reports of China building “underground bomb-proof shelters” to park fighter aircraft at Lhasa’s Gonggar/ Kongka Dzong airfield. While this small news item did not receive the attention it deserved in the Indian media, it is a signal to India that China is preparing for a conflict. There are also reports that China is building new airfields in Tibet. Since the 1990s China has been rapidly modernising its military with advanced weaponry.
Military Generals have often been accused of fighting tomorrow’s war with yesteryear experiences which will never occur in the future. Hitherto fore, they could get away with it since warfare was evolutionary. One could relate to the past and project it into the future without missing the woods for the trees. The much-touted Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) revolutionized the weapon systems through technology but the battlefield remained confined to Land, Sea and air. That was the past.
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 world is focused on the Russian Ukrainian war drawing conclusions on various fronts. Assuredly, this war is a display of military technology combined with grit and determination. All types of military hardware have been used in this war.
The first two days of Russian operations in Ukraine has stunned the world. The inability of Ukraine to stop the Russian forces from crossing its borders will be analyzed threadbare in coming months. Ukraine is not a minion nation. It has one of the largest armed forces in Europe backed by a robust defence industrial complex. During the Soviet era, Ukraine hosted around 30 per cent of the defence manufacturing and research installations.
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.
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