Archive for November, 2014

NEW DELHI: Russia has expressed interest in production of civil and light transport aircraft in India with their technology, Parliament was informed on Friday.

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The Indian government has welcomed the Russian interest and is committed to enhancing bilateral investment and trade cooperation, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

“The Russian side expressed their interest in production of civil aircraft, light transport aircraft and helicopter in India with Russian technology,” she said.

The eighth session of the Indian-Russia Forum on trade and investment was held here on November 5.

Replying to a separate question on coffee industry, she said that stem borer pest is amongst major constraints affecting cultivation of Arabica variety of coffee.

“The combined effects of higher temperatures, reduction of shade for increasing the yield of pepper grown as intercrop and lack of timely control measures by the growers have led to increase in the incidence of the pest,” she said.

About 3,200 hectares of productive area in Karnatka are reported to have been affected by stem borer due to long dry spell from November 2013 to May 2014 and resultant high temperatures.

She added that several steps have been initiated to address the problem of pest in coffee cultivation.

“The government has approved a two year action plan (2014-15 and 2015-16) for combating the stem borer in affected areas,” the minister said.

Source : Defence News

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has focused his attention on building a robust indigenous defence industry base, ramping up the military’s capabilities and stitching up alliances to expand strategic cooperation regionally and globally during the last six months.

The defence manufacturing sector looks poised for growth, with the government deciding to contract out major projects to the domestic industry in line with his ‘Make in India’ pitch.

The NDA government has taken some quick decisions to fill gaps in the military’s capabilities. Key projects worth more than Rs. 140,000 crore have been cleared since May, putting the momentum back into some stalled defence deals.

Projects that have gathered steam relate to procurement of next-generation submarines, anti-tank guided missiles, artillery guns, attack helicopters, heavy-lift choppers and tanks.

The government also raised the cap on foreign direct investment in the defence sector from 26% to 49% to speed up indigenisation and bring in modern defence technologies.

Backed by a government that seeks to transform India from the world’s biggest weapons importer into an export powerhouse, the Defence Research and Development Organisation has identified 15 weapon systems that could help the country get its foot in the door in the international arms bazaar.

Modi told India’s top military scientists in August the country had the potential to be a world leader in the defence sector but was being held back by a “chalta hai” attitude. India imports around 70% of its defence hardware, with the US recently overtaking Russia as its biggest arms supplier.

The Modi government has strengthened defence ties at the global level. It has taken steps to “co-develop and co-produce” state-of-the-art weapon systems to expand defence cooperation with the US.

With an eye on China, India and Australia have stitched up a framework for security cooperation involving annual meeting of prime ministers, defence policy talks, regular joint naval manoeuvres and cooperation in defence research and development.

The government has also adopted a more pragmatic policy on blacklisting defence contractors who may have violated the law. The rationale is to strike a balance between the need to punish such contractors and to keep the armed forces battle ready.

Modi travelled to Siachen on Diwali, giving his own personal touch to boost the morale of soldiers.

Toning military muscle
Rs 50,000 crore: 6 next-generation submarines to be built in India
Rs 15,750 crore: 814 artillery guns to be built here
Rs 15,000 crore: 56 transport planes for IAF to be produced in India
Rs 15,000 crore: 22 Apache gunships, 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers
Rs 9,000 crore: 56 naval utility helicopters to be built here
Rs 6,000 crore: 8 minesweepers to be built in India

Source : Defence News

The Army on Tuesday received the first of the upgraded Schilka air defence weapon systems from Bharat Electronics Ltd. Schilka is a self-propelled Soviet-origin system dating back to the 1970s. The crucial upgrade is said to be long overdue for the Army’s Air Defence.

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“Bulk production clearance has been obtained [after trials] and the first upgraded system was handed over today,” a BEL statement said.

The Bangalore-headquartered public sector defence electronics major is modernising 48 of the 90 Schilka systems in the first phase. It got the contract in 2011.

Earlier in the day, Lt Gen V.K. Saxena, Director-General, Army Air Defence, received the first item from BEL Chairman and Managing Director S.K.Sharma after a demonstration at BEL’s Bengaluru unit.

The Schilka Upgrade, according to BEL, is an all-weather, day/night, tracked system. Its four automatic 23mm-calibre guns provide low-level air defence.

BEL refurbished it at its Bangalore unit with an air-conditioning for crew comfort and included a digital search-cum-track radar that can track multiple targets. The system also gets new main and auxiliary engines, integrated fire detection and suppression system, an NBC filter (against nuclear, biological and chemical elements) and a modern communication system.

Source: Defence News

New Delhi, Nov 23: Indian Navy received a shot in the arm on Sunday when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated a state-of-the-art naval intelligence network capable of tracking its assets on a real time mode.

New Delhi, Nov 23: Indian Navy received a shot in the arm on Sunday when Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar inaugurated a state-of-the-art naval intelligence network capable of tracking its assets on a real time mode.

Situated at Gurgoan, the facility christened Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC), will be jointly operated by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.

Navy says that the facility would help step up the coastal security thereby averting incidents like the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai. “The IMAC is the nodal centre of the National Command Control Communications and Intelligence Network (NC3I Network), and is a joint initiative of Indian Navy, Coast Guard and Bharat Electronics Ltd to improve coastal surveillance,” a naval spokesperson said.

Chief of The Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan said the project will go a long way in beefing up the maritime surveillance. “It will enhance the National Maritime Domain Awareness Project as well,” Dhowan said.
Plug the gaps in surveillance network: Parrikar
Terming the initiative as a ‘bold reply’ by India to the attacks in Mumbai, Parrikar wanted the gaps in the surveillance network to be plugged.

“It is an enormous task considering the fact that there are about two to three lakh fishing boats operating in our coast lines and the active cooperation of the state governments is required to achieve 100 percent success,” he said.

“Besides coastal security, we have to protect our interests in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). There should be a change in the mindset to correlate the data that would be available through the massive surveillance network to ensure zero tolerance to error,” he said.

He asked the Indian Navy to be watchful against the activities of navies from the neighbouring countries in the Indian Ocean. “We have to be watchful and we do not want to be offensive. But, we must be strong enough to deter our enemies from casting an evil eye upon us,” the minister said.

Robust network with 51 stations
The NC3I network links 51 Naval and Coast Guard stations, located along the coast and on island territories. The network provides these stations coastal surveillance information obtained from various sensors such as the coastal radar chain of the Indian Coast Guard and automatic tracking systems as well as electro-optical cameras.

The network rides on dedicated terrestrial data circuits, as well as, satellite communication, which helps the stations in remote locations to be networked.

The IMAC is the centre where data from various sensors and databases is aggregated, correlated and then disseminated to various stations for enhanced awareness. The software on which the coastal surveillance will be carried out incorporates hi-tech features like data fusion, correlation and decision support features thus facilitating better decision making.
Backbone to communication ::
The NC3I network has been integrated by Bangalore-based BEL. Navy says that the project was sanctioned in 2012 is presently fully functional.

The NC3I network and IMAC are linked with the National Maritime Domain Awareness (NMDA) project. In the NMDA project, the NC3I network will function as the communication backbone and the IMAC will continue to be the nodal centre but will be rechristened as the NMDA Centre.

Source : Defence News

GURGAON: Promising a “lot of things”, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today outlined a multi-pronged approach of a non-offensive but strong India while making it clear that there will be “zero tolerance to error” in defence-related issues.

“One thing I will promise. I have being given a task. I will see that my task of strengthening India, the position where where people should not dare see eye to eye with India… we don’t intend to be offensive,” Parrikar said addressing Navy personnel at the inauguration of the Information Management and Analysis centre (IMAC) of Navy here.

He said India has not ruled any other country which he said was “probably unique to India and probably to some extent to China”.

“Even in Ramayana, when Lord Rama went to Lanka he did not rule it. He gave it to Vibhishan to rule it. This nation does not have the history of ruling other countries,” he said, adding, the country cannot be weak.

Parrikar said the biggest defence is to be strong. “I promise the task given to me, I will fulfill…You can expect lot of things,” he said.

Asked what was the specific task given to him by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Parrikar said, “defence is one field which requires a lot of secrecy,” but added that the outcome of the task is to assure that the defence sector gets its due and becomes a cohesive strong force making India self- sufficient.

“Energy security and your own security cannot be dependent on others. You can’t depend on some foreign countries for all your procurements,” he said.

Parrikar noted that defence equipments are purchased for a period of 20-30 years.

“You can’t suddenly find yourself trapped in a condition that the party which has supplied you the material faces some blockade or some sanctions for supply to conflict zone,” he said.

Parrikar praised the IMAC and said he appreciates the “quick and fast delivery” of system because he thinks it should ensure “99.99 per cent” against incidents like the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks by earlier detection.

He underlined that there should be “zero tolerance to error”.

Parrikar said those nations which had good navies ruled the world.

“Today probably that is the reason why our neighbours are trying to get their navy everywhere in the Indian ocean and other areas,” he said.

In the recent past, Chinese submarines have docked in Sri Lanka, raising eyebrows in India.

He said IMAC will ensure that Navy has a huge data available to them.

“What is important is a mindset. How do you catch up with the needle in the hay,” he asked as he mentioned that the boat that carried the terrorist to Mumbai in 2008 was an Indian one which had been hijacked.

“Alert mind, alertness to isolate the problem is very important… We should try and strive towards zero error. Zero error is very important,” he said.

Parrikar said he often ask people why they drop a glass from their hands and they reply saying it happens one in a year or two.

He then asks whether a child has fallen from your hand. the answer is always no. That is because there we have zero tolerance to error.

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“And I would consider in this project, a zero tolerance to error is the most important factor,” he said.

Asked what he meant by zero error, he said whatever gaps are left should be filled.

“You can’t get everything perfect on day one itself. It will take may be six months and one year…,” he said and mentioned to the Navy the gaps in their radar system especially between Mangalore and Goa and Goa and Ratnagiri.

Source : Defence News

SOURCE : TNN

India is looking to tie-up with as many as 24 countries for exchange of merchant shipping data, even as its naval intelligence network to track ships in real time has now finally become a reality six years after the 26/11 terror strikes.

The outreach to the 24 countries, spread from Africa’s east coast to well beyond the Malacca Strait, is being led by national security adviser Ajit Doval. Though this will take time to fructify, the Modi government is now all set to give the final nod to the national maritime domain awareness (NMDA) project to bolster multi-agency coordination and augment ongoing efforts to strengthen maritime and coastal security.

The overall endeavour is to enable the country to keep track of both conventional and unconventional threats in its primary area of geopolitical interest across the Indian Ocean Region and “neutralize” them if required.A major step towards this will be the inauguration of the central hub of National Command Control Communication Intelligence (NC3I) network, which can track 30,000-40,000 ships on a daily basis, by defence minister Manohar Parrikar at Gurgaon on Sunday.

Taking feeds and inputs from multiple sources ranging from coastal radars to satellites, the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurgaon will fuse, correlate and analyse them to assess threats at sea.

“It’s very easy to guard land borders through fencing, electronic devices and pickets. But at sea, there is no such luxury. The NC3I network will alert us to unusual or suspicious movements and activities at sea,” said assistant chief of naval staff (communications, space & network-centric operations) Rear Admiral KK Pandey on Friday.

“The bigger plan is to go for the NMDA project, which is now awaiting clearance from the Cabinet committee on security. The NC3I will be the heart or backbone of the NMDA project,” he added.

While Navy and Coast Guard are behind the NC3I network, the NMDA project will bring all stakeholders — the several Union ministries dealing with maritime affairs as well as coastal states and Union Territories — on the same grid.It will then be much easier to intercept a fishing boat like Kuber, which was used by Ajmal Kasab and nine other terrorists to reach Mumbai and unleash havoc during the 26/11 strikes. The carnage exposed the lack of “critical connectivity” between intelligence agencies and security agencies.

As per the blueprint, “state monitoring centres” in coastal states/UTs will act as nodes for the NMDA project, while a shipping hub and fisheries monitoring centre will also be established. The four existing joint operations centres at Mumbai, Kochi, Vizag and Port Blair, set up in the aftermath of 26/11, will also be upgraded.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a clear indication that New Delhi is fully prepared to counter Beijing’s increasing influence in the Asia Pacific region.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a clear indication that New Delhi is fully prepared to counter Beijing’s increasing influence in the Asia Pacific region. On Tuesday, Modi and his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott decided to bolster the bilateral strategic partnership on the basis of ‘converging political, economic and interests’. In Canberra, the two PMs discussed various aspects of bilateral relations and expressed serious concern over China’s attempts to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean region.

Modi and Abbott finalised a framework for security co-operation between the two countries. They also decided to hold annual meeting to assess the co-operation. According to the statement issued by the Indian External Affairs Ministry, the defence ministers of the two ‘friendly’ nations will hold regular meeting in the coming days. India and Australia will also hold annual defence policy talks and regular joint naval manoeuvres, apart from co-operating in defence research and development. Meanwhile, the Australian media reported that the confirmation of the security framework came only after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s departure from Canberra (after attending the G20 Summit).

Political experts are of the opinion that the current geopolitical situation in the Asia Pacific region has forced New Delhi and Canberra to strengthen bilateral defence ties. As China is racing ahead of Australia, Japan and India, the interests of Canberra, Tokyo and New Delhi have sharply converged. As a result, India and Australia announced the new ‘Framework for Security Co-operation’ for close collaboration in defence, counter-terrorism, cyber security and maritime security.

In a joint statement, governments of the two countries said: “Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and Prime Minister (Tony) Abbott decided to extend defence co-operation to cover research, development and industry engagement. They agreed to hold regular meetings at the level of the defence minister, conduct regular maritime exercises and convene regular Navy to Navy, Air Force to Air Force and Army to Army staff talks.” Although the two leaders further decided to push for a free trade pact between their countries, the defence co-operation was more important.

Former Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said that it was a crucial development and the Modi administration pursued a strategy to protect the region from China’s unpredictable actions. “The Modi government is playing its cards astutely. While India is taking steps to improve economic ties with China, it is also pursuing a strategy aimed at checking China. It’s a wise approach,” he told the ‘Hindustan Times’ daily. Indian defence analyst Lieutenant General (Retired) B S Jaswal stressed: “Beijing’s hegemonic attitude will continue if not checked.”

Israel, too, is eager to ramp up strategic ties with India. A couple of days back, Israel said that China is its trading partner, but India is a ‘strategic’ one. The Israeli authorities also announced that they would not revive arms trade with Beijing in the future. With sales worth USD 1 billion-USD 1.5 billion every year, India is currently No 1 arms market for Israel and Jerusalem is planning to concentrate only on the South Asian country in the region as far as the arms trade is concerned.

In its latest report, the Israeli Defence Ministry said that the West Asian nation currently exports defence equipment worth USD 7 billion annually to India, but hardly anything to China in the last decade. The volume of annual trade between India and Israel is around USD 5 billion and the signing of a Free Trade Agreement can easily double the volume, the report said.

While welcoming the Indian PM’s commitment to taking ties with Israel to a new level, senior Israeli officials have said that no one should question Jerusalem’s relation with Beijing and dilute it with the strategic partnership with New Delhi.

Source : Defence News

NEW DELHI: The government will decide on Saturday whether to press ahead with the Rs 13,000 crore mega project for the private sector to supply 56 medium transport aircraft to the IAF despite only a single bidder, the Tata-Airbus consortium, being in the fray.

Though the defence acquisitions council (DAC) chaired by Manohar Parrikar will take the final decision, MoD sources on Tuesday said the “emerging dominant view” is that green signal should be given to the crucial project designed to promote Indian private sector’s entry into the domestic aerospace arena with foreign collaboration.

“The Tata-Airbus technical and commercial bid is a credible offer submitted in a competitive environment. The other seven contenders backed out for one reason or the other,” said a source.

IAF has now sought the clearance of the DAC — the first such meeting to be chaired by Parrikar after becoming defence minister on November 10 — to begin technical evaluation of the C-295 aircraft offered by Airbus Defence & Space and Tata Advanced Systems.

Though it has become a single-vendor situation, the DAC can approve it if it wants as per existing procurement procedures. Of the eight foreign aviation majors that got the global tender, American Boeing and Lockheed-Martin as well as Brazilian Embraer said they did not manufacture the class of aircraft being sought by IAF.

Refusing to take part in the tender, Russian Rosoboronexport said it wanted a fresh design and development project. Antonov of Ukraine wanted yet another extension of the bid submission deadline due to the ongoing conflict in Crimea. Swedish Saab said it had shut down its assembly line for such aircraft.

Then, Alenia Aermacchi was linked to Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica, which has been slapped with “a partial ban” after the infamous VVIP helicopter scandal. “All this left only the European consortium Airbus. The DAC will have to take a call since re-tendering may lead to the same situation,” said the source.

Incidentally, it was the Modi government’s first DAC in July — then headed by Arun Jaitley – which revived the Avro replacement project after it was put on hold by the UPA-2 regime last year due to strong opposition from the powerful PSU lobby and ministers like Praful Patel, as reported by TOI earlier.

Apart from the critical need to encourage the private sector to enter defence production in a big way, especially in the aerospace arena where Hindustan Aeronautics enjoys a monopoly, its felt the defence PSU’s order books are already overflowing with projects.

Under the new project, the first 16 aircraft are to be bought from the foreign original equipment manufacturer, with the rest 40 to be manufactured by the Indian Production Agency (IPA) within eight years. The IPA could go on to manufacture the aircraft for the civil aviation sector as well after fulfilling IAF’s requirement.

Most hoteliers feel facial recognition software is not critical and only adds to their expenses
Hotels at the hospitality district near the Delhi airport are now installing facial recognition software in line with the latest addition in the Delhi Police’s tight security norms, which have already caused big delays and cost overruns for hoteliers at Aerocity.Mid-Market operator Lemon Tree Hotels has already installed a facial recognition software by NEC in its Aerocity property.

“We have put in place NEC Face Recognition Solution (FRS). With this security agencies will be giving us a black-list and we will also be creating a ‘white-list’ whereby which we will be able to recognise our regular guests,” said Rahul Pandit, president and executive director at Lemon Tree Hotels. “Our guests will be happy with this as they will be entering a more secure place,” he said.

Most hoteliers and industry consultants, however, feel facial recognition software — which identify and verify a person from one’s facial features — is not critical and only adds to their expenses as it costs a few crores of rupees to install and maintain this software and additional cameras around the hotel to capture visitors’ facial features.

“This mandate is detrimental for hotels and it has cost us upwards of .

`70 lakh to just install this software in order to comply with this order,” said Shwetank Singh, vice president of development and asset management at Interglobe Hotels that runs the Ibis hotel franchise at the airport district. “The only positive spin to it is that it will help recognise frequent guests coming into hotels.” Facial recognition is the latest in a long list of security requirements the hotels in Aerocity have to comply with, including boom barriers at entrances, crash bollards, undervehicle surveillance and fish-eye cameras in basements.

Consultants say such systems cost hotel companies several crores.

“This detail may mean upwards of a million dollars spent by one hotel alone,” said Mandeep Lamba, managing director, hotels and hospi tality group, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). “The entire requirement for the security detail has been very adhoc and companies have been asked to comply with so many that aren’t necessarily rational.“

Lamba said facial recognition is not generally used by any hotel district around the world. “Another question arises about whether hotels are even equipped to handle the technology,“ he said.

Vijay Thacker, president at hospi tality consultancy Horwath HTL, said India isn’t the only country with hotels near airports, adding that the security detailing at Aerocity “may be going too far as per mandates”.

Built on a 43-acre parcel, Delhi Aerocity project was considered a security risk because of its proximity to the airport runway.

It was expected to be launched around the Commonwealth Games 2010, but there have been inordinate delays in obtaining clearances from government and security agencies on various aspects such as what type of bulletproof glass to be used on windows facing the runway.

Several hotels have lost over .

`100 crore each due to the delays.

Hotel owners said they had even considered deeming their projects not viable while in construction phase a couple of years ago.

“We’ve lost over .

`100 crore already in procedural delays. The challenges include both losing money with unopened inventory as well as paying back interest on loans,” said an hotelier who requested not to be named.

Some experts also warned about unpleasant experiences for hotel guests, such as the facial recognition database mistaking a genuine customer for a person on a blacklist.“If security detailing takes away from the visitor experience, then it can complicate matters,” said PR Srinivas, director of hospitality services at real estate consultancy Cushman & Wakefield India. “One must also keep in mind that hotels need to understand clearly where the back-end data is coming from, who is monitoring the data received, etc.,” he added.

defence

HYDERABAD: The Indian defence and aerospace industry will offer business opportunity in the range of $200 billion in the next 15 years, former Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development V K Saraswat said today.

Out of this, $30 billion would be by way of offsets alone, he told reporters on the sidelines of ‘Defence and Aerosupply India’, a three-day industry conclave which began yesterday.

He stressed on developing technological prowess in the country rather than excessively depending on others.

Referring to the ‘Make in India’ endeavour of the government, Saraswat, also a former adviser to the Defence Minister, said it should be “Design and Make in India”, suggesting that designing also be done in a big way in the country.

“We need to build critical technology in the country. Otherwise, the self-reliance index cannot grow,” he said.

Saraswat lauded the role of PSUs and ordnance factories in building and developing products for the country’s requirements over the years, but said PSUs need to function in a corporate manner to be more competitive.

On the occasion, Chief Secretary of Telangana Rajiv Sharma, an organiser of the event, said the state government is keen on promoting the aerospace and defence sector in the city.

The government would soon come up with an industrial policy that would be business-friendly and aimed at promoting industrial growth in a big way, he said.

Source: Economic Times