Archive for March, 2015

India took a firm stand on a host of issues during the Indo-China talks. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval who was the special representative at the talks stood his ground and made it extremely clear to China that setting up of Naval bases in the Indian Ocean is not in the interest of the entire region.

There has been a lot of emphasis on the Indo-China talks. Ajit Doval the National Security Advisor who is the special representative for the boundary talks with China says he is happy with the outcome of the talks.

The 18th round of talks between India and China took place after both nations agreed to a dialogue in the year 2003 over the boundary issues.

India’s primary concern is to protect national interest ::
Doval underlined the importance of national interests during the talks. The National Security Advisor who said that the talks were a good exercise however warned that setting up of naval bases in the Indian Ocean is not in the interest of the entire region.

National Security can be used to further economic ambitions of India, the NSA also pointed out. Doval made it clear to the Chinese that India would do everything to protect vital national interests.

If talks were not on, conflict was the solution ::
India has been reminding China about the problems along the borders. Doval said that he is happy that talks are on. If talks were not on then conflict is the only way to a resolution.

He however added that both India and China think that there is a possibility of a conflict resolution without conflict and that is a good sign.

We are hopeful of a resolution on the border issue and there was a positive vibe from China on this. However there are some inalienable positions so far as India is concerned. We need to see that our vital (national) interests are protected.

India also has rejected that the claim China has staked to Arunachal Pradesh. India has always maintained that it is an integral part of India. China during the talks agreed to maintain peace along the border since it is a pre-requisite to talks and also in the interest of bi-lateral relations.

Both countries agreed to expand contact between the armed forces and also constitute a confidence building exercise.

Source: Defence News

The Indian Air Force is proud to possess the Sukhoi (Su-30MKI) fighter plane, one of the world’s most powerful jet aircraft, said India’s Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, who is himself an accomplished pilot. By 2018, India’s Air Force is expected to possess 14 Su-30MKI fighter jet squadrons.

The Su-30MKI fighter aircraft which India has acquired from Russia is one of the most powerful in the world and a source of pride for the Indian Air Force (IAF), said Rajiv Pratap Rudy, while inaugurating the first Russian-Indian Youth Forum.

“India takes pride that we have in our arsenal the Su-30MKI, which is one of the most powerful fighter planes in the world “, said Rudy, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

A Russia-India youth summit will take place on March 27. It is expected that more than 300 people aged between 18 and 35 will participate in the summit. The Russian Union of Youth is organizing the summit with sponsorship from Rossotrudnichestvo in India.

Rudy, an accomplished pilot and former state minister for civil aviation, was among those involved in organising the Aero India 2015 air show last month in Bangalore, and took a 40 – minute ride himself on a Su-30MKI fighter, as the co- pilot.

Rudy is not the first Indian politician to fly aboard the Su-30MKI. In 2009, India’s only lady President, Pratibha Patil, trained for and took a 20 minute test flight on this aircraft.

The IAF has ordered a total of 272 Russian Su-30MKI fighters. These will be assembled in India under a license granted to Indian airplane construction company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, a government-owned enterprise.

Since 2007, Russia has supplied India with 50 pre-assembled Su-30MKI fighter jets, and under license, another 134 aircraft have been assembled in India. By 2018 the IAF is likely to establish 14 Su-30MKI fighter squadrons, with 272 aircraft in service.

Source: Defence News

NEW DELHI: Pakistan and China have younger Army commanders, so we need younger commanders too. This was Indian Army’s main argument in the Supreme Court today while securing a stay on the Armed Forces Tribunal or AFT order that quashed a contentious promotion policy of the Indian Army.

The policy reportedly allows for preferential promotions to officers from select arms.

The top court, which is expected to conduct a more detailed hearing on April 15, said “The country cannot afford to have disgruntled, frustrated and demoralised people in the army.” It was referring to a group of officers that had approached the AFT seeking scrapping of the promotion policy.

Arguing on behalf of the army, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the age profile of Colonels in neighbouring Pakistan and Chinese Armies is 37 years, in Israel its 32 years, while in India it is 41 years. “For the Siachen front, the country needs younger colonels who can work there,” said Mr Rohatgi.
Reacting on Mr Rohatgi’s arguments, the top court said, “There can be no guarantee that the next war will be in Siachen, it can be in the deserts of Rajasthan.”

Mr Rohatgi told the court, “The policy is based on the recommendations of Ajay Vir Singh Committee which aims at reducing the age of battalion commanders.”

The Army had erroneously appointed officers of the support and supply line units on pro rata basis to 750 combat positions, which needs to be corrected as “those who face bullets on the war front must get benefits,” says Mr Rohatgi.

Source: Defence News

The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Mars Orbiter Mission was, on Tuesday, extended for another six months to further explore the Red Planet and its atmosphere.

“As the 1,340 kg Mars Orbiter has sufficient fuel (37 kg) to last longer than it was intended earlier, its mission has been extended for another six months,” the senior official of the Indian space agency told IANS.

The historic mission has completed six months of orbiting the Red Planet.

India also became the first country to have entered the Mars Sphere of Influence in its maiden attempt.

“The five scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft [Orbiter] will continue to collect data and relay it to our deep space network centre here for analysis,” ISRO director Devi Prasad Karnik said.

Of the five payloads onboard, the Mars Colour Camera (MCC) has been the most active, taking several stunning images of the red planet’s surface and its surroundings, including valleys, mountains, craters, clouds and dust storms.

“The camera has beamed to us several breathtaking pictures of the Martian surface and its weather patterns such as dust storms. We have uploaded many pictures on our website and our Facebook account for viewing,” Mr. Karnik said.

The other four instruments have been conducting experiments to study the Martian surface, its rich mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas to know if it can support life.

The four instruments are Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).

MSM measures the natural gas in the Martian atmosphere with PPB (particles per billion) accuracy and map its sources.

LAP is studying the atmospheric process of Mars and measure the deuterium (isotope) and hydrogen ratio and neutral particles in its upper atmosphere.

MENCA and TIS are analysing the neutral composition and measure the temperature during day and night to map the surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.

“As methane is an indicator of past life on Mars, the sensor is looking for its presence in the Martian orbit. If available, we will know its source in terms of biology and geology. The thermal infrared sensor will find out if the gas is from geological origin,” Mr. Karnik pointed out.

Source: Defence News

Kolkata, March 23 (IANS) The fourth indigenous Landing Craft Utility (LCU) designed and being built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd. (GRSE) for the Indian Navy was launched here on Monday.

Having capability of carrying Main Battle Tanks (MBTs), apart from other equipment and troops, the LCUs are designed for multi-purpose amphibious operations for the Indian Navy and the Army.

The navy had entered an agreement with GRSE for eight LCUs in 2011. The first vessel of the series was launched in March last year and is expected to be commissioned early 2016.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral R.K. Pattanaik said the Navy will host the international fleet review in Vishakhapatnam in February 2016 with warships from more than 30 countries expected to take part.

“The talks are on, we are expecting participation from at least 30 navies from across the world during the presidential review of the naval fleets,” said Pattanaik, who also hailed the GRSE for playing a big role in India’s quest for self-reliance in sophisticated shipbuilding.

The LCUs will be fitted with an advanced integrated platform management system for remote control of propulsion, auxiliary and power generating equipment. Two indigenous CRN-91 30 mm guns, to provide fire support during operations, will also be fitted onboard.

The ship can be deployed for maritime roles like maritime security, beaching/un-beaching, humanitarian relief operations and evacuation from distant islands, search and rescue operations and peace-keeping missions.

Source: Defence News

NEW DELHI: India’s defence establishment has sounded a fresh red alert over the need to ensure physical as well as cyber security of classified information in light of ever-increasing espionage attempts by foreign intelligence agencies, especially from China and Pakistan.

Citing “inputs” from the home ministry and elsewhere, the defence ministry has directed the armed forces and other organizations working under it to strictly implement the fresh security measures to prevent any classified matter from being leaked.

“Defence personnel, especially those serving in lower formations, privy to sensitive information relating to organization/matters pertaining to the armed forces continue to be targets of foreign intelligence espionage efforts/agents,” said the MoD directive, issued on March 12.

Some of the security instructions deal with monitoring of photocopying machines, police verification of all staff employed on “an outsourced basis”, restricted access to divisions dealing with confidential matters, close watch on suspicious conduct, caller ID spoofing and the like.

But the bulk of them are connected to cyber-security and computer-usage norms. They range from strict access control and proper firewalls to “air gap” between secure and insecure networks and curbs on use of digital storage devices.

“There have been cases of data being leaked through the use of pen-drives, removable hard disks and CDs. Moreover, Chinese hackers have also broken into military networks through worm-infected USB devices to exfiltrate information,” said an official.

Interestingly, in its publication ‘The Science of Military Strategy’ this month, China for the first time has admitted its People’s Liberation Army has specialized cyber warfare units. While both China and Pakistan have been bolstering their capability to wage war in the virtual arena, the former has made it a top military priority. “China regularly hacks into sensitive computer networks of countries like India, US, the UK and Germany,” said a senior officer.

“China has at least a couple of hacker brigades, apart from over 30,000 computer professionals in its militia. It also has civilian teams empowered to undertake similar intelligence and computer network attacks,” he added.

Targeted cyber attacks can hobble, and even destroy, strategic networks and energy grids, financial and communication info-structures of an adversary. Iran, for instance, learnt this the hard way when the Stuxnet software “worm” crippled its nuclear programme five years ago.

But even as countries sharpen their cyber-weapons, India continues to drag its feet in setting up a tri-Service Cyber Command, which was proposed along with an Aerospace and Special Operations Commands by the chiefs of the staff committee a couple of years ago.

Source: Defence News

NEW DELHI: After picking up a controlling stake in the Pipavav shipyard, Anil Ambani is ready to make his debut in the defence sector with a subsidiary of Reliance Infrastructure set to bid for two major military chopper contracts worth over $ 3 billion.
Ambani, who has been meeting top executives of global defence manufacturers over the past few weeks, as reported by ET, is believed to be keen on entering the helicopter business full throttle, given the existing requirement of over 1,000 military choppers that will increase over the years. Sources said that Reliance Infrastructure has tied up with a European manufacturer through one of its subsidiaries and has responded to a request for information (RFI) by the Indian Navy. The Indian Naval requires more than 100 Naval Utility Helicopters .

The contract, which will proceed after replies are received from all industries by the end of this month, is valued at over $ 1.5 billion and would involve manufacturing the choppers in India with complete transfer of technology. Other Indian companies that have responded include Tata Advanced Systems, HAL and Mahindra Aerospace.

Ambani, who has met top executives from chopper manufacturers like Bell, AgustaWestland and Airbus recently, is also set to respond to the requirement of 197 light helicopters for the army and air force to maintain troops in high altitude areas like the Siachen. The contract, which is to meet critical deficiencies in the fleet that are affected the army’s operational capabilities, has been hanging fire since 2005 and has been cancelled thrice.

While a joint agreement has not been inked, global players like Bell or Airbus could partner Reliance Infrastructure for this contract. In response to a questionnaire sent by ET, a Reliance Infra spokesperson said, “the defence and aerospace sector has been identified as a priority growth area for the company. We intend to pursue various opportunities under the different programmes of the Ministry of Defence.”

Source: The Economic Times

LANGKAWI (Sputnik) — The Indian Air Force plans to start mounting BrahMos cruise missiles on its aircraft in 2016, BrahMos Aerospace CEO Sudhir Mishra told RIA Novosti Wednesday.

The short-range supersonic missile was jointly developed by Russia and India and has been in use by the Indian Navy since 2005.

“The missile is scheduled to be adopted in 2016, ten more tests will be carried out by the end of the year,” Mishra said.

He added that the next test flight is due in May with the aircraft carrying the missile launcher. This will be followed by flights with the equipped missiles and, eventually, test firing them.

India is Russia’s biggest arms trade partner, with more than 70 percent of India’s military equipment coming from Russia or the former Soviet Union, according to Russia’s state arms exporter.

The two countries are taking part in the major Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA’15), currently underway in Malaysia.

Source: Defence News

From Feb. 18 through 22, more than 95 U.S. military personnel and Defense Department civilians were among the thousands assembled from around the globe to participate in Aero India 2015, the region’s largest tradeshow.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) — From Feb. 18 through 22, more than 95 U.S. military personnel and Defense Department civilians were among the thousands assembled from around the globe to participate in Aero India 2015, the region’s largest tradeshow.

“The tradeshow allowed the U.S. to strengthen its ties with India while furthering military-to-military relationships,” said Maj. Gen. Kevin Pottinger, the mobilization assistant to the Pacific Air Forces commander and lead U.S. Pacific Command representative at Aero India 15.

This year’s tradeshow featured the largest and most significant cross-section of U.S. military aircraft and equipment since its inception in 1996, totaling seven aircraft. Support included the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon and C-17 Globemaster III demonstration teams and F-15D Eagle and KC-135 Stratotanker static displays. The U.S. Navy also supported the event with a P-8A Poseidon static, while the U.S. Army Special Forces led multiple combined personnel jumps during the event.

During Aero India, PACAF’s F-16 demonstration team, stationed at Misawa Air Base, Japan, electrified over 200,000 spectators in nine separate aerial demonstrations, showcasing the capabilities of one of the U.S. Air Force’s leading fighters. In addition, the C-17, stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii, took to the skies and impressed all with its exceptional large-aircraft climb, turn and short-field landing capabilities.

An Aero India favorite was the combined U.S. Army and Indian Special Forces free fall jumps from a PACAF C-17, which was the first time the two units jumped together. The jumps demonstrated U.S.-Indian interoperability and provided a unique training opportunity for more than 40 special forces personnel.

“Aero India was a great opportunity to expand U.S. ties with our Indian counterparts,” said Col. Keith Gibson, the U.S. forces air boss for those participating in the event. “We are honored to be here to demonstrate our partnership with India and remain committed to strengthening our military relationships.”

Military members were available to explain aircraft capabilities, highlight the diversity of U.S. military missions, and share their varying experiences with enthusiastic foreign military personnel and visitors to the air show. Notable visitors included the Ambassador to India Richard Verma and Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey, the director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

“This airshow came at a critical juncture to the U.S.-India relationship. President (Barack) Obama’s January visit to New Delhi and Secretary (Frank) Kendall’s robust engagement to energize the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) reflect India’s growth as an important and capable strategic partner with like-minded objectives for regional growth and stability,” an official spokesperson said. “The U.S. was the largest foreign contingent at the show, with 64 companies represented, eight senior leaders and seven of the 11 foreign aircraft. It was clear to those on hand that the Indo-U.S. relationship is an important pillar in our Pacific rebalance strategy.”

Source: Defence News
New Delhi: India and the US have finalised a new Framework Agreement on Defence Cooperation which would replace the existing deal which expires in June, government has said.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, said that a dialogue has been established between India and the US under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) for co-development and co-production of unique and exceptional technologies of mutual interest.
Defence Technology and Trade Initiative is an establishment which the US and India have established to overcome obstacles in the release of technology to New Delhi. Responding to another question, Mr Parrikar said at present there is no proposal to set up a new laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the country.
“However, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd proposes to set up a production unit in Tumkur district of Karnataka,” he said.
The Bharat Dynamics Ltd also proposes to set up a unit at Ibrahimpatnam in Telangana and another unit in Amravati, Maharashtra, he said.
Source: Defence News