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New Delhi: India and Spain on Wednesday signed an agreement on ‘Mutual Protection of Classified Information’ to provide the framework for enhanced cooperation in the defence sector.

The agreement was signed following an hour long meeting between visiting Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Moremes and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar, defence sources said.

The Spanish delegation evinced a clean interest in participating in the `Make in India` initiative of the government in the defence sector, they said.

Explaining the agreement signed, sources said that this is the primary pact that a country agrees to before embarking on deeper talks on defence cooperation.

They said that the Spanish side was interested and “enamoured” by the `Make in India` initiative and raised a number of questions on the opportunity ahead.

Spain has over the years acquired expertise in various fields of the defence sector.

Sources said Spanish companies are interested in being part of the P75I, a project under which India plans to build six conventional submarines.

Both sides also agreed to work on enhancing bilateral defence cooperation.

Source : Defence News

The Spanish Defence minister had last arrived in India in 2012 as part of the delegation led by the King of Spain. This is his first stand-alone visit as the defence minister to India. However, Moremes has visited India a number of times for trekking and mountaineering.

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Indian Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur is in Paris Monday and Tuesday to help speed negotiations on the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, an Indian Defence Ministry source said.

NEW DELHI — Indian Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur is in Paris Monday and Tuesday to help speed negotiations on the Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, an Indian Defence Ministry source said. A senior official of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) is accompanying Mathur, the official said.

In December, Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and visiting French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian agreed to fast-track the MMRCA negotiations for the purchase of 126 Dassault Aviation Rafale fighters for US $12 billion. That figure, originally estimated in 2007, is now put at about $20 billion, the MoD source added.

The contract negotiations are on track, the official said, but refused to specify when a deal could be finalized.

“Negotiations can be stretched in big ticket deals like the MMRCA deal,” the official added.

Talks with Dassault began in 2012 after Rafale was down-selected as the preferred aircraft over the Eurofighter Typhoon. Issues relating to the cost of the 108 Rafales to be license-produced by HAL and French guarantees on the delivery schedule have delayed final agreement.

Under terms of purchase, the first 18 aircraft will come in fly-away condition while the remaining 108 will be manufactured under a technology transfer process. Out of the 108 aircraft to be license-produced in India, 74 would be single-seat and 34 twin-seat aircraft.

Even as HAL is finalizing the cost of the Indian-made Rafales, HAL is insisting that Dassault guarantee the delivery schedule because hundreds of spares and subsystems will be supplied by the French.

French officials have said they can assist HAL in the delivery schedule and help lower the cost of the Indian-made Rafales, but cannot give guarantees.

An Indian Air Force official said the MMRCA negotiations would have been finalized long ago if the Indian producer had been a private sector company rather than a state-owned entity.

Source : Defence News

AHMEDABAD: Defence minister ManoharParrikar said on Sunday that his ministry would come up with defenceprocurement policy (DPP), preferring purchase of equipment made in India, within three months.

Speaking at a seminar ‘Gujarat: Preferred Hub for Defence Production’ during the Vibrant Gujarat summit, the minister said India cannot afford spending $20 billion on defence procurement, and for this, promoting local manufacturing is must and the country will promote private players in this field. “The government hopes to come up with a document in two or three months on a suitable model for defence manufacturing and procurement…We have listed certain items that are not going to be imported from 2016. These will increase later on. But we are coming up with the document in February-March on modified DPP.”

Responding to Gujarat’s keenness on having defence equipment manufacturing facilities, the defence minister said that Gujarat has got an “industrial base and a private line also”, thus for those intending to invest in defence equipment in Gujarat, it would have double advantage. He said that this is the way to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ dream.

Two companies pledged investment for manufacturing defence equipment in Gujarat, and intend to base this industry in North Gujarat districts of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and the border district of Kutch apart from the coastal region. Bharat Forge said it would upgrade facilities for armoured fighting vehicles, defence electronics manufacturing and radar manufacturing facilities.

Defence experts also lauded the gesture of inviting private players to manufacture defence equipments in India. Chairman of Saab India Lars Olaf Lindgren said, “Not only India will benefit with this, foreign companies with expertise in different fields will also gain by partnering with India and Indian companies to manufacture in this country.”

Sanjay Garg, the defence ministry’s joint secretary, said that in the next 7-8 years, the capital budget for modernization of armed forces is going to be $130 billion. This is the perfect condition for any company to come to India.

Source: Defence News

NEW DELHI: India and the US are all set to ink their new 10-year defence framework pact when President Barack Obamacomes visiting as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade on the special invite of Prime Minister NarendraModi.

US undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics Frank Kendall will be in town on January 22, just before Obama, to stitch up the loose ends. The new defence framework will be “more ambitious” than the earlier one — which was signed in June 2005 by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his counterpart Donald Rumsfeld — without impinging on India’s “strategic autonomy”, sources said.

The expansive framework will outline the series of steps to bolster the bilateral defence partnership, ranging from stepping up the scope and intensity of joint military exercises already taking place to advancing shared security interests for regional and global security. Collaboration in intelligence-sharing, maritime security and the drive against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will also figure on the agenda.

Modi-Obama11

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Barack Obama (R). Obama will be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year on special invitation of PM Modi.

A significant addition will be the incorporation of the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) to augment the ones existing under the overall mechanism of the Defence Policy Group, which chalks out the path for future defence cooperation.

The US has been hard-selling a score of “transformative defence technologies” for co-development and co-production with India under the DTTI, which range from the next-generation of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopters to long-endurance UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and 127mm warship guns, as reported by TOI earlier.

But the Modi government has already chosen an initial off-the-shelf purchase of Israeli Spike ATGMs, with 321 launchers and 8,356 missiles, for Rs 3,200 crore. Sources said India will initially choose only a couple of “simpler projects” from the ones being offered by the US to kick-off the DTTI process and then ascertain how they actually materialise on the ground.

Towards this, South Block is looking at technologies being offered by those American armament companies who already have Indian partners and will bring in FDI. “The technologies that come initially should also be open to being exported for long-term sustainability of such projects,” said a source.

As for exercises, the two sides are poised to upgrade their annual Malabar naval exercise. India has largely restricted Malabar to a bilateral one with the US after China protested against its 2007 edition in the Bay of Bengal since they were expanded to include the Australian, Japanese and Singaporean navies as well.

The 18th edition of Malabar held last year, however, included Japan for the third time after 2007 and 2009. Now, Australia is also showing keenness to join Malabar on a regular basis.

Source : TOI

NEW DELHI: India and the US are all set to ink their new 10-year defence framework pact when President Barack Obama comes visiting as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade on the special invite of Prime Minister NarendraModi.

NEW DELHI: India and the US are all set to ink their new 10-year defence framework pact when President Barack Obama comes visiting as the chief guest of the Republic Day parade on the special invite of Prime Minister NarendraModi.

US undersecretary for acquisition, technology and logistics Frank Kendall will be in town on January 22, just before Obama, to stitch up the loose ends. The new defence framework will be “more ambitious” than the earlier one — which was signed in June 2005 by then defence minister Pranab Mukherjee and his counterpart Donald Rumsfeld — without impinging on India’s “strategic autonomy”, sources said.

The expansive framework will outline the series of steps to bolster the bilateral defence partnership, ranging from stepping up the scope and intensity of joint military exercises already taking place to advancing shared security interests for regional and global security. Collaboration in intelligence-sharing, maritime security and the drive against terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will also figure on the agenda.

READ ALSO: Officials slog to get most from Obama visit

A significant addition will be the incorporation of the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI) to augment the ones existing under the overall mechanism of the Defence Policy Group, which chalks out the path for future defence cooperation.

The US has been hard-selling a score of “transformative defence technologies” for co-development and co-production with India under the DTTI, which range from the next-generation of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and MH-60 Romeo multi-role helicopters to long-endurance UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and 127mm warship guns, as reported by TOI earlier.

But the Modi government has already chosen an initial off-the-shelf purchase of Israeli Spike ATGMs, with 321 launchers and 8,356 missiles, for Rs 3,200 crore. Sources said India will initially choose only a couple of “simpler projects” from the ones being offered by the US to kick-off the DTTI process and then ascertain how they actually materialise on the ground.

Towards this, South Block is looking at technologies being offered by those American armament companies who already have Indian partners and will bring in FDI. “The technologies that come initially should also be open to being exported for long-term sustainability of such projects,” said a source.

As for exercises, the two sides are poised to upgrade their annual Malabar naval exercise. India has largely restricted Malabar to a bilateral one with the US after China protested against its 2007 edition in the Bay of Bengal since they were expanded to include the Australian, Japanese and Singaporean navies as well.

The 18th edition of Malabar held last year, however, included Japan for the third time after 2007 and 2009. Now, Australia is also showing keenness to join Malabar on a regular basis.

Source : Defence NEws
With new emphasis to kick-start manufacturing of military hardware in India, the Defence Ministry is modifying internal rules to allow private companies exporting their wares to friendly nations.

With new emphasis to kick-start manufacturing of military hardware in India, the Defence Ministry is modifying internal rules to allow private companies exporting their wares to friendly nations.

“We would be deregulating certain aspects of export conditions. There are too many bottlenecks,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said here last week.

Since he took over as the defence minister two months ago, Parrikar cleared defence projects worth Rs 75,000 crore, out of which projects worth Rs 65,000 crore involve manufacturing in India.

The involvement of the micro, small and medium (MSME) industries sector, too, is being reviewed. Parrikar said his ministry would move an approach note in January, seeking to streamline the processes required to increase participation of the private sector.

The minister met industry captains at a one-on-one interaction in Goa last week, listening to their problems and priorities. Those who attended the meeting include Baba Kalyani of Bharat Forge, Larsen and Toubro, Tata Advanced Systems, Godrej and Boyce, Ashok Leyland, Punj Lloyd, Alpha Design Technologies, Zen Technologies, Data Patterns, Dempo and Pipavav Shipyard.

In the meeting, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the industry representatives suggested no programmes be tendered under the “make” procedure of the Defence Ministry until there was clarity on its final form.

Ever since the “make” provision was introduced in the defence procurement procedure in 2008, there is no major project under this category, which involves developing design capability and intellectual property in the country.

The industry leaders pointed out the Defence Ministry’s “make” procedure was different from the prime minister’s “Make in India” initiative, which is about boosting manufacturing.

In June, the defence manufacturing sector was opened up for the private sector, as the need to obtain industrial licence to produce a large number of components and sub-systems required in military hardware was done away with.

The relaxation was extended to heavy engineering techniques like “casting” and “forging”, which can enable private firms to caste the hull of submarines and forge the barrels of artillery guns in future.

However, manufacturing of tanks and armoured vehicles, aircraft, warships and a large number of arms and ammunition for the Army, Air Force and Navy will remain a “no go area”.

Parrikar said under the “make” category, the government would first identify the products and then fund 80 per cent of the development costs.

“We are now considering 100 per cent of the development cost, provided there is 20 per cent contribution from the MSME sector. The plan is to create a supply chain to take indigenisation up to 70 per cent,” Parrikar added.

Source : Defence News
India-Israel ties, which have been improving steadily in last few years, is now out in the open under the Modi government, according to Israel’s new Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.

India-Israel ties, which have been improving steadily in last few years, is now out in the open under the Modi government, according to Israel’s new Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon.

Both countries have now more visibility in relations and tiesare more talked about in open under the current the BJP-ledgovernment compared to the last decade, he said, adding that while bilateral relations have been productive in the past decade and growing across sectors, there is more visibility in partnership and it is more talked about in the open in the recent months.

Carmon pointed out that when Prime Ministers of the two countries met on sidelines of UN summit last September, it was the first time that PMs of two countries were meeting in last 10 years.

It may be recalled that the last Prime Minister level contact was established when Ariel Sharon visited India in 2003 with A B Vajpayee as PM. In fact he has been the only Israeli PM to have visited India so far. No Indian PM has ever made a trip to Israel.

Visits by senior ministers to each other’s country since last May also contributed to the visibility in ties. The Israeli envoy pointed out that Home Minister Rajnath Singh recently had a productive visit to Israel. More senior ministers from two countries will travel soon to each other countries.

“Our agriculture minister is travelling to Vibrant Gujarat where Israel will be represented in a major way. Our NSA was here to meet cross section of people in October. Nevertheless, we need to realize these are important steps but there is still much work that can be done in many fields,” Carmon noted. Israel along with UAE and Bahrain will make country presentations at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit during January 11-13.

Sources said that during the past 10 years, mostly junior level ministers from India visited Israel except visits by erstwhile Foreign Minister SM Krishna and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.

Source : Defence News
Modernisation of the armed forces got a whopping Rs.1.23 lakh crore (Rs.1.23 trillion/$19 billion) boost in the year just ending, but worrisome gaps – the failure to close a deal to replace a combat jet inducted in the 1960s and a crippling shortage of “fighting-rank” officers – remain.

Modernisation of the armed forces got a whopping Rs.1.23 lakh crore (Rs.1.23 trillion/$19 billion) boost in the year just ending, but worrisome gaps – the failure to close a deal to replace a combat jet inducted in the 1960s and a crippling shortage of “fighting-rank” officers – remain.

That the funding came in the first six months of the new BJP-led government was indicative of its determination to overcome almost a decade of sloth caused by A.K. Antony’s bid to keep his image “clean” while he was defence minister (till May).

The funds were cleared by five meetings of the Defence Acquisiton Council – four chaired by Arun Jaitley when he held additional charge of the ministry and one by Manohar Parrikar. The monies will go towards the purchase of six stealth submarines (Rs.50,000 crore), “Spike” Israeli anti-tank guided missiles (Rs.3,200 crore), two midget submarines (Rs.2,017 crore), 12 Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft (Rs.1,850 crore), 363 BMP-II infantry combat vehicles (Rs.1,800 crore), ship-borne Russian Uran missiles (Rs.1,436 crore), 1,768 railway wagons (Rs.740 crore) and 1,761 vehicle-mounted radio relay containers (Rs.660) crore, among others.

Much of this, for instance the submarines and the Dorniers, will be made within the country and will majorly take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign.

Other positives during the year included raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) in the defence sector from 25 percent to 49 percent, the indigenous nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant heading out for sea trials, and beginning of series production of the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft.

Once INS Arihant is commissioned about two years from now, it would complete India’s nuclear triad of strategic bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

India has for long been working on a missile defence shield and this would get a further boost with the construction, under wraps at Visakhapatnam, of a stealth vessel armed with an Aegis type system that employs powerful computer and radar technology to track and guide weapons to destroy enemy targets.

A defence ministry source said this vessel would patrol the seas between Mumbai and Jamnagar to protect both India’s commercial capital and the country’s largest oil refinery.

As for the combat jet, it was in 2012 that the Indian Air Force (IAF) zeroed in on French aviation major Dasault’s Rafale after a six-aircraft competition for a $20 billion deal for 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) to replace its Soviet-era MiG-21 jets that have been crashing with maddening regularity.

The tender itself was floated in 2007 and the six aircraft shortlisted in 2010, but there has been concrete action only in the last two years due to protracted price negotiations and differences in calculating life-cycle costs and factoring in the cost of transferring technology.

One fallout has been the alarming reduction in the IAF squadrons (16+2 aircraft each) to 25 from its sanctioned strength of 39.

“It’s not just a case of depleting squadrons. The Rafale dates from the mid-1980s and even assuming the deal is clinched this year, by the time the last of the jets are inducted, the technology will be more than 40 years old,” an officer involved in the selection process told IANS, declining to be identified on the ground he was not authorised to speak to the media.

While the initial lot of 18 aircraft (one squadron) will come in fly-away condition, the remaining will be progressively manufactured in the country by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The number could eventually go up to 200 as there is a provision for a 50 percent hike as a follow-on order.

On the officer front, the Indian Army, which is authorised 48,000, is short of 7,764 lieutenant colonels, majors, captains and lieutenants, considered the “fighting rank” officers. The Indian Navy is short of 1,499 lieutenant commanders, lieutenants and sub-lieutenants against its authorised strength of 9,000, and the IAF short of 357 wing commanders, squadron leaders, flight lieutenants and flying officers against its authorised strength of 12,000 officers.

The first quarter of the year saw a nasty hiccup with Admiral D.K. Joshi putting in his papers as the Indian Navy chief after a series of mishaps, including the sinking of a submarine in Mumbai harbour after an explosion and a fire aboard another.

As the year progressed, the chill in the India-Russia defence ties became more pronounced, with New Delhi clearly stating, ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit earlier this month, that it could not indefinitely wait for a fifth-generation stealth fighter, an understanding on which was reached during Antony’s visit to Moscow in 2007.

Russia’s decision to deepen its military ties was another matter of concern but not entirely unexpected. After all, the US has overtaken Russia as India’s principal source of armaments and other military hardware – in the last three years, this country made purchases worth Rs.32,615 crore from the US, against Rs.25,364 crore from Russia.

“This has been caused by the changing global paradigm and the trend will continue with both India and the US saying they want to put the past behind them and move ahead. Also, don’t forget that ‘Make in India’ has a better chance of moving forward with the US than with Russia,” the defence ministry source told IANS.

Source : Defence News
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) on Sunday said that the agency has set its sight to make India self-sufficient in producing defence equipment ranging from missiles, manned and unmanned aircrafts to sensors among others.

“The DRDO had been depending on the indigenisation of the weapon system. We have now taken on five new missions to make sure that we have cutting-edge capabilities,” Director General Dr Avinash Chander told ANI.

“We are making ourselves totally self-reliant in making our own missiles; manned and unmanned aircrafts to dominate the skies; go into modernising the army with better mobility. We are also looking at providing state of the art sensors, communication radars and sonar,” he added.

Dr Chander also said that the agency has taken major strides in ensuring that weapons are delivered to the armed forces on time to meet their immediate requirements.

“The DRDO is the prime organisation for designing indigenous defence systems. In that context, we have a major role to indigenise the systems and develop our own technologies. We have taken major initiatives to make sure that we deliver the immediate weapons on time and giving the cutting edge capabilities,” he said.

Source : Defence News
PARIS/NEW DELHI: With the Indo-French $6 billion surface-to-air missile systems project in doldrums, France is hoping that new government’s push for “Make in India” will lead to inking of the long delayed deal.

 France remains hopeful of signing the deal even though Indian armed forces are sceptical about the missile since indigenously developed Akash is in play.
Titled Maitri, the project for joint development and production between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and France’s MBDA, was initiated in 2007 and a MoU to co-develop the surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) was signed during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India in February last year.Since then, the situation has changed as Indian Air Force feels that its requirements could be met by indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile weapon system.

Asked about reservations by the Air Force, a top MBDA official in Paris told PTI, “we have written back answering the issues raised by the IAF. We are hopeful that this deal would be inked soon.”

The official at MBDA also said that the “Make in India” project is apt for the deal.

He added that while the range of SRSAM will be of 40 km, Akash’s range is only 25 km.
Sources at Indian Air Force said that they have nothing against the Maitri project per se but would prefer to use the available Akash missile rather than wait for the Indo-French ones to come.

“The Maitri project can go on but we want the missiles and Akash is serving that purpose,” sources said.

Refusing to comment about the Maitri project, sources in DRDO said that the Akash missile is already in play and is based on a similar platform like the Maitri.

However, the French are pushing for Maitri. “SRSAM is part of our strategic dialogue with India and is raised whenever top officials and leaders from both sides meet. We believe that a lot of information has been handed over after the new government has taken over in Delhi,” an MBDA official said.

French officials said that both Akash and Maitri can be inducted as the two will improve overall weapon system of India.

MBDA believes that the Maitri will be better for India as it will be “more cost-effective to develop a new missile than to upgrade a missile based on outdated propulsion”.

India is working on Akash Mark-II with longer range and MBDA is even calling Maitri as a potential Akash Mark-II.

As per the deal, the Maitri missiles will be produced only in India and the first deliveries will happen three years after the agreement is signed.

India can also export the missile with “MBDA support”. The French defence major said Source Codes for Maitri will be delivered to DRDO giving an autonomy to India for guided missiles and seekers.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had also written to the Modi government about the project.

The issue was also raised when Drian and the country’s Foreign Minister visited India since the Modi government came into power, sources at MBDA said.

Source : Defence News