Posts Tagged ‘security expo 2014’

NEW DELHI: The Modi government is cranking up clearances for long-pending projects considered critical to plug gaps in India’s operational military capabilities. If the first two meetings of the defence acquisitions council (DAC) cleared proposals worth Rs 40,000 crore, the third one on Saturday gave the nod to projects totalling around Rs 80,000 crore. 

The DAC, chaired by Arun Jaitley on Saturday, gave the green signal to long-term projects like the Rs 50,000 crore project to build six new stealth submarines with foreign collaboration in India as well as deals for anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), “midget submarines” for special covert operations, Dornier aircraft, Russian Uran missiles for warships and the like. 

Significantly, it rejected the American “Javelin” ATGM offer despite the hard-sell by US defence secretary Chuck Hagel during his visit to India in August. Instead, it approved the purchase of the Israeli “Spike” tank-killing missiles, which had already been extensively trial-evaluated by the Indian Army last year. The likelihood of all this happening was first reported by TOI in its Thursday edition.

“National security is of paramount concern for the government. All hurdles and bottlenecks in the procurement process should be addressed expeditiously so that the pace of acquisitions is not stymied,” said Jaitley. 

The speed of clearances contrasted starkly with the feet-dragging under UPA on filling critical needs of armed forces. 

Take the project for the six new-generation submarines, which are to be armed with both land-attack missile capabilities and air-independent propulsion for greater underwater endurance. Grappling with just 13 ageing diesel-electric submarines, the Navy has been crying hoarse for this project to get underway ever since it gained “acceptance of necessity” way back in November 2007. 

But with the UPA government forming committee after committee to review the plan, which earlier included importing two of the six submarines to save time, even the global tender for the mammoth project could not be issued for the last seven years. It will take seven to eight years for the first of these submarines to roll out once the contract is inked. 

The DAC has now decided that a committee will identify within six to eight weeks the public and private Indian shipyards that have the potential to indigenously build the six submarines in line with Modi’s “Make in India” policy. The RFP (request for proposal) will then be issued to the “compliant” shipyards, which in turn will tie up with a foreign collaborator, to submit their bids. 

Incidentally, defence PSU Mazagon Docks is already building the French Scorpene submarines, while the private sector L&T shipyard is helping in the construction of the country’s nuclear-powered submarines. Both, therefore, stand a better chance than the others in bagging the big project. 

The project for the third-generation ATGMs, with fire-and-forget capabilities, will also be a major one. The DAC on Saturday cleared an initial off-the-shelf purchase of 321 Israeli Spike launchers and 8,356 missiles for Rs 3,200 crore. 

This is to be followed by transfer of technology to defence PSU Bharat Dynamics for large-scale indigenous manufacture since the Indian Army wants to equip all its 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised infantry units with these tank-killers. The Army is currently saddled with just second-generation ATGMs, and that too with a crippling 50% shortage in launchers and missiles. In all, the ATGM project would cost around Rs 20,000 crore. 

Another significant clearance was for the acquisition of two midget submarines or “chariots” for Rs 2,017 crore. These “underwater special purpose crafts” will be used for covert operations to land elite naval marine commandos or “Marcos” on enemy shores or installations.

Source : TOI

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The Defence Ministry has issued a fresh tender for buying 20 Hawk trainer aircraft for around Rs 2,000 crore after the original file related to the procurement went missing leading to delays in the acquisition process.

A fresh Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued to the state-owned HAL for procuring 20 additional Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft for Air Force’s Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), Defence Ministry sources said here.The original file related to the tender had gone missing and the process had to be restarted by the Government, they said.

The defence ministry has taken a serious view of the lapses on part of the officials handling the file and an inquiry has been ordered, officials said.

Disciplinary proceedings would be initiated against officials who are found responsible for the lapses, they said.

India has, so far, placed orders for 123 Hawks with the British BAE Systems in two phases. The first order for 66 aircraft was placed by India in 2004, of which more than 40 have already arrived. The second order for 57 aircraft was placed in June last year.

Source : Defence News

NEW DELHI: The Indian armed forces have projected a combined requirement of 440 light utility helicopters which will now be manufactured indigenously involving the state-owned HAL and private sector firms in partnership with foreign players.

The IAF, Army and the Navy require 440 choppers and these would be now manufactured within India including the HAL, private sector firms and foreign players, Defence Ministry officials said here.

 

 

The armed forces had projected their requirements to the Defence Ministry before the government scrapped a Rs 6,000 crore tender to procure 197 such helicopters for the Army and the Air Force, they said.

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has already started a project in Tumkur, Karnataka for building light helicopters, which will have capability to lift 2.5 tonnes payload.

Last Friday, the Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had scrapped the scam-tainted tender for procuring the choppers to replace the vintage fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers used to move troops and equipment to high-altitude locations like Siachen.

The DAC decided to retract from the tender for procuring these choppers and the Indian industry would be given the opportunity to produce around 400 such choppers for the requirements of the armed forces.

In line with NDA government’s plan to develop the indigenous industry, the government decision is expected to generate business worth over Rs 40,0000 crore for the local industry in the defence sector, they said.

This is the second time in seven years that the tender has been scrapped in which European Eurocopter and Russian Kamov were competing and it had been on hold for the past over two years due to an ongoing CBI probe and other allegations of wrongdoings in the trial process.

Source: Defence News

The much touted US pivot/re-balance to the Asia-Pacific has drawn considerable flak of late. From the Syrian chemical weapons use to Russia’s revanchism, the questioning of America’s leadership has seen the pivot naysayers become louder.

 

The much touted US pivot/re-balance to the Asia-Pacific has drawn considerable flak of late. From the Syrian chemical weapons use to Russia’s revanchism, the questioning of America’s leadership has seen the pivot naysayers become louder. President Obama has firmly recognized the limits of American power. The Commander of the US Pacific Air Forces has admitted that the resources for the pivot haven’t come his way even as the head of the US Pacific Command has made clear America’s inability to conduct amphibious assaults. To top these off, the US Defence Undersecretary for Intelligence has made it known that the US considers the Syrian civil war, Iran and even a vague ‘persistent volatility’ across South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa as greater threats than China.

The Obama administration is therefore caught in a three way struggle: it is persuading China that its re-balancing is not containment, reassuring its Asian allies of its support, and also projecting to the US Congressmen an image of China as a major threat. Senior American commanders have said that they “aren’t going to go to war over a rock” in the South China Sea while Obama has said that all Japanese administered territories (including the Senkakus) are covered under American defence commitments to Japan. Such a US posture is of concern since the strategic ambiguity this policy creates sows doubts about US commitment among its regional allies and also makes it tougher for China to determine where the real red lines drawn by the US lie.

The East Asian nations are today struggling to balance their relations with both China and the US. This balancing act is occurring at a time when India is rapidly accreting military might and is cultivating military contacts with South East Asian nations. India and South East Asia have no contentious issues between them, nor has India been keen for military alliances or basing arrangements. Currently, an East Asia unsure of US commitment is welcoming greater Indian involvement in regional affairs. As long ago as a decade ago, however, it had been postulated that the Indian armed forces are too overextended domestically to pay attention to their neighbourhood. 

Even a decade later, India’s much talked of Look East initiative has been more words than action. Primarily responsible is the fact that none of the burning issues of East Asian politics (a nuclear North Korea, the Taiwan problem and competing territorial claims in the South China Sea) are directly relevant to Indian interests. While the balance of forces tilts towards the US and its allies, the balance of influence is weighing heavier on the side of China by the day. ASEAN’s desire to engage with India, however, should not be interpreted to mean they shall do so at the expense of their relationship with China. India’s Look East initiative was never pursued with the aim of counterbalancing China, and ASEAN would ideally like India to not have antagonistic relations with China. This is so for that would put them in the same balancing dilemma where they are presently caught with respect to the USA and China.

India has always been ambivalent about its take on the US Pivot, a stand attributed to an ongoing tussle between the nationalist and realist elements in the Indian policy elites. In such a context, the rise of Narendra Modi hailing from a right wing Hindu nationalist party holds promise to bring more clarity to this debate. Modi’s first priority is the Indian economy and not extremist ideological agendas. Any analysis of his foreign policy priorities then shall flow from his domestic economic priorities. Given the sparse commentary on foreign policy in the BJP manifesto, hardly a surprise on account of the low priority accorded to foreign policy by the Indian electorate, this is all the more important. Modi has stated that, “I believe a strong economy is the driver of an effective foreign policy.. We have to put our house in order so that the world is attracted to us.” The mere fact that India’s economic relations are likely to shine brighter in the East as compared to a retrenching West shouldn’t be interpreted as an automatic Indian commitment to the US rebalance. Given the blooming Indo-Japanese relationship, though closer alignment between the two in a future where India feels threatened by China, there is a high likelihood of India actively participating in the US re-balance. It is a fact that an unresolved border dispute between India and China that sparked a war in 1962 remains a sore point. Also, China’s low key support of insurgencies in India and its all weather alliance with Pakistan has posed roadblocks for cooperation. China’s opposition to India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the UNSC as a permanent member has proven unhelpful as well. As a former Indian foreign secretary remarked “Pakistan is just an enemy, China is the adversary.”

That said, Indian steps to militarily hedge against China have been more reactionary than proactive. There is indeed a passionate debate over whether India should contest China militarily on land or sea and the final verdict is not yet clear. What is clear is that India has always gone out of its way to not antagonize China, hence its conspicuous absence from militarized international groupings with a China centric focus. 

The Chinese are optimistic about Modi and certain commentators have noted that both nations are undergoing historic economic transformations, with India hoping to assume China’s present position (assembling and offshoring) and China building an economic model akin to the Japanese/South Korean model (innovation driven high value commodities provider). With a gargantuan demographic dividend baying for jobs and Modi seeking to revamp Indian infrastructure, the Chinese have an optimal candidate in India as they look to channel their funds into higher yielding assets. China is India’s largest trade partner, and an era of strategic cooperation, quite unlike any seen before, may very well find its beginnings under Modi’s premiership.

For China to rake up its territorial conflict with India would force it to redirect resources from its naval, air and missile forces to territorial defence. Given the continuity which characterizes Indian foreign policy thought, dramatic changes should not be immediately expected under Modi. 

A China that doesn’t hinder Indian attempts to carve out its own sphere of influence and swiftly resolves the border dispute would give India good reasons to not engage deeply with the US pivot, at least militarily. China would do well to remember that strategic autonomy, whilst long a cherished end state in Indian foreign policy circles, is not an ironclad necessity (as a glimpse at India’s Cold War history would make clear). As a Prime Minister leading the first ever non-Congress-non-coalition government in India, Modi has a historic mandate and opportunity to shape India’s foreign policy as he sees fit in a manner that will be felt for decades to come.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal.

 Author :Himanil Raina 
Source : stsfor.org
The Minister of Defence of Singapore, Dr Ng Eng Hen, who is on official visit to India, met Defence Minister Shri Arun Jaitley, at South Block, here today. The Singapore Defence Minister was accompanied by the High Commissioner of Singapore in India Mr Lim Thuan Kuan and other officials of the Singapore Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces.

 
The Indian delegation included Defence Secretary Shri RK Mathur and Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chief of the Staff Committee (CISC) Air Marshal PP Reddy as well as other senior officers of the Ministry of Defence, MEA and Armed Forces. Prior to the meeting, the Singapore Defence Minister laid a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti. He was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour at South Block.

During the meeting, both Ministers expressed satisfaction over the wide ranging and comprehensive defence exchanges between both countries and agreed that the enhancement of defence relationship between the two countries was in the mutual interest.

Both Ministers exchanged views on the global and regional security scenario. In the context of security situation in the Asia Pacific region, both Ministers acknowledged the role of the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus framework in promoting dialogue and consensus in the region. Both Ministers noted the commonalities in the security concerns of India and Singapore and acknowledged that there was scope for both countries to continue to work together for peace and stability.

Both Ministers agreed to continue the robust engagements and to continue to work together to further substantiate defence interactions in the areas of mutual benefit.

NEW DELHI: The Army is slowly but surely expanding and modernising its clandestine warfare arm, with two more Para-Special Forces battalions now being raised in tune with its operational doctrine. Navy and IAF, too, are strengthening their Special Forces with specialized weaponry.

But there is still “no forward movement” on the urgent need to bring the country’s diverse Special Forces, which report to disparate authorities, under a single operational command to ensure they can be used as “strategic assets” for larger national security objectives.

Neither the Naresh Chandra taskforce’s strong recommendation for a Special Operations Command (SOC), nor the chiefs of staff committee’s proposal for three additional tri-Service commands – cyber, Special Forces and space – has so far figured on the Modi government’s radar.

“Till there is unity in command and control of Special Forces, at least of the military if not the paramilitary ones, India’s unconventional warfare arm will never get the sharp edge it requires. We have relegated our Special Forces to the tactical and operational domain, instead of focusing on them as strategic assets to be used with decisive effect,” says a top officer.

The armed forces, however, are all gung-ho about their own elite forces, even though there is a “joint doctrine for Special Forces operations”. Navy, for instance, is now hunting for new “underwater special purpose crafts” for their marine commandos or “Marcos”, who are modelled on the famed US Navy SEALs. Incidentally, it was SEAL Team Six which killed Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2, 2011.

The Army, in turn, is raising two Para-SF battalions to add to the eight Para-SF and five Para (Airborne) battalions it already has for surveillance, target-designation, out-of-area contingencies, surgical strikes and hit-and-run operations.

semcotech “The raising of the first new Para-SF battalion will be completed by next year, while the second will be in place by 2017-2018,” said an officer. Concurrently, the Army is also stitching up contracts to modernise its existing 13 battalions, each with around 620 soldiers, apart from training them in Chinese and other foreign languages.

The Rs 70 lakh contract for 33 “underwater open-circuit diving equipment” from Sweden, for instance, has already been inked. Then, there is the “controlled aerial delivery system” to drop specialised payloads in designated target areas behind enemy lines.

The equipment being inducted ranges from 5.56mm TAR-21 Tavor assault rifles, 7.62mm Galil sniper rifles, M4A1 carbines, all-terrain multi-utility vehicles and GPS navigation systems to modular acquisition devices, laser range-finders, high-frequency communication sets and combat free-fall parachutes.

Experts, however, contend a tri-Service SOC is the need of the hour to holistically plan and execute “irregular warfare”. Special Forces operations, of course, have to be backed by “actionable intelligence”, which again is still enmeshed in turf wars in India. The armed forces have only two unified commands as of now, one in the military outpost of Andaman and Nicobar archipelago and the Strategic Forces Command to handle nuclear weapons.

Source : TOI

The much-awaited multi-billion Rafale combat aircraft deal with France has moved a step further with the defence ministry finalizing a ‘draft contract’, according to top defence ministry officials.

 
Rafale was declared the lowest bidder in Janaury 2012 but the deal has not been inked so far on account of escalation in the cost. The Cost Negotiation Committee, which was set up in February 2012 to work out the modalities for the deal has not reached a conclusion after 30 months of negotiations.

The government raised its concerns over this last month, during the visit of French foreign minister Laurent Fabius to New Delhi.

“Yes, we are in the process of finalizing the draft contract for the deal. And we also expect the Cost Negotiation Committee to submit its report soon,” said a senior defence ministry official, who was privy to the developments.

But the official refused to give a time frame for inking the deal. “It is very difficult to predict any date for signing the contract. But, it should happen in the next few months,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.

The Indian Air Force (IAF), which is coping with a depleted combat strength, claims that even if the deal is signed by the end of the year the first lot of Rafale aircraft would arrive only by 2017, by which time the IAF would have to phase out its MiG-21 squadrons.

The likelihood of an early signing is encouraging. Besides, the ruling NDA government has promised to address all the needs of the armed forces to ensure defence preparedness.

According to officials privy to the development, the defence ministry has asked representatives of M/s Dassault Aviation – the French manufacturer of Rafale aircraft – to revise the price structure which has gone beyond expected estimates.

Officials claim that when the tender was floated in 2007 the cost of the programme was $12 billion (Rs42,000 crore).When the lowest bidder was declared in January 2012, the cost of the deal shot up to $18 billion (Rs90,000 crore). Now with the inclusion of transfer of technology, the life cycle cost and creation of an assembly line, the deal has climbed to a whopping $20 billion.

The air force is seeking to replace its aging MiG-21s with a modern fighter and the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) fits between India’s high-end Sukhoi-30MKIs and the low-end Tejas LCA lightweight fighter. The IAF has a sanctioned strength of 45 fighter jet squadrons. However, only 30 squadrons are operational as old aircraft have been retired.

Eighteen of the 126 new aircraft are to be purchased directly from Dassault and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture 108 under a licence, at a new facility in Bangalore.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley informed parliament last week that “given the complexity of the procurement case, the process of negotiations with Dassault Aviation on various aspects of the commercial proposal and provisions of draft contract is on.”

Dassault Aviation emerged as L-1 bidder for procurement of the MMRCA based on its quotation.

 
Source : Defence NEws

NEW DELHI: Israel, better watch out! The US is going all out to shoot down the Israeli ‘Spike’ antitank guided missile (ATGM) with its own “Javelin” missile in the lucrative Indian arms market. Given the huge size of the Indian ATGM project, upwards of $3 billion, Israel is sure to strike back.

But for now, the US seems to have gained the upper hand. After earlier being rebuffed by India for not agreeing to “full” transfer of technology (ToT), the US is now promising to not only “co-produce” the third-generation Javelin ATGMs, but also “co-develop” its fourth-generation version.

“This is an unprecedented offer that we have made only to India, and no one else,” said visiting US defence secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday, a day after hard-selling joint development and production of advanced weapon systems to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and defence minister Arun Jaitley.

There are already over a dozen such proposals from the US on the table, ranging from the Javelin, MH-60 Romeo multirole helicopters and “big data cybersecurity” to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), mine-scattering systems and warship guns, which will now be taken forward by the revived bilateral Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI), as earlier reported by TOI.


US marines carry Javelin missiles close to the Iraqi border in Kuwait in the morning of March 18, 2003 after George W Bush, the-then US president, gave Saddam Hussein 48 hours to leave Iraq. (Getty Images photo)

“I will play an active role in expanding the DTTI because it’s the centerpiece of our defence partnership … As our interests align, so should our armed forces and defence systems. Bureaucratic red-tape must not bound the limits of our partnership,” said Hagel.

But the US will have to contend with Israel, even though it has now displaced the latter as the second-biggest arms supplier to India after Russia. The Indian defence acquisitions council, in fact, had almost finalized the Israeli Spike ATGMs for clearance late last year, after a series of field trials, before the US muscled its way into the race once again.


A rocket from a shoulder fired Javelin missile explodes on a mock target during an army fire power demonstration at Range Control, High Range on September 4, 2009 in Townsville, Australia. (Getty Images photo)

The urgent need for third-generation shoulder-fired ATGMs, which are “fire and forget” missiles, for the 1.13-million strong Indian Army cannot be overstated. The force has a huge shortfall of 44,000 ATGMs of different types, half its authorized inventory at present. Both Pakistan and China, the latter with third-generation ATGMs, are far ahead in the capability to halt and destroy enemy armoured attacks.

The force is currently saddled with second-generation Milan (2km range) and Konkurs (4km) ATGMs, produced by Defence PSU Bharat Dynamics under licence from French and Russian companies. “Being wire-guided, they have to be directed to the target. They are not fire-and-forget missiles,” said an officer.

Moreover, the indigenous third-generation Nag ATGMs, which are vehicle and helicopter-mounted with a 4-km strike range, are still not operational despite being in the making for over 20 years. The Army has already placed an initial order for 443 Nag missiles and 13 Namicas (Nag missile-tracked carriers).

Source : TOI

The NSG crack commando strength has been almost doubled to 460 personnel each stationed at select hubs in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad to undertake quick and swift counter-terror or counter-hijack operations. 

The hubs in these cities, covering key areas, were set up in the aftermath of the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks during which the elite force came under criticism for slow response time. 

“It has been decided to reinforce the strength of each of the four regional hubs from 241 to 460 personnel with immediate effect,” the Union Home Ministry said in its annual report for 2013-14 tabled in Parliament yesterday.semcotech

All the four hubs were made operational in 2009 by the Home Ministry after residential and training infrastructure was developed in these hubs for commandos and other administrative staff of the National Security Guard (NSG), a federal contingency force that was raised in 1984 to undertake special missions against terrorists and hijackers.

Specially trained commandos of the NSG counter-terror taskforce have been since stationed at these locations and they are armed with sophisticated weapons, communication gadgetry and other logistics to launch themselves in an combat scenario at a short notice.

Hyderabad and Chennai hubs have also been upgraded to the level of regional centres with 600 acres and 34.31 acres of land allotted to NSG in these cities respectively. 

The force is also mulling to finalise a land for its fifth hub that could come up in Gujarat near Ahmedabad.

Indian Armed Forces : Indian Defence

NEW DELHI: Navy chief R K Dhowan on Monday left on a four-day visit to Canada aimed at furthering bilateral military ties. And Dhowan, who is visiting North American nation on the invitation of Royal Canadian Navy Commander, will stay on in Ottawa till Friday.

NEW DELHI: Navy chief R K Dhowan on Monday left on a four-day visit to Canada aimed at furthering bilateral military ties. And Dhowan, who is visiting North American nation on the invitation of Royal Canadian Navy Commander, will stay on in Ottawa till Friday.“During his tour, the Navy chief will visit Esquimalt Naval Base at Victoria, which is the Headquarters of the Maritime Forces Pacific of the Canadian Navy. The visit is aimed at fostering closer Navy-to-Navy ties with Canada and to explore avenues for enhancing cooperation between the two Navies,” a Navy spokesperson said here on Monday.In fact, the Navy chief’s Canada trip is a reciprocal visit following his Canadian counterpart’s visit here in January last year. While in Ottawa, the Navy chief will have bilateral meetings with the top brass of the Canadian Forces, including Officiating Chief of Defence Staff Lt Gen G R Thibault, Canadian Joint Operations Commander Lt Gen S A Beare and Royal Canadian Navy Commander Vice Admiral M A G Norman.Incidentally, former Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma is India’s High Commissioner in Ottawa.

 

Source : Defencenews