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Sunday, 24 April 2011

From Today's Papers - 24 Apr 2011

Govt clarifies on rules of seniority for ex-servicemen
Tribune News Service New Delhi, April 23 In move that will clear doubts about the career progression of hundreds of people who did a small stint in the forces and then joined civil administration, the government has finally laid to rest years of discussion and redundant correspondence between various ministries. The Department of Personnel and Training, has issued a circular on April 13 to finally include instructions about seniority of Emergency Commissioned officers and Short-Service Commissioned officers who join the civilian government after January 29, 1974. In its earlier order on July 1986, consolidated instructions on seniority were issued but the instructions were not included on seniority of post-January 1974 Emergency Commissioned officers and Short-Service Commissioned. This led to confusion among the former soldiers and also to their counterparts who were direct entries to the civilian bureaucracy. Since then various references have been made by various ministries and departments regarding determination of seniority of officers released from forces to join the civilian service after January 29, 1974.

Soldiering for village uplift
by Lieut-Gen Baljit Singh (retd)  HIS demeanor and emphatic, measured speech have not changed a whit since I first and last met him in 1989. The men I once commanded were from the Pune-Sattara-Ratnagiri region and in moments of informal interaction they would often talk of Anna “Sahib” who had led his village from dire poverty to assured prosperity.  Traditionally, soldiers reserve the “Sahib” appellation for their officers and JCOs only; so who was Anna? Well, he was one of the several thousand vehicle drivers of the Indian army. During the 1965 Indo-Pak war he had a close call with death. His was one of the 15-odd lorries ferrying ammunition in the Amritsar sector when this convoy was strafed by PAF Saber-jets.  All the lorries exploded, except Naik Anna Hazare’s. When he regained composure, he had a divine vision; “Bhagwan boley too ja, apney gaon ki seva kar”. And over the next two decades, village Raleagan Siddhi became the beneficiary of “faith moving mountains”.  Short of outright deifying him, his ideas and guidance were accepted by Raleagan citizens as “Dharma”. The women of the village emerged unconditionally empowered and enjoyed vis-à-vis their menfolk the Orwellian status: “All animals are equal but some are more equal than the others!” No more pregnancies after the second child and freedom to acquire skills both in aid of the community and their households.  Land holdings were miniscule but the collective agricultural output increased phenomenally because rain-fed cultivation was replaced by assured, well-water irrigation. Consumption of alcohol was ruthlessly rooted out and with the combined, energized labour force, open wells were dug and a water-usage roster was drawn for each family based on their acreage under tillage.  Every house became a brick and concrete structure with piped drinking water and cooking gas from two community sized, bio-gas plants, at fixed times. Community toilets were clustered around the bio-gas plants, the human faces supplementing its “gobar” feed-stock. Kitchen waste was dumped into community compost-pits.  Anna Sahib was able to convince the Houses of Tata and Kirloskar of the viability of his mission and obtain interest-free loans as also irrigation lift-pumps and diesel generators at concessional rates. Loan instalments were honoured post the Kharif and Rabbi harvests; the last being in 1986 !  Onions and pulses were the main cash crops. In 1986, the produce earned close to a whopping 2.5 lakh rupees. A Cooperative Gramin Bank was created and staffed exclusively by the Raleagan women. Each family had fixed deposits of five to thirty thousand rupees by 1989.  I cannot recall how the school was funded but free and compulsory education was provided to each child up to matriculation. At least two able-bodied youth enrolled in the Army each year.  I shared this experience with the late General B C Joshi and suggested that the Army ran an orientation course, for soldiers about to retire under Anna Hazare’s aegis. The General visited Raleagan and launched the initiative with the hope that many more soldiers would replicate the Raleagan template in their villages.

Inside the Dragon’s fire-breathing mindset
China claims in its latest white paper on defence that it will never seek hegemony or undertake aggression. It stands for reinforcing friendship and cooperation with its neighbours. Yet, the fact remains that it is committed to vastly expand strategic capability and reach of its armed forces through expansive modernisation and military-diplomatic engagement. This has serious ramifications for stakeholders in the geo-political arena
Vijay Mohan  A Chinese navy submarine during an exercise near the Shandong coast. China is developing the capability to operate in distant waters and modernising its armed forces to be lean, well-equipped and technology-intensive with the ability conduct operations beyond its borders A Chinese navy submarine during an exercise near the Shandong coast. China is developing the capability to operate in distant waters and modernising its armed forces to be lean, well-equipped and technology-intensive with the ability conduct operations beyond its borders — Reuters  TWO aspects in China’s National Defence – 2010, a white paper issued by its state information machinery on March 31 2011, attract attention. The first is the emphasis it lays on exploitation of the information spectrum or “informationalisation” as the paper calls it, in the pursuit of military objectives. The other aspect is the chapter devoted to “military confidence building” that details its military-diplomatic engagement with other countries, many of which lie beyond its immediate neigbourhood.  Like most government documents meant for the public domain, the paper reiterates much of what is already known, but nonetheless offers a glimpse into the policy, doctrinal approach and emerging trends in the world’s second largest war machine and what many experts say poses the biggest challenge not only for India, but also for many other countries. The paper emphasizes the Chinese military’s rapid transformation into a lean, agile and integrated force, moving away from its earlier focus on quantity and manpower to technology, quality and efficiency capable to providing a long reach in a short time.  Information, particularly real-time information, is the key to empowerment, dominance and success, both in war and peace. It involves not only one’s ability to communicate effectively vertically and laterally across military echelons as well as other vital institutions, but also security of information and communication networks while at the same time possessing adequate capability to penetrate, manipulate and demolish the adversary’s information structure so as to cripple his functioning. A large chunk of the information structure, interlinking a host of agencies upon which the day-to-day functioning of the nation depends lies in the realm of cyberspace, which remains highly vulnerable as some recent incidents in peacetime have revealed. Military and strategic networks are also not immune.  Engaging in military confidence building, which includes strategic consultation and dialogues in the field of security, border area confidence building measures, cooperation on maritime security, regional security cooperation in the Asia-Pacific theatre and military exchanges with other countries indicates China’s growing confidence and influence in geopolitics and its desire to expand its footprint on the global security scenario. China has established mechanisms for strategic consultations with 22 countries, some of which do not see eyeball to eyeball with India on several issues.  Security Situation and National Defence Policy  The international situation, the paper states, is currently undergoing profound and complex changes, with the progress toward economic globalisation, informationisation of society and a multi-polar world is irreversible. The current trend toward peace, development and cooperation is irresistible, but international strategic competition and contradictions are intensifying, global challenges are becoming more prominent, and security threats are becoming increasingly integrated, complex and volatile.  The world on the whole remains peaceful and stable, but deep-seated contradictions and structural problems behind the international financial crisis have not been resolved. Economic recovery remains fragile and imbalanced. Security threats posed by global challenges as terrorism, economic insecurity, climate change, nuclear proliferation, insecurity of information, natural disasters, public health concerns, and transnational crime are on the rise. Traditional security concerns blend with non-traditional ones and domestic concerns interact with international security ones, making it hard for traditional security approaches and mechanisms to respond effectively to the various security issues.  Though generally stable, Asia-Pacific security is becoming more intricate and volatile with regional pressure points dragging on without any solutions. There is tension on the Korean Peninsula. The situation in Afghanistan remains serious. Political turbulence persists in some countries. Ethnic and religious discords are evident. Disputes over territorial and maritime rights flare up occasionally. And terrorist, separatist and extremist activities run amok. Profound changes are taking shape in the Asia-Pacific strategic landscape.  China, the paper states, is in a critical phase of the building of a moderately prosperous society, and is confronted by more diverse and complex security challenges. It has vast territories and territorial seas, thereby facing heavy demands in safeguarding national security. It implements the military strategy of active defense, adheres to the principles of independence and self-defense, strengthens the construction of its armed forces and that of its border, territorial sea and territorial air defenses, and enhances national strategic capabilities.  Stating that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are destined to “ultimate reunification”, the paper adds that China’s national defence is also tasked to oppose and contain the separatist forces for “Taiwan independence,” crack down on separatist forces for “East Turkistan independence” and “Tibet independence”.  Modernisation of the People’s Liberation Army  To meet the new and changing needs of national security, the PLA, according to the paper, accentuates modernisation from a higher platform. It strengthens the building of a new type of combat capability to win local wars in conditions of informationisation, strengthens the composite development of mechanisation and informationisation with the latter as the leading factor for raising its fighting capabilities and enhancing fire power, mobility, protection and support.  In line with the strategic requirements of mobile operations and tri-dimensional offense and defence, the Chinese army has emphasised the development of new types of combat forces, optimised organisation and structure, strengthened military training in conditions of informationisation, accelerated digitised upgrading and retrofitting of weaponry, deployed new weapon platforms, and significantly boosted capabilities in long-distance maneuvers and integrated assaults. Artillery and armoured components are developing precision operations capability with integrated reconnaissance, control, strike and assessment elements. Other arms and services are being upgraded into multi-functional support forces for use in war, peace and military operations other than war.  The Navy endeavors to accelerate the modernisation of integrated combat forces, enhance capabilities in strategic deterrence and counterattack, conducting operations in distant waters and in countering non-traditional threats. The air force, the paper claims, is working to ensure a combat force structure that focuses on air strikes, air and missile defence, and strategic projection, to improve leadership and command system and build up an informationised, networked base support system. It conducts training on confrontation between systems in complex electromagnetic environments and different tactical contexts.  The Second Artillery Force, PLA’s strategic missile component, strives to improve its capabilities in rapid reaction, penetration, precision strike, damage infliction, protection, and survivability, while steadily enhancing its capabilities in strategic deterrence and defensive operations.  Informationisation, Joint Operations and Manpower  Information warfare and joint operations are the current buzzwords in military affairs globally. In this context the paper states that the PLA’s fighting capabilities in conditions of informationisation have increased and significant progress has been made in building information systems for reconnaissance and intelligence, command and control, and battlefield environment awareness. Information systems have been widely applied in logistics and equipment support. A preliminary level has been achieved in interoperability among command and control systems, combat forces, and support systems, making intelligence distribution, command and guidance more efficient and rapid.  The paper adds that the PLA takes joint operation systems as the focal point of its modernisation and preparations for military struggle, and strives to enhance fighting capabilities based on information systems. It has improved joint support mechanisms, enhanced IT-based integrated support, and established a basic integrated support system linking strategic, operational and tactical levels.  While the complement of new-mode and high-caliber military personnel who can meet the needs of informationisation has been steadily enlarged, the PLA is also laying stress on the training of commanding officers for joint operations and high-level experts in technological innovation. Under its strategic project for talented individuals, it cultivates a contingent of commanding officers, staff officers, scientists, technical experts and non-commissioned officers as joint operation commanders, informationisation professionals and experts in operating and maintaining new types of equipment.  The PLA is improving the quality and optimising the composition of weaponry and equipment. While already planning the development of future weapons and equipment, it is using advanced and mature technologies to retrofit existing systems to upgrade their comprehensive performance. It is strengthening logistics systems and revamping capabilities in managing, maintaining and supporting equipment by applying modern management techniques, integrating systems and outsourcing services. Plans for wartime troop mobilisation have been improved and the reserve force has been strengthened.  The Implications  While underscoring the fact that China’s armed forces are on a major modernisation drive and revamping their organisational structure to meet its perceived national security interests, the paper harps that China’s defence policy is defensive in nature. It will never seek hegemony, nor will it adopt the approach of military expansion nor or in the future, no matter how its economy develops. In a self-complimentary mode, the paper claims that strengthened coordination and cooperation with major traditional powers and emerging countries, reinforced good-neighborly friendship and practical cooperation with neighboring countries, and extended mutually benefiting cooperation with other developing countries. It further states that China will hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and endeavor to foster, together with other countries, an international security environment of peace, stability, equality, mutual trust, cooperation.  For India, which does not feature in the part concerning regional security cooperation but gets a passing reference in sections devoted border area meets, security dialogues and military exchanges, China’s claims on peaceful co-existence and mutual trust would sound hollow. Chinese claims on Indian territory in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh are provocative, border disputes remain unsolved, military incursions continue and the Sino-Pakistan strategic collusion in military and nuclear fields is a cause for concern.  As China marches ahead in its ability to project force beyond its borders to protect its interests and, in its apparent keenness to employ military might to support politico-diplomatic maneuvers and economic initiatives, it poses a huge challenge for stakeholders in the global power play arena, particularly the Asia-Pacific region. India has a mammoth task at hand on the political, diplomatic, economic and military fronts if it is to rise to the occasion and secure its interests. Though the paper is devoid of specifics about military strength and weapons and reveals little of strategic or tactical significance, its the intents and not the contents that matter. India will have to watch and analyze the Dragon’s moves very carefully. Working towards expanding its global footprint while hemming in India, there is little doubt that China will become more assertive and tougher to deal with in future.

Army assesses its options to defend Himalayas
Ajay Banerjee/TNS  Why war game?  A war game involves the study of each possible pressure point in the high and rugged Himalayas beside the implications of each move made by two edgy neighbours in terms of building new infrastructure and fresh movement of respective troops.  New Delhi, April 21 The strategically vital Leh-based 14 Corps yesterday conducted a specialised war game to assess possible military options to defend the Himalayan frontiers that face China and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Army Chief Gen VK Singh witnessed the military exercise along the China border.  The war game assumes importance as the defence secretaries of India and Pakistan are slated to meet in Islamabad next month to discuss the possible de-militarization of the Siachen Glacier as part of the overall peace process. Sources said the Indian Army was not keen to vacate the glacier totally without proper earmarking of the border and exchange of maps between the two countries. Siachen has been held with great sacrifice and India troops occupy dominating positions on the glacier.  On the ground, there is no “delineation” of the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) beyond the NJ-9842 reference point, where the Line of Control simply stopped in the 1972 Shimla Pact, up to the Karakoram Pass. Both India and Pakistan maintain a Brigade-level presence across the 6,300-metre Siachen Glacier where weather conditions and icy terrain claim more lives than bullets.  The Leh-based 14 Corps handles entire Ladakh that includes areas facing PoK, the contentious LAC with China besides Siachen Glacier. Keeping in mind the huge military infrastructure build-up by China, the area is expected to face the first onslaught of any Chinese adventure.

US rules out sending ground troops to Libya
Press Trust of India / Washington April 21, 2011, 11:43 IST  The US has categorically ruled out sending ground troops to Libya to train the rebels fighting to dislodge the Muammar Gaddafi regime.  President Barack Obama, however, supports the decision in this regard by European allies including Italy, France and Britain, his chief spokesman told reporters.
"The President, obviously, was aware of this decision and supports it, and believes it will help the opposition," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.  "But it does not at all change the President's policy on no boots on the ground for American troops," Carney said when asked if the United States too is contemplating sending troops on the ground in Libya.

Indian Air Force to Deploy Two Squadrons of Sukhoi Su-30 MKI Fighters in South Western Air Command
2011-04-21 The Indian Air Force is strengthening itself towards dealing with any sort of threats specially from Pakistan and China , air marshal A K Gogoi, AOC-in-C of South West Air Command (SWAC) said here on Wednesday. Gogoi, who was on a three-day visit to the Jodhpur air base, his first after taking over the command of SWAC, said the base here, the headquarters of SWAC, will have a permanent squadron of SU-30 fighter in the next two years.  On deployment of the Akash missile, the medium range surface-to-air missile developed by DRDO , Gogoi said two squadrons armed with these missiles are set to be deployed, of which one will be at the SWAC region in Pune. The other will be at Gwalior, he said, adding, "Besides this, six more squadrons will be deployed in the region to check any threat from China."  The air marshal also said the IAF , which is facing shortage of aircraft, is expecting an increase in the number of fighters after 2012. "The number of aircraft squadrons is going down so some bases do not have the required squadrons. Only after 2012, when we start to increase the number of squadrons, we can expect permanent basing," Gogoi said referring to the absence of permanent installation of aircraft squadrons at many air bases.  He also informed that the SWAC is in the process of strengthening surveillance by inducting a few state-of-the-art Medium Power Radars (MPR). "The SWAC will be the first air command to have this modern radar technology," Gogoi said. The MPR has been developed with a view to detect small targets at ranges greater than 300 km. "We have already received it and are in the process of making it functional in Gujarat," he said on the last of his visit here.  Gogoi further said proposals are on to develop the Deesa airport as a full-fledged air base. "Considering the strategic importance of this base and the development taking place around it, we have mooted a proposal to the defence ministry worth over Rs. 3,000 crore as first phase to strengthen the infrastructure of this base and we are going to push this proposal during the commanders' conference scheduled shortly," he said. Deesa like Phalodi air base, is close to the Pakistan border.  "Earlier, the air chief marshal addressed all Air Warriors, DSC personnel, NCs (E) and civilians of the station. During his address, he emphasized on the current security scenario of the nation and advised all air warriors to be more vigilant towards this aspect," defence spokesperson S D Goswami said.  Goswami said Gogoi was commissioned in the fighter stream of the Indian Air Force in 1973. He has flown over 3000 hours on various aircraft, and is a qualified flying instructor and a fighter combat Leader. Gogoi was the director general air (Operations) at Air HQ prior to his current appointment. He is a recipient of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal, Goswami added.

Indian Army Division Prepares for Desert Exercise
NEW DELHI - Some 15,000 Indian troops - a full division of the Army - will go next month to the Rajasthan desert, along the Indo-Pakistani border, for a ground exercise that will include armored columns, tanks, mechanized vehicles and artillery.  The exercise will test the Indian Army's ability to respond swiftly to attacks in extreme heat. The Army's 2004 doctrine states that future wars are expected to be swift and brief so that battlefield objectives can be accomplished before the nuclear threshold is crossed, an Indian Army official said.
The service also will fine-tune its use of network-centric warfare systems, which integrate soldiers on the ground with the central command, the Army official said.  Exercise participants will include elite troops.  Defence Minister A.K. Antony is expected to witness part of the land exercises, which will begin during the first week of May.  In April 2010, the Indian Army held similar exercises in the Rajasthan desert, which were immediately followed by Pakistani Army ground exercises held along the border.  The neighboring rivals customarily inform each other in advance of planned exercises.

Afghan official to visit India amid Taliban overtures
Elizabeth Roche,      *      *     *  Afghanistan’s deputy foreign minister will visit India next week for consultations, an embassy official said, amid moves by the administration in Kabul to talk peace with rebel Taliban insurgents.  The visit by Jaweed Ludin to New Delhi comes against the backdrop of a high-level visit from Pakistan to Afghanistan last weekend, during which the two countries—who have shared tense ties in the past over the Pakistani establishment’s alleged support to the rebels—agreed to boost joint efforts to reach a settlement with Taliban insurgents.  India, which views Afghanistan as a part of its extended neighbourhood and has insisted in the past that all attempts at reconciliation between the Afghan administration and the Taliban be Afghan-led, has been wary of peace talks involving the Taliban. New Delhi views the insurgents as close to the Pakistani establishment and inimical to its interests.  Officials from both sides described the visit as a part of “regular consultations” between the two countries. But Ludin’s trip assumes importance as it closely follows Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani’s visit to Kabul last Saturday with a team that included chief of army staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, director-general of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, defence minister Ahmed Mukhtar, interior minister Rehman Malik, minister of state for foreign affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and foreign secretary Salman Bashir.  Pakistan was one of the main backers of the Taliban when it overran Kabul in 1996 and ruled large parts of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, when US-led troops ousted the regime. Its military spy agency, the ISI, is still suspected of having close ties with insurgents fighting foreign troops trying to stabilize Afghanistan.  The Gilani visit resulted in Pakistan and Afghanistan announcing the addition of top military and intelligence officials to a joint commission seeking peace with the Taliban—a move that would improve cooperation between the two countries, Pakistan’s Express Tribune newspaper reported this week. Pakistan’s army chief Kayani has been seeking a prominent role for the army in the Afghan peace process after the Obama administration announced plans in 2009 to draw down US forces in Afghanistan from July and to end their combat role in 2014.  “In my view, this is not something India should be uncomfortable with. Pakistan is vital to any political settlement in Afghanistan,” said former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh.  Karzai established the peace council in October, after a national “peace jirga” of community leaders. His broader peace plan includes reintegrating Taliban “foot soldiers” and finding asylum in third countries for irreconcilable leaders. So far the Taliban have publicly refused to negotiate a political solution to end the war in Afghanistan unless foreign forces are withdrawn from the country.  Afghanistan is also reportedly discussing a long-term strategic partnership agreement with the US that could see a permanent American base in Afghanistan after 2014. “This is something India would be interested in understanding from Afghan authorities,” Mansingh said about whether the US would be maintaining a residual presence that will help Afghanistan during the transition. “I presume this will figure in the talks as if there is a US presence in Afghanistan post-2014, this then will change the game altogether as the Taliban struggle will likely continue,” Mansingh said.  Ludin’s visit also comes amid reports that Saudi Arabia and Turkey could be involved in aiding future talks with the Taliban. Turkey is working to open a political office for the Taliban in Istanbul, which could help facilitate negotiations to end the war, the Express Tribune report said.

Column : Arms procurement needs fresh legs
The modernisation dilemma that the Indian army faces is that the budgetary support available for modernisation is grossly inadequate. It can undertake substantive modernisation only by simultaneously effecting large-scale downsizing, so as to save on personnel costs—the largest chunk of the army’s annual budget. However, it would not be prudent to downsize as the army’s operational commitments on border management and internal security duties require manpower-heavy infantry battalions. In his Budget speech on February 28, 2011, Pranab Mukherjee set aside Rs 1,64,425 crore ($36 billion) for defence during the next financial year (FY 2011-12). This is less than 2% of the country’s GDP, despite recommendations of successive standing committees on defence in India’s Parliament that it should be at least 3% if the emerging threats and challenges are to successfully countered.  In the defence budget for 2011-12, an amount of R69,199 crore (42% of the budget) has been allotted on the capital account for the acquisition of modern weapon systems. The major weapons systems to be acquired on priority include 126 multi-mission, medium-range combat aircraft, C-17 Globemaster heavy lift transport aircraft, 197 light helicopters and 145 ultra-light howitzers. It is well known that India plans to spend approximately $100 billion over 10 years on defence modernisation. The army’s share of the defence budget is R83,415 crore (51%). Of this, R64,252 crore (77%) is on account of revenue expenditure (pay and allowances, rations, fuel, ammunition, etc) and only R19,163 crore (23%) is available on the capital expenditure account for modernisation schemes.  The indigenously developed Arjun main battle tank (MBT) has entered serial production to equip two regiments. Meanwhile, 310 T-90S MBTs had to be imported from Russia. In December 2007, a contract was signed for an additional 347 T-90 tanks to be assembled in India. A programme has been launched to modernise the T-72 M1 Ajeya MBTs that have been the mainstay of the army’s Strike Corps since the 1980s. The programme seeks to upgrade the night fighting capabilities and fire control system of the tank, among other modifications. The BMP-1 and the BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles, which have been the mainstay of the mechanised infantry battalions for long, are now ageing and replacements need to be found soon. The replacement vehicles must be capable of being deployed for internal security duties and counter-insurgency operations as well, in addition to their primary role in conventional conflict.  During the Kargil conflict of 1999, artillery firepower had undeniably paved the way for victory. Yet modernisation of the artillery continues to flounder. The last major acquisition was that of about 400 pieces of 39-calibre 155 mm FH-77B howitzers from Bofors of Sweden in the mid-1980s. New tenders have been floated for 155 mm/39-calibre light weight howitzers for the mountains and 155 mm/52-calibre long-range howitzers for the plains, as well as for self-propelled guns for the desert terrain. However, it will take almost five years more for the first of the new guns to enter service. The MoD is in the process of acquiring 145 pieces of 155 mm/39-calibre M777 howitzers for the mountains through the foreign military sales (FMS) route from the US in a government-to-government deal. The artillery also needs large quantities of precision-guided munitions for more accurate targeting in future battles.  A contract for the acquisition of two regiments of the 12-tube, 300 mm Smerch multi-barrel rocket launcher system with 90-km range was signed with Russia’s Rosoboronexport in early-2006. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile (Mach 2.8 to 3.0), with a precision strike capability, very high kill energy and maximum range of 290 km, was inducted into the army in July 2007. The indigenously designed and manufactured Pinaka multi-barrel rocket system is likely to enter service in the near future. It is also time to now consider the induction of unmanned combat air vehicles armed with air-to-surface missiles into service for air-to-ground precision attacks.  The Corps of Army Air Defence also holds the vintage L-70 40 mm AD gun system, the four-barrelled ZSU-23-4 Shilka (SP) AD gun system, the SAM-6 (Kvadrat) and the SAM-8 OSA-AK. All of these need to be urgently replaced by more responsive modern AD systems that are capable of defeating current and future threats. The Akash surface-to-air missile has not yet fully met the army’s qualitative requirements. The short-range and medium-range SAM acquisition programmes are embroiled in red tape.  The modernisation plans of India’s cutting-edge infantry battalions, which are aimed at enhancing their capability for surveillance and target acquisition at night and boosting their firepower for precise retaliation against infiltrating columns and terrorists holed up in built-up areas, are moving forward, but at a snail’s pace. These include plans to acquire hand-held battlefield surveillance radars, and hand-held thermal imaging devices for observation at night. Stand-alone infra-red, seismic and acoustic sensors need to be acquired in large numbers to enable infantrymen to dominate the LoC with Pakistan and detect infiltration of Pakistan-sponsored terrorists. Similarly, the operational capabilities of army aviation, engineers, signal communications, reconnaissance, surveillance & target acquisition branches and command & control systems need to be substantially enhanced so that the overall combat potential of the army can be improved by an order of magnitude.  In view of the continuing territorial disputes with China and Pakistan and the emerging threats and challenges on the strategic horizon, especially on the maritime security front, India is consistently failing to develop the capabilities that its armed forces will need in the 2020-25 timeframe. The country needs to spend much more on defence if another military debacle like that of 1962 is to be avoided. This is one field in which complacency costs lives and imposes unacceptable burdens during crisis situations.  —The author is director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), New Delhi

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