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Monday, 21 November 2011

From Today's Papers - 21 Nov 2011






Purchase-time lapses hit Bofors’ Indian remake
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, November 20 Faced with a serious shortage of artillery guns for the Indian Army, the Ministry of Defence okayed a proposal of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to produce the 155mm Bofors guns here, but now, it faces a serious problem - the metallurgy of the gun, especially its turret though which the ammunition is fired, is a mystery.  While the OFB was given the task by the Defence Ministry a few weeks ago to produce a prototype of the Bofors gun, the real crisis is the turret, said sources.  Within the ministry’s establishment, everybody is banking on the assumption that the OFB can produce the gun from the original designs and drawings that it got from AB Bofors Sweden, however, sources in the know of matters said that it might not be easy.  The original company did not actually carry out the transfer of technology for which India had paid. There had been no production in India ever of even a single part of the gun.  All these years, the OFB has been sitting on the drawings and designs that they got from Bofors without attempting to make even a small part of it.  The gun was supplied in the late 1980s and allegations of kickbacks had rocked the nation. All of a sudden, Bofors became a dirty word in the Indian defence establishment. The gun proved its worth during the Kargil conflict in 1999 when artillery gunners softened up the Pakistani defenders who occupied the ridge line.  The ministry okayed the OFB plans as various attempts - six in the past two decades - to procure an artillery gun had come to a nought. The Army faces a serious shortage and in the absence of spares, guns are cannibalised to arrange for parts.  It is not that the OFB has been asked to re-invent the same gun. It is just an attempt to re-produce it as the per the original design for which the OFB has been asked to come up with the prototype before the end of the next fiscal (March 2013).  The OFB makes artillery guns of lower calibre than the 155 mm. It is still not clear from where the specialised technology for the gun turret will be made available. One line of thought within strategic circles is that the OFB could ask the current owner of the Bofors gun licence - the BaE Systems - for some help. The BaE has a tie-up with the Indian defence arm of Mahindra and Mahindra for producing defence equipment and has a plant at Faridabad.  Actually, the two even showcased the Bofors at a defence exhibition at New Delhi in February 2010.  Once the OFB prototype is ready, the Army will put the guns through field trials before any mass production is done. Meanwhile, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has embarked on its own project to have an indigenous artillery gun.  Badly handled      The Bofors gun was supplied by AB Bofors Sweden in the late 1980s     The company did not transfer the technology for which India had paid     All these years, the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has been sitting on the designs that they got without producing even a small part of it     In the absence of spares, guns are cannibalised to arrange for parts     The metallurgy of the gun is still a mystery to the OFB


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111121/nation.htm#3
IAF to use laser cladding to repair engine blades
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, November 20 The Indian Air Force has developed a laser-based process that would enable repair of turbine blades in aircraft engines that would otherwise have to be discarded. Called laser cladding, this process would save crores in foreign exchange.  Blades used in aircraft engine turbines, measuring a few inches in height and width, are made of titanium alloys and cost about Rs 1 lakh each. The repair of a damaged or “rubbed-out” blade through laser cladding would cost just Rs 1,500- Rs 2,000. The process uses a laser to generate a local weld pool on the surface of the component and a specially designed powder-feed nozzle then introduces a powder composed of a similar material into the molten metal. Once cooled, the resulting layer possesses very similar mechanical properties to those of the original component.  “This is for the first time that this technology has been developed in the country. Laser and nanotechnology are new developments being used in engine reclamation process at less than a third cost,” Air Cmde Suresh Singh, Air Officer Commanding No.3 Base Repair Depot, where the process has been developed, said. “We are also going in a big way to re-engineer aero-engine parts to cater to our requirements for spares. This does not imply merely copying the existing parts, but involves design and development from scratch,” he added.  An aircraft engine, on an average, comprises about 7,000 components and so far about 200 parts meant for helicopters have been indigenised. The IAF has been focusing on indigenisation when availability of aero-spares became a serious issue in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. All its base repair depots and technical establishments have been since engaged actively in this field and the IAF has also been approaching the industry for local manufacture. Another new innovation by 3 BRD is development of a device to check spurious fire warning in helicopters.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111121/nation.htm#7
Coast Guard floats $200mn tender for 16 copters
New Delhi, November 20 The Indian Coast Guard has floated a global tender worth over $200 million to procure 16 light helicopters to be deployed on its warships for preventing any 26/11-type attack.  "The global Request for Proposal (RFP) for procuring these choppers was issued a couple of months ago and companies have been asked to submit their bids by December," a Defence Ministry official aid. The RFP has been sent to three companies - Eurocopter, AgustaWestland and Sikorsky, they said. Eurocopter is planning to field its twin-engined Panther helicopter.  According to the RFP, the Coast Guard wants these choppers to be equipped with surveillance devices to carry out search and rescue roles in coastal areas, they said. The procurement is part of Coast Guard's efforts to enhance its capabilities to tackle terrorism and other threats emanating from the sea.  Deployment of the choppers on offshore patrol vessels and other large-size ships of the Coast Guard will help in expanding its reach in the maritime zone to locate suspicious boats and other vessels, they said. The choppers will also have light and medium machine guns on board.  To revamp the coastal security mechanism post-26/11, the government had sanctioned several fast-track acquisitions of equipment worth thousands of crores rupees, like fast attack craft, patrolling vessels, Dornier surveillance aircraft, helicopters and coastal radars.


http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111121/nation.htm#12
Sino-Indian defence talks to resume on Dec 9
Tribune News Service  New Delhi, November 20 After a hiatus of almost two years, India and China will resume their defence dialogue on December 9. The last round was conducted in Beijing in January 2010 and since then there have been several reasons for New Delhi to avoid Beijing in areas of defence.  The Tribune in its edition dated November 12 reported that the defence dialogue was set to resume. Sources revealed that the dialogue will be hold in December. Initially, the dates were suggested in January 2012.  New Delhi had suspended military exchanges with China in August 2010 after China refused to grant permission to a senior Indian Army Commander to proceed on an official trip to Beijing.  One of the key issues will be to resume the joint Army exercises termed as ‘hand-in-hand’. So far, the Indian Army’s calendar for 2012 does not have dates for a Chinese exercise. “It will need some working around in case the exercise is to be fitted in,” said a senior functionary. The armies of the two countries have exercised twice, Kunming, China, in 2007 and Belgaum, India, in 2008. Now it is China’s turn to host.  Defence Secretary Sashikant Sharma will lead the Indian side while a senior functionary from the People’s Liberation Army will lead the Chinese.  The other key issue will be the situation along the Sino-Indian border. The two countries have been discussing about a joint-mechanism to prevent any flare up.  Earlier on November 9, a Chinese Army delegation had concluded its seven-day visit to India. The visit was a preparation for the forthcoming dialogue.  The upcoming 15th round of boundary talks between special representatives appointed by New Delhi and Beijing is also slated at the end of this month. National Security Adviser Shivsankar Menon is the Indian representative at the boundary talks.  On sidelines of BRICS summit, in April this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and decided to work things out.



http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111121/nation.htm#14
India, China Annual Defence Dialogue from Dec 9
New Delhi: India and China will hold their Annual Defence Dialogue (ADD) here starting December 9 during which they will discuss resumption of joint army exercises and border issues between the two sides.  "The ADD will be held here in Delhi where the two sides will take a final decision on resuming the army exercise," Defence Ministry officials said here.  They said earlier the plan was to hold the talks in January next year but then it was decided jointly to hold it in December.  At the talks, the Indian side will be led by Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma whereas the Chinese delegation will be headed by a senior People's Liberation Army official.  The last round of Sino-Indian defence dialogue had taken place in Beijing in January 2010.  Various issues such as the situation along the Sino-Indian border and resumption of exercise between the armies of the two sides will be discussed during the meeting, they said.  New Delhi had suspended military exchanges with China in August 2010 after it refused to grant permission to a senior Indian Army Commander to proceed on an official trip to Beijing.  As immediate fallout of the event, India refused to hold the third round of exercise with China and had put all other military exchanges on hold.  The first two editions of the army to army exercise had taken place in Kunming in China in 2007 and in Belgaum in 2008.  Putting an end to the strained military relations, India had sent its first military delegation to Beijing in June this year.  China also reciprocated by sending its military delegations under a Lieutenant General earlier this month.  The delegation visited important defence installations in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai and held talks with their Indian counterparts including Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikramjit Singh.  Meanwhile, India and China will also hold the special envoy level talks on the issue of border management here, before the end of this year.  National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivsankar Menon will be leading the Indian delegation during these talks.  That position has been held by China since the then Chinese president Jiang Zemin visited India and Pakistan when he articulated that at both places.  "If it was worse than that, then I draw conclusions," the sources said, pointing out that this was the reason why India reacted immediately when the stapled visa issue came to light.  The Prime Minister held talks with Wen against the backdrop of the South China Sea issue row and told him that India's oil exploration in the disputed maritime area is "purely commercial activity".  The sources said Singh and Wen also discussed the Eurozone issue and the uncertainty it has created in the international system, which requires both India and China to work together. They also discussed the coordination between the two countries witnessed at G-20.


http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/india-china-annual-defence-dialogue-from-dec-9_742908.html
Nepali youth defy Maoists to join Indian Army
The brigadier of the 1st Gorkha Rifles (GR), AG Kundalkar, on Sunday ruled out any impact of the call given by the Maoists to youth in Nepal for staying away from joining the Indian army.  “There is no impact of the threat given by the Maoists to the youth in Nepal for joining the Gorkha regiments. We are filling our recruitment quotas and have to drop people because of the rush and willingness of youth to join our regiments,” Kundalkar said on the sidelines of a three-day reunion celebration of the 1st Gorkha Rifles at Gorkha Training Center (GTC), Sabathu, Himachal Pradesh.  He said 1GR was maintaining the 60:40 ratio of its recruits. “As per rules, we recruit 60 Indian and 40 Nepalese in every recruitment process. We have been maintaining the ratio and there is no fear of any decline in number of people from Nepal joining our regiments,” Kundalkar said.  Maoist leaders in Nepal have been continuously threatening to return to the jungle to start another “people’s revolution” in Nepal. They have also threatened people, particularly the youth, to stay away from joining Indian army.  Speaking on the occasion, the Central Commander, Major General, P Ravindranath, who earlier received a guard of honour followed by a solemn wreath-laying ceremony, said the training aspect had been enhanced on scientific patterns.  “Whole organisation (Gorkha Rifles) has evolved to manifolds. We have established state-of-the-art training centre for enhanced training to be imparted to our jawans,” he said.


http://www.dailypioneer.com/nation/22031-nepali-youth-defy-maoists-to-join-indian-army.html
‘Map reflects diplomatic tilt towards Pakistan’
NEW DELHI: The US department of state, that handles the country's foreign relations, appears to have made its diplomatic tilt evident, going by the maps on its official website. Former chief of joint intelligence committee and security expert S D Pradhan said the US needs to be careful about Indian sensitivities, particularly at a time when the two countries are working as strategic partners.  "These maps do not reflect PoK either as a disputed area or as Indian territory and it's important that these inaccuracies are brought to the notice of people. This reflects US's soft policy towards Pakistan despite their knowledge that the Pakistani army and ISI are maintaining close links with terrorists and Taliban," he said.  India has in the past faced the same kind of misrepresentation with organizations such as Google but this is the first time such an inaccuracy has come to light on a US government website. The common practice now among international news portals, such as BBC, is to refer to the two sides of LoC as India-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.  In the recent past, most such cases of faulty Indian maps were reported from India's eastern border where Arunachal Pradesh was shown as part of China by private companies. In one such case recently, the Chinese ambassador to India Zhang Yan got into an altercation with an Indian journalist after the latter objected to the state being shown in China in a private firm's brochure. Economist issue delayed by map row  The November 19 issue of The Economist has been delayed owing to objections by India to a map showing disputed territories. In a message to its subscribers, it said India had objected to its depiction of "the current effective border, requiring us instead to show only its territorial claims.  As a result the map had to be obscured and will unfortunately result in a delay in copies reaching you". The issue has an article on South Asia's looming water wars which features a map showing the disputed territories.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Map-reflects-diplomatic-tilt-towards-Pakistan/articleshow/10810014.cms
Indian defence forces begin century’s biggest war-game in Rajasthan   
Jodhpur:  Indian defence forces on Sunday began what is said to be the century’s biggest war-game in Rajasthan’s Thar desert. The event, which has been named Gajraj-2011, will continue for three weeks.  The war-games will begin with Sukhoi-30s taking-off from Jodhpur airbase and bombarding ‘enemy’ targets in Thar. Fighter aircrafts from Jodhpur, Bikaner and Uttarlai airbases will take part in the exercise.  The South Western Air Command in Gandhinagar will supervise the war-games in which both Army and Air Force will participate. About 20,000 soldiers of Bhopal-based 21 Sudarshan Chakra corps will play an important role in the event.  Advanced Light Helicopter ‘Rudra’, developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will also be tested in the war-games. The helicopter, which has features like automatic flight system, is fitted with air-to-air and anti-tank missiles. 114 Rudra helicopters are soon expected to become a part of Indian defence forces.


http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/RAJ-OTC-indian-defence-forces-begin-centurys-biggest-war-game-in-rajasthan-2579296.html

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