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Friday, 19 October 2012

From Today's Papers - 19 Oct 2012
Cabinet panel gives nod to Rs 6,000-cr plan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 18
India’s frontline fighter Sukhoi-30MKI is set to get a lethal edge with the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) tonight clearing a Rs 6,000-crore plan to acquire the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile, a joint Indo-Russian production, for the warplanes. The IAF will get 200 of these missiles.

The BrahMos, a supersonic missile with the capability of travelling at 2.8 mach, has already been inducted into the Indian Navy and the Indian Army.

Some modifications are needed to enable Sukhoi-30 carry the missile and deliver it. The missiles need some miniaturisation and Sukhoi-30 needs special under-the-wing pods to carry it.

Some of the fighter aircraft are being modified indigenously by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at its Nasik facility and fitted with an integrated aerial launcher developed by the BrahMos.

The first live test of the missile using a Sukhoi-30 is expected in December. Once inducted, the missile will complete a sort of triad of supersonic missiles available with India on land, in air and at sea. The IAF warplane will be able to hit a target 300 km away.

The Rs 6,000-crore outgo will involve purchase of BrahMos missiles, its integration onto the warplanes and testing, sources said.

Halwara, near Ludhiana, will be the second base of Sukhoi-30s in North India. The warplanes are currently based at Bareilly in western UP. The deployment of Sukhoi-30s at Halwara will complete in July 2013.

At a Defence Minister-level meeting between India and Russia on October 10, Russia’s Anatoly Serdyukov had said: “We are working on making 1,000 BrahMos missiles for India.”

Sources said the CCS also cleared a Rs 2,000-crore proposal to tide over the crippling shortage of tank ammunition.

The Invar Missile, which can be fired from the barrel of the T-90 tanks, has also been okayed. The Army had projected its demand for 20,000 Invar missiles at a cost of Rs 2,000 crore.

Under the Army proposal, 10,000 Invar missiles would be procured from Russian manufacturers whereas the remaining would be license-produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under the transfer of technology (ToT) agreement.

Fighting Brain fever

With Japanese encephalitis (brain fever) and acute encephalitis syndrome continuing to claim lives of children, the Cabinet cleared a Rs 4000 crore comprehensive proposal to address the problem on all fronts

pension hike

The Cabinet revised the norms and enhanced rates of pension for widows and persons with disabilities. As many as 76 lakh BPL widows and 11 lakh BPL persons with severe or multiple disability will get enhanced amount of central assistance of Rs 300 per month instead of Rs 200 earlier
Repeat of 1962 defeat impossible, says Antony
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 18
Defence Minister AK Antony today joined the growing tribe of optimists who believe it was impossible to have a repeat of the humiliating military defeat of 1962 Sino-India war.

Over the past four weeks, Army Chief General Bikram Singh and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne have assured the nation of the prowess of the armed forces. General Bikram Singh had said a repeat of 1962 was not possible while the IAF boss pointed out that the outcome of the 1962 war would have been different had the IAF warplanes been used.

Antony, talking to the media on the sidelines of the Navy Commanders Conference today, said, "India of 2012 is not the India of that (1962) period. We are now capable of defending every inch of our country." He was replying to a question on India vis-a-vis China 50 years after the 1962 war in which India had suffered a defeat.

Antony quickly added a caveat to his words by talking about the abysmal infrastructure saying "infrastructure in the North-East is not up to our satisfaction, but it has improved a lot as compared to the past". Earlier, India, as per its policy, had not focused on enhancing infrastructure in border areas of northeastern states fearing the road could be used by an ingressing army.

"Now we have moved very fast. Our infrastructure, assets and manpower have substantially improved," he added. He said India would continue to build infrastructure.
Secure the cyber frontier
Public-private partnership necessary

In the increasingly networked world of today, cyber security is a vital national need. It is indeed heartening that the government has taken steps to enrol the private sector as an ally in its battle to defend the nation from cyber attacks — both within and from outside.

The world over, governments and the private sector work together to patrol the increasingly chaotic cyber space, and it’s high time the Government of India did so too. The ‘Recommendations of Joint Working Group on Engagement With Private Sector On Cyber Security’ prepared by the government lays down the parameters on which both sectors can work together.

The government is reacting to the misuse of cyberspace facilities that had triggered the mass movement of people from the Northeast who were working or studying in other parts of the country. The government is doing well in setting up various groups and committees that will enable it to move swiftly as and when the need arises. However, fire-fighting is only one aspect of the problem. What is needed is to train personnel and build expertise. The nation needs to develop expertise in dealing with cyber security. Private enterprise will help cut the red tape, and add the necessary verve as well as cutting-edge technology/training needed to combat cyber threats. It has been estimated that India needs over five lakh cyber security professionals, something that is simply not available right now. To fulfil this need, cyber security needs to be immediately introduced in the academic curricula of professional colleges.

The government must also take effective steps in training the police and other law enforcement agencies in the various aspects of cyber security. Only then would they be equipped to deal with cyber-crime investigation and cyber forensics. A world of caution is in order here, as in any such endeavour: the government must ensure that the democratic rights of freedom of speech and privacy of the citizens are not violated. India is a leading provider of IT talent to the world; it needs to secure itself even as it continues to embrace cyberspace.
Tawang: Saga of Chinese advance and Indian retreart
Ajay Banerjee

Flaws in India's 'forward policy' of locating troops north of the disputed MacMahon line, were exposed in Kameng frontier division of Arunachal Pradesh. Within days of the attack, the well-prepared Chinese had overrun the Indian defences. Thousands of Indian Army soldiers and officers were killed, captured or wounded while some even shame-facedly took refuge in neighbouring Bhutan. Interspersed in this mayhem, some units showed flashes of military, bravado and tenacity. However, over all, the largely unhindered Chinese advance and India's retreat remains one of the saddest chapters in military history.

The debacle in the Kameng sector aptly illustrates the confusion and lack of planning. It was in August 1962 when the Chinese crossed the MacMahon line to counter the Indian moves and occupied the Thag La ridge north of Tawang. The lone Indian post at Dhola, created as part of the Forward Policy, was attacked. It signalled the Chinese were not averse to crossing the MacMahon Line -- a thing which they had not done since the 1914 Simla conference with the British and Tibetans.

The Indian leadership took a stand "Chinese must be evicted by force". The Eastern Army Command sent a message asking Indian troops "to engage Chinese patrols that came within the range of their weapons". Brig John Dalvi, Brigade Commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade, asked for logistics to support his troops. Eastern Army Commander, Lt Gen LP Sen, shared his opinion that eviction of the Chinese was not possible with existing logistics.

Brig Dalvi wanted logistics in place. The top echelons were keen to press ahead. The differences are aptly summed up by Maj Gen DK Palit in his well-documented book 'War in the Himalaya'. Palit, then the Director Military Operations, says "Senior commanders were ignorant of both the terrain and logistical difficulties." Bringing in supplies and ammunition was not easy. Only a jeep track existed only till Bomdilla located some 160 kms north of Tezpur in Assam, further north the journey was on foot and the mountains tracks were unsuitable for load carrying soldiers.

Indian troops had made a strong beginning on October 10 when the Chinese attacked Tseng Jong just north of the river Namkha Chu. A single company, about 120 men, from 9 Punjab, retaliated. Some 77 Chinese died (as reported by the Peking press at that time). The Punjabi's won three Mahavir Chakra (MVC) and two Vir Chakra (VrC). The Company Commander, Maj MS Chaudhary, died of wounds, his sepoy Kanshi Ram overpowered a Chinese with bare hands and snatched his automatic rifle. Despite a good start, the Punjabis were asked to withdraw from Tseng Jong. The Chinese stepped in and started probing around Tsangle and 'Bridge 5'.

indians under fire

At the first light of October 20 Chinese opened up a full attack all along the Namka Chu. Within the first few minutes Indian telephone lines broke down, leaving the units to act on their own. The Chinese had used the gaps in the Indian defences and occupied positions at the rear of the Indians, sandwiching them. Resultantly, an entire company of 2 Rajput was wiped out while the 1/9 Gorkha Rifles (GR) had been overrun within the first few hours. The enemy guns now turned towards "Tsangle" and "Bridge 5", while the Indian radio frequencies had been jammed so the gunners did not even get a signal from their superiors to fire.

The Rajputs suffered the worst. A total 282 of were killed. The 'History of the conflict with China' produced some thirty years after the war by the Historical Division of the Ministry of Defence, says "The unit fought a heroic battle, literally to the last round". All officers excepting Maj Gurdial Singh were killed. He led another charge, was taken prisoner of war (POW), and later awarded an MVC.

The Gorkhas, like the Rajputs, were also attacked from the rear. By then the 7 Infantry Brigade lost links with its units. Brig John Dalvi was taken prisoner on the afternoon of October 21 -- and entire Brigade had disintegrated. Elsewhere, the Chinese had attacked the Assam Rifles-held post at Khinzemane. A five-hour battle ensued following which Col Rattan Singh and 24 others were taken prisoner. Some miles away Second Lieutenant GVP Rao of Artillery was fighting a losing battle, Chinese had attacked in huge numbers. Rao and his men fought on till the last bullet. He died and got an MVC.

On the night of October 20, Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad, GOC, 4 Infantry Division, told his superiors that the Indian frontline had been wiped out. The next morning the Division's tactical headquarters was asked to withdraw from Zimithang and locate South, at Tawang. The Chinese broke up their force into two. One headed to Tawang and the other to get the Lumpo ridge vacated. Zimithang was taken over on the night of October 22-23 and Lumpo was under Chinese control by 9 am on October 23.

Elsewhere the Chinese targeted Bum-La before they entered Tawang, here the 1 Sikh covered itself in glory. Subedar Joginder Singh held back the invaders. With no ammunition left, Joginder Singh was asked to withdraw. He and his men responded by advancing with only the bayonets fixed to their guns. The Subedar was wounded and taken POW. He died in enemy custody. "Subedar Joginder Singh and his men mowed down the first wave, and the enemy was temporarily halted by the heavy losses it suffered. Within a few minutes, a second wave came over and was dealt with similarly", read the citation for the Param Vir Chakra - the highest war-time gallantry honour -- awarded to him. Another company of 1 Sikh led by Capt Haripal Kaushak stood firm. They "proved to be an iron curtain for the enemy", says the 'History of the Conflict with China'.

The Chinese had moved into Tawang unopposed on October 23. Lt Gen Sen, ordered withdrawal of troops to Bomdila located further south. Lt Gen BM Kaul was appointed the new IV Corps Commander on October 29 while Maj Gen AS Pathania replaced Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad as the GOC 4 Infantry Division.

Yet again the Chinese sneaked in south of the Se La pass and cut lines of communication of the 4 Infantry Division. Indian field units reporting rapid road construction and Chinese movement were admonished for 'exaggerated' reports about enemy movements. On November 17 the second attack commenced at Nuranang. The 4 Garhwal Rifles held positions with tenacity and won two MVC -- Lt Col BM Bhattacharjea and Rifleman Jaswant Singh, besides seven VrC. The 62 briagde had been withdrawn to south of the Se La. By now the Indians were virtually being pushed down the Himalayas with the Chinese in hot pursuit.

the lost advantage

Strangely the Indian side wanted to be north of Bomdila. Strategically, the Indians could have just dug themselves in at Bomdila located at 10,000 feet and stopped the enemy. South of Bomdilla was a steep downward gradient that led to the Assam plains. The Chinese had no means to transport its guns across Se La and their supply lines were getting affected. By now the Chinese were not pursuing the retreating Indian Army, the indication was they were regrouping, a tactic they used in the 1952 Korean war. Indians had taken defensive positions at Se La (14,600 feet), Dirang and Bomdila. At Dirang the 7 cavalry was holding fort with its Stuart tanks which deterred the Chinese. The task was to stop the advance on the Bomdilla-Dirang road. The 7 cavalry provided covering fire to the troops to extricate themselves. On November 18 Bomdila had fallen without much of fightback.

On November 23, the Chinese announced a ceasefire. The Rajputs, headed by Lt Col Bhramanand Avasthy, did not know of this and were retreating with 300 odd men when they came under attack. More than a hundred Chinese were killed and the entire lot of the Rajputs was wiped out at battle now known as the 'Last stand at Lha-Gyala Gompa'. Baring a lone shepherd not a single man survived to cite the valour of Lt Col Avasthi and his men, hence no battle honours. His daughter Neeharika Naidu, who was only nine years in 1962, says, "A shrine has come up at the place where people come and worship and pay homage to my father".

Maj Gen DK Palit writes in his book, War in the High Himalay "The civilians set the pace, but the Army went along, beguiled by the conviction that the Chinese would not call our bluff."

Such was the confusion that 2 Sikh Light Infantry was withdrawing when it met with the frontline defences of 1 Sikh who did not even known about the withdrawal. With communication lines snapped, 4 Sikh LI and a section of 7 Mahar MMG unit were left to fend for themselves. When attacked these two small units were butchered. Some of them managed to save themselves by escaping into Bhutan. It was decided to pull out of Bomdila. There was little the brigade commander could do. There were no mines and just a handful of troops to defend Bomdila, which the Chinese took over on November 18. Elsewhere the 62 Brigade commander Brig Hoshiar Singh was ambushed and killed on November 27. Such was the condition that on December 1 -- a good fortnight after the withdrawal -- some 2,291 ranks were still missing.
Rs. 8,000 crore cleared for BrahMos, Invar missiles
New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), the highest decision making body for security issues headed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, today cleared the acquisition of air-launched version of BrahMos missiles for the Russian-made Su-30 MKi air planes and Russian made Invar anti-tank missiles. The acquisition is estimated to cost the Indian exchequer Rs. 8000 crore.

Earlier, in March, 2012, in a letter to the Prime Minister and Defence Minister A K Antony, former Army Chief General V K Singh had highlighted severe shortfalls in ammunitions and missiles and had pointed out the Indian Army had tank ammunition for three-four days only.

Sources told NDTV that the CCS cleared the Rs. 6,000 crore plan to acquire the air-launched version of the BrahMos missile for India's main stay fighter plane Su-30 MKi.
BrahMos, a super-sonic missile that can travel at about 3 mach speed, is already being used by the Indian Navy and the Indian Army. It is a joint venture between India and Russia.

The Indian Air Force is expected to get about 200 of these missiles. Su-30 MKi will have to be modified to enable them to carry the air version of the BrahMos. In its current form only a single BrahMos can be fitted in the underbelly of the Su-30 MKi. There is, however, an effort to miniaturise the missiles and also modify the Sukhoi-30 under-the-wing-pods so that more than one missile can be fitted into a single aircraft. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is currently working on the modifications.

The first test launch of the air version of the BrahMos is expected to be conducted in December 2012. The BrahMos air version missiles will have range of about 290 kilometres and will enable the Indian Air Force to hit targets deep inside Pakistan while flying within Indian air space.

The CCS also cleared the acquisition of Invar anti-tank missiles for T-90 tanks at a total estimated cost of Rs. 2,000 crore to tide over crippling shortage of tank ammunition. The Invar Missile are fired from the barrel of the T-90 tanks. The Army wants about 20,000 Invar missiles. Source said that about 10,000 of these missiles would be brought from Russian whereas the remaining would be produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) under Transfer of Technology (ToT).
Armed forces to pitch for three new commands before PM

New Delhi, Oct 18 — India's armed forces will Friday make a joint pitch before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and members of the cabinet committee on security (CCS) on setting up three new commands to meet the threats to space assets and cyber infrastructure and for controlling commando operations.

The three new commands - special operations, aerospace and cyber security - will draw elements, assets and manpower from all the three services, as well as from other relevant government departments, a top commander said.

A presentation, laying out the modalities and feasibility of the separate formations for carrying out these specialist tasks, will be made when the commanders of the army, navy and air force meet with the prime minister and the CCS members at the combined commanders conference, the officer told IANS on condition of anonymity.

The proposals have been prepared by the Chiefs Of Staff Committee (COSC) headed by Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne. This followed threadbare discussions with the other two COSC members - Indian Army chief General Bikram Singh and Indian Navy chief Admiral D.K. Joshi.

Browne will take lead in making the presentation. There will also be deliberations on the proposals at the daylong conference, where the heads of the sword arms of the three services will also express their views.

The idea behind the three separate commands has evolved from a suggestion made by a task force on national security headed by former cabinet secretary Naresh Chandra which submitted its report earlier this year.

The report of the task force is currently being studied by all relevant departments of the government, including the three armed forces.

The three services are of the view that each of the three new commands should be headed by a three-star officer while they synergise efforts and assets in these key areas of security.

Their opinion is that a lieutenant general should head the special operations command, which will pool in the commando forces of the army, navy and air force in a single formation, while the aerospace command should be headed by an air marshal and the cyber command by a vice admiral.

The army has been the pioneer in India in operations by special forces, the air force is the first among the three services to create a space cell and the navy is the first to raise a dedicated cyber security cadre.

At present, the Indian armed forces have two joint tri-services commands - the Port Blair-based Andaman and Nicobar Command and the New Delhi-based Strategic Forces Command that handles all nuclear weapons assets. The chiefs of these two commands are drawn by rotation from the three services.

Through the chief of integrated defence staff (IDS), the heads of these commands report to the COSC, as will the heads of the three new formations.

The decision on the three new commands will rest with the government, though the tri-services commanders will impress upon the nation's top security leadership the necessity for such formations in the wake of threats and trends in these sectors.

The special operations command has been successfully implemented by the US armed forces. Also, China has separate formations in the People's Liberation Army in the field of cyber security to carry out both offensive and defensive operations against threats to the country's information technology infrastructure.

Both these nations already have highly advanced space security programmes. China had in early 2007 demonstrated its anti-satellite capability, raising concerns among all space-faring nations on the security of their assets in space.
Indian media, and not politicians, fanned hostility to China in 1960s
THE INTRODUCTION to the Henderson-Brooks report by Gen J.N. Choudhary, a former chief of the Indian army, exposes the failure of political leadership and the wrongly appointed army commanders that led to India’s defeat in the 1962 war with China.

It is claimed in the report that India had no shortage of arms and stores. But the report cannot deny that Indian soldiers without acclimatisation and adequate winter clothing were pushed into the mountain snows. Many researched and informative articles have been published in newspapers.

Recently Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne stated that the use of the Indian air force, proposed by the military and disallowed by the government, would have changed the course of the conflict. He is right.

(The Henderson Brooks report is an analysis (operations review) of the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Its authors, Lt Gen Henderson Brooks and Brig P. S. Bhagat, are former officers of the Indian army). The report has been kept classified by the Indian government because its contents “are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value”).

The report is said to be openly critical of the Indian political and military structure of the time, as well as of the execution of operations.

The Chinese media have dismissed these claims by asserting that their air force was much too powerful then. Indian commentators have echoed the Chinese view. It is wrong. At that time even the US view was that due to logistics, the terrain and poor refueling facilities, the Chinese air force would have been ineffective.

The strident criticism in Indian parliament by Acharya Kripalani, Minoo Masani, Atal Behari Vajpayee and others has been recalled by commentators as the reason that forced the government into ill-prepared hostility to China. Implicitly a chauvinistic opposition is blamed for the government’s follies.

What the writers have omitted is the fact that there was also a sustained demand by critics to purchase arms from the West for immediate need and not to persist with the plodding, time-consuming official policy of building self-reliance in armaments inspired by the Soviet model.

The opposition leaders were not leading the charge against the government’s China policy. It was the media. The opposition was too weak at that time. Mainly it was Sri Mulgaokar, Frank Moraes and, later, Prem Bhatia who led the charge. These editors were not inspired by the politicians. The politicians were led by them.

Mulgaokar was my editor. I was around 25 and had returned after a two-year stint in Britain, dividing my time there between journalism and dish-washing in cafes. I think a flavour of those times based purely on memory would not be out of order for critics today.

The truth is that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Defence Minister Krishna Menon were not only woefully ignorant about strategy, about realpolitik and security, but were also besotted with misplaced notions about the Soviet Union. Both were mentored by liberal Brits.

For years while Nehru foolishly kept chanting Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai (India and China are brothers), the Chinese were steadily preparing for war. Nehru’s advisers in Britain were as silly as their Indian protégés that included an entire Indian intellectual class conditioned by the British.

VILIFICATION OF CRITICS: Those who rightly criticised India’s China policy were in those Cold War days described as CIA agents. The Economist of London in its intelligence report, restrictedly distributed to subscribers, wrote that Mulgaokar who was leading the charge against the government’s blind spot on China was inspired by the CIA.

Mulgaokar wrote a sharp letter of protest to the weekly’s editor, Donald Tyerman. The latter wrote a profuse letter of apology which I read. In those days my brother Rakshat Puri, very recently deceased, was the India correspondent of London’s New Statesman and Nation, which was a Bible for Indian intellectuals. He wrote an expose about the road being clandestinely built by the Chinese in disputed border territory.

The Indian government was aware of course, but kept parliament and the nation in the dark. The New Statesman editorially echoed the Nehru-Menon approach. After the 1962 war, the weekly’s legendary Editor, Kingsley Martin, visited India. He was god to most Indian intellectuals. He visited the India Coffee House on Delhi’s Janpath and shared a chat with a few of us. As a brash youngster I hauled him over the coals. I asked him whether or not he owed an apology to those of us in India who had been warning of the catastrophe India would suffer and had been rubbished by the likes of him.

I think he was not used to such criticism, particularly from an Indian. He mumbled, hummed and hawed and could give no reply. That was the mood of that time.

Now it is galling to read about chauvinistic critics who pushed Nehru into the Sino-Indian conflict and no recognition is given to those who accurately foresaw the defeat.

The government’s silly approach on China provoked me to write an article in 1960, which as a whole-time cartoonist I did very infrequently those days, demanding Prime Minister Nehru’s resignation. I took the article to Mulgaokar of the Hindustan Times, where I was employed. Mulgaokar read it and said: “No, I can’t go as far as this!”

I guess it required a brash 25-year-old to say that the Emperor wore no clothes.

I subsequently had the article published in a small weekly, Thought, edited by Ram Singh. In that article I wrote: “This is therefore as good as a time as any for Nehru to resign from the prime ministership. Propriety demands it, wisdom counsels it and sympathy pleads for it.

Nehru should resign primarily because his China policy of high stakes has not succeeded. It has contained omissions which have facilitated an infringement of our sovereignty by the Chinese.

“This is no place to go into the whole depressing record of honest mistakes, dire circumstances, crass negligence and political naivete which has brought us to our present situation, where we have to sit round a table and argue with aggressors the legal validity of our claims matched against theirs on territory in their possession and control…that chunks of our territory were occupied by the Chinese and neither Parliament nor people were informed at Nehru’s sole instance, but instead led at that very time into the soporific bhai-bhainess of Panch Sheel, was an unpardonable lack of the sense of responsibility.

“The least that Nehru should offer, and the least that the nation should expect is his resignation… After Neville Chamberlain had appeased Hitler…Winston Churchill was entrusted the task of forging a policy to see Britain through the war…The moral applies to Nehru…Under no circumstances would the nation ask Nehru to resign. Nehru can resign only by a decision of his own making.”
Defence sector plans big ticket modernisation
With India embarking on a massive defence modernisation programme, orders worth `100,000 crore is expected to be placed during the 12th Five Year plan period.

Defence and Aerospace experts participating in a panel discussion on ‘Making India the ESDM hub focus on telecom, aerospace & defence and automobiles’ at the Bangalore on Wednesday said that with all the three armed and para-military forces set to procure latest weapons and military systems, abundant opportunities are in store for private companies.

Participating in the discussion Lt Gen AKS Chandele, former DG, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Indian Army said that orders worth `100,000 crore is expected to be placed during the 12th Five Year plan period (between 2012-2017) providing ample opportunities to the private companies.
He said that the Army will be embarking on big modernisation programme, which include acquiring tactical communication system, network centric warfare system, future infantry soldier as a system (F-INSAS) and procurement of radars, sensors and night vision devices.

He said the navy, apart from ordering about 40 vessels, will also be acquiring six diesel and nuclear submarines. Similarly the air force will be undertaking many upgrade and refurbishments.
NC Agarwal, chief executive officer of the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft Limited (MTAL), a joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia United Aircraft Corporation, said that many opportunities lay in the field of avionics. Apart from India developing its own aircraft, it will also be upgrading a significant number of its existing fleet. India’s First medium multi role combat aircraft (MMRCA) will roll out in four years.

Agarwal, who has been HAL’s Director (Design and Development), said the defence procurement process in India was very complicated, which led to delays in the armed forces getting the required product. Citing the example of Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) Hawk, he said that aircraft was inducted into the airforce 21 years after India began negotiations with BAE Systems.

On the 126 MMRCA programme, he said that though the request for proposal was put out to vendors in 2005 the contract has still not been finalised and that the first aircraft will manufactured in India in about four years from now.

As per the MMRCA programme, 18 aircraft will be provided in a flyaway condition by Dassault Aviation, the remaining 108 will be produced locally by HAL.
Karnataka MP builds engineering college on Army's firing range field
New Delhi: An MP from Karnataka has allegedly constructed an engineering college on a field firing range in Belgaum belonging to the army, which is already facing shortage of these practice fields for training its personnel. Sources said Angadi Institute of Technology and Management has not got 'No Objection Certificate' (NOC) from civil or military authorities.

Defence Minister AK Antony has also sent two letters to the MP who has been demanding de-notification of the firing range which is available with the army till 2020, they said. Belgaum is an important military base of the army and houses the Commando school and the regimental centre of the Maratha Light Infantry regiment.

About 10 years back, the Army had 104 ranges but the numbers have come down to 66 including 12 acquired and 54 notified ranges. Thirty-eight field firing ranges have been taken away from the army and re-notified in this period, they said.
The issue of shortage of these ranges also came up for discussion during the ongoing Army Commanders' Conference. There are ranges in the Kargil and Srinagar areas also where demands have come from the local representatives for denotifying them for public use, sources said. However, the Army has been able to get a new firing range in Rewa in Madhya Pradesh which will be ready for use in next few years.

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