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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

From Today's Papers - 19 Nov 2013

Gen VK Singh apologises to Supreme Court

New Delhi, November 18
Former Army Chief VK Singh today tendered an “unconditional apology” to the Supreme Court for making certain remarks on its order over age row, saying he had no intention to bring disrepute to the institution and judges, who are like “demigods”.

Singh, who was rapped by the court for “scandalising” the court and attributing motives to its verdict, said he had “highest respect” for the judiciary, particularly the apex court.

“I have the highest respect for the judiciary particularly this Hon'ble Court. Inspite of occasional criticism reported in isolated cases, I firmly believe the judges are Demigods compared to other departments of our public life.

“To attribute unworthy or illegitimate motives to the judges who dealt with my withdrawn petition on February 10, 2012 was far from my mind. I hold them in high respect and I hereby tender an unqualified apology,” said General Singh in his reply to the court. — PTI
 BrahMos variant clears Army test

New Delhi, November 18
The Army today successfully test-fired an advanced version of the 290-km range BrahMos supersonic cruise missile which penetrated and destroyed a "hardened target" in the Pokhran firing range in Rajasthan.

"The Block III variant of BrahMos with deep penetration capability is fitted with a new guidance system and the launch by the Army has successfully validated the deep penetration capability of the supersonic cruise missile system against hardened targets," BrahMos officials said here.

"The missile system was successfully test fired by the Indian Army at the Pokhran test range in Rajasthan at 1055 hours," they said.

The missile after launch "followed the predetermined trajectory and successfully pierced the designated concrete structure at bull’s eye owing to sheer velocity of the missile." The test-firing was witnessed by local Corps Commander Lt Gen Amit Sharma, who along with other senior officers congratulated the operational Army team for the successful launch. — PTI
 Naval challenges amid giant strides
India has miles to go before it can catch up with China
Harsh V. Pant

AFTER a long nine-year wait, India has finally taken possession of the 45,000-tonne, $2.3 billion Admiral Gorshkov, now renamed INS Vikramaditya, built in the final years of the Soviet Union and now India's largest ship. It is now being escorted by warships to India on a two-month voyage from Russia's northern coast and will reach the port of Karwar in January following which the Navy will operationalise it with the first landing of its MiG-29K aircraft.
Earlier this year in August, India became the fifth nation in the world with the capability to indigenously design and build its own aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. This launch was preceded with the announcement that the reactor in India's first indigenously built nuclear-powered submarine (SSBN), INS Arihant, has gone critical, marking a turning point in New Delhi's attempt to establish a nuclear triad. But the celebrations came to an abrupt end when two days after the launch of INS Vikrant, a tragedy followed as INS Sindhurakshak, one of the 10 kilo-class submarines that form the backbone of India's ageing conventional submarine force, sank with 18 crew members after explosions at the naval dockyard in Mumbai. Together these developments underscored the giant strides that India has made as well as the challenges that India faces in its attempts to emerge as a credible global naval power.

Indian naval expansion is being undertaken with an eye on China, and recent strides notwithstanding, India has nautical miles to go before it can catch up with its powerful neighbour, which has made some significant advances in the waters surrounding India. The launch of an aircraft carrier is seen as critical for the Indian Navy as it remains anxious to maintain its presence in the shipping lanes of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, especially in the light of China's massive naval build-up. China commissioned its aircraft carrier, Liaoning, last year which is a refurbished vessel purchased from Ukraine in 1998. It is also working on an indigenous carrier of its own even as it is eyeing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

India remains heavily dependent on imports to meet its defence requirements, so its recent successes are particularly important. But for all the euphoria, it will be five years until INS Vikrant can be commissioned by the Indian Navy and INS Arihant has yet to pass a series of sea trials. The Indian Navy wants to be a serious blue-water force and is working hard to achieve that goal. Indian naval planners have long argued that if it is to main continuous operational readiness in the Indian Ocean, protect sea lanes of communication in the Persian Gulf and monitor Chinese activities in the Bay of Bengal, it needs a minimum of three aircraft carriers and a fleet of five nuclear submarines. With Admiral Gorshkov likely to be operational by early next year and a second aircraft indigenous carrier in the wings, the Navy could be close to realising the dream of operating three carriers by the end of the decade.

But serious challenges remain as exemplified by the disaster of INS Sindhurakshak which has brought the focus back to the enduring problems of safety and reliability the Navy has been grappling with for decades. The Navy has a poor accident record with several mishaps in recent years. INS Sindhurakshak had been reintroduced to service only in April this year after a refit in Russia. The Navy has ordered a review of its submarines weapons safety systems after initial investigations showed arms on board the submarine may have played a role in its sinking. The latest accident comes at a time when even as the Navy's surface fleet expansion has been progressing well, the Indian submarime fleet is not only ageing but also depleting fast with the induction of new submarines not on track.

Despite the success of Vikrant and Arihant, India's indigenous defence production has been marred by serious technical and organisational problems, leading to significant delays in the development of key defence technologies and platforms. The Navy, much like the other two services, has found it difficult to translate its conceptual commitment to self-reliance and indigenisation into actionable policy, resulting in a perpetuation of reliance on external sources for naval modernisation. Yet India's reliance on its Navy to project power is only likely to increase in the coming years as naval build-up continues apace in the Indo-Pacific. Apart from China, other powers are also developing their naval might. Japan's commissioning of third helicopter carrier, the Izumo, has raised hackles in Beijing which has referred to it as an "aircraft carrier in disguise."

And in this regional context, India's naval engagement with East and Southeast Asian states is integral to its two-decade old 'Look East' policy. Countries ranging from the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia to Vietnam and Myanmar have been pushing India toward assuming a higher profile in the region. India is training Myanmar naval personnel and is building at least four offshore patrol vehicles in Indian shipyards to be used by Myanmar's Navy. The Indian Navy has not only been supplying spares to Hanoi for its Russian-origin ships and missile boats but has also extended a $100 million credit line to Vietnam for the purchase of patrol boats. Defence Minister A.K. Antony was in Australia, Thailand and Singapore recently forging closer naval ties even as New Delhi's naval relationship with major Western powers and the Gulf states is blossoming.

As a result, the Navy will remain an indispensable tool for furthering national foreign policy goals. But as resources dry up with a significant decline in the economic growth rate, Indian naval planners will have to think more carefully about balancing their ways, ends and means if India wants to emerge as serious naval power in the coming years.
 Using technology to strengthen guard
Modern technology will play an increasing role in the security calculus of a country. Internal security in these situations, when aspirations and expectations have been aroused, will be achieved only if India is successful in finding technology-based solutions.
Shivshankar Menon

Science and warfare have always been intimately connected. That technology is critical to war is now so widely recognised that military historians today define the ages of warfare by technological change rather than by the great generals or leaders associated with them. We now speak of the age of gunpowder, of industrial war, of the atomic age, and of modern war in the age of electronics or the age of systems.
This is not a new or post-industrial revolution phenomenon, though the pace of change has certainly accelerated in the last three centuries. The invention of the stirrup and the high saddle in Asia enabled cavalry to dominate the battlefield that belonged to infantry. The limitations of cavalry (it could not hold ground or reduce fortifications) meant that infantry continued in new roles. From the 12th century until the end of the 17th century, the proportion of cavalry to infantry in most successful armies was steady at around 1:2, until the musket, bayonet and flintlock increased infantry firepower, decimating cavalry.

That was only one of the changes that gunpowder brought to warfare. Once gunpowder could be used as a propellant for cannon balls breaking down castle walls, tactics and strategy changed. Combined with the logistics revolution that long-distance navigation, and soon the telegraph, mass production and railways made possible, we saw an age of industrial war by European nations against the non-industrial world from the 19th century onwards.

Examples of such change, of revolutions in military affairs as a result of the adoption of new technologies — gunpowder, navigation, radio, atomic energy, and electronics — are myriad and well known to military men, though not part of our science history curricula in schools and universities.

Each time a new technology arrives the human reaction has been very similar. There is a deep root for the many technology control and denial regimes that we see in the modern world. The interesting question, however, is why even identical implements and technologies have been understood and used in entirely different ways in the hands of different societies. Gunpowder was known and used in China from the 7th century onwards but was only harnessed to warfare effectively towards the end of the 14th century, first in West Europe and then by the Mughals and others, long before China did so. Steel was manufactured in blast furnaces in China around 800 AD, thereafter in India, and in Western Europe after 1300 but was effectively applied to the manufacture of weapons in the Levant and Europe, not East Asia. Clearly science and technology is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for enhanced military effectiveness.

The determining element was the human factor, the choices made by the elite responsible for military decisions. And those choices were guided by their social and cultural milieu, or from what we would now call their strategic culture. Strategic culture is the influence of our ideological and mental training and upbringing and the ways of thinking that we normally take for granted. It is not an easy idea for scientists who are trained to think of a universal scientific method, which produces reproducible results irrespective of the country, culture or gender of those who carry out an experiment.

Certain countries, say India and Russia for instance, consistently produce mathematicians of the highest quality. Why a generation of path-breaking nuclear physicists came from not just one country but one high school? While science itself is value neutral and culture free, technology, the choice of what to study, and how to apply science is not. It is the result of individual choices that reflect their milieu and upbringing.

It is that relationship between strategic culture and available technologies produced by science that determines not just the manner in which technologies are applied to war, but the changes in tactics, strategy and what the Russians call the operational art. Often this goes beyond the military to the nature of society itself.

Industrial war

The industrial revolution brought total war, an era of mass industrialised warfare where quantity was quality. The highly skilled German war machine was overwhelmed in WWII by the material superiority of its opponents. The industrial revolution also established the idea of military invention as a permanent and systematic feature of modern war, not just the invention of new weapons which has happened through the ages. The difference was the sustained conduct of military research with state support to take advantage of rapid technological change. As a result, the relationship between the state and industry, and between the state and research, became increasingly close. From the 1940s until the seventies military, R&D led rather than followed the ideas of industry in critical sectors like electronics and aerospace. If not for this, computers would have come some 12-15 years later, as also the first integrated circuits which led to the information revolution. The Internet was first conceived in the sixties as a "post apocalyptic command grid" — as a means of maintaining strategic military communication in the event of a surprise nuclear attack.

Information and communications

Many recent technologies that have carried forward the information and communications technology revolution (ICT) and its military applications are the result of private research and entrepreneurship, of small science, unlike the Cold War pattern of military led and state organised or conducted research. Today the role of the state in new areas has shrunk to being a facilitator and provider of funds. The products of many of the new technologies are made in what would have been called handicraft industry in the past, not the large military industrial complex.

The ICT revolution has brought power into the hands of small groups and individuals, and made the state's control over its physical borders irrelevant while creating a whole new domain for contention in cyber space. The state's legal monopoly of violence has been exposed and the new information and communication technologies promote alternative forms of war. By enabling and empowering individual communications and small group operations, these technologies make guerrilla warfare and sub-conventional conflict more likely, as also the use of asymmetry and deception, and conflict at the lower end of the spectrum of violence.

When attacks in cyber space are close to the speed of light, conventional deterrence can barely operate. Cyber space is a borderless, anonymous and anarchic domain, where it is hard to ascribe an origin or source to attacks and other malicious activities.

The other new domain of contention that science has created is outer space which is increasingly being used for military purposes.

Technology and security

Technology has changed the way we define security. We cannot consider national security without considering cyber security, and we look increasingly to technology for solutions to internal security issues. If we have had some success in intelligence-based counter-terrorism operations recently, it is due in part to a combination of technological methods, including data fusion, with traditional intelligence trade craft.

As we urbanise our societies, technology becomes ever more important to policing and law and order. Half the world's population now lives in cities. India too is rapidly moving in that direction. Internal security in these situations, when aspirations and expectations have been aroused, will be achieved only if we are successful in finding technology-based solutions.

Besides, in the borderless world that ICT has created, we have no choice but to benchmark our domestic security efforts and institutions to international standards. It is time to think about India's technology security. This would involve not just our possession of and access to technology, but also our ability to innovate, generate technology, and more important, to use it and apply it in creative ways to the solution of our problems.

In one sense, military and security technology is evolving towards India's strengths. The question is how we can best organise ourselves to exploit these opportunities. If we are to produce technologies and outcomes that national security requires, the traditional ways in which we have organised our scientific effort will need to change, or at least be considerably supplemented. We need much stronger links between scientists and the services, and we need to break down the vertical silos in which we work today.

The possible changes in war from the use of new materials, genetics, or nanotechnology are mind boggling. India is fortunate in having a cohort of world-class scientists and governments supportive of scientific research.

Indian science and technology will make its contribution to the defence and security of the country.

Excerpt from a lecture on "Science and technology" by the National Security Adviser at the Indian Academy of Science on November 9.

Nuclear revolution

Equation changes: The creation of nuclear weapons brought into being weapons of such unimaginable power that they changed the way in which we thought of war. The atomic military revolution required the development of a doctrine and a force capable of using technology in a new and unexpected way. The power of these weapons made war between the superpowers irrational under all but the most extreme circumstances.
Paradoxical: The main purpose of the military establishment was to win wars, but after nuclear weapons, it was to prevent them. This was to be done through deterrence, by threatening unacceptable damage upon an enemy who might attempt to win a nuclear exchange. In order to prevent the use of N-weapons, the adversary had to be convinced of the certainty of their use against him.

Deterrence theory: The development of deterrence theory, different from earlier versions of dissuasion or coercion, and its ramifications, including game theory and other refinements, was a result of the development of these weapons. Since deterrence is sensitive to technological change, it sustained military R&D efforts right through the Cold War.

The challenges: There were problems with reliance on deterrence. What if a possessor of N-weapons did not understand that these weapons were not meant for use? Fortunately, these weapons were the product of big science, requiring heavy capital investments and large and complex facilities. They were therefore in the hands of states and it has been possible to deal with the proliferation of these weapons through inter-state mechanisms like the IAEA and NPT.

How gunpowder changed it

The invention of the stirrup and high saddle in Asia enabled cavalry to dominate the battlefield. Limitations of cavalry meant that infantry continued in new roles.

From the 12th century until the end of the 17th century the proportion of cavalry to infantry in most successful armies was steady, until the musket, bayonet and flintlock increased infantry firepower, decimating cavalry.

Once gunpowder could be used as a propellant for cannon balls breaking down castle walls, tactics changed. Combined with the logistics revolution that long-distance navigation, and soon the telegraph, mass production and railways made possible, we saw an age of industrial war by European nations against the non-industrial world from the 19th century.
Israel to Aid India's Future Soldier Effort

NEW DELHI — Israel will collaborate in producing high-tech systems for Indian soldiers, tapping a potential US $3 billion market.

Israel will team with India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to produce a variety of systems related to command and control, battlefield management, sensors and weapons, according to a proposal that was finalized last month.

An Indian Army official said the Indian Futuristic Infantry Soldier As a System (F-INSAS) program “aims to utilize advanced technologies to enhance capabilities of an individual soldier.” F-INSAS “is based on lessons from conflicts worldwide and intends to make the Indian soldier a self-contained fighting machine,” the official said.

DRDO and Israel have agreed to jointly develop portable command-and-control (C2) systems for Indian soldiers. The system will have an encrypted computer and a monitor able to operate in harsh Indian weather. The system will be connected with the Indian Army’s battlefield management system, a network-centric warfare project under development, said another Indian Army source.

The economic model of the arrangement between DRDO and Israel is unclear, but an Indian Army source said the C2 system must be able to grow over the years to accommodate 1.1 million Indian troops.

In addition, DRDO is teaming up with Israel for joint development of an advanced mobile observation system for infantry soldiers that will operate through a radio frequency sensor, allowing a soldier to remain at a distance while observing and recording a target.

DRDO has also submitted a proposal to the Indian Defence Ministry to develop an advanced personal network radio able to integrate voice; command, control, communications and intelligence applications; and GPS signals. The system will be connected to long-range radio networks to provide unprecedented operational range. This system will be developed with Israeli help.

To meet Army requirements, DRDO is also developing a multi-caliber individual weapon system and an air bursting grenade for individual weapons.

Other equipment to be procured includes advanced anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers, bulletproof vehicles, anti-materiel rifles, new generation carbines, battle surveillance radars, thermal imaging sights for ATGM launchers, ground sensors, secured communication systems, precision guided ammunition and laser rangefinders.
India Unveils Shorter-Range Pragati

NEW DELHI — India will replace its tactical ballistic missile Prithvi-1 with a shorter-range missile, the Pragati, which was displayed for the first time at the KINTEX Seoul defense show, Indian Army sources said.

Unlike the Prithvi-I, which is propelled by liquid fuel, the Pragati is a solid-fuel missile with a shorter range of between 70 and 170 kilometers. It helps fill the gap created by the delay in the purchase of 155mm/52 caliber guns, said the Army source.

The Army had been demanding a solid-fueled missile in place of the Prithvi-I missile since its induction in 1994. The Prithvi-I was cumbersome to move, maintain and deploy, the source added.

Capable of firing in a salvo, Pragati can be launched within two to three minutes of preparation time, a much quicker reaction than the Prithvi-I, which requires at least half an hour. The Prithvi-I missile still can be used for longer-range engagement, the source said.

The vehicle-mounted Pragati will fill the firing gap between the homegrown Pinaka multibarrel rocket launcher, with a range of 40 kilometers, and the Prithvi-I missile with a range of 150 kilometers, the source said.

Comparing the missile to the Lockheed Martin Army Tactical Missile System, a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said they developed the Pragati in response to the Nasr short-range missile produced by Pakistan.

Admitting that the Army needs short-range missiles, the DRDO scientist said the Prithvi has advanced guidance systems and has been tested several times. Its variants are inducted in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force, claimed the DRDO scientist.

The scientist, however, would not comment on Pragati’s ability to carry a nuclear warhead. Pakistan has claimed that its Nasr short-range missile can carry a nuclear weapon.

Mahindra Singh, a retired Army brigadier general, said the military would be able to strike more targets with greater accuracy with the Pragati rather than depending on the less accurate Prithvi, which would require a greater amount of explosives.
'India can't treat Saurabh Kalia's torture as war crime'
The Indian government has clarified its stand that it will not treat Indian Army Capt. Saurabh Kalia's torture by the Pakistan Army in 1999 during the Kargil conflict as a war crime, counsel said Monday.

India has filed its response in the case in the Supreme Court, saying it has no intention of taking up the issue under the Geneva Convention.

"The government in its reply says it's bound by some agreement (Simla Agreement of 1972), so it can't treat Saurabh Kalia's case as a war crime," martyr's family counsel Arvind Sharma, who is based in Delhi, told IANS over telephone.

He said the case has been listed for hearing Tuesday before an apex court bench headed by Justice R.M. Lodha.

The Supreme Court heard the petition of Capt. Saurabh's father N.K. Kalia Dec 14, 2012.

The apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Anil R. Dave issued notice to the central government on a plea for direction that his torture by the Pakistan Army be referred to the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Counsel Sharma told the court that the victim's family approached the defence ministry seeking that the matter be referred to the ICJ as Kalia's treatment, after being captured, violated the international convention on the treatment of prisoners of war.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony in a reply to Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar's letter said in October 2013 "India is committed to settle differences with Pakistan by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations," N.K. Kalia told IANS.

Kalia, 63, retired as a senior scientist from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

The letter, forwarded by Chandrasekhar to Kalia, says: "The matter (killing of Capt. Saurabh) has been examined in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)."

"It's informed by the MEA that they have raised the issue appropriately in the international fora under the Simla Agreement with Pakistan. India is committed to settle differences with Pakistan by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations. Therefore, the matter has not been dealt with under the Geneva Convention," said Antony's letter dated Oct 3, 2013.

Chandrasekhar, who wrote a letter to the minister of external affairs, with a copy to the prime minister and the defence minister, Dec 6, 2011, asked the MEA to "take up the matter with the United Nations Human Rights Council to declare this as a war crime and move the International Court of Justice".

Capt. Saurabh, of the 4 Jat Regiment, was the first army officer to report the incursion by the Pakistan Army on the Indian soil in Kargil region.

He and five soldiers - Arjun Ram, Bhanwar Lal Bagaria, Bhika Ram, Moola Ram and Naresh Singh - were on patrol of the Bajrang Post in the Kaksar sector of Jammu and Kashmir when they were taken captive by the Pakistani Army troops May 15, 1999.

They were tortured for weeks before being killed. Their mutilated bodies were handed over to the Indian authorities June 9.
Braving odds India Army Major scales Everest twice in a year
Achievements don't usually get overlooked, but more often than not, we don't get to know about them.

Something similar happened when an Indian Army soldier climbed Mt. Everest twice in one year, breaking through the cocoon of limitations.

Surmounting difficulties has become second nature to Major Ranveer Singh Jamwal (VSM). He climbed Mt. Everest on May 25, 2012 and on May 19, 2013, giving him the distinction of summiting Everest twice within twelve months.

An innocent boy from the non-descript village of Badhori in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba District, Jamwal joined the army as a sepoy, and acquired the motivation to break all shackles of human spirit to test his every limit.

The army helped him to become a commissioned officer and his achievement of summiting Mt. Everest twice within a year, has won him the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in August this year.

But, how many of us have even heard of his name?

Jamwal's ever smiling face and the pleasant demeanor infects everyone interacting with him. He prides himself and his service, and this can be seen as soon as he starts speaking.

Fondly called Jammy, Jamwal said: "I am a typical soldier of the Indian Army, who is ready to give his best in everything I am asked to do. Whatever achievements I have in my name today, are the result of our army and my seniors."

"They were there to not only to guide me, but also in the true esprit de corps, everyone was there to help me to excel," he adds.

Life has been a constant test of grit and resolve for Jamwal. He always dreamt of joining the army. His father-Onkar Singh - is a retired soldier and Jamwal said he learnt the dignity of hard work from the former. He sees his father as his role model.

His motto is "stop thinking in terms of limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities".

Today, Jamwal is a proud officer of the Jat regiment. He began his journey as an ordinary jawan in the Dogra regiment, which he calls his nursery.

The officers of the Dogra regiment guided him to clear his officer examination (Army Cadets College) in four years. He joined the Indian Military Academy in 1998 and was commissioned into the Jat regiment as an officer in June 2002.

Always inclined towards sports, his joining a voluntary course in mountaineering at High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS), Gulmarg, proved to be the catalyst for future glory.

He was adjudged the best student and was posted back to the HAWS as an instructor. From there, he was sent to Switzerland to do a course in search and rescue in mountains. He ended up being rated the best student.

While talking about the kind of support he got, Major Jamwal said: "Can you imagine every person in my regiment used to be aware of my every step forward, and, it was because they all wanted me to do well."

His family, which includes his father, mother, younger brother, wife and two kids, has been a constant source of motivation.

"Every award and recognition is actually shared by my family," he says.

His wife, Kiran, says: "Since my first day of marriage, I had sensed his dedication and devotion towards his work, and thus, I decided to help him to give his best."

This officer has also climbed peaks in Europe, Africa and South America.

Because of his selfless devotion and fearless leadership, Jamwal was given the Vishisht Sewa Medal in 2013.

He has been actively involved in various rescue expeditions in Kashmir and the Garhwal Himalayas.

The Government of Nepal has also acknowledged this feat by awarding him the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee appreciation certificate.

Jammu and Kashmir MLA Surjit Singh Slathia, who represents the constituency from to which Major Jamwal hails says, "We are proud of his achievements. He has brought laurels to our country and to Jammu and Kashmir." (ANI)
'Integration, joint planning needed to bolster national security'
India arms, with little rationale. Growing affluence has led to advanced weapons purchases, with defence spending tripling over the decade and a slew of contracts in the wake — the MRCA fighter aircraft, C-17 transport planes, attack helicopters, aircraft carriers and leased nuclear submarines.
However, there is little doctrinal and strategic sense behind this purported modernisation. Purchases are conducted, while pursuing a Sisyphean dream of indigenisation. Delays, with ensuing corruption charges, blow a hole in our national security.

A default policy of strategic restraint is pursued, keeping quiet and lying low. Despite border transgressions, this policy keeps us out of regional alliances, branding us as a soft state, enabling ad hoc defence procurement. Insurgencies, whether in Kashmir or the Northeast, remain our primary official threat, with the Naxalites as a close second.

Our increasingly dangerous neighbourhood, with religious radicalism and regional competition, reduces our geopolitical space. Strong institutional reform, promoting integration, joint planning and networked capabilities, is required. An assertive defence policy will help increase freedom of action and enable India’s rise.

India cannot seem to project real power. Our policy making institutions are fragmented, with civilian leadership prioritised over coordination efficiency.

Dysfunctional institutional relationships and inter-service rivalries are stymieing integration. Lacking an integrated national security doctrine, the Army plans for a two-front war and operationalising the Cold Start doctrine. The Air Force plans for an offensive strategic air campaign, with the MRCA contract. The Navy builds carrier task forces and expeditionary warfare capabilities. Ninety per cent of the ministry of defence’s joint secretaries focus mostly on procurement, leaving little for planning.

Misalignment of resources and tactics leads to negligible inter-service cooperation while maintaining civilian control, minimising costs, slowly indigenising and utilising inappropriate forces for domestic security threats. This institutional dysfunction must change, with an empowered chief of defence staff appointed, and lateral recruitment from the IAS, foreign service and ministry of finance encouraged, bolstering in-house expertise. Our defence culture should change, from stressing disengagement, avoiding confrontation and a defensive mindset to one that promotes integration and proactively manages threats and opportunities.

With little planning, our procurement is expensive, distracted by payment/offset issues and corruption scandals. Any defence acquisition goes through three ministries. The DRDO’s privileged role as a bidder and evaluator ensures veto power over imports, delaying procurement until marked research failures. There are few exports, with no credible advanced weapons manufacturing base. Military wages should attain parity with civilians, recognising their hardships.

Our outdated ordnance factories need professionalisation, with joint ventures with private firms encouraged. Defence exports should be promoted, in order to increase scale and foster innovation. Our defence acquisition planning must be cognisant of long term military trends and threat perceptions. The offset process needs definition, with relevant trade-offs offered — ‘a more offset the better’ will not be suffice.

The DRDO has been a muted failure, with few deployed weapon system successes, with significant gains made primarily in the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (Prithvi, Agni et al) and white elephants (the LCA, Arjun) scattered around. Poor planning, over-optimistic timelines and lack of coordination, along with unionisation ensures cost and time overruns. The DRDO should be trimmed to a manageable size, spinning off its numerous laboratories, allowing it to focus on areas of competence, with public audit of major projects, and encouraging private participation in defence R&D.

The Army lies in a bind. With multiple mandates, it focuses on counterinsurgency, while preparing for a two-front war, maintaining peace-keeping and disaster recovery capabilities. Cold Start, with integrated battle groups, rebuilds it as a networked agile force. This increasing armoured mobility needs to be matched by purchases of helicopters, tanks and howitzers, battlespace management systems and networked units (F-INSAS systems). Its emphasis on manoeuvre and initiative will require significant cultural change, cantonment system reforms and a flatter hierarchy.

A meritorious culture has to be promoted, with greater recruitment from the rural masses, along with more officer training academies, to address officer shortage, with promotions linked to both seniority and merit. Lateral recruitment from the National Cadet Corps and ancillaries and opportunities for junior commissioned officers (JCOs) ought to be encouraged. It must break out of this statist posture.

Attrition dwindles India’s Air Force. Confined fundamentally to air defence, the MiG’s growing obsolescence reduces its combative power, increasing dependence on foreign imports and higher variability in its aircraft mix — a logistical nightmare. Offensive air operations should be given equal priority with air defence, with force multipliers like aerial refuelling, electronic warfare and space asset integration.

Close air support integration with the army requires implementation, particularly on a doctrinal and tactical level. Underrated capabilities in airlift and aerial reconnaissance should be bolstered, providing greater expeditionary and humanitarian support and real-time intelligence, particularly through the timely purchase and development of UAVs and military satellites.

India’s navy stagnates, with a rusty underwater fleet. The delayed operationalisation of INS Arihant and with Sagarika, the ballistic missile, still not deployed, the nuclear triad dream is pushed into the medium term. While expeditionary capabilities have been built, particularly with two carrier task forces, underwater deterrence has been neglected, with the Scorpene delays leaving India with few submarines to matter.

The Navy should have a larger budget to meet the growing maritime trade and coastal security requirements. Long-range reconnaissance systems could be purchased, to keep trading lanes open and terrorist threats at bay. In-house submarine building capabilities can be revived with a new line established. It should be built as India’s true strategic force, with nuclear submarines armed with ballistic missiles.

India’s rise requires a build-up of strength. Its professional armed forces have little influence on policy — this must change. Strong institutional reform, promoting joint doctrines, integrated services and better policy-making in line with clearly enunciated strategic national goals, must be enacted. Neglect and dysfunction left us bereft once; the same must not be repeated.

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