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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

From Today's Papers - 12 Feb 2014

 India, China to hold annual defence dialogue on Feb 24
Ashok Tuteja
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 11
Special Representatives (SRs) of India and China today concluded their 17th round of talks on the boundary question, agreeing to hold the annual defence dialogue on February 24 and take speedy steps to implement the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA), signed in October last year.

However, nothing concrete emerged from the two-day meeting between National Security Adviser (NSA) Shivshankar Menon and Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi. “The SRs continued their discussions on a framework for a resolution of the boundary question, the second of a three-step process earlier agreed to by both sides,” MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

The first of the three-step process on guiding principles for settling the border dispute was concluded in 2006. The third phase will be undertaken after the two sides mutually agree on a framework for a resolution of the dispute. The third phase will relate to demarcation of maps and delimitation on the ground. Asked if there was any timeline for concluding the second phase, the spokesperson said these were complex negotiations and, therefore, no timeline could be set.

China is keen to work with India to carry forward the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and opening up a path of peaceful and cooperative development. We have enhanced friendly exchanges and jointly worked for the mutual benefit of our two people. — Yang Jiechi, chinese state councillor
At Defexpo 2014, Many Displays, Few Announcements

NEW DELHI — Defexpo 2014, India’s biannual land, naval and homeland security exhibition, fell short of expectations since it saw no major teaming announcements between overseas and domestic companies.

Analysts expected a greater rush for such announcements in the quest to tap into India’s defense market, predicted at $150 billion over the next seven to 10 years.

The highlight of the exhibition was the display of homemade defense products, coinciding with the Indian Defence Ministry’s decision to prioritize indigenous companies during competitions.

As many as 624 companies from 30 countries participated in the exhibition. The major displays at Defexpo involved varieties of artillery programs. Eyeing the $6 billion artillery gun market, the star attraction was a display of homemade howitzers by domestic companies in tie-ups with overseas companies.

The overseas companies focused on a variety of air defense systems, which Indian defense forces need. On display was the upgraded homegrown Mark 2 model of the Arjun tank and the 155mm/45-caliber Dhanush gun, upgraded by state-owned Ordnance Factory Board on the chassis of Bofors 39-caliber guns bought in 1987.
Bharat Electronics

Bharat Electronics displayed subsystems developed for use in various C4I systems catering to the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. These included computing elements in various forms, including wrist-wearable computers, handheld computers, tablets and rugged laptops.

The systems also included communications equipment, such as software-defined radios with different variants and advanced interoperability communication systems.

Bharat Electronics recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Sagem Défense Sécurité in France to explore cooperation in the production and supply of navigational sensors such as periscopes, inertial navigational systems and optronic masts to the Indian Navy for its various vessels under consideration.

The Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation‘s (DRDO’s) only highlight was its network-centric warfare system developed for the Navy. DRDO also unveiled a 130mm self-propelled gun system, built based on the Arjun tank’s Mark 1 chassis.

BrahMos Aerospace, the joint venture between Russia and India, showcased a full-scale mockup of a new BrahMos-M missile, a smaller version of the supersonic missile. It will be installed on the Indian Air Force’s Su-30MKI fighter jet.

Hindustan Aeronautics displayed models of a multirole transport aircraft, light utility helicopter, light combat helicopter and the HTT-40 basic trainer, which has yet to receive developmental approval from the MoD. In addition, Hindustan Aeronautics displayed models of the multipurpose Dhruv advanced light helicopter, its intermediate trainer jet, the Su-30 fighter, the Dornier-228 and Hawk advanced trainer jet.
Tata Motors

With an eye on the Indian Army’s $10 billion infantry combat vehicle market, domestic automobile maker Tata Motors displayed a new wheeled armored amphibious platform and light armored multipurpose vehicles.

The wheeled armored vehicle, developed with DRDO, has interchangeable snap-in modules. The vehicle is integrated with the Raytheon-Lockheed Martin Javelin anti-tank guided-missile system.

Larsen & Toubro, which has tied up with Nexter of France, unveiled a new version of its Caesar 155mm mounted gun system. The French company teamed up with Indian companies L&T and Ashok Leyland Defence to offer a system fitted to Ashok Leyland’s six-wheel Super Stallion chassis.

The domestic Kalyani group, which has tied up with Elbit Systems of Israel, showcased its 130-155mm fully upgraded gun system.

Russia, with 37 companies, displayed more weapons than any other country. The highlight included the Tor M2KM air defense missile system, which can detect and process up to 48 targets. The Indian Army has a requirement of more than two regiments of short-range air defense systems.

The Russian ADS assault rifle, claimed to be the most modern in Russia, also was on display.

To equip its infantry troops, the 1.1 million-strong Indian Army is acquiring a variety of advanced arms and equipment at a cost of more than $3 billion. The project is in various stages of development and procurement, which includes buying assault rifles worth $800 million, for which a tender was floated in November 2011.

BAE Systems displayed its light 155mm/39-caliber towed howitzer and fully automated 127mm/54-caliber naval gun system. India requires light howitzers for its recently announced Mountain Corps to be deployed along the border with China, and the Army has decided to purchase 145 light howitzers from BAE’s US subsidiary.

Argon Electronics of the UK showcased its PlumeSIM and other simulators. Argon recently received a major order from India for a broad-range suite of chemical detectors.

Sagem of France displayed the Patroller tactical unmanned aerial system. Meant to tap the Indian homeland security market, the drone can carry out surveillance missions in restricted areas.

MBDA displayed its Mistral very-short-range air defense system, which is being offered to the Indian Army to replace its Russian-made Igla air defense system. MBDA also showcased the entire family of Exocet missiles, which included the surface, submarine and air-launched variants. The Exocet SM39 has been ordered for India’s Scorpene submarines.

Israel was represented by 21 companies, the third largest contingent after Russia and France.

Israel Aerospace Industries presented a wide range of strategic systems, including mission aircraft, a variety of UAVs, advanced radar systems, air defense systems and command-and-control gear for various theaters, including cyber.

Rafael displayed the Spike anti-tank guided munition, which is being considered for purchase by the Indian Army.

The Iron Dome short-range artillery system was also on display. In addition, the company displayed the Python-5, Derby and MiC4AD air defense missiles.
United States

Boeing, which has won Indian military tenders for attack and utility helicopters, displayed models of its C-17 Globemaster III strategic airlifter and P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft, both of which India has contracted to purchase.

It also displayed the Apache AH-64E attack helicopter, CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift transport helicopter, V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and UAVs such as the ScanEagle.

For the first time, Rockwell Collins displayed its next-generation Talon RT-8400 international software-defined radio, a patrol persistent surveillance system and its HeliSure family of products.

A Chinese delegation invited to the show did not show up.
Army may court martial secret unit soldier

New Delhi: A soldier of the controversial military intelligence unit set up under former Army chief Gen VK Singh may face a court martial after a Court of Inquiry indicted him on charges of trying to share secret information with an unknown person. The Army has told this to the Armed Forces Tribunal, which is hearing a case filed by Technical Support Division (TSD) Havildar Sham Das seeking bail after being under arrest for the past 20 months.

"The Court of Inquiry (CoI) has completed its proceedings and the competent authority has finalised the same and has directed disciplinary action against the applicant," the Army told the Tribunal. The disciplinary action may lead to his court martial also, Army officials said. The Army admitted that it had kept the soldier in its custody for over 20 months since June 8, 2012, but denied doing so "unauthorisedly". The soldier filed a petition before the AFT contending that his arrest was "most wrongful and arbitrary" on basis of false allegations levelled against him by officials of Department of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). The Havildar claimed he is being "implicated" on the charge of sharing classified information with some unknown person who was source of the DRI. The soldier has been facing a CoI since June 11 last year on charges of trying to sell classified information in a CD and a pen drive to some unknown person. In his plea filed through his counsel Maj SS Pandey, the soldier claimed that he was put under close arrest with "sole aim of putting him under undue pressure to confess to such allegation which were totally wrong and also to implicate others in the process". He claimed that during the CoI, it has come out that the CD was manipulated.
India, China to discuss incursions, hotline during defence talks
New Delh: India and China are expected to discuss incursions by PLA soldiers, which are continuing even after the signing of a new border pact, and setting up of a hotline between the two Armies during their Annual Defence Dialogue starting February 24.

During the sixth round of Defence Secretary-level talks here, the two countries are also expected to review the functioning of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) signed between them in October last year.

Defence Secretary Radha Krishna Mathur will hold discussions with his Chinese counterpart on various aspects of defence ties between the two countries which are expected to include incursions by PLA troops and apprehension of Indian nationals by them on few occasions last year, government sources told.

There have been several incursions by the Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control even after the two sides signed the BDCA last October.

India has been saying that though the pact does not guarantee bringing an end to these incursions, it has helped in resolving the disputes at a faster pace.

The proposal for setting up a hotline between the DGMO- levels officials of their Army headquarters is also expected to be discussed and finalised at the meeting, they said.

The Chinese side had earlier said it does not have a DGMO in its force and they will have to find another officer for the purpose.

The meeting, which will begin on February 24, is also expected to discuss the possibilities of holding next round of joint Army exercises between the two sides, they said.

However, the agenda for the meeting between the senior officials of the two sides is yet to be finalised officially, they said.

The two sides recently held their third round of joint exercises in Kunming after a gap of nearly five years.

During the BDCA signing, the two sides had agreed for having more exchanges between their officers and training institutions.

They are also exploring the possibility of having joint exercises between the air forces and the navies.

The two countries had put on hold their joint exercises after the Chinese side denied visa to the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen BS Jaswal in 2010.
9 Army personnel arrested for spying in last 3 yrs: Antony
New Delhi: Nine Army personnel have been arrested for spying against India for inimical intelligence agencies in the last three years, Defence Minister A K Antony informed Lok Sabha on Monday.

"Three cases of alleged spying have been reported during 2012 to 2014. Nine army personnel have been arrested in these cases and appropriate action has been initiated against the accused as per the law and laid down procedure in this regard," Antony said in written reply to a Lok Sabha query.

The Minister said after the arrest of these personnel, cases are at different stages in various civil and military courts.

"Some inimical intelligence agencies have been reported to be allegedly involved in the spying activities. Appropriate measures are concurrently in place to prevent such incidents," Antony said.

Answering another query, the Defence Minister said from 2011, 73 cadets belonging to the Army, Navy and IAF training academies have been invalidated due to injuries.

He clarified that there is no scheme to absorb these officers but an IAF Flight Cadet has been retained in service due to his "exceptional performance in previous stages of training".

To a query on shortages of officers and jawans in the three Services, the Minister said the three forces together are facing shortage of 12,372 officers and 39,839 jawans.

The highest shortfall is in the Army which is short of 9,590 officers and 22,841 jawans.
Saab, Kalyani Group Team Up For Indian Army Air Defence Projects

Saab and Kalyani Group are teaming up for Indian Army air defence projects, including the VSHORAD and SRSAM requirements.

The teaming combines Saab’s many decades as a leading developer and supplier of proven high-technology radar and missile systems, with the rich engineering and manufacturing capabilities of Kalyani.

The agreement was signed by Saab’s CEO and President Håkan Buskhe and Baba Kalyani, Chairman of the Kalyani Group during the Defexpo exhibition in India.

Baba Kalyani, Chairman of the Kalyani Group stated “this coming together of the Kalyani Group and Saab is a very important step in our journey to address the indigenisation efforts of the Indian defence sector. The partnership between the Kalyani group and Saab will leverage our strong innovation-based manufacturing capability, coupled with Saab’s technical expertise and leadership in air defence systems, to deliver state-of-the-art, world leading solutions to the Indian Army’s air defence programmes.”

Håkan Bushke, President and CEO of Saab again expressed his continuing support for India’s ambitions noting that, “Saab has made a long-term commitment to India and is keen to support India’s efforts to create an indigenous defence industry.

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