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Sunday, 23 February 2014

From Today's Papers - 23 Feb 2014

 CRPF to go in for Rs 3,000-cr modernisation
Shaurya K Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 22
To augment the capabilities of the Central Reserve Police Force for counter-Maoist operations, the government has earmarked a budget of Rs 3,000 crore for its modernisation, which includes a plan to procure unmanned aerial vehicles.

The modernisation plan, which will be in place in the coming months, includes the procurement of latest weapons, technology and the installation of training facilities, which will give the force an edge over its adversaries.

CRPF Director General Dilip Trivedi said: “For over past two years, we had been working on a modernisation plan of Rs 3,000 crore. The plan, meant for the next five years, was sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs and it was approved by a Cabinet Committee on expenditure.”

As part of its modernisation, the CRPF is planning to procure UAVs designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The CRPF has shown interest in two UAVs, Rustom I and the wheeled version of Nishant, which have been designed by the DRDO.

“The trial for the UAVs is taking place. The problem now is that they do not have a smooth landing,” said the DG. He said the UAVs would be used in Chhattisgarh, which is a hotbed for Maoist activities. The CRPF, India’s largest central armed police force, is the main security force battling the Maoists in India’s “red corridor”.

DRDO officials said: “The problem with Nishant at present is that it lands using a parachute and takes about five to six hours relaunch. We are developing its wheeled version, which will take only an hour to take off after refuelling once it lands.”

Explaining some of the specifications of Nishant, the officials said it had a day and night camera and was meant for ‘battlefield’ reconnaissance and tracking of targets. The UAV is controlled from a ground control station. It spans across 6.64 metres, can fly for four hours and 30 minutes and can reach an altitude of 3.5 km. The Indian Army has already procured Nishant about six months ago.
Create security architecture with focus on Asia: NSA
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 22
Suggesting the creation of a security architecture in the region with Asian characteristics, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon envisioned it as a politico-military equivalent of the open inter-linked economic issues that have benefited the region.

Addressing the concluding session of the 16th Asian Security Conference organised at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses here, he said that in order to build the order, emphasis should be on the security essentials that have made the region’s phenomenal economic growth possible.

Articulating the thought, he said, “The commons -- on the high seas, in air space and in cyber space -- should be safe and open to all lawful civilian users. That is why maritime security and freedom of navigation is so important and should be one of the first orders of business,” the institute release said.

The NSA also described “openness about doctrines and defence, and increased military contacts” as prerequisites to blunt the edges of uncertainty. However, he said, confidence-building measures can only hold only till hard work was done to solve disputes by agreeing on a rule-based legal order.

Highlighting the reasons for escalating uncertainty in the Asia-Pacific, the NSA said that a reason could be that the region is “a crowded geopolitical space, with the active involvement of several established, rising or re-emerging powers in its affairs.” The simultaneous emergence of several powers has also built pressure for a new equilibrium.

Rapid economic growth in the past few decades has given several states in the region the means to militarily strengthen themselves. This is another factor that needs to be understood. “The Asia-Pacific as a whole is witnessing the greatest peacetime arms build-up in its history, possibly in world history,” he said.
Akash missile may be inducted into Army soon
HYDERABAD: The successful test-firing of the indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile (SAM) in Odisha on Friday has the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) brimming with confidence that it would be quickly inducted into the Army. With the aid of pilotless target aircraft, Lakshya, the Akash missile successfully intercepted a flying target. Senior officials from the defence ministry said Friday's test fire was more of a 'pre-induction trial'.

A senior official said the Air Force has got one version of Akash, but the Army is yet to follow suit. According to senior officials, the Defence Acquisition Council has already given the nod for a combined order of Akash missiles for IAF and Army, pegged at Rs 23,000 crore.

"There might be a few more tests, but from our side, Akash is ready for induction and production," said a DRDO official. The Hyderabad-based lab of DRDO, the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), is among the major contributors towards development of Akash.

DRDO started developing Akash in the 1980s in collaboration with at least 300 public and private companies, a significant chunk of which were from Andhra Pradesh. The missile is often evaluated against the American Patriot SAM but uses an integral ram jet rocket propulsion system in addition to being touted as being more accurate and cheap. Akash aims to replace the Russian 2K12 Kub missiles that are in service presently.

Developed indigenously under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme of India, Akash is an all weather area air defence weapon system for defending vulnerable areas against medium range air targets penetrating from various altitudes.

In addition to DRDL, other major contributors towards development of Akash include Chennai-based Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE), High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Research & Development Establishment (Engineers) and Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) of Pune.

Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) at Hyderabad has reportedly been assigned to produce missile systems, while Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bangalore is the nodal production agency. Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad, Larsen & Toubro, Mumbai and Tata Power Company Mumbai are other production partners.

What makes Akash lethal?

Battery Level Radar (BLR) can concurrently track up to 64 targets while simultaneously guiding eight missiles towards four targets at the same time.

Immunity to electronic countermeasure environment.

Akash can operate in a totally automated hands-free operation mode, from target detection to kill.

The supersonic surface-to-air missile has a range of about 25 km and can fly up to a speed of Mach 2.5.

With pre-fragmented warhead of 55 kg and safety arming mechanism, Akash boasts of high odds of kills while manoeuvring targets like cruise missiles, fighter aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Akash can neutralize multiple aerial targets attacking from several directions simultaneously.

It has a high flexibility of deployment as it can be launched from mobile as well as static platforms.

Akash is equipped with advanced battlefield management software for performing relative threat computation and pairing of targets and missiles.
Southern Army Commander of India meets Secretary Defence
Lieutenant General Ashok Singh, GOC-IN-C, Southern Army Command of the Indian Army paid a courtesy call on the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (21st Feb) at the Ministry premises.

During the meeting a cordial discussion was held between the Secretary Defence and the Southern Army Commander on matters of mutual interests and bilateral importance.

Mementos were also exchanged to mark the occasion.

High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mr Y.K.Sinha and Defence attach‚ were also present.
Army remembers 1999 Srinagar suicide attack martyr
Srinagar, Feb 22 (IANS) The Indian Army Saturday remembered its martyr who died in a November 1999 guerrilla suicide attack in Srinagar. His bust was unveiled in the Badami Bagh cantonment.

An army statement said: "Nov 3, 1999, terrorists carred out a suicide attack on the Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar. At that time, three journalists were present with ex-PRO (defence), Srinagar, late Major Pramod Purushottam, discussing media matters in his office.

"On hearing the sounds of firing and sensing trouble, Major Purushottam without caring for his personal safety, forced the three journalists to take cover in the bathroom attached to his office along with one of the unit personnel. The terrorists, firing indiscriminately, stormed their way into the PRO's office.

"Late Major Pramod Purushottam bravely fought the terrorists and made the supreme sacrifice while trying to save the lives of those locked in his office complex.

"As a recognition of his supreme sacrifice and as desired by the media fraternity, his bust was unveiled by Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh, GOC, Chinar Corps along with Sitanshu Kar, additional director general (media and communication), at a solemn ceremony in the cantonment."
Distrust with army was never comprehended: BJP
today voiced serious concern over comments of former DGMO Lt Gen A K Choudhary that there may have been "distrust" between the Army and the government in connection with movement of Army units near Delhi in 2012.
Senior party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said though the government lacks trust deficit in all sectors, the distrust with the army was never comprehended.

"The distrust between the government and the army is a matter of serious concern. Army protects the nation and assures to protects its citizen. If this type of reports come, it is a matter of serious concern," he told reporters outside Parliament.

"We need to correct it and we will correct it if we come to power", Prasad said.

Choudhary's comments have triggered a fresh controversy over the movement of army units close to Delhi in 2012.

"There was misconception or there was perceptional difference or there may be distrust," Choudhary said today after he was quoted in an interview, saying that the then Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had asked him to send the troops back as the government at the highest level was "worried" over this.

However, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon has dismissed the notion that there was distrust between the government and the army.

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, "BJP is proud of the apolitical link of Indian Army. We are proud of its ethics and morals. Therefore, we would not like to comment on reports based on statements of somebody who has just retired because we believe in our armed forces".

Javadekar said he has been a member of the Parliamentary Committee on defence and seen the armed forces in real sense for the last four years.

"Therefore, I can say that we should not make a sensational news out of something. I don't believe that Indian Army has anytime got politicised," he told reporters.

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