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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

From Today's Papers - 22 Apr 2015


















http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/narcotics-seized-from-pak-boat/70669.html
Narcotics seized from Pak boat

Ahmedabad, April 21
A boat, which was seized about 250 nautical miles off the Porbandar coast in Gujarat yesterday with eight Pakistani nationals onboard, carried 232 kg narcotics, mainly heroin, worth Rs 600 crore. In the joint operation carried out by the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guards, all eight persons were also arrested. The seized goods included satellite phones, global positioning system, half a dozen cell phones and other goods. — TNS


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/pak-to-use-us-weapons-in-fight-against-india-not-jihadists-ex-envoy/70667.html
Pak to use US weapons in fight against India, not jihadists: Ex-envoy
Attack helicopters, missiles and other defence equipment, worth $1 billion, being sold to Pakistan by the US will end up being used in the fight against India instead of being deployed against jihadists.

This was stated by Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani.

Haqqani said, “The Obama administration’s decision to sell US-made attack helicopters, missiles and other equipment to Pakistan will fuel conflict in South Asia without fulfilling the objective of helping the country fight Islamist extremists.”

“Pakistan’s failure to tackle its jihadist challenge is not the result of lack of arms, but reflects an absence of will. Unless Pakistan changes its worldview, American weapons will end up being used to fight or menace India and perceived domestic enemies instead of being deployed against jihadists,” Haqqani wrote in the Wall Street Journal in the piece titled ‘Why are we sending this attack helicopter to Pakistan’.

He said given Pakistan’s past behaviour, it was likely that the 15 AH-1Z Viper helicopters and 1,000 Hellfire missiles as well as communications and training equipment would be used against secular insurgents in southwest Balochistan province and along the disputed border in Kashmir rather than against the jihadists in the northwest.

“Competition with India remains the overriding consideration in Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policies. By aiding Pakistan over the years — some $ 40 billion since 1950 - the US has fed Pakistan’s delusion of being India’s regional military equal. Seeking security against a much larger neighbour is a rational objective but seeking parity with it on a constant basis is not,” he said.

Haqqani said instead of selling more military equipment to Pakistan, US officials should convince Islamabad that its ambitions of rivaling India were “akin to Belgium trying to rival France or Germany.”

Drawing a comparison between the two South Asian nuclear-armed rivals, Haqqani said India’s population was six times as large as Pakistan’s while India’s economy was 10 times bigger, with India’s $2 trillion economy managing consistent growth whereas Pakistan’s $245 billion economy growing sporadically and undermined by jihadist terrorism. — PTI


http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/modernising-artillery-to-fight-future-wars/70414.html
Modernising artillery to fight future wars
Modernisation of artillery has been neglected for over two decades. This despite the lessons learnt during the Kargil conflict of 1999, in which artillery firepower had undeniably paved the way for victory.
AFTER a decade of neglect under the two UPA regimes, military modernisation appears to be picking up pace again under the new NDA government. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by interim Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, had approved projects worth Rs 80,000 crore in October 2014. The new Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, while chairing his maiden meeting of the DAC on November 22, 2014, cleared the long-pending proposal to acquire 814 truck-mounted guns of 155 mm/ 52-calibre for approximately Rs 15,750 crore. However, the approval merely amounted to “acceptance of necessity” (AON) — the first step in the acquisition process. It will be many years before the first few regiments are equipped with these guns.

Limitations of manoeuvre
Firepower and manoeuvre are generally considered the two complementary sides of the tactics coin. During future conventional conflict on the Indian Sub-continent, large-scale manoeuvre will not be possible in the mountains due to the restrictions imposed by the difficult terrain and in the plains against Pakistan due to the need to avoid escalation to nuclear levels. Hence, India's firepower capabilities need to be enhanced by an order of magnitude, especially in terms of Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs).  This will require substantial upgradation of the firepower capabilities of India's armed forces. Ground-based firepower resources comprising artillery guns, rockets and missiles and aerially-delivered firepower consisting of fighter-bomber aircraft and attack helicopters, both must be qualitatively as well as quantitatively augmented. Similarly, sea-to-land attack capabilities must also be enhanced.

Modernisation of the artillery has been neglected for over two decades, despite the lessons learnt during the Kargil conflict of 1999, in which artillery firepower had undeniably paved the way for victory. Approximately 400 pieces of the 155 mm/39-calibre FH-77B Bofors howitzers were acquired over 25 years ago. Though India paid for the designs, the guns were never manufactured locally as commissions were alleged to have been paid and Bofors brought down a government.

Since then, no new guns or howitzers have been introduced into service. The artillery is now equipped with obsolescent weapons and equipment like the 105 mm Indian Field Gun (IFG) that needs immediate replacement. The artillery also requires large quantities of precision guided munitions (PGMs) for the destruction of hard targets such as tanks and bunkers and a potent real-time reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition (RSTA) capability. And, in view of their performance in Afghanistan and Iraq, the time has come to add UCAVs armed with PGMs to the artillery's arsenal. Only then will it be possible to achieve future military objectives, including the destruction of the adversary's war machinery.

Large-scale overhaul
Under the army's Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan (FARP) formulated in 1999, the Regiment of Artillery had decided to standardise the calibre of its guns at 155 mm so as to ensure commonality of ammunition. The artillery plans to acquire a total of 2,820 guns of all types to replace obsolescent guns and to equip the new regiments that will form part of 17 Corps, the Mountain Strike Corps now under raising. The modernisation plan had been stymied by the blacklisting of some firms in the fray. One example is that of the project for the acquisition of 180 pieces of 155mm/52-caliber wheeled self-propelled (SP) guns.

The tender was cancelled after the trials were completed. The contenders included Rheinmetal Defence of Germany and Konstrukta of the Slovak Republic. Fresh tenders were issued and the proposals received are being reviewed. The primary contenders now are the Teckwin 'K-9 Thunder' of Samsung, South Korea and the Russian Rosoboronexport's tracked gun, which is an upgraded 155 mm version of the 152 mm MSTA-S SP Gun.

The single largest artillery acquisition will be of 1,580 pieces of towed 155 mm/52-calibre guns over a period of 12 to 15 years. Of these, 400 guns are to be imported and the remaining 1,180 produced in India with transfer of technology (ToT). Over the last eight to 10 years, several request for proposals that were floated for this project were cancelled due to the corrupt practices being followed by some companies. New tenders were floated for 155 mm/52-calibre long-range guns for the plains and trials have been underway since October 2013. Trials are also reported to be in progress for 100 pieces of self-propelled guns for the desert terrain. 180 pieces of 130 mm M46 Russian guns have been upgraded to 155mm/45-caliber with kits supplied by Soltam of Israel. The maximum range of the gun has gone up from 27.5 to 39 km. Another 300 guns are proposed to be upgraded in due course.

Taking to long to decide

The MoD is also considering the acquisition of 145 pieces of 155 mm/39-calibre M777 howitzers of the US-based MNC BAE Systems for the mountains through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route from the US in a government-to-government deal. However, the deal is reportedly stuck for want of agreement on the offsets obligations and upward revision in the price intimated to Congress by the US government from $647 million to $885 million.  Also, as India has taken too long to decide, some of the factories involved in the manufacture of various components of the M777 have begun to close down. If this acquisition falls through, the process will have to begin afresh.

Indigenous efforts to manufacture 155 mm howitzers include that by the Ordnance Factories Board to produce a 45-calibre 155 mm howitzer. This project was initially based on the designs for which Transfer of Technology (ToT) was obtained from Bofors in the 1980s, but has matured into an indigenous design during development.

Technical trials
The DAC approved a proposal from the OFB to manufacture 144 pieces of 155 mm/45-calibre howitzers with the option to acquire another 400 provided the prototypes successfully meet the army's GSQR in user trials. The prototype of the OFB gun is undergoing technical trials. Meanwhile, the DRDO has embarked on its own venture to design and develop a 155 mm howitzer in partnership with a private sector company. The acquisition of 814 truck-mounted guns that has been approved by the Defence Minister recently will be undertaken under the “buy and make in India” category with ToT. While the first 100 guns will be imported, the remaining 714 will be produced in India. The total project cost is estimated to be Rs 15,750 crore.

Several Indian companies are known to be interested in the indigenous design and development of modern artillery systems in conjunction with overseas partners. Bharat Forge (partner Elbit of Israel), Tata Power SED (Denel, South Africa) and L&T (Nexter, France) are likely to bid for this contract when the RfP is issued by the MoD.

Rocket launchers
Progress on the multi-barrel rocket launcher front has been better than that in the acquisition of tube artillery. A contract for the acquisition of two regiments of the 12-tube, 300 mm Smerch multi-barrel rocket launcher (MBRL) system with 90 km range was signed with Russia's Rosoboronexport in early-2006. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile (Mach 2.8 to 3.0), with a precision strike capability, very high kill energy and maximum range of 290 km, was inducted into the army in July 2007.

These terrain-hugging missiles are virtually immune to counter measures due to their high speed and very low radar cross section. The indigenously designed and manufactured Pinaka multi-barrel rocket system is likely to enter service in the near future. These three weapon systems together will provide a major boost to the artillery's ability to destroy key targets at long ranges. However, a surface-to-surface missile (SSM), with a range of 500-600 km, so that it can be fired from the plains on targets in Tibet, is the missing link in planning for a future war in the mountains.

Counter-bombardment capability
The counter-bombardment capability of the Army also needs to be upgraded. At least about 40 to 50 weapon-locating radars (WLRs) are required for effective counter-bombardment, especially in the plains, but only 12 AN-TPQ 37 Firefinder WLRs have been acquired from Raytheon, USA, under a 2002 contract worth US$200 million. Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited is reported to be assembling 28 WLRs.

These radars will be based primarily on indigenous components with very little import content and are likely to be approved for introduction into service after extensive trials that are ongoing. The radar is expected to match the capabilities of the Firefinder system and will have a detection range of about 40 km.

Artillery modernisation must be given a major boost so that the Army's firepower is enhanced quickly to the levels required to ensure victory on future battlefields. In conjunction with aerially delivered firepower, the artillery is the only combat arm that can cause degradation and destruction of the adversary's combat potential and ultimately break his will to fight.

Any further delay in the implementation of artillery modernisation plans will be extremely detrimental to national security interests. If the new projects that are now in the pipeline are pursued vigorously, artillery modernisation will once again begin to gather steam.


http://in.rbth.com/blogs/2015/04/20/why_the_brahmos_armed_sukhoi_is_bad_news_for_indias_enemies_42687.html

Why the BrahMos armed Sukhoi is bad news for India’s enemies
April 20, 2015 Rakesh Krishnan Simha        
By successfully modifying the Su-30MKI to carry the supersonic BrahMos missile, India has signalled its intent to strike with devastating force early on in a conflict.

India has signalled its intent to strike enemy targets with devastating force early on in a conflict.

In September 2010 India’s newly constituted tri-services Strategic Forces Command (SFC) submitted a proposal to the Defence Ministry for setting up two dedicated squadrons of aircraft comprising 40 Su-30MKI air dominance fighters. The task of this “mini air force” is to deliver nuclear weapons.

The picture became clearer in October 2012 when the Cabinet Committee on Security green lighted a programme to carry out structural and software modifications on 42 Su-30MKIs and acquire 216 air-launched BrahMos missiles. Until then, the BrahMos – the product of an India-Russia joint venture – was for exclusive use by the Navy.

In March 2015 the SFC received the first of these 42 Sukhois equipped with the air launched version of the supersonic BrahMos. This is the first time that the SFC, which at present depends on the Indian Air Force (IAF) for delivering nuclear weapons under its command, is acquiring its own aerial assets.
Currently, India’s nuclear delivery system is based on land-based ballistic missiles such as the Agni and Prithvi plus the IAF’s nuclear-capable Mirage 2000, Su-30 MKI and Jaguar fighter-bombers. The final element of the nuclear triad, submarine-launched missiles, is still being tested.

Individually, the Su-30 and BrahMos are powerful weapons. But when the world’s most capable fourth generation fighter is armed with a uniquely destructive cruise missile, together they are a dramatic force multiplier.

The BrahMos’ 3000 km per second speed – literally faster than a bullet – means it hits the target with a huge amount of kinetic energy. In tests, the BrahMos has often cut warships in half and reduced ground targets to smithereens. The Sukhoi’s blistering speed will add extra launch momentum to the missile, plus the aircraft’s ability to penetrate hardened air defences means there is a greater chance for the pilot to deliver the missile on to its designated targets.

Likely targets

Considering that India’s primary enemy is Pakistan and that country’s chief backer is China, against which India has fought two conflicts – losing in 1962 and winning in 1967 – these two countries are the obvious targets.

Against Pakistan, the targets are obvious. A two-squadron attack using most of the SFC’s air assets can within minutes utterly cripple the country’s command and control centres; nuclear power plants, including the Kahuta ‘Death Star’ where the majority of the “Islamic” bombs are manufactured; the Sargodha Central Ammunition Depot west of Lahore where these warheads are stored; ballistic missile bases in Gujranwala, Okara, Multan, Jhang and Dera Nawab Shah; Pakistani Army Corp headquarters in Rawalpindi; the Karachi Port, Pakistani’s only major harbour and its Naval HQ; and ordinance factories that manufacture tanks and fighter aircraft.
The supersonic BrahMos armed with a conventional warhead can theoretically penetrate hardened command, control and communication centres. However, there is no guarantee these targets will be 100 per cent destroyed unless the BrahMos is nuclear tipped. A pre-emptive nuclear strike will therefore ensure that Pakistan’s offensive capability is effectively neutralised and it is never again a threat to India.

Against China, the Sukhoi-BrahMos one-two punch seems counter-intuitive as Chinese targets are located deep inland or on the coast. However, the Su-30MKI has a maximum range of 3000 km (extendable to 8000 km with in-flight refuelling). Now add the BrahMos’s 300 km reach and India can hit targets 3300 km inside China.

Why the Sukhoi-BrahMos option?

The Su-30MKI is an obvious choice. The SFC does not want untested fighters but the ones which can be relied upon to deliver nuclear-tipped missiles. The aircraft has a titanium airframe strong enough to fly a high-speed terrain following profile. The batch of 42 Sukhois will also have hardened electronic circuitry to shield them from the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast.

Having a dedicated aircraft for the nuclear attack role offers India’s war planners strategic flexibility and increases the odds of success. Because ballistic missiles are used only as a weapon of last resort, they cannot really be deployed at will. Once released, they cannot be recalled and if shot down are not easily replaced. Fighter aircraft, on the other hand, can perform repeated sorties and be directed to bomb targets as they move. For instance, if Pakistan moves it warheads out of Sargodha depot, which is presumably under constant watch by Indian satellites, the Sukhois can be vectored against a column of Pakistani trucks transporting their nuclear cargo.

The SFC’s mini air force of 42 Sukhois can also launch their missiles against Pakistani targets from within Indian airspace or while flying over international waters, thereby complicating the enemy’s defences. It is a lot easier for India to destroy Pakistani war fighting capability because not only is Pakistan relatively smaller but it has also concentrated its defences in one province, Punjab.

Further developments

Because heavy modifications were necessary for integrating such a heavy missile onto the Su-30MKI, initially it seemed to make little sense to deploy a single missile. Aviation Week reports that initially even Sukhoi was reluctant to go along. That prompted HAL to go solo, but Aviation Week says Sukhoi came on board in 2011. The Russian side provided HAL with technical consultancy especially for the modifications to the fuselage in order to accommodate the 9-metre-long missile.

“Work is also underway on a modified lighter and smaller-diameter version of the BrahMos for deployment on the Indian navy's MiG-29K and, potentially, the Dassault Rafale,” says Aviation Week.

And signalling the country’s immunity from western sanctions, DRDO scientists say the 300 km cap on the missile’s range will be removed. The next generation BrahMos is likely to be a longer range weapon. And with the planned increased in speed, the missile will have considerably enhanced kinetic energy despite its smaller size optimised for relatively smaller aircraft such as the MiG-29.

That’s really bad news if you are in the Sukhoi-BrahMos crosshairs.


http://www.ndtv.com/opinion/indias-obsessive-spending-on-defence-756591
India's Obsessive Spending on Defence
(Phiroze Vasunia is Professor of Greek at University College London and the author, most recently, of  'The Classics and Colonial India' (Oxford, 2013).

Arms manufacturers of the world, rejoice. The government of India is your loyal friend. Not just this government, but the previous government too - the UPA as well as the NDA.

According to a study conducted by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India topped the list of weapons importers and accounted for some 15 per cent of worldwide arms imports from 2010 to 2014. Five of the 10 biggest arms importers in this period were in Asia, including China (5%), Pakistan (4%), South Korea 3%), and Singapore (3%). Imports are only part of the picture of the global arms industry, of course, and the countries that had the highest levels of military expenditure in 2014 were the USA, China, and Russia. India was placed seventh on that list, with spending at $50 billion or 2.4 per cent of GDP, an increase of 39% between 2005 and 2014.

Signs of the government's thirst for arms acquisitions were evident when Narendra Modi declared during his visit to France that India would purchase a number of Rafaele jets for roughly $4.3 billion. On the heels of that development came the disclosure that the US Secretary of Defence, Ashton Carter, would be flying in to New Delhi in May to close the sale of Apache and Chinook helicopters, worth some $2.5 billion. The figures are staggering, though not by the standards of military expenditure, and there will be other such announcements in the months and years ahead since India cannot manufacture the weapons that its leaders insist upon.

The current government wants to cut defence imports, but not reduce military spending. The Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, announced in his budget speech that defence spending would actually increase by 11% to Rs. 246,727 crore in 2015-2016.  The defence share accounts for almost 14% per cent of the overall central government budget for the year 2015-16. With so much to play for, it's no wonder that Anil Ambani said in March that he wanted to make Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering the nation's largest defence manufacturer. "This is a unique opportunity for Reliance Group to participate in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' programme for the high growth defence sector," he added, just in case the message had not come through. You may think of the military-industrial complex as an embarrassment, but for business tycoons it's an "opportunity" to embrace openly.

The question is: should India devote such a large part of its budget to the military? The issue is not only financial, but moral and political. While spending on defence increased, the budgetary allocation for health was reduced by 5.7 per cent to Rs. 33,152 crore. Would the money given to defence not be better spent on the development of public healthcare, education, affordable housing, and infrastructure projects? What's surprising is how little discussion there appears to be in the national media about these levels of defence spending. In fact, you're far more likely to read editorials claiming that the Indian army needs to spend crores on "modernization" and newer technology than articles arguing for a reduction of the military budget.  Modern hardware adds to the spectacle on Republic Day in front of guests such as Barack Obama (who presides over a country that has by far the largest military budget in the world), but perhaps it's time to set aside these archaic displays of military might and ask whether it's necessary to spend so lavishly on machines of death in the first place.

Increased levels of military spending have not made India a safer place to live. The greater the levels of militarization in the region, the more likely it is that countries will go to war with each other, as countless experts have pointed out. The more habitually the armed services are pressed into service within India's boundaries, the more often will they take the lives of Indian citizens. We do not need a government that is going to invade or bomb another country. Nor do I think we have one. What we need is a government that tries to engage in constructive dialogue with others, builds up links through political and cultural diplomacy, understands the reasons for dissent within India, and seeks to learn why people remain unequal and in poverty. You cannot bomb into submission Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka, Kashmiri insurgents, terrorists, and Maoists.

North America and western Europe are in no position to offer lessons to others on the subject of military spending, but defence spending actually fell in 2014 in these parts of the world. Italy cut its defence budget by 27% between 2005 and 2014, France by 3.2%. Even in the USA, military spending has decreased annually since 2011. In the UK, where a national election is scheduled to be held in early May, some political parties have openly called for an end to the continuous nuclear deterrent known as Trident, and the subject is fiercely debated in the public sphere. Both the incumbent, David Cameron, and the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, say they are committed to Trident, the replacement of which is likely to cost 15 billion pounds to 20 billion pounds and which the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament refers to as "immoral, potentially genocidal and strategically irrelevant". Yet, it is interesting that the UK figure of military spending in 2014 is a reduction of 5.5% in the period from 2005. Also significant is that both the Conservatives and Labour give evasive answers when they are pressed about the cuts they will make to the military after the election: their evasiveness on the issue means that cuts in defence spending are certain. It is almost assured that regardless of which party or coalition of parties comes into power after the election, Britain will not meet NATO's guidelines and will not commit to spending 2% or more on defence.

In the late fourth or early fifth century, Vegetius, a functionary in the Roman imperial bureaucracy, composed a treatise in Latin on military matters that became widely influential in the European Middle Ages and the Renaissance. His most famous sentiment, and the one that is quoted more often than anything else he wrote, is that those who want peace should prepare for war. The phrase is popularly rendered as "If you want peace, prepare for war" (si vis pacem, para bellum), and versions of this have been adapted as a slogan by military outfits all around the world from the Royal Navy, to battalions in the US Marine Corps, to training schools in South Africa. Yet, in its context, the statement by Vegetius reads more as a justification for his work than an exhortation to strategists and generals.

In relation to India and Pakistan, economists who seek an opening up of trading relations have reformulated Vegetius' phrase to say: "If you want peace, prepare for trade." 

How about the following? If you want peace, prepare for peace.


http://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/One-rank-One-pension-on-the-Anvil-Parrikar-to-Defence-Men/2015/04/21/article2774915.ece
One-rank, One-pension on the Anvil Parrikar to Defence Men


NEW DELHI: While highlighting key issues and challenges, both external and internal that has an impact on national security calculus, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday assured top Army Commanders that the much awaited One rank One pension scheme was on the anvil.

Inaugurating the biannual Army Commanders’ Conference here, Parrikar stressed on national security and capability development, reiterating that capacity building was a continuous process that must proceed apace and unabated. Congratulating the Army on having the most professional institutions in the country, Parrikar exhorted the exemplary leadership shown by the Army and complemented the way the force dealt with very difficult challenges, including the proxy war waged by Pakistan.

The week-long conclave will deliberate on major operational, human resources and logistic issues affecting the Army.

The conference is the highest level ‘Military Conference’ and is held to discuss the current internal and external strategic issues, review of operational preparedness of the Army and aspects pertaining to military technology and force modernisation. The Defence Minister also underscored the Army’s response  in dealing with Jammu & Kashmir floods.

Commanders’ Meet

Parrikar  asked the Indian Air Force (IAF) to focus on safety, and the conservation of available resources as he interacted with the top Commanders here. While talking to the Army  Commanders during the Army Commanders’ Conference, he emphasised on national security and capability-development, reiterating that capacity-building is a continuous process that must proceed apace and unabated.

His remarks come at a time when the IAF is flying with 34 Squadrons of fighter aircraft though the sanctioned strength is 42.

“The minister has been talking about how the Defence sector has been neglected over the last 10 years. Any remedial measure will take time,” Defence sources said, explaining what the minister had meant.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to France last week, he had announced that India will buy 36 Rafale jets in ‘fly away’ condition, to meet the operational requirements of the IAF. Parrikar said it will take at least two years for the aircraft to be inducted.



http://www.daijiworld.com/news/news_disp.asp?n_id=313488
Tatra Trucks back in action in India

Abu Dhabi, April 21 (IANS): Czeck company Tatra Trucks is back in business in India's military space, after the ban on it for alleged corruption was lifted by the government a couple of months ago.

Jiri Kasparek, the company's marketing manager, told India Strategic defence magazine (www.indiastrategic.in ) here recently that the company had signed an agreement with India's BEML in February for continued supplies and production support after the Indian ministry of defence lifted the ban imposed on it following allegations of a bribery attempt made by the then army chief in 2012. The company is now owned by Czeck investors, who bought back about 40 percent of its shares from a London-based Indian, Ravinder Rishi.

Rishi was a majority owner and vice chairman. But he had also set up a subsidiary for dealings with India's state-run BEML for supplying the heavy trucks and spares. Three years ago, the then army chief, Gen. V.K. Singh, had alleged that a retired lieutenant general - working for Rishi - had offered him a bribe to recommend about 800 trucks for the army.

All the three Services, Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, as well as DRDO and BrahMos, use Tatra's heavy trucks for strategic supplies and missile programmes. As transporters, the trucks are regarded as indispensable by the armed forces, which have
bought some 7,000 units over several decades.

Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar had also observed in February that the ban had to be lifted as many Indian defence programmes were stuck due to the unavailability of Tatra trucks and their spares. He had also said that a company should be banned very carefully as many a time, a ban only hurt Indian interests.

Tatra, named after mountains on the Czeck-Poland border, is the world's third oldest automotive company after Daimler (Germany) and Peugeot (France). It produced the first car in central Europe in 1897 and its heavy multi-wheel trucks with independent suspension for sharp turns are known all over the world. The company exports 80 percent of its production.

In its new post-Rishi avatar, the company displayed some of its trucks at the IDEX'15 defence exhibition here. Tatra trucks are in use in Saudi Arabia and reportedly also in Israel, which bought them through another country.

Tatra Trucks is now headed by Petr Rusek (chairman) and Radek Strouhai (vice chairman). There is a supervisory board with three members - René Matera, Marek Galvas and Jiri Krutilek.

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