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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

From Today's Papers - 30 Sep 2015

India vows more troops for UN peacekeeping missions
Prime Minister concludes his five-day tour asking UN to ensure greater role for India in decision-making process
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 29
India has underscored its enormous contribution as the largest provider to UN peacekeeping missions and promised to deploy additional forces for it. However, it regretted the absence of any role for such countries in the decision-making process.

Addressing the Summit on Peacekeeping held in New York on Monday on the 70th anniversary of the UN, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Today’s peacekeepers are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also to address a range of complex challenges. Mandates are ambitious; but, resources are often inadequate. Mandates sometimes make peacekeepers party to conflicts, putting at risk their lives and success of their missions. The problems arise to a large extent because troop-contributing countries do not have a role in the decision-making process. They do not have adequate representation in senior management and as force commanders”.

While thanking US President Barack Obama for hosting the summit, he said it was not just timely because of the anniversary but also because security environment was changing and demands on peacekeeping are growing while resources are harder to find. Modi suggested that peacekeeping missions should be deployed prudently, with full recognition of their limitations and in support of political solutions.

Over 180,000 Indian troops have participated in UN peacekeeping missions — more than from any other country. India has participated in 48 of the 69 UN peacekeeping missions so far. As many as 161 Indian peacekeepers have made the supreme sacrifice while serving in UN missions, the PM reminded the august gathering. India was the first country to contribute a female police unit to UN mission in Liberia and has been providing training to peacekeeping officers from a large number of countries.
Make in India: L&T outguns global rivals to bag Rs 5,000-crore Indian Army deal

NEW DELHI: India is finally set to get its own mobile howitzers that will reverse the longheld Pakistani battlefield edge on artillery guns.

The guns Pakistan have were supplied by the US ostensibly for the 'war on terror'. In a deal that would also fit the 'Make in India' mandate, domestic manufacturer Larsen and ToubroBSE 1.27 % has emerged as the finalist for a $750-million (about Rs 5,000 crore) contract to supply 100 self-propelled artillery guns to the Indian Army.

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Army Launches T700 Competition | Elbit Gets $70M Contract for Hermes 900 UAV | GSL Looking for Partner to Share $5B Contract

    The Army has launched external link its T700 engine replacement competition, with the program set to deliver 3,000 new helicopter engines after production begins in 2019. Two companies will be awarded development contracts for the new engine design, with GE Aviation and a Honeywell/Pratt & Whitney team appearing as the most likely candidates, although Turbomeca could also participate external link in the competition.

    Israel’s Elbit Systems has been awarded external link a $70 million contract by an undisclosed Latin American buyer for the Hermes 900 UAV system. The company was awarded a similar contract in June 2011 external link, also to an undisclosed customer in the region, with the Swiss parliament approving the $250 million acquisition of six Hermes 900 UAVs earlier this month external link.


    BAE Systems delivered external link the first serial production Archer artillery systems to the Swedish Armed Forces on Monday, following delivery of pre-serial systems in September 2013 external link and an initial batch of 24 Archers in 2007.

    Latvia will receive air defense radar systems through a $22.7 million contract external link awarded to ThalesRaytheonSystems. The Foreign Military Sales contract will see the company deliver its AN/MPQ-64F1 Improved Sentinel external link X-band, 3D radar systems, likely insurance against Russian attack helicopters recently based just across the border in Pskov external link. The country is also considering the procurement of man-portable Stinger MANPADS external link.

    A European Eurofighter operator has reportedly external link trialled the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Reccelite XR external link reconnaissance pod, unveiled in June external link. Airbus Defence & Space has also been marketing the Israeli company’s Litening 5 targeting pod, which is reported external link to have already been purchased by a European customer.

Asia & Pacific

    China could be constructing its first indigenous aircraft carrier, according to analysis released by Janes external link. The PLAN currently operates the Liaoning carrier, an ex-Ukrainian Navy Kuznetsov-class design. Satellite imagery appears to show a previously unknown hull under construction at the Dalian shipyard, where the Liaoning has previously undergone refits and maintenance work.

    US defense giants Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Textron have called on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to simplify external link the Indian Defense Ministry’s acquisition process. The notoriously slow and unreliable nature of Indian defense procurement isn’t limited to US contractors, with negotiations over the sale of 36 Rafale fighters still underway external link despite a significant amount of political pressure to get a deal signed since the intergovernmental agreement in April. The Indian government’s offset and taxation policies are also proving a headache for foreign firms despite an increase last year external link to Foreign Direct Investment limits.

    Meanwhile, state-owned Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) is reportedly external link searching for an international company to partner with for the manufacture of a dozen mine countermeasures vessels for the Indian Navy. An Expression of Interest has been sent to several companies, including two Russian shipyards, Lockheed Martin, Thyssenkrupp Marine and Navantia. GSL was awarded the $5 billion contract by the country’s Defence Ministry in March external link, following the scrapping of a contract for eight vessels with South Korea’s Kangnam Corp. in December 2014 external link. The company has also been sent an Expression of Interest, with the selected company slated to receive a contract valued at approximately $1 billion for the transfer of technology.

    French and US firms have also reportedly external link begun discussions with the Indian Defence Ministry over possible collaboration for the Indian Navy’s future fleet of six nuclear attack submarines, known as Project-75(I). The discussions are reported to have taken place in July, with the Indian Defence Ministry now in a position to select a NATO partner over Russian assistance in the project. The country’s government is also considering whether to lease another Akula-class boat from Russia, with the Indian Defence Acquisition Council approving the acquisition of six new submarines in October 2014
Leave it to the generals
The Dhirendra Singh Committee makes a controversial recommendation
How is it that, with the advent of the Narendra Modi government, there has been so little substantive change in India’s foreign and military policies? The short answer is that political leaders don’t decide either the direction or content of policies; it is the “permanent secretariat”, comprising senior civil servants, diplomats,and the military brass, that configures policies according to its bureaucratic lights. That’s because the elected political leaders have little interest in these areas and no clear ideas or, as in the case of Modi, believe in an “empowered” bureaucracy to conduct the business of state. Hence, the implementers of policy in the Indian system by default end up shaping policy and its contents. This is particularly conspicuous in the national security sphere.

Deciding which country (China or Pakistan, for instance) constitutes the main threat is a manifestly political decision, as is the sort of war the armed services should prepare to fight — “limited aims, short duration” conflicts or “total war for victory” — which, in turn, will determine whether it is a “war of manoeuvre” that will be prosecuted or “war of annihilation”. This will require the military only to orient itself to the designated threat and alight on the appropriate plans to achieve the politically desired strategic aim. But this policymaking role has been expropriated by the armed services. It is an arrangement that is now sought to be formalised. Surprisingly, there’s no fuss about it.

The committee of experts headed by former Home Secretary Dhirendra Singh, appointed to suggest amendments to the Defence Procurement Procedure 2013, submitted its report on July 23. It tried sneakily to legitimate the authority of the armed services to configure defence policy. The intention to remove the political leadership from the defence policy loop is stated upfront.

In the first paragraph of its lead chapter, the report asserts “that whereas primacy has to be accorded to policymakers in strategic planning… the balance of advantage needs to shift to the armed forces in the matter of the choice of the characteristics of defence systems and equipment based on user preference and tactical and operational doctrines”. It doesn’t explain why this should be so. Further, “strategic planning” is dismissed as a mere accounting of “domestic compulsions (including resource allocations) and international relations”, and the “political executive” is turfed out of the business of defining and grading threats and imposing the parameters of war by subsuming these seminal tasks under the rubric, curiously, of military “modernisation”.

“Modernisation”, the report claims, “is not merely induction of new types of equipment, but a mix of strategy and security perceptions and optimum use of hardware to achieve stated national objectives” before affirming plainly that “Services should lead the initiative for modernisation”. This is hugely muddled thinking, considering that the process of perceiving threats and alighting on strategy is based on national vision. With no vision document from the government to guide the defence forces and this entire policy field ceded by the political masters to the military as its professional domain, it is little wonder that the entire policy domain has been reduced to making hardware choices.

In the event, the government is supposed to merely meet the military’s needs already decided by the armed services. The report advises against disaggregated buys of equipment as financial resources may allow, recommending instead the purchase of armaments as a “total package” for full theatre-level warfighting capability, whether or not the country can afford it. In this respect, the document mentions not China, the principal challenge but, implicitly, the perennial punching bag, Pakistan, a “threat” that justifies the most capital-intensive, least-likely-to-be-used fighting assets: the massive armoured and mechanised forces constituting a powerful bureaucratic vested interest.

Such “total” packaging of acquisitions may not dent the Pakistan army in war, but the wrong military emphasis is guaranteed to leave the country vulnerable to China, and financially sink India. After rejecting the lead chapter of the report, only such parts of it ought to be accepted as relate to improving the defence procurement process and system — an ongoing national disaster.

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