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Tuesday, 10 May 2016

From Today's Papers - 10 May 2016

Fund crunch delays IAF’s purchase plan
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 9
While contacts for two additional airborne warning and control systems (AWACS) and a replacement of the C-130 that crashed are expected to be signed this fiscal, some key IAF procurements such as fighter aircraft, aerial refullers, and helicopters, and upgrade projects are likely to roll over to the next year due to paucity of funds.

Parliament’s Standing Committee of Defence, in its latest report, has listed out 10 contracts worth over Rs 6,728 crore that are unlikely to be signed this year. This includes procurement of 56 new aircraft to replace the ageing Avro transporter, 48 medium-lift helicopters, six mid-air refuelling tankers, 20 Hawk advance jet trainers and 38 Pilatus basic trainers.

The Indian Air Force’s wait for the much-needed KA-226 reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters, long-range surface-to-air missiles, engines for the Jaguar fighter, electronic warfare suite for the MiG 29 and avionics upgrade for IL-76/78 has also lengthened.

For the Rafale fighter jets, the procurement of which has been hanging for about a decade, a separate proposal will be moved for additional funds in 2016-17 to procure the 36 aircraft after details regarding cost and delivery timelines are finalised, the committee observed.

Among the eight contracts, valued at Rs 2,039 crore, that would hopefully be signed this year are AWACS, a C-130 special missions aircraft, 14 Akash anti-aircraft missile units, upgrade for medium helicopters, precision-guided munitions, recce pods for Su-30, armament suite for Dhruvs and radio sets.

This fiscal, the IAF is facing a shortfall of Rs 7,748 crore in its capital budget and of Rs 2,769 crore in revenue budget. The shortfall in capital allocations will slow down modernisation, delay induction of important capabilities, erode IAF’s superiority and result in asymmetry in capability with respect to envisaged threat perception and flight safety

The lower revenue allocation will impact procurement of spares and fuel, affect serviceability, and lead to shortfall in training, resulting in compromise of operational preparedness and expenditure for disaster relief operations.
Defence Panel Raps Govt for Indian Army’s ‘Vintage Equipment’

A parliamentary panel has expressed concern over “large-scale vintage equipment” with the Indian Army and pulled up the government on the tardy modernisation of the armed forces.

The parliamentary standing committee on defence, headed by Major General BC Khanduri (retd) of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in a report tabled in the two houses or Parliament said:

The government, in its response to the panel’s query on defence preparedness, said that the “ideal mix” of state-of-the-art, current and vintage weapons and equipment was 30:40:30 and efforts were made to achieve this.
The committee, however, termed the response “bureaucratic in nature”, adding that it “does not convey anything about specific action taken or proposed.”
The panel added that it found the response to be of a “routine nature” and that “it appears that the ministry has tried to conceal the information”.
Pulling up the government, the panel said the facts relating to issues like,
The panel noted that though the government has taken a number of steps, the shortage of officers is “perennial”.
Indian Military Modernization: Growing Dust
If we don’t make a dollar but we change the world in a meaningful way... the returns are going to be the exhaust of that." Ashton Kutcher

Among all the imminent actions the recent meeting of Parrikar and US secretary of defense with their rapid and uneven defense procurement is something new in the box. This visit is seen very closely in certain quarters by neighboring countries because of their continuous military modernization and nuclear arms procurement stimulates massive and growing impacts-creating unrest in Asia in the past and may do so in future as well.

This new found access to boost defense ties seems to be a welcoming effort to this unending race of achieving massive military assets. The problem, however, is the Indian long haunted increase in defence spending which threatens to upset and upsurge the delicate military balance.

With expanded India/US defense relationship with co-production of US defense system in India, if ever there was a question about Indian continuous hike to 6.3 percent in defense spending every year, suffice for any volatile situation. Accelerating at a fast-track, where these deepening ties between New Delhi and Washington also allowed both partners to commerce a civil nuclear deal where former is a non-signatory to NPT, which is not a stable geometry for region.

These classifications validate that being the largest buyer for conventional weaponry, it has plans to develop and modernize its defense forces. Even as regional tensions continue to mount, these new developments and allocations would enable their forces to move forward in the direction of their fresh acquisition that still thought of themselves as the lost decade of defense modernization surrendering crores.

Following a cross-border attack, it is prudent to turn back the pages where a raid was taken out by Indian forces in Myanmar on July 2015, an actual operation by paramilitary and army Special Forces. It hardly can be over-ruled where same tactics can be used against neighbouring countries like Pakistan following the induction of proactive strategies like Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) which is a tactics under wrap.

CSD to my knowledge is more about inflicting as much damage as one can to enemies forces and infrastructure within no time. It is more or less like a hit and run tactics giving no time to enemy to react. So keeping in mind the manifold forces of Indian army as compared to Pakistan, it poses serious security threats to Pakistan besides increasing the arms race which enables Pakistan to reserve the rights to defend itself in every possible manner.

Cautiously, to understand Indian military mindset which is reflected in retired Indian military officer named Rathor’s interview through igniting rhetoric which stated, “We will strike when we want to.”

Compounded with varying difficulties, Pakistan being a developing country has restricted possessions to counter the growing challenges of geo-strategic, political, social, economic, environmental and technological changes.

Consequently, keeping in mind all the developments that India has in its pockets, the induction of Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW’s) by Pakistan-- a concern exaggerated by different analysts and strategic theorists which in real terms is acknowledged by Pakistan to chalk out triggering conflicts and proactive strategies inducted by Indian forces. So the core challenges run much deeper than what the prevailing strategic environment has forced Pakistan to balance the strategic equilibrium in the region.

Referring to the development of TNW’s, our outstanding disputes and conflicts, our history of trust deficit, Indian continued advancements of conventional and nuclear capabilities has forced Pakistan to act in a way which can brush out all their options to inflict any damage to us.

In relation to this, the remarkable increase in Indian defense budget is another danger to this mix which is set to hike on $40billion comparing neighboring country Pakistan’s basic and military budget devoted at a tail ratio of roughly $7billion. Therefore, such advancement by Indian counterparts i.e. rudimentary defense spending is the basic foundation of apprehensions in the region.

Talking of criticalities, their nuclear ‘shopping spree’ is also a major catalyst for the region to be chained in arms race among neighbours. This new dawn of Modi’s modification has set the stage for which the international community must be concerned. As this all modification is on its way to fetter the region in fright of war and nuclear apocalypse alike First World War

In a similar vein, their determination to lease second nuclear submarine from Russia is also a cause of concern for vertical proliferation infers that global challenges and threats would now require new approaches. Russia being state party to START is also violating both the treaty obligations of START and NPT. These fleshy developments continuously in nuclear and strategic weapon domain are not merely an issue for the whole Asian region but will keep lurking the common security of all nations.

It seems that the adage international treaties and norms are constantly adjusting to the dynamic diplomatic relations that states have to manipulate where relations are now transformed to mutual suspicions of militarism machinery.

To further pursue the hegemonic designs to be a leader in the region the Modi government relaxes norms for foreign direct investment in its civilian and defense industry which will create India’s military industrial complex. This all implies moving towards the dangerous weaponization of Indian society where companies like TATA is engaged in collaborating Indian aerospace and defense manufacturing and potential integrated systems development opportunities, including unmanned aerial vehicles creating a neo-military complex in India. This can fuel long term cross border conflicts to sell the weapons they will make where spread of nuclear weapons to more states will be an obnoxious risk to global security.

Lastly, spending crores would further escalate existing disputes making South Asia a more trouble spot with high cost and increased threat of strategic volatility. The broader lesson would be to set a precedent where peace can flourish because the greater spending in military modernization could escalate into a nuclear war very quickly.

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