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Friday, 10 June 2016

From Today's Papers - 10 Jun 2016

Not without Pak, China builds wall
Most NSG members positive to India entry; Beijing spoiler
Vienna, June 9
China is leading opposition to a push by the United States and other major powers for India to join the main club of countries controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology, diplomats said on Thursday as the group discussed India’s membership bid.

Other countries opposing Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) include New Zealand, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa and Austria, diplomats said.

The 48-nation NSG aims to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons by restricting the sale of items that can be used to make those arms.

India already enjoys most of the benefits of membership under a 2008 exemption to NSG rules granted to support its nuclear cooperation deal with Washington, even though India has developed atomic weapons and never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the main global arms control pact.

Opponents argue that granting it membership would further undermine efforts to prevent proliferation. It would also infuriate Pakistan, which responded to India’s membership bid with one of its own and has the backing of close ally China.

“Bringing India on board is a slap on the face of the entire non-proliferation regime,” a diplomatic source from one of a handful of countries resisting India’s push said on condition of anonymity.

A decision on the Indian membership is not expected before an NSG plenary meeting in Seoul on June 20, but diplomats said Washington had been pressuring hold-outs, and Thursday’s closed-door meeting was a chance to see how strong the opposition is. US Secretary of State John Kerry wrote to members asking them “not to block consensus on Indian admission to the NSG”.

China, however, showed no sign of backing down from its opposition to India joining unless Pakistan becomes a member. That would be unacceptable to many, given Pakistan’s track record — the father of its nuclear weapons programme sold nuclear secrets to countries, including North Korea and Iran.

Most of the hold-outs oppose the idea of admitting a non-NPT state such as India and argue that if it is to be admitted, it should be under criteria that apply equally to all states rather than under a “tailor-made” solution for a US ally.

India still positive
“It's an ongoing process but most countries appear positive,” said diplomatic sources in New Delhi. India has asserted that being a signatory to the NPT was not essential for joining the NSG, citing the precedent of France. The NSG works under the principle of consensus and even one country's vote against India will scuttle its bid.  — Reuters/PTI

Mexico, meanwhile, too backs India’s bid

NEW DELHI: In what is likely to strengthen India’s case for an entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, Mexico on Thursday said it would support India’s membership into the elite grouping. The statement of support was made by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the country.

The PM’s five-nation tour, which concluded with Mexico, saw the NSG agenda on top, with Modi pushing for support as India’s application comes up for consideration. Switzerland and the United States have already committed to supporting India. Mexico and Switzerland were initially not a part of the PM’s itinerary but were added specifically for the NSG agenda. TNS
Security up at Pathankot air base
‘Shoot at sight’ orders issued; flag march in 20 villages near Zero Line
Ravi Dhaliwal

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, June 9
Security was beefed up today and “shoot at sight” orders issued at the Pathankot air base, spread over 16 square km, on Intelligence inputs.

  Several posters have been put up on the boundary wall of the air base, warning that anybody found intruding into the security zone will be shot dead. Sources said the security agencies had received “credible intelligence inputs” that necessitated tightening of the security net.

“We have got some inputs and want to follow these up. We cannot take chances. The security at the air base was upped when Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited it on June 4. Ever since, the vigil has not been downgraded; rather, it has been beefed up. The vigil has also been intensified in 20 villages near the Zero Line. A flag march was conducted by the Army, BSF and police to instil confidence among the people. We are also keeping an eye on the Gujjars (shepherds) living near the border as their links with terrorists cannot be ruled out,” said an officer.

SSP Rakesh Kaushal said the flag march was a routine affair. “I requested the Army and the BSF to help us sanitise the area. Fifteen vehicles were pressed into service and these covered 20 ‘most sensitive’ villages. The operation was handled by SP (Operations) HP Sharma, who has been posted at the Narot Jaimal Singh police station for day-to-day surveillance along the border. His job is to coordinate with the BSF, Army, Intelligence and the J&K Police,” he said.

“Under normal circumstances,” an Army officer said, “whenever any suspicious person tries to enter the premises, he is challenged  before being fired at. Now, the intruders will not be challenged. They will be shot dead.”

On January 2, terrorists  entered the air base and shot dead seven security personnel before NSG sharpshooters gunned them down.
Keep people’s faith, Lt-Gen Saini tells cadets
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, June 9
Lt-Gen SK Saini, Commandant, Indian Military Academy (IMA), today complimented all Gentlemen Cadets (GCs) for an immaculate turnout and excellent drill movements, which indicated a high level of motivation, pride and cohesion achieved by them during their pre-commissioning training. He said the people of the nation had shown faith in them and they should keep their trust.

He was addressing the GCs of the passing-out course after reviewing the Commandant’s Parade for the spring term held in front of Chetwode Hall at the IMA here. The Commandant’s Parade marked the culmination of the training of 565 Indian and 45 foreign Gentlemen Cadets from six friendly countries.

Lt-Gen Saini congratulated everyone for being about to successfully completing training. He said the Indian Army is one of the most outstanding institutions in the country. He said the GCs had made the wisest and the most honourable choice by joining the Army irrespective of the hardships that they would have to endure. He honoured meritorious GCs by presenting them with swords during the Commandant’s Parade.

Lt-Gen Saini encouraged the GCs to put in their very best for the final passing-out parade scheduled for June 11. A large number of schoolchildren from Dehradun and neighbouring cities, local residents and Army personnel with their friends and families witnessed the parade.
“With good teamwork between R&D, Industry and the Army, we will ‘win Indian Wars with Indian Solutions” : DCOAS, Lt Gen Subrata Saha
After heading the Kashmir valley based 15 Corps till last year, Lt Gen Subrata Saha, UYSM, YSM, VSM** presently as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Planning and Systems) along with his team of officers has been interacting closely with the defence industry in line with the larget objective of `Modernization of the Army through Indigenisation’ and the importance of Defence in the ‘Make in India’ initiative. got the second opportunity to interact exclusively with Lt Gen Subrata Saha, the first being just before the Defence Expo 2016 in March.

This free-wheeling interaction comes after Gen Saha and his senior team of officials has had some half a dozen interactions with the Industry under the bilateral forum of Army-Industry interactions and the first the tri-lateral forum discussion that involved the academia for the first time.

While the Army-Industry Meets are guided by industry associations like FICCI, CII and PHDCCI, the Academia led discussions involves the IITs and the NITs across India. The first of this tri-lateral interaction took place on May 28th in Mumbai and the second is to be held in Chennai on June 27 followed by IIT Gandhinagar on July 22.

With more such interactions to be steered by Lt Gen Saha and his team, we bring to you the exclusive excerpts of the interview with the DCOAS.


Q: Indian Army has started regular interactions with the industry, helping them understand the requirements of the Army in the context of the new DPP. What would be the next step from here?

The aim of these Army-Industry interactions at regional hubs is to help the industry understand the modernisation requirements of the Indian Army, as also for the Army to discover capabilities available in the Indian industry.   This is in keeping with the Chief of the Army Staff’s objective of `Modernization of the Army through Indigenisation’ and the importance of Defence in the ‘Make in India’ initiative as envisaged by the Honorable Prime Minister

There is enormous talent that exists in isolated islands of excellence within the country.  Technological and industrial hubs have evolved in specific domains in different parts of the country. The technologies are niche and many Indian companies are already part of the global supply chain. This outreach is aimed at harnessing this capability and establishing a vibrant user-producer partnership.

For a meaningful impetus to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, all the stakeholders, i.e. Army, DRDO, DPSUs and the Private Defence Industry will need to play a significant role in achieving Force Modernization through Indigenous Solutions.

The next logical step would therefore be to expand the scope into a longer time horizon, i.e. ‘Army – Industry – Academia’ interactions.

Accordingly some specific seminars on Force Protection, Artillery systems, UAV and so on have been conducted.

These are intended to be taken forwarded. The idea being to  graduate beyond the relationship of a buyer-seller, to a relationship that is driven by mutual understanding of requirements, exchange of ideas and total synergy towards determining game changing solutions.

Q: So how was your first interaction in Mumbai with the involvement of Academia.

In Mumbai, we had the first of its kind engagement where we put across a broad range of statement of problems that need solutions for modernisation of the Army. The response from both the academia and industry was overwhelming, in fact the Dean and the Professors were very encouraging. Some of the students too were excited about sharing details of their work.

Another interesting feature of this trilateral discussion was the networking amongst industrialists present and between the academia and industry towards goals laid out by the Army. This will clearly open new avenues for the IIT’ians  and young talent from the academia in the defence industry, scouting for fresh minds.
Q: Talking about the Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project, we have seen that Army has received Eols/responses from the industry. How is Army planning to take this forward?

The Integrated Project Management Team (IPMT) constituted by the MoD, is presently carrying out evaluation of the responses to the EoIs with a view to finalise the Development Agencies (DAs).

The complex process of preparation of Draft Project Reports (DPRs), development of prototypes by DAs, user trials, commercial bidding and the signing of contract will be able to complete earliest by 2022/2023.

Working on pragmatic timelines and considering there will be no major slippages/stumbling blocks, the FICV is expected to be inducted into service by 2026 – 27.

Q: The Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) has also been talked about. What is happening on that front?

The FRCV is planned to be the future replacement of part of the Tank Fleet. Presently we are at a stage of gathering information for development of this futuristic machine. Once the information with respect to futuristic need vis a vis existing capabilities of various developers is analysed, the same shall be translated into definite parameters. Progress thereafter will be in accordance with the provisions of the DPP.

Q: Modernisation of the Army was one of the stated KRAs of the Chief of the Army Staff. Indeed during his tenure, many decisions have been taken and succeeded to bring in the desired focus. What are the major achievements and what more is planned to be done?

Modernisation of the Army is an ongoing process which is intimately linked to policy, process and finances. In tangible terms, we have finalised 22 Capital Acquisition proposals in last financial year. The Indian Army’s surveillance capabilities have been significantly enhanced by acquiring state of art Weapon Locating Radars, Long Range Observation System, sophisticated thermal imagers with laser range finder. In addition, orders have been placed on the OFB for 149 new BMPs. A number of proposals for ammunition like 65000 rounds of New Generation Ammunition for Rocket Launchers Mark-III, 5000 Milan 2T Missiles, 5000 Extended Range Rockets for GRAD BM-21 and 3.2 Lakh Electronic Fuzes for 105mm Guns have fructified. We have also been able to place orders for a new fleet of High Mobility Vehicles (HMV) 8×8 and Ambulances.

In addition, several schemes like   3rd Generation ATGM, Medium Range SAM, Tracked Self Propelled Guns, Ultra-Light Howitzers and Ballistic Helmets, have seen substantial progress and are now at very advanced stages of fruition. I am confident that these would be finalised very soon.

On the policy front, there have been extensive changes as well. The new DPP has been evolved with close involvement of all stake holders and promulgated. This is a forward looking document which enables timely procurement and is focused at Indian solutions. On its part, the Indian Army has already aligned its structures, procedures and organizations to the new DPP.

The priorities have been given out by the Chief of the Army Staff based on the operational requirements.

The ‘Army – Industry’ interactions are helping us to evolve qualitative requirements better and should enhance production capacities as we progress.  An Army Design Bureau is being set up to act as a repository and single point for collating inputs from field formations and providing these to design, development and production agencies.

Q: The procedures of the DGQA are causing a lot of delays. This is because they don’t have right kind of testing equipment or perhaps enough expertise. The worldwide practice is to go with certification from the manufacturer along with warranties. Even in our country, we follow the same route for most sectors. So for the defence sector, is there a possibility of adopting an approach that is a combination of certification and warranty?

Quality assurance is a critical aspect of procurement and DGQA plays a vital role. Like other components of procurement system, DGQA too is in the process of upgrading and modernising its facilities and process.

At the same time, Indian Army is also considering a combination of certification for certain parameters and actual trials for parameters deemed essential.

Q: By being excessively process driven and not ever involving itself in engaging with Indian Industry it will be a tall task for Army to adjust to the new DPP and new initiatives by the visionary RM. Army  has to change but how is the change planned?

The question is principally rooted in perceptions. There is already a significant change in the Army’s approach and I have given you a brief insight into fundamentals of our interaction with Industry. As a matter of fact, Indian Army’s requirements are most suited for ‘Make in India’, and I say that for three reasons.

(a)        The range of requirements of Army is very wide. Volumes are large.

(b)        About forty percent of our schemes are priced below Rs 150 crores, thus making it suitable for wider participation, particularly the MSME.

(c)        The technological requirements in most cases are relatively easier to achieve.

While the DPSUs are actively engaged in meeting the Army’s requirements, private industry can augment the production capabilities both in terms of quantity as well  as technology, thus realizing the objective of self sufficiency in this field. The new DPP should be a significant enabler on this front.  Given the high levels of ingenuity of our people and potential of the industry, we firmly believe that we can harness ideas and technology to find winning solutions. With good teamwork between R&D, industry and the Army, we will ‘win Indian Wars with Indian Solutions’.

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