Connect with us

Defence

A massive push for indigenous production of defence equipment

Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat campaign, the Defence Ministry has prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This would offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items using their own design and development capabilities to meet the requirements of the armed forces in the coming years.

Ashish Singh

Published

on

The Cabinet Committee on Security, in its meeting held on 29 July 2020, approved to convert Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), a subordinate office of Ministry of Defence, into one or more than one 100% Government-owned corporate entities, registered under the Companies Act 2013. The corporatisation of OFB will improve its autonomy, accountability and efficiency in ordnance supplies.

A new category of capital procurement ‘Buy [Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)]’ has been introduced in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)- 2016 to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment. It has been accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment. The ‘Make’ Procedure of capital procurement has been simplified. There is a provision for funding of 90% of development cost by the Government of India’s industry under Make-I category.

 In addition, there are specific reservations for MSMEs under the ‘Make’ procedure. Seperate procedure for ‘Make-II’ category (Industry funded) has been notified under DPP to encourage indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment. Number of industry friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry/ individual etc. have been introduced in this procedure. So far, 49 projects relating to Army, Navy & Air Force, have been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’, out of which 9 projects have already been issued Project Sanction Order for prototype development.

 Under ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ campaign of Govt of India, Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared a list of 101 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This would offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items using their own design and development capabilities to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces in the coming years. This list includes some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars and many other items to fulfil the needs of our Defence Services.

 An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been launched in April, 2018. iDEX is aimed at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Start-ups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/ funding and other support to carry out R&D  which has  potential for future  adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs. Under the iDEX scheme, a maximum of Rs 1.5 crore funding is available to a participant for development of a prototype.

 More than 700 start-ups participated in 18 problem statements pertaining to National Defence requirements, launched under 3 rounds of Defence India Start-up Challenges (DISC). 58 winners were announced after rigorous evaluation of applications by the High-Powered Selection Committees. Contracts have already been signed with several winners followed by release of tranches for several cases for prototype/ technology development.

 Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model in May, 2017, which envisages establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains. Government has notified a ‘Policy for indigenisation of components and spares used in Defence Platforms’ in March, 2019 with the objective to create an industry ecosystem which is able to indigenize the imported components (including alloys & special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platform manufactured in India. An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on “Mutual Cooperation in Joint Manufacturing of Spares, Components, Aggregates and other material related to Russian/Soviet Origin Arms and Defence Equipment” was signed during the 20th India-Russia Bilateral Summit in September, 2019.

 The objective of the IGA is to enhance the After Sales Support and operational availability of Russian origin equipment currently in service in Indian Armed Forces by organizing production of spares and components in the territory of India by Indian Industry by way of creation of Joint Ventures/Partnership with Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) under the framework of the “Make in India” initiative. 

  In February, 2018, Government decided to establish two defence industrial corridors to serve as an engine of economic development and growth of defence industrial base in the country. They span across Chennai, Hosur, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu and across Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Chitrakoot and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Offset guidelines have been made flexible by allowing change of Indian Offset Partners (IOPs) and offset components, even in signed contracts. Foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are now allowed to provide the details of IOPs and products after signing of contracts. In order to bring more transparency and efficiency into the Offset discharge process, “Offset portal” has been created in May, 2019. Defence Investor Cell has been created in February, 2018 in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedures and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector. Defence Products list requiring Industrial Licences has been rationalised and manufacture of most of parts or components does not require Industrial License. The initial validity of the Industrial License granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 03 years on a case-tocase basis. 

Under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017, Department of Defence Production has notified list of 24 items for which there is local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value. An indigenization portal namely SRIJAN has been launched on 14.08.2020 for DPSUs/ OFB/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/Startups/Industry for import substitution. 

In May, 2001, the Defence Industry sector, which was hitherto reserved for the public sector, was opened up to 100% for Indian private sector participation, with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 26% both subject to licensing. Further,  Department for Policy of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry vide Press Note No. 5 (2016 Series), has allowed FDI under automatic route upto 49% and above 49% through government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded. Further, 44 FDI proposals/Joint Ventures have been approved for manufacture of various defence equipment, both in public and private sector. Government has brought in significant reforms to promote FDI in Defence sector in the country, to complement and supplement the domestic investment. Through FDI, domestic companies are benefited by way of enhanced access to supplementary capital and state-of-art-technologies, and also exposure to global managerial practices resulting in employment generation and accelerated growth of the sector. 

Review of FDI policy is an ongoing process and changes are made in the FDI policy regime, from time to time, to ensure that India remains an attractive investment destination. FDI in Defence Sector has been enhanced up to 74% through the Automatic Route for companies seeking new defence industrial license and up to 100% by Government Route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or  for other reasons to  be recorded. 

 The obligatory government approval for existing FDI approval holders / current defence licensees for change in equity / shareholding pattern up to 49%  FDI has been proposed to be replaced with mandatory declaration for the same within 30 days of change of equity / shareholding pattern. The proposals for raising FDI beyond 49% from such companies could also be considered with Government approval.

 Enabling MSMEs in expanding their base

 The ‘Make’ Procedure has been simplified with provisions for funding of 90% of development cost by the Government to India’s industry and reserving Government funded Make-I projects not exceeding development cost of Rs. 10 crore and procurement cost Rs. 50 crore per year for MSMEs. The industry funded Make-II Projects not exceeding development cost of Rs. 3 crore and procurement cost Rs. 50 crore per year have also been reserved for MSMEs.  iDEX is also aimed at supporting MSMEs, Start-ups, Individual Innovators etc provide them grants/ funding and other support to carry out R&D. Besides, approximately 11,000 MSMEs as vendors are engaged in supplying various items to OFB and Defence PSUs. To bring MSMEs into the defence supply chain  and thereby boost the self-reliance of the country in defence and also contribute towards defence exports market, DDP has made a scheme of promotion of MSMEs in defence. 

Under this scheme funds are provided to industry associations to organize seminars in different parts of the country. MSMEs are partnering in DRDO projects and also DRDO developed technologies are also being transferred to them. 

They are important partners in industry ecosystem for the production of DRDO developed products.Various initiatives have been taken to address issues of timely payments like implementation of TReDS in DPSUs. Regular interactions are taking place to settle the grievance of vendors at OFB. Defence Investor Cell has been opened in DDP to address the issues being faced by vendors especially MSME vendors.

 Non-Core items of OFB have been uploaded on GeM which would enable them to supply the items hitherto reserved for Ordnance Factories to the Armed forces. Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises implements various schemes and programmes for promotion and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) including defence sector MSMEs across the country. These include Prime Minister›s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries(SFURTI), A scheme for Promoting Innovation,   Rural   Industry  and  Entrepreneurship  (ASPIRE),  Credit Guarantee Scheme, Credit Linked Capital Subsidy and Technology Upgradation Scheme (CLCS-TUS), Technology Centre Systems Programme (TCSP), Micro and Small Enterprises-Cluster Development Programme (MSECDP), Procurement and Marketing Support Scheme etc. and also reviews and monitors the progress of the implementation of the Public Procurement Policy for MSEs Order, 2012.

 The Defence Offset guidelines have further paved the way for proactive participation of Micro, Small & Medium enterprises (MSME) of India by incorporating a scheme of multipliers of 1.5 for engaging MSME as Indian Offset Partners (IOP). There is no prescribed allocation/proportion between DPSUs and private sector. Efforts are, however, being made to create a level playing field between DPSUs and the private sector. 

Investment through FDI route

In May, 2001, the Defence Industry sector, which was hitherto reserved for the public sector, was opened up to 100% for Indian private sector participation, with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 26% both subject to licensing.  Further, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry vide Press Note No.5 (2016 Series)’, has allowed FDI under automatic route upto 49% and above 49% through government route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.  Further, FDI in defence industry sector is subject to industrial license under Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and manufacturing of small arms and ammunition under the Arms Act, 1959.  As per the data furnished by 37 companies in Defence and Aerospace sector, so far (i.e. till June, 2020). FDI inflows of over Rs 2883 crores have been reported in Defence and Aerospace sectors through automatic route.  Further, FDI inflows of over Rs.1849 crores have been reported in Defence and Aerospace sectors after 2014 through automatic route. 

Corporatisation of OFB

 The Cabinet Committee on Security in its meeting held on 29.07.2020, has approved to convert Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), a subordinate office of Ministry of Defence, into one or more than one 100% Government owned corporate entities, registered under the Companies Act 2013.The Corporatisation of OFB will improve its autonomy, accountability and efficiency in Ordnance Supplies.On the issue of corporatization of OFB, the Federations of Defence Employees working in Ordnance Factories observed a Strike from 20/08/2019 to 25/08/2019. Strike marginally affected the normal production activities in all 41 factories for five working days. Normal production resumed across all factories from 26th August, 2019 onwards.The Department of Defence Production has been continually engaging with the Federations and Associations of Ordnance Factories with regard to their views on the said transformation. An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) has been constituted under the chairmanship of Minister of Defence to oversee and guide the entire process of corporatisation of OFB, including transition support and redeployment plan of employees while safeguarding their wages and retirement benefits. 

Startups in Defence Sector

Government is making efforts to promote start-ups in the defence sector under ‘Aatmanirbhar Mission’ to localize the production of defence sector products. Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) framework, was launched by Department of Defence Production, with the aim to achieve self-reliance and to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace Sectors by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia. Under iDEX, the projects or problem statements are identified based on the requirements projected by the Armed Forces, OFB & DPSUs. 58 iDEX winners have so far been identified for 18 problem statements/challenges under three rounds of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC). 

Separate procedure for ‘Make-II’ category (Industry funded) has been notified under Defence Procurement Procedure to encourage indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment. Number of industry friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry including start-ups/individual etc. have been introduced in this procedure.DRDO has created eight Advanced technology centres across India to carryout research activities in the identified futuristic/new technology areas.

  These technology centres provide support to Academia to carry out directed research in the identified thrust areas related to defence applications.Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog has set up a total of 68 Incubation centres across the country. Some AIM incubators focus on areas closely associated with deep-tech, aerospace etc. CODISSIA Defence Innovation and Atal Incubation Centre is a specific incubator which focuses on Defence Innovations and start-ups. iDEX envisages to engage with existing Defence Innovation Hubs (defence related MSME clusters) and create new hubs where innovators can get information about needs and feedback from the services directly and create solutions for India’s major defence platforms. Nine Institutions have been identified and are working as partner incubators to support activities under iDEX.

Defence

Army Chief commissions INS Kavaratti in Visakhapatnam

Ashish Singh

Published

on

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane commissioned INS Kavaratti, the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvette built under Project 28 (Kamorta Class), at a ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.

Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Vipin Kumar Saxena (Retd.), CMD, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited, Kolkata, and other dignitaries were present during the commissioning ceremony.

The event marks the formal commissioning into the Navy of the last of the four ASW Corvettes, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by GRSE.

General Naravane was presented a guard of honour on arrival at the Naval Jetty. The inaugural address was delivered by Rear Adm Saxena (Retd), CMD, GRSE, Kolkata. Vice Adm Atul Kumar Jain FOC-in-C ENC addressed the gathering which was followed by reading out the Commissioning Warrant of the Ship by the Commanding Officer, Commander Sandeep Singh. Subsequently, hoisting of the Naval Ensign onboard for the first time and ‘Breaking of the Commissioning Pennant’ with the National Anthem being played marked the symbolic tradition of commissioning. The Army Chief later unveiled the Commissioning Plaque and dedicated the ship to the nation. He also addressed the gathering attending the commissioning ceremony.

Named after the capital of the Lakshadweep group of islands, INS Kavaratti has been constructed using high grade DMR 249A steel produced in India. The sleek and magnificent ship spans 109 metres in length, 14 metres in breadth with a displacement of 3,300 tonnes and can rightfully be regarded as one of the most potent Anti-Submarine Warships to have been constructed in India. The complete superstructure of the ship has been built using composite material. The ship is propelled by four Diesel engines. The ship has enhanced stealth features resulting in reduced Radar Cross Section (RCS) achieved by X form of superstructure along with optimally sloped surfaces. The ship’s advanced stealth features make her less susceptible to detection by the enemy.

The unique feature of this ship is the high level of indigenisation incorporated in the production, accentuating India’s national objective of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. The ship has high indigenous content with state-of-the-art equipment and systems to fight in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions. Also, the weapons and sensors suite onboard are pre-dominantly indigenous and showcases the nation’s evolving capability in this niche area. Some of the major equipment/systems developed indigenously include Combat Management System, Torpedo Tube Launchers and Infra-Red Signature Suppression System, etc.

INS Kavaratti has a multitude of advanced automation systems such as Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Battle Damage Control System (BDCS) and Personnel Locator System (PLS) to provide a contemporary and process-oriented System of Systems for optimal functioning of the warship. Having completed sea trials of all her equipment, Kavaratti has been commissioned as a fully combat-ready platform providing a boost to the ASW capability of the Indian Navy.

The ship is the reincarnation of the erstwhile Arnala Class missile corvette of the same name (INS Kavaratti – P 80). Kavaratti in her previous avatar has had a distinguished service and her legacy outlives her service life of almost two decades. Her illustrious past includes participation in the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh and many other operational deployments. During the 1971 war, she was deployed for contraband control in the Bay of Bengal and the support of mining of entrances to Chittagong. She captured the Pakistani Merchant Ship Baqir during this operation. In the present avatar, Kavaratti is equally powerful and packs an even more deadly punch.

The ship is manned by a team comprising twelve officers and 134 sailors with Commander Sandeep Singh at the helm as her first Commanding Officer. The ship would be an integral part of the Eastern Fleet under the Eastern Naval Command.

Continue Reading

Defence

INDIA AND THE UNITED NATIONS: PEACE AND GOOD ORDER AT SEA

India has been and remains one of the largest contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping missions, which is an incredible demonstration of the country’s commitment not only to maintaining peace across the world but also of its belief in the UN Charter.

Commodore Odakkal Johnson

Published

on

“Unlike peacekeeping operations which occur after a situation has degenerated into a violent confrontation, ‘keeping the peace at sea’ operations would be intended to prevent the degeneration in the first place. This is what effective policing is all about. It is the constabulary role, and it is one which navies have been doing almost continuously for millennia. Giving navies a more precise set of tools, specific UN tools, can bring “a security for such as pass on the seas upon their lawful occasion” into the 21st century.”

— Hugh Williamson (2011)

75 years ago, the formation of the United Nations Organisation was the second major effort to evolve an institutional comity of nations that reflects among others an Indian ethos. On 26 September 2020, Indian Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, painted a picture of India as an outward-looking country, with a commitment to multilateralism, and fundamental philosophy that is aligned with that of the UN, declaring, “we treat the whole world as one family” [UN News : Sep 2020]. Few realise that while India will celebrate 75 years of political independence only on 15 August 2022, it is one of the four nations that became a founding member of the UN despite the wait for independent dominion status. Earlier in June this year, India was elected as non-permanent member of the powerful UN Security Council for a two-year term, winning a record 184 votes in the 193-member General Assembly. It is apt that this article looks at the Indian perspective of peace and good order on the global stage at large under the UN Charter and peace operations at sea as one of it core philosophies.

The evolving and turbulent world order, has been marked by transitions from bipolarity to multi-polarity and new scenarios of contemporary attempts towards economic and territorial hegemony. The Wuhan originated pandemic has further complicated the delicate balance of connectivity and contestations that become most visible in the maritime segment of geo-politics. Despite the innate desire for peace and good order, military forces and in particular naval assets remain a national contribution to international peace. Indian articulation of SAGAR or Security and Growth for All in the Region stems from the larger vision of collaboration and inclusive world order.

Naval forces play a vital role as maritime sinews in a unique environment like the sea, spelling out their wide spectrum of involvement on the international stage. Sea has more bridges that build international neighbourhoods as opposed to division by conflict. A key aspect of trade in an emerging multi-polar global order is the need to maintain good order at sea. Versatility of maritime military elements and ability to calibrate their posture highlights their enduring role in peace and order in the international arena.

Historically there is a credible record of maintaining peace at sea through deployment of naval forces. There have been several occasions in the past wherein maritime forces have undertaken operations albeit at a relatively low level, keeping peace and good order at sea. Under the concept of conventional UN peacekeeping operations, these were regarded as primarily a ground force function. In fact, most of UN peacekeeping operations have been conducted with ground forces and assets. However, maritime forces have contributed a significant portion to such operations. There are many tasks that United Nations peacekeeping forces are expected to play on the oceans. 

UN archives indicate that the first UN peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, when the Security Council authorised deployment of UN military observers to monitor the Armistice Agreement between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Since then, there have been a total of 72 UN peacekeeping operations around the world, with 14 operations in progress today. Rumki Basu [1993] mentions that UN Peacekeeping Operations have enabled military forces to be used not to wage war, establish dominion, serve the interests of any power or group of powers but rather to control and resolve conflicts between states or communities within states. Alex Bellamy [2004] highlighted that Article 1(1), of the UN Charter, states that one of its central purposes, is ‘to maintain international peace and security, and to that end take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace’.

India and United Nation Peacekeeping Operations

Commencing with its participation in the UN operation in 1950 where it supplied medical personnel and troops to the UN Repatriation Commission in Korea, India has a long and distinguished history of service in UN peacekeeping. Since 1950, India has participated in 50 missions sending more than 2,08,000 troops. 168 Indians have sacrificed their lives in these peacekeeping operations, the largest sacrifice by any troop-contributing nation. Pallav Agarwal [2018] states that India has developed a well-rounded policy for participation in UN peacekeeping operations. United Nations peacekeeping operated in increasingly complex environment to which India was always a steadfast partner and contented its commitment with UN peace operations for long years. Acknowledging India’s contribution, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said that it would be an understatement to say that India’s contribution to global peace has been remarkable. Pallav Agarwal (2018) points out that India has expressed that the UNSC should decide peacekeeping operations within 30 days or within 90 days in order to avoid delays leading to further deterioration. India has advocated the involvement of experts from all fields in peacekeeping to better manage new challenges.  India was one of the original members of United Nations even before its independence in 1947. In principle, only sovereign states can become UN members. However, although today all UN members are fully sovereign states, four of the original members (Belarus, India, the Philippines, and Ukraine) were not independent at the time of their admission. India signed the Declaration by United Nations on 1 January 1942 and was represented by Girija Shankar Bajpai who was the Indian Agent-General at the time. Afterwards the Indian delegation led by Sir Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar signed the United Nations Charter on behalf of India during the historic United Nations Conference on International Organization held in San Francisco, United States on 26 June 1945. Sir A. Ramaswamy Mudaliar later went on to serve as the first president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Technically, India was a founding member in October 1945, despite it being a British colony. India, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia were all British colonies but were given independent seats in the United Nations General Assembly.

Source: https://www.thebetterindia.com/165334/vt-krishnamachari-panchayati-raj-india-village-news/

Post independence, India has been dedicated to the maintaining international peace and security, as well as one of the leaders in the fight against colonialism and apartheid which marked the post-WWII environment in the world. The country was among the most outspoken critics of apartheid and racial discrimination in South Africa, being the first country to have raised the issue in the UN (in 1946). Its candidature was unanimously endorsed by the 55-member Asia-Pacific Group in June last year. This is the eighth time India has been elected a non-permanent member of the UNSC.

Trajectory of India’s Peacekeeping Contribution

For 70 years, the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations have stood as a beacon of multilateralism and international solidarity, the embodiment of the highest ideals of the UN. From Sierra Leone to Cambodia, Timor Leste, Namibia, El Salvador and elsewhere, UN peacekeeping has helped countries move from war to peace, proving to be one of the international community’s most effective investments in peace, security, and prosperity. India’s participation in this remarkable enterprise is perhaps without parallel. India has been and remains one of the largest contributors of troops to UN peacekeeping missions, with more than 2,00,000 personnel deployed in operations since 1950, the most of any country. This is an incredible demonstration of India’s deep commitment not only to maintaining peace and harmony across the world but also of its belief in the UN Charter.

Indian peacekeepers have been deployed in some of the UN’s most dangerous and challenging missions – in South Sudan, Congo, Somalia, Central African Republic and ten other UN mission across the globe. As the demand for UN peacekeepers has risen steadily, India has responded to the call for service, reaffirming the strength of its relationship with the UN. As of June 2018, India was the third largest troop contributor in the world, with over 6,000 personnel stationed around the world, helping save lives, protect people and setting the stage for a lasting peace.

India and UN Peace Operations at Sea

India had till the early 1990s, provided an infantry battalion, military observers and a field ambulance unit in UN peacekeeping operations. These included ONUCA (Central America) in 1990-92, ONUSAL (El Salvador) in 1991 and UNOMIL (Liberia) in 1994. Indian Navy in a period of maritime resurgence progressed operations for good order at sea in four types of naval operations — Humanitarian, Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) operations against illegal and undesirable elements, Anti-Piracy and Deterrent.

It is in Somalia, that the Indian Navy took an active part in the United Nations Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM) II, 1993-94. India contributed 5,000 personnel from all ranks and four Indian navy warships. Indian naval ships and personnel were involved in patrolling duties off the Somali coast, in humanitarian assistance onshore, and also in the transportation of men and material for the United Nations. They successfully combined the often conflicting roles of coercive disarmament and humanitarian relief to the civilian population. Indian personnel displayed considerable resilience in facing dangerous conditions in these missions. India was one of the few troop-contributing nations to maintain its original presence until the end of that operation, even resisting domestic political pressure to withdraw its troops.

Operation Muffet: The Somalia operation between December 1992 and December 1994 was the Indian Navy’s first ever overseas deployment in support of United Nations Humanitarian Relief Operations. Late Vice Admiral GM Hirandani (Retd) narrated that a task force was formed comprising three ships was dispatched to Somalia. IN Ships Deepak, Kuthar and Cheetah constituted the task group and was commanded by Commodore Sampath Pillai who was designated as Commodore Indian Naval Forces (COMINF).

Source: Indian Defence Review

Operation Restore Hope: A Task Force comprising IN Guided Missile Corvette, LST and Tanker was immediately deployed off Somalia once the US led coalition force launched ‘Operation Restore Hope‘ in Dec 92. This joint operation of the Indian Armed Forces as part of UN peacekeeping mission in the civil war ravaged Somalia continued to be backed up by one IN warship on constant surveillance and patrol task off the Somalia coast along with the warships of multinational forces till Oct 93. The Indian Navy spent a total of 347 ship days maintaining vigil along the Somali coast and ports during 1992-93. The last remaining units of the Indian contingent were repatriated from Somalia on board Indian naval ships from Kismayo port. India demonstrated its capacity to provide an integrated force, comprising land and naval forces as well as air support.

Source: Indian Defence Review

Additionally, major maritime nations have supported and contributed to the United Nations peacekeeping efforts. They have contributed ships and personnel to support the maritime portion of the blockade in support of UN mandated sanctions against Iraq and Maritime Interdiction Operations in Afghanistan through the 1990s and beyond. Those maritime forces operations, sanctioned or supported by the United Nations, clearly identify the growing demand for, and renewed role of, maritime forces in conducting a myriad of peacekeeping operation in areas where land conflicts have been extended to adjacent waters.

India’s Role in Mitigation of Piracy off the coast of Somalia

The scourge of piracy off Somalia posed a serious problem for safety of maritime traffic and the limited authority of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia became news of maritime concern by mid 2008. UNSC Resolution 1846 of 02 Dec 08 welcomed the initiatives of international navies (including India) for their pro-activeness in combating piracy and undertaking convoying operations. This resolution also authorised concerned naval forces to enter the Somalian territorial waters for repressing piracy and armed robbery at sea.

India deployed its naval assets under the UNSC mandate. Two interventions by the Indian Navy exemplify the naval role in peace and good order at sea. In the first ever deterrent action against Somali pirates undertaken by the navy of any country, INS Tabar destroyed a pirate ‘mother ship’ on 11 November 2008 285 nautical miles south west of Salalah Oman. The warship closed the vessel and asked her to stop for investigation. On repeated calls, the vessel’s threatening response was that she would blow up the warship if it closed her. Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar and the warship retaliated, opening fire on the mother ship. After a fire and explosion due to stowed ammunition catching fire, the mother vessel sank. INS Tabar on the same day prevented hijacking attempt on a Saudi Arabian flagged merchant vessel also. In another direct action on 28 May 2009, INS Talwar was escorting the MV Maud, a Liberia-registered cargo ship with two other merchant vessels, Southern Independence and Arames, along the north of the Horn of Africa. The Maud sent a distress call around 12.50 in the afternoon. Its Indian captain reported sighting a skiff with eight armed men approaching the vessel at great speed. In response, INS Talwar, advised the Maud to increase speed and execute a sharp right turn in an evasive manoeuvre to avoid getting boarded. INS Talwar’s helicopter was launched with marine commandos embarked. The commandos sighted two men from the skiff attempting to board the vessel from the bow. They fired warning shots to deter the pirates.  The pirates were observed to disengage from the merchant ship. However two pirates who were in the process of climbing the vessel fell into the water. A boarding party from the warship, thereafter, boarded the skiff and confiscated various weapons as well as equipment used by the pirates.

Approximately US $ 110 billion of international trade passes through the erstwhile piracy infested waters off Somalia. India contributes around 7% of the world’s merchant mariners and thus has an abiding interest in their safety and security. In the UN and other multilateral forays, India has urged greater international cooperation in anti-piracy efforts, including welfare of the hostages. It was at India’s specific instance that the UN Security Council, vide resolution 1976 of April 11, 2011, for the first time strongly condemned the growing practice of hostage-taking by pirates operating off the coast of Somalia. India is a founder-member of the ‘Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia’ (CGPCS), established on 14 January 2009 pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolution 1851 (2008), is a voluntary, ad hoc international forum of approximately 70 countries, organizations and industry groups with a common interest in combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, and to facilitate the discussion and coordination of actions among  states and organizations to suppress piracy.

Typifying its commitment to use of naval resources to ensure good order at sea, Indian Navy has been fully engaged for a dozen years to stay engaged in the region. As a founding member of the CGPCS, India has actively contributed to the international efforts to combat maritime piracy Containment of same off the coast of Somalia is an example of successful international collaboration of UN and India in the area of maritime security.

Conclusion

Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) have become one of the UN’s most important means of preserving peace and international security. Some of the greatest threats to international peace and security do not occur on ‘UN Member States territory’, but at sea. The internationally significant and long-standing phenomenon of maritime piracy initially led to international action off the coast of Somalia, but other regions affected by criminal acts at sea are reinforcing the need for international action.

The UN is likely to continue to conduct Traditional Peacekeeping operations and its most successful type of peacekeeping operation – Managing Transition – in cases where political settlements have been reached and outside assistance has been requested. However, the UN is likely to delegate significant military tasks to regional organisations and alliances in future. In such cases the UN will form only one pillar of a broader operation rather than enjoying overall control. India has played a detrimental and significant role with its constructive participation in International Peace keeping by bolstering the anti – piracy operations at the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. As reported in 2018 by Indian Navy, having escorted over 3000 merchant marine during patrolling, not a single ship under the escort of Indian Navy since 2008 has been hijacked by the pirates. With proper naval systems, surveillance and maritime domain awareness India Navy had played commendable job in Peacekeeping operations carried out at International Seas.

The ability to shape India’s maritime security environment requires the development of a credible naval presence with adequate assets commensurate with our defence and security interests as well as those required to discharge the role and responsibility expected of India by the international community like the UN. As a diplomatic instrument, the Navy has key attributes- access, mobility, reach and versatility. We need to embed these attributes within the larger vision of India’s role in the global arena. A flexible but proactive maritime international presence is essential to safeguard and project our national interests overseas. India and UN@75 is a time to heed the international call to bring humane order and well being through UN mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, in light of continued threats to good order at sea, India and its Navy must remain mission deployed in a collaborative maritime synergy to see that the sea lanes remain open for the arteries of maritime connectivity and trade.

Commodore Odakkal Johnson is the Director and Head of Research at Maritime History Society, an academic initiative of Western Naval Command of Indian Navy.

Continue Reading

Defence

PAKISTAN’S FIRST ASSAULT ON INNOCENT KASHMIRIS

Maj Gen Harsha Kakar

Published

on

October 22 is being observed as black day in many parts of the globe to highlight atrocities committed by Pakistan on the people of Jammu and Kashmir commencing from this day in 1947. It marks the day when the Pakistan Army joined by raiders, known as Kabailies, invaded the region, causing untold misery to its innocent residents, killing thousands, pillaging, raping and transporting women to be sold as slaves. The state of J&K had sought to be independent and in pursuit of this desire had signed a standalone agreement with Pakistan, which it broke.

Hindus and Sikhs were mercilessly slaughtered and thrown into rivers. Muslim women pleaded for their lives but to no avail. Truckloads of looted goods and captured women were taken away as booty. Those who recollect those days consider them worse than the Holocaust launched by the Nazis in areas captured by the German army. Kashmir was amongst the few regions in India which has escaped the misery of Partition, but the raiders subjected the population to a phase even worse than that.

In his book Raiders in Kashmir, retired Major General Akbar Khan, a Pakistan Army officer, admits to the Pak Army playing a leading role in the 1947 conflict in Kashmir. The operation was code-named ‘Gulmarg’. He states that the aim of the operation was to invade, plunder and inflict violence on the people of Kashmir, to intimidate and oppress the population, forcibly occupy the region, depose Maharaja Hari Singh and take control of the state. Akbar Khan also mentions that Pak forces were instructed to be ruthless and barbaric.

The initial attack came as a surprise. Almost nothing stood between Pakistan and its objective of Srinagar except a few companies of the J&K State Army under Brigadier Rajinder Singh, Chief of Staff of the state forces. The state army was outnumbered, but by bold and determined delaying actions between Uri and Baramulla, they managed to slow the advance of the Pakistan invaders along the Jhelum Valley road. They also succeeded in destroying a vital bridge at Uri, upsetting the timetable of Pakistan’s tribal force. Consequently, the raiders could only reach the vicinity of Baramulla by 25th October, instead of the outskirts of Srinagar. There were many other local heroes, who delayed the advance, one of them being Maqbool Sherwani.

In Baramula town alone, of the population of 14,000 only 3,000 survived. Sheikh Abdullah describing the invasion in his address to the UN in 1948 stated, ‘Those killed were from all religions, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. The raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people — mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims, too — abducted thousands of girls, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar.” Brigadier Rajinder Singh, under whom the state forces fought a heroic battle, was ambushed on the night of 26-27 October. He is known as ‘Saviour of Kashmir’ and was awarded Independent India’s first gallantry award, the ‘Mahavir Chakra’ (MVC) for his bravery.

It was in response to the loot, plunder and merciless killing of innocents in Baramula, located 30 km from Srinagar, that Maharaja Hari Singh signed the accession of the state to India on 26 October, leading to the arrival of the Indian Army in Srinagar on 27 October, which prevented further massacres in the Valley. As per the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), “Pakistan has perpetuated the myth that the tribal raiders were liberators and came to Kashmir to fulfil their religious obligation of jihad because Muslims were being killed in Jammu in communal riots. However, the reality was that it was not as if Muslims had been spared.” They intended to loot, plunder and kill, with no concern to religion.

Has Pakistan changed since its approach since then? It continues to kill innocent Indian Kashmiris, this time by infiltrating terrorists and cross border shelling. The killings and rapes of Kashmiri Pandits in the early nineties was the next similar attempt. Simultaneously, Pakistan suppresses its own Kashmiri residents by denying them basic rights, converting POK and Gilgit Baltistan into a military state, with no development.

In the same voice it claims Kashmir as a part of its territory, solely on religious grounds. The reality remains that it has no love for Kashmir or its people but only of the water resources which emanate from the state. It failed in 1947, 1965 and 1999 and would fail in the future too.

The signing of the accession document was the commencement of a bloody war, where Pak’s first misadventure into Kashmir was thwarted. It broke its own accord with the Maharaja of Kashmir and attempted to capture Kashmir by force. It failed. Had Pak played by the rules, demanded from the British a desire to implement the wishes of the population, things may have been different. It has never learnt and repeated the same blunder on multiple occasions, failing every time.

Maj Gen Harsha Kakar was commissioned into the Regiment of Artillery in June 1979 and superannuated in March 2015. A prolific writer, he writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines. His blog is www.harshakakararticles.com and twitter handle @kakar_harsha.

Continue Reading

Defence

HOW PAKISTAN RESORTED TO GENOCIDE IN KASHMIR IN 1947

Unlike the communal violence witnessed during Partition, killings of Hindus and Sikhs in the wake of Pakistani attack on Jammu & Kashmir in 1947 were state-sponsored ethnic cleansing.

Published

on

The creation of Pakistan was the outcome of a movement which claimed that Hindus and Muslims were ‘separate nations’ and can’t co-exist in a single state. After its establishment, Pakistan defined itself as an Islamic state and pursued politics which was blatantly communal and reactionary. In October 1947, it launched naked aggression to annex J&K, trampling all international conventions and inflicting unspeakable brutalities on non-Muslims in the areas which came under Pakistani occupation.

Unlike the communal violence witnessed during Partition, killings of Hindus and Sikhs in the wake of Pakistani attack on J&K in 1947 were state-sponsored ethnic cleansing. The objectives of Pakistan’s invasion went beyond conquest of the land. It aimed at destroying non-Muslim populations too.

There is a continuity between Pakistan’s attack on J&K in 1947 and cross border terrorism unleashed by it in 1989-90.The pattern of ideological campaign informed by jihad and use of terror as an instrument for ethnic cleansing of minority groups remains the same.

The tribal lashkars were brainwashed to believe that Muslims in Kashmir were living in subjugation, where neither were they allowed to practice their religion nor the honour of their womenfolk was safe. There was an understanding between Chief Minister of NWFP, Khan Abdul Qayoom Khan, and tribal lashkars that they could plunder the state at will. The tribesmen were given license to rape and take away women as well.

JAMMU REGION

In Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Bhimber-Deva-Vatala and Rajouri towns, which had substantial non-Muslim population, Pakistani invaders had been directed to destroy non-Muslim habitats wholesale through killings, arson, rape and abduction of women.

In Muzaffarabad, even patients in hospitals were killed in cold blood. Women were raped on the streets at different places in full public view. Hundreds of women were kidnapped and taken to the tribal belt of NWFP. Many girls jumped from Kishenganga bridge into the river flowing below to escape humiliation. The deserters of the State army from Jammu and Mirpur were quite brutal and carried away many women.

This was repeated at Bhimber where over 5000 non-Muslims had taken shelter in the tehsil building. Majority of them were killed. Only a small section was able to escape. Hundreds of women took poison to save their honour. Others were abducted. In the Deva-Vatala region, over a thousand people were killed by Pakistanis in 30 villages.

On the day of Diwali in Rajouri, more than 7000 Hindus and Sikhs were killed by Pakistani invaders, their collaborators in the local population and state army deserters. Most of the women here saved their honour by swallowing poison. The Hindus of Rajouri do not celebrate Diwali to keep alive the memory of their loved ones killed in 1947.

Mirpur witnessed one of the horrendous religious cleansing campaigns in human history. Alibeg camp became Auschwitz from where every day the people were taken out and killed. Hundreds of women were kidnapped, dishonoured repeatedly and then sold in towns of Western Punjab and NWFP. As per one estimate only two thousand out of 25000 people in Mirpur managed to reach Jammu safely and some were repatriated later by the International Red Cross.

BALTISTAN

In Askardu, an ex- INA officer Col. Mataul Mulk was deputed as commander by the Pakistan army. The surrender of Indian garrison in August 1948 was followed by mass murder and rape. He shamelessly bragged in his report to the Headquarters, “All Sikhs shot, all women raped.’’ The Sikhs were tied with ropes and then asked to jump into the river. While they moved towards the river, they were shot dead. Only the Sikh women and children below ten were left alive.

The three members of a Kashmiri Hindu family were axed to death with swords. The Pakistani soldiers made an attempt to strangulate Niranjan Nath Nadir and push him into the nearby well. His two pet dogs fought with the Pak soldiers and saved him from being drowned.

In Shigar, the Sikh shopkeepers were tied to the trees and then shot at. Their family members were collected in the evening and stabbed to death. Among the attackers were Pakistani soldiers who forcibly married the two women survivors. One of the jawans had killed the mother, sister and brother of the woman he married.

In Khaplu, two Kashmiri Pandits, the doctor and his pharmacist, were killed. The doctor’s wife was abducted and tortured before she was released. At Astore the non-Muslims who refused forced conversions were shot dead.

KASHMIR

In the Kashmir valley the invaders ransacked village after village and town after town that came in their way. The same process of loot, arson, rape, abductions and killings was repeated against Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs. In Baramulla town, Kashmiri Hindus were dragged to concentration camps and women raped for three days. 36 Kashmiri Hindus were killed in the town.

In almost all villages, where Kashmiri Hindus escaped killing, they were forced to become Muslims and at some places coerced to take beef. At many places, the Pandit couples were asked to perform marriage anew as per the Shariat.

Over 135 Kashmiri Hindus were killed. There were nine major massacres. Seven baraatis were killed at Biner. In Aijar village, 13 members of the Pandit community were massacred, while in Chandrahama village, 17 Pandits were killed. The victims included women as well.

SIKHS

There was targeted violence against the Sikhs. While in the case of Kashmiri Hindus, the priorities for Pakistanis were loot, conversion and then killings. In case of the Sikhs it was killings, rape & abductions and then loot. The massacre of the Sikhs took place at ten places in Kashmir. In village Yaarbug, the Sikhs were taken to Gurudwara and burnt alive. The Sikh women were abducted and taken across to Pakistan. The Sikhs resorted to honour killings at many places to save their women from falling into the hands of Pakistanis.

Ramesh Tamiri is a researcher on History, politics and culture of Kashmir. He has been regularly writing on these subjects in different periodicals. He worked on oral history of Pakistan invasion on J&K 1947-48 for twenty years. His two books on the theme will be published early next year.

Continue Reading

Defence

TIME TO SAY GOODBYE TO ‘ONE CHINA’

We must strive to restore a suzerainty relationship between China and Tibet. We should support Taiwan and Xinjiang politically in their quest for independence and seeking legitimacy. Why should we respect ‘One China’ which is based on an illegal annexation, when China does not respect ‘One India’?

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

Published

on

The reason to continue with ‘One China’ despite Chinese perfidy is attributable to weak governments with misguided diplomatic and political outlooks. Perhaps Chinese propaganda and biased Western comparisons have convinced some of us that China belongs to a different league. We might have been under the awe of their military might or economic prowess or their political heft.

China wants the world to repeatedly chant ‘One China’ which is expansionist. China gobbled Tibet, Xinxiang, Inner Mongolia and part of India soon after becoming a People’s Republic. It is now in the process of gobbling up Hong Kong, a sliver of eastern Ladakh and the South China Sea illegally. Next in line are Taiwan and Senkaku islands. Xi Jinping’s ambitious consolidation plan of the Chinese nation includes also sovereign Indian territories of eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. China covets parts of Nepal, Bhutan, Central Asian Republics and Russia based on some mythologically-obscure history drummed up through propaganda. In future, ‘One China’ will encompass all areas taken over through debt traps. Starting with Hambantota, China is eyeing islands in the Maldives, Pakistan and beyond. It will also seek and stake sovereignty over areas where people of Chinese origin reside. Even now it seeks allegiance from them. The future map of ‘One China’ will extend to wherever the BRI has spread its tentacles and people of Chinese origin reside. The world cannot afford a constantly bloating ‘One China’ except of course Pakistan. 

UNTRUSTWORTHY

China has a history of deceit and violating/dishonouring all treaties and agreements. It militarised the South China Sea despite promises not to do so. It disregarded the International Court of Justice and the UNCLOS in its South China Sea claims. Imposition of the National Security Law broke international promises made on Hong Kong to continue with the UK system till 2047. It violated all trade and investment treaties selectively. As per Chris Patten, one thing is clear: the world cannot trust Xi’s dictatorship. The sooner the world recognizes this and acts together, it will be safer. Do not forget China’s role and lies in spreading the Wuhan virus. The predicament, which you and I as world citizens find ourselves in, originated in China.

TIBET-RELATED ISSUES

The relationship between Tibet and China has varied between suzerainty and sovereignty. When China was strong Tibet was sovereign to it. When China was weak, Tibet functioned as an independent state under Chinese suzerainty. The 1914 Shimla Agreement is the fundamental agreement on borders between India, China and Tibet. Iven Chen, the Chinese representative initialled the pages but decamped overnight from Shimla without signing the agreement. He left ‘Chinese ambiguity’ behind, which persists till date. Much later China invaded Tibet and usurped it. The Dalai Lama fled to India and the rest is history. Despite being defeated in the 1962 war, India never accepted Tibet as part of China. However it did not meddle in Tibet. Later, in 1987, Arunachal Pradesh was granted statehood. China never objected to it. A thaw took place when Rajiv Gandhi met Deng Xiaoping. China and India entered into Border Peace and Tranquillity Agreements in the 1990s. In 2003 India recognised Tibet as part of China. After that, it kept distance from the internal affairs of Tibet or China. India kept up the bargain. India has never had a direct connection with Taiwan, Xinxiang and Inner Mongolia. However we have begun a fledgling relationship with Taiwan now.

CHINESE PERFIDY

China never allowed a treaty/ agreement to stop it from interfering in the internal affairs of India. It started interfering when it trained Naga Militants in the 60’s and 70’s. Since the 2000s, China has been claiming sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh, as part of ‘South Tibet’. A term which never existed earlier. It is currently fomenting trouble in Tawang on religious and political grounds.  China has now violated all border agreements to maintain Peace and Tranquillity by repeated military aggression. In 2017, it attempted changing the International Boundary at Doklam. Take note. In Sikkim there is an International Boundary and not an LAC. What’s more, it blamed India for violating the 1890 Agreement during the Doklam standoff. China attributes its current military aggression in Eastern Ladakh to Indian transgression of the LAC! That’s rich! Now it does not recognise the UT of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh since they are supposedly illegal. China objects to infrastructure development deep in Indian territory. It has not kept up the bargain on many border related issues and has interfered abnormally in our internal affairs. It has been simply perfidious.

There are reports that China and Pakistani are conducting joint patrols in POK. It is also helping Pakistan in setting up surface-to-air missile launch sites and a missile defence system thee. Besides this, the flagship CPEC runs through POK. They have also signed a deal to build three dams in POK  at, Diamer Bhasha, Azad Pattan and Kohala. The dam activity poses a direct military threat to India. Chinese activity in POK grossly violates Indian sovereignty as also UN resolutions on J&K. No UN resolution says that POK belongs to Pakistan. Yet, China has entered into illegal agreements on land that does not belong to either party.

The litany does not end here. China has been into extensive hacking and electronic surveillance in India. Chinese hackers stole 68 Lakh Records from an Indian healthcare site. As per media, Chinese cloud servers are sending data of Indian users to China. It could involve the technology giant Alibaba. A Chinese ‘hybrid warfare’ data firm with government links has tracked over 10,000 Indians including PM Modi. 40,000 cyber-attacks were attempted by Chinese hackers on Indian banking, IT sector in five days in the current tense times. Further Chinese are even involved in hawala rackets in conjunction with a Chinese bank. The Chinese ambassador even issues diktats to the media and the embassy threatens it as if he is a Viceroy of China. Now, Xiaomi Smartphones have banned  Arunachal Pradesh from their weather app. It has gone to the extent that Jammu and Kashmir is being shown as PRC even by Twitter.

China has also had the temerity to tell India to remain non-aligned and not get close to the US. China blocked India from becoming a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group. It opposed our entry into the UN Security Council and even helped Pakistan blatantly in UN and other forums. China believes the Dalai Lama is a terrorist whilst shielding Masood Azhar from being designated as one. It is an unabashed nuclear proliferator. It instigated Nepal to lay claims on Kalapani.

PREPARING AHEAD

Currently China is stymied by India militarily in eastern Ladakh. Its endeavour has been a miscalculation. It is trying for a face saving accommodation to buy time. Next time it will come fully prepared. When Xi says “solidify border defences and ensure frontier security… ensuring national security and enduring peace and stability” regarding Tibet and that Buddhism must “adapt to socialism and Chinese conditions” through political and ideological education: he has said a lot. There will be a next time when China will be better prepared and more aggressive. The only way to keep China at bay is to make it look inwards. The US has recognised this and has started its action. 

 Our External Affairs Minister says that what happened this year was a sharp departure over a course of relationship over 30 years. He talks of a very deep public and political impact and a relationship profoundly disturbed. He is incorrect. It is more than that. There is now a generational cleavage between India and China. Most Indians feel that unless the border issue finds some resolution, other issues—economic, cultural, diplomatic and political—must take a back seat. Tibet is an important tool in our kit to deal with any Sino Indian situation. Hence it is imperative that India adopts a suitable stance. While we do not aspire for Tibet, we should not treat it as part of China either. For that matter Xinxiang or Taiwan or Inner Mongolia are also not part of China. We need not blanche at ensuring that people of Tibet and Xinjiang get their due rights as per common human decency. We must strive to restore a suzerainty relationship between China and Tibet. We should support Taiwan and Xinjiang politically in their quest for independence and seeking legitimacy. Why should we respect ‘One China’ which is based on an illegal annexation, when China does not respect ‘One India’ which is legal to it? It is time to say ‘One China, get lost’.

THE WAY FORWARD

The reason to continue with ‘One China’ despite Chinese perfidy is attributable to weak governments with misguided diplomatic and political outlooks. Perhaps Chinese propaganda and biased Western comparisons have convinced some of us that China belongs to a different league. We might have been under the awe of their military might or economic prowess or their political heft. We may have also feared that China and Pakistan will wreak havoc. In that respect, things cannot go worse and we have been able to handle them well. Times have changed. Interests have changed.  The past mistakes of deferring to Chinese highhandedness need instant correction. It is apparent that the Chinese are not ten feet tall. Also, the Chinese Virus has generated immense negative political and human sentiment against China. The faster we decouple from China, and regain trade balance through ‘aatmanirbharta’ the better it is for us. It is now clear that there are finite limits to which China can use strong arm tactics against us or anyone. In any case a major part of hybrid/ asymmetric options against China stem from the rimlands of Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan and Inner Mongolia. These options will keep China focused inwards and at bay. We must not eschew them. It is poor statecraft to do so. In fact, it would be dumb to do so.

The US has appointed a Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues. He is to promote dialogue between China (PRC) and the Dalai Lama, protect religious, cultural, and linguistic identity of Tibetans; address humanitarian and human rights issues and repression of Tibetans,  look into severe restrictions on Tibetans’ religious freedom and cultural traditions within China. That is a packet. A similar one exists for Xinjiang in all probability. A German delegation at the UN General Assembly delivered a joint statement on behalf of 39 countries conveying their “grave concern on the human rights situation in Xinjiang and the recent developments in Hong Kong”. It called on China to “respect human rights, particularly the rights of persons belonging to religious minorities, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet”.

The statement was signed by the US, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Britain and Germany. There is a definite move afoot to make China look inward. Why are we not there? A question cropped up from an intellectual on the Social Media “What is stopping media, academics, think tanks, intellectuals in democratic India, from criticizing CCP China›s genocide, religious cleansing, ethnic cleansing etc in Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria etc? Why can›t they start supporting Taiwan independence? ” Time to smell the coffee.

There is a strong public opinion across India—vociferous and unanimous against this lopsided concept of ‘One China’. The Indian opinion in any media—social, mass, electronic or print—openly favour Taiwan’s independence,  Tibet’s autonomy, Xijiang’s freedom, Hong Kong’s autonomy and Mongolian rights. 3THM is the coinage as it is emerging. The surge of Tibetan and national feeling which burst forth when the SFF was used in the operations to occupy Kailash Range is a pointer. The ultra-cautious approach of the government is indeed baffling. The people of India must nudge the Government into action on this issue. It is understandable that we work our way forward with caution and incrementally. However, intent has to be conveyed. Alternatively, the government should explain itself as why it wants to continue to be an ostrich. The nation needs to know.  

Our External Affairs Minister has been talking of a ‘New Equilibrium’ with China. Well, every system exists in a state of equilibrium—natural or unnatural. That is physics. Currently, the ‘Sino-Indian Equilibrium’ is heavily lopsided against us. The Indian armed forces have given an opportunity to India to correct this imbalance. Some correction has already happened due to force multiplication of military action with economic, diplomatic and political actions. Beyond this much more cannot happen if we remain hesitant and cautious. A ‘New Equilibrium’ which is ‘balanced’ can be achieved only if China is made to look inwards. The ‘common man’ of India has been wise enough to recognise this. The poster on Shanti Path on Taiwanese National Day conveys a lot—not only to China but also to the Government of India and the world. Indians have made their choice. It is time the people’s voice is heard loud and clear by everyone who matters. One China, get lost. Onwards to 3THM.

Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www.gunnersshot.com.

Continue Reading

Defence

Testing of defence systems: New tool of adversarial response

India has, of late, tested a number of weapons and defence systems. Coming in a concentrated
manner during an ongoing LAC standoff with China raises an obvious question whether these
tests were pre-planned, or they have been orchestrated in response to the current face-off

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd.)

Published

on

India has come a long way especially in space and missile technology it can be compared amongst the leaders. Our strategic capability despite the 1998 sanctions following the Pokhran tests speaks for themselves. DRDO does have major limitations in development of aircraft, tanks, and weapon systems especially for the infantry and armoured. 

Since Chinese intrusion in May 2020, India has tested a number of weapons and defence systems. These tests range from missiles to hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HTDV). Most of these tests have been successful. Coming in a concentrated manner during an ongoing border spat with China raises an obvious question whether these tests were pre-planned or they have been orchestrated in response to the current India-China face-off. 

Given the manner in which the tests have been conducted, it is obvious that they have been done as a response to the faceoff. Therefore, the next obvious question is: What purpose are they serving? Question assumes importance because it is common knowledge that the period between testing and operationalisation of a weapon system takes considerable time. In fact some systems have been inordinately delayed; for example the Trishul, Akash and Nag, the Arjun tank, Nishant UAV have taken so long to develop that they are now obsolete. This aspect is a common knowledge and it is highly unlikely that China will be unduly concerned by these tests. But to assume that the current phase of testing various types of missiles is mere optics meant to demonstrate the Government of India’s intent to counter the Chinese threat may also not be true. A subterranean analysis is needed to decipher the gains that these tests will provide to India’s defence preparedness. The recent statement of DRDO chief G. Satheesh Reddy that “India has achieved selfreliance in the field of missile systems and can produce whatever is required by the armed forces within the country itself” would have been based on a realistic appraisal of DRDO’s capability and not merely an emotional response post these tests. 

SYSTEMS TESTED IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS

 11 tests of various types of missile systems were conducted successfully by DRDO. Only testing of Nirbhay subsonic missile having a range of 1000 km conducted on 12 October, 20 developed a snag and had to be aborted. Some of the important defence systems tested in the recent past are discussed below.

 1) Test of SMART system

 India successfully tested indigenously developed “game changer” SMART (Supersonic Missile Assisted Release Torpedo) torpedo system on 5 October 2020 for the first time. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight antisubmarine torpedo systems for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations far beyond the torpedo range. This launch and demonstration is significant in establishing anti-submarine warfare capabilities of India. However, the point to be noted is that this was the first test and many subsystems of the missile are yet to be tested. It will take considerable time to operationalise the missile.

 2) Testing of 400-km BrahMos 

. Testing of India successfully test-fired on 30 September 2020, over 400- km strike range Brahmos supersonic cruise missile. The surface-to-surface cruise missile, featuring indigenous booster and airframe section along with other Made in India subsystems, blasted off from the launching complexIII of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) near here, a defence statement said. 

3) Test Firing of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle

 India on 8 September 2020, successfully tested Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle putting India in a select group of nations. This small club includes the US, Russia and China. After the AntiSatellite Test conducted last year, this is the biggest achievement by DRDO in terms of proving new technology. It is a dual use technology. It can also be configured to deliver nuclear warheads as well. While the USA has refrained from its operationalisation, Russia and China plan to use it for nuclear weapon delivery also. In the civil arena, it can be used to launch small satellites at cheaper cost. India has just done a technology demonstration.

 4) Test Firing of Shaurya Missile Test

 Firing of Shaurya Missile. India successfully test-fired a new version of nuclear-capable Shaurya Missile on 4 October 2020. The new missile would be inducted in the strategic forces to complement one of the existing missiles in the same class. DRDO claims it to be amongst the top 10 missiles in the world. Shaurya missiles have a very small profile. It is truck portable and can be launched from either from a single truck or a silo. Hence, it can be located anywhere. Moreover as per DRDO it cannot be detected by satellite imaging, the sources said. Given its short range, portability, difficulty of detection and nuclear capability it is an ideal tactical missile it would be an ideal deterrence weapon in the super high altitude terrain of Tibet. Strategic Forces Command it is believed is in the process of operationalising it in the Ladakh region shortly.

 5) Test of Laser Guided Anti-Tank Missile

 Test of Laser Guided Antitank Missile. On 23 September 2020, DRDO successfully test fired laser-guided anti-tank guided missile. The laser-guided anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) is supposed to enhance the firepower capability of the Indian Army particularly along the frontiers with Pakistan and China. There is a long felt need by the Indian Army for an indigenous ATGM and the success of this venture has been eluding the DRDO since long.

 6) Test Firing of Dhruvastra 

Test Firing of Dhruvastra. India’s indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’ was test-was fired on 23 July 2020. India has successfully conducted three flight tests of its indigenously developed anti-tank guided missile ‘Dhruvastra’ from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha.

 7) Test Firing of Prithvi-II Test

 Firing of Prithvi-II. Indigenously developed Prithvi-II missile was test fired on 24 September 2020. The trial of the missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, was carried out from a mobile launcher from ITR complex. This missile is already operational. It was a user trial test. Under the garb of testing, besides validating technical parameters, it provided the much needed practice to the users to deploy and fire this weapon if called upon into battle. It should go to the credit of SFC and the DRDO to utilize the flurry of tests to enhance the defence preparedness of the users. 

8) Test Firing of ASAT

 Last year in March, India test-fired an A-SAT missile under ‘Mission Shakti’. The Successful testing has demonstrated its anti-satellite technology.

 9) Test Firing of Rudram Missile 

In continuation of testing various missiles, India successfully test-fired Rudram 1, its first anti-radiation missile designed to take down enemy radars on 9 October 2020. The antiradiation missile can be launched from Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter jets. The missile has a launch speed of up to 2 Mach, twice the speed of sound. This will enhance our air combat power manifold and it is hoped that the DRDO will operationalize this capability at the earliest. 

Analysis of the testing Game

 Limited Value: While India’s operational capabilities do not get a boost by such tests in the short term, it does convey a strategic message of India’s increasing technical capabilities and the resolve to deal with our adversary. Having said that, on the flip side we must not get complacent by these tests and continue to be realistic on their impact on the enemy. In fact, some experts say that “the surge of tests by the DRDO is welcome; however, ability to deploy these systems needs greater emphasis and visibility.” If the aim of these tests is signalling to the domestic audience it may have served the purpose, but experts are unlikely to be impressed. Historically too, if we take the record of the journey from final testing to operationalisation of a weapon system, it varies from 8 to 10 years. For example, Prithvi 1 was tested in 1988 and finally it came into service in 1994. Similar story exists for most of the systems under development by DRDO. The technology demonstrator to operationalisation is a journey by itself and incurs considerable financial commitment besides technical, human expertise and financial challenges of commercialization and finally operationalisation.

 Likely Gains

 Enhanced Technical Prowess: Above limitations notwithstanding, the missile journey of India is a success story, comparable to any leading military power in the world. On the positive side, a number of advantages these weapon tests bring to the table. Weapon tests do add up to a country’s technological capabilities. 

Hard Power Image:

 Conducting the weapon tests in a concentrated manner during an ongoing face off conveys an image of strong hard power orientation and resolve of the nation to its adversary. China though not worried by these tests would be cautious while responding to us especially since most of our existing systems provide dual capability of conventional and unconventional employment. Encourage Defence Exports:

 Successful testing of new defence weapon systems generate acceptability of India’s capability to produce quality weapon systems that too at much lesser cost. This will facilitate export of defence systems by India. It is therefore not surprising that in the past few years our export of defence systems have increased by 700 percent in the last three years. India is now exporting defence weapons and equipment to 42 countries, which includes the likes of US, Australia, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, South Africa, and Sweden, Azerbaijan, Seychelles, Estonia, Indonesia, Guinea and the Philippines. India’s exports in 2014 stood at meager Rs 2,000 crore, which in 2019 stood at Rs 17,000 crore and India intends to increase it by $5 billion (about Rs 35,000 crore) in the next 5 years. Improved technological threshold will encourage our neighbouring countries to go in for imports from India. Countering Chinese Influence on our Neighbours: 

Increased acceptability of defence equipment due to display of high end technology demonstration will also help in weaning our neighbours away from Chinese influence. For example the decision to provide a Kilo Class Submarine, Tanks, artillery guns, ammunition for T-72 tanks, radars, sonars and 500 bullet proof jackets to Myanmar’s military may have been influenced by India’s increasing technological capabilities. A similar help to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will go a long way in countering the Chinese influence in our backyard. 

Enhanced Defence Preparedness:

Increased testing leads to induction of indigenous equipment in the long – run at lower costs. Also, some of the equipment tested are on the verge of being inducted into the service such as the Shaurya missile system. There are reports that Strategic Forces Command (SFC) has begun looking for deployment of the weapon system in Ladakh. Further, these tests also help in providing the much needed user practice and revalidation of existing stockpile of our systems. Conduct of the 350 km range Prithivi 2 from the existing stockpile is a case in point. Deployment of Shaurya missile, world’s top 10 missile and ability to practice and validate existing strategic weapons does give us a better response capability against our arch rival China.

Parting Words

 India has come a long way especially in space and missile technology it can be compared amongst the leaders. Our strategic capability despite the 1998 sanctions following the Pokhran tests speaks for themselves. DRDO does have major limitations in development of aircraft, tanks, and weapon systems especially for the infantry and armoured. But it makes it up with the Integrated Missile Development programme and the Space programme. Fortunately these are systems of the future and when coupled with its niche technology development programme in robotics, artificial intelligence, ship building and UAVs we expect India to rapidly move in the direction of self-reliance especially if the private defence sector is boosted appropriately. The new DAP 2020 with an option for leasing of defence systems is a good provision to tide over our short term needs at relatively lower costs till we achieve greater selfreliance and increase our exports as rightly aimed by the present government. It would not be out of sync to mention that India is on the path of projecting itself as a significant power in the region and the testing of new defence systems is a right step in that direction. 

Lt Gen Dushyant Singh (retd) has served in varied terrains and theatre of operations, in India and in the UN as Military Observer. He has commanded an Infantry Battalion, Brigade and a Division in Jammu and Kashmir. He is currently Professor Emeritus Defence Studies at Gujarat Raksha Shakti University.

Continue Reading

Trending