Military 4.5 is the lead to the industry to pull beyond industry 4.0, by half a notch. Since it is a new concept that was first coined by Lt Gen P.J.S. Pannu (Retd.) in a panel discussion on NewsX news channel, The Daily Guardian spoke to him to understand more about the ‘Military 4.5’. Lt Gen Pannu (Retd) is a former Deputy Chief of Indian Integrated Staff. He was instrumental in raising the Defence Cyber and Space Agencies as also the Special Forces Division. He is also former ADGMO (Special Ops), DG Infantry and 14 Corps Commander. He is perusing his PhD in the subject of indigenisation of defence industry. Excerpts:
Q: How do you see the current status of dependency and co-operation between military and industry? Especially in terms of extent of coordination and potential for future simultaneous growth for future warfares?
A: Future wars would increasingly be based on ‘technology’ rather than on ‘physical Skill’. While skills would certainly be needed to employ ‘man-machine combine’, in future ‘a machine shall largely fight a machine’ albeit with human effort and to meet human ends. From deterrence to battlefield dominance, a side having smarter machines would have an edge. Human skills would shift towards the ability or specialisation in managing these machines. Military would have to train on M3 (Man, Machine, Management). Humanmachine combine shall be all pervasive through HM2M-H (Human-Machine to Machine-Human) connect. Most important factor would be the ownership of machines — only possible through indigenisation.
India has been the largest importer of military hardware. Defence industry in India produces hardware that has low self-reliance content since it is largely dependent on foreign technology, design, materials and components. In the era of technology regulation (read denial), whatever technology is imported is generally second grade, yet cost prohibitive. More often, armed forces are constraint to buy indigenous hardware. It needs an understanding that military needs weapons and equipment to win future battles and not to give assured business to the defence Industry. Fighting battles with inferior weapons would mean spending money on buying defeat. There is no escape for Indian defence industry but to transform into producing indigenised military hardware that is superior to that of an adversary. Military must demand next generation war-fighting equipment from the industry. For this purpose, armed forces should have clear correlation between war-fighting doctrines and roadmap for the industry.
Traditionally, it is the industry which has been leading the military to adapt to what it can offer. Budgets dictate how much can be spent on hardware. Senior Generals and leaders are on record saying, ‘We shall fight with what we have’. In other words, it gives an escape to the administrator that whatever Military is provided with, they shall still fight. Having taken an oath to lay down lives to save the nation, armed forces rely heavily on the motivation, grit, determination and physical skill of a soldier, and willing ‘self-accountability’ of commanders. How does the industry step in to say — “We shall provide (Make) you with what you want to Defend the Nation”. For this to be achieved, military has to lead the industry.
Q: How are the military and industry dependent on each other and who is guiding whom currently?
A: Armed forces and defence industry ideally should operate hand in hand. This relationship has not been formally established or recognised in the developing world. In India, even though there are well laid-out provisions for equipping armed forces, but processes and structures are complex, long and tardy. Procedures for procurement and production are generally ‘worksin-progress’ and amended frequently, as a result, both industry and military can neither synergise nor are confident in achieving their targets. Military puts out lists of hardware requirement periodically with priorities aligned to budgets. Acceptance of Necessity (AON) kick-starts the process for scouting around the market, locally and globally. The first hurdle is in taking a decision to Buy Globally/ Locally/Produce/undertake research (R&D).
As technology is time relevant and defence needs are time critical, procurement overshadows production. The local R&D and prototypes built, clearly fall behind by a generation due time lag in completing the development cycle. The trials are time consuming and usually a barrier to procurement of locally developed product. In the absence of expertise and lack of authority, neither the industry nor the military can take a lead — the process of decision is left to an administrator who is the least expert. In a failed procurement case, an administrator finds solace in having saved budget and registers that as achievement. In the developing and underdeveloped countries, the armed forces are seen to be struggling in absorbing the Industry 3.0-3.5.
Due to above complications, lesser developed part of the world generally remains dependent on the developed that has matured Defence-Industrial complex — aligned to Industry 4.0. Advanced countries continue to leap forward in innovations due to matured R&D — convert prototypes into product in a much shorter timeframe, as such less developed countries cannot catch up. More so, industry in the developing world has neither the capacity nor awareness of the military’s needs. A good military interface is a pre-requisite to align with innovators and industry, for the latter to understand the war fighting doctrine and needs. Israel is a shining example where the military and industry work hand in hand. One of the reasons for this synergy is that most scientists and industrialists in Israel have served IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) and experienced combat. This is true for certain other countries too leading in defence technology. India unfortunately has least connect between military and industry and therefore remains a procurement based nation, importing most of its military hardware.
Q: What’s the concept of Military 4.5? Why is it needed now?
A: Defence industry needs guidance and hand-holding from the military which should coach the innovators, guide R&D and get the military hardware to finality. Military 4.5 is the lead to the industry to pull beyond industry 4.0, by half a notch. With the guidance from the armed forces the product would be aligned to the war fighting doctrines. On the part of industry, it brings in the best technological and industrial practices. A synergy between defence industry and armed forces would make industry and military revolution to go hand in hand. Industry shall produce weapon systems to fight future battles rather than battles of yesteryears. Military, in the bargain would be equipped with the best and that too indigenously produced hardware. For years there has been a cultural divergence and separation between these institutions, especially in India.
Military has continued to depend on imports and even those products that are produced in India have very low Indigenous Content. The Defence Procurement Plans have been modified every few years to accommodate participation by the Indian defence industry under Make in India programmes. However, the local products usually have not passed trials or found favour with the Military. TCPRs (Technology Perspective Roadmaps) prepared by the military for the industry are guidelines to the industry, but have met limited success because these are not wholesome concepts relating to Industry 4.0. The world is moving fast into new technology regime. Unless Defence Forces, Para Military Forces and Law enforcement agencies draw technology objectives together that not only aligns with the industry 4.0 but move half a notch ahead, country shall neither be able to break the cycle of R&D and development lag nor be prepared for future Wars.
Q: What are areas and domains under Military 4.5?
A: Today we are deep into Industrial Revolution 4.0, marked by data and machine learning. For the military, that means moving our industrial platforms and war-machines to be run by Artificial Intelligence (AI) engines. Moving the military to 4.5 would mean hurdling of legacy obstacles. Light, small, and fast, nanotechnology and miniaturised components offer the military some obvious benefits in terms of portability, protection and connection. But it needs to go further. We need the Military version — neo-nanotech — that’s even smaller, refined for reliable performance, and rugged and hardened enough to withstand the battle field rigorous.
As systems become more networked and the machines get smarter, the sheer speed and connectivity will challenge the human beings they are meant to serve, who will need to keep up. These systems will easily outstrip their operators unless some augmentation technology pairs with the operator to prevent fatigue, upgrade relatively slower thinking, and fuel a better decisionmaking cycle. This intelligent augmentation is crucial to controllable autonomous applications. Humans are now the weakest link in the chain: Vulnerable to lapses in attention, fatigue, even informational, psychological, biological and chemical warfare. Autonomous systems are much more impervious to such influences.
Network-centricity is at the core of future battles. When target acquisition and robotics are brought together, we will have C5I2-STAR2 (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence and Information — Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Reconnaissance and Robotics) cluster, nearly achieving the Industrial Revolution for Military 4.5. A networked battlefield where decentralised, robotic-initiated decision making would be the norm. This would largely be linked through Secure Space Connectivity.
Network-centric operations won’t happen without the fusion of scalable satellite connectivity for narrowband applications; fibre and microwave links to support broadband applications. These would ultimately connect millions of sensors operating ubiquitously and support data transfer. AI would play a critical role, enabling the IoMT (Internet of Military Things) to transition from mostly telemetry and sensing to complete autonomous action guided by rules defined by individuals, organisations and even nations. High assurances and strong protection tools will need to be delivered by the industry. Call it military-grade secrecy; security protocols would need to be well defined. Secure Chips, Quantum Technology and IP concealment would be essential.
None of the above will be possible if industry cannot pin down the core, baselayer PME (Power, Materials, and Electronics) capabilities. Military superiority will come from innovations that can deliver lighter, more sustainable power, perhaps delivered through nuclear, renewables or rechargeable through motion. It will come from lighter, stronger, selfhealing materials designed to maximize survivability and bear up extreme temperatures. It will also need next-generation electronics that are tiny, light, and programmable. It certainly requires developing the technological mechanisms that make it possible for humans and machines to partner in powerful new ways.
Q: How can the concept of Military 4.5 be adopted and executed?
A: The groundwork has clearly been laid. We have data, advanced computing, new materials and engineering methods that are translating into the fastest evolution of physical systems in human history. We can process data in seconds and run experiment after experiment based on the evolving results. Even small companies can better innovate at scale because it’s cheaper and faster to do so. There are simply no excuses for failure. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) Laboratories, Ordinance Factories, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and private sector must quickly align to achieve Military 4.5 standards. The Government of India has taken the right step in improving the performance of Ordinance Factories through Corporatisation before it can step up to absorb Industry 4.0 technologies and then pull up to 4.5.
Military 4.5 is not only a holistic war-fighting solution but a concept to guide the industry to push its envelope beyond 4.0. For all actors, elements of warfighting are coming together in a new technology-enabled paradigm — hybrid war — that will challenge us to be more thoughtful. The Grey Zone is expanding, stitching non-state and state actors as legitimate participants of Hybrid War. The conventional battles are subsuming the sub-conventional. Technology is the common denominator not only for the military but also for National Command Elements, Para Military Forces, Border Guarding and Law Enforcement Agencies. But it needs nuanced guidance of specialists.
Q:How is Military 4.5 Concept relevant for India? How can this be implemented?
A: Military Concept 4.5 is most relevant to India. We have a fast developing economy with a large industrial base. The growth of country is based on the modernisation of Industrial Complex. Unfortunately, Industry in general and defence industry in particular is lagging behind in technology. Despite having many indigenous programmes such as a fourth-generation fighter aircraft (LCA), nuclear submarine and main battle tank. India continues to be one of the largest importers of weapon systems and equipment. Import of Chinook and Apache Attack Helicopters from the US, Rafael Fighter Aircraft from France and S-400 Missiles from Russia are significant defence imports in a single year 2019-20. The target of 70% self-reliance in defence procurement set for 2005 is nowhere in sight. Currently, India’s self-reliance is seen to around 35-40% but not in niche technologies. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India is the world’s largest importer of major weapons, with a 15% global share during 2010- 2016. This does not augur well for a country with such a potent military and having regional aspirations.
To reverse the country’s huge arms import dependency and many reforms like a Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2020), Make in India, iDEX (Innovation for Defence Excellence) and a host of policy initiatives have been taken by the Government to revive the static or waning defence industry. However, despite all these efforts, India has a long way to go from reducing its huge imports of foreign military hardware and achieve indigenisation. PM Modi has made a clarion call on aatmanirbharta (aelf-reliance) during 2020 coronavirus crisis. Following which decision has been taken for privatization of Space Sector by creation of IN-SPACe and Corporatisation of the Ordinance Factories. It is encouraging to see gradual policy shift towards unlocking the Private Sector into participating in the space and defence sector, earlier only reserved for slow and safe government agencies. This change is so very vital to achieve 4.5 goals.
Despite the numerous reform measures undertaken under the ambit of the ‘Make in India’ programme, the Indian defence industry still suffers from several legacy issues which need to be addressed in order to establish an efficient and credible defence industrial base. The reform agenda that needs to be pursued is a multipronged one and it needs to be implemented systematically. It should begin with an overarching and integrated institutional structure that would be responsible for the three critical but interrelated functions of procurement, production and R&D. The absence of Military guiding the industry to initially align to Industry 4.0 and then later on pull by half a notch to 4.5 standards, is unacceptable.
The current procedures and structures are incapable of meeting some of the most basic current requirements of the armed forces — not to talk about 4.5 standards for future war-fighting. These structural changes are required urgently to synergise military with industry, scientific community and the administrators. There is very limited formal education on defence matters in our country. An idea was mooted for many decades to create Indian Defence University (IDU), this among many things would have bridged this foundational gap. Unfortunately, IDU has been sanctioned for many years but not created.
Views expressed in this interview by Lt Gen P.J.S. Pannu (Retd.) are personal.
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SINO-INDIAN LOGJAM: THE STRATEGIC GAINS AND IMPLICATIONS OF GALWAN
Galwan is a turning point in our history. It was India’s ‘Casablanca’ moment when our boys stood on the burning deck to turn tables. It was that moment in time when India and the world realized that the Chinese can be overcome. It was the Nth coming of the Indian Armed Forces from behind. It ensured that India regained its strategic confidence. Many articles have appeared to commemorate the incident. However, a strange dichotomy has emerged. Most analysts say that India is in a state of asymmetry with PLA which has hung a Damocles sword over Ladakh to tie us down to our Northern Borders at the expense of our maritime interests in the IOR. One detects ‘Strategic Hesitancy’ due to a gross overestimation of Chinese capabilities despite Galwan and its aftermath. We need to understand the strategic gains of Galwan and their implications.
Indian Army officer Capt Soiba Maningba Rangnamei of 16 Bihar Regiment during the clash with Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley. (ANI Photo)
Fact 1: In Mar 2020, the Belfer Centre analysis stated “China is regularly operating with a permanent Indian conventional force advantage along its border areas…it would have to rely upon mobilization primarily from Xinjiang and secondarily from the Western Theatre Command… By contrast, Indian forces are already largely in position”. This forecast has been borne out on ground. My own view is that China does not have an ‘Akshay Patra’ from where it can draw forces without consequences – long and short term. The PLA does not have numerical superiority over Indian Army along the LAC if numbers are crunched. Further, the recruitment standards of PLA have been lowered as per South China Morning Post and many other inputs. The quality of PLA is suspect.
Fact 2: PLA Air Force (PLAAF) suffers from a numerical disparity in comparison to the IAF along the LAC. India has a stronger air position, with a large number of airfields. Even if some airfields are down, operations can continue from other locations. The same is not true for PLAAF. IAF has a clear edge for the present. The PLAAF is trying to neutralise this edge by building up air infrastructure at a frenetic pace.
Fact 3: Any terrain allows deployment up to a level only. Beyond that, pumping in more forces results in diminishing returns. It is a matter of space, logistics, effectiveness, survivability, mobility and recuperability. In high altitudes, these factors get compounded. From a defensive perspective, India has adequate forces to thwart China. In my considered opinion, China does not have enough forces to wage a decisive war in its favour against India.
Fact 4: China is transforming PLA from a conventional land based force to a multidimensional force with a global foot print. Increasing force levels along the LAC is at expense of the larger role. The assessment to be done is whether a hand brake has been already put on this process post Galwan.
Fact 5: Comprehensive national power is a fictional metric coined by the Chinese to create a halo. It has no value on the battle field. Otherwise Taliban should not have kept USA on the run for so long. India needs to fight asymmetrically to defeat PLA. While India has the tools to do so in Tibet, PLA does not have it. There are no morals in not using the asymmetric option against an untrustworthy enemy.
Fact 6: Conventional ‘big’ battles between nuclear nations is fertile imagination. Most of the conventional weapons are now consigned to deterrence only. However we need to be prepared to defend our territorial integrity conventionally if push comes to the shove. The trend will be localised battles of high pressure and intensity.
Pre-Galwan Opinion: As per the Belfer Center Report, ‘India has key under-appreciated conventional advantages that reduce its vulnerability to Chinese threats and attacks. India appears to have cause for greater confidence in its military position against China than is typically acknowledged in Indian debates, providing the country an opportunity for leadership in international efforts toward nuclear transparency and restraint. Indian strategists have not focused on this opportunity, in part because they draw pessimistic conclusions regarding China’. How true!
Corroboration. Overall all these facts and opinion have been borne out in the past one year on ground in Eastern Ladakh. However things are changing.
The PLA executed a premeditated and calibrated operation to ensure that the focus of Indian action remains on the LAC instead of expanding to POK and Aksai Chin. This was in response to abrogation of Article 370 and its political postulations. To that extent, China has achieved its aim as I have enunciated in my article ‘Aim Revisited’@ https://www.gunnersshot.com/2021/06/please-read-in-conjunction-with-these.html . However when viewed in the larger context, PLA did not achieve objectives to cripple India like cutting off the DSDBO road or inflicting a military defeat on the Indian Army or coercing India into alignment with China or preventing India from doing what it wants. In fact the opposite has happened. PLA had to retreat humiliatingly after destroying their own defences and obliterating the Chinese flag. To that extent China stands defeated. However there are larger issues which have exposed the severe limitations of the PLA and China. We need to exploit them. Unfortunately at a military level, these have not come out clearly. At the political level it has not been realised as to how to drive home the advantage which Galwan gave us. I will leave the bureaucratic level out, whose (in)action has contributed more to the detriment of national interests, objectives and strategy.
PLANNED OFFENSIVE VS SPEED OF REACTION
The PLA incursions were meticulously planned with two divisions at a time and place of China’s choice. News of rehearsals on walk-through GIS models had also been publicised. It was probably appreciated that India will not be able to react in time and space to even pose a challenge to PLA. Hence two divisions would be able to militarily coerce India to achieve multiple political aims and objects. The execution failed due to gross under-assessment of Indian capabilities. All these were probably based on PLA norms. These norms indicate PLAs lack of military grasp. Its incapability to exploit the advantage and initiative when the window of opportunity opened is well established now. However the more important issue is the Indian reaction. We could build up an equivalent amount of forces to mirror PLA deployment in a matter of 2-3 weeks and stymie the offensive in super high altitudes. In the battlefield equations of time and space, capability to build up forces in such quick time frames indicates India’s latent offensive capability. Any one noticed that? India’s military capability to launch an offensive into Tibet at a time and place of its choosing by beating the PLA in time is now established. The edge which IAF brings to the table enhances Indian offensive potential. India will win the ‘Race to the Swift’ unless PLA commits additional forces in Tibet on a permanent basis. It seems to be doing that now! Anyone with fundamental common sense will discern as to who is tying down whom. Further, it tells us that we need to get into a preventive counterattacking mode rather than being permanently defensive.
OUTMANOEUVRE IN HIGH ALTITUDE
Occupation of Kailash Range and heights above Finger 4 in the face of PLA led to China being outmanoeuvred. More importantly, there was no counter manoeuvre by the PLA due to its limited capability in high altitude. The limitations of a political Army when set against a professional Army have been exposed. Significantly, the capability of PLA will not get better since it has already degraded its intake standards of height, eyesight and even hearing. Overall it leaves PLA as a vulnerable force in the mountains at super high altitudes. This will be exploited by all forces opposing China anywhere. It has taught everyone that PLA can be arm twisted into retreat.
There are reports in the media that PLA is turning over both the divisions from Eastern Ladakh. It begs a question. Why are they doing so? It takes more than a year for troops to get used to the environment and be fit for fighting. Just when those two divisions were getting fit to fight they are being turned over. PLA will now have two new divisions which are not fully fit for high altitude warfare. There are two explanations. First. The two divisions are beat-up and fatigued in near combat. Poor show then. Second. PLA troops do not identify with Tibet as their home land worth defending by sacrificing their life. After all, China as it exists today is an unnatural country which has never existed earlier in history. It has a spatial divide, an ethnic/racial divide and an economic divide between its Han dominated core in the East and the non-Han West. Despite all the talk of change of demography, Hans have not settled in Tibet in droves. Both these issues need monitoring to assess PLA’s ability and commitment to fight a last man last round battle in high altitudes.
Rebalancing a strike corps deployed against Pakistan to face the PLA has a tremendous strategic dividend for India. The rebalancing exercise does not detract our capability against Pakistan or in the IOR. On the other hand dual tasking significantly enhances our defensive and offensive options and capabilities along the LAC. PLA has now been forced to react to this. It will have to deploy additional forces in Tibet which is its secondary theatre and it will be at the cost of its larger geopolitical priorities. It has come to light that PLA is busy building infrastructure to house troops permanently along the LAC. PLA has been forced to commit itself much more to the LAC than hitherto fore and it no more takes Indian Army for granted.
THE GEO-STRATEGIC FALLOUT
Galwan inspired many countries to face up and counter China which were hesitant to do so till then. Malaysia, Phillipines, Singapore, Japan and Vietnam took up issues more forcefully with China after Galwan. These countries will be thankful that India has tied down China in remote Tibet. It takes Chinese focus away from them. Unfortunately, this fact has not been played up by either our diplomacy or strategic community to build or form a coalition of nations which are militarily affected by China and have a dialogue with them for joint action. Galwan also forced convergence of all democratic nations to form an unitary view about China. QUAD would not have come about without this action. NATO would not have declared China as a systemic global security challenge. The geo-strategic fallout has been huge.
We have turned ‘Defeat into Victory’ but are we capitalising on it? We have exposed the limitations of PLA. The Chinese seem to have learned from their shortcomings. They are increasing the depth of the battlefield and building a firm base. I do not see a plan to overcome our short comings. We remain in awe of Chinese! We are not able to tell the world as to how to deal with China! There is a need for political and strategic introspection. Galwan has also brought out that while we are fully prepared and capable of taking on the PLA in close battles, we are unprepared for the deep battle. We need to be able to deter the Chinese from any further adventurism by re-tooling for war in super high altitudes. We should enforce ‘Standoff’. Standoff can be imposed by improving battlefield transparency, reach, and survivability of existing forces. Let me put it across simply, the table which I outlined in my earlier article can be implemented incrementally, with indigenous technology as an evolutionary process. It needs unified thinking and clarity of mind. More than great financial investment, it needs commitment and dedication. That is sorely lacking. Strengthening the LAC is not at the cost of our maritime aspirations as being perceived by many. The challenge before the CDS is to increase joint ‘force’ and ‘operational’ capability. Theatre commands are contentious and emotive issues. Let them evolve. Increasing indigenisation rather than importing Russian tanks and Israeli guns should be the greater priority. We have a task cut out ahead.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vastoperational experience. He contributed significantly to the Modernization and Indigenisationof Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved inapplied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read onwww.gunnersshot.com
India’s military capability to launch an offensive into Tibet at a time and place of its choosing by beating the PLA in time is now established. The edge which IAF brings to the table enhances Indian offensive potential. India will win the ‘Race to the Swift’ unless PLA commits additional forces in Tibet on a permanent basis. It seems to be doing that now! Anyone with fundamental common sense will discern as to who is tying down whom. Further, it tells us that we need to get into a preventive counter-attacking mode rather than being permanently defensive.
INDIAN COAST GUARD ON ALERT OVER OIL SPILL FROM MV DEVON
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) received information from MRCC Colombo in late hours of Thursday regarding a mid-sea oil spill about 450 Km South East of Chennai. On further investigation, it was revealed that a Portugese Flag Container ship MV Devon on passage from Colombo to Haldia (West Bengal), developed an underwater crack in the left side fuel tank containing about 120 KL of Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO).
The crack resulted in spillage of about 10 KL of oil into sea before preventive action was taken and remaining oil in tank was transferred to another tank by ship’s crew. The vessel is carrying 10795 Tonnes of general cargo in 382 containers and manned by 17 crew of mixed nationality. The container ship is continuing her voyage to Haldia & likely to reach today. ICG is in continuous contact with MV Devon and master has reported that the vessel is stable. ICG pollution response team at Chennai has been alerted and kept standby. In addition, ICG ships & aircraft deployed at sea are also put on alert in pollution response configuration.
It may be recalled that, ICG ships & aircraft in a coordinated operation with Sri Lanka deployed vessels had successfully undertaken a major firefighting operation last month onboard MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo, thereby averting a major environmental disaster. The vessel now partially sunk off Colombo is under the supervision of Sri Lankan authorities and efforts are in hand for its salvage.
NORTHERN COMMAND PAYS HOMAGE TO GALLANT SOLDIERS ON ITS 50TH RAISING DAY
‘Golden Jubilee Raising Day of Northern Command’ was celebrated at Udhampur amidst strict COVID protocol. On this occasion, Lt Gen S Harimohan Iyer, COS, HQ Northern Command, on behalf of Lt Gen YK Joshi, Army Commander, Northern Command and all ranks, laid wreath at the Dhruva War Memorial and paid homage to the gallant soldiers of Northern Command who have made the supreme sacrifice for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.
Northern Command was raised on 17 June 1972 and completed 50th Raising Day. In his message to the troops, the Army Commander stated that these glorious years are testimony to historic operational achievements of Northern Command in ‘Op Meghdoot’, ‘Op Parakarm’, ‘Op Vijay’ ‘Op Rakshak’ and ‘OP Snow Leopard’. The resolute response of the Indian Army against aggression on the LC & LAC has won numerous accolades. In addition, our firm yet people friendly sub-conventional operations have not only thwarted attempts by our Western adversary to destabilise the nation but also, won the hearts and minds of the local populace.
Northern Command has been at the forefront to assist the administration and people of UTs of J&K and Ladakh during every natural calamity like snow blizzards, earthquakes (2005), Cloudburst of Leh (2010), floods in Jammu & Kashmir (2014) and frequent avalanches. The current COVID-19 pandemic is yet another example when the Indian Army has gone out of its way to support the people, in their times of need.
The Army Commander in special order of the day complimented all ranks for their extraordinary leadership, courage and sacrifice to keep the flag of the Command, the Indian Army & Nation flying high and exhorted all ranks to rededicate towards safeguarding our Nation’s integrity and resolve to confront new challenges with exemplary professionalism and courage.
INDIAN COAST GUARD SAVES 16 LIVES FROM SINKING BARGE MV MANGALAM NEAR REVDANDA PORT
In a swift sea-air coordinated operation amid inclement monsoon weather, Indian Coast Guard ship and helicopters undertook successful rescue of all 16 crew on Thursday from sinking MV Mangalam near Revdanda port of Maharashtra. MRCC Mumbai received information from Second officer of Indian flagged MV Mangalam (IMO-9084619) intimating that the vessel was partially sinking with 16 crew onboard approximately 3 Km from Revdanda Port (Raigarh District), and the master was planning to abandon the vessel. The crew of the distressed vessel were in panic due to swelling water ingress and waves breaking over the ship. MRCC team initiated rescue action and convinced the master and crew to remain onboard with life jackets as Coast Guard ships were dispatched for assistance.
Indian Coast Guard Ship Subhadra Kumari Chauhan pressed into action and proceeded towards distressed vessel with best speed for rendering assistance. Meanwhile, two Indian Coast Guard Chetak Helicopters were also launched at 9:45 am from Indian Coast Guard Air Station Daman for evacuation of the crew from MV Mangalam. Braving rough seas, Indian Coast Guard ship Subhadra Kumari Chauhan quickly arrived at scene of distress and post assessment of situation lowered the rescue team in inflatable boat amidst challenging sea conditions. Meanwhile, Indian Coast Guard Helicopters also arrived at the location and despite gusting monsoon winds commenced airlifting of crew. Through daredevil operations, the ICG Ship & helicopters successfully rescued all 16 crew. The rescued crew were taken to Revdanda and administered first aid following COVID protocol. All crew were safe and healthy.
The timely co-ordination and rescue by ICG once again saved precious lives. On an average, Coast Guard saves one precious life every second day at sea. The incident once again showcased Indian Coast Guard’s resolve and commitment towards safety of life at sea, upholding its motto ‘We Protect’ and ready to undertake operations at sea 24×7 through the year.
DEFENCE MINISTER INAUGURATES 12 ROADS BUILT BY BRO IN NORTHERN AND EASTERN BORDER AREAS
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicated to the nation 12 roads, built by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in the Northern and Eastern border areas on Thursday. At an event organised in Lakhimpur district of Assam, the Raksha Mantri e-inaugurated a 20-km long double lane Kimin-Potin road, along with nine other roads in Arunachal Pradesh and one each in the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. The roads have been constructed under ‘Arunank’, ‘Vartak’, ‘Brahmank’, ‘Udayak’, ‘Himank’ and ‘Sampark’ projects of BRO.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh lauded BRO for its contribution in infrastructure development of remote border areas of the country, especially amid the COVID-19 restrictions. He said the roads inaugurated today hold strategic and socio-economic importance as they will play an important role in strengthening national security as well as promoting development of the North-East region. “These roads will be helpful in fulfilling the needs of our Armed Forces and transporting necessities like medicines and ration to remote areas,” he said. The Raksha Mantri added that these road projects are part of the ‘Act East Policy’ of the Government wherein special emphasis is being laid on the overall development of the border areas. He reiterated the resolve of the Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for the development of North-east, describing the region as the gateway to not only the overall development of the country, but also to the nation’s relations with East Asian countries. Rajnath Singh paid tribute to the soldiers who showed exemplary courage during the Galwan Valley incident last year and made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the nation. He said India is a peace-loving nation but its response to aggression has been resolute.
Chief Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Mr. Pema Khandu, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports, Minority Affairs and Ayush (Independent Charge) Mr. Kiren Rijiju and Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region & Minister of State for PMO, Dr Jitendra Singh were among the dignitaries who attended the event virtually. The Raksha Mantri also touched upon some of the major reforms undertaken by the Government, including appointment of Chief of Defence Staff, measures to boost self- reliance in defence manufacturing and Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). These reforms are proving to be a game changer in the military preparedness in the rapidly changing times, he said.
Rajnath Singh underlined the constant efforts of the Government to make India self-reliant in defence manufacturing under the ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’ envisioned by the Prime Minister. “We are actively working towards making India a defence manufacturing hub. Self-reliance in defence production will reduce our dependence on imports, increase exports and strengthen our economy,” he said. In his address, DG Border Roads Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry gave a brief overview of the achievements of BRO and reiterated the commitment of the organisation towards infrastructural development of border areas.
SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH CELEBRATIONS AT RASHTRIYA RIFLES SECTOR HEADQUARTERS
NEW DELHI: The Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Flame after having entered the serene Kashmir Valley through the Navyug Tunnel on Tuesday, continued its journey and made its way to Anantnag City, also known as the ‘Land of Infinite Springs’. The Victory flame was received by Commanding Officer of Rashtriya Rifles Battalion, Wuzur and travelled to Khanabal, Anantnag via Mir Bazar, Khudwani and Wampoh and reached Rashtriya Rifles Sector Headquarter, Khanabal.
The flame was received with tremendous fervour by school children, local youth, 13 Veer Naris, 55 ex-servicemen, personnel from Security Forces & Law Enforcement Agencies and many other civilian dignitaries from the local administration. Thereafter, the Victory Flame was escorted through the Khanabal Junction, proudly carried by military personnel & civilians alike before entering the Khanabal Military Garrison. Later, the Victory Flame was handed over to the Commander, Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal at the War Memorial. Wreaths were laid to pay homage to the unsung War Heroes, by the visiting dignitaries, including Mr Hilal Ahmed Shah, Mayor Anantnag, Mr Ghulam Hussain Sheikh, IAS, Additional DC Anantnag, Mr Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, SSP Anantnag, Mr DP Upadhyay, DIG CRPF, Mr Abdul Jabbar, IPS, DIG (South Kashmir) and Commander Sector Rashtriya Rifles, Khanabal, followed by a ceremonial Guard of Honour. Post the solemn event, the celebrations continued with cultural performances by school children and local artists, followed by the felicitation of Veer Naris, Veer Matas & veterans by the dignitaries present.
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