FICCI organised a webinar on the subject “Ushering Indigenisation through Make in India”. The objective of the webinar was to strengthen the Indian Army and industry interface by engaging in direct dialogue and stocktaking of last year. Lieutenant General S.K. Saini, the Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS), gave the inaugural address at this webinar.
The previous year was game-changer with far-reaching implications with respect to indigenous arms and equipment manufacturing. Indian army is the lead agent of change for this initiative which has the potential to redefine India as a global hub for manufacture of defence equipment. The VCOAS reiterated his unequivocal assurance of the Army’s commitment in supporting Make in India and sought to correct the perception that the Army had an import bias. He said that the army was more than ready and willing to fight with equipment designed and made in India.
The only caveat was that the quality of the equipment had to pass stringent tests of quality, had to be developed innovatively and must adhere to the delivery timelines. This was to ensure that the Indian Army was equipped with the best of equipment to fight its adversaries as heavy costs were imposed on the side coming second. Developing indigenous and local capabilities to confront emerging security challenges is an imperative need. It is no secret that during crunch situations, technologies developed by other countries would either not be available or if shared, will be at the cost of our strategic autonomy.
Defence forces are therefore looking at indigenous solutions to fulfil their needs. The Army in particular is most suited to lead this initiative as its sheer numbers make a sound and sustainable business case. Approximately 40% of Indian Army’s procurement schemes are valued at less than Rs 300 crore. This lower average cost of acquisition facilitates and promotes wide participation by the MSMEs and start-ups. The Army’s requirements are wide, while at the same time the technological requirements are simpler and relatively easier to achieve, affording ample opportunity for everyone to participate.
The Army is pursuing Make projects in diverse fields of technology including 3rdgeneration ATGMs BMP upgrades, aerial targets, precision ammunition, tank ammunition, auxiliary power units, drone kill systems, mountain radars, to name a few.
Nine new projects were introduced in 2019 and in 2020 four more will be unveiled. Out of the 28 projects in progress, almost 50% (13 of them) valued at Rs 21,264 crore are suo-moto proposals received from the Indian defence industry. The first RFP under Make II route has been issued recently on 13 July 2020 for our first Make II project of Manuverable Expendable Aerial Targets (MEAT). One more RFP for Upgraded Assault Track Way and three Project Sanction Orders (PSOs) valued at Rs 4919 Cr are going to be issued very soon.
To provide a major boost to indigenization, the Army has launched several initiatives in the recent past. These include establishment of Army Design Bureau to facilitate direct interaction with defence industries, Army’s problem definition statements released annually to provide a clear direction to the industry and release of the Olive Pages, which list the army’s annual requirements of spares, sustenance and upgrades.
To ensure Economic Order Quantity, the army has a provision to club three years requirement of an item which could even go up to an assurance of five years in specific cases, where the development costs are substantial or technology involved is complex.
The Army has also ensured hand holding of industry in development of prototypes with officers dedicated for each project as also providing equipment on loan. In an endeavour towards quick fructification of projects, time for certain internal procedures has been shortened. To facilitate faster development and testing, the Army has opened up its ranges and other facilities for defence industries.
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Two Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists killed in the J&K encounter
Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH), an Al-Qaeda-linked terror outfit in Kashmir, has suffered a major setback. In an encounter on the outskirts of Srinagar, security forces killed two more AGH terrorists.
The AGH terrorists were apprehended after the army and police received specific information about their presence.
During the exchange of fire, forces killed two local Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists from AGH. Both terrorists are Pulwama residents who have been involved in a number of terrorist attacks.
According to police, the terrorists were also involved in an attack on a migrant worker in Pulwama.
N. Korea enacts law on preventive nuclear strikes, France calls “threat to peace”
France criticised North Korea’s adoption of a law announcing its preparedness to launch preventive nuclear strikes on Friday, calling it a “threat to international and regional peace and security.”
The announcement from the foreign ministry came after North Korean state media earlier on Friday reported that Pyongyang had enacted a law authorising preventative strikes, including in the event of conventional attacks.
“This new escalation on the part of the North Korean authorities represents a threat to international and regional peace and security,” said a ministry spokeswoman.
France “notes with great concern the increasingly aggressive declarations from North Korea,” she added.
The decision by Pyongyang practically puts an end to the possibility of denuclearization talks after leader Kim Jong Un said that the nation’s nuclear status is now “irreversible.”
The announcement comes at a time when the North and South are experiencing greater conflict.
In addition to conducting a record number of weapons tests this year, Pyongyang has blamed the COVID-19 outbreak in its territory on Seoul.
China has successfully tested its first solar-powered drone capable of acting as a satellite
A Chinese government official informed in a tweet that China has successfully tested its first fully solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), named Qimingxing-50, which can fly for months and can function even as a satellite if required.
What is the significance of this test flight?
The Qimingxing-50, with a wingspan of 50 m, is a high-altitude long-endurance drone that is capable of high-altitude aerial reconnaissance, assessing forest fire and can also be used for communications.
This technology will bolster Chinese defences in space and at sea. It can be used in the fields of renewable energy, new materials, and aeronautical engineering. The Chinese official also asserted that this test flight is an important step towards sustainable development.
Use of the UAV as a satellite:
The UAV, whose name translates as “Morning Star-50” in English, is claimed to be capable of functioning uninterrupted for months. This capability of having a long-endurance flight gives it a use case of operating as a satellite.
Like satellites, it is fully electric-driven, powered by solar energy and can operate at 20 km above the Earth’s surface for an extended period of time continuously. It is also referred to as a “High Altitude Platform Station” or a “pseudo-satellite.”
It can be used when there is unavailability or disruption in satellite services. The report says that compared to the cost and complexity of installing a satellite in orbit, this UAV is much more cost-effective and easy to operate.
Strict security measures have been taken at the Central Vista ahead of the inauguration by PM Modi
As Prime Minister Nrendra Modi is going to inaugurate the newly revamped Central Vista on Thursday, over 1,500 police personnel have been deployed for security over there.
A senior official of Delhi Police who is aware of the security arrangements said that the area has been divided into eight zones, which will be manned all day by eight deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) and additional deputy commissioners of police (ADCPs).
The officer, on condition of anonymity, said, “Besides 17 assistant commissioners of police (ACPs), 43 inspectors and nearly 1,200 upper and lower-rank staff of Delhi Police will be patrolling in the areas. While ten Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) companies will patrol the area during the day, two additional CAPF companies have been deployed for security arrangements during the evening shift.As many as five patrolling teams in 10 mobile patrolling vans (MPVs) will be keeping a constant watch on all the public movement in the area.”
Another officer said that, “The Multi Zone Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMD) have been installed at 90 points in 25 locations in the area. Apart from one anti-drone gun, one counter-unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has also been installed in the area, to detect, track, and ultimately disrupt and destroy any suspicious aerial intrusion. While five teams of spotters will keep a strict vigil in the area, another five traffic decongestion teams have been deployed there to immediately remove any traffic bottlenecks in the area. As many as five SWAT teams have been deployed in the area to avert any emergency crisis.”
The official added that drones will not be permitted near Central Vista on Thursday.
Pakistani rangers opened fire on BSF patrolling party in J&K
As per the reports, Pakistani rangers opened fire on a Border Security Force (BSF) patrolling party in Jammu and Kashmir’s Arnia sector on Tuesday morning, prompting the BSF to respond appropriately to the “unprovoked firing”.
“Today morning the alert BSF Jammu troops gave a befitting reply to the unprovoked firing by Pak rangers on BSF patrolling party in Arnia Sector. No loss (of lives) or injury (reported) to the BSF troops,” a statement issued by a BSF spokesperson said.
On February 24, 2021, India and Pakistan agreed to strictly adhere to all agreements and understandings concerning cross-border firing along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, among other sectors.
Other incidents of firing by Pakistani troops have occurred in the last year and a half, but Tuesday’s incident was “a major one” and occurred on a day when Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in India for talks, an officer anonymously said.
According to a second officer, the Indian Army and BSF respond immediately and effectively to unprovoked firings and ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the LoC and IB.
Before the agreement in 2021, there were 5,133 ceasefire violations in 2020, 3,479 in 2019, and 2,140 in 2018. However, this number dropped to around 700 last year. Statistics for 2022 are not yet available.
The Indian government has maintained that it is Pakistan’s responsibility to create a conducive environment by taking credible, verifiable, and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for cross-border terrorism against India in any way.
India sends the body of Lashkar terror operative via LoC in Poonch
Pakistan accepted the body of Tabarak Hussain, Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist operative via Chakan Da Bagh on the Line of Control in Poonch district on Monday.
“Officials of the Indian Army and civil administration took the body of slain terrorist in an ambulance to Chakan Da Bagh where it was handed over to Pakistani army officials,” said a senior official.
Tabarak Hussain, son of Mistri Malik of Sabzkote in PoK, was apprehended in an injured state by the army on August 21 in the Jhanger area of the Nowshera sector in Rajouri.
Tabarak was apprehended while allegedly infiltrating with a fidayeen terror group to attack Indian army posts along the LoC.
However, Indian army troops noticed the movement and opened fire on the intruding terror group, injuring Tabarak while other infiltrators fled to PoK.
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