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Army foils another Pak attempt to smuggle weapons into Kashmir

Ashish Singh

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While the Global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has begun deliberations on Pakistan’s compliance with international anti-terrorist financing norms, Pakistan continues to support terrorism by abetting smuggling of weapons across the Line of Control. On 12 October, alert Indian troops deployed at the Tangdhar Sector of North Kashmir, thwarted yet another attempt by Pakistan Army to smuggle weapons from PoJK. At 1830 hours, a joint search operation launched along with JKP recovered a bag with Five Pistols, Ten Magazines, 138 rounds of ammunition from a location close to the Line of Control. Currently the area is cordoned off and search is under progress. 

Last week, on 9 October, alert Indian troops deployed at the neighboring Keran Sector of North Kashmir had recovered Four AK 74 Rifles, Eight Magazines and 240 AK Rifle ammunition. At 2030hours, on 9 October, the surveillance detachment on the Line of Control detected movement on the banks of Kishen Ganga River (KGR) which is the alignment of Line of Control in that Sector. Immediately, a joint operation was launched with J&K Police. At approximately 2200 hours, the surveillance teams again detected 2-3 terrorists trying to transport some items in tube which was tied to a rope from far bank of Kishan Ganga river. Troops immediately reached the location and recovered two bags with Four AK 74 Rifles, Eight Magazines, 240 AK Rifle ammunition.

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.)

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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.

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Defence

PASSING OUT PARADE, VALEDICTORY FUNCTION AT INS VALSURA

Ashish Singh

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A total of 34 officers including 10 officers from friendly foreign countries successfully completed their Electrical Specialisation Course O-173 from the portals of INS Valsura, the premier Electrical training establishment of the Indian Navy. The valedictory address for the passing out ceremony was delivered by Vice Admiral S.R. Sarma, Chief of Materiel over video conferencing. 

The Admiral advised the officers to imbibe the ethos enshrined in the ‘Chetwode Motto’ while executing their duties as leaders of men. During his address, the Admiral highlighted that in a quest to prepare personnel for onboard challenges, training at INS Valsura has kept pace with rapid advancements in the field of technology. 

The Admiral also complimented the staff of INS Valsura, who, despite the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have effectively managed to equip all trainees undergoing training at Valsura with sound professional skills and leadership attributes required to serve the nation diligently. Commodore Ajay Patney, Commanding Officer, INS Valsura reviewed the Passing-Out-Parade (POP) of the course and awarded trophies and certificates to officers who excelled in academic, sports and extra-curricular activities of the 95 weeks professional training. 

The FOC-in-C (South) Rolling trophy and Book Prize for standing first in order of merit amongst International officers was awarded to Lt Cdr Aliyu Suleiman from Nigerian Navy and the coveted Admiral Ramnath Trophy for ‘Best All-round Officer’ was awarded to SLt Vikrant Nagpal. Commander AR Khandekar Rolling Trophy and Book Prize for standing first in Overall Order of Merit of the course was awarded to SLt Jacky Modi and the Commanding Officer, INS Valsura Rolling trophy for ‘Best Sportsman’ was awarded to SLt Harshavardhan Mohite.

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Thales develops new, ultra compact surveillance radar

The AirMaster C has enhanced target detection capabilities
for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and UAVs.

Ashish Singh

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Threat detection, identification and surveillance missions depend on a force’s ability to operate in any type of environment and all weather conditions. Drawing on its experience with the successful Master series of radars, Thales has developed a new, ultra-compact surveillance radar with enhanced target detection capabilities for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and UAVs. With its low integration and operating costs and high availability and performance, the AirMaster C sets a new standard for airborne radars. The nature of armed confrontation is constantly evolving. From the intrastate conflicts of the post-Cold War period to the asymmetric threats of the early 21st century and, more recently, the resurgence of rivalries between major powers, armed forces around the world must constantly adapt as they face different types of adversaries in a diverse array of environments: open ocean, coastal areas, remote deserts and urban spaces. 

Responding to these rapid changes, Thales has developed the AirMaster C, a new surveillance radar with an ultra-compact, programmable 2D active antenna based on SiGe (silicon-germanium) technology. SiGe is much more energy efficient than other technologies used for AESA radars, and allows the radar to selfcool. Weighing less than 20 kg and housed in a single unit design, the radar has a 30% lower SWaP (size, weight and power) than the other radars in this class. In addition to this breakthrough SiGe technology, other innovations are deployed. Multi-polarisation (a capability displayed by many cameras) will allow the radar to automatically select the optimal settings to maximise detection performance on each mission. The radar also offers a simultaneous short-range and longrange detection capability, similar to the human eye, for instantaneous surveillance.

 With its 2D navigation and weather modes, the AirMaster C will also provide valuable navigation support in all types of environments and weather conditions. The AirMaster C is a smart software-defined radar designed to reduce aircrew workload. With its autonomous sensors, self-learning functionality and the ability to analyse and classify huge volumes of data, the radar can automatically adapt to different uses, terrains and environments. The AirMaster C builds on the innovative design and proven success of the Master series. Notified by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), preparatory studies are being carried out by Thales in collaboration with Airbus Helicopters for the integration of the AirMaster C on board the Guépard helicopter. 

This is the future light joint army helicopter, which will have to carry out a wide variety of missions for the three French armies.“We’re proud to present the latest addition to the Thales family of airborne surveillance radars, the AirMaster C, which meets the full range of current and future operational requirements. With this new product, Thales offers an optimised surveillance solution for a broader array of platform types and operators, ensuring they benefit from the highest levels of mission performance as they face the new challenges ahead.” said Hervé Hamy, Vice President for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), Thales.

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Defence

India announces Quad in military

Ashish Singh

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The Malabar-2020 maritime exercise scheduled to be held next month will have Australian Navy as the fourth participant, completing the much talked about Quad in military. Malabar-2020 will see the navies of India, United States, Japan and Australia coming together to conduct the maritime exercise. The Malabar series of naval exercises started in 1992 as a bilateral Indian Navy-US Navy exercise. Japan joined the naval exercise in 2015. This annual exercise has been conducted off the coast of Guam in the Philippine Sea in 2018, off the coast the Japan in 2019 and is expected to be held in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea later this year.

 As India Seeks to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia, Malabar 2020 will see the participation of the Australian Navy. This year, the exercise has been planned on a ‘non-contact – at sea’ format. The exercise will strengthen the coordination between the Navies of the participating countries. The participants of Exercise Malabar 2020 are engaging to enhance safety and security in the maritime domain. They collectively support free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and remain committed to a rules based international order. 

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Defence

81ST RAISING DAY OF the CORPS OF MILITARY POLICE

Ashish Singh

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The Corps of Military police, the epitome of discipline and light of guidance to the armed forces be it in war or peace having completed 80 years of yeoman service celebrated their 81st Raising Day on 18 October 2020.The force has proved its worth in all the wars fought by India both pre- and post-Independence. Be it guidance to advancing force, management of Prisoner of War Camp, traffic management, various ceremonial activities and piloting the VIP convoys during peace, the force has evolved from strength to strength. The force is also now inducting women recruits, another proud achievement of the Corps. 

The Corps has been rendering invaluable service in the upkeep of good order and discipline and in strengthening the moral fabric of the Army. It has closely monitored the changing social dynamics impacting the organisation and works towards finding pragmatic solutions to maintain optimal standards of discipline, a continued reverence of the rich cultural ethos of the Army and an enviable internal health of the organisation. On this occasion, Lieutenant General CP Mohanty, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Command complimented all ranks of Corps of Military Police for living up to their motto ‘Seva Tatha Sahayata’ and urged them to continue working hard for maintenance of law and order within the force both during peace and war.

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Defence

PLEDGE-TAKING CEREMONY ON COVID-19 AT APS UDHAMPUR

Ashish Singh

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In continuation of the fight against Covid-19 and as part of the Jan Andolan movement launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 October 2020 where he appealed everyone to unite in the fight against corona, a “Pledge Taking Ceremony” was organised at Army Public School, Senior Wing, Udhampur (J&K) on Monday. Lt Col Abhinav Navneet, PRO (Defence) Udhampur, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, Principal, APS Udhampur, Teaching Staff, Administrative Staff and NCC students of APS Udhampur attended the ceremony. 

The aim of the Ceremony was to encourage the participation of Teachers, Administrative staff & Students to spread awareness about Covid appropriate behaviours. Sanjeev Kumar, Principal, APS Udhampur, in his address said that APS family is not leaving any stone unturned in spreading awareness among children & their families through various activities and online classes. This is another initiative in the same line. 

He mentioned with great pleasure that there hasn’t been any corona case till date in APS family comprising of 200+ staff members and around 4000 children & their families. Lt Col Abhinav Navneet, PRO (Defence) Udhampur during his address briefed the Staff and Students of APS, Udhampur about the Jan Andolan movement launched by the Prime Minister Modi and reiterated the Prime Minister’s key message of “Wear a Mask, Wash Hands, Follow Social Distancing and practice Do Gaj ki Doori”. 

The PRO emphasised on the need to create awareness amongst fellow residents of Udhampur about coronavirus, to offer social and mental assistance to those in need, to encourage physical social distancing and stop any form of discrimination, to spread awareness on Myths related to Corona virus & to follow all guidelines issued by the Government. All teachers and staff were also briefed about the online pledge taking through pledge.mygov.in website.

 The media fraternity present during the ceremony was requested for dissemination of the Jan Andolan Movement throughout the UT of J&K & Ladakh, using all media platforms. The entire Staff & selected students of Army Public School, Udhampur, pledged collectively to prevent the spread of Covid-19 under the Jan Andolan initiative. 

The staff also promised to be vigilant and take all necessary steps to prevent and minimising the impact of the disease by imbibing key Covid behaviours in students and encouraging other to emulate. The joint efforts of all stakeholders in the national fight against Covid 19 will ensure that the people of the country remain safe and healthy. As brought out by the PM, “Together we will succeed and win against the Covid-19”.

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