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China: The aftermath of wolf-warrior diplomacy

With PM Narendra Modi addressing troops from Ladakh, the declaration of beginning of the end of China has happened. Historically, it all began with Zhou Enlai’s ‘wolf-warrior diplomacy’ that closed all the face-saving exit doors for the CCP.

Shreedharan Raman

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The then Mongolian PM Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal during a meeting with Zhou Enlai.

December 1962. The words of former Mongolian Prime Minister Yumjaagiin Tsedenbal during a meeting with former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, “Sorry that China and India had quarreled.” And added further, “Quarreling with India over an uninhabited strip of land in the Himalayas would only force the Indians to turn to the West, and that would not help China’s cause.” (Source: Chinafile.com)

 Fast forward to 2020. It seems Zhou Enlai, who is also dubbed as father of Chinese diplomacy, has scripted China’s downfall. For that downfall to happen, they are doing a natural climb up a vertical cliff. After the attack that killed 20 Indian Army personnel, events have now pushed the CCP clearly off balance. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing troops from Union Territory of Ladakh, the declaration of beginning of the end of China has happened. In other words, they have also been pushed from the top of the cliff.

For China, the downfall was visible. Music was slowing down due to trade war with the US. But to pick up a fight with India in the middle of a pandemic is a new low even according to Zhou Enlai’ism. As of today, China currently stares at an irreversible combined defeat on three fronts. The end is near for: 1) Political entity called People‘s Republic of China—diplomatic defeat. 2) Armed wing of CPC—People‘s Liberation Army—military defeat. 3) Communist Party of China—political defeat.

In this background, a sneak peek into some of those issues.

Diplomatic defeat

Zhou Enlai’s wolf-warrior diplomacy has closed all the facesaving exit doors for CCP. Implications are going to be rough and hard landing. Ranging from breakup of what we now know as China into multiple independent states and redrawing of maps of north Asia. This has huge implications on Belt and Road Initiative-trapped countries in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. This is going to have a global impact on the world economy with trillions of forex reserves going bust and turning valueless in a matter of a few weeks. Rumblings have already started over $400 billion in Hong Kong. Add to the mix, a probable implosion of Chinese regime in full. And a rogue PLA takeover, with weapons of mass destruction is the last thing the world would want right now. Powers that be should disarm PLA immediately after defeat and neutralise the nuclear threat in the best possible way. We should also leave no stone unturned to stop it from reaching a terrorist organisation or a state like Pakistan. This is going to be a diplomatic nightmare.

A good start would be to recognise Taiwan and send back Communist Party-appointed Envoys across countries. Give land allotted to People’s Republic of China missions to Republic of China. Let the flag of PRC be replaced by ROC. Let the message go to the larger free and democratic world, that the “game is over” for PRC. First one, to happily follow would be Australia and many African countries.

 UNSC role and reform

The UN and the UNSC should step in immediately. The UN should be reformed by replacing China as a permanent member with India. Failing which, the UN may go League of Nations’ way in due course. No, this is not due to non-support of India. But UN’s credibility would be at stake in pages of history. By the time the PRC implodes, China would neither have the moral high ground nor represent the billion people nor have a great economy. Means, little justice to UNSC permanent seat anyways. CCP leadership should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity in International Courts for unleashing pandemic across the world & killing thousands of people while destroying the world economy as we knew it. This might sound punitive in nature, but does the world think China has the moral right to continue in UNSC as a permanent member? Just pure logic.

 It is a poignant fact that India with an almost equal population and a democratic country is not being represented in UNSC as a permanent member. It is one of the many glaring failures of the UN, as a world body. This should be cascaded on to other world bodies too & PRC should see itself out of those as well.

The Tibet question

From India’s point of view, until 1950 we never had a border with China. Tibet was a buffer. Tibet that should be talked about in future should include all three provinces of the erstwhile Tibetan State. U-Tsang, Kham & Amdo. Yes, demography is changed, but over time people would turn inwards and find reason for justice. But we’re culturally linked till Mongolia.

We should have all future conversations regarding Tibet, only with Tibetan Government-inExile, that is in India currently. It should be formalized and recognized when they reach Potala Palace (seat of Government of Tibet, when Dalai Lama reaches Lhasa) in due course. In fact, this should be deliberated with Tibetan Government in Exile as the successor to the current political setup of China.

Strange fact, China calls the Shimla Accord (1914) illegal. Reason probably is, communists were not the signatory, but the agreement was with Republic of China (Taiwan). So, whenever CCP claims something, pause & think. Some facts are surely missing. Ask for documents. Chances are that they might not even have it.

Not just India, many other South East Asian countries have an interest in Tibet, also called the water table of Asia, as major rivers of the region have its source there. Brahmaputra, Mekong & Indus. China already has a project to have diverted water from South to North. Plus the mindless construction of dams across the Mekong River has made water levels low in lower riparian states of South-East Asia leaving many areas drought and also affecting inland water transport. Last year, water levels reached as low as 1.5m. Record low. Hope that conveys the intensity.

 Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos & Vietnam can’t let China have a knife on their head over this matter. This is like what Chinese have been doing in our own Brahmaputra – where they are building dams to stop flow of water into India from Tibet. Luckily, for us more water comes from within Indian borders than from Tibet. Problem is when Chinese release water from the check dams without intimation or stop sharing hydrological data. Hence, Tibet can’t be with a country which gives zero value to rules-based world order and common sense, basis which humanity operates.

 Tibet is sparsely populated and the challenging terrain. If need arises and at the request of Tibetan people and government, India should rise to the occasion and provide security cover to our spiritual brothers across the Himalayas. No, India doesn’t have to get the land or government there. Indian government policy is very clear in this regard. India is not in for greed of land, which PM Modi himself made very clear. We have our cultural interests in Tibet. Like, Kailash Manasarovar and cultural influence through Buddhism extends till Mongolia.

Now two questions might arise in the minds of Western countries: Can India be trusted with this responsibility of protecting Tibet and waters? Yes. Tibetans are spiritually and culturally our brothers. We shouldn’t repeat our monumental mistake of the 1950s. India is surrounded by small nations like Bhutan and Maldives. Never invaded them. In fact, India patrols Maldives’ EEZ in Indian Ocean. India has a free and open border with Nepal.

Can India protect Tibet’s resources on humanitarian reasons? Again, an impartial answer: YES. Purely based on our track record in adhering to Indus Water Treaty (brokered by a World Bank in 1960) has lived through decades of conflict and three major wars with the very country we had signed the treaty with. India has till date, not weaponised water. In fact, giving Pakistan more than what is mentioned in the agreement. Such a track record of commitments can be depended upon.

Taiwan

Taiwan should be recognised as a successor state in case Chinese Communist Party rule ends. An understanding with Taiwan should be reached in this regard, which should end all China’s claims with regards to Tibet and Inner-Mongolia. There should be no space for any political vacuum. Ultimate objective should be democratic, peaceful & demilitarised China—within its rightful land. This should solve the Hong Kong issue as well. Let us be very clear, the war is with Chinese Communist Party. Not the people of China, who have suffered from CCP more than anyone in the world. In return, Taiwan should give up untenable historical claims with various countries bordering it. Including Ladakh, Tibet (as per the original map of 1914. Parts of which are with other provinces) and handing over of inner-Mongolia to Mongolia. Any other dispute be only solved through peaceful negotiations.

Military

Quick facts about PLA: 1) PLA is an armed wing of CCP. 2) PLA reports not to the people but to the CMC (Central Military Commission) which is also headed by Xi. 3) PLA has its own businesses. Former PLA members are part of such companies.

China’s military power is not so powerful to damage us significantly, yet not to be taken lightly. But the caution ends there. A cursory research and even reading some factual replies to military related tweets from Global Times would give you a fair idea. PLA is done and dusted. And is on the verge of being disbanded. As of today, the PLA is behaving like Saddam’s army. CCP is turning out to be a redux of Ba’ath Party. The Iraq government was in denial of coalition forces entering Iraq and even after crossing Euphrates river. PLA’s might is a myth and stands busted. Strategy of the PLA is very simple. Put overwhelming numbers against PLA’s adversaries in the first wave. If the adversary survives the first wave and does calculated maneuvers, it won’t be tough for a battle-hardened force like that of India’s to punish PLA. With not much troops with PLA for back-up, they suffer significant loss as well.

The political commissar system has destroyed physical courage in the PLA soldiers. Else, by now, they won’t set out to start building a narrative of “we were attacked” on CCTV for their population. They would have already attacked India elsewhere, militarily. A military response not coming from such a big force, is a surprise for commoners. Not for those who give their deeds even a second glance.

 Forget US, Australia, Japan, India and Russia. The socio-economic reasons behind every soldier of PLA would make one rate other smaller armies better. For example, the PLA has 2million troops. And many more in reserve. Even Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam have a combined troop strength of 1.5 million. That too, fully ready for combat in jungles and is as much battle-hardened as PLA. With some support from QUAD, PLA would be forced to fight another front in jungles of these countries, from high altitude regions of Tibet. This is just land. Situation at sea is even a bigger disadvantage for China. Imagine the theater commander’s nightmares.

China would not get support from North Korea and Pakistan to help them with India & Russia, in case they form an alliance against PLA, they are wrong. North Korea & Pakistan would already switch sides or cease to exist or get busy with their own troubles, when China requires their help most. With the movements happening in SCS & IndoPacific, with almost all affected countries contributing resources, lakhs of troops from friendly countries are ready to take PLA head on. PLA would end up spreading thin across the country. Forget Tibet, would they even be able to defend Guangzhou & Hainan, when push comes to shove? Who would police Xinjiang Uyghur camps? With the current socio-economic situation & past sins of CCP, will their population support CCP’s efforts?

With the majority of troops being young troopers of the “single child policy” generation, it is in the interest of China’s future that the PLA be disbanded. These young troopers are innocent & joined PLA either forcefully or joined to get a college fee waiver. Hence be vetted & sent to their families (except notorious ones). PLA should be downsized to less than 10 personnel / million people. Only police and civil defence should be allowed. For internal troubles. All other arms—PLAF, PLAN, PLARF, PAPF etc— should cease to exist as well. Including external intelligence agencies operating within the Ministry of State Security. With Russia, Taiwan and QUAD turning guarantors of peace and sovereignty of borders, why would China require anything beyond border patrols?

 Political

China has started a victim narrative through CCTV by saying India crossed LAC and captured land. China here forgets that it is in occupied land post1962 war and has zero respect for India’s sovereignty in other parts of India’s Union Territory of Ladakh—by operating CPEC through Pakistan Occupied Ladakh. But treats even the slightest disagreement, as an insult.Recently discovered that China doesn’t have a President and that there is only the General Secretary of Communist Party of China & Chairman of the Central Military Commission. Even Xi wants him to be addressed as Chairman Xi and not as President Xi. Why is this information important? Just to point out that China has a head of Party and Military. No Head of State per se. Party has the country. Country doesn’t have a government. Subtle, yet significant.

Pattern to behaviour. CCP operates based on collective bullying & comparing with others. Like, “Everyone listens to me, why are you not listening?” is the standard syntax used for almost everything. This is quite clear in the mindset of ‘wolf-warrior’ diplomats too. Era of expansion through collective bullying is OVER. So, when the imminent overthrow/replacement of Xi Jinping happens, the fall of CCP should be completed too. Identify key people of CCP at village level. World should not be limited to encouraging regime change with another authoritarian in Beijing. Present with an alternative for the people of China (excluding Tibet, Inner-Mongolia & Xinjiang) & they’d prefer to be part of democratic society. Surrounded by democracies like India, South Korea, Japan, Australia & Mongolia, this would rather be quick.

The Chinese judicial system should be scrapped as well. It has a 99% conviction rate. Imagine, “Conviction is the norm, acquittal is an exception”. All symbols of Communism would vanish over time. A free democratic society would be tolerant to various practices like Feng Shui, Falun Gong, Tai Chi etc. A new democratic constitution, with strong affirmation of local bodies, reflecting the aspirations of a Chinese people is the way forward.

Last but not the least, economic costs might be imposed.

Economic costs

A blanket ban on Renminbi trade outside China. Through SWIFT/other mechanisms. Seize the assets of CCP, CCP members, CCP owned companies within & outside China. Including ships & other maritime assets.An investigation into all projects by CCP under BRI and CPEC. Any entity, company that is violating local laws and sovereignty in countries they operate be boldly acted upon and prosecuted without fear of repercussions / fear. Those who join the coalition now, to teach Chinese Communist Party a lesson, should be given an open offer: All overpriced loans would be renegotiated with the World Bank as mediator. All those unnecessary projects would be scrapped right away, freeing them of political compulsions. Then, those forcefully taken over by China in various countries should be returned immediately with financial loss adjusted against auction of seized assets of CCP / PLA. Remaining be given to Chinese people. This will open flood gates and lots of people would turn against CCP—within & outside China. Repatriations should also be paid to countries affected very badly by pandemic.

Overall, we are in a very interesting time which would be defined as a turning point in world history. Especially that of Asia, China and India. It is up to the people in power corridors to decide the exact course of action.

Shreedharan Raman watches strategic moves by countries around the globe, especially China, and writes his opinions occasionally. He can be contacted at write@shreedharan. com.

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ASSAM RIFLES FELICITATES COVID-19 WARRIORS

Ashish Singh

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The Covid warriors worked hand in hand in spreading the awareness and fighting the deadly pandemic. These warriors have worked selflessly to save the humanity. With nationwide rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, these warriors are reaching out to all sections of the society to spread the message about vaccination and its effects.

In its efforts to reach out to the society along with these warriors, 44 Assam Rifles under the aegis of 22 Sect Assam Rifles (AR)/ Inspector General Assam Rifles (IGAR)-EAST in a unique way felicitated these Covid warriors at Tamenglong. Since 16 January Covid-19 vaccination drive has been launched in the state of Manipur. Its prerequisite for the doctors, nursing and other medical staff to be thoroughly aware of the procedures and peculiarities of this vaccination drive. On the sidelines of this function the District Health Society, Tamenglong organised a training session for the medical staff of 44 Assam Rifles in Tamenglong.

The soldiers, being front line workers, are required to be vaccinated timely so that they can discharge their duty well without any risk to their health as well as the without endangering the lives of local populace, especially children and the elders of the society. The interactive and practice session conducted by Dr Sunil Kamei, DIO Tamenglong and his team of four doctors enabled the para medical staff of the unit to conduct vaccination at the unit hospital as well as at the remote outposts.

The CMO and medical team of 44 Assam Rifles felt much more confident in handling and carrying out of vaccination drive for the unit in times to come. Speaking on this occasion the Commandant 44 Assam Rifles thanked Dr Chambo Gonmei, CMO Tamenglong and his medical team for the enriching session and assured them to work hand in hand with them to battle the deadly pandemic till the time it is not fully eradicated from society. He also highlighted various awareness campaigns being undertaken by unit troops in various parts of the district. The troops through posters, banners, plays, interactive sessions, consultive meetings and medical camps are engaged in awareness against Covid-19.

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Navy appoints new FOMA & FOCWF

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Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar took over as the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF) from Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, at a formal ceremony held onboard the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on Wednesday.

Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, a specialist in Gunnery and Missile Warfare, was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 1 July 1988. In a career spanning 32 years, he has commanded five warships on both the Western and Eastern seaboard including the aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya.

On promotion to the Flag Rank, he assumed charge as Assistant Controller of Carrier Projects & Assistant Controller of Warships Production & Acquisition overseeing all aspects related to construction and acquisition of warships for the Indian Navy both from Indian as well as foreign shipyards including the indigenous aircraft carrier.

Rear Admiral Atul Anand has assumed the office of Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra Naval Area earlier this week. The formal handing/ taking over ceremony was held at INS Kunjali, where Rear Admiral Atul Anand was presented a guard of honour at a ceremonial parade. The Flag Officer Maharashtra Area, or FOMA, is responsible for administration, coastal security and other maritime operations of the Maharashtra Naval Area. On behalf of the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy, the FOMA liaises with the State Administration as well as the Army and the Air Force in the state of Maharashtra on a regular basis across a wide spectrum of issues.

Rear Admiral Atul Anand was commissioned on 01 Jan 1988, in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, the Defence Services Command and Staff College, Mirpur, Bangladesh and the National Defence College, New Delhi. He has also attended the prestigious Advance Security Cooperation Course at the Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies, Hawaii, USA. His educational qualifications include an M Phil, M Sc (Defence and Strategic Studies), Masters in Defence Studies and a B.Sc degree. A recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal, the Admiral has held several key command appointments in his naval career including the command of Torpedo Recovery Vessel IN TRV A72, Missile Boat INS Chatak, Corvette INS Khukri and the Destroyer INS Mumbai.

He has also served as the Navigating Officer of IN Ships Sharda, Ranvijay and Jyoti. In addition, he was the Direction Officer of the Sea Harrier Squadron INAS 300 and Executive Officer of the destroyer INS Delhi. His important Staff appointments include Joint Director Staff Requirements, Directing Staff at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Director Naval Operations and Director Naval Intelligence (Ops). He has also served as the Principal Director Naval Operations and the Principal Director Strategy, Concepts and Transformation at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy). As a Flag Officer, he has served as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence) at IHQ MoD (N) and Deputy Commandant & Chief Instructor at the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla.

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Skynet 6A successfully passes Preliminary Design Review

Ashish Singh

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Airbus has successfully completed the first key phase of the Skynet 6A project with the achievement of the Preliminary Design Review (PDR). The project now has permission to move into the next phase leading to the Critical Design Review (CDR).

Airbus was awarded the Skynet 6A contract in July 2020 and teams across its sites in Stevenage, Portsmouth and Hawthorn have been working on the programme to achieve this key milestone. Meetings with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) were held virtually enabling the review board to take place in October and the PDR being achieved in November.

Richard Franklin, Managing Director of Airbus Defence and Space UK said “This is excellent news and demonstrates our joint commitment to work in partnership to achieve the programme schedule. The progress we are making in building the UK MOD’s next generation military satellite and getting to this stage, despite current restrictions, really highlights the flexible and strong working relationship we have built with the Defence Digital team. Skynet 6A, to be built entirely in the UK, will significantly enhance the UK’s milsatcoms capability, building on the heritage of the four Skynet 5 satellites which were also built by Airbus, and which are all still operating perfectly in orbit.”

Teams from across the space and ground segments in Airbus worked closely with their MOD counterparts to keep the programme on track.

Skynet 6A will extend and enhance the Skynet fleet. The contract signed with the UK MoD in July 2020 involves the development, manufacture, cyber protection, assembly, integration, test and launch, of a military communications satellite, Skynet 6A, planned for launch in 2025.

The contract also covers technology development programmes, new secure telemetry, tracking and command systems, launch, in-orbit testing and ground segment updates to the current Skynet 5 system. The value of the contract is more than £500 million. The Skynet 5 programme, provided by Airbus as a full service outsource contract, has provided the UK MoD with a suite of highly robust, reliable and secure military communications services, supporting global operations since 2003.

Airbus has been involved in all Skynet phases since 1974 and this phase builds on a strong UK commitment to space manufacturing in the UK. The programme commenced by using the legacy Skynet 4 satellites and then augmenting them with a fully refurbished ground network before launching the Skynet 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D satellites between 2007 and 2012. The Skynet 5 programme has reduced or removed many of the technical and service risks for the MOD, whilst ensuring unrivalled secure satcoms and innovation to UK forces. Through the many years of delivering an exceptionally reliable Skynet service the Airbus teams have managed to significantly extend the lifespan of the Skynet satellites many years beyond their design life, offering significant additional value for money and capability to the UK.

The Skynet 6A satellite is based on Airbus’ Eurostar Neo telecommunications satellite platform. It will utilise more of the radio frequency spectrum available for satellite communications and the latest digital processing to provide both more capacity and greater versatility than Skynet 5 satellites. The satellite will feature electric orbit raising propulsion as well as electric station keeping systems for maximum cost effectiveness. Complete satellite integration will take place at Airbus facilities in the UK followed by testing using RAL Space testing facilities at Harwell in Oxfordshire supporting the UK Space Agency initiative for sovereign UK end-to-end satellite production and support.

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INS PRALAYA REACHES ABU DHABI TO PARTICIPATE IN NAVDEX 21 AND IDEX 21

Participation of an Indian Navy ship in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 also highlights close relations between India and UAE.

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Indian Naval Ship Pralaya arrived at Abu Dhabi, UAE, on 19 February to participate in the NAVDEX 21 (Naval Defence Exhibition) and IDEX 21 (International Defence Exhibition), scheduled from 20 to 25 February 2021. Participation of an Indian Navy ship in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21 also highlights close relations between India and UAE.

Vice Admiral D.K. Tripathi, the Director General Naval Operations (DGNO), Indian Navy, speaking on the subject of ‘A holistic view on Cyber Security Resiliency during the era of Digital Transformation’ at a conference held on the sidelines of IDEX & NAVDEX 2021, emphasised the need for Cyber Resilience aimed at building layers of risk management, disaster recovery, business continuity & cyber insurance. “We need to address mind-sets that formulate policies and strategies, as also look at technologies which provide us with tools for cyber resilience,” said Vice Admiral D.K. Tripathi.

Some of the measures he spoke of included:

– Identification of critical assets, systems and data.

– Protecting critical infrastructure services

– Detection of malicious events & suspected data breaches or data leaks in time.

– Having a proactive response capability, as against a reactive ability.

– Readiness to recover and restore the affected infrastructure, capabilities or services.

Further elaborating on the subject, Vice Admiral DK Tripathi highlighted, “The Cyber Landscape’ is both dynamic and borderless. This forces us to address this challenge in terms of technology, international cooperation and educating the general population”.

Deployment of Indian Navy ships to Abu Dhabi, UAE underscores deep rooted friendly ties and multi-faceted cooperation between India and UAE, and will further strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries. Defence relations between India and UAE have been steadily growing since the upgradation of bilateral relations to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ during the visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in January 2017 as Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations. Towards enhancing interactions between the two navies, inaugural edition of Indian Navy-UAE Navy bilateral exercise GULF STAR-1 was conducted in March 2018. The next edition of the exercise is likely to be conducted in 2021. In addition, Indian Navy ships have been making regular port calls at the UAE for promoting maritime cooperation. INS Mysore, an indigenously built guided missile destroyer, mission deployed in the region, is also making a port call at Abu Dhabi, UAE from 19-22 February 2021.

Participation of INS Pralaya in NAVDEX 21 and IDEX 21, one of the leading international naval and defence exhibitions of the region, is aimed at showcasing the strengths of India’s indigenous ship building, in line with Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’. INS Pralaya, the second ship of the indigenously built Prabal Class Missile Vessels, was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 18 December 2002. The 56 m long ship, displacing about 560 T is capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots and is fitted with an impressive array of weapons and sensors. These include a 76.2 mm medium range gun, 30 mm close range guns, chaff launchers and long-range surface to surface missiles. The ship, built indigenously at Goa Shipyard Limited, bears testimony to capabilities of the Indian ship building industry and is a versatile platform capable of performing a wide variety of surface warfare missions.

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Defence Acquisition Council approves proposals worth Rs 13,700 crore

Ashish Singh

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Delhi: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has approved capital acquisition proposals of various weapons/ platforms/ equipment/ systems required by the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, in New Delhi on 23 February. Three Acceptance of Necessities (AoNs) for an overall cost of Rs 13,700 crore were accorded. All these AoNs are in the highest priority category of Defence Acquisition viz ‘Buy [Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)].

All these acquisition proposals will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured. These will include inter-alia platforms and systems designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). To meet the Aatmanirbhar Bharat goals of the Government on time-bound defence procurement process and faster decision making and to systematically work towards reducing the time taken for capital acquisition, the DAC also approved that all capital acquisition contracts (delegated and non-delegated) other than D&D cases shall be concluded in two years. The ministry, in consultation with the Services and all stakeholders, will come up with detailed plan of action for achieving the same.

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TARUN SOBTI TAKES OVER THE COMMAND OF EASTERN FLEET

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Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti took over the Command of the Eastern Fleet, the Sword Arm of the Eastern Naval Command, from Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan on Tuesday. The change of guard took place at an impressive ceremony held on 23 February in Naval Base, Visakhapatnam.

Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 01 July 1988 and is a specialist in Navigation and Direction. The Flag Officer is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, Collège Interarmées de Défense, Paris, France and College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai.

During his illustrious career spanning 32 years, he served as Navigating Officer of INS Kirpan, commissioning Navigating Officer of INS Mysore, Direction Officer on INS Viraat and Executive Officer of missile destroyer INS Delhi. His sea commands include those of missile vessel INS Nishank, missile corvette INS Kora and missile destroyer INS Kolkata of which he was the commissioning Commanding Officer. His prestigious staff and operational appointments include those as Joint Director of Staff Requirements and Joint Director of Personnel at Naval Headquarters and Captain Work-Up at Local Work-Up Team (East).

He also served as the Naval Attaché at Embassy of India, Moscow. Prior assuming command of the Eastern Fleet, the Flag Officer was Deputy Commandant and Chief Instructor of Indian Navy’s premier officer training establishment Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala.

Over the past 12 months, the Eastern Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Sanjay Vatsayan has maintained high level of combat readiness and undertaken various operational missions including Operation Samudra Setu towards repatriation of Indian citizens, Mission SAGAR providing Humanitarian Assistance to friendly foreign countries and Malabar 20. His tenure also saw the commissioning of INS Kavaratti, the indigenously built P28 class ASW corvette. He would be taking over as the Deputy Commandant of the prestigious tri-services institution National Defence Academy at Khadakvasla, Pune, shortly.

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