When I was in the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Lt Col Shankar Roy Choudhry (later a General and our COAS) taught us “Principles of War”, twirling his moustaches. The first and foremost principle he taught: ‘Selection and Maintenance of Aim’. He also introduced the Clausewitzan postulate—“War is continuation of politics by other means”. As I grew professionally, it dawned on me that ‘Selection and Maintenance of Aim’ also meant that war between nations must be prosecuted with a political aim, desired end state, conflict termination and exit strategy—all with fall back options. If you do not use this strategic toolkit, you lose.
In the current Sino-Indian context, what are the respective national aims? The Indian aim is straight forward. India aims to maintain its territorial integrity, altered at the LAC unilaterally by Chinese aggression. How about the Chinese aim? In the past four months many have speculated about it. No clear answers. Have they maintained it or has it changed? What is it now? What are the repercussions? It will tell us where we are heading.
In an inscrutable, complicated and ambitious country like China nothing is singular or definitive. Hence a broad range of likely interconnected aims need consideration.
Territorial Aim: Settlement of the LAC in own favor before Indian border infrastructure improves to a level beyond which China might not be able to force the issue on its terms. This aim is linked to abrogation of Article 370, threat posed by DSDBO road to CPEC, ‘Doklam revenge’, regional dominance and putting India in its place through a massive military embarrassment.
Dominance Aim: Demonstrate and assert that China is the most dominant power—virus or not. Regional and global messaging that India is no competitor or leader, breaking the Quad and targeting India’s growing links with the US, Australia and Taiwan are all connected.
Economic Aim: Prevent decoupling and economic relocation. India is the chosen target due to being at the forefront of decoupling and relocation drive, resistance to BRI, CPEC and RCEP, declaring intent for self-sufficiency and attracting investment. India as a competitor had to be destroyed.
Domestic Aim: The aim could have also been to cater for hyping nationalism or diversion from internal problems due to the then prevalent virus-related geopolitics.
Most Likely Aim: Analyse. The territorial aim is the most plausible. Others are inherent sub themes. However, to achieve this, the operation had to be on tight timelines. The shock of surprise had to be exploited to present a fait-accompli to India quickly. The US, after recovering from the initial shock of the Wuhan virus, would retaliate due to concurrent events in the South China Sea. China had to exit fast to avoid the current twofront situation.
I am now even more convinced that the Chinese targets were the DSDBO Road at the Galwan-Shyok Junction and the Gurudongmar Road, through Naku La. These incursions, if successful, would have enabled China to achieve its aim while presenting a nightmare scenario for India. Others at Depsang, Gogra, Pangong Tso and Demchok were supporting actions. However, Naku La was blocked by alert Indian action. The weight shifted to Eastern Ladakh. By early Jun, China was dictating terms. Indian response was hesitant and unsure. Chinese appeared ten-foot-tall and India was grasping at straws due to slick influence operations. The Galwan-Shyok junction, however, eluded China.
At this stage if China had stepped back, they would have achieved most of their fall back options and some territorial advantage. However they were myopic and changed track. China opted for tactical gains to maximise territorial grab despite agreeing to disengage at the Corps Commanders level meet. Then Galwan happened. It unshackled India. It broke Chinese invincibility, roused India, instilled belief in the Army and hardened the nation. After that the Chinese lost the plot. War entails conflict termination once political goals (even partly) are achieved, before the enemy recovers. Any idiot who reads history would tell you that India’s forte is counterattack—1947, 1965, 1971 and Kargil. True to form, given time, India has turned the tables. It is now fighting classic mountain warfare. Hold the tops— Finger 4 and South Pangong Tso heights. China is plain bound, and will hereafter be dominated. China is fighting with the hills while India has taken to the hills.
The Residual Chinese Aim
China might have started with an Aim but has not maintained it. Today its ‘Aim’ seems to be a ‘facesaving exit’. However, their concept of face saving involves—inflicting a blow on India, make India vacate the heights and retain its territorial gains. Does it have the capability to do so? I doubt. If things freeze as they are—it is advantage India. A headline in Newsweek says so: ‘The Chinese Army flops in India. What will Xi do next’? Status quo ante is passé. Holding the heights South of Pangong Tso up to Rezang La virtually closes most avenues to Leh while opening own offensive options. This ridge line should never be vacated. PLA can keep sitting on the Fingers and open up tourist activities there. Those in power will be historic villains if these ‘Strategic’ gains are given away just as those are, who gave Haji Pir back to Pakistan.
The PLA has a ‘Stability-Instability’ paradox’. The PLA might have great equipment, sophisticated infrastructure, and faster communications. Their Command and Control structure at Theatre level must be great. Very stable at the top. At the lower levels, lack of battle experience and operational adaptability is palpably apparent. The widely reported ‘peace disease and micro corruption’ have taken their toll. There is instability at the bottom evidenced at Galwan and the Karakoram Ridge Line. Why the PLA is less than the sum of its parts is a question which is propping up. The PLA has grown politically. It might not have grown militarily.
The video clip showing off PLA capabilities of air dropping, rocket and SP Artillery firing is impressive. Watch it again critically. Will it be effective? Tactically well dispersed and deployed Infantry and artillery in mountains as well as armour tucked into folds in defensive positions in high altitude plains will not be affected by rocket ammunition spraying all over. On the other hand, Chinese positions, concentrated in plains, near permanent bases/nontactical staging areas are sitting ducks for own direct firing weapons, artillery and Air Force. Their bases can be dislocated. Aim for that clinically.
Rockets firing is a dead give-away from 30-40 km away. A systematic appreciation of hides, routes and firing positions will enable their accurate location and decimation by IAF. The Rockets can shoot once only. The IAF should not allow them to scoot. Nothing lowers morale of Infantry than Guns being lost. It needs joint planning between Artillery and IAF. Need I say this at all? I am sure the commanders on ground will do better than my old age babbling! Oh BTW, I have always loved direct firing. Kargil proved its utility. A few guns on the South bank of Pangong Tso with latest direct firing night sights will provide adventure to tourists on the fingers. At the core. Our infantry is pure hardened ESR steel. PLA beware.
As per Clausewitz, “Strategy is about picking the right battles. Tactics are about successfully executing those battles.” The aimless grey zone strategy of ‘Belligerent War Avoidance’ has led Chinese to pick the wrong battle. Their tactics? Medieval at best. The fighting morale is apparently not high. War is a two sided blood sport. Not a unilateral firepower demonstration. Do the Chinese have the stomach for body bags? So far they have hidden them. In the ultimate analysis Morale determines outcomes. Indian battlefield morale is high.
The Chinese spokesperson Zhao Lijan and that comic strip, the Global Times, have repeatedly spoken of winter. PLA might not be prepared for it. Appears to be a weakness. They have pumped in Motorised Divisions. Heavily mechanised formations even if reinforced will struggle in winter. Logistically and operationally. Their troops will not be that battle effective. On the other hand, we just need to remember that we initially occupied and held on to Siachen Glacier with normal boots and clothing. Arctic equipment started pouring in later. All our Infantry and Artillery units have had 2-3 tenures on the Glacier/ high altitudes over the past two decades. Also, they are battle hardened after fighting all kinds of ideologically committed insurgents and terrorists who would never give a quarter. This advantage must be driven home ruthlessly. We just need to consolidate and hold on now. Stave off any PLA attempt to retrieve their situation. Let things cool a bit. As winter sets, in give the Chinese another ‘gray zone knock’. That will bring them to senses. It is high time we also make the PLA look back. The Tibet card must be flashed brightly. It will add to their confusion and consternation.
Whatever China set out to do with India, the opposite has happened. China is now entangled in its secondary theatre when the primary one in South China Sea is frothing. Any major action on this front will have repercussions there. Already China is getting hyphenated with India. Internally there appears to be some political instability. The floods have created havoc. Food is short. Their NonHan rim lands are having unprecedented problems. The Tibet issue has flared up again. The economy is misfiring. Their diplomacy is failing. Any major offensive action by China is a high-risk gamble with unpredictable outcomes. If it goes wrong and the chances are high, the Leader for life will have to start looking for a new job or there will be a huge purge. Even if things go China’s way to some extent, it will not end. I am sure we will continue with grey zone operations and start an insurgency against Chinese illegal occupation of Tibet.
What Should We Do?
The Foreign ministers have met and issued their statements. The Chinese have already started twisting things even before the ink is dry. Untrustworthy they remain. We have an historic opportunity to get rid of the ghosts of 1962. Hold on to our positions. Do not let the Chinese go back. Xi’s face-saving is not India’s concern. Do not lose nerve. Comprehensive National Strength has no value in battle. Conserve strength. Fire for effect. Play the Gray Zone. With time India will grow stronger. Economies will recover. Morale once lost takes time to recover. Instigate Tibet and Xinjiang. Talk of an alliance with the US. Never trust the Chinese. Snakes and viruses are better. Have faith in the Indian armed forces. They will deliver the goods. They have never failed India after 1962. The world, except stupid Pakistanis is with us. If we show down the Chinese, they will flock to us. A stalemate is victory for India. Just achieve that. Anything more is gravy.
Battles are not linear. Vietnam defeated France, the US and China with almost nothing. Afghanistan defeated the UK, the USSR and the US with less than nothing. India is better trained, equipped and prepared than Vietnam or Afghanistan were ever were. PLA is not half of what the US, UK, USSR, France or the Old China was. So where is the doubt? I have never had one.
Our economy is down. The Chinese virus is devastating our people. We are not that well equipped due to our own inadequacies. We are fighting with our backs to the wall. We have a clear aim. That is a recipe for victory. We can pull this off and stop this juggernaut. If we do that and I do not see why not, we will see a different India emerge.
The past two weeks have indicated that wars can be won only by fighting. Enough of Sun Tzu. That is why I got back to Clausewitz.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernization and indigenisation of artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on his blog www. gunnersshot.com.
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MOD APPROVES RS 498.8 CRORE BUDGETARY SUPPORT FOR DEFENCE INNOVATION THROUGH IDEX-DIO
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has approved the budgetary support of Rs 498.8 crore to Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) – Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO) for the next five years. The budgetary support will provide a big boost to the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as iDEX–DIO has the primary objective of self-reliance and indigenisation in defence & aerospace sector of the country. The creation of the iDEX framework and establishment of the DIO by the Department of Defence Production (DDP) is aimed at creating an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in defence and aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes & academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D development which has good potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.
The scheme, with budgetary support of Rs 498.8 crore for the next five years, is aimed at providing financial support to nearly 300 start-ups/MSMEs/individual innovators and 20 partner incubators under the DIO framework. It will support increased awareness in the Indian innovation ecosystem about defence needs and, conversely, in the Indian Defence establishment about the potential of the Indian innovation eco-system to deliver innovative solutions to meet their needs. The DIO, with its team, will enable the creation of channels for innovators to engage and interact with the Indian Defence production industry. The long-term effect to be realised by the group is the establishment of a culture, where enlisting the effort of innovators by the Indian military is commonplace and frequent. The scheme aims to facilitate rapid development of new, indigenised and innovative technologies for the Indian defence and aerospace sector to meet their needs in shorter timelines; create a culture of engagement with innovative start-ups to encourage co-creation for defence and aerospace; empower a culture of technology co-creation and co-innovation within the defence and aerospace sector and boost innovation among the start-ups and encourage them to be a part of the ecosystem.
The DDP will release funds to DIO for setting up and managing the iDEX network in the form of Partner Incubators (PIs); communicating with innovators/start-ups/technology centres of MSMEs through the PIs including the PIs of Department of Science and Technology regarding defence and aerospace needs; organising various challenges/hackathons to shortlist potential technologies and entities and evaluating technologies and products developed by innovators/start-ups in terms of their utility and impact on the defence and aerospace setup. The other activities include enabling and funding pilots using innovation funds dedicated to the purpose; interfacing with the Armed Forces top brass about key innovative technologies and encouraging their adoption into the defence establishment with suitable assistance; facilitating scale-up, indigenisation and integration in manufacturing facilities for successfully piloted technologies and organising outreach activities all across the country.
PASSING OUT PARADE OF TES-37 COURSE HELD AT COLLEGE OF MILITARY ENGINEERING
The passing out parade of the cadets of the Technical Entry Scheme—37 Course at the Cadets Training Wing, College of Military Engineering (CME) at Pune—was held on Saturday. The parade was reviewed by Lt Gen PP Malhotra, Commandant CME. Thirty-three Gentlemen Cadets of the Course, including three gentlemen cadets from Bhutan and two from Sri Lanka, were commissioned as officers.
Though parents of the passing out course could not attend the ceremony owing to COVID related restrictions, the parade was streamed live on YouTube. Lt Gen PP Malhotra, presented several awards to Gentlemen Cadets for excellence in training. The parade conducted with traditional military regalia, was commanded by Wing Cadet Captain Abhishek Chauhan. The coveted General Officer Commanding in Chief Army Training Command Gold Medal for standing first in overall performance in three years at CTW was awarded to Wing Cadet Adjutant Sahil Kumar. The Silver and Bronze Medal was awarded to Gentlemen Cadet Sonam Tshering from the Royal Bhutan Army and Wing Cadet Quarter Master Prince Kumar Singh respectively. Cadets of the Wing also had the distinction of being awarded the Commandant Officers Training Academy Silver medal to Wing Cadet Captain Abhishek Singh Chauhan and the Bronze Medal to Wing Cadet Adjutant Sahil Kumar for their meritorious performance in the combined four years of training, including one year at the Officers Training Academy, Gaya. Echo Platoon was awarded the General Officer Commanding in Chief’s Banner for performing exceedingly well in the Inter Platoon Competitions and emerging as the Champion Platoon.
Addressing the parade, the General Officer congratulated the Gentlemen Cadets for their superlative performance in the training period at the wing and their immaculate parade. Lt General PP Malhotra, highlighted that the cadets were at the cusp of a new beginning as young military leaders, and on their broad shoulders lay the future of our gallant Army. He urged the future officers to make their nation and the Alma Mater proud by rendering selfless and honourable service. He also stressed on imbibing strong moral values and ethics. The passing out parade was followed by a Commissioning and an oath taking ceremony for the newly commissioned officers.
College of Military Engineering has emerged as the finest technical institutions in the Indian Army. Recent forays of the College into Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Engineering Materials have been lauded by all. The college has entered into MoU with academic and industrial majors to absorb best engineering practices and infuse a culture of innovation in the Indian Army. Several projects from the College have been displayed and awarded in forums such as the iDEX4Fauji and the Army Day Parade, this year.
INDIAN COAST GUARD ADDS TEETH TO ITS AVIATION ARM
NEW DELHI: In line with the PM’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, Dr Ajay Kumar, Defence Secretary, inducted Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) Mk-III in Indian Coast Guard (ICG). The state-of-the-art helicopters are indigenously designed and manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru. The maiden ceremony was carried out through digital means, keeping Covid protocol at fore and promoting GoI’s vision of ‘Digital India’. Indian Coast Guard Director General K Natarajan, Mr R Madhavan, CMD, HAL and MoD officials were among those who attended the event. Dr Ajay Kumar in his address praised the perseverance of the ICG and M/s HAL by inducting these helicopters in testing times and progressing our Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Make in India’. He also brought out the importance of having these advanced helicopters for ICG to operate them across the spectrum of Coast Guard operations.
The ALH Mk-III marine version has been designed and developed with in-house customisation of 19 additional equipment by HAL to meet ICG requirements. HAL will supply 16 ALH Mk-III to the ICG by the mid of next year. The helicopter is capable of undertaking embarked operations from ships which will enhance Coast Guard capabilities towards Sea air co-ordinated search, interdiction capabilities, Coastal Security, Search and Rescue operations, medical evacuation,Humanitarian missions, Pollution response missions, etc. While appreciating ICG for the recently conducted successful operations of drugs & arms seizure and saving lives during cyclones Tauktae & YAAS, Defence Secretary said the capacity and capability augmentation of the service needs to be materialised in a time bound manner considering the onerous responsibilities bestowed on ICG by the GoI.
On induction, the 16 ALH Mk-III will be positioned at 4 Coast Guard squadrons at Bhubaneshwar, Porabandar, Kochi and Chennai. The shared maritime boundaries with littoral states are highly susceptible to illegal activities and the regions are prone to frequent cyclones.These squadrons with embarked operations will ensure seamless surveillance and provide assistance to fishermen in distress at sea. Director General K Natarajan while acknowledging the efforts of Tatrakshaks for recent concurrent successful operations said that ICG is as prepared as ever to discharge its duties and induction of ALH Mk-III will usher a new paradigm shift in our capability to undertake ship borne operations and enhance surveillance prowess with extended reach. He also brought out that these helicopters will be deployed in a coordinated matrix along with ships and aircraft to strengthen the service capabilities in Area of Responsibility and beyond. Speaking on the occasion, Mr R Madhavan said with this contract, HAL is embarking on a new journey of Performance Based Logistics (PBL). The PBL will assure desired levels of availability of ALH MKIII fleet of ICG for six and half years, a unique feature of this contract and a first of its kind in HAL. These helicopters are equipped with state of the art equipment like Surveillance Radar, Electro Optic Pod, Medical Intensive Care Unit, High Intensity Search Light, SAR Homer, Loud Hailer, Machine Gun and can perform other key roles. Helicopter MRO Division is the nodal agency for execution of PBL contract along with Engine Division and other Sister Divisions of HAL.
The PBL will provide a One Stop Solution for maintenance of complete Helicopter, Engine and components which encompasses Helicopter/Engine Servicing Task, Rotable Repair Task (RRT), Repair & Maintenance Spares Order (RMSO) etc. As part of PBL, Helicopter MRO Division of HAL will be extending the support from four bases viz. Bhubaneswar, Porbandar, Chennai and Kochi. All necessary infrastructure, repair facility etc are set up at Bhubaneswar and Porbandar, dedicated LRU/ Rotable floats are stocked and On-site support team is identified towards ensuring the availability of Helicopters. Chennai & Kochi are in the final stages. In addition, HAL Aviation Maintenance Software (HAMS), a web based online platform is developed and deployed by Helicopter MRO Division for real time monitoring and operational visibility of fleet through a dedicated leased line network.
INDIAN ARMY HANDS OVER MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO NEPALI ARMY
NEW DELHI: As part of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, medical equipment and supplies worth Nepali Rupees 28.80 crore provided by the Indian Army were handed over to the Nepali Army on Friday. In a ceremony at Nepali Army Headquarters, Tundikhel today, the medical equipment was handed over by Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra to General Purna Chandra Thapa, Chief of the Nepali Army. The ambassador reaffirmed India’s support to Nepali Army in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and lauded its contribution in this respect.
The medical equipment, including Ventilators, Ambulances, ICU beds, PPE Kits, PCR test Kits etc was delivered to Kathmandu on 10 June 2021. The Indian Army has been assisting the Nepali
Army to fight Covid-19 through various kinds of assistance since last year, including 1 Lakh doses of Covishield vaccines which were provided in March 2021.
The latest assistance is another testament to the close cooperation between the two armies and the two countries, particularly in times of need.
Defence Minister inaugurates BRO centres
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicated to the nation two Centres of Excellence established by Border Roads Organisation (BRO) at Seema Sadak Bhawan in New Delhi on Friday. These Centres have been established to achieve excellence in road safety as well as foster growth in construction of roads, bridges, air fields and tunnels. The Centre of Excellence for Road Safety & Awareness (CoERSA) aims to create awareness about road safety through analysis sharing of road accidents and suggesting methods to save precious lives. The Centre of Excellence for Roads, Bridges, Air Fields and Tunnels (CoERBAT) focuses on institutionalising the knowledge gained over the years in development of almost 60,000 kilometres of roads, 56,000 metres of bridges, 19 airfields and four tunnels in the eastern and north-western part of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Rajnath Singh appreciated the efforts of BRO in establishing the Centres of Excellence, expressing confidence that they will play a pivotal role in saving precious lives. Terming road accidents as a silent pandemic that claims approx. 1.5 lakh lives every year, the Raksha Mantri stated that the Government has taken a number of initiatives such as National Road Safety Policy, Motor Vehicle Act 2020 and identification of black spots on national highways to tackle the problem and the setting up of these Centres is another step in that direction. The Raksha Mantri lauded the crucial role played by BRO in the progress of the nation since its inception by building roads, tunnels and other infrastructure in remote areas. He praised the efforts of BRO for working tirelessly in tough weather conditions to increase connectivity in border areas, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Describing connectivity as an essential component of a nation’s progress, he said BRO is catering to the needs of the Armed Forces as well as working towards the socio-economic development of the border areas. He made special mention of the recent achievements of BRO, including state-of-the-art construction of ‘Atal Tunnel, Rohtang’, Kailash Mansarovar Road and Zojila pass. He also appreciated BRO for raising awareness about road safety through innovative slogans and signboards. Rajnath Singh also listed out various measures taken by the Government for the development of BRO. These include increase in the budget of BRO, approval of special high-altitude clothing for the personnel as well as cadre review to boost the morale of the organisation. He assured BRO of continued support of Ministry of Defence, saying that the Government remains committed to the progress of the far-flung areas of the country. He also remembered the BRO personnel who laid down their lives in the service of the nation.
During the event, the Raksha Mantri also launched four software developed to optimise the work efficiency of BRO personnel, their HR management, recruitment management, enrolment and works management. The BRO has created the software to reduce paperwork, with focus on minimising the carbon footprint. Rajnath Singh termed the development of the software as a great example of ‘Self-reliant India’ and ‘Digital India’ campaigns. He stated that the software will further improve the efficiency of the organisation, modernise it and save time. The first ever Solo Woman Motorcycle Expedition by Ms Kanchan Ugursandi to Umling La Pass, Ladakh and back was also flagged off on the occasion. The Raksha Mantri extended his best wishes to Ms Kanchan Ugursandi and expressed confidence that she will come out with flying colours and complete the task by setting new records.
Earlier, DG Border Roads Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhry briefed Rajnath Singh on the initiatives and achievements of BRO in recent years. He informed the Raksha Mantri about the ongoing and future projects, with focus on AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He also informed Raksha Mantri on the awareness campaigns being carried out by BRO related to COVID-19 and Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav in far-flung areas. The DG Border Roads said BRO remains committed towards serving the nation and would bring all necessary changes to enhance the efficiency of the organisation. Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.
A LOOK AT DEFENCE MINISTRY’S 20 REFORMS IN 2020
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh released an e-booklet titled ’20 Reforms in 2020’, highlighting the major reforms undertaken by Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 2020, in New Delhi earlier this week. The compilation provides a brief overview of defence reforms undertaken in the year 2020 by MoD to bring about greater cohesion and modernisation of the Armed Forces through policy changes, innovation and digital transformation. Reforms also focused on the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; increased collaboration with the industry to boost defence exports; measures to accelerate defence acquisitions with greater transparency; digital transformation; strengthening of border infrastructure; increased participation of women in Armed Forces; transformation in R&D to boost innovation; expansion of NCC to remote locations and aid extended to the civil administration in fight against Covid-19. Raksha Rajya Mantri Shripad Y Naik, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Ex-Servicemen Welfare) Mr. Ravikant, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) Dr G Satheesh Reddy and Financial Advisor (Defence Services) Mr. Sanjiv Mittal were present on the occasion.
Addressing the gathering, Rajnath Singh termed the E-booklet as an important document on the bright future of the defence sector in the country. “The booklet is a reflection of the resolve of the Government, under the able leadership of Prime Minister Modi, to make the defence sector stronger and more efficient,” he said. The Raksha Mantri expressed confidence that the reforms undertaken by MoD will make India a global powerhouse in the defence sector in the times to come.
20 REFORMS IN 2020
Chief of Defence Staff & Department of Military Affairs
The appointment of India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and creation of Department of Military Affairs (DMA) were among the major decisions taken by the Government. The post of CDS was created to increase efficiency & coordination among the Armed Forces and reduce duplication, while DMA was established to ensure improved civil-military integration. General Bipin Rawat was appointed as the first CDS who also fulfils the responsibilities of Secretary, DMA.
AATMANIRBHARTA IN DEFENCE
To promote ‘Make in India’ in defence sector, a list of 101 defence items was notified in August 2020, while Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 was unveiled in September 2020. Rs 52,000 crore budget was earmarked for indigenously made defence equipment in 2020-21. Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) was approved in May 2020 for greater efficiency and productivity. There was an unprecedented push towards new technology developments within India. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) developed a ventilator in record time to meet Covid-19 requirements in May 2020.In November 2020, Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile, indigenously designed & developed DRDO, hit bullseye at medium range and medium height, while indigenously built Pinaka rocket system cleared test of 45-60 km range.
INCREASED DEFENCE EXPORTS
The increased partnership with the private sector has led to a substantial rise in defence exports. The value of total defence exports rose from Rs 1,941 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 9,116 crore in 2019-20. Also, for the first time, India figured in the list of defence equipment exporting nations, as the exports expanded to more than 84 countries.
MODERNISATION & INCREASED TRANSPARENCY IN DEFENCE ACQUISITION
In highest-ever thrust towards modernisation in last 10 years, there was 10 per cent budget increase in 2020-21 over the previous year. Policy reforms for increased transparency included launch of new Defence Acquisition Procedure in September 2020 and revision of DRDO Procurement Manual in October 2020. To encourage start-ups, a provision was introduced for procurement as Buy Indian-IDDM, while leasing for non-mission critical requirements was introduced for the first time.
First five Rafale fighter aircraft arrived in India in July 2020 and several more since then, adding firepower to the arsenal of the Indian Air Force. Despite the COVID-19 challenge, the aircraft were delivered timely and inducted into IAF.
REFORMING DEFENCE R&D
To promote innovation by young minds, five Young Scientists Laboratories of DRDO were launched in 2020 in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Hyderabad. DRDO has joined hands with the private sector in design & development and identified 108 Systems & Subsystems for the industry to design, develop and manufacture.
For the first time, several organisations of Ministry of Defence went digital. Directorate General Quality Assurance (DGQA) started online Pre-Delivery inspection in May 2020 to address security threats, while Armed Forces Tribunal began digital hearing for the first time in August 2020. Defence Estates, Canteen Stores Department, services in Cantonment, MoD Pension and National Cadet Corps (NCC) also went online providing faster and transparent services.
STRENGTHENING BORDER INFRASTRUCTURE
Reforms of processes and workflows within Border Roads Organisation (BRO) enabled it to achieve targets ahead of schedule, in some instances. World’s longest Atal tunnel above 10,000 feet, at Rohtang on the Leh-Manali Highway was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in October 2020. It provides all weather connectivity to the northern borders. Zojila pass, situated on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway, was opened almost a month ahead of schedule in April 2020.
STREE SHAKTI IN ARMED FORCES
In 2020, Ministry of Defence took some historic decisions to increase participation of women in the Armed Forces. Ten streams of Indian Army were opened for giving Permanent Commission to Short Service Commission (SSC) Women officers, while women pilots of Indian Navy were operationalised for the first time. All Sainik Schools were thrown open for girl students from academic session 2020-21.
REFORMS IN NCC
Expanding the reach of NCC to remote locations was a major announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day on August 15, 2020. More than 1,075 schools/colleges in border and coastal areas were identified and the enrolment began in November 2020. In another decision, it was decided to give preference to NCC cadets in employment in Central Armed Police Forces from May 2020. Youth Exchange Programme Allowance for NCC cadets was increased from Rs 100 per day to Rs 750 and the number of countries was increased from 10 to 15.
AID TO CIVIL ADMINISTRATION DURING COVID-19
Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces have mobilised resources to aid the civil administration in fight against COVID-19. Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) provided all emergency support to tide over the situation. They have mobilised doctors, health professionals and set up Quarantine facilities at several locations across the country. DRDO has set up several hospitals to treat COVID patients across the states, passed on technology expertise to manufacture ventilators, oxygen plants, medicines, test kits and PPE kits to private sector for mass production.
HELP BEYOND BOUNDARIES
The Armed Forces extended a helping hand to the countries in distress. Indian Navy mounted eight relief missions during 2020-21. Besides evacuating stranded Indians from Iran, Sri Lanka and Maldives under Vande Bharat Mission, Indian Naval ships provided Covid-19 medical relief, including medicines and doctors, to five countries. INS Airavat provided 270 MT food aid to Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea struck by natural calamities. The Indian Coast Guard led the rescue operation to save Sri Lanka coast of its biggest oil spill. Indian Air Force carried out over 800 relief missions during 2020-21.
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