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HOW DRAGON HAS BECOME THE MAIN DRIVER OF QUAD

The Quad is a work in progress. Currently it is an alignment hardening into an alliance without any treaty obligations. If China’s increasing threats lead to enhanced aggression against Taiwan or any other state, then the Quad will be the base on which an international coalition could emerge.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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Once India invited the Australian Navy to take part in the Malabar 2020 exercise, QUAD has become a demi official. In addition, India has also indicated increased trade with Taiwan. China reacted, to state that it firmly opposes the move. The 2+2 Indo US dialogue is shortly on, immediately after the Quad foreign ministers meet. India is firming in towards China. Quad now, unambiguously means containing China through the Indo Pacific construct. China, despite showing signs of concern remains aggressive. In the process, China has become the main driver of the Quad. However, some sceptics feel: Why is India getting into the Pacific oriented Quad? The Quad vs China confrontation is not just Pacific story. Others—in and out of this region have stakes. Recently France and Germany/EU have come out with their Indo Pacific strategies. A wider understanding is important to peg the Indian role in the unfolding scenario.

THE INDO PACIFIC LANDSCAPE

The Indo-Pacific region stretches from the East Coast of Africa to the West Coast of American. The Indo-Pacific coastlines also touch Russia and the Gulf. The region has more than half of the global population, a growing share of world trade and increasing international influence. it includes six members of the G20—Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea. Major Indo Pacific nations are part of it—US, Canada, Mexico and South Africa. The region has four nuclear powers—China, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Twenty of the world’s 33 megacities are located here. France and the UK have territories in the Indo-Pacific. The region has geopolitical tensions with open rivalries, conflicts (both internal and cross-border), boundary disputes, refugee movements and piracy issues. Regional crises and tensions have global implications. 2000 ships cross Malacca Strait in a day. With 25% of the world’s maritime trade, it is the most consequential passage on earth. From a political perspective, Indo-Pacific countries are generally stable but regionally in flux, due to growing differences and past conflicts. The region lacks institutional and normative mechanisms. It has escalating arms dynamics. Urbanisation and an emerging middle class of fast developing countries drive social issues. The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the US, Japanese, Australian and Indian Indo-Pacific strategies, and ASEAN multilateralism, are geopolitical and developmental models intersecting in the Indo-Pacific region.

INTERESTS AND OUTLOOKS

Chinese Interests: China’s global and core interests include its perceived maritime rights and overseas assets. These interests and assets are beyond Taiwan, South China Sea and its peripheral islands. The Chinese geopolitical, economic and energy interests extend beyond the Indo Pacific. The sea lines of communication of the Indo Pacific are critical for Chinese. The BRI which rings the Indo Pacific region represents not only Chinese economic interests but it is the main vehicle of its geopolitical expansionism, influence and assertion. The ‘String of Pearls’ strategy to contain India hinges on Chinese ability to dominate the Indo Pacific. China has established a base at Djibouti and is in the process of establishing a base at Gwadar. It already has a port at Hambantota. Indications are that it will attempt to acquire an Island in the Maldives Archipelago for development into a military base. Its presence in the Indian Ocean is an existential fact. It is also active in the Pacific group of Islands to get a pivot to reach out to South America where it has huge interests. China also expands its influence in the Indo Pacific through its maverick and unpredictable nuclear allies – Pakistan and North Korea. North Korea enables extension of influence in the Pacific and Pakistan in the Indian Ocean. If China has to become a super power it must have unhindered presence and control over the Indo Pacific region. The rapid expansion of PLAN belies Chinese intentions. The Quad has to respond accordingly.

The Free and Open Indo Pacific (FOIP): A free and open FOIP architecture envisages upholding rules-based international order, underpinned by rule of law (including UNCLOS), transparency, freedom of navigation in international seas, respect for territorial integrity & sovereignty & peaceful resolution of disputes. It also includes connectivity and infrastructure development, security including counter-terrorism; cyber and maritime security; and the stability and prosperity in the region. This has been very well captured by our Foreign Minister during the Quad ministerial meet. Tanvi Madan’s tables succinctly capture the essence of the Quad architecture which emerged unspoken in Tokyo. Increasingly the FOIP architecture is a hardening of democracies with the Quad at the core to resist an increasingly assertive China and CCP’s expansion, exploitation and coercion.

US Presence and Strategy: The US is an extra regional player with military presence/arrangements with Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, Australia and India. Military bases at Diego Garcia and Guam enable it to control the entire Indo Pacific region. The US is also deeply intertwined with Chin—joined at the hip as many put it. However, there is a clear and present challenge from China to displace the US. The US strategy is to prevent that was outlined by their Secretary of State. The US strategy could be construed as an overall Quad strategy with an US subtext. The US feels that China has violated all norms of acceptable behaviour and appeasement is no more the answer. It is of the view that Japan, Australia and India are capable nations with capable economies and security apparatuses. The US opines that Quad has already improved coordination of the group as a whole and between individual partners. Hence Quad will come up with practical implementation strategies when needed. The US envisages institutionalisation of the Quad will lead to a security framework to counter the Chinese challenge. The US also clarifies that security encompasses economic capacity, the rule of law, the ability to protect IPR, trade agreements and diplomatic relationships. It’s not just military but much deeper and broader. Quad represents the power of democracies which an authoritarian China can never have. Quad is going to support and work with regional countries and ASEAN.

French Perspective: France has large territory in this region. It includes 93% of its EEZ, 1.5 million French citizens and a military presence of 8000 troops. It has 7,000 subsidiary companies and 150,000 expatriates who are settled and trade in the area. In its view two striking regional phenomena are – increasing military assertion and global ambition of China and violent expression by Radical Islamism. It sees parts of the Indo Pacific region in turmoil. France perceives a growing role in this region as a mediating, inclusive and stabilizing power in settlement of regional crises, protection of shipping routes, fight against terrorism, radicalization and organized crime as part of global governance. Indo Pacific is a priority region for France. It intends to strengthen partnerships with regional players having same values and interests: Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea. It looks at a cooperative and reciprocal relationship with China, within the EU framework. It seeks increasing engagement with regional organizations (particularly ASEAN) and an inclusive Indo-Pacific space in which no country should impose its hegemony.

Germany and EU view: Germany and EU are closely integrated with China. Germany views the future international order to be Indo-Pacific based dominated by China, Japan , USA and India. It prefers democracies with shared values. It opines that economic development and human rights are not mutually exclusive but complimentary. Its approach is ‘not that the law of the strong that must prevail, but the strength of the law should’. It questions China’s commitment to this concept. Simultaneously Germany and EU do not consider containment and decoupling strategies to be conducive. Germany believes disruption in maritime trade routes and supply chains would have serious consequences for Europe. Germany feels that the ASEAN-centric security architecture offers a valuable framework and wants to upgrade EU-ASEAN relations to the level of a strategic partnership. It wants monitoring of UN sanctions against North Korea and wants to support a substantive and legally binding Code of Conduct between China and the ASEAN for the South China Sea. It also seeks to reform the UN Security Council and strengthen its ability to act along with two India and Japan. Germany, envisages the enlargement of the UN Security Council to safeguard its representative function and thereby ensure its continued authority and legitimacy.

UK Stance: UK had a very great relationship going with China. However. Hong Kong, Huawei, and the Covid-19 pandemic have uprooted it. Hongkong’s freedoms being stripped and the “one country, two systems” being castaway by China, 27 years ahead of schedule, in violation of a treaty has catalysed change in UK. It has dumped Huawei and China. The UK will now press for a FOIP strategy. It will align with the region’s democracies—India, Japan, USA , Australia, South Korea, and Taiwan. The UK views that BRI has been the only infrastructure game in town and needs to be countered.

ASEAN Outlook: ASEAN countries have to live next door to an increasingly assertive China despite land and maritime borders and disputes. They will tread a line as per their collective and individual concerns and interests. Being proximal to China gives them an understanding as to how to deal with it. They will maintain a balance while being central to any Indo Pacific Strategy. The ASEAN has defined an Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. It is based on the principles of strengthening its centrality, complementarity with existing cooperation frameworks, relevant UN treaties and conventions, and various ASEAN treaties and agreements. It will have to tread a fine line.

Other Countries: Besides the major countries / organisations discussed above there are other countries who have stakes in the Indo Pacific. The ‘Quad plus’ envisages S Korea, New Zealand and Vietnam. Besides this, Canada. Sweden, and Russia will pitch in.

ANALYSIS

FOIP Scope: When the push comes to the shove, democracies and affluent countries will range against Chinese autocracy and in specific the CCP. It is also evident that the Free and Open Indo Pacific Concept is beyond the South China Sea with each country and area having large commonality of interests with subtle differences. These will ensure that Quad will be an umbrella arrangement rather than an Asian NATO. The partners will have a degree of autonomy of action. In the short term and initial stages, the focus will be on the Western Pacific. However, in the long term it will gravitate to the Indian Ocean. The Chinese bid for global geopolitical domination will be played out through the BRI in South Asia, Africa and the Gulf on the Indian Ocean end and South America on the Pacific end. As PLAN expands its activities and the CPEC and Gwadar start functioning, the tussle will intensify. The story is also about decoupling, relocation and realigning global supply chains away from China. The success of Quad will be predicated on it looking beyond Asia.

Evolution: The Quad is a work in progress. Currently it is an alignment hardening into an alliance without any treaty obligations. If China’s increasing threats lead to enhanced aggression against Taiwan or any other state, then the Quad will be the base on which an international coalition could emerge. Even otherwise, the weight and greed of Chinese intent will drive Quad into formality. From statements all around, it will evolve into a multidimensional forum encompassing DIME pathways (Diplomatic, Informational, Military and Economic) which will build upon existing strategic linkages between Quad partners within and outside. Quad alone has the heft to take the EU, ASEAN, Plus nations, South Asia, IORA, Gulf and African states along. In the current pandemic conditions no single nation can do that.

PROGNOSIS FOR INDIA

What does India Bring to Table?: India brings geographic centrality, democracy, military capability, soft power, consumption power, workforce, innovation and dependable partnerships. Very importantly, India brings trust and balance to the table through its diplomatic, cultural and historical relationships with Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Gulf, Rest of Asia and Africa. It brings the scalar capability to safely decouple which can be subverted in other countries by China. It is one country which can hold China militarily by its tail in the Himalayas as it is doing now and block its entry into the Indian Ocean. India gives the Quad a rear door entry into the Chinese backyard to make it look inward. India brings the power of vaccination and immunisation programmes—experience, production and distribution in the current pandemic conditions. That will be critical for global economic revival. What does India seek from the table? As with everyone else India seeks containment of China and to make it look inwards. This applies to Pakistan also. If these two countries are held in check, there will be global peace. India seeks reliable military, diplomatic and economic cooperation rather than assistance. It seeks reform of the UN to make it a wider representative body. It needs assistance to curb radical Islam and terror. It seeks to be a reliable partner in the global supply chain initiatives. India seeks to ensure that international institutions do not end up funding or bailing countries from the BRI debt traps. It seeks mutually benefitting relationships of long-standing nature. What India does not want is to be another China. A plural India needs to be accepted with its advantages and faults without being sermonised. India has to find its own solutions to its problems, not quick fixes from others.

Lt Gen PR Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation 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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Defence

Resetting India -Nepal relations needed to offset Chinese threats

Mukesh Ambani has added a feather to India’s cap by figuring among the richest in the world.

Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt (Retd) & Brig Narender Kumar (Retd)

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No bilateral relations between nations can be built on sentiment—whether it is based on faith, ideology or inheritance. Only those rooted in shared interests will endure. Relations will not remain everlasting if the interests of the people and nations are not renegotiated. The relations with Nepal were driven for long on shared culture, religion and geographical realities. The problem thus far has been a sense of “everlasting friendship” between India and Nepal without incorporating suitable changes to the historical treaties to accommodate new political, social and economic realities. The border dispute is a manifestation of multiple factors including new found competitive nationalism among the political parties of Nepal, structural changes unfolding in the external and internal context of the bilateral relationship and Nepal asserting strategic autonomy to renegotiate the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship. New political elites of Nepal feel that relations with India cannot be frozen in time due to a treaty that has lived its utility.

When the founder of the modern Nepali state, Prithvi Narayan Shah, described Nepal as a “yam between two rocks”, he in fact hinted at the geo-strategic significance of Nepal and need for maintaining strategic autonomy and neutrality with India and China. In order to look ahead and repair, revise and revive the bilateral relationship, India must first understand why and how the territorial dispute has flared up. It may be tempting to start on a clean slate, but future visions will remain void if both sides don’t learn from past mistakes.

A POLITICAL CONFLICT TRAP

Nepal’s claim of approximately 372 sq km of Indian Territory in Kalapani area has caused considerable fissures in bilateral relations between the two countries. Kalapani issue has become a huge rallying point amongst the opposition parties in Nepal and it is now very difficult for the Nepalese Government or even the opposition parties to back off from their claim. It came at a time when India was engaged with China in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control. It gave new lease of life to the current Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and he rode the competitive nationalism to tide over the current political crisis. The claim and subsequent issue of map has given birth to a permanent and long-term territorial dispute that is difficult to resolve and thus creating a conflict trap that will keep rising whenever the relations between two states take a turn to the South. Till now the political leadership of both countries were keeping this conflict under wraps, but now it has been unleashed and will remain on the prowl till a mechanism is worked out to set this conflict to rest. 

The question comes up, could India prevent the constitutional amendment of the map if Indian government had kept their ears to the ground? It is difficult to answer in “yes or no” but the fact of the matter is that India needs to have a new road map to engage with Nepal post changed political realities in Nepal. To control the damage, Nepalese leadership should ensure that Nationalism is not distorted to an anti-Indian feeling. Because that will narrow down the options to resolve this dispute in future. Let this dispute not become a pivot for China to exploit Nepalese sentiment.

THE CHINA ANGLE

If the relations are not reset and Nepal continues to drift away, it will become a major peril of corridor especially due to China- Pak nexus and manifestation of Three Warfares (3Ws) and Irregular Warfare against India. The open and porous border facilitates an active non-contact warfare by China and Pakistan to destabilise the heartland India. It gives an opportunity to inimical forces to exploit this porous border for smuggling of arms, drugs and fake Indian currency to give impetus to instability and also support Left Wing Extremists who have ideological and organisational linkages with Maoists of Nepal. Dr PV Ramana posits that the Maoist insurgents and PWG have formed the Indo-Nepal Border Regional Committee (INBRC) “to coordinate their activities” in Bihar. The bottom-line is that ideological and organisational linkages do exist and it can be exploited by China by extending material and weapon support to the LWE through Nepalese Maoists. Bigger threat is political and information warfare that can penetrate deep inside India’s heartland. China Study Centers especially along the India- Nepal borders are a greater threat that can cause instability in Gangetic Plains and disrupt East- West strategic lines of communication. Only way this threat can be managed is by restoring ties with Nepal and building resolute military to military relation between two armies.

INDIA, A NATURAL ALLY

Nepal has been embracing a policy of strategic diversification to reduce its dependence on India and enhance its non-aligned autonomy. In response India’s perceived economic blockade of 2015 was seen by Nepal as a right to deny and insulate Nepal from the outside world. That had caused major upheaval against India among the Nepalese youth and common citizens. India should consider Nepal as co-equal and develop relations not as a “protectorate but as a partner”. Because strategic space if abdicated by India will be encroached upon by China and that will become difficult for India to reclaim. India cannot blame China’s political interference in Nepal as a major factor for deteriorating relations between the two states. India not paying adequate attention to reset the road map for building relations is also a factor. It is very natural that two neighbours sharing a border of more than 1,800 km are bound to have some differences but these differences should not become disputes or else a third party will take advantage of it.

Both nations today have to realise that apart from the strong historical relations guided by a common culture, religion and similar language is also supported by Geography. The Indian ports and transit access, protected by special trade and transit treaties is a commitment which needs to be honoured by India. Even though China has provided…special trade and transit facilities by way of dry ports and roads, the long distance from the eastern coast of China to Nepal via Tibet, approximately 4000 kms is just not a cost-effective option. Initially China may subsidize services and goods passing through this long corridor as it meets the objectives of Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative. However, if Nepal has to take a cue from Sri Lanka’s experience let it be clear that a decade later it is the people of Nepal who will pay the price for their political miscalculation. Many countries in the African continent today are suffering because of the free largess initially offered by China in the form of soft loans for development of infrastructure. Is this the future which Nepal is looking at? According to a report by the Survey Department of Agriculture Ministry of Nepal, China has illegally occupied Nepal’s land in several places spreading over seven bordering districts. Unfortunately the Oli Government has kept silent over this land grab. China believes in debt slavery and Nepal could be forced to surrender its strategic autonomy if it allows China to continue to make economic, political and cultural inroads in Nepal. Though there is a vocal anti-India lobby in Nepal, but the people with this new development along the Northern borders are equally resentful of China.

Nepal shares a long and open border with India the special privileges which are given to all citizens of Nepal are unique. In fact, a citizen of Nepal can work anywhere in India including the Armed forces as well as reside in any part of India. These privileges are not reciprocal for Indian citizens which is quite understandable because of the size of Nepal. Apart from the Army there is a large population of unskilled workers from Nepal working in the industrial and agriculture sector. Nepal will never have an ally that offers its citizens free access for work, education, health services, tourism, travel, religious pilgrimage and business. Such a facility has been extended by India to the Nepalese citizens without reciprocation from Nepal. Closing down the border and treating Nepalese citizens as per diplomatic protocol followed globally will harm the interests of the people of Nepal. Therefore, Nepal must exercise caution and restrain not to burn the bridges that may become difficult to rebuild in future.

MILITARY DIPLOMACY A BRIDGE TO INITIATE THE DIALOGUE

India has been shy of using military diplomacy with its neighbours, whereas there are special relations and close ties between Indian Army and Nepal Army that has been rarely exploited to reset the ties between two nations. After long hiatus of nearly more than four months, relations between India and Nepal could be set in motion, the visit of Indian Army Chief General M.M. Naravane to Nepal, where he will be conferred with the title of the honorary Chief of the Nepalese Army is a much-needed initiative for stabilisation of relations between the two close neighbours. This special tradition of bestowing the title of honorary Chief on each other’s Army Chief dates back to the period of Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw who was proud enough to change his name to Sam Bahadur as a homage to his brave Gorkha brethren. This military tradition has helped in strengthening military to military relations between the two Armies. Fortunately, this tradition has continued despite some occasional ups and downs in the relation between the two nations. It is a good initiative that the leaders of both the nations have taken a pause and allowed military to military engagement to take place to kick-start the dialogue between two neighbours. It is a positive step that the Indian Government has sent their Army Chief and the Nepalese Government by willingly receiving him and honouring him. The President of Nepal bestowing the honorary General’s rank and the PM of Nepal meeting him in the capacity of Defence minister needs to be understood in a positive manner. It is pertinent to mention that Nepal Army has always acted as a permanent ambassador of India in Nepal due to their long association with the Indian Army. However, off late India has neglected this aspect and it must be given impetus by building bridges with the Nepalese Army and police.

Both the Governments need to take this visit as a trigger for a new beginning, an opportunity to reset our relationship to the current strategic realities, the recommendations of the Eminent People’s Committees report which is available with the Government could be a guideline. A very important part is that the relations between the two strategic neighbours should not be taken hostage by irresponsible media or local domestic political considerations in either of the nations.

WAY FORWARD

Most crucial aspect is building bridges with the people. The strong connect India maintains with the ex-servicemen of Gorkha regiments in Nepal needs to be consolidated. India still remains an economic destination for the people of Nepal. In fact, citizens of Nepal should be granted access to utilise the health care, education institutions along the borders for the common good of the citizens of the border areas of both countries. Villagers living along the Kali River should be allowed to use the road Dharchula-Kalapani for movement ‘to and from’ Dharchula. India needs to send a message that this road is built for collective good of India and border citizens of Nepal.

One visit by the Chief of the Army Staff may not be sufficient and thus there is a need to have a permanent presence of Indian military leader in Kathmandu either by way of posting a Gorkha Regiment General as an Ambassador or Special Envoy to Nepal. This engagement must remain unbroken and resilient. Nepalese Army and even the civil bureaucracy are more comfortable in dealing with a Nepalese speaking Army envoy who understands their language and ethos better than a diplomat who has lesser linkages with the people on the ground. The tenure of late Lt Gen S.K. Sinha as an ambassador is a proof of it.

India should guarantee unobstructed access to the port and dry docks. However, Nepalese government should be made accountable to ensure that the access will be unconditional if Nepal does not work against the strategic interest and national security of India.

India should be open to renegotiate the Treaty of Peace and Friendship 1950. The Eminent Peoples Committee Report could also be examined to give a new direction to the India-Nepal relations.

India must invest in upgrading its cross-border infrastructure and economic assistance to Nepal: There are now new rail and road links, an electronic cargo system for Nepali goods to transit via Indian ports, inland waterway navigation plans, and a new cross-border pipeline for petroleum products. These projects must be pursued at fast pace because it will bring economic benefits to both nations.

Lt Gen A.K. Bhatt (Retd) is an Infantry Officer from 9th Gorkha Rifles. He is a former DGMO, GOC 15 Corps, and Military Secretary of the Indian Army. Brig Narender Kumar (Retd) is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) and former Distinguished Fellow, USI (New Delhi). The views expressed and suggestions made in the article are solely of the authors in their personal capacity and do not have any official endorsement.

Most crucial aspect is building bridges with the people. The strong connect India maintains with the ex-servicemen of Gorkha regiments in Nepal needs to be consolidated. India still remains an economic destination for the people of Nepal. In fact, citizens of Nepal should be granted access to utilise the healthcare and educational institutions along the borders.

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Maiden Indian navy-MDL cup begins in Mumbai

Ashish Singh

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The Indian Naval Watermanship Training Centre (INWTC), Mumbai is organising the commencement of sailing activities in Mumbai harbour with the Maiden IN-MDL Cup, National Yachting Championship. At the behest of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Karambir Singh, as Patron of the Indian Naval Sailing Association, the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has stepped up to sponsor an annual IN-MDL Cup to promote sailing in the country. The maiden IN-MDL Cup 2020 is being conducted under the aegis of the Yachting Association of India (YAI) for all Senior Olympic classes as the YAI Senior National 2020. The regatta will be a ranking event and will be conducted from 22- 27 Nov 20 near the Sunk Rock lighthouse. After the pandemic, this regatta will once again fill up the skyline of Mumbai harbour with vibrant sails vying for top honours in keenly contested races.

The IN-MDL Cup will see participation from 12 sailing clubs from across India. INWTC(MBI), INWTC(Goa), INWTC (Hamla), Army Yachting Node, EMESC(Bhopal), EMESA, CESC, Tamil Nadu Sailing Association, GYA, National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, NSS Bhopal and NSN Bhopal. The regatta will be held in four basic classes of boats namely the 49er Skiff, 470, Laser and the RS:X class windsurfer. It will be the first time in the history of Senior Nationals where 470 mixed class will participate and compete in the race. Of particular note is the sizeable number of young girls and women participants, which hopefully will be a motivating factor for future aspirants and level out the playing field. The races will be sailed in the following classes of sail boats: Laser Standard(Men), Laser Radial(Women), 470 (Men/women/mixed), 49er(Men), 49er FX(women), RS: X(Men/Women), Finn. The event was declared open by the Flag Officer Maharashtra Area at INWTC, Colaba, Mumbai yesterday.

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Defence

INS Shivaji discusses ‘management of structure borne noise’

Ashish Singh

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A Webinar on the subject of “Management of Structure Borne Noise” was conducted by INS Shivajil last week under the aegis of Distinguished Chair, Centre of Excellence, Marine Engineering. The Webinar saw participation from over 300 participants comprising Flag Officers, Senior Naval Officers, Veteran Officers and Officers from all branches of Indian Navy. The one-day Webinar commenced with the welcome address by Commodore Ravnish Seth, Commanding Officer, INS Shivaji. The Inaugural Address was delivered by Vice Admiral IC Rao, (r), Distinguished Chair, Centre of Excellence (Marine Engineering). VAdm AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command delivered the Keynote Address and emphasised on maintenance of platform to near design conditions to ensure optimal acoustic signatures of ships and submarines. He also urged the industry, academia and shipbuilding industry to seamlessly collaborate with Indian Navy, through strategic programmes by the GoI such as ‘Make-in-India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, to ensure better designs for quieter ships.

Papers on various aspects including measurement, prediction and mitigation of Structure Borne Noise were delivered by subject matter experts from various R&D labs such as NSTL Visakhapatnam, NPOL Kochi, IRS Mumbai, NIOT Chennai, Shipbuilders such as Mazagon Docks and Shipbuilders limited, Design Directorates of IHQ MoD (N) and the Naval Underwater Ranges, Goa. The Webinar witnessed wholehearted and active participation from all attendees towards enhancing the domain awareness in the subject of Structure Borne Noise and its management for all personnel. VAdm SR Sarma, Chief of Materiel, delivered the closing address and emphasized on the life cycle maintenance of machinery onboard ships and submarines. Incorporation of new technologies into design was given a special mention during the Closing Address. The Vote of Thanks was delivered by RAdm CS Baburaj, (D&R). Active participation from all stakeholders during the discussions lead to detailed inputs from the speakers towards enhancement of awareness of Structure Borne Noise and its management.

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NCC celebrates its 72nd Raising Day

Ashish Singh

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National Cadet Corps (NCC), the largest uniformed youth organisation in the world, celebrated its 72nd Raising Day on 22 November. The raising day function was marked by paying homage, at the National War Memorial, to the fallen heroes, who made the supreme sacrifice of their lives. The Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar and DG NCC Lt Gen Rajeev Chopra laid wreaths on behalf of the entire NCC fraternity.

Defence Secretary said, during the current year, the NCC cadets have contributed, by participating selflessly during the Covid-19 pandemic, through Ex ‘NCC Yogdaan’ as Corona warriors to spread awareness about measures to fight against the pandemic. The cadets and Associate NCC Officers, led by example in activities such as ‘Ek Bharat Shresht Bharat’, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Fit India’. The cadets participated wholeheartedly in ‘Swachhta Abhiyan’, ‘Mega Pollution Pakhwada’ and played a pivotal role in spreading awareness about various government initiatives like ‘Digital Literacy’, ‘International Day of Yoga’, ‘Tree Plantation’ and immunisation programs etc. A scheme for expansion of National Cadet Corps coverage, in Border and Coastal regions of the country was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August 2020. A total increase of one lakh additional cadet strength in all three streams of Army, Navy and Air Force is planned, focusing on the border districts, coastal taluks and taluks housing Air Force Stations.

Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar after laying wreath said, expansion of NCC in our border and coastal districts will motivate the youth from these areas to join the armed forces. The nation looks forward to NCC, to inculcate the values of fraternity, discipline, national unity and selfless service amongst our youth. The multifaceted activities and varied curriculum of the NCC, provides unique opportunities to the youth for self-development. Many cadets have done the Nation and the organisation proud by their remarkable achievements in the field of sports and adventure. The NCC continues its relentless efforts, towards moulding the present day youth into responsible citizens of tomorrow. The NCC raising day, was also celebrated all over India, with cadets participating in blood donation camps and social development programmes.

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Defence

Valedictory function of IOFS Officers at National Academy of Defence Production

Ashish Singh

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The National Academy of Defence Production (NADP) is one of the premier national academies and Central Training Institute (CTI) of DOP&T, mandated to groom officers of Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS) in various techno-managerial domains of defence production. The Academy conducts 52 weeks training programme (Probationers Training Course) wherein comprehensive and intensive induction training is provided to probationary officers selected through prestigious Civil Services as well as Engineering Services Examination. During this induction training, the IOFS officer trainees are groomed to take up the role of leadership in the organisation. The 2019 batch consists of 34 IOFS probationers, out of which 32 are from Indian Engineering Service and two (2) are from Civil Services.

NADP organised the Valedictory Function of IOFS probationers (2019 Batch) on Saturday. C.S. Viswakarma, DG, Ordnance Factory & Chairman, Ordnance Factory Board, was the chief guest on the occasion and the function was attended by Mr. M K Garg, Sr. Principal Director, C.L. Maurya, GM-OFAJ, S. Srivastava, DDG- OFB amongst others. S.K. Pattanayak, Principal Director presided over the function.

The valedictory function at NADP premises started in the evening. During the ceremony, an e-magazine called ‘Samarthya’, that contained thought provoking articles by the probationers, was also released by the Chief Guest. Aman Harlalka was adjudged the Best Probationer and Priayam Singh came second. They received awards and trophies from the Chief Guest. Different awards were also given in various fields to other probationers who excelled in those fields.

In his valedictory address, the Chief Guest, C.S. Viswakarma, DGOF & Chairman brought out the challenges before the organization and emphasised that the young probationers have to gear up to meet those challenges successfully. He lauded the Academy for conducting the training programme successfully despite the Covid-19 pandemic through both online as well as offline platform. He expressed confidence that with the talent that they possess and the comprehensive training that they have received from the Academy, they would rise up to the occasion and take on leadership roles in the organization with confidence.

The probationary officers were extremely happy that the head of the family of Ordnance Factory organisation, the DGOF and Chairman attended the function despite all the Covid restrictions. In the times of pandemic, the function was planned with limited participation with strict compliance of social distancing norms and Covid -19 protocol and other precautionary measures.

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Defence

Anticipating pressure from Biden, Pakistan accuses India of sponsoring terror

As Islamabad is cornered internationally over sponsoring terrorism in forums like FATF and the incumbent Biden administration is likely to tweak the US-Taliban deal putting in a small contingent of US troops, a visibly worried Pakistan is making such claims.

Aveek Sen

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Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar, in a joint media conference, on Saturday accused India of sabotaging the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and sponsoring supporting terrorism in Pakistan. “The first objective is to disrupt Pakistan’s path towards peace and for the same, sub-nationalism is being promoted in Gilgit-Baltistan, erstwhile FATA and Balochistan,” Qureshi said. The second objective is to disrupt Pakistan’s economy and the third objective is to create political instability in Pakistan, he said. Qureshi added that India has spent Rs. 22 billion for the purpose of carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan.

“India is sabotaging CPEC as they know the project’s success can be an economic game-changer for Pakistan. There are also reports that India has established a 700-strong militia to target CPEC projects,” he added. “[Indian intelligence agency] RAW transferred Rs55,581 through a bank, whereas, $0.82 million had been transferred to TTP commanders besides raising a militia of 700 terrorists by spending $60 million. $23.5 million funds were used creating anarchy in Balochistan. Altaf Hussain group had been given $3.23 million. India has been found involved in disrupting peace in Pakistan by assistant different organisations. In the terrorist attack on Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in Karachi, Indian explosive material and suicide jackets had been used by the attackers. RAW dispatched Rs22 million funds for upscaling terrorism in Pakistan, whereas, its handlers had kept meeting TTP representatives,” they said. “Arms worth $0.26 million had been given to Altaf Hussain group, whereas, India is running 87 terrorist camps. A former Indian diplomat and military general had visited a terrorist camp in Hajigak, whereas, $30 million was dispatched for establishing a camp in [Afghanistan’s] Kandahar. Four terrorist camps had been established for Altaf Hussain group where 40 terrorists received training,” they added.

At a time when the military establishment is facing pro-democracy protests from the PDM and increased protests by Baloch and Pashtuns over human rights violations, this is a diversionary tactic. Also, sections in the US are showing irritation at increased violence in Afghanistan by the Pakistan-backed Taliban. Pakistan aims to drag India’s name into sponsoring terrorism to get a clean chit from FATF and also aim these claims towards the incumbent Biden administration. Hence this attempt at creating equivalence between Pakistan and India over sponsoring terrorism is made at this point. Afghanistan has rejected these claims and proposed a UN commission to investigate. Pakistan’s military establishment is also worried about the recent bonhomie between MQM(L) led by Altaf Hussain, who ruled the roost over vital port-city Karachi and Hyderabad once, and separatist Sindhi groups like Shafi Burfat led JSMM (Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz). Mohajir and Sindhi groups, even non-separarist, have typically been at loggerheads fighting pitched street battles.

The coming together and unity between such diverse forces has spooked Pakistan. Pakistan’s military establishment is bringing back former MQM leaders to form a new minus-Altaf Grand Mohajir Alliance like it did with PSP and the MQM-Haqiqi faction in the past. They have offered them amnesty, permission to reopen sealed businesses and money in return. Haider Abbas Rizvi has already reached Pakistan. Nadeem Nusrat and Wasey Jalil in US are in contact with them and planning to go back soon. Pakistan’s military establishment is trying to gather them all on one platform against Altaf Hussain and playing Mohajir card as Altaf Hussain plays the Sindhudesh card.

As Pakistan is cornered internationally over sponsoring terrorism in forums like FATF and the incumbent Biden administration is likely to tweak the US-Taliban deal putting in a small contingent of US troops, a visibly worried Pakistan is making such claims. When it sees that it may face pressure over increased Taliban attacks, it tries to deflect the blame by trying to create a false equivalence with India over sponsoring terrorism. Claims of India supporting separatist Baloch armed groups and terrorist groups like TTP and ISIS are nothing new. It is the timing again that should be noted though.

Aveek Sen is an independent journalist working on cybersecurity and the geopolitics of India’s neighborhood, focusing on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and Bangladesh. His Twitter handle : @aveeksen

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