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Defence

Post Galwan, Army needs to be future-ready

This time China went wrong in assessing India’s resolute response along the LAC, next time it will be prepared. India, and the Army in particular, should now be ready to counter the Dragon.

Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (retd)

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The ghost of Galwan will haunt China for the rest of the century. The treachery at Galwan on 15 June, the premeditated assault on an unsuspecting patrol led by Col Santosh Babu shattered the hitherto peace and tranquility along the LAC. Twenty Indian braves made the supreme sacrifice, reportedly inflicting heavy casualties on the PLA. China abided by the agreement in letter in a manner of speaking as they employed the most primitive means to unleash violence using spiked clubs and nails; however, China blatantly violated the spirit of the agreements as also the Wuhan spirit and the strategic guidance by President Xi Jinping to the PLA post Wuhan.

Galwan has not only changed the very dynamics of LAC management forcing India to review the ‘Rules Of Engagement’ but also India China relations. The 1962 generation which had witnessed China’s backstabbing was fading, with the new generation ready to bolster the relationship between the two most populous nations in the world, home to one-third of humanity. The treachery at Galwan will long be remembered by the 650 million-plus youth of India when dealing with China. Be that as it may, the key question is what next? Future incursions by PLA are likely to be more in scope, intensity, depth, and frequency; this will be the new normal. As China blatantly indulges in military coercion, India, and the Army in particular needs to be future-ready to deter China’s aggressive behaviour along the LAC.

China respects strength and India will have to counter China from a position of relative strength. A peaceful, risen, responsible, resurgent India has to ensure continued peace through military preparedness. On account of competing priorities on a limited budget, which will take a further hit due to the Corona impact, the Army will have to look inwards and ensure optimal utilisation of resources to meet and mitigate the China threat. While the disengagement process will be lengthy and laborious, the armed forces should plan ahead and be future-ready.

At present, there is a skewed allocation of combat power, as Pakistan is the primary threat, and China a long term threat. Galwan is a wakeup call with China as a primary adversary and threat now. The armed forces will need a hard look to strategic rebalance the existing force levels. The military strategy against Pakistan should continue to be based on “Proactive Strategy” or the cold start doctrine. Pakistan will continue with its proxy war, and more importantly, a collaborative threat with China is almost a certainty, hence India needs to prepare and not talk of a two-front war. The Integrated Battle Group concept has to be implemented earliest, without degrading offensive capabilities against Pakistan, optimising on combat power to redeploy along Northern Borders. War Waging strategy and operational philosophy against Pakistan has to be reviewed, to achieve military goals and objectives with a view to change Pakistan’s behaviour. The strategic rebalancing of combat power from West to North is a security imperative. It will need political and military prudence and will. India needs to revisit the raising of the mountain strike corps sanctioned in July 2013 post Depsang; the 90,000-strong force, unfortunately, is a stillborn baby without the Rs 64,000 crore financial support. Had the financial allocations been accorded as planned, the raising would have been completed and India would have had the forces for a ‘Quid Pro Quo’ to counter the PLA. Another major weakness for India is the lack of infrastructure leading to and along the LAC, further compounded by terrain fractured sectors. All sectors and sub-sectors are connected mostly by a single road axis. After 1962 in a mistaken belief that China will benefit from our road connectivity, India in a case of self-restraint did not carry out any infrastructure development. In a change of policy 73 strategic roads were sanctioned in 2005 to be constructed by 2012, however, only 62 roads have been operationalised with the present government giving priority to border roads. China, on the other hand, has a state of the art multimodal infrastructure of Highways, Airfields, railway network, and logistics installations. PLA has invested in the Three Rs ie Roads, Radars and Reserves for effective management of the LAC, a concept which can be replicated by the Army. An integrated infrastructure development plan under an empowered committee for time-bound implementation is a must.

India’s most sensitive borders are manned by Army and ITBP which functions directly under the Ministry of Home affairs. This dual control often leads to contradictory and conflicting orders emanating from the two ministries and intermediary headquarters leading to confusion. As per the Group of Ministers Report (Para 5.1) the disputed borders are to be manned by the army. The BSF functions under the operational control of the Army along LC. This needs to be corrected immediately as it is a potential for spiral when dealing with PLA. The intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities too should be upgraded and harmonised.

The strategic locational advantage of Andaman and Nicobar Islands has to be exploited as a counterpressure, and a threat in being to Chinese shipping in the Indian ocean, exploiting its ‘Malacca Dilemma’. The 40-odd advance landing grounds along the LAC should be operationalised and upgraded to exploit the terrain advantage of IAF as these are located at lower altitudes close to the borders.

At the diplomatic level, India should ‘Bind To Balance’ with like-minded nations having congruence of interests. The QUAD is one good option. As China has no care and consideration for India’s sensitivities, it is time for India to selectively play on Chinese sensitivities in Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the South China Sea.

This time China went wrong in assessing India’s resolute response along the LAC, next time it will be prepared. India, and the Army in particular, should be future-ready to counter China’s aggressiveness, ensuring peace from a position of strength.

 Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia (Retd) is a former DGMO of the Indian Army and currently the director of CENJOWS.

Defence

PASSING OUT PARADE, VALEDICTORY FUNCTION AT INS VALSURA

Ashish Singh

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

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

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

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

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Defence

Thales develops new, ultra compact surveillance radar

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

Ashish Singh

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

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

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

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

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Defence

India announces Quad in military

Ashish Singh

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

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

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Defence

81ST RAISING DAY OF the CORPS OF MILITARY POLICE

Ashish Singh

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

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

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Defence

PLEDGE-TAKING CEREMONY ON COVID-19 AT APS UDHAMPUR

Ashish Singh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Defence

BrahMos supersonic cruise missile successfully test fired

The missile, which as ‘prime strike weapon’ will ensure the warship’s ‘invincibility’, hit the target with pin-point accuracy after performing
high-level and extremely complex manoeuvres, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

Ashish Singh

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BrahMos, the supersonic cruise missile, was successfully test fired on Sunday from Indian Navy’s indigenously-built stealth destroyer INS Chennai, hitting a target in the Arabian Sea. The missile hit the target successfully with pin-point accuracy after performing high-level and extremely complex manoeuvres. BrahMos as ‘prime strike weapon’ will ensure the warship’s invincibility by engaging naval surface targets at long ranges, thus making the destroyer another lethal platform of Indian Navy. The highly versatile BrahMos has been jointly designed, developed and produced by India and Russia.

 Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated DRDO, BrahMos and Indian Navy for the successful launch. Secretary DDR&D & Chairman DRDO Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, congratulated the scientists and all personnel of DRDO, BrahMos, Indian Navy and industry for the successful feat. He stated that BrahMos missiles will add to the capabilities of Indian armed forces in many ways.

 About BrahMos

 BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated. The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase. Stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features. The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world. It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs. 

Compared to existing state-of-the-art subsonic cruise missiles, BrahMos has 3 times more velocity, 2.5 to 3 times more flight range, 3 to 4 times more seeker range, 9 times more kinetic energy. The missile has identical configuration for land, sea and sub-sea platforms and uses a Transport Launch Canister (TLC) for transportation, storage and launch. BrahMos is the first supersonic cruise missile known to be in service. Induction of the first version of BrahMos Weapon Complex in the Indian Navy commenced from 2005 with INS Rajput as the first ship. All future ships being built and ships coming for mid-life upgradation will be fitted with the missile. 

The Indian Army has also inducted three regiments of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. It is in service with Ship based Weapon Complex (Inclined & Vertical Configuration), Land based Weapon Complex (Vertical Launch Configuration from Mobile Autonomous Launcher) In Progress, Air launch version (successfully test-fired in 2017, creating history). The cannisterised missile is capable of being launched vertically from underwater and had been successfully flight tested from a submerged platform. Deployment depends on the requirement of the Indian Navy or navies of friendly countries. The air launched version has been developed and has lesser weight and additional rear fins for aerodynamic stability during separation from the aircraft during launch. The missile has gone through complete cycle of ground trials. The required modifications in SU-30 MKI for interface with the missile launcher and integration with the weapon control of the aircraft are being carried out together with Indian Air Force and Sukhoi Design Bureau. BrahMos missile created history on 22nd Nov 2017 after it was successfully flight-tested first time from the Indian Air Force‘s (IAF) frontline fighter aircraft Sukhoi-30MKI against a sea-based target in the Bay of Bengal.

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