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QUAD 2.0 or Tianxia: Options before the world

QUAD 2.0 has the toolkit to handle China. It needs to sit across the table and thrash out things. It would be prudent to get into a need-based partnership with focused objectives to bottle the Chinese genie.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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As per Gordon Chang, “Xi thinks everyone should acknowledge not only Chinese hegemony but also China’s rule… China’s ruler has both the right and responsibility to rule Tianxia, or all under Heaven!” Does the world want to be in this Chinese hell? If not, it needs the QUAD. It is a global imperative.

The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) was an informal strategic dialogue between the US, India, Japan, and Australia. It was born out of a disaster. The QUAD countries were the first and most active respondents of the 2004 Tsunami. They formed a “Tsunami Core Group”. It brought together the four nations best equipped to deal with the disaster. Incidentally, China has traditionally kept away from such relief activities. The first QUAD1.0 meeting was held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meet in Manila in May 2007. In September 2007, a Naval exercise was held in the Bay of Bengal as part of the 2nd Malabar Series. It featured the four navies, along with the Singapore Navy. QUAD1.0 had differing perceptions, lack of clear purpose or objectives. There was apprehension that it would become an Asian NATO. The Chinese objected vehemently. It dissipated in 2008

 In 2017, the QUAD had a second coming due to Chinese coercive behaviour in trade, Doklam, and South China Sea. Representatives of the QUAD met in Manilla again in Nov, 2017. From then, things have progressed incrementally. QUAD2.0 centered around “Free, Open and Inclusive Indo-Pacific Region”, stable balance of power, promotion of a rules-based system and limiting Chinese assertiveness in its territorial and maritime claims. However, differences on threat perception, capabilities, strategic compulsions, priorities, constitutional bindings, and culture persisted to limit QUAD2.0. The Chinese have been dismissive about it. Their foreign minister remarked that the QUAD will dissipate like sea foam. However, China’s actions in the recent past have changed the scene completely.

China is waging a multi domain war and has become dangerously militant. The BRI and debt trap diplomacy forces 70 odd countries to politically align with China. Of the balance 120 odd countries, it needs support of about 30 (25%) countries to have a simple majority in any world/ international forum to pass any resolution. Natural differences of opinions will give China these numbers. If WHO is any example, China has cornered enough heft in other international institutions to parrot its line. It is also a Veto holder. All put together it is at a stage to reframe the global rules. It is cornering most consumer nations to continue dependence on it for manufacturing and daily supply. It is aggressively using diplomacy and military power to scare off countries which can take on the relocation and decoupling mantle. Even if decoupling is possible, it will finance that effort in the relocated country. Hence the location might change but the manufacture and supply chain could still be Chinese. Its manufacturing web and BRI can potentially continue to power its monopolistic rise and give it control over world trade. The BRI debt trap has ensured raw material and energy in streams at depressed prices (for the next 25 years at least) from most Africa, Middle East, and South America. It has weaponised its markets as experienced jarringly by Australia. It has also weaponised the Wuhan Virus to infect the world and debilitate it. Chinese armed forces are in the process of usurping the ‘Global Commons’ of the China Seas. Hence major sea trade routes could be sovereign to China. Its ‘Three Strategies’ — public opinion, legal exploitation, and influence operations have undermined governments and subverted democracies. It is also on a data suppression cum theft spree through normal electronic gadgets. It aims to build the greatest military on earth. It has protected its flanks with two impoverished nuclear mavericks — Pakistan and N Korea. These China dependent wild cards are let loose on its competitors to keep them unpleasantly occupied. N Korea on Japan, S Korea, and the US. Pakistan on India. Military-Civil Fusion has ensured that it gets front end technology at no cost or risk by theft/compromise. The risk, effort, investment, and thought are of progressive western democratic nations against whom their own technology is used to their detriment at their cost! It is amply clear that China is on a high roll of global subsidy. Their model is perfect for 1.4 billion Chinese who will be subsided by 6.4 billion of the rest of the earth as underlings. Chinese ‘Tianxia’ will be communist. Welcome to a new Sinic Global Order protected by the Great Firewall of Information. If this juggernaut is not stopped, I might end up as an orderly of Xi, in this ‘Tianxia’. I am naturally worried! So should you be.

The US led the world out of all crises from the Great Depression to the 2008 Financial Crisis, However, it stepped out of the global leadership role ever since the Wuhan Virus stuck the world. The trend had started earlier with President Trump’s “America First Policy”. It was exacerbated with the US inability to deal with the Wuhan Virus, race riots unseen for a long time, preoccupation with presidential elections, and a general fogging of its global outlook and power. Suddenly the world does not have a leader. Number One is temporarily incapacitated. Number Two is the Global Villain. The international community is in choppy seas. It is also evident that the US alone will not have the power to stop Chinese machinations. Powerful democracies must come together to sort out the problem. An aging EU is not willing to even look at the gauntlet. There is no other option than QUAD2.0.

The overall objective of the Quad2.0 was ambiguous to start with. However, as international focus is sharpening on an aggressive China, clarity is emerging. Hence the primary focus and aim should be to stall China from putting us underneath their Tianxia. If it amounts to containing and bottling it up even by force so be it. The rest of the objectives like open seas and rules-based order will follow. The four leaders need to put their shoulders to it together.

QUAD2.0 must provide leadership to the world. A superpower and three middle level powers; all four vibrant democracies comprising three civilizations – Western, Japanese, and Indian are a strong combination. Already this is finding traction with S Korea. Vietnam and New Zealand who are now part of QUAD Plus. In due course if things are put together, the EU will eventually join in. The deteriorating Sino Indian and Sino US relations and China’s unrelenting belligerence will propel QUAD2.0 into Global leadership. The US has been upping the stakes in the South China Sea. This has already emboldened the Philippines to pivot away from China. Indonesia has followed suit by conducting a four-day exercise in the South China Sea. An uptick in alignments with the QUAD2.0 is visible. The converse is that once the QUAD takes up the leadership role, the US will automatically assert itself.

QUAD2.0 has tremendous military potential. The US and India have strong and experienced Armed Forces. Combined with forces from Australia and Japan, it will be an overmatch for China. Contrary to popular imagination, these countries need not even come to each other’s direct aid. A coordinated multidirectional threat/ application of force is enough. China needs to be forced to look at two or more fronts constantly. This paradigm is playing out now. It needs to be refined. QUAD2.0 will be best served if there is understanding and commonality of intelligence sharing, communication, and logistics with just operational coordination. Political consonance is more important.

 The economic dimension is more important than the military one. QUAD2.0 has three of the top five economies in the world. It is a healthy mixture of raw material, manufacturing, and consumer power with tremendous innovation capability. QUAD2.0 has the protective power of enforcing decoupling from China and creating alternative markets if it takes the PLUS countries along economically. US resolve and experience during the Trade War to challenge Chinese economic practices will be crucial.

While China’s greatest strength is its unitary Communist ideology, that is also its weakest link. QUAD2.0 has the global strength of being able to target the CCP. China’s game of dividing the opposition should be beaten through a unified approach. The US has already embarked on a program to attack the CCP. If QUAD2.0 de-legitimizes the ’One China’ policy and rejects ludicrous territorial claims, things will start falling in place. Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are waiting for quadratic solutions. The Great Information Firewall must be broken.

The prospects for the QUAD2.0 look promising. For long, India was a reluctant partner due to its non-alignment history, deep relations with Russia and the need to balance relations with China. However, with ‘gloves off’ on the China front those decks are cleared. It is time that we move past historical baggage to secure our interests. QUAD2.0 must have a frank word with Russia. They are next on the Chinese hit list. Already a warning shot has been fired over their brow with Chinese claims on Vladivostok. Further, Russia has a long border with China. With its miniscule population Russia cannot defend its huge territories from Chinese expansionism. If put in the correct perspective, Russia will see the light.

However, there are other internal contradictions in the QUAD2.0. Japan has a pacifist constitution. How far will it go if the penny drops? Japan and India are the only countries with direct territorial disputes with China. Their interests and perceptions are different from the US and Australia who are extra regional players. The Australian problem with China is more economic and Pacific centered. The US sees direct competition from China and clearly wants to contain it. The US has historically preferred alliances however it is now diluting NATO. The ‘America First’ mantra of the US puts questions on its reliability as an alliance partner. Then there is a question whether there should be an alliance or a partnership. In my opinion these are good issues to handle and we must thank China for giving shape to QUAD2.0.

QUAD 2.0 has the toolkit to handle China. It needs to sit across the table and thrash out things. It is now widely accepted that an alliance is not feasible. It would be more prudent to get into a need-based partnership with focused objectives to bottle the Chinese genie. Alliances can be thought of later. “It’s time for free nations to act” as per US Secretary of State. The free nations must also decide whether to slide into the hell of a Chinese ‘Tianxia’ or bring the QUAD2.0 on.

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

CCP taking over Nepal: Oli is just the tip of the iceberg

While Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s recent behaviour is the most visible part of the CCP’s growing influence in Nepal, there is far more that needs to be recognised.

Ashish Singh

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The ongoing political crisis in Nepal has caught the attention of the world. The casual observer may be forgiven for dismissing it as an isolated incident, caused by the internal fault lines in Kathmandu’s ruling political dispensation. This is both an incorrect and a dangerous assumption, since it overlooks the radical changes which are being pushed in Nepal by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). While PM K.P. Sharma Oli’s recent behaviour is the most visible part of the CCP’s influence in Nepal, there is far more that needs to be recognised.

Ever since the Nepal Communist Party led coalition regained power in Kathmandu in 2018, the CCP has unleashed a multi-pronged strategy to bring the Himalayan nation under its absolute control. The trademark Chinese strategies of ‘debt trap through development’ and ‘territorial salami slicing’ have been supplemented by overt ‘political interference’ and ‘social engineering’. In the last two years alone, the effects of this all-out effort have been felt by the people of Nepal across their country. This is an example of the CCP using its Sun Tzu inspired playbook for ‘winning without fighting’, and it is vital that the people of Nepal as well as all stakeholders in Nepal’s future, realise the gravity of the situation and act before it is too late.

The principal manifestation of China’s interest in Nepal is the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network. 20 projects associated with this Network were signed between the two countries, as part of the Belt and Road Initiative when Xi Jinping visited Kathmandu in October 2019. Xi’s visit was the first by a Chinese Head of State in 23 years and underscored the growing importance of Kathmandu in Beijing’s plans for South Asia. Interestingly, the centre piece of this Network is a Kathmandu-Kerung railway line, which is estimated to cost 2.3 billion USD. This approximates to 10% of Nepal’s GDP – how the project would ever become economically viable remains unclear. If anything, the major quantity of trade carried would be from China to Nepal, which in time, would exacerbate debt issues for the latter. Echoes of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota experience loom large in this case!

 The minor territorial disagreements between India and Nepal have drawn much political attention in recent weeks. This issue will undoubtedly be addressed bilaterally in the days ahead. In the same period, PM Oli has quietly ceded 36 hectares of Nepalese territory to China. This has been caused by CCP’s unilateral constructions on rivers in Tibet (Autonomous Region), regardless of the impact on lower riparian nations. In Nepal’s case, changes in the routes of rivers have changed the defacto border at 11 locations in just two years. In addition, the Rui village of Nepal found itself becoming a part of China recently… leaving the 72 Nepali families there stranded in a foreign country! There has been no official pushback from Nepal on these aspects.

Mount Everest has been a major source of tourism for Nepal over the last several decades. However, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the peak has been closed for a few months now. The CCP immediately seized the opportunity to ‘capture the peak’, which lies close to the border between Nepal and Tibet (Autonomous Region). Recently, a team of scientists and surveyors sponsored by the CCP climbed the peak from the Tibetan side to identify suitable locations for the Chinese 5G network. A Chinese daily also claimed that the peak, called Qomlangma in Chinese, lies in Tibet. It has long been a strategy for the CCP to gradually change the status quo by renaming a feature, developing it, and thereafter claiming full ownership. This has been seen in multiple locations in the South China Sea and an effort is definitely being made to gradually seize ownership of the world-famous mountain, which has long been a source of pride and revenue for the people of Nepal.

Socially conditioning the citizens of Nepal for greater control by Beijing is also underway. The most overt action has been the forceful implementation of ‘Mandarin’ classes in Nepal’s schools. While this has been disguised as a ‘trade-off’ for payment of teachers’ salaries, it is undoubtedly an attempt to enhance Chinese influence over the population. Moreover, Chinese tourists in Nepal have steadily grown over the years, and have become a mainstay of the tourism sector. Weaponisation of tourism by Beijing has already been seen in South Korea, and the potential impact of this on Nepal’s economy provides significant power to the CCP.

The CCP has used this power effectively to gradually step up its influence on the Nepalese Communist Party (NCP). A series of interactions and ideological exchanges have taken place in recent times. According to some observers, the CCP aims to gradually shift the NCP’s political ideology towards the recently formulated Xi Jingping Thought. This would allow the Chinese Premier to become the ‘de facto’ leader of the NCP (like Mao had been for some Communist parties in the region) giving the CCP near absolute control over Nepal.

Implementing this strategy has required very nimble and strong local effort, which has been made possible by Hou Yangi, Beijing’s Ambassador at Kathmandu. Hou, who has previously served in Islamabad, has established unprecedented ties with the senior political and military leadership of Nepal. She is said to have complete access to the Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff as well as the Ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs, Tourism, etc. Hou has also established a huge social media following in Nepal and has recently also been seen as instrumental in drawing Chinese tourists and trade to Nepal in large volume.

In the last week of April 2020, when PM Oli was nearly removed from office by the ruling alliance, Hou met with leaders of all political factions in a series of closed door, intense meetings which ultimately allowed PM Oli to cling on to his chair. It is understood that the core message of these interactions was — “if we remove Oli, then India wins… which is unacceptable”.

Such overt and aggressive political influence would undoubtedly have raised objections from the political class and the media. However, local media houses have allegedly been warned off from such reporting. It is alarming how the political representation of the proud Nepalese people has been quietly and comprehensively subjugated by the CCP.

Beijing has made it no secret that it views itself as the leader in Asia and seeks to establish a hierarchical structure with itself at the apex. The implications of these ambitions for the people of smaller countries like Nepal, could be significant. Oli’s anti-India stance highlights how effective the CCP has been so far… and how the ancient cultural, traditional and civilisational relations between our two nations are being eroded. It is essential that the people of Nepal, as well as India and all other nations which have a stake in the future stability of the region, realise the extent of the CCP’s expansionist plans and act now, in concert, to safeguard the future of the Himalayan nation.

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Defence

New appointments in Western and Central Air Commands

Air Marshal V.R. Chaudhari is the new Western Air Command Chief; Air Marshal autonomous free flight D.K. Patnaik becomes the Central Air Command Senior Air Staff Officer.

Ashish Singh

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Air Marshal V.R. Chaudhari has been appointed as the new Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command, Indian Air Force (IAF). The Air Marshal took over command from Air Marshal B. Suresh. Air Marshal V.R. Chaudhari was commissioned into Fighter Stream of the IAF on 29 December 1982 as a Fighter Pilot. In a distinguished career spanning nearly 38 years, the Air Officer has flown wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft in the inventory of IAF. He has a flying experience of more than 3800 hrs, including operational flying on MiG-21, MiG-23 MF, MiG 29 and Su30 MKI fighter aircraft.

During his illustrious career in the IAF, the Air Officer has held numerous important appointments. He was Commanding Officer of a frontline fighter squadron and has also commanded a frontline Fighter Base. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the coveted appointments of Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence), Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Personnel Officers) at Air HQ Vayu Bhawan. As an Air Marshal, he held the appointment of Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ Vayu Bhawan. Prior to his present appointment, he was the Senior Air Staff Officer, Eastern Air Command. The Air Marshal is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. In recognition of his distinguished service, the Air Marshal was awarded Vayu Sena Medal in January 2004 and the Ati Vishist Seva Medal in January 2015.

Air Marshal D.K. Patnaik

Meanwhile, Air Marshal Dilip Kumar Patnaik has been appointed as the new Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO), of Central Air Command (CAC), Indian Air Force (IAF). The Air Marshal was commissioned into Fighter stream of the IAF on 8 June 1984 as a Fighter Pilot. The officer has flown wide variety of fighter and trainer aircraft in the inventory of IAF. He has a flying experience of more than 2500 hrs including operational flying on MiG-21 and Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft. He was also a Mission Commander on Searcher MK-II & Heron Aircraft with nearly 800 hours on type.

 During his illustrious career in the IAF, the Air Officer has held numerous important appointments. He was Commanding Officer of a frontline Fighter Squadron and has also commanded a frontline Fighter Base. As an Air Vice Marshal, he has held the coveted appointments of Chief Staff Officer (Air Vector) at HQ Strategic Forces Command and Assistant Chief of Air Staff Operations (Air Defence) at Air HQ Vayu Bhawan. Prior to assuming the present appointment he was Commandant of the Prestigious College of Air Warfare. He is an alumnus of Defence Services Staff College and done the Higher Air Command Course. In recognition of his distinguished service, the Air Marshal was awarded Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) in Aug 99 and Ati Vishist Seva Medal in Jan 2020, by the President of India.

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Defence

VSR700 prototype performs first autonomous free flight

Ashish Singh

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The prototype of Airbus Helicopters’ VSR700 unmanned aerial system (UAS) has performed its first free flight. The VSR700 performed a ten-minute flight at a drone test centre near Aixen-Provence in the south of France. This is a significant step in the programme following the first flight in November 2019 when the prototype was tethered to comply with regulatory requirements.

 To enable this free flight, Airbus Helicopters implemented geofencing, a virtual perimeter, which enabled and justified a flight clearance from airworthiness authorities for free flight. The flight test programme will now evolve to progressively open the flight envelope. “The free flight achieved by the VSR700 is a major step leading up to the sea trials that will be performed at the end of 2021 as part of the de-risking studies for the French Navy’s future drone,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO. “Thanks to the French PlanAero, the programme will make full use of two demonstrators and an optionally piloted vehicle to develop and mature the technical and operational aspects for successful UAS operations in a naval environment.” The VSR700, derived from Helicopteres Guimbal’s Cabri G2, is an unmanned aerial system in the 500- 1000 kg maximum takeoff weight range. It offers the best balance of payload capability, endurance and operational cost. It is capable of carrying multiple full-size naval sensors for extended periods and can operate from existing ships, alongside a helicopter, with a low logistical footprint. This VSR700 prototype has evolved over the last nine months since its maiden flight. The programme implemented the geofencing function, as well as a Flight Termination System allowing the mission to be ended if necessary. Modifications have equally been performed to the air vehicle, alongside autopilot software evolutions and updates, as well as structural modifications and reinforcements.

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Defence

Western Air Command chief B. Suresh retires

Ashish Singh

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Air Marshal B. Suresh, Air Officer Commanding-inChief, Western Air Command, Indian Air Force, superannuated on 31 July 2020 after an illustrious career spanning nearly 40 years. The Air Marshal was commissioned as a Fighter Pilot in the Indian Air Force in the year 1980. An alumnus of the Rashtriya Indian Military College, Dehradun and National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, the Air Marshal is a ‘Sword of Honour’ recipient from the Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment. The Air Officer did his post graduation from the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and from Cranfield University, Shrivenham, UK.

 Air Marshal Suresh is a highly experienced Fighter Pilot and has flown a variety of aircraft. During his distinguished career, the Air Marshal held a number of coveted Command and Staff appointments. He commanded a Fighter Squadron which specialised in maritime and night air strikes and was deployed along the western border during the Kargil conflict. Before taking over the appointment of Director Operations (Joint Planning) which is responsible for Tri-service coordination, he commanded Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment. The Air Marshal has commanded one of the largest air bases of the IAF in the western sector as an Air Commodore. He was also the Air Assistant to the Chief of Air Staff. As an Air Vice Marshal, he held the important appointed of Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Operations (Air Defence) for nearly four years, wherein he was also the Air Force member of the Tri-service Joint Operations Committee (JOCOM).

Widely acclaimed as a strategist and tactician of repute within Air Force circles, he is credited with having been the mastermind behind IAF’s superlative performance during Exercise Cope India 2004 – the first International bilateral exercise with the United States Air Force, held after a gap of nearly 40 years. He was again nominated as the ‘Exercise Director’ for the first ever bilateral exercise with the Republic of Singapore Air Force – Ex SINDEX 2004 – where once again, the IAF excelled. The role played by the Air Officer in ensuring IAF’s recognition internationally as a force to reckon with was acknowledged by awarding him the Presidential award of Ati Vishist Seva Medal (AVSM). He, as a Group Captain, was one of the youngest recipients of the Presidential Award.

After being promoted to the rank of Air Marshal in 2014, he was appointed as the Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Western Air Command wherein he brought about remarkable improvements in the operational orientation and battle readiness of the Command with increased synergy with the three associated Commands of the Indian Army viz – Northern Command, Western Command and South Western Command. As Air Officer-in-Charge Personal (AOP) at Air Headquarters, his decisions and foresight left a significant impact. He was instrumental in initiating online conduct of Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT) and Scheduled Test for Airmen Recruitment (STAR) – the recruitment examination for officers and airmen respectively.

The Air Marshal was the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Air Command prior to his appointment as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command. Under his leadership, Southern Air Command grew exponentially in capability and functionality. The entire ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) efforts during the Kerala floods in 2018 were spearheaded by Southern Air Command under his leadership. This was one of the highest intensity HADR efforts undertaken by IAF in recent history.

During his tenure as the AOC-in-C Western Air Command, he ensured a high state of operational and security preparedness and laid the foundation for the induction of the formidable Rafale fighter into the IAF. He has also been instrumental in operationalisation, both by day and night, of IAF’s new inductions viz., Chinook heavy-lift helicopter and Apache attack helicopter. In a first of sorts, airfields in Ladakh sector were operationalised for night fighter operations, thus giving a tremendous boost to 24X7 capabilities of IAF.

 The Air Marshal is a highly decorated officer having been awarded Vayu Sena Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal in recognition of his distinguished and dedicated service to the Nation. He was also appointed as Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the President of India.

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Defence

Tribute to the fallen soldiers at Tulihal Airport in Imphal

Ashish Singh

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To honour the supreme sacrifice made by Havildar (GD) Pranay Kalita, Rifleman (GD) Methna Konyak and Rifleman (GD) Ratan Salam of the Assam Rifles, who laid down their lives in the line of duty on 29 July 2020 in Manipur, a wreath-laying ceremony with full military honours was organised at Tulihal Airport, Imphal, on Friday. During the solemn occasion, wreaths were laid to pay homage to the fallen soldiers by N Biren Singh, CM of Manipur, L Shushindro, MLA, LM Khaute, DGP- Manipur, Brigadier DS Shishodia, Dy IG Assam Rifles (South), Brig Deepak Joshi, Commander, 9 Sector Assam Rifles and Col Prashant Misra, Col ‘A’ 57 Mountain Division.

They were killed in action on Thursday in an ambush laid by the PLA, a Manipur based insurgents group near India- Myanmar border. The sacrifice of the fallen soldiers hailing from Manipur, Nagaland and Assam, truly represents the idea of unity in diversity – the strength of our nation and the Assam Rifles. Assam Rifles remains committed to the security of the nation and will continue to uphold it’s ideals in it’s pursuit to defeat secessionist forces.

Havildar (GD) Pranay Kalita, a resident of Barpeta, Assam, is survived by his wife and two daughters, while Rifleman (GD) Methna Konyak, a resident of Mon District, Nagaland is survived by his wife and daughter. Rifleman Ratan Salam is a resident of Kakching Makha Leikai, Manipur and he has left behind his wife and two sons. They were dedicated, brave and courageous soldiers of the Assam Rifles. The nation salutes their supreme sacrifice made in the highest traditions of the Force in service of the nation. In this hour of grief, the Assam Rifles stands firm in its solem commitment to ensure the welfare of the families of the fallen soldiers.

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Defence

DIAT develops medical bed isolation system for Covid-19 patients

Ashish Singh

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In current pandemic, due to continuous increase of Covid-19 positive patients, the requirement of number of beds are increasing day by day. Defence Institute of Advanced Technology, (DIAT) in Pune has developed ‘Aashray’, the Medical Bed Isolation System to combat Covid-19 by stopping/ minimising the spread of virus/ infection released by the patient. This is a low cost, reusable solution to maintain proper isolation of Covid-19 patients by creating suction /negative pressure near exhale, and further filtering and disinfecting the aerosol.

Bed Isolation System envelopes are made up of specialised material and manufacturing process with transparent and translucent 7.5(l) ×7(w) ×6.5(h) ft3 size supported on medical grade materials structure. The product is modular and portable in design and can be suitable for different requirements such as institutional, hospitals and home/ individual quarantine. The envelope is reusable as it is antibacterial&anti-fungal and can be sanitised.

Each envelope is capable of housing one set of bed, table and chair along with some walking space. The width of the envelope can be adjusted as per the availability of space. Envelope is opaque up to 3ft from bottom to maintain privacy of the patient. The entire envelope is maintained at a low pressure (suction) with adjustable flow rate to restrain spread of virus/ infection inside the hall/ ICU. Each envelope is connected to the main duct equipped with UV light and filter circuit of Pre, fine and HEPA filter (recommended for medical application) and suction blower. The cross flow of air from top of the envelope towards the main duct is regulated (with a flap valve) as per comfort conditions of the patient. The virus/contaminants are continuously sucked through the duct and accumulated at the filters which are projected with UV light. The suction blower throws the filtered and contamination free air to outside environment. As per prototype manufacturer (M/s Cleancore Solutions Pvt Ltd. Bhosari, Pune) the cost of the setup for a unit of 10 beds is 1 lakh approximately and for home quarantine will be 15,000 for single bed.

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