While patrolling in the mountains, soldiers are constantly reminded not to lose height, because they also lose sight. My regiment is built on Shivaji’s tactics that teaches the Maratha warrior to remain mobile and occupy (rest on) high grounds. This gave Shivaji’s guerilla a distinct edge over the large Mughal forces because they could get better situational awareness and options to strike at the time and place of their choosing. Military profession teaches you the importance of ‘high ground’ and the ‘information’ as key factors of success. ‘Space’ is now seen as an essential and most significant domain of modern warfare.
The recent military clash at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh and faceoff between PLA and the Indian Army has become a media marvel with satellite imageries from commercial grade transponders being displayed on the TV. Space is the ‘ultimate high ground’ that makes it possible for ordinary citizens to watch the world from God›s eye, even views from the battlefield. Those who occupy this high ground today would deny it to others tomorrow. Thankfully, India realised the importance of the space early. A British Brigadier once remarked to me in astonishment how a country like India could be running a poverty-alleviation programme and a space program concurrently. Subtly indicating our third world status yet with significant achievements in space, which was so far a preserve of the advanced world.
Globally, over 2,000 active satellites are orbiting the world today in various altitudes ranging from LEO (Low Earth Orbit) which is between 180-2,000 km of altitudes, MEO (Medium) from 2,000-35,780 km and GEO (High) above 35,780 km for geo satellites. Depending on their role, the satellites are either on Polar, Sun Synchronous, equatorial, elliptical or Geo-synchronous Orbits (GEO). Between the US and China, they own almost 60 percent of all satellites, with the US having close to 45 percent of global ownership. India’s share in the global pie currently stands at around 2.5 percent. Majority of the space slots over Indian space are occupied by the Chinese or US Satellites. The satellites are being put to use for Earth Observation, Communications, Navigation, Timing, Tracking and experimenting. The resolutions are constantly improving (below one metre) aimed for human spotting and identification. One-third of these satellites are known to have an active military role and with a large number of them in dual use. Space has become an essential part of modern warfare.
India is now headed towards being a space power with PM Narendra Modi literally triggering a space revolution by the introduction IN-SPACe, a new autonomous body with a policy that not only relieves ISRO from carrying the sole burden of India’s space sector but also unlocks the sector to private players that would catapult India to becoming a Credible Space Power. There are rapid technology upgrades in every field of space taking place in the world and catching up would not be easy unless such measures are taken. China has invested in QC-QT (Quantum Computing and Technology), which would harden most of their future satellites. ISRO needs to focus on closing this gap with private players as technology partners.
China launched its first satellite, a decade ahead of India in April 1970. Since then she is progressing rapidly and continues to showcase fast paced technological advancements in demonstrating space power. China landed its Chang’-4 spacecraft on the far side of the moon in January last year, becoming the only country to do so, with rover, Yatu-2 sending data from the reverse side of the moon and operating in temperatures well below -300 degrees Fahrenheit. China not only has demonstrated technology, but would be ahead in having access to rare materials from the moon. Having put two manned space labs in the Low Orbit, she is now putting another space station in three modules. China is reportedly developing a new telescope with a 300-times larger field of view than the American Hubble Space telescope.
As China continues to invest more into state-run space programs, it is also becoming one of the largest investors in private companies. She is rapidly developing both ISR and PNT satellites. The Beidou satellite system gives China independence from US’s GPS constellations for military and commercial activities. China plans to establish a global 24 hour, all weather earth remote sensing system and a global satellite navigation system. China is constantly upgrading China›s High Resolution Earth Observation System (CHEOS). She is experimenting with new capabilities after launching first-ever Quantum communications satellite in 2016.
Chinese have given outer space and cyberspace a high priority in the strategic competition, designating both as important domains of war fighting. In 2015 they raised the Strategic Support Force (SFF) to manage the military›s space, cyber, and electronic warfare missions. Strategists in PLA regard that “the ability to use space-based systems and deny them to adversaries as central to enabling modern warfare under the conditions of Informatisation”. PLA Rocket Force which manages the nuclear arsenal, has the jurisdiction over the Anti-Satellite (ASAT) capabilities. It is assessed that Chinese counter-space programmes are primarily designed to deter US strikes against China’s space assets and deny superiority to the United States and even attack US satellites.
Given the growing belligerence of China against India, the Chinese space edge is not only detrimental to India’s space programme but also poses a challenge to the world in case of a military confrontation.It is assessed that soon every satellite in any orbit will be at risk from the Chinese ASAT weapons. China is building co-orbital counter-space capabilities which serve dual-purpose of inspection and on-orbit servicing during peacetime and could attack adversarial satellites during war. Chinese military and technical papers often refer to ‘Directed Energy’ as an important part of counter-space technology. The recent activities demonstrate that China is proliferating its electronic and cyber capabilities in space. In 2018 alone, China tested most technologies in the counterspace categories.
North Korea’s space capabilities are closely tied to their ballistic missile development. There is no indication that North Korea has made a sustainable space industrial base, but its missile program is growing. Many believe that it is aided by technology from China and Pakistan. Little is known about North Korea’s operational concepts and space capabilities. North Korea has demonstrated only two counter-space technologies; electronic and cyber attack, the only significant risks of non-kinetic physical attack. North Korea’s believed highaltitude nuclear detonation capability, would indiscriminately affect all satellites in the target’s orbital regime.
Pakistan is investing incrementally in its Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organisation (SUPARCO) with the budgetary allocation of approx $34 million to include Multi-Mission Satellite (PaKSat-MM1). It has established a Space Application Research Centre in Karachi with wings. It plans on sending a human to space, with the help of China by 2022. Pakistan has developed nuclear weapons and integrated them with ballistic missile systems. Its longestrange missile Shaheen 3, could potentially deliver a nuclear-capable warhead into LEO. Both North Korea and Pakistan are assessed to be leaning heavily on the space capability of China and the triad can bring in collusive capability against the world.
The Soviet space agency was the first in the world to place satellite Sputnik 1 into orbit in Oct 1957. They established the first contact with the surface of the moon through Luna 2 in September 1959, and also sent the first human into space (Yuri Gagarin) in April 1961. The first Indian Satellite Aryabhata was launched by USSR in April 1975, five years before India developed its indigenous launch vehicle. Even though Soviets were pioneers in space technology, the US surpassed them through funding of innovators embedded in the universities and private industry. Russia currently operates the world’s most robust human space programme. Russia was a founding partner of the International Space Station (ISS), despite souring relations, Russia and the US maintain strong partnership in space largely due to ISS.
Russia has revamped the existing Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) through restructuring and upgrades. Over the next decade, Russia plans to revamp optical image satellites, land a scientific probe for Mars and a new human launch system. Russia has Kinetic ASAT and co-orbital counter-space programmes. Russia’s newest co-orbital system may be designed to target satellites in GEO. It is assessed to have capability to destroy and degrade satellites using non-kinetic physical counter-space systems. Russia is likely capable of destructive cyber-warfare targeting satellite systems and the ground systems that support them.
The US spends over $50 billion on space, which is 62% of the overall global spending of $80.7 billion. Of this, the US military spends $35 billion each year on space, which is twice NASA›s budget. The US military relies heavily on their private sector to deliver space solutions. Most government launches are carried out by SpaceX or the United Launch Alliance. SpaceX is planning to launch a global constellation of 4,425 satellites which will provide a total throughput of 23.70 Terabytes per second — a capability which will be leveraged by the US military. The rapid miniaturisation and cost reduction of the civil space sector in the US has been picked up by the US military. Project Blackjack under DARPA, for instance, envisages the use of multiple constellations launched and operated by the private sector to provide a resilient, persistent and reliable data network for troops and equipment on the ground.
The US private space sector has therefore led the way for the world in space technology, which has been mostly funded by the US government. Without government funding, such as NASA providing long-term ISS cargo resupply mission contracts to SpaceX and Boeing, these companies would never have reached the scale they possess today. It is the combination of Government grants for leading edge technologies such as free space optical communications or electric propulsion mechanisms, coupled with venture capital funding for new startups that have led to the US dominating space globally. The newly formed US Space Force is a beneficiary of the US’s current technological position in space, and will further focus R&D towards the military applications of space. The US has invested heavily on all the space domains for Military and civilian, which are largely dual use.
India has a well-developed missile development programme that has given an edge to India in space launch technology. India became the seventh country to launch its own satellite using the SLV-3 rocket in July 1980. Currently, India has two operational orbital Launch vehicles, with the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). With these two vehicles, India conducted seven launches in 2018, just a fraction of over 60 total launches. The PSLV has launched over 46 successful missions. It has also launched around 300 satellites of more than 30 countries. In February 2017, ISRO (PSLV-C37) launched 104 satellites belonging to different countries in a single rocket, which is a record. It launched Chandrayaan 2 in July 2019, which unfortunately developed a glitch on landing. ISRO is all set to launch Gaganyaan, a manned mission in the LEO later next year, albeit with a likely delay.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is the official space agency of the Indian government with a vision to “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration”. It is primarily meant for R&D in the space segment. It also controls the Department of Space, under the PMO. It has been also engaged in commercial activity and has a newly raised commercial wing NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). Recently, the PM has announced a major policy shift wherein the Indian private space sector that has a large pool of skilled and qualified scientists, largely qualified abroad, would now be available to work for India. Such startups can hugely contribute to advanced technologies to be infused into the space sector. This resource has been sitting on a limb, and waiting for an opportunity. With the change in policy, a large talent pool currently working abroad is likely to be drawn back into the country. The commercialisation of space is necessary to make India a space power, and also contribute significantly to India’s military capabilities, provided the policy framework eases business and incubates emerging technologies to participate. India’s private space companies are needed to bring in space-based services, which would greatly benefit India’s prevalence in the sector.
India has recently raised a Defence Space Agency that may subsume an existing Integrated Space Cell as Part of HQ Integrated Defence Staff. DRDO is actively engaged in supporting the sector through a dedicated Space Project. It is claimed that India does not want to weaponise the space or create harmful debris. The space now becoming a rapidly contested global common, space-faring nations are increasingly concerned about securing their space assets. It has however demonstrated its kinetic counter-space capability in March 2019 by shooting its own non-operational satellite in the Low Earth Orbit. India has several medium range and ICBMs that have the capability to deliver a credible payload into the orbit. Indian space is vulnerable to exploitation by the global orbital slots. India needs to invest in hardening the satellite technology to match the challenges posed by Quantum technologies. Space threat detection, Miniaturisation of assets and counter-space kinetic and non-kinetic assets are significant steps to keep Indian space secure. Increasingly, cyberspace and digital platforms are becoming space dependent and controlled. The industrial platforms and military machines are turning digital and would run on AI engines, making military 4.0 compatible with the Industry. The Indian Defence Expo 2020 was rightly based on a digital theme. As development in space and cyber domains grow, we are headed to C5I2STAR cluster that brings Command, Control, Communication, Computer and Cyber in single domain, as also brings Target Acquisition as part of the same cluster as the ISR.
The world space programmes are growing at a very rapid rate, and space is likely to get congested leaving no scope for the laggards to catch up. Space shall soon become a more exclusive club and those who cannot occupy the slots early are likely to face denial. Planetary exploration is another race. Those who establish presence on the Moon, Mars or other planets shall get early access to the rare materials. A possibility of establishing a permanent moon station cannot be ruled out in near future. Once heavy landing crafts are tested successfully, cargo flights for shipping rare materials may turn out to be one of the most lucrative and exclusive business domains adding a new dimension to the space economy.
India needs to strategically synergise with incubating technologies through the commercial domain such as startups into the ecosystem to overcome these emerging challenges.
Disclaimer: Views are personal; information extracted from open sources.
Courtesy: CSIS, Space Threat Assessment Report 2019.
Lt Gen P.J.S. Pannu was commissioned into 22nd Battalion, The Maratha Light Infantry (MLI) on December 13, 1980, and commanded the battalion from May 1999 to February 2001 in Uri Sector (Jammu and Kashmir) during Operation VIJAY. He commanded an Infantry Brigade in Kashmir Valley and an infantry division in the North-East. He was GOC 14 Corps and later retired as Deputy Chief of Army Staff. Lt Gen Pannu conducted the first ever space exercise IndspaceX in 2019.
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CADETS OF NCC DIRECTORATE GUJARAT TO BE DEPLOYED AT SURAT IN SUPPORT OF THE CIVIL ADMINISTRATION FOR COMBATING COVID-19 AS PART OF EXERCISE NCC YOGDAN
As the nation is going through the second surge in Covid-19, NCC Cadets of Gujarat Directorate have volunteered to support Civil administration in various activities as part of the Exercise Yogdan II. In response to the requisition from DM Surat, 56 highly motivated Cadets (both boy Cadets and girl Cadets) have volunteered to provide relief efforts and assist in functioning of agencies employed in Covid-19 at Surat. More Cadets of Gujarat Directorate are likely to volunteer as the Exercise Yogdan II commences. Only Senior Division Boys and Senior Wing Girl Cadets of Gujarat Directorate above the age of 18, are being deployed to support the administration as part of NCC Exercise Yogdan II. All the Gujarat Directorate Cadets deployed would be Senior Volunteer Cadets and with proper Covid safety precautions and adequate care. The Cadets have undergone a thorough training on DOs and Dont’s on Covid Protocols before being deployed.
In addition, on announcement of Tika Utsav by the PM , the Cadets of Gujarat Directorate actively participated in spreading awareness about the necessity of getting Vaccinated and following Covid appropriate behaviour, through door to door interaction and circulating a large number of videos and messages on social media. The Directorate General NCC at Delhi has also made provisions to insure the volunteer Cadets adequately. DG NCC at Delhi has been actively involved and focussed in giving the necessary permission for the employment of cadets. Major General Arvind Kapoor ADG, NCC Directorate Gujarat, Dadra Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu informed that last year during Exercise NCC Yogdan I, Cadets of NCC Directorate Gujarat were deployed in maximum numbers which was highly appreciated by the dignitaries and the people of Gujarat. He further assured that all safety precautions related to Covid -19 will be ensured for the Cadets and staff of Gujarat Directorate employed in Exercise NCC Yogdan II. He also complimented the parents to have come forward and given their consent for the Cadets to be deployed.
AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES THE INDO-PACIFIC OCEANS INITIATIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH INDIA
Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell AO, launched the Australia-India Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative Partnership (AIIPOIP) grant program to help support a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific underpinned by the rule of law and respect for sovereignty. “This AUD 1.4 million (INR 8.12 crore) grant program is a practical initiative to advance Australia and India’s shared vision for the Indo-Pacific”, High Commission O’Farrell said. “Through this program, we are seeking new proposals on how Australia, India and other regional partners can advance our shared maritime objectives”, he added.
The AIIPOIP grants program will help deliver practical outcomes under the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 14th East Asia Summit in November 2019. “Australia is proud to be co-leading with India the marine ecology pillar of the IPOI”, High Commissioner O’Farrell said. The first phase of this multi-year grant program will encourage proposals from Australian and Indian stakeholders to share expertise and resources, complementing the work under existing regional mechanisms such as ASEAN, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, and the Pacific Islands Forum. AIIPOIP is an outcome of the Australia-India Joint Declaration on a Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, signed by Australia’s Foreign Minister Senator Marise Payne and India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar in June 2020, as part of the Australia-India Comprehensive and Strategic Partnership Agreement.
PROTESTS BY TEHREEK-E-LABBAIK & ONGOING SITUATION IN PAKISTAN
Tehreek-e-Labbaik, Pakistan (TLP) which draws its ideology from the Barelvi sect of Sunni Islam is a far-right Islamist political party in Pakistan, founded by Khadim Hussain Rizvi on 1 August 2015. TLP is known for its countrywide street power and massive protests in opposition to any perceived change to Pakistan’s blasphemy law or disrespect to Allah/Prophet Muhammad. Its first demonstration of street power came to light following the execution of Mumtaz Qadri the bodyguard of Salman Taser, the Governor of Punjab, who killed the Governor for publicly voicing his support for Asia Bibi (Aasiya Noreen). Qadri was hung on 29 February 2016, after which TLP supporters took to the streets across Pakistan, proclaimed him a martyr, chanted anti-government slogans and clashed with the police. A TLP patron, Pir Abdul Qadri, also called for the killing of the Supreme Court justices who ruled on the case and the Army Chief.
TLP, among other extremist religious outfits, was manoeuvred into mainstream politics by the country’s Army brass as one of its tools of political engineering. It was thought that carving out the far-right fringe from the conservative voter base of the PML-N, would damage it in the 2018 general elections, which proved correct & many PML-N candidates lost to PTI, as the voter base of PML-N gravitated towards PTI. Pak Army’s support for TLP was evident during their protest which took place from 8th November 2017, at Faizabad contesting changes in the Elections Bill 2017, demanding resignation of Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid. DG of Punjab Rangers, Major General Azhar Navid Hayat was seen distributing envelopes containing Rs 1,000 notes to the protesters. The ISI then ‘brokered’ a deal between the TLP and the government. Wrapping up the suo-moto case of Faizabad protests, the two bench judge which included Justice Qazi Faez, directed DG ISPR & ISI amongst others to operate within their mandate. The said Judge is now facing various charges of corruption reportedly on the behest of Pak Army & the ISI.
In October 2020, a teacher, Samuel Paty was beheaded in Paris by an Islamist terrorist reportedly for displaying a cartoon of Muhammad. French President Emmanuel Macron defended freedom of expression and the rights to publish such cartoons, after which widespread protests took place in Pakistan, with calls to boycott French products and sever diplomatic ties with France. In November 2020, activists of TLP demanded the expulsion of French Ambassador from Pakistan. The protests were called off on 16 November 2020 after the Government of Pakistan reached an agreement with TLP by seeking more time to discuss the matter in Parliament.
On 11 April 2021, TLP leader Saad Hussain Rizvi (son of founder Khadim Rizvi) released a video message asking TLP activists to launch protests across Pakistan if the government did not expel the French Ambassador from the country by 20 April 2021. On 12th April 2021, after Saad Rizvi was arrested in Lahore, protests broke out across the country, with TLP activists blocking roads and cutting off Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Gujranwala from each other. The protests turned violent with reports of stone pelting; at least two people were killed in the riots on 12 April 2021. In addition, TLP claimed that two protesters were shot dead in Faisalabad and Karachi. On 13th April 2021, one police officer was beaten to death by the rioting mob in Lahore, while 40 others were injured. TLP spokesperson Tayyab Rizvi claimed that the number of TLP workers “martyred” in the protests by the second day had increased to 12. A spokesperson of Punjab Police confirmed that two cops were killed by the protesters who used clubs, bricks and firearms to attack them. Paramilitary forces were brought in to assist the local police across various cities including Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur. On 15th April 2021, the French embassy in Pakistan advised French citizens and companies to temporarily leave Pakistan “due to serious threats”. Pak Government formally banned TLP under Anti-Terrorism Law. On 16 April 2021, Pak government blocked several social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and YouTube for around four hours fearing call of protests by TLP. Situation turned extremely violent on 18th April 2021, at Yateem Khana Chowk, Lahore where three people were killed and hundreds of others, including 15 policemen injured in a clash between TLP protestors and police. It was reported that the TLP workers took five policemen, among them a DSP, hostage after an attack on a police station. It has also been reported that the protesters have taken a 50000 litre petrol tanker with them precluding any massive operation against them for fear of collateral damage.
Tanzimat Ahl-e-Sunnat leader Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman has called for a nationwide shutter down strike on 19th April 2021, against the Lahore incident. It has also been reported that that the protesters will march with the dead bodies of their colleagues to Islamabad, demanding expulsion of French Ambassador, release of all TLP members jailed in various parts of Pakistan and action against Pak’s Interior Minister Mr Sheikh Rashid. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman also supported Mufti Muneeb’s call for the shutter down strike showing growing collusive support for the protests among other radical Islamic groups in Pak. The protest that started over a cartoon of Muhammad in France has brought the entire nation to a standstill. The Pak social media is replete with hashtags like #CivilWarInPakistan, #Stop_Gov_Terrorism, #Lahore, #LahoreBurning, #iStandWithTLP, etc.
There have been widespread reports of Pak Army and police personnel defecting from the forces and openly coming out in support of the protesters. The military-intelligence establishment’s pathological obsession with legitimising groups that provide their own warped-version of Islam, has made the foundation of Pakistani society unstable and unpredictable. While PakistaniEstablishment is trying to enforce writ of the Government& present a positive image to the international audience, given its precarious economic condition, the possibility of the ongoing protest looming into a major crisis for Pak cannot be ruled out.
There have been widespread reports of Pak Army and police personnel defecting from the forces and openly coming out in support of the protesters. The military-intelligence establishment’s pathological obsession with legitimising groups that provide their own warped-version of Islam, has made the foundation of Pakistani society unstable and unpredictable.
INDIAN NAVY SEIZES NARCOTICS WORTH RS 3,000 CRORE
New Delhi: Indian Naval Ship Suvarna, whilst on surveillance patrol in the Arabian Sea, encountered a fishing vessel with suspicious movements. To investigate the vessel, the ship’s team conducted boarding and search operation, which led to the seizure of more than 300 Kgs of narcotics substances. The boat with its crew have been escorted to the nearest Indian Port of Kochi, Kerala for further investigation. The approximate cost the catch in the international market is estimated to be Rs 3,000 crore. This is a major catch not only in terms of the quantity and cost but also from the perspective of disruption of the illegal narcotics smuggling routes, which emanate from the Makran coast and flow towards the Indian, Maldivian and Sri Lankan destinations. Apart from the human costs from drug addiction, the spoils of narcotics trade feed syndicates involved in terrorism, radicalisation and criminal activities.
RAJNATH SINGH REVIEWS PREPAREDNESS OF MOD AND ARMED FORCES AMID SPIKE IN COVID-19 CASES
The Defence Minister asks them to aid civilian administration to tide over the current coronavirus situation; gives go ahead for emergency procurement of critical medical supplies.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a virtual meeting to review the preparedness of Ministry of Defence and the armed forces to deal with the recent spike in Covid-19 cases across the country, in New Delhi on Tuesday. Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Army Staff General M.M. Naravane, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Surgeon Vice Admiral Rajat Datta, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, Financial Adviser (Defence Services) Sanjiv Mittal and other senior civil & military officers attended the meeting via video conferencing.
Rajnath Singh was briefed about the measures taken by AFMS, DRDO, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and other organisations of Ministry of Defence such as National Cadet Corps (NCC) in providing aid to the civil administration in this hour of crisis. The Defence Minister was informed that a COVID care centre established by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is active in Bengaluru assisting the civil administration. He was informed that arrangements are being made by the DPSUs to buy oxygen plants that will help them in production of oxygen cylinders at a faster pace. The Defence Minister asked the DPSUs, OFB and DRDO to work on war footing to provide oxygen cylinders and extra beds to civil administration/state governments at the earliest. Rajnath Singh called upon the Armed Forces to be in close contact with the state governments and be ready to provide any required assistance. In a significant decision, the Defence Minister directed the Armed Forces and other stakeholders to go ahead with procurement of critical medical requirements under emergency powers of procurement.
DRDO Chairman briefed that a Covid-19 facility, developed by DRDO, has again been made functional in New Delhi and efforts are being made to soon increase the number of beds from 250 to 500. Dr Sathish Reddy informed the meeting that the ESIC Hospital, which was converted to Covid hospital in Patna, has started functioning with 500 beds and a Covid hospital will soon be made functional at Muzaffarpur in Bihar. He also informed that work is on at war footing to set up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, 750-bed hospital in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Rajnath Singh was also informed that based on the On-Board Oxygen Generation Technology developed for LCA Tejas, a 1000 litre/minute capacity oxygen generation plants technology has been given to the industry and the Uttar Pradesh government has placed order of five such plants with the industry. Dr Reddy informed the Defence Minister that more plants can be supplied by the industry to cater to the hospital requirements. He further said SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) based supplemental oxygen delivery system developed for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas can be used for Covid patients as their conditions become similar. The product will be available soon in the market from the industry as per technology provided by DRDO. The Defence Minister was informed that the AFMS has mobilised its man power and other resources in various military hospitals dealing with Covid patients. To augment the manpower if required, the minister suggested to utilise the services of vaccinated retired Armed Forces personnel to assist the civil administration/state governments to deal with the current situation. During the meeting, Rajnath Singh also discussed ways to contain the spread of Covid-19 among the Armed Forces personnel and the officers/staff working in Ministry of Defence. He focused on Covid-appropriate behaviour at the work place, stressing on the need to strictly follow all the Covid protocols such as wearing of masks at all times and maintaining physical distancing.
HERITAGE AS LEGACY IN THE EVOLUTION OF INDIA: CASE STUDY OF NAVAL DOCKYARD IN MUMBAI
The Indian terrestrial approach lured us away from the seas which were left almost unprotected.
India is a maritime nation with a rich heritage. History records our oceanic links with other nations of Indian Ocean and beyond from the Harappan civilisation and lasting through the centuries. Indian maritime influence can be seen in all walks of Indian history. Our development is owed to the maritime economy and a gradual advancement of maritime infrastructure along the coastal frontiers. If we are to learn from our history, the biggest lesson is that the Indian terrestrial approach lured us away from the seas which were left almost unprotected. The failure amongst the Indians to perceive the potential threat from the maritime frontiers and percolate a maritime vision and policies among the masses was one of the grave problems that led to the rise of Colonial rule in India. This article highlights one facet as an outcome of “Manthan” or churn of the sea saga of Indian journey.
Under the Company and the Crown, the city of Bombay was developed further taking into consideration of all the physical features it had which gave it an edge. Even with self-gain as the motive, the emerging vision aided colonial officials to analyse the importance of the geography of Bombay and developed it as ‘Urbs Prima in Indis’-the premier city of the Empire.
Today as we traverse the heritage precinct of Fort area in South Mumbai, we are reminded of the lasting legacy that is the built heritage across the city’s waterfront. The Naval Dockyard that stands tall as a custodian of Mumbai’s coastline is a heritage facility in itself. The Wadia Master builders were commissioned to develop this shipbuilding and docking facility (erstwhile Bombay Dockyard) in Bombay in 1735. Today, this is used by the Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy that upholds its heritage and continues to maintain its legacy.
With the Industrial revolution in Europe, change was inevitable. In the wake of Industrialisation in England, there was a paradigm shift in the realms of production. Technology took over and since then it has only developed. Ironically, this phase also marks the deindustrialisation in the Indian subcontinent in order to facilitate and furnish the English industries. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 and the need for better docking and banking facilities at such a juncture is self-explanatory. The undertaking of construction for new dock building and related facilities was deemed necessary and beneficial for improving the efficiency of the maritime trade and commerce.
Bombay Dockyard and nearby facilities made ‘Ships-of-the-Line’ for the Royal Navy that were considered to be of superior quality and craftsmanship. The skills and nautical expertise of the Indian shipbuilders was a legacy in itself. But, the Indian shipbuilding industry that was once sought after met its downfall as the sail ships were replaced with the steam vessels. Despite such setback, this never deterred the Indian shipping industry. Bombay faced economic repercussions but the indomitable spirit of the city as we see today was blazing even then. After an initial slump in the shipbuilding industry, the Dockyard and other facilities gave rise to a number of other associated industries that aligned with the needs of the shipping sector thereby creating a market for economy with wider avenues. Soon, the docking facilities were equipped and gained momentum as a ship repair and refits industry which made a lot of progress.
Built heritage and maritime affairs intermingle with economic matters-thus creating a legacy and building a stronger future of our nation. A gradual progression in the maritime infrastructure and its resultant impact on the economy has played a vital role in the development of the Indian shipping sector. Promotion of our maritime heritage and traditions by a holistic development of the coastal communities by integrating them in the mainstream policies will ensure the promotion of our rich maritime legacy.
The evolution of the Mumbai city is owed to the maritime economy and due to harnessing of its maritime connect and development of the infrastructure. The role and contribution of the maritime sector in developing the city to what it is today must be acknowledged. The mushrooming of allied industries in the shipping industry is a subsequent factor. The economy of Bombay strengthened which led to the creation of an industrial infrastructure. This was the rise of a modern SEZ i.e. Special Economic Zone, a precursor to the modern metropolis that Mumbai has become today.
Shortly after the World Heritage Day commemorated on 18 April 2021 this week sees launch of a multi-stakeholder initiative to revive maritime consciousness in form of a unique workshop titled “Indian Maritime History : A Manthan”. In the two day workshop, 21 – 22 April 2021, Dr Malini Shankar, IAS (Retd), Vice Chancellor, Indian Maritime University will deliver the Keynote Address while Commodore Odakkal Johnson, Director, Maritime History Society will mentor the proceedings and provide the thematic setting. The contents will benefit students, faculty & maritime enthusiasts. The workshop will evolve elements of an approach towards a long-term facility for excellence in Maritime History as envisaged in Maritime India Vision 2030. Maritime History Society and Indian Maritime University invite an enthusiastic response toward the resurgence of Sea Mindedness through participation, promotion and resource infusion into the journey to enhance influence for greater maritime consciousness in India.
Janhavi Lokegaonkar is a Research Associate at Maritime History Society with a focus on modern aspects of Indian Maritime History
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