TRIBUTES PAID TO THE BRAVEHEARTS ON ‘SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH’ CELEBRATIONS - The Daily Guardian
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TRIBUTES PAID TO THE BRAVEHEARTS ON ‘SWARNIM VIJAY VARSH’ CELEBRATIONS

The ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Mashaal’, symbolic of India’s 1971 war victory over Pakistan, reaches Kashmir Valley, given a grand reception at Wuzur.

Ashish Singh

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The ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh Victory Mashaal’, symbolic of India’s 1971 War Victory over Pakistan has reached the valley, was given a grand reception at Wuzur. To commemorate 50 years of India’s victory over Pakistan in the epic war of 1971, on 16 December 2020, Prime Minister lit the ‘Swarnim Vijay Mashaal’ from the hallowed and the eternal flame of the National War Memorial that marked the commencement of this Golden Jubilee Year. Four such ‘Mashaal’ travelled in the four cardinal directions, reaching the remotest corners of the nation to include villages of our valiant and intrepid warriors who participated in the war and received PVCs and MVCs for their gallant actions. Today, one of these ‘Mashaal’ entered our beautiful Kashmir valley through the newly constructed Navyug Tunnel and was received by Brigadier Vivek Singh Thakur, Commander 2 Sector Rashtriya Rifles at the northern portal of the tunnel.

The presence of 1971 War Veterans, Veer Narees and ESMs during the event made it all the more memorable and magnificent. Carrying of the Mashaal by these esteemed guests during the event added all the more glory to this sacred torch. Hundreds of school children from Army Goodwill Schools of Wuzur and Behibagh, dressed in saffron, white and green attires symbolising our national flag, marching to the beat of an impeccably turned out Military band playing martial tunes, left everyone witnessing this splendid event in awe. The grand reception of the Mashaal was followed by a very solemn ceremony held at Wuzur Garrison to pay homage to the fallen heroes of that war and to remember the sacrifice they made in honour of their beloved motherland.

The ceremony is being conducted with full military honours resulted in high emotions running through the crowd like never before, swelling their hearts with patriotism and love for their nation. The NCC cadets in attendance drew inspiration from the ceremony, further strengthening their resolve to join the Armed Forces and serve their motherland. The ceremony concluded with the felicitation of the War Veterans and Veer Narees as a mark of respect for the sacrifices they made and hardships they endured all these years, without ever complaining, personifying courage and resilience.

The event was also attended by prominent civil dignitaries to include Dr Bilal Mohd-ud-din Bhat, DC Kulgam and other senior military officers. The school children deserve a special mention here for the enthusiasm and energy they exuded during the event and for brightening the entire atmosphere through the incandescence on their faces. Their happiness knew no bounds when they got the chance to go for a joy ride on the Ho-Ho buses, waving the national flag and singing patriotic songs.

Speaking to the media persons present, Brigadier Vivek Singh Thakur paid homage to all the brave soldiers of the 1971 war who laid down their lives in the finest traditions of the Indian Army and expressed his gratitude to all the War veterans, Veer Narees, and Ex-Service Men who made this event possible by their benign presence. He said that the Indian Army continues to move forward with its ethos of honour, valour and tradition and is always prepared and ready to defend the nation and give a befitting reply to any adversary.

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Defence

AFGHANISTAN AT CROSSROADS, AND THE ROAD AHEAD FOR TALIBAN

While the Taliban never withered away, and that they now have come back into the reckoning, the ground situation in Afghanistan has changed drastically.

LT GEN PR SHANKAR (Retd)

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Everyone expects Taliban, supported by Pakistan, which is backed by China to sweep into power in Afghanistan. That is the dark visage floating up. As the US forces are leaving the country , the current momentum and tempo of the Taliban offensive suggests an inevitability of their return. There is sense of return to the bad old days. There is air of despondency in Indian strategic circles, jubilation in some sections of Pakistan, and a large sense of trepidation in the rest of the world. From China emanates the smell of greed and a a sense of fear simultaneously. There is an aura of total opacity of what the future holds. However we have to go back into history to understand what can happen in future.


Insurgency in Afghanistan (File photo: Creative Commons/Wiki)

The international geopolitical scene was far different in the days when Taliban rose to power. One superpower – USSR had been just defeated and was disintegrating. The other superpower – USA just walked away from the region savouring victory in an era of the forthcoming unipolar world. Afghanistan was in a chaotic vacuum after Najibullah was hung on a pole. Radical Islamism was on the ascendancy. Pakistan was in its prime of being a rogue state and its economy was upbeat. ‘Pack-istan’ was the darling frontline state of the West. Its ‘deep state’ which crystallised during the heady days of Zia Ul Haq, sought strategic depth in Afghanistan. The Mujahideen were footloose in Afghanistan. They were morphed into Taliban by aid and abetment of ISI. They had virtually no opposition internally or externally. They were largely unopposed thanks to their Pakistani backers. Externally, people did not care a damn about Afghanistan. Taliban ruled the roost with rustic religious fervour headed by a reclusive cleric who gave sanctuary to Osama Bin laden and Al Qaeda. However, even then , they could control only 75% of the area. The Northern Alliance opposed them. The Taliban of those days took Afghanistan back to the stone ages with their version of a repressive Sharia. It was one of the poorest countries in the world. Everything changed with 9/11 and collapse of the twin towers. The Taliban was booted out of power by USA.

While the Taliban never withered away, and that now have come back into the reckoning, the ground in Afghanistan has changed drastically. They themselves are no more the rustic religious zealots. They are now a suave outfit, which has its talons in the drugs and mining trade at every bend of the illegal pipe line. The drug economy is significant since it has grown fourfoldin cropping area and about tenfold in cash volumes in the last two decades. The Taliban have a major stake in this trade which has been their sustenance. They now seek power and legitimacy. They are now better organised with a leadership structure. While they want to reimpose the Sharia , they are also conscious of their image. The recent videos of their barbarous slaughter of the Afghan Army soldiers and their edicts regarding women have rekindled the bad taste of yesteryears. The Taliban is also conscious of the fact that their main backer, Pakistan is a decrepit failed state, which in turn is backed by a state which wants to be a superpower at least cost but is apprehensive to get involved directly. They also seek international recognition which they will not get if they cannot remove the bad taste they generate. Everyone – Russia, Iran, CARs, India, EU, Turkey, Middle East, Pakistan and China are wary of them for two fundamental reasons. The first being the export of religious extremism and the second being drugs. Both these are the main ingredients of terror. The Taliban is now opposed by a recognised government in power with an organised armed force which seems to be fighting back after the initial shock. The current government is backed by USA and most countries. Most importantly, USA will oppose the Taliban with maximum force unless it is clear that the dispensation in Afghanistan with or without them can be relied upon not to harm its homeland security. They face some formidable opposition. Let us see what the opposition is all about.

In Afghanistan, proxy play by regional and bigger powers has always been a constant; a bankrupt Pakistan is just one among them. Taliban will therefore be clear that Pakistan will ditch it at a moment’s notice if need be. Taliban will also be sensitive to the fact that while Pakistan wants them in the driving seat, it wants to do backseat driving. That will not be acceptable to the Taliban beyond a point. Pakistan, has also fenced the border with Afghanistan. It has also deployed regular army along the border. Pakistan wants to keep the conflict on Afghan soil and airspace and not let it spill to their side. Pakistan is also worried about inflow of refugees, infiltrators in the garb of refugees, movement of Afghan army personnel or Taliban fighters into Pakistan. So there is the love hate angle.

USA has swung into action through air strikes in support of Afghan Forces. Everyone thought that USA has withdrawn from the scene. However as it was surmised and being proven now, USA has shifted from direct to indirect intervention. That opens up many possibilities. One should not forget that USA is no more dependent on Pakistan. It will not hesitate to strike at Pakistan if needed. By denying a base for air operations, Pakistan has put itself in the cross hairs of USA. If Pakistan crosses any red line in operations as per USAs perception, it will get hit. Be rest assured that Pakistan knows its limit here and so does the Taliban. Now as per the inputs, USA is likely to use one of the CARs as a base and Russia might agree to it. If that happens, the likelihood of outright Taliban success recedes.

As far as China is concerned, it has started protecting itself in Pakistan as per reports. Its engineers and workers in the CPEC projects are being armed for self-protection. So its entry into Afghanistan directly is a bit far away. Will China take the risk to enter this volatility? It is a question mark. So far it has been careful not to fall in that trap. However with US withdrawal moving on schedule, it has appointed a special envoy for Afghanistan. In the meanwhile there is also news that the United States, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have taken a stand that terrorists and third-party forces must never be allowed to use Afghan territory to threaten or attack the CARs. USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan have also agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform to enhance regional connectivity. This ties them in with the current Afghan Government and limits Pakistan’s options. It also tells the Taliban that Pakistan is hedging its bets. In the meantime, Russia, Iran and India are also playing their part with the Afghan Government.

All in all the Taliban seems to be isolated to some extent. It’s on ground actions have generated images of its dark past and have stoked deep mistrust. There is no one who seems to be siding Taliban openly or fully. On ground there is no doubt that it has control almost over half of Afghanistan’s 419 districts. However none of the 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan have been seized by the Taliban, though they have been put under pressure. On the other hand, there is a good possibility that the Afghan forces might consolidate and strike back to regain lost ground, now that the USA has struck with its air force. The Taliban sems to have realised that their position is not as strong as they have made it out. They might not prevail . That is why they have been quick to say that the last round of talks in Doha were ‘positive’. It seems that they are seeking a compromise.

Will the compromise come about? That is a million dollar question. The differences between the two sides are stark. The Afghan side insists on a ceasefire before there can be any real dialogue. The Taliban want President Ghani out of the frame. They insist on establishment of their strict version of a Sharia system. There is also a matter of differing views on an inclusive government comprising all segments of Afghan society and ethnic groups. The Taliban are still holding out on what they interpret as inclusivity or whether they believe in elected democracy. Their views on human rights, particularly on women’s right to education and to work is engulfed in shadows. Their demand for an ‘Islamic emirate’ contradicts their claim that they believe in a pluralistic political system. Hence there is an impasse with no middle ground at present.

Overall a range of possible outcomes in Afghanistan are on the cards. An outcome in which Taliban takes over Afghanistan once USA leaves is not a certainty as is being made out. The chances of a stable government born out of compromise also does not seem bright as of now. The situation could continue in the current state of indecisive to and fro violence for some time and eventually descend into a state of civil war. The possibility is high. Alternately some settlement could take place now. Taliban could be devious enough to agree to some conditions , get into a power sharing agreement to buy time. Once there is a lull and things cool down, the Taliban will undercut the arrangement and cull its opponents through political action and selective coercion and violence. That would be in keeping with its character as also that of its backers Pakistan and China. In my opinion, this is a very feasible option.

At this point of time the last option of striking a compromise and reneging later seems to be the best option for Taliban. India should discuss this out with the USA, Russia and Iran to come to a common action plan to thwart this design. India will also do well to remember that the Taliban will always be more amenable to Pakistan than India. It is in Indian interest that a hybrid government which is reasonably stable runs Afghanistan. A thought which comes to mind is that will India consider giving basing facilities to USA to carry out operations in Afghanistan if the former can handle overflights over Pakistan. That is an option which should not be ruled out. It will give a strong message to China and Pakistan. However it will need a lot of political determination to tread this path. In any eventuality, India has a pivotal role to play should any agreement be reached between the Afghanistan government and Taliban. India should be alive to all options and have its plans chalked out.

Lt Gen PR Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vastoperational experience. He contributed significantly to the Modernization and Indigenisationof Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved inapplied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read onwww.gunnersshot.com

All in all the Taliban seems to be isolated to some extent. It’s on- ground actions have generated images of its dark past and have stoked deep mistrust. There is no one who seems to be siding Taliban openly or fully. On ground, there is no doubt that it has control almost over half of Afghanistan’s 419 districts. However none of the 34 provincial capitals in Afghanistan have been seized by the Taliban, though they have been put under pressure. On the other hand, there is a good possibility that the Afghan forces might consolidate and strike back to regain lost ground, now that the USA has struck with its air force. The Taliban sems to have realised that their position is not as strong as they have made it out.

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DEFEXPO-2022 TO BE HELD IN GANDHINAGAR

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DefExpo, the flagship event of the Ministry of Defence, is scheduled to be held at Gandhinagar in March next year, officials said on Friday.

“The Defexpo-2022 is scheduled to be held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in March next year. The show is organised by the Ministry of Defence every two years. The last edition was held in Lucknow,” Defence Ministry officials informed. The last edition which was held in Lucknow as an unprecedented success that not only witnessed the participation of a large number of exhibitors but also forged new partnerships and attracted more than 12 lakh visitors.

A ministry statement quoted Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s valedictory ceremony speech on the fourth day of DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow. Singh had said that Uttar Pradesh stands for Unlimited Potential and DefExpo has succeeded in projecting a new identity of the state in the defence sector and the Uttar Pradesh defence corridor received a huge boost for attracting new investments with the signing of 23 MoUs.

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CHENNAI-BASED DEFTECH STARTUP SHOWCASES INDIGENOUS ANTI-DRONE SYSTEM

Ashish Singh

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A Chennai-based DefTech startup Big Bang Boom Solutions Pvt. Ltd. (BBBS) showcased its award-winning, indigenous anti-drone defence system as part of Swarnim Vijay Varsh Celebrations at a ceremony held at the Chennai Army Headquarters.

To mark the 50th year of our army marching into Dhaka, 2021 has been named “Swarnim Vijay Varsh” by the Government of India as the nation started the celebrations of 50 years of the 1971 Indo-Pak war. The Swarnim Vijay Mashaal (Flame) is now travelling across the country to celebrate the same. Swarnim Vijay Mashaal is visiting all military bases and homes of martyrs; before returning to Delhi for an event scheduled on 16 December 2021. Upon receipt at Army HQ in Chennai, a grand ceremony was held at the Dakshin Area Command Headquarters.

As an innovative twist to the event, the Chennai-based DefTech startup, executed a perfectly coordinated drone fly-past using their high altitude heavy payload logistics drone following the infantry and the horse cavalry regiments showcasing Chennai’s tech capabilities and its deep integration with the defence ecosystem and lifestyle.

Commenting on the showcase, Dr R. Shivaraman, Founder, BBBS, said, “We are proud to have been a part of the event, and would like to take this chance to pay homage to the martyrs of India’s war with Pakistan in 1971; by demonstrating our technology. We have also showcased our state-of-the-art anti-drone defence system as a part of the display at the event and we believe that India now has the capability to arm and support its own defence forces using indigenous technology.”

BBBS’s anti-drone system has been tested and tried in the field by various sections of the armed forces including the Northern Command, the BSF, the Indian Airforce and the Army Design Bureau.

“Our anti-drone system has undergone several field trials over the past 2 months after the Jammu attack and we have been repeatedly able to show world-class paradigm defining ranges for both sensing and jamming of drones as required by the armed forces,” added Dr R. Shivaraman.

Their integrated system comes with an RF sensor, an RF jammer and a suitable AI-based EO/IR system. The open architecture of the system allows integration of the radars and hard kill solutions such as the 22 crore DRDO’s laser weaponry, which would make this India’s first integrated anti-drone system developed by a homegrown startup.

“The iDEX program of the Ministry of Defence has been instrumental towards us getting to where we are. We are now awaiting the most important piece of this exclusive program — Procurement. This will help us plough money into further R&D and create world-class systems,” says Praveen Dwarakanath, Co-founder of BBBS.

The event at Chennai was spearheaded by Lt. Gen Arun, GOC Dakshin Bharath on behalf of the Indian Army and presided over by the Governor of Tamil Nadu, Banwarilal Purohit and witnessed huge participation of civilians, DefTech startups, industry and various regiments from the south.

All southern India Chakra awardees, and other medal awardees or their next of kin were felicitated at the event.

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Defence

DEFENCE DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT: CREATING ESSENTIAL INFRASTRUCTURE ON BORDERS

A defence-related discussion was recently held during the Monsoon session of Parliament.

Ashish Singh

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The Defence Industry sector, which was hitherto reserved for the public sector, was opened up to 100% for Indian private sector participation in May 2001. As of date, 333 private companies have been issued 539 industrial licenses. Out of these, 110 companies have reported commencement of production.

Further, the following measures have been taken by the Government to promote private sector participation in the Defence sector:

· Out of the total Capital Acquisition Budget for the year 2021-22, 64.09% has been earmarked for domestic capital procurement.

· Defence capital outlay has been increased by 18.75 % in the budget of 2021-22.

· DPP-2016 has been revised as Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) – 2020, which is driven by the tenets of Defence Reforms announced as part of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’.

· To promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment, ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ category has been accorded topmost priority for procurement of capital equipment. IDDM is indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured.

· Positive indigenisation list: Ministry of Defence has notified a ‘Positive indigenisation list’ of 209 items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This would offer a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items using their own design and development capabilities to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces in the coming years.

· The ‘make’ procedure of capital procurement has been simplified. There is a provision for funding up to 70% of development cost by the Government to Indian industry under the Make-I category. In addition, there are specific reservations for MSMEs under the ‘Make’ procedure.

· Procedure for ‘Make-II’ category (Industry funded), introduced in DPP 2016 to encourage indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment has several industry-friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry/individual etc. So far, 58 projects relating to Army, Navy, and Air Force have been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’.

· The Government of India has enhanced FDI in Defence Sector up to 74% through the Automatic Route for companies seeking new defence industrial licenses and up to 100% by Government Route wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.

· An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been launched in April 2018. iDEX is aimed at the creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Start-ups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.

· To give a major boost to the development of innovative defence technology and support a growing Startup base in the country, MoD has earmarked Rs 1000 crore during 2021- 22 for the procurement from the iDEX Startups.

· Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence has also approved a scheme for iDEX during the current year worth Rs 498 crore for fiive years. The scheme aims to benefit 300 new Startups for innovative design and development in the defence sector.

· An indigenisation portal namely SRIJAN has been launched in August 2020 for DPSUs/OFB/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/Startups/Industry for import substitution.

· Reforms in Offset policy have been included in DAP 2020, with a thrust on attracting investment and Transfer of Technology for Defence manufacturing, by assigning higher multipliers to them.

· Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model in May 2017, which envisages the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie-up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.

· Government has notified a ‘Policy for indigenisation of components and spares used in Defence Platforms’ in March 2019 to create an industry ecosystem that is able to indigenise the imported components (including alloys and special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platform manufactured in India.

· Government has established two Defence Industrial Corridors, one each in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The investments of Rs 20,000 crore have been envisaged in the defence corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by the year 2024. So far, investment of approx. Rs 3342 crore has been made in both the corridors by the public as well private sector companies. Moreover, the respective State Governments have also announced their Aerospace &Defence Policies to attract private players as well as foreign companies including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in these two corridors.

· An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on “Mutual Cooperation in Joint Manufacturing of Spares, Components, Aggregates and other material related to Russian/Soviet Origin Arms and Defence Equipment” was signed in Sep 2019. The objective of the IGA is to enhance the after sales support and operational availability of Russian origin equipment currently in service in the Indian Armed Forces by organising the production of spares and components in the territory of India by Indian Industry by way of creation of Joint Ventures/Partnership with Russian OEMs under the framework of the ’Make in India’ initiative.

· Defence Products list requiring Industrial Licenses has been rationalised and manufacture of most of parts or components does not require Industrial License. The initial validity of the Industrial License granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by three years on a case-to-case basis.

· Department of Defence Production has notified 46 items under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017 notified by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), for which there is sufficient local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value.

· Defence Investor Cell (DIC) has been created in Feb-2018 in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedures and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector. As of date, 1182 queries had been received and addressed by Defence Investor Cell.

CREATING NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE ON THE BORDERS

The Government is fully seized of the security needs of the country and reviews the same from time to time. Required measures including the development of infrastructures like construction of roads, tunnels, and strategic railway lines are taken to safeguard the sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of India.

As per the operational requirement of the Armed Forces and the need for development along with border areas, road construction is taken up by Border Roads Organisation (BRO). Amongst these, 73 critical roads have been designated as Indo-China Border Roads of 4203 km length and are being accorded the highest priority with dedicated funding.

Further, to ensure all-weather connectivity to far-flung areas, the construction of tunnels has also been undertaken across passes.

Currently, the construction of four tunnels is underway. Infrastructure development in Uttarakhand is being holistically executed with budgetary support from the Ministry of Defence, MHA, State PWD and Central projects like Bharatmala and Chardham.

As of date, 21 roads with a length of approximately 800 km are being constructed/upgraded by BRO over and above certain roads being constructed by state PWD.

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Defence

COVID VACCINES TO MAKE-IN-INDIA DEFENCE PRODUCTS: DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT’S MONSOON SESSION

The following information was disclosed and discussed in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session of Parliament, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Ashish Singh

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The Government has taken several measures to reduce vaccine shortages. This inter-alia include sustained image projection, participation in career fairs and exhibitions and publicity campaigns to create awareness among the youth on the advantages of taking up a challenging and satisfying career. To encourage the youth to join the Armed Forces, motivational lectures are regularly organised in schools/colleges/other educational institutes and National Cadet Corps (NCC) camps. Further, the Government has taken various steps to make the job in the Armed Forces attractive including improvement in promotion prospects in the Armed Forces and to fill up vacancies.

ALTERNATE MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD TO FEMALE OFFICERS LEAVING ARMY

29 Women Officers (WOs), who did not opt for Permanent Commission in the Special Selection Board No. 5 have been released from service. Out of these 29 officers, three WOs were released without pension based on their own option/willingness as these officers had served between 10 to 14 years of service in the Army. Some of the schemes run by the Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR), inter-alia, include placement assistance through online registration at DGR. For example Security Agency Schemes, Ex-servicemen Coal loading and transportation scheme, Management of CNG stations, Allotment of Mother Dairy Milk Booth and Safal shops in NCR, Coal/Tipper Attachment Scheme for Widows and disabled soldiers, Retail outlet dealership (petrol/diesel), employment seminars and resettlement training. Age relaxation has been provided to Ex-Servicemen, including Female Officers for the appointment to all Central Civil Services & Posts up to the level of Assistant Commandant in all Para-Military Forces under the Government of India. Adequate reservation has also been provided to Ex-Servicemen in various categories of posts. Women Officers, who have retired after 20 years of service, have also been granted Pensionary benefits.

STRENGTHENING THE DEFENCE MANUFACTURING SECTOR

DRDO has taken the following measures for strengthening the industry to reduce the timelines from development to induction:

· Accessibility of DRDO Test Facilities to Indian Industry.

· Identification of Development-cum-Production Partner/ Production Agency/ Lead System Integrator (DcPP/ PA/ LSI) for early integration of industry.

· Technology Development Fund (TDF) has been implemented to provide support for the design and development of technologies/ prototypes, indigenisation of imported systems/ components and new systems especially by MSMEs/startups.

· Simpler Transfer of Technology (ToT) Policy to encourage industries

· Free access of DRDO patents to industries

· Identified 108 exclusive systems for development by industry which will not be taken by DRDO

· DRDO is focused to carry out R&D work on critical & advanced technologies that industries cannot do.

Measures proposed to be taken for strengthening the Ordnance Factories and DPSUs to meet countries defence requirements are as follows:

· To carve out a future growth path, a visioning exercise and study has been commissioned for DPSUs for restructuring and reforming them to become cost-competitive and efficient. 

· DPSUs have been encouraged to work as aggregators and maximise outsourcing from indigenous sources. Over the last 2 years, the vendor base of DPSUs/OFB has increased substantially from 8000 to 12878 as of 30 June 2021.

· Disinvestment of DPSUs is being pursued.

· Focus on the modernisation of production facilities through higher CAPEX. Further, the following roadmap is being implemented by the OFB/DPSUs for technology modernisation:

· Investing in Industry 4.0 technologies in areas of Manufacturing, Supply Chain and other broader digital transformation initiatives. 

· Focusing on emerging areas of Artificial Intelligence, Data Fusion, Web Technologies, Data Analytics, 3D Printing, Networking and Cyber Security. These technologies are now being incorporated into Products and Systems at the design stage itself. 

· Change in the traditional ToT based manufacturing approach to a more proactive Co-development and Co-Production approach. 

· Increased software-based testing for reducing the time and efforts that go into testing products.

· Promoting IP culture in DPSUs through Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti. So far, 32,799 officers and staff of DPSUs/ OFB/DGQA have been trained in IPRs and 2,417 IPs have been filed and 981 IPs have been granted/registered.

· For 2021-22, the allocation for Domestic procurement has been enhanced compared to previous years and is planned to be about 64.09%, that is Rs 71,438.36 crore of the allocated amount for military modernisation. 

· Ministry of Defence has notified two ‘Positive Lists’ for Indigenisation comprising of 209 items on 28 August 2020 and 31 May 2021, respectively, for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. 

· An indigenisation portal namely SRIJAN has been launched in August 2020 for DPSUs/OFB/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/Startups/Industry for import substitution. So far, more than 10,945 Defence items, which were earlier imported, have been displayed on the portal. The private industry has expressed interest in indigenising more than 2400 items.

· To enhance functional autonomy, efficiency and unleash new growth potential and innovation in Ordnance Factories, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in its meeting held on 29 July 2020 had approved to convert Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), a subordinate office of the Ministry of Defence, into one or more than one 100% Government-owned corporate entities, registered under the Companies Act, 2013. The Cabinet in its meeting held on 16 June 2021, has now, inter-alia, approved to convert the production units of OFB into 7 DPSUs with 41 units.

· The Government has enhanced FDI in Defence Sector up to 74% through the Automatic Route for companies seeking new defence industrial licenses and up to 100% by Government Route. The obligatory government approval for existing FDI approval holders / current defence licensees for change in equity /shareholding pattern up to 49% FDI has been replaced with a mandatory declaration for the same within 30 days of the change of equity/shareholding pattern. These reforms are likely to attract foreign investment in Defence & Aerospace sector. 

· Reforms in Offset policy have been included in DAP 2020, higher multipliers have been assigned for Transfer of Technology (ToT) to DPSUs/OFB. 

· To promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and manufactured)}’ category has been accorded topmost priority for procurement of capital equipment.

· Department of Defence Production has notified 46 items under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017 notified by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), for which there is sufficient local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value. 

Services are the primary stakeholders in DRDO projects. They are involved right from the conceptualisation of the project through peer reviews, design reviews, that is Annual Joint reviews, Joint reviews, and bi-annual reviews and a three-tier project monitoring mechanism as per DRDO procedure for all Mission Mode (MM) projects undertaken by DRDO. Also, several Collegiate interaction meetings between DRDO and Users are being held for specific requirements/ issues as and when required. Moreover, DRDO, OFB, DPSUs and Armed Forces being part of the same Ministry regularly interact with each other for the design development and production of Defence equipment as per the requirements of Defence Forces.

INDIGENOUSLY MANUFACTURING DEFENCE PRODUCTS

The Government has taken several policy initiatives and reforms to promote indigenisation and self-reliance in defence manufacturing, under Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission in the defence sector. Important policy initiatives are as under:

• Ministry of Defence has notified a ‘First Positive Indigenisation list’ of 101 items on 21 August 2020 and ‘2nd Positive Indigenisation list’ of 108 items on 31 May 2021 for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timelines indicated against them. This is a big step to promote indigenisation in the defence sector. This offers a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items using their own design and development capabilities to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. These lists include some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars, wheeled armoured platform, rockets, bombs, armoured command post vehicles, armoured dozor, and many other items to fulfil the needs of our Defence Services. 

• SRIJAN portal to promote indigenisation was launched on 14 Aug 2020. As of date 10940 items, which were earlier imported, have been displayed on the portal for indigenisation. The Indian industry has shown interest in the indigenisation of 2880 displayed items so far. DPSUs/OFB interact with these industries to facilitate the indigenisation of the items as per extant procedures.

• 1776 components and spares have been indigenised in the year 2020-21 as a result of efforts of indigenisation by DPSUs, OFB, and SHQs through their own process of indigenisation (In-house, Make-II & Other than Make-II). 

• DPP-2016 has been revised as Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020, which is driven by the tenets of Defence Reforms announced as part of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’. 

• To promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ category has been accorded topmost priority for procurement of capital equipment.

• The ‘Make’ Procedure of capital procurement has been simplified. There is a provision for funding up to 70% of development cost by the Government to Indian industry under the Make-I category. In addition, there are specific reservations for MSMEs under the ‘Make’ procedure. 

• Procedure for ‘Make-II’ category (Industry funded), introduced in DPP 2016 to encourage indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment has several industry-friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry/individual etc. So far, 58 projects relating to Army, Navy & Air Force, have been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’.

• The Government of India has enhanced FDI in Defence Sector up to 74% through the Automatic Route and up to 100% by Government Route.

• An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled “Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX)” has been launched in April 2018. iDEX is aimed at the creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, Start-ups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.

• Reforms in Offset policy have been included in DAP 2020, with thrust on attracting investment and Transfer of Technology for Defence manufacturing, by assigning higher multipliers to them.

• Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model in May 2017, which envisages the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie-up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.

• Government has notified a ‘Policy for indigenisation of components and spares used in Defence Platforms’ in March 2019 to create an industry ecosystem that can indigenise the imported components (including alloys, and special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platform manufactured in India.

• Government has established two Defence Industrial Corridors, one each in the States of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The investments of Rs 20,000 Crore have been envisaged in Defence corridors of Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu by 2024. So far, investment of approx. Rs 3342 crore have been made in both the corridors by the public as well as private sector companies. Moreover, the respective State Governments have also announced their Aerospace & Defence Policies to attract private players as well as foreign companies including Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in these two corridors.

• An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on “Mutual Cooperation in Joint Manufacturing of Spares, Components, Aggregates and other material related to Russian/Soviet Origin Arms and Defence Equipment” was signed in Sep 2019. The objective of the IGA is to enhance the “After Sales Support” and operational availability of Russian origin equipment currently in service in the Indian Armed Forces by organising the production of spares and components in the territory of India by Indian Industry by way of creation of Joint Ventures/Partnership with Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) under the framework of the “Make in India” initiative. 

• Defence Products list requiring Industrial Licences has been rationalised and manufacture of most of parts or components does not require Industrial License. The initial validity of the Industrial Licence granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 03 years on a case-to-case basis.

• Department of Defence Production has notified 46 items under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017 notified by DPIIT, for which there is sufficient local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value.

• Defence Investor Cell (DIC) has been created in February 2018 in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedures and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector. As of date, 1182 queries had been received and addressed by Defence Investor Cell.

• Technology Development Fund (TDF) has been created under DRDO to promote self-reliance in Defence Technology through the participation of Public/Private industries especially MSMEs and startups. 

• For the year 2021-22, the allocation for domestic procurement has been enhanced compared to the previous year and is about 64.09% i.e. Rs 71438.36 Crore of the allocated amount for military modernisation. 

There are six Ordnance Factories and one Manufacturing Unit of BEL in Tamil Nadu. As reported by Tamil Nadu Government, 35 major private companies are manufacturing products for defence. These 250 companies are supported by MSMEs. After the announcement of the defence corridor in Tamil Nadu, 30 more companies have expressed their intentions to set up/expand manufacturing units. Industrial development is a continuous process.

This is Part I of the two-part series.

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Defence

UP CM INAUGURATES ISDA 2021; ALIGARH NODE OF UP DEFENCE CORRIDOR TO BE INAUGURATED BY AUGUST

Ashish Singh

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The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), in partnership with the Confederation on Indian Industry (CII) and the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), is organizing the Indigenisation Summit on Defence and Aerospace (ISDA) 2021 from 28th to 31st July. Speaking at the Inaugural Session of ISDA 2021, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath said that the Defence corridor in UP is a greenfield project and the industries coming alongside the six nodes of the corridor can benefit immensely from the scheme by becoming part of the ecosystem. 1409 hectares of land has been earmarked under the corridor. The project proposals received so far from 54 companies would create employment of more than sixteen thousand people. He shared that development of roads, electricity, water & boundary walls are underway for the Aligarh node and the inauguration of the Aligarh node, comprising of 74 hectares of industrial land divided into 19 units is proposed in August 2021.

Sharing that 2500 crores have been earmarked by the central government for promoting investments in the defence corridors, he said that land banks were being created for zones where there is a greater demand of land for investment projects. The state government along with the Defence Ministry is also working on the establishment of labs under the Common facilitation centre, Defence testing and Infrastructure scheme which would benefit MSMEs & Start-ups in prototyping, technology training as well as design & development. The state government has also established centres of excellence at IIT Kanpur, BHU for a greater engagement between the Indian navy, industry & academia. The first instalment of the grant for research & development at these centres has already been disbursed & the second is under consideration. Awanish Awasthi, ACS-Home & CEO, UPEIDA noted that the vision of the UP government is to attain 1st position as a business destination. Speaking on the progress of the nodes of the Defence corridor, he mentioned that infrastructure development to the tune of 32 crores is underway at Aligarh and the node is expected to be ready for inauguration by August 2021.

The Kanpur node, where 25 crores has been assigned infrastructure development would also be ready in a couple of months whereas the Jhansi node work would be taken up in the next six months. Chairman ISDA 2021 & Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace Manoj Gupta remarked that a strong and empowered defence ecosystem is crucial for any country seeking to emerge as a significant global player. With the thrust provided by the ‘Make in India’ movement, today India’s exports are to the tune of ten thousand crores which was merely five hundred crores eight years back. Measures like only domestic tenders for contracts below 200 crores, increasing FDI limit in defence production from 49% to 74%, greater number of production categories, defence offset program as well as an updated DAP 2020 will further embolden the defence manufacturing in the country. He further pointed out that a higher offset for defence industries as well as a single-window system for license issuance for the defence manufacturers will go a long way in making UP a hub for defence & aerospace. Jayant Patil, President, SIDM pointed out that the reforms pertaining to the defence sector are focused on building capacity. This is evident through the 15% increase in defence budget allocation. He also highlighted that two-thirds of the defence budget is now dedicated to purchases from Indian industries, of which 20% has been reserved for MSMEs. Patil mentioned that 208 items have been moved to the positive list now hence no imports of these items would be allowed into the country to promote the Indian manufacturers. He highlighted that Indian is expected to be the security provider in the Region, for which the industry can prove to become the sixth arm of the Indian Defence system. Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Agarwal, Chairman, SIDM UP Chapter pointed out that today, close to 8000 Defence Sector MSMEs, primarily from tier 2 and tier 3 cities form the backbone and are the largest part, in terms of volume, of the Industry. He also mentioned that the industries that are bound to grow and mature in this phase of development will find that UP can provide the necessary infrastructure and support needed to augment production and services. Agarwal highlighted that the Government planning to spend $250 billion over the next 10 years for the modernization of its Forces and the Industry will have a critical role to play in meeting these demands. Ashmita Sethi, Co-Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace spoke about the various emerging technologies being deployed in defence manufacturing for which UP can become a potential hub. These included defence electronics, MRO facilities, space related research & development, electric military vehicles among others. Over the 3 day period, Sessions with UPEIDA, DPSUs and the Services HQs will be held to generate awareness about opportunities available for the Industry vis-a-vis Defence Manufacturing.

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