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August 25, 2016

US criticises Pak for crackdown on MQM leaders;PTI

 
A day after Pakistan charged Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain with treason for his inflammatory speech, the US has said in a democracy, critical opinion should be encouraged, not silenced. “I would just say in a democratic society, critical opinion should be encouraged, not silenced. We believe that democracies become stronger by allowing free expression from diverse voices within society and we would certainly emphasise that any expression must be peaceful,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday.
Responding to a question on arrest of MQM leaders, he said the US is always concerned when members of a political party are detained or arrested. “We obviously uphold the importance and believe in the importance of public assembly, freedom of speech, as long as it’s peaceful. We would emphasise that any kind of protest, any kind of demonstrations would need to be conducted peacefully. So I think we’re still assessing, gathering information about what took place. And we’ll reserve further comment until that time,” Toner said. MQM chief Altaf Hussain was on Tuesday charged with treason for his inflammatory speech that incited party workers to attack media outlets.
 He was accused of raising anti-Pakistan slogans at a protest rally that turned violent. The MQM remains the single largest party in Karachi for decades now and have dominated the political landscape for years sweeping provincial and national elections but since the clean-up operation began on the orders of the centre, the party has come under intense pressure.

pti
A day after Pakistan charged Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain with treason for his inflammatory speech, the US has said in a democracy, critical opinion should be encouraged, not silenced. “I would just say in a democratic society, critical opinion should be encouraged, not silenced. We believe that democracies become stronger by allowing free expression from diverse voices within society and we would certainly emphasise that any expression must be peaceful,” State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said on Tuesday. Responding to a question on arrest of MQM leaders, he said the US is always concerned when members of a political party are detained or arrested. “We obviously uphold the importance and believe in the importance of public assembly, freedom of speech, as long as it’s peaceful. We would emphasise that any kind of protest, any kind of demonstrations would need to be conducted peacefully. So I think we’re still assessing, gathering information about what took place. And we’ll reserve further comment until that time,” Toner said. MQM chief Altaf Hussain was on Tuesday charged with treason for his inflammatory speech that incited party workers to attack media outlets. He was accused of raising anti-Pakistan slogans at a protest rally that turned violent. The MQM remains the single largest party in Karachi for decades now and have dominated the political landscape for years sweeping provincial and national elections but since the clean-up operation began on the orders of the centre, the party has come under intense pressure.

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India warns against terrorists getting nukes, says nations responsible to prevent it


India has warned of the “catastrophic dangers” of terrorists getting weapons of mass destruction and said that nations have a responsibility to prevent nuclear material from falling into their hands. Speaking at the UN Security Councildebate on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on Tuesday, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lalsaid: “We are fully cognizant of the catastrophic dangers that the transfer of Weapons of Mass Destruction to non-State actors and terrorists could entail.” Therefore, he said,
“The primary responsibility for ensuring nuclear security rests at the national level but national responsibility must be accompanied by responsible behaviour as well as sustained and effective international cooperation.” At the same time, the focus on terrorists “should in no way diminish state accountability in combating terrorism and dismantling its support infrastructure and its linkages with Weapons of Mass Destruction,” he said. Without mentioning any country, he said that “clandestine nuclear proliferation networks must be rolled back and their resurgence prevented.” Pakistan ran an underground international nuclear bazaar overseen by the notorious scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan that transferred nuclear know-how and technology to North Korea. Islamabad’s nuclear bases have come under attack from terrorists, who have even managed to enter one of them. For its part, India has enacted several laws and set up mechanisms to ensure that terrorists don’t get access to WMD, Lal said.
“Our recent steps taken to strengthen nuclear security include the setting up of a Counter Nuclear Smuggling Team (CNST).” “India is committed to maintaining the highest international standards with reference to control of nuclear, chemical, biological and toxin weapons and their means of delivery and has strong and law-based national export controls consistent with the highest international standards,” he said. New Delhi was committed to the ideal of the elimination of all nuclear weapons, Lal said. But for this to happen all nuclear-weapon states must hold “a meaningful dialogue to build trust and confidence by reducing the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs and security doctrines,” he said.
“Increasing the restraints on the use of nuclear weapons is not only an essential first step, but it is also necessary in the current complex international environment in enhancing strategic trust globally,” he added. India’s nuclear doctrine is built on a policy of credible minimum deterrence and a commitment to no-first use and to not using using the weapons against non-nuclear weapon states, he said, adding that New Delhi continues its “unilateral and voluntary moratorium on nuclear explosive testing.”
He cited the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) as examples of non-discriminatory treaties for the complete elimination of those types of WMD. Unlike the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which makes exceptions for certain nuclear powers, those treaties apply to all. Pakistan’s Permanent Representative Maleeha Lodhi asserted during the debate that Islamabad had implemented a comprehensive system to control exports and taken steps to improve nuclear security. She took a swipe at the India-United States civil nuclear deal and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) waiver for New Delhi to allow access to civilian nuclear technology and fuel, but did not name either country. “A challenge to non-proliferation norms was the granting of discriminatory waivers, special arrangements which denoted double standards and opened the possibility of diverting material intended for peaceful use to military purposes,” she said.
While India’s attempts to join the NSG has been stalled mainly because of China’s opposition, Lodhi made a pitch for Pakistan’s membership. She said Islamabad met the criteria for membership and that “it expected that a non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach would be followed for extending such membership.”

economictimes

Praising Modi for raising Baloch issue increases responsibility, says defence expert

 
JAMMU: A defence expert has said that the praise showered on Prime Minister Narendra Modi by activists of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) and their move to hold up his pictures and wave Indian flags in their territory, increases India’s responsibility towards realising the goal of delivering freedom to the people of Balochistan.
M M Khajuria told ANI that the Baloch people expect Prime Minister Modi and the Indian media to lend them a helping hand and support their cause internationally.
“They have come out into the open to resist and declare that they appreciate what the Prime Minister of India and the Indian media is doing for them, and they expect them to lend them a helping hand and support their cause in the world forum. This, in fact, increases our (India's) responsibility towards the freedom movement in Balochistan, and, I think, India must devise ways and means of coming up to their expectations,” Khajuria added.
While the protests have been going on for the past few days in several locations in Balochistan, protesters in Dera Bugti held up pictures of the Indian Prime Minister, late Baloch leader Akbar Bugti and his grandson Brahumdagh Bugti, and raised slogans against Islamabad. They also burnt Pakistan’s national flag.
Slogans were also raised against Balochistan Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri for declaring Bugti a traitor and thanking the Indian Prime Minister for highlighting the atrocities meted out to the people in the region by Islamabad.
Stating that the freedom movement in Balochistan seemed to have got a fillip after the Indian Prime Minister’s reference, Khajuria said, “The kind of acceptance of reality that the people of Balochistan are fighting for their freedom, this is the recognition of the support that the people of Balochistan expect from India, the international forum as well, in awakening world opinion about what they are going through and what they have gone through since 2002.”
On the United States State Department’s expression of concern over human rights violation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), Khajuria said that Washington has been forced into doing so after India raised the issue.
The Prime Minister, in his concluding remarks at a recently held all-party meeting to discuss the flare-up in Kashmir in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani, had said “Pakistan forgets that it rains bombs from fighter planes on citizens of its country.”
“Time has now come that Pakistan will have to answer to the world about the atrocities being committed on people in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir,” he added.
During nation’s 70th Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi signalled a distinct hardening of posture against Pakistan, by raising human rights violations in Balochistan and PoK.
Prime Minister Modi said the people of PoK and Balochistan had thanked him for flagging the human rights abuses by Pakistan's security forces.
The Prime Minister's comments were criticised as "crossing a red line" by the Pakistan Government, a charge New Delhi has rejected.

 newindianexpress

August 22, 2016

Ex-Afghan president Karzai cautions Kashmiris against ‘foreign interference’


Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has cautioned the people of Kashmir against letting “other nations” interfere in their affairs and asked them to take a lesson from the people of Afghanistan.“I will tell brothers and sisters in Kashmir to be cautious and not suffer for ulterior motive of others… We should not allow a foreign hand to enter our country,” Karzai said in an interview to Times Now telecast on Sunday. “We want people of Kashmir to live in peace and harmony with rest of the country from the point of view of an Afghan, who suffered because we felt we were being helped (by a foreign nation) for our cause… that became a means of interfering (in our affairs),” he said.
 “I give my opinion to the people of Kashmir — learn from the suffering of Afghan people. Don’t be misled by promise of help; it will be at immense cost,” Karzai said. The Kashmir Valley has been witnessing curfew and separatist shutdown since July 9, a day after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with the security forces.

HT
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has cautioned the people of Kashmir against letting “other nations” interfere in their affairs and asked them to take a lesson from the people of Afghanistan.“I will tell brothers and sisters in Kashmir to be cautious and not suffer for ulterior motive of others… We should not allow a foreign hand to enter our country,” Karzai said in an interview to Times Now telecast on Sunday. “We want people of Kashmir to live in peace and harmony with rest of the country from the point of view of an Afghan, who suffered because we felt we were being helped (by a foreign nation) for our cause… that became a means of interfering (in our affairs),” he said. “I give my opinion to the people of Kashmir — learn from the suffering of Afghan people. Don’t be misled by promise of help; it will be at immense cost,” Karzai said. The Kashmir Valley has been witnessing curfew and separatist shutdown since July 9, a day after Hizbul commander Burhan Wani was killed in a gunfight with the security forces.

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Chinese Army’s official mouthpiece warns India against deploying cruise missiles in Arunachal


India’s move to deploy BrahMos cruise missiles in Arunachal as a deterrent against China has provoked a sharp response from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The NDA government had given the final go-ahead for the Army to induct and deploy an advanced version of the BrahMos missile for mountain warfare in the northeast earlier this month. The PLA’s official mouthpiece, the PLA Daily, has warned India that doing so could attract countermeasures from China and bring “a negative influence” to “stability” of border areas. “India deploying supersonic missiles on the border has exceeded its own needs for self-defense and poses a serious threat to China’s Tibet and Yunnan provinces,” said the commentary, published this weekend in the PLA’s influential official newspaper.
 The Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by PM Narendra Modi, had cleared this fourth BrahMos regiment at a cost of over Rs 4,300 crore. The regiment consists of around 100 missiles, five mobile autonomous launchers on 12×12 heavy-duty trucks, and a mobile command post. The PLA Daily claimed that India’s views of “counterbalance and confrontation” were behind the move, noting other steps to bolster the border such as deploying Sukhoi Su-30MKIs and drones in border areas as “deterrence to China to create a military advantage in the boundary”. India, however, is still playing catch-up after China set up massive infrastructure in Tibet and Xinjiang, including airports, roads, and a rail network that is set to reach the border.
 The PLA Daily suggested deploying the BrahMos could threaten some of this infrastructure. “The supersonic BrahMos cruise missile has excellent dive attack capabilities, and fits in the Sino-Indian border where it’s mostly mountain topography,” the commentary said, adding that the “low observable” nature and “penetration capabilities” of the 2.5 Mach-speed missile posed a threat to China’s border areas. The commentary, written by an expert from the PLA Navy’s Engineering University, also presented a detailed assessment of the nature of the threat posed by the deployment of an advanced version of BrahMos with “steep div”” capabilities suited to mountain warfare.
 The deployment of the missile “could increase suddenness and effectiveness of attacks” and land “crushing blows on time-sensitive targets like missile launchers and solid targets like command centres”, it said. “Deploying BrahMos missiles is bound to increase competitiveness and confrontation in Sino-Indian relations and bring a negative influence to stability of the region,” the commentary concluded. On the other hand, the newspaper suggested, the missile also had certain “defects”, such as “a relatively short range that cannot threaten China’s deep zones” as well “a heavy weight that makes it difficult for even a Sukhoi Su-30MKI to carry more than one”. The 290-km range BrahMos is a tactical or non-nuclear missile. Jointly developed with Russia, it has become the preferred precision-strike weapon for the Indian armed forces.
 The missile has been tested by the Army, and the last known test in the Eastern sector was done in May, 2015. The steep-dive attack cruise missile can hit enemy targets hidden in the shadows of mountains. The BrahMos can be launched from multiple platforms including submarines, ships, aircraft, and land-based Mobile Autonomous Launchers (MAL). The missile can fly at 2.8 times the speed of sound. It can carry conventional warheads up to 300 kg.

Dailymail

July 25, 2016

India trails Pakistan on AWACS front, as delays plague projects


Already way behind China, India is struggling to even keep up with Pakistan in the critical arena of AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) aircraft that can detect incoming fighters, cruise missiles and drones much before ground-based radars as well as direct fighters in combat operations. AWACS or ‘Eyes in the Sky’ are considered “major force-multipliers” in modern-day warfare due to their capability to provide early warning about hostile threats at ranges over 400km in all-weather conditions, as also act as autonomous command and control centres.
India is yet to fully get its act together on this front. For one, the new indigenous Rs 5,113 crore AWACS-India project is still languishing “largely on the drawing board”, sources said. For another, the Rs 2,520 crore AEW&C (airborne early-warning and control system) project for ‘miniAWACS’ is still months away from completion after repeatedly missing deadlines since being approved in 2004. IAF currently has just three Phalcon AWACS, with Israeli early-warning radars mounted in domes on top of IL-76 aircraft, which were acquired under the Rs 5,042 crore tripartite deal among India, Israel and Russia in 2004.

The Phalcons do pack quite a punch, with 360-degree coverage over a 400km range. But while the long-pending $1 billion deal for two more Phalcons is yet to be inked, audit watchdog CAG has blasted the “sub-optimal utilisation” of the three existing ones due to poor planning and serviceability. In contrast, China has over 20 AWACS, including the new KJ-500 ones that can track over 60 aircraft at ranges up to 470km. Pakistan has four Swedish Saab-2000 AEW&C aircraft and four Chinese-origin ZDK-03 (KJ-200) AWACS.India’s indigenous efforts to plug the operational gaps have been dogged by delays. DRDO officials said the three AEW&C aircraft, with 240-degree coverage radars fitted on three smaller Brazilian Embraer-145 jets, are now undergoing final trials. “There were delays due to several factors, including a 27-month one since IAF wanted additional operational requirements,” said an official.
 The bigger worry is the AWACS-India project, which will involve mounting 360 degree coverage AESA (active electronically scanned array) radars on two Airbus A-330 wide-body jets. “It will take 5-7 years to build the first two AWACS,” said an official.

timesofindia


July 21, 2016

Only America Can Keep a China-India War from Erupting


India and China are on a collision course. They boast the world’s two largest populations, two of the fastest growing economies on the globe and aspirations to lead the way into a new Asian century. The two nations’ fates will be intertwined for decades to come. Troublingly, China’s move last week to block Indian membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is merely the latest sign of tension to emerge between the two Asian giants. Further competition and even confrontation await. Competition between rising powers is hardly new or surprising.
 This particular case, however, shows China’s intent to remain the sole Asian power stretching from Siberia to the Arabian Sea. This was most recently demonstrated last week when China led the push to exclude India from the NSG. Membership in the prestigious group, which controls the trade of nuclear material and related technologies, would facilitate India’s nuclear power production. While legitimate concerns remain about India’s status as a nuclear state, Prime Minister Modi’s bid was backed by the United States, Britain, France and many others.
These advocates could not overcome resistance spearheaded by the Chinese delegation, in a move that many Indians saw as purely political. China’s NSG position could been seen as warranted given India’s failure to ratify the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, but Beijing routinely blocks Delhi’s efforts to play a larger role on the international stage. India’s push for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and China’s opposition to that move highlight this fact. Of the five current permanent members, only China has yet to offer even token support for the second-largest country in the world joining the exclusive group. China and India have historically maintained relatively positive relations for such large, neighboring countries. The height of the Himalayas, and the long sea route between the two, have buffered most competition. Beijing’s foreign policy concerns have chiefly resided east and southeast of the country, while India has contented itself in dealing with immediate neighbors and holding fast to the nonalignment policy of the Cold War.
 The border war of 1962 notwithstanding, relations between the two countries have been relatively sanguine. An increasingly powerful and adventurous China and a more engaged India now appear to be clashing on multiple fronts. Border issues linger still, and reports of Chinese troops crossing the Line of Actual Control surface regularly in Indian and Western media. While conflict is unlikely to break out, China has been updating and reinforcing its forces stationed in Tibet, and the disagreement serves as a foundation for other worries. China’s steadfast support of Indian archrival Pakistan troubles leaders in Delhi.
China is a major supplier of military equipment and expertise to India’s northwestern neighbor. Furthermore, cooperation with Islamabad figures prominently in Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road initiative, and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that will connect southwest China to the Pakistani port city of Gwadar is expected to pour tens of billions of dollars into Pakistan’s economy and boost economic output by as much as 2.5 percent. Pakistani relations with China are the most severe cause of India’s vexation with Chinese influence in the South Asia region; investment projects in Sri Lanka, Nepal and elsewhere have all drawn a watchful eye from India. For China’s part, leaders in Beijing have closely watched as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fought political inertia to create a more open and engaged India. Of particular concern to China are burgeoning friendships and even partnerships with Western powers and their Asian friends.
 The mid-June Malabar naval exercise with India, Japan and the United States demonstrates this new approach. In April, the U.S. Department of Defense and Indian Ministry of Defence announced the planned completion of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, which will allow for mutual logistical support and represents India’s largest departure from nonalignment. These efforts, combined with India’s engagement with ASEAN nations and Australia, further exacerbate Beijing’s feelings of encirclement and could further ramp up Sino-Indian tensions.
What has thus far been mostly diplomatic jockeying could soon become a more dynamic and dangerous competition in the Indian Ocean. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy boasts increasingly capable systems and ambitious missions. Indian officials spot Chinese submarines near India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and further into the Indian Ocean, roughly four times per quarter. These will likely increase, and be joined by surface patrols, as China seeks to build its “Maritime Silk Route” that will allow it to exert influence and protect a supply chain running from Africa and the Middle East through the Indian Ocean, into the South China Sea and up to its eastern ports. In response, the MoD has stepped up investment in maritime awareness and antisubmarine capabilities, leaning heavily on U.S. expertise and support. In the coming years, Indian surveillance flights might be intercepted by Chinese fighters scrambled from a PLAN aircraft carrier—not a reassuring development, based on U.S. experience.
The Indo-Pacific does not need to be a zero-sum game. The United States, India and democratic countries around the world believe that all countries can rise together—in both coordination and competition. At the Center for a New American Security’s recent annual conference, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter stated, “[the] Asia-Pacific security network is not aimed at any particular country. The network’s not closed and excludes no one.” He also highlighted China’s participation in RIMPAC 2016 exercises, slated to begin Thursday in Hawaii. The United States should continue extending such invitations, and conducting military exchanges and dialogues with countries across the region.
It must also realize, however, that China may ultimately have no interest in the oft touted liberal, rules-based order, and that the tensions inherent with such a mindset will not be limited to the East and South China Seas.

thehindu

Despite missing June deadline, Why is the India-France 36 Rafale fighter jet deal stuck?


Despite a June deadline set by defence minister Manohar Parrikar to close negotiations on the purchase of 36 Rafale combat aircraft from France, the deal continues to get delayed over some issues, including price.Highly-placed sources told FE on Wednesday: “During various rounds of negotiations, the Indian side has been seeking price reduction of euro 150 million from the French company for the 36 aircraft.” Admitting that the negotiations are still on, Parrikar, in a written response to the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, said, “As per the India-France joint statement issued by the two countries during the Prime Minister’s visit to France, the government of India conveyed to the government of France that in view of the critical operational necessity for multirole combat aircraft for Indian Air Force, the government of India would like to acquire 36 Rafale jets in fly-away condition.” Both the sides also agreed to conclude an inter-governmental agreement (IGA) for the supply of the aircraft. A negotiating team has been constituted to negotiate the terms and conditions for the procurement of 36 Rafale jets and recommend a draft agreement.
The negotiations are underway and IGA & offset contract are yet to be finalised. The details, including transfer of technology through offsets, will emerge after the negotiations are completed.” The Rafale aircraft will have advanced features like advanced electronically scanned array radar, mid-air refuelling and advanced electronic warfare equipment as part of its design. Though the final cost of the deal for 36 aircraft has not yet been finalised, India has asked France to discharge a 50% offset liability of the overall contract cost. It emerges now through sources, who did not want to be named, that Parrikar has not been meeting officials from France at the level of India’s director general (acquisitions), ministry of defence, but the negotiations are going on at the level of ambassador in New Delhi
. The deal has also been delayed as the French side has not been able to address the concerns raised by the ministry of law. As reported by FE in May, the deal ran into legal troubles when the French manufacturer Dassault Aviation offered a ‘diluted’ liability clause, which has been rejected by the Indian side since the law ministry felt that it ‘adversely’ compromised India’s interests.
The law ministry also rejected Geneva as the arbitration destination in the event of any dispute, and proposed Delhi, which the French side has opposed. Parrikar at that time, in a written reply to Rajya Sabha, had said, “Ministry of Law & Justice has made certain observations and the same will be adequately taken into account while finalising the IGA (inter-governmental agreement), which is still under negotiations”. This is not the first time that the liability clause has come up as a hurdle. Even when discussions were going on for the purchase of 126 MMRCA, the liability clause was opposed by the French side, said sources.

financial express

July 18, 2016

Russia PAK FA is technically comparable to the F-22


Initial expectations projected the acquisition of 200 PAK FAs for Russia, 200 for India, and an unknown number for other countries.

However, the fighter continues to struggle with questions over cost and engine performance. In particular, the engines adopted for early aircraft do not provide sufficient thrust for the airframe, leaving the aircraft at a significant disadvantage compared to American fighters.

In part because of this, and in part because of Russia’s economic difficulties, the initial order has dropped to 12 (with more expected after the resolution of engine problems).

China has pushed the J-20 stealth fighter project to a stage competitive with the PAK FA

It remains unclear whether India will ever acquire a version of the PAK FA, or instead focus on indigenously developed aircraft (the distant AMCA project, which may result in a usable combat aircraft by 2030).

The PAK FA program costs about $10 billion and unit costs are about $50 million each. There would also be the operational and maintenance costs. Even at 50% of the unit cost of the F-35 and ten times few PAK-FA could cost $100 billion over four decades.

 nextbigfuture

India wary of cost of joint ventures with Israel

 
India plans to further expand its strategic ties with Israel through more R&D projects to develop hi-tech weapon systems, as also clinch several deals in the pipeline, but has expressed concern over the exorbitant costs involved in deploying a jointly-developed surface-to-air missile system on frontline Indian warships. Sources said this came through in the 12th meeting of the high-powered joint working group between the two countries, co-chaired by defence secretary G Mohan Kumar and director general of Israeli defence ministry Major General Udi Adam (retd), which was held in New Delhi on July 13..
Though there has been no official word on the JWG meeting, sources said defence minister Manohar Parrikar has red-flagged the “high costs” involved in production of the medium-range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) systems called Barak-8 by Israel. First, there was a huge delay by DRDO-Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) joint venture to develop and test the MR-SAM systems, which are to be produced in bulk by defence PSU Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL). Now, the projected costs in deploying them have also raised eyebrows.
 As earlier reported by TOI, while the naval MR-SAM project was sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security in December 2005 at an initial cost of Rs 2,606 crore, the IAF one for nine squadrons worth Rs 10,076 crore was cleared in February 2009. While the naval system was tested for the first time in November 2014, the IAF one was tested thrice earlier this month.
With an over 70-km interception range against enemy aircraft, drones and missiles, the naval MR-SAM has already been fitted on the three new Kolkata-class destroyers. But each MR-SAM system is now projected to cost around Rs 1,200 crore for the 12 under-construction warships in Indian shipyards, including aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, four guided-missile destroyers and seven stealth frigates. “Consequently, the orders are on hold as of now. A review to cut costs is in progress,” said a defence minester source.
This has also led to the estimated Rs 14,000-crore Army project to acquire these MR-SAMs, which come with missiles, launchers, surveillance and threat tracking radars, and fire control systems, to be kept in abeyance till now. The JWG also discussed probable joint R&D projects in fields like high-endurance UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), micro-satellite surveillance systems, armoured vehicles and different types of missiles and precision-guided munitions, said sources. Then, there are several big-ticket deals in the pipeline. These include two more Israeli Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems), which are to be mounted on Russian IL-76 military aircraft, and four more Aerostat radars.
 The IAF is also on course to acquire 164 laser-designation pods or ‘Litening-4’ for fighter jets like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Jaguars as well as 250 advanced ‘Spice” precision stand-off bombs capable of taking out fortified enemy underground command centres. The Army, in turn, is looking to acquire the Israeli third-generation Spike anti-tank guided missile systems, with an initial 321 launchers and 8,356 missiles, which too is making slow progress due to the high costs involved. The force is likely to go in for an initial two regiments of the Israeli Spyder quick-reaction SAM systems to defend its forward units for enemy air strikes.

timesofindia

India ramps up its military presence in Eastern Ladakh

 
Bunkers drilled into barren hills, battle tanks at over 14,000 feet, and additional troops on newly built roads. India’s quiet efforts at beefing up military capabilities to match China’s wide-ranging transformation across the border are finally becoming a reality. This reporter was part of a small group of journalists given exclusive access to the eastern frontier with China.A much-criticised policy after the humiliation of 1962 war had resulted in India deliberately neglecting infrastructure even as the Communist neighbour transformed the mountainous and disputed border into a showcase of its economic might with all weather roads running up to frontline military posts. “We have to defend our borders.
So whatever it takes us in terms of infrastructure development, in terms of force accretion, we have to do in the best manner,” Lt. Gen. S.K. Patyal, General Officer Commanding the Leh-based 14 Corps, which is responsible for the entire eastern sector with China and some parts of the Line of Control with Pakistan, said at Tangtse. He also expressed complete satisfaction at the focus on development of border roads by the Army, the Ministry of Defence and the Indian government. Longer stints for troops The process of force enhancement was put in place over the last five years. In a major operational change, since 2012, the Army began deploying units on longer tenures along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.
 The Army has also moved in tanks and mechanised units, as well as artillery to some areas of Ladakh. Several fortified bunkers on mountains are visible along the way in key areas. In fact the increased patrols both on land and in water on the Pangong Tso lake have resulted in increased stand offs with the Chinese army, which are resolved through banner drills and the agreed mechanisms, officials said. India and China have historically differed on the boundary between the two countries, and in 1962 fought a short and brutal war. However both sides agreed to resolve the border dispute through talks and in 2005 signed an Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question and have had several rounds Special Representative level talks. Road, air links upgraded Augmenting rapid airlift capabilities, India operationalised the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) located at over 16,000 feet. Work is now on to improve road connectivity to this critical area. Work on the 255 km Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi road is progressing at a quick pace. The alignment of the DSDBO road was decided by the China Study Group (CSG) with the cabinet secretary and other senior bureaucrats and representatives from the army and intelligence as members. DBO is about 16 km south of the Karakoram Pass.
 A critical bridge on the road, 150 kilometers from Darbuk, was completed last month and black topping of the road is in progress. While about 90 kms has been black topped, work up to 120km is expected to be completed by year end. “In the past few years we have made rapid progress and by 2022 I am confident the road would be completed in all respects,” said Col B.S. Uppal, commanding officer of 16 Garhwal Rifles. He added that even now DBO can be reached with the newly constructed bridge.
 However, as of now, the road is closed for three to four months of the year. Heavy vehicle ready In addition several other roads along the route are being upgraded and strengthened which will facilitate the movement of heavy vehicles. China has already built massive infrastructure along the border and has repeatedly conducted exercises to rapidly transport troops to the border in case of a crisis.
In Eastern Ladakh, China has three air fields at Kashgar, Shiquan and Hotan and several mechanised and armoured columns deployed along the frontier. Officials said with increased numbers, India is only correcting the balance. “There is not much accretion by China, but their logistical capability has gone up,” one officer observed. To counter Chinese air power, India has been activating a series of advanced landing grounds along the frontier and fighter aircraft have been practising maneuvers in Leh. .

 The hindu
Bunkers drilled into barren hills, battle tanks at over 14,000 feet, and additional troops on newly built roads. India’s quiet efforts at beefing up military capabilities to match China’s wide-ranging transformation across the border are finally becoming a reality. This reporter was part of a small group of journalists given exclusive access to the eastern frontier with China.A much-criticised policy after the humiliation of 1962 war had resulted in India deliberately neglecting infrastructure even as the Communist neighbour transformed the mountainous and disputed border into a showcase of its economic might with all weather roads running up to frontline military posts. “We have to defend our borders. So whatever it takes us in terms of infrastructure development, in terms of force accretion, we have to do in the best manner,” Lt. Gen. S.K. Patyal, General Officer Commanding the Leh-based 14 Corps, which is responsible for the entire eastern sector with China and some parts of the Line of Control with Pakistan, said at Tangtse. He also expressed complete satisfaction at the focus on development of border roads by the Army, the Ministry of Defence and the Indian government. Longer stints for troops The process of force enhancement was put in place over the last five years. In a major operational change, since 2012, the Army began deploying units on longer tenures along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. The Army has also moved in tanks and mechanised units, as well as artillery to some areas of Ladakh. Several fortified bunkers on mountains are visible along the way in key areas. In fact the increased patrols both on land and in water on the Pangong Tso lake have resulted in increased stand offs with the Chinese army, which are resolved through banner drills and the agreed mechanisms, officials said. India and China have historically differed on the boundary between the two countries, and in 1962 fought a short and brutal war. However both sides agreed to resolve the border dispute through talks and in 2005 signed an Agreement on the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the Boundary Question and have had several rounds Special Representative level talks. Road, air links upgraded Augmenting rapid airlift capabilities, India operationalised the Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) at Daulat Beg Oldi (DBO) located at over 16,000 feet. Work is now on to improve road connectivity to this critical area. Work on the 255 km Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldi road is progressing at a quick pace. The alignment of the DSDBO road was decided by the China Study Group (CSG) with the cabinet secretary and other senior bureaucrats and representatives from the army and intelligence as members. DBO is about 16 km south of the Karakoram Pass. A critical bridge on the road, 150 kilometers from Darbuk, was completed last month and black topping of the road is in progress. While about 90 kms has been black topped, work up to 120km is expected to be completed by year end. “In the past few years we have made rapid progress and by 2022 I am confident the road would be completed in all respects,” said Col B.S. Uppal, commanding officer of 16 Garhwal Rifles. He added that even now DBO can be reached with the newly constructed bridge. However, as of now, the road is closed for three to four months of the year. Heavy vehicle ready In addition several other roads along the route are being upgraded and strengthened which will facilitate the movement of heavy vehicles. China has already built massive infrastructure along the border and has repeatedly conducted exercises to rapidly transport troops to the border in case of a crisis. In Eastern Ladakh, China has three air fields at Kashgar, Shiquan and Hotan and several mechanised and armoured columns deployed along the frontier. Officials said with increased numbers, India is only correcting the balance. “There is not much accretion by China, but their logistical capability has gone up,” one officer observed. To counter Chinese air power, India has been activating a series of advanced landing grounds along the frontier and fighter aircraft have been practising maneuvers in Leh.

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July 12, 2016

Saab in Hunt for India Partner to Help Modi Overhaul Forces


Sweden’s Saab AB will join Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. in the search for local partners to help build its fighter jets, as competition increases for a slice of India’s planned $150 billion military modernization. While certain parts of the Gripen E planes will be built in factories fully owned by Saab, other components will be manufactured jointly, said Jan Widerstrom, chairman of Saab India Technologies Pvt.
The Adani Group could be among companies being considered, the Economic Times reported in May, without saying where it got the information.
 “We are talking to at least six large companies in India as the main partners, and several hundred for the supply chain,” Widerstrom said in a July 7 interview in New Delhi. “We are still evaluating our partners and most likely we need more than one.” India is expected to announce a contract for fighter jets next year, with local production in focus as Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to create jobs and reduce the world’s highest arms imports. Soon after taking office in 2014 he allowed more foreign direct investment in defense and, last month, he further eased rules for the sector.
Under the latest tweaks announced June 20, foreign companies can hold more than 49 percent of a company based in India even if it doesn’t provide state-of-the-art technology. Concerns exist, though, on whether local companies have the trained workforce to deliver. “There exists an ecosystem, but that ecosystem needs to develop further,” said Pushan Das, a junior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation think tank in New Delhi.“Indian companies are yet to acquire the manufacturing wherewithal to manufacture complete military grade aircraft platforms.”
 Moreover, the airforce would probably prefer a two-engine craft rather than the single-engine Gripen, he said. Saab had lost out to Dassault Aviation SA for that reason in 2007, when India had last sought bids for fighter jets, before talks stalled on the deal partly because India sought quality guarantees for the Rafales made locally.
Indigenous Weapons Saab may have it easier. It has a center with Tech Mahindra Ltd. in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, where more than 100 engineers are already working on the design and development of Gripen jets for Brazil. It will also build on its existing partnerships, such as an aerostructure venture with Indian company Aequs, Widerstrom said. Saab has also offered to help India with its indigenous Tejas jet, as well as the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft program, which seeks to design and build a fifth-generation fighter. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the country needs local production lines for at least two types of fighter aircraft. ‘Next 100 Years’ Even as India faces geopolitical threats from neighbors Pakistan and China, a third of its 650-strong combat airfleet is over 40 years old, and the Tejas was 33 years in the making.
 India was the world’s largest arms importer, according to a February 2016 report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in part because its companies have failed to produce competitive, indigenous weapons. Saab would want a 100 percent investment in an Indian project in the coming years, but for now would prefer working with local partners in both the private and public sectors. It will also offer a transfer of technology, Widerstrom said. “We see it as part of our overall ‘Make in India’ package,” he said. “We are offering an aerospace capability for the next 100 years.”

bloomberg
Sweden’s Saab AB will join Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. in the search for local partners to help build its fighter jets, as competition increases for a slice of India’s planned $150 billion military modernization. While certain parts of the Gripen E planes will be built in factories fully owned by Saab, other components will be manufactured jointly, said Jan Widerstrom, chairman of Saab India Technologies Pvt. The Adani Group could be among companies being considered, the Economic Times reported in May, without saying where it got the information. “We are talking to at least six large companies in India as the main partners, and several hundred for the supply chain,” Widerstrom said in a July 7 interview in New Delhi. “We are still evaluating our partners and most likely we need more than one.” India is expected to announce a contract for fighter jets next year, with local production in focus as Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks to create jobs and reduce the world’s highest arms imports. Soon after taking office in 2014 he allowed more foreign direct investment in defense and, last month, he further eased rules for the sector. Under the latest tweaks announced June 20, foreign companies can hold more than 49 percent of a company based in India even if it doesn’t provide state-of-the-art technology. Concerns exist, though, on whether local companies have the trained workforce to deliver. “There exists an ecosystem, but that ecosystem needs to develop further,” said Pushan Das, a junior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation think tank in New Delhi.“Indian companies are yet to acquire the manufacturing wherewithal to manufacture complete military grade aircraft platforms.” Moreover, the airforce would probably prefer a two-engine craft rather than the single-engine Gripen, he said. Saab had lost out to Dassault Aviation SA for that reason in 2007, when India had last sought bids for fighter jets, before talks stalled on the deal partly because India sought quality guarantees for the Rafales made locally. Indigenous Weapons Saab may have it easier. It has a center with Tech Mahindra Ltd. in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, where more than 100 engineers are already working on the design and development of Gripen jets for Brazil. It will also build on its existing partnerships, such as an aerostructure venture with Indian company Aequs, Widerstrom said. Saab has also offered to help India with its indigenous Tejas jet, as well as the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft program, which seeks to design and build a fifth-generation fighter. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the country needs local production lines for at least two types of fighter aircraft. ‘Next 100 Years’ Even as India faces geopolitical threats from neighbors Pakistan and China, a third of its 650-strong combat airfleet is over 40 years old, and the Tejas was 33 years in the making. India was the world’s largest arms importer, according to a February 2016 report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in part because its companies have failed to produce competitive, indigenous weapons. Saab would want a 100 percent investment in an Indian project in the coming years, but for now would prefer working with local partners in both the private and public sectors. It will also offer a transfer of technology, Widerstrom said. “We see it as part of our overall ‘Make in India’ package,” he said. “We are offering an aerospace capability for the next 100 years.”

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