May 6, 2017

How ISI funds stone-pelters via Hurriyat in Kashmir

  • In Rawalpindi, an ISI man named Ahmed Sagar is regularly in touch with Hurriyat leaders, especially Shabir Shah
  • Sagar gives Shah the money and the latter disburses it to stone-pelters hired by Hurriyat's district offices
Television channel Times Now today aired an expose showing how Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI has routed Rs 70 lakh or more to stone-pelters in Jammu and Kashmir+ through Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah.

This explosive revelation comes on the heels of confessions by two recently captured ISI agents in India, that they regularly got money from Abdul Basit, Pakistan's envoy to India. Taken together, the two startling disclosures only strengthen New Delhi's long-held assertion that Pakistan, through both state and so-called non-state actors, funds terror in India, especially in Kashmir.

Kashmir has been on the boil since the July 2016+ when security forces killed terrorist Burhan Wani. From then until now, those protesting Wani's death have waged a battle against security forces in the state by resorting to pelting stones at them. And the numbers of stone-pelters have risen dramatically.

The money route, the players ::

While there has always been speculation that Pakistan is involved in paying off these protestors to come out and throw stones at security forces+ , Times Now has in its possession documents that show details of the money route, of the players at both ends - that is , the funders and the primary recipients - and of whose hands much of the money ends up in ultimately.

The ISI's cash register documents accessed by Times Now show that the two ends of the money trail are Rawalpindi, which is ISI's headquarters, and Srinagar, where the Hurriyat is based. From Srinagar, the money makes its way to people in places like Anantnag, Pulwama and Kupwara. These are all areas that have regularly reported often intense stone pelting.

In Rawalpindi, an ISI man named Ahmed Sagar is regularly in touch with Hurriyat leaders, especially Shabir Shah, Times Now's story reveals. Shah then disburses the money to various district offices of the Hurriyat who then hire young people to participate in pelting stones.

Incidentally, Sagar is known to be close Pakistan's envoy in India, Basit.

In fact, the Times Now story said the ISI also uses the Hurriyat to fund separatists and terror acts in troubled Kashmir. Shah has been under the scanner for this too, before.

Government's and analysts' reactions ::

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has issued a directive that a close watch is to be kept on the financial activities of businessman associated with Kashmiri separatists and Hurriyat leaders, Times Now said. The director general of police in Kashmir has been requested to initiate action and send a status report of what has been done.

"Every effort is being taken to ensure this kind of sponsored unrest will be put to an end," said minister of state, PMO, Jitendra Singh, to the TV channel.

Some politicians wanted sterner action taken.

"We need immediate President's rule in Kashmir" said BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, in reaction to Times Now's investigation.

"Hurriyat is a big money-making racket," said defence analyst Maroof Raza. He added that the organization has in fact "been set up by Pakistan."

Opposition politicians too condemned this sponsored unrest.

"We don't go by names; anybody who is a traitor is nation's enemy. In the matters of national security we are totally with the Center," said Sunil Singh, JDU leader, to Times Now.


Indian Navy Gets US Go-ahead to Deploy EMALS and AAG on its New Supercarrier

The Indian Navy will become the second navy in the world to deploy the advanced Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) to launch planes from its aircraft carriers and the Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) to recover these planes after the U.S. Department of Defense recently approved the sale of these sophisticated systems to India.

DoD recently granted General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS), the California-based developer of EMALS, export approval for both EMALS and AAG to the Indian Navy.

EMALS is designed to replace the steam catapult systems currently used on all 10 of the U.S. Navy's Nimitz-class, nuclear powered aircraft carriers. The newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), is the first carrier to deploy EMALS. The Ford is scheduled for deployment in 2019.

EMALS launches carrier-based aircraft from an aircraft catapult using a linear motor drive instead of the conventional steam piston drive.

Its main advantage is it allows for a more graded acceleration, inducing less stress on the aircraft's airframe. It's also lighter than a steam catapult system and cheaper to operate. In addition, EMALS can launch aircraft that are heavier or lighter than those handled by steam catapults.

The Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system uses electric motors for aircraft deceleration during aircraft carrier recovery operations.

The Indian Navy's "Indigenous Aircraft Carrier II" (IAC-II) program calls for building 65,000 metric ton supercarriers. The second carrier in the Vikrant-class and India's first supercarrier, the INS Vishal, is in the design phase and will deploy both EMALS and AAG.

The Indian Navy in November 2016 confirmed plans to integrate EMALS catapults into its future supercarriers by revealing the dispatch of Letters of Request (LoR) to the U.S. DoD to buy this advanced aircraft launch system.

It said the LoRs cover the purchase of three EMALS under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program. Sources in the Indian Navy told media the LoRs were issued in February 2016.

The navy expects the Pentagon to approve the LoRs and to issue its Letters of Acceptance (LoA) approving the deal within the next few months.


May 5, 2017

China Tries To Encircle India. It Won't Work

China’s efforts to encircle India won’t work. That’s the message India and its allies, America and Japan are prepared to send to Beijing in a joint naval exercise.

China has an official and an unofficial agenda for the Indian Ocean.

The official agenda is to foster trade and economic growth for all countries in the region, from Pakistan to Sri Lanka, to India, and Bangladesh.

The unofficial agenda is to encircle India, something investors should keep a close eye on, as it is expected to raise geopolitical risks in the region.

To execute this agenda, China has been pursuing massive infrastructure projects -- like CEPC in Pakistan, and the building and modernizing of ports in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, something these countries needed very badly.

“China has clearly responded to a strong demand from Indian Ocean countries for better maritime infrastructure and increased connectivity,” says Nilanthi Samaranayake, strategic studies analyst, CNA, a non-profit research organization in the Washington area. “Some countries see their ports as being too congested or unable to handle larger container ships, so projects by Chinese companies are seen as helping to build or modernize infrastructure and promote wider national development goals.”

There are clear signs that these projects are beginning to yield results for China's official agenda. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is changing life in China’s Northwest Xinjiang Uyghur region, bringing something special to the region: seafood from Pakistan.

This little bonus is being shipped by container trucks through the corridor, which currently accounts for 2 percent of the total trade between the two countries; and more goods are expected to come through CPEC from the Middle East and Africa.

“Regarding India, it’s important to note that some of China’s maritime infrastructure developments have facilitated India’s trade, such as through the port of Colombo,” adds Samaranayake.But China’s enormous investment in CPEC and port infrastructure in the Indian Ocean serves much more than trade. It advances Beijing’s “String of Pearls” strategy, as well as its unofficial agenda to encircle India through its arch-rival, Pakistan.

“Besides having investments that have purely commercial goals in Pakistan as they would in any other country, the Chinese have two main goals in investing in that particular country,” explains Dimitrijevic. “First is to continue the “String of Pearls” strategy of developing commercial and military outposts along their main maritime trading route. These include the Strait of Malacca, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Maldives, the Strait of Hormuz and Somalia.

There is a second reason for the Chinese to invest and that’s to make India feel China’s strong presence, in its neighbor and arch-rival Pakistan.”

That could explain India’s unease with China’s ambitious Indian Ocean agenda. “Despite the commercial benefits of this activity, India is concerned about the strategic implications of China’s increasing commercial and military presence in the Indian Ocean,” says Samaranayake. “China continues to deploy naval task forces in support of counterpiracy operations and is building a base in Djibouti. This is a region that India sees as its primary area of interest, so concern about China’s expansion of Indian Ocean activity is understandable.”

Understandable or not, China’s unofficial agenda to encircle India won’t work. New Delhi and its allies—the US and Japan—won’t let it happen. And they are prepared to send this message to Beijing with a joint naval exercise in the Malabar in the Bay of Bengal this coming July.


May 3, 2017

Israel Transfers Assault Rifle Technologies to India

Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) has set up a joint venture with an Indian partner to manufacture small arms, including assault rifles, from this year. This is in line with the Indian government’s efforts to persuade foreign arms makers to share technology and make the products under the Make in India program.
 IWI has tied up with India's Punj Lloyd to manufacture small arms including assault rifles, such as Tavor 21 and Galil, under technology transfer arrangement. Punj Lloyd has inaugurated a plant in central India with the help of IWI and the production of small arms will begin here this year. ‎
"We have done a joint venture with IWI and we have set up a plant for manufacturing assault rifles, carbines, light machine guns and snipers in our plant. This is a joint venture with technology transfer arrangement to India," Ashok Wadhawan, President — Manufacturing Business (Defense and Aerospace) at Punj Lloyd Limited told Sputnik.
Punj Lloyd will manufacture 5.56x45mm Tavor assault rifles that can fire up to 950 rounds per minute, and X-95 short weapon with a long barrel, three-caliber weapon having 360° Picatinny rail. Apart from assault rifles, the joint venture will also manufacture semi-automatic Negev (5.56X45mm and 7.62X51mm) assault light machine gun and 7.62x51mm semi-automatic Galil sniper rifles. The Galil sniper fires up to 1,000 meters, targeting small, mobile or concealed objectives.
Punj Lloyd has set its eye on the Indian Army's plan to purchase 185,000 assault rifles with telescopic sights in future. However, the company expects the joint venture to make it big in all the procurement plans of armed forces related to small arms. "It is basically for Make in India program. Right now we are not targeting just one product line here. All the small arms products, which are needed for the armed forces, we would manufacture," Wadhawan added.Punj Lloyd has invested approximately $52 million in defense manufacturing and has invested $4 million for this particular business. "The investment amount would keep increasing depending on the order size which we keep getting," he said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Israel this July to mark the 25th anniversary of joint diplomatic relations. Modi's visit, which will be the first-ever by an Indian Prime Minister, could yield some more defense deals between the two countries including armed Heron TP drones and Phalcon radar systems.
The Indian government signed a contract worth more than $1.6 billion with Israeli arms firm IAI. Over the last three years, India has signed 10 defense contracts with Israel, which is second only to Russia.


May 2, 2017

Israeli Weapons to Be Manufactured in India

Indian Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Industries have signed an joint venture to manufacture components of guns in India to be later exported to Israel under the first phase, Defense World reports. The joint venture will manufacture full guns in India for supplying to the security forces in the second phase, Indian Express news daily reports.
IWI has already supplied guns such as TAVOR assault rifles and UZI SMG to security forces in India and also has other major programs in which its small arms are undergoing trials.
The JV will be key in enabling India to pass a higher technological threshold through the adoption of advanced Israeli defence technologies. “We are confident that with technology transfer from IWI, Punj Lloyd is positioned to manufacture the complete range of IWI products from pistols to light machine guns and specialist weapons like sniper rifles, in addition to providing service to the existing IWI products and support for new orders, ” Punj Lloyd Chairman, Atul Punj was quoted as saying by the news daily.
Industry sources estimate the opportunity of ongoing programs for small arms in internal and national security to be more than Rs 3, 000 crore. Currently, the manufacturing of small arms is completely with the public sector. The Union Cabinet had agreed in 2001 to allow manufacture of small arms in the private sector.
Punj Llyod was among the few private firms, along with L&T and Bharat Forge, which had been granted license by DIPP to manufacture small arms in India in 2001-02.

By i-hls.com /jewishbusinessnews

China will have to think about Tibet before going to war with India, says Dalai Lama

In a potentially provocative statement, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on Thursday said that Tibet will weigh on China’s mind in the event of any conflict with India as handling both simultaneously would not be an “easy” task for Beijing.

Though the Dalai Lama played down the possibility of an Indo-China military conflict suggesting that the situation inside Tibet mitigates such an eventuality, he conceded that China’s reaction to his Arunachal visit was unusual at times.

“I asked Indian authorities concerned before the visit and they said go ahead…some reaction from the Chinese side was really unusual,” the Dalai Lama said at an event in New Delhi.

He, however, underlined that since India is gaining military power, the only option for China was “compromise”.

“India is not a small country. It is gaining military power. So the only thing is compromise. The Chinese have to think about the situation inside Tibet when it comes to conflict with India,” the Dalai Lama said.

He, however, sidestepped a direct response to a query on China renaming six places of Arunachal, saying places in Tibet have also been renamed, mostly because “they (the Chinese) could not pronounce them properly.”

The Dalai Lama, who fled a Chinese state crackdown in Lhasa and took shelter in India in 1959, also needled China on his nine-day-long trip to the north-eastern state, saying “fortunately, while I was in Tawang, no intrusion took place.”

He stressed the need to differentiate between the Chinese people and the Communist establishment of the country, which he described as a “totalitarian” dispensation that has “failed to crush the Tibetan spirit”.

He said the Chinese people will be able to judge the situation if they are made aware of the “reality” of the Tibet dispute.The Dalai Lama, who China considers as one of its arch- enemies, said he would have probably turned into an “orthodox Lama” had he not escaped “Chinese suppression”.
Asked about the 11th Panchen Lama, chosen by him, he said, “Some say he is no longer there. Some say he is alive.”

Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, a six-year old boy recognised by the Dalai Lama in 1995 as the 11th Panchen Lama of Tibet has been missing for over 22 years.

Declaring his case as an “enforced disappearance”, the United Nations’ Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances had in April 2011 held China responsible for his disappearance. China has denied any involvement in his disappearance.

The Dalai Lama was awarded the Professor ML Sondhi Prize for International Politics 2016 at the event.

Arun Shourie, a veteran journalist and minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, and former foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh were present at the event.
Mansingh said India’s stout defence of the Dalai Lama’s Arunachal trip, in early April, was a “rare affirmation” of the country’s sovereignty.


India hits back after jawans mutilated on LoC; Army kills 7 Pakistani soldiers, destroys 2 enemy bunkers

In a strong message to Pakistan army which killed two Indian soldiers and mutilated their bodies, the Indian army tonight destroyed two Pakistani bunkers and killed seven of their soldiers.

Initial reports said two Pakistani bunkers were destroyed in Kirpan and Pimple posts opposite to Krishna Ghati area of Mendhar in Jammu.

About five to eight Pakistani Army soldiers of 647 Mujahideen battalion were in one post.

Both posts have been destroyed and seven Pakistani soldiers were killed in the Indian action.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT), which comprises the special forces, killed two Indian soldiers under the cover of shelling by Pakistani troops in Krishna Ghati Sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

The army issued a statement saying that the bodies of an army soldier and a BSF head constable were mutilated but a senior army officer told PTI that they were beheaded.

The BAT team had set up an ambush to target the patrol party of the Indian soldiers while the Pakistan Army engaged two Indian forward defence locations (FDL) with rockets and mortar bombs, the officials said.

After the incident, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had warned Pakistan that the Indian Army will retaliate.

"Their bodies were mutilated by our neighbours. This is a reprehensive and an inhuman act. Such acts don't even take place during war, let alone peace," Jaitley said.

Stating that the sacrifices of the soldiers will not go in vain, he said the armed forces will appropriately react to this extreme form of barbaric act.

Hours later, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had also reached Srinagar to assess the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.


It’s time to bring in the private sector to make our submarines and fighters

Defence minister Arun Jaitley seems to have hit the ground running in his second stint in South Block. Within weeks of his taking over, he approved the D B Shekatkar Committee report, which lays out, among other things, a blueprint for scrapping up to 20,000 posts in the armed forces.

A full implementation of this report involves closing down manpowerintensive entities like military farms, shrinking and streamlining the Army Postal Service, getting the forces out of non-military activities as much as possible, and reorganising them into joint commands.

The ministry has also moved on, opening up ammunition manufacturing to the Indian private sector, which, besides unshackling opportunities for other players in the defence sector, is also a statement of confidence in private enterprise and its abilities to measure up.

But the big picture capability transformation really lies in building highend lethal weapon platforms. Put simply, India must be able to build its fighters, submarines and tanks rather than be dependent on off-the-shelf imports. While an entire range of defence public sector units (PSUs) have been nurtured over a long period, the results have been below par.

While keeping up the label of indigenisation, defence PSUs constantly depended on foreign vendors to fill in vital gaps. The Kaveri fighter engine project is a good example of how highend international technology collaboration was the only way to revive an already delayed programme.

This kind of indigenisation may have kept defence PSUs afloat. But they have fallen short of creating an effective manufacturing base. While it would be incorrect to generalise, the truth is India hasn’t been able to develop any cutting-edge military systems despite well-funded PSUs.

Call to Arms ::

This ‘white elephant’ predicament has bogged down previous governments too. But the political consequences of throwing the door open to private players in this sector has often deterred decision-makers. What if the private companies turn into new PSUs of the future?

Despite such doubts, the Strategic Partnership (SP) model was drawn up to bring in the private sector in a meaningful way. GoI, however, has still not taken a call on this. It’s not an easy decision to make, given the merits and demerits on either side. But the fact is that status quo isn’t really taking the military complex anywhere.

Before entering into the specifics of the SP debate, let’s understand the strategic backdrop driving this call. For long, war-making has determined the nature of capabilities. The Cold War, for instance, was built around executing military attack plans.

This has been true of India and Pakistan as well, where the Indian side often gamed the possibility of engaging in a two-front war where China would come in support of Pakistan. In fact, many proposals for the Cabinet Committee on Security begin with this strategic preamble to strengthen justification for any big purchase.

Now, none of that is completely irrelevant. But it’s also true that conventional war-making isn’t a viable strategic option for any country. However, the prowess to execute any plan is of immense strategic value. A sound military industry base allows a country to make that strategic projection.

If networked effectively into the economy, these industries can spawn an ecosystem of high-technology production that can impact other sectors.

That’s why a call on the SP model has become important. The basic concept here is that GoI will identify one or two private players for each category of lethal equipment. This should incentivise and ensure future orders.

Essentially, a private company will be confident enough to make long-term investments in R&D, set up joint ventures with overseas equipment manufacturers, negotiate technology transfers and, in due course, find new export markets.

The condition, however, is that if a company has been identified to make an aircraft, then it cannot bid for building any other strategic platform like submarines, and vice versa. This has attracted legal questions on whether it encourages monopolistic practices. But solutions have been worked by way competitive pricing mechanisms.

There are counter-arguments from within the government that creating SPs would lead to ceding of authority and control to market forces, which may be detrimental in an emergency situation. But such inertia ignores the humiliating problem of running from vendor to vendor for spares and ammunition almost routinely with war reserves constantly running low.
Take the Private Call

While there can be no firm assurance of success, opening up has largely had a positive impact across critical sectors like transport, telecom and energy. So, at one level, this reform has been delayed for far too long due to unseen fears.

As a result, an economy of dealmakers, agents and commission fixers has flourished in an import-driven environment. It’s time this skewed system is altered and a robust public-private manufacturing environment is created to exploit the benefits arising from India’s growing acceptance in technology control regimes, which allows Indian manufacturers access of the nature they never had before. The time has never been more apt to make the switch.


India bluntly turns down Turkey's offer - Kashmir is a bilateral issue, No third party

India on Monday turned down Turkey’s offer to mediate with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue, emphasising that it was a bilateral matter. The two sides have also resolved to jointly counter international terrorism.

The issue of Jammu and Kashmir in the context of cross-border terror figured prominently during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s meeting with PM Modi. India’s position was unequivocally conveyed to Erdogan, who had earlier offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, a long-standing ally of Turkey. It is no secret that Turkey has supported Pakistan’s position on Kashmir at Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other fora for decades.

Briefing reporters after the dialogue, MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay said: “The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India. India’s position on cross-border terror and Kashmir was conveyed to the visiting President. It was also conveyed to him that Kashmir is an issue related to terror and there could be no justification for terror.

PM Modi told the President that India has been a victim of state-sponsored terror for four decades.” Baglay reiterated India’s long-standing view that all matters between Delhi and Islamabad must be addressed bilaterally as per the Shimla Agreement. Earlier, addressing a joint press meet following his dialogue with Erdogan, PM Modi said he had an extensive conversation with President Erdogan on the matter and added that both of them agreed that “no intent or goal, no reason or rationale can validate terrorism”.

“The nations of the world, therefore, need to work as one to disrupt the terrorist networks and their financing and put a stop to cross-border movement of terrorists,” he said, adding: “They also need to stand and act against those that conceive and create, support and sustain, shelter and spread these instruments and ideologies of violence.”

Modi said he and Erdogan “agreed to work together to strengthen cooperation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to effectively counter this menace”. The PM thanked President of Turkey for his support to India’s NSG membership and support in MTCR and Wassenar Group. Erdogan in his remarks to the press said Turkey would always be by the side of India “in full solidarity” in battling terrorism.

Erdogan also stated that he and Modi discussed the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July last year in which over 300 people, both civilians and security personnel, lost their lives. The Turkish government has blamed the US-based preacher and political activists Fethullah Gulen for the coup attempt. Erdogan expressed hope that India would expel all those linked to the Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organisation.

Reacting to this, MEA spokesperson said that any organisation working here have to abide by Indian law. Trade and investments were the other key focus areas. India and Turkey agreed to boost bilateral trade from the current level of over $6 billion to $ 10 billion by 2020. Modi also sought Turkish investments for his pet projects.


May 1, 2017

Missile Power: Armed With Kalibrs the Russian Navy Will Become Twice as Strong


With Russia’s new warships now armed with advanced new generation missiles, the Navy is now working to arm its existing warships and submarines with Kalibr cruise missiles successfully combat-tested in Syria.

More Kalibrs
 Even though many experts initially failed to appreciate the effect of Kalibr cruise missiles installed on small ships, the 26 Kalibrs launched at terrorist bases in Syria in October 2015 from Caspian Fleet corvettes proved that unlike massive destroyers, small missile ships can easily sneak up on the enemies and are much harder to detect than their bigger electronics-packed counterparts.
Also, a strike force of dozen or so small missile ships can be equipped with electronic jammers and, therefore, become harder for the enemy to spot them and fire at them.
A number of Karakurt-Class small missile ships will soon be added to the Navy’s existing fleet of Kalibr-armed Buyan and Gepard frigates.
Relatively small strike groups are ideal for performing lightning raids not far from shore, using their main armament and quickly returning to base.For longer-haul missions the Navy has a fleet of Project 11356 and 22350 heavy frigates armed with Kalibr-NK cruise missiles.
Experts believe that the Admiral Nakhimov nuclear-powered missile cruiser, currently being overhauled at Sevmash Shipyards in northern Russia, could carry Kalibrs and Tsirkon 3M22 supersonic anti-ship missiles.
Terror of the oceans
The Black Sea Fleet’s Rostov-on-Don and Novorossiisk diesel-electric submarines were the first to be armed with Kalibr-PL cruise missiles. The Rostov-on-Don was also the first to fire Kalibrs at Daesh positions in Syria substantiating the decision to install cruise missiles on small low-visibility subs.
Kalibr-PL cruise missiles could also be installed on Antey-Class nuclear submarines, up to 72 such missile on each one, and on the state-of-the-art Project 885 Yasen and Yasen-M multirole nuclear subs.Experts believe that once modernized, Russia’s multirole nuclear submarines will be brought up to par with the new-generation Yasen submarines.
This is pretty bad news for the US and its NATO allies who still remember how, back in the 1990s, Russia’s Shchuka multirole subs created a lot of nervous buzz off the US coast suddenly popping up right under the nose of US warships and disappearing just as fast.
Meanwhile, the first modernized Project 971M Leopard-Class worship is scheduled to enter service in 2018.


April 29, 2017

India Needs More Aircraft Carriers But Not At The Cost Of Key Strike Elements

First the good news: the Indian Navy may soon tap the government for funds to build a second aircraft carrier. This would either be a 65,000-tonne nuclear-powered flattop or a 100,000-tonne supercarrier. The Navy’s move is significant because India is currently down to one carrier even as China has publicised its plan to develop six such vessels.

Now the bad news: According to Vice Admiral D M Deshpande, Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition, the new carrier could come at the expense of other projects and weapons as it is a “very big-ticket item”.

Before we analyse whether India needs more aircraft carriers, let’s take a look at the consequences of spending on carriers while ignoring other critical areas of defence.

In 1963, T N Kaul, India’s ambassador in Moscow, asked Russian defence minister Marshal Rodion Malinovsky what sort of defence preparedness India needed against the Chinese threat. The Indian Navy’s official history ‘Transition to Triumph’ records Malinovsky’s response.

He replied that what India needed was a strong, mobile Army, Navy and Air Force, well equipped with the latest weapons. Instead of a prestigious, overhauled, old British aircraft carrier (which he called the fifth leg of a dog and an easy target), India should go in for a submarine fleet to guard her long coastline.
Malinovsky wasn’t the first geopolitical expert who scratched his head in disbelief at a poor country acquiring a large and expensive carrier while neglecting its defence against hostile neighbours. Six years earlier, when Second World War hero Marshal Georgy Zhukov had visited India, he had disapproved of the Indian Navy’s decision to acquire an aircraft carrier, saying India was only doing it in order to make Britain happy.

Both Malinovsky and Zhukov had made pivotal contributions to Russia’s defence, especially in the Battle of Stalingrad, and as such were masters of warfare. However, on both occasions, Nehruvian India disregarded the advice of the battle-hardened commanders. The consequences of fielding an under-equipped military were visible in the next three wars.

In 1962, when the Chinese waltzed through the Himalayan frontier, the Indian Army was completely unprepared, lacking even winter clothing. INS Vikrant, which had been commissioned the previous year, played no role in the war.

Again, during the 1965 war, while the Indian Air Force flew Second World War Mysteres and Vampires against Pakistan’s latest United States-gifted F-86 Sabres, the Vikrant did not go out to sea at all.

In early 1971, when the political leadership decided to go to war, the Vikrant had been rusting in the harbour for over three years with cracked boilers. The flagship was pressed into service in a semi-fit condition because the Navy feared the Vikrant would be called a “white elephant and naval aviation would be written off”. Fleet Operations Officer G M Hiranandani told the naval brass, “Vikrant has to be seen as being operational, even if we do not fly the aircraft.”

Pakistan, on the other hand, had acknowledged its limitations and, instead of going for expensive surface vessels, decided submarines were a better option. The Pakistan Navy acquired its first sub in 1963 – four years before India did.

Because of the threat posed by Pakistan’s long-range submarine Ghazi, the Indian Navy had to hide the Vikrant in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was only after the Ghazi was sunk that the carrier started operations in the Bay of Bengal.

The case for more carriers ::

There is no doubt that India, which is poised to be the world’s third-largest economy and great power, requires more carriers. In a 2009 report titled ‘China’s Maritime Rights and Navy’, Senior Captain Li Jie, an analyst at the Chinese navy’s strategic think tank Naval Research Institute, declared, “No great power that has become a strong power has achieved this without developing carriers.”

Carriers are an essential element of sea control. According to India’s maritime doctrine, “Sea control is the central concept around which the Indian Navy is structured, and aircraft carriers are decidedly the most substantial contributors to it. This is because they possess ordnance delivery capability of a very high order, often greater than the balance fleet units in the Task Force. This is by means of their substantial integral air power, which provides integral, ubiquitous and enhanced combat power, with extended reach and rapid response capability.”

At a bare minimum, India should have three carriers – one for each seaboard, with a third on standby. India was without a carrier task force for six months in 2016 as its lone flattop INS Vikramaditya was undergoing maintenance.

Having three carriers on call is an ideal situation but is possible only if funds allow. If the Navy is prepared to sacrifice other platforms to divert funds to the second carrier, where does it propose to get money for the support vessels?

For, an aircraft carrier doesn’t travel alone. It usually operates with, and is at the centre of, a composite task force, including multi-purpose destroyers, frigates, submarines and logistics ships. The carrier task force is a self-contained and balanced force, capable of undertaking the entire range of operational tasks.

We do not want a situation like that in 1971 when a limping Vikrant was sent into battle along with only four light frigates (one of which lacked sonar) and a lone submarine to provide anti-submarine protection. In his book No Way But Surrender, Vice Admiral N Krishnan writes, “Even assuming that no operational defects developed, it would still be necessary to withdraw ships from the area of operations for fuelling. The basic problem was that if reasonable anti submarine protection had to be provided to Vikrant and the escort ships had to be in close company for this purpose, then how were 18,000 square miles to be kept under surveillance?”

The Navy had deployed the entire complement of the Vikrant’s aircraft in offensive operations against East Pakistan, leaving none for the carrier’s defence. It was a calculated risk that paid off. Had Pakistan been in possession of another long-range submarine, the story may have been different.

Don’t cannibalise the Navy ::

While aircraft carriers are symbols of prestige, the bits and parts needed to win wars must not be neglected. Sadly, this has happened. For instance, India’s submarine strength currently stands at 15 vessels and is behind Pakistan’s fleet of 17. Even North Korea, which can barely feed its population, has a fleet of 70 subs, which is why the United States carriers keep a safe distance from the Korean peninsula.

Submarines are the true predators of the deep and will allow India to wreak havoc on its adversaries during a war. A fleet of 24 subs (the sanctioned strength), but ideally 50 undersea vessels, can target every task force in the Indian Ocean. During the 1999 Kargil War, it was a submarine, and not a carrier, that was poised to deliver the first blow had India decided to escalate the conflict. INS Sindhurakshak was deployed very close to Karachi and had its torpedoes trained on the harbour installations.

As well as subs, India needs to spend on other less glamorous but critical weapons platforms such as missile boats, frigates, stealth ships, minesweepers, land and ship attack missiles, torpedoes, shore-based radar, close-in warfare weapons, electronic warfare suites and maritime satellites.

Former chief of naval staff Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat writes in Betrayal of the Armed Forces that after the 1971 war complacency had set into the force. For instance, the Indian Navy, which had devastated Karachi harbour with its Russian Styx standoff missiles (outside the adversary’s range) and thereby taken the lead in ship-to-ship standoff missile warfare, yielded space to Pakistan in two critical areas. “(Pakistan) acquired the wherewithal to become capable of standoff air-to-surface missile warfare in which they took a 15-year lead and sub-surface to surface missile standoff missile capability in which they took a 20-year lead, all in a 25-year tenure span,” Admiral Bhagwat explains.

The Navy as a force multiplier ::

India cannot – and should not – match China carrier for carrier, but it should emulate the Chinese strategy of shipbuilding to boost the economy. Admiral Bhagwat points out that the Chinese military and political leadership had declared as a matter of state policy that shipbuilding would be the springboard for China’s industrial development. For India, this is especially advantageous because it is hemmed in to the north and the northeast, and the only strategic space the country has to manoeuvre is in the oceans.

swarajyamag / Rakesh Krishnan Simha

April 28, 2017

Moscow, New Delhi Discuss Making Russian Weapons in India

Jaitley did not reveal the type of weapon being discussed to make in India. "We have future plans to set up manufacturing units in India and these are subjects of discussion which came up in my bilateral meeting with the Defense Minister and I am sure with the level of engagement we have, this relationship will continue to grow," Jaitley said.

The $1-billion program of joint production of Kamov-226T has taken off this month with the final approval of Russian President Vladimir Putin to set up Indo-Russian Helicopter Pvt Ltd. Russia's Rostec Corp will own 49.5 percent stake while India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will own the remaining 50.5 percent in the joint venture. Under the deal for 200 Kamov Ka-226Ts, 60 helicopters will be received in fly-away condition from Russia while another 40 will be assembled in India and the remaining 100 will be fully built in India.

"Russia has been a true and trusted friend of India, which is regarded so by the people of India and there has been a much greater cooperation at the level of defense. It is a cooperation which extends to joint military exercises, training cooperation and also with regard to the supply of equipment which India purchases from Russia," Jaitley said.

India and Russia identified a total number of 485 lines for Transfer of Technology (ToT) to support Sukhoi-30 MKI fleet. Towards this, 20 Indian vendors have been introduced to the Russian OEMs to find out the feasibility of ToT in the fields desired by Indian vendors.

In March this year, HAL signed an agreement with Russian OEMs for the long-term supply of spares and rendering technical assistance for five years which do not cover any technology transfer. The agreement will enable HAL to procure required spares based on the price catalogs directly from OEMs for the Sukhoi fleet and boost after-sales service by reducing lead time in the procurement of spares significantly.