Monday, March 27, 2017

India And Pakistan Escalate Missile Rivalry?

Pakistan's has fielded mostly Soviet era SCUD systems supplied by either China or North Korea

by Babar Khan Bozdar

The world’s most dangerous arms race is not to be found in Moscow and Washington, or in East Asia, where pressures are high in the Western Pacific between Beijing and the United States. Nor it is to be found in the Middle East, a region in turmoil where the two powers of Iran and Saudi Arabia are occupied with intermediary fighting in a few hot spots. The world’s most dangerous arms race lies in South Asia and the progressing contention between India and Pakistan.

The Indian-Pakistani challenge is a worldwide issue well on the way to delivering a huge scale war between two major, powerful countries and the result in the deployment of nuclear weapons while the rate of new developments in this arms race is an alarming situation for regional peace and prosperity.

The dominant factor in the continuity of Indo-Pakistan rivalry lies in the support that the US, Russia, and China along with other arms exporter have extended the regional challenges involved in regional disputes. India was supported by Former the Soviet Union while China continuously helped Pakistan. The US has played double policy in this regard. Sometimes it has supported Pakistan and sometimes imposed sanctions. In the meantime, India has benefited from Russia. So, the arms race history of South Asia is not so prolonged, but it has made the rivalry prolonged.

In recent developments, both countries have tested missiles and redefined systems for deployments. The Indian aggressive posture is to kill two birds with one stone. On one side it deters China and on another it is threatening Pakistan. Moreover, India as it considers China as the enemy, thus it deploys new ballistic missiles. Pakistan is developing a new delivery system in the light of developments in India. As a result, there is a continuous rise in the arms race.

Pakistan launched a sea-based cruise missile Babur-3 capable of nuclear warheads in the response of India’s sea-based nuclear deterrent and advance ballistic missile defense system. It is the variant of a ground-launched Babur-2 cruise missile with an estimated range of 450 km. It gives Islamabad a credible second strike capability.

The K-4 is an intermediate-range ballistic missile assessed to have a range of approximately 3,500 kilometers, as opposed to the K-15, which has a range of approximately 750 kilometers. The K-15 reportedly was tested twice in March 2016 and is now in production. In the response, Pakistan tested Babur-3 to counter Indian missile hegemony.

Recently, India completed its nuclear triad with the commissioning of INS Arihant Submarine as part of Indian Navy, which is believed to be operational and capable of launching nuclear warheads. This can carry India’s nuclear capable K-4 or K-15 ballistic missiles. Simultaneously India claiming no first uses policy while it is strengthening military muscles too by successful testing of missile like Agni series.

India also added nuclear capable aircraft including Dassault Mirage-2000H and Dassault Rafale etc. Mirage-2000H is the part of Indian Air force since 1985 and their number grew time to time, while Rafale deal was materialized in 2016. It signifies Indian military capability and growing interest toward armament, which pose a serious threat to the peace and prosperity in the region.

This has made Pakistan thoroughly consider her nuclear arms stockpile and retaliatory potential in such unverifiable terms with India, because of Pakistan’s India-Specific Nuclear tenet. Pakistan has officially developed Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) in later past. However, Pakistan has not yet set up her entire, solid sea-based missile setup.

Moreover, Pakistan does not have an active nuclear triad but Pakistan have several missiles to maintain sovereignty in case of any Indian offense and I think it is necessary for its survival and to maintain the balance of power with India.

In fact, both states are trying to enjoy leverage over one another, thus there is serious competition between two rivals.

Meanwhile, it is believed that both countries have separated their warheads from missiles. Until when will such an unattractive scenario not be developed? If any terrorist group developed a scenario either in Pakistan or India, both countries would not let them deploy missiles. As it is now, this rivalry runs counter to creating a peaceful environment.

Insecurity is at the heart of every rivalry and the element of insecurity is heightened day by day between the two. They claim to follow no-first-use doctrine, but at the same time, both are aggressive enough to deny no-first-use policy with a cause of each other’s existence as rivals, with some external gamers playing their efficient role in escalating this rivalry in pursuit of their own regional interests and retaining their strategic influence.

The region of third world countries is surrounded by numerous social issues. Defense is being given more priority instead of nontraditional security threats. These Nontraditional threats are more dangerous than traditional threats and have server implications in future. More than 41 percent of Population is living below the new international poverty line in India and near of it in Pakistan. This shows bad governance and mismanagement in both countries.

It is a fact that, wherever arms flow, violence follows. Missiles replace ballots as the solution to political dispute. Therefore it is our prime responsibility to raise our voice for complete disarmament in the region and resolve our all issues by other means.

The writer is a Research Affiliate at Strategic Vision Institute Islamabad and he can be reached at

Rafale, Eurofighter Not Shortlisted In Malaysian MRCA Jet Competition: Malaysia's Defense Minister

Eurofighter Typhoon

Malaysia’s defense minister Hishamuddin Hussain has squashed reports that the Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon had been shortlisted for the Malaysian air force’s multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) requirement.

Asked if the ministry would settle for Eurofighter Typhoon by BAE Systems or the Rafale by Dassault Aviation, he said the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen “are still in the running”.

The defense minister was quoted by a Malaysian publication, Star as having made the comments during the concluding press conference of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) show.

The minister’s statement comes amidst wild speculation that the four year old competition had been narrowed down to French and European choices.

The presence of Saab and Boeing at the LIMA show where they spoke about the relative merits of their respective aircraft further consolidated the view that they were still in the running.

Dassault and BAE Systems, the companies leading the Rafale and Eurofighter competitions respectively were most active in terms of PR and visibility. The former more so.

Representatives of Dassault were seen handing over Rafale gift packages to anybody in a Malaysian military uniform. Rafale also took Malaysian government’s Treasury secretary-general Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah on a joy ride in the two-seater aircraft. Abdullah later told the media, “This is the first time I have ever been on board a jet fighter and it is such a fun experience.”

Endorsing the aircraft, he said that the Dassault Rafale was a quality modern jet fighter, which was fitted with the latest technologies that make it a highly capable platform on the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles.

“I hope the Defense Ministry will seriously consider obtaining the aircraft in the future,” he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times.

Eurofighter on the other hand had an aircraft on static display and an audio visual and simulator presentation at its stand where its representatives thanked the British government for taking up Typhoon’s procurement case with Kuala Lumpur.

Russian Aerobatic Team Shows Precision and Performance in Brand New Su-30s.

The LIMA 17 air show in Malaysia on Mar. 21-25th is the largest air show of its kind in the Asia/Pacific region. As already reported here, this year’s show included the first performance of the Russian Knights in their new Sukhoi Su-30SM (NATO: “Flanker-C”) aircraft.

The Russian Knights flew four Su-30SMs at LIMA 17, having just received the aircraft after last year’s show season. Before 2017 the team flew the Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-27UB aircraft, a prior generation version of the heavily upgraded new Su-30SM.

The flight demonstration began with some exceptionally well-practiced diamond formation flying by the Russian Knights. During the diamond maneuvers the team displayed excellent symmetry, especially during difficult rolling maneuvers when the outside and inside aircraft in the formation fly different profiles to maintain position. While the Russian Knights fly wider aircraft spacing than the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, their synchronization was impressive in the new Su-30SMs.

Weather conditions including broken, low overcast meant the Russian Knights flew a relatively low altitude demonstration routine mostly below the cloud cover. The high humidity in Malaysia made for spectacular vapor clouds under hard maneuvering by the Sukhois.

Russian Knights Su-30SM super maneuverable multi-role fighter

The team will eventually fly six of the aircraft, but only four demonstrated in Malaysia. At the end of the formation flying routine two of the Su-30SMs detached from the diamond to perform solo and opposing solo maneuvers. During this part of the show the first two aircraft landed and deployed their drag chutes, adding spectacle to the routine.

At the end of the routine one aircraft demonstrated the vectored-thrust, super-maneuverable capability of the Su-30SM. This performance is unique to any flight demonstration team since it showcases the SU-30SM thrust-vectoring and canard wing capabilities. This included ultra-high angle of attack maneuvers and the impressive low-speed, pivoting turns combined with “cobra” style pitch-ups unique to the Sukhoi demo routines.

Russian Knights commander, air force Colonel Andrey Alekseev told media outlets in a press conference prior to the show, “It is the great honor for us to represent [the] Russian Air Force with the ‘best-in-the-world’ Su-30SM fighters here in Malaysia.”

In what seemed like major export marketing push for Sukhoi and UAC (United Aircraft Corporation) the Royal Malaysian Air Force also performed solo demonstration flights of their Su-30MKMs in subdued, tactical color schemes. One of the demo pilots identified as Royal Malaysian Air Force Colonel Gborg, gushed about the Su-30MKM, telling reporters, “This is the best fighter I have flown in my 20-year career!” Sukhoi/UAC supported the flight demonstrations with a marketing booth in the aviation industry exhibition hall throughout the show.

Two Pacific-Asian based aerobatic teams also flew at LIMA 17 making this a major show. The Tentera Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Udara’s Jupiter team flying the small, elegant KAI KT-1 Woongbi Korean-built single-engine turboprop, basic training aircraft and the South Korean Black Eagles jet team flying KAI-T50B advanced supersonic trainer flew along with the Russian Knights during the show.


Defense Is Not A Part-Time Job

by PK Vasudeva

In his 27-month stint, Parrikar set the reforms ball rolling on many fronts. While Arun Jaitley, holding additional charge of the Defense Ministry, can be expected to proceed along the course set by his predecessor, he will be hard-pressed for time to manage it well

The sudden departure of Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar to Goa as Chief Minister, has surprised many. Now, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) needs a full-time Minister to fill in the void left by Parrikar in the modernization of our defense services.

In his 27-month stint at the MoD, Parrikar set the reforms ball rolling on many fronts. While Arun Jaitley, holding additional charge of the Defense Ministry, can be expected to proceed along the course set by his predecessor, he may find it hard to address the needs of a Ministry as crucial as defense while holding the other equally important portfolio of finance.

To get an idea of the magnitude of the tasks at hand, defense deals worth Rs. 50,000 crore are stuck for want of documentation on strategic partnerships. This entails spelling out the specializations of Indian corporate players so that foreign partners can forge tie-ups without running from pillar to post for the requisite information. Negotiations on the $12-billion single-engine jet fighter deal could lose momentum (100 of these aircraft are expected) as Jaitley may take some time to familiarize himself with the issues involved.

A major procurement initiative is called for, in view of the squadrons being phased out. The Indian Air Force has 34 squadrons out of the 42 authorized. Each squadron consists of 18 aircraft. Apart from this, 11 squadrons of MiG-21s are required to be phased out as these have already completed more than 20 years of service and have become obsolete. These are in common parlance known as flying coffins due to large accidents and pilots bailing out/casualties.

However, at the heart of the new agenda is the Make in India dispensation for defense, bolstered by significant foreign investment and know-how — a shift away from large-scale imports. In this regard, the Defense Procurement Procedure (DPP) policy, released in March 2016, must be taken to its rightful conclusion.

Parrikar had set an ambitious target of $two billion defense exports by 2019, against a mere $330 million at present. He also worked out a formula, although not to the satisfaction of all concerned, to the vexed one-rank-one-pension (OROP) issue, which had been hanging fire for a decade.

The Justice Reddy Committee report on OROP, which was submitted in November last year, has not been made public. The most important proposal to create the post of chief of defense staff (CDS), based on the recommendation of a Group of Ministers in 2001 after Kargil battle, under NDA Government and high powered Naresh Chandra Committee’s recommendations in 2012 under the UPA Government, needs to be taken forward at the earliest for better higher defense management and appointment of a single adviser to the Government on defense and national security matters.

The bureaucracy may try to claw back to regain the ground lost under Parrikar. He had rubbed many officials the wrong way by creating a procurement policy that was both transparent and pragmatic. He realized that since middlemen were indispensable to deal-making, their commissions should be above board and their functions seen as an extension of the ministry's operations. He relaxed the blacklisting rule (barring companies that had been indicted earlier for paying bribes) by excluding subsidiaries of tainted companies from their ambit. In doing so, he overcame the deal-freeze regime of former Defense Minister AK Antony, without, however, compromising on transparency in the process.

Parrikar’s successor should not disturb the institutional balance of power between the Armed Forces and the Government, which has been one of the strengths of our democracy. Concerns in this regard have arisen from time to time. A Defense Minister, besides being informed, clean and committed, should not overlook this aspect.

Moreover, Jaitley gets additional charge of the Ministry of Defense at a time when his hands are only too full with the Budget Session of Parliament still on. Jaitley has been busy with two key Bills, Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill, in the Houses, while he also has to make focused efforts to ensure that whatever negative impact demonetization has had on economy, is negated fast. He has to build political consensus to get supporting legislation on Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill passed in Parliament and have the new tax regime rolled out within the July 2017 deadline.

Besides this, Jaitley also has institutional work in the BJP as he remains one of the key political strategists in his party and his opinion, both political and legal, are crucial for the BJP in situations like in Goa, Manipur and the forthcoming elections in Gujarat, Karnataka and so on.

And, as far as the Ministry of Defense is concerned, terror attacks such as the ones in Uri and Pathankot are a reminder that the ministry needs the full-time attention of a Defense Minister. Moreover, the Modi Government has laid special emphasis on better defense preparedness. As such, the three services have to make large-scale acquisitions, which again require meticulous evaluation of global bids.

While for the better part of around three years that the Modi Government has been in power, Jaitley has held the charge of two to three ministries, the arguments only go to show that the Prime Minister must quickly find someone full-time for the key job.

Jaitley himself has held the ministry for a brief while before the appointment of Manohar Parrikar as Defense Minister in November 2014. He has also held other additional portfolios as and when the need has arisen: Jaitley was given charges of Information and Broadcasting Ministry, along with the Corporate Affairs Ministry, but now the I&B Ministry has a full-time Minister with M Venkaiah Naidu at the helm.

Before this, during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime, Jaswant Singh was briefly given additional charge of the Defense Ministry while he was the External Affairs Minister. In the wake of a Tehelka report and subsequent political outrage, George Fernandes had to resign in March 2001, and Singh was given additional charge. But by November, Fernandes returned.

A full-time Defense Minister would be required to implement wide-ranging reforms including modernization, besides being alert to geopolitical threats and changing realities. Hence, Modi must find a worthwhile replacement to Parrikar and relinquish Jaitley of the additional charge.

The problem, however, lies in finding a good candidate for filling the vacancy. It is clear that there is a talent crunch in the existing bench strength of the BJP. That was precisely the reason why Parrikar was handpicked by Modi, shifted out of Goa, and asked to take charge as the Defense Minister.

The writer is a defense analyst and commentator

16 Countries To Take Part In Military Drills: Dr. Subhash Bhamre

NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Defense Dr. Subhash Bhamre on Sunday told the parliament that India is looking forward to conduct joint military drills with 16 countries.

He said that through the drills exchange of military experiences, training, seminars, workshops and other activities will be also organized.

The countries revealed to be taking part in the drills are Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and United States.

He further added that the purpose of the drills would be to promote bilateral defense cooperation among the countries.

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Pakistan Starts Building Fence Along Afghan Border

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan says it has started building a fence along the Afghan border in areas where it says militants have launched cross-border attacks on security posts in recent weeks.

Building a fence along the disputed border could further heighten tensions between the two countries, which have long accused each other of turning a blind eye to Islamic militants operating along the porous frontier.

Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the head of Pakistan's armed forces, announced the construction of fencing in "high threat zones'' Saturday during a visit to tribal regions along the border, saying it was in the interest of both countries.

The two countries share a 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) border known as the Durand Line, which was drawn during colonial times and is not recognized by the Afghan government.

HAL Finalizes Major Plan To Speed Up Aircraft Production

New Delhi: State-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has finalized a major plan to manufacture nearly 1,000 military helicopters and over a hundred planes, in tune with government's focus on speeding up defense indigenisation.

HAL Chairman and Managing Director T Suvarna Raju said the company has also ramped up its infrastructure to deliver 123 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft to the India Air Force with an annual delivery of 16 jets from 2018-19 onward.

In the next five years, the HAL will also carry out major upgrade of almost the entire fighter fleet of IAF including Su-30MKI, Jaguars and Mirage jets, making them more lethal, he said.

"Next five years will be really vibrant time for HAL. We are upgrading almost every major platform including Sukhois, Jaguars, Mirage and Hawks.

"We are going to build around 1,000 helicopters including Kamov 226, LCH (Light Combat Helicopter) ALH (Advanced Light Helicopter) in the next 10 years," Raju told PTI in an interview.

The HAL and Russian defense firms have finalized a Joint Venture agreement for production of light weight multi-role 'Kamov 226T' helicopters in India which will replace the aging fleet of Cheetah and Chetak choppers.

The inter-government agreement for the deal was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Russia in December, 2015.

On manufacture of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, the HAL chief said its production will be doubled from current eight aircraft per year to 16 from 2018-19. Tejas, the smallest and lightest of its class, was inducted into the IAF in July last year.

The HAL has an order from IAF to supply 40 Tejas. The government has also approved the procurement of 83 Tejas Mk-1A taking the total number of the aircraft to be manufactured by HAL to 123.

Raju said besides enhancing infrastructure for redouble manufacturing of Tejas, HAL has also outsourced manufacture of some major components including wings and fuselage of the jet to private industry which will further speed up rate of production.

Calling Sukhoi upgrade a major program, he said the fleet will be equipped with missiles, avionics and sensors.

Both India and Russia have been in negotiation for upgrade of the Su-30MKI to a near fifth-generation level.

Earlier this month, India and Russia signed two key agreements for long-term maintenance and technical support for the Su-30MKI fleet.

India is one of the largest importers of arms and military platforms globally. The government has been focusing significantly on promoting defense indigenisation by taking a slew of reform initiatives including liberalizing FDI in defense sector.

Reflecting government's focus in the area, Defense Minister Arun Jaitley earlier this month had said India was not happy with the label of world's largest importer of weapons system and had asked the industry to take advantage of government's policy to promote defense production.

IDN TAKE: Why The F-16 Deal Is Critical For India

Americans believe that India remains the only major F-16 prospect customer. Per reports in the media, two top Senators have urged the Trump administration to push for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to India to build its capability to counter security threats and balance China’s growing military power in the Pacific.

Senators Mark Warner from Virginia and John Cornyn from Texas in a joint letter to US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, the present administration must make the fighter jet acquisition a priority during initial bilateral discussions with India. India has launched an effort to expand its combat aircraft fleet and the competition has reportedly narrowed down to Lockheed’s F-16 and SAAB’s Gripen.

Mark Warner, who is a Democrat and John Cornyn from the Republican Party are the co-chairs of the influential Senate India caucus, the only country specific caucus in the US Senate.

A primary factor in India’s decision will be compliance with Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, which will require establishing some level of local production capacity. Given the strategic significance of India selecting a US aircraft as the mainstay for its future Air Force and the potential for a decision this year, they asked the Trump administration to make the fighter acquisition a priority during bilateral discussions.

The senators urged to weigh in forcefully with the White House on the strategic significance of this deal, both to America’s defense industrial base and to its growing security partnership with India. This comes as a strong case to represent a historic win for America that will deepen the U.S.-India strategic defense relationship and cement cooperation between the two countries for decades to come.

Balance of Power

It is obvious that America wants to increase interoperability with India who would remain a key partner and dominant power in South Asia, at the same time building India’s capability to counter threat from the north, and balance China’s growing military capability in the Pacific along with key regional allies Australia & Japan.

The counter balance the U.S. lawmakers perceived was that India would increasingly serve as an integral partner in the U.S. security architecture in the volatile South Asian region, helping to protect the joint interests and deter common threats, and also emerge as a critical trading partner to counter the Chinese growing economic strength. Therefore, for managing China's growing military and economic capability and the threat it poses to India's territorial integrity as well as its influence in the Asia-Pacific, external balancing may be the only resort available for India.

Economic Warfare

It is interesting to note that Apple after so many years of abstinence has decided to set up a manufacturing base in India, the company has planned to commence initial manufacturing operations in June at Bangalore this year. This will foster cutting edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in Karnataka, which are critical for India to compete globally. Apple uses a fairly complex supply chain. The parts for the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac are manufactured, mostly by third parties, across 28 countries. It has 766 suppliers, of which 346 are based in China, 126 in Japan, and 69 in the US. There is one in India, a unit of Flextronics (an American multinational technological manufacturer which is the second largest global electronics manufacturing services company) in Tamil Nadu state.

India will be only the third country globally to assemble iPhones, an indication of how important the country has become for one of the world's most valued companies.

The key takeaway from this development would be for PM Modi and President Trump to device a strategic process to wean away key manufacturing units from China back over to India. Other major industrial nations would automatically follow suit once the Americans starts abandoning China, but it would need some deft diplomatic & political maneuvers on the part of both the countries to achieve this far reaching objective.

The key strategy for both India and America therefore should be to weaken China's manufacturing base which has since become an engine of diplomatic, political and economic clout globally for China, leading to its belligerence against various regional pockets across Asia and has even taken cudgels against the United States.

It is in our national interest to work with America to progress democratic principles through regional security partnership and burden sharing, To this end, the Indian government must support the co-production of the F-16 aircraft in India and aid a key critical security requirement with a proven American product. This would be the stepping stone to further this important strategic process on the economic front.

Parting Notes

Many strategic thinkers see the rise of India as a natural balancer to China as beneficial to the United States. A tightening of relations with India is something that was already accelerating under Barack Obama, whose administration saw the world's biggest democracy as a counterbalance to China's rising power. Trump may take the relationship further. For years India has been living in the shadow of China as the second-best emerging market for investors.

Sasha Riser-Kositsky, Asia analyst at consulting firm Eurasia Group said "Over roughly the last 10 years, U.S. policy has broadly followed this logic, helping strengthen ties with India and offering unprecedented cooperation in terms of civilian nuclear power and co-development and co-production of defense technologies while asking relatively little in exchange."

The primary aim should be to solidify and strengthen the significant gains made in the bilateral U.S.-India defense relationship over the two previous administrations. The United States, India and China are all important players in Asia. The two countries must unite and make a strategic push to exclude China. Compatibility between the two biggest democracies is in the interests of the two countries as well as peace and prosperity in the region.

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Caterpillar ATVs To Transport ITBP Men Along China Border Soon

Vityaz articulated tracked vehicles are an invaluable part of transport service for the Russian Army

NEW DELHI: After SUVs and snow scooters, ITBP troops deployed along the Sino-India frontier will soon have all-terrain amphibious 'caterpillar' vehicles to undertake patrols and operational movements in the icy heights of the region.

The force has decided to procure at least two such giant rubber-band belt rolling vehicles to transport troops on high-altitude deployment, along with their arms and ammunition, along the China border in the Ladakh region.

"We are in the final stages of procuring these vehicles. The trials have been successful and they will be used for transport of troops. These amphibious vehicles suit our requirements in the high-altitude areas," ITBP Director General Krishna Chaudhary told PTI.

He said the all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are adept at maneuvering at low temperatures and can carry about a dozen troops at a time.
Chinese have cloned the VITYAZ ATV as the  HYJ-QSL30
The final clearance, a senior officer said, is awaited from the Union Home Ministry after which the ITBP will place orders for two such giant machines from a US-based firm at a cost of around Rs 9 crore.

The vehicles, called 'caterpillars' due to their design, can negotiate treacherous slopes and stay afloat in shallow waters. They operate on four-cylinder engines and have automatic gears -- five forward and 1 reverse.

The rubber-band track also allows the ATVs to move over snow, the official said. Its two aluminium alloy-made cabins are connected to each other via a symmetrical connecting joint (SCJ) shaft with a four degrees maneuvering range so that the rear cabin perfectly follows the driving box while moving.

The official said the force proposes to deploy the first lot of machines in the Ladakh area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

The original caterpillar vehicle comes with an air conditioning system, which would not be of use in high-altitude areas. 

So the ITBP has sought modification of the vehicle through installation of a heater that can keep the troops warm and insulated from freezing winds while traveling in sub-zero temperatures.

The machine is powered by a 250 litre diesel fuel tank and while floating on water it can achieve a maximum speed of 3.5 km per hour. Its speed is about 30 km per hour on a dirt or uneven track.

A slightly similar version of the caterpillar is used by the BSF to patrol the marshy Rann of Kutch along the Gujarat coast.

The ITBP has recently procured five snow scooters which will be deployed at high-altitude border locations in Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim that overlook the Chinese PLA deployment on the other side.

The force, as part of moves to bolster its capabilities to effectively secure the 3,488km border, had last year procured over six dozen SUVs and sent them to far-flung border areas for patrol and transport.

Pawan Hans Ties-Up With HAL To Train Helicopter Pilots

Pawan Hans Eurocopter AS365 N3 Dauphin Helicopter

MUMBAI: State-run Pawan Hans has joined hands with public sector chopper maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to train helicopter pilots.

"We have just tied-up with HAL to train helicopter pilots. This is a first in the country as there is no training facility for chopper pilots. We will begin the course in Bangalore in July," Pawan Hans Chairman and Managing Director B P Sharma told PTI.

However, he refused to divulge more details about the commercial side of the plan as well as how many students they will take in to train annually.

Pawan Hans is a joint venture where state-owned ONGC holds 49 per cent.

Sharma said that currently Pawan Hans fully depends on pilots from the Defense forces, especially the Air Force, to operate his fleet of 46 helicopters.

He said none of their 150-odd pilots are from the non-defense background. Most of the pilots are from the Air Force, Army and the Navy. Some are also from the Coast Guard.

The industry also depends on foreign pilots, while private operators and companies also get people trained overseas as there is no facility to train helicopter pilots in the country now, Sharma said.

There are 260 civilian helicopters in the country and so there is a large market for pilots.

"We will tell the students about cent per cent placement," which is easily manageable considering the large demand in the market, he said.

Over the past week, Pawan Hans also tied-up with Mumbai University to offer a Bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering along with a course on aircraft maintenance engineering from the next academic session.

The course will be offered to 60 students and will be imparted by professionals from Pawan Hans Helicopter Training Institute, while it will be monitored by the Garware Institute of Career Education & Development.

Why Rajnath Singh Was At This BSF Officer's Home

NEW DELHI: He often looked death in the eye when defending his country. But in one such fierce encounter, BSF Assistant Commandant Sandeep Mishra lost vision in both eyes. That, however, was just a minor detail for a girl from UP, Indrakshi Tripathi, who took Sandeep's hand in what has since turned out to be 12 years of blissful matrimony.

Moved by their story, home minister Rajnath Singh, who was at the BSF Academy in Tekanpur, Madhya Pradesh, visited their home. He praised Mishra, now 43 years old, for not giving up on life even after receiving five bullet injuries, one piercing through his left eye and exiting from the right eye in 2000, when his patrol team was ambushed by Ulfa militants in Assam's Tinsukia.

A President's police medal for gallantry awardee, Mishra is now a member of the computer faculty at Swayam, the BSF rehabilitation center in Tekanpur. He uses screen reader software to teach them.

"Met the family of visually challenged BSF Assistant Commandant Sandeep Mishra who lost his eyesight during an ambush in 2000. It is their love for the country which binds Sandeep and Indrakshi together. It was a delight to have lunch at their home in Tekanpur," Singh tweeted.

Indrakshi, daughter of a lawyer from Bansi in Sidharthnagar district of UP, saw a matrimonial ad in 2004 given by Mishra's family. If this man could do so much for his country, why can't I marry him, she thought, and told her father that she would marry only him. Mishra said Singh's visit was an "honor" and a "great gesture".


Terrorism Has Thrown A Big Challenge To Humanity: Narendra Modi

NEW DELHI: Terrorism has thrown a big challenge to humanity and people should draw inspiration from ancient scriptures to take on the menace, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today.

"Terrorism has gripped the entire world. It has thrown a challenge to humanity. If we try to analyse incidents mentioned in ancient scriptures and set those in the present context, I would say that Jatayu was the first to fight against terrorism. He gave the message of fearlessness," he said.

In epic Ramayana, Jatayu, a vulture, had valiantly tried to rescue Sita when she was being kidnapped by Ravana, sacrificing his life in the process.

The Prime Minister said Jatayu sacrificed his life taking on a strong man to defend the dignity of a woman. "Jatayu's fight gives us the inspiration to take on terrorism. It also gives the message to live for humanity," he said.

Modi was addressing a gathering at the residence of Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu here to celebrate Ugadi, the Telugu and Kannada new year day.

Referring to different languages and cultures in the country, Modi said various states should ensure cultural exchanges between people. Haryana and Telangana have already signed an agreement in this regard.

He said cultural exchanges and quiz competitions can be organised to spread culture and language of one state in the other.

Modi said diversity of India was both its identity and strength.

The Prime Minister, while greeting the nation on Ugadi, said the festivals are a reflection of changing facets of nature and are linked to culture and traditions.

Citing the 'Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat' initiative of his government, Modi said it would enable the coming generations to understand the cultural diversity of different states.

This would strengthen the feeling of oneness and unity among all Indians, Modi said, as he called upon states to collaborate with each other in promoting the uniqueness of their respective cultures and traditions.

Greeting people on the occasion, Naidu said the day heralds the beginning of the new year and good days will turn into even better days under Modi. He also said that unity of the country is in its diversity.

"Achche din have come and aur bhi achche din aane wale hain desh mein (good days have come and even better days will come) under Narendra Modi's leadership," he said.

Naidu said Ugadi would bring prosperity and growth to the country under the leadership of Modi.

The function was attended by lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, Delhi Lt Governor Anil Baijal, Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad and a host of Union Ministers.

Artists from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh gave cultural performances.

IDN TAKE: Bulava SLBM - Russia's Potent Strategic Deterrent

Development History

The Russian RSM-56, or Bulava SLBM, is an Intercontinental-Range, Submarine-Launched, Solid Propellant Ballistic Missile. The RSM-56 (NATO Classification: SS-NX-30) known as the Bulava missile system should constitute the core of Russia‘s future naval deterrent forces, and it is said to be impervious to all existing missile defense systems. In February 2004 President Putin claimed that the Bulava MIRV warheads could breach any available or potential anti-ballistic missile system. This presumably meant that they can maneuver after separation from the warhead bus, either in space or during reentry or both.

However, the Bulava had a troublesome testing history. Since 2004, the missile has been tested 24 times with varying degrees of success. (The last four tests, conducted in the period of September 2014 to November 2015, were all successful.)

The Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, a variant of the land-based Topol-M SS-27, is one of the most expensive Russian weapons programs and intended to be the cornerstone of the sea-based component of Russia’s nuclear triad.

The Bulava is specifically designed to evade Western ballistic missile defense shields. It can engage in rapid evasive post-launch maneuvers, deploy decoys, and launch other countermeasures to avoid interception. Each missile carries ten hypersonic, independently maneuverable warheads, yielding 100-150 kilotons apiece. The Bulava’s range is estimated at around 10,500 kilometers.

The RSM-56 Bulava represents a modified version of the single-warhead Topol-M ICBM, the beginning of the design work on this missile can be traced as far back as 1986. Yet, the decision to adopt the system had not been made until 1998. The Bulava‘s developer has been the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology.

Bulava’s is a story of two design firms and three missiles. One designer, the Moscow Institute for Thermal Engineering (MIT), is the Bulava’s developer and the lead designer for the successful Silo and Mobile based Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The other design firm, the Makeyev State Rocket Center (GRTs, referred to here as Makeyev), developed all earlier generations of SLBMs. The missile is manufactured by the Votkinsk Plant State Production Association.

The MIT was given the contract in spite of its lack of experience in the area of submarine-launched ballistic missiles (before the Bulava project, MITT worked solely on ground-based missiles). The argument was that the RS-12M1/2 Topol-M‘s conversion into an SLBM was relatively easy which should have reduced the missile‘s production costs.


It turned out that the technical differences between a ground-based missile and a missile launched from a submarine were quite important. This was later confirmed by acknowledging that the Bulava‘s design has 70 percent in common with that of the Topol-M. The argument of a cheap new missile thus proved invalid. Russia‘s quest to cut expenses supposedly led to other mistakes as well. During the testing phase of the RSM-56 Bulava, the usual preliminary trials (the so-called ―pop-up tests) fell out. Thus, several phases of testing were skipped. Instead of economizing the process, this decision resulted, most probably, in the prolonged testing period of the missile system.

The first flight test of the RSM-56 Bulava was conducted in September 2005. Its sea trials were officially completed on December 23, 2011. During those six years, twenty two Bulava launches have been carried out among which ten launches were successful, eleven unsuccessful and one have been considered to be a partial success. The reason for the failures was reported to be the lack of control over the execution of particular operations, which used to be conducted by military acceptance offices. Initially, reports indicated some errors in the missile‘s design yet these accusations were eventually rebutted by the Military-Industrial Commission.

Specifications and Advantages 

The RSM-56 Bulava is an Intercontinental Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile. The newest Russian submarines, the Project 955/Borei and Project 955A/Borei A class submarines, that Russia began to build in mid-1990s were designed to carry launchers for the RSM-56 missile. It is reported to be fully protected against a physical attack and to be shielded against an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attack so that it withstands a nuclear explosion at a distance of 500 m.

The Bulava's advanced technology allows it to carry up to 10 hypersonic, individually guided, maneuverable warheads with a yield of 100–150 kt each. The latest report of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, a respected publication on nuclear arsenals worldwide, corroborates this data. Perhaps the most advertised characteristic of the RSM-56 Bulava is the speed of its warheads, which are rumored to be hypersonic. The warheads are said to be individually maneuverable and capable of altering the height and course of their trajectory. They are also claimed to have a low-altitude flight profile. The missile is expected to carry a number of penetration aids and decoys.

Each warhead‘s circular error probability is estimated to be an incredible 250 to 300 m, which makes them twice as accurate as the RSM-54 Sineva.

Recent Bulava Project Chronology

2013 Sept. 6: A Bulava missile failed after the launch from a submarine. Before the launch, Rossiskaya Gazeta, the official newspaper of the Russian Duma (parliament) reported that the launch aimed to test an upgraded version of the Bulava missile. However according to the Kommersant newspaper, since the purpose of the launch was to test the overall system rather than the missile itself, it involved a serially produced vehicle lacking telemetry hardware that would be present on test versions of Bulava, thus complicating the investigation of the failure. The flight was still tracked by Daryal early warning radar in Pechora in the Russian republic of Komi, which had a "view" of Barents and White Sea. The semi-official Interfax news agency reported that a failure of the thrust vector control onboard the missile doomed its launch.

2014 Sept. 10: After a year-long break, Russia conducted a test launch of its newest submarine-based ballistic missile. A Bulava (Mace) missile blasted off from the Vladimir Monomakh nuclear submarine submerged in the White Sea. After a vertical liftoff, the Bulava headed toward the Kura impact range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East. According to a representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense quoted by the official Russian media, the launch was conducted within the program of official state testing of weaponry and life-support systems onboard the Vladimir Monomakh submarine. All flight parameters of the Bulava missile were normal and its warheads successfully reached the impact site in Kamchatka, the Ministry of Defense said. Following the test flight, the official RIA Novosti news agency also quoted Admiral Viktor Chirkov, the commander of the Russian Navy, as saying that two Russian submarines from the Borey project had been scheduled to fire a pair of Bulava missiles in October and November of this year.

2014 Oct. 29: The Project 955 Yuri Dolgoruky nuclear submarine stationed in submerged position in the Barents Sea fired a Bulava missile on a test flight. The rocket's warheads targeted the Kura impact range at the Kamchatka Peninsula. For the first time the rocket was fired from a submarine carrying all 16 Bulava missiles in its silos.

2014 Nov. 28: The Aleksandr Nevsky submarine stationed in the Barents Sea fired a Bulava ballistic missile toward the Kura impact range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, the official Russian media reported quoting the nation's Ministry of Defense spokesman.

2015 Nov. 14: The K-551 Vladimir Monomakh submarine submerged in the White Sea fired two Bulava missiles. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, both missiles headed to the Kura impact range on the Kamchatka Peninsula and reached their destination. However later reports in semi-official Russian media said that due to technical problems at launch, one of the missiles had missed its targets.  (From IDN Archives)

Complete Bulava Launch Chronology

(Data Source: Wikipedia)
Admin - IDN

Army To Recruit Civilians For 10,000 Sahayaks' Posts

Against the backdrop of controversies over using combat soldiers as buddies, the Indian Army is now planning to employ 10,000 civilians to be provided as Sahayaks for officers and JCOs posted in peace areas for helping them in their official work.

The move being undertaken by the Army headquarters - in consultations with the defense ministry - will help in freeing an equal number of combat soldiers from performing tasks of Sahayaks, which have been under the scanner after a few Jawans made videos against the system and made them viral on social media.


The Army's move will help in freeing an equal number of combat soldiers from performing tasks of Sahayaks.

They've been under the scanner after a few Jawans made videos against the system and made them viral on social media.

At the moment, the Army uses around 40,000 combat soldiers who perform Sahayak duties.
"We are going to employ around 10,000 civilians who would be helping officers and JCOs in pace stations by performing the roles of Sahayaks," Army sources told MAIL TODAY. At the moment, the Army uses around 40,000 combat soldiers who perform Sahayak duties in their respective units and regiments.

In the peace stations also, the civilians would be provided to officers from static formations such as the Army headquarters in New Delhi or the seven command headquarters in different locations in the country who don't have to move out in field areas during their posting there, they said.

Units which are deployed in places like Delhi but are part of a fighting formation like the infantry battalions here would continue to use combat soldiers as Sahayaks as they have to move into field areas for months during exercises in Rajasthan and Punjab at regular intervals, they said.


Soon after he took over, Army chief General Bipin Rawat had said the Army Headquarters had submitted a proposal to the government that "Sahayaks" could be done away with in peace locations, but had said the buddy system is important for functioning of the Army in times of wars and for deployment of forces in field areas.

Buddy system is a colonial system where combat soldiers are used as orderlies or Sahayaks to polish boots and maintain the uniform of the officers and junior commissioned officers.

However, there have been several complaints of misuse in the recent times. After controversies over misuse of Sahayaks, Army formations have asked officers to ensure that dignity of Jawans is maintained and they are not used for looking after pets and children of officers and washing private cars.

"Please refer to social media outburst by serving soldier and media statement issued by the Chief of Army Staff thereto. All formations and unit are requested to ensure that dignity of serving soldier be maintained and employment of buddies should be restricted to entitled duties only," an instruction letter from a formation in Eastern Command had said.


Center Seeks Apology From NDTV India For Its Pathankot Coverage

The Center on Friday insisted in the Supreme Court that Hindi TV channel NDTV India tender an apology for allegedly violating the telecast norms during the Pathankot terror attack last year.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told a bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan that the news channel must clearly say that it regrets the unfortunate incident that led to the government's passing direction for it to go off air for a day in November last year.

Senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for NDTV India said that the channel is ready to furnish a letter clarifying that it carries out responsible journalism.

He said that the channel is ready to state that the reportage consistently takes care of the issues of confidentiality and the Center should call a meeting to clarify and lay down clear guidelines.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on March 31.

On November 8 last year, Rohatgi had informed the court that the decision to ban the transmission on November 9 had been put on hold by the government.

He had said that NDTV would be given a hearing by the inter-ministerial committee before which the channel had made a representation for a review of the decision directing NDTV India to go off the air for allegedly violating the telecast norms.

NDTV has challenged the constitutional validity of the provision of the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act under which the order was issued against it.

The ban was been widely condemned by journalists and editors with all press councils drawing parallels between the move and the Emergency of the 1970s when basic constitutional rights including the freedom of the press were blatantly violated, the channel said on its website.