Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Why The $8-Billion Future Infantry Combat Vehicle Project of The Indian Army Continues To Be Delayed

Rheinmetall advanced modular armoured protection vehicle

Though the reason cited for putting the project under Make II category was to fast track the process of modernising the Armoured Vehicles of the Indian Army, now the long-delayed project will wait for the new government

The MoD has been pushing the industry to invest 90 per cent funds to develop the prototype of the FICV which is for modernising the Armoured Vehicles of the Indian Army

The fate of the $8-billion (approx Rs 60,000 crore) Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project for the Indian Army which has been getting delayed will now be decided by the next government. Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that the project that had been moved to the Make II category of the DPP-2016 last year in an effort to expedite it is stuck due to the lack of decision from both service headquarters and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD has been pushing the industry to invest 90 per cent funds to develop the prototype of the FICV which is for modernising the Armoured Vehicles of the Indian Army; however, due to lack of any commitment from the end user there has been reluctance from the industry. Industry sources pointed out that there have been long delays as the MoD and the Service Headquarters have yet to decide on the requirement of the vehicles. Sources have said that there have been differences of opinion between the end user the Indian Army – and the MoD which has pushed the critical program under the Make-II category.

As has been reported earlier, there has been divergence of views between the MoD and the Indian Army since last year related to the payment for this project. A senior officer had confirmed the same to Financial Express Online. Though the reason cited for putting the project under Make II category was to fast track the process of modernising the Armoured Vehicles of the Indian Army, now the long-delayed project will wait for the new government.

The FICV which is to be made in India is expected to have minimum 40% indigenous content. Companies including Titagarh Wagons, Reliance Defence and Engineering and Mahindra and Mahindra have sent their proposals to the MoD. Subject to approval some of the potential Original Equipment Manufacturers include Russian companies under the umbrella of Rosoboronexport, US-based General Dynamic and German Rheinmetall.

The FICV project was earlier approved under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model for the armoured vehicle segment under the ‘Make’ category according the DPP-2008 before being moved to Make II of DPP-2016. The DPP-16 states that in Make II category no funding is required from the MoD, whereas in the ‘Make’ category, the ministry has to provide 90% of funds up to the prototype stage. The Chapter–III of DPP-2016 has specified that the ‘Make’ procedure for indigenous design, development and manufacture of defence equipment/ weapon systems was simplified in 2016.

Around 2,600 FICVs — with a life span of 32 years, are expected to replace the Army’s old Russian-origin BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles by 2025.


The Perils of Making Nuclear Deterrence Your Campaign Rhetoric


That is why the perils of making these a part of your campaign rhetoric, bringing in your own joyous festivals, Diwali for Narendra Modi or Shab-e-Baraat earlier by Musharraf, need to be understood

by Shekar Gupta (ThePrint)

Nuclear powers are expected to be responsible, in deed and speech. Understated responsibility and strategic maturity has served India brilliantly, even post-Balakot. Narendra Modi has erred gravely in changing a successful script, and trivialising it in the campaign.

In early 2002, when India ordered full military mobilisation as part of ‘Operation Parakram following the Jaish-e-Mohammed attack on Parliament, Pervez Musharraf’s Pakistan responded with a mixture of fright and bravado.

On January 12, Musharraf made a conciliatory speech, promised not to let his territory be used by any terrorist group. India didn’t de-escalate. At that point, a substantial asymmetry still existed between the two armed forces, especially in the air. Musharraf betrayed his fear and desperation by repeatedly talking about nuclear weapons.

To further his scaremongering, he would routinely launch one missile test after another. Each of these new missiles was named after some medieval Muslim invader of India. Ghori, Ghazni, Abdali, Babur and you can Google if there were more.

Nirupama Rao, later India’s ambassador to Beijing, Washington and foreign secretary, was at the time the spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs. At her usual daily briefing, she was asked for her reaction to these missile launches. Her reply is immortal and epic. All she said was, “We are not impressed.”

In four devastating words, she had made the world laugh at the Pakistani nuclear blackmail. She didn’t bother holding forth on how India might respond to Pakistani nukes. Those things, everybody understands. So just respond to such idiotic threats with the contempt they deserve.

The journalists at her briefing laughed. Next day, the Indian and global media stepped off the nuclear kerb. India had made its point without bothering to retaliate to juvenile nonsense with nonsense or wasting any missiles in tit-for-tat tests.

Musharraf was left frustrated and furious. At one of his media interactions just after, still seething at the insult, I’d presume, particularly by a woman, he said, “What does that lady mean she is not impressed? These are serious weapons.” Or something to that effect.

The lesson is simple, and enduring. A nuclear threat was held out in 2002, in a war-like environment by usual suspect Pakistan. It was neutralised with one, clever yet deterrent diplomatic statement.

We call Pakistan the “usual suspect” because, since 1987, it has made a habit of using its nukes as a preemptive threat. It is true, regrettably, that Pakistan achieved weaponisation of its nukes earlier than India. In spite of conducting Pokharan-1 back in 1974, India had let its nuclear weapons programme languish. These days, it would be fashionable to blame only the Gandhi dynasty for it. And Indira Gandhi did indeed waste much time and focus because of her Emergency.

Following her, Morarji Desai was the only genuine and, frankly, disastrous pacifist in our history. He saw nuclear weapons and espionage as utterly immoral.

Indira Gandhi’s second term was consumed in internal strife, especially in Assam and Punjab. Rajiv Gandhi woke up to the threat and asymmetry during Exercise Brasstacks. He launched the programme for full weaponisation. I have written in detail the story of how this came to fruition as the baton was passed between eight prime ministers. The first Pakistani nuclear threat, or just the suggestion of it in 1987, made India give up its strategic hesitations.

The next blackmail from Pakistan came while the gap was still in its favour, in the summer of 1990. It is a well-documented story. Kashmir was going through its worst insurgency, Benazir Bhutto was threatening to chop Governor Jagmohan into pieces (“Usko hum jag-jag, mo-mo, han-han kar denge”), forces were up with live ammunition, we were writing cover stories on war scenarios and Pakistani foreign minister, Sahabzada Yaqub Khan, came visiting.

Don’t start a war now, he told his counterpart, IK Gujral, or there will be a fire that consumes our rivers, forests, mountains, everything. Gujral’s response was again as classy and classic as you’d expect from an old-fashioned diplomat: “I don’t know what you are talking about, Yaqub sahib, lekin jin daryaon ka paani aapne piya hai, unka hee humne bhi piya hai. (But remember, we’ve been nurtured on the waters of the same rivers as you.)”

This was again the language of deterrence. Softly spoken, yet effective. These events have also been documented in detail by American investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, the then deputy NSA, Robert Gates, and in a remarkable book, Critical Mass: The Dangerous Race for Superweapons by NBC’s Bob Windrem and Ed Burrows, and even my journalistic writings in that period.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee ignored all nuclear talk during Kargil. But, compulsive bullies that they are, the Pakistani military again tried this the day of the Balakot attacks. Its bigmouth spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor, said a meeting of their National Command Authority had been called. And, he added with a smirk, “you know what that means”. I presume somebody knocked him on the head soon after and neither he, nor anybody else, mentioned this again.

The 26-27 February crisis passed pretty much as most India-Pakistan stand-offs do, leaving each side the space to claim victory with their respective, partisan public opinion. Nobody threatened Armageddon, nobody flashed any missiles. Please do not buy that fantasy of the “planned” 12 missile strikes. This is opium-den rumour. Both sides know the implications of launching even one ballistic missile. Whatever warhead it carries, the other will presume that it’s nuclear from the moment it is launched. That is why, all ballistic missiles, in both countries, have been taken away from conventional forces and put under the charge of their respective strategic forces commands.

The fact is, the subcontinent’s nuclear deterrent worked again. When you draw the strategic balance sheet, India made a substantive gain of long-lasting value. It successfully raised the nuclear threshold. The fantasy of Pakistani pre-emptive nuke strikes is now dead and buried. India should savour this and plan both tactics and strategy going ahead accordingly.

What it surely doesn’t mean is that India should now start nuclear loose talk like Pakistan in the past. Nuclear weapons are serious business. You do not expect to ever use them and all strategy aims at that. That is why the perils of making these a part of your campaign rhetoric, bringing in your own joyous festivals, Diwali for Narendra Modi or Shab-e-Baraat earlier by Musharraf, need to be understood. Nuclear powers are expected to be responsible, in deed and speech. Understated responsibility and strategic maturity has served India brilliantly, even post-Balakot. Narendra Modi has erred gravely in changing a successful script, and trivialising it in the campaign.


Down To Earth On The ASAT Test


India has neither achieved a higher level of deterrence nor enabled a more stable strategic security environment

by MK Narayanan

Shortly before noon on March 27, India carried out a successful test of an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) weapon, launching an interceptor missile from the Balasore range in Odisha to hit a live satellite in Low Earth Orbit. It thus became the fourth country in the world to develop an ASAT capability.

Not A Game Changer

An ASAT test is hardly a game-changer as far as space warfare is concerned. Yet, the element of triumphalism seen in the Prime Minister’s announcement on television regarding the test seemed to send out a message that India was on the threshold of embarking on a new era of weaponisation of outer space. Official circles may have preferred to project the test as a technology demonstrator, but the Prime Minister’s claim that India was now capable of performing as a ‘Chowkidar’ in space, and several claims that India now had a “credible deterrence” against attacks on the country’s growing number of space assets seemed to suggest that India was not averse to weaponisation of outer space.

India has, no doubt, sought to reassure the global community that it has not violated any international treaty or understanding with this test. India has also taken great pains to advertise the fact that the international community, especially the U.S., had not faulted India for carrying out this test, in marked contrast to what had happened when China had carried out an ASAT test in 2007. Nevertheless, it would be facile to think that the world endorses India’s claims regarding its peaceful intentions.

India’s demonstration of ASAT capability comes a little more than a decade after China’s, and nearly six decades after that of the U.S. and Russia. An ASAT test is, undoubtedly, less threatening than a nuclear explosion, but the world is likely to ask why India decided to demonstrate its capability at this time, though it possessed the ability much earlier. The implications of carrying out a test of this nature, as also the concerns that previously existed about doing so, are no secret from the global community of space experts. Why India chose to ‘cross the Rubicon’ by testing an ASAT weapon at this juncture is, hence, likely to cause consternation among many, given the tacit agreement among nations not to weaponise outer space. The international community cannot be faulted if it were to think that India had deliberately breached an unwritten convention against weaponisation or militarisation of outer space.

ASAT capabilities are generally perceived as integral to ballistic missile defence programmes. This clearly identifies an ASAT test as a military programme. In turn, it implies an intention to embark on weaponisation of outer space. It is, perhaps, for this reason that countries such as Israel and France, which are believed to have this capability, have so far refrained from carrying out such tests.

Cold War Phenomenon

Given the hype surrounding ASAT weapons, it is also germane to mention that their strategic importance in providing effective deterrence in space is highly debatable today. ASAT was essentially a Cold War phenomenon whose strategic importance has declined over the years. Currently, none of the other three countries which possess an ASAT capability extol its strategic value and importance. The U.S., Russia and China, all seem to demonstrate less and less interest in pursuing ASAT weaponry. These countries are increasingly focusing on laser and cyber capabilities to achieve the objective of neutralising killer satellites. Countries are experimenting with directed-energy weapons, radio frequency weapons, etc. rather than concentrating on shooting down satellites in space. The last named also carries the danger of hitting satellites that may not be on an offensive mission, apart from the issue of space debris.

It is again a moot point whether India’s ASAT test, and its positioning as a critical element in India’s strategic defence capability, will have the desired impact that the nation’s leaders hope for. It could well result in something very different. It is almost certain, as was the case with India’s nuclear test, that Pakistan will immediately try to acquire the same capability, in all likelihood with generous assistance from China. China can also be expected to become increasingly wary of India’s intentions in space, and take appropriate counter-measures. The bottom line is that by carrying out the March 27 test, India has neither achieved a higher level of deterrence nor is it likely to lead to a more stable strategic security environment.

India would, hence, do well to play down the military objective of its ASAT test, all the more so given that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently indicated that it has, of late, carried out certain new launches such as the Microsat-R and EMISAT satellites which are intended for ‘strategic use’. More ‘defence satellites’ are reportedly in the offing. This could only fuel concerns about where India is headed. Countries not too well disposed towards India such as Pakistan and China — and perhaps some others as well — may well be carried away by our professed capabilities, and be inclined to fear the worst. This could give a country such as Pakistan ‘itchier trigger fingers’.

Neighbourhood Concerns

India’s strategic planners also would not be oblivious to the fact that it does not take much imagination, given the plethora of information coming from drone feeds, satellite data and claims made by responsible leaders, for countries to develop a totally distorted picture of an adversary’s capabilities and threat. The mere existence of such a situation could lead to heightened tensions. Based in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the world, India needs to do everything in its power to convince other nations that space is not part of India’s overt defence calculations.

Instead, India should highlight the fact that its enormously successful space programme, unlike those of many other countries, is notable for being conceived and implemented as a civilian programme, quite distinct and separate from any military programme or objective. It is this which distinguishes India’s space programme from that of countries such as the U.S., Russia and China. India’s space programme — totally civilian in nature — was conceived back in the 1960s. ISRO was set up in 1969, and the Space Commission came into existence in the early 1970s. Vikram Sarabhai is credited with creating India’s vision for exploration of space and, following his untimely demise in 1971, the mantle fell on Satish Dhawan.

It would be useful to stress that both Sarabhai and Dhawan, especially the latter, were particular that India’s space programme should steer clear of any military dimension, and that it should solely concern itself with communications, weather forecasting and the like. Consequently, India’s space programme had always steered clear of any military objectives.

India’s achievements in space have been many and it has several milestones to its credit. ISRO launched its first Indian satellite, Aryabhatta, in April 1975. In April 1982, ISRO launched the first Indian National Satellite System (INSAT-1A). The first Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) took off from Sriharikota in 2001. In October 2008, ISRO launched Chandrayaan-1, the first Indian planetary science and exploration mission to the moon. In November 2013, ISRO launched the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) spacecraft. Since then there have been many more launches.

Sarabhai’s Legacy

A generation of internationally recognised Indian space scientists (among whom may be mentioned U.R. Rao and K. Kasturirangan) after Sarabhai and Dhawan have scrupulously adhered to the same peaceful mission of the earlier preceptors, and seen to it that India steered clear of weaponisation of space, remaining committed to non-military applications.

It is critically important for those in authority to take up this task in all earnestness lest the view prevails, as is already evident in some circles, that India is keen to embark on weaponisation and militarisation of outer space. There is little strategic advantage accruing from an ASAT test; on the other hand the damage that could be caused to India’s image as a peaceful and responsible nation intent on, and committed to, peaceful uses of space could be immense.

M.K. Narayanan is a former National Security Adviser and former Governor of West Bengal and is closely associated with the Congress Party


Second Team of NTJ Terrorists Ready For Bombing, Indian Officials Tell Lanka


The attacks by suicide bombers, which killed 310, had all the hallmarks of the IS that has targeted Christians on their holy days, experts and security officials said

India is helping Sri Lanka probe the attacks with “technical and intelligence” support, and Indian security agencies are watching a Tamil Naidu-based cleric, officials said.

The National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ), the little known group blamed for the bombing of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Sunday, appears to have been inspired by Islamic State (IS) though direct links between the two are yet to be established, people familiar with developments said on Monday.

India is helping Sri Lanka probe the attacks with “technical and intelligence” support, and Indian security agencies are watching a Tamil Naidu-based cleric, the people said.

The attacks by suicide bombers, which killed 310, had all the hallmarks of the IS that has targeted Christians on their holy days, experts and security officials said. Since May last year, IS has claimed responsibility for attacks on churches in Indonesia and the Philippines.

The NTJ was formed in Kattankudy, a Muslim-dominated town in eastern Sri Lanka, in 2014. Its founder Zahran Hashim alias Abu Ubaida is believed to have been the suicide bomber who targeted Shangri-La Hotel with military grade explosives.

A video released by Al Ghuraba Media featured the seven suicide bombers allegedly involved in the attacks. Except for Abu Ubaida, the others had their faces covered and the video had messages in Arabic and Tamil. A caption in the video read “O Crusaders, this bloody day (21-04) is our reward to you”.

Though some quarters in Colombo felt the bombings were in retaliation for the March 15 Christchurch mosque attacks, the people cited above said it was believed the NTJ had been planning the attacks for over three months.

Indian counter terror experts described the NTJ as a self-radicalised Salafi group inspired by the IS, though a link between the two is yet to be established. They said a number of Sri Lankan Muslims who recently flew back from Qatar had been arrested for their alleged role in the bombings.

An intelligence officer, who requested anonymity, said the attacks couldn’t have been possible without months of planning and international players travelling to Sri Lanka to take part in the execution at different stages.

According to SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors Jihadi groups, IS supporters were celebrating the attacks, and one supporter had released photographs of three attackers, calling them “commandos”.

Senior officials, who didn’t want to be named, said India extended support for the probe after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday and offered counter terror and medical support.

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval too spoke to the Sri Lankan leadership. However, given the political sensitivities, India will provide only back-end support rather than being proactive in bringing the terrorists to book, the officials said.

India had also provided “operational grade intelligence” to Sri Lanka on an imminent attack by the NTJ on April 4, they said. Sri Lanka’s focus has been on preventing any revival of Tamil separatism and this was perhaps why Colombo hadn’t taken New Delhi’s warnings seriously, they added.

The officials said Indian security agencies had alerted Sri Lanka that another NTJ team led by Jal al-Quital alias Rilwan Marzag could carry out more attacks. Noufar Moulvi, brother-in-law of Hashim, recently returned to Sri Lanka from Qatar and had taken charge of the group, they added.

The Tamil Nadu-based cleric under watch by security agencies and the Tamil Nadu Towheed Jamaat (TNTJ) do not have any direct links with terrorism, officials said. “They have no links acts to terror but we have reason to believe that they contributed to radicalisation,” an officer said.

The TNTJ denied any links with the Sri Lanka-based group.“We do not have any association with any Towheed of any other state or country. We are an independent organisation,” said TNTJ general secretary Abdul Rahman.


Work Resumes Full Steam On Maldives Coastal Radars


The radar chain will provide a comprehensive live feed of ship movements in the Indian Ocean Region that can be used by friendly navies

by Manu Pubby

NEW DELHI: After an initial stumble following political uncertainty in the Maldives, work on setting up a coastal surveillance radar chain in the island nation has resumed full steam, with technical teams from India finishing installation work to get the system operational.

The radar chain—which will link up with similar systems in India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles—will provide a comprehensive live feed of ship movements in the Indian Ocean Region that can be used by friendly navies.

Sources have told ET that seven out of the 10 radars that had to be set up are now being fitted with the latest systems that can relay location information, videos and images live to a central command unit. While the civil work on the seven radars had been completed, the political turmoil before the change of government in November 2018 had held up operationalisation of the chain.

Three other radars had been functional but could only relay AIS (Automatic Identification System) data and are currently being upgraded by teams from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), the sources said. Once complete, these can be integrated into the ?600-crore Coastal Surveillance Radar System (CSRS) project.

As part of the plan to increase maritime domain awareness in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, coastal surveillance radars have been set up in Sri Lanka (6), Mauritius (8) and Seychelles (1). India also set up an Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in December that will share real-time maritime information with friendly nations in the region.

In the future, officers from Indian Ocean littoral will be invited for permanent deployment at the Gurgaon based centre which India believes will help reduce illegal maritime activities by providing intelligence and the means to enforce the law.


Latest Navy Helicopter Crash Highlights Urgency of Procurement

An Indian Navy operated Chetak multi-utility helicopter

by KP Sanjeev Kumar

An Alouette helicopter airborne from an Indian Navy (IN) warship crashed into the Arabian Sea on April 10, 2019. All three crew egressesed safely from the stricken helicopter after executing a successful ditching.

A press release from the Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) states “the helicopter developed technical failure prior ditching.” An investigation has been ordered.

This crash comes in the wake of at least five accidents and forced landings in past three years and puts the spotlight back on the Navy's integral helicopter woes.

The Alouettes, known as Chetaks in India, have been flying since the 60s with no major upgrades other than strapping on more role equipment. The Chetak (Alouette III, SA 316B) and its lighter sibling Cheetah (Lama, SA 315B), originally developed by Sud Aviation / Aerospatiale, are license-manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian forces.

While Chetaks are predominantly used at sea and in the plains, Cheetahs operate from sea level to high-altitude posts in the Himalayan Glacier.

The single-engine naval Alouette that was ditched at sea did not have Emergency Flotation Gear (EFG) meant to facilitate emergency water landings. This optional equipment, once installed on naval Chetaks that were deployed for Antarctic missions in 80s and 90s, was never taken up as a fleet wide modification. Sources reveal an ongoing program to bring back the mod may have run into technical and sourcing hurdles. Meanwhile, standard naval operating procedure requires these helicopters to fly without doors while operating over sea.

The MoD press release notes that “a major catastrophe was averted by the well trained Indian Naval aircrew.” However, the seriousness of such accidents must not be lost on India, vested with an expanded area of interest ill-matched by its integral helicopter fleet that is fast dwindling in numbers and teeth.

But there is hope. The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded formal approval for the 111 Naval Utility Helicopter (NUH) program on August 25, 2018, via the Strategic Partnership (SP) model. The program, valued at INR 217.38 billion (USD 3.5 billion), follows a Request for Information (RFI) issued earlier on August 22, 2017, for the NUH and 123 Naval Multi Role Helicopters (NMRH).

This year, the navy followed it up on February 12, 2019, by issuing an NUH Expression of Interest for shortlisting potential Indian Strategic Partners and foreign OEMs. As per another press release, “these helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters and will be utilised for SAR, CASEVAC, LIMO, passenger roles and torpedo drops.”

An RFP is expected to be issued to selected Indian companies by end of third quarter of 2019.

Foreign OEMs are working at a frantic pace to finalise agreements with Indian partners and field their response to tough specifications and stringent ToT requirements within 2-3 months. Ninety-five helicopters out of 111 will be manufactured in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner.

Interestingly, none of the partners vying for a slice of this gigantic pie have any experience taking a helicopter from the drawing board to the air. Many lessons are thus set to be learnt in the years to come, mostly at naval expense.

Chetaks have been providing “quick off the block” capability across the wide variety of Indian decks for decades. Even with dated technology, Indian armed forces have stretched the envelope of this simplistic machine at great cost to life and safety. The latest crash is yet another reminder that dithering on the NUH will only result in more losses.

For the NUH, meeting tough over-sea missions under ISA + 20 degrees Celsius, integration of light weight torpedo and depth charges for sub-surface targeting, EO/IR, tactical radar, RWR, MAWS, CMDS, 12.7mm machine guns, etc. will pose many challenges to light twins on a sub-4.5-ton, wheeled helicopter.

For the Indian fleet’s air arm, hope floats. Even if the Chetak doesn’t.


China Likely To Soften Stand On Masood Azhar In A Month


After the meeting, sources indicated that China, which has been blocking the move at the UNSC, could ease its hard position. JeM has been responsible for a number of terror attacks in India over the last two decades, including the one on Parliament on December 13, 2001

NEW DELHI: China is likely to ease its hard position on the issue of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar within a month, sources indicated on Monday, after Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale shared "all evidences" with the Chinese leadership in Beijing about the Pakistan-based outfit's terror activities.

Gokhale, who is on a two-day visit to Beijing, held extensive talks on Monday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the issue of listing Azhar as an international terrorist by the UN Security Council (UNSC).

After the meeting, sources indicated that China, which has been blocking the move at the UNSC, could ease its hard position.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "We have shared with China all evidences of terrorist activities of Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader Masood Azhar. It is now for the 1267 Sanctions Committee (of the UN Security Council) and other authorised bodies of the UN to take a decision on listing of Masood Azhar (as international terrorist)."

He was responding to queries on discussions that the Foreign Secretary held in Beijing with regard to proscribing of Azhar.

China has been blocking India's move, which is supported by countries like the US, the UK and France, at the UNSC to enlist Azhar as an international terrorist.

Last month, Beijing placed a latest "technical hold", for the fourth time, on a US-sponsored resolution against Azhar, a move that India called "disappointing".

"India will continue to pursue all available avenues to ensure that terrorist leaders who are involved in heinous attacks on our citizens are brought to justice," the MEA spokesperson said.

JeM has been responsible for a number of terror attacks in India over the last two decades, including the one on Parliament on December 13, 2001.

There has been an increased pitch for proscribing Azhar in the aftermath of the ghastly Pulwama terror attack on February 14, which was claimed by JeM.

Gokhale, in his opening remarks at his meeting with Wang and Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou, said China should be "sensitive" to India's concerns.

"We will work together with the Chinese side to deepen mutual understanding, strengthen mutual trust to implements the decisions that are taken by the leaders and do it in a manner where we are sensitive to each other's concerns," Gokhale said.

Gokhale, who was earlier India's Ambassador to China, said both sides were working to implement what was agreed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Wuhan summit last year.

"It's been a year since our leaders met in Wuhan and my colleagues...and I have been following up on efforts to implement the understandings that were reached at the meeting.

"Last year, we had very brisk political exchanges including your visit to Delhi for the first high-level meeting for people to people exchange was an important development. And my Minister (Foreign) looks forward to coming for the second meeting in China later this year," he added.

Wang stressed the need for India and China to step up strategic communication and cooperation.

"China and India are two major countries and neighbours. They are also two emerging market countries and are each other's emerging partners.

"In this sense, it's very important for the two countries to work together to increase strategic communications, even the geopolitical trust and strategic cooperation on international and regional issues."


Book Release : The Incredible Journey of Indian AWACS


Defence Scientific Information and Documentation Centre (DESIDOC), Delhi, brought out a monograph titled “The Incredible Journey of Indian AWACS” authored by K Ramchand, S Krishnasamy and BR Srikant.

The monograph chronicles the enthusiasm and excitement of the relentless pursuit of development of an Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System and is an inspiring narrative of scientists, engineers and men in uniform who battled against all odds to design and operate an Indian AEW&C System.


Every Chapter of the monograph mirrors the innumerable hurdles, which were conquered with key personalities recounting their experience in employing unique skills to achieve the desired results ultimately resulting in India’s entry into the exclusive league of nations with a capability to design, develop, and fly an indigenous AEW&C System.

For more information and order please contact: Director, DESIDOC DRDO, Metcalfe House Delhi-110054 DRDO WEST ZONE CRICKET TOURNAMENT Book Release Price INR 1100/-


Indian Navy Successfully Carried Out Testing Of Sahayak Air Droppable Containers


Indian Navy successfully carried out testing of Sahayak Air Droppable Containers, developed by Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam in collaboration with Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), Agra. The containers can be air-dropped to enhance Navy’s operational logistics capability at sea. With capacity of up to 50 kg, these containers can carry spares for ships up to 2000 km away from the coast.


The trials were undertaken into the Arabian Sea on 8 January 2019 from an IL-38 aircraft off the coast of Goa. A test payload of 50 kg was dropped in the container, which descended to the sea with the help of a parachute. Speaking after the trials, a naval spokesperson said: The containers would reduce the requirement of ships to be close to the coast for collecting spares and stores, thereby increasing the duration of their deployment. The Sahayak containers would enhance navy’s operational logistics capability.

“Sahayak is a lightweight air droppable container fitted with a parachute system designed to carry critical engineering stores up to 50 kg for distressed Indian naval ships at mid sea. It is dropped from a fixed wing aircraft near the vicinity of the ship in sea” he further added. The GFRP containers are designed to withstand water entry shocks and are completely water tight.

The parachute system helps to control the rate of descent of the container. This system has P4M Pyro Cutter Mechanism, designed and developed by NSTL, for separation of pilot parachute from main parachute. With the success of these trials, series production of Sahayak containers and parachutes would be undertaken The product has high export potential.

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Lashkar Has Fanned Radicalism In Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan fire fighters inspect the debris at St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo

Indian intelligence has been tracking the influence of Wahabism, with its hard-line Islamic beliefs, in eastern Sri Lanka. India warned that the region could develop into an operational zone for Lashkar-e-Taiba and like-minded Jihadi groups. LeT trying to to build bases in Sri Lanka over the past one-and-a-half decade, as part of a broader design to "encircle" India

NEW DELHI: India had tipped off Sri Lanka several times over the possibility of a jihadi attack and Indian agencies also pointed to National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) having a number of associates and followers in Pakistan.

Indian intelligence has been tracking the influence of Wahabism, with its hardline Islamic beliefs, in eastern Sri Lanka and warned that the region could develop into an operational zone for Lashkar-e-Taiba and like-minded jihadi groups.

The Pakistan link to violent groups in Sri Lanka was underlined by Lashkar's charity front Falah-i-Insaniyat advertising in 2016 its presence in the island nation apart from its activities in Syria, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Somalia. The NTJ has been seeking to harness a growing radicalisation, the seeds of which were sown by Lashkar and its 'charity' wing Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq. The latter was actively engaged in disaster relief activities in Sri Lanka and Maldives after a tsunami struck in 2004.

The sustained attempts by LeT to build bases in Sri Lanka over the past one-and-a-half decade, as part of a broader design to "encircle" India, may have helped the growth of Islamic groups such as NTJ, now named by Sri Lanka to be behind Easter Sunday's serial blasts. India's warnings were perhaps not taken with due seriousness, said sources.

According to Indian agencies, NTJ has been associated with Al Qaeda that has been radicalising and recruiting young Sri Lankans for global jihad. Later, Sri Lankan youth were learnt to be training in camps in Pakistan. It is understood that intelligence agencies also expressed concerns over Thowheed Jamaat in Tamil Nadu over possible activities related to radicalisation and a fundamentalist orientation.

That Indian intelligence agencies had warned about an attack by the NTJ has been corroborated by New York Times which said Indian security agencies had shared "specific intelligence" about a plot by the Jihadi group as early as April 4. But the daily suggested that the warning may have gone unheeded.

"The target selection and attack type make me very sceptical that this was carried out by a local group without any outside support," the NYT quoted Amarnath Amarasingam, a specialist in Sri Lankan extremism at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a counter-terrorism research group in London, as saying.

Sources said LeT and LTTE go back to 1992 when they tied up for supply of weapons and training. LTTE, as per agencies, was the first to provide weapons to Muslim radical elements in Sri Lanka. Most of these weapons were taken back by the police, though some seemed to have slipped through.

While the ISI is reported to have helped LeT develop safe houses, a Sri Lankan national Mohammad Sakir Hussain is currently under arrest after conviction in Chennai. He is alleged to be an ISI agent being run by a Pakistani diplomat Amir Siddiqui from Colombo. Siddiqui was working on a plot to attack the US consulate in Chennai as well as naval bases in south India with the help Hussain.

LeT operative Faiyaz Kagzi, an accused in the 26/11 attacks but acquitted later, had trained German Bakery blasts case convict Mirza Himayat Baig in Colombo. At least 38 Sri Lankan youths are understood to have joined the IS. Around 200 Maldivians travelled to Iraq-Syria in 2014. Maldivian agencies also reported over 50 Maldivian youth trained at LeT camps in Pakistan.


Sri Lanka Islamic Centre Merits Probe: NIA Officials


Some of them were converted to Islam at the Zakir Naik-led Islamic Research Foundation at Mumbai; the NIA has arrested Arshi Qureshi and chargesheeted him

An Islamic centre in Sri Lanka that hosted several Islamic State recruits from Kerala before they left for Afghanistan or Syria merits investigation, senior National Investigation Agency officials said on condition of anonymity, although they added that there are no evident links between it and the terror attacks in the island nation on Sunday that killed close to 300 people.

According to the NIA officials, many of these recruits travelled to Sri Lanka and were likely indoctrinated at the Islamic centre there, although they did not specify the name and the location of this centre.

“There must be somebody in Sri Lanka who was indoctrinating Indians who travelled there and was telling them and others about violent Jihad,” said one of the NIA officers.

One of the recruits, Ashfak Majeed from Kasargod, went to Sri Lanka in February 2016 along with his wife Shamsiya and daughter Ayesha; another, Abdul Rashid Abdulla from Kozhikode too left India with his wife Ayisha and daughter Sara for Sri Lanka in 2016; and still another, Palakkad native Bestin Vincent and his wife Merrin went to Sri Lanka in December 2015.

Some of them were converted to Islam at the Zakir Naik-led Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) at Mumbai; the NIA has arrested Arshi Qureshi and chargesheeted him.

According to the officials, NIA had sent a request to Sri Lanka under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) seeking information on this Islamic centre.


Narendra Modi’s Remarks On India’s Nuclear Capability Highly Unfortunate: Pakistan


A Foreign Office statement said, “It clearly contradicts the position of Indian officials, who had tried to give an impression that there were no such plans of India and instead had blamed Pakistan for ‘whipping up war hysteria’”

Pakistan on April 22 took exception to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks about India’s nuclear capability, terming them “highly unfortunate” and said such nuclear brinkmanship should be discouraged.

Pointing out that Mr. Modi referred to the night of February 27 and missile-related threat from India as Qatal Ki Raat (the night of murder), a Foreign Office (FO) statement said, “It clearly contradicts the position of Indian officials, who had tried to give an impression that there were no such plans of India and instead had blamed Pakistan for ‘whipping up war hysteria’.”

“Such nuclear brinkmanship needs to be discouraged,” it said.

Addressing an election rally at Patan in Gujarat on April 21, Mr. Modi said after Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was caught, Opposition started seeking a reply from him.

“We held a press conference and warned Pakistan that if anything happened to our pilot, you will keep telling the world what Modi did to you. A senior American official said on the second day that Modi has kept 12 missiles ready and might attack and the situation will deteriorate. Pakistan announced return of the pilot, or else it was going to be a Qatal Ki Raat,” he said.

The FO statement said, “Pakistan considers these remarks as highly unfortunate and irresponsible.”

“Such rhetoric for short-term political and electoral gains, with complete disregard to its effects on strategic stability in South Asia is regrettable and against norms of responsible nuclear behaviour,” it added.


Senior US Diplomat To Travel To India And Pakistan


A senior US diplomat is headed for New Delhi to hold discussions on a “free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region”, a phrase often used while dealing with China’s aggressive posture in the region

The meeting comes ahead of Beijing’s second Belt and Road Forum, which India and the US are not attending.

A senior US diplomat is headed for New Delhi to hold discussions on a “free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region”, a phrase often used while dealing with China’s aggressive posture in the region.

The meeting comes ahead of Beijing’s second Belt and Road Forum, which India and the US are not attending.

Principal deputy secretary of state Alice Wells, who heads the state department’s South and Central Asia section, “will meet with senior Indian government officials to discuss US-India cooperation in promoting a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region”, the US state department said in a statement Monday.

The two sides will also “continue to advance initiatives agreed upon at the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue last fall”, during Wells’s visit, the statement added.

Wells, who will remain in the region until April 30, is also scheduled to visit Bhutan and Pakistan.

The discussion regarding the Indo-Pacific region is likely to be the highlight of the New Delhi visit. Both India and the United States have long-standing concerns about China’s aggression in the region and beyond, especially as a consequence of its controversial Belt and Road Initiative.

They have concerns about the projects undertaken by China in countries that have signed up for the Belt and Road Initiative under predatory funding conditions that end up threatening their sovereignty.


Indian Army Killed 66 Terrorists In 2019, 27 From Jaish-E-Mohammed

Neutralised terrorist Usman Ibrahim, Nisar Ahmad Tantray & Muhammad Umar, are terrorists who have been neutralised as part of the Indian Army's special drive

Based on the leads provided by the 40 suspects of Jaish and electronic surveillance, a total of four terrorists involved in the Pulwama attack have been neutralised

In just one and a half months, the security forces and intelligence agencies completely neutralised the terrorists believed to be involved in the Pulwama attack.

The Indian Army had launched a special operation drive against Jaish-e-Mohammed after the Pulwama attack in February this year. Out of the 66 terrorists killed in 2019, at least 27 were from Pakistan-based terror outfit.

In just one and a half months, the security forces and intelligence agencies completely neutralised the terrorists believed to be involved in the Pulwama attack.

Some overground and active supporters have also been arrested and deported, top government sources told India Today TV.

Based on the leads provided by the 40 suspects of Jaish and electronic surveillance, a total of four terrorists involved in the Pulwama attack have been neutralised while four others have been arrested.

Kamran, Mushashir Ahmed Khan and Sajjad Bhat are the names of a few terrorists gunned down by the Indian Army in the special operation.

ISI and JeM are now reportedly diverting terrorists from Afghanistan to bolster their operations in Jammu and Kashmir.

A high level of coordination between the Haqqani network and JeM has also been tracked by Indian and international agencies.

On February 15, a delegation of Haqqani network met terrorist Masood Azhar in Bahawalpur. After the attack on February 26 in Balakot, Jaish cadres are reportedly being trained in Haqqani network facilities.


DRDO Gearing Up For User Evaluation Trials of Advanced Lightweight Torpedo

Advanced Lightweight Torpedo being launched from Ship-borne Launcher

A self-reliant and strong navy to protect India’s maritime interests is central to our national policy. DRDO is involved in design and development of highly complex and technologically intensive naval warfare systems to meet the requirements of the Indian navy.

Advanced Lightweight Torpedo (ALWT) is an anti-submarine torpedo launched from ship, helicopter or from a fixed wing aircraft. The presence of enemy target is detected by the sonar on-board a ship or an aircraft. Based on target parameters estimated by the sonar and Fire Control System, torpedo is fired with a few preset parameters to ensure that the weapon is in most favourable position to acquire the target, home in and destroy it. As submarine can change course and depth during its evasive manoeuvre, the weapon is to be guided in both horizontal and vertical planes to attack the target. 


Lightweight torpedoes around the world conform to a diameter of 324 mm, an overall length of 2.5-3 m and weigh around 300 kg. ALWT has an operational depth of 600 m, is capable of being launched from lightweight torpedo tubes of IN ships, Advanced Light Helicopter and Sea King 42B helicopters of the IN.

The main sub-systems of ALWT are classified into mechanical and electronics sub-systems:

Mechanical Sub-Systems Comprise: 

Nose Cone & SPU Shells
Exercise Head
Inertial Navigation System & Battery Shells
Rear Section
Sealing System
Propulsion Electric drive and motor
Pump Jet Propeller (PJP)
Actuation System
Integrated Pneumatic Recovery System (IPRS) and Sunken Torpedo Recovery System (STRS)
Flight in Air Mechanism (FIAM) including parachute, torpedo release mechanism etc.

Electronic Systems Comprise:

Homing system (Acoustic Sensors, Front End Electronics and Signal Processing System)
On-board Computer
Integrated Instrumentation and Recording System (IIRS) and Recovery Systems
Inertial Navigation System (INS) / Attitude & Heading Reference System (AHRS)
Battery Systems and Scoop Bulk Head
Power Electronic Drive and BLDC Motor
Actuation System
Presetter System

Conclusion

Naval weapons and platforms operate under entirely different environmental conditions. And focusing on this aspect, different set of technologies, which require integration of multi disciplinary technologies was developed. ALWT has completed 32 technical trials at sea and is gearing up for User Evaluation Trials.

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