Sunday, May 28, 2017

Indigenous Scorpene Submarine Test-Fires Torpedo

The indigenous Kalvari submarine has successfully test-fired a torpedo, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday, congratulating the scientists and engineers for it - Representation

The indigenous Scorpene class submarine has successfully test-fired a torpedo, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said on Saturday, congratulating the scientists and engineers for it. The minister said in a series of tweets that the test was done by the first Scorpene class submarine Kalvari, but did not say which torpedo was tested. “Congratulations to our scientists, engineers on successfully test firing torpedo from the first indigenously built Scorpene Class Submarine. “This indigenously built stealth Submarine Awill soon add potent underwater capability to the Indian Navy,” he said.

On March 2, the Kalvari, the first of the six Scorpene submarines being built in India, had test fired an anti-ship missile for the first time. The Scorpenes submarines are being built by Mazagaon Dockyard Limited under Project 75 with transfer of technology from the collaborator, DCNS of France. Two of the submarines are ready, and rest four are under construction.

Kalvari is undergoing sea trials and expected to be commissioned in mid-2017. The second submarine Khanderi was launched on January 12 this year, and will undergo rigorous tests and trials in the harbour and at sea, on surface and underwater till December this year, and will be commissioned in the Navy after that.

The state-of-the-art features of the Scorpenes include superior stealth and ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons.

The attacks could be carried out with torpedoes, tube-launched anti-ship missiles both while underwater or on surface in all theatres, including the tropics, giving it invulnerability unmatched by many other submarines.


Seiler To Provide Optical Fire Control Kits For Indian M777A2 Howitzers

M18A1 Fire Control Quadrant used for US Army's M777 howitzers

Seiler Instrument and Manufacturing was awarded a $15 million contract for procurement of 145 optical fire control kits, and associated spare parts, in support of Indian M777A2 howitzers.

One bid was solicited and one bid received. Work is expected to complete by May 24, 2022, the US Department of Defense said in a statement Thursday.

India had signed a deal with the US for importing the Howitzers for $750 million via a Foreign Military Sale with the US government in December last year.

The Indian defense procurement agency had approved the proposal in June last year. The deal had not progressed since 2012 due to cost issues and because the BAE had not been able to come up with a proposal fully complaint to the offset requirements.

India earlier this month received the first two of 145 M777 ultra-light howitzers. Under the contract, 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition (two per month will be delivered), while 120 will be assembled at the proposed assembly integration and test facility for the weapon system in India in partnership with Mahindra Defence, located in Faridabad.

Syndicated Feed

DRDO Upgrades Penta-Rail Supersonic Track Facility

DRDO RTRS Penta Rail Supersonic

Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) Chandigarh has proven self-reliance in the development of technologies for warhead systems for tactical missiles and provides state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities for assessment of terminal effects of armament systems.

It has built strong technology base in the country in the field of armaments by providing requisite infrastructure and committed quality. This issue of Technology Focus is targeting on emerging technologies and advanced testing and diagnostic facilities established at TBRL.

Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS)

Rail Track Rocket Sled (RTRS), a national test facility, has been established in 1988 in TBRL Ranges Ramgarh for dynamic testing of systems/sub-system of missiles, aerospace products like parachute systems, UAVs, wing opening mechanisms and armament systems like fuzes, warhead, bombs, etc.

Any new system development requires testing under the best possible simulated environmental conditions. These tests can be broadly classified into laboratory tests, track test, and flight tests. Captive track testing, as used in RTRS, constitutes an optimum solution between lab test and full scale flight tests. The dynamic testing at RTRS has distinct advantage that the test item can be recovered for its post analysis after the test is over. This makes it more effective and economical for repetitive tests and analysis. The most frequently monitored parameters are velocity, acceleration, load, angle of attack, vibration, etc.

RTRS facility is also utlised for evaluation of bombs/warheads in impact mode. Initially, the facility consisted of 1.2 km long dual track of 700 mm guage. It was extended to 2.0 km in 2003 to meet the user requirements. The track has now been extended to 3.83 km along with new tri-rail parallel track of gauge 1.0 m and 1.4 m gauges options between 0.7 m to 4.86 m (outer to outer) to accommodate variety of payloads. It has culminated the RTRS facility to RTRS Penta-rail Supersonic Track. The present track has dynamic load bearing capacity of 50 tons on any point. The maximum velocity achieved so far is nearly Mach 2. 

RTRS is now establishing new testing techniques for escape system testing, 1,000 kg class warhead/bomb in impact mode and various fuzes like proximity, impact delay, etc.

Test Methodology

Unit under test is made captive on a specially designed sled for testing. Cluster of rocket motors are used to generate required dynamic conditions. For carrying out the analysis, data are acquired through various ground based as well as on-board instrumentation. Data acquired with various modes are processed and analysed for performance evaluation. Besides this, photo instrumentation is also positioned along the track, covering area of interest, to record various events occurring during trials.

Applications of RTRS Facility

– Air defence target interceptor interaction simulation for proximity fuze testing
– Terminal ballistics studies
– Performance analysis of missile sub-systems
– Evaluation of bombs and fuzes
– Evaluation of parachute and payload recovery systems

Our Bureau

Government Taking Steps To Achieve Defence Sector Self-Sufficiency

Sweden's SAAB Gripen fighters may well be made in India as part of "Make In India" program

Fighter jets, helicopters, armoured vehicles and submarines are the four areas under the model

HYDERABAD: The government is taking many steps, with an emphasis on 'Make in India', to make the country advance technologically and to achieve self-sufficiency in the defence sector, G Sateesh Reddy, Scientific Advisor to Raksha Mantri, said here today.

"Lot of developments have taken place and lot of initiatives have been taken. Lot more initiatives are going to come. Many of these things, missiles..., the government is looking for fast reaching self-sufficiency in these areas; in the country we are able to, we will not be importing," he said.

Reddy was speaking at the National Technology Day celebration organised jointly by the Andhra Pradesh Akademi of Sciences and Telangana Academy of Sciences here.

Reddy said a top priority is given to buying Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured (IDDM) items as per the new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP).

Under the Strategic Partnership model announced by the Centre two days ago, tie-ups can be formed between Indian and foreign firms for defence manufacturing within the country, he said.

Fighter jets, helicopters, armoured vehicles and submarines are the four areas under the model.


DRDO Set Sight On Coherent Directed Cutting-Edge Research Areas

A CGI concept rendering of India's Advanced Medium Combat Stealth Fighter

DRDO has identified the following topics for future research. Project proposals are invited from Universities and Other Academic Institutes/Colleges and R&D Centres, with innovative ideas, the outcome of which will benefit various DRDO’s ongoing and futuristic programs.

Low Observable Technologies

The whole spectrum of techniques used to reduce electromagnetic signature, be it Infra red, electromagnetic emission, Radar or Sonar form a part of such technology, which encompasses materials, shapes or finishes for absorption, reflection and/or deflection of radar waves in directions other than the sensors etc.

GaN Devices

GaN being the most important Direct-bandgap semiconductor material, it is useful in Opto-electronic, higher frequency and high power devices.

SiC based Technology

Silicon carbide (SiC) a very hard and strong material, previously used as an excellent abrasive is now being developed as material because of its ability to function in high temperature, high frequency, high power and high radiation conditions which will enable large performance enhancements in a wide variety of systems and applications.

Technologies For Soldier Support

Soldier modernization is a set of activities to enhance an Infantryman’s lethality, survivability, tactical situational awareness, C4I, sustainability and mobility. To enhance the Infantryman’s role as a platform and a “system of systems” of his own, expanding his capability to receive, send, analyse and display data is aimed at.

Nanotechnology

Nano science and Technology is an emerging field with scope for the advancement, upgradation and value addition of various defence systems.

TeraHertz

Terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum provides tangible solution to important practical problems such as concealed explosive detection, forgery and fake currency identification, non destructive testing on non metallic devices and many similar applications.

Sensors

Sensors are devices that receive and respond to a signal or stimulus, form an integral part of signal processing, communication and control systems. Besides being rapidly deployable, self organizing and fault tolerant they should cater to a variety of requirements such as acoustic, seismic, IR, magnetometers, imagers, micro radars etc.

Laser

The unprecedented precision and speed of lasers make them an integral part of any system to provide dominance over adversary. Lasers have exceptional characteristics like low divergence, short pulse width and speed of light which enable to intercept and interrogate the far off targets almost in real time. New technologies in material growth and diode lasers produce high peak and average power at various wavelength.

Functional Materials

The functional materials are distinctly different from structural materials and their physical and chemical properties are sensitive to changes in the environment such as pressure, temperature, electric and magnetic field, optical wavelength, adsorbed gas molecules, pH value etc.

Multiband Conformal Antennas

Miniature wireless communication devices operating in multiband/multimode, compact antenna for mobile satellite terminals require conformal antennas to enhance multiband performance in terms of impedence matching characteristics as well as radiation patterns, easy installation, providing wider bandwidth and eliminating visual signature.

Gas  Turbine Technologies

Design construct and operate reliable and efficient gas turbines to meet the needs and respect environment.

Hypersonics

The air-breathing hypersonic technologies and the development of hypersonic cruise vehicles are attracting the attention of the aerospace community all over the world because they have potential of application in the areas of space, civil and military sectors.In the military sector, the technologies would enable the development of hypersonic cruise missiles, which are ideal weapons against time critical targets and buried/hardened targets. 

Nanophotonics

Utilizing light-matter interactions on the nanometer-scale, offers the ability to break through the diffraction limit of light and open the door to novel optical technologies. The unique nature of optical near-fields, allowing interactions at high density free from the classical diffraction limit, nanophotonics has enabled "miniaturization" of light-matter interactions, impacting various areas such as spectroscopy, optical memories, and so on. Nanophotonics can provide high bandwidth, high speed and ultra-small optoelectronic components.

High Energy Materials

The high energy materials have low calorific values compared to conventional fuels like coal or petrol; however, they release energy at millisecond (propellants) to microsecond (high explosives) scale.

High Power Microwave

High Power Microwaves (HPM) is a potential technology area that offers innovative approaches to existing defence applications. HPM means peak powers of the order or more of 100 MW, with typical values upto ten GWs, in the microwave frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum. 

Network Centric Operations

Technologies that support the new war-fighting doctrines that are emerging in the era of ubiquitous sensing, connectivity and computation form the backbone of NCO. 

MEMS

These micro scale mechanics integrated on si-chip capabilities to work as a sensor & actuator coupled with C-MOS signal conditioning circuits to be studied for their use in control, guidance, telemetry, radar, acoustics etc. 

High Efficiency Aerodynamics

Design to improve high cruise efficiency, low-speed performance and safety and impeccable handling characteristics for near ideal aerodynamics. 

Active Protection System for Armoured Fighting Vehicle’s 

Active protection system is a hit avoidance system intended to detect, intercept and destroy by physically attacking the following weapons resulting in degraded lethality:

· Anti-tank guided missiles
· Top attack anti tank ammunition
· Rocket propelled Grenades (unguided)
· Kinetic energy projectiles

Our Bureau

3-D Printed Rocket Could Challenge India, China For Affordable Satellite Launch Services

California-based company Rocket Lab said it had launched a test rocket into space from its New Zealand launch pad, although the rocket didn’t reach orbit as hoped 

The launch of California-based Rocket Labs' battery-powered and 3-D printed rocket yesterday that costs $5 million per flight could challenge affordable satellite launch services from India and China.

The first flight was conducted in New Zealand facility because of the open seas to its south, and a relatively low amount of air traffic, unlike in the United States, boats and flights have to be re-routed for most rocket launches.

On February 15, ISRO launched a rocket that put 104 satellites into orbit around the earth, breaking a world record as it did so.

3D-printed rocket launched in New Zealand

India’s most significant advantage right now is its ability to provide a low-cost alternative to present operators in the lightweight satellite launch market. According to a report, India charges only $15 million for its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) launches, aided in part by government subsidies. SpaceX an American private launch company charges $62 million ($ 2,719/Kg) and the Japanese H-IIA launch costs more than $80 million and a Chinese Telecommunications satellite mission costs around $70 million

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket is unusual in many respects. It keeps the costs low by using lightweight, disposable rockets with 3D-printed engines. It carries only a small payload. It is made from carbon fiber and uses an electric engine. Rocket Lab says each launch will cost just $5 million, a tiny fraction of a typical rocket launch.
But in comparison to Rocket Labs' 3-D printed rocket that costs $5 million per launch, making it smaller and cheaper than the rockets currently used to launch satellites. This disposable rocket is 17m long and will be able to carry a load of only 150 kg into orbit.

Early this year, China had announced its plans to provide space and aviation-related services to countries involved in its 'One Belt and One Road' initiative, such as satellite communications, navigation and weather forecasting analysis.

The output value of China’s satellite navigation and locating services totaled 210 billion yuan (30.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2016 and sector is forecast to have about 400 billion yuan in annual output value by 2020.

Our Bureau

China Hopes Indian Leaders To Be Present At Next OBOR Meet


Ma Zhanwu said the idea behind OBOR was not to form a small bloc against any country, but to explore the possibilities of working together

KOLKATA: Chinese consul-general Ma Zhanwu here today expressed disappointment over Prime Minister Narendra Modi not attending the recently concluded OBOR meet in Beijing and hoped that Indian leadership would attend the next meeting in 2019 at the same venue.

"China had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers to the One Belt One Road (OBOR) meet in Beijing. However, they did not find it convenient to attend the meet. Some Indian scholars had attended," Ma Zhanwu said at a Calcutta Chamber of Commerce session on Indo-China relationship.

He said that representatives from 130 countries had attended the OBOR meet.

Zhanwu said the idea behind OBOR was not to form a small bloc against any country, but to explore the possibilities of working together.

China's foreign policy was guided by the five principles of 'Panchsheel', Zhanwu said, adding his country always believed in non-aggression and peaceful co-existence with the neighbours.

The Chinese consul-general said the two countries have differences which could not be solved in the short term but were kept within control through negotiations.

Zhanwu said, "Some see China as a security threat."

"We have great respect for India. Still, there have been apprehensions when China builds spaceships, re-positions its aircraft carrier," he said.

An atmosphere for bilateral relationship is important for proper economic cooperation between the two countries.

"I am dismayed over the slow progress of economic cooperation between India and China in terms of trade and investment. In the next five years, China will invest USD 750 billion globally and import USD eight trillion of commodities and services," he said.

Zhanwu hoped that India would be able get a big chunk of those investment and import orders.


Pakistan Calls On UN, International Community To Stop Violence In Kashmir


Aziz accused India of making attempts to discredit the Kashmiri indigenous movement

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan today called on the UN and the international community to stop the violence in the Kashmir Valley.

In a statement, Foreign Office said the Prime Minister's Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz expressed grave concern at the constant ceasefire violations by Indian forces at Line of Control.

Aziz accused India of making attempts to discredit the Kashmiri indigenous movement. He also alleged that India was trying to change the demography of Kashmir to convert the majority Kashmiri into minority territory, which Pakistan has brought to the attention of the UN.

He reaffirmed Pakistan's unflinching support for Kashmiris in their struggle for the right to self- determination.


Elimination of Sabzar Bhatt, A Big Boost For Army Morale

Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Terrorists Sabzar Bhatt and Burhan Wani, both eliminated by the Army

Defence experts believe that the successful elimination of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Sabzar Bhatt in Tral gives a huge boost to the morale of the Indian Army.

'When the defence minister and chief of Indian army staff support the army, like in Major Gogoi case this sure boosts the morale of the soldiers,' Shivali Deshpande one of the experts, told ANI.

Deshpande however, cautioned that the mistakes committed by government after Burhan Wani's encounter should not be repeated again in this case.

Wing Commander (Retired) Praful Bakshi, credited the successful encounter to the enhanced ambit of action for the Indian Army. He also stated that Major General Narula's statement regarding the army's changed pro-active policy would stabilize the situation.

He said pre-emptive action of the army is the need of hour and there should be increased coordination between paramilitary forces, army and intelligence agencies for better efficiency.

Two terrorists including Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Sabzar Bhatt, who succeeded Burhan Wani, were killed in an encounter in Saimu sector of Tral in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.

The Tral operation is a coordinated effort of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR), the JKP, Special Operation Group (SOG) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

An operation was launched by locally deployed RR troops at around 9 p.m. yesterday and concluded today.


India-Malaysia Partnership In The Pink


India views its ties with Malaysia as a core element of its Act East Policy, while the Malaysian leadership has taken note of India’s geopolitical importance and the many attractions of its market Both nations share a strong commitment to multiculturalism, democracy and inclusive development.

by Rajiv Bhatia

It’s the 60th anniversary this year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Malaysia and India, and an apt time to take stock of ties that have been mostly in a steady state of bloom.

Malaysia is one of the prominent leaders of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), together with Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. All four countries enjoy multi-faceted ties with India, both in the regional and bilateral contexts, while also having a very substantial relationship with China.

The Malaysian leadership’s driving motivations in its relationship with India are: unease with China’s assertiveness in the region, realisation of India’s geopolitical importance in Asia, and the attractions of the growing Indian market. This explains why India-Malaysia relations currently are in the pink. But divergences and differences too have marked this relationship, given the two countries’ different locations, state of governance and development, and interpretations of national interest.

The Malaysian prime minister was among the four ASEAN leaders who attended the Belt Road Forum (BRF) in Beijing earlier this month. (The other leaders were from Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam.) India pointedly declined the invitation.

Malaysia is an active participant in current negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes both China and India. At the same time, Malaysia is one of the four ASEAN countries that are part of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); it is presently engaged in endeavours to ensure TPP’s survival, after President Trump ordered America’s withdrawal from it.

There is yet another significant clue about Malaysia’s regional strategy: as the Trump administration shows unwillingness to assert leadership in East Asia, Malaysia and other ASEAN members have chosen to be more conciliatory towards China on the contentious South China Sea question. The way has recently been cleared for a draft framework agreement on the Code of Conduct (COC). New Delhi seems busy deciphering the implications of this development.

Against this backdrop, the Malaysian government has been notably consistent in according priority to deepen economic, political, security and defence cooperation with India. Formally, the two nations have an “enhanced Strategic Partnership”. India views its ties with Malaysia as a core element of its Act East Policy. Both nations share a strong commitment to multiculturalism, democracy, pluralism and inclusive development.

On the diplomatic side, India and Malaysia work together to uphold the freedom of navigation and over flights in the South China Sea and elsewhere and to adhere to the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They also display a resolute will to counter terrorism and radicalisation. In fact, India admires the Malaysian model of moderate Islam and the success of its de-radicalisation program. The latter may have some relevance to the situation in India. This mutual understanding seems to have insulated official relations from being disturbed by the activities of Zakir Naik, an Indian Islamic preacher, currently under the scanner of Indian agencies, who was based in Malaysia for several years. Counter-terrorism cooperation and intelligence exchange seem to be on a growth path.

A series of high-level visits has nurtured political ties. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Prime Minister Modi visited Malaysia in 2010 and 2015 respectively. Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak paid three visits to India – in 2010, 2012 and, most recently, from 30 March-4 April 2017. The latest visit not only showcased the close friendship and expansion of bilateral cooperation, but also indicated their future trajectory. It is worth recalling that bilateral relations used to be frayed and complex during the era of the previous prime minister, Mahathir Mohammed, whereas they have showed steady improvement since Najib came to power in 2009.

Mutual negative perceptions, which existed in the past, have diminished, but they have not disappeared altogether. The Indian side tends to view Malaysia as being too close to China, deeply sympathetic towards Pakistan, and always anxious to assert its Islamic identity under the influence of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The Malaysian side seems to dwell on the disconnect between India’s commitments and delivery, the huge asymmetry of power between China and India, and the impressive success of Malaysia’s development model as compared to India’s. Nevertheless, politico-economic convergences and bonds of history, culture and the diaspora have ensured that the two nations essentially relate to each other as good partners and friends today.

Malaysia’s proximity to China notwithstanding, Kuala Lumpur prefers to keep its channels to New Delhi open. In a subtle reference to the China factor, PM Modi recently observed, “Prime Minister Najib and I are also conscious of our role and responsibility in promoting economic prosperity, freedom of navigation, and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, especially its Oceans.”

The economic dimension is undoubtedly of considerable significance. Bilateral trade has been somewhat erratic due to the global slowdown: it decreased from $16.9 billion in 2014-15 to $12.8 billion in 2015-16. The two governments want it to reach the level of $15 billion in the immediate future. Investment quantum looks healthy. Malaysian investments in India, valued at $7 billion, surpassed Indian investments in Malaysia standing at $2.5 billion by a large margin. Malaysian companies have been a force to reckon with, particularly in the infrastructure sector. According to official calculations, Malaysian companies have completed 53 highway and road projects in India so far.

The CEO Forum, held during PM Najib’s recent visit, underlined the need for fresh investment flows both ways, identifying “the knowledge deficit on the opportunities available” as a challenge to be addressed. Infrastructure, healthcare, education, SME, civil aviation and tourism were considered as key sectors for further cooperation. While Indian companies are exploring new possibilities in the railways and water treatment sectors, Malaysian corporates can certainly contribute more to road construction, power generation, airport and port development. Further, an expectation exists that the Malaysian Pension and Provident Funds may invest more in Indian infrastructure assets. There is a shared business view in both countries that economic ties would benefit from early conclusion of a balanced RCEP that encompasses trade in goods and services.

The people-to-people aspect of the relationship is also significant. A nation of 28 million, Malaysia is home to a nearly two million-strong Indian origin community that accounts for 7% of the total population. This is rated as the highest share of Indian diaspora in any East Asian country. The Malaysian PM began his recent visit from Tamil Nadu, presumably in recognition of the fact that 85% of Malaysian Indians are of Tamil origin. His taking a selfie with popular star Rajinikanth revealed a desire to cultivate the Tamil connection as the next elections approach in Malaysia. This is a country where Indian cultural products are quite popular.

Many in India’s strategic community hold the view that Malaysia, together with the other Big Three of ASEAN, needs to work towards increasing its unity and solidarity. This alone will make ASEAN’s claim to “centrality” – its pivotal, even leading, role in East Asia – credible. This centrality has been under much stress in recent years from China’s policies and actions. It is in India’s interest to strengthen ASEAN as a robust and active actor in Asian affairs. This strategic calculus provides a powerful rationale for the two countries to further enhance their mutual cooperation.

PM Najib’s portrayal of India and Malaysia as the two “examples of moderate, civilised, peaceful countries that prize education, the safety and well-being of our peoples, and the equitable and sustainable pursuit of growth” is, thus, right on the dot.

Rajiv Bhatia is Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Program, Gateway House. He has extensive experience of diplomatic work and study in Southeast Asia


Govt Eyes Made-In-India Lithium Ion Batteries To Lower Cost of Electric Vehicles

LeEco of China begins building $3 billion electric car factory, India has much catching up to do

The government is contemplating incentivising manufacturers to set up facilities for making lithium-ion batteries in India to lower the cost of electric vehicles, a move likely to discourage Chinese car makers seeking to enter the market.

Elaborating on the plans to develop low-cost lithium-ion batteries in India, Union heavy industry minister Anant Geete said efforts are being made to remodel the battery made by Indian Space Research Organisation so that it can be used in electric vehicles.

“We are trying to establish a manufacturing facility with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited entailing an investment of Rs 100 crore. Maruti also wants to invest Rs 2 lakh crore for manufacturing lithium batteries,” Geete told PTI.

He said the government is also mulling over incentives for domestic car makers, who invest in setting up facilities to manufacture lithium-ion batteries in India.

The government is aggressively trying to push the sales and production of electric vehicles in the country through schemes such as FAME India, which may have caught the fancy of Chinese automobile manufacturers such as BYD and SAIC who are already investing heavily in electric technology.

“Today the only country manufacturing lithium batteries is China, so business will increase for them as we push electric mobility in India. This is a matter of happiness for them. However, their happiness will be short-lived. We do not want to give this happiness to China for a long time therefore we are making efforts for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries in India,” Geete said.

A 12 per cent levy on pure electric vehicles (EVs) has been proposed under the Goods and Services Tax regime, a move that reflects the government’s intention to push its adoption.

Secretary in the department of heavy industry Girish Shankar said since the lithium-ion battery is not manufactured in India and the automobile industry has to depend on imports.

“We need to develop indigenous production capabilities for lithium-ion batteries so that electric vehicles can become affordable,” Shankar said while addressing a conclave here.

With an aim to promote eco-friendly vehicles, the government had launched the FAME India scheme in 2015 offering incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles of up to Rs 29,000 for bikes and Rs 1.38 lakh for cars.


Ex-Servicemen Will Soon Get New Smart Cards To Avail Healthcare Benefits

Armed Forces veterans meeting Prime Minister Modi at a rally in Gujarat

by Manu Pubby

The roll out of cards to over 24 lakh veterans and their families will be a carried out over the next year

NEW DELHI: Veterans will soon get new smart cards to avail healthcare benefits with the ex-servicemen department introducing new security features to ensure that the facility is not misused. The new cards, expected to be issued with two to four months, will have features like a chip that will store all information for the veteran and family members.

The card, the first of this kind to be issued for veterans, will be the one point access for them to avail of ex-servicemen contributory health scheme benefits. The roll out of cards to over 24 lakh veterans and their families will be a carried out over the next year.

Officials told ET that the card are being issued to prevent misuse – including cases in which hospitals raise fake or multiple bills to make a quick buck.

“Individual cards will be issued to the veteran and to each family member. Safeguard includes cards for dependents that will automatically expire once they reach the age on 21,” a defence ministry official said.

As reported by ET, large scale fraud within the veteran’s health care scheme has been alleged, with an internal report claiming fraudulent claims and attempts to process bills for beneficiaries declared dead.

Officials said that these concerns have been addressed and adequate safeguards put into place to ensure that no such malpractice occurs. “For example, we found that multiple claims were being made on an account even after the person was recorded dead. This was found to be an accounting error as family members were availing the facility after the veteran had passed away. The new cards will take care of such issues,” the official said.


Army Mounts Operations In Kashmir, 10 Militants Killed In 24 Hours


Army troops yesterday foiled an attack by Pakistan's Border Action Team (BAT) on a patrol party along the LoC in Uri sector, killing two militants

JAMMU: The Army today said its relentless operations to thwart attempts by Pakistan to boost terror activities in Kashmir have borne fruit, resulting to the deaths of ten militants since yesterday.

"Relentless operations by security forces have defeated desperate attempts by Pakistan and Pakistan-sponsored agents to spread terror in the state in the run up to the holy month of Ramzan," the defence spokesman of the Northern Command said.

In the last 24 hours, ten heavily armed intruders and terrorists have been successfully eliminated, he said.

In the ongoing counter-infiltration operations along the LoC in Rampur sector, six armed intruders have been intercepted and eliminated, he said.

In another counter-terror operation which was based on specific information from a local source in Tral in South Kashmir, have so far resulted in deaths of two terrorists, he said.


Nirbheek: Contrary To Expectations, Men Major Buyers of Short-Muzzled Revolver Priced Rs 1.35 Lakh A Piece

Indian Ordnance Factory (IOF) 'Nirbheek', a 0.32 calibre Revolver

by Shailesh Menon

Indian Ordnance Factory launched ‘Nirbheek’, a 0.32 calibre revolver, in 2014 — about two years after the ‘Nirbhaya’ incident

MUMBAI: The hardwood butt jolted the tiny shoulders of 11-year-old Gyaneshwari Singh as a bullet blasted off the smoking muzzle of a Mauser. Yuvraj Mahendra Singh, of the Bilkha royal family in Gujarat, was teaching his daughter the basics of shooting at their palace firing range bordering the Girnar clump.

"The excitement, the fear... Oh God! I did not expect that kind of a recoil," Gyaneshwari reminisces about her first 'assisted' target-practice 26 years ago. "You feel good when you know how to shoot... It's liberating like, maybe, knowing to drive a car. Guns make you feel you're in power," says Gyaneshwari, whose arms collection now includes a deadly 12 bore rifle and two pistols — a 0.22 and a 410. "Girls should be taught about using guns... It's a great weapon for self-protection, much like Karate or any other martial art," she adds.


This precisely was the reason Indian Ordnance Factory (IOF) launched 'Nirbheek', a 0.32 calibre revolver, in 2014 — about two years after the 'Nirbhaya' incident. Billed as India's first "firearm for women", Nirbheek weighs just over 500 gm, and the short-muzzled revolver packs faultlessly inside a women's clutch or handbag.

Since its introduction, IOF has sold more than 3,000 Nirbheek revolvers, priced about Rs 1.35 lakh apiece, to gun licence holders in the country. In absolute terms, the sales figures may appear small, but considering the limited number of gun licences issued across Indian states, any civilian firearm selling over a thousand units is considered a blockbuster. An email sent to IOF seeking data on sales figures had elicited no response at the time of going to press.

WHO ARE THE BUYERS? 

Ironically, this revolver that comes in a decorative velvet box, is being purchased by men. If dealer logs are to be believed, just over a 100 Nirbheek revolvers have been sold to women gun-licence holders to date. "The reason could be the lower number of women gun-licence holders," says a Delhi-based IOF gun dealer. "Only about 3-5% of Nirbheek's owners would be women...," acknowledges Prasad Kulkarni, proprietor of Gunmark Armoury, a Pune-based weapon retailer.

MOST ORDERS FROM PUNJAB, GUJARAT, UP

"State police departments are not issuing new gun licences anymore... Only states sharing international borders are giving out new licences, and that too after a rigorous application and individual vetting process," says Kulkarni of Gunmark Armoury.

According to IOF officials, most Nirbheek orders come from Punjab, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh: India's most populous state accounts for almost half of India's 26 lakh gun licences, and has the dubious distinction of topping the charts for gun crimes. The applicants are mostly politicians or businessmen. Among women buyers, many are sarpanches, business women, members of erstwhile royal families, and a few doctors and lawyers.

NOT THE CHEAPEST DEAL

For a three-year-old locally made firearm, the Nirbheek is considered expensive. At launch, it was sold at Rs 1.22 lakh, and the price of each revolver has risen about 10% since its introduction. "Nirbheek is an expensive gun in its category... A normal person may not want to spend that kind of money for a firearm," says Milan Soni, owner of Ahmedabad-based Smit Gunhouse. "Buyers also have the option to choose from other variants... 0.32 MK-3 and MK-4 revolvers are available for much less."

According to dealers, affluent clients would always prefer to buy an Italian or German handgun instead of a locally made revolver. Now that the government has restricted the import of foreign handguns, the second-hand foreign firearms market is thriving. Foreign-made handguns are traded at prices ranging from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 12 lakh. This, in a way, creates room for Nirbheek to sell more to the 'not-so-brand-conscious' consumers. "Nirbheek is a decent gun for self-protection... It is lightweight, when compared with a normal iron-make revolver that weighs more than 900 gm," Soni explains. That said, a few dealers believe, repairing a Nirbheek could be difficult as it bears a titanium alloy body. In case of a crack or breakage, gunsmiths may find it difficult to melt and remake the alloy body, they say.

TOUGH NUT TO CRACK

But weapons experts are unwilling to buy this argument. According to them, Nirbheek may not crack under "easy circumstances" as it comes to the market after a "3-ton blast test" (a test conducted to verify the blast strength of the gun). "The quality of Indian guns is improving, but it is still light years behind foreign firearms. The quality of machining and technology matters in gunsmithy. Nirbheek could be a good gun for self-protection," says Ishwar Singh, a Gujarat state shooting medalist and husband of Gyaneshwari Singh. "Nirbheek should have been a pistol instead of a revolver... A pistol is more handy and effective for personal protection," Ishwar Singh adds. The 'waiting period' for the delivery of a Nirbheek revolver is 30-45 days, if requisitioned directly from the Ordnance Factory (Kanpur). At dealer level, the delay could be as long as three-four months.


China Develops Ultra-Fast Anti-Missile Interceptor

India's Advanced Air Defence System is ready for induction, however Chinese lofty claims needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as news which emerges out of China comes in unanticipated jolts

China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC) has developed a new ultra-fast anti-missile interceptor capable of intercepting an incoming projectile flying 10 times faster than a bullet.

CASIC was quoted as saying by China Daily Saturday that its Second Academy in Beijing has made a "new-generation aerospace defense missile" that incorporates top space technologies, and which it describes as one of the cornerstones of a world power's strategic prowess.

The interceptor is capable of bringing down targets tens of kilometers above the ground that fly 10 times faster than a bullet, the company said.

Although the introduction published by the company did not specify the anti-missile interceptor's capabilities, experts said the descriptions "tens of kilometers" and "10 times faster than a bullet" indicate its range should be from 10 km to 100 km and its minimum velocity around 12,000 km/h — a typical bullet used by a handgun, the slowest of all bullets, normally travels about 1,200 km/h.