Thursday, December 2, 2021

The Trigger For India's Switch To AK-203 From INSAS Rifle And How It Targets Atmanirbhar Boost

The last hurdles have been removed for the production of the Russian AK-203 assault rifle in India, which are set to replace the misfiring and much-criticised INSAS rifle as the standard issue for Indian troops. The deal for the AK-203, which carries the iconic stamp of the Kalashnikov family of weapons, aims at the full localisation of the materials and resources for its production, thus coming as a shot in the arm for the Make-In India endeavour. Here’s what you need to know.

What Had Held Up Production of AK-203s In India?

The proposal for the production of the advanced AK-203 rifles was first announced in 2018 but the deal was hanging fire over the issue of pricing and transfer of technology for the weapons. However, after Russia agreed to waive the royalty payment for sharing the technical knowhow, reports said that decks have now been cleared for the factory at Korwa in UP’s Amethi district to commence production.

The deal for the production of over 6 lakh Ak-203 rifles is set to be worth over Rs 5,000 crore and is expected to be inked later this year with production to begin next year, reports said. Amid delays in getting the deal finalised, India had earlier this year moved to buy 70,000 AK-203 rifles off the shelf from Russia with the purchase of a tranche of the US-made SIG Sauer 716 assault rifles, too, having been authorised under emergency provisions.

The pricing issue revolved around the requirements of achieving full indigenisation vis-a-vis the manufacture of the weapon in India, including the transfer of technology. Reports said that the cost of producing it domestically was working out to be higher than what it would take to import the rifles. But with Russia agreeing to drop a royalty fee on each rifle to be produced in India, the pricing issue has been sorted, reports said.

Why Is India Eyeing New Rifles?

The AK-203s will be replacing the standard issue INSAS, short for Indian Small Arms System, rifles that were designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and began to be inducted in the 1990s. Several issues have been reported with the INSAS rifle down the years and, in 2017, the Centre decided it was time to find a better replacement.

Among the several reported drawbacks of the INSAS rifle were a tendency to jam, or its transparent magazine cracking during in freezing temperatures. Troops in combat areas and those conducting counter-terrorism or anti-Naxal operations are said to routinely swap out their INSAS rifles for the AK-47 or other imported rifles.

Further, the INSAS rifle, with its smaller 5.56×45mm calibre bullets, was regarded as built more to injure and incapacitate targets rather than neutralise them. All that changes, however, with the decision to induct the AK-203, which comes with the pedigree of belonging to the legendary Russian Automatic Kalshnikov stable.

According to Russian defence export agency  ROSOBORNEXPORT, the AK-203 iteration of the AK platform comes improves “fire accuracy and barrel lifespan considerably" while “modern design features such as folding and adjustable buttstock, windowed and rifled magazine, and a pistol grip made this assault rifle more ergonomic".

How Does The AK-203 Compare With The INSAS Rifle?

The AK-203 is lighter, shorter and deadlier than the INSAS rifle.

Even without the magazine and the bayonet, the INSAS rifle weighs 4.15kg while the AK-203’s empty weight is 3.8kg. The length of the INSAS rifle is 960mm without the bayonet while the AK-203 has a length of 705mm with the stock folded.

Against the 5.56×45mm bullets used by INSAS, the AK-203 uses 7.62x39mm bullets, which makes it more lethal. INSAS has an effective range of 400m while AK-403 is said to have a sighting range of 800m. The AK-203 magazine carries 30 bullets against the 20 round capacity of the INSAS rifle.

Reports say that while the INSAS can fire single shots and in three-round bursts, the AK-203 rifle can be used in automatic and semi-automatic mode. Also, while the INSAS rifle has a better fire rate of 650 bullets per minute, the AK-203 with its 600 bullets per minute rate is, however, seen as providing greater accuracy.

How Will The AK-203 Deal Help With Make In India?

The production of the AK-203 will be undertaken in India by the Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd (IRRPL), which was created as a joint venture between the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) and the Russian entities Rosoboronexport and Concern Kalashnikov. OFB holds 50.5 per cent stake in the concern with the Russian entities accounting for the remaining 49.5 per cent share.

The JV was formed as a result of an inter-governmental agreement signed between India and Russia in February 2019. A Defence Ministry statement in 2019 had said that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had stressed on 100 per cent indigenisation of production of the AK-203s while officials had noted that the JV “when fully operational is expected to source a number of components and services from MSMEs".

This is expected to bring in investment and employment in the region with IRRPL officials noting “the potential of the project to act as catalyst for UP Defence Corridor", bringing in investment and employment in the region.

Further, it is reported that IRRPL will also be taking up exports of the weapon to other countries after the commencement of production at the Korwa factory.

Cabinet Committee On Security Takes Up $671 Million AK-203 Deal Ahead of Putin’s Visit

The AK-203 deal was on the CCS’s agenda and a deal could be signed soon, said one of the persons cited above. There was no official word on the committee green-lighting the proposed deal, which was cleared by the defence ministry last month, as previously reported.

Russia president Vladimir Putin’s decision to travel to New Delhi reflects the importance attached by Russia to its special and privileged strategic partnership with India.

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday took up a ₹5,100-crore deal with Russia to jointly manufacture AK-203 assault rifles at a facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi, ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two-day visit to India on December 6 for an annual summit with the Indian prime minister, officials familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

The AK-203 deal was on the CCS’s agenda and a deal could be signed soon, said one of the persons cited above. There was no official word on the committee green-lighting the proposed deal, which was cleared by the defence ministry last month, as previously reported. HT spoke to four senior government officials, none of whom confirmed if CCS had cleared it, although the deal faces no hurdles and there’s no reason for any delay.

All outstanding issues relating to cost and indigenous content in the weapons have been ironed out, and India is looking at an early conclusion of the deal, officials said last month.

The joint venture between Kalashnikov and a new weapons manufacturing division carved out of the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) seeks to provide a push to the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (self-reliant India campaign).

It envisages the production of up to 700,000 AK-203 assault rifles, and the Amethi facility is ready to kick off production next year once the deal is signed, officials said.

Last month, the defence acquisition council (DAC) – India’s apex military procurement body – granted some key approvals to accelerate the acquisition of AK-203 assault rifles to be made in India with the transfer of technology from Russia.

Putin’s two-day visit to India will have a major defence and security overhang. The delivery of the first squadron of S-400 air defence systems – part of a $5.4-billion contract with Russia for five systems – is expected to coincide with Putin’s visit.

India and Russia last week announced they would hold the maiden 2+2 dialogue of their defence and foreign ministers on the margins of the annual summit between Modi and Putin.

This will only be Putin’s second foreign visit since the Covid-19 outbreak – he travelled to Geneva in June for his first meeting with US President Joe Biden. Putin’s decision to travel to New Delhi reflects the importance attached by Russia to its special and privileged strategic partnership with India.

India and Russia are also expected to renew their military-technical cooperation arrangement for the period 2021-31 and sign several defence-related agreements during the summit. A key pact that could be inked is the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS), which will allow militaries of the two nations to access logistics and support facilities at each other’s bases.

The government has taken several measures to boost self-reliance in the defence sector. These include raising the foreign direct investment limit in defence manufacturing, creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware and notifying 209 defence items, including assault rifles, which cannot be imported. India set aside ₹70,221 crores this year for domestic defence procurement, accounting for 63% of the military capital budget. Last year, the ministry spent more than ₹51,000 crores, or 58% of the capital budget, on domestic purchases.

Dassault Systemes To Set Up 3DEXPERIENCE Innovation Centre In Tamil Nadu

The innovation centre will provide upskilling opportunities to aspiring students, start-ups and MSMEs

Dassault Systemes has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tamil Nadu government to set up The Tamil Nadu Centre of Advance Manufacturing (TANCAM) at TIDEL Park in the city, the company said on Tuesday.

TANCAM, a first of its kind Centre of Excellence in India, would provide a dedicated IT engineering ecosystem to support the micro, small and medium enterprises sector, start-ups and the students and enable the growth of industries such as aerospace, defence, automotive and electric vehicles.

The Centre would have facilities for an engineering digital platform to support product design, composites, simulation and digital manufacturing, along with a 3D printer and virtual reality-set up, a company statement said here.

It would provide upskilling opportunities to aspiring students, start-ups and to the micro, small and medium enterprises sector.

As a part of the collaboration, Dassault Systemes would support Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) plan to focus on precision manufacturing that requires upgrading the skills of MSME through the Centre.

The facility would facilitate mentorship and training of the students with dedicated domain-training courses in aerospace, defence, automotive, electric vehicles and related industries.

The TANCAM Start-up Cell along with Dassault Systemes 3DEXPERIENCE Lab would fuel an innovation ecosystem for next-generation products and new business models.

"Tamil Nadu is at the helm of the Indian defence corridor and electric vehicle manufacturing ecosystem in India. We are confident that this partnership will elevate the entire ecosystem in the state by adopting 3D design and engineering technologies and will have a long lasting impact on these industries", company Managing Director Deepak NG said.

"We are excited to join hands with TIDCO to enable and empower the present and future innovators", the MD added.

TIDCO Chairman and Managing Director Pankaj Kumar Bansal said the collaboration with Dassault Systemes to set up TANCAM would further equip the state with the latest technologies such as the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to drive the commitment in upskilling and future-ready innovation through modern design and engineering solutions.

"We believe that such initiatives are crucial to nurture and empower the new generation of innovators, across MSMEs, start-ups and various core industries", he said.

Indian Envoy To Russia Presents Credentials To President Putin

Indian ambassador to Russia Pavan Kapoor presented credentials to President Vladimir Putin ahead of his visit to New Delhi on December 6, the envoy informed on Wednesday.

Indian ambassador to Russia Pavan Kapoor presented credentials to President Vladimir Putin ahead of his visit to New Delhi on December 6, the envoy informed on Wednesday. Taking to Twitter, the Indian envoy to Russia said that he is looking forward to welcoming the Russian President to India next week.

"Honoured to present my credentials to H.E President Putin at a ceremony in the Kremlin today. Look forward to welcoming him to India on Dec 6," he said. Putin is scheduled to visit India on December 6. The meeting between Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also likely to see the presentation of the S-400 air defence system to India which has already started arriving in India in parts, as per sources said.

In a major boost to India and Russia military ties, the two countries are scheduled to ink the deal on supplying 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles on upcoming Monday during Putin's visit here. All necessary clearances have been done including the final approval from the Cabinet Committee on Security. It is scheduled to be inked during the Russian President's visit, government sources told ANI.

Work is also in progress between both sides on the Igla shoulder-fired air defence system which has been in the making for last many years now. The Russian designed AK-203 will be made in a factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.

The deal had been agreed upon between the two sides a few years ago and now the last major issue would be resolving the issues on the transfer of technology, they said. Of the 7.5 lakh rifles to be acquired by the Indian Army, the first 70,000 will include Russian made components as the transfer of technology slowly happens.

These will be delivered to the army 32 months after the production process begins.

Steel Cut For Two Anti-Submarine Water Craft

A steel-cutting ceremony for two anti-submarine warfare shallow water craft (ASWSWC) to be built by the Cochin Shipyard for the Navy was conducted at the shipyard on Wednesday.

Commodore V. Ganapathy, warship production superintendent of the warship overseeing team (Kochi), conducted the ceremony which marked the beginning of the construction of the fourth and fifth vessels in a series of eight such craft being built by the shipyard.

“These technologically advanced vessels are designed and engineered indigenously and will be equipped with various payloads to cater to the vessels’ functions. The vessel will feature stringent signature and stealth technologies to avoid detection by submarines and other surveillance systems. Significant part of the payloads and solutions will be from Indian firms,” said a release.

The ₹6,300-crore worth contract for these vessels were signed by the shipyard in April, 2019. Ninety months is the completion time.

“These ASWSWC’s are capable of full scale sub-surface surveillance of coastal waters and co-ordinated ASW operations with aircraft. In addition, there vessels will have the capability to interdict/destroy sub-surface targets in coastal waters. They can also be deployed for day and night search and rescue in coastal areas,” said the release.

How Indian Army's These Heron Drones Will Boost India's Surveillance Capabilities In Ladakh

Take over of Heron-Is from Artillery will augment ability to track Chinese activities

The Army Aviation has recently got control of the Heron-I Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) in the Eastern sector, which were earlier with the Artillery, bringing all aviation assets under one roof and augmenting its ability to keep an eye on Chinese activities across the border. The move comes just months after the raising of a new Aviation Brigade at Missamari, strengthening the Army’s response as well as firepower.

“Army Aviation got control of the UAVs in August this year from Artillery. There are certain advantages of UAVs or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) being with Army Aviation,” an officer said.

The Army Aviation Brigade at Missamari was raised in March this year to enable better command and control of aviation resources, the officer said, adding that in the future battlefield, manned and unmanned aircraft teaming will reap huge dividends. The Brigade operates the Cheetah and Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Dhruv utility helicopters, Rudra weaponised ALH and Heron-I UAVs.

Three RPA flights are working under the Army Aviation squadrons which consists of around 14 UAVs, according to the officer.

With the UAVs being under the Army Aviation, the receipt capability has become seamless and more responsive, officials said. All aerial assets are under one umbrella which allows optimised employment of RPAs during operations in conjunction with other aviation assets.

“It also helps in upgradation of flight safety management and practices and also boosts training infrastructure for RPA aircrew,” the first officer cited above said. “It also ensures better maintenance and serviceability by optimising the supply chain and spares management,” the officer said and added, “It smoothens out the Command and Control process especially during operations.”

Talking to a group of visiting journalists on the new inductions, Lt. Col. Amit Dadwal posted at the base said it has given them round the clock capability for surveillance as well as operations. He said the ALH has become the backbone of the main operations of the Army as of now. “With the ALH we have been doing night casualty evacuation,” he added.

The Army has 90 ALH and 75 Rudra helicopters in service which are indigenously designed and developed by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Army Aviation is also very soon slated to induct a surveillance downlink system, anti-aircraft missiles, countermeasures against missile systems, new generation surveillance pods among others which will enhance the existing role to manifold.

In the last few years, the Army and Air Force have significantly upgraded their defences in the Eastern sector including induction of new equipment as part of efforts to match China’s build up and infrastructure development on its aide of the Line of Actual (LAC). There has also been a major impetus to infrastructure development in the region.

The Israeli Heron-I UAVs are in the process of being upgraded and officials said they will also be deployed in this sector in due course.

In addition, the Army has recently leased four Heron-TP Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) from Israel Aircraft Industries which are much more capable than the Heron-1s. These are expected to be deployed in Eastern Ladakh in the backdrop of the standoff which began last year and is still continuing.

During the standoff in Eastern Ladakh, the Army Aviation had seen a quantum jump in the employment of helicopters along the Northern borders.

However, a major issue of concern is the ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters and their delayed replacement. About 75% of the Army’s fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, which are its mainstay, is over 30 years old and some of them are about 50 years old. The technical life of these helicopters will wind down from 2023, which will further exacerbate the deficiencies. The Ka-226T utility helicopter deal with Russia along with the indigenous Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) are meant to replace them but the Ka-226T deal has been stalled for several years over the percentage of indigenisation.

Senior Taiwan Lawmaker Thanks India & 5 Other Countries For Help With Submarine Program

TAIPEI - A senior lawmaker of Taiwan's ruling party thanked major submarine producing nations on Tuesday for helping with the island's submarine programme, after Reuters reported on the multinational effort.

Taiwan, claimed by China as its own territory, has made the indigenous programme a key platform of an ambitious project to modernise its armed forces as Beijing steps up military threats against the democratically-ruled island.

The Reuters investigation showed firms in Britain, the United States and Canada helped with the submarines, while Taiwan succeeded in hiring engineers, technicians and former naval officers from at least six nations: Britain, Australia, South Korea, India, Spain and Canada.

The submarine programme was "continuing to progress", Tsai Shih-ying, secretary-general of the legislative caucus of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) told reporters in response to the report.

"Thank you to the world's major submarine producing countries for helping Taiwan," he added, but did not identify any. "No matter how many countries it is, many, many thanks."

Later, he told Reuters of his concern that China might try to stymie the plan.

"In the entire project, the most difficult problem is that China can put pressure through various channels. Honestly speaking, China has never given up on these efforts," Tsai said, but did not elaborate.

"I hope China will not interfere with the development of Taiwan's submarines."

China's Taiwan Affairs Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In response to the Reuters investigation, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry said Taiwan "authorities are colluding with external forces" on the program, and the countries concerned should refrain from participating in the effort.

State-backed shipbuilder CSBC Corp Taiwan began construction last year and aims to deliver the first of the planned eight vessels by 2025, the government has said.

Taiwan now has four ageing submarines in service, two dating from World War Two, in a fleet that is dwarfed by China's.

Impact of 1971 War On Pakistan

General Jagjit Singh Aurora getting ready to sign the instrument of surrender with AAK Niazi

by RSN Singh

Yahya Khan was commissioned into the 4/10 Baluch Regiment in British Indian Army on 15th July 1939 from the Indian Military Academy. During World War II, he was taken prisoner in North Africa and escaped from the ‘prisoner of war’ camp in Italy on the third attempt. During partition in 1947, he was an instructor at the Staff College, Quetta. He became a brigadier at the age of 34 and commanded the 106 Infantry Brigade, which was deployed on the Cease Fire Line (CFL). Yahya was selected by Ayub to head Army’s Planning Board to modernise the Pakistan Army (1954 to 1957) in the capacity of Deputy Chief of General Staff. From 1958-1962, Yahya was the Chief of General Staff and later commanded an Infantry Division from 1962-65. During the 1965 war, he was still in command of the 7-Infantry Division, which had launched the famous Grand Slam Operation in the Chamb Sector. Immediately after the 1965 war, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

Yahya was appointed the Army Chief in 1966 and took over power of the country in 1969, extending his term as C-n-C till the debacle in 1971 War. Yahya ended up as a discredited soldier. Till then, despite his well known penchant for wine and women, he was thought of as a as fine soldier. And for Ayub, his being a Shia, non-Pathan and a non-Punjabi was enough to appoint him as the Army Chief. The Punjabis were dominant and constituted about 60 percent of the officer corps followed by the Pathans. A civil servant and a close confidant of Ayub, Altaf Gauhar, has said that Yahya, who was later prosecuted by Bhutto for possessing a copy of an old ‘Play Boy’ magazine and half a bottle of whiskey, was chosen by Ayub for that very reason. “Yahya was selected in preference to other generals, because Yahya who had come to hit the bottle hard had no time for politics and was considered a harmless and a loyal person.”

After Ayub’s exit, Pakistan slipped further into internal turmoil, particularly after the countrywide elections on ‘one man one vote’ principle, in which the Awami League under Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gained majority. Apart from other political reasons for not handing over power to the Awami League, the military factor also played a significant role. Pakistan’s military feared that the Bengali rulers may end their dominance in their country, as also the influential role of the Punjabis in the governance of the country. From the strategic and military point of view, the loss of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) was not of much significance. As a recruiting ground, East Pakistan did not hold much of attraction for the Punjabi dominated Pakistan military. With the separation of East Pakistan, the Pakistani military could concentrate better on the defence of the western sector, which by implication gave it more manoeuvrability with regards to J&K.

Nevertheless, the loss of East Pakistan minimized Pakistan’s role in Southeast Asia and it consequently withdrew from SEATO. It also enabled Pakistan to divert its Islamic orientation towards West Asia and play a larger role in the Islamic world. On the flipside, loss of East Pakistan also meant termination of its maritime role in the Bay of Bengal and consequently the loss of potential naval capability against India’s eastern seaboard. Whatever be Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s failings or inconsistencies – he was a brilliant diplomat who: carved a leading role for Pakistan in Muslim countries, courted superpowers confidently, initiated intimate strategic partnership with China, and even managed to build bridges with the infant Bangladesh. Under compelling circumstances, he was able to negotiate a settlement with India in the Shimla Summit in 1972 and managed to secure the repatriation of 90,000 prisoners of war without much loss of face.

The break up of Pakistan had a major impact on the nation and the Pakistan Army. For the people of the remaining Pakistan, it was hard to reconcile the idea that in less than 25 years of the creation of Pakistan, the country had been split. The Pakistani military machine that they relied upon had failed to even maintain the territorial integrity of the nation, leave alone defeat India in a war. The surrender by nearly 90,000 troops to India had broken the myth of their martial superiority over India, which they were not ready to concede. In the eyes of the populace, the Pakistan Army stood discredited. To them, the military rule under Yahya was no better than what, as Ayub had described, the “rascally politicians”, could have provided.

The entire nation including the Pakistan Army was consumed by a sense of anger and confusion. There was no honest and quiet introspection. The loss of East Pakistan was seen more in territorial terms rather than a break away by nearly 55 percent of the population, whose aspirations, language and culture could not be synthesised with that of West Pakistan. An honest introspection at that time would have driven home the point that the military cannot be both an instrument of governance and war. The Pakistan military establishment was blind to the geopolitical absurdity of there being two wings to a nation separated from each other by 1,600 km long alien territory: nor did it realize the folly of waging wars on a militarily superior foe, relying much too much on external support, particularly from the US and China.

The focus of humiliation and anger that the Pakistan Army felt after the war was narrowed down to the senior leadership in the army. Yahya Khan, of course, was considered as the chief villain. The entire army was restive. In the Gujrawalan military garrison the situation had acquired the proportion of a mutiny. During the address to the officers by General Hamid, the Chief-of-Staff, on 19 December 1971 at GHQ Rawalpindi, the officers had turned abusive. Writing in his memoirs, General Gul Hassan Khan, the then Chief of General Staff, said that during an address at National Defence College by General Hamid, there was a vociferous demand by the gathering to ban alcohol in the messes. With Yahya as the prime example the professional laxity of the senior army officers, unpardonable during a war, was attributed to their love for liquor.

It was, however, the scotch-drinking Z A Bhutto who, as Prime Minister banned alcohol in the armed forces. Simultaneously, the officers also began to view Islamic principles, as an asset for the armed forces – both for enhancing their moral values and morale. It was the 1971 debacle that acted as a catalyst for the Islamisation of the army. An honest introspection would have revealed that the reason for the defeat was more a matter of systems and strategic blunder than the professional ineptitude of the un-Islamic and liquor loving Generals. After all, the same Pakistan military machine had performed much better on the Western Front during the war. The Pakistan Army has continued to fail in coming up with a sound system and a viable strategy. If alcohol was an evil allure, it had been supplanted by another evil i.e. allurement of wealth and real estate, which had far more social and economic ramifications.

When Z A Bhutto replaced Yahya Khan after the 1971 war, he immediately setup a commission headed by Hamood-ur-Rahman, former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan, to ascertain the reasons and fix responsibilities for the debacle in the war. The Commission interviewed more than 200 persons which included General Yahya, Z A Bhutto, the Pakistan Air Force Chief, the Naval Chief and many other senior military commanders as well as politicians. The Commission submitted its first report in July 1972. Ironically, neither Bhutto nor Zia, made the report public during their respective regimes. However, it was widely believed that the Commission had recommended public trial of many officers, bureaucrats and politicians. Again in 1974, when it was decided to reopen the inquiry, the Commission gave its supplementary report after interviewing 73 military officials and bureaucrats.

The Commission’s report was first published by an Indian magazine ‘India Today’ in the year 2000 and consequently by the Pakistani press. The report suggested that the military defeat in the war was due to a combination of political, moral and military reasons. It attributed the precipitating political and emotional alienation of East Pakistan because of the adverse impact of the political situation including the martial law regimes in the 25 years of existence of Pakistan. It castigated both the Awami League and Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) for the political impasse that ruptured the nation. The report also maintained that the problem was essentially political and should have been dealt accordingly. The overwhelming emphasis on the military, the report observed, was misplaced and undesirable. It blamed Yahya for prevarication and political insincerity. The excessive military action in East Pakistan had resulted in a large exodus of refugees to India, which the Commission observed, gave the Indian government a perfect propaganda issue. General Yahya was also blamed for failing to give adequate heed to the mutual assistance treaty signed between India and the USSR, not taking the matter to the UN Security Council, and disregarding the military disparity between India and Pakistan in terms of preparedness.

The Commission also maintained that there was reticence and delay in opening up the ‘western front’ by the Pakistan military decision makers and, later, there was also no effective plan for the defence of Dhaka. With regard to General Niazi’s surrender, the report suggested that it was primarily on account of his moral collapse. General Niazi, with 26,400 men, could have held ground for more than two weeks if he had decided to do so on his own, even if the higher authorities had permitted him to surrender. The Commission had also concluded that the moral character of the senior army commanders had began to degenerate since their involvement in martial law duties in 1958, which sharply deteriorated after the imposition of martial law by General Yahya Khan in 1969.

The greatest impact of 1971 war was the change over from military to civilian rule in Pakistan. It also provided Bhutto an opportunity to purge the army of politics and subordinate it as an instrument of the State. He did manage to do so in the initial years of his rule, but as the memories of the defeat in the war faded, the military began to reassert itself.

US, Australia, UK Sign Agreement For Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information: White House

Washington: In a bid to enhance trilateral security partnership called "AUKUS", the US, Australia and the United Kingdom have engaged in an 18-month consultation period to seek an optimal pathway for delivery of nuclear-powered submarines, United States President Joe Biden said a White House statement on Wednesday (local time).

The agreement for the Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information among the three countries would permit parties to communicate and exchange Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information and would provide authorization to share certain Restricted Data.

"Pursuant to the enhanced trilateral security partnership called "AUKUS" announced earlier this year, our three governments are engaging in an 18-month consultation period to seek an optimal pathway for delivery of nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy at the earliest achievable date. The Agreement would permit the three Parties to communicate and exchange Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information and would provide authorization to share certain Restricted Data as may be needed during trilateral discussions, thereby enabling full and effective consultations," the statement issued by Joe Biden read.

Biden also said that the agreement among the US, Australia, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK) has met all statutory requirements.

"I have determined that the United Kingdom and Australia, by participating with the United States pursuant to international arrangements, are making substantial and material contributions to the mutual defence and security. The United Kingdom is a party to the North Atlantic Treaty, and Australia is a party to Australia, New Zealand, and United States Security Treaty," he said urging for Congress' favourable consideration to the agreement.

At Doha Talks, Taliban Begs For Unfreezing of Afghan Reserves

Kabul: Taliban delegation has asked US administration to unfreeze Kabul's financial assets enabling it to function as the government as it faces a tough economic crisis in the talks held in Doha, Qatar.

A delegation of US officials led by Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West met a Taliban delegation led by Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi, according to News International.

Further, the US State Department spokesperson said that the two delegations discussed the international community's ongoing and urgent response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

"The United States remains committed to ensuring that US sanctions do not limit the ability of Afghan civilians to receive humanitarian support from the US government and international community while denying assets to sanctioned entities and individuals," the statement mentioned.

Earlier US has frozen $ 9.5 Billion assets belonging to the Afghan central bank and stopped shipments of cash to the nation.

Taliban's Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi said that Afghan FM Muttaqi exchanged views about political, economic, health, education, security and humanitarian issues, including discussions about necessary facilities in banking and liquidity availability.

"The Afghan side assured the US officials about security and sought immediate unconditional unfreezing of Afghan reserves, ending of sanctions and blacklists, and disconnecting humanitarian issues from political considerations," Abdul Balkhi said.

Earlier, the US treasury department has issued general licenses to support the continued flow of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan and other activities that support basic human needs.

Afghanistan since the take over of the Taliban in August this year has been struggling financially with their bank's assets being frozen by the US and International Community.

The Hague Conference Demands Unconditional Apology From Pakistan For 1971 War Crimes In Bangladesh

The Hague: An international conference in The Hague, known as the city of Justice, demanded of the international community to recognise the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh committed by Pakistan soldiers.

The conference also urged the international community to put pressure on the Pakistan government to offer an unconditional apology to Bangladeshi people for the crime committed against humanity during the 9-month long liberation war in Bangladesh.

The conference was organized by the Europe-based Bangladeshi diaspora organisation, European Bangladesh Forum (EBF) in collaboration with Switzerland Human Rights Commission Bangladesh on Tuesday at the Nieuwspoort, the International Perscentrum (attached to Parliament building) in The Hague.

It may be mentioned that The Hague conference was the follow-up of the Geneva conference held on the same issue on September 30 at the Geneva Press Club in Switzerland.

A documentary film titled, 'War Crimes 1971'was screened at the start of the conference.

It may be recalled that in 1971 Pakistani military and their local collaborators committed one of the worst mass atrocities that the world witnessed in the 20th century.

The Pakistani occupation army in 9 months killed approximately 3 million people, violated over two hundred thousand girls and women and forced 10 million people to cross the border and take shelter in India.

This number of people killed by the Pakistani Army is the highest in the world in such a short period of time. The 1971 Genocide by the Pakistan Army is well documented and reported in the international media and also in the diplomatic correspondences during that period.

Speakers opined that international recognition of any crime against humanity, in this case here against Bangladesh is of immense importance and absolute necessity to show respect and honour to the three million victims and their family members by recognising the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh.

Recognition of Genocide is essential to create a world free from violation of human rights and for the safety of our next generation across the whole world.

Because, they argue, if the world community doesn't recognize a crime as a crime, the world community keeps the door open for that crime to happen in the future and that is exactly what is happening in Baluchistan, Afghanistan and other parts of the region.

Unfortunately, Bangladesh genocide has today become a forgotten chapter in the history and we know the common phrase, 'Justice delayed, justice denied'.

A number of experts with international reputation working on 'Genocide' issue from the U.K., Hong Kong, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Canada and Bangladesh took part in the discussion.

Besides, speakers from different ethnic groups including Afghan, Sindh, Baloch and Pashtun also spoke on the occasion. The speakers included Bangladesh ambassador in the Netherlands M. Riaz Hamidullah, Christopher A. Alexander, PC, former Canadian Ambassador in Kabul & former Minister of Canada, Prof Dr. Nuzhat Chowdhury.

Member of a Genocide victim family from Bangladesh, Dr. Ahmed Ziauddin, Board Member, International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF), Belgium, Chris Blackburn, Communications Director, Swiss Inter-Strategy Group & 'Friend of Bangladesh' Award Recipient, UK, Baseer Naveed also participated in the event.

Speaking on the day from Canada via on-line former Canadian Ambassador in Afghanistan & former Minister of Canada Christopher A. Alexander, PC said "1971 was not just a tragedy for Bangladesh, it led the Pakistani Army to refocus its efforts away from conventional warfare and towards regular war".

He added, "The ISI policy has been ignored for far too long and some have denied It, some have fallen victim to disinformation, some have been lobbied to turn a blind eye, but those days are ending."

Bangladesh ambassador in the Netherlands M Riaz Hamidullah said, "the first step is to understand what we are here for and because we live in a world of competitive issues we have to come to the point where we say, how much, and how far we can go".

Communications Director of Swiss Inter Strategy Group & 'Friend of Bangladesh' Award Recipient Chris Blackburn while addressing the conference said, "we can't rest on our laurels, the issue of recognition for the genocide of 1971 is very important. We know that this issue has been fought over and sabotaged. Pakistan needs to apologise. As activists we need to keep having meetings like these. We need to keep informing people about 1971. We need to consolidate and make new friendships with like-minded people. Afghans, Baloch and Hazaras especially."

Professor Dr. Nuzhat Choudhury, a member of the 1971 Genocide victim family in a video message sent from Dhaka said, "What the Pakistani Army did with us in Bangladesh, are now doing the same thing in Baluchistan.

She added, "Pakistan has become the epicentre of terrorists, they helped the Taliban to develop. Pakistan is causing terrorism not in its own country, but it is spreading terrorism across the region particularly its Secret service ISI are still causing disruption in Bangladesh in the name of religion and their continuing to do so in the West as well."

Indian Army Helps Ladakhi Graziers 'Reboos' In Accessing Grazing Land Along LAC

The Indian Army sources said that they have provided assistance to the Ladakhi graziers called Reboos in accessing their traditional grazing land along the LAC

The Indian Army sources on Wednesday that they provided assistance to the Ladakhi graziers, called Reboos, in accessing their traditional grazing land in an unhindered manner along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. Further, Indian Army sources also stated that they have been proactively carrying out regular Synergy meetings with Reboos, village committees along the border areas at LAC in order to ensure that the approach adopted at the ground level was directed towards fulfilling all development needs of the local community and assisting the graziers.

"For centuries our Ladakhi graziers called Reboos have grazed their cattle into grazing land in search of high quality Alpha grasslands in unique, picturesque and remote Eastern Ladakh. Indian Army being committed to our people and for our people true to its ethos and values in synergy with Administration of UT of Ladakh has always been a pillar of strength for the local community," a source close to the Indian Army said.

The Army sources further informed that the purpose of the action is to bring about a reverse migration of people keen to return to border villages to their historical forefathers' lands and villages.

Indian Army Receives New Heron Drones From Israel

Meanwhile, to keep an eye on the Chinese activities near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the Indian Army's surveillance capabilities received a major boost as Israel has delivered advanced Heron drones under the emergency procurement clause.

The Israel-manufactured Heron drones are capable of operating for nearly 45 hours at an altitude of up to 35,000 feet as tensions escalated with China's People’s Liberation Army. Long-endurance Heron TP drones were bought from Israel earlier in August for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and as per the reports, the Indian Army planned to upgrade it with combatant missiles for precision strikes under Project Cheetah. The two nations have their troops deployed in forwarding areas for the second consecutive tough winter ahead as the standoff continues into the 19th month.

India’s Hybrid Warfare: Against Pakistan: Pak Media

According to Clausewitz, ‘The nature of war remains the same, only its character changes’. The phrase hybrid warfare’ has become the buzzword among different nations because it poses a definitional dilemma. On a comprehensive analysis of the history of wars, we come to know that in each era, the war tactics were different which evolved from first generation war to fifth-generation war. First, the term ‘hybrid warfare’ was coined in 2002 by William Nemeth, an American military official. Then in 2007, Frank Hoffman, the US national security analyst, and retired Marine infantryman defined this term for the first time as: “A full range of different modes of warfare including conventional capabilities, irregular tactics, terrorist acts, and criminal disorder to achieve political objectives.”

Hoffman well analysed the Israel-Hezbollah war (2006). Later, some other events like the activities of ISIL in Iraq, `Russian activities in Ukraine, and The US, Indian subversive activities were witnessed. Pakistan is also being hit by India through hybrid warfare in different domains. The first time, the NATO Wales summit in 2014 adopted the ‘Hybrid warfare’ concept by accusing Russia of using hybrid warfare tactics in Ukraine (controlling narratives, cyber-attacks, use of anonymous militias, and diplomatic support). Russia called it ‘the Gerasimov doctrine’ (after the Russian military chief). Then in the next NATO summit 2016 held in Warsaw, decided to create some domains including Hybrid Fusion Cell, StartCom, and European global strategies to counter hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare tools may be cyber-attacks, spreading Misinformation, Economic leverages, political turmoil, insurgency, and state Media.

Likewise, a general analysis of hybrid warfare gives us four phases in which it is carried out. Firstly, the aggressor uses subversive activities to destabilize the target state. Secondly, proxy war is initiated. Thirdly, the use of coercion like diplomatic isolation, psychological dilemmas, and threats to the military can be observed. Last but not the least, open use of conventional forces as the last option might be used.

Along with that, a strong national integration is required to counter subversive activities. The role of leadership and the media can secure us from political turmoil and misinformation. Detected Hybrid war events must be highlighted and revealed at international forums, as Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “War is a moral contest. They are won in temples long before they ever fought.”

According to Frank Hoffman (Paper: A conflict in the 21st century), in the Israel-Hezbollah war (2006), Hezbollah as a Non-state actor was sponsored by Iran against Israel troops. A thorough glance reveals that guerrilla tactics, anti-tank missiles, communications with encrypted cell phones, and night goggles were used. Israeli troops were also kidnapped there. Similarly, the ISIL, which is a non-state actor, agitated against the Iraq military in a form of hybrid warfare.

According to the Australian Defence Journal (2018), Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been accused of conducting hybrid warfare against Qatar during the Qatar diplomatic crisis. Furthermore, in 2019, The Tehran Times said that Iran has been targeted by hybrid warfare tactics by The USA and Saudi Arabia.

Similarly, during the 2016 US election, the US intelligence community blamed Russia for interfering in the election. In the same year 2016, Gen. Philip Breedlove told a US Senate committee that Russia was using refugees to weaken Europe and wanted to create social unrest. The Belarus refugees’ issue is in hot discussion nowadays, which reflects hybrid warfare tactics backed by Russia.

According to The Diplomat, in 2018, China has been blamed for hybrid war activities in Taiwan. It was also claimed that China is using hybrid warfare tactics in The South China Sea. The USA has been accused of conducting hybrid warfare in the Colour Revolution against Russia, which was reported and well analysed in ‘The RUSI Journal. Pakistan has been facing hybrid warfare in different domains. According to the IPRI (Islamabad policy Research Institute), India has now waged hybrid warfare against Pakistan in four domains. Firstly, campaigning against the armed forces. Secondly, social unrest, the third, propaganda on the IOK, and lastly, the CPEC.

The European Disinfo Lab has exposed the Indian hybrid war approach towards Pakistan, as the NSA Moyed Yousef highlighted this during a press conference on July 2021. In Sep 2020, COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said, “Pakistan will win the hybrid war with the help of the Nation.” Footprints of hybrid warfare by India against Pakistan can well be traced from the East Pakistan debacle in form of promotion of Mujib’s Six points, Genocide and Refugees’ narrative. Indian PM Modi during a speech in Kerala about Pakistan said, “We will isolate you and I will work for it.”

Similarly, Indian national security advisor, Ajit Doval, has confessed about subversive activities and diplomatic isolation against Pakistan. Indian Email links in cancellation of New Zealand cricket match and the FATF lobby expose India’s hybrid warfare strategies against Pakistan. In May 2015, The Indian BJP defence minister, Manohar Parrikar, openly said, ‘India will sponsor terrorism to counter-terrorism. In July 2021, President Alvi while referring to terrorist attacks on the Karachi Stock exchange, Lahore Johar Town’s Blast, Kalbushan’s Arrest, and many other activities, clearly said, “India is using Afghan soil against Pakistan for hybrid warfare.” Similarly, so many other intelligible events like Indian support for the TTP and PTM, and subversive activities sponsored by India in Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan are comprehensive shreds of evidence to show how India has been endeavouring to destabilize Pakistan’s internal structure.

On the whole, hybrid warfare is quite different from other conventional warfare. The DDR approach (Detect, Deter and Response) can be effective to counter hybrid war threats. New intelligence sharing pacts are supposed to be devised with other nations which can result in enough to cope. Effective cooperation among institutions will be very cardinal and substantial in this case.

Along with that, a strong national integration is required to counter subversive activities. The role of leadership and the media can secure us from political turmoil and misinformation. Detected Hybrid war events must be highlighted and revealed at international forums, as Sun Tzu said in The Art of War, “War is a moral contest. They are won in temples long before they ever fought.”

Why The Indian Navy Needs To Invoke The Spirit of Admiral Nanda

Admiral Nanda reviewing an honour guard at INS Adyar in 1972

December 4 commemorates Navy Day, what the Indian Navy calls its finest hour—the raid on Karachi port by three missile boats. The engagement, which lasted under 30 minutes, saw the destruction of a Pakistan Navy destroyer, minesweeper and a merchant ship bringing arms and ammunition for its military. Fifty years on, the largest naval missile engagement in maritime history tells you how rare force-on-force naval combat has been since the Second World War.

It was the only war the Indian Navy participated in. It was largely because of one man—then navy chief admiral Sardarilal Matharadas Nanda. Under him the navy was bold, aggressive, took enormous risks and punched way above its weight. Remarkably, these were also the characteristics his colleagues attributed to the bull-headed navy chief.

He took over when the navy was already at the margins. It had the smallest part of the defence budget and was seen as inconsequential to the outcomes of three land battles, which is where India’s disputed boundaries lay. As Nanda wryly recounted in his 2004 autobiography The Man Who Bombed Karachi, prime minister Indira Gandhi had turned to him at the end of the meeting with the service chiefs, after looking at her watch.

The navy lost an opportunity to plunge into the 1965 war when a five-destroyer Pakistani flotilla attacked the port town of Dwarka. An Indian frigate anchored in the vicinity did not engage them because the government had kept the navy out of the war. Admiral Nanda, like so many other naval brass, was stung by the turn of events. The British-built INS Talwar was among Asia’s newest gun frigates. Its radar-directed twin ‘Mark 6’ 4.5-inch naval cannons could belch out high explosive steel to engage the Pakistan Navy’s World War 2-era destroyers from 16 km away. But those guns remained silent. Among other things, that incident would have told Nanda that the men behind the machines mattered the most. When he took over as navy chief in 1970, ‘Charles Nanda’, as he was nick-named, plunged headlong into preparations for war. Teaming up with his brilliant director, naval intelligence, the enigmatic captain (later vice-admiral) Mihir Kumar Roy, Nanda green-lit an ultra-secret operation to train hundreds of Mukti Bahini naval commandos. These Bengali naval commandos, trained at a secret camp on the battlefield of Plassey, went on to sink and disable over 100,000 tonnes of merchant shipping in East Pakistan in multiple covert attacks between August and November 1971. These were the largest special forces missions carried out by an Indian armed force. When war was formally declared on December 3, Nanda’s missile boats rained destruction on Karachi and in the east, carrier-borne jets from the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant bombed and strafed targets in East Pakistan, cutting off the seaward retreat of the Pakistani garrison. All these operations, it needs to be emphasised, directly affected the outcome of the battle on land.

When the war began, the navy’s missile boats did not have the range to strike at Karachi and return. A boiler crack prevented the navy’s sole aircraft carrier the INS Vikrant prevented from steaming full speed ahead to launch aircraft. The service had no special forces units to train guerrillas. Like the stupefied captain of the Talwar in 1965, Nanda could have chosen to sit out the war. He could have cited lack of government direction or complained about inadequate force levels and, consequently, watched the service descend into further irrelevance. The Admiral of course, did none of this. He rolled up his sleeves. Under him the navy improvised and innovated. The missile boats were towed to Karachi by larger warships, the Vikrant deployed at slower speeds with a welded boiler and the navy’s diving teams trained the Mukti Bahini saboteurs. How much of a one-man show this naval campaign was can be understood by looking at a ‘what if?’ scenario. Suppose the crisis in East Pakistan had erupted in 1973 and not in 1971 and the navy was headed by Nanda’s eventual successor Admiral S.N. Kohli, how would the conflict have unfolded? The missile attacks on Karachi could have been ruled out as being too risky. The covert war plan risked being turned down for being equally tricky if not for being ‘ungentlemanly warfare’. The Vikrant would have stayed in dry dock. The first scenario would almost certainly have come to pass—Kohli, then the C-in-C of the Western Naval Command had vehemently opposed the missile attack citing Karachi’s shore defences.

As the Navy basks in the glory of a hard-won victory 50 years ago, it urgently needs to look eastwards at China’s rising maritime power.

The new navy chief Admiral Hari Kumar, who took over on December 1, is a no-nonsense professional with a reputation of being a doer. It will be left to him and his successors to steer the navy through some of the biggest challenges in the turbulent decade ahead.

Beijing today fields the world’s largest navy that is growing exponentially. China is adding warships and submarines at the rate of one Indian Navy each decade. By the end of this decade, it could possibly have enough warships for a permanently-based Indian Ocean fleet.

“The maritime rivalry between the US and China in the Indo-Pacific, the entry of the PLA Navy in strength into the waters of the Indian Ocean and the growing asymmetry between the PLA Navy and the Indian Navy, all focus on how the Indian Navy will respond to these challenges as the primary custodian of India’s maritime power,” military historian Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam (Retd) writes in the 2021 book ‘Force in Statecraft’.

The Indian Navy’s underwater arm has suffered egregious neglect. This decade, it will induct only six new conventional submarines as against a requirement of at least 12. It has failed to develop an indigenous submarine design despite buying the technology from West Germany in 1981 and France in 2005. It has been slow to realise the fearsome potential of nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs)—of the kind Australia is now seeking from the US and UK. The navy has preferred to lease individual SSNs from Russia, instead of building a fleet of its own. A project to build six indigenous SSNs has been stuck for over a decade and even if approved now, it will take at least 12 years for the first unit to be delivered.

Principal surface combatants, too, are being added on at a leisurely pace. It took an Indian shipyard eight years to build the INS Visakhapatnam, which entered service last month. This is double the time it takes a Chinese shipyard to build a comparable 052C class destroyer.

This is not to discount the formidable advantages the Indian navy has built up over the years. It is the pre-eminent regional naval power in the Indian Ocean with two fleets that have the ability to simultaneously project power from the western and eastern coasts. The navy was the first service to get a military communications satellite a decade ago, while the other services are still playing catch up. It has indigenously developed an impressive chain of coastal radar stations and data fusion centres tracking all shipping in the entire Indian Ocean region. The army and the air force have not been able to deploy a similar sensory perimeter capable of looking deep across India’s disputed land frontiers despite having fought five border wars. The navy is slowly building up a lethal triad of anti-submarine warfare (ASW) assets—shore-based long-range P-8I aircraft, Sea Guardian HALE drones and MH-60R helicopters, all designed to operate together.

In 1971 India faced two superpowers, the US and China which backed Pakistan but only after a signed agreement assured support from the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union despatched Pacific Fleet units to tail the Seventh Fleet that entered the Bay of Bengal in 1971. It is unlikely that India could expect similar assistance from its Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad partner nations, the US, Australia and Japan, in a conflict with China.

The Indian navy, it can be argued, is back where it was in 1965. If it doesn’t present credible options against China in the event of a border war, it risks irrelevance. The challenges are of an order far greater because its new adversary working in concert with the old one. By the end of the decade, Pakistan will deploy eight Chinese-built conventional submarines armed with cruise missiles. These could be used to offset the overwhelming advantage it enjoys over its western adversary.

This collusive two-front threat is only one of the reasons why the navy needs to think out of the box and work in concert with the other services.

Given the economic worries, the defence budget is unlikely to increase and consequently the navy’s share might not cross the usual 15 per cent of the budget. Expensive buys, like a third aircraft carrier, will find it difficult to pass the scrutiny of the Chief of Defence Staff’s upcoming capability development plan that calls for rationalising big-ticket items across the services.

The National Maritime Theatre Command being set up next year will concentrate all of India’s military maritime assets under a single commander. The Indian Navy-steered NMTC will need more teeth if it is to provide options against its adversaries. It needs to fine-tune the contingency plans it began working on when the Chinese threat appeared in Ladakh in May 2020.

In the interim, it needs to look at a range of force-multipliers it can rapidly deploy in the coming decade. These could include options being worked on globally, like repurposing transport aircraft and civilian airliners into long-range bombers, pioneering civil-military fusion to speed up development projects, increasing the range and lethality of existing cruise missiles and torpedoes, accelerating projects for hypersonic weapons and working with the DRDO to convert Agni ballistic missiles into long range ship-killing missiles. It needs to look at light general-purpose frigates which could be churned out rapidly by domestic shipyards. Unmanned platforms could perhaps be what the naval missile was in 1971—massive force multipliers which gave existing platforms greater striking range. There is strangely, no Indian navy-funded swarm drone project. There are no projects either for ship or submarine launched UAVs and UCAVs or large underwater autonomous vehicles like the US Navy’s Orca.

There is a need for the navy to build a network of seabed sensors for ‘underwater domain awareness’ to track Chinese and Pakistani submarines. This sensor chain can also be used to secure underwater bastions in the Bay of Bengal from where its ballistic missile submarines can safely launch their missiles. These technology gaps are bewildering given the presence of multiple Indian civilian scientific agencies with such capabilities. But more than anything else, the navy needs to look within and rediscover the fighting ethos displayed by its chief a half-century ago.

Scope Widens For Women Army Officers In India

An Indian Army officer confirmed the development and said, 'Army has laid down a framework to manage the career progression of the women officers of these eights arms and services.' Another decision is to make all women officers in PC undergo Middle Level Tactical Orientation Course of batches till 2004

NEW DELHI: Short Service Commission Women Officers (SSCWO) have been granted Permanent Commission (PC) in eight arms and services — Engineers, Signals, Army Supply Corps, Army Ordinance Corps, EME, Army Intelligence Corps, Army Air Defence and Army Aviation.

An Indian Army officer confirmed the development and said, “Army has laid down a framework to manage the career progression of the women officers of these eights arms and services.” This policy is significant because several women officers granted PC have served over 20 years.

The way for PC for SSCWOs was paved by the Supreme Court in February, 2020, when it gave orders to this effect. Army went ahead and appointed a special selection board in September, 2020, to screen women officers up to 2010 batch. Till now, 557 women officers have been granted PC. The new policy brings them on a par with their male counterparts.

Women officers were inducted into the army in 1992 under the Short Service Commission and were able to serve a maximum of 14 years. Women officers had approached Delhi High Court in 2003 over the issue .

As per the new policy, women officers in PC will be eligible for every appointment which was earlier open only to male officers in the eight arms and services. “The postings will now be uniform for men and women. Women will be eligible for posting to field, Line of Control, Line of Actual Control, high altitude areas and will serve in positions which were meant only for male officers.”

The women officers granted PC are eligible for all the courses, competitive and by nomination, which play a significant role in career progression as well as for promotions. In view of large number of women officers becoming eligible, army has taken measures including a one-time waiver in the upper-age limit and service limit in competitive examinations and courses.

Another decision is to make all women officers in PC undergo Middle Level Tactical Orientation Course of batches till 2004. This will be considered at par with the Junior Command Course which is mandatory for regular officers.