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Nikhil Rao

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Nikhil Rao

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    1995-05-09
  • About me

    http://www.theindiansubcontinent.com/defense

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20 Feb 2018

Goldfein’s Visit And IAF-USAF Affiliation

Goldfein’s Visit And IAF-USAF Affiliation

by Murli Menon

US Air Force (USAF) Chief Gen David L Goldfein visit to India in February, along with the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Gen Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, was an important development indicating the US’ interest in greater operational association between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and USAF. Considering the significant contribution Indian pur

Goldfein’s Visit And IAF-USAF Affiliation

by Murli Menon

US Air Force (USAF) Chief Gen David L Goldfein visit to India in February, along with the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) Gen Terrence O’ Shaughnessy, was an important development indicating the US’ interest in greater operational association between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and USAF. Considering the significant contribution Indian purchases from the US would make to sustain and promote the US military industrial complex, the ambit of IAF-USAF affiliation would throw up significant opportunity for Indian strategic enhancement.

The virtual absence of viable US aircraft in India’s stable since the days of Fairchild Packets and Dakotas has been compensated somewhat in the past few years with the induction of the C-130J and C-17 for the IAF and other technologies such as the P-8 Poseidon for the Indian Navy and gun locating radars for the Indian Army. F-16s, F-18s and now possibly even the F-35A seem to be knocking on the doors. Even with the induction of the Rafale in a few years from now, if the US has its way and depending on actual numbers procured, the IAF could end up with around 20-30 per cent of US military hardware in its total inventory.

There is no gainsaying how US military and State Department officials go out of their way to promote the interests of US defence manufacturers. The all-out efforts to promote the F-16 sale to India to revive a troubled Lockheed Martin facility being relocated to South Carolina from Texas is a case-in-point. Lockheed’s Texas facility will now switch to F-35 production, which again is on the offer list to India. The optics of the USAF Chiefs visit is also significant. His jaunt at Jodhpur in the LCA shows how far the relationship has progressed from the early troublesome days, when Control Law inputs from F-16XL delayed the LCA project during the sanctions era.

In addition, the PR narrative about both air chiefs having been pioneers in evolving air tactics in Kargil and Kosovo, respectively, has more than what meets the eye. The Kosovo and Kargil Air campaigns were operationally as different as chalk and cheese. Kosovo was an illustration of air power’s argued ability to go it alone on the battlefield (not to forget the much touted vulnerability of the stealthy F-117A to conventional air defence sensors), and Kargil was a different ball game altogether of air targeting at rarified high altitude battle zones. The US was clearly signalling a interest in operational cooperation between the USAF and IAF.

Affiliation between the two air forces has been tardy at best. Some cooperation such as Exercise Shiksha in the eastern theatre and F-86 Sabre flying training for young IAF fighter pilots led to a long period of acceptance of each other’s roles during 1971 and thereafter all along till the bilateral warming post the Soviet collapse. Now the two air forces compete at the renowned Red Flag fly off in Alaska with useful affiliations in electronic warfare, AWACS and Flight Air Refuelling a. Once these exercises are truly integrated into operational plans, both countries would gain in achieving individual and combined war objectives. There has already been an IAF-USAF flying instructor exchange. A ‘Top Gun’ exchange could also materialise in the near future.

Where India should be looking for synergy with the USAF is in counter-terror targeting and strategic targeting. US assets, for example, in West Asia, Diego Garcia, and the PACAF could integrate usefully with the IAF wherewithal, be it for air operations in the South China Sea or even targeting proclaimed international terror entities in India’s neighbourhood. Aerial neutralisation if Pakistan’s nuclear assets fall into Jihadi hands could also be foreseeable. It is a little known fact that India turned down an Israeli proposal in the early eighties to target Kahuta (before it turned critical) after staging through Indian air space and air bases. Much water has flowed since and the present dispensations may not be averse to such missions, especially as counter terror has become a zero acceptance priority for the comity of nations.

What India should carefully negotiate is the apparent strategic discordance in operations against countries such as Russia and Iran. India’s political leadership would have to be tread a cautious line to protect national interests. Turkey launching air operations against the Kurdish militias in Syria, whilst being a full-fledged NATO ally, may be a useful pointer here. The India-Pakistan scenario could be a cause for concern in this regard. US affinity for Pakistan would take a while to tilt substantially in India’s favour. Even with a UN sanction and their own bounty of US$ 10 million on his head, the US has been fighting shy of targeting Hafiz Saeed.

Air power has proved itself in achieving national political goals by means of accurate operational targeting. India’s political and military leadership must think through the strategic advantages of hitching their bandwagon with that of the US, scenario-wise as well as adopting a meaningful “What is in it for us?” approach. The newly proposed strategic Quadrilateral between India, US, Australia and Japan will have an air component as well. Therefore, too, the need to exercise with the Japanese and Australian air forces considering future targeting requirements.

Murli Menon is a Former Group Captain, Indian Air Force

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    20 Feb 2018

    MoD Blacklists Six Firms, Suspends 14 Others From Engaging In Business Due To Graft Charges

    MoD Blacklists Six Firms, Suspends 14 Others From Engaging In Business Due To Graft Charges

    Tatra is a Czech manufacturer producing vehicles in Kopřivnice

    The Ministry of Defence on Monday issued a circular in which it listed all the companies which had been debarred or suspended from engaging in business with the ministry because of being accused of wrongdoings in various cases.

    Of the six firms which have been debarred, two are Indian:

    MoD Blacklists Six Firms, Suspends 14 Others From Engaging In Business Due To Graft Charges

    Tatra is a Czech manufacturer producing vehicles in Kopřivnice

    The Ministry of Defence on Monday issued a circular in which it listed all the companies which had been debarred or suspended from engaging in business with the ministry because of being accused of wrongdoings in various cases.

    Of the six firms which have been debarred, two are Indian: TS Kisan and Co Pvt Ltd, and RK Machine Tools Ltd. The other four are Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd, Israel Military Industries Ltd, Rheinmetall Air Defence in Zurich, and Corporation Defence in Russia.

    No business transactions with these six firms are allowed til 2022.

    There are 14 firms which have been suspended from engaging in business with the defence ministry. These include AgustaWestland International Ltd in UK, and Leonardo SpA (erstwhile Finmeccanica), both of which were involved in the infamous Rs 3,600-crore VVIP chopper deal scam.

    On 1 January, 2014, India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks of Rs 423 crore paid by it to secure the deal.

    Some of the other firms involved in the VVIP helicopter scam which have been suspended by the defence ministry are IDS (Tunisia), Infotech Design System (Mauritius), IDS Infotech (Mohali) and Aeromatrix Info Solution (Chandigarh), according to The Times of India.

    The report also said that Shanx Oceaneering, Inter Spiro India Pvt Ltd, Expert Systems, Unitech Enterprises, Kelvin Engineering and Atlas group of companies " involved in the 2005 naval war room leak case " are also in the list of firms suspended.

    Offset India Solutions, under the scanner for its alleged role in the Pilatus aircraft scam, was also one of the suspended firms, reported India Today.

    Rolls Royce and its allied and subsidiary companies, and Tatra Trucks in Czech Republic are the firms which have been allowed to only engage in "restricted procurement".

    India Today reported that Rolls Royce is in the list for alleged irregularities while dealing with the defence sector undertaking HAL in 2014.

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      20 Feb 2018

      ‘Future Weapon Systems Will Be Smart, Complex’

      ‘Future Weapon Systems Will Be Smart, Complex’

      DRDO Chief Addresses Seminar

      Futuristic weapon systems would be smart, intelligent, complex and technologically advanced, said S. Christopher, Chairman of DRDO and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D.

      He was speaking at the Third International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) International Conference on Advances in Control &

      ‘Future Weapon Systems Will Be Smart, Complex’

      DRDO Chief Addresses Seminar

      Futuristic weapon systems would be smart, intelligent, complex and technologically advanced, said S. Christopher, Chairman of DRDO and Secretary, Department of Defence R&D.

      He was speaking at the Third International Federation of Automatic Control (IFAC) International Conference on Advances in Control & Optimisation of Dynamical Systems (ACODS-2018) organised by DRDO.

      G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Adviser to Raksha Mantri and Director General, Missiles and Strategic Systems, said synergetic efforts of R&D institutes, academia and industries have enabled India to achieve self-reliance on many technological fronts. “Technologies have been evolving quickly and we need to focus on smart, adaptive learning systems to make our aerospace vehicles cost-effective and state of the art,” he said.

      Frank Allgower, President of IFAC Austria highlighted the activities of the IFAC and complimented efforts of ACDOS, India, in that direction.

      Ramkalyan Ayyagari, President of ACDOS India (NIT, Trichy), B.N. Suresh, President of Indian National Academy of Engineering, M.S.R. Prasad, Director of DRDL, Tessy Thomas, Director of ASL and B.H.V.S. Narayana Murthy, Director of RCI were among those who spoke at the international conference.

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        20 Feb 2018

        Army To Get More Infantry Vehicles, Navy A Survey Training Vessel

        Army To Get More Infantry Vehicles, Navy A Survey Training Vessel

        An representation of a Naval Oceanographic Ship

        The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday cleared the procurement of infantry combat vehicles for the Army and a survey training vessel for the Navy at a combined cost of about ₹1850 crore.

        “These include procurement of essential quantity of BMP-2

        Army To Get More Infantry Vehicles, Navy A Survey Training Vessel

        An representation of a Naval Oceanographic Ship

        The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday cleared the procurement of infantry combat vehicles for the Army and a survey training vessel for the Navy at a combined cost of about ₹1850 crore.

        “These include procurement of essential quantity of BMP-2 Infantry Combat Vehicles for mechanised infantry and other arms and services at an estimated cost of ₹1125 crore from the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB),” the Ministry said in a statement.

        The second proposal is a Survey Training Vessel to augment the Navy’s growing hydrographic needs in ports, harbours and exclusive economic zones. Indian Navy has been undertaking hydrographic survey for a number of friendly nations in the Indian Ocean and beyond.

        The construction of the vessel will be undertaken under Buy Indian-IDDM category of Defence Procurement Procedure by Indian shipyards at an estimated cost of ₹626 crore.

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          20 Feb 2018

          Bangladesh Stock Exchange Approves China's Bid, Rejects India

          Bangladesh Stock Exchange Approves China's Bid, Rejects India

          China has emerged as the winner against India in the battle for supremacy in the Bangladesh stock exchange.

          After reports of India and China putting up bids in the Bangladesh stock exchange took everyone by surprise, an official told AFP that Bangladesh has agreed to sell a large stake to a Chinese consortium, disregarding India's bid.

          China's

          Bangladesh Stock Exchange Approves China's Bid, Rejects India

          China has emerged as the winner against India in the battle for supremacy in the Bangladesh stock exchange.

          After reports of India and China putting up bids in the Bangladesh stock exchange took everyone by surprise, an official told AFP that Bangladesh has agreed to sell a large stake to a Chinese consortium, disregarding India's bid.

          China's Shanghai and Shenzen stock exchanges made a joint higher bid of 22 taka ($0.26) per share, or $122 million including "technical support worth nearly $37 million".

          Reports had said earlier that the BSEC (Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission) had declined China's bid, however, stock exchange spokesman Shafiqur Rahman said on Monday that the board had "reconfirmed its decision" about approving the Chinese consortium's bid as it is higher than its nearest competitor.

          India's National Stock Exchange had offered 15 taka ($0.18) per share for a 25 per cent stake in the Bangladesh stock exchange.

          Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission had intervened in the bids which led to Transparency International, the Berlin-based corruption watchdog, issuing a statement "strongly condemning" what it called "unethical" and "illegal meddling".

          There were reports which said India was set to win the bid despite quoting a lower price as the Indian government was closer to Sheikh Hasina's government.

          The Indian government has approved several multi-billion dollar contracts to Bangladesh spurring growth and ensuring long-term interests and trade with its neighbour which came into existence after a bruising war with Pakistan in 1971.

          However, as China entered the frame with higher bids and ambitions of extending trade in the region, New Delhi has increasingly felt nervous.

          Now, with China winning round-1 in Bangladesh, India will be looking at other ways to secure its long-term interests with its close neighbour.

          According to reports, the combined market capitalisation of companies listed on the Dhaka stock exchange is over $40 billion.

          There were reports which said India was set to win the bid despite quoting a lower price.

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