Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (INS Vikrant)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : INS Vikrant

Mains level : Indigenization of defense production

The much-awaited sea trials of India’s maiden indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1), built by the public sector Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) have begun.

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1

  • IAC is the first aircraft carrier designed and built in India.
  • It has been designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND), and is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a public sector shipyard under the Ministry of Shipping.
  • The IAC-1, the biggest warship made indigenously, has an overall length of 263 m and a breadth of 63 m.
  • It is capable of carrying 30 assorted aircraft including combat jets and helicopters.
  • Propelled by four gas turbines, it can attain a top speed of 30 knots (about 55 kmph).
  • The vessel will have a complement of 1,500 personnel.

Significance of IAC 1

  • An aircraft carrier is one of the most potent marine assets for a nation, which enhances a Navy’s capability to travel far from its home shores to carry out air domination operations.
  • Many experts consider having an aircraft carrier as essential to be considered a ‘blue water’ navy — one that has the capacity to project a nation’s strength and power across the high seas.
  • An aircraft carrier generally leads as the capital ship of a carrier strike/battle group.
  • As the carrier is a valuable and sometimes vulnerable target, it is usually escorted in the group by destroyers, missile cruisers, frigates, submarines, and supply ships.

Why does it matter that this is a Made-in-India warship?

  • Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier — India joins this elite club now.
  • According to the Navy, over 76 per cent of the material and equipment on board IAC-1 is indigenous.
  • India’s earlier aircraft carriers were either built by the British or the Russians.
  • The INS Vikramaditya, currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier that was commissioned in 2013, started out as the Soviet-Russian Admiral Gorshkov.
  • The country’s two earlier carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Viraat, were originally the British-built HMS Hercules and HMS Hermes before being commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.

Why will this warship be named INS Vikrant?

  • INS Vikrant, a Majestic-class 19,500-tonne warship, was the name of India’s much-loved first aircraft carrier, a source of immense national pride over several decades of service before it was decommissioned in 1997.
  • India acquired the Vikrant from the United Kingdom in 1961, and the carrier played a stellar role in the 1971 war with Pakistan that led to the birth of Bangladesh.

Now that India has the capability, will it build more carriers?

  • Since 2015, the Navy has been seeking approval to build a third aircraft carrier for the country, which, if approved, will become India’s second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2).
  • This proposed carrier, to be named INS Vishal, is intended to be a giant 65,000-tonne vessel, much bigger than IAC-1 and the INS Vikramaditya.
  • The Navy has been trying to convince the government of the “operational necessity” of having a third carrier.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ordinance Factory

Mains level : Defence manufacturing in India

The Minister of State for Defence has introduced the Essential Defence Services Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Essential Defence Services Bill

  • Essentially, the bill is aimed at preventing the staff of the government-owned ordnance factories from going on strike.
  • Around 70,000 people work with the 41 ordnance factories around the country.
  • It is aimed to provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of the nation and the life and property of the public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Why need such a bill?

  • Indian Ordnance Factories is the oldest and largest industrial setup that functions under the Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence.
  • The ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self-reliance in equipping the armed forces with state-of-the-art battlefield equipment.
  • It is essential that an uninterrupted supply of ordnance items to the armed forces be maintained for the defence preparedness of the country and the ordnance factories continue to function without any disruptions.

What does it allow the government to do?

  • The Bill empowers the government to declare services mentioned in it as essential defence services the cessation of work of which would prejudicially affect the production of defence equipment or goods.
  • It also prohibits strikes and lockouts in “any industrial establishment or unit engaged in essential defence services”.

Why does the government feel its need?

  • In June the government announced the corporatization of the Ordnance Factory Board.
  • The OFB was directly under the Department of Defence Production and worked as an arm of the government.
  • The government has claimed that the move is aimed at improving the efficiency and accountability of these factories.
  • The Bill mentioned that there is a threat, though, that the employees of these factories can go on a strike against the decision.

Also read:

Ordinance Factory Board corporatization gets Cabinet approval

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

What is National Security Council (NSC)?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Security Council (NSC)

Mains level : Not Much

The budgetary allocation for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) increased 10 times from ₹33.17 crores in 2016-17 to ₹333.58 crores in 2017-18.

National Security Council (NSC)

  • The NSC is an executive government agency tasked with advising the Prime Minister’s Office on matters of national security and strategic interest.
  • It was established by the former PM of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 19 November 1998, with Brajesh Mishra as the first National Security Advisor.
  • Prior to the formation of the NSC, these activities were overseen by the Principal Secretary to the preceding Prime Minister.


  • Besides the NSA the Deputy National Security Advisors, the Ministers of Defence, External Affairs, Home, Finance of the Government of India, and the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog are members of the National Security Council.
  • PM can chair the meeting of NSC (for eg – PM chaired the meeting of NSC Post Pulwama to discuss heightened tension with Pakistan).
  • Other members may be invited to attend its monthly meetings, as and when is required.

Organizational structure

  • The NSC is the apex body of the three-tiered structure of the national security management system in India.
  • The three tiers are the Strategic Policy Group, the National Security Advisory Board, and a secretariat from the Joint Intelligence Committee.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

What is a Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST)?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST)

Mains level : Not Much

The US Navy Friday carried out a ‘full ship shock trial’ on its newest and most advanced nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to ensure its hardness was capable of withstanding battle conditions.

What is a Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST)?

  • During World War II, American warships suffered severe damage from enemy mines and torpedoes that had actually missed their target, but exploded underwater in close proximity.
  • The US Navy has since worked to improve the shockproofing of their ship systems to minimize damage from such “near miss” explosions.
  • In FSSTs, an underwater explosive charge is set off near an operational ship, and system and component failures are documented.
  • The FSST probes whether the components survive shock in their environment on the ship; it probes the possibilities of system failures, and large components that could not be otherwise tested.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Ordinance Factory Board corporatization gets Cabinet approval


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)

Mains level : Defence manufacturing in India

Addressing a long-pending reform, the Union Cabinet has approved a plan to corporatize the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)

  • OFB consisting of the Indian Ordnance Factories is a government agency under the control of the department of defence production (DDP).
  • It is engaged in research, development, production, testing, marketing and logistics of a product range in the areas of air, land and sea systems.
  • OFB comprises 41 ordnance factories, nine training institutes, three regional marketing centres and four regional controllers of safety, which are spread all across the country.

Why are OFBs significant?

  • OFB is the world’s largest government-operated production organization and the oldest organization in India.
  • It has a total workforce of about 80,000.
  • It is often called the “Fourth Arm of Defence” and the “Force Behind the Armed Forces” of India.
  • OFB is the 35th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India.

Why corporatization?

  • Once implemented, the OFB, the establishment of which was accepted by the British in 1775, will cease to exist.
  • It is a major decision in terms of national security and also make the country self-sufficient in defence manufacturing as repeatedly emphasized by PM.
  • This move would allow these companies autonomy and help improve accountability and efficiency.
  • This restructuring is aimed at transforming the ordnance factories into productive and profitable assets, deepening specialization in the product range, enhancing competitiveness, improving quality and achieving cost efficiency.

Adhering to past recommendations

  • There have been several recommendations by high-level committees in the past for corporatising it to improve efficiency and accountability.

What about employees?

  • All employees of the OFB (Group A, B and C) belonging to the production units would be transferred to the corporate entities on deemed deputation.
  • The pension liabilities of the retirees and existing employees would continue to be borne by the government.

How would this be accomplished?

  • The 41 factories would be subsumed into seven corporate entities based on the type of manufacturing.
  • The ammunition and explosives group would be mainly engaged in producing ammunition of various calibre and explosives, with huge potential to grow exponentially.
  • Similarly, the vehicles group would mainly engage in producing defence mobility and combat vehicles such as tanks, trawls, infantry and mine protected vehicles.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

India third highest military spender in 2020: SIPRI


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3- India as third highest military spender

What the SIPRI database says

  • India was the third largest military spender in the world in 2020, behind only the US and China.
  • The US accounted for 39 per cent of the money spent on military globally, China accounted for 13 per cent, and India accounted for 3.7 per cent of the globe’s share.
  • The US spent a total of $778 billion in 2020, China spent $252 billion and India’s military expenditure was $72.9 billion.
  • The United States’ military spending was 3.7 per cent of its GDP while the corresponding numbers for China and India were 1.7 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.
  • The other top spenders included Russia with $61.7 billion, the UK at $59.2 billion, Saudi Arabia at $57.5 billion, followed by Germany and France at just under $53 billion each.

Increase in spending in the year of pandemic

  •  SIPRI said that the total “global military expenditure rose to $1981 billion last year, an increase of 2.6 per cent in real terms from 2019.
  • 2.6 per cent increase in world military spending came in a year” when the global GDP shrank by 4.4 per cent largely due to the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Military spending as a share of GDP—the military burden—reached a global average of 2.4 per cent in 2020, which is the biggest year-on-year rise in the military burden since the global financial and economic crisis in 2009.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Carrying out transformational reforms in military


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CDS and Department of Military Affairs

Mains level : Paper 3- Creation of Theatre Commands and issues with it

The article examines issues of national security like the recent creation of a Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and also some focus areas like Threatre Command. 

Understanding the significance of  DMA and CDS

  • Through the creation of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the management of the armed forces, so far which was assigned to the civilian Defence Secretary, was brought under a military officer, the CDS.
  • The designation of CDS as Secretary DMA made him the first military officer to be recognised as a functionary of the Government of India (GoI).
  • With the DMA is now a part of the GoI, it would aid the resolution of organisational, hierarchical and financial issues faced by the military.

Recent steps taken by DMA

  • The responsibility for accruing savings to fund defence expenditure has been placed on the DMA.
  • DMA has floated two schemes aimed at reducing the defence pensions bill.
  • One penalises officers seeking early release from service and another envisages a three-year “Tour of Duty” for jawans.
  • Issues with these ideas:
  • Penalising officers for early release is likely to harm morale.
  • “Tour of Duty” will degrade the military’s combat-capability in today’s technology-intensive battle-space.
  • The need here is that DMA must focus on military matters and leave the plans of financing national defence to finance ministry or the Niti Aayog. It will better serve it’s purpose.

Another area of needed reform – Theatre Command

  • Theatre Commands stands for jointness and integration in the Indian military are varying degrees of synergy and cross-service cooperation between the military wings of Indian armed forces.
  • Objectives of the creation of theatre command should be:
  • To hand over the military’s warfighting functions to the Theatre Commanders, while retaining the support functions with service HQs.
  • To combine India’s 17 widely-dispersed, single-service Commands into four or five mission/threat-oriented, geographically contiguous “Joint” or “Theatre Commands”.
  • To place the appropriate warfighting resources of all three services directly under the command of the designated Theatre Commanders; and
  • To achieve efficiency/economy by pooling of facilities and resources of the three services.

Advantages of Theatre Commands

  • The Theatre Commanders and their staff will be trained and groomed in jointness.
  • With that jointness, they will be able to plan operations and to employ land, maritime and air forces, regardless of the service to which they belong.
  • For this to happen, radical changes are required in the content of our system of professional military education.
  • The Theatre Commander will also have the benefit of advice from commanders representing each service.

Issues with Theatre Commands

  • Two thorny issues are the chain of command of the Theatre Commanders and the relationship of the CDS (or his equivalent) with the service Chiefs.
  • To avoid over-concentration of power in any single military functionary, the system followed by the US ensures that the chain of command runs from the President to the Secretary (Minister) of Defence and then, directly to the Theatre Commander.
  • In India, the peacetime management of the armed forces is left to the MoD and the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC).
  • However, during war, strategic guidance to the military,  has always come from the PM.
  • In the system of higher defence under implementation, ideally, the Defence Minister needs to be brought into the command/operational chain of the Theatre Commanders, with the CDS acting as his adviser.
  • Due to frequency of elections and intensity of politics in India that no Defence Minister has had the time or inclination to devote his/her undivided attention to complex national security issues.

Consider the question “Examine the implications of the creation of Theatre Commands. What are the challenges in its creation.”


India’s military reforms are complex, the GoI needs to seriously consider the constitution of a Parliamentary Committee, with military advisers, to oversee and guide this transformational process.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Issues with dilution of offset condition for defence procurement


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : The offset clause

Mains level : Paper 3- Implications of dilutions of offset clause in defence procurement

The ‘offset clause’ could help the country achieve the technological expertise and consequently self-reliance. However, India recently relaxed some norms in the policy. The article discusses the stated reasons for tweaking and its implications for the defence manufacturing industry in India.


  • Recently, the government diluted the “offset” policy in defence procurement, reportedly in response to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India’s report tabled in Parliament last month.

Let’s understand ‘offset’ policy

  •  In order to safeguard national interest, most countries restrict trade in defence equipment and advanced technologies.
  • Yet, for commercial gains and for global technological recognition, governments and firms do like to expand the trade through negotiated bilateral sales.
  • Restrictions are often imposed on the buyer country on use, modification and resale of such equipment and technologies.
  • The product and technology compel buyers to stick to them for: the advantages of bulk purchase, and dependence on the supplier for spares and upgrades.
  • The price and the terms of the contract often reflect the government’s relative bargaining strength and also domestic political and economic considerations.
  • Large buyers such as India seek to exercise their “buying power” to secure not just the lowest price but also try to acquire the technology to upgrade domestic production and build R&D capabilities.
  • The offset clause — used globally — is the instrument for securing these goals.

Changes in the offset policy

  • Initiated in 2005, the offset clause has following requirements:
  • 1) Sourcing 30% of the value of the contract domestically.
  • 2) Indigenisation of production in a strict time frame.
  • 3) Training Indian professionals in high-tech skills, for promoting domestic R&D.
  • However, the policy has been tweaked many times since.
  • According to the recent CAG report,  between 2007 and 2018, the government reportedly signed 46 offset contracts worth ₹66,427 crore of investments.
  • However, the realised investments were merely 8%, or worth ₹5,457 crore.
  • Reportedly, technology transfer agreements in the offsets were not implemented, failing to accomplish the stated policy objective.
  • Recently, the government has changed this policy further so that the offset clause will not be applicable to bilateral deals and deals with a single (monopoly) seller, to begin with.

Implications of the changes in offset policy

  • The dilution means practically giving up the offset clause, and a setback to India’s prospects for boosting defence production and technological self-reliance.
  • The government, however, has defended the decision by claiming a cost advantage.
  • Howver, price is but one of many factors in such deals, as explained above.
  • The higher (upfront) cost of the agreement due to the offset clause would pay for itself by: reducing costs in the long term by indigenisation of production and the potential technology spill-overs for domestic industry.
  • Hence, giving up the offset clause is undoubtedly a severe setback.

How did offset policy work for aerospace industry?

  • Despite the heft of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, India is a lightweight in global civilian aircraft manufacturing, as the public sector giant mostly devotes itself to defence production.
  • The National Civil Aircraft Development (NCAD) project — to come up with an indigenously designed Regional Transport Aircraft (RTA) — has remained a non-starter from day one.
  • However, with the introduction of the offset policy in 2005, things changed dramatically.
  • For contracts valued at ₹300 crore or more, 30% of it will result in offsets, implemented through Indian offset partners.
  • As aerospace imports rose rapidly, so did the exports via the offsets, by a whopping 544% in 2007, compared to the previous year.
  • By 2014, exports increased to $6.7 billion from a paltry $62.5 million in 2005, according to the United Nations Comtrade Database.
  • The offset clause enabled India to join the league of the world’s top 10 aerospace exporters; the only country without a major domestic aerospace firm.
  • However, exports reduced after the offset clause was relaxed, primarily when the threshold for the policy was raised from the hitherto ₹300 crore to ₹2000 crore, in 2016.
  • The offset exports fell to $1.5 billion by 2019.
  • The 2005 policy helped promote a vibrant aerospace cluster, mostly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) around Bengaluru.

Consider the question “How far has the offset clause been successful in enhancing the domestic capabilities of India in defence manufacturing? What are the challenges in achieving the objectives of the policy?”


There are successful examples to draw lessons from, as the aerospace industry episode demonstrates. India needs to re-conceive or re-imagine the offset clause in defence contracts with stricter enforcement of the deals, in national interest, and in order to aim for ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan’, or a self-reliant India.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

What are defence offsets ?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kelkar committee and defense offset

Mains level : Procurement of defense equipments

What are defence offsets ?

  • In simplest terms, the offset is an obligation by an international player to boost India’s domestic defence industry if India is buying defence equipment from it.
  • Since defence contracts are costly, the government wants part of that money either to benefit the Indian industry, or to allow the country to gain in terms of technology.
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) defined offsets as a “mechanism generally established with the triple objectives of: (a) partially compensating for a significant outflow of a buyer country’s resources in a large purchase of foreign goods (b) facilitating induction of technology and (c) adding capacities and capabilities of domestic industry”.

When was the policy introduced?

  • The policy was adopted on the recommendations of the Vijay Kelkar Committee in 2005.
  • The idea was that since India has been buying a lot of defence equipment from foreign countries, so that India can leverage its buying power by making them discharge offset obligations, which is the norm world over.
  • The Sixth Standing Committee on Defence (2005-06) had recommended in December 2005 in its report on Defence Procurement Policy and Procedure that modalities for implementation of offset contracts should be worked out.
  • The first offset contract was signed in 2007.

How can a foreign vendor fulfil its offset obligations?

  • There are multiple routes. Until 2016, the vendor had to declare around the time of signing the contract the details about how it will go about it. In April 2016, the new policy amended it to allow it to provide it “either at the time of seeking offset credits or one year prior to discharge of offset obligations”.
  •  Investment in ‘kind’ in terms of transfer of technology (TOT) to Indian enterprises, through joint ventures or through the non-equity route for eligible products and services.
  •  Investment in ‘kind’ in Indian enterprises in terms of provision of equipment through the non-equity route for manufacture and/or maintenance of products and services.
  •  Provision of equipment and/or TOT to government institutions and establishments engaged in the manufacture and/or maintenance of eligible products, and provision of eligible services, including DRDO (as distinct from Indian enterprises).
  • Technology acquisition by DRDO in areas of high technology.

Will no defence contracts have offset clauses now ?

  • Only government-to-government agreements (G2G), ab initio single vendor contracts or inter-governmental agreements (IGA) will not have offset clauses anymore. For example, the deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets, signed between the Indian and French governments in 2016, was an IGA.
  • IGA is an agreement between two countries, and could be an umbrella contract, under which you can go on signing individual contracts. G2G is transaction specific, or an acquisition specific agreement.


Why was the clause removed?

  •  Vendors would “load” extra cost in the contract to balance the costs, and doing away with the offsets can bring down the costs in such contracts.

Conclusion-  The CAG is not very hopeful of the obligations being met by 2024. It said the audit “found that the foreign vendors made various offset commitments to qualify for the main supply contract but later, were not earnest about fulfilling these commitments”.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Rethinking the defence doctrine


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3-Rethinking the defence doctrine

Indian Army’s prevailing doctrine

  • The Army’s prevailing doctrine is designed to deter and defend against major conventional invasions.
  • This determines how the Army is organised, what equipment it operates, and where it is deployed.
  • The Army expects to win wars by launching its own punitive offensives after an enemy attack, to either destroy enemy forces or seize enemy land.
  • The Army expected that any Chinese bid to capture Indian territory would come as a major conventional invasion.

Miscalculation about Chinese intentions

  • Chinese army crossed the LAC in several places nearly simultaneously, and in larger numbers than usual.
  • Still, the Indian Army probably expected the stand-off would repeat the pattern of years past: China would make its point with a temporary transgression and retreat after talks.
  • But China has no interest in launching a major conventional invasion, but this is not just a typical probe either.
  • China’s quick land grab looks increasingly permanent, like an attempt to change the border without triggering war.

How to address such security threat

  • Addressing this type of security threat requires preventing, not reversing, such fait accompli land grabs.
  • This requires a fundamental shift in the Army’s doctrinal thinking.
  • This fundamental shift involves strategies revolving around punishing the adversary, to strategies that prevent its adventurism in the first place.

Way forward

  • Surveillance: Doctrinal change involves a greater investment in persistent wide-area surveillance to detect and track adversary moves, devolved command authority to respond to enemy aggression.
  • Rehearsed procedures: It would also involve rehearsed procedures for an immediate local response without higher commanders’ approval.
  • Detection: The military must be able to detect adversary action and react quickly, even pre-emptively, to stop attempted aggression from becoming a fait accompli.
  • Delegation of power: In peacetime, local commanders must have the authority and to take anticipatory action.
  • The late-August incident at Chushul demonstrates how this can and should work.


The challenge for India is to learn the right lessons and be alert to similar tactics in other regions, like the Indian Ocean. It must not rely on doctrines forged in wars half a century ago.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Pinaka Missile System


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Pinaka Multibarrel Missiles

Mains level : India-China LAC tensions

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed contracts with three Indian companies for supply of six regiments of the Pinaka Rocket System to be deployed along borders with Pakistan and China.

Following things are crucial to know about the Pinaka Missile System:

1) It’s development and manufacture

2) Fire Range and other capabilities

3) Latest technology enhancement

Pinaka Missile System

  • Pinaka is an indigenously developed rocket system named after Lord Shiva’s mythological bow.
  • It is used for attacking the adversary targets prior to the close-quarter battles which involve smaller range artillery, armoured elements and the infantry.
  • The development of the Pinaka was started by the DRDO in the late 1980s, as an alternative to the multi-barrel rocket launching systems of Russian make, called like the ‘Grad’, which are still in use.
  • After successful tests of Pinaka Mark-1 in late 1990, it was first used in the battlefield during the Kargil War of 1999, quite successfully.
  • Subsequently, multiple regiments of the system came up over the 2000s.

Its versions and capabilities

  • The Pinaka, which is primarily a multi-barrel rocket system (MBRL) system, can fire a salvo of 12 rockets over a period of 44 seconds.
  • One battery of the Pinaka system consists of six launch vehicles, accompanied by the loader systems, radar and links with network-based systems and a command post.
  • It can neutralize an area one kilometre by one kilometre.
  • The Mark-I version of Pinaka has a range of around 40 kilometres and the Mark-II version can fire up to 75 kilometres.
  • The Mark-II version of the rocket has been modified as a guided missile system by integrating it with the navigation, control and guidance system to improve the end accuracy and increase the range.
  • The navigation system of the missile is linked with the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

What is the Negative Imports List for Defence?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Negative Import List

Mains level : Defence manufacturing promotion measures

The Defence Ministry announced a list of 101 items that it will stop importing.

Try this question for mains:

Q.Being one of the top importers of defence equipment India is well placed to enhance its domestic manufacturing capacity of defence equipment. Yet, India lacks it after repeated attempts to achieve it. Examine the reasons for this and suggest measures to overcome this anomaly.

Negative Imports List

  • The negative list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy and Air Force—will only procure all of these 101 items from domestic manufacturers.
  • The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

Why such a decision?

  • Reduce imports: As per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks defence exports and imports globally, India has been the second-largest importer between 2014 and 2019 with US$ 16.75 billion worth of imports.
  • Boost domestic industry: By denying the possibility of importing the items on the negative list, the domestic industry is given the opportunity to step up and manufacture them for the needs of the forces.
  • Boost exports: The government has been hoping that the defence manufacturing sector can play a leading role in boosting the economy, not just for the domestic market, but to become an exporter as well.

Items included in the negative list

The items mentioned in the negative imports list include:

  • water jet fast attack craft to survey vessels, pollution control vessels, light transport aircraft, GSAT-6 terminals, radars, unmanned aerial vehicles, to certain rifles, artillery guns, bulletproof jackets, missile destroyers, etc.

Impact of the move

  • The items in the list are of proven technologies and do not involve any critical or cutting-edge technology for a next-generation weapon system or platform.
  • Little benefits for domestic players in short-run: Against each of these items are mentioned a year when import embargo would kick in, leading to apprehensions that demands will be placed with foreign vendors until then, leaving very little for domestic producers.
  • The biggest challenge for the government and the armed forces will be to keep this commitment to domestic producers in the event of an operational requirement.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3-Self reliance in defence manufacturing.

India is one of the largest importers of defence equipment. This should have naturally made India a manufacturing hub of the defence equipment. But this is not the case. This article deals with this issue. 


Following China’s stance of open belligerence towards India, making war preparedness a top priority. It is against this backdrop, the Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 was unveiled.

Key features

  • It aims for domestic output worth 1.75 trillion of aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025.
  • Of which exports is aimed at 35,000 crore.
  • It has various strategic initiatives that would aid the indigenous development of modern weaponry from hypersonic missiles and ace sensors to stealth submarines and fly-by-wire fighter jets.

Why India lacks indigenous capacity

  • If India’s dependence on foreign suppliers of armaments was not for lack of trying.
  • Our Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) exists for this very purpose.
  • DRDO scientists claim success in several projects, including the Tejas design.
  • But decisions on procurements for our armed forces are made through a complex process—involving service chiefs, technocrats and politicians—that ends up favouring foreign purchases.
  • This is this convenient, as off-the-shelf wares are readily available abroad.
  • The finer details of defence deals are usually confidential, after all, and the payments huge.
  • By one estimate, India was the world’s third largest military spender in 2019, with a bill of over $71 billion, after the US and China.

Issues and Challenges in partnership with private players

  • So far, efforts to get our private sector into the act have not fared too well, despite all our schemes to attract them.
  • Long-drawn out acquisition processes may partly be to blame for this.
  • Companies are apprehensive of investment without an assurance of a ready market.
  • But by the time their prototypes are tested and approved for induction by our forces, they risk being outmoded by advances made abroad.
  • In the US, spin-offs from defence research have been behind many technological innovations of everyday utility.
  • So, the knowledge acquired in defence research has the potential to benefit the other sectors as well.

Consider the question “Being one of the top importers of defence equipment India is well placed to enhance its domestic manufacturing capacity of defence equipment. Yet, India lacks it after repeated attempts to achieve it. Examine the reasons for this and suggest measures to overcome this anomaly.” 


If a big push for “made in India” defence systems calls an entire ecosystem of experiments, ideas and technical wizardry into being, it could help our economy leap ahead too.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Defence reforms must ensure the alignment of its various domains


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CDS

Mains level : Paper 3- Defence reforms.

This article draws on the model used for accident investigation but in a reverse manner. For proper functioning of the defence system of a country, proper alignment of various domains is essential. This article divides the defence system of the country into three layers and visualises them as a slice of cheese in the model. Each component is analysed and the issues associated with it are looked into.

What is the Swiss Cheese Model?

  • The Swiss cheese model is associated with accident investigation in an organisation or a system.
  • A system consists of multiple domains or layers, each having some shortcomings.
  • These layers are visualised in the model as slices of Swiss cheese, with the holes in them being the imperfections.
  • Normally, weaknesses get nullified, other than when, at some point, the holes in every slice align to let a hazard pass through and cause an accident.

Applying the Swiss Cheese Model for nations defence preparedness

  • When applied to a nation’s defence preparedness, the Swiss cheese model, in its simplest form, works the reverse way.
  • The slices represent the major constituents in a nation’s war-making potential, while the holes are pathways through which the domains interact.
  • At the macro level, there are only three slices with holes in each.
  • These must align to ensure that a nation’s defence posture is in tune with its political objectives.
  • Any mismatch may turn out to be detrimental to the nation’s aatma samman (self-respect) when the balloon goes up.
  • In these days of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, a clinical analysis is necessary to obviate any missteps that may prove costly a few years or decades down the line.

Let’s analyse the Indian defence set-up from three slice perspective

  • In the Indian defence set-up, the three slices are as described below-
  • 1)The policymaking apparatus comprising the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) and Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • 2) The defence research and development (R&D) establishment and domestic manufacturing industry.
  • 3) The three services.
  • When the MoD alone existed, a certain relationship between the three layers saw India prosecute four major wars since independence.
  • The holes in the three slices were aligned to different degrees and hence the results were varied in each conflict.
  • That the system required an overhaul would be an understatement.

So, let’s look at the three-slices of Indian defence

1) Policymaking: How changes in technology forced militaries to be joint?

  • With technology progressing exponentially, a single service prosecution of war was no longer tenable.
  • Because the advent of smart munitions, computer processing, networking capabilities and the skyrocketing cost of equipment brought in the concept of parallel warfare.
  • Synergised application of tools of national power became an imperative.
  • Thus, it became essential for militaries to be joint to apply violence in an economical way.
  • Economical in terms of time, casualties, costs incurred, and political gains achieved.
  • The setting up of the DMA and the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to achieve synergy are the most fundamental changes.
  • As further modifications and tweaking take place in the way the services prepare to go to war, it is imperative that the transformation be thought through with clinical analysis, without any external, emotional, political or rhetorical pressure.

Hostile security environment

  • India’s security managers have to factor in the increasingly belligerent posture of the country’s two adversaries.
  • Terrorist activities have not reduced in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Ongoing incidents along the northern border with China do not foretell a peaceful future.
  • And the China-Pakistan nexus can only be expected to get stronger and portentous.
  • Such a security environment demands that capability accretion of the three services proceed unhindered.

2) Indigenous R&D and manufacturing is still some years away

  • To elaborate, the Indian Air Force at a minimum requires 300 fighters to bolster its squadron strength.
  • The Army needs guns of all types; and the Navy wants ships, helicopters, etc.
  • The requirements are worth billions of dollars but with COVID-19-induced cuts in defence spending.
  • Enter the well-meaning government diktat for buying indigenous only, but for that, in-house R&D and manufacturing entities have to play ball.
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited can, at best, produce just eight Tejas fighters per year presently.
  • The Army has had to import rifles due to the failure of the Defence Research and Development Organisation to produce them.
  • And the Navy has earnest hopes that the hull designs that its internal R&D makes get the vital innards for going to war.
  • So, the Swiss cheese slice representing indigenous R&D and a manufacturing supply chain that ensures quality war-fighting equipment, at the right time and in required quantities, is still some years away.

3) The three services and creation of theatre commands

  • The forthcoming reform of creating theatre commands is the most talked about result of jointness expected from the Swiss cheese slice in which lie the DMA and a restructured MoD.
  • Doing so would be a shake-up of huge proportions as it strikes at the very foundation of the war-fighting structure of the services.
  • The three-year deadline spoken about by the CDS must take into account the not-so-comfortable state of assets of each service which would need to be carved up for each theatre.
  • The Chinese announced their ‘theaterisation’ concept in 2015; it is still work in progress.
  • The U.S. had a bruising debate for decades before the Goldwater-Nichols Act came into force in 1986.
  • New relationships take time to smooth out, and in the arena of defence policymaking, which is where the DMA and MoD lie, the element of time has a value of its own.
  • Any ramming through, just to meet a publicly declared timeline, could result in creating a not-so-optimal war-fighting organisation to our detriment.
  • So, the three services that constitute the third Swiss cheese slice have to contend with the other two slices being in a state of flux for some time to come.

Consider the question “Any defence system reforms must ensure the alignment and coordination of the various component of it which involves policymaking apparatus,  defence R&D and manufacturing and the three services. Comment.”


The political, civil and military leadership must have their feet firmly on ground to ensure that the holes in their Swiss cheese continue to stay aligned; impractical timelines and pressures of public pronouncements must not be the drivers in such a fundamental overhaul of our defence apparatus.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.



From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Missile Park ‘Agneeprastha’

Mains level : NA

Foundation Stone for a Missile Park “AGNEEPRASTHA” was recently laid at INS Kalinga, Vizag.

Caution: Agneeprastha is a missile park of the eastern naval command of the Indian Navy. It has nothing to do with the Agni missiles.

Missile Park ‘Agneeprastha’

  • ‘Agneeprastha’ aims to capture glimpses of Missile History of INS Kalinga since 1981 till date.
  • The Missile Park has been set up with a replica of missiles and Ground Support Equipment (GSE) that showcase the evolution of missiles handled by the unit.
  • The exhibits have been created from scrap / obsolete inventory which have been reconditioned in-house.
  • The main attraction is P-70 ‘Ametist’, an underwater launched anti-ship missile from the arsenal of the old ‘Chakra’ (Charlie-1 submarine) which was in service with IN during 1988-91.
  • It will also provide a one-stop arena for motivation and stimulation of inquisitive minds regarding the missiles and related technologies, from school children to naval personnel and their families.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Towards self-reliance in defence manufacturing


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ordinance Factory Board

Mains level : Paper 3- Self-sufficiency in defence manufacturing

External dependence for defence equipment could turn out to be the chink in the armour of any country, literally. As one of the major importer of defence equipment, India has been struggling to wean itself away from this vulnerability. This article discusses the recent changes announced by the finance minister in defence procurement and manufacturing policy. So, what are the changes and how will these changes benefit us? Read to know more…

Promoting self-reliance: Addressing strategic and national security concern

  • Recently the Finance Minister announced measures to promote self-reliance in defence production.
  • This address long-standing strategic and national security concerns about the extent of India’s external dependence for its defence-preparedness.
  • For most of the past decade, India had the dubious distinction of being the world’s largest arms importer.
  • India accounted for about 12% of global arms imports.
  • Saudi Arabia jumped to first place in 2018 and 2019, but India still takes over 9% of global imports.
  • This external dependence for weapons, spares and, in some cases, even ammunition creates vulnerabilities during military crises.
  • COVID-19 has, once again, focused minds on the impact of supply chain disruptions on both civil and defence sectors.
  • With its security environment, its great power ambitions and its technological capacities, India should have a robust defence manufacturing capacity.
  • New Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) 2020 are under formulation.
  • We now have a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) tasked with promoting indigenous equipment in the armed forces.

Following are some of the moves declared by the government and their significance for the country

1. Encouraging  private manufacturers

  • The decision i) to notify a list of weapons systems for sourcing entirely from Indian manufacturers, ii) the promise to progressively expand this list iii) a separate Budget provision for domestic capital procurement- will encourage our private defence manufacturers.
  • The research capacities, technological skills and quality commitment of our private defence manufacturer are often better appreciated by foreign clients for whom they are subcontractors.
  • There is a range of platforms and subsystems, developed in India and qualified in trials, some of which face hurdles to their induction by our armed forces because of foreign competition.
  • These include missile systems such as Akash and Nag, the Light Combat Aircraft and the Light Combat Helicopter, artillery guns, radars, electronic warfare systems and armoured vehicles.

2. Time-bound procurement

  • The government has promised i) a time-bound defence procurement process, ii) overhauling trial and testing procedures iii) establishing a professional project management unit.
  • To understand the significance of the above measures consider the fact below-
  • Over the past five years, the Indian government has approved over 200 defence acquisition proposals, valued at over ₹4 trillion.
  • But most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
  • Of course, this delay now provides the opportunity to re-examine them and to prioritise those with indigenous research and development.
  • The CDS could also examine them from a tri-service angle, to avoid redundancy of capacities across the services.

3. Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board

  • Over the decades, our ordnance factories have been the backbone of indigenous supplies to our armed forces.
  • Their structure, work culture and product range now need to be responsive to technology and quality demands of modern armed forces.
  • Corporatisation, including public listing of some units, ensures a more efficient interface of the manufacturer with the designer and end-user.
  • The factories would be better integrated into the larger defence manufacturing ecosystem.

4. Realistic specifications of desired weapon platforms

  • Our defence planners will frame “realistic” specifications for their desired weapons platforms.
  • These specifications should be based on the requirements of India’s defence strategy, rather than on aspirational considerations which, the Finance Minister said, may lead to a single foreign vendor.
  • It is also imperative that when we import weapon systems, we should plan for the ammunitions and spares for them to be eventually manufactured in India.
  • This will ensure that we are not driven to seek urgent replenishments from abroad during crises.
  • The same goes for repair, maintenance and overhaul facilities and, at the next level, the upgrade of weapons platforms.

5. FDI limit increased to 74% by automatic route

  • The liberalisation of foreign direct investment in defence manufacturing, raising the limit under the automatic route to 74%, should open the door to more joint ventures of foreign and Indian companies for defence manufacturing in India.
  • It would also sustain domestic industrial activity in the research, design and manufacture of systems and sub-systems.
  • Our companies would now get the opportunity to directly contribute to Indian defence manufacturing.

Way forward

  • The development of a thriving indigenous defence industry needs an overhaul of existing regulations and practices.
  • A long-term integrated perspective plan of the requirements of the armed forces should give industry a clear picture of future requirements.
  • DPP 2020 should incorporate guidelines to promote forward-looking strategic partnerships between Indian and foreign companies.
  • This partnership should be with a view to achieving indigenisation over a period of time for even sophisticated platforms.
  • Cost evaluation has to evolve from mechanical application of the L1 (lowest financial bid) principle to prioritising indigenous content.
  • The definition of indigenisation itself needs to privilege technology over value or volume.
  • Investment, Indian or foreign, will be viable only if the door to defence exports is opened, with a transparent policy.
  • To give private industry a level playing field for developing defence technologies, conflicts of interest, created by the role of our Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as the government’s sole adviser, developer and evaluator of technologies have to be addressed.

Consider the question, “India has been aspiring to reduce its external dependence for defence equipment but has not succeeded in doing so. Examine the challenges in the way of self-sufficiency in this area. How effective will be the recent policy changes made in meeting the goal?”


The government has rightly clarified that self-reliance would not be taken to overzealous extremes. The thrust for indigenous research and development will coexist with the import of cutting-edge military technologies to obviate near-term defence vulnerabilities. Of the key components of any major reform — money, method and mindset — mindset is the most critical and the most intractable. It takes a crisis to change it.





Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[pib] Shekatkar Committee recommendations on Border Infrastructure


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Shekatkar Committee

Mains level : Significance of the Border Infrastructure

Government has accepted and implemented three important recommendations of the Committee of Experts (CoE) under the chairmanship of Lt General D B Shekatkar (Retd.) relating to border Infrastructure.

Practice question for mains:

Q. India’s unique geo-strategic location needs an all-weather and efficient border infrastructure. Comment.

About Shekatkar Committee

  • The military reforms committee – under Lt General (retd.) DB Shekatkar – was set up by then Raksha Mantri Manohar Parrikar in 2015.
  • The committee was established with a mandate for Enhancing Combat Capability and Rebalancing Defence Expenditure.
  • Shekatkar Committee had made recommendations on enhancing the combat potential of India’s three armed forces, rationalizing the defence budget etc.
  • The committee submitted its report on December 21, 2016. It had apparently exceeded its brief with some 200 recommendations.
  • A major recommendation is that the defence budget should be 2.5% to 3% of the GDP.

Recommendations on border infrastructure

  • On the matter related to creating border infrastructure, the Government has implemented the recommendation of CoE to outsource road construction work beyond the optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
  • These were related to speeding up road construction, leading to socio-economic development in the border areas.
  • The other recommendation relating to the introduction of modern construction plants, equipment and machinery has been implemented.

Back2Basics: Border Roads Organisation (BRO)

  • The BRO develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighboring countries and functions under the Ministry of Defence.
  • It is entrusted for construction of Roads, Bridges, Tunnels, Causeways, Helipads and Airfields along the borders.
  • Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.
  • It is also staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers on extra regimental employment.
  • The BRO operates and maintains over 32,885 kilometers of roads and about 12,200 meters of permanent bridges in the country.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

War and Peace: Analysis of BSF’s role


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BSF

Mains level : Paper 3 -Wartime role of BSF

The BSF came into being in the wake of the 1965 India-Pakistan war. So, its ‘innate’ tasks involves both wartime and peacetime roles. This article is written by a retired IPS officer who has been ADG of BSF.  Our aim is to provide you with on-ground experience of issues in this security force. Focus of the article is on the preparedness of the BSF for its wartime role. From the exam perspective, focus on issues and possible solutions.

Role of BSF

  • Officially, its role is defined in expansive terms like ‘security of the border of India and matters connected therewith’.
  • The tasks of BSF are divided into peacetime and wartime.
  • 1) The peacetime tasks include preventing smuggling and any other illegal activity, and unauthorised entry into or exit from the territory of India, etc.
  • 2) The wartime tasks of the BSF include holding ground in less threatened sectors, etc.

Unpreparedness in wartime role

  • The BSF, in terms of its defences, equipment, weaponry and training, is not at all prepared for its wartime role.
  • This means that in the eventuality of any military assault, our ‘first line of defence’ would simply crumble.
  • Falling back on army’s mobilizations for a counterattack may take up to several days.
  • Retreat and loss of territory in this period is a possible scenario.
  • The report titled ‘Border Security: Capacity Building and Institutions’ of the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, submitted to the Rajya Sabha on April 11, 2017:
  • Does not talk about the wartime role of the BSF even once.
  • It talks only of its peacetime role including fencing, floodlights and roads along the borders, development of integrated check posts, and construction of strategic roads.

The fallacy of infantry attack

  • The founders of the BSF, including the committee of secretaries, had a wrong presumption that the assault on the ‘first line of defence’ will be by the enemy’s ‘exposed’ infantry.
  • This assault, they imagined, would be repulsed by BSF soldiers wielding similar arms.
  • But that presumption is a folly.
  •  Now, as a rule of thumb, infantry assault, whether supported by armour or not, or even a purely armour assault on any position is preceded by as heavy and as accurate artillery bombardment as possible.
  • If the attacking nation could afford it, such as the US during the 1991 Gulf War the bombardment could be aerial also.

Unprepared to withstand shelling

  • Our ‘first line of defence’ does not have any defensive structures or fortifications that could withstand artillery bombardment even for a minute.
  • According to photographs available in the public domain, most BSF observation posts on the international border are ramshackle structures of tin sheets and sandbags erected on small mounds of earth.
  • Adding to that, the mounds are in full view of the enemy and their locations are known to them to the last centimetre.

 Uninspiring weaponry

  • The photographs of the 105 mm Indian Field Gun and their staple, the 7.62 mm medium machine gun are available in public domain.
  • The 105 mm Indian Field Guns have been placed under the operational command of the army, and BSF would not be able to use them when the enemy makes first contact with them.
  • That leaves them with their 51 mm and 81 mm mortars.
  • The 51mm mortar, with just 109 grams of explosive per shell and a maximum range of  850 m is as good as useless in a war.
  • The 81 mm mortar bomb with an explosive charge of 750 grams has a maximum range of 6000 m.
  • The enemy artillery would in any case be firing from way beyond that range, thereby making effective retaliation through mortars impossible.
  • Even when enemy IFV/APC or armour would come closer and in range, the smooth-bore 81 mm mortar is inherently not accurate enough to hit a moving vehicle. (smoothness of bore reduces accuracy)
  • Even the NATO rifled 120 mm mortars have a CEP (circular error probable) of 136 m.
  • As for the 7.62 mm medium machinegun, it is an anti-personnel weapon with the armour penetration of the M80 bullet being just 3 mm at 500m.
  • That makes it useless against even lightly armoured vehicles.
  • This means that the BSF outposts will not be able to deliver any effective fire at all on an enemy assault.

IPS leadership issue

  • Since the BSF’s inception, the force’s Indian Police Service (IPS) leadership has not focused on the wartime role of the BSF.
  • The IPS officers in top positions in the BSF lack knowledge of military science that could enable them to appreciate and address the wartime role.

Way forward

  •  The only defence feasible against artillery bombardment is to go sub-surface—in the form of deep concrete dugouts and fire trenches.
  • Then we also need elaborate anti-tank ditches.
  • To deliver effective fire on enemy armoured and lightly armoured vehicles, and infantry operating under their protection, the BSF needs weapons which carry enough explosive payloads to tackle armour, both light and heavy.
  • Portability, manoeuvrability and accuracy are important considerations in the ‘first line of defence’ attacking armour.
  • A veritable battery of ATGMs and cheaper yet accurate options like the 80 mm Breda Folgore RCL are available.
  • Using them effectively would require defensive fighting positions interconnected by communication trenches.
  • Research needs to be done to mount weapons like the Shipunov 2A42 30 mm autocannon on platforms faster than the BMP-2.
  • Similarly, MMGs/GPMGs need mobile platforms like Humvees to increase their survivability as well as effectivity.

Consider the question “The BSF, which is often hailed as India’s ‘first line of defence’ has tasked with wartime and peacetime roles. Though it is quite adept in peacetime role, its wartime preparedness needs an overhaul. Comment.”


These issues with the BSF could result in a  situation where there is every possibility of rout and retreat in the early days of the war. This issue needs to be urgently addressed by the government.


Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[pib] Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS)

Mains level : Defence manufacturing promotion measures

In order to give a boost to domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing, Raksha Mantri has approved the launch of the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS).


Practice question for mains:

Q. Self-reliance in defence manufacturing is one of the key objectives of ‘Make in India’. Discuss.


Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS)

  • The DTIS would run for the duration of five years and envisages set up six to eight new test facilities in partnership with private industry.
  • The scheme has been allocated with an outlay of Rs 400 crore for creating a state of the art testing infrastructure for this sector.
  • This will facilitate indigenous defence production, consequently, reduce imports of military equipment and help make the country self-reliant.
  • While the majority of test facilities are expected to come up in the two Defence Industrial Corridors (DICs), the Scheme is not limited to setting up Test Facilities in the DICs only.

Funding pattern

  • The projects under the Scheme will be provided with up to 75 per cent government funding in the form of ‘Grant-in-Aid’.
  • The remaining 25 per cent of the project cost will have to be borne by the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) whose constituents will be Indian private entities and State Governments.
  • The SPVs under the Scheme will be registered under Companies Act 2013 and shall also operate and maintain all assets under the Scheme, in a self-sustainable manner by collecting user charges.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Transforming the Military


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- Transforming military

The COVID blaze caused economic disruption and now even the military is feeling the heat. The military is grappling with multiple issues like freezing of fresh capital acquisition and delay in procurement. But this could also be considered as an opportunity to transform the Indian military. 4 areas where this transformation could start are discussed in this article. Read to know more.

The difference in approaches to security

  • Pakistan’s approach: Pakistan stagnates in an existential-threat-based and India-centric approach to national security.
  • What is China’s approach? China’s expansive global strategy and unbridled capability-based development surge have overcome the dangers of direct competition with the US.
  • It has closed the gap through an “indirect approach to international security”.
  • This indirect approach looks at building on strengths in areas such as cyberspace, non-contact warfare, economic and diplomatic coercion.

So, what should be India’s approach to security?

  • Strategic guidelines for India’s must shift from a threat-based methodology to a multi-disciplinary capability.
  • An outcome-based orientation to fit with the nation’s power aspirations.

4 most critical means to kick-start the transformation:

1. Creation of indigenous defence capability

  • Doing this without brushing away the short and medium-term requirement of selective imports will be the key to a calibrated march to self-sufficiency.

2. Leadership

  • India’s military leadership is very hierarchical and sequential in its approach.
  • However, this same leadership has superb operational skills and possesses a quick understanding of technology, tactics, techniques and procedures.
  • Consequently, strategic leaders need to be identified and their transition towards becoming more than mere executors of operational plans and campaigns needs to be enabled.
  • Multi-disciplinary thinking, lateral assimilation and a world-view are among the specific skill-sets that need to be nurtured.

3. Training and Education

  • Training and education form the next two silos in the process of transformation.
  • The US example: Several military officers at the colonel level — fresh out of war colleges and the university environment where they spend a year of education (not training) — are posted at the Pentagon and NATO HQ.
  • Here, they work alongside civilians, politicians, lawmakers, not forgetting their own joint leadership.
  • In such an environment, it is not difficult to mark, train and recognise talent in ways that go beyond the mere rank structure.
  • It is high time India goes down that road because even though economic globalisation may be on hold for a while post-COVID-19, there is going to be a flattening of the world from a security perspective.
  • There will be common threats that would need to be fought jointly by nations.
  • The three pre-requisites in these silos will be an amalgam of 1)service-centric and joint operations expertise, 2) operational acumen in a global environment, and 3) broad-based education that develops intellectual capital.
  • Training in the Indian military is top-notch and needs a little tweaking to help officers and men understand the rules of engagement in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world.
  • It is diversified education at all levels of leadership that is a weak area.

4. Jointness and integration

  • Finally, the silo of jointness and integration without losing identities and compromising competencies is an outcome that needs to be chased down with focus and determination.

Consider the question based on the issues discussed in the article “Strategic guidelines for India’s security managers must shift from a threat-based methodology to a multi-disciplinary capability and outcome-based orientation to fit with the nation’s power aspirations. Based on some expert committee reports, discuss the ways which the Indian military follow to achieve the transformation to satisfy the nation’s power aspirations.”


Some difficulties caused to the military due to COVID pandemic should be considered as an opportunity. It should be an opportunity to evolve a transformational culture in the Indian military. This should be based on clear political guidelines driven by existing and futuristic capabilities, expected strategic outcomes and anticipated strategic challenges.


Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

‘Trends in World Military Expenditure’ Report, 2019


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Highlights of the report

The annual report ‘Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019’ was released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a Swedish think tank.

Military expenditure across the World

  • The global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019 with India and China emerging among the top three spenders, according to the report.
  • In 2019, the top five largest spenders — U.S. ($732 bn), China, India, Russia ($65.1 bn) and Saudi Arabia ($61.9 bn) — accounted for 62% of the global expenditure.
  • China’s military expenditure reached $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1% increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8% to $71.1 billion.
  • In Asia and Oceania, other than India and China, Japan ($47.6 bn) and South Korea ($43.9 bn) were the largest military spenders.

What drives India’s military spending?

  • India’s tensions and rivalry with both Pakistan and China are among the major drivers for its increased military spending.
  • While India’s defence spending excluding pensions, which constitute a significant part, has been growing in absolute terms, it has been going down as a percentage of its GDP as noted by the report.

Significant rise

  • India’s expenditure in 2019 was 6.8% more than that in 2018.
  • It grew by 259% over the 30-year period of 1990–2019, and by 37% over the decade of 2010–19.

The Defence expenditure in India is increasing every year in absolute terms, implying higher spending while there has been very selective modernisation of the armed forces. Critically analyse.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Still no bullseye, in volume and value


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3- India's growing defence export.


Based on the latest estimates released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in the period between 2009-13 and 2014-18, Indian defence imports fell even as exports increased.

What are the factors responsible for the shift?

  • Make in India initiative: The first is the ‘Make in India’ initiative, as part of which a number of components from Indian private and public sector enterprises have been prioritised by the government.
  • Delay by vendors in supplying equipment: The second set of factors is extraneous to India in the form of delays in supplying equipment by vendors and the outright cancellation of contracts by the Indian government or at least a diminution of existing contracts.

How ‘Make in India’ made the difference?

  • DPP’s measures to build India’s defence industry: Under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) lays out the terms, regulations and requirements for defence acquisitions as well as the measures necessary for building India’s defence industry.
  • It created a new procurement category in the revised DPP of 2016 dubbed ‘Buy Indian Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured’ (IDDM).
  • Earmarking projects for MSMEs: The ‘Make’ procedure has undergone simplification “earmarking projects not exceeding ten crores” that are government-funded and ₹3 crores for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that are industry-funded.
  • Technology transfer to private companies: In addition, the government has also introduced provisions in the DPP that make private industry production agencies and partners for technology transfers.
  • The growing share of SMEs in the defence market: Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) until 2016 accounted for a 17.5% share of the Indian defence market.
  • According to the government of India data for the financial year 2018-19, the three armed services for their combined capital and revenue expenditures sourced 54% of their defence equipment from Indian industry.
  • Four companies among the top 100: Among arms producers, India has four companies among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
  • It is estimated, according to SIPRI, their combined sales were $7.5 billion in 2017, representing a 6.1% jump from 2016.
  • All four of these companies are public sector enterprises and account for the bulk of the domestic armament demand.
  • The largest Indian arms producers are the Indian ordnance factories and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which are placed 37th and 38th, respectively, followed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

Reasons for falling imports

  • Cancellation of contracts: Indian defence acquisitions have also fallen due to the cancellation of big-ticket items. For instance the India-Russia joint venture for the development of the advanced Su-57 stealth Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).
  • India cancelled involvement in 2018 due to rising dissatisfaction in delays with the project as well as the absence of capabilities that would befit a fifth-generation fighter jet.
  • Reduction in order: In 2015, the Modi government also reduced the size of the original acquisition of 126 Rafale Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) from Dassault to 36 aircraft, which is also responsible for significantly driving down the import bill.
  • Delay by suppliers: That apart, the delays in the supplies of T-90 battle tanks, and Su-30 combat aircraft from Russia and submarines from France, in 2009-13 and 2014-18, also depressed imports.
  • Industrial model at odds with the global trend: India’s defence model faces challenges despite the positive trends generated by ‘Make in India’.
  • SMEs still face stunted growth because India’s defence industrial model is at odds with global trends in that it tends to create disincentives for the private sector.
  • Governments, including the incumbent, have tended to privilege Defence Public Sector Units (DPSUs) over the private sector, despite ‘Make in India’.
  • Undermining the private sector: This model is highly skewed, undermining the growth of private players and diminishes the strength of research and development.

The rise in Indian defence export

  • Considerable rise between 2012 and 2019: The period between 2012 and 2019 saw Indian defence exports experiencing a considerable jump sourced from Indian public and private sector enterprises.
  • In the last two fiscal years, 2017-18 and 2018-19, exports have witnessed a surge from ₹7,500 crore to ₹11,000 crores, representing a 40% increase in exports.
  • Measures introduced by the government: The sharpest rise in defence export products can be attributed to the measures introduced by the government which in 2014, delisted or removed several products that were restricted from exports.
  • It dispensed with the erstwhile No Objection Certificate (NOC) under the DPP restricting exports of aerospace products, several dual-use items and did away with two-thirds of all products under these heads.
  • According to the Ministry of Commerce and the Industry, Export-Import Data Bank export of defence items in the aerospace category has witnessed an increase in value.
  • Small naval crafts account for the bulk of India’s major defence exports. However, the export of ammunition and arms remain low.
  • As a percentage of total Indian trade, defence-related exports for the fiscal years 2017-18 and 2018-19 were 8 and 0.73%, respectively.


From a volume and value standpoint, Indian defence exports, while showing a promising upward trend, still remain uncompetitive globally. It is likely that Indian defence exports will take several years before they are considered attractive by external buyers. But green shoots are emerging in a sector that has long been devoid of any dynamism and Indian policymakers should make the most of the opportunities this represents.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[pib] Defence Procurement Procedure, 2020


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Defence Procurement Procedure

Mains level : Defence procurement in India

Raksha Mantri unveiled the draft Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2020 that aims at further increasing indigenous manufacturing and reducing timelines for procurement of defence equipment.

Defence Procurement Procedure

  • The draft of DPP 2020 has been prepared by a Review Committee headed by Director General (Acquisition) based on the recommendations of all stakeholders, including private industry.
  • The first DPP was promulgated in 2002 and has since been revised a number of times to provide impetus to the growing domestic industry and achieve enhanced self-reliance in defence manufacturing.


  • The government is constantly striving to formulate policies to empower the private industry including MSMEs in order to develop the eco-system for indigenous defence production.
  • The major changes proposed in the new DPP are:

 1) Indigenous Content ratio hiked

  • The draft proposes increasing the Indigenous Content (IC) stipulated in various categories of procurement by about 10% to support the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • A simple and realistic methodology has been incorporated for verification of indigenous content for the first time.

2) New Category: “Buy Global” Manufacture in India

  • It has been introduced with minimum 50% indigenous content on cost basis of total contract value.
  • Only the minimum necessary will be bought from abroad while the balance quantities will be manufactured in India.
  • This would be in preference to the ‘Buy Global’ category as manufacturing will happen in India and jobs will be created in the country.

3) Leasing introduced as a new category

  • Leasing has been introduced as a new category for acquisition in addition to existing ‘Buy’ & ‘Make’ categories to substitute huge initial capital outlays with periodical rental payments.
  • Leasing is permitted under two categories e, Lease (Indian) where Lessor is an Indian entity and is the owner of the assets and Lease (Global) where Lessor is a Global entity.
  • This will be useful for military equipment not used in actual warfare like transport fleets, trainers, simulators, etc.

4) Product support

  • The scope and options for Product Support have been widened to include contemporary concepts in vogue, namely Performance Based Logistics (PBL), Life Cycle Support Contract (LCSC), Comprehensive Maintenance Contract (CMC), etc to optimize life cycle support for equipment.
  • The capital acquisition contract would normally also include support for five years beyond the warranty period.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

‘MH-60R and AH-64E Apache’ Choppers


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Details of the choppers

Mains level : India-US defence cooperation


During his speech in Ahmedabad, Mr. Trump announced: deals to sell over $3 billion state-of-the-art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian Armed Forces.

MH-60 Romeo helicopters

  • The incoming 24 multirole MH-60 Romeo helicopters are expected to boost the Indian Navy’s efforts to expand its role in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The MH-60 Romeo Seahawk, made by defence giant Lockheed Martin, is one of the most advanced naval helicopters in the world, used by the US Navy among others.
  • It is the most capable and mature Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) multi-mission helicopter available in the world today, the makers say.
  • MH-60 Romeo Seahawks have equipped with anti-submarine Mark 54 torpedoes and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, along with precision-kill rockets.
  • It also has an advanced system for passive detection, location, and identification of emitters. It can not only track and hunt ships but is also used by the US Navy as an anti-submarine weapon.

Apache helicopters

  • Indian Army will receive six more Apache helicopters in addition to the 22.
  • The Apaches can operate at high altitudes and will be deployed along the Pakistan border. The Army is likely to get the helicopters armed with Stinger air-to-air missiles and Hellfire Longbow air-to-ground missiles.
  • Among the Apache’s modern capabilities are the ability to shoot fire-and-forget anti-tank missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and other munitions.
  • It also has modern electronic warfare capabilities to provide versatility in network-centric aerial warfare.
  • The choppers are all-weather capable and have high agility and survivability against battle damage.
  • They can be easily maintained in field conditions as well as during operations in the tropical and desert regions.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Explained: How to unify defence resources


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Joint Commands of the tri-services

Mains level : Need for Joint Commands

  • The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Rawat said his office is working on a tentative timeline for the establishment of joint commands among the three defence services.
  • With the creation of the CDS post on December 31, the government has set the ball rolling for bringing jointness and integration among the services.

What are joint commands?

  • Simply put, it is a unified command in which the resources of all the services are unified under a single commander looking at a geographical theatre.
  • It means that a single military commander, as per the requirements, will have the resources of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to manage a security threat.
  • The commander of a joint command will have the freedom to train and equip his command as per the objective and will have logistics of all the services at his beckoning.
  • The three services will retain their independent identities as well.
  • A committee headed by Lieutenant General D B Shekatkar had earlier recommended three new commands: Northern, for China; Western, for the Pakistan border’ and Southern, for maritime security.

Present commands

  • There are two tri-services commands at the moment.
  • The joint command at the moment, the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), is a theatre command, which is headed by the chiefs of the three services in rotation.
  • It was created in 2001 after a Group of Ministers had given a report on national security following the Kargil War.
  • The Strategic Forces Command was established in 2006 and is a functional tri-services command.

What is the structure right now?

  • There are 17 commands, divided among the three services. The Army and the Air Force have seven commands each, while the Navy has three commands.
  • The commands under the Army are Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, Central, Southwestern and the Army Training Command.
  • The Air Force has Eastern, Western, Southern, Southwestern, Central, Maintenance and Training commands, and the Navy is divided into Western, Eastern and Southern commands.
  • These commands report to their respective services and are headed by three-star officers.
  • Though these commands are in the same regions, they are no located together.

Advantages of  joint commands

  • One of the main advantages is that the leader of unified command has control over more varied resources, compared to the heads of the commands under the services now.
  • For instance, the head of one of the proposed commands, Air Defence Command, will have under him naval and Army resources, too, which can be used as per the threat perception.
  • And the officer commanding the Pakistan or China border will have access to the Air Force’s fighter jets and can use them if needed.
  • However, that not all naval resources will be given to the Air Defence Command, nor will all resources of the Air Force come under another proposed command, Peninsula Command, for the coasts.
  • The Peninsula Command would give the Navy Chief freedom to look at the larger perspective in the entire Indian Ocean Region in which China’s presence is steadily increasing.
  • The other key advantage is that through such integration and jointness the three forces will be able to avoid duplication of resources.
  • The resources available under each service will be available to other services too. The services will get to know one another better, strengthening cohesion in the defence establishment.

How many such commands are expected to roll out?

  • While the number of commands India needs is still being studied, the CDS has envisaged that there could be between six to nine commands. It is not certain how many land-based theatre commands on the borders will come up.
  • The CDS said it will be studied, and the study group will be given the options for creating two to five theatre commands.
  • One possibility is to have single commands looking at the China and Pakistan borders respectively, as they are the two major threats.
  • The other option is to have a separate command for the border in the J&K region, and another command looking at the rest of the western border.
  • There could be independent commands looking at the border with China which is divided by Nepal.
  • A proposed Logistics Command will bring the logistics of all the service under one person, and the CDS is also looking at a Training and Doctrine Command so that all services work under a common doctrine and have some basic common training.

Do militaries of other countries have such commands?

  • Several major militaries are divided into integrated theatre commands.
  • China’s People’s Liberation Army has five theatre commands: Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central. Its Western Theatre Command is responsible for India.
  • The US Armed Forces have 11 unified commands, of which seven are geographic and four functional commands. Its geographic commands are Africa, Central, European, Indo-Pacific, Northern, Southern and Space.
  • Cyber, Special Operations, Transportation and Strategic are its functional commands.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

May the Force be strengthened


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much.

Mains level : Paper 3-Role played by CRPF in the internal security of the country and problems faced by the force.


The functioning of the CRPF needs to be revisited.

Historical background and present status of CRPF

  • Crown Representative Police: In the wake of Independence, a contentious administrative issue was over the retention of CRP (Crown Representative Police).
    • The question over the relevance of the force: As the Constitution designated ‘law and order’ as a State subject, the relevance of having a Central police force was questioned by everyone
    • But Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel argued vehemently and boldly in favour of it.
  • Present-day relevance of the force
    • From having just two battalions as the CRP, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has now expanded to being a three-and-a-half lakh-strong force.
    • Consisting of specialist wings like-
    • The Rapid Action Force.
    • The COBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action).
    • The Special Duty Group.
    • Largest Paramilitary force: It is the largest paramilitary force in the world and no other security force of the country has seen expansion at such a rapid rate.
  • Importance of the force
    • Security to the country: Providing integrated security to a diverse country of continental size is not an easy task.
    • Immediate solution situation: Resolving certain conflicts requires immediate solutions for which regular armed forces cannot be deployed.
    • Peacekeeper of the nation: For the reason cited above, we require paramilitary forces, and the CRPF is the most sought-after one because of its flexibility and versatility.
    • The force has earned its place as the ‘peacekeeper of the nation’.

Problems faced by the CRPF

  • A year after Pulwama attack, it is time for the nation to take a relook at the main agency dealing with conflicts in different territorial zones. The following 3 are the major concerns of the force.
  • 1. Pressure taking its toll: The frequent movements lock, stock and barrel are taking its toll.
    • There are increasing cases of suicides and fratricides.
    • The anguish caused because of prolonged periods of duty away from one’s family members adds to the pressure experienced the soldiers having their fingers constantly on the trigger guard.
  • What is being done or needs to be done to address the problem?
    • 100-days leave: Though the Home Minister recently stated that CRPF jawans would get to spend 100 days with their families every year, considering the present levels of commitment, 100 days of leave is an impossible dream for a soldier.
    • Need to revisit the decision of assigning exclusive operations: An easier way out here would be to revisit the government’s decision on tasking specific Central Paramilitary Forces exclusively with certain operations.
    • It should be compulsory for recruits to all Central Police Forces to be deployed to anti-insurgency roles during their first 15 years of service.
    • They can be shifted, in the next 10 years, to border duties.
    • The last phase of their career should be in static duties.
  • 2. Rehabilitation of retired personnel
    • Care of welfare and morale: As the Force is deployed to the last man, the welfare and morale of the soldiers need to be taken care of.
    • No rehabilitation policy: A large number of personnels are taking voluntary retirement, but there is no rehabilitation policy.
  • What is being done or needs to be done to address the problem?
    • The creation of a Welfare and Rehabilitation Board has not made any impact. Provision of canteen facilities, without tax exemption, hardly gives the soldiers any relief.
    • Another demand that needs to be considered is that of One Rank, One Pension scheme.
  • 3. Leadership issue
    • It is high time the Force develops home-grown leadership.
    • Elements like healthy work culture, ethos and regimentation are very crucial for any armed force and they are best guarded by officers born on the cadre.
  • Steps taken to address the issue
    • The long-overdue Non-Functional Financial Upgradation (NFU) materialised only after the judicial intervention.
    • However, the top leadership- made up of IPS officers on deputation- is reluctant to implement it.


The first anniversary of the Pulwama attacks should enable all stakeholders to devise ways and means to plug the loopholes and address the system failures in a Force that still remains the most formidable in internal security matters.


Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Defence Bill in Budget


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Issue of ever-increasing defence expenditure


The Union Budget for 2020-21 has allocated Rs 1,33,825 crore to defence pensions. This is up by 10½ times in a decade and a half, from Rs 12,715 crore in 2005-06.

The ‘hype’ of defence pension

  • The allocation of Rs 1,33, 826 crore is 4.4% of the total expenditure of the central government or 0.6% of GDP.
  • And of the overall allocation made to the Defence Ministry, 28.4% goes towards pensions.
  • So sharply has the bill for defence pensions gone up that it is now Rs 15,291 crore more than the Defence Ministry’s total capital expenditure, a bulk of which goes towards modernization of the armed forces.
  • It now nearly equals the salaries bill for Defence Ministry. The more the government spends on salaries and pensions, the less it can spend on modernizing the armed forces.
  • To put it in perspective, the government’s spending on education is Rs 99,300 crore and on health is Rs 69,000 crore.
  • To compare it with other sectors, the government’s rural employment scheme MGNREGA has an allocation of only Rs 61,500 crore — 46% of the bill for defence pensions.

Why the bill is high?

  • As per the Defence Ministry, there are about 26 lakh armed forces pensioners and family pensioners and approximately 55,000 pensioners are added every year.
  • In 2015, the government announced the OROP (One Rank, One Pension) scheme which cost it Rs 8,600 crore.
  • The implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations in 2017 again increased the defence pensions bill.

What makes defense pensions distinct?

  • Defence pensions are unique in many ways. Defence personnel retire at a young age and thus continue to get pensions for a longer period of time than their civilian counterparts.
  • The current ratio of military pensioners to serving military personnel is 1.7 to 1, while the ratio of civil pensioners to civil working personnel is 0.56 to 1.
  • This ratio in defence is projected to further change as life expectancy in India goes up and retired personnel live far longer than earlier.
  • All civilian employees in the government who joined service on or after 1 January 2004 do not get an assured pension but come under the ambit of the contributory National Pension Scheme (NPS).
  • That is meant to reduce the pensions bill of the government on the civilian side, but military personnel have been excluded from the ambit of the NPS because of their short service span.

Where this can lead to

  • With economic growth stalling and competing requirement from development and infrastructure sectors, the government is being hard-pressed for the last rupee in its kitty.
  • The defence services themselves need more funds to modernize themselves but are struggling with budgetary allocations.
  • In such a scenario, attention is likely to come to the fast-rising defence pensions bill.

Feasible solutions

  • The short-term answer to keep the bill frozen at the same level is to increase the retirement age of serving military personnel and stop the rise in number of pensioners.
  • But at a time when the country is facing unemployment at an all-time high, stopping recruitment for a few years will worsen the situation.
  • The other solution is to send the retired military personnel to paramilitary forces but those forces, too, need to stay young and have not accepted the proposal.
  • That would also pose the problem of recruitment in a time of high unemployment, as in the case of increase in retirement age of military personnel.


  • The sharply rising defence pensions bill, however, has become a challenge that cannot be ignored any longer.
  • Unless India’s economy grows at a double-digit rate, it will not be possible to furnish this bill and still modernize the armed forces.
  • There are no easy answers to the challenge, and the answer will have to come from the top political leadership.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[pib] Functions of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : CDS and its functions

Mains level : Terms of reference for the office of CDS

The Ministry of Defence has outlined various functions and duties for the post of CDS.

Duties and Functions of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

  • To head the Department of Military Affairs in Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
  • To act as the Principal Military Advisor to Raksha Mantri on all Tri-Service matters.
  • To function as the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee
  • To administer the Tri-Service organizations/agencies/commands.
  • To be a member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Raksha Mantri.
  • To function as the Military Advisor to the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • To bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, etc of the three Services.
  • To ensure optimal utilization of infrastructure and rationalise it through jointness among the Services.
  • To implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan and Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans, as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan.
  • To bring about reforms in the functioning of three Services with the aim to augment combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

In news: Dept. of Military Affairs’


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dept. of Military Affairs’

Mains level : Terms of reference for the office of CDS

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the Rules of Business for the newly created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

Department of Military Affairs (DMA)

  • The DMA headed by Gen Bipin Rawat will have two Joint Secretaries, 13 Deputy Secretaries, 25 Under Secretaries and 22 Section officers.
  • The training policy, most of the training establishments and cadre management of the Services will be under the purview of the DMA.
  • Defence diplomacy of the neighbourhood countries would also be under the CDS.
  • Similarly, deputations to the training establishments such as the National Defence Academy (NDA), the Indian Military Academy (IMA), the Officers Training Academy (OTA) and the Defence Services Staff College (DSSC) would also be under the CDS.
  • Cadre review of Junior Commissioned Officers (JCO) and Other Ranks (OR) will be looked after by the CDS.

Other facts

  • On December 30, the government notified the DMA creation, with the CDS also as a Secretary in the MoD.
  • The DMA is the fifth department in the MoD, the others being the Department of Defence, the Department of Defence Production, the Department of Defence Research and Development and the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.
  • The Services have been brought under the ambit of the DMA in addition to the Territorial Army and works relating to the three Services and procurement exclusive to the Services except capital acquisitions.
  • Defence imports and procurements would be under the the Department of Defence headed by the Defence Secretary.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed of the day] There is a design flaw with this military post


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : The post of CDS and its responsibilities.

Mains level : Paper 3-Security forces and their mandates.


Recently Chief of Defence Staff post was created by the Government. The utility of this post and the problem it could create are debated.

History leading to the post

  • First World War brought to the fore the command and control dilemmas of concurrent conflicts.
  • During the colonial years of Great Britain, an issue that received consideration was the British higher command and control structures.
  • With the declaration of the Second World War, the responsibility of higher command fell on War Cabinet serviced by the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
  • Winston Churchill as prime minister given the supreme power but remained responsible to the parliament.
  • After the U.S. entered the war, a unified command required a single commander.
  • After the war ended and the Cold War started, Eisenhower became the supreme commander of NATO.
  • While political powers were vested in the NATO council.
  • Despite the experience of the World Wars the U.S. has not created CDS.
  • In the U.S., the military chain of command runs directly from theatre commanders to civilian secretaries to the President.
  • Britain, however, created the post of the Chief of Defence Staff.

The outline for India

  • The three-tier defense management structure was adopted by Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Cabinet Committee on security has served India for well over the years.

Role of CDS

  • Department of Military Affairs, headed by CDS will deal with the Army, Navy and Air force and The Territorial Army.
  • Works related to procurement related exclusively to the services except for capital acquisition.
  • He will also act as a Principal Military Advisor to the Defence Minister.
  • CDS will not exercise any military command, including the three Service Chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership.

A subordination

  • There would be an implied subordination of the three service chiefs to the CDS notwithstanding any declaration to the contrary.
  • CDS is tasked with facilitating the restructuring of military commands.
  • Bringing about jointness in operations including through the establishment of joint/ theatre command.
  • This could encroach upon the domain of the service chiefs.
  • The CDS would outrank the three service chiefs even though all are four-star.
  • CDS could override the Service Chiefs on critical tactical and perhaps even strategic issues.


  • The Department of Military Affairs would exercise control over the three services and also most problematic is the erosion of the civilian supremacy which could result with the creation of the post.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

India’s first Chief of Defence Staff


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Terms of Reference of the CDS

Mains level : Office of the CDS

The outgoing Army chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat, was appointed as the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).

Terms of references for CDS

  • According to an official gazette dated December 28, the upper age limit for the CDS has been fixed at 65 years.
  • However, the tenure of CDS has not been fixed.
  • Service Chiefs have a tenure of three years or 62 years, whichever is earlier, and it remains unchanged.
  • As Gen. Rawat has not reached 62 years of age, his tenure as CDS could be longer than his tenure as the COAS unless the government fixes the tenure of CDS at a later stage.

Role and responsibilities

  • The CDS will act as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister on tri-Service matters.
  • The three Chiefs will continue to advise Defence Minister on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services.
  • The CDS will administer tri-services organisations while their military command, will be with the Chief of the duly notified Service.
  • However, Tri-services agencies/organizations/ commands related to Cyber and Space will be under the command of the CDS.
  • The CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council and Defence Planning Committee.

For additional readings, navigate to the page:

[Burning Issue] Appointing the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] Decisive shift: On Chief of Defence Staff


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Chief of Defence Staff


The government has acted with alacrity to create the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), who will head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA). 

Delay in action

  • The delay has been more a result of fears in the minds of the three services of how such a development could impact on the role and functioning of the three arms.
  • There must have been a thought in the bureaucracy how such a shift would affect them too.
  • This move will install the CDS, in the rank of a four-star general, as Secretary, DMA.


  • The job calls for the total transformation of the traditional military mindset. 
  • The CDS has to restructure the military commands into appropriate theatre or joint commands for which a critical prerequisite is ‘jointness’.
  • It envisions the various arms of the armed forces working in unison towards a goal. 
  • Since Independence, the armed forces have been working separately, with no concept of jointness. 
  • The only jointness that comes into play effectively is when officers of the various services go to courses in Wellington, at the Defence Services Staff College, or at the National Defence College, Delhi. 
  • All that will have to change quickly for the security environment in the region.
  • The Americans are preparing to move out of Afghanistan and the restiveness consequent to the dilution of Article 370 still persists.

Way ahead

  • It is necessary that the first incumbent is given a term of three years so as to be able to carry the vision laid out in the cabinet note through to its conclusion.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

MK 45 gun system


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : MK 45 gun system

Mains level : India-US defence cooperation

  • The US State Department has approved the sale of naval guns and other equipment worth $1 billion to India for use against warships, anti-aircraft and shore bombardment.
  • The sale includes 13 MK 45 5 inch/62 caliber (MOD 4) naval guns and some other equipment that will be manufactured by BAE Systems Land and Armaments.

MK 45 gun system

  • The MK 45 is a fully automatic naval gun system that is installed on ships and provides a Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS) range of more than 20 nautical miles (36 km) along with improved propelling charge.
  • This system of guns is currently in use by the US Navy on their fleet of Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers.
  • MK 45 is an upgraded version with a 62 caliber barrel, strengthened gun and mount subsystems, advanced control system enhancements, greater range and firepower, a reduced signature and low maintenance gun shield.

MK 45 MOD 4 gun

  • It is a light-weight version of the MK 42 5 inch/54 caliber gun mount meant to support expeditionary operations and engage surface and air targets.
  • The MOD 4 configuration gun mount is believed to boost the firing range by over 50 per cent, increasing the speed and range of munitions.
  • The principal contractor of the guns for this deal is Minneapolis-based BAE Systems Land and Armaments with a gun manufacturing unit in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • It is meant for both naval gunfire support and to destroy any hostile anti-ship weapons and air defence systems.
  • Other countries that have been sold the MOD 4 naval guns are Japan, Australia and South Korea.


  • The MK 45 Gun System will provide the capability to conduct anti-surface warfare and anti-air defence missions while enhancing interoperability with US and other allied forces.
  • India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[pib] Open General Export Licenses (OGEL)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Open General Export Licences

Mains level : Defence procurement in India

  • Raksha Mantri has approved issuance of two Open General Export Licences (OGELs) to boost defence exports and enhance ease of doing business.

Open General Export Licences

  • The OGEL is a one-time export licence to be granted to a company for a specific period (two years initially).
  • The application for grant of OGEL will be considered by Department of Defence Production (DPP) on a case-to-case basis.
  • The countries allowed under the OGELs are: Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA, Canada, Italy, Poland and Mexico.
  • Export of items to a ‘Special Economic Zone’ is not permitted.
  • For acquiring the licences, the applicant is mandatory to have Import-Export certificate.
  • The quarterly & end of the year reports on all the transactions done under OGELs should be submitted to DPP for examination and post-export verification.

Why such licensing?

  • India has made significant strides in improving its defence exports.
  • These have grown seven-fold over the last two years and reached to Rs 10,500 crore in 2018-19.

Items to be exported

  • The items permitted under OGEL includes components of ammunition & fuse setting device without energetic and explosive material; firing control & related alerting and warning equipment & related system; and body protective items.
  • Complete aircraft or complete unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and any components specially designed or modified for UAVs are excluded under this licence.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] Giving shape to an elusive strategic concept


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : Chief of Defence staff - analysis


Prime Minister announced appointing a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). This could have a far-reaching impact on the management of defence in India.


    1. Long-awaited move – The issue of efficient management of higher defence organisation came into focus after the Kargil war in 1999 when K. Subrahmanyam task force highlighted the systemic issues affecting our national security structures; such as poor coordination and technological inadequacies.
    2. Group of Ministers (GoM) in the early 2000s reviewed national security management. Though many of their recommendations were implemented, Defence management recommendations were not implemented.
    3. Decision making process – Armed forces are not formally involved in decision-making on defence planning and strategy. Service Headquarters are not within the Ministry of Defence; they are treated more like attached offices. 
    4. New age military conflicts –The concept of military conflict extends beyond land, air and sea, into the space, cyber, electronic and information. Effective defence preparedness requires a ‘jointness’ of these forces. It also requires a prioritisation of the weapons requirement and optimisation of their resource allocations.
    5. GOM Recommendations – 
      1. Integrating the armed forces headquarters into the Ministry of Defence (MoD)
      2. Appointment of a CDS
      3. CDS was to administer tri-service institutions such as the Andaman and Nicobar Command
    6. Strategic advice – CDS would provide coordinated military advice to the Defence Minister. He would develop the national defence strategy from a national security strategy
    7. Established institution – Many democracies have the institution of a CDS or its equivalent, with varying degrees of operational control over their armed forces.
    8. Accountability – It arises from the greater participation of the military in defence decision-making alongside the civilian bureaucracy
    9. Defence acquisition –  The CDS can contribute to rational defence acquisition decisions by preventing redundancy of capacities among the services and making best use of available financial resources.



Challenges posed by CDS

  1. Authority of service chiefs – there is an apprehension that a CDS would undermine the authority of the three service chiefs over their forces. The establishment of theatre commands under the CDS in many countries reinforced this fear. 
  2. An all-powerful CDS would distort the civil-military balance in our democracy.

Role of CDS

  1. Developing multi-domain military strategies
  2. Strengthening tri-service synergies 
  3. Enabling perspective planning

Way ahead

  1. India should pursue the objective of indigenisation. India is still among the top arms importers. 
  2. There must be procedures to ensure that every acquisition is structured in a way as to strengthen our indigenous technological capacities.
  3. Eventually, the three Service headquarters would need to be suitably integrated into the Ministry of Defence.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Explained: The post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Office of CDS

Mains level : Need for CDS

  • In his Independence Day address PM has announced the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff to provide “effective leadership at the top level” to the three wings of the armed forces, and to help improve coordination among them.

What is the office of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)?

  • The CDS is a high military office that oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services, and offers seamless tri-service views and single-point advice to the Executive (in India’s case, to the PM).
  • On long-term it provides for defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all, “jointsmanship” in operations.
  • In most democracies, the CDS is seen as being above inter-Service rivalries and the immediate operational preoccupations of the individual military chiefs.
  • The role of the CDS becomes critical in times of conflict.

Why need CDS?

  • The creation of the CDS will eventually lead to the formation of tri-service theatre commands intended to create vertical integration of the three forces.
  • The CDS will be a single-point military adviser to the government and synergise long term planning, procurements, training and logistics of the three Services.
  • This is expected to save money by avoiding duplication between the Services, at a time of shrinking capital expenditure within the defence budget.
  • Military diplomacy is today supporting the conventional diplomacy. That can’t be done by different Services.


  • India has had a feeble equivalent known as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC); but this is a toothless office, given the manner in which it is structured.
  • The seniormost among the three Service Chiefs is appointed to head the CoSC, an office that lapses with the incumbent’s retirement.
  • The post did not further tri-service integration, resulting in inefficiency and an expensive duplication of assets.
  • This system is a leftover from the colonial era, with only minor changes being carried out over the years.
  • Apprehensions in the political class about a powerful military leader, along with inter-Services bickering, have long worked to disincentives the upgrade of the post.

Recent upheaval

  • The first proposal for a CDS came from the 2000 Kargil Review Committee (KRC), which called for a reorganization of the “entire gamut of national security management and apex decision-making and structure and interface between the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces Headquarters.
  • The Group of Ministers Task Force that studied the KRC Report and recommendations proposed to the Cabinet Committee on Security that a CDS, who would be five-star officer, be created.
  • In preparation for the post, the government created the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) in late 2002, which was to eventually serve as the CDS’s Secretariat.
  • However, over the past 17 years, this has remained yet another nebulous department within the military establishment.

What happened to the proposal?

  • No consensus emerged among the Services, with the IAF especially opposed to such a move.
  • Then opposition was against the idea of concentrating too much military power in the CDS’s post.
  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) too, opposed it subtly for the same reasons, and because it could disrupt civil-military ties in the latter’s favour.
  • The smaller Air Force and Navy fear that the CDS would be from the Army, by far the largest Service.
  • The IAF has long argued that unlike the United States and other western militaries, the Indian Services are not an expeditionary force, for which a CDS is a necessity.
  • The appointment of a CDS would also lead to theatre commands, another aspect that the IAF opposes, fearing a diminution of its operational role.

Naresh Chandra Committee recommendations

  • In 2011, more than a decade after the KRC Report, the UPA government which had opposed the CDS proposal when in opposition, set up the Naresh Chandra Committee on defence and security.
  • The 14-member Committee, comprising retired Service Chiefs and other defence experts, suggested a watered-down version of the CDS proposal, in which the Chairman CoSC in the rank of a four-star officer would have a fixed tenure of two years.
  • He would have significantly more authority and powers than the Chairman CoSC, and would be a CDS in all but name.

The case for having a CDS

  • Although the KRC did not directly recommend a CDS — that came from the GoM — it underlined the need for more coordination among the three Services, which was poor in the initial weeks of the Kargil conflict.
  • The KRC Report pointed out that India is the only major democracy where the Armed Forces Headquarters is outside the apex governmental structure.
  • It observed that Service Chiefs devote most of their time to their operational roles, “often resulting in negative results”.
  • Long-term defence planning suffers as day-to-day priorities dominate.

Who serves the purpose as for now?

  • In effect it is the National Security Adviser.
  • This has been especially so after the Defence Planning Committee was created in 2018, with NSA Ajit Doval as its chairman, and the foreign, defence, and expenditure secretaries, and the three Service Chiefs as members.

Need for an integrated service

  • Also, the PM and Defence Minister do not have the benefit of the views and expertise of military commanders, in order to ensure that higher level defence management decisions are more consensual and broadbased.
  • The CDS is also seen as being vital to the creation of “theatre commands”, integrating tri-service assets and personnel like in the US military.
  • India has 17 Service commands at different locations and duplicating assets.
  • In 2016, China integrated its military and other police and paramilitaries into five theatres from the earlier seven area commands, each with its own inclusive headquarters, one of which has responsibility for the Indian border.
  • In contrast, India’s border with China is split between the Eastern, Western, and Northern Commands.

The arguments against

  • Theoretically, the appointment of a CDS is long overdue, but there appears to be no clear blueprint for the office to ensure its effectiveness.
  • India’s political establishment is seen as being largely ignorant of, or at best indifferent towards, security matters, and hence incapable of ensuring that a CDS works.
  • Militaries by nature tend to resist transformation.
  • In the US, the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act elevated the Chairman from first among equals to the “principal military advisor” to the President and the Secretary of Defence.
  • In the Indian context, critics fear, the absence of foresight and understanding might end up making the CDS just another case of “jobs for the boys”.

Way Forward

  • The last time India fought a major battle was the Kargil conflict in 1999 in which the Navy played a silent role while the Army and Air Force collaborated to evict intruders from Indian soil.
  • The lessons learnt then prompted the K. Subrahmanyam Committee to propose having a CDS for the first time.
  • Instrumentalism doesn’t always work; sometimes a giant leap is the need of the hour.
  • India has traditionally been a land power and, yes, the primary threats are still on land, from the northern and western borders.
  • But the threat matrix has changed since 1947 and the Indian Ocean region is fast metamorphosing into a major arena of friction, with increasing forays by the Chinese Navy and building up of regional navies with help from China.
  • Also, while the threat of war stills exists in the subcontinent under the nuclear overhang, the room for large conventional manoeuvres is over.
  • In a conflict situation, what would unfold are short and swift skirmishes which call for agility and swift action by the three services in unison.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.



From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IndSpaceEx

Mains level : India's quest for security amidst clouds of space war

  • The Indian armed forces are all set to conduct the country’s first-ever simulated space warfare exercise “IndSpaceEx” this week.


  • The tri-Service integrated defence staff under the defence ministry is conducting the two-day “IndSpaceEx”, with all military and scientific stakeholders.
  • Aim: to assess the requisite space and counter-space capabilities that are needed by India to ensure we can protect our national security interests in this final frontier of warfare.
  • Such an exercise was being planned after India successfully tested an anti-satellite (A-Sat) interceptor missile to destroy the 740-kg Microsat-R satellite, at an altitude of 283-km in the low earth orbit, in a “hit-to-kill mode”.
  • The exercise will help Indian armed forces in testing the cosmic war zone and see how the A-Sat capabilities can be used to defend the Indian skies.
  • The exercise comes at a time when India’s neighbour China is aggressively growing in this field.
  • Shortly after ‘Mission Shakti’, Beijing had launched several missiles from a ship to demonstrate its A-Sat capabilities.

In response to China

  • China has been developing an array of A-Sat weapons, both kinetic in the shape of co-orbital killer satellites and direct ascent missiles as well as non-kinetic ones like lasers and electro-magnetic pulse weapons.
  • Though India for long has had an expansive civilian space programme, it largely restricted military use of space to intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, communication and navigation.
  • It will lead to an assessment of the “imminent threats” in the expanse beyond earth and the drafting of a joint space doctrine for futuristic battles.
  • The A-Sat test and the approval for the tri-Service Defence Space Agency signifies the crossing of that self-imposed threshold for developing offensive space capabilities.
  • India has no option but to develop deterrence capabilities to ensure no adversary can threaten its assets in outer-space.

Why such exercise?

  • Not only can an adversary’s counter-space weapons take out India’s assets critical for its economic and social infrastructure, they can also “blind and deafen” the Indian armed forces.
  • They could do so by destroying or jamming satellites vital for surveillance, communication, and precision-targeting.

Way Forward

  • Having demonstrated its ASAT capability, India is in an ideal place to demonstrate its global governance credentials.
  • Clearly, efforts like the IndSpaceEx are important to determine the degree of the space security challenges India faces and to develop appropriate measures for effective deterrence.
  • But India must step up its efforts to develop global rules and norms about such challenges and threats.
  • India must continue working towards all-encompassing legally-binding instruments such as the Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS).

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : HSDTV, Ramjet and Scramjet Engines

Mains level : Utility of HSDTV

  • The DRDO has conducted the maiden test of an indigenously developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) along with several technologies.


  • The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight.
  • India is pushing ahead with the development of ground and flight test hardware as part of an ambitious plan for a hypersonic cruise missile.
  • The HSTDV is intended to attain autonomous scramjet flight for 20 seconds, using a solid rocket launch booster.
  • The research will also inform India’s interest in reusable launch vehicles. The eventual target is to reach Mach 6.5 at an altitude of 32.5 km.
  • Under this project, DRDO is developing a hypersonic vehicle that will be powered by a scram-jet engine.


  • This is dual-use technology, which when developed, will have multiple civilian applications.
  • It can be used for launching satellites at low cost.
  • It will also be available for long-range cruise missiles of the future.


Scram-jet technology

  • In scram-jet technology, combustion of fuel takes place in a chamber in the missile at supersonic speeds.
  • This is different from a ram jet system where the system collects the air it needs from the atmosphere during the flight at subsonic speeds and the propellants burn in the combustion chamber.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Defence Space Research Agency (DSRA)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : DSRO, Mission Shakti

Mains level : Mission Shakti and India's preparedness for space war

  • To enhance the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space, the government has approved the setting up of a new agency which will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies.

Defence Space Research Agency

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by PM Modi has cleared the setting up of the DSRO.
  • It has been entrusted with the task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies.
  • The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.
  • It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services.
  • The DSA has been created “to help the country fight wars in the space”.
  • The Defence Space Agency is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three forces.

Why such move?

  • In March, India had carried out the Anti Satellite Test (ASAT) which demonstrated its capability to shoot down satellites and joined an elite club of four nations with similar capability.
  • The test also helped the country develop deterrence capability against adversaries who may want to attack Indian satellites to cripple systems in times of war.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

UdChalo Initiative


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : UdChalo Initiative

Mains level : Not Much

UdChalo Initiative

  • In a bid to make wounded soldiers, who are now confined to wheelchairs, self-reliant, an initiative ‘UdChalo’ is all set to take off at the Army’s Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC).
  • ‘UdChalo’ is a travel portal that caters for the personal travel of the military and paramilitary forces personnel by aggregating defence fares and getting exclusive discounts.
  • It aims to empower the disabled military veterans.
  • The initiative is unique and has given a new lease of life of these soldiers who are now confined to wheelchairs.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] All out at sea


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Naval Exercises

Mains level : India's endeavor in Indian Ocean is defense oriented.


In recent weeks, a series of bilateral exercises with regional navies in the Indian Ocean have demonstrated the Indian Navy’s resolve to preserve operational leverage in India’s near seas.

List of Naval Exercises

  • In April, in their biggest and most complex exercise, Indian and Australian warships held drills in the Bay of Bengal.
  • This was followed by a much-publicised anti-submarine exercise with the U.S. Navy near Diego Garcia.
  • Last week, the Indian Navy held a joint exercise ‘Varuna’ with the French Navy off the coast of Goa and Karwar. even as two Indian warships participated in a ‘group sail’ with warships from Japan, the Philippines and the United States on return from a fleet review in Qingdao.

Reasons for numerous exercises

1. China’s increasing naval footprint

  • For many, the trigger for India’s newfound zeal at sea is the rapid expansion of China’s naval footprint in the Indian Ocean.
  • Military outposts – Beyond commercial investments in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, China has established a military outpost in Djibouti, a key link in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Base for non-peacekeeping missions – Reports suggest the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is planning an expansion of its logistics base for non-peacekeeping missions, raising the possibility of an operational overlap with the Indian Navy’s areas of interest.
  • Control over key nodes – As some see it, Djibouti portends a future where China would control key nodes skirting important shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean, allowing the PLA’s Navy (PLAN) to dominate the security dynamic.

2. South Asian Navies increasing  Presence

  • Meanwhile, South Asian navies have been making their presence felt in the seas of the subcontinent.
  • In a quest for regional prominence, Sri Lanka has positioned itself as a facilitator of joint regional endeavours, expanding engagement with Pacific powers which includes the Royal Australian Navy and the U.S. Navy.
  • With China’s assistance, Pakistan too is becoming an increasingly potent actor in the northern Indian Ocean, a key region of Indian interest.
  • Beijing has also been instrumental in strengthening the navies of Bangladesh and Myanmar, both increasingly active participants in regional security initiatives.

3. Looking for partnerships

  • Widely acknowledged as the most capable regional maritime force, the Indian Navy has played a prominent role in the fight against non-traditional challenges in the Indian Ocean.
  • While its contribution to the counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (including in cyclone-hit Mozambique) has been substantial, a paucity of assets and capacity has forced the Navy to seek partners willing to invest resources in joint security endeavours.

4.African focus

  •  Chinese investments in port infrastructure in Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania and Mozambique have grown at a steady pace, even as PLAN has sought to expand its presence in the western Indian Ocean.
  • In response, India has moved to deepen its own regional engagement, seeking naval logistical access to French bases in Reunion and Djibouti, where the second phase of ‘Varuna’ will be held later this month.


Defensive stand – Yet, India’s Indian Ocean focus makes for an essentially defensive posture.

No strategic gains – Notwithstanding improvements in bilateral and trilateral naval engagements, it hasn’t succeeded in leveraging partnerships for strategic gains.

Power equation favouring China – With India’s political leadership reluctant to militarise the Quadrilateral grouping or to expand naval operations in the Western Pacific, the power-equation with China remains skewed in favour of the latter.

Only risk management approach – For all its rhetoric surrounding the ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’, New Delhi is yet to take a stand on a ‘rules-based order’ in littoral-Asia. A wariness for sustained operations in China’s Pacific backyard has rendered the Indian Navy’s regional strategy a mere ‘risk management’ tactic, with limited approach to shape events in littoral-Asia.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

India successfully test-fires Sub-sonic cruise Missile Nirbhay


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nirbhay Missile

Mains level : India's missile arsenal

  • In a major boost for defence, India successfully test-fired its first Sub-sonic cruise missile, Nirbhay.
  • The missile, which can be deployed from multiple platforms, was launched by the DRDO from complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha.

Nirbhay Missile

  • Nirbhay is a long range, all-weather, subsonic cruise missile designed and developed in India by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The missile can be launched from multiple platforms and is capable of carrying conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • It is a two-stage missile powered by Solid rocket motor booster.
  • It is capable of carrying warheads of up to 300kg at a speed of 0.6 to 0.7 Mach (sub-sonic)
  • It has an operational range of 1000 km (long range).

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Army gets Dhanush artillery guns


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Dhanush artillery gun

Mains level : Indigenization of defense equipment in India

  • The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has handed over the first batch of six Dhanush artillery guns to the Army.

Dhanush artillery guns

  • Dhanush is the indigenously upgraded version of the Swedish Bofors gun procured in the 1980s.
  • Dhanush is a 155 mm, 45-calibre towed artillery gun with a range of 36 km and has demonstrated a range of 38 km with specialised ammunition.
  • It is an upgrade of the existing 155m, 39 calibre Bofors FH 77 gun.
  • It is compatible with all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) 155 mm ammunition system.
  • Indigenization to the extent of about 81%, has already been achieved. By the end of 2019, the indigenization level of the gun will go up to 91%.

Additional features

  • The gun is fitted with inertial navigation system with GPS based gun recording and auto-laying.
  • It has an enhanced tactical computer for onboard ballistic computations, an onboard muzzle velocity recording, an automated gun sighting system equipped with camera, thermal imaging and laser range finder.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] National insecurity


Mains Paper 3: Indian Economy| Investment models

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: The newscard discusses flaws in India’s defence procurement policy , Which is threatening national security.



The stain of the Bofors scandal that was unearthed in 1987 has diseased India’s defence procurement ever since. Be it the purchase of howitzers or AgustaWestland choppers or indeed the Rafale aircraft, every Indian defence procurement initiative invites severe political challenge.

Hesitations in procurements

  • Given that the Bofors scandal brought down the Rajiv Gandhi government, every Opposition party sees the purchase of any defence equipment from abroad as a political opportunity to attack the government of corruption.
  • This has reached such a stage that defence procurement in India has become well-nigh impossible and as a country we are imperilling our security at a time when the world is geo politically unstable.

Comparison with Neighbours

  • It is  a time when over a 5, 10 or 25 year period, India’s GDP has grown at 7 per cent per annum making India the second fastest growing large economy over the last two decades.
  • This year it has even surpassed China’s GDP growth rate.
  • But it is a fact that between 2000 and 2015, China went from a $1.2 trillion dollar economy to an over $11 trillion economy while India went from a $0.48 trillion economy to a $2.2 trillion dollar economy, making India only one-fifth the size of the Chinese economy.
  • But what should concern us much more is that if we were to do this comparison in respect of defence equipment and overall military might, we would likely be more like one-fifteenth the size of China.
  • With respect to Pakistan, the difference in our economic might does not reflect in our comparative military advantage against Pakistan.
  • We are today seven times the size of Pakistan’s GDP but the armies and military equipment are much more comparable.
  • This is not okay in today’s world as even Japan and Germany are discovering with the arrival of Donald Trump in the US and his taking away the US protective umbrella for them.

Repercussions of policy failure in procurement

  • The fact that the Air Force pilot who was shot down by Pakistan recently was flying a MiG-21, termed by many as a flying coffin, is shameful.
  • We have no right to talk of ourselves as a global force with such an ancient and depleted level of military equipment. We don’t spend enough, either, on intelligence or defence armaments.
  • We have faced at least six major attacks since Kargil — Kashmir assembly, Parliament and the year of standoff thereafter, Mumbai, Pathankot, Uri, and Pulwama now.

Is change possible?

  • Today kickbacks from defence procurement cannot be a large part of election funding because our elections cost a lot and our defence procurement is meagre.
  • Yet for 10 years Defence Minister A K Antony made sure that no defence equipment was purchased under his watch, as it might stain his clean reputation.
  • What we need, therefore, are some rules to ensure that we do not weaken ourselves so much that we endanger the nation.
  • We need to ensure equipment gets purchased in a time-bound manner and a certain amount of the annual budget is allocated to defence equipment and that an interparty group approves the final purchases.

Suggestion for defence procurement

  • First, we should agree to a certain minimum defence equipment purchase budget as a percentage of our annual budget.
  • The Parliament should be informed each year whether the allocated amount was spent on defence equipment.
  • Second, we need to create a new institutional mechanism for defence purchase.
  • This mechanism needs to both de-risk the officials involved in defence procurement, provide robust oversight and yet be conducted in a time-bound manner.
  • There should be three parts to it, including a technical committee comprising defence officials, a separate commercial negotiations team from the finance and defence ministries, including possibly officials from the CAG, and a PM-led approval team that includes the leader of Opposition, CAG, defence minister and possibly the chief vigilance commissioner.
  • Each part would need to complete its job within a pre-set time limit that should also be reported to the Parliament.
  • Thereafter, these discussions should be kept outside the purview of the media.
  • A record of the comments of the approval committee should be viewed by a select joint party committee after a pre-determined time period as a check.
  • Any complaints on the process followed can only be made to the Supreme Court, which would hear the complaint and pronounce judgement in secrecy to depoliticise procurement and not allow it to become an election issue.
  • Allowing for this challenge, though, would ensure probity.

Way Forward

It is important to create a national consensus on this vital issue to guard our national sovereignty. The time to act is right after the upcoming election.




Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap]Vote on national security


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not Much

Mains level: National Seecurity Doctrine should be an issue in Election and Plotcal Prties should include it in their mandate.



In the wake of Pulwama and Balakot, national security may become the key issue in the forthcoming general elections.

Security Issue as an Election Issue

  • It would be most timely if national security indeed became a serious election issue, not in terms of scoring political points, but in drawing attention to persistent infirmities in our governance systems, the failure to address serious gaps identified by expert committees such as the Kargil Review Committee (2000) and the Naresh Chandra Task Force on National Security (2012) and the blatant lack of accountability apparent in avoiding public reckoning in subsequent serious security lapses evident in the Pathankot, Uri and now the Pulwama incidents.
  • Let each political party in the fray have the courage to acknowledge India’s national security challenge in its various dimensions and include in their respective manifestos what practical steps they are committed to undertaking to make our country safe from external and domestic threats.

Introspecting Policy responses

  • One must expose our hostile neighbour’s responsibility for threats to our national security.
  • But it is as important to turn the spotlight on our own failings which allow our adversaries to exploit them repeatedly.
  • The surgical strikes in 2016 and now the air attacks on Balakot are significant actions in raising the costs for Pakistan pursuing cross-border terror against India.
  • Any triumphalism which deflects attention from what needs to be done to strengthen our national security structures and processes, must be avoided.
  • No government, no political leader, no institution of the state should claim immunity from scrutiny or questioning, especially in a democracy.

Issues to be present in mandates

  • Recognising that national security has become a major public preoccupation, each party should include in its manifesto what it believes should be the national security doctrine for a plural and democratic country like India.
  • It should be a doctrine based not on creating fear but clearly spelling out the real trade-off between security and the space to enjoy democratic values and fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution.
  • A national security doctrine will make sense only if it is placed in the framework of India’s Constitution and conveys a sense of where India wishes to be as a country and society in 10, 20 or 30 years.

Way Forward For Political Parties

  • political parties should commit to updating the reports of the Kargil Review Committee and the Naresh Chandra Task Force on National Security, make public their outcome and promote an open debate as a prelude to implementing key recommendations.
  • They emphasise the need to draw lessons from past successes and failures and avoid ad hoc responses.


  • Any security system is as good and efficient as its junior-most footsoldier.
  • Problems With Lower Rung
    • The recruitment of police personnel at these levels is often subject to political patronage and corrupt practices.
    • They lack basic training. Some, being virtually illiterate, are not even trainable.
    • Their conditions of work and living are pathetic.
    • They are easily corrupted.
    • Most state governments are guilty of allowing large vacancies in their police forces.
    • India has one of the lowest police to population ratios at 125 per 1,00,000. At the ground level, there is virtually no policing of the kind which might have apprehended the LeT terrorists as they landed on the beach outside Mumbai.
  • That there is regular smuggling from across the sea and our land borders is an open secret.
  • Terrorists slip through using these smuggling routes often relying upon corrupted elements in security forces.
  • No additional bureaucratic layers added to an already top heavy system are likely to make much difference unless the reality at the local level is addressed.
  • There is inordinate stress on the personal security of political personages and senior officials at the expense of public security. There are three security personnel, on an average, for every VIP.
  • This is anachronistic in a democratic and egalitarian society, but also impacts adversely on the state’s ability to ensure public security and law and order without which terrorist threats cannot be addressed.


  • These are some of the real issues relating to national security and can be addressed through efficient and accountable institutions and not through individual bravery or brilliance.
  • Citizens have the right to hold their political leaders and governing institutions accountable and that is only possible if there is transparency mandated by law, not left to the discretion of a government.
  • It is unacceptable to assert that questioning the armed forces or government is unpatriotic.
  • Armed forces are not invincible. They can make mistakes, they may lack the capacity or the right kind of weaponry and equipment.
  • National security does not justify hiding from one’s own citizens the infirmities which plague our security forces.
  • Governments make mistakes and will continue making them if citizens cannot question them.
  • Let us, by all means, make national security an election issue because there are serious concerns on how it is being handled.




Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Combat Casualty Drugs


Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Combat casualty drugs

Mains level: Utility of CCDs for soldiers on battleground


  • DRDO’s medical laboratory has come up with a range of ‘combat casualty drugs’ that can extend the golden hour till the trooper is shifted to hospital.
  • These indigenously made medicines will be a boon for paramilitary and defence personnel during warfare.

Combat Casualty Drugs

  • These drugs are developed at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory of the DRDO.
  • The main battlefield emergencies are excess bleeding, sepsis, shock, hypovolemia (decreased blood volume) and pain.
  • The spectrum includes bleeding wound sealants, super absorptive dressings, and glycerated salines, all of which can save lives in the event of warfare in a jungle and high altitude areas as well as in terror attacks.

Why such move?

  • There is only one medical person and limited equipment to take care of soldiers during combat in most cases.
  • This is compounded by battlefield conditions such as forests, hilly terrain, and inaccessibility of vehicles, experts said.
  • Chances of survival and minimum disability are highest when effective first aid care is given within the golden hour.

Take a look of few CCDs

I. Glycerated Salines

  • Among the drugs developed is glycerated saline, a battlefield intravenous fluid that does not freeze till -18C and is useful in handling trauma cases in high altitude areas.
  • The glycerated saline, unlike normal saline, reduces inflammation.
  • The drug can be life-saving, particularly if the traumatic edema(the collection of fluid in tissues and cavities of the body) is in the brain or lungs.
  • It has life-saving capacities as it gives more time to the medical personnel to shift the wounded patient to a higher care facility.

II. Special Medicated Dressing

  • INMAS has also developed a special medicated dressing material which is 200 times more absorptive than normal dressings during bleeding wounds.
  • The cellulose fibre-based dressings are more effective in stopping bleeding and keeping the wound clean.
  • Additionally, antiseptics, antibiotics and curcumin can be impregnated in the dressing which acts as a slow drug release system.

III. Chitosan gel

  • INMAS has developed a chitosan gel which helps in preventing blood loss by forming a film over the wound.
  • Coupled with platelets and red blood cells aggregation, it stops the bleeding.
  • Its antibacterial and wound health properties are of added benefit.

IV. Hypocholorous acid disinfectant

  • Part of the range is hypocholorous acid (HOCL), a disinfectant for troopers involved in jungle warfare.
  • It is helpful in treating necrotising fascitis, a rapidly progressing bacterial infection of soft tissues.
  • Bacterial toxins cause local tissue damage and necrosis, as well as blunt immune system responses.
  • In such cases, pure 0.01% HOCL which has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity can rapidly neutralise bacterial toxins.

V. Nalbuphine injection

  • INMAS scientists have also discovered a new route for administering the Nalbuphine injection to reduce pain during mutilating war injuries.
  • The 10 mg injection of Nalbuphine hydrochloride is more effective for an injured trooper if it is given through the submental/sublingual route instead of intra-muscular or intravenous route.

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] Let them take flight: on Tejas and Kaveri projects


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: TEJAS, Cauvery

Mains level: Need of/expectations reform in Aircraft and engine manufacturing to make India Self reliant in defence sector.



On February 20, the Indian Air Force and the aviation community heaved a collective sigh of relief after the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mark 1, received its long-awaited Final Operational Clearance; this means it is combat-ready and can be exploited to the limits of its approved ‘envelope’.It is not late to declare the Tejas and Kaveri projects as ‘national missions’ .


  • However, a day later, came a rather unwelcome report: a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) announcement at the show of its decision to shelve the Kaveri turbo-jet engine project. 

Short Term Political Goals

  • Historically, all major aerospace powers have possessed the capability to design airframes as well as power-plants.
  • Until India can design and produce its own aero-engines, the performance and capabilities of any indigenously designed/built aircraft will be seriously limited by the technology that we are permitted to import.
  • India has already had two bitter experiences in this regard. The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s sleek and elegant HF-24 Marut fighter, of the 1960s and 1970s, failed to achieve its huge potential as a supersonic fighter for want of a suitable engine.
  • Rather than exert itself to seek alternatives, the government of the day, with stunning myopia, closed the programme.
  • Similarly, many of the problems the Tejas faced emanate from lack of engine thrust.
  • Even as the Kaveri has failed to make an appearance, U.S.-made alternatives such as the General Electric F-404 engine, or even the more powerful F-414, do not deliver adequate thrust for the Tejas Mk 1, to meet all its missions.
  •  For the Tejas Mk IA, Mk II, the LCA Navy, and other aircraft programmes such as the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft, India will need turbo-jet engines of even greater thrust.

Ways to make Indigenous Aircraft Industry Prosperous

  •  It is vital for India to develop a family of homegrown jet engines to power indigenous combat aircraft as well as re-engine imported ones.
  • In this context, it is necessary to recognise that both the Tejas and Kaveri projects — which have seen more than their share of headwinds and uncertainty — form key components of India’s technological aspirations.
  •  Unless carefully guided, protected and nurtured, their failure could spell the end of India’s aeronautical industry, or condemn it forever to licensed production.
  • A long production run of, say, 250-300 aircraft for the Tejas and its advanced derivatives is essential if the industry is to hone its design and production skills.

Challenges in Engine Manufacturing

  • The HAL claims to have “manufactured” nearly 5,000 aero-engines of British, French and Russian design, and overhauled 18,000 of them.
  • Since this putative “manufacturing” process involves merely the assembly of imported components, several engine divisions of the HAL have failed to imbibe aspects of design, metallurgy, thermodynamic and aerodynamic engineering as well as the complex tooling and machining process required for the design and manufacture of aero-engines,
  • In 1986, the DRDO’s decades-old Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) was tasked with developing an indigenous power plant for the LCA, which was to replace the U.S. engines being used for the development phase of the aircraft.
  • The first complete prototype Kaveri began tests in 1996, and by 2004 it had flown on a Russian flying test-bed; albeit unsuccessfully.
  •  Since then, the Kaveri has made sporadic progress and the GTRE has been struggling with serious design and performance issues which it has been unable to resolve.
  • As the Kaveri missed successive deadlines, the U.S. import option was mindlessly and gleefully resorted to.
  • It has, at least, on two occasions, approached French and British aero-engine manufacturers for advice and consultancy in operationalising the Kaveri.
  • Despite reportedly attractive offers of performance-enhancement and technology-transfer, the negotiations stalled reportedly on cost considerations. 

Responsibility for failures

  • It is obvious that the onus for repeated setbacks in these projects must lie squarely on India’s political leadership; for its neglect as well as absence of a vision for the aeronautical industry. 
  • There are three more factors: over-estimation by the DRDO of its capabilities compounded by a reluctance to seek advice; inadequate project management and decision-making skills of its scientists; and exclusion of users — the military — from all aspects of the projects.

Way Forward

  • It is still not too late for the government to declare both these projects as ‘national missions’ and initiate urgent remedial actions.
  •  The success of both the Kaveri and Tejas programmes will transform the aerospace scene, and put India in the front ranks of aeronautical nations, perhaps even ahead of China, if the desired degree of resolve and professional rigour can be brought to the fore.
  • If we miss this opportunity, we will remain abjectly import-dependent forever in this vital area.



Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

[op-ed snap] India Urgently Needs a National Security Doctrine


Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Security challenges & their management in border areas

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: IED

Mains level: Shortcomings in India’s response to security threats and need of a national security vision.



Tragic loss of 40 gallant CRPF jawans, killed in a “fidayeen” attack has unearthed how India remain deficient in intelligence-analysis, inter-agency coordination, and, above all, a national security doctrine.

Ramifications of recent attack

  • The success of vehicle-borne IED being used in J&K could mark a new phase in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations.
  • An urgent review of the quality and timeliness of intelligence inputs and the standard operating procedures (SOP) being followed by the armed police force convoys is required.
  • It’s another opportunity for reflection and introspection about our management of crisis situations in general, and of Pakistan’s role in Kashmir, in particular.

Uncertain trumpet

  • Woolly-headed thinking, lack of resolve and absence of a coherent long-term vision iregarding national security perspective
  • Crisis after crisis has caught our nation by surprise — unprepared and invariably in the reactive mode.
  • Kashmir issue to become a pressure-point for exploitation by our western and eastern neighbours,

India’s “strategic restraint” has resulted into

  • Pakistan waging war on us four times since Partition.
  • Pakistan’s three-decade-long strategy of “bleeding India by a thousand cuts” — using terrorists and religious fanatics .

Major missteps by India

  • Describing, “acts of war” by Pakistan as “cross-border terrorism
  • Labeling Pakistani perpetrators as “non-state actors”; providing Pakistan the opening to declare that they were Kashmiri “freedom fighters”.

National Security Doctrine Revival

  • National security has suffered neglect for decades due to pre-occupation of our politicians with electoral politics.
  • National Security should be first priority on the government’s and Parliament’s time .
  • There has been a gap in political pronouncements in our military capabilities — material as well as organisational.

Grave Instances of National Security Failure

  • In 2001,there was a terrorist attack on Parliament.
  • In 2008, a handful of seaborne terrorists held Mumbai hostage for 96 hours
  • Pakistani fidayeen attacks on the Pathankot air base, followed by the Uri and Nagrota army camps — and now, Pulwama.

Way forward

  • Having created an elaborate national security framework, post Pokhran II, India has strangely shied away from promulgating a doctrine .
  • The current juncture would be apt for the urgent promulgation of a security-cum-defence doctrine.
  • Benefits Of such doctrine
    • Public version defines India’s vital interests, aims and objectives .
    • It will not only become the basis for strategy-formulation, contingency-planning and evolution of SOPs, but also send a reassuring message to our public.


Setting in place clear “red lines” for adversary nations and non-state entities will mean that, in future, no further notice is required for instant punitive or retaliatory actions for any infringement of India’s red lines.

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