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

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

K-9 Vajra Howitzers and Su-30 MKI Fighter Aircraft Engines                                  

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: K-9 Vajra, Super Sukhoi Project

Why in the news?

Several critical ‘Make in India’ defence projects, including acquisitions of K-9 Vajra self-propelled howitzers and Su-30 MKI fighter aircraft engines, are pending final approval from the Centre post-elections.

About K-9 Vajra Self-Propelled Howitzers:

  • It is a self-propelled howitzer.
  • Technology: It incorporates technology transferred from South Korean defence major Hanwha Defense based on its K9 Thunder.
  • Development: The K9 gun has been developed under the ‘Buy Global’ programme of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) where foreign companies are allowed to participate.
  • Features: The platform boasts all-welded steel armour protection. Initially intended for desert use, it has been deployed in mountainous regions due to the India-China standoff.
  • Winterisation: To ensure optimal performance in extreme cold conditions, the Army procured winterisation kits for the regiment deployed in mountainous areas.

About Su-30MKI:

    • The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a two-seater, twinjet multirole air superiority fighter. It is built under license by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • Design: 
    • It was designed by Russia’s Sukhoi Corporation beginning in 1995 and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
    • The first squadron was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2002.
  • Characteristics:
    • It is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter with a highly integrated twin-finned airframe.
    • The construction materials include titanium and high-strength Aluminium alloy.

Engine Upgrade:

India’s “Super Sukhoi” Program aims to enhance the performance and longevity of AL-31F engines, addressing long-standing engine failure issues and deficiencies.

 

PYQ:

[2016] Which one of the following is the best description of ‘INS Astradharini’, that was in the news recently?

(a) Amphibious warfare ship
(b) Nuclear-powered submarine
(c) Torpedo launch and recovery vessel
(d) Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

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

It is time to operationalize the Indian Defence University (IDU)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Status of IDU in India;

Mains level: Need for Professional Military Education;

Why in the news? 

  • While the nature of war remains constant, its changing character imposes a premium on Military Education and the Academic preparation required to cope with security challenges.
  • It is reported that Pakistan has created two universities for its armed forces, while China has three but India has no Defence University even though such a university in India was first proposed in 1967.

Need for Professional Military Education:

  • Inadequacy of RRU: Comparing the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU) to the IDU is seen as flawed because the RRU’s objectives and curriculum do not specifically address military requirements for managing warfare and executing plans.
  • Long Overdue Realization: The establishment of the IDU has been delayed, despite its critical importance for defense preparedness, fostering a strategic culture, and promoting inter-service integration.
  • Rapidly changing the dynamic of Warfare: The dynamic and chaotic nature of warfare, particularly in regions like Europe and West Asia, requires military officers to be able to produce results despite dealing with unclear initial information and rapidly changing circumstances.
  • Empowerment through PME: To tackle these complex challenges, military officers are empowered through a well-constructed PME continuum. This continuum enhances their abilities to adapt to changing assignments and increasing responsibilities over their long careers.
  • Parallels with U.S. Evolution: The evolution of PME in the United States, as exemplified by the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 and ‘Ike’ Skelton’s report to the U.S. Congress, serves as an example of the importance of structured military education in enhancing professionalism and preparedness.

Slow Progress in the Establishment of IDU:

  • Historical Context: The idea of establishing a Defence Services University was proposed as early as 1967 by the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC). This indicates a long-standing recognition of the need for a broad-based education system in the Indian armed forces.
  • Delays in Implementation: Despite proposals and recommendations dating back to the 1960s and 1980s, significant progress towards establishing the IDU was only made after the Kargil conflict in the late 1990s. Even then, progress remained slow, with ‘in principle’ approval granted in May 2010, several years after the conflict.
  • Committee Formation: Following the Kargil conflict, a committee chaired by Dr K. Subrahmanyam was established to examine the issue of establishing the IDU. Based on its recommendations, in May 2010, ‘in principle’ approval was accorded for the setting up of the IDU in Gurgaon. Despite some optimistic reportage in 2017-18, the progress on setting up of the IDU has been rather slow.

Way Forward:

  • Government Commitment and Funding: The government should prioritize the establishment of the IDU and allocate sufficient funding for its development and infrastructure.
  • Streamlined Administrative Processes: Efforts should be made to streamline bureaucratic processes involved in setting up the IDU, ensuring that administrative hurdles do not impede progress.
  • Stakeholder Collaboration: Collaboration between various stakeholders, including the armed forces, government agencies, academic institutions, and industry partners, should be facilitated to expedite the establishment of the IDU.

Mains PYQ 

Q) Taxila University was one of the oldest universities in the world with which were associated several renowned learned personalities of different disciplines. Its strategic location caused its fame to flourish, but unlike Nalanda, it is not considered a university in the modern sense. Discuss.

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

What is Project Akashteer?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Project Akashteer

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The Indian Army’s Corps of Army Air Defense has initiated the induction of control and reporting systems under ‘Project Akashteer’ to bolster its air defense capabilities.

About Project Akashteer

  • The Akashteer Project is an initiative designed to automate air defence control and reporting processes by digitising the entire process.
  • It is developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) as part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative.
  • It seeks to induct Akashteer Command and Control Systems
  • By integrating radar and communication systems at all levels into a unified network, ‘Akashteer’ aims to deliver an unprecedented level of situational awareness and control.
  • This will enable swift engagement of hostile targets, significantly reduce the risk of fratricide, and ensure the safety of friendly aircraft in contested airspace.

How it will help India’s air defence system?

The ‘Akashteer Command and Control Systems’ will significantly enhance India’s air defense capabilities in several ways:

  1. Efficiency and Integration: Digitizing Air Defence Control and Reporting processes with ‘Akashteer’ will improve efficiency and integration. This enables the Indian Army to respond swiftly to hostile threats while reducing the risk of friendly fire incidents.
  2. Situational Awareness: ‘Akashteer’ integrates radar and communication systems into a unified network, providing the Indian Army with better situational awareness. This enables them to detect and engage hostile targets more effectively, ensuring the safety of friendly aircraft in contested airspace.
  3. Mobility and Resilience: The system’s vehicle-based and mobile Control Centers are designed for operational capabilities even in challenging communication environments. This ensures that the Indian Army can operate effectively in diverse terrain and adverse conditions.
  4. Automation: Deployment of ‘Akashteer’ represents a move towards complete automation of air defense operations. This enhances the Indian Army’s ability to defend its airspace, ensuring a safer and more secure future for the country.

PYQ:

[2018] What is “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)”, sometimes seen in the news?

(a) An Israeli radar system

(b) India’s indigenous anti-missile programme

(c) An American anti-missile system

(d) A defence collaboration between Japan and South Korea

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

AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters Fleet inducted to the Army

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters

Mains level: Read the attached story

Why in the news-

  • The Indian Army Aviation Corps inaugurated its first unit of AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters into its fleet at Jodhpur Air Base.

AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopters

  • The AH-64E Apache also known as ‘Apache Guardian’ is widely recognized as the world’s most advanced multi-role combat helicopter.
  • It originates from the United States and is manufactured by Boeing.
  • In February 2020, India sealed a deal with Boeing for the acquisition of six AH-64E for the Army, with an additional six helicopters contracted subsequently.
  • Several countries have acquired the AH-64E, including India, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE, and the UK.
Indigenous Push

  • Tata Boeing Aerospace Limited (TBAL), a joint venture between Boeing and Tata Advanced Systems Ltd. (TASL), was established in 2016 to manufacture fuselages for the AH-64 Apache.
  • TBAL’s Hyderabad facility has been delivering AH-64 Apache fuselages since 2018.
  • The advanced manufacturing facility will eventually become the sole producer of AH-64 fuselages in the world, with 90% of parts sourced from Indian suppliers.

Combat Features

  • Engineered with an open systems architecture to integrate cutting-edge communications, navigation, sensor, and weapon systems.
  • Boasts enhanced thrust and lift capabilities, joint digital interoperability, improved survivability, and cognitive decision aiding.
  • Incorporates a new integrated infrared laser for simplified target designation and upgraded infrared imagery blending infrared with night vision capabilities.

Strategic Significance of the Induction

  • Enhancing Combat Capability: The induction of Apache helicopters marks a significant advancement for the Army Aviation Corps, providing formidable firepower and maneuverability in combat scenarios.
  • Complementing Indigenous Capabilities: The Apaches will complement the indigenous Light Combat helicopter (LCH), strengthening the Army’s aerial combat capabilities.
  • Replacing the ageing arsenal: The Apache fleet is set to will replace the Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters in service.

Try this PYQ from CSE Prelims 2018:

Q.What is “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)”, sometimes seen in the news?

(a) An Israeli radar system

(b) India’s indigenous anti-missile programme

(c) An American anti-missile system

(d) A defence collaboration between Japan and South Korea

Practice MCQ:

What is “AH-64E Apache Guardian “, sometimes seen in the news?

(a) Multi-role Helicopter

(b) Radar

(c) Anti-Tank Missile

(d) Air-Defence System

 

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

India world’s top arms importer between 2019-23: SIPRI

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Bilateral Relations; Defence Exports and Imports

Mains level: Bilateral Relations; India-Russia; Trade relations and defense ties

Why in the news? 

  • In recent years, India has decreased its reliance on the top arms supplier of Russia from 76% (2009-13) to 36% (2019-23), as per SIPRI, indicating diversification in arms imports.

Context:

  • India’s arms imports have marked an eventual shift from Russia to France and the U.S. impacting India’s defensive modernization, regional security dynamics in the Indo-Pacific, and global arms trade trends, reshaping geopolitical relationships.

Major shift observed in the volume of exporters to India:

  • Increase in France’s Share: France’s share of India’s arms imports surged from 0.9% in 2009-13 to 33% in 2019-23, positioning it as the second-largest supplier.
  • Increase in U.S. share: The U.S.’s share of India’s arms imports also rose from 8% to 13% during the same period.

  • Focus on Military Modernization: The rise in arms imports reflects India’s ongoing efforts towards military modernization and enhancement of defense capabilities.

How India has climbed to become the world’s biggest arms importer, displacing Saudi Arabia?

 

  • India’s Rise as Largest Arms Importer: India surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest arms importer between 2019 and 2023, with its share in global arms imports increasing from 9.1% to 9.8%. Saudi Arabia’s share of global arms imports decreased from 11% to 8.4% during the same period.
  • Emergence of Ukraine: Ukraine, previously a negligible importer, increased its share of global arms imports to 4.9% following the Russian invasion in February 2022.
  • Trends in Neighboring Countries: Pakistan’s share in global arms imports rose from 2.9% to 4.3%, while China’s share declined from 4.9% to 2.9%.

How Russia is affected in this scenario?

  • Decline in Russia’s Arms Exports: Russia’s share of global arms exports decreased from 21% in 2014-18 to 11% in 2019-23, accompanied by a 52% reduction in volume terms. Russian arms exports remained stable until 2019 but rapidly declined in 2020-2023, with a 74% decrease in volume by 2023 compared to 2019.
    • Impact on Russia’s Arms Industry: The decline in Russia’s arms exports suggests potential challenges for its arms industry, including decreased revenue and market share.
    • Decrease in Number of Recipient Nations: Russia supplied arms to 31 nations in 2019, which decreased to 12 by 2023, indicating a reduction in its arms export footprint.
  • U.S. Consolidation as Top Exporter: The U.S. increased its share in global arms exports from 34% to 42% during the same period, consolidating its position as the leading arms exporter. The U.S.’s increased share in global arms exports underscores its dominance in the arms market and its ability to expand its influence worldwide.

How India is affected in this scenario?

  • Diversification of Arms Suppliers: India’s reduced dependence on Russia indicates a diversification strategy, reducing vulnerability to supply disruptions and geopolitical tensions.
  • Strengthened Defense Partnerships: Increased arms imports from France and the U.S. suggest enhanced defense partnerships, potentially leading to technology transfers, joint ventures, and co-development projects.
  • Modernization of Armed Forces: Importing a diverse range of weapons and equipment from multiple suppliers enhances the modernization efforts of India’s armed forces, improving operational capabilities and readiness.
  • Technological Advancements: Collaboration with advanced arms exporters like France and the U.S. may facilitate access to cutting-edge technologies, fostering indigenous defense production capabilities and innovation.

What are the implications on Indo-Pacific region?

  • Impact on Regional Dynamics: The shift in India’s arms imports could alter the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region, potentially prompting other countries to reassess their defense strategies and alliances.
    • Increased arms imports from France and the United States may signal India’s intention to diversify its defense partnerships and capabilities, potentially contributing to regional stability by reducing dependence on a single supplier.
  • Western Tilt: Diversifying arms imports could reach it with Western defense systems, potentially bolstering its role as a key player in the Indo-Pacific region’s security architecture.
  • China Factor: This may aim at countering China’s growing military assertiveness in the region. This could lead to increased competition and tensions between the two countries.
  • Russia’s Influence: The reduction in India’s arms imports from Russia may diminish Russia’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

Conclusion

  • India’s decreasing reliance on Russian arms, increased imports from France and the U.S., and diversification of suppliers reshape regional security dynamics have more evolving dynamics in Global geopolitics considering recent moves of Russia in its defence and military policies.

Mains PYQs:

What is the significance of Indo-US defence deals over Indo-Russian defence deals? Discuss with reference to stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (2020)

Practice Questions for Mains:

Q- How has India’s decreasing reliance on Russian arms and increasing imports from France and the U.S. reshaped regional security dynamics and global arms trade trends?

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

ADITI Scheme to Fund India’s Defence Start-ups

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: ADITI Scheme, iDEX

Mains level: Read the attached story

In the news

  • The recently launched ADITI scheme by the Union Minister of Defence marks a new era in promoting innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies.

About ADITI Scheme

  • Scheme Objective: Acing Development of Innovative Technologies with iDEX (ADITI) is aimed at fostering innovations in critical and strategic defence technologies.
  • Development Goals: The scheme targets the development of approximately 30 deep-tech critical and strategic technologies within the proposed timeframe.
  • Eligibility Criteria: Start-ups can avail grant-in-aid of up to Rs 25 crore for their research, development, and innovation efforts in defence technology.
  • Budget Allocation: ADITI is backed by a budget of Rs 750 crore spanning from 2023-24 to 2025-26.
  • Framework: It operates within the iDEX (Innovations for Defence Excellence) framework under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence.

Features of the Scheme

  • Bridge-building Initiative: ADITI aims to establish a ‘Technology Watch Tool’ to bridge the gap between the modern Armed Forces’ expectations and requirements and the capabilities of the defence innovation ecosystem.
  • Incentives for Innovators: iDEX has been expanded to iDEX Prime, offering increased assistance from Rs 1.5 crore to Rs 10 crore, motivating young innovators to participate.
  • National Transformation: Initiatives like ADITI, iDEX, and iDEX Prime are instrumental in propelling India towards becoming a knowledge society.
  • Youth Empowerment: The scheme aims to nurture youth innovation, propelling the country forward in the realm of technology.

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

Plans for Non-Lapsable Defence Modernization Fund put on hold

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Defence Modernisation Fund (DMF)

Mains level: Defence Acquisition Process in India

In the news

  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) had informed Parliament recently a separate mechanism by the Ministry of Finance in consultation with the MoD to explore a special dispensation to operationalize a “Non-lapsable Defence Modernisation Fund” because the non-lapsable pool has drawbacks as it affects parliamentary scrutiny and accountability.

About Non-Lapsable Defence Modernisation Fund (DMF): 

  • The DMF aims to create a dedicated pool of funds that carry over from year to year, ensuring that unutilized funds are retained for future defence modernisation initiatives. Currently, defence funding in India operates on a yearly basis, with unspent funds being returned at the end of each fiscal year.
  • The dedicated Modernisation Fund is intended to supplement regular budgetary allocations and provide certainty in funding for various defence capability development and infrastructure projects.

Recommendation by XV Finance Commission

  • The 15th Finance Commission proposed a dedicated Modernisation Fund for Defence and Internal Security.
  • It said the Union may constitute in the Public Account of India, a dedicated non-lapsable fund, Modernisation Fund for Defence and Internal Security (MFDIS).

About the Public Account of India

  • The Public Account of India was constituted by Article 266(2) of the Indian Constitution which states that “All other public moneys received by or on behalf of the Government of India or the Government of a State shall be credited to the public account of India or the public account of the State, as the case may be.”
  • These funds are used to manage transactions where the government serves as a banker, such as provident funds, small savings, and other deposits. 
  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) is responsible for auditing all expenditures from the Public Account of India.
  • Withdrawal or utilization of money can only occur for specific purposes authorized by law or parliamentary approval, ensuring proper allocation and utilization of funds.

 Need for Non-Lapsable Funds:

  • Addressing Budgetary Limitations: Yearly budget allocations lead to the surrender of unutilized funds, hindering defense modernization efforts.
  • Creating Certainty: Non-lapsable funds offer certainty in funding availability, promoting stability and continuity in modernization initiatives.
  • Enhancing Flexibility: These funds provide flexibility for addressing unforeseen contingencies and promoting long-term planning.

Significance of Non-Lapsable Funds:

  • Certainty and Continuity: Non-lapsable funds offer assurance of funding for defence modernisation, eliminating the need for frequent requests for additional funds and ensuring continuity in project execution.
  • Flexibility: These funds provide flexibility in utilization, allowing for the allocation of resources to unforeseen requirements or contingencies that may arise during the year.
  • Long-term Planning: By allowing funds to carry over across fiscal years, non-lapsable funds facilitate long-term planning for defence modernization projects, promoting systematic and strategic development.

Challenges and Considerations

  • Parliamentary Scrutiny: Establishing a non-lapsable fund may raise concerns about reduced parliamentary scrutiny and accountability over defense spending.
  • Operational Modalities: Determining the sources of funding and operational modalities for the DMF require careful consideration to ensure effectiveness and transparency.
  • Interagency Coordination: Coordination between the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Finance is essential for the successful implementation of the fund.

Conclusion

  • The proposal for a Non-Lapsable Defence Modernisation Fund represents a proactive approach to addressing the challenges associated with defence funding in India.
  • While the concept offers several potential benefits, its implementation requires careful deliberation and collaboration between key stakeholders to ensure accountability, transparency, and optimal utilization of resources in support of national security objectives.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2014:

Q.With reference to Union Budget, which of the following, is/are covered under Non-Plan Expenditure?

  1. Defence-expenditure
  2. Interest payments
  3. Salaries and pensions
  4. Subsidies

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2, 3 and 4

(d) None

Post your answers here.
0
Please leave a feedback on thisx

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

It is the conditioning of the Agniveer that merits attention

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Mains level: importance of the human element in military operations

Understanding the Operational Environment: the Human Dimension | Global Strategy

Why in the News?

While initial feedback on the scheme is positive, there are challenges in integrating these recruits into military units, particularly regarding unit cohesion and psychological assimilation.

About Agniveer Scheme:

Aim: As a reform in Indian defense policy, it aims to recruit and retain young men and women in the armed forces through a short-service manpower model.

Key Highlights of the Scheme:

  • Introduction of the Agnipath scheme to reform defense recruitment.
  • Focus on a short-service manpower model with the potential for retention.
  • Significant unit cohesion and psychological assimilation for effective combat readiness.
  • Emphasizes on the enduring significance of the human element in warfare despite technological advancements.

Key Challenges:

  • Ensuring seamless integration of Agniveers into military units.
  • Nurturing unit cohesion and camaraderie among recruits.
  • Addressing potential issues of competition and one-upmanship among Agniveers.
  • Managing the psychological well-being and personality traits of recruits.
  • Lack of a formal psychology test in the recruitment process.

Main Terms:

  • Agnipath scheme: Indian defense policy reform for recruitment and retention.
  • Agniveers: Young men and women recruited under the Agnipath scheme.
  • Unit cohesion: The bond and teamwork within military units.
  • Combat readiness: Preparedness of military units for combat situations.
  • Human element: Importance of individual soldiers’ character and relationships in warfare.

Important Phrases:

  • “Agniveers into the milieu of military units”
  • “unit pride flows out of unit cohesion”
  • “technology-based counter-measures”
  • “focus on the human element”
  • “psychological assimilation”

Quotes:

  • “I hold it to be one of the simplest truths of war that the thing which enables a soldier to keep going with his weapon is the near presence or the presumed presence of a comrade.” – S.L.A. Marshall

Anecdotes:

  • Reference to Russia-Ukraine conflict and Israel-Hamas conflict to highlight the enduring significance of the human element in warfare.

Useful Statements:

  • “Irrespective of technological advancements in the realm of warfare, the character of a soldier to stand by his flanking mate can never be undermined.”
  • “The onerous challenge would be to arrest any germination of an undesired personality trait among the lot given that 25% of the Agniveers will stay back.”
  • “The government should consider introducing a test of ‘psychology’ as part of the recruitment process.”

Examples and References:

  • Mention of Agniveers’ positive feedback from units.
  • Reference to S.L.A. Marshall’s observations on the importance of comradeship in war.

Critical Analysis:

  • The article emphasizes the importance of the human element in military operations despite technological advancements.
  • It highlights challenges in integrating new recruits into military units and maintaining unit cohesion.

Way Forward:

  • Address challenges in integrating Agniveers into military units.
  • Prioritize psychological assimilation and character development alongside technical training.
  • Consider implementing a psychology test in the recruitment process for better assessment and management of recruits.

Overall, the article underscores the importance of balancing technological advancements with the enduring significance of individual character and unit cohesion in military operations. It calls for a strategic approach in integrating and nurturing new recruits to ensure effective combat readiness.

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India-US Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) Summit

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: INDUS-X

Mains level: India-US defence collaboration

About the News:

  • The INDUS-X Summit will be held on February 20-21 in New Delhi, marking a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts between India and the US in defense innovation.

What is INDUS-X?

  • The ‘INDUS-X’ summit is a joint initiative between India and the US, which signifies a pivotal milestone in bilateral defense cooperation, fostering strategic technology partnerships and industrial collaboration.
  • Inception: June 2023.
  • Aim: To bolster defense innovation and technology collaboration between the two nations.
  • Objectives:
    1. Advancing strategic co-operation: By expanding strategic technology partnerships and defense industrial cooperation.
    2. Bridging Innovation Gaps: Establish a defense innovation bridge encompassing joint challenges, academia engagement, industry-startup connect, and investment in defense projects.
  • Focus Areas:
    1. Fostering greater horizontal cooperation between governments, academia, and laboratories, as well as vertical partnerships between established defense primes and startups or Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
    2. Increasing the number of contact points between startups and prime contractors for critical defense assets such as jet engines, long-range artillery, and infantry vehicles.
    3. Supporting India’s goal of achieving $5 billion in defense exports by 2025.
    4. Contributing to a more stable and secure Indo-Pacific region.
  • Key Participants:
    • India’s Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), U.S. Department of Defense, U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM).

About Innovations for Defense Excellence (iDEX)

  • iDEX is a flagship initiative launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
  • Aim: Fostering innovation and technology development in the defense and aerospace sectors.
  • Objective: Creating an ecosystem to rapidly develop new, indigenized, and innovative technologies for the Indian defense and aerospace sector.
  • It’s Significance:
    • Funding: The program provides grants and funds to support research and development efforts and facilitate the creation of functional prototypes of products/technologies relevant to national security.
    • Inclusive Growth: The program creates a culture of engagement with innovative startups, encourages co-creation for defense and aerospace sectors, and empowers a culture of technology co-creation and co-innovation within the defense and aerospace sectors.
    • Engagement with the Industrial sector: The program focuses on engaging industries, including MSMEs, startups, and individual innovators, to deliver technologically advanced solutions for modernizing the defense and aerospace sectors.
    • Collaboration: iDEX works through various programs such as the Defense India Startup Challenge (DISC), which involves problem statements from the Armed Forces, DPSUs, and OFB.
  • Implementation of Program:
    • The iDEX framework is implemented by the Defense Innovation Organization (DIO) a not-for-profit company formed under the Companies Act 2013, which acts as a bridge between the requirements of the Armed Forces and the solution providers.
    • Therefore, the program focuses on making India self-reliant and self-sufficient in defense matters by fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology development in the defense and aerospace sector.

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India’s defence budgeting and the point of deterrence

Key Highlights:

  • The Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program faces challenges, with the purchase of only 36 Rafale jets instead of the required 126, leading to a depleted squadron strength in the Indian Air Force (IAF).
  • The article raises concerns about the impact of budgetary constraints on defense preparedness, especially with India in election mode and potential cuts in the defense budget.
  • Emphasis is placed on the need for a judicious assessment of defense planning and budgeting to address threats on the northern borders and enhance sea power against China.

Key Challenges:

  • The persistent issue of budget constraints impacting defense procurement and preparedness.
  • The gap between the required and actual squadron strength in the Indian Air Force.
  • Concerns about potential cuts in the defense budget amid electoral priorities.

Key Terms and Phrases:

  • Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program
  • Squadron strength
  • Budget constraints
  • Defense preparedness
  • Northern borders
  • Sea power
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat
  • Innovations For Defence Excellence (iDEX)
  • Ordnance Factory Board
  • Negative lists for imports

Key Quotes and Statements:

  • “Mother of all procurements” – Referring to the MMRCA program with a cost of around $10 billion in 2007.
  • “We will fight with what we have” – General V.P. Malik’s quote during the Kargil conflict.
  • “You go to war with the industrial base you have, not the industrial base you want” – From the War on the Rocks article, emphasizing the importance of the existing industrial base.

Key Examples and References:

  • The purchase of 36 Rafale jets instead of the required 126 under the MMRCA program.
  • The deficit in squadron strength in the Indian Air Force, currently at an abysmal 32.
  • The Global Innovation Index 2022 highlighting India’s low research and development expenditure.

Key Facts and Data:

  • India’s defense expenditure as a percentage of central government expenditure has declined from around 16.4% in 2012-13 to 13.3% in 2022-23.
  • The Ministry of Defence requested ₹1,76,346 crore for capital acquisitions in 2023-24, but only ₹1,62,600 crore was allotted, creating a deficit of ₹13,746 crore.
  • China spent $421 billion on research and development in 2022, which is 2.54% of its GDP.

Critical Analysis:

  • The article underscores the challenges of balancing electoral imperatives and national security priorities in defense budget allocation.
  • It highlights the necessity for a smart balance between imports and indigenous accretions for technological modernization.
  • The concerns raised about the long gestation period for indigenization efforts and the need for sustained momentum in policy-making.

Way Forward:

  • Emphasizes the importance of bipartisan statesmanship to make defense budgeting election-proof.
  • Calls for a continuum in policy-making and adequate defense budgeting to address national security imperatives.
  • Stresses the need for sustained momentum in the Atmanirbhar Bharat drive and other indigenization efforts.

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A renewed focus on emerging technologies

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GSAT-7 and GSAT-7A

Mains level: emerging technologies in the military landscape

Indian army ramps up AI, but how effective will it be? – DW – 10/18/2023

Central idea

The Indian military’s strategic embrace of emerging technologies, encompassing AI, cyber, and unmanned systems, reflects a forward-looking vision. While showcasing diverse initiatives, the article underscores the need for organizational shifts, jointness, and collaboration with civilians to effectively integrate these technologies

Key Highlights:

  • Diverse Initiatives: Indian military strategically adopts AI, cyber, and unmanned systems, with each service branch leading initiatives.
  • Strategic Vision: Reflects a forward-looking approach, leveraging technology for operational and strategic advantages.
  • AIDef Showcases: Defence Ministry’s ‘AIDef’ presents Defence AI Council and Project Agency, showcasing a commitment to integrate AI across allied organizations.
  • Indigenous Emphasis: Highlights a push for indigenization, aligning with national goals of self-reliance in defence.

Challenges:

  • Organizational Shift Needed: Warns against viewing technology as a ‘plug and play,’ stressing the need for organizational and doctrinal changes.
  • Data-sharing Imperative: Advocates for a cultural shift, urging military to share data with civilians for technology to reach its full potential.
  • Crucial Interconnectedness: Identifies jointness and interoperability challenges, crucial for effective integration of emerging technologies.
  • Need for Unified Commands: Stresses the urgency of joint theatre commands to streamline operations and enhance coordination.

Key Phrases:

  • Civil-Military Partnerships: Emphasizes collaborative defence, necessitating partnerships with scientists, academics, and technologists.
  • Shared Responsibility: Highlights the shared responsibility of the military and civilians in navigating the complexities of emerging technologies.
  • Historical Challenge: Explores the perpetual military challenge of adapting to change, underlining the complexity of integrating emerging technologies.
  • Strategic Evolution: Recognizes the need for a strategic evolution to effectively incorporate emerging technologies into military operations.

How AI Strengthens the Indian Army | ESDS

Analysis:

  • Operational Synergy: Advocates for joint theatre commands to achieve operational synergy and seamless integration of emerging technologies.
  • Unified Strategy: Stresses the importance of a unified strategy for joint operations, minimizing challenges related to technology integration.
  • Specialization Advocacy: Urges a shift towards specialization in human resources practices, aligning officer expertise with the demands of emerging technologies.
  • Intellectual Inclination: Recommends extended tenures for officers inclined towards technological domains, fostering intellectual capabilities.
Value addition box from Civilsdaily

 

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) actively engages with private tech companies through initiatives like the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and In-Q-Tel to leverage cutting-edge technologies.

 

The U.S. prioritizes collaboration between defense agencies and civilian entities, exemplified by the establishment of the Defense Innovation Board, composed of experts from various industries.

 

The U.S. military emphasizes jointness through unified combatant commands, promoting interoperability in the application of emerging technologies across different branches.

 

Key Data:

  • ‘UDAAN’ Initiative: The Indian Air Force is utilizing AI, cyber, and virtual reality under ‘UDAAN’ to address operational, logistical, and training needs.
  • Integrated Unmanned Roadmap: The Navy is progressing with emerging technologies, including an Integrated Unmanned Roadmap, as part of project ‘Swavlamban.’
  • Defence Cyber Agency: Established in 2018, the Defence Cyber Agency addresses threats in the cyber domain.
  • Defence Space Agency: Launched in 2018, it focuses on threats and capabilities related to space.
  • Comprehensive Approach: Reveals the military’s comprehensive approach, identifying 45 niche technologies for diverse military applications.
  • Strategic Preparedness: Illustrates a strategic preparedness to harness a spectrum of technologies for operational superiority.
  • Communication Enhancements: Mentions GSAT-7 and GSAT-7A launches, highlighting advancements in military communication capabilities through satellite technology.
  • Space for Defence: Showcases India’s utilization of space capabilities for defence purposes, marking a significant leap in technological applications.

Way Forward:

  • Integrated Planning: Calls for integrated planning to address challenges in jointness and interoperability, laying the groundwork for successful technology integration.
  • Cross-Service Collaboration: Advocates for cross-service collaboration, emphasizing the need for unified efforts to maximize the potential of emerging technologies.
  • Private Sector Integration: Recommends openness to technocrats from the private sector, fostering innovation and expertise infusion for defence.
  • Innovation Ecosystem: Calls for the creation of an innovation ecosystem, encouraging collaboration between defence and civilian talent for holistic technological advancements.

This transformative journey requires a multi-faceted approach, encompassing strategic vision, organizational adaptability, collaborative partnerships, and talent infusion to fully realize the potential of emerging technologies in the military landscape.

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India to bring in a National Security Strategy (NSS): What is it, why is it important?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: National Security Strategy

Central Idea

  • India is embarking on a historic journey as it initiates the development of its inaugural National Security Strategy (NSS).
  • The National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) is actively collecting insights and inputs from diverse Central ministries and departments, laying the foundation for a comprehensive strategy that will play a pivotal role in safeguarding the nation’s interests.

Explained: National Security Strategy

  • Crucial Milestone: India’s NSS represents its first-ever comprehensive document that outlines security objectives and strategies.
  • Periodically Updated: The NSS evolves over time, addressing both traditional and non-traditional threats while fostering accountability among agencies tasked with implementation.
  • Guiding Holistic Security: The NSS will serve as a guiding framework for military, defense, and security reforms, offering a holistic perspective on national security, threats, and strategies to counter them.

Scope and Content of India’s NSS

  • Modern Challenges: The NSS is poised to encompass a broad spectrum of contemporary challenges, including financial and economic security, food and energy security, information warfare, critical information infrastructure vulnerabilities, supply chain concerns, and environmental issues.
  • Comprehensive Approach: It will adopt a comprehensive approach to tackling emerging threats, aligning with India’s evolving security landscape.

Global Precedents

  • Established Nations with NSS: Developed nations with robust military and security infrastructures maintain National Security Strategies, updated periodically. The United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia have published their NSS.
  • China’s Comprehensive National Security: China has a closely integrated Comprehensive National Security strategy, tightly linked to its governance structure.
  • Pakistan’s National Security Policy: Pakistan recently unveiled a National Security Policy for 2022-2026, outlining its national security objectives and priorities.

India’s Imperative for a National Security Strategy

  • Long-Debated Need: The idea of a National Security Strategy for India has long been debated within military circles and the strategic community.
  • Urgency in Uncertain Times: Rising geopolitical tensions and the uncertain global environment have heightened the urgency for India to formulate a comprehensive strategy.
  • Relevance Highlighted: Experts and former officials emphasize that a national security strategy is vital to provide clear political direction to the Armed Forces, guide military reforms, and address modern security challenges effectively.

Past Attempts and Hurdles

  • Failed Attempts: India has previously made three attempts to develop a national security strategy, all without fruition.
  • Political Hesitation: Some speculate that hesitation at the political level, driven by concerns about accountability in defense management, may have impeded the strategy’s release.
  • Varied Views: There have been differing views within the strategic community regarding the absence of a national security strategy, ranging from a lack of cohesive government efforts to intentional non-disclosure of national security objectives.

Conclusion

  • India’s journey towards formulating its National Security Strategy marks a significant milestone in its quest for a well-defined and coordinated approach to security.
  • As India forges ahead, this inaugural strategy promises to provide a roadmap for addressing complex security challenges, ensuring national interests are protected, and fostering a secure future in an ever-evolving world.

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Inter-Services Organizations Bill, 2023

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: ISO Bill

Central Idea

Background

  • Chief of Defence Staff (CDS): In 2019, the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) was created to ensure “jointness” among the three services in various operational and support areas.
  • Delay and Progress: The efforts to reorganize the armed forces into integrated theatre commands were delayed due to a lack of consensus and further stalled by the untimely demise of the first CDS, General Bipin Rawat.

ISO Bill: Key Features

Definition of ISO
  • Existing ISOs constituted under the Bill.
  • New ISOs may be formed with personnel from at least two of the three services.
  • Includes Joint Services Commands.
Empowerment of Commander-in-Chief Commanders to exercise disciplinary and administrative control over personnel from all services attached to their respective organisations.
Superintendence by Central Government Central government has a superintendence and may issue directions related to national security, general administration, or public interest.
Applicability to Other Forces Provisions may apply to other forces raised and maintained in India, in addition to army, navy, and air force personnel.
Eligibility for Commander-in-Chief Officers eligible for appointment:

  1. General Officers of the regular Army,
  2. Flag Officers of the Navy,
  3. Air Officers of the Air Force.
Disciplinary and Administrative Powers Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command will exercise disciplinary and administrative powers vested in various authorities as specified in the service Acts.
Role of Commanding Officer Introduction of Commanding Officer role with authority to initiate disciplinary or administrative actions for personnel within the Inter-Services Organisation.

 

Need for the Bill

  • Streamlining Multiple Legislations: Currently, service personnel of the Indian Air Force, Army, and Navy are governed by different Acts, leading to complexities in disciplinary matters.
  • Promoting Integrated Staff: The bill empowers ISO commanders with disciplinary powers over service personnel, facilitating integration and joint operations among the armed forces.
  • Enhancing Operational Efficiency: The proposed bill, along with theaterization, can reduce the current 17 commands to a more efficient half a dozen, enhancing operational capabilities.
  • Effective Personnel Management: The bill addresses disciplinary issues in a tri-service environment, providing a unified approach for personnel from different services.
  • Enhanced National Security: Collaborative efforts among the three services will address emerging challenges in modern warfare, thereby strengthening national security.

Existing Challenges

  • Rigid Service Rules: Implementing changes in fixed rules of the three services presents a challenge, requiring careful consideration and consensus-building.
  • Incorporating Advanced Technologies: Integrating emerging technologies like AI and drone technology into modern warfare poses a challenge that demands effective planning and adaptation.
  • Logistical Issues: Formulating joint rules and collaboration is hindered by logistical challenges specific to certain services, necessitating coordination and cooperation.
  • Burden on CDS: The Chief of Defence Services (CDS) carries multiple roles, leading to potential operational burdens that must be managed for effective execution.

Way Forward

  • Empower Joint Service Commands: Strengthen joint service commands with operational powers at various levels to foster effective integration and coordination among the armed forces.
  • Division of Powers: Division of powers between different levels of command can alleviate the workload on service headquarters, enabling more efficient decision-making and execution.
  • Promotion and Standard Synergy: Developing synergy on promotions and standards across services can enhance cohesion and unity within the military structure.
  • Allocate Department of Military Affairs: Allocating the charge of the Department of Military Affairs to another competent officer can share responsibilities and optimize administrative efficiency.
  • Formation of Group of Ministers: Forming a Group of Ministers can facilitate expert inputs and coordinated policies, ensuring a well-rounded approach to the bill’s implementation.
  • Immediate Action on Land Use and Logistics: Immediate changes in land use and logistics should be prioritized while complicated issues are deliberated to ensure smooth and coordinated implementation.

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Critical Jet Engine GE-414 Deal Signed

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GE-414 Engine Deal

Mains level: Not Much

jet engine

Central Idea

  • During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official State visit to the United States, a significant agreement is likely to be announced.
  • The deal is expected to facilitate the transfer of at least 11 critical jet engine technologies.

GE-414 Engine Deal

  • An agreement is expected between General Electric (GE), an American multinational corporation, and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of India.
  • The agreement aims to enable the licensed manufacture of GE’s F414 engine in India for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk2.
  • The F414 engine is part of GE’s suite of military aircraft engines and has been utilized by the US Navy for over 30 years.
  • It boasts a track record of over 1,600 engines delivered, accumulating more than 5 million engine flight hours across various missions.

Features and Advancements of the F414 Engine

  • The F414 engine belongs to the thrust class of 22,000 lb or 98 kN and incorporates advanced technologies such as Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC).
  • GE’s highlights the engine’s use of advanced materials and cooling techniques, improving performance and extending component life.

F414-Powered Jets and their Significance

  • Eight nations, including the US, have aircraft powered by F414 engines, such as the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and EA18G Growler, as well as Saab’s Gripen E/F fighters.
  • The manufacturer’s website suggests the potential use of F414 engines for emerging platforms like the Korean KF-X.

India-Specific Version: F414-INS6

  • The Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) selected the F414-INS6 engine for the LCA Tejas Mk2.
  • The LCA Tejas currently employs the GE-404-IN20 engine, which is a derivative of the GE-404 engine developed in the 1970s.

Future Prospects: Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA)

  • F414 engines may also be considered for the prototypes and initial batch of India’s fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA).
  • AMCA is a potential recipient of the engine, although it might face competition from other engine manufacturers.

Significance of the Deal

  • Only a few countries, including the US, Russia, the UK, and France, possess the necessary technology and metallurgy for manufacturing engines that power combat aircraft.
  • Despite India’s pursuit of self-reliance in critical technologies, the country has not yet achieved mastery in manufacturing such engines.

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India remains biggest Arms Importer during 2018-22: SIPRI

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Essential stats mentioned

Mains level: India's import dependence for defence

arm

Central idea

  • India is the world’s largest arms importer for the five-year period during 2018-22, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
  • However, India’s arms imports have dropped by 11% between 2013–17 and 2018–22.

Top Arms Suppliers to India

arm

  • Russia was the largest supplier of arms to India in both 2013–17 and 2018–22.
  • France emerged as the second largest supplier from 2018-22, and its share of total Indian arms imports increased significantly.
  • Among the top 10 arms exporters for the period 2018-22, India was the biggest arms export market to three countries — Russia, France and Israel and the second-largest export market to South Korea.
  • India was also the third largest market for South Africa, which was ranked 21 in the list of arms exporters.

Arms import by Country

  • For the same period, India remained the largest arms importer followed by Saudi Arabia.
  • Russia accounted for 45% of India’s imports followed by France (29%) and the US (11%).
  • India was the third largest arms supplier to Myanmar after Russia and China, accounting for 14% of its imports.

Reasons for India’s Arms Imports

  • Complexities with neighborhood: “India’s tensions with Pakistan and China largely drive its demand for arms imports. With an 11% share of total global arms imports, India was the world’s biggest importer of major arms in 2018–22,” says SIPRI.
  • Procurement bottlenecks: India’s slow and complex arms procurement process, efforts to diversify its arms suppliers, and attempts to replace imports with major arms that are designed and produced domestically have contributed to the decrease in arms imports.

Russia’s position as India’s Main Arms Supplier

  • India diversifying its imports: Russia’s position as India’s main arms supplier is under pressure due to strong competition from other supplier states.
  • Self-arming for ongoing war: This is due to increased Indian arms production, and constraints on Russia’s arms exports related to its invasion of Ukraine.

Global Arms Transfers

  • Arms imports by Pakistan increased by 14% between 2013–17 and 2018–22 and accounted for 3.7% of the global total with China supplying 77% of Pakistan’s arms imports in 2018–22.
  • While the global level of international arms transfers decreased by 5.1%, imports of major arms by European states increased by 47% between 2013–17 and 2018–22 in the backdrop of the war in Ukraine.
  • The U.S. share of global arms exports increased from 33% to 40% while Russia’s fell from 22% to 16%.

What we can conclude from this?

  • Security concerns: India has long-standing tensions with neighboring countries such as Pakistan and China, which have led to security concerns and a perceived need for a strong military.
  • Slow and complex procurement process: India’s procurement process for arms is often slow and complex, leading to delays in acquiring weapons and equipment. This has resulted in India relying on imports to meet its defense needs.
  • Lack of domestic production: India’s domestic arms production capabilities are still limited, which makes it difficult for the country to produce high-tech weapons and equipment. This has forced India to rely on imports to meet its defense requirements.
  • Diversification of suppliers: While Russia has been the traditional supplier of arms to India, in recent years India has been diversifying its sources of weapons and equipment to countries such as France, Israel, and the United States.

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Village Defence Guards (VDG): A sense of security and confidence

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Village Defence Guards (VDGs)

Mains level: Terrorism, insurgency and Border security challenge

Village

Context

  • The revival of the Village Defence Committees (VDCs), albeit with a new name, Village Defence Guards (VDG), in the Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu division has been viewed with suspicion. Sceptics doubt the prospects of its success in combating terrorism, which has raised its head in the region after a prolonged lull.

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What are Village Defence Committees (VDCs)?

  • Raised in 1990s: Raised initially in the mid-1990s to take on terrorists, the VDCs had instilled a sense of security among the people.
  • To retaliate terrorists: Able-bodied men and ex-service personnel were roped into these committees to retaliate whenever terrorists ventured into the villages.
  • Successful experiment: The experiment was successful, going by the decline in terrorist activities in the Rajouri and Poonch sectors.

What are Village Defence Guards (VDG)

  • Village Defence Guards (VDGs) are a similar concept to Village Defence Committees (VDCs),
  • The VDGs play a crucial role in maintaining security in rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir,
  • They are responsible for providing intelligence to the security forces and help in counter-insurgency operations.
  • They are also armed and trained by the Indian Government.

How VDG’s are developed?

  • CRPF trains VDG’s: The CRPF has been tasked to train the VDGs in the use of automatic weapons,
  • J&K police plays a crucial role: though the Jammu and Kashmir police is playing a pivotal role in organising the VDGs into a formidable force to combat terrorists.
  • Need a plan strategy: These VDGs need to have a planned strategy to take on the terrorists lest they be caught unawares in the event of an attack, leading to chaos.

The similar experiments in other areas

  • Village Volunteer Force (VVF) in Manipur: At the peak of insurgency in Manipur, the Village Volunteer Force (VVF) proved to be an asset. Comprising largely of surrendered militants, the armed VVF personnel not only took on the militants operating in their areas but were of immense help in collecting intelligence. These forces, though, were headed by officers drawn on deputation from the CRPF and the BSF as Liaison Officers and Area Organisers.
  • Salwa Judum In chattisgarh area: The Salwa Judum, a civilian force in Chhattisgarh to combat Maoists, was raised by a prominent Congress leader Mahendra Karma in June 2005. Supported by the state government, as many as 23 Salwa Judum camps were established in the Bastar and Dantewada districts.
  • Similar civilian force in Jharkhad and Telangana: The initial series of successes in pinning down the Maoists prompted other states like Jharkhand and Telangana to raise similar militias to counter the Maoist menace.
  • Brave villagers of Punjab: When Punjab was in the grip of militancy in the 1980s and early 1990s, certain villagers were given weapons to retaliate and the experiment turned out to be successful. They were brave enough to counter the militants for hours and successfully repulsed their attacks. Some of them, including women, went on to be honoured with the prestigious Shaurya Chakra and Kirti Chakra for thwarting the attacks by militants.

Importance of reactivated VDG’s

  • Sense of Security and confidence in the villages: The reactivation of the VDGs would go a long way in instilling a sense of security and confidence in the villagers.
  • Deterrence and resistance to terrorists: VDG’s also serve as a deterrent to the terrorists who would expect stiff resistance if they ever ventured to attack the villagers.
  • Valuable assets: Apart from the VDGs being largely ex-servicemen, their being armed with automatic weapons, coupled with training, will be an asset in taking on terrorists.
  • Source of Intelligence: Additionally, they could serve as sources for the collection of intelligence. With the additional deployment of the CRPF, the response time for the security forces to rush to trouble spots would be drastically reduced.

Concerns: The Case of Salwa Judum

  • The popularity the Salwa Judum had gained did not last for too long.
  • Repeated complaints of human rights violations by the volunteers, of beating up people and even raping tribal women, resulted in a case being filed in the Supreme Court.
  • On July 5, 2011, the Supreme Court declared Salwa Judum illegal and unconstitutional and ordered its disbandment.

Conclusion

  • It would be in the interest of the denizens of the Poonch and Rajouri districts to strengthen the VDGs and provide them with all logistical and training support on a long-term basis as a force multiplier rather than dismantling them after complete normalcy is restored. The proximity to the 120-km stretch of the Line of Control along Pakistan-occupied Kashmir warrants a permanent security blanket for all villages in the region, what with Pakistan always being up to some mischief.

Mains question

Q. What is Village Defence Guards (VDG)? What necessitates such a civilian force? Provide examples of similar forces established from time to time in India.

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Making the Indigenous Defence Industry Self-Reliant and Globally Competitive

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Indigenous developments

Mains level: Self reliant in defence Industry

Defence

Context

  • Defence-Expo 2022 held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat in October drew attention to a major policy initiative, the need for India to acquire the appropriate degree of “atma nirbharata” (self-reliance) in the defence sector and the arduous path ahead.

What is the present status of defence supplies in India?

  • High dependency on foreign supply: Even as India aspires to become a $5-trillion economy, it is evident that it faces many national security inadequacies. The high dependency index on foreign suppliers (traditionally the former USSR now Russia) for major military inventory items is stark.
  • Risk of National vulnerability: This dependency induces a macro national vulnerability and dilutes India’s quest for meaningful and credible strategic autonomy.
  • Undermining national interest: Furthermore, the current gaps in combat capacity expose the chinks in the Indian ability to safeguard core national security interests. The Galwan setback apropos China is illustrative.

Defence

Do you know the following examples of Indigenous defence production?

  • INS Vikrant: The commissioning of the indigenously-designed and built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
  • SLBM Missiles: The recent test fired SLBM (submarine-launched ballistic missile) from the INS Arihant is indigenously bulit.
  • LCH Prachand: The induction of the made in India Prachand LCH (light combat helicopter) is significant leap.
  • Kalashnikov-type light weapon: The conclusion of a deal with Russia to manufacture a Kalashnikov-type light weapon/small arms in India.
  • 155mm artillery Gun: The 155-mm artillery guns being designed and manufactured in the country.

Current scenario of India’s Defence export

  • Rising defence export: India’s defence exports have grown eight times in the last five years.
  • Exporting the defence material to 75 nations: India is exporting defence materials and equipment to more than 75 countries of the world. In 2021-22, defence exports from India reached $1.59 billion (about Rs 13,000 crore).
  • Target of $5 billion export: The government has now set a target of $5 billion (Rs 40,000 crore).” This is an ambitious target and will demand mission-mode resolve to be realised.

Why our defence industry is not competitive at global stage?

  • Import of critical components: India does not yet have the domestic competence to fully design and manufacture any significant combat weapon/platform and is dependent on the foreign supplier for the critical components that lie at the core of the combat index of the equipment in question.
  • Partial methods of indigenous manufacturing: While it is commendable that India is now going to manufacture the C295 transport aircraft in a collaboration with AirBus, France, the reality is that the engine, avionics, landing gear, etc, will come from abroad and the integration will be done by the Indian entity.
  • Soft defence export: While India now claims that it will soon become a major arms exporter, the composition of such inventory leans towards the “soft” category (clothing, helmets, surveillance equipment).
  • No major defence manufacturing hub: India missed the industrial design and manufacturing bus, a national competence demonstrated by nations like South Korea and China, over the last five decades. Technological advances have made the design and manufacture of the semiconductor chip the new currency of national prosperity and military power.

Ways to make India’s defence industry globally competitive?

  • Increasing the investment in R&D is necessary: At the heart of this challenge is the grim reality that historically, India has not invested enough in the national research and development (R&D) effort. As per data collated by the World Bank, India has been able to allocate only 0.66 per cent of GDP (2018) towards R&D, while the world average is 2.63 per cent.
  • Matching with the Global players in R&D: The comparable individual R&D allocation (per cent of GDP) for some other nations is as follows: Israel 5.44; USA 3.45; Japan 3.26; Germany 3.14; China 2.4; and Turkey 1.09.
  • Making the R&D prior national issue: Providing a sustained fillip to the national R&D effort across the board (state, corporate and academia) remains critical if India is to emerge as a credible military power and one would identify this as a high-priority issue for the national security apex the CCS (cabinet committee on security).

defence

Read this news Defence- Expo 2022

  • India’s flagship exhibition on land, naval and homeland security systems.
  • Defence-Expo 2022 was the 12th edition, held in Gandhinagar, Gujrat
  • Largest participation with 75 countries so far.
  • A milestone under Atmanirbhar Bharat policy.

Conclusion

  • The push to achieve self-reliance in defence is commendable. India must step up R&D to achieve competence in design, manufacture of combat weapons/platforms. Meaningful indigenisation and credible “atma nirbharta” calls for sustained funding support, fortitude and an ecosystem that will nurture this effort.

Mains Question

Q. Discuss the current state of indigenous defence production in India? Why Indian defence industry is not Globally competitive?

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Make-II Route of Defence Procurement

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Make-II Project

Mains level: Make in India in defense

The Army has approved sanction orders for the development of niche technology by the Indian industry under the Make-II route of defence procurement.

What are Make-Category Projects?

  • The provision of ‘Make’ category of capital acquisition in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) is a vital pillar for realising the vision behind the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
  • It aims to foster indigenous capabilities through design & development of required defence equipment/product/systems or upgrades/ sub-systems/components /parts by both public and private sector in a faster time frame.

‘Make’ Procedure has following two sub-categories:

  1. Make-I (Government Funded): Projects under ‘Make-I’ sub-category will involve Government funding of 90%, released in a phased manner and based on the progress of the scheme, as per terms agreed between MoD and the vendor.
  2. Make-II (Industry Funded): Projects under ‘Make-II’ category will involve prototype development of equipment/ system/ platform or their upgrades or their sub-systems/ sub-assembly/assemblies/ components. They aim primarily for import substitution/innovative solutions, for which no Government funding will be provided for prototype development purposes.

 

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Aatmanirbhar in defence production: Where does India stand?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Boosting indigenous defence production

India ranks fourth among 12 Indo-Pacific nations in self-reliant arms production capabilities, according to a study released this month by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Study on Defence production

  • China tops the list, Japan is second, South Korea is in third place, and Pakistan is at number 8.
  • The study, which measures self-reliance until 2020, is based on three indicators of self-reliance in each country:
  1. Arms procurement — imports, licensed and domestic production as a proportion of the government’s total procurement of major conventional arms;
  2. Arms industry — the study presents the five largest arms companies in each country, where data are available, ranked by sales of arms and military services in 2020 to both domestic and export customers;
  3. Uncrewed maritime vehicles, the sea equivalent of drones — covering both uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) and uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs), meant to provide a qualitative understanding of how countries are engaging domestic research institutes and firms to produce such cutting edge systems.

How has China progressed?

  • China was the world’s fifth largest arms importer in 2016-20.
  • Its self-reliance policies, and its high economic growth in that period meant that the Chinese arms industry now increasingly fulfils the requirements of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
  • Its high volume of imports in absolute terms accounts for only 8 per cent of total procurement for the period, the lowest share for any of the 12 governments studied in this report.

Why is India still lagging behind?

  • India is ranked as the second-largest importer of arms for its armed forces in 2016-20.
  • India is highly dependent on imports of complete foreign major arms, including many produced under licence or as components for its domestic production.
  • Of India’s total volume of procurement in 2016–20, 84 per cent was of foreign origin.
  • Domestic arms companies provide only 16 per cent of its total procurement.

Steps taken by the Centre to boost defence production

  • Licensing relaxation: Measures announced to boost exports since 2014 include simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates.
  • Lines of Credit: Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
  • Policy boost: The Defence Ministry has also issued a draft Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy 2020.
  • Budgetary allocation: In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.
  • Defence Industrial Corridors: The government has also announced 2 dedicated Corridors in the States of TN and UP to act as clusters of defence manufacturing that leverage existing infrastructure, and human capital.
  • Long-term vision: The vision of the government is to achieve a turnover of $25 bn including export of $5 bn in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • Push for self-reliance: The govt has identified the Defence and Aerospace sector as a focus area for the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or Self-Reliant India initiative.

Issues retarding defence indigenization

  • Excess reliance on Public Sector: India has four companies (Indian ordnance factories, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)) among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
  • Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisition worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
  • Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
  • ‘Unease’ in doing business: An issue related to stringent labour laws, compliance burden and lack of skills, affects the development of indigenous manufacturing in defence.
  • Multiple jurisdictions: Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.
  • Lack of quality: The higher indigenization in few cases is largely attributed to the low-end technology.
  • FDI Policy: The earlier FDI limit of 49% was not enough to enthuse global manufacturing houses to set up bases in India.
  • R&D Lacunae: A lip service to technology funding by making token allocations is an adequate commentary on our lack of seriousness in the area of Research and Development.
  • Lack of skills: There is a lack of engineering and research capability in our institutions. It again leads us back to the need for a stronger industry-academia interface.

Way forward

  • Reducing import dependence: India was the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as the largest importer to Saudi Arabia, says 2019 SIPRI report.
  • Security Imperative: Indigenization in defence is critical to national security also. It keeps intact the technological expertise and encourages spin-off technologies and innovation that often stem from it.
  • Economic boost: Indigenization in defence can help create a large industry which also includes small manufacturers.
  • Employment generation: Defence manufacturing will lead to the generation of satellite industries that in turn will pave the way for a generation of employment opportunities.

 

 

 

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Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) Prachand inducted into IAF

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: LCH Prachanda

Mains level: Not Much

lch

The indigenous Light Combat Helicopter LCH-Prachand was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF).

LCH- Prachand

  • The LCH has been designed as a twin-engine, dedicated combat helicopter of 5.8-ton class, thus categorized as light.
  • It features a narrow fuselage and tandem — one behind the other — configuration for pilot and co-pilot. The co-pilot is also the Weapon Systems Operator (WSO).
  • While LCH inherits many features of the ALH-Dhruv, it mainly differs in tandem cockpit configuration, making it sleeker.
  • It also has many more state-of-art systems that make it a dedicated attack helicopter.

Features, the significance of LCH

  • LCH has the maximum take-off weight of 5.8 tonnes, a maximum speed of 268 kilometers per hour, range of 550 kilometers.
  • It has endurance of over three hours and service ceiling the maximum density altitude to which it can fly — of 6.5 kilometres.
  • LCH is powered by two French-origin Shakti engines manufactured by the HAL.

Combat capabilities

  • The helicopter uses radar-absorbing material to lower radar signature and has a significantly crash-proof structure and landing gear.
  • A pressurised cabin offers protection from nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) contingencies.
  • With these features, the LCH has the capabilities of combat roles such as destruction of enemy air defence, counter-insurgency warfare, combat search and rescue, anti-tank, and counter surface force operations.

Why need indigenous LCH?

  • It was during the 1999 Kargil war that the need was first felt for a homegrown lightweight assault helicopter that could hold precision strikes in all Indian battlefield scenarios.
  • This meant a craft that could operate in very hot deserts and also in very cold high altitudes, in counter-insurgency scenarios to full-scale battle conditions.
  • India has been operating sub 3 ton category French-origin legacy helicopters, Chetak and Cheetah, made in India by the HAL.

 

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Carl-Gustaf M4 to be produced in India

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Carl-Gustaf M4

Mains level: Not Much

gustaf

Swedish defense major SAAB announced plans to manufacture its Carl-Gustaf M4 weapon system in India.

What is the Carl-Gustaf M4?

  • The Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle is a man-portable, multi-role weapon system that allows dismounted soldiers to effectively deal with multiple challenges on the modern battlefield.
  • A proven performer in battle, the Carl-Gustaf M4 is said to be adaptable and flexible.
  • The Indian Army has been using the iconic Carl-Gustaf since 1976 and currently operates the Mk2 and Mk3 versions.

Key features of Carl-Gustaf M4

  • Lightweight, robust, reliable, effective and easy to use
  • Tactical flexibility through a wide range of ammunition
  • Combat proven system
  • Ammunition: Anti-armour, anti-structure, anti-personnel, support

Why in news?

  • In recent years, the Indian government has taken several steps to boost the defense manufacturing sector under the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’

 

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What is Positive Indigenisation List (PIL)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Positive Indigenisation List (PIL)

Mains level: Defence indigenization

In line with the effort to promote self-reliance in defence manufacturing, the Defence Minister has approved the third Positive Indigenisation List (PIL) of 780 strategically important line replacement units (LRU).

What is a Positive Indigenisation List (PIL)?

  • The positive indigenisation list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy, and Air Force—will only procure the listed items from domestic manufacturers.
  • The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
  • This concept was rolled out in the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.

Why in news?

  • This third list is different from the three PILs announced for the armed forces.
  • This list is in continuation to the two PILs of LRUs, sub-systems, assemblies, sub-assemblies and components that were published in December 2021 and March 2022.
  • These lists contain 2,500 items which are already indigenised and 458 (351+107) items which will be indigenised within the given timelines.
  • Out of the 458 items, 167 items (163 from the first PIL, and four from the second PIL) have been indigenised, so far, it stated.

Other steps taken by the Centre to boost defence production

  • Licensing relaxation: Measures announced to boost exports since 2014 include simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates.
  • Lines of Credit: Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
  • Policy boost: The Defence Ministry has also issued a draft Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy 2020.
  • Budgetary allocation: In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.
  • Defence Industrial Corridors: The government has also announced 2 dedicated Corridors in the States of TN and UP to act as clusters of defence manufacturing that leverage existing infrastructure, and human capital.
  • Long-term vision: The vision of the government is to achieve a turnover of $25 bn including export of $5 bn in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • Push for self-reliance: The govt has identified the Defence and Aerospace sector as a focus area for the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or Self-Reliant India initiative.

Issues retarding defence indigenization

  • Excess reliance on Public Sector: India has four companies (Indian ordnance factories, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)) among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
  • Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisition worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
  • Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
  • ‘Unease’ in doing business: An issue related to stringent labour laws, compliance burden and lack of skills, affects the development of indigenous manufacturing in defence.
  • Multiple jurisdictions: Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.
  • Lack of quality: The higher indigenization in few cases is largely attributed to the low-end technology.
  • FDI Policy: The earlier FDI limit of 49% was not enough to enthuse global manufacturing houses to set up bases in India.
  • R&D Lacunae: A lip service to technology funding by making token allocations is an adequate commentary on our lack of seriousness in the area of Research and Development.
  • Lack of skills: There is a lack of engineering and research capability in our institutions. It again leads us back to the need for a stronger industry-academia interface.

Way forward

  • Reducing import dependence: India was the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as the largest importer to Saudi Arabia, says 2019 SIPRI report.
  • Security Imperative: Indigenization in defence is critical to national security also. It keeps intact the technological expertise and encourages spin-off technologies and innovation that often stem from it.
  • Economic boost: Indigenization in defence can help create a large industry which also includes small manufacturers.
  • Employment generation: Defence manufacturing will lead to the generation of satellite industries that in turn will pave the way for a generation of employment opportunities.

 

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India’s Defence Exports have grown up 7x: PM

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: India's defence exports

Our defence exports have increased seven times in the last eight years, informed the Prime Minister. We had achieved defence exports worth ₹13,000 crore and of this 70% was from the private sector.

Why in news?

  • The Indian Defence sector, the second largest armed force is at the cusp of revolution.

India’s Defence Exports

  • India has put out a range of military hardware on sale which includes various missile systems, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), helicopters, warship and patrol vessels, artillery guns, tanks, radars etc.
  • From 2016-17 to 2018-19, the country’s defence exports have increased from ₹1,521 crore to ₹10,745 crore, a staggering 700% growth.

Steps taken by the Centre to boost defence production

  • Licensing relaxation: Measures announced to boost exports since 2014 include simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates.
  • Lines of Credit: Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
  • Policy boost: The Defence Ministry has also issued a draft Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy 2020.
  • Indigenization lists: On the domestic front, to boost indigenous manufacturing, the Government had issued two “positive indigenization lists” consisting of 209 items that cannot be imported.
  • Budgetary allocation: In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.
  • Defence Industrial Corridors: The government has also announced 2 dedicated Corridors in the States of TN and UP to act as clusters of defence manufacturing that leverage existing infrastructure, and human capital.
  • Long-term vision: The vision of the government is to achieve a turnover of $25 bn including export of $5 bn in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • Push for self-reliance: The govt has identified the Defence and Aerospace sector as a focus area for the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ or Self-Reliant India initiative.

Issues retarding defence exports

  • Excess reliance on Public Sector: India has four companies (Indian ordnance factories, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)) among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
  • Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisition worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
  • Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
  • ‘Unease’ in doing business: An issue related to stringent labour laws, compliance burden and lack of skills, affects the development of indigenous manufacturing in defence.
  • Multiple jurisdictions: Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.
  • Lack of quality: The higher indigenization in few cases is largely attributed to the low-end technology.
  • FDI Policy: The earlier FDI limit of 49% was not enough to enthuse global manufacturing houses to set up bases in India.
  • R&D Lacunae: A lip service to technology funding by making token allocations is an adequate commentary on our lack of seriousness in the area of Research and Development.
  • Lack of skills: There is a lack of engineering and research capability in our institutions. It again leads us back to the need for a stronger industry-academia interface.

Way forward

  • Reducing import dependence: India was the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as the largest importer to Saudi Arabia, says 2019 SIPRI report.
  • Security Imperative: Indigenization in defence is critical to national security also. It keeps intact the technological expertise and encourages spin-off technologies and innovation that often stem from it.
  • Economic boost: Indigenization in defence can help create a large industry which also includes small manufacturers.
  • Employment generation: Defence manufacturing will lead to the generation of satellite industries that in turn will pave the way for a generation of employment opportunities.

 

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The West has a chance to wean India off Russian weaponry

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Patriot Missile System

Mains level: Paper 3- Indigenisation in defence technology

Context

Perturbed by India’s reluctance to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and keen to bind the country closer in confronting China, Western governments have launched a fresh push to wean India, the world’s biggest importer of arms, off its long dependence on Russian weaponry.

India’s concerns after Ukraine war

  • India has grown increasingly alarmed about China, following deadly border clashes in 2020.
  • Since the war in Ukraine began, it has also worried about Russia’s reliability as an arms supplier and about the quality of some of its weapons.
  • Diversification away from Russia: India, though insistent that it has every right to choose its own suppliers, is already diversifying away from Russia. 
  • The share of weapons it imports from Russia has fallen sharply, to around 50% between 2016 and 2021, down from 70% during the previous five-year period.
  • Western help for diversification: It has welcomed Western help in fulfilling its ambition to make more of its own weapons.

Joint arms production plan

  • As the West cannot compete with Russia on price and remain reluctant to share their most cutting-edge technology, they are counting on joint arms production.
  • Western leaders have been vocal about their willingness to help India arm itself.
  • At a ministerial meeting in Washington in April, American officials discussed helping India to make advanced weapons, including reconnaissance aircraft and a system for combating aerial drones.
  • On visits to Delhi that month, Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, and Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president, also proposed joint arms ventures.
  • Despite avowed interest from both sides, such a shift faces many challenges.

Challenges

  • Dominance of PSUs: India’s arms industry, technically open to private investment since 2001, has long been hampered by the dominance of a small number of state-owned giants such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • Inefficiencies: State-owned arms-makers remain notoriously inefficient.
  • They also retain long-running tie-ups with Russia, making Western governments wary of accepting India’s demands for the transfer of more advanced technology.
  • Low presence of private sector: The share of defence production in the hands of the private sector, which is a more natural partner for big Western defence manufacturers, is about a fifth—scarcely higher than it was five years ago.
  • Lack of industrial capacity and skill: Both the state and private sector still lack the industrial capacity and skilled workers to produce highly specialised defence technology at scale—especially military aircraft.
  • Trust issue: While Western companies worry about inadvertent technology transfers to Russia, India worries about the reliability of its Western partners.
  • Past record: Many see America, which in the past has imposed sanctions on India for its nuclear-weapons programme, as a fickle supplier.
  • More recently America refused to sell India its Patriot missile system, prompting India to fall back on a Russian alternative and thereby put itself at risk of American sanctions once more.

Way forward

  • Liberalisation of defence sector: As a step to liberalise the industry as part of his push towards self-reliance, in 2020 India raised the limit on foreign ownership of defence firms from 49% to 74%.
  • Ordinance Factory Board was dissolved into small units to corporatize the entity.
  • Lockheed Martin, a big American defence manufacturer, last year approved the manufacture of wings for the f-16 fighter jet by its joint venture with Tata.
  • The company has also pledged to produce a more advanced fighter, the f-21, in India, provided it wins a multi-billion-dollar contract to supply 114 fighter jets.
  • Big deals like those would provide incentives for foreign governments to approve more technology transfer and for Western manufacturers to make the investments needed to spur India’s indigenisation drive.

Conclusion

Russia’s war and China’s muscle-flexing have opened a door for India and the West to walk through, but crossing the threshold will require some resolve on both sides.

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DRDO tests Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator

Mains level: India's defence exports, Atmanirbharta in defence

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully carried out the maiden test flight of a new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), an autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator, from the Aeronautical Test Range, Chitradurga, Karnataka.

About the Indigenous Drone

  • The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is powered by a small turbofan engine.
  • It is developed under unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) programme.
  • It is designed and developed by Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), Bengaluru, a premier research laboratory of DRDO.
  • The engine is Russian TRDD-50MT originally designed for cruise missiles.
  • A small turbo fan engine is being developed indigenously for meeting the requirement.

Various initiatives by DRDO

  • DRDO is in the process of developing UAVs of different classes to met the requirements of the armed forces.
  • Rustom-2, the indigenous Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV under development, had crossed a milestone by reaching an altitude of 25,000 feet and an endurance of 10 hours.
  • It is now being designed to reach an altitude of 30,000 feet and 18 hours endurance.
  • An Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle is also on the drawing board.

Significance of the development

  • Operating in a fully autonomous mode, the aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, way point navigation and a smooth touchdown.
  • This flight marks a major milestone in terms of proving critical technologies towards the development of future unmanned aircraft.
  • This is a significant step towards self-reliance in strategic defence technologies.

 

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Need for a National Security Doctrine

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Agnipath scheme

Mains level: Paper 3-Agnipath Scheme

Context

All major powers undertake a periodic (every 4-5 years) review of their evolving national security objectives. The government of India, on the other hand, has neglected to undertake any such exercise, in the past 75 years.

India’s defence budget for FY 2022-23

  • In 2022-23, the Ministry of Defence has been allocated Rs 5,25,166 crore.
  • This includes expenditure on salaries of armed forces and
    civilians, pensions, modernisation of armed forces, production establishments, maintenance, and research and development organisations.
  • According to the Stockholm International Peace
    Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the third largest defence spender in absolute terms in 2020
    after USA and China.
  • In the last decade (2012-13 to 2022-23), the budget of the Ministry of Defence has grown at an annual average rate of 8.6%, while total government expenditure has grown at 10.8%.
  • Defence expenditure as a percentage of GDP declined from 2.3% in 2012-13 to 2% in 2022-23.

Neglect of defence expenditure in India

  • Defence expenditure as non-plan expenditure: Independent India saw defence expenditure being relegated to the “non-plan” category, within the ambit of a Soviet-inspired, central economy.
  • Pension bill linked to defence budget: In another anomaly, the pension bill of veteran soldiers — a separate charge on the exchequer — was linked to the defence budget.
  • Neglect of modernisation needs: And the growing pension bill was given as an excuse for the dwindling funds available for force-enhancement and hardware replacement/modernisation.
  • As a result, the finance ministry, instead of finding ways and means of raising essential, additional funds for national defence demanded that they evolve measures for reducing the pension bill.

Two issues with our national security approach

1] Lack of periodic review

  • Every nation faces the eternal “guns vs butter” dilemma.
  • Periodic review: All major powers undertake a periodic (every 4-5 years) review of their evolving national security objectives, the options available, and the economic/military means available for achieving them.
  • Apart from providing fiscal guidance, this process also facilitates the evolution of a national security strategy. 
  • China, has, since 2002, been issuing, with unfailing regularity, a biennial “Defence White Paper”, which encapsulates all of the foregoing, and is available on the Internet; for the information of foes and friends, alike.
  • The government of India, on the other hand, has neglected to undertake any such exercise, in the past 75 years.
  • India is amongst the few major powers which has failed to issue a National Security Strategy or Doctrine.

2] Lack of organisation reforms

  • A second fact that we need to face is that our armed forces have remained in a Second World War time-warp, as far as their organisation and doctrines are concerned.
  • Lack of political will and internal resistance: Attempts at organisational reform have come to naught due to lack of political will as well as internal resistance from the services; with the constitution of a Chief of Defence Staff and creation of a Department of Military Affairs providing the latest examples.

Way forward

  • Given the transformed nature of warfare, down-sizing of the Indian army, by substituting manpower with smart technology and innovative tactics, has become an imperative need.

Agnipath Scheme

  • Recently announced Agnipath scheme provides for the recruitment of youths in the age bracket of 17-and-half to 21 years for only four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.
  • Later, the government extended the upper age limit to 23 years for recruitment in 2022.
  • The personnel to be recruited under the new scheme will be known as Agniveers.

Suggestions for Agneepath Scheme

  • 1] Not the best time to introduce reform: Given the parlous security situation, on the country’s northern and western borders as well as the ongoing domestic turbulence, this is not the best time to cast the armed forces — already short of manpower — into turmoil, with a radical and untried new recruitment system.
  • 2] The scheme is suitable for the army only: Such a scheme, in its present form, is suitable only for the army, whose large infantry component is not excessively burdened with technology.
  • In case of the navy and air force,  at least 5-6 years are required before a new entrant can acquire enough hands-on experience to be entrusted with the operation or maintenance of lethal weapon systems and complex machinery and electronics.
  • 3] Trial before implementation: A radical change of this nature should have been subjected to a trial before service-wide implementation.
  • Ideally, a few units of the regular or Territorial Army could have been earmarked as a testing ground, and feed-back obtained.
  • 4] Legal backing to post-demobilisation employment: Experience of the past has shown that the home ministry has resisted induction of ex-servicemen into the armed-police and para-military forces, on the grounds that it would spoil the career path of their own cadres.
  • Neglect by the state government: Similarly, state governments and other agencies have blatantly ignored the reservations mandated for ESM.
  • Therefore, if the Agnipath scheme has to offer a meaningful promise of post-demobilisation employment or education, this must be mandated by an Act of Parliament, on the lines of the “GI Bill” enacted by the US Congress.

Conclusion

A scheme on the lines of Agnipath, appropriately constituted, and focused on enhancing “combat effectiveness” rather than “effecting savings” or “generating employment,” could have triggered a reformative process. But the above given caveats need to be borne in mind in this context.

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Back in news: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

Mains level: Office of the CDS

The Union government is reassessing the concept of the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) leading to a delay in the appointment to the post.

The post of CDS has also been lying vacant since the demise of Late. Gen. Bipin Rawat.

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.
  • On long-term it provides for defence planning and management, including manpower, equipment and strategy, and above all, “joint manship” 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.

Duties and Functions of the CDS

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

Why need CDS?

  • Tri-services coordination: 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.
  • Single-point military advisory: 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.
  • Efforts saving: 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: This is today supporting conventional diplomacy. That can’t be done by different Services.

 

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India is now 3rd highest military spender

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: India's defence exports, Atmanirbharta in defence

World military spending continued to grow in 2021, reaching a record $2.1 trillion despite the economic fallout of the pandemic, according to new data on global military spending published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Top defence spenders in 2021

  • The five largest spenders in 2021 were the U.S., China, India, the U.K. and Russia, together accounting for 62% of expenditure.
  • The U.S. and China alone accounted for 52%.

India’s defence expenditure

  • India’s military spending of $76.6 billion ranked third highest in the world.
  • This was up by 0.9% from 2020 and by 33% from 2012.
  • Amid ongoing tensions and border disputes with China and Pakistan that occasionally spill over into armed clashes, India has prioritised the modernisation of its armed forces and self-reliance in arms production, the report said.

What about Russia and Ukraine?

  • Russia increased its military expenditure by 2.9% in 2021, to $65.9 billion, at a time when it was building up its forces along the Ukrainian border.
  • On Ukraine, the report remarked that as it had strengthened its defences against Russia, its military spending “has risen by 72% since the annexation of Crimea in 2014”.
  • Spending fell in 2021, to $5.9 billion, but still accounted for 3.2% of the country’s GDP.

Also read-

[Sansad TV] Perspective: Self-Reliance in Defence

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DRDO’s Corner-Shot Weapon System

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CSWS

Mains level: Not Much

A corner-shot weapon system (CSWS), designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is at an advanced stage of being inducted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Jammu and Kashmir police.

What is CSWS?

  • The CSWS is a special purpose weapon designed by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune.
  • It can engage targets located around the corners as the system bends and captures video feed thus saving soldiers from any surprise counter-attack and is best suited for urban, close quarter situations.
  • It is equipped with weapon, camera, laser, infrared illuminator and torch in front portion, while display, electronics, battery and swivelling mechanism are located at rear portion.
  • The body is made from high-grade aluminium alloy to make it lighter and durable.

Key features

  • Day-night firing capability, colour display, digital zoom, zeroing facility, hot keys, high power battery along with status display and compliance with JSS 5855 makes it a very potent system for security forces.
  • It is very helpful in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terror (CI/CT) operations.
  • This indigenously developed system has many superior features compared to its contemporary international systems and available for 9 mm GLOCK 17/19 and 1A1 Auto Pistol variant.

 

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Indigenisation in defence technologies, manufacturing will ensure India’s strategic autonomy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Paper 3- Vision for Defence Technology and Industrial Base

Context

Given its successive abstentions during votes on Ukraine in the UN Security Council and elsewhere, New Delhi has attracted criticism and even reproach from many quarters. While India’s abstentions may be hard to justify on moral grounds, they are certainly rooted in “realpolitik”.

Reasons for India’s stance

  • There is irrefutable logic in the argument that safeguarding the source of 60-70 per cent of its military hardware constitutes a prime national interest for India.
  • Any interruption in the supply of Russian arms or spares could have a devastating impact on our defence posture vis-à-vis the China-Pak axis.
  • Even after diversification of sources, India remains trapped in the Russian bear’s jaws, jeopardising the credibility of its “strategic autonomy”. 

Implications of India’s position

  • The stance adopted by India has placed it amongst a minority of nations, alongside China and Pakistan.
  • Seen widely as pro-Russian, this posture is likely to affect India’s international standing and bears reflection.

Suggestion

  • The answers to India’s agonising dilemma lie in two drastic imperatives, which must receive the closest attention of decision-makers. They are:
  • The “de-Russification of the armed forces” and the genuine “indigenisation of India’s defence technological and industrial base (DTIB)”.
  • Russia’s military-industrial complex, in oligarch hands, has been struggling against inefficiency, poor quality control and deficient customer support.
  •  It is time to initiate a process of progressive “de-Russification” of Indian armed forces; not to switch sources, but of becoming self-reliant.
  • It may be uplifting to see battle-tanks, warships and jet-fighters held up as examples of self-reliance, but what is never mentioned is that vital sub-systems like engines, guns, missiles, radars, fire-control computers, gear-boxes and transmission are either imported or assembled under foreign licences.
  • Atmanirbhart requires selective identification of vital military technologies in which we are deficient and demands the initiation of well-funded, time-bound, mission-mode projects to develop (or acquire) the “know-how” as well as “know-why” of these technologies.

Conclusion

Having failed for 75 years after independence to attain a degree of self-reliance in military hardware that would have undergirded our “strategic autonomy,” it is time for India to zero in on the reasons why we have failed, where peer-nations like China, South Korea, Israel, Taiwan and even Singapore have succeeded spectacularly.

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India is amongst the world’s largest arms importers

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: India's arm imports

Mains level: Atmanirbhar in defence

India is amongst the world’s largest arms importers, accounting for 11 per cent of global imports, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

India’s arm imports

  • India’s overall imports decreased by 21% between 2012-16 and 2017-21 but that it was still the world’s biggest importer of military hardware.
  • Russia, France and the US are India’s biggest suppliers of arms, accounting for 46%, 27% and 12% of the country’s imports in the last five years.
  • India’s share of global arms imports stood at 11% during 2017-21 compared to 14% in the previous five-year period.

Dependence on Russia is declining

  • Russia’s arms exports to India fell 47% between 2012-16 and 2017-21 even though the deliveries of several platforms including air defence systems and warships are pending.
  • Russia was the largest supplier of major weapons and systems to India during the two comparative five-year periods.

Significance of the report

  • The report has come at a time when India’s dependence on Russian military hardware, ranging from fighter jets to rifles and submarines to shoulder-fired missiles has come into sharp focus.
  • Though India has been procuring US military hardware in growing numbers about 60% of the weapons inventory of the three services continues to be of Russian-origin.
  • It is still unclear how the new sanctions against Russia could play out and the problems they could create for the armed forces in the short and long term.
  • The possible impact of Russia’s unprecedented economic isolation on India’s military preparedness and the serviceability of weapons and equipment is threatened.

Is it a matter of relief?

  • India has major plans for arms imports because of perceived threats from China and Pakistan, and due to significant delays in indigenous production.
  • The drop in India’s arms imports is, therefore, probably a temporary result of its slow and complex procurement process as well as its shift in suppliers.

 

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[pib] Quantum Key Distribution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: QKD

Mains level: Secured Communications, QKD

A joint team of scientists from DRDO and IIT Delhi, for the first time in the country successfully demonstrated Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link between Prayagraj and Vindhyachal in Uttar Pradesh, a distance of more than 100 kilometers.

What is QKD Technology?

  • Quantum key distribution (QKD) is a secure communication method that implements a cryptographic protocol involving components of quantum mechanics.
  • It enables two parties to produce a shared random secret key known only to them, which can then be used to encrypt and decrypt messages.
  • It gives the ability of the two communicating users to detect the presence of any third party trying to gain knowledge of the key.
  • This is a result of a fundamental aspect of quantum mechanics: the process of measuring a quantum system, in general, disturbs the system.
  • By using quantum superposition or quantum entanglement and transmitting information in quantum states, a communication system can be implemented that detects data leak.

How does it work?

  • QKD works by transmitting many light particles, or photons, over fiber optic cables between parties.
  • Each photon has a random quantum state, and collectively, the photons sent make up a stream of ones and zeros.
  • This stream of quantum states that make up ones and zeros are called qubits — the equivalent of bits in a binary system.
  • When a photon reaches its receiving end, it will travel through a beam splitter, which forces the photon to randomly take one path or another into a photon collector.
  • The receiver will then respond to the original sender with data regarding the sequence of the photons sent, and the sender will then compare that with the emitter, which would have sent each photon.

Benefits offered

  • It allows the detection of data leak or hacking because it can detect any such attempt.
  • It also allows the process of setting the error level between the intercepted data in dependence.

 

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BrahMos Deal and India’s Defence Exports

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Brahmos, MTCR

Mains level: India's defence exports

On January 28, the Philippines signed a $374.96 million deal with BrahMos Aerospace Pvt. Ltd. for the supply of shore-based anti-ship variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

Details of the contract

  • The Philippines contract includes delivery of three BrahMos missile batteries, training for operators and maintainers as well as the necessary Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) package.
  • The coastal defence regiment of the Philippine Marines, which is under the Navy, will be the primary employer of the missile system.

What makes the deal special?

  • This is the first export order for the missile which is a joint product between India and Russia and also the biggest defence export contract of the country.
  • This adds impetus to meet the ambitious target set by the Government to achieve a manufacturing turnover of $25 billion in aerospace and defence goods and services by 2025.

What is the BrahMos Missile System?

  • BrahMos is a joint venture between India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya.
  • The missile derives its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers.
  • Beginning with an anti-ship missile, several variants have since been developed.
  • It is now capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and sea-based targets and has constantly been improved and upgraded.

Its range

  • The range of the BrahMos was originally limited to 290 kms as per obligations of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) of which Russia was a signatory.
  • Following India’s entry into the club in June 2016, plans were announced to extend the range initially to 450 kms and subsequently to 600 kms.
  • BrahMos with extended range upto 450 kms has been tested several times since.

Deployments in India

  • The missile has been long inducted by the Indian armed forces.
  • The Army has recently deployed the system along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh.

Which other countries are in discussion for the BrahMos missiles?

  • While the first export order for BrahMos took a long time, the next order is likely to be concluded soon with negotiations with Indonesia and Thailand in advanced stages.
  • Philippines is also looking at several other military procurements from India and South East Asia as the region has emerged as a major focus area for India’s defence exports.
  • For instance, the HAL has received interest from Philippines Coast Guard for procurement of seven Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters and eight Dornier Do-228 aircraft under the $100mn Line of Credit.
  • In addition, maritime domain and ship building is another potential area for Indian companies in the Philippines.

What is the status of defence exports?

  • India has put out a range of military hardware on sale which includes various missile systems, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), helicopters, warship and patrol vessels, artillery guns, tanks, radars etc.
  • From 2016-17 to 2018-19, the country’s defence exports have increased from ₹1,521 crore to ₹10,745 crore, a staggering 700% growth.

Steps taken by the Centre to boost defence production

  • Licensing relaxation: Measures announced to boost exports since 2014 include simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates.
  • Lines of Credit: Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
  • Policy boost: The Defence Ministry has also issued a draft Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy 2020.
  • Indigenization lists: On the domestic front, to boost indigenous manufacturing, the Government had issued two “positive indigenization lists” consisting of 209 items that cannot be imported.
  • Budgetary allocation: In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.

Issues retarding defence exports

  • Excess reliance on Public Sector: India has four companies (Indian ordnance factories, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)) among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
  • Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisition worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
  • Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
  • ‘Unease’ in doing business: An issue related to stringent labour laws, compliance burden and lack of skills, affects the development of indigenous manufacturing in defence.
  • Multiple jurisdictions: Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.
  • Lack of quality: The higher indigenization in few cases is largely attributed to the low-end technology.
  • FDI Policy: The earlier FDI limit of 49% was not enough to enthuse global manufacturing houses to set up bases in India.
  • R&D Lacunae: A lip service to technology funding by making token allocations is an adequate commentary on our lack of seriousness in the area of Research and Development.
  • Lack of skills: There is a lack of engineering and research capability in our institutions. It again leads us back to the need for a stronger industry-academia interface.

Way forward

  • Reducing import dependence: India was the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as the largest importer to Saudi Arabia, says 2019 SIPRI report.
  • Security Imperative: Indigenization in defence is critical to national security also. It keeps intact the technological expertise and encourages spin-off technologies and innovation that often stem from it.
  • Economic boost: Indigenization in defence can help create a large industry which also includes small manufacturers.
  • Employment generation: Defence manufacturing will lead to the generation of satellites industries that in turn will pave the way for a generation of employment opportunities.

Back2Basics: Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR)

  • MTCR is an informal political understanding between countries to limit the spread of missiles and missile technology.
  • MTCR was started by like-minded countries to prevent nuclear proliferation.
  • In 1992, the original focus of the MTCR was to prevent the proliferation of missiles capable of carrying chemical, biological and nuclear warheads and as a threat to international peace and security.

Also read:

Growth of India’s Defence Exports

 

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Growth of India’s Defence Exports

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Defence manufacturing in India

India’s defense exports have increased manifold from ₹1,521 crore in 2016-17 to ₹8,434.84 crore in 2020-21.

Note: This newscard provides substantial data about India’s defense exports and imports, which is highly relevant for mains and interview. Kindly bookmark this article.

India’s defense exports

  • India has the strength of low-cost, high-quality production.
  • The Government has set an ambitious target to achieve exports of about ₹35,000 crore ($5 billion) in aerospace and defense goods and services by 2025.
  • The Defense Ministry has clarified that the names of the major defense items exported cannot be disclosed due to strategic reasons.
  • To boost indigenous manufacturing, the govt had issued two “positive indigenization lists” consisting of 209 items that cannot be imported and can only be procured from domestic industry.

A significant achievement

  • According to the latest report of the Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), three Indian companies figure among the top 100 defence companies in the 2020 rankings.
  • These include Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Ordnance Factory Board and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

Yet India is a top importer

  • While India remained among the top importers, it was also included in the Top 25 defence exporters.
  • There was an overall drop in India’s arms imports between 2011-15 and 2016-20, according to another SIPRI report of 2020.

Items that India export

  • India has supplied different types of missile systems, LCA/helicopters, multi-purpose light transport aircraft, warships and patrol vessels etc.
  • It is also willing to export artillery gun systems, tanks, radars, military vehicles, electronic warfare systems and other weapons systems to IOR nations.

Major partners: South Asian Countries

  • Vietnam is procuring 12 Fast Attack Craft under a $100 million credit line announced by India.
  • It is also interested in Advanced Light Helicopters and Akash surface-to-air missiles.
  • HAL has pitched its helicopters and the Tejas LCA to several Southeast Asian and West Asian nations and is in the race to supply the LCA to Malaysia.
  • Discussions on the sale of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, jointly developed by India and Russia, are at an advanced stage with some Southeast Asian nations.

Steps taken by the Centre to boost defence production

  • Licensing relaxation: Measures announced to boost exports since 2014 include simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates.
  • Lines of Credit: Specific incentives were introduced under the foreign trade policy and the Ministry of External Affairs has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
  • Policy boost: The Defence Ministry has also issued a draft Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy 2020.
  • Indigenization lists: On the domestic front, to boost indigenous manufacturing, the Government had issued two “positive indigenization lists” consisting of 209 items that cannot be imported.
  • Budgetary allocation: In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.

Issues retarding defence exports

  • Excess reliance on Public Sector: India has four companies (Indian ordnance factories, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)) among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
  • Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisition worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
  • Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
  • ‘Unease’ in doing business: An issue related to stringent labour laws, compliance burden and lack of skills, affects the development of indigenous manufacturing in defence.
  • Multiple jurisdictions: Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.
  • Lack of quality: The higher indigenization in few cases is largely attributed to the low-end technology.
  • FDI Policy: The earlier FDI limit of 49% was not enough to enthuse global manufacturing houses to set up bases in India.
  • R&D Lacunae: A lip service to technology funding by making token allocations is an adequate commentary on our lack of seriousness in the area of Research and Development.
  • Lack of skills: There is a lack of engineering and research capability in our institutions. It again leads us back to the need for a stronger industry-academia interface.

Way forward

  • Reducing import dependence: India was the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, ceding the long-held tag as the largest importer to Saudi Arabia, says 2019 SIPRI report.
  • Security Imperative: Indigenization in defence is critical to national security also. It keeps intact the technological expertise and encourages spin-off technologies and innovation that often stem from it.
  • Economic boost: Indigenization in defence can help create a large industry which also includes small manufacturers.
  • Employment generation: Defence manufacturing will lead to the generation of satellites industries that in turn will pave the way for a generation of employment opportunities.

 

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Government-owned Contractor-operated (GOCO) Model

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: GOCO Model

Mains level: Defence modernization issues

The Army’s ambitious plan for modernization of the Army Base Workshops (ABWs) and implementation of the ‘Government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO)’ model is delayed, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in its report.

What is GOCO Model?

  • The GOCO model was one of the recommendations of the Lt. Gen. DB Shekatkar (Retd.) committee to enhance combat capability and re-balancing defence expenditure.
  • In GOCO model, the assets owned by the government will be operated by the private industries.
  • Under the GOCO model, the private companies need not make investments on land, machinery and other support systems.

What is the current system?

  • Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO): The Army follows the traditional ‘womb to tomb’ life cycle support management for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of its costly equipment.
  • Corps of Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME): It is responsible for the MRO system.

Need for GOCO Model

  • High end technologies: In the last three decades, there has been a quantum jump in military technology and the MRO of military equipment has become very complex.
  • Lack of infrastructure: However, some repairs and overhauls have run into problems on account of lack of infrastructure, spares and expertise.
  • Poor performance of Corps: The infrastructure, expertise and work culture has not kept pace with time, leading to below par and inefficient performance.

 Benefits offered by the GOCO Model

  • Time savings: The main advantage of the model is that the targets are achieved in lesser time frame.
  • Competitiveness: Also, it will boost competitiveness among the private entities paving way to newer technologies.
  • Efficiency: The GOCO model will bring in corporate culture, leading to efficiency and accountability.
  • Expertise: Private operators can easily go into partnership with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), both for expertise and spares.
  • Manpower saving: The government can save on manpower — 12,500 personnel workforce of the ABWs.
  • Technical training: This model also opens avenues for absorbing trained retired personnel, which can be built into the contract.

Major issues with GOCO

  • Costly affair: The corporate world is driven by market forces, which means the GOCO model will be more costly. In most cases, private operators will want better infrastructure, which would have to be upgraded or replaced at government cost.
  • Corporate management: Private operators may not have the expertise to deal with military equipment; they are also unlikely to absorb the existing manpower and will want a younger and better-trained workforce.

 

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Extending BSF’s powers won’t resolve policing problems, security threats

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: BSF

Mains level: Paper 3- Issue of extending BSF's jurisdiction

Context

The Union home ministry’s order to extend the jurisdiction of the Border Security Forces (BSF) has caused furore.

Justification for the order

  • Increased threats: The Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan has revived serious threats of cross-border infiltration from Pakistan, while China, our other tense neighbour, has been increasingly aggressive over the past year.
  • Change in the jurisdiction: The BSF’s powers have not altered, only its jurisdiction has changed from 15 to 50 kilometres and that is for the purposes of uniformity.

Issues raised by the order

  • Lack of clarity: That India is facing heightened security threats is undeniable.
  • What is unclear is how the BSF’s extended jurisdiction helps counter these threats.
  • The recent drug seizures in Gujarat’s Adani port were successfully conducted by the customs department and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence — not by the BSF, despite their jurisdiction depth of 80 kilometres in the state.
  • No need for uniformity: In the security context, arguments about uniformity are patently absurd.
  • There is no uniformity between coastal smuggling in Gujarat, cross-border infiltration in Jammu and Kashmir, smuggling and drone drops in Punjab.
  • Risk of civilian resentment: The order raises the risk of civilian resentment, even clashes, given that the BSF is not trained to operate in residential and/or market areas, it will also undermine the state police forces’ morale even further.
  • Overstretching BSF: The BSF is likely to be overstretched by its new tasks.
  • Once again, that could weaken rather than strengthen the BSF’s security capabilities.

Tackling illegal migration

  • Curbing illegal migration requires coordinated action between India and its neighbours, first at the political and then at the security level.
  • The administration’s migration policies — the Citizenship Amendment Act, deporting Myanmar refugees even when they were locally welcomed, cancelling Afghan visas have made cooperation more difficult and impacting negatively on border security.
  • To think that the BSF can plug what is a government-to-government policy gap is prone to failure.

Way forward

  • Coordination: The underlying issue when it comes to tackling both smuggling and infiltration threats is coordination between our security agencies.
  • Police reform: The state police forces have weakened, therefore, the solution lies in putting police reforms on an emergency footing, not in extending the BSF’s jurisdiction.
  • That we have a grave policing problem across India is undeniable.
  • But the answer is not to write them off; it is to insulate them from political misuse while holding them accountable for rule of law lapses.
  • Moreover, to strengthen police capabilities it is vital that other security forces cooperate with local police forces, not bypass them.
  • The BSF has had a relatively good record of local police cooperation thus far.
  • When it comes to cross-border infiltration, intelligence is the key.

Conclusion

Strengthening police capabilities, improving coordination between security agencies and cooperation with state law enforcement are needed to address these issues.

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Securing the States

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Section 139 of the BSF Act

Mains level: Paper 3- BSF powers

Context

The Ministry of Home Affairs recently issued a notification extending the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force from 15 km to a depth of 50 km along the international borders in three states — Punjab, Assam and West Bengal.

Background of the notification about jurisdiction of BSF

  • The last notification of the MHA (July 3, 2014), which defined the jurisdiction of the BSF, stated that the force could operate in the entire states of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya without any restrictions whatsoever.
  • In Gujarat, it had jurisdiction up to a depth of 80 km and in Rajasthan up to 50 km.
  • In Punjab, Assam and West Bengal, the BSF jurisdiction was up to a depth of 15 km only.
  • Under the latest notification issued on October 11, 2021, there is no change in the northeastern states and Rajasthan.
  • In Gujarat, jurisdiction has been reduced from 80 km to 50 km.
  • The controversial change is in Assam, West Bengal and Punjab, where the BSF jurisdiction has been extended from 15 km to 50 km.
  • It is this part of the notification which has generated controversy, though the criticism has been made by leaders of Punjab and West Bengal.

Why the government of India decided to extend the jurisdiction of BSF?

  • Assam, West Bengal and Punjab have international borders.
  • Changed threat perception: The threat perception from across the international borders has undergone a sea change in the context of recent developments in the Af-Pak region.
  • Efforts to destabilise Punjab: Radical groups of different shades are feeling emboldened and are going to make a determined attempt to destabilise Punjab.
  • Pakistan-sponsored terrorist groups, particularly the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, will almost certainly renew their onslaught in the border states.
  • West Bengal has already undergone a huge demographic change.
  • Assam faces multiple problems of ethnic insurgencies, smuggling, counterfeit currency, drug trafficking, etc.
  • Police need assistance: The police across the country are in a state of atrophy and they need the assistance of central armed police forces even for maintaining normal law and order.
  • As such, their effectiveness against the emerging trans-border threats is suspect.

Implications for powers of police and federalism

  • The home ministry’s latest notification only seeks to reinforce the capabilities of the state police in securing the states under section 139 of the BSF Act, which empowers the members of the force to discharge certain powers and duties within local limits of the areas specified in the schedule.
  •  The jurisdiction of the state police has neither been curtailed nor its powers reduced in any manner.
  • It is just that the BSF will also be exercising powers of search, seizure and arrest in respect of only the Passport Act 1967, Passport (Entry into India) Act 1920 and specified sections of the Criminal Procedure code.
  • The power to register FIR and investigate the case remains with the state police.
  • The Indian Constitution, no doubt, fulfils some conditions of a federation, but it leans towards a strong Centre.

Conclusion

National security is a paramount consideration. It is unfortunate that the BSF is being dragged into political controversy when it would actually be over-stretching itself to strengthen national security.

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Defence Ministry issues order for OFB dissolution

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Ordinance Factory

Mains level: Strategic disinvestment

The Defence Ministry has issued an order for the dissolution of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) with effect from October 1.

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.

Take a look at this timeline

1712 – Establishment of the Dutch Ostend Company’s Gun Powder Factory at Ichhapur

1775 – Establishment of the Board of Ordnance at Fort William, Kolkata.

1787 – Establishment of the Gun Powder Factory at Ishapore.

1935 – Indian Ordnance Service was introduced to administer the whole Defence Production Industry of India.

1954 – Indian Ordnance Service (IOS) renamed to Indian Ordnance Factories Service (IOFS).

1979 – Ordnance Factory Board is established on 2 April.

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?

  • 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.

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.

Significance of the move

  • With OFB dissolution, its assets, employees and management would be transferred to seven newly constituted defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs).
  • This would mean the end of the OFB, the establishment of which was accepted by the British in 1775.

 

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Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1 (INS Vikrant)

Note4Students

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.

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Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021

Note4Students

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

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What is National Security Council (NSC)?

Note4Students

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.

Members

  • 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.

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What is a Full Ship Shock Trial (FSST)?

Note4Students

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.

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Ordinance Factory Board corporatization gets Cabinet approval

Note4Students

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.

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India third highest military spender in 2020: SIPRI

Note4Students

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.

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Carrying out transformational reforms in military

Note4Students

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.”

Conclusion

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.

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Issues with dilution of offset condition for defence procurement

Note4Students

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.

Context

  • 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?”

Conclusion

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.

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What are defence offsets ?

Note4Students

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”.

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Rethinking the defence doctrine

Note4Students

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.

Conclusion

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.

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Pinaka Missile System

Note4Students

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.

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What is the Negative Imports List for Defence?

Note4Students

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.

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Draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020

Note4Students

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. 

Context

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.” 

Conclusion

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.

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Defence reforms must ensure the alignment of its various domains

Note4Students

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.”

Conclusion

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.

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Missile Park ‘AGNEEPRASTHA’

Note4Students

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.

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Towards self-reliance in defence manufacturing

Note4Students

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?”

Conclusion

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.

 

 

 

 

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[pib] Shekatkar Committee recommendations on Border Infrastructure

Note4Students

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.

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War and Peace: Analysis of BSF’s role

Note4Students

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.”

Conclusion

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.

 

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[pib] Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS)

Note4Students

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.

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Transforming the Military

Note4Students

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.”

Conclusion

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.

 

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‘Trends in World Military Expenditure’ Report, 2019

Note4Students

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.

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Still no bullseye, in volume and value

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Not much.

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

Context

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.

Conclusion

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.

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[pib] Defence Procurement Procedure, 2020

Note4Students

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.

Features:

  • 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.

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‘MH-60R and AH-64E Apache’ Choppers

Note4Students

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.

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Explained: How to unify defence resources

Note4Students

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.

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May the Force be strengthened

Note4Students

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.

Context

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

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Defence Bill in Budget

Note4Students

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.

Conclusion

  • 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.

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

Note4Students

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.

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In news: Dept. of Military Affairs’

Note4Students

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.

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

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

Note4Students

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.

Context

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.

Conclusion

  • 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.

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