Indian Army Updates

Indian Army Updates

Assam Rifles and the tussle between MoD and MHA

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Assam Rifles

Mains level : India's paramilitary forces

The Delhi High Court has granted 12 weeks to the Union government to decide on whether to scrap or retain the dual control structure for Assam Rifles. Presently it comes under both the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

What is the Assam Rifles?

  • Assam Rifles is one of the six central armed police forces (CAPFs) under the administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • The other forces being the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
  • It is tasked with the maintenance of law and order in the North East along with the Indian Army and also guards the Indo-Myanmar border in the region.
  • It has a sanctioned strength of over 63,000 personnel and has 46 battalions apart from administrative and training staff.

Making of the regiment

  • Assam Rifles is the oldest paramilitary force raised way back in 1835 in British India with just 750 men.
  • Since then it has gone on to fight in two World Wars, the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and used as an anti-insurgency force against militant groups in the North East.
  • Raised as a militia to protect British tea estates and its settlements from the raids of the NE tribes, the force was first known as Cachar Levy.
  • It was reorganized later as Assam Frontier Force as its role was expanded to conduct punitive operations beyond Assam borders.

How is it unique?

  • It is the only paramilitary force with a dual control structure. While the administrative control of the force is with the MHA, its operational control is with the Indian Army, which is under the MoD.
  • This means that salaries and infrastructure for the force is provided by the MHA, but the deployment, posting, transfer and deputation of the personnel is decided by the Army.
  • All its senior ranks, from DG to IG and sector headquarters, are manned by officers from the Army. The force is commanded by Lt. General from the Indian Army.
  • The force is the only central paramilitary force (CPMF) in a real sense as its operational duties and regimentation are on the lines of the Indian Army.
  • However, its recruitment, perks, promotion of its personnel and retirement policies are governed according to the rules framed by the MHA for CAPFs.

Why do both MHA and MoD want full control?

  • MHA has argued that all the border guarding forces are under the operational control of the ministry and so Assam Rifles coming under MHA will give border guarding a comprehensive and integrated approach.
  • MHA sources also say that Assam Rifles continues to function on the pattern set during the 1960s and the ministry would want to make guarding of the Indo-Myanmar border on the lines of other CAPFs.
  • The Army, for its part, has been arguing that there is no need to fix what isn’t broken.
  • Sources say the Army is of the opinion that the Assam Rifles has worked well in coordination with the Army and frees up the armed forces from many of its responsibilities to focus on its core strengths.
  • It has argued that giving the control of the force to MHA or merging it with any other CAPF will confuse the force and jeopardize national security.

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Indian Army Updates

Special Frontier Force: The Vikas Battalion

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Special Frontier Force (SFF)

Mains level : India's security forces

There have been reports that a Special Frontier Force (SFF) unit, referred to as Vikas Battalion, has been instrumental in occupying some key heights on the LAC.

Try this question for mains:

Q.“It cannot be business as usual with China after the border clash.” Critically comment.

What is the Special Frontier Force (SFF)?

  • SFF was raised in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war.
  • It was a covert outfit which recruited Tibetans (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas) and initially went by the name of Establishment 22.
  • It was named so because it was raised by Major General Sujan Singh Uban, an Artillery officer who had commanded 22 Mountain Regiment.
  • He, therefore, named the new covert group after his regiment. Subsequently, the group was renamed as Special Frontier Force.
  • SFF now falls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat where it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General.

Is SFF a part of the Army?

  • Strictly speaking, the SFF units are not part of the Army but they function under the operational control of the Army.
  • The units have their own rank structures which have equivalent status with Army ranks.
  • However, they are highly trained Special Forces personnel who can undertake a variety of tasks which would normally be performed by any Special Forces unit.
  • The SFF units, therefore, function virtually as any other Army unit in operational areas despite having a separate charter and history.

Major operations conducted

  • There are several overt and covert operations in which SFF units have taken part over the years.
  • They took part in operations in the 1971 war, Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple Amritsar, Kargil conflict and in counter-insurgency operations in the country.
  • There are several other operations too in which the SFF has participated but the details are classified.

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Exercise Indra 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise Indra

Mains level : India-Russia defence ties

Amid high operational alert by the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) India and Russia are scheduled to hold the bilateral naval exercise, Indra 2020, in the Andaman Sea, close to the strategic Strait of Malacca.

[Prelims Spotlight]: Various Defence Exercises in News

https://www.civilsdaily.com/prelims-spotlight-various-defence-exercises-in-news/

Exercise Indra

  • It is a joint, tri-services exercise between India and Russia
  • This series of exercise began in 2003 and the First joint Tri-Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
  • Company sized mechanized contingents, fighter and transport aircraft, as well as ships of respective Army, Air Force and Navy, participate in this exercise of ten days duration.

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Exercise Kavkaz 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kavkaz 2020

Mains level : NA

In a resumption of bilateral and multilateral military exercises which were deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19), India will take part in the Russian Kavkaz 2020 strategic command-post exercise next month.

Go through the list for once. UPSC may ask a match the pair type question asking exercise name and countries involved.

https://www.civilsdaily.com/prelims-spotlight-defence-exercises/

Kavkaz 2020

  • The Kavkaz 2020 is also referred to as Caucasus-2020.
  • The exercise is aimed at assessing the ability of the armed forces to ensure military security in Russia’s southwest, where serious terrorist threats persist and preparing for the strategic command-staff drills.
  • The main training grounds that will be involved are located in the Southern Military District.
  • The invitation for participation has been extended to at least 18 countries including China, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey apart from other Central Asian Republics part of the SCO.

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Time to revisit the strategies on northern borders

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not much

Mains level : Paper 3-Northern border security issue

Two issues have been discussed in this article:change in strategy on northern border and the role of political leaders. Leveraging LAC for premeditated aggression has been part of China’s policy. This makes the change in our policy an imperative.

LAC as leverage against India

  • India and China have had parleys since 1981, meetings of Joint Working Groups from 1988 to 2005 and 22 rounds of Special Representatives talks, in addition to many summit-level meetings.
  • Despite nearly four decades of discussions delineation and demarcation of the boundary has not been possible.
  • Throughout this period CMC/PLA had been at the helm of the defence and foreign policy decision-making,
  • The intrusion at Finger 4/5 of Pangong Tso and the transgression up to LAC in Galwan are instructive.
  • Out of the blue, most inexplicably and without any historical basis, the official Chinese statement came out seeking the “estuary” of Shyok and Galwan rivers.
  • The Chinese have deliberately ensured that the nebulous nature of the LAC is retained as leverage against India.

Modernisation of PLA: So, was Galwan a testbed?

  • The PLA is at the threshold of achieving its interim modernisation goals of informatised, integrated joint operations by 2021.
  • It is well likely that the events of Eastern Ladakh of May-June 2020 are part of a larger testbed.
  • Over the years, the face-offs have witnessed PLA’s jostling and pushing, posse of horses intruding, and scant disregard for the treaties with India.
  • Pangong Tso and Galwan showed a new picture.

Need to strategise and revisit the rules of engagement

  • For the Indian Army units and formations in Eastern Ladakh or elsewhere facing the PLA, there are limits to adherence to good faith and honour.
  •  The Indian Army has to strategise and should revisit its rules of engagement on the Northern Borders.
  • It has to be mindful that troops in tactical situations cannot be shackled by past treaties, which the PLA deals with disdain.
  • The Indian Army has to remain prepared to militarily handle the situations that will arise.
  • PLA has always shown extraordinary interest in Eastern Ladakh, especially Daulat-Beg-Oldi, the Chip-Chap river, Track Junction and Karakoram Pass.
  • The management practices for the Northern Borders have to be revisited, like placing the nearly division-sized force of ITBP in Eastern Ladakh under the army operationally.
  • Real-time intelligence, surveillance equipment and satellite imageries must be available to field formations that need to act on it.
  • This should not be delayed by the bureaucratic maze.

Role of political leadership

  • At political level, there are representative forums like Parliament, the committees and regular briefings to seek clarifications, which is the right of politicians.
  • On national security issues, there must be national unity.
  • There ought to be faith in those at the helm that the issues of national security will not be sacrificed for political gains.
  • Similarly, within the norms and constraints of national security, the establishment must keep the nation informed, to avoid an information vacuum.

Conclusion

We need to strategise for the future, including the modern manifestations of non-contact, non-kinetic warfare. We must avoid unnecessary nitpicking on semantics of statements made in a particular context.

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Why high-altitude warfare is challenging, how soldiers are trained

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Galwan valley, Shyok River

Mains level : Mountain warfare preparedness of India

The violent standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley of Ladakh region has thrown the spotlight on high-altitude warfare and the challenges that troops face, particularly when advantageous positions on the heights are occupied by the other side.

In the clouds of war, one may recall the huge amount of casualties faced by the Indian Army compared to the Pakistani side (being at advantageous positions) during the Kargil War.

Try this question for mains:

Q. Discuss why high-altitude warfare is challenging. Also discuss about India’s preparedness for a long-term war.

How is high-altitude warfare fought?

  • High-altitude warfare is fought keeping the terrain and weather in mind.
  • The kind of infrastructure and training that the troops require for high-altitude warfare are key factors.
  • The evolution of such warfare goes back a long way: European countries had mountain brigades in view of the kind of terrain prevalent in those countries.
  • The harshness of the terrain calls for a specialised kind of training to prepare soldiers in terms of mindset and acclimatization.

How is India equipped in such warfare?

  • Generally, India is considered a hub of mountain warfare skills since most of the country’s north and northeast requires such skills.
  • Ladakh Scouts are considered the best in this kind of warfare.
  • Mountain chop, a tactic involved in such warfare, evolved in India where the mountainous terrain is very difficult to scale.
  • To begin with, the troops are imparted training in basic and advance training in mountaineering to make them equipped for mountain warfare.

Actual tactics involved

  • The mindsets of the enemy sitting above are assessed. Taking stock of the entire situation, one needs to find out the easiest approaches.
  • Especially when there are vertical cliffs, it is generally perceived that the enemy that has taken defensive positions will be less guarded from the side of difficult approaches.
  • Basically, the most difficult approaches where the enemy is likely to give the least resistance need to be used efficiently.

What are the challenges involved in warfare in a high-altitude place like Galwan Valley?

  • A big factor is who has taken defensive positions and who is sitting on higher ground.
  • Once troops are sitting on high ground, it becomes very difficult to dislodge them from there.
  • In a place like Galwan Valley, which is absolutely barren, there is not much hiding place.
  • The soldier on high ground is absolutely stationary, which makes those on lower terrain easy targets; the enemy can pick them up one by one.
  • Normally in mountain warfare, troops on lower ground use a combat ratio of 1:6, but in circumstances as in Galwan, it may go up to 1:10.

How to approach such situations?

  • Generally, mountain warfare is fought using the period of darkness to reach the opposing army, engage and overpower them before the first light of day.
  • In case troops do not have the capabilities, fitness or strategies to do so before dawn, then it is a lost cause.
  • But without adequate trained troops who are well-versed with the terrain and are properly acclimatized, it is not an easy game.

What are the other challenges faced by soldiers in high altitudes?

  • The first major factor is acclimatization since the oxygen supply reduces drastically.
  • Next, the load-carrying capacity of individuals reduces drastically.
  • Things move very slowly in the mountains and mobilization of troops consumes time.
  • Thus, time and place need to be kept on top priority when deciding where the troops have to be stationed and how they have to be mobilized.

What are the logistical challenges in this kind of warfare?

  • One major challenge is that weapons jam, particularly in high-altitude areas.
  • When a soldier is at a height of 17,000 ft or above, it is very cold, and he needs to grease the weapons and clean the barrels at least once a week to ensure they function efficiently.
  • But at the time of combat, this becomes difficult.
  • Vehicles do not start when fuel jams. If the fuel is diesel, it won’t ignite unless it is mixed with thinners or other chemicals to make them thin enough to fire the engine.

Ensuring proper reinforcement

  • In Galwan, which is an extremely tactical area and strategically important, reinforcement plays a vital role, particularly when the Indian troops are not in a position of advantage.
  • For communication equipment, troops need to carry more batteries because they drain very quickly at high altitude.
  • While a battery tends to last for 24 hours in the plains, it will drain in 1-2 hours in these severely cold areas.
  • Transport animals such as mules need to be used to maintain adequate supplies, which is not an easy task. Weather constraints play a major factor.

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“Tour of Duty (ToD) Scheme” for Short Service in Indian Army

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ToD Scheme

Mains level : Need for restructure of the armed forces

The Indian Army has planned to take civilians on a three-year “Tour of Duty” (ToD) or short service” on a trial basis to serve as officers and in other ranks initially for a limited number of vacancies which will be expanded later.

Practice question for mains:

Q. The “Tour of Duty” (ToD) Scheme is a significant move to free up funds for the Army’s modernization. Comment.

Tour of Duty Scheme

  • Indian Army is thinking to induct youngsters for three-year “Tour of Duty (ToD) tenure as both officers and jawans.
  • The ToD scheme, in case approved, will initially be launched with around 100 vacancies for officers and 1,000 for jawans.
  • As per Army, a ToD officer will earn Rs 80,000-90,000 per month. After ToD tenure, youngsters can find lucrative private and public sector jobs.
  • The Army says it will restructure the cadre and help modernize the force.

Advantages of ToD Scheme

  • ToD is expected to result in a significant reduction in the expenditure on pay and pensions and free up funds for the Army’s modernization.
  • The overall purpose of the ToD concept is ‘internship/temporary experience’.
  • There will be no requirement of attractive severance packages, resettlement courses, professional encashment training leave, ex-servicemen status, ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme for ToD officers and other ranks.
  • Analysing the cost of training incurred on each personnel compared with the limited employment of the manpower for three years, the proposal calculates that it will indeed have a positive benefit.

The cost factor

  • The approximate cost incurred is nearly ₹5.12 crore and ₹6.83 crores for a Short Service Commission (SSC) officer if he or she is released from service after 10 and 14 years, respectively.
  • The costs for those released after a three-year ToD is just ₹80-85 lakh.
  • Similarly, estimates for a jawan with 17 years of service as compared to a ToD recruit with three years’ service shows that the prospective lifetime savings of just one jawan are ₹11.5 crores.
  • Thus, savings for only 1,000 jawans could be ₹11,000 crores, which could be used for the much-needed modernization of the Army.

Other benefits

  • This scheme is for those who did not want a full career in the Army but still wanted to put on the uniform.
  • Individuals who opted for ToD would get a much higher salary than their peers in the corporate sector.
  • They would also have an edge after leaving the service and going to the corporate sector.
  • The Army hoped that this would attract individuals from the best colleges, including the Indian Institutes of Technology.

Back2Basics: Permanent Commission (PC) Vs. Short Service Commission (SSC)

  • SSC means an officer’s career will be of a limited period in the Indian Armed Forces whereas a PC means they shall continue to serve in the Indian Armed Forces, till they retire.
  • The officers inducted through the SSC usually serve for a period of 14 years. At the end of 10 years, the officers have three options.
  • A PC entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till he/she retires unlike SSC, which is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years, or a total of 14 years.
  • They can either select for a PC or opt-out or have the option of a 4-years extension. They can resign at any time during this period of 4 years extension.

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What are Integrated Battle Groups (IBG)?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Integrated Battle Groups (IBG)

Mains level : Need for IBG

The Army’s new concept of agile Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) as part of the overall force transformation will be operationalised very soon, confirmed Army Chief.

Practice question for mains:

The deployment of Integrated Battle Groups (IBG) is necessary for counter-insurgency operations across the terror hit borders of India. Discuss.

What are IBGs?

  • IBGs are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against an adversary in case of hostilities.
  • Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts.
  • They need to be light so they will be low on logistics and they will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.
  • An IBG operating in a desert needs to be constituted differently from an IBG operating in the mountains.
  • The key corps of the Army is likely to be reorganized into 1-3 IBGs.

Objective of IBG

  • Holistic integration to enhance the operational and functional efficiency, optimize budget expenditure, facilitate force modernization and address aspirations

Structure

  • While a command is the largest static formation of the Army spread across defined geography, a corps is the largest mobile formation.
  • Typically each corps has about three brigades.
  • The idea is to reorganise them into IBGs which are brigade-sized units but have all the essential elements like infantry, armoured, artillery and air defence embedded together based on the three Ts.
  • The IBGs will also be defensive and offensive. While the offensive IBGs would quickly mobilise and make a thrust into enemy territory for strikes, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.

Why need IBGs?

  • After the terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Indian military undertook massive mobilization but the Army’s formations which deep inside took weeks to mobilise losing the element of surprise.
  • Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive but its existence was consistently denied in the past.
  • Its existence was acknowledged for the first time by Gen Rawat in January 2017.

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[pib] Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ex. AJEYA WARRIOR

Mains level : Not Much

Fifth edition of Joint Military Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR-2020 between India and United Kingdom will be conducted at Salisbury Plains, United Kingdom.

Ex. AJEYA WARRIOR

  • Exercise AJEYA WARRIOR with United Kingdom is an important exercise in terms of the security challenges faced by both the nations in the realm of changing facets of global terrorism.
  • The exercise will comprise of 120 soldiers each from Indian and United Kingdom Army who would be sharing their experiences gained during conduct of various counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in the past.
  • The aim of this exercise is to conduct company level joint training with emphasis on counter terrorists operation in Urban and Semi Urban areas.
  • The exercise is conducted alternatively in United Kingdom and India.

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Sharang Artillery Gun

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sharang

Mains level : Modernisation measures of the Indian Army

 

The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has handed over Sharang, the first 130mm M-46 artillery gun upgraded to 155mm to the Indian Army.

About Sharang

  • Sharang is the 130mm artillery gun ‘up-gunned’ to 155mm, 45 calibre up-gunning based on the Army’s tender.
  • The gun’s range has now gone from 27km to over 36km with the upgrade.
  • It also has more explosive capability and hence and more damage potential.
  • This step will reduce the logistic trail of the Army as it does away with the need to carry 130mm shells and support equipment as the mainstay of the Army’s long range artillery is 155mm guns.

Other artilleries of Indian Army

  • After close to three decades, the Army inducted its first modern artillery guns system in November 2018.
  • These include M-777 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) from the U.S. and K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery guns from South Korea.
  • The Army has the older, battle-proven Bofors 155mm guns in service. The 155mm Dhanush towed gun system, developed based on the Bofors guns by OFB, is under induction.
  • In October last year, the Army procured and inducted 155mm Excalibur precision guided ammunition from the U.S. which gives its 155mm artillery guns extended range and also the ability to hit targets with very high accuracy.

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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 : Various investment models

Indian Army has initiated the process of identifying potential industry partners to implement the Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) model for its base workshops and ordnance depots intended to improve operational efficiency.

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 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.
  • The missions are set by government and the private sectors are given full independence in implementing the missions using their best practices.
  • The main advantage of the model is that the targets are achieved in lesser time frame. Also, it will boost competitiveness among the private entities paving way to newer technologies.

Who will be eligible under the mode?

  • The service provider should be an Indian registered company with at least 10 years of working experience in related domains and have an average annual turnover of ₹50 crore for each of the last three financial years.

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[pib] Chief of Defence Staff

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Office of CDS

Mains level : Need for CDS

In a landmark decision with tremendous reform in higher defence management in the country, the Union Cabinet has approved to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

  • The CDS will be in the rank of a four-star General with salary and perquisites equivalent to a Service Chief.
  • He will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created within the Ministry of Defence and function as its Secretary.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff, apart from being the head of the Department of Military Affairs, will also be the Permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee.
  • He will act as the Principal Military Adviser to Raksha Mantri on all tri-Services matters.
  • The three Chiefs will continue to advise RM on matters exclusively concerning their respective Services.
  • CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership.

Areas to be dealt

The following areas will be dealt by the Department of Military Affairs headed by CDS:

  • The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
  • Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.
  • The Territorial Army.
  • Works relating to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
  • Procurement exclusive to the Services except capital acquisitions, as per prevalent rules and procedures.

Functions

As the Permanent Chairman of Chiefs of Staff Committee, CDS will perform the following functions:

  • CDS will administer tri-services organisations. Tri-service agencies/organisations/commands related to Cyber and Space will be under the command of the CDS.
  • CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by Raksha Mantri and Defence Planning Committee chaired by NSA.
  • Function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
  • Bring about jointness in operation, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance, etc of the three Services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office.
  • Ensure optimal utilisation of infrastructure and rationalise it through jointness among the services.
  • Implement Five-Year Defence Capital Acquisition Plan (DCAP), and Two-Year roll-on Annual Acquisition Plans (AAP), as a follow up of Integrated Capability Development Plan (ICDP).
  • Assign inter-Services prioritisation to capital acquisition proposals based on the anticipated budget.
  • Bring about reforms in the functioning of three Services aimed at augmenting combat capabilities of the Armed Forces by reducing wasteful expenditure.

Back2Basics

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

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Sarvatra Kavach

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sarvatra Kavach, Bhabha Kavach

Mains level : Modernisation of the Indian Army

An Indian Army Major has been awarded Design Bureau Excellence Award by the Army Chief for indigenously developing Sarvatra bulletproof jacket.

Sarvatra Kavach

  • Sarvatra Kavach is a bulletproof jacket that can provide protection against various ammunition including that of sniper rifles.
  • It provides protection from neck to ankle and upper arms.
  • The project was sanctioned in June 2017 and initially the design and development of a Level IIIA soft body armour suit was sanctioned and was subsequently revised to include a Level IV hard armour panel inserts.

Back2Basics

Bhabha Kavach

  • The armed forces had also placed a request for two lakh ‘Bhabha Kavach bullet-proof jackets’ with Ordnance Factory Board during August.
  • Bhabha Kavach is the lightest bulletproof jacket used by the Indian army.
  • The jacket has been named Bhabha Kavach as the nano-based technology was taken from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

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[pib] Exercise INDRA 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise INDRA

Mains level : India-Russia defence relations

Exercise INDRA 2019 will be conducted in India from 10 — 19 December 2019 simultaneously at Babina (near Jhansi), Pune, and Goa.

Exercise INDRA

  • It is a joint, tri services exercise between India and Russia
  • This series of exercise began in 2003 and the First joint Tri Services Exercise was conducted in 2017.
  • Company sized mechanised contingents, fighter and transport aircraft as well as ships of respective Army, Air Force and Navy wiil participate in this exercise of ten days duration.
  • The exercise will consist of a five day training phase consisting of a comprehensive training curriculum.

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Prithvi-2 missile

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Prithvi Missiles

Mains level : Integrated Guided Missile Development Program


India successfully conducted another night trial of its indigenously developed nuclear-capable Prithvi-2 missile as part of a user trial for the armed forces..

Prithvi-2

  • Prithvi-2 is capable of carrying 500-1,000 kilograms of warheads and is powered by liquid propulsion twin engines.
  • It has a strike range of 350 kilometres.
  • It uses an advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvering trajectory to hit its target.

Back2Basics

Prithvi Missiles

  • Prithvi is a tactical surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile developed by DRDO of India under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
  • Prithvi was the first missile to be developed under the program. DRDO attempted to build a surface-to-air missile under Project Devil.
  • It is deployed by India’s Strategic Forces Command.
  • The Prithvi missile project encompassed developing three variants for use by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy:
  1. Prithvi I (SS-150) – Army version (150 km (93 mi) range with a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb))
  2. Prithvi II (SS-250) – Air Force version (350 km (220 mi)[4] range with a payload of 500 kg (1,100 lb))
  3. Prithvi III (SS-350) – Naval version (350 km (220 mi) range with a payload of 1,000 kg (2,200 lb))

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[pib] Exercise Him Vijay

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise Him Vijay

Mains level : Peacetime efforts by Indian security forces

Indian Army undergoing its biggest transformation has started its biggest mountain assault exercise.

Exercise Him Vijay

  • The Indian Army Conducts routine military exercises every year.
  • It was one such endeavour.  It was conducted to validate operational capabilities of our combat formations.
  • The exercise is to test mobility, communication and coordination of such huge body of fast-moving troops in difficult terrain.
  • Indian Army is metamorphosing itself to incorporate changes for modern and quick and short war, added the Army officer.
  • During the last three years and the current year, about 72 joint exercises were conducted by Army, 39 by Navy, 21 by Air Force and 2 Tri-Service Exercises were conducted.

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[pib] Exercise Dustlik 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise Dustlik 2019

Mains level : NA


Exercise Dustlik 2019

  • Defence Minister is in Uzbekistan on a three-day visit since Saturday.
  • This is the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to Uzbekistan in about 15 years.
  • The joint military exercise focused on counter-terrorism has commenced in Tashkent.
  • The exercise will enable sharing of best practices and experiences between the Armed Forces of the two countries and would lead to greater operational effectiveness.

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[pib] Defence of A&N Islands Exercise 2019 (Danx-19)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : DANX-19

Mains level : NA

  • Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) conducted the second edition of Defence of A&N Islands 2019 (DANX-19).

DANX -19

  • It is a large scale joint services exercise held by Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC).
  • Components of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard carried out mobilization and field manoeuvres to validate defensive plans of Headquarters ANC.
  • It is aimed for pursuance of the Command’s responsibility, namely ensuring territorial integrity of the A&N Islands.

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[pib] Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN – 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN – 2019

Mains level : Significance of the exercise

  • The Joint Military Exercise Dharma Guardian-2019 between India and Japan will be conducted to share experience gained during various Counter-Terrorism Operations in respective countries.

Exercise DHARMA GUARDIAN

  • It is an annual training event which is being conducted in India since 2018.
  • This exercise is crucial and significant in terms of security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of global terrorism.
  • The scope of this exercise covers platoon level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.
  • It will enhance the level of defence co-operation between Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) which in turn will further foster the bilateral relations between the two nations.

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[pib] Military Exercises: Ex Nomadic Elephant and Ex Ekuverin

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ex Nomadic Elephant and Ex Ekuverin

Mains level : India's stratergic relations with neighborhood

  • 14th edition of Indo – Mongolian joint military training is being conducted over a period of 14 days.

Nomadic Elephant-XIV

  • Nomadic Elephant-XIV is aimed at training troops in counter insurgency &counter terrorism operations under United Nations mandate.
  • The Joint Exercise will enhance defence co-operation and military relations between the two nations.
  • It is an ideal platform for the armies of both the nations to share their experiences & best practices and gain mutually during the joint training.
  • The joint training aims at evolving various tactical drills in counter-terror environment like Convoy Protection Drill, Room Intervention Drills, Ambush/ Counter Ambush Drills, while jointly conducting counter terrorist operations under UN mandate.
  • The joint training will also lay emphasis on conducting operations by a cohesive subunit, comprising of troops from both the armies, in an adverse operational conditions thus enhancing the interoperability between the two armies.

Ex Ekuverin

  • Tenth edition of the Joint Military Exercise Ekuverin between the Indian Army and the Maldivian army is to be held this month at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra.
  • The Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin meaning ‘Friends’ in the Dhivehi language since 2009.
  • The Exercise focuses on enhancing interoperability between the two forces for carrying out counter insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in a semi-urban environment under the UN mandate.

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[pib] Exercise Maitree – 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Exercise

Mains level : India-Myanmar strategic relations

  • Joint Military Exercise MAITREE-2019 between India and Thailand will be conducted at Foreign Training Node, Umroi (Meghalaya) this month.

Exercise Maitree 2019

  • Exercise MAITREE is an annual training event which is being conducted alternatively in Thailand and India since 2006.
  • Indian and Royal Thailand Army (RTA) will participate in the exercise with an aim to share experience gained during various counter terrorism operations in their respective countries.
  • This is in the series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries.
  • Exercise MAITREE with Thailand is a significant in terms of the security challenges faced by both the nations in the backdrop of changing facets of global terrorism.
  • The scope of this exercise covers company level joint training on counter terrorism operations in jungle and urban scenario.

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[pib] Exercise TSENTR 2019

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise TSENTR 2019

Mains level : Significance of the exercise

Exercise TSENTR 2019

  • It is part of the annual series of large scale exercises that form part of the Russian Armed Forces’ annual training cycle.
  • The series rotates through the four main Russian operational strategic commands.
  • These annual exercises have slowly began taking an international character, with Belarus participating in ZAPAD-2017 and China and Mongolia participating in VOSTOK-2018.
  • This year, invitations for participation have been extended to nine other countries.
  • Apart from host Russia, military contingents from China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan will also take part in this mega event.

 Aim of the exercise

  • The exercise aims at evolving drills of the participating armies and practicing them in the fight against the scourge of international terrorism thereby ensuring military security in the strategic central Asian region.
  • It will focus on evaluating the level of troop preparedness, the acquisition of the required skills and raising the level of inter- operability and demonstrate the readiness of the participating armies.

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Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)

Mains level : Need for IBGs


  • The new concept of Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) which the Indian Army plans to create as part of overall force transformation is close to implementation.

What are IBGs?

  • IBGs are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of hostilities.
  • Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts.
  • They need to be light so they will be low on logistics and they will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.
  • An IBG operating in a desert needs to be constituted differently from an IBG operating in the mountains.
  • The key corps of the Army are likely to be reorganized into 1-3 IBGs.

Objective of IBG

  • Holistic integration to enhance the operational and functional efficiency, optimize budget expenditure, facilitate force modernization and address aspirations

Structure

  • While a command is the largest static formation of the Army spread across a defined geography, a corps is the largest mobile formation.
  • Typically each corps has about three brigades.
  • The idea is to reorganise them into IBGs which are brigade-sized units but have all the essential elements like infantry, armoured, artillery and air defence embedded together based on the three Ts.
  • The IBGs will also be defensive and offensive. While the offensive IBGs would quickly mobilise and make thrust into enemy territory for strikes, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.

Why need IBGs?

  • After the terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Indian military undertook massive mobilization but the Army’s formations which were deep inside took weeks to mobilise loosing the element of surprise.
  • Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive but its existence was consistently denied in the past.
  • Its existence was acknowledged for the first time by Gen Rawat in January 2017.

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Bhabha Kavach

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Bhabha Kavach

Mains level : Not Much


Bhabha Kavach

  • Bhabha Kavach, billed as “India’s lightest bullet-proof jacket”, was launched at the International Police Expo 2019 in New Delhi.
  • The bullet-proof jacket is developed jointly by the Ordnance Factories Board and the public sector metals and metal alloys manufacturer MIDHANI.
  • It can withstand bullets from an AK-47 assault rifle (7.62 mm hard steel core bullets), and the 5.56 mm INSAS rifle.
  • The Kavach weighs 9.2 kg, a half kilogram less than the weight for a bullet-proof jacket prescribed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • The jacket is powered with nano technology from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and has a five-year warranty.

Stands all Quality standards

  • The trials have validated that the Bhabha Kavach meets US National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Level III standards, which guarantees protection against 7.62 mm NATO-standard bullets.
  • Most army bulletproof jackets meet the lesser NIJ Level II standard, which protects soldiers from 9 mm bullets fired from a carbine or handgun.
  • That is because the army places a premium on mobility as well as protection and does not want a heavy jacket.

Imbibing strength

  • Bhabha Kavach is built from layers of “high-density, high-tenacity polyethelene, which are thermo-sealed” by MIDHANI.
  • This means the layers are fused together at high temperature.
  • This forms a thick, hard armour plate, which is then sprayed with BARC’s carbon nanomaterial.
  • Soaking into the layers of the plate, the nanomaterial instils the toughness and tenacity needed to slow down and trap a bullet as it passes through the plate.
  • Bulletproof jacket armour is of two types. Soft armour provides lesser protection, suitable for threats from handgun and small arms bullets and is worn by bodyguards and VIPs against personal threats.
  • Hard armour is stronger and heavier and is designed to stop high calibre rounds.
  • NIJ Level IV jackets even provide protection against armour-piercing rounds.
  • Each Bharat Kavach has four hard armour plates, which protect the wearer from the front, back, and either side.

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[pib] Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : RODRA

Mains level : Not Much

Retired Officers Digital Records Archive

  • Manpower Planning (MP) Directorate, (MP 5&6) is responsible for custody and maintenance of approximately 1.2 Lakh service records of serving and retired officers of the Indian Army.
  • Due to lack of digitization and non-availability of latest address and contact details of veterans, connecting with veteran officers/family pensioners and addressing their grievances was a major challenge.
  • To overcome the same a website Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA, https://rodra.gov.in) was launched.
  • This aims to create a digital data repository in order to address documentation/pension related grievances and update on relevant policies.

Utility of the Website

  • With this launch various types of Pension Payment Order (PPOs) issued by PCDA (P) from time to time to veterans has now been discontinued thereby saving of manpower, stationery and postal charges.
  • The PPOs are now uploaded on the website and veterans are able to download it from the website. Monitoring and management of grievances of veterans has been streamlined thereby improving satisfaction levels.

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National Defence Fund

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : NDF

Mains level : Welfare measures for Ex-servicemens and Martyrs

  • PM Modi has approved changes to the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme for wards of deceased defence personnel under the National Defence Fund as his first decision on assuming office.

National Defence Fund

  • NDF is an Indian Government Institution, set up in the year 1962 to receive voluntary donations for the promotion and welfare of the members of the Indian Armed Forces (including paramilitary forces) and their dependents.
  • The NDF is administered by an executive committee that has the Prime Minister as the chairperson and the Defence, Finance and Home Ministers as members.
  • Donations to the National Defence Fund are 100% tax exempt.
  • Under the scheme, new scholarships are given to 5,500 wards of armed forces personnel, 2,000 wards of paramilitary forces personnel and 150 wards of forces under the Railways Ministry every year.

Prime Minister’s Scholarship Scheme

  • The scheme is meant to encourage technical and postgraduate education for widows and wards of deceased personnel of the armed forces, the paramilitary forces and the Railway Protection Force.
  • PMO approved the increase from ₹2,000 to ₹2,500 a month for boys and from ₹2,250 to ₹3,000 a month for girls.
  • The ambit of the scheme was widened to cover the wards of State police officials martyred in terror or Naxal attacks.

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[op-ed snap] A blueprint for a national security strategy

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : There is a need for national security architecture.

CONTEXT

There have been several attempts at formulating a national security strategy for India. According to some accounts, the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) had formulated draft national security strategy documents on four different occasions and presented them to successive governments, but the political class wouldn’t bite. There has been a lingering worry in the minds of the politicians about a potential commitment trap if a national security strategy were to be put on paper.

Key issues with present security architecture

1. National Security Council

  • The National Security Council (NSC) set up in 1998 almost never meets, primarily because it is an advisory body, with the Cabinet Committee on Security being the executive body.
  • If the NSC is to be made more useful, the government’s allocation of business rules should be amended to give more powers to the NSC and its subordinate organisations, such as the Strategic Policy Group.

2. National Security Adviser’s role –

  • Second, the job of the National Security Adviser needs to be reimagined. Even though the NSA plays a vital role in national security, he has no legal powers as per the government’s allocation of business rules.
  • The K.C. Pant Task Force in the late 1990s had recommended the creation of an NSA with the rank of a Cabinet Minister.
  • Over the years, the NSA’s powers have increased, even though he is not accountable to Parliament.
  • The institution of the NSA today requires more accountability and legal formality.

3. Structural Reforms –

More national security organisations are not the answer; fundamental structural reforms in national security planning are needed.

Case Study of Defence Planning Committee (DPC) –

  • Take the case of the recently constituted Defence Planning Committee (DPC) tasked to recommend policy measures to improve India’s defence capability and preparedness, and national security in general.
  • Not only does the DPC have too many responsibilities on its plate, it is also an advisory body.
  • More worryingly, there is a feeling among the armed forces that by having the NSA chair the DPC, the government may have scuttled the demands to appoint a Chief of the Defence Staff, an issue the Hooda document highlights.

The Hooda document

Vision of document

  • The guiding philosophy of the document is enshrined in the following sentence: “This strategy recognises the centrality of our people. We cannot achieve true security if large sections of our population are faced with discrimination, inequality, lack of opportunities, and buffeted by the risks of climate change, technology disruption, and water and energy scarcity.”
  • At a time when national security is referred to in strictly military terms, it is heartening to see that a strategy document defines security in an out-of-the box and inclusive manner.
  • A glance at the key themes shows how well-designed the document is: “assuming our rightful place in global affairs”, “achieving a secure neighbourhood”, “peaceful resolution of internal conflicts”, “protecting our people” and “strengthening our capabilities”.

 1. Military jointmanship –

On the issue of military jointmanship, it recommends that “the three services should undertake a comprehensive review of their current and future force structures to transform the army, navy and air force into an integrated warfighting force.

2. Cyber Command –

While discussing emerging national security threats, the document differs with the BJP-led government’s decision to set up a Defence Cyber Agency instead of a Cyber Command as was originally recommended.

3. On Kashmir – 

There is a need to initiate structured programmes that bring together civil society members, family groups, educationists, religious teachers and even surrendered terrorists in an effort to roll back radicalisation.”

Conclusion

Let’s hope that this document is the beginning of a tradition in India of thinking about national security and strategy more systematically, consistently and comprehensively.

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Army invokes emergency powers for missiles deal

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : VSHORAD, Spike-LR, Igla-S air defence systems

Mains level : Emergency financial powers to defence forces

  • The Army is in the process of procuring Spike-LR Anti-Tank Missiles from Israel and Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) from Russia through a set of new financial powers for emergency procurements sanctioned by the Defence Ministry earlier this month.

Emergency financial powers to Army

  • After the Pulwama attack, the government has given emergency powers to the armed forces for buying equipment to enable them to fight wars on the western border with Pakistan.
  • Under the latest emergency financial powers, armed forces have been given a free hand to procure equipment worth upto ₹300 crore on a priority basis.
  • The government also relaxed certain rules to cut delays in military purchase like allowing the three services to procure required weapons and equipment from a single vendor.
  • Entirely new systems not in use can also be procured under the new powers.
  • For the procurement under the emergency orders, the forces need not even take concurrence of the Integrated Financial Advisor from the defence finance department.
  • The defence Ministry feels that since the forces have to fight wars, they should decide on their requirement and priority in the acquisition and buy that equipment.

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[pib] Exercise Bold Kurukshetra

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Exercise

Mains level : Not Much

Exercise Bold Kurukshetra

  • The 12th edition of joint military exercise between India and Singapore culminated on 11 April 2019 after an impressive closing ceremony held at Babina Military Station (UP).
  • The Exercise is aimed at attaining a high level of interoperability between the armies of both the nations through mutual understanding and familiarization with each other’s operational procedures and equipment.
  • The troops learnt about each other’s organisations and best practices being followed in combat.
  • The exercise was a grand success and taught valuable lessons to troops of both the participating nations.

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[pib] Exercise Al Nagah III 2019

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ex Al Nagah

Mains level:  India-Oman strategic relationship


News

Exercise Al Nagah III 2019

  • It is a joint military exercise between Indian and Royal Army of Oman (RAO) held in Oman.
  • The Indian side was represented by troops of Tenth Battalion The Garhwal Rifles Regiment.
  • The exercise will see them hone their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in semi-urban scenario in mountainous terrain under UN mandate.
  • It will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military as also facilitate in tackling the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism.
  • Due emphasis will be laid on increasing interoperability between forces from both countries which is crucial for success of any joint operation.

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[pib] Exercise Sampriti – 2019

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | India and its neighborhood relations

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ex Sampriti

Mains level:  India-Bangladesh strategic relations


News

Exercise Sampriti-2019

  • It is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh and this will be the eighth edition of the exercise which is hosted alternately by both countries.
  • As part of the ongoing India Bangladesh defence cooperation, the joint military exercise will be conducted at Tangail, Bangladesh.
  • The exercise is aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.
  • The exercise will involve tactical level operations in a counter insurgency and counter terrorism environment under the UN mandate.
  • In addition to understanding each other in tactical level operations, emphasis will also be laid for greater cultural understanding to strengthen military trust and cooperation between the two nations.

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[pib] Shekatkar Committee Recommendations

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Shekatkar Committee recommendations

Mains level: Modernization of Army


News

  • The Committee of Experts (CoE) constituted by the Ministry of Defence under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen (Retd) DB Shekatkar to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces, submitted its report in December 2016.
  • The Report was taken up by the Ministry of Defence to frame key action points and roadmap for implementation.

Recommendations taken up for implementation

  • Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies
  • Restructuring of repair echelons (designated rank) in the Army
  • Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
  • Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport units.
  • Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
  • Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
  • Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.

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Indigenous Artillery Gun trials to enter next stage by June

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: ATAGS

Mains level: Army’s need for new types of equipment and their development in India


News

  • The development of the indigenously-designed heavy artillery gun, the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), has advanced to a stage where user-assisted trials of the gun are likely to start by June.

Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS)

  1. The ATAGS is a 155mm, 52 calibre gun being developed by the DRDO on two parallel tracks: one prototype is being built in partnership with Tata Power (Strategic Engineering Division), and the other is in collaboration with Bharat Forge.
  2. The gun currently weighs about 18 tonnes while the ideal weight for the army would be 14-15 tonnes.
  3. The gun has several significant features including an all-electric drive, high mobility, quick deployability, auxiliary power mode, advanced communications system, automated command and control system.
  4. It also sports a six-round magazine instead of the standard three-round magazine.
  5. This necessitates a larger chamber and is a major factor pushing up the overall weight of the system.

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[op-ed snap] Preventing another scuffle

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Strained civil-military relationship in recent times and need of maintaining good relations between the two


Context

Tensions between civil & military officers

  1. In a disturbing incident in Bomdila, Arunachal Pradesh recently, two soldiers of the Indian Army were arrested by the local police and reportedly beaten up for alleged incorrect behaviour during a festival, which was then followed by alleged retaliatory high-handedness by their Army compatriots
  2. This is an apt example of the leadership on both sides not using their superior skills to prevent the unsavoury happenings and living up to the requirement of statecraft
  3. The term ‘statecraft’ is important because the leadership at every level of the government is a vital cog in maintaining a harmonious relationship with other arms, all the while respecting the other’s domain specialisation

Not the first instance

  1. The Bomdila incident is not the first instance of the civil administration and the military having locked horns
  2. It is just that earlier incidents did not get publicity in the absence of fast communication
  3. Though the issues were “resolved”, tensions have continued to simmer
  4. Social media and near instantaneous communications now amplify the damage

Link between civil & military personnel

  1. There is a delicate thread that links the uniformed and non-uniformed sections
  2. Pride in one’s job should not translate to contempt for another’s job
  3. The civil administration has challenges that no uniformed person ever faces, such as the pressures from social strife, economic hardships, and law and order
  4. The uniformed services, on the other hand, see themselves as protectors of the nation even at the cost of their own lives
  5. So, just as a uniformed force must acknowledge the expertise of the civil administration, so too should the latter respect and ensure that a soldier does feel a bit special

Role of leadership in the military

  1. A commander’s order is sacrosanct and a soldier on the front line follows it unflinchingly despite knowing that he could lose his life the next moment
  2. It is this implicit faith that permeates the psyche of a uniformed person based on the belief that his commander is supreme and will always look after his interests as well as those of his family
  3. This is how the military works, by laying emphasis on the point that military effectiveness requires a military culture that is different from that of a civilian’s
  4. This is the heart of the ‘chip on the shoulder’ feeling that drives a soldier to sacrifice his life at his superior’s command

Important issues in the civil-military relationship

At the heart of civil-military relations are two questions

  1. First, who controls the military and how? Is there civilian control or has it degenerated into civilian bureaucratic control?
  2. Second, what degree of military influence is appropriate for a given society?
  • While direct intervention in domestic affairs is a big no, on the other extreme is the utilisation of the armed forces in happenings that should logically come under the civilian domain
  • The Army is being called in to construct railway foot overbridges in Mumbai and even clear up litter left behind by tourists in the hills of north India. There are pitfalls when lionising translates to deification

Way forward

  1. Deification of the military could lead to resentment among certain sections of society
  2. Using the armed forces very often as a bulwark to sort out civil issues is detrimental to military philosophy
  3. So also is the absence of oversight to prevent civilian bureaucratic control and delays in resolving the problems service personnel face
  4. An unequal civil-military dialogue, wherein a soldier begins to doubt his ‘uniqueness’ (not deification) in society does not bode well for good civil-military relations
  5. Civil-military relations is an art that requires delicate nursing through statesmanship. Good leadership from both sides is the key to preventing new Bomdilas

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Indian Army zeroes in on Russian Igla-S missile

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Challenges to internal security

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Details of Igla-S MANPADS

Mains level: VSHORAD Program of Indian Army


News

  • After a series of delays, Russia has been declared the lowest bidder in the Army’s multi-billion dollar deal for man portable air defence systems (MANPADS).
  • It will soon be supplying $ 1.3 bn very short range air defense or VSHORAD program missile system to the Indian Army.

IGLA-S

  1. IGLA-S (SA-24) is the latest model of Russian MANPADS technology offered to the Indian Army.
  2. It offers superior performance over the earlier supplied SA-18 missiles to India which is in use since 1980s.
  3. Igla-S system is designed for use against visible targets as tactical aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicle, cruise missile, head-on or receding, in the presence of natural (background) clutter and counter measures.
  4. As per requirements, the system should have a maximum range of 6km, altitude of 3km along with all-weather capability and will replace the existing Igla in service which is in urgent need of replacement.

Key Concerns

  1. The other concern is the US sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) law.
  2. This act restricts defence purchases from Russia, Iran and North Korea.
  3. The US is yet to grant India a waiver for the $5.43 bn S-400 air defence deal with Russia signed in early October.

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[pib] Parakram Parv Celebrations

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Parakram Parv

Mains level: The relevance of surgical strikes in present security scenario.


News

Parakram Parv

  1. Indian Army conducted surgical strikes in 2016 which had strategic ramifications and were aimed to dissuade inimical adversary from adopting the path of violence and to ensure an environment of peace for the Nation.
  2. To showcase the courage, valour and sacrifice of Armed Forces, ‘Parakram Parv’ is being observed from 28-30 September 2018.
  3. The main event is planned in India Gate Lawns, Rajpath, New Delhi and similarly at 53 locations in   51 cities across the Nation.
  4. It shall be showcasing the events highlighting valour of Indian Armed Forces in general and Special Forces in particular.

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[op-ed snap] The wrong reform

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Not much

Mains level: Reorganisation measures proposed by the army officials and their impact on the functioning of the army


Context

Recent changes proposed in the army

  1. Two recent reports related to the reorganisation are being questioned and discussed by India’s military community
  2. The first seeks the elimination of the one-star rank of brigadier with potentially the two-star rank of major general being considered for the first level of command above the unit level
  3. It also speaks of the intent to have all officers of the army superannuating at least at the rank of major general, by time scale or selection
  4. Another report, which appears to flow from the first, relates to the operational and organisational restructuring of the army
  5. It reflects how a study is being undertaken to remove the division headquarters (HQ) from the hierarchy of formations that exercise command and control

Reasons behind the changes proposed

  1. The proposals are obviously budget-driven because the current, and potentially future, defence budget (1.47 per cent of the GDP) cannot support an army of 1.3 million without seriously affecting funds for capital expenditure
  2. The approach appears driven more by personnel management than capability based upon real threats
  3. The idea is to have more appointments in the rank of major general by tailoring command appointments with resources half-way between what a one- and two-star officer currently commands
  4. With this, it is intended to have more officers achieving aspirations of two-star rank, with commensurately lower responsibility

Arguments in support of proposed changes

  1. In view of tactical nuclear weapons being introduced in the battle zone, the parameters have changed
  2. Smaller formations with just 4-5 infantry battalions with some matching support will present smaller targets and retain the capability to strike up to limited distances, as against the concept of deep thrust
  3. Another rationale in support of the proposed changes is a doctrine many armies around the world are favouring: Swarming by multiple small forces, thus creating greater deception and forcing a divided response by an adversary

Issues that need to be looked upon

  • The command and control of the larger number of TFs than the number of division size forces by the corps HQ
  1. Many of the support resources currently under the division HQ would revert to the corps HQ
  2. Pre-location of such resources with the TFs would be necessary, while retaining control at the corps HQ with need-based release
  3. This will make decision-making far more difficult
  • Personnel management
  1. It will witness the greater complexity
  2. There will be a need to grade the command appointments of major generals as some will command TFs and others, divisions
  3.  Whether this will provide a level-playing field for further promotion is an aspect bound to come up for legal scrutiny
  • Many of the divisions at the northern borders also perform counter-insurgency duties by remaining split
  1. The TF system will cause numerous functional problems for them
  • Increasing the teeth-to-tail ratio
  1. In 1998, a 50,000 cut in the non-field forces was decided and was under implementation until the Kargil War cut it short
  2. The approach did not involve any large scale tampering as it only scaled off the bloated strength from organisations away from the battlefield

Way Forward

  1. If the army leadership is seriously seeking better esteem for its officers the non-functional financial upgradation is a better alternative
  2. It won’t create undesirable organisational turbulence and the social challenges can be far easier met than the functional ones arising from forced organisational change

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Indian Army Updates

Indigenous anti-tank missile test-fired

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: MPATGM

Mains level: Enhancing Army’s weapons arsenal.


News

Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM)

  1. The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which has been under development by DRDO in partnership with Indian defense contractor VEM Technologies Ltd. since 2015.
  2. Fitted with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, the MPATGM reportedly boasts a top attack capability and has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometers.
  3. An indigenously developed Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) was successfully flight tested for the second time from Ahmednagar test range.
  4. It has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  5. This low-weight MPATGM will complement the Spike Anti-Tank Guided Missile to be procured from Israel.

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Indian Army Updates

[pib] INDO-MONGOLIA joint exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Nomadic Elephant

Mains level: India-Mongolia Strategic Relations


News

Exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018

  1. Indo-Mongolia joint exercise Nomadic Elephant-2018 has commenced at Mongolian Armed Forces (MAF) Five Hills Training Area, Ullanbaatar.
  2. The 12 days long joint exercise is an annual, bilateral exercise since 2006 which is designed to strengthen the partnership between Indian Army and Mongolian Armed Forces.
  3. The exercise will see them improve their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in rural and urban scenario under United Nations mandate.

Details of the Exercise

  1. The Indian contingent is represented by a contingent of 17 PUNJAB Regiment while the Mongolian contingent is represented by Unit 084 of the Mongolian Armed Forces.
  2. During the exercise both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well developed tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in urban warfare scenario.
  3. Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their experience on varied topics for mutual benefits.
  4. The exercise will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding & respect for each others military and also facilitate in tackling the world wide phenomenon of terrorism.

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Indian Army Updates

[op-ed snap] The roadmap to military reform

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Gaganshakti

Mains level: The idea of integrated theatre command in Indian military and what are the obstacles in implementing it


Context

Debate on reform in the Indian military

  1. The initial flavour of the debate in the decades following the Group of Ministers’ report, the Kargil Review Committee report, and the Naresh Chandra Committee report focussed on a restructuring of higher defence organisation as the first step
  2. This was intended to improve synergy among different tools of statecraft (bureaucracy, military, research and development, intelligence, internal security mechanisms, and more)
  3. The debate has now shifted to the second tier of reform in the operational realm
  4. This has unfortunately pitted the three services against one another in a series of turf wars that have ranged from control over space to control over cyber and special forces

The idea of standalone integrated theatre commands

  1. Dissection of the recently conducted exercise, Gaganshakti, would be good in weighing this idea
  2. The main apprehensions of the IAF leadership revolve around how best to exploit its dwindling offensive resources if they are hived off to multiple theatre commands
  3. A more serious concern is how the limited availability of enabling equipment and platforms (AWACS, refuelers, electronic warfare platforms and more) could seriously jeopardise operations even in a single-adversary limited conflict
  4. This conflict could involve up to three of the proposed theatre commands, including the Indian Navy

Crucial role of IAF

  1. If there is any service that is truly ‘joint’ in terms of participation in statecraft or military operations in tandem with other tools, particularly as first responders, it is the IAF
  2. If the flying task of the IAF in terms of its distribution between joint and exclusive tasks is scrutinised, 60% of it is used in joint operations
  3. Capturing ground beyond a few kilometres or taking physical control of vast maritime spaces for prolonged durations are no longer sustainable operations of war as they arguably result in avoidable depletion of combat potential
  4. This causes unacceptable attrition in limited but high-tempo operations
  5. It is in this context that air power would offer a viable alternative by shaping ‘battlespaces’ adequately before the other services enter combat

Other alternatives for integration

  1. India’s armed forces have little experience in training, staffing and exercising Joint Task Forces based on at least a division-sized land component
  2. Creation of three division-sized task forces for operations in varied terrain, including out-of-area contingency operations, could be mulled over
  3. These would be commanded by an Army, Navy and Air Force three-star officer, respectively, reporting to the Chairman of the Chief of Staffs Committee

Way forward

  1. National security reforms and restructuring are bound to have far-reaching consequences and call for political sagacity, wisdom and vision
  2. A concurrent three-pronged approach to military reform would be ideal
  3. Such an approach should respect the collective wisdom of past reports and take into account contemporary political and security considerations

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Indian Army Updates

Dhanush artillery gun clears final test, ready for induction

Dhanush artillery gun clears final test, ready for induction: official

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Dhanush artillery gun

Mains level: Army’s need for new types of equipment and their development in India


Final tests for Dhanush

  1. India’s first indigenous, long-range artillery gun “Dhanush” has passed its final test at Pokhran
  2. It is now ready for its induction into the Army

About Dhanush

  1. Dhanush is a 155mm x 45mm calibre artillery gun and is also called the “desi Bofors”
  2. It has a strike range of 38 kilometres and 81 percent of its components are indigenously sourced
  3. It has features like electronic gun-laying and sighting systems
  4. The gun has passed tests under severe cold conditions in Sikkim and Leh and in hot and humid weather in Balasore, Odisha, Babina in Jhansi and in the desert of Pokhran in Rajasthan
  5. The gun has been developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Kolkata
  6. It is manufactured by the Jabalpur-based Gun Carriage Factory (GCF)

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Indian Army Updates

Army’s ‘Vijay Prahar’ exercise underway in Rajasthan

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Vijay Prahar and Gagan Shakti.

Mains level: Aim of the exercise.


News

‘Vijay Prahar’

  1. Over 20,000 troops of the strike formations of the Army’s South Western Commandare engaged in the “Vijay Prahar” exercise near Suratgarhin Rajasthan
  2. The exercise is being held in the wake of the IAF testing its might in the “Gagan Shakti” exercise in the western sector of Rajasthan
  3. During the exercise, the formations are practising and operationalising certain concepts of operating in the (a) network-centric environment, (b) integrated employment of modern-day sensors with the weapon platforms, (c) employment of attack helicopters in the air cavalry role and (d) a bold offensive of application of the Special Forces

Aim of the exercise

  1. To fine-tune the Army’s jointmanship with the Indian Air Force(IAF)
  2. The IAF carried out the Gagan Shakti exercise and demonstrated its capabilities and strength
  3. In the immediate wake of Gagan Shakti, this exercise is being held for testing and refining army’s jointmanship and maximising the impact of the joint operations

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Indian Army Updates

New assault rifle gears up for trials

Image source

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Ordnance Factory Board, INSAS rifle

Mains level: Defense manufacturing in India


Trials for replacement of INSAS rifles

  1. The trials of an assault rifle being developed by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) have made progress after initial bottlenecks
  2. The Army has been trying to replace the in-service INSAS rifle with a modern one

Stringent specifications

  1. The Army wanted 99% consistency in firing
  2. Army also asked for interchangeable barrels capable of firing both 5.56-mm and 7.62-mm caliber bullets
  3. The Army has decided to go for two different rifles — import a high-tech rifle in small numbers for the frontline infantry soldiers and procure the indigenous rifle in large numbers to meet the balance requirement

Back2Basics

Ordnance Factory Board

  1. Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) is an industrial organization, functioning under the Department of Defence Production of Ministry of Defence, Government of India
  2. It is engaged in research, development, production, testing, marketing and logistics of a comprehensive product range in the areas of air, land and sea systems
  3. OFB is the world’s largest government-operated production organisation and the oldest organisation run by the Government of India
  4. It is often called the “Fourth Arm of Defence” and the “Force Behind the Armed Forces” of India
  5. It is amongst the top 50 defence equipment manufacturers in the world

INSAS rifle

  1. INSAS (an abbreviation of Indian New Small Arms System) is a family of infantry arms consisting of an assault rifle and a light machine gun (LMG)
  2. It is manufactured by the Ordnance Factories Board
  3. The INSAS assault rifle is the standard infantry weapon of the Indian Armed Forces
  4. The Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) was adopted in 1990

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Indian Army Updates

Army-Air Force conduct exercise to gauge offensive capabilities in Southern theatre

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Internal Security | Various Security forces & agencies & their mandate

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Hamesha vijayee exercise, Southern command

Mains level: Various training exercises undertaken by army and their importance


News

Testing capabilities for integrated air-land battle

  1. In an effort to gauge the offensive capabilities of the military in the Southern theatre, formations of the Southern Command are conducting an exercise, titled ‘Hamesha Vijayee’ (always victorious), in Jaisalmer-Barmer region, Rajasthan
  2. The exercise, which is being conducted in association with the Air Force, will help evaluate the capability of the armed forces in an integrated air-land battle
  3. The key aim is to fine tune surveillance and destruction mechanisms to support precision strikes and maneuvers by network-enabled forces

Southern command of Army

  1. Southern Command has its area of responsibility spread over 40 percent of the land area of the country
  2. It is headquartered in Pune
  3. The Southern Command undertakes such exercises at regular intervals to ensure a high degree of battle readiness as well as validation of operational plans using modern weapons and equipment

Unique exercise

  1. Besides large-scale conventional warfare, troops will also be rehearsed to operate in the backdrop of chemical and nuclear contingencies
  2. The exercise showcases a high degree of synergy between the Army and Air Force, along with new generation aviation assets of the army

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