Indian Army Updates

Apr, 30, 2019

Army invokes emergency powers for missiles deal

News

  • 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.
Apr, 11, 2019

[pib] Exercise Bold Kurukshetra

News

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.
Mar, 14, 2019

[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.
Feb, 27, 2019

[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.
Feb, 05, 2019

[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.
Dec, 22, 2018

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.
Nov, 27, 2018

[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
Nov, 21, 2018

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.
Sep, 29, 2018

[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.
Sep, 24, 2018

[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
Sep, 17, 2018

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.
Sep, 11, 2018

[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.
Aug, 16, 2018

[op-ed snap] The roadmap to military reform

Related image

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
Jun, 09, 2018

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


News

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)
May, 03, 2018

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
Jan, 15, 2018

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


News

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
Dec, 21, 2017

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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