India : Strategic Missile Sword and BMD Shield
- In Year End Review, Indian Ministry of Defence covers range of achievements to include successful launch of Interceptor Missile (AAD), test flight of Agni-III (A3-02), user trial of Akash Missile by Army and Air Force, handing over of first batch of land version of BrahMos and conduct of Military World Games.
- Department of Atomic Energy and Ministry of External Affairs officials to visit Vienna in January for third round of negotiations for India-specific safeguards with the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA].
- SAARC slated to move from declaratory phase into implementation mode.
- Armed Forces International Training Calendar 2008 denotes intense schedule of engagement for the services.
- India-Vietnam Defence Cooperation takes a forward trajectory
- Indian Defence Scientists denote ambitious Ballistic and Cruise Missiles and BMD programme.
- Army`s Light Helicopter replacements delayed as contract with EADS cancelled.
- Indian Navy Acquisitions chart a new course of building Blue Water Capability
- IAF Looks Southwards as more bases are planned to oversee maritime expanse.
- Fire Power Demonstration by IAF denotes an array of lethal weaponry
- Indo Pakistan relations in a limbo due to political uncertainty in Pakistan. A new initiative only after stable government takes post in Islamabad.
Global Strategic Contours : Indian View
The Shape of Global Polity. Indian global perspective and determinants of foreign policy were clearly highlighted by Mr Shiv Shanker Menon, the Foreign Secretary recently. India views twin processes of globalization and economic inter-dependence having resulted in a situation where Cold War concepts like containment have limited relevance. Interdependence brought about by globalization places limits beyond which tensions among major powers cannot escalate. Major Powers are seen to come together to form coalitions to deal with issues where they have a convergence of interests, despite differences in broader approach. Thus emergence of a global order marked by the preponderance of several major powers, with minimal likelihood of direct conflict amongst these states is inevitable. The result is a de-hyphenation of relationships with each other, of each major power engaging with all the others, in a situation that might perhaps be described as "general un-alignment".
Foreign Policy Objective. The consistent foreign policy objective of India has been and remains poverty eradication and rapid and inclusive economic development. For this purpose India will have to eradicate mass poverty by 2020, and the economy must grow at 8-10% each year. This requires a peaceful and supportive global environment in general and a peaceful periphery in particular. We have therefore attempted since independence to expand India`s strategic space, thus strengthening our strategic autonomy. In practice this has meant increasing autonomy in decision-making on issues that are of importance to us, what our first Prime Minister Nehru used to call our "enlightened self-interest". In the current context, engagement with the global economy is growing rapidly, with trade in goods and services now exceeding US$ 330 billion.
Global Challenges. Paradoxically, some of the same forces of globalization - the evolution of technology, the mobility of capital and so on - which have led to the decline or collapse of the Westphalian state order are also the source of our greatest dangers. Our major threats today are from non-state actors, from trans-boundary effects of the collapse of the state system, or, at least, of its inadequacy. (Parenthetically, the doctrine of absolute sovereignty created by the strong European states and rulers in earlier centuries is now the last defence of the weak against the strong.)
Looking ahead, the real factors of risk that threaten systemic stability come from larger, global issues like terrorism, energy security and environmental and climate change. With globalization and the spread of technology the threats have also globalised and now span across borders. These are issues that will impact directly on India`s ability to grow and expand our strategic autonomy. It is also obvious that no single country can deal with these issues alone. They require global solutions. [MEA India Press Release].
Comments. India sees a positive role for itself in the emerging global order albeit as one of balance. Cherry picking between states keeping in view national interest would be the order of the day in the years ahead. The threats outlined by the Foreign Secretary undermine Indian national interests be it terrorism, climate change, environmental degradation or energy security. A forward looking foreign as well as internal policy is essential to meet these challenges.
In many ways it appears that the line between what is strictly external and internal policy is getting blurred. This is most effectively seen in the North East, where Indian External Affairs Ministry is engaging in internal policy implementation as it fulfils and supports the famed, "Look East" policy as without development of infra structure in the North East, it is not possible to effectively engage South East Asian states. Similarly terrorism is being fostered from across the borders either as an instrument of policy or due to ineffective controls of the state. This has an internal impact in India and the MEA will have to engage in dialogue or coercive diplomacy to suppress the sources of terror across the Indian borders.
Sino-India Boundary Package
With growing political awareness particularly in leaders of Arunachal Pradesh, questions on the Sino Indian boundary dispute are being routinely raised in the Parliament. In one such response, the Ministry of External Affairs indicated the basic philosophy of resolution of the Sino Indian boundary dispute. India and China had agreed in April 2005 to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question through peaceful and friendly consultations. Special representatives on the boundary questions were proceeding from the political perspective of overall bilateral relations towards a final package settlement that covered all sectors of the India-China boundary. In reaching the boundary settlement, both sides shall safeguard the due interest of their settled populations in border areas.
29th SAARC Ministers Meet
29th session of the Council of Ministers of SAARC was held in New Delhi on 7th December, 2007. All SAARC member states participated in the meetings. The Council of Ministers reviewed implementation of decisions taken at the 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi in April, and took important decisions to move SAARC from declaratory phase into implementation mode. A temporary cell is being established in the SAARC Secretariat for its operationalisation, and implementation of identified projects from available funds. Foreign ministers of SAARC have decided to give observer status to Mauritius in the regional forum. Comments. SAARC grouping is in the first stage of regional multilateralism that is building consensus on basic issues for engagement. This will gradually move forward to other stages including creation of viable institutions in all fields, improvement in trade relations between the states, adoption of SAFTA universally, economic alliance and union followed by joint political engagement. The final stage would be resolution of regional problems including crisis through a joint security approach. This may not be as utopian as may be felt at present, for in the years gone by, not many people were hopeful of a European Union. Finally a joint SAARC force as the NATO to resolve external conflicts will see potential of this power block with the largest concentration of humanity on the planet being in South Asia.
Indo Russian Defence Relations
Indo Russian defence relations were placed in a quandary with Indian Naval Chief seeking an overall review due to delay in Russian supply of naval platforms as the aircraft carrier, "Gorshkov" and increase in price. Admiral Sureesh Mehta, indicated that the Navy could possibly be reviewing its long term relationship with Russia as a response to Moscow`s demand for an additional $1.2 billion for the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov after it was contracted in 2005 despite slipping in schedule. Disagreeing with Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta, however, Defence Minister A K Antony made it clear that defence cooperation with Moscow was not "contract centric" and would be maintained at peak levels. The Foreign Secretary also emphasized, "Our relations with Russia have stood the test of time for over 60 Years. We have excellent relations with Russia. If there are any issues, we can sort them out." Comments. The comments of the Naval Chief who is also Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee need to be placed in perspective. Was he agonizing over the delay in supply of major platforms which any service chief committed to national security would rightfully do, or creating a lever to impose pressure on Moscow to bargain more favourably on the price issue? In either case it was anticipated immediately after the remarks that these would be refuted by the foreign policy establishment in the country as has happened now.
Year End Review By Ministry of Defence
In the Year End Review, Indian Ministry of Defence covered various achievements to include successful launch of Interceptor Missile (AAD) towards developing a ballistic missile defence system, test flight of Agni-III (A3-02), user trial of Akash Missile by Army and Air Force, handing over of first batch of land version of BrahMos missile systems to Army and successful conduct of 4th Military World Games. The issue of Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for Indian Air Force, the arrival of first batch of two Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers from UK, Signing of the Agreement with Russia on the Joint Development of 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft, First meeting of Indo-German High Defence Committee, Meeting of the Indo-French High Committee Meeting and approval of Parliament to the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill were some other major events during the year.
Testing of the Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) was touted as having, "joined the elite club of USA, Russia and Israel" when an interceptor missile successfully targeted the `hostile` missile off the Orissa coast twice in early December. The Endo-Atmospheric AAD Interceptor missile test fired from Wheeler Island intercepted the target missile at an altitude of 15 km from launch surface at supersonic speed. Other issues covered are as per succeeding paragraphs.
The Agni - III was successfully launched on April 12, 2007 from the Wheeler Island, off the coast of Orissa. The 16 meter long missile weighing 48 tonnes, lifted off successfully from its Rail Mobile Launcher System leaving a trail of orange and yellow smoke. The missile which has a range of more than 3000 kms is capable of carrying a pay load of 1.5 Tonnes.
Mobility trials as part of user`s trial for Army were conducted at Pokharan during 11 to 29 Jun, 2007 followed by Flyover Trials of Akash Weapon system as part of Air Force User Trials at Pokharan during 15 to 17 Nov 2007. The User`s Trials were also successfully conducted by ITR, Chandipur during 13 to 19 Dec 2007.
First batch of land version of BrahMos missile systems was handed over to the Army. Installation of multi-missile vertical launcher was also completed on board naval ship INS Ranvir. The missile, capable of firing from underwater, is ready for evaluation test so that future submarines will have BrahMos missiles. Development of air version and its interface with different types of aircraft is in progress.
Till Dec 2007 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has completed 785 flights. The program achieved the most significant milestone, when it successfully test fired the Close Combat Missile R-73. This historic event marked the beginning of weaponisation of Tejas. In September, LCA Tejas PV-1 created another milestone as it made a successful first flight with two 800 Ltrs drop tanks under the wing stations. On December 10, the Tejas LCA programme received yet another major fillip with the first successful flight test on PV-2 using Lightening Laser ranging and Laser spot seeking Pod, which can provide the pilot with day and night picture of terrain.
Landing Platform Dock INS JALASHWA was commissioned in the Navy in June this year. This is the first ever procurement of a ship by the Indian Navy from the United States Navy under the Excess Defence Article Programme and through the Foreign Military Sales route of the US Defence Forces. It is capable of carrying over 900 fully armed troops along with thirty vehicles, four landing craft and six helicopters.
The first batch of Two Hawk Mk 132 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft from UK reached India on 12 Nov 07. The Hawk trainers will impart stage-III training to the newly commissioned fighter pilots of the IAF at Bidar in Karnataka from June, next.
A contract for the acquisition of three follow-on stealth frigates of P1135.6 class has been concluded with Russia on Jul 14, 2006, with the planned delivery of the first ship scheduled in Apr 2011. All three ships are being built at Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad. The three follow-on frigates would be fitted with indigenous BrahMos missile system instead of the earlier Club-N missile system
India and Russia signed a landmark Intergovernmental Agreement for the joint development and joint production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), marking the beginning of cooperation in the development of state of the art new technology major weapon systems. The watershed agreement was signed at the conclusion of the Seventh Meeting of the India- Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) at an estimated cost of Rs. 42,000 Crores for the Indian Air Force was issued to six vendors - Russia`s MIG-35(RAC MiG); Swedish JAS-39 (Gripen);Dassault Rafale (France); American F-16 Falcon (Lockheed Martin); Boeing`s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon (Made by a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian firms). The 211-page document deals with various issues relating to initial purchase, transfer of technology, licensed production and life-time maintenance support for the aircraft.
Indian Army held joint exercises with the Armies of China, UK, Maldives, Russia and Singapore. It was for the first time when the Armies of India and China held joint exercise at Kunming in Yunan province of China. 80 soldiers each from India and China attended this five-day long joint exercise on anti-terrorist operations. The Indian Air Force carried out Joint exercises with the Air Forces of France and Russia. Indian Navy carried out joint exercises with the Navies of USA, Russia, Japan, Oman, Australia, France, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore.
India and Germany have agreed to increase defence cooperation in a number of areas including exchange of expertise in peace-keeping operations and disaster management during the first Indo-German High Defence Committee meeting held in New Delhi. The 10th Meeting of Indo - French High Committee on Defence Cooperation (HCC) was held in New Delhi.
Cargo aircraft of Indian Air Force and 4 Amphibious ships of Indian Navy carried food and relief materials for the cyclone affected people of Bangladesh during November and December 2007.
The Armed Forces Tribunal Bill has been passed. It had taken long years` of painstaking efforts to get legislative approval for this Bill. The establishment of Armed Forces Tribunal will go a long way in providing speedy justice to thousands of serving and retired Armed Forces personnel.
The MOD report has highlighted some key issues in terms of arms acquisition which are in the offing, however apart from BrahMos I which has been inducted in the Army; other systems are primarily on the drawing board or in tendering stage. There is also an attempt to assuage German and French governments after cancellation of contract with EADS on light helicopters. The report has also down played some of the controversial issues as Malabar 07, instead emphasizing on Indo China joint training and Indo Russian relations, thus attempting to create a balance. The acquisition centric Report indicates central focus of the Ministry of Defence in India. There is lack of emphasis on how these acquisitions are likely to create capacities in land, maritime and space forces to meet overall national interest. This deficiency is derived from the structure and role of the Ministry of Defence, where operational policy and capabilities are responsibility of service headquarters thus creating a major gap.
Armed Forces International Training Calendar 2008
The likely schedule of joint exercises, training and war games by Indian Armed forces during 2008 will be as follows:-
- Exercises are scheduled with armed forces of China, France, Seychelles, Mongolia, Maldives, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, UK and United States.
- Ex "Vajra Prahar". This is a counter-terrorism exercise with US Special forces for joint training in "unconventional warfare" skills. Two exercises will be held in the series, first in India in April-May 2007 followed by the second in the United States August-September.
- "Red Flag" exercise in August-September at the Nellis Air Force Base at Nevada, USA. Six Indian fighter jets (SU 30 without electronic signatures), two transport aircraft and an IL-78 mid-air refueller will participate. Cost of the exercise is stated to be Rs 80 Crore.
- India and US will also hold a "command post" exercise "Yudh Abhyas", with special focus on counter-terrorism operations, in Alaska in October-November.
- 4th round of Malabar exercise in the Indian Ocean will be held in October-November.
- Return exercise/training will be held with China as a follow up of Hand in Hand 2007.
Comments. Joint exercises are a military necessity and should not be seen with a political perspective. The Left parties do not seem to have objections for exercises with the US provided these are held bilaterally. The major opposition to Malabar in 2007 was due to multilateral engagement which created an impression of India entering into an alliance with US along with major allies as Japan, Australia and Singapore. The Left parties are also opposed to agreements such as Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Maritime Security Cooperation Framework (MSCF), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Container Security Initiative (CSI) with the United States. As far as the CSI and other agreements go, there is unlikely to be any change of stand on the Indian side in the immediate future, as there is wide spread political opposition to such moves in the country.
India Vietnam Defence Cooperation
India and Vietnam agreed on a number of measures to further expand their relations in defence cooperation and `take it to a new height` during the visit of the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony to Vietnam. India will transfer 5000 items of naval spares belonging to Petya class of ship to Vietnam to make many of the ageing ships operational. A four member team will impart training on UN Peace Keeping Operations in the first half of 2008. A Joint Working Group will also be set up to facilitate signing of MOU on defence cooperation.. [MOD India Report].
Counter Terrorism Training for Cambodian Special Forces
Thirteen soldiers of the Royal Cambodian Special Force are undergoing intensive four-week training in counter insurgency and counter-terrorist operations at the army`s Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School (CIJWS) at Vairengte in Mizoram. Royal Cambodian Special Force was keen to learn from Indian army`s experience in combating insurgency for the last 50 years. The counter insurgency school has been providing training to officers and security personnel of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ghana, Iraq, Kenya, Mauritius, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Myanmar, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Nigeria. [Daily Telegraph Report 27 December 2007].
India `s Strategic Capability
An Array of Ballistic and Cruise Missiles and BMD
India`s ambitious plan for development of a range of ballistic and cruise missiles which are conventional and nuclear capable has placed into sharp focus capacity building in this strategic field. Faced with a Pakistan-China axis of missile development in the Sub Continent which has seen rapid build up of capability by Islamabad, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in India is on a fast track to develop intermediate and inter continental range ballistic missiles. Correspondingly contours of a possible missile shield are also being evolved which will create competitive advantages for the country in the years ahead. A 6000 km range ICBM alluded to by Mr V K Saraswat of the DRDO along with a multi dimensional missile shield will alter the strategic balance in the region to India`s advantages. Here we trace out some of the developments in the field during the month.
Agni IV - Crystal Gazing or Reality?
India announced on 12 December that it was working on a new ballistic missile capable of engaging targets at 6,000 kilometres (3,800 miles). This would almost double the current nuclear strike range of 3500 kms of Agni III. "Agni-IV is still in the design stage, and so we cannot give a date for the trials to begin," said V. K. Sarswat, head of India's strategic missile programme. First trial for Agni IV was slated for 2010 but when asked to confirm if the missile will have a range of 6,000 kilometres, he replied: "It will be that much." India currently has two long range missiles in production and deployment, Agni I which has a range of 700-kilometre (434-mile) and Agni II, range of 2,500-kilometre (1,550-mile). Agni III a two-stage solid fuel missile which has a range of 3500 was successfully tested in April this year. It has the capacity to carry a nuclear payload of up to 1.5 tonnes and is likely to be inducted by 2009 after three more successful tests. [http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/News/PoliticsNation/India_working_on_doubling_nuclear_strike_range_official/articleshow/2617375.cms].
BrahMos II - India `s `Brahmastra`
With the success of supersonic BrahMos cruise missiles, scientists are now planning to develop a hypersonic BrahMos-2 version. BrahMos Aerospace Chief Executive Officer and Chief Controller DRDO, A Sivathanu Pillai said on 6 December.
Production of BrahMos-1 has started and objective is to produce multiple number of these missiles for the Army and Navy. Security-risks.com in July 2007 had indicated that the next step to BrahMos I was the BrahMos II which would be a major landmark in missile development capability of the future for the Indian defence establishment. At present hyper sonic cruise missile are in design stage even in the United States. However this may take many more years of joint development by BrahMos Aerospace as it would not be practical without sustained design and development efforts and active collaboration with Russia.
Anti Missile Defence Programme
The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) carried out the first launch of a single stage interceptor missile against an electronic ballistic missile as target from Wheeler Island on 2 December. The Endo-atmospheric interceptor intercepted the missile at 15 kilometres altitude exactly as designed for high supersonic speed. All the elements of ballistic missile defence (BMD) required for control and monitoring were performed in a copybook fashion validating the design of the "Endo-atmospheric" layer of BMD system. [MOD India Release].
On 6 December indigenously designed and developed Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile, capable of destroying any hostile ballistic missiles at low altitude, was tested from the Integrated Test Range off Orissa's east coast. The test-fire exercise was carried out from two different launch sites of the ITR in the Bay of Bengal. The target missile, a modified indigenously built Prithvi was first test-fired from a mobile launcher at 1100 hrs from ITR's launch Complex-3 at Chandipur-on-sea, while 2 minutes 40 seconds later the interceptor was fired from Wheeler's Island, 70 nautical miles from there, to intercept it at an altitude of 15 km in the mid air.
The AAD is 7.5 m long and has a solid rocket propeller with siliconised carbon jet vanes with a range of over 150 kms and could achieve a maximum velocity of 1400 m/s. It is equipped with an inertial navigation system, a hi-tech computer and an electro- mechanical activator totally under command by data up-linked from sophisticated ground based radars to the interceptor. The interceptor missile had its own mobile launcher, secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and its own radars.
DRDO scientists recently remarked that the country would have a complete ballistic missile defence (BMD) system in three years â€” ready and deployed. The system will have interceptor missiles that can hit targets 50-km above the atmosphere and supersonic interceptors that can eliminate endo-atmospheric targets 15-km within the atmosphere. Believed to be superior to America's Patriot, the BMD system has been in development for the last eight years. [http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/India_plans_6000-km_range_Agni-IV_missile/articleshow/2618413.cms].
Comments. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted the first anti missile, "Endo thermic" test. An "exo thermic` test of a PAD (Prithvi air defence) missile was successfully conducted a year back on 27 November 2006, which destroyed an incoming Prithvi missile at an altitude of 50 km. The test of the AAD is no doubt a significant achievement. With both endo and exo thermic tests now having been completed, the Indian missile programme seems to have acquired a certain momentum which will culminate into a full scale missile defence system.
Multiple Use Missile, "Ashvin" ?
The successful interceptor missile tests carried out by Indian scientists as part of the country's ballistic missile defence program in the first week of December led to development of a new surface-to-surface missile that could be possibly named as 'Ashvin'. The endo-atmospheric interceptor missile AAD, used to engage the approaching 'enemy' missile could also be used as an Extended Range Surface-to-Air Missile, besides being used as a ballistic missile interceptor. Dr V K Saraswat, who is the team leader of the ballistic defence programme, was also involved with development of India's first surface-to-surface missile Prithvi I and Prithvi II (Dhanush).
"The AAD could be used to target aircraft," Dr. Saraswat said, adding that its successful launch has opened up a 'new era' with development of supersonic interceptor missiles that can be used for defence against Cruise missiles. He said that the AAD part of the missile defence programme is completely independent from surface-to-surface missile programme and that it is purely a spin off of the entire project.
Comments. Ballistic missiles of the IRBM and ICBM range as well as missile defence shield are strategic capabilities. The DRDO seems to have gone in an over drive which is leading to development of a series of missiles in various spheres from the air defence to surface to surface as well as anti ballistic missile capability. There is a need to ensure that these projects are carried to the culmination, as the closure record of the DRDO is quite poor due to inadequacies in project management. There is also a need for caution as India has been facing a number problems in developing missiles, particularly as these come under the MTCR agreements preventing transfer of technology. Never the less the progress made by the DRDO in this sphere is encouraging and should be followed up speedily.
Land Forces Capability Development
Army Policy Issues
Siachen. Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor emphasized that the last positions held by the Indian Army at Siachen must be authenticated before withdrawal of troops under any agreement with Pakistan. "If nothing is authenticated it will all be in thin air, we have as a nation paid a heavy price in securing some of the dominating positions at Siachen ... it is only realistic that those positions are authenticated by the other side," the new Army Chief said in an interview in the Asian Age.
Demilitarisation in Jammu and Kashmir. On the issue of demilitarization, "In Jammu and Kashmir, we were sent there as an instrument of last resort," said the Army Chief and reiterated that the Army is seen as an instrument in an Emergency only.
Naxalism. Army has trained 85 companies of state police forces in Naxalite-affected areas and was now training another 65 companies which would be ready for counter-insurgency operations by June 2008. [Inputs from Interview of the Army Chief in Asian Age].
Army`s Light Helicopter Replacements Delayed
The Ministry of Defence on 6 December scrapped the Rs.17,000 Crore helicopter deal with European aviation consortium, Eurocopter, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) accusing it of " deviating from approved parameters" of helicopters urgently required for the Army. "A fresh Request for Proposals would be issued shortly" Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said. European aerospace giant EADS lodged a protest with the Indian government over cancellation of the deal to sell 197 helicopters. The final signing of the 600-million-dollar deal was supposed to be one of the highlights of visit to India by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in January.
Comments. Cancellation of the helicopter deal will be a major setback to the Indian Army`s plans for inducting large number of helicopters and upgrading capability. (See South Asia Security Trends November 2007 Issue for full details). It appears that there would be a delay of 3 to 5 years in acquisition of light helicopters for the Army. Ironically this acquisition was being touted as an, "urgent" requirement by the armed forces, given the high utility of these helicopters in war as well as peace particularly to maintain troops in the Siachen glacier. There are apprehensions in some quarters that the Eurocopter deal has been cancelled due to US pressure. While this may have some grounds the same is unlikely to be confirmed in the near future as such moves are undertaken with great alacrity.
Maritime Capability Accretion
Indian Navy Acquisitions : Building Blue Water Capability
The Indian Navy is acquiring substantial blue water capability given the perceived role in the future of surveillance of the sea lanes astride the Indian Ocean. On the other hand magnitude of the problem of the littoral would be evident with India`s 7,516 km coastline, 1,197 island territories and the 2.01 million sq km exclusive economic zone. The Navy is the only service which has finalized the Maritime Capability Perspective Plan from 2007-22. [See Security-Risks.com Paper on India`s Defence Policy, Budgeting and Acquisitions]. There are thus a large number of naval acquisitions in the offing which have been summarized as given below:-
Submarines. 24 submarines including the present line of six Scorpenes being build at Mazagon docks. Tenders for the second line of six submarines are likely to be issued in 2008-09. Expected bidders are Scorpene, German HDW and Russian Amur. Scorpene should be in a favourable position given a repeat order unless barred from participating in the tender as a Delhi High Court recently asked the CBI to pursue the investigations in possible contravention of contractual arrangements.
Nuclear Submarines. A Times of India report indicated that the Indian Navy is likely to lease an Akula-II class nuclear-powered submarine from Russia from end-2008 onwards for 10 years, under a Rs 2,600-crore deal. The ATV (advanced technology vessel) programme for an indigenous nuclear submarine being built at Vishakapatnam is likely to be ready by 2010. Simultaneously the DRDO has undertaken Sagarika missile project which comprises of submarine launched missiles.
Stealth Frigates. Rosoboronexport is reported to be negotiating with Indian authorities for a fresh licence for three stealth frigates in addition to the follow-on order for three Talwar Class frigates. The Indian Navy has already inducted three Krivak Class, Project 1135.6 stealth frigates, which joined the fleet as the Talwar Class. With each frigate costing $ 400 million the billing could ultimately go beyond $ 1. 5 billion. India is expected to apply to the Inter Government Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation by April or May 2008. [ India Defence.com Report 25 December 2007].
MRA. Short listing of a Maritime reconnaissance aircraft (MRA) and developing a rotary wing UAV is in progress to replace the ageing fleet of eight Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-42s. A top Naval team observed trials in July of the Airbus A-319 manufactured by EADS Spain and the Boeing P-8A Poseidon in the US.
Coastal and Maritime Surveillance. The Indian Air Force is slated to acquire advanced coastal and maritime surveillance and air traffic control radars from Italy. Under the Rs 293.72 Crore (Euro 52 million) deal between the European radar major Finmeccania SPA and Bharat electronics limited. This will enhance aerial and maritime surveillance.
Comments. The Indian Navy acquisition plan is one of the better models in the Indian armed forces. However the expected purchases may not fructify in time which should be a major worry for the Navy as old ships are becoming heavy on maintenance and repairs. The agonizing by the Indian Navy Chief is thus justified, however reasons for the same may not be wholly due to failed deal with Russia as the entire process of acquisitions in India needs a review.
Aero Space Capability Development
The Indian Ocean : The IAF Looks Southwards
The Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to extend its presence in Southern India to facilitate surveillance of sea lanes of Indian Ocean. A new fighter base is proposed near Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu. This will considerably enhance the Air Force capability to carry out surveillance of major trade routes including oil from the Gulf to East Asia including China and Japan. The IAF has 60 air bases of which nine are in the southern command. Thiruvananthapuram, Arakkonam and Dindigul can host fighters such as Mirage-2000 and Jaguars. Thanjavur base is expected to host state-of-the-art Sukhoi fighters.
To validate these and capabilities of, "Flexi Airspace" the Indian Air Force (IAF) held a week-long multi-role exercise named `Dakshin Prahar. The IAF and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) jointly shared airspace by close coordination during the exercise, Mirage-2000 took off from Thiruvananthapuram and Dundigal, Su-30s from some forward bases in Gujarat and Northwestern Rajasthan and Jaguars from Arakkonam. Simulated friendly and hostile forces over long aerial ranges using Air to Air Refuelling facilities and off-base operations provided realistic backdrop to the exercise.
Operational tactics were formulated to cater to contemporary threat scenario involving Beyond Visual Range (BVR) weaponry, state of the art avionics laden combat aircraft and far reaching Air Defence Weapons. Other aircraft that took part in the associated logistical support were IL-76, AN-32 and Mi-8 helicopters. Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) were also used.
Integration of Indian Navy and Coast Guard resources and infrastructure at various places like Vizag, Goa, Mangalore, Arakkonam and Kochi was also carried out. Navy and Coast Guard provided search and rescue ships right up to Lakshadweep & Minicoy area. Indian Army facilitated communication networking and troops for exercise apart from Air Defence Artillery guarding a high value target against air raids. Air Force troops also took part in this action with their MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defence Systems).
In addition to this, a satellite was manoeuvred to cover the specified targets on ground and send high resolution imagery for analysis before and after the attack. It was supplemented by the UAV that took photographs and sent it to Southern Air Command Operations Room. [http://mod.nic.in/]
Comments. Indian security concerns particularly ensuring energy security (See Foreign Policy Section in the chapter) demands that the IAF maintains a presence over the Indian Ocean. Given the large expanse of the Ocean as well as India`s extensive littoral, there is a need for deployment of IAF assets in the south which is resulting in the southern push as it is being called now. Apart from other front line aircraft, LCA Tejas would be ideal for deployment in these areas.
Fire Power Demonstration by IAF
Showcasing flying skills and pinpoint marksmanship, Indian Air Force (IAF) air warriors destroyed an array of assorted targets that included mock enemy radar sites, troops, ammunition dumps, convoys, petrol, oil and lubricant (POL) dumps with rockets, laser-guided bombs, missiles and front guns at the fire power demonstration (FPD) held at the air-to-ground weapons firing range at Pokhran, near Jaisalmer.
Nearly 50 IAF aircraft participated in the event that were flown from airfields as diverse as Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Bikaner, Agra and Gwalior. They included the Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000, Mig-27 upgrade, Mig-27 ML, Mig-21 Bisons, Mig-21 (Type-96) in the fighter class; Mi-35 helicopter gunship and Mi-17 IV helicopter and the AN-32 medium-lift tactical transport aircraft. In addition, an `unmanned aerial vehicle` (UAV) maintained a constant vigil of the proceedings transmitting real-time imagery and information of the `tactical battle area` (TBA) enabling correct operational decisions to be taken by the commander.
The FPD was conducted in three phases. The first phase showcased the general capability and attributes of fighter aircraft. The second phase included `counter-air operations` against airfield installations by fighter aircraft in their endeavour to suppress the enemy`s air defence capability. The third phase included `counter surface force operations` including `battlefield interdiction` and `battlefield air strike`.
A single Su-30 MKI at a speed of 1250 kmph, 150 metres above ground level carried out a supersonic low-level run. This was followed by two Mig-27 fighters carrying out a `photo run` using the VICON-91 pods that are used for gaining vital information about enemy disposition during hostilities. A single Mirage-2000 dispensing Infrared (IR) flares demonstrated its use as decoys to divert incoming IR-homing missiles. The IR flares, a pyrotechnical device emits radiations of sufficient intensity in the IR region of the electro-magnetic spectrum in addition to the visible radiation. Almost all the aircraft operating today extensively used these flares for self-protection against any possible missile attack.
While a pair of Mirage-2000 used the laser-guided bombs to annihilate a mock enemy radar site, the pair of Mig-21 Bisons that followed used their TV-guided KAB-500 smart bombs at another radar site for an equally destructive result. The run-in by three Mig-27 ML with BL-755 cluster bombs against simulated troops in an open area in a `lay-down attack` (LDA) was spectacular to witness but for troops spread over a vast area on ground, can only spell doom. Each BL-755 container comprises seven compartments containing 21 bomblets each making a total of 147 bomblets in all. After the bomb has been released from the aircraft, the 147 bomblets are ejected and fall to the ground, covering a wide area. In addition, the casing of the bomblet disintegrates and hundreds of fragments of shrapnel are dispersed over a wide area, with resultant damage to personnel and soft- skinned vehicles.
Three Su-30 MKIs in a simulated search and strike mission dropped six 250-kg bombs over an enemy ammunition dump obliterating it. A little later, after the three Mig-21 Bisons completed their successful attack on a simulated enemy convoy with their 80-mm rockets, the Su-30 MKIs returned to target enemy tanks with their 100-kg bombs, delivering 20 of them. The Mig-27 upgrade, an entirely indigenous project undertaken by the DRDO and HAL, transforming it into a formidable strike platform of the IAF, to show its mettle was then on demonstration. Two Mig-27 upgrade fighters did it with aplomb dropping four 1000-lbs bombs at a POL dump accurately that went up in flames almost instantly. Two other Mig-27 upgrade fighters then followed it up with their distinct staccato of salvo rounds fired from their front guns that blazed a smoke trail upon the simulated enemy convoy on ground. The older versions of the Mig-21 (Type-96) retain their lethality as an effective aerial platform, thus two Mig-21 fighters flattened-out enemy hangars in a dive-attack using two S-24 rockets to achieve the desired outcome.
Proving that a gunship is equally capable of accomplishing the task at hand with panache, albeit in a different battlefield scenario, two Mi-35 attack helicopters that participated also fired two S-24 rockets on a tank concentration offering a spectacular view. Not to be outdone, the two Mi-17 IV helicopters that followed fired a barrage of forty 80-mm rockets that was visible to the onlookers from the moment it left the rocket pods till striking the enemy convoy. The Mi-17 helicopters also demonstrated its multi-tasking capabilities by inserting the IAF`s Special Forces - Garuds, into a simulated enemy area with a specific mission replete with specialist equipment (including a Gypsy LMV) and the Garud force. The scenario of the TBA was highlighted with the two Mi-35 helicopters undertaking combat air patrol (CAP) over the mission area until the troops were pulled out safely from the TBA.
Shortly after, it was the turn of two Su-30 MKIs to mount a CAP overhead the range. Two Mig-27 ML upgrade fighters, simulating enemy strike aircraft made a vain attempt to sneak-past the formidable Sukhois on prowl. In a visually exciting moment for the onlookers, the Su-30 MKIs could be easily seen manoeuvring behind the intruders even as the strike aircraft desperately tried to shake off their nemesis unsuccessfully.
That the Su-30 MKIs carry an array of weaponry attached to its 12 hard points is well known but to get to see it in air replete with as many, is another matter. In a rare display of its kind, two Su-30 MKIs with external armaments of rockets, bombs and missiles attached on its hard points presented an awesome sight when the pair carried out a flypast near the grandstand and turning away to offer a rare glimpse of being armed to teeth to the viewers present.
The FPD also saw use of the versatile medium lift tactical transport aircraft, the AN-32, reconfigured for a bombing role. In a role reminiscent of the carpet bombings undertaken by AN-12 transport aircraft during the 1971 conflict, two AN-32s destroyed an enemy logistics camp with six 1,000-lb bombs each. The AN-32s were flown from the distant Agra IAF airbase. Meanwhile the two Su-30 MKIs orbiting in nearby vicinity were allotted targets of opportunity by the Raksha Mantri that was promptly destroyed. A victory roll including a steep `vertical charlie` in front of the grandstand by a Su-30 MKI aptly culminated the brief display of the tactical employment of air power by the IAF. [http://pib.nic.in/release/rel_print_page.asp?relid=33912].
A capability analysis would reveal that stand off attacks which are going to be the key to future air battles have not been carried out during the fire power demonstrations. It may not be a part of the open exercises, as this is a highly sensitive capability. Till such time an awareness of the same is developed, a rational assessment of the IAF capability may not be possible.
Akash Medium Range SAM Programme
The IAF is likely to induct first squadron of indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile after a series of successful user trials in December. In a fifth trial the missile destroyed an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), simulating the air attack. One squadron of the missiles will be inducted shortly. A squadron comprises of 16 launchers that can take on incoming aircrafts and missiles within a range of 25 kilometres. [Indian Express Report 27 December 2007].
The 700-kilogramme Akash (Sky) has a striking range of 27 kilometres and can carry a 55-kilogramme warhead. Akash is a mobile, multiple target handling, missile developed under Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). The missile system has been configured to be part of futuristic network centric operations. The entire weapon system has gone through functional evaluation in Kolar near Bangalore followed by operation and mobility trials in Pokharan ranges. The ECCM (Electronic Counter Counter Measure) evaluation was carried out at Gwalior by Air Force against various types of electronic target and counter measures. [MOD India and other media reports].
Induction of the Akash Missile after a long delay should fulfil the needs of the IAF for mid range air defence through indigenous sources. Ironically the DRDO has fast tracked induction of the Akash Missile thereby denoting that once it is determined to undertake an assignment it can take it to the logical conclusion.
India : Terror Takes Roots in Uttar Pradesh
- Suicide terrorists strike at CRPF location in Rampur, Western UP on New Years Day, highlighting penetration of the state by terrorist groups.
- Border alert in the country after assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan fearing infiltration by terrorist groups under pressure from Islamabad.
- Prime Minister highlights government comprehensive approach to tackle multi pronged militancy in high level summit of Chief ministers on 20 December.
- Chopra Committee on ST status to Gujjar rejects eligibility, recommends State to refer the matter to the Centre.
- Gorkha agitation over Sixth Schedule versus independent state gathers momentum in Darjeeling.
- India plans to create Integrated Check posts on borders to coordinated requirement of trade with security.
- Large scale explosive threat leads to alarm and constitution of committee to examine ways to control leakage.
- Communal crisis in Orissa as rioting between Christians and Hindus leads to four deaths
Terror Strikes Uttar Pradesh
Terror struck Uttar Pradesh, India`s most populous state on New Years Day, 1 January 2008. Four Lashkar-e-Taiba suicide terrorists attacked Central Reserve Police premises in Rampur in the wee hours of a cold winter morning. This was the first major successful suicide attack in the country other than in Jammu and Kashmir and send shock waves through out the country. Earlier during the moth, two members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) suicide squad, who apparently wanted to target Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, were killed in an encounter with Special Task Force (STF) of the state police at Dewa road on Lucknow-Barabanki border on 23 December. This encounter took place a day after the Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) arrested two militants, suspected to have been involved in 23 November serial blasts at local courts in Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow that left 13 dead. Three live crude bombs of "low intensity" had also been discovered in the state on 6 December.
Comments. The series of terrorist incidents in Uttar Pradesh clearly indicate that the state is on the terror radar. The suicide attack on the CRPF location was clearly a case of security lapse at all levels. Penetration of inner core of Uttar Pradesh by terrorist organizations is a dangerous sign as Rampur is in the heart of Western UP and approximately 200 km from the national capital, New Delhi while Barabanki where the first encounter was held is 30 to 45 minutes from the state capital, Lucknow. Thus there is a need to increase surveillance and security of these areas by enlarging the intelligence network. In the Rampur attack there were enough indications with intelligence agencies of a likely strike on a CRPF camp, but apparently these were conveniently ignored and proactive measures to establish fool proof checks not undertaken. The State government instead blamed the CRPF conveniently ignoring the fact that it is a joint responsibility of the Centre and the State to combat terror.
Indian Government Policy on Internal Security
A high level summit of Chief Ministers of all states was held in New Delhi on 20 December. The Prime Minister underlined salient nuances of internal security challenges and policies of the government linking development and internal security.. The key policy issues indicated by the Prime Minister included the following:-
- Development and internal security are two sides of the same coin. Each is critically dependent on the other. Development cannot take place in the absence of a secure and stable environment.
- A large proportion of the recruits to extremist groups come from deprived or marginalized backgrounds or from regions which somehow seem disaffected by the vibrant growth in many other parts of the country. Unevenness of development process and the various development divides that are opening up in the country - the inter regional divide, the rural-urban divide and the inter-sectoral divide lead to disaffection, large-scale migration, and also to discord.
- Coordinated response required to meet the challenge. This requires improved intelligence gathering capabilities, improved policing capabilities, better coordination between the Centre and the States and better coordination between States and most important, better leadership and firmer resolve. Improving policing capabilities requires better police infrastructure, better training facilities, better equipment and resources and dedicated forces.
- Need to ensure that essential economic infrastructure is protected and tempo of development activities is increased.
- Need to improve our surveillance and preventive systems to reduce the probability of terror attacks on soft targets including transportation networks.
- A mechanism to improve the investigation and prosecution of cases of terror having inter-state or international linkages by a federal agency based on a Consultative Mechanism should be evolved.
- While there is improvement of security in the North East, Manipur and Nagaland appear vulnerable. Extortion seems to be a frequent occurrence.
Comments. The primary need of the hour is to depoliticize policing in the country and gain greater accountability in the political leadership in the days ahead. India has a weak policing system which is highly politicized lacking in professionalism. This is leading to ineffective measures being taken by the police preventing stringent controls in growth of terrorism and militancy in the country. Till the political class accepts its responsibility towards law and order, the situation is not likely to improve merely by undertaking policing measures.
Communal Crisis in Orissa
The communal crisis in Orissa continued over an extended period of a week as over 700 Christians sought shelter in government relief camps in the state over the week. So far four people have died in the violence in rural district of Kandhamal. 19 churches some of them in make shift shelters were ransacked and burnt in the violence between Christians and Hindu groups who have alleged conversion of so called lower caste Hindus to Christianity.
Comments. Orissa has a long history of violence between the communities. Staines, an Australian missionary and his two sons, aged 8 and 10, were burnt to death in their car in Orissa following a Bible class in 1999. This time lack of anticipation by the district administration in this communally sensitive district with right wing elements attempting to raise the ante has been the cause of this turmoil in Orissa. The violence was quite easily avoidable as sufficient indications of a flare up were available. However the government did not take any proactive measures to avoid the same, including the district administration which was asked by the Christian missionaries for security assistance. A more responsive district administration would have avoided such a confrontation. Getting out of the spiral of communal violence is always difficult. There is a need for inter communal faith meetings which are to be organized by all concerned to ensure that there is greater harmony between the communities. This will have to be in conjunction with security measures particularly directed at protecting the areas which are sensitive for all communities particularly the churches in the state.
Explosives Theft : Cause for Alarm
An Indian Express Report indicated that the Government has formed a panel to examine theft of large quantum of detonators and explosive and suggest reforms to ensure their safety. An Indian Express investigation had indicated that between 2004 and 2006, 86,899 detonators, 20,150 kg of slurry explosives, 52,740 meters of detonating fuse and 419 kg of gelatine sticks had been stolen or diverted. The high level committee comprises of the Home Secretary, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau, the Secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing, the Defence Secretary, Revenue Secretary and Secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) with Member Secretary being the Chief Controller of Explosives. The committee`s terms of reference are as follows:-
- Examine existing system of issuance of license for manufacture, supply and movement of explosive materials
- Suggest measures for monitoring as well as an effective mechanism with proper accountability for manufacture, supply and movement of explosives.
- Track movement and end use of explosives to prevent misuse. [http://www.indianexpress.com/story/254360.html]
Comments. There are major loop holes in explosive and arms issue policies, storage and utilisation in India. Since explosives form an important means of terrorist violence in the country, there is a need to ensure that there are effective controls to avoid any adverse fall outs from proliferation. Thus further controls may be essential to prevent seepages in the explosive supply chain to the industry as well as the armed forces.
Gorkha Agitation Gathers Momentum In Darjeeling