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Defence and Security

It is the most persistently aired word in the lexicon of the Indian military. It is almost as old as the Republic and has been kept alive on a military ventilator. A handful of retired soldiers routinely invoke the expression in various public fora, to somehow pressure the political executive into creating a new “post” in the already top-heavy high-rise military hierarchy -- the office of a Military Supremo to proffer single-point advice to the Government for higher defence management.

 

Indian Army chief Gen. Dalbir Singh has ordered a study to increase the ratio of combat troops to noncombat troops with the aim to find more funds to buy weapons.

 

The Minister for Defence has recently announced the formation of an 11-member committee, led by Lieutenant General DB Shekatkar (Retd), to look into areas of overlap and convergence within the three Forces — the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. The committee will also identify areas to “rationalise manpower”, examine possible areas of multi-tasking by troops and suggest ways to “optimise” combat potential by bringing in more technology instead of more boots.

 
 
The Israeli Spyder system has emerged as the frontrunner for an Army requirement for a fast reaction air defence cover against enemy aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. The Army's short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) programme, which was started in 2011, is nearing final selection that will lead to a contract valued at over Rs 18,000 crore.   
 

The Modi government has not lived up to the muscularity the prime minister promised while campaigning

 

India might be better off building an international consortium with the likes of Japan and South Korea to invest in the project

 

The NDA government has appointed a committee of experts to recommend measures to enhance the combat capabilities of the over 13-lakh strong armed forces and "re-balance" the overall defence expenditure in view of the escalating salary and pension bills.

 

Pakistan on Thursday alleged that India was pursuing conventional, nuclear and missile development programmes which can lead to nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean and can disturb the "balance of power" in the region. 

 

The latest major company to be banned is Agusta Westland owing to allegations of kickbacks in the purchase of 12 AW 101 transport helicopters. The government, which signed the contract in February 2010, froze it in February 2013 barely two months after a first batch of three helicopters arrived in December 2012. But even these three choppers fitted with special security features, meant for high-value dignitaries such as the President and the Prime Minister, have been unable to fly. Reason: they are grounded due to a crisis of spares and after-sales support along with the absence of political clearance. 

 
 

The Pentagon’s annual report to the US Congress on China’s nuclear power, its territorial aggression in the East and South China seas and troop buildup close to the Indian border is not so much alarmist as a realistic assessment of rising military capabilities. However, the “force posture” warning is specially relevant to India, now caught in the middle of changing global geopolitics. China is putting forth its usual defence, that it follows “a national defence policy that’s defensive in nature,” but this alters little in India-China ties, despite Narendra Modi striking a personal rapport with Xi Jinping.

 


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