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Defence and Security

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.


While an upsetting remark by President Obama- hyphenating India-Pakistan can raise doubts about the Indian success at the NSS; his remarks and Indian commitments at the NSS could be delinked. The Indian ‘Gift Basket diplomacy’ at the summit should be welcomed for various reasons.  


The Central Reserve Police Force will soon get its first all-woman unit to fight Maoists (also known as Naxalites), who themselves have a women’s unit. This is a natural progression of the rapidity with which women are being equated with men in roles that were traditionally marked for men only. Not only are women to brush shoulders with men in combat duties with the Indian Army but they will also soon be flying sorties for the Indian Air Force and also undertaking naval duties that were considered so tough as to justify gender singularity. 


Defencepreparedness, in simple terms, means readiness to meet an attack from an adversary or to attack the adversary and win a war. This is a function of strength and intention of the adversary, own strength in manpower and quality of equipment, doctrines and training and, national will. The strength of own Armed Forces also depends upon by the quality of their leadership, levels of training, ability to absorb and high technology weapon systems and use them effectively, domestic defence technology base, funds available to meet revenue and capital expenditure of the defence forces in a sustained manner and, clarity of political and military objectives. Winning a war requires synergy not only among the three services but full support of the government and the people. This brief note focuses on the state of military hardware and the concerns about technological lag and obsolescence of the equipment held by Indian Armed Forces.


Last month’s final Nuclear Security Summit in Washington appeared to be another successful attempt by India to present itself as a responsible global player. But President Obama’s unscripted comments at the concluding press conference altered the situation.

South Block reacted with some anger to Obama’s mentioning as a challenge developments in India and Pakistan’s military doctrines; he went on to state his hope not to see them ‘continually moving in the wrong direction’.

Broadly, the Nuclear Security Summits have not only raised the profile of nuclear security issues at a global level but have started a thread of ‘softer nuclear security issues’ that have witnessed a wilful participation of countries. The innovative concepts of ‘gift baskets’ introduced during the proceedings of the first Security Summit have indeed extracted voluntary nuclear security commitments from the participating countries and the ‘Sherpa meetings’ have become a unique platform to distil the incongruities beforehand in order to shape the agenda more coherently during the NSS.  

Allegations of wrongdoings in military procurements are as old as independent India. Within months of the country becoming free, there were insinuations that India’s first High Commissioner to London, V.K. Krishna Menon, had not adhered to procurement norms while ordering 200 jeeps for the Indian Army. Some 150 jeeps that finally landed in Madras port were refurbished second-hand ones, probably used in the recently concluded World War II. 


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a part of China’s transnational One Belt One Road initiative, is seen as an economic breakthrough for Pakistan. Huge stakes are involved. Trade, energy and geostrategic imperatives are driving both Pakistani and Chinese ambitions. The dominant thinking in Pakistan is that the CPEC, with a set of projects worth $46 billion currently under construction, will substantially improve Pakistan’s current fragile economic situation, as the project will bring about unprecedented changes in the lives of the people across the region.


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