Category Archives: Indian Army

To win against Maoists, repair the Home Ministry first. My piece.

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It was March of 2014 when in the jungles surrounding Koraput in Odisha, a police team spent a night in hiding, ready to attack Maoists who they knew were to cross a stream. By the morning, the team left empty-handed. “Later we realised the rebels did come short of crossing that stream when they spotted our footwear marks on the soil and quietly changed their path,” said the officer.

From field-level tactics to post-incident evaluation to carrying out studies on Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), impairing drones and helicopters, the Maoists, anyone with any experience of the trade will tell you, make an honest attempt of their job.

Thus, for India’s home minister Rajnath Singh to accuse them of “cold-blooded murder” is a case of being poorly informed.

Nevertheless, the establishment has been jolted with the loss of 25 more personnel. Only last month, in the same state, the same district, the same force was routed by the same adversary. The guerrillas then killed 12. About 60 security personnel have been killed by the Maoists within the four months of this year.

Nothing hereon will matter more than the rectification at the top, inside the North Block where the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is expected to hammer into shape the contours of this fight. Yet its absurdities have gone unchallenged and unrepaired:

1. In a Parliamentary Committee report tabled on March 15, the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi has been quoted as saying the government had no money to provide mine resistant vehicles to protect troops from Maoist mines. The committee was “constrained to observe that lack of financial resources is becoming a reason for casualty of valuable lives being lost in the battle against Left Wing Extremism”.

2. To deal with Maoist mines, the MHA told the Parliament it is ensuring the availability of more than one mine proof vehicle (MPV) per battalion. But it never told that its own guidelines (authorisation) hold that every battalion must hold between seven to ten MPVs.

3. The MHA also indirectly made the Jabalpur-based Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) look responsible for not producing enough MPVs. Why did the MHA not float a global tender if the OFB was slow? Minister of State in-charge of the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) desk, Hansraj Ahir said his government hadn’t given the idea a thought yet.

4. On April 12, replying to a host of Members of Parliament (MPs), Ahir patted himself on the back for year on year reduction of casualties of troops as if this conflict was about numbers alone. In the same deliberation, Ahir when asked about the modernised combat support and technology his government had brought to the troops said the troops now had helicopters and drones!

5. The efficacy/availability of drones comes under doubt when it hasn’t helped the CRPF pick any signs of back-to-back, massive ambushes which the Maoists laid barely 2km outside its camps! It also points to a breakdown of communication with the local community – the very people the CRPF is there to normalise the situation for.

6. Problem of poor leadership by the MHA compounds when it comes to CRPF, a force with lethal disconnect between the top and the bottom. That the MHA has kept the CRPF headless for nearly two months says so much.

7. Unfortunately the MHA and the CRPF have made a habit out of ducking from questions. Having covered the issue, I know the approach has the green signal from powerful quarters

8. With little to show in terms of deftly handling the Kashmir situation, the MHA finds itself in a corner. It simply does not have the troops it needs to strengthen its presence in the LWE states where the deployment is as such thin.

While the top fumbles with hardly any accountability, those on ground will pay with their lives for one wrong step taken.

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A little-known success story that emerged for the US Marine Corps from Vietnam, documented in The Tunnels Of Cuchi by Tom Mangold and John Penycate, may hold relevance here.

A harassed young officer, Lieutenant Colonel Oliver, discovered how the native communist fighters were using underground tunnels to hit his troops and evade. Since the Americans had no experience in dealing with the tunnel menace, he took it upon himself to painstakingly learn and teach his battalion ways to identify bunkers, probe them and only upon completing this “course”, he sought the permission to launch an “operation”.

His troops seized the area, physically searched the ground for holes, any tell tale signs and kept up till 89 of the 92 guerillas operating there were killed, captured or had surrendered.

(THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED AT THE DAILYO PORTAL – http://www.dailyo.in/politics/26-crpf-maoists-die-sukma-bastar-home-ministry-failure/story/1/16839.html)

SINO-INDIAN BORDER: After years of escalation, the unmarked line is cooling down. I report.

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Story appeared in MAIL TODAY on December 30, 2016

2 MINUTE VIDEO explaining the story: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/india-china-border-violation-chinese-military-indian-defence-lowered-down/1/845499.html

PRINT REPORT: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/indian-chinese-soldiers-border-violations-lac-cheshul-depsang-ladakh-itbp/1/845300.html

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HAND IN HAND: When we shot India & China over guns, bombs & some chicken curry

YOUTUBE LINK TO THE TELECAST DATED DEC 3 & 4, 2016:

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WHEN WE SHOT THE ARMIES OF INDIA & CHINA OVER GUNS, BOMBS & SOME CHICKEN CURRY: 

http://www.dailyo.in/politics/indian-army-china-pla-international-security-military-operations/story/1/14361.html

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PLA in the kitchen!

VIDEO BLOG: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pla-peoples-liberation-army-indian-army-chicken-curry-rotis-training-exercise/1/829279.html

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De-briefing is underway
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Our troops stunned the visitors and audience with their skills
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The admin block inside Aundh military station which was home to the Armies
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At the end of  the practice session for the cultural display
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With the PLA in their barracks 
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A break!

AFTER URI & BEFORE SURGICAL STRIKES: The Kashmir I saw

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It is early morning in Handwara town in north Kashmir

LONG STORY (30 minutes) AIRED ON INDIA TODAY TV ON OCT 1 & 2, 2016:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/programme/line-of-control-uti-attacks-army-pakistan-terror/1/777747.html

WHEN I WENT TO THE LAST VILLAGE BEFORE THE LoC:

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Youth in the village of Naogam Patwari assembled when they saw us, the ‘Indian media’.
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Condition of the village road left a lot to be desired. People told us that barring the army, they simply had no one to rely on.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/loc-kashmir-naugam-patwari-infiltration-bid/1/771085.html

MY DISPATCH FROM THE LoC – THREE DAYS BEFORE THE SURGICAL STRIKES:

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Somewhere along the Line of Control, Border Security Force personnel stand guard

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/uri-attack-india-fortifies-border-positions-loc-pakistan-terrorists/1/773061.html

US Defence Secy Carter in India: Key takeaways here

 

PIC5Defence Minister MANOHAR PARRIKAR’s speech on the eve of joint statement with Dr Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defence, USA

It is indeed a great pleasure for me to receive Dr Carter in India. This is his second visit in less than a year, reflecting his continued interest in expanding bilateral defence relations between our two countries.

As many of you are aware, Secretary Carter is the architect of the India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative. DTTI has provided an unprecedented platform for our two countries to strengthen bilateral cooperation in cutting-edge technologies and to address procedural delays in decision-making. We have decided to take forward discussions under DTTI more aggressively on key areas such as Jet Engine technology. We will also continue our very useful and productive discussions on cooperation in the framework of the Joint Working Group on aircraft carriers. We also agreed to expand DTTI by introducing new and more ambitious projects for mutual collaboration. Both of us noted the strong complementarities between DTTI and the Make in India initiative. I hope to work together with Secretary Carter over the coming weeks and months to facilitate synergies between Indian and US companies in high technology areas, and in particular to promote participation of Indian companies in global supply chains.

It was entirely appropriate that we visited India’s western shores. Even as we work with the United States to realize the full potential of India’s Act East policy, we also seek a closer partnership with the United States to promote our shared interests in India’s West, especially in the context of the emerging situation in West Asia.

With a view to taking our cooperation forward, Secretary Carter and I have agreed to set up a new bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue between officials from our respective Defence and External Affairs Ministries. We have also decided to enhance our on-going Navy-to-Navy discussions to cover submarine-related issues. Both countries will also deepen cooperation in Maritime Domain Awareness by finalizing a ‘White Shipping’ Agreement.

The growing interaction between our armed forces is another significant aspect of our bilateral partnership. Today, India has more joint exercises with the United States than with any other country in the world. After a few years, we are taking part in multilateral exercises such as the Red Flag Air Force exercise and the RIMPAC Naval Exercise. As our engagement deepens, we need to develop practical mechanisms to facilitate such exchanges. In this context, Secretary Carter and I agreed in principle to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement in the coming months.

We also discussed the regional security environment. I underlined India’s continuing concern at terrorism in the region directed against us. Secretary Carter emphasised that eliminating terrorism, and the ideology and infrastructure that supports it, is a common objective the United States shares with India. We look forward to even closer bilateral cooperation with the United States on counter-terrorism.

India and the United States are both strongly committed to a rule-based international order. We will continue to work together to maintain peace and stability and to maintain an enabling framework for progress and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.

FULL TEXT: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=138813

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JOINT STATEMENT TEXT

Bilateral Defence cooperation is a key component of the strategic partnership between India and the United States.Secretary Carter’s visit marked the fourth meeting between him and Raksha Mantri Parrikar within a year, demonstrating the regular Ministerial-level oversight of the robust and deepening bilateral Defence relationship.

They discussed the priorities for the coming year in defence ties, as well as specific steps both sides will take to pursue those priorities. These included expanding collaboration under the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI); Make in India efforts of Government of India; new opportunities to deepen cooperation in maritime security and Maritime Domain Awareness; military-to-military relations; the knowledge partnership in the field of defence; and regional and international security matters of mutual interest.

They welcomed plans across our Services for greater complexity in their military engagements and exercises, including developing plans for more advanced maritime exercises. Both sides acknowledged India’s participation in the Rim-of-the-Pacific (RIMPAC) multilateral naval exercise in 2016 as well as participation by the Indian Air Force in the multilateral Red Flag exercise in April-May 2016 in Alaska and U.S. participation in the International Fleet Review of the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam in February 2016.They expressed their desire to explore agreements which would facilitate further expansion of bilateral defence cooperation in practical ways. In this regard, they announced their in principle agreement to conclude a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, and to continue working toward other facilitating agreements to enhance military cooperation and technology transfer.

In support of the India-U.S. Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region and the maritime security objectives therein, both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of maritime security. In this context, they reaffirmed their desire to expeditiously conclude a “white shipping” technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic. They agreed to commence Navy-to-Navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare. They also agreed to launch a bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue, co-chaired by officials at the Joint Secretary/Assistant Secretary-level of the Indian Ministries of Defence and External Affairs and the U.S. Departments of Defense and State.

Secretary Carter and Raksha Mantri Parrikar reaffirmed the importance of safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over flight throughout the region, including in the South China Sea.

In this context, they agreed to initiate two new DTTI pathfinder projects on Digital Helmet Mounted Displays and the Joint Biological Tactical Detection System. They commended the on-going discussions at the Jet Engine Technology Joint Working Group (JETJWG)and the Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation (JWGACTC). They agreed to work towards greater cooperation in the field of cutting-edge defence technologies, including deepening consultations on aircraft carrier design and operations, and jet engine technology. They noted the understanding reached to conclude an information exchange annex (IEA) to enhance data and information sharing specific to aircraft carriers.

In support of Make in India, the United States shared two proposals to bolster India’s suite of fighter aircraft for consideration of the Government of India.

Secretary Carter and Raksha Mantri Parrikar welcomed the finalization of four government-to-government project agreements in the area of science and technology cooperation: Atmospheric Sciences for High Energy Lasers, Cognitive Tools for Target Detection, Small Intelligent Unmanned Aerial Systems, and Blast and Blunt Traumatic Brain Injury.

Before departing India, Secretary Carter will oversee a repatriation ceremony of U.S. World War II remains from India to the United States.

FULL TEXT: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=138813

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STATEMENT BY DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE, US AFTER CARTER’S MEET WITH PM MODI

They discussed the secretary’s trip to Goa, his visit to the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya  and Karwar Naval Base – a first for a secretary of defense – as well as a range of security issues.

Secretary Carter shared with the prime minister his views on the unprecedented military-to-military ties between the two countries right now..

The secretary reinforced his view that India, like the United States, seeks to be a net exporter of security, and the two countries will continue to work with other partners to shape a regional security architecture that will allow all to rise and prosper.

FULL TEXT: http://www.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/719207/readout-of-secretary-carters-meeting-with-indian-prime-minister-narendra-modi

Self-made Light Combat Helo’s 1st rocket firing – All about it here

LCH Rocket firing

After successful completion of basic performance flight testing and outstation trials for cold weather, hot weather and hot & high altitude testing in the year 2015, the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has achieved yet another milestone by satisfactory firing of Rockets (70 mm) from its prototype, TD-3 in weaponized configuration.

 

“The initial rocket firing trials have been carried out at Jaisalmer, establishing satisfactory integration of hardware and software, structural integrity and safe separation of rocket ammunition. Integration of weapons such as Rocket, Turret Gun (20 mm) and Air to Air Missile on LCH will further continue”, says Mr. T. Suvarna Raju, CMD, HAL. “These trials give us confidence for carrying out certification firing trials planned during Apr-May 2016”, he adds. LCH will participate in IAF’s `Iron Fist 2016’ exercise on March 18, 2016.

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The LCH TD-3 is integrated with Electo-Optical (EO) System, Solid State Digital Video Recording System (SSDVR) and 70mm Rocket system in conjunction with an updated Glass Cockpit software to cater for rocket firing.

 

Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)

 

LCH is a 5.5-ton class, combat helicopter designed and developed by HAL. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self sealing fuel tanks, armor protection, nuclear and low visibility features which makes the LCH lethal, agile and survivable.

 

The helicopter would have day/night targeting systems for the crew including the Helmet Pointed Sight and Electro-Optical Pod consisting of CCD camera/FLIR/Laser Range Finder (LRF)/Laser Designator (LD). The LCH is fitted with Self Protection Suite consisting of Radar/Laser Missile warning systems and Counter Measures Dispensing System (CMDS).

 

The first prototype helicopter had its inaugural flight on Mar 23, 2010. The second and third prototype had their first flight on June 28, 2011 and Nov 12, 2014. LCH TD4 completed its maiden flight on December 1, 2015.  LCH has completed performance trials paving way for certification of basic configuration and a letter to this effect was handed over to HAL by CEMILAC in the presence of Defence Minister on Oct 16, 2015.

 

(Text and images courtesy HAL, Bengaluru)

BSF: Never let ground realities come in the way of boss’s farewell parade

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Story appeared in MAIL TODAY on February 28, 2016

READ AND VIEW VIDEO HERE:

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/terror-lurking-bsf-pulls-out-600-guards-for-farewell-parade/1/606898.html