Tag Archives: Indian Army

#StateOfPlay: Celebrating surgical strikes? No thanks.

By Jugal R Purohit

Speaking at Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the media for its coverage of the first anniversary of the surgical strikes. These strikes were conducted in the aftermath of the Uri camp attack which led to the death of 18 army personnel on September 18 last year.

Incidentally, even as the PM was speaking, security personnel in Srinagar were responding to a boisterous attempt by three terrorists to script another Uri-like attack. They targeted the battalion headquarters of the Border Security Force (BSF) where close to 200 personnel and their families were present.

In the year gone by, several such attempts have been made by the terrorists. The surgical strikes, one can say, have neither deterred them nor their Pakistan-based handlers.

Yet none of this came in the way of ‘celebrating’ the operation.

Did anyone ask if all measures to prevent such Uri-like camp intrusions had been implemented? If yes, why are they still taking place? If they haven’t been implemented then why so?

These strikes were meant to be yet another option in deterring Pakistan from aiding and abetting terrorism in Kashmir. What are the other options? How have we implemented them? What happened to the question of delivering better governance in the state which to my mind is the biggest step in coming closer to solving quagmire?

For one, Delhi claims it has refined the counter-terror mechanism in Kashmir because of which it has achieved more terrorist kills in comparison to previous years. Adding to the argument, those on the ground insist the present year is a calmer one (167 violent incidents recorded till June 30, 2017) coming after 322 recorded incidents – highest in the last five years – in 2016. A senior officer in Srinagar reasoned, “We are controlling better, more tightly than before.”

Along the Line of Control (LoC), the surgical strikes were followed by a severe intensification of cross-LoC firing. The 449 ceasefire violations in 2016, bulk of which were recorded in the aftermath of the surgical strikes, consumed the lives of seven security personnel (not to speak of those 29,000 who had been temporarily displaced or the civilians who’ve been hit, killed or lost property). Interestingly, if you are to keep the casualties in the months of October and November of last year aside, data between April 2016 and March 2017 shows India only lost two service personnel in the firing.

But this isn’t all that happened.

A PRS Legislative Research Jammu and Kashmir Budget analysis of 2017-18 tells us that investment in the state which amounted for Rs 4866 crore from 2009-10 to 2014-15, averaging Rs 973 crore a year, slowed down to Rs 267 crore in 2015-16. What does that mean on the ground? Rate of unemployment for persons between 18-29 years of age in the state hovered at 24.6 per cent when the national average was 13.2 per cent. Among persons between 15-17 years of age, it was at 57.7 per cent when the corresponding national average was 19.8 per cent.


State’s Finance Minister Haseeb A Drabu, on January 11, 2017, made an insightful comment when he said, “Unemployment is a social issue of serious magnitude in the state. Even as the rate of unemployment is supposed to be very high in the state, we do not have actual figures” (http://jakfinance.nic.in/Budget17/speechEng.pdf)


In J&K, when comparing the average growth between 2005-10 and 2010-15, a decline is seen from 5.8 per cent to 4.5 per cent. In agriculture (which employs 64 per cent of the population and contributes 22 per cent to the economy), manufacturing (employs 11 per cent and contributes 25 per cent) and services (employs 25 per cent and contributes 53 per cent), the current levels of growth pale when compared to the growth in 2005-10. (http://www.prsindia.org/administrator/uploads/general/1464866443_Jammu%20and%20Kashmir%20Budget%20Analysis%202016-17.pdf)


Two recent news reports from Srinagar caught my eye.

The Indian Express reported on October 4 that ‘schools, especially higher secondary ones, have been open for a little more than hundred days throughout the 11-month session so far. It is the second consecutive year that schools in the valley have remained shut for most part of the academic session’.  Day after, Hindustan Times quoted, ‘Combined cases of drug abuse and related psychological issues also went up from more than 14,500 cases in 2014 to 33,222 in 2016, a staggering 130% increase in two years. This year till April alone, this number is 13,352’.

Did Delhi and Srinagar face any questions over this?

When I tried finding out a voice on the ground to understand the human story from these numbers, I bumped into Muneeb Mir (37), a businessman operating from Pampore. He said, “We see the iron fist of the government, we see a return to the cordon and search approach we thought we had last seen in the 90s. We understand it helps the rightist agenda of the government to be seen as muscular but what really worries us is this – earlier the narrative of the government was one thing and the narrative of the people the other. Today that line has blurred and this dominating rightist narrative worries us.”

Speaking of anniversaries, it was in October 1947 that Jammu and Kashmir’s erstwhile ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession, paving the way for the state to become a part of India. An undated letter written by Jawaharlal Nehru to Hari Singh published in Ramachandra Guha’s seminal ‘India After Gandhi’ carried the following text:

“Even if military forces held Kashmir for a while, a later consequence might be a strong reaction against this. Essentially, therefore, this is a problem of psychological approach to the mass of the people and of making them feel they will be benefited by being in the Indian Union. If the average Muslim feels that he has no safe or secure place in the Union, then obviously he will look elsewhere. Our basic policy must keep this in view, or else we fail”.

So, what happened?





QUICK ANALYSIS: My two bits on the soon-to-be-signed deal for 145 M777 ULTRA LIGHT guns

ULH M777 was introduced in 2006 in Afghanistan where, its makers claim, it has fired over 40,000 rounds.

KAMOV-226T: An air ambulance which is now the cure for IAF & Army’s chopper woes

Report appeared in MAIL TODAY newspaper dated Oct 16, 2016

VIDEO: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/video/kamov-226-t-make-in-india-siachen/1/788099.html



LINK: AK Antony, India’s longest-serving Defence minister gave his first interview in the last eight years. I was the lucky journalist. Watch here.

Here he gives his take on how the defence of India has been handled in the year gone by:

IN PARLIAMENT: Under 20% target achieved, deadline long over says MoD on strategic roads along China border





New Delhi: Phalguna 19, 1936

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

73 roads are identified as strategic Indo- China border roads (ICBR), out of which 61 roads have been entrusted to Border Roads Organisation (BRO) with a length of 3410 km which were to be completed by 2012.

Out of 61 ICBRs with BRO, 19 roads of length 625 km have been completed and connectivity has been achieved on 24 roads. The revised completion schedule for 42 ICBRs is as under:

2015                 :  16 roads

2016                :  13 roads

2017                :    9 roads

2018                :    2 roads

Beyond 2018   :    2 roads

There are certain delays in execution of road projects mainly due to the following reasons:

  • Delay in Forest/ Wildlife clearance
  • Hard rock stretches.
  • Limited working season.
  • Difficulties in availability of construction material.
  • Delay in land acquisition.
  • Due to natural disaster such as flash flood of Leh 2010, J&K flood in 2014 and earthquake in Sikkim in 2011, resources are diverted.


:  2  :

Government has taken following measures  to expedite the pace of road projects:

  • Chief Secretaries of various State Governments have been requested to constitute Empowered Committees under their chairmanship with Secretaries of concerned departments as members to resolve issues related to land acquisition, forest/ wildlife clearance, allotment of quarries etc.
  • Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) has given the General Approval under section 2 of forest (conservation) Act, 1980 for diversion of forest land required for  construction/widening of roads entrusted to BRO in the area falling within 100 kilometers aerial distance from the Line of  Actual Control (LAC) and for link roads between Border Roads in the area within 100 kilometer aerial distance from the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and National Highways/ State Highways/ Other roads subject to certain conditions.
  • Outsourcing has been allowed to    augment capacity of BRO.
  • Long Term Roll On Work Plan (LTROWP) and Long Term Equipment Plan (LTEP) has been approved.
  • Enhanced financial and administrative powers have been given to the executives of BRO.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to Shri Naresh Gujral in Rajya Sabha today.

IN PARLIAMENT: MoD (finally) shares data on DRDO’s spending; Also says IAF procures max from foreign vendors & army, least





New Delhi: Phalguna 19, 1936

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

India has been importing defence equipment and parts from technologically advanced countries to meet the operational requirements of the Armed Forces.  Over the years, country has established Defence Industrial Base of Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factories (OFs), Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and private sectors, which are engaged in manufacturing of defence hardware.  The licensing procedure for defence industries has been substantially simplified.  So far, 251 Letters of Intent (LoI) / Industrial Licenses (ILs) have been issued to 150 Indian companies till January, 2015 for manufacture of a wide range of defence items such as major weapon systems, armoured vehicles, warships, aircrafts, helicopters, UAVs, Radars, electronic warfare systems, communication and surveillance systems, ammunitions, explosives etc. 49 licenses companies having 75 licenses have reported commencement of production.  Besides, the cap of FDI has been raised from 26% to 49%.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is a Mission Mode Organisation, which is primarily engaged in design and development of strategic, complex and security sensitive systems for the Armed Forces.  DRDO has developed   a number of systems / products / technologies, a large number of   which have already been productionised.  The value of systems / products / technologies developed by DRDO and inducted into Services or in the process of induction stands at over Rs.1,78,000 Crore.  These include combat vehicles; missiles; multi-barrel rocket launcher; unmanned aerial vehicles; radars; electronic warfare systems; sonars; torpedos; bridging systems; combat aircraft; sensors; NBC technologies; parachutes; combat free fall system; propellants and explosives; detonators; communication systems; armaments systems; cyber systems, etc.


:  2  :

Amounts spent by DRDO during the last three years is as follows:-

(Rs. in crore)

Year Actual Expenditure


2011-12 9893.84
2012-13 9794.80
2013-14 10859.04
2014-15 9639.66

(upto January 2015 as per CGDA compilation)

Capital acquisition orders placed on foreign vendors of defence equipment during the last three years is as follows:-

Year Air Force Navy Army


2011-12 15258.11 6700.91 506.07
2012-13 19220.95 6100.38 991.67
2013-14 20927.54 12653.56 1501.00

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to Shri AU Singh Deo in Rajya Sabha today.




JUST IN: FICCI takes MoD to task over ‘inordinate delays’ in Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV)

New Delhi, March 3, 2015: Dr A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, has welcomed the decision of the Indian Army and Ministry of Defence for down-selecting two Indian industry consortia, namely, Tata Power and Larsen & Turbo and Bharat Electronics Limited and Rolta, as Development Agencies for the  Ministry’s prestigious ‘MAKE’ Program: ’Battlefield Management System (BMS)’.  
This is a Network Centric Program aimed at  developing an indigenous prototype of BMS for the Indian Army under the  MAKE category of the Defence Procurement Procedure. The success of the program is bound to l unleash the potential of Indian defence manufacturing, especially the private sector.
FICCI congratulates the two  industry consortia and believes that they would deliver state-of-the-art prototypes within the stipulated time frame at a price that is competitive. These  products will help India  in inching towards the goal of self- reliance, besides giving the user a sense of pride from a ‘MAKE in India’ technology. The success of the  project will boost  the confidence of foreign investors and defence companies in  partnering with Indian industry in keeping with the ‘Make in India’ vision.

Dr Didar Singh has appreciated the quicker decision making process adopted by the DGIS, MoD, and Indian Army for the down-selection of Indian industry consortia to participate in the Prototype Development Phase of this ‘MAKE’ Program followed by a Production Order, which will be decided by the MoD after successful completion of the prototype.

He mentioned that FICCI has over the years  advocated  focus on ‘MAKE’ projects as India’s  defence needs can be addressed by customised development of products based on  geographic and strategic requirements. FICCI would like to bring the attention of the MoD to delays in finalizing the Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV), another ‘MAKE’ project under consideration of the Indian Army which has already seen inordinate delays.
FICCI has called for more projects to be categorised under ‘MAKE’ to achieve self reliance in the true sense.