A Self-reliance in defence sector will have middle and long-term benefits, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh pointing out that it will help in building the foundation of a robust industrial base in India.
Singh, while addressing the 37th Air Chief Marshal P.C. Lal Memorial Lecture in New Delhi on Thursday, described self-reliance as essential for not only building the domestic capacity, but also for safeguarding the sovereignty of the country.
"Our past experiences have taught us that India cannot depend on imports for its security and security. Recent conflicts, especially the situation in Ukraine, have told us that not just defence supplies, but commercial contracts are also prone to be affected when it comes to national interests," he added.
He listed out some of the recent initiatives taken by the government, terming them as building blocks of a self-reliant structure which will empower the domestic manufacturers and help India emerge as a net exporter of defence equipment.
The Defence Minister reiterated that the government is "leaving no stone unturned to ensure the safety and security of the people of the country".
He added that India has emerged as the foremost responder for out of area contingencies across the region. Singh also lauded the Armed Forces and other organs of the state for their combined contribution in achieving the objective.
He called for technology evolution, gaining expertise and human resource management to defend the country against space-guided attacks and protect the space assets.
"Change is the law of nature. It is eternal. This law is applicable to war as well. As students of military affairs and geopolitics, it is our duty to keep anticipating the nature of future wars. Steps are being taken by our adversaries towards military use of space. This is likely to have an adverse effect on our interests. We, therefore, need to identify and be fully prepared for the evolving security challenges," he said.
Singh added that the nature of future wars can be assessed through a closer look at the situation in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and the recent Ukrainian conflict. "Although these trends are suggestive, but we can gain a deeper understanding by correlating them with our local threats."
The Defence Minister voiced the government's resolve to provide specialised skills training to the armed forces personnel, especially IAF, in latest technology to make them future ready.
Further, highlighting the importance of technology in wars, Singh said that the use of technology has seen an unprecedented increase in recent times. He, however, stated that expensive platforms/weapon systems do not alone ensure victory; it is their employment which gives an edge in wars.
"Be it precision guided munition, unmanned aerial vehicles or manpack anti-tank weapons, their deployment in any future war will be as critical as it had been in the past. Technology is a force multiplier, but without innovative deployment, state-of-the-art equipment will be a mere display," he added.
Singh asserted that through the process of integration structures can be built for bringing together the forces and greater synergy can be established between them through joint vision, training, planning and execution of operations.
"The ongoing process of integration of the armed forces is aimed at not only increasing the combined capability, but also efficiency. There have been deliberations in the armed forces regarding the envisaged changes. This consultative process will continue till the implementation of the reforms. We have to keep in mind that its long term success will depend on the vision of the planners just as much it depends on those who implement it. I have full faith that in future more unity will be established not just ideologically, but also in action," he said.
Indian Army's Vice Chief Lt Gen Manoj C. Pande was on Monday appointed as the next Chief of the Army Staff - the first engineer to hold the top post.
He succeed Gen M.M. Naravane on April 30, 2022.
Born on May 6, 1962, Lt General Pande was commissioned on December 24, 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers), and during his long and distinguished service spanning over 39 years, has served in a variety of command, staff, and instructional appointments.
He has commanded an Engineer Brigade in the Western Theatre as part of Strike Corps, and an Infantry Brigade along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. His other important command appointments include a Mountain Division in the high-altitude area of western Ladakh and a Corps deployed along the LAC and in the counter-insurgency operations area of the Eastern Command.
He had been Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman & Nicobar Command and as the Eastern Army Commander at Kolkata before taking over as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff.
An alumnus of National Defence Academy, he has also studied at Staff College, Camberley (UK), Army War College, Mhow and National Defence College, New Delhi.
Amid the Ukraine war and sanctions, Russia has begun delivering the second squadron of S-400 advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems to India, ahead of schedule, officials said.
By end of this month, the delivery of the critical system will be completed and thereafter it will be deployed.
The first squadron of the S-400 system arrived in India in December 2021 and has been deployed on the Punjab border to thwart any airstrikes from both Pakistan and China.
India has procured five S-400 systems from Russia through a $5-billion deal signed in October 2018.
All the five units of the S-400 system, which can take down a hostile aircraft or missile at a range between 40km and 400km, are expected to be operational by 2022.
The S-400 system is capable of tracking, engaging and addressing the threat of Chinese or Pakistani fighters the moment they take off from air bases. The system can track multiple targets at multiple ranges and neutralise them simultaneously.
India decided to upgrade its military infrastructure when the country was locked in a major faceoff with China along the Line of Actual Control in July 2020. The threat of two-front war - from China and Pakistan - made India go for large scale arms deals and Russia is still one of India's largest arms suppliers.
There were apprehension about the delay in delivery of critical weapon system after Russia's war with Ukraine. However, with the delivery of the second squadron of S-400 system, India is hopeful of getting other military capabilities.
Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited India and had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and apprised them of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine while discussing bilateral ties.
Lavrov and Jaishankar held discussions over Russia's crude oil offer, rupee-ruble payment, ongoing arms deals, Ukraine crisis, and the situation in Afghanistan and Iran.
Israel has successfully completed the first tests of a new laser-based system designed to intercept drones, missiles and other aerial threats, Israel's Defence Ministry has said.
In the first-phase tests, the system was able, for the first time, to intercept drones, mortars, rockets, and anti-tank missiles, the Defence Ministry added on Thursday in a statement.
"The program aims to develop a high-power ground and aerial laser system equipped to deal with long-range, high-intensity threats," it said.
The development of the system has been led by the Defence Ministry's Research and Development Division, Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and Elbit Systems, two Israeli weapons and security companies, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to the Ministry, following the tests, Israel became "one of the first countries in the world to successfully develop high-power laser technology at an operational standard with operational interception capabilities."
"Today marks the first time that a high-power, Israeli-made laser system successfully intercepted various targets, constituting a breakthrough on a global scale," Defence Minister Benny Gantz wrote on Twitter.
Israel's goal is to develop "an efficient, inexpensive, and innovative" system and to bring it to operational status "as soon as possible," Gantz added.
Yaniv Rotem, Head of the Defence Ministry's Research and Development Division, said in a statement that the laser "is a game-changer thanks to its easily operated system and significant economic advantages."
"The next step is to continue the development and initial system deployment within Israel," he said, adding that the Ministry plans to station multiple laser transmitters along Israel's borders over the next decade.
The Ministry said the laser system has been developed as "an effective and economically efficient addition" to the country's multi-tiered air defence array, which includes the short-range anti-rocket Iron Dome system; David's Sling, a medium to long-range missiles defence system; and the long-range Arrow-3.
A training institute for drone pilots would be set up in the state by Drone Imaging and Information Service of Haryana Ltd (DRIISHYA), it was announced on Thursday.
A decision in this regard was taken at the second board of directors meeting of DRIISHYA chaired by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here.
The Chief Minister was apprised that Haryana is the first state to create a separate corporation to faster the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-driven governance application.
"This is a unique beginning as with the help of drones, illegal encroachments can be controlled, besides detecting their expansion as manual surveys were conducted earlier that were time consuming, costly and required more manpower," he said, as per an official statement.
Directing the officers to ensure quick disposal of various types of surveys and imaging work, Khattar said besides the Revenue Department, the use of drones should also be ensured in other departments, including Urban Local Bodies, Power, Disaster Management, Mining, and Forests.
The Chief Minister was also apprised about the procurement of drones in various categories and different sensors.
Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin assured India on Monday that the US will continue to stand by it in the face of threats from China.
Welcoming Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for bilateral talks at the Pentagon, Austin said: "Beijing is eroding the security of the Indo-Pacific region from its construction of dual-use infrastructure along your border to its unlawful claims in the South China Sea, and we will continue to stand alongside you as you defend your sovereign interest."
He said that they were meeting "at a critical moment in the US-India defence partnership".
Austin said: "Our partnership is based on a shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, one grounded in principles such as the rule of law and national sovereignty. We're facing urgent and mounting challenges to this shared vision."
"China is attempting to challenge and undermine the sovereignty of its neighbours," he said.
Rajnath Singh, who was greeted by an honour guard at the Pentagon, did not mention China or Russia in his response, which was in Hindi with English language interpretation.
He said that "our visit here shall take India-US comprehensive strategic partnership to the next level" and the 2+2 Dialogue that will include External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Secretary of State Antony Blinken "are indeed important landmarks in our bilateral relationship".
Austin also referred to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, currently the prime concern of the US.
"Beijing is not alone in its efforts to undermine the security of its neighbours and to change the status quo by force.
"Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian devastation that it has created are blatant attempts to undermine the international order that is grounded in the rules and the principles that we share," he said.
"Just as India's leadership is central to this rules-based order, so, too, is the US-India defence partnership and our collaboration with like-minded partners," Austin added.
"We now coordinate along -- alongside each other across the Indo-Pacific region and across domains, which is truly extraordinary, and we are committed to working seamlessly with you across new and emerging domains, including space and cyberspace," he said.
India and the US are to sign a memorandum of understanding on Space Situational Awareness aimed at protecting the space assets of the two countries.
Austin's reference to China's "construction of dual-use infrastructure" was about Beijing's projects in the countries surrounding India that could fall into its hands as has happened with a Sri Lankan port that Colombo handed over to China on a 99-year lease unable to keep up loan payments.
India is all set to position itself as a global hub of manufacturing weapons, warships, planes and arms and ammunitions. It is steadily becoming self-reliant in the sector and the Union government is also giving the necessary impetus with a proper budgetary allocation of funds.
According to Department of Defence Production, Italy, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Russia, France, Nepal, Mauritius, Israel, Egypt, UAE, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, the Philippines, Poland, Spain and Chile are India's export destinations for defence items.
Developing economies find India an attractive destination given the quality of products and price range it offers.
India has spent 2.1 per cent of GDP on defence in 2021-22. In the Union Budget of 2022-23, Rs 5.25 trillion is allocated towards defence and there is a 19 per cent increase in defence capital expenditure in FY 2021-22.
India has 15 per cent share in global arms imports.
The government's constant push to become self-reliant in the defence manufacturing sector is bearing fruit and India along with manufacturing and reducing its dependence on only imports is also exporting defence equipment.
The value of exports of defence items, including major items in FY 2014-15 and 2020-21 was Rs 1,940.64 crore and Rs 8,434.84 crore respectively. The government has also spelt out its vision of achieving a turnover of $25 billion, including export of $5 billion in aerospace, and defence goods and services by 2025. In the fiscal ended on March 31, 2022, military equipment exports stood at Rs 11,607 crore ($1.54 billion).
Defence items being exported by India include missiles, the advanced light helicopter, offshore patrol vessels, personal protective gear, surveillance systems and a variety of radars.
India accounts for 3.7 per cent of the global military spending, making it the third-highest military spender in the world. Under the Field Artillery Rationalisation Plan -- 1,580 towed guns, 100 tracked guns and 814 mounted gun systems will be required in India.
Government has issued a total of 568 defence industrial licenses to 351 companies. Out of these, a total of 113 companies covering 170 defence industrial licenses have conveyed commencement of production.
To provide a competitive advantage to the sector, the Government of India changed the automatic route limit for FDI in the defence sector to 74 per cent; this will boost national security, self-sufficiency in product design, increase investments, income and employment.
In November 2021, Defence Acquisition Council boosted the 'Make in India' initiative by according Acceptance of Necessity-- to capital acquisition proposals worth Rs 7,965 crore ($1.07 billion) -- for modernisation and operational needs of the armed forces.
On October 15, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the seven defence public sector undertakings -- created through the restructuring of the Ordnance Factory Board -- to improve functional autonomy, efficiency, growth potential and innovation in the defence sector.
According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, India's defence manufacturing sector has been witnessing a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 per cent between 2016 and 2020. Demand growth is likely to accelerate with rising concerns of national security.
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2021, report published in March 2022, the volume of international transfers of major arms in 2017-21 was 4.6 per cent lower than in 2012-16, but was 3.9 per cent higher than in 2007-11. The five largest arms exporters in 2017-21 were the US, Russia, France, China and Germany. The five largest arms importers were India, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia and China.
Between 2012-16 and 2017-21 Indian arms imports decreased by 21 per cent. Despite this, India was the world's largest importer of major arms in 2017-21 and accounted for 11 per cent of total global arms imports in the period. Russia was the largest supplier of major arms to India in both 2012-16 and 2017-21, but India's imports of Russian arms dropped by 47 per cent between the two periods as several large programmes for Russian arms wound down, the report said.
This combined with India's increased efforts to diversify its arms supplier base meant that Russia's share of total Indian arms imports fell from 69 to 46 per cent, it added.
To bolster defence manufacturing in the country, DRDO and Directorate of Defence Research and Development, Ministry of Defence, Israel, have entered into a Bilateral Innovation Agreement to promote innovation and accelerated R&D in startups and MSMEs of both countries for the development of dual-use technologies.
The Cabinet Committee on Security on March 30, 2022, approved the procurement of 15 light combat helicopter limited series production at the cost of Rs 3,887 crore along with Infrastructure sanctions worth Rs 377 crore.
Light combat helicopter limited series production is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured state of the art modern combat helicopter containing nearly 45 per cent indigenous content by value which will progressively increase to more than 55 per cent for SP version.
The success story of Indian private defence companies is ruling the roost and showing a promising future for others. A few names include Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Forge, Tata and Bengaluru-based Dynamite Technologies.
Mahindra is manufacturing the ULH M77 guns in collaboration with Bae Systems. It also has a separate contract with the Indian Navy to make submarine warfare suites.
The Ministry of Defence has also identified 18 major platforms for industry-led design and development.
The major international investors in India in the sector are Airbus, Bae Systems, Pilatus, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Rafael and Dassault.
Army Chief General M.M. Naravane, Vice Chief Lieutenant General Manoj Pande and other top military commanders reached the headquarters of the Central Command in Lucknow on Wednesday to review deployments of troops in the Western and Northern borders.
The military top brass will discuss the force preparedness at the Line of Actual Control with China and Line of Control with Pakistan. They will be there for three days and hold deliberations over various military issues amid changing geopolitical turmoil.
India and China have been engaged in a border dispute for around almost two years and talks are on to resolve the matter. Even as talks with China are on, the People's Liberation Army deployment has been intact. India too has dug in and made a mirror deployment of troops.
With the onset of summer, the Indian Army reviews the deployments of the troops at the Line of Actual Control.
Last week, India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Delhi and discussed bilateral relations "that have been disturbed as a result of the Chinese actions in April 2020".
Jaishankar had said the current situation of disengaging the disputed borders is happening at a "slower pace than desirable".
He also stated the relationship with China is "not normal. Our effort today is to sort out the issue in its entirety," he said.
China's People's Liberation Army made an aggressive move at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh in April 2020 leading to the border dispute between India and China. It has been two years and the border dispute is still not resolved.
Earlier, this month India and China discussed resolving the existing border dispute along the Line of Actual Control during the 15th round of Corp commander level talks but nothing moved in the meeting.
The joint statement issued by the Ministry of Defence in India had stated that the 15th round China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting was held at Chushul-Moldo border meeting point on the Indian side on March 11, 2022.
The two sides carried forward their discussions from the previous round held on 12th January 2022 for the resolution of the relevant issues along the LAC in the Western Sector.
"They had a detailed exchange of views in this regard, in keeping with the guidance provided by the State Leaders to work for the resolution of the remaining issues at the earliest," said the statement.
They reaffirmed that such a resolution would help restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector and facilitate progress in the bilateral relations.
Fourteen rounds of talks till now have resulted in the resolution of the North and South Bank of Pangong Tso, Galwan and Gogra Hot Spring areas.
Turkey has said that it will implement the Montreux Convention in the Black Sea in a way to prevent further escalation in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.
"We have decided to use the authority given to our country by the Montreux Convention in a way to prevent the escalation of the crisis," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference after a cabinet meeting Monday.
Under the Montreux Convention signed in 1936, naval vessels of non-riparian countries are required to notify Turkey in advance about their passage through the Bosporus and the Dardanelles straits, which connect the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, Xinhua news agency reported.
The agreement forbids ships of non-riparian countries from remaining in the Black Sea for more than 21 days but allows Turkey to cut off transit of military vessels through the straits during wartime, except for those that return to their bases.
Ankara has fulfilled its responsibilities in international organizations, especially the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and the European Union, and will continue to do so in the future, Erdogan said.
He emphasised that Turkey would not give up its national interests in its region. Therefore Ankara could not abandon its ties with Russia or Ukraine.
"Of course, we will not compromise our national interests. We will not neglect the regional and global balances. For this, we say that we will not give up neither Ukraine nor Russia," said the president.
Earlier on Monday, Turkey warned warships of both Black Sea and non-Black Sea countries not to pass through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits in line with the Montreux Convention.
"We have alerted all riparian and non-riparian countries against having their warships pass through the straits," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.
"We implemented what Montreux says, and we will do so from now on. There has been no passage or a request for passage through the straits until today," he said.
However, if the warship is returning to its base in the Black Sea, the passage can not be blocked, the Turkish minister noted.
Indian Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari said on Saturday that complete disengagement at the Line of Actual Control with China has not taken place so the force continues to remain deployed at forwarding locations.
Speaking during Combined Graduation Parade at Air Force Academy Hyderabad, Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said that the stand-off with China is still there and disengagement has taken place in certain areas, only in Ladakh.
He said that Indian Air Force is prepared to take on any challenge at borders. India and China are engaged around 20 months of the stand-off at the LAC.
Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari said, "The IAF is on the cusp of transformation into a highly potent Air Force with new inductions like Rafale, Apache, Chinook and a wide variety of SAGW systems."
The IAF chief also said that the induction of Rafale aircraft will be completed by February 2022. He said that out of 36 aircraft, 32 have been delivered. Out of the remaining four, three will arrive on time in February, he said.
Over military chopper crash, the IAF chief said that a Court of Inquiry is on. General Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 armed forces personnel were killed in the chopper crash at Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on December 8. General Rawat was on his way to Wellington for a lecture.
Addressing the young officers, he said that as they graduate and move into an environment that is challenging and technology-intensive, the IAF looks upon young and dynamic officers like you to carry forward the rich legacy of professional attitude, aptitude and temperament shown by the predecessors.
"To be a good officer, you must have an overall appreciation of the nuances of all branches of IAF. Therefore, the ability to understand the working of all branches - be it flying, technical, logistics, accounts or administration, will complement your basic professional knowledge and help you in becoming a thorough professional," he said.
He also stated that as officers, they must develop an understanding of this complex and dynamic world through the study of military history, geopolitics and international affairs.
"This can be possible only if you inculcate good reading habits, in the early years of your service career. The IAF will give you ample opportunities to perform, excel and nurture your professional competence if you have the will and the fortitude," he said.
About the hardships ahead, the IAF Chief explained to them that as military officers they are bound to face certain hardships in their career. "Never allow these hardships and constraints to affect you mentally and physically. There is an old adage, 'when the going gets tough, the tough gets going' - this should be the motto of your career and you should remain physically, emotionally and mentally fit to meet and accept any challenge in life," he added.
He questioned them what does the IAF expect from them as officers and commanders?
He replied to it saying: "We expect exceptional professionalism and unquestioned integrity. We expect you to maintain the highest standards of personal conduct and moral values that would reflect the dignity and pride of being in the profession of arms. We expect you to be fair, consistent and selfless while at work, to have compassion and understanding, to have the courage and of course to live up to the values that have been ingrained in you during your training period."
Chinese People Liberation Army personnel are carrying out a survey of the border posts and villages in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to strengthen the Pakistan military apparatus across Line of Control, said sources, adding Indian security forces are keeping an eye on the activities and motives behind the survey.
The source said that around four dozen Chinese People's Liberation Army soldiers arrived in general area Kel, Jura and Leepa sectors of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir a month ago. Indian armed forces say that these areas -- Kel, Jura and Leepa -- are among those from where Pakistan pushes terrorists into Indian territory.
The source said that the over 40 People's Liberation Army soldiers came to these regions, divided themselves into groups of five or six each, visited a number of villages and conducted surveys of villages, Pakistan Army posts and "infiltration routes used by terrorists to reach the Kashmir Valley".
The groups were accompanied by Pakistan Army personnel, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers, and interpreters.
The source said that the visit of Chinese troops in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir villages indicates the making of model villages -- which can be used both by civilians and military -- in these regions.
"Are Chinese helping Pakistan in building model villages along the Line of Control as they have done across borders with India," questioned a senior government officer over Chinese PLA men visiting these regions.
Last week, the US Department of Defense in its annual report to Congress on military and security developments involving the People's Republic of China (PRC) had flagged that China has built a large 100-home civilian village inside disputed territory between the Tibet Autonomous Region and India's Arunachal Pradesh.
The report also had stated that these and other infrastructure development efforts along the India-China border have been a source of consternation in the Indian government and media. About the US report, a senior security official, however, stated the said village being referred to has been under Chinese control since 1959.
The village has been built by China in an area that was occupied by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) after overrunning an Assam Rifles post in 1959, in an operation known as Longju incident along the frontier in Arunachal Pradesh