MOSCOW, December 19 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova – Russia will provide India with its most advanced weapons and technologies in order to renew Delhi’s aging military hardware; since the countries have launched joint military projects, India has obtained new opportunities on the weapons market.
“Russia wants early inking of the final R&D contract for the joint fifth-generation fighter (FGFA) project, in which India will invest $5.5 billion to develop a stealth fighter. India will spend around $25 billion on 127 such fighters, to be built domestically, in the FGFA project,” the Times of India reported.
India will also assemble 400 Russian Ka-226T helicopters a year. The deal is important to India, since the country needs to upgrade its aging military hardware.
“I am pleased that Russia has offered to fully manufacture in India one of its most advanced helicopters. It includes the possibility of exports from India. It can be used for both military and civilian use. We will follow up on this quickly,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an official statement as quoted by Defense News.
Russia is also ready to provide India with its Akula-II class nuclear-powered submarines, which will bolster India’s capability to maintain control over its territorial waters in the Indian Ocean amid growing geopolitical tensions in the region.
Bloomberg notes that India acquired its first nuclear submarine costing $1 billion from Russia in 2012. Delhi is intended to renew its old diesel-power fleet of submarines, since “half of them were commissioned in the 1980s.”
It should be noted that India has always been one the biggest Russia’s defense customer. The Times of India points out that Russian-Indian arms deals included “refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov or INS Vikra maditya ($2.33 billion), six Talwar-class stealth frigates (almost $2 billion), 272 almost $2 billion), 272 Sukhois (project cost over $12 billion), 45 MiG-29Ks ($2 billion), 139 Mi-17 V5s helicopters (over $2 billion).”
“Russia will remain our most important defense partner,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored during his meeting with Vladimir Putin earlier this month, pledging to deepen the defense cooperation.
(Source: Sputnik News December 22, 2014)
RAFALE DEAL NOSEDIVES IN NEGOTIATION COMBAT
NEW DELHI: The much-awaited multi-billion dollar Rafale combat aircraft deal with France has once again run into rough weather. After negotiations of almost three years, it has now hit a ‘deadlock’ with both India and France refusing to concede to the other’s demands.
When Rafale was declared the lowest bidder in January 2012, all eyes were on the inking of this deal that was touted as the ‘mother of all defence deals’. But the cost negotiation committee set up in February 2012 to work out the modalities for the deal has not reached a conclusion yet.
The newly-appointed Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and a top official of his ministry are determined to block the deal till the ministry’s demands are accepted by the French side. Though during the recent visit of French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian earlier this month Parrikar had assured he would do everything in his power to expedite the deal, he is firm that his ministry’s demands must be accepted first. According to defence ministry officials privy to developments, at a presentation on the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme a fortnight back, Parrikar said that the government must stand its ground and not give in during negotiations. Parrikar’s opinion is seconded by the Joint Secretary and Acquisition Manager (Air) Rajeev Verma, who plays a key role in the deal. Verma, a 1992 UT-cadre IAS officer, has made it clear that till the French side agrees to ministry’s demand, which was specified in the original tender, there will be no progress on the matter. During recent meetings of the negotiations committee, Verma has been virtually hostile towards the deal, say sources.
After cost escalation, the French major Dassault Aviation, which manufactures Rafale fighter jets, has refused to take “full responsibility” for the 108 fighters to be manufactured in India by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) as per the original tender. Eighteen of the 126 planes will be purchased directly from Dassault, while Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will manufacture the other 108 under a licence, at an upcoming facility in Bangalore. “The ministry is in no hurry to conclude the negotiations despite what people may say. Dassault has to accept commitment mentioned in the RFP (Request for proposal),” a key defence ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.
Another ministry insider said the production sharing agreement with HAL is stuck as well. Furthermore, Dassault is not agreeing to HAL’s demand that it take responsibility for manufacture in India, regardless of French government’s pressure. It is too risky, according to a defence ministry source.
“After cost escalation, now accepting terms and conditions of the original tender have emerged as the key issue to be resolved. The RFP clearly stated that under the transfer of technology agreement, the French will have to fully comply with it and also take full responsibility of Indian manufactured fighter jets,” said a senior defence ministry official. Officials say in 2007, when the tender was floated, the cost of the programme was $12 billion (`42,000 crore). When the lowest bidder was declared in January 2012, the cost of the deal shot up to $18 billion (`90,000 crore). Now with inclusion of transfer of technology, life cycle cost and creating assembly line, the deal has virtually crossed a whopping $20 billion.
The Air Force is seeking to replace its ageing MiG-21s with a modern fighter and MMRCA fits well between India’s high-end Sukhoi-30MKIs and its low-end Tejas LCA lightweight fighter. The IAF has a sanctioned strength of 45 fighter jet squadrons. However, it only has 32 squadrons operational as old aircraft have been retired. M/s Dassault Aviation of France, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of Rafale aircraft, emerged as L-1 bidder for procurement of Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) based on its quotation. Sources also said the Dassault India representatives have repeatedly denied meeting with the ministry officials, including Verma.
(Source: New Indian Express December 22, 2014)
RUSSIA OPEN FOR EQUAL WORK SHARE ON FGFA
Following the in-principle agreement reached by India and Russia for the production of Russian helicopters in India, both sides are carrying out discussions to work out the details to quickly conclude a deal.
Initially the helicopters will be used to cater to the requirements of the Indian armed forces and only after that will exports happen, Russian embassy officials told The Hindu.
This effectively means that the Utility Helicopter deal which was earlier cancelled as a global tender and changed into “Buy and Make” category under the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) will go the Russian way.
The Russian Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin who accompanied the Russian President Vladimir Putin to India on December 11 has said that “the understanding is to assemble 400 advanced Kamov-226T helicopters per year built by Russian Technologies in India”.
No partner has been identified from the Indian side for partnering and as of now it is open to both public and private sector. “Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is a major player but private sector is also part of the negotiations” sources told The Hindu. However embassy officials did not identify those private players. Defence Ministry officials said the details are being worked out.
On the operational front Russian choppers are known for their ruggedness and Indian Armed Forces have been using them for decades which will help in their quick integration. Russian Mi-17 choppers are the mainstay of the Indian Air Force used in diverse roles from search and rescue to VIP transport.
On the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft of which there was no mention in the recent joint statement, embassy officials have said negotiations to sort out the work share are going on and an agreement is likely as early as January.
Russian officials said that Russia is open for equal work share but stated that “Russia has problems with the Indian demand. If India has the ability to provide certain design knowhow and technologies we are open for equal work. But this may not be so as seen with the case of Light Combat Program (LCA) and the aircraft under development is a Fifth Generation program.”
On the new line of submarines under Project-75I, Russia is open to technology transfer and joint production of diesel-electric submarines. India has submitted its requirements and the Russian side responded with attractive options, sources said.
Russian officials felt that, for advanced defence equipment, India and Russia should reach a governmental agreement under the Inter-Governmental framework on similar lines that India has with the US.
(Source: Hindu December 22, 2014)
LCA NAVY CREATES HISTORY IN GOA; INDIA JOINS A SUPERELITE CLUB
Bengaluru: India on Saturday created a slice of naval history when the first home-grown naval jet Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Naval Protytype-1 (NP-1), a trainer, took off from the Shore Based Test Facility (SBTF) at INS Hans in Goa for the first time. As reported by OneIndia recently, the NP-1 was piloted by Cmde Jaideep Maolankar, Chief Test Pilot of National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) situated in Bengaluru.
The SBTF replicates a static model of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) being built at the Cochin Shipyard in Kerala. The aircraft undertook the ski-jump (take-off) 300 meters away from the ramp – having a curved upward shape at one end. The telemetry feed of the crucial trial was also available at NFTC, which was closely monitored by an expert team.
Sources who witnessed the NP-1 event at SBTF told OneIndia that the aircraft accelerated more than expected. “We were hoping for a 150 knot safe fly away at a climb rate of 6.4 degrees. But, the aircraft had a higher acceleration with a climb rate of around 11 degrees, which showcased the confidence of the pilot on the platform,” an official said.
Naval history created, says DRDO D-G ::
Dr K Tamilmani, one of the visible faces of DRDO and its Director-General (Aero) told OneIndia that NP1 smooth take-off during the first attempt itself will give a huge boost to the programme. “There have been delays which are justifiable if you have tracked the programme from close quarters.
We were dating complex technologies and NP-1 scripted naval history at INS Hansa,” Dr Tamilmani said. He said as part of the current campaign, NP-1 will have five more tests at SBTF (only ski-jumps) to meet all mission parameters. “Based on the test points achieved, we will schedule the next leg of trials. The aircraft will undertake ski-jumps 90 meters from the ramp, with all weapon stores in place,” Dr Tamilmani added.
To a specific query, the top scientist said that the arrester-hook landing trials of NP-1 will be conducted within 6-8 months. He confirmed that the second prototype of naval LCA (NP-2) will undertake its first flight in Bengaluru soon. The NP-1 had its maiden flight on April 27, 2012.
The DRDO quoted its Chief Dr Avinash Chander in an official release saying that it hopes to see home-grown combat aircraft soon flying from the decks of Indian aircraft carriers.
Validation of the efforts by design teams ::
Navy The Indian Navy is yet to officially name the aircraft and the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan had recently expressed concerns over the delay in the programme. The Admiral had also reviewed the project ahead of the SBTF trails.
Reacting to the NP-1’s achievement on Saturday, Rear Admiral D M Sudan, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) told OneIndia from New Delhi that the NP-1 ski-jump is a validation of the effort of the design team.
“The launch of NP-1 from the SBTF is a historic event. It also shows the faith the Navy has reposed in this indigenous development programme. This event would provide an impetus towards timely achievement of future milestones,” Rear Admiral Sudan said.
We predicted the behavior of the aircraft ::
ADA Chief P S Subramanyam, Director, Aeronautical Development Agency, told OneIndia from Goa that it was a ‘text-book style’ launch of NP-1 at SBTF. “India has become only the third country in the world (after US and Ukraine) to have carried out such a launch.
This technology is only available to a few nations. We were able to predict the behaviour of the aircraft during the entry on the ramp, while on the ramp and after its exit,” he said. He said Saturday’s mission was a well-orchestrated one with many agencies involved. He said the NP-1 did not have an arrester hook fitted on it. “The arrester-hook landing is not a critical test as ski-jump. Today what we have achieved will be remembered for a long to come,” Subramanyam said.
(Source: One India December 22, 2014)
200 CHOPPERS TO AUGMENT NAVY PROWESS
VELLORE: The Ministry of Defence is augmenting the role and reach of the Indian Navy by acquiring 100 multi role helicopters and 100 naval utility helicopters. An unspecified number of Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) have also been ordered from the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bengaluru, according to the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral R K Pattanaik, AVSM, YSM.
Pattanaik was presiding over a ceremony held for graduating pilots at the 83rd Helicopter Conversion Course at Naval Air Station, INS Rajali, in Arakkonam on Saturday. Addressing the media, Pattanaik said, “If the ship has a helicopter, it can ship out with radar, electronic equipments, and weapons. Helicopter enhances the utility of ships,”
On the matter of security, Pattanaik said, “In terms of piracy, the Indian Coast lines are considered as high risk areas, which is how the Italian ship guards fired at two Indian fishermen.” When Express asked about the precautions to control the infiltrators, he said, “All efforts have been executed and we are absolutely sure that we are capable of controlling infiltrators and terrorist activities through sea.”
(Source: New Indian Express December 22, 2014)
INDIA TO BE THIRD-BIGGEST DEFENCE SPENDER BY 2020
By the year 2020, India could emerge as the third-biggest country in terms of defence-related expenditure, US-based consulting firm IHS projected in a study published on Friday.
India, home to the world’s second-largest population, currently stands eighth in total spending on defence (expenditure, procurement, research and development). The country in 2014 spent $47.78 billion (Rs 3,01,299 crore), higher than those like Germany, Brazil, south Korea, Italy, Canada, according to the IHS study, where the NYSE-listed research firm analysed specific forecasts for defence-related expenditure by 91 countries and captured 98 per cent of the global defence spend.
The US, which currently is the biggest spender on defence — it spent $586.92 billion in 2014 — is followed by China ($176.25 billion) as a distant second. The UK, Japan, the Russian federation, France and Saudi Arabia also spent more than India during the year, the IHS study revealed.
However, the study points out, though the US will continue to be on top in defence expenditure by 2020 as well, the combined spend by the Asia-Pacific, too, will have risen significantly by then. The region currently spends $170 billion less on defene than the US; by 2020, it will spend exceed the US on this. “Spending in Asia-Pacific, meanwhile, is expected to grow to $547.1 billion by 2020, over 30 per cent of the global total,” said Craig Caffrey, senior defence budgets analyst at IHS Aerospace & Defence.
The study also forecast defence spend to flat-line over the next two years, as fiscal constraints among oil-producing states in West Asia and North Africa removed a key source of growth.
“By 2019, for the first time in history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) will not account for a majority of worldwide defence expenditure. It accounted for almost two-thirds of global spending as recently as 2010,” said IHS. Nato expenditure was expected to fall in real terms from $869.6 billion in 2014 to $837.9 billion by 2020. By the end of the decade, defence spending would decline from 54.4 per cent of total expenditure to 48.5 per cent, it added.
“By 2019, the alliance (Nato) will fail to account for the majority of worldwide defence expenditure… By 2020, the centre of gravity of the global defence spending landscape is expected to have continued its gradual shift away from the developed economies of Western Europe and North America and towards emerging markets, particularly in Asia,” said Fenella McGerty, senior defence budget analyst at IHS Aerospace & Defence.
Despite the region not being immune to the present challenges in the global economy, Asia’s defence expenditure growth is expected to accelerate from 3.3 per cent in 2014 to 4.8 per cent next year. Unlike in West Asia and North Africa, falling oil prices were expected to have a net positive effect on economic growth in China, India and Indonesia, and would aid government finances, the study said.
(Source: Business Standard December 22, 2014)
INDIAN NAVY PLANS TO GET 100 HELICOPTERS
Chennai: The Indian Navy has lined up a proposal to procure 100 utility helicopters, signalling its intention to significantly boost its defence capabilities.
Delivering his speech, after reviewing the passing out parade of the 83rd helicopter conversion course for navy pilots at INS Rajali near Arakonam, Vice Admiral and Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, R.K. Patnaik on Saturday said, “The Indian navy is well equipped to tackle any threats posed along our coastal line. We have plans to purchase 100 multi-role choppers to assist in our operations.”
He stated, “At present, there are 43 naval ships under construction in our shipyards. An indigenously designed aircraft carrier is also being built at the Kochi shipyard, which is expected to be commissioned by 2018.”
Vice Admiral Patnaik also stressed on the need to sensitise family members of naval officers and seamen about the threat posed by enemies. “With families also staying in the naval bases, issues concerning their safety and well being should be taken into account,” he said.
Earlier, Vice Admiral Patnaik awarded ‘wings’ to eight Naval and two Coast Guard Pilots after they successfully completed their 22-week training course at the Helicopter Training School, housed within INS Rajali.
These pilots will be joining operational flights at Mumbai, Port Blair, Goa, Kochi, Vizag, Daman and Chennai. Till date, more than 600 pilots have graduated from the school, which was earlier functioning at Kochi till 1992. The school recently obtained ISO 9001:2008 certification and was awarded the ‘Best Training Squadron’ trophy for the year 2013-14.
(Source: Deccan Herald December 22, 2014)
CANISTER LAUNCH OF AGNI-V NEXT MONTH
BALASORE: Preparations are afoot at the defence base off Odisha coast for the first canister launch of India’s longest range nuclear capable missile Agni-V. The test is likely to be conducted on January 7 or 8 and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to witness the launch.
The motor, body and other sub-systems of the indigenously developed missile having a strike range of 5,000-km have been brought to the Wheeler Island test facility and DRDO scientists are busy assembling the weapon system.
Sources told this paper that the schedule of the missile test depends on the programme of the Prime Minister.
This will be third developmental trial of the surface-to-surface Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). Its first test was conducted on April 19, 2012 and second test on September 15, 2013. Both were successful and the data generated during both the missions were satisfactory.
Successful trial of the weapon system would pave the way for its induction in the armed forces next year. The canister version, which imparts higher road mobility, will give the armed forces greater operational flexibility than the earlier generation of Agni missiles.
DRDO Chief Avinash Chander said though the exact time and date has not been finalised, the test is on schedule. “This missile is the best in its class in the world with its advanced ring-laser gyros, composite rocket motors and highly accurate micro-navigation systems and inertial navigation systems,” he said.
The three-stage, 17-metre tall, two-metre wide Agni-V, weighing around 50 tonnes, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of about 1.5 tonnes. As it incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance, its accuracy level is far higher than its three earlier variants.
What makes the missile more effective is that it can be equipped with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MITRV) capable of delivering multiple warheads at different targets at long distance.
In its operational form, the missile is designed to be stored and launched from the canister, enhancing its storage, operational readiness, transportability, response time and shelf life.
(Source: New Indian Express December 22, 2014)
NEW COLD WAR INTENSIFIES WITH PUTIN’S INDIA VISIT
During the Bangladesh crisis in 1971, as 10 million refugees from Bangladesh fled into India in the face of atrocities by a Pakistani army of occupation, the Soviet Union was initially neutral. It, however, soon faced the reality that after years of hostility, the US and China were in the process of fashioning a new Nixon-Mao honeymoon, designed to confront Moscow. Pakistan’s General Yahya Khan was the midwife of this alliance. India and the Soviet Union responded by signing a treaty that effectively checkmated the US-China alliance. What happened thereafter is recorded in history.
With the end of Cold War, the US was determined to be the world’s sole super-power. China and Russia responded by joining to balance American power globally, through institutions like BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. China challenges American influence as it seeks to establish its hegemony across the Asia-Pacific. The US seeks to surround and undermine Moscow by the eastward expansion of NATO. Russia reacts by intervening militarily in Georgic and Ukraine. In response to these developments, India resorts to some deft diplomacy by not getting drawn into the triangular Washington-Moscow-Beijing rivalry, while ensuring that it can counter Beijing’s insatiable quest to contain New Delhi. India is now in the position of being able to interact extensively with all three contestants and in the process, respond to challenges Beijing poses.
US-Russia relations seem reminiscent of the days of Cold War, with Washington and its NATO allies imposing economic sanctions and seeking to isolate Russia globally. Energy-starved China takes advantage and signs a massive deal for supply of natural gas from Russia. After a remarkably successful visit by PM Modi to Washington, President Obama decides to visit New Delhi as the chief guest for Republic Day 2015. Washington is obviously pleased with Modi’s policies on economic liberalisation and his pro-active ‘Act East’ initiatives.
While India’s economic interaction with Russia has declined relatively, Moscow remains an important partner in areas like defence, energy and aerospace. The Indian space programme would have been crippled if Russia had not supplied knowhow on cryogenic engines, despite US sanctions on ISRO. Russia and India face similar problems in dealing with Islamist terrorism. But Moscow fails to realistically recognise that India is now in a position to source its defence requirements from Israel to France and the US. Russia can, therefore, no longer have a virtually monopolistic position on New Delhi’s defence acquisitions. Hence, some display of pique and Moscow’s decision to supply military hardware to cash-strapped Pakistan. Despite this, it was made clear during President Putin’s visit that India still looks to Moscow to enable it to implement its ‘Make in India’ policies, in areas like multirole transport helicopters.
Washington reacted churlishly to Putin’s visit, pontificating that this is not the time for “business and usual” with Moscow. There appears to be unease at the prospect of modalities being worked out for substantial Russian involvement in nuclear energy development. This at a time when US companies like GE and Westinghouse are finding (with some justification) Indian Nuclear Liability legislation as unacceptable and contrary to the Vienna Supplementary Convention on Nuclear Liability, to which India is a signatory. Moreover, just as Russia is now learning to accept the reality that it cannot monopolise our defence acquisitions, Washington will have to learn that whether it is nuclear energy, defence acquisitions or aerospace, India will negotiate terms that best suit its national interests.
Henry Kissinger was asked whether his anti-Indian policies would not drive Indira Gandhi into the arms of the Soviet Union. He replied that Indira Gandhi was too “cold-blooded” a leader to lead India into becoming subservient to any power, out of pique. In his first six months in office, Modi is getting a similar reputation for single-minded determination in the pursuit of India’s national interests.
(Source: New Indian Express December 22, 2014)
JEWISH LOBBY IN US BATS FOR INDIA
NEW DELHI: With the India-Israel relationship out of the closet, the famed Jewish lobby in Washington is taking the first steps towards linking their advocacy of Israel-US issues with India.
Two months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met a group of leaders from Jewish advocacy groups in New York, the American Jewish Committee has sent letters to key members of the US Congress saying India and Israel are natural partners which, along with the US, shared fundamental values.
“For many years, AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organization, has sought to promote enhanced US-India and India-Israel relations through advocacy initiatives with the Indian-American community in congressional, campus, cultural and commercial arenas. The United States, India, and Israel share fundamental values, including religious and ethnic pluralism, electoral democracy and market-based economies — and common strategic challenges and concerns, including the urgent effort to thwart terrorism. As such, we regard the partnership between India and Israel as a natural one,” it said.
In New York, Modi’s only bilateral meeting outside the South Asian region was with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. One of Modi’s aims is to be able to enthuse the Indian diaspora to band together like the Jewish groups to speak for India’s interests to US leadership. By and large, the Indian groups are a disparate bunch. It was only during the nuclear deal years that they came together for a common cause.
Then as now, the Jewish lobby batted for India as well, which helped enormously. The AJC letter to Congress leaders and senators said with the Modi government in power, there have been high level visits — Israeli national security adviser Yossi Cohen visited India, while home minister Rajnath Singh travelled to Israel. The letter also flags the robust Israel-India defence relationship.
(Source: Times of India December 22, 2014)