Advantage India

Security Wise

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(12th East Asia Summit in Hanoi)

Why India needs to constitute and lead BRIS (Brazil-Russia-India-South Africa) — BRICS without China and the Mod Quad (India, Japan, Australia, Southeast Asian nations) — the Quadrilateral minus the United States


THE UNITED STATES is a ‘fading power’, China is racing to replace it at the top, and Russia has the military wherewithal to stop either of them cold, but lacks the economic heft to make it on its own. Great power politics are thus in a state of flux more than at any time in the recent past. The goal for India, in this context, should be to cobble together coalitions to deny China the upper hand on its periphery, in the Indian Ocean region, and in Asia at large while rendering the role of the US less central to the security of Asian states.

The natural tendency of the US and…

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Is the Indian military more sovereign than the Indian government?

Security Wise

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[Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the Defence Expo, Chennai, April 11, 2018]

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is proving to be a one-person wrecking crew for India’s aspirations to emerge as a significant designer-producer of military goods, including capital weapons platforms (combat aircraft, warships, artillery and armour).

Public figures, especially politicians, should be warned that it is safer to be perceived a fool than open one’s mouth and prove it.  Sitharaman who is careening from one self-made disaster to another has done just that, opened her mouth. Recall that recently she had appointed a so-called Defence Advisory Council or Board or something, to counsel her on technical matters related to her brief, which initiative blew up in her face when it was pointed out that two of the eminences she had sought to place in it were US citizens! I had warned in a blog at the time of her appointment…

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What aircraft is this RFI for?

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(ACM BS Dhanoa before a Rafale sortie)

An RFI for 110 combat aircraft was today issued by IAF without clarifying whether these are to be single engine or two-engine fighter planes. There re some technical criteria — altitude ceiling, etc. that mean nothing because most modern aircraft will meet them.  It goes on to say  that of these 82-83 aircraft would be single seat and the rest 2-seat trainer aircraft, and that the deal would  be on the basis of a strategic partnership model — with the foreign aircraft supplier collaborating with a capable Indian industry major to set up a manufacturing facility to produce 93-94 of the 110 aircraft in India, including supply chains in-country, and the remaining 16 aircraft bought off the shelf. This will mean that any aircraft producer in the world that has a single engine or 2-engine fighter plane to sell will now hightail it…

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FGFA back in the reckoning?

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(Su-57s in flight)

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be visiting Russia for 5-6 days starting April 3.  Talk is swirling about the minister reviving the now up-now down FGFA (fifth generation fighter aircraft) programme with a formal contract to proceed with essentially buying the Sukhoi-57 with some small modifications. This in any case is what Moscow hopes will happen. It is also a means of mending relations with Putin’s Russia because, let’s be clear and realistic, without Russian assistance and continued friendship India’s strategic prospects are bleak.

This comes after the fiasco of the Rafale deal where the CCS approval happened in early 2018, a good three years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stunned everyone including the French by acting as Santa Claus bearing gifts for the struggling Dassault company and the French combat aviation sector with his announcement for the buy of 36 Rafales off the shelf. This was…

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Another MOD document that means little?

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(Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presenting an indigenously designed and produced carbine to Home Minister Rajnath Singh)

MOD released for public scrutiny and for potential stakeholder comments from industry a draft Defence Production Policy (DProdP) 2018 on Thursday, March 24. It was met with less enthusiasm than weariness by private sector firms who have gone through such rigmarole previously to be excited. After all, the Defence Procurement Procedure 2016 remains unimplemented. So what chance that the DProdP will meet its deadline of 2025 for realization of its amply ambitious aims of making India one of the “top five countries in Aeropace and defence industries”, self-reliant in development and manufacturing” of  17 leading conventional weapons systems, including fighter aircraft, medium lift and utility helicopters, warships, land combat vehicles, autonomous weapons systems, missile systems,  gun systems, small arms, ammunition and explosives, surveillance systems, electronic warfare systems, communications systems, night fighting enablers, reaching an…

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L&T to grab early spotlight at Defexpo with first private sector warship

L&T to grab early spotlight at Defexpo with first private sector warship


The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is presenting Defexpo India 2018, a four-day land and naval systems exposition that will kick off in Chennai on Wednesday, as a display of Indian defence industrial capability. Underscoring that point, the first offshore patrol vessel (OPV) built by a private shipyard will join operational service that morning.

While Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman opens Defexpo at Kancheepuram, south of Chennai, her junior minister, Subhash Bhamre, will commission Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Vikram, a 2,140-tonne OPV, at Larsen & Toubro’s (L&T’s) new Kattupalli shipyard, north of the city.

Public sector defence shipyards such as Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers, and Goa Shipyard (GSL) are infamous for time delays and cost overruns in building warships. This is especially so in delivering the first of a new class of vessels. In contrast, L&T is delivering ICGS Vikram on schedule, and without any cost overrun.

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