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The big news since we published our last newsletter in July, 2016 was the Permanent Court of Arbitration's award regarding the status of islands in the South China Sea (SCS) and the Chinese nine-dot- line. The case had been initiated by Philippines and the Court's award under the provisions of UNCLOS went against the Chinese claims that amounted to enjoying historic rights over most of SCS.

The much anticipated ruling was both preceded and succeeded by a host of naval exercises and aerial maneuvers over the SCS. The most significant one was by the Peoples Liberation Army Navy's drills involving approximately 300 ships. Apparently, the waters of the SCS will witness a lot of sailing in the months ahead. The Court's award remains a major political embarrassment for China and does strengthen the SCS nations in their endeavours to stall Chinese hegemony.

We have published a few interesting articles in our Opinion Section on SCS and will continue to keep you updated with the region becoming more and more a global hotspot.

Closer in our neighbourhood, Afghanistan's patience with Pakistan seems to have run thin. It has led to the Afghan Prime Minister accusing Pakistan of conducting a war on his country. Attacks by Taliban have definitely witnessed a surge. Reduction of US forces, as envisaged during the withdrawal below the current agreed strength of 9800 to 5500 by 1 January, 2017, seems barely plausible with additional troops already having been sent to Afghanistan.

The Farnborough International Airshow from 16 to 20 July, 2016 seems to have boosted business in the aviation industry substantially with 1500 exhibitors from 52 countries at the show and orders and options worth $124 billion having been registered. The next edition of the event is scheduled in 2018.

As far as the defence industry is concerned Zen Technologies bagging a 30 crore order for simulators is definitely a shot in the arm for Indian defence industries with a technology bias.

There is considerable progress in upgrading our Su 30 Mk1 to Super Sukhois by the Russians. It also appears that L&T will be manufacturing 100 of K9 Vajra 155mm 52 calibre guns for the Indian Army. The Army's artillery has been without any new inductions since the Bofors were imported three decades back. We are also apparently going in for 12 Japanese Shinmaywa Long Range Amphibious Aircraft.

The MoD has speeded up provisioning of better road communications in the northeast, both for its defence and also with the inherent payoffs in economic development of the region. 73 roads in the area have either been sanctioned or are already under construction. In addition a 2000 km long road along the Arunachal borders has also been approved. The road network will surely strengthen our defence preparedness and also impact the economy of these areas, substantially.

Let me also inform you that on 26 August, 2016 we have a conclave scheduled. The Defence Minister, Minister of State for Defence, concerned Secretaries of the Government, Defence Attaches of various countries, corporate leaders of both global and Indian companies will assemble under a single roof. The objective being 'Enhancing Defence Capabilities through Cooperation'. Do look out for an announcement on our website.

We look forward to providing you with more information and analysis on subjects of import to the Indian Defence Industry. Do stay tuned in.



Image article 1
Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV)
By Maj Gen P K Charkavorty (Retd)

If the army can actually get a single basic platform, with a modular design, and utilise it for multiple activities that an armour protected vehicle is required for, it surely would meet our futuristic requirements. Whether the concept can be translated to a tank/tracked gun system/armoured recovery vehicle is not just the apprehensions are all about, it's also the timeframe and funding that the project will call for. Read More...
Opinion article 2
Light Helicopter Replacement - Confusion Prevails
By Lt Gen B S Pawar (Retd)

The Indian Army's aviation fleet is mostly a rusted inventory flogged by succeeding governments to a point whenwives of the army aviators had to express their concern over the safety of their husbands who fly these outdated machines. The impact that outdated aviation assets can have on our military capabilities barely needs elaboration. The proposed Kamov 226T deal with the Russians offers much hope. But will the Indian Government be able to negotiate the hurdles that involve negotiating with not just the Russians but also a host of other manufacturers and their governments. Read More...
Opinion article 3
Army liberalises social media policy
By Nitin A Gokhale (First published on abplive.in)

It took some time in coming but the Indian Army, after a few baby steps since 2013, has finally come up with a liberal official policy on use of social media by its serving personnel. Sent out to all its formation over the last couple of weeks, it will take at least a month to reach everybody down the line but when fully understood and then dovetailed in its day-to-day functioning, the guidelines are expected to bring in more transparency in the Indian Army's internal as well as external communications. Read More...
Opinion article 4
Let the Army do its job
By Nitin A Gokhale (First published on abplive.in)

The Army has studiously kept itself away from the current law and order issue in Kashmir valley where protesters have been on a rampage in the wake of the killing of Burhan Wani, a self-proclaimed terrorist. In one instance, the Army patrol, when faced with a riot-like situation, followed the standard operating procedure of warning the crowd before firing at the crowd that tried to snatch weapons from the soldiers. Unlike the police and central armed police forces, the army has to shoot to kill which is exactly what the patrol did. Read More...
Opinion article 1
Peace, Stability and Justice in South China Seas (SCS) and Role of ASEAN
By Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha (Retired)

South China Sea has been boiling hot for some time. The Chinese have been rough in their treatment of the smaller nations of South China Sea. It's unilateral decisions to extend/create islands by dredging, and position military weapons and equipment on them has alarmed nations beyond the SCS, to include India to the west and Japan to the east. In fact, the Chinese are providing the best opportunity to the US for strengthening its relationships with the SCS countries. Read More...
Opinion article 1
Strategic Partnership Model - Issues Galore
By Amit Cowshish

The Strategic Partnership model was to be a part and parcel of DPP-2016 when it was released at DefExpo earlier this year in Goa. However, even after entrusting it to a task force, the contours of the model remain contentious enough to disallow the MoD from finally issuing it. Mr Cowsish analyses certain aspects of the debate as it surely goes on within the confines of the MoD. The issue definitely has wide ramifications for the Indian Defence Industry and the policy, when released, will surely be greeted by an acrimonious debate. Read More...
Opinion article 1
Defence Reforms: A Case of Waiting for Godot?
By Brig Sunil G Gokhale (Retd)

Under the present Raksha Mantri, the MoD has shed the image of being a slothful organization to one that has seemingly sharper reflexes when it comes to decision making. However, so far the change in pace has not yet been reflected adequately in terms of tangible results on ground. Time is also running out for the RM, with less than three years to go before the next general elections, the private sector and the strategic community are apprehensive. Brig Sunil Gokhale, analyses the progress made so far and also brings to fore certain areas like the DRDO, DPSUs, OFs and force restructuring where there are barely any signs of going forward. Read More...
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