June 2016

Jammu & Kashmir: The Realities of ‘The Last Mile’

Practitioners of military tactics will always tell you that the most difficult part of any war fighting is the last 200 yards of an attack operation of war. The assaulting infantry is without any fire support and in this brief distance the enemy is under cover while pulverizing the attacking troops with unrelenting high angle and small arms fire. Tactical battles are won and lost in these 200 yards and that can make a difference to the operational and strategic objectives.

General Dalbir Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC , Chief of the Army Staff

As the Indian Army celebrates the 67th Army Day, Chief of the Army Staff in a frank and forthright interview with South Asia Defence & Strategic Review (Defstrat) articulated his views on a number of contemporary issues facing the Indian Army. Speaking with Prabudh Sharma, Associate Editor of the magazine, the COAS shared his Key Result Areas and outlined his priorities. Excerpts:

Defstrat: What are your Key Result Areas as the Chief of Army Staff?

Geopolitical Conflicts - 2014

As the year that marks the centenary of the First World War comes to a close and 2015 rings in, one is tempted to draw comparisons between the events of 2014 and the happenings today. The world now is far different from what existed a century ago and it is unlikely that it will ever enter into conflict on the scale of what was seen in the past, at least not in a hurry. Yet the centers of conflict exist, and if anything, are more numerous than before. The areas of potential conflict too are diverse and straddle the globe. And 2014 has seen a host of new conflicts emerge.

Future of Air Power

Ever since the Wright Brothers took to the air in 1903, Air Power opened a hitherto not charted new and now dominant dimension of war. Platforms in the air allowed greater intelligence, surveillance, command and control capabilities. Heavy aerial carpet bombing against military and industrial targets and delivery of the nuclear bomb resulted in concept of ultimate deterrence. Speed and accuracy of delivery cut down sensor-shooter time and reduced collateral damage.

Space: Evolving Combat Zone

Space wars are very explicitly described in the well documented ancient Indian manuscripts. The design of modern spacecraft has a lot in common with ‘Vimana’ the ancient Indian aerospace craft. Similarly the details of very powerful space weapons like ‘Brahmastra’ of Lord Brahma, and ‘Vajra’ of Indra, the God of Weather and wars are well documented. Space is the universe starting about 100 km above the earth where the earth’s atmosphere thins down considerably.

Russia: India’s Long Term Aviation Partner

Russian President Putin’s visit to New Delhi in December 2014 preceded that of the US President Obama who came in January as the guest of honour for the Republic day celebrations. Prime Minister Modi and the Russian President sought to boost cooperation in defence, energy and trade and re-cementing the six decade close strategic relations and bonds. Subjects for discussion were concrete and well beyond just pumping of hands for photo-ops. The falling oil prices and strained relations with Europe on Ukraine have been having a negative impact on Russian economy.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

A definition of RFP as per Gary Blake and Robert Bly in the book Elements of Technical Writing is a solicitation made often through a bidding process, by an agency or company interested in procurement of a commodity, service or valuable asset, to potential suppliers to submit business proposals. It is submitted early in the procurement cycle, either at the preliminary study, or procurement stage. So what does this mean? What does a RFP imply? It would inform various vendors that a buyer is looking to procure an item.

Need to Boost Indian Aerospace Sector with Cluster Approach

For nearly six decades now, India’s aerospace sector had remained a hostage to political indecision, bureaucratic interference, policy paralysis and devious influence of a powerful import lobby enjoying right type of connections. Fortunately, the Indian Space programme because of the visionary leadership supported by a dedicated, talented and patriotic team of researchers and engineers could turn India into a world class space power on a shoe string budget by racing against time and a variety of hurdles.

Defence Procurement : Technology Advantage

To defeat our adversaries and to protect ourselves at times when we most need to do so, we need superior technology apart from other forms of battle winning edge. For any nation to generate operational advantage and exercise freedom of action, it should be able to operate, maintain, and refresh capabilities related to technology without being dependent on others. Obtaining such advantage that involves critical technology and equipment inevitably requires long term investment. It also involves balance of risk.

Is India Safe from the Scourge of The ‘Islamic State’

In recent times when ever people questioned me about the effects of violence in Afghanistan on India, my stock answer alluded to turbulence of any form always leading to ‘ripple effect’. So, is the turbulence in West Asia, in the form of the rise of the extreme radical group the Islamic State likely to have a ripple effect on India? Much was written on this in mid-2014 by analysts but subsequently interest has been on the wane.

In Conversation with Meggitt Defence Systems (UK)

‘Technologically savvy, highly experienced and a dynamic leader’-  that is how we can describe Mr Robert W Davies MBE FRAeS, Managing Director, Meggitt Defence Systems (UK). In a freewheeling Q&A session  with South Asia Defence Strategic Review (Defstrat), Robert spoke at length about Meggitt Defence System’s multiple objectives, its approach towards ‘Make in India’ and the technologies they intend to bring to India. Excerpts from the interview:-