Saturday, March 31, 2012

Armed Forces Modernisation, etc

According to Press Information Bureau, the following information was given March 19, 2012, by Minister for Defence AK Antony and Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju in written replies to Parliament:


Modernization of the Armed Forces including the Coast Guard is a continuous process based on threat perception, operational challenges, technological changes and available resources. The process is based on a 15 year Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP), five year Services Capital Acquisition Plan (SCAP) and Annual Acquisition Plan (AAP). Procurement of equipment and weapon systems is carried out as per the AAP in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure.

The budgetary allocations on capital acquisition for modernization of Armed Forces including Army, Navy, Air Force, Joint Staff and Coast Guard during the years 2008-09 to 2011-12 are as under:

Budget Allocations (Rs. in Crore)
• 2008-09: 38,515.24
• 2009-10: 41,671.59
• 2010-11: 44,899.25
• 2011-12: 54,598.02

The budget estimates and revised estimates for modernization of Armed Forces during the year 2011-12 under various heads are as under:

• 10,740.02
• 4,950.02
• 5,790.00(-)

• 13,149.02
• 16,040.27
• 2,891.25(+)

Air Force:
• 28,412.74
• 26,033.92
• 2,378.82(-)

Joint Staff:
• 696.24
• 385.24
• 311.00(-)

Coast Guard:
• 1,600.00
• 1,600.00
• 0.00

• 54,598.02
• 49,009.45
• 5,588.57(-)

The allocation of funds for modernization has been revised based on funds provided by Ministry of Finance in RE in 2011-12 in the Capital segment of Defence Services estimates. However, additional allocation of Rs.2585 crore has been made for other capital requirements of Army including supply of capital equipment from ordnance factories.


During the last three years (2008-09 to 2010-11) and current year 2011-12 (upto 13.3.2012) 33 fighter aircrafts which includes 01 Jaguar, 02 Mirage-2000, 03 Sukhoi-30 and 27 MIG series aircraft (including 16 MIG-21 series) and 10 helicopters of Indian Air Force (IAF) have crashed.

In the above accidents 26 defence personnel including 13 pilots have lost their lives. In addition 06 civilians have also lost their lives.

Majority of the above accidents were on account of Human Error (HE) and Technical Defect (TD). Every IAF aircraft accident is thoroughly investigated by a Court of Inquiry (Col) to ascertain the cause of accident. Remedial measures are taken accordingly to check their recurrence in future.

However, improvement of skills of pilots is a continuous process. Several steps have been taken by the Government in this regard. These include increased use of simulators to practice procedures and emergency actions, focused and realistic training with additional emphasis on the critical aspects of mission, introduction of Crew Resource Management and Operational Risk Management to enable safe mission launches, Aviation Psychology courses and introduction of Aerospace Safety capsules in the ab-initio training of aircrew.

Decision to phase out aircrafts are taken based on various factors including residual life of the aircraft and operational considerations and is reviewed by the Government from time to time. This is a continuous process.


The government has formulated a new Defence Production Policy in order to reduce dependence on the import of defence equipments from other countries. The Defence Production Policy came into effect from 1st January 2011. The policy endeavours to build up a robust indigenous defence industrial base by proactively encouraging larger involvement of the Indian private sector in design, development and manufacture of defence equipment.

The modernization programmes are under implementation in DPSUs&OFB.

In regard to restructuring of DRDO, the two review committees headed by Prof. P. Rama Rao and Defence Secretary respectively had submitted their recommendations. The following recommendations have been accepted by Government:

(i) Formation of Defence Technology Commission (DTC).
(ii) Restructuring of DRDO Management/Re-shaping of R&D Headquarters.
(iii) Administrative decentralization of DRDO.
(iv) Financial decentralisation.
(v) Revamping of HR structure.
(vi) Creation of a Commercial Arm of DRDO.
(vii) Continuation of major ongoing programmes.
(viii) Selection of Industry Partner.

DRDO has initiated the process of implementation of the above recommendations.

While DPP-2011 aims to achieve greater self-reliance in comingyears in continuous manner, no target can be fixed in this regard.


No irregularities in purchase of components of the Tatra Trucks for army have been reported.


No Army and defence personnel has been reported to have leaked confidential information on social networking sites such a Facebook. Cyber Security Policy which, inter-alia, includes the policy regarding network connected to internet, as circulated by Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Department of Information Technology is being enforced in this Ministry and the three Services.


Indian Navy awarded a contract for acquisition of a fleet tanker to foreign shipyard.Steel offered by the shipyard, M/s Fincantieri, in response to Request for Proposal (RFP) for construction of Fleet Tanker, was technically evaluated by a Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC). Based on technical clarifications offered by the shipyard, which were ratified by two classification societies, the steel offered by the shipyard was accepted by the TEC for the stated purpose.

In order to ascertain reasonability of cost, the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC) undertook costing for the tanker based on two separate costing models. Taking into account both the costing models, the CNC considered the cost quoted by M/s. Fincantieri of Euro 127.26 Million (Rs.747.65 crore) as the basic cost of the ship to be reasonable.


There are no technical problems reported in existing gun system of the Army. However, due to vintage and exploitation of the guns, mechanical problems of routine nature do come up from time to time. These are rectified by the repair/maintenance agencies either in situ or at the workshops established for this purpose.

The government had secured the right of transfer of technology during the purchase of Bofors guns. Though all the technological documents as per the ToT contract were received by OFB from M/s AB Bofors, the Transfer of Technology was not carried forward as the dealings with the technology provider, (M/s AB Bofors) were suspended. Further, no indent was placed by Army on OFB for manufacture and supply of complete gun system.

Capital expenditure of Rs.376.55 crore has been sanctioned by the Government in March, 2012 for creation/augmentation of Large Calibre Weapon manufacturing capacity in Ordnance Factories.


The existing submarine fleet is being constantly upgraded with modern weapons and sensors which has ensured that the underwater combat capacity of the country remains at the desired levels.

Six Scorpene submarines are being constructed under Project-75 at M/s Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai under Transfer of Technology (ToT) from M/s DCNS, France.

Government approval for construction of the six submarines at M/s MDL under Project-75 was accorded in September, 2005 at a total cost of Rs.18,798crore. The contract was signed in October, 2005. The Government approval for revision in cost of the project to Rs.23,562crore was accorded in February, 2010, along with revision in delivery schedule.

The original delivery schedule of the first submarine was December, 2012 and remaining submarines were to be delivered with a gap of one year each. Consequent to the approval of Government for revision is cost and delivery schedule, the delivery schedule of the first submarine has been revised to June, 2015 and that of the last (6th) submarine to September, 2018. The delay in construction of Scorpene submarines is attributable to initial teething problems in absorption of new technology, delay in augmentation of Industrial Infrastructure at MDL and delay in procurement of MPM items by MDL due to their high cost as compared to the earlier indicated cost. Most of the teething problems have been resolved and various plans have been put in place to minimize delays.

As part of the TOT for the six submarines under construction at MDL, Mumbai, a Technical Data Package has been provided by the Collaborator. This will enable attainment of significant indigenous competence in submarine construction, especially in the field of hull fabrication, outfitting, system integration etc. by the end of the programme.


Consequent upon the grounding of HPT-32 aircraft due to flight safety concerns and shifting of basic flying training to Kiran Mk-I/IA aircraft, the syllabus for basic flying training has been reduced, keeping the available resources in mind. However, flying hours have been increased in other stages of flying to ensure wholesome training.

A proposal is being progressed for the procurement of 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft from M/s Pilatus Aircraft Limited, Switzerland.

There has been no delay in acquiring Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs).

The Hawk-132 Advanced Jet Trainer has been selected for the Indian Air Force. A total of 106 Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft are being inducted into the Indian Air Force.

The delivery of the basic trainer aircraft from M/s Pilatus Aircraft Limited, Switzerland is scheduled to commence 15 months from signing of the contract.


IAF has placed orders for 40 aircraft for LCA Tejas on HAL. The deliveries of aircraft are scheduled in the 12th plan period. Necessary funds for investment have been provided by the Government of India.


Government is pursuing defence cooperation activities with a number of foreign countries, including Vietnam, based on mutual interests of both sides and keeping in view all relevant aspects.

Defence cooperation activities with foreign countries include high level visits, training exchanges and other interactions between the armed forces of both sides.


No pact has been signed between India and China to tackle piracy. However, India, China and Japan have recently agreed for better coordination amongst their Naval ships deployed for escort of Merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden.

There are no plans to sign such pacts. Nevertheless, the security and surveillance apparatus for coastal defence has been enhanced over the years. Further, strengthening of the coastal security apparatus is an ongoing process considering the needs and changing security scenario as well as the threat perception.

* * *

According to Press Information Bureau, the following information was given March 14, 2012 by Minister for Defence AK Antony and Minister of State for Defence MM Pallam Raju in written replies to Parliament:


India, China & Japan have recently agreed for better coordination amongst their Naval ships deployed for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. As per the convoy coordination plan implemented with effect from 1st January, 2012, one of the Navies is designated as a "Reference Navy" for a period of three months, which first proposes its escort schedule for a three months period. The other Navies then de-conflict their escorts schedules with the dates of Reference Navy. The Reference Navy is rotated every three months in alphabetical orders.


In order to meet its operational requirements the Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to increase the strength of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in a phased manner. These include Micro and Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft.

The Remotely Piloted Aircraft are employed for surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering tasks and not for filling gaps in our Air Defence capability.


There was a media report stating that the scope of a probe by Italian prosecutors into allegations against unethical dealings by M/s Finmeccanica, Italy has widened to include the Indian contract signed with M/s Agusta Westland for purchase of 12 helicopters. Ministry of Defence asked for a report in the matter from the Indian Embassy in Rome. The report received indicates that Italian magistrate/prosecutors are conducting preliminary investigation about allegations of financial mal-practices occurring within M/s Finmeccanica, Italy and its subsidiaries in general and there is no specific probe being conducted about India related transactions.


The CAG report for the year 2011-12 (Defence Services) has made certain observations that modern technology Artillery Guns could not be made available to Artillery troops for certain reasons as explained in its Report.

As part of modernization, the Regiment of Artillery has been equipped with PINAKA Rocket Systems, Smerch Rocket Systems and BrahMos Missile Systems in the past 7-8 years. Nine Regiments of 130mm guns have already been upgraded in keeping with Artillery profile 2027. Various other gun systems are also at different stages of procurement. The modernization of Artillery is a continuous process and is being given priority to ensure that Artillery remains equipped with modern weapon systems.


Acquisition of weapons and equipment for defence forces is a complex activity and is carried out in accordance with the provisions of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). As per broad timeframe given in DPP, it takes about 80-137 weeks to complete the various stages of procurement and conclude the contract. However, delays sometimes occur in procurement cases due to several reasons, such as insufficient and limited vendor base, non¬conformity of the offers to the Request of Proposal (RFP) conditions, field trials, complexities in contract negotiations and long lead time for indigenization etc. Defence acquisitions are normally based on fixed price contracts. There are contractual provisions for penalties including imposition of liquidated damages for delay in execution of contracts.

To counter systemic and institutional delays, procedures are continuously reviewed and refined on the basis of experience gained during the procurement process.


The air logistics including casualty evacuation in emergent situations of Indian Army is being met by Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters. The Army's rotary wing assets also assist the IAF.

A Request for Proposal (RFP) / for hiring of civil helicopters for movement of maintenance supplies in high altitude areas was issued in October 2011, which included details of dispatch and receiving helipads.

The security situation is reviewed by the Government from time to time, keeping in view the threat perception. This is a continuous process.


The Initial Operational Clearance-1 (IOC-1) for the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft has been achieve on 10th January, 2011. Presently, LCA development activities leading to final operational clearance are in progress. Action for induction of Tejas into IAF has been initiated. IAF has placed orders for 40 aircraft with HAL.

Tejas Mark-I is planned at present for 40 aircraft only. Tejas Mark-II aircraft is under development with an alternate higher powered engine with considerable improvements. Final cost assessment will be available only after the development phase of Mark II is completed. Scope for cost reduction of Tejas Mk-I has been examined and the same is assessed as not feasible in view of limited quantities.

Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is the nodal organization for the development of Tejas.

Rs.11845.20 Crores have been sanctioned by the government of India to ADA for the development of Tejas till date and the total expenditure incurred so far is Rs.5051.46 Crores.

IAF plans to induct six LCA squadrons by the end of the 13th Plan.


The Indian Air Force helicopters are assisting in providing logistics support in aid of Ministry of Home Affairs anti-naxal operations.

Details of helicopters pressed in service in the foreign countries cannot be divulged in the interest of friendly relations with foreign countries and strategic concerns.


There is a proposal of procurement of 187 Light Utility Helicopters (LUHs) under design and development project undertaken by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The project was sanctioned by Government of India in February 2009. The project is proceeding as per approved time lines.

The procurement of quantity 145 Ultra Light Field Guns (Ultra Light Howitzers) was initially progressed concurrently as a Single Vendor Case from M/s ST Kinetics and through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route with Government of United States of America. However, the permission for trials was not granted to M/s ST Kinetics as the Firm is named in an FIR filed by CBI. The matter is presently sub-judice.

The field evaluation of Ultra Light Howitzer comprises three parts, viz. user trials, DGQA trials and Maintainability trials. Out of these, user trials of the gun proposed to be procured through US Government have been completed. The performance of the gun can be ascertained only after evaluation of all three trial reports.


The Government is aware through intelligence inputs that Pakistan has constructed and carried our repairs of bunkers, morchas and towers as per the following details (Period:2004 to 2011):

• Bunkers: 886
• Morcha: 261
• Towers: 398
• Post/Border Out Posts (BOPs): 143

Protests have been lodged with Pakistan Rangers and Flag Meetings of Field Commanders are held in all cases. The matter is also taken up by BSF with Pakistan Rangers during scheduled meetings at various levels.

Adequate troops are suitably supplemented by appropriate surveillance and technical intelligence resources to ensure the sanctity of the border.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Incredible ignorance

A response to Salil Tripathi - II

Facts are sacred; comment is free.

In his column ‘Here, There, Everywhere’, published in Mint under the headline “Incredible impunity” on February 29, 2012, Mr Salil Tripathi displays incredible ignorance (I sincerely mean no offence for he is a writer gifted with incredible intelligence) of Gujarat’s incredible economic growth and incredible prosperity, both of which are the envy of every State in the country.

The economic development and growth, and the consequent prosperity, witnessed in Gujarat have whetted the aspirations of Indians from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. They have brought about a paradigm shift in the people’s expectations from their Government – in their respective States; at the Centre. All this, of course, is inconsequential to Mr Tripathi who is neither impressed nor moved by Gujarat’s giant strides!

Reluctant to use the term ‘Modi Model’ for reasons that do not merit elaboration, a senior CPI(M) leader of West Bengal, reflecting on what went wrong with the Left Front that led to its decimation in the 2011 Assembly election, ruefully told me: “If only we had worked towards adopting the Gujarat Model…”

Those who are determined to demonise Mr Narendra Modi and deny him any credit for the ‘Gujarat Model’ of remarkable growth and prosperity are welcome to live in cussed denial, but that won’t change the ground reality – Gujarat’s economy has grown; Gujaratis (both Hindus and Muslims) have prospered. Nor will it influence the manner in which investors at home and abroad view the State.

Vibrant Gujarat has set new standards for other States to emulate. That entrepreneurs from other States, including Jammu & Kashmir, want to set up their businesses in Gujarat explains what sets this State apart from others. That difference is on account of the political leadership of the day.

Comparisons, as the adage goes, can be odious. Hence they are best avoided. But since Mr Tripathi has compared Gujarat to Maharashtra in a strenuous effort to belittle the former’s achievements, it would be in order to not only suggest that he and other critics of Mr Narendra Modi should revisit the socio-economic profiles of the two States for a closer scrutiny of details, but to also point out that a vast gulf separates these two States.

That gulf is about probity in public life; it’s about the integrity of those who are in charge of the Government; it’s about, to put it in two words, good governance.

Mr Tripathi is right when he says Gujaratis are an enterprising lot and that they have always done better than other Indians, even in trying circumstances – for instance, when Chimanbhai was Chief Minister of the State, the man who was known as “Chiman Chor”. Gujarat’s economic growth and prosperity over the past decade has been accompanied by a thorough cleansing of the system. Mr Narendra Modi can justly claim: “Na khata hoon na khilata hoon.”

That, understandably, leaves many disconsolate.

Stray statistics, confusing and plucked at random, find mention in Mr Tripathi’s column: They have been quoted to put down Gujarat. I can only cite from official documents a set of statistics that I have cross-checked with friends in the Planning Commission:

Gross Domestic Product: At current prices, Gujarat’s share at Rs 5,13,173 crore is 7.17 per cent of India’s GDP. At constant prices (2004-05), it’s Rs 3,65,295 crore, or 7.48 per cent of India’s GDP.

Net Domestic Product: At current prices, Gujarat’s share at Rs 4,40,942 crore is 6.89 per cent of India’s NDP. At constant prices (2004-05), it’s Rs 3,09,409 crore, or 7.16 per cent of India’s NDP.

Per Capita Income: At current prices, it is Rs 75,115 compared to the national average of Rs 53,331. At constant prices (2004-05), it’s Rs 52,708 compared to the national average of Rs 35,993.

Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (NSS 2009-10): In rural areas of Gujarat it is Rs 1,065 compared to the national average of Rs 953. In urban areas it is Rs 1,914 compared to the national average of Rs 1,856.

While the manufacturing sector and agriculture have suffered huge reversals across the country in the recent years under the UPA’s tutelage, Gujarat has bucked the trend. Manufacturing and agriculture continue to register impressive growth in the State. In 2002-03, ports in Gujarat were handling 841 lakh tonnes of goods; in 2010-11, that figure had grown to 2,309 lakh tonnes.

Mr Tripathi mocks at Mr Narendra Modi’s claim that Gujarat will soon be in a position to provide power to power-starved States. He overlooks the fact that Gujarat is the only State which can today boast of 24x7 power supply to industry, farms and homes. It’s absurd to compare Gujarat’s power generation capacity (GSEB alone produces 4,996 MW) to that of north-eastern States. The former has heavy industrial and agricultural demand for power; the latter has virtually none.

I wish Mr Tripathi had compared the power situation in Gujarat with that which prevails in Maharashtra or Uttar Pradesh (where I live and hence am acquainted with the reality) or India's capital city, Delhi (where I work and hence am also acquainted with the reality).

The comparison reminds me of how Jyoti Basu had once proudly proclaimed that Calcutta, as Kolkata was then known, had left behind its terrible days and nights of relentless ‘load-shedding’. What he forgot to mention is that West Bengal had left behind its glory days as the industrial hub of the eastern hinterland.

I could go on citing statistical details, but the list is far too long. Those who are interested in the specifics will find them in the latest Socio-Economic Review of Gujarat. A patient reading will tell you why it’s incorrect (and grossly unfair) to try and diminish Gujarat’s spectacular social and economic achievements.

“So many things work properly in Gujarat that it hardly feels like India,” the Economist said in a review of Gujarat’s economy. The report was telling published under the headline, “India's Guangdong: A north-western State offers a glimpse of a possible industrial future for India.” The report can be read here.

Mr Tripathi has chosen to play fast and loose while discussing Gujarat’s commitment to fiscal responsibility. It’s possible he is not aware of the minutiae of the FRBM Act and the fact that the 13th Finance Commission has set targets for each State Government and every State has to periodically report progress which is documented. Compared to other States, Gujarat has been well ahead of meeting the targets that were set for its compliance to fiscal responsibility. The details are available over here for those who are interested in the specifics.

Admittedly, nobody is perfect. If Mr Narendra Modi is guilty of anything, it is of pursuing purposeful policies of enablement and empowerment of all, irrespective of gender, caste and faith, while eschewing wasteful policies of entitlement. That’s where the 'Modi Model', or call it the 'Gujarat Model' if you wish, stands out in stark contrast to the 'NAC Model'.

That, understandably, leaves many incandescent with rage.

(To be continued.)