INS Kalvari and the Birth of Indian Submarines

On December 8 this year, President Ram Nath Kovind awarded President’s color, the highest honour to a military unit, to the Submarine Arm of the Indian Naval Services. But it was back in 1956 that the origin of submarine arm began.

Eight years post independence Pakistan was building its military might. United States announced to transfer naval support to Pakistan by supplying One Cruise, Four Destroyers and some Submarines. Looking at the growing closeness of Pakistan with the US and China, Indian Navy recognised the need to develop anti-submarine equipments and a strong warfare resilience against the neighbouring powers Pakistan and China.

Indian Navy established Torpedo and Anti-submarine School and Tactical School focussed more on theoretical knowledge, but lacked practical training. INS planned to setup a submarine trained cadre of 38 Officers and 65 Sailors. In 1961, the first batch of this cadre was thus sent to Britain for practical training under the Royal Navy.

In 1965, Russia offered to supply India with four submarines, one submarine depot, two lady ship tanks and five patrol boats. From 1967, the four submarines, INS Kalvari, Karanj, Khanderi and Kursura, started arriving at the Indian shore. INS Kalvari, the first one, was commissioned in December 1967. Till 1990, India had a total of 17 submarines.

By November 2017, the count of submarines with Indian Navy has dipped down to 14 – nine Sindhughosh class (diesel electric powered), four Shishumar class (diesel electric powered) and one Arihant class (nuclear powered) submarine. With the commissioning and reincarnation of INS Kalvari on December 14 this year, we now have a strength of 15 submarines, short of 2 submarines by 1990 count.

Project 75 and Project 75I of the Indian Navy is aimed to improve the naval strength of the country by commissioning 12 more submarines. Six submarines made under Project 75 would be made in collaboration with a French company. While the next six submarines under Project 75I would be made indigenously.

INS Kalvari, the first Scorpene class submarine for the country, is the first submarines under Project 75. These are being made by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilder Limited in partnership with French company M/S Naval Group.

The submarine is one step forward for the country’s armed forces. One, because it comes with state-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System that allows it to remain undetected underwater for 21 days. This makes it even more efficient than nuclear-powered submarines. Two, it comes with Exocet anti-ship missile, manufactured by M/s Naval Group, which is the best technology available to the world. This missile is an advantage because it remains undetected till it reaches the target.

This anti submarine warfare is also a way ahead for Make in India programme since it is being produced in India with aide of an Indian company. And also because of technological support of DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation).

DRDO has developed Varunastra, a torpedo with range of 40 kms, for Kalvari to enable launch attack. Alongwith this DRDO has also developed an Advanced Indigenous Distress SONAR System for Submarines (AIDSSS). The organisation is also developing indigenous AIP system for the country.

Project 75 is not a mere horse trade for Indian Navy. But it is an attempt at strengthening the naval warfare of the country. Raveen Janu, Associate Fellow at Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) calls submarines the ultimate stealth weapons. “Despite advances in sonar technology over the decades, detecting, tracking and targeting submarines remains extremely difficult, particularly in the Indian Ocean where the salinity of the seas and the presence of thermal zones of variable water temperature, make submarine detection extremely difficult,” he shares on the official website of CLAWS. Technological novice is a priority today.

INS Sindhushastra being the last submarine inducted by the Indian Navy in 2000, the development of anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare has become a requisite for India.

Indian army rejects ‘home-made’ rifles, yet again

The Indian Army, on June 21, 2017, rejected indigenously-built assault rifles made by the Ordinance Factory, after the 7.62 x 51 mm prototype was found to be far below standard.

PTI reported that the assault rifles were rejected due to their “poor quality and ineffective fire power”. These new weapons were meant to replace the current and outdated INSAS rifles (India’s New Small Arms System Rifles). The rifles, made in the Ichapore Rifle Factory, located outside Kolkata, miserably failed in the firing tests last week.

According to the officials “a complete redesigning of the magazine” was required before it could even be considered for the Army. The Ministry of Defense’s PMT (Project Management Team) ruling that the assault rifle was “at best only a prototype and requires comprehensive design analysis and improvement.”

This is the second year in a row that the Army has rejected home-made rifles. Earlier, in 2016, the Army rejected 5.56 mm Excalibur guns, another variant of assault rifles for its failure to meet required standards. The old rifles which the Army has been using since 1988, were scheduled to be replaced this year. The Army was in the need of more advanced weaponry for quite some time for counter-insurgency operations, but that has not seen any development yet.

The Army’s multiple rejections of technology come as a major blow to the much coveted ‘Make in India’ campaign that seeks to boost manufacturing in the indigenous sectors. Notably in 2015, when India’s first multirole light fighter Tejas was being considered to be included in the Indian Air Force’s fleet, the Comptroller and the Auditor General of India (CAG) reported that the indigenous made Tejas was riddled with problems.

 

Sources: The Telegraph, DNA

Indian Army begins field trials of Howitzer M777 gun

The Indian Army has begun field trials of the highly-coveted Howitzer M777 guns, near Pokhran. This is the same location where the historical nuclear test of 1998 took place. The Indian Army received its first shipment of two Howitzer guns on May 18, 2017. They were manufactured by the US-based BAE Systems’ Global Combat Systems division.

The Central Government, under its Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme, placed an order of 145 Howitzers for $750 million on June 26, 2016, and completed the deal on November 30, 2016. Having received the first batch of two Howitzers, only 25 of the remaining guns will be delivered by BAE Systems, while the rest will be manufactured by Mahindra Defence under the “Make in India” program. This is the first deal of its kind since the infamous Bofors scandal that came out in 1987.

Around 41% lighter than its predecessor, M198, the Howitzer M777 (4200 kg) uses a digital fire-control system that provides navigation, pointing, and self-location, allowing it to be put into action quickly. It is a 155 mm 39 caliber towed gun with an assisted range of up to 30 km.

According to PTI, the guns would be deployed along the India-China border, used by the New Mountain Strike Corps that will be deployed soon near the Panagarh in West Bengal. These guns will come to India in September 2018, after which five guns will be inducted every month from March 2019 to June 2021.

 

Sources: Financial Express, DNA

TATA Group joins hands with Lockheed Martin for Local F-16 Production

In a historic move, American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin has signed an agreement with Tata group for jointly manufacturing F-16 Jets in India in alignment with ‘Make in India’ policy of the Modi Government. The move is expected to boost not only the local aviation industry but also in course of domino effect promote other industries as well.

Defense experts have applauded the move as the government has finally proved that its perspective on producing an indigenous fighter aircraft was not merely a pipe dream. The  American firm will shift its production plant from Texas to India in order to align with their local partner.  Tata Advanced Systems, the Indian partner on the other expects to gain access to advanced technological know-how and has chance to firmly set itself as formidable defence equipment supplier.

Tata Advanced Systems expects to gain access to advanced technological know-how and has a chance to firmly set itself as formidable defense equipment supplier.

Currently, a majority Indian Air Force fleet belong to the Soviet era and are at high risk of becoming obsolete. The current NDA government has been actively promoting a policy in which a foreign supplier needs to partner with a local firm to promote domestic production which is a significantly different from the earlier policy of direct imports. This announcement comes right ahead of the first bilateral meeting between Narendra Modi and Donald Trump which is scheduled just within a week.

 

News Source- Business StandardThe News Minute

Union Cabinet gives a nod to Permanent Residency Plan for foreign investors

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Permanent Residency Plan for foreign investors. This was done in order to boost foreign investment and the Make in India Initiative. In order to granting Permanent Residency Status (PRS), the foreign investors will have to meet certain conditions.

According to the Times of India, they will have to invest at least Rs.10 crore in the span of 18 months or Rs.25 crore in over 36 months. Other than this, they will also have to generate an employment for at least 20 Indian residents every year.Those who meet the above-mentioned criteria will be allowed to stay for 10 years. This can be reviewed further for another ten years if the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice. They will be allowed to purchase one residential property in the country. The spouse and dependents will be able to take up employment in the private sector and also study in India.

Those who meet the above-mentioned criteria will be allowed to stay for 10 years. This can be reviewed further for another ten years if the PRS holder has not come to adverse notice. They will be allowed to purchase one residential property in the country. The spouse and dependents will be able to take up employment in the private sector and also study in India.

 

Sources: TOI

Railway Budget: Focus on Development and Infrastructure

India witnessed another Railway Budget for the financial year 2016-17 earlier today in the Parliament. Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu presented his second budget in the Lok Sabha in the afternoon.

The new budget for the railways includes mostly the infrastructural development in various sectors. The minister started his speech saying that this budget will document a journey of transformation and journey of a nation with a three pillar strategy, .i.e. New Revenues, New Norms and New Structures.

Rs. 8,720 Cr. of budget was saved from the last financial year which will be put to use this year. In addition to this, Rs. 1,21,000 Cr. has been allocated for this year’s budget. The ministry is also hopeful of generating revenues of order of Rs. 1,84,820 Cr. for the next year and a 10.1% revised target of current year.

The budget had good news for both the passengers as well as freight movers as there was no hike in the fares. Instead the railways plan to generate revenues through non-tariff means by monetizing assets.  Besides this, there was an increase of quota for senior citizens on lower berth by 50% and 33% reservations for women in the reserved quota in railways. Passengers will be able to cancel their tickets on the 139 helpline number.

A new purposed plan for freight service was also announced which included the (North-South), (East-West) and (EastCoast). A time-tabled freight container train has been proposed which will be run on a pilot basis.

Prabhu has also included the Make in India initiative in the budget where in two locomotive factories will be set up. The bidding for the same has started already. 17 states have already agreed to form joint ventures with the railway in order to help in the construction of rail-over-bridges. The budget has also accommodated the employment generation of 9 Cr. man days in 2017-18 and 14 Cr. man days of work in 2018-19.

17,000 bio-toilets and additional toilets at 475 stations will be installed under the Swacch Bharat initiative by the end of this fiscal year. He further added that the first bio-vacuum toilet has been already installed in the Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express. Importance has also been given to the cleanliness of the coaches.

Broad-Gauge Lumding-Silchar in Assam opened thus connecting the Barak Valley with the rest of the country. As a result, Agartala was brought into the BG map. Extended plans are in the pipeline where Manipur and Mizoram will be brought into the BG map.

The minister introduced new train services specifically targeted to the lower-income class background. UDAY Express, double-decker trains with an increased capacity of 40%, the TEJAS Express, a semi-high speed train with 130kmph speed and world-class services, the Humsafar Express, a third air-conditioned express with an optional catering service and theAntyodaya Express, a fully unreserved superfast train for long-distance routes. In addition to these trains, 2-4 Deen Dayalu coaches will be added to the long distance trains with drinking water and mobile charging point facilities.

Besides these trains,  Ajmer, Amritsar, Gaya, Mathura, Nanded, Nashik, Puri, Tirupati, Varanasi, Nagapattinam and other pilgrim stations to be beautified.  Two elevated suburban railway corridors – Churchgate-Virar and CST-Panvel to be constructed in Mumbai; Ring railway covering 21 stations to be revived with state participation. A passenger corridor project from Ahmedabad to Mumbai is underway with the help from the Government of Japan.

He also added that the IRCTC to manage catering services in a phased manner and finding possibilities where it can be made optional. 10 more IRCTC operated base kitchens will be made operational where local cuisines can be made available. In addition to this, Children’s menu, baby food, hot milk and water will be made available on the trains. There will be provisions installed like toilets for the physically challenged, ‘Divyaang’ on the A1 class stations during the next financial year.

Other than this, 400 stations will be developed with the help of PPP and equipped with Wi-Fi’s with 100 installed this year. Prabhu also announced that India’s first railway auto hub in Chennai will be inaugurated soon.

 

Source: The Economic TimesThe Indian Express, The Hindu

‘Make in India and hate in India’ cannot go together: Shashi Tharoor

 

On Monday, Former minister and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor , mocked the Modi government and said policies like ‘Make in India’ and hatred cannot go together in the Harvard University’s annual Indian convention 2016. He added that the outrageous statements made by the members of the ruling party against the minorities only threaten country’s soft power.

The Congress MP emphasized on the need to maintain pluralistic character of the country to attract foreign direct investment, which is essential for construction and modernization of the infrastructure sector and manufacturing.

Tharoor said that there exists a dire need to fix country’s domestic problems before it tries to leverage its soft power to increase its global position. He mentioned that the country needs to do enough to keep its people, healthy, and not just secure from jihadi terrorism.

In a packed auditorium of Harvard Business school, Tharoor told the students that it was not correct when people in the ruling part make outrageous statements against minorities.

As per Tharoor not enough progress is being made to reach everyone.

Mocking at the flagship schemes launched by the Modi government, Tharoor pointed out that on one hand, we go around saying Make in India, Startup India and Digital India to attract foreign investors, at the same time we can’t do so if we are approving hatred in India.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-shashi-tharoor-takes-jibe-at-modi-government-says-make-in-india-and-hate-in-india-cannot-go-together-2175199