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Are we ready? 82% of India’s strategic roads along Sino-Indian border behind schedule


New Delhi: In 2006-07, India approved the construction of 73 strategic roads along the Sino-Indian border, but 82 percent of these – scheduled to be ready by 2012 – are unfinished. The new deadline is 2018.

Despite ambitious plans, India cannot seem to catch up with China in building infrastructure and militarising the 3,488 km border between the two countries.


The roads are part of a quiet but extensive Indian border-strengthening plan, which includes a new army corps of 35,000 (down from 90,000) soldiers, specifically to counter China’s burgeoning conventional forces across the Himalayas, and 14 strategic rail links to deploy troops and supplies.

There is little doubt that India is wary of Chinese abilities and intentions, despite recent declarations of peace.

“It is not a volatile border. Not a single bullet has been fired for over a quarter of a century now,” Prime Minister, Narendra Modi said in an interview with a magazine ahead of a visit to China.

Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also agreed to “resolve outstanding differences” and maintain “peace and tranquillity” but on the border, “transgressions” – as Chinese pasturers and troops foray along the unmarked Line of Actual Control (LAC) are called – are common.

As many as 1,612 transgressions by Chinese troops inside Indian territory took place between 2010 and August 2014, according to data released by the home ministry.

New roads are being built, but progress is slow

“While our neighbouring countries can reach the borders within two or three hours, our army takes more than a day to reach there. This is a matter of great concern with regard to our defense preparedness.”

This is the observation of a parliamentary committee on defense, alluding to the situation in Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

No more than 19 of 73 approved roads have been built, according to the report.

Delays on 40 roads have pushed deadlines by as far as six years, while construction of two roads has not started.

In Assam, India’s longest bridge, 9.15-km long, will be thrown open later this year. It’ll cost Rs.876 crore (nearly $140 million) and is meant to bear the 41.5 tonne T-72 tanks and cut travel time to the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh, which lies along the LAC.

Rail plans are still only plans, while China nears the border

India envisages urgently building four rail lines in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir, stretching 1,352 km, to be built collectively by the ministries of railways and defence.

While final surveys continue, China is already extending existing rail lines to the border: ToYatung, a trade centre close to Sikkim, and Nyingchi, a small town bordering Arunachal Pradesh. Both projects are expected to be completed by 2020.

China recently completed a railway line connecting the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to Shigatze, a town close to Nathu La, a strategic border post connecting Sikkim with the Tibetan Autonomous region.

Besides the contentious border, the Sino-Indian border dispute is also fuelled by the Chinese claim to nearly 90,000 sq. km of Arunachal Pradesh, which it refers to as South Tibet, and India claims that China illegally occupied nearly 30,000 sq km of the deserted Aksai Chin region of northern Jammu and Kashmir after the 1962 war.

Chinese airfields grow stronger

Six key civilian Chinese airfields in Tibet are being expanded to handle military operations, according to Air Marshal M. Matheswaran (retd), former Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff for Policy, Plans and Force Development.

Alongside, he said, China is deploying advanced military aircraft and support systems such as air-to-air refueling capabilities, airborne advance warning systems, sensors, air-defence systems and missile stocks.

By contrast, India recently opened three advanced landing grounds (ALGs) in J&K’s Ladakh region at Daulat Beg Oldi, Fuk Che and Nyoma, all close to the LAC.

Daulat Beg Oldi is the world’s highest airfield at 16,614 feet. It is about 10 km from the Sino-Indian border and has seen regular landing of heavy transport aircraft.

But such landing grounds are not full-fledged air bases. They are landing strips that can be used to drop-off troops and supplies.

This is why the Indian Air Force wants to upgrade the Nyoma landing ground by 2016-17 to station fighter jets and provide logistical support to the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Ladakh Scouts, an Indian Army unit.

In Arunachal Pradesh, advanced landing grounds are being developed at Tawang, Mechuka, Vijaynagar, Tuting, Passighat, Walong, Ziro and Along, at a cost of Rs.720 crore.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force has to deploy its frontline Sukhoi SU-30 MKI aircraft at Chabua and Tezpur air bases in Assam, up to 405 km from the border. The combat jet can cover this distance in less than 15 minutes. (IANS)

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Indian defence exports surged in 2015

Ministry Of Defence
New Delhi, March 28: As India focuses on enhancing domestic production of military hardware, a surge in its export was recorded in nine months to end-2015, with the net value touching almost $210 million (Rs.1,400 crore). According to the annual report of the defence ministry, the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and the private sector companies exported products worth Rs.1,397 crore from April to December 2015. The final figures for the fiscal ending March 31 are yet to be tabulated.

Exports in the financial year 2014-15 were valued at Rs.994 crore. “The trend in export shows phenomenal growth by the industry,” the defence ministry report said. It also lauded the role of private companies in the defence sector, stating that the exports by the sector had shown “accelerated growth” by 12-14 companies. The major destinations for defence exports from India include Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Ecuador, Indonesia, Israel, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Sudan, Vietnam and the UK. Among the major items being exported are Offshore patrol vessels, spares for radars, Cheetal helicopters, turbo chargers and batteries, electronic systems, light engineering mechanical parts and personal protective items, which comprise articles like helmets, bulletproof jackets and other types of clothing. The report also observed that the online system for NoCs (No Objection Certificates) which was started in November 2014 is working satisfactorily. In August 2015, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for issuing NOCs for export of military stores by public or private defence industry were also revised. Under this, the requirement of an End User Certificate to be countersigned or stamped by the government authorities has been done away with for the export of items like parts, components or sub-systems. As the government promotes participation of private sector in defence manufacturing, the report also said that the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has issued 319 Industrial Licences to 190 companies till January 2016. Of these, 50 companies with 79 licences have started production. The new Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) envisages providing a boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, enhanced role for private sector, and promoting medium and small scale industries. It also has a new category of Buy Indian — Indigenous Design Development and Manufacturing under which indigenously designed equipment with 40 percent content will be procured. According to Sweden-based think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), between 2011 and 2015 India was the largest importer of arms, accounting for 14 percent of the global trade. It, however, does not appear prominently in the list of defence exporters, with the top slot being taken by the US, which accounts for 33 percent of global arms export, according to SIPRI. According to the Institute’s analysis, adding together the data that states have made available on the financial value of their arms exports, the estimated total value of the global arms trade in 2013 was at least $76 billion. It adds that the true figure is likely to be higher.

Credits: IANS

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Wooing India: US focuses entry into Indian weapons market, wants Russia out


by Nadezhda Alekseeva and Russkaya Planeta

Washington: It has become apparent that the Americans are making great efforts to establish a military and political partnership with India, a major power that has traditionally gravitated towards maintaining good relations with Russia.

US President Barack Obama paid a “historic visit” to New Delhi in January 2015 and, according to some analysts, the visit “ended an era of estrangement between the two countries”, which had lasted for decades. The main outcome of the visit was a settlement of the question involving the supply of US nuclear technologies to India. The Americans are seeking to oust the Russian company Rosatom from India.

Anglo-Saxons eager to enter the Indian Subcontinent

The main focus of talks was the US entry into the Indian weapons market, traditionally occupied by products from the Russian military-industrial complex. As part of the DTTI programme, four joint pilot projects were launched. These included the production of a new generation of lightweight drones, the RQ-11 Raven, containers with reconnaissance equipment for the C-130, portable hybrid power generators, and uniforms aimed to provide protection against chemical and biological weapons.

“In the footsteps” of Obama’s visit, Pentagon Chief Ashton Carter visited India in June 2015. His trip resulted in the two countries signing a ten-year framework agreement on defence cooperation.

New Delhi’s cooperation with Washington is developing not only in the technologies sphere, but also in the military and political areas. India appears to be willing, more than ever before, to cooperate with the United States, in the background of strained relations with China.

The Malabar 2015 joint naval exercises were held last year, involving naval forces of the USA, India, and Japan; to the displeasure of Chinese authorities. These were the first such exercises held since 2007, and India said these would become an annual event.

During the preceding eight years, such exercises were not carried out because China objected to them, but now the regional powers are willing to aggravate their relations with China under the aegis of the United States. Analysts say the reasons for the escalation in tensions in South Asia are the growing territorial ambitions of Beijing.

Adding to the long-standing conflict between India and China, concerning the disputed ownership of territories of Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, relations have been further exacerbated by competition for control over the South China Sea. This despite the fact that Delhi is not formally a party to the dispute between Beijing and Washington over the sea passage lanes, through which up to 50% of India’s trade travels.

However, Indian politicians fear that China will not limit itself to the South China Sea, and will try to expand its influence towards the Indian Ocean as well.

Strained relations with Beijing are pushing New Delhi into the arms of Washington and leading to some cooling of relations with Moscow. However, it is also clear that Russia cannot become India’s ally in its confrontation with China.

What about Russia?

India is vital for the Russian defence establishment. In 2013, for example, India accounted for around 35% of all Russian arms exports and brought $4.7 billion in revenues to the domestic defence industry. New Delhi is firmly established as the major buyer of Russian military hardware.

However, contrary to expectations, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia in December 2015 did not result in the signing of large contracts for the supply of military equipment. Modi preferred to go slow, and put off the signing of most contracts for an indefinite period. The only significant defence cooperation deal was signing an agreement on the production, by the holding company Russian Helicopters, of 200 Ka-226 helicopters in India, within the framework of the “Make in India” programme.

In recent years, India has been insisting on Russian defence products being manufactured on its territory. This is not very favourable for Russia, and creates additional difficulties in the production process; the technological base and Indian experts are not able to fully provide the necessary operating conditions.

Partly for this reason, the programme to build a fifth generation fighter jet (FGFA) for the Indian Air Force was suspended. Although “on paper”, this fighter is ready to go, further work on the project has been stalled. India insists on parity distribution of all works between Russian and its own specialists, despite the fact that Indian aircraft builders are not yet ready to provide the necessary quality required for the production process.

Also, at the end of last year, the Indian military abandoned the idea of buying Russian 155 mm self-propelled guns, the MSTA-S, opting instead to buy South Korean K9 Thunder artillery systems.

Moscow intends on keeping New Delhi within its political orbit. During his meeting with the Indian PM Modi, Vladimir Putin said Russia was in favour of India becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council, noting that it was “a great power, conducting a balanced and responsible foreign policy”.

However, according to Vladimir Sotnikov, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies RAS, there exists no particular threat that rapprochement between India and the United States will lead to a deterioration of Russian-Indian relations. New Delhi should be able to stick to its multi-vector foreign policy, continue on its non-aligned course, which its leaders have been pursuing since the 1960s.

“We should not assume that if India has undertaken a policy of rapprochement with Washington, it is moving away from Russia and BRICS. Prime Minister Modi’s goal is to support equal relations with all large countries. Our strategic partnership with India continues, and the Indian sides close relations with the United States will not have any negative impact on cooperation between Moscow and Delhi. The fact that the Indian authorities are seeking to diversify their suppliers, buying weapons not only from Russia, but also from the United States, Israel, and other countries, does not indicate any anti-Russian intentions on the part of Delhi,” the analyst said in an interview.

Sotnikov said Indian politicians are aware that one of the objectives of the White House is to damage Russian-Indian relations, along with countering the ever-growing Chinese influence in the region, but Delhi intends to stay aloof from this confrontation.

Most analysts agree that Modi’s government was elected on the basis of its policy of pragmatism, and this is understandable because, despite the fact that in the first months of 2016, India has managed to overtake China in terms of economic growth rate, a large proportion of the country’s population still lives below the poverty line.

Will India be able to maintain a balance in its relations between the strongest world powers; Russia, the USA, and China; which are trying to pull New Delhi in diametrically opposite directions? Washington, according to many analysts, is making every effort to derail the current Indo-Russian partnership, and it is hoped that Indian politicians maintain the necessary cool-headedness, and keep at the right distance from their American colleagues, and not become involved in the confrontation between the West and Russia.

(The article was published in

2 responses to “Wooing India: US focuses entry into Indian weapons market, wants Russia out”

  1. India dare not let the US in and become a member of the US-NATO-Sunni Axis.

    US actions have been the deliberate advancement of a consistent pro-Sunni Islamic Policy since even before Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Sheikh Yamani forged the US-NATO-Sunni Petro Dollar Axis. Truman threw the Kurds into the Turkish Sunni belly in 1946. Nixon sent the Seventh Fleet up the Bay of Bengal to defend Pakistan;s right to practice Islam (mass rapes, sex slavery, genocide, vandalism etc) in 1971 and Turkey’s annexation of half of Cyprus in 1973 and the persecution of Shia Iran in International affairs. The US is a Polyphemus being ridden by Sunni (Petro Dollar) Islam as Sindbad was by the “Old Man of the Sea”. The White Hice, the State Department and the CIA are not accountable to the US people as much as internal US governance. From Nixon’s China and Pakistan to “contain India” (a suicidal India that is its own worst enemy, standing as a Totalitarian Anti-Hindu State on the two fundamental pillars of “reservations” and “corruption”) as State Policy, Bush (the Father’s) CIA when he founded the Bush wealth from largesse found under the Tent of Saud, to Reagan’s Iran-Contra and Taliban, to Clinton (the husband’s) bombing of Belgrade to cede Islam its first ethnically cleansed enclaves (Bosnia and Kosovo) in Europe since 1489, to Bush (the Son’s) Iraq and Obama (The Holy Ghost’s) ISIS, the White Hice have been acting just as any mercenary on the pay roll of Sunni (Petro Dollar) Islam might. Pakistan is the US’s consistent cat’s paw to contain India since Nixon as it has been China’s since inception. Islamic Terror is Pakistan’s favoured and consistent weapon in dealing with India and has full White Hice blessings. The US has tossed one country after another into the maws of Sunni Islam. Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Cyprus, Tunisia, “The Arab Spring” and Libya. Now the US has thrown its NATO allies in Europe into the anti-civilization and dehumanizing chaos called Islam.

    Daesh, Al Shebab like Boko Haram, Pakistan Army, Jaish e Mohammed, Lashkar e Taiba, Turkish Army, Saudi Army and so on are different regiments of Taliban (students of the Quran and the Hadiths raised in Madrassas around the world funded by Saudi and other Sunni Petro Dollars to impose what they have learned, Islam, on the rubble of civilization). They are not merely US allies, but US’ “boots on the ground” that are bringing democracy (regime change and chaos) on America’s behalf along with Islam (vandalism, gang rapes, beheadings, genocides, slavery and so on) on Mahomet’s behalf to the world.

    For Obama, ISIS has not been a question of choosing sides. It is a matter of fighting on his own side. Obama dropped a Billion dollars worth of high tech weaponry, including systems to drop Pakistan’s nuclear war heads deep inside India, into Pakistan’s lap in November 2015 after abusing Indian hospitality by starting a “tolerance” chorus of India’s Fifth Columnists

    US Greed and Islam’s hate made the perfect consort dancing together since Nixon, Kissinger and Sheikh Yamani forged the US-NATO-Sunni axis. The Islam Mahomet created was born from his selling his soul to Satan to sate his hatred with revenge on Muqqa. The US became partners in crime as it submitted to the oil well betwixt the mammoth thighs of Mammon.

  2. India dare not let the US in and become a member of the US-NATO-Sunni Axis.

    “US President Barack Obama paid a “historic visit” to New Delhi in January 2015 and, according to some analysts, the visit “ended an era of estrangement between the two countries”, which had lasted for decades.” Seriously?

    For Obama, Daesh and Pakistan have not been a question of choosing sides. It is a matter of fighting on his own side. Obama dropped a Billion dollars worth of high tech weaponry, including systems to drop Pakistan’s nuclear war heads deep inside India, into Pakistan’s lap in November 2015 after abusing Indian hospitality by starting a “tolerance” chorus of India’s Fifth Columnists during his visit in January 2015.

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India’s first all women crew to sail the ocean


By Anjali Ojha

Lt. Commander Vartika Joshi, who is set to lead India’s first all women crew to sail the oceans, says that a boat or the sea doesn’t differentiate between a man and a woman and there are no shortcuts to the physical and mental fitness required to sail the open seas.

Lt. Commander Joshi, along with a crew of five women, will soon go globe-trotting. Their adventure is likely to start in 2017. The team stood out at the just-concluded International Fleet Review (IFR) where the crew was on INSV Mhadei, a sail training boat of the Indian Navy on which they are currently training.

“We are training every day for the sailing and it requires a hard level of physical activity. You have to be physically and mentally very strong and there is no shortcut to it,” Lt. Commander Joshi told IANS in an interview.

“It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman, you have to do what you are required to do,” said the sailor, who is a naval architect by training.

The crew is being trained by Commander Dilip Donde, the first Indian sailor to circumnavigate solo across the globe on INSV Mhadei.

Commander Donde, in the same tone, said a sailor is a sailor, irrespective of gender.

“The sea does not differentiate between a man and a woman. A sailor is a sailor,” Commander Donde told IANS.

Asked about his guru mantra to the team, the commander said: “Never let your guard down… You have to be on your toes all the time.”

Riding the open seas in a sailing boat is not an easy feat to pull off.

The crew needs to be aware of every inch of the boat, which they may need to repair themselves in case of damage. Weather in the open sea also remains unpredictable, and smaller boats face more challenges.

Lt. Commander Joshi was confident.

“This is certainly Mission Possible. We have been taking a special training on circumnavigation since (last) April. The course included navigation, equipment, managing a crisis or distress situation and communication courses,” she explained.

The team sailed to Visakhapatnam for the IFR from Goa, and is now on its way back to continue the training.

The boat on which the journey will finally be undertaken is at present under construction in Goa, and the crew has to familiarize itself with every inch of the vessel.

Apart from Lt. Commander Joshi, the team includes Lt. Pratibha Jamwal and Lt. P Swathi in the core group, besides Lt. Vijaya Devi and Sub Lt. Payal Gupta. A sixth member is yet to be named.

INSV Mhadei had been used by Commander Abhilash Tomy for his own solo, unassisted, non-stop circumnavigation under sail. (IANS) (pic courtesy: