India is set to join the United States of America and Russia in providing advanced missile shield to its important cities like New Delhi and Mumbai. Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), headed by Defence Minister Nirmarla Sitaraman, has approved the plan to procure the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS) through a government-to government deal with US. The entire deal would be close to $ 1billion. Nasams-II is manufactured by Kongsberg and Raytheon.
The new missile system will replace aging Russian Pechora air defense systems. NASAMS-II will be armed with 3-D sentinel radar and short and medium-range missile launchers. It can also track and shoots down multiple airborne threats such as cruise missile, drones and fighter jets. This missile
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is also developing two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) shield. The missile system of DRDO will be capable of tracking and destroying nuclear missiles both inside and outside the earth’s atmosphere. Once developed the BMD shield will be deployed to protect cities like New Delhi and Mumbai, whereas NASMAS-II will be used to intercept cruise missiles and aircraft. India is likely to issue letter of request to the US by the end of this year.
NASAMS II – a highly adaptable mid-range air defense system. Its battery consists of 12 missile launchers carrying six missiles each. The missile system employs the AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) as the primary weapon. The RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile can also be fired by the NASAMS-II.
The United States is concerned over India’s plans to sign a deal with Russia to procure the S-400 air defence system. The deal is worth Rs 40,000. Chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry said that India’s move would hinder the military ties between the two countries. According to Thornberry, concerns about India’s potential purchase of the S-400 have been conveyed to different levels of the US government.
Members of US House Armed Services Committee in India were of the opinion that procuring the Russian system would also make it difficult for the US to share sensitive technology with India in the future. “There is a lot of concern in the US administration and Congress with the S-400. There is concern that any country that acquires the system will complicate the ability of interoperability (with US forces),” reported Economic Times quoted Mac Thornberry as saying.
Thornberry also said that India should consider the decision to purchase the Russian missile system. India is likely to Ink the deal for procuring S-400 Triumf missile system before October’s annual summit between Prime Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The US had announced sanctions against Russia for its alleged involvement in meddling in the US presidential elections. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) came into effect in January. Many US lawmakers and experts are of the opinion that India should be exempted from CAATSA.
In April this year, India has issued a Request of Information for the purchase of 110 fighter jets worth $15 billion. The two US-based companies Lockheed Martin and Boeing are pitching their respective fighter jets. Both the companies have agreed to transfer the technology to India. The US is planning to shift entire production line of Lockheed Martin F-16 jet in India. It will be interesting to see whether the US will put under CAATSA after India inks deal with Russia to acquire the most advanced air defence system.
S-400 is an advanced version of S-300. The missile system is capable of travelling at a rate of 4.8 kilometres per second (17,000 km/h; Mach 14). The missile system can destroy incoming enemy fighter jets, missiles and even drones up to the range of 400 km. This missile system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is serving Russian Military since 2007.
India has finally concluded price negotiations with Russia for a nearly Rs 40,000 crore deal to procure S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems for the Indian Air Force. Both India and Russia now have to find a way to evade the United States’ Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). It is a law formulated by the US to punish countries and entities involved in defence transactions with Russia.
A Russian official confirmed that the final price negotiations had been concluded, reported PTI. Both the nations are likely to announce the deal before an October’s annual summit between Prime Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both the leaders met in Sochi last week and supposedly the both might have discussed the deal.
The US had announced sanctions against Russia for its alleged involvement in meddling in the US presidential elections. CAATSA came into effect in January. Many US lawmakers and experts are of the opinion that India should be exempted from CAATSA. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged the Congress to provide necessary waiver to exempt India from the law. Similarly, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis last month appealed to the Congress to urgently provide India the national security waiver.
India wants to procure the long-range missile systems to tighten its air defence mechanism, particularly along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border. In 2016 an agreement was signed between India and Russia on ‘Triumf’ interceptor based missile system. S-400 is an advanced version of S-300. The missile system can destroy incoming enemy fighter jets, missiles and even drones up to the range of 400 km. This missile system is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and is serving Russian Military since 2007.
The India Army yesterday conveyed a strong message to the Pakistan Army, telling it to cut down support to all terror groups operating from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Army also warned Pakistan of retaliatory action.
According to an army official, in a telephonic conversation, India’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt. Gen. Anil Chauhan told his Pakistani Counterpart that Pakistan’s support to terrorists will increase tensions between the two countries, reported The Indian Express. Pakistan requested India for DGMO level talks. In the unscheduled interaction between the two DGMO’s yesterday evening, India communicated to Pakistan that India would not tolerate the Pak-based terrorism. In response, Pakistan also alleged India of resorting to unprovoked firing along the Line of Control (LOC).
According to the army, Indian Army DGMO emphatically stated that retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out in response to unabated support given by Pakistan Army to armed terrorists who infiltrate across the border and target Indian Army posts with heavy calibre weapons.
The ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army have increased over the last few months in Jammu and Kashmir. The Indian Army is also giving befitting reply to Pakistan. On April 23, In India’s retaliation to Pakistan’s ceasefire violation in Sector, four Pakistani soldiers were killed.
India has handed over one Mi-4 helicopter and two Pt-76 tanks to Bangladesh as part of the 1971 Liberation War mementoes on April 26. According to a defence ministry spokesman, these gifts will be showcased at the Bangladesh army and air force museums. The helicopter and the tanks were parts of the gifts given by External Affairs Minister during her Bangladesh visit last year, reported PTI
The 25 souvenirs given in October last year includes pistol, rifles, machine guns and mortars alongside a large number of artefact, historical photographs, archival audio and video clippings, maps and battle records related to the 1971 Liberation War. PT-76 tanks were light amphibious, used for crossing rivers during the 1971 war by the Indian Army. These tanks outclassed much superior M34 Chafee tanks of the Pakistani Army, whereas Mi-4 transport helicopter is used for heliborne operations by the Indian Army in the eastern sector.
Earlier the Indian Air Force had gifted a Hunter fighter jet and one Dakota transport aircraft, and the Indian Navy gifted mementos of INS Vikrant and models of ships that participated in the war. The Indian Army also gifted six 3.7 Howitzer guns.
The Indo-US-Japan Malabar exercise will be held in Guam in June this year. The Indian Navy will send three ships to the exercise which is taking place in the Western Pacific region. Indigenous stealth frigate INS Sahyadri, anti-submarine stealth corvette INS Kamotra and a fleet tanker will be participating in the exercise. The main attraction of the exercise would be the Nimitz-class super-carrier-USS Ronald Regan.
Guam is being prepared to be the westernmost military training range for the US. The US forces are present in the region in large numbers. Australia would not be part of Malabar 2018. Australia had approached India many times for participating in the exercise, but it never got any invite. Australia expected at least a status of an ‘Observer’ but India is reluctant to allow Australia’s participation. This move received rare appreciation from China. Australia participated once in 2007 in the Malabar exercise.
Japan is the third permanent member of the tri-nation exercise. Japan became permanent member in 2015, prior to this it participated in some earlier Malabar exercise. Last year, India hosted the tri-nation which took place in the Bay of Bengal. The participant navies practised carrier group strike operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare operations, medical operations and Special Forces operations.
The annual Malabar exercise started in 1992 between Indian and US navies. Till 1998 only three Malabar exercises were conducted, but after the Pokhran nuclear test, The US put sanctions on India. The exercise was later resumed in 2002, after the US launched a war on terrorism.
India along with Pakistan will be participating in a multi-nation military exercise to be conducted in Russia in September this year. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday officially announced India’s participation. Chinese forces will also be part of this exercise.
The military exercise in Russia is part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India, China, Russia and Pakistan and other SCO nations are attending the exercise. For the first time, India is attending the Defence Ministers’ meeting at SCO being hosted in China.
Indian and Pakistan soldiers have worked together in the past during the United Nations peacekeeping missions and that to while providing security or in convoy protection deployment. The exercise, “Peace Mission 2018” is scheduled to be held in Russia’s Ural Mountains. It will begin in August-end and conclude in the first week of September. It will be the first-ever exercise in which Indian and Pakistan militaries will be participating together to conduct the mock military operation to fight terrorists. ‘Peace Mission 2018’ will be the fifth edition of the biennial multilateral exercise by the SCO countries. According to sources, India will send a 200-strong contingent to Russia.
India and Pakistan became the full member of the SCO on June 9, 2017. Both the nations were admitted as observers in 2005 in the SCO, which started in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Now the Organisation has eight full members ,four nations have been accorded “observer” status, while six others are “dialogue” partners.
During her China visit Sitharaman said, “India enjoys excellent bilateral defence cooperation with a large number of SCO countries, especially with Russia, as well as with all of India’s Central Asian partners represented in the SCO.” The Defence Minister further added, “We are guided in our relations with China by the consensus reached between our leaders that at the time of global uncertainty, India-China relations could be a factor of stability and that we must not allow our differences to become disputes.”
India will be supplying four Mi-35 attack helicopters to Afghanistan to fight against the Pakistan-backed Taliban. India has decided to help the war-torn nation to carry out its operations against Taliban by enhancing its military capabilities, reported The Statesman, citing Afghan diplomatic sources. India is expected to directly purchase these Russian-made helicopters from Belarus. It would have taken a long time to procure the choppers if it were to place an order for their supplies.
Afghanistan, Belarus and India inked a trilateral pact for the refurbished Mi-24 helicopters in March, Afghan ambassador Shaida Abdali said in an interview to Hindustan Times. India had supplied four Mi-35 attack helicopters to Afghanistan in 2015-16 for strengthening the Afghan forces.
According to sources, the decision to supply four more four more helicopters to Afghanistan was taken after the US and other key Western powers pushed India to play a pro-active role in bringing stability in Afghanistan. Around 1,000 Afghan soldiers are already getting trained in Indian Defence institutions.
Afghanistan forces are mostly using Russian weapons. As Indian is also using Russian weapons, so United States has requested India to assist Afghanistan Air Force in combating terrorism. India and Afghanistan also propose to hold the next meeting of the strategic council between them in Kabul to consider ways to enhance the fighting ability of the Afghan forces, reported The Statesman. The last meeting was held in New Delhi last year. The US also has started implementing its four-year defence plan in Afghanistan as a result of this the strength of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) will be increased three-fold.
The air corridor established last year between India and Afghanistan to avoid the problems being created by Pakistan for trade between has helped the two nations in increasing trade and commercial links, whereas trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan has decreased considerably.
Russia offers India to sell 21 used Mig – 29s at a very cheap price. The Indian government would be very cautious to take a decision of purchasing these 21 fighter jets. India needs to draw parallel from the deal of buying aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov. Russia offered this aircraft carrier free of cost to India, only refurbishment cost was there, which was decided at $950 million. But as soon as the work started, the cost also kept on increasing. Finally India had to pay $2.4 billion, so India ended up paying almost $1.3 billion more than the decided cost. The aircraft carrier was delivered almost five years after the scheduled delivery time.
India will be deeply analysing the proposal of Russia. The Russian government offered a price of $25 million- $30 million for each aircraft, which is almost 30% of the new aircraft. The Indian government would also be considering the hidden cost. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is having Mig -29 UPG in its inventory, but The Russian Migs are different from the one’s the IAF is possessing. India has also rejected the Russian offer to co-develop fifth generation fighter jet because of the high cost involve in it.
Currently The IAF is facing shortage of Fighter squadrons. The Indian Air Force has only 34 fighter squadron against the authorised strength of 42 squadrons. It will reduce further as Migs will be retiring over the next few years. To tackle the shortage and to encounter the joint threat from China and Pakistan, the IAF has initiated a process on Friday to buy 110 fighter jets. Request for Information (RFI) was issued to seek tenders from the companies interested to sell fighter jets to India. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70, SAAB’s Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet are the main contenders in the race to get $15 billion mega defence deal.
The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) two-week long exercise ‘Gagan Shakti’ begins today. It is one of the biggest combat exercises to be conducted by the air force. The main aim of this exercise is to test the real time coordination and deployment of the air force in a short and war like situation. The exercise will be conducted in two separate phases along the western border with Pakistan and along the Northern Border with China. As part of a protocol Pakistan has been informed about the exercise.
The extent of this exercise can be gauged from the fact that round 300 officers and 15,000 airmen will take part in this exercise. The exercise will also see an involvement of 1100 fighter jets, so around 3,000 to 4,000 sorties can be conducted daily. The Indian Air Force will mobilise its equipment within 48 hours of the order of the Air Chief Marshal to test its capability in a war like situation.
Indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas will also be tested in the ‘Gagan Shakti’. It will be used for both offensive and defensive roles. Joint Maritime operations will be conducted by The Indian Air Force in coordination with The Indian Army and the Indian Navy. The IAF said, “While it is an IAF centric exercise, it is planned to be executed keeping in mind the ‘Joint Operational Doctrine’. The requirements of the other services are being met and the same has been factored while planning the exercise settings.” Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) will depute its best 300 technicians for this exercise.
The IAF will conduct all terrain operations. Mobility and strength of air force will be put under test. Apart from wartime drills, IAF will also practice and validate various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief drills that the IAF is expected to undertake from time to time. In a statement IAF said, ”Some such measure would involve mobilization of Air Ambulance version of transport aircraft and helicopters to airlift simulated sitting and bedridden casualties to metros/big cities having good medical facilities and would include evacuation of casualties from highways that facilitate such operations.”