Defence Budget 2019 is Only 1.5% of GDP Despite Crossing 3-Trillion Mark, Lowest Since 1962 War

The Narendra Modi government on Thursday allocated Rs 3.05 lakh Crore for the defence forces of the country. However, later the defence ministry put the total allocation at Rs. 3,18,931 crore which included funds set aside for Border Roads Organisation, Coast Guards and salaries if civil staff of the defence ministry. Interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal while presenting the budget, said that it was for the first time that the defence budget crossed 3-trillion mark. But if we deeply analysis the budget it is merely 1.5 percent (approx.) of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) so this becomes the lowest defence budgetsince China war of 1962. Defence Budget 2018 is another farce, 1.58% allocated for defence.

This year’s budget was 6.7 percent than previous year’s budget. Meanwhile, in 2018, the budget represented a growth of 7.81 per cent over budget of 2017. In the interim budget 2019, Rs 1,03,380 crore was allocated for capital expenditure to modernize the forces, while rest of the amount is to meet the revenue expenditure. Apart from the defence budget, the government also allocated Rs 35,000 crore for One Rank One Pension (OROP). The government also announced a hike in the Military Service Pay (MSP) of all service personnel and special allowances given to Naval and Air Force personnel deployed in high-risk duties. Meanwhile, Rs 1.12 lakh crore have been allocated for pensions. Expectations from Defence Budget 2018-19 and needs of our Defence Forces.

If we talk about last year’s budget, it was 1.58 percent of the GDP. A total of Rs 2,95,511.41 crore was allocated for defence, out of which Rs 99,563.41 is allocated for capital expenditure. Meanwhile, the remaining budget outlay, Rs 1,95,947.55 was set aside for for revenue expenditure. In 2018 budget Rs 1,08,853.30 was also allocated for defence pensions.

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Indian Government Signs Contract with Goa Shipyard Ltd For Construction of Two ‘Project 1135.6’ Frigates For Indian Navy

The Indian government on Wednesday signed a contract with Goa Shipyard Ltd, Goa to-date for the construction of two naval frigates. The contract was part of an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) between the Government of Republic of India and Government of Russian Federation which was concluded on 15 October 2016, for construction of additional Project 1135.6 Follow-on ships in India, at M/s Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL). According to the contract, the ships are scheduled for delivery in June 2026 and December 2026 to the Indian Navy respectively. Indian Navy Inducts Third Ship of LCU Mk-IV Class at Port Blair.

The $500 million deal to construct two stealth frigates in Goa was signed in November last year with Russia. The deal came just weeks after the two countries inked a $950 million deal to import two other such warships from Russia. The Follow-on P 1135.6 series of frigates, customised to meet the Indian Navy’s specific requirements, are potent platforms, with a mission span covering the entire spectrum of Naval warfare; Air, Surface and Sub-surface. INS Tarangini Returns to Kochi After Seven-Month Long Sailing; Rear Admiral RJ Nadkarni Receives The Ship.

The ships would be equipped to operate in littoral and blue waters; both as a single unit and as consorts of a naval task force. Advanced features of stealth include a special hull design, to limit radar cross-section, low electromagnetic, infrared and under water noise signatures. The ships would carry highly sophisticated and state-of-art weapon systems and sensors. To support these ships through their life cycle, the Indian Navy has put in place requisite infrastructures for training and maintenance. Indian Army Seeking 5,000 Anti-Tank Guided Missiles ‘MILAN 2T’ to Fulfil Immediate Shortage; DAC To Take Decision on January 31.

Importantly, in line with the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, these ships being constructed at M/s GSL, Goa under Russian assistance, would make these platforms the largest number of ships of a class in service showcasing indigenous equipment such as sonar system, Brahmos missile system, Combat Management System etc. The Indian-made warships are likely to cost 30-50% more than the other two ships. India already operates six of the Talwar-class frigates.

Army Day 2019: General Bipin Rawat Addresses Nation of The Eve of 71 Raising Day of Indian Army, Says ‘Armed Forces Are Capable Repulsing Foreign Aggression’

On the occasion of the Army Day 2019, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat extended his wishes to all ranks of the Indian Army. Addressing the nation of the eve of the Army Day,  Gen Rawat said that the last year was full of challenges, but the army gave befitting reply to perpetrators. The COAS also appreciated the contribution of Indian Soldiers in the United Peacekeeping Force. During his address Gen Rawat stated that the secularism forms the basis of the army’s discipline and compassion. He further added the army along with the Indian Navy and the Air Force is capable of repulsing any foreign aggression. He also appreciated the humanitarian values of the Indian army soldiers. Col Ranveer Singh Jamwal to Become First Army Man to Climb Highest Mountain of All Seven Continents.

The army will be celebrating its 71st Army Day on January 15. Lieutenant Bhavana Kasturi will be leading 144 Jawan contingent in the parade on the Army Day. This will be the first time a lady officer is leading a contingent in Army Day parade. Meanwhile, Captain Shikha Surbhi will also be leading Army’s Daredevil Motorcycle Display team. The team will comprise of 33 men riding nine bikes to form a pyramid formation. In addition to these two lady officers Captain Bhavana Syaal of Signals core will be participating in the Army Day parade along with Transportable Satellite Terminal.

The Army Day in India is celebrated every year on January 15 in recognition of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa’s (then a Lieutenant General) taking over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He took charge from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief of India, on 15 January 1949. In 1942, K M Cariappa becomes the first Indian Army Officer who was passed on to command a unit. The Indian Army also conducted an online video making, painting, photography and slogan writing competition on the occasion of Army Day on January 15.

Indian Armed Forces Stabbed by Government! Centre Rejects Demand For Higher Military Service Pay

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Representational Image (Picture Courtesy: Rediff.com)

Indian government today rejected the demand of the armed forces of higher Military Service Pay including Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs). According to reports, around one lakh service personnel including 87,646 JCOs and 25,434 personnel from the Navy and the Indian Air Force will be affected by the decision. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in 2008 promised to create separate commission for the armed forces, with appropriate participation from the forces. However, till now, no separate commission, or military representation, including in the secretariat, and among consultants hired by the 7th Central Pay Commission.

The MSP has two categories – one for officers while other for JCOs. The seventh Pay Commission had fixed Rs 5,200 as MSP per month for JCOs and jawans while the MSP for officers between Lieutenant-rank and Brigadier-rank is Rs 15,500. In 2016, Chief of three wings of Defense forces met the then defense minister Manohar Parrikar during the naval fleet held in Vishakhapatnam and raised their concern over the recommendations of the 7th pay commission and the effect on the moral of the defense forces.

As per seventh pay commission, an army officer is getting Rs. 42,500 for serving in Siachin and a JCO is getting Rs. 30,000 for the same, whereas an IPS officer is getting additional one-third of his/her basic salary, which amounts to Rs. 75,000 for serving in cities like cities as Guwahati or Leh. For armed forces, Siachin glacier is considered as the hardship area, where as for the IPS or the IAS officers, areas like Guwahati, Andaman and Nicobar islands are termed as ‘Hardship Area’, where the armed forces personnel get zero allowance.

Meanwhile, In the United Kingdom, Pay Commission is “An independent Body which provides advice to the Review Body (AFPRB), Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence on the remuneration and charges for Service personnel”. Whereas, the United States, has a far more evolved Military Compensation system. In the US the military compensations are reviewed after every four years.

Defence Acquisition Committee Approves Rs 3,000 Crore Procurement Including Brahmos, ARVs For Arjun MBTs

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Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (Picture Courtesy: @DefenceMinIndia/File)

The Defence Ministry on Saturday approved military procurement worth Rs 3,000 crore including Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles for Navy’s two stealth frigates which are to be manufactured by Russia. Apart from Brahmos Missiles, the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) also gave a green signal to the purchase of armoured recovery vehicles (ARVs) for the Indian Army’s Arjun main battle tanks. The meeting of the DAC was chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Meanwhile, the ARVs are designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and would be manufactured by defence public sector undertaking Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).

The move came days after Naval chief Admiral Sunila Lanba’s visit to Russia. In October, India signed a $1 billion deal with Russia to purchase two ‘Project 1135.6’ frigates. Meanwhile, India also signed another deal of $550 million with Russia from to manufacture two frigates of the same class at Goa Shipyard Limited with transfer of technology. According to reports, taking into consideration the United States’ Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) against Russia, India could make payments for the ships using the rupee-rouble route. India already operates six of the Talwar-class (Project 1135.6) frigates.

Brahmos Missilie:

The BrahMos is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft, or land. It is the fastest cruise missile in the world. It is a joint venture between the Russian Federation’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya and India’s DRDO who together have formed BrahMos Aerospace. The missile travels at speeds of Mach 2.8 to 3.0,[8] which is being upgraded to Mach 5.0. Last year, supersonic crise missile was successfully test fired from the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) frontline Sukhoi-30 MKI combat jet.

Arjun MBT:

Silent features of Arjun Mark 2:

It is a third generation main battle tank developed by DRDO, for the Indian Army. The Arjun has a 120 mm main rifled gun with indigenously developed armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot ammunition, one PKT 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and a NSVT 12.7 mm machine gun. It is powered by a single MTU multi-fuel diesel engine rated at 1,400 hp, and can achieve a maximum speed of 67 km/h (42 mph) and a cross-country speed of 40 km/h (25 mph). Meanwhile, in 2014, the DAC gave the green signal for the Rs 6,600-crore procurement of 118 Arjun Mark II MBTs to equip two regiments

 

EXERCISE INDRA – 2018: Joint Military Exercise Between Indian And Russian Armies Will Begin From November 18

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Soldiers of Indian and Russian armies in action during INDRA-2017 (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@adgpi)

The 10th edition of the joint military exercise between India and Russia – Exercise Indra 2018 will be conducted at Babina Field Firing Ranges, Babina Military Station from 18 November 2018. The military exercise will focus on combating insurgency under the aegis of the United Nations (UN). Company sized contingents of the 5th Army of the Russian Federation and a Mechanised Infantry Battalion of the Indian Army will participate in the training exercise spanning for eleven days including induction and de-induction of the Russian contingent. The training will be supervised by a joint directing panel comprising of senior officials of both the national contingents.

The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct to enhance interoperability of the two Armies in the peace keeping/ enforcement environment. It focuses upon training on enhancing team building, special tactical level operations such as Cordon and Search, house intervention, handling and neutralisation of Improvised Explosive Devices and integrated employment of force multipliers. The primary focus of the tactical field exercise is to share best practices amongst the militaries and hone existing skills of the troops in the backdrop of interoperability between the two Armies in the peace keeping/ enforcement environment.

The topics chosen for the exercise are both live and contemporary affecting both the nation alike. The tenth exercise in the series of Exercise INDRA is aimed at sending a strong message to the world with an intent of appreciation of interoperability between Indian and Russian Armies.

The ninth edition of the Exercise Indira was successfully conducted from 19 to 29 Oct 2017 at Vladivostok in Russia. The name of the exercise INDRA has been derived from INDia and RussiA. Exercise INDRA-2017 was the first Joint Tri-Services Exercise between Russia and India.  It was also the first time that Russia has hosted a Tri-Services Exercise on its soil. More than 900 soldiers, sailors and air warriors from the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force participated in the exercise along with over 1000 personnel from the Russian Defence Forces.

Recently, the first joint military exercise between the Indian Army and the Japanese Army – ‘Dharma-Guardian 2018’ was held from November 1 to 14 at Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School in Vairengte, Mizoram. The 6/1 Gorkha Rifles will represent the Indian contingent, while the Japanese contingent will be represented by 32 Infantry Regiment.

(Source: http://www.pib.nic.in)

INS Tarangini Returns to Kochi After Seven-Month Long Sailing; Rear Admiral RJ Nadkarni Receives The Ship

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INS Tarangini (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@indiannavy)

The sail training ship of Indian Navy, INS Tarangini based at Kochi, returned after a seven-month long sailing across the world to a grand reception at naval base, Kochi on 30 Oct 18. Rear Admiral RJ Nadkarni, VSM, Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command received the ship. The Southern Naval Command at South Jetty of the naval base conducted a welcoming ceremony to mark the occasion. Captain Varun Singh, SC, Senior Officer First Training Squadron and a number of senior officers, families of the crew and other distinguished guests also attended the function.

The Voyage named “Lokayan 18” was flagged off on 10 Apr 18 from Kochi. During the voyage, the ship sailed across 15 ports in 13 countries. The ship sailed across the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea, Strait of Gibraltar, North Atlantic Ocean, Bay of Biscay, English Channel and North Sea, right up to Norway before returning to its Kochi. he ship also participated in the culminating event of the ‘Three Festival Tall Ships Regatta’ at Bordeaux, France. As well as the ‘Tall Ships Races Europe 2018’ which started at Sunderland, UK and touched Esbjerg, Denmark and Stavanger, Norway before finishing at Harlingen, Netherlands.

INS Tarangini is a three masted ‘square rigged’ barque which carries a total of 20 sails. She is the First Sail Training Ship in Indian Navy and was commissioned on 11 Nov 1997. In her 21 years of glorious service, she has sailed over 2,20,000 nautical miles to date across the world’s oceans. The ship is under the command of Cdr Rahul Mehta. The ship has a crew of nine officers and 43 sailors and can also embark 30 Officer Sea Trainees. She is the first of two Sail Training Ships in the First Training Squadron. The other Sail Training Ship is INS Sudarshini.

The primary role of these Sail Training Ships is to develop character and professionalism, as well as inculcate the qualities of initiative, courage, resilience and esprit-de-corps amongst the Sea Trainees and also impart practical training to them, primarily on navigation, sailing and seamanship.

(Source: PIB)

Indian Air Force to Call Off Deal to Procure 20 Hawk Jets

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A defence deal to buy 20 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer planes is likely to be called off by the Air Force. The main reason for scrapping the deal is that the price to buy these advance trainer jets are like to cost more than Rs 2,000 crore, which is beyond the expectations of the defence ministry. The negotiations for the deal have been stuck for almost three years, and now the prices are further hiked by the vendors.

The Air Force is also not showing any interest in upgrading the fleet of over 120 Hawk planes. These planes were inducted into service after a deal with Britain in 2004. The Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) is offering to upgrade the Hawk fleet of the Air Force to Hawk India jets by adding combat capabilities, reported Mail Today, citing government sources.

According to the report, the sources said, “”The benchmark price of each aircraft was around Rs 90 crore but the initial price offered by the vendors including the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was more than double.” They further told Mail Today,  “In the contract negotiations, the vendors have cut down the price but even now, the price offered is more than 60 per cent of what the defence ministry is willing to pay for the planes.”

The government also wants the forces should utilize the budget in the best possible way to enhance its fighting capabilities. According to the sources, the Hawk fighter jets are newly inducted and the last Hawk batch was inducted just three years ago, so there is no need to upgrade the fleet. The Indian Force proposed to buy 20 Hawk planes from a British firm during the UPA government. It wanted to replace the Kiran MK2 with the Hawk Advanced Fighter Jets to be equipped with smoking pots to fly with Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT), reported The Mail Today.

In 2010 the contract for the last batch of 57 planes was done between India and the British firm with the aim to enhance training programmes of the Air Force and the Navy. India had procured the fleet of 66 Hawk jets in 2004.

Defence Ministry Approves Procurement of Anti-Tank Guided Missiles NAG Along With 127 mm Calibre Naval Guns

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Nag Missiles (Picture Courtesy: India.com)

The Defence Acquisition Council (ADC) led by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on April 27, approved capital acquisition proposals of over Rs 3,687 crore. The proposal included third generation Anti-Guided Tank Missiles (ATGMs), NAG missile system developed by Defence and Research Orgnisation (DRDO).  The NAG missile system (NAMIS) worth Rs 524 crore will give a big boost to indigenisation of defence products.

The NAMIS includes a third generation missile system, The NAG along with the Missile Carrier Vehicle (NAMICA). The NAG has the capabilities to destroy enemy tanks during day and night operations. This will strengthen the army’s capabilities.

According to a report published in The Economic Times, the Ministry of Defence cleared the procurement of 300 NAG missiles and 25 BMP – 2 ‘NAMICA’ carrier vehicles. The Indian Army is currently using second generation Milan 2T and Konur ATGMs. The Indian Army is currently looking for ATGMS which could strike enemy tanks with over 2.5 km range. The Indian Army needs around 8,000 third generation missiles.

Last year, the government scrapped proposed $500 miliion deal with Israel to procure 8,000 spike ATGMs as DRDO argued to deliver the NAG within four years.

Along with NAG Missile System, DAC also approved the procurement of thirteen 127 calibre guns for the Indian Navy. These guns would cost around Rs 3,000 crore. The ministry said, “These guns will be fitted on-board new construction ships for undertaking surface engagements including Naval Gunfire Support Operations. The guns will enable naval ships to provide fire support and engagement of targets on the land,” reported Economic Times.

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                            OTO Melara 127 MM Calibre Gun to be procured by the Indian Navy                                                 (Picture Courtesy: http://www.seaforces.org)

These guns have engagement range of 24 Km.  This range could be increased by using Extended Range Gun Munitions (ERGM). The Navy requires these guns since long. The guns would be procured from BAE Systems under the Buy (Global) category of the Defence Procurement Procedure.

 

Indian Navy Inducts Third Ship of LCU Mk-IV Class at Port Blair

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The ceremony of commissionsing of LCU L53 (Picture Courtesy: Twitter/@Indiannavy

The Indian Navy inducted the third ship of the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV project at Port Blair on April 25. The ship was commissioned as INLCU L53 by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, commander-in-chief of Andaman and Nicobar Command, of the Indian Armed Forces’ tri-service command. The command oversees India’s Andaman and Nicobar Island territories, including the strategic Strait of Malacca in the Indian Ocean.

The defence ministry in a statement said, “LCU MK-IV ship is an amphibious ship with a displacement of 830 Tons and is capable of transporting combat equipment such as Main Battle Tanks Arjun, T72, and other Armored Vehicles. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems such as the Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS). The indigenous CRN 91 Gun with Stabilised Optronic Pedestal provides the ship the requisite offensive capability for undertaking patrolling in addition.”

The (LCU) Mk-IV vessel can sail through the sea at a speed of 15kt besides it can also carry 145 tons of military equipment in addition to 160 troops. The ship will help the Indian Navy in carrying out multi-role activities, such as beaching operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, search/rescue, and supply and replenishment of distant islands. According to the defence ministry, the remaining five ships of the project are in an advanced stage of construction and are scheduled to be inducted into Indian Navy over the next year and a half.

The Landing Craft Utility (LCU) is a type of boat used by amphibious forces to transport equipment and troops to the shore. They are capable of transporting tracked or wheeled and troops from amphibious assault ships to beachheads or piers. India has four LCU Mk-III class ships and three LCU MK-IV ships. The first LCU Mk-IV of this class was commissioned in March 2017 as LCU L51 and the second ship of this class was inducted in August 2017 LCU L52.

The LCU Mark-IV ships have been developed in-house by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. (GRSE) as per the request by the Indian Navy. The ships are designed for multipurpose amphibious operations that are jointly carried out by Indian Navy and Indian Army for ensuring maritime security of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, and Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.