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DEFENCE-SECURITY

20 Indian, 35-43 Chinese Troops Dead In Worst Border Clash In 53 Years

It is the first bloody clash in decades and an event with the potential to spark more violence.

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NEW DELHI: Indian Army has said that it is firmly committed to protecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation as, in an official statement, it said that 20 Indian troops, including a Commanding Officer (CO) attained martyrdom in a bloody physical clash with a far-outnumbering Chinese group in the Galwan Valley area on Monday night.

The official statement by the Indian Army

The last deaths at the LAC were in 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese soldiers in Arunachal Pradesh. A violent clash between the two sides on the border had taken place at Nathu La in 1967, where India had given a bloody nose to the Communist nation by killing 340 of its troops at the place.

The number of casualties on the Chinese side is reported in the range with a high of 43 (ANI Tweet) and 35, as per  ‘U.S. News’ that said, “sources in the American intelligence believes 35 Chinese troops died, including one senior officer“.


The clashes were triggered by an argument over the position of Chinese soldiers who were erecting a new post on the southern bank of Galwan river in a ‘buffer zone’ – a no-man’s land.

In the fight, some soldiers either fell or were pushed into the river, officers said. Some bodies were recovered from the river while others had signs of being brutalised. A few soldiers died of hypothermia.

Earlier in the day it was reported that during the de-escalation process, one officer and two soldiers were martyred:


Later in the night, the army sources informed that the seventeen Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries.

The country who hid the origin of the Wuhan Virus and the resulting casualties, it was only natural to not mention the casualties at the hands of its enemy army. However, it did feel forced to accept the losses via the editor of the government mouthpiece ‘The Global Times’:

As per US News report (cited earlier), according to the U.S. assessment, the Chinese government considers the casualties among their troops as a humiliation for its armed forces and has not confirmed the numbers for fear of emboldening other adversaries, the source says.

Chinese state media described the incident Monday night in the Galwan River valley where both countries have deployed troops in recent weeks as “the most serious clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers so far,” confirming casualties but offering no further details about them.

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DEFENCE-SECURITY

The Nation Can Count On Us: Army Chief After Two-Day Visit To Leh-Ladakh

“The nation can count on us,” said General Naravane after 2-day visit to Leh-Ladakh.

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LEH (Ladakh UT): The Indian Army Chief General Naravane arrived at Leh on Thursday and proceeded to forward areas to undertake a firsthand assessment of the situation along the Line of Actual Control. He interacted with soldiers and local commanders deployed in difficult high altitude forward areas.

Also Read: After IAF Chief, IA General MM Naravane Reviews Situation Along LAC In Ladakh

The Army Chief appreciated the high morale and standards of professionalism exhibited by the units in safeguarding territorial integrity.


“The nation can count on us,” said General Naravane after 2-day visit to Leh-Ladakh.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) interacted with soldiers and local commanders deployed in difficult High Altitude forward areas. He appreciated their high morale and standards of professionalism exhibited by the units in safeguarding own territorial integrity. The COAS urged all ranks to remain vigilant and maintain a high order of operational readiness,” the Army release said.

Later, at Leh, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command Lieutenant General YK Joshi and General Officer Commanding, Fire and Fury Corps Lieutenant General Harinder Singh briefed him on the state of operational preparedness and on the logistics arrangements for the sustenance of forces in winters.

General Naravane expressed satisfaction at the efforts being made to ensure operational effectiveness and capability enhancement of the forces.


Tensions flared in eastern Ladakh after the PLA unsuccessfully attempted to occupy Indian territory in the Southern Bank of Pangong lake four days back when the two sides were engaged in diplomatic and military talks to resolve the festering border row.

India occupied a number of strategic heights on the southern bank of Pangong lake and strengthened its presence in Finger 2 and Finger 3 areas in the region to thwart any Chinese actions.

Beijing has strongly objected to India’s move.

Indian Air Force Too Fully Prepared:

On Thursday, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria also made a visit at the bases in the Eastern Air Command, where he was apprised of the readiness state and operational preparedness of the combat units by the respective air officers commanding.


The Indian Air Force has deployed frontline fighters and attack helicopters, in the eastern Ladakh sector to tackle any hostile situation. From its frontline fighters like Su-30MKI to MiG-29, the IAF has also deployed newly inducted Apache attack helicopters and Chinook strategic heavy-lift choppers.

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After IAF Chief, IA General MM Naravane Reviews Situation Along LAC In Ladakh

Gen Naravane visited forward post yesterday and took stock of preparedness from with officers, JCOs.

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LADAKH (Indian UT): Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Naravane has said that the situation at the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh is sensitive and tense. However, he said, the morale of our Jawans is high and they are ready to deal with all challenges.

Speaking to a News Agency, he said, keeping in view of the situation, we have taken precautionary deployment for our own safety and security, so that our security and integrity remains safeguarded.

Gen Naravane visited forward post yesterday and interacted with officers, JCOs and took stock of preparedness.


The Army Chief said, “the Jawans are highly motivated and are fully prepared to deal with any situation that may arise. General Naravane praised the Jawans that our officers and men are the finest in the world and will make not only the Army but also the nation proud“.

He said, “for the last two to three months, the situation has been tense but India continuously has been engaging with China both at the military and diplomatic levels and will continue in the future also“.

General Naravane expressed confidence in resolving the differences through the medium of talks. At the same time, he assured that the status quo has not changed and we are able to safeguard the country’s interests.


Yesterday:

With the continuing tensions between Indian and Chinese Armies in Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Indian Air Force chief RKS Bhadauria visited frontline air bases in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on Wednesday and reviewed the operational preparedness of the combat units.

He also interacted with air warriors serving in these units during the course of his visit.

“Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) visited frontline air bases in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on September 2, 2020. On arrival at the bases in Eastern Air Command the CAS was received by respective Air Officers Commanding who apprised him of the readiness state and operational preparedness of the combat units under their command,” an official release said.

The visits of Bhadauria and Naravane come at a time when Indian troops have thwarted the Chinese Army’s attempts to transgress into areas in Ladakh.


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The Subject Of Being Atma Nirbhar In Defence Technology

DRDO has to navigate through a complex web of stakeholders and labyrinthine bureaucratic processes.

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Following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Vocal for Local” call and launch of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Campaign), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has tweaked its capital acquisition manual to promote greater self-reliance in defence production.

On July 27, it released the draft Defence Acquisition Procedure 2020 (DAP-2020) for public comments. The draft incorporates suggestions received from various stakeholders on a previous draft – the draft Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP-2020) – which was also put in the public domain.

Among other features, the draft DAP-2020 improvises upon Chapter III A of the draft DPP-2020, which was articulated with the intention to streamline para 72 of Chapter II of the existing DPP that facilitates the acquisition of systems designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB).


Will the Chapter-III A make a difference in realising Prime Minister Modi’s call for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat? The answer lies in understanding the issues surrounding the indigenous development of defence equipment by the Indian entities, particularly the DRDO, and then juxtaposing them with the procedures articulated in Chapter III A.

Since its creation in 1958, the DRDO has been at the forefront of indigenous design and development of defence equipment. The organisation, which has 24,700 employees, including 7,300 scientists, and a budget of Rs 19,327 crore (or four per cent of the MoD’s budget for 2020-21), is known for many remarkable achievements in strategic programmes, a glimpse of which was the recent successful conduct of Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test.

However, in regard to conventional arms, there has been a deep-rooted perception that the DRDO has not been so successful, even though the organisation, with all its human resource and budgetary constraints, has designed and developed a range of complex systems including Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Main Battle Tank Arjun, Pinaka multi-barrel rocket system, advanced towed artillery gun, and myriad other weapons and sensors.


In terms of value, the DRDO-designed products (other than strategic systems), whether inducted or in the process of induction, amount to Rs 2,65,007 crore, as of 2017.

Notwithstanding these achievements, the ultimate users, i.e., the armed forces, often complain about time and cost overruns and performance shortfall of the equipment designed and developed by the DRDO.

It is important to note that unlike strategic systems in which the DRDO has greater freedom in the developmental process, in conventional weapon systems, most of which are developed through the Mission Mode, the DRDO has to navigate through a complex web of stakeholders and labyrinthine bureaucratic processes which often work as a stumbling block.

The involvement of various stakeholders, which include armed forces and production and quality assurance agencies, brings an element of diffused accountability as agencies involved are accountable to different administrative heads.

The lack of synergy among stakeholders has been commented upon by various authorities, including the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, for its adverse impact on timely completion of projects.


More significantly, the lack of synergy has sometimes generated rigid institutional biases, leading to undue delay in placement of orders even after projects have gone through the rigorous process of development and testing. This not only demotivates scientists and the industry involved in the project but directly affects India’s self-reliance as the budget which could have been utilised to procure home-grown technologies is ultimately spent on importing arms from external sources.

The Chapter III A of the draft DAP-2020 has attempted to address some of the abovementioned constraints by articulating detailed step-by-step procedures to enable smooth acquisition of systems indigenously designed by the DRDO and other MoD-owned/controlled design houses. The chapter has identified 12 steps to be followed, ranging from identification of projects for the DRDO and others to award of contract and post-contract management.

The chapter also provides for the spiral development of weapons and platform so as allow quick induction of developed products and continuous capability enhancement of the inducted system through incremental technological improvements.

Significantly also, the chapter provides for Joint Project Management Team (JPMT) to bring a semblance of synergy among various stakeholders. Comprising representatives from the concerned armed force, design house, quality assurance and maintenance agencies and the Acquisition Wing of the MoD, the JPMT is intended to facilitate smooth progress of projects.

While the abovementioned steps stipulated in the chapter are a move in the right direction, they need to be strengthened further to make procedures more robust and conducive for timely completion of projects. One key area which needs improvement pertains to the power of the JPMT.

In its present form, the JPMT can, at best, discuss issues arising during the developmental process without any power to take decisions on its own to facilitate timely completion of the project. The real power is vested with higher authorities who are not directly involved in the project’s day-to-day execution. In short, the JPMT is not empowered to be responsible to deliver projects on time and to the budget.

In comparison to the suggested JPMT in Chapter III A, similar institutions in other advanced defence manufacturing countries such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and France are real drivers of the indigenous projects with necessary powers vested with the team to take decisions in the projects’ interest. Such an empowered arrangement would be desirable to promote R&D in Indian defence

Another area that needs refinement pertains to trial and testing of the equipment. The draft chapter in the present form lays emphasis on a multi-layered trial evaluation – developmental trials, user-assisted technical trials, field evaluation trials, staff evaluation, and acceptance trials – before a product is finally inducted. Such a multi-layered trial provision does not necessarily add value; rather, they consume time and money and not necessarily in the best interest of product development.

An empowered JPMT with the responsibility to undertake trial evaluation in its entirety would shorten the process, quicken the developmental pace, and enable India to become Atma Nirbhar in defence technology.


Disclaimer: The facts and opinions expressed in this article are strictly the personal opinions of the author. League of India does not assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article.

Originally published by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (www.idsa.inhere.

Laxman K Behera

Dr Laxman Kumar Behera is a Research Fellow at IDSA. He specialises in issues related to Arms Procurement, Defence Offsets, Defence Industry, Military Spending, and Export Control. Dr Behera has authored numerous policy-relevant research publications. His book 'Indian Defence Industry: An Agenda for Making in India' provides a comprehensive analysis of India’s evolving arms manufacturing sector.

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