NEW DELHI: In a terse, precise and categorical message to China, India has once again reiterated that Galwan Valley is historically its territory and New Delhi will not accept “untenable and exaggerated” claims by China with regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“The position with regard to the Galwan Valley area has been historically clear. Attempts by the Chinese side to now advance exaggerated and untenable claims with regard to Line of Actual Control (LAC) there are not acceptable. They are not in accordance with China’s own position in the past,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Saturday.
He said that the Indian troops are fully familiar with the alignment of the LAC in all sectors of the India-China border areas, including in the Galwan Valley. They abide by it scrupulously and the Indian side has never undertaken any actions across the LAC. In fact, they have been patrolling this area for a long time without any incident.
On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian released a statement that gave Beijing’s “step by step” version of the events which led to the Galwan valley face-off of June 15. India has said that 20 of its soldiers were killed, while around 76 were injured in the physical hand-to-hand fight with Chinese troops on Monday night.
The Chinese document reiterated China’s recent claim over the whole Galwan valley, but it also accused India of violating the understanding reached on June 6 among senior commanders that Indian patrols “would not cross the estuary of the Galwan river”.
Responding sharply to the statement by the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian on Friday on the events in the Galwan Valley area, Srivastava gave a detailed account of the incident.
The MEA official said that since early May 2020, the Chinese side has been hindering India’s normal, traditional patrolling pattern in this area which had resulted in a face-off that was addressed by the ground commanders as per the provisions of the bilateral agreements and protocols.
“Subsequently in mid-May, the Chinese side attempted to transgress the LAC in other areas of the Western Sector of the India-China border areas. These attempts were invariably met with an appropriate response from us. Thereafter, the two sides were engaged in discussions through established diplomatic and military channels to address the situation arising out of Chinese activities on the LAC…We do not accept the contention that India was unilaterally changing the status quo. On the contrary, we were maintaining it,” the MEA spokesperson said.
He added that the senior commanders met on June 6, 2020, and agreed on a process for de-escalation and disengagement along the LAC that involved reciprocal actions.
“However, the Chinese side departed from these understandings in respect of the LAC in the Galwan Valley area and sought to erect structures just across the LAC. When this attempt was foiled, Chinese troops took violent actions on June 15, 2020, that directly resulted in casualties,” he added.
The Spokesman said, the two sides are in regular touch and early meetings of military and diplomatic mechanisms are currently being discussed.
Referring to telephone conversation between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on June 17, Srivastava said the EAM conveyed India’s protest “in the strongest terms on the events leading up to and on the violent face-off on June 15, 2020“.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“The situation along LAC is slightly tensed. Keeping in view of the situation, we have taken precautionary deployment for our own safety & security,” said Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane.
— WION (@WIONews) September 4, 2020
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.
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.
The Subject Of Being Atma Nirbhar In Defence Technology
DRDO has to navigate through a complex web of stakeholders and labyrinthine bureaucratic processes.
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.
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