Thursday, December 27, 2007

India China go Hand-in-Hand

hand-in-hand exercise 2007The opening ceremony of Hand-in-Hand 2007


From December 19 to 25, company-sized units (about 100 men) from the armies of India and China conducted military exercises/wargames at Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan province, which borders Myanmar and India. Kunming is also home to the PLA's Kunming Military Academy.

wargames opening ceremony

symbol of the India-China exercise

Indian and Chinese army officers meet

Indian miitary’s biggest diplomatic initiative in China


SUJAN DUTTA

Kunming, Dec. 19: The rustle of crisp new battle fatigues inside the flight numbered IFC 4707 competes with the whine of the Ilyushin’s engines. Myanmar’s special overflight permission for the Indian military aircraft is late and it has delayed departure from Guwahati by an hour.

But by the time the flight is over the rough terrain, cruising above the plaits of water that pour into Myanmar’s Irrawady River, the company from the Indian Army’s 15 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAK LI) has settled in — dry rations packed, cooks on board and munitions in safe boxes under lock and key.

Their uniforms are tailored to fit the strapping men perfectly.

Led by contingent commander Brigadier D.S. Dadwal and battalion commander Colonel Jagdeep Singh Budhwar, these 105 men are the first Indian soldiers to step into China for a friendly drill.

The soldiers have been pulled out of active counter-insurgency operations in Manipur and hand-picked for this exercise. Most of the battalion’s 1,000 soldiers are still near Leimakhong, the military garrison outside Imphal.

“We have been preparing and even learning some Chinese,” says Col Budhwar. He shows a small book of commonly used Chinese phrases rendered into Hindi that every soldier is carrying. “It (the Chinese language) is very difficult; I’m told it has 36,000 characters.”

As the soldiers prepare to engage, language is obviously going to be a major problem. The Indian Army is more familiar with the ways of the Pakistan troops, both sharing a colonial legacy. China’s Peoples Liberation Army has a different history.

“Here everything is run by the army,” said one officer who was keeping in touch with the planning conferences for the exercise. “They have huge establishments and larger numbers. Actually, there is so little that we really know about them, particularly their ethos. At least, now we will begin to get a glimpse.”

In trying to learn about the Chinese army, the Indian Army will also show some of its own peculiar characteristics. In the company that is here, there are hardy boys from tough terrain who tackle insecurities at home and insurgencies far away. Soldiers like Bilal Ahmed and Sardari Lal, Tilak Rai, Nisar Mohammed Wani, Surjeet Singh and Showket Ahmed have been recruited from Jammu and Kashmir.

Kunming is the capital of Yunnan, the province that has probably the most complex of ethnic mixes in all of China. Kunming is not among China's top-grade cities but even on the short drive from the airport, its gleam and its orderliness is alien to Indians.

When IFC 4707 parked at Kunming International Airport's Wujiaba military terminal, the tarmac was already crowded. The aircraft with the commanding officer of the IAF's “Mighty Jets” 44 squadron, Group Captain Sanjeev Wasudev Gosawade, made a perfect landing, minus the bumps, that had its passengers applauding.

Gosawade was conscious that the IAF was making history, too, flying the “hump route” from India’s Northeast to Kunming for the first time since the Second World War.

As the troops marched out in two files, a band of the Peoples Liberation Army struck up a number with wind instruments, cornets and trumpets of metallic concentric circles. There were women in the band, too.

Outside the terminal, police of the PLA’s air force stood in two rows and saluted as the convoy carrying the Indian soldiers drove past to the Kunming Military Academy, their camp for most of the week before they move into the mountains for the war game.



Indian and Chinese soldiers

Eating and living together



When the young soldiers of both armies sit face-to-face, for the first time, on both sides of four long dining tables in the large dining hall of the Kunming Military Academy, they seem very stiff and even shy, avoiding eye contact.

But things change a little when they almost finish their supper at a welcoming banquet hosted by the Chinese side on the second day following the arrival of the Indian troops.

Although most of them cannot speak the other group's language, the smart young men quickly begin to use body language to communicate, or just say "Cheers!"

Indian soldiers learn to use chopsticks from Chinese soldiers, while some Chinese soldiers try to use their poor English to introduce Yunnan's popular scenic spots to their Indian counterparts. The quiet dining hall is soon filled with laughter and snaps of digital cameras featuring hand shakes and smiles.

"Now, I know Yunnan is a lovely place with lots of tourist sites, such as Stone Forest and Three Pagodas," says 22-year-old Lt. Avinash Singh of the Indian Army.

Aside from eating in the same dining hall, the 206 troops live side by side on the ground floor of the same three-story building in the military academy, half to the north of the entrance, half to the south.

Step by step, the Indian troops learn simple Chinese, such as "xiexie" (thank you), "nihao" (how are you?) and "jiayou" (cheers). The Chinese soldiers learn how to say "Good" in Hindi --"shaabaash." They happily use their new vocabulary to encourage the soldiers from the other country on the military training grounds, in addition to watching each other's military drills with keen interest and applause.

Every morning during the joint training, Indian soldiers learn kung fu and Chinese soldiers learn yoga from each other. Every evening, they hold basketball or volleyball matches or play tug of war.

"They are flexible. They grasp yoga quickly," says Capt. Tripurari Singh of the Indian Army. "And I like learning kung fu. I've seen all of Jackie Chan's action movies."

But as young men and soldiers, none of them would like to be "defeated" on the "battlefield" by the other side in the joint training. The program includes subjects such as military psychological training designed to help people get rid of their fears and foster perseverance, obstacle-crossing in high, cold mountains, shooting skills, and "room intervention" to fight terrorists and rescue hostages.

"I will certainly show my best in the joint training and at the same time, I will learn from the Indian soldiers in a modest attitude," says Yang Yong, 25, a non-commissioned officer (Class 2) of the Chinese troops.

"It's easy for me. No problem. I can do that, too, though I haven't done that before," says Jarid Ahmed whenever he sees Chinese soldiers accomplish a "mission impossible," like relaying an explosive that has been ignited, one after another, and throwing it away quickly before it blows up.

Indian soldier examines a Chinese weapon

Day2 of the exercise



DAY TWO of the first Sino-Indian joint military exercise belonged to yoga and martial arts. The Red Army men filled the air with Chek De, Chek De cheers as they encouraged the Indian soldiers during the exercises. And, a well done one had the Chinese declaring shabash.

The gesture was reciprocated in good measure by Indian army personnel who sought to raise the spirits of the PLA soldiers shouting chayo, chayo (come on, buck up), and pancha, pancha (well done, well done). "The Chinese have now learnt to say Chek De, Chek De and shabash. Our boys have also learnt how to say buck up in Chinese," battalion commander Col J.S. Budhwar said, pleased with the bonhomie " has gone beyond our expectations".

The day began with the Chinese soldiers being taught yoga exercises by instructors from the Indian Army, kindling great interest in them on techniques to keep the mind calm, an Indian military officer said. The Indian troops, in turn, were given training in martial arts, defensive and offensive skills, in an unarmed combat by the Chinese after which they went through exercises basically designed to overcome psychological barriers and instill team spirit. The Chinese soldiers carried out breathtaking manoeuvres amid explosions and gun firing, signalling their physical endurance in critical conditions.

anti-terro drill by India and ChinaChinese soldiers neutralize a terrorist



The Chinese take on the exercise (rough translation from a CCTV broadcast):

Moderator (Lu Jian):

Hello, welcome you are watching live "Today's Focus."

For a five-day China and India Army joint anti-terror military training on the 21st -25, held in Kunming, Yunnan, which is also the Army 45 China and India for the first
time after shaking hands, the first to hold joint anti-terrorism military training.

This first training what is the purpose? Today we invited two military experts to analyze and comment on ever aspect.

One is a professor at the Academy of Military Sciences, Major General Luo Yuan, Hello.

Luo Yuan (Major General, World Academy of Military Sciences, vice minister of military research):

Hello.

Moderator:

Another is a professor at the National Defense University Mengxiangjing colonel, welcome the two. At Kunming we are connected to the training site with our reporter Song Heng, we asked him to tell us about the training, the specific circumstances.

Daheng Hello.

Song Heng (CCTV):

Lu Jian Hello.

Moderator:

Please explain what is happening in today's training.

Song Heng:

Today is the last day of this round of the counter-terrorism training which ran a total of five days, from the 21st to this day.

Today, the joint exercise this time is mainly aimed at testing the Indian army in the past five days of the results of training. Indian army sent a company formed to participate in live action, each with 88 individuals.

In this first joint exercise, Mi-17 armed helicopters, 96 tanks and 100-mm assault guns are involved. Indian troops completed the destruction of terrorist camps, rounded up and the rescue of the hostages three subjects drills.

Today's exercise sees theformation of the Sino-Indian joint command post to the ground units divided into A and B two companies: A company has two platoons one from the Chinese side and one the Indian side, with the Chinese side to act as Commander length; B is also two platoons from both sides with the Indian Commander. Such an arrangement is mainly the two sides in the five-day exercise to match the level of soldiers and test the basic quality of the two sides, Lu Jian.

Moderator:

Daheng, through you, the last few days of interviews, through close observation these days, do you feel that both China and India's army left to you what the most
profound impression?

Song Heng:

This should start with a joint anti-terror training start of the code. The joint anti-terror training code-named "Collaboration -2007", the name more accurately reflects the current Sino-Indian relations between the two armed forces.

In the first layer shows the relationship between China and India, the two sides now have the cooperation, "hand in hand" of such a code also accurately reflects the
Chinese and Indian armed forces in recent years frequent interactive relationship. In recent years, the realization of high-level Indian military visit to the troops at the basic level, China's Lanzhou Military Region, and the Chengdu Military Region touching the Indian side of the border——the border guards often have some exchanges.

In 2004 the Sino-Indian border guards carried out its first joint mountaineering activities. According to my understanding from the Chinese Ministry of Defense, and in some places a direct telephone line has also established.

In the training methods, the Chinese and Indian armed forces are quite different, especially when the morning exercises, the training of the Chinese army is kung-fu, the Indian side is the beginning yoga training, these details can be seen in India the two armed forces should be increased further to strengthen the understanding of further cooperation.

Moderator:

Okay, thank you.

We have just heard Song Heng introduced his observation of the past few days of training to some of the details. Comments?

Luo Yuan:

The two armed forces have had no contact in 45 years, let alone engage in a joint military exercise, sitting together and drinking tea, engaging in joint mountaineering is encouraging news. However, this joint exercise has three stages, one is the army's training and then is mountain training, last there is a counter-terrorism training.

First, the army's training is for the first time, a milestone in nature.

Secondly, mountain training, especially in Kunming. I am from Kunming; Kunming has the highland conditions, being more than 1000 meters above sea level. This affects the quality of personnel, weapons and equipment, plus technology has some special requirements at a high altitude.

Third, the anti-terror training. In particular, I note that recently some countries were engaged in joint training time from the counter-terrorism, counter-terrorism What are the characteristics? I think terrorism is our common enemy, but the content of the training are the traditional safe, grappling fighting, the one-man tactics, and team tactics.

Mengxiangjing (colonel, the National Defense University professor of the Department of Strategic Studies):

There are also two features here.

First, the length of this exercise is not high, is basically concentrated in the tactical level joint training, it is not at a strategic level.

Second, the two sides will total only about 200, on each side sent about 100 people.

Third, though the time is not long, but is a very well-planned arrangement, also divided into three phases, each phase of convergence, including the final in front of reporters from the message——it's all about mutual coordination, including mutual joint training test results.

Moderator:

It is a mixed formation.

Mengxiangjing:

Mixed formation and coordination are still very smooth, reflecting the constant exchanges between two armed forces in recent years, and after a relatively short time the mutual understanding, coordination has deepened.

Moderator:

I have heard that you participated in the preparatory work for this joint anti-terror training?

Luo Yuan:

I was joined in November by, General Qian Lihua, director of Sino-Indian security and defence for consultation talks. In this round of talks, we referred to the joint military training, but the first time we participated in the security and defense consultations was at a strategic level. The two sides of China and India established a joint military panel of experts in Kunming and conducted two rounds of consultations, the final set of details, such as the participating personnel, organization, training courses, some of the direction, the instruments, as well as the implementation of the programme.

Moderator:

"Hand-in-Hand 2007" joint anti-terror military training, both Chinese and Indian soldiers also had a very unique display. For example, China's display of a number of the troops was hard Martial Arts, and the Indian side is soft with the power yoga, we can be first to take a look at a short video clip.

News Background: 200 Indian Army officers lined up neatly participating in the training, the national anthems of the two countries in Kunming Army Institute of the People's Liberation Army training ground played. How to combat terrorism in the reasonable application of skills and tactics in the Indian armed forces is the focus of joint training, the troops in the Indian soldiers simulated attacks breakthrough in precision shooting, blasting a number of obstacles, thhrough technical and tactical moves, and a one-man combat show.

Xiong (Commander of the troops taking part from China):

This time, we have set up courses in basic courses, but also a comprehensive exercise, a command post exercise, but also the exercise on the anti-terrorism issue, and raising the combat capability of counter-terrorism.

Dawami (India troops head of the Joint Steering Group):

This is the Chinese and Indian Army in the field of the first professional interaction, joint training is a very meaningful exchange.

Moderator:

We can see that both sides have created a deep impression, the Chinese side breaking bricks and bottles with their heads, the Indian side a bit like acrobatics. These demonstrations should be part of the anti-terrorism skills?

Luo Yuan:

As a soldier, he should have some basic skills, and some specialized training.

Moderator:

You mean everyone need not have such a capacity?

Luo Yuan:

Forces have some common subjects, which they must grasp, but the special skills come through special training.

Mengxiangjing:

Each country's army has a special forces unit, we have special forces shown in many movies, including some American films, and in our country's film——there you can see among the units of the physical requirements very high. In short, the special forces are carrying out special tasks, including training in extremely difficult circumstances exercise.

Our military training is gymnastics, every fighter should do, for example, like the Indian army is yoga and so on, they should be trained in that. But just that is not to say that these skills are with each one of the soldiers, it does not necessarily train them in the fight against terrorism, but they can increase the physical quality of army soldiers.

Moderator:

Generally speaking, a measure of the combat effectiveness of the contingent ... what is the criterion?

Luo Yuan:

Or the technical level. Just talking about yoga, martial arts is mainly to keep fit, sharpen intellect, and character cultivation, but if a real war broke out we can
not rely on this. To the terrorists, we can not say that I will do Kung-Fu match with you, it will not do.

So grappling and fighting terrorism should be through most basic hand-to-hand combat, and then is tactical and technical, and arms should be in a very good combination.

Moderator:

But yoga is the practice of compulsory Indian soldiers every day, and officers and men from India into training camp, we have a short video clip also with a look at.

Song Heng:

After a day of rest, the Indian army to enter the Chinese training ground began to adapt the training, the first item is India yoga.

Commentary:

Yoga is the Indian army unique training method, a 15-minute yoga practice is compulsory for Indian soldiers daily.

Param Hersh (India troops officers):

Yoga is an ancient Indian part of our spiritual wealth. Yoga can keep the men fit, but it also reduces stress among soldiers.

Commentary:

Apart from the physical state of adjustment, the officers and men of Indian troops to adapt to the new environment, and make new friends. Indian Army Major Kanwoer
is the first time in China, the conditions of the barracks he was surprised.

Kanwoer (India troops officers):

Chinese officers and soldiers are very friendly, very warm, we are very pleased to be here for the last six days.

Commentary:

In the logistics area, the Chinese side has done a careful arrangements in China eat authentic Indian cuisine. The same food, living with and training the officers and men in India gives the PLA rare opportunity for close contact.

Kenneth Liu Ning (China troops participating in the training squad officers)

We are targeting at a joint training each training course, I believe that they will certainly be asked about these subjects we have some of the specific methods of how
training, the training of its features, including its effects, etc. This training, it may be in the next phase of exchange a little more.

Moderator:

This yoga training methods are indeed very unique as they claim. In terms of the scope of the world, many countries also have their own unique training methods?

Luo Yuan:

I do not know which countries are practicing yoga, Pakistan, I am not quite sure, but I think this is a special military culture, Indian yoga, the Russian practice judo, for example, former President Putin is also a section devoted to a judo CD-ROM, to do a commercial.

China's practice Kung-Fu, and some are practicing martial arts in Japan for example judo, karate. Military culture of each country through military culture can cultivate values, physical fitness, physical exercise, and it also raises the level of the supporting role.

Mengxiangjing:

In fact, we just see from the video of an interview with India's military officers, he said yoga is part of India's spiritual wealth, he stressed that in addition to keeping fit, it can also alleviate pressure.

In fact, a national army military culture comes from the national history and culture. Like our country's military forces soldiers gymnastics is a must-have basic training, and military integration of a lot of qigong gymnastics inside, including some martial arts moves.

Moderator:

Right. Therefore, China's military is training some of the officers of India said it was natural for the "Kung Fu" well, and they know.

Mengxiangjing:

This is also a prominent feature that there was no rehearsal. From the report we can see, reporters are very curious, they want to capture some photos.

This is all closer to actual combat, without rehearsels.

Luo Yuan:

One of the aims of the exercise was to improve the troops ability to alter, adapt, and increase endurance capacity.

Moderator:

However, this does not mean that their are no plans, because we have a lot of details to consider instead. For instance India's instructors teach a number of Chinese soldiers in the Indian Army anti-terrorism methods, we have to take a look at a video also.

News Background: A group of six people, and act in unison, side by side bending forward, the Indian Army created a counter-terrorism tactical movements. This tactical formation, is the first attempt by Chinese soldiers. Although the language barrier creates problems, but Chinese soldiers move quickly, and grasped the essentials.


Song Heng:

They confirm the location of the terrorists, China and India with each other soldiers, stormed the hideout, and rescued the hostages.

Commentary:

Indian army snipers with thermal imaging device, covered the fight against terrorists. Providing cover to the three soldiers, who entered the terrorist hiding places, and successfully completed the task of cleaning up.

Kumar (India troops soldiers):

Chinese soldiers have a good quality, we teach them and tell them the skills and tactics, they can master quickly, which reflects that China's soldiers are well-trained.

Commentary:

After three days of joint anti-terror training, the commander of the Chinese troops of the Indian Army counter-terrorism operations training methods and tactical maneuvers designed to give a high evaluation.

Zhouxiaozhou (of a group army commander of the Chengdu Military Region):

Their tactical formation, for instance, in the circumstances envisaged, as well as in specific situations disposal of the command, for instance, the choice of their targets, as well as the training of shooting action left a deep impression.

Moderator:

India's newspaper "The Telegraph" said this is a training assessment by the Indian army eyes stare into the outstretched hands?

Luo Yuan:

Hand-in-hand shows that the relationship between the two armed forces have gradually gone much closer, between more friendly, more confidence.

China and India are two great nations. Especially the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence proposed by India's former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou Enlai, China's former prime minister, made a significant contribution. In my opinion a Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded Jawaharlal Nehru and Zhou Enlai. The joint military training reflects a spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

Moderator:

And all these years in Indian armed forces have been constantly enhanced in, because the Army is the first time, the Navy has been before the first cooperation.

Mengxiangjing:

Right, in recent years, exchanges between the Chinese and Indian armed forces more and more frequent. In 2003 and 2005 the past two years, the Chinese and Indian Navy has held two joint maritime search and rescue exercises. In 2004 armies also held joint mountaineering activities.

Therefore, we said that Chinese and Indian armed forces in recent years have had frequent contacts, to a large extent reflects the political relations between the two
countries have developed well in recent years.

Moderator:

And the international community reactions on this bilateral military training?

Luo Yuan:

Armed conflict between the two countries have seen phase, but now we sit together, and conduct joint military training.

Other big countries will be pleased to see the two giants in a handshake.

Moderator:

Right.

Luo Yuan:

We had the relationship with Pakistan, we have now India has a very good military cooperation, we have carried out in all directions to "promote the creation of a harmonious world, with neighbors".

Moderator:

And the military cooperation between China and India is important for the whole of Asia regional peace and security and will also play a very important role in promoting this.

Thank you, dear viewers watching this edition of "Today's Focus", tomorrow the same time again.




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Friday, December 21, 2007

Indian Air Power

The Indian Air Force fighter squadron level is now nearly bottoming out at 29, though, officially there are 32 squadrons. There are about 18 fighter aircraft in each squadron but the figure may vary with the composition and the task assigned to each of the units.

Jas 39C Gripen
See the full image of the Gripen here

The six aircraft in the competition broadly fall into two categories: single-engined and twin-engined. The F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 60 (from Lockheed Martin) and the JAS 39C Gripen (from Saab) are single-engined. The IAF decided not to categorise the aircraft on the number of engines they carry but on their capabilities.

INAV
By Anirudh Prakash


The US secretary of defence Robert Gates is expected to visit India in the second week of January 2008. He will be accompanied by a high power delegation comprising representatives from manufacturers of fighter aircraft, and some officials of the Pentagon. Some Pentagon officials are already in New Delhi to lobby for the Logistic Support Agreement (LSA) in spite of opposition from the Left. Through LSA US will be able to utilize Indian ports and air bases for its naval fleets and fighters.

Mr. Gates will also lobby for purchase of fighter aircraft by India for which proposals have been invited by the ministry of defence. It would be for the first time that the US will be bidding to supply fighter aircraft to India.
F-16 Fighting Falcon Block 60
Full image of the F-16

The Americans are among the six suppliers who have been requested to submit proposals to sell 126 multi-role combat aircraft. The total size of the order is likely to top Rs.42,000 crore ($10.2 billion).

In the latest tender, the bidders have time till March 3, 2008, to send their responses. That will be followed by a technical evaluation of the bids, operational trials, opening of the bids, short-listing and price negotiations and finally the contract. Air headquarters sources estimate that it would take at least five years for the first aircraft to be inducted.

The value of the aircraft will be reached through a "verifiable cost model", which will take into account factors such as transfer of technology spares, warranty expenditure on training and operation and licence royalty.

The Government decided on such a model because the Indian armed forces, with a bulk of their hardware of Soviet/Russian origin, have found their older equipment expensive in the long run, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The figure of 126 was arrived at after the IAF projected that it would need at least seven squadrons of the multi-role combat aircraft as it phases out its obsolete fighters.


The tender says that 18 aircraft would be bought in "flyaway" (off-the-shelf) condition. The other 108 would be co-produced or licence-produced in India after transfer of technology.

The sticky issue of offsets - the share of the total project cost that would be ploughed back into India for re-investment - remains. The request for proposals says the offsets value would be 50 per cent.

Before price negotiations, the aircraft would be evaluated on parameters like air defence, high manoeuvrability with tight radii of turn; rate of climb and descent, offensive capability, precision navigation systems, ground-attack power: ability to seek, attack and destroy bunkers, bridges and terror camps, reconnaissance and surveillance, maritime strike role.

The clearance for floating of RFP is coming after the government recently put 13 private sector undertakings in the Raksha Udyog Ratnas category, which would enable them to bid for offsets in such defence sales and technology transfers.

In combat aircraft capability the USA is a leader, followed by Russia, the European consortium of the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain, France, Sweden and the Asian giant China. Although nations like Argentina, India, Japan, and South Korea too have entered the field of fighter production, their capability emanates more from joint ventures and less out of indigenous tradition.

In fact, gone are the golden days of the Cold War era when a plethora of fighters were available - the USSR produced MiGs, Sukhois and Yakovlevs, the American fighters of California and Texas factories of Northrop, Grumman, Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas and General Dynamics producing the variety of Fs, that is, 5, 14, 15, 16, 18. Also gone are the combat teeth of the Israel Aircraft Industries product Kfir and Lavi; the French too no longer experiment with a new variety of Mirage 4000. Instead, Paris has stabilised itself with only Mirage 2000 or Rafale fighters.
Rafale
Full image of the French Rafale

For India, the choice has widened further with the twin engine Euro fighter Typhoonalso on voluntary "offer list". An arch rival of the French Rafale, Typhoon's economics too appears "not too bright" owing to reduction of its "manufacturer consumer" demand from 765 to 620 aircraft.
Eurofighter Typhoon
Full image of the Eurofighter Typhoon

The latest to joint the "Love India Club" is the USA which has offered both F-16 and the Super Hornet F-18 multirole Fighter, a total of 170 of which had been built by the end of 2003. Pentagon had originally identified requirement for over 1,000 aircraft till 2015, but the Quadrennial defence Review reduced the number to a minimum of 548 and a maximum of 785 units and subsequently advocated further reduction to 460 in 2002.
Fa-18 Super Hornet
Full image of the Super Hornet

Thus, the sale of fighters, notwithstanding the "hot and happening hype," is "blood, sweat, tears and toils" for the salesmen faced with reduced customers and the corruption corridor of the consumer's cash box.

However, as the market today has transformed from a seller's to buyer's market, little wonder that India is being wooed by six sellers, thereby making it a transcontinental "clash" of combat aircraft manufacturers in the backyard of the Indian Air Force bases.

All the sellers are trying to woo India by offering incentives, and other allurements. Political and diplomatic pressure is being exerted at the highest levels, and middlemen are actively canvassing support in different forms, including bribe and trying to gain media support for their hardware. The US President, George Bush, is personally interacting with the government of India, and he had spoken to the PM about his preferences.

Russia's RAC-MiG is offering the MiG-35 in its bid for the contract. The Indian dilemma is quite understandable, but a choice has to be made for selection of a hi-tech multirole fighter with technology transfer. The other condition is supply of 80 fighters by 2010, out of which Russia will have a share of 40 Sukhoi-30 MKI. Since Russians are demanding escalation in cost the issue figured in the CCS meeting. However, Defence Minister, A. K. Antony, has been authorised to take up the matter with his Russian counterpart on a priority basis.
MiG-35
Full image of the MiG-35
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

India and France

Joint exercises, high-level visits, transfer of technology and activities relating to co-development and co-production will be discussed at the 10th meeting of the Indo-French High Committee on Defence Cooperation here Dec 17-18.

India e-news
Defence Secretary Vijay Singh and Thierry Borja de Mozota, the representative of the French defence minister, will co-chair the meeting.
Eurocopter Fennec

The meeting comes against the backdrop of the Indian defence ministry cancelling an Indian Army tender for 197 Eurocopter Fennec light helicopters that are manufactured by a company formed by the merger of German DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG (DASA) and the helicopter divisions of French Aerospatiale.

The ministry cited irregularities in the selection process for cancelling the proposed deal.

This hiccup apart, the French Rafale is one of the six contenders for an Indian Air Force (IAF) order for 126 multi-role combat jets.

India-France military-to-military ties have been steadily rising over the last decade, with their air forces and navies regularly staging joint drills.

There have also been a series of high-level interactions, with French Navy chief Admiral Alain Oudot de Dainville visiting India Dec 8-12. Earlier, French Army chief Gen. Bruno Cuche visited India Nov 26-30.

A bilateral memorandum of understanding (MoU) on supply of defence equipment was signed with France in January 1982 when India purchased the Mirage-2000 combat jets for the IAF.

The MoU was aimed at the uninterrupted supply of defence equipment, services and related technology from France to India. A Defence Cooperation Working Group was also set up and it met regularly until 1995 when this was interrupted because of the reported French move to sell Mirage-2000s to Pakistan.

Subsequently, as a result of the initiative of then French president Jacques Chirac during his visit to India in 1998, a government-to-government agreement was reached and cooperation in the field of defence was revitalized.

Following this, the Indo-French High Committee on Defence Cooperation meets every year, alternatively in India and France.

There are three sub-committees under the High Committee.

The sub-committee on military cooperation has representatives from the headquarters of the Integrated Defence Services and the three Services. The second sub-committee deals with strategic issues and the third with defence industry procurement, as also research and technology.

'The sub-committee on military cooperation will roll out plans for service-to-service activities for the coming year while the sub-committee on strategic issues will discuss matters relating to regional issues,' a defence ministry release Thursday said.

'The third sub-committee will discuss issues like transfer of technology, joint development and production,' the release added.


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