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Saurav Jha
Saturday , April 12, 2014

Guest Post #6: Beware of those PhDs Mr Modi by Col RSN Singh


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In today's guest post, we have, once again, India's leading security expert, Col RSN Singh laying bare his views on the hidden threats to India's democratic ethos. Today as festive Amethi celebrates the ceremony of Rahul Gandhi's nomination filing, democracy gasps in many parts of the Red Corridor. Today in Chattisgarh's Bijapur, a bus carrying six civilian election officials was ambushed by the Maoists. They were all killed. In yet another attack just a few hours before Maoists also killed three CRPF personnel in the same area. This area falls in the so called 'liberated zone' of the Maoists. The target is Indian democracy. It is a war on India. Only a week ago on 7 April 2014, IED blasts by the Maoists killed three security forces personnel and injured eight in Aurangabad district of Bihar. Those killed belonged to the CRPF, which included a Deputy Commandant, Indrajeet....


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

India's missile build up gathers pace with Monday's Brahmos test by the Indian Army


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Monday's test by the Indian Army (IA) of a deep penetration version of the Brahmos symbolizes the emergence of a new era in standoff strike capability for the Indian military as it readies itself for any potential two-front war with Pakistan and China. As precision guided munitions (PGM) have become more accurate, militaries across the world have looked to move key assets and storage facilities underground in order to fortify them from standoff strikes. Defeating such hard and deeply buried targets (HDBTs) requires terminal manoeuvring capabilities and warhead versatility that the Brahmos program has now demonstrated operationally. But the Brahmos is one of a whole new generation of highly accurate missile systems being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) that can serve to give the Indian military an advantage if procured in numbers not just for their ability to defeat HDBTs but also for time-critical strike in....


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Small is powerful: Nanotechnology based security applications in India


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A stream of nanotechnology (nanotech) based products is beginning to emerge in India with applications in the security realm. Besides DRDO, serious innovation is being effected by institutions like IIT Bombay and Madras University. DRDO is of course also acting as a sort of hinge for fostering research and development (R&D) in this area of activity. India's rising proficiency can also be gauged by the fact that a number of western entities are interested in partnering their Indian counterparts for joint R&D efforts in this sphere. However to truly translate the gains from this emerging eco-system more attention will have to be paid towards augmenting relevant manufacturing facilities in the country which will hasten the pace of prototyping. Because after all it is in these 'nano-foundries" that basic R&D can be turned into usable products and help convert the stream into a veritable deluge. At the moment nano-science inspired....


Friday , March 14, 2014

Why the Dassault Rafale will be purchased by the Indian Air Force


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In 2011, the IAF managed to get the government to revise its sanctioned combat squadron strength upwards to 42 from the previous 39.5. This decision was taken in light of the need to factor in the rising presence of the Chinese Air force (CAF) in Tibet supported by the creation of new ground infrastructure as well as aerial refuelling while simultaneously continuing to maintain an advantage over the Pakistani Air force (PAF) along India's western flank. Besides dealing with a two front operational scenario the IAF is also required to expand its presence in peninsular India as well as in the island territories in anticipation of a stability role in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Be that as it may, for the period spanning the twelfth plan (2012-17), the IAF says that the number of operational squadrons has 'stabilized' at 34. And the new sanctioned strength according to the....


Thursday , March 13, 2014

The case for speeding up India's domestic fifth generation fighter projects


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The Indian Air Force's (IAF) quest for its first fifth generation fighter has been running into the usual back and forth with the Russians as well as domestic discord with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) . It seems on top of the reported delays, the Russians are also hiking the costs associated with the Fifth generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project. Meanwhile, the IAF is at odds with an apparent HAL move to surrender almost two-thirds of its purported work share for the FGFA development programme. The Americans are also testing waters by making offers to India to join the F-35 programme although that is not really on the cards. In the midst of all this it is clear that India needs to pursue the Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) programme with maximum zeal. If India truly has to fashion an airpower doctrine for the new millennia it has to concurrently develop....


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Why China will find it difficult to re-balance its economy"


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In March 2013, 16000 dead pigs were found floating in the Huangpu river that is the source of Shanghai's drinking water supply. The pigs had been culled by farmers who initially lured by China's growing meat consumption had increased livestock numbers to unsustainable levels and now found themselves incurring major costs as they looked to get rid of diseased animals from overcrowded farms. The episode clearly reveals that China's fabled governance model is not able to tide over the intrinsic problems associated with 'development' in the face of limited river basins and demographic transition. And since China adopted industrial urbanization in a 'great leap forward' the consequent landing is also digging a much bigger hole. This has implications for both China's geopolitical agenda as well what India should realistically expect from the US pivot to Asia. Pressure over land due to competing sectors is not unique to China. It....


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An 'engine' for India's growth


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As India and China build their respective aerospace industries, the one glaring gap remains their inability to mass produce wholly indigenous modern aircraft engines. It is that one major area where both countries remain dependent on foreign support to varying degrees. In the next few years, India however has the potential to create a major domestic industrial and technological base in the arena of aero-propulsion by leveraging its diverse military aviation purchases. Clever use of the offsets that will mandatorily follow with most imports will not only allow the domestic aerospace industry to integrate itself with global supply chains but should also facilitate the timely transfer of technology in critical areas. In this context, the Ministry Of Defence (MoD) must act ruthlessly by not allowing foreign majors to offload yesterday's technology. Nothing should however stop heightened domestic research and development (R&D) in propulsion technology as that is the....


Saturday , February 15, 2014

CCTVs and the move to make Indian cities safer across states


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The arrest of Indian Mujahideen founder Yasin Bhatkal has served to highlight the increasing role played by CCTV footage in terror investigations. Not only has footage placed Bhatkal at the site of the German Bakery blast in Pune, it is also being used by the Police to identify other suspects through Bhatkal. Indeed there is no denying the fact that post 26/11 CCTVs are increasingly being seen as an indispensable tool for internal and private security purposes. But while their utility in post event investigation is beyond doubt, new technology is helping boost their importance as a preventive and early warning tool. Moreover CCTVs are ultimately one component of a larger 'safe cities' concept which is beginning to get rolled out in India by harnessing the latest security technology and procedures. In 2012, industry body ASSOCHAM estimated that the Indian CCTV market was growing at a compounded annual....


Tuesday , February 11, 2014

The Indian move towards MIRVs


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India's pursuit of multiple independently targetable re-entry vehicle (MIRV) technology has been variously described as being in the design or technology development phase in recent times. This position was reiterated on the side lines of the second successful test of the Agni V Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) last September by officials from DRDO. Of course there had been some confusion in the past as to whether it is the Agni-V itself which will have a MIRVed variant or whether the first Indian MIRV configuration will be exhibited by a new vehicle sometimes referred to as the Agni-VI in the media. Nevertheless, repeated references to India's program for MIRVs has raised the heckles of the usual quarters in the Western hemisphere who either see it as destabilizing or a departure from India's stated nuclear doctrine of credible minimum deterrence(MCD). But truth be told MIRVs are a strategic priority for India precisely....


Monday , February 10, 2014

Desi UAV efforts taking flight for India


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The domain of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has unsurprisingly emerged as a focus area for indigenous military development and production efforts. Indeed domestic UAV programmes are serving as a draw for the private sector with participation from both medium and small scale enterprises (MSME) as well as large conglomerates. And besides the usual clutch of sub-assemblies, major sub-systems such as sensor payloads and engines are also being increasingly sourced from Indian industry. The flagship UAV programme at the moment is the Rustom-II being developed in the lead by the Defence Research and Development Organisation's (DRDO's) Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) based in Bangalore. The Rustom-II is a medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV with an altitude ceiling of 32,000 feet and an endurance of up to 35 hours. This bird is being designed to meet the needs of all three services with different configurations, naturally. However, while the Indian Navy (IN)....


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More about Saurav Jha

Saurav Jha studied economics (and debated politics) at Presidency College, Calcutta, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He writes and researches on global energy and security issues and is a regular contributor to publications such as World Politics Review, The Diplomat and Le Monde Diplomatique, and has written for Deccan Herald, The Telegraph and Hindustan Times. He is the Consulting Editor of Geopolitics magazine. His first book, The Upside Down Book of Nuclear Power, was published in March 2010 to excellent reviews. He is presently working on The Heat and Dust Project, a quirky travelogue, based on an intense budget journey through India, co-authored with his wife Devapriya.

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