November 29, 2015

In underwater battle, India 'annihilates' American n-submarine

If the hostile entry of United States Navy 7th fleet in the crucial stage of the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh sent a shiver down the spine of Indian military commanders, events of last month gave them some relief.

 If the hostile entry of United States Navy 7th fleet in the crucial stage of the 1971 war for the liberation of Bangladesh sent a shiver down the spine of Indian military commanders, events of last month gave them some relief. Not surprisingly there is a spring in the stride of those from India's beleaguered submarine arm at the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command (ENC). "It is among the coolest things to happen in recent times," said a young officer.

An operation under the high profile naval exercise MALABAR, between the navies of India, USA and Japan, featured a simulated battle to hunt and destroy each other's submarines. Locked in this match were two prowlers, the INS Sindhudhvaj (S56), a Soviet-designed EKM class of conventional submarine and the USS City of Corpus Christi (SSN705), a nuclear-powered attack submarine which functions like a fighter plane - scramble and destroy enemy submarines and ships. The crew of both the vessels were asked to hunt the other down in a general area of the Bay of Bengal, based on 'available int'. They, subsequently dived.

Hours later, as they still searched the Americans were informed that the game was over already.

Unknown, they had been marked, tailed and suitably 'annihilated' by the 533mm torpedos 'fired' by  their Indian counterparts from on board  the INS Sindhudhvaj. What came as a clincher to the Indian side was the tool which detected the USS Corpus Christi - the 'made in India' Ushus SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging) which was recently installed. "The way it happens is that the Sindhudhvaj recorded the Hydrophonic Effect (HE) - simply put, underwater noise - of the nuclear powered submarine and managed to positively identify it before locking on to it. Being an exercise what did not happen was the firing," explained a naval officer. The HE thus captured can easily slide into the elaborate database that the any navy maintains for classifying and identifying foreign submarines. A US embassy spokesperson said, "We have no information on the results to share."

What will lend succour to the navy's submarine fleet is yet another validation of the kill potential of its premier platform. India has nine such submarines apart from four German-designed Shishumar class submarines. After years of disallowing its presence in any naval exercise involving foreign navies - attributed to the IN's desire to not its HE be recorded by a foreign player - this edition of MALABAR was the first time the Indian Navy (IN) allowed an EKM to take part.Scoring over a US submarine also underscores the reputation that precedes an EKM submarine. Not without reason do the western navies term them 'black holes in the ocean' - a measure of how difficult it is to detect once submerged.

The six-day MALABAR exercise began on October 14 and saw the sea-going phase begin from October 16. Underwater warfare was among the most important aspects of this exercise. India allowing the participation of INS Sindhudhvaj can be linked with the fact that China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy has a much bigger fleet of EKM submarines, 12 in all, which it purchased from Russia from 1990. The PLA Navy's rising profile has seen it becoming the biggest maritime power in Asia with over 300 assets which includes a menacing underwater fleet of 62 submarines. The PLA Navy has also initiated the deployment of its submarines, in addition to its  surface ships, in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) - a region far removed from China's traditional area of maritime interest which would include the Taiwan Strait, East China Sea and South China Sea, apart from the Pacific Ocean.  

Veteran submariner, Vice Admiral KN Sushil (retd), said, "I would have been upset  had we failed at achieving what we did. A nuclear powered submarine always makes more noise vis a vis a conventional one and thus the results  do not surprise me."

  • INS Sindhudhvaj, is a conventional diesel electric submarine and was commissioned into the Indian Navy in June 1987. Her present home is the Vishakhapatnam based Eastern Naval Command.
  • USS City of Corpus Christi is a Los Angeles class, nuclear powered attack submarine and was commissioned in the US Navy in January 1983. Her present home is Pearl Harbour.

MALABAR 2015 saw the participation:

  • IN - Stealth frigate INS Shivalik, guided missile destroyer INS Ranvijay, frigate INS Betwa & INS Shakti, fleet support ship.
  • US Navy - Aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, Cruiser USS Normandy, Littoral combat ship USS Fort Worth, USS City of Corpus Christi, F18 fighter and Poseidon 8A maritime reconnaissance aircraft
  • Japan Maritime Self Defense Force - Destroyer JS Fuyuzuki and SH60K integral helicopter.

November 28, 2015

Bharat Forge to build Rs 500-cr defence hub in Telangana

Close on the heels of the Tata-Boeing joint venture, the next high-profile company that is set to invest in Telangana's booming defence and aerospace manufacturing sector is Pune-based multi-national conglomerate Bharat Forge Limited.

Telangana industries secretary Arvind Kumar revealed this on Friday while speaking at the curtain-raiser event of the second edition of Defence & Aerosupply India that will be held between November 30 and December 2 in the city.
Kumar said that the company will be investing over Rs 500 crore in the state and is set to apply for land next week. "We know that they will be applying for around 40 acres of land next week. Of this, 10 acres will be provided at the Adibatla aerospace and precision engineer park and the rest will be allotted elsewhere," Kumar said, without disclosing the exact location of the land parcel.

Earlier this year, Bharat Forge had announced a 51:49 joint venture with Israel's Rafael Advanced Defence Systems to manufacture high-tech defence components in the country. In fact, the company had said that it would set up its JV unit near Hyderabad.

Bharat Forge Limited is the flagship company of the $2.5-billion Kalyani Group and a global provider of safety and critical components/solutions to various industrial sectors including automotive, railways, power, construction & mining, aerospace, marine and oil & gas.

Speaking about the robust defence and aerospace manufacturing ecosystem in Hyderabad, Kumar said that in the last one year, the state has attracted over Rs 1,000 crore in investments in this sector.

Giving examples of the companies that have picked Telangana, he said that there were around 10 precision engineering companies that are coming up near Adibatla and the total investment has been around Rs 200 crore. This apart, Chennai-based Voith too has committed an investment of Rs 100 crore over the next four years to shift its operation to Hyderabad, the industries secretary added.
Speaking about the upcoming conference, Kumar said a 10-member French delegation from Bordeaux Aeronautics will be present at the event and the state government is mulling setting up an aviation training centre in partnership with French collaboration.

The three-day global conclave is expected to see participation from players such as Airbus, Boing, Sikorsky, Embraer, Thales India, Finmeccanica, Eurocopter, Dassault, UTC, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, and the IAMF (Israeli Aerospace Manufacturing Federation), among others, the officer added. 
- timesofindia

Whodunnit: The truth behind Turkey downing a Russian plane

Turkeman tribesmen, on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey, calling themselves the Syrian Liberation Army, are actually in harness to protect routes on which oil tankers have been plying regularly from Syria to Turkey for the Western market. This smuggling enterprise is controlled by Bilal Erdogan, son of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. The whodunnit nature of the incident is explained by the extraordinary pressure on the President's office brought by this extra constitutional entity.  Ever since the Russians entered the Syrian theatre as part of a broader understanding with the US, these tankers and the mercenary soldiers protecting them have come under heavy Russian fire.  
Moscow would be justified in being somewhat puzzled that neither the US nor NATO, with its vast intelligence apparatus, spotted 90,000 barrels of oil being "clandestinely" transported over the border. Profits from this enterprise finances groups which constitute the ISIS.  It is universally acknowledged that Turkey has been most enthusiastic and active in supporting anti-Assad militancy in Syria. When some of the groups patronized by Turkey, mostly affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood, mutated into the Islamic state, Turkey tried its best to have this region of its operation, in Northern Syria, declared a no-fly-zone. 
 The official Russian press note quotes verbatim what Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on November 26: "by shooting down a Russian plane on a counter-terrorist mission of the Russian Aerospace Force in Syria, and one that did not violate Turkey's air space, the Turkish government has in effect sided with ISIS."
Lavrov added: "Turkey's action appear premeditated, planned and undertaken with a specific object."  Even Washington has not come to Turkey's rescue. On the specifics of the shooting down of the Russian fighter jet, US officials maintained the Russian plane was in the Turkish air space for "no more than 17 seconds" during which period "10 warnings" could not have been given to the Russian pilot as Turkey claims.
 Even among Western countries who recently forged an alliance against the ISIS there are skeptics who see Turkey playing both sides of the street. There are serious suspicions that the shooting down of the plane had been planned. As soon as the Russian pilot and his navigator ejected from the jet in a mountainous, inhospitable terrain, their parachutes were instantly targeted by machine guns which were clearly expecting the shooting of the Russian plane in their area. This area was not in Turkey. ..  While the pilot, Sergey Rumyantsev, was killed, the navigator is alive. He is being treated in Syria. He has confirmed what would otherwise be speculative stories emanating from Moscow. 
 There are other issues the US and NATO must be confidentially sorting out with Russia.  Written into the understanding between Washington and Moscow was an obligation to give prior notice of every aerial activity to the alliance partners. In this instance, neither Washington nor NATO were informed of the airspace violation by Russia and that Turkey proposed to take drastic action against the Russian aircraft.   Recently, an Ankara-Moscow hotline was established to avert just the sort of mishap which have generated fears of a wider conflict.  A senior Turkish official turned the argument against the Russians.
 "Russians are under global sanctions and their purchase of oil from ISIS for delivery to the Syrian regime is in violation of these sanctions."   The official has, in his armoury, the transcript of the warnings issued to the erring Russian pilot. But the transcript only records warning and no response and, by that token, is weak testimony.  That Iraq and Syria are overcrowded with divergent interests became clear in February when Iraq's Army shot down two British planes allegedly carrying weapons for the ISIS in the Anbar province.
The incident was never denied largely because Iraq Parliament's National Security and Defence Committee had photos of the planes that had been shot down.   And now that Prime Minister David Cameron is rearing to go into Syria with airstrikes  (if only he can coax a nod of approval from his parliament), he is probably eager to reach out for the piece of the Syrian pie he could not lay his hands on all these months.   An amusing sketch that surfaces on the social networks at intervals shows Uncle Sam seated in an ornate carriage. An Arab, looking rather like the Saudi King, is in the driver's seat. He has a firm grip on reins strapped to four burly, hooded ISIS militants.
The message, consumed avidly in Iraq, is that ISIS was,  at one stage a Saudi-US asset. Some of this activity boomeranged on the US when an embarrassed Defence Secretary Ashton Carter had to announce to the press that a $500 million training programme in Syria had been withdrawn after Syrian opposition trained by the US had handed their weapons to militants and sought safe passage to heaven knows where. So far the Syrian-Iraqi terrain has been the graveyard of many regional and Western reputations. Russians must keep their fingers crossed.


November 27, 2015

In boost for 'Make in India', Dassault may manufacture Rafale fighter aircraft in India


India's largest-ever military deal is likely to bring in big business for the private sector with the French side looking to set up a production centre for the Rafale fighter aircraft as well as a low-cost executive jet in India, besides sharing vital aircraft technology for the indigenous Tejas project. Officials familiar with the project have told ET that major partners for this 'Make in India' project are currently being identified by the French side and are likely to include Anil Ambani's Reliance Defence Systems, Noida-based Samtel and Bharat Electronics. These officials, both Indian and French, spoke on the condition they not be identified. 
Spokespersons of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group told ET "there is no development". Officials on the French side told ET, on condition of anonymity, that the agreement between Rafale and an Indian partner will be on the lines of the 2012 agreement between the French company and the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries. The NDA government had reformatted the UPA government deal and ordered 36 aircraft, instead of 126. 
The Rafale fighter deal, which will bring in at least $4.5 billion into 'Make in India' projects as per the contract being negotiated, is set to involve a third production line for the aircraft in India, French officials have told ET.While two lines for the fighter are currently active in France at the same facility, a third line in India would take care of export orders for the fighters and also possible future orders by the Indian Navy and Air Force. The line would also support the production of a low-cost variant of the 'Falcon' executive jet for the Indian and Asian markets."It will not be possible to roll out any of the 36 fighters being acquired by India from the production line as it would take time to set up but future orders, including exports, will be fulfilled with the new line," a person involved in the discussions has told ET. 
At most, the final painting of the last ten aircraft to be delivered to India could be carried out at the Indian assembly line. This itself is a very high technology process as the fighter has a special anti-radar coat," the person added.  Besides the joint production facilities in India, the French side is also set to transfer some key technologies to DRDO that would benefit the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project. A complete list of the technology to be transferred is being finalised but would include several systems to make the LCA more effective. 
Technology to be transferred includes the air intake system for the fighter, an undercarriage for the naval variant of the LCA, cutting edge radar absorbing painting technology as well as an integrated production line software and management system for the fighter aircraft.  While the main Rafale contract is likely to be signed this financial year, as was reported by ET, a separate contract for armament systems will be signed at a later date with French company MBDA. A partnership for transfer of technology and production could be inked with the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) that specialises in advanced armaments.
  Engineer-General Stephane Reb, Director of the International Directorate of the DGA (General Directorate for Armament) of the French Ministry of Defence is in New Delhi this week to finalise the inter-governmental agreement draft that is likely to be signed before January 26 when French President Francois Hollande will visit India as as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day Parade


They knew the exact time and the exact place': Putin accuses US of leaking flight path of doomed jet to Turkey

Russian president Vladimir Putin has accused the U.S. of being complicit in the destruction of its military jet two days ago - suggesting the Americans knew exactly when and where it was travelling.
In a press conference at the Kremlin tonight, Putin said the Russians had given prior information to the U.S. of the flight path of the plane - but the U.S. had 'leaked' the information to Turkey.
In other developments, Putin's dreaded S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems - mobilised in the wake of the jet's destruction - were photographed being unloaded from military transports in Syria.
He also vowed to join France in coordinating bombing campaigns against ISIS forces and agreed to share intelligence information. 

It is hoped the move will be the start of closer ties between Moscow and the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition following the Paris terror attacks - despite the animosity brewing over the downed jet.
Putin told gathered media: 'The American side, which leads the coalition that Turkey belongs to, knew about the location and time of our planes' flights, and we were hit exactly there and at that time.
'Why did we pass this information to the Americans? Either they were not controlling what their allies were doing, or they are leaking this information all over the place.'
Ahead of the conference, Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traded barbs, with the Russian leader saying he was waiting for an apology and Erdogan ruling out any such move.
Putin has dismissed as 'rubbish' Turkey's claim that it would not have shot down the jet if it had known it was Russian.
'They [our planes] have identification signs and these are well visible. Instead of... ensuring this never happens again, we are hearing unintelligible explanations and statements that there is nothing to apologise about.' 
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin's feared S-400 anti-aircraft battalions have landed in Syria ready to destroy any threats to his airforce.
The surface-to-air missile systems are capable of striking down targets up to 250miles away and were instantly deployed to the region in the wake of Tuesday's confrontation.
Pictures emerged today of the state-of-the-art missile systems' arrival to the battlefields of Syria, while the war of words between Putin and Erdogan intensified.

The S-400s are based in Syria's coastal province of Latakia, just 30miles from the border with Turkey and are capable of striking targets a huge ranges with deadly precision.
Today Putin defended his decision to mobilise the weaponry after the attack by Turkey which he considered a betrayal.
In a joint press conference with Francois Hollande at the Kremlin, he said: 'We did not have those systems in Syria [previously] because we believed that our airforce was working at an altitude which would not be reachable by terrorists.
'They do not have this equipment capable of shooting down the aircraft at 3,000 to 4,000 metres.
'We didn't even think that we could receive a strike from a party that we thought to be our partner.
'If we thought of this before, we would have established the systems capable to protect our aircraft.
'The reason we didn't do this is because we thought Turkey to be a friendly country. We are our establishing our system S-400 which is capable of long range strikes and it is one of the most effective systems of this type in the world.' 
The S-400's range means its missiles could reach deep into Turkey or pose a potential threat to US-led coalition planes - adding yet another dangerous element to an already volatile mix of competing military interests in Syria.
'It's a capable weapons system that poses a significant threat to anyone,' a US official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP. 'There are significant concerns related to air operations in Syria.'
Accusations flung back and forth from both Russia and Turkey in the wake of the confrontation have further aggravated the situation.
  • Putin has accused the U.S. of being complicit in the destruction of its jet
  • The Russian jet was downed by Turkey after it entered Turkish airspace
  • He claimed Russia gave the U.S. the flight path data for the doomed aircraft
  • This was either 'leaked' or it 'does not control what its allies are doing'
  • Meanwhile, today Russia's fearsome S-400 missile systems arrived in Syria
  • Putin has also agreed to coordinate airstrikes with France against ISIS


November 26, 2015

Rafale deal to be signed on eve of Hollande’s India visit

India and France are set to sign the deal for 36 Rafale fighter aircraft on the eve of French President Fran├žois Hollande’s visit to India for the Republic Day celebrations. The draft contract, which envisages supply of the first fighter within 36 months of signing the deal, has been finalised.  The supply of full complement of 36 fighters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be completed within seven years of signing the deal.  The induction of the 36 fighters will add to the IAF squadron strength which is now down to 34. At least 44 fighter squadrons are needed to be comfortable against China and Pakistan.
  The proposal for buying 36 Rafale fighters from France in a government-to-government deal was announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Paris in April. It followed a long-drawn tender for acquisition of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) for the IAF in which the Rafale had been selected as the L-1 or lowest bidder after a decade of evaluation, testing and negotiations. Mired in controversies over pricing and transfer of technology, the process was scrapped by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar earlier this year.
  Industry sources said the price of a Rafale fighter in the current deal has been fixed at the 2007 base rate plus an escalation formula agreed upon by both sides. As per commercial bids received for 126 fighters, plus an increment of 5.5-7.5 per cent per year applied on different sub-systems, items and services as per the escalation formula, the final price for the 36 fighters is expected to be around $8.3 bn. The draft agreement states that all 36 fighters will be supplied by Dassault Aviation in a fly-away condition. To avoid any complications, the two sides agreed for the same SOP (standard of preparation or technical specifications) for the Rafale fighters as agreed upon in the tender for 126 aircraft.  Sources said Dassault was keen to include improvements in the SOP, with limited change in pricing, but the Indian side did not want to introduce new elements in the negotiations.
 Defence ministry sources told The Indian Express that the clause for 50 per cent offsets, as mandated in the 126 aircraft proposal, shall be applicable to the current deal.  According to industry sources, the offsets commitment will now be fulfilled through a private vendor. This is a major difference from the earlier deal, where public-sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was to make 108 fighters in India.  Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Defence Limited (RDL) is said to be the leading contender for discharging the offsets for the 36 fighter deal.  Defence ministry sources say that Dassault and RDL have to fulfil the offset commitment.Confirming it is constructing a greenfield aerospace facility in Nagpur which will start production in FY 2016-17, RDL said it has not entered into an agreement with Dassault Aviation so far.


India, Japan to finalise aircraft pact during Shinzo Abe's India visit

India and Japan are set to firm up an agreement to jointly produce amphibious military aircraft during the upcoming visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in what could be the first defence deal between the two countries.  The US 2 amphibious aircraft, that has applications for search and rescue, surveillance as well as intelligence gathering, will be produced in India not only for domestic orders but will also be pitched jointly for exports in the region and beyond Besides the US 2 programme, the two sides are also expected to firm up a larger umbrella agreement to promote the joint development and production of military systems in support of the Make in India initiative.
 Officials aware of the developments have told ET that the Rs 7440 crore US 2 proposal was discussed during the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kuala Lumpur where he met Abe, and it was jointly agreed to take the initiative forward.  While an initial requirement of 12 aircraft has been raised by the Navy that has submitted a new, detailed report to the defence ministry on the project, more requirements are anticipated in the future, including Coast Guard orders. 
Sources have told ET that Japanese manufacturer ShinMaywa has also sent a letter to the Indian government with details of plans to make the aircraft in India in collaboration with Pipavav which is now controlled by the Anil Ambani group.As reported by ET, Japan's plans to export its first military equipment to India had hit a bump in April with the defence ministry asking the navy to review, among other projects, the operational requirement of the ShinMaywa US 2. 
A report on the necessity and scope of operations of what would be the navy's only amphibious platform has been requested by the ministry. The report on the Rs 7440-crore project has since been submitted by the navy in consultation with the Coast Guard and has been given the go-ahead as part of the 'Make in India' initiative.  Japanese firm ShinMaywa is keen to make India a production hub for global orders and has been in touch with several private sector companies since 2011 before finalizing Pipavav as its main partner for the project.


November 20, 2015

It’s high time to have clear policy to deal with Pak lies

Prior to his departure for Russia, defence minister Manohar Parrikar, in an interview to Russian news agency TASS, said the India-Russia relationship should be enhanced. “I have always seen Russia as an all-weather friend for India — the two countries have always had a great relationship. I believe that this relationship should be enhanced. My visit to Moscow will be an attempt to help the relationship blossom further. There are many issues that can always be in such relationships, and I think the best way is to have them resolved. I see a certain enthusiasm to resolve them from both sides as well as possibilities to involve Russia in the Make in India programme,” he said.
Interacting with the media, Mr Parrikar said there will be discussions to prepare the ground for inking some deals when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Russia in December 2015 for joint production of Kamov Ka-226 helicopters and the purchase of S-400 missile systems, which he expects will be coordinated by November.
He added there are proposals for small private sector companies interested in tying up with Russian companies to manufacture spares for Su-30 jets. Purchase of 48 more Mi-17V-5 helicopters is to be negotiated and finalised. Before Mr Parrikar’s visit, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared two projects for the upgradation of engines and avionics of IL-76 and IL-78 aircraft from Russia for `4,300 crore.
In a significant development, DAC also cleared deep-sea submarine rescue vessels which are required for the recovery of submarines or personnel on board a submarine in case of an accident. So far, India does not have a submarine rescue vessel and has been depending on the US for help.
In Moscow, he discussed several military projects with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, ranging from the acquisition of S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems, to the leasing of a second nuclear-powered submarine.
Russia is still to address India’s technical and price concerns over the fifth-generation fighter project, which envisages IAF inducting the Sukhoi T-50 (PAK-FA) jets. Under the original plan, 127 of these fighters were to be built in India for over $25 billion. But India is now also examining the possibility of directly buying 60-65 Sukhoi T-50s since the co-production plan is much delayed. Mr Parrikar is also believed to have conveyed India’s concern on the growing Russia-Pakistan military relations, particularly the recent sale of four Russian Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan and reports of Pakistan negotiating to acquire Su-35 fighters, considered more capable than India’s Su-30 MKI, although Moscow has reportedly denied that.
While on the diplomatic front the government has shown some assertiveness in the recent past, considering how well armed Pakistan has become in conventional and nuclear weapons, major aspects of the firm policy should be expediting arms replacements/acquisitions, which Mr Parrikar is pursuing.
On Pakistan’s hyperactive ceasefire violations and our responses, he remarked: “Pakistan does not like to stay quiet even on New Year’s day. They started cross-border firing at 12.30 in the night and don’t seem to have learnt any lesson. There are ceasefire violations. Whenever they want infiltration, they fire at night. I don’t think that we have allowed that to happen. Our response is more than double the capacity.”
While what Mr Parrikar stated is quite true about India’s responses on the International Boundary /Line of Control and is one of the main reasons for Pakistan’s desperation, it is high time the BJP government forms a clear and constant policy on dealing with Pakistan’s duplicity, lies and its Army’s/ISI’s intentions/plans for the future.
The deportation of Mumbai underworld don Chhota Rajan has reportedly given Pakistan enough jitters to highly tighten Dawood Ibrahim’s security, in a definite indication that Rajan may know a lot about Dawood’s anti-Indian activities. While being taken for questioning in Bali, Rajan is reported to have said that Dawood is in Pakistan under the protection of the ISI. The Pakistan Army has reportedly deployed special commandos at Dawood’s posh residences in Karachi and Islamabad where he has been living since the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai. Does this mean that Pakistan is so apprehensive that an external intelligence agency may try to flush out India’s most wanted man from his home there?
Home minister Rajnath Singh has reportedly said that Dawood keeps changing his location in Pakistan and also stated in Parliament that the government will leave no stone unturned to bring back Dawood. He has been quoted in media as saying, “The Indian government is committed to bringing back Dawood.”
While the highly upgraded security around Dawood may be the Pakistan Army’s knee-jerk reaction, is it a coincidence that there are similar fears about Hafiz Sayeed as well, because his security has also been recently beefed up? Is the Pakistan Army jittery about a heightened external threat against Sayeed also? Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (Retd), MoS for I&B, stated in a TV interview that India was ready to neutralise its enemies and that a covert operation against wanted criminals Dawood Ibrahim and Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan was possible. He was quoted as saying that it was noted that fugitives like Dawood and Saeed are living peacefully in Pakistan. “We may do it (covert operation) but there will be no publicity before that. After the operation, there may be or there may not be. It depends on whether the government says it should be ‘covert operation’ or a ‘special operation’.”
He mentioned the government’s approach of using “saam, daam, dand, bhed (saam: to advise; daam: to buy; dand: to punish; bhed: secret)”, though he later denied it.
Responses must match the arsenal, the capability and the political will to implement effective measures to neutralise the adversary — silently but surely.


November 18, 2015

Night-vision startup Tonbo bags multimillion dollar contracts

Defence is a tough business to crack, unless you are one of the biggest defence contractors. Tonbo Imaging, a startup backed by Artiman Ventures of the U.S., has done just that. The Bengaluru-based maker of advanced night vision systems has won multimillion dollars contracts by building cutting edge technology products. Tonbo now has a pipeline of orders worth more than $50 million (Rs.331 crore) from Indian and international customers including DARPA, an advanced-technology branch of the U.S. Department of Defense.
Its products are being used on observation platforms, reconnaissance drones, and artillery and naval weapon systems. “The fact that our technology was embraced by all these agencies has given us the thrust to leapfrog foreign competitors,” said Tonbo founder Arvind Lakshmikumar, whose startup won these contracts after competing alongside large defence firms such as Thales, Elbit and Tata Group. “Our investment in indigenous research and development and engineering is starting to pay off,” he said.
According to Mr. Lakshmikumar, the firm has reached an ‘inflection point’ this year. He said the company was valued at $200 million (Rs.1,324 crore).
It expects to cross revenue of about $26 million (Rs.172 crore) this year.
“This makes us one of the largest privately held electro-optics companies in the world and the largest in India,” said Mr. Lakshmikumar, an alumnus of BITS Pilani and Carnegie Mellon University.
Tonbo, which is the only indigenous manufacturer and exporter of thermal imaging-based devices, is currently on every electro-optics and night vision programme of significance in India, both in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence.
Rajiv Chib, Director for Aerospace and Defence Practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said it has been an ‘uphill task for startups’ to make a mark in the Indian defence market. Most of them usually work with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and defence public sector units as sub vendors, he said.
Tonbo had moved up the value chain by directly providing its products to the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Chib said, adding that it had been able to make inroads in the Indian defence market as it also serves international customers.
“Tonbo’s model should be emulated by other Indian startups as well,” he said. 

Iron Man

Tonbo's technology has gained traction from various defence ministries and forces in countries such as Singapore, France and Turkey. “I am quite fascinated with the folks at Tonbo. Arvind (Lakshmikumar) is like Tony Stark from the Iron Man. He and his team churn out pretty cool new technologies,” said General (retd.) Lucas Arnold, who has been a customer of Tonbo, while serving as a commander with NATO. General Arnold is now again a customer of Tonbo’s surveillance systems through the U.S.-based security firm Chevronstar, where he serves as Chairman. “High end night vision is a serious business and I have not seen technology like this emerge from places outside of a few classified labs in the U.S.,” said General Arnold.
Mr. Lakshmikumar, 39, previously worked at firms like Intelligent Automation, Honeywell and Sarnoff in the U.S. There, he built various imaging innovations for large defence contractors such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. He was also a part of government-funded programmes such as Future Combat Systems intended to prepare the U.S. Army for modern warfare.
Backed by marquee investor Artiman Ventures, Tonbo has offices in Bengaluru, Palo Alto and Singapore. With the help of about 85 employees, it builds and deploys advanced imaging and sensor systems such as smart cameras that sense, understand and control complex environments. To put that in perspective, these systems allow soldiers to see during day and night, through fog and foliage, and do real-time interpretation of battlefield environment. General Arnold of Chevronstar said that since night vision technology was a highly restricted item, any company that builds them was under scrutiny from technology watchers and policy makers.
“Their name does the rounds in these circles frequently.”
Europe’s largest defence contractor BAE Systems, auto-parts maker Visteon Corp and Autoliv are also Tonbo’s customers.
“Their product design is far from the traditional low-cost Indian products,” said Bien Thng, an executive at defence contractor and customer Pretech.
The Navy will deploy the platform on ships to fight against pirates and terrorists. Mr. Lakshmikumar said Tonbo had also become the electro-optics supplier of choice to bidders on the Indian Army’s Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle programme. The almost $10 billion (Rs.66,210 crore) project is slated to be the largest indigenous defence programme. 


IAF to have 7 operational Advanced Landing Grounds in Arunachal Pradesh in a month

The Indian Air Force is readying to fully operationalise seven Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal Pradesh after almost two years of repair and reconstruction, a move that promises to provide a major boost to the country's operational capability.  The Rs 720-crore project to develop ALGs got an impetus in 2013, when the state government and the forces witnessed massive construction and development on the Chinese side along the 1,080-km border.
The area remains a bone bone of contention between the Indian and Chinese forces where the line of actual control acts as the de facto border. "All seven ALGs, except Tawang will be developed by December this year," Air Marshal SB Deo, commanding-in-chief of Western Air Command, told ET. Of the seven ALGs, the one in Walong was inaugurated last month. The rest include ALGs in Mechuka , Vijoynagar, Tuting, Passighat, Ziro and Aalo.  The ALG in Tawang is yet to reach completion, but once it does it will allow for the landing of C-130J Super Hercules, the latest addition to the air force's transport aircraft.
These ALGs will have night landing capabilities that could prove a big asset to the forces manning the borders. These landing grounds will also be used by the civil flights, providing a fillip to infrastructure and tourism in the region.  "The local populations and local government has provided support to a great extent in the venture and this will also provide further impetus for tourism," said Deo. Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had last month said at a conference that the upgradation  of ALGs would enhance the economic development of the Northeastern region.  A similar exercise is being undertaken in Ladakh. Currently the Air Force has one operational ALG at Daulet Beg Oldi. Plans are afoot to develop one ALG at Nyoma and extend the Kargil airfield to enable fighter operations.

economic times
NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force is readying to fully operationalise seven Advanced Landing Grounds (ALGs) in Arunachal Pradesh after almost two years of repair and reconstruction, a move that promises to provide a major boost to the country's operational capability.

The Rs 720-crore project to develop ALGs got an impetus in 2013, when the state government and the forces witnessed massive construction and development on the Chinese side along the 1,080-km border. The area remains a bone ..

November 17, 2015

Rafale combat aircraft deal in final stages,confirms Manohar Parrikar

The multi-billion dollar deal for purchase of 36 Rafale combat aircraft is in "final stages" of price negotiations, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.
A new roadmap for the upgradation of the inventory in the Indian Air Force is being prepared with focus on 'Make in India' initiative, and any future acquisition will be based on it, he told PTI. The minister said that issues that came up in talks with the French on the Rafale fighter planes, like 50 per cent offset clause, have "almost been sorted out". Refusing to put a timeline on when the final contract will be signed, Parrikar said, "It is in the final stages of price negotiations."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in April this year during his visit to France that India will acquire 36 Rafale planes in fly-away condition under a government-to- government contract. "As of now we are talking about 36 (planes). I am not saying that it means we are thinking of buying more. For our upgradation of the air force, we are preparing a roadmap. Once that roadmap is finalised and approved by the government, then we will go ahead as per the roadmap," he said when asked if India will be going in more Rafale aircraft.
Parrikar said that the roadmap will take into account the 'Make in India' initiative. "One option is the Light Combat Aircraft (Tejas). In principle we have agreed to buy 20 LCAs in present form and another 100 with some improvements," he said. On the offers made by global fighter jet plane makers to set up manufacturing bases in India, Parrikar said a decision would be taken as per the new policy.
The Defence Ministry is expected to come out with a new Defence Procurement Procedure soon that will be in tune with the government's initiative of 'Make in India'. However, Parrikar made it clear that companies wanting to set up bases in the country will have to follow India's export control policy.
"Export also comes into play only once our order is finished. That will take 10-12 years. Even the best in the world can't make more than 16-20 per year unless they have multiple plants. Production for our own orders will take 8-10 years," he said.From Swedish firm Saab to US' Lockheed Martin and France's Dassault Aviation, most of the global aircraft manufacturers have offered their planes in line with the government's push for 'Make in India'. Indian Air Force had last month said it would need at least six squadrons comprising 108 Rafale or similar planes to shore up its capabilities.


Next generation missile to be test-fired


It is being co-developed by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries

The Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM), which can intercept incoming targets at a range of 80 km, is all set to be test-fired from a naval warship this month.
Navy officials said integration of the missile and all the systems on board the guided missile destroyer INS Kolkata were complete. “All preparations are done and the test can happen anytime.”
LR-SAM, also known as Barak NG (next generation), is being co-developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from India and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) of Israel. The missile has been successfully test-fired against a flying target in Israel in November 2014.
Running behind schedule
The project, however, is running behind schedule. It was approved in 2005 with an initial funding of Rs. 2,606 crore and was to be inducted in 2011 but has been delayed due to technical difficulties.
The Navy intends to have LR-SAM as the standard fitment on all its future warships and also retrofit existing frontline ships.
While the LR-SAM will form the first tier of the multi-layered air defence at long ranges, the shorter ranges are handled by Barak-I missiles with range of around 10 km which are currently operational on all frontline warships including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

Maitri project
The Navy intends to replace the Barak-Is and the Defence Ministry has in March given approval for the co-development of a Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (SR-SAM), Maitri, by the DRDO with MBDA of France. Under this, nine SR-SAMs with 40 missiles each are to be initially developed.
The project has been in the works since 2007, but did not make progress as it clashed with the indigenous Akash project.
LR-SAM project, approved in 2005, is already running


India Inducts First Squadron of Anti-Submarine Warfare Plane

India’s Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar officially inducted the Indian Navy’s first squadron of Boeing P-8I Poseidon aircraft at Rajali Naval Air Station in southern India, about 70 kilometers off Chennai.
According to a press release from the Indian Navy, the Indian defense minister flew in on board a P-8I Poseidon aircraft prior to attending the official ceremony. “During the flight, Shri Parrikar was given an exposure to various sensors and other sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment and their capabilities,” the press statement reads.
In his remarks, Parrikar pointed out that even during the extensive trial and testing phases the P-8I aircraft had “achieved a number of operational milestones” including “participation in the search effort for Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370, the first successful firing of air launched Harpoon Block II missile in the world, torpedo firing, and active participation in major naval exercises.”
The new unit — designated Indian Naval Air Squadron 312-A — will be permanently based at Rajali Naval Air Station.
In January 2009, India became the first international customer for the P-8I aircraft, designed and built by Boeing to replace the U.S. Navy’s aging P-3 fleet, with the signing of a $2.1 billion contract for the purchase of eight aircraft.
According to my colleague, Ankit Panda, the P-8I is an export variant of the P-8A Poseidon, “designed for the needs of the Indian Navy. Notably, it features a Telephonics APS-143 OceanEye aft radar, and magnetic anomaly detector not present on the original P-8A.”
The aircraft is capable of flying 1,100 kilometers to a patrol area, remaining there for six hours, and then returning to base, with a total mission time of ten hours, according to The Business Standard.


November 14, 2015

BEL, Thales to form JV for civilian, defence radars

Defence PSU Bharat Electronics (BEL) and Thales announced on Wednesday that they were set to form a joint venture to manufacture civilian and defence radars. The venture is expected to start operations within 18 months.
This follows the decision of the directors of both companies to form the joint venture (JV) which is subject to mandatory approvals of the respective governments. The two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) about three years ago, on November 17, 2009.
“The joint venture company will focus on the design, development, marketing, supply and support of civilian and select defence radars for Indian and global markets,” BEL said in a statement. BEL has been a major player in the electronics field in India, with the company manufacturing radars for military purposes.
The parent companies aim to make the joint venture company a centre of excellence with the ability to offer solutions specifically aimed at meeting the needs of both Indian and global customers. Thales is most likely to tap its offsets commitment with this venture, according to defence experts.
In accordance with Indian regulations, Thales will be able to hold only 26 per cent equity, the maximum allowed holding by any foreign company in the defence sector, while Bharat
Thales had recently won a contract to upgrade 49 Mirage 2000s of the Indian Air Force (of which two were lost recently) to bring them to the full Mirage 2000v5 Mk 2 standards. The deal includes an RDY-3 radar with greater air-to-air and air-to-ground capability, a new night-vision-compatible all-digital cockpit, and improved electronic warfare systems.
India’s defence procurement process requires offsets of at least 30 per cent, and it is likely that the joint venture might also satisfy offsets associated with India’s selection of the Dassault Rafale for its medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirement for 126 fighters. Thales is a partner in the Rafale programme.
Work on the Mirage upgrades will be performed by Dassault, manufacturer of the aircraft, along with Thales as weapons systems integrator, MBDA as missile supplier and India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The first two Mirages will be refitted in France, the next two by HAL in India under French supervision and the remainder by HAL.
Electronics will hold 74 per cent.
This will make BEL part of the global supply chain for Thales. Under earlier licence deals with the French company, BEL had built the Thales LW04, DA08 and ZW06 naval radars.
Thales is expected to provide its expertise in system engineering, integration and testing, along with some technology transfer. Thales had recently demonstrated its capabilities in air defence solutions, force protection, missile systems and rocket systems, including a mobile ground C4I system for complete airspace surveillance and its mobile short-range air defence system in India.


End sale of defence equipment to Pakistan: US think-tank

Ahead of the visit of Pakistan army chief Gen Raheel Sharif, a top US think-tank today asked the Obama Administration to end sale of any defence equipment to the country if it is not willing to "rein in terror".

"The US should demand that Pakistan meet its obligations as a state to tackle terrorism emanating from its territory, in both India and Afghanistan," the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank, said in a report.

"If Pakistan is not willing to rein in terror, Washington should be prepared, at minimum, to end US taxpayer funding for defence equipment sales and reimbursement of coalition support funds," CFR said in the report prepared by top American thinkers drawn from various sectors including Alyssa Ayres, Ajay Banga, Nicholas Burns, Ashley Tellis, Charles R Kaye, among others.

Recognising the challenge to US-India relations posed by US policy toward Pakistan, as well as the drag on India's rise presented by the risk of conflict with Pakistan, the Task Force report recommends that India--for the sake of its own future--pursue an improved relationship with Pakistan.

In parallel, the Task Force asked the US to demand that Pakistan tackle terrorism and prepare to cease US funding for defence sales and coalition support funds should Pakistan prove unwilling, said Richard N Hass, CFR president.

The US is planning to sell eight new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. The new fighter planes will add to Pakistan's sizeable force of fighter jets which include more than 70 F-16s and dozens of French and Chinese attack aircraft.

In its more than 90-page report, the Task Force found that US policy towards Pakistan is one of the main challenges to India-US relationship.

Indian officials remain skeptical that the US can ever fully be trusted as a security partner when they see Washington appear to acquiesce to Islamabad's continued inaction on terror groups that have targeted India and the US, the report said.

The CFR report comes days before Gen Sharif's visit to the US during which he is likely to meet top American defence, military and political leadership.


Government set to clear Rs 3,000 crore plan to develop engine for India's first UCAV

The Narendra Modi government is set to give the green light to a Rs 3,000-crore plan to develop Ghatak, a new engine that will power India's first unmanned combat aircraft, or drones capable of delivering bombs as well as tackling aerial threats, as part of a project that envisages major participation of the private sector. Ghatak will be a derivative of the abandoned Kaveri project that had been in the works for over two decades, officials said. The key difference in the current plan is the proposed participation of the private sector in a significant way.
 "This is one project in which the private industry will be brought into the picture from the very start," said a senior official, who did not wish to be identified. "Very high-end technology is required for the UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) and several industry houses in India are capable of developing and absorbing this technology," he said.
The Indian UCAV project is tentatively called Autonomous Unmanned Research Aircraft (AURA). The target is to get the system operational within eight years once the funds are cleared by the government, officials said. The original Kaveri project was meant to power the light combat aircraft but it got shelved as the engine could not deliver sufficient thrust for the fighter aircraft. In its revived avatar, the engine will be modified and its afterburners will be removed to power the first Indian UCAV.
While a similar plan was mooted by the state-run Defence Research & Development Organisation ( DRDO) during the term of the previous United Progressive Alliance government, the body had pegged the project cost at close to Rs 800 crore at the time.
However, the then government did not clear funds for the project. The main challenge in getting AURA operational, according to experts, is its central theme of stealth. The drone is being designed to be invisible to radars with its radical 'flying wing design'.  The absence of a 'tail' to guide and manoeuvre the drone will require advanced programming and a cutting edge flight control system to keep it in the air. Besides AURA, India is currently working on at least one more futuristic combat aircraft programme — the Advanced Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, or AMCA, aimed at developing a manned fighter jet. 


November 12, 2015

India looking to buy weaponised drones from US

India is vying to become one of the first countries to import armed Predator Avenger drones from the United States, a move that would allow it to remotely drop a bomb on any square inch of Pakistan.
The unmanned aircraft manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems are sleek, fast, killing machines. From New Delhi, they could hunt militants across Pakistan, and become a strategic consideration in border stand-offs with China. If approved, the drones would also be another sign of the growing defence ties between Washington and New Delhi.
India was the second-largest buyer of US arms last year, up from virtually nothing five years ago. The Avengers also represent a small but significant tilt in the strategic dynamics of a region with three nuclear powers and about 40 per cent of the world's population.India is vying to become one of the first countries to import armed Predator Avenger drones from the United States, a move that would allow it to remotely drop a bomb on any square inch of Pakistan.
The unmanned aircraft manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems are sleek, fast, killing machines. From New Delhi, they could hunt militants across Pakistan, and become a strategic consideration in border stand-offs with China. If approved, the drones would also be another sign of the growing defence ties between Washington and New Delhi.
India was the second-largest buyer of US arms last year, up from virtually nothing five years ago. The Avengers also represent a small but significant tilt in the strategic dynamics of a region with three nuclear powers and about 40 per cent of the world's population.
"It's actually quite amazing how quickly the Indian-US relations have developed," said Mr Siemon Wezeman, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a group that monitors arms transfers. "Within a few years, India has embraced US weapons" and America is now "supplying India with very advanced military technology", he said.
On Sept 22, the US in a statement backed India's membership in the Missile Technology Control Regime, a prerequisite for buying the drones. Two days later, India's Air Force sent a letter to San Diego-based General Atomics saying it wanted to purchase the Avenger, according to a copy seen by Bloomberg. Air Force officials declined to comment on the letter.
That suggestion alone is enough to raise tensions between India and Pakistan, which have fought four wars in the past and are home to the world's fastest growing nuclear arsenals since 2010.
The Avengers can fly for 18 hours, carry 1,588kg of munitions and reach an altitude of 15km.
"The drones, which can reach anywhere in Pakistan, obviously can create, can heighten the tensions, and increase the risk of a conflagration," said Mr Talat Masood, a retired lieutenant-general and an Islamabad-based defence analyst.
India's drone inventory includes mostly surveillance-only models made by Israel. With armed drones, India could be more likely to strike in Pakistan to retaliate after terrorist attacks that New Delhi's leaders pin on their neighbour - something they have avoided doing with fighter jets that carry the risk of downed pilots.
"Once people across know they can be struck from the air without India thinking too much there would be a pilot who may get shot down, that sends a deterrent," said Mr Manmohan Bahadur, a distinguished fellow of the Centre for Air Power Studies in New Delhi and retired air vice-marshal of the Air Force.
Pakistan has at least one drone series capable of carrying out strikes. They are thought to be developed by China and more limited in range and payload than the Avenger.
In the opposite direction, India has had a series of stand-offs with China. The more advanced capability of the Chinese military to respond to any strikes, though, makes the drone's presence more of a deterrent to both sides to tamp down on disputes.


PM Modi begins UK visit today: Defence, security ties, climate change on table


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to arrive here on Thursday for talks with his British counterpart David Cameron amid indications that the two sides are likely to come up with outcomes on development partnership, defence, security, energy and climate change. Meanwhile, at least three protests have been planned outside 10, Downing Street.
Indian and British government officials here said they are likely to announce three separate outcome documents — on development partnership, defence and security, and energy and climate change. There may also be a vision statement on overall bilateral relations, sources said.
Modi will arrive on Thursday morning and head for talks at 10, Downing Street, followed by an address to the British parliament, before leaving for the British PM’s country residence, the Chequers. On Friday, he will address the CEOs’ Forum, have lunch with Queen Elizabeth II, and address the Indian community at Wembley Stadium. And on Saturday, he will inaugurate B R Ambedkar’s memorial, before leaving for the G-20 summit in Turkey.
The protests planned are on a range of issues — from Modi’s role in the Gujarat riots, Sikh community’s grievances and filmmaker Leslee Udwin on censorship.
That Modi’s visit comes after BJP’s debacle in the recent Bihar elections has been pointed out by the British media in the last few days. However, British officials said they are working on “concrete deliverables”, as an Indian PM is coming to the UK after almost a decade. In the last five years, Cameron has visited India thrice.
“It is time for India to reciprocate Cameron’s impressive outreach to New Delhi. Ever since he came to office five years ago, he has made a serious effort to upgrade India-UK ties. In fact, in his first term, India was at the top of the list of emerging powers which his government decided to court. And they did make a serious effort, only to be snubbed by the then UPA govt. It is one of the reasons why, in Cameron’s second term, China has got pride of place. Remember, in his first term he met the Dalai Lama, leading to strong reaction from Beijing. So now is the time for Modi to reciprocate Cameron’s investment in India,” Harsh V Pant, Professor of International Relations in the Department of Defence Studies, King’s College, London, told The Indian Express. “Where the UK has failed is in articulating a broader strategic vision for its ties with India, and this is related to its failure to view Asia beyond economics and trade. Modi has an opportunity to clarify some of these larger issues when he meets Cameron and to see if there is a convergence between British and Indian world views. Indian diplomats have a tendency to say that the UK is nothing but the 51st state of the US. While it may serve some rhetorical purpose, it is counterproductive to take such a myopic approach. In recent times, there has been a divergence between the US and the UK on a range of issues,” he said.
Pant added that India can leverage British advantages well, since from education, health, culture, infrastructure, science and high-technology to areas such as policing and intelligence, Britain is “still a global leader”.
Striking a cautious tone, Sumantra Bose, Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said: “At the bilateral level, India’s relationship with Britain is of secondary importance to Indian foreign policy and our global interests. This is because of Britain’s middle-ranking status, in all ways, in global politics…
I think the PM knows this… hence his visit to the UK after one-and-a-half years in office.”
Bose pointed out that Modi’s visit comes just after Xi’s visit. “So the timing of Modi’s visit is good. During Xi’s visit, the UK government engaged in cringe-worthy fawning behaviour in the hope of attracting Chinese investment and funds to the UK. They are unlikely to serenade Modi to quite the same degree, but a warm welcome can still be expected,” he said.
Shashank Joshi, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said the timing was interesting, because it will be compared to Xi’s recent visit, which resulted in headline-grabbing — though likely inflated — figures of $30 bn Chinese investment in the UK.
“The emphasis here will be more evenly balanced between inward and outward investment. Whereas the focus with China was on securing Chinese capital for infrastructure, with India there will also be great emphasis on UK companies’ access to Indian markets. The UK is already the largest investor in India, but the Vodafone issue was a real blow. So there will be a push on tax predictability and transparency, as well as the usual exhortations for market liberalisation in key areas, especially services — given the UK’s comparative advantage. Financial services will be important — and this will include strengthening ties between London and Mumbai,” he said.
Joshi said “the optics will present an intriguing contrast, as the lavishness of the banquets and transport for Xi was seen somewhat wearily here”.