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  • Lavanya asked: What strategies could be employed to contain the arms nexus prevalent between the separatist-extremist groups & some of the neighbouring countries?

    Vivek Chadha replies: It is a well established fact that the transfer and smuggling of arms does take place across India’s borders. This is especially an acute problem in the case of Northeast India. The challenge is accentuated because of porous borders with Bangladesh and Myanmar. It is also difficult to stop such activities due to limited control over the border areas of these countries. In some cases, there is also collusion between state and non-state agencies to smuggle arms. These arms come from weapon markets in Cambodia, Laos and are often sourced from China.

    There are two major factors which lead to the smuggling of arms. First, it takes place as a result of terrorist groups and smugglers active in the border areas exploiting it as an illegal trade to make money. Given the high profit nature of this kind of trade, the incentive to undertake gun running remains high. This is furthered because of the need for such military hardware by terrorist groups like CPI (Maoist) in the hinterland, which may not have access to sophisticated weapons, with the exception of those captured from security forces. Second, weapons smuggling is done as part of a state sponsored strategy to destabilise India.

    In both these cases, the measures required to be put in place to prevent this activity are similar. First, cooperation with countries which are not directly involved in gun running should be strengthened by way of intelligence sharing and mutual legal assistance and extradition treaties. Second, fencing along borders should be completed urgently to limit free movement. Third, there is a need to enhance the employment of electronic means for surveillance along the borders. Fourth, both the strength and capacity of border guarding forces should be enhanced to ensure that they are better equipped to stop gun running. Fifth, intelligence along border areas needs to improve. This can best be accomplished by coordination between intelligence, border guarding forces, local police and the people in the area. Sixth, stringent laws should be employed to ensure conviction through newly amended acts like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2012, which can book offenders under counter terrorism offences. Last, since the nature of this crime is international in its scope, there is a need to highlight it and build pressure upon countries in the diplomatic fora to curb the existing trend.

    Posted on January 30, 2014

    Directed Energy Weapons for the Indian Armed Forces

    Military planners believe that the ‘blast and fragmentation’ type conventional weapons cannot advance much further technologically.The next chapter in weapons technology development is expected to be realized from Directed Energy weapons (DEWs). It can be assumed that by 2035, DEWs consisting of laser, microwave and millimeter waves can reach current performance levels of the existing kinetic energy weapons(KEWs) and conventional weapons. While these will co-exist with KEWs,a non-DEW option would have a debilitating effect on the defence preparedness of any nation.

    January 2014

    The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: A Global Snapshot

    The United States dominates global defence markets, but the nature of this dominance is shifting. Strategic and budgetary considerations—the latter being constantly restructured by the rising relative cost of defence labour—drive US defence production towards international collaboration. In this essay, I examine the politics of a high-calibre international collaborative programme that has made headlines in recent years: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). What motivated the US government to take on partners, and what influence, if any, have the partners had on the programme so far?

    September 2013

    Defence Technology Indigenisation: Need to go beyond Lip Service

    Though public-private partnerships is encouraged, privately the government continues to retain its monopoly on research and development and defence production through the DRDO, the ordnance factories and the defence PSUs.

    September 19, 2013

    India's Nuclear Triad: A Net Assessment

    India's Nuclear Triad: A Net Assessment

    This paper discusses such delivery mechanisms commonly known together as nuclear triad in the Indian context. The paper has four major parts. The first part attempts to set the context for the overall discussion. The second, third and fourth parts deals with the evaluation about missile forces, aerial platforms and submarine based platforms for nuclear weapon delivery on the targets.

    India abstains and exposes the Arms Trade Treaty

    By abstaining from voting on the global arms trade treaty, India has exposed the treaty’s loopholes in not addressing concerns about illegal transfer of arms to terrorist organisations, insurgents groups and other non-state actors.

    April 08, 2013

    SC Vaid asked: The process of arms procurement is winding and complex. By the time a proposal is finalised, new weapons emerge. How can the process be improved?

    Mahendra Prasad replies: In order to hasten up the procurement process, several long and short-term organisational and procedural re-engineering would be required. Few suggestions have been listed below:

    Short-term measures

    • Defence procurement being a highly specialised job, pre-induction training of service officers and bureaucrats before entrusting them the responsibility of procurement is a must. Presently, most of them learn the nuances of procurement on the job.
    • Every procurement should be treated as a separate project with a dedicated team headed by a project manager. Presently, a lot of overlap of responsibility among various functionaries exists, and in many cases, delays occur as few functionaries in the chain fail to deliver their part of the job in time.
    • Strict adherence to the laid down time lines. In case of delay, a delay report must be prepared. The report must identify the reasons and sources of delay in unambiguous terms.
    • Give longer tenures to service officers (minimum five years) involved in the procurement process.

    Long-term measures

    • Establishment of Defence Acquisition College.
    • Continuous tracking of latest technological trends.
    • Vendor development instead of just stopping at vendor registration.
    • A liberal defence production policy.

    Rafale MMRCA Deal: Last Minute Glitches?

    The Rafale deal is especially important as it is IAF’s best bet to stem and even reverse the recent and continuous fall in the combat aircraft squadrons fielded.

    August 30, 2012

    Stealth and Counter-stealth Some Emerging Thoughts and Continuing Debates

    If there is one dimension in the air attack–air defence continuum that is riding high on the wings of enabling edge technologies, it is the use of stealth, both in the offensive and defensive domains.

    July 2012

    Israel’s Dolphin-Class Submarines: A Potent Deterrent?

    The primary role of Israel’s current fleet of ‘Dolphins’ is likely to be limited to serve as instruments of ‘signalling’ strategic intent to potential enemies rather than as effective pre-emptive strike or competent second-strike platforms.

    June 15, 2012