DERBY Air-To-Air Missile | PIB Summary

Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft today successfully demonstrated an Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile firing capability by releasing Derby Air-to-Air BVR missile in RADAR guided mode. The missile launch was performed in Lock ON after Launch mode for a BVR target in the look down mode and the target was destroyed.

Objective 

The objective of the test was to assess the Derby integration with aircraft systems onboard Tejas including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and Missile Weapon Delivery System and to verify its performance.

Highlights 

  • The test was conducted on a Manoeuvrable Aerial Target at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur. The sensors at ITR also tracked the target and missile.
  • A safe separation was followed by missile guidance towards RADAR acquired target. The flawless launch was demonstrated with all on-board systems performing satisfactorily and the missile scored a direct hit on the target with the complete destruction of it.
  • The test firing achieved all its planned objectives. The Derby firing is a major step towards clearing BVR capabilities on LCA aircraft for FOC.

29th India- Indonesia Coordinated Patrol | PIB Summary

The 29th series of India–Indonesia CORPAT is scheduled from 09 – 25 May 17 with the opening ceremony being conducted from 09 -12 May 17 at Port Blair under the aegis of Andaman and Nicobar Command.

Highlights

  • The Indonesian Naval Ship KRI SutediSenoputra has arrived at Haddo Wharf, Port Blair to mark the commencement of the 29th series of IND–INDO CORPAT today.
  • An Indonesian Maritime Patrol Aircraft also flew in with the Indonesian Naval delegation led by First Admiral BambangIrwanto to INS Utkrosh, Port Blair.
  • First Admiral BambangIrwanto called on Maj Gen PS Sai, Chief of Staff, Andaman and Nicobar Command and the delegation also interacted with Commodore AshutoshRidhorkar, the Naval Component Commander.
  • During the stay at Port Blair from 09 – 12 May 17, the visiting crew shall be engaged in interactions at various strata, including sports fixtures, ship visits, professional interactions and visits to places of historical and tourist interests. The closing ceremony of the CORPAT is scheduled at Belawan, Indonesia from 22 – 25 May 17.

About CORPAT

  • Apart from securing the trade sea route, the Coordinated Patrol also serves to enhance mutual understanding and inter–operability between the two navies.
  • The CORPAT thus reflects the shared concerns between the two countries for the peaceful Indian Ocean for the benefit of the international community.

India-Indonesia defence ties

  • The close defence relations between India and Indonesia have been growing steadily with regular joint activities and exchanges of personnel between the Armed Forces of the two countries.
  • Under the broad ambit of this strategic partnership, Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) and the Indian Navy have been carrying out coordinated patrolling twice a year since 2002 near the International Maritime Boundary Line to keep this part of the Indian Ocean region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.

Meeting Of LWE-Affected States | PIB Summary

NEW STRATEGY TO COUNTER LFW –Doctrine of “SAMADHAN’

The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh carried out a review of the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) situation in the ten LWE affected States here today. The meeting was attended by Chief Ministers of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.  The Other States were represented by senior ministers from the States. Chief Secretaries and DGPs of States were also present. From the Centre, the Ministers of State in the Home Ministry, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Home Secretary, Director, Intelligence Bureau and other senior officers were present.

SAMADHAN

  • In the morning session issues related to security were discussed. The Home Minister enunciated an operational strategy ‘SAMADHAN’ to fight Left Wing Extremism.

The elements of this strategy are

  • S for Smart Leadership,
  • A for Aggressive Strategy,
  • M for Motivation and Training,
  • A for Actionable Intelligence,
  • D for Dashboard-based Key Result Areas and Key Performance Indicators,
  • H for Harnessing Technology,
  • A for Action Plan for Each Theatre and
  • N for No access to Financing.

Issues come up during the meeting

  • Continuation/resumption of LWE specific schemes like Security Related Expenditure (SRE), Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS), Integrated Action Plan (IAP)/ Additional Central Assistance (ACA), Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism (CIAT) Schools and Fortified Police Stations.
  • The inclusion of some new districts under the SRE Scheme.
  • Deployment of additional Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) Battalions. Some States have also sought exemption from payments for CAPF battalions provided by the Centre.
  • Most States requested for helicopter support for operations.
  • Use of modern technology by the State Police and the CAPF was also discussed.
  • Issues related to inter-State coordination, intelligence sharing, setting up of Joint Task Forces for operations along inter-State boundaries were deliberated upon.
  • The Chief Minister of Bihar suggested that the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) needs to be reviewed to ensure effective choking of fund flow to LWE groups.
  • Measures to prevent the repetition of incidents such as at Sukma on April 24, 2017, was discussed at length with suggestions from SPs of the 35 worst affected LWE districts.

Discussions on development issues

  • Minister of Road Transport and Highway informed that various new technologies like pre-fabricated slabs and soil stabilisation were been examined. States can initiate pilot projects for construction of roads with these technologies. He has also assured that the States can project any requirement for dispensation in LWE areas.
  • Minister of New and Renewable Energy Resources informed that the Ministry was undertaking several Solar Parks, Solar Lighting and Solar Pumps schemes for providing low-cost energy to LWE affected States.
  • Minister for Power informed that the electrification of villages in LWE areas is being undertaken on a war footing with Dec 2018 as the target.
  • The Airport at Jagdalpur in the heart of Maoist core area will be operational very soon.
  • Phase-II of Installation of Mobile Towers is being initiated after incorporating the experiences and problems of Phase-I.
  • Minister of Railways informed that line Hajipur-Sagauli, Giridih-Koderma, Deoghar-Sultanganj is nearing completion.

BRO Celebrates 57th Raising Day | PIB Summary

BRO – Border Roads Organisation celebrates its 57 years of glorious service to the nation today.

About 

  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighbouring countries.
  • It is staffed by officers and troops drawn from the Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Military Police and army personnel on extra-regimental employment.
  • Officers from the Border Roads Engineering Service and personnel from the General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) from the parent cadre of the Border Roads Organisation.
  • Currently, the organisation maintains operations in twenty-one states, one UT (Andaman and Nicobar Islands), and neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
  • In a bid to boost border connectivity, the Border Roads Organisation has been entirely brought under the Ministry of Defence. Earlier it received funds from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Highlights

  • Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is at the threshold of major transformation, across a wide spectrum of activities, including equipment, procedures and technology.
  • The organisation is confident of overcoming the challenges of terrain, climate and security, through a dedicated team effort.
  • It has resolved to be steadfast in its commitment and ensure flawless and efficient execution of assigned targets.

Achievements

  • One of the premier road construction agencies of the nation, the BRO has grown in strength over the years and has carved a pivotal role for itself in the arena of infrastructure development, imperative for national security.
  • The works executed by BRO, apart from being strategically significant, have contributed immensely to the socio-economic development of remote and inaccessible border areas of the country.
  • BRO has also been a potent ambassador of the nation’s message of peace and prosperity through developmental works in several friendly foreign countries.

Pak-Saudi Security ties in a Churn (RSTV Debate)

Pak-Saudi Security relationship seems to be undergoing a reset. Last year, former Pakistani Army Chief General Raheel Sharif was selected by Riyadh as the commander of the Saudi-led alliance of Muslim majority countries, ostensibly aimed at counter-terrorism. The alliance is meant to essentially target the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen who are active on the Saudi borders. Then came the news last week since denied that Pakistan would send a brigade strength of combat troops to Saudi Arabia for deployment along its southern borders in the ongoing conflict with Yemen. Islamabad and Riyadh have had a close security relationship. Not only does the Pakistan army regularly train the Saudi soldiers, experts estimate that there are as many as 70,000 Pakistanis serving across the Saudi military services. Pakistani combat troops have been sent to Saudi Arabia in the past also in 1979 after the attack on the Grand Mosque Complex of Mecca and during the First Gulf War when the Saudis feared an attack by Saddam Hussein. In 2015, Saudi Arabia requested Pakistan to join an Arab-military coalition against the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen. However, the Pakistan Parliament voted to remain neutral in the conflict. Let us see if the Pakistanis are reconsidering its position on joining the Riyadh-led alliance against the Houthis and if so, why is there a churning in Pakistan on this issue and what does it mean for the Gulf region?

What are the factors that have shaped and continue to shape the Pak-Saudi Security Relationship?

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy a very close relationship to the extent that at one moment there was a suspicion that Saudi Arabia is financing the nuclear programme of Pakistan (members of the Saudi Royal Family are the only ‘foreigners’ who are allowed to visit the nuclear facilities of Pakistan). In the 1980s, when Saudi Arabia procured the Chinese CSS-2 missiles, the speculation was rife that this procurement is senseless unless they are armed with nuclear weapons. Hence, it was argued that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons would be made available for Saudi Arabia in the time of crisis. Pakistani troops have also served in Saudi Arabia to accord protection to the Saudi Royal family. Saudi Arabia has recognised Taliban regime and financed Madrasas (a college for Islamic instruction) all over Pakistan to spread Wahhabism (identified as the main source of global terrorism by European Parliament).

Today Saudi Arabia is constrained heavily in its fight against the Houthi-rebels of Yemen (allegedly supported by Iran). In fact, there have been instances of serious attacks along the southern borders of Saudi Arabia by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia’s army is incapable of fighting a serious war effectively (forget the Guerrilla warfare) and it exists only on papers. Therefore, Pakistan becomes very valuable in this regard.

Pak-Saudi Security | Why Saudi Arabia selected General Raheel Sharif as the commander of the alliance of Muslim countries?

It could be regarded as a precursor to Saudi Arabia’s hope of obtaining combat troops from Pakistan in its fight against the Houthi rebels. Although there are some inhibitions inside some quarters of Pakistan over General Raheel Sharif taking over the job offered by the Saudis, there is no rejection/acceptance till now.

There was an ‘anger’ in Pakistan regarding Saudi’s request for combat troops in 2015 was not only on substantive grounds (non-meddling in the Saudi-Iran affairs) but also on procedural grounds. The procedure in which Saudi Arabia requested Pakistan to send combat troops to Yemen forced few sections in Pakistan to feel the vassal status of Saudi Arabia vis-à-vis Pakistan.

Pak-Saudi Security | Would Pakistan send troops to Saudi Arabia? What could be the consequences of such an involvement?

A newspaper in UAE leaked the Saudi-Pak plan to cooperate via troops in combating the Houthi problem which has reached to the doors of Saudi Arabia. Defence Minister of Pakistan has denied the reports of such cooperation. Pakistan may be hedging in this arena taking into account the Iran factor.

Even if the troops are sent for ‘emergency deployment’ in Saudi Arabia i.e. to play the defensive role and protect the vital security interests of Saudi Arabia’s territory, the sole purpose would be to extract money via grants and soft loans. Saudis would be happy to do the same, especially when they are getting cheap sources of security at the time of dwindling economy as compared to the costly Western forces in the region.

The implication of such an involvement of Pakistan would be that it would find itself enmeshed in the Sunni-Shia conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Shias in Pakistan are being already targeted by the Sunni extremist groups and it cannot afford to alienate a large section of its population (Shias hold significant positions in Pakistan Army also) further by entering into such an alliance. But the relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia-UAE grouping have already deteriorated in the past few years, so it is in a dilemma over its future course of action.

Pakistan is also unsure of gaining gravitas in American calculus as a regional power by what they perceive to be serving the strategic goals of the United States in the Gulf region.

Pak-Saudi Security | Why Saudi Arabia needs Pakistani troops when it can get mercenary contractors from the West?

One of the reasons could be the diversification strategy on part of the Saudi Kingdom to divert away from their security dependence on the West and look for cheaper alternatives to it. The sheer competence of Pakistan Army in the region could be another factor for Saudi shift towards Pakistan in this situation of war. As discussed earlier, this relationship also goes back to decades of security cooperation. This close security cooperation makes it imperative for the Gulf to prefer Pakistani troops in the event of a security need.

Pak-Saudi Security | Repercussions on Iran-Pakistan relationship

If Pakistan decides to send the troops to Saudi Arabia, it could disturb the relationship between Iran and Pakistan. It is doubtful if Pakistan can afford to lose a significant partner like Iran in the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Pakistan became the surrogate of Saudi-Iran proxy war through the sectarian conflicts in the 1990s and this is the real danger that Pakistan perceives to be repeated again, in the case of its involvement in the Yemen affairs.

Pak-Saudi Security | India factor in Pakistani calculus

Pakistan is worried about the closeness developing between the Gulf countries and India in the last few years with respect to economic and security interests, especially with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has a traditional policy to isolate India and complicate its relationship with these countries. Contrary to the popular perception, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has managed to penetrate the Gulf region with his skilful diplomacy and secured a strategic leverage vis-à-vis Pakistan in terms of a developing security relationship with the region. Gulf countries have successfully managed to put the predominance of Islamic factor behind the contours of their relationship with India and are managing to cooperate effectively with India as against their traditional position. Gulf countries and most importantly the UAE is seriously looking towards India for defence and security cooperation to signal Pakistan that they may end the monopoly of Pakistani security umbrella in the region.

Pak-Saudi Security | Conclusion

It would be interesting to see how Pakistan decides to sail across the Arabian Sea to reach the Gulf of Aden through a tightrope diplomacy. Would it be able to prepare an effective solution to escape out of the zero-sum game between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

To See the Full RSTV Debate Click Below : 

 

Brahmos Missile Supersonic Cruise Missile | PIB Summary

Indian Navy successfully undertook the firing of BrahMos Land Attack Supersonic Cruise Missile from a ship today. This variant of Long Range BrahMos Missile was fired from Indian Naval Ship Teg, a Guided Missile Frigate, on a target on land.

About | Land Attack Variant

  • BrahMos Missile has been jointly developed by India and Russia, and its Anti Ship variant has already been inducted into Indian Navy.
  • Majority of the frontline ships of Indian Navy, like the Kolkata, Ranvir and Teg classes of ships, are capable of firing this missile.
  • Land Attack variant of BrahMos Missile provides Indian Naval Ships the capability to precisely neutralise selected targets deep inland, far away from coast, from stand-off ranges at sea.
  • This successful maiden firing of BrahMos Land Attack Supersonic Cruise Missile has significantly enhanced the prowess of Indian Navy and has placed India into the club of select few nations.

Details about BrahMos

  • BrahMos is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated.
  • The liquid ramjet or the second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in cruise phase.
  • Stealth technology and guidance system with advanced embedded software provides the missile with special features.
  • The missile has flight range of up to 290-km with supersonic speed all through the flight, leading to shorter flight time, consequently ensuring lower dispersion of targets, quicker engagement time and non-interception by any known weapon system in the world.
  • It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’ adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target. Its destructive power is enhanced due to large kinetic energy on impact. Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km and terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters. It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kgs.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | PIB Summary

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of the implementation phase of the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) Project for another year beyond 31st March 2017.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Highlights

  • The extension would help in achieving the remaining objectives of the project comprehensively. The maintenance phase of the Project will continue till 2022 as approved earlier. With a total outlay of Rs. 2000 crore, a sum of Rs. 1550 crore, which was the total allocation to the project so far, has been spent till 2016-17.
  • The Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) aims to integrate the CCTNS project with the e-courts and e-prisons databases in the first instance and with the other pillars of the criminal justice system – Forensics, Prosecution, Juvenile homes and a nationwide Fingerprint data base of criminals in a phased manner. The integration will be achieved by providing access to the Judiciary, Police and Prisons through a desktop dashboard to facilitate expeditious and informed decisions and aid investigations.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Impact

  • Citizen portals in all states and Centre that will facilitate transparency and speed in police service delivery, online registration of complaints and reporting and search of missing persons and stolen goods in self-service mode.
  • Pan-India search on complete National Crime and Criminal database that is accessible to the Investigating Officers throughout the country.
  • Search facility will be available to Police in regional languages for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.
  • Reliable network connectivity to all Police Stations in the country.
  • National level crime analytics that will be published at, increased frequency to help policy and law makers in taking data backed timely actions and in making appropriate policy interventions.
  • Integration with various e-Governance projects such as Aadhaar, National Population Register, Vaahan Project of the Ministry of Surface Transport, Passport Seva and National Emergency Response System Project thus increasing the synergies and benefit accrued from these individual systems. It will expedite various kinds of police verification requests and investigation.
  • Advanced features such as biometric based identification, trend and pattern analytics etc. that will be incorporated to enhance hi-tech investigation capability.
  • ICJS that will be available to all pillars of the criminal justice system helping improve its service delivery.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Achievements

  • In the last one year following significant outcomes have been achieved by the Project:
  • More than 83% Police Stations in the country are entering 100% FIRs through CCTNS software.
  • 120 lakhs FIR have been entered in CCTNS system till date. Legacy Crime records since 2004 have also been migrated to the CCTNS database. In all around seven crore records are now available in the national crime database.
  • 31 States/UTs have launched their portals which provide various services like registration of complaints, verification of criminal antecedents/litigation of individuals/property, obtaining NOC from police for events for law and order clearance, search of missing person search, matching unidentified dead bodies, Vehicle related enquiries, antecedent verification for issue of passport etc.
  • The ICJS dashboard has been implemented by integrating CCTNS with e-Courts and e-prisons and has been launched on a trial basis with select central investigation agencies. v • Software for Prosecutions and Forensics has been developed and is currently being rolled out in Bihar, Telangana and Puducherry.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network | Background

Originally approved in 2009, the Project aims to:

  • deliver various web based police related services to citizens.
  • facilitate a pan-India search of crime and criminal records of individuals through a national database.
  • generate crime and criminal reports at the state and central level to inform policy interventions and
  • computerise police processes.

In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

Chabahar and India

Anticipating increasing tensions between Iran and the United States, Government of India has apparently advised the Indian firms to go slow over their investments in proposed projects in Iran’s ‘Chabahar Free Trade Zone’. According to a news report, there is an apprehension that India’s financial transactions and technology imports from the rest of the world could get jeopardised if India gets caught in the crossfire between the United States and Iran. With this development, the future of a slew of gas based projects like urea, petrochemicals, steel plants and LNG in the Chabahar Free Trade Zone also seems to be in doubt. These projects had been announced after the Obama Administration had lifted the sanctions against Iran in January 2016. Earlier, India had agreed to develop two berths at the Chabahar port as well, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iran on May 6th, 2016. India believes that the Chabahar port is of great strategic importance as a maritime trade transit route to Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. However, New Delhi had been ‘hot and cold’ over the project because of the US sanctions against Iran in the past. Is there once again a shadow of worsening US-Iran ties on India’s investments in the Chabahar port and the Chabahar Free Trade Zone?

Significance of Indian investments in the Chabahar port and Chabahar Free Trade Zone

India has been blocked geopolitically in terms of transit to Afghanistan through the Pakistan route. It is futile to assume that in the foreseeable future, Pakistan would lift such restrictions that they have imposed because then it will give entry to India in Central Asia. This would disturb the ‘strategic outlook’ of Pakistan in terms of its own role in Central Asia in keeping India out of it.

Therefore, the alternative is to develop a route through Iran and Chabahar being in close proximity to Pakistan-Iran border, gives India a strategic leverage over Pakistan. Moreover, it presents India the shortest route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. It can also be used in the proposed ‘International North South Transport Corridor’ to southern Russia.

India has decided to invest $80-100 million in two berths of Chabahar port with a guaranteed involvement of India for the next 10 years at this project. There is also Chabahar Free Trade Zone, where Iran wants India to make investments in terms of the development of the area. India has been having preliminary discussions with Iran over the urea, petrochemicals, steel and LNG plants in the region. India has already extended a $500 million credit line to Iran for developing these projects because they are at the very incipient stage because of negotiating dynamic provisions like the price of gas which is a determinant input factor for the urea plant.

In the case of India not materialising its investments in Chabahar, the most severe impact would be felt by Afghanistan because their dependence on the Pakistan route is getting tenuous continuously. More than Iran and India, the United States is mindful about this possible repercussion on Afghanistan.

Why had India waxed and waned about its interest in Chabahar?

The unconfirmed report saying Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India has advised the Department of Fertilisers and Petrochemicals to go slow on its investments in Chabahar may be inaccurate as the documents merely gives an advice of moving ‘cautiously’ over the projects till the dust settles between the United States and Iran, after the Trump administration has taken over.

As far as Iran is concerned, moving ‘cautiously’ does not place any particular project in doubt. Given the environment in that country, moving ‘cautiously’ is a sensible advice given by the MEA from time to time to the interested investors from India to Iran.

A pragmatic Indian Government has to take into account the prevailing tensions between Iran and the United States to secure its investment and strategic interests in the region, especially with regards to investment in areas such as petrochemicals. Financial sanctions against Iran by the United States made it very difficult for India to invest in Iran even for the port development process.

But US sanctions against Iran is only one of the multiple factors that make this strategic engagement troublesome. All the multiple factors are connected to the complex foreign investment regime of Iran. This does not mean that Iran does not promise a great potential for India’s investments both from the hydrocarbon and strategic perspective. Hence, ‘caution’ as a principle to invest in Iran is not a bad approach prima facie.

Is India being overly cautious about US-Iran ties?

US sanctions against Iran were against Iranian companies and individuals involved in the missile programme. It also included those entities that were believed to be supporting the extremist organisations (by the Americans). India has no strategic interest and absolutely absolves itself out of the Iranian involvement in either missile programmes or support to extremist organisations. Why did then India face the brunt of American sanctions against Iran?

Practically speaking, financial institutions in India had been very cautious with their engagement with Iran because of very complex nature of American sanctions against them and the unwelcoming behaviour of the Iranians to foreign investment. There is a great deal of reluctance in India with respects to its financial engagement with Iran despite the fact that the Government of India has been proactive in encouraging Indian financial institutions to increase its financial presence in Iran.

India is taking a correct approach of being ‘cautious’ in trading with Iran at this juncture because even if the Chabahar project gets a little delayed, it would not be a bad proposition for India in general. After all, the ‘ease of doing business’ for any foreign investor in Iran has never been easier enough to sustain a business. Due to such complexities of Iranian outlook towards foreign investment, India cannot afford to move beyond the American sanctions against Iran and ultimately end up getting caught in the intricacies with the Iranians itself. It would mean moving ‘cautiously’ with Iran (with or without American sanctions).

The Chinese factor

China is already involved in Chabahar in terms of building an oil refinery in that region and has already made an offer to Iran to build Chabahar. China considers it as an important pillar to its ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. Therefore, it is not bothered about the American sanctions against Iran. Even the Iranians would like China to play an important role in Chabahar as this is the mode of the dual-use policy of Iranian diplomacy. Iranians would like to see all the balls in the air at all times, instead of putting all of them in one basket.

India has to take into account this important development and skilfully navigate its ways to secure its core interests in the region. India cannot afford to lose Chabahar in anticipation of future American sanctions against Iran. It should be noted that the Iranians are not too enthusiastic about Chinese involvement in Chabahar because they have ruined the oil fields of Chabahar through their inferior technology and of course, the imperialist ways of business operations by China has miffed Iran. Therefore, Iran is making overtures to India to fill replace China in the region.

United States Army Commander in the region General John Nicholson had made a testimony that ‘Iranian-India-Afghan’ cooperation over the Chabahar port presents great economic potential’. Interestingly, this testimony came a week after the sanctions were imposed against Iran by the United States. Therefore, it is visible that the Chinese factor has forced even the United States to push for India’s strategic involvement in Chabahar.

Conclusion

As the policy of President Trump on Iran unfolds itself, India can wait ‘cautiously’ over the next few months to see what implications does it have for India’s engagement in Chabahar. In practical terms, nothing substantial between India and Iran would materialise on Chabahar in the next few months because of the continuing negotiations over the nature of Indian investments in the region with respect to dynamic provisions and most importantly the $500 million line of credit being offered by India to Iran for the development of the region.

Chabahar is a strategic ‘fruit platter’ that has been served by Iran to India. India must not let it break before the Chinese takes advantage of the strategic route and jeopardise India’s interests further, unless, of course, the American sanctions against Iran are reinforced with material intricacies.

With Iran, the element of trying to grasp strategic opportunity while being cautious about it at the same time would be a balanced approach for India for all the times.

Railways Security And Safety | PIB Summary

Policing on Railways being a State subject, prevention of crime, registration of cases, their investigation and maintenance of law & order in Railway premises as well as on running trains and security of railway tracks, tunnels & bridges are the statutory responsibility of the State Governments, which they discharge through Government Railway Police (GRP)/Civil Police. However, Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements the efforts of GRP by providing better protection and security of passenger area and passengers and for matters connected therewith. 

Steps taken by the Railways to provide Security

  1. Proper coordination at all levels is being maintained by the Railways with Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), State Governments, Central/State Intelligence Agencies and State Police/GRP authorities for security of railway infrastructure including railway tracks and stations over Indian Railways. The security agencies responsible for the track protection have been requested to take appropriate steps to prevent track sabotage cases.
  2. Security Help Line number 182 is made operational over Indian Railways for security related assistance to passengers in distress.
  3. An Integrated Security System consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera Network, Access Control etc. has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanism over 202 railway stations.
  4. On vulnerable and identified routes/sections, 2500 trains (on an average) are escorted by RPF daily, in addition to 2200 trains escorted by GRP of different States daily.
  5. Sniffer Dog Squads are utilized at some important stations for anti-sabotage checks.
  6. Minister of Railways held a video conference with the Director Generals/Commissioners of Police of all States/Union Territories for improving passenger safety, security of tracks and railway property.

Steps taken by the Railways to provide Safety

Safety is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways and all possible steps are undertaken on a continual basis including upgradation of technology to prevent trains accidents and to enhance safety.

  • These include complete track circuiting of stations, Axle Counter for Automatic clearance of Block Section Counters (BPAC), Electrical/Electronic Interlocking System, Interlocking of Level Crossing Gates, Auxiliary Warning System (AWS), Vigilance Control Device (VCD) in locomotives, Colour Light LED Signals, Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Fog Safe Device (FSD), use of 60kg rails and Pre-stressed Concrete Sleepers, long rail panels, better welding technology in the tracks, digital types of machines for Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD), electronic monitoring of tracks using Track Recording Cars (TRC) and portable Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS), progressive use of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches, Centre Buffer Couplers in Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches, Remote Monitoring and Management of Locomotives and Trains (REMMLOT), Air Conditioning (AC) of locomotive cabs and Installation of video/voice recording system of locomotives. 

Defence Procurement Policy | PIB Summary

Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016, which has come into effect from April 2016, focuses on institutionalising, streamlining and simplifying defence procurement procedure to give a boost to “Make in India”  initiative of the Government of India, by promoting indigenous design, development and manufacturing of defence equipment, platforms, systems and sub-systems.

Procurement | Features

  • A new category of procurement ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ has been introduced in Defence Procurement Procedure-2016 and the same has been accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment. 
  • Preference has been accorded to ‘Buy (Indian)’ and ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ categories of capital acquisition over ‘Buy (Global)’ & ‘Buy & Make (Global)’ categories.
  • Requirement of Indigenous content has been enhanced / rationalised for various categories of capital acquisition.
  • The ‘Make’ Procedure has been simplified with provisions for funding of   90 % of development cost by the government to Indian industry and reserving projects not exceeding development cost of Rs. 10 crores (government funded) and Rs. 3 crores (industry funded) for MSMEs.

Achievements of Defence Procurement Policy

  • Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) accorded approval of 136 capital procurement cases at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,00,714/- crore during the last two financial years (2014-15 and 2015-16) and current year 2016-17 (upto January 2017), out of which 96 cases involving Rs. 2,46,417/- crore are under the ‘Buy (Indian-IDDM)’, ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’, ‘Make’ categories.
  • 141 contracts with total value of Rs. 2,00,010/- Crore (approx.) were signed during the last two financial years (2014-15 and    2015-16) and current year 2016-17 (upto December 2016), out of which 90 contracts involving a value of Rs. 83,344/- crore (Approx) were signed with Indian vendors.
  • Capital expenditure of Rs. 1,75,420/- Crore (approx.) was incurred on purchase of defence items for Armed forces during the last two financial years (2014-15 and 2015-16) and current year 2016-17 (upto December 2016), out of which of Capital expenditure of     Rs. 1,05,030/- Crore (approx.) was incurred on purchase from Indian vendors.

The responsibility of quality assurance of raw material used in defence products rests with Organizations such as Ordnance Factory Board (OFB), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA), etc.  At present, there is no proposal to open any new lab in the country to check / investigate the defence products. However, DGQA, DRDO, OFB, DPSUs and Armed forces already have their own laboratories or test facilities at various locations across the country to check / investigate the defence products. These agencies have offered some of their test facilities to private sector, details of which are available on their respective websites.