China Confirms Test of Supersonic Nuclear Delivery Vehicle
BEIJING, June 14: Chinese defence ministry has confirmed the test of a supersonic nuclear delivery vehicle, a move described by the US as an "extreme manoeuvre" amid tension in the South China Sea.
The fourth successful test of hypersonic glide vehicle - which the US has dubbed the "Wu-14" - was carried out on Sunday. It was the People Liberation Army's fourth test of the weapon in 18 months.
"The scheduled scientific research and experiments in our territory is normal, and those tests are not targeted at any country and specific goals," Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post quoted the defence ministry as saying.
But military observers said the frequency of the tests showed Beijing was reinforcing its nuclear deterrent in response to Washington's continued interference in China's territorial disputes in the region, the Post reported.
US website the Washington Free Beacon, which first reported about the test, said the new strike vehicle is considered a high-technology strategic weapon capable of delivering nuclear or conventional warheads while travelling on the edge of space.
One of its key features is the ability to manoeuvre to avoid US missile defences, it said.
The Wu-14 was assessed as travelling up to 10 times the speed of sound, or around 7,680 miles per hour, it said.
Unlike earlier tests, the latest test demonstrated what one official called "extreme maneuvers" that appeared to analysts designed for penetrating through missile defense systems, it said.
The test took place a day before Central Military Commission vice-chairman Fan Changlong left for a week-long visit to the US. He since completed the visit during which he held talks with US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.
Experts say the launch was timed to raise Fan's bargaining power in discussions with the US, as well as to express Beijing's disapproval of Washington's sustained interference in the South China Sea, the Post reported.
"The test is aimed at helping Fan increase the People's Liberation Army's bargaining power on the negotiation table when he deals with his US counterpart," Macau-based military observer Antony Wong Dong said.
Those Who Fear India's New Posture Have Started Reacting: Parrikar on Myanmar Operations
NEW DELHI, June 11: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Thursday morning that the Indian Army's operation to neutralise two camps of militants on Tuesday has led to a "change in mindset."
"Change requires a change in mindset. A simple action against insurgents has changed the mindset of the security scenario of the country," said the Defence Minister.
Mr Parrikar also said, "Those who fear India's new posture have started reacting," in what is seen as a reference to a Pakistani minister warning on Wednesday that "Pakistan is not like Myanmar."
Pakistan's Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan's statement was in response to Union minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore's remarks in an interview that India's military action in Myanmar to hit back at militants who killed 18 soldiers in Manipur was a message to other countries.
To a specific question on whether he meant dealing with cross border terrorism from Pakistan, Mr Rathore had said, "It is undoubtedly a message to all nations that harbour any intentions - be it the west or the specific country we went into right now."
Today, Mr Parrikar refused to go into details of Tuesday's operations, in which the Indian Army liquidated two camps of militants inside Myanmar territory in a 45-minute surgical strike carried out by a team of the elite 21 Para (Special Forces).
He also refused to comment on a Myanmar official denying that the Indian army carried out its ops inside its territory. The Myanmar government has made contradictory statements in the last two days about the operation.
Zaw Htay, director of the office of Myanmar President Thein Sein, was quoted by the Wall Street Journal as confirming the Indian operation in his country. "He said that there was 'coordination and cooperation' between the Indian troops and Myanmar's armed forces based in the area of the raids, but added that no Myanmar soldiers were directly involved," Wall Street Journal reported.
In a Facebook post, also on Wednesday, Zaw Htay, however said, "According to the information sent by Tatmadaw (Myanmar army) battalions on the ground, we have learned that the military operation was performed on the Indian side at India-Myanmar border."
India, US sign new 10-year defence framework pact
NEW DELHI, June 3: India and the US signed a new strategically important 10-year defence framework pact today, envisaging joint development and manufacture of defence equipment and technology including jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction.
Both sides also finalised two project agreements for hi-tech mobile power source and next generation protective suits for chemical and biological warfare.
The framework agreement, which was decided during the visit of US President Barack Obama to India in January focuses on issues ranging from maritime security and joint training. It was inked by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and visiting US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter.
"Raksha Mantri and Secretary Carter signed the 2015 Framework for the India-US Defence Relationship, which builds upon the previous framework and successes to guide the bilateral defence and strategic partnership for the next ten years," an official statement by the Defence Ministry said.
The new framework agreement provides avenues for high level strategic discussions, continued exchanges between armed forces of both countries, and strengthening of defence capabilities, it said.
In addition, Parrikar and Carter agreed to expedite discussions to take forward cooperation on jet engines, aircraft carrier design and construction, and other areas.
The statement added that the agreement also recognises the transformative nature of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
"Both India and the United States have finalised two project agreements for joint development of Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources and the Next Generation Protective Ensembles," it said.
The two also agreed to pursue co-development and co-production projects that will offer tangible opportunities for American defence industries to build partnership with the Indian industries including in manufacturing under 'Make in India', the statement said.
Carter also met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and national security advisor Ajit Doval and discussed ways to enhance strategic and defence interest.
MKU receives Innovation Excellence Award in Defence for Instavest
NEW DELHI: ASSOCHAM, India's Apex Chamber for Commerce and Industry, presented MKU with Innovation Excellence Award in Defense Industry.
The award was presented by Union Minister for Science & Technology Y. S. Chowdhury during the third Innovation Summit cum Excellence Awards here on May 11 declared as the "National Technology Day" by the Government of India.
The award was given for MKU’s innovative Quick Release Bullet Proof Jacket, ‘Instavest’, which was developed indigenously by the company’s technical team, in response to challenges faced by the armed forces in special situations globally. The company holds the patent for this product in US, Europe and India.
In his address, the Minister emphasized the role of R&D and the need for ramping up the collective R&D spend from a mere 0.8% of GDP in 2013 to an ambitious 2.4% by 2034 in line with the R&D spends of major developed countries like the US and South Korea. Only this can lead to a sustainable development model.
ASSOCHAM has constituted the "Innovation Excellence Awards" which are given out in fifteen critical sectors where Innovation plays an important role.
This year's Summit was officially supported by the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India.
The Theme of the Summit : "Innovative India @ 2020" is to encourage and recognize technological innovation in 15 different sectors considered critical for the country.
Bofors arms scandal more of a 'media trial': Pranab Mukherjee
NEW DELHI, May 26: President Pranab Mukherjee has said the Bofors arms scandal of the 1980s was more of a “media trial” and none of the charges have been proved in any Indian court.
Mukherjee, a former defence minister, made the remarks in an interview with Dagens Nyheter newspaper ahead of an official visit to Sweden next week.
“The first point is no Indian court has given a verdict on it, and though the process of trial is going on…unless somebody, some authoritative institutions describe it as a scandal and punish it, how could you say that it is a scandal,” he said.
“You may have some doubt, you may have some suspicion, but that’s not the proof,” Mukherjee said in response to a question whether a scandal such as the Bofors affair could be avoided in future.
“The so-called scandal which you talk of, yes, in the media, it was there. There was a media trial. But I’m afraid, let us not be too much carried by publicity,” he said.
“But up to now, no Indian court has given any decisive verdict about the alleged scandal.”
Relations between Sweden and India were seriously damaged when allegations surfaced that Swedish arms manufacturing company Bofors had paid $640 million as kickbacks to secure a $1.3 billion contract to sell 410 howitzers to the Indian Army.
The scandal contributed to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s defeat in the 1989 parliamentary polls. Mukherjee, a senior leader of the Congress, was a close confidante of Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991.
Mukherjee asserted during the interview that it was “yet to be to be established that there was a scandal”. He further said that despite the scandal, the Bofors howitzers were prized by the army.
“I was the defence minister of the country long after Bofors, and all my generals certified that this is one of the best guns we are having. Till today, the Indian Army is using it,” he said.
The Bofors howitzers played a key role in the campaign to push back Pakistani troops who occupied strategic heights in the Kargil sector of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in 1999.
Defence ministry okays deals worth over $3bn to buy 15 Chinook, 22 Apache copters
NEW DELHI, May 26: The defence ministry has cleared two crucial deals worth more than $3.1 billion to equip the Indian Air Force with US-built attack and heavy-lift helicopters.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar has sent the proposals to buy 22 AH-64D Apache Longbow attack and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift copters — both platforms manufactured by US defence giant Boeing — to the finance ministry for clearance, a government official said on Monday.
The Apache proposal went to the finance ministry on April 23, while the one to buy Chinooks was sent last week. The proposals will later go to the cabinet committee on security, headed by PM Narendra Modi, for final clearance. The latest price extension granted by Boeing for the choppers is valid till June 30.
The deals are, however, not linked to US defence secretary Ashton Carter’s upcoming visit to India, beginning June 2.
The proposals have clauses to place follow-on orders for 11 more Apaches and four extra Chinooks. Both platforms have seen combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Boeing had beaten off competition from Russia, which had offered its Mi-28N Night Hunter and Mi-26 heavy-lift copters to the IAF.
Armed with fire-and-forget Hellfire missiles, the Apache attack choppers can track up to 128 targets in a minute and prioritise threats.
These missiles equip the helicopter gunships with heavy anti-armour capabilities. The army is moving a case to buy 39 Apache helicopters. The Chinook’s main roles include transporting troops, artillery and battlefield resupply.
Carter will be arriving in India four months after New Delhi and Washington renewed the 2005 India-US Defence Framework Agreement to deepen cooperation in several security-related areas. The agreement led to some major weapon sales to India, deepened military-to-military engagements, bolstered technical cooperation and strengthened the overall strategic partnership. India and the US will also be working on projects relating to co-development and co-production of military hardware and systems under the defence trade and technology initiative (DTTI).
India and US have identified four key “pathfinder projects” for joint development and production under the DTTI. These include next generation Raven mini-UAVs, roll-on and roll-off kits for C-130J Super Hercules planes and mobile electric hybrid power sources.
The US is currently the biggest supplier of weapons to the Indian military, having won deals worth over $10 billion during the last six years.