The Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirement (PSQR) for the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) has been formulated by the Army. The Feasibility Study by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) being carried out on the FMBT is likely to be developed by the year 2020.
■ The Government has already approved expansion of BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Limited (BATL) to establish an integration complex for the BrahMos missile on the land in possession of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The necessary funding has also been provided. The construction activity will start once the land is made available by the IAF.
■ An autonomous body ‘National Institute for Research & Development in Defence Shipbuilding (NIRDESH)’, has been registered recently with its headquarters at Beypore, Kozikode, Kerala.
■ A case for procurement of M777A2 Light Weight 155 mm Howitzers through Foreign Military Sales route from the US Government, is in progress. An agreement between the two governments may be finalised.
■ Chhattisgarh, the state worst hit by Naxal violence, has raised three counterinsurgency and anti-terrorism schools to train policemen to take on the left-wing Maoist groups, at Mana area on the outskirts of state capital Raipur. Rajnandgaon bordering Maharashtra, and Jagdalpur are considered the nerve centres of Maoist insurgents. Experienced officers drawn from the Army, Central Paramilitary Forces and the police train Chhattisgarh Police personnel to effectively undertake counter insurgency and terrorism operations . According to the state government’s figures, over 2,000 people, including 1,000 civilians, have been killed in Maoist violence since the state was carved out of Madhya Pradesh in November 2000. However, the Central Government, which proposes to establish a National School of Counter Insurgency Warfare (NSCIW) at Raipur in Chhattisgarh, has yet not received any proposal from Chhattisgarh State Government regarding setting up the same.
■ Mr. AK Antony elaborated on the DRDO programme for design and development of ‘strategic, complex and security sensitive systems for our Armed Forces’. The systems developed during the last five years include missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, radars, electronic warfare systems; sonars, torpedos; combat vehicles, bridging systems, combat aircraft; infrared sensors, NBC decontamination suits, parachutes, propellants, explosives and detonators, composite materials, fuel cells, paints, antennae, communication systems etc. A large number of DRDO developed systems have been produced and inducted into Services and many are in the induction stage. The value of these systems comes to about ` 1,00,000 crores.
There are 50 laboratories/ establishments functioning under DRDO and there are no proposals to set up new laboratories. The recommendations of Prof. Rama Rao Committee, as finalised by the Defence Secretary’s Committee, have been accepted by the Government. These include creation of a Defence Technology Commission, decentralisation of DRDO management and financial structure and revamping of DRDO Human Resource structures. These recommendations are aimed to check time and cost over runs, besides improving general functioning.
■ Indian air space has been violated 29 times by foreign aircraft during the period from December 2007 to November, 2010. These include 23 by Pakistan, one by Bangladesh, three by PRC and two by USA. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are in place for safeguarding Indian airspace, including by deployment of IAF aircraft.
■ 7322 Indian Army personnel are presently deployed on seven United Nations Peacekeeping Missions. These are: UNIFIL (Lebanon), UNDOF (Golan Heights Israel/Syria), MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo), UNMIS (Sudan), UNOCI (Ivory Coast Cote’d Ivoire), MINUSTAH (Haiti) and UNMIT (East Timor). The duration of service after which personnel are de-inducted follow norms which depend upon the rank of the person deployed and duty assigned in deployment. Delays, if any, in the rotation of personnel are due to administrative reasons such as arrangement of flights by the UN.
—The author is an Associate Editor with Wordsword Features