CDS Gen Rawat wants India to be self-reliant to be a regional power

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged countrymen to become self-reliant in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh asked the Services to spend the funds prudently, Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Sunday said India will have to be self-reliant in order to become a regional power.

Making this point here, he gave the example of Indian health and pharmaceutical industry which stepped up in a major way when the pandemic hit the country and was now indigenously producing ventilators and medicines. Rawat asked the defence industry to take a leaf out of the health industry’s book. His remarks come in the backdrop of India importing more than 70 per cent of its military hardware and listed as one of the biggest buyers of weapons in the world.

Rawat said India will have to be self-reliant to become a regional power and said key lessons thrown up by the crisis include the Indian industry rising to the occasion and called for making the best of the situation after the pandemic challenge recedes. He also said “discipline and patience” helped the defence services in checking the spreading of virus adding the novel coronavirus has affected Army, Air Force and Navy in a “limited manner”.

On the lessons imbibed during the ongoing challenge, he said “the way these scientists, medical agencies involved have come up with ideas to produce the equipment required in the country, which we were so far importing, has been amazing.”

“In a short span of four to six weeks, we started manufacturing ventilators in the country. There are some key lessons for us in the defence services. We have been importing ammunition from abroad… but if this challenge is thrown to academia, we can make it in the country. The time has now come to be self-reliant. In times of crisis, countries will have to be self-dependent,” he told ANI.

“If we are looking at becoming a regional power, India will have to support other nations. The manner in which the health industry has come forth, I am sure that the defence sector can come forward at the same pace,” Rawat asserted.

Modi, in his video conference interaction with the sarpanch on Friday, exhorted the youth to be self-reliant and said “Coronavirus has sent so many challenges our way, but we must always learn from the situation we are in in life. It has given us a lot to think about and taught about the way we act. It has made it absolutely clear that we have to depend only on ourselves for our survival.”

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  1. General Bipin Rawat probably thinks that the nation is eagerly waiting for ‘sound bytes’ from him.
    Leaders from the time of M.K. Gandhi have been talking about making India self-reliant. During the Indira Gandhi era what he is now advocating was called ‘import substitution’. So, the question on his mind should really be – WHY HASN’T ANYONE BELLED THE CAT??

  2. To make it easier for India to be self-reliant, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat could produce at least some of the military equipment that is currently being imported.
    He could start with an appropriate core for the Kaveri engine – one that is sufficient to generate over 100 kN of thrust. This would suit the single engine Tejas Mk-1 LCA and we wouldn’t have to depend on GE.
    If he can coax over 123 kN of thrust (with afterburner) out of his engine, it will be able to replace the maintenance heavy Saturn AL31FP engine of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. We have over 260 of these aircraft. It is estimated that a Su-30 ‘eats’ 6 engines during its 30-35 year life cycle (incl. the 2 which are already installed). It could even suffice for the planned single engine Tejas Mk-II, which will be a medium weight fighter (MWF) aircraft. The Tejas Mk-II is intended to replace the IAF’s Mirage 2000s and Jaguars.
    The Klimov RD-33 turbofan jet engine, which powers the Mikoyan MiG-29 is another candidate that could do with the help of a ‘brilliant man’ like General Rawat.

  3. If “scientists and medical agencies have come up with ideas to produce the medical equipment required in the country”, it is because they were not constrained by the govt. This is also the reason why the Indian software industry was able to make a global impact.
    Lt. Gen. Palepu Ravi Shankar, Director General of Artillery (Retd.), who has joined Department of Aerospace Engineering at IIT Madras in his tweet said, “We have a solid concept to develop a ramjet-powered artillery shell, if Government parts with funds to move ahead with the program”.
    The ramjet-powered pseudo-missile shell that can hit targets more than 70-80 kms away, would exponentially increase the possible target area to more than 31079 km² without the howitzers ever having to relocate.
    Norway’s Nammo has plans to start production of 155mm Solid Fuel Ramjet projectiles by 2023/2024. It is possible that we can beat them to it – if General Bipin Rawat can get the project going??
    The ball is in his court.

  4. Laxman Behera, a research fellow at the Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis said, “Since 1990, we have been targeting to achieve 70% self reliance in defence. But, till date, we have managed to get only half of it. This figure will not increase as we are constantly signing major off-the-shelf contracts.”
    But then, if we want to forestall the possibility of the 1962 debacle, being ready to take on the ‘muscle-flexing’ enemy is the ONLY option.
    Unfortunately, for the last few decades, the govt. of the day hadn’t paid sufficient attention to upgrading military capabilities vis-à-vis our belligerent neighbours.

  5. None of the MoD orders to Anil Ambani run Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd. (RNEL) – 5 naval offshore patrol vessels (NOPVs), 14 coast guard fast patrol vessels (CG FPVs) and one coast guard training ship, have been fulfilled. After RNEL overshot the deadline by five years, the Navy during the tenure of Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba encashed bank guarantees worth over ₹100 crore. However, for obvious reasons the contract wasn’t cancelled.
    So, in the interest of the nation, will General Bipin Rawat as Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) keep cronyism aside and ensure that ALL long overdue/unfulfilled RNEL contracts are cancelled and the order for naval offshore patrol vessels and coast guard fast patrol vessels, reassigned, to whoever currently has spare capacity.

  6. A-nil Ambani controlled Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd. owes its lenders a total of ₹ 5,349.17 crore, as on March 31, 2018.
    Reliance Naval and Engineering was declared an NPA in February 2018. IDBI Bank has moved NCLT against Reliance Naval and Engineering’s ₹1,250 crore loan default.
    The delivery of 5 naval offshore patrol vessels (NOPVs), 14 coast guard fast patrol vessels (CG FPVs) and one coast guard training ship is long overdue. With its current precarious financial position, it would be impossible for the company to fulfill the unfulfilled order.
    So, in the interest of the nation, the orders with Reliance Naval and Engineering should be cancelled forthwith by the Navy and reassigned to warship builders GRSE-Kolkata, GSL-Goa, CSL-Kochi and private ship builder L&T.
    As Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat would be able to liaise with the MoD and ensure that it is done.

  7. A-nil Ambani owned Reliance Naval and Engineering Ltd. was formerly known as Reliance Defence & Engineering Ltd. and prior to that as Pipavav Shipyard Ltd and Pipavav Defence & Offshore Engineering Company Ltd.
    The names – which have been changed every few years, have gotten more impressive. And we had William Shakespeare – the Bard of Avon asking, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
    Well, A-nil Ambani doesn’t think so.

  8. Sea Ceptor is MBDA’s latest generation, ship-based, all-weather, vertically-launched, air defence weapon system – that can be used to protect both the host ship and high value units in an area of around 800 square kilometres over land or sea.
    The weapon system has the capability to intercept and thereby neutralise the full range of current and future threats including combat aircraft and the new generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles. Capable of multiple channels of fire, the system can also counter saturation attacks.
    The missile has a speed of 1,020 m/s (3x speed of sound) and a range in excess of 25 kilometres. (IHS Jane’s reports that trials have a shown a capability of up to 60 km.) Mid-course guidance via a datalink gives it the ability to hit targets, not in the line of sight.
    The 3.2 m long Sea Ceptor weighs just 99 kgs, and can be can be packed tightly. (In contrast, the 8.4 m/28 ft long naval variant of the BrahMos weighs around 3000 kgs. But then, it is supersonic cruise missile with a range of 600 kms.)
    Sea Ceptor does not require dedicated fire control radars and uses the ship’s existing surveillance radar for targetting. It can be configured to either provide the full functionality to operate as an independent air defence capability or to operate as an integrated layer within a higher command & control architecture hosted on the ship’s Combat Management System.
    The missiles, which were fired for the first time in successful trials in 2017, will form part of the protection for the UK’s new aircraft carriers.
    The Sea Ceptor will provide principal air defence capability for the Royal Navy’s Type 23 and Type 26 frigates.
    With ship-based and even air-launched drones becoming all to common, the MBDA Sea Ceptor could be an additional line of defence for the soon to be operational indigenous aircraft carrier IAC-1 (INS Vikrant), which is a $3.13 billion naval asset. CDS General Bipin Rawat to note: It might help prevent a ‘Feb. 27’ like situation – one in which we didn’t have the upper hand.
    ☞ MBDA is also the maker of the Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), which our Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was waxing eloquent about. L&T MBDA Missile Systems Ltd is a Joint Venture between Indian engineering conglomerate and private sector defence major, Larsen & Toubro and MBDA.

  9. In the past few years, the Navy’s share as a percentage of the defence budget has been going down. Though the Navy is keen on it, the conventionally powered, 65,000 tonnes Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 2 (IAC-2) – INS Vishal, to be built by Cochin Shipyard Ltd. is likely to be a casualty.
    Chief of the Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat had opined that at ₹45,000 crore, the IAC-2 was far too expensive, and that the Navy would have to choose between submarines (P75I) or a third aircraft carrier.
    This year, the Navy’s share in the capital allocation of the defence budget is ₹26,688 crore, while officials said the committed liabilities alone stood at ₹45,000 crore.
    In December last year, the Naval Chief Admiral Karmbir Singh had said, “Soon the trials will start and the Indian Navy will take the delivery of the vessel by February-March 2021. The IAC-1 Vikrant will be fully operational by 2022.”
    After basin trials in the early part of the year, the 40,000 tonnes displacement IAC-1 is expected to embark on its first sea trial in mid-2020. This means that Cochin Shipyard would be ‘free’ after that.
    Instead of the Turkish consortium led by Anadolu Shipyard, can’t CSL-Kochi be utilised to start with the build on the first of the five 45,000 tonne fleet support ships for the Indian Navy??
    CSL-Kochi built the 40,000 tonnes IAC-1, and was selected to build the 65,000 tonnes IAC-2. These auxiliary vessels will only ferry weapons, food, equipment and other items to replenish ships deployed at sea.
    General Bipin Rawat, maybe it’s TIME TO PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS.

  10. A good manager doesn’t go to the media expounding problems. He works out cost effective solutions and goes about implementing it in an optimal time frame. That is what Chief of the Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat should be doing.
    With the economic devastation that Covid-19 has meted out, MMRCA 2.0 would have receded far into the horizon. This means that the Tejas Mk-1A becomes more important than ever before. HAL must be pushed to compress the time frame of delivery of the Mk-1 FOC and Tejas trainers. They should simultaneously work on modifying at least one existing production line to produce the Mk-1A variant ASAP. If HAL chairman R. Madhavan is not up to the task, he must be replaced. The country needs go-getters, not slowcoaches.
    The behemoth HAL should be split into two independent verticals – aircraft and helicopters, so that each can focus on their own goals, instead of being slowed down by the other. Not only the MiG-21s, there are military helicopters that will need to be replaced shortly.
    Can General Bipin Rawat work with the MoD to get things moving faster and in the right direction??

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