Enhancing combat capability
Not just in the light of regular incursions on both the western and eastern borders, but also in view of the growing asymmetric threats, the need for the armed forces to enhance their combat capabilities and fulfilling the vision of national security assumes importance. In a press conference on the eve of the Army Day, the Army Chief, General Bikram Singh reiterated that the Indian Army was enhancing its combat capability and assured that there would be no repeat of the 1962 war with China.
While agreeing that there have been regular intrusions from Pakistan and small arms firing, the Army Chief was emphatic that the India commanders and the soldiers on the line of control were doing a great job in difficult circumstances, terrain, etc. India reserves the right to retaliate to any incursions.
Without being border-specific, the Army Chief emphatically stated there was no complacency on the part of the Army and that capabilities were being created in a systematic manner. The approval for the Mountain Strike Corps by the government is also an indication of the government’s understanding of the need to strengthen our combat power. The Indian Army has outlined a roadmap, accordingly it is in the process of intense modernisation and that nearly 40 contracts for acquisitions are in different stages of execution.
As we are all aware, all the three services have stepped up modernisation plans. The Indian Navy has just got a big boost with the arrival of INS Vikramaditya, an aircraft carrier, based at its homeport of Karwar Naval base in Karnataka. The 44,500 tonne ship is expected to set sail on operational training exercises in the Arabian Sea soon with ships from the Western fleet. While that is good news, the bad news is that at the time of going to print, INS Sindhughosh submarine has been reportedly grounded, coming close on the heels of the major fire accident on INS Sindhurakshak. Meanwhile, the already delayed Project 75I request for proposal for six new conventional attack submarines continues to hang fire. This has upset a wee bit the Navy’s operational capability. There is an offer from the French shipyard DCNS to provide six Scorpene class submarines.
In his fortnightly viewpoint, Lt General (Retd) P.C. Katoch has underscored the importance of stealth and the technological progress made in terms of camouflage. A Canadian company has come up with camouflage fabric which is lightweight and inexpensive, which, he avers, could unleash a far more deadly wave of terrorism at the global level.
In this issue, we have a feature on the Airbus A330 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) and how it performs simultaneously three different types of missions – aerial refuelling; freight transport and medical evacuation.
In this Golden Jubilee Year of our group – SP Guide Publications – we at SP’s M.A.I rededicate ourselves to giving the best to the growing base of readers. We look forward to your valuable feedback which will help us in advancing further.
Jayant Baranwal Publisher & Editor-in-Chief