Tactical Communication System finally on the horizon
The good news is that the Indian Army finally may get its Tactical Communication System (TCS), so essential in today’s battlefield scenario, a scenario which is asymmetrical and involves widespread deployment of technologies. According to Lt General P.C. Katoch (Retd) the Indian Army is all set to get TCS early 2017, after 17 years when it should have been fielded first. Better late than never.
He writes that in 1996 the army’s network had become outdated and needed to be fast replaced, but things crawled along. The existing Army Radio Engineering Network (AREN) system, earlier designed as the backbone of army’s communication that was designed to roll forward, came up for urgent review having become outdated.
It was then the concept of TCS was born and moves were afoot to replace AREN. It was clear then that the system had to be replaced as an upgrade was felt thoroughly inadequate. But the Indian bureaucracy took its own sweet time to give approvals, having gone through approvals thrice by the Defence Ministers. The bureaucracy did not see the urgency to replace legacy radio systems which were not at all designed to connect to broadreaching IP-based networks. About 17 years had been wasted.
Lt General Naresh Chand (Retd) is confident that the TCS will be fielded, without wanting to guess considering how the mandarins in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) work. Developed countries which have realised that development of tactical radio systems have long gestation period, they have invested heavily much in advance.
Recently some newspapers reported that Cyrus Mistry (ex-Chairman of Tata Group) duly advised the board of directors on the AirAsia bribing with ` 22 crore for merely a few meetings with Chief Ministers of states in India. Quite surprisingly the concerned authorities and ministries have maintained a constant silence on this issue. The question arises herein is if the wrongdoing of AirAsia will lead to its banning or not, if not then why victimise the defence and security authorities’ suppliers only which further affects the systematic progress of the modernisation of the armed forces which leads to visible
and invisible cascading effects. Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) questions this not really level-playing approach in this issue.
On the international front, the Chinese President Xi Jinping is becoming stronger and stronger. Within China, he has been termed as ‘Core Leader’ as he is striding tall and authoritative. Jinping’s policy towards India has been that of combative engagement. Some 350 transgressions across the line of actual control (LAC) in 2015 alone and the China-Pakistan nexus with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) deployed in Gilgit-Baltistan, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chinese soldiers making appearance at Pakistani posts across the line of control (LoC) certainly bodes ill will for India. Added to that is the Chinese sale of eight attack submarines to Pakistan, what is its biggest ever military deal estimated to be over $5 billion. The submarines are reportedly export variants of the PLA’s Type 039A Yuan class, with a depth of 300 metres. The submarines will be delivered by 2023. Four of the submarines are to be built at the Karachi shipyard, with the rest in China. According to Hu Wenming, Chairman of China Shipbuilding Heavy Industry, the export of these eight attack submarines is aimed at promoting China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, launched by Jinping in 2013, in which Pakistan is the fulcrum.