Tac­ti­cal Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Sys­tem fi­nally on the hori­zon

SP's MAI - - FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK - Jayant Baran­wal Pub­lisher & Ed­i­tor-in-Chief

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.

Happy read­ing!

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