Russia warns of reciprocal reaction to US pressure over S-400 missile
While Russia didn’t discuss the US pressure on the S-400 missile deal between India and Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that the Washington’s pressure may have a reciprocal reaction. He assured that the intergovernmental committee between the two nations is working on promoting diplomatic military cooperation and military-technical cooperation. During his visit to India, issues pertaining to manufacturing of the Russian military equipment in India under the concept of Make in India were discussed. It is not that the US is exercising its pressure over defence deals between India and Russia only. Wherever the US expresses its anguish overtly related to Russian defence deals their actions will be reciprocated by Russia. On his visit the Russian Foreign Minister held a delegation-level meeting with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. Lavrov’s comments come after the US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin warned that the missile procurement from Russia may attract sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
IAF shares images of Rafale jets fitted with Air-to-Air Missiles
The Indian Air Force (IAF) shared the images of armed Rafale fighter jets flying in Ladakh fitted with MICA air-to-air missiles on their wingtips. Giving a stern message to the world, five Rafale fighter jets were inducted into the IAF in September 2020 at the Ambala air force base. According to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, induction of Rafale jets is more significant given the hostile conditions being faced on our borders. Rafale aircraft’s second squadron would be stationed at the Hashimara Air Force base in West Bengal and after this India will have more than 20 Rafale fighter jets. Built by French aerospace major Dassault Aviation, the multirole Rafale jets are known for air-superiority and precision strikes. Out of 36 Rafale jets that India will have, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers and they will be twin-seater. The Rafale can carry out at least four missions in one sortie simultaneously hence it is considered as an omni-role aircraft. The jet is battle hardened, has been used in missions in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria armed with potent weapon package making it more lethal. It can be nuclear enabled enhancing its lethality. The fighter jet comes armed with potent meteor and scalp missiles to enhance the air strike capabilities and air dominance of the IAF.
Britain’s CDS to visit India
Before the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Britain’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Nicholas Carter is set to visit India on April 22. He will be meeting CDS General Bipin Rawat and the three chiefs and most likely External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. The move aims at enhancing the defence ties between Britain and India. As part of these efforts, a Royal Navy carrier group is expected to visit the Indian Ocean Region in the autumn. Improving Indo-British ties call for closer collaboration in defence in the form of joint exercises or joint training.
Army HQ going through makeover
Army headquarters are being subjected to a series of reforms. As a part of these a new position of Master General Sustenance (MGS) of the Army has been introduced with Lieutenant General C.P. Cariappa on the post. He is the second officer to become MGS after Lt. Gen S.K. Upadhya. The post replaces the master of general ordnance (MGO) who was a principal staff officer (PSO) to the Army chief. Now MGS comes under one of the three deputy chiefs of the force. The makeover has been initiated by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and it aims to reduce the number of officers deployed in the HQ from 1332 to 1203 including the Army chief and streamline the decision making process.
The Army has three deputy chiefs now instead of two. There has been a reshuffling of ranks, the earlier rank of deputy chief (Planning and Systems) has now been amended to deputy chief (Capability Development and Sustenance). This officer has to take care of all capital and revenue procurement with MGS position coming under it. The director general (DG) of Ordnance and Electronics and Mechanical Engineers (EME) would earlier report to MGO but now comes under deputy chief CD&S. The DG War Equipment has been rechristened as DG Capability Development and the rank comes under the Deputy Chief CD&S. Deputy chief (Info System and Training) has been amended to deputy chief (Info Systems and Coordination) and the DG Signal, DG Info System and DG Staff Duty matters come under this head.
A third and new post of deputy chief strategy has been made with Lt Gen Paramjit Singh Sangha taking over the post. The Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), DG military intelligence, DG operation logistics and newly created DG information warfare will report to this newly created deputy chief. In vice chief secretariat a new post of ADG Human Rights has been added. ADG international cooperation and DG Financial Planning will report to the vice chief. A re-designation of the DG Rashtriya Rifles (Lt Gen rank position) to the ADG level (Major General rank officer) has been done based at the Northern Army Command as opposed to the Army HQ. The DG of Military Training has been subsumed into the Army Training Command. Its Lt Gen rank was used to create DG Information Warfare.
With these changes revenue and capital both come under a single head and training issues also come under one head. All operational related matters like the DGMO and MI come under one head rather than multiple heads. These changes have increased the quality of inputs that are generated for the Army chief and vice chief. Former Army commanders have lauded these changes. Convergence of the posts and jobs under it was needed to streamline the working profile. These reforms were earlier initiated by former Army Chief General V.K. Singh who commenced studies related to these changes. The changes are long lasting and forward looking for the betterment of defence forces and the country.