MoD lists reform measures for sharpening the military - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Saturday 5 February 2022

MoD lists reform measures for sharpening the military

MoD tells Parliament 10 ways to improve army, five ways to sharpen air force and two ways the navy

By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 5th Feb 22


In the lead-up to Defexpo-2022 – India’s premier defence exhibition – which will be held at Gandhinagar from March 10-13, the ministry of defence (MoD) is organising a series of webinars to encourage defence firms to participate in larger numbers.


In one such seminar organized by industry bodies on Saturday, MoD officials and defence experts recounted a series of policy measures instituted by the MoD that have enhanced the “ease of doing business” in the defence space.


Simultaneously, the MoD’s answers to members’ questions in Parliament, spelt out ten policy reforms relating to the army alone, five to the air force and two to the navy.


Indian Army


The first reform relating to the army is the “preparation and implementation of prioritized acquisition plans to maximize capacity and capability development in consonance with the evolving threat perception.”


Second is the constitution in 2018 of the Defence Planning Committee (DPC), under the National Security Advisor (NSA), to facilitate strategic planning in defence.


The third measure is the appointment of a chief of defence staff (CDS), who heads the new Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the MoD. This “has resulted in far greater synergy with the MoD,” and promoted jointness within the military.


The fourth measure is long term modernisation planning. Taking into account emerging security challenges, the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), in consonance with the ‘cabinet committee on security (CCS), is implementing the Integrated Capability Development Plan (ICDP).


The next reform, which began in 2017, created the Army Design Bureau (ADB), which has made major forays in supporting R&D by reaching out to industry and academia and “ushering a collaborative engagement with the technology providers, manufacturers and users.”


The sixth measure, the MoD told Parliament, involves reorganisation of the apex army body called the Integrated Headquarters of the MoD (Army): This has been accompanied by the creation of two Deputy Chiefs of Army Staff (DCOAS), one each for overseeing capability development and sustenance needs of the army.


Seventh measure involves raising niche capabilities in critical capability voids in the domains of space, cyber warfare and Special Forces (SF). In 2018-19, the MoD created niche capability structures such as the Defence Space Agency, Defence Cyber Agency and the Armed Forces Special Operations Division.


Next, is the delegation of “Emergency Procurement Powers” to service headquarters to address emergent operational needs for responding to situations such as the Chinese intrusions into Eastern Ladakh.


The ninth reform measure is the promulgation of the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) of 2020, which is an enabling document that lays emphasis on indigenous production and self-reliance and streamlines capital procurements for the army.


The tenth measure is the constitution of a “Committee for Technical Modernisation of Armed Forces” in October 2021: To address the military’s long term technological capability needs, the committee will prepare a roadmap to achieve self-reliance in the armed forces, with continued focus on acquiring emerging and disruptive capabilities for the foreseeable future.


Indian Air Force (IAF)


The IAF is pursuing a capability-driven modernization plan in consonance with the roadmap laid down in the “long term integrated perspective plan” (LTIPP). This spells out a roadmap for inducting the new platforms and weapon systems, along with continuous upgradation of the legacy fleet.


For modernising the fighter fleet, the Rafale fighter is being inducted. In addition, the Tejas Mark 1A fighter has been contracted, with deliveries commencing from Jan 2024.


The MoD has spelt out that the major induction in the transport fleet will be the C-295 aircraft, which will replace the old Avro airliner. Chinook and Apache helicopters have also been inducted.


There is significant progress in the IAF’s air defence capabilities. The induction of the S-400, MRSAM, VSHORADS, and CIWS systems will enable a layered air defence capability. Work has also commenced on developing the Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Mark II by the DRDO.


In addition, the MiG-29, Jaguar, Mirage-2000 and Mi-17 helicopters are being upgraded in a phased manner. 


Lastly and most importantly, the IAF is swiftly progressing towards complete Network Centric Operations and aims to improve intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability.


Parliament was told that the IAF is sharpening its offensive edge through induction of indigenous aircraft, weapons and sensors, such as the Tejas fighter, Light Combat Helicopter, Brahmos and Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM).


Finally, the IAF is enhancing cooperation and joint exercises with friendly foreign countries to share best practices. 


Indian Navy


Parliament was told that the modernisation of the Indian Navy is an ongoing process aimed at strengthening India’s maritime security. It was revealed that over 100 contracts have been concluded since 1st April, 2018, in accordance with the LTIPP.


  1. These measures have been going on for some time, but perhaps they haven't been officially discussed in the Indian Parliament. Even so, it is significant that the defence establishments of India have charted a course and are progressing on the path. But, on which fora will the nuclear attack submarines and IAC be discussed, and when? I am sure many fellow Indians like me would like to be updated on news about the two projects.

  2. # Authority and power, unburdened by responsibility – the prerogative of babucracy.


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