According to the Indian Press Information Bureau, the following information was recently given by Indian Defence Minister, Shri AK Antony in written replies to members of the Parliament of India:
Submarines in Naval Fleet
Indian Navy proposes to add more submarines to its existing fleet. A programme for construction of six submarines is currently underway at M/s. Mazagon Docks Limited. Further, Acceptance of Necessity for the construction of additional submarines under Project-75 (India) has been accorded.
Government has accorded top priority to coastal security for the entire country, including that of the State of Karnataka, by way of increased coastal surveillance and deployment of assets of both Navy and Coast Guard. The intelligence-sharing mechanism has been streamlined through the creation of Joint operation centres and multi-agency coordination mechanism. Joint and operational exercises are taking place on regular basis among the Navy, the Coast Guard, Coastal state Police and customs in order to check the effectiveness of the integrated approach adopted for ensuring coastal security. Further, strengthening of the Indian Coast Guard, both in terms of assets and manpower, is an important ongoing process.
Export Market of Brahmos Missile
The Inter-Governmental Agreement signed by Governments of India and Russia, while forming the Joint Venture (JV) for developing supersonic cruise missile, stipulates that the missile will be inducted in the Armed Forces of India and Russia and also will be exported to friendly countries. Therefore, the Government of India in consultation with Government of Russia will export Brahmos cruise missile to friendly countries taking into account the security needs of the both countries.
The Brahmos joint venture has participated in many International Exhibitions and some countries have shown interest to buy. But, no decision has been taken by the Government regarding the countries to whom the missile can be sold.
Presently, the Brahmos missiles are being produced for meeting the requirements for Indian Army, Navy and Air Force on priority. Export will start only after meeting minimum requirements of India.
There is an Inter-Governmental Agreement signed between India and Russia on export of Brahmos missile. This also has approval of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission for Military Technical Cooperation for export.
Ship Building Strategy for Shipyards
The Indian Navy has recommended introduction of modern and emerging techniques in shipbuilding in the country in order to reduce the built periods.
Keeping in line with policy of Ministry of Defence, the Chief of Naval Staff has been encouraging the participation of capable private shipyards to augment shipbuilding capacity in the country.
The Mazgaon Dock Limited, Mumbai, Goa Shipyard Limited Vasco-da-Gama and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited, Kolkata are being modernised to augment and improve their production capacities to keep pace with the Naval requirements. Hindustan Shipyards Limited, Visakhapatnam has also been added to Defence Shipyards also to address the concerns of the Navy.
Indigenous Defence Production
Procurement of various kinds of defence equipment/platforms including arms is made by the Government from various indigenous as foreign sources to meet the requirements of Armed Forces. This is a continuous process based on the technological changes, threat perception and available resources and is undertaken in accordance with the defence procurement procedures. The import option is exercised when it is necessary to procure the items within a definite timeframe on operational grounds to bridge the capability gaps and normally when such equipment cannot be sourced indigenously within a specified timeframe. Government has taken various policy initiatives to promote indigenization of defence production with the ultimate goal of self-reliance in the defence sector. The Defence Procurement Procedure provides for “Make” category for Indigenous Research, Design, Development and Production of systems. These include high technology complex systems. Further, a new category ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ has been included as an amendment to Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2008 with effect from November 01, 2009 in order to encourage participation by Indian Industry.
Missile Development Programmes
Status of missile development programmes, currently being run in the country, are given below:
(i) Nag - It is a 3rd Generation Anti-Tank Missile having ‘top attack’ and ‘fire and forget’ capability with a range of 4 km. Its validation trial based on User Trial feedback has been completed successfully. Missile system is ready to enter production /induction phase.
(ii) HELINA - It is the Helicopter Version of 3rd Generation Anti-Tank Guided Missile with a range of more than 7 km. Launchers have been cleared for captive carriage trials and handed over to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for carriage trials.
(iii) Astra – It is Air-to-Air Missile system for beyond visual range, designated to be a missile for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). Its two guided flight trials from ground launcher have been undertaken during July 2010.
(iv) LR-SAM – It is a Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LR-SAM) jointly developed / produced by DRDO and IAI, Israel. Its Ballistic flight trials was undertaken in May 2010.
(v) MR-SAM – It is a Medium Range Surface-to-Air Missile (MR-SAM) jointly developed/produced by DRDO and IAI, Israel. Its preliminary design has been carried out. Pre-tender briefing to all prospective vendors has also been carried out.
(vi) Agni Series of Surface-to-Surface Missiles: Agni-I with a range of 700 km and Agni-II with a range of more than 2000 km have been developed and inducted into Services. Agni-III with a range of 3000 km is ready for induction into Services.
(vii) BrahMos – it is a Supersonic Cruise Missile. It has twin roles against sea and land based targets and can be fitted on multiple platforms including ships, submarines, aircraft and mobile ground platforms. The missile has range of 290 km with 200 kg warhead and a speed of more than 2.8 mach number. BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile development programme started as a joint venture between India and Russia through an Inter Government Agreement in February 1998. It has already been inducted in Indian Navy and Indian Army. The Air Version of the missile is under development.
Except BrahMos, no offer has been received from any country for joint venture in missile development programmes. There is no plan to accept the conditions of Missile Technology Control Regime.
The Indian Army is placing an order for 124 Arjun Tanks Mark – II in addition to the equal number of Mark – I ordered earlier. Tank T-90, Tank T-72, and Arjun tanks are all main battle tanks of the Indian Army.