Experts Speak

  • January 9, 2018
    Advance Base Workshops — MoD takes control
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The government-appointed Committee of Experts (CoE) on "Enhancing Combat Capability and Rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces", headed by Lt Gen D B Shekatkar, had submitted its report to the Defence Minister on December 21, 2016.

  • January 9, 2018
    Neglecting welfare — Affecting soldier's morale
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    A recent editorial in a national daily titled 'An Unhappy Army' states that unflattering information on the internal "atmosphere" in the armed services is seldom made public: the bad-for-morale argument serves to keep things under wraps.

  • January 9, 2018
    Jiwani PLA base — Major strategic gain for China
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to a recent report in The Washington Times, China is constructing its second overseas military base in Pakistan at Jiwani in the Gulf of Oman, as part of a push for greater power projection capabilities along strategic sea routes.

  • January 9, 2018
    Defence Budget 2018-2019 — Another negative in actual terms?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Defence Budget 2018-2019 is to be unveiled shortly. What will be allocated to the Armed Forces is awaited with trepidation considering successive defence budgets...

  • January 8, 2018
    Visit of Israeli Prime Minister — Expectations
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to visit India commencing January 14 next year. Though the detailed visit program has not been made public, tentatively Netanyahu will be received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ahmedabad on January 14, attend official meeting in New Delhi...

  • January 8, 2018
    The faux pas of counter Maoist operations
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As per new reports of end November 2017, some 155 Maoists have been killed in the Dandakaranya region by security forces during 2017. This figure quotes the statement released by the Maoists' south sub zonal bureau just before the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army (PLGA) week commencing December 2...

  • January 8, 2018
    The drone crash — And beyond
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    China went wild with accusations when an Indian drone recently crashed in China occupied Tibet in first week December 2017, days before the visit to India by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

  • January 8, 2018
    Army’s Battlefield Management System — Dumped?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The news about Army having foreclosed the Battlefield Management System (BMS) is appalling, especially when BMS were being developed by two Indian consortiums. Army reportedly took the step due to high costs.

  • January 8, 2018
    CPEC glitches temporary — But violence to continue
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    First signs of hiccups in the nearly $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, inked during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Pakistan in April 2015...

  • January 8, 2018
    The 3D Revolution
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    From 1984, when Chuck Hall of 3D Systems Corporation developed the first working 3D printer, the 3D industry has progressed at an unbelievable pace.

  • December 11, 2017
    Trump’s Af-Pak policy and India’s role in it
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    US President Donald Trump’s televised speech unveiling his new Af-Pak policy directly nailed Pakistan in sponsoring terrorism, exposing Pakistan’s double game. As of October 18, 2016, total US military casualties in Afghanistan were 2,386 killed and 20,049 wounded, in addition to 1,173 civilian contractor fatalities.

  • December 11, 2017
    India’s Border Control — Lopsided in extreme
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to the Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs, India has total of 15106.7 km of land border with neighbouring countries: 3,323 km with Pakistan; 106 km with Afghanistan; 3,488 km with China; 1,751 km with Nepal; 699 km with Bhutan; 1,643 km with Myanmar, and; 4,096 km with Bangladesh.

  • December 11, 2017
    Beyond Maoist attack in Sukma
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The ghastly ambush by Maoists at Sukma on April 24 killed 25 CRPF personnel killed and wounded some. While the heart goes out to the bereaved families, serious introspection is required as apparently we have failed to learn any lessons even after the April 2010 Dantewada massacre of 76 CRPF personnel by the Maoists and loss of all their weapons.

  • December 4, 2017
    Privatizing government defence industry
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The governmental has announced some disinvestment in the governmental defence industry like 10% in HAL, which does not amount to much change.

  • December 4, 2017
    Republic Day Parade 2018 will be special
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    That Republic Day Parade 2018 will be special is probably an understatement. Never have 10 heads of states been invited to this event, which India has done this time by inviting heads of all the 10 ASEAN states.

  • December 4, 2017
    Brazenly Open: Pakistan Army-Islamists Nexus
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    With concerted efforts by the Pakistani military to radicalize the population at large, their handling of the recent protests is hardly surprising.

  • December 4, 2017
    Hafiz Saeed — Key China-Pak asset
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In January 2017, when Qamar Javed Bajwa was appointed Pakistan's Army Chief superseding his seniors including the Zubair Mahmood Hayat, present Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee since November 2016, Pakistani scholar Ayesha Siddiqa wrote, "Even his (Bajwa's) epaulette weighs heavy.

  • December 4, 2017
    Ivanka Trump boosts Indo-US relations
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The 8th annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), jointly hosted by the US and India and attended by 1,500 entrepreneurs, investors and eco-system supporters from 159 countries was held in Hyderabad from 28 to 30 November, 2017.

  • November 15, 2017
    India, US, Japan, Australia quadrilateral kicks off
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    November 12, 2017 witnessed the first meeting of officials of India, US, Japan and Australia meeting at Manila, giving shape to security cooperation...

  • November 15, 2017
    Continued US military assistance to Pakistan is unfortunate
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    When President Donald Trump unveiled his new Af-Pak policy on 21 August 2017 through a televised speech, he was most direct in telling Pakistan how it has been playing the double game with the US.

  • November 15, 2017
    No to Tejas and Arjun by military is misinformation
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The media is agog with the news that the Armed Forces have said no to the indigenous Tejas fighter and the Arjun Tank.

  • November 15, 2017
    Joint Training Doctrine
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As a follow up to the ‘Joint Doctrine, Indian Armed Forces - 2017’ in April this year, the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) has now issued...

  • November 15, 2017
    Nirbhay-BrahMos Combo — Nemesis of adversaries
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    December 21, 2016 was bad for India when the trial test of the nuclear-capable ‘Nirbhay’ long-range cruise missile failed for the third time. According to DRDO officials, “The booster engine in Nirbhay’s first stage started working. The missile lifted off from its launcher.

  • November 15, 2017
    The Doodle of Indo-Pak talks
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Much speculation is in the air that Indo-Pak talks are round the corner and that foreign pressure will make Pakistan slowly come around. Nothing could be farther from the truth despite Pakistan’s sweet pill of granting wife of Kulbhushan Jadhav to meet him.

  • November 8, 2017
    Different rifle for infantry and others?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Going by media reports, the Army is going in for equipping infantry soldiers with a world-class assault rifle, while non-infantry soldiers would get a cheaper, "less effective", indigenous rifle.

  • November 8, 2017
    Downing drones - Russian style
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In a previous issue in these columns it was brought out how seriously the US is tackling the menace of drones, having contending with their onslaughts in the fight with the Islamic State.

  • November 8, 2017
    The tunnel threat
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On September 30 this year, the BSF discovered a 14-foor secret tunnel (below the border fence) in Arnia Sector of Jammu. This was the second big tunnel detected by the BSF aside the international border over the last seven months, previous one being in the Ramgarh Sector in Samba region.

  • November 8, 2017
    Afghanistan via Chabahar — Strategic move
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Iran in May 2016, The trilateral engagement between India, Iran and Afghanistan was historic, expanding avenues of trade for India with Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia through the International North South Transportation Corridor (INSTC).

  • November 8, 2017
    Army’s image building
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has received considerable flak on social media for having told the media that he agreed to build three foot over bridges in Mumbai for building the image of the Army.

  • October 23, 2017
    Defence Minister's Diwali in Andaman & Nicobar Command
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's two day visit to the Andaman & Nicobar Command (ANC), and spending Diwali with the troops and families was a nice gesture.

  • October 23, 2017
    Sham hostage rescue gets Pakistan kicked
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    It is becoming quite apparent that the recent marathon nine-hour conference that Qamar Javed Bajwa, Pakistani army chief had with his corps commanders included plans how to continue befooling the US; aim being to convince the Americans that Pakistan was sincere in cooperating with them in fighting terrorism.

  • October 23, 2017
    Combating Drones
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    On 13 October 2017, the Taliban claimed downing a US drone in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

  • October 23, 2017
    Swati Weapon Locating Radar - Good development
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As Pakistan plunges more into the dungeons of terrorism and toss morals and ethics aside, its military is targeting more and more villages in cross-border...

  • October 23, 2017
    Modular bunkers - Define priorities first
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    According to media reports the Army is looking for Lego-like modular, portable, bullet and blast-proof bunkers to replace stone-mud-log and steel shelters as it secures the nation's frontiers against China and Pakistan.

  • October 17, 2017
    Visit of James Mattis — And Indo-US Defence Cooperation
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    US Secretary of Defence James Mattis arrived on a two-day visit at New Delhi on September 25 to hold talks with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. He is the first cabinet rank official under the Trump administration to visit India.

  • October 17, 2017
    The Rohingya Challenge
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The latest wave of Rohingya terrorist violence began on August 25, 2017, with multiple police and army posts targeted in Myanamr. According to one report in the early hours of August 25, 150 armed Rohingyas attacked 24 Police Stations and an Army Base in Mangdu district of Rakhine State of Myanmar that left 71 dead.

  • October 17, 2017
    The FICV Project — delayed inordinately
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Indian Army's quest for the indigenous future infantry combat vehicle (FICV) is in the news again with the US offering India development and production of armoured...

  • October 17, 2017
    China’s Airborne Brigades
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    During the recent 15-day competition of the International Army Games 2017 held in China during July-August this year, Chinese airborne troops won first place in 11 of the 12 events, winning the overall championship in the platoon level airborne competition.

  • October 17, 2017
    Border Rejig, Infiltration and Terroristan
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Recent media reports headlined 'Army changes tack, puts tanks at Akhnoor' describe deployment of tanks and armoured vehicles in Chammb-Jaurian sector of J&K that had witnessed pitched battles during 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.

  • September 20, 2017
    Modi's Myanmar visit – And the Rohingya issue
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Myanmar on September 5 for a two–day visit on his way back from the 9th BRICS Summit at Xiamen in China.

  • September 20, 2017
    Border infrastructure – Execution is the key
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Doklam standoff has brought into focus once again the poor infrastructure that India has. As on date, only 27 roads' (963-km) of the 73 strategic roads approved for construction (totaling (4,643-km) along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) over 15 years ago have been completed.