Experts Speak

  • Babus all the Way — woes of India's security
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    That the defence of India has remained in a defunct state is no secret, with hundreds of articles and reams of reports by studies, committees and what have you.

  • PM's UAE Visit
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As far back as October 2011, HSBC had predicted that India would leap over China as UAE's top trading partner by 2025 with bilateral trade touching US$ 103.6 billion.

  • New Tri-Service Commands — how effective will they be?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As per media reports, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on August 19 has directed HQ IDS to "work out and fine-tune" the "basic structures" for the Cyber, Aerospace and Special Operations Commands.

  • NSA Talks — that went Kaput
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Hindi idiom 'Gadhe ko Dho Dho Kar Ghora Nahin Banaya Ja Sakta' (a donkey can't be turned into a horse through repeated washes) fits very aptly to the Pakistani military sponsoring terror. In follow up to the Ufa talks, India had proposed the India-Pakistan NSA level talks on 23-24 August.

  • Hacker-quadcopter — new threats emerging
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As if the threat of terrorist attacks using drones was not enough, a new threat of hacking and cyber attacks through drones has emerged on the horizon.

  • Radicals realigning in Af-Pak
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    It is interesting to watch the realignment of radical organizations in the Af-Pak region, not that this has not been happening elsewhere. Pakistan's military of course is adept in such orchestrations with the ISI (100 percent military) linked with some 14 major terrorist organizations globally, particularly of South Asia.

  • Defence and Semiconductors
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Unlike the Chalta Hai attitude of its predecessors, it is credit to the present government that concerns have been expressed about security risks posed by the use of imported chips; IC or microchip or a semiconductor...

  • New DPP — what should be its contours?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The country, most prominently the private defence manufacturers await the new DPP with baited breath. The 10-member committee appointed by MoD was to submit its report on July 31.

  • HUMINT, TECHINT — and national security
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Why India has had dearth of intelligence at all levels was best described by former Joint Director IB, MK Dhar in his book 'Open Secrets — India's intelligence unveiled' published in 2005 wherein he wrote that irrespective of which government was in power, the compete intelligence set up was focused on how to do down...

  • Victory at Haji Pir — 50 years gone
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Though many heroic battles were fought during the 1947-1948 Indo-Pak War by Indian troops hastily inducted into J&K...

  • Naga Accord – and northeast peace
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The recent peace pact undoubtedly is a welcome initiative by the Modi Government but at present this peace pact is only a framework agreement that lays the ground for further negotiations.

  • Gurdaspur Terror Attack — go beyond sterile sabre rattling
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The ease with which Pakistani terrorists struck in Dinanagar in Gurdaspur 10 kms deep inside India is just one more of the hundreds of terror strikes that Pakistan has managed successfully with just using 3-4 of its rabid spawns.

  • Army AD — Revalidating Validity?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The DAC recently cleared pending projects worth Rs 30,000 crores including warship combat management systems, artillery bi-modular charge systems, multi-spectrum camouflage nets, and microlights for NCC cadets.

  • HeliNa — helicopter version arrives
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    At first glance, the name HeliNa appears synonymous with Helena - the devious Greek queen mother in the ongoing TV serial Chakravarty Ashok Samrat.

  • Skill Development and Armed Forces
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    NR Narayan Murthy recently said, "Is there one invention from India that has become a household name in the globe? No such contribution in the last 60 years."

  • Permanent Chairman COSC — a myth of toothless wonder
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The media has quoted MoD sources stating on July 21 that the proposal to create the new post of a Permanent Chairman of the COSC was at "an advanced stage of planning" now, albeit the post would have to be ultimately approved...

  • Lockheed Martin to Acquire Sikorsky
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The acquisition of Sikorsky Aircraft will enable Lockheed Martin to access new markets abroad and add value to its portfolio through enhanced sales in the military segment of its business.

  • PM's CAR visit — plugging the foreign policy deficit
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In a recent interview to Rediff.com former NSA Shiv Shankar Menon has accused the Modi government of a western tilt, keeping China and Pakistan guessing and lack of strategic vision.

  • Modi-Nawaz Meet — old wine in new bottle
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Trust the media to go berserk anytime PM Modi is likely to meet. So it was expected that when they did meet in Ufa, Russia on the sidelines of the BRICS and SCO summits on July 10, the media went overboard declaring...

  • Another Kargil Anniversary — what did we learn?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    July 26 will be another anniversary of the Kargil Conflict, not very different from previous ones albeit few events merit mention: signature campaign on petition by father of Captain Saurabh Kalia's for GoI to take Pakistan...

  • ARPAN is good — but what beyond?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    A day after PM Modi launched the Digital India Week, the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar formally launched Army's Arpan 3.0 on July 2. Arpan 3.0 is an autonomous software that the Army is rolling out for its over 11 lakh soldiers...

  • Afghanistan — caught in new Great Game
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    President Ashraf Ghani is likely realizing his folly for throwing his lot with Pakistan. Why Ghani believed Pakistan would bring Taliban to the negotiating table when the US failed to do so is intriguing, especially when the Taliban oppose democracy and the Afghan Constitution?

  • Indo-Myanmar CT cooperation
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    John Swinton, the former Chief of Staff at the New York Times, called 'The Dean of His Profession', said during his farewell speech in 1953...

  • Modi-Nawaz meet in offing — but Outcome?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Media is agog with news of possibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the annual summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Russian next month.

  • Respecting National Security
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    As per media reports, the recent visit by the NSA to Myanmar to tie up joint Indo-Myanmar operations against the Naga and other insurgents lodged inside Myanmar territory did not get the expected response from the Myanmar government.

  • Bullet Proof Jackets — army's continuing void
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    One only wonders if the establishment wants serving soldiers also to go on hunger strike for basic weapons and protection — akin to veterans on hunger strike at Jantar Mantar for OROP denied to them past 40 years.

  • Protecting Lakhvi — China reaffirms she is no friend of India
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Writing in the Nikkei Asian Review on June 11, Katsuji Nakazawa wrote that Chinese President Xi Jinping is haunted by fears of assassination.

  • Special operations in Myanmar
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    In the early hours of June 9 this year, Indian Special Forces carried out surgical operations deep inside Myanmar territory. Their targets were two camps of the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) and allied insurgent groups.

  • Cross-border military raid in Myanmar
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    Thursday, June 4, 2015, witnessed one of the biggest militant attacks on the Army in recent years. At least 18 soldiers were killed and another 11 injured when they were ambushed in the Moltuk valley of Chandel district in Manipur.

  • Myanmar Raid — go for credible deterrence
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    It is the first time Government of India has shown willingness to conduct pre-emptive strikes to curtail operational capabilities of insurgent groups

  • Restructured leadership of DRDO
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    Leadership changes in DRDO signal the determination of the government to propel the organisation to attain significantly higher levels of indigenisation in defence hardware with enhanced levels of accountability.

  • Modi Government and the Armed Forces
    By General V.P. Malik (Retd)

    When the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came into power in the Centre on 26th May 2014, the general perception and expectations in the armed forces were that it will follow a pro-active policy on the external security front and will be more sympathetic on the welfare issues of the armed forces personnel.

  • The Year Gone By — Not in Vain!
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The government has the capability to deliver; but will need time.

  • One year of Defence under Modi Government
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    It is envisaged that under a new procurement policy, at least half of India's total weapon and equipment needs in the next 10 to 12 years (worth more than $100 billion) could be produced domestically.

  • Progress in the Defence Sector in the Past One year
    By Lt General V.K. Kapoor (Retd)

    The present NDA government was sworn in on 26 May 2014. Thus one year later there is an intense debate in the country about the progress made by this government on all fronts and the results are mixed.

  • Hunt on for Assault
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Provision of a new generation assault rifles for the 382 infantry battalions had been termed "Priority I" project to address the festering neglect of the infantry and the void of a state-of-the-art assault rifle.

  • The Afghan Conundrum
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Armed feuds have broken out after the government warned of a growing IS influence in the country, with the Afghan government also considering options to assist the re-raising of guerrilla forces in the country to take on both the Taliban and the IS.

  • Modi in dragon land
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Hopefully, China would heed India-China relationship in the longterm strategic perspective and give up its territorial obduracy

  • China's Silk Route and Belt — ignoring India
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    In March 2015, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi put out a document titled "Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road" on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China.

  • Drone Terror
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    While in January this year, a drone crashed on the White House grounds, raising questions over how commercial and consumer drones can be used safely in the US, there was bigger concern in Japan in April...

  • Visit of President Ashraf Ghani — and beyond
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The fact that President Ashraf Ghani had to delay his visit to India because of the Taliban attack in Kunduz portrays the irony in Afghanistan...

  • The China-Pakistan subconventional pincer
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Maldives, with its over 1,000 uninhabited islands, has been systematically radicalised over the past decade through the LeT, which is a proxy of both China and Pakistan. India needs to take note and stop looking inwards.

  • Higher Defence Organisation — Will the farce continue?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Parrikar must understand that the CDS is vital not only for providing single-point military advisory to the Cabinet but also to usher in synergy vertically and horizontally between the three services that is completely lacking...

  • Dealing with Separatists — confused approach?
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Within a month plus of his release from jail after four years on March 7, Masarat Alam was back in the news chanting "Hafeez Saeed ka yehi paigham, Kashmir banega Pakistan" at a rally in Srinagar under separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani as thousands of people flocked the streets...

  • Pakistan — dragon swallows more
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Pakistan scrambled eight JF 17 fighter jets to escort Chinese President Xi Jinping's aircraft visiting Pakistan. And why not because Xi was to ink the mega infrastructure deal Pakistan had never experienced before; mainly the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at a cost of US$ 46 billion.

  • The End of a Dilemma
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The speed with which the DAC has cleared the "single vendor" Airbus-TASL proposal for the 56 C-295 aircraft is indicative of a welcome change in the approach of the bureaucracy towards defence procurement.

  • The PDP-BJP Coalition in J&K
    By General V.P. Malik (Retd)

    J&K with its diverse topography, culture, religion, linguistic and ethnic identities has represented a truly pluralistic landscape of India. Alas! That is not true anymore.

  • Defence Budget 2015-2016
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    The Fiinance Minister has announced a defence budget of Rs 2,46,727 crores for FY 2015-16. This announcement has come in the backdrop of a few other defence related news items...

  • The New DPP
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar acknowledged on sidelines of Aero India 2015 that Make in Defence for the defence sector required streamlining.

  • Sino-Indian Relations — new horizons
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    It is but typical of China to shroud her intent in a cloak of ambiguity. Take three recent events: first, successful visit by External Affairs Minister...

  • President Sirisena's visit and beyond
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    Close on the heels of Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Mangala Samarveera's 'pilgrimage' to New Delhi came the state visit by President Maithripala Sirisena to India starting today.

  • Modi-Obama — Strategic Agenda
    By General V.P. Malik (Retd)

    On India's part, increasing public awareness in India of the US support to our national security concerns in our region and beyond should help in balancing deep-rooted perceptions of the unreliability of the US as a defence supplier

  • Agenda for the new Raksha Mantri
    By Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd)

    If there is one lesson we should have learnt during our 67 years as a sovereign republic, it is that security shortcomings, both internal and external, have repeatedly served to distract our attention and divert scarce resources away from the pursuit of development.

  • Mandate for the Defence Minister
    By Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd)

    The former Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar has taken over as the Minister of Defence at a time when the nation is confronted with serious and formidable challenges.

  • Agenda for Defence Minister
    By Lt. General P.C. Katoch (Retd)

    After a long break, India finally has a full time Defence Minister in Mr Manohar Parrikar. The break has actually been extraordinarily long considering that AK Anthony as Defence Minister from October 2006 to May 2014 was actually a non-performer, or more aptly a negative performer...

  • Prime Minister Modi in USA
    By General V.P. Malik (Retd)

    Never before have there been such media hype, and millions' expectations and hopes, when an Indian Prime Minister has visited the USA. Let me note the major takeaways from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's roller coaster visit before going into the substantive issues that were discussed in Washington DC.

  • Make in India: non-starter in defence?
    By Lt. General PC Katoch (Retd)

    Prime Minister Modi's call to US companies to participate in the Indian Defence sector has generated plenty euphoria. This is not very different from the PM signaling another boost to indigenization prior to embarking on his trip to Japan; earlier decision to manufacture medium level military transport aircraft in India reinforced by decision of manufacturing Light Utility Helicopters...

  • Prime Minister Modi in the United Nations
    By General V.P. Malik (Retd)

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been able to convey that he is a pragmatic visionary; not only for India and the South Asia region but also at global level. The international community will have to take greater notice of him hereafter, and more importantly, with that of India.